Sunday, October 9, 2016

School's In!

Well, it's already October, and I'm finally posting about school starting.  Thus my blogger life. 
The sad morning of school starting back happened.  I love the freedom of summer break.  I'll admit, I do like my days when the kids are at school, but it's always sad when summer ends.  Thankfully the first few days of school (so far) are low key with not much school work.  I guess it's more my selfishness than anything...I don't like all the homework and projects that go along with school, hence the love of the summer break.  We had cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk for breakfast.
Aug 23 2016

First morning pictures!
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The kids off to school!  Cal rode his bike to school with Lee that morning.  See our apple tree on the right?  We had so many apples on the tree!  Our first year ever!  Usually we get only 5 apples.  I can't believe Cal is in middle school.  I was very worried about him going, and he was nervous too.  But so far it's worked out!  I told him (and myself) that he just needs to take it a day at a time and all will go well. And remember to do homework!
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Only three at the elementary school.  It's kind of weird. 
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My baby is in 2nd grade!  So crazy.  Soon he'll be heading off on his mission....  The 2nd grade team does such awesome bulletin boards.
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One perk of back to school....just me and the shopping cart at the grocery store.  Not gonna lie, going grocery shopping by myself is quite nice.
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And wow, Christmas in August?  Crazy!  But seriously, it's only two months away! I've started buying presents and want to get them bought early.  I am determined to have a peaceful, fun December!
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After dropping off the kids, and before the shopping, I met up with some friends for breakfast.  We've been doing that for a few years now and it's a fun little tradition.

Cal after school!  He had a good first day of 6th grade!
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Kind of fun seeing Lee's ads in the paper...
Aug 24 2016

Thursday I headed back to school for my regular volunteering of copying. I was kind of shocked when I saw a brand new copier!  A nightmare!  Well, not really, but I really used to the other copier.  But I did get the hang of the new one, so all is well. 
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I have to say, I felt pretty special seeing this!  I have an official file folder in the copy room just for me!
Aug 25 2016

We bought two matching paintings in Iowa this summer and Lee hung them in our family room.  I love them! 
Aug 26 2016

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I also gave blood one afternoon at the community center.  I was very impatient to leave to pick the kids up from school, and the worker was short with me. 
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That Saturday we headed up to the Philadelphia open house.  It was so awesome going walking through the temple with all my kids.  Before a temple is dedicated, and open only to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the public is invited to come and tour the temple.  It was really neat being in the Celestial room together.  We won't be together there till Elden is 18.  Even then who knows where all the other kids will be.  I need to find a picture of us in front of the temple! 

Afterwards we went to Darrell's for one last hurrah before they moved.  We of course enjoyed the pool.
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We celebrated Eric's birthday too!  What a great kid!
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Love when there are big crowds of family together!
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The "triplets".  These guys have so much fun together.
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The next day, Sunday, Lee and I hosted a fireside for the youth.  It was on personal finance. I think we probably overloaded them with info, but mainly we focused on give (pay tithing), save (pay yourself first, and when in college make sure you have an emergency fund) and spend (spend your money wisely---the necessities of life come first, and it's okay to become wealthy and enjoy your money if you are a generous giver and have money saved to care for your family).
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Haley sleeping on their little play comfy.....?
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Another perk about kids at school are lunch dates with Lee! We have a Burger King in town and I think I've been there, maybe twice?  This date being the second time.
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School is going well so far.  I hope it continues through the year!  Hope all of your kids are enjoying school!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

End of summer randomness

We arrived home from our summer travels with a week to spare before school started.  We didn't slow down much as we headed to the county fair for family home evening the very next day.  I actually remembered this year to set aside money for the fair!
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Rides Monday night were $1 each.  We let our kids pick 5 rides they wanted to, well, ride. 
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I participated only with the bumper cars.  And why did people keep bumping me?!  Ha.  Lee did a few more rides and the kids loved having him along.
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We also did some school shopping. I think these shoes needed replacing... The tax free weekend happened while we were out of state.  Oh well.
Aug 16 2016

Shanna made chocolate chip cookies by herself for the first time!  I coached her, but she did all the labor.
Aug 17 2016

The last week of break the girls had an awesome Activity Days camp.  They crafted, made flowers with the elderly at a nursing home, went horseback riding, played at some parks, made snacks, etc.  Our Activity Day leader does a terrific job and our girls really enjoyed it.
Aug 18 2016

One night that week we decided to go out for dinner as a sort of back-to-school dinner. Yum!
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That weekend we met up with some friends at the Shenandoah National Park.  We roasted hot dogs for dinner, and ate some other yummy s'mores!  The kids had fun building this fort.  Love the creativity!
Aug 20 2016

The kids love visiting Lee's office.  Who can't resist trying on glasses?
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Lee has some sweet new glasses made in....Denmark?  Sweden?  I think Sweden. Lee will have to correct me.  The construction is amazing, using no screws.  Plus they're incredibly flexible and can hold a lot of weight.  Yes, that is a real five pound weight at the end of their glasses!
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One night we needed the Mercury moved forward, and I got the bright idea to have Clark have a go.  He needs to work on his breaking (and every other driving skill as he's never ever driven before).  Thankfully he didn't hit the Chevy.
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And who doesn't love pictures mid-talking?
Aug 21 2016

Now if summer vacation can just be extended two more weeks.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam/Four Corners/Missouri/Indiana/Home

Our trip up, the Grand Canyon.  We had a several hour drive this day.  We left early morning, around 5:30 or so? After a grocery store stop and breakfast we were on our way again. Yes, yes we did eat in the parking lot at the grocery store.  Perfect place.  Well, not really, but it worked fine. Ha ha.
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On our way to the Grand Canyon we made sure to swing by the Hoover Dam.  It was so fun see palm trees in California and the Las Vegas area. I miss seeing them from my mission.
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We arrived at Hoover Dam that afternoon.  First we parked and went on the sidewalk/lookout that is south of the dam.  This is the view:
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My grandpa Thompson worked on this dam.  He may have very well looked like this while at work!  Lee was able to tour the Hoover Dam during an Army/Optometry conference a few years back.  He'll have to clarify that...can't remember.
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We arrived in the Grand Canyon around 6pm or so in the South Rim area.  We set up camp, and ate all in about a 1/2 hour and hit the road again to see the sunset over a lookout point.
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We barely made it!
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What was fun is that where we entered the park, you couldn't see the canyon at all, or even landscape clues that there was a big canyon/rock formations ahead.  We drove on the road and saw pine trees to our left.  Through gaps in the trees you could see the canyon here and there, but not a lot.  I could just imagine someone approaching the canyon from the south for the first time ever, not knowing what was there.  What a big surprise they would have had!   Now if you approach the canyon coming from the East, and maybe the North that would be a different story.  But the way we came it was quite hidden.
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That night we were able to have a fire and roasted marshmallows.  Clark got another game going too.  The next morning Lee and I each took showers...$2 each.  We didn't have to kids take showers because I didn't want to pay for all of them; I'm sure they didn't mind though! We went on two hikes that morning.  One down into the canyon for a little ways (2 miles total) then hiked along the South Rim for a couple of miles.  What fun overlooks.  We ran into some LDS church members too--they saw some of our BYU apparel.  
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It was nice and hot.  I don't know how Elden and Cal can wear long-sleeved shirts in the hot sun.
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So pretty!
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That was pretty much all we did in the Grand Canyon.  A quick stop; though I'm glad we hiked around a little.  After more bathroom breaks and lots of water fill-ups we were on the road again.  The Chevy needed another oil change because of all the traveling we had been doing.  We just had one done July 7th, and then got another one done August 12th.  We found a place in a tiny town that did oil changes.  Thankfully they carried synthetic oil too.  And the name is perfect! We got slurpees and waited for the oil change to be done.
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What next?  Yep, we hit the road again.  The last tour-isty stop for this trip was the four corners.  Which is far away from anything!  We waited in line three different times for pictures.  First, one all together.  I really wanted separate pictures of each kid at the Four Corners.  I doubt we will ever go there again and wanted to document it!
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I jumped in....the ladies taking pictures for us were confused with my phone's camera...
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Second time in line I got pictures of some of the kids.
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Cal did push-ups all the way around.
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Shanna tried out hand-stands in all four states.
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Soo....little story, maybe embarrassing?  Probably not.  More like exasperating. So Clark took this picture of us.  I just. about. died.  Okay, not really. But, can't even see the four corners!
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One more time in line....
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We had to do something crazy....  While waiting we saw some kids doing some cool stunts so we had to think of something, and so did some of our other kids from the above pictures. 
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One of my "things" is to visit all 50 states.  I've visited 48 thus far, along with Lee. I traveled quite a bit growing up, and I loved it. Clark, Cal, Shanna, Haley and Elden have done 46, plus Canada.  They still need Montana and North Dakota. (Though technically with Elden, I'm not sure about Arkansas and Louisiana...I get mixed up with all the other kids and all the other travels we've done.  I know for sure the other kids have been in those states. But this winter we will go to Arkansas and Louisiana on our way to Mississippi for the holidays, just for safe keeping.)  I want to get Alaska and Hawaii under our belts before Clark heads out on his mission.  A few of my future goals have to deal with travel and vacations. 
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It was fun to see some cacti out west too!
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We enjoyed being out West and enjoyed our adventures there!  On the way back we stopped at my brother Sam's in St. Louis.  It was fun seeing his family and getting a tour to his new home. Originally we planned to spend the night, go to church with him, then leave right after for home.  But I realized we'd arrive home around 5am Monday morning.  We decided to head further along the road, spending the night at Stephanie's in Indiana.

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We got in to her place a little after midnight and went to church the next morning.  After church we took off for home.  On Saturday Lee bought a gas can for extra gas for our trip.  It was nice that we didn't have to stop and buy gas on Sunday! We were worried about getting home, but it worked out fine.  And funny enough, we saw our friends the Whitings on I-64 or I-81.  They were returning home from a trip out West.  So fun!
Aug 14 2016

Aug 15 2016

Sam sent us off with some yummy snacks.  This root beer was a little weird.  Like sweetened, yeasty, teryaki pop/soda.  What do Virginia's say? Pop or soda?  I have no clue...
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We arrived home that evening.  It was great that the house was in tact and no weird flooding or break-ins happened while we were away!  A spider decided to take over the mail box area though.
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Usually when I come home from a trip I'm a little sad.  It's sad saying goodbye to family that I know I will only see a handful of times a year. And I'm sure coming back to "reality" plays a part too, plus all the unpacking and cleaning that is inevitably ahead.  But this time coming home, I realized that I truly was glad to be home!  Also, I was yet again thankful for the safe travels we were blessed with.  I'm always so thankful to come home safely from yet another trip.'s been terrific!  Sad to see you go....