Saturday, May 31, 2008

Square Foot Gardening

Wowza! I am getting too old for this manual labor stuff.

We decided to work on our newest project for the summer: Our Square Foot Garden. My husband is a GREAT sport about doing this (he has been dying to go to the lake). We went with a 4x8. I have been collecting the ingredients for several weeks. I got vermiculite in Farmington (ordered w/ the Red Mesa ward), compost and peat moss at Home Depot, and stinky compost at Bayfield Gardens.

I just hate how when you read the 'How To' in the book, you think it is only going to be a few short hours...

We prepped the ground by tilling up a former weedy area in the outer reaches of our yard. It needed a little leveling too. Luckily Hank and John did most of this. Then I started mixing stuff on the tarp while John went to the shop to assemble my box (he made it out of vinyl fencing material). I think John did a bang up job as he had to saw holes for each rail to go into the corner pieces. We broke for lunch. Once we got the frame in place, we put down our weed barrier...oops...not quite to Home Depot. We finished our weed barrier then dragged the tarp over to dump the mix into the box. We needed a little more to fill it up, so we mixed some more and topped it off. Then John got the tractor out and brought me some wood chips from down by the dam to put around the edges as a walkway. A little more shoveling and raking. We then added the screws to make the grid with blue string.

By this time, the shadows are getting longer and kids are asking me what's for dinner. I know I should have saved it so the kids could have the experience, but I went ahead and planted all of the seeds and plants in the squares. I just wanted to be DONE! I finished the seeds and watered it all in! Hooray!

We are out of milk and the Sabbath is one sleepy time away...Hooray for my hard worknig husband who left for WalMart as I was watering! I hope he brings us something home for dinner...

Friday, May 30, 2008


Ah yes, just when I was going on about how good everything is going... what happens?

So I let the boys ride this afternoon since they had worked so well this morning. I was in my room literally writing my last post, when Hank came in and calmly asked me to come look at Gabe's arm. Hmm. Sure enough, he had broken the radius in his right arm. I normally would not be too certain if someone broke their arm, but in a freakish twist of freakishness, it was the identical bone that Elise broke 3 summers ago. You can see her cast in the photo in my blog title pic. Gabe's arm had the same tell-tale freaky bend. Apparently he rode into a culvert that was recently dug up and crashed pretty effectively. Luckily he was wearing his helmet and protective gear.

It was off to the ER. The new hospital is only 3 minutes from here and I guess most people managed to stay healthy today, as we didn't have to wait and we got done reasonably fast. Gabe and I had a funny conversation about his experience with the electric fence and experiments with electricity. I was cracking up! I think I should double our work time as he obviously has too much free time.

Gabe was absolutely brave and tough. Freakishly. When they went to set his arm, he decided he didn't want the IV and the sleepy medicine, so the doctor just pushed on it to set it. I think he was shocked at the level of pain as his eyes got huge and he breathed short fast breaths. The doctor mused that John ought to have held my hand instead, as I was crying a great deal more than Gabe was (Gabe wasn't crying).

When we got home, Hank and Seth had made chocolate chip muffins for Gabe! Too sweet! They all sat and talked about how they felt when they saw Gabe crash. I guess they all really do love each other! ;)

Every time one of your children gets hurt, or even almost hurt, you can't help feeling that Mom Twinge. The love a parent has for a child is something you can't even put into words (ah- how cliche'). John told Gabe in the waiting room (when Gabe asked why I was crying-which by the way- I wasn't, my eyes were just a little misty) that whenever kids hurt, parents hurt too. He talked about our Heavenly Parents and how much they hurt when we are Spiritually hurt. I, like Gabe, considered the wisdom of John's words. Being an earthly parent probably only gives a glimps into the depth of emotion that our Heavenly Parents feel for us. When you think of it that way, it is impossible to doubt that they love us, want the best for us, and long to bless us.

Two more hours

Another day of Summer was here and so were the kids. Elise spent the night with her friend Jenna, so it was me and the boys staring down another 'Two Hours Together.' Gabe came into my room at 7:30 and wanted to know if he could work for two hours starting now and be done. No, sorry, can't manage each child in their own 2 hour block--that would have me working all stinking day! So he took off to help Hank work on the horse fence.

10:00 came soon enough. With one successful day under my belt, I was waxing quite confident as we embarked on our 'Special' time. Gabe showed back up and Seth was ready to roll. The dusty garage and the icky mud room were our focus on fun for the morning. We pulled everything out and got to work. We have kittens living in the mud room so it was pretty scary. We swept, sorted, vacuumed, and shined. After pulling everything out and going thru it, we had about 10 minutes of work left when it struck noon. I happily sent the boys off. Hank showed up about this time and he and Seth busted to Subway to get us all lunch. I had a couple of cans of Pringles and some cold Sprites ready for our 'Together' lunch.

Once again, I was surprised by what we got done. I didn't mind finishing up while the boys went their merry way. Hank, Gabe, and Seth went riding on the dirtbikes and swimming in the pond while Jebb napped. Jackson got all ready to swim in the pond with the boys-he wants to be big too!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Only Two Hours

Summer is upon us. Even if the weather is trying to persuade me that it is still Spring, I cannot deny the fact that when I wake up, my children stick around all day.

So, what can we do? While we do have a few big chunks of time when we are traveling, we are still at home for the majority of days. Without school or sports or music, they have grown bored in about 43 seconds of being home. Not good. I am tempted to let them watch TV or play video games, but the weather is just too lovely to stay indoors. I came up with a brilliant plan!

Two Hours Together. That is code for 'I am going to make you work for 2 hours.' We are going to spend the time from 10:00am to noon working together. Fun Fun. I figure that way they can get up and eat and laze around for a while before I put them to work. So far it is cool enough that we can start at 10.

Today was our first day and I must say it went fabulously! We worked in the back yard. We mowed, we scooped poop, we watered, and we weeded. I was frankly shocked at how much we got accomplished! Gabe and Seth worked really well. Elise is still a bit young and loses focus although she did scoop well. Jackson and Jebb jumped on the tramp mostly between 'watering' the trees with the hose.

We went to AJ's Pizza in Bayfield for our reward. The kids picniced in the back of the Suburban while I perused Bayfield Gardens. I found some stinky compost and some flowers that will work well to fill future Two Hours Together!

Out with the old?

One of the components of our last trip to SLC was to get John's new truck. It seems when you get a new vehicle, it should have obvious changes or even improvements. While I'll admit the color is different and the ride is quieter, I was struck by the sameness of the seating situation. Still very cozy for our big fam. I am of course an amateur photographer, but I took some shots myself. Eerily similar if you ask me! ;)

The gray interior is the old red truck

Black interior-new white truck.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Home Again

It is always nice to come home. I thought we were heading home Tuesday morning after John made a quick dash up to Logan to pick up his new truck (Steve had already given us the check for the old we needed wheels to get back home). It sounded so easy. So quick. So effortless.

Of course, when he finally made it to Logan by noon (thanks for the ride up there Rod!) the truck was still not quite ready--just a few minor details. Finish the seats-add air compressor wiring-trim fender wells-send to another shop for alignment-blah blah whatever! You get the idea. He finally left Logan at 7:00 PM-that put him in SLC at 8:30 PM. Not quite what I had planned.

Now, those who know me even a little know that I'm a little mental. I get an idea in my head and it is hard for me to let go of it. We're leaving Tuesday morning... but it is now 8:30 PM on Tuesday. **Does*not*compute** (You have to read that with a monotone voice). OK-obviously I am a total nerd. That was probably only funny to my sis Nicole... But that is beside the point. What was I talking about?! Oh ya-it is 8:30 at night and we are STILL in SLC! How did this happen? I can't even wrap my simple mind around it! :)

I am sure the Hannays felt the same way. You know how it is when you have had high maintenance company for several days. You know when they are leaving and you hold it together pretty good til then. Oh but wait-they aren't really leaving! You know the feeling- the laundry starts screaming your name. The shopping and yardwork you put off for the weekend starts nagging at your senses. You get the picture. The Hannays played it off really well though. Ever the gracious hosts! Thanks guys!

We finally did make it out of town and drove as far as Moab by 1:00 am. Ah yes, the Aarchway Inn (yes it does have 2 A's) with the room with 3 queen beds. It also has a fun playground out back that the kids love. After sleeping in, we eventually made it Sweet Home Durango.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Meal

It was a rainy Memorial Day. Kim and I decided we'd better put the bosch to work. We decided on homemade pizza. It would be fun to try to make pizza dough. So we headed to Albertson's to buy all of our toppings (NOTE:We have the BEST combo. Try it! Tomato, onion, green pepper, pepperoni, sausage, and pineapple). As we passed the bakery, we decided to buy my favorite pizza dough standby-yes- the frozen French bread dough. That's right, if you go to the Albertson's bakery, they will sell you the frozen dough that they use to make their well known French Bread. It makes the yummiest pizza! The Bosch will have to wait for another day.

We all got to make our own pizza varieties. Eric tried a stuffed crust (needs more cheese next time), Gabe tried tossing the dough, I made my favorite herb pizza, but my favorite was Steve's wheat crust combo. He got a little crazy with the corn meal, but it came out OK! Everyone had fun and we had a delicious holiday meal!!

Father Son Camp

John and the boys LOVED camp at BYU. John said Sunday was the coolest day. They got to go to Temple Square and hear Music and the Spoken Word. Then they has Sac Mtg in the Assembly Hall, then a luncheon at Heritage Park. That night they had a fireside with some sporty churchy guys. How cool! Our plan is working-the boys both said they love BYU and want to go there!! ;)

John and Seth shared a room and Gabe got his own. They stayed in Helaman Halls. How fun is that?! I think John bought half the BYU Bookstore. He hooked us all up with T-shirts and random BYU paraphernalia.

I am so grateful the boys have John as their dad. You know, you fall in love with a guy because you like how he gets along with you. You can't help but fall in love even more when you see how he gets along with the kids. At least that's how it is with John. He is really an outstanding Father (and I am not just saying that in case he is reading). He is very tolerant and patient (I guess that is why he was stuck with me! heehee). I am so grateful for the man he is and I am really glad he didn't mind when I signed him up for this camp without asking him!

He only got out the camera on the last day. I have to brag a little-John and the boys won the contest for the longest pass! Fun! They had lots of clinics and competitions and got to have all their stuff signed by some of the team. Until next year...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Signs of Spring

Spring has official Hatched!

Out on the Hannay's front porch in a lovely flower basket, some birds have claimed a new home. Look how cute! They just, just hatched today! It is hard to tell, but they are opening their hungry little mouths for a photo op. The parents were a little nervous as we checked them out.

We walked over to G&G Ross' condo by way of the canal and saw tons of ducks several of whom had babies too. What a great time of year!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kind Grind

Kim and I hit the Bosch store again today. I got a cool wheat grinder that sounds like a small jet engine. The fun part is that we went home and made bread!! Too cool. We are laughing about the cost effectiveness of making bread this way--but I sure feel good knowing I'm making it like this! Kim even made some chocolate chip cookies with our freshly ground wheat flour, and although they were yummy, the texture was a little funky. We'll have to try that one again. Kim is modeling our baking adventures!

When we got home, Jackson and Jebb were helping their cousin Lauren wash the car. Too cute! They were so serious about their job. I'm sure we are driving the Hannays crazy, but they are being very good sports!

Talked to John last night and he says they are having a great time! I am so glad.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Road Tripping Again

Another trip to SLC. Didn't I just come here? We took off yesterday after the last day of school. Because it is MD weekend, there were very few hotels available, but we found a room in Green River, UT. Wow, was it rainy. We put all of our luggage in trash bags because we drove the truck. John just got it detailed so we could sell it to Steve...too bad we crammed all of our dirty kids into it again!! Daisy (our dog) came too. She also rode in the back in her dog house. We made it to SLC by noonish and grabbed Kim so we could chow at Chili's before the boys took off.

John is taking Gabe and Seth to the BYU Father/Son B-Ball camp. Gabe is excited, Seth is nervous, and John says he is out of shape! I think they will have a blast. We want our kids to all have good feelings about BYU so they will want to go to school there someday. Read about their Father/Son Camp Here

Kim and I went shopping and I got my Mother's Day present--a new Bosch Universal. I am excited to make some wheat bread!!

My parents flew to Trinidad from SLC this morning. We haven't heard from them yet, but I hope they are all right. I think they are going to be way freaked out at first, but I think once they get over their loathing of large insects, they will ROCK! Of course this means we now have a free condo to stay in every time we come here!! Love it! Of course the Hannays take great care of us here too (Thanks for dinner!).

I'm hoping the sunshine will come our way. Maybe we keep bringing cold weather here with us! We'll think warm thoughts.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last Day of School

Today is the Last Day of School, or the First Day of Summer (as my kids are calling it). I think summer starts tomorrow, but I am not arguing with them! :) School is done for another year. Gabe says it is about time because he can't wait to go to school without all of the 'little' kids. Seth is excited to be the oldest at the school next year. Elise says she will miss her teacher and her friends. Jackson says he'd like to start kindergarten at the 'big school' tomorrow. I guess it is all in your perspective.

We will have a busy summer. Trips to BYU in June for camps and the Ross Reunion. Hawaii and Orchestra camp in July. Lake Powell in August (if I get my way ;)). Sprinkle swim lessons, music lessons, and a wedding or two randomly in there and you've got most of the summer filled with fun stuff. We'll definately have to balance it out with lots of gardening and yard work!! Hope we all enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Heart Attack

I almost had a heart attack today. I was folding laundry when I thought I ought to check on Jackson and Jebb. They were coming in from the side yard. They couldn't get the bridge door open because the BBQ was in the way. Jackson had climbed over it already and Jebb was on his heels. Because the BBQ blocked the gate, Jebb was struggling and was climbing off to the side. He was reaching from the bridge to the rail next to the door. The terrifying part is that to cross to the rail, he was 10 feet in the air above some rocks. I yelled his name and as I did I wondered if that was wise, as I could have scared him into letting go and falling. I grabbed him and did what any Mom might--I spanked him several times and told him if he ever climbed on the rails again I would spank him way harder!! I then spanked Jackson for climbing the rails and put them both in a time-out (we have always had a zero tolerance policy for rail climbing) This was very shocking to Jebb as he is rarely spanked (I've gotten soft in my old age). I hope I put some fear in them..

I took pics of the spot this afternoon.Jebb was stretched from the bridge to just above where Jackson's head is. The other pic shows how far up it was.

The three of us bawled while they sat in time out. I explained the danger of climbing on the rails and all that jazz, then we all hugged and cried a little more. They promised they wouldn't do it ever again. :)

I read a quote on the TTA blog:
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking
around outside your body."
~Elizabeth Stone

And my heart took a long time to stop beating out of my chest today! I never cease to be amazed at the intensity of emotion these little ones can inspire in me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Immigration Fieldtrip

I got to join Gabe for an Immigration Fieldtrip today. He studied and wrote about one of our ancestors (Augustine Barss) that came to America. The students all had money and had to buy their passage acrossed the ocean.
They got to select their 'Class' (first, second, or steerage) then they hopped on the bus to cross the ocean. First class got their own seat in the back and steerage has to crowd into the front seats with lots of other kids. We went to Mrs. Swisher's home where the kids checked thru Ellis Island. They had to do activities without talking (since they would have spoken different languages) then they had to work together to accomplish different physical tasks (team building type stuff).

Kristine babysat Jebb for me so I was able to go for the first half of the day. It was fun to hang out with Gabe and his peers. He's pretty bossy! ;) (I often cringe when I hear that bossiness come out of him because it is MY TONE coming thru him!!) But Gabe is also a really good kid. He is looking out for others and is quick to help. I love that about him. This is his last year in elementary school and I need to get mentally prepared for a middle schooler!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Awesome Aunt Jackie

Tonight we went to Pagosa Springs for Aunt Jackie's 50th Birthday Bash. Jackie is a truly special person. All of the family and friends that were there to celebrate with her were a true testament to the kind of woman she is. I especially enjoyed seeing all of her siblings there! Jackie is always gracious and kind to my family and I love that about her. She is a beautiful person inside and out! Look at her for goodness sake-she's got serious hotness factor for a person half her age!! Happy Birthday Jackie!

There was good fun, food, and family!