Saturday, June 27, 2015

Quarta Settimana

These weeks are filled with such busy-ness. Most of it is fun, some of it is sad. Tyler has spent many of his weekends up with his father, who is still suffering from cancer. Barry does not have much time left, but he has been around longer than anyone could have hoped for. At this point, we actually desire that he can return home to his Heavenly Father soon. It is hard to watch a loved one suffer.

Tyler was in ID for Father's day, and he almost didn't return in time for all the girls to love on him. A tire on his car suddenly had a strip of rubber come off. In order to avoid losing the tire completely, he drove at a very slow speed to the next town. (He was about 30 miles out from Malad, but that is a long drive at 8 mph.) In Malad, he found a tire repair place, but nothing was open since it was Sunday. So I drove out and picked him up. It didn't seem right to leave him in ID on Father's Day. (Actually, I would have picked him up any day.)

We had time to give Tyler notes of appreciation and draw on his back. (Yes, we show love in weird ways.) I love that you can see Tyler's back dimples. I think only Daisy inherited those.

Monday morning, bright and early, Tyler and I drove back out to Malad to get his car working. I'm impressed with how he has all the tools he needs and knows how to use them. I would probably just play the damsel in distress if I got a flat.

This tire is not exactly flat, but there is certainly something wrong with it.

3R Tire in Malad opened early and took great care of us. They were stupendous. They even fixed Tyler's spare tire which was flat. We may drive all the way up there to do business with them again.

I was able to get back home before 10, so the day could continue as planned. We didn't want to miss our fun craft after all. I'm not sure if you recall how much the girls enjoyed scrapbooking last summer? I wanted to give them the chance again, but I knew we would have less of a frenzy since they did almost all their pictures last year. Sure enough, some girls only had ONE picture to do. (The one that came off the wall when I switched them this year.) I liked how they all turned out.

On Wednesday, we were supposed to go up to the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake to see their new SPARK! Exhibit. On display they have all the entries from Reflections that made it to the state level, and that includes June's story. She would have had free admission and the rest of us would get 10% off. However, I am not very inclined to drive to Salt Lake City often. It is a long drive and I figured by the time we got there, kids would already be hungry for lunch. It just seemed like too much. (Even Supermoms can be overwhelmed.) So instead we played the witch game at the library.

The kids always beg to play the witch game when we go, so it is nice to actually plan it in advance. It was super hot, so there were many extra breaks to go inside for drinks or just to bask in the AC. Afterward we used our weekly coupon from the library to go get Menchie's. Naturally I forgot to take pictures of anything the whole day. I did have Curtis take a shot for us when we got home from Menchie's, but it is blurry. But that is what we have.

We all went out to watch Ivory do gymnastics in the evening. That was supposed to be our field trip next week, but the gym is closed next week for the holiday. I didn't get any pictures there either, but that may be because it all ended with a bang when Pearl smashed her finger in a folding chair. We thought it might be broken, but it was just a chunk of skin missing and it healed quickly.

Even later that evening, the activity day girls had a party for Father's Day. It is only fair since they did one for the Mothers. For the fathers, they built little wooden trucks. They were really cute. Tyler, of course, had two girls to manage, so they came home with two trucks.

They also played This Dad... The three clues I sent for Tyler were,
1. This Dad caught a pigeon in Ukraine.

2. This Dad draws hearts on his kids during church.

3. This Dad got a dozen missionaries to bow down to him on his mission.

The kids picked him out easily enough, although Ivory didn't know about the pigeon. They had a fun evening.

Thursday, we made a rich, chocolatey, caramely treat. There is an official recipe here.

First, we melted chocolate and butter in the microwave. Then June cracked some eggs in the mixer for us.

As it mixed, we added our melted chocolate slowly so it wouldn't cook the eggs. A few more ingredients later, we had a gooey batter.

I felt like it used a lot of dishes, but that meant there were plenty of things to scrape or clean. Daisy and June took care of the paddles.

Pearl had already gotten the melted chocolate bowl. Ivory got the mixer bowl.

Robyn just helped me with some of the extra Rolos. (By the way, I used Rolos but no extra caramels like the recipe asks for. I knew that Ivory would have some trouble if there was too much caramel chewiness.

We chilled the batter for an hour so it would be easier to work with. It was actually quite stiff when it came out. Robyn makes this look easy, but it was a bit tricky.

The finished product was super tasty, but very rich. No eating a dozen of these at a time. And they were still a bit caramely for Ivory. (Don't worry, I managed to eat hers.) Yummy.

That evening, Robyn and I had a date. We are saving money for some home projects so I told the girls we would have to keep the dates cheap. Robyn chose eating ice cream and playing games...on the roof. It was really fun. I enjoy getting one on one time with the kids and Robyn is always fun to talk to. We didn't think we could eat a whole Ben and Jerry's, but we managed. (Even after cookies that morning. Good thing I'm still going to boot camp.)

The funniest thing was Moxy, who was super nervous that we were out there. Apparently she was pacing inside the sun-room waiting for us to return. When we didn't come fast enough for her liking, she finally jumped out the window onto the roof. What a crazy dog. We let her stay out there with us. She had earned it...not an easy jump, that one.

Friday, we watched Paddington. The kids really enjoyed it. Pearl and I had already seen it on a date, but it was good to watch it again and see the parts I missed during bathroom breaks.

I'm going to add on the odds and ends here, since I don't think they are quite enough for their own post. Curtis still comes over to play games. We introduced him to CLUE Museum Caper. That game is so fun. We all took turns being the thief and most of us were caught.

The kids don't play as much Crossy Road anymore. (They have been enjoying Minion Rush recently.) But I did see them playing the other day. They added something new to make it more exciting. Upside-down Crossy Road. It is a little tricky. I took my turn and got the high score. Go Mom!

Tyler changed office spaces this week. We went to visit and we let the kids find his desk. It wasn't too hard to figure out where he sits.

June got ahold of Ivory this week and made her really fancy. She wanted to take a picture with a serious face. It took her a while, but I think we got it. I give you the Duchess of Romania. (I guess they don't smile in Romania.)

And that wraps up week four. One month of summer gone.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Clear Creek Experience

Remember how I promised to develop June's film and put pictures on here? Well, today is the day. Don't mind that I am a year late. June kept her disposable camera in her room for a very long time, and when I finally retrieved it, I had a hard time finding a place to develop real film. I went to two places that basically turned me away. When I heard that Macey's still does one-hour film development, I knew that I would take it there, but it was so close to Robyn going to camp, it seemed better to wait and do two rolls. (Sure like killing two birds at once.)

Travel with me back into the past. Exactly one year and two weeks ago. I sent June off to Clear Creek. This was our first experience with the program since I didn't grow up around here. I usually don't post pictures twice, but here is June on Monday morning with her friends getting ready to have a fantastic week. (June, Mackenzie, and Hannah.)

And she did have a good week. It just wasn't as long as she had hoped for. It was so fun to develop June's roll of film, because it proved that she went to Clear Creek. Of course I knew she was there, but the pictures that came back through email didn't have photos of her, so it was nice to see her doing the camp thing. Here is her bunk.

And June in her bunk.

This is the only camp picture where you can find June. And you can barely find her.

June was in Pot Gut Hut. I think Pine Tree Inn (the other cabin for girls) fills quickly because it has a more pleasant ring to it, but Pot Gut Hut is the place to be.

Speaking of pot guts, June caught one. He was a fat little guy who almost escaped from her critter catcher. I adore this picture. You know how some pictures make you smile every time you see them...

This was the last picture taken of June at camp. She was brave to take a few steps into the stream because by then she was already feeling pretty yucky. It was that evening that they called me to tell me to come get her in the morning.

You can't plan for illness. Things like that happen. I'm glad she got to go for three days. I think it was worth it. I have great memories of camps that I went to.

Robyn's journey to Clear Creek started off in much the same way. Early morning and friends by her side. (Robyn, Izzy, and Mo-Mo.)

She had never used a disposable camera before, so I made her take a practice shot.

They gathered all the kids together and took a few shots before getting on the bus. can see her green shirt since she is mostly behind that lady in white.

I think they are getting better every year about taking pictures. They made sure to take pictures of all the groups and then send home images every night. (I believe they only started this last year.) It is great for parents to feel connected while the kids are gone. Here is Robyn in the white group.

Tuesday they did some plant identification. Stinging Nettle was not on the list, but Robyn told me that they identified it later...several times.

Evening campfire is always a great time. Even I remember many of the camp songs. (They don't seem to change much over the years.)

Robyn took this interesting photo. Look closely, can you see what is in those trees?

Shoes! They were shoe trees. I wonder how many parents were not happy to hear their child donated to that tree??

Lunch time on one of the days. Or maybe it is dinner? Who can tell.

Robyn was in Pot Gut Hut as well. She and Jenna were in the same group. It was nice for her to always have a friend nearby, but she made many new ones.

Here is the whole cabin.

 And the whole group that week. Robyn said they lined up by height. She was happy that she wasn't the smallest one there. There was ONE boy shorter. (Poor guy.)

What a fun group of kids!

I was waiting for Robyn when she got off the bus. I think she was ready to be home even though she had a blast.

She was still all smiles.

Bye Jenna. See you at church in two days. (Jenna is actually almost a year older than Robyn. She'll get to go to Girls' Camp with June this year.)

Robyn's sisters were excited to have her back. They drew some welcome home messages. June made this one. You probably can't see it, but inside the 'Y' it says, Full Time Clear Creek Camper. (Sorry June...really, three days was better than none. I know some kids whose week was canceled due to wild fires. They didn't get to go at all.)

With all those sisters, who do you think Robyn was most excited to see??

Moxy of course. Moxy sure missed Robyn too. She sleeps with Robyn each night and it was kind of sad to see Moxy looking around wondering where Robyn was each evening. I'm glad they are back together.

I think Clear Creek is amazing. They do so much with those kids. Hikes, skits, tours of historical sites, videos, ropes course, volleyball, tons of educational stuff. They do crafts, test water, identify plants, catch critters, eat three meals a day, shower, and spend several nights away from home. It is just what these kids need.

They send a fun slide show at the end of the week. Robyn was in one of the video portions, so that was fun. You see her swing across an area on a rope. Since most of the slide show is still photos, it was fun to see that. I hope all my kids can go to Clear Creek. I think they run an amazing program and work really hard.

p.s. Robyn did catch a pot gut while she was there. It took her a few tries moving her trap around, but she got one on Wednesday. Good job!

Settimana Tre

Each week there's always a little more.
It seems a bit crazier than the one before.
I drive them here. I drive them there.
The gray is multiplying in my hair.
I thought that summer was made to rest.
But keeping kids entertained is always a test
Maybe it is too early to tell,
But I may be creating my own personal...

WELL, let's talk about week three.

I know I complain a bit fair amount about the chaos and constant moving around here, but honestly...I like it. (Most of the time.) I just thought I would be able to sneak in a few more of my own projects.

That isn't really happening, but I am having a great time with my kids. And that's what really matters.

Let's see this week in a nutshell.

I dropped off Robyn bright and early Monday morning at her check-in for Clear Creek Camp. I told her the goal was to make it longer than Thursday morning. (That was when I had to pick up June last year.) She was very excited to go. She had several friends attending with her, and I knew she would have a blast. They even spelled her name correctly on the lanyard.

Spoiler: She made it all the way through camp. I picked her up today when the buses dropped off all the kids. I have fun pictures, so I'll give her a post of her own. Man, it is nice to have her back though. But don't look for her in this week's activities. She was absent.

After getting rid of Robyn, I came home and we made Marshmallow Shooters that afternoon. It was such an easy craft, with few supplies. I actually had everything on hand already. (Bonus.) Here are the items you need.

You do need a sturdy plastic cup. The ones I had on hand happened to work fine, but I hear if your cup is more flimsy, just stack two together. You will need to cut off the bottom third of your cup. Careful...cups are a little tricky to cut.

Now make a knot in your balloon and cut off the top.

Stretch it over the top of your cup. Here is the finished product. Please ignore the leftover third of the plastic cup on the orange one. That is not part of the finished product. That is just Pearl being Pearl.

Insert projectile, hold your cup by the rim, pull back on the knot, and let her fly.

Marshmallows are great projectiles (as evidenced by the name of this project) but I took some advice I read on the internet and only used puffballs in the house. That way, if I lost one, it wouldn't get smashed into the carpet by unsuspecting feet. But the marshmallows were great for outdoors.

Make up any game you want with them. We did a distance contest first. Everyone stood where their marshmallow landed. You can see that they can go pretty far. Kudos Ivory and Daisy. (Now, get out of the middle of the road.)

We also played a game to see whose puffball could stay in the air the longest. Mine came down last, so I was the winner, but we couldn't find June's, so she claimed her white puffball was still in the air. I told her it must be in the tree, but I was joking. But when June looked up, there was her puffball...stuck in the tree. We wisely played our next round away from the tree and I still claim victory for that first round.

We shot marshmallows through holes, at each other, and at a Bishopric member. (That is what happens when you stop by during a battle.) These were a really fun and easy craft.

Tuesday, June picked out a fun game at PERC. It was a logic game and I admit that I wanted to do every level. It starts out at Beginner and ends up at Expert. The last few levels sure were tricky, but I'm happy to say that I did all 40 levels. (Ivory did a lot of the intermediate levels with me.) It is called Chocolate Fix. I recommend it to puzzlers out there.

Wednesday, Ivory joined the ranks of the sore mouthed. She was really excited to get her expander, right up until the day before she got it. It really is a unpleasant contraption. It fills up your mouth, making it hard to swallow and speak. While you get used to it eventually, food tends to get perpetually stuck up there. And let's not forget the delightful experience of turning the key each evening to push the upper palate just a little farther apart. Ouch.

Ivory has been such a trooper. When they took her impressions, the hygienist said she had never had such an easy time. Ivory didn't gag or move one bit. She doesn't complain about the pain, but she does bring me a toothpick often to help her extract food. I do feel badly for her. And just think, in two months, they will add some braces to make the fantastic package complete.

This week we pulled a switcheroo because Tyler's work party was on Thursday. I figured we would count swimming as our fieldtrip, so we made our treat on Wednesday. We made Ice Cream Cupcakes. I don't even have a great recipe for them. Search for them on Pinterest, or follow these really simple instructions. Make a cake mix according to directions and then put only one Tablespoon of batter in each cupcake liner.

Bake them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and then let them cool. Soften your ice cream and then fill up the rest of the cup with whatever flavor you desire. (I happened to have a lemon cake mix on hand, so I thought strawberry would compliment it nicely.)

Freeze those bad boys for two hours and then eat them. You could look up a complicated whipped cream frosting, or you could just spray on some whipped cream from the can in the fridge. I totally opted for the latter. And if you add sprinkles, they totally look professional.

They were super delicious. Even poor Ivory with her contraption was able to choke one down. (She has had a lot of ice cream recently.) Daisy cakes was loving her cupcake.

The hardest part is taking a good 'bite.' They are cold. But I braved it so you could see a side/inside shot. Oh the sacrifices I make.

Thursday, we went swimming. The company gave us a day pass to the Provo Rec Center. It is pretty awesome, and the one time we went before, half of it was closed so we left. The girls had never experienced the whole thing, so I was really excited to take them.

I had a time limit in my head because I needed to be home to help Tricia watch her kids, but Tyler was going to swap me halfway and let the kids play for a little extra time. I don't really want to go into the whole story, but suffice it to say that minutes before we were supposed to get kids out of the water to meet up with Dad (kids weren't allowed to be in the water while no parent was on duty) Ivory disappeared with Pearl. June, Daisy, and I couldn't find them ANYWHERE. I was so mad and worried at the same time. Add to that the stress that I was supposed to be out the door so I didn't miss another appointment.

I found them eventually in a completely different pool. Ivory is good at leading her own crew...she just doesn't check in with the parental figure. That does not float in my book. Ivory went home early with me so she could remember the consequences of changing locations without letting mom know.

I was sad for it to end that way because we had a great time. The kids loved the slides, we played all over the place. It was so fun. I'll have to remember to come back sometime and let Robyn play.

No real pictures because I was in the water and I was planning to take a photo right before I left, but I spent that time searching for missing kids. I did have Tyler get a photo with the remaining kids while they were coming home.

Love selfies.

Here is June learning to take one.

And here is my one shot of the pool. Don't look for us...I was just taking a picture of the location where Tyler should meet us. He does well with verbal and visual instructions.

In the evening, we went to the BBQ put on by DHI. It was delicious as always. I had to leave early to go to a baby shower (so EXCITED for you Trudy!!) and I missed Tyler thawing out a frozen t-shirt and getting it on first. He is amazing. You will just have to picture him in a wet t-shirt. (Mmmm....nice.)

Finally Friday. We watched The Waterhorse. Friends came over and played. I picked up Robyn from camp. We watched The Waterhorse a second time so Robyn could see it. It was a great day.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I plan to sleep in as long as possible. Bless you weekends.