Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day

In the morning we went to hike the Butte as a family. There's two sides to go up this mountain, and I think we went up the North side. It had a bajillion stairs, which we didn't know we were going to have. It was just a gorgeous morning, never too hot or cold. So so green and all the wildflowers are coming out, which makes Brynlee as happy as she can possibly be. She picked handfuls of them, as she always does. I think it was about 3 miles roundtrip, which is perfect for our little-legged family :). The view from the top was awesome. We stopped and had a little snack and let Briggs out of his carrier to play in the dirt. We even saw 3 bald eagles that morning! A great omen for Memorial Day. By the way, I wish I could keep diapers on my daughters until they turn 15. Seriously. I get so sick of ALWAYS having to help them go potty in the trees and bushes. But I suppose there are much worse things in life.

Briggs was leaning over far in his carrier to see us and so I leaned way over to make him laugh, and Kenny took a picture. I thought it was funny, and a nice change from our normal family pictures :).

I can't get this picture to rotate. But Tyler collects rocks as faithfully as Bryn collects flowers. For this one he said "Look mom! It looks like Africa!"

Almost to the top!

We made it :)

He's so awesome. On the way back Kelsey really wanted HIM and not me, so he was carrying two heavy kids.

Once we got home we had work to do. Kenny was putting stakes and string in our backyard, outlining our land boundaries, getting ready for building a fence. I was trying to clean up inside. We got blinds installed in our living room FINALLY. They look really good and it's so nice to actually have privacy. Our neighbors can see right through our window and it has bothered me from the first week we moved in the house. It's nice to have it feel a little more complete. We're working on rearranging the living room (because I just love to have more projects for Kenny to help me with! Ha!) Anyway we didn't have long before we had to hurry and make tinfoil dinners and get stuff ready for a get-together with friends in the evening. I can't help but have a little party with friends so we called several families in our ward, and from our old ward (before our boundaries got changed). We met at Lake Lucille Park and totally lucked out by having our own pavilion all to ourselves. It was seriously an answer to prayers. The rain held off, and the sun came out, and it was such a great evening getting to know new friends. The families there: Hafens, Mays, Christensens, Merrill's, and us, (19 kids altogether). We all came home exhausted and happy.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Boring update

I somehow got away with hardly taking any pictures this week! But we did do some fun things.

Monday we all rode our bikes to Tyler's piano lesson! It was quite an adventure. Of course I pulled Kelsey and Brigham in the stroller, but even Madison rode her little bike the whole way (1.1 miles each way) and I was so proud of her. She can't go nearly as fast as everyone else with her little legs and little training wheels. But she has so much determination and did it anyway. I also love that we're close enough to do that! I think we're going to make it a tradition. There's a little park just around the corner from it so we played there during his lesson, then he rode down and joined us. That night Madison was so tired she asked me if it was bedtime yet at like 6:30! haha poor thing was worn out.

Tuesday we drove into Anchorage to attend a dance performance from BYU's Living Legends. Thanks to Carmin for getting us free tickets to the event. We had a great time and really enjoyed the show! They do different cultural dances from various places around the world. The very first one was a dance from Samoa, and of course they do a lot of whooping and hollering and yelling. Well it scared the heck out of Brigham and he was terrified! Crying so hard and climbing higher on to me and burying his face in me. Poor thing did not like all the yelling! haha. He has a very sensitive little spirit. :) Because it was downtown, Kenny even came out and saw us and let us use his card to get free parking! After the show we went back to the Sponsellers for a yummy lunch. It's always fun to catch up and spend time there.

Wednesday the kids like coming to the church with me when I have committee meeting cuz they get to run around like crazy in the gym with other kids. At least until about 6:50 when daddy comes and picks them all up :). He always has them taken care of and in bed when Tyler and I get home, and I'm grateful to him for that.

Thursday was a fun day at running group again. The weather was so nice we stayed after for almost an extra hour for them to keep playing.

Friday was also really nice. After school work we did all of our Saturday chores to get them out of the way. They were such good workers and I appreciate their help. Some of them are actually getting to the point where they are helpful! It's a miracle. That afternoon we went to the park for a while, rented a Redbox (night at the museum) and had a fun night-in. I even made yummy brownie bites for the movie. Kenny went to the temple after work so he didn't get to see the kids, but we had a good day.

Saturday I got up at 6 a.m. to go on a 10 mile run! Yikes that was a lot. I'm always pretty drained of energy for the rest of the day on Saturdays because of my long runs, which is no good because there's always so much to do on Saturday! I was pretty proud though because that's the farthest I've ever run, and I'm keeping up with my time goals, which makes me happy. Then Kenny had to go on his long run. I went to the grocery store and got some things done inside. While Briggs took a nap I mowed the lawn which was the first time this year! We spent the rest of the day putting chicken wire up around the chicken coop to keep them contained, and moving it across the yard away from the house. I never would have guessed how many weekends these silly chickens would take up!! Darn birds. But I also never would've guessed how much our kids would love having them. Especially Bryn and Kels. Tyler loves animals, but he mostly loves studying them, and observing them. Brynlee and Kelsey are just never happier than when they are holding and petting and loving on animals. They get it from their dad, no doubt. He is exactly the same way. Anyhow, we grilled some burgers for dinner. Kenny spent the whole evening working on his talk and I had a nice long soak in my bath tub with some Deep Blue oils. My poor legs were giving out on me.

Sunday. Kenny and I had to give talks in Sacrament Meeting today. We were both given conference talks to speak on. Mine was Rosemary M. Wixom's talk on Returning to Faith, while he spoke on The Parable of the Sower. I got a nice Sunday nap while Kenny's been gone doing more visits. I know he's so tired, he'll crash when he gets home. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Our Week

These first two pictures are from 2 or 3 weeks ago (can't remember now) Tyler earned his bobcat! Way to go Ty. As part of the "ceremony" I got to paint his face, though I can't remember what it all represented. Either way, he had fun and continues to love scouts.

I taught the kids how to sew buttons and Ty and Bryn really enjoyed it. Madison got frustrated because she kept messing up.
 Last weekend dad was throwing them all up in the air. Bryn and Kels are a bit more natural "flyers" than the others. They love it.



Now that Brigham is crawling he follows me all over the house and is into everything, of course. So this is how I get dinner done. I hand him a spoon and taught him how to bang on the pans. Plus he loves the reflections!
 This weekend we took on a big project. We have a 1/2 acre of land, but a lot of our backyard is not used because it's just overgrown weeds, rotting leaves and debris. So we raked up a lot of the junk and bagged some, burned some, and left the rest of the big logs in a pile. We bought two big truck loads of dirt and had it dumped down there in the back. Then spread it all out one shovel-full and one wheel-barrow full at a time. Kenny and I were sore, and the kids were in dirt heaven. Sounds about right doesn't it? ;) no, but really they did help off and on and we had them working hard. Honestly we couldn't have done it without Kenny's brother Andy. He and Kenny have the same work schedule, and they both have every other Friday off, and their off-days happen to match up perfectly. So on Friday he came out with Sky and Jeremy. Then on Saturday we were all out there in the morning and all of the sudden their whole family pulled up and honked. It was a total surprise to me but we were SO grateful they came. Seriously it saved us. Kenny loves working alongside his brother and I think they help keep each other motivated and working hard. After a full day of working, we went and grabbed some dinner and headed to Beach Lake. The Westons have a fun inflatable raft that they can take the kids out on the lake and they love it. The boys even saw a few beavers in the water while they were out on the lake. It was a beautiful (dare I say, perfect!) weekend of weather and we were outside pretty much the whole time. It feels so good to do work outside on our land and see such progress. No better feeling. I'll have to get an "after" picture of the dirt all spread around. They planted some grass seed also, hopefully that will take well and we will have a much larger usable yard in a couple months!

We are sure spoiled with this beautiful Alaskan summer!! It's just so gorgeous everywhere we look!

**Edited to add pics from Sunday: After a nice google hangout with my family we roasted some marshmallows and ate s'mores for dessert.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day Trip to Talkeetna

We've lived here for over 3 years and still had never been to Talkeetna! I've wanted to go for a while. So sort of last minute I checked the weather and knew that not only was Wednesday going to be a beautiful, sunny day but we didn't have anything going on that day either! We just had to be back by 7 for cub scouts, but that still gave us the whole day. It's about an hour and 15 minutes away from our house, which really isn't bad. We got there at 11 a.m. and Briggs was having a melt down  because he was hungry and wanted out of the car. So we decided it was a good time to have our picnic lunch we had brought before we got going. After lunch we went over to the Historical Museum District. We only had to pay for me and Ty, because everyone under 7 is free! So that was nice. It was really fun to see all the old stuff they have displayed. I love thinking about day-to-day life back then. The people that came to settle Alaska were so adventurous and just plain ol' tough! It's interesting to think about what life was like and how they dealt with it. Anyway after wandering around those buildings for a bit we walked down Main Street and down the path to the riverfront. It was just gorgeous. We had had perfectly clear views of Denali (Mt. McKinley) the whole drive up there. But of course now that I wasn't driving and could actually take a picture, it was cloudy and mostly covered up. Anyway it was still a beautiful day. The kids played in the river for a couple hours. We bought some cinnamon-roasted almonds from a local family who had a little stand. A yummy snack! There were lots of people that would wander up and look at the river and take a picture of the mountains, then go back out. Lots of Alaskan cruises and bus tours. A few of them even came over and talked to us.

Afterwards we went to the playground they have there. Then we went to Twister Creek for an early dinner before heading back on the road. It was yummy food and perfect weather. Briggs ate all the sweet potato out of my sweet potato fries for his meal :). Tyler was cracking me up with his comments, making it so obvious that we never take them out to eat! He was like, "Wow! I love this place. We each get our own food and don't have to share fries or anything!" haha. And then he said, "Are they going to clean up our plates for us?! WOW this place is SO nice!" Lol. Obviously we don't treat them to eating out much. And for good reason, it gets pricey quickly. However, we had 4 different people come up to me and compliment me on how well-behaved and cute our kids are. I was so grateful for their kind words. People stare at us a lot wherever we go, and it's sort of super-annoying. I feel like we're so intrusive and loud and disruptive. But it was nice to know that they weren't bothered by our presence, and even had good things to say about them. We really did have such a great day together and I felt good knowing that I can go and do those kinds of trips without Kenny. Of course we missed him badly and wished he were there with us! Always. We had a beautiful drive back home and the kids all went to bed at 7 they were worn out! Except for Ty, who had scouts :). 
Here's a few too many pictures of our day. 

They were a little freaked out by all the fake people. Brynlee especially hated them.

Imagine having that for a vacuum cleaner!

A full scale model of Denali and it's surrounding mountains. Lots of pictures and accounts of people that hiked it. Pretty impressive!

He tasted lots of sand and sharpened his little teeth on rocks! It was gross. :) I can't get over how soft and squishy and sweet he is. Also very heavy!

A magnifying glass is always a good thing to bring in your purse on outings :).

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Oh I love these pictures. Even though Brigham's hair needs to be done and Kelsey picks her nose more than all of our other children combined, and Brynlee couldn't find her other church shoes (of course!) so she's wearing awkward black boots. I just love them because it's us. Right now at this point in our lives. Oh these years are going by so fast! But we captured this moment and froze them in time, so to speak. They're only little for such a short time, and they're only mine for such a short time, and then they're gone.
But these years are so formative! They are so important to setting the foundation for the rest of their lives!! I have to keep reminding myself that this stage, this exhausting stage will not last forever. In fact, if all other women in the history of forever are right, it will be gone before I know it. So I am doing my best. We all do the best we can with the knowledge and resources we have. I believe that. But I fall short every day. I feel inadequate every day. I sometimes want to throw my hands in the air and ask someone else to raise these children because they're too precious--too good and I just know I'm not going to do them justice. But I receive sweet confirmations from the spirit that my efforts coupled with the Lord will always be enough. No I won't be perfect. But I am enough. I love these beautiful children with my whole soul and am so humbled and beyond grateful that I get to be their mother. I mean, seriously?
God is too good to me.
I told Kenny today that I just don't know if I'll ever be able to stop having babies. I just love them so much!!
I don't think he thought that was very funny.

My mind has been on all the women that have helped to "mother" me over the years, and continue to do so even now. And of course on my own mother and my mother-in-law. I have such incredible examples all over in my aunts, cousins, sisters, sisters-in-law and friends! A powerful ancestral line with phenomenal and strong women whom I strive to emulate. My patriarchal blessing talks about how I have a great heritage and a great lineage, and I was sent at a time where the pattern was established for me so that I could continue a great tradition. No kidding!

We have a great work to do as women in these latter-days, and of course the greatest work will be in our own homes. We must fight for the family! We must continue to heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost in receiving revelation for our own families and not succumb to any social pressures. We are better than that. Carry on warriors--and Happy Mother's Day :).