Sunday, July 29, 2012

Look Mom! No Life Jacket.

Josh took off his swimming training wheels the other day: his life jacket. He is pretty amazing. He can swim from one end of the pool to the other. And he is not afraid to swim in the deep end. Although it's all the deep end to him, since he can't touch the bottom anywhere in the pool.

Here are some picture of the kids swimming. They have all become good swimmers since we moved to the swamp.

Here is Josh doing a "cannonball."




Here is Ashley swimming underwater at the deep end of the pool.





Here is Ethan diving to the bottom of the pool at the deep end to pick up a diving ring.

Here are a couple pictures of Gaylene supervising and relaxing in the pool.


Here is random picture of the kids ready to go to church. They all made missionary tags for themselves. You can probably tell that Ashley didn't want to be in this picture.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

a beach video

Our 11 year old camera died after it fell in the river while my family was canoeing recently, so we had to buy a new one. This is the first video we've ever shot with it:

a beachy anniversary

 We spent the morning at the beach for our anniversary. The kids loved sharing the important day with us, and wrote several cards and posters wishing us happy "anivershare" along with other fun ways of spelling the word.

 We brought our Boogie Board sled and surfed the waves with it. The kids were really good, despite the fact that they were using a snow sled. Maybe someday they can get a real board.

But do you like chris's girl shirt? He came out of the bedroom with my swim shirt, and wore it in public even though I giggled every time I looked at him.

Chris said he saw a dolphin swim right past him, over some of the waves later in the after noon when the surf became bigger. It probably wanted to get a closer look at his girl shirt.

 The younger two did some body surfing and boogie boarding, too, but their favorite thing to do was karate kick the waves.

 Yeah. We didn't want the kids sticking their wet sandy hands in the food, so Chris fed them like puppies. Or pet dolphins?


 Aren't they cute?

 Yes, I was there, too. Looking amazing in a million shiny layers of sunscreen, getting sunburned sitting under an umbrella, while Chris wore a girl shirt. We're quite the power couple.

Josh made this face because his feet were stuck in the sand, and he was going to have to live there forever.

Our big "anavursure" lunch was at Subway on the way home. The kids thought it was an extra special day because Chris bought a big cookie for each of us, and two large sodas to share. Can't get much better than that. The beach, a good sandwich, root beer, and a chocolate chip cookie.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh, yeah. I guess we did stuff last week...

 When people have asked, "What did you do over the 4th of July?" I've said, "Nothing much."
Then I remember it was more than nothing much.
We watched the big fireworks out the bedroom window.
We had a BBQ near a swamp lake, where we nearly melted in the heat and humidity.

   
 We checked out the gators in the lake, then did a little paddle boating.

 We went to a luau where the kids got to play on a sprinkler/bounce house/slip-n-slide for a while.



 They went down a bouncy water slide, and received a ticket every time they stepped off. They cashed in their tickets and got free toys.
 

 Then our ward had a pancake breakfast and water games on Saturday morning. Chris was in charge of the food, so we went shopping for 20 lbs of pancake mix, 8 quarts of nasty sugared syrup, a bucket of butter, and a bunch of eggs. Luckily other men showed up to cook all that food. It was fun, and the primary leaders were all good sports supervising the water games and getting all wet.

So, yeah. I guess we did more than nothing much for the 4th of July :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

best summer camp ever with the strangest ending ever

 On our way from D.C. we wanted to visit my brother in southwestern Virginia. We stopped Manassas, and looked over the peaceful hills that was the location of the first few land battles of the Civil War. It was a bitter-sweet place, so beautiful and tragic at the same time.

 But then we moved on to happier things: Cousins! We haven't seen these guys for years, and it was fun that our kids immediately reconnected and loved each other.
 It was like being at the best summer camp ever. They got to ride on a pony...
  and catch fireflies!
We couldn't get a picture of it, but this is one of the kids moving their jar of fireflies around. My family has never seen fireflies before, and it was magical the way they rose from every bush, tree and blade of grass along the rolling hills. Seriously stunning!

 
Then they all had to go wash their dirty feet off before bed. This picture of the bums made me laugh :)

 They were going to sleep out in the tent, but a sudden burst of wind knocked out the lights and terrified everyone. It was such a clear, calm night, then suddenly it seemed like a tornado touched down then disappeared. It left trees and branches everywhere. Everyone ended up sleeping back inside the house.
 
 My brother gives eye exams for fun. Just as I suspected, I have better than perfect vision. Chris needed new glasses, which was just as he suspected. But we got to look inside our eyeballs on the computer screen. It was so cool, and I see why he likes doing it for a living!

 Poor Ethan got stung by a wasp at the playground. We don't have many aggressive wasps in the Swamp, so it was kind of shocking for him. But everyone else had fun, even thought they nearly melted in the heat.

 The cousins took us to their friend's little pond where we got to to canoeing and swimming.



 Who could resist this little sweetheart?
I'm never baby hungry, but all the sweet little preschool cousins we spent time with all week made me toddler hungry.
I guess I should borrow one for a while to cure myself of that!

 The little boys got to build their own tent. They were going to sleep in it, but it kept falling down.

The morning we left to come back to The Swamp, the cousins wanted to go early-morning river-canoeing. We didn't get a picture of it, but at the very end of the ride, the canoes tipped over at a series of small waterfalls. The kids were stranded on rocks and clinging to overturned canoes. They were all terrified and each of them said they were saying prayers that helped them be calm and know what to do.
 
 On the way back to my brother's house to pack up the car and get the kids dried off, Kelly Clarkston's song "What doesn't kill you" came on and both cars had it blasting. We told the kids they were stronger for surviving the overturned canoes and praying for safety. They liked that.
 
Then we had to be "stronger" the rest of our drive home. My window fell down into the door in the middle of the 105* Southern heat and humidity, so we had to stop at Walmart to get a new classy plastic wrap/ duct tape window. Then we had to stop every hour to replace it because the freeway winds ripped it to shreds.

THEN...josh's backside exploded in a dirty old gas station restroom and Chris had to clean him up (aw shucks, it happened in the men's room and I couldn't help!), throw away a bunch of nice-but-now-poopy clothes and shoes, then mop up the floor.

So we lost a camera in the rapids, a window on the freeway, and some clothes in a gas station. But it didn't kill us!

We got home a little before midnight, and had a few poopy kids all night long, but there's no place like home. And we'd do it all again in a heart beat because cousins are forever friends, and we're glad ours love each other so much.

Virginia park fun


  Emma and Ethan and Ashley loved hanging out together.
We're going to miss them when they head out of the country for a few more years.
I'm so glad we were able to hang out with Matt and Dasha's family for a little while this past week.
It was wonderful!


video

Josh and Alyssa became good friends this week. Last time we saw her she was a baby!


  They took us to one of the best splash pads we'd ever seen.
But the kids were too cold in the 90-something degree heat to enjoy the cool water for long.
Life in the Swamp has made us into wimps, I think...


We said goodbye to the Washington area and headed southwest to the hills of VA to see my brother. But we'll be back someday to see Matt and Dasha when they return. It was worth it to watch cousins become friends again.
As my Little Grandma always said, "Family is Everything."