Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keep Your Tootsies Toasty This Winter! For Free!!!

I can't think of a boot that's any better for keeping your footsies from freezing. . .
just go to this website:
and you can WIN WIN WIN a pair of these puppies!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Music & Friends, and "Rawrly's" Show!

This Sunday, we had some very special people come and visit us.

But let me start at the beginning.

Back about 5 years ago, when Rachel was in the 5th grade, she and a friend performed in a talent show. I knew what song they were going to sing, but I didn't know how it was going to turn out. Rachel would not practice it at home for me. But, it was good enough at the tryouts to get her a spot, so I tried not to worry too much. But how could I not worry, a little? I had never really heard her sing by herself.

I need not have worried. She and her friend came out and sang their song and they blew me and everyone else away that day.

About six months earlier, the Baileys - a really great couple - had moved into your ward. They and their visiting adult children were soon asked to perform a hymn. I was in the mother's room at the time, nursing my newborn Tanner. This little boy usually paused for nothing while eating, but that day during that song, he did. He turned his head toward the music coming from the speakers while the family beautifully harmonized, and was completely silent, and only resumed nursing once the song was done. All I can say is it was just like angels had just sung. Oh, the power of music.

So after the talent show, I took Rachel to these wonderful people for some vocal training. They had taught all of their children to sing - and had recorded several CD's amongst them. This was a great opportunity, but it wasn't Rachel's cup of tea at that time. But a couple years later, we visited them in Utah after they had moved, and she sang for them there. And their son, J. Michael Bailey, sang for us and gave her his newest CD. And Rachel was blown away by his talent, and they were very complimentary and encouraging of hers.

This weekend we got a call from them. They were traveling up from Utah to pick up their 5th wheel, which they had left behind when they moved. So we invited a bunch of our friends over for our informal annual music night. We had the greatest time.
I wish that I could have posted a video of everyone singing. But for some reason it wouldn't load.
So the next day, this Monday, Mark was helping them get their truck ready to make the trip, and they got to talking. The subject of Rachel's guitar came up, how her sound would improve so much if she had a better instrument. The one she had been using that we had purchased at Costco was great for her as a beginner, but now that she has been performing in public a little bit, it was time to upgrade. (And we had promised her a new guitar at some point, in reward for the massive amount of babysitting that she has always done for us).

So Mark and the Baileys were down to the music store and picked out an awesome Taylor for her.

What a thrill to have her instrument picked out for her by someone who really knows guitars.

And when we brought it home and she started to play it, the sound was so much better that I just burst into tears! Just sobbed, because I wish that we had gotten it for her sooner.

Here is J. Michael Bailey playing on the instrument that he picked out for her.

The next night, Rachel had another performance in Spokane.
(Her stage name is "Rawrly")

Here she is, singing Marilyn Manson's "Dope Show". (Let me do a little mom-gag here)
In her intro she paid me a little tribute about our adventure together.
(Sorry, but I can't figure out how to flip the video)

Here is the song she did for an encore. . . "Linger" . She was totally not prepared to sing this one, but -

I may be slightly biased, but I think she did great!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer 2009

This summer we did a lot of fun things . . . a lot of them I have already blogged about.

-Like my parent's 50th wedding anniversary party.
Had a family photo done - but with a few missing people!

And this summer, I finally rode on Silverwood's newest ride, Aftershock. Yeah, freaky, gut-in-your-throat type of thrill ride- It was one of those "did that once, never have to do it again" type of experiences...Was I crazy, or what?

I also thought it would be a good idea to go on this ride:

The "Panic Plunge"

It went up SO so high, I could see my house!

Here I am, going up. It's gonna be fun, right? (Notice that none of my kids went with me . . . and they make you take off your flip-flops!)

Here I am, Suddenly back at the bottom.

Words cannot describe this experience. Maybe the look on my face can?

So, today is the last day of summer, officially.

And we might just be set for a pretty cold fall.

Ya know how I can tell?

Fall got a jump-start by sending a freeze our way.

True, I did check the weather report. I knew that I should've covered the tomatoes last night, since 30 degree temperatures were predicted.

Never mind that it's supposed to be in the 90"s tomorrow. . .

This is what our tomato plants look like now.

So sad!
The red ripe tomatoes I picked today. Question- Do I do what I usually do, and pick all the green tomatoes and put them in newspaper-lined boxes and have them sitting in my house for weeks till they all ripen (in which case, their flavor is not nearly as rich)

Or... do I try covering them at night for the next few weeks and hope that they will still ripen on the vine?

We were also busily doing projects and having fun activities, so here some things we did that I didn't get a chance to post before now:

We put up new porch rails and built new shutters (it looks a lot cuter IRL)

Our driveway/walkway flowerbeds - before (sorry-this was taken about 6 years ago, but it's the only Before picture that I have!) After. . .
Mark went to Tillamook Oregon to pick up some dairy cows.

On the way, they stopped at the fish hatchery in the gorge.
I guess Isaac is tramatized by all the fish!

And they got to eat these ginormous hamburgers with my dad Meanwhile, this little girl was born, on Noelle's birthday! I had to make sure everything went well while he was gone.

Luckily, we have good friends around who know a heck of a lot more than I do about baby calves! And this one was not too interested in nursing. . . but she sure is a cutie!
Grandpa Mark snuggling with Brooke, our new granddaughter...
Now SHE is a cutie, for sure!

Since we have 3 people in the family who have birthdays within 3 weeks of each other, we had a combined family birthday party-

First, Evalie blew out her 4 candles. Happy fourth birthday, Evalie!

Then we added some more for Noelle's 12th -
...but once we got to Jake, everyone was ready to eat the cake, already!
Did you have a good summer?

What was the best thing you did/read/saw/experienced?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Wild and Crazy Boys . . .

Ya know how sometimes something you read triggers a memory, or a few, which might just be worthy of the time to write them down?

I was visiting this post today, and hopped over to this one, which reminded me of a few stories of my own.

I was raised with 5 brothers, and no sisters. This could go 2 ways: either I was a spoiled-rotten girly-pants, or I was raised like one of the boys.

I know it wasn't the girly-pants thing. To be sure, I do like girl things - sewing, which my mom taught me to do, and I play the piano, and I love girly-girl baby dresses. But -

Working out in the garden doesn't bother me. Some days I even enjoy it.

I will collect the eggs. (but that's Isaac's job, so I don't have to)

and . . .

If you put, say, a spider in front of me? I will simply squish it.

(Enough said?) ok

So the blood-gush thing (you have to read the post I mentioned above) made me think of all the times I took my boys to the emergency room.

Those were some scary times - like when Jake our oldest was about 2 or three, he was running a fever, and the doctors suspected spinal meningitis. So the decided to do a spinal tap. Ever attended one of those? Not a picnic. (Tests were negative, thankfully)

Then there was Chad. And perhaps this is fitting that it is also about my youngest brother, Josh.

One day Josh, who is 10 years younger than I am, was babysitting the 3 kids that we had at the time. Chad was about 18 months old, which would have made Kayla about 4 and Jake about 6.

They were out in the backyard, hitting around a little ball with a stick. One that was a little smaller than a baseball bat, but with a few knots on it.

I am sure that Josh had his eye on the other two kids, and the ball when he swung the makeshift bat that one. last. time. but in doing so, he smacked poor little Chad with the stick - right in the middle of his forehead.

We came right home when he called, to find Josh and my mom (who lived nearby) holding Chad - and a large cloth - over a gash in his forehead. Thankfully even though he was crying a little, he was alert and not in too much pain. (Head wounds always bleed like crazy - and the blood helped wash out the bark, I'm sure)

To make a long story short, after a long wait in the ER (back in the days before Immediate care centers) he got a few stitches in his forehead that now has become a kinda cool scar up near his hairline.

The person who took the biggest hit that day, though, I think was my brother. I am sure he thought that he had killed him at first. He felt SOOOO terrible - I think to this day, he still feels bad about it.

(It's OK Josh - Chad doesn't even remember it happening, and I forgave you immediately when I saw how bad you felt - )

Then there's Isaac -

He was an incredibly active (that description is inadequate, by the way) little boy. Thankfully, almost on the day he turned 3, he became human, as we like to say. Best way to describe the change . . .

But in the meantime, he was always doing crazy things - dumping stuff, breaking things, falling down.

But this one particular day, he jumped from the arm of the couch to grab the curtains, which of course, were Not on brackets meant to hold the weight of a 25 pound child flying through the air.

So down he went, and on the way he whacked the side of his head on the windowsill and split it open.

Off to the Immediate Care, leaving my husband and the missionaries who had just stopped by that morning (my husband was Ward Mission leader at the time) to clean up the mess.
We soon were back home again, a few stitches richer, but not a single lesson learned.

A little while later, rejuvenated from his nap, he took that same darn flying leap, with the same result!

Thankfully (?) this time, he turned his head in a different direction so he split a different part of his head open. I don't even remember exactly where, any more.

So out the door I flew, with my boy in my arms again - passing by the same missionaries, who had stopped back by for some reason - and I am sure they thought we had (have) the craziest kids in the world - to take him right back to the same Immediate Care Center.

Same shift of doctors and nurses, even.

So you know what happened next, I am sure.

They each questioned me about what happened, and diligently wrote down my answers, which, fortunately, were all the same. (funny about the truth - it is always consistent)

. . . and they all watched Isaac and I interact together, to make sure that he wasn't acting like he was afraid of me. He was pretty much clinging to me, so that was a non-issue. And over the years, with visits for coughs, sore throats, and ear infections on top of the mishaps, now they have gotten to know my little gang pretty well.

Then there was the time he jumped off the kitchen counter (what the heck was he doing up there!?) and split his lip wide open. Of course it was after ICC hours. And of course by the time the doctor saw us, it had swelled up so much that the split and swelled back together. Just a quick look, he's fine, that's $275 bucks, please. That stinks.

I think that if you and your child have been waiting long enough for him to HEAL ON HIS OWN, there should be NO Charge!

Just sayin'!

Then there's Tanner. He is "busier" than all the others, all put together.

One day we were visiting my parents and I told him it was time to jump into bed. My mistake. He takes things so literally.
This is not the bed . . . but you get the idea . . .

So he bashed his forehead into the headboard and split it open right above the eyebrow.

And of course it was after 9 pm. All the Immediate Care Centers in the area were closed.

So, after waiting for at least an hour in a Quiet Empty ER waiting room and another 1 1/2 hours chasing him around the empty ER rooms in the back, I was getting pretty ticked. (plus, having nurses chide me for not keeping him still - huh~! Don't they know what a bored-silly 2 1/2 year old looks like? Heck with the owie - it was healing on it's own by then!)

But after waiting ForEVer, and getting only 2 or 3 stitches in it, the hospital had the nerve to try to charge me about $850 for their work. About 30 minutes, they actually spent with him and me. I should have charged them after that ordeal!

I did protest the bill, and I think I ended up paying about $300.
Then there are all the times that I witnessed all the trials that my brothers put my mom through. But I won't list them all here. Not today, anyway.
All this has made me a pretty tough girl.

. . . on the other hand, if the occasional field mouse gets caught in the trap near their favorite point of entry, underneath the wood stove insert . . .

I will call for Isaac or Tanner to come and get rid of it.

. . . there are exceptions to everything, now aren't there?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

RainGutter Ragatta / Bishop's BBQ 2009

This year, due to families with lots of activities and tight schedules, we held the Cub Scout Pack Meeting right before the BBQ. Planned was a Raingutter Regatta, which was a big hit.

And of course, it ran over into the BBQ, but was great entertainment, so no one minded a bit.

Here is Isaac, doing his best.

Blow a little harder!

Isaac had the winning heat!
In the end, Isaac and his really cool boat came in 4th place. Good job, Isaac!
Must have been the passed-out Lego sailor that got him the prize for "Most Realistic"!
Trampoline Time!

By this time, everyone is ready to eat . . . Pot Luck time!

After the races and food, the kids all had a great time just playing in the water
and lots
of people . . .

me & everyone else, chowing down

we had a good turnout . . . cars were lined up and down both sides of our driveway. . .
I hope everyone had a great time! See ya next year!