Saturday, June 16, 2012

Black Hawk Pass

For the last 3 days, Gabe and Seth have been on a Varsity Scout biking trip.  They did a 50 mile trail known as Black Hawk Pass which is a section of the Colorado Trail.  It is at a really high altitude (above tree line in many places) and through some rugged country. Because of his tendency towards altitude sickness, John only joined them on the last 2 days for a lot of the fun stuff. ;)  He snapped a couple of pics with his iPhone for my blog.

John definitely had a favorite part of the trip.  There was a killer hill that about did everyone in.  It was up super high (no oxygen) and was steep for a long time.  Gabe was the first person up (so Gabe). John said he was taking it slow so his heart wouldn't explode out of his chest.  Seth had hung back with John  for a while, but then biked to the top (Seth told me that he was really proud he didn't put his foot down while climbing).  He left his bike there, then hiked back down to John.  From that point, he carried John's bike while John just walked the rest of the way.  Once they were to the top, Seth went and got another kid's bike and did the same thing with him.    John said that although he thought he could have made it...eventually... he loved letting Seth help him to the top.  John said that Seth was so much fun to be with on the trip.  They didn't see much of Gabe (as he always was out Gabe...), but they all were glad they experienced that difficult, beautiful trail.

I am grateful for good leaders that took my boys on this ride.  I am grateful for the beautiful earth we have been given.  I am grateful for the Scouting program that helps them to learn to do hard things.  I am especially grateful for my good husband and sons. I gotta tell you, some days I wonder if those boys are going to turn out!  I was so glad to hear that story from John about Seth! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As If It Were June 8th Too

Jebb is now 7 years old!  That's right, he just had a birthday!  Unfortunately for him, we had a house full of people on June 8th, so his birthday got bumped to this week.  He is under the impression that he is super lucky to be able to spread out the celebrating over many days, and we aren't about to disagree.  He is also excited that he got to share a Birthday cake with Grandma Kristine who actually is having a birthday today (although she is denying it and we won't tell how old she is).  They worked together to blow out the candles.

After playing with all of the visitors, special dinner on Sunday, bowling on Monday, swimming in the pond on Tuesday, opening presents on Wednesday, and now blowing out the candles with Grandma today after a pizza party, maybe the whole 'Birthday Week' hasn't been too bad after all.
Early on June 8th, I let the boys watch
cartoons in my room. Yes, this might be the only
pic I got of Jebb on his actual birthday...

Beating dad at air hockey!

Bowling with Kooper and Jackson
Happy Birthday Jebb and Grandma!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Track Awards

Tonight was the annual track banquet/awards.  It was actually more of a BBQ/Potluck at our neighbor's house with all of the track kids and their parents.  Gabe lettered in Varsity as a freshman and even received some award given to an outstanding Freshman.  Yeah Gabe!

After everyone had eaten, they meandered down to the pond for a somewhat chilly dip in the pond.  In spite of the cool temps and the mosquitos, I think it was a good close to the evening and the track year.

Pic of boys that earned Varsity letter.
Gabe's face is wedged in there...

Awkward pic with coach presenting Frosh award

Later at the pond

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Youth Conference in the House

It has been quite a week at the BigG home! This week we had the pleasure of hosting a Youth Conference Group from Parker, Colorado.  Lori, an old, dear friend of mine moved there a few months ago and was put in charge of organizing the YC along with another lady, Michelle. As they were talking they realized the were both from the 4 corners area (Lori from Page and Michelle from Cortez).  Oddly enough, I know Michelle's family, the Tanners, from living here in Durango.  I can honestly say that the Tanners are some of my favorite people from this area-I adore them!! Well, Lori and Michelle got to talking and decided it might be fun to come to Durango.  When Lori called me of course I thought it was a brilliant idea! :)  

They had a group of 70 kids and adults.  The logistics of getting all of the kids, food, beds, and whatever else down here had to be crazy, but everything went really well!  It was so fun to welcome such a great bunch of kids into our home for a few days.  They had lots of stuff planned, so they were busy most of the time.  Between going to Pagosa, cleaning up our river trail, barn dancing, and swimming in the pond, they had lots of great spiritual classes too.  

The girls all slept in our basement, and the boys slept down by the pond under a big canopy.  Luckily I think they were all pretty well worn out each day and we didn't have any problems! :)

I felt a little self conscious when all of the visiting adults kept telling me how crazy I was to let them all come and stay.  But I feel like it was a real blessing to our family to have them come.  It is so important to me that my family realizes that there are lots of other Mormons out there in the world and anytime I can facilitate getting a bunch of them together, I am all for it! We invited our youth to the dance they had out in the shop and I think it was good for our youth to see that too!  
Michelle, Me, and Lori

Of course I loved seeing Lori and totally loved getting to know Michelle!  They are great ladies and I think they were meant to be assigned together to plan this thing! ;)

The Parker Kids
What a great way to really get our summer started!  It's a bit of a running joke that now I will feel free to come and stay with Lori or Michelle a whole bunch for payback and I hope I get to!  They both have great families and it was so fun to host them here in Durango!

The New Bathroom

We have finally finished the new bathroom in the basement. With Grandma using one of the downstairs baths, that left all 5 kids using the other one--which actually meant the 3 youngest using MY bathroom. We borrowed some space from the store room and created the new bath adjoining the bedroom at the bottom of the stairs. While all of the company last week was not a factor in adding the bathroom, it certainly provided a timely deadline to get in completed. The plumbers left literally minutes before the Parker visitors arrived. While it is still not complete cosmetically, it was all functional.

 Back in early April, we began. We cleared out the area of the storeroom that previously contained all of our Christmas junk. We laid out the bathroom then cut out the concrete.
 To tie into the sewer pipes, we ended up cutting through the entire storeroom to an existing bathroom just through the wall.
There was lots of concrete cutting and dirt digging, not to mention the moving of our entire storeroom out into the family room. Jackson, Jebb, and Chuey hop into the trench to give size perspective.

After the plumbing rough in, we closed the opening to the bathroom from the storeroom side, and added a pocket door on the bedroom side.
The Storeroom where once an opening was
The pocket door where once the bedroom wall was

By the end of April, we were roughing in the shower. 
After this point in the construction I didn't really take many pictures of the progress.  This was because by the end of April, I was ready to be done constructing.  I learned once again that I am the impatient sort.  I also learned that there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it except hope progress would be made, however slowly.  I really need to learn how to be a do-it-myselfer because I have a hard time being on each subcontractor's schedule, or lack thereof.  

May came and went.  Tile was applied.   Vanities, toilets, and fixtures were ordered.  And then it was June.   Still no vanity installed.  No fixtures attached.  No permanent lights shining. No drywall painted.  No medicine cabinet hung.

Thank goodness for the 70 people and the concrete deadline they created, or I don't know that we would be done even now.  Luckily, the plumber (who was pushing all of the other subs to finish) had pity on me, and it all came together at the 11th hour.

So here are the pictures of the (almost) finished product.   It is a small bathroom, but I obviously tried to cram as many obnoxious shiny items in as possible.  I guess I am into shiny in my taste lately.  Hmm.

Looking thru the door to the left 
Looking thru the door to the right

So ya, obviously it is a smallish bathroom, but functional none the less.

Here's a little collage of some of the highlights.  I love the mirrored vanity, the shiny diamond tiles in the floor, and although it is hard to tell, I actually painted metallic stripes on the walls.  No, I don't know what came over me either.   What's with all the shiny?  I must have thought subliminally that shiny makes a room seem bigger.  As do vertical stripes.  And diamond shapes.   Or whatever. 
So there it is.  Our new bathroom in the basement.  I am hoping the shiny, reflectiveness of it all will encourage you to come and spend some time in our basement.  Or at least at our home, with easy access to the guest room that now contains the shiny bathroom.  Elise is chomping at the bit to move in and claim it all as her own, but I let her know she'd have to show me that she can be tidy first.  I hate to admit it, but I don't think she'll be moving in anytime soon.