Category Archives: Family Life Updates

daily things that don’t fit into any particular category

The Boys’ Adventure Outing

Here’s that post I promised about the boy’s wilderness camping trip.

Zachary, Wesley, Mitch (a friend from Tucson) and Andrew (another friend from Michigan) loaded up their gear and readied themselves to leave one morning after a breakfast of oatmeal and toast(??).  Zachary made the breakfast so I’m not sure if he added toast to their fare.

Notice the bananas in Wesley’s hands (far right).  I gave that to them at the last minute so they’d have some back-up provisions because these boys only took a few homemade bread baguettes to sustain them; the rest of the time they were going to live off the land.

Also notice, Andrew (on the far left) is carrying his sleeping bag in front.

The boys just barely dropped down the hill from our house before Andrew decided the sleeping bag just wasn’t going to work riding in front of him.  The boys were joking with him that if they did meet trouble he didn’t have to worry, he was protected in front with the sleeping bag and the backpack would protect him in back. 🙂

The jokes continued as Andrew lay down to have the sleeping bag tied on his back.  “Hey boys, let’s jump on him.”  “Okay, it’s time for a lunch break.”  “Let’s just set up camp here.”  I was having a good laugh as I listened to their repartee.

Wesley!  Why are you already eating a banana?  (It must have been the 50 foot hike  that got his appetite raging. 🙂 )

Okay, all good.  We’re ready to go again.

Supper that night consisted of a rattlesnake found on the trail -their first time to try such a delicacy. (written with a shudder)  They said the only problem was there just wasn’t enough meat on that snake.

Here’s the soup they made using rattlesnake meat and squirrel that they shot.  They also added young green pine tree needles which added a very strong pine taste that wasn’t much to their liking.  For added flavoring, Zachary had brought some garlic from home, along with an onion and he added that to the soup.

Excuse me, I’m afraid I’m losing my appetite.  How about you?

A modern day mountain man.

Beautiful spot

They even found a mountain lion track.  Thankfully that’s all they found.  Ei, yi, yi!

Russell met up with Zachary the next day, bringing along Justus and the boy visiting from Canada, so they could have some fun in the woods.

Later that afternoon, we rode quads to meet all the boys in a clearing.  We then picked up the 2 younger ones so they wouldn’t have to hike back the 3 miles.  Everyone was happy to see us.

Even Mitch had a big smile for me. 🙂

As soon as they hiked home they devoured all my leftovers and anything else I had on hand.  Living off the land didn’t feed well, I guess, but the memories they made are priceless.


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The Week in Review – 5/9/10

The week started off with Mother’s Day.  The kids in Sunday School sang a nice song about mothers and gave us each a red rose as well as these cute little teapots with a tea bag in them.  Such a cute idea.

This picture was not taken on Sunday.  Justus really didn’t wear this spotty t-shirt to church.  Really! 🙂

Then we had boys arrive from Tucson and Michigan.  My boys and them wanted to test their mountain man skills and live off the land; so they packed up their gear and headed for the woods (about 4 miles from our house) with some bread and bananas.  🙂  The boys took a camera and got some good shots.  I’ll try to get a post up later in the week on the excursion.

Then friends from Canada arrived with 2 of their children…

Saturday afternoon the boys were back at the house and after supper I put the boys, Serenity and  Jennifer from Canada, to work making Sunday’s lunch – enchiladas.  Oh yes, by this time another boy had joined the party.  The boy on the far left is from our 4-H group and Zachary has really enjoyed getting to know him.  God is really working in his heart.  We found out that his father is an atheist and that this boy is the only one in his family that goes to church.   

On Sunday we had 25 people for lunch for a meal of enchiladas, rice, beans, sopapillas & ice cream.  Oooo la la, we were full!

The adults visited and the kids had a good time playing Dutch Blitz, a fast-paced Amish game that is a lot of fun.

And that, dear friends, was my week.  How did your week go?

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The Week in Review

So many things happened this week that I didn’t post about, so I’m going to just do a week in review with pictures.  (that’s me, lots of pictures 🙂 )

Seth left for Manitoba, Canada, Monday morning at 12 a.m.  I’m  missing him!  I grab 8 forks out of the drawer to set the table and then realize, oops! I only need 7.

Russell took me on an anniversary get-away.  Our anniversary was in April while the 4-H EXPO was going so we had to hold the celebration. 🙂  21 years.  Unbelievable that it has went by that quickly!

When we arrived home from our time at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, which is very reasonable this time of year because of P*riceline (our little secret 🙂 ), we found this awaiting us, along with the cutest pop-up cards..

put together by our Serenity, our always thoughtful and sweet dear daughter.

Excitement was great over our arrival home.

I was very excited, too, to hear that they had cleaned the house as well as the outside yard.  They worked SO HARD!  Thank you, Zachary for thinking of every little detail.  What a blessing for mom because it was just in time for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday celebration we held at our house on Saturday.  

Before Saturday arrived, baby chicks were delivered.

I now have a permanent chick enclosure, thanks to Russell.  Awesome.

The week ended with the 80th birthday celebration for my husband’s dad.  Here you have the most lively, spunky and energetic person you will ever meet.  He has more energy than people 20 years younger.  He’s also one of the friendliest and hospitable.  There’s one other person I have met who rivals him in all these areas and that is the same age and his name is Al.  They give hope to those of us in our 40’s who are feeling old already. LOL

Here’s the clan and if you know your tartans, you’ll be able to figure out what Scottish clan we belong to.  My father-in-laws only brother is sitting next to him.  They had went to some highland games earlier in the day and wore their plaids.  This is the whole family except for about 21!  As my mother-in-law said, “This is a pretty big crowd for just starting off with 2 people.”

And that, dear friends, is my week in review.

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That Oldest Boy of Mine!

Well Seth has taken off on a jet plane for the country of Canada, specifically Manitoba, Canada at midnight last night.

He’ll be staying with his aunt (Russell’s sister) and her husband for 6 weeks doing construction and also commercial fishing which starts in June.

We’ll miss you, Seth!


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My Little Man Turns 7

Justus is celebrating his 7th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, buddy.

For my own benefit, since my blog helps my memory, 🙂 I am going to write out some of the things he’s doing at this stage and a little bit about his personality.  It may not interest anybody else in the world but I think it will be a great place to record it.

Justus was born 7 years ago today.  He had 3 brothers and 1 sister waiting on him when he arrived.

Justus can be shy.  He is also my most sensitive child – not that his feelings get hurt easily but that he feels sad when he hears an unhappy story.  For this reason, I’m especially careful of his seeing or hearing things that might bother him later.  Of course, that is probably a good policy to have for all the children, right?

He enjoys being in the kitchen on occasion.  Here he is at 4 years old with an almond cake he made with almost no help from me (besides telling him what he needed to do).

He likes being a cowboy like most other boys his age.

He’s teaching himself to read with some help from his phonics.  I told him that he needed to slow down because I wasn’t even done with his phonics book and he’s trying to read everything.  He’s the first one of my children to do this.  

Here he is wearing some glasses he picked out of the Treasure Chest for finishing a step in phonics.  We use Sing, Spell, Read & Write which I love.

He looks up to his brothers and wants to do the things they do.  For example, they are on a strength building program of doing so many push-ups a day, etc.  So Justus has been doing push-ups, too.  It’s very impressive.  He did 24 of them the other day.  For someone like myself that has never even done 1, I’m impressed.  Really impressed!  I didn’t think those little matchstick arms of his could have such strength.  What a man he is! 🙂

On the trip home from Denver, Colorado a few weeks ago, Zachary sat in the back seat with him and explained the workings of the world to him.  He sat there and listened attentively, his eyes having a distant expression as he absorbed what was being said.  

Something was said at this point that really clicked with him and he became quite excited.

He’s very good at playing by himself but he also plays with Audrey sometimes.  Yesterday, they had a grand time pretending they were swimming and fishing, so they donned life jackets and swim suits.  This swim suit is for beginning swimmers with built-in flotation.  He looked quite hilarious in this too-small outfit.

We asked him to remove it for this picture.  The combination of swimsuits and a construction apron with tools (which was his birthday present) just didn’t seem fitting. 🙂

The tool set came from L*owe’s and sold for $20.  All of the tools are real, not plastic.  It also came with a tape measure.  He wanted one of these so he could help his dad.  His cousin, Lincoln (hi, Lincoln 🙂 ) had a real belt with tools that Justus saw a few years ago and he’s wanted one ever since.  I thought the tools was a better choice for him than some of the other things he had written down on his birthday wish list like — hearing aids!  “What?” you say.  You read it right.  He wanted hearing aids!  I have no idea why.  Maybe he thinks they look like fun since he’s heard them make noises when someone’s adjusting them.

Who can know all the things that run through little boys minds but I love them anyways. (xoxo) 

Even when they’re dirty…

or being silly…

They’re little men in the making.

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EXPO 2010 Update

Snow, rain and cold have marked the last few days.  EXPO 2010 was not one of the better years for weather. 😦  Here’s what we had 2 days ago.

Fortunately, our club was able to stay a little more warm and dry because every year we bring our wall tent and set it up for meals.  Inside is filled with tables and chairs and breakfast, lunch and supper are served there by different families in our club.

We have a lot of great kids in our club this year.  Isn’t this 1st year 4-H’er adorable?  His dad manages a cattle ranch but they’ve never had pigs until this year.  They had so much fun with it, the dad bought another for them to raise and then butcher.  I can’t say my feelings of pigs match up with this families. LOL

Justus has been having such a great time here at EXPO.  He’s been getting up every morning at 6:30 with the boys to go feed and water their animals.  Here he’s following Zachary carrying the clippers.  You must have your lambs sheared before you arrive at EXPO but you are allowed to do some finishing touches once you are here.  That’s what Zachary was doing.  You also clip your pigs which Wesley did the night before his show.

Up at indoor exhibits are displayed educational posters like this one.  Have you ever heard of a rabbit going through an agility course like a dog does?  I never had.  Quite hilarious, I think.

This is quilling, which our 4-H leader taught.  This was actually done by a girl from our church.

By another girl from our church.

This quilling project won overall.

Check out some of the cake decorating talent the kids have.  The girl who made this pig cake is a pig breeder.  She made a cupcake for every year she’s been in 4-H. 

Isn’t this a gorgeous cake?

Leaving the indoor exhibits and back at the show ring…  I love the beautiful beef animals.  (I never know if I should call them cows, steers or what.  I’m a learnin’.)

So what do you do when you’re all finished showing your lamb?  He looks slightly out of control.  I think I’d better watch out.

Intense concentration… and whew! he made it past me.

Wesley placed 3rd in his class for confirmation and in showmanship  (which is shown here) he made the first cut but ended up not placing.  Wesley and the other 2 girls are all in the same club.  Wesley used to give the girl on the far left some stiff competition in showmanship but the last few years he’s been slipping.   The girl on the far left won Reserve Grand Champion Confirmation and Reserve Grand Champion Showman.  She also breeds pigs which is where Wesley purchased his.

Update on Zachary and Serenity.  Serenity’s lamb, not being at its optimum weight did not do well in confirmation.  She also did not place in showmanship. Last year she had Grand Champion Lamb and Reserve Grand Champion Showman.  What a change from last year.  It helps keep a person humble, right? 🙂

 Zachary’s lamb placed 1st in its class and overall was 3rd.  He was in the final drive for showmanship but ultimately did not place. 

Today is the auction.  I hope Serenity is able to make a decent profit.  Typically, lambs bring the lowest and since her lamb didn’t weigh as much as it should (113 lbs) she’ll need to make more per pound than Zachary will with his lamb.

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Moo, Baa, Maa and Oink

For the next few days, I’ll be surrounded by all the sounds that make up a farm.  No, I have not moved out to our barn but I am camped out at the 4-H, 2010 EXPO where the kids show and sale their animals that they have been raising for the last several months.

The last few days have been hectic as the children sheared their animals, got poster boards ready and packed to come to EXPO.  

It’s amazing how much wool a lamb carries around.  It’s at least 2″ thick.

There’s all kinds of interesting ways to do a job, right?  🙂

Wesley’s pig, Bacon.

Justus – looking forward to the day when he can raise an animal.


Zachary & Serenity’s lambs saying “Hi” through the fence.

I thought this lamb looked so cute.  It had its eyes closed, resting, while it chewed its cud.

Today the lambs are showing.  The kids show them twice, once for confirmation and the second time for showmanship.  Fun, fun, fun!  I’ll update tomorrow (hopefully) on how the kids placed.

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