Saturday, September 25, 2010

I've Been Busy

Since my blog posts seem to be so few and far between for the past oh, two years or so, I always feel like I have to start my posts by explaining or justifying my absence. This time, I'm not going to... except to say that I'VE BEEN BUSY. One day, I may, or may not, go back and write in detail about the rest of our summer. This very long post would include the following: Disneyland and Legoland and then another fantastic week in California with my in-laws, including a fabulous visit to Long Beach, our old stomping grounds; then back to Idaho and three straight weeks of refurbishing an old dilapidated play structure, then building an area in our yard and finally installing the beast; caring for my very busy, very imaginative and very comfortable with my family nephew Diego; first time ever summer baseball for Ammon and Abraham; working and fighting hard in an attempt to get a half-way decent lawn; running and biking in a 185 mile race from Spokane to Sandpoint; Ammon's 8th birthday, a very special BAPTISM, and the beginning of his career as a scout; an activity and adventure filled two week visit from my sister Elisa and her very energetic family (kids' triathlon, Silverwood, swimming in lakes, bike rides, sails on Lake Coeur d' Alene and many cousin sleepovers); camping with our ward; a huge end-of-summer yard sale; a quick three-day trip to Utah for my nephew Isaiah's baptism; starting second grade for Ammon, first grade for Abraham and home pre-preschool for Ziya; a new job at a middle school for Jacob; fall soccer for Ammon, Abraham and Ziya; teaching my MiaMaid class about three times per month; trying hard to improve my volleyball game once every week; trying to get back into my book club; and all this while preserving the life of my 17-month-old climbing, walking then running, eating dead flies, cute curly-headed and ever mischievous Kenai! Whew, it makes me tired just typing it all out. So yes, I've been busy. Here's the evidence:

Our Legoland photos are lost in cyberspace but we have lots of fun Disneyland pictures. Great fun with Little Grandpa and Grandma! Ammon and Abraham loved riding the fast rides with Little Grandma, Ziya loved the princesses and Kenai just loved all the activity! What a memorable experience!

We got to spend some fabulous time with our beloved Long Beach friends. Just like everybody else, we're trying to convince them to move to Idaho, too! Jacob also got to see some "kids" that he grew up with!

It was impromptu, but the Munyers pulled it off... a quick reunion at Friendship Park in San Pedro!

Little Grandma and Grandpa really went all out making our trip an amazing memorable one. As you can see, there was never a dull moment... whether it was playing in cardboard boxes, doing snail races or dressing up...great times were had! It was also great fun to see Aunt Sheila - she had never met Ziya or Kenai. Thank you so much Pam and Angel!

As soon as we returned to Idaho, it was straight to work for us!!! This is the beast that we dropped of on our friends' property. Every day, we packed our PB&J, fruit and water and spent the day working at their house. We power washed it to get the old stain off, bleached it, sanded the entire thing, and put about seven coats of stain on it! The kids helped a lot... they also jumped on the trampoline, took naps in the car, watched movies on the trampoline and had fun being kids in the woods! That was only the beginning. Then we had to prepare the ground for it in our own yard, make a retainer for the pea gravel, reassemble the beast and finally shovel 8 yards of pea gravel! BUT OUR KIDS LOVE IT!!! It was all worth it!

This was the boys' first time playing baseball. Abe and Diego played on the same team, which was fun. Our camera was broken by this time, so I don't have good pictures of Ammon... but my sister does!

My Ammon turned 8 and got baptized! What a special day shared with the entire Zavala clan! Once again, the special pictures of Ammon dressed in his white clothing are on my sister's camera... I will definitely share those as soon as I can!

Ammon, Abraham, Isaiah, Asher and Diego all participated in a kids' triathlon. They swam in the lake, biked and ran and had a fantastic time! Ammon had the mishap of losing his bike chain so he wasn't able to finish, but we learned our lesson for next year!

It was really fun to hang out with all of the cousins! We just hope that one day (soon) the Packs can move closer!

My dad bought my mom a nice beach cruiser for their 40th wedding anniversary. So we all celebrated by going on a family ride together... all 20 of us!

Jacob and Brian took the boys to Silverwood, where Aitana and Acasia met them. These are some brave children! They went on some pretty scary rides.

Ammon turned 8 just in time to go to a 3-day Day Camp for scouts. What a great introduction to this amazing organization! He got to shoot a rifle, climb a rock wall, tumble in a barrel, make a marshmallow shooter, go fishing and canoeing, learn to shoot with a bow and arrow and have lots of good ole' boy fun! Jacob got to go with him... they both had a blast, earned a bunch of badges, learned a lot and had terrific father-son time.

We went camping with our Ward at Camp Peine! Brother Rivera took us out on his boat. My kids love the water.

Ammon, Abraham, my mom and I made the 11 1/2 hour trek to Utah on Friday, spent Isaiah's baptism day with him all day Saturday and then drove back home on Sunday! It was exhausting, but worth it! Again, I don't have the good pictures of Isaiah on his baptism day... I was playing the piano and missed the photo opportunities. On our way back home, we stopped and spent a while at Temple Square. The boys have been there before, but they were very young and didn't remember it. It was beautiful to see their excitement about the Salt Lake City Temple and to learn a bit about its history.

First day of school! Ammon is in second grade and Abraham is in first. Their cousin Diego also goes to the same school and is in kindergarten! They feel like such big boys this year because I let them ride the bus sometimes.

This is Ziya's first time playing soccer. She has watched her brothers pretty much her whole life, but she is still taking her time getting used to being on the field. Thank goodness she has her bestie, Payton, right there beside her! In today's game, I ran on the field with her to encourage her along. She scored her first goal! Jacob is co-coaching Ammon and Abraham's teams. They are having tons of fun and definitely get lots of energy out!

And then there's my Kenai! My goal with him every day is to keep him alive. He climbs and dances on high surfaces, runs into the street, eats dead flies, plays with poisonous spiders, unravels toilet paper rolls... all while flashing his cheesy smile the entire time. Here are pictures I captured of him discovering that one of his brothers had opened the bag of Bugles from Wal-Mart. He was so tickled with himself!