Sunday, February 11, 2018

YW activity ideas

Before throwing away my old calendar from my YW binder, I thought I’d jot down a few of the activities we did last year to remember them. Maybe they’ll help someone else get a few ideas, too!

YW activities we did in 2017:

1.       Laurels plan new beginnings. It’s their activity from beginning to end. Let them own it (including mistakes or procrastination problems). Last year we had a cruise ship theme where everyone dressed up like tacky tourists and we gave out a prize for the best outfit (One girl even painted the sunburn on her face!)
2.       Book of Mormon Cake decorating. This was a joint activity where we divided girls up into teams of about three girls and gave them each a small cake to decorate like a story from the scriptures. There were so may creative cakes!
3.       Laurels joined with the priests for a Preach My Gospel activity. We had a young couple in the ward who are both returned missionaries come and answer questions and tell stories. It was really interesting.
4.       YM/YW camp fundraiser. For the past few years we’ve done a dinner/service auction/carnival (with preschool-type games—ring toss, musical chairs, etc.). It’s a lot of work, but it’s been very successful.
5.       Last year we had Trek, so a few of our combined activities included pioneer dancing. It was amazing how much fun the kids had and how much laughter was going on all over the room. Our dance instructor reminded them “just because you’re dancing or holding hands, doesn’t mean you’re going to marry them.” I wish we did more activities like this. It was social, it was exercise, it was so much fun.
6.       Camp prep nights. Our YCLs did a 1st aid prep night to learn how to teach the other girls first aid, and then the next week we broke into small classes and rotated through, then the girls had to put on a skit about something they learned.
7.       For Utah locals, We went on a P.Y.G. hike with the YM. We hike the ‘P’ in Payson, the Y at BYU, and the ‘G’ in Pleasant Grove (We actually did it in the order of PGY, but Pig-hike sounds better). They packed their own sack lunch and we ate it at the base of the G before hiking, then had pizza brought in for dinner at another park near the Y, and then had ice cream sandwiches on the back lawn of the Provo temple as the bishop spoke for a minute. One of our scout leaders had created a PYG scout patch he gave to everyone.
8.       The laurels hiked the Grotto in Payson. It’s a short, easy hike.
9.       We had a camp activity where we had the girls learn to set up tents on the church lawn (mostly to see what shape our tents were looking) and divvied out secret sister names.
10.   As a service project, we helped a preschool teacher cut out items for her class before school started. The girls loved chatting and serving and cutting 😊
11.   We toured the Provo MTC as a group. The girls loved it.
12.   We helped a neighbor paint baseboards.
13.   Laurels went to play laser tag. It was great exercise and we laughed a lot.
14.   We had a sports night that got rained out, so we played group EFY style games in the gym.
15.   The Laurels wanted to feed the missionaries, but they have to eat earlier than our activity could be. So we had the girls bring a pantry meal item and gave it to the elders at the church and then sat and had the Elders talk about preparing for missions. They answered a lot of questions the girls had, and later told me they’d never done an activity like that and really enjoyed it.
16.   Our ward does “Service September” each year where we try as a ward to do service all month. One of our activities was to have the YW cut out items to make dolls for hospitals. Another one of our activities was a ward service night where everyone gathered to make various items for the community (emergency buckets for the elementary school, hygiene kits, seat belt pads for cancer patients, and the dolls we’d cut out already).
17.   Temple trips
18.   Laurels did a corn maze with the priests.
19.   Laurels painted pumpkins. We got the smallest cheap pumpkins we could find (which were still pretty big and expensive), and used acrylic craft paint. The girls were so creative painting Jack Skellington’s face, and Captain america’s shield, and Spider Man’s face, etc.
20.   Evening in excellence. Last girls’ camp we had Defender’s B.O.O.T camp (building on our testimonies) and wore dog tags and camo. So for Evening in excellence we decided to show the feminine side of being a defender and had the theme “Defenders of Light” We had lights around the room, and the centerpieces of the display tables had some kind of light. We had parents talk about the light in their daughters who had earned their YW medallion during the year. It was a beautiful night.
21.   Help decorate for Christmas around an old folks home.
22.   Priests and Laurels had a ginger bread house competition. They got extra points for having a scripture theme.
23.   For our joint activity we had an ugly sweater contest and a white elephant exchange. There were some ugly sweaters!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Dancing Josh

Josh is our dancer. He has dance parties in his room with the music turned up really loud. He couldn't do that in our old apartment, so he thinks its pretty cool he can do it now. Here are several videos of some of his dance moves :)
Last night the cub scouts retired a flag from the Provo Temple, and then did some exercise while they waited for it to finish burning. Josh is the one in the tan scout shirt.
Maggie, Jeremy and Josh enjoyed dancing on the diving board. This wasn't their funniest time, but they did their weird dance moves over and over and over.

Before school ended in June, the 4th grade put on a show. This is their pioneer dance, and the next one is the Cha Cha Slide, which is his favorite. He also danced to the Boot Scoot n' Boogie, but he was in the back and I couldn't see him so I didn't record it which he was pretty mad about because I guess he likes line dancing.

It's all about the Ash

 While all the YM were at scout camp, the deacons got cleaned up and met the beehives at the Manti Temple to do some baptisms. This was one of the pictures the leaders posted. :)
 Then Ashley went to her first year of girl's camp. She's on the very right side standing up in the group picture. She was nervous because she doesn't really know any of the YW yet, but apparently the girls all wanted her to be their little sister. The theme was "Oh the Places You'll Go"

 She even got up on stage and helped with the skit.
 I guess this is a game where you have to not show your teeth, but try to get the other person to show theirs.
It was a good experience for her and I'm glad she seems to feel more comfortable with the girls at church now.

I'm baaaaack! And a bunch of stuff about Ethan.

So I've been trying to figure out if I should start blogging again. It was nice to take a year and a half break, but I really miss looking back on my thoughts about my family and life in general. And I REALLY miss getting to read our blog book each year. I think I'll play catch up. Here's a current post, and eventually I'm hoping to put up pics from last year, too. They won't be chronological, which stinks, but it's better than nothing ;)
This is a picture of most of the YM at scout camp a few weeks ago. It's such a huge ward, and so different from what we've experienced in the last 5 years. I think Ethan might be on the back row hiding behind a guy with a beard and a black hat.
 Last night the teachers/mia maids built boats out of cardboard and then tried to sail them in the reservoir by our house. I wasn't there, but these pictures were funny enough that I wanted to remember them!
 Ethan's group's boat obviously didn't get too far from shore :) it looked like fun!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marching on

I've recently joined instagram (@gaylenewils) and so half of these pictures are repeats for those of you who follow me there. But I want to keep them on my blog anyway, and also share them with some of my family and friends who aren't in instagram.

March is half over, so here's what's been up the last few weeks:
 My parents sent me this fabulous card for my birthday. I don't know what it says, but I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to boil the card and it will magically turn into birthday noodles. It totally worked, too! ;)
 Since we've had a spring like winter, I was afraid March would be horribly cold and snowy. Fortunately (unfortunately for the water supply) it's been a mile March, too. We got a crazy blizzard that lasted a few hours, then promptly melted.
 Josh was so excited that it finally snowed, and then sad it melted before he had a chance to play in it.
 Ashley got an art kit for her birthday, and this was the first thing she drew/painted. Pretty good for her first time!
 Ethan has been working on his own language for a while. It's pretty complicated and I'm afraid we'll never understand each other again.
 Sweet feet. I love that she loves learning the piano on her own. It's nice hearing someone besides me play!
 Parent Conference at the middle school is always a piece of cake with this guy. Every teacher says, "He's a practically perfect student. I've got nothing else to say about him." I kind of wonder sometimes if teachers like having parents of practically perfect students come just to have a break from talking to other students' parents about their kids' problems, or if they wish I'd stay home and not waste their precious minutes because they have nothing to say to me? I'm always done in about 20 minutes.
 Ethan and I went to the temple, and we got there right in time. If we'd been there even two minutes later we would have had a several-hour wait because an entire school seminary showed up all at once. It was a stunningly beautiful day, and even better because of going to the temple!
 Hanging out at Ashley's soccer games.
She was sad indoor soccer ended. I was too, it was so low key and they didn't have a ton of practices during the busy school week, just a twenty minute practice before each game on the weekends. We'll definitely sign her up again next winter! (we'll see about spring/fall teams -- we've been there/done that and I don't really enjoy the unpredictable-ness of weather and crazy schedules)
 I found the room I want to copy at Ikea. I love everything about it! I'm a very tan/black/white kind of person.
 We also kicked back and relaxed at Ikea's beach scene. Totally as good as the real thing, right?
Oh and Josh bought this dog at Ikea with his early birthday money, and is madly in love with it.
 On the way home from Ikea, we stopped to take a picture in front of the Mystery Machine. Josh had noticed it on the way there, so he shouted at me to stop on the way home.
 Chris went to his annual conference in Miami and we were all bummed we couldn't go visit Florida with him. So he brought us home something just as great as going there (the same way Ikea was just like visiting the beach...)
 We've been passing around colds for a few weeks at our house, and when Josh had it, he snuggled with his dog and told me that it's been proven that dogs can make sick people feel better. I guess it worked.
 Ashley and Ethan made an epic hopscotch across the entire driveway (our driveway is pretty big). Occasionally we'd catch kids on their way to or from school stop and jump around for a minute.
 I'm starting over with one candle. I don't want to burn the house down.
 Ethan loves getting his braces tightened and being in pain for a while. Totally. As much as going to Ikea is like going to a beach.
 As I said, Josh is madly in love. I'm pretty sure the dog loves him just as much.
 So you know those snowy trees I showed earlier in this super long post? This is what the trees look like now. I LOVE SPRING! See how excited I am?
 So Josh often wears mismatching socks, but these ones made me smile. It's like a statement. I'm not sure what it's saying, but it makes me ponder the meaning of life for sure.
 Aaaand, the same day as the non-matching socks, Josh decided to start tucking things in again. This time even his jacket made the tucked-in cut. He went through a tucking-in phase back in The Swamp, and he had a friend tell him he'll never get a girlfriend if he keeps tucking in his shirts like that. Josh didn't seem to care much. Obviously he still doesn't care about girlfriends.
 The other night we babysat Chris's brother's kids, and Chris even got to change a poopy diaper. I walked in just as he was trying to wipe it and he looked up and said, "How did we ever do this every day?"
 While we babysat, I noticed Josh had a "keep out" sign on his door. It totally worked. Nobody wanted to be that bored. Especially the little guys who can't read.
Ashley's class picked her drawing to represent their class on the art wall at school. I was amazed as I watched her finish it at home, her attention to detail is something she did NOT get from me.
Her teacher also said some pretty amazing things about her at parent conference, but I think those are things she should write in her own journal for herself. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

good old ben

Last week Josh had his school Wax Museum, and he chose to be Ben Franklin.
 He had to read a few books about Ben (they were short), and then we had to come up with a costume and poster. He wrote a speech and delivered it when people pushed his button.
Here Ben is, chatting away with Teddy Roosevelt and Sacajawea. He has friends in high places.
If you zoom in you can enjoy all the wonderful facts we learned about Ben. He feels like family. And I guess he is a great great great cousin, like twice removed, or something like that on Chris's side. When people asked for Josh's fun fact he told them Ben is his cousin.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vday in The Reef

I forgot to post about our trip over valentines day. Several years ago we went to the cabin for valentines day and got snowed in. This time Capitol Reef was chilly but beautiful. Unfortunately, once again, they are all cell pics. But still great memories :)

 I saw this crazy rainbow in the sky on our drive (and I'm lucky I didn't drop my phone out the window!). You could only see it with sun glasses on, but I saw them several times over the weekend and I couldn't figure out what it was until my geologist brother-in-law told me it is ice crystals in the cloud that reflect the light and make the rain bow (or something like that). Very cool!
We saw a whole bunch of deer walking past the cabin. I've never seen so many, and I'm not sure how many there were but it seemed like they kept coming and coming and coming, walking by in a single file line. So beautiful.
The skies were incredible (I've discovered I have a recent fascination with skies. I can't stop taking pictures of them.) the entire weekend.  
 Josh helped Ethan fix his house. Josh is wearing a Safety Belt made out of stools. Safety first!
 We went on a hike at Cottonwood Wash. It was really bouldery toward the end, but it was a great hike because there were lots of unique parts to it. First we hiked through flat sand, then it became bumpy rocks, then huge boulders inside a Narrow.
 Some parts were kind of scary, like this pretty steep drop off we had to walk over.
 Climbing over giant boulders. The only scary part was hoping the boulders would move (or have more drop from above onto your head.)
This is where most of us stopped. Chris and his dad and Ethan decided to go on a bit further, but the rest of us were done climbing over scary boulders.
So much texture in the desert. I love it!