Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Over

*Warning* This post is long and kind-of boring. It's mostly just for me so I can remember the trip. Also, I only took pictures in Lake Arrowhead, but when I get some from Lindsay, I'll put those on too.

Well. It's official. My vacation is over. I'm not sad though. I extended it just the right amount of time, and now I'm ready to take advantage of the last 2 weeks of summer. The last two weeks before Emma is gone at school ALL DAY! I'm not going to go there

Here's a brief summary of our family reunion/vacation.

First of all, I love that my family reunion is classified as a vacation. A great vacation. I love my in-laws. I married into an awesome family. They're like my own family, but nice. Just kidding. My family's nice too. most of the time.

Because the house was very full, and because Mark and I love Lake Arrowhead, we went there first. We got there Saturday afternoon. We shopped, got settled, and enjoyed the mountain lake.

Sunday we went to church. The ward was very friendly, and I particularly enjoyed the Sunday school lesson on missionary work. Later we walked around the village and let our kids ride the little rides, and have ice cream. It was a very relaxing day.

Monday, we rode the kayaks to the village for breakfast. This is one our favorite things to do at Lake Arrowhead. We were playing on the island for a while in the morning, when we got a surprise call from Grandpa who drove up to hang out with us. Mark and I knew what that meant. We had someone to crew for us! (so we could go wake boarding) Mark and I got some good wakeboarding in. (even though the wake board is barely ridable) It was a nice surprise. Lesa and Kevin got there that night and they got some rides in before lake patrol cited us for being out too late. I love how Lesa and Kevin are always ready for fun. We stayed up late talking.

Tuesday was a fun day on the lake. Abigail fell asleep on the boat. We were having too much fun to go home for naps. We stayed up pretty late talking again, and were asleep before we hit our pillows.

Wednesday we put some sheets in the laundry and headed out on the boat again. The lake was sooo smooth. Really great. Kevin had to leave to go get some work done. We cleaned the boat, got the cover on, and were ready to walk up the hill when Kevin called and wanted to get in another ride. Lesa and her kids stayed and Mark and I headed to Long Beach. I love that they stayed. I would have been like, "we are all packed up, lets just go." But I would have missed a great few hours. All their girls got up on the wakeboard which is awesome. I would have missed it because it was a little bit of a hassle. I love that - what a great lesson.

It felt so good to get cleaned up at the hotel. Our room was so nice. Two stories with a full kitchen and three big flat screen TVs. The best part was the beds, so comfy. It was great to have a quiet, clean, place of our own to go "home" to.

After getting squeaky clean, we headed to the house for some ice cream, swimming, volleyball, and most importantly greeting long lost family members.

Thursday I woke up early and went to a spin class. It was fun to see what other classes are like. It wasn't as good as my usual classes which I'm glad for. As soon as I got back, Mark went to play golf with Dan, Karl, John, and John. I tried to take the kids ice skating. Yes, tried. They wouldn't let me take a stroller which made it difficult. We spent more time putting on our skates than actual skating. But the kids had fun for the 10 minutes we were there. Emma actually did okay. She was able to skate by herself by staying by the wall. This was more out of necessity since Abigail and Gabe were pretty much dead weight to be pushed, carried, or dragged around. I sensed disaster quickly and got out. Later that day, I had my own melt down from lack of sleep, and cried over not getting to have fun or something. I can't really remember. Or maybe I just blocked it. We'll just move on. After I recovered, the rest of the day was heavenly. Swimming, eating, volleyball, and enjoying each other's company. I had a couple of great games of basketball with Quintin, Kevin, Levi, and Spencer. Spencer and I played a game against Levi and Quintin that left me laughing so hard. We were playing one handed which wasn't enough of a handicap so Mark suggested Spencer play with no hands. It was a crack up.

Friday we took family pictures. This is quite the feat for all 52 of us. Although everyone was crying on the inside, it was my son who decided to let his feelings show. Gabe absolutely refused to take the picture and we had to physically hold him in place to take it. Our own individual family picture were just as bad. Mark had to go to work for the rest of the day so the kids and I hung out at the house and then went back to the hotel for naps. Emma and Gabe have been talking about Knotts Berry Farm so much since we last went, we decided to make a quick stop. We learned you can get a shopping pass and go for free for 45 minutes. It was a little stressful for me because I knew we'd have to pay 120 bucks if we were late, but the kids loved the little trip. Gabe got his cotton candy, which was his favorite part. After long naps, we headed to the beach for a BBQ. We had corn cooked in sea water and smores. Very tasty.

Saturday we went to the beach. We all had a lot of fun. Mark got to surf some really big waves. I tried to surf, but after eating it pretty hard, I gave up. Emma and Gabe loved running from the waves. It took a bit of persuasion, but I finally got Gabe to go in the water with me. Abigail had fun in sand all day. Mike and Julie's family, Dan, Parker, and Caleb came to the beach too. After the beach, we went back to the house for more swimming and volleyball. We all wrote a letter for Grandpa Ward and Lindsay made it into a book. We gave that to him for his birthday and watched a power point of pictures and exerts from the book.

Sunday we filled the church and especially the primary. I think we added 30 something kids. After church, we relaxed at home. It was nice to sit at talk for a while. We had a talent show sometime in the afternoon. Emma did a finger trick, a cartwheel, and sang, I'm proud to be an American. It was cute. I wish I video taped it. We played I'm a loser which I won. I'm still not sure if I'm a loser or a winner. Later that evening we played Mafia. It was really fun.

Monday we packed up and went to the house for one last swim. Mark and I had a diving competition with Lesa and Kevin. I bruised my heel doing a back flip and landing on a plastic filter thing. I'm glad we swam even though it would have been easier to just head home. The drive back was not too bad. Our car trips have been pretty easy lately. It's nice to not have a little baby in the car.

So that was it. Mark and I talked about our favorite thing, and we both just love being with the family. There's always fun when the family is together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Back! . . . or am I?

You know the term, "I need a vacation from my vacation"? I have felt this way many times before when returning home from a "vacation" with the kids. Sometimes vacation with kids can be wearing. The long car trips, trying to figure out schedules and entertainment while fitting in naps, and somewhat healthy food. Dealing with the effects of sleep loss and an unfamiliar environment has on the kids. Trying not to be disappointed because of the things you're missing because the kids are with you. Then coming home and being worn out from the car trip with a mountain of laundry, no food in the house, kids are more grumpy and off schedule, the car is a mess etc.

Well, the complaining stops right here because it was not the case this time. we had such a great time, instead of needing a vacation from my vacation, I just want more of my vacation. And I am taking it. Sort-of. Usually I can not wait to get back to the schedules and routines. The early bedtime, clean clothes and productiveness. My planner is usually filled before we get home. Not this time. I am still on vacation. I've stayed up late and slept until nine. I haven't exercised and am still eating plenty of junk food. I've read my book in my "spare time" and I took a nap today. Okay, I did do the laundry, and went to the store but I would do that if I was still on vacation. I cleaned the car, but lost the floor mats because I took them out and left them (vacation brain). I wonder if I'll ever come back? Will I exercise again? I'll write a synopsis on my awesome vacation when it's over. If it ever ends.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shark in the Cart!

When I go shopping, I feel very comfortable and calm with my list. It's my safety floaty in the unpredictable ocean of food. Nothing can go too wrong when it's with me. There are many dangers in a grocery store, but I, myself, have created a predator of a new species. A shark. Specifically design to attack my safety and security.

I call her Abigail.

The moment I let my guard down, she will dive in and steal my list. Then quietly, she'll drop it. I don't realize until it's too late and I'm drowning, grabbing onto anything I can (usually chocolate) to keep me afloat. It's a rare day when the shopping list shark attacks and I make it out with everything I needed.

Sometimes I can go back and find the list, but today, Abigail thought of a new way to destroy the list.

see below

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy 4th!

I LOVE the forth of July!
I love this country and the ideals it was founded on.
I love having a special day to celebrate it.

I am adamant about seeing the big firework show. It took Mark a little while to learn this. One year I just about lost it when we almost missed it. It is kind-of a pain to go see the big show because we have keep our kids entertained at a really crowded park for a while, and we have to stay up so late, and fight the traffic getting home. Sometimes Mark isn't excited as me to go, but I always remind him, we only get to watch fireworks one day a year.

My kids have also never been big fans of fireworks. But this year was different. Abigail is my brave girl! She loved the big fireworks. Gabe really got into lighting the smaller ones, and then throwing them in the street. It was so fun. Usually my kids are crying during any kind of firework display.

Emma has not come around yet. She said she liked the big ones at the park, but had her fingers in her ears the whole time. She watched us light fireworks in the street from the back window of the van inside the garage. They are just too loud for her sensitive little ears. We did get her to throw those little poppers this year. That's an improvement.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our First Camping Trip Ever!

Yeah! We did it. We camped for the first time with our little family. (unless you count the family reunion we had 5 years ago, which I don't)

We have been wanting to go camping and fishing for so long, but since neither Mark or I are very big campers, it was a little intimidating. But on July 3rd, Mark had the day off, and we decided to go for it. After 5 hours of preparing, we made it to our camp site in Pine Valley.

We loved it! The kids loved it! We set up our camp and tried to go fishing. The fishing was a little scary. Especially me trying to cast a line, which for some reason, I am completely unable to do. We didn't catch a fish, but all the kids were brave enough to get a worm on their hook. I think that is pretty impressive.

We had dinner, made smores, sang campfire songs, and stayed up really late (like 10:00)

After a good night sleep with all five of us in the tent(amazing!), Mark made bacon and eggs. We also supplemented our breakfast with powdered donuts.

We then packed up our camp and went for a beautiful hike.

The weather was fantastic, and I just love being in the mountains. It reminds me of my childhood vacations we would take to Idaho. One of my favorite things was all the work the kids got to do. It seemed like there was always a job for someone, and they loved to help out.

It turns out camping is pretty easy. We can't wait to do it again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tartar Sauce!

I have never been a big fan of Sponge Bob. In fact I have never let my kids watch the show. Well, somehow while we've been here, they started to watch an episode every now and then. (It's harder to monitor the TV now that Emma can control the TV herself and she can read) And now, they are addicted. They absolutely LOVE Sponge Bob. I have to admit the little yellow sponge is funny.

The thing that makes me laugh everyday is this. There are times during the day when Gabe gets mad, disappointed or a little frustrated. For example, he finds out we are having vegetables for dinner, or he drops his books, or I announce that it's clean up time. At these times, instead of saying dang it, or darn, Gabe says, "tartar sauce!" It is so funny the way he says it, I always laugh. I hope I don't give him a complex because every time he's upset I laugh.