Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

I have NO idea how Grins first heard/learned about "Darth Vader" (the obsession began just before his 5th birthday - before he had started school!), since we've never seen/read/watched/discussed anything Star Wars related.  But somehow, he did, and it was not a passing fancy!  Grins wanted a "Darth Vader" birthday party, then Star Wars legos....and when neither of those requests were met, he insisted on being Darth Vader for Halloween this year.  So, I finally gave in and we checked out a "Star Wars ABCs" board book from the library.  (Really?!  Who in their right mind thinks Star Wars is appropriate for any child who reads board books?  But I figured that it would be the most benign of all Star Wars books, so I allowed it....)

Before I knew it, the children had decided on a Star Wars theme for Halloween this year.  One friend offered to loan us their Darth Vader costume, another chimed in with Yoda, and it just seemed too easy to refuse.  I even managed to transform an old sheet and a $2 clearance belt into a Princess Leia costume.  The Mr. decided to join in the fun as Han Solo ("because Harrison Ford is way better looking than whomever played Luke....").  Since I was too busy studying for my national recertification exam on and before Halloween, I sat out this year. :(  And, since I'm the family photographer, we didn't get many good shots....but here are a few! :)

Trick or Treat!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

We Love Boston!

It is so fun living near a big city!  And because our nearest Temple is located in Boston, we head down every month or so!  This summer, we went down to visit some friends before they moved West, and we decided to make a whole day of it - and we could have spent many more days there - there is so much to see and do!

This was the first time we took the train down - and I don't think we'll ever drive down again, now that we know how easy and convenient the train is!  It was fun, fast, and so much better than trying to navigate our way through the city! :)

We spent hours at the Boston Common's Frog Pond! (And check out that playground across the walkway!)

 (From a distance, it looks like Angel is nude - but she is, in fact, wearing a bathing suit...don't you worry!)

Although I had planned ahead and packed a bag with a picnic lunch and drinks, I had tried to pack light (since I was carrying the bag on my shoulders!), and I didn't anticipate how MUCH we would drink, given the heat of the day and the amount of walking we we had to 'splurge' and get a drink at a small stand.  Given the ridiculous price ($6 for a small lemonade!!!), we only got one for our whole family.  We stuck 3 straws in and told the kids to share - but they were all so thirsty no one could stand to wait, so they all dug in at the same time.  The Mr. and I laughed, took a picture, and then told them to save some for us....and in that small amount of time it was already gone!  The poor little dears were SO thirsty!  

The bright, noonday sun does not lend itself well to picture taking, but I had to document these odd-looking plants we found in the Public Garden.  I've never seen anything like them before.  Don't they look just like something out of a Dr. Seuss book?

While strolling through the Public Garden, we found a goose nest with 7 eggs in it!

We also happened upon a one-man band (think "Bert" from Mary Poppins).  The children were simply captivated by him, so of course we stopped to enjoy the show.

He had so thoughtfully set up some instruments, and encouraged any interested children to come join in the fun!  Ours were the only ones brave enough to take the leap...

 ...until at last, another small friend joined in.

Mr. Music Man in all his get-up:
 From the back:

And what trip to the Public Garden would be complete without a ride on the Swan Boats?  (If you've never read "Make Way For Ducklings", you simply must!  It's wonderful!)

Eagerly anticipating our turn!

 It's finally our turn!  Here we are getting onto the boat...

 And, it's sunny!  But we are having fun!

It was a beautiful day, and we had a picture-perfect visit!  Though we are far from family and miss them dearly, we are trying to make the most of our time here, and are definitely enjoying being near to so many landmarks!

Fourth of July

For the 4th of July, we went up to Freeport for a delicious pancake breakfast (Maine Blueberry pancakes, of course!), parade (albeit a VERY small one!), and a little visit to LL Bean.  We also tried our first (and last!)  "Lobster Ice Cream" (Grins gagged.)

"Inside" the fish tank at LLBean (It was far too crowded to wait for a better photo-op)

 The 2 moose with interlocked antlers at LL Bean.  They died because, while fighting, their antlers becamed intertwined and they couldn't figure a way out.  One of just 2 like it in the world!

The "LL Bean Boot" in the parade.  The boot usually sits right in front of the store!

Wiggles has the best seat in the whole parade, up on Daddy's shoulders.  

Watching the parade.

A pretty uneventful holiday, but at least we got to spend it together as a family!  It was especially nice to have the Mr. home!!

Westward Ho - Oregon

 I finally finished our post about Sunriver - when the kids said "Don't forget the pictures of the tiny frog we found!"  So, for them, here is Mr. Frog (playing dead and all):

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Garden...

....was a little pathetic this year.  Of course, I attribute that to the fact that I was out West for one month, so it was neglected.  Still....take a look at our carrots.  Beautiful greens, but very sad roots. :(  Better luck next year (I hope!)

Westward Ho - Sunriver

So, as I mentioned previously, in our big trip out "West", we flew to Utah and spent some time with the Buchanans,  then drove (12 hours!) to Oregon to spend some time with the Stouts.  Uncle Daniel was kind enough to drive us! (And Aunt Amy, his sweet wife, so graciously let him go without her for a week since we took up all the seats in their car!  We owe them big time!)  Miraculously, we all fit in his car!  And, aside from the typical quarrels and "are we there YET??!" complaints, the kids did fairly well. (Although, I'm pretty sure Daniel swore off ever having children, and I did swear I would NEVER do that drive again!!!) Then, once we got to the Stout house, we took another drive (4 hours this time!) to Sunriver Resort.  I wondered if all that driving would be worth it.  It was!

First of all, it was truly a treasure to be able to spend time with "GG" and "GG-Pa", my sweet grandparents.  They are wonderful and, even though Grandma is in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease and keeps wondering "Whose kids are these?", she is very loving and gentle with the children.  While I'm sad that my kids don't get to know the Grandma I knew as a child, it is wonderful watching them with her, and seeing them build a relationship with her.  And it is neat to see that, though she doesn't remember anything or anybody, she has still maintained her nurturing nature, and deep love of children.  It seems to be one of her most primitive instincts.  And Grandpa is as wonderful as ever.  I have always looked up to him - even as a child - and my love and respect for him has only deepened and increased over the years.  Especially over these past 10 years, as I've watched his patience and the tender, loving care he continues to offer Grandma, despite the tremendous physical and emotional burdens it places on him.  He is one of my greatest heros, and I miss him SO much!  It is so hard to be so far from these sweet loved ones, when I know their time on earth is limited, so I was very grateful indeed for the time we had together!

Grandma looks alarmed, but it's probably just because she doesn't know why I'm taking a picture of her...

I love seeing them like this - after 60+ years, they are still holding hands!
 And, of course, we enjoyed other loved ones as well!  (Excuse the pics out of order...such a pain to rearrange!)
These girls LOVE snuggling with their Aunt Abbie!  And matching PJs just sealed the deal!
 Even though it was still a couple of weeks away, we celebrated Grins' 5th birthday at Sunriver!  Complete with Grandma's Famous Lime Cake! (YUM! and ridiculously sweet!)  Grins was thrilled with his new Plasma Car and Whac-a-mole game!

Wiggles adores her Grandpa!

Angel and Abbie and their culinary creations!

All the Cousins!  When these 4 get together, it is non-stop silliness! :)

Fort Rock Playground offered hours of fun in the sun!

Abbie and Grandpa enjoyed some Tetherball!

Wiggles had fun, of course!

The kids spent hours with this merry-go-round!

Aunt Abbie with the 4 nieces and nephews!
Group shot with Aunt Hannah, Aunt Abbie, Grandma & Grandpa

I wish I'd taken a picture of all of us at our cabin!  It was so much fun!  The pool table and wii were both a big hit with the kids, but they loved the hot tub most of all!  I think we spent every night out there!  During the day, though, most of our time was spent at the pool!!!

Wiggles LOVED this tunnel slide!  She went down again and again and again....until the time that I tried to take her picture.  I was waiting at the end with the camera.  She didn't want me to take a picture, so she said "Put the camera down!" so I put it to the side where she couldn't see it.  Then, as she slid down, I moved it in front of her, but she slipped to the other side and, since I was holding the camera, I caught her awkwardly with one hand....and after that, she would only go down the slide if I held BOTH hands right up in front of her.  So I never got a picture. Sigh.

Here's Wiggles, refusing to go down the slide because I'm holding the camera. So funny!

This was one of Angel's only turns down the tunnel slide!  After that they told her she was too tall!    She was so sad! And I couldn't believe that my little baby is TOO TALL for something!!  STOP GROWING, ANGEL! :)

Grins loved the slide, camera or not! :)

The big, twirly slide was SO much fun!  Wiggles and Grins were hesitant at first, but once they started going, they never wanted to stop!  Wiggles went down with Abbie quite a few times, and after that, insisted on going alone!




Wiggles and Abbie
Wait! What's this? A picture of Wiggles going down the slide!!

My little water baby!  Even though it was cold for much of our trip, she never wanted to leave the pool!

Unless it meant snuggling with Abbie, that is.

She loves her Aunt Abbie!

I love the way my kids look in goggles! Hahaha!

Oh, and of course, the kids weren't the only ones who liked the slide!

Grandpa had fun!


And again!

Of course, these 2 would have fun wherever they were!

It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to just relax and spend time with our Oregon family!   Treasured memories like these make the long travel all worth it!

We left Sunriver directly to head back to Utah.  We hoped that driving at night would make it cooler since it was HOT and our A/C wasn't working....but it was still HOT!!  On the way, we stopped at WinCo Foods to use the restroom and cool off for a moment.  Grins was playing in the drinking fountain at the front of the store, making it spray all over (meaning that it was making a big puddle on the ground!)  I immediately told him to stop - that someone could slip on that puddle.  I then helped Wiggles and Angel in the restroom and when I came out, Daniel was filling up his water bottle at the drinking fountain.  I went around to fill mine up, when I slipped on the puddle Grins had created, and fell fast and hard.  Somehow, on my way down, I grabbed hold of Daniel's jogging shorts, and - you guessed it - pulled them all the way down with me (completely by accident, of course).  Everything happened so fast, that neither one of us realized what had happened for a second or two.  I looked over, saw Daniel's shorts in my hand (around his ankles) and looked over to see Daniel standing next to me in his underwear (thank heaven I didn't grab that too!) and I laughed until I cried.  Poor Daniel had no idea what he was getting himself into when he offered to take the kids and I!  He definitely went above and beyond, and wins the Best Brother and Greatest Uncle award for putting up with us for those LONG 25+ hours of driving!!!