Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 2012 on FB

July 3: We just got a phone call at 1am. I thought somebody had died...but no, it was a wrong phone number. I was gonna complain...but the truth is, I'd rather be woken up by a wrong phone number than a call about death.

July 4: Just booked the hotels for our family vacation to Glacier Natl Park in 2 weeks! So excited!!!

July 6: 5th week of summer: golfing with Josh, haircuts for me & Josh, 2 outdoor dinners with extended family, 2 playdates with friends in our backyard, 2 rounds of homemade ice cream, and lots of time spent with cousins! Lovin' summer!!!

July 9: I accidentally broke my husband's toe yesterday...just by bumping it with my foot!

July 13: 6th week of summer (the halfway point...BOO!): our family was in the 4th of July parade on a float promoting our pumpkin patch, we celebrated Josh's parents' 40th wedding anniversary, we participated in a family talent show, we watched our neighbors drive in the annual demolition derby, I drove to Boise and back with Amanda, the boys went to swimming lessons every morning, and I saw "Brave" in the movie theater.

July 17: I admit it: I love casseroles. Our family eats them on a weekly basis!

July 20: 7th week of summer: the boys all passed swimming lessons, our family watched Ice Age 4 in the movie theater, had a cousins playday & another friend playday in the backyard ditch, Josh & I placed at Couples Golf, I sang at a baptism, and we ate 4 packages of popsicles since it was so hot out!!!

July 21: getting everything ready today for our family vacation tomorrow. So excited to go to: Spokane Washington, Whitefish Montana, and Glacier Natl Park! It's gonna be a great week!!!

July 27: Eeek--8 weeks of summer are gone! This week we: saw Ammon play baseball in the stake 24th celebration tournament, rode the world's longest gondola, visited my 95-year-old grandpa in Spokane, played on the Whitefish lake sandy beach, drove the going-to-the-sun road in Glacier, hiked to see lakes and waterfalls, rented a boat and took another boat tour ride on Glacier lakes, drove over 1,000 miles in 3 states, and watched the finale of HGTV's Design Star!

July 30: Ammon was going to leave for a 6-day scount camp today. I was so sad to let him go, because he's just 12 and it's his 1st time away from home alone for so long. But then late last night, we got a phone call saying there's a wild fire, and the scout camp was evacuated so he couldn't go today. But somehow, that just made me sadder for him instead of glad for myself.

chores for four

A week after school got out, we began our summer routine of chores. CLICK HERE to see LAST YEAR's system. A few things were tweaked to last year's chore system, like the addition of Jonah & Micah mowing our lawn, and the allowance pay was increased to $2.00 a week for each of the older boys if they got their chores done without complaining. They've done fairly well so far this summer with waking up and getting their chores done each day early in the morning. The biggest struggle has been with Micah and the garden...

On Fridays, the only chores the boys have to do is clean their room and weed the pumpkin patch or garden (whatever needs it the worst--and we tell them which one it is each week). When they weed the garden, they're each in charge of one row. When they weed the pumpkin patch, they usually have to do two rows. The first few weeks of summer, all that we weeded was the garden because it needed it more. Our garden is on the outskirts of the pumpkin patch. There are 2 rows of corn, which Ammon weeds, and two rows that include potatoes, onions, and carrots and Jonah & Micah each do one of those rows.

After 2 weeks, I noticed that Micah's potatoes only looked 1/2 done. So, I deducted half of his weeding pay that week for only doing half the job. Then I told him his whole pay would be taken away the following week if he didn't do it right. The next week, he again only did 1/2 the potatoes. So, he got his whole allowance taken away. He said he didn't care about the money. So, I told him if he didn't do it right the following week, he would earn no money PLUS have privileges taken away. Then him & I got into a big argument about it. His main complaint was "But mom,  you NEVER have to weed the garden, so WHY do I?". (side note: I do weed the raspberries, the flowers, and the pumpkin patch, but not the vegetable garden). I explained to him several times that dad and I both work 2 jobs each to support the family, and each member of the family has to do his part to help with the household, and weeding the garden is one of the ways the boys help the family. The argument went on and on, and I was so frustrated with him. The next week, he actually weeded his whole row of potatoes, so I paid him in full. Three days later, however, Josh was working in the pumpkin patch, and noticed that half of the potatoes in Micah's row had disappeared. Micah had chosen that week to weed the potatoes using a hoe instead of his hands. Not only did it take away the weeds, but it pulled up and killed half the potatoes, too. Jonah saw what Micah did, and decided to try it too. It killed about 1/4 the potoatoes in Jonah's row as well. This is a photo of the worst section of it (Micah's is the left row, Jonah's is the right):

I was LIVID! I made Micah give me half of his allowance back, and Jonah give me 1/4 of his. I yelled at them for a half hour about the consequences of their actions...that Josh & I work to pay for groceries for the family, and the garden supplies us with food we don't have to pay for, and now they took away some of that grown food from us because of lazyness and not following directions for how it should be done. Argghhhh. Ever since then, though, it's been much better. Micah's turned into a pretty good weeder, and no longer complains about it!

This is also one more change to last year's chore system: now that Kanyon is 5 1/2, he's started learning this summer how to do regular chores. Every other week, I train him on how to do a chore in his assigned room: the laundry room. I've taught him how to sweep, mop, wash windows, and wash surfaces (wall, fridge, door). He earns 50 cents a week to do the dishes (the boys all have a weekly assigned day when they have to help), and to clean the laundry room. He also has gotten better this year about doing his own laundry, and I've been teaching him how to fold his own clothes before putting them away in his drawers. Because he is so small, this is how he loves to unload the clothes from the dryer!:

I firmly believe in raising independent children. Josh believes in raising hard-working children. Although it occasionally requires a lot of effort to teach them to do be independent and hard-working, I feel that it is worth it to promote their self-esteem and create awarenesss of their capabilities. I raise my boys based upon the standards of  this statement from the Family Proclamation: "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, WORK, and wholesome recreational activities".

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prime Party

Josh is currently serving in our ward's Elders Quorum Presidency. He really enjoys working with the other members of the presidency, and having the opportunity to serve and help others in our ward. Once a year, the Elder's Quorum has a party. Last year, the party was at the EQ President Ryan Hilton's house. The presidency served shrimp as the main course. Josh doesn't like shrimp, but he helped cook and serve it, anyways. And he didn't enjoy doing that, either. It was a lot of work to prepare it, fry & cook it, and then clean up the oil and fryers afterwards. After the party last year, Ryan got called to be in the Bishopric, and a new president was called: Jason Linger. Josh was again asked to serve in the presidency under the leadership of Jason, which he gladly accepted. When the presidency began planning this year's annual party, Josh had one request: NO shrimp! They discussed food items, and decided to have Prime Rib as their main course. I've never had prime rib; whenever we go out to eat, it's what Josh usually orders and I usually order shrimp. I don't like steak and he doesn't like seafood--so we we tend to order what we normally don't eat at home since the other person doesn't like it! I was excited to try prime rib (and for free, too!). Jason ordered the meat from the local grocery store, and they cooked and prepared it. The presidency just had to pick it up and serve it!

Josh volunteered to have the party in our backyard this year, since we were hosting the Tolman Reunion the previous weekend, so the yard would already be in tip-top shape. The date was set for the evening of Friday, June 22.

Every year for the past 8 years, we've hosted an outdoor summer BBQ party. But I decided that I didn't want to do a nice, formal one this summer like we always do. So when I discovered that Josh had volunteered to host the dinner, I was kind of glad. It took all the planning and preparation work off my shoulders, but gave me the opportunity to still have friends and neighbors over for a good time at our place. All we had to do was set up the tables, bring a side dish, and show up! I was lovin' that!

The day of the BBQ, we aligned all the picnic tables in Ed & Kathy's yard, and decided the placement of the food tables. Then we waited for the time when people started showing up. We had over 30 people attend, and it was so delightful being around just adults for the evening!

The Prime Rib was delicious! I like it better than steak, because I love the fatty flavor.
The Presidency cut and served the meat, the au jus, the horseradish sauce, and the baked potatoes. You can't see Jason in this picture, but the other members of the presidency are Josh in the back, Jared to his right, and Mark on the far right.

There was also some refreshing salads, and some super delicious desserts that people brought to accompany the main dish. We sat, ate, and talked for about an hour before people began leaving. I sat by good company: the Hobbs' and the Dahle's and I had a fabulous time! It was a nice dinner and a relaxing evening! 

Josh enjoyed the evening, too! Ordering and serving the Prime Rib was so much better than cooking the shrimp, and he actually got to sit and mingle with the guests this year since there was no frying to be done and the clean-up was super easy, too. The Prime Rib was a good choice for a main dish, the location of the party was ideal for me, so we were both pleased. It was a win-win! Having the EQ party in our backyard was the best way to host a summer BBQ party!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Art in the Park

In June, the Salmon Arts Council offered 3 days of "Art in the Park". It was offered from 11-2 each day, and there were multiple art projects ready to make set out on several tables in the pavilion. At noon each day, there was also a free kids' lunch done by the after-school summer lunch program. On the last day, there was also a water "Grand Slam" game in the park for the kids organized by the county extension office & 4-H teens. We went to all 3 days of the Art in the Park, had 3 days of free lunch, and Jonah and Micah played in the water games on the last day. The boys made several art creations each day, including: marshmallow/toothpick structures, sand/glue art, painted pottery, yarn/stick stars, and beaded necklaces/bracelets.

Making marshmallow creations:
 (It was their favorite thing to do last year, and it was the first thing they wanted to do again this year.)

Making sand/glue art:

Eating free lunch with our friends the Pace's:

Finishing painting the ceramic pots at home:

Here's my real review of it:

The Pros:
1. It was free (last year we had to pay to do it)
2. It was a nice break from being at home
3. I didn't have to make lunch for the boys
4. I spent one-on-one time with Kanyon making art projects
5. The boys saw/played with several friends
6. They got to create things they never would've done at home

The Cons:
1. It was crowded--there was a lot more people that came this year than last year
2. It was disorganized--there were 2-3 different projects on each table, so there wasn't enough room for more than a couple of kids to work on projects on the table surface
3. It was messy--there was a lot of kids who left their undone projects all over the tables, and not enough personnel to help the kids 
4. It was chaotic--there was a lot going on and not any instructions or directions were given on how to create the different art projects
5. It was too much of the same--instead of putting out a few different projects each day, there was the same numerous projects set out each day, so it was the same activities over and over

I was grateful for the chance to have something different for my boys to do on an average summer day. I especially liked that it was free this year (perhaps that's why there was SO many more kids that came! There was over 100 kids on the last day!). We never stayed the full 3 hours any of the days because it was a lot of noise and disorganization and chaotic mess, and the boys got tired of it after a while (which is why they finished their time-consuming painting project at home).

I am a very organized person, and I work with kids on a daily basis at school, and I could see how a few minor tweaks could make a big difference in the future. The lady who was in charge was newer, and not used to being around kids, and I think this might have been her first year doing it, so I gave her a few tips on how to make it better next year (like only put out a few projects each day so there's something different every day, which would also create more working space on the tables. and to have an example of each project on display so the kids knew what all the yarn/popsicle sticks/glue/paint/glitter/etc was supposed to be used for). But she didn't seem interested in what I told her. Whenever I see a disorganized project, I visualize how it could be better and what I could do to improve it...so I speak my mind occasionally to others on my visualized improvements. I figure it helps people who don't have the same organizational abilities, and shows them how to make the job easier and not so overwhelming. But I don't have a lot of couth, so sometimes I come across as bossy and rude (which I'm sure she thought I was).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Daddy Day

Father's Day was the day after our big Tolman Reunion. After church, we had a barbecue out in the shop and Josh and Edward opened gifts when lunch was over. I like to have the boys each give a gift to Josh, so he received 4 gifts from them. They helped me by picking out which gift they would give him, they picked a card for him and signed it, and they carried the gifts to him.

Gift 1: A sleeping gnome in a hammock

Gift 2: 3 mini-gnomes showing the actions of 'see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil'.
(We began collecting gnomes for Josh to put in his beautiful yard several years ago. Now for every Father's Day and his birthday, we give him different & unique ones to add to his collection. There are currently 11 gnomes in our backyard.)

Gift 3: The candy-bar gram poster

(It said: "RIESENs why we love our SUGAR DADDY and think our POP ROCKS: Your BUTTERFINGERs take care of OUR PATCH. You're a JOLLY RANCHER that grows our IDAHO SPUDs. You're MR. GOODBAR on the school board. You earn big PAYDAYs for your hard work at the golf course. We think you're SMARTIES as well as a BIG HUNK and there's lots of WAYs that you give us EXTRA SNICKERS! We think you SKOR 100GRAND for being the best dad ever! You bring us MOUNDS of JOY. Even though it's been a ROCKY ROAD and we've doen some real WHOPPERS (you know, those times when you ROL your eyes and say WHATCHAMACALIT), you've stuck with IT and we love you to PIECES. From your SWEETARTS and LIL RUNTS.)

Gift 4: the Barbecue Popcorn Popper
(Last fall when we were camping, I tried popping microwave popcorn over the fire in a pan, but ended up starting it on fire. I thought this was worth adding to our camping supplies when I saw it.)

And my gift to Josh was a hammock swing.

I bought one for myself for Mother's Day, and he loved it so much that I bought him one, too. Now they're both hanging on a tree in the backyard next to each other. We enjoy sitting together in the swings in the evening when it's cooler outside. Sometimes, when I'm not sitting in mine, he puts his feet up in mine and uses the two swings combined to lay in just like a regular hammock.

Happy Father's Day, Josh! I love raising our boys together with you by my side. I'm glad that I chose you as the father of my children. You are a good example for our sons, and the perfect partner for me. I love you!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

BHT Reunion 2012

Our family hosted the Benjamin Hewitt Tolman reunion this summer on the Tolman Ranch in Salmon. Benjamin Hewitt was Josh's great-grandfather who had 10 children. Each year, the families of those 10 children take turns hosting the reunion in order of oldest - youngest. There's even a family song that we sing every year at the reunion to the tune of 'Father Abraham'. It goes like this:
"Father Benjamin had 7 sons, 7 sons had Father Benjamin,
3 daughters, and 2 wives, and a great big huge posterity:
The song not only helps me remember the siblings' names, but the order of the reunion rotation. Last year was Ed's family's turn, this year was Josh's grandpa Rex's family's turn, and next year it will be Jack's family's turn, etc.  There are only 2 siblings and 2 spouses still alive of the 10 children & spouses: Uncle Ed & his wife Joy, and Aunt Louise & her husband Joe. Joe & Louise never miss a reunion!

We'd been preparing the yard for months, to be ready to host the reunion on June 16. Our house is next door to Josh's parents house, separated only by the irrigation ditch. The majority of the reunion took place on their lawn, but we had activities and people staying in tents at our house, too, so Josh wanted it looking good. He built the new rockways this winter & spring, we stained the deck when school got out, we weeded and sprayed and mowed and watered and cleaned up the yard, planted flowers and bushes in the yard and the terrace, and Josh got the horses saddeled. Edward and Malachi poured more concrete at the basketball court, built a new GIANT giant stride, engineered a waterslide, fixed the tire swing, watered and mowed their yard, cleaned out the shop and pavilion, put new sand in the sandboxes, planted flowers, arranged the tables and chairs, set up the volleyball net, and fixed the firepit. It was tons of work, but SOOO worth it!

The reunion was on Saturday. Some family members came a day early, and some family members stayed an extra day, too, so there was tents pitched in both yards and 2 RV's parked between the road and the yard. All together, we had 100 people attend, representing 6 of the 10 families.

 Each of Rex & Beth's children contributed to the reunion meals. 

Ed & Kathy did the main food at lunch time. We ate grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. It was a yummy lunch!

Tim's wife Barb, Aunt Linette, Aunt Jane, and Aunt Janet did the main food at dinner time. We ate a variety of chiles and soups, and they were so filling!

It was a very relaxed reunion, with just the meal times planned, and all the other activities were set-up for whenever anybody wanted to do them. I liked how there was no structure or itinerary, so basically adults talked and kids played all day! The weather stayed nice, we ate good food, we enjoyed being with the family that came, and there were so many activities that the children never got bored. I absolutely loved it! It was one of my favorite reunions!

Some of the activities to do on the ranch included:

(My kids didn't want to walk down the road to go fishing, so I didn't go & take any photos. But, some of Louise's family caught several big fish! There was a cow down at the fish pond that was following the family around, and cousin Sheri took this photo of her husband. It looks like the cow is gonna take the bait on his fish line!)







(Uncle Tim rented two of them: a large one and a small one. This is the smaller one for littler kids)




SWINGING on the wooden horse swings, the powered tire swings, the giant stride, and the NEW GIANT, GIANT STRIDE





That was 20 things for the kids to do! Here's 5 things that the adults did:





and STAND & TALK!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

soccer ball & grass kickin'!

Jonah, Micah, and Kanyon participated in spring/summer soccer; the season went from the middle of May until the end of June. Halfway thru the season, there was a soccer camp that the BSU soccer coaches came and taught and the boys learned some new skills and had so much fun, too. All 3 of them loved playing soccer this year, and they did so well!

Jonah scored multiple times, and he was a great runner and loved playing the position of forward.

Micah scored a lot towards the end of the season. He liked playing goalie and being a forward, too.

Kanyon had so much fun playing! His team was undefeated, and he loved it when he was able to score! The first time he scored, he put his arms in the air, and yelled "Score-down!", and then pointed his fingers to the ground. It was awesome! He was such a good sport, and was happy when his teammates scored, too.  

We truly enjoyed watching our boys excel in playing the sport. But the best part was watching them all have fun! It was a great soccer season!