Tuesday, May 31, 2016

First Camping Trip of the Year

From my super clever title, you've probably inferred that this was our very first camping trip this year! Good work.

We'd been wanting to camp for a while, but one thing or another after busy season kept us home. Then, there was this really, really hot week. We didn't have any plans or obligations Friday or Saturday. Thus, we knew it was time to CAMP. The kidlets and I got everything loaded and ready, and as soon as both Ryan and Reed were home we set off!

When we pulled up to Lovell Canyon, there were a few signs directing wards to turn off. These signs made us nervous, because we realized that some wards would be having their fathers and sons camp outs and that there was a good chance we might not find a spot! Luckily, though, out of all the wards--and there were many--camped out throughout Lovell Canyon, none were in our favorite campsite! Yay. Just a side note on Lovell Canyon: we love it, because there are big shady trees and the campsites are spread out. It does not have any form of toilet. Lila went potty three times while camping and managed to pee on herself every time. We are working on this.

Our first order of business was setting up the tent. The kids did all the pounding of all the pegs and did a marvelous job. As soon as we had the tent up and the car unloaded, the boys set off on an off-road bike ride while Lila and I took a walk. Lila and I ended up collecting a bagful of BBs and bullet shells. Casings? Shells? I don't really know. After the boys' ride (that Asher did not enjoy) Ryan taught the boys how to use a hatchet, because apparently I hadn't brought enough firewood. Luckily, there was a fallen tree not too far from our campsite. And we had the hatchet.

The boys wanted to see what Lila and I had seen on our walk, so we set out on another walk, again finding many, many treasures. At one point, we found an old garbage barrel and water softener someone had used for target practice. Ryan started picking up huge boulders and chucking them at the "targets." Each time he found his target we were awarded with a terrific clanging sound, which the kids loved. When we were rocked out, we went for a walk through the dry river bed. I think this river bed is only full in the event of a flash flood. Anyway, there had been rain the week before we camped, so the river bed was full of green, which was fun.  We explored the dry river bed for quite a while before we were all pretty hungry and ready to go eat dinner!

After dinner (sandwiches, because we're fancy like that), Ryan taught the boys how to cut a fallen tree into a bit of firewood since someone didn't load enough firewood into the car (me). Then they had a tutorial on building a lean-to fire. No one is scared of fire except for me, so they were all making me nervous, but I mostly tried to not watch. Instead, I wandered a few feet away from the campsite to get a better view of the gorgeous sunset.

Usually, we make s'mores when we camp. But, since we've been trying to be healthier and make better decisions as far as sugar goes, we decided to try some other campfire related healthier treats. The first involved making a tinfoil pouch, filling it with popcorn kernels and a bit of oil, then holding the contraption over the fire while constantly shaking it. The popcorn didn't pop for quite a while, and when it finally did, we opened the foil to discover the popcorn had burned! (Boo!) We tried again and again had unsuccessful results. Happily, our other dessert worked quite well. We cored apples, sprinkled cinnamon all over them, wrapped them in foil, then let the apple-foil packets rest in the hot part of our fire. Fifteen minutes later we were feasting on delicious baked apples and wishing we'd brought more!

Eventually, we put the kids to bed. They went to bed rather quickly (hooray), and Ryan and I stayed up and talked around the fire. It's so nice to have a conversation without being interrupted every few minutes. Our kids are big-time interrupters. Finally, we went to bed, too. Sleeping is the worst part of camping. I was warm except for my nose, which was sticking out of my bag and hooded sweater and was absolutely freezing. I'm such a whiner, but I seriously couldn't fall asleep because I was so cold! Then Lila woke up and was super disoriented and wouldn't calm down. I decided just to take her into my sleeping bag. She fell right back to sleep and kept my nose warm. Win-win. The next thing I knew it was morning! We breakfasted, packed up, and hiked in Redrock.

Yay camping. Yay us.

I always include embarrassing pictures of Ryan, so thought it would be kind to include an embarrassing picture of myself. You're welcome, Ryan.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Extrovert vs. Introvert

I am an introvert. To my very core. I wouldn't consider myself "painfully" shy or super awkward in social situations, but being out and about and mingling and chatting take energy and effort. After a night at a relief society activity or something similar, I'm usually happy I went and mostly enjoyed myself while I was there, but am drained. If I'm in a situation where I'm in a crowd and don't know anyone, I feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I don't even want to be there, a little bit. I'm not the type of mom to start up small talk with another mom at the playground. Or to start a conversation with the person in front of me in the checkout line. That's just not something I enjoy or crave or find fulfilling. 

Both Reed and Asher are introverts to different degrees and in different ways. I understand that part of them, even if their brand of introvertism is different from mine, because I can empathize.

Lila is not an introvert. Not even a little bit. Two experiences today highlighted that fact for me. The first came while we were at the splash pad. Another little boy around Lila's age was there, too. He tagged along after Asher and Lila, clearly wanting to play with them. Asher mostly ignored the other boy (not in a rude way, but more in a "I'll let you follow me around but I'm not going to initiate a conversation" way). Lila, on the other hand, ended up playing a game with the other boy where they were both doggies and would follow my instructions on various ways to race--like crawling, hopping, skipping, etc. She loved having another person to play with and was totally willing to play with someone she didn't know at all. Later, we were at the elementary school play ground, waiting to pick Reed up from school. Asher was doing his own thing on the monkey bars. Lila was playing on the slide. I noticed a girl a year or two older smile at Lila and say hi. The next thing I knew, Lila, the girl, and another little girl were doing choo-choo trains going down the slide. There is no way either of my boys would have played with (or even said hi back to) someone they didn't know at all. But Lila was happy as could be.

The reason this has been on my mind, I think, is because lately I've been living kind of an extrovert life. I've babysat for friends more times than I can even count over the past month and have had friends babysit my kids a handful of times, too. Every week for the past few we've had something every day (be it babysitting or a play date or a doctor's appointment or whatever) and I realized that my energy is spent. Going, going, going is so draining for me not only because of the physical energy required but because of the mental/emotional toll I feel. I made a goal this week to not babysit for anyone (and actually turned someone down, which I felt really bad about) and to not make any plans other than helping at Reed's field day. I needed down time. The result has been a great week--for me, at least. One day we spent entirely at home. We cleaned the house, then the kids played in the pool for over an hour while I watched them and relaxed. Then I read them a gigantic stack of books (still outside) and we ate lunch at our picnic table. Today, we went to the splash pad, without anyone else. I am already feeling rejuvenated, especially knowing that I'm not babysitting for anyone Thursday or Friday, either (ha). I know Asher has enjoyed our week, too. And I think Lila has--but then we have experiences like today where her extrovert tendencies are glaringly obvious and I worry about not fulfilling her need to connect.

I'm not sure what the point of my rambling is, other than to acknowledge that we have different needs, and hope to find a way to create fulfilling opportunities for each of us, introvert and extrovert.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Saying Yes

One of Ryan's goals lately is to say "yes" more often. Like when he and the kids were leaving the Science & Technology Expo and the kids wanted to roll down the gigantic grassy hill on the way to car--Ryan said yes. I've adopted this goal, too, partly out of situational proximity (because who wants to be the jerk that changes the "yes" to a "no") and partly because I've realized that sometimes I say "no" for no good reason. Saying yes involves more spontaneity and generally more messes, but it's also provides a lot more fun and creates more memories. And now I'll step down from my soap box. I didn't realize I felt so passionate about this topic.

Anyway, last weekend when it started to rain, the kids dared Ryan and I to run through the rain. We were getting lunch ready at the time, so we tabled the idea for a few minutes. Then we ate lunch in the garage, with the garage door open, because that's what you do when you don't have a covered porch and want to experience the rain without getting wet. Then Ryan asked the boys if they wanted to go ride bikes on our street. IN THE RAIN. Um, yes. I stayed in the garage for a bit, enjoying their joy, then went out to join them. Eventually, we decided to walk/ride to the "circle place"--the cul-de-sac at the bottom of the road that enters our neighborhood--for more room to ride. Ryan and the boys experimented with braking in the water and riding fast through the water to see how much they could splash. Lila and I hopped in the gutter and took slo-mo videos. We had a fantastic time. We were even rewarded for our spontaneity by a ridiculously bright and gorgeous full double rainbow. I couldn't get over the amazingness (not a word, but an apt descriptor) of said rainbow and took at least 20 pictures that are essentially identical.

I'm glad we said yes and thankful to Ryan for being a good example to me and helping me to loosen up every once in a while!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dadvent Week 2

Dadvent day 8: a Mad Lib! The kids are obsessed with Mad Libs, so everyone was pumped.  

Dadvent Day 9: A package from China! Ryan found a new website called geek.com that sells a variety of items for very low prices. The only catch is that the items ship from China and generally take around 6 weeks to get to you. By that point, you have kind of forgotten what you're waiting on, so opening the package is a surprise! Ryan has ordered a pretty good amount of things now and the kids are always excited to see a "package from China" in the mail. When one such package came, they asked, "If this is for the Dadvent can Dad give it to us TONIGHT?!" Done. The package from China was a vinyl quote for their wall! 

Dadvent Day 10: Coupons for one-on-one time to do anything (within reason) with Dad. Redeemable after tax season, of course.

Dadvent Day 11: Another Mad Lib!

Dadvent Day 12: Nitro Grinders! Not pictured. Lo siento. They're little cylinders (about an inch tall) with wheels on the side that are super fun to send zooming across the floor. We spent the day having races and building sick ramps for the Nitro Grinders to go down.

Dadvent Day 13: A video from Dad telling a (true) story about a visit to the dentist! (Which only makes sense when you know that the kids all had dentist visits that day)

Dadvent Day 14: Sick bricks! These were doubly cool because the boys got to enjoy building the three mini sets, then combining the mini set into one big set. And then I told them there was a sick bricks app that you got to scan your creations into and they were just all sorts of excited. Lila was just happy they came with a princess.

Poorly Drawn Pig, as mentioned, became our Dadvent mascot. One day, the boys drew their own PDPs for Dad!