Monday, July 22, 2013

We went for a walk one day.....

Or as my girls saw it....a forced march.

So being the Wolf Den Mother that I thoughts of a good time involve a five mile hike in 90+ degree weather. YIPPEE!!!

I took the boys to the Dishman Hill's Conservatory Area. It is a lovely hike that climbs 1200 ft in 3 miles. It gets a bit steep at times but luckily the whining and moaning coming from me drowned out the shouts of glee from the children.

Here is our merry band of travelers starting out on the beautiful shaded trail. My best buddy, Monica, was up from Texas with her 4 kiddos so they joined us on the hike as well. A decision she later regretted approximately 45 minutes later.

The hike is called Big Rock. It is because there are big rocks. We are creative like that in our trail names here in the Pacific Northwest. This picture is taken about a mile away from the Big Rocks. This will be the high point of the hike.

If you look very closely in the picture you will see two tiny bodies standing in a crevasse of the rocks. The kids were so excited and thought they had finally reached Big Rock. I chortled to myself and stated rather proudly, "These are only Medium Rocks....the Big Rock is up the trail, we just have to hike a bit further up the trail." I knew a bit further involved a half mile up a sheer cliff containing shifting gravel but I was not about to ruin the surprise for them. I don't play that way. HA HA HA

So off they charged full of hope and enthusiasm for the Big Rock. Notice I am at the very back of the pack. This is so I could catch them and throw them back up as they slid down the embankment. That is what a good Den Mother does.

Here we all are at Leaning Tree which is adjacent to Big Rock. You can sort of see the view we had to look at as we ate our snacks. Well we would have eaten our snacks but the kids ate all their snacks and drank all their water on the way up to Big Rock. So they ate our snacks and drank our water. That is what a good Den Mother does.

The view seems to just go on forever. The sky is just huge and I swear you can see the curvature of the earth. But that could have just be brought on by dehydration.

Notice how far I am standing away from the edge as I take this picture. That is because I am so very scared of heights.

 The trail is one big loop. The remaining two miles are all down hill. This side of the mountain burned down a few years ago so it is not as shaded. Having the sun beat down on your head for so long can bring on hallucinations or visions. Daniel, Isaac, and Brendon saw a "vision" of a bull moose. It was such a clear vision it was as if it was right on the trail in front of them. They were not the only ones to see this. In fact a hiker coming the other way saw the bull moose as well and told Monica and I, we were further back on the trail with the little kids, that there was a bunch of kids with a bull moose on the trail and to be sure to be quiet.

I thought to myself, "What kind of kids would be hanging out with a bull moose on a remote hiking trail?" Luckily Monica was there to remind me that they would be our kids. "OH!"

So as Monica headed down the trail to the scene we made lots of noise. Monica sang songs and I sang along in a panicked tone. To the untrained ear it may have sounded like screaming. This was to let Mr. Moose know we were on our way. This startled him enough to move about 10 feet off the trail. I should have sang louder.

After the excitement we continued our hike back down the hill. About 20 minutes after the incident I was getting requests to stop singing. I did not realize I still was. 
All in all it was a very uneventful hike. It took only 3 days for the leg cramps and charlie horses to un-knot themselves.

Good news is the boys that did attend passed off their 5 mile hike requirement. They may have all turned in their resignation from the scouting program as well.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Gathering....

Early this month we had a mini family reunion to meet up with my great Uncle Harley and the kids got to meet their great-great Uncle. This man was a giant! I remember him coming into our home and having to duck his head. He had bright red curly hair and when he shook your hand you felt it a few days later still. 
He is 80 years old now and his memory is failing him fast. He hair is not quite to red but still plenty curly and he still seems like a giant to me. When my 10 yr old, Jakey, went to shake his hand he admonished him, "That's not how you shake a hand." He gripped Jakey's hand and asked Jake to do the same and gave it a firm shake and said, "That's how you shake a hand. People judge you first by how you shake their hand." I know Jakey's hand was probably still sore the next day. Ha ha.

My Aunt Debbie has a horse ranch and the gathering was set up there. The little ones had fun playing in the spare buckets as well as the slip-n-slide. Sadly the slide died after 5 turns and had to be put out to pasture. 

 Aunt Debbie boards horses. She has 12 or so out there right now. Ike was excited to go meet them all and fed them carrots. He then took the little ones on the tour and showed them how to feed the horses carrots. He learned that if their mouths are busy eating carrots they are less likely to bite you.

The big girl in this picture is called Peanutbutter. She was a bit pushy and did not want to wait to finish eating her first carrot before getting her second. She got a chuckle out of Isaac. I think he would have been very happy if we would have forgotten him out there.

The kiddos met their great Aunt Debbie, great Aunt Sharon and Don, my cousin Dustin and his wife and daughter. Great grandma Ybarra was there as well and Aunt Kathryn (my sister) and Uncle Blair, Aunt Linda (my sister) and their family. These relatives were all from my mother's side of the family.

This is quite possibly the cutest dog ever named Ricky. Because I have a brother called Ricky it really kept throwing me off all day hearing people call out Ricky and talk about Ricky. Daniel got him to sleep and my sister's youngest wanted to come check him out.

Left to Right: Aunt Debbie, Me (one of these things is not like the others), Aunt Sharon, Mom, Kathryn. (Sadly Lou had already left with some very tired little guys.)

Pink shirt, Blair. Green shirt, Mom. Blue shirt, Great Uncle Harley. Black shirt, his wife. Grandma Ybarra. Dad. Blonde pony tail, Kathryn. Dunno who was in the hat.

It was a great afternoon. I was able to find out some gaps in the family history and have a nice visit with some family I very rarely get to see.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY-2013 edition

This year we spent the 4th at my parents place. I know it is a lot of work for them to put it on, but we all really appreciate it. It just not seem like the 4th unless we are out there blowing things up.

My sister in law, Katie, came out as well. Here she is playing with the kiddos on the trampoline in the sprinkler. All the kiddos just adore Aunt Katie!! She gets to be the FUN aunt.

 Taking a break from jumping the kiddos headed down to the creek to catch some clams. Usually there is a ton of clams in the creek but the otter that lives down there has really decreased the clam population.

Maria is wearing a shirt because her little shoulders got sunburnt. Cousins Max and Jaylee are helping Anna search for clams.

Dinner was B-B-Q hotdogs and hamburgers with watermelon, chips, deviled eggs, ect. Very "all-american". The kiddos and Aunt Katie opted to eat out on the trampoline. It was finally starting to cool down outside by this time.

This is my son. He is 17 yrs old. His name is Daniel. He is the reason we cannot have any normal family photos.

Ike caught a few fish in the creek. He fed one to Bumski's (Grandma Reneer) kitten and ate two himself for an after dinner snack. Hopper's little belly was so round that night.

The day before my dad, myself and the kiddos headed to the fireworks stands (yes, we went to multiple stands) to get the goodies for tonight. Daniel and Ike put on a pre-show for the little ones each year. It has smoke bombs, snakes, worms, ground flowers, bees, and tanks. In this picture they are doing snakes, that is why all the kids are right up to the board. They, and myself, like watching the snakes grow.

This is what the board looked like after the pre-show. It was so pretty I had to take a picture. We all thought it looked like it could have been a piece of fine art hanging in a gallery.

It was a fun 4th. Everyone stayed safe and had a good time. The fireworks show finally wrapped up around 11 pm. The boys, Uncle Blair included, had a lot of fun putting on our show for us and it took quite some time. We got devoured by mosquitoes. It did not rain.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Once upon a time the boys decided to take a trek....

Okay this first picture has nothing to do with the pioneer trek. This is a sign that was posted at one of the parks we visited on our trip back home from Iowa. The sentence structure gave me a chuckle and I thought I would share; it states " After being fattened on prairie grasses, cowboys herded the livestock to the stockyard which was located north of the railroad tracks...." I bet if the cowboys fed the cows grasses instead of themselves they would have gotten more money for them.

Here is Ike and Daniel in semi authentic pioneer garb. Dusters, hats, khaki pants, button down cotton shirts, boots, leather gloves and all their possessions in a gunny sack.

Each boy was assigned a "family" that had a Ma and Pa as well at 7-9 other brother and sisters. They would not know who their family would be until the morning of departure.

The family's belongings were loaded into their handcart and they were off on their adventure. 20 miles in three days with 14 other handcart families.

They walked through extreme heat, rain, thunderstorms, and a lovely light show of the northern lights. They ate well and had lots of medical staff on hand. Daniel's legs locked up on him the second day when his body shorted out on electrolytes. He says his legs totally cramped up and he dropped to the ground. Doctor came and gave him some electrolyte gummies to munch on and he took a break from pushing and pulling the handcart and just walked for the rest of that day.

Ike fared better and got along really well with his Ma and Pa and brothers and sisters.

This is a picture of the handcarts as they came into the valley where we are all waiting.

Daniel's handcart family came in a few before Ike's. He was very dirty and very happy to be at the end of the trek.

Here is Ike's handcart family. He is in the back with the dark brown hat on. Yes, the girls had to dress traditional as well. Bloomers and all.

Ike striding by. You can see all the stuff they had on their handcart. They really limited the kids on what they can take to try and keep the weight of the handcart to a minimum.

My very dirty boys!! Ike is making a face for usual.

Here is Daniel with his best friend, Jacob Forbush. They were not in the same family. In fact they try to make sure the kids are not paired up with anyone they know.

Both boys concluded that this was the hardest thing they have ever had to do. Some hills were so steep they had to use a rope to lower the carts and some hills were so steep they had to team up with other families to get the carts up and then run back down the hill to help the next family and keep doing that until all 14 carts were up the hill. Daniel slept for 12 hours the first night home. Then slept for another 3 the following day. Ike slept for his usual 7 hours that night and I think he grabbed a cat nap the following day. I think Daniel tanking on his electrolytes really set his recovery back.

Friday, July 5, 2013

We did actually have fun.... really.

The Bullfrog, that is the name of our cabin, was right on the lake. It was a beautiful lake just look, don't touch. Any kid that stepped in the water tended to break out in a rash. 

That's okay though because  have a family fool er I mean full of fishermen. The lake had big mouth bass, blue gills, and catfish. Daniel caught lots of blue gills and a couple big mouth bass. Ike caught mainly big mouth bass. The catfish seems a bit illusive.

There was a nice little point that the kids liked to hangout on and fish.

The girls liked to pull in the "seaweed" that occupied most of the lake water. Each time they were treated to leeches, snails, crayfish, and worms. YIPPEE!! They got so excited.

There was also a dock across the lake, that is our cabin right there with the lights on. Jakey spent quite a few hours fishing there. He did not catch any fish on this trip, but was sure that the bites he was getting were from  catfish that were at least 18 inches, or possibly 20 inches. It was intense.

This big mouth was about 14 inches long. Sadly they have to be 18 inches long to be keepers so back to the lake this little guy went, and the fish went back in the water too.

This is Jake.

Each night Ben or I would have to head down at 11 pm to gather up the boys and tell them the day is done, they boys would come back, sleep for a few hours and hit the lake again in the wee hours of the morning. Makes me wish we lived closer to a lake for them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A most unwelcome guest

We had a hitchhiker join us on our trip back from Iowa. Personally I would rather have the fridge magnet as a momento of the trip. They are considerably cheaper.

We spotted our first bug on Sunday. Ben has bites on his shoulders. Daniel has a few on his legs. 

I am officially grossed out and trust nothing in my house. They can be hiding anywhere...... In anything.......


This little souvenir is going to set us back almost a grand to get rid of. They have to heat our entire house to 120 degrees for four hours, go through all our clothes, bedding, towels....well everything. They have to spray walls, baseboards and inside each electrical outlet. All because of some stupid little bug that followed us home from our cabin in Iowa!!!!