Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back in AZ July Fun! 24th of July, Pioneer Day!

Coming back to AZ- I jumped right back into swimming lessons. This road runner liked to keep us company. Pretty majestic creature. It's been so great to be able to use Cathy Konopnicki's pool to do the lessons. We're so grateful for her.

The boys had their first sleep over with Zach. Here they are watching So You Think You Can Dance and recreating a hip hop routine. It was so funny. They had a blast.
Lottie's obsession this summer- Play Dough. Oh man- obsession doesn't even come close to her infatuation with it.
The boys love to help out in the yard!
Lottie gets so tired when she doesn't have a nap- this is not an uncommon occurance. Sleeping mid bite. . . Oh and cinnamon toast crunch is wanted ALL THE TIME.


Ari took the kids to Candies Ice Cream shop while I was gone for a choral conference. 

Jaxon's lego creations are so creative and ingenious. He's definitely got a talent!



Pioneer Day finally arrived. This little pioneer is ready for a parade. She takes even pioneer fashion seriously.

The boys weren't quite as enthusiastic about the parade. They endured it and had a little more appreciation for what the pioneers went through.
They represented the "past" portion of the float. Love our mountain backdrop. You don't see anything like that in Guymon:)



They were so hot in the parade. We were thrown a few otter pops and Kodee saw us eating them. He was not happy he did not get one. After the parade they couldn't stop talking about how uncomfortable they were. Aw- suck it up butter cups.




The celebration afterward was awesome. Good bbq and friends! Gemma found Paizley! She was so excited. It's been a long time!

Lottie found multiple ways to entertain herself.


Playing airplane with Gemma while we wait for the fireworks

Lottie had to get in on the action too!
Little rascal. The boys were off playing with their friends. It was a pretty magical night.



The next day Ari and Katie dressed up like authentic pioneers to lead the primary music. It was so much fun. The kids sat on blankets.

Such dedicated choristers. They do a great job!







Utah July Fun!

We decided to take the weekend before Fourth of July and head up to Cove to spend time with Kelly and Troy. We've never seen the Brigham City temple before since we always drive right by it. We decided to stop and snap a few pics.

Such a beautiful temple!






Kelly's house is so adorable. They truly live in the "Little House" on the hill. Love everything about it! So did the kids!

We found out that Ryan was performing at the Freedom Fire festival at Utah State. We got ourselves some tickets and went out to support. It ended up being a very fun, patriotic, fourth of July family activity. Amazing fireworks!
Lottie thought the Journey cover band was a little too loud. She was being so cute!
The kids were pretty stoic, but they were looking so old to me. What, did we age 3 years on this trip?

Gemma wasn't having any of it. She can throw on the tude when she wants.
Jaxon zoning out.
Then she can be zaney and fun the next minute.

Betty's wondering eye had her at a loss. I believe that was my caption posted with this pic. Ha ha.
Staying hydrated!




Time for the fireworks! Ryan sang America the Beautiful Ray Charles style.

He said the "rockets red glare" explosion through him for a loop while he sang the national anthem. Good thing he kept his note:)






The next day, we went on a hike and picnic up at High Creek! Beautiful country- but quite vicious at the same time. Kelly told us to stay to the left of the creek- well the left of the creek was a really hard trail that was super jungly. It took us forever to go probably a half mile. The way back we went the easy way, but we had to cross the creek because the bridge was out. Crossing the creek was FREEZING. We're talking glacier water. Jaxon did not like it at all. He also got a nasty cut on his foot. I had to cross it about 4 times to take the girls across. Definitely memorable.
Sandwiches and chips thanks to Kelly and Ari. Why do picnics taste SO GOOD in the great outdoors?
The creek crossing. We told the boys all about the the sugar creek crossing and the pioneers. They were very impressed.
Getting ready to cross. Excuse the shorts please:)
The current was actually pretty swift. It's amazing I stayed on my feet.

Momma did good.
Lottie refused to take another step. Jaxon had to carry her a little pit of the way.

Jaxon's uncomfortable crossing. He hated it!

Right after High Creek it was time for the Mud Pots at Troy's rock quarry. It was amazing. Best mud pot experience ever. The kids loved it.


There's just something about the consistency of the stuff. It's like laying around in warm chocolate mousse. Delicious!


Mom joined us to. This pond was cool because there was about 2 feet of water on top of 2 feet of soft mud. It was perfect for everyone to crawl around on.



I was trying to capture the euphoria of the moment. This face says it all.


We came back to Kelly's and hosed off.


Lottie thought she was Lady Godiva. 

After a hamburger cookout we had a little accident. The kids were playing on Kelly's huge swing set. Gemma was on the big metal swing and Lottie ran into it and cut her cheek open. It was a bloody mess and kind of shocking.
We of course went to Urgent Care and luckily we got there within ten minutes of it closing. Lottie was so scared to get the stitches- but after they put on Frozen for her, she was able to calm down and get the stitches. It was very close to her eye, and getting the shot and flushing the wound with saline solution was pretty tough. Poor girl.
That night she apparently slept in our suit case. I guess she needed to feel hugged?:)


We were able to meet Josh's new fiance, and soon bride-to-be, Sydney. Fun to say high to Shelby too.


Kelly's church building has this awesome merry go round on it. The kids had to try it out.

We loved seeing Kimber too! She's so cute.

Kelly and Troy are so much fun. We loved spending the weekend with them. The kids can't get enough of them. 

The stitches- four of them to be exact. We hope it doesn't leave to big of a scar.

Happy Fourth of July! We had a fun breakfast in the Day Break park with the whole ward.
The girls rocked their red white and blue. Lottie also rocked the shiner:)


 We had a fun cookout that night at Kim and Daves.





The neighborhood is firework crazy. It seriously sounded like a war zone.



 We had some fun with sparklers and played cards while explosions erupted all around us.



Doesn't this picture just sum up the fourth of July?
The Mr. and Mrs. We were quite patriotic as well.







They kept saying, "We are the Three Muskateers!" Or four? Whatever.. . ?

The next day we went to a kids museum at Thanksgiving Point. They had an area where you did things that animals did. This was the Sloth Hang. Jaxon beat the record by holding on like this for 320 seconds! It was awesome!

They had a fun water play area, complete with water shield apron where Lottie could sit in the table. Fun.

The boys found this giant lego building area and used every single lego to build this house. Other kids joined in on the fun too.  

Lottie and I took a moment and snapped these photo booth pics. She keeps calling this her daddy date so- check and check!


 We had an interesting thing happen while we were in Utah. I've been applying to a ton of colleges for music and choral professor positions. I had a few interviews with University of Wisconsin, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and Paris Texas Community College. Oklahoma seemed very serious about me, so Ari and I thought we should head out there and check out the campus. We took a whirlwind of a 24 hour trip to head over to Guymon and Goodwell Oklahoma. We flew into Oklahoma city the night before, really late and stayed with an old BYU roommate of Kim's. They lived next door to the Oklahoma City temple- so we were able to add this pic to our temple check list!




We had a layover in Denver and ate a fantastic meal at this place. 

I ordered Lamb Sliders with a curry yogurt sauce for the sweet potato fries, and a mint yogurt sauce for the sliders. They were insanely good!
Ari ordered a delicious grilled cheese on corn cake. It was topped with an awesome chipotle mayo and hiccuma. It was SO GOOD!
We finished it off with a slice of chocolate silk pie. Once again- crazy good.


While we were in the airport in Denver I received an email from my contact at Oklahoma PSU and was officially offered the job. I was ecstatic. Ready to jump over the moon. And definitely ready to move to Oklahoma. I didn't care what the job was- it was college, and I had my foot in the door.

Ari told me to not rush anything and wait to see what we saw in OK.

I couldn't sleep at all that night. We got to Kim's friends around midnight, but I couldn't sleep till 2. Then a dog jumped on me and freaked me out. By 3 I was ready to go. I just had to get out to the panhandle. I woke up Ari at 4 and told her we needed to go. She ended up sleeping the whole way there. I was buzzing with adrenaline.

I noticed as we drove out of OK City that the land just became more ugly and desolate the further we were from the city. Once we got to the panhandle it was SO ugly. Yikes.

The wind was blowing, and apparently it never stops. All the trees lean toward the north.


When we got to Guymon we stopped at Walmart. This was the parking lot. I had heard it was flat- now I believe it. Holy cow!

We drove out to campus and it was pretty old and run down. The building all look about 100 years old.

The football stadium. Ari was worried that the kids would climb up that water tower if we lived in campus housing. It was right behind the houses.

The library. The guy who runs it is a member in the Guymon branch.



A clock tower- small, but it's there.
There was a pretty courtyard area in the center of campus with a grove of trees. That was one of the best parts.

The sign. (I still thought I was taking the job at this point).

Campus housing- small, but possibly doable?

Another building on campus

The tiny little branch building in Guymon.




Driving out. . .back to the airport in OK City. 


I could tell that Ari was not feeling this place at all. Housing was looking pretty slim, the options were not great. We got a weird feeling from the school. All in all, it didn't seem like the best fit for us. The biggest problem was that it would be a sizeable cut in salary from what we currently get. The cost of living would not make up for that so it just didn't make sense to go that direction with our family. 

Interestingly enough, I have a friend who is going through the same process- wanting to get into college teaching. I told him about the position, a few days later I found out he accepted the position and moving there with his family. It will be interesting to see what happens! Can't wait to see the great things he does over there.


Lottie's little bruise was pretty sad to see. Luckily it healed pretty fast.

Nielsen's opened up right down the street from Ari's parents in Daybreak. We took a little walk down there one night to experience the goodness. Seriously- the best custard in the WORLD!
Finally time to head back to Arizona. We timed it just right to have lunch at our favorite Cafe in Bluff, UT. We love the Twin Rocks Cafe. Their stew, indian fry bread, and burgers are crazy good!
AZ, we are ready for you- but not so ready for the heat. Yikes!