Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Greats

Grandma and Grandma Howard came for a visit and they brought all  kinds of puzzles and activities with them.  They had no trouble becoming fast favorites with my kids.  Uncle Paul was there too but I didn't get a photo of him.  I didn't take a picture of the bacon and tomato sandwiches either but trust me, they were amazing.
The girls spent waaay to much of the summer watching  cartoons with their  Opa. He has an unlimited source of patience when it comes to horrible cartoons.  I read somewhere that the new studies show that TV time doesn't rot the brains of kids as much as long as they are watching with an adult they care about.  I don't know if it is true but I can always cross my fingers and hope.
Rocky planted a little sunflower seed in a tiny vase.  I didn't think there was any way that it would sprout but it was a healthy little sprout.  When we left she made my mom promise that she would send photos of its progress. Judging by the size of the pot I think it had already pushed as far as it could go.  Luckily we got out of there before it started to fade.
A fun thing we did this summer  was to go to my cousin Casey's house for a barbecue.  He and Sue have worked hard renovating their home making the yard into a virtual paradise.  Jill sent me the pictures that she took.  I was too busy talking with everyone to  pay attention  to my children.

They really don't even begin to show how gorgeous the yard is, or how much fun the kids were all having together.  It is the kind of place that once you get there you never want to leave.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Malan's Peak

 It can't be a Rigby summer unless we take our kids on a ridiculously long hike.  I am surprised every time that they are still willing to trust us when we say that we are almost there.
 The trail to Malan's Peak is beautiful and the view from the top is worth the effort.  I myself was huffing and puffing quite a bit but I couldn't really complain because Rosy made it all the way to the last switchback before she sat down on the trail and refused to take another step.
 I would have turned back earlier but Brandon lets the girls prove to themselves that they can do hard things.  In the end they are always glad that they did.

 Rocky insisted on hiking with this horrible black foam noodle.  She tried to justify bringing it by saying she needed it as a walking stick which made her go at least twice as slow as she would have without it.  After a few miles she said that she didn't need it anymore but we made her carry it all the way down so that she would learn her lesson.
Early on in the journey Ike had a dirty diaper.  I had brought a bag to carry such things down in but Brandon thought it would be better if we hid it and then picked it up on the way down.  We didn't forget it but when we stopped to pick it up on the way down it was gone.  I am horrified because it was the newborn size.  Whoever took it has no doubt in their mind who the culprits were.  I just want to shout it out to the universe that we would have taken it down with us.

I love Ogden and it has taken me all these years in Eugene to realize just how amazing it is to live in the shadow of gorgeous mountains.

Farmer's Market

 I know that my summer posts are almost always the same and it is because I love to do the same things when we are in town.  This time the farmer's market was even better than usual because they brought back the Star Noodle Parlor sign.  The dragon belongs on 25th Street and I for one feel a surge of joy every time I see it there.

We did our share of browsing local art and produce and of course spent a little time frolicking in the park.

 We are all just so glad that Brandon is here and that we can all be together.
 Rosy taught us that if the corn is good it can and should be eaten raw.
 Rocky prefers hers cooked.
 I didn't take a picture but Daisy is the one that has really gone crazy over all the fresh veggies.  She spent almost an hour out in my mom's garden picking green beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers, and then got them all cut and prepared for Sunday dinner.  She also takes every chance she can get to pick tomatoes and melons in Mike's garden.  She definitely has a taste for the garden.  Rosy likes to go out there and hunt for late season strawberries and Rocky likes to look for snails.

Ike and Grayson are already buddies.  They have bonded over all the stress they cause their moms by being tiny.  Who knows what kind of trouble they will get into in the future.

Hayden invited us all out to eat at Olive Garden.  I told the girls that they needed to act like Fancy Nancy and be on their best behavior.  Except for one incident with a stubborn 2-year-old and a sugar packet they acted like little angels.  They are super proud of their uncle and know that he is going to be a great missionary.  Although Rocky did say after she saw him saying goodbye to his girlfriend, "I think he is just a little too young to be kissing girls."
 I had to take a couple of pictures that show just how crazy Ike's life is.
 You can see how much he adores his sisters, and by adores what I really mean is fears.
 In the past week he has gained 11 ounces.  He looks downright chunky to those of us who have known him his whole life.  He started out at 7 lbs. 12 oz. and now at 2 months has finally gotten to
9 lbs. 6 ounces.  It has been a slow beginning which was not helped by all the vomiting but today the doctor officially considered him thriving.  I think I will start calling him Tubby.
 We had to get some work done on the car so Brandon took the seats out.  Last night I went outside and found Rocky reading scary stories to her sisters.  I was especially glad that Rosy was buckled in.  I took this picture to show to them when we are driving back to Eugene.  I can't wait to remind them that they really love to sit in their car seats.

Hanging with Howards and Another Story

 We went out to Springville to see Matt and his family.  I hadn't been to their house since we were helping them move in last summer.  It was fun to be there again and see how they have made it into such a lovely home.  The kids had a great time hanging out together and almost killed themselves playing outside on the trampoline...according to Oma.  They made incredible pizzas for us and it was one of those sweet, lovely moments in life when everything just went perfectly.

 We spent the afternoon at the art museum which had a special exhibit about road trips and a fantastic interactive section for kids.  After playing for some time I am wondering if Chef Coozine may take on a 50s style from now on.

 There were a bunch of Minecraft crafts and Rosy was especially proud of her pieces.
 And now for something completely different:

On Sunday right during Hayden's farewell Ike and I ended up at Primary Children's Hospital.  He had been projectile vomiting repeatedly and had gotten extremely dehydrated.  They wanted to test him for a couple of other things but ended up diagnosing him with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome.  Apparently a baby can kind of get into a pattern of vomiting and will not be able to consume fluids on its own.  After a bunch of tests and an IV to stop the dehydration he looked much better.  After all the tests came back negative and I was ready to laugh again Jill sent me a text:  You should have the hospital priest check him for a demon.

I was only there for a couple of hours and our problem was easily solved but it was clear in just that short of a time that Primary Children's is a very special place.

I was too worried to take many photos but I did snap this one.  The nurse had put heating packs on him to help prepare him for the IV.  She called them his boxing gloves.
You can see just how skinny he had gotten.  He was still struggling to gain weight and this really threw another obstacle in the way.
I feel incredibly attached to this baby boy and know that it is a great blessing that he is healthy.

The Fair

 All summer I have bemoaned the fact that we hadn't done any of the important things that make summer fun.  With Ike making his appearance right in the middle we have missed the camping trips, the holiday fireworks and parades.  But now we are reaping the rewards of making our Utah vacation in August.  It has been years since I was here to eat all the fresh veggies from the gardens and to make salsa with my mom.  It also means that we got to take the kids to the fair.  This year they had a petting zoo that was much more exciting than usual and we spent way too much time there.

 The pot-bellied piglets were by far the best part.

 And the best part of the fair is getting a snack.  Previously after a certain incident I had sworn that I would never let my children have another sno-cone but they got Oma on their side and in honor of the fair I bent the rule.
 The rest of us went for lemonade and churros.  Could anything be more perfect?
 Maybe I will have to permanently remove the sno-cone ban because this was just too cute.
 Another tried and true summer tradition in the Howard home is popsicles.  Usually we actually sit outside instead of in the garage but a lovely summer rainstorm had us under cover.  The door was open so we could watch the raindrops and even more importantly smell them.
 The new part of this tradition is that Rosy is too stubborn to have any help ends up every time in a sticky melty mess.  She ruined enough shirts that now she just has to strip down.  It is a lot easier to wash red off skin.  Shanan sent me this photo that she took from next door.  After they finished their treats they went and roasted marshmallows over there.  In other words it was a perfect Sunday night.
The other day Daisy came in crying.  Someone had left and entire Costco box of Creamies out and they had melted.  I thought she was worried she would be in trouble but after careful questioning of everyone involved she and both her sisters confidently blamed their Opa.  He admitted that it may have been him because he had been trying to take care of all my kids and the neighbors too.   Daisy was crying over the loss and when it all got sorted out I almost cried myself.  We don't mess around when Creamies are involved.
Opa, of course, made a quick trip to the store to replenish the debt and was immediately forgiven.

Ike is kind of bummed out about the whole scene.  Next year buddy.  You will see.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Drive

It feels like we have made the drive from Eugene to Ogden about a million times and they all blur into one giant road trip in my mind.  This summer Jill flew all the way out to us so that she could help me deliver my four children to their grandparents.  It still feels weird to say that I have 4 kids, especially since Ike still seems more like a little bean than an actual person.  Usually we just hurry the trip, taking as few breaks as possible but Jilly and I decided to slow down a little bit and make a few stops.  The first one was at Sahalie Falls, which seems kind of a cheat because it is only about an hour from home.  We took a few minutes to breathe in the fresh air and rejuvenate our spirits and then jumped back into our assigned seats.

Somewhere between Bend and Burns Rocky informed us that she really needed to use the bathroom.  Since there is basically nothing for hours I told her we would stop at the first available facility.  On the side of the road appeared a gas station/general store/RV park that I have never noticed before.  Jill hauled the three girls in while I sat in the van to nurse the baby.  They used the bathroom and were just heading out when Jill heard a stern voice behind her.  "Ma''am."
She was convinced that she was going to be reprimanded for not buying anything or something.  She even thought for a second that maybe one of the girls had slipped something in her pocket.  Instead the woman who ran the store was chasing them down to give each of the girls a beanie baby.
As you can imagine, they were thrilled.  She said that it always made her happy to see the faces of kids when they are given a gift.  They came out to the car with giant smiles and I just didn't feel right about leaving without buying something.  Jill let them choose an ice cream which turned out to be another highlight of the trip, especially because treats like this are few and far between at the Rigby home.  It turned out that there is probably a reason that we don't buy ice cream on road trips...they are a big mess.
It was worth it.

Our next adventure was at the big slide in Burns.  Every time I pass it I am shocked that it can still exist.  Things like this that used to be "fun" have now become "dangerous."  I have to admit that when Rocky and Daisy started climbing the stairs to the top I wondered if all those injury lawsuits actually did serve a purpose other than just being a big wet blanket over the great parks we used to have.

I tried it myself and it was a little terrifying.  I was wearing a slippery skirt and I had to run when I hit the bottom so that I didn't face plant.  We all survived and were all the better for the stop.
The last interesting place we visited was somewhere in Idaho.  Ike was ready to eat and lo and behold a strange gas station appeared in the distance like an oasis.  We would have been happy with a place to stop the van but were pleasantly surprised with a couple of alpacas that delighted the girls.  Jill took them out to feed the cutest animals you've ever seen.  I got to watch from my perch in the passenger seat while Ike ate his fill.  When they went inside the woman that is in the photo didn't think anyone was looking and she took her gum from her mouth and fed it to the alpaca.  It was kind of sweet and super weird at the same time.  The alpaca took a taste and spit it right out which seemed hilarious.  I keep thinking about it and I still can't figure out why she would think that was a good idea.  People are so odd when they think nobody is watching, but everyone should know that someone is always watching.
We made it in good time, without any troubles.  Jill is a great travel companion and the kids were all good sports.  I think they watched 5 movies, which is to say that they were happy as clams as the miles melted away.  The way there is always more fun because at the end of the road they get to be with their grandparents.