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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pinewood Derby

On October 12, our church had a "no age limit" Pinewood Derby competition. It was so much fun. We grilled cheeseburgers for dinner. When I say "we" I literally mean Ryan. I wrangled up all the stuff. Won't be volunteering to do that again, because guess who was outside not watching their kids race? Anyway... off to the good stuff: 

 All the cars. There were about 25 in all.
 The Bunting Family Cars. The kids had to draw out their design, choose their colors, and sand them all themselves. Their Dad cut them out for them and painted them while they were at school. 
From left to right: Jessie's "Dinosaur Car," Ed's "Racer," Will's "Thin Winner," Kacy's "Bumblebee," and Dad's "Secret Super-Duper Fast Car That Raced the Winner Afterwards And Won." His was kind of illegal according to some experts, and he didn't want to race the kids. He did it for his own satisfaction. He's totally satisfied.
 Ed's car got second place overall. Can you tell how he feels about that?
 A little photo shoot with the kids and their cars.
The TRACK. All aluminum, spring loaded release... a thing of beauty. We are going to order another section of flat track for next year. 

All in all, a great event. Will was upset that his car was too heavy in the back. The first run was FAST, but the second run and he was out because his car tipped back and came off the track. So, we learned from Ed's car, Kacy's (who came in fourth, I think), and the winner's (G.B.), that center weighted cars do the best. 

Next year, baby. Next year.

The Candy Bar Game

Last night we played the Candy Bar Game. I did not think this up myself, a certain young friend of mine taught it to me, and she learned it from her family somewhere. Thanks, Sierra, for showing me this game years ago. It's been a long time, and I have now introduced it to a new generation! 

Here's why I like it:
1. It involves candy bars.
2. It involves funny clothing.
3. It has hilarious photographic possibilities.
4. EVERYONE wins. (CANDY!)

Here is how you play The candy Bar Game
Supplies needed:
-A candy bar for each player.
-One spoon and one butter knife for each player. Real ones, not plastic. You could also use two spoons to make it more challenging...think grown ups.
-one pair oven mitts
-a silly hat, sunglasses, apron, etc.
-two die
-a table big enough for everyone, or a blanket on the ground. It can get a little messy. 

Jessie trying to open her candy bar. Age 4, our youngest.

So, here's how you play.Put all the "gear" in the middle of the table. You know, the sunglasses, hat, oven mitts, etc. Everyone should already have their candy bar and spoon/knife in front of them.

Someone is going to have to go first. Don't be a monster: let the youngest go first. If you are all the same age,  let the best looking go first. (Good luck with that one.)

The first player takes the die and rolls a few times. The amount of rolls can change depending on the age of the players, how many... we did five rolls each turn. The first player gets her turn and tries to roll doubles. You know: 2 fives, 2 ones, etc.  If she doesn't roll doubles within her five tries, then the dice get passed to the next person, and they attempt to roll doubles. This continues until someone rolls doubles.

When a player rolls doubles, they grab the gear in the middle, put it all on, and using only the spoon and butter knife, start trying to open and eat their candy bar. The other players are still taking their turns at rolling the dice, and as soon as someone else gets doubles, they rip the gear off the other player (who must STOP their attempts and be a good sport), put it all on, and try to open and eat their candy bar. The dice keep getting passed around, everyone wanting doubles... and so on, and so on. The first person to eat her entire candy bar (while wearing all the apparel) is declared the WINNER.

It usually takes several rounds for a person to finish a candy bar. (Continued below.)

Tips and tricks:

Be a good sport, and remind your small fry that they will get to eat their candy bar in the end.

Playing this game with teenagers is a blast. This is a great game no matter your age, and mixed ages work well. I love that part. (We helped the youngest a little...like helping them get the gear on fast.)

You want to be a fast roller.

Have a good camera ready. I had my old iPhone 3gs camera, and this game is so full of action, my shots were blurred. 

The kids are asking when we can play this again. Already. 

Who won our game? Ryan, of course. I almost had him beat, but he has a big mouth and can shove an entire candy bar in there no problem. Lol.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Quarter Awards and We Moved Some Furniture In!

So this is one of those, "My kids got awards for being so smart posts." If those make you gag, like they do me sometimes, skip this one. Years from now, when my kids are old and they are looking back at the blog book, they will say "Thank-you, Mom, for writing this stuff down." I hope.

I can't remember when the awards happened, except that it was at the end of the first quarter. I went to Ed's because his teacher told me he was getting an award. I didn't go to Kacy's, because I had no idea when it was, or that she was getting anything. Random: did I ever mention that Ed's teacher takes the kids to school for me? She lives really close, and offered to meet me a mile from my house (where our paths intersect) and they get in her Yukon and off they go. SO NICE. She is saving me lots of time and gas money!

Anyway, Ed got an award for reading. Something about being an excellent reader and helping other kids with their reading. Who knew? I knew he was a good reader, but he apparently gets assigned to other kids in the class and helps them with their reading. Mrs. G. is grateful for his help and his good attitude.

Kacy got several awards. Wish I could have been there; I heard from another mom that she was called up over and over again, and "it was amazing." She is pretty smart, but we also go to a small school in the hills, so... she's a big academic fish in a little rural pond. Just keeping it real here. She got an award for the highest GPA in her grade, highest AR points until the end of the quarter (132 or something... and the next kid who was highest had 15. Dirty AR secret: read the Harry Potter books. Mucho points.), Highest Reading, and Highest Math scores.

And, she almost got straight A's, except she got a B in PE. Darn that PE. That is where we are different. Lunch and PE were my faves. I liked being active. And eating.

Much is going on around these parts, and I am currently typing at my old oak sewing desk I had bought at the Goodwill, stripped, sanded, and stained. It still need some handles, but for now, I am pleased as punch at the prospect of having a little office. I do much office type work right now, and this is AWESOME. We also dug out our love seat (the matching chair and sofa are so ruined from being in the trailer), our coffee table (to see how big it is and what the best arrangement might be for furniture in the front room), and our bedside tables. It was painful. Literally painful... more so for my big, strapping, burly, hunk of burning manhood of a husband Ryan. He had to single handedly carry both our share of the weight sometimes. Because I am a wimp.

And honestly, because I was like, "What in the heck?" when we were trying to carrying out the oak desk I am sitting at, and I'm walking backwards and have the heavy end. Did I mention we were up in the back of a semi-trailer, with this narrow two and half foot wide walkway, with pallets jutting out into the walkway? So instead of listening to my whimperings of "It's SO HEAVY!" he just used his country strength and hefted that thing by himself. And lest you think I totally wimped out, I will have you know I carried my end of the loveseat (think big and leather) on my shoulders. Literally. And it was hard.

I need to work out. Now.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Halloween Morning

On Halloween morning, I had to go get the hotdogs and buns for our ward Halloween Trunk or Treat. Yay me.

So, knowing that I was making a trip to the big city, and knowing that I promised my littlest sister Karen that I would take pictures of her kids when he turned one, we got together at my mom's house and did the best we could.

We started off outside, which he hated. I have a couple of cute crying pictures to add to my collection of "I hate this lady taking pictures of me!!!!" crying baby shots. (I love those, personally.)

We went in, and his entire perception changes. Got him out of his Halloween costume and off the grass, and viola- he had fun. I got some really cute shots, if I do say so myself. My mom's living room was perfect for lighting. I think I uploaded some more to my Flickr account, if you want to see more.

(Grandma! This is for you. I will bring the files to your house as soon as I have them done. If you want to see a few more, look at the left side of my blog and click on the square with a bunch of pictures in it. Flickr. See you soon- and those glass jars you gave me look fabulous on my counter top! I filled them with stuff. I should blog that, too.)

Anyhow, I was just so glad they turned out and that my sister and mom were happy with them. Over time, I notice that I take fewer "bad" pictures, optimizing my time and what I'm going for. I think. It could be I just lowered my standards. Lol. Very possible.

Happy Halloween!

What a horrible picture from my iPhone! Aack!

From left to right: Will as Two-Face. Complete with half a shaved head and burnt shirt! He impressed many, many middle school kids that day.
Ed as a skeleton. He was going to be an Ewok, but the furry costume we had, while looking PERFECT, did not have any way for him  to come out of it once he was in. This would not work at school if he had to use the bathroom. So, a skeleton it was. I attempted to paint his face, but his rosy cheeks were so tender from the cold that the paint caused a burning sensation.
Kacy as Sarah Royce. Okay, so here's the story on this one. My dear little Kacy had planned on being Medusa all year. Fake snake hair and all. She almost convinced Will to be her statue. Alas, her grade had Biography Day that day, and she had to go in character as someone from California History. She had to do an oral presentation as well. She was bummed about NOT being Medusa, but still had a great time in her costume.
Jessie as a swamp witch. Not really, but since she was all grumpy, that's what I called her. That night for our Trunk or Treat she dressed as a princess ballerina: two tutus, hair all fancy, and some pretty make-up. She was cute, what can I say?

I dressed up as a clown. I was a happy clown, but I scared small children nonetheless. I wore my huge overalls, pink shirt, put my hair in pig tails with shower scrubbies as hair decorations (looked totally proportional to my huge pig tails), and then painted my face. 

Ryan cooked hotdogs for the Trunk or Treat. Yipee.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I.Am.Alive. Mostly.

Okay. Internet friend whom I've met once in real life because we live kind of fair away from each other but I like her like a "real" friend anyway because in my mind that's what we would be if we lived closer has called me out.

Carla! You made me laugh. ASAP updates...I might need to change the meaning of that acronym. Instead of  As Soon As Possible, maybe make it mean, Abnormally Swamped, Assistant Preferred?

I have been extremely "busy." And therein lies part of my problem.

I am a doer. I do. I do stuff. I am productive. I like it that way. But the last few weeks have begged the questions: "At what cost?"

So, after a bump in life, that I'll explain shortly, it is no less busy, but it is more manageable. Which is good, because I have a few projects up my sleeve that will be taking some more of my precious time. As long as my family does not suffer, I am good.

So, this bump. This bump is the house/trailer thing we've been dealing with the last seven years, two months, and 19 days. (Who's counting?) The house....drum roll please.... it technically FINISHED for habitation. we called the inspector out, and it was our favorite inspector, Aaron. Aaron is cool. He's not lenient, but his attitude meshed well with our attitude. He came out last Tuesday, was thoroughly fascinated with our ceiling and the trim work and the cabinets, and basically said, "Wow. No wonder it took you so long." You see, Aaron was our inspector when we first started the actual building process five years ago. He has since been promoted and works in the big city. He happened to be up here filling in for Steve, so the timing was perfect. He looked around, noticed we forgot CO2 detectors, we had to add two more motion sensors in two of the bathrooms, and I had to fill out Title 24 forms that basically asked for what materials we used to see if they match up with the Title 24 calcs done by the engineers. It was easy, since we installed everything ourselves. After we did that (that night), we called him out the next day, and BAM! Five minutes later he signed everything off and I drove straight to the homeowners insurance company to get REAL house insurance. This, I am finding out, it a big ol' pain in the wallet. I swear there is a conspiracy against people who live out in the middle of nowhere. Everything costs more money. Everything. Home owners insurance? TWICE AS MUCH. Seriously. And, we have to go through these special programs because of our distance from the fire department. Never mind we have a 5,000 gallon water storage tank fitted with for a fire hose, have fire hose, have Ryan who spent some time on a Hot Shot crew, have acres of brush clearance... oh well, what can you do? Grow my own food and drive less to make up the difference, I guess! :)

So, this last week we threw mattresses on the floors of the bedrooms, and we are sleeping in the house! Which was super good timing because it snowed last Saturday, and it was 36 degrees in the trailer. SO HAPPY! We are not "moved" in yet, and we won't be for a month or more. We need to finish the house to our liking first. There is "county approved and homeowner's insurance approved" levels of finished. Then there is OUR level of finished. Here is the list of things to finish. I am crossing my fingers and toes that the appraiser looks past this list and doesn't hold it against us that it isn't as finished as it's going to be just yet. We need some mo' money first.

-deck around the entire house. Right now it's dirt. Would make a huge world of difference.
-baseboards in the front room and dining/kitchen.
-window trim in same rooms. We have some...it's just not in yet. And, not sure we have enough.
-trim kids' closets. (this is really low on my list of priorities. Looks fine without it.)
-move my hunk of burnin' food love stove in.
-build the "built ins..."  two desks, a hallway book case, pantry shelves. I almost forgot: the laundry room, too.
-finish the "unfinished" bonus rooms. One will be an office, and one will be a workout (lol) and sewing room. I want to make clothes again.

That's it.

Not too shabby compared to the list of "things to do on the house" that was about a million things long. I'm only exaggerating a little. A million is pretty close.

So here is where I make the list of things to post about to catch up. And then promise myself I will work on at least three posts a week. Now that I have Internet at the house (mostly...the modem/router is still out at the trailer, can't reset the satellite just yet, and need to go wrap the router in plastic so it's more weather tight, I'm thinking I'll just stick it in a ziploc bag!) and I have a makeshift desk set up, life is feeling sweeter and more productive.

Things to post about sooner, rather than later:

*kids first quarter awards
*Paxton's photo shoot (oh look, I still own a camera! lol)
*Veteran's Day program
*Facebook Stuff
*The randomness that is me and my projects
*Ryan's shooting- 6 months later
*Adjusting to a real house with the kids

And, anything else my little brain can remember. I really can't have a blog about one thing, I can't focus on one thing long enough!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Whole Month!

An entire month has come and gone, and I didn't blog a single thing.

I will remedy that ASAP.

If I have my act together tomorrow, that would be a great day to play "catch-up." I'm not a big fan of that, but it looks like I'm at that point.

Supposedly going to call for the final inspection on the house on Monday.

Ryan got called out a little early to work today because of a bomb threat at the McDonald's. I reminded him to cut the red wire (or is it the black?) and he did not see my humor. He will actually be no where near the bomb (and if I hear otherwise he's gonna be in big trouble by me!) but rather closing down the road and getting yelled at by irritated drivers. Fun.

Anyhow, after a long time of not sleeping well, especially this month, coupled with sporadic internet capabilities and other stuff, blogging has been far from my mind. I'm going to blame it ALL on a sever case of Candy Corn overdose.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hobby Day- Taking Pictures

Today I took my camera out. I stopped at a few spots after dropping the kids off at school. Here goes nothing!
 I framed the barn within the tree, fence, and other building. Clever, eh? Just like I knew what I was doing!

An old shed.
 Cool! I looked down and there was a dead raccoon!

The cool Old Truck I saw.
Same truck!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Portrait of Ryan

What can I say about this? I love it. I love it because it made me laugh. I love the blue teeth and purple shirt. It's just so awesomely "four years old." Jessie LOVES her dad and wants to be just like him.

I'm going to ask her to draw a picture of me and I'm going to use it for my Facebook profile picture. Like, tomorrow.


  • Today we went to my favorite Walmart. That was boring. So was Home Depot. But on the bright side of things, our trips to the Home Depot (or Lowe's or any other hardware store) are so few and far between even the kids asked if we could go visit. It's sad that they feel totally at home in Home Depot. (PS- They should totally hire me. Any department but the garden department. I would be all, "Oh those things without the stickers/UPC code? Those are 3" mini louvers for horizontal vent pipes for PVC drainage of propane when propane is piped upstairs and then is turned into gas at the tankless hot water heater site, where if it leaks the propane molecules in their gaseous state will fall down the pipe and exit the house because those molecules weigh more than air." And then I would get fired for talking too much. 
  • I picked up the kids from school, and as we went in the office to get Jessie a stamp on her hand, Ed was in there. So, I say, "Ed, why are you in here?" And Mrs. A, the fill-in secretary says, "Oh, he had a little problem." To which I say, "WHAT DID YOU DO." And she says he had a bloody nose. And since he wouldn't change into some clean shorts she had given him (he said they didn't fit), and he was a heck of a bloody mess, he just hung out with her and the VP for a bit. VP came out and said she had never seen so much blood come out of a kid's nose before. She's been teaching a LONG time, too. I went to his class to get his back pack, and his teacher said, "You should have seen it! That was the most blood I've seen come out of a kid's nose! I'm still cleaning it off his chair." She looked down and had a little blood on her hands still. I said, "Eww." and she said, "Oh just wait. See the foam noodles over there? [I look at the pool noddles on the table.] See that short pink one? Well, we were outside playing 'Mosquito' with them [whatever that is...PE game] and a boy comes back from the bathroom and the pink one is lots shorter. I find out he cut it. So I send him back to go get it. It comes back wet. Another boy tells me it's wet because they stuck it in a toilet. So I get grossed out. Then another boy tells me, 'Oh yeah, and he peed on it, too.'"  (Bonus: Ed was not involved in said vandalism of the pool noodle. Sweet!)
  • I did not eat healthy. I had a Sourdough Jack and curly fries from Jack in the Box. It was yummy.
  • I made a list for Walmart, but since I forgot to put something on my list, I forgot to buy it. And here I was all proud of myself for making a list and remembering to bring it with me. 
  • Kacy made a chart of the things she is teaching Jessie, and what month and day they will be learning it. She has the fall planned out until Christmas, and she said after Christmas she will plan the spring because she wants to see where Jessie is. All I know is Mondays are alphabet days, Tuesdays are numbers and math... we will see if Jessie puts up with her! I love it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Honey Badger Don't Care!

Kacy's teacher caught up with me today and apologized for not being to talk with us on Back to School Night. I assured her it was fine because we split early to go to the rest of the kids' rooms. She said she wanted to meet my husband (which is good because if she had already met him it would have been because of a ticket or something). She told Kacy that, and Kacy told her, "It's okay. My dad just wanted to see the stuffed beaver anyway. He said the only thing cooler would be if you had a stuffed honey badger."

It's an inside joke.

After explaining about the honey badger, I also explained that Ryan really just hates coming to the school because he recognizes people that he has arrested both recently and in the past. He always hopes they don't recognize him in return.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Peaches Have Butt Cracks, Too.

A couple of days ago, Kacy and Jessie were playing school. They are at the perfect age for this; Kacy is 9 and Jessie is 4.

Kacy comes out to the kitchen just giggling to herself. She says, "Mom! Guess what Jessie just said?!?"

Cautiously, I ask her what she said. You just never know what your youngest is going to say.

"I was teaching Jessie how to spell the word 'peach,' and she said 'Oh ya, the fruit with the butt crack in it. And plums and cherries also have them, too!'"

Then Kacy just started giggling again, and she walked away shaking her head and mumbling something about Jessie and fruit and butt cracks and how silly she is.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Legos on Ice

The following three factors are all causally related to produce the preceding photograph.
1- I have made the conscious decision to reproduce biological offspring.
2- These offspring have Legos.
3- We have a freezer and fridge (now) and spend a lot of time in the big house as opposed to the trailer and because the big house is rather large compared to the RV I can't watch my kids as closely anymore which is both good and bad and when they get free time they experiment with freezing things like Han Solo was frozen in the Carbonite (Carboneto?) stuff.

Whew! That was one heck of a run-on sentence.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Being a CHP Wife

An officer was shot and killed last week. Up in the San Jose- Walnut Creek area. It was about 8am on a very busy highway (interstate, actually. I-680). He was shot in the neck and head. His name was Officer Youngstrom. He was 37, married, and has four kids.

I'm 35, Ryan is 39. We are married. We have four kids.

Ryan was shot.

But, he lived. Not only did he live, his injury was patched up in a jiffy.

I have been totally and completely fine with Ryan being shot. It was "just his hand" and his vest. He's fine. I know that, I see it, I'm not worried.

But this shooting made me sad. It still does. This woman, his wife, assumed he would be coming home later that day. He probably left for work before his kids got up. They probably got pulled out of school early, only to be told that their dad was in the hospital, and not doing well. She probably got a call from a sargent or leutenent saying her husband had been shot and is on his way to the hospital. She never got a real chance to say good-bye. Not that saying good-bye makes it any easier, but maybe it would make it feel more organized, feel like there was some closure. But who ever wants to close that door anyway?

I do not take it for granted that Ryan is alive. If he were to ever read my blog, he might say I was being dramatic. I can't help it. Yesterday someone asked my sister Kendra how it was being married to a cop. She said, "It's fine until someone gets shot."

And it is fine. Until you are taken to that place where as the wife, your husband is bleeding on the street and you are with your kids all by yourself. This latest shooting has taken me to that place I manage to stay away from. It's that place of "If only's" and "What if's" of being a single parent and telling the kids about how their dad WAS. What he DID. How he LAUGHED. What his hobbies WERE. It's past tense. And I'm not ready for that. I am so not ready to be a widow.

The great news is this: I don't have to be. I don't have to be ready. I can keep my mind in the present and be grateful he wasn't hurt worse. I was fairly oblivious as to the magnitude of what happened to our family. Looking back, I was shielded from the panic. I was calm. Stoic, even. This shooting, when I read about it (or write about, like now) is like a nagging, sharp finger that pokes me in the heart and says, "This could have been you."

I am married to a CHP officer. My sister is, too. Our cousin Jennifer will be next month. Ryan has been shot. Michael and Mike were rear ended while on a stop. Mike was in the car, and Michael dove into the car to avoid being hit. The trunk was in the backseat.

Our family has been blessed in that they have been kept safe. Ryan has minimal permanent injury to his hand. No one is dead.

I hope it stays that way. My heart truly does ache for the wife and four kids left without their husband and father.

To see photos from our shooting, go HERE.

"Hey, Officer! Where's _______?"

So, there is this running joke with Ryan, his line of employment, and the summertime.

This picture of me? This lovely, wonderful, model-like photographic genius right here? That was a text I sent him. It said, "Hey Officer. Do you know where Sanders Creek is?" 

Except, it's not Sanders Creek. It goes by a different name, and is one of many campgrounds up here. Apparently, he gets asked that question A LOT.

I was talking to him on his cell for some reason. We don't usually talk while he's at work, but it must have been important because we happened to be on the phone with each other when I hear him say, "Hold on."

This is Labor Day weekend. At a lake in the mountains.

I hear a male voice say, "Hey, is there a place to camp around here?"

My mind was doing this: Sooooo..... you pack up some camping gear, drive up here, and don't know where to stay? Who does that? I always have a plan. And I would NEVER stop to talk to a cop. I just wouldn't. I am totally law abiding and everything, but still the last person I would ask for camping advice would be the fuzz. 

Ryan was very patient, directing the man to several campgrounds. 

Turns out, lots of people come up here to camp, and don't know where they are going. It is not uncommon for one to find the fuzz and say something like, "Hey, I'm supposed to meet my family at the lake. Where is it?" (Hello, big body of water completely encircled by the highways, with about 50 different places to camp along the way.)

Glad summer season is over. This summer saw a lot of motorcycle accidents, and several deaths from them. 

Boots! My White's Cowboy Packers.

Here they are! My new White's. Cowboy packers. From eBay. Gotta love eBay. Some guy in Idaho bought them, wore them for a few months, and they aggravated his sciatica nerve. So I got a smokin' deal on a pair of sensible shoes for me.

I will admit that in this picture, the tongue is hanging too far out. That has been remedied. Also, I realize it appears as though I am wearing these things whilst wearing shorts. That would be true. I was so excited to get them, and UPS comes to my house around 5pm, and I was NOT going to put pants on at 5pm when it was 100* outside for just a couple of hours. So, I wore them around with my shorts. And striped socks. 

They are heavy. I laid on the floor Friday night for movie night and exercised my hamstrings. I wore them all day Saturday. Most of the day Sunday. I DID NOT wear them to church. Tempting... but no. I wore them all day today. I have to say that I love how clean my feet are. In the land of no cement or grass, a good shoe is hard to come by. I think I have found my answer. I could kick a snake out of my way if I had to with these babies. There is no running fast anywhere in them, but I could kick something hard and with confidence if needed. 

Besides all that, one reason that appears at the top of my list of "Reasons Why I Love My New Boots" is the fact that I cannot in good conscience wear these with shorts. They force me to get dressed everyday. And since it takes me a year to lace them up, once they are on, they stay on. I look nicer because I'm not wearing my jr. high boy shorts and t-shirts. (Which I am very comfortable in, mind you. It's just that after building the house, all my clothes are ruined. Literally stained.)

Now I am on a quest to find my perfect Sunday "church" shoe. I have a vision in my head of a mary-jane style with a heel (a 2 1/2-3 inch heel, I think). But the heel is not a typical heel. I don't know the technical name for the style of heel, but it looks old fashioned. Then I will work on my Sunday "church" clothes (read: dresses/skirts). 

It's all about the shoes.

Or, boots.

Shopping with Granny

On Friday, Jessie and I went to visit my grandma. It was her 89th birthday! Happy Birthday, Grandma!

All she wanted to do was go grocery shopping. 

We can do that. 

The best part of shopping with "granny" and Jessie? 

They both have severe sweet teeth. Sweet "toothes?" I don't know... they both love cookies and donuts and baked goods and ice cream. So, granny's cart got filled up with a lot of extras. I'm not sure she told Jessie "no" for any sweet item she found. 

Loved it.

And, Jessie now has her own stash at Granny's. She asked if we could go there today because when we were visiting yesterday for the September birthdays, she forgot to get some rolly-pollies (how on earth do you spell that?). And, she needed a cookie.

Birds of a feather, those two.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quote of the Day

Yesterday's quote of the day:

"Hey Will, can you get the shrimp out of Kacy's underwear drawer? Thanks."

You had to be there.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What's Up? A totally random post...

 I believe this is a sunrise. Our view to the East. I see the sunrise almost everyday, especially now that it gets lighter later.

We have "The Muppets" from Netflix. Watching it for the third time in four days. Fun. Yesterday on the way down the canyon the kids started doing movie quotes and busting out in parts of songs. Aye.

Did I mention Ed has perfect pitch? The boy is musically inclined. Must start piano soon. I am asking my cousin, who is a vocal coach, what I should do with him at home to help him. The other kids like to sing, but he has the best voice. Will is super interested in playing the piano and the guitar. I'm glad!

So, today has not been the best day. Not horrible, but honestly, I'm feeling really bummed. I am moving all the crud in the house out so we can call for the final inspection. We spent most of the summer out there during daylight hours, and even started eating out there. I cooked in the trailer, but it was so nice to have kitchen counter tops and a sink and stuff. I was so excited to have closets for the kids clothes...and now I'm moving everything out. To top it off, back in June, Ryan "cleaned" the trailer, moved stuff out of the trailer and into the house. So now I'm moving it all out...I really, really, hate doing things twice. Oh well, I got the kids rooms done. Tomorrow will be my stuff. The only glimmer of hope I had was when I was cleaning up the kids' clothes. I picked out 5 shirts, 5 shorts, one thing to wear to church...and I was wondering if I needed to keep sweatshirts out. I asked Ryan, and he said, "It should only be two weeks, then we can move all this stuff back in." I am hanging my sanity on that statement, as we came into the trailer this afternoon with no A/C, it being 87 in here, and the A/C didn't work until 10 minutes ago. (It's 7pm). Hey- at least it's working this early in the evening! And dinner is a mess to clean up. NO COUNTER SPACE. On the plus side, the kids eat lunches in the cafeteria right now, so they can have a hot meal then, and sandwiches for dinner! (Ryan works afternoons this month.) That is totally rational, no?

Remember "Dirty Dancing?" I am thinking of the line "No one puts Baby in the corner." Except, I'm changing it to "No one puts Karrie in a trailer..."  

Tonight for dinner I cooked shrimp seasoned with lemon-pepper, served it over a bed of noodles coated in sour cream for the kids, with a side of edemame.  Is that how you spell it? For me, because I'm on a diet until I regain my self control, I had a whole bunch of the same shrimp over a bed of steamed green beans with some sour cream and Parmesan cheese. The real kind, not the "sprinkle cheese." Just thought I'd share that.

Today is Labor Day, and in honor of it, I worked my butt off. Ha ha ha.The kids were home all day. They took turns "helping," trying on bright green soccer socks, pretending to be leprechauns, an air guitar band complete with clucking chickens, and building with the Lego's, of course. They also each had one Eggo waffle, three eggs, and a string cheese for breakfast. Except Jessie, who had two waffles and two eggs and cheese. I think Jessie is the most excited (besides me) to get a fridge, because she gets to have open faced mayonnaise sandwiches again. Gross. We don't have TV. Because the satellite broke and I don't want to buy another one. And we can't stream stuff online because of satellite internet restrictions. Today would have been a good day for TV. (But then I would have missed the ukulele playing leprechauns...)

I have things I should be doing, but I just want to go to bed! It is now 7:09...51 more minutes, and I'm so there!

(Good night, David!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Will!

Eight years ago, I gave birth to this guy! He is the only kid of mine not born on a Sunday. He doesn't gag on vegetables much anymore. His favorite colors are red, orange, black, and blue. His favorite food is ice-cream. He LOVES Legos. He is happiest when he is designing something complicated. He likes to tell you about his designs, down to the finest details. His favorite subject in school is science. When he grows up he wants to be firefighter, maybe a forest fire fighter because they have good days off. He is stubborn as a mule. He loves the outdoors and camping. He is a great hiker...much like a mountain goat. He is unafraid of heights, but not so brave in the water (but getting better). We love Our Jasper William!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Secret Fear

Did I mention I am nervous to take Will to a psychologist? I am, just a little. What if I take him, and during the course of our visit, she tells me, "He's fine. But why don't we schedule a follow-up appointment for you?" :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I am taking a break from what I was doing...and now I'm doing this.

So, here is what I know:

* I called a child psychologist. She hasn't called me back yet. (It's only been an hour.) Will is almost 8. I probably should have taken him ages and ages ago, but with my Child Development/Psychology background, I have tried my best to help him at home with his quirkiness. I could write a whole book on the boy, and he might be a chapter in my book someday. Basically, I have suspected Will to be on the autism spectrum since he was about a year old. Knowing there is no real "cure" for his behaviors, I have done what I can at home to make him more "normal." Home speech/communication help, home socialization (so painful!), got his hearing and speech tested, home emotional control help... all things to help him at home. He has outgrown several behaviors, and he is improving. Or is he? Some of his toodlerhood quirks are turning into childhood quirks...any way, it's time to get him checked out because I admit I have hit a road block.  So, off to see someone who can help me help him. Crossing fingers.

*I quit 4-H. I was putting way more into it than I got out of it...for three years. When the kids can actually show animals, we will go back. (They actually could right now, except we aren't ready, property-wise).

*House is almost done, of course. Hasn't it almost been done for a year or more now?

*Jessie is so bored at home with me. We might drive each other nuts. She wants to be in school so bad. Right now she is taking pictures with my iPhone on her own camera app that makes things all funky.

*Was looking up some county recording stuff about my property and some local history. Weird stuff.

*Thinking about making puppies. Pearl would be the mom, of course. Need to find a small blue ACD who is smart to breed her with. That's going to be harder. Wonder if we found a red one, what would that look like? I think if you mix colors some are red and some are blue, but no 'tweeners.

*I need to go to the store for some more hair gel. Is that strange? Ryan and I cannot go out in public without hair gel. And my favorite kind, after years and years of trying different products? LA Looks, the blue kind. I know, right? With all the fancy stuff out there, that cheap blue crap works the best in my hair.

*Have an update on Ryan: The po-po have more info on his shooting. So here is what I've heard: A guy was arrested that knew about the shooting. He wasn't involved, exactly. He knew it was going to go down and was listening to a police scanner in Lamont that night. So, apparently there was this guy. Let's give him a name, like Bob. So Bob (who might be the guy who they eventually arrested...have no clue, and don't really care about this detail) was in our valley looking to kill another guy. Let's call that guy Doug. Because it rhymes with drug. Doug is a local drug dealer who stiffed his suppliers some money. So Bob was up here for several weeks looking for Doug, so he could kill him. The suppliers, who are mad at Doug and hired Bob, need a name. I can't call them what I call them in my head, because that would tarnish my goodie-two shoes image and we can't have that happen, can we? Let's call them Stooges. Like, the Three Stooges. Because they are stupid and I don't understand them. Any way, Stooges come up to help Bob out, because Bob was not getting the job done. So, they come up, can't find Doug either, and decide to smoke a cop to send Doug and their other dealers a message. So, they can't find a cop either (Hello, rural valley at night!), start to drive back to Bakersfield, and lo and behold, they see a CHP officer on the side of the road on the way out of town. That's when Ryan's story starts. You already know that part. Arrested guy (again, could be Bob, I can't remember) is a parolee at large and is back in prison. He gave up the street names and cell phone numbers of the Stooges.
One month later, a guy is arrested in connected with a marijuana grow. We will name him Vanilla. He, too, knows about the shooting. What he knows is the street names of the Stooges. He also knows that Ryan killed the shooter, and also hit a FOURTH person in the car (who is alive). Vanilla has since been deported by ICE. (Get it? Vanilla Ice?)
Supposedly, all people involved are not in the area any longer. 
Lesson: DO NOT ever get in a shoot out with Ryan. Just don't. He will shoot you dead. A talent I am extremely pleased with, because I get to eat dinner with him tonight and he can still help me raise our kids because of it. Also, in an end of the world situation, I will be fat with meat...and have awesome leather shoes...but I digress.

Because of this new info, I am mighty tempted to make my blog public again. This is something I don't know though. Not sure yet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for the older three, and the last year I'm home with a kid! Kacy is in fourth, Will in 3rd, and Ed is in first. Kacy loved everything about the first day except the review of the rules, because she has them all memorized. Will liked the first day, too. He was enthusiastic about it, and was excited to be there. Ed was quietly humming and looking out his window on the way home. Ryan said, "You are being quiet, Ed. How was your first day?" Ed replied, "It's pretty obvious, isn't it?" He just smiled and kept on smiling. I'm going to say he liked it.

I liked it, too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beach Day

On Friday the 10th the girls, our sitter Emily, and I went on a day trip to Cayocus and Morro Bay. The boys were camping. It was HOT. So, we left!

We started in Cayucos, which was more crowded than usual. Then we hit Morro Bay, where we rented a canoe and paddled our way across the bay. That was a little scary on the way, because a canoe tips over easier than a sit on top kayak. We did great though, and Kacy did not have a nervous breakdown. Almost, but not quite. Kacy is a very cautious girl. A wobbly canoe in the bay with seals and a map that said "Shark Inlet" did not help her feel better. She was in front of Jessie and would ask her, "Are you holding still? I can't see you. You need to hold still." She also had a death grip on the sides of the canoe. When we got to the sand dunes she jumped out and outstretched her arms while yelling, "Land! Sweet land!" She was more relaxed on the way back, after her confidence in us grew. Jessie just hung out, looking around. I will admit I was nervous a bit, with our PDF's on we wouldn't drown, but holy moley...that water was murky and it would've been a long swim to either side with two hysterical girls. Good thing we were FINE!

Later, we met up with my grandma, mom, Kristin, Caley, and Kendra and ate dinner at the Sea Shanty. Yummy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Isn't This Normal?

Don't you let your kids play on the crane truck? While they wait for their dad to come home so they can sleep in The Beast's camper?

Ryan just pulled in. "Do a donut!" they all yell.

Ryan does.

A perfect 10.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What's Up?

Summer is winding down. Girls Camp is over, which means we are on a "stay up late- wake up late" schedule. I haven't done ANY of the academic things I had planned on doing with the kids. I'm an awesome mom! Lol. The house is almost finished, and school is a mere 16 days away. The boys are going camping next week. Us girls will probably go get ice cream and paint our nails fancy. We might even have a Harry Potter marathon!

Do you love Jessie's ensemble? Beanie and church shoes and all? Ed's binoculars? Will's pose? Kacy- my fully normal child, who has recently taken an interest in what grown ups are saying. She is entering that phase...leaving childhood and ever so slowly becoming more adult like. That doesn't bother me. I love seeing progress in my kids. Can't wait until she drives- then I can make her go get ice cream for me! (Just kidding, Kacy. I'll make you go milk a goat an we will make our own ice cream.)

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today is catch-up day. It's a day of list making and list doing. We essentially haven't been home for 9 days. It's been busy, and today and tomorrow will be the days we get caught up. When I say "we," I mean me. Ryan has been swamped at work. We both went to Girls' Camp again, and it was great. We are in the kitchen, and we also do other stuff as well. Ryan helped certify the girls for orienteering. He also had a part in the spiritual program as Joseph Smith- a monologue of sorts. We both went on the third year hike. It was 12 miles in one day. 12. And a third of that mileage was up a mountain. I'm not joking. It was tough, but the girls did great. No tears! I liked being around the other leaders- it helps when the people you are working with are kind, and fun. No one was uptight- everyone seemed to do their jobs and no more/no less. It was perfect.
Now? Now I have to figure out if I can go again next year. With kids and hopefully animals, that gets more difficult. We'll see!
And, I'm off. Off to do laundry! And everything else on my list.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Taking Pictures

Friend Amy and I had talked about entering some pictures in the fair, just for fun. Well, last year we forgot. This year, we caught the deadline on time! The problem this year is that I am related to (and talk to often) the chairman of the photography stuff, and a couple of the judges! I wonder if I can enter under an assumed name? I don't even know if I have any I want to enter, and if I don't, not sure if I have the time to go out and take some. 

What reminded me about the fair was Aunt Gaye, who was practicing taking pictures the other night. I adjusted a couple of settings for her, took a sample picture, and then it hit me: I miss my camera. I hardly use it right now. There are a few reasons, namely that my camera bag is so huge, and my car so small and packed with kids, that it's just better not to lug it around. Excuses! I will have to get better about lugging.

This picture was taken with my iPhone- the kids loved the sunset and wanted me to take a picture.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Riding with Will: a Glimpse Into His Mind

Yesterday, Will had the opportunity to ride in the front seat next to me in the car. These are just three of the memorable moments:
1) We saw a Forest Service fire truck parked on the shoulder of the road, and there were some fire fighters dressed out. Two ran across the road carrying a stretcher. I surmised they were training (they were by the river), until I saw a county fire truck coming with lights on. I tell the kids, "Something must have happened- someone needs help." Without missing a beat, Will says, " It's a bear. It's probably stuck in trap. Dangling by its foot. You know that trap dad made with us? It's like that, only stronger for a bear. I bet that's what it is."

2) "Hey Mom. I know two places where hobos can find food. In a trash can and on the street."

3) "Hey Mom. Since you won't let me have a snake, how about I have a bunch of Meal Worms for pets?"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Being "Private"

I don't like my blog being private. No one reads it. Except my father-in-law, who told me on Sunday that before he goes to bed, he checks Jocelyn's and my blog for updates, and by the way, we need to update more. At least someone reads it. :) I think the problem is this: it's a pain in the butt to log on. It just is. I've had several people tell me they can't log on. I'm thinking of getting rid of the private thing altogether. I wasn't ever concerned about stalkers or perverts or whatever it is we are supposed to be cautious about. I just haven't been. Most people are good, good people. At least, most people are decent enough not to be creepy. But since Ryan was shot, and we didn't know who did it, I felt like I should make it private. Now, after two months, I'm over it!

But I still can't decide, and I want to talk to Ryan about it. I don't think it matters anymore. His name was in the local paper, which is accessible online. If the bad guys want to know his name, they can find it there or here. I am technically a public official, so not so sure how much info is already out there about me. And then I think, would someone really come "after us?" I just don't see it happening. But then again, I didn't see Ryan being shot in a drive-by happening either. (If you are a bad guy, and do want to shoot again, try a shooting range. They are super fun and you won't go to jail. Besides, we are armed at my house, and we are good shots. Just so you know. And if you hurt one of my kids, you will not live to your next birthday. Just saying. I'm violent.)

In other news, it's hot. Very hot. And, the stucco guys are here! They are making there way around the house. I feel bad because it's so hot out there, but luckily they are covered all the way by the wrap around porch.

I am teaching the kids how to play cards. We play poker and blackjack, and one of our favorites is Uno. I have started remembering how to play Gin and Rummy, and would love to be able to play again. It's fun to play with the kids, even if it's painful at the moment. Painful because it seems so simple to match a color or number (and pay attention to when it's your turn!!!!). I can see future game nights and good times around a camp site.

What else? Oh ya- yesterday Jessie and I took a nap at 11:00 in the morning. Crazy. We were both tired. I started running, and I totally, whole heartedly, most assuredly stink at it. I'm not sure I can even run a whole mile without stopping. I can't. Today I ran 2.6 miles. In something like 40 minutes. (That included a walking warm up, breaks for walking, and a minute picking a cactus out of Pearl's foot.) So that's what...15 minutes miles? You are supposed to be able to walk that. I was thinking of doing a half marathon, not for time, but to finish. So I could get some exercise. I am a person who needs a goal. If I don't have a tangible goal, I won't do it. And "getting thinner" isn't enough motivation for me. I do like food. So, I figure a goal of "finishing a half marathon in three hours or less" is tangible and doable. Problem is, I'm afraid it's unreasonable for. me right now. Like, maybe I should try a 10k first. The longest I've ever run was 5 miles, once, back in college when I was 18. I'm 35 and weigh 20 pounds more now. That's not good, you know? So maybe a nice challenge that is within reach if I work hard is a 10k (6.2 miles). Then, if I survive that, I could move up to a half. We'll see.

I have a lot to do. Will my to-do list ever shorten? I doubt it. It's part of being a grown-up, I guess. at least I can check this off! ;)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The House

Not a lot has happened on the house in a while. A lot of little things, but nothing worth taking pictures of. Is that weird? We are waiting on the stucco guy to come up tomorrow. We are almost finished enough for the final. Then it's finishing up some trim work around the kitchen. We are moving the beds in shortly (after we get the final). We decided we will move into the rooms that are finished. Hope to be all moved in by the time school starts. I took this picture while Ryan and I were talking, it reminds me of a pirate ship or something. The curvy-ness? The planks?  Who knows.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Sweet picture, right?

Not really. It's an iPhone picture, and I was trying to see how I looked before going out to dinner. I was getting frustrated with the camera...anyway, after I took it, I thought it wasn't so bad. It's my current profile picture on Facebook, but I think that's going to change soon. The no smiling part is starting to bug, like I'm grumpy or something. I'm never grumpy, so I feel like it's false advertising. (I repeat, I'm NEVER grumpy. Riiiiiiiiigggghhhhht)

This year I turned 35. Life is going great. Brilliantly. As best I could possibly imagine. I know I write about how things aren't working sometimes, but that's mostly for posterity, and for ideas from other people. At the age of 35, I still live in an RV, although I spend a lot of time out at the house. I cook meals using the microwave and BBQ. I have no fridge that works, but I have a freezer. Our house is almost finished. My kids are awesome. They are the smartest, kindest, most thoughtful, best looking kids I know. They always eat their vegetables (and ask for seconds!) and they never argue. They always, always clean up after themselves. 

(Dear kids: you know I'm being funny, right? If you really did clean up after yourselves, and ate all your veggies (Will!!!), you would be 100% awesome. And of course I think you guys are the smartest, except when you do something dumb, and you are kind. Of course I'm going to say you are the best looking- shoot, you look like me and dad! Gotta get a compliment somehow! Anyway, you guys are great. I love you.) 

At the age of 35, I'm thinking about taking up running again. I have come to terms with my talents and abilities, and do the best with what I have. I'm a work in progress, still learning all the time. Sometimes I feel old, but mostly I still feel really young. That's what happens when the average age of your friends is around 60 or so. I am looking forward to the next year, to see what happens. I was telling someone today that I am a planner, and I have a one year, five year, and ten year plan. (I really and truly always do.) Recognizing I can't control everything, and plans are malleable, I can't wait to see how it all pans out in the next little bit. 

Pearl, (our Queensland Heeler/ACD) at 6 months

I don't know if I'll get a picture of her standing up...she's always by me!

Here she is, at nearly 6 months. She is 14-15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 29 pounds. She's a little petite for an ACD (Queensland Heeler). She is solid muscle, built by all the sprinting around she does. She loves to walk/jog with me, and loves to fetch. She has a "squirrel" that we throw, and she LOVES it. She knows the following words (even if she doesn't always choose to use them...but she mostly does):
Sit, stay, come, down, lay down (same as down), "bang" (roll over and play dead), wait, okay, drink, go potty, get in the car, go see George, get the cat (she loves the cats), out, no, yes, go, bring it, and go to bed. Her mind is more active than mine is! I wish I was a better trainer- I'm learning, too. She is awesome, and I love her. She barks at cars that come up, and she barks at people she doesn't recognize. Her hackles stand straight up, and she looks a little fierce. I love that alarm feature of her. She gets between the person and me. She alerted me to a rattlesnake. She is the best investment I've ever made, and I love her. Never thought I'd say that about a pet. But I do. I appreciate her dog-ness and attributes, and she is an essential part of my life- like a tool. I use her to help me. I feel safer when I'm out hiking. I feel just slightly more active when I play with her. And, she listens better than my kids. :)  We are thinking about breeding her because she is so small and smart. We could use a couple more. We will see what happens in the next year. I'm not sure I'll have another dog of a different breed again... I'm a Queensland Heeler owner for life!

Reptile Show

Here is Ed and Eric Johnson of E&M Reptile Show. This guy was great. So great, I want him to come to the kids' school for an assembly. I went and talked to him about it after, to find all the info. I passed it along to the PTC people...I'm going to bug them until it happens. He is based out of Springville (Tualre County) and travels around for the shows. It is truly a show: educational and extremely funny. Do I sound like I'm pimping it? I kinda feel like I am, but he was just SO GOOD with the kids. The parents loved him.Ed was the first to be chosen to help, and he was able to pet a tarantula. Here, Eric is pulling threads out and putting them on Ed. I have fuzzy pictures of the rest of the kids: Will was in the last group to hold the longest Albino Python I've ever seen. Kacy helped hold a blue tongued lizard something or other. She was all serious and he kept trying to joke with her, but she was NOT taking her eyes off of the lizard. Her face was cracking me up. Jessie's story is even funnier. At first, this little boy who volunteered was asked to hold this leash. The animal was still in it's basket, so he was just holding this black leash that led into the basket. When Eric brought out this large monitor lizard, the kids jumped up a foot in the air, dropped the leash, and bolted for his mother. It was CLASSIC. Since Jessie was next in line of the group, she held the leash. I didn't think she would, but she did a great job. Like Kacy, she was very concerned about the head of the lizard and wasn't really listening to the jokes and information. No smiles. But she loved it. This guy is seriously so good- he had my "educational" heart when he kept relating things back to books and reading in his fun way. Score!

The library has a great summer program set up. We have gone every Saturday. This week in the Magic Show. Last week was "Working with Wildlife" with Jeff Lee. He was good, the animals were fun. The kids loved seeing Levi the monkey, who played Jack the monkey in Pirates of the Carribean. I hated it, but only because of this really annoying older lady who sat with the kids (in front of the kids) and didn't follow instructions. No criss-cross applesauce for her, she kept touching the animals, and asking questions like she was the only one in the room. And then, there was the evil volunteer who was supposed to keep an eye on the cages for the guy, but instead kept getting after the kids for being...kids. "Shh!" "Be quiet!" "Get back!"  The worst was probably the way he would go over towards a kid, point, and give them the evil eye. It got to the point where I went over to the librarian (whom I know) and asked who he worked for, so I knew who to complain to. I figure if I feel someone is being over bearing, they are totally are! Because I'm so strict with what I call "public behaviors," you know, being quiet when necessary, not being the kids looking into the next booth in a restaurant, staying out of older people's ways... all of that. I'm strict. But I can also tell kids to zip their lips and not make them feel like crap or get scared. I'm going to either write a formal complaint or go volunteer for that job next time. Serious. 

Medal of Valor for Ryan

Valor: boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery. (dictionary.com)

On June 8, Ryan was given a Medal of Valor award from the Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation. He didn't know he was getting the award until a couple of days prior, which just thrilled him. Hahaha- he HATES things like this. He was asked by his Captain to give a few remarks at the program several weeks before. The award was unexpected. It was very nice of the foundation to give Ryan the award. 

The dinner was at the Stockdale Country Club, and dinner was great. I ate WAY too much, and we sat at the Young and Nichols table. (Young and Nichols are a law firm, and we are friends with the Nichols part.) Several officers were honored as "Exceptional Officer of the Year" from various departments. Another officer from the Arvin PD received the medal of valor as well, after he got in a fight and had to shoot someone. 

When Ryan's turn came, they showed a picture of his car. The room got really quiet. Then, they played part of his 11-99 call to dispatch. The room was SILENT. You could here a pin drop. All evening was fairly noisy because of dinner, and the clinking and clanking of silverware and glasses. When they played the recording, it was eerily silent. After the recording, his Captain called Ryan up and everyone in the room gave Ryan a standing ovation. He was calm and collected during his radio traffic. He gave great details. He was worried about responding units, telling dispatch to tell them to slow down, his injuries weren't life threatening. He warned responding units that the weapon was a fully automatic MAC-10. In short, instead of peeing his pants and sucking his thumb in the corner of the car like I would have done (had I not gone mental with anger and rage...because who knows how you'll react, right?) he was the epitome of professionalism. In my opinion. 

When it was Ryan's turn to talk, he was... don't think I'm bragging here... better than anyone that night. That boy has a true gift for speaking to an audience. No notes, nothing written out. He was awesome. And, I'm not just saying that. Even Don Clark, an old TV news reporter who worked in Bakersfield for years came up to him and told him his remarks were the highlight of the night. So many people came up to us afterwards and told Ryan what a great job he did.  He did.

Later that evening, a Sheriff officer from Kern Valley was honored as Officer of the Year. He is awesome, and it made our little valley look great. The officer who got it is a great guy, and does a lot of work with our youth up here. The kids and parents just love him.

Ryan is glad it's all over. He has a box with stuff in it from this incident. Now, it's back to business as usual. An arrest has been made in connection to the shooting- it's a credible connection. (I really don't know how much I can say about what I know, so I'm zipping lips here. Sorry. Ere on the side of caution, right?) We will see how it all goes down from here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Crazy Month

It has been... a crazy month. Ryan went back to work, got a medal of valor award, got hammered at work the next day with 4 major injury crashes (one ended up being a fatal)...and then there is the normal craziness that is house and kids. Real soon, really, really soon, I will be able to cross that "house" part off the list. Once we get something of a normal life with the house, even if it's not 100% done, I will stop talking about it so much. The trailer is emanating a noxious smell... like something died somewhere. Or some food product got into a place it shouldn't have, and it's awful.

Anyway, I will post more next week. We have the next couple of days to get through. My birthday is coming up. I think I'll celebrate by cleaning the house. Yay me!

Also, in my neurological psychosis that is me, I have pin pointed one reason that I keep giving up on getting back in shape. Drum roll, please..................................................................

It's because I don't believe that I will get back in shape. I've never been out of shape. Ever. (I don't count the four years being pregnant/post partum.) Even after each kid I bounced back into great shape. (Wish I would have appreciated it/known it then!) Then, I turned 32. The last two years have not been kind. Actually, I haven't been kind to myself. Anyway, I realized last night that I don't believe my love handles will shrink. It's weird. I'm going to put myself to the test and see if they do. Will they?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Picture of Ed's Graduation

So, I was looking through my camera roll on my phone and came across this. Jessie took it, and I didn't know she did. I was HOPING she took a picture, but she had switched camera apps, so I didn't see this one. It's scary how fast a small fry picks up on the whole iPhone stuff.

Any way, here is the graduate! Next time he graduates he will be taller than me, I'm sure.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Funny from Jessie

I just remembered something funny that Jessie said on the Sunday Ryan got shot. She was excited to stay with Sarah. Sarah came in and told Jessie they were going to have pink pancakes for breakfast. Jessie says, "Oh- I'm a great hog pancaker!"

The next day she also ate a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger from Jack in the Box. The whole thing.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ryan's Surgery

On May 16, we traveled down to Encino and Ryan got his hand worked on. It was a long day! A lot of sitting. Anyhow, the surgeon fixed the hole in the palm of his hand. He also sliced open Ryan's hand and cleaned out bits of glass and metal, and then he repaired one of two nerves. The irreparable one was buried so it wouldn't attach itself to skin and become an ultra sensitive spot on his hand.

As of today, the stitches are out, and he wants to go back to work. One more week (per doctor's orders) and he should be back!

PS- I will fix my typos shortly. I re-read the last few posts and didn't proofread! Yes, it bugs me.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Californios 2012

 Cool gear!
 My favorite, favorite singer. Dave Stamey rocks! I have all his albums. Concert was awesome!
 Look at the size of that loop! Too bad the camera lady cut it off... bad me.
On Mother's Day weekend Ryan and I escaped to Reno for the Californios Ranch Roping competition. It was totally awesome to be anonymous, and so relaxing to just sit and watch. Arena seats are UNcomfortable... and concession food gets old fast. So old, that I ordered a Vegetarian Napolean from Sterling's Steakhouse in the Silver Legacy. It was a fancy restaurant. The Napolean was delicious. Hawaiian purple yams, quinoa, zuchinni, portabello mushrooms, carrots... I can't remember was else. Oh ya! Buffalo mozzarella on top. It was so good. Especially after numerous hot dogs, garlic fries, and Carrow's for breakfast. 

The people there were so great- everyone had clothes on (you know what I mean...long sleeve shirts, pants...no hoochie mamas to be seen), and the concession workers commented to each other how nice and polite every one was. There were kids wandering around every where, and they were totally cool. I want my kids to be that cool. Watching out for each other, taking care of little ones, and being totally tough enough to throw a cow on the ground for some doctoring.

The judges for the competition don't judge on how quick you are, but rather on technique, style, and how you handle the animal. It's an old vaquero style. There were lots of hackamores, two rein style. something we want to do really, really soon. I was impressed with the quality of the horses. They weren't fancy, but they were so good with the cows. Probably because they are working horses. I think my favorite part was the "off the ropes," where the guys had to take a bronchy horse and settle it down and ride it. They had 12 minutes to do it, get on, and then rope a cow. It was so interesting to watch, and it made me want to do it. Someday. Soon.

More Blood...Ed's this time

 Ed had a Kindergarten swim party at the school. (The school is also the community center.) While doing a fancy twist jump, he hit his chin on the coping. Ryan, Jessie, and I had JUST pulled into the parking of Home Depot in Ridgecrest. Not even parked yet! So, we turned around and drove fast, fast, fast to the school, where he was just getting off the bus from the pool. His teacher had managed to put a band aid on it. 

Funny: While she made him lay on the ground after the hit, she was trying to get the parents, kids, and other onlookers away. Then she turned to the few "helpers" she had and said, "He's probably going to have to have S-T-I-T-C-H-E-S." Ed replies, "That's okay. I've had stitches on my face before."  She said she was telling the high school base ball team that story and it took longer for the kids to figure out what she was spelling than it took Ed. So good news: Ed passes Kindergarten! 

We took him back to RC where we thought 1) the trip is faster, 2) the doctors are competent, 3) the hospital is clean, and 4) the per capita ratio of doctors to citizens in need seems low. We did contemplate gluing it, but it was TOO deep. 

The nurse was concerned when she took off the band aid, and I took a peek, and quickly looked away. Apparently I was a little pale.
Here's his chin, still swollen. He got lots of shots on the inside, which hurt him. He was tough, no tears. He got a stitch on the inside (ewww on the deepness of the wound) and then 12 on the outside. I forced myself to watch...most of the time. Really not my thing. Really. I should have had Ryan go with him, but I think it's just a natural mom thing to go with the injured kid. (Ryan would have been so much better at it, but I didn't even give him the chance. I hopped up with Ed when they called his name.)

The nurses were awesome- gave him a sucker, and even dug around for a pink one for Jessie. They also kept an eye on me, making sure I was okay and stuff. 

I almost asked if I could pre-register the rest of the fam.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wednesday/Thursday (after the shooting)

Okay, so I don't remember all of Wednesday, except I'm certain Ryan went to the doctor. Also, since there was Young Men that night, and Ryan is the Young Men's president, he had them come over and help with the house. We needed an inspection, and some work on the lathing wasn't quite finished yet. After they left, I asked how it went. (I hibernated in the trailer.) He said they played with sticks. All those boys, and it was one big sword fight. Didn't matter how old they were.

Funniest thing was the card they made him. They all wrote in it, and there were comments such as, "Don't work on Sundays" and " I wouldn't have missed" and "I have a tighter grouping than that" and MY favorite, "You have a hand like Jesus now." 

Thursday I dropped off the kids and the dog in Bakersfield, and we headed out to Reno at 6pm. We finally arrived at our hotel room around 1:30am. They gave us two queen beds instead of the king I requested. Apparently, what you request online in only that- a request. Bummer. We sleep in a queen in the trailer- too short! Too "cozy!" We miss our California King in storage. The bed thing, plus the amount of road construction we encountered on the way, made our arrival not that great. But hey, we made it! and the rest of the weekend was awesome. I'll catch up on that tomorrow after church.

I do remember that lots of potential cars/suspects had been located, and all of them ruled out. I am still amazed at how many people "heard they found the guys" over here or over there. I assure every one that unless you hear it from Ryan (me) or the news on TV, all rumors are unfounded. As of today, almost a full three weeks later, nothing has panned out. With the ATF, FBI, KCSO, and CHP all working the case, I'm certain they have a good handle on it. Ryan got a phone call yesterday with some promising information, but it'll be a few days/weeks before anything conclusions can be made. There is evidence collecting, search warrants, and interviews/people searching to do. (Not by Ryan.) Closure would be nice!

PS- It's astounding how many dark blue Yukons have been in crimes...oversized rims and all. One even had bullet holes in it up here, but it had been impounded two weeks prior. Kern County has it's hands full.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Most Memorable Sunday and Monday. AKA "The Day Ryan Got Shot."

Warning: this is a long one. Lots of words, several pictures, and some blood. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012 was a most interesting day, to say the least. I played the organ in church, during which time I was sorely tempted to play just the melody and then leave. I stuck it out, but not very willingly. So many mistakes. Ryan didn't go to church with us to hear my very interesting organ playing because he had been called out the night before for a DUI turnover. At least, I think that's what it was. He came to church for the last hour to teach the Young Men. The kids and I waited for him to come out of the church building, where a very handsome (if I do say so myself) Ryan came out to tell us good-bye. I can say that I thought he was especially hot because even my daughters said so. Kacy said, "Dad looks good today." Jessie, who is so hilarious now but scares me a little for her teen years and beyond, rolled down her window and yelled, "You are looking good, Dad!" Then she asks me, "Doesn't Dad look handsome today?"

We (minus Ryan, who must work) go to the Bunting's for family dinner. It was Jocelyn's birthday dinner, where I over stuffed myself on ribs and strawberry pie. Had a good conversation with Lindsey. Played outside with Pearl and the kids.

Jessie had her first sleep over at David and Lindsey's with Sarah. When Jessie got in the car we said our good-byes, and then (Lindsey told me this) she leaned over to Sarah and said, "I just love her." Ah, a moment worth recording...made me feel all warm and fuzzy for several days.

The three other kids and I loaded up in the car, and off we went to go home. We hit HWY 178 and Comanche, and Will asks me, "Hey Mom, what would happen if Dad got shot?" Our conversation went a lot like this:

"Well, it depends on where he got shot. Some shots just put holes in you, some can be fixed with surgery, and some will kill you," I reply. I don't mince words. I don't pretend it cannot possibly happen. I just don't. I've always had a back-up plan in my head, "just in case."

"So, what would happen if he got shot in the hand?" he asks.

"He would have a hole in it. Or it would slice it open and it would have to be stitched up."

"What about his vest? What would happen if he got shot in the vest?"

"The vest is made of this special fabric called Kevlar. It stops bullets from getting to your body. The bullet still hurts a ton, like getting hit with a hammer, but it can't hurt you besides maybe some bruising."

"What about the rest of your body? Like your head or leg?" asks Kacy.

So I finish this conversation about different parts of the body with the different scenarios, ending with brain injuries and frontal lobes... and no, it didn't seem weird to me at the time to have this conversation. My kids know Ryan carries a gun, wears a vest, and sometimes takes people to jail. To me, it was just another interesting Sunday conversation we have in the car on those long trips without a working radio in the car.

We got home, went to bed, and three hours after this conversation took place, Ryan called me to tell me he had been shot. Now, he says he was all nonchalant and calming, and I can honestly say I don't really remember much about his phone call. I remember looking at the time on the phone (it said 11:25) and that it was "Ryan's Cell" and thinking that was weird. I remember that he was out of breath sounding and I could tell he was amped up. I remember him saying "I've been shot but I'm fine. I took one in the hand and in the vest, but I'm fine. I wanted to call you before Sargent Romine called." I remember me wanting to swear (with a Holy in front of "it") but instead said "Holy crap, the kids and I were just talking about this!" Then I don't really remember, but I'm pretty sure he said something about sitting tight for a bit and he would call me to let me know more. So I did.

Actually, after about 60 seconds, I called Ryan's dad on his cell. He is a reliable cell phone answerer. I told him, "Ryan has been shot, but he is okay. One in the hand, one in the vest. That's all I know." Then I called my parents. Then, I went out to the big house and put on some clean jeans, a sweatshirt, and fixed my hair a little. Yes, I did. I wasn't going to the hospital in my jammies. I also made the conscious decision to wear my running shoes instead of flip flops. It was important to me at the time. Weird? After getting dressed, I started making more phone calls. I called my grandma, because I knew she would be up late. I called Jocelyn and Oscar, thinking they would want to know (hoping not to wake up their kids...but I think they were watching Korean soaps!) I called cousin David, because he's a late owl and I knew he would tell his family. Then I realized that Michael (my brother in law) and Mike (his graveyard partner and my cousin's man) were working and would have heard the radio traffic. I called him, hoping he could give me more information. Why didn't I call Ryan? Because I'm a good wife. Lol. I know not to bug or ask too many questions in certain situations, and this was a situation in which Ryan would need me to be a rock. If I called to bug him, it would just add another burden to him, and I didn't want him to worry about me. So I call for intel from my spies! Turns out Michael was already with him. The Michaels (as we lovingly refer to them) were working their beat on the East side of Bakersfield and Michael drove as fast as he ever has up the canyon. When I call Michael, he tells me they are going to take Ryan to KMC, but that they are still on the side of the road. He told me it was "a back seat shooter." See, in my mind, CHP officers get into shootings when a stop goes bad, or a situation is escalated and control is lost. Ryan is awesome (if I do say so myself) and situations just don't get escalated. In fact, he often helps other officers diffuse tense incidents. So, I was trying to figure out "how" Ryan got shot.

About an hour later, Ryan (or was it Michael?) called (or did I call one of them? I have no idea right now) and I woke up the kids to take them to Bakersfield. Cherie said she would meet me at the hospital and take the kids. I woke them up, telling them, "Hey, we need to go to Bakersfield. Dad got shot. He's okay, but we need to go get him at the hospital." One of the kids (not Ed, who was super hard to wake up) said, "Hey, we just talked about that!" We loaded up, and headed down. We made it to KMC and were met in the parking lot by David, David, Jimmy, Michael M. (I think), and Michael F. We were taken inside the back way, and when we got there, we saw this:
 and this:

and we looked like this (thank-you cousin David for sharing):
That's Uncle Michael in the back- grave yard partner Mike was on scene with the investigation. Not sure exactly what I was doing, as always, it looks as if I was giving my kids some kind of lecture or lesson or something. Ryan was discharged shortly after we got there. We missed the fun cleaning of the would and stuff. Not. I hate blood. And needles.

As we were leaving the hospital, (I think it was about 3:30am at this point), David (dad) says, "They think it was a MAC-10, an automatic weapon." My heart sank a little, still not knowing exactly what happened. Shoot, I didn't know anything, really. I got in my car to follow the officers and unmarked cars to the CHP office in Bakersfield.

So, fast forward 15 minutes, and I'm at the CHP office with a ton of officers and plain clothes people, Ryan, the Captain, Chief... and Michael. I start to get the full story. I'm still so high on adrenalin that the magnitude of it all doesn't really sink in for a few hours. I'm fascinated with the way the investigation goes, and since it was an officer involved shooting, the Union guys are there making sure Ryan is represented. They give him a little card with his rights on it, he glances at it and sets it down. He says, "I'm good. It was a good shoot."

Here's what happened, and you can take my reporting over anything you heard or read. I've got the times from the actual radio traffic call. I'm still estimating times, but I'm more accurate.

Ryan was sitting in his patrol car (an old one, not his Durango or Expedition, as they both bit the dust a few weeks prior), on the shoulder of Westbound HWY 178 at Borel Rd. On a Sunday night at 11:10, this is a desolate road with only minimal traffic. Very rural. As he was sitting there with his radar unit on, a dark blue Yukon, mid 2000's model with 24" rims and low profile tires passed him going westbound. They slowed, made a U-turn and crossed over the double yellow lines, heading for Ryan. (The roadway is four lanes, two in each direction.) Ryan flipped on his high beams and spotlight, because he thought they were coming to ask him directions or something, and since they were crossing double yellows, he wanted to discourage them. As they approached, the back passenger window rolled down, and a passenger in the back open fired on Ryan. Ryan ducked down to the middle of the car, realized that if he stayed there he would be shot in the back of the head, and then took action. He's a big guy and in a little car, it was a tight squeeze. His gun is on his right hip (and he was leaning that way initially) so to draw, he had to arch up. As he did so, he put his left hand on the driver side window to help balance himself. That's when they got his hand (and his window shot out). As he was turning his torso and squaring up, he got shot in the chest. It hit his trauma plate, which is over his heart. He then fired 7 times from the A pillar to the B pillar. (Think: from the steel part of the car between the windshield and the driver side window, and the metal part between the front driver window and the back driver side window.) The shooter stopped shooting as soon as Ryan began. He is confident that he hit the shooter in the forehead. He saw his forehead change, his body stiffen, and then slump forward. The car sped up as soon as Ryan started shooting. Ryan tried to go after them, but he had a flat tire, and glass was flying everywhere. Ryan said he thought the bullet that hit his chest had gone through, because his vest was really high (from the slouching) and it knocked the wind out of him. He said he let out a huge sigh of relief when he felt the slug embedded in his vest.

 His radio extender that he wore on the front of his shirt...that's a bullet hole.

Twenty-six casings of 9mm rounds (theirs) were found. Seventeen in the car. Two hit Ryan. All but one window was shot out (the only survivor was the driver side back window).

Ryan's hand. That other weird thing by his pinky finger is a genetic predisposition called Dupuytren's Contracture. The slug went through the side, and then out the palm. At the time of this writing, his hand is all stitched up. More on that later. He left the hospital that night with holes in his hand and a prescription for antibiotics.

We stayed at the Bakersfield office until 6:30am. Ryan wore home some scrubs because they took his uniform as part of the evidence. The hole in his shirt from the bullet was weird to see. I've seen blood on his uniform a few times...other people's blood. We went to his parent's house where the kids were. We had some breakfast and answered the many, many phone calls, texts, and emails. It got to the point where we both just stopped answering. Ryan's parent's phone was ringing off the hook, too. The funniest phone calls were to Ryan, and they would call and say something like, "I heard one of you guys got shot. Who was it?" and then Ryan would answer it was him, and he said it would be silent on the other end for a really long pause, followed by a "What?" Clay F. came over that morning. We had missed his birthday party the weekend before. Too bad we got caught up on such crazy terms.

We stayed at his parent's house most of the day, not wanting to come back to the trailer. We went to get Jessie at David's and stayed there a bit longer, making sure everyone was nice and tired. When we finally got home, Ryan slept like a log. He actually fell asleep on the kitchen counter in the house while I was showering our stinky kids. I didn't sleep that well that night. I kept waking up thinking, "Ryan has been shot." But, I would tell myself it was fine, because he was right here. It was like my subconscious was fighting my conscious. It was annoying.


I tried to go to my board meeting, but I was so exhausted I couldn't concentrate. I left early. First time I realized that I was affected by what happened. Started having a small emotional break down in the five minutes it took to pick up the kids. I didn't like being lonely. Ryan had been in Bakersfield most of the day at the doctor and then at the KCSO headquarters doing a composite sketch.

I made a lot of return phone calls. We are still getting a lot of comments from people (had two yesterday and one today...) A lot of people are treating us very carefully and looking at us with puppy dog eyes. That part is a little annoying, too. We are fine. We were fine. The whole drive-by aspect of it really has our community freaked out. I still might be oblivious about it, or in denial, or SOMETHING...but I am truly not bothered. Truly. Ryan isn't. I recognize our Heavenly Father's hand in all of this, and I'm grateful He saw fit not to make me a widow. Ryan was prepared for this situation. He was protected and prepared. That's a winning combination!

I had one more minor melt down after I dropped off the kids and the dog to leave for Reno. Again, I hadn't seen Ryan for the day and the kids weren't around me...and my brain started wandering. It went to that place where I am a single mom and the kids don't have Ryan in their lives... but that is too painful to dwell on, and I talked myself out of it. I reminded myself that there is absolutely no need to go there, because he is fine, and he is here, so it's a waste of energy.

We went to Reno, and that fixed everything. A full weekend of complete anonymity and not answering phone calls was just the perfect thing. We spent the whole weekend together, no doctor's appointments, no investigation things (okay, a few phone calls, but not too bad), no phone calls. By the time we got back, it was like it didn't even happen. It was perfect.

The worst part for me: nothing. Maybe my lost brain activity for a week or so. Lack of sleep and inability to concentrate. That's gone.

The worst part for Ryan: the attention. The way people call him a "hero" or "brave." He says he didn't do anything brave or heroic, he just saved his own skin. He said everything he did was selfish. (I disagree a little. He was brave...he had the presence of mind and the awesome ability to shoot, and did so at the right time.)

The worst thing for the kids: Kacy and Will said they are nervous for him to go back to work. Jessie is preoccupied with "bad guys" and why they would shoot her dad, and now she wants to be a cowgirl-police girl who flies helicopters to catch bad guys. Will wanted to take a picture to school for show and tell because his friend Seth would never believe him. Ed was most bothered in the hospital, but since Ryan is up and around, he's been fine with it. No nightmares for any one. No worries, really. I credit that to the fact that we had that conversation in the car right before it happened.

I have seen our Heavenly Father's hand in all of this. I'm grateful Will asked the questions that started our conversation. I think that helped the kids. I'm grateful for Ryan's safety. I'm grateful Ryan called me himself before his sergeant did. I'm grateful Michael was able to hang out with me at the CHP office, and that he stayed with Ryan during the ambulance ride down the mountain. Him being there made it better for me- I wasn't stuck in the office with a bunch of people I didn't know. I'm grateful Jessie was at Sarah's house and not at the hospital. I'm grateful we had our trip to Reno planned. It really worked out well.