Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

Ah, the days of waking up with nothing to do but play. Is that why it's called "The Dog Days of Summer?" Probably, not, but it describes life for us right now. Sleeping, eating, lying around, and playing. Life is good. Here's what these dogs have been up to:

The Beach. This is the first summer that I can remember where we haven't spent every single day dancing, rehearsing for recitals, going to dance competitions, and getting ready for team tryouts. (I'm not joking. When Eden and Claire were on a dance competition team, we had one week off in the summer, and we were too tired to do anything but sit and stare.) This is the first summer we've been able to go to the beach once a week. My skin is looking a little like leather, but other than that, we are having a blast hanging out with families in the ward, soaking up the sun and playing the the waves. I just love watching all of the kids play. There are a huge group of them -- all ages, including this little one taking a snooze on the sand.

On our last beach day of the summer, we went down to La Jolla shores with a few friends from dance and stayed until dark (yes, they were on their "week break"). We made a bon fire, cooked smore's, and hot dogs, played in the surf and built human pyramids. It was a blast!!! Dana, Jourdan, and Sophia .... we miss hanging with you!

Girl's Camp.
Claire spent a week at Stake YW girl's camp somewhere in the mountains near Big Bear. From what I can piece together from her two sentence summary of the experience, (and comments made by the YW leaders), the week was full of fun as well as adventure. It included rattlesnakes (an Amazon camp director chopped it's head off), a girl being bitten by a Recluse spider, synchronized swimming, lots of laughing, bad food, dehydration, and of course LOTS OF CRYING (testimony meeting, you know). Claire received the "pig-pen" award, which didn't surprise me one bit. Maybe some day she will listen when I yell "CLEAN THAT ROOM!!!!!"
4th of July: This holiday is usually a little lonely for us. All of our extended family lives out of State, we miss celebrating with them. This year, however, we managed to have a lot of fun. The Gharring's invited Eden and Claire over for a "camp-out" in their back yard. (Matt and I weren't aware that it was a "family camp-out" until the following morning morning when we saw a bunch of sleepy-eyed adults meandering around the yard. Our kids somehow neglected to mention that. HUMMMMM.) They spent the night roasting hot dogs, watching outdoor movies and finished up with a fireworks show (courtesy of Jason Fifield) that I hear rivaled Pechanga Casino's annual display. Claire's photo's of the event confirmed that rumor. The following morning the party continued as everyone ventured over to IHOP for breakfast. (Matt and I went along for that part). In the afternoon, we got a call from our Bishop. When I saw his number come up on "Caller ID" I immediately assumed we were going to be asked to speak in church. Much to my relief, he called to invite us over to swim and have dinner along with a few other families in our ward. We spent a good part of the day there, it was so much fun. That evening, we walked over the the sports park to watch the Pechanga fireworks. It never disappoints. Even Elfie enjoyed the show.

Road Trip. (A little sad note about this trip: Somewhere along the way, my camera broke. We have no pictures of our adventure (other than the ones that live in our minds. It remained broken all summer, so pictures for this blog entry are sparse.)

While Claire was at camp, Eden and I took a spontaneous road trip to Utah. (I apologize to those of you who are reading this and thinking: "WHAT!!!" We only stayed in Utah one day, so we didn't get to visit many people like we had hoped.) Our first stop was "Cafe Rio" in St. George. It's a Beutler tradition -- the first and last place we go when we visit Utah. (Bob Nielsen ... we are your most devoted customers!) After a DELICIOUS meal, we walked across the parking lot to visit "Nielsen's Frozen Custard" (for the best-ever soft serve ice cream). A girl working at the counter (who resembled Napoleon Dynamite in mannerism) informed us that they were out of custard, so we left with our heads hanging. Eden remarked "What kind of ice cream store runs out of ice cream in the middle of summer!!!!!" We had to settle for key lime pie at Cafe Rio -- a good second choice. Next, we drove out to Tuachann, a beautiful outdoor theatre in Snow Canyon, where we watched a performance of Sound of Music. For those of you who have only seen the movie, the play is an entirely different experience. The end is chilling as the audience becomes part of the play -- the music festival where the Von Trapp family performs before they make their escape into the mountains. Huge swastika flags decorate the stage while actors dressed as Nazi soldiers patrol the isles. At one point, when Nazi soldiers were firing guns and setting off sirens as they searched for the Von Trapps, Eden covered his eyes and said "This is my WORST nightmare come to life!" (His greatest fear is Hitler). I have to admit, it was a little scary. I hadn't expected that. It really made me thankful that I have never had to experience real life war up close and personal.

Eden and I drove to Salt Lake. While we were there, we visited with a few family members, paid a visit to Grandpa Grant's amazing vegetable garden (We received about 10 pounds of zucchini to take home), spent about 3 short hours at Lagoon with Leslie and Nathan, and spent a day in Park City riding the Alpine slide and coaster. Park City was so great. We just loved being in the mountains among the wild flowers and Aspen trees. It's so peaceful once you reach the top. It's totally quiet except for the sound of birds and insects. I miss mountains so much!!!

We managed to pack a lot in just 3 days. It was such a fun trip. We laughed our heads off, especially as we made up songs about smuggling grandpa's green beans through the California border during the drive home. (That story is way too long to tell, but if you are interested, give me a call.)

The Dance Festival. Claire took place in the Regional YM/YW Dance Festival, which I have mentioned in prior blogs. I went to a few of the rehearsals and all I can say is that this was a HUGE lesson in obedience for all of us. It was super hot, unorganized, and long. I felt so bad for all of the kids standing out on the football field in the scorching heat. I felt even worse for all the leaders who had to organize car pools, drive, provide food, supervise, and keep a smile on their face even though they didn't feel like smiling. When it came time for the actual performance, a miracle occurred. Everyone who participated had a wonderful time, people felt the spirit, and the performance was great. The youth and adults in our ward, who spoke about it afterwards (including Claire) had such positive things to say. I think we all learned something and grew a little from the experience. We all need a T-shirt that says "I survived Dance Festival."

Bass Lake. Another summer tradition -- a week up in the mountain's with friends. I think this was our 6th year taking this trip. Our group has grown in numbers as kids get married and have families of their own. This year, about 40 of us (including Elphie) crammed ourselves on the shore of Bass Lake and spent our time wake boarding, tubing, hiking, making crafts (lanyards), cliff jumping (into water of course), laughing, and playing games!!! It's impossible not to have fun. Even Elphie had a blast. I was a little worried that she would freak out and yap the entire week, but she loved "the pack" and was a little depressed when we came home.
Well, that's it for now. It's almost time to think about "back to school" shopping. Agh. Time sure flies when you are having fun!!!!


carlandchantel said...

Oh sleepy Jax! I absolutely love beach days with the ward! Thanks for the little reminder of why summer is so F*U*N!!

R Max said...


You are so funny! I am going to take a look at your store though I don't often wear dangly earrings anymore, they look so cute! I hope you have some time in your busy life to teach some family history with me.... sometime...
Love Royce

Sharon said...

Hi Crystal! I found your blog from Rachels. It was fun reading back on your entries. I hear about you guys from Gary's point of view, which is usually what car was driven and little else! :)