Over spring break, while Julie & Brittney headed to Germany to visit family (those pics coming later), Max & daddy had their first all-boys sight-seeing trip. Max is very interested in history lately, especially wars and armies. He likes to play Risk, have battles with his miniature army guys and listen to the Hamilton soundtrack with Brittney. So Mark took him to West Point, about an 1.5 drive North. Max read calmly in the car both ways and handled a yucky traffic jam better than his dad.
Max is a very curious boy; he was attentive on the tour and kept up with the group on a long walk.
They ended the day with ice cream at a local shop.
PS Max got glasses; we found out he is very near-sighted. The lens go dark in the sun so he looks cool.
One of the highlights of our summer was a visit to Utah to see Brittney’s family in July. It was the first time we were all together since Papa and Nonna left for Russia 18 months earlier. We are so happy to have them back in the US (though we are missing visiting them in California and hope we can arrange a family reunion there soon). They brought the grandkids some cool Russian costumes. We tried to get some photos with all 9 grandkids but it wasn’t easy. Either the under 2 set were all asleep.
Or it was super windy.
Or everyone wanted to run around the yard.
We decided to visit some pros who miraculously got these photos.
And then the babies lost interest (and some of the bigger kids were on the verge).
Just Max and Julie.
My favorite of Julie (& love Breanne’s face too).
We are excited to have Nonna and Papa come visit us in our new house this weekend (and help celebrate Max’s birthday). Tons more photos from our trip coming soon.
The kids just finished six weeks of an awesome day camp, and I had big plans for projects I was going to catch up on, like this blog and getting 6,000 photos off my phone. That didn’t happen, and now we are getting ready to fly to Utah tomorrow to see most of the Jensen family. Kids are super excited to relive some of the highlights from last summer (that I am just now posting about), like checking out the new children’s museum at Thanksgiving point. Lots of climbing and scary tunnels and rope bridges, but the cousins helped each other out. The girls all have matching pink dresses and Sidon and Max had matching orange polo shirts so we could keep track of them all.
The ladies lunching and the boys hanging.
Sophie shared her sno cone with Julie, then Max shared his with Breanne, and Maya shared with Max and Julie. And everyone was happy (and fortunately healthy). Julie talked about it for months.
And everyone had blue tongues for the group shots.
Sidon, Max and Papa checked out the puppet theater, trains, and a maze (Max loooves mazes).
Julie liked pulling and letting go of pullies & weights with Sophie. And diving into the sandpit. Twice.
On Sidon’s birthday we went to the local aquarium.
Lots of cool animals, but Julie was most interested in playing some body part game with Sophie.
She found a good reading spot, then got trapped in a shark’s mouth,
The cousins rescued her and made it across another rope bridge.
The highlight of the trip for certain nieces may have been the discovery of some old dance costumes in the basement and the ensuing dance parties.
We had a fun picnic with the extended family on my dad’s side including an old family tradition, a chicken dinner, where you eat like a chicken. Max played his part well. And we got a Jensen family photo without the kids (much easier).
Back to the Children’s museum for a presentation of the original ‘The Pirate and Little Red Riding Hood’ and more rope bridges.
Max and Julie got to celebrate pioneer day ( a commemoration of the first Mormon pioneers reaching Utah in the 1840s) with a prade and picnic featuring old fashioned games.
Play and posing at the splash park and silly songs by Sophie.
And the neighbor’s backyard train and pool.
Lots of hugs and important lessons learned.
We are looking forward to more adventures with our family this week. Max still has to be careful not to get kicked in the face (so maybe not climbing through the rain forest at the children’s museum), but can swim and run around and eat everything except really hard foods like nuts & raw veggies. And we’ll try to keep the dance parties under control…
So we’re a little behind on our posts, Brittney’s been busy working on kidonthetown.com and it takes so long to get ready to go anywhere in this brutal weather. Here are some photos from our Christmas trip to Utah, and we hope to catch up on everything else soon. Both kids were very excited to go on the airplane to see their relatives. The security line is still one of the most exciting things ever for Max, and Julie has a new favorite word.
Max and Julie had so much fun playing with their 7 cousins between the ages of 1 and 5.
Uncle Jeff is fun too. Julie convinced him to play ‘ten little piggies’ with her.
Max was surprisingly good at this game where you guess what’s on your forehead. The kids don’t quite understand competition yet, they just helped each other figure it out.
Loving the trampoline in Jeff’s basement
Good we had so many indoor options as it snowed (and snowed) most of the time we were there. Mark was not looking forward to shoveling it and found some teenage boys on the block to help out. They offered to do it for free as a service, baffling Mark, who insisted on paying them Manhattan rates.
Max was so excited to make a snowman.
We got creative with what we had and turned it into a snow princess with a tiara, boa and banana mouth.
The roads were too icy for the California cars to get to Temple Square in Salt Lake as planned, so we saw the lights at nearby Thanksgiving Point. Julie loved the ‘neigh-neighs’ that drove our wagon.
We also went to the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point, we’re pretty lucky to have so much kids stuff nearby.
Brittney’s parents couldn’t make it from Russia so it was just the five siblings organizing everything. Courtney and her family are staying in Jon and Janet’s house and were great hosts to our family. We ended up eating pretty well and even eventually figured out how to set up the Christmas tree.
Does the tree stay up? Do we ever get a photo of all nine grandkids? Find out in our Christmas Eve/Day post coming soon.