Monday, December 10, 2012

A new phase for our blog

If you're reading this you may be wondering what we've been up to for the past month.

Well this blog I had going for years and years finally ran out of room for pictures and for an avid picture taker and scrapbooker how could I blog without pictures? I couldn't-so I started a new blog. You can find us over at 

where I have plenty of room for pictures! YAY!!

I hope you make your way over there often and check out our families happenings.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Girls on the Run 5k

Our sweet Corrine loves to run and she runs fast! 

Years ago we heard about a program called Girls on The Run, but you had to be in 3rd grade to join. Last year when Corrine got into 3rd grade, she signed up instantly. Our friend Kathleen was the coach at our school and Corrine feel in love with the program.
Corrine and I ran 3 5k's together last fall, and we both realized how much we both like to run. After an ankle injury at the final 5k in November, I was grounded for a few months. I got my ankle stronger and started running with her again. Then this September after signing up and getting so excited to run together I hurt my back really bad. I couldn't get up from sitting without pain for a month. It took nearly 8 weeks total to get and stay pain free. I wanted to run with Corrine, but I couldn't. I cried the day I told her that I would need to find her a new running buddy. She was sad at first, but then understood.
I asked a few friends if they could run with her and the happiest, brightest smiling friend Jolynn said she would love to run with her. Corrine would see her at church and was getting excited to run with her. At the practice 5k Corrine finished with a huge smile on her face thanks in large part to Jolynn. The next few weeks every time Joylnn saw her she'd talk to her about the race and how excited she was for it. Corrine was getting more excited every time they talked.

This morning Corrine got up to get ready and said she was nervous, but ready to run. Jolynn came to get her and off they went to the race.

The next time we saw her she was running with a group of friends-Kara Hartley, Grace & Amy Goodman and Jolynn and she had the BIGGEST smile on her face. All nervousness of running was gone.

She was in her element!

The race started right out of the tennis building. They went down the road and right into the Ashton Cross Country course. We weren't exactly sure where they were running and we didn't want to miss her finishing, so we hung out at the finish line.
 While we waited the kids played on some rocks with Grandpa Smith. The only picture I have of Rebecca from today is her holding onto Grandpa's leg.

At 32 minutes into the race, Corrine and Jolynn came around the corner heading to the finish line. Corrine looked comfortable and relaxed. She saw the finish and she turned on her final burners and sprinter to the finish line.

Some stats from the race:
Corrine & Joylnn finished in 32:01 minutes.
They were the 107th and 108th runners to finish.
They had a 10:20 mile pace.
Corrine was the 27th in her age group of under 10.
Jolynn was 8th in her age division.
There were a total of 671 runners.

Corrine had such a great time today and was surrounded by so many wonderful women. She's already told me that she wants Jolynn, Kara and mom to be her running buddies next spring!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A little light reading

"Books are a completely portable magic."
Stephen King

This weekend we had a camp-in in the front room as per Rebecca's request. The kids brought in Ammon's fish light to read by. What was suppose to be a few minutes of reading turned into an hour of reading, with kids asking for more time.

Ammon checked out the 1st 2 books in the Black Beat Club and devoured them for the 2nd time. He's really into those books. He just sent in a requested to the public library asking them to buy the last book in the set. Last week he discovered a pile of books in the storage room. He was in HEAVEN! He brought up an armful of the books to read. Ammon caught onto reading the earliest so far and it's been so fun to see that skill blossom in him and to hear about all the fun things he reads. 
One of my favorite things he says, after I love you, is 
"I read it in a book!"

Corrine was reading the graphic novel The City of Ember tonight. She said this was so much easier to follow then the book. Corrine is starting to really like to read. She especially likes to read in her bed at night. Many times we've gone into her room to find her asleep with a book next to her and her light on.

Simeon didn't move the entire time we were reading except to turn the page. He couldn't tear his eyes off his newest book by RA Salvatore. His old friend Shadow was trying to read with him. Shadow joined our family over 6 years ago for Simeon's 6th birthday. Simeon was in the midst of very hard chemo then and Shadow went to every appointment for chemo and hospital stay. When Simeon broke his arm, so did Shadow and they had matching casts. After so much love and baths, he is getting so thin in areas, like his nose. He desperately needs another bath, but we're afraid he won't come out in one piece.

Rebecca read for a while then doctored her babies until it was time to crawl into the tent to sleep. She likes to read books to us and tell us what is going on. She loves when Corrine reads to her at bedtime.

I'll never tire of seeing this on the back of Simeon's shirt. 

I love to see the kids loving reading. Our house is full of books and we are constantly checking more out. Thankfully the library emails me when they are due, or I'm sure our fine would be horrendous! 

We have the quote from Stephen King on our white board in the dinning room. 
We see it everyday and I and love it and agree with it.

Books are magical.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Let's Go to the Zoo

Yeah for a warm sunny day so we could go visit the Niabi Zoo one more time before it closed for the season. 

This sweet little zoo has grown so much over the years since we started visiting it. This year we bought a year pass since the kids pass was the same amount as a day admission. With the train tickets and free passes for guests and using it to get in free or half off at reciprocal zoos this summer and a few visits here, these passes were so worth it.

Today the highlight was feeding the goats. Rebecca thought this was the BEST THING EVER! She had no fear of feeding them. One time she accidentally got all her fingers in a goats mouth and it bit down on them. She just looked at the goat with a "what were you thinking biting my fingers" look and went on with feeding them. We quickly ran out of food, so the kids started picking it up from under the feeding stations. They ended up picking up way more then we bought. We could have easily spent an hour feeding the goats!

We put some food on Rebecca's babies head and the goat ate it right off. Rebecca thought it was so funny and wanted more food on her babies head. This little baby got picked to come visit the zoo with us today. We can't go anywhere with a baby doll anymore.

The Hippo Statue. 
We always get a picture on this guy. Every time without fail. Simeon was at a Boy Scout camp out in Nauvoo, IL a few hours away from us, so that's why he's not in any pictures.

 The kids always look forward to taking a ride on the train, but sadly it wasn't working today because of construction, so we did the next best thing and took a ride on the Merry-Go-Round. Ammon rode the cheetah behind the gorilla Rebecca was riding, so he could chase her!
We also saw some animals doing some funny things today. 

This guy was sticking his head out looking for some treats.

 When we walked back past the giraffes later we saw this guy licking the pole. The kids thought it must have tasted good.
 When we went to see the Gibbons they were swinging all over the place. This darker one found a leaf out of the fence and reached out to get it. It took it on the ledge above us, then swung down with his feet right above the kids heads. He stayed there and stared at us for a few minutes.

When we got to the elephant enclosure we saw this guy reaching his trunk over the wall. It looked like he was trying to bite the wall. After a minute he came back over with a trunk full of dry pine needles from the tree right outside the enclosure.

There are alot of new projects under way here at Niabi Zoo, that will be more finished next spring when it warms up enough to go visit again. We love coming to visit this zoo. It's a pretty small one, and we can see everything in about an hour and a half, and we drive an hour each way, but it's so worth it. Today we forgot all about the reptile house, so we will for sure be going again this spring.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ammon's Style

Ammon LOVES to take pictures. 
He routinely grabs the camera and starts snapping away, and he's getting good some great shots. After using the remote with our family pictures this morning, he wanted to give it a try himself.
Below is a collage of him testing out all the ways to use the remote which I found on the memory card when I downloaded it tonight.

We'll call it...

Ammon Style

Straight on.
Get dad in the action.
Cross the arms and look not interested.
Power from the side.
Sinking lower.
Pencil Pose.
Twist and click.
The hand.

I love the little eye in the corner of this picture. This kid is fascinated with life and finds every way to make life fresh and interesting.

We love you Ammon our budding photographer. 

Never stop learning, loving life and finding ways to enjoy it.

Family Pictures

Between the weather being warm, the kids and dad having the day off, I knew we had to take advantage of today and get some family pictures taken. I just recently got a new remote for my camera, so I figured with a tripod, and the remote we could take our own pictures. So off we headed to Scott Park.

The big kids found this thin metal bridge type structure that goes over the creek that they instantly started climbing over it. I'll be honest we thought 'great one of them is going to fall in the water not even 2 minutes after getting here and there goes family pictures'. 

Thankfully no one fell in and we actually used the bridge structure for our 1st set of pictures. We found out with our 1st set of pictures that the remote doesn't work 16 feet away like it says it will. It works at most 5 feet away. 

MAJOR disappointment. 



I got over it and we made it work.

The city just finished making walking paths and putting nice bridges over the creek, which were perfect for our pictures.

Of course a little exploring under the bridge and over the rocks occurred, and so did tears. 2 sets of tears to be exact! Neither was from a parent. HUGE victory! But hey what is family pictures a without tears from at least one person.

I love Simeon's thoughtful blue eyes.

 Corrine is our natural posing child. You ask her to do something and it's done. 

I love Ammon's dark brown eyes and hair. He could have explored under the bridge all day.

Our little Rebecca is in a 'I will be happy about getting my picture taken when I WANT TO BE stage'.

It will pass. 
Because "It came to Pass, NOT to stay"!
(I must remember this saying ALOT with her these days.)

One last picture to end with. I LOVE THIS PICTURE. This captures our sweet, energy filled Ammon perfectly. We were all getting ready to jump, and he was already high in the air! Ammon & Rebecca could run circles around Johann and I any day, all day and never wear out! 
Oh to be a kid again.

I considered our 1st do it yourself family pictures a success. Now to get them printed and on the walls before they grow taller then mom. Which by looking at these pictures is going to happen soon, very soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote 2012

Over the past few weeks we have had alot of talks about politics, about who we are voting for and why. We've also had many talks about being good winners, good losers and respecting everyone's opinions.  

The past few weeks we have also ignored dozens of phone calls, muted too many commercials to count, and have been counting down until the political ads were done.

The kids were excited for the election and to hopefully have the President they were voting for.

Rebecca and I headed to the polls right after Spanish class this morning. We only waited 5 minutes and most of that time was talking with our sweet neighbor who always works the polls. Rebecca was so excited to get a "I voted" pin to take with us. She wore it most of the day.

Not only did Johann and I get to vote today, but today was also "Kids vote" at school. All of the kid's classes got to vote and let their voice be heard.

Ammon had been talking about all the candidates for the past week. He is a sponge right now. Everyday he comes home and tells us new facts about different presidents, the rules to be president and different tidbits about Obama and Romney. He brought home some reading about each of the presidents that he has been telling us about all afternoon.
We were talking last night about things they've learned regarding the election. Ammon was going on and on about things and I was grateful to hear that it was all neutral and informative, not leaning towards either candidate. When I asked him who his teacher was voting for he gave me a strange look and said "I don't know, she's hasn't told us who she's voting for. because she's not allowed to!" I was so glad to hear that they didn't and probably wouldn't know who their teachers were voting for.

He was so EXCITED to kid vote today at school. His teacher is so awesome. She had the kids fill out a voter registration form and get it signed by 2 witnesses-his teacher and aid. After showing it to me he asked me if my voter registration looked like his!

Simeon wasn't tired so he stayed up with me and watched the results. It was hard for him when he heard the results. He wanted Romney to win and was sad when he didn't. It was fun to talk with him about the election and for him to see how it works. Parts confused us, like when they called state before all the ballots were counted? 

The kids have figured out how old each of them will be when they get to vote in their 1st real Presidential election. I know they will be excited and ready when that day comes around.