Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer Stuff

It's interesting the things that just scream summer ... the ice cream truck, playing outside with the hose, late nights, sleeping in. Then there are the other things that you suddenly notice are "summer" stuff ...

Take the boys shoes ...

Normally, they are all wearing high top basketball shoes ... but this past summer, they all switched to simple slip-ons. I'm not sure who started it first. I think maybe it was Colton's friend Randon who had some, and Colton mentioned he would like a pair. I picked him up a pair, then grabbed some for Callahan. Then Keaton wanted some, and Cooper did too. Landon ended up with a pair as well. They were SUMMER shoes ... no one wears them anymore. So interesting to see the trends ...

There were summer foods as well. I'd had some corn dogs in the freezer for who knows how long. They were past their prime, so I threw them out ... but then the boys requested some. I bought a small package. It was gone. I bought another. Gone again. I bought a BIG pack and they got through almost all of it and then summer ended ... and the boys stopped eating corn dogs.

Chicken nuggets were another "summer only" meal.  As was Nutella!  I'd purchased some Nutella here and there in the past, but Callahan fell in love with it over the summer. I had to purchase a big jar and he went right through it. I can't remember the last time he had it now...

Of course badminton was a Summer2014 thing too, it does have it's weather limitations though. 

Another "summer 2014" activity for me this past year was a return to Kmart, with their "Fitstudio" program. I suddenly had points I could use each week, and I was making weekly trips into the store. My boys are now outfitted in Protege shorts, shoes and shirts. My shopping is continuing ... not ending with summer like the other summer trends! *Ü*  All the shoes in the picture above were purchased at Kmart with Fitstudio points. Summer savings!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Fun

On my JenBsJourney blog do hit some family stuff as well as just fitness topics. One of the  Link-Ups I'll participate in is a Friday Five one ... spotlighting five things each Friday. I went ahead and showed what we had been up to this past summer! Here on the family blog, I'll expound a bit more (and include additional photos!)

The main activities for Summer 2014 were bouncing and bowling! I signed the kids up for the KidsBowlFree summer service (two games per day, you do still need to pay for shoes). I actually have my OWN pair of bowling shoes, as this is something we've done for many summers (and my feet don't continue to grow like the kid's feet do ... we do have a men's size 9 that started out at Landon's, then was Callahan's, and now Keaton fit into them this summer). We'd hit the bowling alley fairly often. I was such a mean mom, and said we were there to BOWL, not to buy food or play the arcade games. I went ahead and splurged on a couple of trips though.

Keaton took the 1st game seriously, the 2nd game was silly!

A video posted by JenB (@jenblackham) on

Jump N Bouce is another Blackham tradition. 
I bought a family pass (good for a month) and we went there many times over the summer. I ended up buying a second pass when the first expired because we had been using it so much. In the past, we'd gone with our friends the DiFran family. We moms would chat while the kids played. They have since moved, so on my own I moved to the upper level and would generally walk around reading while the kids played. Often I could get 5000+ steps (although the kids would generally get more with all their running around!)

As the picture collage above shows ... we did to other things in addition to the bouncing and bowling. We went miniature golfing once (Callahan and his friends  did the full fledged golfing a couple of times) and went to a local sprinkler park. This was a relatively new one to the west. It was really nice. The water portion was fun, and before that, the kids played on the other fixtures before they got wet.

There was also the summer vacation to Seattle, for waverunning, swimming, sight-seeing and jumping off "the tree" on Orcas Island. At home, the waverunners were put to quite a bit of use as well. I myself am NOT a big wave runner fan. The little boys do enjoy playing on the beach and riding the waves, but also opted to stay home several times if that was an option. Often, it was just Gray and the older boys hitting Pineview for a day. It would always wear everyone right out!

The ride home ...

We finally did make it out all together as a family
... including Maga, Ana and her boys!

We didn't always have to head out to the beach to have water fun ...
We had a celebration at Uncle Clay's house ...
and Landon threw Callahan into the pool.
Callahan was NOT very happy about that!

At home, there was a lot of water fun as well. The usual stuff, water guns, water balloons, filling up the big garbage cans full of water and getting inside (they haven't been used for garbage, they are strictly for water fun). We bought some new sponges for "dodge sponge" although we never really had as many games as we had previous summers (so many kids have moved away).

There was also basketball, soccer, handball, badminton, volleyball, tetherball, frisbee, etc. Callahan and his buddies were using wiffle balls for baseball, and going through a lot of them (a few cracks with the bat and they would break). He asked me to pick up some (to donate to the cause) and I found a bunch at Kmart on clearance for $.49 (usually $5 or so). A great deal, especially as I had Fitstudio points to spend anyway. Not all of them made it to Callahan's friend's though, as the little boys decided to engage in a little baseball as well.

It was SO nice to have a full summer with all the kids (since moving the little boys to Terra Linda and a traditional schedule, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten out of school until July!). What did you do on your summer vacation?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Scouts

Scouting runs all year long ... but summer means scout camps! This scuba diving activity was a little earlier in the year, but Grayson bought a brand new underwater camera to take these pictures. He then took it on a later scout adventure ...

 Varsity camp later in August.
The crew ran the rapids and alas, the camera did not survive. The boat Grayson was in overturned and away floated the camera. So if you see one of those posts going around the Internet trying to return pictures, let us know!

Cooper and Colton attended summer cub camp too, although they weren't very happy about it. I think Coop actually had fun though. He came home SO filthy both days. He enjoyed the BB guns, and it started a lot of shooting in our own backyard after camp. Colton got sick and ended up missing the second day.

Keaton was also not very excited about camp (Bear Lake Aquatics Camp). Our ward is SO small there were only two of them. They combined with another ward, but Keaton didn't know anyone and was pretty nervous about the whole thing. He ended up having a decent time, and making friends with the other boys.

He even organized a couple get-togethers at Jump N Bounce with them later in the summer!

Ah ... Scouting.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Teenage Driver #2

Callahan had turned 15 back in February and we really should have gotten his permit as soon as summer hit. I was constantly driving him around all summer (to friend's houses, church gyms and Gene Fullmer Rec Center) and all those little trips would have been practice with him behind the wheel. With school quick approaching, we did make an appointment and go in to get it while our summer schedule was a little more flexible. Happily, he had already passed the written test (one of his friend's dad is a driving instructor) to we just had to go fill out the paperwork and take the picture.

With his learner's permit in hand ... it was time to practice. If you know me, you know I already have anxiety issues in a car. Add in a new teenage driver and it's not a good situation. So ... Grayson took Callahan out a few times. On the freeways, on the smaller roads. After a few successful trips out, I even relaxed enough to let Callahan drive on the little outings I would take him on (to basketball practice, social outings, etc.)

We actually will NOT have two teenage drivers in the house at the same time though. Landon leaves for his mission on February 18. Callahan turns 16 on February 21. So the old truck will be available as soon as Callahan has his birthday ... not that the truck is in great shape (Registration Rigmarole) but other than the insurance cost - it will be nice having another driver in the house. Especially as Callahan is constantly on the go. It will make things easier when he doesn't need a ride every single time!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Family That Plays Together

A while back, I was thumbing through a catalog when I saw an "instant up" badminton set advertised. We'd purchased a cheap net set before, but it was such a struggle to set up, that it never got used and we didn't even bother to store it (off to goodwill). In the catalog, this one was $100. A bit pricey. I checked on Amazon and found it there for $70 (also checking on the reviews, fairly positive). Still unsure whether it would be worth the investment, I waited. I then noticed it on sale at the local Big 5 for $50, and I had a 10% off coupon as well. I decided to buy. 

It sat unopened in the house for well over a month, maybe two. The boys just didn't show much interest. Then a couple Saturdays ago, the conditions were perfect. A cool evening. Sun behind the clouds. Most important ... the internet was out *Ü*. We set up the net and it was an instant hit. 

I'd forgotten how simple and fun badminton is. It took a little bit for the younger boys to master, but they now love it, especially Cooper. He's my badminton boy. He and I have been playing almost every day! While the net IS easy up, it takes a little bit to take down (I think ours is sticking), some of the sections are sticking a bit. Coop and I generally play without the net. We just stretch the hose across the lawn (to divide the sides) and just bop the birdie back and forth. When we're up for a serious game (like this past Sunday when the grandparents came over) we went ahead and got the net back out. 

In addition to badminton, it's a good setup for volleyball. Instead of a standard volleyball, I had picked up an inflatable beach ball. It's a little easier for the younger kidlets.

 I can't tell you how much fun it is to see all my boys playing together like this!
Makes a mommy happy!

This was absolutely worth the $50 investment for me! Spending time playing and being active with the kids, seeing them interact with each other. I am always on the lookout for good "active family fun" alternatives and this definitely fit the bill. Ironically, I think it's also helped with Cooper's weather phobia somewhat! On a cloudy day, we can play ... otherwise we have to wait until the early evening when the sun has set enough that it isn't in our eyes. He's even stayed out playing in a light drizzle ... until the lightening in the distance drove him back inside.
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