Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of School

 What a great way to start off the new school year......
 After completing the school work that I planned,
we packed a lunch and hiked into Green Canyon!
Nothing like jumping into the new school year!
If you look real close under the writing, you can see Jared and Kaleb waving to me.
 After all these years of taking first day of school pictures in the same place at our house in Phoenix, we decided to really do something different. 
We might make this a weekly thing to do....that is until it snows.
I love my kids.
They are a great bunch.
 I couldn't imagine life without them.


Game Day

 Almost all of Star Academy was at the park for a game day. We thought we would enjoy the great outdoors together before school starts.  I turned around and saw one of the kids walking with a snow sled. 
What is he doing with a snow sled?
I love how kids minds work.  They decided to use it as a stretcher. Don't ask me the details. I have no idea why they were walking this little kid around the park, over the bridge and on a table. It was funny to watch though.



So when they tired of carrying eachother around, the lighter kids started using the snow sled as a raft to float down the creek. 
There is always something to do.
I love it here.  I love seeing my kids happy for the first time in a really, really long time. 
 
 
 
 

Praying Mantis

I love seeing all the new critters that we find around our house. I have never seen a praying mantis this big before just hanging out. A perfect specimen. 

Teen Social

 For years I have prayed for a co-op that would have both big and little kids.  Don't let Victoria know that I called her a little kid.  She claims to be a big kid. Anyway, I have also wanted to find a good group of kids for the boys to be involved with.  Our prayers have been answered.  Janet (far left in red and white striped shirt) and I have put together a co-op called Cache Valley Star Academy that has an awesome group of kids in it.  We have targeted the teens and have about 35ish 12-17 year olds.  How AWESOME is THAT!  I know it is a God thing, because we couldn't have done it alone. We have been thinking of ways to get the teens together socially before the school year starts.  We went round and round and decided to take them into Logan Canyon for a Teen Social. 
 We played games....
Listened to a motivational speaker.....Jillian talked to the kids about not waiting for tomorrow, do it today.....
 We roasted hotdogs.......
And made great big splashes!
I am very pleased how it all turned out. There was something for everyone. It is really hard to get older kids engaged in relationships with friends when there are so many distractions in life....like TV, cell phones, text messaging, the internet, video games. As homeschoolers, we are all trying on purpose to engage our kids in real life and not to be distracted by the stereotypical things that teens are involved with.  These kids are different.  They are all learning that it is okay to not go with the norm.  Statistics show that homeschooled kids make better college students and employees due to their discipline.  I guess all the years growing up with their mothers nearby reminds them to stay focused on being the kids that God has called them to be.  Homeschool kids are all straight A students.....because if they get it wrong they have to do it over until they get it right.
Anyway,
It was a fun to be with all these kids.  This is going to be a great year.

A 4H Sunflower

 Back in April, Victoria's little Cloverbud girls planted sunflower seeds.  Only one of Victoria's sprouted. And boy is it beautiful.  Sunflowers are my favorite flower.
 Did I mention that it was a Giant Sunflower!
 I am hoping that if I don't mention the weeds in the flower bed you won't notice!
A beautiful girl with a beautiful creation from God!

Kaleb's Monkeys

There are quite a few blogs out there that will have an entry of a single picture without words or any explanation.  It would be of a child quietly reading or a nature picture or something.  I found this picture in my camera.  I didn't take it.  And I can guess who did. This can be one of those wordless pictures. It can be a picture of what happens inside Kaleb's head. I love my Kaleb.  Sometimes his thoughts can be a barrel of monkeys who have sprung loose and are skittering about. I think he gets that from his Dad.  

Guess Who is Good at Ironing?

Victoria has discovered that she is really good at ironing....as well as folding laundry.....cutting up vegetables.....making salad....okay I will stop.  Back to the ironing. She set it up herself and took it upon herself to start ironing her Dad's shirt for church.  Of course the boys got in on it.  But she charged them a quarter each to iron their shirts.  I have to say she is pretty good.  Not bad for 7 years old!

Garden, Canning, Oh My!

There was a time that we were dealt lemons in life....and we made lemonade out of it.  Well.....we have TONS of cucumber.....so we made PICKLES!  I am so glad that our family loves pickles.  Especially Victoria. Santa will not need to bring her a giant jar of pickles this year. We have plenty.
 
 
Not only do we have spear dill pickles but we have dill pickle chips.  I kind of feel like we have cucumbers coming out our ears right now. I hadn't canned anything in over 20 years so I was really nervous.  I also made cucumber relish and corn relish.  I had to call my Mom after making the corn relish and ask her what the heck you serve corn relish with.  It tasts good!
I hate to say but this is what our counter looks like every couple days.  No one wants any zucchini or yellow crook squash because they have their own bounty to eat or get rid of.  So we have started playing doorbell ditch with our neighbors that we know for sure that don't have a garden to harvest.  It is kind of funny to fill a bag and then tell the boys to wait until dark to set the bag on a doorstep. It is awesome to have fresh veggies at our fingertips.  We also have green beans, beets (which are really yummy including the tops), onion, peas, corn, bell peppers, and pumpkins (three varities), broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes and of course carrots.
Isn't this the prettiest corn that you have ever seen? Look at how all the kernels line up so perfectly.  It is all part of God's incredible creation that it just does that.  I had no idea that all those seeds that we planted would bring us all this food.  Healthy food.  I keep asking the kids if they are sick of the veggies and I don't get any complaints.  Though it really isn't any different than how we ate before. 

It is literally exciting to watch the pumpkins orange up.  Who would have thought last year that we would be watching our very own pumpkins grow from tiny buds to a huge pumpkin just in time for the Fall.  For a while there we only had three pumpkins. I was a little concerned because everyone needed their own pumpkin.  We had to have atleast four.  Well, no need to worry.  We probably have a bushels worth of Jack Be Littles, and about 7 Jack Lanterns and about 4 White pumpkins. That was Daphne's contribution. This garden has definately been an experience.  We have learned a lot! I love being outside, watching the progress and identifying all the little critters that are eating what they are not supposed to. I am totally desensitized to grasshoppers.  I see deer in a total different way.  They really know how to destroy a crop.  And I am thankful that I never heard my kids fret and fume whenever I told them it was time to weed.  They just knew it had to be done and they were willing to do the work.  Though at times we had to leave the garden because patience had left and hunger ruled leading to tempers flaring. All in all, we had a Little Red Hen thing going.  If you help you get to eat what is in the garden.  I guess they were hungry. Which I am forever grateful for, we couldn't have kept up with it without them.

Sundi and Robert

 Victoria was the prettiest little flower girl for Sundi and Robert's wedding.  Kathy found her dress online.  It was the perfect color.
 I love my cousin Kathy.  I am so happy that we live so close now.  It is funny how we still have a hard time getting our schedules together to see eachother.  Especially because we are in the thick of our family life and Kathy and Troy are empty nesters.
It was nice to see Aunt Carol and get a great picture of her with the kids.  She was always my favorite aunt growing up.  I love her.  I think my sister looks like her.
Victoria was really getting into taking pictures at this point.  I think she was loving the attention.  Daphne found a spot right in the middle of this lawn to rest her legs.  The grass felt so cool.  Everything looked so pretty.
Victoria was busy twirling in her dress while Sundi was getting her picture taken.  The time was going by so fast.  I didn't get half the pictures that I intended to. 
Sundi made a beautiful bride.  She is already so beautiful.  It was really sweet seeing her and Robert together.  It made me think about how young Kirk and I were when we got married.


I turned around just in time to catch Kaleb in a headlock. Of course the grip was loosened when I turned around. Kaleb puts up with so much from his brother.  They were an awesome help to Kathy with various things that needed to be done during the reception.  Kaleb did a great job of running for water to make lemonade.  I was proud of them and how helpful they were.  I think Sundi and Robert will have a wonderful life together.  They have lots of family support and have a great mother and mother-in-law too.  That's Kathy if you were wondering. I think she has a wonderful outlook on being a mother-in-law.  I love our conversations that we have on motherhood.
Congratulations Sundi & Robert

Cache County Fair

 I love living in a small town.  Some wouldn't call Logan a small town but compared to where we have been, it is small.  And the fair was pretty awesome.  First....the entrance was FREE!
And there was GRASS!
I know, you will think we are wierd.....but yes, we were excited that there was grass......and an irrigation canal that all the kids were playing in.
 
After living in the desert for so long, it is just amazing to see running water. I know there is supposed to be a drought but it is so hard to believe it when you can see running water.  So we sat by it while we ate our hamburgers and soda.  I had to call Nana to tell her what we were doing because it was so out of the ordinary.  I know, I know...you don't see anything unique about the situation.  But for our experience, it is unique and we were all enjoying ourselves.  It only cost about $4 per person to get a drink and a hamburger with fries. Cheaper than take out. 
I had to take pictures of these chickens.  We really want to know where there eyes are and how do they SEE! They were the funniest things we had ever seen. It was a little warm in their building so I hated to see them panting. I am sure they were fine but once again, living in the desert has changed how we see things. There were three roosters crowing at eachother.  I wonder if it was exhausting for them to feel the need to crow every three minutes.
We walked around to the 4H exhibit which totally inspired the kids to submit entries next year.  We didn't this year even though they could have.  With it being our first time we decided to just wait. Plus we would have to pick them up at a certain time and we weren't going to be in town that day.  So next year we will get involved.
 The kids bought their own tickets to the rodeo.  The entire rodeo was awesome.  We sat on bleachers for 3 1/2 hours for the preshow and the entire rodeo.  Our legs were pretty sore the next day.  These girls were from Idaho.  Their group was formed in the early 1900's by a guy who wanted to make a riding club for kids.  He didn't have any saddles for them to use so they rode like the Native Americans did, bareback and with only a neck rein.  Most of them were girls, but they had complete control over their horses which they trained themselves using voice and leg commands.  Very impressive.
And then we have Man of Thunder on these beautiful Shires. These horses couldn't wait to get into the arena and do their thing.  It reminded me of Henry just trying to contain himself from running after the cats. These horses were just trying to contain their excitement to being able to get out there and do what they love to do.  And their thing, was pretty cool. This guys legs are really long and it was amazing to see him balance himself on their backs.  They were running, just digging into the ground and this guys head was pretty level with his legs taking the impact. Pretty impressive. I wish Kirk could have been with us.  He was finishing up his second of three weeks in Louisiana.
 There was the normal bucking bronco, with saddle, without saddle, then roping.  These guys are definately athletes. Both man and horse.  And I noticed that the horses that were doing the bucking and the steers were well fed and treated very nice.  They just don't like those straps cinched tight around their groin.  Some of them had shiny coats like a prized blue ribbon horse or steer.  It was good to see that they were well taken care of even though they were doing this intense bucking.
 There was also Mutton Busting where little kids rode sheep.  It was adorable.  A little girl with a pink helmet won.  She had twisted down between the sheeps legs and she was not letting go for nothing.  The guy had to literally remove her to get her off the sheep.  She was the winner.  And she was very proud.
It was a great night.  Just wish Kirk could have been there. 


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just one day

We had just one day with Kirk before he unexpectedly has to fly out to Texas and then on to Louisiana to paint murals for the next three weeks. In the past 9 weeks we have only been together 6 days total.  I guess we are just thankful that he has work that pays.
So for our one day, we....
went to Alpine Christian Church,
Went to the grocery store....
since there was NOTHING in the fridge but a couple zucchini from the garden,
And...
Put together the Swings that the kids and I brought home from Arizona.
I think the kids were very happy to have their tire swing back.
Now, it feels like home.

Cutting Time

I can't quite remember which one of my kids were with me but we were driving down the road to home which has fields on both sides. This piece of farm equipment was following us taking up both lanes, the one we were in and opposing traffic....which there wasn't any. I am not sure what the real meaning of traffic is in Logan, compared to what we came from. 
ANYWAY......
By the time we got into the house, it had pulled into the field behind our house.  We were hoping that we would be able to watch them cut it.  Out of the whole field he bailed 9 of the huge bails of straw.  It was pretty neat to watch.  We have managed to see this field planted, sprout, grow, mature, dry, cut and bailed.  I love how the scenery changes around here. We were all glued to the window watching the guy cut through the field.  It had gotton so overgrown that we couldn't walk along the side anymore to cut through the back to the library.  Now we are back to cutting through the field.  Jared would have loved to watch all the farm equipment when he was little.  It wasn't for him I would have never learned what a front loader or a back hoe were.  He knew them all and would be so excited in his car seat when we would pass them working on the road. It's funny that he wasn't that excited to watch this "hay cutter" (columbine?).  But then again he definately isn't two anymore.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunrise

We began our long drive home from Arizona with this beautiful sunrise.  It was really wierd being in Arizona after living in Logan for 9 months now.  Logan feels like home but Phoenix feels familiar. Not much has changed.  We were blessed with cooler temps for Phoenix if you can call low 100's cooler. We were expecting them to be much higher.  It was great seeing my parents again after such a long time. I miss them, especially my Mom. I am grateful for all that they have taught me growing up. Otherwise I probably wouldn't be driving my four children 800+ miles in 14 hours by myself.  They taught me to be tough. It has come in handy trying to survive this economy. One thing I learned on my own is about God's grace and having faith in the truth....Being saved. That is what I want to pass on to my children. Having absolute faith in Jesus Christ and through God's wisdom be tough. And live for this moment.

Nana

Victoria loved being with my Mom.
I did too. It was great spending time with her and my Dad.
Which brings me to my Dad's special shoes that he wears at home.
I hear that he isn't allowed to wear them out in public.
I remember when these shoes were brand new. 
Daphne might have been a baby.


Packing for Home

We had been planning to bring part of the play structure home.
But the center beam won't fit.....
Hmmmm......
 So I cut it off with a circular saw!
Now it fits.
I love this van. It stretched from the back to the very front under Daphne's feet.
And then the rest of the beams fit under the seats.

Getting in as many last minute swims before we leave.  Sugar has her own little lifejacket.  Jared was making bubbles for her to snap at.  She is really cute.
 Here she is snorkeling under water.  This dog loves the water. You should see us trying to catch her when we think she has had enough.  We had to dry her off and put her in the house for her to quit.
 I didn't realize how much our family enjoys swimming.  I loved swimming as a kid at my Grandmothers.  Anything to do with water is fun.
This was our favorite place. Mom and I sitting with a book and a drink.  We had lots of conversations but this brought back memories of hanging out together at the beach with our books. It is very relaxing. I already miss it and my Mom too.
Oh, yeah, the kids and I are supposed to be packing for home. 
Well....... maybe tomorrow.

Noodle Raft

Victoria had the thought to build a raft with pool noodles.  It didn't quite work. Jared arrived at the situation and immediately took over reworking the raft so that it actually held together when you layed on it.
 The boys are hard at work, working together or one is hardly working.....
Either way, it all came together.
 I liked the colors.......
 So of course I had to make it into a photo moment....
 Ta Daaa
Hannah and Kelly stopped by for one last visit before we left for home.
By the time we quit swimming that day, we had been in the pool for 8 hours.
Wow.....
It was a Great Day!