Tuesday, September 30, 2014


we drove out to drumheller on saturday.
it took us about 1.5 hours to get there.

what is in drumheller, you ask?
well... not much.
it's definitely one of the tackier towns we have been to!
why so tacky?
well, the one thing that drumheller does have going for it is that it is home to a dinosaur museum - the royal tyrell museum.
and, to be honest, the museum is super great. very well done. very kid friendly.
chet's reaction when we walked in was, 'WOW!'
there were lots of neat things to see, and read, and touch.
i thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

but unfortunately, because of this really great tourist attraction, the town is 110% dedicated to dinosaurs.
the streets have dinosaur names, the stores all sell dinosaur souvenirs, there are pictures of dinosaurs on every other light post, colorful dinosaur statues at every intersection, and the world's tallest dinosaur in the center of the city.
i felt kinda bad for all the normal people in town who recognize how obnoxious it all is.

but, tackiness aside, we had such a great day trip.
the landscape around drumheller is very unique.
and, thanks to alberta culture days, we didn't have to pay for admission to the museum. score!
instead, we let our boys choose out one of those dinosaur souveniers to bring home.
holden picked a t-rex and chet picked a longneck - which we thought was actually pretty fitting.
chet named his dinosaur pickles, because it is green. and chet loves to eat pickles.
we helped holden name his dinosaur rex, because it is a t-rex...
(we are super creative like that.)

i have always had a hard time understanding where dinosaurs fit in the the grand scheme of things, and have been tempted to just believe they never really did.
they just seem so fantastical.
but after walking through the tyrell museum, and seeing the irrefutable evidence that dinosaurs did indeed exist at some point, i guess i have to believe it.
although, it's still a pretty crazy thought!

(the lighting in the museum made it impossible to take a good picture)
(i take way too many pictures of our kids sleeping in the car..)

Friday, September 26, 2014


i love my little nerds.
(how did that picture turn out so awkward?!)

i love my big nerd too.
matt bought this cake for himself, and brought it home to share.
which means he was the one to ask the workers at marble slab to write 'matt's cake' on it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

summer is back!

calgary is bipolar.
we had boots and sandals lined up beside each other last week.
i feel like shoes and sandals is an acceptable combination.
or shoes and boots.
but boots and sandals seems a wee bit extreme.
but, then again, who am i to say?

all i know is i am grateful the snow didn't stick around long.
we have been outside a lot this past week, soaking up every last bit of summer we will get.

the boys also started gymnastics this week.
it went so well! .. despite the fact that i showed up to the wrong location.
back in high school, i had friends that went to this gym and i just assumed it was still in the same place.
but apparently they changed locations... 10 years ago!
we made it to the right location a couple minutes late (which is actually pretty typical for me) and the boys had a great time.
i am with holden in a mom & tot class, and chet is in a class with 5 other kids his age at the same time. the timing is perfect.
i think it will be great to have gymnastics to look forward to each week through the fall/winter.

new calling.

matt got a new calling last week. he is now the YM president in our ward.
we both looove working with the youth.
so he is definitely excited.. and definitely nervous.
i think he will be super great in there.
it might be a bit tricky because i am in the YW presidency, but we know it can work.
our first official activity together was a youth temple trip on thursday night.

Friday, September 12, 2014

joy school.

this happened yesterday:

yep. that is holden, running through a freshly melted snow puddle.
no shoes.
or pants, for that matter.
we are classy like that.

wanna know something else classy about us?
we have pet salamanders.
2 of them.
they don't have names. we aren't even sure what gender they are.
matt found them in a hole by his work and brought them home.
i pictured us keeping them in a bucket for a couple days, maybe.
but, one thing lead to another, and now we have a terrarium.
and we go buy crickets from the pet store to feed our new pets.
i can't say i am a huge fan of having something slithery in our home, but chet and holden think they are pretty neat.
and they think matt is especially neat for bringing them home.
such a cool dad!

other news:

chet started joy school this week.
we decided against doing an official preschool, once and for all.
i was stressing out about the decision all summer, and i'm not really sure why!
as long as we are helping him grow and experience new things, he will be just fine when he starts kindergarten next year.
on mondays chet goes to a music class.
on tuesdays we all like to go to storytime at the public library.
on wednesdays chet has joy school.
and on thursdays both of our boys are in gymnastics.
plus, we have our science center pass. and they go to primary on sundays.
so we will be busy this fall/winter!
we feel very blessed to be able to give our boys such fun opportunities to learn and grow.

for joy school, chet is in a class with 5 other kids.
2 boys, 4 girls. chet is the oldest.
all the kids are from our ward.
each mom takes a turn hosting 'school' at her house, which means every 6 weeks i'm in charge.
i have heard other moms say that joy schools can be a pain in the butt, but it sounds like a pretty great deal to me.
we have a set curriculum, so there is definitely structure. but it is mostly just supposed to be a fun learning experience for the kids.
and, based on chet's excitement about his first class, i think it will be just that!

while chet was at his joy school this week, holden and i went out and ran errands.
i had the years before holden came along to run errands alone with chet, and i loved those times.
chet was a cute shopping buddy.
but, like many other things that second children get scammed with, holden hasn't had the chance to be my solo shopping buddy very often.
and for some reason, when the three of us go shopping together, his best traits never seem to shine through! 
it was really fun to spend that time alone with him.
he was excited, helpful, and it was obvious that he felt special.
he is a nice boy. and he is growing up oh, so fast.
his vocabulary is improving every day.
i feel like we can have full on conversations with him now.
his prayers are to die for.
and one of his most adorable phrases is 'oh man!'.
he says it when he makes a mistake. it's precious.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

get me out of here!

it has been snowing here in calgary for the past couple days.
it's september. it's not supposed to be snowing!
and certainly not the kind of snow that piles up.
i would have been sad if it had snowed that kind of snow that melts when it hits the ground, because any kind of snow in september is disheartening.
but that's not the kind of snow we have been getting.
we have several inches of wet, heavy snow piled up.
power is out, schools are closed, and a good chunk of the trees in the city have been damaged by the weight the wet snow.
it is devastating.
tears have definitely been shed.
(at least by me!)
and i am even more committed to getting our family out of here.
the farther south the better.
and the sooner the better!

global warming? puh-lease.

we had to leave the house yesterday to take chet to his first day of joy-school, otherwise i probably would have hid inside all day.
but i figured since we were out, and all bundled up, i would document the nastiness.
we drove to a farm field not far from where we live and snapped a couple pictures.
holden cried the entire time. he just kept saying, 'cold. cold. cold.'
chet was slightly more enthused at the start, but ended up sobbing too.
they must be mine :)

thank goodness we harvested our vegetable garden on labor day, otherwise our summer project would be ruined!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

camping.. for half a day.

my wife says, 'camping is a tradition in my family'.

hey, it was a tradition in everyone's family until we invented the house.

-jim gaffigan

yup. that about sums up my feelings for camping.
some people like to give me a hard time about my lack of enthusiasm for camping.
i often feel like they are taking a shot at my toughness when they tease me about that.
and that's not fair. i am tough.
(just not necessarily in the emotions department!)
but, physically, i think i am tough.
i can do hard things.
i can camp. easy peasy.
i just don't want to.
here are some examples of reasons why i don't want to:
1. i don't like spiders.
2. i don't like being cold.
3. i don't like being dirty.

and just to be fair, things i like about camping include:
1. getting out of the city and enjoying the beauty of the earth.
2. watching my boys explore nature.
3. sitting around a campfire.

the thing is, the common denominator between all the postivies is that they can be done without ever setting foot in a tent!
 which makes what happened this weekend so perfect (in my eyes.. not matt's. and i do feel a wee bit bad about that)
due to a last minute change of camping dates, our work schedules, and other important commitments, matt and i were only able to make it out to the camp for saturday.
we left home early saturday morning, spent the day partying hard at the campsite, and got home just in time to put our kids down in their own cozy beds.
perfect, right?!
i honestly really did love our day out there.
the land we camp on is owned by one of matt's sisters and her husband.
it is 2.5 hours from calgary, and not too far from waterton.
it is gorgeous.
some highlights were: off roading, zip lining, shooting, frog catching, kite flying, soccer, and using an outhouse.

there is a hill next to the place where we set up camp.
from the top of the hill you can see the camp in one direction:
(it might be hard to see, but camp is on the closest side of the pond, just to the right of the center of the picture.)
and mountains in the other:
(panoramic photo courtesy of matthew k. leavitt)

and the 'parents of the year award' goes to.. us!
we did indeed strap our boys into harnesses and let them zip line down a 300ft cable.
they loved it!

polar bears.

we got the new ensign magazine yesterday and i did a little flip through.
there is an article in there about some canadian kid, and down the side of the article there is a list of facts about canada.
one of the facts states that canada is home to 50% of the world's polar bear population.
... really?
there are about a million other facts that could have given readers an idea of what canada is like, but they chose the ol' polar bear stat?
it's not like polar bears are roaming the streets up here!
i am assuming they live in the wretchedly cold, uninhabitable parts of the country.
i can guarantee i will never see a wild polar bear as long as i shall live.
unless, perhaps, i go on one of those weird cold cruises. to alaska, USA.
and just to make my point further, in the last decade the only polar bears i have even seen in captivity were in california.
i could see this fact being shared if polar bears were our national anthem or something.
but they aren't.
our national animal is the truly proud and noble.. beaver.
so it is a downright irrelevant fact.
poor journalism.
and now my testimony is wavering ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

garden & 1000 miles.

we went out to our garden on monday night, like every other monday this summer, and decided to do a 'practice harvest' to see if our carrots and potatoes are ready to pick yet.
we pulled up a couple handfuls of carrots and a potato plant, and we were so thrilled with what we found underneath:
all of the work we have done in our garden this summer is actually paying off!
it looks like we will be able to do our real harvest in just a couple weeks.

can you tell the boys were pretty pleased with our haul, too?
now i just need to figure out how to make pickles with our (smaller) cucumbers, because the idea of making his own pickles was the only thing that motivated chet to get out to the garden each week.

and on a completely unrelated note:
at the start of the year, i wanted to make a running goal for myself to work towards.
i decided that i was going to try and run 1000 miles in the year 2014.
everyday i would mark on my calendar how many miles i ran, and at the end of each week i would figure out the new total.
apparently i didn't set my sights high enough though, because i completed that goal a couple days ago.
on august 24th i reached my 1000 mile goal.
sooo.. now i'm not sure what to do!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

science center.

we were supposed to go camping this weekend - the annual leavitt family campout.
but the temperature all of a sudden dropped and the camp was cancelled.
things are bumped to next weekend. 
so now we have this empty weekend to do with as we please.
there are a whole list of things we want to do before the summer ends, but most of them are outside activities. and today is not an outside activity kind of day. it's chilly.
so we hit up the science center. and we had fun.
we have only been there once before, when holden was just a little fellow.
this time the boys were at a perfect age to enjoy it - especially the kid section.
we even ended up getting some memberships for the boys and i to use once the temperatures really plummet!

this is my favorite picture from our outing:
that white tube shoots out air. holden thought it was magical when he put the foam ball on top of the tube and it would pop up.