Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Fun

One would think, gentle reader, that the summer fun would have ended with the great Disneyland trip. (Or, depending on one's perspective, one might think the fun never ends with eight children and all their friends around in the summer...) However, the fun goes on. Here are some pictures to show you what great things we have been doing:
Katie had Girls' Camp this past week. Because Rich is "in between jobs", he gets to accompany the kids on all their camping fun this summer. He and Katie took the 3rd year hike together, which was 3 miles in and 1 mile backout. Rich went up as a Priesthood dad and got to relax and read while the girls spent their time working on certification. The first picture is Rich and Katie decked out for the hike. The second is Katie with the other 3rd year hikers from our ward. The last is Katie and her best friend, Celeste. Katie says Girls' Camp was "amazing!" She did come back with an infection in a cut on her ankle, so we had to take her to urgent care today for an antibiotic.

With one girl away for the week, we took the opportunity to let Daniel have his belated 12th birthday party. As a new deacon, he invited the boys in his quorum, plus a few boys who are about to turn 12, plus two other good friends. With brothers, that made 16 boys! They were supposed to play Capture the Flag, but it was still over 100 degress when the party began at 5 pm, so we opted for water fun. They had a water war in the back that moved out front. None of the neighbors called to complain, so I guess it went okay. At 8:45 pm, they finally headed over to the park with Rich for their game of Capture the Flag.

Like Wade, Rich also spent some time at Cub Scout Camp with Josh. Again, it was over 100 degrees which put a damper on Rich's fun but not Josh's! Rich did see Dan Peterson, a best friend from high school, someone he had not seen since college. We learned that he lives in our stake with his family.
This weekend, Rich will head off to camp again with Daniel and his Scout troop. Did I mention that we are going camping all next week at Bodega Bay? It is a good thing Rich has learned to like camping by now!!
Last is a picture of our little Miss Banana, my full-time job that keeps me home while Rich roams here and there camping with his kids. We all think she is the cutest baby ever!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We had sooooo much fun!!!

After we left Jen and Aaron's house in Simi Valley (Wade--sorry we didn't get to see you--hope you are feeling better), we headed off to Anaheim to the hotel. We stayed in a fun hotel with turtles and fish, a heated pool, and glass elevators! These pictures are of the inside atrium of the hotel, if you have never been to an Embassy Suites. We spent the first evening getting settled, swimming at the pool and finding good places to eat. We discovered an IHOP a few minutes away advertising "Kids Eat Free after 2 pm." I don't think they were counting on a family like ours!!

We went to Disneyland on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. We also spent some time over at California Adventure on Friday. We went early in the morning, headed back to the hotel for a swim and a nap in the afternoon, and then went back over for the evening. Even Jeffrey was tall enough for all but one ride at Disneyland. We had a book with a suggested itinerary for a day at the park with adults and small children. The crowds were pretty light, especially in the morning and evening, and we really had a great time riding all of the rides on the list. Some of the family favorites were: Space Mountain (Adam and Dad), Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Jeffrey), California Screamin', Soarin' Over California, Grizzly River Run (Jacob)and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Mom and Josh). Anna like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. On Wednesday evening, we left all the kids at the hotel, and Rich and I headed over to Disneyland for a "date". We had from 9-11 pm. We rode the Mark Twain Steamboat, which I had really wanted to ride at night. Then we hustled from ride to ride, even running at the end, so we could ride as much as possible. We got to ride the last two runs of Big Thunder Mountain! I think that those two hours exemplify two of the lessons of our life with children: "Less is more" and "The power of the take-away". Often, the less we get, the more we enjoy what we have (like having only two hours for just us and cramming in all we could in the time we had). Also, when we give something up, we really appreciate it that much more when we finally get it back (like not needing to get a babysitter to go on a date)!!

On Thursday, we headed over to the beach for boogie boarding and playing in the water. It was a beautiful day, and we got to watch some dolphins and lots of surfers. Anna had a love/hate relationship with the sand. She wanted to eat it but sure didn't like it once it was in her mouth!!

I don't think I can describe all the fun we had on this trip. Here is a list of some of the other favorites that we talked about on the long ride home: All of the fun rides; A Bug's Life 3-D show; the escalator at the Mickey and Friends parking lot; free donuts and soda at the hotel; swimming in the pool; seeing dolphins at the beach; Mom and Dad date night; watching the Disney channel; seeing the Electric Parade and Fantasmic on Friday night; picking out a souvenir; riding the tram from the parking lot to the park; watching everyone have fun together at the beach. That is my favorite memory, and it is the last picture I put on here. There are seven of our children playing happily in the water together (Anna was with Rich and I as we looked on).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Vacation Kicks Off!

We started off our vacation with a weekend at Rich's sister's (Jen) house in Simi Valley for the weekend. While Rich, Jacob, and Daniel went paintballing on Saturday, the little kids enjoyed playing in the water with their cousins.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday on Sunday (now 12!). We opened presents before church, and then had all of Rich's siblings living in the area over for a crazy dinner and some cake. Jeffrey conked out from all of the festivities.