Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to the academic grind!

Alex struts his stuff as a sophomore this year!  He's excited to be a the high school this year as last year he was at the 9th grade campus.  Alex is amazing at getting up for early morning 6:20 am seminary each day.  I dream happy thoughts each morning as Birch gets up and drives him to seminary.
 Alysee is in 6th grade this year at the middle school.  It's going to be an intense year with advanced math, humanities, and science.  Yikes!  She is especially excited to be in choir again and around all her friends.  This is one social girl!
 Tyler hits the junior high campus as a 7th grader!  He was encouraged to try out a couple of advanced classes this year which he is a little nervous about but I think a little challenge would be good for him.  Tyler is going to be running x-country this fall.
 These two ride the morning bus together but come home at separate times with various afternoon activities.
 BIG NEWS!!!  Chloe is in all-day kindergarten this year!  We're all excited for this adventure.  Alysee has helped prepare Chloe with all her in-house school lessons she has given over the years.
 Cooper is off to second grade with a favorite teacher of our family's!  Coop's excited for recess and P.E.
Nate is in 4th grade and doing school patrol this year!  He's nervous and excited all at the same time.   

These two plan on keeping a good eye on their little sister!

This picture is from last year but perfectly fits this year too!  Feeling just a little giddy right now as today is the first time in fifteen years all of my kids are in school! Chloe actually only had school for 30 minutes this morning but she is at a friends house now just giving me a sliver of taste of what this year will be like. I'm at loss...do I do the dishes, scrub the toilets, update the blog or read a book, watch a movie, go shopping solo, or take a nap?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

And if that wasn't enough...

Tired yet??  We bounced from activity to activity all summer long.  On our "down times" we threw in a few more activities.
 Alex and Birch coached Nate and Cooper's baseball team, the Pirates.
 Coop has some AWESOME hits!
 Birch was commenting all season how Nate just has this natural talent when it comes to sports.  He just knows where he is supposed to be and what to do.
 I was kind of a loser team mom.  The games were in the field below our house so often I would stay home and finish the dishes and Chloe to bed early and then pop down to watch the last fifteen minutes of the game.
 Alysee grew wheat!  She started her plants at the end of the school year and then transplanted them into a larger container where she nourished them all summer.  She harvested the wheat and now they are laying on our counter to some day grind into wheat flour.
 Lots of bike rides!
 Lots of soaking up the sun which I am starting to see is having an effect on my skin with some "sun spots."  I'm not sure I can ever give it up, though.
Swim lessons for Alysee, Nate, Coop, and Chloe early on in the summer!
Birch and I did ten photosessions over the summer months.  We opened up a limited number of sessions for the summer months as we were out-of-town so much.  With Birch's new calling and our limited family time we have gone into retirement for the time being.  Don't worry our personal photography will not go into hibernation!
  All of the kids took tennis lessons for one week during the summer.  They had a great time and learned some great techniques.  Their instructors were full of praise!
 The day after Alex turned fifteen year's old he stared Driver's Ed.  Talk about expensive (like $400 bucks) and time intensive (3 weeks of 3 day/week 2 hour classes PLUS 8 hours of instructor driving behind the wheel).  Upon completing the class Alex passed with flying colors his written and driving test.  The final step to his license will be turning sixteen years old and proving he has logged in 50 hours of driving (8 being night driving).  As posted from my facebook account on my first drive with Alex, "I'd like to shout from the rooftops -- I JUST SURVIVED MY FIRST CAR RIDE WITH MY CHILD DRIVING!!! Chloe was begging to go with us. Once she got in the car she said, "I don't think I want to die today." Alex did a pretty good job and I only hyperventilated a couple of times."
This was our fifth year (I think) taking part in the the national program called First Tee Golf.  Alex, Tyler, and Nate all participated this year.  It involves weekly golf lessons and learning nine core values.  Alex assisted in coaching Nate's golf class.  Due to all of our fun trips this summer Tyler and Nate ended up missing quite a few of their lessons. (Hopefully they don't kick us out of the program.)
 B.R.A.C.E.S. Alysee has LOTS of orthodontic appointments throughout the summer in preparation for our oral surgery in the fall.  She had her bottom braces put on in mid July -- ouch!!!  Lots of soft foods for Alysee this summer.
 And more bike riding.  The boys made this jump that got a lot of use with bikes and scooters.
Coop loved all the time to bike to the school with his brothers and learn cool tricks!

And we survived the summer of 2013!  It was awesome...it was tiring...it was fun...it was filled with unforgettable fun family adventures!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Livin' High...Alex's High Adventure Scout Trip

While Alex was sad that his Scout High Adventure trip landed on the same week as our Lake Cavanaugh trip he was still super excited to spend the week with a great group of guys.  The boys all decided to go to Park Lake near Grand Coulee Dam for a week of intense water sports.  Alex was tutored under his scout leader that is a super intense and proficient skier.

 The Troops


 
These boys played and ate all day long.  And let me tell you...they ate good (I know because I bought all the food).  They planned elaborate meals ranging from potstickers, fried rice, grilled chicken sandwiches, breakfast burritos, brats, sugar snap peas, nectarines, etc...  They were fat and happy!  Alex had such a great time!

Wish you were fifteen and could go on a ManVenture?  Alex made this sweet video, click here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7sUjRgKu-Q&feature=share&list=UUJNS04EBDgXey9WL-P75KgA


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Alysee turns 11!

Alysee is a one of the kind girl! I'm sure our family would not roll like it does if we didn't have girl right smack in the middle of the craziness. 
For Alysee's birthday she chose to go walk a dog at the Human Society Animal Shelter.  If we were really good parents she would already have a pet by now but since we aren't this was as close as she could get.
 I know Alysee will never appreciate what a gift this was from me.  Going into the stinky shelter and then having the kids man-handle the little squirly dogs was truly a test of love for me.  Alysee assures me regularly that when she has her own house it will be full of dogs to sniff my crotch and get dog hair all over me.  Oh boy, I can hardly wait...
 Chloe was in doggy heaven too!
For dinner Alysee requested lettuce wraps, a new found love for our family.  Grandma Gina and Rudy arrived for the evening just in time for Alysee's birthday dinner and dessert.


 So fun to share the day with great-grandparents!  Alysee choose angel food cake for dessert.
My mom made this beautiful skirt for Alysee's birthday.

Alysee has so many talents.  She is a great writer and if she ever has some down time she is usually working on a book.  This summer she wrote an amazing book on "Caring for your Fish."  She loves animals and creepy crawling things.  Alysee is very caring not only to animals but also children.  She has a natural gift for teaching and loves to put on school or church when she can convince a sibling to participate.  Alysee loves most healthy foods but definitely has a sweet tooth too.  She is a smarty pants and loves to work on large projects.  Alysee is a social bug and has probably ten pen pals that she faithfully writes.  

LOVE THIS GIRL!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Coveted Lake Time

After being home only three days from Spokane I was honestly dragging my feet at loading up again for another trip.  In fact, I may have been a bit grouchy as I loaded the car and we headed to Lake Cavanaugh.  It might have had something to do with the stress of shopping for Alex's high adventure food for his scout trip and the three meals that our family was responsible for at the lake.  I think a calculated that in one shopping trip I bought enough food for 78 mouths to eat at the lake and 99 mouths at Alex's scout trip.  That warrants a little insanity doesn't it??!!
Chloe and Aunti Blayre
Coop loves to pretend to be apart of the lake.  He prefers land swimming, land tubbing, and land wakeboarding, though he insists on wearing a wet suit...just in case.
Tyler and cousin Emmett
Coolest dudes on the lake...Birch, Henry, Coop
Lovely ladies
Chloe enjoying the muddy "sand"
Mom and Chloe keeping up with all the rage and paddle boarding.


Alysee was a tubing maniac!
Something possessed me after sitting in the warm sun for a day.  Grannie decided that with her new fangled hip she was going to go tubing.  I figured that if Grannie was going tubing that it might be a safe time to join in since the drivers would have to be gentle.  I think it has been six years since I have gotten into the lake -- I'd just rather soak in the sun.  It started out so nice until I thought Grannie was starting to sink.  Like the beloved daughter-in-law I wanted to save her life and reached forward trying to pull back on Grannie's tube.  SPLAT!  I went face first into the lake. As you can see from the picture I found out that I am officially weak...very weak.  It took Juje pulling me from one direction, Julia pushing from another, and Jenna holding onto my tube until I finally was able to get back on.
I was TOTALLY wiped out!!!
  Ironically, everyone except Grannie ended up falling off their tube. 
  After my wet adventure tubing I all of a sudden got this crazy urge/courage to try wake-boarding.  After the kids all about died with excitement that their mom was going to actually get her swimsuit wet AGAIN I received some wake-boarding instruction from Birch.
I was horrible.

And it wasn't that fun.
And I biffed it and hit my head hard in the water losing the wake-board.  And I decided to swim back to shore and not get in the water again for another six years.  The End.
 Nate took to wake-boarding like it was nothin'.  I think he had an advantage over me because he is a good little skateboarder.
 The big boys disappeared for.like.ever on a competitive game of who-can-try-and-get-someone-hurt-game.  This shot is of Kelly dumping Birch.
 Birch busted out his birthday bingo set.  It was a real hit (especially because of the sucker prizes).
 Lots of jumping off of the boat!


These girls idol cousin Malia!  Alysee came home having learned all sorts of cool hairstyles from Malia.
 Daddy loves him some tubing.
Alysee on the rope swing.
Awesome Daddy on the wake-board.  Oh, so that is how it is supposed to look!!!
Cute Owen loves his Uncle Birchy.
Awesomeness
There was no shortage of GoPro video going on as each person loved filming.
Daring Alysee
 Sweet jump Nate
Nate and Addy love to hang out with each other and went on several excursions paddling in the canoe.  We had a few moments where we felt like failures as parents and we found them independently paddling across the entire lake.  Yikes!
Addy, Nate, and George
Blayre and Owen loved bubble time!
Tyler loved knee-boarding this year!
I packed Birch's ukelele that doesn't get the chance to be played very much.  

Best buds...Lucy and Alysee
Logan and Birch make good noise together!
We even threw in two photoshoots of two darling families.  I love these pictures of Logan and Julia's family especially because the photoshoot was totally spontaneous and the outfits were thrown together from all the cousins clothes.  Didn't they turn out awesome!
Blayre and Ryan have created the cutest little guy, Owen.
Love this shot!
The girls always put on some sort of dance each year.  Malia did the choreographing and the girls performed the dance perfectly.
 Some booty!
After our most excellent Sunday School lesson on Gratitude by Jenna and Juje we took our family picture.  Talk about an awesome bunch of people!!  I feel lucky!
All the grandkids that were at the cabin (minus Emmett who was snoring).  These kids adore their Grannie!!



Want to live vicariously through the GoPro lens of Kelly Ditto?  Click here:  http://youtu.be/WdWgLTli5sU