Thursday, July 31, 2008

1.5 minutes of fame - more to come...

Whatever is that channel 2 news mobile doing in our driveway?

What's that? A huge camera in Alyssa's room?

And just who is that guy with the camera in Alyssa's room?!?

Hey, what about that cute blondie handing out water bottles?

Tune in to this blog tomorrow after 5:00


if you live in the Boise area, turn on your TV to
channel 2
to see Alyssa's 1.5 minutes of famous, glorious, camera time!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here Fishy, Fishy...

Well, another sign that summer is on its way out and fall is right around the corner: swim team is over. For 10 years we've spent the first two full months of summer at the pool - I guess I shouldn't say "we" though, because it's just been Kourtni, Lindsay, and Payton attempting to grow gills!
I spend the time that the kids are in the water climbing Table Rock with my friend and fellow swim team mom, Jenn. It's a great summer activity for the kids: it gets them up and out of bed, it gives them a good workout, they get in terrific shape, they get to compete (which is great for them), they get to see their friends daily, and they become excellent swimmers to boot. This summer we had 4 meets plus the city meet last weekend. It's a summer tradition to sit in the stifling heat, during the hottest part of the day, on the last Friday and Saturday of July, waiting for each child to swim in his or her event and in his or her heat - then to venture into the humid, muggy, sticky indoor pool at the West YMCA where sauna-like conditions exist. (Did I mention it's hot in there?) After the first night of city, I feel like I've lost about 5 pounds of water weight, and I look like a wilted plant.

It's a great tradition, though, however hot it may be. The kids look forward to it and rarely complain about competing, swimming, or socializing with their friends! We like it so much, we'll do it again next summer!

Kourtni - before water
got in her goggles and
she started to swim like
a blind fish!

What would a meet be like without making friendship bracelets?

Payton and his medley
relay team that took
1st place in city!

Kourtni (white cap) on the starting block.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


When I was a child, there were many summer mornings when my 2 brothers, 5 sisters, and I would awaken to two children's wading pools full of beans and peas, picked by my father and ready to be snipped and shelled so my mother could freeze them and can them. You see, when I was a child, our family grew three gardens.

  • One in front complete with grapes on vines and yummy strawberries. (We had to fight the birds for them...)
  • Two in the back yard brimming with rows of corn, green beans, peas, and tomatoes.
We each were assigned rows to weed, and we knew how to work in the summer!

My father also had a coop full of chickens. I stayed away from those dirty birds - I was afraid of getting my eyes pecked! ( I was much shorter then...) I rarely ever ventured into their lair for eggs because:
  1. it smelled
  2. it was dark
  3. I didn't want to die a pecking death!
Needless to say, my brothers were the egg gatherers, and, yes, my father was the butcher when the time came.

My mother canned everything she could: fish my dad caught, pie cherries, peaches that we helped pluck from the trees, pears, apricots from the apricot tree in the yard, beans from the garden, raspberries from Bear Lake, and, yes, even tomatoes from the garden. Aside from canning, she froze peas and corn from the garden, and made oodles of freezer jam: strawberry and raspberry. She even made concentrated purple grape juice from the rows of grapes in the front garden to be served only at Sunday dinner. What an industrious woman she had to be - to feed 8 mouths in a time when money was tight. It seemed like the normal thing to do when I was a child. Only now do I realize what a chore it all was. It was work, but it was worth the effort when we got to eat from those delicious bottles of golden peaches and savor the yummy jam on her homemade bread. It was normal to us.

I gave Alyssa a book for Christmas entitled Plenty. I thought she would enjoy it because of its "back to nature" subtitle. However, I ended up reading it after she decided it was a little too slow for her. I needed a good read for the summer during my lazy afternoons at the pool. This book didn't disappoint me. I really enjoyed reading the month by month account of the food that was to be found in the authors' 100-mile diet. As I reached the last month's account, I had so many memories flood my brain about my childhood food experiences, that I just had to share and recommend the book to anyone who may have "endured" those summer mornings of picking, plucking, snipping, and shelling. Wow. I feel spoiled and a bit lazy that I haven't carried on any of the childhood canning, bottling, freezing, and pressure cookering that my incredible mother did regularly each year. "Times they are a changin'"

Read this book. I don't know that you or I would be able or willing to eat like the authors, but it'll make you think about the food you eat and it may influence your food choices for the better.

May you all have Plenty!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The UPS Man

For those of you that know us well, you know that UPS has been our bread and butter for the last 18 years of our marriage. It's been an interesting ride for Billy, and each day has brought its challenges, frustrations, demands, and, on a lighter note, funny stories to tell.

So, it's no wonder that when we heard about Conan being a UPS man for the day we had to check it out. You might not get the belly laughs that we got while watching this, but, in your job you probably don't get to deal with the interesting, peculiar, and strange circumstances that come with delivering precious packages to people...

Anyway, check out the link below and enjoy a laugh on us!'Brien/video/#mea=278100

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dream

I always know when school is right around the corner. Not because of the date, not because of the way the evening starts to get darker earlier (wipe away a tear), and not because my kids are starting to get bored.

Nope. I always know when school is right around the corner because of: THE DREAM. ***Those two words should be said in a menacing voice followed with a wicked laugh.***

I go to bed at night with high hopes of getting a restful night of zzzz's, only to be tormented with THE DREAM. It goes like this: The school year has started. (joy.) Kris is teaching in the Kindergarten classroom with children who look much too old to be in Kindergarten mixed in with children who were in her class last year. The children are pretty much out of control, and around 11:00 in the morning, she realizes there is another teacher in the room. This teacher, who has no face, is wondering why Kris is teaching her class. OH. NO. realizes Kris. She's been in the wrong classroom for most of the morning. What on earth will her principal think? What on earth have her class of 5th graders been doing for 2 and a half hours in her absence? As she runs out of the Kindergarten classroom she can't remember where her real class is and none of her "supposed" teaching friends won't help her out. No. They are too busy teaching their classes.

This is the part where I wake up panicked and anxious about the new school year to come.

Oh, but that's not the only one. There is another DREAM:

In this dream I'm too busy to show up to school until 12:30 in the afternoon. I arrive at school realizing my mistake and jet up the stairs to my class of 5th graders. Surprisingly, they are sitting there patiently waiting for me. But, I cannot find any white paper anywhere. My teaching partner across the hall is NO HELP. She won't even loan me a piece. She tells me she doesn't know where I can find any, and asks where I've been. The sad part is - I don't know where I've been! But it hasn't been at school, that's for sure! I run down the stairs, run down another set of stairs, then another, and another, and I cannot find any white paper! No teachers are of any help to me. They just keep belittling me because I'm so late for school. At that point I can't take it anymore and I WAKE UP!

Yes, I don't get much REM stage sleep during the last part of July and during the entire month of August. So if you see me staggering around, not making any sense, and begging for just one piece of white paper, you'll know why.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back in one piece!!!

Bill and Payton bonded this past week. Bonded on two wheeled motorcycles in eastern Idaho in the mountains where Bill spent many days herding sheep, riding horses, riding his own motorcycle as a child, and getting back to nature. When he told me of his idea, I thought, "sure, you can take Payton to eastern Idaho where it's all sage brushy, flat desert area." But when I found out it was to be a trip to the MOUNTAINS I became troubled...Yes, to say the least I was afraid Payton would get hurt and break something. After all, the most mountainous terrain on which he has ridden consists of small dirt hills at the side of the neighborhood. I was concerned, but, determined not to be a nervous, hovering mother. After all, I think Billy was more excited than Payton and I did not want to be a pain.

It was funny to watch them get ready and load up...

I mean

two motorcycles, sleeping bags, helmets, a cooler, a toolbox, BB guns, a bag for clothes, and a tent into the back of the little Toyota pickup. But, when all was said and done, they did it, took Alyssa along for the ride - she just CANNOT get enough of Idaho Falls (!)

and left Kourtni, Lindsay, and me at home ready for a couple of days of girl bonding. Bring on the shopping, going out to lunch, and movies!!!

Needless to say, the trip went without a hitch. They took Ryker and David along for the riding and the boys had a blast, because not only did they ride, but they got to shoot guns as well...I think I smell testosterone?! (and don't worry, no animals were injured by the shooting of the least not by Payton anyway.)

No broken bones, no broken motorcycles, and the Toyota lived to see another day of driving Alyssa to work. Yay!

We met them in Twin Falls Friday afternoon and went through the new Twin Falls Temple before its dedication. What a beautiful building it is. Such detail and intricacies! the decor was amazing and very well thought out. I was very touched to be in the temple with my family - to be all together in such a special place. A truly great day!

And, yes, we all made it home in one piece! Whew...

Thanks for taking care of my Payton, Bill!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Here's to raising good women...

I came across this inspirational saying and had to include it on my blog due to the fact that I am intently trying to raise 3 good women in my home while trying to be one myself.

It's difficult at times when hormones are heavy in the air.

Or when we each want to be a mother to a certain young 10 year old boy in the family.

Or when we disagree on what constitutes a "clean" room, bathroom, or kitchen.

Or when no one wants to answer the phone when it rings right where we're sitting.

Or when the Disney channel is labeled as "good tv".

Or when clean, folded clothes get trampled under foot in the bedroom.

Yes, I'm trying to raise 3 good women. There are lots of life lessons to teach and I feel overwhelmed at times. But when I take each day as it comes and realize my deep love for them, understanding that they won't truly appreciate what I'm doing until they have children of their own, it seems just fine.

Here's to good women: I was raised by one, I know LOTS of them, I'm trying to raise 3 of them, and I'm trying to be one of them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Motorcyle Mania

I married a country boy. I mean this in the most positive of ways. I realized he was a country boy when I first met him and read on his driver's license that his address was "one mile past general store, turn right one mile". No. I'm not making that up!

He is a true country boy because he got his first "moving citation" when he was only 8 years old. You see, out in the country, young boys can drive huge water trucks that hold millions of gallons of water on highways; at least that's what Bill's father thought! Yes, he was pulled over by one of West Jefferson's finest as he was making his way down the Monteview Highway and could barely see over the dashboard while driving the water truck to several hundred thirsty sheep. The policeman stopped him, put little Billy in the police car, and immediately took him to dad. Needless to say, Bill didn't drive again until he was 10.

Other things country boys like to do are ride motorcycles. They get their first motorcycle as a baby shower gift, and they just keep getting bigger year by year. Well, even though we don't live in the country, Bill has always wanted to get another motorcycle. AND, he wanted to get Payton a motorcycle. MOM, however, didn't like this idea, but MOM didn't grow up in the country - well, 2 1/2 acres was a little country, but I digress... MOM didn't like this idea. I was against it, oh yes, very against it. But, Bill is a grown man, makes a living for this family, and can make his own decisions. He got a motorcycle. So did Payton. And I'm OK with it...Now.

I admit I think it's cute when they go riding together with their helmets and boots and paraphernalia associated with motorcycle riding. I like the way they are engaged in such a fun bonding activity. I like to see them load up the little pickup and squeeze their bikes into the back of it. I like the way Payton is still very timid about his speed and can't do a wheelie yet, and I like the way they come back at the end of the day in one piece, with a story to tell about the day. Don't tell anyone, but I even like to try out Payton's bike once in a while and feel the wind in my hair and the weeds and dirt in my flipflops!

Yep, it's motorcycle mania at the Ball house - as I'm writing this, those two are out on the dirt trails. Hopefully Payton will keep it under 10 MPH!

Payton and the paraphernalia

The one hander...

Preparing for the jump...

The "Jump"

Our newest "Brace Face"

Teeth have been the subject at our house lately. Payton is missing 6 permanent teeth and will eventually have to have something done.. you know, braces on the top teeth, caps on the babies on the bottom, eventually implants in the lower jaw - and not just one implant, S.I.X. oohhh, I'm not looking forward to that! Lindsay has practically perfect teeth thanks to excellent permanent top teeth coming in and filling out her cute signature gap! Alyssa has teeth that I think are very nice, but, alas, they are not to her liking. Since we want her to be a happy camper, and since senior pictures are coming up, we decided to put braces on her as well BUT, not in the form of traditional ones, nope, she gets INVISALIGN! Yep, the ortho told her she was a perfect candidate for those plastic little trays that can be taken out during eating and brushing. Let's just remember to put them back in, please! And now we get to Kourtni. Of course she is a good candidate for invisalign as well due to the fact that she and Alyssa have identical chompers - but - she isn't a senior in high school and she'll have a lot on her mind besides putting trays in and out of her mouth when she eats at the delicious bistro they call the lunch room once school starts again! She needed something permanently attached to those pearlies, so we opted for the heavy metal version.

We're new to braces. Bill never had them and neither did I (maybe in the future, though!), so we aren't very sympathetic or knowledgeable. All the food I had in the house when Kourtni got them on were steak, apples, jerky, chips, and carmels. Not exactly brace"able" food!

After a couple of miserable days and people telling Kourtni that she would feel better in about a month (wow, that's a long time for Kourtni to be miserable.), we made her comfortable with Advil and Advil PM. For several days her diet consisted of: partially microwaved popsicles, applesauce, fruit smoothies, ice cream shakes, soggy cereal, chicken noodle soup, shaved ice, and yogurt.

***Note to self: no more steak, jerky, carmels or whole apples when a child gets braces placed upon their teeth...

Thankfully, after 4 days, Kourtni is back to her cheerful self minus the sad looks, blue moods, and painful expressions. Only one year to go!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Fabulous Fourth

Happy belated 4th of July! We had a day of Alyssa-less activities due to the fact that she stayed in Idaho Falls with Julie and Lexi after her college road trip with Bill. So, it was just the 5 of us! We miss you, Alyssa! Come home soon!

Bill and I started our day off by playing our new sport that makes us feel old - TENNIS! Yes, we bought rackets, balls, and cute carrying cases. We like to spend time together chasing balls around a huge dog kennel! teehee! It was fun and we got into the spirit of Wimbledon! We even watched Nadal play some poor German guy and whoop his behind! (Bill was Nadal and I was the poor German guy...)

Anyway, our friends the Schultz's invited us to their shindig, and what a party it was - complete with a giant water slide, good food, Sonic ice in a cup (thanks for the tip Tracy and Beth - I'm officially addicted to those delicious nuggets of happiness), yummy desserts, lots of red vines, and plenty of laughs. Thanks, Chip and Tracy! We had fun with you!

Fly-boy, Payton!Leapin' Lindsay!

Kruisin' Kourtni!

All the gals.

After our excellent meal, games, and conversation, we said good-bye to the party goers and all rode our bikes to our nearby neighborhood park to watch the fireworks. Instead of being "ooohhhed" and "aaahhhhed" by official display from the city, we were treated to a display of about $3000 worth of illegal stuff that a cul de sac near the park lit. What a sight! It was way better than the ones the city let off a couple of miles away!
We then rode home in the dark - yikes - and called it a day!
Happy birthday, America, land that we LOVE!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Main Street Mile

I bet you thought you were getting a 4th of July post right??? Well, nope. Not really. I'm catching up from about a week ago when Lindsay, Payton, and Lindsay's friend Amanda decided to try out their running skills at the hottest time of the day, during the hottest time of the year, in the hottest part of the city, with the most kids and their protective parents on earth!!! Bring it on, Main Street Mile!

Boise is a great place to live and to run races in. There are lots of races and plenty of kid friendly ones to boot. We missed the Capital Classic this year, so decided to go for this one. Hey, when you get free Power bars, water, and chocolate milk what's not to love?

We arrived early. Really early. Too early to even get a free Power bar to fuel running bodies, and early enough to hear a fretful Payton wanting to run one mile instead of the 1/2 mile he was (accidentally - oops...) signed up for. You see we arrived at about 5:40 and the race for these kids didn't begin until around 6:45. Duh, Kris. Anyway we waited for the opening of the boxes of Power bars at 6:00 precisely.

The kids noshed on Power bars and waited...

and waited...

and waited some more until it was finally their turn!

Whew, let the running begin!
Mom even caught some video of the race...

The kids made it in about 8 minutes 4 seconds and immediately headed across the street to cool off in the fountain and to stretch their muscles. We were even pleasantly surprised to see that Alyssa and Cloey had roller bladed all the way from our house to the Grove!!! Yes, they rollerbladed all the way there! Needless to say, Mom gave them a ride back home.