Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Middle of Summer Fun!

We've had a fun and busy summer so far! It feels like we're constantly moving from activity to errand and back again. I can't believe we only have one more week before school starts!

One of our fun activities was a My Little Pony tea party at the mall. The boys pretended they weren't interested but they LOVE My Little Pony, so they couldn't help getting drawn more and more into the activities.

They had water and cookies as big as Brooklyn's face, story time, temporary hair coloring and tattoos!

I tried to get us to leave after the tattoos but the boys INSISTED on hair color too! They tried so hard all week not to wash their hair. Unfortunately I insisted it be washed out for Sunday. They were impressed it lasted through several trips to the splash pad, the pool and the bath.

Afterwards we headed to the splash pad with Lucinda, Anisa, and Grandma Linda. The kids had fun playing together, eating a picnic lunch and the adults had fun chatting.

On the 24th Dave ran in a 1/2 Marathon. He did great even if he is always wishing his could get his time down more. The kids were pretty good at trekking from our car to the finish line and were happy to get to beg Creamies off the missionaries (they were handing them out to those that ran in the race).

Dustin's highlight was finding a chipmunk to feed. He is convinced the same chipmunk follows him around. We saw him at Mt Rushmore. We saw him when we were camping. We see him every time we go hiking. He has been named Chippie. Dustin knows he shouldn't feed him but "he looks so hungry Mom! I just can't help it!" The kids probably spent 30 minutes feeding and chasing this guy around.

That night we went to a family BBQ at Dave's parent's house. It was fun to see family and the boys had a good time playing with their cousins.

A few weeks ago we stumbled upon a sidewalk sale that had free activities for the kids! We were going to redeem 3 free pizzas from the Pizza Studio, and out front there was a bounce house, a chalk coloring station, and a PlusPlus building station. All the kids loved the bounce house! They played in it for at least an hour strait. Usually they were the only ones in it.

The boys also had a blast building with the PlusPlus blocks and requested some for Christmas. We'll see if they're still interested in a few months but they usually love building so it will probably be a good fit. The lady running the PlusPlus station also gave them necklaces. So it was an all around fun free family date night.

My friend Tenille came down to visit me at the beginning of August! I convinced her to help me pin Brooklyn's quilt for her big girl bed! I still haven't started quilting it, but hopefully things will slow down soon so I can do so. I also have to decide HOW I'm going to quilt it. I was thinking of just doing diagonal crossing lines across the whole thing, but I would like to outline the stars too. We'll see what wins out. I love how it turned out! I was worried about the mixture of lights and darks, but am glad I didn't give up.

We also pinned a baby blanket that Tenille had completed. It was a cute blue and off white star quilt that she plans to gift to a friend soon.

We also took Tenille on a hike around Silver Lake. There was a plethora of baby ducks on the hike!!! Brooklyn especially was in heaven screeching and pointing at the babies. They were very brave ducks and if we stood still they would come right up to us. One even bit Dustin's toe but he said it didn't hurt. I must admit the duck were adorable.

Other than the duck detours we HAD to stop and climb every rock that was on the side of the trail. The boys wouldn't stop until they got to the top. And if Brooklyn couldn't keep up with them she would cry and insist on being lifted up with the big kids.

I can't believe how busy we've been this summer! We've had a lot of fun but most mornings start with the boys climbing into Brooklyn's crib when they hear her wake up. It's pretty cute to see how much they all love each other.

We also had a Lemonade Stand! Logan and Dustin have been BEGGING all summer to have one to earn some money. So we set up shop and they sold 4 pitchers of lemonade. For the first 45 minutes nobody came and they got pretty discouraged but I posted a picture of them on Facebook and we finally got some business! Friends, people from church and neighbors we've never met before all showed up for a drink.

The kids were tireless marketers running down every car that drove past waving their hands, jumping and yelling "LEMONADE! ONLY 50 CENTS!" We saw cars stop a little ways down the street, dig around in their car, and come back once they were sure they had money. We saw a big truck stop, turn around (and I'm assuming) head home, and come back for a drink. We had a family knock on our door 4 hours after we stopped selling asking if we had any left because they were going to run errands when we were out earlier and the kids insisted they come back and try to get a drink.

It made me happy we live in our neighborhood with all the great neighbors that stopped by to support the boys! They decided to spend $5 to buy us pizza for dinner that night and divided the rest up between the two of them.

The next week was a rush to get packed for our BROWN FAMILY CAMPING EXTRAVAGANZA!!! I like to pack at least a week in advance, so waiting until the day before to pack was insanity for me! But that's how busy we were. The kids were all excited to try on their life jackets to make sure they fit.

It was a really good trip! We stayed two nights and it was great to see the cousins all play together. We went on all kinds of little hikes around the camp and the kids were constantly coming up with plays and bands and all kinds of fun things. We spent Saturday canoeing, swimming, and we rented a trampoline that floated on the water and you could jump into the lake from the top.

On the trip home I looked in the back seat and all three had fallen asleep! We throughly wore them all out. They said they had a great time though and we'll have to do it again.

Monday, July 16, 2018

4th of July

We had a great 4th of July, although I failed to take any pictures! Our city does a big firework show the weekend before the 4th of July. They do one Friday night and one Saturday night. So we hit up the Saturday night one this year. The kids loved it although parking was a nightmare for Dave and I. Brooklyn yelled "BOOM! OH WOW!" and clapped after each lull in the fire works. She was mesmerized.

On the 3rd we stayed up until it was dark out and did a few little fire works in our driveway. The kids had fun picking them out with Dave. We had a BBQ on the 4th of July with Dave's parents and my brother Mike and his family. The kids had fun in the sweltering 100+ weather with water balloons and the sprinkler under the trampoline. We enjoyed chatting and letting Mike do his fireworks.

I've been working on a Quilt for Brooklyn's bed. I have about half of it laid out now (28 by 32 total 2.5 inch squares finished). It's way too big for my design wall and the boys kept destroying everything I laid out on the ground so here's hoping it turns out well in the end. Today as I was pinning squares I told Brooklyn the blanket I was making was for her and she told me "No, owls." So I asked her in confirmation "You want an owl blanket?" and she answered "u-huh." So I guess I'll be making an owl pillowcase or throw pillow to go with this blanket. Little miss opinion!

A few weeks ago we went on a hike with a family from our ward! The kids had a blast hiking with friends and we will definitely need to do it again. They ran back and forth and all over the place and totally crashed when we got home.

Brooklyn has become meticulous with her toys! One of our neighbors was cleaning out her garage and gifted Brooklyn 3 cupie dolls. She lines them up by size, carries them around in her purse, and wraps them up in her baby blanket. She also absolutely loves the caterpillar doll she bought herself at the Dollar Store.

Speaking about caterpillars, we went to Target to get an idea of what Logan and Brooklyn want for their birthdays coming in August. Brooklyn carried these three around the whole store totally in love with them. I was going to buy them for her, but I checked the price... $20 a piece! Seriously?!? I think I'll head back to the Dollar store and buy her a few more for a buck.

This week was full of fun activities and free stuff! We celebrated dress like a cow day with free kids meals at Chick-Fil-A. The kids loved dressing up, playing at the play place, and stopping by the splash pad after.

We celebrated 7-11 with free slurpees! If anyone ever asks you what a Captain Crunch slurpee tastes like, it is exactly like the cereal. I think it might be flavored with cereal powder. I highly don't recommend it.

This week was full of pearler beads! Mostly we made Pokemon designs this week, but we branched out into venomous snakes when Logan's friend Briggs came over. Dustin also created a food line complete with pizza, hamburgers, and hotdogs.

We've been at the splash pad a lot too! The kids love it, I love that it wears them out! I think we went 3 times last week. This week we only have two trips scheduled so far.

Last week I started attending a Zumba class in the mornings at a near by church. The kids are pretty good and it's a great workout! Surprisingly there aren't other kids that attend, but they have fun playing piano and running around the church. Brooklyn spends about 20 minutes with me in between checking out what her brothers are doing. She always is back with me for the last 3 songs. The night Zumba class I haven't been to in three weeks reminds me of a mix of Latin Dancing and Hip-Hop. This class is more like Latin Dancing and Kick Boxing with weights. It's been good for me and I'm hoping to continue doing the class 3 days a week in the fall when Logan goes back to school.

This has also been a week of minor electrical projects for me. Logan and Dustin complained that their ceiling fan made noises when it was on high "and we have to have it on high Mom!" so we took that one down and replaced it with a new energy efficient one. Since we had a functional ceiling fan we decided to replace the one on the gazebo which was a little broken and REALLY loud with the boys just a little loud fan. That one was a nightmare to take down and replace (it took me 4 hours), but those two are now replaced. 

Then one of the basement TV room lights got broken which meant we had to replace both of the ones in that room so they would match (they don't sell the style we had down there any more). I moved the unbroken one into the office to replace a really 80's wicker ceiling fan that we never used once in the 9 years we've lived here. Oh and I installed a new fire alarm in the basement. So I'm done with electrical for the next week... or until I can convince Dave we want to install canned lights in the living room upstairs. I really want that project to get done soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

June and All the fun of Summer!

I thought the school year was busy?!? Boy was I wrong. Summer has felt infinitely busier. We got home from Casper and jumped right into activity after activity. From making pizza to our annual trip to Lagoon with Dave's work, it's been all fun stuff but has really kept us busy!

The kids were ecstatic that Dave took the whole Friday of Lagoon day off! We were there from open to around 9:30 at night! The kids look forward to Lagoon day all year and they had a blast riding the small rides with Brooklyn and the big rides with Dave.

They took turns riding with each other and alone so nobody felt left out. Dave got to hop on some of the really big rides in the first hour while I took the kids around to the smaller rides to get us acclimated to riding again.

Brooklyn did ride on of the big ones with me, and she loved every second of it! She cried when the boys left to ride a big one without her. She's such a brave little girl. We rode, visited Lagoona Beach, and ate at Dave's work BBQ. The kids each had 2 ice cream cones! They thought they were getting away with murder! By the end of the night we were all exhausted and ready to be home.

Dustin has wanted his own fish for a while now and he was lucky enough to get some in the beginning of June! My friend Tenille found a free tank online for him and Rea and Sarah decided they were done with fish and let us adopt these two. Dustin named them Flash-ica and Snowy.

They have acclimated to their new home and have started sharing a tank with 7th (Logan's beta fish). We put 7th into the big tank for a few play dates and determined he is too old to want to eat Flash and Snowy. So they all enjoy a big tank all together. I think 7th is around 5 years old. Since their average life span is 2 - 5 years we figure he is on his way out soon and just doesn't have the energy to chase the Mollies around and devour them. I'm just glad I don't have to keep up with 2 tanks.

We've spent quite a few days at the parks near our house! The kids love playing, especially with friends. We typically invite friends to play at the park with us twice a week. But it's been way too hot this week so next week we're switching to splash pads.

What can I say? Our kids love playing in the water! They would play all day if I let them.

The kids are doing the summer reading program though out Library and they get to count activities or creative building for part of the program. So we made homemade harmonicas. The boys thought it was awesome and whenever they re-find them they run around the house playing them! It's been fun.

We went to This is the Place monument on free day. It was swelteringly hot, but the kids had a blast! We went to the petting zoo. Holy cow those animals were so mellow! Brooklyn was so excited she screeched at each animal! We pet the goats, pigs, and laid our heads down on the soft sheep. Brooklyn followed around the chickens and Dustin decided he desperately wanted to have a pony ride. So we waited in line for 1.5 hours so he could ride.

He was in heaven!!! They let him go around in a circle 5 times. He named his horse Flash and we had 3 free ice creams throughout the visit. It was a hot but exciting day for the kids.

Brooklyn had her first sleepover with the boys this summer. They camped out in the living room with Dave and she slept all night on her mat (although I'm told she did kick Logan in the face at once point). They love having sleepovers so I'm sure it will happen again.

The boys have attended swimming class for the last 2 weeks. They had 8 classes total and learned a ton! This is Dustin's first year and he was terrified to go! I bribed him with candy, movies and a new lego guy. He clung to me when it was time for the first class and started crying but after getting in and trying it out he decided it was really fun! 

Dustin almost completed the second level class even though this was his first year! He can: get in and out of the pool without help, jump into water over his head, retrieve something from the bottom of the pool entirely submerged, Float on his back/front for at least 5 seconds unaided, do the freestyle and elementary backstroke. He looks like a drowning puppy when he swims, but he sure is determined and cute!

This is Logan's second year and he was in the level 3 class. He was excited to do classes again and is very sad classes are over. He really wants to do classes again next year. He can Glide on his front and back 2 body lengths, float on his front and back for 15 seconds each, swim 2 body lengths freestyle (with breathing), backstroke, or elementary backstroke. He is very confident in the water and swims like a fish!

Swim class was devastating for Brooklyn!!! She hated that she couldn't get in the water with her brothers. They make parents sit poolside which means she had to sit and not get in the pool every class. I brought her tablet and let her play during class but it wasn't the same. I'm so glad the boys got to take the class but it was exhausting for me to get them ready and to class on time every day! I'm grateful to be done.

I've been attending a Zumba class with my friend Chelsea Tuesday nights. It's been a nice break from the kids and good to get some exercise in. The teacher is awesome! It feels more like a Zumba/Hip Hop class to me. I've had to miss a few times but for the most part I've been going. I'm horrible at it but only know one person there so I'm ok with that. My friend Caitlin invited me to try out a Zumba class at a church a few miles away. I'm going to try next week, but it's at 8:30 in the morning and that's pretty early for the kids with it being summer. We'll see if the class is good and how it goes.

Between that and working in the yard and little construction projects that's pretty much been our June! The boys are happy to have a new ceiling fan in their room that doesn't make noises when it's on high. Oh, Logan wants it to be known he also got a really cool Paw Patrol night light that is awesome. Dustin likes it too and we are happy we don't have to keep the hallway light on for them anymore.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Buffalo, Elk and Bears, OH MY!

We're off to a great start to the summer so far! The first week we mostly had a lot of fun playing, reading and enjoying not being in school. The second week of summer we went on our summer vacation! To start the trip off we met up with my parents in Yellowstone and enjoyed the park for 3 days. 

The boys loved exploring and hiking! They insisted on climbing every rock they came to. Even to the point that Dustin started climbing up a rock that was used as the boarder of a waterfall. Little stressful to imagine him falling to his death, but he lived.

It was a wet year for Yellowstone, so the rivers were extremely high and the waterfalls were massively huge!

They were so beautiful to see and impressive!

We saw lots of animals on our trip! Buffalo, Elk, Bears! The kids were extremely impressed and Dave and I were excited too! Neither of us had seen a bear in the wild before, and we were lucky enough to see grizzly and black bears.

We also got to have lunch with 3 elk. They were sitting in the middle of a field in the middle of town so we sat on a blanket close by and enjoyed watching them as we ate. They mostly laid around in the grass, but some times they would eat the grass and dandelions.

Yellowstone went a lot better this time than the last time we went (with just Logan). Last time Logan was scared of all the steam, but this time the boys loved the steam, all the colors and waterfalls!

Dustin said this one was the funniest of all the things we saw because it looked like bubbling mud. As you can tell, he was really impressed.

My favorite part of Yellowstone is always the Grand Prismatic. It's awesome to see the different colors.

The boys favorite part of Yellowstone was hands down Chippy the chipmunk! Yup, they fed him all our trailmix. It totally made the hike worth it.

The boys mostly did great hiking, but some times they needed help! Brooklyn was a little trooper too, although she mostly stayed in the baby backpack.

After Yellowstone we headed to my parent's house for a few days of visiting and spoiling! We had a birthday party for me (woohoo!), painted bird houses, visited the splash pad, a science museum, and did all kinds of fun things. We even got to see my brother Dan for one of our dinners. It was great to catch up with everyone and to just enjoy each other's company.

Soon after arriving home we went to Dave's work Lagoon day. Since he took the whole day off, we got to spend the whole day at Lagoon. We were there from 11am to 9pm. I was absolutely exhausted when we got home, but the kids had a blast riding the rides over and over again. Since we were there so early they got to ride the big rides several times without lines.

I took a picture of Brooklyn in this dress because it was my dress when I was a baby! I meant to look for a picture of me in it when I was at my parents house (I remember them having a picture of me with Grandpa Yoder at the DC Temple) but I forgot. But I thought it was appropriate to take a picture with the Irises that were in bloom since Grandma Yoder gave them to me.

This week has gone by in a flash! We have gone to the park twice this week, the splash pad twice, and done all kinds of picnics and fun activities. The kids won their first prize for getting along for the summer (I'm incentivizing them to get along). Hopefully they'll keep getting along.

Dave has been working on converting our garden to a square foot garden. We're afraid by the time he's done it will be too late in the year to actually start a garden, but I'm good with begging tomatoes off the neighbors this year. It will be a nice setup to have for the future.