Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Papa Ross

Today is my dad's birthday. His name is George Wellington Ross Jr. How much more stuffy can a name get? I have always thought it was a curious name for him as he is quite funny. Funny in a Ha Ha way, as well as funny in a funny way. Although, now that I am thinking about it, maybe his name suits him perfectly as he too is quite an enigma.
My dad grew up in Detroit, and although he doesn't talk much about his younger years, I gather that he was a bit of a wild child from the wrong side of the tracks. He joined the Navy during the Vietnam war and pretty much hated it the whole time he was enlisted. When he got out, he met my mom, joined the church, got hitched, and never looked back. I think this is why my dad is such a contradiction. He's fabulously stubborn, but was able to make a 180 degree life change. He lived 100% in two very different cultures. He did the whole hard living thing-but when he joined the church he left it all behind. He read manuals and copied neighbors to learn what a good dad was like, then did his best to emulate it.

Let me give an example of the paradox that is my dad. My dad really likes peace and quiet which doesn't jive with the kid thing, but since Mormons have lots of kids, he had lots of kids (6). This made for some strange compromises. All good Mormon families had dinner together each night, so we did. Only our dinner table was renamed "The Quiet Table" by my dad. We had to sit quietly so we wouldn't drive him nuts. We could ask for the salt, but conversation with my parents or amongst ourselves was discouraged. We all found it quite amusing and rolled our eyes far too often! So weird. :)

My dad is an amazing public speaker. Really. He can hold an audience in the palm of his hand. He'll have you laughing out loud one second, quietly crying the next. He has a cool voice and can make even Management Training (what he used to do for a living) fun to listen to. He could talk to 10,000 people and not blink or be the slightest bit uncomfortable. Oddly, he is a bit of a recluse and finds it almost painful socializing one on one. Strange. The guy has perfect pitch but doesn't like listening to music. Curious.

George Wellngton Ross Jr. is a different kind of guy, and that is why I have so much gratitude for him. I have never met a convert to the church that was able to fully embrace and live the Gospel and assimilate into Mormon culture like my dad. It was definately contrary to how he had lived the first quarter-century of his life. But where the rubber met the road, he got it done. If there was ever a church anything, we were there. Monday night we couldn't answer the phone-FHE. Miss family prayer? Not a chance. You get the idea. I think it typically can take a few generations to get the whole Mormon thing down, but my dad learned what was expected, and he did it-which has made my life considerably easier than it might have otherwise been.

So thanks dad for being non-typical. I love and appreciate you and Mom and are so proud you are serving a mission in the West Indies. You two are both a tremendous example of service to your 6 loud kids and 20+ roaring grandchildren! Family dinners now are a BLAST!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Relief Society Broadcast

Our stake put on a potluck before the RS general broadcast at the stake center so although we have Dish, I headed into the church to see what our RS General Presidency had to tell me. I think I liked the first few talks, but I reallly, really like the talk given by Pres. Uchtdorf. It resonated with me. I appreciated the idea that we can get a lot of joy from creating. I often feel like I shouldn't spend time on 'making stuff.' I am not really crafty, but I find a great deal of satisfaction in lots of creative pursuits. I felt like he was saying it was OK to spend time creating. I am sure most people know or agree with that idea, but I really felt like I was being quite selfish with my time when I did this. I am one that likes to know and follow the rules, so it just made me happy knowing one of our leaders gave the green light on spending time creating.

I also very much appreciated his comment and insights on the value of service. I think too often, even in the church, we are subscribing to what I call the Gospel of Oprah. I love Oprah. I use her as an example because everyone knows her and believes her. She does a lot of great things, but teaching the plan of happiness is not one of them. She teaches the idea that we need to be appreciated (instead of learning to appreciate others), that we need to pamper ourselves first (instead of serving), and that the key to happiness is finding your passion (instead of losing yourself to find it). While these all make us happy in the short term, they are not helping us to put off the natural man. I have missed out on a lot of contentment by trying to find happiness Oprah's way (aka the world's way). I am glad that Pres Uchtdorf reminded me once again that service is the key. We need to help others to forget our own troubles. I know this is true and have seen it work so well in my own life, but I do need to be reminded constantly about it as I tend to be very self-centered.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm a Hula, Hula, Hula Baby

This is the title of a song I learned in 3rd grade. My teacher Mrs Payne (Mrs Viola Hiroko Koliko Vehi Vehi Kuahi Gashi Payne) was from Hawaii and she taught us all about Hawaii and we all learned to play ukuleles and make lais out of crape paper. I can actually play that song (and many others-mostly form the WWII era) on the ukulele while I sing it. It's a little higher than I'm comfortable with but since my husband is the only one I sing it for, it's OK. ;) I had some serious 3rd grade flashbacks this Friday night.

We attended a Luau and dinner with the adults of our ward tonight. It was at the home of Lyle and Jill Short. They have an amazing home that is humongo. We ate in the indoor pool room (the pic is a bit dark). We sat with the Bairds and the Manns. I noticed the table next to us had all of the couples that only have 1 or no kids. I no longer fit in at that table-not because I choose to NOT sit there, but because that demographic now sees me as one of the older folks in the ward. It's so weird because I feel like I am still a new mom kind of gal. I remember looking at old ladies with lots of kids and now it's ME! Freaky. That's cool though, because I liked my table better anyway! :)heehee

We were encouraged to dress up, but I got home from football and only had time to run a brush trough my hair before we needed to leave to pick up the Manns (we double dated). As we walked out, I picked a flower off of our sole houseplant. Kristine gave us a hibiscus tree this summer and it had a lone bloom. I stuck it behind my left ear (that means I'm taken) before I headed out in my flip-flops.
At the party we learned Hawaiian words, ate Hawaiian food, drank slush in cups with cute umbrellas (the Tucks were our cute umbrella dispensing bartenders), and then at the end of the night we got to try hula. Actually not hula, but HULA HOOPS!
When was the last time I hula hooped? I guess the whole 3rd grade feel stayed true through the night. Of course I gave it a try! One advantage of no longer fitting in at the young table is that you don't have any cool factor to risk with goofy stunts. I know I'm not cool, so I am able to make a complete goof of myself and do things like hula hooping. John tried it too, but I think girls are naturally better at it. Better hips. Ah how I loved 3rd grade. This was a fun chance to revisit it! Aloha!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Awkward moments in Scouting

I have been the Webelos leader now for almost 4 weeks and I have already severely traumatized at least one of my boys as well as freaking several more of them out.

The boys meet at my house after school. We start with a healthy snack (we previously learned about Fitness), have a little flag ceremony, say the scout oath, and we were off on a fieldtrip. I had 6 boys and we loaded into the car. It was my original plan to go to the County Commissioner's office but they were in budget meetings. Not a problem as I decided on the Humane Society which is not only close, but it too would fulfill a citizenship item.

The Humane Society people were great. Steven met us to take us on a tour. Our first stop was in the room where you can pick out a cat to adopt. All of the boys headed in except one. I encouraged this scout to come in, but he just shook his head no. It took a minute for him to tell me he was allergic to cats. Oops. OK. He could just wait out until the next room. The next room was the kitten room. Ok, keep waiting outside. We learned that they have to name over 3000 animals each year (the cat named 'Godzilla' prompted this tidbit of info). Then it was on to the room where they give shots to new animals. They were washing little cats in there. Maybe the next room. Sick cats. OK, there have got to be some dogs in this place, I can hear them. When are we getting to the dogs?

Then we got to the puppy room. Yeah! Everyone could happily participate without fear of swollen eyes or hives. This was getting good. We saw the operating room (cat free) then outside to see the dog's play area. They put out 4 dogs at a time to play during the day. The only place left was the rows of dog kennels (this is actually where we found Daisy a few months ago... but that's another story). Our guide explained the procedures and treatment of the dogs before he let us go up and down the aisles because it gets too loud from barking once you go see the dogs. After his talk, he turned us loose.

We walked single-file up and down the rows. There were cute dogs. Big dogs. Little dogs. Scrappy dogs. No cats. Yeah. This was good. Then all of the sudden, we passed a kennel with a large Lab-mix looking dog. One of the scouts stopped and said, "Hey, that looks like my old dog!" Hmm. Each of the kennels has a picture of the animal and it's name. "Hey, that's my old dog's name, but it's spelled different." I could see what was happening and I was anxious to keep moving. I encouraged the boys to keep walking, I could hear my voice getting higher pitched. My son Seth chimed in that he too thought that looked like the same dog. Argh... Let's go see the Chihuahua puppies on the other aisle... Wow, we need to wrap this up... We have been here a while. I could see tears in the eyes of the boy as he considered the idea that this might be his dog. I was feeling panicked and a little sick.

I knew exactly what happened. It WAS his dog!! His former family pet was in a kennel at the Humane Society!!!

His mom told me the whole story weeks ago. This dog had been a fairly new addition to their family and was trashing everything. The kids came home one day a few weeks ago to find he was gone. His mom told their family that she had taken the dog to a new home with lots of land to run and a nice couple to take care of him. I knew the truth and there was nothing I could do to put the proverbial cat back in the bag. I could have argued that this might just LOOK like his old dog, but with 3000 names to choose from, how did they pick his dog's same name? Do you ever get that blank look while you are screaming inside your head?
Luckily, it really was time to go and we loaded into the car. This boy got into the front seat and we drove home. I had all of the boys run in to get their stuff so I could take them home and I asked this boy to stay in the car. I put my hand on his shoulder and said 'I don't know if that was your dog, but if it wasn't, what will happen to him?' He shrugged. 'He is going to be adopted by a family that loves him. What if it is your dog?' He started bawling. 'He will still be adopted by a family that really, really loves him. He is going to be happy no matter what.' Probably not the comforting words he was needing to hear, but I gave it my best shot. I gave him a little shoulder hug and he swallowed his tears just in time for the other scouts return.

After dropping everyone home, I tried calling both parents to give them a heads up but was unsuccessful. I called his mom tonight and apologized for permanently scarring her sweet son. She is a good friend of mine and I felt awful. She was nice and said he would be all right, but I still feel sad and somewhat ill. The whole 'allergic to cats' thing I was worrying about seems inconsequential. I guess it is all relative. I have heard lots of crazy stories about scouts, and now I have my own awkward moment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Small pic of a huge spider

I was looking out the window this morning and saw a tarantula crawling up the side of our house. By the time I got the camera, it had made it to the roof. It was smallish as tarantulas go, but huge as far as creepy spiders go.

I guess this is the time of year when tarantulas wander. i saw one almost every year we lived at the pit, but this is the first one I have seen here. Apparently, they think fall is the right time of year to go lookin' for love. They just start walking around in hopes of running into another tarantula that might be feeling amorous too. Although they are a big in spider terms, they still seem impossibly small when compared to the relative size of the territory they have to cover.

I am really hoping this tarantula strikes out big time anywhere near my house. Although they are relatively harmless (their bite is compared to a wasp sting) I have NO desire to have 50-200 of his offspring emerge in the spring. They flat out CREEP me out!! I am a huge chicken when it comes to spiders, bugs, mice, and whatever else you can think of that is small and elusively creepy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Birthday

Today I turn 37! Wowza! :) I must say I have had an outstanding birthday. We have 11:00 church so that gave me time to cook bacon, omletes, & potatos. Since it is my birthday, I ate extra bacon. heehee Elise wrote me some sweet notes (she taped a heart shaped pretzel to one). Hank brought me an orchid. When we hopped into the car, I noticed it had been vacuumed and wiped down (Gabe, Seth, and Elise did this last night). There was a minimum of sibling strife today. Church was pleasant. Even the weather was in a lovely mood!

Upon our return from church, I noticed Kristine had brought me over some flowers and balloons. I also got a call from my parents in Trinidad. They are doing really well. They leave this next week for their new assignment on the island of Tobago. It was great to hear from them.

Kristine had given us a ham recently and I thought today would be a good day to eat it (I enjoyed the bacon so much I thought I should just go with it). Since it was a large ham, I called a few friends last night. The Manns, The Kennedys, and the Johnsons came over for dinner. We have known the Manns and Kennedys for a long time, but the Johnsons have recently moved into the 1st ward. We have been trying to hook up with them. I told Lucy (Johnson) it was my birthday and I knew that was kinda weird to invite them over when they hardly know me, but they were super cool about it :) It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed everyone's company. There were lots of kids with no major mishaps (love that!).

After everyone left, I tried a spin on Mario Kart (for Wii) with the kids. I stink at it. I got it for my birthday. Yes, that's right. I got it for myself for my birthday! heehee I went upstairs and hugged my boyfriend who was cleaning up the kitchen. Ah, birthdays! Why can't they come more often....OK, maybe I don't mean that...37 is plenty. But when I hit the hay, I'll certainly fall asleep with a smile! Thanks everyone for a great day!

My Birth Date

I like September 21st. Not only is it my birthday, but it is also often the Fall Equinox (equal day and night). I share my birthday with one of my favorite Mormon scholars, James Talmage. This is also the date the the Angel Moroni first appeared to Joseph Smith in his bedroom (it was fall equinox- subsequent years He appeared on the 22nd, also fall equinox). I googled for more fun LDS info on my birth date. I found a most interesting article about the Enoch calendar HERE I thought it was an amazing insight into what might be God's calendar and the neat dates that correlate with the restoration as well as things to come.

Spotlight Child

Our ward Primary does what is known as a 'Spotlight Child' each week in closing excercises. They do this by giving clues from questionaires each child filled out earlier in the year. As more clues are given, the field gets narrowed until the spotlight child (theoretically) remains left standing alone to be recognized.

About 2 months ago is when I learned that the Primary did these Spotlights. I learned about it when I heard Jackson crying in that angry kind of cry from the opposite side of the church. His best buddy Kooper had gotten to be the spotlight and Jackson felt like it was him (apparently they both hate green beans, like the colors green and blue, and have lots of siblings). Following the sound of his crying, I found him VERY upset insisting he should be the spotlight. It gave us a good chance to talk about being happy for others and being gracious (this was after we had the 'You'd better stop crying like this at church! Geez!' talk). He was still sad/mad, but it was an important lesson. He reported to me for several more weeks that he still hasn't been the spotlight, and we got to reinforce the whole 'happy for others' and 'you can't cry like that at church' ideas.

He hadn't mentioned the spotlight to me for a couple of weeks and I forgot about it. Then today after Sac. Mtg. he hugged me goodbye to head for Primary. He took a few steps away from me, then stopped and turned back saying that he REALLY hoped he would be the spotlight today, but if he wasn't, he would clap for whoever it was (of course he showed me how he would clap and smile). :) I grabbed him and gave him a squeeze before telling him it sounded like a good plan and sending him on his way.

Then today it happened! Jackson got to be the spotlight! He had a big sticker on the chest of his white shirt and a bag a candy! He was RUNNING to find me after church. He puffed out his little chest so I could see the proof! He told me some of the clues that narrowed it down to him... hates green beans, favorite colors, etc. I am grateful for our hard working Primary Leaders and I am glad they let Jackson wait it out for a while so he could learn that we all can take turns and it works out OK! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Final Approval

Today was an important milestone in my side job. I have moonlighted as a developer for the past year and a half. I decided I haven't got the patience nor the thick skin for it and I'd better stick with child rearing. :)

We purchased a home and 88 acres that was adjacent to our property back in May of '07. We sold 11 acres that had been previously split off soon after, leaving us 77 acres. The home is large and beautiful (I think) and Kristine has been moving into it for the last year (although she still isn't too crazy about). Here's a pic of it during the snowy winter. It used to be grey, but we painted it brown.
The first plan I submitted to the county had a higher than typical density because the land is all covered in trees (Pinon/Juniper) and the county land use plan was designed to preserve productive agricultural land. I was very excited about my development plan because it included 5 smaller lots (2-3 acres) that I would have been able to sell for a very low price to people who live and work in La Plata County. I have been very concerned about the high price of land and housing, as it makes it so hard for young families like ours to find a place to live. Many families move into our ward that end up leaving when the reality of the housing situation sinks in. Grown children of people from here have the same problem. I wasn't going to solve the affordable housing problem for the whole county, but I was excited to try to solve it for at least 5 people. Unfortunately, the plan was not acceptable to the planning department and I had to go to only 7 lots on the 77 acres. This whole process has taken over 1 1/2 years (we began the process when we put the land under contract). It is an understatement to say it has been a huge burden and I am a lousy land developer (that is code for: John had to help me a LOT).

So today, after sitting through an all day meeting at the courthouse, the Board of County Commissioners officially approved our final plat. Hurray! Thinking the meeting would be only an hour or two, we brought Jebb with us. John spent the day in the hall making phone calls and sending emails while Jebb played the Nintendo (great parenting I know!)

Legacy Ranch is now an official subdivision consisting of 7 lots ranging form 9 to 15 acres. It has great views of the La Platas from each lot. Our next step is to do all of the improvements. We are building a road, putting in utilities, building an entrance, and putting in fences. So although we have final approval, the work is far from done. Of course the most obvious thing left to do is to sell the lots!! With the current condition of the real estate world, we are obviously nervous. I really hope some nice families will move into the development as we will be neighbors to anyone that does buy a lot.

We have asked ourselves why we are doing this on more than one occasion, but the idea of having a home for Kristine close by was really the deciding factor in going for it. I know it must be hard for Kristine to leave the ranch after 40 years, and I do hope she will learn to like this new place. I am certainly relieved to have gotten this far and hopefully we can wrap it all up and move on! I think developing isn't really my thing. I'm going to stick with the whole Mom gig for the next long while! :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Officially Uncool

Well, the day has arrived. I am now OFFICIALLY uncool (there's a strong likelihood I was super uncool long before this, but it was never official).

Last week I signed a permission slip for Gabe to go on a fieldtrip. He asked me if I wanted to come. I checked the appropriate box letting the powers that be know that I was interested in attending. So, today is the day. The first fieldtrip of Gabe's Middle School career. We went to the concert hall at the college to hear the San Juan Symphony. All of the 6th graders in the school district attended.

I got to school a bit early and went to Gabe's homeroom where he said a brief hello before I went and sat in the corner to wait. When we made our way to the bus, Gabe ran ahead with some friends and by the time I walked down the aisle, Gabe was already sitting in a seat with a buddy. I smiled and sat next to a lonely looking kid.

We got to the concert hall and it was a sea of 6th graders making their way to the front doors. Gabe was far ahead as I maneuvered my way to a seat at the very back row of the balcony. Once again, I sat by some kids who were not sitting with anyone else. Gabe was in the row ahead of me at the other end.

I must say- I LOVED the concert! It was a concert to teach about and spark interest in orchestra and band. All of the songs they played were familiar and fun. They opened with the song they use on the 'Beef' commercials-it's very westernish. They also played Beethoven's 5th and Ode to Joy among others. They ended with the music from Harry Potter and The Simpsons. I enjoyed every moment and savored every sight and sound. There is something so cool about a live concert. You FEEL it as well as hear it. I took pics although I noticed a 'No flash photography' sign as we left....oops!

On the bus ride home I rode with a darling little guy that I noticed was a loner. He didn't even try to sit with anyone. I talked to him all the way home. He was a really nice kid and a super handsome little guy, but he had speech impediments on some letters. He seemed glad to talk to me and didn't mind having to repeat himself. It reminded me how difficult those Middle School years can be. I told him how I went to a different school from 5th-11th grades and he was very sympathetic. He was so sweet- I was so sad he didn't have any friends! :( He said he didn't know who Gabe was. He plays the drums and we talked a lot about music.

I did get one pic of Gabe from a distance... ;) It's not that he was unkind to me, just kinda goofy about me being there. I certainly didn't push it. I tried to respect his space. He said bye to me as he hopped off the bus and ran inside. I know it is an awkward time of life and he is asserting his independance and blah, blah, blah. I knew this day would come- I just hoped it would be further into the future! I am no longer Gabe's fun mom on fieldtrips- I am officially Uncool!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting into Scouting

I had a good Webelos activity on Thursday. Scout Laws, Scout Oats, Scout Mottos, Scout, Scout, Scout.

John took Gabe on his first official Scout campout tonight after football practice. They will be camping down at the Delicate Arch near Aztec, NM. Kanyon Mann and Adam Moss went with John too. They will be hiking into camp under an almost full moon. I hope they have fun and get a little sleep as the boys have football games tomorrow.

When John is gone we have campouts in my bedroom. This usually involves popcorn, cartoons, and sleeping bags. All of the kids really love doing this although Seth is feeling a little sad that he didn't get to go camping-he's still 10 for a few more months. I am very sentimental lately and find I'm not in much of a rush for anyone to get older. I hope they will all be willing to 'camp' with me a little longer. John thinks it is so funny that I bring all of the kids up here when he's gone. I guess I can't sleep alone any more! heehee

Jebb took this pic of me.
Here we are at the foot of my bed!

Lunch at the Pit

I guess there is a new Friday lunch tradition at the gravel pit. Friday Fajitas. Perry built some cool burners for cooking Fajita's as per Ceasar's recipe. They are so proud of it that they were brave enough to tell John to invite me to lunch too! All of the guys get together to enjoy some home cookin'! Or I guess some pit cookin'!
The fajitas were delicious and although they are a little rough around the edges, the guys are always very nice and polite to me. I would have to say it was the most interesting lunch date I have had in a while!
Check out the cooking contraption. It was made from a disc (like on a tractor attachment) with an edge welded onto it. They welded the stand it sits on and the burner is a modified grass burner attached to a propane tank! Very Crafty!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Favorite Children's Book

My Favorite Children's Book is The Father Who Had 10 Children by Benedicte Guettier. Link to Amazon for it Here

It is a big, colorful, fun book that is just what it sounds like, a Father with 10 children. It goes through their typical day (dressing, eating, school, bedtime, etc.). The Father is exhausted by the end of the day, but each night works on a secret project. He is building a ship. One day, after leaving the children with the grandparents, he sails off alone. He enjoys resting and fishing alone for a day, but wakes up the next morning realizing that he misses his children. He sails back and picks them up so they can all sail around the world together.

The book is pretty big and the color covers every page edge to edge. I guess the real reason I love this book though, is because I can relate to it! Some days you want to sail away from the work and the chaos of many busy little people, but when you ARE away, you miss it! I would be lost without my family even though some days I want to get lost! heehee

I am not sure where the mother is in the book, but obviously it works better as a story with one parent. I am not sure if you can even buy this book anymore. A few years ago I ordered several copies from a close out book seller to give as gifts (I have a couple left still). I am not even sure why I bought it the first time-I think Amazon recommended it to me?? But, I love it! It's a good read after a stressful day!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Weird Phone Call

I got a strange phone call from Jackson's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Flanagan, this afternoon. She began by telling me that Jackson was having a good day. OK, good. She then told me that they had just come in from afternoon recess. OK, fine. She said Jackson was a little upset. Hmm, OK. Apparently, he had swallowed a spider. What? Did she just say he SWALLOWED a SPIDER?! What? OK, uh, OK. What? She asked if he had any strong reactions to spiders and reported that he was drinking lots of water. I said as far as I knew he didn't have any reaction (but I didn't state the obvious thought that as far as I knew he didn't eat spiders!). She sounded relieved and I asked to talk to Jackson.

I asked him what had happened (I wanted to be sure this wasn't a pretending game). He sadly told me that he had been looking at a "crab spider" and the wind blew really hard all of the sudden and it blew in his mouth. I asked him if he tried to spit it out, but he said the wind just blew if right to his uvula (a word he likes to use). I almost laughed but held back. I asked if he was sure it blew into his mouth and he said yes. I asked if the spider was big or small. Pretty small. What is a crab spider? You know, it looks like a crab...spider. OK. He wasn't pretending and seemed pretty sure it was in his gut.

Mrs. Flanagan got back on the phone and I asked if she could please have Jackson swallow a bird (to catch the spider). No, I didn't say that because obviously that was a really lame joke! :) I asked her to just keep an eye on him until he got on the bus. OK.

Well, he got home and seems to be just fine. He was concerned that the spider might try to come back up, but when I told him how it would exit a different way, he got wide eyed and laughed out loud. I am still not convinced that he swallowed it-I'd like to think that it flew off into the breeze. But if he did, I guess crab spiders aren't life threatening. :)

When I emailed John about it, he wrote back wondering if Jackson was climbing walls yet...

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Seth got to join all of the Florida Mesa Elementary School 5th graders on a 3 day camp out at Colvig Silver Camp. It is an old mining camp up near Lemon Lake that now serves as a retreat of sorts. It is several cabins and a main lodge where all of the campers meet and eat. They left from school on Wed. morning and returned to school on Friday afternoon. They do outdoor skills like hiking, swimming, and horseback riding. They also do team building activities. Gabe went last year and it is definately a highlight for all of the students. It really helps them bond with their class mates and their teachers.

Seth got off the bus on Friday and I picked all of the kids up at the bus stop in the car. I really missed him and we all took turns hugging him and telling him we loved and missed him. Seth really enjoyed his time at Colvig but he said he really missed us too! I am glad he got to have that experience. i wish I'd have sent a camera with him!

When I was in 5th grade in Mesa, our class went to Camp LaMia for 3 days. That was the first place I saw snow fall. I remember being struck by how quiet it was. We did activities that were similar to what Gabe and Seth experienced I imagine. Our family didn't go into the mountains camping much and I enjoyed being up in the pines. It can remember it being a real stretch for me to be away from my family for those few days at that age, but it was also exciting and fun. I felt big.

I hope Seth and Gabe will have fond memories of their time away from us... but I have to admit that I hope they remember they miss us too! :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kindergarten is Tiring

Jackson got home from school today. Ah-Friday. He was ready for the weekend. He got a granola bar for a snack and went off to play. Not too long after that, Jebb came over to me and told me Jackson was asleep. He led me over to the kitchen table and it took me a minute to find him. It's hard to tell, but that is him fast asleep under the table. I pulled back some chairs to get the pic. Kindergarten is a lot for this little guy!
I took this picture of Jebb a few weeks ago in my room. He had been watching a cartoon. Maybe I just need to get my kids to bed earlier! :)

Chili Baby!

This morning Jebb and I were at Wal-Mart after dropping off the kiddos at school. This time of year if you buy a bushel of green chilis, they will roast them for you for free out front. I couldn't resist buying some Green Chilis! I love them in enchiladas. I haven't ever done it before, so I thought-hey, I'm doing apples, peaches, why not chilis?! The produce guy got me a new box of mild ones (we are wimps) from the back. We hung outside the store for a while until the roaster guy showed up. We were first in line since we had arrived so early- you can wait as long as a couple of hours in the afternoon.

In no time, we were back home with our chilis. They put them in a plastic bag for you so they can 'sweat' for a few hours before peeling. For some reason I thought I would peel them and freeze them for later in no time flat. I was Wrong!! I spent most of the day peeling, cutting, bagging, and freezing my bushel (why did I want a bushel??!) It was a messy job and me and the house smell like roasting chilis now. A bushel produces fewer quart-sized baggies of roasted chilis than one would imagine. I got about a dozen baggies.

Here's the big box they came in and the bag they 'sweat' in:

This is what they look like post-roasting, pre-peeling:

This is all that was produced (see the peels in the bowl!):

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We'll Be Loyal Scouts

I have gotten a new calling. I am the new Webelos Leader for the Durango wards. I have to admit, it is the only time I have put in for a calling. I actually asked to be the 11 yr old scout leader since Gabe is 11 (12 next month) and has never done a single thing in scouts all year. I mentioned this to the Bishop when he issued me the call and he seemed confused at how old my boys were-so I just went with it. Seth is now a Webelo but will be turning 11 in January. Seth too has done painfully little in scouting the last year. I know if I want my boys to be serious about scouting (which I do), I have to step up. I haven't been a good scouting parent, so I can't be too upset with our wards lack of Scout leadership. I have taken the boys to activities I am aware of, but I certainly haven't been knocking down anyone's door trying to find out what to do.

So last night I went to my first Scout Roundtable. It is actually held at our church which was convenient. Scouters from our whole area meet there once a month to talk Scouting. I have a great deal of respect for these Scout leaders that give up their time to try to facilitate this program for our youth. All of the people there were so helpful and anxious to help me learn what I need to do. I have considered putting my boys in the troops at school, and meeting all these leaders, I think it would have been a fine idea. Seeing their enthusiasm made me feel self conscious at the lack of interest so many LDS leaders have in their scouting pursuits. I guess I will at least have Seth for a few months before he turns 11! We'll have to make it count.


This morning Lanae called me to say she had bought 10 boxes of peaches and after canning all day yesterday, she still had 7+ boxes to go. So Jebb and I headed over this morning to peel and cut. What an enjoyable day we had. Cindy Tuck and Anne Monie were there too. We gabbed and blanched and peeled and sliced and filled bottle after bottle with yummy peaches. Cindy brought us an amazing chicken salad for lunch and we finished most of the remaining peaches before it was time to get the kids from the bus! I think when canning, it's definately better in a group!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Football Family Feed Fun Forts Fourwheelers

We had a non-laborious Labor Day Weekend. Kip's family was up from AZ so we got to hang with them quite a bit. Of course we had football on Saturday. Luckily both games were in Durango-bummer they were at 9 and 3. Gabe got to help John do the chains for Seth's 9am game and thought that was pretty cool! Kip's fam. came and I think Kip would be a good football dad as he has a really good yelling voice. Seth's team didn't seem all the way awake yet... hopefully they will do better next week.

After the game we went to the park for a picnic and more football. This time it was Gilly vs. Gilly! I think everyone had a lot of fun and John was a great sport playing with the kiddos. Gabe and M&M discuss strategy in this pic. Gabe was amazed at how low the river is this time of year and laid down in it to illustrate the point. The playing in the park got Gabe warmed up for his late afternoon game. They played a tough team but they worked really hard and managed a good win (Gabe caught a TD pass).

Kip and Jess went to Pagosa on Sun. to see Jess' dad who lives there. We had signed up to feed the missionaries so we stayed here for that. Having 4 boys that I hope to send on missions makes me feel like I need to bank some 'Feed the Elders' karma so my boys won't go hungry wherever they are called to serve.

We had some pretty impressive rain this weekend and it scared us away from our boating plans on Monday. Luckily the kids were not at a loss for fun. They loaded up the mule and fourwheeler and headed into the woods to build a new fort. They took supplies the Schwan Man had delivered to Grandma's house earlier in the week. They took the BB gun and everyone got to shoot at some targets. They found a great spot next to the ditch where they built a lean-to type structue. They took hand saws to get posts and used bark for the roof. Very resourceful! :) They took the parents out to show off their handy work. I thought they did a great job. I love it when they work together on projects like that! Not only are they out of my hair, they are playing outside together. What more could you want?!

Kip has a really great family and his girls are terrific. My kids love to hang out with them and I am glad they have those relationships. I hope we will be able to maintain them through the years to come.