Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring is in the air.  As I type this it is chilly but sunny outside, and warmer temperatures are coming next week.  Once Daylight Savings comes and it stays lighter into the evening, it's a lot harder to get the kids to bed on time.  Once April hits I'm ready to be without a school schedule anymore, and that last month of school is really rough!  I can feel it coming already!
I'm getting on my blogging after only a few months, which seems like a miracle after my last long breaks between posts.
Birch has loved the kinetic sand he got for Christmas.  He is a very tactile boy and loves playdough, sand, slime, etc.  One day he made Captain Underpants from his sand and a flower petal; he did a great job...I knew immediately who it was! 
 one of O's drawings; I liked his scorpion and camel
 B's rocket and dino.   He's almost got an optical illusion going on with those legs.

 B's snowman

Aspen's cat
 Aspen is a great swimmer and loves the water so much we finally bit the bullet and signed her up for swim team at the Y.  After taking the boys to one of her practices and sitting in the bleachers with them for an hour ("Mom this is taking forever," and "I'm bored!  When can we go home"), plus my eyes burning from the chlorine, plus the kids passing the rock wall as we entered and wanting to climb so much, I decided we better just get a pass.
 The boys (and Roo when she's not in the pool) love to climb and are always pushing themselves to do a harder wall.

I was proud of this shot I got of all 3 kids.

 Roo did a great job swimming; her coaches had her swimming laps nonstop.  She was exhausted after practice but always had a smile on her face and said it was fun.  Eventually I signed B up for a climbing class.  Isn't this a pretty sunset?  I think there were actually two rainbows but I couldn't fit them both in the picture.  We found this surprise when we left the Y one night.
 Day at the park with B on a pretty winter day

 Some of my birthday present spread.  Well I finally joined the "40 and over" club.  I've had several comments about it, including when Mom and Dad Ritter said "Welcome to the club!" to me.  I was a bit taken aback.  They're in their 60's! I thought to myself. Surely we're in different clubs!
The number 40 itself isn't bad, it's all the comes with it.  Last November I could sense changes that were already starting to happen to me.  Oakley's 2nd grade teacher, Martha, told me I'd better do my best to keep my body for as long as possible, because the decade between 40-50 changes things a lot.  I had my first mammogram.  Lots of fun things ;) But my birthday was great.  To celebrate we got a bunch of our friends together and went out to Thai food.  It was a lot of fun and maybe I'll just do that every year to celebrate.  Plan a fun evening with friends.  Next time I'll snap a photo though!
 My friend Leslie has an engraving business and made me a beautiful wooden clock for my birthday.
 I mentioned to her how much I loved it; the Aspen trees (or are they Birch?), and the three birds on top that represent my kids.  I got the impression from her that those meanings weren't her intention, but she was happy I loved it so much.  I really do; I love decorating my home with meaningful things.
 My other friend Brandi gave me this awesome t-shirt (with my birth year on it).  My friends and family are so talented with finding and making thoughtful, meaningful gifts.
 The kids did ski school in February.  Eric took them every week and I made it up twice.  One day when we were there a snowboarder decided to go off trail and jump over Bogus Basin road (that exits the mountain).  He didn't make it and collided with a hummer.  It was so senseless and tragic.  We ended up staying up longer and eating dinner at the lodge until the traffic eased up.  Eric went out on his own for a few runs and it was my job to keep the kids entertained for a while.  Roo was playing on my phone and made this pic of me; thought it was pretty funny.
 Anyway we had a talk with the kids that night about thinking before you act, and not being stupid!
 My birthday gift from Eric was a trip to Kentucky to see my wonderful sis, hubby and adorable boy.  I had been looking forward to seeing Demri for months; it had been over a year since I had gotten to see her and spend time with her.  And she's pregnant!  So I got to see her cute belly and her how her pregnancy was going.  The day I flew in Dems picked me up in Cincinatti (cheaper, better flights), we went out to lunch, and then she took me to a victorian neighborhood in Louisville.
 I flew in on Valentine's Day, a Thursday, and was going to get to see her for 6 days!  Lucky me!  And thank you Eric!
 The homes were so quaint.  I have actually been to Louisville before; I served part of my mission there.  But only for 3 weeks and it was a long time ago, and I was busy teaching people about Christ, not sightseeing.  So this was fun for me.  A different part of the city.
 That night (Demri's Eric was gone) we put Scottie to bed and just talked with HGTV in the background.  I was exhausted from getting up early (my first had left at 5:15 that morning), and Demri hadn't been sleeping well so we just layed around and chatted.  It was wonderful!  I also tried on this pack with Scott to see if it would work for our hike the next day.

 The next day Demri took me hiking to Bernheim Forest.  Scott really likes to walk, so he was on the ground most of the time, but at one point he let me carry him so we could pick up the pace just a bit.  I was so impressed with how much he wanted to walk!
 It was a brisk day but so beautiful (and dry thank heavens, as it had been forecasted to rain all that week).
We walked on a wooden elevated walkway/bridge that jutted out giving us a beautiful view.

 I love hiking; it's always a great way to talk without distractions, in a beautiful place.
 Eric sent me this while I was away.  Apparently he took the kids to Mexican one night and he captured this wonderful moment of Roo and her friend Lauren, who came along.
That night Demri and I tried these facial masks she had bought for us.  Oh we laughed and laughed the whole time they were on.  I don't know how Demri paused for this photo!  I thought she looked like Sir Topham Hat from Thomas the Train.
 The next day Eric was home and since it was Saturday offered to watch Scottie so Demri and I could get away on our own.  Demri took me to a fun antique shop, and then we went to a place called the Mega Caverns.  It is quite the place.  They have a ropes course, zip line, tour and more including Christmas lights during the holidays, all underground.  We took the tour on an open tram and learned all about the caverns.
 At one point in the tour they were showing us how the caverns had been prepped as an enormous bunker during the Cold War.  There were plenty of creepy mannequins about dressed in period clothing, which was fun ;)

 Eric sent me this photo while we were there, of the kids before their ski lessons.  They were super pumped if you can't tell.
 On Sunday we went to church, and I got to meet some great people that attend with Demri and Eric.  One of the speakers that day was talking about an amazing experience he had with the Spirit.  He had felt the Lord pushing him gently in a direction for his life which surprised him, but the Holy Spirit confirmed to him very strongly it was true.  He had to wait for 3 years to see that promise fulfilled, but he did everything in his power to prepare himself for what the Lord wanted him to do.  And he was patient, though at times anxious and eager.  It was such a beautiful, inspiring message!
After church we went on a wonderful drive; Eric drove us through some beautiful neighborhoods and to the Louisville temple.  Then we went to the Big 4 bridge in Louisville and walked along it.
 What an amazing view!  Eric told me a bit about the history of the bridge and the Ohio river it crosses.

The next day Demri took me to a beautiful home dating from 1792 called Locust Grove;  a Georgian mansion full of history and charm it was one of the places I had wanted to see the most.  To go inside you had to book an hour tour.   Demri was so sweet to keep Scottie entertained so I could listen.

The owners at the time, William and Lucy Croghan, had many famous people visit their home.  James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Lewis and Clark to name a few.  Lucy's brother George lived with them towards the end of his life, and William Clark was their brother.

We then drove through a veteran's memorial cemetery, most of those buried there having served in WWII and the Korean War.  Above is a photo of President Taylor's mausoleum that was there.
I loved the homes in KY, all the brick architecture and some older homes that reminded me of New England.  Demri and Eric have a cute brick home with a curved path to the door.
Tuesday was my last day in KY; I was flying home that evening.  Eric took the day off and we headed to Cincinnati to see some things there.
I got to enjoy my time with Scottie in the back seat.
The first place we went to was called Jungle Jim's.  Eric and Demri had wanted to check it out because they'd heard a lot about it.  Apparently everyone they know that goes to Cincinnati stops at Jungle Jim's when they're there.  Here's Demri opening the door leading to the women's restroom.  Clever!
The store has grocery items imported from all over the world.  We headed to the Chilean section (where Eric and Demri served their missions), the Argentine section (where I served mine), and the Paraguayan and Puerto Rican ones first (Demri did an exchange in Paraguay).
Unfortunately the Argentine section didn't have as many items as I had hoped, but I found some fun things from other countries, including some sardines, because Birch had been wanting to try some.  I also found some Thai curry paste and some chocolate.
I was eyeing these octopi at one point and the employee behind the counter asked if I wanted to try one.  I like trying new things so I popped one in my mouth.  It was actually pretty good; it was flavored with some ginger and other than being a bit chewy was tasty.
Our next stop was the Krohn Conservatory.  It was gorgeous!  And had so many fun varieties of trees, flowers and shrubs.  There was a ginger tree (I love ginger) and a tree with large pink puffs on it, like something from a Dr. Seuss book.  There was also a cave and waterfall.

Scott had a great time stretching his legs

Afterward we had lunch at a cute bistro downtown, then headed to the airport.  I had such a great trip; Demri and Eric were such great hosts and I long to go back for more time there.  
And I miss my moments with this little guy!  
The kids eating their Valentines treats
The day after I came home was Roo's 11th birthday.  We decided to have her party the first weekend in March, which was great for me because it gave me more time to plan everything.  We had a fun time deciding which games to play and food to have.

 We were at the zoo this morning and as I looked at Aspen on the carousel (her knees jutting out, smiling with her pal Araleigh that came along), I remembered taking her there when she was much smaller.  How does time fly so fast?  And why?  I wish for the chance to go back to the time she was small, just for a day, so I can hold her the way I used to.  She is growing into a very compassionate, creative, intelligent, beautiful young woman.
 I remember how flexible she was with her sleep schedule.  She would sleep anywhere.  Eric and I never had to plan our day around her; she was happy to go on day trips, long drives, etc with us.  We were very spoiled with her!
 When we were living in Boise one summer while Eric was doing an internship here, I would put her in a front pack and carry her all over the place.  We'd go on walks to the park and I'd talk to her about the birds, the tress, the squirrels, anything that came our way.  She loved to climb like crazy and put everything in her mouth.  I sure love that girl, and being her mom.

Oakley's been in scouts since he turned 8, and had his first Blue and Gold banquet.  He got to make a cake with his dad, and won an award for Most Terrifying.  He also got his bobcat badge.

After I came back from KY the kids had one more Saturday of ski lessons, so we all headed up to Bogus.  It was cold.  And there was a lot of powder.  It was really beautiful up there.  The cold, snowy days always are.

 sleeping with Jones
Took this one night while I was taking J for a walk
Roo with more of her gifts.  She loves stuffed animals with a passion that amuses me.  Eric and I don't share her love and have been trying to understand it for years.  But she must have 55 plushes and just loves each one.  Eventually they will take over her room and she'll have to move to the garage ;)
Photos from a walk Eric and O took one night.

B loves to make costumes and surprise us.  Can you tell who he is here?  (Spongebob Squarepants) It's fun seeing what he comes up with!
After much thought and some anxiety I decided to take my extensions out at my last hair appointment.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to.  How much hair did I have left?  Did I have bald spots?  How bad would it be?  Eric met me at my appointment to give me his thoughts when they came out, and said it looked fine.  I was actually pleased with how things looked in the back, and tired of paying for extensions, as well as my long appointments every 6 weeks.  My stylist curled my hair and I think it looked really cute, but I can not figure out how to make it look the way she did, no matter how many times I try!  But I'm getting by for now.  I still have hair falling out, but it might be a normal amount.  It's really thin and soft (think little girl hair), but it's my hair.  I do miss it being long though.
We went to Galileo's Spring Fling night and had fun checking out Oakley's Lego League projects.  He'd made some lego robots and got to show them to us (with his buddy Tucker).

I had fun making decorations for Aspen's Harry Potter party.  I made these apothecary jars from jars that had been above my cabinets.  They were covered in cobwebs from being up there so long (perfect!) so I made sure not to touch them too much!

The kids decorated the house until they ran out of crepe paper.  Note to self: always buy extra crepe paper.

Roo had 10 friends come so it was a packed party but things went well.  We had a potions class, pin the nose on Voldemort game, and even played "quidditch" outside (capture the flag) because it was so nice.
Grammy was there too to help me.
Oh we also had these wanted posters, like the one from The Prisoner of Azkaban.  Some of the girls did a great job with their crazy, criminal expressions.

Aspen was just a goofball!
B and B having a sleepover at Grammy's and Papa's.  This is Birch's last year to have sleepovers during the week :( . It's easy for me to grab him the next morning before afternoon kindergarten.  This is the pirate ship they were going to sleep in.
This is a photo our cabin housekeeper, Jackie, sent us of the cabin.  McCall has gotten so much snow, mainly in February.  The windows are almost completely covered!  We couldn't believe it.
Saw this at the store the other day and had to buy it.  The label claims it comes from a rain farm in the Willamette Valley.  Rain farm?!  It was good and fun to drink, but I was a little sad it didn't taste different from regular bottled water.
I got a text from Sash last week.  "It's spring!  Send me your spring photos".  She sent Demri and I these:

 So Demri sent this:

At the moment she texted me the kids and I just happened to be out for a walk, so I sent these.

Happy Spring!


Bethany Fegles Photography said...

Yay! I LOVE when you blog and love reading about all you guys are up to. It makes you feel not so far away. :)
Happy belated birthday to you and Aspen! How special that you got to go visit Demri. It looks like you two had a wonderful week together, and saw lots of neat things in Kentucky.
Your hair looks beautiful; so glad it's growing in so well!!
Love you lots and lots!

Sasha Cornelius Eggli said...

I loved seeing all of your pictures! Especially of your trip to Demri’s. Haha, she really does look like Sir Topham Hat! 🤣 I’m glad you guys have been having so much fun these last couple of months. 💛

Demri Kuykendall said...

Loved you being out here 🧡 We miss you and are so glad you came. Thanks for sharing all your great pics and what has been going on. Love all the family photos and adventures!