Monday, August 31, 2009

School Days

If you look closely, you'll see Katie is quite toothless at this moment since losing her front teeth this summer and if you look even closer, you'll see Alexis is sporting a fresh coat of lightly colored lipgloss!

Today is the first day of school at our house! Derek is a high school freshman (yes, you and I are BOTH that old!), Evan is in 7th, Alexis is in 4th and Katie is in 2nd grade. The boys were much too cool for me to take their pictures, but the girls were giddy with excitement this morning at starting a new school year and taking all their new supplies with them. Remember that new classroom smell? Love it! Now, time for me to get some work done around here!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


They got about 12 quarts of honey in all. Beautiful!
Derek and JD's hard work pays off!
Flowing from the extractor...
The honey extractor pulls the honey off the comb by spinning it.
Some of the honey packed in the hive's screens. Just needs a good spin!

In the early spring, JD announced that he wanted a motorcycle. Hmm. Then he announced that he wanted to raise honeybees and have Derek sell the honey for his mission fund. Hmm. We didn't have the time and/or money for both and needed to make a decision. Bees won (duh, have my husband riding a bike in the snow?) and we bought two hives that we keep on the blueberry farm across the river.

Each week since then, JD and Derek drive over there and clean and monitor the hives. Today was harvest! Look what beautiful honey they gave me! Next year they will have enough for Derek to sell at the farmer's market, but this year is for my food storage needs.

All good things must come to an end...

The Troy family reveal their true identity with our RI guests at the closing ceremonies.
Much better...
John and the rest of the all-star World Series team.

Well, our time is up with our new friends from Rhode Island. They went home this morning after 11 days with our family. It was a wonderful experience and we are so glad we had an opportunity to get to know these great kids and share this once-in-a-lifetime World Series with them. Hopefully we showed them some good times here in the northwest with our goofy family. They are talented athletes, but they are very nice people too. Hard to say goodbye, but hopefully we'll see them again! STAY IN TOUCH, guys!

Beach Bums

Another "sunny" day at the beach!
Hamming it up in the arcade.
Alexis can't stifle her excitement after winning from the taffy factory's wheel of fortune!
Evan, Derek and Alex get ready to test the Tilt-A-Whirl's ability to induce nausea.
John in hot pursuit of JD and Katie's bumper car. Katie looks nervous with Daddy's driving.

By the end of the week, we gained two more Cranston teammates (Steve and Ryan) when their host parents had to go away for the weekend. More polite Cranstonites! Since it was their final day here, we decided they HAD to go to the Pacific Ocean. That way they can say they went coast to coast. We piled everyone into a few vehicles and headed west to Seaside, Oregon. The weather was lousy, but we made the most of it. The RI boys wanted to know why people weren't sunbathing and swimming. I had to explain it was because the Pacific up here is FREEZING cold and no one is that desperate to swim in it. Immediately Evan offered to go for a "polar bear swim" and waited for a companion to join him. Dead air and no swim.

Seaside has a promenade downtown with shops, restaurants, an arcade and some carnival rides. Here's a few pictures of all the kids enjoying the sights of the beach!

Waa, waa, waa, waaaaah

Smores fix ANYTHING!
Friends always make things better!
Though you'd never know it from this sad face, Alex was actually the game's MVP.
The sign on this face says, "Do not bug me."
The final scoreboard shows the bad news.

Wednesday was the first game of the series semi-finals. Unfortunately, Cranston was beat by Nederland, TX, 3-2. As you can see, the boys were not happy about this at all. We tried to cheer them up by having a little get-together at the house later that night. Seemed to work. Good news now is that the pressure is off of them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fun, fun, fun in the sun

Alexis isn't sure it was such a good idea to come with over 25 boys and only 2 girls...
Super Swimmer Katie doesn't care WHO is in the pool--she's in there!
Evan and Alex fishing on the Brill's little lake.
Katie wrestling John for a pool toy. Looks like he's gonna win.
John, a teammate and Evan playing some hoops between food breaks.
"Look what I got, Ma!" Alex displaying the catch of the day.
Derek's in the background putting another pole together and
"releasing" more of the catfish brought in.

Our Longview Babe Ruth team (also in the quarter finals!!) hosted a party for all their team and parents and invited the Cranston team and parents. With swimming, volleyball, crochet, fishing, basketball and LOTS of food, the kids had a great time. Derek served as the official "catch and release" man and loaded up the poles for the kids. Our friends have 37 acres of wonderful property and were nice enough to invite us all up for the day. Wore out our welcome and stayed until after 7, but the Cranstonites thought it was too fun to leave. Thanks, Brills!

"Car 19, we have a situation here..."

Must have been good--there's none left.
You can see the police lights behind the car.
Alex is clearly appreciating Evan and Derek's pork product jokes
from the backseat while John offers a comment or two.

After the boys game (they lost), we took them out for pizza at Pietro's. For those of you who grew up with Pietro's you KNOW what I'm talking about. It was the best! Especially when my Uncle Dave was the manager at the Auburn store and we'd get free pizza. Loved it. Anyway, had some pie and then headed out. Shortly after starting home, we were followed by a policeman. We weren't speeding and all was well. Imagine our surprise to see the party lights behind us! Arrgh! He approached the car and said our registration tabs were expired. What?! Guess JD is right that we need to go through the paperwork in the bill box, huh? While he checked my SQUEAKY CLEAN driver's license, the kids in the back thought it would be funny to make bacon jokes and some snorting sounds. Real funny, guys. Anyway, he was nice enough to just let us off with a warning. Got the new tabs the next day so we shouldn't have anymore incidents that require law enforcement.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Golfing the day away

Since the Cranston boys didn't have a game until later in the day, we decided to try a little mini-golfing that morning at the Golf-O-Rama (yeah, it's real name). Johnny assured us that "no one has ever beat me in miniature golf." Hmmm. That seems like a challenge, doesn't it? Needless to say, someone else won the low score (HINT: See bowling winner in earlier post). We all had fun and enjoyed a milkshake at the neighboring "Steakburger." Good times.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First time bowlers

All the gang!
Ever feel like you're being watched?
Not our happiest bowlers (ie, lowest scores)

"Ahhh, bummer! I thought I had that one!"

Alex willing the ball to lean the other way. The ball won.
Good form, John. We especially like that fancy backstepping motion!

We decided to take everyone bowling after the opening ceremonies. The Cranston boys said they had never been bowling with real bowling balls, just something called Duckpin Bowling where they use a smaller balls with no finger holes and short, stubby pins (apparently big on the east coast and RI). They were excited to try something new! We piled everyone into the cars and headed down to the Triangle Bowl for a late night game. We invited another host family, the Brumbaughs, to join us and their two Cranston kids. It was very fun to see them try it, but more fun to see how mad JD and Derek get when they bowl. We Troys are WAY too competitive! P.S. Terri won and Katie was in second! Girl power!

Opening Ceremonies

Both boys are walking right in front of the white chairs
Nice paint job, huh? This painter was AMAZING.

After the derby, there was a BBQ for all the participants and host families. Afterwards, the official ceremonies began. I tried to get a few pictures of our Cranston players being introduced last night. It's a bit far off, but Alex is #9 and John is #12. After their first opponents were announced, both teams exchanged gifts from their hometowns. It was a nice touch to bond the kids a little. Night went a little long for our taste (and it was 62 degrees by then!), but all in all it was memorable.

Second Place!

Last night was the opening ceremonies for the Babe Ruth World Series. It was organized and well done. They started off with the home run derby. John represented Cranston's team. Of all ten teams, only one player from West Fargo, ND, hit a home run, so he won. Since nine other guys were in his position, it didn't seem to bother John. He took it in stride and his only comment was, "At least I came in second!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Welcome Team Cranston!

Evan and Derek explaining the finer points of fishing, as well as pool and spa jumping.
John trying to warm up (or cool down?)
Buck has found a new friend (and handy back scratcher) in Alex.
John and Alex

This week our hometown is hosting the 15 year old Babe Ruth World Series. That means 10 teams from around the country will be here for nearly two weeks through pool and bracket play. We decided to host a few of the players, but didn't know where they were going to be coming from. Drumroll are our players!...John Razzino and Alex Moretti, from Cranston, Rhode Island! Cranston is the New England Regional Champions. John plays shortstop (Evan's position too!) and Alex is their 3rd baseman. They are a bit jet-lagged, but otherwise seem to be doing great and are very polite. We kept them up a little late last night with our famous hot tub vs. pool jumping. They might be tired, but will probably beat the jet-lag faster that way. Tonight is the home run derby and family BBQ. Rumor is that John may be Cranston's selection for the derby. We'll cross our fingers!!! I think JD is taking the four boys fishing tomorrow night after the game. Alex and John heard all about the steelhead fish in the local rivers. Friday is their first game against Kelso, Wa. We don't know too many kids on that Kelso team, so we'll be rooting for Cranston and our guests. When they play the Longview team next week, we'll have a hard time choosing sides since lots of Derek's friends are on that team. Decisions, decisions! Guess we'll cheer for both!

Dress Up

The girls decided to play dress up the other night. Unfortunately for Buck the Dog, he was going to have to be in on it all too. Hopefully this doesn't affect his reputation with the other neighborhood dogs and his masculinity is still in tact. Oh, what a dog won't do for his kids...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wild Waves

The mighty hunter and his "kill."
Ahh. Poor Terri came up empty-handed...
Yikes! Don't fall off the boat!
"I dare this wall of water to get ME wet..."

JD and I finally got away for a much-needed vacation--ALONE! We don't go away as often as we'd like or as we should, so we try and squeeze a lot into each time. This anniversary we decided to try a vacation without planning. HARD for me. Without any plans or hotel rooms, we headed out of town. The first thing we tried was white-water rafting. Note to future rafters: The front paddlers get wet, very wet. Also, the river water was freezing, but the company was great! We had a ball going down the McKenzie River in southwestern Oregon. This river is only a class two but had a few class three dives (VERY FUN). Next time we do this we'll try a class three for a little more excitement. Another day we rented a boat and fished for trout. JD caught three! I got skunked but loved watching JD reel 'em in! The highlight was our lake picnic aboard the boat. The bad news about the trip is that we are now addicted to IHOP's Hawaiian pancakes with bananas and Macadamia nuts. Darned those IHOP people! BAD. Very BAD!! So bad we had them TWO days in a row (just thinking about them now makes my mouth water). Big thanks to JD's mom, Donna, for having the kids stay with her the whole time. With snorkeling, swimming, golfing, hiking and fishing, they had as much fun as we did!