Sunday, August 16, 2015

July 2015 - Goodbye to Gma & Gpa, Girls Camp, Convention, and California

We had to say goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa Sweeny because their year in Utah is over.  I know Mom (Grandma) was excited to get home.  We'll miss having them so close!!  It's been wonderful to have some immediate Sweeny family nearby and to see so much of them.  Luckily, they'll still be visiting frequently to check in on Granny.

We tried to spend as much time with them over their last week here as possible.  We spent the 3rd of July visiting a museum on University of Utah campus that I didn't know existed, but it's part of their Wonderlab pass and it was great to see something new.
We then spent the evening of the 4th together playing with fireworks.  They watched the kids while Kyle and I went to Stadium of Fire to see Journey.  It was an amazing show and all of the 80's music did my heart good.
The kids waving to the fire truck during the 4th of July parade.

Summer was busy from a Young Women's perspective.  We wrapped up a Ward Youth Conference complete with tent camping and workshops, lots of card games and volleyball; as well as an overnight backpacking trip in late June to head into Girls Camp in July.  We had a small group of 6 girls, but camp went really, really well.  Our camp director had a son leave on his mission during the middle of camp and came after, so I prayed that we had everything we needed and hoped for the best having never been to this campsite and not knowing exactly what to expect.  There were some girls I worried about because of snotty teenage girl attitudes, but everyone was so great!  They jumped out of bed early in the morning to fix breakfast on the campfire and were all so inclusive and had great attitudes all week.  More than anything, we needed some time together to get to know each other and feel more unified, and this did just that.  It was an answer to my prayers and couldn't have gone any better.

Some highlights included a rope challenge course including trust falls and all that jazz; time on the lake in canoes and kayaks; Pioneer Olympics including potato sack and barrel races, stick pulls, etc.; singing around the lake at night with only our flashlights; and the two mice we found in our cabin.  The mice were a great way to bring in some drama and tears from teenage girls!

While I was gone at Girls Camp, Kyle decided to demolish our kitchen.  He surprised me by ripping out our laminate counters and pouring, sanding, and staining new ones out of concrete.  It was a complete surprise and they look so good!  I walked in the door as he was installing a new cast iron kitchen sink.  He has great plans for new cabinets and a back splash, so I will post photos of the finished product once it's all done.

The week after Girls Camp I went straight into convention-mode for work.  We have a big convention every year where consultants come from all over the US and Canada.  My job this year was Show Flow Manager, meaning the behind-the-scenes coordinator for every general session and working with our A/V team to make sure every slide, microphone change, video, lighting change, camera angle, etc. is done at the right time and that everyone is going on and off the stage exactly when they're supposed to.  It was busy and fun.  The A/V company offered me a "second job on the weekend" 4 times, which I politely declined :).

I also got to help with the Convention service project, which is always a highlight.  We partnered with Days for Girls to make hygiene kits.  I got to meet Noelle Pikus-Pace and see her silver medal back stage.  She was incredibly easy going and down to earth.  She delivered twins in Costa Rica three weeks before our convention and flew the 10 hours from Costa Rica just to address our group and then fly home.  Crazy woman.

Since I was out of town during Convention, Kyle hit the road and took the kids to California for his best friend's surprise 30th birthday party.  The kids loved swimming every day in Marmie and Grandpa's pool and visiting the San Diego Zoo.  They've both been taking swim lessons this summer and it was great to practice what they've learned.  Alexa can now swim by herself although only very recently, and Tyler can be thrown into the pool and will flip himself to his back and swim to the edge and climb out.

Here's a video of Alexa the water bug:

To end, some cute stories from the kids:
#1 Me: Alexa, why is your princess kitty on the floor?
Alexa: Because my baby dinosaur was hungry and I have to take care of him!
#2 Tyler, upon seeing a white coy fish in a pond.  "MOM!!! A great white shark!" (excitedly points at the water)

#3 Tyler hits Kyle in the face with a pillow.  And then immediately asks with concern, "Are you ok, Dad?"  And proceeds to hit him about 7 more times and ask the same question after each blow.

#4 Alexa in the car this week, talking to herself.  "I love jewelry.  It makes me happy and it makes me laugh and smile."  Proceeds to make up a song and sing it to her necklace that she's wearing.  We have a teenager trapped in a 4-year old's body.

And lastly, I wish you all a good week and great month from our family as drawn below by Alexa.  We're standing under a rainbow, so life must be pretty good.

June 2015 - Father's Day, superheroes, and fun with Maria

The kids are definitely at the age where they play off of each other's imaginations and it's really fun to see what they come up with.  They love dress ups and superheroes.  One of their favorite books is Kyle's Marvel character guide so they can learn all about the dozens of superheroes and villains and all of their special powers.  A few pictures to show you what I mean...
They thought this "spaceship" (box) was the best thing ever and played in it for days in every room of the house.  I love their creativity and having them run around together as such great buddies.

They are really good at "protecting me."  If someone shoots me or Kyle with a nerf gun in our friendly family wars, Tyler immediately runs to guard us and says "don't shoot my Mommy (or Daddy)!!"  Here he is "keeping me safe from the bad guys" as "Lobster Man" while I make them waffles on a Saturday morning.
We had a lot of fun celebrating our superhero Dad on Father's Day.  The kids woke him up and we brought him breakfast in bed.  They had lots of fun things to say about Dad in his card. It was so, so nice to be able to see my Dad on Father's Day, too!  That never happens!  My Facebook post sums up the day:

I'm excited to be able to spend this Father's Day with my Dad! It's been a long time since I've been able to do that and I feel truly blessed. And I'm so very grateful for the rock of a father sitting next to me, Kyle. You are more than I ever could have dreamed of in a father to our children. Thanks for protecting them, helping them grow, teaching them so much, and for making them laugh every day. "Father!–to God himself we cannot give a holier name." - William Wordsworth
I was so proud of Tyler's 'T' and 'Y' he did by himself and the pictures he drew of himself and Kyle.

 We were excited to be able to spend a day with Maria at the end of the month while she was here for her Aunt's wedding.  We spent the day playing at Discovery Gateway Museum in Salt Lake City and had a fun dinner at Denny's.  She and Alexa had a great time running around together.