Monday, August 29, 2011

Another Summer Trip! New York and Canada 2011

July 9.  After spending the night in Buffalo, NY, we went to Niagara Falls State Park.  The Falls were spectacular. We got pretty wet on the Cave of Winds walk as we walked along the base of the American Falls in our yellow ponchos and fancy rubber sandals. Then we got pretty wet again on Maid of the Mist boat ride that went right up the base of Bridal Veil Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and American Falls. So wet that we think that is where Alaina's phone broke (that tell tale red dot that indicates water damage and renders your warranty void showed up pretty soon after the Falls).

The person at the tourist info center talked Dave into getting a package deal with a guide.  Bad idea.  Don't do it.  It just meant we had to wait for everyone in the group and had to pay a little more to wait in the same lines as the people who could come and go as they pleased.  We did have a great day though, and the weather was perfect. 
July 10.  We went to church in Toronto and Donny Osmond was visiting the Ward.  Dave and I have had a running joke since our New York days that we see famous people then realize it's not really them. So when he said, "Look, it's Donny Osmond."  I just laughed, but then I heard a lot of people whispering and looking at the back pew so I looked and it was him.  Alaina shook his hand, then later asked me who he was.  I guess he's not current with the teen scene.  After church, we drove to Collingwood, and spent a few days at Cranberry Resort.
July 11.  We went bowling and after we got there, we quickly realized what people meant when they said that Canadian bowling was different. The ball is tiny and there are only 5 pins.
 July 11.  We went mini golfing at the zoo.  Well it wasn't really a zoo, but it looked like one.  After I took these pictures someone came out and asked us not to touch the animals.  Like they were real.
Then we went go-karting.  It was Ryan's first time driving and after he and my brother got kicked off the course in North Carolina, I'd have to say he did pretty well here!  We decided this was the worst family picture a person has ever taken for us!  At least it shows we were all together and Dave wasn't working for a few minutes :)
Cranberry Resort was a very peaceful place on a lake.

I was taking pictures of the kids and a guy that was barbecuing with his family asked if we'd like a picture all together.  Given the last stranger photo, I thought we couldn't do worse so I handed him my camera.  He proceeded to direct us as if we were at a photo shoot.  It was pretty funny.  He did a great job, but sadly we must not be meant to all be looking good in the same photo.  We finally got Ryan to smile in one and I had to go and blink!  Oh well.  We look semi-happy, right?  I love my family!

July 13.  We went to a mountain resort and rode the mountain coaster (Ridge Runner).  It's like an alpine slide but instead of being in a cement chute and carrying your own sled up the chairlift, it's more like a roller coaster on a chain and you can't fall out.  You control how fast you go and it's awesome!
We went to Scenic Caves and did an Eco Adventure tour, climbing in and around caves for an hour. Then we got ready for some serious fun.
Ready to go!

It was a 3 hour tree top course that had us 50 feet up in the air, climbing on 10" wide swinging planks between trees.  We paired off with Dave and Andy going first, then Becca and me, and then Alaina and Ryan. At every tree we switched our cables and it was pretty scary.  Exhilarating fun!  Dave and I couldn't believe how well Alaina was able to help Ryan.  At one point he told her she should start digging his grave, but she made a game of it and he was able to make it to the end.  All the kids were amazing!
At the end of the tree top trekking, we got to do two zip lines.  The first was 300 feet long through the forest and the kids went upside down.  The second was a 1,000 foot Escarpment Zip-line ride with a 150 foot vertical drop.  It was awesome!
At the beginning of the 425 foot suspension bridge.
What a fun day!

July 14.  We drove to Palmyra, NY and checked into our hotel, then drove to the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  It was an incredible show.  Over 700 cast members, all volunteers, and lots of lighting and set changes.  It was a great experience.  Some of the kids and I want to apply to be in it next year, but they usually get over 4,000 applications, so I think we may just be observers again sometime.

July 15.  We drove to the Sacred Grove and walked through Joseph Smith's farm house and frame house.  We went through the threshing bard and learned how they did things in the 1800's.  It was amazing to stand in places I have read about my whole life and to be where the Prophet Joseph lived and received the First Vision.

The Sacred Grove.

Grandin Printing Press, where the first 5,000 copies of  Book of Mormon were printed.  We learned that it took several years to print and bind them all.

The Hill Cumorah.  We went back to see everything in daylight and went through the visitors center.  What a beautiful place. We drove from New York through Pennsylvania and on to Ohio and checked into another hotel for the night.

July 16.  We went to the Kirtland temple and had a tour with very knowledgeable guide from the Community of Christ Church, who now owns the temple. We walked all over Kirtland and saw the Newel K Whitney, Ashery, and Sawmill.  We drove to Hiram and toured the Johnson Home, where Emma and Joseph lived when he was tarred and feathered. Just being in all of these places made me grateful again for all of the sacrifices that have been made for the Gospel.  I am thankful for it!
July 17.  We went to church in Kirtland, with tons of other visitors, and then flew from Cleveland to Chicago to SFO.  I love traveling, but it's always great to get home again.
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Ice Cream Cupcakes!

So, my neighbor called to tell me she had a birthday present for me (in June).  It took us about a month to get together and when we finally did, she told me that she was at the store with her 13 year old son who picked out the gift.  He saw it and said, "Mrs. Bain would like this!"  It was a cupcake plunger.  How would he know that?! 
Fast forward a few weeks.  I was planning on bringing a birthday treat for one of the misisonaries' birthdays on Sunday and had asked someone if they thought she'd like lemon or chocolate.  After cleaning up a dinner party at 11:45pm the night before, I checked my phone and there was a text saying she would like an ice cream cake.  AN ICE CREAM CAKE!  It was almost midnight and I already had the other dessert ready to bring so I almost went to bed.  But, at 12:15am I thought about my own kids and that someday they'll will have a birthday on a mission somewhere far away and I hope someone will make something they like for them.  And so I put the cupcake plunger to use and made ice cream cupcakes.  Everyone loved them!  I was so grateful to my awesome neighbors for being so thoughtful.  I am sure they had no idea that this gadget would save me at midnight.
I immediately made ice cream cupcakes and they were a hit.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Fourth of July 2011

We went to the Pleasant Hill Parade and had a our annual bbq and pool party. It was fun to have my parents with us this year. We are becoming a little boring (or making solid traditions...)

We watched the fireworks by DVC and ran into lots of friends there. Alaina's friend, Vera, came with us. The fireworks show was great!

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Another Birthday

Another birthday has come and gone. We all went to is one of the few restaurants that makes everyone happy! It was great to have my parents with us. My dad had shoulder surgery with my Orthopedic just a few days before and is doing amazing.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Girls Camp 2011

This year I finally got to go to Girls Camp. I begged last year but they didn't need me. It worked out perfectly because Ryan had his 10 year old trip to Grandma's in Idaho, Andy worked on his summer homework and scouts without being interrupted, and the girls were with me at camp.
Usually they go to Rucker Lake but a week before camp it was changed to Camp Redwoods Liahona because Rucker was snowed in!
I was a 6th year leader with Eleanor and we had a blast. The girls were so great and I was impressed with how well they got along and lead together. It's a big job for the 16 year olds and they had a ton of responsibility.
My birthday was Wednesday and they decorated my bed (with me in it!), sang to me, and scared me to death!
Mandy Sherwood did a fantastic job as Girls Camp Leader and it's a three year calling so the next few years are sure to be awesome. Eleanor and I are still debating coming back as leaders, for my part the debate is just that I love the girls we had this year so much and it won't be the same without them. The Walnut Creek 2nd Ward had 13 girls there this year... I think that is a record! Our Stake is very diverse and we have 11 wards with super different socioeconomic circumstances. Some of the girls live in unsafe areas in Oakland and have witnessed gang shootings, etc, and some live in white picket fence filled suburbs. I loved seeing them put aside their differences and really get along with each other, showing that the Gospel is the same everywhere and that we can all help each other and find peace in the Church and its teachings.
I am grateful for our Youth programs!

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Not for the Faint at Heart...

On Father's Day we went to our friends house for dinner. We had only been there a few minutes when Andy ran in and said Ryan needed help. So, I went outside to find him on the trampoline just sort of moaning. That is when I know he is really hurt. Usually when he actually cries, he is not actually injured. It took several of his to carefully move him off the trampoline and into the van and I rushed him to the ER for stitches. They ended up doing a CT scan to make sure his live and kidney weren't damaged because the wound was so deep. He said he was jumping when he fell through the springs (they didn't have a pad on them) and one spring came loose and took a chunk out of his side. It was pretty awful, but playing Angry Birds got him through it. He had 12 stitches to close up the inside and outside. Poor guy. He was really brave, though, and just a few weeks later I saw him jumping on our trampoline with a friend. I always know trampolines are dangerous, but I thought of injuries like broken bones or sprains, never gashes! At least we have a pad on ours and so far no one has been hurt. Knock, knock.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

O'Learyunion OBX 2011

Every two years we have a reunion with my Mom's side of the family. We always go where no one lives so nobody has to be host and everyone gets a vacation. This year we went to Outer Banks, North Carolina and stayed on the 4-wheel drive beach with wild horses for our friends. It was beautiful! We usually don't go anywhere twice, but we came here in 2005 and it was so great that everyone wanted to come back. My wonderful Grandfather rents a house that we fill up and we all really get to reconnect. Since there are 36 of us now (I think!), and we live in Alaska, Hawaii, California, DC, Virginia, Texas, and Oregon, it is a great way to get to know the relatives we would probably never see otherwise.

My Aunt Kathleen has been out numbered and out heighted for as long as I can remember!

Ryan never did get in the ocean, but he had fun digging in the sand with his cousin Marc.

This year my cousin David's wife Jennifer couldn't take time off from work but he still came and made his awesome drip castles with the kids.

Grandad and my Mom.

Andy passed me up years ago!

My Mom holding her ninth grandchild, North.

My beautiful Aunt Laura.

Ryan being silly again.

Cousins John and Ryan digging in the sand.

My brother Gavin and his baby, North.

My cousin Kelsey with a meaningful starfish.

Dave and Ryan playing pool.

Alaina's awesome dive.

David playing guitar and singing from the O'Leary songbook.

My Mom and sister, Dani.

My younger brothers, Brian and Gavin.

Dave and I playing horseshoes on the beach. I was determined to use everything I brought and Dave was a willing participant. He beat me almost everytime!

The girl cousins, Becca, Paige, Alaina.

Gavin and our cousin Connor,wrestling.

Grandad and Alice.

Alice and North.

Becca, Gavin, North.

Becca and her cousin, North.

Alice and North.

My Uncle Woody.

My Mom and me.

James, Julie, Stephen.

Brian and Leeann.

Woody and Kathleen.

James and Ryan.

Andy playing piano.

Nana and North.

We went go karting and Alaina drove for the first time. She had Paige as a passenger and did pretty well. Andy had just gotten his permit so it was a little extra practice for him. Becca rode with Leeandra and Ryan rode with Brian, who got kicked off the track for bumping! It was actually pretty funny. I'd never seen anyone get thrown out before.

My parents, Brian, Dani, me, Gavin.

Alaina and Paige with a creepy lady at a store at Tim Buck II.

Playing in the water. Julie and Stephen rented a stand up paddle board and they taught me how to SUP. I sprained my ankle but had lots of fun and rode a wave or two.

My Cousin David rented a kayak and let everyone try it out.

Dave and Dani brought a "flat Elder Fletcher", like Flat Stanley, to take pictures with Aaron who is serving his mission in Poland right now. It was a fun way to include him!

Family pictures!

Nut Stacker

I brought games for a "Minute to Win it" family night. It was a great success!

Suck it Up

Face the Cookie

Stacker, Temper Tantrum, Puzzler

We had a beautiful afternoon sail aboard the Down East Rover.

We all spent many hours looking at Linda's awesome reunion scrapbooks, playing boggle (with O'Leary rules!), playing beach soccer, and doing puzzles. Such a great way to reconnect!

Hangliding has been on my bucket list for years and I finally had an opportunity to do it! My Dad, Andy, Alaina, Connor, and I all had an amazing time with a plane towing us up 2,000 feet and letting go. It was incredible to just free fall with the glider catching the wind and floating us about the sky. It definitely exceeded our expectations and we all wanted to go again soon.


We had an awesome chef, Joey, who came every day and made the most amazing food for us. We all helped out a little and I really think it would be fun to be a personal chef. Not for 36 people, though. Too much pressure! He was fun to work with and everyone enjoyed not having to be in charge of the kitchen.

June 20011

Dave and I at the end of a relaxing week!

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