Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Arizona Day 1

On the road again...
We'd only been home from Escalante for three days when it was time to pack for our Spring Break vacation to Grand Canyon. This was set to be a big one, too, because we'd be gone for 9 days. Unfortunately, the week was so busy that Dad didn't really have any time to help Mom pack, so she had to do everything on her own. Then, just as she was finishing Mark's laundry, she noticed that everything was blue! Someone had left a blue crayon in his clothes. It was a last minute nightmare. She was able to get most of the blue out, but it put us back on our leaving time.

The plan was to leave at 4 o'clock as soon as Dad got home from school. We'd drive out to Price where we'd pick up dinner at Wendy's to eat in the car. Then we'd keep right on driving down through Moab and Blanding to some cute little cabins in Bluff. If we were lucky, we'd be there by 9 o'clock. With the crayon incident and a stop for gas, we rolled in at about 9:30.
We spotted a Golden Eagle eating a deer carcass on the side of the road. It was amazing!
The cabins were really cool, but we weren't there long enough to enjoy them. It would have been great to play around and spend some time, but as it was we got a few minutes to look at the stars, which were beautiful in Bluff and go to bed. But at least we got five hours of driving out of the way.
The boys enjoyed breakfast at the bar in the cabin.
Dax was so excited for this raspberry sparkling water until he tasted it and almost died. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

March Fun

Here are some fun pictures from March! We had one day off from school, so we ventured to some new parks even though it had snowed the night before.

This new park in Salt Lake had tons of fun climbing places.  
Even Mom had fun climbing with the boys.  
There was a lot of snow at Wheadon Farm Park.
We went to Discovery Park one last time before they tear it down and build a new playground.
Mark was a champ at the monkey bars!
Everyone got a little sick on the tire swing!
The boys built clocks at Home Depot.
We also were invited to check out Kiss My Axe for our blog, and we had so much fun! The boys loved throwing axes and ninja stars. We wrote about this on UAF, but here are some fun pics from the night.
Seth was amazing at throwing things.
Mark also picked up on throwing axes pretty well. 
Dax is a survivor! 
The boys were tough warriors at Kiss My Axe. 
Then we had a great rest of the month of March!
Mom got caught in a deluge when she left Costco one day. In ten seconds she was drenched. 
Seth always wants to ride his bike with Mom to this little park in Loch Lomond. 
Mom loves spending her afternoons with Seth on bike riding adventures.
It was snowing outside, but we decided to get smoothies anyway. 
Mom and Dad went on a date to another Escape Room. They are pros at them now!
Mark is still Dad's baby! 
The boys got donuts for having good grades, and only Dax was happy and willing to share. 
We rode our bikes to the little pond in Loch Lomond one sunny March day. We didn't see any fish even though we looked for a long time!


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Storytelling Festival

All of our boys participated in the Story Telling Festival for the first and last time. Mark is a sixth grader and will phase out of program next year. Dax is in third grade and will not tell next year because Dad's school dropped the program. Seth, who is a kindergartener, is too young to tell, but he got special permission to tell with the first grade because he really wanted to participate.

Our boys always love this time of year because, like their Dad, they really love to tell stories. They have a few favorites that they've heard dozens of times that have all been crowd pleasers. For Seth, story selection was easy. He wanted to tell the story of How Seth Got His Name. Mom and Dad made this one up a few years ago from a story Dad had heard at his school. Dax wanted to tell a baseball story that Mark had used in the past called Out By a Hare. Mark had been very successful with it a few years before. It was harder for Mark to decide, though, because he's participated so many times. There just weren't that many stories to tell. Finally, he settled on a picture book called Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek.

The boys worked really hard on their stories, adding little flourishes and new ideas to make them better. We told them almost every night for a week before the class level competition. Dax told first, and he advanced to the grade level competition easily. Then Seth told in the first grade competition. He had skipped right over class level and told to the entire grade. Shockingly, he advanced to the school level, even though we weren't sure they'd even consider him qualified. Finally, Mark told to the sixth grade. He was a little rattled at his competition, because they changed his time to earlier, so Mom missed his telling (She was furious!). His story, though well told, wasn't quite as crowd-pleasing as some of the favorites, so he didn't tell to the whole school. Then we got the news that Dax advanced, too, so he and Seth told their stories to the lower grades.
Seth and Dax sat by each other at the school level assembly!
We were pretty worried about Seth, but he got up there with all the confidence in the world and told five hundred kids how he got his name. He did a really nice job, even remembering to pause when the kids laughed or clapped. Dax did a great job on his story, too. At the end of the day they announced that Dax was the overall winner! His story advanced to the District level, which we've never done before. His brothers were so happy for him, which made us really proud of all three of them. Of course, we celebrated with Slurpees, our traditional Storytelling treat.
Seth was so confident. We are really proud of him!
Dax wore his baseball uniform and it fit perfectly with this story!
These were all the storytellers from 1-3 grade.
It was fun to have these two brothers tell together!
The district competition turned out to be pretty anti-climatic. We simply sent a video of Dax performing his story before the deadline. Then we waited.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Knowledge Bowl

Mom loved doing Knowledge Bowl with her boys.
Ever since Mark first did Knowledge Bowl at Highland, we have loved the program. This year Dax was old enough to join as a third grader, and he and Mom were really excited. Mom had her work cut out for her, managing two teams and creating content for them both. It seemed even worse, too, because the topic was history, and the study guide seemed wide open. For example, the students were supposed to know Alexander the Great and Charlemagne. How many things are there to learn about just those two men?

Luckily she got a lot of help from Mark and Dad, and with a ton of her own work and planning, she trained three teams (two 5th-6th and one 3rd-4th grade team). Mark would anchor one of the upper teams, and Dax the lower team.
All the 5th and 6th graders!
Mark's competition came first, and we weren't too worried about it. His team won every battle and really racked up the points. We had no doubt that they would place in the top ten. (This is the only award given. You are either Top Ten, or you're not.) The other 5th-6th team showed a lot of nerves. They only managed to win one battle, but they still had fun.
Mark's team only had 4 players. Teams are allowed 5, but we were one short, so Mark counted as two players. 
The following week for Dax's competition, we were a lot more worried. Dax had a really smart friend on his team, but it was their first time. Because they were third graders, they had a huge disadvantage against fourth graders who have a whole year of Utah history under their belts. But Dax was super fast on his buzzer. They won their first battle and then came from behind to win their second. In the third they played Highland's accelerated team, which is always tough. They didn't win, but they managed to score a hundred points in a narrow loss. Then they won their final battle. We were pretty confident they'd rank in the Top Ten with three wins and a decent score in a loss. But we had to wait for final results.
Dax was the speediest buzzer on this team!
When the results came in, both Mark and Dax's teams ranked in the Top Ten. Best of all, they got to face off against the teachers in a battle during an assembly. Both teams outscored the teachers, which was the best reward of all. Now Mom is looking forward to not managing the program as Mark moves out of elementary school and Dax participates at Highland with Dad next year.
Mark received his Knowledge Bowl medal and was recognized for being the top Perennial Math scorer at his school.
He scored in the top 10% of the 6th Graders in the Nation.
Dax's first Knowledge Bowl. Hopefully there will be lots more to come!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

BYU Basketball Games

Obviously we paid for these "expensive" seats!
We were able to score some cheap BYU basketball tickets, so we bought them for two games: one in January and one in February. The boys love attending any BYU event, and we always have a great time. BYU won both times we were there, so that is always a plus. But the most important part of the games are he snacks. Popcorn, ice cream, and Cougartails. The boys even brought their own money to the second game, just to buy a Cougartail!
Seth attends these games purely for the food. 
He will fight you for his Cougartail. 
We can't even share anymore. Everyone gets their own treat.
Mom and Dax were the calm section.  
Seth loves taking selfies with Mom.
We had a great time at BYU basketball. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Escalante Day 4

We were not too happy to check out of the yurt on our last day. It had been such a great stay. After we got the car all packed up, we went down to the rope swing and everyone laughed as Dad nearly broke his head trying to get on! Then we started for home.
Seth loved this swing so much! He dragged Mom over both times to swing!
Dax swung pretty high! 
We finally got Dad on the swing!
Mom had a blast on the tree swing.
There was one more hike that we were looking at doing, and it was in Kodachrome Basin State Park. This hike was short, and more than a little dangerous. Basically, you climb from the valley floor up to the top of the mesa. Then you hike out along narrow trails to points of rock with sheer drops on all sides of you. It made for some really great pictures, but the boys didn't like staying close to parents, and Dad was freaking out if anyone got to close to the edge. Finally, we all settled in and enjoyed the hike.
Seth loves to jump and do funny poses on hikes.
We thought this section of the hike looked like Goblin Valley.
There were lots of narrow places to walk out for pictures that made Dad nervous. 
The views were beautiful on this trail.
Dax loves adventurous hikes like this.
Kodachrome Basin was a great stop at the end of the trip. 
Seth was burned out, so Mom, Mark, and Dax walked the nature trail. 
We stopped for lunch at our favorite restaurant in Panguitch. Henrie's is a small drive-in with really good food. We even ordered shakes, and it is all so inexpensive, too. Sixty miles up the road in Beaver we stopped for gas and Mom realized she'd left her purse back at Henrie's. The workers were so nice and had tried to call her but gotten the home phone. This added about an hour and a half to our drive, but we still got home by 6 o'clock. No one even yelled at Mom for being so ridiculous. It had been a really great, free vacation. And the money we saved from our per diem should cover our hotels in New Zealand this summer!
This is one of our favorite stops in southern Utah.

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