Monday, August 31, 2009


Kurt and I have always hoped and prayed that our kids would not get my teeth genes.

Sunday during Stake Conference Kurt noticed that Austin's permanent tooth had come through on the bottom. But it is completely behind the row of teeth. And the baby tooth is not loose in the slightest. The dentist encouraged us to start wiggling the baby tooth and we'll see what happens in 6 months.

The still-at-home kids and I went to the dentist this afternoon. I was so past due for a cleaning. I got a good chastising from the hygienist about flossing and regular visits. Duly noted, thanks. Spencer was fabulous and got his teeth cleaned without an ounce of nervousness or fear. His teeth were literally sparkling when he was done. Or maybe that was his super confident smile shining through. He is really growing up on me. The dentist just looked at the girls teeth (Ruth are stained due to a fever while they were developing.) Emma Lynn wasn't brave enough (this time) to have her teeth cleaned but we did find out that she only has 19 teeth (dUh!!!) And I have 2 cavities. I should be flossing, I know, I know...Hopefully I've learned my lesson. I'm taking Austin with me when I go back to get my cavities filled. I hope we're not starting something bad.

non assuming smile

a blurry mouth (sorry) with an extra tooth.

Emma Lynn has one less and Austin one more. We should join the circus. Oh wait, we are the circus!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Soda Springs Reunion

The last reunion of the 2009 summer season was this weekend. It was Grandma Karen's family reunion planned by Aunt Sonya. As usual I had to represent my dad's family (always happy to oblige!) But was even happier that Elaine was back in the west so they were able to come, too!

We picked up Austin early from school on Thursday (at noon) and got on the road. Just after we passed Boise I was done. I had finally reached my summer road trip limit. The kids have been amazing travelers all summer (which is why I keep going on trips) but it just takes a long time.

Daddy's Divas ride is style!

Rooster helps dad drive

Spencer is hilarious! Everyone was sleeping (or so we thought) except Austin (which is quite common because he is constantly reading - he was deeply engrossed in "Holes" this trip.) When Austin said, "I didn't know that Emma snores." And suddenly there is a LOUD zzzzzzzz. I turned around to look because the "snoring" had been very quiet and nonchalant up until this point. Everything appeared normal so I faced the front. As soon as I did another loud zzzzzzz erupted. Austin and I both looked at each other and started laughing. Apparently not everyone was sleeping! The sleeper was determined to be very good and very tricky. Every time we said the word "snore" a loud sound would burst out but his face was still and eyes always closed. He was good! Kurt was convinced that he really was sleeping. I couldn't be fooled! Finally we cracked him with a little bit of gentle tickling. It provided lots of laughs though!

The reunion was in Soda Springs, Idaho. We all rented out a large house (called the Bailey Creek Clubhouse.) It was nice to have all the necessities and space to visit. Outside they had a volley ball net, softball field, tennis court and roasting pit. Unfortunately the pool was closed due to cold weather (or so they said.)

The weather was great and we enjoyed lots of out door games.

Elaine and I sure are glad that we married men that will join in and play sports. It sure takes the pressure off us since we don't want to play!

Thursday night it was Sonya, Grandma Karen and Kay and our family. By Friday afternoon more people started to trickle in. After breakfast our family went exploring in Soda Springs. First we found the man-made geyser. Back in the 1800's they were digging for a swimming hole and found some carbonated water. Some pipes and valves later they have their own geyser. We didn't know it at the time but it is on a timer and goes off every hour. We were very lucky that it was going off when we arrived.

"Soda Springs is where you eat lots of sugar and pop." ~ Emma Lynn

We found a fun park and surprisingly the kids loved the dinosaurs the most.

The last place we checked out was called Formation Springs. It was a natural spring and cave. It was so neat! We had an awesome time exploring. It was the first cave that I had been in where you had to crawl down under the ground to get in. It was a pretty narrow entrance. I had Rooster in the backpack and I got stuck! Unfortunately we didn't have our lantern with us so we couldn't explore all the way through the cave. We're pretty awesome cave explorers!

After we were driving back Austin said, "I heard once that a police man is the best job but I don't think that's right. I think a dinosaur explorer would be the best job!" (paleontologist)

That afternoon we drove to Lava Hot Springs to go swimming since our pool was closed. We had to paid $37 to get in but by the time we left Kurt thought it was well worth every penny! The slides were a huge hit with everyone except our daughters (and if Rooster would have been tall enough she would have loved them too.) We spent most of the time climbing back up the stairs to go down again. Spencer was about an inch too short but we still let him go down (shhhhhhhhh don't tell!) He is pretty fearless and loved every second.

Austin and Spencer coming down the red slide.

They have 2 speed slides that were pretty intense. I went down the yellow one and that was enough for me! Kurt did it quite a few times.

Saturday was Lorna's 4th birthday. It was pretty special that we could be with her to celebrate her big day. She is such a sweetheart, so loving and affectionate. Our family is so blessed to have her in it. We love you Lorna Lou!

Elaine had lots of cute games planned (they made crowns, pinned the lips on Sleeping Beauty and bowled away the Villians.) Then Sonya had a treasure hunt for all the cousins followed by cake and ice cream. Everyone headed to town to play a game of softball. Kurt had fun (and is a bit sore), its been a long time since he's played. From there we got back on the road for home.

It was a great weekend and wonderful to see everyone again. We are blessed with wonderful family.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going Green

I cannot let this summer go by without acknowledging this fact (which is almost more remarkable than running a half marathon.)

Our current home which we have now been the owners of for 13 months only has a swamp cooler. I don't know if you've ever experienced a swamp cooler but it doesn't really cool. It just gives you the sensation of being in a swamp. Yuck! No thanks! There had been mold problems in the basement before we bought the house and sometime early this spring I decided I was paranoid enough about the mold that I didn't want to turn on the swamp cooler this summer.

So we didn't.

When you start talking about being paranoid and mold growing people start looking at you with disbelieving eyes, doubting the sanity of your mental status. So I quickly changed my tune: we are GOING GREEN! Ya, we are the biggest tree huggers out there!

It was a long summer. We sweated a lot. I kept thinking it would be a great weight loss program except for the fact that I didn't ever see any results! I didn't turn my oven on for over 2 months and most of the time we were too hot to eat any way! We all moved downstairs to sleep and slept in our under wear. Great times!

BUT........Austin is back in school so......summer is officially over! Double High Five! We did it, we went green this summer!

I'm not sure I ever want to do it again....but I'm sure we will..........

Monday, August 24, 2009

Austie R. First Grader

Just like Junie B. First Grader (the books by Barbara Park.)

After all the whirlwind activity of the past week (preschool open house, half marathon, stake fireside on sexual purity, and father's blessings) it was time to think about school. I pushed it to the very back of my mind all summer and was content to let it stay there forever. I kept it out as long as possible. Last night I couldn't ignore it any longer. I had an overwhelming sense of dread and I couldn't sleep.

Austin is excited (and a little nervous) so I can't squash that but it is HARD to send him to school.

What I didn't realize until 8:04 am this morning is that it will always be hard to send him to school. For some silly reason I thought kindergarten was going to be the only hard year. SO WRONG! I was so much more emotional this year than last. After I gave him a hug I had to quickly get out of there because the water works had started! I was gasping in the hall when I realized I still had a bunch of papers for Mrs. Camp. AAHHH! What was I going to do?? I couldn't let Austin see me like this. Luckily a friend came out and she took them in for me. I continued to cry, a lot. At least I know that I'm a sap and I'll just deal with it.

The FIRST day of FIRST grade was a success! Here is his report:

- One thing that is different from kindergarten is: the smart board (Mrs. Camp picks up a electric pen and can then write with her finger.) [He thought this was very cool and has talked a lot about it!]
- I am excited to: play with the rainy day toys. "I hope its going to rain tomorrow!"
- Some new friends are: Cayson, Harold (and the purple crayon), and Hannah
- I was was happy to see my old friends from kindergarten: Jaylin, Trent, Junior and Amy
- I like Mrs. Camp because: she has a smart board.
- I like first grade because: the room and desk are smaller. "If I lift up my desk I can hide inside."

We miss you when you are gone Austin but we are excited for your success in FIRST grade!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mesa Falls Half Marathon


I have always wanted to run a marathon and on Saturday, August 22nd I ran the Mesa Falls Half Marathon in Ashton, Idaho!

I can't tell you how amazing it feels! It feels amazing to accomplish something I've always wanted to do.

The race was amazing too. Everyone looks at me like I'm crazy but I honestly enjoyed it. I didn't expect to experience that emotion. I expected to be nervous and anxious and exhausted. Some of the reasons why I enjoyed it is because the scenery was so gorgeous, I ran well and was so happy with my time, and I loved the atmosphere of the race (people of all ages, shapes and sizes were running and regardless everyone was encouraging and cheering each other on.)

I ran it in 2 hours and 13 minutes. I was shooting for 2 and 1/2 but knew I could do better than that so 2:15 on the high hopeful scale. And I even did better than that! In my age group (25-29) I was 10th (out of 30.)

The course was really nice. The first 4 miles we ran on a forest trail right along a river, so gorgeous! Then mile 5 started some hills which were finished by mile 7 (they were just rolling hills after that.) People starting walking and dropping off at the hills. I powered right through them. I have been running hills all summer due to the location of our house so I felt well trained. I was passing people like crazy and that gave me lots of confidence. I won't lie it felt awesome to pass someone! I kept a steady pace after that. It got really hot though so I ran through every sprinkler I could at the water breaks.

When I was finished it was definitely a natural high. What a great experience! I can see how it can get addicting. I've got my next race planed for October 10th in Fruitland (its only 35 minutes away, can't pass that up!)


Mile 6 (it was awesome to see Kurt mid-race cheering. I ran over and gave him a high five! ;)

Crossing the finish line 2 hours and 13 minutes later

New running friend I met - Jody Atkinson from Idaho Falls. We ran together the first 5 miles.

Elliot's sister, Laura (who ran a full - you're amazing!)

I need to give a HUGE shout out to my wonderful and amazing husband. He has been so incredibly supportive. Not only for the race but all summer long as I woke up in the dark to go run. He didn't complain and always helped me find time to run. I loved the look of pride and admiration when I finished the race. I loved that he was proud of me for accomplishing this. I know I couldn't have done this without his support and encouragement. Thank you for helping me accomplish my dreams, Kurt. I LOVE YOU!

The half was a test to see if I wanted to try a full. The answer is YES! I'm going to run it before my 30th birthday! Goal on.

To finish off the trip we did a session in the Rexburg temple with Traci and Elliot. It was our first time to see or be in the temple, so gorgeous! It was a perfect ending to our quick trip. (Big thanks to Cindy for watching the kids for us. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer's Last Hurrah

The kids and I had our last summer fling yesterday. We headed to Boise early to pick up Austin's computer (that will go in the preschool room.) Then had an early lunch at Carl's Jr. We had plenty of time to play on their play place. Ruth was right in there with the rest of them, cute as can be. Austin was a tremendous big brother and lifted all the younger kids up every single time.

We did shop (but only at one store!) Emma Lynn and Spencer got to pick out some new school clothes. I found some cute dresses for Ruth also. Emma Lynn was showing her dad when he got home and Ruth took off running, found her dress, and came running back with hands outstretched to show Kurt her new clothes too. Adorable!

Then we headed to the theater to watch "Monsters Vs. Aliens" in 3D. We have waited forever to see this movie! So the kids were pretty excited about it. Emma Lynn and Spencer took off their glasses half way through and were a little scared in some spots. I wasn't overly impressed with the movie. Ruth fell asleep in my arms and I wanted to too.

The ultra cool 3D glasses

We headed over to the water park that we found earlier this summer (Lakeview.) We only had about an hour there but it was perfect. All the kids crashed on the way home. Great ending to a great summer. Thanks for playing with me Austin, Emma Lynn, Spencer, and Ruth! Let's do it again sometime.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Year Two

Year two of preschool has officially started. Monday and Tuesday night we had the Open Houses to kick off the new year. There are lots of great kids and families, I'm excited to get to know everyone!

I added a 3 year old class this year so that puts me at 3 classes (31 students.) I'm curious to see how this class goes. I'm going to have a different approach with them and have lots of music and movement. :) I'm excited to have this time with Spencer. It is so cute to see him excited to do this.

Thanks to everyone's help and support. Especially Kurt, the yard looks amazing and everything was a success. It's gonna be a great year!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strawberry Lake

The past couple of years we have gone to Unity for our Romans family camp out. This year we decided to go back to Strawberry. I have been there twice. Once when I was engaged to Kurt (2000) and again in 2005 (Austin was 2 1/2, Emma Lynn 11 months and pregnant with Spencer.) It is a beautiful place. My aaaaaaahhhhhhhh (said in sing-song voice) spot in Oregon. Every one needs a special haven like that. There is something magical about coming over the hill after a long hike and seeing the gorgeous view of the lake. We haven't been back because its harder to do with young kids. We decided to brave it this year. I really, really wanted to go especially since it was my camping summer!

Marti and Kelli left with their kids a little after noon on Thursday. I was suppose to go with them but Austin had been coughing all morning (nothing new.) But he coughed so hard he was throwing up. I wanted to wait and see how he was doing so I sent Kurt, and the 3 younger kids on their way. Austin and I met up with Dan, Elliot and Traci later that night. Jeff, Julie and Mollie joined up right before dark.

All I can tell you is that it was COLD up there.

Okay there are lots of other things to say but I was really glad that I packed the kids coats because they wore them a lot! We slept warm in the tent but getting up Friday morning was very chilly. The guys kept the fire roaring to help bring some warmth. It was nice for Kurt to finally use the camping equipment we bought earlier this summer. :) It was just nice to have him on the trip with us.

Cindy came up Friday morning just as we finished up breakfast. We made some lunches and prepared to hike up to the lake. I'm really pleased with what great little hikers the kids are becoming.

At the lake Jeff did some fishing. All the kids followed him like flies in a feed lot. He was wonderful with them. They were so happy when he caught a little fish. Emma Lynn said that fishing was her favorite part of the trip.

We ate lunch back in the trees to try and stay warm (the wind was blowing at this point and it was miserably cold.)

The babies (Mollie and McKenzie) were really cold so their parents went back down to camp with them. The rest of us hiked on up to the water fall. I'll admit at the end it seemed like we were never going to get there. Emma, Spencer and Braxton were starting to get tired at this point. But they made it. All the way to the waterfall from camp! Way to go guys, what great hikers! We did a lot of alternate carrying on the way down (except for Austin.) I have to say with that and my killer morning run I had a very, very good workout that day.

The falls were gorgeous. Unfortunately Rooster was past the point of needing a good nap and was quite afraid of all the rushing water. We didn't stay too long.

We had lots of good food at camp. We had tin foil dinners and smores Thursday night and Friday night Kurt and I did some dutch oven cooking (chili, corn bread and cherry/huckleberry cobbler.) It was all so good. I had fun cooking with Kurt. We both said that all the food was our favorite part of the trip! ;)

Kurt using his father's day present for the first time

We did lots of games on the hike to have fun and keep the kids happy. We also came up with camping nicknames for each other.

Kurt - pinecone
Rachel - wild flowers
Austin - leaf
Emma Lynn - rainbow
Spencer - butterfly
Ruth - huckleberry
Braxton - tree
Brooke - little fish

We decided to go home early since it was so cold. So Friday night after dinner we packed up camp and headed back to Vale (we got home around 10:30) A cousin was getting married the next day so it made it easier to get to his wedding on time also. I hated to go home early since we were there and Kurt was actually camping with us. But I'm just grateful that we could all go together. Thanks for a wonderful trip guys - I'll do it again - anytime!

The Bair family (minus Jeff)


The Ruf family

Super cute Kenzie

Jeff and Mollie

The Huntsman family

Grandma and a few suckers

The Romans family (minus Bill and Jeff B.)

The world is a stage

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