Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mountain Man Conquers ABH 2010

A week ago I kissed goodbye to my clean shaven hubby only to have him return to me as a grizzly hairy dude. This is kind of comical to me because I remember in my teenage years distinctly telling my one of my best friends that I would never marry a hairy guy. I wanted someone whose skin was soft and supple and hairless...
it's amazing how true love can just as quickly blink away those petty teenage desires. Instead I married a hairy hunk! Most of the year Birch's facial hair is obsolete until the blessed ABH (all-brother's hike) comes around.

This year ABH was EXTRA big--if you can imagine that. I think the brothers have just about everything minus their underwear embroidered with their ABH logo. ABH started ten years ago with Birch's dad passed away. All the boys loved hiking with their dad and they wanted to keep that tradition going and make sure that they built in plenty of opportunities to keep their friendship and brotherhood strong.

Marking the ten year anniversary and the reuniting of Andrew (the youngest brother who had been serving a mission) plus welcoming in an almost brother-in-law made for some strong desires to go somewhere memorable. Everyone was super bummed that Vaughn wasn't able to make it this year--just isn't the same when not all the brothers are together. Plans came together months ago and the brothers all bought plane tickets to Vegas where their adventure began.

ABH 2010 - Grand Canyon/Zions
Awesome picture of North Creek
North Creek (apparently Ryan is pointing to his embroidered hat as opposed to what I thought of pretending to shoot himself)

Isn't this the coolest looking tunnel? -- Subway
All the bros' at Subway - back row (Andrew, Ryan (soon to be bro-in-law), Kelly, Birch); front row (Brent, Logan)
Birch at the Grand Canyon
Birch using his rock climbing skills at Lady Mountain.
Another obstacle to overcome at Lady Mountain.

Group shot on top of Lady Mountain

Totally cool shot at Buckskin Gulch.
Bryce Canyon
Fun shot at Bryce Canyon

Birch had a wonderful time with his brothers and loved putting our new wide angle lens to good use. This year was a bit different with doing day hikes so Birch enjoyed a lighter pack and eating some good restaurant food throughout the trip.

I paid the kids a dime for each night they stayed in bed--totally worth every penny. I was always worn out and ready for quiet time by the time evening fell. We all missed him like the dickens at home but we survived. I sure missed having that warm hairy body to sleep next to :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Girls vs. Boys

It's not often at our house that we do gender segregation activities. So when the annual Father/Son's Campout comes around there is quite the hoopla. Alysee started writing up her list of things that the Girls were going to do weeks before the camp-out arrived.
We made it just about all the way through Alysee's list. She was very helpful getting the boys all packed and out the door so we could start our fun. After the boys left, us girls walked to McDonald's for dinner. We even topped off dinner with ice cream cones. After bathtime we put Chloe to bed and Alysee and I made beaded bracelets. Then we climbed into my bed and watched an American Girl movie and ate popcorn. The next morning I thought it would be fun to take the girls garage saleing. I've decided that I will reserve that activities for ME since it was no fun listening to Alysee whine about being hungry, hot, and thirsty. Chloe was a good sport but getting her in and out of her carseat is no picnic. The rest of the afternoon we enjoyed at home.

Meanwhile...up at Camp Zarahemla
The boys were having a ball. They lucked out and got to share a tent with their good friends so the evening was spent roasting hotdogs and marshmallows and running around with their friends. There were over 200 Fathers and Sons up camping so they had lots of others to entertain them.
Alex worked on finishing his First Class Boy Scout stuff by helping cook breakfast for 200+. He loved running around with his friends and the rope swing.
Coop loved EVERY minute of the trip--the peeing, the dirt, and hanging out with daddy.
I was tempted to spray this kid off when he got home with the hose. It was filthy!!!
Nate caught a fish just after they finished eating dinner. Apparently it was quite a tasty fish too.
He also loved playing on the wooden play set.
But Nate's very favorite part of the trip was the rope swing. He wore that thing out!!!
Tyler loved running around with his friends, stuffing his face with s'mores, and whittling.
Not a great picture but for memories I had to include this shot of the boys all canoeing.

I think it was a win-win weekend for the Girls and the Boys!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lucky Number Four

Look who just celebrated his fourth birthday!!

Coop has been anticipating his birthday for quite some time now. He has been telling me for months that on his birthday he wants to fly to Hawaii, go to the beach, see Grannie and Ami and Poppi, and have a race car cake.
Well, not all his wishes came true...but he did get a race car cake AND Hawaiian pizza for dinner (that's almost like going to Hawaii, right?)
As I have written in the past I have never been a cake woman. The idea for this cake came from an adaptation of a yummy ice cream cake that our neighbors shared with us over Easter, only this was much easier. It consisted of a layer of mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, then a layer of cool whip, repeated three times. Then I just covered it all with cool whip and topped it with a chocolate race car that I got on clearance after Easter for like .40 cents. The cake was devoured quickly!
After church we cooked our Papa Murphy's pizza and headed to the park for the afternoon. The weather was beautiful and since we rarely go to the park on Sunday it made the afternoon extra special. Nate was such a sweet brother and gave Cooper $2.00 of his very own money. Knowing how much Nate values money it made the gift all that more special.
Coop was delighted with his new back hoe and dump truck he received from us. We have peat gravel in our sandbox at home to negate any possible cat problems and keep the sand out of the house so it was extra fun to spend the afternoon in the huge sandbox at the park.
Chloe was also lovin' Coop's gift. Good thing there are two new trucks so sharing wasn't an issue.
Cooper has been such a wonderful addition to our family. If I were to describe Coop in just a couple of words they would be: Funny, Messy, Loving. Coop talks A LOT...get him on the phone and you might be tempted to put him on mute. He says very cleaver things but mostly just funny stuff. Messy...this is mostly in the department of his clothing. Coop shares a room with his three other brothers. For some reason Coop feels the need DAILY to dump out his shirt and pants drawers to find the perfect outfit. It drives Alex nuts!!! In fact the other day Alex was getting after Coop for making their room so messy. Coop felt bad and ran and hid in his bed. After a while he came out and said with great emotion to Birch, "At least I am a brother." Being one of the "brothers" is so important to Coop. He is such a loving kid. I'm guaranteed at least one big hug a day. Love this kid!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A House Full of Monkeys

Last night we really struggled with our weekly family night. Birch was trying to teach the children about the importance of the sacrament and the kids were being....hum, CRAZY!!! Birch and I looked at each other both feeling frustrated with the kids behavior when Alex chimed in and said, "I wonder why we all act like angels at school and then at home we act all crazy?"

Um, I'm wondering that same thing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rock n'...

Monday morning Birch and I drove up with some friends for a very adventuresome day. For months now Birch and our friends have been trying to convince me to become one with the rocks. Perhaps when we were dating I might have alluded that I enjoy the great outdoors, freezing water when water-skiing, and camping with the spiders. Is it a good sign that I now feel I can be honest? I like swimming in warm chlorinated water, sleeping in my own bed, and pleasant little hikes in mountains after I have eaten a real breakfast (you know, not like instant oatmeal in a plastic cup while climbing the South Sister Mountain in Oregon).
Feuling up before ascending up the South Sister-October 1997

Anyway, I finally gave in with some peer and husbandly pressure and consented to a day at the The Feathers, near the town Vantage. I'd be lying if I didn't admit a little bit of glee when I woke up and saw that it was raining. After a careful analysis of the weather it was determined that the area we were going to be spending the day would be most likely dry. We got the kids out the door and dropped off Coop and Chloe at a friend's house and hit the road.
The  Feathers climbing area...

Here is the location of our adventure.

My first climb was on "40 Bucks after Dark" -- 5.3 difficulty (climbing scale 5.1-5.6 Easy)
It was challenging but not really so bad. I actually kind of liked rappelling down the rock face after the climb.
Next was "Feather in My Cap" --5.5 difficulty
The last climb I did was called "Ruffled Feathers" -- 5.7 difficulty (5.7-5.9 Intermediate climb)
Wow--it was really challenging. I had to rely much more on my belayer, Birch. I don't think my little fingers have ever worked so hard in their life. I was really proud of myself when I reached the top. After repelling back to the ground my body felt a bit like I had run a marathon (not that I have done that either but my body felt a little like jello).
Birch was like a stud man up there. He even lead climbed a couple of the routes.

The last climb that Birch did was called "Alter of Sacrifice" -- 5.7 level of difficulty. This climb had this amazing part where the rocks were inverted. Luckily we ran out of time so I didn't get to try this route...I think it might have been a bit beyond my scrawny muscles.
I think I might have gotten a few "wife" points on Monday's adventure. Do I dare say that I just might have enjoyed myself? Shh...I might possibly have found a sport that I like.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

M.O.M.M.A.'s DAY

I just got done opening the most precious handmade cards from all the kids. Alysee gave me enough gift certificates that I ought to be able to spend the week eating bon bons and reading a good book. Birch gave me the best gift ever...while I was gone at Women's Conference he weaned Chloe of her pacifier and bottle. Good thing Birch hasn't told me where he hid all the pacifiers because I would have been tempted several times this past week to sneak Chloe a little pacifier time as she was throwing her pre-two year old temper tantrums.

Crazy how you love your kiddos but count down the minutes until they are all in bed. Here's a shout out to all the wonderful mommas that have touched my life!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


This past week I returned from a long weekend away with my mom and a couple of my sisters. The main purpose of the trip to Utah was to attend the annual BYU Women's Conference. I have never been able to go and I was ready to have my spiritual bucket filled. Originally I had hoped that all my sisters and mom would be able to attend the conference together but in the end it became a mommy/daughter trip. My mom and I had a great time together. Even though it had been years since my mom was a student at BYU she was still so good at navigating around campus.

We took advantage of most all the things that the conference offered. The first day was probably my favorite. We narrowed down the plethora of classes to attend and choose three really inspiring classes. After attending our first class we learned that we could attend the same class with audio only but have the opportunity to do service projects while we listened. I have a hard time sitting forever (especially on those hard bleacher seats) so being able to do something with my hands while listening to the great speakers was a perfect balance for me. Unfortunately, neither my mom or I had a camera with us so you will just have to imagine us tieing quilts and making these darling little bracelets for babies that die at infancy.

Here are a few highlights from the classes I was able to attend:

  • Our trials are tailored to our lives
  • How we react to adversity effects generations to come
  • Learn to act on faith not on worry
  • There are three guarantees in life (we will have challenges, we will have the opportunity to serve, we have the knowledge that we will see God face to face)
  • Life is a garden...we harvest daily our actions
  • The stresses around us can cause FEAR. We need to go forward with FAITH.
  • It is amazing how much we can get done when we don't worry about who gets the credit.
  • Service involves sacrifice
  • Selfishness breaks up families
  • Whatever battles we need to fight need to be done with faith
  • Whatsoever is truth is LIGHT--fill your house with LIGHT.
  • When facing adversity remember: "The day will come and you will understand and then you would have it no other way."
  • Prayer can help us decide what we should take on
  • It is never too late to delegate
  • Wherever a haven is created is pushes back darkness
  • A haven can only be created with heavenly help
  • Pray for the love that allows you to see the good in others
  • Don't attack the person...attack the situation
  • "Normal" is only a setting on your dryer
  • Love is a journey not a destination
  • Beside every good man is a women who loves the Lord
  • God doesn't care nearly as much where you have been as where you are going
  • It is not fair to judge past decisions with present knowledge

My sister, Leah and her family hosted my mom and I in their AMAZING new house they just built in Mapleton, UT. We were treated like queens with the most delicious meals and comfy accommodations. I loved being able to spend some time with Leah's two kids. I can't wait for my kids to get to spend some time with their cousins this summer.
Back at the ranch...the kids were having fun with daddy. I was totally impressed with this picture of Chloe and her braids that daddy whipped up Sunday morning. Not only does this man cook up a mean pot of mac n' cheese but he also braids. Other than three bouts of pink eye and a few sore throats, the kids didn't miss me a bit and loved all the daddy attention. I'm so grateful to Birch for making it possible for me to attend the conference and enjoy a couple of extra days with my family.

Can't wait for my next opportunity to attend BYU Women's Conference!