Sunday, March 29, 2020

February 2020 - Adventures in St George

Tyler Man turned 7 and chose to take his friends to see Spies in Disguise at the movie theater.  He got a game table, a whoopie cushion, and Legos.

Grandpa Sweeny flew out to St. George to help Uncle Rich on his house so we went down for the weekend to say hi.  While Kyle helped them lay cement on Friday we spent the day playing at the St. George's children's museum.  We milked cows, fixed cars, rode dinosaurs, played giant pianos, had a picnic lunch, and lots of fun. 

On Saturday we hiked Glitter Mountain and collected crystals, hiked the Black Mountains (where we saw several petroglyphs!), went swimming, and then ate dinner and played games with Peggy and Paul. 

Following in his sister's footsteps, Tyler decided to cut his hair because it was getting too long.  What is with these kids and scissors?!!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

January 2020 - Minute to win it and wrestle mania

We rang in the new year with Minute to Win it games.  And we stayed in our jammies all day :).  The games included tying a banana around our waist and using it to scoot an apple across the room, sticking our faces in a bowl of whipped cream to find a single blueberry, dressing each other up like snow men using toilet paper for the snow, scooping Cheerios from a spoon held between our teeth and moving them to another bowl, and then some good old fashioned living room corn hole.  We used the Netflix count downs to put the kids to bed early, but Alexa stayed up with Kyle and I until midnight watching the Apple Dumpling Gang on Disney+.

Video links:

We went to the Butterfly Biosphere with Forest and Jen and did soldier hollow tubing with the Lunas. It was the Lunas Christmas gift to us, which I thought was so awesome!  Side note--we accidentally locked ourselves out of our bedroom that morning and don't have a key to our room!  It's a real key, not one where you can pop the lock.  It took us almost an hour and the help of a neighbor to break into our room.  YouTube videos on how to pick locks failed me entirely, and so did a slew of bobby pins and paper clips.  Kyle immediately bought new door knobs and changed them out.

Also, I caught on video a standard wrestle mania night in our house.  Lots of boys = lots of wrestling.  

December 2019 - Christmas at home and a new kitty cat

I was so happy to stay home this year for Christmas!  There was something wonderful about going to sleep in our own beds on Christmas Eve and waking up together and just being with our little family on Christmas day.

We loaned our 8 bunnies to a live nativity in Lehi being staffed by refugees.  We went and they put on a great nativity with activities and a marketplace from ancient Israel, lots of animals like camels, sheep, donkeys, etc. you could pet. 

We have made it a tradition to go to the Young Living Country Christmas every year.  They do an amazing job.  It includes live reindeer; wagon rides with their giant Clydesdale horses (that work the farm year-round); story time and cookies with Mrs. Claus; a live nativity complete with a choir of angels, camels, donkeys, etc.; and a western / Christmas village with a post office to mail letters to Santa, a jail, a saloon with free hot chocolate, a general goods store, a barber shop, and a bank all handing out something special to the kids.

We did a lot of hosting over the holidays.  We had lots of family over for Thanksgiving, Todd and Melissa came to stay with us for a week in early December (yay!), we hosted the Swingle Christmas party, and got to have Marmie and Grandpa stay with us over Christmas.  Peggy gave the kids fun gifts at the Swingle gift exchange and we did lots of karaoke that night, including the adults belting out Flogging Molly.

Alexa had her first dance recital and LOVED it.  She chose to eat at the Chuck o Rama buffet after.

On Christmas Even we made cookies for Santa, got out treats for the reindeer, and acted out the nativity.  Tad was Joseph, I was the donkey (he led me the whole way :), Liam was a shepherd, Tyler was a wiseman, and Alexa was Mary with a Snow White doll wrapped up as baby Jesus.  Kyle was our narrator.  Alexa got a Christmas tree for her room, camelback, the Harry Potter books, and a cat (!!).  She has asked for a cat 3 years in a row and Kyle and I keep saying no.  Tyler got a minecraft notebook, books on how to make your own comics, a camelback, and Legos.  He is currently very obsessed with graphic novels like Dog Man, as well as Legos.  They are his two loves.  Tad got magnetic building blocks, PJ masks sheets, and a Cat Boy action figure.  Liam got puzzles, magnet animals, an expanding sphere toy.  We also got some family card and board games and a volleyball pop-up net, badmitton, spike ball, and corn hole.  We did a "Christmas angel" delivery this year where we picked a family in our neighborhood and doorbell ditched them a piece of a nativity, treat, and note every night leading up to Christmas.  It's something Kyle's family did growing up and we have always talked about doing it with our kids.  It was really fun to have Marmie and Grandpa with us Christmas morning and made the day more magical.
^that red gingerbread man with the crazy eyes made by Tad is so amazing that it gets its own spot on the blog

We took both cars into the shop to get a remote start installed (best gift ever!!) and walked down to the mall in Salt Lake to kill a few hours while they did the work.  The kids had a great time riding on the animals you can rent.  It was fun to watch.

We went to an ugly Christmas sweater party at the Beatty's house and Kyle was thrilled that he and a friend wore hideous, matching sweaters.

So far the new cat, which Alexa named Apollo, has been pretty awesome.  I am not a cat person and I was really hesitant, but in 2 weeks he has caught 4 mice and he lets Liam pick him up and carry him around in the weirdest positions as if it's the most comfortable thing ever.  I am in awe, and keep waiting for him to bat at Liam which would teach him to stop picking him up and walking around the house with him, but he never does.  It's incredible.

November 2019 - hosting turkeys and playing violin

Alexa and Tyler had their first violin recital and they did a great job!  They each played a piece by themselves and then had a duet.  Mark was here from England and it was fun to have him join us.

We got our first good snow and had fun sledding with the Tates.  Aden has a small snowboard that he let the kids try and they were surprised that I knew how to use it, haha.  I earned cool points with Tyler by snowboarding down the hill without falling :).

Tad got hit by a sled as seen in this video and he goes flying, but he thought it was absolutely hilarious to see it on video again and again.

We hosted a big group of Swingles for Thanksgiving.  The best part was having Great Grandma Swingle fly in from Arizona.  And Richie and Megan's family stayed with us.  We had fun playing and going to see Frozen 2.

Great Grandma Swingle had a sleepover with us after Thanksgiving and helped us put up Christmas decorations.  She even taught the kids how to make tea rings.

Here are photos of our other shenanigans.  I guess mostly of Liam...

Super strong baby

It makes me smile when he's really hungry but so tired and he has to rest his head while he keeps eating

We got ice cream cones and the kids made faces in all of theirs :)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

October 2019 - Travels in Europe

Mr. Chubby (aka Liam or Lum Lum) turned 2! Mark joined us for the festivities. We woke Liam up from his nap—at 6pm, I might add—for a birthday dinner and cake and he wanted none of it. He was mad and pouty, but the rest of us enjoyed the food and fun. We got him a new bug board book, dinosaur gummies, and went to the Butterfly Biosphere as a family to celebrate.

Liam says "Mama!" in different tones to express all of his emotions, similar to Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy.  "Maaaaama!" for happy, "MAMA!" when he's mad, etc.  It's quite comical.  He still doesn't talk a lot but uses the word Mama to communicate what he wants.  He LOVES to read books and do puzzles, wrestle with Kyle, and he is obsessed with food. 

Kyle and I ran off to Europe for 2 weeks and it was amazing!! A huge, huge thank you to my parents for flying out to watch our kids so that we could go on this adventure. They are the absolute best!!

We hit New York, Italy (Rome, Florence, Pompeii, Venice), Greece, and Montenegro. We started with a layover in New York and walked through Central Park. The leaves were changing and you didn’t feel like you were in the city at all, it has always been my favorite spot in New York. We saw St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, walked down 34th Street and 5th Avenue, past the Zoo, the Balto statue, and ate NY pizza.  Oh, and we flew right over the Statue of Liberty on our way in.

We stopped in Munich long enough to watch the sun rise and then continued on to Rome, where we hit the ground running straight from the airport. Day 1 included the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, and the most wonderful food tour walking through the different neighborhoods of Rome. We started at a family butcher shop with different types of cured meat and Italian cheese, followed by pizza and arancini, 3 types of delicious homemade pasta, and ended with gelato; all while learning about the history of the city.

Day 2 in Rome consisted of St Peter’s, the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Castel del San Angelo, the Pantheon, Fountain at Trevi, and more homemade pasta, pizza, and gelato.

We took a train to Florence and climbed to the top of the beautiful Duomo.  We saw the David and learned lots about Michelangelo.  It really was amazing to see the way he worked and the beauty he brought out of stone.  Absolutely incredible. 

The next day was followed by a trip to Pompeii.  What a unique city, covered up and preserved for so long.  You can see the spot where Vesuvius blew, the two peaks in this photo were once connected to form a much bigger volcano. 

Then we boarded our cruise in Bari, Italy.  Here’s the view of the sun set from the balcony in our room, and our favorite waiter who made us delicious Indian food on the last night.  We went on this trip with great friends, Brittany and Levi Pardon, and Casey and Jessica Skankey.

Our first port was near Olympia, where we saw the first Olympic flame, large Olympic track, and ancient Temple of Zeus that once housed the ancient-wonder-of-the-world 40-ft tall statue as shown in Disney’s Hercules (with complete accuracy ;).  We saw ancient wonders these past couple of weeks and walked streets that were thousands of years old.  We did a quick comparison for fun--

Rome – 753 BC
Olympia – games started in 776 BC
Pompeii – 600 BC
Athens – current Acropolis 500 BC
Several years ago we visited Jerusalem (western wall 20 BC) and Cairo (pyramids 2500 BC), so the pyramids take the cake.

Stop #2 was Santorini, where we climbed to the top of a volcano, rode donkeys up a cliff, and ate my favorite meal in Greece with the most breathtaking view.  Santorini was such a cool city, I really enjoyed it.

Stop #3 was near Athens, where we climbed the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and other ancient wonders.  We then explored more of Athens via foot and bus.

Stop #4 was Corfu, Greece.  We enjoyed walking around the city until we hit the “beach.”  It was more of a dock, but we heard the beaches on the west side of the island have white sand and clear water, and are mostly very quiet.  If only we had more time.  Either way, our swimming spot had the most beautiful water and Kyle jumped in while I sat on the dock reading a book and sipping on a tropical smoothie.

Stop #5 was Montenegro.  We toured the Lady of the Rock island church, old submarine hiding spots for Yugoslavia during WWII, and swam in the amazing Blue Caves. 

Stop #6 was Venice.  Ahh, Venice.  I loved it.  We did the mandatory gondola ride, visit to St Mark’s Square, went inside the Basilica, and hopped on a boat to Murano to see the master glass artists at work.  We watched a man make this glass horse in all of 2 minutes by dipping his rod into crushed glass to get the colors he wanted, heating it, and then pulling out the legs, mane, and shape of the horse with pliers.  It was absolutely incredible, and the glass shops were fascinating. 

After all of the adventures it was so wonderful to come home and hug our cute kids.  We missed them a lot!

We got home just in time for Halloween to celebrate with Cleopatra, Spiderman, Shadow, and Sonic.