Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not a care in the world

Chloe is at this wonderful blissful state of life -- everything is pink and pretty. Life is full of treats and a magical world of "they lived happily ever after." She is full of hugs and kisses and gives them out freely. Chloe reminds me of how simple life should be.

Be happy NOW!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Futbol--the aggresive Natedog

For years I have been able to run and hide when one of our kids gets asked to play on a soccer team. We work really hard at trying to just have one or two kids doing a sport each season so I'm not going crazy and so we can all support each other at the games. Last fall I succumbed to letting Nate join the Wanderers U8 soccer team. All summer he was looking forward to soccer starting. He was really excited because Mark Cox was going to be his coach. When Mark passed away three months ago Nate was sad that Mark wasn't going to be able to coach him and also worried about whether he would still get the opportunity to play. Uncle Lance (Mark's brother-in-law) stepped up and took a semester off of his master's program to move here and coach the boys' soccer team.
Lance has been an awesome coach. I really appreciate that he doesn't yell at the boys but still is able to teach them.
I don't know much about soccer but doesn't this kid look awesome?!
This kid is aggressive!
Okay, you got to check out this face!
"What's up?" Coop is a great cheerleader throughout all of Nate's games.
I mean, where did this kid come from?
Again, check out the face -- this kid is serious!
I'm scared.
Nate and his good buddy Chase were giving a high five at another win!

I have to say that I'm glad I finally broke down and let Nate play. It really is fun watching him each week. Wish you could all be there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good Food and Cold Water - ABH 2011

I appreciate the opportunity of being a guest contributor on Sara's blog. As her husband, I enjoy reading the on-going chronicles of our family on this blog, but rarely have I been in the driver's (or typer's) seat.

So it is with great pleasure that I share with our vast readership a summary of the 11th annual ABH. The great tradition of the All Brothers Hike has taken my brothers and me throughout the western United States on many memorable adventures. This year's trip to Ross Lake was a first because instead of hiking 30 or so miles, we canoed. Ross Lake has no roads going to it (unless you count the 43-mile gravel road coming out of Canada), so we drove to Dablo Lake and put in our canoes.

Here was are on the dock at Diablo Lake. The awesome water color is due to the glacial flour runoff from the mountain glaciers above the lake.

As we neared the end of Diablo Lake the canyon walls became quite steep and the lake narrowed

We were fortunate to have perfect weather, and most of our paddling was over smooth water.

At the end of Diablo Lake there is a nice little dock. On the dock is a phone used to call a small resort with a shuttle service to portage canoes up and over the dam to Ross Lake.

No ABH adventure is complete without some sort of Frisbee competition. On our first day we logged about 15 miles of paddling .

Instead of our usual lightweight, minimalist eating style, this year we had five coolers full of great food and drink. On our first night we ate hamburgers, chips and pop, with Hostess pies for dessert. That's a great way to end a day of paddling!

On the second day we hiked five miles and almost 5,000 feet up to Desolation Peak. We had sweet views of Ross Lake below...

and a spectacular view of Hozomeen Peak to the north.

My brothers and I love to find cliffs and rocks to jump from. This one was especially exhilarating.

We explored two canyons with creeks feeding Ross Lake. Lush green with steep walls...pretty sweet.

This was the location of our camp the second night. Lots of mosquitoes and lots of good times!

The trip was a great success. My brothers and I always have a great time together, and we love carrying on this tradition. So thanks for indulging me with this post. And thanks to Sara for supporting me in this much-anticipated annual event.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Smart as a whip

As the summer came to a close the kids were all super excited to return to school and see their friends and find out who their teachers were going to be. This is the first summer that I honestly can say I was not ready for them to all go back. With Mark's death life seemed to take on new meaning and we filled our summer to the brim with fun family activities. We were seriously gone every other weekend all summer. I am ready to stop all the laundry madness and the unpacking and packing but really I feel like we made the most of our summer together.

This year promises to be as crazy as ever. We have kids at three different school (four if you count preschool). I'm PTA Vice Pres again at the elementary school and when you throw in a hearty dose of church service opportunities and sports it makes for some crazy days.

First out the door in the early morning is Alex and Tyler. They get to ride the bus together. Alex is in 8th grade at the Junior High and Tyler is in 5th grade at the Middle School. Next to leave is Nate and Alysee. Nate is in 2nd grade and Alysee is in 4th grade. Alysee is doing safety patrol some mornings and is super excited about that extra social hour...I mean civic responsibility. Then after lunch Coop heads to afternoon kindergarten. This year our school district lost 2.5 million dollars. One of the things cut was free all-day kinder -- you now have to pay $280/month is you want all-day kinder. I've got all sorts of stuff to say about this -- but in the end Coop is doing half day and loving it. We spend the mornings at the library, parks, playdates, storytimes, once-a-week gymnastics lessons, and running errands. He is always so excited to eat lunch and then run off to school.
Chloe is doing a once-a-week mom's co-op preschool this year. She asks like five times every day if today is a preschool day. Life's pretty darn sweet when you are three and get to hang out with your girlfriends all the time. It won't be my turn to be teacher until January so I'm looking forward to a quite afternoon once-a-week (I've only waited 13 years for this). She is always enjoying a gymnastics class with Coopy.

Such smartie pants we are raising!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Last Hoorah!

We wrapped summer up with a bang by our annual trip to Lake Cavanaugh (north of Seattle). What a wonderful (and lucky) tradition this has been for our family. The kids talk about it all year long in anticipation all the fun they will have with their cousins. Again, this year I was extra brave and put on my Supermom Cape and went up a couple of days early with a couple of my sister-in-laws and their kids. The four hour drive went surprisingly well and the kids were so content playing in the water and with their cousins so it made it all worth it.
Chloe's face totally summarizes the utter bliss we all have basking in the sun, being with family, and playing in the water together.
The kids all LOVE going on the wave runners -- Alysee was wishing that I was a crazier driver--we still had lots of fun.
Tyler tried waterskiing for the first time this year. This is as far up as he made it -- next year??!!
Alex was chomping at the bit for Birch to arrive so he could go skiing. He had some great runs.
And some great falls.
Cooper couldn't be happier -- the hot tub is like Christmas to this kid. He lives in it almost all day long.
Nate was a lake maniac this year. He made a lot of strides this year in his swimming and was lovin' all the high dock jumping.
Birch was a happy daddy get his one ski in for the year (okay, so he skied twice this year).
Do you think you get to slalom on clouds in heaven?
Tyler, just happy to be here.
Daddy, Chloe and Alysee had some good tube runs.
When not in the hot tub, Chloe could be found playing in the sand.
Alex, Tyler and the other cousins went on some crazy tube rides.
Nate -- small but mighty!!!
This year we all got to try out the new Catamaran. Birch and the boys had a pretty exciting ride where Alex was ready to bail before he thought they were going to tip. Birch and I and the girls had a much more relaxed sail.
This year it seemed like all the kids were fearless. One afternoon we looked out and four of the kids had all loaded themselves in the canoe and were off on a Huck Finn adventure.

All the girl cousins worked on a little performance that they dedicated to Grannie who wasn't able to come to the lake this year. These girls are so cute and creative.

Or click here is you can see the video: http://youtu.be/gapXJ3jrALs

BIG NEWS!!! Juje (aka Andrew) got engaged to Erin Fisher the last night we were all together at the lake.
Erin's a keeper! We're excited for their upcoming wedding -- could April 21st just get here a little faster!
Sunday morning after we had all packed, loaded our vans, and cleaned up the cabin we had our own little church service. Birch gave a great short lesson about doing things that are hard. He liked the story of Nephi building a ship with each of us doing hard things in our lives. After the lesson all the kids got to make cucumber boats.
That's a whole lot of boats!
The big release
Sadly, the boats didn't seem to float as well as they do in our backyard canal. Alysee went to rescue her boat and managed to stay fairly dry.

What a great way to finish off the summer! We love our family!