Thursday, July 28, 2016

Time for an update! First, because it's funny. I left the thermometer out in the sun, and the needle went all the way around and then stopped because it ran out of room! The actual temperature was probably 115, but it sure feels warm in the sun!

Our first trip in June was to a regional meeting in Upper Minnesota. The lake was beautiful, but only recently recently defrosted, so we tried not to get wet. :)

It was lush and green and made us think of Oregon. (With a little more humidity) I came back totally wanting a lake house.

The following weekend we were in Santa Barbara for our second regional meeting. I drug the kids to the Santa Barbara Mission while we were there.

The woman from the book Island of the Blue Dolphins is buried here!

Kids during beach cleanup.

I came away from this trip wanting a beach house. Good thing I'll probably never get either. Haha

This is how we all felt on the way home.
We had a couple of weeks in between, so I signed the kids all up for swim lessons. They did awesome, which was really nice because then John and I felt comfortable with them in the pool in Mexico. We had a great time. The previous groups had some problems (bound to happen when the alcohol is free) and if it's a big enough issue you can be banned from future trips, or even lose your job. Fortunately our week was smooth sailing. Not a single problem. It probably helped that there were more kids than adults there. :) John and I staked out a spot by the pool everyday where we could keep an eye on the swim-up bar, but it ended up being unnecessary, thank goodness!

The kids had a great time. I think Jackie met every single person there! Our kids are so tan now, that several people thought they were adopted. :)

Thunderstorm moving in. It ended up being quite exciting.

Also saw a dust storm. It got pretty windy for a while, but this one didn't actually hit us.

My boys are a lot braver than they were at the start of the summer!

Let's see, what else? School starts in 2 weeks. Both of the boys are getting braces. The house remodel will be done soon. I guess I will catch back up then! Oh yeah, John got stung by a scorpion! (Scorpion season will be done when it cools down) It got him right on the chest. Somehow it got inside his shirt without him knowing. Creepy. We called poison control just in case, but he was ok. Don't get me wrong, it hurt like the dickens, but he took some ibuprophen, and some essential oil on it, and by the next morning he was just a little tender. Everyone at work was pretty surprised. Some of them have lived here their entire lives and never known anyone to get stung.

Also, I figured out that the POGO Pass Mom and Matt got us for Christmas as good at all the venues listed. You don't have to choose just one. (Good thing I waited a while to activate, so we still have lots of time left before they expire) So a couple weekends ago we took the kids to Sunsplash, which is Mesa's waterslide park. It was awesome! Even Justin had a blast. I didn't take any pictures or video because it was just too wet. They went down every single slide. ThunderBay, Halfpipe, Cauldron, and the most scary thing I have ever done, the Double Dare. You climb up to the top of the tower, and then you step into what looks like a phone booth. There is no tube to ride. You just stand there, cross your ankles and your arms. It counts down, and then the bottom drops out from underneath you and you freefall 7 stories into a pitch black tube that does a few turns and finally spits you out the bottom 7 seconds later. My heart flew up into my mouth and I didn't get it back for a good 15 minutes! The kids were nervous beforehand, but loved it after.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Some fun stuff from the end of the school year. We've been busy. I just took my statistics final yesterday. It was VERY hard to study the last week when the kids were out of school and starting their summertime activities. I feel like I'm spending more time in the car now than I did during the school year!

We finished the kitchen! I love, love, love my new countertops. :) And I'm a very lucky girl. When John and I were picking out what granite we wanted we were told that the slabs average about 117 inches across. But when we measured our island, it was 119. Uh oh. Neither of us wanted an ugly seam running right down the middle. So at the slab yard we had out a tape and we were measuring pretty much every single slab there. And we found one that was 120 inches. So we told the fabricator that was the one we wanted for the island, and he said he would see what he could do, but  no promises. If there's too much glass or epoxy in a slab, then it can chip when they cut it and they have to grind those sections away. I didn't know how it was going to turn out until they showed up at the house to install. He did an amazing job! All in one piece, with a double edge just like I wanted. :) He said it took him a solid week just to do the one piece. Apparently everyone else in the company heard about our island, so whenever someone was here to work on something else they all had to take a look.

New backsplash.

One of my favorite parts. A single sink! I had always had split sinks. And I've always hated it because you can't leave big things to soak. So when I had the chance, I went with just the one. John wasn't sure at first, but now he loves it too. If you look really closely, you can see a chrome button on the counter. That's an air switch for the disposal. The other switch was on the wall, but on the far side of the dishwasher and practically impossible for me to get to from the sink. This is far more comfortable. Also, I got those new motion-sense faucets because they happened to be on sale. :) It's pretty cool because you just wave your hand in front of it and it turns on. No touching if your hands are covered in dirt or raw chicken.

New appliance. What could it be?

Fresh ice!
  We have enough cabinet space that I didn't want to waste freezer space for ice or ice machine.

Snapping a quick shot of Jackie's jazz class. I don't think I was actually supposed to take one, so I had to hide my phone and shoot quickly. Somehow she still managed to know where the camera was.

End of the year celebration.

We got Justin some water wings to help him be more comfortable in the pool. He's really struggled, and I have just let him not be in the water if he didn't want to. But here, everyone goes swimming all the time and he's going to miss out if he doesn't learn. I tell you what though. In the week since I've gotten them, Justin has decided he doesn't need them anymore. He's front and back floating, jumping in, getting his face wet, and just loving being in the water. Who would've thought? Jackie has always wanted to swim, but not had a big enough pool. Now she's like a little fish. Yay for new skills!

Thanks to Mom and Matt's Christmas present, we went to a Diamondbacks game for my birthday! They may have lost, but it was still fun. Thank's guys! (Also, kind of funny, one of the people selling concessions in the stands, we also saw at a basketball game in April! How did we end up in his section for 2 different sports at 2 different locations?)

It's already been hot! And we survived! Actually, it's soooo dry that it felt like 100 in Grants Pass. Obviously you don't want to be out running, or working construction, (and that's why you go to college!) but grocery shopping and running errands was fine. We also spent some good time in the pool. :)

I am not putting up anything that I already shared on facebook, so nothing from John's Expedition. He had a good time though. It was tough. He hiked over 10 miles per day. :) Plus kayaking and swimming. He was pretty tired when he got back!

Also, I'm not supposed to talk about it anymore, so I've been told, but it's too funny. Jackie cut hr hair. Apparently she got tired of some of the hair in front always getting in her eyes. Which is what happens when you refuse to let Mom do anything with it. So she decided to cut off the offending section right at the head. A big chunk, about an inch square, 1/4inch long. It's awful! I don't think she will ever do it again though. I reminded her that it's taken over 4 years from the time I gave her that pixi cut to get her hair as long as it is now. But Jackie's like me, where the hair in front grows much more slowly than the hair in back and gets a little mullety. So the section she cut was just past her shoulders, not down to her waist like the rest. It's going to take forever to grow out. I'm hoping that by the time she gets to high school it will look normal again. That's 5 years from now. (really?) But she's starting with the hair shorter than it's ever been, so we'll have to see. That kid!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I suppose it's about time for another update. :) We've been pretty busy! I started back up with school this term. Statistics is NOT my favorite class so far. Fortunately, it will be over soon, and I never have to take another math class. Yay! One of the reasons that I haven't posted in 1 1/2 months.
Speaking of school, I can't believe my kids have less than 2 weeks left! They get out May 26th. Crazy. Then they start back up in August. I know it's the same number of weeks of summer vacation, but for some reason it feels shorter this way.

We've been pretty busy the last month. April 2 John played the National Anthem with his Symphony at a Phoenix Suns game. Since I posted the video on Facebook, I won't repeat it here, but that was pretty cool to go watch. The kids all had a good time. We were up in the nosebleed seats for the game, and I tell you what, it's a little scary up there. It's super steep going up the rows, and I felt like if I tripped, I was going to fall over the rail. I was ok sitting, but I did not want to stand up. Justin was terrified and spent the first half snuggled into his dad not looking up. He felt a little better after halftime when we spent $5 on a cookie for him. :)

April 15-27 Devon and James came to visit! Since the kids and I were all in school, we couldn't venture very far during the day, but we did have some fun. We went to the zoo, where everyone got to pet some stingray's, we explored a new park I hadn't been to before, did some shopping, went out to eat, and hung out by the pool. Oh, and we went scorpion hunting at night. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is nocturnal, so you have to catch them at night. (Hunting is really the best way to keep the population down) If you hunt them with an UV light, they glow in the dark. It's kinda cool and kinda terrifying at the same time. The kids would keep the light on the scorpion when we found one so I had my hands free to catch it with some foot long tweezers and stick it in a jar. Scorpions can climb anything except glass. So I would collect them all in a jar and then spray them with poison to kill them. Then in the morning, I would dump them out and the birds will find them and eat them. We did find 2 in the house when Devon was here, so I spoke to the spray guy the last time he came and he put some extra scorpion stuff out and I haven't seen any since. I don't want to scare anyone from visiting, so I will just say that while it's possible that you might SEE a scorpion, your chances of getting stung are extremely small.
Devon visit pics:

The cool park. Notice the Eiffel Tower structure in the back for kids to climb. Awesome!

The playground has this really cool spongy surface. It's great because it's safe when kids fall, and there's no mess or splinters.

Scorpion catch.

After Devon left we took a trip to the Grand Canyon. We figured that it was a good time to go before school got out. It would be less busy. We drove up on a Friday and back on Saturday. It was incredible! And not what I had expected. Mom, John and I agreed that you would really like it. It's very Sunriver-esque. The canyon itself is pretty dry, but the area all around is forest. We took the kids hiking along the rim trail. (It's flat and paved, so it's not really hiking, more like strolling) We did a 2.5mile section, but you can do as much or as little as you want. There are also hop-on, hop-off shuttles coming past every 10-15 minutes on different routes. There are hotels, and restaurants, and shopping. I guess with 5 million visitors every year, there has to be some amenities. What really surprised me though, was the lack of railings along the canyon cliff. They tell you to keep at least 6 feet back, but there is nothing preventing you from getting closer, or jumping off the cliff. It's funny that John and I are totally opposite in our height fears. He has no problem climbing ladders and getting on the roof, but does not like cliffs or bridges. I will not ever get on the roof, but I'm totally fine otherwise. But anyhow, the Grand Canyon is an awesome place, and definitely worth going to see. It is at 7100ft elevation, so take it easy.
Look how tall John is! Currently 5'7" and still growing. :) I am the only person not terrified in this picture.

Cute little squirrel. :)

Thunderstorm moving in. So pretty.

On the way home, we took the scenic route through Sedona. Gorgeous! Another place Mom would love. Reminds me of Sisters, OR. The population is approx 10,000, and it's very touristy. The main street has TONS of little shops to poke your head into and do some shopping. The red rocks and dark green pine trees make a beautiful setting. It's over 6,00ft elevation so it doesn't get too hot in the summertime.

I tried to take some photo's to show how green and beautiful it is, but it's hard from a moving car. :

Not like us. We've already had a few days over 100 and the pool has warmed up. So quickly that I had to check the pool heater to make sure it hadn't accidentally been turned on. John and Jackie are loving it. Justin, not so much. He doesn't know how to swim, so he's scared, but he won't get in the water and let us teach him, so we're at an impasse. John is learning how to breathe while doing the crawl stroke so he can pass the swim test for his expedition later this month, and Jackie now puts her face in the water and swims away. With 2 doing pretty well, we are now lasering our sights on Justin to force him to learn to swim. Water safety is very important. And he will miss out on a lot of fun times with his friends here if he can't swim.
If you look really carefully in the bottom left corner, you will see John swinging his feet. All my kids tan really well, so they have nice dark legs. Except they also wear shoes all the time so they have bright, white feet. It makes them look like they're wearing socks, even when they aren't. :)

Right now we are re-doing the kitchen countertops. Getting rid of the corian, and replacing with granite. Devon's the only one who got to see the old stuff. Haha. I'm super excited, and I thinks it's looking really good. I will post some more pictures when it's finished. Here is the old kitchen.

Justin's grade did a wax museum project. Everyone had to pick a famous American to research, and put together a poster and costume, and pretend to be a wax figure that would come to life when you stepped on their button. Justin chose Nikola Tesla. :) He was awfully cute. He talked really quietly, but he did it! It was fun to wander around and see who everyone chose.

I think that's about it. Sorry this was so long. That's what happens when you put it off, I guess.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Random fun times

Just keeping everyone updated with what we've been up to lately. I'm trying really hard to remember to take my camera with me. So here is some more stuff from the past couple months.

Making lemon juice concentrate. This was about halfway through the process. All those lemons came from the one medium sized tree in the back. John and the kids squeezed all the lemons and froze the juice to save for summer. We tested one batch to make sure it was going to make delicious lemonade, and it did. It's going to be awesome this summer to have homemade lemonade when it's hot out!

Jackie and I waiting for the Mesa Easter Pageant to begin. We got there really early, saved ourselves some good seats, and then took off. We went to DQ for some ice cream, and wandered through the visitors center and Temple grounds. The pageant was all about the life of Jesus and was fantastic.

Pageant stage.

Mesa Arizona Temple.

Last but not least, I linked a couple of youtube videos. I couldn't upload them directly into blogger because they were too big. (Even though the video's are less than 20 secs each. I guess that's what happens when you shoot in HD) One is Justin showing off his drumming skills, and the other is the 2 Johns messing around in the pool. The water is still freezing, but we had a couple of really warm days that made the water feel nice. At least to the boys and Jackie. I'm not dumb enough to get in yet! :)