Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Creek-side Walk in the Rain

I've been trying to learn more about how to utilize Photoshop, so I downloaded today's pictures into a little slideshow for you. Blogger downsized the file to put it on the web so the picture quality is not the best in full screen mode, but it's fine if you watch it as it appears in the blog. The song is called "Down to the River to Pray" by Alison Krauss. Enjoy!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Raising a Giant

I took my son to the doctor this week for his yearly sports physical.  After his height and weight were measured, we found out that he is still in the 99th percentile for his height.  He has steadily kept this growth curve since birth and has never veered from it so I wasn't really surprised.  But what DID shock me was what I found out next.
The doctor told me that if he stays on this curve until maturity, they estimate that he will be 6 foot 6 inches tall!!!

I nearly swallowed my gum.  I just couldn't believe it. I walked out of that office in a complete daze.  The only thing I could see were dollar signs.

How much does it cost to feed a young giant? The boy eats non-stop already and I'm pretty sure he has a hollow leg because despite my best efforts, he doesn't have an ounce of fat on him. His weight is in the 73rd percentile yet I can see every rib on his body. The food must go directly to bone growth.

Whether he reaches that vast height or not, one thing's for certain, he's only got 7 inches to grow before he's taller than his momma and he's not even ten years old yet.

Some people stock up the pantry for hard times or the economic collapse of the country.  I'm going to start stocking up for my son's next growth spurt.  It's the only way to prepare for the massive devastation that could be coming to my wallet.

Raising a gentle giant,


Side note: We've never signed our boy up for basketball because we have a gravel driveway and nowhere for him to practice dribbling.  Now I'm starting to think this may have been a bad move on our part. LOL!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fabric Flower Tutorial and Hair Accessory Swap

Fabric Flowers are all the rage around these parts, and the girls in my house love to wear them in their hair. That's why I'm so excited to share this post with you.

I've been invited to attend a "Hair Accessory Swap", and these are the flowers I made to trade.  Ten ladies each commit to making ten hair accessories that all look identical.  Then, we'll have a little get-together to exchange them so that at the end of the party, we'll bring home ten completely different hair accessories.  Doesn't that sound like fun?!!

OK, here's how I made them...they are so easy.

  Step 1- Cut out 4 sizes of circles in satin type fabric (100% Polyester). My largest circle was 3".
               Cut out one small rectangle and 1 hour glass shape ( no larger than the smallest circle)
               Cut out 3 sizes of circles in tulle of a coordinating color, and one rectangle for a tuft.

Step 2: cut 5 slits in each satin circle.

Step 3- Using a small flame, melt all of the edges of the fabric to create the look of flower petals.  Be careful not to get the fabric too close or it will burn. Also melt the edges of the rectangle and hour glass shapes so they won't fray.
This is what they will look like when complete.

Step 4- Stack the petals with a layer of tulle between each layer of satin to add more dimension.  Place the hour glass shaped petal in the center and then a coordinating button on top.  Fold the rectangle of tulle into an accordion shape and place it under the flower. Sew the button through all of the layers to hold them together.

Step 5- Using a hot glue gun, glue the rectangle of satin to the back to cover the thread.  Next, glue on a hair clip, or lapel pin to the top of the rectangle.

The finished product can be worn in the hair or on a blouse.  Each one took me less than 20 minutes, and my total cost for all ten of them was less than $4.00.

I can't wait to see the other creative ideas at the hair accessory swap! I'm so excited!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh, to have the Metabolism of a Hummingbird!

Every morning I wake up to the sounds of a plethora of hummingbirds dive- bombing our feeders on the back porch. The chirping and trilling whistle of wings in flight even drowns out the chickens. Sleeping in late is virtually impossible in the summer months, thanks to these feisty little birds.

The Broad Tailed hummingbirds  with red throats are usually the first to arrive in late April, and  I put my feeders up at the first hummingbird sighting in the backyard.  Things stay rather peaceful at the feeders until the aggressive Rufous hummingbirds arrive on the scene in July. Those little guys are all about drama!  They are soooo territorial that they sit perched in the honeysuckle vines next to the feeders and try to fight off every other bird that comes in for nectar.  The battles that ensue are reminiscent of  the dog-fights that jets have in the movie "Top Gun". It's terribly entertaining to watch in the early morning and late evening hours.

 This little bird flew into our house yesterday and couldn't find it's way out, so I caught it in the window sill.  For a brief moment it stayed perched on my finger until it remembered how to fly again.

Hummingbirds are one of God's most fascinating little creatures!  Here are some fun facts to share:

They are the tiniest birds in the world!

Their heart can beat up to 1,260 times per minute. That's 21 times per second!  When resting, the heart beats 250 times per minute.

Because of their fast heartbeat and tiny size, the hummingbird has a mighty metabolism.  If humans had the metabolism of a hummingbird, we would have to consume 155,000 calories a day to survive! That's 77 times the amount that humans eat!

The hummingbirds wings beat an average of 70 times per second, but that can increase to over 200 times per second when they're diving.  This is why they can hover in air and fly forwards, backwards, sideways, and even upside down.

A hummingbird can fly 25-30 miles an hour.

They eat an average of 7 times per hour for 30-60 seconds each time, and can eat up to 8 times their body- weight each day.

The hummingbird can visit up to 1,000 flowers per day in search of nectar.

I can't even begin to tell you about their fascinating ability to hibernate in a state of Torpor every night.  You must research this amazing trait that allows them to survive without food over- night.

I think hummingbirds are compact little fire-balls full of heart and determination, and that's why I love them so much!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When I Get the Urge To Sway

Alright, I'm just gonna throw this out there because there's no other way to do it.

Sometimes... I feel like I should be a member of an amazing black church where the choir members wear matching  robes and sing glorious renditions of hymns and gospel music that you can't help but sway along with. I just really want to be a part of  some choreographed clap and sway music for Jesus. It's where I always thought my calling was.

But Jesus had another plan for my life. A plan that did not include me being a choir member in a rockin' black church where the pastor uses a handkerchief to wipe the sweat from his brow while he's preaching the gospel with shouts of affirmation coming from the congregation. I've seen it all on T.V.  I know how cool it is.

There are a few challenges that stand in my way of realizing this life-long dream.  First of all, I attend a small mountain church in Arizona, and I know without a doubt that the Lord has called us to be there, which means that He hasn't called me to be in a black church....yet.

Secondly, I'm one of the few toe tappers in Sunday morning praise and worship. There are a few hand raisers, some clappers, and about a dozen other swayers, but we're in the minority. Some people just don't "feel it" if you know what I mean. It might even scare the old -timers. I don't know... I'm just guessing.

The third and most important challenge that is keeping me from my dream is the fact that I have absolutely no singing skills whatsoever.  Don't get me wrong, I can carry a tune and sing along with the radio.  I'm not a horrible singer, I'm just untrained.  Very untrained.  In fact, I would be paralyzed with fear if I had to do some sort of solo on stage at church. What I'm trying to say is that I'm no Aretha Franklin by any stretch of the imagination. And you must have a soulful voice to sing in a black choir. Getting my "singing voice" in heaven is one of the  things I look forward to the most.  I always tell my husband, "When I get to heaven, I'm going to have the voice of an angel!" I imagine it coming in the way it does for Aerial in the Little Mermaid.  Once it comes to me, I can join the choir in heaven and sing Holy, Holy Holy. It would be even cooler if it came to me before I got to heaven so I could sing with my husband. We could belt out love ballads to Jesus and sing duets together like Todd Agnew and Rebecca St. James sing "Our Great God".

The one thing I do have is rhythm.  I've even got clapping skills. I've got moves too. So how have I attended a church with a low score on the swaying scale all of this time and got away with busting out moves for Jesus? It's simple: I hold small children, and sit in the back.  Babies are a secret weapon. No one will question a mother who sways to the music with her baby or toddler. Whatever it takes to keep a child quiet in church is not questioned. I've swayed and clapped with my kids for nearly 10 years now.  The problem is that my "baby" is nearly six now.  She's getting too big to hold on my hip.  I'm at a cross-roads.  I must either have more babies to praise Jesus with, or go against the grain and bust out in the lone sway. Don't get me wrong...there are no "movement police" at my church, and there will be no church discipline for the "swayers".  I just feel slightly more active in worship than some folks at church. That's not a bad thing if I sit in the back.  I wouldn't want to be a distraction.

So until I'm called to move to the South, and God sends down my angel voice, I'll just have to be content to sing southern gospel songs in the truck and the shower.  But baby on the hip or not, I'm gonna sway for Jesus 'til the cows come home.

Always praising Jesus with a choir robe in my mind,


Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Scorching Hot in Phoenix, Arizona!

Today was the first day of our state homeschool convention. It's held in down-town Phoenix at the Convention July.  So basically we drove from our mountain oasis where it was a heavenly78 degrees, and we entered the blistering hot valley where it is a hellish 114 degrees. It's "melt your face off " hot.  Just walking from the parking garage to the convention center will roast your skin to a leathery crisp.'s a "dry" heat.

 Yeah. Whatever.

Right now you're probably thinking, "Why on earth would you subject yourself to this type of torture for a homeschool convention?"

The answer: It's phenomenal. We are so blessed by it each year. Thousands of people gather together to listen to the key note speaker and attend  a wide variety of hour long workshops over a two day period.  No matter where you're at in your homeschooling journey, there are informative classes to guide you along the way.  Additionally, we have been honored to have our state's governor and members of congress in attendance as well.

Perhaps the very best part of the conference is the gargantuan Exhibitor Hall overflowing with curriculum, books, and resources for homeschooling parents. If you enjoy book stores, you would be in literary heaven there.  We use the Las Vegas approach when entering the Exhibitor Hall.  We bring a wallet full of cash, and when it's gone...we stop buying books. Otherwise, we could spend a ridiculous amount of money in there.

Our kids stayed home with my dad, so  it feels like a weekend date with my husband.  For lunch, we walked across the street to the Diamondbacks stadium and enjoyed our meal at a restaurant overlooking the ball field.  They were preparing for a game this evening, so the stadium was hopping with activity.  Here was the view from our table.

Tomorrow we will enjoy another full day of speakers and workshops and order the children's curriculum for the coming school year.  

I'm so excited!

Joyfully sharing my homeschool nerdiness with you,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wordless Thursday (Because Wednesday I had something to Say)

Our Daily Visitor:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Boys will be Boys

My son just told me a five minute story about how he was chosen for a dangerous mission to tell a young lady that his friend's older brother liked her.  After  4 failed attempts at trying to work up the nerve to talk to a "yucky girl" (his words, not mine) he ended up yelling the message to her. Then, he evidently ran away screaming about how gross it was and  punched his friend in the shoulder for making him be the messenger boy.

I said, " why on earth would you punch your best friend in the shoulder?"

Then he cracked me up with his neanderthal response:

"We're men! We don't talk...we just punch each other in the shoulder."

And that, ladies, sums up the male race in a nutshell.

I know that I'm supposed to be praying diligently for my children's future spouses, but I've got to be honest;  it may take a divine act of God for my son to find a spouse who appreciates his mountain man/ tough guy/ cowboy exterior. He's definitely rough around the edges...and apparently he's the strong silent type too. Thankfully we have many, many years before he's of marrying age.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Late for Supper"

Murphy's Law- "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

This evening, my husband sent this picture to me along with a text that said, "A little muddy."  He didn't have to say a word. I knew that he was going to be home late.  I'm just thankful that I wasn't the one who had to pull him out of the mud.

He sends me these crazy pictures on a regular basis.  They're like having a tardy pass in high school or a doctor's note.  These types of pics are his "get out of jail free" cards... visual proof that he's got a good reason for being late. 

These little debacles never happen when we've got time to spare.  No, it's always on a day when we've got multiple obligations.  Tonight we had a dinner and awards ceremony to attend.  We were 20 minutes late and my husband was still wearing his muddy boots. It's like this with everything in our lives.

The cows only get out when we're at church and I'm wearing  cute shoes and a nice dress.  My husband will inevitably be leading the music on stage, too, which means that I'm the one who has to leave early and trounce through the field herding cows on foot like a total dork in high heels.

These little bumps in the road used to drive me bananas, but I've come to expect the unexpected over the years.   Things rarely go as planned.  Once in a blue moon things do fall into place, though.

Sometimes the cows cooperate. Sometimes the trucks are dependable.  Sometimes we get our chores done with time to spare, and sometimes we arrive to our destination EARLY.  I know that sounds nuts, but it's true.  And when those days come, my husband and I look surprisingly at each other with raised eyebrows and say, "Wow! That went smooth!" 

For a brief moment, we start to think that we've got everything under control.  Then we have a huge belly laugh because we know that we really just got lucky...or blessed. I prefer to think it was the latter...after all, God is in control.

Just a typical Monday around here!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crying at Weddings

I attended the sweetest wedding today, and I cried my eyes out.  It was a lovely cry, though.  The young couple had been courting for several years, and it was so special to witness them take their vows, and start their young lives together.

As soon as I saw that beautiful bride walk down the aisle, the tears started flowing.  My kids asked me why I was crying, and there were no words to properly explain to them the emotions that welled up inside of me. It just took me back to the day I got married, and the sacredness of my vows before God, and my pledge to love, and honor, and cherish my own sweet husband.

When the young couple repeated their vows, I cried again. When I looked into my husband's eyes all those years ago, and pledged to love him all the days of my life, I thought I knew what love was all about.  But I really didn't have a clue.  Not compared to the love I feel for my husband now.  It's grown into something stronger than I ever thought possible.  We've nurtured it in the good times, and sheltered it through the hard times.  Together we've experienced the joy of new life, the tragedy of loss, and the mourning of death.  We've had times of plenty, and times of need.  There have been years of rocking babies, and wiping noses. We've got some living under our belts, and some miles in our journey. 

And our dreams.  We've got big dreams for the future...huge dreams. But we understand the fragility of life.  And that's why we live for today. We cherish each other today.  We don't hold anything back today, because we aren't assured of tomorrow.

My vows mean so much more to me today.  I understand the solemnness of them now.  "For better or worse, in sickness and in health"...we really didn't know what life was going to throw at us when we said those vows. But 12 years later, we have a small glimpse. It is a comfort to know that  God is at the center of our marriage, and he will lead and guide us through the things yet to come. He will rejoice with us through the good times, and weep with us through the rough spots.

Today I was reminded to never stop courting my husband, and to never take our love for granted.  I can never stop studying him, and learning about what is important to him.  Love can't be neglected.

I cried today because weddings are a beautiful reminder of my commitment to my God and my husband.  I cried because twelve years of wonderful memories flashed before my eyes.  I cried because I can't even begin to imagine how deep my love for my husband will be twenty or thirty years from now. I cried because in the blink of an eye, my own children will be all grown up and taking those vows.

I cried because weddings are a beautiful picture of  Jesus Christ and his love for His bride, the Church. 

So when my kids asked me why I had tears in my eyes, I just hugged them tightly and told them that one day, when they're all grown up and have families of their own, they'll understand why mommies cry at weddings.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Rules of "Rat Biting"

I LOVE to make desserts, and I'm a little bit of a fanatic about the way they are served.  When I take the time to lovingly bake something, I like to serve it on a little dessert plate in a fanciful way with a dessert fork.  This drives my husband crazy!

After he's finished eating dinner, he'd just as soon plop a piece of dessert right on his dirty dinner plate.  He views it as a way to "dirty-up" less dishes.  I see it as ruining the dessert.  Who wants a slice of apple pie with mushroom gravy on it, or a piece of "Darn Good Chocolate Cake" with spaghetti sauce?  Not me.

I enjoy slicing the dessert, and placing it on a new plate with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  It adds the final touch to my creation, and it makes the dessert look like a piece of art.

Honestly, my husband would rather just take a fork and eat it straight from the pan.  In my family, we call this "Rat Biting". I don't know if other people use this term, or if this is some junk that my family made up, but we've been using the term "rat bite"  for generations.  It's devastating to me to uncover a dessert and discover that it has been "rat bitten".  The tail-tell signs include jagged edges, fork marks, and no specific geometric pattern.  Basically, it looks like a giant rat came to devour the dessert.

When I see my works of art desecrated by the fork, I go on a man hunt. I question everyone in the house.  "Who rat bit the cake? I want answers!"
Usually no one fesses up because the perpetrator is already on his way to work with a full belly of cake for breakfast. My husband is not the only one that does this though.  All of the men in my family are serial "rat biters".

I have seen the filling eaten out of a pie with the crust still intact.  I have found a giant cinnamon roll missing directly from the middle of the pan, and I have witnessed a pile of nuts scraped off of the top and left in a little pile in the dish.  It's maddening!

Because my desserts are constantly being violated by the fork, I have had to lay down the law.  My rule:

Do not "Rat Bite" the desserts until the second day.

The first day, I serve them on a pretty plate with a serving knife, and a lovely presentation. If and only if there is anything left the next day, then the dessert is fair game.  I will take a deep breath and try to overlook it.

But deep down in my heart, I think it's wrong.  Am I the only one who feels this way????

Living in a Culinary Nightmare,


P.S- These are DELICIOUS!  I made them from a recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website.  They're called, "Knock You Naked Brownies".  I can't say enough wonderful things about them. You should try them today!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7 Completely Random Things

1. When my dad came to visit, he brought Dozer with him.  I can't believe how much he's grown and changed in less than two months! He's going to be huge! I loved getting to kiss on him! Even though he's in the throes of puppy-hood, he can already sit, stay, and fetch really well.  He's very intelligent!

2."You know you live in rural America when".... I took this terrible picture with my iphone so you could see the view from my son's orthodontist office.  I love the sweet-corn field, and cow pastures just beyond the fence.  We park in the gravel driveway and look at the horses outside the office window while we wait. Don't let this simple country setting fool you, though.  Our orthodontist is TOP NOTCH! 

3. My son broke a bracket off of his braces and while the orthodontist was repairing it he asked my son what he was eating when he broke it.

My son looked him straight in the eye and said, "I don't know...maybe yogurt."

 BWAHAHAHAAHAA!!!! I guess he thinks the orthodontist was born yesterday.  I'm sure the orthodontist hears many excuses from kids, but I think that was the first time yogurt was listed as the culprit.  I'm thinking that gum, chips, and apples are a more likely source.

4. This is a picture of the sky above our pasture as a monsoon thunder storm was just beginning to roll in from the east. I had it up as part of my "Wordless Wednesday" this morning, but my friend and I decided that it really wasn't "Wordless Wednesday" worthy. That's what I love about real friends.  They'll tell you when you have a booger on your nose or a bad picture on your blog.

5. Speaking of friends, I have the most awesome ones around.  Even though it's been over 4 months since I lost my mother, and the initial shock has worn off, they are still right by my side...supporting me with calls, emails, prayer times, dessert dates, and little notes in the mail.  I would be lost without them! I'm learning that healing from a big loss takes lots of time.  (If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one, drop them a little note to let them know that you're still praying for them, thinking of them, and there for them.  I can assure you that even if several months have gone by, it will be a huge blessing to them!)

6. I bought a $14.00 exercise outfit at Walmart.  This means that I'm taking my workout to the next level.  Gone are the days of cut-off sweat pants and my husband's softball T-shirts.  I really mean business now...even though I've only lost 1 pound. I even drove to the high school to run the bleachers and jog the track. I'm definitely feeling the effects of that workout  in the rear trunk regions of my body.  My motto: No pain, no gain! I'm still pressing on!

7. My computer printer is currently malfunctioning due to the fact that somehow, a very large moth got stuck inside.  Now every recipe that I try to print is missing words and comes out with moth guts smeared on it. LOL!!!! (Just keeping it real for the readers.)

Speaking of moths, here's one on my Delphinium flowers.

This concludes this week's random thoughts by Nell. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When Kids Gather Cows

 This weekend, we moved a small group of steers and heifers from one pasture to another one that was 45 minutes away.  When time permits, we try to give our kids as many learning opportunities as possible, and since we had the time, we decided to let our son gather and load the steers into the trailer all by himself.

 There is definitely an art to gathering cattle and understanding their behavior.  The younger that my children get a firm grasp of this, and can predict a cow's actions by her body language, the more effective they will be while helping us work cattle.

Long before I ever sorted cattle on horseback, I was comfortable pushing, sorting, and moving cattle on foot.
(Although, being in the saddle on a cow savvy cutting horse can give a kid an education too!)

 Often times, I keep a child right next to me in the alleyway when I'm sorting out cows so that they can understand the subtle dance that's necessary to get cows to move where I want them, whether that be moving past me or turning back into the bunch. The kids are learning that moving in relation to the point of the cow's shoulder and her flight zone will enable them to get the cows where they need to be.

It sounds complicated, but it's not.  My kids are pretty natural at it because they've been around cattle their whole lives. The older they get, the more it becomes second nature to them.

My son was calm and quiet as he gathered the bunch.  With the encouragement of his dad, he loaded them up safely and efficiently.

He did a fine job of standing his ground, and the bunch loaded nicely.  He's becoming quite a hand!

The next step will be to teach him how to back the trailer up to the corrals.  But maybe we should wait a few years until he can reach the gas pedal a little better. :) In the blink of an eye the boy will be old enough to drive. SCARY thought!
His little sister watched him work from the fence. Her turn will come in a few years, but for now, she's still content to be carried through the corrals by her dad.

His other little sister helped hook up the goose-neck trailer.  She was Dad's lovely assistant last week while her brother was playing in a baseball tournament.

Training up our children takes lots of time and energy, but we are starting to see the fruits of our labor, and we're excited to watch them grow in their confidence and ability.

It's well worth the effort!

Monday, July 11, 2011

In The Middle

This is my middle child.  She's a beautiful person inside and out.  She has a gigantic heart, and her kindness is unlike anything I've ever witnessed.  She has a deep desire to see that everyone feels loved around her.  She's sympathetic and perceptive. Wherever we go, she's the first to make new friends.  With a warm smile and a welcoming word, she makes everyone feel special. She is sensitive to the needs of others.

She's complex.  She cries easily when her feelings are hurt, but she's tough as nails when she's in trouble.  She takes her punishment like a man.  She's competitive and full of determination. She's the first to volunteer to try something new, and never looks back.  She's got guts.

My girl is a singer of hymns and a living room dancer. She's a flower picker, card designer, and a maker of bracelets. She's a mother to dolls, and a lover of animals.  She's a dog kisser, a cat cuddler, a chicken feeder, and a cowgirl.

She's a sister, and a protector, and a friend. She's a hand holder. She listens much, and laughs often.  She's fiercely loyal, and surrounds herself with friends.  She hates to be alone.

When she grows up, she wants to be a missionary, a mommy, and rancher's wife.

I just want her to stay little forever.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Crawdad Fishin'

My son is a bit of an "Old Soul".  I've often said that he's an 80 year old man trapped in a nine year old body.  He has more patience and concentration than most of his buddies, and he enjoys being outside for long stretches of time.  He can fish for hours without getting bored, and just when the fish start biting, his friends are ready to go home. Finding the right fishing buddy was a tough task for him.

He often begged us to take him fishing at the lake, but when our chores prevented us from going, we would make a compromise.  Instead of walking to the big lake down the road, we allowed him to go to the pasture in front of our house to explore the tiny little pond and wetlands that are fed by the water from our well.  The pond is shallow, and I could easily keep my eyes on him from the front window.

He would take his little fishing pole and practice casting it into the water.  Although there are no fish in the pond, he quickly discovered that it was loaded with crawdads, ducks, and all types of insects.  In short, it was the perfect playground for a little boy.

Over the years he has attempted to float across the pond in homemade rafts like Tom Sawyer, and tried to build bridges across the water.  He's searched for duck nests, and watched ducklings hatch and swim.  He's caught snakes, ladybugs, and dragonflies.  That little pond has been an outdoor schoolroom loaded with educational lessons for a young boy.

But the thing that draws my boy back week after week is the crawdad fishing.  He LOVES to catch crawdads. 

Today he felt so honored to have his "Grumpie" for a fishing buddy.  My dad bought him a new fishing net, and he was anxious to try it out.  After a quick raid of the refrigerator for hot dogs and turkey bait, my son loaded up the red wagon with "fishing" supplies: An Old Sweetlix tub, tackle box, fishing pole, crawdad trap, rope, net, and a chair.

The crawdad fishing was good today, and they were pulling them in left and right with hot dogs on the line.
Grumpie is an old pro at catching crawdads.

For once, my boy had a fishing buddy who didn't get bored after 10 minutes of fishing.  When they filled the bottom of the Sweetlix tub with crawdads, they called it a day, and considered it a success.

But then Grumpie took it a step further, and helped my son clean and cook all of the crawdads...something I would never dream of doing! Cooking crawdads requires A LOT of work for a little tiny piece of meat.

However, my son was beaming with pride as he recounted the details of eating the gourmet delicacies dipped in butter and garlic salt. I think it makes little boys feel like men when they bring home a meal that was harvested by the sweat of their own brow.

What a perfect day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July Highlights

I hope everyone had a fabulous Independence Day weekend! Ours was packed with activity. The All-Star tournament for my son's baseball team started on Saturday, and then we spent Sunday at church thanking God for this great nation, and singing old patriotic hymns. I don't know about you, but we always get a lump in our throat when we sing about those who have greatly sacrificed  so that we can enjoy our freedom today.

Monday, we went to our local 4th of July parade, and it was a beautiful morning for sitting in a lawn chair!
I think that small town parades are AWESOME! We always know lots of the people in the parade, and the kids catch candy, Otter Pops, and stickers, as the floats go by. Patriotism is big in our mountain communities!

 Here's a tiny glimpse of our parade through my lens:

Motorcycles and tractors are always a hit!

I could not stop laughing at the group of  ladies below who weren't afraid to flaunt their artificial bodies. They've got a great sense of humor, and each year they do something outrageous! They're a real crowd-pleaser.  You should have heard all of the whistles!

These men won first place for their portrayal of the "Buffalo Soldiers".  They sung an old Army song that sounded hauntingly beautiful as they rode by.  I've read that over 200,000 African American men served in the Civil War, and during peacetime, the Buffalo soldiers primary job became to protect settlers as they moved west into hostile territories.  They helped to build infrastructure for new settlements to encourage expansion in the west as well.  I'm definitely going to do more research about these fascinating men.

After the parade, we had to hustle to get to the baseball field in time for the big tournament.  As of today, we're still in it! Our son eats, breathes, and sleeps baseball, right now.  

After the game ended, my in-laws brought over a feast of delicious food, and we enjoyed dinner outside on the picnic table.  We ended the evening by having a bowl of homemade ice cream.  Because of fire danger, the fireworks were cancelled, but the lightning from the evening's monsoon storm was just as brilliant as fireworks.

Here we are with my husband's parents, having a lovely evening.

I hope your week is going well!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." -Psalm 33:12

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Could Be The Next "Great Bambino"

My moment in the sun came yesterday morning at approximately 10:47am.  Our family was at the baseball field having a little batting practice to prepare my son for his All-Star game that night.  My husband pitched a big bucket of balls to each child while the rest of us fielded balls in the outfield.

We were hot, sweaty, and ready to go when I spontaneously said, "Why don't you pitch a few to me for old-times sake, my Love?"

The kids giggled. They thought it would be funny to watch.

They ran in closer to the in-field, as if to say that their mom wasn't going to hit it very hard.  Totally insulting.

My footwear of choice: flip-flops.

I looked at my husband and said, "Throw me a good one!"

I smacked it into center field.  The kids went running back.  "That'll teach 'em! Never underestimate the power of  MOM."

The next hits: right field, center field, and then a foul ball.

I wiggled my bat.

"Throw me a zinger. I'm aiming for the fence!"

My husband gave me a nod. He brought the glove up close to his face as he adjusted the ball in his hand.  He spit a sunflower seed.  Next came the wind-up, and then the pitch!

As if in slow motion, the ball came hurling right down the pike.

I swung with all my might! The ball connected to the sweet spot on the bat and it went for a ride.

"Going, going, G-O-N-E!!!!!!"

It was over the fence!!!!!!

Here's the part where my husband and son rain on my parade.

"Technically... it went over on the first bounce."

 But that's still a LONG way!

My little smartypants son yelled, "Ground-rule double".


That was an AWESOME hit!  Let's face it.  I'm a 33 year old, slightly out of shape mother whose given birth to 3 children. I was wearing flip-flops. I haven't swung a bat in a several years! This was a career highlight for me! It could mean bragging rights for years! I hit a baseball over the fence! one bounce.

Am I going to be the next Babe Ruth? I can't answer that.  What I do know is that my muscles were so sore this morning that I could hardly get out of bed to get ready for church. It was the best pain I've ever felt though, because it came on the heels of a major-league accomplishment.

Just between you and me... I've been thinking of asking my husband to start calling me "Babe Ruth".  Maybe just "Babe" for short.  Do you think he'll honor this one little request? I doubt it because he thinks my head is already growing too big from this brief moment of triumph.

I can still hear the roar of the crowd, the smell of the grass, and feel of the dirt between my toes. Oh, the glory!

Still Basking in Victory,

Babe Ruth

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Wallow Fire: Before and After

I just wanted to give everyone a very small glimpse of the massive devastation that the Wallow fire has caused to our beautiful mountain.  Last fall I took some gorgeous photos of Escudilla Mountain in all of it's splendor.  I blogged about it, and you can view a taste of it's beauty by clicking here.

Below are a few photos of Escudilla mountain before the fire, and one haunting photo taken after.

After the fire:

Credit: Kari Greer/ US Forest Service

The latest size estimates: 539,049 acres

Please continue to pray for our communities as we enter the Monsoon season.  Flash Floods, mud slides, and soil erosion are our next challenges to face.
Credit: Kari Greer/ US Forest Service