Hello again! Remember me?? Friday night we returned from a 10-day trip to see my parents in California. We did a ton of stuff, as evidenced by the 300 pictures I uploaded to my computer once we got home! Definitely need to do some major weeding down. So for this post I thought I'd give a quick day-by-day summary of what we were up to.
Conner's "unofficial" last day of school. We pulled him out 2 days early because of our vacation plans. He had a great day and told me that all his friends said they were going to miss him. How sweet. About 4pm we all hopped in the van and made a 5 hour drive to the half-way point and stayed in a hotel for the night.
Wednesday, June 13th
Up early with 6 more hours driving in the car. We drove into the Bay Area to drop Scott off at a hotel where he had work training scheduled for thursday and friday. The kids and I sped off to find lunch, bathrooms, gas and were back on the road for another 3 hours. We finally made it to my parent's house just in time for dinner. And thanks to the CD mix I made, our kids are addicted to the song "Peaches" -- we had quite a bit of fun rocking out to that one.
Thursday, June 14th
My sister-in-law Heidi and my niece Carlee made the 3 hour drive from their home and arrived just before lunch. They ended up staying through Sunday so it was really nice to visit and play with them. Today, though, was all about swimming and it was so fun to watch the two little girls splashing on the big step. Conner dove in and practically started up where he left off last summer. And Payton was a little more timid on the water, but got much better as the week progressed.
Friday, June 15th
Heidi and I took off for a girls day, which was very fun. We drove to the mall and headed to the Clinique counter where we each received full consultations -- cleansing and make-up. I had never done this before but always wanted too. We each walked away with a bag full of goodies. Then lunch at Fresh Choice (a salad buffet type place) and back home to the kiddos. And more swimming. I just love this pic of the girls hanging out on the lounge chairs. And here's Payton definitely feeling more comfortable in the water. Also visiting the tree house ("The Coyote House") and roaming with the gopher-eating dog, Pepsi.
Oh, and Sam (my brother) found out he didn't have to work Friday night (later he also got Saturday night off) and drove up to join the party.
Saturday, June 16th
Family day at Great America! On our way there we swung by Scott's hotel and picked him up.
Sunday, June 17th
For Father's Day the kids gave Scott a trophy (their idea) with the inscription "World's Best Computer Game Player Love, Conner, Payton, and Anna". I also got Scott a World of Warcraft t-shirt to go along with it. I just realized that I forgot to take any pictures! Oh, well.
On Sunday we had a very unique experience for church. My parents live somewhat near Yosemite (about 1 1/2 hours away). In "the park" (as the locals call it) there is a small chapel that is available for different religious denominations to hold services on Sundays during the summer. So my parent's stake performs this service each Sunday. My dad is on the high council and one of his assignments is to get volunteers to sign-up each week. Knowing that we were going to come, he reserved this particular Sunday for us. Basically we show up at the church, wait for the group from the previous hour to move out their guitars and amplifiers and drums. We go in, remove all the crosses, set out hymn books and the men start preparing the sacrament. I played the piano and my mom led the music. My dad conducted and the meeting is only scheduled to last 45 minutes at the most. Mason & Scott blessed the sacrament while my dad passed it. Scott gave a talk. The boys sang "I Love to See the Temple". And after the closing prayer we handed out Big Hunk candy bars to all the fathers & future fathers. Aside from us there were about 15 people in the congregation. Some in half-church dress, but most in their regular camping apparel. It was a pretty cool experience. So if you ever go camping at Yosemite over the weekend, be sure to go the LDS Sunday services at 1pm!
Monday, July 18th
Mostly a regular day at home. A regular day includes: swimming, playing Nintendo 64 in The Coyote House, and picking plums and strawberries from the garden. For FHE my aunt Libby and my cousins Ashlee (6) and Mikayla (4) came over for BBQ'd ribs and swimming -- John was held up at work and couldn't make it. The kids always have such a great time when we get to see them (which is about once a year). When they left Conner announced that Ashlee is his best friend. The kids also got to have a whack at a pinata. My mom held a naming contest for the tree house a few weeks ago and Payton's entry was "Viva Pinata". So the pinata was brought out in honor of him.
Scott and the boys also attempted to spend the night in the Coyote House. But after their movie ended at 10pm the boys thought it was waaay to dark out there and opted to come sleep in the house with their night light.
Tuesday, June 19th
I drove the kids into Gustine (my hometown) to see Papa at work, have lunch, visit with our old neighbors, feed the ducks at the park, and drive past the home I grew up in. At my dad's work (the nut plant, or "nut house" as we always called it) the kids were amazed at all the tools and machinery. Payton would point to each one and say, "wow! Look at that contraption!" But the primary reason for this visit was to ride the bulldozer with Papa Dan. The boys had a great time and each of them mastered the operation of the horn.
That evening my parents took the kids out to pizza while Scott and I enjoyed a quiet dinner out.
Wednesday, June 20th
My mom took me to a nearby scrapbook store. Now understand that "nearby" means an hour away. My parents live in the middle of nowhere. It's so out in the sticks that we don't get cell phone coverage at their place. Scott had some conference calls that he had to take care of during the week (it was not the best week for him to leave on vacation). So he would get in the car and drive about 20 miles until he got full bars on his cell phone, pull over into some farmer's field and join the conference call while sitting on the side of the road. Wednesday was one of those days and he piled the kids in the van and took them along with him while he talked for nearly 2 hours. Ouch! But he said the kids were great (Anna napped the whole time) and afterwards he treated them to lunch at Wendy's.
Thursday, June 21st
This was our last day at Grammer & Papa's house so the kids made sure to get in some good swimming. Over the week Conner learned several diving board tricks from Uncle Mason and he proudly performed them for anyone who would watch.
Payton also grew to love swimming in the water and surprised us all when he very reluctantly jumped off the diving board to Scott after nearly 15 minutes of coaching.
Friday, June 22nd
The long drive home. We left my parent's house at 6:30am and pulled into our driveway at 7:30pm. We walked into the door and the kids went nuts running and laughing and screaming through the house while we unloaded. We had a great visit with my parents, but it's always nice to be home!