Monday, July 29, 2013

Perfect Day on the Lake

Where's the place to be on a hot summer day in Arizona? The lake, of course! With the thunder and lightning we had Friday night, we were worried our plans would be ruined, but it turned out to be just beautiful. It wasn't even super hot or super crowded, as we expected on a Saturday in July... score! The only downer was that I forgot my big camera and telephoto lens, but since I was either tubing or driving during most of the action, I guess the telephoto lens wouldn't have helped much. At least I got some cell phone pics! (What did we do before smart phones?)

The water was the perfect temperature for a refreshing swim, so we did a lot of that.

These two were cracking us up. They would say they were going exploring, and then when they felt a plant, they would both start screaming and swimming away. You'd think Nessy had a hold of them! (Okay, I wasn't much better, to tell the truth... I hate swimming among creepy lake plants, too.)

Catching some rays.

Our kids always like to sit up front where they can ride the waves. It took our friend's daughter a little time to warm up to the idea, though.

Beauty in the back of the boat.

Brando got all worn out and started to fall asleep in the sun. I thought you'd enjoy seeing my toe in the bottom corner of the pic, so I made sure not to crop it out.

The lake was choppy and made for some crazy tubing action. As I write this, I am still sore from hanging on so tight. Paige usually wants the slow rides, but she went on a fast ride with me and ended up loving it... even after she got dumped off, she was still smiling, and she kept going with Russ after I was done!

My friend and her daughter went on some crazy rides, too, and her daughter who started out nervous and frightened just riding in the boat ended up begging for another ride on the tube at the end of the day. I call that success!

This is beyond Firestarter. Remember that movie? My sisters and I used to sit in front of the fan and pretend we were the fire starter girl. And we'd say, "KDKB ROCKS ARIZONA!!"

Afterward, we hit Los Favoritos for dinner. The tradition from my childhood was to eat at Mi Amigos on the way home, all gross and lakeified, but it's not on our way home anymore. Sadness. We still like to have Mexican food afterward (and really, when do we NOT like to have Mexican food?). For a mere 25 cents, we got a minute's worth of entertainment as Brandon was transformed into... EL GUAPO.

El Guapo didn't like being El Guapo, though, as you can see in the background. I think he was disappointed after figuring out what he had just spent his quarter on. Kallie was happy to fill in for him, though.

And there it is... a record 14 posts in one month! I don't think I will beat that any time soon...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

First Day

Seems like summer just started a few weeks ago, and already the kids are back in school! Will and Kyle are both in high school this year and leaving at the crack of dawn for early morning seminary, so you know I didn't wake up to take any pictures of them!

Paige started fourth grade this year.

Sometimes I am shamefully lazy, and this year I waited until the last minute to prepare for back-to-school. This is why they have the same backpacks, and Paige had to take her first day's lunch in a plastic grocery bag! They need a nanny or something.

Kallie started first grade. She was so excited to be in the same class as her friend who lives next door!!

I did manage to get one new outfit for each of them, and golly, she looked cute in it with her pink cowgirl boots! Paige got the same new outfit in a different color, but didn't wear it until the next day.

Ready to go!

The school was a zoo that morning, but we still managed to get Kallie to class on time.

Paige arrived just after the bell when all the other kids were already seated and all the other parents were already gone. She was so embarrassed about getting her picture taken, but I finally got a smile. I fear the days of Paige wanting me to come to her class are numbered.

A successful day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Camping in Payson

Remember way back to Memorial Day when I said we were going to go camping more this year? Well, I actually made it happen! You see, since we hadn't gone tent camping as a family since 2005, twice in one summer is way more!

Now the crummy thing about camping last weekend was that there were stringent fire restrictions in effect due to the extremely high risk of wildfires. With firefighters losing their lives battling these wildfires, we were happy to oblige. Monsoons are rolling in now, so hopefully the danger will subside soon. Anyway, since we couldn't have a campfire, we bought a little propane stove that attaches to the top of a propane bottle and used that to roast our marshmallows and hotdogs.

Before long, Ben and Kylee showed up on the scene to join in the fun. Josh was sick, so Annalee ended up staying home with him. They missed out!!

The kids loved exploring the forested area around our campsite, but they wouldn't get far before turning around and running because it was a little creepy out there in the dark... especially since we brilliantly mentioned bears a little while earlier.

Doing the Hokey Pokey made all the fear melt away.

The next morning, Kylee and Kallie (that's a mouthful!) talked about their Hello Kitty dolls.

Grandma bought some Webkinz for the girls just a few days earlier, so of course they all had to come along. One was named Ben, and it was funny the night before when we were asking where Ben was and Brandon led us over to the picnic table and pointed to the dog.

Even though our tent was on an ant pile, we didn't seem to have any ant trouble... just a few walking around on the outside of our tent.

Have you met the muffin man? He hands out poppyseed muffins at breakfast, so everyone loves him!

All morning, the kids wandered around in the forest near our campsite. Paige never wanted to leave!

These silly girls asked if they could close their eyes in the picture. I want to rename Kylee to "Can I See?" because she seemed to want to see every picture after I took it.

Making a club pact.

After cleaning up camp, we decided to go to the fish hatchery. Here, Kylee was trying to give Kallie the flower in one of her hands, but Kallie was taking the flower from her other hand, so it looks like a flower exchange. So cute!

Luckily, I had three quarters on hand for fish food.

They didn't last long because the kids kept coming back for more, so I hiked back to the car to get Ben's roll of quarters. Now we're talkin'!

They had several tanks of fish, and we looked at them all because we are thorough. We even visited the cheesy visitor's center because I can't get enough of reading plaques! (inside joke)

After the hatchery, we had a little picnic near Tonto Creek.

Ben and Kylee left us, but we decided to stay and go down to the creek.

And then Russ noticed the worms on Brandon's feet. Upon further investigation, he noticed that a rock Brandon had used to cross the stream was crawling with worms! Gross! Everyone had a worm check after that, and we found a few more.

Back to non-gross cuteness.

In case there were no pictures of me, I decided I had better at least take a picture of my feet enjoying the cool water.

Paige kept throwing pinecones upstream and then watching them float back down to her.

So cute with his rolled up pants!

During the last few minutes at the stream, Russ took the camera.

Great, I've got the nerdy hi/lo pant legs goin' on.

It was so nice to get out of town and spend some time out in nature with the kids. I think the kids would have stayed there until dark, but we had to head home so we could make it to my grandma's 88th birthday party!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Long Trip Home

Even though all of our Oregon adventures were over, we still had about 1500 miles to home. At least Russ' sister Leah didn't plan a weekend getaway over BOTH weekends we were passing through Sacramento, so the kids got to have a break from the car to spend a morning with cousins they don't see very often. Leah planned a water balloon fight for the kids, which is when we realized we accidentally left their swimming suits in the hotel. Oh well, it wasn't much of a fight... they mostly threw the balloons in the grass and watered the plants with them.

These two got along well.

Good quality time together!!

This train set sure looked familiar to Brandon.

The next day when we were back in San Diego, we decided to spend some time at Mission Beach so the kids could play in the sand and surf to their hearts' content. I was sad we had already returned the rental car and had to get sand in our own car!

My beautiful sand mermaids.

Burying his shoes.

Kyle was so proud of his sand throne.


Brandon didn't want to miss out on being buried!

I thought it would be a clear day because of the heat wave that had just come through, but it was cool and overcast. We noticed a lot of Zonies were there escaping 118 degrees in Phoenix... it was more crowded than I had ever seen it.

And there was seaweed everywhere!

It grosses me out, but my kids don't seem to mind it.

By late afternoon, it was time to head home, and we were really ready to be back in our own beds. The big, wide world is filled with wondrous, astonishing places that are fun to explore, but at the end of the day, THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!