Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hi Ho Cherry-O

If you ever find yourself with a free weekend in the middle of June, I would highly recommend loading the kids up in the car with some snacks and books on tape and heading north, just across the Virginia border to Ayers Orchard. This is one of our favorite family getaways of the season.
Perhaps you can see why:

Two words: Climbing Trees!

The kids loved climbing up the huge ladder and shimmying down the branch as far as they could go to reach the furthest cherries. Seemed like there's always one that's bigger, plumper and more enticing just beyond your reach.
Me? I just love the cherries and seeing my happy kids.

Can you ever actually get tired of cherries? A week later we're still working on it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Pool Rules!

From mid-May to Mid-July (that's two months a year folks) our lives revolve around the pool. The kids eagerly await swim team sign ups, meeting their new coaches, new team suits and t-shirts. They get together for ice cream and spray paint their names on the back wall - indicating their inclusion in this most elite club called Heritage Hills Hurricanes.

The hectic schedule looks something like this:
For nearly three weeks starting in May when the water was a mere 40 degrees we rush to finish homework and chores in the brief time between the bus drop-off until the practice starts at 4:15 (thats one hour and fifteen minutes per day of drill-seargant-mom, folks). Three hours later (7:00pm) after all three girls have practiced we rush back home to squeeze in dinner, baths, more school stuff, scripture reading, bedtime, and uh, oh yeah family time)

Once school is out the swim meets start. These last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours each, and there are six, not including championships. I'm required to volunteer as chaperone for a few of these, or otherwise wait through innumerable heats and events as kids ages 5 through 18 line up against the competition-which is fierce! You ain't seen nothin' until you've experienced a Carolina-kids swim meet.

Also following the end of school we begin early morning practice (9-10am 3 times/week); lessons for Halibut (10-11am 4 times/week), water aerobics for me (7-8pm 1 time/week) if I make it - and that's a big IF, diving lessons, and, oh yeah -play time.

I haven't yet counted the exact number of hours I spend at the pool in a season--I just know that for a while, our days are ruled by our pool schedule - and we wouldn't want it any other way.

(ps- what do I get out of all this? nope, not a great tan, but cute photo opps, and finally a chance to work through that stack of magazines gathering dust by the side of my bed).

Monday, June 16, 2008

My favorite things about Beach Life Illustrated

Our Family. I was a little frustrated that this photo was taken so 'on the fly'. The one thing I really thought I wanted to get out of this week was a decent family photo. You know, the whole standard matching shirts deal. But look at us - I don't think I could have found more clashing outfits if I had tried - and check out the Spidey suit peeking out from Mr. Obsessive's shorts, and did anyone even comb their hair all day? Not me. As it turns out - this photo shoot was squeezed in at the last-minute among all of the activities that have become our beach traditions--pinata, shell contest, etc. - as "one more thing we've gotta do before we leave the beach"
... Not the way I planned it.
But this is us. We're happy. Our kids are happy. And in searching for the best of our vacation photos, I see that the best moments of being at the beach are always...unplanned.

Here are some more of my favorite beach moments.

Sunset walks with my sweetie ...
still in love after all this time


'Thee Special' at Provisions - grown-up dinner nite involves crabcakes, cucumber salad, steamed shrimp,... and a roll of paper towels on the table!
Putting it in writing

The View!

Endless waves
No schedules. Book in one hand, Fresca in the other. BT has assumed his beach position!

Cousins together for a week - the number of cousins in the photo has dwindled as they have grown up, gone on missions, gotten married (the first one this year!), gone off to college, been committed to jobs, or just moved too far away to make the trip every year. But they will all have these happy memories to hold on to forever.

Happy kids- I never get tired of seeing my kids enjoying the sun, sand, water...and having fun together.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reminder to Me

This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help. We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.
--Thomas S. Monson. "An Attitude of Gratitude." Ensign, May 1992, 54.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Things I love about being at THE BEACH

20. having no schedule
19. spray-on sunscreen(!)
18. outdoor showers
17. leaving the Legos out on the floor all week
16. frog-eye salad and watermelon
15. happy chaos of cousins playing together
14. freckles!
13. watching the kids wave-jumping for hours
12. great new photo opps
11. wearing a swimsuit all day
10. marathon Monopoly games
9. "beach hair"
8. Crabcakes at Provisions
7. Soduko!
6. the sound of the
5. Naps
4. treasure hunting at shell island during low tide
3. digging in the sand with my toes
2. sunset walks on the beach
1. leaving the world behind for a while to just be with my

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Summer Ready"

June 3rd. It's official. The summer gear is here!

Aahh, to be a kid and have the whole summer and endless possibilities ahead of you!

Camping Boys

Father & Son's Campout 2008.
It doesn't get any better than this!
It had been raining for two days when they left the house for the campout and the forecast was 'iffy'.
Comes around once a year. Ya just gotta go! Have faith.
BT did not look exactly thrilled as he speedily loaded up 'the basics". I'm sure the idea of sleeping in the truck cab with wet, muddy stuff was looking likely. But Halibut was so excited!
This is probably the very first one he'll remember. Looks like it turned out to be a pretty good one to remember after all.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Repentance Soup

The other morning I had waffles for breakfast. Lots of them... 'cause who can throw out perfectly good waffle batter, right? With butter. Lots of it. and syrup... you get the picture. This led to my having to wear my stretchy elastic-waist "mother of many" pants instead of my chic flat-front slim pants as planned (size 2(!) (yes , I know Chico's has their own sizing system for us 'real' people, but I still get a kick out of saying "size 2" if the opportunity comes along).

Anyway, I just spent a week with my Mom last month and lost four pounds by doing nothing more than just eating the same things she did (she has lost 50 pounds (and counting) on Weight Watchers (woohoo Mom!)).

Since I've been home, I've tried really hard to keep going and stumbling here and there but still doing pretty well, I think (I don't have a scale - no room - my bathroom is, in actuality, what the English call a "water closet," and I'm lucky if I can turn around in there, but I digress...)

So, a little sliding here and there but no major freefalls. Until the "waffle incident".

Here is how I plan to rectify the problem. This soup is really good- even BT likes it. I use whatever veggies I have and chicken broth instead of vegetable, beause that's what I have. A bowl for lunch and a cup before dinner will put me back on track in no time - and with all these veggies, I feel soo healthy!

POINTS® Value: 0
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 50 min
Cooking Time: 13 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Some say that this soup is the secret to their weight-loss success. Cook up a pot and keep it in the fridge for snacks or an appetizer.


2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 medium onion(s), diced
2 medium carrot(s), diced
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), diced
1 medium stalk celery, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
2 cup green cabbage, shredded
2 cup Swiss chard, chopped
2 cup cauliflower, small florets
2 cup broccoli, small florets
2 tsp thyme, fresh, chopped
6 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp parsley, or chives, fresh, chopped 1
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, optional

Put garlic, vegetables, thyme and broth into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.Stir in parsley or chives; season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Yields about 1 cup per serving.