Saturday, July 31, 2010

Late Night Party

Maddie couldn't really think about a party until it was actually her birthday. But once it was, she called up the friends who were in town and I threw together a late night. The girls came over for dinner and cake and a lot of giggling. Then they went downstairs where they had spa time with facials and mani-pedis and a lot of giggling. Finally they watched Strictly Ballroom which was old enough none of them had seen it before. It caused a lot more giggling.
Maddie has really lovely friends. We couldn't have chosen any better ourselves!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lightning Strikes Twice

An occupational hazard of teaching at the nation's #1 Stone Cold Sober university:
Another love letter from our Berlin Study Abroad 06' (and film seminar) students. They wanted to make certain that no one else got credit for their work.
They were obviously hoping that the front sprinklers would come on automatically, but they didn't know that the professor is paranoid of his watering system.
One set of neighbors scared them away early on.
A second (our home teacher) got the make, model and license plate of the car (silver Town & Country or Chrysler, #**5 5*U).
A third (Provo's police chief) is checking up on that for us (so nice having neighbors in high places)!
While Rob plans an elaborate and extravagant revenge, I'm looking up the statute of limitations on grade changes. Students and graduates beware!
Oh, silly children! You didn't need to give us a year's supply of TP and plastic cutlery to let us know that you love us!
A Billa bag of Haribo would have sufficed!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Master of the House

When this kid wants something, he lets you know.
As soon as his sister got a bike, he wanted a piece of the action, birthday or no.
Sigh. So I pulled out the box I'd been hiding and we assembled his bike and now he goes Flintstoning around the neighborhood and shouting "I like bike! I like bike!" At least it's appreciated.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Maddie Lou's Domestic Birthday

Maddie Lou celebrated her last two birthdays out of town, so she was excited to be home and around her friends this year. She started the day by shopping for a new bicycle with her Papa. After shopping around three different stores, she finally picked this one which she has named Gladys, just like Flavia de Luce in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. She spent the morning pedaling around the neighborhood.
We spent the afternoon at the swimming pool and when we came home, she'd gotten a bee sting on the front porch. At age 12 you move into a new church class, which in the girls' case is called the Beehive class. Her church leader really runs with a theme, as you can see by the poster, the balloons, the Bit-O-Honey . . . Maddie was tickled.
She opted for a Boston Cream Pie for her cake.
It was a hit. Even her brothers, who had spent much of the day railing against the injustice of life (as it was not their birthdays), and consequently pounding each other, found something to like about the Boston Cream Pie.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cedar Breaks

[click to enlarge] After we left Brok and Heather, we drove up the mountain to see Cedar Breaks National Monument because, well, it was there and so were we. We didn't have any expectations, so we were blown away. It's like a little Bryce Canyon, but framed by a very different landscape.
We decided to hike to Spectra Point which traces a path along the very rim of the redrock basin, and weaves in and out of alpine and meadow and barren rock landscapes. We happened along just in time for the wildflowers to be out in bloom and it was gorgeous. It didn't hurt that it was also nice and cool up so high in the mountains. I was absolutely adamant that everyone beslubber themselves with sunscreen, then promptly forgot to hit up myself while trying to police everyone else. There's certainly a lesson there somewhere . . .
The kids got right to work earning their Junior Ranger badges. This time they didn't need any help from us. Rob was crazy about the WPA-era architecture of the visitors' center.
Sebi my hiking buddy in front of a view of Little Ireland. There was once a group of enterprising dairy farmers who made cheese here to be shipped to San Francisco. And we asked about all the dead trees. It is a cycle caused by a spruce beetle and right now the beetle is winning.
Color me grateful to have a leash for Joss! The views were breathtaking, but the drops were heartstopping!
Joss was a good little hiker and the professor was a good sport to carry him when he wasn't.
If we don't say anything, they might not notice that they're getting along!
So proud of his junior ranger badge. He got quizzed on it later and passed with flying colors!
Taking a "My Side of the Mountain" break in a bristlecone pine 'living room'. We'd definitely come back and do it again. Next time I really want to take the Alpine Pond hike. Beautiful!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brian Head and Shakespeare

In September of 1980, the professor moved from Glendora, CA to Orem, UT where he met Heather, above, who had also recently moved from Orange, CA. They bonded over the difference in style (boat shoes and Op and Hang Ten) and church culture and on being the odd SoCal kids. They have been friends ever since, singing in choirs, performing in shows, egging houses, cutting classes, bombing their freshman Book of Mormon class at BYU, and going to heaven only knows how many dances together. When Heather married Brok, Rob's sisters were bridesmaids. When Rob and I got married, Heather and Gerilyn flew out to attend. And when Gerilyn died unexpectedly five years ago, Heather, Rob, Brok and I sang at the funeral.
So, it has been nearly 30 years of friendship for these two. Partially to celebrate this, Heather and Brok invited us down to spend the night in Brian Head with their family and with Brother and Sister Pottymouth and their kids: Atticus, Sweet Boy, Mr. Wigglebrows and JBoo. We spent the day introducing the kids to each other, nap time hanging out and talking, and in the evening we left the children in the charge of the oldest four and drove down to Cedar City to see Much Ado About Nothing.
It was a stellar production. We were outside in the replica Globe theater and so close we could see the sweat, tears and spittle from the actors. Two and a half hours flew by and we promised we'd do it again.
Joss and his colleague Jboo appreciate the kid furniture.
Rob led the kids in a rousing game of Apples to Apples which they've been trying to recreate ever since.
Brok grilled amazing chicken and burgers for us in the evening and we celebrated three birthdays and an anniversary.
The pool table was always in use by some combination of boys.
The breakfast crew making crepes and waffles and bacon and sausage . . .
Hanging around outside was fun too, though Joss liked the swing better than the hammock!
Thanks Brok and Heather for a wonderful weekend!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cousin Camp: It's a Wrap!

After naps, we drove up to South Fork Park to meet up with a great strange circle of people loosely connected by Boston or Mormonism or both. It's too difficult to explain it all, but I'll just say that everyone knew at least two other families there, and no one knew everyone except Allen & Liesl.
It was a wondrous assortment of kids, too aged 1-12.
Mmmm, lovely candid shot, huh! The adults had some interesting conversations going in between running after kids. The ones I was eavesdropping on were about Mormon foodways, medical missions to the Philippines and environmental determinism in Britain vs. Germany.
We'd changed the location because it was so hot down in the valley. Once we were up in the canyon it began to rain, but we all pretended it wasn't and finally the clouds gave up and moved away.
My children stayed uncharacteristically dry. Perhaps the professor hadn't bribed them to submerse themselves?
We had the cousins for one more day and we spent the morning hanging around the house and cleaning Maddie's room (which took two adults helping! Thanks Saydi!). In the afternoon we went swimming at the Veterans Pool which is a nice way to spend a hot day. It was especially nice because Joss stayed home and slept with Rob so I didn't have to brave the Vile Water Toy of Death.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cousin Camp: Museum of Ancient Life

[click to enlarge] After the petting zoo, we walked over to the dinosaur museum. I had only been here once before when we attended a dinner, so I didn't know much about it. It starts off pretty slow, which was fine by us because it was so dark and cool inside. But the kids found plenty to explore, from the wee toddler corner to the interactive computer exhibits, the tunnels and ramps, giant skeletons and the archeological dig at the end. Grandma went with Sebastian until she realized that he was going to read every word of every plaque in the whole building. It was such a hit with the kids that Rob and I decided right there to get an annual membership so that we could bring them back.
Will and Charlie working on erosion landscapes out of water and sand. This kept all the boys busy for a good long while.
Maddie and Hazel made their own dinosaur, which was a really cute exhibit. This one is called the Cousinosaurus.
After everyone had dug out some bones, Grandma took us all out to lunch. The cousins had a great time playing and discovering together.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cousin Camp: Farm Country

On Tuesday we drove up to Thanksgiving Point. We went to Farm Country which was perfect for the littler kids, but still kept the older ones interested for almost an hour.
Grandma Shumway showed up too! We were so glad she was in town, but unfortunately it was for yet another funeral. It's been a big year. But we were glad she could meet us and take a break from weightier matters to have some secret meetings and pony rides.
All the kids got to ride ponies (even Maddie, who squeezed in under the weight and age limits!) and I think this was Joss' first trip. He is a more adventurous soul than the others were at this age. Check out that smile and the wave!
[click to enlarge] No one but Joss was adventurous enough to feed the friendly cow some corn. Jeff and I got slimed and had to use the hand sanitizer. Liberally.
The colt was skittish, but let Rob stroke him; the pigs were lazy and wouldn't get up; the peacock was doing a dance for his hen that I wasn't certain the kids should be seeing!
Emmeline was a doll, and had warmed up to us enough that she would actually smile!
Posted by Picasa