We have been exploring pools in the area to have our annual Swim Camp next year and last week we had a blast swimming and sliding.
The big, hill slides that were sauna-like hot inside.
Annes tackled the big slides along with all the big kids.
Coming out of the chute – no, she isn’t drowning, jut being swept away to the stairs.
Here she is, so proud of her bravery on the big slide.
The foam pads made it slick and speedy.
She loved going down this one because at the end you aren’t moving hardly at all and she could stop, stand up, and jump out.
The splash park was a hit with all the little ones.
Sunburns, smiles, and freckle-growing were on the upswing.
One happy boy.
These goggles crack me up.
I love that my children are die-hard swimmers. They will swim till the cows come home if I let them and their courage impresses me. My husband *hates* swimming, but I love it and so do my kiddos, so it is one of our favorite summer pastimes when he is at work. I am hoping to catch our little lake with the kayaks sometime this week and maybe Bear Lake as well. Summer in Idaho is so short, we need to pack our days full of adventure while the sun is warm and the wind is slow – it will be gone before we know it.
My baby is growing up. She is now a proud 5 1/2 year old, but I still think of her as my baby. She very well may be my last child and it is pretty hard to watch her grow up so quickly.
The day after we got home from Swim Camp she made a huge jump forward in her growing-up-quest – she lost her first tooth!
This marks the youngest age at which one of our children have lost a tooth and it beats my record by a mile! I lost my first tooth at age 10 – the August right before I started fifth grade.
Her new smile is super cute, but it pains my heart to see it – surely she isn’t old enough to be losing teeth!
Here she is with some of her cousins…third cousins to be exact. These are some of Tami’s children minutes before we walked out the door to church.
Sadie’s puppies are now about 7 weeks old. They are so stinkin’ cute! If they would stay this size, we might be tempted to keep all of them!
This is Sadie’s little twin – we call him Diego.
So far, my friend Cosette has claimed the cute little black one. The three light honey colored ones are adorable and the lone dark caramel one is a favorite around here. They are all available for adoption for the super low price of fifty buckaroos and will be ready to go home with you next week.
We have thoroughly enjoyed having puppies this time – it is amazing what a difference it makes when there are only five instead of nine! If you would like to make one of these puppies a new addition to your family contact us lickety-split and we will set up an appointment to come look at them and select your new furry companion.
Ack! I still haven’t posted about Annesley’s first lost tooth, our hike at Cress Creek, or our swimming adventure and now it is time for me to be off again. Tomorrow I am taking Blythe to Present Yourself, a class on learning impactful public speaking and mastering one’s body language. She earned a free ticket back in November by writing an awesome essay about her mission in life.
Before I go though, I wanted to share a few of our newest book finds!
The Serpent Came To Gloucester is so fun! The entire book is written as a poem and reading it out loud to Fisher this morning was a treat. I could read it all day! It is a long, meandering poem told from the perspective of a little boy who wants the sea serpent to live and frolic while his fellow townsfolk hunted it across the sea. Fisher identified immediately with the little boy and kept hoping the sea serpent would escape.
By the way, after his itsy-bitsy snake he adopted at Swim Camp escaped, he found a new one in our yard a few days ago. It is about five times as big and he loves it with all his bug-loving heart. We even found him sleeping with it in his sleeping bag! Thank goodness he was outside! I don’t think this boy is scared of any creature out there. He is sure he can tame them and make them his friend.
We are huge Anno fans over here and Anno’s Alphabet is one of our latest delights. If you are looking for a new spin on the old alphabet book, here are some we are reading with Annes right now. The City ABC Book is full of pictures of big city objects that have letter shapes in them. It is super fun to see my little one’s eyes light up when they spot the elusive letters. ABC Bunny is a treasure from 1933! It looks just like a vintage book should and is written in a sing-songy prose that is quite lovely. My children love the nature pictures and I love the unique story they tell.
Last but not least, 13 Words by Lemony Snicket is a gem. I am not a Series of Unfortunate Events fan, but The Conductor is Dead and now 13 Words has made me rethink my first impression of this author. This book is built on the foundation of thirteen words (bird, despondent, cake, dog, busy, convertible, goat, hat, haberdashy, scarlet, baby, panache, and mezzo-soprano) and the magic is in how they are brought together to develop an entire story. The vocabulary and humor are simply delectable!
As for our family read-aloud we are still plugging away on Freckles. Papa, Mama, Blythe, and Fisher are loving it. Keziah and Annes, not so much. I am on the lookout for our next read-aloud. Please share your suggestions for a great story sure to be loved by children from 17 – 5.
Richard and I are on a World War II kick. I am reading The Longest Day and have to force myself to stop reading and get some sleep each night. The story of D-Day has always fascinated me and this collection of eyewitness accounts is superb. If you have any interest in WWII, pick this one up! Richard is reading Unexplained Mysteries of World War II and is always surprising me with amazing anecdotes and little-known facts.
I think I need to hook up a hammock so I can spend the hot afternoons lazing around in the shade of my yard reading a book and napping. That, my friends, is something I dream of often – I think it is time to make it happen.
Annesley has been waiting to feed the ducks for weeks now and finally, tonight was the night. Richard had a booth at a Holistic Health Expo located right across from the river so the little ones and I hung out with the ducks and fed them frozen peas. None of the big geese were interested in our peas, but the baby ducklings gobbled them right up. We walked up and down the riverbank finding all the duckling families.
After Richard was done with his booth, we brought him over to see the three duck families we had made friends with, one with six babies, one with four, and one with five. Unfortunately they had all disappeared – probably to their nests for the night – but Annesley made up all sorts of stories about what had happened to her little ducklings.
We walked by the river for a while telling the children about this special night for our family – June 7 is the anniversary of our first date – and they asked all sorts of questions about our dates through the years and were shocked that that first date was twenty years ago. Twenty years seems like eternity to a five and eight year old.
What a lovely evening. Walking by the river with my sweetie was just what I needed after this long, emotionally draining week.
I started physical therapy back in April and it has been a little rough. Pretty darn painful most of the time I am there and then really painful after I leave, but I have continued to attend my sessions because I felt prompted by the Spirit to go and I am trying to trust that prompting and trust that it will help.
And I think it is helping! With regards to hip pain, the last two weeks have been the best two weeks in the past fifteen months. I have had far, far less pain, more mobility, more range of motion, and more stability than I have had since the labral tear in February 2012. I was amazed at how well I did at Swim Camp and was able to move around relatively pain free most of the time (I did have a little setback when I ran across the field to rescue Fisher from a bloody nose, but other than that my hip held up fabulously well.) and even when I was in pain, it was nothing compared to the last many months.
So, it is helping. The joint is gliding more smoothly and my pubic bone is staying in its correct spot. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! At yesterday’s appointment we successfully found two exercises I could do that didn’t cause me to pass out (at my appointment two weeks ago, everything we tried did cause me to pass out) and now I can start doing them at home.
Dr. Jones also thinks he has solved part of the mystery. Yesterday he was able to find my femoral nerve and trace it to its insertion point. He could feel that it was entrapped by scar tissue and that it is angry and constantly firing. He had me arch my back and move my head different directions and my femoral nerve would fire and I would wince. I guess that isn’t supposed to happen. Arching my back or turning my head shouldn’t effect my femoral nerve at all. I am pretty sure my pudendal nerve is also entrapped because I have most of those symptoms as well.
The downside of all of this is my ovary is really hurting. It is also entrapped by scar tissue and keeps twisting. Earlier today I thought I might die (hyperbole, but boy, howdy, it was painful) and tonight I am moving pretty gingerly so it doesn’t flare up again.
Sometimes I want to curl up in a ball and cry my little eyes out, but I am determined to heal. I am determined to do everything I can to get my body back. And if I can’t have my body back, I am determined to make the most of what I have, and live life to the fullest. I am a fighter.
Last week was our 10th Annual Homeschool Swim Camp. Ten years! I can’t believe a small spur-of-the-moment camp-out when I was 36 weeks pregnant with Fisher has turned into such a wonderful (and huge!) gathering of family and friends.
This year we endured three days of nearly constant rain, freezing cold nights, and flooded tents and enjoyed three days of sunshine, good conversations, big leaps in swimming skills, delicious food, a hilarious skit night emceed by Jennifer, endless Capture The Flag games, hours of sitting at the pool while Annesley swam her little heart out, lots of cousins, a snuggly snake that Fisher quickly made into his best friend, s’mores made with Reeses (um, can you say yummo?), an adorable song about happiness written by Boo for all the children, massage night, birthday party for Marcus, and loads of laughter.
Unfortunately, I misplaced my camera at the beginning of the week and didn’t find it until the last day, so I missed lots of great moments. Thank goodness that Jessica and Melissa took a ton of photos!
This year was like a family reunion for me! Camille, my first cousin and bestie since the age of five came with six of her children. Three of my second cousins, Tami (with six of her eight), Melissa (with three of her four), and Nikki (with three of her five) joined us. Then Tami’s friend from high school, KeeNan, came with her five children and her husband (lucky girl, the rest of us were husbandless) and Tami’s best friend, Boo, came with her four children. Every day was a party over in my section of the campground. On Friday we celebrated Camille’s son’s 16th Birthday complete with cake and ice cream. I will always remember the day he was born and how brave and resilient Camille was during his birth.
Checking people in always takes me hours and hours and this year was no different. I think I helped people for about ten hours straight on Monday and about six hours on Tuesday. After that I was able to relax and enjoy being with everyone. We had about 40 families join us this year with 89 children in swimming lessons and lots of babies and teens who are either to young or have graduated out of lessons. People went on hikes, rode bikes, huddled under shade shelters, explored the woods, played Capture the Flag (a Swim Camp tradition) and spent lots of time in the water. Speaking of spending lots of time in the water, my Annesley got in everyday at nine in the morning and didn’t get out until six or seven at night. She is a fish!
Thanks to Miracle Salve from Butterfly Express her skin didn’t fall off and amazingly didn’t even turn all red and dried out looking like all the other years. I think I need to buy gallons of the stuff!
I spent almost all of my time at the pool with Annesley. So most of the time I only got to visit with people who came to sit by me. Tami brought a magical zero-gravity chair to camp and I CAN SIT IN IT! Hallelujah! It is so stinkin’ exciting to sit down. I sat in it at the pool, at the fire, and we even took it to church on Sunday so I could sit through the meetings. Oh my goodness, it is wonderful! She left it at my house and insists it is my birthday present so now I get to sit in it all the time. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
Fisher was super easy to spot in his lessons in his bright, green swim attire. He spent almost as much time in the pool as Annesley, but he also had plenty of time to hunt bugs and other creatures.
One day during the rain a group of us moms spent the morning playing Heads Up, an app that is a combination of Taboo and Charades. We laughed hard, flailed our bodies in every direction, and made utter fools of ourselves. It took me back to our days of teenage-hood when we played games for hours and hours at family reunions. I have to say Jessica’s scootering imitation had all of us snorting.
Here is Camille who I can’t imagine my life without. We met when we were five years old and have been more like sisters than cousins ever since. She helped my through childhood, my parent’s divorce, teenage angst, early marriage, mothering toddlers, learning how to be a homemaker, and everything in between. I love her to the moon and back and am so glad she came to join us. I haven’t seen her for awhile and I miss our girl time together.
Tami came all the way from Australia just for Swim Camp (just kidding, she is in the States visiting for seven weeks while her oldest graduates from high school and gets ready to leave on his mission for the LDS church).
She gives wonderful massages and I was able to be spoiled with two of them although anytime she or Boo got near my IT Band I went through the roof. As soon as my hip is all better I will enjoy a massage without jumping in pain. We also laughed our heads off, ate lots of yummy food, and she helped me through the one and only passing out episode of the week.
Jessica was my camping partner and together with Jen and Kat we had pretty fancy lodgings. Kat’s parents came up to set up their double canopy shelters so we could have shade and protection from the ever present rain. It was so cold we only ate a few meals under them though, the rest of the time we hauled our food up to the warm pool house.
Jennifer, aka Captain Literally, knocked our socks off at Skit Night. Wish she would have had time to complete her superhero costume with tights, shorts, and cape. (Thanks for the photo, Jess.) She also was our emcee and shared hilarious jokes in between all the skits – “What does the shy pebble wish for? To be a little bolder!”
My 2nd cousin (our grandmothers are sisters), Melissa, came up with her three adorable children. Her goal was to spend lots of time talking to the experienced homeschooling mothers and figure out how to do this whole homeschooling gig. After talking to her, I think she has it down…lots of wonderful ideas, a solid foundation, and excellent mothering skills – she has it made in spades. I wish she would move up here and join our community of awesome families.
Melissa’s sister, Nikki, joined us on Friday (she missed all the bad weather, lucky girl!) and what fun is she! These two girls are from one of my favorite cousin families. I envied them while we were growing up. They all (nine children and two amazing parents) seemed so happy and put together while I felt my family was falling apart on a regular basis. Now that we are grown up, I love them even more and am thrilled to pieces they decided to come and join in our fun.
Melissa and Nikki with some of their children.
Here are Melissa, Tami, me, and Nikki trying to get one decent photo, but Boo was dancing around behind us pinching our bottoms and none of the photos turned out that great. What is it with my squinty and/or closed eyes???
Finally a halfway decent one, just ignore my squinty eyes with giant bags under them!
Before we went to Swim Camp, my mom helped me (who am I kidding, she made them, the kids and I slightly assisted…someday I’m sure I will become proficient in the kitchen!) make 14 dozen chocolate mint cookies. They were greatly enjoyed at camp and I used them as payment every time I asked a youth to do a favor for me…like move a gazillion tables to our canopy area.
Fisher and Jared, two bug-catching soulmates, spent much of their time hunting creatures. On Friday they found a snake and it lived in their arms for the next 48 hours or so. Unfortunately it escaped on Sunday afternoon and rivers of tears were shed (thankfully it escaped while it was outside, otherwise I would be having snake-attack-nightmares).
Melissa and Jen
Boo teaching the children the “I’m Happy” song. We performed it at skit night and I’m sure made everyone’s night full of sunshine and smiles.
Melissa and me…finally I have my eyes open!
Friday night was the first night it was nice enough to do campfire singing and my annual storytime. Thanks to Tami’s chair I was able to sit at the fire and read Just Rewards, Or, Who is That Man in the Moon and What’s He Doing Up There Anyway? . We sang lots of songs, learned some more, and then closed with a reading of Loud Emily. I only made it a paragraph in when an ember from the fire shot down Annesley’s suit and burned her, so Jessica took over with me and did a fine rendition of Emily’s very loud voice.
Boo and Tami, so glad these two found each other a few years back when they lived in the same neighborhood in Colorado. I love both of them to pieces. Boo wrote a song about friendship…I want to share the words…can I? Or are you going to publish this song somewhere. I cried my little eyes out when she sang it at Skit Night.
Annesley was our lucky child to get David for a teacher this year. He is THE BEST swim teacher and he makes sure to get one of my children in his class each year. Fisher has had him for the past three years, so it was Annesley’s turn for David’s teach-children-to-swim magic.
Good friends from years of attending swim camp together. Here are Derek, Kayden, Blythe, Keziah, and Eve.
Keziah and her swim pass wristbands. Every year she and a whole group of her friends keep their Swim Camp wristbands on for as long as possible. Keziah’s 2012 band just fell off in April, so it looks like these ones will be part of our life for months to come.
We always camp in spot #34, right next to the tree. It is the one perk of spending hours organizing Swim Camp. I get to choose my spot and every year we are right here next to the one and only tree in the campground.
Darci, one of our awesome swim instructors, and Kat.
The besties, Morgan (Boo’s daughter) and Teryn, (Tami’s daughter) hanging out while we pack up camp.
My Annes – always full of spunk.
Making s’mores with friends and cousins – a favorite nightly tradition.
I am so glad Cami and I started this event clear back in 2004. It has brought our homeschool community together and built friendships among children, youth, and families. It is so much fun – even with all the rain, soaking wet towels, freezing cold nights, diarrhea, puking, chlorine-burned faces, and all the work to make it happen – it is totally worth it. My children love it and that is enough for me to continue to make it happen every year.
Blythe and Keziah play the violin and recently started taking piano lessons as well. Right now we have an awesome teacher who comes to our home (can you shout, YAZOO!) and teaches both of them on both instruments. I am in love with the set-up as it requires no driving for me and no entertaining of my little ones while the older ones have lessons. We just hole up in my room and do math and reading and games while the girls have their two hour lesson. Two weeks ago they had their Spring recital and played beautifully.
Yes, she is wearing ponytails all over her arm. She always has ponytails around her wrist, but I can’t believe I didn’t notice she had them on for the recital. If I had she would have been reminded to take them off.
Blythe just started piano lessons in February. I am amazed at how much progress she has made in just a few short months.
Here she is with her beloved violin, Niphredil (yes, she named her violin after a flower in Middle Earth, you LOTR fans can shout hurrah). She loves to create beautiful pieces and spends her free time dancing in the yard while she plays – now that is talent, don’t you think?
Getting a picture of these two smiling without the silliness is nigh on impossible…
Refreshments were enjoyed by all the little brothers and sisters.
I will sure miss these days of music bursting out the walls of our home when these two girls leave home. They play constantly and I often wake up to their music. I am so grateful Blythe set us on this path so many years ago.
Soooo, it has been awhile since I posted. Sorry about that – I’m sure my loyal readers have been completely lost without me that past many days *snort*!
In the past fourteen days we have had piano & violin recital, the last day of gym, an amazing day at the temple, a visit from my mama, a week of Swim Camp, a visit from my Tami (cousin and dear friend since about 1986) and six of her children, a huge move-the-puppies-out-of-the-garage project, a hike and fishing along the Snake, physical therapy, a loose tooth, a trip south on which I lost my phone, a book-sorting party for the Read-A-Thon, and piles and piles of laundry.
But, I am alive and well and hope to be able to post about our adventures soon.
It’s that time of year again! The LDS Holistic Living Conference and Expo (ldsholisticliving.com) is right around the corner. In the past, it’s been just a one day event on a Saturday, but this year they are having an awesome keynote speaker, Camille Fronk Olson, the Friday night before. She is the author of many written works, but her book Mary, Martha, and Me: Seeking the One Thing that is Needful is so inspirational.
It’s going to be held Friday and Saturday, June 21-22. The Friday keynote will be at Noah’s in Lindon, UT from 5:00-7:00 and the Saturday Conference is at Paradigm High School in South Jordan and runs all day starting at 8:30. The free and open to the public vendor area looks like a wealth of knowledge in and of itself!
The Saturday speakers and classes are incredible!
One highlight is Randall Edward who will be speaking on Holistic Living and Spiritual Gifts–a Practical Guide. His class will explore the idea of understanding the correlation between health and medical choices and the gifts of the spirit.
And Cliff and Judy Dunston are speaking on The Praise Principle–the class description says, “The Praise Principle is the light that we get to participate in to align ourselves with the Lord. Then when we commit to Praising the Lord then He can work His Miracles in our life. It is practicing Faith in the Lord with full trust and the results are amazing.”
And Neal Bosshardt, owner and founder of Redmond Clay will be doing a clay class that is hands on in making preparations to treat spider bites, burns and infections. Also classes on the art of muscle testing (the energetic responses to what we say, do, think, and feel, a great diagnostic tool), and the power of chakras! And that’s just a small handful of the classes offered. There is really something for everyone.
You can register at the door, but you will save a bundle by registering online and by June 1 for $11 per class! Not only that,…..
- Wet Oatmeal Kisses readers get 15% off by using coupon code: 2013PP15 at checkout. Go here to register. I’ll be there, hope to see you there too!
- We are hosting a giveaway for one FREE Saturday registration! Leave a comment with all the lovely reasons you want to attend and I will select one lucky winner on Saturday, June 1.