Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Aspen Grove 2009

The Coburn family reunion was held at Aspen Grove, Utah this year. It is a family camp owned and operated by BYU. There are tons of sporting activities to do and the scenery is so gorgeous. The camp is tucked up on the backside of Mt. Timpanogos. It rained when we first got there, but by the time we were ready to do official activities on Monday the weather was perfect. It lasted all week until the day we left.

This is the Coburn family. Well, it is probably about a third of the entire group. There were lots of missing families, most likely due to the economy. It is always fun when we get together, no matter who makes it.

Here is Grandma E. waiting with Eli to get our picture taken.

This is our family picture...

We did a lot of eating. It was served buffet style, so after a few days Raef and Zach would just go in there by themselves when meals were being served and get what they wanted. It was hard figuring out where they were half the time. But it was pretty much a sure-fire bet that if they weren't with their little camp group they could either be found on the badmitton courts (Raef especially), or playing air hockey in the game room.

Raef LOVED badmitton!

Eli liked to play around the badmitton courts. He is doing the same thing Raef and Zach did at the same age. We had come here last time for a Coburn reunion when the twins were the same age as Eli.

Rinar is holding Eli, Brennan is holding his son Shysen, and Nordel has got Tru in his arms.
This is Eli, Tru, and Shysen. They are all about the same age and are all cousins.
It was late and we were playing family games. Nordel and Brooke's son Tru just fell asleep in the middle of the floor. He stayed there quite a while and didn't move a muscle. It was adorable.

We had the traditional family talent show and Raef and Zach rocked the joint with The Witches Dance. I know I have posted them playing this before, but this is a really cute rendition.

There were so many activities for the kids to do. This is Bryn doing the rock climbing wall. Rinar took this photo.
Lounging at the pool...
Eli wasn't happy for some reason. Here is a cousin, Hailey, trying to comfort him. Oh yeah, the reason he is not happy is because I took him off of the teeter totter. I think he stayed on that thing for 30 minutes. I was just tired of standing there.

Sheri, Hoku and I were surprised with a baby shower. Sheri is due with a boy in August. Hoku is having a baby in December, and I get one of each in October.

This is a funny sequence of pictures...

Oh well.

The kids are with their Cubs class, practicing there song for the final night.

These were Raef and Zach's counselors for the week: Devon and Shaelie.

At the show, which we had to do indoors because of rain. Raef is ready to go.

Then it was on to the family dance. They had a mean congo line going. It was lots of fun.

Zach is dancing with some little girl. I am not sure what this is all about, but it looks like he was having fun.

"Y.M.C.A" with Grandma.

Nordel and Tru are boogeying...

It was a lot of fun. See all you Coburn's in 2 years...in Hawaii. ALOHA!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Temple Square and the Gateway

I have been busy the last few weeks. I decided to take a trip to Utah with my kids while Rinar went on a business trip to Florida. We spent almost one week with Melanie and her family. We were able to do lots of fun things. On the first day we went to Temple Square.

We first went to the Conference Center for a quick "kid" tour of the building. Melanie had never been in it before, but we didn't want to stay long because of our restless kids. So the tour guide showed us the inside meeting hall, which is massive and the roof. The roof is spectacular!

Halle, Zach and Raef are standing on the roof looking west over the Salt Lake valley. Can you believe that is a roof? The picture with all of us is also on the roof. I don't think there is anything like it in the world.

After this stop, we headed over the the church office building to go to the observation deck. The kids had fun seeing the entire valley. It was a clear day and a perfect time to look at everything. Then we did a quick run through Temple Square. There was a lot of construction going on, so we did not stay long.

We had to stop and fill up on some snacks before we caught the train to the Gateway.

Melanie and I were both amazed by the beautiful flower beds. They were stunning. Eli is sitting in front of one that is on the side of the church museum. I was especially struck by the beautiful color scheme for this one. It was so bright and well-planned.

Thanks to Melanie's eye for coupons, we were able to do 2-1 entrance fee to the children's museum. We got there mid-afternoon and all of the kids were enthralled by it, especially Eli and Ava. They hardly made a sound as they played really hard with all of the fun toys and contraptions. Here is Caleb in his mug shot. He actually was really happy but got all serious for this picture. It really cracked me up.

Eli and Ava got down and dirty with the balls. They must have been at this specific location for an hour all together. They just loved it.

We finished up the day with a nice dinner at Z Tejas and the kids were all surprisingly good. Melanie and I were both very surprised. Plus, we were able to finish up before the dinner rush. Then Melanie kindly bought all of the kids gumballs from a gumball cart. They had a lot of fun picking out the ones they wanted. And then we checked out the play fountains. I didn't want the kids to get wet so we told them they could play as long as they didn't get wet. It was quite a challenge and the kids all rose to the occasion. I think they had more fun running through the fountains dodging all of the streams of water. Plus, they only got a little bit wet.

It was a long, exhausting, but very fun day for us all.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gut Check - 22 Weeks

Well, time is moving right along and gravity is starting to kick in. Look at how I am progressing compared to my 18 week picture...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eli's Loving Life

Here are some cute moments of Eli in the past few weeks. In this first one, we are playing Apples to Apples and Rinar is holding Eli. He is a little tired, but very comfortable. He just plopped his feet up on the table and was very relaxed, watching the game unfold. Eli kept closing his eyes as I snapped some pictures. He is such a little snuggler. I am very blessed.

And here he is after a bath. I stick the towel on top of his head and then he likes to go for a walk naked. It is so funny, at least to me it is. But I guess I am his Mom, so I am a sucker for stuff like this. ***FYI, the piano music in the background is Zach of course***

Finally, we have enjoyed having the cousins over: Xayden and Jayde. They did a lot of swimming and playing and just being together. It was a pleasant weekend. Here they are all enjoying a popsicle together on the swing. Eli loves to eat popsicles with his friends on the swing. He will sit there the whole time and just chill.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kids Say and Do the Darndest Things

A couple of cute kid stories...

We had just taught Eli how to nod yes, instead of no all the time. I think he has definitely gotten the concept. On Sunday, we had a joint third hour meeting in the chapel. Rinar and I were both sitting there and Eli started walking towards the front of the room. He got all the way to the stairs at the podium and turned to look at us because he knew he was being naughty. Both Rinar and I simultaneously were shaking our heads, NO, and he was vehemently nodding his head yes. It was cracking me up.


Last night, Rinar was reading a scripture story to the kids. It was about Lazarus. He lived in Bethany with his sisters Mary and Martha. Rinar told them he would quiz them at the end of the story to see if they were listening. Raef has two cousins who are sisters, Bethany and Bryn. Bryn is his best buddy. When Rinar finished the story, he asked the kids, "Where did Lazarus and his sisters live?" Raef got really excited and raised his hand to answer the question.


It was very cute.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Homeschooling Report

Even though it is entirely too late, and I am really tired, I thought I would do a quick update of my day.

I decided that I would really work on getting lots of schoolwork done with the kids this week. We will be gone to Utah for the last two weeks of June, so I hate to lose a lot of time hitting the books. I have decided to push through the summertime with the kids, as I know I will be practically forced to stop school for a while in the fall due to #4 and #5. I have explained all of this to Raef and Zach and they are on board. They know they get no summer break. Plus, there really isn't much to do in the summertime in Las Vegas besides going swimming in the backyard. It is just too HOT!

All righty then...we finished Story of the World: the Ancients last week. YEAH! I am so glad I finished it all with them. I am sure they are not going to remember a lot of the details, but they do have a grasp of the fact that there is a big world out there and they are not the center of it. The story unfolds rather nicely and it has been a pleasure to go through it with them over the last year. Now we get to crack open book number two about the Middle Ages. I will probably get really excited when we get to the third year, starting with the Renaissance. It is my very favorite kind of history, but I really like all of it.

We have been steadily making our way through the Math-U-See curriculum, Beta level. They have finished lesson 12 and seem to have mastered all of the concepts so far. I am not trying to go too fast with the math because I want the things they are learning to really settle in. A good foundation in math seems key to me. But they started carrying or regrouping to the hundreds, so they are doing "grown-up" addition. Raef can do it in his head. He is really breezing through it. Today, I had them take a test from an earlier lesson and they both did great. Math-U-See is such a great way to learn math. I am thankful it is out there. We watch the video where he does a lesson and then we go and practice. It really works quite nicely.

Spelling seems to be Raef's achilles heel. He really has a hard time remembering simple things. I don't know what the deal is, but it can get frustrating at times. However, he seems to be doing very well with Spelling Workout A and is about 3/4 of the way done with the book. His lesson today was finished quickly, with no problems. Zach is a spelling savant. I am sure one day you will all see him on ESPN and please don't think it is because I drill it into him. He just really has a knack for it ever since he could talk. He LOVES letters. I am sure I could really push him hard with the spelling and he would rise to the occasion, but I really don't see the point. It would only gratify my ego, and I could truly care less. It is enough for me that he is above his level and aces it everyday. If he wants to push himself, he is more than welcome to put in the time. I am too busy.

I attempted creative writing with them...

Yeah, so let's move on.

Violin practice was a big success today. Zach is on song #5 in book 3. I can't remember the name of it. By now there are like 8 Gavotte's and 6 Minuet's and they all start to mesh together for me. Plus, I am pregnant so it is really hopeless. Anyways, he was having problems with the bowing on the last section. We got into an argument about a missing note and he dutifully informed me that his Dad had shown him how to play it. I countered with the fact that Dad does not go to lessons every week and he reads the music like a piano player and not a violinist. Of course, I was right.

***Note to self: I must explain to Rinar the difference between a slurred note and one that is tied together so that my sanity can remain.

Anyways, song #5 is almost done. That means he will only have 2 more left in book 3 and then he will be ready for book 4.

Raef is pretty much done with song #1 in book 3. This is Gavotte by Martini. The only problem with the song is that it repeats so much and so subtley that it is hard to remember where you are so he is constantly playing the wrong phrase. I am going to have to have him listen to the CD about a hundred times so that he will remember.

We are also about finished with memorizing "The Duke of Plaza-Toro" by W. S. Gilbert. It is a funny poem about a cowardly leader. It is quite amusing.

They did reading time today as well. It lasted about 30 minutes or so. They are getting a greater endurance for it. Zach read more than half of a Boxcar Children mystery book. Raef read a silly cartoonish book and a few others. As long as he is reading something, it is fine with me. I usually have him read challenging things to me about 3 times a week. I need to do it more really.

Grammar is progressing nicely also. We are on about lesson 115 in our two year program. I also bought some Mad Libs for them, which they thought were the berries. They did several stories and then proceeded to read them to every person who walked through our door. They just thought it was sooooo funny. Little did they know that they were reinforcing recognition of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. It is a great supplement to grammar lessons.

This is my homeschooling report. It is a lot easier than it seems.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Denver and Some Awesome Weather

It was a lot of fun to go with Rinar on one of his business trips for no reason at all. He is always asking me to go, and I have always told him no. It is just a pain to get babysitters for the kids and drop the stuff that I am doing. This time I couldn't bare the thought of telling him no, so I just told him YES! So, he took a day off of work so that we could have a day before his meetings to do something fun.

When we got there it was 45 degrees and lightly raining. I was in heaven. It was a welcome break from 100 degrees and no possible chance EVER for rain.

We drove from the airport straight to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. The only thing about going to a mountainous national park is that you can't see mountains when it is overcast! I am pretty sure that there are large mountains in Colorado, but I can't swear to it. We couldn't see a darn thing above about 200 hundred feet. There was thick fog everywhere. But there was plenty of elk to see. Also, a national park is such a peaceful place. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere that was there and the void of all things man-made. It was quite wonderful.

In Estes Park, we ate at a fun little burger joint called Penelope's and then we walked around the shops. I think I stopped at every candy store I could find. Hey, you have to have candy when you are pregnant!

We stayed at the J.W. Marriott and I was very impressed with the shampoo they had there. It was quite wonderful and I think I might get a whole bottle of it. But you know that an entire bottle of shampoo is quite a commitment and so I am going to have to think about it a while before I really take that sudsy plunge.

We made sure to sleep in as much as possible on Wednesday and then we gradually made our way over to Rinar's hotel meeting place. Lucky for me, it was right next to a Chick-Fil-A. They don't have that restaurant here in Las Vegas so I feel very deprived sometimes. Rinar went to his meetings after lunch and I went to the mall and then on to the temple.

It was still overcast, but by Thursday it cleared up nicely. When we left to go to the airport, we went to wrong way on the freeway for about 5 miles. Let's just say that making it to the terminal before our flight left was a little bit stressful. Luckily the plane was delayed 8 minutes and Rinar was still able to use his A boarding pass and get us a great seat. It was a fun little trip.

As I had mentioned in my earlier post...Subaru's everywhere! It was unreal.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's Just Not All About ME!

Due to things that have been happening around me, it has caused me to reflect on the word perseverance. Why is that some people can stick it out and make the hard choices, while others choose to walk the wimpy, worldly path that most certainly WILL lead to heartache and sadness?

I know that I have made tough choices in my life. A lot of times these choices have not been popular, but I know that they were correct choices. When you choose to dedicate your life to Christ and follow the teachings of His gospel, it can be a lonely and seemingly rewardless journey.

I have made a conscious choice to be a mother. It is not glamorous and I do not get the worldly recognition. I will never be a glamor girl with the fake breasts and lots of ME time. But this does not bring true happiness. I have the opportunity every day to serve and give of myself. As I give and lose my life to the Lord, I consistently find it again because I see who I really am and what I am made of. This is where true joy comes from. It is a gift that never stops giving and I am continually blessed because I have made tough choices in my life.

As a child I was fortunate enough to participate on many organized sports teams. I mainly played basketball and ran track and cross-country. On a team, you cannot let your teammates down. After a hard practice, you can't just sit down and cry and say it is too hard and just walk away. You work HARD every day in practice and sweat your guts out and push your body and mind to limits you did not know were possible. When you put in the hard work, it pays huge dividends. When I was a junior, our redneck little basketball team made it all the way to the Final Four in North Carolina. It was an amazing feat. Every single person on our team worked desperately hard. We were one in purpose and we had walked the tough road together. The rewards did not come right away, but in the end they did come.

I have been able to apply the lessons I learned on the court to my every day life. I am NOT A QUITTER. When I get sick of my kids because they are being total brats, I don't feel sorry for myself and fall on the ground and give up. I step back and take a look at what I am doing to see what I can do to make the situation better. I don't blame their behavior on my husband or my in-laws. I am the one in the trenches every day and when chronic problems seem to arise, I may realize that the real problem could be me.

If I am always annoyed with my husband or don't like him sometimes (and yes, sometimes I don't like him because I am human), I step back and look at what I am doing. How can I make the situation better? What fault lies with me? If I am unhappy with my husband, what am I doing to instigate the negative feelings?

I know that life is never easy. Why should it be? If it was easy, how can I grow? How can I learn to be more like Jesus? He walked the road alone. When it really mattered, when the salvation of all humanity rested upon His shoulders, He did it alone. He has already shouldered my sins and my burdens. I know I have to trust Him. That is the daily challenge. I have come to realize that when I am faced with the challenges of the world, I don't look to the world for answers...I look to God. He has promised me peace beyond all understanding. Oh, how true it is. If I didn't have challenges, how could I ever know that Godly peace? It would never be tested or realized.

Plus, I have been given a sacred trust: Raef, Zach, Eli, and my soon to be twins. My happiness is unimportant compared to the things I have to give them. It is my duty to teach them correct principles. I teach them primarily by what I do, and then secondarily by what I say. If I say one thing, and then do something else...then I am just a liar and a hypocrite. I could never put myself before my children. Of course, I have my own interests and hobbies. I don't LIVE for my children. But I have to teach them how to be adults who love Heavenly Father and understand His teachings. They have to know where they can look for answers. This is so vitally important. If I put myself and my own selfish interests above that of my children, then I have truly failed as a human being. I do not want to return to my Father in Heaven and have to be judged as a miserable failure.

So...persevere. I know what I believe and so daily, with every little choice that I make, I persevere. I draw closer to my Heavenly Father and my family circle is strengthened. My children know that they can trust me in all things. I want to earn that trust with them every single day of my life. I am putting in the hard work now, just like I did when I was on the high school basketball team. The big rewards, the eternal, heavenly rewards will follow and they will be great.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Subaru Outback Land

Rinar and I are on a little get-away to Denver, Colorado. We are renting a car: a 2009 Subaru Outback. It is a nice little car. And I think that at least 40% of people who live between the Denver airport and Estes Park, Colorado would agree with us.

We took a long drive to go and see the Rocky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, it was very overcast and raining (which I did not mind, as sometimes I forget what rain actually looks like), so we did not see any mountains. I am pretty sure that they were there because there were switchbacks and cliffy borders to the road. But, not one mountaintop in view anywhere.

Therefore, since we could not enjoy the panoramic view of the rocky mountains, our attention was focused on the road quite a bit. After just a little while, we came to the realization that almost every drives a Subaru Outback. Good heavens...it was craziness. In a group of five cars that would pass us going the other way, at least one, and many times two of the cars would be Subaru's. Every time we parked the car, we parked next to a Subaru. When we got gas, there were four vehicles filling up...including ours, three were Subaru Outbacks. The other one was a tractor.

It was rather amusing. I do have a picture of the gas station stop, but I will post it when I get back.

Do any of you have Subaru's? If you do, you will feel right at home in Colorado.
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