Tuesday, July 24, 2012

For Grandma Stanger

Remember how I gave Leia a buzz cut back about a year ago?  I had done it because Evan cut off her biggest chunk of hair on top of her head, and all she had left were these clown pieces sticking out over each ear.  So a family member said to buzz it and it would grow in faster and thicker and all equally.  So I tried it.

I can't say if it was the right thing to do or not.  She only now has some bits of hair again, and as you can see in the above picture- they are pretty sparse.

But Leia found the package of hair things from Grandma Stanger and had to have them in her hair.  She has four more "ponytails" in the back that you can't see.  And she screamed at me when I told her I couldn't put any more in.

Then she walks around saying "Pretty!"

Our great youth

 Just wanted to mention that we had a Stake wide youth conference here this last weekend, and I was so impressed with the wonderful youth and leaders of our stake.  The kids had an amazing time doing service, repelling, swimming, playing, having devotionals, dinners and dancing.  It was held over three days during which time they all camped together at a place not far from my home.  The most impressive feat was their walk to the temple.  They walked 12 miles down the face of the Sandia mountain range all the way to the Albuquerque temple.  It was so hot and difficult, and yet look at their faces after it was over!  They learned that they can do hard things and that no sacrifice is to much to make it to the temple. 
Most inspiring was one of the young men on our ward who had just recovered from an infection and broken leg.  He limped the whole way down, in a lot of pain, and I was thinking if I were his mother I would not have let him go, but he wanted to and there was no stopping him.  We were all in tears about that.  By the time they got off the mountain and onto the city streets they could see only the top of the temple, which of course is the angel Moroni.  They were so overcome that many started running.

It seems like our ward may end up combining with another ward soon, and I am happy about that since we have been losing some of our youth and struggling with small numbers. But the ones we have are strong.  They are constantly an example to me, and I wish I had been as amazing as that when I was young.

Such a loser- a tooth loser!

 E lost one of his front top teeth and then two days later lost the other front top tooth!  He looks and talks so different- it's pretty funny.  Oh, and we went to a baseball game on free tickets from work.  I got to meet a lot of Pat's co-workers and I liked them A LOT!


 I haven't been cooking much lately that's notable.  But this nights dinner was fan-tab-u-lous.   Fettucine alfredo pasta, with roasted vegetables on the side.  I used red and green bell peppers, red and white onion, mushrooms, green onion, cauliflower- whatever I had in the fridge.  I washed and sliced them all into big pieces and then put them all on a cookie sheet tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of balsamic vinegar for a little sweet tang.  Delicious!
Remember that peach tree that had blossoms all over it in the springtime, but then because of where we live it got covered in snow? I figured it had frozen and was dead, but it just made it!  It's not even 6' tall, but it did an amazing job!!  I am truly unable to believe this happened!  Below is a picture of all the baby peaches we had to remove early on since it had way too many on the tree.
And we were blessed with this many peaches (about 40 total) and they were sooooo good!!!!  They were all eaten in less than 24 hours.  I didn't even have time to think about freezing or canning.  Guess we all needed some peaches!
Miracle in the high desert for sure.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Little swimmer

After watching her brothers take swim lessons, this little swimmer wanted in on the action.
Here she is holding her nose.
Putting her face in.
And quickly wiping water off! 
She was so proud of herself!

Update by Pat: We went to a public pool yesterday and she could not keep still.  She asked me to go underwater with her half a dozen times, kept leaping away from me and choking on water but then doing it again.  She would push off and hold onto the side of the pool by herself and then push back and flounder towards me and she just loved it all!


Someone stole my camera, and took all these pictures.  Can you guess who?

Here's a clue.  In this picture, I had taken the camera back, and they are begging to have it again.

Are you figuring out who has the camera?

Visiting with our neighbor.
One of the most beautiful things about living here is the big sky!  That's the swingset/playhouse we were given below.

If you guessed Sam had the camera, you were correct.

Now to another day.  Dallas loves to cook, and we were trying some Indian food.  He made these Banana Puris which is a sweet treat.  We liked it very much!  Here's the link:  http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2011/10/24/banana-puri-kela-ke-puri/
We took D shoe shopping again, even though we just bought him new shoes 2  months ago.  He had worn them in half!  He and I are now only 1/2 size apart, which means in about 6 months his feet will be the same size or bigger than mine!  He's not even 10 yet!  I am very impressed with D lately.  He's been doing great teaching piano to his brothers, and being polite and kind to everyone.  He is growing up!  (Sigh).  Yesterday we were at the mall and as we were walking he'd hold my hand or walk with our arms draped around each other and I told him he's not allowed to grow since he is the perfect height for my arm.  But he told me his is going to grow.  Darn it.

S and E made this robot.  I was hoping it was going to do all my dishes, but no such luck.  It just shuffles around.  In this picture E is the robot.  He is so funny.  He just lost his first front top tooth and he knew it was time, and told his dad to pull it.  And just like before he said, "Ow", in a totally bored voice and it was done!  He looks so different now.  It's quite funny.
I really love each of my kids so much.  I've been wondering lately about why Heavenly Father wants me to home school again.  A lot of my kids friends are going to the new charter school, and that I love what they're teaching there, and when I called to dis-enroll, they told me how unlikely it will be to ever get in again easily, since they have limits and any open spots go to siblings.  As much as it made me sad to hear that, I was confident in my decision.  It makes me wonder what is in store for us.  Maybe my kids will have to homeschool someday and need to know how.  Maybe many people will have to, and they need to have someone to show them that they can do it.  Maybe they'll open up a school of their own in Africa and need to know how.  Maybe God just wants me to learn the lessons in patience and love that I learn each year.  Or maybe I'm dying soon and he wants me to spend time with them before I go.  I mean who knows?  Maybe it's just the testimonies they're building and things I have planned this year that he thinks are really important.  The truth is I don't know, but I trust in the Lord that he's is having me do it for a wise purpose, even if I won't know that purpose for a time.  But the why has been troubling me lately.  I am excited, but also nervous about what God has in store.


It was too early in the morning for this picture.
Living where we do, we normally don't get visitors, so I was very happy when my life long friend Sarah stopped over here with her wonderful family.  She lives in Texas now, and they were traveling to Utah and back and we just happen to be a good in-between stopping point.  We realized we hadn't seen each other for about 6 years since we lived in Utah together!  We've been being boring, but she has been all over Europe since her husband is in the military.  He's a major.  That is so cool!

Our kids all had a lot of fun playing together and we hope to see them more often now that they are at least in the right country!  Carlsbad caverns, The Alamo, etc.  It's going to be so fun!  I want to call her old because she has a son that is a teenager, but then I have to remind myself that I'm three days older!

We don't have much room, and unfortunately they had to sleep on a tiny, uncomfortable futon, but the kids all had fun sleeping in the tent.  They left early the next morning since they still had a full days driving, but it was good to see them and glad they got home safe!  Sarah and her husband Jeff are amazing people, and we are blessed to call them friends.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just got 6 cords of wood delivered to get us through the coming winter, and the boys have gone out everyday to stack without anyone asking them.  We'll be stacking wood for days.

Yesterday, as I was preparing to read to the boys at bedtime I found a single chicken egg right in the middle of the hallway.  I called the boys to gather 'round and asked if they saw something wrong or something out of place.  They saw the egg.  So then I asked, and how did it get here?  Unfortunately, I never did get a straight answer to that question, because they began telling me that a chicken must have got in and laid it there, and all sorts of other crazy stories, including Sam claiming that he laid it.

By the way, the book we just finished was called 'Sign of the Beaver' which was about a family of European settlers on Indian land who become friends and we loved it.  Now we are reading the Illiad and Oddessy (shortened, but still it's a big book) because it was Sam's turn to choose and that's what he wanted.  So every night I read to them about the Gods and the bloody battles and wonder what good is going to come of this.

So our piano teacher quit on us, and now only Dallas has lessons (with a lady I met in the community).  I therefore put Dallas in charge of teaching his brothers their 1/2 hour lesson weekly for a very reduced rate, and hoping it works out.  Dallas needs more practicing anyway, and they are all songs he used to know.

I felt bad leaving Sam out so I put him in charge of being our personal trainer, and making us follow our exercise schedule for a small weekly fee.  So at 10am everyday they have to be done playing and done with chores and we all have to exercise.  Each day it's something different.  Monday is just a ballet video we do.  Tuesday's is pilates and I have the list of 20 exercises printed out for him to follow.  Wednesday we just turn on music and dance.  Thursday we play soccer or swim.  Friday is a break for piano lessons.  Saturday is our running day.  Since summer started and it's been so hot, I have been feeling very little motivation to exercise, so maybe with the promise of payment, our personal trainer will get us going.  He is a very SILLY instructor however.  If you can see past that, you might get some good exercise. He likes to say MUSH! MUSH! (Like an Alaskan dog race) and pretends to crack a whip over us. < br />
Also our bunny housing has got to be bumped up quickly.  The family that gave us our bunny, had to move suddenly, and we ended up with 5 more bunnies.  So now we have one male, 2 moms, and 3 babies.  They are meat rabbits and so we have to learn how to do all that.  Hey, it's a learning experience.  If you think we're crazy, I'm sorry.  It's a lot of work, but if I could, I would have a cow and heck, a whole farm!  It makes you incredibly self sufficient and makes for a much healthier diet.  I wouldn't think of it if it was just me, but will all these boys... I think it would be great for them.  Just really hard to go on vacation.

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th of July

We had a fun (but slightly cold) 4th of July.  Suddenly mid-day, the sky got dark and the wind began to blow, and we got a bit of rain.  Fireworks were restricted a bit so we only did smoke bombs and sparklers.  But we had a last minute party and invited the Paynes and the Bushmans over along with our neighbor Warren and it was a great time!  I learned so much from all of them, and our kids had fun playing together.  We had a little baby pool set up and fresh sand for the sandbox which they enjoyed.  Great food, huge variety of ice-cream bars, and cute kids!
I was so impressed with our neighbor.  He is like family to us and he doesn't get nervous about going to a party of people he doesn't know.  He just gives hugs freely and I was so glad Dallas went over and invited him.  He is part of a motorcycle gang who tours around the country welcoming home those who have been injured or killed at war.  He looks like he's in a motorcycle gang too.  I don't think they actually interfere with the family at all, they just stay in the background so that they know that someone cares about their sacrifice.  Warren fought in the Vietnam war and has seen it all, bless his heart.  He works with Pat, or at least at the same place.

Before I forget I have to say something that happened at girls camp that made me so happy!  My cooking crew was made up of one 20 year old, one bishop, and one woman who just became a grandma, and me.  Whenever the people that ran the camp would come and talk to us, they'd always pick the older ones- figuring they were in charge.  Then they had to point me out so they could come and talk to me.  One of them said, "Her?  She doesn't look like she's old enough to be in the kitchen, much less in charge of it!"   (Totally made my day.)

Yesterday I was at a guitar store getting a string repaired and the guy doing it said something about my sorry guitar, and I said I'd had it since I was sixteen, so a LONG time ago.   He then said, "It couldn't have been that long ago."  (Again, totally made my day.)

I realize I have yet to write about girls camp.  Part of it is because I have so much to write, but not a single picture.  I had no time to take pictures.  So hopefully I'll get some soon.  Pictures make a post so much better.  And yes, I failed to take any of the 4th of July party!  Lame.