Friday, September 25, 2009

Feeding Time!!

Some of you may wonder how we manage to do dinner time at our house with 11 people who need to eat. Obviously Kailyn and Ethan, when he gets home, do not participate in our meal times, but nonetheless, it can be crazy, hectic and create enormous numbers of dishes! We, however, have come up with an ingenious solution...Don't USE dishes!!

Now, Jake was NOT to thrilled with the whole idea. He kept saying he wanted to eat on a plate.....soooooo I got him a plate!

Suprisingly, it worked and he ate happily the rest of the time.

And in case you're wondering, yes, we eat like this every night. ;-) You should see it when we have soup! I'd have to say that the kids thought this was a very fun meal and would probably like to do it every night, but....well, why not?? ;-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A looooong time ago...

Back on Spetember 5, Rob and I took the crew to Kansas City for a little day trip. We decided to go to Crown Center Plaza which has some neat things to do. The first stop at Crown Center was....the Lego exhibit. Now, we have two little boys who LOVE Legos so this was the perfect activity for them. Some guy makes sculptures out of just Legos and they are incredible! When Rob and I were there in June we'd seen the exhibit and wanted to take the kiddos. Here are some pics of them enjoying the Legos:

And here are some of the COOL Lego sculptures:

After the tour through the Legos, we went to Lunch at Fritz's. This is one of the most fun restaurants that we've ever been too. It's a train theme. So out side there is a fake train car that you can sit in and push buttons and stuff.

Inside the restaurant you sit in booths. But instead of the waitress bringing your food a train does! There is a track all around the top of the restaurant and trays at each table that lower. The train carries the tray underneath it and when it reaches your table it slides onto the tray. Down it comes and there's your food! The kids LOVED it! Following lunch we went to the Crayola Store and browsed. There were a few areas that the kids could color in so they did that. Our resident artist Emmy created an amazing work of art which can be seen here:

After that it was home for our crew. It was a fun day for the kids and for the grown ups too!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Joe is 5!!!

Joe turned 5 on September 2nd. Since he's still not in school we don't have "friend" birthday parties, but we do have a family party. We celebrated his birthday on Sept 6 with my family, John and Clara and their kiddos and Rob's parents. He got lots of fun presents, including his long awaited "own" Legos! He loves Sterling's Legos so we decided that it was time to get him some of his own. For anyone who knows Joe, they know that he also LOVES anything Army. His favorite shirt is camo, his favorite pants are camo, and now his favorite back pack is camo also. Thanks Jordan and Blake!! They gave him Blake's old REAL army backpack. Anyway, for his cake I decided to make a tank cake. It turned out pretty cute...well at least in my opinion. More importantly, it tasted good! I LOVE buttercream frosting! Here are some pictures of my masterpiece:



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Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Vacation to Remember...Part II

The boy cousins before we leave

The girl cousins

Some pretty scenery

Ooooo!!! YAY! A Tunnel! There were several to go through and the kids loved them!

More pretty mountains

So I gave everyone an overview of our vacation. Each day one group got to go into the Marina. Now, the Marina is the closest thing to civilization there is at Lake Powell. There are a couple highlights to going to the marina. One is the snack bar. They have huge icecream cones and yummy root beer floats among other things. Two is the gift shop/store where you can pay enormous amounts of money for those little things you forgot, or buy cute souveneirs for the kiddos. The third and perhaps most important attraction is....toilets! Real toilets with running water and a sink. Just amazing! Here's some pics of one of the boat rides back to camp...
The white and red cliffs, very pretty

Joe and Cori enjoying the boat ride

Rob holding Kailyn in her life jacket that made her look squished

Sterling loving the boat ride

Somehow I managed to forget to get a picture of Emmy on the boat.....grrrr!!!!
At the beach we would just sit and talk or float in the water to pass time. Incredibly I don't think I heard "I'm bored" more than a couple of times while we were there. The kids pretty much had free run of their time. swimming, eating, playing in the sand. Whatever they wanted as long as we knew where they were and could see them. One day Clara's dad took us to Defiance house. It's an Ancestoral Puebloan dwelling. It's up a steep cliff and there's a "house" and something like cellar that you can go into. It's pretty small, but it's pretty cool. There is a cave drawing of warriors holding shields and clubs, hence then name "Defiance House". We packed a lunch and ate it before hiking up to the site. You can only reach the site by boat and then you swim/walk the rest of the way. Anyway, the hiking was not fun. Imagine taking 8 children 9 and under up a steep cliff with only 4 adults to supervise. It was harrowing (at least for me) I hate heights! And I had this image in my head of the kids messing around and knocking someone off the side, or tripping and falling over the edge. It did not make for a very calm climb (up or down) for me. Rob and the other parents handled it much better. Although in my defense Emmy did trip once and came within inches of falling over the side, so I felt justified in my (ir)rational fears. On the way back to camp nearly all the kids fell asleep on the boat. The ride takes about 30 minutes each way, but Mark (Clara's dad) kept in interesting by driving like a maniac!! ;-) Just kidding. He did like to go fast and drive in small tight circles so you could almost touch the water if you were on the down side of the boat. Such fun!
Another day Mark took all the kids out on the Banana Boat. It's a towable that looks like a banana. You can fit 5 people on it. I took the youngest kiddos on it. There was me, Joe, Cori and Jake and one other boy. Mark was going pretty slowly but we ended up tipping. The kids did not like it. They were all crying and screaming. So I gathered them up (we all had life jackets on obviously) and waited for Mark to come back around for us. We all go on the boat then forced them all to try it again. This time, I accidentally tipped the boat while trying to talk to Cori (I think). They all handled it much better this time. To this day Jake still talks about how I saved his life on the banana boat. We don't mention that at least once it was my fault he needed saving. ;-) What a good aunt I am! The next day we tried tubing. No tipping this time. My kids were still kind of freaked out about the whole being towed behind the boat thing, they would much rather have been in the boat. But they all survived. I even got to do some "REAL" tubing with another grown up. We lasted about a minute or so before Mark managed to throw us out. It was really fun.
On the second to last day Mark took the older kids out to try skiing. Unfortunately it had been windy all week and that day was no different. None of the kids actually got up, but they all gave it a try. Rob was lucky enough to get to ski also since he went out with the kids. Apparently he did really well. According to Sterling he "Skied all over the Lake! And when he let go he kept going until he just sunk in the water!". The last couple of days the kids had tired of swimming (plus it was kinda cool with all the wind) so they spent a lot of time on the beach. They made sand castles, dug pits to fill with water and made bridges and rivers for the water to go in. For having "nothing" to do, the kids were well occupied and VERY tired by the end of the day.
Packing up was bittersweet. Going home to running water and electricity was going to be nice, but we'd miss the fun of camping and the freedom of no schedules.
On the way home we had some excitement of our own. Clara's dad had separated from us all to head back to Utah where he works. At some point in Colorado in the mountains Emmy said she didn't feel good. I gave her a plastic bag, which she threw up in. unfortunately there was a hole in the bag. She turns to Sterling and says, "You're not gonna want to sit by me, there's a hole..." at which point he promptly throws up on her, TWICE! So we pulled over at a rest stop and did our best to clean up the nasty mess. We get back on the road and not even 30 minutes later we hear a pop and see sparks coming off the boat trailer in front of us. We had been following Clara and her Mom home. Ironically, earlier that evening they'd offered us the key to get into the house if we wanted to go ahead of them. We choose not to and it was a good thing since the tire on th trailer had popped. Luckily it was a dual axle trailer so there were two tires on each side, otehrwise it would have been more dangerous. We were also lucky in that we were on a relatively flat portion in the mountains. Unfortunately it was like 11:00 at night and pitch black and many cars did not feel the need to move into the far left lane. Talk about scary. Try changing a tire in those circumstances! We did end up calling the highway patrol for traffic control. We finally managed to get teh tire changed about an hour later (it's more difficult than you'd think to change a tire on a boat trailer with the boat on it in the dark on a mountain). We finally made it home (well at least to Longmont) safe and sound and we all crashed (figuratively)! The next morning we helped unload the stuff out of the boat and truck. I was going to take Clara's van to get some donuts from the store since mine was blocked in. So I go downstairs where she's sleeping and aske her for her keys...there's stunned silence then, "Oh crap!". Turns out she'd left them in her mom's car which her dad drove to Utah. Nice huh?! Looking back it's kind of funny....but at the time I think Clara was mostly just not happy about it. We ended up calling a locksmith to come out and unlock the car and make new keys for her. Since it was Sunday we couldn't have her other keys FedEx'd until the next day and we needed to be home before then. So after a few hours and a LOT of money we were on our way. Luckily, the drive back to Topeka was uneventful, which we were all thankful for!
It was definetly a vacation to remember!

Robert Allen