16 September 2016

Growing Boy

Well, it's official. Kolby's not quite 13 years old yet, but he officially wears bigger shoes than I do now (and I don't have dainty little feet). He's getting to be a big boy. 

22 August 2016

A Little Paint

I found a candle holder that was the right size and shape, but not the right color. I haven't done anything "crafty" for a while, so I picked up some paint. I painted it this afternoon -- it took some time getting it all painted, especially the inside, but I got it all finished this afternoon. I like doing a little project like this once in a while, something that turns out nice, and it can be completed quickly. I think it turned out great. 

19 August 2016

Friday Mornings

I've been trying this summer to get in better shape by eating healthier and getting outdoors more. (I'd way rather get my exercise by hiking to someplace new and interesting rather than going to a gym or running around a track). So since Michael now has some Friday mornings off work, I made some adjustments to my regular school year schedule, and now Friday mornings will be my time to go exploring -- to do a little biking or hiking. Michael had to go in to work this morning, but Harley and I decided to go on a little bike ride. Here he is cooling off in some water we found along the trail. 
Today was a fun little exploration in the canyons behind our neighborhood. I found one little shaded path under some trees, over a little make-shift bridge, where the water was lazily streaming under a thick tree trunk that was growing horizontally across the water. I've risen trough this same area so many times, and never seen this beautiful little green spot of shade before. I love exploring. 

(I wish a camera could capture how pretty this place really is). 

16 August 2016

First Day of School!

I got the boys off to their first day of school this morning. All of the boys were really excited for school, new teachers, and friends. Poor little Courtland came down with a fever last night, so he had to miss his first day today. (He was crying in my arms last night about missing school, sweet little thing). But he seems to be feeling great so far today, so I'm crossing my fingers for a quick recovery so he can go to school tomorrow. 

(And Kolby, our big 7th grader, has grown out of taking a picture with the teacher on the first day of school). 

04 August 2016

"Summer Adventure" # 3

Now that we are in the last few days of the boys' summer vacation from school, I want to catch up and do a post about each of our "adventures" that we planned throughout the summer.  

Our 3rd summer adventure was the sea cave at Point Loma back in the beginning of July.  This had to be my favorite of all the adventures we did. 

I had read online that there was a "secret" sea cave near the Point Loma tide pools that can only be accessed at low tide.  So we looked up the tide charts online and planned to go on a day when the tide was low. 

It didn't take much time to determine where to go to get to the cave. There was a handful of other people walking in that direction too. We came across a small sign saying that the area was closed, (although I'm not too sure why it would be closed because the whole area seemed just as safe to me as the rest of the tide pool area -- the only thing I can figure is that they have to consider stupid people who might try to get to the cave at high tide, which probably wouldn't be successful). 

The cave entrance was a low, wide opening. With the tide out, there were waves washing up on a small area of sand inside the cave. We played in the water a bit. And then Kolby & Lijah decided to play in the sand, attempting to build up little dams of sand to block the waves. 

Mom, Camden, Isaac, Courtland, and I all braved the splashing waves to walk through the water around the rocky corner into the larger section of the cave. This cave has a large circular open ceiling, so there's plenty of light in the whole place. We didn't spend much time in the larger open part of the cave -- there was evidence of part of the back wall previously caving down, so we didn't hang out long in that area. 
(This photo is blurry because I put my phone in a ziplock bag when we went through the waves to prevent it from getting splashed). 

I preferred the smaller, enclosed section with the waves splashing up toward the sand anyway. 

We made it back to the tide pools without incident (even though we could hear a helicopter in the area, and I admit I was a little nervous about the possibility of getting in trouble for having passed the little "area closed" sign, even though we weren't the only beach-goers to do so that afternoon). 

Then we caught little crabs in the tide pools, and the boys played in the little pools of water while Mom and I watched them and chatted. The boys also laid out thin strips of seaweed on the rocks to "bake" in the sun -- we had recently watched the old Black Stallion movie, and the boy in the movie survived by eating dried seaweed after his ship sank and he was stuck on an island -- they asked if they could eat it, and I let them each have a small piece. Most of them thought it was too salty, but a couple of them actually said they liked it. 

Anyway, it was a very nice day, with just the right mix of exploration, a little-known destination, beautiful surroundings, and relaxation. 


A lot of progress has been made on our yard, and we're starting to be able to see what it's going to look like when it's done.  The rough masonry is mostly done, and they will add the stone veneer and wall caps later.  The cement walkway and patio steps are done, and last week they finished the pavers.  I was a little nervous because we went out of town at the same time that they were installing the pavers so I wasn't here to see the progress, but we love how they turned out!

Because we had made a few little changes from the original design plans to some of the small planting areas around the yard, I needed to update the planting plan.  I stayed up late last night getting that all updated, and ended up with 3 hours of sleep before we met with our landscaper for an early meeting this morning (it takes so long when I make any changes to our landscape design because I made the plans on photoshop, which we only have on our ancient old laptop that we barely ever use anymore -- it runs so painfully slowly & freezes so frequently that it's almost not worth using that laptop at all anymore, but I don't have photoshop on our other laptop yet, so I'm just making due for now with what we've got).  Anyway, I definitely need a nap now today, but I think I got the plans all updated and made all the necessary changes.
(our original planting plan)

(our updated plan)

The next step on the back yard is to finish building up the grill.  We will be ordering the landscape lighting soon, and they are continuing to prep for the artificial turf.  And at some point they will get the trampoline installed.  After that they will get the stone veneer on all the retaining walls for the raised beds, the fire pit, and the columns for the patio cover & arbors.  And after they install the patio cover & arbors, next will be the caps for the retaining walls.  After that pretty much the only things left will be to get the trees & plants planted, put down mulch, and finish up the last of the odds & ends.  Although there's always a little stress involved in a job like this because I feel like I need to oversee everything and make sure everything from the plans get's included, I have really enjoyed seeing the design that I made gradually be created.  I'm so excited/ready to have it all done so we can use the back yard -- it's great that the pavers are down in the yard, at least, so the boys can go out and use the yard a little bit.  We asked the landscaper how long it will take to finish everything now that we are getting into the second phase of the job, and he said it'll be 2 to 3 months.  I just can't wait until it's all finished, and I will be able to take time with one of the boys on his "night out" to pick a flower or vegetable and come home and plant it together.

Here are a few shots to show the progress so far:

28 June 2016

Poor Boys

Yesterday afternoon Lijah & Courtland asked if they could swim at their friend's house up the street, and I told them they needed to come get their swimsuits and then they could swim. I didn't find out until today that they had gone with just their swim shorts, but hadn't taken their swim shirts. (Of course it had to be my two fair-skinned boys). There have been times when the boys have gotten a little pink before, but these are the first real sunburns I think these two have had. So this morning they were both mourning the fact that they had to lay on my bed until all the aloe vera dried. Poor guys!

"Summer Adventure" # 2

We had our second "summer adventure" last night. This one was a little different than most of the outdoor activities we have planned. After Camden & Isaac came home from their Cub Scout day camp, we got our picnic dinner ready and headed to Balboa Park. Michael came after work and met us there.

I guess they have free organ concerts on Monday nights in the summer at the outdoor Spreckles Organ Pavillion, and last night the San Diego Marine Band was playing with the organist. 

We went early. After saving some seats at the organ pavillion, we went and found a shady area in the grass to sit and eat our dinner.  Then I showed Michael the area nearby where these huge ficus trees grow on a hill, and their roots grow above ground, winding all the way down the hill. The boys played tag on the huge tree roots before we headed back for the concert. 

Michael loved the music, and the boys seemed to enjoy the concert. Harley was so good with the crowds of people and all the other dogs there at the park. I loved the architecture and lighting of the organ pavillion, and taking different photos of it as it got dark. It was interesting to hear the kind of (mostly) fast-paced music that the organist played (since I'm used to only hearing church hymns played on an organ). My favorite was the Marine Band. They played some patriotic songs, and mostly played lots of different march songs by John Philip Sousa.  My favorites were the couple of jazz songs that they played. All of our boys were asleep by 9:30pm when the concert ended, but they were pretty good sports about being woken up to walk back to the cars afterward. 

Elijah's Toe

The other day the boys were helping bring the groceries in from the car and one of the plastic bags split and a big can fell on Elijah's big toe. His toenail got a black spot right away and it hurt a lot, but after a while he seemed ok and went out to play with his friends.

Later that evening Michael & I went to the temple, and right before we went inside, the boys called us and said Camden had accidentally stepped on Elijah's hurt toe and he was crying. I talked to him a bit and got him calmed down, and figured he'd be fine after a few minutes. So later on when we finished at the temple I called my mom to ask her about some plans for the next day, and I was really surprised when Lijah answered the phone. I guess he had been in a lot of pain from his toe, and my mom had taken him to her house while we were gone, and was watching over him for us. 

When we got home, he was in a lot of pain -- a lot more than when he broke his foot last fall -- and he wasn't calming down. My mom wondered if we would need to take him to a doctor to somehow release the pressure on his toe. We knew there wasn't much that a doctor would do even if he had broken his toe, so we gave him ibuprofen, Michael had him soak his foot in water and vinegar to reduce the swelling, and eventually he settled into a fitful sleep around midnight.

I read online that sometimes when there is bleeding under the toenail the pressure is very painful and it does need to be released either by cotterizing it, or by sticking in a large needle. But he was sleeping, so we decided to wait and see if he was better in the morning. 

At 2am he woke up in pain again, so I took him to the ER at Children's Hospital. I had to carry him from the parking lot because his foot hurt too much to walk. After a long wait, we were taken to a room, they took some X-rays, and eventually the doctor came and she used a cotterizing tool to make two small holes through the top of his nail and then push the blood out from under his nail. That was a painful process for him. But once it was over, it had released the pressure and he felt just fine again. 

(Afterward, my parents told my brother, Matthew who is studying to be a physical therapist, about it, and he said what they do for that is heat up a paper clip and stick it through the nail. I guess next time we'll know that, and maybe Uncle Matthew can take care of it and save us the $300 ER bill).   :)