Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Storms

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Around five o’clock on an early summer evening, you can often find Chad standing on the porch, gazing at the darkening sky, ears straining as he listens for the distant sounds of thunder.   Our first May here, six years ago, we learned to love those rumbles that were often followed by a quick downpour of rain.  Once it begins in earnest, and Chad scuttles inside, he stands at the window, watching the rain splatter the window, the puddles in the yard forming within minutes, the flashes of lightning brightening the sky.  It has become a tradition that now feels like summer as much as the sound of the AC kicking in.

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This year has been especially stormy, with one storm producing hail large enough to dent cars and damage roofs.  If you drive ten minutes south of us, you will find signs all over about fixing storm-damaged roofs.  The above picture was taken the evening after Colin’s baptism, when we had the family over for dinner.  The kids were in the front yard playing when those clouds rolled in.

Yesterday was another doozie.  We had gone swimming and just as we were leaving the pool we heard faint sounds of thunder.  By the time we got home and changed, it was sprinkling a little.  Chad took the boys out for a redbox and dinner run, and I got Carina down and then sat at the computer to enjoy my first moments of alone time all week.  I heard the wind gushing and then the rain pouring, but didn’t think much of it.  After a few minutes, I heard a clink on my window and looked out to see hail.  Getting up to take a better look, I realized that my yard looked very different.

My trampoline was missing.  Completely gone.  It was the most bizarre scene. 

I couldn’t go outside to take a better look because the lightning was still close and the hail and rain was just starting to let up.  As soon as I could, I ran out there with bare feet to take a better look.  One of our floodlights had shattered and I cut my toe on glass from it.  I ran around our perimeter, looking into our neighbors’ yard for any sign of our trampoline. There was nothing, which seemed utterly impossible.

For a few moments, I thought, “Could it possibly have been missing before the storm?!  Did someone steal our trampoline?!”

And then, “Is this a prank my mom pulled?!”

(If you know my mom well, you know this isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility)

I finally noticed one leg of the trampoline in our, which brought me back to reality.  No, no one would steal our trampoline or move it and leave part of it behind. 

It was still raining and I couldn’t walk down the street with the baby asleep, so I went back inside (and face-booked).  A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door.  It was one of the boys’ friends from a couple of houses down, with his dad, whom we had never met before.  His dad looked white-faced and shocked.  He asked something like, “Is your trampoline missing?” and then went on the explain that they were driving home and saw a trampoline lying in the middle of the street.  They thought it was weird and then when they got home, his son looked out the back and said, “Gabe and Colin’s trampoline is missing!”

I think was a little surprised by my reaction. 

“Yeah,” I said calmly, “I was wondering where that went to.”

Just then, Chad and the boys pulled up, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed that their little friend blurted out the story before I could. 

They had also seen the trampoline down the street and simply thought it was being thrown out.  Their trip inside the store had caused them to miss the most severe part.

We threw the kids in the car and drove over to it. This is what we found:

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From piecing together the evidence of bent fences, it appears that it flew into our next door neighbor’s yard, across it and into their neighbor’s yard, where it knocked out the back fence panel, flew down the hill and then flew across three more yards and the street before it came to a stop We are so thankful that it didn’t hit any people, cars, or houses. 

Chad called my brother Bobby to see if he could help him carry it back home.  He was feeding the missionaries, so they all came over and the four of them carried it back to our house and put it in our garage.  Chad went knocking on neighbors’ doors to explain and check on damage and then called our insurance. They assured him that they will cover any damages.  Someone will be coming by on Monday to check things out. 

Again, we are thankful that it didn’t cause more damage. Our trampoline may be completely trashed, but I hope Chad’s love for his summer storms isn’t one more casualty of the this incident.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ward Pinewood Derby

Our ward had a no-rules pinewood derby last weekend.  Okay, there were a few rules (mainly ones put in place to protect bystanders, like "no combustibles"), but you mainly just needed to use BSA wheels and axles and the rest was fair game.  We've never been able to attend this annual function, but I had heard stories, so we knew we were in for a treat.  I spent hours online reading tips and trying to come up with ideas and I called my brother Levi up to ask him for some tips because his sons rocked their last pinewood derby (and I know Levi gets even more wrapped up in stuff like this than I do).  All I really did was overwhelm myself.  After almost spending $16 on modified BSA axles, I knew I needed to step away from the computer and let it go.   So after giving him a few of the tips that I learned (aerodynamics isn't that important, weight and lack of friction are), I turned it over to Chad.

As Chad puts it - I get very competitive sometimes, but only about weird things.  Weird, in his mind, perfectly logical in mine.

So Chad and I told the boys that we weren't going to worry too much about speed and would just come up with something creative. Chad painted the block of wood brown, glued some Hershey bars on top, and then part of a brick, which he covered in graham crackers and marshmallows, to make....a S'mores car of course.  We put a little guy on top, to ride on the marshmallows and it was a cute little car.  He did a great job and the boys thought it was pretty cool. We actually glued the axles on about ten minutes before leaving, grabbed the chili I had made,  and rushed out the door.  I remembered my camera as we were loading up, but didn't want to take the time to go get it. So this is the only picture I have of the car.


Ollie actually stole some bites of the marshmallows before it ever raced, and Colin dismantled and devoured it on our way home. You will just have to trust me when I say it was really cute.

When we got to the church, we raced our car against my parents' car and it almost beat it.  This was very encouraging because, you see, my dad had taken one of those Levi-made cars I spoke of earlier, and had added some cute granny and grandpa Lego people.  I knew it was fast.

When our first race came, our car "Let's win s'more" almost won.As it crashed into second place, the chocolate bars bounced off of the car to the floor, taking the graham-cracker covered brick with it.  Luckily, someone had brought a hot glue gun, and they graciously let us use it to repair our car (Thank you Mumfords!).

The main competition was my parent's car, which was speeding through each lap, a car that simply had a can of pepsi taped to the top, and a car that was three cars hooked together by wires with the last car starting behind the finish line so it basically gave itself a five foot head start (not against the rules, but I have a feeling the rules might change to accompany that next year).

We came in a close second during our second race as well and the car again fell apart.

When it came to our third race, we knew that if we didn't win would we be out.  Stunningly, our car zoomed into first and we were back in the game.  My parents had won every race (which really put a smile on my Dad's face), so we both moved onto the semi-finals, where two cars were pitted against each other instead of three.

And guess who we were went up against?

My parents.  We groaned that it wasn't fair to pit family against family as we put our car up at the starting place, knowing that theirs was faster than ours.

We gulped with shock as our car whizzed past theirs to the finish line.

At this point, I picked up our car, which we needed to glue back together once again, and noticed that although the brick had started out slightly behind the back axle, Chad must had glued it back on slightly in front of the back axle after our second race, giving it a different balance and just the momentum it needed to become speedier.

This happy little accident had put us into the final race.  It was our clunky, falling apart s'mores car against the head-start car, whose owner had put hours of planning and work in.  I heard a few of the young men chanting "s'mores s'mores s'mores" as they let the car go. I wished I had my camera, but happily someone in our ward captured it on video. Ours is the one on the left.  See if you can call the winner:






Tough call?  Here is a photo finish (thank you Brother Bower!):

We won!  

It was quite the moment for the Coleman boys. It was the perfect Father's Day weekend moment, really. I don't think Colin stopped talking about it for two days and there was much discussion over who the trophy belongs to (Mom and Dad ruled that it was a family victory and thus a family trophy.)

We will have to come back even stronger next year to defend the title ;o) 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sabina

There are many things I admire about my sister-in-law Sabina, but one of the things that I most admire is how much she has kept learning and growing as an adult.  She came to the United States a little over 11 years ago knowing bits and pieces of English.  She is now not only completely fluent, she is going to school to become a nurse.  When I think of going back to school, it seems daunting enough, but I can’t imagine doing it in a language that I didn’t grow up with.  Sabina has worked very hard to get to this point, and on Wednesday she had celebrated another accomplishment:

She became a citizen of the United States. 

When I was growing up we have celebrated friends of our family with a nice “heart attack” but I has been awhile she I have participated in one.  My mom coordinated one for Sabina yesterday. 

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The hearts were mostly made my her nieces and nephews and were delightful to see.

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My favorite was made by my nephew Nolan, who came up with the design completely on his own, even researching the Argentine flag online.

IMGP7974   If you know Sabina, you know her deep love for her native country, Argentina, and for her family who still lives there.  I thought Nolan captured the day perfectly.  We love you Sabina, and the United States and our family are both lucky to have you as a part of us.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baby Carina

IMGP7857  I have to tell you, this little girl is by far the easiest baby we have had .  She sleeps through the night most nights (next to me, of course), rarely cries, and likes to sit by herself and just look around or suck on her binky even when she is wide awake.  I almost feel guilty because I can just sit her down in her carseat and go about my business for a good ten or twenty minutes at time without taking care of her at all.  Maybe that is normal and my other babies were just “high needs” babies, I don’t know.  I just know that she could make our life so much more difficult than she does.   This was her during the water balloon fight – and she started out wide awake!  She didn’t like being outside much so she just put herself to sleep.

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I put Carina and Oliver down for a nap together every day.  Oliver takes awhile to settle down, but when he finally starts getting sleepy, if she is asleep already, he will rub her head until he falls asleep.  It is very sweet, even when it has taken an hour to get to that point.

 IMGP7813IMGP7814 Here she is playing a little game she loves to play with Chad.  She how she looks him right in the eye and then he pretends to bite her baby feet and she just smiles and coos away.  Ollie thinks it is pretty fun too.  We have only managed to get laughs out of her a couple of times so far.  I can’t wait until she laughs more – she has an adorable tummy chuckle.

You know how most of the time when you let your toddler hold the baby, the toddler just looks like a giant?  The opposite is true with Oliver and Carina.  Whenever he holds her, she looks like she is going to outgrow him within a year or so.  It really cracks us up.

 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fun with Picnik

Have any of you ever tried Picnik?  I don't use it often because it is sooooo stinkin' slow, but sometimes it is fun to mess around with.  I have zero editing skills, so it is fun to click one button and see some cool effects added instantly to my pictures.  I took this top picture on the boys while we were in the mountains and here are a few things I did with it on Picnik.

 
The original


  "1960's"


 "Holga-ish"


 "Cinemascope"

I am not a huge fan of overediting every picture I put on here, but I think some of the above pictures are so neat looking with the effects added. 

What do you think - which picture above is your favorite?  

Anyone else ever tried Picnik?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More stuff I never blogged about

 Gabe and Colin had their spring piano recital.  As you can see, they had soccer games directly after, and after soccer there was a Primary talent show.  By the time soccer was over, our kids were wiped out and asked if they could skip the talent show.  Since we were going to be about 40 minutes late anyway, we said yes.  It was a crazy day.  I was proud of the kids at the recital - especially Gabe.  I always forget how young he really is, and I know it isn't easy for a sometimes shy little guy to get up in front of everyone and play.  Speaking of Gabe....

He had his Beginner's Day for kindergarten while my in-laws were here.  We left Oliver and Colin home with Judy and took Bill with us. At Beginner's Day they had a uniform fashion show and then divided the kids up by language, took them to a classroom, and talked to the parents a little.  Gabe was scared but brave.  I get sad thinking about him going to school next year.  I never thought that I would be as sad as I was with Colin because this is my second time letting go and Gabe is older than Colin was, but I am sad nevertheless.  Gabe is my pal during the day and it is so hard to think of him being under someone else's care for so much of the day.  Do my kids have to grow up so fast?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

 This is a post about baby poo.

I think the pictures tell the story, but to sum it up in the words of my friend Autumn 

"So glamorous our lifestyle, no?"