Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Let's Just Shove All Of July Into One Post, Shall We?

 1. We've found the best recipe for baked french toast.  We make it using Hawaiian bread, and it turns out so yummy.
I have such good helpers!

snitching some brown sugar

2.  We went to the 4th of July Parade.  We parked right by Pasco High and walked down to Sylvester, and it was fun to show the kids where I went to high school and Seminary.

cousins in the middle school marching band

3. I love this kid.  I have no idea what's on his nose.

 4. We finally got a table for the patio!  We've spent a few evenings playing games as a family.  Apples to Apples didn't work, because Marcus doesn't read well enough to know what's on the cards, and the kids didn't know half the people or things on the cards, anyway.  "Who's Fidel Castro?"  Carcasonne was a big hit, especially since the m&m's were the perfect colors to be our score markers.

 5. Rebecca's 3rd birthday.  Oh, how I love this girl!  She is such a sweet thing.  She loves to help, especially in the kitchen.  If she sees me in the kitchen, she's immediately asking for the step ladder so she can help.  We got her a toddler bike, but found it was a bit small, so I then took her to Walmart to exchange it and get something a little bigger.  We spent the day as a family, then Brian's dad came over after dinner for cake.
She came to get me - "My birthday is in the kitchen!"

We at least put pants on her before taking her to the store.

She had a hard time pulling the present out of the bag.

A really hard time.

But she loved it once she got it out!

 6. Brian and I went on the Youth Trek as a ma and pa.  It was hot (106 degrees) and slightly horrible, but such a wonderful experience.  Hopefully I'll do a complete post on it when the stake posts the pictures, since we didn't bring our cameras or phones.  Our family made our flag on the first afternoon, after trekking through the heat and dust and resting for a couple hours, recovering from heat exhaustion.  We were proud of ourselves for making it through the first day, but we knew there were still hard times to come.  They tried to keep us hydrated, but I don't think anyone was prepared for what such high temperatures would do to us.  We had one "son" dry heaving on the side of the trail at one point, and just before doing the hard rope pull, Brian had nausea, dizziness, and tunnel vision.  We trekked into Zion (Bing Canyon) the next day, instead of following the original route, and it was so much better to be on the grass and in the trees.  On Wednesday and Thursday we trekked out of Bing Canyon, then right back to it, so we could still get a feel for what the pioneers had to go through without killing ourselves.  It was such a fun time, and I fell in love with all the kids in our trek family.  My favorite part of the whole week was the women's pull.  Sister Wamsely and Sister Freeman gave great talks before it, saying that the point of it wasn't to show off for the guys and shove it in their face that we could do it, too, but they said the point was to work together as sisters to get through hard things.  Walking up the mountain with two of my girls (the others stayed behind that day) and talking about how we need the Priesthood and how the women work with the men as a team, and how we can make it through hard things as sisters was such a spiritual experience.  I couldn't stop crying when we made it to the top, and the medical staff kept coming to me, squirting me with water and asking if I was okay.  I was finally able to convince them that physically I was fine, and Brian hugged me for a few minutes.  I tried to get things under control, got myself to stop crying, then said, "Okay, I'm fine.  I'm fine now....No, I'm not!" and started crying all over again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Rest of June

I love summer.  I love unhurried mornings and spending the afternoons playing outside.  Today we went to my parents house to be with Grandma Harris while my parents went to the doctors to get Mom's staples taken out from her hip surgery.  The kids swam, I pulled weeds and listened to an audiobook.  I got hot from that, so then I swam, too.  I visited with Erin and Tallia while the kids played.  It was wonderful.

Summer dinners tend to be easy, too.  Tonight was eggs, hash browns, and orange julius.  Last night was sloppy joes.  I'm thinking some sort of salad for tomorrow.

We had to clean up quick after dinner for our home teachers to come over.  Then, after they left, Ethan and Marcus and I played Carcasonne.  Then Alyssa, Ethan, and I played Ticket to Ride while Marcus laid my train cars down on the tracks.  I love that the kids are getting old enough to play games with and not get extremely frustrated.

Becca fell asleep on the way home from my parents' house.  She's done this before.  She should sleep through the night.  If she doesn't, either Brian or I will be having a middle-of-the-night  book or movie party with her.  I really hope that doesn't happen.  I think the life of a toddler msut be so funny at times.  Here she fell asleep in her swimsuit on the way home from Grandma's house, and she'll wake up in her bed with clean underwear and pajamas on.  Magic!

So what's been happening since Cub Scout Camp?

1. We went to see the Reptile Man at the library.  He brought some new snakes this year.  There was an African snake with leaf patterns on its back that was so beautiful.  Becca loved the tortoise that the Reptile Man sets on the grass to wander through the crowd.  She kept petting his shell, and I eventually had to pull her away to make room for other kids.

2. The Sumsions came to visit.  I love when the Sumsions come to visit!  This time they're in the States for an extended vacation from Singapore.  Ethan kept calling them Singaporians, and Grant kept saying, "We're not Singaporians!"  They're doing great there, but they can't wait until their three years are up and they can come back home.

Brian and I played Spades with Will and Nelsa while the kids watched a movie.  The girls were winning for most of the game, but the boys blew past us right at the end for the win.  We went tubing at Charbonneau Park with Brian's dad.  With out two families, there were too many people for the boat, so we had to split into two groups.  Alyssa and I went with Nelsa, Sydney, and Grant.  Sydney is a die hard tube-er.  It was her first time, but she loved it!  I went with her toward the beginning, and we got knocked off, hitting the water hard.  My first thought was, "Oh no!  Now she's going to hate tubing!"  The second my head was out of water I was asking, "Are you alright?" but she wasn't concerned at all.  She held her hands above her head in the air, turned toward the boat, and yelled, "Seriously?!?"

Both Ethan and Grant had moments where the waves washed over them and the inner tube, completely submersing them in the water, but they both held on tight and made it through.  Brian actually had the tube flip over, upside down, and he managed to hold on and flip it upright again.  I wish I had been able to see that!

I'm sad that we only got to see the Sumsions for a short time and that it will be so long before we see them again.  I'm glad that Brian and Will were best friends in high school and still want to hang out, and I'm glad Will married Nelsa, because I love her!  And I love that our kids get along, and our families have such a great time together.

3. I finished the rough draft of my book.  I finished it on Saturday, June 21st.  The last few paragraphs took three days to finish.  I still don't know if I have it concluding exactly as I want it, but it's in a good spot for now.

It feels to good to have finished the story.  It was an amazing experience and totally worth all the effort and early mornings that went into it.  I never knew how much the author is actually controlled by the story's events and characters, instead of the other way around.  At least that's how it was for me!  I had my basic outline in the beginning, but the actual story, except for the very bare bones, is very different from that first outline.  There were so many times that I would be writing and be surprised at how a scene turned out, or times where I would be in the middle of the scene and be wondering, just I hope my readers will, how it will end.  Even though I knew what needed to happen in a scene and what the end goal was, for the most part, the characters dictated what happened, and writing the story felt like just as much of a journey as I hope my readers will someday experience.

Right now I'm starting to go back and edit the highlighted areas where I didn't like a certain sentence or I knew more information was needed, or I called a minor character SomeGuy instead of taking the time to give them a name.  While I'm fixing those, I'm also making a detailed outline of the story, so I can easily see where the plot holes are, or where I want to add in things that I already know are missing.  I'm excited for this part, but it still feels daunting!

4. We went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 last night for Family Home Evening.  We had a goal to not miss FHE for the month of June, so that was a bit of a reward.  We had been wanting to go see it since it came to the theaters, but missed every opportunity for various reasons, but mostly because we didn't have the house clean.  (I'm being very strict this summer about not leaving the house in a mess.  Plus, the way I see it, if we know we can't go to the movie unless things are tidy and no one makes an effort to clean, then we really don't deserve to see the movie.)  Anyway, it was good.  Not as good as the first, in my opinion, but I think that's mostly because I feel they gave away the whole plot in the trailors, so there were really no surprised for me.  It was still fun to watch, though, and it was fun to cuddle with Becca once she held still long enough to fall asleep on my lap.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cub Scout Camp

Today was Ethan's first day of cub scout camp.  They're doing a Medieval Knight theme this year, and it is awesome.  I volunteered to walk with our group of boys today, and I'm so glad I could be there.  I love watching my kids grow up!

Our pack was combined with another to be the White Knights.  We started off at an obstacle course to get to the dragon and slay it.  The boys had to swing over a kiddie pool moat, jump over logs, climb under cobwebs of string, walk across a board suspended between two pool ladders, and then once they hit the wooden dragon a few times, they would run back to the line to do it all over again.  They must have each done it at least ten times, and they never got bored!  It was a great way to start the day.

Next we went to a cooking class, where they learned a few different ways to start a fire, and got to cook biscuit "pies" over the flames.  Each biscuit was burnt, except Jacob Freeman's.  His turned out a beautiful golden brown, and he said it was delicious.

The boys did BB Guns and archery, and hand sewed little pouches to keep marbles in.  One of my favorite stations was the Public Square, where they were all found guilty of their crimes and were forced to sit in the stocks to get their picture taken and to have wet sponges thrown at them.  They also got to sit under a water balloon dunk tank thing to get water splashed over their heads.  They loved that!

The boys were talking so much on the drive home.  It was fun to listen them sharing their experiences and laughing about all the fun things they did together.  Ethan was so exhausted tonight.  We went out to dinner, and he was falling asleep on the way home.

When we got home from camp, we found that Brian had bought a BB gun and target, and we all took turns shooting in the back yard.  Brian took the first shot and must have hit the tiny area between the paper and the metal box thing, because his BB made it inside the box, but didn't punch the paper.  He said the gun must shoot a little off. (If I used emoticons, I would put a smiley face here.)

I went next, aimed the best I could, and guess where it hit?  Yep, straight dead on the X, baby.

Look at that.

Right on the X.
And here's pictures from Scout Camp:

Fire building relay.  They each had to lay down a piece.

If the sponges landed close to them, they were allowed to throw them back.

That water is just about to drench his back.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mushrooming 2014

Brian's parents went up to the cabin a couple weeks ago, and in wind, rain, and hail, they found a ton of mushrooms.  With Alyssa having ballet on Friday evenings, it's been a little difficult to get away, so we decided to take off right after church to go mushrooming for Memorial Day.  We usually visit the cemetery on Memorial Day, but it obviously just didn't work out this year.

We brought along Alyssa's best friend, Buffy, and they had a blast together.  Buffy was a natural at finding and cutting mushrooms, and I loved that she enjoyed tromping around the forest as much as we do.  It was a quick trip, but so much fun.  Ethan was with us, I promise.  I guess I didn't get any pictures of him.  He was all over the place this year!

Grandpa and Marcus were buddies for a while.

Brian and Becca were buddies.

Marcus fell and cut his finger pretty bad on a stick.  Luckily we had a first aid kit in the car.  We were able to get him cleaned and bandaged, then he hung out playing my phone with Grandma.

Buffy cutting a mushroom

I don't know why the camera caught this face.  I don't remember her being disgusted by the mushrooms...

my girls

Marcus with the biggest of the lot.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Piano Recital and Cow Tongue Tacos

Alyssa and Ethan had their piano recital yesterday.  It was a little busy for Alyssa and me, because she had ballet from 5:45-6:45, and the recital started at 6:30.  She couldn't miss ballet, because they're doing testing for next year's placement, so we put her at the end of the program and she and I raced to the church once her ballet class was over. 

Both Ethan and Alyssa did a great job.  I'm proud of them for sticking with it and practicing even when they didn't want to.

Alyssa played "Fur Elise" and "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," and Ethan played "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Song of the Bluebird."

This was taken right after our dress rehearsal at our house.

In Other News:

1. We cooked up some lengua tacos last Thursday, and I took some pictures of both the coolness and the nastiness.  We thought the missionaries were coming over, but I got my weeks mixed up, so we had Phil and Erin over instead.

This picture isn't showing how pretty this really was.  This bag has two cow tongues and a bunch of diced onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.  The tongues weren't so pretty, but the colors from everything else were.


No, seriously, I had to peel the skin off the tongue.  That's usually Brian's job, but he didn't come home in time to do it.

The first time we tried lengua tacos, we cooked them in the sous vide for 30 hours, then when we moved them to a skillet to finish them up, they shredded beautifully, so it tasted like wonderful shredded beef, and it was easy to forget that you were eating cow tongue.  This time we only cooked them for 20 hours, so they didn't shred, and even though it tasted good, I didn't eat it as easily as the first time. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Oh, Great Badger Mountain

We went for a hike up Badger mountain last night.  It was so fun.  We picked Alyssa up from ballet, then headed straight there.  The sun was just starting to go down, so it was nice and cool the whole way, and it didn't start to get dark until we were back at the park and ready to go home.  And so far, out of two Badger Mountain hikes this year, I've seen zero snakes.  Count that: ze-ro.  Brian saw one a few weeks ago when we went with the youth at church, but I'm not counting it, because it was far away from me.

One reason we went on the hikes was to prepare for the trek this summer and to break in our new hiking boots.  Brian loved his boots, but was wearing the wrong socks, that kept moving around and bunching up, so he ended up with a blister on his heel.  Not a bad one, though.  He said it felt fine today.

The kids were serious troopers up the hill, and they were so glad when we made it to the top.  I think they enjoyed the way down the most, though.  One of my favorite parts was that everyone was tired when we got home, and they all conked out real fast after being tucked in.

Becca had just fallen off the bench.  This wasn't very far up, and Brian's heel was already hurting.

I made a real quick mei-tai carrier for Becca after dropping Alyssa off at ballet.  It wasn't big enough for her, but it worked.  Brian carried her to the first stop, then I carried her the rest of the way up, and Brian carried her down. 

The kids at the top

And now without Marcus' elephant arm

In other news:

1. We got home from a trip to Disneyland last week.  Post to come soon!

Brian watched about an hour and a half of Strawberry Shortcake on Saturday, just because Becca wanted him to watch it with her.  That's love.
3. The kids and I went to the Health and Safety Expo at the Trac this afternoon with Erin and Phil's family.  They loved it!  Oh, you want to give me a bag so that I can go from booth to booth to play games and get candy?  Yes, Please!  Even Becca had her own bag, and she was really good at going up to the tables to get a piece of candy or play a game.  Alyssa used some of the things they gathered - safety goggles, a face mask, latex gloves, a cheap clipboard - to pretend to be a doctor/safety inspector person tonight while the kids played in the back yard.  We had Brennan and Asher over, because they didn't want to go to Kenna's choir concert, and the kids played outside the entire time.  Currently, Marcus is wearing a plastic fire fighter's helmet, Alyssa has a face mask on top of her head like a hat, Ethan is taking notes with a bone pen, and I'll bet that Becca has a dum dum in her mouth.  All in all, a great afternoon and evening.