Friday, August 22, 2014

Benny ballgame

Benny played coach pitch baseball this summer on the county league. We couldn't find a team for Max. It's strange; it feels like there are plenty of these beginner teams, and then there are private, more expensive leagues, but nothing in between.

I think Benny could have done well with a bit more of a challenge, but maybe I'm biased. It's always good to freshen up those skills.

While Benny played, we had fun in the nice weather on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings.

Some of the team:

Our slugger.

Here's a little bit from the last game. By this time, Max was playing catcher as the coach pitched the ball.  Benny goes for a high one, and hits it ("Lay off the high ones." "I like the high ones." "Nag!")
Then Andrew video-bombs.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our summer

School starts in one week, and Max recently sternly demanded, "What am I going to tell my class when they ask where we went this summer? We haven't done ANY vacation!"

True, we haven't gone on a major trip. But I reminded him we have stayed fairly busy.

We took lots of trips to Lagoon. Here are all the Richards cousins after lunch, at naptime.

My baby fell asleep after a day at LagoonA beach celebrating cousin Kate's birthday on Saturday:

Max and Benny did a basketball camp with Coach Stan Owen:

And Benny did baseball (more pictures coming in a separate post).

Max had a special lunch date with daddy at Braza Grill (I'm told he just wanted to keep that signal on green the whole time).

The rest of the time it's been books, walks, playgrounds, Legos, and TV.  Occasional water slides and movies and picnics.

The good news is they have been going to bed at roughly the same time all summer. Early.  I still have to wake up at 3:30 ish, even if their friends are out playing til 9 or 10 PM. So there will be no rough adjustment back to a school schedule. These boys are up at 6:50 or 7 AM every day of their lives.

Friday, August 15, 2014

James the charmer

I tried to lay sweet baby James down in his crib the other night to start hardcore sleep training. I lasted only a few minutes.

I went in to try and soothe his crying by patting his bum, and he reached up and put his arms around my neck. I couldn't help it, I took him out and tucked him into bed with me where he could use his two binkies.

He is just a lovie dovie, and is going to quickly become a toddler before I can help it.

He's 14 months old, and can stand briefly on his own and walk while holding on to stuff. Then he falls down smack on his bum.

He tried out JB's lightweight camping chair and turned all Goldilocks -- "this one is jussstt right."

He charms his way onto dates with JB and me, while the three other boys stay with a babysitter.

And he recently had his second haircut. Look at those curls. And those cheeks.

I can't stand it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pioneer Trek

We did it, we trekked.

JB and I left our children for almost four days and four nights to be with the youth of our ward and stake for a Pioneer Trek in central Wyoming.  It was incredible.

This is the second time JB and I have had the opportunity to go on Trek. (see quick post from four years ago here and pictures here). 

We left early Wednesday morning on three school buses and several trucks and trailers with our gear and food. One of our first stops was Independence Rock.

They told us people coming west on the Oregon and Mormon Trails knew they had to be to this point by July 4th, hence Independence Rock. Many pioneers scratched their names into the rock. JB and many others scampered up to the top. I did not.  I may not be pregnant this trek like I was four years ago, but I still didn't see the need. This was JB's view on the way up.

By 3 that afternoon we arrived at the Martin's Cove Center. This is where you pick up your handcarts, get your stuff loaded, then trek 3 miles to the campgrounds.

When we arrived, black clouds gathered up....and just after JB and I got the tent up, it started POURING, with lightening, thunder, and then sideways hail. We all took refuge in the trailers to wait it out.

When the skies cleared we were ready to eat the first of many great dutch oven meals. It's amazing how hungry you get in the outdoors.

This was our camping group. The youth were all placed in groups of 7-8 with a Ma and Pa.  That's what we did four years ago. This time, as bishop, JB was a captain of a youth group, and we were the Ma and Pa of these adults. Basically we were in charge of bringing supplies and information for these other leaders. We had two members of the stake presidency and their wives in our group, plus two other bishops and their wives.

The skies were beautiful.

Thursday we trekked to Martin's Cove.  This is where the members of the Martin Handcart Company of 1856 tried to find shelter when a fierce October snowstorm hit them on their way west.

You could feel the somber spirit of the place where so many people died.

I think we walked 6 miles on Thursday.  After Martin's Cove, we got back on the school buses and drove an hour west to the Willie Center. This is where the Willie Handcart Company spent their tragic days when that October snowstorm hit. When we got to our campground, another rainstorm hit, with more hail.

But that soon cleared and we were putting up tents again. I will admit I got cranky hungry (hangry), because we were helping others put up tents and forgot to get new charcoal on our dutch ovens. I ate my lasagna warm-ish with crunchy noodles, but the others waited for it to keep cooking.

The next day was our long day. A 10-miler on the trails around Willie's meadow and the Sweetwater River. We crossed it 3 times. The last time, we all played in the water. Last time JB was dragged in, this time, he walked in with the young men and said "Dunk me, I'm yours."

Then he just laid down and relaxed.

It's a game each trek to dunk the leaders. Here they all are chil-axin' in the water afterward.

I stayed out of the water, instead, I hunkered down behind the outhouses to do some pumping for my baby I left behind. I would do this during any extended break along the trail.

Our friends and neighbors the Thorntons were in charge of the whole thing, and they did such a great job. Here's JB with Greg, and me with Cindy:

Here's just our ward's youth and leaders that went:

The picture of the whole group (150? 200 people?) is very impressive.  On Saturday we drove back on the buses. It seemed to take so long, but finally, at 4:10 PM, we pulled back into our stake center parking lot in Salt Lake City to a big welcoming crew, including my boys below, holding signs and roses for me,  with their amazing, loving Nonna behind them in the pink shirt:

I couldn't help it, I started to cry when I held sweet baby James again.

He gave me the longest hug, and then gave JB a big hug.

Reunited with our boys:

We are so grateful for JB's parents for taking such loving care of our boys while we were away. When we would get a signal, we would call, and each time the boys would rattle off all the fun stuff they were doing. Pauline may need a vacation now, though. Maybe to Wyoming.

Monday, August 4, 2014


JB's mom's sister married a Greek man. Ergo, his cousins are Greek. And, one of those cousins got married in July. It was a blue and white and musical wedding.

Please forgive Andrew's pirate eye patch. He had a stye under his eye that was drained that day. Why not have a family picture capture the sight?

This sweet baby James likes me a lot. And I like him a lot. I'm back to needing a shelf as a hip.

But I'm glad he is making friends with Nonna. Especially because he will be staying with her while JB and I go on our stake pioneer Trek.

Two photo bombs below, Matt, and my undershirt.

Smaller cousins!

Cousins dancing!

Cousins trying to dance!

Mother and son dance.

Mother and son.

Handsome brothers.

Beautiful parents.

Darling sisters.

Cute family.

Another cute family.