Thursday, July 31, 2008

First Family Camping Trip

We left Thursday afternoon for the mountains in Garden Valley (about 45 min North of our home in Meridian). We were ALL very excited to get away together and enjoy a little nature and outdoors. This was not only our FIRST family camping trip, but it was also our FIRST trip with "The Beast" (our Excursion) with our own homemade biodiesel fuel. It makes the trip that much more fun, when we hardly had to pay anything to go.
Here we are, setting up camp and getting situated in the absolutely most perfect spot, right next to the river in a beautiful, private little clearing. Geoff and Justin built a fire and set up the tent, while I chased Max everywhere he shouldn't go...into the river, by the fire, into the stickery bushes, etc.
We made a dutch oven dinner with potatoes, carrots, onions and hamburger. It was yummy. Then we put some peach & raspberry cobbler on the coals to cook, while we went exploring and on a little hike.
On this hike, Geoff reminded me so much of a deer...
He amazes me. It doesn't matter how difficult the terrain, how steep the hill, or how heavy the load, Geoff moves gracefully like a deer. He never slips, trips or slides. He scales a fence, tree stumps, barriers with no apparent effort. At one point, the hill was so steep going down, I was concerned about getting the kids down safely. Geoff put Justin on his shoulders and Max in his arms, and bounded down the hill without a second thought...gracefully, just like a deer. He is so strong, capable, and confident. I never have to worry when he is around. Of course, I stumbled my way down wishing there were room somewhere on the deer for me to ride too. Amazing!The trail was covered with the most beautiful wild flowers. Eventually, we ended up at a little hot springs which had been totally revamped since Geoff had been there a couple of months ago. According to Geoff, previously it had been a nice warm mud hole. Now it was this peaceful, beautiful and soothing hot spring tub. It was SO AWESOME!
The air was cool and crisp, but the hot spring was toasty warm. Geoff and I could have stayed there for a very long time!!!! Max loved it and Justin managed to get his legs in.

We headed back to camp just in time for a very delicious cobbler. It was late and Max went right to sleep. We all followed shortly there after. Max and Justin slept great, and Geoff and I suffered greatly trying to keep Max happy and comfortable and Justin warm. And of course by the time we got it figured out, it was 6am-- and Max was ready to go!

I started the morning fire with the help of a little fire fluid, and made breakfast--pancakes, eggs and orange juice. Geoff is such an organized and clean camper. He had everything we needed and knew exactly where everything was. It's easy to see that here, out in the middle of no where, Geoff is in his element. He makes it so fun for all of us.
After breakfast, we cleaned up camp, explored, threw rocks of the bridge (Max's favorite activity) and went to the Hot springs again. It felt so good to take a nice warm bath and head home clean!
On the way home we pulled over at a couple watch points along the way and watched some rafters maneuver through the rapids. This area is stunningly beautiful.

At one point, we cross the river over an older bridge. Geoff said, "Anyone want to jump off the bride?" Silence. None of us wanted to make the jump, but we ALL wanted to watch Geoff make the jump. After some negotiations with Justin, the deal was made, and here is the jump.

Never a dull moment. What a blast. We had so much fun, and are all ready talking about our next trip. WHY did we wait so long to start this great tradition?

Justin's memorable quotes for the trip were:

"Dad sure knows a lot about 'livin', doesn't he mom!!"

"Mom, you're the REAL cook in this family!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Elijah!

Yesterday, Elijah had a birthday and turned 8 years old. He received a new bike. Tonight, he and his parents came over and gave his other bike to Justin. Justin LOVES it. It was definitely time for a bigger bike. What a perfect surprise!!!! Happy Birthday Elijah!

Eagle Island

Not to be confused with ROCK Island, Eagle Island is a completely different place that we've heard about, but had never been to until today. It's just up the street and PERFECT for kids. It's basically Rock Island without the rocks. There are lots of trees for shade, a huge beach area, lots of shallow water to play in, and a big playground. We all loved it--another great discovery.

Elijah Trent joined us for the party. He's a great boy and a wonderful friend for Justin.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Day after

I can hardly move. Every inch of my body is SO SORE! Wish I could say I was able to do this today, but no such luck. My memory tells me that the 2nd day is the worst. Let's hope so.

This is TRUE LOVE!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Justin's Explanation about Oakley

Justin gave this explanation to his friend Elijah regarding Oakley & MCAD, "Well Oakley was missing the instructions in his body to tell him how to process his fat. I am the healthiest in my family because I have two good genes which give good instructions. Feel all my fat. (He gave Elijah a pinch of his arm) When I don't have food to eat, my genes can tell my body how to use this fat. I'm pretty lucky. Oakley was missing the instructions because he had two bad genes, and so when he got sick and couldn't eat, he died."

I was amazed at his understanding of MCAD! This is one of those conversations I really wish I had a recorder for.

Peach Shortcake

Justin was in charge of refreshments for Family Night. He really wanted to make a cake. So he perused through my recipe books, and decided on Shortcake. He made the entire cake (starting from grinding the flour) mostly by himself, with a bit of Geoff's guidance. He reads a recipe and measures much better than I do--no doubt! He did a great job, and honestly, it was the BEST shortcake I've ever had. Good Job Justin!

Geoff gave a great lesson about Blessings, and then we played one of my favorite family games...Blokus. Another great night together.

10-year Anniversary Month of Celebration Begins!

This coming August, Geoff and I will celebrate 10 years together. Originally, we thought we would celebrate this event on some exotic island together, but since neither of us can leave Max and Justin for longer than a day, and since we're not exactly growing money on our rental tree out back, we thought we would celebrate here at home instead. We will celebrate all month long, with gifts from the heart (in Geoff's language that means "free") gifts mean something important to each other.

So my first gift to Geoff is to get back on an effective exercise program. When the occasion permits, I want to be able to climb one of those 14,000 feet mountains with him (which He REALLY WISHES I could do). Geoff volunteered to be my trainer, and so it ends up that we work out together from 6-7 in the morning. Geoff is also returning the same gift to me.

This morning was fun! I must say, however, Geoff has no mercy! He is bound to have me doing REAL MAN push-ups before the month is over. I'm in for a lot of hard work, and going to my absolute limit.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Max the Baker

Max did a great job to help Geoff help me make cookies. He is so observant, and wants to participate in everything we do. It's so cute.

We took these cookies to Jack and Wendy Trent's home and had Family Home Evening with them. Their son Elijah is one of Justin's good friends, and their two daughters are great babysitters! They are a GREAT family and have become good friends! (I forgot to bring my camera).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catching Tadpoles

Yep, Rock Island once again. We went a couple times this week. Justin brought a ziplock, and tried catching some tadpoles. He was able to catch two!! Earlier in the week, we caught a frog at our neighbors house which provided us mounds of entertainment before we took him to our lake. We all love being outside...especially in the lake while it has been so hot. On our latest trip to Rock Island, Justin and his friend Elijah built quite a large dam--they worked pretty hard on it together for several hours. They were trying to "Stop the current!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Skate Park

We passed a new skate park on the way home, and the boys wanted to check it out. Justin & Max LOVED watching all the skateboarders, and I must admit they are quite talented and entertaining to watch as long as you stay ears distance away. I always especially wonder what goes through Justin's head as he watches.

We also played on the playground. They had the PERFECT size playground for Max that he could maneuver all by himself. He was so proud and so happy. Justin played with him for a bit then took him over to the big playground and down the huge slide. Justin is SOOOO GOOD to Max, and Max loves Justin. Despite their age difference, they really have loads of fun together.

I'm in LOVE!

Geoff and I made a goal to cycle through our food storage dried beans better this year. After a bit of research, we decided to purchase this electric pressure cooker. I tried it for the first time tonight, and i am IN LOVE! It took me only one pan (the pressure cooker) and 20 minutes to make split pea soup, rather than the 3 pans and 3 hours it normally takes to cook this recipe. The texture was perfect, and was completed on a timer. I am so excited to use this more and really become an expert bean and grain cooker. HURRAY!

Zarahemla in Meridian

I woke up this morning and found my table still set up from last night's events--a mess! and not usually how I like to start the morning, but this morning it warmed my heart. Our Family night last night was so simple and so fun. After our traditional homemade veggie pizza, I gave the lesson on Missionary Work. Justin and Geoff each drew a picture for Justin's cousin Ryan Ricks who is on a mission in Russia while I read Parley P. Pratt's conversion story. Then we jumped on the trampoline for a bit (Justin was games), after which we played Zarahemla. I didn't stand a chance of victory as together, the boys plotted against me, but I love playing games together as a family. Geoff was refreshments tonight which as Justin said, "That means POPCORN!" We love Family Nights!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Signs of Max

After putting Max down for a nap, I came downstairs and saw so many "evidences" that Mas was there. All of the following pictures are completely unstaged--and quite normal occurances in our household many times throughout each day.
Max love my wheat grinder and loves to open the lid and lick the powder left in the hopper. Of course, he ALWAYS leaves an obvious trail!

Justin keeps a bin in his bedroom of all the paper airplanes he makes throughout the year. Max loves to get in that bin and fly Justin's airplanes, so I am ALWAYS picking up paper airplanes. Last night, the boys had a paper airplane "war" with Geoff. They tried to fly all the planes in the bedroom before Geoff could fly them back out. Quite funny to watch.

Max loves to get into my bathroom drawer and arrange my fingernail polish on our bath tub. It's funny, because I don't use polish much these days, but at least Max has something to entertain him while I get ready in the morning.

Yes, Max is in the "Shoe Stage"... I find shoes EVERYWHERE in our house, and usually in the most unsuspecting places. His favorites are the tub and the trash can.

These beans I actually put outside in a container for Max and Justin to play with, with their tractors. These days, there is not much that stays as it should.

Here is Justin's Math cubes, scattered on the floor and in his homework bowl. Lately, this has been one of Max's favorite activities. My job is to put them back together in time for him to disassemble and scatter them again.

This may seem a nightmare to some--certainly to the mom who hopes for a clean and orderly home. We have no hope here and so we don't even try. Maybe in about 2 more years. Max is so adorable, it's fun to watch him explore.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dirt hunt

Justin wanted to take his tractors and find a good dirt pile. We went to a lot a few block away that was just excavated for a basement. It was like discovering gold...the mounds of dirt were huge and plentiful. To add to the excitement, there were a couple of tractors completing some work. We planted ourselves in the dirt, watched the tractors, and played with our own.

I had to laugh at the look of us on our ride home. Literally, we looked like ghosts. Max was covered with dirt from head to foot, inside and out (he ate a good portion of the dirt). He is actually wearing dark blue jeans and dk blue sandals.

This was one of those fun yet productive days. I actually felt like I accomplished something. We (the boys and I) made bread and granola, changed all the sheets on the beds, gave Justin his first official art lesson (FUN!), shopped a clearance sale at ShopKo for school supplies and next year's clothes for Justin, and played in the dirt. If only all days could be like unto this one!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mask Fun

Justin finished reading Amelia Bedillia Bookworm and then decided to make a mask similar to one he read about. I love Justin's creations that he comes up with all on his own. I got such a kick out of his mask. What talent!

Gold Mining Adventure

This morning we left the house at 8am to pick up Dylan Leman, and then drove to downtown Boise to the Museum of Mining & Geology for a Gold Mining Camp. There we met Karen & Bob Wright, Colton and his nephew and about 15 other kids.

This is an archeology dig. They learned about Idaho's Gem's, fossils & minerals, and all about Gold mining in Idaho.
After lunch, we hiked a small mountain to get black soil to help in the gold panning, then back to the museum to try out what they learned.
Not exactly what I had pictured...down in a creek bed with our pant legs rolled up, with tin pie pans in hand digging through the dirt. But this method worked okay.

They all came home with a little gold dust. We were all hoping to find a little bit more to solve our financial woes. It was an interesting afternoon. We will be doing some more Gold panning at home with the bag Justin brought home.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Many of the kids in our Community have been practicing for this summer night mini-production of "A MidSummer Night's Dream."
After a long day home schooling, playing at the park and in the swimming in the pool, we came home to eat, and flew off again down the street to Crosby Park where the Community Gazebo is.

The production was absolutely adorable. Justin and Max BOTH loved it. I would pay money to see it again tomorrow night! The kids were SOOOO cute.

Many of Justin's new friends were stars of the play. His Good friend Elijah Trent was the King.

Justin's comment afterwards was, "That was very cool. But, if they ever ask me to do that, I will say 'NO WAY!!!'"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

While Geoff was away...Snake River Stampede

Geoff had to go to CA for work...we took him to the airport this afternoon. Although he will only be gone for a day, we already miss him.

I thought I might take a make-up break while he was away, but as Justin and I were getting ready to leave for the Snake River Stampede, Justin looked at me and said, "Don't you want to put some of that stuff on your eyes that makes your lashed longer and darker? And some pretty red lipstick?"... No breaks for me! So here we are at one of the 10 biggest Rodeos in the the nation...mascara, lipstick and all.

We went with Todd and Daisey McCauley and their family. They are a dynamic family and very good friends. It was a fun evening.

These are the "riders" lit up with lights moving very quickly. Justin's favorite event was the half time show with some funny clowns.
Personally I LOVE rodeos. The events are fun to watch, and I enjoy watching the cowboy crowds. I only wish I had some good boots to wear!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Darn Tooth!

Justin spent most of the day wiggling his front tooth, after a horrifying appointment at the dentist. A few days ago Geoff and I noticed that the tooth NEXT to his front tooth coming in seemed a little big. It ends up that the tooth next to his BABY front tooth IS his front tooth!!! The dentist wanted to pull the baby tooth immediately, but it about put Justin into a state of trauma--he HATES having his gums nummed. So we have an appointment this Thursday to have it pulled, or in his mind, he has 2 days to "get that darn tooth out!"

Geoff and I are hoping he gets it out as it will save us $120. Go Justin!