I can't believe that I am a month and a half behind on my blog. It was a combination of too many fun things to post about, and not having the time to sit at the computer. Now that the kids are back in school, I am hoping to get back on track :).
While we were at Lily's swim meet, Arthur was sitting with all of us on the side of the pool. He was not very happy about that. He hates sitting still, and he loves swimming, and since we were forcing him to do the former and refusing to let him do the latter, then he was pretty upset. I took a picture of his grumpy face, and as I took pictures of him, he morphed from super grumpy, to giggling and happy.
Being in the Twin Falls for the summer has changed our normal routine, and made for some new adventures. We have been working hard, but also having lots of fun. One of our new favorite things, is our YMCA membership. We love taking advantage of getting to swim at the City Pool. I even took a water aerobics class :).
We also spend a lot of time next door at my sister Holly's house. Arthur loves all their great driving toys, like this power wheels car. It took him a bit to figure out the gas pedal, but now he uses it like a pro. Granted, he has no clue how to steer, and sometimes gets stuck in reverse and can only go backwards :).
He is as much trouble as ever, but is so adorable, it hard to be mad.
Even though we are still in transition, I still had to get my kids into a golf clinic. They did the clinic with their cousin, Luke, which made it even more fun :). When Arthur saw the golf course, he had to get in on the fun as well, so Kevin let him play on the putting green.
We also got in some swim lessons. Lily is on the swim team and practices 3 times a week for an hour and half, but Derek did swim lessons with his cousin, Luke. They were very evenly matched skill wise, and so it was perfect.
One evening, we had the most fantastic time with Kevin's parents at a benefit dinner/concert right on the Snake river Canyon. It was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the entertainment was amazing. And yes, we did have a small rain shower, but Valerie's friend, Joan, had three umbrellas in her car for us to use. Such a great night!
And then, there was Kids' Art in the Park. I signed Lily up, and for $5 each, they got to go to three art classes, and had lunch provided. I am so glad I did it - they had a fantastic time! Lily took Sugar Skulls, Kiragami, and Pottery.
Derek took Theater Games, Origami Legos, and Try a Band Instrument. And the band instrument teacher was Mr. Bortz, my old Girl's Choir teacher from Twin Falls High School. So fun!
They both had such a wonderful time. And Arthur loved playing at the park when we went to pick them up.
One evening, we had the chance to go to the 75th wedding anniversary party for Kevin's Great Aunt and Uncle. They even got a picture of all the older Brown cousins, which was fun. Lily spent the party making friends with all the little kids, and Derek spent the party cuddled up with Grandma Valerie - he was freezing, and Grandma kept him warm :).
Another fun activity, was Cow Appreciation Day at Chic-fil-A. I didn't dress up, but my parents and kids did. They looked super cute, and they got a free meal for dressing up. Lily made Derek and Arthur's costumes, as well as her own :). Arthur's favorite part was not the food though - it was meeting the cow.
Another fun thing that I got to do, was to take portraits of my sister, Holly, and her family. It was fun to take a break and get behind the camera again. Things have been so crazy lately, I haven't had time to take pictures. She has a beautiful family, and we got some wonderful shots.
It has been a busy few weeks, but it has been a fun few weeks as well.
Kevin's brother, Scott, and his family, came for a visit to Twin Falls, and we had a great time with them while they were here. Lily and Derek got along so well with their kids, Conner, Anna, and Payton - it was perfect.
They had a blast playing with the Pipeworks and building things together. It was the perfect kind of night for playing outside, and once they built their car, the took turns pushing each other around in it.
Anna was super sweet to play with Arthur. She even pushed him around in the car, and in return, he gave her a kiss :).
One of the really special things we got to do while they were here, was to take the three oldest kids to the Twin Falls Temple. Lily and Payton had both recently turned twelve, and so had only been once each. It was so wonderful to share this experience with family.
On the last day they were in town, we met up at the super fun park in Twin. They had a blast playing for a couple hours, while Kevin and I took turns chasing Arthur and getting wit talk to Scott and Shannon.
I am so glad we had this experience to help our kids build relationships with their cousins. It was such a great visit :).
It was so awesome getting to be with family for 4th of July. Arthur started off the day with hanging out with his Grandpa Roy. They have such a fun time together.
There were all sorts of pancake breakfasts everywhere, but instead of going to one of them, I made our own pancake breakfast to start the day :).
Unfortunately, we had a little hitch in our plans during the day. The garbage disposal got clogged, and we tried everything to unclog it. Unfortunately, not only was it a Saturday, but it was the 4th of July, which meant that no plumbers were working. So, for the rest of the day, we had to wash dishes in the bathroom - crazy! (*We actually ended up having to do that for over a week with a bunch of other issues with it as well, but it did eventually get fixed.)
That evening, we went to my sister, Heather's house for a BBQ. My niece Melanie came down from Idaho Falls for it, and it was so much fun to see her. She stayed the whole weekend, and it was awesome.
Arthur and Savannah were the littlest people at the party, and got lots of fun cuddles because of it. My niece, Sierra, especially loves to give him hugs, and he enjoys every minute of it.
My brother-in-law, Tom, set up a candy cannon, which was pretty awesome. It would shoot candy out into the yard, and the kids (and Holly) would run out and collect it all. The only bad thing, was when you got pelted on the head with hard candy. After the first time getting hit in the head with a Jolly Rancher, I hid under the tent :). The kids really loved it though.
My favorite part of the party, was when they brought out the parachute. It brought back so many wonderful memories from playing with it at BBQ's when I was a little girl. I am so glad that my kids got to experience it too.
While all the adults stood around the edges and held the sides, the kids were free to run around inside of it. They thought it was awesome!
When the BBQ was over, we went back to my parent's house, and then gathered up all our fireworks and took them next door to my sister Holly's house. We combined our fireworks and had such a great time lighting them off.
Arthur was super tired, but he loved it anyway. Such a fun way to end a really great night.
One of the fun things about being in Twin Falls, is that our good friends, the Bowlander's, live a couple hours away in Boise. They came to visit, and we had the best day together. We went down into the canyon and saw Shoshone Falls. During the summer, you never know if you are going to find any water, but we were lucky that not all of it was being diverted for irrigation yet.
Right next to the waterfall, was this nice hill, perfect for rolling down. The kids loved it!!
We even took a video of it, because they were so funny :). The boys were especially into it, and their shirts definitely showed the evidence.
Arthur didn't roll down the hill, but he did run up it, and he had the best time taking Terrie for a walk all around the park. After running and rolling off some energy, we had a picnic to refuel.
Arthur and Terrie have had a special relationship ever since he was born, and they had such a great time together.
After going to Shoshone Falls, we headed over to Dierkes Lake for the kids to swim. Derek was our super brave guy. Not only did he swim all the way out to the dock in the middle, but he jumped off the diving board a bunch of times. This was especially funny, because there was a big group of high school guys trying to talk themselves into going off the diving board, but they were too chicken :).
Lily spent most of her time trying to catch little fish that were right next to the dock. The other kids loved looking for them too.
We had such a fantastic day, but the best part for me, was getting to spend hours talking to one of my very favorite people. That, and getting to watch our kids have a blast with each other.
We may not have originally planned on spending the summer in Idaho, but we sure are happy we are getting the opportunity. The kids are in heaven - between having both sets of their grandparents to play with, aunts, uncles, and cousins galore, they are loving all the fun things there are to do in Twin Falls. Although they still have chores and work to do, there are so many amazing opportunities for fun.
One of their favorite things so far, is getting to build things with the pipeworks at Kevin's parent's house. They have built cars, bridges, and even a slide.
One night, we got to a special Chick-fil-A event, and Arthur loved getting to see the cow. And he got to see his cousin, Sierra, who is back working there for the summer while she is home from college. She even gave him a toy cow :).
One of our favorite things that we have done so far, is something new in Twin Falls - this fantastic new park on the edge of town. It has the coolest equipment I have ever seen at a park, and the kids loved it!
In fact, we loved it so much, that we went again when Kevin was back from Colorado.
Another fun activity, was a kiddie pool that I bought for the kids to play in. They love it! It is a little tricky to keep clean, but it is totally worth the extra effort. It has been especially great, because it has been super hot the past couple weeks.
Kevin had had to go back to Colorado for a few days to sign out on leave, and we were so happy to get him back home. Derek and Arthur cuddled right up to their daddy - we had missed him a lot.
One really special activity I was able to go to, was the 100th birthday party for Velma Cox. She is a wonderful lady that was in my ward when I was a teenager. I have kept in touch with her ever since I left for college, and she is amazing! It was so much fun to celebrate with her.
On Father's Day, my brother Preston stopped by on his way to pick up his daughter, Eden. It was so great to see him, as he lives in Nevada, and won't be around very often. Arthur really liked Preston - Preston, and his dog that he brought with him :).
Arthur has had a lot of fun with all the yummy food we have had - some of which are new to him. He really loved my mom's baked beans. He ate all of Kevin's portion, and then asked for more. "Arthur eat more beans? Arthur eat ten beans?" So cute!
He also gobbled up his corn on the cob, and even ate a second piece.
We happened to be here for Elizabeth's birthday, and he really loved her birthday cake. He just picked up the whole piece and ate it up. Savannah decided to follow Arthur's example :).
Arthur has been just as much into his instruments as ever. We even had to buy him a new violin, because his old one got too worn out. He loves it!
And when Arthur can't find an instrument, he makes his own. Whether it is making something into a drum, or a tuba, or a trumpet, he is playing his music. One day, he had a bulldozer and had it sideways and called it his "trombone."
It hasn't all been fun and games. It has also been work. I planted a garden for my parents, and every morning, the kids and I get up and weed and water it. It has been fun to see it grow. And Lily is in charge of taking care of the chickens, which she loves.
Derek even got to help wash the cars. The kids have been such fantastic helpers!
Chickens aren't the only wildlife around my parent's house. The other day, Lily and her cousins found a little garden snake. Lily loved getting to hold it - snakes are her favorite animal :).
We have some normal life things as well, as life isn't always work or play. Sometimes, it is just getting things done. One of those things, was getting Arthur's hair cut. He looks so cute!!
It has been such a great few weeks in Idaho so far, and we look forward to more wonderful times together :).
One of the most exciting parts of Lily turning twelve, is that now she is old enough to get to go to the Temple and do baptisms for the dead. This is an opportunity for her to be baptized as proxy for someone who didn't have the opportunity when they were alive. A few months ago, she researched her family history on Family Search, and found some family members who needed baptism, so she could be baptized for them.
Well, we weren't able to go to the Denver Temple before we moved, but that didn't matter, because there is a beautiful temple in Twin Falls. In fact, it is right across the street from my in-law's house. Because of how many youth in the area want to be able to do baptisms, they have a special time each week, very early on Wednesday mornings, when they can come. We decided it would be the perfect chance for Lily to go for her first time. And so, on Wednesday morning, we were all up by 4:30 am, and were out of the house by 5 am.
She was overflowing with excitement - and it was contagious. And I have to say, there is nothing quite like seeing your child in the temple all dressed in white. It was a wonderful experience for all three of us, and I am so grateful that we got to go.
On Thursday, Kevin got to sign out on his "terminal leave," meaning he was signing out on his last leave (vacation) before he gets out of the Army at the end of August. After twelve wonderful years of his career, we have decided to try a new adventure.
And so on Wednesday, for the last time ever, Kevin put on his Army uniform. He has a wonderful new job lined up, but while we wait for it to start, we will enjoy his freedom and get to spend extra time with our families.
To sign out, Kevin had had to return to Colorado Springs, but luckily, he made it back in time for Father's Day. We had a great Father's Day, and the kids loved getting to be with their daddy. They even sang him the cutest rendition of "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home."
And as a special treat, we got him a Costco cake - one of his favorite things. I am so grateful to not only have a wonderful father of my own, but to have Kevin as my husband, who is such a fantastic father for my children.
After all our goodbyes in Colorado, it was so wonderful to get to go to Cheyenne and say hello to good friends there. We stayed the night with our friends, the Taylor's, and it made it so much easier to leave Colorado to get to play with Saundra and her family.
Lily and Derek were so very excited to get to see their friends, and they had a blast together.
Kevin and Beau loved getting to have somebody to watch basketball playoff games with. While they were watching, Saundra and I got the kids to bed, and then went to Dairy Queen to get us all treats :).
The next day, we headed to Idaho. It was a bit of a stressful drive for me, as I had the van with all the kids and the bike rack on the back of the van.
I was so grateful when we finally made it to Twin Falls. And Lily, Derek, and Arthur were in cousin heaven. They are going to love having them right next door all summer!
And the kids love getting to spend time with their grandparents. They get to do things like rock on the swing porch with Grandpa Roy.
And they get to play games with Grandma Lynn.
They get to do things like have picnics with Grandpa Dennis.
And play duets with Grandma Valerie. It is going to be a fun summer :).
And yes, there will be a few adjustments, but it will be wonderful getting to spend so much time with family.
"When we come to understand not only WHO we are, but who we always have been - and therefore, who we may become - the choice between following Christ or embracing the world is really no choice at all."
- Sheri Dew