Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

We've hit double digits! Caleb got all sorts of special treatment for his 10th birthday.

He spent the week prior to his big day at Grandma's house getting spoiled rotten. Before returning home they picked up his dear cousin, Ansel, and brought him to join the celebrations and spend a few days with us. He got his first and biggest birthday present right when he arrived home.

He got a hoop for Christmas but it was much smaller and unable to withstand the powerful shots Caleb could throw at it. In five months time he'd shot the backboard clean off. He needed a real hoop. It's already provided hours of enjoyment.

We decided to carry the basketball theme over to his birthday party. It turned out to be a great event.

Here are the invites:

Caleb helped me set the table for the party. He was so anxious for all the guests to arrive.

We started with an NBA matching game. Set up like concentration, they had to match the city to the team name. (Utah to Jazz, for example)

Then we played "Chase the Dog" where the boys each wore a flag and while dribbling, tried to steal the other player's flags.

Then came the free throw contest. Each boy had one minute to shoot as many free throws as possible.

The boys had lots of fun writing their scores from each game on the scoreboard.

And to make sure the competition stayed friendly, we did a "Good Sport Raffle." I gave tickets to each good sport after every game. The boys were great. No one complained about losing and they were even congratulating other players when they lost. One lucky good sport got to take home the raffle prize, a giant inflatable basketball.

All that basketball-playing worked up an appetite and Domino's arrived just in time for lunch. There's nothing Caleb would rather eat.

The presents are always a highlight of any party. Caleb got some really great gifts. His friends know him well and know just what he likes.

Every party needs cake and ice cream. The kids were eating cupcakes all day long!

We ended with a fun basketball obstacle course and then set the guests on their way with a fun goodie bag.

Caleb chose to end his birthday with dinner at Red Robin. It was a great day. Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In Full Swing

We haven't wasted any time in getting our summer started. We're barely more than one week in and we've already packed in lots of adventure.

We spent our first day of summer at Kid's Day, a free annual program put on by the city Parks and Rec. There are always lots of games and crafts, all made more fun by spending it with friends.

The many inflatable rides are evidently worth the long wait in lines. Natalie was fearless when she scaled this huge slide. Alyssa had to give her an occasional boost, but she eventually made it.

The kids started swimming lessons last Monday. It's Natalie first experience with lessons and she seemed excited to be able to participate. All was well for the first two days, then something went awry. On the third day I had to force her in the pool and she quickly became that clinging-to-the-wall, screaming child that causes all those in the stands to wonder what kind of mother that poor little girl must have. I bribed her, gave daunting threats for time-out and even tried explaining the registration fee as if my three-year-old had any concept of money.

On that day, she won. I took her out of the pool to spare the sanity of all the innocent bystanders who had been subjected to her screaming. I did follow through with a very lengthy time-out and then went for the positive attitude approach. She was successful yesterday and today and appears to be over her short-lived disdain for swimming lessons. We're thrilled to give her her daily three cheers as we load the car for home. You know it's bad when several perfect strangers feel to go out of their way to mention your daughter's major behavioral improvement.

Swimming at the lake and digging in the sand is the perfect way to spend a summer day, especially when Mom allows Cool Ranch Doritos as part of the picnic lunch.

Babysitters seem harder to come by now that summer's here so we've had to be a bit negligent, er, I mean creative.

We really wanted to attend the adult session of our stake conference so we made use of Jon's church office, turned on Nemo and gave them a cell phone. They only called twice, both valid reasons, and we were able to enjoy the meeting.

Caleb finished another fun baseball season. He was a consistently good hitter, once saving the game with a double, and caught his first pop fly to end an inning. We love sports!

Summer means the strawberry fields are ready for picking. The big kids were great pickers this year. We picked our 10.25 pounds in no time and we'll be enjoying smoothies all year long.

Finally, the kids endured some shopping for new church clothes since they were promised a trip to the movie theater if all went well. They succeeded and we all had fun watching WALL-E while holding our sodas in our buttery popcorn hands. And they sure looked cute for church the next day.

Summer: so far, so good.