Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kelsie Dance Concert

 This little Sass-A-Frass had her Spring Dance concert the night before we left for Hawaii. She did so SO good and she just LOVES being in the spotlight and having the attention on her to perform. I am so proud of her that for being so young she has memorized all her dances. They do NOT dance with a teacher in front of them. She has also been working so hard at home to get her leaps better and she has. Love this little one!

Hawaii May 2015

Back in March I was checking out our condo website to see if I could find anything for my brother who was planning a vacation to Hawaii with his wife. Well there was one that came up for the big Island of Hawaii. I told my brother about it, but he wanted one on Oahu. Well the more I thought about it, the more I decided I wanted to go. So then I talked to my mom and asked her if  they wanted to watch our kids while we went, or if they wanted to come with us since it was a 2 bedroom condo. So they decided to go with us. It happened to workout (for us) that my sister and her husband were building a home and living with his mother, so we asked them if they would come and stay with my kids while we went.  So we had it all set......that is until our vacation bad luck set in. I don't know what it is, but NO MATTER what we do when we go on vacation something bad ALWAYS happens! Our flight was set to leave on Friday morning at 6:50 AM. My sister was going to come Thursday night to stay at the house so she didn't have to get up super early. Thursday night while I was at Kelsie's dance concert I got a text from my sister saying that  one of her girls has started throwing up and could we find someone to take the kids the following day. Well thanks to a prayer and some girls in our ward home from college we got it taken are of.

So Friday morning we go on the plane to Hawaii. We first flew into Phoenix, AZ where we had a 2 hr layover and then a 6 hour flight to Kona HI. We flew into Kona about 2:00 PM. When we first flew in and got off the plane the first think I felt was the humidity and heat and the first thing I smelt was the flowers!. We got our car rental and headed to the resort.I started to get a little nervous because all I saw was dessert and volcanic rock! I thought...is THIS Hawaii? Well driving just a bit further down into Kona we finally hit the tropical area. IT WAS GORGEOUS and everything I thought Hawaii should be. We got to the resort and were met with Pina Coloda's as we checked in. We took our things up to the room and then headed out to find a place for dinner. We ate at a Hawaiian Grill and it was YUMMY! We came back to the condo and then headed down to a beach that was just across the street to watch the sunset. There is something magical to me about watching the sun set into the ocean and listening to the waves crashing. I was truly amazing. We walked back to the condo and Ben and I took a little walk around the resort to familiarize ourselves with it a little bit. We were all pretty tired from traveling and the 4 hour time difference was hitting us so we headed to bed about 8:30.

Saturday morning we woke up super early because of the time change. We tried to sleep a little longer, but by about 5:45 we decided to take a walk. We walked down the street about a mile and headed to a beach. We stayed there for a little bit and then ran the mile back. It felt so good and it was so fun to run with my husband and it was such beautiful scenery! We got back showered and then headed to a little welcome breakfast that the resort puts on to tell you about all the wonderful things you can do while staying on Hawaii. After going to that we set up a few tours and were excited for the rest of our stay. We headed back to eat some lunch and then went to the pool to practice snorkeling. That got me excited because I actually like swimming and being under water, but I was a little scared to because I;m not so excited about getting in the ocean. As we were walking back we noticed that there were banana trees growing at the resort. After swimming we decided to walk down the main street to see the attractions there and to find someplace for dinner. We saw the Kings Palace, and there was also an Iron man competition going on. We stopped at a flee market and Ben bought some Lei Chei which is a little like a grape...only it tastes better. After walking a bit, we found a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Then we found another beach to watch the sunset. Yet again it didn't disappoint. It was gorgeous!

Sunday morning we woke up and went to church. The church was also right next to the Kona Temple. Church was nice...it was nice to actually be able to listen to the speakers instead of having kids crawling all over me and to go to Relief Society. They were all so welcoming and they had even made all the visitors a Lei. After church we ate some lunch and the Ben and I went to some meeting where they tried to sell us on being Timeshare owners....we only went for the gift card and the discounts on all the tours! Then we headed back to the temple so that we could spend a little more time there. We came back and ate dinner out on the deck. It was so nice and we really enjoyed it.
The first tour we had scheduled was for Monday morning. We were going on a 5 hour snorkeling tour. We had to be there at 8:15. Ben and I had gotten up early again and walked down to a little doughnut shop to grab some breakfast. We got back, got our suits on and headed to the marina. My mom was so SO nervous about going out on the boat. She didn't was to go snorkeling and we almost didn't get her on the boat. But we got on and headed to our first stop which was at the City of Refuge. We stopped and and they let everyone get out when they were ready. I was super nervous. I think more nervous about getting in the water than actually snorking. So I got my gear on and they told me the best way to get in was to slide off the side. I held onto the rope and slid....only problem was that me arm got stuck and I ended up with a HUGE bruise on my arm. I got in and started to panic a little bit. I'm a pretty good swimmer but I got really anxious about being in such a large-deep body of water. After I asked for a noddle to help me float and calmed down a bit I put my head in and was amazed at just how beautiful and calm it was! I had never been snorkeling before and it was amazing. The coral reef and all the little colorful fish. My dad even saw a shark! That scared me a bit! We stayed there for about a half an hour and then went onto the next site. This was where a lot of the sea turtles are. the water was pretty choppy at the 2nd stop and I started to get a bit sea sick. So I decided it was better to get in the water than stay in the rocking boat. Again is took me a second to get used to the water and to get calmed down. At this site there wasn't as much coral reef, but we did get to see a turtle. I got back in the boat and I was pretty sea sick. It took a little bit to get feeling better. We were then off to our final site Kealakekua Bay. This was by far my favorite site. It is actually the place Disney went to when the were going to make Finding Nemo so that they could get ideas and such. It was AMAZING! The coral was beautiful, the fish were so bright and amazing! This was also the place where Captain Cook monument is. After we were done there we got back in the boat and had some lunch and then headed back to the dock. It was a little bit of a ride. On the way back we stopped at some caves, and to see some water spouts. We also got to see some of the volcano paths and the different color rocks. As we were headed back both Ben and I saw some fins in the water. We tried to get a little closer to the, but they went under and we watched them swim away. At first we thought the might be dolphins, but as they were swimming away they were swimming from side to side and not up and down...so we assume they were sharks! A little scary!!

After snorkeling we came home, cleaned up, took a little nap and headed to the Luau at the Royal Kona Resort. It was so much fun and BEAUTIFUL! There really isn't anything better than to watch a Luau on the beach with the sun setting and YUMMY food! It was such a nice night!

Tuesday we had scheduled a night volcano tour. They didn't pick us up from the resort until 11:00 so we went and did some shopping at one of the flea markets. We got back and then headed south. Our first stop was at one of the Kona Coffee Plantations. Now I don't drink coffee, but it was still interesting to see how coffee beans grow. I seriously had no idea the grew on these little plants and they are actually green in this gel stuff. We had lunch there and then headed to the Pubalu'u Bake Shop which is the Southernmost bakery in the USA. It was yummy and they had some REALLY good ice cream too. Our next stop was the Black Sands Beach. This is also where alot of the turtles make their nests. We were lucky enough to see a turtle there on the beach.

Our next stop was at the Kilauea volcano. This volcano erupted not that long ago and created a lake of lava. You can actually still see some of the hot spots were steam is coming out of. We also walked through the Thurston Lava Tube it was interesting to walk through a place that lava flowed through.

We then had dinner at a restaurant that overlooked the active volcano. Unfortunately the was so much VOG (volcano smog) that we couldn't see anything. After dinner we went to the top and waited for it to get dark. When it gets dark you can see the glow of the lava inside the volcano. We were nervous because it was so foggy we couldn't see ANYTHING, but as it got darker it cleared up enough that we could see the glow from the lava. After watching for a bit, we got back in the van and headed back 2 hours to the resort. We got right in bed for our next adventure in the morning.

Wednesday morning we were up pretty early as Ben and I had to be at the airport at 5:00 AM to catch our flight to Oahu. We got on the plane and were in Oahu by 7:00 AM. Our first stop was Pearl Harbor. It really is am amazing place. When we got there the USS Mercy..which is the hospital had been there and was just departing. We had about an hour before our scheduled tour to the USS Arizona so we got to walk around and go to the memorial museums. They were really interesting. It was amazing to see all that there was about Pearl Harbor. As we got in line to do the tour we were told that we were not going to be able to got on the Arizona. Apparently when the USS Mercy was backing out the tugboat hit the dock at the Arizona and now we couldn't dock and get on. We were SUPER bummed!!! I mean how often do you get to go to Hawaii??? They did take us out but we stopped about 100 yards, so we were still unable to see the ship underneath and the oil still leaking from it. It was a somber place to be though and I;m glad we got a chance to go.

After Pearl Harbor we got back on the bus and headed to North Shore. We stopped at Sunset beach where during the winter the waves are amazing and where they filmed Soul Surfer. We also then stopped at the Dole Plantation where I had my first ever Dole Whip.

Our next stop was the Polynesian Cultural Center. We were able to talk out tour guide into going the back way so that we could see the Lei Temple. It was GORGEOUS!! We had lunch at the PCC...yet another YUMMY meal. We were able to see 3 villages and watch the Canoe Parade and watch a 4D movie about Hawaii, I wish we were able to spend some more time there because there was so much to see that we didn't get to see. And I would have LOVED to stay and see the night show.

Our next stop was to a Buddhist temple. Ben and I have been to Hong Kong and we thought the setting was perfect. It really looked like Asia in this spot. We were able to ring the bell and see the river/pond that house a TON of fish!

Our last stop was at the overlook. There are some stories the Hawaiian people have about a battle that was here and how a whole army went over this edge. It was pretty crazy! I think after all the tours and with all the tour guides I know more about the history of the state of Hawaii than I do about the state of Utah. After this stop we headed back to the airport to head back to Kona.

Thursday was the day my mom had been dreading the WHOLE trip. We had signed up to do a Zipline. Actually one of the longest and highest there is. It was on the other side of the Island... the Hilo side which is more rain forest area. The drive was pretty interesting. We started out in Kona which is more tropical, then we went though a farm area and then a desert volcano area and then into the rain forest area. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous too, but they did such a GREAT job at calming your nerves. It also helped that we worked our way up as far as length and height. There were 7 lines and each one was high and longer than the previous one. All in all it was pretty fun. The last zipline was over a waterfall and the view was AMAZING! I'm so glad we did it! Afterwords we went home and went to dinner. Then Ben and I went down to the pool and hung out there for a bit. The pool area at the resort was so nice and the hot tube was interesting. It was the only hot tub Ive been in that had a sand bottom.

Friday morning we got all packed up and checked out. We still had until 7:00 to be at the airport, so we went back and did some shopping, then went to the pool for a bit. then we got us some lunch, went to a movie and then headed back to the airport. It was an AMAZING trip. I'm so SO glad I got to go and experience Hawaii!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I have to admit that the last year or so has been a struggle for me. I have questioned my worth as a mother numerous times and have felt that I lack so much that I want to give to my children. Not in terms of physical things but for things such as time and emotional support and such. Raising children is hard work and there are days that I wonder if I'm really cut out to be a mom. Ben gave me a blessing not to long ago that reassured me that my Heavenly Father knows my heart. He knows me desires and he knows that I am trying...that's all He asks is that we try as best we can. This Mother's Day I was reminded by the little letters that my kids wrote me by themselves that I am enough for them. I am THEIR mom and I don't need to compete with others mom's because they were sent to me. They were sent to me because I was the only one that would know just what they would need, just how to take care and just how to teach them.

Even though it truly is the hardest thing I have ever done, I am so thankful I am a mother. For these children I prayed! I begged and pleaded with Heavenly Father for this opportunity and I have been so blessed. They really are such great kids. They are so talented, they are funny, they are helpful, they have testimonies and I love them so much.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

April Download

The week after conference I had to go downtown and do some baptism pictures for someone in our ward at the temple...so the whole family went and we made a FHE out of it. The kids all loved touching the temple and walking up ti the Christus. Isaac loved reading us the story of Christ with the new Bible pictures, and then we went to Leatherbey's for ice cream. I think it was one of the highlights of the month.

Disney remade Cinderella and so I tool Kelsie for a little Mother/Daughter time. It was nice to send a couple of hours just she and I and she LOVED the movie...although now she is so worried about me dying because Cinderella's mother dies.
After we went to Steamboat Springs we were able to go on a little field trip to Wheeler Farm. There were LOTS on new baby animals and Tay and Kels had fun riding in the cow wagon. After we saw all the animals we played some games in park with her classmates.

This is one of Ben's FAVORITE things to do on a Sunday evening....fall asleep while I play the piano and sing. The guy deserves a NAP!!

Steamboat Springs April 2015

We try to go on one vacation at the beginning of each year. Normally it is to some place warm as we are trying to get out of the winter weather, but this year we decided to go to Steamboat Springs in Colorado. The Wall family went with us. We left on Saturday April 18th. We decided to stop in Vernal for lunch and to see the temple there.

After lunch we headed to the National Dinosaur Monument. The kids really enjoyed this and it was really neat to see all the preserved dinosaur bones and that there are SO many of them. After visiting the quarry we took a little hike and were even able to see some in the rocks.

After the monument we headed into Colorado. It wasn't long before we started to hit snow. Colorado is so beautiful..even if it is snowing. We had a little car trouble about a half an hour from Steamboat. As we were driving we passed a big rig truck and it flipped a rock and somehow flipped off the cargo rack and completely shattered the sunroof on the Acadia. Thankfully the rack kept it covered and there was a screen on it so the glass didn't fall on us.

This is what Steamboat looked like when we got there as well as all day Sunday. Sunday we went to church, which was an experience. They started about 10 min late...which they said was early for them, haha.... and between our kids and the Walls we tripled the Primary!

On Monday we had a yummy breakfast and then we took the car to get fixed. Afterwords we decided to head to the movies and saw "HOME" it was cute and the kids loved it. Then we headed into town to see F.M. Sons. It is this store we saw billboards for ALL.THE.WAY to Steamboat. Then we had a yummy dinner from a place called The Backdoor Grill. After dinner the kids decided to watch a movie and the adults played games.

Tuesday was a pretty nice day so we decided to hike up to Fish Falls. It was a really nice hike and a beautiful waterfall. Whitney was TERRIFIED of the ledge taking pictures!

As we were hiking back down to the cars Isaac started throwing snowballs at Ben and Ben told him that if he hit him he would give him a whitewash...well you can only guess what happened by the pictures! Isaac was laughing though!

After the hike we headed to a Botanical garden and hen to a park for the kids to run off some energy!
Then it was off for ice cream!

Wednesday we went to a place called Winona's for breakfast they claimed to have the Worlds Best Cinnamon rolls.....and the DO! It was SOOOO YUMMY!! After breakfast we went to another park for the kids to play and then went for a drive that afternoon to see Steamboat Lake. We really didn't get out of the car though because it was snowing, but it was a really beautiful drive!

Thursday we headed downtown to walk main street. The kids had fun seeing all the new sights and we went into a candy store...which they LOVED!! It was also Ben's birthday that day so we went to a really YUMMY Italian restaurant and had some of the best pizza ever!

Of course our trips are not complete if swimming is not included. We did ALOT of it. It was what the kids just LOVED doing. They also loved sitting outside in the hot tub!

It was such a fun week spent with fun friends, eating good food, playing games every night, talking, laughing, napping and relaxing. It was such a great vacation.

Easter 2015

I think the kids had such a great Easter this year. Because Easter was on conference weekend we started a little earlier and went to the 12th wards Easter Egg hunt and breakfast the week before. We also had a little Easter Egg hunt at our house with the Stevens Family later that day. We dyed eggs and then the kids had to find their Easter baskets Easter morning and then we had a little hunt in the backyard. Taysom REALLY likes to find eggs!

I am so thankful for my beautiful family. It was such a nice weekend to listen to Conference and to spent it with my family. Love those cute faces!

March Phone Dowload

Next March Ben and I will be going on our 1st ever cruise with our friends. So to celebrate, we decided that on our year away we were going to have a party. We BBQ'd shishkaobs, had yummy fruit and drinks and played Caribbean music. We even dressed up on tropical apparel. Our husbands think we are nuts!

Isaac has learned to ride a two-wheeler! FINALLY!!! However he also had his first crash. This is what happens when you don't wear your helmet! He had quite the black eye and scrapes for a while.

We were invited to a friends birthday party for their daughter. I LOVE this picture because you can tell how much Isaac just LOVED going to an all-girl party!

Ben and I were able to go to a Gala down in Provo called the Pillar of Light. It was a nice event and we got to get all dressed up for this occasion.