Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Baby Love Bomb

Jacob has started writing his own music recently.  His most recent piece was titled, "A Baby Love Bomb."  He brought it to his piano teacher, asked her if she would make a copy of it and have her other students play it!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ski trip with Jacob and Claire

We have been planning a ski trip with Claire and Jacob for a few weeks, and we finally got around to it on the last day of spring break.  It has been super warm, and Mount Hood hasn't gotten a lot of snow, so we prepared for a nice warm day.  Fortunately, it really was warm (almost 70 degrees!), since the first thing we did when we got up to the resort is realize we didn't bring coats for Jacob and Claire, and that they would be wearing the light jackets I had brought for myself, and I wouldn't be wearing a jacket!  Claire shows just how big the jackets were on them - they looked a little like minions!

We started the day on the magic carpet - the very beginners area.  There was a nice covered ride up a short slope, and we did that a few times.  The snow was warm enough that really needed to just ski straight so we didn't stop!

We went over to the Buttercup lift, and, since we were 3 and the lifts are for just 2, Jacob got to get on and off the lift all by himself.  He confidently got on, and successfully got off!  Claire was a great little lift buddy.  At the end of the day, I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, and she answered, "riding on the ski lifts."  Cute girl.

The kids did well!  Snowplow wasn't really their style, so we just pointed the skis downhill and went.  I encouraged them to make wide turns, and they did a little.  After lunch, especially, they started to get it a little better.  It really did help having the warm wet snow to not allow them to pick up too much speed.

By the end of the afternoon, Jacob convinced me to try the next lift up, Easy Rider.  The first run down was successful, and we passed a little terrain park, which Jacob decided he wanted to try the next run.  He went over a few of the small obstacles without a problem!  It was definitely a proud dad moment!  Claire decided she wanted to do it, but unfortunately, on our next run, which was our last run, they were closing the park.

I took a video of Claire near the end of the day, skiing from the bottom of the terrain park down toward the lift.  One of our favorite parts is how her arms are held kind of like a T-Rex the entire time!

On Jacob's last run of the day, he took a fall right into a large area of slush.  There was literally a small river-like area at the bottom of this slope, and Jacob fell right into it.  The video shows him, with his skis apparently slowing, rolling the windows down right before landing.  I got a picture of him from behind to show just how wet he was!

We had an awesome day, and it left us all wanting more next year!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Traveling with 7

Traveling with 7 brought with it the usual laughs and issues.  We rented a 12 passenger van because the minivans, which is what we normally would rent, were hundreds more expensive.

One of the first orders of business when we got the van was to name it. All sorts of names were thrown out, but in the end, Claire's suggestion of "Spermie the Sperm Whale" or just "Spermie" for short, won out.  We had some fun with that name throughout the week, making up songs and telling stories about Spermie.

One of the best benefits of Spermie was the trunk size!  Jared hasn't had such an easy job loading a car since we had just 2 kids. Spermie did not help with car sickness. Or where people sat drama.  It did somehow fit in the garage (by probably 2 inches at the most!) of the place we stayed in.

Nearly everywhere we traveled, people would comment on our group size, and would often count the number of children we have.  Perhaps it was pulling up in such a large vehicle, the little row of children we would take up a mountain trail, into a movie theater, to a restaurant, or in the airport.

The sight at the airport was pretty funny - we had packed mostly carry-ons because we didn't want to pay for checked bags, but that made for quite the scene.  This picture is particularly funny - Claire reading, Jacob and Kate playing with Torin and Jared, Liam exploring (he is in the left corner), and a giant pile of suitcases!

Before we left Arizona, we stopped at the science museum.  Some of my favorites were watching Kate lay on a bed of nails and watching Kate and Claire behind a screen playing with the 'rain.'

It was an amazing and memorable trip for everyone!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blessings of the temple

We chose to attend church in a chapel across the street from the Mesa temple.  What a beautiful temple, and what a blessing it is for us to live at a time when there are so many of these holy building on the earth.

Every angle of the temple is beautiful!

We enjoyed looking at the difference in the landscaping around the Mesa temple - Portland doesn't have much cactus!

Kate spent some time by herself in the visitors center looking up at the statue of Christ.

Sunday evening we went on a little walk in Papago Park to the Hole in the Rock to watch the sunset.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Training - Reds vs. A's

The real reason (at least in Jared's eyes) in coming to Arizona was going to a Spring Training baseball game. Dani found the perfect game - the Reds playing against the A's! Jared was properly decked out in what probably appeared to be a very confusing outfit representing both teams. We sat out in left field on the grass, where we could spread out a blanket and spread out as a family.

Before the game, Jacob was able to get signatures from some of his favorite players, Todd Frazier and Billy Hamilton.  Jacob has become quite a little baseball card collector.  It has been fun for Jared to watch as Jacob gets into something Jared enjoyed as a kid.

Liam enjoyed throwing the ball down the hill to Jared.  People passing by were pretty enamored with the energetic little redhead throwing lefty (most of the time). On occasion, he would turn, and throw toward the people standing close by - fortunately, he didn't hit anyone or come all that close.

It was too hot for Kate and for Claire, who found a small spot of grass at the bottom of the hill in the shade of the scoreboard.

It was such a fun game to be at with the entire family!

After the hot game, we went to swim in the pool. We learned that people in Arizona don't heat their pools, which are still quite cold in March!  Liam didn't want to let go of either me or the wall - he was clinging on pretty tight! Kate was pretty excited to be in the water swimming.

The kids, including Torin, enjoyed some popsicles after pool time.  Yum!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Grand Canyon

On Friday, we drove out to see the Grand Canyon.  What a spectacular place that is!!!

We enjoyed lunch at one view point near the visitor center, then hiked along the rim trail towards the village. There were lots of stops to see views and to give out snacks to keep people motivated to keep hiking!

At the store at the Canyon Rim, Kate found a little stuffed doe. She instantly fell in love! Dani couldn't say no, so she sent her to Jared, who couldn't say no either.  Look at those eyes!!!

We took the bus down the Hermit Road a little ways near dusk for a few more spectacular views.  We didn't stay until sunset (the kids were getting hungry!), but we enjoyed some of the shadows that were being cast along the walls.

After spending the day at the Grand Canyon, we stopped for dinner on the Famous Route 66. We didn't see Lightning McQueen or any other Cars characters, but the lit up signs were kind of fun.

As we drove home, there was a lightning storm out in the distance. Dani and Jared kept saying they saw flashes, and Liam kept saying he could see them (even though he clearly couldn't). By the end of the day, everyone was completely tuckered out. Except Torin.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hiking in Arizona

One of our favorite parts of Arizona were the hikes we took.  Our first hike was our biggest, up Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale.  The trail was great!  The kids thought they were pretty adventurous going up the "big mountain."

While we were at the Grand Canyon, we did some hiking along the rim trail.  There were some amazing views and lots of places to take beautiful pictures!

On Sunday, we did a quick hike (about a tenth of a mile) in Papago Park in Phoenix to the Hole-in-the-Rock to watch the sunset.  We got a beautiful view as the sun set over the mountains in the distance.