Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Since some of you, my faithful readers, aren't on Facebook, you don't get to hear the nitty gritty details of our every day lives around here. Not to worry, you aren't missing out on much.

Here's my status from today:

Julie Gonsalves another reason to never shop with all 3 kids: if your 9m.o. is strapped securely into the to cart and your 3y.o. decides to try to pull him out of the cart, the cart might tip over on it's side, smashing your 9m.o.'s head into the concrete floor and shattering a glass bottle of cherry juice on the ground right next to ...him, effectively covering BOTH kids in juice and glass shards. then, while your two youngest are screaming their heads off, your 5y.o. might want to reinact for you and the employees what happened just so you know that she didn't do it....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two Wheels

We were in Huntington Beach last week and my brother taught Emma to ride without training wheels. Now, she's tearing it up on our court, going super fast and not stopping for anyone- she's even trying to convince the neighbor boy to play bumper cars with her!

Here's a little video of her riding, complete with her signature girly screeches of elation...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Way more than you ever wanted to know about our camping trip

***WARNING: this post is suuuuuuper long because it includes lots of the billions of pictures that we took while camping. i don't expect anyone but the grandparents to actually read the whole thing***

***also, for those same grandparents who are actually reading this, if you want to see any of the pictures larger, make sure you're reading this on the internet and not just in your email and then just click on the pictures to make them larger***

Dylan and I both grew up in families that camped frequently, so by now we're pretty sure that we have car camping figured out- well, at least the packing part. You simply have to bring too much stuff; bring things that make the term "roughing it" very, very removed from your camping experience; and bring so much stuff and pack it in such a manner that the other cars traveling behind you on the freeway travel WAAAAAY behind you for fear that your son's tricycle or a large plastic patio chair might fly off and smash their windshield.

No problem, right?

Once you get to the campground, you'll inevitably realize that you forgot one or two things- like an essential part to the training wheels for Emma's bike or enough butter to adequately apply to the hobo pie irons. Not to worry, just make sure you have zipties available and are only 10 minutes away from the nearest town!

Here are the rest of my helpful hints and packing advice uncleverly listed according to the letters in the alphabet. (And before I go camping again, please remind me that I have compiled this list so that I can reference it and realize how absolutely insane it is for me to even consider camping with 3 kids. Thanks.)

A: Having an Aerobed is a must for the adults in the group because, let's face it, 4 nights sleeping on the hard ground just won't cut it if you're somewhere in your twenties or thirties (or older). Also, you'll have to bring padding for your 3 very American kids (and dog) who are accustomed to sleeping in comfort. In addition to our Aerobed, we also had a wagamama for Landon, a travel trundle for Grady, and some thermarest pads for Emma. Yes, our tent was very full.
B: Make sure your daughter brings her favorite Barbie and baby doll because you wouldn't want them to miss out on an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.
C: When your brother and husband plan a camping trip and you adamantly refuse to go if it's going to be cold, then you shouldn't let them convince you to camp at the top of the Sierra Buttes. Because there's still snow there... and your kids might want to play naked in the snow.

D: If you have an almost-three-year-old who is pretty much potty trained, you should bring extra diapers anyway because he'll be so excited about camping that he'll forget that he needs to pee and then he'll wet his pants- lots of times. OR he'll sneak into the truck and find your not-quite-empty cup of coffee and chug it and then poop in his pants 20 minutes later. so then you'll have to go to town and buy a package of diapers at a price that will make you want to cry.

E: Emma's favorite part of camping was getting to eat lots of treats and having an aunt and uncle to chat with the whole time.
F: fire.

G: Grady's favorite parts of camping were going in the boats (no water needed) and riding (and pushing) bikes down a hill.

H: Next time your sister is in Nicaragua, have her pick you up a sweet custom hammock. It will provide hours and hours of entertainment for your kids.

I: When camping for a long period of time, it is essential to designate one day in the middle of the trip for a jaunt to town for ice cream. As you well know, ice cream has special powers and is able to make you forget how dirty and nasty and tired and sick of ice chest food you are.

J: One of my favorite parts of camping is that I get to pick out clothes for my kids and I can force them to wear Jeans! This may seem like no big deal to you, but Emma hasn't willingly worn a pair of jeans (or non-stretchy pants) since she was 2.

K: Borrow a kayak or two from a friend so that when you're at the lake (see "L") you can take your kids out on the water for awhile. They'll think you're super cool. The paddles for the kayak also come in handy when you need to "gently nudge" your "special" dog away when she's trying to climb into the boat halfway across the lake because she can't handle it when her family is not on stable ground (water, ladders, etc).

L: Lakes are really nice to camp by and they're relatively safe for small children since there is a nice shore and shallow water for them to play in. If the lake that you intend to camp by doesn't allow camping, be bummed because then you have to camp by a rushing river- which is not relatively safe for your kids. Thankfully for us, the only casualty in the river was Lucy's water bowl that Grady was filling up to make mud pie with. He almost lost his blue sandals too, but Dylan was able to retrieve them where they got snagged down river. Phew!M: machetes are useful for, well, i'm not sure what. i think something about firewood. all I know is that I sure am glad Joel brought one, you know, just in case we needed it.

N: Nasty is the only way to describe how I felt after being squished with Lucy in the front seat of Dylan's truck for 4 hours.

O: Giving your kids a chance to experience the great outdoors is pretty awesome- even if our experience was far from rustic. When Grady saw this tree he said "Look mom! That tree is touching the sky!"
P: in the event that you so happen to own a homemade potato gun, you should definitely bring it along. it will impress your children to no end and make your crazy dog even crazier.

Q: Uncle Joel kept telling Emma and Grady that his favorite part about camping was after dinner (and breakfast and lunch) quiet time. Ha! Obviously he doesn't have kids yet or he would realize that if that's your favorite thing, then don't go camping with a family full of kids.

R: always bring your brother and husband who fancy themselves Macgyver and can rig up a rain shelter in a flash.

S: it is very important to bring a sawzall and rechargeable batteries. this way, you can cut down firewood into manageable pieces quickly and then when the batteries die, you can make friends with the local boyscout camp and recharge your batteries there for a few hours.

T: if you're nervous that your small children might fall into the pit toilet and drown and you aren't quite ready to allow them to relieve themselves at will in the woods, a travel potty of some sort is a great thing to have. (this is also great to have when you're traveling in the middle of nowhere on I-5 and your kids have to go potty RIGHT NOW!!!!!!)

U: When you go for a walk, you might find a creek that you need to cross and your clothes might get wet. So you might need to take them off and continue your walk your underwear. thankfully, no one else wanted to camp in the snow so there isn't anyone else around to witness this.

V: When we pulled off the 89 (?) this was our view of the Sierra Buttes. Pretty nice if you aren't intimidated by camping with a little snow!

W: My kids and my dog LOVE playing in the water. Even if it is snowmelt.
X: I don't have anything to say about X so here's a picture of Landon
Y: ditto

: In the event that your husband leaves home without an essential piece to the training wheels for your daughter's bike, be certain to have zipties packed. They'll fix the training wheels no problem- so long as you don't mind her bike looking a bit ghetto fabulous!