Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013

St. Patrick's Day....isn't exactly what it used to be around here.  We started our St. Patrick's week with a show at the Rose Wagner theater (sorry no pictures) where there girls got to preform in front of 1000 people on a huge stage.  And though it was beyond stressful getting them all ready and there, new wigs and all, it was actually a very enjoyable as a parent.  After I dropped them off I picked Jon up and we got to go out to dinner before a show.  Then we met the grandparents and our amazing friends the Ragers and watched our girls dance from the front row of the balcony with no camera's in hand.  I'm a little sad that we don't have pictures but it was really nice to just enjoy the moment.
And because of all the work they put in getting ready for the show thy got the rest of the week off.  HA.  Regular classes were attended on Tuesday and Thursday before joining the Traveling Circus also known at the St. Patrick's Day Caravan. 
Friday morning the girls got all dolled up for the school assemblies they had signed up for.  And even though there were only four schools this year it was much crazier because the schools were at every edge of the valley.  Down Town Salt Lake-East Sandy-the west edge of West Jordan-Cottonwood Heights-Down Town Salt Lake again.  And we made it to them all without a hitch! Yay!  And we all got to know our dance family better during the 3 hour lunch break at one of their houses. 
The Dancing Girls on the steps of the church preschool Down Town

After all of the Friday shows were done we had one hour to rest at home before heading back to the studio for a two hour Siamsa practice and a Zumba class for me after...side not Zumba was not what I expected, where is the Samba part of Zumba?

Finally we reached Saturday-the last day.  The girls decided they wanted to do the parade so they got rainbow umbrellas and painted their shoes gold. 

And I must say it was a great idea for a parade. All of those rainbows together ...WOW!

Next came dancing at the Siamsa(celebration).  Tiny stage, loud crown, and lots of fun.

You can't see her head, but that is Tressa closest to the camera.

 The last part of our dancing day was a trip to the Rio Tinto Stadium to dance as part of the pre-game. 

The only problem with that was that Jon forgot sent Josie off with my Mom after making lunch plans with her.  SO it was a bit of a sprint to get Josie back and to her friends party (she didn't dance at Real) and then everyone else and their shoes to the stadium on time, or at least only 5 minutes late.

I am so glad that we decided to take them to this show.  It was really low key and not as many girls came, and it was two hours of on and off dancing.  All of these conditions made it possible for Tressa and Aspen to dance both some soft shoe and hard shoe solos. 

Aspen forgot a step and turned to leave the stage but her teacher wouldn't let her off so easy she simply stepped up to her and started doing it with her until she found her place again.  Just one more reason why I really appreciate Amy Stansfield.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 4
Fun in Millennium Park

The first day without traveling!  It felt so good to sleep somewhere I knew, and to not have to wake up early.  And we not only got to eat real food from a real kitchen but we got to eat one of Jesse's amazing breakfast creations!  And best of all we didn't have to get in a car!!  Not even for a minute.  We walked to the beach, we walked to the coffee shop, we walked to the train station, and when we got down town we walked all around the sights and sounds(the Jazz festival was going on).

This is the day we got to go down town and visit Millennium Park ... but first this little cutie needed a bath in the worlds coolest tub.

Sage Roberts!

Aspen was so excited that she got to show her sisters the "face walls" that stand as book ends of a large splash pad.  These faces are really cool because they are actually videos not pictures of people that the show on these giant screens.  It is always fun to watch for them to blink or smile.  And of course the highlight of this particular splash pad is the huge water spout that comes from the mouth of the faces.  The only problem is all the kids fight to be directly under the water flow.  Aspen was sad that no one would let her in.

Yes, that is my girls dancing in the middle of the splash pad. No, it wasn't safe but they sure had fun.

 Next stop was the  Chicago Bean for some very touristy pictures.

 The last stop was a visit to the Millennium Fountain.  It was such a windy day that we could feel the mist from the fountain before we could even see it,  quite a plus since it was such a hot day.
They were several street musicians on the platform including a drumming duo that were rather talented and provided us with some unexpected entertainment.  They even started to make too much money so they covered their collection bucket so no one could see how much had already been given.  I know that the locals probably don't even notice most of the street performers but they are a treat for my family who don't get to hear them every day.

Jocelyn, Tressa, and Maia

Of course we had to get some ice cream while spending a hot summer day at the park.
And yet again Aspen is the last one awake.  She even out lasted the dogs!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 3
To Chicago
The next morning while at the hotel breakfast we met a Baptist Minister from Chicago and found out why there where no spots open at Devil's Lake.  His church had rented out the entire campground for the weekend, and he was at the hotel with his family simply because he didn't like to camp or go with out TV.  I love meeting friendly and interesting people on vacations. We got to have a look around Wisconsin Dells as we waited for the cheese shop to open so that Jon could get some squeaky cheese while we were in the cheese capitol of America.  I was quite impressed with this unknown vacation spot.  The town is able to keep the small town/nature feel while still having more options to do in a week then could be accommodated.  There were water parks, amusement parks, river boat rides, and the typical vacation town shopping areas.  They even had a Ripley's Believe it of Not Museum which happened to have a car parked on the wall outside.  Aspen was very curious about it and had to go investigate with her sisters as to how the car was suspended, and was very excited as she exclaimed "I know how the did it.  It's Super Glue!"

Wisconsin Cheese-heads for Uncle Bruce
My favorite part of this stop though was the river and enjoyed walking along it for as long as I was allowed before we had to hit the road again.

The HUG ME tree!

I wish we had started to take pictures of the odd statues and decorations we had passed while driving.  The giant cheese man  and the replica of Egyptian sculpture were cool but not nearly as fun as the skeleton man walking on T-Rex skeleton on a leash.

The last state sign-for a few days at least.
Yay!  We finally reached Chicago and my brothers family and were treated first thing with a walk to the dog beach so that the kids and Chalea and Cayanne could play. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 2

Day two was spent driving.
And we did a lot of it. 
Crossing the plains
I had to take a picture of the windmills because my kids love them, all because they have an awesome
Uncle Will.  Uncle Will was with us in a car trip to Denver a few years ago and took the opportunity to teach Tressa about windmills.  He told her that the windmills create all of the wind and that the ones that aren't turning....well its there day off.  We let her believe it for a little while before we told her he was just teasing her.  So now she loves to tell other kids the story of the windmills and they all love to see the windmill forests when we get a chance.

 Somehow we always end up with a picture of Aspen wide awake while her sisters are snoozing on our family vacations.  But these have got to be my favorite by far!

As you follow the sequence of pictures you will see Aspen noticing her sisters sleeping, then pulling Josie's head down onto her shoulder, and last of all her sweet smile after helping her sister out.


 What you don't see in the picture story is Josie's fit over Tressa sleeping on her shoulder when she woke up.  I don't think sleeping in the car suits her though. She was insistent that she was never asleep even after we showed her these pictures. She got so worked up that we gave up on trying to explain so she would stop crying and calm down.  And this same thing happened three more times during our trip.  Poor girl!

We like eating at parks while on road-trips since it gets us out of the car and into fresh air for a bit, and it doesn't hurt that we have young kids who still like to play on them.  I have discovered that I prefer the small town forgotten parks best though.  No where else do you still find teeter-tooters, marry-go-rounds, and the old style fast metal slides.
Fun at a small town park!

Back in the car kids!

This night we were going to stay at a place called Devils Lake near Wisconsin Dells.  Well unfortunately we did not know that Wisconsin Dells is actually a huge family vacation spot, and the water park capital of the world. So the popular Devil's Lake campground was full and we ended up having to find a place to stay on the fly.  We tried one other camp ground area but found that it was $50 after entrance and camping fees and that the bugs were thicker then the air in this humid place so we ended up crashing at a hotel and grabbing some fast food for dinner.  I was disappointed but the kids were ecstatic and Jon was loving the AC.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Great American Road Trip of 2012
Day 1

I am blessed to have two of the most amazing brothers in the world who unfortunately live half way across the country from us.  So this year we decided that we would take our first real "road trip"  as a family and go visit them both...Jesse in Chicago and Dan in Clarksville, TN.

We planned for a year on what route to take, which car to take (comfort vs. expense...expense won), what to see, and arranged every ones schedules so that we could make our adventure a reality. And on June 7th 2012 my pack-master husband magically got all of our bags and camping gear into our Civic's small trunk and we were on our way. 

 First stop---our first state sign!

By half way through Wyoming Jon was the only one still awake which left him with the decision of whether or not to stop and wake us all up when he passed Martin's Cove.  It took him a minute or two to even realise what the place was after he passed and then another to decide whether to wake us and go back.  I was thrilled that he did.  As we pulled in, we were stopped by a Sister Missionary who was so sweet yet overly helpful.  She insisted on detailing every location and trail on the map.  While there we had lunch in their beautiful picnic area, that is until we warned of snakes falling out of the trees by another Senior Missionary.  We only had about an hour to spare so we had to be picky about what we saw and did.  We ended up watching the video about the Willie and Martin Handcart Company before taking the girls out to pull the real handcarts they had on site.  They tried the kid one and then got Daddy to pull them around a short trail in the large one.  And in an effort to get them to appreciate what the pioneers really went through I decided to tell them that Daddy had unfortunately died and that they now had to pull the cart themselves (with Daddy in it for weight).  The lesson didn't work to well. The trail was one of packed gravel and the cart was light making it all to easy to pull it around together and even alone. Luckily they got off trail on accident at one point and got to feel the true challenge of pulling a cart through unpaved terrain, and they barely were able to pull it the short distance. Then the girls insisted we go to the blacksmith shop so they could get a "desert diamond",which turned out to be a ring made out of a horse shoe nail.

We never did see a sign for South Dakota, so we took a picture by this abandoned fireworks shed.
South Dakota #2

 As we entered the Black Hills National Forest I fell in love.  Most people think of paradise as a sunny beach by clear blue water, but I dream of mountains and pines.  We rolled down our windows as we entered the cool mountain roads and the smell of the forest was absolute heaven.  Add that to the quite old fashioned tourist towns and I was soon dreaming of retiring here.

I should have taken note of the name of this small lake but as usual I didn't think of it till to late.  We came upon our second unplanned stop about 15 minutes away from the Mt. Rushmore National Monument.  A mountain road running over a lake surrounded by white rock and pine forest, all covered in a thin fog.  It was absolutely mesmerizing! 

The air was crisp and cool and the ground still held traces of snow and hail.  The girls enjoyed running through the woods and Jon and I relaxed while enjoying the beautiful lake.

Finally, at dusk we arrived at Mt. Rushmore.  Very cool to see again and the girls thought it was pretty awesome to be at a location they here about so much.  But at the same time sad to know that this monument is just a mountain that has been carved up.

Jon picked the perfect time to arrive.  We were able to do the Presidential Walk and read about each of the men on the mountain and to take a lot of pictures before going to the amphitheater facing the monument for their sunset service.  This program made this visit worth while.  The video talked about everything involving this monuments construction.  And my girls learned a lot about the artist, the workers, and the four presidents as well as why each was chosen by the artist in the first place.  Our favorite part was when the service men/women and their families from the audience were asked down to be appreciated during the national anthem. During which they displayed a huge flag and illuminated the monument for the evening.  It was really a very moving and patriotic experience.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trying to Find Balance

I had a realization today. I need to make time for the things I used to love. Since I started working and going to school I have completely lost touch with the things in my life that I used to live for; like outings with my kids, reading (for fun), sewing, and keeping a record of my family (both the one I was raised in and the one I am raising). So here is my new goal: to find some way to organise my time and energy so that I have time once again to enjoy the life I used to, while enjoying the new things as well.

So I guess I am starting here, on my much neglected blog.

I love school! More then I ever thought I would, and I had high expectations to begin with. I love running across things that I have learned about in my daily life and being able to appreciate the new knowledge I have gained. And by the way I never thought I would run across so many things having to do with cellular biology outside of school. It also makes me wonder what great things I am missing that I don't already know. It fuels my desire to learn, and bolsters my ambitions.

I love teaching my kids and learning from them each day. I am amazed at how smart they are, and how much they retain. Some of my favorite moments with Tressa are when she is telling me about the history and science lessons she learned in school. There are even times that we are learning about the same things, which she thinks is super funny. And I can't help but smile when Aspen tries to explain the aspects of her day, she sometimes manages to mix things up so that it become a deciphering game trying to figure out what she is talking about.

I love it when my kids cuddle with me. Jocelyn is the most affectionate and cuddly child I have ever seen. She often crawls into bed with my on the days I am still home just so we can cuddle, And on Sundays I watch her sitting on her teachers lap softly rubber her arm (her teacher assures me that she loves it). And I am particularly blessed to have all my children be so small still. Tressa might hate it at times but she sure does take advantage of being small enough to still be picked up or to curl up on my lap.

I love my husband! He has been so good to me. He has picked up the slack in all the areas I have had to leave behind as my life got busier. He has taken on sole responsibility of getting the girls ready for school everyday, even the ones I am still home for because he lets me try and catch up on some sleep. And I don't know too many Dads who can actually pull of a decent ponytail. So I guess it is time to move on to braiding.

I got a special lesson in appreciating him again this weekend. He had to go away on a softball tournament leaving me alone with my girlie's. It is fun to have some alone time with them but tiring and stressful as well. So naps are always a plus. I do have a question though. Are my kids the only ones who sleep so oddly?

Josie, will always end up sleeping with no cover (this time is less covered then normal). I am convinced that she is going to freeze when she grows up, moves away, and her Daddy no longer checks on her each night to fix her blanket.
And I have no idea how Tressa ended up in this position (she is the lump on the other side of the cascading hair)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not So Fun Firsts.

So I am officially the laziest blogger in the world. I have decided that since it has taken me so long to update this thing I am going to cheat and post up the story of Aspen's broken arm she got in January by posting my English assignment. Two birds with one stone and a little extra time for me. (Oh and don't judge my writing I am not a English Major.)

Not So Fun Firsts
Chandelle Hunt

Another day making grocery lists and running errands. Daddy is at home with you, which makes the trip smoother and much quieter. I have forgotten my phone again but see no need to turn around to get it; I can be without it for an hour. I buy the food and load the car glad to be on my way. I am so tired. Driving through the lot towards the exit I see a silver Civic pull in and head straight for me. It takes a minute for me to register that it is Dad and then to wonder what he is doing here. He looks upset, and I start to feel frustrated wondering why he has followed me here. Did I take something he needs? As he pulls up beside me and rolls his window down to match my own I hear the second half of his sentence. “…the medical cards?!?!” Wonder turns to fear as I realize he is searching for our insurance information. Aspen has broken her arm. There is no doubt.

You are crying in the back seat with soft whimpers and large tears. He takes you to the insta care facility near our home and is turned away because of a long wait with the instruction to take you to the emergency room at Pioneer Children’s Hospital. I am with you now and am sitting next to you in the back seat trying to support your arm as we drive along. Every bump, every turn causes you to flinch and call out. You grow pale and listless, and I feel so helpless to do anything for you. Daddy lifts you carefully from the car and for the first time I hear you truly scream from the pain of being moved.

It is your turn to be seen and the nurse removes the homemade sling to reveal your arm to me for the first time: the arm is bent and folded in an unnatural way that sends a wave of nausea through me. They send you to the radiology department with a kind student who explains what they will need to do while we walk. The first image is taken easily but now the nice student looks confused. She’s trying to figure out how to rotate your arm enough to take the second and more important image. As she begins to rotate your arm your eyes fill with panic and betrayal before you cry out in pain. It makes me cringe and feel panicky so I try and calm myself and then you. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to calm you though; you have always been very strong. After a few more tries I am feeling very anxious and frustrated that they keep hurting you when it is not working so I ask if you can have some pain medication before we try again.

We go to your room where the nurse comes to give you the medication through an IV. I explain what is going to happen, and you promptly tell me you don’t want a shot. With the help of the nurse who charms you by telling you about her baby that “even shares your name” you finally agree to get the IV, partly because you were told that the IV will prevent other “shots.” After preparing your little arm you are told to look away if you are scared, but you keep your eyes fixed on the needle determined to know what is happening. The drugs settle in as you sit in the wheel chair resting your arm on Floppy for support.

Back in the radiology department, we have a new student. She is not as friendly. Going straight to work she takes the first picture and then again rotates your arm. You cry. The pain medication doesn’t seem to have helped much. “Stop, stop no more” you keep telling the student, but she barely even notices your objections insisting that “it just needs a little bit more.” I am wondering if the x-ray is worth this and wanting to tell her to leave. Finally, she gets the picture she wants, and you are released. I wish I could hold you but know that moving you will hurt. We hear Daddy talking about the pictures so you ask to see them, always curious and never wanting to be left out.

We have been at the hospital for hours now, waiting.

After what feels like an eternity, the Doctor comes in to explain what happens next. I smile to myself because he has a strong southern accent. “We are going to put her to sleep while we try and set the breaks. But this type of break can be hard to set so we might need to take her into surgery and put pins in her …” The nurse explains all the drugs that will be used and assures me that they will have people in there just to watch you breathe. I don’t feel reassured. They put you to sleep then evict Dad and me from the room. Apparently parents have passed out before. I am passing the hall trying to see the monitors and ignore the sight of the Doctor pulling and shoving your arm together with enough strain to flex his arms. Once again I feel helpless. At last I see them preparing the splint for your arm and breathe a sigh of relief that the bones have lined up.

You open your eyes, look at me, then roll over as if to go back to sleep. Able to smile now, we work on getting you to stay awake. Ready to leave and checking out your only concern is if you get to keep the yellow blanket. You do, so all is well.

A few days pass, and the pain is subsiding. You are learning to use your left hand, and you fight me about wearing the sling. Getting home late at night I send you to get your PJs while I finish getting your sisters’s bags ready for school the next day. You haven’t returned. As I enter your room to check on you, you jump with a start and throw your arms behind your back. Realization hits me that you should not be able to do that. Your brace is off.

Four phone calls and a babysitter latter we are on our way back to the hospital.