Saturday, October 31, 2009

Look Who's 17!!!

Talk about time flying by. It feels like just a short time ago that Daphne was only 5! riding on her Daddy's shoulders. Now she is almost as tall as her Dad! When did all that happen? Sometimes I feel like I was asleep or something.
Daphne was the most peaceful child. Her world was right in front of her. This picture is exactly who she was and still is. She sat in that very spot just inspecting the grass around her. Though she did get a little upset when a bug started to crawl on her leg. She can still just get caught up, deep in her thoughts. Dreaming is a very creative ability. To be able to be lost in your thoughts can be a beautiful place. I guess as long as it doesn't cut into what you are really supposed to be doing! I could make a list.

Looking back over the pictures of her first year...I found all of these pictures where she is quietly inspecting her toys or the sand or this flower. It is amazing how God created us to be all so unique in every way. Daphne is that unique! She is almost everything that I am not. I admire that about her. She has an inner artistic ability that just flows through her. She knows things from books that she has read that I don't even know...and even where to find them. Daphne has taught me to be the most patient person I could possibly be. She taught me what it was to be a Mommy. Not a parent...that was Jared's job. But the true meaning of being a Mother. It was so easy to protect and encourage, but I had to learn to be her best advocate for the many challenges that she had growing up. It is amazeing how a Mother's love can be so strong for her child. Enough for each of her children. Daphne probably got a double dose. She was our first born. And now look at her. 17! She is so beautiful. She has the prettiest heart full of peace and tranquility. That is until her Mother enters the room and then poof! back to reality!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Look Who's 5!

It seems that just a few months ago Victoria was just a little baby. She's 5. Wow. Where does all of the time go. It reminds me to just keep enjoying her in every way. I love who she is and already who she will become. She is a crack up, and full of life. I love that in her. She's not afraid to experience life. Those baby years are forever gone in our house. No more diapers, sippy cups, potty training...Yay for no more potty training!

Victoria has always been a very energetic baby. Always wanting to be in the middle of it all. She still thinks that the world revolves around her. She thinks that our days should be filled with snow cones and trips to the park so she can play. Oh to be 5. Being 5 means learning to read, write, add and subtract. Learning that your brothers can be more of a friend than an annoyance especially when he can reach those things that you can't. Being 5 means that you really can dress like a princess and wear Cinderella shoes to church. Click, click, click... Being 5 means enjoying everything you do, pushing the shopping cart that is way to heavy for you to push...baking cookies with Mom and Daphne... Wearing a ballerina outfit all day long...wrapping yourself around Daddy's little finger...once again...eeking out another bedtime story...telling Daddy which way to drive to get to the park...and being right...eating chili out of dog bowls...and snuggling up to Mommy every single night in her bed only to be carried off by Daddy to wake up in her own bed. (I guess she could do that one at any long as Daddy can still lift her...that is) Happy Birthday Victoria!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hiking in Sedona

Last weekend we headed up to Sedona do do a 5 mile hike through Secret Canyon in Sedona. We had just heard about it and really knew nothing about it. We are always up for an adventure and Jared needed one last 5 mile hike using a compass and topographical map for completing his Second Class Rank in Boy Scouts. Of course we had to find a map of the area, which we found in a book in the library. Yay Library! And Jared's compass all of a sudden wasn't pointing north. Not a good thing. Poppa to the rescue on that one. He had recently replaced his compass from an army supply store. It was pretty cool and worked beautifully. Anyway, we had no idea what to expect. The drive in was 3.5 miles on a extremely bumpy dirt road with boulders and holes. There were cars parked all over the place on the side of the road where they just couldn't get any further. Our van just plowed right over it all and we actually made it to the trail head. The kids thought the dirt road was pretty exciting. I think everyone was well awake and stimulated for what lay ahead. 5 miles isn't long except when you have a 4 year old along.
This obviously was a dry river bed. But for Sedona it seemed a little odd that the color was grey/black. The dirt in Sedona is red...literally. Anyway, we all thought it was pretty neat. The cracks look like puzzles. It reminds me of being a kid camping in Death Valley (I know, who in their right mind would camp in Death Valley...long story). All the kids would play down in the wash beds with these puzzle pieces. It was fun to share a tidbit from my own childhood with my own kids. Even if it has to do with dried mud.

The trail led in and out of a juniper forest and then into a pine forest. It was pretty neat. There was manzanita all over. I love the red branches. The weather was perfect. It was so nice to be out in the sun and not dripping. Kirk taught Jared everything he knows about Orienteering. He actually knew far more than I even knew that he knew. They compared the mileage with the pedometer and even showed us all where we were on the trail. It was pretty neat. While Kirk and Jared were working with their map the two little ones pulled out a map to Sea World and decided that they wanted to see the Shamu show next. There is never a dull moment. That is what I love about our family. There is always laughter. Someone is always giggling. It is fun to just goof around and be happy. We still have our moments but the happiness still outweighs the tragedies. "Carry Me Mommy!" "Pleeeease?!" I kept track how many miles total that Victoria actually hiked. Believe it or not, that little kid hiked a total of 4 miles out of a 5.4 mile hike. Pretty awesome for a almost 5 year old with short legs. Sedona is so pretty between the rock formations, the red earth, and the blue-green bushes and trees. This exposure in this picture wasn't all that great. There was a huge shadow and then bright sunlight. Jared is in the lower right hand corner of the picture. We could hear him like he was standing next to us but he was actually pretty far ahead of us. It was really weird. This must be the Secret part of Secret Canyon. It was just so open. The sky was huge that day. We hardly saw anyone on the trail. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. Daphne took this picture of this old log. We have no idea what type of tree or bush this was. Either way it looks pretty cool with its blue grey colors. Henry decided that he was not going to move another muscle. And he meant it. So after more water, a little snack and a big rub down he felt pretty spunky once again to keep going. He cracks me up how he does this. Jared is known for carrying him at times. This time he had doggy treats in his pocket. That really helped. For a dog who has as much energy as Henry it surprises me how he can be"out cold". He must just metabolize his energy too quickly to keep up. Nothing a little rest, water, snack and a massage can't remedy. At one point in our journey I noticed that the boys were all up ahead and us girls were walking along deep in girl talk. It was really nice spending time with the girls like that. Though the range of talk ranged from Polly Pockets to the Pride and Prejudice Ball that Daphne attended the night before. It was sweet. It was a reminder of the 12 year span of our children and how old I will be when Victoria graduates from High School. Just kidding. Well sort of. She will be keeping Kirk and I young that is for sure. We will have to stay young to keep up with her.
When we were anticipating the thought that we were going to have to carry Victoria at some point on this hike, Kirk took a piece of my fabric stash and made a sling like our old baby carrier. It worked pretty well. Especially because this was toward the end of hike and she was getting pretty tired.
This picture doesn't really show how beat up the road really was. It reminded me of all of our Jeeping years growing up. I am just glad that the van made it in and out and we didn't have anything broken. On the way out we were about to pass a Mom and Dad and a Son walking along the side of the road. We stopped and asked them if they would like a ride out. The Mom was so happy to accept. She looked like her legs were about ready to give out. They were from Virginia and had parked their rental car at the beginning of the road. They had stopped at a pretty bad part in the road. It was nice having all of the extra seats to offer. They were a really nice family. It is funny how quickly you can get to know people. We were bummed that we had to go home but were thankful to have gotten out of town and be out in the open fresh air of the wilderness. It was so quiet at times to just sit and listen to the sounds. We especially like listening to the wind blow through the pine trees overhead as they sway back and forth.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Morning Distraction

We were notified about two weeks ago that city was going to resurface our street. The night before they had "no parking" signs out on the street. We weren't sure how they were going to do it. At 8 a.m. we heard the rumble of the equiptment and knew that something had started. Of course it became a huge distraction. But what a great reason to stop doing school and stand out front and watch. One vehicle sliced up the asphalt and threw it up a conveyor belt into a truck in front of it. A sweeper thing then swept up what it could and threw that up a conveyor belt into another dump truck. They also had a front loader knocking down chunks and a regular street sweeper plus a water truck. The surprising thing was the speed these guys were driving. And then to maneuver it around the bend next to our house. It was pretty impressive.

Doggy Food

Victoria is forever complaining about having to eat chili. Especially when she does eat it she says it tastes good. I don't quite get it. We are planning on having a Doggy Birthday party this weekend for her 5th birthday. We purchased these cute Snoopy dog bowls from the dollar store. When she started to protest about having to eat chili, I glanced over and saw the dog bowl. After suggesting that she eat it out of the dog bowl, all complaints stopped! She gobbled it up in no time. Now we did demand that she use a spoon and sit at the table. She really wanted to know what it would be like to get down on the floor and gobble it up like Henry. That is where I drew the line. There was definately a "high 5" between Mom and Dad that night!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cooking Club

My friend Kelly has created a Cooking Club for the girls. They are meeting once a month to gather and make an edible art project. It actually should be called the Giggly Club. The girls just do non-stop giggling. First they decorated mini pumpkins.
Then they whipped up their own mashed potatoe monster faces. Victoria literally made hers into a monster. She made an open mouth with food in its mouth. Can you tell she hangs out with boys all day.

This is a good group of little girls. Victoria is the youngest and soon to be the tallest. Thank you Kelly for coordinating something fun to do. We can't wait for the next gathering.

Pizza Garden

We decided to plant a Pizza Garden in the old tree ring in the front yard. It was our first day of beautiful weather. Perfect time to be outdoors. Daphne and Kaleb are hoping to germinate seeds of oregano, parsley, thyme, chives and basil.
Kaleb kept digging up enormous earthworms. He was so fascinated watching them slink through holes in the dirt. I picked up a dirt clod and one was inching through the corner of it. It was really spooky looking.

Kaleb planted Bell Peppers. Victoria planted Cherry tomatoes and Fat Boy tomatoes. I barely did anything. The kids layed down the "slices" and planted the veggies. Victoria put extra rocks out for the pepperoni. Hopefully everything grows like it is supposed to and we will have enough ingredients to make a pizza! Yum! Now I'm hungry!

Look Ma...No Hands!

I could hear Jared and Victoria having a lengthy conversation out in the backyard. When I glanced out the window to see what they were up to I saw Jared just swinging back and forth...with his hands in his pockets.

Fleas! Oh My!

Kirk pulled out these cool tweezers for Victoria to pick up pom poms with and stuff in a little hole in a container. Cool idea...I thought. Victoria immediately took it a step further. She ran for her doggies and piled the pom poms on the dog. She was pretending that she was a vet and pulling fleas off her doggy. She told them to "lay still" and "it won't hurt a bit".
She became quite a distraction while we were trying to do school. Quite a bit of giggling was going on.

Late Night Baker

Daphne has found a new hobby. Baking cookies! Except she always gets inspired to do so late in the evening when we are all thinking about hitting the sack. So of course we have to stay up and test her newest creation. We are all going to gain 20 pounds at the rate she is baking.
Yum...chocolate and vanilla together!