Monday, August 30, 2010

Since summer is so rudely coming to an end, I wanted to mention some things we did that didn't get posted, or that we didn't get pictures of.

-Early in the summer Ryan's mom had the boys spend the night and took them to catch some tadpoles. They brought a few home, and we actually kept them alive long enough for at least one of them to turn into a (tiny) frog.

-Alex and Ben took swimming lessons. Charlie was annoyed that he didn't get to take swimming lessons.

-Alex took a little geology class where he learned about different types of rocks, started a rock collection, and made a volcano.

-Benjamin learned to tie his shoes! With both Alex and Benjamin I have intended to teach them, but Ryan ends up sitting with them and teaching them. Benjamin is very persistent and doesn't want me helping at all with his shoes anymore. He's getting pretty good at it.

-I made several batches of strawberry freezer jam. For one batch I even tried a recipe with less sugar. It still has plenty of sugar so it's still good.

-After living near Los Angeles for eight years we finally went to the Griffith Observatory. We attempted to go a couple months ago but made the mistake of going in the evening on a weekend (that night we ended up going to Universal Citywalk instead- which was another fun night for the kids). This time we tried to get there right at opening and were barely able to get into one of the shows in the Planetarium. I don't know if the kids really learned anything but it was neat and it was relaxing enough to put Ryan to sleep.

first day of school

Alex and Ben started school on August 12th. Yes, that's way too early. But, judging by the pictures they were excited. We had to start at a new school since ours was closed due to budget cuts. Alex is in 3rd grade and is in a 2-3 split classroom, and Benjamin is in 1st grade in a K-1 split. We'll see how that whole split thing goes. So far they're doing just fine.

another fire

So, three days after that palm tree burned (which turned out to be caused by a six year old with a lighter) we had another fire a few blocks away. After church I heard helicopters but didn't think much of it until Ryan came home from a meeting and told me to look outside. This one was caused by some teenagers smoking marijuana in a field. We had a great view from our backyard of the helicopters making the drops and were amazed at how accurate they were. A few families in the ward had to evacuate but there was no damage other than some singed backyards.


(When the neighbors cut down the burned palm tree it fell on our fence so part of it had to be replaced- hence the three "orange" boards.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

just a little fire with breakfast

We had an adventure this morning. Here's what Ryan wrote about it:

How a Haslam became a hero on 8/5/2010 at oh-eight-hundred-thirty-two hours:
Whilst I was getting ready for a ho-hum day at work, I noticed what sounded like a jet airliner flying awfully low over our house. It also seemed to linger over our backyard so I went back to investigate. To my surprise I found a massive inferno had lit up in my backyard. The 30-ft tall King palm was now a king-size flaming torch. I could feel the heat from 50 yards away (even though my backyard is only 20 yards wide). The sound was a terrible roar that seemed to mock me as I reached for my desperately impotent garden hose. As I tentatively approached the eternally ascending column of fire, I looked back at my loving wife. She was obviously so worried for my safety that she didn't think to grab the camera to get my heroism on camera. I couldn't worry about that now. There were old, dry trees nearby, a neighbor's dead lawn, and my precious cedar fence that were in immediate danger. They called to me for refuge from the scorching flames- and I was the only one to provide the sweet safety of wintry, wet water. Well, me and the 84 year old grandma next-door neighbor, who apparently has a hose with more water pressure than mine. Still I was able to spill some water on the ashes by the time my hose could reach the fire.
Here is a link to the aftermath video (also shows the 84 year old grandma next door in her nightgown)

Grandma Haslam

Ryan's Grandma Maggie Haslam died last week at the age of 94. We are grateful that she went peacefully and we know that she was ready to be reunited with her husband and two of her daughters who had gone before her.
I don't have a lot of memories of Grandma Haslam but there is one that stands out:

The first time I met Ryan's grandparents was when we were at BYU and drove down to St George for a weekend. On Sunday Grandma made a lasagna for dinner. It was in one of those kind of cardboard pans and when she pulled it out of the oven it collapsed and splattered onto the floor. She didn't know what to do but we all told her to just scoop it back in and we'd still eat it. (Grandma had a reputation for keeping her kitchen very clean, and literally had a floor you could eat off of.)
Well, we ate and later that day went for a drive around Cedar City. On the drive Grandma just started laughing hysterically (which was pretty uncharacteristic of her) and finally blurted out, "I can't believe I dropped the lasagna on the floor!" Then she turned around and pointed to all of us in the back (Ryan, Dave, Rebecca, and I), and said, "and YOU ate it!"

science day

My assignment on the summer activity calendar that my friend organizes every year was to host a science day. I spent some time perusing Steve Spangler's website and we ended up doing these experiments:
vinegar and baking soda in a bottle- blowing up a balloon
and, of course, the mentos/diet coke geyser.

We had a great turnout, and all the experiments went really well. Alex dressed up as a mad scientist to answer the door and had "Weird Science" blasting through the speakers. I was too busy to get any pictures of the action (which is too bad, especially for the mentos experiment), but here is the aftermath on the patio table.

Messy, but very fun.

Haslam Rodeo

We celebrated the 24th of July with a Haslam Rodeo. This was an attempt to recreate a similar event that took place 20 years ago with Ryan and all his cousins. This time the events included barrel racing, lassoing, BB gun shooting, watermelon seed spitting, pie eating contests, chicken chasing, three legged races, and a wet sponge war to top it all off.

Airband 2

Our friends hosted another Airband day this summer (just like last year's).
The boys are always much more animated at home practicing than during the actual "performance". This year they rocked out to "Elevation" by U2.

Here they are in costume before we headed out for the big show.