Where to begin...... We decide (on very short notice) to take the family to Yellowstone for the long weekend. JD invited his mother along, since it's one of her favorite places on earth. We piled into the car with all of our camping gear and headed north. We stopped in Ogden for a 30 minute work apointment for JD. An hour and half later we were back on the road.
We made it 45 minutes before we had our first potty stop......
In Idaho Falls, we stopped for a Walmart run for some forgotten items, and the potty again. When we came out we were greeted by a fly over from the Blue Barons. They were practicing for an air show for the following day. We followed them toward the airstip and watched them fly around for awhile. After picking up lunch another hour had passed and we were on our way.
30 miles from the park we were stuck in traffic. Let me rephrase that. Stopped in a line of cars for 45 minutes, not moving, on the top of a mountain.
When we were finally moving again we drove through 20 miles of road construction. We arrived in the park in time to watch the sun go down.
The Rex's are not road trippers.
In the park we saw many, many animals. 2 mama Grizzly Bears with 2-3 cubs, a black bear, Buffaloes in the hundreds, 4 huge elk with ginormous racks, a dozen deer, a heard of femal elk wander Mamoth Springs Village, an Eagle, a million squirels, and even more mosquitoes. We saw geysers, or geyserts as Carson calls them, and hot springs until the kids cried mercy. Carson was the only one thuroghly enthralled by these wonders. AT Old Faithful he kept asking why the guys in charge didn't turn it on since there were so many people waiting to see it go off. He was having a hard time understanding that they were as natural as clouds. We stayed one night in a lodge and then roughed it the next two. JD was such a trooper. He HATES to sleep in a tent, but cuddled up to me on our air mattress to keep me warm all night. He has now perfected the fire pit hot ham and cheese sandwich. And made the best seat in the house around the campfire. Luckily the ride home wasn't as eventful as the drive there. We stopped in Jackson to see Jenny Lake and eat at our favorite BBQ place. Unfortunately, the BBQ place has grown too big and had a 45 minute wait. So, we grabbed Wendy's for the kids and were off. All in all, it was a fun weekend. Maybe in 2 years JD will take us camping again.....Maybe.
The end of June through mid July consisted of not much more than baseball, baseball, and then more baseball. JD coached Easton's all star baseball team this summer and they did very well.
All-stars starts off with a good 2 weeks of practice before the games begin. What that meant for the rest of us. Is dinner at 4 o'clock if we wanted to eat with J and Easton, which meant we ate again at 9 when they got home. On game days we ate hot dogs from the snack shack with a ring pop for desert or made a drive through run on the way to the ball park.
At one point practice ocurred on JD's birthday. So, I baked 3 dozen mini cupcakes with lots of frosting and took them to practice. The boys took turns throwing the cupcakes at JD. For a baseball team, I was surprised to see how many missed him. But it was entertaining anyway.
The other kids learned how to entertain themselves. They found a secret passage through the foilage around the outfield fence, played sword fighting with twigs, found mud puddles left behind by the ground crews (in red dirt, btw), and made friends with the other siblings that were drug around the valley.
The team had some practice games with the older kids and Taylorsville. They beat the 10 year olds and played a good game against T-ville.
Then it was regionals in Ogden.....That was a bit of a drive. Luckily the team won their games and we only had to make the trek twice. It also meant they won regionals. From there it was off to state. They lost their first game. It was a bummer, because we knew they could have won that team. From there they had to climb the lossers bracket. They did a great job. Winning there next 2 games, and finally sucumbing to Taylorsville.
I was so proud of Easton. He has worked so hard all season to better himself. He's a great team mate and volunteered to sit the bench so his other team mates could get in the game. He has the most beautiful swing. Even I, who knows little about the mechanics of a good swing can tell that he has talent in that swing. When he connects with the ball it goes far and it goes fast. His running is coming along. Let's just say it's a good thing he hits the ball far.
In May I started warning my kids that when school got out their lives were changing. No more free passes around here. My house was in a constant state of chaos and I felt that I never stopped cleaning. It was like that greek mythology story of the man in Hades pushing a huge bolder up the hill and as soon as he gets it to the top, it rolls back down and he has to start over. So, as soon as school started the CHORE CHARTS began.
The first day of summer I sat the kids down with my clipboard. We went through each room showing and writing down every detail on how to clean each and every room. I then typed it all up and made the charts.
Now, this isn't the graph on the wall where the kids put stickers when they've picked up their socks. Nope, this is an individual folder that contains what is expected of that child on each and every day. Having it written out step by step avoids the overwhelmed feeling that kids always get as well as avoids the "I don't know what to do" whine. I change the chores around every week. Eccept laundry day. That stays the same each week. Yep, that's right. Each child (includeing the 4 year old) does their own laundry. Wash, dry, fold and put away. They each get from 2-5 "jobs" a day, depending on the difficulty level. The older two are asigned to help one on the youner two. There are no chores on Saturday and Sunday, except for the kitchen and dog duty. Saturday is yard work. The kids learned pretty quick that if they keep their room clean they have less to do the next day.
I don't want to seem to be wasting my children's summer away, by creating my own little merry maids, so here's what I do for them in return. Every day their chores are done, we do something "fun." Fun can be anything from the zoo, to ice cream, to a nature walk, playdate, making cookies, etc.
The result is amazing. Monday is always the hardest day of cleaning. After the weekend the house is a wreck. Today we had the house clean in 1 and a half hours. Floors done, toilets scrubbed, beds made, dishes clean. For fun we went to the libray and book store. Last night I asked Carson what he liked that I did as a mommy and he said, "well, I kinda like doing my chores." I almost cried.
My vivacious little Avery turn 8 years old this week. Wow how time flies. She is eating up being a tween. She is in love with my ipod, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, any and all Disney shows that elude to singing, dancing, dating, and being silly. She wants to be a mom when she grows up and love practicing her "mothering" skills on her siblings and cousins. I love to watch her hip her baby cousing and carry him around like a proud mama. She loves to cook and can actually be trusted to make scrambled eggs and pancakes almost unassisted. In the last year she has gone from not reading a lick to reading chapter books and won the McReader of the year in her class. She is spunky and strong headed. She battles with me when ever possible just to see how far she can get with me. I love that she questions her world and doesn't always take no for an answer. These are great qualites to have. My wish is to one day have her use them for good not evil. I know that as she grows she will turn these traits into things that will take her far in life as a leader, as a mother, and as a great daughter. She is a great little girl and I'm so glad she's mine!
Would any one please tell me if this creature looks anything like a baby moose??? While at the cabin Dale spotted this creature just outside. He yells, "there's a baby moose out here!" We all tip toe outside to see the little guy and snapped some pics. Only to find no moose only a deer. After much deliberating and proving Dale wrong, Dale tells all the kids that he said "DOOSE" not moose. That it was a cross between a deer and a moose.....Needless to say Carson came home and started telling people all about the doose that he saw while camping.
It is a wonder to me how a family that produced 5 Eagle Scouts could hate true camping so much. The Rex's would take the Marriott and room service any day over a tent and campfire cooking.
We all decided to meet half way with a long weekend at a cabin by Strawberry resevoir. The "cabin" is equipped with 2 bathrooms, 1 shower, tv with DVD player, stove, fridge, and microwave. It's a long way off of tent poles, blow up mattresses and campfires, but we managed to have a good time.
Grandma and her sons took ALL the kids fishing down to the lake. The women stayed back and relaxed, hoping that the men would come back with as many children as they left with. In the end they had all the children, but no fish. They did have fun though! Uncle Dale is training for a triathalon and felt the need to swim in Strawberry. If you've been there you know this is not a good idea. The 50 degree water is not meant for swimming. He doned his wet suit and jumped in for and icy swim. We're glad he came back alive. We spent all day Saturday at Starvation lake. Which is warm and swimmable. It was a lot of fun, but terribly windy. I didn't pull out my camera for fear of what the sandblasting might do to it. So there are no pictures of Sabrina's wardrobe malfunction, Dale and Lincoln getting dumped in the lake by the wind, the boat wreck caused by a out of control ski boat, or the kiddies loving it up in the surf and sun...... But they would of been great pics!!!!!
Carson loves to check things off his to do list, and now we can check t-ball off the summer to-do list. He and Halle had a great time playing t-ball with uncle Dale as their coach. Carson would get his gear on hours before game time. Although his attention span rarely held through the entire 45 minute game, he couldn't wait to go to the ball field again. Halle just loved being there. She wasn't thrilled with all the boys, but she is easily convinced by the game end treats.