Family Vacation 2013

So much has happened in the last year I feel like I am always playing catch-up with blogging. I'm not going to make any empty promises of back-blogging (a phrase I just made up referring to blogging about things that happened months ago) but instead just write about our recent adventures.

The last epic adventure we went on was just last week. We went on a vacation starting with 4th of July weekend in Logan with family and friends. Every time we are in Logan we miss it more and more. No offense Vernal, but our current city of residence is kinda pathetic, although I will keep the complaining to a minimum. In fact, I use to hate Logan up until about a year ago and now I just can't get enough of the greenery, the great shopping and restaurants, good family and friends, and it never gets too hot (sometimes it gets too cold).  

We went to the Cache Valley Cruise-In, shot off fireworks and barbecued with friends.

Monday we headed out of town after lunch to the family cabin in Island Park. Here is the cabin's blog. Once we got there we walked the river walk to the boat launch and tipped some dead trees over. Jack got quite a kick out of tree-tipping.

Tuesday Max and I went golfing and the Island Park Village Resort. The price was pretty steep but we had a good time. Later that night the Shepherds arrived.

Wednesday morning we did a little 4-wheeling while we waited for the Spinnings to arrive and when they did we went canoeing.

Thursday was spent all day in Yellowstone. We didn't see nearly as many animals as we usually do, but the kids didn't know the difference and were elated when we did see something.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful was a lot of fun and the dads even jumped into Firehole River. The rest of us wanted to join, but it was raining and a little chilly. We had dinner at Gusher Pizza afterwards. Half the kids fell asleep in the car and the rest shortly after getting home.

Friday we did some more 4-wheeling and after lunch we went back to West Yellowstone to do some shopping and take pictures in front of the Yellowstone sign.

Later the Shepherds left and the rest of us went fishing in Henry's Fork. Lindsay and Vinny caught fish and Jack broke down because he was dying to cut one open with his new pocketknife. We had a really fun time.

Overall we had a really fun week. About half way through the vacation I could tell we really needed it. Life has been so stressful lately. We have put two single parent families together to make a family of four, I just got a second job, we have been working on finding a bigger/cheaper apartment, we have been pushing Jackson to talk more (which he has, thankfully), we drive every weekend to drop off or pick up our kids, among other stresses.
This vacation hit the right spot. We all cut loose and enjoyed our time away from reality. Now we are home and refreshed.
P.S. I wish we had taken more pictures of our families, sorry guys!

The Past Few Days

Our weekend was pretty interesting. The kids were gone for the weekend so we planned on golfing and cooking salmon together. We love watching cooking shows so we enjoy trying our hand at making something extra yummy. Max grilled some big juicy burgers Friday night and we watched a movie and around midnight we headed to bed. Then it got interesting... around 1 am the fire alarm went off and we stumbled around trying to get it to turn off since there was no obvious fire. With no luck, I looked out the peep hole into the breezeway out of curiosity and there stood our neighbor across the hall with his door open and his apartment was dark and smokey. So we grabbed jackets and shoes and stepped out to see what was going on. The fire sprinklers were flooding the apartment and drenching everything with an inch of water flowing over the threshold. 
Turns out he had a bit too much to drink and left a pot of hot oil on the stove before falling asleep. The stove and everything above it was torched before the fire got put out with flour and an extinguisher. Then we just stood there and waited for the sprinklers and alarms to be turned off and the fire department to come in and start cleaning up. 
I stepped into the burned apartment today to see the damage for myself and I am just shocked. How many times have I left the stove on while we ate dinner for 10-15 minutes? Too often. I will never forget the image of the microwave blackened and melted like taffy, the plastic dripped and stringy. 
Once I accidentally melted a tupperware lid on the stove, I thought the range was off. The smell of melted plastic is familiar, but I never realized the extend of damage from a small kitchen fire could do. The entire kitchen needs to be gutted and replaced, the soaked carpet has been ripped out and fans have been running non stop for four days to dry everything else out. 
Needless to say, I have a new commitment to fire safety. Smokey would be proud. 

Saturday the wind was out of control so we skipped golfing :( and I didn't do such a hot job on the salmon. But hopefully I will improve next time. Good thing my sweet husband still liked it :)

Sunday was quiet (other than the loud fans outside our door) and I picked up Jackson in Heber.

I worked from my laptop Monday morning as snow fell. Max had the afternoon off because of the snow, so we enjoyed the extra time together by watching TV and relaxing. Max turned the channel to ESPN just as the Boston Marathon explosion story broke. We were glued to the TV the rest of the afternoon. I was shocked. Its been 11 and a half years since 9/11 and almost 2 years since Osama was killed. It was just unreal to watch something like this happening on our soil in 2013. 

Other than the these events, life has been going pretty well! I am working on uploading some recent pictures from Baby Animal Days in Logan and other fun things we have been up to. 

Wednesday Ramblings

These are just random pictures from my phone in the last couple days.

Jackson loves to "brush" his teeth. After I brush them, he likes to stick his toothbrush under the water and "brush" some more. Its adorable. 

As UNorganized this looks, it is much better than it was. 
This is our "Creation Station". (I just made that up)
All coloring and play doh for the boys, my scrapbook gear, office supplies, and misc crafts. 

Some time this summer that circle will be a playground. 

 And this will be a basketball court. For now it is just a bunch of dirt we get to look at outside our windows.
Speaking of the basketball court, it was covered completely with those tarps, but a wicked windstorm came along and took all the tarps and dispersed them elsewhere. Funny thing is, the weather report said the winds were around 5 mph, when they had to be over 30 mph. 

 The chalkboards (Dollar Tree) are for our tally mark system.
We got the idea from my sister in law, Lindsey.
When Jack does something good (ie: make his bed, pick up his toys, finish his dinner),
he gets a tally mark. After five tally marks he gets a dollar. It sounds like a lot, but he is only here for 2 1/2 days every two weeks, so they've got to count. 
He likes to give Jackson's board a tally mark every time he gets one (so cute).
We love the system, it has proven quite effective.
Also, the magnet board is for all of the boys' creations.

 It is probably hard to tell, but there are little post-its on this big map labeling where all our family members live, where Dad served his mission, and where some of our favorite teams are from. Jack hasn't seen it yet, but hopefully it puts in perspective where we live, where we used to live, where Jack lives (most of the time), and how far away everything is. 
Who knew living in a blended family could lead to a geography lesson at such a young age?

 This is how he slept in the NICU, this is how he still sleeps:
Butt in air.

Again, as UNorganized this looks, it is much better than it was. The boys' room is small and we have plenty of toys, so we got a big shelving system to keep everything off the floor.

Wedding Post! {January 26th 2013}

 This is Max's Aunt Elise, she was our next door neighbor for years and then she moved to the other side of town. Small world!

 We had our ceremony in my parents living room with just a handful of family members. It was intimate and just perfect.

 Getting ready and waiting in my old bedroom.

 Grandma and her gang

 The boys didn't stay still for long...

 Isn't he HANDSOME?!

 Sarah played our love song on the guitar

 Dad and I

 Like I said, they didn't sit still for long. Haha good thing none of us cared, we love them to death!

 "I do!"

 We love Grandpa Doc

 Finally, our little family of four!

 My brothers couldn't be here so we had them on webcam the whole time. Here I am showing them the cake, haha!

 Mom, Patti, and whoever else helped, did a fabulous job with the food!

 Emily did our beautiful cake! I loved it, she did an awesome job, especially on such short notice!

 Mom got to break out her china. It was perfect for the occasion!

 It is dang near impossible to get both the boys looking at the camera at the same time

 One of my favorite shots of Jack

 Jayme, Max's sister and our photographer, took the sweet pictures with a polaroid. Aren't they awesome?!

 I need lipstick. Oh well :)

 Thank you everyone who came! 


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