Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer wrap up and the start of school

This summer we didn't get as many beach days in as we have in the past but we got a few. This was a fun one that reminded me of old times. Sharla, Penny and Simone...we missed Cindy by a week and we would've been complete. 

When there is no flattering way to pose on the helps to use props, ha ha.

We used to come when the kids were all little...

and now they are growing up. 

Summer was the perfect time for Ashley to bond with nature.

Here we were at a party and instead of swimming Ashley was getting to know the tarantula.

She's brave!

I actually held it too but as I was holding it the owner started talking about how it would just feel like a bee sting if it bit me...and I was done.

Another day Ashley found this lizard in the front yard and caught it and kept it for a pet for a day. 

We did some research and found out it was a baby alligator lizard. 

She liked it until it started crawling all up her arm and into her hair and opened it's mouth really wide... then she was ready to let it back into the wild. 

Some snail habitats were made with friends. 

Ashley's favorite pastime used to be to make snail habitats when she was young. The problem was they would escape in the night and we would have snails crawling around the house!

In August Jacob turned 16!!

The Oleson family stayed with us the day before his birthday so we sang to Jacob while we had them with us! 

While Virginia and Joel and their family are getting settled in Oceanside we've had the opportunity to have them over a few times this summer which is fun.

(Dean is sitting next to her snail habitat)

The day after Jacob's birthday his cousin JJ came home from his mission and we got to come and meet him at the airport!

Jacob is holding the same sign that they used at Josh's homecoming, ha ha!

He's here! Looking as good as ever and with his signature smile.

It was fun to be there as their family reunited...

JJ would sign off all his letters saying he missed his nephews...he finally gets to hold Caden and meet Zander. 

Caden and Zander weren't too sure about him at first but they warmed up quick.

Afterwards we all went out to lunch at In-n-Out...which JJ hadn't been able to eat at in 2 years because they don't have them in Florida.

Here are 7 teens sitting at a table made for 4!

The next Sunday we got to go to sacrament meeting where JJ talked. Afterwards Taylor was ordained an elder with his uncles and cousins that were able to stand in the circle. It was nice to have family surrounding him for it.

On Jacob's actual birthday Ashley wanted to make him a surprise cake.

With a little bit of help she made a homemade yellow cake with hot chocolate frosting. 

Yum. She even hid it from him and called him down to see it. 

He didn't end up eating any of it though since he's not a really big cake fan. 

(Welcome to my world, hee hee)

Our last beach trip of the summer was the Stake Beach Party.

We came down early with a stuffed carload of girls. 

We weren't the only ones that came early so they had a lot of fun.

Playing smashball.

The tradition is to have hot dogs, corn boiled in sea water, chips and drinks with smores for dessert. 

Ashley brought her friend Kate. Her birthday is in a couple of weeks and Ashley can't wait until they are in young women's together.

The last day before school officially starts for Ashley and we got up early (for summer standards) and went down to the school for registration. 

It took 2 hours to snake through all the lines to get her schedule and her books and PE clothes. 

The good thing about being in line that long is she got to see a lot of her friends and get excited to go to school.

That afternoon we had scheduled to do a end of the summer pool day at the Bagley's with Jenae and Jolene...just as we were going to leave to go to the pool it started thundering and lighting and pouring rain!

We cancelled and then had an afternoon of a rare summer storm.

3 things got cancelled that day including our Relief Society Pool Party. We are so used to good weather here we never think about plan B when its bad. 

Jacob and Ashley played out in the rain. Jacob jumped on the trampoline until hail started pelting him and he got off yelling "Ow...Ow...Ow" Then he and Ashley jumped into the Jacuzzi...but with the cover half on so the rain and hail wouldn't get them, ha ha. 

Instead of being out that night I got to stay home and hang out with the family. Taylor and Jacob got a kick of seeing this guy on TV. He had subbed both of their classes in school and he ended up on a studio audience of a show we were watching. Taylor is taking his picture on his phone and texting one of his former classmates.

Ashley's "freshman" first day. It was a short day to be introduced to her classes. 

Jacob also attended Freshmen first day at the high school as a leader. Him and his friend were in charge of a group of freshmen that they took on a tour and played unity games with and helped them with their transition into high school. 

After the short day Kate came over and Ashley and her helped make guacamole for dinner. They did a great job, it was good guacamole!

Joel and Virginia were back for another couple of days so we got to have them over for dinner...

The trampoline got some more use. 

(Maddie has learned how to jump on and off the trampoline herself now)

On Saturday we milked out some more summer by going to Knotts Soak City 
(minus 3 of our boys who wanted to stay home) 

I have found it's much better to let complainers stay home and just take the ones that want to go. 

We had a great day.

We wore Dean out but he got a nap while we went on slides.

On the way home we stopped off at BJ's 

(a favorite place to eat)

Ashley didn't want pictures...

but she took pictures of us...

Joel and Virginia and the kids came with us to church the next day and was with us when Jacob was made a priest. Taylor and Scott were able to stand in the circle which was fun.

Now that school is starting we decided to adopt out the last chinchilla.  

She's a cutie but she's alone now and Taylor doesn't have as much time to care for her and she's too squirrely for Ashley to handle. The morning that the chinchilla jumped out of Ashley's hands and started running around the house we had Taylor help catch her and we took pictures to adopt her out. 

I had 5 people that wanted her. 

We ended up adopting her to a guy that had another chinchilla and he's a zoology grad student over at UCR. Taylor filled him in on caring for kits and he was happy that it was a nice guy that already knew about chinchillas.

So after begging for months and keeping her room clean Ashley was allowed to buy her own pet with her own money that she is going to care for all by herself. 

She is now the proud owner of a hamster. 

She can hold it, clean the cage and feed it herself. 
She assures us she is going to demonstrate responsible pet ownership :)

Ashley introducing the hamster to Maddie. 

Maddie keeps trying to lick the hamster ball which makes the ball Maddie is usually put outside when she's rolling around.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Girls Camp 2014

This year I was able to go up to girls camp with Ashley all week!

We weren't in the same cabin or even on the same side of the camp but I was able to experience the week with her and touch bases with her when we would all meet together. 

I think I had just as much fun as she did (though I think I was more tired at the end of the week)

Ashley is in the front row all the way to the left in this picture.  

(I'm way in the back)

Camp for us started off at the Stake Center where we worked on certification. I was in charge of lunch which was dutch oven meals of chicken and rice and cobblers. 

While the girls were learning about cooking... 

knotts, nutrition, knives and fires and such...

the older girls were up at camp decorating and getting ready for the younger campers. 

I brought a van full of girls up a little early and they were there with balloons ready to welcome the campers who rode up on the bus.

The theme this year was "Come unto Christ and be a Hero"

All the cabins had superhero names

Ashley's cabin was Wonder Woman

She was happy to have Anna Hales and Nina Rioux from our ward in our cabin that she already knew and then she got to know a lot of new friends. 

I was in the Hulk cabin.

I was glad to get to know some great girls and fun leaders. 

the inside of the cabin. 

Camp started off with some unity games...

and that night we had a great fireside. Even Ashley agreed that the speaker did a great job, she really liked him!

Ashley loved spending the week with silly friends and cousins Jenae and Jolene too!

I think one of the most memorable activities they did was the color activity. The girls didn't know what was happening. They were to turn around and close their eyes. All they knew was that it was going to be messy and they were nervous. 

Sister Hales then gave a powerful analogy. She talked about having a colorful life, where everything was good. Then life turned upside down when her husband had his accident and broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. Then she told about how her husband is her hero, he is Humble, Ever Faithful, Responsible and Obedient. She said life hasn't been easy but it's still a colorful life. So when life gets turned upside down remember that you can still have a colorful life.

The girls all then received 4 bags of color representing the 4 attributes and went to town...

Color everywhere!

Kelzey got Ashley good with the green when she dumped the whole bag on her head!

She was cleaning green out of her ears a week later.

Thanks Kelzey!

Everyone was quite colorful.

Luckily it was right before the trip to the lake where they could get washed off a bit. 

The showers were full all that afternoon with girls trying to get clean. 

It didn't work that well and you could see traces of color on some of them through the end of camp :)

One of the workshops called up some girls and they were challenged to eat two warhead sour candies. Ashley thought it would make a great picture. Kelzey...I guess she got you back.

Another highlight of the week was the Variety Show. Ashley liked Jenae and Jolene and their invisible tennis match.

And we were all impressed with the Bradford's Karate skills.

Ashley and I on the hike with Jolene.

Beautiful view from the top. 

Eating lunch before we head back down.

The last day was a bunch of fun games. Jared allowed his sisters to beautify him for the occasion. 

There was rock climbing (Kelzey again)

And a drip tank rather than a dunk got pretty cold. 

Jared was a good sport and participated. You can see his smile underneath all the water. 

That night was bishops night. Jeff got to do the song and dance even though he was just representing Bishop. Ashley and I enjoyed having him come up to camp that night with us. 

After his spiritual lesson we played a game of Boccie ball and then headed up to the fire pit for testimonies.  

The last night of camp I got about 3 hours of sleep. After a late night girls wanted me to set my alarm to wake them up for the sunrise hike. So at 5:30 I got up with them and thought I'd enjoy our last morning in Big Bear. 

Here is the view from testimony rock. 

It was a nice way to end the week. 

Meanwhile while Ashley and I were at camp...

Jacob was at a camp of his own. 

He was at cheer camp all week learning how to be a mascot!

Taylor was at UCR at an overnight orientation where he registered for classes and is set to start the physics program this fall.