Friday, August 29, 2008

Apples to Applesauce...I Hope

This morning Jebb and I went to the Walter's home to pick apples. They have some yellow apples with super thin skin that apparently makes good applesauce. Lanae met us there and we had fun picking and chatting. The Walters have a neat garden(they are in fact the ones that I got my blackberry start from) and lots of fruit trees. They also raise sheep and have chickens which lay eggs they sell. They do it all on less than 2 acres! It is quite inspiring.

After picking the apples, we went into town to find an applesauce making contraption. Unfortunately we only found one so Lanae got it. We both swung by the grocery store to get stuff for dinner (Lanae invited us and Kip's family over along with the missionaries) and by the time we got out of there, it was time for the kids to get home (I don't like the early release on Friday thing!). Therefore, no applesauce was made.



But, we did have an awesome dinner at the Mann's! Kip and Jess got into town for the weekend just in time for the cookout. We are technically related to the Manns- or maybe we technically aren't- I can never remember which it is!! But we sure appreciate their good friendship and I loved having someone to pick apples with!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Pond Goes Green

I have to say, I love our pond. It is always changing and this time of year it takes on a lovely green glow. OK, that's a nice way to say that it grows lots of icky algae! The irrigation has slowed way down which means that there is very little water flowing in or out, and it creates perfect conditions with the warm summer days for the 'green goop' as I call it to go crazy.


Luckily, there are things you can do. We add salt in small amounts to the water which creates a hostile environment for the algae. Tonight John and I hopped into the canoe. Gabe came along as our motor. We slowly paddled around the pond and John tossed salt at the green goop. I sat in the middle of the canoe with an umbrella. It was one of those great moments for me. It was warm and calm. Evening was coming on and the clouds were beautiful. We were laughing and joking and unhurried. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much-although we were taking care of work, it was deliciously leisurely. I didn't want it to end!

When we made it back to the dock, we tied up the boat and unloaded. John and Gabe caught some frogs (there are tons of smallish ones-everywhere!). We jumped into the mule and headed home. Thank you pond for another great memory.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Consider the Source

Here is some advice: Don't take driving tips from your 3 year old. This is what happens:

With all of the kids off to school, Jebb and I have been doing our chores. We were 'scouting' in the Mule to see where we needed to spray for weeds. ;) We had some old dirtbike jumps by the dam which have become awfully weedy-so of course we were checking them out. There is one jump that is sorta pointy. Jebb encouraged me to go for it. So I did. Yeah, not so smart. Sure enough, we got high centered. We walked home and called John. He reminded me that there is a locking differential so I went out and we managed to free ourselves.

Lesson learned: Before you take driving advice, consider the source!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is it Wrong?

Is it wrong that I let Jebb wear his underwear backwards? He loves to be able to see the picture that is traditionally on the bum. John always makes him turn them around. I pretend not to notice because I think it is adorable!

New Calling for the Hubby

John has been Elder's Quorum President for the past few years so when we got a call from the Stake President a couple of weeks ago asking if he could come visit with us before church, we knew there must be a change in the air. We had fun speculating what it might be. We picked out callings that would be fun and take no time (OK-actually we couldn't come up with one that fit that exact description). So when Pres. Johnson came over and invited John to teach early morning Seminary , it wasn't one we had considered. John agreed right away and Pres.J asked us to talk it over and then let him know later in the day, as this is a calling that would impact our whole family.

John ran into Bishop Cooper who said he'd heard about John's call. He then told John that he too had taught that class and found it to be more time consuming than being the bishop since he had to devote 3-4 hours to study each day to be prepared. John walked to the other side of the building and ran into Sis Ash who basically told John the same thing-she too had taught and had to put in LOTS of time to be effective. This was last Sunday, so needless to say, John is starting to feel the pressure.

John and I have decided in our life that when a call comes, we will do it. If we feel like we are too busy to serve in a calling, that is a sure sign that we need to change something in our life so we can. I really can't imagine many people that are busier than my good husband, and this is a calling that is every day and requires preparation every night. Here's a fun fact: John has never participated in Seminary or Institute. Here's another fun fact: John has always taken our kids to school in the morning on his way to work. As these fun facts reveal, John's early morning call is going to be an adjustment for everyone (this means we all have to become more disciplined and efficient with our time).

Although it is going to be a struggle, I am amazed by how perfect this calling is for ALL of us (this is coming from the view that callings will help us to grow). John has always wished he knew the scriptures better. I need to quit being a lazy daisy in the morning. Although this had been our desire, neither of these things had been accomplished by our sheer will, so the Lord blessed us with a way to make it happen-we no longer have the luxury of putting it off. At least that is how I am currently choosing to see it- as the only alternative is to cry and gnash my teeth. I am sure I will find a great number of ways to murmur about it later. ;)

But for now, I am excited for John in this new calling. He will do great! Interestingly, we just found out his sister Jan is the new early morning Seminary teacher out in Ignacio this year. She will do a fantastic job too! I guess this will give us some good stories when we have our next family get together! :) heehee

Note:My parents are actually going to teach seminary in Tobago on their mission. Geez-I guess everyone is teaching seminary this year! :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

My BigR Parents

I wanted to post this cute picture of my parents who are currently serving in the West Indies Mission (this is in the Carribean). They are standing with Pres. & Sis. Robison (the mission Pres.). I am so proud of them! My parents are both converts to the church and neither one served a mission, so they didn't know what they were getting themselves into I am sure!

My parents have always been a great example to me of obedience. Once they understand a Gospel Principle, the do their best to make it a part of their lives. I am also glad for the example of Church Service they have always set. I have never heard my parents complain about a calling. They always tried to magnify their callings and go the extra mile. As far as I know, they have never turned down a calling-even when they were unsure of how they would accomplish it. If there was a church function, you could always count on our parents to take us to it. I am grateful they didn't pick and choose what parts of the Gospel they would live, they just did it!!

I think all of those traits have served them well and I know they have helped them to have great experiences in the Church they might have otherwise missed out on. They were hesitant to submit their names to the WIM (which was recruiting couples) because they wanted to be sure to go where the Lord wanted them. They agreed to serve in the office at the beginning of their mission even though they had imagined something different for themselves. I am not sure how they feel about it so far, but looking from the outside, it seems a perfect fit for them. They are getting to see how a mission functions and what is the effective way for them to serve once they are assigned outside the office (since they never served missions when younger). I know there are many couples that are able to serve missions, but just don't really want to. I am proud that it was never a decision for my parents-they just knew that is what they have been asked by the Prophet to do, so they planned for a long time to make it happen.

I want to emulate that kind of dedication and obedience in my own life and the lives of our family. I am proud of the example of service that they are. I am grateful my kids get to know that their G&G Ross were Called to Serve! I hope all of my boys will follow their example and be ready when the call comes-no matter where it takes them-no matter how afraid they might be. They will have courage because they knew their Grandparents did it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've been schooled

With it being the first week of school I have thought of all the different schools I have started at. I thought I'd write them down.
Here are the grades, the schools, and the town we lived in at the time.

K-5 Emerson Elementary-Mesa, AZ
6th-Humblodt Jr. High-Prescott Country Club, AZ
7th-Granite Mountain Jr. High-Prescott, AZ
8th-Prescott Jr High-Prescott, AZ
8th-Back to Granite Mtn. for 2nd semester
9th-Kaysville Jr. High-Fruit Heights, UT
10th- Davis High School-Fruit Heights, UT
11th-12th- Page High School-Page,AZ
Rick's College-Rexburg, ID
Brigham Young University-Provo, UT
Fort Lewis College-Durango, CO

Then I got pregnant and dropped out of school! :) Hee Hee

I have been to lots of schools-I guess that means I am extra smart...or something...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten


Jackson started kindergarten today after a rocky morning. Lately He insists on rinsing with mouthwash each morning and this morning he spit his mouthful all down the front of the shirt he was wearing. This was his second shirt of the morning, as he didn't like the one I picked out for him and convinced John to let him change. Well, the mouthwash smell was quite strong as evidenced by Elise holding her nose within a 10 foot radius of poor Jackson. So, it was back to the original shirt I'd picked out. I didn't realize Jackson was so particular about clothing, because this put him in a bad mood (see first picture). We had a talk about fits, pouting, and big boys who go to kindergarten. That helped somewhat (see second picture).

Jebb will not stop talking about preschool. We got him dressed "For Preschool" this morning and Seth helped him find an old backpack "To wear to Preschool." Elise helped him get a water bottle "For when he got thirsty at Preschool." We need to get our morning routine down a little better as we were cutting it close on time by then.

When we got to the school, I noticed the mob of adults hanging with the other kindergarteners and I decided I'd better walk Jackson in. His entire life, I have been chasing Jackson as he took off to check out the world. 'Clingy" is the last word I would have used to describe his style... until this morning. We hung for a minute on the playground, then we all paraded down to the kindergarten area (Jebb was tagging along still wearing his preschool backpack). We got Jackson a name tag and put his name on his backpack. The other kids were in a circle dancing and marching to a song. Parents were leaving. And Jackson, my sweet and somewhat wild Jackson, was clinging. He buried his face in my leg which he was clutching. I pried him lose, gave him a kiss, and a teacher took him over to some trucks (good call!). I gave him the 'I love you' sign. He meekly waved, and Jebb and I headed to the car.

The preschool Jackson previously attended happens to be acrossed the street, so, you guessed it...I took Jebb to preschool! We stayed and played for about an hour. I got a registration packet and Jebb screamed quite a lot when we finally left. I'm thinkin 2 days a week??? The kid won't relent! :) Jebb has historically been my clingy one (he's the baby, truly). I'll have to think this one over and see if it's a Freaky Friday thing, or if the interest and independence will last!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Day of School


Yeah, Hooray-it's the first day of school. Gabe is at Escalante Middle School-6th grade. Seth is in 5th, Elise is in 3rd, and Jackson will be starting kindergarten tomorrow. Jackson and Jebb hung with me today and I confess that we all took a NAP today! That's right- I took a freakin' nap! WooHoo!



All of the kids were somewhat wary of their new grades. None of them had the teachers or the friends in class they were hoping for. I was pleasantly surprised when all of them reported back that it was much better than they had feared! Kindergarten is on a staggered start. Jackson will go on Thursday only, then start next Monday on a normal schedule. He is very excited.


Jebb, poor guy, is still insisting he is going to preschool and gets quite upset when anyone disagrees with him. I might just go crazy and send him for half days a couple days a week, who knows! :)
I think everyone will sleep well tonight-except me-did I mention I took a nap?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feed My Sheep


According to experts, sheep require several things to be healthy and grow. Nutrition plays a major role in the overall productivity, health, and well-being of the sheep flock. Ewe body weight does not remain constant throughout the year, but changes with stage of production. Nutrient requirements are lowest for ewes during maintenance, increase gradually from early to late gestation, and are highest during lactation. You are able to significantly affect health by increasing feed when necessary. Special care and extra feed needs to be given to ewes with lambs (babies).

Lambs need a great deal of feed starting from as early as 1 week old (very young). The lambs growth is greatly influenced by the quality and quantity of feed given during this time of growth. Steps should be taken to have quality feed. Feed should be kept clean and cared for in a way that keeps it desirable to the lamb.

Sheep must have a free-choice supply of clean, fresh water. Frozen water supplies, muddy conditions where sheep have to drink, and long distances to water reduce water intake and have a negative impact on production. Heated water bowls should be used during the winter to encourage adequate consumption of water by lactating ewes and lambs. Water bowls should be checked and cleaned on a daily basis.

John 21:17 "...feed my sheep."
John 21:15 "...feed my lambs."
John 7:37 "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wedding in Ridgway

After returning home from the RS Retreat, I quickly showered and got changed so I could go with my hubby to a wedding in Ridgeway, CO. Aaron Chubbick is a Project Manager for John at C&J, and he was marrying his longtime girlfriend, Shauna. Ridgway is about 2 hours north of Durango through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery anywhere.

We had farmed out the kids as G&S both had the first games of their football seasons. Seth went with the Manns to Aztec (they beat the best team last year! Yeah!). Gabe went with his coach to Cortez (He made 2 touchdowns!! Crazy! They won too). Elise, Jacks, and Jebb went to Grandma Kristine's for the day (they did fun painting projects). I was sad we missed the football games, but weddings are important.

It was an outdoor wedding at one of Aaron and Shauna's favorite fishing spots- a campground right on the river. It was really pretty. It was a nice ceremony and there was a guitar and a cello that played great music. We stayed for the wedding, then headed back over the mountain. I slept a lot of the way there, but I LOVED the drive home with my boyfriend. Weddings are really great to take your sweetheart to. You remember all those falling in love times and think of why you are glad you had your own wedding.

I am happy that this couple took the step to get married and make that commitment to one another in front of their family and friends. Marriage is a good thing and is ordained of God. It is the relationship that helps us learn and grow in a unique and sometimes maddening way :). I hope they will learn to love and serve one another.

The mountains are stunning and make a dramatic backdrop for a wedding, but I have to say that no wedding location can compare with one done at the Temple. I am grateful for the "Mountain of the Lord" and the knowledge we have that we are together not only until death parts us. I like the reminder that weddings give me that I need to make sure I am doing what I need to so that John and I will WANT to be together for a very long time. I need to forgive and serve and be a good friend.

We stopped atop Molas Pass so John could stretch and we snapped a photo. Too bad it doesn't do justice to any of the stunning scenery we were driving through. We got a wild hair and after making sure all of the kiddos were good, we stopped at the resturant at Dalton Ranch and had dinner. It was fun because they had very artistic food. The salad was 2 heads of Romaine lettuce drizzled with dressing and lots of pinenuts. Our dinners were little works of art with the colorful sauces circling the plate. I would recommend it. The bread and parmesan butter were to die for and they make a mean Shirley Temple. :) Overall- a very fun date with my favorite fella!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Relief Society Retreat

The Relief Society had a slumber party! I wish everyone could have been there because it was GREAT! This was the last activity that Lanae planned for us as the Enrichment Leader, as she will now serve in the Stake (Good Luck Lanae! :)). We went to Diane Farley's barn which has the hay loft converted into a large living quarters. Lori Bond cooked us all an amazing chicken dinner and the desserts were to die for (Did you know 'stressed' spelled backwards is 'dessert'?)!

Jill Ostergaard gave a fabulous presentation on filling one another's buckets with kind words and service. Everyone got a 5 gallon bucket with a fabric cover (Lanae's creation) to use as a 72 hour kit. Bev Mountain helped us all make these super cute necklaces (it was skaddz of fun!) that went with our 'adding drops to the bucket' theme.



Keely Farley gave an amazing class on making home made spa treatments, then gave us ALL a spa kit. She also gave us all a fun parafin hand treatment (my hands were so soft after that!) and an avocado facial with bizarre giganto cucumbers for our eyes (she grew them herself!).



There were almost 40 women who attended and it was so much fun to see everyone. We laughed a ton, chatted much, ate gobs of yumminess, learned some stuff, felt the spirit, and laughed some more! Really though, what more could one hope to get out of an activity? I enjoyed the sisterhood and the fun together. The only sad thing was that lots of ladies went home late instead of spending the night. About a dozen of us slept and snored together before another yummy breakfast made by Lori.
I am grateful for the good women in our ward that are examples and teachers to me. It was fun to rub shoulders and let our hair down. It is hard to get away with all the demands of life, but it was a wonderful recharge. I am so grateful to all the women that worked so hard to make it such a wonderful activity. I hope we will make it a tradition because it is one I would look forward to! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Greg Mann turns 40

Tonight we had the pleasure of going out with our dear friends the Manns. Greg turned 40 today and Lanae graciously let us take them to dinner. We went to Mama's Boy, an Italian Resturant here in Durango. John and Greg are tight and in fact the Manns are some of our best friends. They too have 5 children that all of our kids claim as their best friends. I don't know if they will admit it, but we are actually related to them. Lanae's brother is married to John's 2nd cousin. :)

Greg is a dentist here in Durango and is so stinkin' popular that he has been looking to build a new office. (You can see how charming he is from this photo! :)heehee) I am anxious for this to happen since they are planning to build a home on the lot next door to ours as soon as the office is up and running. They did move into Durango last year which is great since they are now in our school and ward.

Greg is the head of an amazing family and we are blessed to know them! He is doing well at 40 and reminded me that he doesn't even have gray hair yet (SO UNFAIR!!)! Happy Birthday Greg! We hope your next 40 years are as great as the last 40!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bringing in the Harvest

Last year I planted some berries. I started a strawberry patch and cut off all blooms and runners. Someone told me if you did this the 1st year, you would have better yields in years to come. I got several raspberry starts from a friend (2 lived) and a blackberry start from a man in our ward. We also have 2 chokecherry trees out front.



The strawberries are everbearing and have done terrific. We keep picking and eating. They seem to be getting bigger and better as the summer goes on. I think the birds are getting a lot, but it is still leaving us enough that some go to waste before we pick them. Next summer I won't buy commercial strawberries as my kids kind of got their fill early in the summer before ours were ready.

I am posting our total raspberry yield this year. I let John eat our whole crop. Raspberries grow on 1 year old wood, so I am expecting more next year! I bought 2 more plants at Home Depot, but they are looking pretty rough and might not yield for another year.






Our blackberry is growing well, but like the raspberries, they need another year. I definately plan to propogate it at the end of summer. Apparently you just plant the ends of the canes and they re-root forming a new plant. Here is the plant among the weeds. It looks like we might get a few berries in the next few weeks.



Chokecherries grow in hanging clusters on these red trees (they are bushes if left untrained). They send up lots of runners which I don't like. Jackson has eaten many as evidenced by the little pits on the sidewalk. They are very bitter when they are green, but sweeten as they turn dark red. The birds have gotten most of these (we had a late freeze that killed about 1/2 of the blossoms) this year. My neighbor makes a delicious syrup by boiling the berries down. Maybe I'll ask her to teach me next year!

We have 5 apple trees in the back yard and because of that same late frost, we will get maybe 5 apples. We haven't gotten a crop off of the trees yet, we always have frost after they have blossomed. The trees are still small, so I guess there is hope.

This brings us to the vegetable garden. We built a SFG back in May. We planted the first of June, then we traveled all month and adjusted our lawn sprinklers to water it while we were gone. Bad plan. Here is a picture from mid- July. Some corn, 1 tomato, a green pepper, a pumpkin, 1 funky lettuce, and a cantelope start. Everything else withered and died while we were gone. We are still hopeful for some sort of harvest later in the summer!
Here is a picture today. The pumpkin and the cantelope have spread and put out blossoms. The corn is about 3-4 feet tall. The lettuce is cute and purple. The green pepper wants to produce, as does the Roma tomato, but just recently finished blossoming. I planted a green pepper in the front flower garden and it has a couple of peppers. Everthing else seems to be so late and so slow this year. Several other people have told me the same thing, although several other have said their stuff is right on track.


I am such a Wanna-Be when it comes to growing stuff! I guess it is good to keep trying. I really, really LOVE being out in the garden and the flowers. I don't even mind pulling weeds! I don't know I can say the same for the kids, although Gabe and Elise help pick out flowers and they all love the strawberries! I feel happy when I am gardening. I guess that's why it is such a popular pastime!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Structure

Summer is coming to a close. We have certainly had an action packed one. We have visited and traveled with lots of great family and friends. I knew we'd be home for a few weeks before school started and I was looking forward to what I imagined would be a more relaxed pace. What was I thinking?! :)

We have been getting our annal checkups, registering for school, getting school supplies, trying to squeeze in a few more sleepovers, and all that hullabaloo. Then there is football which began last week. Gabe and Seth go to practice every night from 5:30-7:30 at the High School. It doesn't sound like too much, but it really impacts all of us. We all load up to take them into town and sometimes we stay, sometimes we go home. Sometimes we eat dinner before we go, sometimes we eat fast food in town, sometimes we all wait until we get home at 8.

I think I am ready for the structure that school provides us. I feel like our family is going in so many directions. I think the fact that we are not having dinner at night together makes me feel out of sync with everyone. It seems like once school starts we get into a more cohesive groove. We know what our schedule is going to be. We go to bed on time, we get up on time (that's a big one!). I am able to keep the house tidy for more than 12 minutes (I know that shouldn't matter too much! :)). I guess it is sad that I am not able to achieve this structure myself... but at least I can admit I am weak and lazy right?!

School starting is gong to be bitter-sweet. Gabe can't wait to move up to Middle School (6th grade), but he's bummed he is on the school 'team' that none of his friends are on. Seth is feeling like the big man on campus (5th grade), but didn't get in the class with his 3 best buddies (I am relieved! :)). Elise LOVES school and is a typical teacher's pet (3rd grade). She has been terrified all summer to get the 'mean' Ms. Shock and sure enough, she is the only one of her friends that did. Jackson is thrilled to be going into kindergarten and has a SUPER teacher, but I worry about how young he is. Jebb is staying home with me although he tells anyone that will listen that he is going to preschool. I LOVE spending time with the kids all summer-we have had lots of great times, but they are starting to fight if I don't have them lined out on stuff every day. So many contradictions! This is all a part of the great dilemma every parent must face. We have these babies that we need to teach to leave us. We want to protect them, but have to let them struggle to grow. I want structure when it's wide open, but next spring I will be ready for more flexibility! :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Father/Son Campout

Tonight is the Father/Son campout. John took the 4 boys to a campground at Navajo Lake. When the boys are away... the girls will play.

I asked Elise what she would like to do and she decided we should go for pedicures. So we hit the mall where there is a walk-in joint. I got my nails done by a man from Vietnam who was rickety thin with skin tight jeans and t-shirt. He had lovely highlights and full facial make-up including purple eye shadow! He told me right away that he didn't like talking in English.

He molded all of my nails into lovely squares. Elise tells me that is the style. Thank goodness I had Elise! We gave each other funny looks. We went crazy and had pedicures and manicures!! That's my first ever manicure (Elise says it's her 4th) I am unsure about the square nails. I keep scratching myself.


After our nail experience, we headed into town for dinner. We decided on Tequila's Mexican Resturant as we both LOVE the chicken fajitas. We got a double order-too big! We decided we will be eating fajitas for lunch tomorrow too as we took lots of it home. We ate tons of chips and salsa and Elise ate my guacamole. :) It was fun! Elise is a wonderful daughter that is often just treated like one of the boys. I am not the best mom-of-a-daughter, as I am not very foofy (just goofy!) but Elise is very patient with me. We are watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics together (she oos and aahs in all the right spots) munching on M&M's and frosted animal cookies. There should be campouts more often!