Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Keeping the calendar full . . . maybe too full.

I think of January and February as the slow time of year, but it feels like we haven't slowed down a bit. We decided the best way to make good use of our season ski passes was to sign the kids up for a four-pack of ski and snow board lessons.  It actually went quite well!  It has got us skiing almost every Saturday in January, and the kids attitudes about skiing have improved A LOT! Unfortunately Caleb and Cara aren't 100% in and they have so much influence over the other kids that I don't think we will get season passes again anytime soon.  Caleb and Cara at least do it now, but they could take it or leave it.  Andy and Ali have really taken to it, and Johnny has been a real challenge.  At his last lesson he had a one-on-one with a great guy, but only did four trips down the magic carpet.  He just lied down and refused to move.  The lesson before he just quit half way through as well.  The best thing about having everyone in lessons is that Josh and I have had the chance to ski together and enjoy some fresh air and good conversation.

I have to say that one of the funnest things we do all year, and my favorite tradition as a child, is our family Night Ski Party.  It is always the fourth Friday of January, and this year was just as fantastic as ever.  I don't know if I've ever taken pictures at the ski party because I'm so busy entertaining.  We have to have at least 100 skiers and we usually get around 130.  We have a huge potluck dinner in the lodge and a great time!  The kids invite their friends, and we all just LOVE IT!!

The highlight of ski season has actually been our new toy.  I have always thought that "sometime in the future" I'd really like to get a motor home for family vacations.  One night Johnny had Josh and I up multiple times in the night because of an ear infection.  At about 2:30 AM we were both laying in bed unable to sleep.  I mentioned that I couldn't get out of my mind that now just might be the time to get an RV.  I had no idea if there would be something we could afford, but I felt that if we got a good deal we could resell it at the end of the summer or next spring without loosing too much. That night Josh and I searched our phones from 2:30 - 4:30 AM looking for tips and searching for deals.

We spent the next few days gathering information and talking to people who have purchased RV's.  We decided that if a great deal showed up we would jump on it.  We had cash in the bank and learned that January/February is a great time to buy.  It was less than a week when this beauty showed up on KSL.  It had only been posted for two hours when we saw it.  It was 10 PM but Josh called the seller that minute.  They talked for 30 minutes or longer and by the end of the conversation we were convinced that this was a steel of a deal.  We ran it past our friend who buys RV's and his instant response was "BUY IT." In just two hours of having it posted the seller already had three buyers interested who were planning to meet him when he got off work.  Josh told him that he could come "right now" or meet at lunch or whatever he needed to do to get there before the other guys.  It was all the way in Orem, but it worked out perfectly.  Our retired neighbor, Steve, took the ride with Josh.  Steve helped Josh inspect it, and drove Josh's car home after he bought it.  It was the exact amount of cash we had in our savings for large purchases so Josh took the cash and came back with this beauty!

It has been so fun!  We didn't think we would use it until spring break, but we have taken it skiing every Saturday.  It works so well to put the ski gear in the bottom.  It is nice for the kids to get their ski gear on when we get close, and it has added an element of fun.  We feel so blessed! The dash is so big that the kids all fit on it!

We have had hot chili at lunch and stopped for pizza in it a few times.  Sometimes I wonder if our kids know how good they have it!

Not only have we skied every Saturday, but Caleb also has Jr. Jazz basketball games.  If he plays in the morning we ski in the afternoon.  If he plays in the afternoon we ski in the morning.  He is on a good team, and has enjoyed the season.  Jr. Jazz refs are known for calling everything, and this is the first time he has not been able to play full court press.  This picture is him and his good friend Isaac after they fowled out of one of their games.  It is a good thing Isaac fowled out too because before that happened Caleb was upset, but with his friend on the bench too they had a good laugh.

I was lucky enough to get away to sunny southern California for Leadership Retreat.  I went for four days of inspiration!  It was incredible to see how this company is changing lives.  I feel so blessed to represent such an incredible company, and for the income and opportunities it has presented in my life.  This year they focused on being financially responsible so we can be "free to give".  There was also a major focus on build and sustaining the most important relationships in our lives, with our husbands and children.  They teach the values that I hold so dear.  The highlight for me is that I get to spend time with Cathie, and other wonderful people.  This year our friend Sally let us stay with her in her condo.  What a great refreshing trip!

Sally, Cathie and I.  We can't wait to have more team members with us next year!!

While I was getting refreshed at a retreat Josh took the kids on their first overnighter in the RV.  Isn't he a great dad?! He didn't think to take pictures, but I'm totally impressed that he was willing to do it.  My sister Connie was blessing her baby, Trace, at 9 AM in Preston and Josh thought the only way they could all make it is if they slept in the driveway.  They went swimming at Riverdale Resort, and made a great time out of it!

One of Josh's biggest clients, Lightning Kite, a programing company, had a company party at the Jump Zone.  They rented the whole building for 3 hours.  It was like a dream come true for our kids. For the first 15-20 minutes we were the only people there!  Most of the employees of lightning kite are young and only have a couple of little kids so our crew had "the best night ever!"  

Cara loves to craft!  She thinks she is the most deprived girl in the world because her mom isn't crafty.  I do cringe a little when she gets out the paints and hot glue, but I let her.  Her friends Korinne and Payton got to capitalize on this craft time too.

My awesome dentist, Dave Gordon, who also happens to be one of Josh's best friends from high school, had a client appreciation event at the skating rink.  The kids LOVED it.  Ali especially thinks that skating is the best.  Johnny gave it a shot for a few minutes too.  They had the party catered, and we felt fortunate to participate.  So fun!!

While I was busy skating with the kids I kept thinking "this could be worse" Josh was out on the winter campout with the deacons.  He is back in young mens, in fact, for the past month or so he has been doing young mens on Tuesday's and 11 year old scouts on Thursdays.  I'm hoping that comes to an end very soon.  Anyway, he was on the winter camp out with the boys.  He was all smiles when he pulled out of the driveway in the RV.  At that moment it felt worth every penny.  Here he is with some of the leaders eating a gourmet dinner out of the rain and snow.  

They only woke up to 4-6 inches of snow, but when they got to Providence this was the scene.  We had more than 18 inches of new snow and I was stuck in the cul-de-sac.  I love our neighbors.  I was only stuck for a few minutes when two snow blowers came to the rescue to make a path for me to get to the road.  

I wish I had taken some pictures to show the full impact of the snow.  It was more than we've had at our house of years!  It has provided for a few weeks of fun sledding, snowman building, and great outdoor play! 

Keeping it real!  This is my life!  Do you see Josh's feet up enjoying the evening, probably snoozing? He has a REALLY hard time staying awake from 7-8 when the house is in total chaos.  Johnny is needy and possessive of me.  He didn't like that Ali was sitting on my lap.  Caleb was probably about to hurt Cara as she was acting as his hoop while he was "shooting" the tissue box. Just a little snapshot in time. 

The kids always celebrate the 100th day of school.  It is an especially big deal in kindergarten.  Ali came home from the big day with these adorable glasses!

The PTA throws a big "One book one school" breakfast party each year.  This year every family in the school is reading "The Last of the Really Great Whongdoodles."  At the celebration the girls met Oreo, Providence Elementary's mascot.

Caleb is always thinking about what sport is next and this spring he has decided to give Lacross a shot.  It is a huge investment!!

The kids had a four day weekend for Presidents Day so we took the opportunity to check out the new Provo Temple.

We spent some time at the beloved Chuckie Cheese.

And then hit the popular ice castle in Midway.  It was really impressive.  I'm glad we went.  It was a full day, and our kids seem to just want to stay home and veg or play with friends.  It is so hard for me because I just want to PLAY.  It seems a little backwards doesn't it?!