Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Quintessential Summer

Overall, I think my kids are having a real and true Summer.  I say "quintessential," due to it not being perfect, but, rather, it perfectly describing what summer should be.

I have had many, "I'm bored mom" and "What can I do today?"  That's part of the classic summer, right?!  We've had our fights, tantrums, melt-downs, etc. - again, all part of what summer involves.

But my kids have gotten to enjoy the good stuff that a "classic summer" entails.  Like camping.  Hiking.  Biking.  Backpacking.

The kids did swim-lessons - a total classic.  Both girls just finished up Dance Camp.  A lemonade stand has happened.

All of these above activities fit great in to the "Quintessential Summer," but it wouldn't be complete without our neighborhood.

We have a neighborhood with kids (not many, but just enough) - kids that are allowed to run loose (within boundaries - my kids' boundaries are a little smaller than the others, but still it's more than a lot of kids I know get . . .).  I would say my kids are outside more than they are inside.  They are in front playing whatever, riding their bikes - and, yes, even chasing down the ice-cream truck.  Ice-cream truck = quintessential summer in my book, for sure.  The kids also love to play in our backyard.  Our tramp is a great spot - for just hanging out on, playing "crack-the-egg," setting the oscillating sprinkler underneath it, and plain old just jumping.  Our sand-box is a big hit - the interest in it has been revived!  Even our 8th-grade neighbor loves playing in it.  They build canals, dams, etc. and then turn on the hose and watch it all get destroyed or whatever.  The hose is the key to the sand-box for sure.

The boys have gotten to go to the park with their friends and race their lego cars down the slide.  They have also walked many a times to the hardware store (or rode their bikes) to buy a soda and some candy.

This hasn't happened yet, but we will be spending the July 4th weekend with family - grandparents and cousins.  How perfect is that?!  Everyone is excited about this weekend.

There is one part of a quintessential summer that has not happened here yet - sleeping out on the tramp.  Unfortunately, for my kids, they have to earn it.  They earn it by not having one fight during the day.  It hasn't happened yet.  We'll see if it happens before the summer is over!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Bits

Here are just a few little things that have happened this past week:

The very Saturday night we got back from our backpacking trip, the girls performed in a Talent Show that was hosted by the Spanish branch in our area.  They had sent around sign-up sheets in primary and my girls had signed up for "dance" (Lucy) and "gymnastics" (Emmy).  To make it easier, we decided to just have the girls do something together - Emmy would do one thing and then Lucy would do it.  It was cute:
 The girls even have matching leotards.  One was a hand-me-down a few years ago and we just got the other one (hand-me-down as well!) just a few months ago.  Crazy!

 Emmy doing a "bridge" (or getting down from one) and Lucy doing a "table."

Emmy's headstand was pretty impressive.  :)

The girls had dance camp this week (M-Th, 10-1) and so for Monday I had planned to take the boys mountain biking.  Jonas has talked about it for a while and I found out a spot right close to us.  So as soon as we dropped off the girls, we drove to the biking area.  It was a pretty good area for us to give it a try.  Instead of going in to the sometimes-horrible details, let it suffice that I will not be taking Miles mountain biking for a really, really long time - long enough for me to forget.  I think I'll take Jonas again sometime, for sure.

 A hot and sweaty boy!

Like I mentioned, the girls had dance camp this week.  They both were in the same one - since it was for 4-7 year olds.  They both loved it and had a really great time.  On the last day the parents came early and the kids showed their crafts and then did a little dance.
 So adorable.

 Emmy dancing.  :)

 Lucy dancing - next to an Olaf-painted girl.  :)

Fun, fun, cute, cute.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Back-pack trip #1!

Ben miraculously was able to get 1 1/2 days off - unplanned.  It may not be to the best of reasons - super low surgeries happening (well maybe that is best for the patients . . .), but we decided to take full advantage and do something we've never done before - take the whole family backpacking.  Ben and our two boys went last year (same place) with another dad and his sons.  It was a great place and so we decided to go as a family.  We left Thursday afternoon and by the time we got to the trailhead, ate a snack, lifted our packs on our back, it was close to 5pm.  We hiked in for 1 1/2 miles to the meadow and made camp there.  We ate dinner (thanks to Subway) and got our tents all set up.  Since we only have 1 backpacking tent that fits three, the boys made a tepee for themselves.  We had a good evening complete with a fire and s'mores - though instead of chocolate, we smeared Nutella on our grahams.  Yum.

Ready.  Set.  Go!

Handsome Miles on the trail.

Cutie Lucy and her pack stuffed with her sleeping bag and a bunch of silly toys she had to bring.

Cute, cute!

Here is the meadow area.  Emmy carried Lucy's backpack from the trail to our campsite.  What a sis.

The girls "decorated" their little "fort" area with all the miscellaneous stuff that Lucy brought along.  Girls will be girls.

The boys and their awesome tepee.

This was a cool view-spot a little ways from our camping spot.  The picture doesn't do it justice - it was really beautiful.

A nice evening.  They all wanted to snuggle up to Ben.  :)

We awoke the next morning uneaten and that is always nice.  After breakfast we basically packed up our stuff and headed out on the trail.  We hiked for 2 1/2 miles and made it to the lower Powderhorn lake.  It was a beautiful and lovely hike.  The kids did really well (less complaints than the day before - the trail is a little steep in the beginning).
A cool tepee in the fire-smokey air.

Heading out - so adorable.

I show this picture to show all the snow that was still up there!  We had to cross snow many times.

Aw, these two were such cuties on Friday.  They became hiking buddies because they were the "slow-pokes."  As Jonas said, "We are the youngest of our gender."  :)  Ben and I took turns following the slow-pokes.  When I was behind them, it was just the cutest and sweetest thing ever.  Lucy kept asking Jonas to tell him certain fairy tales and Jonas kept telling them to Lucy.  A great moment for sure.

Pretty flowers - I love them so much!

This is right before the lake.  This area is is the beaver ponds and we later went fishing down there.  Pretty, pretty!

Oh where oh where can my Miles be?

Pretty Powderhorn lake.

The girls and their boo.  Once, finishing up a break, Emmy said, "Wait!  I need to suck on my boo first."  Silly girls.

We made it to the lake and then went back a little ways to set up camp.  It was a beautiful spot - closer to the beaver ponds.  We were all set up by like noon or something and so we had a lot of day left.  We passed some of the time by fishing:
It took a bit of fishing to find the perfect spot, but once we did, 3 fish were caught in like 1 minute.  Miles was first.

Emmy was next.  Ha, her face is so great in this picture!

But she really likes fishing and is way less squirmy with worms than Miles is.  She has no problems cutting them in half.

Finally Jonas got one as well.  Then the kids just played and played and played with their fish.  Yes, play with them.  It's crazy.  It took us a while to catch "Lucy's fish," but Ben finally did - and got another for himself.

Everyone and their 5 fish.  Fun, fun!

We had some down time before dinner.  I had brought a ball to play some game.  Which we did for a bit.  Then we played a bit of Uno as well.  Then the kids played some type of made-up game in which they had to go out and gather pine-cones - their "food."  I wish I would have remembered my book at this point.

Then we got dinner going.
And, yes, that included freshly-caught fish.  I think everyone liked the fish except Jonas and Lucy.  Ben LOVED his and told me so - multiple, multiple times.  :)

Our camping spot - cool, huh?!  That evening, after dinner, we walked up to the lake.  A gentleman pointed out a moose and so we just sat down and watched him - the moose, not the man.  The moose was just laying down, but still it was neat.  Again, we had a great fire and some more s'mores.  :)

And again, we woke up uneaten and so we were again relieved.  :)  Ben and I were a bit cold that night, but the kids all said they were fine.  Half of Miles' body was outside of the tepee, yet he said he was fine!  The kids sleep so well - I am jealous of them.

After breakfast we went back to the lake to try some more fishing, but there is just no nice shore there to fish from and so that didn't last long.  We came back to camp and the kids pumped some fresh water for our water bottles while Ben and I started packing things up.  The kids came back and finished packing up their packs and then we were off again.  We had 4 miles to do this day and so it was good to get out early before it was too hot.

Ben was less excited about his 2nd tepee, but it was still pretty cool.  He was going for something else at one point, but what we ended up with was a gymnastics "bar" for chin-ups, swinging, etc.  That worked!

The hike back went really well and we hardly had any complaints.  Emmy came up with the plan that anytime someone complained, he/she would lose 5 minutes of their Saturday game-time.  It seemed to have worked really well.  :)  We ate lunch at our first camping spot, Camp Tepee.  (Our second camping spot was named Camp Backpack, in honor of this being our family's first backpacking trip.)

Everyone did so well.  Especially our little 4-year old that hiked the entire 8-miles (total, round-trip distance) on her own.  With her little pack - that was carried once by Emmy for like 50 feet and that was carried once by Jonas for like a 1/4 mileat most.  So happy and proud of all of them.

As we were driving out on the 10-mile dirt road that lead to the trail-head, we saw a bear.  A truly rather large brown bear (although the color was more golden to me).  We tried to grab our camera for a picture, but it lumbered off and out of sight.  That was the first bear that Miles, Jonas, and Emmy had ever seen (Lucy had seen them when she and I went to Alaska).  It was crazy.  Ben and I were both happy we saw the bear as we were heading out and not in . . .

And some videos for you viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I.T.T.W or is it I.T.T.W.W ??

I named our Wednesday "get outdoors" group - Into the Wild Wednesdays.  Or should it be In To The Wild Wednesdays?  I'm not sure I know much difference between into and in to . . .

We had a good hike today - hot, but some much-needed shade offered at times as well.

Mice Mines hike:
 On the way up we came across some shallow ponds and found . . . tadpoles!  So fun!  The kids loved them, caught them, and begged me to let them take them home as pets.  Sorry, nope.  :)

 Here is some of the bunch at the mine site - this was a cave you could go in to maybe 10 feet?

 Here is our whole group that made it - minus Jennifer, the photographer.  Awesome.

On the way back we stopped by the tadpole area again.  You could see the hind-legs forming on some.  Plus, they kept coming up for air and that was cool.

It was a good hike!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Days . . .

Well, we are all surviving summer!  Yay for us!  We just had 3 out of our 4 kids with fevers this past weekend.  But everyone was pretty much fever-free yesterday and so that is good!  Here is what happened yesterday:

Emmy really wanted to sew.  Or, rather, learn to sew.  Or, rather, just play around with a sewing machine.  I found something I had pinned a while back and so I printed it up and she loved it.
 There were 2 cute sheets for her to just simply practice sewing straight lines and pivoting.  She did a "dot to dot" sheet that made a cute and simple sewing machine, and then she also worked on a maze.

 Fun, fun!  (Well at least for one of the girls.  :)

 Look at that concentration.  We'll have to do this some more!

We signed up the boys for Brain Chase.  You can read all about it here.  I don't want to explain it all myself.  It seems awesome - and it's developed and created by a couple we know (and not just know  - Allan is one of Ben's best Littleton buddies from way back when.  Yes, that makes us practically famous.).  Well the boys received their first official mail from Brain Chase yesterday - it included a welcome letter that was sealed with wax and an awesome decoder.
 Right away the boys had to figure out a clue.

So super fun and cool!

I'm already totally in love with Brain Chase.  Like a lot.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Miles' First EYO Campout

EYO = Eleven-year old.  This past Friday night Miles was able to go on his first Boy Scout camp-out.  There is a new official BSA camp "near" us - about 3 hours away.  The camp invited some EYO troops to come for an overnighter - to give its staff some practice experience before the real camps begin next week.  We were excited that Miles got to go.  We sent him with our camera and, as expected from Miles, ended up with a few interesting pictures.  :)  He had fun, although he had a headache both days (Friday and Saturday - he had a headache at home before he left, but didn't say anything.  I could tell he wasn't feeling great when he got home late Saturday night.  Too bad the silly boy didn't ask for some ibuprofen!).

Anyways, here are a few pictures:
 Miles, all packed up and ready to go!

 The inside of the boys' tipi.  Looks nice.  :)

Playing in the dark.

 Their tipi.  He told us how he and another boy were trying to go to sleep (It was close to 11pm) in their Tipi, but the other boys were being loud, "farting," and the such.  Sounds like a boys' camp-out!  The leader had to come in and take the boys' flashlights away (as previously warned), but not Miles', because according to Miles, he "wasn't doing anything."

 "Oh, that's the night sky!"  said my Miles as we were looking at his pictures.  :)

 The boys in the dining hall eating breakfast.

Miles liked the lights in the dining hall . . . and so he took a picture of one.  :)

 Miles' EYO troop.

 One of their activities was "bubble soccer."  I think Miles was possibly a little short for this?  He liked it, but was tired and suffering from his headache at this point.  He took a video of it as well.

Hmmm, the girls' bathroom (port-a-potty) that they were able to use.  I have no idea why Miles took this picture, but he was pretty excited to tell us how it flushed and that there was a sink in it.  Funny and weird kid!

He told us about the campfire, the spiders, the songs they sang, etc.  We're glad he had a good time!