Fear Factor

Remember that show from the early 2000s?  Here's a refresher: think Joe Rogan cheering on contestants while they chowed down on warthog intestine or walked a highwire 1,000 feet over a raging waterfall or some other crazy stunt wherein fear would most likely be a factor. 

Now tone it down a bit {after all, where would we get a warthog?} and you have our Fear Factor Couple's Date Night. 

Decorations consisted mainly of black tablecloths, caution tape, and fake bugs found in the Halloween section at the store. {Never been so happy to see Halloween stuff out in August.}  I googled and printed the Fear Factor logo to use for our bulletin board, and Mom brought over flowers... 'cuz only she could hook flowers into a Fear Factor theme.

Mom also sponsored the prizes, because you know first prize has to be something worth facing your fears for.  It brought the competition into the games.  Second and third prizes were just plastic trophies filled with gummy worms.  But the first place motherlode was basically everything you would need to go out to a movie--candy, bacon flavored popcorn, a gift card for the AMC theater.  Thanks Mom!

So grateful she stayed and put Camden to bed for us while we got the party started.  Seriously, isn't she the best?

We kicked off the night with dinner.  Beforehand we debated serving up cow tongue, but decided to go with sloppy joes {which are almost as nasty, in my opinion, but at least edible}.  Throw in some chips, watermelon, lemonade, and we had an easy dinner that went with the theme, but wasn't ridiculously vile.  

After dinner everyone filed outside.  The ten of us were practically shoulder to shoulder in our tiny backyard, we couldn't have fit another person.  There were five teams, couples vs. couples.  Game on!

Game #1:  Egg Roulette
This was a good one to test the waters.  Make sure we didn't have any party poopers who would get upset about something like, oh I don't know, egg yoke crusting into their eyebrows.  
To prep for this first game I boiled ten eggs and placed them in a bowl.  Everyone picked an egg at random, thinking that one of the ten was left raw.  The challenge was to smash your chosen egg into your forehead, and the person who had the raw egg would get covered in yoke plus be awarded a point.  One at a time, we each smashed our eggs.  When it got to the last two people everyone was stoked to see some yoke, and almost disappointed when they found out all ten were actually hard boiled.  It was just a trick, but it was good to see that everyone was brave enough to get dirty.  Good thing, because...

Game #2: Slimy Assembly Line
Each couple got three plates.  The first plate had a writhing wad of worms on it, and the objective was to get all of the worms onto the third plate--assembly line style--using only a plastic fork or spoon and no hands.  Two points were offered to anyone who would skip the utensils and transport the worms with their mouths, but no one was feeling that brave/crazy.  The first couple to get all the worms onto the third plate won!  Brian and Jane owned it, not nearly as squirmy with the worms as I was.

Game #3: Cold Feet
We filled Camden's pool with water, ice, and Legos.  The idea was to get as many legos out of the pool with your foot as you could in one minute, but the longer your foot was in the water the harder it was to do anything with it!  
First the girls circled around the pool, but before we battled it out we let our feet get good and numb for about thirty seconds.  Once the timer started the guys cheered on their teammates, but totally ended up making fun of us for getting so few pieces out.  I only got ten, which Roy thought was pretty hilarious.  All of the guys thought we were pretty wimpy.  {This is excluding Genie, who got something crazy, like 27 Legos.  What can you expect from a podiatrist's wife?}  
But then it was the guys' turn.  Oh, the whining--they were bigger babies than we were!  Roy {who you'd think would be awesome at this game, given his remarkably long toes} kept picking out ice cubes instead of legos.  In the end he only snatched six pieces, giving us a total of sixteen.  Last place, I think.  Needless to say, the podiatrist did awesome, and the Swenson's super feet kicked all of our bums.  

Game #4: Something Fishy
To prep for this challenge I bought six feeder fish from the pet store.  Apparently I should have bought more, because these things have pathetically short life spans.  By the time the game started we only had four fish.  I had them each in individual cups for this game.  I also borrowed a gymnastics beam from my cousins, which we placed above the icy pool.  The object was to carry your fish in your hands across the beam, blindfolded of course, and hand-off to your spouse, who would then cross back over the beam without falling into the water.  The team to do this the fastest would win.  Two points were offered to anyone who would transport the fish in their mouths.  But, given the lack of participation in the extra point for the worms, I felt confident we wouldn't have to worry about that.  

Okay, I was wrong.  
Heather and Paul set the bar when they jumped on going first.  They didn't want to transport a "used fish".  I guess the only thing nastier than having a little wriggling fish in your mouth is having a little fish in your mouth that was previously wriggling in two other people's mouths.
Therefore, looking back, I think Roy and I should have gotten bonus points for going last.  I don't know whose saliva our fish was covered in, but GROSS!

The fish "hand-offs" were the funniest part of the night.

I couldn't believe everyone was going for the double points, but that left Roy and I with no choice.  We had to go for the win!  So there I was, blindfolded and freaking out, waiting on the other end of the beam.  I didn't even hear Roy coming, and when he grabbed me I shrieked, which was embarrassing.  It wasn't a cute shout of surprise, let's leave it at that.  

When he passed the fish into my mouth and it landed on my tongue it really took every ounce of self-control not to spit it out immediately.  I scuttled sideways across the beam like a confused crab, but somehow we still got the fastest time.  Woohoo!

Game #5: Dessert
This one took a little more prep than the others, and I couldn't have gotten it done without Mom.  She whipped up something called Dirt Dessert, which is typically an Oreo pudding with gummy worms in it.  Really yummy.  The catch {or so I told everyone} was that the worms in this pie were real, hidden beneath the whipped cream topping.  Seven worms were in each pie, and you had to retrieve all seven of them without using your hands.  Two bonus points were awarded to the couple who ate them after getting all seven out.
Genie called my bluff, asking if they were really gummy worms.  I wore my best poker face, but let's be honest, I don't even know how to play poker, much less wear the face.  So I think everyone was fairly certain they were safe from worm guts when we dove in.  Well except maybe Paul.

The worms were different sizes, hard to find, and I got nervous for a minute that Mom didn't put them in every pie.  So at one point we all started using our fingers as well as our mouths.  The Dirt was so delicious I think I spent more time eating it than searching through it.  
The Crofts and the Swensons were seriously neck and neck, swallowing their worms like crazy at the final stretch.  In the end, Betsy and Dave took the win, and it was enough points to get them tied with Roy and I.

Since I didn't come up with a tie-breaker, we forfeited the prize to our guests.

Apparently for the Crofts... fear was not a factor.

Pinetop Cabin

Camden just had another tooth break through.  This kid grows and changes so fast, I can't afford to fall behind on posts!  Here is our experience over Labor Day weekend.  We took a little family trip to Pinetop with my grandparents and parents.  We love Grandma and Grandpa Reay's cabin.

The White Mountains never disappoint.  It was perfect weather for some outdoor fun.  One day Roy, Dad, and I played a game of golf.  Grandpa came along in his U of A hat he dug up from the 80s.

Grandpa putted a little, but I think he had more fun watching how bad we were.  Dad's defense: has a chronic back injury.  Roy's defense: hadn't really played much at all.  My defense: none.  At least no one laughed too hard when I swung and missed the ball.  Yes, that happened more than once.

This was Roy almost making birdie.  Almost.

Another day we spent some time exploring the craft fair in an apple orchard.  I didn't take anything home except this: my all-time favorite picture of Grandpa.  Check out the size of that grin.

For me the other days were spent relaxing, reading, running, writing, talking, eating, taking Camden on walks or out to explore the green across the street.

At night we gathered around the felt table and played a few card games and a dice game.  One game in particular turned out to be quite epic: the first time in history that everyone at the table beat both Grandma and Grandpa.  There was much gloating.

Meanwhile, Camden thought he was at a theme park.  So much to explore, you know.  Including the tasting of flowers, the crunching of leaves between fingers, the discovering of a dead bat hanging upside down in the curtains {an especially creepy hazard of living in the mountains, I guess}.  And playing throw-and-chase-the-ball is a whole new game in a new environment.

My favorite experience, though, was going to the Snowflake Temple.  Going to the temple with the love of my life is such a sweet blessing, but we haven't been able to go very often since Camden's been born.  We took advantage of both having a temple only thirty minutes away, and having a slew of babysitters willing to keep Camden at the cabin with them.

One reason I love going to the temple is because that's the place where I feel more peace and love than anywhere else in the world, especially when my family is there with me.  That's what it's all about; being sealed together forever as a family, understanding God's overwhelming love for us, His children, and sharing that with others.  It's just the best, we really need to make it over there more often.

But we are told that same love and peace we feel in the temple, we should try to have in our homes.  That's what we strive for, and that's what I want for my little family.  Lots and lots of love.

Feeling grateful.

PS - Some pictures my talented little brother took at the Green River in June.

Fat Feet

When you take your kid for their regular health checkup, the doctor will take measurements and tell you where your baby is on "the charts."  Who makes these charts?  I don't know.  All I know is every doctor has them, and they are the final word on what is "normal."  

Although I personally think Camden is enormous, every checkup I've been told he's near around the 50th percentile for weight and height, with a cranium up in the 80th percentile.  Just your average bobble-head.

What they don't measure are feet.  

If they did, the all-powerful chart-makers would be blown away by Camden, whose feet are so thick that they don't fit in shoes.  Like, any shoes.

Okay, except these ones.  Which were made for 4-year-olds.

And I have squeezed them into these Toms exactly twice.  First of all, I hate battling with Camden over something that he doesn't really need.  His knees are in more need of protection right now than his feet, since he's only crawling.  I don't blame him for trying to get out of shoe-wearing, either.  I imagine for him it's a lot like someone smashing your foot into a teacup.

Also, when the shoes come off his soft, pudgy feet have deep red lines in them where they were exploding out of the shoes.  Not worth it, even though they are oh-so-adorable.

Don't even get me started on these Converse shoes.

We're giving up on shoes for a while, but loving these fat feet and how fast they scamper behind his walker toy these days.  Maybe this practice walking will thin them out.

Quick side note: I found a forgotten notebook stuffed away on a dusty shelf, signed by my sister and I in handwriting I almost don't recognize anymore.  It starts in 2001 {sixth and fourth grade}, when we decided to keep a "sister journal" and pass it back and forth, writing to each other.  

I'm so lucky to have such a sweet little sister, who has always built me up and made me feel loved and cherished.  I'm thinking about her a lot, and missing her like crazy.  But she's doing great on her mission, seeming to love every minute of it.  If you ever want to read her emails home, go to her blog.

Love her!

The Face

No one knows where it came from, but "The Face" is pretty much famous around here.

If only printed blogs could also capture sound, I would post the exaggerated nasal breathing that accompanies this famous face.  It's like the start-up to a stifled laugh about to burst out of control, except he never gets that far.  He just pants in little puffs through his wrinkled nose, baring those six teeth at me, like he and I are sharing some joke between just us that no one else would ever begin to understand.

But he no longer saves this face just for me.  Their love melts me.

Camden has taken up crawling after Roy, trailing him through the house with his grunting wheezes.  The way he acts, Roy may as well be being chased by Chris Martin with a bowl of chocolate-drenched Blue Bunny ice cream.  He always acts like it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to him.  And if I ask Roy to watch the kid for a minute, he doesn't just pop on Curious George and check out.  Instead, the house will be ringing with Camden's giggles while Roy blows raspberries or talks in his Wonderland-type vocabulary.  Cam 100% thrilled by it.  By him.

Bud, you have the best dad.

And you make the BEST face.  Please let this stage last forever!

But no, time is flying by as usual, as I was so gently reminded when I was sideswiped by my 25th birthday in August.  When we woke up that morning the first thing we did was drive into town to celebrate a cousin's second birthday, where Camden discovered his passion for chasing balloons.

Roy took Camden from there for the whole day so I could spend it with Mom.  Nails, my favorite restaurant for lunch, and some shopping.  Having my mom close to us is one of the greatest blessings, I love her to the moon and back.  She's good at making you feel special no matter what day of the year it is, so that evening she did what she does best: a cute setup for dinner, cake, and ice cream with the family and grandparents.

These 25 years have been great!  And these nine months?  Oh, so much better than I deserve!