Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sacramento Trip

I was in Sacramento this past week for a work conference. This was a long trip because I had to purchase my tickets before I found out when I would be presenting so I had to plan for the possibility of any of the conference days. Sacramento was pretty nice. The weather was sunny and stayed in the 70s the whole time. It was way more humid than what I was used to in Pocatello though. I ended up just staying in my hotel most of the time, but I did get out for a couple of walks.

This was the grounds for the Capital building. I forgot that Sacramento was the capital of California. Given that California is the biggest state in terms of population, I was surprised at how small Sacrament and the grounds for the Capital building actually seemed. The grounds were really interesting. They had tons of gigantic old trees and they were form all over the world. I was surprised at the variety that they were able to grow there, without a greenhouse or anything like that.

You can't tell in this picture, but those trees were so big I don't think my whole family holding hands would reach even half way around them.

Here is the view from my hotel room. I was on the 14th floor. I think one of the reasons Sacramento seems smaller is because they have so many trees. When you look out all you see is trees because they line the sidewalks with these really tall ones that reach up over most of the buildings. They say that they have more trees per capita than any other city in the world.

For exercise I tried to take the stairs up and down from my room on the 14th floor when I went out.

One time I went all the way up to the roof (27 floors), but there was a sign that said they would prosecute if you went on the roof without permission.

The city didn't really have many touristy things so most of the time I was just in my hotel catching up on work. When I did go for a walk a couple times I saw a lot of cool old churches. But they didn't seem like they were tourist churches where I could walk in and check them out like in other countries with cool churches.

I also did see the Chinatown, but it didn't seem like there was much there at all. And I walked to the Governor's mansion. It is an old house where the governors used to live up through Ronald Reagan. A new house was built after that, but the most recent governor decided to move back in to it, so it was no longer open for tours. When Arnold was the governor he just flew in and out on his private jet for his daily commute.

Julia the Dressmaker

Julia worked really hard the past couple of weeks and finished the dress she was making for Agnes. She used the sewing machine that she got for her birthday and then she purchased a pattern from the thrift store. She had some fabric donated to her by Grandma Little before they left on their mission.

I think it turned out really well. Way better than anything I could do and really great for a first dress I think. Agnes wore it to church on Sunday. When one of our neighbors saw it and found out about Julia's interest in sewing she offered to do some free sewing lessons for Julia. Julia had her first one this last week and really love it.

Easter Trip

We had a really fun Easter. Nathanael and Mary-Anne were blessing their baby down in Utah and so we made the trip down there for our Easter weekend. We picked the children up from school on Friday and immediately hit the road. We had to do one stop half way through for Asher, but I think the kids enjoyed the break and the chance to get out of the car and run around. We listened to Little Britches Man of the Family on the way down and back and doing audio books always seems to keep the children happy and occupied.

The pictures are a little out of order, but we started off at Tyler and Hye-won's house. We got in kind of late, so just enough time for a yummy dinner and then we put the children to bed. That night we played a game called Sheriff of Notingham which I thought was kind of fun. Basically you have to try to trick people into thinking you have certain cards and you try to catch others in their lies. A lot like the card game Cheat, but a little more complex and I think funner. The next morning we went to the park and then for a visit to BYU. We came back for a fire-pit lunch of hot dogs and smores.

We then went over to Nathanael and Mary-Anne's house. We did dinner at the park that night and had fun on the toys there as well as tossing around the football. Rebecca and I stopped off at the store on the way home. We switched cars with my parents so they could bring the children home, so all of our maps went with them in our van. After the store we ended up getting lost in their neighborhood for 30 minutes! We just couldn't remember the street names and we entered the neighborhood a different way then what we usually do.

The next day we got to celebrate Easter with them, my parents, and Mary-Anne's parents and siblings. It was stake conference for them, so Nathanael ended up blessing their baby at home. it was neat to do it that way. Then we had the Easter Egg hunt. The children went first and I think they all got pretty spoiled with candy. Then the adults had their hunt. We each could find four eggs. Surprisingly, all of the hard ones were found without too much problem and it was some of the ones in plain sight that lasted the longest. Mary-Anne's parents brought mystery prizes for some of the adult eggs. We got three of those special ones and ended up getting Jamba Juice, Target, and Cold Stone gift cards! That was very nice of them. We had a delicious Easter dinner and then hit the road for home.

It is always hard going home on a Sunday night after a fun weekend away and thinking about going back to work and school on Monday. Fortunately, I only had two weeks left until summer break and so that made going back on Monday a little easier.

Nathanael giving all of the children rides on his motorcycle. Yes, even Agnes got one! Agnes, Elliott, and Christian got to ride in the front, and Julia and Ethan had to hold on from behind. You can see his neighbors working on their rocks. I was jealous of how much progress they made while we were there.

Playing with Cosmo at the BYU bookstore. We were hoping to catch their General Conference art sale, but we were too late and they didn't have any great deals. We still have so much more decorating to do at our house.

Smelling the flowers at the park. Spring was way farther along there than back in Pocatello.

This four person teeter-totter was fun. Our kids found a friend and made it a six person one though.

I thought this swing was great. I did it for a while with Agnes and then Julia took over. It has a spot for a child and one for a parent and then you both swing together.

My kids love these giant swings. It is always a little scary when the get vertical upside down, but no one has fallen off yet.

The zipline at this park was fun too.

Playing 500.

The hunt.

A Sunday walk while the eggs were being hidden.

Asher's Baby Blessing and a Visit from Family

Caleb and Amery's BYU-Idaho graduation and Asher's baby blessing fell on the same weekend so we had lots of my family around to celebrate those two events with us. Talitha and my parents were the first to arrive on Thursday evening. Then Friday they went up to Rexburg early to spend some time with Caleb. I had an all day meeting, so some of the children and I rushed up as soon as that was over. We just barely made it in to the graduation. And by barely I mean the doors were closed and they had sent everyone away except one of my sister's talked one of the ushers in to giving us our tickets when we arrived. I opened the door and he was right there. I thought we was going to say that we couldn't come in, but instead he said "Brother Swift, come right this way." I guess my sister was able to give a pretty good description for him to now exactly who I was. The graduation ended up going until late and we didn't get the children who came (Julia, Ethan, Christian, and Elliott) home for bed until about 11pm. I am not sure why they do an evening graduation like that.

The whole weekend had rain off and on. We tried to make the most of sunny breaks and got a hike in. Some people also played basketball. And of course we spent a lot of time playing games inside. We got in a few card games, reverse charades, psychiatrist, and mafia. My favorite game moment was during mafia. I forget who was leading it, but Rebecca, my mom, and I (who were sitting right next to each other) were the three mafia. My dad was one of the police. When the leader called for the mafia to raise their heads, my dad had mistakenly looked up. We didn't see him and didn't know, but he saw all three of us. He didn't say a single thing about it. First round I made everyone suspect mom to try to throw the scent off of myself. I was going to do Rebecca, but someone else suggested it was me or mom because they heard something over by us. We ended up going through a few rounds and my dad never said anything. Then both he and I were accused. I said it wasn't me, I was a police and the medic better keep me alive from here on out. But my dad said he was the police and he knew I was the mafia because he looked up at the mafia time by accident and saw who the mafia were. I thought that was hilarious.

The baby blessing went great and Sunday, but it was sad to see everyone go. Luckily we will have a family reunion this summer and get to see even more of the Swift family then. 

My mom gave all of the Swift granddaughters some of her extra missionary name tags. I think they thought it was really cool.

I guess that is where all my hair went to! What a cute guy.

There were two parts of the graduation. The big ceremony with everyone, and then it was split into colleges.

There is Caleb!

When the cousins get together things get pretty wild. These two were probably the worst. We will really have to limit the rough housing that they were doing next time.

We did get a hike in up the foothills behind our house.

Jacob, Rebecca, Talitha, and I went the long way back. I showed Jacob the remains of an abandoned truck.

Everyone always gets a kick out of Agnes falling asleep while eating. This does happen often when she misses her naps. Food is just so hypnotic for her. She is super cute when it happens.