Thursday, July 31, 2008

New friends

Apparently there was quite a storm here in Bismarck last night! It was just around midnight last night when I put my book down and turned the lamp off and just after I had my eyes shut, I could see bright flashing light. I could see there was some lightning going on, but didn't hear any thunder for awhile. I vaguely remember hearing some hard rain on the windows just before I drifted off into Never Never Land, not to be awoken (or is it awakened?) until morning! What a mess we had outside this morning! Our garbage cans were blown over and one was in the driveway on its side, there are quite a few little branches in the backyard, and one of Scott's corn plants was bent over sideways in the garden box! There were trees that were blown over in some areas. I'm sure glad we didn't have any trees falling on our house, because I don't think I would have known about it until morning! Gage said the storm woke him up, but Emma had no clue what he was talking about. Apparently the two of us slept hard last night! And speaking of sleeping, I am in complete shock right now because it is 8pm and Emma is ASLEEP! I went to check on her at 7:30 while I was watching Big Brother because she was being awfully quiet and she was already asleep! I wanted to feel her to see if she was hot, because I figured she must be sick or something?

I put the kids to bed a little earlier tonight because I have to wake them up bright and early tomorrow morning to make it to Mandan for a garage sale that starts at 7am! I know that is totally crazy, but my friend Jen, the one we met at the pool yesterday, is having a big garage sale and her daughter Livia wears a bigger size than Emma and she is always dressed very nice and wearing alot of namebrand clothes. Livia is the only child and they are into clothes. I asked her if she would have jeans for sale and she said she would, so I have to get there early, to beat the crowd! I'm hoping she has them priced to sell. Sometimes people like their stuff too much and put too high of prices on things. When I hit a garage sale, I want it to be a BARGAIN!

Last week or so, we had gone to a DU family picnic and while we were there, I had talked to another wife of a DU guy that I hadn't talked to before. In fact, I didn't even realize the guy had a wife AND family!? Anyway, while we were just chatting, she had asked about Gage and Emma and their ages, etc. When I told her Gage would be going into 2nd grade, and Emma would be starting kindergarten at Corpus Christi church she was surprised to hear that. She told me she had some friends from church who have lived here a short time and just moved into the Northridge school district and they had asked Bobbi (the wife of the guy that works at DU with Scott) if she new anyone in the Northridge school district. She said she didn't. I guess this family was needing some help with picking up their kids after school. The mother is attending nursing school at the University of Mary and her schedule and clinical hours are going to conflict with the kids' getting to and from school a few days a week, and the father works some weird hours as well. I told Bobbi to let them know I would be glad to help out if I could. Their older son is also going into the 2nd grade, and their younger daughter will also be attending kindergarten at Corpus Christi. A few nights ago, Kara (this is going to be very confusing now with 2 Karas) called me to talk and see if I was still interested in picking her kids up at school and wanted to know if we could get together to meet. I said that would be fine, because I don't know many people that would just up and invite a stranger to pick their kids up at school. However, I wasn't that anxious about setting up a time to meet, because I thought it would be kind of weird, having this family come over to our house to make sure I wasn't some kind of child molester or something of that nature. They were scheduled to come over today at 2pm. The kids and I did our best at getting the house picked up, thankfully it wasn't that bad to begin with. Anyway, they showed up promptly at 2 o'clock and when we answered the door, their oldest son, Ethan, burst in the doorway and he and Gage were off to his bedroom like a flash! That sure didn't take long! Emma and Casey made friends pretty quickly as well. Kara is VERY TALL! Whoa! She is 6'4" (the same height as Scott!) and I don't believe I have ever stood next to another female who towered over me like that!? I can't remember her husband's name. UGH! I'm so terrible with names. I probably wouldn't remember her name if it wasn't because I already have a friend named Kara! They seem very nice. I told her I didn't want any money, because I didn't want it to be a "job". They were surprised at that I think, and said they would sure like to compensate by watching our kids occasionally as well. Sounds great to me! Anyway, I'm not totally sure of Kara's schedule, but Gage and Emma are thrilled to death to already have some new friends coming home from school with them! (I am too, because now I won't have to listen to them begging me to set up play dates all of the time!) Hopefully this will all work out well.

Not much else going on here. Scott is in Memphis for work until late tomorrow night. He wants us to celebrate my birthday in Tuttle (Great! NOT!). He says if we don't go, we'll have to borrow a baler to mow the yard. I'm sure he is right on that one. I don't have much else that I want to do, so I'm sure we'll be headed to Tuttle Saturday morning. Gage didn't know until a couple of nights ago that my birthday is on Saturday. He seemed a bit upset that he didn't know that and I could see he was deep in thought. I have a couple big ticket items that I've been wanting. I've been saving my Biolife money to buy either a kayak (to use at Lake Josephine in Tuttle), or a Nintendo Wii with the Wii Fit system. Maybe I could get myself in shape by playing with the Wii Fit? I've heard it's pretty cool. I am more apt to exercise if it is fun. I'll just have to make sure and not get Guitar Hero, because I'm addicted to it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Unexpected fun at the pool

This morning after we got up and had breakfast and were ready to get dressed and start our day, I decided I wanted to wear my new necklace and earrings. My typical daily attire of t-shirt and shorts wouldn't be the right thing to wear with them, so I looked through my closet to find something else. I have many things hanging in my closet, but I never have anything to wear, go figure? Several things I have in the closet I remember buying when we lived in Memphis and that was over 10 years ago! Anyway, I have this striped, sleeveless, lightweight sweater-like top that I bought at a garage sale a couple of years ago for $2. I wore it alot when I first bought it, but I hadn't put it on yet this summer. I decided that's what I would wear, with just some navy shorts that I wear all the time (I've had these shorts since I lived at home with my parents!) Anyway, I got dressed, wet my hair down so I wouldn't have my typical bed-head that I usually cover up with a baseball cap, and put my new jewelry on. When I walked downstairs Emma says, "Mom, you look beautiful!" LOL! I guess that's a sign that I typically look like a slob in my t-shirts and shorts, when I wear something that's not really dressy at all, and Emma thinks I'm dressed to go to the prom! Yesterday afternoon when I changed my clothes to get ready to go out to eat supper with Kara, Emma says, when I walked down the stairs, "Wow Mom! Are you going to church?" LOL!

Later this morning, I had an email from a Mom of one of Emma's classmates from preschool. She said in the email that she couldn't find my number in the phone book, but wanted to know if Emma could go swimming with them at the Elks pool today. Emma hasn't seen her friend, Livia, since school got out, so I thought maybe that would be a fun thing for her to do, but I felt bad for Gage, so he and I went along as well. We haven't been to the Elks pool since it opened a couple of summers ago. It is always very crowded and they have a maximum capacity of people. I don't know what that number is, but after the maximum number of people go in, they close the pool down to anyone else, and when one person comes out, another person can go in. Jen, Livia's Mom, thought that meeting there at 2pm would be a good time, because the pool opens at 1pm and alot of times people with younger kids are leaving after an hour. When we got there, the pool was closed and Jen and Livia were first in line, we were a few families back. The first opening took 4 people, but there were no groups of 2 after Jen and Livia, so I sent Emma in with them while Gage and I waited outside. I was worried it could be a long wait, but it was maybe about 30 minutes or so that we waited to get in. Then at 4:30pm, they shut the pool completely down until 5:30 or so, then they reopen. Apparently if you just got in for the first session, you still have to go out and then pay to get back in! That stinks! They should have built the pool bigger! The kids had a great time; however. I lathered them up with sunscreen before we left home so I figured we would be good on sunscreen (even though I still took it with me) since we would only be out for 3 hours max. I started noticing Emma's shoulders pinking up, so I told her to come and let me put more sunscreen on and she refused. She got sunburned. This is about her 3rd one this summer. She is just more sensitive to the sun than Gage because I lathered them both up at the same time and he wasn't pink at all. I gave her the speech at bath time and told her that it was VERY important that we reapply sunscreen several times if we are going to be outside for long periods of time and told her about skin cancer, etc. etc. She says it doesn't hurt, but I'm thinking she needs to have one hurt, so she will not ever want to do that again. However, I'm not going to let her go out and get fried just so I can teach her a lesson.

Emma and Livia playing at the pool. There is an area that has lots of different streams of water being sprayed up from the concrete that the kids had a lot of fun playing in. This pool is neat because it's like a beach and is very shallow then gradually gets deeper and deeper. There is a dark blue line on the bottom of the pool where it starts to get deeper, so the younger kids know not to go any farther. The deepest part of the pool is only 5 ft anyway.

Livia, Emma and Gage hanging out at the pool!

Isn't Emma so cute with her new penguin goggles that she has on upside down? LOL!
We had a nice time at the pool. It was nice visiting with Jen. I haven't talked to her since school was out, except for a couple of times when I've seen her at Target or somewhere else. She manages the Victoria Secret in the mall, so I occasionally see her in there as I walk through the mall.
The kids had their swimming lessons at the YMCA from 12-12:30, then swam from 2:30-4:30! I would think they should be good and tired tonight! They got their report cards today at their lessons and Gage did pass. I thought Emma would too, but she didn't. When I told Gage he passed, Emma wanted to know if she did, and I hesitated to tell her because I didn't want her to be upset that he passed and she didn't. I said, "Nope Emma, you're still a Ray." She replied, "I like being a Ray because you don't have to do as much!" Great attitude! I'm thinking that it may be a waste of money to keep putting her in the lessons if she intends to never pass out of rays? I was glad that she wasn't upset though. If it had been the other way around, I would have expected a big scene, because Gage would NOT have been happy! Tomorrow is their last day for this session, then they start their last summer session Aug. 4-14.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy "early" Birthday to me!

I think it was last week that I got an email from a gal that works with Scott at Ducks Unlimited that was an invitation to a Ladies DU event-type thing. I didn't really know what it was, but I knew I enjoy going to the Ladies' DU Banquet, so when I was reading the invitation, it said to invite a friend. I forwarded the email onto my friend Kara and asked her if she would like to go with me. She said it sounded like fun and that she would love to come. I'm not sure if it was that same day, or a day or two later when I was talking to Scott about it and told him I was going to go and I had invited Kara to come with me. It was then that he informed me that this was an event to get volunteers to be on the Central Dakota Chapter Ladies' Duck Unlimited committee! YIKES! I enjoy going to the women's DU banquet in the fall, but I don't want to be on the committee that puts it on! I promptly called Kara up and apologized because I was going to have to uninvite her to this DU event. She was totally offended that I was uninviting her (just kidding!), and suggested we keep the date on the calendar and go out to eat supper together. I thought that was a great idea! She asked me where I wanted to go and eat and I decided Chinese sounded good, so she stopped by this evening at 6 to pick me up and we had supper at China Garden. During our meal she reached into her purse and took something out and handed it to me and said, "Happy Birthday!" She gave me this beautiful necklace and earrings that she made.

I absolutely LOVE them! I didn't even realize she knew my birthday was coming up! She then snatched the bill and paid for my supper as well. Thanks so much Kara! You didn't have to do any of that, but I love the jewelry and the supper was delicious! After we ate we went for a walk on the path along the river. Unfortunately it was cut short due to the mosquitos! They were horrible!

When we arrived back home Emma enjoyed demonstrating her hula hooping abilities to Kara, as did Gage.

I took this video this morning of Emma outside doing her hula hoop. She's doing pretty good.

Gage is getting better. I laugh when I see him do it. He's not as fluent with his movements. :-) (He gets that from his mother AND father!) I've been trying to get video of Scott hula hooping but I have been unsuccessful.

Later on, when I was talking to my sister Kysa on the phone, I had to brag to her about getting to eat Chinese food, and also about my new jewelry. She was dying to see it, so I told her I would post them on my blog. I also told her about another set of jewelry that I bought from Kara about a year ago and she wanted to see those too.

You'll have to check out Kara's website KLG Designs to see other jewelry pieces that she makes. She is very talented, as you can see! She has a booth at Urban Harvest this year, and she will also have a booth at The Capital A'Fair this weekend on the capital grounds. Thanks so much Kara for the necklace and earrings. I LOVE THEM!

Other than my exciting evening, not too much happened today. The kids had swimming lessons at noon. Gage was so excited because he passed the level he was currently in! Emma hasn't been tested yet, so I'll be interested in seeing if she passes. Last time when she didn't pass she told me she didn't want to because she would have to do more stuff. UGH! That's kind of the point!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello, Dolly!

Believe it or not, I'm at a loss for words! I don't really have anything to blog about today. It was pretty quiet here.

Gage was pretty excited this morning to see that the tooth fairy came and left him a note. He said he couldn't read it because it was in cursive. It wasn't cursive, just kind of fancy-styled lettering, so I read it to him. He was thrilled to death to know that she actually found his tooth and that he need not worry about losing his teeth in the future because the tooth fairy can always find them! :-) She left a dollar bill and 4 quarters and he was excited about that.

The kids had swimming lessons today and then we ran a few errands and didn't do too much the rest of the afternoon.

Emma entertained us this afternoon with her new hula hoop. I used to be able to do that, but not anymore. I just hope I don't look as dorky as Scott does when he tries. :-) Emma is finally getting it figured out and can keep the hula hoop going longer and longer. Maybe I'll get some video tomorrow to spice up the blog!?

Kysa emailed me some pictures of my Mom and Dad's new dog, Dolly. She is quite adorable!

Who couldn't resist those beautiful, sad-looking puppy eyes? I'm sure she won't be little anymore when we get to see her, unless of course I get G'pa and G'ma talked into coming up for a visit and bringing Dolly along! (hint, hint!)
I'll try to come up with more to talk about tomorrow!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Redhawks Camping Adventure

We left bright and early Saturday morning for Fargo. Okay, so it wasn't as bright and early as Scott wanted it to be, but it was the best I could do. What is it about men and trips? Why is it that they spend ZERO time helping to get everything organized to go, or ZERO time trying to help you make a list of everything you might need? There are also many things that I have to do before I can leave the house if we are going to be gone overnight. I have to make sure the cats have food and water, make sure nothing is turned on, make sure the bedroom doors I don't want cats in are shut, sink is empty of dirty dishes, etc. So, Scott and the kids were sitting outside in the car waiting for me while I frantically ran around the house making sure everything was done that had to be done.

We arrived in Fargo around lunchtime and ate lunch at the food court in the mall and then did a little bit of shopping for school clothes. I absolutely HATE shopping with Scott AND the kids. I get nervous because I think I'm taking too long and they start getting antsy and difficult to deal with. (All 3 of them!) They really weren't all that bad, but there was a point when I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air and be done with it.

Gage desperately needed a haircut, and Emma needed a trim as well, so we made an appointment at Mastercuts in the mall, which bought me some much needed "alone time" while shopping.

Here is Gage's hair before we left. I have been trying to get him to let me, or even a beauty operator, cut his hair for quite some time. It was totally driving me nuts and got to the point where I made him put a hat on before we walked out the door to go anywhere!

Here's the after shot! MUCH better! He like the spikey little 'do the lady gave him as well. We are all alot happier when Gage's hair doesn't need to be combed!
Gymboree is by far my favorite store in the West Acres Mall in Fargo. They had tons of stuff, most of which was on sale. I got about 7 different outfits for Emma and a shirt for Gage for $150. I thought I did very well. I could have done some major damage in that store! They have the cutest little girl clothes. I still need to find her a couple pairs of jeans. I just quickly browsed through Kids Gap and The Children's Place before we headed out. We then headed to Scheel's to find some shoes. We found a nice pair of tennis shoes for each of the kids that both they, and I, like for $19.99 each. The Scheels store in Fargo is the biggest Scheels around. They even have a ferris wheel inside the store! I bribed, or more like threatened, the kids with the ferris wheel. I told them they could ride if they both behaved. We bought the tokens ahead of time and I told them I would just give them to some other kids if they acted up. They did very well. While I was standing in line with them at the ferris wheel, Scott quickly headed over to the men's shoe department to browse. While I was standing there waiting for the kids' ride to be done, Pastor Jim and Pris Hinson came up to me to say "Hi"! We had tried arranging a time we could get together with them so we could see Samantha and Matthew, but they were attending a wedding and Sam and Matt were staying home with G'pa and G'ma Barker. (For those of you who don't know, Samantha and Matthew Barker are the children of our very dear friends, Jason and Julie, who both passed away after battling cancer within 2 years of each other. Pastor Jim and his wife Priscilla were named legal guardians of Sam and Matt). They live in Detroit Lakes, MN, which is about an hour east of Fargo. It was nice seeing them, but we sure missed seeing the kids. Samantha is going to be in 8th grade this fall, which seems unreal! She wasn't even born yet when we first met them! They said she has grown quite tall? Matthew is doing well also. We're hoping that they will come to Bismarck at the end of August for a Youth hunting clinic that Scott is coordinating.
After chatting with them in Scheels for awhile, we left and when we got into the car I noticed it was 2:45! The baseball clinic was to start at 3pm! YIKES! We didn't even know where the stadium was located! However, with Scott's wonderful driving and my excellent navigational skills (they mailed us directions with the tickets) we made it just in time! Seriously, just in time! Scott dropped Gage and I off at the front of the stadium and we took off running. We made it up into the stadium in time for me to hear them tell the kids not to walk on the infield and then they were to all go down to the field. Whew! That was close! When Scott and Emma made it into the stadium, Emma went with me while Scott went down onto the field to take pictures. It was quite hot. I'm not sure what the temp was, but it was definitely in the 90's. We paid $3 extra per ticket to get reserved seats. That ended up being a dumb thing to do, because Gage and Emma sat with Gage's friend, Cameron, in the general admission bleachers, which were seriously just across a set of hand rails from us. The kids kept climbing back and forth during the game. I'm not sure the man controlling the area cared much for that, but since he was about 150 years old, he didn't give us any grief.

The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks were "versing" the Joliet Jackhammers from Illinois. LOL! I would like to see their mascot!

Gage and Cameron on the field for the baseball clinic with the Fargo Redhawk players.

Gage taking a little bit of batting practice.

Mom and Emma sweating our butts off in the stands. This little guy beside us really liked Emma. We could hardly understand a word he was saying, but did make out that his name was Austin (Odin). I think he was making Emma uncomfortable because he was kind of right in your face and you couldn't really understand what he was saying. Emma kept kind of turning away from him, and was quite obvious she wasn't interested. However, Odin was completely oblivious to it all, so I just sat and talked and talked and talked and talked to him. I don't know who his parents were, or where they were, but they were probably thankful to have a little bit of peace and quiet! Glad we could be of assistance! :-)

Gage and the rest of the Scouts huddled around learning some good things about baseball (or at least I hope they were!)

Emma, Cameron and Gage with Cameron's Dad, Todd (right behind Emma), sitting in the general admission seats enjoying the game. Cameron is a really nice kid. Even though he got a few souvenirs (that Gage and Emma did not get to have) he didn't rub it in their faces and shared with them as well. Todd is a very quiet guy. I told Scott I bet his wife couldn't even start up a fight with him if she wanted to! You can't really even tell if he's having fun because he's so mellow and he doesn't do a whole lot of talking. He is very nice, nonetheless.

Alot of the kids were standing down in front of the general admission seats trying to catch foul balls and begging for the players to throw them balls. They had several balls that made it into that section. On the ground, behind the bleachers was a little playground and sandbox with a big inflatable to jump in. The kids spent a little bit of time down there as well. (Note to self: Don't ever let the kids play in a sandbox when it is 90 degrees outside! Emma and I had quite a time in the bathrooms trying to get all of that sand out of her sweaty underwear and off of her sticky bottom! In the meantime, we are hiding in a one-man stall and I am about to pass out from the heat!) When Gage was back there at one point, he came running into the stands to show us he got a foul ball! He said it just rolled right to him and he was thrilled to death! (So were Scott and I because it got us out of buying a Redhawks baseball for $5!) He got it signed by Hawkeye, the male Redhawk mascot. Emma got Scarlett to sign a piece of paper for her.

Here's Gage and his baseball! He is so proud of it!

Scott and I had Gage's baseball glove on during the entire game just in case we had a foul ball come our direction. These baseball games are a dangerous place to be if you aren't paying attention! We saw one guy get beaned in the middle of his back by a foul ball when he stood up and turned around to walk up the bleachers. That HAD to hurt! Then, along the 3rd base line, there were a bunch of guys sitting at picnic tables down beside the bleachers. One foul ball hit a guy right on the front of his shoulder. Just a few inches and he would have caught it right in his face! That would have smarted a bit I'm sure!

I asked Scott to get a picture of Emma and the Redhawk. This isn't quite what I meant, but it IS a picture of Emma and the Redhawk!

After the game everyone cleared out of the stadium and the people camping got their things from their vehicles and were allowed back into the stadium. There were some people we saw that have definitely done this kind of thing before. They had wagons and carts loaded up with all of their camping gear. Not us, however! The kids were completely loaded with their camp chairs, sleeping bags and pillows, and Scott and I carried the rest. I was never more glad to finally get to our spot!

We had our tent set up in no time. The air mattress was a breeze to inflate with the air pump Scott got. Scott had suggested we take both of our tents (both are 4-man tents), but I assured him we didn't need both of them. Yeah, that was a mistake! After he got the air mattress inflated, there was just a narrow space along the side and at the front by the door for the kids to sleep in. I'll know better next time!

They showed the movie "Sandlot" in centerfield. Gage and Emma have never seen that movie, so it was alot of fun for them to watch. Emma was a bit scared of the dog, but then when he licked the kid's face, she was much less nervous. I'm sure I will hear "OH SHIT!" come out of the kids' mouth after watching that movie. You never realize how many bad words are said until you watch it with your kids! It started to cool off a bit, so I was glad that I packed some warmer clothes. Gage's hot-blooded little body didn't seem to need them though. I was so sticky from the heat during the game that I just felt awful. It was quite a jaunt to the bathrooms in the dark, so I didn't want to make more than one trip to go potty before time for bed. It was about 12:30 am when we all got into our tents. I was so hot in the tent I couldn't get comfortable for quite awhile. I asked Scott "What time is it" once more during the night and it was 4:30 am. I thought to myself, "Oh please just let this night go faster so we can be done and go home!" I didn't sleep very well with the loud trains coming through at all hours of the night, along with all of the traffic. We had a good time though.
We got up just before 7 this morning, when they started playing the "wake-up music" over the sound system. It's so wonderful waking up to a blaring "Electric Avenue" and "Eye of the Tiger"! I felt like I was in Iowa playing "Sing It" with Jari Jo and Kysa on the PS2! They provided donuts and orange juice or coffee for breakfast and everyone needed to be out of the stadium by 9:30. We left plenty before that, but not before we had a big ordeal with Gage. His loose tooth fell out when he bit into the donut. He was very excited and brought it to me and asked me to hold it for him so he wouldn't lose it. I asked him to wait just a second because I was trying to take the tent down while Scott hauled a load of stuff to the car and in that little bit of time, he dropped it in the outfield. We looked and looked but couldn't find it. That was just like looking for a needle in a haystack with that plush, thick grass! He was quite upset. I was very sad myself, since I've been keeping all of his baby teeth for him. I told him the tooth fairy was just going to take it away anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. Well it was to him (and me too, but I knew we were never going to find it). He finally forgot about it and slept most of the way home from Fargo. Emma was quite proud of herself because she didn't sleep for one single second on the trip home! UGH!
Now, while I'm thinking of it, I need to make sure the tooth fairy shows up since I convinced Gage you don't need to have the actual tooth for her to come!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Weekend activities

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Fargo for Scout Day with the Redhawks. We are leaving earlier in the morning so I can have a chance to do some school shopping before all of the festivities start up. Scott mentioned this evening that we should devise some sort of budget for school shopping. I asked him, "What, are you afraid I'm going to go hog wild on clothes for the kids?" I assured him that that was not my plan. Emma has 1 pair of jeans that fit her that I found at Old Navy on the sale rack this past spring. The rest of her jeans look like she's expecting a flood. I am sure we're going to have problems finding jeans that fit her. I remember having the same problem when I was growing up. We could never find any long enough. In fact, I'm not sure if I ever had a pair of jeans that were the right length? Thankfully the style back then was to wear several different pairs of different colored socks and layer them up your pant legs, or it was in style to roll your jeans up. Gage needs a couple of pairs of jeans as well, but I hate to buy them too soon, because they can wear shorts for the first month or so (if it doesn't get too cold too fast!), and by then, he could have outgrown a pair of jeans. In Tuttle we are keeping a record on the door frame in the kitchen of the kids' height. Gage grew over 2 inches from May to July! YIKES! So, I don't want to stock up on a bunch of jeans, only to have them too short in a few months. Scott is convinced I am going to go nuts when I get in the mall and get to go to the Gymboree store, Kids Gap, or Children's Place. I'll just let him worry.

Gage's baseball clinic with the Redhawk players will be at 3pm, and then a pizza party at 4pm. We will watch the Fargo Redhawks play (I'm not sure who they are "versing", as Gage would say) and then after the game we will be allowed to come back onto the field to camp. They will be showing a PG movie at centerfield, then lights out. It's going to be quite warm tomorrow, so I'm hoping it will at least cool off for sleeping outdoors in the tent.

Wish us luck! Have a great weekend!

I'll be sure to post pictures of our weekend adventure when we get back.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just another day in paradise

Well, okay, so it's not paradise, but it wasn't a bad day either. We have slept in the past few mornings until around 9am or maybe even a little later. I don't feel great when I sleep in, so I don't know why I continue to do it over and over and over. I suppose it's because I don't get to sleep until midnight or later. It's just a vicious cycle and I take after my Mom in that department.

Gage's last baseball game of the season went well last night. He had fun and only got out once, and the meltdown was prevented because the game was over and he was distracted by shaking hands with the opponents and then they received ribbons and a pin. Scott received a $50 gift card to Texas Roadhouse from all of the parents. I was surprised about that. I'm sure they must have taken up a collection from each of the families, and they did well keeping me in the dark. I knew nothing about it. What a nice gift.

We attended story time at the library this morning and then the kids finished their first week (of two) of swimming lessons. They are both doing very well, and I will be surprised if they don't pass on to the next level. Our afternoon was just sort of quiet. I have been trying to get things around for our camping trip on Saturday. This will be a good way to break us in for camping. It won't be completely primitive, but yet, we will be sleeping outside in the tent, on the hard ground. I believe Scott did go and purchase an air mattress tonight. I think he's afraid I may not walk again if I sleep on the hard ground? I'm afraid he might be right?

We have been waiting all day to watch tonight's episode of America's Top Dog. What a funny show. We saw the premiere episode, but missed last weeks' episode because we were partying at Space Aliens with Colton and Dustin. Mom and Dad, if you haven't watched this show yet, you need to tune in on Thursday nights at 7 pm on CBS. I know you will enjoy this reality show.

Emma has been really focused on pets these days and is desperately trying to get a new one. Apparently 3 isn't enough? She's determined to somehow get to Grandma Pipi's house to see their new puppy, Dolly. She has been capturing ladybugs and keeping them as "pets" the past few days and we have had a couple that have escaped in the house (I guess that's better than the toad she lost in Grandma Pipi's basement over the 4th of July!). This reminds me that I have been planning to share pictures of the greased pig contest over the 4th of July when I ran out of current pictures to post.

Last year Emma did not want to touch the pigs. She thought they were cute and she wanted to touch them, but when she would get close enough to touch them, and then felt the slime, she couldn't bring herself to actually do it. (I was glad of that!)

Well, this year was a different story. There were more kids than pigs, so the guy said they would turn the pigs that had been caught, loose again, so they could be caught again by someone else. Instead of catching 1 pig, Emma caught 4 pigs! I don't know if it was the same pig over and over, but she returned a pig to the trailer 4 different times. Someone commented (I think maybe it was Kysa?) that she was catching them to keep. Thank goodness that wasn't her goal.

Here's Emma, trying to decide which pig is her first victim. I think Scott was coaching her to get the spotted one...............

...............and the spotted one she caught!

What a great picture! She was determined to get this pig in the trailer, but yet did not want to get too slimey in the process! The poor thing didn't do too much kicking, so she was able to get him there without too much difficulty.

Here she goes for pig #2. She then repeated this 2 more times! I'm not sure if everyone had the chance to catch a pig, or if Emma "hogged" them all?
That was hard work! Time to wash up! I think Emma was meant to be a farm girl?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back to the old drawing board.

I tried posting last night around 11p and for whatever reason, I wasn't able to. I think the website was down because I kept getting an error message. I was feeling quite guilty about it, but there wasn't anything I could do. I thought I would probably end up worrying my most faithful blog readers (my Mom and Dad). Sorry if I caused you any worry Mom and Dad!

We are pretty much back to the old drawing board here. It was fairly boring here yesterday. We slept in and then had swimming lessons at noon. We then ate lunch at McDonald's because I had an appointment to take the van in for an oil change, so the kids and I sat at the Honda dealership for around a half an hour, and then we had to take it over to Abra Body and Glass to have them re-glue the weatherstripping around the windshield. It has been coming out around the top of the windshield for several months now, but Scott kept forgetting to tell them when we would take it in for maintenance. We waited there for around 20-30 minutes as well. The kids were getting along SO WELL! I almost thought they must be sick or something. Even the lady at the counter at Abra said, "Boy, they sure do play well together!" I assured her this was an unusual occurance! However, I was enjoying it! After Scott got off work he came home to get us for a DU family picnic (which I totally forgot about!). I was quite glad I hadn't gotten anything ready for supper at that point. They are having staff meetings with a bunch of remote staff in the office to attend. They were grilling steaks and hot dogs and then had a couple different salads, watermelon, garlic toast and cakes for dessert. It was pretty good. Anything for supper that I don't have to cook, and is also FREE, is always good! We were out until 9:30, so we were definitely out too late and Gage and Emma were back to normal fighting over sticks, etc. Time to go home!

I got a call from Kysa yesterday afternoon around 4:30 and they made it home safe and sound. She emailed me a picture of them at Mt. Rushmore that you can see here.

Colton has the cutest hat on. I think that must have been a souvenir from some place because I didn't see that hat in his suitcase while he was here. It's a good thing, because I may have stolen it from him! :-) Dustin looks thrilled to death here.......NOT. He must be taking on his Dad's attitude or something? I see Ted there in the background, again choosing not to participate in pictures. I'm sure glad they were able to do some site-seeing on their way home. Hopefully this won't be their first AND last vacation. We'll have to kidnap the boys every July and take them with us do to something fun. (I'll put Kysa in my suitcase as well!) Gage is still missing Colton and Dustin something awful. He is one of the most tenderhearted kids I know. He loves spending time with family and it always breaks his heart when that time comes to an end. Hopefully the distraction we have coming up this weekend will help. We will be spending Saturday in Fargo for Scout Day with the Redhawks. Gage will be attending a baseball clinic put on by the Redhawk players, then we have a pizza party. That will be followed by a Redhawks game, and then after the game we will come back into the stadium for an all night campout! This will be our first ever camping trip with kids. In fact, I think our last camping trip we ever took was in western North Dakota with our beloved friends, Jason and Julie Barker, just before Jason was diagnosed with cancer, then followed by Julie. We went to Walmart yesterday to get a few outdoor folding chairs so each of us will have our own chair. They will be showing a movie in the stadium and I'm guessing we'll need the chairs; however, I'm not completely sure about that. I'm hoping we won't have to sit in the bleachers for that, as I'm sure we'll have sat in the bleachers quite enough for one day and my back will probably be killing me, and then sleeping on the ground isn't going to help matters much. I think I am going to invest in an air mattress before we leave on Saturday. I also hope to get to do a little school shopping in Fargo at some of the children's stores we don't have here in Bismarck. (Too bad there isn't a payday before we go! HA HA!)

Not much going on here today. We have swimming lessons again at lunch time, and then I have an appointment with Warford's this afternoon. I'm hoping I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with these braces. If I could have them off in time for corn on the cob season, that would be GREAT! I'm not going to hold my breath, however. Gage also will have his final baseball game of the season tonight! We're gearing up for school to start, which is just only about 4 weeks away! This summer sure has gone by fast!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mini vacation to Medora, ND

We arrived in Medora Sunday afternoon for our mini vacation with Kysa and the gang. Our first stop was at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we checked out the Painted canyon. It is beautiful scenery as you can see from the pictures below.

Gage, Dustin, Emma and Colton checking out the North Dakota Badlands.

It was a blazing 93 degrees out. The kids (mostly Gage) wanted to hike down into the canyon; however, the park ranger didn't advise it unless we had at least 1 bottle of water per person. She said it's not too bad going down, but coming up is another story. We had plenty of drinks in the car and Gage was determined to go for a hike.

Here they go headed down the trail.

Emma and I started down the trail with them, and it wasn't long before Emma petered out. The park ranger was right, it was brutal coming back up, and we hadn't gone that far down! I'm thankful Emma wanted to turn around because we got back just in time for a much needed bathroom break!

After the gang arrived back from their hike, they found a nice shaded picnic bench to take a rest and drink some of that refreshing water! The park ranger we had talked to earlier uses this spot for her lunch breaks and always has her binoculars with her so we were able to take a peek through them and check some things out, since none of us remembered to bring our binoculars!

Ted, Colton, Dustin and Kysa on their first ever family vacation.

The Stephens' gang. This is one of our first family vacations as well!

After leaving the painted canyon, we headed into Medora to check into our cabin. It was a really nice little place. This cabin sleeps 10 people. Even though it may not look that big, it was pretty spacious on the inside. There was a back bedroom with a queen size bed, 2 futons in the living area and a loft area above the porch which had a queen size air mattress.

The kids were quite excited about the loft. Even though it was meant for 2 people to sleep in, all 4 of them were determined to sleep there. There was plenty of room on either side of the air mattress, so it wasn't too tight of a squeeze. Having all 4 of them up in the loft gave Scott and I each our own futon while Kysa and Ted had the back bedroom.

Emma and Colton snuggling up to Kysa. Emma really enjoyed her time with Aunt Kysa, and even Uncle Ted. She clung to him pretty tight at times!

Dustin found a little cactus when he was out walking through the grass. OUCH!

The kids wanted to take a dip in the Medora public swimming pool, so we headed over to the pool. It was very close to our cabin in the campgrounds. What a nice backdrop for the pool, huh?

Emma floating on a few noodles.

While the kids were swimming, Scott took Kysa and Ted over to the Cowboy Hall of Fame building to check it out. I attempted to get a few pages in my book read while the kids swam, but I wasn't too successful at that.

After we finished swimming we went into Medora to look around in the little shops around town. We found a few neat little souvenirs before we headed to the Pitchfork Steak Fondue and the Medora Musical.

Just after we left town to head to the Burning Hills amphitheatre it started pouring down rain. Thankfully we were in the car at the time. It didn't last too terribly long and then we went to wait for our steaks to be cooked fondue style. They literally put steaks on a pitchfork and then dip them into a big kettle of hot oil to cook them.

Here are a few of the pitchforks they have ready to cook. The steaks were really pretty tasty and the supper was very filling. We went through a buffet line where they had carrots, broccoli and cauliflower with dip, cole slaw, baked beans, garlic toast and baked potatoes. They then gave you your steak. The 3 smaller kids had hot dogs with their meal. They had really good lemonade and delicious brownies for dessert.

Before we ate we took a few scenic pictures. There was a lot of lightning off in the distance and we were praying it wouldn't rain out the musical, since it is outdoors.

At one point we looked at Emma and all of her hair was standing on end from static. When there is lightning in the area, that is NOT a good sign! Emma was upset we were all laughing at her hair so she would not let me take a picture of her. I got one of Kysa, but it's hard to see her hair standing on end. Scott promptly lead us to shelter!

What a beautiful rainbow!

You could see the stage where the musical takes place from the area where the pitchfork fondue is. What a neat place! They have escalators that bring everyone down into the amphitheatre which is a wonderful thing for people who have a hard time with a lot of walking or stairs (hint, hint Mom!) This really was a neat place. I recommend it to everyone!

Kysa, Dustin and Colton. The Little Missouri River runs through in the background. (Ted decided he didn't want to be in anymore pictures if you're wondering where he is!)

I'm sure glad we brought the jackets as it cooled off quite a bit after the rain.

Colton and Dustin making arrowheads.

This neat wagon was at the entrance of the Burning Hills Amphitheatre where the musical takes place so we stopped for some more pictures.

Emma absolutely loved the musical. They invited kids down to the stage before it got started and she quickly got up from her seat and headed down to the stage. I was surprised she did it, especially when none of the boys wanted to join her! Ted was a little worried and thought I should go down there to make sure she didn't get lost on her way back to her seat (he does have a soft spot deep in there somewhere!) As soon as she turned around to head back up the steps I stood up and gave her a big wave and she spotted me almost immediately, so she made her way back to us without getting lost in the crowd of kids.

The musical was a 2 hour production. There was an intermission and a variety show act. It was a famous juggling act and this guy was AMAZING! He was very funny too! At the end of the musical they light off fireworks on the stage and in the mountainous areas in the background.
This really was a neat thing, and I recommend it to everyone. Anyone who decides they want to check it out sometime, be sure to give us a call as you have an open invitation to stay at our house on your way there. This may be the way I can entice more of my family to come and visit. Not only do they have this awesome musical, but the Bully Pulpit golf course is quite amazing as well!
Kysa and the gang got up at the crack of dawn (actually I think it was before the crack of dawn) and took off for South Dakota where they planned to check out Mt. Rushmore, Reptile Garden and explore some caves, as well as check out the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD on their final day of travel (Tuesday). I checked on them later this afternoon and sounds like they are doing well. I know they must be tired, because I am exhausted!

We got up a few hours later and left for home. Gage wanted to stop back at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and hike through the painted canyon again. However, he wanted to hike to this red butte area you see in this picture.
It may not look like it's that far away, but believe me, it is!!! Scott decided he would let Gage give it a try, so we stopped by the Medora Convenience store for a light breakfast before heading out. Gage also found a walking stick that he really liked, so we got that for him as a souvenir. It came in quite handy he says.

Emma and I were going to stay back and hang out until they returned, but Emma decided at the last minute she wanted to go. I figured it wouldn't be long and she would turn back, so I stayed back at the top to wait for her. She never turned around! I stood and watched for quite awhile and talked to a gentleman that was admiring the view. I finally saw them again as they passed through a clearing. I then saw them again as they made it to the base of the red-colored butte. I was so happy to see them arrive at the top. I hollered "YOU DID IT!" and Gage hollered back, "I MADE IT TO THE TOP MOM!", then again I yelled, as proud Mom tears welled up in my eyes, "WAY TO GO!" I decided I would go to the car and get my book to read while they were hiking back. After I got my book and sat down at a picnic bench I about crapped when I saw a HUGE bull bison in the grassy area of the parking area! I sure enjoyed watching him as he roamed and grazed on the grass. There were many tourists stopping to take pictures. Unfortunately Scott had my camera with him so I didn't get a picture of him. Soon after the bison left the area I went to check on the hikers and I saw them coming up the ridge not too far away. They were so proud of themselves!
Here are the hikers atop the big butte!
Gage has his walking stick that has a snake carved in the top of it while Emma holds onto a trail marker.

Scott was quite hot and sweaty when they made it back. I told them I should have gone too but I didn't know that I would have made it. Scott tells me I would have, but I would have been hot and tuckered out when we got back. I didn't even have to go on the hike to be tuckered out! I think Scott was very excited that he discovered the kids could go on that type of a hike. He was already talking about the fall hunting season coming up and getting Gage excited to go. I think Emma is going to want to be right with the boys! Anything they can do, she can do too!

We made it home around 11:30 this morning, just in time for the kids to start swimming lessons at noon. Gage had a baseball game at 5:45 and an end of the season pizza party followed that. I was glad to get them into bed this evening. I should have headed there myself, but instead, I came down to get my blog updated with our Medora adventure. Gage is very sad that Dustin and Colton are gone. He cried quite a bit later this afternoon because he missed them terribly. He wants you guys to come back for Christmas! :-)
Thanks Kysa for letting them come and stay with us. We had a great time and enjoyed every minute they were here. I also want to thank you for taking time off work to come visit us. I am so happy we have finally gotten you to come see where we live! I wish I had been successful at that when we were in Mississippi, Tennessee and Montana!
Oh, and before I forget, I'm supposed to tell Georgia hi! "Hi, Georgia!" :-)