Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our poor tree

This is what happened during the storm we had Thursday night. We heard and felt a microburst of some kind hit the house. When I looked in the front yard our poor Jacaranda was leaning over. Of course we had to leave it all day on Friday like this because Kirk and I both had to work all day. So when I got home at almost 8 p.m. last night Kirk was already out front hooking it up to his truck with a "come along" compliments of my Dad who has every tool known to mankind. We did get it to stand up but there is a little curve in the trunk so we somehow need to try to get the base of the trunk more straight. The guy from Moonvalley Nursery only laughed when he told me "good luck" trying to stand that thing up. Gee thanks.


I was cleaning out and organizing our school cabinet one last time before starting school hoping that touching the books would give me some intense motivation to start. It didn't work. I have enjoyed this summer that is for sure. Anyway, I came across our plastic caterpillar that has gone A.W.O.L. for the past 5 months or so. And I will tell you why. Daphne hates caterpillars. Even plastic ones that go to a butterfly life cycle set. So....whenever she is absolutely misbehaving, mouthy, snotty, or just plain bossy, someone will get the caterpillar out, either Jared or myself, and just walk by her carefully placing it on her school books, pencil box, crackers, whatever is in front of her. She has a good scream, we all laugh, and Daphne is livable again. She is such a good sport. Though the last time I think she decided to hide it because I was asking her where it went and she just smiled and said it is "somewhere". Yeah the somewhere was behind a bunch of stuff in the cabinet. So do you want to know why Daphne hates caterpillars? Long, long ago about 8 years ago we had a co-op of about 7 families. We decided to learn about butterflies in the spring so naturally being a homeschooler, we had to raise our own butterflies. So being the "science" teacher, I ordered the class pack of 30 caterpillars from Insect Lore. I didn't realize that they were coming in one container and we had to divide up their food and separate them out into cups for the kids to take home with them. Yuck. Of course Kirk was busy so we couldn't make him do it. So Daphne and I, who was 8 at the time, helped me. She was very excited because she loves animals and such. There were a couple who weren't really moving and they were kind of extra, so I kept those and put them in our family's cup. I figured if they die it will be ours and we will just deal with it. No biggie. Okay, when it came time for them to form their chrysalis everything was going great. Except one. Okay this is gross. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? Only half his body was trying to form the chrysalis which had turned into a gooey mess. So here is the head half of the body wiggling with basically nothing but goo for the other half. It was like out of some Horror Flick. So...that is why Daphne doesn't like Caterpillars. And yes you probably think we have a sick sense of humor around here. But it sure gets her out of her mood pretty fast. She laughs about it. Oh, by the way, we made Kirk scoop out the gooey caterpillar. He is the man of the house after all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We're home

We are happy but sad to be home. Happy to sleep in our own beds after three weeks and sad because school and work is just around the control. Oh yay... The grass was so tall that Alexander had to stretch his neck really high to see over the blades. Time to use our new lawn mower that we picked up as a hand me down from Grandpa.

We're going home

Here is our new home. Just kidding. We made a stop in Bodie, Calif. An old Ghost town. American History at your finger tips. I came here as a child and remember walking around looking in the windows at all the old furniture left behind. This is an iron door to the vault of a bank owned by Herbert Hoovers brother. The only thing standing is the vault. The bank supposedly burned down. Look at all the details.Kirk really wanted to get a picture of me and kids on the door step of the school house. There were still desks in it and books. I would have loved to go inside and open up cupboards and books and see what else is behind closed doors.

Isn't this a neat piece of tin punch. I love stuff like this. I love having a digital camera to just take tons of pictures like this. This is kind of funny. Henry got hot. We had gotton there really early, almost 9 am, but it was starting to warm up. Jared went to walk away and he heard and felt this dragging sound. He turned around to see that he was dragging the dog along the ground by the leash. Oops. The dog wouldn't move. He was not getting up. I think he was saying I can't move another inch. We gave him some cool water and that motivated him to atleast complete our visit. He took a good nap in the van after that.

Don't tip us over

I think Grandpa is a little worried that the kids are going to tip the canoe. They sure were having a lot of fun. The girls figured out that it was fun to swim with the life jackets on. At one point Kirk had only Victoria and Kaleb in the canoe with the paddles. Kirk just sat on the floor in the middle and let the two little ones go where ever. It was hilarious. Of course they were paddling independently so they pretty much went in zig zag and circles. I just had to laugh. Sometimes it feels like that going through life with little kids. You never know where they may take you. And what a cool Dad to just release control and let them do it. I would have been probably telling them where to go. HeeHee

Dutch oven baking

Jared baked this cinamon cake with a little help from Mom and Dad. Mostly to make sure he didn't burn himself. It was really moist and tasted great! I could have eaten the whole thing. A curse of mine. This was part of some merit badge work for boyscouts. We do Lone Scouts which means that the boys don't belong to a troop. We really don't have time to fit in troop meetings so we squeeze it in here and there when we can. They still participate with the district with day camps and derby races. In the mean time we have fun doing things together.

Girly girls

Victoria really liked having her cousins all to herself. She interacts really well with others so it didn't surprise me that she was declaring that she was going to put her sleeping bag between Tamar and Nahlia in the loft. And they were going to sleep together.

Perler Bead Crazy!

Daphne managed to stash away her collection of perler beads in the van. It was a big hit with everyone. They designed everything from horses to bears to flowers. Any spare time was spent perler beading. After we left, Grandma took Tamar and Nahlia to Reno and bought their own collection. They had fun.

A boy and his dog.

The day we adopted Henry from the pound, he chose Jared to be his master. Of course he listens to me the most because I am the one disciplining him the most. He just loves Jared. I don't blame him. Jared is a good natured person from the heart. A little side note. Henry managed to chew through two leashes on this trip. We had to stop in Wyoming to buy a new one. And then he chewed through that one too. Naughty doggy.

The last leg of our vacation.

Next and last stop was California, one hour west of Reno. Of course we had to drive all the way across Nevada, but we wanted to see Grandma and Grandpa's new house in Grayeagle. Kirk spent 15 of his growing up years there in Plumas Eureka State Park because his Dad was a park ranger there during the summers. Our nieces, Tamar and Nahlia were there at the same time so we had a wonderful visit. We hadn't seen them in over a year. They have blossomed. Tamar and Jared are two weeks apart with birthdays and Nahlia is 9. And they love to talk. They are just like their Mom, Erin, Kirk's younger sister.
We hiked up to Grass Lake. Kirk and I spent our Honeymoon in this area and brought Daphne here when she was 9 months old. So it was fun to come back. Tamar is in the back and Nahlia has the yellow shorts on. We love these girls. They give me the opportunity to be a good "Aunt" to them. They crack me up with some of the things they say.
The water felt nice and cool after hiking in the heat of the sun. As you can see it didn't take Victoria very long to strip. Oh to be three.I have always liked this particular hike. There is water everywhere. This one part has water flowing out of a spring right down the path for quite a ways.

We love this tree!

This tree made Daphne and I want to move to Payson, Utah. It is old and very beautiful. I wish I had gottona clear picture of daphne. A thunderstorm was approaching so it was quite dark and I couldn't see very well in my old age. I have old eyes these days. Anyway, this tree has been hanging out in this park for years. I am not even sure what kind of tree it is. A friend of ours who is from that area says it might be a cottonwood.

Huge Zuccini

This Zuccini is almost as big as Victoria. It sure tasted good too!

The Stonehocker critters

Here is Blake with their Boa named Anastasia. Last year when we saw it it was tiny It has really grown!
Daphne and Uncle Rich chatting.

Daphne and Smokey the cat. They have two cats.
Here is Henry and Duke, a golden retriever. Duke and Henry love eachother. It was a crack up watching them. They would play with eachother for hours. Henry was on a cable so he wouldn't run off. Duke would hang out with Henry all the time and leave him to find out what was going on then come back. They rarely tired of eachother. This picture looks like Duke is laughing. I did get a series of pictures of Duke playing around with Kaleb while he was trying to put his shoe on. First Duke got his sock then ended up running off with his shoe. It was really cute.
This is their goat that literally eats everything. It is a Pack kind of goat that you can load a pack on its back. Whenever the rooster would walk past it, he would lower his head kind of like a warning that he will use his horns.

Next stop... Utah

Our vacation felt endless. We had a wonderful time visiting with my Aunt Carol, my Cousin Kathy and Troy and my Cousin Rich and Mary Kaye. We stayed at Rich's house and enjoyed all of the wonderful meals that Mary Kaye just whipped up in the kitchen. Kathy and I sat at the table one day and copied some delicious recipes out of Mary Kayes recipe box.
Here is my cousin Kathy. I love her. I remember writing her letters when she was in College and I was in High School. And the really cool thing is she always wrote back. She always made me feel like I was somebody. She is the reason why I am doing this blog. I feel like I have alot in common with her and I love talking with her. She has so much to share about our Heavenly Father and is a wonderful mentor to other women like me. I want to live near her so we can spend more time together. Her husband Troy is the nicest man I know beside Kirk. He is extremely artistic and is a good natured kind of guy. Kirk really enjoys visiting with him.
They have four beautiful children that are almost all grown up. I was commenting on how I will be 56 years old when Victoria graduates from High School (yikes). Kathy reminded me that when she was my age her youngest, Blue, was 12! Gee thanks Kathy. Their youngest,Blue and Daphne are the same age, by two months. They are 16 this year!
This is my cousin Rich. He too is my favorite cousin. Sorry Kath. I can have two. Daphne thinks he is the funniest guy. She likes listening to the funny stories from our childhood. He is an incredible Dad and husband to Mary Kaye. He is very easy going and very artistically talented. He owns his own plumbing business called Snappy Plumbing and drew all the graphics for it. I will have to find a picture of his truck. Victoria likes to flirt with him. He and Mary Kaye are so loving toward my kids. They will just sit and listen to Daphne giving her all their attention. The boys love hanging out with their boys. Jared and their youngest Luke are the same age, 12. They have two already on their own, Kolbie and Levi. Then 3 at home, Blake, Chad and Luke. They are all great boys. Very kind and include my guys in everything.Here is Mary Kaye with Daphne. She motivates me to actually cook better meals. I wouldn't say I am a bad cook, I just don't plan very well and fall back onto the same thing every week. And I am not one to try too many new recipes. All of her recipes are good. Already tried and successful. I really enjoy who she is and her and Rich's love for our Lord. It is wonderful to be around people who believe.I admire my Aunt Carol for single handedly raising two kids on her own. She did an awesome job. She is a do-it-yourselfer. Anything that needs to be done she figures it out. Daphne and I made her this tye dye shirt which she proudly wore. She is my Dad's older sister. She and my Mom have been friends since my Mom was 9 years old. They have alot of history together. They have done some crazy things together too. Which I will leave out. I love my Aunt. When I was little she taught me this Knock Knock joke. Knock Knock.....who's there......olive.......olive who.......Ol love you.

Here are the boys at this new waterpark in Payson Utah. in the back is Jared, Chad, Blue, Blake then Kaleb and Luke. A Tori Sandwich.Kathy and Rich got me to go down this slide with them. (Jared is the one in the picture) I have never been down a waterslide before. Mostly because anytime we were at a waterpark I was the only adult with the kids so I have always had a little one on my hip. Kirk was shocked that I did it. It was actually fun. I got water up my nose which I absolutely hate but it was fun. I think Kathy had pure enjoyment knowing that that was my first time. I did manage to avoid the other slide that was pretty much straight down. I didn't want to have to rearrange my bathing suit if you know what I mean. We had a great time floating around the lazy river talking.

Row, Row, Row your boat...

We love this canoe! All the years that I have been with Kirk he has always wanted a canoe. So for his birthday, the kids and I got him one. I found a "smokin deal" that we couldn't pass up. Anyway, these guys are in pure heaven. It is so peaceful being out on the water. So anyway, it will support the weight of Kirk and all of the kids. It is quite a site. I offer to hang out on shore and get in a little quiet time. We are going to train Henry to ride with them eventually. One time, Victoria and I were hanging out on a nice grassy spot while Kirk took the three big kids out fishing and canoeing. They were gone for a couple hours and I couldn't see them anywhere. I thought maybe they went around the bend somewhere so we packed up all of our stuff and were going to drive around to the other side of the lake to see if we could see them. Well, they came back and were all talking at once. They had found the river that leads into the lake and had paddled out of Custer State Park and came through the mountain pass to where the Stockade Fort was out side of the Park at the entrance. They had a great time. Daphne looks like Pocahantas. Victoria pretty much just "stirrs tea" with the paddle. Jared is always mediocre when asked about if he enjoys what he is doing. Canoeing is the only thing that I have ever witnessed him take charge and genuinely have a smile constantly on his face. This is his thing. And I am so happy that the kids can share this with their Dad.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kicking Back

Anytime that we had any free time, Victoria got to do what she likes best. Cutting, glueing, sticking....She sat on this rock gluing foam shapes that she cut out to a little cereal box. Pure satisfaction. And when a three year old is happy, everyone is happy especially Mommy.

Heavenly Doggy

Henry looks so angelic with his halo above his head. It was really a bowl of dog food (which he barely eats).

Laundry Day...

Or should I say Fishing Day. Daphne and I hung out in the wash room doing 6 days of laundry for 6 people! and Kirk, Jared, Kaleb and Victoria...and the dog went fishing. HeeHee. Hummmm, I think at the time laundry sounded more appealing. The thought of Kirk keeping the dog and Victoria out of the creek and help everyone with their fishing poles sounded like alot of work. Laundry actually sounded pretty good. Not only did Jared catch his very first fish, a rainbow trout but Dad caught poison ivy! Yikes! (Considering that he is highly sensitive to it we did manage to keep it from going systemic and coming out everywhere.) They had a great time though spending time with their Dad. Kirk said it was a little chaotic and he doesn't know how I do it sometimes. I took that as a compliment. Some days I don't know how I do it.

Here is Jared's first fish!

Here is the fish that Kirk caught! Jared tried real hard to not let his Dad see that he was totally exstatic that his fish was bigger than his Dads. Jared being one with nature. Jared caught poison ivy too but cleared right up with disenfectant and lots of cortisone creme. Too bad Kirk wasn't that lucky. Look! There's Opie from the Andy Griffith show. Oh wait, that is my sweet Kaleb!

Panning for Gold

There was so much to do. Not only did we have time to kick back and relax but the Visitor Center had some really cool things to do. One of them was panning for Gold. We didn't find any. Bummer. There was plenty of white and rose quartz. And lots of Micah. It was fun inspite of not finding any gold. The ranger gave some of the history of the area and how there was a rush of prospectors looking for gold in the Black Hills.Kaleb did his best to mix the sediment throughly with water. You would have thought he was mixing for a mud bath or something. Kaleb kept asking me where his swimsuit was, if we were going back to camp, are we coming back to the creek... I knew what he was asking but pretended to not know. I knew he was just dying to go swimming. He is like that. He loves to play in water. And that creek was definately inviting. Even Henry couldn't keep himself out. So we were all done and about to leave and everyone had their backs turned to the creek. Supposedly Kaleb fell in. Yeah. Uh huh. I know better than to believe that one. He can't just go up to his knees in water. It kills him. It was kind of funny because he had to slosh around in his wet clothes for a couple hours. Atleast he was cool.

A True Boy

Why go through the gate like everyone else when you can climb up, over the top!

Cutie Patooties

These are my two babies. I can't help myself. Kaleb is so loving to his baby sister. Sometimes too much. He has a tendancy to smother. This is just a great picture. We were at the Ranger Station in the Wildlife Loop of Custer Park. Inside, they had a metal board on the wall with the map of the Wildlife Loop painted on it. This is where they moved the Bison magnet to inform people of where the herd had moved to that day. Victoria just saw her favorite animal stuck to the wall and was walking the bison all over the board. By the time I noticed(oops) she had left it not where she first saw it. So we had to find out from the Ranger where exactly is the Bison herd so we could replace the magnet. The boys were mortified because she had moved the magnet. They are too serious sometimes.