Monday, August 31, 2009

On a Lighter Note . . . .

A person reading through my last few posts would probably be convinced that not only was I the most serious person in the world, but that I'd done nothing but sit around for a month forming strong opinions on nearly every topic. Neither is true. So in an attempt to pull my un-earned reputation out of the fire, here is a round up of the last half of the summer. As the kids and I have begun to focus on the start of school next week, it makes me realize just how much fun we've had the last few months, and how short those months always seem when you look back.

This first picture is of a delicious summer supper I cooked a couple of Sundays ago: grilled chops and sausages (Plantboy's contribution), ravioli in sweet cream sauce with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts, tomato-cucumber salad with sweet onions, and sauteed green beans with carrots and pine nuts. Isn't it pretty?

These next shots are of the "camping" we did at Silver Creek Falls. Camping is in quotation marks because my failure to reserve a camp spot actually made this a day trip which culminated with the tent being set up in the back yard and foil dinners on the grill. Of course, I didn't realize that this would be the outcome until we actually drove and hour and half to the park, and spent two hours packing the car that morning. Nice. Still, even as a day trip it was fantastic. There is a ten mile hiking loop around the park that takes you to ten different waterfalls. We saw two. Ah, well, maybe in a few years we'll do a little more . . .

I taught the boys to use the digital camera. My mom used to freak out when we wasted film. Thank goodness there is no charge for "bytes." In the course of one evening, the big boys took well over one hundred pictures. Their perspective was interesting, and at times very funny. Of course, Star Wars took the priority:

Talk about perspective! Don't tell Plantboy, the next picture would probably not be his first choice:

Are the potatoes really, really big, or are his hands really, really small? Hm . . . .

The only thing more photographed than Star Wars was the grill. Coming in a close third was a blow by blow of the mixed martial arts brother y brother death match that I'll spare you. I guess there is no doubt that their little Y chromosomes are firing on all cylinders.

Jedi Knight finally got upgraded to his own bedroom. He is proudly modeling the result. To make this happen, we rearranged furniture all over the house and bumped the baby from the crib into the bunk beds. He has simultaneously stopped napping. Talk about your unintended consequences.

At the end of July I posted about my family coming to visit. We had forgotten our camera, so my travel log was less than dynamic. I also mentioned that by the time my mother emailed me hers, approximately 11 years would have passed. And yet, here they are. Time warp? Mother figured out how to send pictures? Alas, no. My sister stole the memory chip out of my mother's camera and sent them to me. I say stole because it was all done in secret. I'm putting together a 40th wedding anniversary video for my parents, on the sly, of course, that has to be ready next week. Lest you think I've let the cat out of the bag: my mom doesn't actually read my blog, so we are safe. This first picture is of me with my brother's kids. We were so excited to find this first starfish, but when we came back the next morning at low tide we saw hundreds. Most of them were, however, very difficult to pick up.

Is it technically called "driftwood" if it is the same size as a redwood?

My oldest nephew was born the week I left on my mission. He turned 13 a few weeks ago and I mark that major turning point in my life by his growth. It is starting to seem like a long time ago.

At the time of this photo, this little sweetie was my only niece on my parents' side. Two weeks later, my younger brother became a proud (read: overwhelmed) father to a little girl. My sister also had a baby last week. My parents now have 9 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.

All the kids are chillin' with gramps at Haceta Head lighthouse. A few minutes later we saw some sea lions playing down below. Very cool.

If you ever get a chance to do this dune buggy thing, DO NOT SAY NO. It was so fun and reckless at the same time. Very therapeutic.

These three boys dug a pit at least five feet deep. It was like "Holes" without the poisonous lizards or sweet onions. The next morning, at low tide, we came back to discover that their hole was completely washed away. We did not find any buried treasure.

The low tiders group woke up at six-thirty in the morning to catch one of the lowest tides of the whole year. It did my little science teacher mommy heart good to see the enthusiasm my gene pool expressed over their hands-on marine biology lesson. All in all it was a very good Oregon summer, but I don't think I'm going to feel too much remorse when the big yellow school bus shows up next Tuesday to take my baby away. If you aren't sure why, just look at this next picture. Jedi Knight's emotions are very often too big for his body.

Each season has its own joys, both the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives. This summer has been swimming lessons, Star Wars, days at the pool, sleeping in, Star Wars, too much television, otter pops, Star Wars, staycations and general laziness. The fall will be busy, but the crisp air winds me up even as the year winds down. I love "bouquets of newly sharpened pencils" and the smells and colors of autumn. Year after year will cycle and fade and one day I will, no doubt, look back and wonder what happened to the golden years when my kidlets were young. I guess the key is to learn to enjoy the moment so that all years are golden years.


FoxyJ said...

That looks like a fun summer. And it made me wish I lived in Oregon near the coast. Just a little reminder that I should get out and see the pretty stuff that Utah has, right?

chris w said...

Your summer dinner looks heavenly.
I don't think three boys could have been given a better science geek mommy.
I am starting to take full advantage of enjoying the moment now that I am "winding up" for fall as well. I am really enjoying having two little ones who are mostly not in school so I can take them all the places we usually avoid because they are crowded with big kids now that the big kids are in school. I have a feeling both our posts will start to get even more active this season. :)

Cathy said...

Oh I miss the ocean!

Janssen said...

My heavens, your boys are darling.

Christie said...

You really know how to have fun! Loved the shots from the boys. And with your hair in braids you looked like Anne of Green Gables -- only on a different coast. Thanks for sharing your summer.

Brian and Courtni said...

okay, first of all, do you really plate food that well and make that extravagant of food for your family? do you do this often? if so, i suck! :-)

looks like you had an awesome summer - great to take advantage of the months off. they seem to go by so fast!

Sunnie said...

so many fun family pictures! i miss nature- houston lacks in that arena. i especially want to go to that beach in your pics. i love the beach!

emandtrev said...

I am having trouble getting past that first picture! Wow! That looks heavenly!

The pictures are all great. Your boys are darling!

CaLM RAPIDS said...

What a fun summer and great pictures! Everyone is growing up and before you know it, Star Wars will be a thing of the past. **Sigh**

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I'm with Courtni (or perhaps Brian?)--how do you find time to cook four different (lovely) dishes for dinner? I enjoy cooking nice dinners with multiple entrees, but rarely have time to do it. Was this a special occasion?

Also, how many of those ingredients do your boys willingly eat? Since their dad has a mini-farm in the backyard, is it just accepted that they'll eat their veggies?

Science Teacher Mommy said...

An explanation on dinners at STM's house. A few things must be noted:

1) I love to cook, especially things that are new or different. My meals tend to be more extravagant than other people's, just because I really enjoy this. It is a much-needed creative outlet for me.

2) My husband also loves to cook. He also loves to take pictures. When the referenced meal was plated out, it just looked so pretty that he had to take the photos. He helped cook AND do dishes on that particular day.

3) I always make at least a couple of things the kids will eat, even if it is a "dumbed down" version. We offer the kids everything, trusting that one day this strategy will actually pay off and they will all gladly eat everything I make. My oldest is starting to come around, so it may be working. They ARE more likely to eat their veggies if they have helped to grow them.