Sunday, December 22, 2013

oops its been over a month

It was October the last time I posted a blog and here I am, now 38 and a few days away from Christmas.  Where has the time gone?  Where has the past year gone?  I cannot believe how fast time just keeps on going.  The only reason I am even finding time right now is because Hailey and I are sitting on an airplane on our way back to Utah.  

We visited Chicago for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday and to do some last minute shopping.  
With the ease of shopping online these days it was actually really nice to spend some time getting stuff for the kids together.  It really helps to put you in the Christmas spirit being all bundled up in a city in the cold and just thinking about your kids and the time of year and kind of putting everything else on hold for a bit.

Putting things on hold has been tough the past few months.  One of our biggest pieces of information is that I left a mortgage company that I was part of for well over 6 years and have now started my own company.  Though this is very exciting, it has come with lots of work and effort and I am sure it will be that way for some time.  
The name of the new company is United Military Mortgage and well, just keep your eyes and ears open because it is going places.  Well, at least I hope so.

So this is our family blog so I want to keep it to that.  We celebrated Thanksgiving this year in our home in American Fork, though we normally head down to St George when it is the Kandell's year.  We had a 40th birthday party to attend for my cousin Weston out in California the day after Thanksgiving so it was easier to stay in AF this year.  Hailey did an amazing job setting the scene for a fun and festive Thanksgiving. 

 The Lovell cousins came over and believe it or not, we even all got in the swimming pool.  We were not in for long, but did spend some time in the hot tub.

Grandpa and Grandma Kandell were in town and Grandma Sue had all sorts of arts and crafts for the kiddos which was nice because it kept them all occupied for quite some time.

  Grandpa Jim and I loved spending time cooking and we smoked a turkey and fried one too!  There was certainly no shortage of food this year.  Hailey made her famous sweet creamed corn, Lisa did rolls and a brussel sprouts and well who knows, we sure ate well though.

Like I mentioned, Hailey and I flew out to California the Friday after Thanksgiving to celebrate the 40th birthday of my cousin Weston and that was a blast.  

We stayed at the Michels home in Encino and it was so much fun and brought back many great memories for me.  When I was first in college and had met Cat, now Weston's wife, I had the opportunity to visit that home many times and it is always so much fun.

Some other things we have been up to the past month or two are:
Family pictures

Adyson's and Lucy have had their first dance performances of the season
Max and Ady continue to do tennis lessons

Christmas programs for all 3 kids at Challenger
My work Christmas party
Hailey was actually in the hospital in and out for an infection she got in her hip. 

Elves on the shelves throughout the house

Christmas tree decorating in the kids rooms

I am totally wishing I had made the time to write once a week like I had been doing so well for a while and who knows, this may be a new year's resolution so that in 2014 I can do much better at writing and documenting what we are up to.  It is always so much fun to go back and read.

Christmas is just 3 days away.  Cannot wait

Monday, October 28, 2013

Where have have the last 3 weeks gone?

I cannot believe how easy it is to miss just one week of blogging and then before you know it, you are almost a month behind.  To be honest, it is not like I have not been super busy, well WE ALL HAVE, so it has not been easy to find the time to share with you all.

Thanks to technology I have scrolled back in my Iphone camera to try and remember all we have been doing.

My very last post was our quick little jaunt down to St George and per the camera roll in my phone here is a bulleted list of all we have been up to.

  • pulling all the edible and salvageable goodies out of our garden
  • newly discovered Lucy video interviews
  • getting in the Halloween spirit at Cornbellys
  • Sunday hikes
  • Carving pumpkins
  • a family trip to Punta Mita
  • Max and Daddy BYU football game

I will share a little blurb on each of these with you now.  

Pulling all the edible and salvageable goodies out of our garden

Tomatoes, basil, and lots of herbs

Our family garden was very plentiful this summer and as the fall has approached we have had to put sheets over the veggies (just the tomatoes) and we were able to extend the season.  We picked enough basil that we have bags and bags of pesto and we also roasted tons of tomatoes and froze them along with the pesto.  We are hoping for some gardeny goodness all winter long.

newly discovered Lucy video interviews 

Getting in the Halloween spirit at Cornbellys
haunted hayride at Cornbellys
Here is a nice shot of Hailey and the kiddos all ready to go on the haunted hay ride.  You have got to love that Lucy smile.  Cornbellys is so awesome.  Thanksgiving point has gotten better ever single year and has added all sorts of fun stuff for the kids, corn cannons, mazes, rock climbing, haunted stuff, games, food and much more. 

Sunday hikes 
These guys can be the best of friends or worst of enemies on any given day
As fall has set in we have made a kind of Sunday tradition of driving up the canyon toward the Draper temple and we found a hiking trail off the side of the road and the kids have loved it.  One week it was cold, cloudy and rainy but this past Sunday it was beautiful.

Carving pumpkins

We had a family home evening one monday at the Lovell's house and aunt Lisa did a family home evening lesson on the harmful effects of telling lies and Hailey and I brought pumpkins to have the kids carve.  It was a really fun time and we took seeds home and cooked them up and they were all eaten up within the next day.

a family trip to Punta Mita 
Harris Kids, Noble Kids and Kandell Kids in the Villa Luna Pool

Date night with Hailey at Sea Breaze

Can you believe this picture?
The highlight of October, at least as of now is our family and friends trip to beautiful Punta Mita Mexico.  This is the same house we went to last Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma Kandell.  We love it so much we went back and this time took two other families with us.  We went with the Harris family and the Noble family.  It was awesome to have so many kids to entertain each other and we parents had a blast too.  The food was great, the house as comfortable and relaxing as always and we had great weather too.  I feel like Punta Mita will be one of those destinations we will make a family traditional trip/vacation full of memories.

Max and Daddy BYU football game
BYU spanked Boise State this night

Max and I went to the BYU vs Boise State game and had a great time.  Here we are in the cougar store getting our gear on!  Max loved that little ball we bought and we threw it and played catch under the stadium at half time and he thought that was the highlight as there were so many other "older" boys doing it too.  He now wants to go back with his cousins Easton and Zach since they know how to play catch too.

Well as you can see October has been awesome so far and Halloween is right around the corner so we are very excited for that too.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our St George trip to Tuacahn

Mommy and Ady at the Mary Poppins play at Tuacahn

I am not 100% sure if this is an annual tradition yet, but it is beginning to feel like one.  This past weekend we headed down to St George with the car packed, bikes on the back and kids nestled away inside for a quick cousins weekend in sunny St George, Utah. 

We left Thursday night but were not able to get on the road until about 7:30 pm since we had to wait for Adyson to finish her dance classes in Orem.  I came home from work and Hailey had all the bags packed, art project in the car and movies loaded up.  She sure knows how to make the drive a bit easier!  I loaded the bags in, put the bikes on the tow rack and we were off.

Grandma and Grandpa Kandell were already down in St George and the Lovell cousins drove down Thursday night also.  As we were leaving there were reports of snow coming in and frost warnings so we were really excited to get down to the southern desert of Utah.  The kids did really good and Hailey and I laughed a bit as we watched Max struggle for about 30 mins in and out of sleep and you know how a kid will nod off the feel as though he was falling or something.  Hailey eventually climbed back there and helped him get situated so that he would quit falling onto Adyson.

We got into St George around 11:45 or so and the kids of course went straight to bed.  Lucy actually slept quite a bit of the way down.  The next morning the kids of course got up early and went right to playing.  It is so much fun to see them playing together and talking and carrying on.  Bike riding around the block is like the pinnacle of fun for the Kandell kids since we do not really live in a normal neighborhood.  So the kids were on bikes all the time.  The first morning there it is a tradition for Grandma Sue to get on her bike and ride to the local Mcdonalds where she is a kind of celebrity and to have all the kids on bikes riding along with her.  Other fun things included lizard hunting, making hotels and houses out of cardboard boxes and clothes pin people, Halloween cookies and art, BYU football and of course the main reason for the trip is the Santa Clara parade and the Tuacahn play of Mary Poppins.
spooky Halloween masks and bike rides around the neighborhood made for a good time

My mom and Hailey took just the oldest two cousins to see the play on Saturday night and they said it is absolutely the best play they have seen there and every year it seems to get better and better.  Adyson and Easton thought it was awesome and the boy in the play actually goes to Ady's school so she thought that was great. 

We also attend each year with all the kids, the Santa Clara parade and it is such a good parade.  We had the best spot this year and had shade and not tons of other kids trying to get our kid's candy.  Max cleaned house and was relentless enough that we had to slow him down a bit. 
Hailey and Max loving the parade

Max is loving his role as big brother and is showing Lucy the Princess Float coming down the road.
My favorite part of the parade is the fair food afterwords and I even ate curry goat from a Jamaican vendor this year.  The kids ate lots, listened to the live music and we all just enjoyed the sun!
amazing Halloween cookies Hailey made with the kids
Max is just chilling listening to the local music while Lucy and Saige hang out

Cousins hiking in a river bed that is dried out
Adyson and Easton in their spooky masks they made with Hailey
We love going to St George and spending some time (trying to relax, though with 7 kids under 9 it is tough) relaxing with family. 

I wonder what plays will be showing next year?

Max loving his ice cream sundae at Black Bear Diner

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Salamander Lake Family Night

Me and my ladies in the ATV, Max rode with the Burts

Last Monday, Sept 16, we had a great night out with Nate Burt and his wife and kids.  We rented a side by side ATV and headed up American Fork Canyon to Tibble Fork and then made our way to a small mountain lake called Salamander Lake. 

Here is a cute video I took after we came home and put the salamanders in an aquarium we had in the garage. 

Believe it or not these little guys are still alive a week or more later!

We had a blast doing this and had to take about a 45 minute ATV ride from the parking lot at Tibble Fork all the way up some pretty treacherous terrain.  If you are not currently aware, Adyson has inherited my ability to worry or have anxiety so she was white knuckled part of the time because we literally were right near sheer cliffs on the way up!

Part of the way up we had to do some pretty legit rock crawling that made the entire ATV lean way sideways etc and even had to maneuver through some deep mud puddles to where water was getting into the floor areas.  It was a great adventure getting up there.

Max riding along with the Burts

Look how tough I think I am

crossing the mud puddles

Nate Burt navigating the trail
Once you get up to the top you see this beautiful mountain lake.  It really is amazing to come out of the trees to see this.

At first we  were worried that maybe we were not going to see any salamanders because Nate said they normally were everywhere but we could not see any!
panoramic view of Salamander Lake
After a few minutes of searching, we started to see a ton of them and the kids quickly removed shoes, rolled up pants and even stripped down to their boxers (max) in order to join the hunt.  We must have seen hundreds and caught 20 or so.

Ady on the salamander hunt

Lucy is even getting involved and enjoying playing with Cameron Burt

I of course had to show off and act like I was eating one!  I didn't though

It started to cool off once the sun was setting so we had a quick picnic with subway sandwiches and then loaded up and headed back down.  I am sure we will be back next spring first thing and a handful of times next summer.  We are so glad we got up there before winter hit us. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fathers and Sons Campout 2013

Starting the night off with the camp all set up.  Look how pumped Max is already
Max and I attended our 3rd annual fathers and sons camp out this past weekend and had a blast as always.  I seriously think Max looks forward to this overnight trip as much as anything!  For those of you not familiar with the Fathers and Sons, it is a camp out that most LDS (Mormon) congregations do once a year and is sort of a tradition to get all the boys and their dads out for a night in the wilderness.  It is an awesome chance to bond with your son(s) and others in the neighborhood (ward). 

Our campsite. 

We did end up sleeping in a tent though I had some doubts early on due to the rainy weather we had been having.  I went as far to suggest on my facebook wall that I may need to rent a pop up trailer and immediately got called out, so my pride kicked in and I went 100% tent.  The good news was that it only rained for about 5 mins around 3 am or so and we stayed completely dry.

Max insisted on helping me cook, but would not dare eat the squash.  I love that he enjoyed cooking so much with me. I did that all the time growing up with my dad and it was tons of fun.

As will all camp outs, I spent tons of time cooking and was known amongst the fathers as chef Kandell.  We had dutch oven chicken, steak, veggies.  We did hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls then roasted over the fire that my mother in law Stacy Smoot taught me to make.  Max wanted to do nothing more than roast startbursts over the fire and he went through an entire bag on his own.  He even had them for breakfast saturday morning.

Max roasting starburst for breakfast.

The best thing we men love about camping is none other than FIRE!  I was known as a pyro growing up and am glad to say Max got every bit of that.  As soon as it was dark outside the fires were glowing and Max was jumping from one fire to the next trying to burn anything he could.  I actually witnessed him take a napkin off the lap of a guy he did not even know and attempt to throw it in the fire while this man was roasting a hot dog.  I stopped him just in time and made him apologize, but it was as if he just saw the first burnable thing and grabbed it.  Crazy!

Max and Tommy sporting some headlamps as it got dark

The Pyro Max
Max said he was going to stay up the entire night but at about 11pm or so he was ready to head to bed.  We were able to just barely fit two air mattresses in our little tent and we fell asleep really fast.

I love how pumped Max is in this picture.  Nothing better than a night in a tent with dad!  

So in the morning there was breakfast provided and it was sausage, bacon and pancake ice cream sundaes.  Max loaded up on chocolate syrup and a huge pancake and thought it was the best breakfast ever, well other than the fire melted starburst that is.

In the morning I  picked up camp and he played with other kids and we took off just before noon.  I had a blast and really feel I should do more of this camping stuff with Max and even get the ladies out there next time.  Cannot wait for the next year's Father and Sons!
Max canoeing

Max hiking and "hunting" as he put it

This is the beautiful view we had from where we were.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Adys Big Baptism Weekend

A very special day for the whole family (Ady's baptism)
Our family right outside the church immediately after Ady's baptism

This past weekend was a great weekend in our family!  Our oldest daughter, Adyson got baptized.  In our religion you cannot be baptized until the age of 8 or after and the baptism is done by immersion.  We were so proud that Ady not only understood why she should be baptized, but that she chose to do it also.

It was very special for me to be able to baptize her and also give her a blessing while confirming her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Hailey had Ady all dressed in the cutest white dress and she wore a floral crown and just looked like a little Angel that morning. 
Dinner was held at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in SLC, UT.
Telling Grandpa Jim and Grandma Sue thanks for coming all the way out for dinner and the baptism

Back tracking a little bit, Friday night before the Saturday baptism Hailey had planned a very nice dinner at the Joseph Smith building in Salt Lake where she had invited all her brothers and sisters and her parents and my parents and my sister and her husband.  Ady's great grandma Smoot came as did her oldest cousin Easton Lovell (Steve and Lisa's son who was baptized too a few months ago.) Our great friend Bandele also attended.  It was such a nice dinner and a great tradition that Hailey has started.  The point of the dinner is to make Ady (or whoever is getting baptized) to feel special and "older" and to have all those in attendance who would like, to share their feelings about her or baptism etc.  The food was really good but honestly it was being with family that I think means the most.
backyard picnic

So Saturday was the baptism down at our church and we were blessed to have tons of family and friends come and join us.  After the baptism, we went back to our house for a backyard picnic to hang out.  My parents flew in from Ohio which was a special event for Ady and she is so special that even Grandpa Jim made the trek out!  I hope I do not miss anyone, but here is a list of all those who attended:
Ady's immediate family
Shane and Stacy Smoot and all their kids
Great Grandma Hatch and Great Grandma Smoot
Jim and Sue Kandell
The Lovell family
Desatoff family
Kesler Family
Skinrood Family
Tornow Family
Beafus Family
Mabs and her mom and sister

We had a pretty white cake with butterflies and some other really good food to enjoy with each other.  The kids ran all over the outside of the house and the adults kind of chilled if you will in side and it was a very nice day to be with friends and family for sure. As always a special thanks to Hailey for making such a special day more special by taking the time to do so many little things that make the day much more meaningful.  What a great day!

 As parents we hope that Ady will always remember this very special day.  We thank all of our friends and family that came to make it even more special.  She was given a baptism journal that so many people left kind words and thoughts in.  We are very proud of you Ady and love you very much. 
Love Mom and Dad.