Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer days in July

 It July and we finally had our first day at the beach this summer!

It was the perfect day to go. Nice and hot at home and hot at the beach as well.

I picked up my nieces and nephews and we drove down to meet friends.

The water even seemed warm...or warmer (its not Hawaii water ;) 

Jacob and Jolene stayed in the water practically the whole time..boogie boarding.

Playing in the sand is always travels to my car. We could now have our own sandbox from the contents of the back of my car. 

Taylor enjoyed hanging out with JJ who has like a month left before he's off to go on his mission. They threw footballs, hung out in the water, layed out and walked over to get icees.

These guys had fun playing with the seaweed. Ashley even found this weird caterpillar bug that had adapted to look exactly like the seaweed. Ashley even decided to bring a bucket of seaweed home...I could only convince her to get rid of it once it became a mushy mess.

Jenae, making her own personal she's waiting for us to pack up for the day. 

The day before we went to Utah Chimi the chinchilla had two babies. 

They are getting big and have found out how to escape from the holes that chimi has chewed through the plastic covering. Baby chinchillas become escape artists once they realize they can get out so we have to keep patching things up to keep them in. 

Later in the week we had Kate over just to play with Ashley. 

In the past she was deathly afraid of our dogs...before she was afraid of Buddy and now afraid of Maddie. 

This time was a turning point. Normally she would run into Ashley's room and not come out until the dog was outside. This time by the end of the visit she was giving her treats to do tricks and playing catch with her in the backyard! So fun to watch!

The week after we got back from Utah Taylor went to mutual on Tuesday and found out the Priests were leaving on their Super Activity the next day! So we packed him up quick and sent him on his way. 

They stayed local and did things like para-sailing, indoor skydiving, kayaking, snorkeling and more. 

While he was with the priests I brought Jacob and Ashley to Universal Studios to use our passes that are ready to expire. 

We went on the new Transformers ride (Ashley was tall enough)

And we got her on Jurassic park which she wasn't really tall enough for!!

I found out if I brought her tallest flip flops, and had her stand up really tall she made the cutoff. So we got to get soaked on Jurassic Park...twice. She loved it. It was a hot day so we were happy. 

We were waiting to meet up with Angela and Robert for dinner. He had some tests to do at the hospital before his second surgery so we thought this would be a good way to see him before surgery and entertain the kids at the same time. 

My kids were done with the park when it started getting later, and colder so we ate and then met up with them at 7:45 instead (they ended up having a long day at the hospital). Since Ashley was wet and cold I bought her a cheapy souvenir shirt to keep her warm. She was happy and said it could be pajamas.

Universal City walk at night is pretty cool. Ashley and I enjoyed window shopping. 

Angela and Robert braved rush hour traffic with a crying baby to meet up with us. Once they got there we relaxed at one of the 4 tables or so that happened to be under a covered awning. Good thing because it started pouring rain. 

We enjoyed visiting with them...

I got Jacob a funnel cake and he was happy eating it while we visited. We parted ways at about 10 at night...then I got to the car and realized I had locked the keys in it. 

After a AAA call and a long drive we finally got home at about midnight.

This last week my friend Shawna Banagas was down from Colorado for a visit. 

She planned a family evening at the park to get together. Surprisingly it ended up being chilly that evening.

She had family and friends and old ward members all come out to visit. 

Then the ice-cream man showed up. Cold and all the kids enjoyed ice-cream.

Me trying to take a picture of the boys eating ice-cream.

Finally got a picture of our big boys. Troy is hitting 6 feet now! I remember when these guys played as babies together.

The next morning we were up early to drive to our Bishop's Storehouse assignment with the youth. It was replacing mutual that night but only boys ended up coming...except for Ashley. 

She was a trouper and pushed the cart while I helped fill orders. The cart would get pretty heavy at the end but she still wanted to push it!

Jen Williamson helped with the boys and created a race to liven up their time there! Thanks for having a good attitude boys!

Ryan Orr ended up coming over after to hang out with Jacob.

Ashley wanted a friend over too so we invited Maia. 

I ended up having to bring them to the park to separate them from the boys and the airsoft and nerf guns!

I feel like every day I'm playing referee and trying to separate bored kids!

One day we just turned off all electronics and did chores. 

Last night Ashley came to my bed at 4:00 in the morning because she was cold and wet because Taylor poured water in her bed. Well she had poured water in his bed first because he had bugged her earlier in the day. 

I didn't get involved (but I did let her in my bed).

I said "If you don't want to be wet at night don't put water in your brother's bed." 

While Shawna was in town she planned a beach day. We were already planning on going to the beach so we met up with her at Huntington the bad part was it was windy and kind of cold that day. Luckily I threw my checked table cloth in again from the other day. 

The sun came out here and there. Though the water was too choppy for good boogie boarding Jacob had fun in the sand with the kids and Taylor and JJ were out in the water body surfing in the crazy waves.

Shawna and Penny (aka momma gansta rapper in her sweatsuit and glasses ;)

We brought Ashley's friend Soli with us and they burried her in the sand. 
(They said she was supposed to be a penguin)

At 2:30 the kids were asking how much longer. I told them to wait an hour...after an hour they were all back in the water playing. We stayed till about 4:30, hit Wendys and got home at 7:00. Beach days can be fun in the cold... :)

The next day I went out to LA for Robert's surgery to be with Angela, Carol and my mom who flew in for the month. We spend the day together trying not to be too nervous...waiting for word on his status. 

Robert was wheeled into surgery at about 6:00 in the morning and by 7:00 that night we got a call that the surgeon was ready to meet with Angela. He had good news they were able to remove everything that they could see of the tumor and his surgeon said it was only with the help of God that everything worked out the way it did. He will start radiation and chemo when he recovers from the surgery but we are happy that this surgery was more successful than the last one. We stayed until 10:00 when the main surgeon came out (who happened to be Dr. Martin which is the chair of neurosurgery at UCLA medical clinic) and told us he was still very sleepy and wouldn't be out of the recovery room for a couple more hours at least. So we headed home. Angela reports that he's recovering in the ICU hoping to move to his regular room soon where its much easier to visit him. 

Friday was pool day aka hitting up people that have pools for us losers that don't have them. 

Thank you Riouxs for getting us out of our hot house for a bit. 

We had Chloe over for the day. She is down at her cousins and we ended up picking her up and bringing her swimming too.

Oh one last thing... throughout this summer I've had major visiting teaching guilt. We've been gone and busy and I haven't done much visiting teaching wise. I found out this week that it was one of my sister's birthdays...luckily I was able to bring something over. 

The next day I realized I missed one of the other ones earlier in the summer, and I felt guilty when I sat next to another one in Sunday School and I haven't called her since school has been out. 

How can I have excuses for not doing more when I have pictures of beach and amusement parks on here :(

I don't seem to juggle very well in the summer time. Sorry!

Friday, July 13, 2012

EFY, 2012...and what we did while you were gone

After Taylor and a friend went to Especially For Youth at BYU last year my sister and her husband were excited for their son Scott to a plan was formed. We signed up 3 of the boys to go to EFY, Jacob and Scott would be roommates and Taylor would go on the same week but be with the older group. 

Just as I got back from girls camp...we packed up and headed to Utah. We stayed in Mesquite and hit a local ward on Sunday before heading up to the Olesons. 

It was great to see them again even though they were just down a couple of weeks before.

On the way up we saw some huge fires. Herriman had just finished having a fire (luckily put out before we got there) and this was the Alpine fire that happened a couple of days after we got there. It was hot and dry and fires are happening all over Utah.

Monday morning we packed up the kids and headed to Kneaders for a great breakfast. Virginia recommended it as one of their favorite breakfast/bakery places in Utah that specializes in all you can eat french toast. It was can see that Taylor is not amused at my attempts to take pictures to document it though. 

Then we were off to BYU....through the directions winding us through the construction traffic, through the long lines of participants to get room assignments and meals cards to check out where they would be staying.

Taylor was happy with his room this year, grabbed the bed by the window, and was very excited that he would be at the "good cafeteria".

In the end it didn't matter what bed Taylor had because he wasn't assigned a roommate. 

All the boys were excited that there was a mini-fridge in all the rooms. 

Scott relaxing on his bed...I just noticed that the door would smash into his bed every time it opened...I don't think I'd want to live on that bed for a year of college...hee hee.

Since the dorms were far from the creamery (Taylor's favorite hang out spot last year) we drove over there and loaded the boys up on snacks for their mini-fridge. They made sure to include "Purple Stuff" that was recommended by Crash Bell from our ward.

We also had to have some ice-cream...because hey it's the creamery. 

My favorite tip someone gave me about the creamery was to ask for a child's scoop and ask for two flavors. So for $1.50 you got two choices of ice cream and plenty of it for one person. The alternative was spending almost $4.00 for 2 regular scoops. So we all got our own ice cream choices for about $8.00! Everyone was happy.

At the end of the day we realized that ice-cream ended up being our lunch that day, ha ha, you only live once I guess.

After the boys were settled we headed back to Herriman and Virginia and I made dinner while Ashley, Jared and Dean swam in the kiddie pool and played on the slip and slide. It was hot in Utah! Hotter than home!

That night we went and saw a dollar movie...actually on Monday nights with more than 3 people it's only 75 cents a person...only in Utah!

After the movies we hit a frozen yogurt place and Joel got us a drink so we could try out Birch Beer (tastes like mellow root beer). 

Tuesday Joel took a 1/2 day at work and we headed up to Salt Lake. Last year on my visit we didn't even go into Salt Lake so it was fun to be back and see Salt Lake again. 

This is what we get for asking a kid to take our picture...blocked heads and cut off spires. 

Well here's a full view of the temple, even though there aren't any people in it. 

At this point I started getting misery texts from Taylor. What on the first full day of EFY!??

 By the end of the day we both realized he was getting the flu. Of all weeks ;(    Even though it was a struggle and he took every free moment to go back to try sleep and get his fever down he decided to stick it out. He said maybe it was good he didn't have a roommate because he was holed up pretty much the whole week trying to recover.

We took a tour of the Beehive House which is where Brigham Young's family lived for awhile and served as the church headquarters for a time. It was interesting to walk through the historic house but I remember in the past getting a lot more information and stories about the family, the house and the furnishings of the time. 

What surprised me was how nice it was and how spacious. There were a lot of rooms and elegant furniture that reminded me of colonial houses back east. 

The sister missionaries were nice but only told us what the rooms were used for and that was about it. 

I thought it was funny that the women's rooms were bigger and had comfortable looking beds....

and the men's rooms were simple, smaller and ropes stretched across a frame for a bed. 

After that we headed over to a church history museum. My favorite part was seeing some of the art work that was part of an art contest. This is the tree of life...made out of re-bar and bicycle chain.

After the Beehive house and the church museum we went over to the new outdoor mall, shopped at the book store and stopped for lunch at our new favorite place...the Blue Lemon. 

We had a great cranberry salad and sandwich with sweet potato fries 

and tried to recover from the heat! Everything was fresh and good.

Back at home more playing in the water for the kids....this time we just opened the curtains to watch was too hot to sit outside with them.

At home Ashley doesn't have anyone to play in a pool with...nobody wants to stoop to sitting in a kiddie pool...add a couple of cousins and a hot day and pride goes out the window ;)

This is what Jeff did on his down time. Jeff doesn't normally get time to just sit and do video games...but he said its not as much fun without someone to challenge.

That night us adults went out to get food for the family 4th of July brunch we planned last minute. Our idea was to assemble as many of our Utah cousins and their families together so we could see them all at once instead of driving all over Utah one at a time (like we did last year). 

So while we were gone we hit Roadhouse grill and the kids did their own dinner. I was so proud of them. Though we could see evidence of their dinner (because they didn't clean up) we saw that Ashley had cooked everyone Top Ramen, Jared made macaroni and cheese and they had heated up frozen mixed vegetables and had served themselves at the able and fed Dean in the process. 

Our dinner was great especially because we got to relax and have adult conversation.  I have found that summer with the kids getting older means no down time since they want to stay up just as late as we do!

The next morning we got up and started cooking and getting ready for family!

We knew that not everyone would be able to make it but we were so happy for the ones who could!

As we sat and talked we realized what a small world it was. 

My cousin Jenny knew Joel before he ever met Virginia. I guess he was dating one of Jenny's roommates and when she moved out and Virginia moved in.  Joel decided to start dating Virginia after hanging out at the dorm and getting to know her. Luckily Jenny already knew and liked Joel so she approved. the course of the conversation my cousin Jenny's husband and I realized that we were in the same BYU ward my second year at school! So basically Jenny's husband was around me before she ever knew him. After our get together he went home and looked me up in his old BYU ward directory and sent Jeff and I a picture of it!

Small world 

Here's our Brady Bunch style picture with everyone who was there...minus Jeff who was taking the picture....

and minus Joel who was taking the picture...

After everyone left and we cleaned up a bit the Oleson's took us to a Family Fun Center that was a blast. We just went to the bounce area for an hour since it was getting late but it was plenty of time to wear the kids out. 

Here is Jeff and Ashley going on one of the giant slides. 

Pretty much Ashley needed a chaperone on almost all of the things because she either couldn't reach the foodholds and needed help, or she was too chicken ;)

Since Jeff and Joel went off to play a game of laser tag...I got my workout climbing up and down those things. 

We had tickets to go to the BYU Stadium of Fire so we headed out to BYU thinking we would check out the book store and maybe eat out there. 

We got there just as they were locking the building for the night (I guess everything was closing at 5) and the bookstore hadn't been opened all day. Soooo on to plan B. We tried to hit a restaurant that was recommended by one of Joel's traveling buddies but it was closed too. 

We hit a street fair but it was so blazing hot and there was nowhere to sit we decided to go somewhere we could sit inside. We were very happy to find a cool and comfortable Thai place to eat at. 

Dean amazes me with his grown up palate and his willingness to eat whatever his parents are having. No animal crackers or chicken nuggets for him...he wants salad, pad Thai, curry or whatever else is being eaten.

Much happier now that we've eaten.

The highlight of the week was seeing the Beach Boys and Fireworks at the stadium of fire!

When we first got there it wasn't very crowded but it was still very hot.

Luckily Joel had a great idea to buy squirt fans. They were great when it wasn't crowded...then our neighbors in the stands started noticing getting hit with drops and we had to put it away hee hee.

Oleson family!


Getting ready to start and the sunset was beautiful!

Scotty McCreery was there as the opening act...the youngest American Idol winner!

I love that you can watch the sunset through the stadium.

Then it was time for the Beach Boys!

We have listened to the beach boys off and on through the years and sure enough we pretty much knew every song they played. 

These guys were celebrating their 50th anniversary...thats a long time of singing...and that means they aren't so young any more but they still sounded great and we enjoyed them!

So did everyone else in the crowd. I loved that they were hitting beach balls all over the stands.

Joel and Dean rocking out.

It started getting late and Dean was getting done...I'm sure wondering where all the fireworks were.

Then they started!

It's not called stadium of fire for nothing. 

We could feel the heat from where we were sitting. 

We were so close that we were getting ashes all over us!

The down side of seeing a big fireworks show in a getting out of the stadium when it's done! Traffic was crazy and by the time we got back to Herriman we were all glad to be able to get to bed. 

The next day was Thursday and Joel and Jeff were working. So we did a girls day out. 

Shopping! We hit a few girly stores and picked up Virginia's friend Michelle and her kids. 

The boys hung out at home and we went to the outdoor little shopping area that is full of boutiques and fun stuff that you don't see everywhere!

All the shops are housed in old pioneer houses that were relocated to the area. 

That whole morning it was pouring rain. Not prepared for it Ashley borrowed Dean's sweater from Peru. 

We ate at the bakery (Ashley didn't really eat this ;)  and found some goodies to buy. 

Ashley pointed out every monkey she found. For some reason she decided she likes monkeys now!

After shopping we made dinner. While Jeff was at a late appointment Joel and Virginia and I played a game I never played before "Stone Age"

I pretty much didn't understand it completely until the end but it was fun...and I'll be ready to play next time!

Friday was our last day in town. While Joel was at work for part of the day we decided to hang out and entertain ourselves. 

More shopping with the kids. Jeff saw a Justice store in town and asked if Ashley wanted to go to it. You don't have to ask her twice. 

It was so cute while I was in the dressing room with her, Jeff was passing in clothes..."how about this one?" Jeff is usually not much of a shopper but when he's in the mood it's cute to see him get into buying fun stuff for Ashley. 

After we hit Aeropostale for the boys. Jared even got a few shirts...
I don't think the girls store was his thing so he was happier with Aeropostale.

Afterward we went up for a drive and saw where the Herriman fires burned. 

You can see that the fire came right behind and right up to the side of these new homes!  The firefighters worked hard to save the homes in the area, many of them were very new!

Just for fun we went through a few model homes. All I can say is I wish we could have basements here in California! Very fun to look through.

Lunch at Arctic Circle (could some one bring one near us please ;)

This wasn't the first day that Ashley and Dean had ended up with matching shirts completely by chance!

Joel got home and we decided to drive down south....first through Alpine with our customary stop at the Kencraft outlet store, Peppermint Place.

You used to be able to watch them work and see how they made the candy. You can't do that any more but it was still fun!

Then we drove up to Bridal Veil Falls.

We weren't the only ones there. Another hot day brought lots of people out. 

Looking down the river from the bridge.

I thought it was cute that Dean would hold Ashley's hand pretty much anywhere we went. 

As we got closer to the falls...

It was crazy to see all the people climbing up and down them. Little kids with nothing more than flip flops or even bare foot climbing up steep rocks with water rushing over them. 

You can't see it really well but one Dad has his toddler slung over his shoulder and he is coming down. I was worried someone would make a wrong step and fall!

We stayed at the bottom and let the kids wade in the shallows!

It was cold, and rocky but you had to do it!

The brave!

Then we headed up to Sundance.  Joel was thinking it might be like Park City. Not quite. Lots smaller, but quaint and worth a visit. 

Taking the ski lift to the top and hiking around sounded fun but we missed our opportunity since they were time.

It was beautiful there, and smelled mountains :)

We explored some and then put our names in for the restaurant there. 

After an hour wait we finally got a table on the patio actually 2 tables because they didn't have a big enough one for us. Guess it was a popular place. Luckily once the food started coming it kept these guys happy and Dean stopped trying to get out of his chair. 

It was great food and a great way to end our time with the Olesons! 

Saturday morning and we picked up the boys bright and early. 7:00 am

One of didn't feel like eating much all week and skipped enough meals to cause himself migraines and probably weight loss and other other one hadn't showered all week because he didn't want to have to strip down in his room and walk the halls in a towel.

Good thing boys aren't sent off to college on their own at this age, they'd never make it!

We were happy to have them back though because we missed them!

Scott had a great time too and already misses his EFY friends!