Some fantastic friends of ours, the Ortons, hosted a family Olympics before the Summer Olympics officially got underway. What a fun idea. We picked a country to represent and showed up ready to go for the gold. We decided on Brazil as our country.
Olympic theme: Daaaa daaaaa daa daa daa daa daa daa da da da dadadadada dadadadadaaaaaaaaaaa.
Here we are in our Brazilian flag colors, ready to compete.
We started with the opening ceremony and parade of nations. How fun! We waved our flags proudly.
It's obvious that I'm usually a dud when it comes to remembering to bring a camera, so we were happy that Erin was nice enough to take so many and share them.
This was Tessa during the gymnastics portion of the games:
She's just not afraid to be showcased.
You can see the hurdles from the previous game in the background. I loved seeing how each kid decided to tackle those. Tessa chose an X jump over each one, but we saw over, under, around, and through from the different young "athletes". We also took part in target shooting (with a squirt gun and paper cups), the long jump, and javelin tossing. Tossing? Throwing? What do you do with a javelin?
This is my favorite move:
Such agility. Such grace.
We had to take off early for something, so Erin got Tessa a medal and took her picture by the flames. Tessa insisted that she won the gold medal for being the best "gymnasticker". That easily became my favorite word of the day.
We knew very few people there at the party, but I love that we didn't need to. When you get a bunch of nice families together, it's hard to go wrong. Erin and Christian had Olympic themed/styled foods to munch when we took a break, and really provided a lovely morning on a hot day to get us excited for the upcoming games.
For his birthday Cole asked for a water blaster. He was so excited to get one. Dollar Tree rocks.
One early evening, two water blasters, one bucket of water, and two excited kids makes for a nice quiet dinner preparation for mom.
Tessa and Cole both participated in Vacation Bible School at the end of July at the same local Episcopalian church that Tessa did VBS at last year. VBS was actually one of the incentives for Cole to potty train back in May, and he had it down super quickly, excited to know that he qualified to go with Tessa this year. (He did not like getting left behind last year.) The staff, along with the teen volunteers, are so genuinely sweet over there. Although we are happy with our own church, it's really nice to have that sense of community, trust, and support with another nearby church. They do such a wonderful job with their VBS ministry. Tessa came home talking about trusting God and talking about Bible stories, and Cole, though he started to struggle with going toward the end of the week, came home happy every day telling me about the games and crafts ...and snacks.
Here they are posing with Paigey Lou in their VBS shirts after the first day:
I leave the creative (i.e. time consuming) meals up to Jake, but I figured it wouldn't kill me to go out on a limb and make blue pancakes for the kid's birthday. Plus, we remembered to get out the birthday plate! Woot!
One of Cole's birthday wishes that he had been talking about FOREVER was that he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese's. Well, we're all about making wishes come true (when they're easy), so it was family night at Chuck's to celebrate three awesome years with Brother. When I say he was so excited to get there that he about dug out his own eye, I'm not exaggerating.
Surely there's an in betweener flash?
I react to this place much like you see Paige above. Sensory Overload. But the kids had a blast playing games and earning tickets for cheap prizes. And that made it fun. I personally enjoy the character songs that are familiar enough knock offs of popular songs tweaked a bit so Chuck E.'s doesn't get sued and then plugged in with lyrics about pizza and other foods you can get there.
I will forever sing "I wanna barbeque aaaaall night..." to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" whenever I attend a BBQ. Count on it.
If you are epileptic, don't watch the next video...
Chuck E. Cheese delivered in just the way it promised. Cole talked about it for days on end afterward.
We headed home to put Paige to bed and then open presents and have cake.
I made these pool noodle "light sabers" from super fat noodles, not remembering that thinner/cheaper ones were at the dollar store which would have worked better. Now, though, I wouldn't give up the gargantuan sabers because they have provided us with some serious maniacal fun and pack quite a wallop.
I am really good at providing the bare minimum. I was even that kind of student --do just enough to get the desired grade and no more, thank you. I don't go above and beyond often. And so it is with this cake. I have absolute admiration for those who have the talent and patience to put together edible works of art, but I have accepted the fact that I have neither. Thank heavens my children don't require much of me. Tessa wanted a pink cake for her last birthday -no problem! And Cole wanted a blue ice cream cake for his. After mulling it over, I came up with possibly the easiest route for this possible. And he was happy.
The basic layer was ice cream sandwiches cut to fit where necessary, a tub of Cool Whip with blue food coloring whipped in spread on top, then crushed Whoppers sprinkled, and finally a bunch of neon lizards from the dollar store he said he wanted on his cake. We freeze the whole thing together, and Ta Da! Mediocrity at its finest....and tastiest.
This little boy is so much fun. He can be as exasperating as any other kid his age (for us, but I think it's entertaining for other people when they see the joy he finds in pushing boundaries). However, the fact that he is exerting his desire for independence is awesome. His silly and teasing sense of humor cracks us up. His sensitive nature toward people's feelings (when he's paying attention) is heart warming. His laugh and his random conversations with either us or his toys makes us want to bottle him up and not let him age one more day.
Try as I might, I don't think I'll ever appreciate the dinner messes.
Many mornings before I can fully get moving for the day, we all end up hanging out on my bed, pretending like we can have a nice cuddle. Then it turns into kids flopping all over the place and arguing about who gets to be where, etc., until I can take it no more, and we move on to breakfast.
One rainy (ish) evening in July, as we were getting the older two kids ready for bed, a huge rainbow made an appearance. So, I called to everyone to get outside so we could see the massive full arch across the sky. It's sad that the camera didn't catch the colors because it was so lovely.
Jake had Tessa give a news story for his video camera, but, alas, blogger is not in the mood to humor me by uploading it. She reported how a rainbow is made and sang a song about the colors. She's so camera shy...
Coming back from Preston, Idaho, we stopped in Logan so I could buy some sunglasses at Ross and lunch at Arctic Circle. Then, we headed to my dad's front porch to grab a baby bottle we'd left behind. Then, Jake circled the block downtown so I could get out and see the new City Creek shopping center in Salt Lake City. Very pretty. We stopped at Jake's Grandpa McCune's house to see him and Bev. Then, we quickly paused at Kelly's house in Utah County to pick up Cole's shoes we'd left there.
Almost three hours later we stopped in Cedar City off the freeway so I could show the kids where I spent three years of my life (one day there will be time to show them the place I lived for the fourth year and, most importantly, the university). I'd like to spend more time there someday so I can see all the new buildings on the SUU campus!
Here is the illustrious Stadium Way #35:
It's got some weird grated metal stairway stuff there now instead of the simple cement porch and steps that were there when I was. Memorieeeees, from the corner of my miiiiiind.
We, last of all, stopped in St. George to get a Jimmy John's sandwich before getting to Las Vegas. We got there two hours before our flight, so we felt a little rushed, but it all turned out just fine, minus the fact that we were already exhausted waiting for our midnight flight.
We got home Sunday morning at about 7am our time, and went to bed.
Like I mentioned before, we won't be traveling like that again if we can help it.
Thank you all for a lovely trip. We're excited for the next time we get to see you!
On to Idaho! It was raining on July 5, which was the day my mom had planned for us all to go up to Lava Hot Springs for the day. However, as anyone can guess, running a river on a tube in the rain is not wise nor fun. We had to cancel, but made plans for the next day. Grandpa Jack was staying there and agreed to hang around for another day so that we could meet up with him. Sadly, Mandy had to work, so she was the only one who couldn't mix it around to go. She was able, though, to come the night of the 5th to hang out and drop off the kids.
Soooo, that meant Grandma Movie Night!
Mandy got some good snuggles in with my kids before she left and we got a nice visit in over at Grandma and Grandpa D's.
Dinner, popcorn, movie, bed.
The next morning, Tessa's left bottom tooth had reached a point of looseness where the thing was like a drawbridge. She was afraid of giving it a yank because it was going to hurt. I wouldn't bother with it when it was just a little loose, but when it is just hanging in there ---well, give me a go at it! I quickly popped it right out. There may have been an, "Ow!", but that was it. Very little blood, and we're good. We bagged up the tooth and knew the tooth fairy would be on her way to Grandma's that night. Tessa asked several questions about the tooth fairy. When Tessa asked, "What if the tooth fairy isn't even real?"
I answered, "The tooth fairy only brings money to kids who believe in her." Aaaaand that was the end of the questions. :)
Lava Hot Springs. I didn't know it was a city. I thought it was just a water park. I never claimed to be bright.
We met up with Grandpa Jack and had a nice lunch provided by Mom and Duke.
Jon, Chelsy, and Jolynn (Breckin was in SD with his dad) came a little later, so I caught some pictures of Jo with great grandpa too:
Love her diva sun hat.
Mom, Paige, Jolynn, and Chelsy:
The river runners!
This day was a mixed bag. We didn't scout the river and left it up to the fact that people run it all the time so we'd know when to get out. Jake, Tessa, Cole, and I took a four person tube, Jon and Chelsy had a double, Duke had a single, and I don't really know beyond that. We hiked up a little bit to get in so we could make the ride last longer, so getting in was a little more difficult than it needed to be, but no big deal. The river was more rough than I thought it would be, but fun. I held on to Cole's life jacket, white knuckled. Just a couple minutes into our river run we saw Grandpa Jack waving his hands and yelling something to us on the bridge/ledge above us. I couldn't for the life of me hear what he was saying over the river noise but looked around to see if there was something ahead or if we'd gone too far or something. I suddenly saw Chelsy a little further down standing in the water and thought, "Oh! We must need to get out here." But it didn't look like an easy place to get out. The river was strong and up to her waist. She and I grabbed hands so she could help us stop and get out. That wasn't happening. Our weight combined with the force of the river about had our arm sockets yanked out and we broke hold. Which means she fell over and started getting pushed down the river and slammed into rocks in the process. She was finally able to stand up and get to the side of the river. I felt so bad that it was my fault she had gotten hurt but was trying to figure out how to get us out since I saw a couple other tubers up ahead getting out of the river. Then I heard her yell that Jon's shoe was floating down the river. She tried to grab it but failed. I tried to grab it and failed, but I yelled to a guy stopped at the bank up ahead to grab it. He did! He was able to throw it to the other side of the river where Chelsy was.
The four of us were still on our tube (I had Cole on my lap), so Jake must have been holding on to a branch or something since we were stopped. That was when I noticed my brother, Jon, in the water having a really rough time. He is a strong guy, but the river was having its way with him. He was having the hardest time getting to shore in that fast, deep water ....without shoes too. Duke showed up on his tube and was trying to get to Jon. Jon still had the double tube, which was forcefully trying to yank him down the river. Duke was able to grab the tube and pass it over to Jake while I reached out to get my brother. Seeing Jon worn out like that scared me, but once he was up on shore he was able to catch his breath.
He got his flip flops back, but his hat was gone, his sunglasses were gone, ...and his wedding ring was gone. He said he had grabbed onto a rock and felt it slide right off as he slid off the rock. I was sick to my stomach about it, Chelsy was in tears, and I think Jon was relieved he hadn't drowned.
We kept going over the whole intense thing trying to figure out what had gone on and wishing we'd been better equipped. Duke took off down the direction of the river flow so he could find out what had happened to Breanna, Dallen, and Kaeley. It turned out they got out where they were supposed to get out. It also turned out that Grandpa Jack was hollering down to us about a better place to get into the river.
The hand waving and hollering were a little confusing, as was the couple of tubers getting out ahead of us. What a sour miscommunication. The next hour was filled with should have's, but the reality of it was that unpleasant things happen and all we could do was learn from it and be glad that something worse hadn't happened.
As you can imagine, Jon and Chelsy didn't much feel like going down the river after that. I was suddenly scared to go, but got over it enough to go one more time. I was still a bit disturbed, so I retired at that point. However, Mandy's kids, Jake, and Duke were able to make the most out of the time we had the rental tubes and had a great time. Jon and Chelsy bought a ring for a few bucks at the gift shop for Jon to wear, because they're cool like that. Love to you! (and wishes for extra money for a new ring)
Mom felt like she'd failed somehow (family trait), but it was just one of those things --I can only imagine what the bottom of that river must have in it. We were all grateful for her efforts in getting us together. Jon, Chelsy, and Jolynn took off later, as did Grandpa Jack. Mom and Duke took the kids to the gift shop to pick something out and then for ice cream. They had such fun. And we had such fun hanging out with Bre, Dal, and Kae.
We zipped back to Preston to see my grandparents one more time. My cousin Aaron has been staying with them before he heads back to Utah State in the fall. I was happy to see him. He's a good guy. Quiet and unassuming with his curly pony tail, that kid (I guess it should be "man", but that's just too weird) is a tall wiry mass of muscle. He runs for Utah State, and he's fast.
I grabbed a picture of him to prove I actually saw him: