All Things Splash.

We've had some incredibly hot days here lately. As Auntie Daphne, who visited us in July and graciously took these photos, likes to say about the temperature - it's something-stupid. It really is just that. Our temps have been hovering around the century mark for what seems like weeks now.

For us, the answer to all that heat is to take out our beloved Slip 'N' Slide. The one water toy we have managed to preserve from season to season. It's seriously lasted almost five years. And that's a Riggsby household record because we love to puncture inflatable toys. By accident, of course.

So in order of appearance in the pictures above. We have Bella with an assist from Ken. Kata. And Alex, who this summer learned how to slide all the way to the end. Way to go, Dude. He gleaned his technique from Ken. 'Cause I so don't Slip 'N' Slide. Well, not on purpose anyway. And my slips and slides usually involve icy paths and boots with heels.

But not for Ken. He braves it all. Showing our kids the accurate manner of Doing It the Right Way.

And then I spied this little gem of a reminder. For those who need a little help reading small print like me, the warning label reads: "WARNING: Not for Adult Use". Feel free to draw your own conclusions.


All Things Veggietales.

Even when we were first married and living in our one bedroom condo, Ken and I always grew vegetables in pots on the balcony. Tomatoes. Peppers. Cilantro. Yeah, we wanted fresh salsa.

But somehow when we moved to the High Desert, we never even tried to grow anything here. The marshland quality of our soil is hostile to say the least. So one day right after Memorial Day this year, Baka and I were perusing the isles of Costco and we came across three tomato plants. They were healthy. And cheap. And I thought, why not just plant them in with the roses in the backyard and see what happens. It was an experiement that cost $7.99.

The kids were thrilled. So of course as we tend to do, we overdid it a little. We also planted zucchini, melon and sunflower seeds. And our little garden grew to huge proportions even though only the tomatoes and zucchini took hold.

We're in the process now of watching the vegetables ripen. One night this week, Ken pushed aside the gigantic zucchini plant and discovered this little marvel - our very first zucchini. The kids were thrilled.

So immediately, I plotted its demise and made it into two loaves of zucchini bread. One lemon and one blueberry. We're happy to tell you that they were both delicious.


All Things First Day of School.

It's been an incredibly busy July. You can tell by my lack of posts. I truly have not forgotten the blog or all the wonderful friends and family members who read it. I promise to get into a rhythm of regular updates soon.

Alex and Kata started back to school on July 6th. I can't believe that we have a Fifth Grader and a First Grader in our family now.

As you can see, Alex took the whole thing in stride. He's in the oldest grade at the school and although I kept quoting that old Grease line about, "Now, you rule the school!" He just kept staring at me and sometimes even rolling his eyes. Yeah, he's in that tween stage for sure. I'm getting full on eye rolls.

Kata was thrilled to be in First Grade. We snuck into the school's hallways to check out her classroom. And lo and behold, there was her name listed on Mrs. Gipe's doorway.

Ken took the morning off to help with the Drop Off ritual. The First and the Fifth graders are literally on opposite sides of the building. So Ken went off with Alex and I stood waiting for Kata's teacher to come out and get her class.

And before I had time to register that this was really IT. Kata walked confidently into First Grade. She was now, at last, in full time school. A real elementary school kid. Not a nervous little Kindergartner. But a confident student. Wow. How things changed from last year.

And here's the other change. Our walk back home. I only had one kid with me. And she was running ahead. Confident, as well. Bella turned around once to tell me, "Mama I love it when it's just you and me." One day when she's a Mama, she will understand why my eyes teared up at those words. But until then, she'll run ahead of me. And I will have to get used to that.


All Things Bug Juice.

"Camping - the art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet -Author Unknown."

We have cleverly managed to avoid actual camping for the last three years of Cub Scouts. But, you know, there's only so far you can get with that tactic. So this year instead of the usual Day Camp sign up, we enrolled...okay correction, Ken the Brave & Bold husband and father...signed up for a four day camping extravaganza at Camp Fleishchmann. If you click on the link, it will take you to another scout troop enjoying their outdoorsy experience about three years ago at the same location. Well, the camp is still there. Along with a copious amount of dirt, bugs and well, Port-O-Potties.

Here's the set up that my two brave boys slept in for a total of three glorious nights. I wish I could now enclose the transcript of the actual texts I received from Ken that first day. They involved the spotting of a fascinating number of insects all within the confines of the tent, the sighting of a bear by an early morning jogging Dad (not Ken, for those of you wanting to know), the breaking of the one can of Deep Woods Off I insisted he take and the Mess Hall disaster where tomato paste was confused with tomato sauce on their one and only meal. And to think, that was all on Day One.

But, they seemed to settle in and things got better. Alex whittled a lot. We have proof of that whittling from the pile of sticks he brought home. Please feel free to forward all stick craft project ideas to me. Right now, they are piled high next to the tomato plants in our back yard.

He learned the sport of archery. This was indeed very cool.

He climbed a wall. Now, often I can be seen climbing walls but my climbs involve emotions not harnesses. And for a kid who used to claim he was "scared of heights", he did amazingly well.

His favorite part by far was singing all the songs. Oh and yes, we now have a goofy collection of them. Including the reigning favorite, "I'm a Little Tea Pot" set to Queen's "We Will Rock You". Yeah, I can see you picturing that right now.

But there was pure joy in his face.

And he learned to make fire...

And he sang more songs, made s'mores and told scary ghost stories.

Nothing like a moment where you enjoy nature for the first time. I prefer doing that on a stroll along our marshland. Or a hike up one of our mountains. Camping for me involves a motel, hot and cold running water and yes, a potty that flushes. But I'm proud of my boys and their first camping experience together. These are the little moments that become significant memories later on.


All Things Yee Haw.

Oh, note the panic on Bella's face. She'd heard that there were going to be fireworks at the rodeo. Yes, feel free to acknowledge the fact that there's plenty of daylight left. And don't forget to conclude that she is just like her Mama. Be prepared is our shared motto. Never too early to be prepared. Or to have a Plan B ready, just in case.

It was our third year attending the Reno Rodeo. I never thought I'd be a person who would actually enjoy an event like this - I mean seriously, people, there is first of all Dirt Everywhere. Then there are Farm Animals and their accompanying smell. But they do have salty snacks, hot dogs and umm, cold beer. Three things that are always handy on a summer night.

But the rodeo is fun, at times even, thrilling. Before you know it, you forget about the smell of manure and the fact that dust is all over you, your clothes and falling into every exposed pore of your skin and you just sit back and enjoy the show.

See more evidence of enjoyment??

Alex is no doubt a rodeo kid in the making. Please note that this year, after growing out of his black hat, he choose the white one. Hmmm. What he's leaving the Dark Side at age ten?? I simply can't have that!! Just for my Star Wars friends - "Always two there are - a master and an apprentice." Gotta lure him back slowly.

Not to be outdone, the reigning Rodeo Queen of our family was well equipped with her own pinkalicious head gear.

Another year, another fabulous evening at the rodeo. All in all, a well spent summer night.

Wishing you a just that - a cool summer evening enjoying something unexpected. Go on, look for it.