Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Steak Tuesday

"Eat meat like a caveman." This was the apparent theme of our dinner tonight. Here's proof: It all started with Caroline asking for some steak, and Trace giving her some . . . whole. She said "cut it up for me," as she picked it up and tried it. I said, hang on, I want to grab my camera before you cut it up for her. So then we got a picture of everyone eating steak. This may well qualify for the "only at the Fikes" label, but we all thought we were funny. Jack and Caroline were sharing the steak, back and forth. Jack decided steak caveman style was a lot more fun than the cut up pieces on his plate. Both kids looking crazy. Andrew tried it. And Will. And Trace. And this is how a lady eats a steak. Or maybe not?
Here's hoping your dinner was as delicious and fun as ours!

Keeping Busy on Hot Summer Days

That's what we've been doing lately. Going nonstop, as evidenced by my lack of blog posts. We've been doing things like going to Chuck and Caroline's to swim, and sitting inside and reading books. Picking our wild strawberries outside, working late, celebrating Ted and Trace's birthdays with a joint party at Chuck and Caroline's. Trace last week was both roaster and chef, since Andrew was out of town, and that kept us all busy. These pictures are a quick synopsis of our activities the last week or so.

Caroline has been practicing going on the potty. Last Saturday she woke up and the first thing she said was: "I want to go poop on the potty mom." And indeed she did. In fact all day last Saturday she used her own potty, and we even took it with us to Grandma and Grandpa's. No accidents. However since then it's been hit or miss, so to speak. But we're working on it.

We've definitely spent some time in the swimming pool in the last two weeks. Caroline loves the water, and will "swim" and float with anyone. Jackson, on the other hand, is willing to put his feet in the water. He'll play in the hot tub all day, or even his kiddie pool, but the big pool is scary. Next week we're going to start basic swim lessons for him, so we'll see if that helps his fear.Isn't this a cute picture of Becky and Dave? They came over to Chuck and Caroline's to go swimming with us one day, and we all cooled off in the pool.

Other than that, we've been reading our favorite book. Caroline especially likes the page with the birthday party: she even reads it herself to her baby dolls. Yes, this is the book Aunt Katie and Uncle Mitch made for us, and we read it a lot.

Jack took a picture of Caroline's favorite page and told me to show everyone.

Finally we finish with a video of Caroline swimming with Trace. She truly loves the water. Jack loves the toys that float, including the life vest. We've been having a great summer!

Oh, and as a postscript, thanks to Katie for the Orange Julius recipe(http://www.laughterintheclementhouse.blogspot.com). We've been enjoying it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday Morning Fun

Saturday morning Trace was watching the British Open, and Jack saw a BMW commercial where a car runs around a giant canvas of some sort and leaves tracks of different colors. Jack asked me how they did that, and I told him I thought there was paint on the wheels. Then he looked at Trace and said: I want a car with paint on its wheels. When the golf was over, Trace made his dream come true: They got out some butcher paper, one of Jack's pull-back cars, and two colors of spray paint, and it worked!
I wish I had a better picture of their masterpiece, but it was partly in the 100 degree sun, and partly in the shade, so it was hard to capture. They used a car that was missing one tire, so it turned in circles, and they ran it through the paint first. Pretty clever! While they were experimenting, Caroline watered the plants for me:
She's a good helper!

Kid Ingenuity

Here's Caroline and Jackson swinging in the backyard, on their new swings, or at least newly renovated by Jackson. I love the way kids come up with things that grown-ups would never think of. At least I would never think of them. Have you ever considered adding a chair to a swing? I didn't think so. It looks quite dangerous to me really, but they haven't been hurt yet, so I don't want to take away their fun.

I think these two would stay on the swings all day, if anyone was willing to push them that long! Luckily they also like to go on their bellies, which they can do by themselves, and sometimes Jack will push Caroline.

As a side note, many thanks to Becky and Dave for taking my kids all afternoon. It's nice to have a break, and refreshing for all of us. You guys are great!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some people walk their dog . . .

. . . And others walk their Bronco!
Tonight Jackson, Caroline, Trace and I took the truck for a walk. Well Trace did at least, while the rest of us walked alongside. It went like this: we were all out front taking out the trash, when Trace decided to get the Bronco running--it had a dead battery. So I went back inside and folded laundry for a bit, and then I heard Trace call out: you guys want to go for a walk? I always jump at the chance to go for an evening walk with the whole family, so I hopped up to get the kids shoes on. Then I went back outside and Trace was in the Bronco, now running. He said he'd drive, and I could walk with the kids. It made perfect sense to me: he was tired from eighteen holes of golf, and the car needed to be driven to recharge the battery. But little did I know that he actually intended to walk with us! The Bronco has a granny gear that is as slow as a person walking, so after we started down our very quiet road, Trace pulled up next to us and walked alongside. It was the funniest thing I ever saw, the car out for a walk. I wish I could have captured it in pictures better, but the light was failing when I ran back to get my camera. I've lightened these pictures so you can see it a little.
We all walked down the road about a half mile together, then Caroline and I ran back to get the camera and Jack and Sam hopped in the car. They were cute as could be in there with Trace walking alongside. So next time you take your dog for a walk, consider taking your vehicle too!
Post Script: I did one time see a neighbor driving slowly down the road walking his dog out the window: as in the dog was walking, on a leash, while the man drove in the car. I thought that was pretty funny, but this takes the cake. Only at the Fikes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

I know, I know it's actually the sixth of July already, but we had a lovely fourth of July, and I wanted to wish all of you the same. We had quite a day, as you can see by the quantity of pictures in this post. It really felt like three days, all rolled into one. First thing in the morning, Trace hopped out of bed (literally, and this was around 5:30am) and said that he wanted to go sell food. We were actually open at the store since the parade was in Grass Valley this year, and it goes right past us. Our local parade alternates between Grass Valley and Nevada City, so every other year we close. So Trace went and bought hot dogs and polish sausages, and on top of the regular food we are already selling at the store, he set up at the barbeque in front and sold breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, sausages, and soda in front. We went and joined him around ten and had breakfast at the store, and then watched the parade with our good friends Mike and Ellen Nightingale (Mike is our delivery man and one of the kids favorite people), and then Becky and her roommate Tracie showed up too. Ellen and Caroline. Caroline decided to have a hot dog for breakfast. She's an all-American girl. Mike and Caroline watching the parade. Caroline's favorite were the "horsies."
Jackson watching the parade. He was good at spotting people who were giving away things. He got a lollipop, some candy, a flag, and a tattoo. Caroline got some candy, a tattoo, and her favorite, a pink toothbrush. She carried the toothbrush around all day. Oh and they each got a star necklace which they wore for quite a while.
Tracie, Jack, Becky and Caroline sitting on the curb. They didn't stay here long: it was too hot!
After the parade, Trace went and set up our booth at the fairgrounds, and I took the kids home for a nap. Then we went to a 4th of July party at our friends the Fletchers. Jack and Caroline especially liked their heated pool.
Caroline is not sure she wants to swim with Dad.
It was evening by this point, and Jackson was calming down and a little cold. But I think he would have stayed in the water all night anyway.
They both had fun making friends with the older kids who were also swimming. They stayed on the steps and shivered and smiled at people. Then our day ended with a trip out to the fairgrounds to close up our booth and watch the fireworks. Becky and Tracie met us out there and we sat in front of booth on the grass and watched.
Becky bought the kids light up swords (they were out of smaller light-up items, and the kids had heard her say she'd get them one. Oops:) ). They're still playing with them, two days later, so they were truly a hit!
Becky and I were very patriotic in our red, white, and blue. Becky's tickling me in this picture, so we're both laughing hard. Sisters are great!We all sat down and watched the fireworks. They're pretty noisy for Jackson and Caroline so Jack leaned on me and Caroline went from my lap to Aunt Becky's.
Happy 4th of July to one and all! I hope you all had as lovely a day as we did: filled with family and friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Trip to the River

It's been pretty hot around here for the last week or so, so Tuesday after work we all went to the river. Actually Andrew was working, so it was Trace, Will, Jackson, Caroline and I. We packed a picnic dinner, Trace bought Jack his own fishing pole, and off we went. It was absolutely perfect weather. Trace and Will fished, and the kids and I played in the water: swimming, throwing rocks in, rescuing ladybugs, and for me, taking pictures. Here's a few of the pictures I took. The water was as clear as could be.Will, Jackson and Caroline. The kids were being "really quiet," so Will could fish. Jackson trying out his fishing pole. He's quite proud of it. Caroline swimming. Jack and Caroline in the water. We called this spot our own private swimming pool, because it was the perfect depth for the two kids to play in, and deep enough for me to sit in too. It stayed in the sunshine all evening too, so they played in it until almost dark, with stops now and then to warm up on the rocks (we forgot towels).

I took three short videos, at the kids request, that they wanted Anna and Josie to see. The first is of Jackson jumping into the water from a rock, and then there's one of Caroline "swimming," and one of Jack "swimming."

While we were having all this fun in the water (and it was fun for all three of us: sitting in the water up to my waist I felt like the temperature was the same from the water and the air. Lovely.), Trace and Will had wandered upstream and were doing some fishing.

We stopped and shared a picnic dinner together, around seven, and then as the light changed, I took a few pictures of the reflections, the kids got dressed again, and we packed up. Trace and Will fished their way down to a bridge a little ways downstream, and we picked them up there. The kids finished throwing rocks off the bridge, and we all drove home. What a great way to spend a warm summer afternoon! Reflections in the water as the light waned.