Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catch-up, Mustard, Mayonnaise

"Catch-up, Mustard, Mayonnaise." That's one of many fun sayings Cooper's teacher tells her class. She's so creative.

And that's what I'm going to do...attempt to "catch-up" this blog and get through the rest of July.

1) After I got back from Alaska, Jared (as first counselor in the young men's presidency over the teachers quorum) was gearing up for his week of High Adventure (July 13-18th) with twelve of the teachers and priests (14-18 year old young men) from church. They embarked on a 175+ mile biking journey down Highway 101 of the Oregon coast starting at Cannon Beach and ending at Honeyman State Park. It was an awesome experience--definitely one for the books! The "stats" were as follows:
*Near death experiences--7
*Lost bikers--8
*Flat tires--13
*Mental walls--26
*Blood injuries--9
*Puking--5 (15 rounds--this was not caused by biking, but from the rocking of the boat on the chartered fishing trip they took one morning)
*Run-ins with cars--2
*ER visits--2
I think they were very grateful to have a health professional with them!

When I first heard the YM were planning a coastal bike ride for High Adventure last November, I was horrified. We actually went to South Beach with my parents last year and I was looking at the lack space between the white line on the road and the cliff. Hardly enough room for a bike tire in many places. Not to mention all the curves and blind spots. Totally scary for a wife whose husband still has a lot of student debt to pay off, dead or alive! However, as the planning continued and the group prepared, I was completely at peace with this by the time July came around. I knew it wasn't going to go without a "hitch" because this was, after all, an "ad-ven-ture," a process the young (and older) men could compare their journey in life to. PLUS...they were a fluorescent traveling group of priesthood holders who could administer to anyone at anytime! Throw some faith in there, and that's all you need.

Part of the group, refueling with lunch one day.

Some of their scenery along the way...

Jared trying his hand at sand boarding.

And Jared wiping out. Way to try something new, Honey!

Next year's High Adventure is already in the works....hiking the Eagle Cap Mountains!

2) Each July 4th, give or take a week, since Jared graduated three years ago, we take the kids to a Mariners game up in Seattle. We spent the night up there last year, so we decided to alternate the years we stay overnight and made it a "day" trip this time around.

This was our "before" picture. It was already warm at 8:15am. This was also the weekend prior to our MAJOR HEAT WAVE.

We ate sandwiches on the drive up, but you can't NOT get food at the ballpark. That's 90% of the whole experience, if you ask me. Some of our top faves at Safeco Field are garlic fries and Dippin' Dots.

The boys' favorite....nachos and for Jake--chili nachos.

There's a kids area at the park and tucked back in there is a concession stand where you can buy what I call a "bucket special." Your choice of a hot dog or PB & J sandwich, popcorn or a pretzel, plus cracker jacks and a drink. That last option is the clencher because it's the only place in the park that has MILK. All of that comes packed in a cute little bucket for $6. Sweeeeet. It's a lot of food, our kids are addicted to milk and it's cheap. I LOVE that the park has that option. A Happy Meal, Major League Baseball style.

Woooo doggie! It didn't take long for it to HEAT UP. We lathered everyone in sunscreen (from the waist up) when we got to the parking garage, then left the bottle in the van. soon as the sun came over the field I realized, like an idiot, that we never put sunscreen on the kids' legs or knees. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Mental note #1) Always bring the sunblock. I could just SEE them baking! I was so full of regret I couldn't concentrate. As I was about to go spend $20 on 2 ounces of sunblock, I spied the mom next to me reapplying sunscreen on her little ones. I leaned over to her and asked if could use some. I told her I forgot to do the legs. She was happy to share and I was so grateful. I felt a little more relaxed after that. Though I still worried about the little kids, especially Calvin. He just LOOKED hot. I was convinced he would fry, sitting in the sun like that with his delicate baby skin all exposed. I actually took him and Karcyn for 30 minute walk under the covered walkways to get them out of the sun and bought Calvin a hat. He was the only person without one. $15 well spent. If only he would keep it on his head.

The people sitting behind us (we sit in the non-alcoholic family section) had spray bottles filled with water. A little bit of the mist got on the backs of our necks and it was absolutely divine! When we told them how great their run-off felt, they squirted us down. Mental note #2) bring spray bottles for the 1pm games!

Of all things, we ran into our friends, Eric and Sara (Sara, as in: the co-author of "Our Best Bites"...the greatest food blog out there!) Eric and Jared were PA students together at Pacific. Eric and Sara live in Idaho now, but Sara is from Seattle and they just happened to up that weekend. So fun--even though we only saw them for a few minutes. The boys, big and small, went on a Dippin' Dots run together (banana split all the way, baby!) while Sara and I hung out.

Mental note #3) bring more water for the 1pm games. One water bottle per person was not enough. We did enjoy sharing a rather large lemon squeezy icy thing between the 6 of us. It was a good opportunity to teach children and adults alike how to take turns and what constitutes a reasonable slurp.

As for the game...well, we like to see it through to the end, even the bitter end. Turns out we scored the only 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth. But then the fat lady was singing. The Cleveland Indians took us 10-3. It was okay, though because the kids were soooooo good. I can't believe how well they behaved in that heat and with little action in the game. They didn't complain or anything. We really love bringing the kids to see the Mariners and even wished there was a MLB team closer than Seattle (it's about 3 1/2 hours minimum each way). On the other hand, we also like the special-ness of just going once a year.

When we got up to leave I was all of a sudden very aware that I was wet in places I didn't want to be. Jared confirmed I had "wet spots" on my rear and legs. Alllll sweat, I assure you. But still so embarrassing.

On our way home, we stopped to grab some dinner at Denny's. Major score for the day: the kids ate free!

3) A tradition we JUST started this year, is going to the Washington County Fair. I thought it ran for a week, but it's only a few days. The only day we could go was Sat. August 1st and it was a squeeze AND it was still horribly hot. The only thing about doing something new is not knowing what to expect. Parking was a breeze however. That was a nice surprise. We had a budget when we went and it wasn't much. We bought each of the three kids 20 tickets to use for rides or games. We had to scope out the rides first to see what was available and how much they cost. The decent ones were 8 tickets each.

I wanted us to stay together and watch each of the kids do their ride. Jake went first. He chose the "Sea Dragon." I love that ride. It was only him and one other boy. They sat at the very back of one side of the "ship."

It was so funny watching Jake's facial expressions change. One second he's smiling, the next he looked like he was going to puke--at least from where we stood. He had a blast.

We walked around some more trying to find a ride for Karcyn. We even went to the kiddie ride section and every single ride required her to be at least 1 inch taller than she was. We couldn't even take her on the blasted merry-go-round and sign a waiver unless she met the height requirement. I was sooo sad for her. She wanted to go on a ride like nothing else. We were walking back towards the games and rides so Cooper could have a turn and I spied a bungee jumping thing. It advertised that riders needed to be 10 lbs to jump. Good grief. Even Calvin could do it! Cooper took one look at it and decided that's what HE wanted to do so we paid for him and Karcyn to jump. I still couldn't believe that it was okay for Karcyn to be flung in the air on a rubber band, but not okay for her to sit on a slow moving plastic horse with me standing next to her.

Cooper was cautious about how high he went. He was happy to just do it "medium".

Karcyn's turn! The guy running the jumper was so good with her. It was cute.

Karcyn was FEARLESS. The higher she went, the more she squealed in delight.




And Jake decided he wanted to go too. So...we gave Cooper some extra tickets to make it "even Steven."

Karcyn blew her brothers out of the water. Jake was also a bit tentative about not going too high.

We were dealing with a screaming Karcyn at this point. She wanted to go AGAIN and she wasn't liking our answer of "no."

After that fun new experience on the bungee jumper, we headed back to the games. We mostly played skee-ball. Cooper did a couple other games and won 3 stuffed animals, Karcyn won 1 and Jake won none. So ironic :)

We spent a little time looking at the livestock, but we were mighty hot and tired, so before going home, we bought some snow cones, sought reprieve in the shade under a tent with a periodic misting apparatus and cooled off with our treats.

Our time at the fair was short, but sweet. I'm glad we went even though we kind of crammed it in at the last minute. Hopefully next year, we can try some real food and see more of the exhibits.

Phew! July is done. Check, check.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boy's athletic abilities frustrate parents!

Since Sunday we've had some CHILLY temperatures. I've tried my best to keep the furnace off until absolutely necessary, but our house sits between 64 and 67 degrees during the day. Brrrr!!

Tuesday, our day set aside for Family Home Evening (because Jared works 8-8 at the Urgent Care on Mondays), we thought it would be fun to have a fire in the fireplace. That's all I needed--just something to take the edge off the chill in the air.

As I was helping Cooper's little friend Andrew (who is staying with us for a week while his parents are in Hawaii) get settled in, Jared prepped the fireplace with Jake's assistance. As I walked back through to the family room I heard Jared say to Jake, slightly annoyed, "That would have been nice to know before now." Apparently, Jake had informed Jared that he accidentally kicked a soccer ball into the chimney in the spring and thought it might be important to know before the fire was started. However, in Jake's defense, he said he told me way back when it happened and once he said so, I vaguely have a recollection of something like that lurking in the musty corners of my brain. I guess I didn't think it was all that important in the month of April but I am surprised I didn't say anything to Jared about it. Makes me wonder what the priority was at the time! Needless to say, no fire for us Tuesday night. And Jake went to bed wondering if his precious savings was going to be majorly depleted when we said he might have to pay to have the ball rescued.

Jared and I were even more stunned that Jake managed to kick a soccer ball INTO the chimney. The chimney itself isn't all that high. 15...18 feet maybe? Jake's kicked, thrown and hit stuff on the roof before.

But this is what's so amazing and moderately frustrating...the opening of the chimney is just barely big enough for a soccer ball to squeeze through.

Talk about execution. Though I know full well Jake wasn't aiming for the chimney opening. In his words, "I was just kicking the ball and it happened to be accurate!" Sounds like 90% pure dumb luck more than anything else. But still! I can't stop rolling my eyes at the odds.

I broke down Wednesday afternoon and turned the furnace on for the first time this fall. I was hoping it wouldn't be til October or a little later, but at that point, I really didn't care about setting any records.

And now we have a "chim-chim-in-ey, chim-chim-in-ey, chim chim cher-ee" chimney sweeper coming in a couple weeks to get that blasted soccer ball out of there! Oh and Jake's savings has been spared. We told him to consider this his warning. Any more "accurate accidents" and he's footin' the bill!