Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chatty post at midnight

I haven't posted in a while so I thought I'd stop by to catch up a bit.  What's the family been up to?  Let's see.....

Torsten is still working at Simplot once a week on vet check day.  He follows the vet around, sorting and marking cows.  He comes home smelling pretty potent because he is usually standing at the hind end of the cow.  One day I smelled him through the kitchen window before he even got in the house.  That particular day I realized he had manure splatters clear up to his neck!  This is his first "real" job and part of his paycheck is being matched by the company and going into a 401K account.  Nice that he can start young since Social Security will probably not be around when he's old! Torsten will be the first to admit that this job is not endearing him to cows but I keep telling him what a great experience this is.  :-)  Isn't that what mothers are for?  To remind their kids that what they perceive to be a horrible drudgery is actually a "great learning experience". This semester Torsten is taking a dual credit history class and an online science class  and he just finished designing the promotional posters for the homeschool bell choir's Christmas concert.  He's done this for a couple years now and they look professionally done as always.   (have I mentioned that the Republican party in Twin Falls had him design the t-shirts for the state convention this May?  Torsten, Hailey and Taylor were pages at the convention.....)

Hailey is currently taking an online Spanish class and doing awesome.  (she has a 99%) Her teacher told me that some of the Hispanic students in the school, who are also taking that class, have said they are amazed at her and that she makes them sick.  In fact, one Mexican boy asked Hailey in math class if she is part Spanish because her accent is so good.  We had a good laugh at that one. (If you're familiar with what Hailey looks like you would know that's a strange question! :-)  I'm sorry the Hispanic kids are sick but proud she is doing well.  Hailey is currently in the middle of basketball season.  She enjoyed volleyball so she figured she may as well try out basketball.  Our family is not very sports oriented so this is her first exposure to either sport.  Athletics can be enjoyable and great exercise but our family agrees that it's not fun when people take it too seriously.  We take academics and music serious.......but sports?  No.  Maybe if we were any good at sports we'd be serious about them! ha ha

The last 2 days were very fun, but busy days for me.   I'm teaching art to the 3rd and 5th grade classes a couple times a month. (Reagan and Heidi's class)  Yesterday, I taught Heidi's class how to make snowflakes and it was really rewarding.  Many of the kids had never done it before and they were so excited to open up the snowflake and see the patterns they'd created!  Then today was Activity Days and we did stained glass/painted cookies, homemade gift tags, and a 12 days of Christmas countdown project. I usually have from 12 to 16 girls attend.  I love them!  Afterwards, the whole family went to the boys and girls basketball game at the high school.  Lately I've been going to the chiropractor in Mountain Home and he's been able to help me keep my back problems under control.  What a blessing.

Whoops, this is turning into a seriously wordy Christmas newsletter!!!  Which reminds me-- I SHOULD be composing a Christmas letter, so I can get cards mailed out, so that friends will know our new address! But instead I am typing on my neglected blog at 1 in the morning because I couldn't sleep.  When I can't sleep, I get hungry and then I have to get up and eat.  I got up and made a wonderful salad complete with pomegranate seeds and sliced mushrooms.  Yummy, but after making and eating that salad I was completely wide awake.  So here I am, but I should be in bed.  I will try to finish this post sooner than later and in the interim I can ask the boys where the heck we have now put the pictures so I can make this a little more interesting to look at.  We just changed our computer's hard drive and updated to Windows 8 and it's frustrating me beyond belief.  I was not made for the technological life!!  I just can't keep up with the changes.  The fact that I even figured out how to blog is due only to my patient sister who taught me how.   Good night for now-- hopefully I can fall asleep before I get hungry again!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


 Taylor did Jr. High football this fall.  He enjoyed the experience though he's not sure he'll choose to do it again next year. 

 He says he likes soccer a lot better.  Soccer and football are similar in that they are both about speed and getting the ball away but soccer doesn't include purposefully knocking people down all over the place.  Aggressiveness doesn't really run in our family.  Borderline pacifists would be a more apt description.  :-)

Happy little cowboy and other characters

 My little cowboy.

 Cute as can be.

I just want to give them ALL a hug and somehow keep them this age forever.

This is Hailey and her friend Sakota at the Saturday trunk or treat.  Though they are "mature" high school freshmen now, they still had fun spending an afternoon deciding how to dress up and making coordinating pompoms for their hair. (Hailey's white one is hiding)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Drivin' a big old truck

The last few weeks I've spent quite a bit of time in this.

  A sugar beet truck.  

I drive through the fields along side a big tractor and a beet digger that are digging and
  simultaneously putting beets in my truck.   When the farmer gives me the signal  I take off to the beet dump to dump the load. 

At the beet dump I drive onto a scale to get weighed.  The heaviest load I've done was 32,000 lbs.  I have a small truck.  After being weighed I drive over to the piler where I back up a ramp and then engage the pto so it will run the belt to unload all the beets.  The guy on the platform tells me when to start unloading and when I'm done. I was backed into the piler when I took this picture.  The beets go up the conveyor and into the beet pile.

When I first moved to Idaho I thought these big piles were potatoes.  We are in Idaho, right?

I wondered how being in the sun didn't ruin the potatoes.  Then I started wondering why they were the biggest potatoes I'd ever seen in my life?  Hmmm -- maybe they aren't potatoes!  Around here the farmers certainly grow more sugar beets than potatoes.  Do you think it's because we Americans eat more sugar than potatoes?  I don't know.

 Last week we started on a field that involves 12 miles of dirt road from the field to where we dump the beets.  Potholes, blind corners, cattle guards, and some single lane places.  But some of the loveliest scenery I've seen around here!  The whole road is following the river and there are no farms or houses, just really interesting cliffs, rock formations and great fall colors. It's a dead end road and at the end are 3 pivots and a small farm house.  I was sad that I kept forgetting my camera.  Saturday, Joel, Reagan, Leif and I all rode together the whole day doing that field.  Actually, Reagan hopped over into Chad Mills semi to ride with his kids for part of the day.  Their family has a truck with a double sleeper cab and there were 5 kids in there playing hide and seek.  I'm not sure how many hiding spots you can find in a truck sleeper but they were all having a marvelous time. 

Snow on the mountains

Was driving Taylor to school yesterday and when I turned the corner on our loop we both gasped.  Not just War Eagle and Hayden peak, but even the little foothills of the Owyhees were covered in a fresh blanket of snow.  What is it about snow on the mountains that makes my heart sing and my stomach flip?  The air was crystal clear making the magnificent view even that more mesmerizing.  I had to drive to Grand View 3 times yesterday so I enjoyed the yellow cottonwoods, still-green pastures, and snowy mountains all day long.  Even caught myself taking glances in the rear view mirror to continue enjoying their beauty.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

something like that....

Heidi was looking for her book the other day and asked me if I'd seen it.  She told me it was called "'The End of Cement'.....or something like that". 

I thought for a minute and asked, "do you mean Where the Sidewalk Ends"?

We had a good laugh.


Reagan was telling Joel, in great detail, all about a great experiment he was envisioning that involved sparks and "sheep fur".  He was trying to explain the sheep fur to us in better detail, and he said "you know, the sheep fur that's made out of metal?" 

That left us completly stumped for a minute until Joel realized he meant steel wool. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes, the area we live in just looks like an ugly desolate brown desert. (I guess that makes sense seeing as it is the desert-- the Owyhee desert!)

But in the mornings and evenings, I think it is beautiful.  It helps that there is a reservoir out our front door. 

During the past month's heat, the kids have been swimming in the reservoir 4 or 5 times a day.  Here are some pictures from a recent hot summer evening......

I don't know where that big black rubber thing on the dock came from, but the kids put it to use as a makeshift waterslide.

The cat and dog will follow the kids to the dock.  Leif brought his book for me to read to him.  

Heidi's friend, Allison, was over for the day and they swam from sunup to sundown.

That pretty little desert area behind Alison is FULL of ticks.  We found that out last time we lived here and it hasn't changed.  Almost everyone, including me, have had one this summer. 

Sometime that evening, I told Heidi to paddle with the air mattress way out into the lake and bring back what looked like a piece of trash floating out there.  She paddled and paddled and paddled.  As she was coming back she kept yelling and complaining how heavy the piece of trash was and that her arms were tired.  I yelled back, asking her what the trash was and she said it was block of styrofoam with rope wrapped around it.  I told her that it must not be too heavy or it wouldn't be floating in the water so please quit being a wimp!  10 minutes later she was finally back to the dock.  As we were taking the styrofoam block from her so we could look more closely at it, we realized why it was so "heavy".  She had been dragging 15 feet of rope with a metal crawdad cage attached at the end.

Oops.  I guess that wasn't floating trash.  It was a floating marker for someone's crawdad cage.  There was a nice big crawdad in there too!  We had fun looking at it and scaring each other with it and then I said we better put it back.  Um, and Heidi could you pretty please paddle that crawdad cage back to where you found it?  Oh, she wasn't very happy with me! :-)

By the time we went home the sun was almost completely down.  I wish I could capture laid back days like this and put them in a bottle.  Life is good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Most of the day Leif runs around with just a t-shirt and underwear. He's at the age that he can use the bathroom by himself and he thinks the lower half of his clothes are not worth putting on.  But I didn't realize what an ingrained habit this half dressing had become.

This morning Hailey overheard the following conversation between Leif and the little neighbor girl.

Evelyn:  Hi Leif!

Leif:  Hi Evelyn!

Evelyn:  Do you wanna come play?

Leif:  I tan't.

Eveyln:  Why?

Leif:  Betuz I have pants on!  We're going somewhere.

Oh my.  We certainly wouldn't want to be caught wearing pants while playing next door......

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sweet summer memories......

A few weeks ago, the Alberdi family took us to a wonderful swimming hole outside of Richfield.  It was perfect.  The water was much cleaner than the Snake--yet not too cold, hardly anyone was there, and there was a diving board.

Reagan taking the plunge too. This kid has no fear of heights- reminds me of Taylor that way.

It was so fun to have a lazy afternoon visit with Michelle and her boys.   We miss seeing them more often.


 I'm getting a bit tired of the heat but overall it's been a great summer.  I'm not sure I'm ready for it to end.  

Friday, July 27, 2012


I discovered another funny thing Leif likes to eat: raw quinoa.  I was making a pot of quinoa the other day and spilled some on the counter.  After putting the pot on the stove, I turned back to see Leif licking it off the counter. 
Me: "You like that stuff?"
Leif:  "Yah, I yike it". 
Me:  "Isn't it a bit crunchy?"
Leif: "Yah.  I yike it".
He proceeded to lick the counter clean.

Also this week-
Leif was laying on the kitchen floor while I did the dishes.  All the sudden he started choking.  I instantly had a distinct thought that he'd swallowed the dime I'd seen earlier on the kitchen floor.  (Don't ask me why I had left it on the floor!)

I started pounding his back and shaking him.  He was kind of holding his throat and looking panicked.  Then he swallowed it!  We hugged other and we were both feeling pretty shaky.  I asked him if he'd swallowed that dime that was on the floor and he said yes.  We discussed that WE DO NOT EAT MONEY because it can get stuck in our throats or in our tummies.  He left a few minutes later to do something.  Very soon he came back in the kitchen and complained that his back hurt.  I thought to myself it was probably from me pounding on it too hard, but I asked him, "Why does your back hurt?".  With a sad expression on his face he replied, "Betuz I put money in my back!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Want to hear about an amazing day?

 It started out as a small hike to a waterfall with the Hanson family before piano lessons. 

From the base of the canyon we climbed across a boulder field...........

.......and 10 minutes later we were in the cool mist of the pounding falls.  Can you spot Taylor down there?

At first, Leif didn't like all the water spraying on him but then he got over it. It was so beautiful.  I told my friend Michelle (who lives in Hawii) that it reminded me of Hawaii.  I really don't know what I'm talking about though, seeing as I've never actually seen a waterfall in Hawaii.  But this is how I imagine it would look!  Maybe. :-)

 Our whole group.  Well, 2 of Jenny's are missing from this photo.  Together we have 15 kids.  Sometimes that's hard to fathom.

Leif and his friend Hyrum discussing the view. "Jorjus, just jorjus."

Heidi, Hope and Hannah- great friends.

The walk back down to our car.......

Heidi kept finding flowers on the walk back down and putting them in my pocket. 

At the car, the kids decided the embankment looked like a gigantic sand pile and couldn't resist.

This amazing lizard was found in the sand.  I love this color of blue.

So, as we were trying to load our kids to leave, 2 guys in a Zip the Snake cart drove up and asked Jenny if our kids would like to try their new zipline course that is set up in the canyon.  When Jenny said it was too expensive he offered to do our entire group for a really good deal.  We jumped on it!

We found places for our very youngest children (thanks grandma and babysitter!) and then came back and got everyone outfitted.

  Reagan, with his identical buddies, riding the shuttle cart to the first zipline.  I think it's funny-  even though Reagan has mostly learned to tell them apart, I will hear him have to ask sometimes-- "Are you Hunter or Heath?"

There were 4 different zip lines set up. 
Here's Torsten.

Taylor and Hagen.


With her best friend Christina. 

Reagan.  He loved it and wasn't afraid at all.

 Yep, I did it too!  Those who know how afraid of heights I am are probably surprised.  I can be a wimp sometimes.

By this point in the day, I'd had to cancel piano lessons (apologies to our wonderful piano teacher) so we decided we might as well take a quick swim because the kids were hot. 

Can you believe this outdoor playground is only 5 minutes from Costco?  Amazing. 

What a memorable day.  It's always an adventure with Jenny and her family!