Wednesday, July 30, 2008

N's First Swim Meet

N right after one of his races
Dad & T goofing around between N's events

N has really enjoyed his pre-competitive swim team this summer. Even though he REALLY enjoyed himself on our family vacation last week, he said he really missed his swim practices. He did pretty good. We just need to help him get off of the starting blocks a little faster! He was faster than the other two swimmers when it came to the butterfly stroke, though! Next week is the last week for his swim team. He's very tan and has been exercising all summer long.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More Vacation Stuff : Our Hike to Mossbrae Falls

We did a very interesting hike on our vacation. The hike was right along side the railroad tracks. We even walked on the cement right next to the tracks. Both on the way to the falls and back a train came. We could feel the tracks vibrating and then we could hear them screech! On the way there, we didn't have a whole lot of room as we backed away from the tracks. The train sounded its horn. Talk about some excitement!! The walk wasn't too far. Other hikers told us that it was 3,000 railroad steps. Some of them were marked with 2,200, then 2,300 and so on. The waterfalls were gorgeous, and the spray was so refreshing. The kids could walk on big river rocks and also get in the water. What was a little annoying was that some people came down with all of their fishing gear and fished right where people were trying to play. This happened at another waterfall where people were trying to swim! Go figure. B was so happy that he found a rock each color of the rainbow. It was so cool. T kept tossing rocks into the water and this poor dog kept thinking T was playing fetch with him. The rock would sink and the dog was so confused! Poor thing. We played around for quite a while and then headed back. T fell asleep after the 2nd train came screeching by.

Waterballoons for FHE!

B, N & I filled @ 150 waterballoons to take to the park. We were soaked!
N getting ready to launch a balloon. T & J are nearby waiting for their turn
We met a few families at a nearby park last night for FHE. We had a quick thought (yes, we managed to round up all of the kids! - miracles DO happen), we played a little Bocce Ball, and then we launched a few hundred water balloons! It was SO much fun. Many of the kids went out to the field to try to catch some of the balloons. There were some water balloon fights, too, of course. After the last water balloon was launched, we enjoyed the treats. Everyone brought something to share and it was heaven for the kids. It was fun to watch all of the kids running around laughing and playing together, and the adults enjoyed it all too. We'll have to do this again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Grants Pass, Oregon

We stopped @ the Medford Temple. It's right behind a stake center and was hard to spot at first because of all of the trees. We walked around the tiny grounds. N was especially happy to be there. He grabbed the camera and snapped a bunch of pictures. He was anxious to add them to his iPod photos when we got home.

Dad & T taking advantage of the shade for a little break.
The boys were quick to get back into the pool at our hotel! They went in and out of the hot tub and pool.
Let me just say that it was just gorgeous up in southern Oregon. We stayed in a city called Grant's Pass, right near the Rogue River. We loved the rolling hills and all of the trees. One of the cool things about this hotel room here is that it had 3 Queen beds! It was awesome. No kids on the floor. For a few nights on our trip, we watched the Discovery Channel together. We got into the show "The Deadlist Catch" -- it's all about fishermen in the Bering Straight fishing for Alaskan King Crab. Amazing. We were glued!

Jet Boat Ride on the Rogue River

We had the opportunity to take a jet boat ride on the Rogue River through Hellgate. The boat went fast! The guy driving our boat was also the tour guide. Sometimes when he'd stop the boat fast, we'd get splashed. Then, he prepared us for some 360* spins!! That was so much fun!!! One of the times, N got soaked! The trip was 2 hours and it took us through Hellgate, where we turned around and headed back. We loved it! We got to see a bald eagle along the way, too. T kept asking when we could go back on the blue boat .... all day. Well worth the $$$.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Part of our Fabulous Vacation!

We just got home from a GREAT family vacation. It was hard to pick just a few pictures for this post. We left Monday afternoon and headed up to Mt. Shasta. We had a great view of the mountain on our first night there. After taking in the view, we hit the indoor swimming pool and hot tub. The boys swam A LOT on our vacation! At about 10pm, we took the boys outside to see all of the stars. We could see the Milky Way. That was awesome!!

The trail to this water fall was really short and easy to get to. You could walk under the waterfall. It was awesome. We spent a little time there, and really enjoyed it. This would mark the first of a handful of waterfalls we explored on our vacation. This was the only one that we could walk under.
I've decided to do a few posts about our vacation because we did get to see some great stuff like Crater Lake, Hellsgate on the Rogue, more waterfalls, the Sundial Bridge, the Medford Temple, Mt. Shasta, the Headwaters for the Sacramento River, etc. ... so, more to come ...
Let me just say that we had a great time. The boys were so sad that the vacation was over. Yes, actual tears were shed. We had wonderful family time and got to see some amazing stuff while we were together. Now it's a matter of getting all of the laundry put away!! Good times!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dinner of Champions!

Dad & N holding their strawberry & banana milkshakes. Two very happy customers!
T, J & Mom enjoying their ice cream and milkshakes, too.
Here's the crew. We enjoyed a nice walk, got our milkshakes or ice cream, and sat outside and enjoyed them. Our boys think this is one of the BEST dinners on our family menu! I think they may be on to something ....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

J's Tickle Monsters

The other day, G & I were tickling the day-lights out of J. He is extremely ticklish. He screams, laughs, and kicks, but he loves it. He's made sure that we know he likes it even though he screams. Anyway, he pleaded for us to stop and we did. He caught his breath, waited about 30 seconds, and then said very matter-of-factly, "Oh, where were we?" Oh, yeah! The tickling resumed!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tap Tap, Is this thing on??

I always questioned whether or not my head was screwed on right. Laugh if you will. Sometimes I wondered if I was going crazy at times with forgetting or losing things. I'm usually pretty on top of those things, but I've had my moments. For those of you who know me well, I unfortunately get headaches ... a lot. Some are migraine (wouldn't wish those on ANYONE ... EVER!) some are just ... well ... a headache. So, my neck has really been bothering me to the point that I recently went to my chiropractor. He did an adjustment, but decided he needed an x-ray to really see what was going on. Oh ... he got a good look! My neck is @ 50 mm out of alignment! He said that more than 10 mm is pretty bad. Basically, your ears should be right over your shoulders. He told me that because I have a vertebrae that has been trying to compensate for so long, it's added more bone ... like a little curve at the end (a.k.a. bone spur). Not good. If this is not genetic, the only thing I can think that may have started this are the 2 car accidents I was in when I was a teenager. The first one was when I was 14, and I hit the windshield hard enough to shatter it, but luckily I didn't go through it. (Talk about a headache!! -- That hurt!! My brother had a HUGE, FAT lip and it would make me laugh, which would hurt my head!) Then, when I was 16, I was rear-ended and got really bad whip-lash. Who knows. So, the good news is that he can help me get back into alignment, but it will take time. Our goal is to get me back to at least 10 mm. I'll take it! I'm really hopeful that this will release a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders, which will in effect relieve a lot of my headaches. Trust me ... they're getting old! My boys will tell you the same thing! When J was little, he'd give me "magic kisses" to help my headaches. So sweet.
..... J took the above picture of me while we were waiting for N during swim team. Not bad for a 7 year old! We took a lot of pictures to pass the time. Speaking of J, as I mentioned before, he's come with me to several of my chiropractic appointments and Dr. Scott noticed that J's neck was tilted, and mal-aligned. I set up a separate appointment for him to have a full exam. Just minor stuff with him. Out of all of my boys, he's the one who has had headaches here and there. So hopefully, he'll get the relief he needs, too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Our Water Polo Stud

N REALLY didn't want to miss his water polo scrimmage on Friday, but his Scout troop was leaving at about the same time for their over-nighter. We arranged to drive him up to camp, if necessary, but his troop was still at the scoutmaster's house when we arrived late. Anyway, he has really been enjoying his swim team. They devote at least 1 day a week to learning water polo skills. Again, N has a huge advantage with his long arms. He can hold the ball up in the air completely out of reach. I mean, he still has to be aware of opponents, but it sure does give him a little more time to pass. He wants to continue learning about water polo. I'm hoping to find a clinic or something ... Oh, and he was worried about the 15 mile bike ride at scout camp. He's already done three 10-mile bike rides, one 15-mile bike ride, AND he's been conditioning with swim team 4 times a week. I told him he'd be fine. Aside from some hills on the trail, he said he did pretty good. His troop is currently working on the Bicycling merit badge. Btw, N has an awesome Scoutmaster! It's been a busy summer full of exercise for this kid.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Couple of GREAT Recipes

With the hot summer days, I rarely turn my oven on. It's too dang hot! But yesterday, I wanted a hearty dinner. So, I busted out one of our favorite Slow Cooker recipes. It turned out great and it hit the spot. Plus, it didn't heat up my kitchen ... definitely a bonus in my book. The chicken was so tender. Here's the recipe:

Slow Cooker Chicken & Stuffing

1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
4 -6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter/margarine
2 cans (10 3/4 oz.) condensed Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted (can use cream of mushroom or celery)
1 package (12 oz.) seasoned stuffing mix, plus ingredients to prepare

1. Combine flour, seasoned salt & pepper in large resealable plastic food storage bag; add chicken. Seal bag; shake to coat with flour mixture.

2. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Brown chicken on both sides. Place in slow cooker; pour soup over chicken.

3. Prepare stuffing according to package directions, decreasing liquid by half. Arrange stuffing over chicken. Cover; cook on HIGH for 3 -4 hours or until chicken is tender. Makes 4-6 servings.
(from The Slow Cooker Bible)
We decided to watch a movie together last night. I surprised the boys with a VERY easy and delicious carmel popcorn dessert. B has been asking forever for what he calls "sticky popcorn". I got this from my friend, Raimi, who has shared it on her blog, so I know it's okay to pass it along to ya'll, too. Doesn't that look yummy?! It's delicious! It's super easy because you use microwave popcorn.
Carmel Popcorn
2 bags of microwave popcorn
1 cube butter
14 large marshmallows
1 cup brown sugar
Pop popcorn in the microwave. Try to remove as many of the unpopped kernels as you can.
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter & marshmallows. Cook on low heat. Should take about 7-8 minutes for everything to melt on low heat. Once melted, add popcorn & use wooden spoon to coat popcorn. You can make popcorn balls with this recipe. Just spray your hands with Pam cooking spray. Line bowl with wax or parchment paper for easier clean-up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who ARE These Kids??

B & J picked out these disguises today from the "Wishing Well". They each got a dollar to spend how they wanted at the store. They wore these off and on for most of the day. J even surprised our chiropractor with the disguise! That got a laugh. (J and I have both been going to our chiropractor this past week -- that's another story). It was funny to see them wearing these in the van. I'd get a glimpse out of my rear-view mirror and see them sitting there so matter-of-factly. Good times!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bowling ... Round 2

Since we have these cards that allow the boys to bowl 1 free game per day (and free shoe rental), we had to take advantage of it again. N got these cards from his middle school. It's from a campaign aimed at kids 'To say No to drugs'. We'll probably come back a couple more times this summer. What a great treat!
B getting ready for his turn. He did GREAT today, and really enjoyed himself.
This is what happened almost each time when it WASN'T his turn. Not my idea of fun. Luckily, we were on the lane at the very end, so he was away from other people.
N's ready to bowl, and T wants to 'help'.
J is trying to smile for the camera. He really, really wanted to bowl a strike, but had no luck today. He was kind of down about it. Maybe next time!
Mom & T relaxing for a minute at the park today. N is becoming quite the photographer!

After another round of free bowling for my boys, we picked up In -n -Out Burger and met our friends over at a favorite park of ours. (They came bowling with us, too) T and his little friend are MIA, which is usually the case. At least I remembered to put him in bright red (I usually do this when we go to parks -- it's easier to spot him). My friend's 4 boys are all the same ages as my 4 boys. What are the chances of that?!! They get along well, and enjoyed the time together. The weather was perfect today. It was nice to be out of the house on such a beautiful day. Now, since we've been keeping pretty busy, I do have to say that things around my house are suffering a little. I have a Mt. Everest pile of laundry in my hallway upstairs. My bathrooms need some attention ASAP. Oh, and I've barely been keeping up on my dishes. Honestly, if we stay in the house for more than a couple of days, we go crazy and the boys get on each other's nerves. I'm being real, here. It's just the way it is. I'm trying to find that balance, still, of lazy summer days and keeping busy. Our city offers SO many things to do. It's awesome! But it's also nice to have a day here and there where you don't have to be anywhere. That's nice, too ...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Free Movie

Scenes from Wallace & Gromit : The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
We've seen this movie before and enjoyed it again. It was fun to watch J pick up more on the subtleties of the jokes. I LOVE to hear my boys giggle.
B before the movie started -- happy to be there ... probably MORE happy about Mom buy him a Twix candy bar!
During the summers, one of our local theaters offers free movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. They show previously released movies. We haven't been able to catch a free movie until today because we've just been so busy. Anyway, I snapped this picture during the pre-show cartoon. Believe it or not, there was a lady there snapping pictures of her kids DURING the movie. Not just once, but several times! I couldn't believe it. Yes, I carry my camera around in my purse like some crazy blogger-lady, but I feel that I have common sense of when it's appropriate or not to take a picture. I saw my friend, Laurie, there with her 3 girls. We sat right behind them. The ONLY downer for us was that the two kids sitting right behind me and B continually kicked our seats throughout the ENTIRE movie! It was very annoying. Yes, we both asked kindly for them to stop, but they were very young and the Mom was trying her best (she also had a 6 month old baby with her) so I was trying to be sympathetic. However ... So, we found another free thing to do in our city. We had a great morning. We saw a great movie for free and filled up on Skittles and/or M&M's.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Ice Cream for FHE

After a short swim and a yummy dinner of risotto, broccoli, and tomatoes (from our garden), we loaded up the boys and took them out to ice cream for FHE. We tried a new place called Maggie Moo's. It's very similar to Cold Stone, but I think it was a little less expensive. T went crazy when he saw all of the options for toppings. What frustrated us was that he only ate about 4 bites of his ice cream! Kind of a waste if you ask me. It was still fun to go out as a family. The ice cream was yummy. We finished off our FHE with reading a chapter in our scriptures, singing a hymn, and saying our prayers. Our boys always look forward to FHE, whether it's a trip out for ice cream or a lesson and game at home. It's a great program and it has really blessed our family.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Farmer's Market

We went over to the local farmer's market/flea market this morning. The boys were great! That includes T. We found the best naval oranges and were given a sample. The boys devoured them! T wanted another one and was sticky from finger-tips to his elbows!

Getting every last drop out of his orange wedge!
The boys LOVED looking through the stuff at the flea market. They found some knock-off Lego kits for only 1 dollar. N found some Star Wars action figures. We lucked out because there was a different person running that little shop from the first time we stopped by -- the price was a lot lower! Score! He thought he could only get 1, but he was then able to get 2.
T was dreaming big here! He actually didn't scream when we told him it was time to move on. I was really pleased about that.
Just checking out some robotic toys. They had fun just checking out all of the stuff!
I guess the sun was a little bit strong here! We had a nice time at the market. G and I found a few books. We got a lot of fruit. Believe it or not, T didn't ask for anything. Stunned is a better word. He didn't just want some random thing. He wanted a game. So, G took him to ToysRUs for a little Daddy adventure. T was VERY specific on wanting Cariboo -- a game we used to have and one he loved. G tried to see if he wanted something different, but he stuck to his guns. So, Cariboo it was! He gave G a big hug and said 'thank you' several times.