Thursday, March 15, 2018

june: some family adventures!

Summer time is the besssst. Minus the extreme heat, of course. Also minus the whining. And the fighting. Okay, so summer is all right. In between fighting and alarming amounts of screen time, we kicked off summer vacation with some fun family adventures outsiiiide!

We biked over to the library - Carma lived the high life in the bike trailer and everyone else rode. We took a nice long break there and colored and read books before heading home.

Another day found us biking over to the church, where Clyde took a spin around on my cruiser haha.

And we risked the rain one evening to spend some time at the concrete bike park. Will opted to stay dry and read in the truck, but everyone else headed out, including Carma:
I love watching Jack be so brave and happy tooling around on his bigger bike. 

We spent an afternoon at the zoo. This picture proves that we glanced at a few animals before heading to our favorite summer time spot there....
Butterflies in Bloom! Chuck was the first one to attracted a winged friend - and was happy to pass his hat around so Jack could have a turn.

Will deemed the hat lucky and wore it next - and ended up with a butterfly on his hat AND shoulder:
And two butterflies on his hat at one point! And a beautiful one on his hand later!

Clyde was so sweet and SO determined to be a perch for some resting butterflies. His patience blessedly paid off a few times:
Loved this one on his shoulder!

Carma Junie was pretty intrigued by the whole affair and possibly tired of me hovering over her to make sure she didn't get hands-on with any butterflies...
Jack was pretty content to watch all of the action. We stayed in there forever and loved it!

Oh, it was also 'Star Wars Day' at the zoo (hence all of our shirts... although it's not completely unfathomable that we would have all worn them as a coincidence haha), which overall we found pretty underwhelming. We opted not to cough up the money for real posed pictures with characters but loved saying a quick hello to Darth Vader:
Jack was appropriately hesitant to get super close to the guy, but Will reached out for knuckles... and then hit him with "do you want to build a snowman?" instead hahahahaha. Only Will ;).

Summer evenings in the front yard are always fantastic, but when you add in ice cream and family home evening with the Swensons, it gets even better! We loved spending time with them as part of their farewell tour:

Some action shots during freeze tag:

I think Shelly unfroze everyone. Twice. She was everywhere.

Chuck is my favorite person - both in general and also to watch play freeze tag. He fully commits. And ends up on the ground every now and then as a result haha:

 A few more action shots. Have we mentioned the Swensons are fast? They are.

The two (big) trees were base. Rumors of puppy guarding abounded, few were confirmed ;). 
It was such a fun evening (we missed Cameron who had already headed up to scout camp!) and we're so glad we could fit it in before their big move. Also, now I want green grass and sunshine and ice cream, come on summmmmmmer! (someone remind me of this when I sweatily complain 24/7 this July ;) ).

Monday, March 12, 2018

june: all the church things

Chuck and Dan give this post two thumbs up. Because they're dorks:
A wonderful couple from our ward went to the temple for the first time, and they had so much support from friends and it was, by all reports, lovely. Chuck channeled me and took lots of pictures because he's amazing like that. This was the week that Bishop Swenson was released and moved, so it was extra emotional and really sweet that he and Chuck could be in the temple together. 

Another tender mercy occurred when Chuck saw my lovely, lovely doctor at the temple. It was the simplest of coincidences that he works the Tuesday evening shift and they encountered each other, but it had a significant impact on me. Sometimes Heavenly Father just lines things up to let one of His children know that He's aware of them and their needs and I hope I always recognize those moments.

My dad and I coordinated schedules one June morning and he took my kiddos to a movie and lunch while I went to the temple!

and also to lunch haha! Being the third wheel on a date can be awkward, but free food always makes it worth it ;). Thanks Walkers. Sorry I couldn't eat more rolls because of the staring.

Chuck and I came back from our Utah trip just in time for the re-dedication of the Idaho Falls Temple! It was broadcast for the whole state that Sunday and we were excited to take Clyde along with us. The three other kiddos got to attend a special primary class at the church where they learned about temples. Carma was obsessed with her little temple book!
This is random and I can't even remember where I was reading in Gospel Library to stumble upon it, but it's just the cutest story ever. May we all have this little girl's confidence!

So I love browsing at a good garage sale but legit detest having them... which is why I don't haha. But our ward chose to have one for our big summer fundraiser, so you best believe I hied my way over to help/peruse the merchandise ;). The kiddos helped a lot too; Clyde loved hanging out with the youth:
It was a two-day sale, so we recruited the Scouts to have a campout in Sister Hyer's yard (did I mention Sister Hyer donated her expansive, perfectly located yard for us to have the sale? Bless her. Always. She's the best.) to protect all of the goods. Clyde and Andrew were thrilled to be welcomed along the older boys, and everyone was thrilled that one of the donated TV/VCRS worked as they watched movies late into the night haha.
And of course we loved seeing everyone who stopped by to shop! My amazing friend Megan was in town and came over there to see me (I can't find the picture! I'll find it and stick it in a different post...) and Carma was thrilled when some handsome Walker boys showed up to share her spot on Janell's front steps ;).

The Scouts continued to be super nice to Clyde and invited him (and Chuck) to come up for a night... well, mostly Chuck as a leader and Clyde got to be a stowaway ;). Look at how old and unkempt my baby looks out there in the wilderness!
Clyde had an amazing time. Brother Curtis taught the boys about archery and they all made their own arrows, they went mountain biking and swimming and playing in the water and I can't believe next summer he gets to go for a whole week (with Chuck!) as an eleven-year-old Scout. I might protest. Or cry. Or write him a million letters since they'll be at an official scout camp with a mailbox ;).

The Cub Scouts had a fun outdoors activity when we met in the Haws' backyard so the boys could learn how to set up a tent and prepare an outside meal. Carma took a million turns on the slide with whomever she could convince to take her, and a great time was had by all!
Man, Carma's cute enough to be a little child model and thanks to amazing hand-me-downs she has the wardrobe and thanks to the combined hairy genes of some sort of monkey thanks to both of her parents, she has crazy long gorgeous hair BUT she has the disposition of someone inclined to disobey every plea of "Smile! Carma! Stand up and smile! Can I see your dress! Where are your shoes? Carma, just stand by the tree and smile!" soooo I guess that career path has closed ;). 

 UGH, do we have to discuss any more that the end of June brought the conclusion of this bishopric? In the LDS church, bishops generally serve as the leader of the ward for 5ish years but we only got Swenson for a little over 2 1/2 before El Paso came callin' and stole him - aka Heavenly Father had a new mission for him to attend to down there. I've said before that this was the first time Chuck and I have had a good friend serve as our bishop and it was incredible how immediately after being called and sustained, Dan Swenson became Bishop Swenson. I felt the confirmation from the spirit and he was chosen to lead our ward and the time and love and tears and service that he put in during his tenure was incredible to watch. Chuck was his executive secretary for almost two years of that time, and that calling blessed both Chuck and our family immensely. Chuck and Dan's already very solid friendship was strengthened even more so as they worked together. 
(Chuck/executive secretary, Brother Robertson/1st Counselor, Dan Swenson/Bishop, Brother Nelson/2nd Counselor, Brother Arters, Ward Clerk).

Also I think this was Dan's last Sunday as Bishop, I had to run something by him and this was part of the text exchange. I thought it was pretty good evidence of how much Chuck rubbed off on him haha. Also I must have taken the screenshot a few days later, because we had already changed the contact name back from Bishop to Dan hahaha.

 And don't even get me started on missing Shelly. One day from my RS post up front, I took this picture of Shelly holding Tasha's Kinley and it kills me every time. Shelly is a-maz-ing.

 Ha, one Sunday Brother Corn came in to RS to make an announcement and had the audacity to sit next to me so I made him take a selfie. Ahhh I love that grumpy old guy! 

 So there's a pretty awesome system in place when bishops are released and new bishops are called. Our ward did our best not to glance around and speculate, but I'm sure we all had some ideas. I went on my merry way, counting on Chuck's work schedule (every other weekend) to opt us out of any bishopric calling - and then Chuck got a call to go see President Anderson from the stake haha! I got to go along too, and it was really lovely to spend a few minutes with him and share things about us and learn about where Heavenly Father wanted Chuck to serve next, as 1st Counselor in the Bishopric. 
(this is us as we left the stake center. I'm attempting to look respectable and mature and like I'm grown-up enough to be married to someone in the bishopric. I don't think it worked...)

 We officially found out on Saturday evening, so we were grateful that Chuck's dad was able to drive right up from Elko and be with us on Sunday. Dave was able to ordain Chuck as a High Priest and then be there as he was set apart in this new calling.

 And some pictures of possibly the cutest kids ever:

 Also - Chuck in a suit! Every Sunday now! Handsome enough to make it all worth it ;). 

And here's the trio that was called, sustained, and set apart that last Sunday in June: Bishop Robert Merritt, Chuck Izatt, and Ryan Nelson. Because local church leaders aren't paid career clergy, positions change often - but the work of the Lord is never disrupted because the mantle of Bishop moves with the calling. Bishop Merritt is one of the kindest, most generous, capable people and our ward is so blessed to be under his guidance and leadership as the next in a long line of loving and righteous bishops.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

june: 13th Anniversary Trip!

After our trip to Utah last fall without any kids, Chuck and I realized we were really onto something: ditching all four of our offspring with a loving and patient and capable and willing Grandma Pam for a few days at a time. We have since resolved to do this regularly, and we were thrilled when everything worked out for a trip just before our 13th (!!) wedding anniversary.
Let's be honestly: half of the allure for me is all of the D.I.s to shop at!! Pictured are Ogden and Layton. Chuck and I have our system pretty much down, I head straight to books, then dresses, then household decor, while he checks out the outside/yard area, the toys, and we meet somewhere in the middle by shoes/clothes and compare our finds.

We timed our trip to coincide with our lovely niece Mallory's high school graduation! There were one million kids in her graduation class. Or like 900. Can't remember which.
We had a bit of downtime outside afterwards before we found our graduate, who looked so beautiful and happy and grown-up and smart and amazing.

Why yes, Chuck and I did dress to coordinate with Davis High's colors, aka gold and brown. Thank you for noticing.

Melissa and Kevin hosted a fun barbecue/party for Mal in their backyard. I loved the book of Mallory's gorgeous senior pictures that we got to sign! Also Chuck apparently did something deserving of getting punched while taking our picture...

I opted to make him take a selfie with me instead ;). Much more torturous!

Chuck fit in some bball with Steve and George... and Court!:
and we finished off the night with a lovely session at the Bountiful Temple. It was the most random thing, I was sitting in the chapel beforehand and just looking around at the people in our session with us and I was just grateful that they were there. I had no idea what their stories were or why they were there on a Thursday evening but I was just lifted up by their faith and efforts to be there. Maybe they had questions, maybe they needed strength, maybe they just had a long-standing day they attend the temple, but the spirit testified to me that we are stronger when we worship together and it was really cheesily wonderful.

We stayed the night at my dear BFSC Courtney's house because she's fantastic and is always so so inviting and welcoming of our random stops in town. The next morning Chuck and I went our separate ways for a few hours. I got to snuggle with baby Davis and talk and talk and talk with Courtney:
(aka I got the better end of the deal)

while Chuck borrowed a bike and a helmet and went mountain biking with Steve, Amanda, Kevin, Melissa, and George! So fun that this is a shared hobby within the fam:
Action shots. Once again, this is the beauty of trips without our (wonderful! darling! we love them!) kiddos. Usually traveling with kids is stressful and everyone's tired and we're juggling kids and all that, and it's hard to carve out a few hours to go do fun stuff like this. So glad Chuck got to go hang out with his sisters!

Chuck and I hooked back up ;) and headed to our destination for the day: Lagoon! 

We started off with an old classic: Log Flume. I legit don't know why, but I love this ride. Always have. And it always has a crazy long line, so I haven't been on it at all the last few times we've gone to Lagoon - it's kind of a long walk just for the ride, plus waiting forever... sounds terrible with little kids. But with just us, it was perfect!

Next up I made a terrible choice because of peer pressure and I went on Wicked. It was terrible. I want to puke just thinking about it. I don't even know how Chuck convinced me - I think he just kept saying it like a declarative sentence, instead of a question, and I just got tired of contradicting him? I was a real treat to be next to in line, I kept randomly assuring the people next to us that it was going to be fine and I wasn't going to puke. Once we climbed into the car thing, I took the initiative and apologized to the nice teenage girl and her dad next to us for any profanity that might come out during the ride. They laughed. OH, funny story, a fun distraction was seeing my awesome friend Ellen - she was the Lagoon employee who made sure we were buckled in correctly! So that was nice to see a familiar face haha. 
But yeah, what followed was the longest minute and a half of my life. It was awful. The left picture is before, the picture on the right is afterwards. Don't I look nauseous? I closed my eyes basically right away and then just clenched my teeth and fisted my fingers on the bar and prayed and told God I was sorry that I'd done something so dumb but that if he would get me safely and quickly off of that thing I would never do it again. I pushed my head back against the seat to minimize how much I moved. At one point I felt Chuck touch my hand with his and I could kind of hear him laughing and if I hadn't been so focused on not crying, I would have pondered how maybe 13 years isn't that important of a milestone, and maybe I should just kill him now.

Once we were safely off the ride I sweetly gave Chuck a heads up that I was DONE with rides for the day and we went directly to Lagoon-a-beach. Fun fact: I love Lagoon-a-beach but again, with kids, it's sooo hard. I have a slight/very intense respect/fear of water and my kids in and around water, so I can never really relax. Also I don't do closed water slides so I'm always stuck in the lazy river keeping little kids above water while Chuck and the older kids go on all the slides.
 Chuck and I had so much fun. We grabbed tubes and basically just did the OutRigger slide over and over and over again haha. Here's a youtube video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WISgQ5q4zfA Which, can I just say, I don't know how that guy managed to get like a GoPro or whatever on there because they legit wouldn't let me wear my sunglasses. Whatev. Also, I think his video is on slo-mo, because I swear it was more intense than is depicted! Also I flipped over pretty much every time I hit a pool haha. That's why we kept going on it - I decided I had to keep trying until I stayed on my tube the entire way down. The lifeguards were eventually cheering me on... possibly because they got tired of seeing me? Or they're just nice people. (Also: picture of me in a swimsuit AHHHH because I figure things will only get worse from here on out haha and those blinding white thighs needed to be documented hahahahaha)

I'm so glad that Chuck and I never went on Wicked before we got married, because Chuck informs me now that not liking roller coasters might have been a deal breaker hahahaha. Lucky!

We hit the road and headed further south and got to Lehi just in time to hop in the back row of the Pilot and head to dinner!
We were delighted to stay at Quinn and Eden's Friday night. We brought down some of Quinn's childhood memorabilia which was hilarious to watch them go through - sooo much 49ers stuff! Such hilarious grade school journal entries! And we finished off the night with some Parcheesi. Duh.

Saturday morning Chuck and I grabbed Isaac and Leila and headed off to Target and Walmart, because errands with kids is normally awful but in a different state with kids that aren't yours, it's surprisingly fun and chill! Also Chuck and Quinn made breakfast because they're rockstars.
Next up was having Sam and Terri's older girls join the party! They came over and promptly destroyed their uncles in a water balloon fight. 

I stayed out of the line of fire and took dramatic selfies.
 Then it was time to squeeze Jett one more time and hit the road! Fun fact: Jett loves Chuck. Super cute. It's cool. I'm not jealous of their special connection. It's fine. Was I the one who was there when Jett was born? Yes. Should we be bonded for life? Yes. Am I totally okay that he prefers Chuck? Absolutely, why do you ask? Hasn't ever really crossed my mind to be envious. Yep, we're good.

Chuck and I ultimately have a goal to go to all 48 temples in Utah (that might be an exaggeration, I don't know how many temples are in Utah...) but we couldn't resist going back to Salt Lake again this trip. It wasn't as crowded as I expected for a Saturday afternoon in June, and we were asked to be the witness couple, which was a really incredible experience in a live session. 
And then it was time to head back home to real life. We are so grateful to be able to skip out as often as we do, knowing that my mama has everything under control and that our kids are well taken care of and loved in our absence - their adventures while we were gone will be chronicled in a different post (like the last day of school! That I missed because I'm a terrible mom haha!). 

This trip was so so wonderful. I love hanging out with Chuck. I love driving around with him and deciding where to go and what we want to do. I love talking to him and going to the temple with him. I love that we've been married for 13 years because that means that we've stuck with each other through some really great times and some really crap times and we've made it through this far together - which means we should be able to handle whatever comes next. Unless it's Wicked again. I literally cannot handle that again ;).