Monday, July 30, 2012

Camping with the Summits

The week of July 4th was a whirl wind. Kirk flew in from Savannah, Georgia the next night at midnight.  On Friday, we went camping overnight with our new friends the Summits. I had prayed for a family that had a similar age range as our family so no one felt left out if our families were together.  Well, God has brought our two families together.  And the Summits have 10 kids.  So I think the age range is well covered. Kirk was deleriously exhausted but pulled himself together and helped load camping gear into the van for an overnighter at
Tony Grove Lake.
It was absolutely beautiful.
It rained......gorgeous.....
It was perfect......
Beautiful wildflowers in bloom.....
 Did I say it was beautiful?
The kids explored every nook and cranny.  In the water, behind a tree, under a boulder.....The boys took shots with a sling.
 The mountains were breathtaking.  Kirk was so tired from traveling that I would find him sitting every moment he could get.  He didn't mind though because we had great friends to share the day with.
 Can life get any better than this? Two smiling faces in a hillside of wildflowers? If God can bring us into our dreams for our family and have wonderful friends to share life with, then God does have an ultimate plan to bring a steady job for Kirk.  Either that or he knew that in this economy surviving on an artists wages, we needed something to sustain us.  Something to give us a reason to get up every morning and greet the day.  A change of scenery definately did the trick.  I love it here. It is peace for my tired eyes.
 By the time we got to the other side of the lake, the boys were already immersed in the water.  I think it was beckoning to them. It was COLD! But refreshing. Kaleb will always find an excuse to swim. He says the water is always so inviting.
 I like these two pictures of the girls.  I found great satisfaction watching them as they just sat on a rock, in their clothes, in the water. I think I remember Sarah attempting to teach Victoria how to spray water with her hands by cupping her hands just so.
When I was little, I experienced the mountains from jeep trails where not everyone could drive.  You had to have a vehicle that could get into those back roads and a Dad who was a skilled driver.  Now that most of those roads are closed, there hasn't been much hope to take my own children into some of those places that I experienced as a child.  I love the mountains, especially the ones in Monache Meadows.  Living in Logan is giving me a chance to share some of the beautiful green places that remind me of places that I camped as a child.  It gives me a chance to reflect back into my own childhood while I watch my daughter crouched in a rocky lake side chatting with a friend.
 Most kids find sticks and rocks to bring home.  Kyle found a log.  He is definately my sisters child. As kids, we would be crammed into the back of the jeep with all our gear bursting from everywhere.  My Dad would reach down to pull a tool out from under his seat and find rocks and sticks stuffed under there that my sister had found and treasured.  He would chuck them into oblivion like a Dad would do, not knowing that those rocks meant something more than what he saw.  My sister would be hysterical like they were some dear friend that was now lost.
 Anyway, we saw some of the healthiest lichen we had ever seen.  The grey is lichen, as well as, the lime green. And the little purple flowers look like little elephant heads.  We had our own personal wildflower expert pointing out the numerous flowers to us. Mr. Summit really knows his flowers.
We ended Friday night with warm clothes, and giant sized marshmallows that the camp host gave to us.  I think our camp host was fascinated that our families had a total of 10 kids with us. He managed to tell us his life story.  Very interesting man. He even took the weed whacker to the grass to make room for a second tent.  What a great way to wrap up our evening. 
Family, Friends and Smores. 

A Country Pool

When Kathy and I were discussing what was going on for the 4th of July, it was a unanimous vote that we spend it at Kathy's house.  She kept asking me if I was sure that I wanted to spend it in little ol' Malad.  I love it at her house.  It is so peaceful, quiet and a different pace in life. And, both of us were going to be without husbands. So we pooled our resources and joined Kathy on this beautiful day. Before Troy had left for Utah, he cleaned out and sealed this steel trough that they once used for their kids when they were growing up.  This is how country folk do it. I felt like it could be a Ford commercial for a wading pool....built like steel.....Ford Tough!
I did finally manage to get Victoria's hair into a ponytail. Though we didn't manage to get enough sunscreen onto these white, soon to be farmer tanned bodies. There was a lot of ooohing and aaahing going on later that day.
So let me tell you about the comes straight from their well, deep under the earth's surface.
It was FREEZING!!!
 Kyle just could resist the challenge of being immersed in frigid temperatures. He managed 5 minutes!  I made him get up since I didn't want to have to call 911.Victoria managed 1.5 seconds! They spent quite a bit of time getting used to the temperature.  Kathy put her suit on and started a whirl pool with the kids and then told Victoria to dunk down and let the water carry her.  It was funny to watch. We always have so much fun when we are with Kathy.
 This is Smokey.  Now, Smokey is Rich's cat, who has moved in with Kathy because Rich has sold his house and can't have pets with him for now.  If you know Rich, you know that he doesn't let cats or dogs into his house. He just doesn't like their fur or dirt getting on the furniture or carpet.  Whenever we would visit Rich, Smokey would sit at the glass door and plead with his eyes for Rich to let him in.  He would momentarily while he escorted him to the opposing garage door.  So...notice where Smokey is stretched out enjoying life. Yep, on Kathy's bed.  Lucky cat. We took a picture and Kathy sent it to Rich on his phone to see what his cat is doing while he is away. 
This is one satisfied kitty. The same cat I watched pounce on a mouse type animal and sink his teeth into.  I had to look away while he ate it.  And to think he wanted me to accept his purry breath afterwards.  Yuck.  Anyway, just in case you wanted to see his little smiley face enjoying a soft, cozy bed to lie on. By the way, Rich loves Smokey and Smokey loves Rich. 
 Miss Cooking Show Girl insisted on cutting the onions for our hamburgers. She was crying uncontrollably from the salicytic acid burning her little peepers.  So we gave her swim goggles to wear.  It did the trick.
 I am pretty sure that my Dad has a black and white picture of my Aunt Carol wearing a diving mask while she was cutting onions as a child.  I will have to see if I can find it.
I love being at my cousins. I would have never imagined that we would be working side by side in eachothers kitchen after all these years.  Kathy is a wonderful mentor and mother.  Doesn't that watermelon look yummy? If I remember right it sure was sweet.
I love this set of pictures.
Jared....Don da da dunnn... turn, get down....please....
Victoria......I have marshmallows.....I! Ta Daa.
Jared....what?, Queen of Marshmallows?
He sure can pop a bubble when you have one.
Actually, this is a special rock.  It sits just beside the water faucet and begs to be stood upon, jumped off of and sat on.  And there is a special blue marble wedged into a hole.
 While the other two were fighting over the rock, Kaleb was busy roasting marshmallows to perfection.  Kyle had his first Smore that night. 
 We made it into the edge of town, which I later found out that we were next to the cemetery, just in time to watch fireworks.  Now...are you ready for this.  Malad has some SMOKIN' FIREWORKS! The firefighters had their engines down in a dirt field with tons, TONS of fireworks.  They were awesome.  To think that just the night before people paid $25 to see Freedom Fire with their fireworks that were very repetitive.  Malad's fireworks were sporadic and ......explosive.....exciting. Plus there was some little creature just at our feet in the grass.  I could hear it scurry, so I am thinking it was a littel mouse or chipmunk frightened by the commotion.
The grand finale lasted FOREVER with a spark, a pause and then a sonic BOOM! This happened about ten times intermingled with red, white and blue explosions. I had to prepare for the Boom it was so loud. We were all very satisfied as we sat on a blanket on the side of the road, near the cemetery..........
So, our 4th of July was awesome!

4th of July

I can't believe it has been almost a month since the 4th of July.
We made our way up to the little ol' town of Malad in Idaho where my cousin Kathy lives on a plot of land with her husband, chickens, garden, cats, a goat and little Zeus.
The thought of a small town 4th of July parade sounded like fun. Of course we had to bring the two doggies with us since we were planning on spending the night. Oops, mistake number one.  Henry alarms us with his girlish bark that there are other dogs in sight.  And mistake number two....I didn't even think about the fire truck sirens.  Sammy was terrified and shaking.  Poor guy.  Henry could care less. He was more interested in the candy being thrown in the street and that dog that was just down the way from us.
After a late night of Freedom Fire and literally throwing ourselves together at the last minute to pile into the van, Victoria is going for the natural girl look.  No bows or braids today for this girl.
It was fun to see what farm equiptment was pulled out from storage or dusted off from the fields. The big event was gathering all the candy that was thrown to the kids.  We were just amazed that we could sit on the curb and not die from heat exhaustion. People were commenting on how hot it was and it was barely 80 degrees. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Freedom Fire

Kaleb and Jared's scout troop was one of the troops that were performing in the flag ceremony for the Freedom Fire on July 3 at the USU stadium.
They had a list of guidelines and rehersal time etc....
Kirk was in Georgia painting murals for Worlds of Wow from Texas.  So I was a little behind in who needed to be where and at what time.  I woke up leisurely because the email had said something about rehearsal being at the stadium at 10:30.  Well, I had made a mistake and saw that it was to be at 8:30 am......and it was 7:45! Yikes! So we had a very hectic, crazy morning getting them to where they needed to be.  As we were driving closer and closer to the stadium, we were noticing that people had already claimed their spots with chairs and blankets.  It looked like a patchwork quilt all layed out on the grass.  I couldn't believe it.
 My first thought after living in Phoenix for so long was....Oh my gosh, look, no one has stolen their blankets or chairs.
 Needless to say, it was an extremely busy day with the scout schedule and then having to irrigate the garden after we dropped the boys off, and then off to a BBQ with some other church families.
 We played a little croquet.  I am just amazed that we were sitting outside and it was cool.
 I love how all these houses were nestled behind one another.  It was very cozy. There were horses here, cows there, something crouching in the grass over there....
 Victoria charmed her way into winning a croquet game.  She played against all the men and had them wrapped around her little finger. When Jerry brought out his croquet set and asked if anyone knew how to play, Victoria immediately piped up claiming to know.
She and her Dad have had many hours of playing croquet since she was just a toddler.  Now I wouldn't say that she knew the rules because she would make up new rules all the time and her Dad would just go along with whatever was the rule of the day.
 I have to think really hard to a time that we have ever needed a blanket on 4th of July. I think this was a first.
 Getting ready for the Freedom Fireworks.
 Beautiful and exciting as usual.  I wish Kirk could have been with us.  I imagined the boys sitting on the field at the stadium with a perfect view of the fireworks.
And then we were driving against THIS to  pick up the boys. Our friends house was right next to the stadium but we discovered that the street where we were supposed to pick the boys up was blocked off and the police weren't letting anyone in.  SO,......I parked the van on the side of the road.  Kyle and I ran....yes, I said flip flops by the way, from the north side of the stadium to the south side of the stadium to find the boys.  After sitting for 20 min in traffic, then running/walking to the boys which was another 20 min, then trying to actually drive home which is only about 2 took us over an hour.  I was very happy to get home. Oh, I'm glad that Kyle was with us, because he pulled Victoria out of the van who was dead asleep and carried her up the stairs to her room. 
When we had finally reached Jared and Kaleb, Jared sees Kyle and I completely out of breath....he asks me in a sarcastic way,
why did you come running? We're okay you know.......
No duh.....we came running because I want to go to bed! For pete's sake.
When he actually saw all the traffic he understood better.  I could have knocked him one for that comment.  But I didn't.  Little does he know how far I would run for him.  How far I do run for him.  I love them, they are my boys and I am their Mom.


 I love this picture of Kyle and Sammy.  First, they look cute together.  They match.
Second, I think it is funny.  Whenever the kids sit like this to play a game or we are in a circle praying or saying grace, or if I gather everyone for a mandatory meeting.....Sammy is right there being included.  He is on a need to know basis in our home.  He always wants to be included. Be part of his pack.
I love to see my children just hanging out playing a game.  They picked up where they left off with their cousin.  It was almost like they haven't been away all year.  Kyle is a very nice kid and is always a joy to be around.  He and Jared love to wrestle.
Notice that Sammy is in the middle of it all resting under Jared's arm.  I am always amazed how the boys will lay all over him and he never minds.

The Boys

 Can wheat get any more beautiful than this? The tops are so shiny in the sunlight, and when the breeze sweeps through the field, it becomes alive with a rustling noise.  The other night the wind was blowing so hard it bent the heads down far with each gust.  It looked like some creepy movie with an invisible entity prowling through the field.
 Walking up to the "boys" has become a highlight in our family.  As soon as we walked up to the fence, both of these wee lads stopped grazing and pattered over to the fence to get some extra scratchin.  Their first coat of baby fur was all rough and shaggy.  The new fur underneath was the softest fur I had ever felt.  It was beautiful to touch. I couldn't get enough of it.  They both have grown cute personalities. And boy do they love the attention.
The darker little guy was enjoying being scratched by my nephew Kyle so much that he ended up giving him his rump and tail to scratch along the fence.  It was funny.  I think he felt much better.  The lighter colored mom had to come over to see what they babies were up to.  It was like she was just checking us out and making her presence.  Her baby immediately made his way over for a little milk and then came back for more attention.  She is a good mom, keeping her eye on these two friends.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


We all love my cousin Rich.
Here is his impersonation of Arnold Schwargenegger.
The weight lifter, not the govenator.
Rich was passing through on the way to Kathy's house.  We had an awesome visit.  He was very relaxed and funny of course. He keeps us laughing. You never know what he has up his sleeves.  Literally.

My Boys

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

Do not depend on your own understanding.

In all your ways remember him.
Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.
Proverbs 3:5,6

The paths in Green Canyon were far from being straight.  They were pretty curvy with a steady incline.  I spent 5 hours in the morning with the boys hiking for ten miles in this beautiful canyon. When we left that morning it was 47 degrees. I figured that it would warm up.  We hadn't really thought too much about being cold.  Hmm. Our arms froze. I wish I had a sweat shirt. Kaleb told me to walk with my hands in my armpits.  It worked for a little while.  It finally warmed up about 3 hours later.  Every chance we got we would linger in the rays of sunshine trying to thaw.

 I trailed behind my two boys who kept a steady pace.  I caught up to Kaleb at one point at a mud puddle.  He pointed to the 20+ butterflies that were hanging out sipping water. It was like a fairy land with the butterflies fluttering here and there.  I later had asked Jared...
Did you see all those butterflies?
What butterflies?
The ones you passed at the mud puddle.
Oh, Yeah, I saw them.
I guess he wasn't impressed. So I made him listen to me for the next 1/2 mile going on and on about the beauty of God's creation in butterflies.

 We found out this past weekend that these flowers never get petals.  It is called a Coneflower.  And what you see is what you get. It amazes me that something so simple can be so beautiful.

My boys were very tolerant of me on this LONG hike.  I was enjoying every moment.  I didn't bring my camera so I was constantly asking Jared for his.  He wasn't taking ANY pictures so I ended up just keeping it.  I did a complete double take when I passed a whole grove of wild roses.  I almost had tears in my eyes. I just couldn't believe that something I have read about in books was right before me.  To touch, smell and pour into my memory forever. If there was a moment for Jared to roll his eyes at me, this would have been that moment.  Kaleb, loving his dear old mom the way he does, was very agreeable to all my discoveries.

Here this beautiful rose is growing in the wild.  No one to water it, fertilize it, or weed around it, or prune it.  I couldn't grow roses if it meant my life in Arizona. No matter how hard I tried.  And here this beautiful plant is growing in nature all by it's self with the conditions that God has provided.  It gives me hope of our family's survival.
I really enjoyed hiking with my boys.  Before they were born, I wasn't sure how to be a mom to boys.  I love how they think.  How they approach life and the tasks at hand.  I try to teach them to pay attention to those things that girls would like boys to pay attention to with the hopes that someday they will make awesome husbands and fathers.  I know they will.  I watched my boys clomping through the woods and felt so proud of them and who they are becoming.  It was interupted when I heard them going back and forth about something.  I hadn't heard. 
All of a sudden I hear Kaleb say to Jared.
Name 10 things that bug you about me.
It took Jared less than a minute to name 10 things. And they were all true. 
To be fair I suggested that Kaleb name 10 things that bug Kaleb about Jared. I figured that this was Kaleb's opportunity to speak up in a fair way.  Kaleb could only think of 3.  So I helped him and rattled off 7 more in about 20 sec. 
We all had a good laugh.  Jared admitted to the truth in our answers.
So, after a little thought and a little worried about where this next question could lead......
I asked the boys to name 10 things that bug them about their mother.
I was prepared for Jared to say it all in one breath.
About a half a mile later......they thought of only 3 things that bug them.
1. When I get hyper everyone feels like I am rushing them.  They don't like to be rushed.
2. They hate it if I even suggest a meal made with out meat.  They are such carnivores.
3. When I get upset about something, they said that everyone feels that they should be mad as well, not knowing what they are really that mad about.
I could easily think about 10 more things that bothers them but I decided it would be best to not make any suggestions at this point. Better to not plant any seeds in their precious minds about their mother.  It was kind of funny that they had a really hard time thinking up things that irritated them about their mother.  Maybe that is a sign that I am doing a good job? Either way, I love the time I spent with my boys.
They are worth every moment to me.


 A while back we weren't sure what was planted behind the house.  It sprouted looking like grass, bright green and sturdy.  We have discovered that it is wheat.  The very wheat that is pounded into flour and baked as bread.
 When the wind blows, it casts a silky, shiny wave across the field.  It is really beautiful. I love to hear the papery sound of the heads make as they brush against one another.
I love that God's beauty is just out our doorstep.  We are truely blessed.