Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jonny Appleseed Day

So, we don't normally celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day at our house, and I am used to it being recognized in September on his birthday. Apparently, other people recognize it on March 11 for the planting of trees. I saw something on Instagram about it, and so we tried to incorporate some apple related food into our day. We began the day with an apple German pancake, which was delicious, but it got eaten so fast that I didn't get a picture of it. You will see that we didn't really celebrate much with Johnny Appleseed, but we still had a fun day as a family.

Randy played in one basketball game, and refereed 3 other games, so while he was busy, the boys and I tried out a new park in Orem since it was such a beautiful sunny day. Apparently, everyone else thought it was a nice day to visit the park because it was super busy. The boys still had fun, and I walked around snapping pics for our other website. We had the most fun playing hide and seek, or as the boys called it, Spy on Mom. The boys tried to get as close to me as they could before I saw them. It was a nice way for me to keep an eye on them because before the game began, I was never sure where they were.
This playground is a lot of fun, but it was sooooo busy!
Dax has always loved the monkey bars. 
Seth liked this bridge, and you can see Mark and Dax in the background.
Seth kept hiding from me!
Mark and Dax got really intense playing this electronic game.
They all loved this merry go round!
After the park, we headed back home and beat Randy there by about 10 minutes. He wanted to go on a hike, so we packed up and headed to Battle Creek Falls. We found all the people who weren't at the park on the trail. Despite the crowds, we had a really enjoyable hike. There was no snow, which Mom had worried about, and we got a family picture. We did the hike pretty quickly, enjoyed the waterfall, and made it home in time for Dad to barbecue for the first time this year.
Battle Creek Falls is one of our favorite hikes!
We love this hike! 
Mom was trying out new features on her camera to get this special water effect.
The boys had been begging to go on a bike ride all week, so after dinner, we hopped on the bikes. The sun was setting, and we enjoyed watching the mountain change colors, the moon rise, and even had some swans fly over our heads. We went around the neighborhood once before it was starting to get a little too dark for riding!
Serious bike riders!
We kept stopping to admire the mountain in the sunset light.
Then the moon started to rise, and the boys insisted I take a picture.
We ended Johnny Appleseed Day with deep fried apples, a new treat we had never tried before. Everyone loved them except Seth. He asked for plain apples! Next year we will have to add a few more apple adventures into our day!
I think this picture sums up what it's like to take pictures of our children. 
Mom loved the fried apples. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day Off From School


For the past few years we have spent our March day off from school at the Hogle Zoo. This year we don't have a zoo pass so we had to find something else to do. When we woke up to snow, which was a new surprise, we decided to play in the white stuff, and then pretend it was a warm day.

So we did a few chores, and the kids headed outside. I made them wait until the sun was over the mountains and the temperature was close to 30 degrees. They played outside in the snow for a bit before coming in because it was cold. I told them all to get their swimsuits on because we were heading to the pool. Luckily, we have an indoor pool at our rec center which is a lot of fun. The boys spent a few minutes cheering and racing around, and we still made it to the pool by 10 am. 

The boys love to go swimming. Mark and Dax took off and went down the slide a thousand times, and then went around and around the lazy river. Seth and I hung out in the shallow end of the pool, and also in the toddler area. We stayed for 2 hours, and I had to drag them out. I was starving, but they said they wanted to stay forever.
Seth and I hung out together while the big boys did their own thing.
Seth was really brave and went through the waterfall! Then we went through together! 
Mark only stopped for a second for this picture. Dax wouldn't even pause!
After lunch, Dad called from work and invited us to come play pickle ball at his school. They had been having a big faculty tournament (teachers work really hard, you know!) So we headed out for a little pickle ball as a family. We had a lot of fun hitting the ball back and forth. Seth and Mark especially loved it, while Dax preferred shooting baskets in the corner. Mom and Dad had fun trying to hit it past each other and also had fun helping the boys learn how to play this new game.
Seth missed a lot at first, but he started to get the hang of it after a little practice. 
The principal was nice and left the courts up for us to play!
Dax makes great faces when is hitting! 
Mark played pretty well. His tennis skills kicked in!
I loved watching how focused everyone was while they played.
Randy used his tennis skills and Dax was truly amazed!
It was a great day off from school. We are now looking forward to a whole week of from school for Spring Break.
Dax also worked really hard on building the white house. He insisted that I document it!
The yellow triangle in the front is the fountain, and those blocks that look like a cross are actually the president. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dax's Research Recital

This is Dax after his presentation on the NBA. He was all decked out in Jazz gear. 
At our boys' school, they hold an event that they call the Research Recital. Mark is at Highland with Dad this year, but Dax wanted to do a Research Project even though he is only a first grader. We let Dax pick his own topic (Mark had done birds last year), and he wanted to research NBA basketball. We had a lot of fun helping Dax come up with ideas. He really wanted to find the best basketball players, so he found out the leaders in the 5 major basketball stat categories (points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks).

We also added some fun history about how basketball was created and how the NBA was established and added and subtracted teams. Dax made a Powerpoint to guide him as he presented his research, and he really enjoyed using Dad's remote clicker. Best of all, he did an amazing job on his presentation and learned a lot about the NBA.
Dax was great at looking at the audience while he spoke. 
He loved using the special "clicker" from Dad to advance his PowerPoint slides.
Mom was asked to be a "reviewer." This meant that she sat through some of the research presentations and asked questions. Then she wrote positive comments to the kids. She really loved it and regaled all of us with the facts she'd learned from the students. There were 4 reviewers in each room, so Mom was sitting with an aide at the school, the Director of Educational Media from the Alpine School District, and Miss Lehi!

She was able to watch Dax give his research presentation, too. Dax spoke softly, but he said everything he was supposed to and answered questions very well. Since the video is hard to hear, I'll just include a few pictures from the recital.
These are the kids who presented in the first hour with Dax.
Can you tell Dax is Randy's child? He loves pictures so much!
Miss Lehi wanted to take a picture with all the kids, too. She was super nice.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mark 4th Grade Basketball

Mark took a big step forward in basketball this year. Now he is playing on a team with a real referee, and worst of all, they play for fun rather than a snack at the end of the game. Still, Mark likes basketball, and we have seen him really excel. 
Dad is definitely the loudest coach in the league.
Dad is Mark's coach again this year, and he has challenged Mark to run the team as the point guard. It took half a season for the other players to learn that they don't stand around waiting to get a pass in, but when they finally got down court, Mark was great at getting the ball to them. Now, Mark's team scores many baskets before the other team even turns around because everyone hustles down and waits for Mark to get the ball to them. 
Mark's ability to control the ball and look up for a lane or a pass makes him a standout in the league.
Several times Mark has been given difficult defensive assignments. One game we even had a kid score 8 points in the first 3 minutes of the game. After we switched Mark over to guard him, he went scoreless for the last three and a half quarters. 
Seth and Dax like to try and steal the ball from Mark during halftime or warm ups.
Our boys think buzzer beaters are the greatest thing in the world. Mark got two buzzer beaters this year. He ended up lobbing a shot from the opposite foul line, but, like Dax's shot, it caromed off the back iron, much to our disappointment. Then, the last game of the season, Mark took the ball down the court and laid it in right as time expired. He was pretty excited, as you will see in the video below (and you can tell by the cheer that Dax was even more excited!). 
Mark is quicker on the dribble than many kids are at running!
Mark is really a very good basketball player, easily the best on his team. He sees the floor well, and passes, rebounds, and scores more than any player on the floor. He's had a lot of fun this year... and he hasn't even missed the snacks that much!
Here's Mark's team (we are missing Christian).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Searching for Bald Eagles


We have a yearly tradition of heading to Sanpete County to look for Bald Eagles. Some years we have seen close to 20, other years just a few, but it is always a fun adventure.

This year we only saw 5 bald eagles, but we saw a lot of other fun creatures. Before we hit Sanpete County, we saw this herd of elk hanging out in the canyon. Then we spotted this beautiful hawk--we have the hardest time identifying hawks, but since we got such a great look we can definitely say this is a Rough-Legged Hawk. We spotted deer in lots of spots, and finally we found some bald eagles.

The elk were right off the side of the road.
I think this Rough Legged Hawk has the most beautiful coloring.  
We saw lots of deer, but this one hopped right next to us on the road.
These are the first two bald eagles that we spotted. 
Then we saw this guy in the field. Mom thought it was a rabbit at first.  
He did not like his picture being taken. He moved all over the place whenever I tried to snap a pic.
We always make the quick drive over to the Manti Temple when we are in the area and remember how Mom and Dad were sealed together there years and years ago! And finally we ended the day with the best pizza on earth: Roy's Pizza. We love that everyone is happy when we eat there, even Mark who won't eat pizza. Thank goodness for the pasta.
It will be 15 years later this year. That's crazy!
Finally, on our way home, we spotted the turkeys in the canyon that we always like to see by Randy's cousin's house. I think we counted about 30 of them waddling around.
We love watching the turkeys.
And we love that our camera can take such great pics of them from across the road.
You can see that there was quite a huge bunch of them!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Piano Festival

These two are amazing piano players!
Our boys had the chance to participate in a piano festival. There were different festivals that they could choose to do, and in February they chose a solo festival. They were required to memorize two songs. Then they performed for 3 judges and were scored on how well they played their music. They also had to perform with a small group of 4-6 students, so there were other people watching.

This was Dax's first time participating in a festival. He was really nervous, and worst of all, he had to go first! I was so proud of him. He remembered his songs, which was good, since he was so worried that he was going to forget them. And he played them very well. He also took a big bow at the end which he does not like to do. Dax has really developed into a great little piano player this last year. I am so proud of him.

Mark has competed in lots of festivals, so he is getting used to the pressure. He still gets plenty nervous, but he also did amazing today. He is getting so proficient at the piano and can sit down and play some of the Hymns without practicing. I am so glad Mark still loves playing the piano.

They both received superior ratings, which is the highest mark you can receive. We are so proud of both of them! I am not allowed to take any photos or videos during the performances, but we took a few afterward to remember their great performance day. The judges told the boys how sharp they looked in their suits. They also commented on how well prepared they were, and they could tell they worked hard and practiced. It was so nice of them to take time to compliment the boys!

Dax looks so handsome in his suit!
Why does Mark look like he is about to go on a mission? Stop getting so old!!
Seth really looks up to his big brothers and can't wait to play the piano.

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