Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Independence Day

In years past, we have carted my family up to my parents' driveway to shoot off fireworks.  They were in the (enviable??) position of NOT being incorporated into any city.  Since fireworks were legal in our county, but not in any of the local cities of town, WIN!  We had fun.

They are incorporated now.  Boo.  Especially since we only found that out AFTER we picked up a mondo pack of fireworks at a truck stop in Idaho.  (Yes, really.  It was a super nice truck stop, OK?  There was a gym in the basement!)


Aunt LoLo showed us how to make guards out of big cups, for a bit of protection from flying sparks.  Yes, one eventually melted a bit (you have to keep the burning part of the sparkler AWAY from the cup, little girl.  Just hold onto the tip.)




LoLo and I were in mommy-tographer heaven.  Kids are doing something cute, dads are there to help the kids, SCORE!


We had really tame, fun, fireworks: sparklers, some little fountains, sooty snakes, and some little "crackers."  Nothing moving.  Nothing too loud.  Nothing scary (except sparklers- everyone got two, and we were done.)

Wonder Daddy had the lighting honors.

Cocoa wandered.

He wandered far.

I love these summer days.  It makes me wonder why, when we home school, life doesn't always feel like this.  We've started school already, so that's the same (except when we have guests or something comes up- we start super early so we have plenty of time to take breaks when we need to!)  I need to think about next year's schedule, and what I want it to be, and how to make it that way.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fish Hatchery

My husband's brother and sister-in-law came to visit for a week their two children, who just HAPPEN to be almost exactly Mimi and Cocoa's ages.  What a blast!

We spent one afternoon in our own tiny "downtown" visiting the library and the local fish hatchery.  Every year, our hatchery releases thousands of (marked) salmon into the local creek- those salmon swim out to the Puget Sound and then out to open ocean.  When it's time to spawn, they come on home.  They're caught and harvested (eggs and sperm) and the process begins again.  It's actually illegal for a fisherman to catch and keep an unmarked (wild) salmon, because the populations are getting so low and they are such a tremendously important part of the food chain up here.  Bears and eagles glut on them up in Alaska during the salmon run.  This way, there are still salmon populations for fishermen to go after, the food chain is bolstered, and everyone wins!

We're feeling lucky that summer has started up here- the joke is that we don't get any sun until after the 4th of July, and this joke!  We did not have a single "sunny" day in June (sunny= more than 30% of the day is sunny.)  But, we're having sunshine now, we're up into the 70's, and we're ready for summer!


Remember this dress?  The princess dress she got for her birthday last year?  She has worn it it has been in her drawer.  Without exception.


Ernie has been enjoying having company, but deep down we all know she is an introvert.  And now, she's an introvert with a new pile of books, and we're all stopped at a park staring at the trees.  No thanks.  Not even her cousin can distract her!


Sure looks swell in her hat, though.

(Unfortunately, right after this he biffed it HARD in the bark and got a nasty set of scrapes on his leg.  Poor fellow.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Walking Back from the Beach

I love the walk back from the beach, up the hill to the cabin.  Yes, it's short.  But being next to a nature preserve and a coast means that the scenery changes every few feet!

Along the shore is nothing but rocks and sand and driftwood, until you reach a bit of brush.  The wildflowers are nice this time of year.




After the brush, comes the marsh.  Solid reeds and cattails, over a soupy mess.







Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Playing at the Beach

The island is about 10 miles around- Wonder Daddy and I biked the bottom half, and across the middle, like a big orange slice.  After that, there's not much to do there!  Perfect.

Ernie spent the afternoon curled up in the loft with a pile of books.  My dad kept her company up at the cabin while the rest of us explored the beach.  It's, for the most part, full of rocks and stones and pebbles and any other name for "chunk of rock" you can think of.  BUT, at the farthest edge, where the beach meets the brush, there's a solid collection of driftwood logs sitting on fine sand.  Mom went around the beach in front of the cabin before our visit, shoving logs out of the way to make bigger sandy spots to enjoy.  Cocoa and Wonder Daddy spent a good chunk of the afternoon tossing rocks back into the ocean, or trying to hit an old pilon down the beach.  I really have no idea how to spell that word, now that I think of it.  We've always called them "pile-on."  At any rate, it's a weathered mast of wood.




We all found our little zen place.  Wonder Daddy made a little zen garden.





Monday, July 16, 2012

The Island

At my parents' getaway cabin, my dad does the big projects- repairing foundations, jacking up a sagging guest house, etc.  Mom does the "futzing."  She orders the furniture, and makes things wonderful.  This little path is something she spent an afternoon on, arranging spare pieces of wood just so.



She collects beautiful things on the beach, too!

Funny story, one day after a storm they saw a big picnic bench floating in the water near shore.  Dad waded in and brought it out (brrrr!), and they enjoyed having a place to sit besides driftwood logs.  Well, until another big storm carried it away again.  I hope someone else is enjoying that bench!

Whenever we visit, the girls are each allowed to bring home one special rock.  I found one that was perfectly egg shaped, and felt wonderful in my hand.  Mimi found one that was baby-smooth...and weighs a pound or two.  Cocoa loves to throw it.  (Oh yeah, he's got an awesome arm now.  Watch out!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

To the Beach!

We stole away for a day and headed north to my folks' little island beach bungalow.

I love it there.

We didn't get on the road till about 10:30, and stopped for lunch before we caught a ferry across the channel.  Oops.  HUGE line- we ended up with a bunch of time to kill before there was a ferry with enough room for us, but the kids didn't mind one single bit.

(I have a ton of pictures to share- this story will take a few days!)



We didn't arrive till about 1:30, which actually got us there just after the morning fog burned off.  That water there is very deep, and very fast.  We see big tankers coming through sometimes.


Mom made this little path through an arbor of wild roses- at first, she thought to keep the deer out of the yard, and there was a gate attached to the metal arbor.  If I remember the story right, a deer ran straight through it, and took the gate along for the ride!  Strong deer.

The cabin is next to a large wildlife preserve- this is part of the boggy part.  It's a complete soup under all those reeds!


Thanks for letting us visit, Mom and Dad!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Farewell to Friends

When we found out that our good friends are moving to North Carolina in, like, TWO DAYS, Ernie and I kind of panicked.  She supplied enough tears for the both of us though, and managed to call them on the phone.

"Can you play before you leave?"

I talked to my friend, the mom, and managed to get all of them to our house in the next 15 minutes.  Winning!


Man alive, I am going to miss these folks.  T.  is one of my very best friends, and we're both horrible introverts, with more kettles in the fire than we have arms to juggle them with.  (Translation: We don't see each other as often as we'd like, during the school year.)

We gabbed for 3 solid hours, cackled over how much MORE we adore our children once they're sleeping, traded stories of all the crazy people we've come across since we last saw each other, and bragged shamelessly on our husbands and all the neat things they're doing at work.  Sigh.  She's promised that we can be pen-pals, and that this move to North Carolina is at MOST four years, but...but....!!!!

(I had no idea the kids brought all their band gear into this photo!  Shows how much I pay attention while I'm setting up a tripod and timer and aperture and white balance and ISO and timer... while holding a baby :)  And really, WHAT on earth is Mimi doing with her poor face??  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Party Time!

Carrying the "cake"


So excited to open presents!

Ernie was over the moon excited to have her "friend" birthday party.  A forecast of lightning (?!?!) moved our party from the beach to our home, but that didn't dampen the birthday girl's spirits!

flower punched cucumber slices

She requested a menu of donuts, strawberries, grapes, and cucumbers.  YUM.  Pinterest supplied a last-minute idea of punching the cucumbers in little flower shapes- they were the first snack bowl to empty!

Sid the Science Kid video!!

(She really, really, really likes her new "Sid the Science Kid" video.  Really.)

I meant to teach the girls how to finger-knit bracelets, but a quick lesson with my two girls before the party showed me that I'd rather throw all the children out the window that attempt to teach them what it means to take some yarn BEHIND a finger.  No, behind.  No, the other side.  Yes,, not like that.  Let me show you again.

Whatever.  It took me ten minutes to make enough bracelets for everyone to take home (anyone here want a bracelet?  Seriously.  They're coming out my ears.  And I think they're pretty cute :)

finger-knit jersey bracelet

The kids also took home little lollipop flowers in their goody bags (along with some trinkets my husband picked up at the store, because he's darling, and did my errands for me that morning.)
lollipop flowers- party favors

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Family Reunion, Part Four

We're reading through the e-mail updates I've sent my family over the last little bit, while taking a week-long car trip through Idaho and Utah.

Jun 26
Monday was checkout day from the Beaver Creek Lodge in Logan Canyon, Utah.  Check out time was 11:00- we knew Grandpa would want to leave earlier, probably at 10:00.  We under-estimated him- he was vacuuming the deck at 7:30, and chomping at the bit at 9:00.  Time to go!
(Yes, he vacuumed the deck- he REALLY wanted to get that cleaning deposit back!!)

I stayed in the room until it was time to go, hopping around and packing the totes.  Wonder Daddy brought my breakfast up, and his parents helped him load the car.  We hit the road, heading south in a caravan through the Logan Canyon, at 9:30.  Not bad at all!

The Logan Canyon is beautiful- lots of green trees, cliffs, and caves.  Rich recommended we drive it- he was right!  I kept my foot wrapped and elevated most of the trip, it was hurting a lot.

We spent the afternoon with my MIL's parents and sister's family in South Weber, Utah.

As the afternoon progressed, I was able to hobble and limp more.  By the time we left at 5:30 for photos in the park, I could walk perfectly, with no pain.  Perhaps God had mercy for a busy mom who wasn't careful enough on some uneven stairs?

We took family pictures in the park.  The photographer was great at posing the groups, very patient with the amount of finagling it took to work through all the various permutations of family groupings we could think up, with all the kids it entailed.  And, we weren't too close together :). I'm excited to get the files from that shoot!!

We rented hotel rooms in town- I was so grateful!  After the park, Wonder Daddy stayed with his cousins and siblings to play board games and I caravaned to the hotel.  My FIL helped me get kids and pajamas inside.  I got everyone into the tub and into bed by 10:30.  Hooray!  They slept great, the bed was super comfortable, the AC was efficient, my foot was healed, and a good night in the hotel!


Reading with Nana Great

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Family Reunion, Part Three

Jun 26
Church day in a Mormon vacation spot is no joke!!!  The building in Garden City (the town at the end of Logan Canyon, on Bear Lake) is a big one.  Not so many classrooms, but the sacrament hall and gym looked regulation sized.  The congregation filled the sacrament hall, overflow, gym, stage, relief society room, primary room, Sunday school room, and the scout room.  I counted twenty five empty water trays in the kitchen, that held 36 cups each.

When the bishop announced the choir special musical number, he invited anyone who would like to join them!  We got four of us up on the stand, to sing with about 30 other folks- we heard later that the ward choir has six people in it :). We did a hymnplicity and it was fun :)

After Sacrament Meeting, all those vacationing folks went home!!  Of our group, 12 of us stayed.  Perhaps 50 people in Sunday School, Ernie had class with two other kids (both residents.). We were surprised to see that, but someone pointed out that the classes were incredible- for the most part they were just led discussions, and the room was full of ONLY people who made a choice to make attending a priority.  All three hours were incredible- what a great Sunday!!

After church we stopped at a bluff in the canyon, overlooking the lake to snap some photos.  We went back for lunch, and had a family meeting.  Grandpa spoke about some experiences and miracles in his life.  He gave advice, and told everyone he loved them. Grandma spoke a bit, just to say how proud she was of everyone.

After that, we broke into families, my father-in-law spoke to us all.  We had a little birthday party for Ernie- Nana bought Twinkies and Ding Dongs, jazzed them up with sparkly glitter gel and sugar paste flowers, and made up a little tower on a plate- it was sweet :). Ernie got Arietty, an anatomy book, and a Kids National Geographic book with pages about everything you could possibly imagine from us.  Nana and Grandpa gave her a pack of Magic Treehouse books and an "Explorer" Polly Pocket set.  What a fun day for her!  (Nana covered our room entry in streamers and a banner this morning before we got up :)

Later, we all got together for pictures on the back lawn- I was carrying my big camera down the concrete steps and slipped my footing, and my foot landed sideways on the next step.  I limped around taking and posing the family shots, but later I couldn't put any weight on it at all!  It swelled up a bit, and I spent the rest of the day hopping on one foot.

It was hot and long- after the group shots, my in-law's group trooped out into the scrub for some self timer shots- Ernie started fussing, she wanted to be done.  When we were done, she was white as a ghost and sobbing- Wonder Daddy carried her to the kitchen, and all the kids had some cookies and juice.  Poor thing :(

Everyone stayed up late playing games in the common room- we all went to bed around 11:00 again.

So that's Sunday!  Incredible church, a completed photo session (that was by no means artistic, but it got the job done), a birthday, and a suspected sprain or fracture.  Whee!  It was a pretty good day :)


Elizabeth's birthday banner

Birthday girl!





Grandma and Grandpa with Jay Wiser family

Jay Wiser family