Wednesday, June 20, 2018

May Mayhem

I have some unexpected time for blogging right now.  Jason and I got up at 4:00 am this morning, expecting to board a flight to New York.  I'm accompanying him to his AIA (American Institute of Architects) convention to celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary, plus, why wouldn't I go to New York?  Instead of strolling 5th Avenue, however, we are currently camped out at the airport, having volunteered to take a later flight.  Jason could use the time to catch up on some work, plus we are now two thousand dollars richer for the inconvenience.  Definitely worth it!

So May.  It was crazy.  Does everyone's life get this chaotic at the end of the school year, or just families with older children?  With four kids at four schools, I was nearly undone.  Our schedule was jam packed with performances, parties, and picnics, but we still managed to toss in some fun of our own.

Living Traditions:  The Living Traditions festival, just a block away from Jason's work, was fascinating.  Eli and Annika loved these Peruvian retablos.  As for me, I was intrigued by the nine stringed Norwegian Hardanger fiddle we saw.

Brooklyn and Talia were most excited by all the unique food vendors.

We finally settled on some momo, a Tibetan style dumpling with Nepali spices.  Delicious!

Can't forget the mango lassi to wash it down.  Yup, that was a good day.

Heber Creeper:  Speaking of good days, we had a blast riding the Heber Creeper for Family Home Evening.  Let's just say that my family totally rocks the dance party, especially Jason.  

As a treat, we dined on Mozartkugeln, courtesy of Justin and Brianna who bought us these delectable gems in Austria.  Just as tasty as I remembered!

Views were pretty appetizing as well.

Girl Scouts: We celebrated the conclusion of another year in scouting with a picnic at Liberty Park.  We feel so grateful to have found a supportive troop at Our Lady of Lourdes that warmly welcomed Brooklyn and Talia with their busy schedules.  Their leaders have worked really hard to help both girls progress to earn their bronze and silver awards.  For her bronze award, Talia is crocheting some plastic bag sleeping mats for the homeless.

Here's Brooklyn with troop leader, Carol Huffman.  For her silver award, Brooklyn organized an after-school volunteer program at Jackson Elementary school.

And here's our cute Talia, bridging into Cadettes.

The Hogle Zoo.  I know, our family posts about the zoo all the time.  But who can resist the cute animal pics?

Apparently Annika can.  She was way more interested in the elephants.  Perhaps because you can pet them.  (Or do they pet you?)

Spoiled gal, she got to each a lunchable and get her toenails painted, all from her eleph(ant) observation perch.

These lucky zoo visitors got to pet this rhino, having paid for a special encounter.  I'm not certain I would be that brave.

I would feed the sea lions, though.  What an awesome job!

The Hogle zoo recently acquired a couple of red pandas.  Yup, they definitely fall into that cuddly cute category.

Some animal encounters are unexpected, like this family of geese that paraded through the gift store before coming to rest outside.

Our kids generally enjoy cooling off at the splash pad...

...but Annika tripped and took a bad tumble.

Made for some interesting last day of preschool pics.  Poor baby!

Good thing she's got a great big sister to take care of her.  Thanks, Brooklyn.

A Bit of Work: Despite May's furious party pace, we still made some progress around the house  We purchased a giant whiskey barrel and planted some flowers.

Nicely done, Jason.

Even more significantly, we found someone willing to haul away our giant tree trunk.  If all goes well, it will eventually be used at a park out in Daybreak.

Bye bye, honey locust.  We will miss you--sort of.  We've had a couple of neighbors comment on how they're glad the tree is gone because it spread giant pods everywhere.  Like children, trees may be the answer, but they are occasionally a nuisance too.

The aftermath.

Annika:  No monthly recap would be complete without a montage of Annika's antics.  Here she is playing by the tree before it was removed.

She is also on a constant hunt for bug friends.

One evening she talked us all into taking her on a caterpillar hunt up City Creek Canyon.  We hunted for nearly two hours but without any avail.  The only caterpillar we found was being consumed by parasitic larvae.  Pretty horrifying.

Annika still loves to play in water...

play guitar...

...and play with Spark.

Her newest passion is painting rocks.  She collects stones from all over the neighborhood, gets out her watercolor paints, and decorates for hours. 

Her goal, she told me, is to paint every rock in the whole world so they are all pretty.

Most of these are for her good friend Jefferson.

Annika's passion for stuffed animals remains undimmed, even when they crowd her bed.  When I went to wake her up one morning, I found her sound asleep, exactly like this.

She sure makes our life amusing!  May may be mayhem en nuestra casa, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

May the Fourth

Our family is totally nerdy, and I love it.  On May 4th, we naturally held a May the Fourth Be With You Star Wars celebration.  The decorations from Eli's Star Wars birthday party several years ago sure have gotten plenty of use!

Every party needs a few good treats.  Here are Talia and Annika creating some oreo tie fighters.

Who knew that a green apple could make such an adorable yoda?

Of course, Talia's pretty cute with her yoda ears as well.


Princess Leia...

And our family's secret weapon.  (A special shout out to cousin Ruby who is currently taking care of Spark for us.  Thank you!)

Just add popcorn and it's the perfect way to spend a family evening.  
May the fourth be just as enjoyable next year!

Monday, June 18, 2018

High Fives 5K

At the end of April, our family discovered another gem that makes us love living in the Avenues: The High Fives 5K.  A friendly local race with root beer floats and barbecue at the finish, plus it's all free?  Yes, please.  Sign me up.  Sign us all up. 

Annika and Eli raced in the 1/5 mile Kids dash.  Annie looks pretty excited to run with her friend Ari (in yellow) who lives just a couple doors down from us.

Annika also met up with her adorable preschool pal Annie (in red.)  Preschool Annie and I have shared a special bond ever since I staunched her head wound after she split her forehead on the playground.  Now she proudly shows me her scar every time we meet. The man in the purple glasses is Dan Cushman, a speedy runner whose kids have played baseball with Eli for the past couple of years.

Back to the race, Eli took fifth place for the boys.  Way to go, bud!

Annika was pleased with the Gatorade at the end.

As long as we're identifying neighbors, here are Ari's twin brothers, their mom Rachel, and a girl I taught in preschool (in blue.) Going to this race was meaningful because it helped me appreciate our family's connection to the neighborhood.  Putting down roots takes time, but if you are patient and nourish relationships, friendships eventually grow.

Next up, the 5K.  It was a hilly course--not surprising in the Avenues.  So why is Annika scowling when she got to ride the whole way?

The first Wheeler finishers were these goofballs, Uncle Justin and Daddy Jason.

Check out them guns!

Next up was Eli Jameson!  Our little man rocked his first 5K.  He took off and I never managed to catch him.  As for Brooklyn and Talia, these best friends stuck together for most of their race.  Here they are coming through the final chute.

So proud of you gals!

Our final stop was the gym for some root beer floats, pulled pork...

...and the awards ceremony.
Great race, family!  High five.