Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free Fair Day!

On Sept. 9th we headed on down to the Puyallup Fair to save ourselves a load of money because it's the only day the fair is free! Of course by free I mean you don't have to pay to get in, you still get to pay a ton for food and rides. Actually we didn't come away that bad with our 1 ride, 1 treat per kid plan. (First, we went to McDonald's to get the kids free mango smoothies, because it was a Free Sample Friday!) We spent most of our time in the petting zoo, looking at animals and doing the Pioneer Farm, old timey, free activities, section. The kids got to shave Dada, chop wood, saw, churn butter, grind wheat and do the laundry. These would all seem like great things to do at home too, except the shave Dada part.
Oh and we don't have an old fashioned, hand ringer washing tub. So I guess, we'll just have to continue with our boring old shove the clothes in the washer plan.
All of us at the Pioneer Farm section, in the hot, hot sun. I guess I set the camera up in a very bright spot. I wanted the ferris wheel in the back. Not the greatest family shot. Oh well.
We were able to watch a cow be milked and eat ice cream at the same time. Something that's never timed out before. So that was a plus! But I think the kids were more focused on the ice cream than the cow milking. They all took turns sharing one cone.
For a treat the girls chose to share an elephant ear. They shared it with Bergie and Dada too and they still couldn't finish it.
And the boys each chose a carmel apple. Actually Jasper chose only the carmel and then gave me the whole apple when he was done.
Opal, after much indecisiveness, chose the helicopter ride!
Jasper and Kivi chose mutton bustin'. Actually, they didn't really have much choice, it was like a right of passage of some sort for Bubba. We kept telling him he could do it now that he was four. So they knew way before fair day, they would both be mutton bustin'.

He was so excited until it was actually his turn. Then he got really scared. But there was so much whooping and hollering, the guys running the show didn't even notice. Plus Peter was cheering him on so enthusiastically, they just set him on and he was out the gate. He held on tight and then he was off 2 seconds later.

Kivi was ready to beat her time from last year. She held on super tight, but then slid off after a second and a half. It was ok though because she got a super cool bruise on her leg in the shape of a hoof print. The sheep had stepped right on her and it made a perfect imprint.
They did so good and were so brave! They even had to wait forever in those hot vests and helmets because it was the first day of the fair and everything wasn't quite ready and Nightline was there filming it so they had to get all their camera equipment in just the right places. But they mutton busted and had the dirt and bruises to prove it. Now I'm curious to see if Nightline is doing an expose on the horrid parents who make their young children ride a sheep at horrifying speeds only to have them fall off a second later and be trampled and covered in dirt. What kind of parents would do such a thing to their kid?
Eben, who is too old now to mutton bust, chose a huge roller coaster. And he went all by himself!
I tried to get a shot of him in action on the ride, and this one was pretty perfect with the "hold on tight - watch for sudden drops" sign. It summed up all three of the big kids ride experiences pretty well.
Then around 1:30 we left. No quilts or hobby hall for me this year. I didn't even get cotton candy. But it was enough. It was getting very crowded and was probably the hottest day in WA to go to the fair. So we were all fine with going home and taking a nap (after a stop at McDonald's for some chicken nuggets because we completely forgot to feed the kids lunch).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Rest of Summer

Mimi and my parents stayed up here in WA until September 6th. My parents stayed mostly at their rental on the lake, so we'd kayak over to see them regularly and they'd visit for lunch and dinner when they took a short break from their very time consuming remodeling projects. Mimi stayed in the girls room. The kids loved all sleeping in the boys room so much that they slept in there on the floor even after they all had left - until the boy's room flooded - but that's another story.

While Mimi was here she worked with Berg on his walking everyday. They'd walk circles around the fireplace and he loved it. He's still not walking yet, but he's only 16 mos. so that would be a pretty early walker for a kid in our family.

Mimi's highlight was going on a ride-along with Peter for a day. Sadly the day before this, she was suppose to go and waited all day for Peter to pick her up but there was a bank robbery and Peter couldn't get away. He made up for it the next day, although it was the most boring police day ever he said. He still locked her up in a holding cell and took her to see exciting Tillicum.

We went blackberry picking many times and we didn't even have to go very far. I'm not sure if it's a good thing to have so many blackberries on our property. They're great for not having to go far to pick, but they sure do take over fast! Mimi helped Kivi and I make blackberry jam. It actually turned out more like blackberry syrup. I'll have to try this again, but I'm afraid. Canning is no easy process.

Peter again is so wonderful to me as he helped me with a project that he didn't even want to do in the first place. Last fall we took out all of the concrete steps going down to the beach, so I wanted to use them to make a rough type patio going out to the chickens. Sadly I couldn't really help, because they were so heavy. But I did move a lot of dirt. The kids helped out a ton too moving a huge load of bricks. And that black thing is the cool rain barrel we got at the Steilacoom farmer's market to water the chickens and plants on the beach side. The first day it rained it filled up to the top and fell over. So now it's braced to the beam.

After Jasper tried skiing the one time in Shasta and falling (thanks to his unskilled mama) he was in no hurry to try again. Somehow Nonnie and Peter talked him into it. He was so scared, but I think the bribe of candy after he tried kept him on the board. He kept saying, "Oh, oh, I'm so scared. This is so scary. Ok, I think I can do it. Oh, I'm so scared." He was so cute. He even stayed on for a bit in a squatted position.

Kivi mastered the double skis! She's really got a thing for this now.

Eben did awesome on doubles! This is him swimming the skis in after a 2 lap run. I just love how he's so tired out he's not even bothering to get the hair out of his face.

Poppie and Nonnie took all the kids for a couple laps each around the lake right before they hopped into their very packed car with Mimi for their drive home to CA. It was so great to have them all here for the summer!

Jasper got it! He was very proud of himself on the trainer board. He did a full lap around the lake at about 5 mph! Even when the jet ski stopped he just sort of sunk slowly into the water still standing on the board.

The 6th was also the day we had our first eight egg day! Yay! That means all of our chickens are laying now! It also means that none of them are roosters or died, which is pretty good for us. I guess buying chickens at Dell's vs. a little farm from Craigslist is the way to go.

And here's the almost finished concrete/cobblestoney look I was going for with steps up to the chicken yard. Plus my cute potting bench which we never used on top of the deck is proving to be very useful under the deck next to the coop.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sand In The City '11

How do I know my sweet hubby loves me? He told me when Sand in the City was happening and that we could all go! This is love because Peter hates things with crowds, and this was definitely a crowd type event. But he told me anyway and even better he came with us! I love to see the different creativity and ideas people come up with for the sculptures. My favorite was the elephants:
Dada got really good at large bubble tricks.
The girls were so cute in their matching ruffle skirts which I made out of a used sheet and some free tule. They got so many comments on them and of course, I can't lie, that made me feel really good.

Our traditional picture is usually in front of the Children's Museum one, but they were still working on it, it's the one in the way back. So I guess this still counts.
We had lunch with some friends from our small group, let the kids chose a craft (there are millions they could do there) and then left to buy some flowers at the farmer's market for our newest friend, baby Pippa, whom we were on our way to see at the hospital.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mimi Time!

After the houseboat trip, everyone, including Nonnie, Poppie, my two sisters Shmee (previously known as Dodie) and Buggy came up north to WA! The drive was not so pleasant for me as I was throwing up during the lovely, bumpy ride home. But Nonnie and Buggy took good care of me and the kids. Sadly Buggy only stayed for two days and then had to get back for college (plus she was probably extremely Kirk-sick as she hadn't seen her love for nearly a week!). But the next day, August 23, Mimi flew into town to spend some time with us while Nonnie and Poppie worked on their rental which is on our lake. Of course she brought "Basket of Presents" with her!

We took Mimi to Northwest Trek and saved bucco bucks thanks to all the kids' awesome summer reading and the library's reward system.

We saw many cool animals, like the bald eagle, really close up.

While we waited for our turn on the tram ride, where we saw every animal there is to see, we did a plant scavenger hunt and ate licorice.

Me, Mimi and Baby Wormie (the most kickingest little thing ever!) Mimi kept telling me to take a break and sit down the whole time she was here and was a great help with the kids and the dishes and laundry!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lake Shasta Part II

Kivi was so daring and brave. She was the first one to try everything. She almost gave up waterskiing because we had her trying water starts, but Peter got inventive and let them out slowly from the back of the boat. He got really good at it and I'm sure his arms must have been killing him at the end of each day, but he never complained. He was so happy that Eben and Kivi were actually skiing. The Hays family let us borrow their trainer board, which is one piece at the top, so it feels much more sturdy and the rope is attached to the board. The scary part for the kids was once they were done, they just had to let go and fall backwards into the water. They got over it soon enough though and were begging to go back out all the time.

Once Eben mastered it, it was hard to get him to stop. He could hold on forever.

My mom and pop brought along their super cool kayaks, which was my favorite thing to do. The kids and I found this cool cove which we named Mud Salon. We made sculptures out of the mud like I did when I was little at Shasta and plastered it all over our bodies. The next day we kayaked everyone over to it and the kids showed off their art and applied the muddy goop to them too.

I like the contrast between the dark red-brown clay and my white belly.

Eben jumping off the top of the houseboat while Opal and I look on. We had to get in the water everyday. It was super hot. And it would've been fine, except there were many fish and I have many moles. The fish tried to eat my moles every time I got into the water. Every day I'd put a piece of tape on a new mole, so by the end of the trip I had tape all over me.

Jasper and Opal liked riding in the boat and tubing. Opal even took her naps on the floor of the ski boat (while it was going). I love that my cautious little man is using the slow down sign in this picture. They couldn't have been going more than 5 miles an hour.

On the steep hill sides all around our cove Poppie, Nonnie and Buggy had made huge letters of the kids' first names for them to find. The slopes were also a good place to practice their sling shot skills, make a miniature golf course, and get cut when you fell.

Berg did amazingly well on this trip although he was confined to inside the houseboat, he also had the run of the place. One of the rules the kids had to follow was "Close the screen door, so Berg doesn't die." And he didn't, so that was good. His daily activities included driving the houseboat to nowhere, since we never moved it from our perfect cove, sleeping in the closet, swimming, playing with his toys and yelling at meal times.

Jasper spent most of his time on top of the houseboat playing what else…Legos!

Dada was determined to figure out the air chair. He wake boarded some, but mostly he and my Dad fell over and over until something finally clicked and they stayed up! Peter was so happy to have mastered it. Look at how cute he is!

Our family of fish. I don't think I've ever spent so much time in the water. This was taken right after a "Try to Shove the Other Person off the Kayak Challenge", which I won. We had a great time with my parents and sisters and each other at Lake Shasta. Thanks Nonnie and Poppie!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lake Shasta Part I

This August my parents invited us to come along on their houseboat trip to Lake Shasta to celebrate Buggy's graduation. On the 13th at midnight we headed down in the bus with my sister, Shmee. The bus was awesome. There was lots of room and the kids slept on their own bench seat. I slept on the hide-a-bed in the back until… we woke up and realized we weren't moving for a long time. The poor bus had broken down in a podunk town in Oregon. Peter was on the phone forever to AAA trying to make them understand that the bus is our personal vehicle, not commercial. But they wouldn't budge on their technicality and refused to tow us. While Peter tried over and over to find a tow under $600 to the nearest town, we picked black berries, flowers and watched a movie. My sister and I decided to take a long walk with the kids to church since it was Sunday, we needed prayer and it was apparent we were going to be stuck for a much longer time. There happened to be a little white church we could see across the freeway. It turned out to be a Christian church! Church hadn't started yet, but 3 older people were there ready to set up and let us use the bathrooms and gave us a tour and cookies. We told them our troubles and pointed out our stuck bus and they prayed for us. Peter had called when we got there and said he had a tow lined up. A sweet lady from the church drove us back to the bus but she cautioned us that nothing would be open in any of the towns around because it was Sunday.

Well, God had already been amazing and he didn't stop. The tow truck driver let us all ride in the bus (highly illegal, but saved us lots of dough!) and when he pulled us into the closed auto shop all the guys were there to help remodel the office, but they stopped and all started working on the bus! The owner even called AAA and made them pay for the tow since it was evident this was definitely our family ride.

We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and jelly bellies in the hot, hot sun while we waited and the guys told us there was an ice cream shop down the road. So we even had some yummy ice cream treats!

It was a miraculous turn of events and the kids thought it was a great adventure. We eventually got to the houseboat, only 6 hours later than we had planned, loaded all of our stuff and jumped in the water. Yes, even me. It was hot.

Our home for the week:

That first couple of days the kids attempted many new water sport feats: tubing, water skiing, jumping off the roof and kayaking.

Poppie was the main boat driver although Nonnie and Peter did their fair share too. He was always behind the wheel because someone was always skiing.

The kids watched movies on the laptop when they needed some down time. And they were super excited about the 5 snacks a day plan Dada came up with. (They only got a snack if they obeyed all the rules - I think Opal's average was 1 snack a day.)