Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year 2016

Well, it's been four years since I last blogged on Leap Year.  And I'm just as disorganized as I was four years ago.  Sigh.  Actually, right now things are pretty disorganized because we're going through sickness in our home.  Blah, not fun.  And it's all different kinds of sick.  Some people throwing up.  Some people with headaches and earaches.  Congestion, runny noses.  Sick.  Blah.
So that's what Leap Year is like this time around.

Some things are different than four years ago.  We still celebrate a lot of course,
but we've picked up a new hobby- birding.
 And since last Leap Year, we've added a new family member- Lucky.
Both Nichole and Jr. have lost several teeth since last Leap Year where they hadn't lost any at that point. 
In 2015, Jeremy spent all Summer building the Wonders of the World out of balloons (I helped a little).
He also broke a world record for largest modelling balloon sculpture by an individual (I didn't help, but supported him).

Jeremy and I are still happily married and again will continue to be four years from now.
So, this is our family this year.
I know I already put this picture on this blog, but it's the most recent family picture we have.
Wish us luck that next Leap Year we don't have sickness going on, but have even more exciting things to talk about.

Friday, February 26, 2016

How to Feed the Ducks in the Winter

A friend told me that the best time to feed the ducks at a certain pond is during the Winter because they're not already full of what people are bringing them throughout the warmer months.
So we did.
One day when we went, Lucky was a little overwhelmed.  As soon as the ducks saw we had food, they crowded around.  And they're almost as big as Lucky.

Another day, we found a different strategy.  Open up the side of the van and throw the food out from there.  The ducks went right up to the van, but they didn't surround Lucky.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rationalizing Birding

February 23 is National Rationalization Day.
Well, we got a new camera so I have to learn how to use it so I had to go out and try it today.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Provo City Center Temple

We were able to visit the new Provo City Center Temple for the open house today.  Yay!  I really wanted to go to this one.  We didn't make it to the Payson Temple open house.  It was sooooo busy.  It was hard enough to get reservations for this one.  We basically had one option, so as soon as the older kids got out of school, we picked them up and drove straight down to Provo.
We've told the kids stories of how we used to go to firesides when it was the Provo Tabernacle and how a few times we had stake conference there.  One time (this was before we had a car), we were going to stake conference and we just got out of the parking garage and were crossing to the tabernacle when Nichole threw up.  She was just an infant back then.  So our sweet friends/neighbors drove us all the way home before coming back to go to stake conference.  Thank you, friends. 
We told the kids how we didn't like sitting at the front of the balcony because the rim was so low, it seemed if you stood up you were going to fall over.  We especially never liked having our children close to the front of the balcony.
I got to sing in choirs a few times in that tabernacle.  Good memories.  This is why we reeeeeeeeally wanted to take the kids through the open house tour of this temple.  I'm so glad it worked out.
We even got to put little plastic foot protectors on our feet.  They didn't have us do that when we went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house.  Jeremy and I both remember from our childhood going to the open house for the Portland Temple and we remember putting the foot coverings over our shoes.  And later, that's where we were sealed.
It felt so good to go with our family to the open house today.  I am so grateful for my family.  I'm so grateful that the kids did so well going up and down so many stairs.  Lucky fell asleep on the drive there and woke up when we got out of the van.  He wasn't cranky, though.  He just wanted to be picked up and set down a lot.  Jr. Jr.'s comment after the tour was over was that being in the temple made him want to be nice to someone (and he was so well-behaved after we left).  Nichole said she could feel the Spirit.  I felt so calm on the way home.  I'm so glad we went.
I love my family and I love that we can be a family forever.  I was again reminded of how grateful I am for the husband I have and I'm glad that we are both improving together.
Today was a great family day.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pluto Day 2016

February 18 was Pluto Day.  At the end of the day, this is the comment I made.  "Ah, man.  We didn't do anything to celebrate Pluto Day."  This was Jr.'s response.  "Yes, we did.  We went out and got really cold."
Pluto is a very cold planet.  Jr. could tell you a lot about Pluto.  In fact, let's let him:

Fact #1. Pluto is really far from the sun. Fact #2. It is really cold there. Fact #3. Pluto day is on Feb. 18 every year. Fact #4. It was named by an 11 year old girl. (or teenager :) ;) I don't really know ) Fact #5. Pluto has a heart shaped crater on it. Fact #6. It has at least 5 moons. Fact #7. It's first moon is called Charon. Fact #8. Pluto's other (known) moons are #2 Nix, #3 Hydra, #4 P4, and #5 P5. Fact #9. My mom is insane. Fact #10. Really she is!

We did go out in the cold that day.  Here are pictures of us in the cold (not as cold as Pluto, though).

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lucky's Turn


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Another Day Off

Well, there was no school again yesterday.  So we took the kids and Nichole's friend again up to Big Springs to play in the snow.  That was fun.
After playing in the snow we went driving around looking for birds.  We found a little bird hiding on the bank of a stream.  It was not one we'd seen before.  Just a tiny thing but it had a long bill.  Hmmm, what could it be?  We tried to get some pictures with the messed up camcorder.  After driving up the road a bit and NOT getting a picture of a brown creeper (those things are fast), we checked the camcorder and realized that the picture of the little bird did not turn out.  Sigh.  Here's what it looked like:
So we went back down the road and turned around again so we could search the stream bank for that bird.  Jeremy has a very good eye for spotting birds so we saw 2 or 3 of those birds this time.
Here are some of the pictures we got:
I also used the binoculars to get a good look at their coloring so we could look them up when we got home.
When we got home we identified the bird as a Wilson's snipe.  So it turns out that when we went searching for that specific bird again, we were on a snipe hunt.  Yep.  And we found some.  They do exist.
We also continued our drive around Deer Creek Reservoir and passed this year's ice castle.

We saw some more birds and when we got home we had hot chocolate.

It was a great family and friend day.

Today, since Jeremy's fortune told us to go birding, we did.  We drove down to Provo, drove around some places, and back home.  The camcorder did let us take a few videos before it stopped working again.  We got a good one of a ring-necked pheasant walking around.  We saw plenty of birds we didn't get pictures of.  There was one point where we passed a tree that had so many starlings in it.  I rolled down my window and got a video with my little point and shoot camera.  Man, those things were so noisy.

Now it's time to take a little break from birding since it seems like we've been going out almost every day.  There are other things to work on, though.  We do have a few days coming up where we will do some birding (National Rationalization Day on February 23 is a good excuse), but for now it's time for a break.  Wish us luck.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had pizza for dinner.  Jeremy made it heart-shaped.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bald Eagle Day

Birding.  It's our new hobby.  We realized that Winter doesn't have to be miserable and a season you just get through.  There are so many birds that you only see in the Winter, some you won't see until Summer, and some you see all year round (and some only as they're migrating through).  There are also great adventures available to birders.  We have been visiting new spots and seeing new birds and we're learning about some events we can take part in.
Yesterday we visited a place called Oquirrh Lake.  Unfortunately the camcorder decided to stop working.  Aaagh, that's how we zoom in to identify a lot of birds that we're not familiar with.  Oh well.  The binoculars helped with recognizing some that we do know.  We'll definitely go back there again.

Today was Bald Eagle Day at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.  It was our first trip there, though we'd heard good things about the area from other birders.  We were not disappointed.  Even though we didn't have the camcorder, because it was their annual Bald Eagle Day there were scopes set up to see the bald eagles out on the ice.  That was awesome.  Much better than just the binoculars.  Also our family got a poster and the kids each got a button.  There were plenty of different kinds of birds to see and we look forward to going back.
It was great and we stopped by to see my sister on the way home.  The kids had a great time playing with their cousins but I totally forgot to take a picture of them.  Oh well again.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Last Couple Weeks

Let me update you on the last couple weeks.
Lucky's feeling better after being sick.  From time to time he's still somewhat clingy which makes it hard to do some things.  And he hasn't been sleeping as well at night.  Oh well.
We have been able to do some celebrating but not much blogging.
Sunday, January 31 was Backwards Day.  For dinner, we had dessert first.  Jeremy made a S'more Pie.  Then we had pizza which we ate crust first.  Our home teacher stopped by and brought us cookies which we also ate before dinner.
Jeremy told the kids that to really make it backwards, they should make dinner and I should play video games all evening.  That didn't exactly happen.

In the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willie Wonka invites the five ticket holders to his factory on February 1.  To celebrate we had some Wonka candy on Monday, February 1.

Tuesday, February 2 was Groundhog Day.  We watched the movie and ate our traditional imitation groundhog burgers.  Instead of making fries this year, Jeremy made potato chips.  Yumm.

Since we'd been cooped up with Lucky not feeling well, we decided to get some fresh air on Wednesday, February 3.  Jeremy and I took the youngest boys for a drive around Utah Lake.  It was beautiful.  The roads were clear and we were able to see lots of birds.  Here is a list of some that we saw:
bald eagle, golden eagle, American kestrels, magpies, ravens, red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, house sparrows, ring-necked pheasants, northern flickers, white-crowned sparrows, spotted towhee, gadwalls, great blue heron, American white pelican, Canada geese, Cooper's hawk

 golden eagle and rough-legged hawk
 red-tailed hawks
 American kestrels
 ring-necked pheasant and white-crowned sparrow
 gadwalls and Cooper's hawk
 American white pelican
Thursday, February 4 was busy so we completely forgot to celebrate Create a Vacuum Day and Thank a Mailman Day.

Friday, February 5 was Nutella Day.  Jeremy made us treats- nutella and marshmallow cream rolled up in a tortilla.  Yumm.

Saturday. February 6, Jeremy had a show in Spanish Fork.  After his show the kids and I met him down at Salem Pond for some birding and fun.
There was a bald eagle sitting in a tree right in the middle of the park so we were able to walk all the way around it on the walking trail and look at it from all angles.
Before we went home, the kids got into a snowball fight being very careful to avoid Lucky and Mommy.

Sunday, February 7, we went for a nice relaxing evening drive down to the southeast of Utah Lake and back.  We saw a few birds, some deer, and the sunset.
Monday, February 8 was Chinese New Year.  We ate food and fortune cookies.
 chow mein and stir fry veggies
egg rolls and orange chicken
white rice and fortune cookies

Lucky's fortune was "You have a natural grace and great consideration of others."  Except in the middle of the night when he won't stay asleep since he was sick.
Jr. Jr's fortune said, "You will soon bring joy to a family member."
Jr.'s said, "Your dreams will bring you into a profitable venture."
Nichole's fortune was "You could do well in a technical field.  Think creatively."
Daddy's was "Next Tuesday will be one of success and pleasant surprises."  Hmmm, sounds like we should go out birding on Tuesday.
I can't find mine but it said something about a vacation.

Since then it's been mostly cleaning/organizing and birding.  Jeremy's been on a few walks with the binoculars and camcorder.
  Eurasian collared dove and Western scrub-jay

We found a new place not too far away that's right next to the lake.  Jr. Jr. got to try out his new scooter he got for Christmas as we followed the walking/biking trail.  On the way back, Jeremy took a different path and we met up on the other side.

As of this blog post, we've identified 56 different species of bird since the beginning of the year.
 American coot and common goldeneye
 mallard and ring-billed gull

This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count.  Looks like another excuse for birding Friday, Saturday, and Monday.  That and Saturday is Bald Eagle Day at Farmington Bay of the Great Salt Lake and Monday is President's Day with no school.  Remember what we did last time there was a day off school?

We've been doing so much lately that every day I'm too tired to blog.  So now I'm caught up.  Phew.

Oh yeah, and the kids are having their Valentine parties at school today so they each made a box for their Valentines to go in.  Jr.'s was a collage box.  He cut out pictures of things he liked from magazines and glued them on a granola bar box (which he also likes- granola bars, not just the box).
Nichole made a sorting hat sitting on a chair.  It has a poem on it.  "I am the Sorting Hat, I like to eat.  Feed me your Valentines to give me a treat." 
Good job, kids

O.K.  Now I'm caught up.