Monday, September 29, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

Taylor started high school this year.  Starting high school is intimidating enough when you already have your group of friends to start it with you, but I can only imagine how much harder it must have been for Taylor who had to start as a Freshman at a new school without knowing anyone. 
 
But he has been able to swallow down his fears and embrace the unknown.  He is making a new group of friends, and in fact, it was one of these new friends who informed Andy and I just the other night, that Taylor had been chosen as one of the Team Captains for his football team.  I just had to laugh a little bit at this news...because one of Taylor's favorite t-shirts is his Captain America shield shirt, so very often, I call him "Captain" or "Cap."  Well, it looks like this nickname might just stick!
 
Change is hard.  Change is scary.  But in my experience, I have also found that change is usually the catalyst for something greater, something bigger, and something better than before.  I'm so proud of all of my children who each swallowed their fears at the beginning of the year and started new schools, and have since made new friends and are becoming greater and bigger and better than they were before.

Not Your Everyday Frisbee...

When Andy and I were first married and still in college, one of our favorite things to do was to play frisbee golf (disc golf).  It was fun and relaxing, and we could just walk and talk as we played the game.  So last weekend, we decided to take the family to enjoy the fall colors up in the hills...and to enjoy a good game of frisbee golf.  Most people know that Bogus Basin is a great place to ski in the winter.  We've had some great times night skiing there with our older two kiddos.  But what most people don't know, is that there is a very challenging Frisbee golf course at the upper lodge on the back side of the mountain.  Oh ya...we love it.  We call it "Extreme Frisbee."
 
In order to prep the players for the game...we had a mountain picnic lunch...with chicken fingers and all the sauces, and chocolate chip M&M cookies from the Albertson's deli.  Yum. 
In honor of the game, Taylor wore his Superman shirt.  He is standing on one side of a black diamond run near the top, and throwing the Frisbee across and down to a small group of trees near the bottom.  The trick to this game is to have a spotter...because in this terrain, it's really easy to lose your Frisbee.  Or, you can just wear a Superman t-shirt so that you have x-ray vision and superhuman strength.
 
 

 
Matthew spent about 30 minutes searching for his Frisbee.  And while the boys were throwing and then searching for their Frisbees, I was helping the girls to spot the next hole.  This is a full 18 hole course.  We've been up there several times, and haven't yet been successful in finding all 18.  We usually quit at 4 or 5...and that usually takes us several hours of playing time...which means several hours of hiking up and down and across and around ski runs. 

Here's Lainah taking a break under a tree!  She was so cute.  Her throws would go about 10 feet, unlike Andy's and Tay's which would go several hundred feet.  However, Lainah never lost her Frisbee.

Us girls were loving the fall colors.  It was the perfect autumn day, warm enough for shorts and t-shirts but not too hot to hike around in the full sun. 

We made it to hole number 4...and then Andy made one amazing throw from the top of the run all the way to the bottom, and it was going beautifully straight until a breeze caught it and threw it off course into the trees.  We searched and searched but never found his YELLOW Frisbee.  It sort of blended in too well.

Matthew had been sitting on the ground with a frown on his face, so Taylor sat down to join him.  Evidently Taylor's frown was so funny looking that it made Matthew smile.  Taylor's useful like that.

Little Addy hiked all over that mountain!  She always had a big sister to help her too, which was so sweet.  These two were trying to help Andy find his Frisbee.  Addy kept saying, "Frisbee!?  Where are you?"
 
I just loved the view...from here you could see out to Horseshoe Bend area and beyond.  Here I am with Brooklynn, and also with Emma, who was my hiking buddy all day long.  She was such a good baby, perfectly content to just snuggle up to me in her pack while I did all the work.  
 

And here are the boys, doing what boys do best.  In fact, I think that if Superman and Spiderman really were brothers, that they'd pretty much be doing the same thing as these two boys when asked to pose for a picture. 
 

What is it about being up in the mountains that is so refreshing and re-energizing?  I love it.  Andy and I stood at this point for quite a while just looking out and breathing the fresh mountain air.  And while we were enjoying the view...

Addy was busy being a silly little stinker down the trail behind us!  I guess with all of that hiking around, she got too hot and needed some air conditioning!  Once she had her pants down, she was perfectly happy and started singing "The Eency Weency Spider."  Here she is singing "Out came the sun!!!" at the top of her lungs.  She is so hilarious!  I'm sure the squirrels and chipmunks thought so too.
As for holes 5-18...I guess we'll just have to save those for another day.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Garden Surprise!

We were out working in the garden a couple weeks ago, digging up potatoes and tilling the soil to get it ready for next spring when Matthew found a surprise in the dirt!  I was inside with Emma, and he rushed in to show me what he found!
A "cute" fat little toad.  Or frog.  Not sure which.  Whatever it is, frog or toad, Matthew thought it was awesome and was super duper excited!
 

I love this boy.  He is so cute and fun!

Blessing Weekend

Two weeks ago we blessed our baby Emma.  Her special weekend was super full.  It started out with a 5 hour drive over to Rexburg for Taylor's football game against the Madison Bobcats.  Taylor played tight end on offense and defensive end on defense.  He starts in both positions, and rarely gets a break during the games.  In fact, his coaches have designed a few plays that do not involve Taylor just so that he can get a breather for a few minutes during the 3rd period of each game. 
 Taylor has grown a lot this year, and not just physically.  He has grown in his leadership abilities as well.  He is a leader among his peers and it has been great as a parent to see him set a good example to his teammates.  We found out just this week from one of his friends that Taylor was chosen to be one of the team captains at the beginning of the season.  Silly boy never mentioned it to us...I love his humility, and hope that he never changes.
 

After the game, we changed into church clothes and prepared for Emma's blessing.  We held our very own little meeting with just close friends and family members at my parents' church building.  Not all of the family were able to come, but we had a good group there.  I was so thankful that my 87 year old grandpa was able to participate.  Here are the priesthood holders who were in the circle:  My Miss Idaho Dad and Brother,  (Kerry and Robbie Buck), Grandpa Daryl, Daddy, Uncle Oliver, Grandpa Belnap, and Great Grandpa Belnap.

Poor little Emma was sick this weekend too...and had just had her 2 month shots, and she was miserable.  Out of our seven children, she has the mildest personality...yet she was the only one of the seven to cry all the way through her blessing! 

And here she is with the girls.  Great Grandma Belnap, mommy, Grandma Belnap, Grandma Ruth, and my wonderful Miss Idaho Mom...Geraldine Buck.

And here we all are!  The thing I notice about this picture is how short I am.  I am wearing 3 inch heels, and I have my hair up, which adds a good solid inch...and Taylor is still taller than me.  Crazy.

My mom's birthday was the following day, so when I was ordering the refreshment trays...I also ordered a birthday cake for her.  She was really surprised when we brought it out and had everyone sing to her! 

I love this picture for a few reasons.  The first is the people I'm talking to in the background, the Buck's.  I love these guys.  I lived with them while I was Miss Idaho and they truly became my second family.  I miss our late night talks and homework sessions, playing card games around the dining room table...seeing how high we could jump and marking the height with peanut butter on our fingertips, etc.  I have so many great memories of my short time as a part of their family and was so glad they could come to Emma's blessing!  I also love how Emma is being snuggled by her Auntie Mohna...Emma is so spoiled, she has a lot of Aunties who are all so awesome.  And I also like this picture because instead of stressing over food prep...Andy and I decided to just order party trays from Broulims...and so we were all able to relax, eat, and visit.  It was well worth every penny to have everyone free to enjoy themselves.

When I told my kids we were going to spend the weekend at grandma and grandpa's...one of the things that Matthew and Lainah were excited the most about was seeing Gunner, grandpa's dog.  They love Gunner, as you can see.  They were playing catch with him forever...and loved giving him his doggy treats.

I love Gunner too...he is so sweet with the kids, even little Addy.  In fact, Gunner liked Addy so much, he shared his doggy treat with her.  We found her outside sharing his biscuit.  He had half, and she had half.  Yuck.  But funny yuck.

All weekend long, Addy would say, "you coming grandma?"  And first thing Sunday morning when she got up, she had to go find grandma.  She was in her little piggy tails and princess nightgown wandering down the hallway saying, "Grandma?  Where are you?  You awake?"  Too cute!

Our stays with grandma and grandpa are never long enough.  If only we didn't have work or school...
What a great weekend we had.  We felt so blessed to be around family that we don't see very often!  It was great to see Rachel and her cousin Aubrey walking around the church building just talking about things middle-school girls talk about...and seeing the boys out in the parking lot playing football in their church clothes.  It was hard to say goodbye and start the long trip home!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Emma's 2nd Week!

One more post dedicated completely to our little Emma!  Her 2nd week was much the same as the first, full of snuggles and lots of love from siblings!  Daddy was so sweet, and surprised Emma and Mommy with flowers, a teddy bear, and balloons.  It was so sweet.

He wanted to be sure that Emma knew how excited we were to have her join our family!

Here's our little two week old princess!  So cute in her little tutu and frilly ballet slipper socks!

And of course lots of snuggle time with big sister Rachel!

I love how Emma will just hang limp in my arms and likes to be carried around facing out so she can see everything.

Some snuggle-bug time on mommy's bed

Addy was snuggling up with Emma on the bed and when I got the camera out she pretended to be asleep.  Too funny!

I'm enjoying Emma's dark hair for now...because I know that in a couple months it will be blond!  All of my kids except for Matthew and Brooklynn have started out with hair as dark as mine...and they've all turned blond after a few months!

I love this picture.  Taylor had just gotten home from football practice.  I had Emma on my bed and he said he'd watch her for me for a few minutes.  When I came back into the room...it was to find Emma happily kicking around, while Tay was fast asleep.  Too cute!

Everyone keeps asking me who Emma looks like...and she keeps changing...but this week she really reminds me of Taylor when he was a baby.  She has Matthew's nose, but everything else about her reminds me of my baby Taylor.  So nice of her to keep him company as he naps.

As you can see, Emma is more than happy to keep just about anybody company as they nap!  Daddy had just gotten home from work...and it didn't take long for them both to fall asleep.

And here she is snuggling with the little teddy bear that daddy sent to her with the flowers and balloon!  Emma's 2nd week went by as quickly as the first!  She is such a sweet-tempered, and pleasant little baby...we couldn't possibly love her more!

Bubbles and Baths

One of my favorite things about newborns is bath time.  I love how perfect they smell after using the baby shampoo and lotion, and my favorite flavor is Vanilla Oatmeal...yum!  Emma loves her baths.  She gets all relaxed with the warm water.  She is super cute.

She doesn't much care for the getting out of the water part of bath time.  It's cold...
 
But she looks so cute all wrapped up in her little hooded towel.

 
Something that I love about Emma's hair is that it curls when it's wet, just like Addy's did as a baby.  It's the funniest thing, when it's wet it curls up all over, and then as it dries the curls loosen into soft waves.  Addy is now two years old and her hair has a natural curl at the ends.  It's really nice, I never have to curl the ends of her hair under, they naturally flip.  Very cute.  It looks like Emma's is going to be just like that.


As always, Rachel is my baby helper.  She is so good with her baby sisters.
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Emma also enjoys getting her baby lotion massage by mommy.  She has started to smile and coo at me as I do it, which is the cutest thing ever!

These pictures were taken during Emma's 2nd week...she is now two months and her hair has started to turn blond just like all of her older siblings.  It doesn't look like I'm going to have any children with dark hair like my own.

Something I also love about baths...is that afterwards, she is sleepy...and so I can snuggle her into her blankets and she immediately slips into a peaceful baby slumber.

She is such a sweet little bundle!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cross Stitch Fun

 
A few months ago, I bought my girls some pillowcases so that they could learn how to cross-stitch and embroidery.  Brooklynn absolutely loves it, and has worked so hard to finish her first set.

They turned out so cute!  I'm so proud of her for sticking with it, learning all of the different stitches, and finishing her project!

Brooklynn is super talented with her hands.  She learns very quickly and is so creative!  She just turned 10 years old and is in the 5th grade...I'm so excited to see all of the creative projects she'll do in the future!  She has already started working on an apron.
Great job Brooklynn!