Monday, August 23, 2010

Anniversary Trip to Lake Las Vegas!

We started the evening by strolling around the Village, trying not to melt in the August heat. We ate at a lovely Italian restaurant and talked about our daydream to visit Italy; we'd start in Venice, go down to Florence, and spend a nice long time in Rome--where we'd eat gelato every single day. This is what we do when we're alone: plot ways to escape the country without the children. (Even though we love the children.)

When Bryce made the reservation at Loews he told me, "They have a special one-night package for anniversaries."

"Oh, that's great!" I agreed.

"Yeah, but I'm embarrassed to tell you what it's called."

"Okay . . . what."

"The Whoopie Package."

Oh my land. That is hilarious and clever and tacky at the same time. I guess we can thank the Newlywed Game for that gem.

Bryce left at 11:00 p.m. to settle the kids down at home. He intended to return after everyone was asleep but kids kept waking up and he was exhausted . . . so he didn't come back until 8:00 in the morning! I watched Cupcake Wars deep into the night.


Next morning while I was alone I tidied up and went to put the remains of the Whoopie Pies outside the door.
I was wearing a "cute" nightgown. I peeked outside the door to make sure no one was coming down the hall. The coast was clear so I set the plate down. Just as I stood back up . . . the heavy hotel door swung shut.


I stood there in my shortish and sheerish nightie, eyes wide, staring at the door handle.

Holy crud.

I was locked out.


After weighing my options I decided to make a dash for the floor's courtesy phone.

"Hello, I'm in room 9202 and I need some assistance re-entering my room," I said, as if I were merely asking for more towels.

But then I couldn't help blurting out the whole story, about the plate and the door and the nightgown, and could she please hurry?

I returned to my post, the door frame of 9202. I tried crossing my arms, then putting them at my side. I fiddled with the ribbon on my dress and studied headlines I could see on the neighbors' newspaper. Finally a security guard came down the hall. He sized me up and said, "Well, at least you're wearing clothes."

Yes, at least indeed.

Oh my word.


Since I'd lost my ability to feel embarrassed, when Bryce came back I suggested we wear our complimentary t-shirts to breakfast.

"No way," he said. "I will never wear this shirt in public. We will scar little children. And what if the stake president is here?"

"I doubt he's here on a Sunday. And if he is he probably got the Whoopie package too," I quipped.

Somehow I convinced him that we should do it.

After 15 years, I am good at getting my way.

We walked to Rick's Cafe. We sat next to a cute little family. The woman looked at Bryce and said, "I like your shirt!"

"What does it say, Mom?" asked the little boy.

"Oh, it says they like cookies. Like s'mores," she said.

I thought Bryce might die.

But having this gorgeous fruit salad helped to make it okay.

After breakfast we went to get the children packed up to come swimming in the hotel's gorgeous pools.

There's Harrison on his way to the slide . . .

and coming down!

And Tyce went kayaking!

We were living the high life, ordering food poolside and having it delivered. I said to Tyce, "This is like the show 'Suite Life on Deck' . . . except that there's no one your age."

His response: "I know, right?"

But that meant that the only people to hang out with were his brothers and sister, and they all had the BEST time. They played Marco Polo, had races, and shot each other with water guns. I was especially pleased with how well Tyce and Mary played with each other--both Bryce and I agree that THAT was the best anniversary present we could get.

We swam for hours, and poor Cam just couldn't go on any longer.

It was a great little get-away and we all want to do it again next year.

That is, if we don't run away to Italy.

Friday, August 20, 2010

This is What Reminds Me of Summer

Girls Camp at Warm Springs!

We had 17 girls and almost every leader attend. We built lots of swimming in to the schedule every day. But we also went rifle shooting, did all of the certification, cooked fabulous food, and has a wonderful testimony meeting. I always tell people that the girls go to be with their friends but I do too . . . I love those ladies so much.

Since it was so hot we decided not to attach the rain fly onto the tent. It was so cool to look at the stars before drifting off to sleep, and we desperately needed the circulation (since I don't think it was under 88 degrees any night). But . . . and you know what I'm going to say before I even say it . . . it rained the last night. And we experienced hurricane-force winds, which turned our fly-attaching mission into a lesson on how sailboats work. Somehow with brute force and duct tape we were able to get the tarp on and lie back on our cots . . . only to be tortured with the loudest, most persistent FWAP-FWAP-FWAPing imaginable!

The girls were so sweet and helpful, especially in helping each other shore up their tents and make sure everyone was safe. We have the best young women, which is why I have the best calling in the world.

Unfortunately just three weeks after our girls camp the entire facility burned down due to--ironically--brush-clearing efforts designed to reduce the risk of wildfires. It was very sad news indeed.

Tyce's EFY (Especially for Youth)!

He attended at BYU and he had a blast. He didn't go with anyone he knew but he quickly made friends. His roommate was from Hong Kong and wasn't even a member of our church; I can't imagine the double culture shock Dickson (his Americanized name) must have experienced spending the week in America at an LDS youth conference.

Tyce loved his entire company--the boys and (especially!) the girls. They were all 14-year-olds and most of them were from the western states. Two girls were from North Las Vegas. They had a spiritually uplifting week from hearing amazing speakers--John Bytheway!--to inspiring devotionals with their counselors. They also had fun at dances, where Tyce boogied so hard he won first place in the dance competition. In their free time Tyce's company went bowling and became Jamba Juice's best customers.

He had a wonderful experience, and it was 100% worth it to me to see the light in his eyes and the energy in his spirit when he returned home. He's already looking forward to going back next summer.

Swimming with friends!

We swam a lot this summer and these pictures are from when Betsie and her girls joined us at the Whitney Ranch pool.

Ninja Cameron!

He makes these faces pretty much all day long.

Free Summer Film Festival!

We went nearly every week this summer, and our last movie was "Astro Boy." I fielded Cameron's questions every time on the movies' rating: "Is it R-PG-13?" Because that mish-mash rating is definitely off-limits. This last time he smuggled a bag of grapes in--under his baseball cap! He looks pretty pleased with his plan, eh?

Swimming lessons!

Harrison is quite a good swimmer already. He is very physically talented and catches on quickly. Both boys really enjoyed their lessons with Miss Haley.

Mary was thrilled to find out she was the only one in her class and had a teacher all to herself. They worked on swimming strokes and diving. I love this picture because she and the bird look like they're going the same way!

Playing games!

The twins are starting to play UNO. And we will always love Settlers of Catan but it's fun to get new games. I especially like this one because I won the first three times we played it. Haha. But now Bryce is on to my strategy and has trounced me ever since. It's really easy to learn and a lot of fun, so next time you come visit . . . let's play!

America's Got Talent!

I love this summer show! Some of our favorites so far are Hannibal Means--for his eccentricity as much as his voice; and Haspop--because his moves are pretty amazing.

But my bet is on Fighting Gravity-- I think they'll win it all.

Visits with family, road trips, strawberry slushes, quoting Nacho Libre, reading Hunger Games, sleeping in . . . these are the things that remind me of summer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Cam-erism

During sacrament meeting Cameron was squirming on my lap.

Me: Cam, be still. The sacrament is the most holy ordinance you'll participate in today.

Cam: AND the yummiest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Cammer Jammer

I took Cameron in to the doctor because of his snorting problem. The sound is just like when you ask a child to oink like a pig--but it's about every 10 seconds. And he can't stop. We've tried allergy treatments and I don't think it's allergies. He had this problem in the spring and his preschool teachers nearly went crazy, practically begging me to take him in. But he stopped just in time for the preschool graduation in May. So we thought it seasonal allergies (even though the meds didn't work) or a lingering sinus problem that finally went away.

But now it's back. And Lord help us all if it's a nervous habit or a tic.

I also consulted with the doctor regarding ADHD meds for Cam, which he totally backed me on. The good thing about Dr. Levin is that he trusts me. The bad thing is that I didn't do any research before broaching the subject and I think he gave me the most expensive medication sample there is. He said, "There's a $50 discount card for your first prescription." I said, "Oh, he has Medicaid so that won't be a problem." And Dr. Levin told me, "Medicaid doesn't pay for this."

Well . . . crud.

We may have to go old-school with Pepsi and a Ritalin.

(Something funny about the sample pack: When we got home Cam handed me the box and said happily, "I'm ready for my side effects!" )

Our other kids take Strattera but I'm not in love with it. And it's pretty dang expensive even though insurance (not Medicaid) pays for a big chunk. In the two weeks he's on Intuniv we'll do our homework.

I thought long and hard about medicating but it's obvious that he needs some outside help. I  don't want Cameron to be the kid who snorts and pesters and talks too loud. I surely don't want him to to fall behind in class because he can't pay attention. I don't want his behaviors to get in the way of who his IS: a sweet, funny, sincere, likable kid. That's our Cammer Jammer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Young Men are from Mars, Young Women are from Venus

Last night I taught a class to the young women on stress management. I have a nice fat folder of materials from when I worked at the biofeedback lab in college (including a work schedule from 1994--I hope I really did come in on Monday at 8 a.m.).

I led them in a breathing meditation and then a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Soft music played in the background. With the lights off and my disembodied voice saying things like,

"Take a deep breath in, and tense the muscles in your thighs. Hold for just a moment, and then release everything. As you do this, the blood flow to your muscles increases, and you may notice a warm tingling sensation. Enjoy this feeling of soothing relaxation in your thighs . . . "

all I really heard were fits of giggles.

The worst part is that they made me have to bite my cheek not to join them.

But seriously, the girls were very sweet and I felt that we had a really good class. And I will say, they all looked very relaxed.

When I came home my house was a wreck and six boys were sitting in my living room watching "Myth Busters." As the 1st counselor in the bishopric Bryce is the ad hoc adviser for Tyce's class; after opening exercises at church they went to the park to play baseball. Apparently they topped off the night be raiding the treat closet and watching a little telly. Chomping on Oreos and rooting for the 1:12 scale Lamborghini to really skip across water seemed to be right up these boys' alley.

I'm pretty sure we all had a good night.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to Bryce!

His birthday was July 22nd and don't tell anybody, but this is his last birthday in a certain decade.

But you know what they say, 39 is the new 29. And brown is the new black. And trifle is the new birthday cake.

(Check out this beauty!)
I'm glad a took a picture of Bryce with each of the kids because these are pretty much my favorite people in the world.

Harrison made a very cute card for his daddy.

Tyce also made a clever card.

And Mary made sure her card was all about BYU.

Cameron didn't get around to making anything but he gave lots and lots of hugs.

Ben and Kim gave Bryce the thing he really wanted: a lemon ball.

After the party Steven and Konner came over to play Settlers of Catan with us. Steven showed no birthday mercy and trash-talked Bryce all the way to victory.

Even so, I hope it was a good birthday, because a ton of people love him and hope he has a fabulous year to come.

HBTY, Bryce!