Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summertime IV: That Nat!

We once again have a 2-year-old in the house. Natalie had been preparing for her role for many months, so when she turned two in July she was ready to take on all the lovely attributes that come with the job. All I can say as I haul her bodily from, well, any place and every place, kicking and screaming and trying to bite and/or scratch me, is, "She's two." Luckily she is equal parts crazy and hilarious, so while she makes me nuts she also makes me laugh. And sometimes she crawls into my lap and nuzzles against me and I rest my cheek on her curly head and relish the moment, knowing all too soon she won't fit on my lap anymore.

Here we were at a rockin' Joe McDermott concert. I think I asked her to say CHEESE and got a mouthful of fruit snack flashed at me.

Here's Natalie with her first "co-cone". She's hooked.

Grandma Kathie made Natalie's birthday cake and Nat was a BIG help, I am sure. When she senses that the mixer is coming out she comes running and drags a chair across the kitchen so she can help. After the first few ingredients are in the bowl, she scampers to the silverware drawer for a spoon and climbs back up into the chair, waiting for a taste. I have to watch her carefully because she's not patient about the waiting. One day I turned my back for a second and returned to the mixer to see her with a spoon in her hand and a nasty look on her face. In her impatience for the good stuff that she knows eventually comes out of that mixing bowl, she had scooped up and eaten a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Pure Nat. The eyelashes! The curls peeking out! The drooly shirt! The toothy grin! The dimples! Oh, the Natty goodness.
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Summertime III: A Walk on the Wild Side

I spent the first week in July at church Girls' Camp. For the uninitiated, Girls' Camp is a chance for young women ages 11-17 to spend a week every summer away from the world (that's right, no cell phones) and have a chance to focus on spiritual matters without having to worry about whether or not their hair is perfect, etc. It is a time of growth and reflection, AND we have a lot of fun. Every year the girls choose the theme and then we adults go nuts with it. This year's theme was "It's a Jungle Out There", which explains all the random animal prints in the photos to come. At last year's camp we walked around dying in 105 degree heat, with only two (weak) window AC units in the leaders' bunks at night. This year everyone got to sleep in air-conditioned cabins, ahhhh... After the first night, some of the girls complained that they had been too cold and were told that that was a first-class problem, indeed.

Here I am with two of my favorite girls, Emmie and Sabrina. I have known them since they were teeny tiny, and it is such fun watching them grow up.

Melva and I had mango popsicles after lunch, and I suspect the coloring was not 100% natural. (Can you tell that Melva had one and I had two?)

Here are all the girls and leaders from my ward (i.e. congregation). We had about 110 girls total at camp. There were 36 first-year girls (11- and 12-year-olds) and they all slept in one huge enclosed pavilion--wall-to-wall air mattresses and sleeping bags. I dubbed it "The Monkey House" because they were only slightly shy of literally hanging from the rafters.

We took this shot a couple of times. After the first one we all decided we looked tired, so we re-shot with jazz hands. Don't you think they liven us right up? These are my wonderful friends, the sisters I am so grateful to serve with: Melva, Kathryn, and Kari.
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Summertime II: Pass the Pie

Ah, the 4th of July. The pancake breakfast, the fireworks, the pie! It's all about food and pyrotechnics, two of my favorite things! Well, I suppose I also reflected on my gratitude for having been born in this beautiful land of freedom and prosperity. I can never get through "America" without crying. I truly do love my country. (And fireworks--I LOVE fireworks!)

Here are my chickies, posing in the front yard. I made the dress Natalie is wearing when Ella was her age. It was fun to give it another wear.

These two are BUDS. Oh my goodness, they love each other. Tyler is six months younger than Natalie (and a wee bit shorter, but bear in mind that a couple inches of Nat's height comes from her hair) and they are best friends.

For the past I don't know how many years we have been enjoying the Six Flags Fiesta Texas 4th of July fireworks spectacular from the mall parking lot behind the park. Same show, minimal crowds. Lots of friends come and we all bring treats and sit around in camp chairs while the kids basically play in traffic. (Well, near traffic.) I look forward to it every year.

You know, I'm not usually one for pie. Given a choice, I will always choose cake, then cookies, because those are usually the options containing chocolate. Well, and cake tends to be covered with frosting... mmm, frosting... However, twice a year, on Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, I must make and eat pie. For Thanksgiving they must be pecan and pumpkin, and in July I must have apple pie a la mode. I have this Mrs. Fields recipe with a crumbly top--dynamite! This year I went a little crazy because we were having dinner with lots of friends and there would be a high demand for pie. I made blueberry-blackberry and strawberry-raspberry pies from Martha Stewart Living (find the recipe here). I highly recommend the blueberry-blackberry, with vanilla ice cream, of course. This picture is my patented "get down with the desserts" pose that Greg REALLY makes fun of me for.

Summertime I: Ella Shakes It Up

So, I was recently chastised for my lack of blogging lately (come on, it's only been... 2 months?!) and I can only plead SUMMER! Holy cow, what a crazy summer it has been. We just got back from a three-week trip to California and Utah, and school starts tomorrow. Of course, it's still 100 degrees out, but let's not talk about that, okay?

Ella had her annual dance recital at the end of June. She takes tap and ballet and performed in two numbers. She prefers ballet (ask her--she'll tell you ALL about it), but she did a lovely job in both. She especially enjoyed watching the older kids perform in the dress rehearsal--they are amazing! I was mostly just glad that the costumes were both feather-free this year. (The first year both costumes had feathers and after I removed them from their protective plastic wrappings it looked like a pink and red chicken had exploded in my living room.)

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