Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Day of School

The summer got all jumbled up at the end because I was working a ton and suddenly it rolled into the first day of school.

Tyce has two classes at CSN (College of Southern Nevada), music tech recording and English 101.

Tyce, freshman at CSN.
Mary is in 9th grade at Basic. We were so proud of her for shouting down a group of 12th-grade boys bullying a girl in their art class on the first day of school. She doesn't remember what she said but it shut them up. This from a girl who hates to talk to people she doesn't know.

Mary, Defender of Justice.
Cameron and Harrison are in 4th grade at Sue Morrow Elementary. Cameron has Mrs. Naumu and Harrison has Mrs. Welborne. They both love their teachers.


I had to work on their first day of school and I had a lot of guilt about that. But they seemed just fine--except that Cam got separated from Harrison and was found walking home alone, crying. Bryce finally got both boys (with thanks to our friend Kim and Robin) even taking them to get ice cream after school. Seems like I'm not the only parent experiencing guilt. Ha.

I hope they are off to a great year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Our 19th Anniversary

August 21st was our wedding anniversary and it now we've been married for 19 years. Woo hoo!

We did a session at the Las Vegas temple. The newness of the temple videos make the ordinances so much sharper to me, so fresh. I enjoyed my time there with my eternal companion.

After that we attempted to go to our favorite Thai restaurant but it was closed for the after lunch/before dinner hours. So we headed over to the Cheesecake Factory--I'm always glad to eat there.

That night Mary had her open house at Basic so Bryce stayed with the other kids while I took her (where she promptly ditched me for her friends). I hung out with Madi's mom, Jennifer C., until the girls returned. Not the same as partying with my husband but not a bad end to the evening.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cub Scout Day Camp

The first week of August our boys had a very fun week: Cub Scout day camp at O'Callaghan park.

In the back: Bro. Banks, Me, Jen F.
Middle row: Noah B., Jayce B., Calvin, Skyler F., Alfonso A.
Front row: Johnathan S., Alexander K., Jakob C., Harrison, Cameron

I was able to be an assistant leader to my friend Jen F. Work didn't interfere, which was lucky for me. We went Monday-Friday from 4 pm til 8 pm. The kids rotated through stations such as citizenship, crafts, archery/BB gun, obstacle course, fire safety, and identifying desert animals. They were a great group of boys.

Station about the human body.
Parachute games
The last day was a family day. We had hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner and the kids could climb a rock wall and go through a dark maze. Our twins loved that maze. That thing would be my worst nightmare.

I chatted with the directors of the day camp, the Ritchies, and they told me they have a soft spot for twins. I asked if that was because they had a set themselves and they said yes--their kids go: single, single, twins, twins, twins, twins. Ten kids, and FOUR SETS OF TWINS IN A ROW!!! That is Guinness Book-worthy in my world.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

July Vacation--More Cousins!

So after our great visit in Utah we headed up to spend the night at Circus Circus in Reno. Bryce took the twins to play midway games, which they were dying to do. Mary took a long bath and Tyce and I went to the fitness center. Bonus, while we were working out we got to watch So You Think You Can Dance. I've missed that since we don't have time to watch TV these days. We smuggled Katie into our room. We are horrible people but dang it if we couldn't stand the thought of putting the dog in the kennel there.

After that little stop-over we went to visit Bryce's cousins (Al's sister's kids) in Placerville, California. Lucy and her husband Kent live on a beautiful, out of the way property in northern California. They invited Lucy's brother Tony and his wife Brenda to join us for lunch. This was my first time meeting them but they were so easy-going and hospitable that it seemed like I'd known them forever. They were awesome with our kids. The twins especially loved talking Kent's and Tony's ears off about sports. Harrison discovered what a sin it was to be fan of both the Dodgers AND the Giants, so he switched his allegiance wholeheartedly to the boys in black and orange.

View from their deck, where we ate lunch.

Our kids with Tony, Lucy in the middle, and Brenda on the end.

Brenda and Tony, Bryce and I, Lucy and Kent
Lucy and Kent are both retired firefighters. They showed us their amazing work building where they now build custom shadowboxes ( They had such interesting remnants of their past lives as firefighters. They were very nice to let the twins try on gear too. I just loved spending part of our day with them.

Cameron trying on the helmet and jacket.

Our final stop was to Dave and Brooklyn's house in Mountain View. Highlights included going to Baker Beach (where we saw a bunch of unattractive naked men), eating dinner at Cambria's favorite restaurant in Chinatown (Hong Kong Clay Pot), hiking on a very hot day, canoeing at the park, playing the card game "Pounce", and generally hanging out together. I just love Cambria, Maya, and Xochi--they are the sweetest and most awesome girls. I have a matched set of nieces, three amazing girls on both sides of the family. Add to that that Bryce and I have awesome siblings and sibs-in-law--we are blessed.

While we went to the beach the first day, Dave took Tyce to work with him at Atlassian in downtown San Francisco. That was really cool for our kid.

The younger cousins running away from the waves. Extra little girl in the middle came to play.

Cuties. Xochi (5), Cambria (9), Cameron (10), Maya (8), and Mary (14)


Dinner was delicious. The honey walnut prawns were divine.

Pretty night

Shopping yielded a dragon dagger, wooden katana sword, and some kind of nun chuck things. Our people love weapons, apparently. Mary also bought some ceramic cat figurines for her friend Nikki.

One morning the kids went picking lemons and then came home to douse them in sugar.

Mary took her dad's phone and was acting very teenager-ish. She doesn't like to walk when it's hot out.

Beginning our hike.

Kids on a tree branch.

Beautiful shy Xochi

Everyone's mood improved when the girls found a little friend, a cute lizard Mary named "Steffan."

Maya and Steffan
Brooklyn and Dave.
Bryce and I.

Bryce carrying Harrison over a fallen log.

Xochi made it.

Harrison and Xochi feeding the geese.

Beautiful day.

I was in the same canoe as the twins and Bryce but I got super, super paranoid that the boys would flip the vessel. I got out and let them finish having fun.

Dave and Brooklyn had a pedal boat.

The girl cousins rocked the canoe! 

In the evenings after the littles were in bed our big kids and their aunt and uncle played intense rounds of the group solitaire-type game called Pounce.

We stayed with the Cooks in their lovely home. I thought we would overwhelm them but they handled us with grace. It was so nice to stay up late and talk to the grown-ups. Cambria was so sweet to place photos of the doors of the rooms the kids were staying in. She made a family picture wall too. The cousins enjoyed jumping on the trampoline and swinging on the tree swing. The girls absolutely loved our dog.

Xochi and Katie before we left
We had such a wonderful trip that it was hard to want to come home. I started work at Macy's the very next day so it was doubly nice to get one last vacation in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

July Vacation--Utah

We did a big loop of family visits: first to West Jordan to spend time with Bryce's parents and sister Betsie's family (who moved to Idaho a few weeks later for Andy's law school); then to Reno as a layover to California to visit with Bryce's cousin Lucy's family; and finally to Mountain View to see my brother David's peeps. It was an awesome week. Truly love all those people.

Bryce passed out these mustaches at the half-way point on our journey up.
On Monday we went to Mill Creek Canyon for FHE. We played in the river and roasted hot dogs.

Mary and Katie

Natasha, age 4

Mary and Kira, almost 8

Kess, just turned 12

Cute Betsie and me

Cam the leapfrog

Harrison the independent dude

Bryce and his mom

Twins having fun with grandma



Katie came to check on them, to make sure they weren't being naughty

Harrison is an expert rock-skipper


Woodland creature

Betsie and Andy

Betsie and Heather


Roasting hot dogs

A lot of them fell in the fire, which we fished out, cooled off, and gave to Katie.

Adorable Mary

Cam licking mustard off Katie's leash

Bryce and Heather

Tyce and Harrison

With Desiree, the Prices' former foster daughter 

Trying out roasted apples

Heather's neices and nephews, minus Ben

The crazy shot

Al and Judy Jones with their grandchildren (minus Ben)

Jones kids' photo bomb by Betsie, Bryce, and Heather!

Grand kid photo bomb!

Betsie, Al, Judy, Heather, and Bryce. Just missing Kim. Sad! Wish she and Ben could have come.
Bryce turned 43 on July 22nd and we celebrated with lemon cream pie and fireworks.

Birthday boy and fire

We shot off some parachute men. The sound terrified Harrison and he insisted on sticking right by me the rest of the night. Wouldn't even touch the sparklers.

Cam was a super grump. But he got a new sock monkey at the thrift store (D.I.) that he named "Heavyweight" due to its sand-filled rump.

Mary in her pj pants


Tasha  having fun. Notice Harrison safely between adults on the sidewalk.


Dancing with sparklers

All the kids with Desiree. She taught Harrison to do an Irish dance, by the way. They performed for us and did great!


Kess and Mary having a pretend fight
Ok, are these girls seriously the cutest?

I'm going save the rest for later. I've got to do some math facts with Cameron and then get ready for work.

Stay tuned.