Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Eric took Jebb, Jackson, and Elise fishing this afternoon! They loved it!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gabe Goes to EFY

I dropped Gabe off this afternoon for EFY in Provo. He was pretty nervous and not very excited. I am hoping when I pick him up at the end of the week that he will have had a good experience. We did get to meet his roommate and he seemed like a cool kid. I was half tempted to get a picture of the two of them, but I was already pushing it to get Gabe to let me snap a shot with my phone! ;)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Devin and Jebb-A Birthday Celebration

For the last two years, we have been in Utah during Jebb's Birthday which is June 8th. When we told him we were going this week, he naturally assumed that we would be having a birthday party for him. He gave me several suggestions like waterguns, zoo outings, and various outdoor games. He even went and got our special 'red plate' out so we could pack it and bring it along. He was fairly disappointed when I told him that his birthday wasn't until the week AFTER we were in Utah. When I told Kim about it, she suggested we have a party for Jebb in combination with Devin's birthday. (Devin is Lauren's husband.) He really liked that idea and was very excited to get to have a 'Celebration' with his buddy Devin.

As usual, the Hannays put on a great dinner and it was a lovely Birthday Celebration! We BBQed, had cake and ice cream, and finished the night with a game of Farkle (Lauren smoked us!).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our Ross Roofing Retreat

Lots of people like to go to exotic or far flung locations for Memorial Day Weekend. Of course, that is SOOO us, so we packed up and headed to beautiful Spanish Fork, Utah!! :)

We went to the home of my younger brother to help his replace the roof on his 1944 brick home. We turned it into an extended family work project. We knew it would be a big job, so we were excited to get to be with a fun crowd to get it done!

Thursday was our last day of school, so we were still mentally shifting gears as we drove out of Durango Friday morning. We arrived on Friday afternoon, hopped out of the car, stretched a little, then jumped into the project. My parents, Kim and Steve, and Brad were already hard at work.

Removing the roof was like traveling back in time, layer by layer. We removed two layers of asphalt shingles, then got down to the original cedar shakes that were under them. They were the original roof put on when the house was built. On one hand it was interesting to see the actual roof and how it was put on, but on the other hand, it had 60+ years of dust! And man on man, those wood shakes were in no mood to be removed that day. ;)

We got everything stripped down and ready for Saturday morning when we would be putting the new roof on. It was a good thing we got a head start because it took us all day to get the new roof on. We had to put on new sheeting, new fascia, new flashing, and of course the paper and shingles.

There was a recurring theme as we completed each phase of the roof construction....we were just a little bit short on each thing. We had the perfect amount of roofing supplies to finish everything but the gable. :) Sadly, there were no roofing supplies to be had on a holiday weekend. All things considered, and assuming it will be finished sometime soon, I think it looks FABULOUS!

It was a long, hard project and I am so glad that we did it! It is nice to hang out with your family, but it is even better to work with them. Everyone was sore, tired, and dirty. And it was a great way to spend an exotic, far flung Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gabe's "Life Presentation"

Gabe has come to the end of his 8th grade year. He will no longer be in middle school, but will advance to High School where you are no longer a little kid and things like grades actually matter.

But before he can move on, Gabe's Middle School requires him to give a 'Life Presentation" of who he is up to this point. He gets to invite family members to attend his presentation that he gives to 2 of his teachers. So today was Gabe's presentation and I am going to paste his talk here. He also showed a slide show that I hope to figure out how to put on here as well someday! ;)

by Gabe Gilleland
I’m going to use my dirt bike as a metaphor for my life.

The frame- of my dirt bike is who I was when I was born. I was fabricated in Durango and have lived here my whole life. Everything is built on my life here. I am the oldest of five kids. I have 3 brothers and one sister. There names are… my mom and dad have been married for 16 years and I have been apart of there live for 14 of those years.

The wheels- I have a large extended family. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents are like the spokes on my wheels and they keep me grounded when I need them to. Each summer of my life we have a huge family reunion. We learned about our ancestors at our last reunion. I learned that I am related not only to pilgrims, but to the wamponags that welcomed them. I also have some royal European blood in me from 1000 years ago.

The engine- on my dirt bike is all the things that keep me going all the time. I am involved in lots of fun activities. In school I play football, which I was starting receiver and starting defensive end. I played basketball in 7th and 8th grade and made A-team both years. If you didn’t guess I was the big guy who played under the basket. I also ran track where I set the distance medley record with my team and won high jump every meet. All of these sports helped me develop my physical power and endurance. Even though I wasn’t always the best I learned to push my limits and become stronger. I also love to snow ski and snowmobile in the winter and every Saturday in the summer you will find me boating with my family. At the lake I love wake board, surf, and hang out behind the boat. We try to go to lake Powell a lot in the summer because that’s where my mom is from. These are all the things that keep me energized and going.

The handlebars are my religion. They keep me going in the right direction. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, sometimes called the Mormons. I have a strong belief in God and in His Son Jesus Christ. I believe that God is my Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ atoned for all mankind’s sins. When I was 8 years old, I chose to be baptized and become a member of the church like my parents and grandparents before me. Every night I study the scriptures and I pray every morning and night. I am very involved in my church. Every Sunday I go to church for 3 hours. We sing and we have different lessons during that time. Then during the week I go back to church for various youth activities. I get to help plan what we do. Sometimes it is fun and sometimes we work on Scouting or Service Projects. At age 12 I got the Priesthood, which means I have responsibilities in my church to teach and help the members of my congregation. All these things help me stay on the right track.

The brake and throttle on my bike are like the rules and privileges I have in my family. Our family has a lot of rules. I am expected to keep my room clean and help with chores in the house and outside the house. I have to watch my little brothers and respect my parents. I have to let my parents know what I’m doing and who I’m hanging out with. My parents are strict. But they trust me as long as I earn their trust. I also get to do lots of crazy things that not all parents would let their kids do, like hold a job at our gravel pit. I clean the shop and operate equipment. I get to earn money for things like movies and stuff I want. I get to have a lot of fun doing different recreational activities. So I do have rules (brakes) but because my parents trust me, I get to go and do lots of fun things too (throttle).

Service is like the oil in my dirt bike because it gives me lots of opportunities for me to help the people in my community. Without oil, my dirt bike will run for a while, but not very well. After a while it’s no good, and stops working. I believe that when I serve others, it makes my life run smoother because I forget about myself and start thinking about other people. During 6th grade, my family went to a small island off Venezuela called Tobago. My grandparents were serving as missionaries for our church. Before we went, we gathered supplies for a School for the Deaf and lots of clothes for a Home for Abandoned Children. We had fun on our trip. We went to the beach and got to scuba dive in the ocean for the first time. But the best part was meeting the kids and seeing how happy they were to get stuff they needed. It made me feel grateful for my blessings and made me happy to help others that needed my help. Another way I have been able to serve is through our church youth group where I participate in the Boy Scouts of America. I have been a Boy Scout since 3rd grade and I am close to earning my Eagle Scout Award.

The last thing I need for my dirt bike to run is Gas. I am comparing gas to school and my friends. I went to preschool, elementary school, and middle school here in Durango. I have been able to participate in sports and music where I learned to play the cello and I learned lots of things. My friends have been there with me every day. Some I have known since preschool and some since 6th grade. All of my good friends have been there for me even when the times were rough, so I tried to be there for them too.

Because I have all the necessary parts, I have been able to do a lot of things so far in my life. I hope to keep my dirtbike running well for a long time. I hope that for the rest of my life I will be able to keep improving and upgrading my bike so it will run at it’s maximum potential. That way I will always have what I need to go and do whatever I choose in my life. The world is wide open to me and I am excited to go and ride it!

I know I am his mom, but I thought it was SO GREAT!!! He came up with the dirtbike metaphor himself and John and I loved talking through it with him as he fleshed out his ideas.

I am proud of the young man that Gabe is becoming. He is a kind person and a good friend. I am so grateful to be his mom!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The 8th Grade Campout AKA The Great Deluge of 2011

During some insane moment of weakness, I agreed to attend the 3-day 8th Grade camping trip. 

I am not sure what came over me to agree to go, but there I was, all campy.
Meeting in the lobby on the way out the door with the other parents
 I know exactly what it was that impressed all of the 8th grade teachers to want me to go.  I have the biggest trailer around. ;)  And it was stacked up with all of the camping stuff.  We went to the Ute Mtn. Tribal Park, past Cortez.  I have never been there before, but I was trying to have a good camp-mom attitude as we unloaded all of the gear.
Junk in the Trunk.  That's our huge trailer piled with camping gear.

Putting up the tents
We got our canopies up first because it was starting to sprinkle.  Then Gabe helped me set up my little one-girl tent.  It was really starting to rain.  But I had a shovel, so we dug little trenches around our tents (like I learned to do at Girl's Camp) and thought about lunch.

Man, it was really starting to come down.  So I changed into my rain boots and put on my big coat.  I noticed many of the kids were still in shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes.  And they looked wet and COLD.    The rain kept falling.  And falling.  And falling.

Soon we were all ankle deep in the mucky dirt.  It's that kind of clay dirt that is super slick and gooey when wet.  Around lunch time, the announcement came to pack it up! We were heading back HOME! It was certainly the right call as I looked around at the majority of kids that were ill prepared for either rain or cold temperatures.  At this point I wasn't taking pictures anymore as we were all slogging through the mud to pack it up.

The break down of camp was somewhat hurried and not as organized as our initial packing job.  Not only that, but EVERY item was now coated with a thick layer of that slime mud.  Not pleasant!  Everything was thrown into the trailer and I was worrying that I would have a hard time getting out on those slimy mud roads (they could have used a good layer of gravel on those roads!!! ;) ).  After everyone loaded up, I closed the trailer door, scraped the bulk of the mud off my boots with a stick, and climbed into the driver's seat of the truck.   I said a little prayer and FLOORED it out to the county road.  Several times I thought I would either slide off or get stuck, but I managed to make it out! Part of me really wished John could have been there to just drive it out, and part of me wished he could have been there to see me do it without him! ha

Parents were called and after driving the hour back to school, kids went home to dry off and warm up.  We unloaded everything into a big muddy pile to sort out the next day.   I took the trailer to the car wash and it took me a LOOOONG time to wash all of the mud off of the outside of the trailer.  I tried not to think about the 6 inches of mud on the inside floor.
Back at the School
The next day I went back to the school and sorted and cleaned the stuff as much as was possible.  We had 3 days of food to eat, so we set up the camp stoves and the kids all cooked up their stuff for lunch.  

I was so worried about camping for 3 days with a bunch of 8th graders, but it turned out all right.  I got to hang with Gabe, and I managed to stay fairly warm and mostly dry.  I learned that BOGS (my rain boots) are one of the best inventions EVER!  And I learned that I am more capable with a trailer than I thought. ;)  So I did survive the 8th Grade Campout-or as I am calling it-the Great Deluge of 2011.
My BOGS- I could write them an Ode!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Stringed Dream Come True

Tonight was a little dream come true...at least for me! :)

We attended our last orchestra concert of the year. They already bid farewell to the 8th graders last week, so this concert was one where the Elementary Schools were invited to play along with the Middle School. This meant I got to attend a concert where Gabe, Seth, and Elise all played TOGETHER!!!

I loved it!!!!

I am very sad that my camera battery died (oops!) but my friend did take a pic with her cell phone (Thank You!!) and here is a photographic remembrance of my most favorite concert EVER! I am also sad because I know this will not likely happen again. Gabe will be in HS next year and has NO desire to continue with the cello. Seth is being forced to stick it out until the end of next year when he will surely quit. Elise will be playing the violin for at least 3 more years (thru Middle School), and by then maybe Jackson or Jebb will get wrangled into playing a stringed instrument. ;)

So for tonight, I will just savor the joy I get from seeing 3 of my children make beautiful (albeit somewhat squeeky) music together!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Elise's Spring Recital

This weekend was Elise's Spring Recital for Dance. She has taken 2 classes this year and got to perform a Jazz piece and a Lyrical piece. She performed on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. This last Wednesday she told her teacher that she didn't know if she would be able to attend the Sunday performance and I guess she got in quite a bit of trouble. We knew in the beginning about the Sunday performance and decided to go ahead and sign her up, but she didn't know that. When she told us, I thanked her for being mindful of the Sabbath and let her know we had talked to the studio owner at the beginning of the year about it and agreed to commit Elise to perform both days. She was relieved.
She did FANTASTIC at her performance. You are not allowed to take pictures, but we did order the DVD of the whole show. I loved watching her! We took Grandma Kristine, Jackson, and Jebb with us to the performance. We knew from past experience that it is an extremely long show. Intermission was after the first 2 hours of dancing and John took them home since Elise had already performed her numbers. Gabe and Seth did not attend that first half because they were riding home on a bus from Denver with their orchestra (they won first place in their competition by the way! :)). But when John dropped off Grandma, Jackson, and Jebb, they had made it home, so John and Gabe returned to catch most of the 2nd half of the show.

I am proud of Elise for taking Dance and doing so well. She is planning on really ramping up the dancing next year and I look forward to seeing her perform again!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Orchestra Concert...Farewell 8th Graders

As another school year draws to a close, we have enjoyed lots of end-of-year stuff. Tonight was one such orchestra concert. Normally the kids dress in white shirts and black pants/skirts to perform, but 8th graders are allowed a little color in their attire. Each 8th grader also gets the opportunity to perform a solo at the concert. I heard Gabe practice his several times and wondered how he would do in front of a crowd. He was understandably nervous, but did pretty well. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Peru or Bust

I learned today that my daughter is quite resourceful and likes to travel.

Earlier in the week, she was given a brochure for a trip that middle school students can participate in during the summer of '12. She showed me the brochure and I think I said something like 'Hmm, that sounds fun.' Then pretty much blew it off. I noticed the brochure on my desk yesterday and when I gave it a good look, I had to agree that it looked really cool-Machu Picchu is on my bucket list.

This afternoon Elise started collecting some stuff. A table. A cooler. Gallon pitchers.

"Elise, what are you doing?"

"I am going to set up a lemonade stand to raise some money to go to Peru."

"Uh, I don't know if that's a good idea. we live on a private road off of a county road."

"Can I call Dad?"

That is the standard question I get when I am leaning towards "No" but there sounds like there might be a small opening for a possible "Yes" from Dad.

He was all for it, and even arrived home to give them a ride to the end of our road. It was getting late in the afternoon so we agreed she could give it an hour peddling her wares. Jackson and Jebb were enlisted to help and they were off to raise some funds. They took 2 jugs of Kool-Aid, granola bars, an assortment of baggies full of goodies (think Vanilla Wafers), sodas, and bottles water. We gave her the cell phone and told us to call if they got tired of waiting for customers. I thought because of our location, they wouldn't see a lot of action.

Well, the hour passed quickly and John called to tell them he was coming for them. I could hear the tone of Elise's voice, but not the words and she sounded quite enthusiastic. John grinned and chuckled as he told me that during the hour they had raised $40!!!! Not a bad hourly average!!!

Elise only charged $0.05 a glass for Kool-Aid, but when she showed her brochure to her customers, many of them donated extra dollars. She must be quite the saleswoman! :) Maybe I should start saving my dollars so I can go to Peru with her!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kindergarten Tea Party

Today I got to go to Jebb's classroom for a Mother's Day Tea Party. Jebb has been SOOOO excited for this. They have learned 'Mother' songs and made crafts in preparation. This morning he was chanting, 'Tea Party, tea party, you're coming to my tea party.' It made me happy to see him looking forward to it.

So after I left the Doctor's office (see previous post) I drove carefully out to Jebb's school. When you hold your head still I think it makes you look funny, or at least it makes you FEEL like you look funny. No, I am pretty sure you DO look funny. I walked into Jebb's classroom and he made a running-jump-hug for me. While trying to hold my head still, I caught him and hugged him before he escorted me to my chair.

The usual school tables were adorned with tablecloths and each chair had a tea cup and saucer. There was a plate of cookies and strawberries on each table, along with a big jug of iced tea.

To start the Tea Party off, the children all sang their Mother songs which were super cute. Jebb is actually a pretty good little singer! :)
Then the kids each brought us a small flower pot they had painted. They were filled with dirt and a seed packet. Adorable. Jebb then brought me a book he had made about me. He was grinning from ear to ear and hugged me repeatedly as he read it to me. This was such a cute little Tea Party. I was enjoying it with my upright and still self. ;)

Then it came time to sit and have our Tea and Cookies. The teacher walked to each table, lifted the jug of tea, and filled everyone's tea cup. She got to me and I said, 'No thanks, we don't drink tea.' I tried to state it all easy-breazy like I wasn't the only one in the room that didn't. I said, 'We would love some water!' with my best casual, yet pleasant voice coming from my smiling face.

Jebb looked at me and burst into tears!

I tried to play it cool and just smile and rub his back as I asked him what was the matter.

The other kids and moms at the table looked over at Jebb.

"But I really want TEA!"

I tried to whisper into Jebb's ear that we don't drink tea, but we could have some water.

"But Mom, it's a Tea Party!" he sobbed.

I glanced around at the other people in the room. They were now all staring at us.

"Jebb, what's the matter?" a couple of kids at the table were asking.

I tried to smile and say something lame like, "He's OK...." as I patted his back.

He put his head down and quietly cried for a minute while I squirmed in my chair. I couldn't really bend down to comfort him or whisper to him now (upright and still, remember?).

I almost wanted to grab the jug and just fill up his blasted tea cup.

"Hey Jebb, will you get me a strawberry and a cookie?" I asked him.

He sat up, looked into my eyes, and said, "Sure." He hopped up, got me a cookie from the middle of the table, and wiped his tears. Hallelujah! He sat down with me and by this time the teacher had grabbed my cup and filled it with water. I poured some of mine into Jebb's tea cup and held my own up so we could click them together and say "Cheers!" (Better to pretend it was champagne instead of tea, right? ;))

Luckily, the tears left as fast as they came, and I think only 2 or 3 moms think I am super weird now! I loved the party and being with Jebb. I am lucky to be a Mother to such good kids! Happy Mother's Day!


Last Monday I woke up in the morning and when I sat up to get out of bed, I had the sensation that I had just gotten off a fast merry-go-round. The room spun, my bed tilted, and I fell over sideways. I laid there very still, reeling for a minute and luckily, it stopped, and I was able to (very slowly) get up. I didn't drive for a couple of days because it didn't seem very safe to operate a vehicle when I might lose my balance. But after 4 or 5 days, I learned that if I held my head still, I could drive without feeling like I was tilting off the road.

I assumed I had an inner ear infection of some sort that was throwing off my balance. The vertigo feeling made me quite nauseated, but unless I changed elevation (like getting low to pick up Jebb) or tilted my head sideways (like bending over to sweep under the table) then I was pretty good. This went on for about 10 days and I thought I was improving, but then the last few nights I would roll over in bed and have that crazy vertigo feeling and I knew I wasn't any better.

Why didn't I go to the doctor? Well, I have this insane aversion to antibiotics. I avoid them whenever possible as I always seem to get freaky, highly unlikely side effects. I have a fear of MRSA (you know that flesh eating bacteria?), OK? But after waking up spinning, i broke down today and went to the doctor to see if I could get some drugs to cure this annoying condition. I am a kook, I know, but for me sometimes the cure is worse than the disease, so to speak.

The doctor kind of chuckled and said she knew I must be feeling pretty uncomfortable to have come in seeking antibiotics She remembers the last time I was in and my aversion. She questioned me about my condition, took my temperature, looked in my ears and told me that she thought she knew what it was. She told me the name, but now I can't remember it, but it is NOT an ear infection and antibiotics won't solve it. She told me I may have vertigo for months or it might go away tomorrow!! She said that I have a teeny tiny calcium deposit that has broken free in my inner ear. When I move, it touches the little hairs in there that make you feel movement and in what direction. So it's like this little marble rattling around in my head with no way to get out.

As she was explaining it to me, I just kinda sat there thinking, "Seriously? Who has that happen to them?" Apparently some folks do-in fact she said she had experienced it herself and she was very sympathetic. Somehow that didn't make me feel any better. She offered to have me do this thing where you lay down, then sit up, then, lay the other way and move your head around in order to try to rattle that little calcium thing around to somewhere that it could stick and not move any more.

Of course I followed her directions and I laid down, twisted, sat up, turned my head, blah blah blah. It was pretty brutal as it activated that vertigo feeling, but when I was done, I did feel a little better. She smiled then told me to keep my head upright and still for the next 24 hours.

Wait, what?

Upright and still for 24 hours so the calcium thingy, if it did stick, could stay stuck wherever it was sticking.

What about when I slept?

Upright and still. Tape your forehead to the headboard, she said, half jokingly. Or prop your head up with pillows in a recliner. Seriously.

So it has only been a few hours since I went to the doctor and my head is upright and still, but I am pretty sure I shook that thing loose. You have to bend down to get clothes from the washer to the dryer, and it's hard to keep your head still when you get your 5 year old out of a tall jeep. Hopefully though, that teeny tiny calcium deposit is still stuck in some little corner of my noggin and will quit making me feel like I am falling over because holding your head still is getting old pretty fast! ;) I am wondering if this means I really do have a screw loose...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

School Program for Jackson and Jebb

Tonight was a school program that Jackson and Jebb got to participate in. The note sent home asked us to dress our kids in 'the best clothes in the closet.' When I told Jackson he ought to wear his Sunday Best, he was very upset. He said he didn't want to be humiliated by wearing those clothes. i think that is so weird. After he saw his friend Sam in a suit (he rode to the program with us) he finally relented and put on his suit coat and tie. I thought he looked smashing! Jebb too!

We arrived at the school and the boys were ready to perform! You can see Jackson on the top row on the left, and Jebb is on the3rd row on the right. The program was about family and I LOVED it! I actually have seen this program before and Elise said she performed it back when she was a little tyke at Florida Mesa.

Jackson had a speaking part where he talked about his family tree. There he is holding a tree. :)

Jebb kept waving to us, of course I loved it!

As the kids were singing a song about how we should enjoy these kids because they grow up fast, I seriously cried a little bit. I felt totally sentimental! I just love this age and so enjoy these little innocent guys. I was savoring every second of every song and was really sad to see it end.

John, Elise, and Grandma Kristine were also at the program and we took some pictures when it was over. We all loved it!

Nice job Jackson and Jebb! I will try to enjoy this time because I know that it does fly by so fast.