28 June 2010

Summer in one word...


Before last year, we didn't know what we were missing not having cousins so close by. NOW we get it. What would we do without them?

Cousin camps have been great this summer so far. We toured the Sweet's Candy Factory (highly recommended, and totally free, unless you can't leave without lbs of candy afterward like we did),

had a sports/work day in Provo,

and watched a children's dance theater perform at the Sandy amphitheater. This one was with OUR cousins and their kids, which was a special treat! These girl cousins sure loved playing together at the park afterward.

We're looking forward to a tour of the Bean museum this week, and a reptile show (my kids' favorite).

One of my goals this summer is to eat lunch outside as much as possible. We get our work done and out of the house doing something fun before lunch, and we've loved it. We've had a picnic of some sort almost every day, even if it's just in our backyard. But, I've noticed that the part of lunch that normally would end up on my floors, now ends up on my pants. Do mashed raspberries, granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches wash out okay?

We got some family pictures taken, most of which I have yet to see, but I got a few with my camera. Oh, how I love my sisters and mom! (P.S. Somehow I missed the memo on the white shirt.)

Alice sure loves her dad.

Jack and Jane finished soccer. They both loved it, but it is SO time consuming, we're not sure if we'll do a repeat. We'll see.

Did I mention we've been to a lot of parks?

We've loved the Wild West Jordan park behind City Hall. SO big, and lots to do!

A cousin sleepover with a visit to the park, of course. Christian had them laughing about something. Who knows? That kid's a nut, and we LOVED having him!

Fun time with Grandma and Grandpa Hillman.

Here's a typical visit lately:

US: Hey guys, mind if we drop in?
G&G: Sure, we're just sitting down to eat, hungry?
US: Um, sure! While we're eating your food, can we ask you questions about fixing ________ on our car? How about you watch the kids for us next week while we ______? Mom, could you help me mend this? I'm thinking about making this, but have no idea, can I come over and you can show me how? Dad, ever fixed a water softener? Oh, and our garage door is doing something funny. Any ideas?

And so on, and so on.

Our requests seem to be endless these days, and they still love us. Thank goodness for family!

Speaking of family, we celebrated Grandma Munk's 80th birthday last week. We snatched her away from the endless flow of friends and well-wishers for a shot. It was a fun day, and we were so happy we could celebrate it with her. Love you, Grandma!

The birthday celebration was in the one-room school house my mother-in-law attended as a girl. The best part? The girls room. Jeff and Jack thought it was hilarious!

And every Friday morning, we're still pioneering, and loving it more each time. I did sneak a couple of pictures a few weeks ago. Here are the pioneer babies in the Rich home, enjoying the shade.

This day was a special day where everyone got free ice cream cones. The kids were in heaven! And a little silly, but what's new?

Each day we volunteer, the kids get to fill out a worksheet teaching them something about life as a pioneer. They then turn it into the bank to get a Deseret Dollar they can spend in the ZCMI General Store. Most of them buy rock candy, unless it's Jack and he buys a gumball as big as his fist. Sigh. As we left the store this day, we had this conversation.

Me: Okay guys, now we need to head back home.
Jack: Home to the Rich house, or home-home?
Me: No, back to our home in West Jordan.
Jack: You mean back to 2010? Ugh.

Jack wishes we could go to the village every day, not just once a week. In a way, I feel the same way. It's nice to get away from reality for a while and enjoy the simple life. The kids play with sticks, hoops, and rocks. They visit their friend at the tithing office who tells them stories. They make necklaces in the Indian village, and pound leather at the tannery. They help at the farm house on the corner. We eat under the shade of a cherry tree. We talk about our ancestors. And we meet fascinating people who come through our house. It really has been an amazing experience so far.

Hope your summer is full of whatever you love most.

01 June 2010

A few of my favorite things...

Everyone has a few favorite things. If you're like me, they change like the seasons. So here are a few of my current favorites.

1. We spent Monday morning as pioneers at "This is the Place", our first of many days to volunteer this summer. No doubt, this will be a very FUN way to spend summer days. My FAVORITE part of it? The pace. It's slow, simple, and lacking in electronics. Love it.

Didn't take many pictures as we try not to have modern things out while guests are around (hence the lack of electronics!), but honestly, how can you not want to capture cute pioneer children?

2. Can I just sum it up by saying SUMMER? And all that goes with it. Jack home from school (YAY!), longer days, good running weather, working in the yard, swim lessons, morning walks, cousin camp, and less busy-ness.

3. It's no secret that I'm not much of a cook. Luckily, there are other ways to Jeff's heart, because I certainly didn't get there through his stomach! I listen to the Dave Ramsey show (also a favorite) whenever I'm in the car in the evenings and heard his advertisement for e-meals. Finally decided to give it a go. We've LOVED it! I look at the weekly menu, choose which meals my family will like, buy the stuff (shopping list supplied), and stick to the plan. It's inspired me to try meals different than our usual, and we've discovered several we've adopted into our rotation that even Jane eats! I've even selected a healthier menu option, which doesn't seem to sacrifice the taste. It just seems to eliminate the planning and decision making portion of the meal prep, but since that was my least favorite part, it's a great fit. In the words of my mother-in-law when speaking of Scrubbing Bubbles, "I'd do a commercial for them!". Actually, I think I just did.

4. Alice is learning her signs now, thanks to my two wonderful helpers, she's catching on quite well. New this week: cheese, hot, treat. Is anything more fun than watching a baby discover and learn? If I had to choose, I think THIS would be my favorite stage.

5. I know I always brag about my family. Here's just another reason I am in awe that I know such awesome people. My sister, Joanna, got on a crocheting kick. She's always been really good at this stuff, but seriously, I can hardly comprehend all the fun stuff she makes now. She named her elephant doll after my Alice and made her one for her birthday. Such a treasure! Definitely a favorite thing that we'll love forever. She's recently opened up her own etsy shop too. Go Jo!

(this is the best picture I could get of this elephant when Alice wasn't mauling it with kisses!)

6. Netflix. Anyone else in love? If we sit down to watch something, you can bet we're not going to mess with commercials! Just discovered you can watch Brian Regan streaming. How can you not love having him on demand?

7. We've been doing a lot of pass-along stories in the car lately. These generally consist of the "super siblings" on a Spies, Inc. mission with amazing gadgets and creative weapons. Then it's Jane's turn. In come the flying ponies, ballerina powers, and rainbow shooters. Her storyline has very little, if anything, to do with the story that was passed to her, but she doesn't mind. And I don't either. Her contributions are always my favorite... and even though Jack's pretty serious about his stories, he's learning to see the charm as well.

What are YOUR favorite things right now? Discovered anything new that you LOVE?