Monday, October 27, 2008

The Bug Whisperer

This is my friend Kelly whom we call "The Bug Whisperer". I'm not kidding when I say she isn't afraid to pick up bugs. It doesn't even matter what size they are. I just can't do that. Hannah and Victoria came running in the house for us to come out and see this really big bug outside. I think it is a katydid. So here we are trying to get a picture of the thing and it flies right between my legs and into the house. Of course I screamed...then I realized the thing landed on the door so I ran in and shut the door. Kelly is outside laughing as she picks it up and is showing the kids this magnificent masterpiece hand crafted by God himself. I tell ya, she is the Bug Whisperer. We lost it when it flew up into the grapefruit tree. Completely camouflaged.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Daphne!

Happy 16th Birthday Daphne! It seems like just a couple years ago that she was just a toddler. Now she is almost as tall as me, we pretty much wear the same shoes. She has plenty of opinions and she's not afraid to voice them. She has a wonderful innocence that I hope she never completely loses. It is a gift. And really hard to find in teens these days. Daphne is growing into a beautiful young woman on the edge of taking on the world. She has taught me so much about being a Mom. (Yes, Jared, you still hold the record...and your teen years scare me!) We had a double party today. We are faced with the delimma for the past 4 years of having two growing girls with birthdays five days apart. When Victoria was smaller it was a little easier. Daphne would plan her birthday and include Victoria in her plans. Now Victoria has a mind of her own and her own plans. So the first half was a Cooking Party for Victoria. It turned out to be really fun. She invited her best friend Hannah. Everyone got to make their own pizzas, make trail mix and frost and decorate their own cakes. I think frosting their own cakes was the hit. They loved it. And I think my Dad even liked the homemade pizzas. It may have been a first. Kaleb isn't too thrilled about wearing a chefs hat. But he put it on for his little sister.
Jared swiped Hannah's hat to show Kaleb how cool it is to wear a chefs hat! He can be quite the comedian.
Victoria double dipping. She is very talented. She can lick her finger and frost her cake all at the same time
Wow, that tiny bit of Italian in his blood is showing through! "He's makin' pi..zza..."
The second half of the party was for Daphne. She invited three sisters Susanna, Emily and Rachelle. Daphne came up with a great idea for an art project. Everyone got in on the creativity. Both my parents even contributed to the masterpiece. Can you see the horse? Everyone chose a portion of the picture not knowing what the picture was. We all glued on all sorts of collage "Junk"... colored rice, buttons, beads, tissue paper, sequins and even parts of the party napkin. It was great. Daphne can't wait to show their art teacher Larry of what they came up with. I meant to get a picture with everyone who worked on it and I forgot. Well, I will have to get one later. We all had a great time. I can't remember the last time we all just sat at the table a worked on something creative together. I can't remember seeing my parents so relaxed and just taking in the festivities. It was good to see them happy. Everyone was happy.

Kirk is always the life of the party, and here he is with monkeys on his back. The two loudest, most excited monkeys that I have seen in a long time.

Arizona State Fair

Our Homeschool group went to the AZ State Fair. We had a great time. Victoria was very excited about the rides. The other kids aren't too hip on roller coasters (neither is their Dad). But Victoria wanted to go on just about everything. It just so happened that rides were $1 and if you read three books you also got three free ride tickets. What a deal. Of course we really enjoyed looking at all the animals and the art entries. My quilt that I entered didn't win anything. Jared and Daphne's artwork didn't either. And Kaleb won an Honorable Mention. Last year, all three of them placed a ribbon. It was still fun entering something though.Here is Daphne proving that you are never too old to ride the carousel.Victoria brought 4 quarters of her own money to buy a ticket. She was really cute how she bought the ticket and then walked through the area chosing which ride she wanted to go on. This thing she is riding in is a helicopter. The boys claimed they looked freaky to them. Victoria enjoyed herself. When it was all over and she came walking out the exit gate to us, she looked so grown up. I almost cried on the spot. My babies are no longer babies.This has to be the largest habitrail we have ever seen. Someone only counted three hamsters enjoying this mansion of tunnels.This is kind of funny. Kaleb got talked into going on this roller coaster. Victoria wasn't too sure the first time around. She was a little scared over the speed until she saw me and I gave her a thumbs up. She was laughing after that. Kaleb on the other was too much. The poor guy. I told him I wouldn't make him go on another ride like that again. I was informed that "Kaleb was scared Mom..." I told him I was proud of him for going.
AAhhh. Aren't they cute. Jared is just about a month away from braces!

A Boy and his Dog

Where ever Jared is...that is where you will find Henry. Here Henry is listening to "Last of the Mohicans".


On Wed afternoons, I try to get some cooking in with Victoria...her favorite thing. So we made sugar cookies together and then all the kids decorated them the next day. I bet you can find the ones Victoria decorated. Also, notice Henry in the bottom left corner just waiting patiently for one of those scrumptous cookies to accidently fall his way.

Kirk's Airbrush Job

Kirk spent 3 weeks painting a hallway at Scottsdale Bible North that leads into their children's worship area. He would go to work all day then paint until 12 or 1 a.m. Sometimes 4 a.m. He did this for 3 weeks with only Sundays off. Sometimes he would pull up out front and I would meet him out at the street with his dinner. We wouldn't let him in the house because once he was in it was like a vacume. He would get sucked in and be too tired to go paint. Especially if he sat down. So we never let him stop long enough to feel tired. So anyway, he painted an awesome hallway of a street scene with Jesus graffiti. It was hard getting decent pictures because the hallway was 5 ft wide. I couldn't get back far enough to take the picture.The writing says...God so loved the world...
He made this to look like rust. It looks really impressive. No job is ever too big for him.


Alex, being an old 20 years old now, has come to the discovery that he is now tall enough to reach the kids slide. Way back when, when we had a Hedstrom metal slide/swing set, Alex would get up on the slide and walk on it like a tread mill. He would get so far and slide down. This was an important part of a tortoises day. So when we built the new play structure Kirk cut the bottom half of the old slide off and leaned it up on the wall so he could continue to exercise. Which he has done faithfully all of these years. Well, now that he is tall enough to get on the yellow slide he doesn't really want to use his old slide anymore. When I walked out in the yard to take his picture of his major accomplishment, he slid down and kind of looked at me like, "Is this okay?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Look Who's Four!

Tada! Victoria is 4! We celebrated all day. She even was served a heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every 4 year olds dream. We love birthdays. It reminds me how special each of us are in God's eyes. We are all perfectly made. And how precious little babies are, even when they grow up to be 4! We have been blessed with 4 wild and crazy years with this little girl. She can be the spice of life. Maybe that is why she loves the cooking show so much.
She had a cupcake on her real birthday October 20th, but will have her party on Sat. She and Daphne are going to share a party. Well, Victoria's portion is going to be a cooking party. Pictures soon to come. Daphne turns 16 on Saturday the 25th. October is a busy month for us. I would like to bottle my childrens littleness to take out on a rainy day. I guess that is why we have video cameras. Happy Birthday Victoria!

Camping in Cottonwood

The boys took Henry for his first canoe ride. I think he was okay with it until he saw me on the shore. Then he wanted out. And he wasn't going to wait either. So in his true nature, he decided to think for himself and jumped. He swam for it! Through all kinds of green mucky plant life. It was kind of gross. But he is a dog and dogs don't care if they smell or have yucky debris coating their fur.
For anyone who camps I really think this is the best cooking aparatus that we have ever owned! My friend Kelly gave me the idea. All those years my poor mom was cooking on a little camp stove (which is what we have been doing for the past 20 years) when she could have had a non stick propane skillet that actually works. I love this thing. It was worth every penny. It is big enough to cook eggs and potatoes at the same time and still be warming up water on the stove to wash dishes. Cool, huh. No more roughin it for us.
We have been studying Native Americans so we decided a trip to Montezumas Castle and Tuzigoot Ruins would be a nice family field trip. Which is why we camped in Cottonwood. Daphne took this picture. Victoria was eagerly waiting to see a "castle". So when we got there she jumped up and down, yelling at the top of her voice, "Hey guys, there's the castle!" A German Tourist group was standing there to be blasted with her little American voice and got a chuckle. I am sure she got her point across.

Breakfast in a Bag

We camped in Cottonwood last weekend just to get away. It is amazing what can be done if you pencil it in on the calendar. Anyway, Jared wanted to try cooking bacon and eggs in a paper bag. He saw it in a book. So we thought we would try it. Of course the only bags we had were Hello Kitty. Gotta be stylish. It kind of worked. Kalebs bag burned. The bacon actually cooked but was a little overcooked on the bottom. The scrambled eggs were a little too done. We hadn't thought of putting the foil down until I saw Kalebs eggs seeping out the hole. We have alot of "next time....". It was fun. We like trying things. I did have a whole skillet of eggs, cubed potatoes and bacon waiting on the table for burritos. Our favorite. So no one starved.

Purple Bug Gut!

We're driving along the 17, minding our own business and a bug runs into us. Or maybe we ran into the bug. Who knows. All I know it had bright purple guts! Never saw the bug... I have seen alot of bug gut in my life from many jeeping trips growing up as a kid. BUT, I have never seen purple guts. And it happened twice. Daphne was the first to spot it. She felt it was important to share. I figured I already put stitches in my leg on our blog so why not put bug gut?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just for Aunt Carol

Okay Aunt Carol, this is just for you to see. You wanted to see the stitches in my leg where the Dermatologist cut out a cyst just below my calf. Yeah it was a big cyst. The thing was pea size for years. And then I turned 40....Wierd things happen to your body when you turn 40. I wasn't even able to walk for 3 days. It is getting better but is still slow going.
The kids think it is absolutely disgusting!


Here is a time that I am convinced that my children need their Dad. I think I would have been a little more critical. But Kirk, doesn't really think about certain things, and in doing so, the kids had a great time slinging "cow poo" as I was told. Kirk has been working two jobs non stop for the past three weeks so he hasn't been able to get our winter lawn in. And I have been too busy to do it either. And if we don't put it in the rabbits will destroy our plants. Nipping vines at the base is one example of how they can be destructive. So Sun. was the day. He was running out of daylight. Which is why I think he called out the recruits. Daphne was inside helping with the 8 loads of laundry. So it was the other three. Not only did he give them cups to distribute the SEED! But he gave them shovels to scatter the MANURE! Okay, yeah, they had a blast. BUT, within the next two weeks I will be able to see exactly where they scattered those seeds. It will probably be in a clump, here and there. I am sure we will have it all in the gravel where it is not supposed to be. I saw them, they lacked the concept of evenly distributing. The direction must have been lost in the translation somewhere. Or their leader failed to instruct. I am not sure. Our lawn is already hurting, and I am preparing myself to see interesting designs. Our lawn will probably look like it has bald spots or something. Kirk was very proud of his workers even though they were extremely filthy and needed showers while dinner sat on the table waiting to be devoured. And boy, they were hungry after their planting adventure. Either way, the grass is in and being watered, and Daddy is the hero!

Jared is a good brother to his baby sister. But then again he is probably letting her try it because she is screaming. I don't remember.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pride and Prejudice Ball

The "We Make History" organization was hosting a Pride and Prejudice Ball last weekend. We have always been interested in attending but never knew anyone who has gone. So anyway, my friend Maryanne called on Sat. and said that they were going to be in our neighborhood for the Ball and would I meet her for dinner somewhere. In knowing that we started talking about how her daughter Mary has gone for the past couple years and how Daphne would love to join her. The only problem being that Daphne does not have a Ball gown from the 1800's time period. Well, off to the thrift store we went and actually found a dress that would work. After 1 hour of stitching, taking it down a few sizes to fit her skinny little body, Daphne was dressed and ready to attend her first Historical Ball with her friend Mary whom she has known and played with since they were barely 2 years old.
Mary is in the red dress behind the young man that was escorting these lovely girls from Mary's teen homeschool group. It is funny, when I look at Mary and Daphne, I can see Maryanne and I when we were in highschool together. It is fun to see the girls at the same age that we once were. Maryanne and I hung out at Chili's catching up on eachothers lives with absolutely no distractions. It was completely awesome. Needless to say, all the kids had a great time. Lord Scott and his wife taught everyone how to dance in the period. Daphne said there was never a dull moment. Everyone danced in a group so there wasn't any pressure as to who your partner was. Her favorite was the Pumpkin Dance. Maybe we should return to some of those 1800 way of thinking. There were even whole families there dressed in the proper 1800 attire. Maryanne and I managed to spy on them from outside. It was great watching.

Look what we grew!

Isn't this the cutest little watermelon you ever saw? Too bad it is among the zuccini leaves. Just kidding. Kaleb and Victoria were learning about watermelons so naturally we needed a live specimen. I wish we could grow one. Right now we are hoping our zuccini plants will actually flower. Our pepper plants and Tomato seem to be doing okay. The lettuce is doing pretty good too. Victoria liked that we could just pull a leaf off, rinse it off and pop it into our mouths. At first she thought I was pulling her leg. I had to convince her that it was edible.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bearded Lady!?

Jared came to me the other day laughing. He said, "Mom, you have to see the Lego person that Victoria made!..." If you look up close it has a womans body, a bearded face, flame helmet and un-matching arms. At the time it was pretty funny. Atleast the boys really felt so. Kaleb said, "it's just wrong!". I guess in their minds there is a right way to build a Lego person. I love seeing the world through a three year olds eyes. She was very proud of her bearded lady. Jared has decided to save her bearded lady just the way she is. What a nice brother.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Animal Blessing

This morning we drove Henry out to our friend's church for an Animal Blessing. Our friend Father Dart told of the story of St. Francis and the wolf of Gubbio and how this vicious animal submitted before St. Francis. The wolf was commanded to stop hurting people and other animals. Later,at his death, the wolf was found in the church lying on the floor in front of a creche with baby Jesus in the manger. It was Christmas time. It reminds you that God can do anything! So back to the Blessing. There were horses, hermit crabs, lizards, a pet turtle and mostly dogs. My Mom's doggy even came. It was great! I loved the thought that our beloved pets are important as God's creatures. Plus I am expecting a miracle! by golly. Something has to work on Henry! Just kidding. Henry is a really good dog. I couldn't have found him on our own. It is a "God thing" that he is a part of our family. We love him.This was one of the horses there. Daphne found out that it was born in England. It is a Gypsy Vanner. To me it looked like a painted Fresian. He spent the entire time scratching his back along the branches of this mesquite tree. The whole tree shook.

Kaleb's Totem

Kaleb, being the crafty guy that he is, can make anything out of cardboard. He inherited that gift from his Dad. So anyway, he created this really cool totem pole that doubles as a mask. The top animal is a bird of prey, the middle...a hamster, and the bottom a butterfly. I bet the northern Native Americans never had a hamster on their totem. (Especially knowing that hamsters are from South America). Kaleb put his unique touches in action. It turned out really cute. When he finished he kept staring at it because he actually got it to look like what he was expecting. Kaleb takes after his Dad artistically. He has great ideas and are usually quite enormous in size. Not bad for being 8.