Friday, July 31, 2009

Health Care Give away

Okay, it's out, I think the government should have some sort of health care plan. I know this is such a hot issue...Alvin and I even disagree on it. It's just too darn expensive.

Our health insurance went up this month. It does that every other year, regardless of if we've used it or not...we always use it a little.

So guess how much we pay (now) for health insurance? No really, add a comment -- be sure to leave your name if you don't have a blog account. And for the person who guesses closest, I am going to send you a jar of Strawberry Jam that I made this month: made with apple juice, not sugar, so it has a little tartness, but I think it's delicious.

To assist you in your guessing, here's the kind of coverage we have. We cover our family of 5 (although the 5th is "free" because family coverage is for 4). It's good coverage. We pay a $20 co-pay at the doctor, and we pay 20 percent of surgeries, hospital stays, etc. I don't know about prescriptions for certain, but I think it's $10 for generic and 30% of name brands. Of course, we are non smokers, under 40 and I have high blood pressure and Alvin has allergies.

In case you haven't been informed, it's Hotter than hell here. Wednesday broke the records and was 108 degrees, yesterday it hit 97. Today is going to be a cool 88. I spent the past 2 days at my moms so I could enjoy the AC they installed as part of their remodel. {I was pregnant and on bedrest in July, 3 years ago...and to cool off, I would go to my moms with out AC. So Glad I am not pregnant}

I am headed off this weekend with Alvin's brothers wives to Lake Tahoe. A first for me to be away from my boys for more than one night. I am really looking forward to it.

Don't forget to leave your guess...the jam is really worth it! I'll let you know the answer on Wednesday, when I return.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Lake!

In case you haven't heard, the pacific north west has been hit by a heat wave. Since it's unbearable inside our house, I am writing this with many interruptions at my mom's house (she has A/C.

Every year, my Aunt Twila invites us to join them at the "cabin" at the lake and last year, we went. We had a good enough time, that we joined them again this year. My uncles family has owned this cabin for 30+ years and every year they bring family and friends to enjoy Lake Billy Chinook, which is less than a mile from the cabin. What should have been a 5-6 hour drive down (and back) ended up being well over 9 hours, because of the kids. We arrived in Culver Oregon about 11:00pm and the kids insisted that we pitch the tent, because we told them we'd be camping. We did it in the dark, and it was well after 1am when the kids finally settled down.

Friday morning, we hit the lake. With temperatures in the high 90's the cool water was a welcome relief. My uncle took us all out for a ride in his boat in the mid afternoon. Paxton loved going fast (and closing his eyes and sticking his tongue out) and Quincy loved jumping off the boat and swimming back to the ladder and doing it again.

After hours in the sun, we headed back to the cabin for dinner and instead of putting the kids to bed, we went for a drive to pick up a few things in town. While on our way back, we were in an accident (more on that later) but no one was hurt.

Saturday morning, back to the lake, and this time we went out on the boat first thing, with my cousins and some friends. Both guys are great skiers and patient enough to let Alvin water ski for the first time in many, many years. We allowed Finn to take off his lifejacket for a few minutes to practice diving, but it scared me...just look at the sides of the lake if you want a feel for how deep it is, and the lake is HUGE.The cabin is really a glorified 3 car garage with a bathroom and kitchen. We sleep in the tent for privacy (and the fact that I have a hard time with all the dogs there) but we spent a lot of time inside around the table. Sunday we needed a break from the heat and headed south of Bend to Newberry Volcanic National Monument. Since it was still early, we drove to the top of a cinder cone and looked down into the crater. You can kind of see off in the distance that this whole area was created by volcanic activity...there are three tectonic plates that converge there.The following pictures were from the Lava Cast Forest. I wasn't able to go on the hike because the twins were asleep in the car, but Finn had a great time hamming it up for a group of geology students there...he was the only one small enough to climb into the cracks. Apparently, the lava flowed and splashed up around trees...when the trees died off, they left these holes, hundreds of them. Alvin said he was afraid to let Finn climb into the really dark ones for fear of Rattlesnakes (when I see one, I don't think I will be able to go back there).During the hot afternoon, we went down into the Lava Caves. It's was a cool 42 degrees, compared to the 101 outside, this was nice. We didn't bring enough jackets for the twins, so we did a shift, Q wore Finn's, Finn wore mine and I went with out. Since I ended up carrying Quincy most of the way, I was able to stay warm. Pictures don't do it justice, it was about a mile long and as you would expect, completely dark. The park rents lanterns, which would have been nice (when not holding a kid) but we managed with our flashlights. We didn't see bats, but supposedly they are there. We headed home Monday, through temperatures of 103 just south of Olympia. Fortunatly, McDonalds was giving out free mochas, so we stopped a few times for chocolate milk for the kids.

And here is the damage to the car...fortunately it's drivable, because the estimate I got said they needed the car for 8 days...I know my Aunt and Uncle would have been happy to have us for 8 days, but I don't know that I could have camped that long.

Monday, July 13, 2009

So much going on...

...and nothing seems exciting enough to report. So I am posting a few pictures from the past little while.
On the first of July, I made 40 half pints of strawberry jam. Since strawberries were on sale, I thought I should buy 12 flats. I didn't realize that one flat made more than one recipe and I was completely burned out when finished. There are also 10+ quart sized bags of frozen strawberries in the freezer. I have been informed that my jam is the best on my homemade bread...even still, it is going to take us 10 years to get through the jam I have put up in the past 2 years. And tomorrow, I am headed to pick raspberries. Paxton loves berries more than any other kid I know, so when we saw this monster in a package, we had to buy it for him...everyone else enjoyed smaller strawberries.
We went to Old Man Beach...I've lived here for many years, and it's hard to believe I didn't go until this summer. It's a nice little beach, somewhat sandy (compared to others here) with a great view. the day we went, it was only about 65 degrees, but that didn't stop the boys from getting wet.My mom and I went to this years Rotary Auction, like the biggest yard sale you've ever seen, and I bought this Cloche at my first stop...that means, I had to carry it (backpack) for the rest of the morning. Few other great finds, a lampshade--second stop (kind of dumb because I had to carry that too), a few baskets I used as drawers in the kids cupboard and a springy rocking horse that now lives at the farm. I baked this loaf of bread in my find the next day.Finn and Alvin rode with my dad and Sol in the 4th of July parade. It was a very last minute thing, and they were the very tail end of the parade. Good thing, because my dad's horse pooped and he didn't bring a pooper scooper (I wasn't volunteering--I have 2 little ones). Finn loved being in the parade, but I think he missed catching candy and warching the parade.

We went to a fantastic 4th of July party on the beach and watched the best fireworks display launched right in front of us. Alvin was in heaven, because he got to help launch and didn't have to pay for it. This is the beach at sunset--a bit before the "main" fireworks.

We had some "new" people move into the cottage on Saturday, only they lived their 15 years ago. They have a son Finns age and we are so excited to have them here. Finn has had so much fin having his own playmate, that he hasn't pestered his brothers at all in the past few days.

It was hot Saturday, so the kids talked Bubba into swimming in the pond (I took the pictures, I wasn't getting into that water). Paxton took his first dip in the pond and wasn't thrilled. Quincy slept through it all, but if Pax wasn't having fun, Quince would have hated it.Funny how little kids aren't bothered by a little algea.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Mommy, I'm good at climbing trees!"

Quincy announces proudly. And technically, he is good at climbing trees. It's getting down that has him stumped. The pictures don't show it well, but he was at least 10 feet up on branches that wouldn't support a 30 pound kid (he isn't there yet). Ten feet not be much of a problem for a 7 foot tall man with a 3 foot reach, but I am only a little over 5 feet. Fortunately, Alvin was home and dressed (I wasn't..thank goodness we don't have neighbors) and was able to climb up a few feet to get him down.

How long do I have to leave him up there to get him to stop climbing? Oh, and I had just sent him outside 2 minutes earlier.