Upper lake Clementine with friends
 Pretty much from the end of July until about a week ago the sky has been filled with smoke (here and at the cabin).  Yuck!
 Orientations for the newest middle schoolers.  Oh man, where has the time gone and why do they still act like 6 year olds? :)
 I took the kids to 6 flags (nice photo bombers).  They went on almost every ride.  Fun to have kids old enough to do some of the fast rides.  

 Butterfly house at 6 flags.
 End of summer party at our house with some other friends.  All these outings were within a weeks span.  It was a fun filled, tiring, busy week. 
 School started early this year, because we are getting out in May this year!!  Made for a short summer, but it will be nice to be done earlier.   Grant 3rd grade. 

 Noah 6th grade
 Ava 4th grade
 These hooligans wanted to walk to school together on the first day.  We timed it a few days before school started and it took us about 8 minutes, so we said around 10 minutes to be safe.  They left almost 30 minutes before school started and only made it with a few minutes to spare. ;/  Good thing I went with them to remind the that they can't stop at the creek or pick things up along the way.  Seriously boys!!
 My garden this year has been a great producer.  
 Our poor cabin has been in fire danger for so long this summer.  First the Carr fire, which wasn't really that close until the very end (still a ways away, but closer than we thought it was going to travel).  Then on August 9th we got a frantic call from our neighbors saying there was a fire near the boat ramp.  They were heading to our house to grab anything we wanted out.  Hard to think of all your belongings in a split second and decide what is worth saving.  In the end we realized it's all just stuff and replaceable.  They did grab the furs my brother gave me and an ugly ceramic dog my dad painted when he was a little boy (my neighbors probably thought I was crazy when I asked them to grab that).  It was a really sickening day, especially since we couldn't be up there.  Our neighbors are great and kept us in the loop.  For about 10 days we were on edge as the fire was moving over the ridge toward us.  We were able to go up one weekend and grab a few more things (we wanted to get out any gas cans or propane tanks that we could move).  While we were there we watched the fire slowly moving down the mountain.  Cool to see, but so scary. 

 Hard to get a good picture with all the smoke in the air and night time.  This was from our deck. 
 From our deck around 9 am.  The smoke was so thick you couldn't see much past the deck.  It was terrible.  We had to leave because it was making us sick.  The fire got within 1/4 mile from our house, but they were able to contain it at the road.  We had fire crews stationed on our street for a few weeks while it was creeping closer.  I learned way more than I thought I would ever learn about wildfires.  It really is fascinating how they put these fires out and all the technicalities that go into them.  Sadly, as the Hirz fire was just getting contained another big fire started just up the road.  This fire, the Delta fire, is still burning and connected the Carr and Hirz fire together.  This new fire was a hot and quick fire, so it was a little scary for a few days as it was reaching the Hirz fire containment lines.  Man, ready for some much needed rain around here!!
 Nothing like a bright red juicy garden tomato.  I had a tomato plant producing these mammoth tomatoes (no joke, the size of Ava's head) and they were amazing. 
 Adam spent most of the summer with his young men, and I didn't want to miss out on a friends camping trip, so I took the kids by myself.  The boys did a good job of setting up the tent. 
 The kids LOVE camping, so they had a blast. 
 We camped at a lake called Fallen Leaf Lake (across the street from Tahoe).  It was gorgeous.  There was a big teeter-totter someone made out of a log and crystal clear water.  
 Noah saw some bears and we went to the Little Rangers presentation where the kids got to make plastered animal foot prints.  

 Grant had his first rain water regatta.  He won a few races. 
 My breakfast eating squatter. Looks so uncomfortable, but this is how he eats every morning. :)
We had some fun visitors a few weeks ago.  Kyle and Em and their boys came to visit and go to the cabin.  We love visitors.  The dads killed 3 rattlesnakes by the hot tub!! 
Poor Ava got sick at the cabin and was pretty much quarantined to my room the whole time.  Sad because she was so excited to play with the boys.  She was playing on my phone and obviously playing with the camera settings. 
 We took Kyle, Gus and Ollie to Sims to our favorite cliff jumping spot.  Kyle put some coins on the track and when we came back we found them all smashed.  The boys thought it was awesome. 

Got to snuggle this cute little boy.  He's quite a momma's boy though, so not as much as I would have liked. ;)  The fires were dying down, so we thought it wouldn't be too bad up there, but it was pretty smoky (except on Sunday, of course), so we came home a little early and swam at home.  So happy they made the trek up to see us!



I was making something for singing time and the kids decided to do their own drawings on butcher paper.  Of course the boys were about bombs and farting.  Adam drew with Ava and made a picture of our cabin view. 

Got my sun oven fixed (it feel off the table last summer and shattered the glass).  Amazed every time I use that thing, that it can get that hot. 
Stuffed animals, and Legos, are the only toys that my kids consistently play with.  Ava especially loves the stuffed animals.  She had a tea party for them.  
Noah went on a camp out with his scouts.  He loves that kind of stuff!!
4th of July ward breakfast and bike parade.  
We hit up quite a few parties on the 4th.  Started around lunch time at the Andersons pool. Pool 2 (we swam in ours first - Pool 1). 
Then to a neighborhood party where the kids hopped from one neighbors house to the next. Pool 3.
Pool 4. 
Then went to a dinner party at the Wutkees. Pool 5. From here we went to the airport and flew to Maine. 
We took the red eye to Boston and then drove 3 hours to Mary's house.  Not sure if the red eye was a good idea.  Poor Adam was so tired.  He stopped a couple times driving to keep from falling asleep.  I thought I would stay awake looking at the scenery, but then realized that you can't see anything along the roads because it's just trees FOREVER.  I ended up falling asleep. :/  
Our first day there was super hot and humid.  We went to Belfast (cute little town on the coast about 15 minutes from Mary's) and swam in the city pool (FREE) to cool off and then the kids went rowing (FREE!!).  The kids had to be able to lift the oar up in the air and slowly lower it to be able to do the lesson and go on the boats.  They're huge oars.  They all did it except Rosie.  The kids said it was hard, but seemed to have fun.  
Belfast, Maine
Cute little Rosie.

Of course we ate our fair share of Lobster while we were there.  Wan't as cheap as we thought it would be, but definitely delicious.  Luke and Jana missed their connecting flight, so they ended up having to stay in Phili for a night, so they got there a day later than planned.  
The kids loved Mary and Min's huge pond.  They kayaked, fished, played in the waterfall, and explored all around it. 

Went to Liberty, their closest town (population 950) and ate lunch there.  This is the town where their kids go to school.  Crazy to me how small all these little towns are. If it wasn't so miserable in the winter, I would totally move here.  My type of place.  

Antique store next to the restaurant.  
Liberty has maybe 4 stores along the main road. 
Checked out the kids' school and saw their fairy gardens in the woods.  So cute. 

Hiked near their school to blueberry hill.  All that green is blueberry bushes. 

The kids were loving it. They filled up their tummy's and their shirts with blueberries. 

Part of Mary's fun yard.
Got to celebrate Grace's birthday while we were there.  The older girls made the cupcakes. 
Aunt Jana bought the boys fart shirts and the girls night gowns.  They were all thrilled with their gifts. 

They set up 2 tents to sleep in, but only a few of them actually ended up sleeping in them. 
The kids went to gymnastics with Charlotte and Freddie while Mary, Min and I went to an Amish village to buy a dog cart for Mary's huge dog Hugo.   I've always wanted to see an Amish community so it was fun to see how they live. 

Went to Popin beach (i think) one evening to let the kids explore a little. 

How many kids can we cram into Mary's suburban?!
We went to Rockport and went sailing.  When we a walked up with our 100 kids and 5 adults the guide wasn't too happy, but after the trip he said he was really impressed with how well behaved the kids were and that it was way better than he thought it was going to turn out. HA!! :)

It was really fun.  We saw a couple light houses and all the kids got a turn steering the boat.  It was a little freaky when the sides of the boat would dip clear in the water.  Ava and Noah lost their shoes overboard, because they left them on the side and when it dipped into the water it swept them out to sea. :/  It was crazy how warm and calm it would be and then instantly get cold and super windy.  All depended on the direction and distance from shore. 

Went to another Lobster shack, of course. 
Noah was super excited to order lobster bisque.  He and his friends CONSTANTLY say 'lobster bisque', really annoying, like on Studio C.  He said it was good and send a picture to his friends. 
Burning Min's giant burn pile.  The luxuries of moist vegetation.  This would NEVER fly in California. 
The kids, especially Noah, were in heaven. 
Adam was a little antsy towards the end and needed a project, so he convinced Luke to help him build a dock for their pond.  They built this pretty great little dock which made it a lot easier to get in and out of the kayaks and fish off it. 
Noah LOVED their sheep and spend a lot of time in there pestering them and 'training' them. :)

The cart they bought for Hugo.  The kids will have to be the work animals until Hugo is old enough to pull it. 
These kids did great being in the same house and playing all week.  We had very few quarrels and LOTS AND LOTS OF FUN.  
My garden progress when we returned from Maine.  Looking beautiful. 
Backyard progress as of July.  The BBQ got installed and we have loved using it and eating outside.  By moving the table closer to the sliding door, we use it all the time.  Hopefully we can get it finished before winter. 

A trip to the cabin (very few trips this summer with our busy schedules).  So sad, and once the youth activities were over the fires started up there. UGH!  We'll have to go a lot this winter. 
Enjoying the 'fruits' of our labors.  The kids have really loved gardening with me this summer.  Noah comes in every morning and asks if I want to go work in the garden with him.  When we do go out, I realize he means he wants to harvest something, not so much 'help' in the garden. :)
Playing in the kitchen this summer.  Not much cooking going on, but definitely baking and experimenting. Made lots of marinara sauce with our tomatoes, LOTS of relish with our cucumbers and peppers and a few other yummy treats like this peach pie. 
Kids experimenting with their food chemistry supplies - watermelon popping bobas. 
When my kids fight I make them hold hands with their 'enemy' for a short time.  These 2 were supposed to hold hands for 5 minutes.  It took them 2 hours and their time was increased to 15 minutes.  
A harvesting day. 
Look what I saw at Target!!!!  A caboodle!!!  I can't believe these are back in.  I remember my pink caboodle that held everything BUT hair and make-up accessories. Some things are best left in the 90's ya know.