Wednesday, September 23, 2009

California Trip

Still catching up on life. Sorry for the delay in summer story-telling. Okay, so, California. Brice has been bound and determined to get the kids to the beach this summer. It took some serious finagling, but we made it. Unfortunately, Raelin came down with a nasty flu bug the day before we were to leave. She was throwing up and had a fever. Here she is asleep in the doorway of the bathroom. Poor thing was tired of going back and forth, I guess.We kept an eye on her and prayed that she would stop puking because no one wants to spend 8 hours in the car when they are puking and no one wants to spend 8 hours in the car worried about puke getting on the car--it's a disaster to try to clean. Been there, done that. We also checked with family to be sure that they weren't opposed to hosting us despite the illness. Alternatively, we were willing to camp until Raelin was better (we love camping, so that wouldn't have been a big deal). Anyway, she slowed down with the throwing up just in time for us to decide to go. We had hoped to go for the whole 2 weeks Brice was out of school, but then we found out that Raelin's school started in the middle of Brice's break. So it was a much shorter trip than we'd hoped, but we went anyway. When we got there, Raelin was still sick and she started burning super high fevers. When I say high I mean 104.5 and 105 degrees! She had several cold baths to get that temp down fast. We took her to the doctor who said she had a virus and that it just had to run its course. Fortunately, when her fever was down, Raelin was happy and playful. She only felt yucky when she was burning up. We went through more medicine in that week with this one child than we have with all three of our kids combined over the course of their lives. I don't give medicine easily because I think it helps people to have a stronger immune system to let our bodies fight illnesses on their own, but with a fever that high, I wasn't willing to just let it burn or even to give a half dose to bring it down a little without killing it like I normally do. We were on her ever 6 hours with the Motrin whether the fever was back or not. Just keep it away.

Ryker was also still crawling from his see-saw injury the day we got there. I think he started walking (tentatively) the next day. So we were pretty much laid up at Brice's parents' house for the first 3 or 4 days. Brice's sisters both came up with their kids so we could all play and have fun together. It was great to see everyone and I love watching all the cousins play together. They have a ball!

We spent another fun-filled afternoon with Jack and Sue. They are some friends of ours that we just love! Brice helped frame their amazing house and Jack has been working on the finish work himself for a long time. It's the most intricate, ornate work I've ever seen and it's beautiful! SO we love to visit and see the progress they've made on the house. This time they took us to the pool for a swim and a BBQ. We had a blast! Thank you Jack and Sue!!!

At the end of the week we finally made it to the beach. Both kids were well and could play and run and we had a great time. We stayed at my grandma's house in Agoura, so we were close to the beach I went to when I was a kid. I love Zuma beach (that's why I named my puppy Zuma).
It was kind of a chilly day. I chickened out about really getting in the water, but I taught Raelin how to catch sand crabs and she LOVED it.
Raelin didn't like the cold water much either.
Ryker and I build some cool sand castles.
Ah, here's Raelin catching crabs.
We dug a really deep hole. I think it's the deepest one I've ever helped dig. The kids are standing up in it and it's as deep as Raelin is tall.
Then we buried Brice, Raelin, and Ryker in it. Raelin was getting a bit smashed and was not happy, but I had to get some pictures before I let her out! She was pitifully sad, but it had to be done.
And Alaina was a little sand monster! I gave up after about five minutes of trying to keep her from eating the sand. There was just no hope. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of catching her poops in the days that followed so it was awful to wipe off her little tushie. Sand poop is a pain in the rear. (hardy har har. Yes, I can hear you moaning at my awful pun.)

I love the sand goatee.
Eating sand.
Eating more sand.

And seaweed.
We took the playpen because she doesn't sleep so well in my arms. It's a pain to lug, but she got a good nap so it was worth it. Here, she is just waking up, ready to...You guessed it! Eat more sand.
A couple of artsy pictures.

And last but not least, my wonderful husband. I just love him! He's the best.

My grandma and grandpa were headed for a cruise in Alaska right when we were heading out to California. It was quite a bummer to miss them, but they let us stay at their house and it was wonderful! We had such a great time there. They have worked on the yard a ton and it beautiful! Complete with a fountain and a little... what do you call that thing? A pergola? There were walking paths all through the garden and orchard and the kids had a blast running and playing and riding scooters.

I went to get things ready to go at the end of our stay and I left Alaina downstairs playing with some toys. When I went to check on her, this is what I found:
What!? Climbing stairs at 7 months!? No way.

So, that was our Cali trip. Thanks to all you who hosted us and put up with us and our sick kids. Sorry to those of you we couldn't visit due to Raelin's cold and the small window of time we had to stay out there. We miss you!

Incidentally, Alaina came down with a different cold when we got home (runny nose and cough) from the one Raelin had and then, right as she was getting over that, she came down with Raelin's high fever throwing up cold. Ugh! What a mess! There have been more sicknesses going around our family in the last few months (Hellloo! It's SUMMER! Not fair!) than ever before. What's the deal?

P.S. I'm not in the mood for proofreading today. Sorry for the typos. Maybe I'll come back and fix them another day if they bother me too much, which they probably will. I'm such a nerd.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jesse, Carmen, and The Timp Caves

Jesse came out to Utah one last time before moving to Cali. We miss him :( . He brought his girlfriend, Carmen out to meet the family as well. I think Carmen is wonderful! And they are so happy together!My dad wanted to do something fun all together so he took us all to hike up to the Timp Caves. We'd been on a few hikes this year where we wished we'd had a leash for Ryker (see the post about our hike up to the Y) due to the unforgiving nature of the terrain along side the trail. This, we knew, would be one of those hikes. So I went to buy him one. When I told him what I was getting, he whined, "Nooooo, I don't want a harness!" Then I saw one that was also a backpack and it was only $2 more so I said, "Ryker, what if we get you THIS one that is also a backpack. Since you don't have a hiking backpack yet, maybe you can use this one to carry your water and snacks. What do you think?" "YEAH! I WANTED a hiking backpack!" Perfect.Our hike was lots of fun! Jesse traded off carrying Raelin and Ryker on his shoulders the whole way up! I carried Alaina, but she only weighs 13 or 14 lbs. Raelin and Ryker weigh 30-35 lbs. I was very glad for the harness and Ryker has a great time pulling Granddad up the hill when Uncle Jesse wasn't carrying him (carrying Ryker, that is. Jesse didn't carry Granddad!). It was a short hike, but super steep. I can't remember the stats, but if Brice does, maybe I'll have him add them later. The caves were amazing! It's crazy to think about the first people that ever went in there. It would be unnerving to be in some of those big caverns with only a little candle. Or to climb around on the slippery walls without being able to see what your climbing towards. How far down is it? Some of the places where the first cave explorers came in were really scary-looking even with all the lights that they have in there now. Imagine not knowing that you were 50 feet off the cave floor! At one point the tour guide turns off the lights so you can experience the complete and utter darkness. It's a really cool and kind of freaky. I'll bet the first explorers hit their heads a lot...Carmen was worried about earthquakes because the caves are right along a fault line. The tour guide consoled her by saying that it would be over so fast (our lives, that is) that we would never know what happened.
The whole group of us! From the left: Brice, Morgan, Alaina, Russ (my dad/Granddad), Dee (my mom/Grammie), Ryker, Jesse, Carmen, Raelin.
The kids.

Ryker was not into taking pictures but we coerced and bribed and finally got a few good ones. He was tired and grumpy but Uncle Jesse really wanted some pics of his nieces and nephew to take home with him.
Raelin, Ryker, and Brice on a precarious precipice. Brice likes giving me heart attacks. Beautiful landscape, though!

Pictures to go with Ryker's ER post

I mentioned in the post about Ryker's injured hip that he looked funny crawling around outside especially. Here are some pictures of him picture of him trying to play with Raelin in the yard. Unfortunately, he just wasn't fast enough to keep up.

He spent a lot of time just sitting in this chair. I think it reclined enough that he didn't have to put much weight in his pelvis; it seemed to be pretty painful for him to sit up straight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Overwhelmed with how much I have to catch up on!!! First Summer Post: Camping

Oh man, I have SO much to catch up on! This summer flew by with no time to even think! We had company most of the summer which was so fun and so exhausting. I love having company and I love cooking for big groups and having dinner parties, so I loved it (but I'll admit, I was tired and a little stressed too by the end. Sorry, guys, if I was grumpy or short with any of you!). So, to simplify all that's been going on this summer, I'll break it down into several posts. First off, camping. One of our visiting families this summer was the Andrews family (Brice's sister Melissa and her brood). Melissa and Wes had a great opportunity to attend BYU-Idaho's Education Week for free so I agreed to watch their four kids for a few days.(Also pictured: Liliana. I watched my friends' two-year-old a few mornings a week so she could finish up her last semester at BYU. With 7 kids already, what's one more?)

It was a busy few days for Brice and I decided that, rather than try to keep 7 kids entertained at my house for a few days, I'd be better off taking them all camping. That was an adventure! But WAY better than staying home, for sure. It took me HOURS to get all the food together and try to get all the kids to pack their own gear. It was a good lesson in going without. Raelin didn't pack herself a darn thing. No sleeping bag, no clothes, no pillow, nothing. What was she doing all that time? Anyway, she lived (fortunately it was plenty warm even at night). We finally got the Suburban all loaded up with 8 people, 2 dogs, food, clothes, and gear for two nights and two to three days in the canyon. We had pizza in the dutch ovens for dinner. I must say, that was genius. Two pizzas divided into four quarters and everyone gets to top their own section. No complaints that night! We got camp all set up and everyone fed just in time to send them all to bed late enough that they zonked out.
In the morning, we went for a hike near a creek and the kids had a blast playing in the water.
My brother's dog, Lady, who was with us, loves the water and the way she plays and bites and talks to the water is hilarious! Zuma thought the water was too cold (baby!). But Mckay and Elias didn't!Mckay worked himself up until he was brave enough to dunk his head in the frigid water, but I missed getting it on camera so I made him do it again... Hee hee hee.
And Elias kept falling off this log over and over again! It was hilarious and he didn't seem to mind at all. And since we were camping, neither did I. Get as wet as you can, kids! There's no house to muddy for miles!
I love wearing Alaina all different ways, but this is by far my favorite way to wear her (as long as we aren't in a get in get out kind of situation. It takes a few minutes to get her secured back there). Nothing on my shoulders, no buckles or straps--just a rectangle of cloth! I can carry her for hours this way and it doesn't hurt at all. She likes it enough to fall asleep there too.

When we got back from our hike, I had some crafts for the kids to do. When I was in girl scouts, we used to paint rocks, make key chains out of lanyard, and all kinds of stuff out of yarn and embroidery floss. I remember loving all that stuff (and wishing we could throw in some canoeing and archery like the boys scouts as well), so I came prepared.

Other than that, I just let the kids do pretty much whatever they wanted. They came up with all kinds of games and found things to climb. I even let Ryker play with the hatchet (as long as no one was within a hundred feet of him)! Leah loved Zuma a little too much, I think, for Zuma's liking. I did have to put a few time outs on play time with Zuma now and then.

Mckay and Raelin had a lot of fun coming up with games to play together.Ryker pretty much just tormented everyone. I can't count how many times I heard, "Rykerrrrrr! Stop iiiiiiiit!"

And poor Elias got plumb tuckered out! Here he is passed out on the edge of the outside of the tent (with Zuma curled up by his head). At first, he was laying face down in the dirt, but eventually he moved so that part of him was on the tent. I missed getting the picture of him with his hands behind his head and his legs crossed.

I got all kinds of awesome funny faces from all the kids:

"Hey, Ryanne" "Huh?"

Elias is so funny!

Why do they all make the same face? It's like they're related or something...

Alaina, I think, had the least amount of fun. She didn't sleep well and I didn't hold her as much as she wanted me to or feed her right when she wanted me to. With six other mouths to feed and food prep that was extra time consuming (except for the roasted hot dogs--oh, no, I had to build a fire for that one--it, too, was more involved than popping them in the microwave), sometimes, she just had to wait and it did NOT make her happy!
Ryker with rocks and sticks as usual

Brice came up late the second night and stayed until we left the third afternoon. Here, Ryker has been doing something naughty (again) and is getting a stern talking to from a daddy that just woke up. Nice hair, huh.
Ryanne somehow managed to fall asleep in the chair for a good long nap one afternoon.
Alaina cuddling with Daddy in the hammock (sorry about the picture quality on some of these. I'm not sure what was going on...)
All the kids at the end of a fun and very dirty campout. Bath time!!!