Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Improved Backyard - Clothing Optional

I have slowly become, through my married years, a real lover of bargains. There is nothing I enjoy more than scoring some amazing item for next to nothing. Garage sales, Goodwill, clearance bins, I throw out a few bucks and come home with bags of stuff. But, I have reached a new step on my money saving mission. Some might say a new low, I would say a new level of awesomeness.

I have officially dumpster dived.

Before you judge, check out what I got.

Is that a rock wall tree house with a slide, you ask? Yes, yes it is.

Our backyard has gone from pretty awesome to "Oh my gosh, mom. Can I go play at the Nielsens?!?!" Seriously, it's that great.

Here is Scarlet walking out in the back yard and seeing it for the first time.

Her actual words were, "Yes, it's a tree house!" How the heck does she know what a tree house is?

It has been a great find. Our other score of the day was this lovely contraption.

Ever have the desire to have all the blood rush to your head at a disturbing rate while your skull dangles inches from the cement supported only by your ankles? Come over to my house, I have the thing for you.

I don't even know what these machines are called but they are supposed to be great for your back. Jon has actually grown to like it. I think it might be the most uncomfortable thing ever. But free I remind you.

So now that my backyard has reached near child perfection, the kids have upped it a notch. For some strange reason, our backyard paradise must scream 'no clothing necessary' to the 5 and under crowd. It started with kids getting their clothes wet in the kiddie pool and then continuing to play without them, but it has somehow morphed into a nudist sanctuary. Children who walk out the back door fully clothed are streaking by the next window in milliseconds.

My backyard has definitely gotten an amazing amount of use this week. Scarlet's friend Jane spent the week at our house and the two of them spent hours and hours outdoors. It was great. The two of them, frequently clad in only panties, ran themselves to exhaustion daily. In fact, I think Jane's mom might be shocked by the number of clean outfits left in her suitcase.

I did insist on clothes for church though. Have to put your foot down somewhere!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When we all get together...

What do you get when you put 91 Earls in the same place for two days straight? Well, lets just say it is hard to believe other families reunion like we do.

It was time again for the second Ken Earl family reunion in Moses Lake, Washington. Rhode, Scarlet and I hopped on a plane (we had to leave Jon behind to work) Thursday evening, just in time for festivities to begin on Friday.

We had a pretty decent flight. Scarlet was sufficiently distracted by her movies and candy and Rhode had a whole seat to himself (thank you random lady who switched seats) to wiggle to his heart's content. He even slept for a few minutes. Awesome.

On the drive back, the weird behavior began. My mom and I were discussing the upcoming Earl lip sync contest when she brought up the idea of Jon and I having a part. "Mom, Jon isn't coming," I reminded her. She looked convincingly disappointed. A few minutes later, after talking on her cell phone, she turned to hang up and I caught a glimpse of her phone that said Jon Wayne. "Mom, why were you just talking to Jon?" "Oh! I wasn't, I am always accidentally dialing people on this thing. I must have hit his name." OK....

Later when we reached the house, Kristy was already there and telling me a story about a conversation they had at dinner. The family was mocking me about my enthusiasm for planning our lip sync number and Kristy said, "Then Jon said, 'yeah I keep trying to make her cool'"...

"Jon said?" I asked, this time very curious. "Oh, I meant Dad said." she hurriedly corrected.

By this point I am thinking, either Jon is here somewhere and these people are the worst secret keepers ever or I am obsessing about my husband like the Full House episode where DJ is in Florida and keeps seeing Steve everywhere. Then Jon comes walking in the door.

He rearranged his work schedule so he would be able to come. It might have been one of the greatest surprises of my life. What a great husband.

So anyway, then the reunion began. The boys spent the morning golfing and we met up with everyone later at my grandmas for food, swimming, and a whole lot of chatting.
Then it was lip sync time. Now maybe I'm wrong, but I would love to know how many other family reunions look like this...

Oh and remember all of the mocking I got over my extra planning of our lip sync, let's just say I didn't hear any complaints after this show stopping performance. Stay tuned for the surprise ending...

Yes, my little sister Kristy is engaged. The best part of the story is I was the only one who knew as we planned this little surprise announcement. She told my mom hours before and my brothers and sisters found out right then and there along with all my extended family.

It was a seriously awesome day.

The next day began with a girl craft session. Turns out we are not all as uncoordinated with the world of crafts as we look! And of course there was more than our fair share of chatting going on but we finally had to break up to grab our families and head to the state park.

Oh, and by the way, we were late for crafts because my mom decided it was impromptu sister picture taking time in our new matching Earl tees. Thank you for this one Kylie.

I had the greatest time at the state park. Jon and I got to play some volleyball. We had some good food and got to catch up even more with all the family. And I saw Scarlet for a total of five minutes the whole time. The girl was LOVING all her newfound relatives. I finally had to track her down so she could participate in her race.

As you can see she is definitely beating the 1 and 2 year old crowd. Unfortunately the three year olds beat her by a mile. She still looks at this picture and says, "Mom I won! Where my trophy?"
We knew from the beginning there was a surprise planned for Saturday night. All kids younger than 18 stayed home while the rest of us were divided into teams to participate in the "Earl's Amazing Race." It was so much fun.
My team consisted of my Uncle Jeff, his daughter Daishan and their future son-in-law Jon. We started our journey headed to McCosh park where the boy donned hawaiian skirts and coconut bras while the girls got some face painting done. We then got to run a mile round trip to find a statue in the middle of downtown. Daishan had to bring her little guy Landon so she made the run with him strapped in a sling wearing flip flops.
Our next clue was this... aren't they so authentic looking?

This just happens to be our local japanese gardens. We got there in record time and were greeted by this lovely lady.

Are you catching the theme? Not only were we totally running all over the city but each station was a different country! So totally clever. At this stop we had to find the Travelocity gnome, which by the way I found in like a second. It was my one proud moment of the race.

The race also took us to the dreaded eating challenge.

Oh my goodness thank you Jon for taking one for the team and downing all of these items. The boy just recently got back from a mission in Japan so none of it really phased him... except the baby food. That cracked me up.

We took one detour. Instead of kicking soccer balls we ran over to home depot to match a paint sample. That involved picking out one sample each and running it out to the people waiting in front of the store for approval. I have never been hated so much by store employees in my life. I think every single one of them felt the need to remind me that we were not allowed to run in the store. Finally, about 20 samples later, we found it and raced home.

The team ahead of us (the team that won) got there three minutes before we did. Now not to bring up a sore subject (that was my husband Jon's team) but they somehow missed the announcement that you had to run the mile to the statue on foot. They drove... then beat us by three minutes. So anyways.......

Jon had to head home the next day but the kids and I stuck around for a few more days. I got to take the kids out on a boat ride on the lake and we explored all over the Grant County fair.

My family is in charge of the next reunion two summers from now. 2011, watch out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scarletism #1

Scarlet - "I'm a boy!"

Me - "No, your friends Blaze and Bennett are boys. You are a girl."

Scarlet - "Yeah, I'm a girl and mommy's a girl because I have a boob and mommy has a boob."

May there be many more Scarletisms to come.

By the way, what word do you teach your kids for the female decolletage area? Breast seems to weird and hard to say for a two year old...