Monday, June 28, 2010

Scout Encampment 2010

Alex recently had the privilege of attending a HUGE Scout Encampment at Camp Fife. This was an extra special year since the Boy Scouts of America are commemorating the 100th anniversary of scouting. Many of the Washington LDS troops decided to join together in a massive scout camp with 14 stakes in attendance. Alex was granted permission to attend even though he was a few weeks shy of his twelfth birthday. One of the major highlights for the week for Alex was that Birch was able to a good chuck of camp with him. Alex's favorite times were when he and Birch would go off and have some daddy/son time--something that is rare at house when you have to share your daddy with five other siblings. Alex canoeing Tomahawk throwing Alex was working on his Wilderness Survival merit badge. One night he had to make a shelter for him to sleep in by himself. It said that he was a little nervous to sleep by himself but the bigger challenge was that he was freezing--he missed his tent buddies that kept him warm on the other nights. Archery Riffle shooting
Ultimate freebie game
Alex was able to attend with a fun group of boys from church.

Alex didn't just play the whole time he always worked hard toward five different merit badges: Environmental Science, Wilderness Survival, Emergency Preparedness, Riffle Shooting, and Engineering. I was impressed with the balance of providing fun activities along with some great spiritual firesides in the evenings. What a great experience!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Land Of Cousins

The fun didn't stop after the two lovebirds headed to Dominican Republic for their honeymoon. Birch and Alex had to head home for scout camp and work but mom and the kids stayed on in Spokane for another four days.

I didn't have our camera with us to document all the fun. Basically it was non-stop cousin time.

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I rarely ever saw Nate as he was running around with all his cousins.
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/fruits/images/large/strawberry.jpg
My sister-in-law Annie convinced me that it would be fun to take the kids strawberry picking. We drove out to a beautiful farming area and let the kids gorge on strawberries until their tummies could take it no more. We ended up picking 60 pounds of berries. I wish I had a picture of Chloe who was covered in dirt (it was pretty muddy since it has been so rainy this year) and strawberry juice.

Since the berries were so soft from the rain and sitting the dirt we got a killer deal on the berries (.50/pound). When I got back to Grannie's house I washed and blended up all the berries and dumped them into a big bucket to freeze.

After we got back to our house Birch and I thawed the berries and make six batches of freezer jam and froze a dozen or so quart size bags of strawberry puree for smoothies. YUMMO!!

We love being with our family!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chloe Turns Two!!!

While in Spokane Chloe celebrated the BIG TWO. Chloe and Blayre share the same birthday so it was appropriate that the two birthday girls were together on their special day.

For Blayre's shower we made 80 of these super cute cake pops. The kids all thought they were so tasty that I decided to whip some up for Chloe's birthday treat. For some reason the purple chocolate turned out more grey but with all the colorful sprinkles they were still cute.


We had to get creative with blowing out the candles.
Chloe loved every little bit of her cake pop.

Chloe Ruth tops off our family like the perfect cherry.
Every little bit of this girl has been loved since the day she joined our family.

Chloe is a silly girl. Much to her momma's dismay (because she dumps several drawers a day) Chloe goes through multiple outfits. She loves purses, bracelets, sunglasses, and sneaking in her sister's stuff for yummy forbidden treats.
She loves being outside and we often find little piles of flowers that she has graciously picked for us.
"ME," "I DO," spill out of her mouth freely. She wants to do EVERYTHING herself. As you might guess this sometimes causes a bit of a struggle. The other day I went in to get her out of her bed after a nap and found her naked. She is getting very good at taking her diaper off. The good news is she is also getting quite regular at going potty in the toilet. Yesterday she even surprised us all by going poopy in the toilet. Hallelujah!! I'm not going to push the potty training for another month but I'm salivating at the thought of not buying any more diapers.
Chloe has a cute big tummy and just the perfect amount of curl in her hair. Alysee and I are both jealous over the curls! Chloe LOVES doggies ("ruffs"), our neighbor Don ("I play Don?"--she often asks), will do about anything for a piece of candy or gum, reading stories late into the night (she and Alysee are our night owls), coloring (especially on things she is not supposed to color on), kissing her mommy and daddy, and TALKING (she is non-stop these days--we can understand almost anything she says).

Here's a fun little video that Birch took a couple of weeks before her birthday. She has even improved in talking since this was made. She looks a bit like a rag muffin in this video.



Love this girl!! (Please do notice how good her bite looks--she has been off her pacifier since the end of April and her teeth/bite look almost 100% better.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Smooches...big time

There were a whole lot of kisses going on mid June. Birch's littlest sister, Blayre got HITCHED!!! We are so excited to officially welcome Ryan Maynes into the Ditto family. Hopefully he is ready for all of us. The two lovebirds met each other before they each served a mission for our church but the real flame didn't start until they laid eyes on each other after they returned from their missions. It was so fun to be part of this wild love affair.
These photos were taken by my sister-in-law's dad, Roger
Love this picture! I think it would have been Blayre's daddy's favorite shot. In fact I bet he was sitting on the fence post right next to them not wanting to miss a minute of this wonderful occasion. Love this picture too! Ahh, young love!!! The sisters-in-law all put on a little bridal shower for the family and close friends the night before the wedding. It was so nice to have a few moments to "relax" with all the family members after a long day of decorating for the reception. Some of the cousin girls waiting for Blayre and Ryan. This is such a fun shot of some of the nieces and nephews all peaking in to the temple waiting for the married couple of come out. Man, do Blayre and Ryan have a lot of people that love them! Can you believe that all these kids (one more to arrive any day) have joined the family in the past twelve years? Blayre has always been a favorite aunti! Not sure what is up with my crooked foot--other than that this is the cutest picture with all the frills. After the wedding Ryan's family put on a delicious luncheon at a nearby pavilion. They had everything decorated really nicely and the food was really tasty. Chloe couldn't handle another minute of the fun. We looked over during lunch and her head was just bobbing. This picture doesn't do justice to how beautiful the reception hall was. Seriously it was the most spectacular wedding that I have been to inside an LDS cultural hall (which can be hard to dress up). There was this amazing false ceiling and then little white lights under all the table that just made the room so soft and warm when the lights were dimmed. The refreshments were CRAZY delicious!! I'm serious--everything from a thousand homemade Oreo truffles, chocolate dipped Oreos, homemade cake pops and cupcakes, and then tasty tropical fruit sorbet inside of oranges, coconuts, and pineapples. Oh and I almost forgot...HUNDREDS of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. I think everyone left the reception on a sugar high and rolling away in yumminess. Holding on to Ditto tradition we had a family talent show at the wedding. Sounds crazy but it is a totally normal thing at a Ditto wedding. The brothers put on a great number singing "I'm Yours." Love the wigs!!



Birch's sister, Tavia choreographed all the little girls in the cutest dance to the music "Circle of Life." The boys all joined for the final few minutes of the number. It was extra special because Blayre danced to this song at our wedding reception almost fourteen years ago. Chloe watched the whole talent show from Grannie's lap. It was getting late but she was on a sugar high so she still had quite a bit of energy. Chloe had us cracking up because she found the bowl of lemon drops on the table and started sucking them and then sticking them between her toes. Daddy can't get enough of this cute girl! Love this girl! I think both girls felt like princesses the whole night in their poofy pettiskirts. The lanterns were such a fun touch for decorating. A cloud of bubbles sent off the happy married couple. We snuck in a family picture. Off go the two lovebirds!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

AMAZING!!!

The end of the school year also brought the end to two big accomplishments by three boys.
Nate joined the ranks with Tyler of running a 50 miles during the school year's mileage club. This means that once a week for about 2/3 of the school year Nate ran his little heart out right before he ate his lunch. I think he might be the first kindergartner at our elementary school to have accomplished this amazing feat.
Tyler hit the 50 mile mark mid year. He finished the school year up at about 82 miles. At the beginning of the school year one of Birch's co-workers challenged Tyler to run 100 miles this year. If Tyler was able to meet this goal then he was promised a personalized sweatshirt. Tyler missed a few days of mileage club when he had the swine flu this past fall and then with the poor weather several of the mileage club days were canceled during the year. Tyler wrote Birch's co-worker a letter and asked if he could run additional miles after school and count them toward his 100 mile goal. The reply was "YES," so Tyler and Nate started running after school once or twice a week a couple of months ago. Tyler was able to pull off a whopping 100 miles this school year!

Both Tyler and Nate received honor at school during the final school assembly of the year. Way to go!!!

Alex also had an AMAZING season of baseball. He played on the Majors Braves team. It was a challenging year for him being one of the youngest players on the team (therefore lacking in the height, facial hair (no kidding), and extra year of experience). Though the year started out to be a bit humbling for Alex (which mom and dad thought was a pretty good thing) Alex really came out shinning.
He had an awesome pitching season. His coaches were the cream of the crop and really built Alex up in his skills and confidence.
The team ended up second in the league and played hard through the final tournament. Outside of the spring being pretty darn nasty in the weather department the family loved cheering him on (while stuffing their faces with candy and peanuts that mom supplied). The final game was a bit tearful for Alex as he loves the game so much and just didn't want to see it end.

We're sure proud of our boys!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gap2Gap 2010

The Ditto kids were at it again...only this time in two different teams.

Competing in the 6-7 year old division:

TEAM "BOLT"


Competing in the 11-12 year old division (you compete in the category that the oldest teammate is in):

TEAM "DITTO DUO"


I would summarize the experience as stressful, super sunny, major willpower, and determination.

Because we kept each team with just two members, each of the kids competed in two or three events. This meant they each needed to be someplace different at different times. Birch and I each had maps with where the kids needed to be for their trade-off points. Oh my...stressful!! Especially when our tag-a-longs Cooper and Chloe would say they needed to go the bathroom or wanted a snack and we didn't have any time built in for such trivial things like that. : )
Making sure all the kids had all the stuff they needed was tricky!
Nate and Tyler had to haul around their in-line skates since we all had armfuls of stuff/kids to be responsible for.


TEAM "DITTO DUO...eat our dust"
At 8:40 am Tyler (team Ditto Duo) took off for the one mile run.

He passed off his wristband to Alex for the 2.5 mile bike course.
By then Tyler had run to the in-line skating start point and was ready for Alex to pass off the wristband. This portion included technical and speed components. Tyler did awesome!

The last leg of Tyler's skating portion was around the little lake. Alex was there waiting to grab the wristband and then hop in the kayak and circle around the lake.
Finally, Alex jumped out of the kayak and started his run to go through the obstacle course and then to the finish line.

Both boys were pretty wiped out when they finished.

They are already both talking about next year. What should their team name be? Should they try their hand at the iron-man?



TEAM "BOLT"
At 9:20 am Alysee kicked off the 3/4 mile running portion of the 6-7 year old race. She looked so much happier when she finished her run than she did last year.

Nate was SO worried about being in the right place at the right time. He was ready and waiting for Alysee with his bike to compete in the 1.4 mile bike ride. I might add this was no ride around the park ride--he had several big hills that he had to bike up. He look exhausted when his finished.



Without any rest, Nathan strapped on his in-line skates immediately after his biking leg. Unfortunately we couldn't find anyone else that was able to do the in-line skating portion of the race. Nate has owned skates for a year but he hasn't really had much practice since last summer. So this past week he practiced each day in the driveway. All I can say is this kid was brave. He had a big hill to go down and quite a bit of distance to cover. He fell several times but kept getting up (eager to be done with the race).
Alysee was anxiously awaiting for Nate to pass off the wristband to her so she could wrap the race up with the obstacle course and then the race to the finish line. She came running to the finish line with a big smile on her face.
Meanwhile Nate was crying and telling me very passionately that he "never wanted to do that again until he dies."
It didn't take him too long to perk up, though. He's decided that if he participates next year it will not be in any of the events that he was in this year. Alysee was much more energetic this year at the end of the race. I think it helped that she was another year older and also competing with her own age group.


We were so lucky to have great weather!! We all got sunburns but it actually was so nice after having so much rain this past month (just read that it has been the wettest May since 1948). All the kids were sore today.

Birch is gearing up for a Sprint Triathlon in a month. Myself??...I'm feeling like life is the biggest marathon I can handle right now. Perhaps I'll throw in an occasional walk?

Way to go team DITTO DUO and BOLT!!!