Thursday, July 31, 2008

We took Lauren out jet skiing again before she had to go home. This time Matt took us out to ski on the Bear River and to Cutler Dam. We invited Heidi, a YW in our ward, to come along with us (she and Lauren became good friends up at camp). They had a blast riding up and down the river, catching the waves and swimming.



Ok. Bear with me. I am trying to redesign my - I mean our- family blog and I am having... troubles. I KNOW I can do this, it's just FRUSTRATING when my computer tells me I have done something WRONG when I KNOW that I've done it RIGHT for the 50th time. Then it freezes up and I have to start ALL OVER AGAIN.

(1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..) taking a deep breath...

I WILL figure this out. (Notice how controlled I am? I'm not even using exclamation points even though I am really, REALLY FRUSTRATED.)

Any who -

Check back later for I have a lot to post once I get past this tiny little problem.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Twin Lakes

Thursday afternoon we drove up to Twin Lakes (up in Idaho) and met up with some of our friends - the Adams' and the Storey's. We played on the jet ski's and enjoyed the cool evening. Lauren was a natural on the jet ski! I gave her a quick tutorial and before long she was zipping around and flying over the waves!

Here is a little video clip of her riding.

Shelby gets comfortable in Lauren's chair

Elsie and Shelby

Garrett tries things out

Thanks to the Adams' for letting us crash their family reunion! We had a great time and can't wait to go again!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Girls Camp

I did it. I made it through Girls Camp as a leader and not only survived, but had a terrific time!! I knew that it would be great because we have such wonderful girls in our ward. But it was even better because my niece, Lauren came with us! We did a kid swap and exchanged Madi, for Lauren last weekend. My kids are with their dad for the next few weeks (sniff) and so having Lauren come up was the perfect distraction for me! I was also able to bring Shelby to Girl's Camp - she is now officially certified as a 1st year!

We left early Monday morning and everyone drove to the DI where we all shopped for "Cruise Clothes".

Lauren helping to set up camp.

Shelby was a big help too. Here she is inspecting the inside of my tent.

All the girls up at camp - in Hawaii

Heading out on our 5 mile hike up to Rosie's mine. Look closely... it's POURING RAIN.

Where's Waldo? I mean, can you spot 11 girls in this picture??

All the girls and the leaders

I'm so glad that Lauren came with us! Everyone just loved her (leaders included!) and thought she was the sweetest, kindest, and cutest girl. She fit right in with the girls and made some really good friends.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Downata Hot Springs

We're not done having fun yet! We took another quick trip - this time to Downata Hot Springs up in Idaho!

We packed up our camper and headed out late Monday afternoon along with our friends the Barlow's and the Coat's. Downata (pronounced Don-etta) is not what you would call a major water park, but they have a huge pool, hot tub, kiddie pool and 5 different slides. The best part?? NO LINES! In fact there was only about 4 other families there the whole time! How great is that?? We also got a discount on our tickets because we came during the week - SWEET!! The first night we swam the twilight hours and then hit the sack. The next day it was all the kids could do to have to wait until things opened up at noon. Luckily there were some fun things to do and see - beach volleyball, play in the sand, swings, play with the other camping kids - to keep them occupied.

The kids had an absolute BLAST swimming, playing and riding on the slides! Shelby and I even got in the water, which by the way was sooooo lovely and WARM!!! My least favorite part about swimming is trying to get used to the cold water. I know, I know it's summer and the cool water feels nice and all, but this was just awesome and I didn't have to worry about Shelby being cold. Shannon and Madison were constantly riding the two biggest slides. Christopher played the shark most of the time to all the little kids and Ellie was brave enough (finally!) to go down one of the kiddie slides (I didn't even have to bribe her!).

Today we went swimming (again - you would think the kids would be waterlogged by now!) at my friend, Cami's house. This is just as much fun for me as the kids because I get to sit and visit with my friends!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fun times at Bear Lake

We are just having way too much fun around here! Yesterday, as soon as Matt got home from school we headed over to Bear Lake. There, we met up with our friends, John and Marie and their two kids. Lucky for us, they arrived early enough to save us a perfect spot (perfect = within walking distance to the potty). It was such a beautiful day. A slight breeze kept the air cool and for a Saturday at Bear Lake it wasn't even crowded! Matt unloaded the jet ski's and made sure every kid got a ride that wanted one. Shannon and Christopher went out a couple of times on the tube, but mostly they all just swam and played on the beach. The girls collected every single sea shell that they could find. Shannon even planned ahead and brought zip lock baggies to bring them home in (she probably knew that I would say no to a stinky bucket of shells in the truck.) We cooked steaks and hamburgers and ate lots of junk food. It was fun to just sit there on the beach and visit and watch the kids play. Very relaxing! We decided to prolong the adventure by going for shakes afterwards at Le beau's. Yum, yum, yummy! You just can't go to Bear Lake with out stopping there. Only thing is - everything they make is delicious! It's hard to decide what to get. We sure had fun and I'm so glad that Madi was here to go with us!

Here are some videos I took of each of the kids.

Shannon and her MASSIVE collection of sea shells just spilled into the lake.

Christoper wore himself out trying to get the perfect run and slide on the boogie board! He did about 50 takes and this was one of his best attempts.

Ellie and Madi looking for "She-shells".

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sugar n Spice

My friend Janna, who owns Sugar 'n Spice (a home decorating store up here in Cache Valley) is having her HUGE anniversary sale. It started yesterday and will end this evening. A couple of weeks ago she asked me to help her advertise for the sale. So I found some music from the Beach Boys, "Surfin Safari" and our friend, Leslie re-wrote the lyrics. We then recorded the vocals in my studio (thanks to my new toy, CD-2e it was soooooo much fun!). I ended up doing a solo on one of the takes and anyway, long story short - I'm on the radio!! It's been playing all week on a few different local stations. Kind of cool - but they tweaked it a little at the stations and I sound sort of like a chipmunk. But oh well!!

Be sure to check out the sale today if you are up here. She has a TON of stuff outside in the tent that is 50% off! I had to go twice yesterday and plan to go again this morning just to make sure I don't miss anything! It's a Hawaiian Luau, so if you dress up (put a lai of flowers around your neck) you will get a 40% off coupon as well. She always goes all out for these sales and has free snow cones, bottled water, cake, lai's, and prizes for everyone that comes!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Paris Ice Caves

Matt and I took the kids on a 4-wheeling trip yesterday to see the Ice Caves up in Idaho. We drove up to Cub River where we unloaded the wheelers. Christopher invited two of his friends to come along, Tyler and Buff Bus (his name is also Tyler, but everyone calls him by his nickname). My sweet little niece, Madison came with us too. The big kids were all on their own machines and were excited to be going on such a long ride. Matt and I have been on this trail many times and we knew that there were a couple of challenging spots. So we took those sections slowly and the kids did really well.

The older boys got tired of waiting for the slow pokes so we met them up at the German Dugway turnoff (except they missed seeing the BIG SIGN that was posted and I had to go find them because they went the wrong way). We all met up again at the top of the mountain and took a break together. Once everyone took their helmets off we all started laughing! Every one's faces where COVERED in dirt! Matt thought that my eyelashes looked cool - lightly dusted! I tried to get a photo of everyone so we could see who had the dirtiest face! After a brief rest we headed out again. We were now on top of the mountain between Preston and Paris and it was gorgeous! Ellie was riding with me and we kept a count of how many different colors of flowers we could see. She spotted: dark purple, light purple, light blue, two different types of yellow flowers, white, and red/orange flowers. When we reached Paris flats and the turn off to go to Bloomington lake, we saw a beautiful meadow full of these flowers! It was sooooo neat!

I don't know about anyone else, but Ellie and I had several near collisions with some monarch butterflies not to mention the direct "hits" from the many, many bugs and flies along the way. It took us about two hours of riding before we finally reached the ice caves (about 20 miles). The boys were out exploring and the girls could hardly wait long enough to get their helmets off. The caves have ice in them year round. As you come to the opening to walk into the first cave you can feel the temperature drop as you get closer and closer. There is still a big snow drift at the opening that you have to climb over to enter the caves. Once inside, it gets even colder. The entire floor of the cave is thick ice. As you work your way through the first cave, it opens up to a grotto where we found a scout group learning how to repel. That was fun to watch!

The kids explored and climbed and got wet as they slipped on the snow and ice. But soon the hunger pains took over, so we found a nice shady spot and ate our lunch. After we ate the kids did a little more exploring and then it was time to go. But we hit a snag. Tyler couldn't find the key to his dirt bike. Where did you put it? In your pocket?? (I cringed as I looked at the many, MANY holes in his jeans.) Did you put it in your pack?? The contents were dumped on the ground and every inch searched. Nothing. We looked and looked but still no key. What do you do when you are 20 miles up in the mountains?? Well, here were some of the boy's suggestions:

"Hey, let's find a stick and see if we poke it in there it will start."

"Maybe you can just tow the bike back."

"Let's leave it here and we can come back for it later."

"How about if we strap it to the back of the 4-wheeler?"

All really, really good suggestions (be sure to cast your vote for your favorite). Fortunately Matt was there to save the day. He is always prepared for the worst and was able to uh, re-wire the bike to get it to start. Whew, what a relief!

We took it easy on the ride back. I was a little worried about how Shannon would do coming down the rocky section - but she did great! When we got down to the bottom she had this huge smile on her face that said, "I did it!". Matt and I were so proud of all the kids - it really was a long, hard ride. We logged at least 40 miles and tons of experience. It was a really fun trip!!

Oh and I have to tell this cute little story about Ellie. She and I were talking as we were riding on our way back to the truck. She would ask me something and I would answer and she couldn't hear me, so she would say, "What?". I would repeat my answer louder, and she would say, "what?" again. I repeated my answer again and she finally said, "Oh!". She then giggled and said, "Guess how I turned my ears up louder." How? I asked. "I yawned!". I thought that was just the cutest thing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The kids had so much fun swimming at Brenda's house this past weekend we decided it would be fun to get our own pool! It was torture for the kids to have to wait until the chemicals had regulated. As soon as Matt gave the okay last night, they all jumped in!

Ellie, Madison and Shannon cooling off

Christopher and his friends jump in too

Ellie came in to play with Shelby and I could hear her giggling in the family room. I went to check it out and this is what I saw...

Eliie had put her teddy bear's glasses on Shelby!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Every summer for as long as I can remember, my parents have gone up to Montana to visit the ranch where my dad grew up. Some of my fondest childhood memories are connected to the trips we took to Montana. I learned how to milk cows and goats, how to chase chickens and collect their eggs (and sadly I learned how they are a part of the food chain when it came time to slaughter them), also how to bridle, saddle and ride a horse. Swimming was in creeks and lakes, and exploring took all day to do, mud pies were actually made of mud and everything was "old fashioned"! This is truly a place where a kid can be a kid! For the last several years Brenda, Jana and I have taken our families up there to join our parents. There is now a pond close to my parents cabin that we swim, canoe and fish in, but the main place we like to cool off in the summer heat is Lake Como. This is a beautiful lake about 6 miles up the road. It provides all sorts of recreation, whether it's swimming, boating, riding our 4-wheelers, or hiking the 3 miles back to see the spectacular waterfall that feeds the lake. Trips into Hamilton provide fun for the kiddies who love to browse the thrift stores in search of treasures! There is always something fun for the kids to do and the adults just enjoy the leisure time together.

But going to Montana is no fun without the ones you love, and since my parents couldn't go this year due to my dad's cancer treatment we all stayed home to be with them. We enjoyed a fun family get together over the 4th of July holiday and decided it's not where you are, but who you are with. My dad's sister, Connie came up from Arizona to visit as well. She is writing about my dad's childhood on the ranch and it was so fun to sit and listen to all of the stories! The kids played and swam at Brenda and Chris' house almost the entire time. My camera battery died after the first day so I didn't get many pictures! I will have to be better prepared next time!

My dad is doing really well. He had one bad day while we were there (doing too, TOO much!). Most days he is able to go for a bike ride up the canyon early in the morning and putter around his office and workshop in the backyard. It is wonderful to see him look so much better - and he is still so handsome even without hair! Next week he will begin phase 2 of his treatment. He will be given a massive dose of chemo that will knock his white count down to zero again. Then the doctors will give him an infusion of his stem cells. This whole process will take a couple of weeks, but his recovery should be quick as long as the transplant goes well. He will then get about a 2 month break before he goes back up to Huntsman to do it all again for the 2nd transplant.

I thought that I would post some pictures from last years trip to Montana

Shopping for treasures with the kids

Visiting with the family

The old Ranch House

4-Wheeling trip up above Lake Como

Looking up towards the top of Lake Como

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Chris fishing on the Bitteroot River

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My dad's brother and sisters
Connie, Arlo, Blaine, Irene and Eunice

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Dad and Grandma Furniss

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Afton, Grandma Furniss and Aunt Eunice

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Ellie and Madi making mud pies