Thursday, June 17, 2010

Promotion and the start of summer!

OK I know that summer is in full swing because I'm having a hard time getting things done. Like the blog for instance...I'm a couple of weeks behind and these pictures have been uploaded for almost a week and I haven't been able to type about them yet.

I feel like I'm constantly getting food and snacks and arranging things for the kids to do and cleaning up, constantly cleaning up and it never stays clean. I don't know how many ends of popsicle and granola bar wrappers I've picked up every day...but enough of that I've got to write something so I can post this before I'm asked to do something else. (I think some of my children suddenly have amnesia and have forgotten how to do the most basic things themselves :)

OK so on the last week of school we were able to go to Citrus High school and watch the 8th grade promotion for Taylor (he's towards the end of the row coming in with the shirt and tie).

It was funny that all the girls were dressed up really nice but a lot of the boys were more casual. We saw a lot of jeans and even a couple in shorts. I was glad that Taylor was willing to dress up.

Luckily they read the names a lot faster than they did at the award ceremony.

We were so proud of him! When we asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate he said "I just want to go home."

I think his way of celebrating is to sit home watching TV, playing on the computer and texting all at the same time.

In fact I'm finding out that this is his favorite summer pasttime as well.

Jacob and Ashley were very excited that the next day was their last day of school. Boy this year seemed to go by so fast!

For the 6th grade promotion Jacob played in the band.

He's planning on playing the clarinet again in the fall at Junior High. We told him last night that he could have Taylor's old clarinet. (It's better than his) "Sweet!"

Here he is waiting for his promotion ceremonies.

Jacob was presented with the presidential award for getting good grades.

Way to go Jacob!

And now here's him getting his honor roll certificate for getting good grades.

Here's his promotion certificate and picture.

Now he's all ready for middle school.

Here's the gradutation gifts that they gave all the 6th unexpected suprise.

The next day we started off our summer with a park day that reminded me of earlier times. Sharla is off to a new life in Oregon and before she leaves we thought that we'd all get together and get the kids together to catch up before life takes us separate ways.

We briefly had everyone together like old times, Shawna, Sharla, Penny, Cindy and Me...reminded us of that time we went to women's conference...we were just missing Kristin.

We went to Orange Terrace park, I forgot that they had the water feature. I didn't bring any swim stuff but that didn't stop Ashley despite the fact it was cool and windy there. She jumped in anyway....then I went home to get her suit and towels.

It was a great way to start off the summer and to spend time with friends. I couldn't believe how much older some of the boys looked.

Ashley made friends with Cambry and showed her how to play ball.

Taylor saying goodbye to Everett.

I learned that shamelessly showing off your muscles and bragging about how great you are is a universal 14 year old boy thing...let's just say that Shawna and I could only laugh at our braggadocious boys.

Ashley, as ever playing with the younger kids and helping Clark find the balls!

After the park we ran home showered and changed for Jeff's work party that night.

It was a steak and beans contest. The winners got steak the losers were supposed to only eat chicken and beans.

It was so fun to go this year with the Stubbs and the Gunnell's. For the first time our kids had other kids that they knew there. :)

Tiffany and Daren were a hit with the baby and even made some new friends when a nice couple offered to hold the baby so they could eat dinner.

Taylor hung out in the house most of the time playing the piano.

It was freezing outside but as long as we stayed by the fire we were OK. Crazy Jacob and Ashley couldn't resist and wanted to swim in the pool. So we let them of course...

When we were done and rounding up the kids it was so cute to see Cade and Lance snuggling up to Taylor while watching their movie.

On Saturday I went to Piper's baby shower. We had lots of fun because I thought I was doing games and 2 other people thought they were doing them too. We had a lot of games :)

On Monday I decided to make a wall of fame for Taylor's varous awards that he's been getting. This prompted a whole room cleaning. He was very happy with how it came out.

Taylor's favorite summer pasttime.

Our first pre-summer electric bill. What a shocker...we weren't even running the air yet. I checked and the meter was right so the only thing that I could think of that we were doing different is that I turned up the freezer in the garage a little when the boys left the door open. It was an old freezer so we dumped it and got a new one hoping it will make a difference in our bill. Crazy!

On Tuesday we went to Knotts Berry Farm with Andrea and her kids to use our passes.
The plan was to send the boys out on their own to do the big rides while we stayed with the younger two to go on the littler rides.`

As soon as they got in the park they were ready to go home. "The lines are too long!" They said. Welcome to summer.

So we went on what we could and let Ashley and Madison go on the rides they wanted to go on.

Andrea and I were patient and just doled out the snacks and encouraged the boys to go on rides. "Just pick a line and stand in it...they're all long."

This ride was Ashley's favorite of the day.

She remembered going on this when she was like 3 but couldn't remember the name of it!

The last ride that the younger two wanted to ride was the ferris wheel. This had the longest stinking line.

Andrea and I thought it was funny that Madison was better for me and Ashley in the line. So we tried to help Maddie patiently wait until it was our turn to get on.

The girls loved it once we finally got going. The hard part was waiting almost 20 minutes to be let off again. Madison pointed out that "They missed us!" 3 times. By this time the boys were very ready to go home...

Until we noticed that the stunt show was starting in 10 minutes and we would be able to catch it on our way out to the car. Taylor wasn't too happy...he was ready to go since he saw the first line. But he was outnumbered.

Ashley and Jacob sat in the splash zone and we all enjoyed the show.

One last stop to get a funnel cake.

Taylor showing his displeasure...

We raced home and Ashley started her first cheer class and this picture was from their mutual night where they were playing games at the park. The most fun part was the water balloon toss. Jeff pulled himself so far back he was laying on the ground to launch the water balloons!

Luckily Taylor had perked up by this point and joining in on the fun.

I think he was having a little too much fun with his water fight. I got mad after I discovered that him and his friends were pulling out all my brand new water bottles to dump on each other.

Once I nixed that plan Jacob came out of the house holding his ginormous super de duper soaker water gun. All he said was "Where's Cameron??" Everyone laughed. Unfortunately Cameron had already left so Jacob never got his revenge.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cosby, Caricatures and Crazy Sushi

So another thing I do to fufill by need for creativity is to make cards. It's nice to have a pile of them for all ocassions so I have have them to pull out for birthdays, get wells, thank yous or whatever I need. The down side is the mess they make...

The upside is never having to pay for cards!

So Ashley has inherited my love for all things creative. Here is her picture of Taylor. (Her and Jacob had a contest...I think that he even agreed she won) Notice the pominant mole that she always includes on Taylor's pictures. It's a family joke around here...

On Friday Taylor decided to give up the family boys day out at Magic Mountain to be able to go on his 8th grade trip to Fiesta village. He flip flopped back and forth and finally realized he didn't want to miss out on this last opportunity to be with his junior high friends. He's starting to learn how to make difficult decisions where choosing one thing means you have to give up something else desirable. It's not always so easy to choose. It's also not so easy being the parent as he's going through the process of these choices. He has also chosen (again) not to do band. While I'm sad he won't be playing the clarinet next year (he is soo talented at it) I don't want him being miserable hating feild show practice just because he thinks he's pleasing us or others. This is just the beginning of a long line of choices he'll have to make in life and if he can't be allowed to make his own choices now he won't be able to do it later. So we're backing off. His plan is to do cross country instead. I think the hardest part is keeping my head from spinning as his choices seem to change by the hour! :)

Later that night Taylor went over to a swim party with friends and Jacob and Ashley and I went over to Costco and Wallmart to do some errands. While we were out we got a call from Sushi Station where a group of friends were celebrating Scott Vincent's birthday, asking us if we wanted to join them. We weren't invited before because we were going with them to Cosby the next night but one of the couples couldn't make it. So 1/2 way through their dinner we came over.

I have to admit I've never had sushi more exotic than a California Roll before so I have to admit I was curious to try some "real" sushi. I had heard people rave about sushi station so I tried to walk in open minded.

One thing I learned right away...Scott was a BRAVE eater. He had given the chef carte blanche and didn't even know what was coming out with each course.

Since we were there almost 2 hours after it started I thought that they would be pretty much through dinner. Oh no they had only had 2 or 3 of the 8 or so courses that night. Lucky us we came on the scene just as they were coming out with the crazy stuff. It was fun to be there with friends and we laughed and joked and then when the next course came out...I started to get nervous. What in the world did we get ourselves into!

Let me just say my first mistake was not ordering a drink other than water. I learned quick a chaser with some flavor would've been nice to clear up all the interesting flavors I would experience. The first thing that came out was shot glasses filled with some sea plant floating in brine.

I considered not drinking it but the peer pressure got to me. Obviously the Stubbs and others didn't have a problem with the food. So down it went...swallowed whole and tasting like pickles.

Here's the Stubbs getting friendly with their fried shrimp heads (eaten whole with eyes and all staring up at you!)

So here's the next plate that came out with the majority of the sushi. There were fish eggs, salmon, scallops and more.

I skipped the fish eggs when I heard people around me jumping and commenting that they pop out fluid in your mouth. All I had to eat it with was chopsticks so I looked for the smallest piece of fish that I could eat whole. Unfortunately it was a scallop that tasted the fishiest of them all! I looked for something to eat around me to cut the flavor but all I saw were whole pieces of ginger and playdo balls of wasaibi and I knew better than to touch that!

The halibut wasn't bad but the only problem was I would put it up to my mouth and try to take a small bite but the only way I could get a bite was to grab the piece of fish with my hand and pull it away from my mouth. Very classy. I felt like a neanderthal so the second bite I just put the rest in my mouth and chewed and chewed and chewed. I tried the salmon too and I normally like salmon but with the huge chunk it was too much. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I had a fork and a knife and I could have cut it into small pieces.

While we were eating this they brought out little plates of round "stuff", as we got to try it they said it was fish liver. I tried a small peice just to try it but that was it.

I felt pretty proud of myself for at least trying everything on my plate (almost) but I lost my nerve when the lobster came out. His claws are clipped because he is still alive even though the back half of him has already been served up for dinner!!!! They played with him and got him to hold his own set of chopsticks. Once I saw this I wasn't going to even attempt trying to eat it! Too fresh for me.

Mary Ann agreed with me and wouldn't eat it either. I think our faces couldn't hide what we were thinking. Ha ha!

Once we got through the fear factor portion of dinner they came out with some smoked salmon. OK I could handle this. I could smell fire on it and it was COOKED very yummy. After that they brought thinly sliced fish on top of a small ball of rice. Now this wasn't bad I could handle it and I enjoyed it. After this point I was full and couldn't eat any more but I think that the last plate of thinly sliced fish on top of rice was supposed to be the best of all but a lot of us were too full! Sorry!

Now I have to say that the Vincents were awfully good sports as we laughed and joked about the dinner. Our little room was so loud all the restaurant patrons would look in and wonder what was going on inside. We had a lot of fun! All I can say is that this dinner was definately and experience I'll never forget!

The next morning I woke up early to go out to Redlands to receive and Relief Society
president training from sister Alred.

It was great and then we raced back and it was time for the kid's paino recital.

All three of them did really well on their songs. This is Ashley's first year playing and she did great and then Jacob and Taylor are on the back row because of the difficulty of their songs.

Here is them with their piano teacher ...wait where's Jacob?? Probably on the piano in the Primary room.

OK here he is. We were flattered that our dentist who takes lessons from Connie came back during our recital just to hear Jacob and Taylor play. (I guess Taylor inspires his son). Taylor played Hungarian Rhapsody which was 16 pages long and took him months to memorize and perfect. He got a lot of compliments and praise.

As he was playing his song I saw a flashback of all the hours and hours and hours that he spent perfecting that song. Thats what it takes to get it that good. Everyone sees the end result but not many see what it took to get there. I especially remember the day he came home from school and literally played one section of the song over and over for 3-4 hours just to get it right. (I thought I was going to go crazy:)

Isn't that like life what we do everyday, what we think, what we do, what we spend our time and energy on makes us who we are. To have great results we have to put in great effort. There are no short cuts!

That night we went out with the Vincent's again to go and see Bill Cosby. He came to Riverside for only one day to do 2 shows and the newly renovated fox theater.

We stared out dinner at Mario's place in downtown Riverside. Here is the girls. Penney, me and her sister-in-law who broke her brand new shoe as we got there. Penney repaired it with a stapler and she was able to get through the night with her dignity in tact! :)

We got to meet Penney's brother and wife at dinner and eat some great COOKED food.
I decided to stay away from fish tonight :). Dinner was great.

The guys agreed.

So we were wondering how Cosby would be, since he's now 72 years old and maybe not as spry as he once was. After a little bit of a slow start he got into his material and we laughed throughout his performance. He did great with digressions and observations peppering his personal views on marraige, parenting and life.

He was hilarious. All we could do was laugh as he retold the story of Adam and Eve with his own observations and comments included. We very much enjoyed the night.

Thanks Scott and Penney for setting all of it up!

Sunday after meetings and church we were glad to have Cheri and Ryan come over so we could meet baby Olive. Jacob and Ashley were so excited they literally stood in the front yard for over 1/2 hour waiting for them to get there.

Olive was asleep when they arrived so Cheri got to enjoy dinner first but Ashley and Jacob just couldn't wait for her to wake up so they could hold her. Here they are just waiting for any signs of movement. Jacob even resorted to getting out his harmonica and playing it next to her. Luckily this was when they were ready to wake her up to feed her anyway.

I think that watching Cheri and Ryan was just as fun as watching Olive. They are very conscientious about her needs and are very loving and patient. I know that they'll be great parents.

Olive was so little! You forget how little your children start out!!

Ashley was in heaven and it was so cute watching Olive find her thumb.

Jacob was just as excited and was already planning for the day that he would be able to babysit her! She is so cute and we could already see some Beaulieu in her!

Monday started the crazy last week of school. It started with Ashley's play and end of the year party. Right away I couldn't get into the parking lot to bring the stuff for it because it was all blocked off for the California Distinquished school flag raising. So I parked on the street and stood in the back with the Smith family watching them raise the flag.

Ashley's play was a Life Cycle play. (Here's the sign I painted for them)

Even Jeff came out for it!

Before the play I went to the classroom and painted the faces of all the students that wanted it. It started out pretty easy with wiskers and plants and flowers...

Then there was some microphones and snakes...

and monkeys and lions and elephants. As it was getting closer to the time we were supposed to start some of the painting got a little sloppy. I had lots of seconds graders telling me exactly what they thought of my art. It started out with "whoa you are great. That's wonderful!""those eyes look a little messed up."

Ha ha obviously some were more appreciative than others.

The recipient of the fish hat didn't seem too impressed...but the one that got to hold the monkey was in heaven, ha ha.

As I was doing face painting I was also worried about the food for the class party/cast party that was supposed to be happening afterwards. All the parents and siblings were invited and I had recieved paltry offerings from the parents (you never know what your are going to get) so I also had to run home and get more food/drinks and so on so we would possible have enough.

They all did great on their play and sang all the cute songs wonderfully.

Ashley did great singing her "Metamorphasis" song.

What a fun way to end the year with your friends.

Afterwards we ran over to do the party. Their ended up being enough food for all who wanted it though even doing it buffet style didn't keep my big beautiful strawberries from going untouched and whole into the trash. (I considered trying to rescue some of them since I had spent a ton on fruit that week and didn't have anything left to show for it but I got caught by a parent and left them there.)

I swear I think 25% of the food at class parties goes into their stomaches, 50% in the trash and 25% on the floor!

I also made the kids these autograph books so they could have all their friends sign them. I ended up just giving them to the teacher for another day since parents were signing their kids out early.

Well one event done this week and 3 more to go.