Friday, May 15, 2015


I was in charge of Victoria's Girl Scout troops SWAPS party.
S.W.A.P.S. stands for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere. And they are just little keepsakes that you trade with other Girl Scouts from other troops.
In June we are taking girls to Camporee and each of the girls need at least 50 SWAPS! to trade!
We, of course, chose all camping themes.
Kaleb came up with the binoculars on his own. He was playing with wire nuts in the garage one time when he was fairly young and glued eye balls on them.
The rest of the SWAPS are found here:

Mother's Day

 This has to be my most memorable Mother's Day EVER!
Here's how it all started....
Aunt Carol called telling me that she will be at Kathy's for Mother's Day and we should call Kathy and tell her that we want to spend it in Malad!
Great IDEA!
Called Kathy and said that we all wanted to come to her house for Mother's Day...Is that okay?
Kathy said yes at first but then called the next day and said that she didn't want to have clean her house or her yard so we should have it at our house....
Hmmm....okay, we can do that.
So I called my parents and told them the plans for Mother's Day.
Next thing I know, our Mother's Day went from 5 people, because Kirk was supposed to work that day to 13!
We had a wonderful time. Kathy and Troy, their daughter Sundi and her husband Robert, Aunt Carol, Mom and Dad and all of us all had dinner together. It was wonderful. And Kirk made it home just in time for everyone to come and enjoy a nice BBQ dinner of chicken and lots of trimmings.
Kaleb, the Grill Meister
He grills an excellent dinner.
 I love my family!
This is what happens when your youngest keeps messing around and you can't get a decent picture.
This is what happens when you get threatened by your big brother to behave.
I love being a Mom. It has it's ups and downs and many, many challenges but I wouldn't trade my job for anything.
 I love this top picture of Kathy and Sundi goofing around. 
We laughed so much. Victoria told me later how much fun Mother's Day was. I agree. 
This is the most memorable Mother's Day!

Window Washer

I asked someone....anyone to clean the bird poop off the window for almost a week! I looked out the window and saw Jared perched on the brick ledge of the window. Who knows how he got up there. I love having able bodied kids. I find great joy watching them mature into who they are meant to be.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

109 Things

     Kaleb and I, while we were tearing out juniper bushes in the front yard, 4 hours into the project, were thinking up 109 things you should know when you buy a 109 year old house.

 It was easy to see,
 you find gaping holes in plaster behind wall paper, 
raw plaster with no paint to seal it,
 50 year old juniper bushes completely over running the yard, 
plaster textured over wall paper,
 linoleum over wood floors, 
windows that have been painted shut,
weird configurations in the layout of the house
a yucky stainless steel sink in the kitchen while an awesome porcelain sink is in the shed,
the list goes on and on.
 I am sure we could come up with 109 things.

     Now that we have been here over two months, there is a certain charm to moving into this old house. I can see that the previous owners who lived a good life here really liked their house and updated things. Which is why there is plaster textured over wall paper. They cared enough to add on a garage, extend the kitchen, put an automatic fan in the attic so when it got to hot up there it would turn on. We found out that the old guy loved golf and made golf holes in the back yard. It took us days to clean out the out building of the junk and debris that had gathered over the years including a few tree limbs and an abundance of saw dust. We could see that the fellow tinkered and maintained his household from here with the jars of rusted screws, old hardware and lots of stuff we didn't even know what it was.

     Living in a 109 year old house has its quirks. I love living in a place that has been here so long that the trees are established and have seen out houses, dirt roads, wood stoves and long dresses. I love that our closet is so small that we have to switch out our winter clothes for summer. Of course they would only have hooks in the 1906 you only had a few clothes. It reminds me that our lifestyle of today is all about abundance and that living simpler is a good thing.

     This house has watched horse drawn buggies and Model T Fords pass by its front walk.
How cool is that?

     Really, we should be thinking up 109 ways that God has blessed us with this move. We see God's hand in our every move from the apple tree in the back yard, to the healing from losing our house in Arizona after the economy crash. We keep finding more and more of God's blessings. It brings tears to my eyes when I walk out back and hear the breeze whisper through the pine trees. From the time the kids were babies, I would find peace and serenity while we were camping listening to the wind whistle through the pine trees. I never imagined that I would find that on our own property. 
     Actually, we all know that we won't be able to count the blessings. That is how God works. He overflows us with all his grace and love. How lucky I feel that we are his children.

Friday, May 8, 2015


 Every day is a surprise of God's many blessings.
I love lilac and look what we have growing in our yard
 The girls are growing like weeds and settling in to their new hen house.
Jared and Kaleb did an awesome job of building our coop. Kirk and I barely helped. I was so impressed, watching them work together. Kaleb cutting wood and handing it over to his brother who would nail it into place. They were like a well oiled machine, just the two of them.
A picture of that is coming soon,
 I love that all of these chicks have different personalities. The Plymouth Rock chick we call Gertrude always runs up to us thinking that she is going to come out the door. So I always pick her up and hold her. The white Leghorn Henrietta, thinks she is the boss. Martha, the Australand, is very proper and stands up straight with her tail at its fullest height. Augustine, the buff orpington is super soft and does not want you to pet her at all cost, even if she has to run over her sister chick to get out of the way. 
We love all 7 of them. They are neat birds.
 Jared, testing out the rope swing.
He has an awesome smile...and dimples too.
 My goof ball son.
Kaleb should be in drama. He is so every day!
Though I do hate it when he answers my phone.....
Hello, This is Social Services, How may I help you?...
Things usually get way out of control after dark, so this is happening a little early.
He must be hungry ...

Everything Green

I love this yard!
Even though it took Kaleb and I 6 hours to mow this grass!
YES, 6 hours.
We kept trading off on pushing the mower.
I think we need a ride-on mower.

The Barn

Kirk has said for years that he needs a barn to paint all the back drops that he does every year.
He was exhausting me over the years because I didn't see how it would ever happen.
Well, he got a "barn".
Now he doesn't have to empty the garage in order to set up a place to paint.
He put up his foam walls and attached the paper and wa- la.
Easy Peasy!

 Now he does still paint the back drop side ways. He paints three panels per show. This particular one is for Mary Poppins....a spoonful of sugar..... 
Kaleb, acting like a goof ball as usual.

New Friends!

We are super excited about summer approaching.
Victoria has met some new girls in the neighborhood. She finally got up enough nerve to approach them while they were playing in the canal behind our property. She quickly discovered that all of the 5 girls that were playing were all 10-11 year old. Another answered prayer!
They built a fort in the back under some awesome trees.
I think summer is going to be fun with new friends.

4H Dog Agility

Victoria has always loved dogs and we have always known that Henry needed to do dog agility. After seeing him climb fences and knowing how high he can jump, we just knew he would be good at it.
With ALOT of training. He ALWAYS thinks he knows better!
 I love watching all the kids getting control of their dogs and encouraging them to do things on the agility course. Some of the dogs personalities are so funny. There is one golden lab that rolls in the tunnel, every single time.
 This Golden Retriever will do anything for her toy! And her owner is the most polite boy I have ever met. Really neat kid.
 Henry isn't afraid to do anything. Some dogs get nervous on the see-saw. Henry doesn't seem to care that it moves. As long as he gets his treat at the end.

By the end of the hour Henry was staying focused and actually doing everything that was requested of him. He loves the tunnel so everytime Victoria was wanting him to go up and over the A frame he would get super excited and run through the tunnel in stead. It was kind of funny but frustrating to Victoria. He would come out the other side super happy like he had accomplished what you had asked him to do. Not quite. I guess he needs more work on that.
 These horses were watching the dogs while they were practicing. They also liked having their picture taken. They were quite comical to watch and interact with.This one especially liked his muzzle scratched.
 This guy wanted in on the attention as well.

Our Carpenter

 Jared and the team of other students in the carpentry program have completed the house they have been building right on schedule. It is amazing to see the whole process and hear the numerous stories that Jared now has from being in this program.
Jared has spilled his blood in this very house and has fallen off the roof too.
At one stage of the house you could follow the drips of blood from Jared where he was nailed with a nail gun or smashed his thumb among other accidents.
Every day I would hug him good bye and rather than telling him to do good work and pay attention (that's what my mom always said), I would tell him no bleeding and come home with all his fingers.
 Here is the closet that he and another guy built. He is very proud of this closet. I think it will inspire him to figure out what to do with his and Kaleb's closet in their new room.
Not only did they frame the house but they did finishing work as well. Like all the molding, the stairs and even tile the kitchen and bathrooms. He loved coming home dirty after a long days work.
We are really proud of him. 
Next step....getting a job.

Guess Who's Awake?

After a long winter's sleep....Alexander is awake!

Apple Blossoms

We told Kaleb, our apple man that when we moved we would plant an apple tree...
I guess we didn't need to.
There is already one in the back and the blossoms are beautiful!

Many Changes

The previous owners found themselves unable to take care of the property so it has become very overgrown. Each week there are many changes taking place.
The biggest job right now is pulling up all the sheets of weed stop that are three layers deep in some places. The poor trees are struggling because their root system is not deep because of it. Kaleb and I have been busy trimming trees, removing juniper bushes that were planted in the 60's and tackling the weeds. It is a lot of work but very rewarding.
 Underneath the over grown terrain under the trees I found berry bushes. I guess we will have to wait to find out what kind. It is very exciting to see what we will find next.
 Kaleb and I spent hours removing juniper bushes under the pine trees on the north side of the yard. Some neighbors offered to help us remove this patch which we were dreading.
 It took us only a couple hours with a chain saw and pulling the stumps out with a truck.
We have tons more to remove but at this point the front yard is looking really nice and clean. We have people constantly walking by saying how much they like what we have done in such a short time. There is so much to do that it will take us all year to just get caught up with the years of neglect.
 It just needs lots of TLC.

Deer Watching

 Sammy and Henry are deer watching.

Biggest Snow Storm of the Year

I kept telling the kids that the day after we moved it could snow. 
It did but nothing like this storm! 
April 15th was a  great day.
 I love how the snow makes everything look so different, and living in a new place brought all kinds of different surroundings. It felt like we were camping, or on vacation somewhere.
 I like this picture of Sammy. He loves to sit by this door and watch the birds. Whenever it is cold he will only sit on this rug or carpet. I guess he likes a warm tushie.

Chickie Babies

 I look back at these pictures from just a month ago and I can't believe how quickly these chicks have grown. But then again, I think back to when we moved in to our new home and I can't believe it has only been two and a half months.
Every warm day we put the babies outside to give them fresh air. Here they are watching the boys build their new home where they will lay lots and lots of eggs for us.