Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Vacation pics

Okay, sorry it's been so long. I know I promised to post a couple of follow-ups. It's been just a little... crazy around here lately. School for Brice and I, trying to get Raelin into school, dog mess (and loss), etc., etc., etc.

So here it is, the rest of our summer break:

I told you I had a story about a campout without all the bare necessities. This is how it happened. The boys said they would get everything up to the dinner picnic site if we would wait for the kids to finish napping and make some salsa. So we did. As we were leaving, I thought, "I'll bet they only bought one bag of chips, so I'll bring the half bag we have so there are enough for everyone. One bag for 13 people just won't cut it." So I did. Then Melissa said, "Do we need to bring cake mix or anything for the dessert?" I said, "The guys said they'd get it all, so I guess not." We should have checked. As we were driving up there I started to get skeptical that they had remembered any of the things that we moms know are needed when you have 7 hungry kids and no kitchen. Forks, plates, cups, paper towels, etc. And I started to bet myself that they had forgotten to get anything from the house at all and just took what they had bought at the store. That would mean no bratwursts for the adults; just hot dogs all around (minus ketchup or any other condiments), no dessert, and nothing to eat with or out of. When I got there, the first thing they said was, "We forgot a few things." I said, "I had a feeling." They said, "What were you thinking we were missing?" So I rattled off a list of about 6 things and William's jaw dropped. "Yeah, that's about everything!" I was feeling psychic that day. But they did remember all the things they needed to shoot the guns! Typical... :)

We had a great time around the fire, though, and we ate the hot dogs and the beans (out of clay pigeons, as you can see in the pictures!) and the bag and a half of chips with salsa. We shot the guns and the kids played in the meadow. It was lots of fun! Even without all the goodies. Maybe one of these days we'll be able to get our act together and remember everything (for those of you that haven't read the previous posts, the last 2 times I've been the culpable one in the forgetting department). Then again, maybe not...
These pictures are from our day trip up Provo Canyon. The water was FREEZING! It made my legs ache. I don't know how the kids do it. Melissa got some wonderful pictures. Here are a few of them:Awwww. Isn't he cute!?

Can you fins McKay in the picture above?
Look at that belly! Geez, I look huge for only being 4 months along in this picture. Lame!
Cute cousins!
Seriously, could he be any cuter? Look at those little cheeks. Don't you just want to pinch them? And I love, love, love that hair.
And here is Elias, the funny guy. Have you ever seen such excitement? He is just SO happy to be freezing his little buns off. Maybe he's just numb by now...

My boys. I sure love them.
And here are the inseparable cousins. They wanted to be together ever possible moment while the Andrew's were here. I loved watching them play and put their imaginations together in their own little world. They were like peas and carrots.

Our (short) Summer Vacation (cont'd)

Oh, boy, what a summer! This last week has been the BEST! Like I said in my last post, Brice's sister, Melissa and her family came out to visit and we all had such a blast! We went to a water park in Spanish Fork on Monday and the kids (and adults) all had a great time. Ryker gets cold pretty easily, but is (was) completely fearless. I say "was" because he had a good scare that sobered him up a little. He tried to follow his Uncle William towards the deep end and he didn't stop when he couldn't reach the bottom anymore. William turned around because he heard garbled shouting and he grabbed Ryker who came up sputtering and sufficiently scared. Gotta learn respect for the water somehow! Fortunately, he was just scared enough to be more careful and wise and not so scared that he didn't want to be in the water anymore. Both of my kids are little fish. Raelin will stay in the water all day long, but she hasn't conquered her fear of getting her face in there yet. Well, she will, but just for a second and only if that's the only objective. She really, REALLY wanted to swim around with her cousin, Leah, but that chin down thing just wasn't going to happen for her.

On Wednesday we all (me, Brice, Raelin, Ryker, Melissa, Wes, Ryanne, Mckay, Leah, Elias, Angel, and Liam) went to my Dr.'s office for an ultrasound! It was kind of fun to cram 12 people into their little room and see the baby for the first time. Ultrasound details will be coming soon, so check back later. After the ultrasound, we went to Scofield to camp. My dad has a cabin project up there that Brice has been working on so we stayed there. We went down to the lake armed with chicken and a net and we caught crawdads (aka crayfish) for dinner. The kids absolutely LOVED it! Uncle Wes wasn't a big fan of the idea at first (at least not the eating or touching parts) but he actually got into it! We were so impressed! Despite a heavy dose of peer pressure, he never touched a live one, but he did catch them in the net! And he helped get them ready to eat after they were cooked (you have to break off their claws and then break their tails off and pull out the tail meat and remove a vein running up the back--not typically Wes' cup of tea, but he got brave).
It took a while, but eventually Ryanne (Melissa's oldest) was brave enough to hold one and then all the other kids were willing to try it too. I hope to get more pictures from Melissa later, but for now, these are the pictures I have of our adventure.
Even Jax was brave enough to hold one. We put one on the dock to see what he would do with it and he sniffed and jumped when he got pinched but he was so interested. A little later, when he thought no one was looking he sneaked up to the bucket and dunked his face in and came up with one in his mouth! He dropped it on the dock and played with it some more. We took one over to the launching ramp so it couldn't get away and he ran circles around it and thought it was just the greatest toy! Not a chew toy though, just a dodge and chase toy.
At the beginning of our dinner-hunting expedition, we determined that one of the two littlest boys would be falling in at some point for sure, so in preparation, Brice gave me his wallet and cell phone and keys and said he would be the designated "jumper-inner." He knew that if (when) one of them went in, he would just react and not stop to empty his pockets. Since we don't want to purchase another cell phone, he decided to be prepared. Sure enough, Ryker was sitting on the edge of the dock swinging his little legs just as hard as he could to splash the water that he could just barely reach when he slipped right off. He went down slowly because he could touch the bottom, but he couldn't get his balance before his head went under. I called to Brice, "Brice... Uh, Brice! Helloooo!" and then the other adults started reacting too, so Brice looked over and was able to grab him without even getting wet himself! Ryker was pretty scared and cold, but he was a trooper.
I took off his shirt hoping that the sun would warm him up better without the wet shirt on him.
He went and hitched a ride on Daddy's back to suck some heat from him. Cute boys!
We caught upwards of 50 crawdads (they're like little lobsters and when I say little, I mean little. So it was going to take a lot to feed all 10 of us) and took them back up to the cabin. We boiled some water, cooked some rice, made some foil dinner-style veggies, finished up the garlic herb rolls that had been rising, and started dunking the crawdads in the boiling water. Then we had to pull the meat from their tails to get them ready to eat (kids 10 and under aren't really into de-veining and shelling their own food, so we did it for them. We turned it into a kind of crawdad scampi with garlic butter sauce served over rice and it was really good! Wes not only tried it; he actually liked it! The garlic herb rolls were a hit (can't really go wrong with dutch oven cooking unless you burn it) and I'd say dinner overall was a smashing success. Melissa made the most fabulous pineapple upside down cake ever for dessert and we were all sufficiently stuffed. Ahh, I love camping! The food is always SO much better than what you get at home (when you remember it all, that is--see previous post when we forgot the cooler. Incidentally, we went up the canyon last week for a dinner picnic and...Well, I have pictures for that story, so I'll post about it later).
We slept in the cabin that night and it would have been fine if stinkin' Kira hadn't barked ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, that dog. We had her tied up at a house across the street (which means about two football fields away) so she wouldn't bother us, but we could hear her just as clear as day. Finally, at about 3 in the morning she started up a different bark that carried farther and we didn't want to bother other neighbors, so I went and got her and put her in the basement with a tarp to sleep on. The stupid dog just wanted something soft to lay on. Grrrr. I actually think that if she hadn't been isolated most of the night, she would have been barking for company even if she had a soft bed. What kind of rugged hunting dog is this!?! By the way, we didn't want her sleeping with us because she has this nasty habit of rolling in the most foul smelling thing she can find. On this occasion, it happened to be cow manure and she had made herself a nice green necklace of it. I'm not sharing a bed with THAT, thank you! Even us Somers' have our limits. Anyhoo, we got up and had yummy eggs, potatoes, and bacon for breakfast and then packed up camp. We went over to the little park in the development and played there for a little while before we all headed out. The Andrew's headed for home for California from there and we went back to our house to sleep.
It was an awesome camping trip and we loved having the Andrew's out to visit. What a fun and awesome family! The adults chatted away while the kids all played so nicely together. I was amazed at how well they all got along! And we had a great time talking and catching up with each other. Brice and I love the way they parent and we learned a lot of great parenting ideas from them. They are also a model family for gospel living and it was great to have their example and to do a little better at family prayer than we usually do. We usually have it in the car because we almost forget, but I liked having the family kneel together in the living room instead. Anecdotally, Wes and Melissa pray with each of their kids at night before bed and they say a prayer and then the kid says a prayer. One night, I asked Raelin to say her prayers and she said, "Uncle Wes says prayers with his kids." I said, "I'm right here; I'm not leaving." She said, "No, he SAYS a prayer with them." I said, "Do you want me to say one and you say one too like they do?" "Yeah." The next night, she didn't even want to say prayers with Brice or me--she wanted Uncle Wes. I don't know what we're going to do around here without Uncle Wes! I guess I'll have to learn to say better prayers... :)

The next day...

Brice and Ryker were mowing the lawn together. I had just told Ryker that he needed shoes to help with the lawn. I guess my feelings of caution came just a moment too soon because as soon as he had them on, they were walking backwards pulling the mower along and Ryker 's shoe came off. And promptly got run over by the lawn mower, coming out looking like this:
Ryker's foot wasn't in it, thankfully, but you have never seen a sadder boy! His beloved tractor shoe was demolished and it just broke his poor little heart.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So, is pregnancy a good excuse for blog slackerness?

Is slackerness even a word? Anyway, sorry it's been so long since I posted last--almost a whole month! Where does time go? We have been crazy busy with the end of the semester and all the projects and finals that come with it and now we are enjoying our summer freedom. Unlike most of you, our summer vacation is only two weeks long. But fortunately, Brice's sister and her family are taking their vacation out here in Utah! We love having their family around! But I'm getting ahead of my pictures here. So lets back up. This post has a LOT of pictures so be prepared!

I just love these happy faces! They make my heart melt! I just can't help but laugh when I get these big happy grins out of my kids.

And just for fun, here's a picture of Ryker singing "Book of Mormon Stories." For those of you not familiar with it, it has some hand signs that go with it and one of them is the two fingers behind your head like you would for "Indian" ("Lamanite"). For those of you that don't know Ryker well, he LOVES music. He sings throughout his whole day and he can recognize a song by the first two notes. However, apparently Raelin has a different opinion of Ryker's musical abilities (anyone that knows him sees that he has a bit of aptitude for it--he was even refered to by the music leader at church as a musical prodigy!). Yesterday, the two kids were sitting at the piano together and singing and playing. Suddenly Raelin stopped and in her most exasperated tone said, "Ugh, Ryker, your singing is TERRIBLE!" Where do they come up with these things!?!
A few weekends ago we went camping up at the cabin that Brice has been working on. It was a disaster of a trip. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but we were hungry!!!! We left the cooler behind, so we didn't have much in the way of dinner or lunch. It was so sad! And we also forgot a lighter or matches to start our camp stove with and we forgot our flashlight! Who goes camping without a flashlight!? And by the way, that was the second time in a row that I forgot it. I'm blaming pregnancy brain! Anyway, we camped and hiked and Brice worked a little and we tried to catch crawdads, but we didn't have the right equipment. Namely, fish heads or chicken and a big net. This picture is of Raelin driving on our way home. She was so FUNNY! She would be headed towards the side of the road and she would panic and take a deep, scared breath and then over correct and panic again. Turning the wheel was a whole body affair, complete with exaggerated leaning and pounding on the steering wheel when she adjusted her hands. But such concentration!Last week was Brice's brother's graduation from BYU with his masters in physics. Now we can really call him a rocket scientist! After the ceremony, we went and took some pictures. When I get some from my sister-in-law I'll post them, but for now, I just have the few from my camera. Here is my pretty Raelin-girl with her big hair. She's got a bit of a double chin in this picture, but just look at those eyes!

That's a better smile!
And our monkey, Ryker.
I love this sequence of Brice and his girl:When Brice's sister and her family got here, we went to campus to play around and we visited the Bean Museum. We walked around looking at all the taxidermied animals and we watched a reptile show. Our kids go there a lot when it's cold out and Brice or I have an hour or so to kill while we wait for the other of us to get out of class. But the kids still love going there, and all the kids had a blast! Here is Ryanne with a zebra. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was alive!
All the kids took a turn to kiss the baboon (except Ryker who had to go potty).
You see where they get it from!That's Uncle Wes

And Aunt Melissa

After the museum we went over to the water fountain and the kids managed to "swim" for at least a half hour without us getting kicked out!
They all had a great time and I think Raelin even forgot about her hurt foot for a while. After William's graduation, we went to my parent's house to celebrate. A gate closed on Raelin's foot and she got a pretty decent wound on the back of her ankle. I took pictures of it on my friend's camera, so I'll post those later. But clearly, she's not bothered by it here! (From left: Raelin, Ryanne, Elias, Mckay)

And here's Leah. She didn't want to get too wet that day, I guess.But someone convinced her to at least get in on the picture! (from left: Ryker, Raelin, Ryanne, Elias, Mckay, and Leah)

Melissa got some cute pictures of my two kids. Look at that handsome boy!And Raelin just had the best time of her life playing with her cousins.

Here's Raelin and Mckay in a growling face-off:

Back at home, the fun continued. The kids have had a great time playing together and they have been playing SO well! The Andrews are up in Deweyville at William and Angel's house for a few days, but they'll be back tomorrow and Raelin just can't wait! She's been counting down the days until Leah is back so they can finish the book they are writing. Leah is a budding author and it's rubbing off on Raelin. Just look at those cute girls!

And Ryker sure does love his Uncle Wes! One day, Uncle Wes started singing "Row, row, row your boat" but finished it with "Ryker is a dream." So Ryker started singing back, "Uncle Wes is a dream." Uncle Wes is going to have to visit more often or Ryker will be REALLY sad!