Friday, July 29, 2011

County Fair Time!

The boys and I got a rare treat -- an afternoon together, just the three of us! With Miss Tina keeping Gracie entertained and Daddy at work, we headed over to the fair to see how Hayden did in the baking contest. After watching him beam with pride and accomplishment, we took in the rest of the fair.

They still liked the kiddo tent. I thought without Grace we'd be able to skip it, but there was a waterpump contraption that sped rubber duckies along and they couldn't get enough. Thank goodness they still know when to be little.

The boys took part in Read to Ride, a program put on by the library and the company who puts on the carnival. If the kids read two books, they get two free carnival rides. Since rides are usually 5 tickets, this is a $10 win for this mama!

I offered to pay for The Big Wheel if they'd ride with me, so we did that first. They've become so brave, I know it was a bit tame for them. But they cheered when we got to sit at the top, which is my favorite thing about ferris wheels. It also gave them time to scout the carnival and make a plan of action for the rest of their rides.

The roller coaster was their first stop. Usually they just have a kiddie coaster, but this was pretty good for a fair. They really liked it, but made sure to tell me it was nothing like what Disneyland had. And when were they going to get to go there?

They went on one called something like The Twister. Spinning around while being swung back and forth. Just watching it made me glad I didn't feed them first!

As soon as they got off they raced to Ring of Fire...this loop of madness you couldn't pay me to get on! Can you spot Hayden's green shirt as they were just hanging out at the top of the loop?

On our way out of the carnival they played one midway game. Proving experts at throwing darts at balloons, they both came home with stuffed puppies.

They both remembered how much fun it was to do the bungee bounce last year, so we headed that way. Next to the bungee station was something we'd never even heard of -- Neptune's Bubbles.

Giant plastic bubbles are filled with air and floated atop a large wading pool. The kids run and roll around in them like a giant hampster wheel. They loved it! I'm not sure I could handle being zipped in a bubble, but I have to admit it looked like fun!

It was a great way for the boys to horse around and burn off energy. They kept trying to bump their brother and see if they could stand up or make big splashes. And the best part? They came out completely dry!

Of course bungee boucing was up next. Again, this looked like something that would be fun for other people. Especially small people of the boy variety.

What trip to the fair would be complete without fair food? They had elephant ears, corn dogs, ice cream, and a brick of curly fries. You could smell the oil in the air!

We had such a great time together. My boys really are fun to be with!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chef Hayden

At last year's fair, Hayden was fascinated by the competitions - photography, crafts, and cooking! He's brought it up several times, so when I noticed it was nearing time to submit entries I asked if he'd like to contribute.

He had quite a few ideas. On his list were 4 cakes, two cupcakes, muffins, bread, and 10 cookies. Wowza. We talked and decided to stick to cookies since this was his first year and it's what he thinks he's best at. He even altered the basic recipes to give them a Hayden twist.

  • Cocoa oatmeal (he doesn't like raisins, so wanted this kinda chocolate)
  • Peanut butter with Hershey chunks (he literally broke up a bar from the s'mores stash)
  • Cookies & cream chip (with Hershey's cookies & cream drops chopped up)
  • Coconut balls (think wedding cookies with coconut instead of nuts)
  • Peanut butter chip brownies (a whole bag of chips in an 8x8 pan!)
  • Shortbread...he didn't alter this one. I wasn't sure if you can change shortbread. It is what it is.
He turned them in on Sunday and took the leftovers to Grandma & Grandpa's for a taste test. Grandpa predicted the coconut balls would do the best. Bayley voted for the brownies. Grace loved the shortbread.

The fair opened today so while Miss Tina watched Grace, the boys and I snuck over to see the results. Our little baker was shocked by the results.

We discovered he won 4 blue ribbons! Plus a 2nd place ribbon, and of course, a participation ribbon. He wanted his picture taken with every entry.

Here were his results ::

1st - Shortbread, Cookies & cream chip, Peanut butter chip brownies, Cocoa oatmeal

2nd -coconut balls

Bayley was quick to point out that the kids all had their predictions for first place come true. They know their cookies!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Welcome to the family, Sydney Lynn!

After teasing her parents for 48 hours, Sydney Lynn made her appearance last night. She was full of surprises -- none of us knew if she was a boy or girl, she's a gorgeous 8# 12 oz, and she may have broken her collar bone on the way out!

We got the news, and I knew a trip to Gymboree was in order. For my fellow Gymbo-fanatics, I fell in love with the Sweet Pea line and almost bought it before she was born...

Isn't she adorable? She's just so pretty.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Adventure Cove - Bayley's Cub Scout Camp

Sunday - We didn't do much except set all of our stuff out and go to chapel, which is like church but shorter. At the beginning of each day we raise and lower the flag. All the dinners were good because if we didn't like it we had the choice of peanut butter and jelly. I had that for quite a few meals because they ran out of food and I was still hungry. We went into one of the fields and all of the instructors lined up and the kids rotated stations to sign up for the things that they wanted to do. Me and Joey forgot to sign up for flag football, but luckily there were just enough spots for everybody. There was a campfire with the whole camp. At the campfire bowl there are two fires.

Once we were at camp, they came around and did a ceremony for staves. It is a hiking stick that I whittled to make it my own. I purposely dropped the handle in the mud to make it a darker brown. Everybody's name is written on theirs. I put a rocket ship on mine. I stayed in a tent with Joey and he said I slept all over the tent.

Monday - I woke up and I was sleeping vertical and Joey was horizontal - on top of me! I didn't want to get up because the tent is the warmest spot in the whole camp, except for the dining hall. We went to two activities as a group. Campaigning where they taught us to decode stuff, and Camp Life where they talked to us about stuff I forgot. Then we did animal tracks at wood craft. I thought we were going to make an animal track, but we didn't. We did the slime science experiment where we got boiling water and poured it over packets of gelatin in cups. The science dude put a bunch of corn syrup in and we stirred until it was kind of like jello. After dinner we had a sand castle building contest at the beach. 

Tuesday - We woke up and Joey was partly outside the tent for some reason. We did flags, then went to breakfast and went back to camp. We did field games where we played dodge ball in the field - kids against parents! Before lunch we did the Chivalry station where we learned the different meanings of the boy scout oath. It was the most fun activity of the day because we spent half the class time making fun of the instructor with our leader. After lunch we have BOB time - boys on bunks. We made fruit batteries. The guy kind of embarassed himself because he couldn;t get the light bulb to work using a lemon, so he switched to a Christmas light. We went to archery. I actually got bored of it really quickly because I could never aim. We only got 5 shots. At cooking we saw dutch oven cooking. To make an omelett you just dump the stuff in there. To clean it you can't sue soap or bleach, because that is what you will taste the next time you cook in it.

Wednesday -  I learned three styles of fire building, they were actually suprisingly the same as the way you could build your hut -- teepee, lean-to and log cabin. Lean-to burns the fastest, log cabin catches slowest but it burns longest and produces the most heat. For hut building we discussed the hit types, then went down to the beach and collected materials. We took them back and put them together with popsicle sticks and woodglue. I didn't take mine home because I was trying to make a roundish hut with no roof, but the glue didn't have time to set. We did eggspirments. We saw how raw egg and hard boilded eggs spun. Hard boiled spins better because it is solid. The rest of the time we spent trying to break a hard boiled egg with their hands clasped. Only one person could do it. We retired an American flag, which means you burn it.

Thursday - We hiked to Camp Meriwether for the morning session. Most of it was on the beach. It was supposed to be five miles, but I don't think it was. We walked on the hard sand that was so hard when you jabbed your stave in it it didn't even make an impression. We packed sack lunches and stopped ath teh picnic tables to eat lunch. There were giant nests of sand fleas that we had to be careful of or we'd get itchy.  Our first elective was smoke signals. We discussed how to make big puffs and small puffs of smoke. We went to the campfire and put a tarp over it, thought it wasn't lit. We did flag football in a big field and just because one person didn't do a scout sign quick enough everybody had to so push-ups.I liked BB guns better than I thought. I got 4 or 6 obvioulsy into the bullseye zone. I got 4 or 5 bbs to connect to the bullseye zone and tear a hole, so I got all those points as bulleseyes. I did that all ona gun with a black lump as an aimer, instead of a green cylinder which shoots better. You got 17 shots. The high score is 15, but it used to be 13.

Friday - I woke up in the middle of the night, I was facing the wrong direction so I had to fix it. When we woke up, the whole tent was normal for once. For breakfast today, the kitchen staff refused to call 4ths. They called, 1sts, 2nds, 3rds, 3rd and a 1/2s, and then all you can eat. We went back to camp and packed up. It took half an hour to pack my pillow into my duffle. I had to have Joey's help. We went to woodcraft and did a nature hike, then we went to science and talked about protons, electrons and atoms. We cleaned up camp, then went down to the mess hall for snack (cheese sandwich and crackers). We hung out with Dad around camp while everyone else went to the beach. I am sick of the beach. Then it was time for the BBQ. I had a cheeseburger and watermelon.

I took a shower at camp, but I hated it. There was a ton of mud on the floor. I was dirtier when I got out than when I got in.

My favorite breakfast was all you can eat hasbrowns.
My favorite lunch was was grilled cheese. I had 3.
My favorite dinner was spaghetti. I kept on getting a bunch of meatballs, and their meatballs were awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer is for Raindancing?

After watering the garden, Hayden & Bayley turned the hose on themselves. The shot the water in the air and did a raindance...and it started raining! You'd think that would keep them from spraying each other, but it kind of made it worse.

At least they enjoyed themselves!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mary Poppins

Seeing The Addam's Family on Broadway really got me in the mood for more theater. Lucky for us, Travelzoo had a fantastic deal on tickets while Mary Poppins was in town - like 5th row center fantastic! We talked our way into a babysitter for Grace, and took the boys out to dinner and the show.

They loved it! The entire way home was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! I loved the parts that reminded me of the movie - including the actress that brought Mary to life. Not so sure about the songs I was less familiar the one on how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The little boy who played Michael Banks was hilarious. Such a great night.

Anything can happen if you let it - Mary Poppins

Monday, July 11, 2011

New York Adventure

Uncle Gabe brought Bayley to New York for his birthday. I was excited to get to explore the the city now that my conference was finished. The boys dropped their stuff off at the hotel, and we decided to walk down to the peir to catch the jetboat to see the Statue of Liberty.

The launch for The Beast is right next to the Air Land Sea Museum aboard the USS Intrepid. I thought it would be our next adventure, but Bayley declined. He decided to sit towards the front of the jetboat, thinking that would be where we'd get the most wet. But, on this boat, all the water sprays on the back seats! We got great views oft he skyline, Ellis Island, and Lady Liberty. I think this is the best way to see the statue with the elementary school set. He loved every minute.

We asked the gate attendant where she went for lunch, and walked a block to a hole in the wall restaurant that served a bit of everything. Greak Greek fare for Gabe and I, pepperoni pizza with bacon for the birthday boy. Since he didn't want to museum, we caught a cab to Rockefeller Center to check out the Lego store and Nintendo World. I was hoping for the NBC Studio tour and the view from Top of the Rock. Bayley declined. He wanted to go back and - get this - take a nap.

Gabe and I wanted to keep exploring, so we compromised and walked back to Times Square. We stumbled upon a fantastic street fair, and even detoured into Toys R' Us. Bayley liked the ferris wheel inside, but didn't want to ride it because he was afraid he'd get put in a girly car. OK then.  

While he napped I packed up, and seriously considered leaving him in the room with Gabe while I explored! We woke him up, thinking he'd want dinner before we went to our first Broadway show. (A first for all of us.) But he wasn't hungry, so we walked around and found him some cupcakes. We dropped them off at the room and headed across the street for The Addam's Family.

Such a good choice for Bayley. He laughed all the way through. Gabe and I loved it too. Afterwards, we were all starving. Lucky for us, we were in New York. Right next to the theater was a great Italian place - complete with live jazz music!

The next morning Central Park was on the agenda...until we woke up to rain! We went to the Museum of Natural History - so Bayley could see both locations used for the Night at the Museum movies. It was beyond crowded, and under construction, which made it hard to move around. Once we had our fill of that, we remembered that we're Oregonians and not afraid of rain, and headed to explore Central Park.

The vibe of the city changes in Central Park. The pace slows, and everyone is calmer, even in the drizzle! We checked out the Shakespeare garden, game house, Belvedere Castle, and all the horse drawn carriages. Lovely.  

I know Bayley had a great time, and I can't wait to go back to NYC. I wonder when the next writers conference there is...

Burke Brothers' Birthday Bash!

Once again, I managed to talk the boys into a combined party. It's just so much easier - especially when you go to a party place! Because of my trip back east and the kitchen facelift, a house party was out. Lucky for us, a new pizza & play place recently opened - John's Incredible Pizza.

We took the boys a few weeks back to make sure it was party-worthy, and they just loved it. They were quite excited to bring their friends there. For the last week they've had carnival ride wishes and bumper car dreams.

They have a seperate area to corral the party kids while the adults do the check in, and then they parade them back to the party room to make balloon animals - which with a tangle of eight and ten year olds quickly became a sword factory.

Once the duels calmed down, they marched the kids to the buffet for pizza, pasta, salad (yeah, right), and desserts. They have an option to just bring pizza and drinks to the room...if we go again, I'd do this. It would be easier, faster, and they'll bring the kids whatever they want. Our collection requested the nacho pizza in addition to the standard pepperoni. I think it was just to try it.

None of them pigged out, because the games and rides were right there, calling to them. The party hosts explained about the pre-loaded game cards and the boys rushed out of the room like bulls in Pamplona.

They sampled a bit of everything, from the jump rope game to the laser room. They even got me to go on the twister ride (one of Hayden's friends didn't make the height limit). They played until the money on their cards ran out, then headed to the prize counter to cash in their winnings. The giant blow up hammer was a favorite...and so were the toy rings. Pirate treasure, perhaps?

We gathered them in the party room once more for cupcakes (Portland Baking Company was at Costco yesterday, such a win) and gifts. and then, we timed out. Which was good, because Grace was over the shenanigins.

The boys loved it, and want to go back. As soon as possible!