Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Hills are Alive

...with The Sound of Music!

I recorded it, and the kids and I watched it tonight. They loved it! I was surprised, but they did.

I prefaced the movie by telling them how their aunt Kendra and I would go to our grandma Sorensen's house and she didn't have TV, but she had a VCR and a couple of movies. We always watched this one. Instead of a "Cool, Mom!" (a girl can dream!), I get a, "What's a VCR?"

I almost choked. Thank-you, Kacy for making me feel old! What's a VCR...sheesh!


If this is for real, how awesome is this?

I have a Flickr account. I don't use it much anymore, since my "photography" stuff has been on the back burner, but I checked it today. I got a "flickr mail" from another user who saw a picture of Will's old, nasty Converse on there.

Apparently, he buys old Converse and uses them for art projects. (Interesting,  in itself.) He offered to buy the old shoes, plus shipping. Like, buy the old ones at the cost of a new pair, plus shipping.

I sent him an email saying he could pay me via paypal. I also let him know that I have another boy who wears converse and who wears his shoes out. Shoot, if this artist is in the market, it is possible I could keep him stocked with thrashed Converse every few months or so. LOL.

I'll keep you posted if it works out.

PSA- New California Car Seat Law

Hold on to your booster seats, or be prepared to go buy some new ones!

Starting January 1 (this Sunday), a new law takes effect here in the great State of California. What, only one, you say? Of course not. But this is one that I have to change my lifestyle for, so I thought I'd share.

The law is this: Children *MUST* be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint (safety seat or booster seat) IN THE BACKSEAT OF A VEHICLE until they are at least 8 years old OR 4'9". (source: www.chp.ca.gov)

Brush those boosters off, or go buy another one!

So, this means I need to go buy Will a new booster. Kacy is 8, so she's good. But this effects me just a little more than buying another booster: I often have Kacy or Will sit in the front seat with me when I have groceries in my car. I fold down a back seat to open up my cargo area, and off we go. NO MORE? According to the CHP website, the magic number for sitting in the front seat is older than 11. No specifics, but in their FAQ's, they suggest an 11 year old who weighs 80 pounds still sit in the back. I will ask Favorite FUZZ #1 about the actual LAW pertaining to the front seat, or if this is just a recommended safety standard.

I have a whole lot of rant to go with this, riddles with my own kind of logic and observations on the absurd direction that our government is going to keep us safe. Ryan said the bumping up of the limit effects approximately 2 million children here in California. That's a lot of booster seat sales...

Anyhow, go buy your first and second graders a new booster since you probably either graduated it down to a younger child or threw it out. Make sure it has cup holders. Cup holders are a life saver! They save old gummy bears, cherrios, and used gum. Just pray the kid doesn't put a piece of fruit in there, close the cup holder, and wait for you to open it a month later. That's disgusting.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kacy and Santa

Kacy just found the letter I didn't mail to Santa. She's worried he won't know what she wants. I told her that if he knows if she's naughty or nice, he probably knows what she wants. I reminded her she told the Santa at school today what she wanted, and she said that wasn't the real Santa. Santa brought his wife, Mrs. Claus, and if you are Mrs. Claus, you DO NOT carry a purple smartphone with you. Apparently, it would be red and white, and that's only if they had reception at the North Pole.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

We did it. We got a Christmas tree this year. Last year was a lit up garland in the shape of a triangle hanging from a hook. The year before was nothing, because the kids kept touching and breaking the little three foot artificial tree I had, and I had a breakdown and threw it out the door, furthering the damage. This year though? WE HAVE A TREE. Getting the tree was an awesome adventure, see below for that story.

 Decorating with the ol' ornaments I have. MIA is the garland, tree skirt, and tree lights. Must be in that box I couldn't get to in storage.

 The other one: he had bronchitis this week and missed three days of school. On medication now, and doing much better. The other boy doesn't sound so good now though. Crossing fingers we make it through the weekend.

 Proud of their work! And, it looks like all the lights are on the bottom. They aren't. (But maybe close, because I bought one box of lights. I just couldn't bring myself to buy more when I know I have them in storage.

How They Got Their First Real Tree From the Mountains
by, "Mom's Car."

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and the air was chilly. They couldn't all fit in "The Beast," a 1976 Ford so they split up. Three went in the Beast, and three climbed into me. I'm the little car, the one with Cherrios and Cheetos stuck to the floor. The one who goes 3,000 miles a month with very little complaint. I need a new front end and tires, but they took me anyway. What else could they do? "Ride Red," the big truck, was loaded with a ton of hay in the bed and was hooked up to a trailer for the hay ride that night.

And, why don't I have a cool nick name? The Beast, Ride Red... and "Mom's Car?" After our adventure, I deserve something better.

We went up the road a few miles, then made a right turn and left pavement. The road was rutted with washboards, but it was a fun road for awhile. Until we came around a bend in the road, and there was snow. Not much, but just enough to have melted and frozen for a few days straight, causing the road to be an icy mess. One side of the one lane road was a steep mountain side going up, with granite boulders jutting out. The other side of the road was just as steep, except going down, down, down. The Beast's tires started spinning as we tried to climb this section of road. I was doing fine, of course, until I had to back up and let the Beast gain traction. Well, I really had no choice, you see, because in all honesty the Beast was starting to slide backwards. He slid a little until he hit dirt, then was able to get going forward again. I, on the other hand, did not make it. I was put in reverse and backed down the road and made several attempts at going forward, but we always seemed to hit ice. By this time my tire tread was full of snow, and the crazy kid in the back kept telling the woman, "Mom, I wish Dad was driving. You are making me nervous. Dad would know what to do." I could tell she didn't really appreciate that, because the next thing I knew she gunned it. We went no where. She backed me back down the road a ways, and parked me at a wide spot. She and the two little ones left me there while they hiked up the road to get a tree.

The tree came down easily, because the man who drives the Beast is like a lumberjack. He has a strong build, loves the mountains, and made short work of cutting down the tree with an ax. The tree was a 10 footer, cut down to eight. It was loaded into the back of the Beast, and the kids switched cars. No one likes to ride in me. I don't know if it's because I often smell like feet and old milk, but since they do that to me, I don't see why they care. (And for the record, the woman cleaned the old milk problem out of me ages ago. One of those kids put an ice cream in my cup holder without any one knowing it until it curdled during a summer heat.)

This is where the fun begins. The Beast, that manly 4x4 truck the family loves so much, had some problems. I overheard the woman telling the kids that the steep incline made the car run out of what little gas was left, and that the battery went dead. Ka-pow! A double whammy! The man always keeps a five gallon tank of gas in the back, because the Beast doesn't have a gas gauge. The big truck was stuck.

They did the only thing they thought possible after failed attempts to start it. The man got out the chains. He told the woman to go get me, and to bring me up where the truck was. She kindly reminded him she had tried several times just 15 minutes ago and had no luck. She came back to me, and I tried to get her up that hill. It was so slick! I ended up turned around from sliding around on the road. She put me in reverse and hit the gas, starting me up the hill in reverse. She made me nervous, really. Don't tell the woman I said that though.

I didn't make it all the way up the hill. The woman was frustrated, and told the man he better try. The man jumped in me (because we were much closer to the Beast by then, just not close enough.) In reverse, he hit the gas and my tires were spinning so much on the ice they started to burn. He put me in drive, and we shot down the road to get a running start. After doing that three times, each time going faster than the last (and, I must admit, the woman at this point was getting a little anxious, envisioning me sliding into the side of something) we finally made it! I was turned around, and the man put a chain on a hook under the back of me, and around the front axle of the Beast. We were lucky, being on the ice, because I could pull the Beast around and get him facing forward again. All was going well until... Well, let me back up by saying that I am a nice, modern, Japanese made Mazda 5. I have numerous airbags, a unibody design, and I get great gas mileage. The Beast, on the other hand has seen better days. He is a great truck, but he doesn't have power steering. And, on top of that, the steering has been modified to allow it to have a lifted suspension, and doesn't turn to the right very well. In fact, it's awful. And guess which way the truck needed to turn? To the right, of course. So, as I'm doing my best to pull a 3/4 ton pickup behind me, the truck gets stuck on the shoulder embankment because of a huge boulder sticking up. 

The man gets out, and talks to the woman with their plan. She is used to these adventures, and chalks them up to fun times now. Something to remember and laugh about. The plan is to have me, a little ol' Mazda with slick tires, pull and pull on the Beast until it is jerked off the shoulder and away from that boulder. It didn't start out so well for me at first. I kept coming awfully close to hitting the mountain, but I had to brave it out because of the angle. I tugged several times, and then I heard a loud "POP!" The girl in the back was almost near tears because she had no confidence in me or her parents. She just knew I would crash. Well, I didn't! The popping sound was that welded hook from under my car coming off. Along with some other part the man and woman deemed "not important." The man put the chain in a more secure spot, and back and forth we went, like a machine. Reverse, drive, reverse, drive, over and over again, until finally the truck came off the shoulder embankment. The woman cheered, I cheered, and the Beast followed me down the mountain until the man popped the clutch and was on his way. Sure, it was getting dark, and they were extremely pressed for time so the man and oldest girl child would make it to that hay ride he was in charge of. And sure, I lost my hook, some weird shroud underneath my car, my bumper is cracked a little, and the right side of my rear fender looks like it might need some pounding to put it back how it was, but we made it home, and they have their tree.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Use It or Lose It

This goes for fitness, chemistry, and for me, photography skills. It's very possible that I never really had skills to begin with, but I took some pictures of my nephew yesterday and although I got a couple of "good ones," I am frustrated with the lack of focus on my part. Why don't I see that the focus is not where I want it to be when I'm taking the picture? And don't get me started on lighting. I don't get paid for taking pictures, which is great because I don't deserve it. But if I were so inclined to head that direction, I would so get some lighting, ASAP. It's hard to work with natural light while traveling to other people's houses, where who knows which direction the light will come from, what kind of color cast the stucco might bring (and don't bother with the white balance with me. I put it on auto and call it good- but I'm thinking I need to learn that, and soon)... it's a little stressful. Anyhow, here is Louie, and although I like almost everything about this picture, I hate how soft it is. Good thing his toes are in focus...NOT. 
I used my 50mm on this shot, f/2.2. I needed to maybe close that up a bit, maybe in the 3-4 range? Heck, since there is no background to really blur, a 5 would have been okay...maybe. I'm not sure, since I didn't try it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had my 50mm that small before. The pictures with my other lens (28-135 f/3.5) were clearer. Oh well, what can ya do? Practice, practice, practice. I'm not so naive as to think I could carry off a 365 project again. Maybe just force (bribe) my kids to pose for me, and get those little focusing dots all lit up at the same time, and learn to use the flash I bought myself for Christmas last year. And, I'll brush up on my owner's manual and what not. I'll just add that to my To Do list, of course.

In other news:
Yesterday the kids and I went to a retirement home/assisted living center and sang carols with April, Caley, and April's friend Karrie. Seriously, I never thought I'd met another KARRIE, but I did! Anyhow, going into the memory care section where the dementia/Alzheimer's patients are can be hard. I caught one lady's attention and she was motioning to me, kind of singing to me, but I didn't know what she was saying. Her eyes were bright, but she was just not all together, mentally. I kept wondering what to do, as she waved her hand close to me. It seemed like she wanted to hold my hand, but didn't have control over her hands. I tried holding her hand, but she pulled away, only to bring her hand back to me. While she was singing to me and motioning, I just stood there, smiling like an idiot. What else do you do? I felt like she really wanted to tell me something. I imagine it was that she enjoyed the singing (cousin Caley has an amazing voice) or she was remembering a time from before. It was hard to see someone's grandma or mother that way, and I don't think I'll ever forget it. One of those brief encounters that leaves a lasting impression. The kids walked away with lots of questions, and I walked away grateful that I have my mind intact. I won't be taking that for granted.

We are getting a real, live Christmas tree this year! I got the ornaments out of storage, and great news: none of them melted in the intense heat of the last six summers. The kids are thrilled. Ryan says we will sleep in the house for Christmas Eve, but if he doesn't go get my king size bed out of storage, there is no way I'm sleeping in that house. He can camp with the kids in the house, and I will be a pretty princess and sleep in my home sweet trailer. I was raised in Oildale for the first four year of my life, you know. Really though, maybe I'll pretend to sleep out there. I will stay up until they sleep, and then get back out there before they wake up. No one should have a grumpy mom on Christmas Day!

Today Ed choked Will and Will beat Ed. Then I interfered, separated the two and chewed them both out, making all manner of threatening statements and then walking away because I was so mad. I know, I know... boys. But it made me mad because I could HEAR the weird strangling noise from Will. Then I heard two "thumps" and the "Stop it! Owe! You hurt me! You weren't sharing! Mooo-ooommm!" And on and on. This, after I had just told them to cut it out and be nice, and blah blah blah. I about flipped out, as is becoming something of a Sunday morning habit for me. That, too, needs analyzing and a change. Being a parent is NUTS. Last week I lost it because not one child brushed their teeth or found their shoes when I asked them, and the boys were fighting in the shower. (My boys really do love each other, but they have shower issues. "He's taking my water! You didn't get me soap! Get out of the water!" This, with two shower heads. Amazing.) Well, this Sunday when I told them to go brush their teeth and find their shoes, they hopped to it. No, today was a steel cage death match, instead. Minus the steel cage. They were really good the rest of the day. Ed apologized to Will, and was penitent for the afternoon. Will actually cleaned up his mess without being asked... it was a small miracle.

I will take any and all small miracles.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Greek Yogurt Tastes Like Sour Cream... and other random observations.

  • Greek yogurt tastes a lot like sour cream except thicker. I'm thinking if one was so inclined, one could substitute the two! On pudding, potatoes, or maybe as an addition to a cake mix or cookies... personally, I like to mix it with Smucker's Low Sugar Strawberry jelly (tames the tang!) and then mix that with healthy cereal.
  • New running shoes really do make you run faster. The kids are right!
  • Why is it I can remember how to make a cootie catcher from the third grade, but can't remember where I put my favorite socks? (or anything else for that matter.)
  • Dieting/eating healthy feels good, but is hard. Why choose broccoli when you can choose garlic bread and cookies?
  • Did you know Cinderella went to the mall? I actually got into an "argument" with my three year old about this. Then I started laughing, and she got mad. 
         "No, serious Mom. Don't laugh. Cinnerella went to the mall." 
         "What did she do at the mall?" 
          "She danced with boys."
          "You don't dance with boys at the mall. You dance with boys at a ball." 
          "A ball? That's just silly mom. It's a mall."

  • Don't argue with a three year old. Especially one who is literal. You will always lose.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kacy's Turn

Got a phone call this morning from the school again. Kacy face planted on the cement and broke her glasses...and got these lovely scrapes on her face. How awesome is that that someone at the school sent this to me? I can't decide if it was her teacher or the secretary... I'm thinking it was the latter. 

How she managed to land on her face...aye! She needs to learn the "tuck and roll" method of falling. Poor girl. Poor glasses- they snapped in half on the bridge. She needed an appointment with the eye doctor anyway, so this just speeds the process.Ah, I look at this picture and my face hurts for her! Like Ed's black eye, it'll only get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kids! (The Boys, Anyhow)

Typical. :)
 After we got our firewood delivered yesterday, Will picked up a piece and immediately said that he wanted to chisel a Tiki. Ryan helped him get started... he cut the mouth. Oak is a really hard wood. Not so easy to chisel a tiki from. He worked on it for two days.
 Ed is doing great... except that the school called today to inform me that while playing tag this morning, he ran into some playground equipment (essentially a metal pole, part of the monkey bars), and got a black eye. She said the funny thing was that he kept complaining about his chest, not his eye. His eye just started changing colors while he was in class. So, he's got a black eye, and he still says his chest is a little sore. At least he didn't get a concussion, like a friend's kid did. That was serious business, and would be a scary phone call. As it was, I kept waiting for her to tell me what awful thing he did to get in trouble. A black eye is awesome compared to what it could have been!

House Progress

A house update! Hooray, hooray... there is a light at the end of the tunnel. One of our biggest projects is almost finished... THE STAIRS. Here's a few pictures:

Door knobs are in: no more loudly announcing, "Goin' to the bathroom!" anytime we used a bathroom so no one would come in.
The fireplace and unfinished floor. We bought a cord of oak... oak burns so much nicer than pine. Pine will do in a pinch, but since our sole source of heat is this fireplace, we needed wood that will burn nice and slow. Our house is nice and toasty now.
Still a construction site in most the biggest room of the house. This is looking into the laundry room and back bathroom. Don't mind the plastic "curtains" and dirty floor. I tried keeping two living places clean, but I quit. Much too ridiculous to keep a construction site clean.

Part of the stairs... the unstained part is a landing. Not at all finished, but usable. We have railing supplies! I included this shot because it shows part of the loft. The ceiling is not yet finished. It'll be finished soon.
Looking from the kitchen into the front room. We kind of, sort of ran out of stain (again), hence the two tone stair area. We have since bought more. The archway on the left leads to our master bedroom. The archway on the right goes to the kids' room and bathroom. 

We will both be so glad when this project is finished. We can't wait to have some "spare time," and look forward to getting a normal life back in a couple of months. I will say this: using the shower and laundry facilities in this house has been a dream. I can't believe that I spent five years going to the laundramat (or using the laundry in the shed and a clothesline), and the RV shower just does not compare to a regular shower. It's heaven. Ah, can't wait.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Puppy Love- I'm getting a dog!

A blue puppy- Austrialian Cattle Dog, aka blue heeler or Queensland heeler.

 Red and blue. SO CUTE, I just want to squeeze them!

 One of the moms. This one is Pfeiffer, a blue. In our area, especially for a ranch dog, it is customary to dock the tails.
 The dad- McConaughey. He is shaped like a barrel- very stout, even as a puppy.

Another mom- this one is named Foxy, and she's a red heeler, and on the smaller side.

I am finally ready for a puppy, and I reserved a female from two upcoming litters out either Foxy or Pfeiffer. I reserved a blue, then a red, and even a white, if a white one comes out. I don't really care which color I get, as long as it's a girl. I was keen on the blues first, but the reds have grown on me. I have watched many YouTube videos, and I love these dogs! I didn't at first, and here's why:

Growing up, I was let off the bus at the highway and had to walk down a dirt road to our house. Not far, only about a 1/4 mile. I had to pass two other houses, one of the houses had a dog that would chase me down the road, and he scared me to death. It was my friend's dad's dog, and he told me it was a Queensland heeler. So, I grew up hating Bronson (none of our dogs acted like he did!) and hating Queensland Heelers. About a year ago, Ryan suggested a Queensland would fit our family and lifestyle, and I balked at the suggestion at first. I didn't want a mean, ugly dog that looked like it would eat your face off. He was surprised by my strong reaction and got on the internet to show me pictures. Bronson was NOT a queenland heeler. Maybe his grandma was, but looking back, I think he was mostly Rottweiler. The jaw/mouth was completely different- much more like a pitbull.I remember this because I was quite preoccupied with his mouth, and swung my alto saxophone case with all my 80 pounds. (I knew that stupid case was good for something!) Anyway, the more I have learned about the breed, the more excited I am to get one. Ryan has met many through his days as a cowboy and packer. He really likes them.

She will make the perfect running buddy for me, since George quit me. I tried to walk George yesterday, and we only made it to the mailbox before he sat down and looked at me. He wouldn't budge. No amount of nice talking, excitement, or tugging would move that dog, until I finally said, "Go home." Then he promptly got up and we walked with no problem back to his house. He used to run with me all the time, and now he won't even walk. He likes to do things on his terms, and he's so big and stubborn, there is little I can do. I think he's lazy. Ryan says he is just independent, as Great Pyrenees are. What ever the case, when he quit running with me two years ago, my fitness has gone down hill. I like the companionship of a dog when I run (or right now, walk) where I live: dirt trails in the country. I also want her to go hiking with the kids and I, and where George is great for keeping coyotes away, he will lick people to death. He's not scary. I want a dog that can be intimidating, if only slightly. The kids are getting older now, too. They have more puppy sense and I can train them as well as the dog. This dog will go everywhere with me. Like a 5th kid. Except probably more obedient -LOL.

I think I might name her Emmylou. We name our dogs after country singers. (And our barn cats are named Steve- I know.) Emmylou is kind of a long name though, so I'm not 100% sure. Anyhow, we are crossing our fingers we get a female in February! 

(Thank-you to the Lewis Ranch for the pictures, and I look forward to meeting my puppy soon!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stressed, but Happy

Can you be both stressed and happy at the same time? I think I am both of those. With everything going on right now, I have an almost permanent lower eyelid twitch on my right eye, and the corner of my mouth is tingling like I'm going to get a cold sore. Yipee! My second grade school picture is classic: me with frizzy hair and cold sores. I suppose it's my destiny in life: to be a stress case and have bad skin. At least I had very cool polo shirt and purple corduroy pants. I loved cords. Still do.
People don't really change, I guess.

Monday, November 28, 2011


It's true. And, I said it last night. Jocelyn said I should write it down and put it on Pinterest! So, as an experiment, I will. I said it because I was being whined at for being "so mean!" because I told Ed it was time to go home. Turns out he was in the middle of watching "The Santa Clause, 2." Once I figured out that was what the real problem was I told him to get over it, and "why don't you just go ask grandma if you can borrow it?" while shaking my head and rolling my eyes. Hey, I was done.

I also decided after a conversation with cousin Jimmy on Thanksgiving, that I should use my camera more often, and let the results be what they may. I could write a whole post titled "Psychological Ramifications of  the Quest of Mastering Basic Photography While Combating the Hyper Critical Self," but if you notice the first six letters of that are PSYCHO.

Anyways, watch for me to be busting out my camera more. I will get over the self inflicted feeling of being intrusive and that I'm not any good. And, I will also realize when you expect every picture to be perfect, you set the standard so high that you quit taking any pictures.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today I made a to-do list. Inspired by my cousin Caley's list of 75 things she needed to do (some soon, some a little later), I decided to get back into the habit of a paper and pen list of things to do. Ryan used to tease me about being a list maker, and I kind of stopped doing it (on paper, they were always in my head), but he has started making lists, too! It happens when you have to much stuff in your head to keep track of. My list today looks like this:

Laundry- wash*, dry*, fold, put away
Laundry- wash*, dry, fold, put away
breakfast dishes*
grocery shop
library books- find them*, return them
sand chimney
sweep under couch (ewww)*
make kids clean their room*
walk George
blog update*
clean bedroom pile by bed*
dinner dishes
lunch dishes

*completed- I LOVE crossing things off! Weirdly satisfying.
not too bad! the grocery store thing bothers me, because that is a minimum 30 minute drive one way, or if I wanted to save money, minimum 60 minutes one way. That eats up my day entirely and leaves me exhausted. Maybe I'll wait until Ryan gets home and go by myself. Or, if I can beg him to please stop and get me a gallon of milk we could possibly wait until Monday to shop when the kids are back in school. But I'm not sure if he can do that in uniform. I don't want him to get in trouble. But dang, it would be nice to have that opportunity to be like, "Hey, honey, can you stop on your way home and get some milk and a loaf of bread?" But when he wears a uniform and drives a state car, that could be unethical. Hmmm.....

Finding the library books was awful. My kids are banned from checking out books for awhile.

The kids have been waking up at 6:15 every morning, except the mornings they have school. Typical!

I am making more of an effort to encourage George to walk with me. He doesn't like it anymore. I'm getting a puppy in February, one that is more energetic and will go with me everywhere. I'm so excited! I've been thinking about and planning for one for about a year now. More on that later.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 This Thanksgiving, dinner was spent at the Bunting's where Levi told me grandma hunted the turkey. I thought he said she dropped it at first. Dinner was yummy! The turkey was brined and moist and delicious! The rolls were buttery...mmmmmm. We went over to my parent's house for desserts.
 This sassy girl (grrr!) was ready to eat! She rearranged her own place, trading a smaller plate for the larger one. On the way home the other day we talked about her not being so sassy, and she said, "But, I just don't know how!" Somethings else I don't want to forget: she loves to eat open face mayonnaise sandwiches.
Kacy is a good helper. She's one of the messiest kids I know, but she will eventually clean it up. She made a school project with thankful leaves. The leaves say she's thankful for the sun, friends, home, Veterans, family,church, my dad's job, God, life, the temple, Jesus, nature, and the moon.

I am thankful for a great marriage, healthy kids who do well in school, a car that hasn't fallen apart yet, my trailer that keeps me dry when it's wet outside, setting priorities and having faith that everything will work out, the gospel of Jesus Christ, my dog George who barks at the coyotes, my husband's job, a washer and dryer that work and that is on the property (hallelujah chorus for that one!) and for the opportunities I have to do stuff I like, to have a good friend or two, and generally be happy with my life. A good attitude will take you far, or at least, it will help keep you sane. And when I say "you," I mean "me."

My New Nephew

Here is the announcement for my youngest sister's kid. He seems like a good baby- sleeps a lot, likes to eat... that what all newborns do though, right?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day

For Veteran's Day we went to the cemetery where my grandpa is buried. He served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. The cemetery didn't have any flags put up this year, and it was windy.

The kids' school puts on a great Veteran's Day program, complete with songs and recitations. Veteran's come from the comunity, and there are refreshments afterwards. It is always great! Thank-you to all the Veteran's for their service which allows our freedoms here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Cold!

That's right. It's cold. And, my kids need pants. It's is impossible to do hand-me-downs in our family. Kacy is the first born. Jessie is almost five years younger. The boys wear the same size. Alas, a shopping trip is in order. I hate shopping. (Don't tell anyone... I have recently started to tolerate shopping. Maybe by the time I'm a grandma I'll learn to enjoy it!)

The kids had their huge Veteren's Day program yesterday. It was good! Rooster, M. Henry, and N. Young came from church. Kacy personally called Rooster Tuesday night to let him know. While we were talking about calling him, Jessie interrupted and said, "Uh, guys. Chickens don't talk on phones. Hello!" She was so serious (and so SASSY!) and we just cracked up. That's what you get when you only half listen to a conversation.

The kids' classes did things like recite poems, sing songs, sign and sing songs, and pass out paper flowers and thank-you notes.

Tuesday night I had a board meeting. I like being on the board, and knowing what is going on at the school. Between that and talking to the teachers, I am totally comfortable with what goes on at school. Except the government part of it (there are so many regulations! Daunting.) it can almost be "fun." Kind of. We have a great Superintendent/Principal. It almost makes me nervous for when she retires... hope the next one is good, too.

Today the kids were home from school (teacher in-service day) and tomorrow is Veteran's Day. A four day weekend already! I love it. Even in the trailer when it's too cold to play outside. We went to the big house today and had a dance party. Good times!

I'm rambling! That's because I'm taking a break and thinking of starting to make dinner. We are having grilled chicken thighs, broccoli, and cheesy rice. Mmmm...I'm hungry!

Monday, November 7, 2011

First Snow of the Season

 We woke up yesterday (early, sort of, because of the time change) and saw this! It was snowing huge wet flakes! The kids were so excited, it was all I could do to convince them to find sweaters and shoes to put on with their pajamas.
 The clouds were also really low. It socked in our little valley and made the mountains disappear. The kids were awestruck. My favorite part was before they knew I was awake. They were all under the shade of the window with their behinds sticking out, talking about the snow.
 I love that Jessie thinks Will is hilarious. And, that she thinks wearing my clothes is acceptable. And, that Ed is wearing Kacy's pink and brown John Deer boots.
Wet snowballs, cold hands, and 20 minutes later they were back in the trailer huddles around the heater to get warm. They were also hoping for more snow on for today, so they could have a snow day for school. Not going to happen this time: it didn't stick to the roads for that long, and melted fairly quickly. Oh well. I used to wish for fog delays. We don't have fog here, so they get to wish for snow days!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's November...

...and I need a pause button, stat!


So many things are coming together this month and next, and if I make it through, I will be golden. 

I am reminded of what my grandma always says, "It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

The thing is, this time I'm not so sure. I think I might actually rather be poked in the eye.

Deep breaths, hard work, and patience. That'll get me through.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, and other stuff

Is it sad that I had another picture all sized right for the ol' blog, but forgot to save it and now I'm too lazy to go open up the program and do it all over again? Ya, I don't think it's too sad either. In case you were wondering, it was a still of the jack-o-lanterns. I like this one because it looks kinda creepy.

Where are my kids in costume? Where-oh-where? Well, our church had our Halloween carnival and trick or treating (in the hallways) last Wednesday. The kids had a blast, and I had a blast because my kids have grown up enough that I am now confident that they will stay in the building and not be in the street playing. Yea me! I might make the kids dress up again tomorrow so I can take a picture, but since the kids wear Walmart costumes, I don't feel like it's a big deal. They loved them, and I loved the ease of it. But it's not really anything to write home about, you know?

Some randomness:

Yesterday cousin Jimmy was asking Jessie different questions to get her to talk to him. (She was being particulary sassy for him, eye rolling and all.) He asked about her Halloween costume, and then about her favorite colors... and then: "Hey Jessie, what's your favorite fruit?" She replied, "Jello." Ha! Too much fruity jello at grandma's house on Sundays? Maybe, maybe not. 

Had parent teacher conferences last week. So, when you walk in the cafeteria for three kids' teachers, do you start with the good one, or save that kid for last? I started with the sure fire kid, and it turns out she got the worst report! Kacy, my kid who loves school and remembers everything, has test anxiety like her dad, and need for perfection from her mom. This translates to mean that if she misses ONE problem, it ruins her day. Which also means she has started to stress out about missing one and now will do really poorly on her tests because she is so worried about it. Will is doing awesome in second grade. Like, he's on grade level for everything, gets along well with others, and doesn't write all over his desk and his tests anymore. His handwriting is not only legible, but his teacher said he's got the best handwriting of all the boys. This is a huge turn around from the last two years. I noticed his spelling and handwriting earlier in the year, and it's like it's not even the same kid as last year. Crazy. I'm so happy. He still thinks school is totally boring and only tolerates going. He got the comment on his report card that was something like "if he applied himself he would do even better." Classic. Ed has had a complete transformation at school. He loves it, he practically bursts at the seams to please his teacher and "be good"... he is doing really well. I walked out of that cafeteria with a big sigh of relief.

Our primary had their annual program last Sunday. I played the piano for it again this year, but at least this year I had warning. I still had sweaty palms and made all kinds of mistakes. I have lost skills. Anyway, the kids did a great job, of course. Don't they always? That was my fourth program as a leader, and now I've been released and without a job in church. I loved working with the kids for the last three and a half years. I will miss that part of it, and working with my friends. I will not miss other parts of it.

Karen had her baby last Sunday. A 9 pounder that had to be vacuumed out because he was sunny-side up and she's only 5'2". He is doing great, although she had to be hospitalized for a few days because of preclampsia problems. His name is Paxton Louis. The kids call him Baby Louie. 

Jocelyn introduced me to Pinterest. I was skeptical at first, having just quit Facebook and all, and thinking I don't surf the net anymore. But Pinterest is so cool because it's like people are surfing the net FOR ME. I have collected a few "crafty" things that even I could pull off that make our trailer and life a little more homey. Because, one of the things I want to work on is my homemaking skills. I want a pretty table to sit at, cool photos on my walls all arranged nicely, fun fattening cakes and snacks that the kids will think are awesome... it's fun. Can't wait to have a house to make into a home.

Speaking of that... It's coming along slowly! Of course. We've got plans. BIG plans. Once it's finished, we are going to put up a fence and some gates, get a few horses, chickens, and goats, and call it good for awhile. No more building for a few years. We do want a shop/big barn... but that can wait while we recover and take time for ourselves to just be. I'd like to make cookies, and some cake, and heck, serve a meal at a table and have side dishes. And not have to pre-cut my meat. And not have to balance my cup on the sofa. I've gotten really good at it... but I appreciate those time when I don't have to do that.

It's fall. That means really cold nights and mornings, and fairly warm days. I do not love the cold. So I'm soaking up the last of the warmth before winter kicks in. I do love the fall colors, though. And candy corn.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Today while reading some sight words with Ed, the word "mom" came up. I said, this is your favorite person. He looked at me and says, "Benjamin doesn't start with an M!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finished Fireplace

Compliments of my iPhone- our finished fireplace! Way to go Ryan- I love it.


Ah, the post full of random thoughts. Good luck!
  • Remember when Ed got in trouble for giving a kid a wedgie? Ms. O. told me the next morning (when Ed was not around) that before she called me the day before (when he was in the office getting busted) he asked her, "Can we just forget about this one?" She said it was a hoot.
  • Last Saturday we went to Krissy's house in the evening. There was a girl there who is new to town, and I told Kacy about it so she would be sensitive to the situation and include her. Before we went I made all the kids shower, and on the way Will says, "I'm glad we are showering now. I want to smell good for my new lady." Heaven help me.
  • My grandma's funeral service was cool. It rained through the service, clearing up when the pall bearers carried her up the hill. There was a large awning that we all stood under, so we were dry. It was good to see so many family members. I wish we could have visited more. The pastor read our memories, and he read my blog post about my grandma...and people were cracking up. I was so embarrassed. If I knew it was going to be read aloud, I might had edited it just a bit. Oh well. Afterwards, the community had a very nice luncheon prepared. Country folks now how to cook. It was delicious, and there was lots of it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
  • Kacy and Ryan had a daddy-daughter activity that night at church. They danced, they decorated a cake, and they had a knowledge contest, similar to the old Newlywed game. One question that nearly killed me was "If your dad had one day off from work, what would he want to do?" She answered "Work on the house." She got it right!
  • I took a picture of our completed fireplace...see above. We hung my great-great grandpa's branding iron on the side- it's the Diamond T. (Note to self: branding iron from William Tweedy Wright. Wait a minute. That's my great-great-great grandpa. Hmmm... will double check with grandma.)
  • Put another coat of paint on two rooms today. Let's get this house done already!
  • I am on a diet. For me, that means counting my calories, and trying to exercise a couple time a week. That is, until I get back in shape. I went running with Couch to 5K on Monday, and MY ABS ARE SORE. How is that possible? Weird. I'm hungry. And I don't eat enough veggies. I expect to lose 10 pounds by Christmas. I am doing for a few reasons: I really, really don't love my new love handles, I'm tired of being tired, and Kendra looks awesome and says she has tons of energy. I don't know how much weight she's lost, but she looks great, and I want my energy back! Oh, and once the house is done, I will be unpacking some clothes I haven't seen since two pregnancies and 6 years ago. I hate shopping, so it's totally natural for me to want to wear what I already have. (And, since I'm not trendy, my clothes are still in style! Hahahahaha!)
  • I bought the kids Halloween costumes. That's right- no denying the fact that any attempt at a homemade costume was lame on my part, and costs more than Walmart! Everyone is thrilled with their cheesy store bought costumes (notice I buy into the crafty world of crafty homemakers with more talent in their pinky toe than I have in my entire body...I'm not jealous anymore. I have my own talents, dang-it! Craftiness isn't one of them, that's all). No stress for last minute scrambling for costumes! Whew! Kacy is a vampiress, Will is an army guy (probably the cheesiest!), Ed is Spiderman, and Jessie is Tinkerbell. And, I have to say, Kacy looks beautiful, and Jessie looks adorable all dressed up. They didn't get that from me.
  • I am still Facebook free, and enjoying it. I've had a few comments about the lack of Ed updates and what not, but I personally have made more phone calls to talk to people instead of reading about them. More phone calls means about three. That's up from zero.
  • A music recommendation: Adrian, Boots and Pearls. Dave Stamey, Buckaroo Man, Tonopah... any of his albums really. We don't get radio where we live, and in our area (when I do leave) there are two stations that I don't like: one is country and one is "classic hits." I think I like lots of different music, as long as it's clean, and I tend toward pop and classic rock. Adrian's first two albums sound like she's trying too hard and it bugs me. But I really like her "Boots and Pearls" album. Dave Stamey... can't really go wrong with him. He sings about cowboy stuff. Not country music, mind you. I don't really care for "country" music, at least the kind on CMT or the radio stations. 
  • Is it summer vacation yet?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Yesterday morning we went on our first Geocache adventure. It was so much fun- this is definitely a new family hobby. The kids had a blast hunting for the cache, and we got to climb around on granite boulders. The view was spectacular. I'm glad Ryan was able to go with us- we would have never found it and I would have had a nervous break down trying to help Jessie climb while Kacy kept reminding me about the dangers and the boys hopped from boulder to boulder, standing on ledges and climbing through little caves.

We used my phone as a GPS- I used the free app AccuTracker. It worked pretty well. (It works without cell reception- yay!) The app would work awesome for general hiking. It's a little hard to see the screen on my phone in bright sunlight, but all in all, it was a great app. And if you go Geocaching, a GPS is a must.

We will be doing this again!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

This is my grandma S. She passed away early yesterday morning. She "died" Friday evening, but they resuscitated her, sort of. She passed away several hours later.

My grandma had a knee replacement surgery a few weeks ago. September 12, I think. She was high risk, and took the risk anyway. I suppose she thought taking the risk of having a better knee and better mobility was more appealing than slowly losing your mobility one day at a time. I can't say I blame her. She got sick after her surgery, and ended up in the hospital. She was in ICU for a bit, and had improved enough to be in a normal room. But, she was just too weak to do anything. They ended up putting in a feeding tube again, because she was too weak to eat. On the plus side, my grandpa passed away 22 years ago, and now she can be with him again.

Things I will always remember about my grandma: she taught me how make zucchini bread out the "Woody's Goodies" cookbook. She let me drive the three wheelers around where ever I wanted. She always had play doh and a shoebox full of tools to play with: she taught me how to make an Easter basket with little play doh eggs. For the entire time I was growing up, she lived on a little ranch in Woody, California. I would spend a week or two at a time with her, usually with a sister (Kendra) or a cousin (April). We had many good times there.

Her nick name was "Dead Eye Dorothy," because she was a great shot with a .22 rifle. She would keep one by her door and shot any rattlesnakes that came too close.

She enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes. She made caramel sauce for vanilla ice milk, and would pop popcorn over the stove. She had a huge round table that we would sit around and eat. After every meal the kids would get under the table and tickle the grown-ups feet while they talked about politics. I think we will always remember melting butter to put on the garlic bread and then sprinkling paprika on top to make it pretty.

She loved to swim laps and for years wore a retro swimsuit with a rubber swim cap, complete with plastic flowers. She loved to take walks. She used to pay me $10 to clean all her sliding glass doors. I thought it was great, and since it was in the shade, not bad work!

She went to a non denominational Christian church, and they had a wonderful old lady (Mae Delaney) who ROCKED the piano. ROCKED. When she passed away, my grandma started taking piano lessons so she could help her congregation sing. She was in her 60's when she started. She always had the attitude that you can do anything you set your mind to.

She was a good example to me and taught me a lot of things when I was younger. It is largely due to her that I love living in the country. She loved her ranch and it was this kid's dream come true to hang out there. I want some of that for my kids, and will pass some of that legacy on.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On a First Name Basis with the Principal

Just got another phone call from the principal's office. About Ed.

Yesterday he got punched in the face and had a bloody nose on the bus. The kid got in trouble with a bus referral, which kicks him off the bus for a day.

Turns out the kid punched Ed in the face because Ed tried to give him a wedgie.

So now Ed is kicked off the bus for a day.

I am not happy. Me driving him to school is no big deal, except that I know he will love it, and so it will defeat the purpose. What am I going to do with him? He's been SO GOOD (at school).

He's supposed to be getting some kind of special award at school tomorrow. I hope it's not for most improved behavior. Maybe she'll change her mind, and call me and cancel the award.

If he wasn't my kid, this would be funny.

Monday, September 26, 2011

House Update with Pictures

I dusted off my camera, and it still works! Well, of course it still works...it's still fairly new and in awesome condition. What I should say is that I remember how to work it! That's more like it.

Here are some shots of different parts of the house.

 Our bathroom vanity...

 Boys' room...

 Fireplace...the rocks are local. Ryan made the hearth cap from cement. The timbers are from the mountains behind our house. The actual fireplace is a Napolean 3000, I think. It should heat our whole house. You can see on the left side what looks like stairs. It's paint, so we know what angles and lengths and what not to make it easier once we put in the stairs. That's the last somewhat difficult project. The plywood sheathing will be covered in wood, board and batten style.


 Girls' room. Ignore the blue line- that's my painter's tape I haven't taken down yet. One more coat... eventually.

 Part of our closet, where Ryan keeps his hats.

 Kids' alcove, looking into their bedrooms. On the left wall is the door to the kids' bathroom. On the right where the saw is will be a built in bookshelf. (That's after the stairs and floor.)

Looking into the kid's bathroom. The toilet is on the left of the vanity, with a window above it. You can kind of see from the reflection in the mirror, as well as part of the shower. The glass shower door is reflecting a lot of light, too.

That's it for now. I will post pictures of the finished fire place and maybe my closet soon. The bathrooms and closets are all finished! It's wonderful to take real showers and do laundry at home. Speaking of... I need to put some wet clothes in the dryer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I quit Facebook

Yes, yes I did. This morning. I quit for several reasons. There are a few things I will miss about it, but I estimate my time and blog will only improve.

I quit because I hate how they always change things. I hate how it sucks me in and chips away at my day, ten minutes at a time. I hate the drama that can crop up, either deliberately through posts, or inadvertently through misunderstood comments.

The biggest reason I quit though, by far, is because I'm addicted to the hot sheets. I want to have something to talk about when I see people. I want my time back.

I may have to get back on to organize my rafting trip for next summer though.

I love rafting. ;)

Anyhow, I'm a quitter. In this regard, at least!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Own A Camera, Really. And, Thoughts About Priorities.

I do own a camera. A nice one. But you wouldn't know that, reading my blog the last six months or so.

Some things that need a picture and some memories: Ed turning five, Will turning seven, progress on the house, and...

Well, I'm sure there are other things.

You know what I've been thinking about lately? Priorities. Like, what's first? If I had to only choose ONE thing, what would it be? If I had to drop something in my life, what would go first? And, are my choices in line with what I desire and what I know to be right? And are those two things the same thing?

This has been on my mind because we have been so busy lately. The house, the kids, church activities, school stuff, fun stuff... We are spending a lot of time on the house. We are all looking forward to it being finished so we can move on with our lives. As the kids get older and we talk about what activities they might want to do, what sports they might play, what extra stuff they are going to do, we always come back to asking ourselves, "Why?"

Why are we doing this? What benefit will come from this? Our long term goals, the thing we want the most, is to to have happy children who live the gospel, love God and Jesus Christ, and who are kind to others. Oh, and have a good work ethic.:) So, with that in mind, as we talk about activities and the things we do. Right now, Ryan and I both struggle with spending time with the kids. It seems like we have a lot of moments where we say, "When the house is done..." It got so bad that Kacy noticed it: A few Sundays ago, Kacy had a minor meltdown in the car. Something along the lines of, "When the house is done, when the house is done. That's all I ever hear. I'll be glad when the house is actually done..." Ryan and I both looked at each other, and we weren't thrilled. :(

We not only think about what we want for our family, but for ourselves. Where do I want to be in five years? Ten years? Am I on the path that will get me there?

Deep thoughts. :)


So, the house is done!

Just kidding.

But, all the bathrooms are finished. So are all the bedrooms. The kids' rooms need flooring, but everything else is complete. We are now working on the great room/loft/kitchen. Staining beams, painting, trim, putting up the ceiling, building a staircase, and finishing off the chimney. After those "few" things, we will do the flooring and cabinets, and move on in!

Oh, and we need to stucco the house. And put the wood siding on.

After all that, there is a LONG list of projects that need to be done. That part will be fun.

I feel like I've been too busy to take pictures. But just typing that sounds lame, so I will maybe bust out the ol' camera and give a pictorial update. But, I make no promises.

Ed's First Trip to the Principal's Office

Last Tuesday, while waiting at the bus stop, Ed said, "I wonder what is going to happen on the seventh day of school?'

Tuesday was the seventh day, and it was NOT a good one.

Ryan, Jessie, and I were running around doing stuff, and we were at Lowe's getting stuff for the house. We get home just a few minutes before the bus, and when Ed gets off the bus, the first thing he says is, "I'm sorry for all the bad things I do,"

We drive to the house and start talking to Ed. (Kacy helped fill in some details.) Ed was so bad that day! I expect him to get into trouble, to be that kid who breaks every rule he doesn't know about. Like, the kind of trouble where the school starts thinking about making new rules to cover all their bases. But, what Ed did went above and beyond "typical Ed."

The worst parts: he didn't listen to teachers, and he lied.

He got in trouble with four different adults at the school for blatently disobeying: they each asked him do do something (or stop doing something) three times. His teacher, the first grade teacher, the bus driver, and even the principal. And, he did something dumb, but lied about it. He loaded his mouth with water and then spit the water all over the tables outside. Dumb, but mostly harmless, right? But then a teacher asked him if he did it, and with his cheeks FULL of water, he shook his head no.

Anyway, his teacher left this big ol' long message on the phone. On the plus side, Ed was fairly forthcoming with his indiscretions. We made him take a shower and he went to bed. At 4pm. He was NOT happy. He was allowed down for a quick dinner, but remained on his bed for the evening. The next morning, I drove him to school, and made him apologize to the first grade teacher. Then, we had a pow-wow with his teacher and the principal. It was hard to be the parent that morning: knowing your kid was so disrespectful, and even more painful was watching how painful it was for Ed to apologize. He was contrite.

The punishment worked for the remainder of the week: he was great the rest of the week. I hope it sinks in: we will do our best to make sure he knows it is unacceptable to be disrespectful, and that if he gets in trouble at school, he will be in bigger trouble at home. Keeping him on his bed with no toys or books nearly killed him. It was an effective punishment for him. (He hates being confined.) We made sure to make a big deal out of good behavior the rest of the week, and his teacher did the same.

Gotta love our Edsel! (I think he was pretty good in church today, too. He's got a patient teacher (thank-you Krissy!) who makes her lessons fun and age appropriate.)

Cant's wait to start volunteering in all the kid's classrooms. I missed it last year. This year, with only Jessie, I'm going to be able to do it, and I'm going to do it regardless of what is going on with the house. Ah, the house...

Rapids and Rattlesnakes

So, I have a lot to blog about. Like everything else in my life, I am behind, possibly never to "catch up," and I'm okay with that.

There has been much that has gone on:

On August 08, I went rafting again. Had a blast. Fell out of the raft shortly after I had said I had never fallen out. Ha! I have three images burned in my mind about falling out and "swimming" through the White Maidens rapid: Hitting the rapid and seeing everyone lurch forward (I was in the back of the raft this time) and as I lurched forward, seeing my legs and shoes. One should NEVER see ones shoes so clearly, as one's shoes should be tucked in nicely to keep one's body in the raft. I immediately think, "oh-no!" Then, the next image is white and green and brown water all around me, and feeling very cold, and swallowing lots of water. The next image is one of a boulder in front of my face. On the plus side, it was a good experience for me, because a part of me wants to kayak, and you can't kayak unless you can keep your head, so to speak, in a kind of scary situation.

While in the water, I had time for some "deep thoughts:" I thought life jackets were supposed to keep you above the water?!? Hey, I still have my paddle! Yay, me! Where is my raft?

I reached out my paddle (just like a good girl who listened to the safety talk beforehand!) and Marcie pulled me back in. I took three crazy deep breaths, and then I was fine! I was exhausted, and for some reason the fingers on the hand that held my paddle were numb. I forgot to ask Marcie why, but she noticed and said it's normal.

I also had an adventure on the swim rapid, which was quite a bit more than the swim rapid I did last summer in Bakersfield. And, I somehow got in front and was being directed by Teasha and Marcie: "Go to the left! Swim to the left Karrie! K, you're good! Swim to the right!" I had no idea why at the time, but I'm very obedient and did what I was told. (It was to avoid holes.) Then the yelling stopped because everyone was swallowing water. The rapid timing was just off enough that you couldn't catch your breath.

Needless to say, after being in the water (mostly under it) twice, I was tired. But what an awesome adventure. And no, we didn't find the dead body, but we did see some naked people and some deer.
(Dead body? Naked people? The mighty Kern River has A LOT of deaths, 13 this summer I think, and at the time of our trip, one was still missing. Naked people: there is a hot spring that hubby has dubbed "Hepatitis Hot Spring" where nasty people get naked and stand in the warm nasty river water.)

On that trip, a part of our conversation was about snakes, and I stated that we don't have rattlesnakes at our place, because there is no place for them to hide. (Remember, this is the trip where I also said I had never fallen out of a raft!)

Well, the next day, the girls and I came home from the grocery store, and the boys came running over to tell us about the snake they found on the porch. I go look at it, and I ask if it had rattled. They said no, but I'm curious because it had diamonds on it's back. But it was hard to tell because it was all curled up and hiding under some flashing on our house. I tell them not to poke the snake (they both had sticks in their hands) and go into the house to say hi to Ryan. I ask Ryan if he heard about the snake, and he said yes. I told him he should check on it, so we go out, and sure enough, it's a young Western Diamond Back. We stare at it a bit, talk to the kids about snake safety, and then discuss what to do with it. It wasn't budging. I told the kids about my grandma who lived in the hills and kept a .22 rifle next to the door, and she would shoot any and all rattlesnakes that came near the house. Her nickname is "Dead-eye Dorothy." Good times, good times. We disposed of the snake, showing the kids it's fangs, telling them about venom, and a guy I went to high school with who was bit by a rattlesnake a few years ago, and it hurts... and that we respect snakes, we don't bother them, they are good because they eat mice, don't poke them, don't hurt them. We only got rid of this one because it was a rattlesnake right next to the house and it was dangerous for our family.

Speaking of respecting snakes, I was sitting on the edge of our porch, talking on the phone, and had my right leg tucked under me, with my left leg over the side touching the ground. I was wearing flip flops. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a black head slithering in between my nearly bare foot and the porch, only three inches away from my foot! Seriously, I jumped up and did this "got the willies" kind of dance, while I watched the snake go about it's business. It was a red racer... I think. It may have been a red racer crossed with a king snake. We have some weird interbreeding going out here in the hills. ;)

We have had A LOT of snakes this year. A lot of bunnies, too. And mice, and rats...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jessie Had Tubes Put in Her Ears

Thursday morning, Jessie and I left the house at 5am and headed to Bako so she could have tubes put in both ears. She has had chronic ear infections, and when I took her to the ENT, she had 30% hearing loss in the eight ear, and 10% in the left. Dr said it was temporary.

We got to the hospital at 6:30, and she was in surgery at 7:00. She was finished by 7:20, and we were in the car at 8:00, with Jessie asking for breakfast. Dr said her ear drums were "thickened," which I need to look up. Looks like Jessie will be an ear patient for awhile.

We came home and I grouted the master shower. I'll be glad when this house is finished!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Many Ways Can You Lose an Ed?

On July 20, we lost Ed. Again. That's right, Ryan called search and rescue, the fuzz was dispatched, and an entire search party of church friends showed up ready to go.
So, what happened was Oscar came over to help Ryan on the house. About the same time he left, I told the kids to go get their shoes on because we needed to go to Home Depot. (Their favorite!) After about 20-30 minutes I realize I haven't seen Ed. I go to the trailer to see if was having a hard time finding his shoes, and I don't see him. So we start the whole routine of yelling for him while walking around our cleared property. After another 15 minutes or so, we wonder if maybe he climbed in the back of Oscar's truck just before he drove off. He's not wearing shoes at this point, but that doesn't really matter because Ed says he's native and doesn't need shoes.
Ryan climbs on the roof, I'm looking in all the cars... And then I drive ten miles to the only stop sign between here and Bako thinking IF he got in Oscar's truck, maybe he jumped out when he stopped? By then an hour and a half had gone by and I told Ryan it was time to start thinking about calling someone. So, in the 13 minutes it takes me to drive home, Ryan called dispatch and had people start to come, and our bishop called and Ryan told him what was going on. He called People...who called people...because it's Ed!
So, to back up slightly, Ryan told me to let George out. George, our goofy Great Pyranees. George ran around a little, followed Ryan a bit, and sat down under our trailer. Ryan went into the trailer, went to the end where George was, and viola- Ed was under the bunk bed, fast asleep, behind the kids clothes boxes.
Ryan called off the government search party, but our friends were out of cell reception by that time. They all showed up, and the consensus was, " It's Ed. He could be up a mountain by now!"

We made him go to Home Depot the next day! :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Girl's Camp 2011

This year, girl's camp was awesome! Some highlights:

  • No kids for a week. I love my kids, but I think we were in need of a break from each other with the stress that has been this summer. I am now enjoying my time with them after a few hideous days of what I like to call "detox." I can't wait to take the kids camping- now that they are a little older, it would be fun!
  • I got to go on the second year hike. It rekindled my love of hiking, something I haven't done in over a decade. We will have to fix that, and as I live so close to so many trails, it shouldn't be a problem!
  • We came home to a summer monsoon- thunder, lightening, flash floods, road closures... I need a 4x4 truck, stat.
  • S.H. v J.M. in a french toast eating competition. She won, 12-11.
  • I survived my responsibilities in the kitchen and more importantly the motivational devotional thingie I did. For an hour, times three. (I was thirsty the entire time and drank a lot of water.)
  • Lice. It was an epidemic of epic proportions. In 24 hours it went from a few girls having it to over 70% of the entire camp (leaders included). We brought the girls back from the hikes and they went straight to get their heads checked and then sent to the washing station. A sight I will never forget. They stopped counting how many people had nits...80 or so? Yours truly and Alexis V., who went on the hike with me and is very cool and has hair very much like mine, didn't get it. Whew! I came home and dyed my hair any way, because hair dye supposedly kills lice. It also killed my grays.
  • I got to hang out with G.G. and M.R., and that was fun because I hadn't seen them in awhile.
  • Cousin David. He's entertaining.
  • Ryan put a radio in the outhouse and when someone would go in there, he and David would talk to them. One of my favorites: "Hey David, someone just went in there, you might want to get out of that hole..." Only one person didn't see the humor, everyone else you could hear laughing from across the road.
  • I love Girl's Camp. The theme this year was great: Live Like you Believe, with bees everywhere. The sweatshirts were cute, too. I have two, because I get to keep Ryan's, and they are gray, so you will see me in those ALL WINTER LONG. You have been warned.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blogging via email

I discovered blogging via email, and I love it! This, right now? From my email. Yup, because I really only use my iPhone anymore. And it's always with me. How awesome is that?

It's like...it's like... I don't know. So stinkin' cool, that's all.

Sent from my iPhone


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kacy turned 8 and was BAPTIZED!

Ryan and Kacy
The motley crew: our family. Cherie made Kacy's dress, and Kacy loves it. 

Kacy was baptized June 04. Just about the whole family came: Grandma and grandpa Bunting, grandma and grandpa Sorensen (the grandmas prayed and the grandpas spoke on baptism and the Holy Ghost), cousin Caley sang a solo "Baptism", accompanied by cousin April, who played the piano the entire time. Kristin, granny M, granny S, uncle Dandy and aunt Nita (Randy and Anita), cousin Jennifer and Mike, Uncle Oscar, Aunt Jocelyn and the kids, Uncle Michael, Aunt Kendra and the kids, and Karen and Emma, Aunt Gaye, Lindsey, David, and kids also came. Did I forget anyone? We had friends there, too. The Stewarts and Hyers were there. 

Kacy was excited for her baptism. She learned all about how Jesus got baptized by John the Baptist, and why we should get baptized. She is excited to be growing up, and she is such a good girl.