Friday, June 15, 2007

Camp Urben

In lieu of spending bookoos on a day camp for miss Ash, I went half crazy and decided to do our own camp here at home with three of her friends.

Day 1 - A lesson in over-doing it

We started the day off with a trip to the Library, where they had an organized craft for kids 8 and up. The girls got to decorate and put together their own parachutes while Alex and I went downstairs to the childrens room to check out books. When the girls finished their craft, I sent them off with a list of books to find. They gathered books about camping and butterfly classification for activities that we'll be doing throughout the week, and each of them picked out a couple books of their choice. After the library we stopped at Sonic, picked up lunch, and headed to San Gabriel Park to have a picnic. They took their shoes off and played in the spring water for a while and eventually we made our way down to the waterfall. The water was higher than normal and the girls really enjoyed watching the gushing water in full force.

We continued roaming around the park, until we walked so far that we were just a few minutes walk to the animal shelter. We decided to keep going and pay the animals a little visit under the condition that there would be NO begging for animals. They played with the cats for a while, poking little fuzzy tails on sticks through the cages and watching the younger cats bat at the little toys. We made it out of the cat room with only a few...."don't you want to take him home!" 's. The dogs were all just as sweet as can be, and the girls spent lot of time squatted down eye to eye with them. They talked to them, and pet them and at one point I looked over to see Ashley squatted down, arms both fully extended in to a cage and wrapped around a sweet doggie. A kennel hug. And Alex spent almost the entire time at one kennel that had a sweet little brown puppy. Everytime I looked over at him he was lauging and cooing the little guy...whom we later dubbed Zander. There's something about a little boy and a puppy that just tugs at those heartstrings.
After much begging and proding, the girls convinced me that we needed to let some of the dogs out for some excercise. We ended up picking 3 dogs and taking them out one by one for about 15 minutes each. The girls (and Alex) spent quite a bit of time giving each one the perfect name, which was voted on before becoming "official". We had such a good time, it was so hard to leave without a new friend.

On the way home we stopped at Michaels and we picked out some craft activities for the week. Ash picked out foam notebooks for them to decorate and journal their week, and I will print out some picutres for them to include. We also picked up some coozies and little foamies and stickers to decorate them with. After our hour trip to Michaels I realized that allowing the girls to pick out and decided on their own crafts was a mistake. I could have cut my time in half by doing the shopping solo. By the time we were finally on the way home, the kids were so exhausted that I don't think any of them spoke the entire way home....and that is UNHEARD of.

The girls spent the next few hours laying around the house reading their library picks, watching TV and recooping from the day. By the time dinner rolled around, they'd recovered for the most part and decided they'd like to come with me to the track to excercise with some of my friends. Fast forward to 10:30, and we were finally home, and they were MORE than ready to hit the sack. They got ready and made their beds downstairs in record time and were out earlier than they had been all summer, Alex included.

Here we are Tuesday morning, at 11:00 and I have yet to hear a peep out of anyone downstairs. I guess my plans for today will need a little altering.

Day 2

The kiddos didn't show their faces until after 11, I suppose I did my job and wore them out pretty good. They woke up hungry and stuffed down 10 waffles, 8 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of raisin bread, a few apples and plenty of OJ. After breakfast the girls decorated their foam journals, while I ran to the grocery store. After rushing home to make the 3:00 "kids in the kitchen" event for Alex I learned that it didn't actually start until 3:30, so instead of being 20 minutes late, we were actually 10 minutes early! That's definitely a first! We had a late breakfast so I packed up fixins for samiches, some fruit and some cookies. While we waited for Alex's friends to arrive, the girls (and Alex) made their samiches. The timing somehow worked out perfect despite my fear of being extremely late.

After the cooking event, we went straight to the pool in our old neighborhood where I let the kids swim for about 30 minutes, and I only took half a zillion pictures. We had to book it home so I could finish putting away the pantry goods, start dinner and get ready for my girls night out. After I left, Mark took the girls down to the river where they fished and swam and explored. Mark ended up catching 6 fish and the girls had plenty of stories to tell. They made it home with some "treasures", as Alex called them. They found a nice blow up tube float, two backpacks and a camera case. I'm thinking we need to spend more time at the river, good grief!

When I got home around midnight I heard a couple of girlish whispers down in the basement, so there's no telling what time they actually crashed out. All in all it was a great day, much more low key can the previous day, but welcome none the less.

Day 3
Today Emily's mom came and picked her up at 9:30 for her ortho appointment, so I only had 3 girls all day. I woke the remaining 3 up at 9:45, and gave them exactly 30 minutes to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and brush their teeth. They did remarkably well. We made it to the library for the ventriloquist a mere 3 minutes late (I'll take it!). The performance was great, even though it was intended for a younger audience. They did well and appeared to be quite interested and entertained to say the least. After the show we headed over to "THE" playscape. "THE" playscape is one of our favorite places here. It's huge and full of all sorts of bars and stairs and adventures. Unfortunately, it was a wee bit hot and we ended up leaving early and making a stop at Mickey D's for lunch. The girls are such troopers...they're at that in between age where you know they're probably a little bit too old for the play place, yet, they're just not ready to give that up quite yet. I know it won't be long before "playing" on the playscapes will be much to juvenille, so watching them play is an occassion I savor these days. We rushed home from lunch in just enough time for me to meet the contractor that was coming to assess the condition of the bathroom in preparation for giving us a quote. While I dealt with that, the girls read their library books and cleaned up Ashley's room. By the time the contractor left I realized I had lost my cell phone somewhere between here and Mc Donalds, so I high tailed it back up there to search for it. I called it from every possible location in that restaurant, including the dumpster, but it's looking more and more like someone will be enjoying a new pink Katana before long. Wah. On a brighter note, Ash found her cell phone that's been missing for 2 weeks. It was in a pocket. So at least I have the back up cell now and we are not missing TWO phones. Anyway, back to camp Urben...actually that was pretty much the end of camp Urben for the day, in fact, right now it's 11:30PM and there are NO girls in the house. Paula took them to a benefit dinner and is keeping them overnight. They've only called 3 times to find out when I'll be picking them up for Day 4 of camp Urben. More tomorrow.

Day 4

We started the day off by oversleeping and missing out on the Butterfly Farm trip we had planned...which honestly, I wasn't too disappointed about. It has been so hot lately, and the drive is super long that I certainly wasn't going to complain. So, we had a quick change of plans and decided to go to the movies and see Surfs Up in the cool AC. Good choice. The girls really like it and Alex and Matthew were visibly entertained. From the movies we headed to the shoe store where the kiddos picked out some shoes...Alex finally got his "crocs" (generic crocs, but don't tell him that), Ash picked up a few pairs of flip flops and Matthew got some really cool light up Spiderman flip flops. By then, the kids just weren't quite wore out enough, so we made our way to the ice skating rink where Kelly, Matthew and Alex all got to ice skate for the very first time! Kelly was almost instantly a pro, skating around that place like she was tying a shoe, Alex was clumsy as ever, but fearless none the less, and Matthew, well, lets just say he was more interested in the gumball machines than anything. It was a little difficult keeping up with all of them, but we all made it out alive, tired, but alive.
The girls came home, wrote in their journals and spent the rest of the evening playing the Wii and finally got to sleep around midnight.

I'm sleeping all of next week. And to think, I'm this tired, and we haven't done HALF of what I'd planned!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Wee, Wee"

It's 11:45PM, do you know where your 5 year old son and your 15 year old (oops, I mean 33 year old) husband is? They're in front of the TV playing with their new Wii!
Yes, we finally have a WII!!! Or as Alex is calling it "Wee Wee", yes, as in "Pee Pee". My ever so smart husband won an XBOX 360 Elite and accessories at work last week by playing a dorky Dell version of "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader". So he is in fact ALMOST as smart as a 5th grader, we are so proud. ;)We already have an XBox that sits in the basement unused, aside from an occasional DDR game here and there. Sooo, we decided we'd get much more use out of a Wii, and for the price of the XBOX Elite, we're able to get a ton of games and accessories as well. Major score! Wanna play?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Keller's 1st Birthday Party

My newphew, Keller, had is first birthday party this weekend! Here are just a few of the 382 pictures I took on Saturday. The rocket cake in the picture was made by yours truly. I was pretty happy with the end result. I have to tell ya though, picking a handful of pictures from all of the adorable shots of sweet baby Keller was difficult, he's just so precious I could eat him up!
Anywho, here's a summary of Mr. Keller's very first birthday celebration.

Keller's 1st Birthday