I never could have imagined the experiences, challenges and rewards that come along with the title and responsibility of being "Mom". Everyday my little ones present different needs to be met, new attitudes to understand, stages to conquer, and find new ways to unravel my patience. Despite the challenges, the rewards that come from a genuine I love you mom, a moment of 3 children happily playing together, and even a simple accomplishment bring feelings and emotions that words can't describe. I am ever so grateful for my Precious Little Ones; for their individuality, talents, and the completeness each one contributes to the Cox Clan.

August 15, 2008

Here we go!!

So I've been wanting to create a blog for over a year now....but I always think that I don't have enough time. I love looking at so many creative, fun, and inspiring blogs of friends and family and honestly, I feel inadequate to try and do it myself. However, I've decided no more excuses!! More than anything, this blog is for purely selfish reasons...I want to remember how cute and precious my little ones are, the funny things they do and say, and their accomplishments. I want to remember how we spent our time, the many wonderful people that we get to associate with, and the fun and memorable places we visit. I am excited to invite you to view the "Cox Clan" and see what we've been up to, and more importantly for me to journal and keep memories alive for many, many years to come for me and my little family!

August 14, 2008

Highlights for the Year

I feel a little overwhelmed as I jump into the blogging world. There are so many moments and experiences I have missed out on capturing, so I wanted to highlight some of the most important events this past year.

August 13, 2008

July: Fun, Fun and More Fun...First at Lake Powell

We kicked off the month right by heading to Lake Powell on the 4th. Although we missed out on our annual 4th of July traditions including the hometown parade, festivities and fireworks in central Utah, we were thrilled to go to Lake Powell. We did get to see the fireworks from Bullfrog Bay as we layed on top of the houseboat. With millions of stars overhead and the reflection of the fireworks off the water, it was spectacular! This year was a record breaking year for number of people on the houseboat...43!! Although there was a little chaos at mealtimes, there was ALWAYS plenty of entertainment and fun. I feel so blessed to have such close relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles. We have grown up with many fun family traditions and outings that have cultivated and kept strong family ties. We love to be together and can always have a great time no matter what. Here are some of the highlights......

* Mason revealed his bravery by jumping off the houseboat numerous times. Last year, at only 3 years old, he jumped 3 times but that was enough to make him the youngest kid to ever jump of the boat! Go Mason!!

* The Super Mable was a new addition to the trip, an inflatable giant tube for 3 that kept us all entertained for days

When I was younger, the boys would spend hours and hours on the beach digging in the dirt, making ditches and ponds, or creating their own Seven Peaks with waterslides and tunnels. They would also spend hours carrying buckets of water from the lake up to the top of their slides. Now that the boys are older, they are also very inventive, resourceful and quite ingenious. This year, some of the boys discovered a water pump at the farm and decided to put it to good use while at Lake Powell. They dug a trail, laid plastic over it and then used the water pump with a big hose on the end to take the water to the top of their slide. Now we had a Real water slide!

The kids (and Daddies) loved to go for hikes and look for lizards, snakes, and anything else creepy and crawling....yes, I opted to stay behind on those adventures! They did catch 3 big frogs, several lizards, 2 scorpions, and they heard a rattle snake. Alan is dying to find a rattlesnake in the wild...he hasn't yet in his life. As a boy, he used to go out hunting for them. Maybe better luck next year (or NOT!)

Of course the sand was a big hit. The kids especially enjoyed making trails and roads with their dump trucks and building sand castles

Here are the kids cruising the lake all on their own. They loved going for rides on the paddle boat

Just chillin...Mason and Jalen could always find a friend to play (or be mischievous) with

August 12, 2008

Madelyn Turned 6!!

Madelyn was a very lucky girl to get to celebrate her birthday in Utah with her many cousins and friends. She was very excited this year and understands now what birthdays invovle....presents, parties, and special attention. Her anticipation for these things was evident for about a week. Madelyn continually reminded her aunts, uncles and cousins that her birthday was coming up. The day before her birthday she went to the grocery store with her Aunt Natalie and matter-of-factly told Natalie that she hoped everyone remembered that they only had one more day to shop for her present, so everyone better make sure they get their shopping done!
Madelyn had a water game party with friends and cousins on her birthday and then later got to celebrate again with the Coxs' at the cabin. Her favorite present was her kareoke machine because as Madelyn stated, "Now I can sing like Hannah Montana!"

August 11, 2008

July: The Fun Continues at the Cabin

We were so excited to take the Cox family to the Madsen family cabin on the West Mountain. Everyone had such a great time. The kids enjoyed riding 4-wheelers, playing games, going for hikes, shooting guns, and looking for the elk. Friday night Gary rounded up almost the entire family to play a game of softball in the meadow. The uneven ground, hidden rocks, and the fact that we weren't playing with any mits were a bit of a challenge, but that wouldn't stop a game of baseball in this family!
The only major mishaps for this trip were the flat tires...yes there were several. Suzanne and Mike both got one on their way up to the cabin; Ralph got one on his 4-wheeler on the way back down; and then Suzanne got a second flat tire on her way back down in a different vehicle! A little too ironic, don't you think?!

The cousins spent most of their time playing in the treehouse. They absolutely loved pretending it was their house and the 4-wheelers were their cars.

On our ride home from the cabin, Alan and I had Jalen in the jeep. Once we got off the canyon rode and started driving onto the highway, we were going much faster. Jalen did NOT like the wind that created on his face. So this was the resolution, keeping a shirt tucked in around his face. He rode this way for at least 45 minutes...yes, he was awake the whole time, and no we weren't just trying to keep him quiet! The look of it is a little creepy but it's what he insisted!

During the month of July while I stayed in Utah with the kids, Alan spent most of this time either traveling for work, or home alone in Surprise. He was such a trooper! Despite all the stress and challenges he was experiencing at work, he remained positive and supportive for us being in Utah. The kids and I are so grateful for his unselfishness in allowing us to stay. The kids were able to spend some real quality time with all their grandparents and cousins, enjoy the beautiful summer weather, and create long-lasting memories. Thank you Alan! We love you!

August 10, 2008

June: Top 10

Even though Father's Day was over two months ago, since I'm blog back tracking (if that makes any sense!), I don't want to leave out such an important day of recognition for my honey, Alan and for my own Dad. So here is a quick Top 10 reasons why they are the best!

For Alan:

10. Is a great cook when he wants to be, especially homemade bread (even if he cheats a little by using the bread machine!)

9. Can make a fun game out of anything...something that the kids are very much entertained by

8. Always willing to step up and help with traditionally the woman's responsibilities...getting the kids off to the babysitter when I work, bath time, helping with dishes, changing diapers, etc

7. Irons his own shirts!!!!!

6. Dedicated to his responsbility of being the provider for our family and gives nothing but 110%

5. Makes an extra effort to teach our children gospel principles, especially the importance of prayer and scripture study

4. Tries to be home with the family as much as he can, even if this requires much sacrifice on his part...for example, when traveling for work Alan will leave at 3 or 4 AM to catch a flight or take red eye flights home. He has even spent 2 nights on different occasions sleeping in the airport as a result of making efforts trying to get home more quickly

3. Truly enjoys being a Dad...he loves spending time with our children and will play with them in ways Dads do it best: hide and seek, baseball, wrestling, tag

2. Dedicated to the Gospel and loves it with all his heart.

1.Alan treats me and our children with so much love and respect. He is so good to me, more than I ever realized possible. I love you! And our kids love you...Thanks for being the best Dad!

For my Dad:

10. Worked so hard to be able to provide many opportunities for me to experience

9. Is so much fun to be around

8. Believed in me and what I wanted to achieve and supported me while getting there

7. Encouraged me to try my best, to excel in school and secular activities, and set higher standards for myself (When attending college and deciding on a career, my Dad always said, "Don't be a nurse...You can be a doctor!"

6. Always had a listening ear...was so patient and would try and understand my viewpoint (something I'm not so sure was very easy while I was a teenager!)

5. Help to create a home that was fun, happy, and where I still love to go

4. Is a great Grandpa; even letting us live with them at times and helping me with little ones when Alan was away (reading stories at bedtime, taking kids for rides while I was doing homework, taking a turn to walk the floor with a fussy newborn) I couldn't have make it without my Dad!

3. Enjoyed and made special efforts in taking us on family vacations every year to different and neat places, creating special memories and lasting friendships within our family

2. Shows complete love and respect to my Mom

1. Loves the Gospel and has always served wholeheartedly; taught me what is most importat in life; and through his example has shown me how to follow the commandments. Now that I have children of my own, I appreciate and acknowledge more and more all that my Dad did for me. Thank you so much. I love you!

August 9, 2008

June: Havasu Pie Falls

Alan was able to go with the varsity scout group from our ward to hike Havasu Pie Falls at the Grand Canyon. What an awesome experience! Alan said it was absolutely beautiful, the pictures just don’t do it justice. He hadn’t heard much about this hike before going, so when he got home all he could say was, “By far, my expectations were exceeded.” The week that he was to leave, I kept asking him how he was coming on his packing: First and for most, did he know what kind of food to take and did he have enough? What cooking utensils, bedding, and shoes, was he going to take. How heavy was his pack? You see, growing up I watched my dad pack and prepare for his backpacking trips…taking much time and thought into what he needed. I even went on a 3 day backpacking trip as a teenager and experienced the effort and planning it took to be prepared. I asked him how he planned to boil water for his cup of noodles. His response, “build a fire”. He didn’t believe me when I told him that you can’t have fires, in fact it is a huge no no to build fires. But Alan always had it “under control” so I decided it was better to stay out of it. When I dropped him off, I was excited for him and this neat adventure, but I have to admit, I was VERY nervous. I just prayed that he had everything he needed. On Saturday the kids and I were anticipating Alan’s arrival. When we heard the front door close, we knew that he had made it. After not hearing him walk out of the entry way, I decided to go make sure it was indeed Alan. As I turned the corner, there he stood…backpack still on his back, clothes and face filthy dirty, and an expression of utter pain. (I wish I had a camera!) I was worried at first, thinking something must have happened. Alan dropped his backpack to the floor and said, “I hurt so bad. I’m going upstairs to shower.” That’s all he could share at the moment. Overall, Alan had an amazing experience. Yes, there are some things he would do differently next time, but that is the point…there will be a next time. Every time he talks about this hike, he says, “Jennie, I’ve got to take you there!” We’re hoping to go next spring…any takers? We would love to have you come!

August 8, 2008

Father & Son Campout

Alan and the boys spent the weekend together during our ward's father and son campout. Of course they had a great time...the outdoors, dirt, fires, sticks, and 4-wheelers is just their element! Madelyn was very upset about being left behind, but she soon realized that a girls weekend was just as fun! Shopping, staying up late watching girly movies, and getting all the attention she wanted turned out to be not so bad after all!

The only incident of the weekend was the cut and later black eye Jalen got from falling and hitting his face on a rock. I have to say that's pretty darn good!

August 7, 2008

Fun Pictures

Here goes my first slide show....


August 6, 2008

Olsen Family's Visit

We were so excited to have the Olsen family visit us before Steven left for his mission. Our kids had so much fun with them...Madelyn was thrilled to have Daniel and James to play with. Mason adores Kim, probably because she is so sweet to him, plays games, and gives her undivided attention to him. And Jalen grew quite fond of Steven and Matthew...insisting on their help with whatever he wanted. The Olsens' are such a neat family and I can't say enough about how much we adore and appreciate their children. Alan and I are very grateful that our kids have them as cousins to look up to.

We had fun visiting the Wildlife Zoo, swimming at the Surprise Aquatic Center, playing games, and just visiting together. One of the highlights for me was having Matthew and Kim help me set up my MP3 player (it had been sitting in its package for over 7 months). Being so far out of the technology loop, I hadn't even tried to figure out how to get it working. That is quite embarrassing to admit, but it's the truth. Thanks Matt and Kim!!

August 4, 2008

Kindergarten Days

Kindergarten graduation came with much anticipation and excitment. She loved her kindergarten year, her teacher Mr. Palumbo and her many new friends. But she was also ready for the summer and very proud that she would soon be a first grader!

Jalen was mommy's big helper at graduation as the camera man. Although I didn't get the footage I would have like, he surely enjoyed his important job!

For mother's day, I got a special gift from Madelyn...a kindergarten presentation of songs and stories about how much they love their moms. On their hats is a heart and poem that read "I love you forever; I like you for always; As long as I'm living; My mommy you'll be!!" So special. The program made me realize how fast my little "Baby Doll" is growing up...I can't believe she's 5 years old and attending school all day. Madelyn is such a sweet, energetic, and spirited girl. I love you!!

Poud brothers supporting their sisters!

Mr. Palumbo's wife had a baby towards the end of the year, so Ms. Adelman planned a surprise shower/party for him. The kids were so excited to get to give Mr. Palumbo's baby boy a present and share that excitment with him.

For a field trip, the kindergarten class visited the Wildlife Zoo. I got to go along as a chaperone and loved every minute! Madelyn made some really great friendships with her classmates over the year. A few of her favorites from Mr. Palumbo's class were Alexis, Grace, Kristen, Rilee, and Austin.

Madelyn was so excited to ride a bus for the first time! We were lucky enough to get to be the cool kids with the back seat. With every turn and bump the bus went over, all the kids squelled with excitment!