Sunday, June 17, 2018

Picnic, Cooking, and Racing

Summer is in full swing and the time is rushing by too quickly. Debbie has kept the kids busy with fun activities, and they have kept her busy with many needs. Greg has actually been a little less busy with work lately but still has a full schedule between yard work and family demands. It's good that the kids get to see a little more of him lately. 

Here are some pictures from our week:

Picnic at the park with Greg's sister

 Our local garden community holds free kid's education classes. The kids thought this one on flowers was interesting...even if Abigail's flower stamping didn't really work.

Abigail baked a cake for Great-Grandpa's birthday. She was very proud to have done it all by herself.

Abigail also participated in a girl's pinewood derby. She didn't put a ton of energy into her car and we were a little surprised (and very excited) that she came in 5th overall (out of ~40). The activity was more fun than expected.

One of the ways Debbie said the kids could earn money this summer is by cooking dinner. Alex latched onto this idea and has been asking to make dinner for a while. We were finally able to help him plan and carry this out. Of course he choose a labor intensive taco meal to be his first chef experience. He worked very hard for nearly a hour and a half to put together a very delicious meal for Sunday dinner.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cousins Visit

The back half of this week had a very fun occasion.  Debbie's sister was going out of town and left her two kids with us for a couple of days.  One of their kids is near Abby's age and they had a blast acting as "fraternal twins" (their term) all weekend.  Here is some of what they got up to during their visit.

A visit to the library to stock up on books for everyone.

Doing arts and crafts when it got too hot outside.

Visiting the splash pad (first time this summer!).

Debbie was also brave enough to take all the kids to the Summerfest on Friday night.  Greg was working so Debbie took the kids over for crafts, helicopter tour, and other activities.

Watching the helicopter take off

The craft-pavilion was too loud (one hundred kids with hammers will do that) so they brought the craft home to build.  Alex made a bank and Abby made a bird house.

And of course a trip to Menchies.

Abby misses her cousin already, they had fun from sunrise to sunset and hope to do it again sometime!

First Camping Trip

Debbie and the kids love camping. This first trip of the year was special because it was the first time going with Papa's new trailer. As it turned out there was a lot to learn! We went to the Goblin Valley area and it was pretty hot. Unfortunately the generator we had was unable to run the AC and the first night it was 88' inside the trailer and never got cooler than 72'. Debbie and her dad didn't get much sleep. 

The next day we went on a couple of hikes and with nowhere to go to escape the heat we all ended up kind of sick with heat exhaustion, Abby getting it worst. After that we decided not to stay the second night we had planned to but instead decided to stay in the air conditioned car and drive home. In between being too hot and sometimes miserible there were some fun times.

Bella got really dirty and had a lot of freedom but was so hot the entire time. It took her two days to recover.

Alex was so excited to roast hot dogs over the fire. It's his new favorite food.

It kids loved exploring and were excited that Bella could catch up.

Valley of Goblins!

One of the best parts for the kids was scrambling on all the rocks.

Little Wild Horse Canyon. We didn't do the whole hike but Debbie and Alex made it to the beginning of the slot part while Abby and Papa rested, too hot.

So tired and now nice and cool

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Officaillly Summer

Not very many pictures this week (Debbie forgot to take them half the time) but we've had a fun official start to our summer. 

Activities that were not pictured were a schools-out party for the kids and a evening out for Debbie. 

The kids wanted a way to celebrate the end of the school year. So they each invited a couple of friends over and we had pizza and fancy sorbet and lots of playing.

Debbie had an evening out with Greg's sister to see a local stage production of Sense and Sensibility. The girls really enjoyed the show and thought it was very theatrical and different.

The second to last day of school Debbie let Abby play hooky and she took the kids to buy summer shoes, eat ice cream, and play with puppies.

National doughnut day was celebrated and the kids didn't even mind the wait at Krispy Kreme.

The day after school Debbie took the kids up to her parent's house. Debbie helped her dad hang a large patio shade as well as preparing Papa's new trailer for our upcoming camping trip. The kids ran around getting dirty and enjoyed a couple of rides on the 4-wheeler. They also made muffins in an orange peel which was fun.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Fun in the sun

Although Abby still has a couple days of school left, it felts like summer has really begun. We have had lots of time outside, lots of grilled dinners and eating outdoors, and lots of time playing together as a family.

One of the things we have often remarked on is how much busier we are here than we were in Seattle.  A lot of that has to do with the age of our kids but things here are also closer and more accessible than they were before. We like living in an area with so much to do.  Here are some of the highlights of the last week.

Abby has been doing track this spring.  She's not sure that she loves it but she is sticking with it. We're glad that it has not been super hot since she would roast during practices.

We have started grilling a lot more.  Our kids love grilled foods, particularly when they are on a stick.  We tried to convince them to use a fork but they refused and ate animal style.  Their faces were a mess when they were done but they both ate everything they had!

Abby's school has lots of end of year activities including a pet show.  Bella thought it was quite an exciting event and Abby was excited to show off her dog.  Abby also had an activity where her parents came during the day and the class had a set of songs/performances.  Abby sang great and we were glad that Greg could get time off work to come watch.

On Saturday we went to the annual city "water festival".  It is kind of a weird water-conservation themed event but we've been the last couple of years and the kids like it.

Alex is steadily moving up the bike food-chain and needing new bikes all the time.  Abby had a bike that was in pretty good condition but was very pink and girly.  Alex was fine riding it and had been on it for a few weeks before Debbie used some spray-paint to gave it an upgrade.  Alex chose the color (red) and name (Lava Blaster) and now he loves it even more.  You can tell from the picture just how awesome he thinks it is.  Now he takes the Lava Blaster out for bike rides with Debbie and the dog.


One new activity Greg has been wanting to try out is Geocaching.  Geocaching is a hobby where you use coordinates and a phone app to find "treasures".  The treasures aren't actually for the taking, they are usually just small containers with a log sheet inside, but it is an excuse to get outside and explore.  We set off on our first geocaching expedition on our bikes.

The kids were very anxious about whose turn it was to find them and got a bit snippy but by the end they had started to calm down.  We found a total of 7 caches on our first day, a nice haul!


Most caches were in rock piles but one was up in a tree.  Abby was very proud that she was the one to find that one.

Debbie has created a system where the kids can read or play games or play outside to earn "screen time".  The kids (and Debbie) do well with systems and this should help bring some balance to their long summer days.  The kids are old enough now to read and do games on their own and it is fun to interact with them and see how clever they are.

On Friday, Debbie and Greg used a gift certificate from Greg's work to go to a fancy spa and dinner/dessert.  It was a late night away from the kids but a nice break from the regular bustle and Debbie got to try a bread pudding that Greg has been talking about for years.

Lots of activates and summer has just begun!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Alex Gradruates Preschool and Other Happenings

Last weekend Greg send Debbie out on a Mother's Day date with his sister. We enjoyed a yummy dinner, a craft, and a movie all sponsored by our local mall. On Mother's day Debbie was spoiled with lots of chocolate and time to herself.

On a night that Greg was working late Debbie took the kids out on a date of pizza and ice cream. The best part was that it was all sponsored by coupons and gift cards so it didn't cost a penny.

The most exciting happening this week was that Alex graduated preschool. He's had an enjoyable year and made some good friends. He participated in a cute program with his class, performing many songs (with actions) that they'd learned throughout the year.

We also enjoyed a game night with Greg's sister and family and an old family friend. The adults could have gone for longer but the kids dictated an earlier night. Hopefully we can do more of this soon!

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Lots of little things have been happening since our trip to Nevada and many of those are made possible by the awesome spring weather we have had.

One weekday morning the kids convinced Greg to make pancakes for breakfast. We never have hot breakfast during the week so this was a special treat.

Abigail has started doing track with the city rec center this spring.  She doesn't love the running so much but she has made a friend there so tolerates it alright.  One day while sitting in the field she was smashing up dandelions and then (we think) rubbed her eye later.  Abigail has some allergies and this must be one of them because her eye swelled up huge and she missed a day and a half of school.   It looked pretty horrible but healed on its own and everything is normal now.

Greg's sister took the kids on a duck adventure one day. She was brave to take both of our kids in addition to her own two. 

While getting ready for bed one night Alex accidentally put both legs into the same pajama pant leg. He thought it was so funny as he hopped around declaring he was a mermaid mer-MAN. He insisted on sleeping as a mermaid but didn't think it was so funny when he woke up crying and confused in the middle of the night unable to move.

Abigail's school has a unique parent-taught art program and at the end of every school year they organize and display all of the art that the students worked on during the year. Abigail loves to draw and her skills have greatly improved this year.

The kids have loved getting outside more as the weather has warmed up. Sometime in the last two weeks Alex decided he wanted to learn to ride a bike. It only took him one evening and a little bit of coaching. He's not a skilled rider yet but he is proficient and did most of the learning on his own, which is impressive.

Abigail and her friend set up an impromptu lemonade stand one evening. They unintentionally set up close to a garage sale which played to their favor. She had such a good time all evening and came home with an impressive amount of cash.

The weekend turned out to be both very productive (working on the yard and garden) as well as relaxing. After a day of working in the yard Greg's sister and family joined us to initiate our new grill and begin the s'mores roasting season. We hope to have many more similar nights.

We also started the biking season. Alex has moved up from the bike trailer to the trail-a-bike. Which he was very excited about.

We stopped at the park on our way to family dinner and Abigail got Alex to try the zipline--something he's always been adimently against. As it turns out he LOVED it and they spent the whole 30 minutes taking turns on it.