Friday, July 30, 2010

I know a missed a post yesterday. Unfortunately I ran over our new little kitten with the car yesterday and she died. I was very traumatized and did not feel like blogging about a birthday party. The kids amazingly enough seem okay. That is all I can say about it right now.

Birthday Boy

Monday Seth turned nine years old. We had a party for him on Saturday. We were hoping the backyard grass would be ready for the party, but it was still a little young. So we set up some slip 'n slides and wading pools in our front yard. It was nice and hot that day.

We played an obstacle course relay where the kids had to put on a large wet t-shirt and dunk their head in the wading pool, squirt Seth nine times with a squirt gun, go on the slip 'n slide, etc. It was fun!

The best part of a party- cake and ice cream!

Monday for his actual birthday we had Rob's sister Kristy and family over for dinner. Seth of course enjoyed opening his presents.

I had to include this cute little face. He must know that every time the camera is pulled out, it eventually get directed at him.

Seth received some army men for his birthday and set up a war zone with the neighbor boy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Astle Vacation Part Three

After one last water basketball game we headed up to Lake Tahoe. My parents have rented a cabin up there in North Star for the past four (I think) years. It is great because it has 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms- more than enough!

We didn't do much up there on Wednesday- just got settled and hung around the cabin.

We sort of have our favorite activities while up there, but this year decided to try a new hike. We did the Skunk Harbor hike which takes you down 1 1/2 miles to a small harbor on the lake. Years ago some rich guy (name??) built a nice house down there for himself and his wife. The materials had to be boated in-anyway- it was a great destination at the end of the hike. We ate a picnic lunch, played in the water and climbed on rocks. Some of our group even got their toes nibbled on by a giant of a crawdad! I didn't get a picture of him. Bummer. If you want to see him you can read Sarah's blog- ha! I am too lazy to pilfer her picture tonight.

Here are Heidi and I at the start of the hike.

The only trouble with hiking downhill first is that then you have to go uphill back! It was quite hot and there was not a lot of shade- but we made it!
Here is the harbor-

That afternoon some of us swam in the pool at North Star. Later that night we roasted marshmallows on my dad's fire pit. It was great fun. There are some marshmallow roasting pros in our group!

Here are some random pictures of the kids in the cabin.

The next day- Friday- we went to our favorite beach- Sand Harbor. The past few years we have been there in June when it was still quite cool. That has its benefits in that we had the beach pretty much to ourselves, but we preferred the weather this year even though there were A LOT more people sharing the beach. We like Sand Harbor because it has actual sand and the water is very shallow for quite a ways which is perfect for the kids. And this year, the water was actually..........NOT FREEZING! As in, it didn't shock your bones and take your breath away when you dipped your toe in. For those of you that have been to Lake Tahoe- you know that this is amazing. Actually, my sister Heidi didn't agree with me. She informed me that she does not live in Idaho and therefore has not become somewhat immune to cold as apparently I have. She may have a point there.

These two cute kiddos had a blast playing together. We had two little watering cans in our sand toys and they must have spent hours going into the water- filling them up, and then coming back to the sand and dumping them out. Grant and Shannon- they are 3 months apart.

Another new activity we tried this year was roller skating. In the village at North Star they have an outdoor skating rink surrounded by cozy chairs and fire pits. In the winter it is an ice skating rink, and in the summer- roller skating. It was a blast! None of the kids had done it before so we had our hands full helping them. Seth got the hang of it (he is the oldest) and everyone else made a lot of improvement. I think the adults had fun even though they were helping a lot- thanks Sarah, Jeremy, Heidi, and Steve for helping my kids! Rob stayed at the cabin with Russ and Grant who went to bed.

I didn't get a picture of him but my brother Steve was so nice in helping Brenna skate. He took her around quite a bit even though he didn't have skates on. What a guy.

The skating crew: Wendy, Shannon, me, Seth, Jeremy, Sarah, Heidi, Kenneth, Mike, Brenna and Steve.

The first afternoon at the cabin the kids drew all over the driveway with sidewalk chalk. They even decorated this rock in honor of the reunion (or I guess it was Heidi- big kid!)
My sister Heidi is so helpful with all my kids! She loves to play with them and they love her so much! When she left to go to BYU and we would go visit my parents my kids were pretty sad that Heidi wasn't there anymore. Heidi you are great!

Here are Seth, Brenna and Heidi along with Wendy's three kids- Kenneth, Vanessa, and Shannon.

All in all it was a wonderful trip to Tahoe. I think it was my favorite time up there. I am grateful to my mom and dad who make this fun time happen every year. It is a lot of work but it is worth it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Astle Vacation Part 2

After the big Salt Lake reunion, Rob flew home to work for the week. My dad and Heidi also drove home that Tuesday. My mom stayed with me and we spent that day visiting with my sisters Wendy and Sarah. Wednesday my mom and the kids and I drove to her home in California.

Here is a pic of their gorgeous backyard (nice picture- Sarah!)

We had a great time relaxing each day by the pool. Friday night Rob flew back in to join the fun, and everyone else arrived Saturday (except my brother Steve who came Tuesday).

We all sang together in church that Sunday which was really neat. The girls usually sing, but this time we included my dad and the son-in-laws. It was great! A bass, baritone, and two tenors- perfect! Now if only some of us women were true altos :)

The next few days included some water basketball, lots of swimming, and a fun water kickball game! Thanks to Rob's fun Idaho background-he suggested this game and we all had a blast. The bases are wading pools with a slip 'n slide in to home plate. Just a word of advice if you ever want to play: kicking a kickball in barefeet really hurts- so try a softer ball!

Tuesday my Aunt Marilyn drove my Grandma Stephens up from Modesto for lunch. It was great to see them and so nice of my aunt to save us a 1 1/2 hour drive each way on top of all the driving we were already doing. We enjoyed some fascinating stories about my Grandpa that I had never heard before.

demonstrating the game...

Here are the cute little one year olds. They were all born within a six month time period. Russ is the oldest, followed by Wendy's daughter Vanessa (we keep having opposite gender, same age kids) and then Sarah's boy Eli.

My grandma with some of the kids.

Monday night was Heidi's 20th birthday. It was so fun to be there. We put her in charge of family night that night and she did a great job! She definitely secured her position as favorite aunt (not that it was in jepoardy at all)

Tuesday night we took family pictures under the big oak tree. Wednesday we went to Lake Tahoe- that will be Part Three.
I have much more to post about so I am going to try to post every day since we are leaving on yet another trip this weekend. I will get too far behind if I don't step it up.
'Till tomorrow then...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Astle Vacation Part 1

We spent two weeks with my family. I am going to follow my sister Sarah's idea and blog about it in parts. It seems less overwhelming that way. In fact, I will probably be pirating some of her pictures from her blog. Maybe I should just save us all some time and put a link up to her blog instead- haha! Okay, I won't do that- but it is tempting!

First off we went to Salt Lake City for a BIG Astle family reunion. As in, my dad's parents and all of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We stayed at my sister Sarah's house for the weekend.

Saturday morning started off with a yummy breakfast at the Draper Park, followed by volleyball and squirt guns, etc. Then we headed to my grandparents for lunch and more outdoor play. Then a family picture and dinner at my aunt Cassi's with fireworks at the Riverton Park. They were wonderful!

Sunday we all went to my aunt and uncle's ward. We then had some free time so we visited Rob's brother Mike and their family who live in Draper. Then we headed up to the canyon and had a yummy dinner, went on a hike, and roasted marshmallows.

Here are my kids with my sister Wendy's kids. She and her husband and three kids drove out from New Jersey. I am glad they were willing to make the trip.

Monday my grandparents took us to the "This is the Place Heritage Park". It has changed a lot since I have been there. It was so much fun! There are serveral hands-on activites for the kids to do to learn about the pioneers. My kids love watching Little House on the Prairie so it was especially fun for them to pretend they were Laura or Charles.

They had a "rodeo" for kids. It was divided into different age groups and had "barrel racing" (riding a stick horse around cones) for the younger ones, and mutton busting (the real deal!) for the older ones. Grant won the barrel racing for the 3-5 year olds! He got a medal and everything. Doesn't he look proud?

Here are the kids plowing away.

Anyway, I highly recommend the park for anyone with kids under 10. I really need to go because Russell has been standing next to me with his shoes saying "shoooo, shoooo" over and over. I need to take that boy outside.

Grandma got us all patriotic hats since we were there for the 4th of July!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We just returned Saturday from a two week trip to Utah and California for Astle reunions. It was a mad dash to get our yard ready to plant grass before we left. We wanted the grass to grow while we were gone. After much work by ourselved and two different contractors the ground was finally ready to plant. It was seeded the day before we left!

This is what we came home to!

Being away while the grass was germinating did have some drawbacks- some spots are too wet and others too dry- but overall we are pleased. And boy am I glad I did not have to keep four kids off of it for 2 weeks.

We even planted some on our front side yard.
I just wanted to post these pictures real quick. I will follow up later with a recap of our trip.