Monday, August 27, 2012

Swimming Lessons

Now that the boys are back in school, I have time to get caught up on blogs. So back in July the boys took swimming lessons from Megan (the one we went to the lake with, the older sister of Spencer's friend Sean). I was so impressed with how good she was with our little kids at the lake, and she had just finished up a great season on the swim team. Plus she has a pool, so we were able to go to their house for the lessons. We went every day for two weeks, and Chloe and I just sat in the shade and visited with her mom Cyndee the whole time. It was lovely.

Levi liked to put his feet in the water, but he refused to do the lessons. Instead of wasting our time trying to convince him otherwise (which is usually futile anyway), we just had her move on to the other boys. I figure he'll be ready by next summer.

Brennan didn't want to do much the first week either. In fact he got in the water less Thursday and Friday than he did the first 3 days. Remember how I said he wouldn't get off the steps of the pool all last summer? Well I was pretty dang frustrated with him for not even trying to learn this year. Then the following Monday was Dallin's birthday, and I told him we could go out for donuts after their lessons. But then I decided to use it as leverage. I told them we would ONLY go out for donuts if Brennan tried to swim and do whatever Megan asked him to do. It worked, and he improved a ton each day from then on. Here he is swimming across the pool with the life jacket on. 

He even tried diving.

Dallin was able to get by in the water before lessons, but he really learned a lot with Megan. He was able to master everything she taught him. Megan handed out awards at the end, and he got the award for strongest swimmer.

Spencer was at scout camp the first week, but he came along the second week. He assured me that he didn't need lessons. He was a really good swimmer, after all. But I knew he could use some help on fine-tuning his strokes. She worked with him a little, and he admitted it was helpful. Tyler got the award for best attitude. Not only did he do everything Megan taught him, but he did it cheerfully. Yep, that's Tyler!

By the end of the second week, Brennan was able to swim. I was so proud of his progress, I wanted to cry. He got the award for most improved.

Here he is, swimming from the side of the pool to Megan.

The next time we went to the public pool, he was swimming all over the place. No more staying on the steps!

Success! The boys had so much fun, they didn't want their lessons to come to an end. Maybe we can do it again next summer.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer swimming

Dave set up a pool in our backyard this year. It's 13' X 3', and it has provided hours of fun.

Have you ever met a kid with more crazy expressions than Brennan? I didn't think so.

One reason I was hesitant to have a pool was this little dare devil. He had no fear last year - he would jump right into the public pool whether I was nearby to catch him or not. So we had our neighbor make us a pool cover for safety. He actually installs pool covers for a living, but he just does in-ground pools. He cut out a piece of a used cover and attached it around the top with rope. It has worked great; plus Levi is actually much more afraid of the water this year, so that's good too.

Brennan was very cautious last year, and although he could reach the bottom just fine this year, he just felt safer wearing a life jacket at the beginning of the summer. 

The older boys have had a blast in the pool all summer. They usually go out for an hour or two in the afternoon.

The boys love digging holes in the backyard, and there was a ginormous one right where we put the pool. Dave tried to level the dirt first, but it was still pretty slanted.

We went to our favorite pool in SLO a few times, but it was just so nice to send the boys out to swim in the backyard while Levi and Chloe were taking afternoon naps. I could see them from the kitchen window (or at least all the splashing), and hear lots of happy laughter.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rice Cereal!

We gave Chloe her first solid food (other than chewing on watermelon) a couple weeks ago. Of course she spit it right back out, but by the end she was getting more in than out.

There wasn't quite enough light in the house for pictures, so we moved her outside to finish.

As her doctor said at her last appointment, feeding a baby food at this age is more entertaining for the family than anything else. Everyone wanted a turn feeding her.

She actually ate the whole bowl!

Love this!

The next time I fed her I put her in the high chair. She looked like such a big girl!

Have I mentioned how much she loves to stick out her tongue? She does it when she's happy, which is every time we look at her/talk to her. She loves attention!

Yum! That's good stuff.

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's great to be 8!

Dallin turned 8 a couple weeks ago. With Maryruth's family in town, we had a family party of 25 people.

Brennan is just so excited about this one! Note the pink princess gift bag. That's what happens when you have a baby sister.
My kids' love Heath (ice cream, candy bars, etc.), so I made him a Heath Bar Cake. After poking a hot chocolate cake with holes, I poured sweetened condensed milk mixed with a jar of caramel over the top, let it cool, covered it with Cool Whip and topped it with crushed Heath bars. It was super yummy! 

Then on his actual birthday we had tacos and watermelon (his favorite dinner) and more cake. Good thing I made 2 of them.

Then of course there were lots of jokes about the diaper box he unwrapped.

Inside the diaper box was this awesome black and red tool bag (his favorite color combo) filled with a bunch of little presents.

Rope + red sheets + big and little clamps + flashlights = a fort kit!

My kids are always making forts, but it's hard to get the heavy blankets to stay up. Plus they always sag in the middle. This way they can clamp onto furniture and tie the rope to various things and clip the sheet to it. They get really creative.

They've made some pretty amazing forts!

Of course the best part about turning 8 is getting baptized. He was looking forward to this for a long time, and it was lovely. Grandpa gave the opening prayer, Spencer gave the talk on baptism, Tyler played his violin (Families Can Be Together Forever), Dave performed the baptism and confirmation, I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, and grandma gave the closing prayer. And as I mentioned earlier, everyone took turns holding Chloe. 

Afterwards we gave Dallin the option of either going out to lunch or going to the movies. He chose to see Ice Age. Then Levi screamed as we approached the dark, loud theater, so I got a refund and took him home. Luckily the boys brought me home a big bucket of popcorn. It was a great day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Escaping the heat

I really can't complain - this has been a very mild summer. But the one time it reached 107, our air conditioner broke. The repair guy couldn't come for 2 days. It was so hot, we had to go out for ice cream cones, take cold showers, sleep outside and think of air-conditioned places we could go during the day. Luckily, the kids had just earned their free children's museum passes through the library's summer reading program, so we went there one day.

Spencer has outgrown it (he didn't go), but the other boys just love imaginative play. 

They used to have mostly girly dress-ups, but now they even have zombie attire.

Turns out our A/C had a broken fan motor, and it only cost a couple hundred dollars. We were afraid we'd need a whole new unit. Actually, the guy said that it's a good thing we turned it off when we did or else it would have broken even more. We've really appreciated our A/C ever since, especially this week when it's been over 100 again.