Saturday, June 30, 2012

To Pagosa!

Headed to Pagosa to be with cousins and Gram and Papa.
Three of the teenagers will be gone--we will miss them!
Christopher is super excited because I told him he could spit cherry pits out of the window of the car.

We've passed 4 forest fires along the way--one in Utah County, one near Price, one before Moab and one before Durango. Another is burning right in Pagosa.

We are spending the night in Durango in a quaint hotel and then on to camp first thing in the morning!
(And by "camp" I mean how we describe our beloved 3 old trailers down by the river surrounded by green meadows and gorgeous mountains in the most beautiful spot on earth. Not "camp" as in tents, sleeping bags and dirt!)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Raging Waters

Instead of an end of school party, Christopher's 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Ross, invites all the kids to join her at Raging Waters for a day in the summer.  We brought the whole family and cousins joined us as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Courtney Is Off!

Courtney left to her French Immersion/service program today. I am so excited for her! But I'm going to miss her too!  It's been a teary few days thinking about her leaving for so long!  

She can call or e-mail home once a week, but it's not a set day or time. So we will have more of a chance hearing from her through e-mail.  When the kids are away at camp, I've never felt the need to check in with them on a regular basis.  When I was a teen, I loved my weeks away from home immersed in a whole new experience with new friends and never felt the need to regularly talk to my parents. I assume my kids feel the same.

I think our culture where we send missionaries out for two years where we only hope for weekly updates as well as look forward to semi-annual phone calls helps give us this mindset.  Her service program follows the same principles.  We just received an e-mail from the program director outlining their philosophy:

"These days there are summer programs that post daily updates, video clips and blogs on their websites. Participants have steady access to e-mail or can call home whenever they wish. VISIONS is not such a program.
We're available 24 hours, seven days a week for emergencies. Our leaders make time at the airports for kids to call home to confirm arrival, and participants have time once a week to make calls and at some sites to write emails.

Apart from these protocols, VISIONS shares the same philosophy as Rotary International Youth Exchange programs. Established in 1929, Rotary Youth Exchange is the oldest and still one of the best international youth exchange programs. During students' first three months in-country, Rotary expressly discourages regular communications from parents. (In fact, Rotary prefers no phone calls to/from home in the first three months.) The reason, simply put, is because Rotary (and we) want teens to be as immersed as possible in their experiences."

I am happy Courtney gets to be a part of this program where she and the other youth will immerse themselves as much as possible.  I have confidence in Courtney that she will make new friends, be happy each day and find ways to get through any struggles.  She's a pretty amazing girl. She's resourceful, has a steady head on her shoulders and knows how and when to get down on her knees in prayer.  All tools that will help her be successful.

I remember when she was 3--almost 4--and I told her we were moving to California. We had just moved to New Jersey 5 months prior.  I told her how excited we were but gently reminded her it meant she would be leaving her friends.  Upbeat, she responded, "That's okay mom, I can make new ones!" 

 Today before she left, Dan gave her a Father's Blessing. As he said, "Courtney Adair Shaeffer," I suddenly felt it was just a moment before that he was holding her in his arms saying her name in the same sacred way as he was blessing her as a baby.  Time!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012



Somehow I've managed to skip the annual trip to Lagoon for a few years. I remember taking the kids when Nick was a toddler. I know Grandpa and Diane took Chris and Nick last year. Possibly they took Chris the year before as well.

Courtney was going with friends this week and Marty had a baseball game right near the park, so it seemed like a good day for me to take the kids as well. Bekah and Jax and Lucy and Grandpa and Diane and their kids came too. 

There was a wonderful breeze so it really wasn't too hot.  I didn't remember, but there is a lot of shade a Lagoon as well.  To top it off, there were hardly any lines!!  

Nick conquered every ride but Wicked, much to Marty's dismay. Marty took 10 minutes of cajoling and convincing Nick to go on Wicked and finally Nick relented.  But when he got up to me in the line, he started crying and really didn't want to go. I let him off the hook. Marty knew Nick would love it if he tried it, but I wimped out on Nick's behalf.

On the flip side of the coin, Nicholas convinced Sam to go on Colossus while the other kids went on Wicked again.  As it turned out, Sam loved it!

We shut the park down with the added bonus of getting to go on "the white roller coaster" two times in a row for the very last ride of the night!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Life is Easier!

(Katy, I knew you wouldn't mind if I copied your title!)
This weekend I babysat Bekah and Matt's kids -- Lucy and Jaxon. They were lots of fun and soo sweet.  Really pretty easy. So to speak.  They were happy and didn't cry at all the whole time.  Jaxon just loves being with the big boys. Lucy was pretty happy following everyone around. And she goes to bed and takes a nap without a fuss.  She just wants you to read her a story and lay back with her until she falls asleep. 

That reminded me of Courtney.  Of all my kids, really. But since Courtney was the first, she was the one that started that habit. Every night I was so tired I ended up falling asleep with her.  And then I would be so frustrated waking up an hour later and realizing I'd "wasted" my precious "me time" when the kids were all in bed.

One night my Grandma Regan was visiting. It was about a year before she died and she was getting forgetful.  I'd fallen asleep putting Courtney to bed and left my Grandma alone in the dining room for a long time. When I woke up and went to sit with Grandma, I told her what happened.
Courtney took this photo of Marty, Me and Grandma Regan when Grandma came to visit.

I apologized and exasperated said, "I always have to lay back with Courtney when it's time for bed. I have to read to her and then lay with her until she falls asleep."  

Grandma didn't skip a beat and replied, 
"Oh, but she'll love you for it."

Would I change a thing? Not a chance.

Back to our weekend with Jaxon and Lucy. Lucy did cry for a couple of hours one night. Wow. That was nothing I hadn't been through before. But I forgot how emotionally draining it can be! Don't you remember saying prayers at night and asking that the baby would please stop crying or would please sleep through the night? I didn't even bother this weekend with Lucy because I know those prayers don't get answered. I'm not complaining, because clearly, I survived. Maybe Heavenly Father knows we'll gladly pass on getting those prayers answered to get more important ones answered when they're teenagers!

So as easy and fun and sweet as the kids were, you forget how much time you spend picking up after that age. And putting away. Repeat.

And Lucy's mantra every 5 seconds was "wa-wa" (water). I'd fill a cup with a 1/2 inch of water which she'd gulp down and and then ask again. Over and over and over again!! Was she interested in her own sippy cup? No she wasn't.

We played at the pool but of course didn't arrive until Lucy's naptime.  While waiting for our lunch, I chatted with a mom with kids the same age as Nick and a 3-year-old. She said her 3-year-old had taken a nap in his stroller.  Oh! I'd forgotten about "beach naps." 
Christopher in his "beach nap" days.

Courtney and Marty in Marty's "beach nap" days.
When they were napping ages, Marty or Christopher slept in my arms on the beach every Tuesday in the summer when we'd spend the day at the Santa Monica beach with friends!! 

So after playing on the playground, walking around the park and then swimming in the pool (jump off the stairs into my arms, "ag-ee" (again) over and over and over again!!)  (I wish I had a video of her, just laughing every time and her great, big smile!! So fun!!), I wrapped her in a towel and asked her if she was ready for her nap and she said, "Yes!!!" (?! NOT like Courtney!) and she fell fast asleep!  

Funniest was when I took off the swim goggles, she opened her eyes and made me put them back on her. Yep, she napped with the goggles on.  After a while I laid her on a lounger and read a book.  Felt pret-ty satisfied with my mothering skills.  

But I forgot how with young kids you have to decipher what they want to eat. And it's just harder when they're that age than when they're older and you all just sit down at the table and talk.  I was exhausted at the end of each day, but found myself instead of going right to sleep, staying awake waiting... waiting... for that dreaded time that they wake up and start to cry!!  Remember?  Remember?  

Not to mention all the big kids coming in and out and staying up late and needing to be driven to where they want to go. It's exhausting. So when my Dad and Diane came to pick up the kids Sunday evening, instead of sending everyone on their way, I was just thrilled to have some adult company and conversation. (Did I mention Dan was out of town the whole weekend?)  I made them stay so we could sit outside in the perfect Utah Summer Evening and talk and talk and talk while the kids played and played and played.

It was a great weekend, but I am so glad to be in a new phase with older kids. I loved those years and I love those memories. But I'm ready to move on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marty hits the Bigtime...

Marty's team got to play a double-header at the Bee's Field. It was so awesome!

Hiking Mt. Olympus

As I was hiking Mt. Olympus, I took photos of my "4 minute milestones."


20 min:
Perfect rock for sitting if you need a rest on the way down.

 24 min:
Most creative seat on the mountain and great view.

28 min:
Shady crevice

 32 min:
Saw a lady doing TaiChi here on first hike last Fall.

36 min:
We've got a family photo here from 6 years ago.

40 min:
Steep, steep climb.

44 min:
The 1st River
Great place to sit a minute

 I hiked to the first river and back down and then did it again.

When Hard Drives Crash

I was all geared up to start blogging again once summer started. I was even going to backtrack and post about previous events and France and everything. But then my hard drive crashed taking all my photos with it.

I still have lots of photos because it seems like lately I take all my photos on my iPhone and I never delete them. So I could blog. But I'm too busy holding my breath for my hard drive recovery.

Important note: When you are a husband of a wife who's hard drive has crashed, she will love you immensely when you say, "I'll take it in to my IT guys.  I'm sure they'll be able to recover everything. And if they can't, there are places that recover hard drives we can send it to." She will think you are an awesome rockstar husband who knows how much 6 years of photos means to her and she will be thinking of ways to reward you.

But if every time you say that you follow-up with, "...but it will be soooo expensive," she'll start to get annoyed.

Lucky for my husband, I came right out and told him that unless we're talking about it costing a million dollars, than QUIT talking about how expensive it could possibly be because these are my MEMORIES and photos of MY CHILDREN that have vanished and price is not an issue!  My husband is very smart and clammed up about the potential price and instead got my hard drive into "his" IT guys right away.  Thank you awesome fix-anything husband!

After 24 hours of transferring old hard drive to new hard drive, the IT guys report there is about 3 hours left and so far the drive is still responding.  Crossing my fingers my Photo Library is safe and sound on the new drive...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Week of Summer

Bees Game in the Box!
Chris and Nick went to Rockreation Camp
Courtney had a lacrosse tournament in Park City

Dan learned to make Kettle Corn because he loves his wife
Courtney recorded her piano songs

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Best Week EVER!

June 1 -- Last Day of School! First Day of Baseball Playoffs!
Last Day of School! Have a (Mexican) Coke and a smile!
The end of baseball season brought Marty's city league team solidly in first place. But as always, you never know what will happen in playoffs.  In the end, Marty's team, The Angels won the tournament!

They played at an elementary school with a great playground so Nicholas and Christopher were always happy to invite friends to come to the games (after their seasons ended). Happy kids makes my life sooo much easier!

Marty started pitching in city league this season which was so cool! He had to practice a lot to learn how, but once he got the hang of it and started pitching, he did awesome.  He's got a controlled, clean pitch and he struck out a ton of players. 

June 4 - Turned in His Completed Eagle Project!
Marty with the Principal of Washington Elem. She is so friendly and so supportive!
For his Eagle, Marty organized his troop to read and record beginning reading books for an elementary school downtown. He also got donations of 9 iPods, headphones and chargers. They downloaded the recordings to the iPods so children in K - 2 grade can use the "books on tape" as they learn to read.  

June 5 - Marty's Birthday!
Yea, 15! 

June 6 -- Championship Game

Jake, Marty and Devin--been playing baseball together for 6 years or more!
2012 Champions! Go Angels!
Marty's team had some nail biters during playoffs and with Marty pitching, I had a whole new feeling of frayed nerves during the games! Because you can only pitch one player 4 innings, the team's starter pitcher would pitch a few innings and then be taken out to be saved for a final inning if Marty fell apart.  The final game Marty had bases loaded with only one out.  Then struck out the next two kids! It was AWESOME!  Next inning, he struck out one and then the 2nd baseman and first had amazing plays to get the next two out.

He had some good friends on the team and awesome coaches which made city league a blast this year!

June 7 -- Got his Learner's Permit!
More nail biters when Mom's in the passenger's seat!
He hadn't really studied, but he read over the Driver's handbook on the way to the DMV. He finished looking it over as we stood in line and then passed the test only missing 4 out of 50. (How long is he going to be able to get away with reading something once and remembering the whole thing!)

June 8 -- High School Summer League Baseball Team

Started out tryouts excited that they were going to take all the kids that tried out for the summer team and just make two teams.  Then found out he made the A team! Pretty great week!