Monday, August 31, 2009

Branson vacation

I admit it. At first I was not too thrilled with the idea of a vacation to Branson. All I knew was that it had to do something with country music. And a long drive from home. But, we all had a great time, we're glad we went, and want to go back sometime. Grandma and Grandpa, along with Uncle Clayton and cousins Trenton and Emillie, arrived Friday night in time for a little birthday cake for Emillie.

Then on Saturday Kyle and I took his parents down to the Santa Fe Farmers Market for some sampling and more red chili raspberry jam.

Sunday morning found us on our way. One 14 hour drive + no stopping for food to try in some way to keep the Sabbath holy + searching for a church meeting in a decent town (sorry Amarillo) and at a decent time = a long, messy, but not too bad car trip.

Monday we went exploring and ended up at the fish hatchery. It doesn't take too long to feel the difference between the dry heat of Santa Fe and Utah and the humidity of Missouri. Luckily there was an air conditioned visitor center to stave off the complaining.

Ben and Trenton found my camera and had a lot of fun. I'm glad I can trust them in controlled environments with my pride and joy camera!

Next stop, just for Clayton...the Titanic museum. We were able to use Kyle's military discount in a few places to save us some money. The museums and shows are pretty pricey in this town (unless you are willing to sit through numerous time share presentations). My favorite part of the Titanic exhibit was the interactive room where they had platforms you could stand on at different angles showing just how hard it would have been to hang on when the ship was sinking. There was also a tub of water iced down to what the temperature of the water was that the passengers had to float in waiting to be saved. I could only last about 10 seconds with my hand in the water. It was a well done exhibit and really helped me understand a bit of what the people went through.

Ticket booths on every corner and a million shows to choose from. Kyle and I and Pam and Dale went to see Shoji Tabuchi (check out the bathroom pics!) as recommended by Grandma Great. Well done and a lot of fun! We took everyone to the Kirby VanBurch magic show and we were all astounded at some of his tricks. Especially the women sawed in half and put together in the wrong order. Most of us went to see Jackson Cash in a very well done Johnny Cash tribute, a free show gratefuly because the kids didn't appreciate it at all. Kyle and I chose one show to see just the two of us. Six. It is an a capella group made up of 6 brothers. We loved this show and the music was right up our alley.

The highlight of the trip for the kids was the swimming pool at the resort. Pam and Dale bought this time share off of ebay and invited us to go with them. There was free breakfast every morning, but being that it was mostly donuts and other bready foods, it did get a little old. And contributed to our packing on a couple extra pounds on the trip. But the pool was what called to the kids and they went swimming every day. The adults took turns going swimming with the kids too and it was a great way to cool off on those hot hot days.

The other highlight for the kids was the Pirate Cove mini golf course. Kyle beat me by 2 or 3 strokes, I believe. Nobody else kept score, though.

Part of the entrance fee included a gift bag for all the kids. We let Clayton be a kid, too. :) Everyone put on their pirate faces:

Even Grandma and Grandpa got in on it:

The resort provided different activities daily for the kids. We were usually off doing something else, but we did decide that $5 a shirt for making tie dye sounded like a great investment. Here we are sporting our artwork!

The day we drove into Branson I spied a Crocs outlet. This was my contribution to the schedule for the week...a trip to get new shoes for all at Crocs. When you can get Crocs for $10, who can pass that up?? They also gave all the kids a free Crocadoodle paint kit. The paint comes off with soap and water so you can redecorate whenever you want. We came home with at least 10 extra pairs of shoes!

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa, for a fun trip! We can't wait to do it again!

First day of School!

Today was a momentous occasion. Johnny started preschool! People have been asking me what I'm going to do with all my time. Well, let's see. Drop the kids off at 7:40. Pick up Johnny at 10:50. About one week a month, Kyle can drop off on the way to work. Other weeks, he doesn't leave until 8:30 or 9:00, depending on his work schedule. So that leaves me, what, an hour and a half or two hours to myself most days. That's SOOO much time to myself, don't you think? How am I ever going to fill that time? (Sarcasm intended.)

This is excited to be in school. There were kids crying and parents hovering over nervous kids. But not our Johnny! He went right in, said hi to his teacher, and started playing with the toys. Not nervous at all. Yesterday after church he went right up to his room and picked out his school clothes. He's been asking forever if it was Monday yet!

In the second picture, it shows his teacher's assistant in pink, Miss Sara, and his teacher, Teacher Andranette. (No promises on the spelling of those names, however). Yep. She said they are to call her Teacher Andranette. We'll see if that lasts! I find it a unique title. I've got 2 1/2 hours until pick up. I'd better get going and not waste my precious time! I think I'll start by talking to Kyle for 10 more minutes until he leaves. I think I made him feel bad this morning when I made the observation about getting the short end of the stick as far as class times, wishing I'd chosen the afternoon class. He said he was glad we'd have time for ourselves in the mornings and I was wishing I had more time for just myself. It's only the first day. I'm sure we'll be just fine!

Friday, August 14, 2009

I guess I can let them grow up...

Today I decided to let the kiddos grow up. Just a little. I've got a lot of things I'd rather do myself than let the kids learn how to do. Mostly because of the potential mess or potential for not doing it the way I like it. For example: cracking eggs. I let Ben crack the eggs for our Family Birthday cake (we call our anniversary our family's birthday...11 years today!) I let him do it and he did a marvelous job. He's 9, I guess that's old enough, eh? I let Courtney use a cookie scoop to scoop the cake mix into the cupcake papers. She actually did it without making much more mess than I would make. Hmm. Seven year olds can do a pretty good job I suppose. I got out the vacuum and asked Johnny, age 4, to vacuum the living room. I gave him a little tutelage and he did a great job, considering the size and weight of the vacuum. It's not perfect, but he did it by himself! The kids loved doing the jobs I gave them and all proved themselves worthy. I need to remember this and keep letting them try new things and greater responsibilities. That's much more important than a perfectly clean house or messless cooking, I'd say.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

While watching the meteor shower...

...we were discussing what meteors are and lots of other space related topics. Mostly it was Ben spouting off facts that Kyle and I knew nothing about! We saw airplanes and we were discussing the schedules they usually keep, like how they usually have their last flights around 9 or 10 at night. Courtney then asked....he he he.... "Is that 9 AM, PM, or FM?" Kyle and I could not stop laughing! She said, "If it's nighttime, then it's FM." What a cutie patootie!