Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grammy Lois Visits

My mom came out for a week to see us and then she headed to Utah for some time with her sisters and high school friends. Those are some enduring friendships!

We went to the Flying W Ranch, Garden of the Gods, the North Pole, and the Current outlet sale. All Colorado Springs highlights. The weather was beautiful (for the most part) and we were able to really showcase our wonderful home state.

She brought me a skirt, the perfect black shorts, handmade crafts, and pictures. She cleaned out my junk drawers (that's right, more than one-don't judge!). We sure love our G-Lo.
Once a mom, always a mom. I think that is what I've finally figured out about motherhood. Although I'm all grown up and raising my own kids, my mom still thinks of me as her child. It's funny but I can see how that works now that I have a teenager. He's still my kid to love and protect even though he is growing up...Let's hear it for eternal families and our eternal roles in them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Costa Rica June 2009

Our big family vacation this year was to the lovely beach town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica in the Guanacasta region. It was tropical and gorgeous.

We drove from the city of San Jose to the coast so that we could score a direct flight from Denver. It was great to drive through the country and see the topography and vegetation. We will definitely see some volcanoes the next time we visit.
Some people might say the drive was a bit too long, but whatever.

(They sold large decorative pots here, but Dave couldn't resist a few pictures with the sign.)
Dave declared it his favorite family vacation ever...

Rachel paddles out.

Waiting for a set.

Riding one in with Dad.

Really, how can you compete with surfing every morning followed by teaching your kids to surf? There's nothing better than having your kids love something that you love. And let's be clear, these kids love the ocean like none other. I've never seen anything quite like it really. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the ocean. Especially for kids who live in a land-locked state!

Here Rachel is on her back floating away after she and Dave got worked on the surfboard. "No worries, Dad. I'm wearing a life vest and I love salt water up my nose."

One morning as we walked to the beach Ben could be heard saying, "Oh, those look so good." As is Ben's habit, I assumed he saw a souvenir or food item that he wanted. When I asked him what had caught his eye he replied, "The waves. It's gonna be a great day to surf." I'm not sure anything could make Dave prouder than recognizing clean waves...

For some reason, that I could never understand, Ben loves to do handstands in the ocean. He spent hours upside down out there.
I am going to blame my camera for the fact that I don't have any better pictures of Jake surfing. It's true. It is a lame camera for action shots in water. Jake is the only person who loves the water as much as Dave. That's a lot of love.

We saw the rainforest on horseback and thanks to Dave's fluent Spanish, Dave made a new friend. I wish I could say that he scored as well on the snorkeling tour he booked us, but I was afraid for my life on the jalopy of a boat that took us away from civilization, without a trace of our existence. All's well that ends well. Hah! Note to self: do NOT prepay ANY amount and tell someone where you're off to before you leave.
Lola's is the restaurant to NOT MISS. Right on the beach. Great food and smoothies.
Warm and humid.
Beautiful Costa Rica. We'll be back.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dave's First Day of "School" at Air Academy High

Dave is a new seminary teacher for the high-school-aged kids in our church. Which means he has to be on the Air Force Academy base by 6am with a lesson for 15 teenage students. A lesson based on church doctrine that will somehow not bore them to tears and make it worth their time to arrive at 6am before a long school day. Daunting.

I dare say now that he has started the assignment it is downright exhausting. Though he does admit it is spiritually rewarding.

It's a sacrifice for our whole family really, since he has to spend time preparing each day (not to mention the alarm and hullabaloo of getting ready before 5am). We're happy he is willing to serve. Blessings in heaven are accruing. (Is that how it works?)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quick Bear Lake Trip

The kids and I made a quick trip to Bear Lake earlier this month (Aug 7- 10). Mertz and Bertha were making an impromptu trip and wanted to see the kids so we loaded up and drove over for a long weekend.

My grandma and grandpa were happy to see us but my grandma was so frail I hardly recognized her. Her health has been declining for a while now but this was a shocking difference from a year ago. Grandpa seemed stronger and healthier than ever, which is good since he needs to care for grandma. Getting old is not for sissies. I couldn't bear to take any pictures with them.

The highlight for Ben was at the Bear Lake West club. They were hosting the Lamborghini Club of North America for lunch at the same time we were having lunch. What a thrill (for Ben) to see 40+ Lamborghinis in one place!

Sometimes I wonder where this kid came from...with my mini van and Dave's Camry we must really cramp his style.

(There, Ben, I posted the Lamborghini pictures. I know, I know. Finally.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do You Like Rachel's Outfit?

We call it the "wander-off-from-the-playground-during-a-huge-soccer-tournament-and-cost-my-parents-years-of-their-lives" outfit.

Cute, huh?

Dave and I were watching Ben's soccer game while Rachel played on the playground directly next to our soccer field. Probably twenty feet away.

I checked on her every five minutes and when I realized she wasn't there I went immediately into freak-out mode. I screamed to Dave and got him and a bunch of people looking for her. It's not like her to wander off. She was NOWHERE in the immediate vicinity. The security of the park mobilized and started checking vehicles and not letting anyone leave without checking. It was 11 minutes from when I last saw her to when I called 911 (I had checked my watch the last time I saw her.) It was a nightmare.

A security person found her waaaaaay on the other side of the park complex playing in some marshy water with a stick. She hadn't been there long she said. She was walking there probably most the time we were looking for her. She wasn't aware she was lost and wasn't upset a bit.

Too bad she has to retire the outfit. The general rule is that once an outfit has been described to a 911 dispatcher, it's out of the rotation. I know my mom is thinking I don't watch her close enough and my sister is thinking it would never happen to her kids. Probably true, but what can I say? We're not perfect. I think I'm going to go throw up now.

Let's hope next week is better. (You may notice my car bumper is squashed. I did that this week too. Additionally, I had a major combative confrontation at church on Wednesday night with a bully Jake's age. Helluva week.)
Let's shoot for more happy recaps for tomorrow...

Jake's First Day of School

Jake started eighth grade on Tuesday. As I expected, he did not return home with a glowing report.

He'll be taking Spanish and digital media this year and he has a goal to get all A's. I know he can do it. The question is: can I let him figure out how to get it done without adding my two-cents? I hate to see him procrastinate but I need to let him do it his way this year. No nagging.

The reward will be an XBOX 360 for three quarters of A's. Seems like a generous deal. I might make him pay half. The real privilege earned here is the fact that I am considering letting another game system enter my home. That is generous.

I'm happy to report that after school on Friday Jake was able to admit that he likes a majority of his teachers. It's not going to be such a terrible year after all...

I sure love that kid!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ben's First Day of School

Monday was Ben's first day of fourth grade. He finally has a teacher that Jake had. It will be interesting to see how the year is for Ben. We really enjoyed Ms. Livingston when she was Jake's teacher and I wonder if she will remember Jake...certainly having Ben in class will be a totally different experience.
This picture really shows off his new shirt for the first day. He is developing his own sense of style for sure. "Bahmpbanawowwow," as Ben would say.

It's crazy how much they've grown! Jake did not have his first day until Tuesday so he is "hiding out" in his pajamas.

Evan and Ben both grew a bunch over the summer. Cute boys!
It's going to be a great year. I can feel it in the air.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm Back, for Better or Worse...

And in this case, for the worse...much worse.

I realize that I've missed blogging and communicating the things that are going on at our house.

Even if those things border on tragic.

Sadie has been battling some eye trouble for the last couple of weeks.

This is a picture of her yesterday.

This is today after having her left eye removed due to glaucoma. It was either lose the eye or put her down.

Sad. Dramatic.

Is it too much to say even a bit traumatic for all of us?

In the end, she will be back to her happy, healthy self in no time and we won't even miss old lefty. Here's to a happy, healthy cyclops.
And to more blogging!
(This picture is from the first day of school 2005. Rachel figured out very quickly that Sadie was a decent substitute for playful brothers...she covered Sadie in kitchen towels and toys that morning.)