September 14, 2009

Oh, What Do You Do In the Summertime?.... If You're Lucky, You Go To ALASKA!

On the morning of August 6, 2009, I dropped Hayes off for his trip to Alaska to visit his Aunt Cort, Uncle Mark, and baby cousin he's never met, Ari.  He was so excited.  He took Spence's old mission camera so that he could document the trip (I still haven't gotten them developed...bad mom); luckily, my mom and Cort provided their pictures in CD form...thanks guys!

Here's how it all went down in the words of Hayes:

"Alaska, here we come!"

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"This is one of my favorite pictures.  We found two kinds of berries; red raspberry and blueberry.  They were so good!"


"This is my four-leaf clover.  You can't see it very good.  I guess it's hard to hold something and take a picture at the same time. ha ha!"


"This one's better than the last. I guess I'm lucky...or at least I think I am. ha ha x 1,000!"


"It look's cool. Well I guess it really is...brrr."



"On our way to the trolley, Grandma told me it was a bucket that you would ride across the water.  I thought you would really be in a bucket that was in the water as you pulled yourself across.  But then it ended up being above the water in a safer bucket.  I was scared the first time, but the second time was awesome!"



My Aunt Cort is my mom's little sister. 


Here's me and my grandpa fishing for salmon.


At first it was so hard when the fish was pulling, then I got a routine: reel and pull, reel and pull, reel and pull; then finally the fish got so tired, I just had to reel it in.  By the time we had it out of the water, it didn't even wiggle.  I felt proud.


In this picture, we were going to a marsh.  This is me and my grandma.  There were 13 ducks all in one spot.  We saw three king salmon...they were huge!


This is me and my Uncle Mark.  We were under a mask.  Pay attention to slightly above the mask's chin; there are two whale tales.


My Uncle Mark is giving me his business card.  Now I lost it. It's baby Ari's shift now.


This is at the beach.  I'm out on the mud.  It was so slippery.  I fell down once and I was covered in mud.  I was sinking. It felt so weird. That is actually how I fell, because I was sinking. 


Apparently babies are attracted to shiny things. 


My Uncle Mark is teaching me to play a board game called Risk.  It's so cool.  Once, we played from 6 pm until midnight.  If you look to the side of us, you will see baby Ari chewing on my Bionicle. 


Moose look a lot bigger in person.  His antlers were, for some reason, hairy. 


This is a musk ox.  You can't see its baby right now, but there is one.  One time when the mom was walking side to side, it nearly walked over the baby.  Looks like someone's not paying attention.


These are a lot bigger in person also.  I am standing in front of America's bird.  It's talons are so sharp.


Look at that crazy kid......oh, that's me!











Here's me, my grandma and my grandpa.  I'm so glad they took me to Alaska.  I saw so many cool things.  Thank you Grandma Terry and Papa Bruce.


This is me sitting on the fence watching a float plane take off.  It was so loud. 




September 11, 2009

Finding Hope 9/11

Sorry, you'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom to turn off my music.  You might want to hit play on the video and then pause it and let it load for a while so it doesn't keep stopping to load.

Our First Egg

September 11th, 2009 we got our first egg from our chickens.  Hayes came in and asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hand.  One small, brown egg.  I took a picture of it in Chase's hand because I can't pry it from his vice grip.  Guaranteed it will be broken within the hour...hopefully just not on the carpet.  I was going to try to tie the egg and new life to some parallel with 9/11, but I didn't feel I could do it justice this morning...I've spent the last 2 hours cleaning the worst thing possible....if you know what I mean....out of the carpet in Chase's room... don't even ask!  But I did find a cool video the church put out for 9/11, so I'll post that instead.

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PS....Looks like we're going to fry up the new egg for the ultimate egg lover, Chase.  He's pretty excited

September 9, 2009

The Bends aka OMB (Old Men Band)

The very first time I went to Spence's house (we were 17), he played guitar for me.  He had mastered a few songs, including "Love Song" by Tesla.  It seemed pretty cool to me, but I had no idea how Spence's love of music permeates his life.  He loves both listening to it and playing it.  He can read music and he can  also play by ear.  Hopefully he passed on some of his talented genes to our kids, because they're getting nothing from me.  Spence and his high school friends had a little band for a while.  Spence, Doug Chlarson, Troy Adair, and Ben Heap...I don't think I'm leaving anyone out.  They played "She Shook Me All Night Long" by ACDC and "Stand Up" by DefLeppard at an assembly. Spence took his guitar to college in Indiana and then somehow came up with one on his mission in South Africa.  After we were married, we moved to Utah for Spence to go to BYU.  He hooked up with his good friend Doug again and a couple of other guys and had a band.  They practiced in a storage unit and played gigs around Provo.  This may have had something to do with Spence's poor performance at BYU, but contrary to what he posted on Facebook, he didn't get kicked out.  They even recorded a demo CD which is still fun to listen to.  After BYU, Spence had to get serious about school at NAU, so he never had a band...and surprise, did great in school.  We moved home to St. Johns about six years ago.  With an extra room, Spence was able to dedicate it to his weight set and guitars and amps.  None of us mind his practicing as much anymore with a bigger was just that 500 sq foot box we lived in at NAU. :)  Spence's little brother Trey shares his love of music and guitars, so when they built a nice, finished tack room down in the barn, they had an idea.  Why not make it their "jam" space.  There was extra room and the acoustics were amazingly not bad.  So most of the guitar stuff went down to the barn...yay! When Tyler Platt came home for the summer, they recruited him to sing (even though Trey is a great singer) and their friend BJ Greer decided to take up playing the bass.  They found a guy named Artie Isaacs from Springerville to play the drums, and they've been "The Bends" ever since...about 3 months :) They all enjoy it...for the most part...and it has been a nice stress reliever after work once or twice a week.  BJ's  daughter, Kennedy, dubbed them the Old Man Band...a name which they don't enjoy because, hey, they're not old men; they're just older than they used to be!

Rocking the house at Molly Butler's in Greer.

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Spence says all those years of playing in his bedroom have finally paid off because they got a free steak dinner and $100 split 5 ways out of the deal! :) ha ha

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Alaska Preview

My wonderful parents took Hayes with them to Alaska the week before school started.  They really didn't have a choice since Hayes had been insisting that it was his turn to go ever since my parents took Syd a few years ago. I was loading the pictures that they gave me onto my computer today and couldn't help but post this pic.  It is so Hayes.  He and I are going to sit down (within the week, I PROMISE!) and do a little joint blogging session of his trip. 



OK....just a few more...I don't want to spoil the surprise! I think this pic of my parents is SO CUTE!




Last one I promise. I had to get one of Cort and Ari in too!  (Sorry, Mark; they didn't give me any with all three of you in it!) :(


September 5, 2009

In the name of LOVE

I hate snakes.  Hate them.  They scare me to death.  Normally I would not go anywhere near one.  But if my punks are in danger...I'll do just about anything.  In the past few weeks we found two rattlesnakes down around the barn and one on the side of our house. In all the years we've lived here, we haven't seen any rattlesnakes this close to home.  It scares me to death.  I'm so afraid that one of my boys are going to get bitten.  Especially Chase because I'm afraid he'll happen upon one and fall on it or something.

The first time we found one, we we're opening the north barn door to get hay.  Spence spotted it against the barn in the grass.  I ordered him (I don't usually order him around or try not to anyway :), but this was an emergency) to kill it.  He didn't have a shovel in his truck, so he said he couldn't do it.  For those of you who know Spence, this may have just been a convenient excuse because Spence HATES snakes worse than I do.  I found an axe in the back of the truck and was desperate enough to give it a try.  Images of a snake striking at my kids were flashing through my imagination.  So without getting too close (I have on flip-flops of course), I inch as close as I dare to take a swing.  Being out of practice with an axe (OK, so I was never practiced up with an axe) I try to make my calculations and aim where the head is coiled in the middle of the snake.  I must have miscalculated the length of my arms because I took a big swing and the axe head sunk deep into the ground right past the snake.  It quickly slithered into a hole while I was still trying to get the axe out of the ground.  Ugh.  How as I going to be able to sleep knowing that thing was down at the barn just waiting to get one of us? I was going to be uneasy until I knew it was dead.

A few days passed and I got a call from Spence.  He told me that he and Trey had been down at the barn getting hay and that the wind had swung the barn door shut.  The barn doors are like 20 ft tall and weigh a ton.  The poor, unfortunate snake had at the same moment  been trying to slither under the door and had been trapped with his body on one side and this head sticking out the other.  One fell swoop of the axe by Trey (notice it was Trey who did it and that Spence still didn't have a shovel in his truck) and it was bye-bye Mr. Rattlesnake. It seemed like a miracle.  Yes, I had been praying about that dang snake.  We were safe again.  For now. 

Later that week, Trey calls.  More bad news.  He had been filling up the horses water tank and curled up next to the tank...yep, you guessed it...a rattlesnake.  What was this, an invasion???  I am now really freaked out.  Trey, the good brother-in-law that he is...took care of (and you know what I mean by "took care of") it, but this time I wasn't resting easy.  Now I was worried that we probably had a family of snakes (colony? pack? den? family? not sure here) down at the barn. But at least they were at the barn. I could no longer let Chase play and wander around while we were doing chores...our freedom was taken by these slithering serpents. Several kids came to play that week with Hayes and I didn't let them go down to the barn, which is their favorite thing to do.  We had peace and safety for a week or so.

Then one evening, Spence comes running into the house, "Come quick Kel, Hayes is keeping an eye on a rattlesnake on the side of the house...I'm getting my gun."  "What," I replied, "You're going to shoot it?"  He didn't answer, but I know the truth....anything to keep from getting too close to the snake.  This time, there is no messing around for me.  I pull on my cowboy boots with my shorts and run outside where Hayes is a yard or two from one of the sprinkler trenches "keeping an eye" on the rattlesnake. It hits Hayes and I immediately that shooting the snake in the trench poses a major problem...the water line.  I grab the shovel ( it is... at the house) and inch closer to check it out.  Out comes Spence with the gun.  He angles around (about 12 ft away) and says that he has a shot in which he can hit the head and not the pipe at all.  I tell him I think we can get it with the shovel, but he says some nonsense about the shovel breaking the pipe.  So he takes quick aim and pops off a shot.  Suddenly there is hissing, but it's not from the snake, it's from water spurting out the bullet-sized hole in the water pipe.  The trench is filling up and the poor snake is trying to stretch up to keep it's head above the water. Seeing that the snake is in preoccupied with the water, I get courage and with a swift chop of my shovel,  take the head off the snake.  It give me the willies just writing about it.  Spence runs and shuts off the water main and I pull the snake out of the trench...with the shovel of course.  Upon inspection, we see that along with the water line, Spence did actually nick the snake in the side, so he was a goner either way.  Spence buried the head and I headed into the house to get my camera to get some pictures. We were all feeling pretty good about things with the venomous head buried in the ground.  Hayes, who is the least afraid of all of us, posed for some pics.  The headless snake was still writhing and coiling itself around Hayes's arm.  Creepy. 

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By the look on Hayes's face, the snake must have been moving when I took this shot.  If you look down by the rattles, you can see where Spence hit it with the 22.

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Well that was a lot of fun.  We all head into the house.  Dinner had not burned and I get back to work on it.  While I'm cooking, Spence decides to look up "how to skin a snake" on the internet.  This is the man who wouldn't get within ten feet of it before.  Hayes brings in the snake and puts it somewhere in the laundry room.  I found out later that he had set it on top of the dryer and that the dead body had moved around and deposited blood out of its neck all over it.  Hayes quickly moved it into the sink...much better.   So after dinner, Hayes spreads out some newspaper ready to skin the snake.  He reads the article online and is ready to go. By this time, Spence's interest in the snake has waned (something on TV has taken precedence)  and Hayes is getting upset.  Spence keeps saying his famous words...."get it ready and I'll be right there" this point Hayes and I both know what that means.  We can't tell you the number of times we've heard Spence say, "Go start the car and I'll be right there"  and then waited in the car for 15 minutes while he finishes getting ready.  So I decide it's up to me.  Besides, the snake is now dead and I'm not afraid of it anymore.  This is my kind of thing...dissecting things.  So we get started.

The bullet hole gave us a convenient place to start.

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Spence did actually help us some, so I won't give him the complete bad guy wrap.  After slicing all the way up the belly, I held one end with a paper towel so it wouldn't slip and Hayes pulled of the skin.  It was moving and coiling the whole time.

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Once we got the skin off, Hayes started inspecting the "guts".  We quickly found that not only was the dead still moving two hours after we had cut the head off, but the heart was also beating. 

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The boys had read online that if you're not going to tan the skin right away, you should roll it up on itself and then freeze it until you're ready.  I took this pic of the skin and rattles.  I thought it was perfect that the newspaper underneath had a picture of a lady with her hands over her mouth in surprise or fear.

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So now whenever anyone comes over for dinner, we pull the snake skin out of the freezer and have a little show and tell session.  And each time in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, please let this be the last rattlesnake we have to skin.  I don't want to have to kill anymore...but if I have to to keep my punks safe, I will.  The things we do for love.

Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails....That's what little boys are made of!

Chase loves, loves, loves the puppies.  What are we going to do when they are gone???  One guy came and picked up Luke yesterday.  And Mike and Maren took Lou Lou, but luckily we are puppy-sitting her for the weekend while they are in Texas. Then we will just be left with JD, who is already spoken for by our good friend Troy Adair and his four little kiddos. The first words out of Chase's mouth every morning when he wakes up are "tiny...puppies" and he jumps down out of bed and heads for the front door.  The animals are so good for him.  Most days he can be found out with the puppies or out by the chicken coup.  Today for entertainment he let the kitty in  (he does this about 10 times a day), then he chases him into one of the rooms and shuts the door behind them so that he can corner him and "love" him.  I used to think it was torture to the cat, but when I was watching today, I noticed that the cat just stays close and doesn't try to get away.  Thank goodness for patient animals.

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Stitch, the kitten, with her pals Lou Lou and JD (Boss Hog)

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Chase always has a shiner or some other injury.  Even a big gash looks good on you when you have lashes like that.

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Luke Duke.  I had to include this pic to show you the floating pepper in the dog's water that earlier in the day was attached to a chili plant and was just ripening....till Chase came along.

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The running of the chickens.

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I had to put up this photo for my boys.  Such a cutie-pie.  Mike and Maren renamed her Sugar.  We're so glad she's going to be close by.  We tried teaching her to sit today.  We had great success with JD, but she takes after he mama goes from standing to belly-up on her back any time we try to get her to sit.  It may be easier to teach her to lie down...that's what we ended up doing with Daisy.  Mike and Maren have watched a lot of Dog Whisperer though, so they might be more successful! I think anything is possible if we were able to train Daisy not to kill chickens AFTER she had her first taste. (just one though :)

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