Saturday, May 30, 2009

Care To Make a Guess?

(Those attending today's event, you are disqualified.... everyone else, want to take a stab as to what is behind this picture? - And yes, that is Brayden......)

Carnival Days

'Tis the season for school-ending carnivals. This one occurred at St. Paul - the school where Amy's kids attend. Amy offered to take my kiddos to enjoy the festivities with her, and what kind of mom would I be if I denied them? Here's some fun pics she snapped of the event......

Half Generation

Yesterday I figured out that I'm about a half generation ahead of these college students that we hang with. I realized that one of their mom's is about 15 years older than me, and I'm 15 years older than that student. That would make me like the "cool older aunt". I like that role - totally works for me.

So, with that in mind, Auntie Steph taught Kara, Kaela, and Julie how to make my favorite kind of jam yesterday. There's no specialty to it, other than using the pink box of "SureJel" to follow directions vs. the more common yellow "SureJel" box. But, since I first discovered the marvelous taste of this jam from my buddy, Nancy - and had her show me the "secret", I feel like all credit should be originally given to her.

I think this will be my 4th year making jam on my own. In the past, I've made it with Nancy, made it with Amy, and even made it with 5 other women. Last year, I realized, if I want the jam to turn out right, I probably ought to make it on my own, especially with the amount I make to last all year long (just too much gabbing happens when you get too many girls together and you kind of forget what you are doing).

I sent out, what I thought, were detailed instructions on what ingredients to get and where to get them for making the jam. About 45 minutes after the trio were supposed to arrive yesterday, they called me from the local Walmart - not able to find the "pink box", hoping the yellow one would work - and a little worn out from the ingredients gathering. (No, the yellow won't work, but the Market of Choice will have it - just go next door......)

As soon as they arrived, moods improved (at least I had fun!) - and the girls cracked me up with their friendships, interaction, and silliness. Love those gals..... I taught them what a "rolling boil" is (just learned that myself a couple of years ago making toffee) - and that it's not called a "running boil" - and that the bottom green part of a strawberry (Costco had run out of raspberries) should probably be eliminated - which prompted a mad search to remove all of the "strawberry butts".

The most significant learning element of the afternoon actually occurred about an hour after they left. I received an "I-chat" from one of the girls asking when it was safe to put them in the freezer. I laughed and texted her back, "You are kidding right?". But no, apparently, all three girls thought we were making freezer jam, despite my efforts to explain when you know the jar (glass!) is sealed and is safe to store....and would have put them in the freezer by the end of the day. Yikes, I'm pleased we got that sorted out - and saved three freezers from certain explosive disaster!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shotgun Creek Park

Today I took my friend, Julie, to my old stomping grounds- a park where multiple family picnics and childhood birthday parties took place. It's called Shotgun Creek Park, complete with a swimming hole, beach, sand volleyball court, and playground. It also has an assortment of hiking trails, many of which I haven't explored.

This morning, we tried the Drury Trail - it was ranked on the more difficult of the trails because of his uphill climb. Julie tested my endurance a bit as she scaled the hill pretty swiftly, and things weren't encouraged by my clutziness, resulting in a turned ankle - but other than all that, we had a super time and the scenery was gorgeous.....

Because it was a Wednesday, Bogey got to be part of the adventure. He and Sydney had a blast....Here's a final shot of Syd in a water tunnel she found and enjoyed playing in, what a goofy, goofy dog we have!

Special Prayers

Today I'd like to ask those of you readers out there to lift up Anna and Ann. In just a few minutes, young Anna (about Mikayla's age) will be headed into surgery to remove a benign tumor behind her ear drum, and later this afternoon, Ann will be having an ultrasound to determine if the breast lump they found is benign or malignant.

This morning, I had the opportunity to lay hands on Ann, with about a dozen women who showed up early to participate in the 10 Days of Prayer - and then break off to pray for Ann. It was a moving experience, and I know that the Lord will be glorified with whatever the results are for this amazing woman.

Thank you all.....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Last Full Day

Just returned from our bike ride - quite the formidable group - all 16 of us in a row. (Michael and Adam stayed behind - Michael due to injury and Adam due to lack of interest....)

Everyone has hit their groove - right in time to pack up and leave by tomorrow at 11. It's quite a thing to say, with 18 people in our group, that we all wish we could stay multiple more days together - for sure, one more.

We're gettin' ready for a bike ride, but here's some fun shots of our adventures at the South Pool today - so glad we got there right when it opened!

Just Doing Our Thing

I'm just going to say it. This group we vacation with knows how to relax. Actually, Amy is still learning how, but by today (Sunday) we are all pleased with the progress she has demonstrated. =)

However, because of the ages of the kids now, we can do this sort of relaxing without feeling a great amount of guilt. As long as we walk them down to the park every now and then, or supervise some hot tub dips, everyone is happy. There was a pick-up game of flag football that did occur at the park, which unfortunately I missed as I've been trying to kick some pretty obnoxious headaches since I've arrived (today is the best day so far.....).

I think we are going to get off our duffs to hit the South Pool at the time it opens today - big achievement!

Yeah, I think these girls are happy enough:

Look at those muscles!

Jackson got injured, so his "girl" gave him some lovin':

Brayden, Traig, and Adam spent some quality indoor time with the computers!

Amy, learning how to relax....

Some mother-middle child bonding:

Ten kids, eating simultaneously - a success!

On to the evening bike riding - around the loop where our house is located:

Nati, a big smile as she conquered her fear of riding solo without training wheels - way to go, Natalia!

No, Michele was not choking Nati.......

Adam, succumbing to a tickle-fest by Dennis-

The evening Scrabble game - this time, Dennis won. The kids' hair was all wet from being out in the hot tub. We've had the hardest time with the tub this year, temps all the way up to 112 at times, which has lent itself to lots of efforts with hoses to cool it down.

Yeah, Michael arrived, with his 4+ inch scar from his appendectomy! This was taken this morning, as we made breakfast, waiting for the hot tub to heat back up! (John, Michele, and I (and Mikayla) traditionally wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 each morning to hop in the tub and bask in the solitude, briskness, and aroma of the high desert's my favorite parts of Sunriver vacations)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Livin' It Up, Day Two

Here's a picture of the house where we are staying - in an alternate "dream-come-true" world, this house and all of its decor and furnishings would be mine. Even the beds are ultra-comfortable, yup, it's a very happy place for me.

Earlier this morning, we walked the kids to the park, which is literally right down the road.

Meanwhile, the guys had a ping pong tournament:

This is what is going on right now - just a few minutes before we start kicking dinner in motion (the baked beans are nearly done in the oven, raspberry pretzel salad prepared, tri-tip marinaded and ready to put on the bbq, and corn on the cob ready to be boiled). YUMMMM~