Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tree hunting

Our Christmas tree hunting expedition to the South Hills........

We found a tree for Grandma too. It makes me smile to remember-- Joel and Taylor had to leap across a creek to get to one of the trees, then throw the cut tree back over the creek to take it back to the car.  :-)

We had a great time sledding, finding that "perfect tree" (ha ha-- if you wanted a perfect tree you'd go to the tree lot!), oohing and aahing over the spectacular lights and Mongolian camel at the house you pass as you come down the moutain, and having a chili dinner with our friends afterwards.  What great memories!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What a Grandma!

Grandma Clayton sang at the Christmas concert last night that was put on by the Magic Valley Chorale and Twin Falls Symphony.  When her group performed their individual song it made me cry.  It was very beautiful and touching, but now I realize that what was most beautiful of all, was the fact that my lovely Grandma was singing in it and I love her so much!!!

Tonight I happened to come upon these pictures from almost a year ago that I never shared.  They illustrate perfectly what a talented and loving Grandma our family is blessed to have.  Grandma made this Valentine doll for Heidi's birthday and it turned out so pretty. 

The pink and red matched just right with the carousal cake that she also made.  Grandma puts so much love and creativity into the things she makes for her grandkids and great-grandkids.

And this fall she was willing to endure the long drive to Oregon to have an adventure with us.  We love her and our life is so much richer because of her!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sonatina Festival 2012

Saturday was the Sonatina competition at the college in Twin falls and the kids did an amazing job!  All four of them made it to the top 2 for their level.  This meant they were able to play off in the concert. Hailey came away with the trophy for level 10, Taylor won the trophy for level 11, Heidi earned the trophy for level 1, and Torsten was the first runner up for level 12!

Taylor with his buddy Henry.  It was fun to see so many of our homeschool friends there at the competition.  Many of them won awards too.

I asked our wonderful piano teacher, Barbarba Mix, to pose in a picture with the kids.  I'm so grateful for such a talented teacher and for kids who love to play and practice the piano!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just a quick random post to try catching up with some October pictures, since we're now (unbelievably) almost a 1/4 of the way through November!

Part of the family in our Halloween garb. The boys were still in the showers getting cleaned up from a day of working on the tractor and hauling trees so I missed them.

Taylor captured some cheerful autumn colors in the Lower Salmon park.

Leif loves being pulled around the house in his clothing bin.  We always laugh because he looks like a little package being delivered.

Hailey and Heidi were a big help in scraping Great-Grandma Bishop's house.  It was an all day job!  The next week, the local church painted it.

The same day the girls were helping me scrape the house, the boys were with Grandpa and Joel cutting and hauling away some weedy trees in Grandma's pasture.  Here's Taylor and Reagan taking a load off to the burn pile across the road.

Lately, Leif really hates to miss out on anything, so he tries to escape a nap if at all possible.  But eventually, that nap catches up.

 Even if it has to happen in the standing position.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My little peanut

I couldn't find Leif the other day so I went searching all over the house.  I found him in the pantry.  He had discovered the bag of peanuts from Costco and he'd decided they were easier to access if they were in a big pile on the floor.

I told Leif maybe he'd better sit in time out for a while.

Just joking.  I didn't put him in time out! :-) (does your last baby ever get put in time out.....?)

Actually, Taylor was dusting and had taken all the pictures and the little chair off the shelf.  He'd forgotten to put the stuff back and when I walked in, there was Leif sitting on the chair, looking at our old family portrait.  The kids and I had a good laugh and had to take a picture. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cross country--- our dabble into organized sports

This year Torsten, Hailey and Taylor participated in cross country.  Our town of Hagerman doesn't have a cross country program so we drove to our neighboring town of Buhl.  Yes, we were out of district homeschoolers, but Buhl was very welcoming regardless.  To be honest, I must admit that 40 mile round trip to Buhl got a little old sometimes, especially the 7 a.m. practices, but other than that complaint, it was a good experience for all.  The kids enjoyed getting in shape, meeting new friends, and gaining appreciation for the grueling sport of running.  Hailey said doing cross country made clogging seem like a piece of cake.  (But then Hailey has always made clogging look like a piece of cake!)

Speaking of Hailey, here she is after a race getting a hug from Dad.

 And with her friend Kia, a longtime friend she knows from both homeschooling and clogging.

Taylor getting close to the finish line........and then below that, clutching a bottle of Gatorade, wishing he could jump in a nice pool and cool off.  Wow, the cool weather and frosty nights this week made me forget how recently we were HOT.  It was a very hot afternoon this particular day.  2 girls fainted part way through the course and they had to call the ambulance.  I was sitting in the shade of a tree with my water bottle thinking- "Seriously kids?  It's really not too bad out here."  No, no I wasn't actually thinking that.  What I was thinking, is how did Joel stand it that season he ran cross country in Phoenix?  That sounds like it would have been pure TORTURE.

 And lastly, some nice action shots of Torsten running.  Wohoo, go Torsten!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We loved our trip to Oregon so much that I have to share some more.......

Our first day there we went to the aquarium.  It was so interesting!  The amazingly beautiful jellyfish, sharks, seals and huge spider crabs......but in my opinion, one of the most memorable exhibits was the tide pool area where we were able to touch everything and marvel at the colors and textures of these strange creatures.

Afterwards, we visited a lighthouse that was very beautiful but was being infested with kelp flies that afternoon.  It about drove us "buggy"!

Torsten took a nice picture of the misty coast from the penisula.

We explored the tidepools in the cove near the lighthouse and it was so exciting to make discoveries of our own, after seeing the creatures at the aquarium.  

Tiny crabs....

Strange creatures that I'd never seen before......  This one that Taylor and I were examining looked like ancient dinosaur feet on the end of thick stems.  I found out later it is a type of barnacle.

A cute little seal.......

The boys used their new GoPro camera to take this underwater video of an anemone.  Let's see if my clip works.....

Now, the tide pools we found the next day, in a different area, were AMAZING, just dripping with starfish, anemones, urchins and large crabs.  It was very close to dusk when we went out, because that was when the minus tide was the lowest, so the lack of light wasn't good for pictures but it was wonderful for discovering . We were picking our way around the rocks and reefs with only 2 flashlights for 5 people which made for a lot of excitement but not much safety.  Next time, I would like to plan our trip around the tide so that we are there when extra low tide happens in the day instead of the night. We had 2 night/dark tidepooling expeditions during our stay and it made me a little nervous.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In love with Oregon.....

We spent a week visiting the coast of Oregon.  It's the first time my kids have ever seen and experienced the ocean.  It was so amazing!  I was feeling bad that they were so old before getting to the ocean, but in a way, it certainly made it very special.  The first morning Leif, Reagan and I walked down to the foggy, stormy beach.  It seemed so mysterious and unreal.  Reagan was amazed and in awe said "The ocean is way bigger than I ever thought!  I'm so glad you took me here Mom!"  I whole heartedly agreed.  

I grew up going to the ocean when my family lived in North Carolina, California and Okinawa, but it's been so long that it was all new again.  I could spend hours watching the waves come rolling in and crash against the rocks. 

The kids could spend hours jumping in the waves-- and they did.


I'll post more photos of Oregon later......this computer is taking forever to upload pictures.......

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Driving under the influence....

Well, I was pulled over last night, as I turned off the interstate to go into Jerome, for what the cop percieved as "driving under the influence".   As soon as he walked up shining his flashlight in the windows and saw 6 kids, groceries, piano books and tennis shoes littering the interior of my Suburban, he was all ready changing his mind.  Yes, I was driving under the influence.  The influence of too many thoughts and  conversations going on in my car, all at the same time, and at 10 o'clock at night!  ("Mom, are we going to cross country practice tomorrow?".... "Can we stop at Wal-Mart so I can buy an MP3 player?"........hmmm....if I decide to stop at Wal-Mart should I get the dog a flea collar?....when am I going to have time to deal with the 3 boxes of fruit I just bought from Kristi?......what the heck was I thinking buying 3 boxes of fruit right before going to Oregon! late is going to be when we get all these groceries put away and I can go to bed?....) When the nice cop asked me if I realized I'd been driving on the fog line for a while and then on the rumble strip before turning onto the Jerome exit, I gave him a blank look.  (I actually had to think what the heck a fog line was because I've never heard  it referred to that way before.)  Luckily he was very nice and the kids thought he was the nicest cop they'd ever met-- except for the very nice cop in Gooding who gave Reagan a sheriff sticker when I was pulled over for speeding, and the cop who pulled me over in Hagerman for speeding, he was very nice too.  They've all been kind enough to forgo giving me a ticket.

This morning Reagan told me he thinks the cops never take me to jail because they know none of my kids can drive.  "All of us would be stuck sitting in the car if you went to jail!" he explained.  If that's the case, I'm in trouble as soon as Torsten gets his license.  It will be jail time for me.  Or maybe I'll just turn the driving over to him!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blogging again.....

I haven't been able to post or look at anyone's blog in almost a month, but Joel loaded a new browser and that finally solved the problem.   So I'm back!

The month of August we've been enjoying ourselves in the great outdoors.

One afternoon we swam in the river near the Upper Salmon Falls dam,

Taylor and Torsten jumped from the Owsley Bridge,

Hailey and I kayaked to Blue Heart Springs,

  On the way to the springs we passed Box Canyon creek.  (below) The water is so cool and refreshing.  I forgot to take pictures at Blue Heart but it was amazing.  We peered over the side of our kayak with a snorkle mask to see about 12 feet below, springs bubbling up from the river bed floor in little pots.  

Late one night we found a huge scorpion on our driveway that we caught in a jar.  With it's tail unrolled it was almost 5 inches long.
I accidentally cooked it the next day when I left the jar in the afternoon sun. This picture is after it was cooked in the sun and then accidentally dropped in the garbage disposal.  Somewhere in that process it lost it's head.

We had our yearly homeschool picnic at Niagara Springs.  Here is Hailey with some of her best friends.
Leif playing with his friend Hyrum. It makes me laugh that Leif wouldn't touch the water at Roaring Springs this year because he thought it was too cold, but then he had fun playing in this water that is around 58 degrees.  Brrrr!
 My happy boy!

Taylor and his buddies having a moss fight.  This is part of our Niagara Springs tradition too.  Taylor is the one in the back with tons of moss on his head.

Oh, and here's another bug we found on our driveway late at night!  It was almost as big as my palm!  I really wanted one of the kids to hold it so I could get a picture showing the relative size but no one was willing.  I've come to the firm conclusion that I'll never sleep in our yard without being in a tent.  No way.

Some of the kids jumped from the  40 foot cliffs at Acid Lake.   Hmm.....wonder if the lake got its name from that putrid green color?


Taylor's been working on his biking merit badge with his scout troop.  One day he missed a bike ride, so Taylor decided to ride to Bliss and back all by himself to make up for it (18 miles).  I was really worried because I know bike riders can be hard to see but I didn't want to hold back his ambition.  I told him to wear a bright shirt and ride on the wrong side so he could see if a car was going to hit him.  That way he'd have time to swerve off into the sage brush.  I was still worried, so I took this picture before he left, thinking I wanted a picture of the last day of his life.  Isn't that horrible?

To wrap this post up, all of us but Joel had a wonderful afternoon floating Billingsley Creek,  Hailey, Torsten and Taylor started early morning training for cross country (they are running for Buhl), Reagan finished a session of swimming lessons, and Leif began skinny dipping lessons in the backyard.

It's been a great summer!!