Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Drive, Chip, Putt (& Don't Give Up!)

Ammon joined the Junior Idaho Golf Association this year, and he signed up to compete in four of the Eastern Idaho tournaments throughout the summer.
The first one was Monday, June 7 at the Rexburg Municipal GC in Rexburg. He was nervous and excited, but he did SO well! He scored a 64, and placed second in his age division, earning a medal.
The second one was Tuesday, June 29 at the Salmon Valley GC here in Salmon. He had practiced almost every day for the previous 3 weeks, so he felt ready for the tournament--especially since it was on his home turf. But he was placed in a group that had a boy who was a year older than Ammon, and who was very good, and Ammon didn't do as well because he felt intimidated and inferior. He scored a 67 and placed 4th in his age group.
The third one was Tuesday, July 13 at the Hazard Creek GC in Aberdeen. This was the furthest one we went to--about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Salmon, and it was the golf course that Ammon disliked the most. He was once again put in a group with an older boy who was a better golfer, and Ammon had a difficult time playing his best game because he tends to pay more attention to the other golfers than to his own game. The game of golf requires focus and concentration, and Ammon had a hard time that day; he scored a 66.
The final one was Monday, July 26 at the Jefferson Hills GC in Rigby. Ammon had requested that he go golfing on the course to preview it before his tournament, so Josh took him golfing there the night before. Ammon liked the course, and when he golfed with Josh, he scored a 52. He was excited for his last tournament, but he was disappointed with himself after the actual tournament was over with his score of 68.
He played golf all summer long here in Salmon, and almost always played alone (he likes it that way). His best score for 9 holes on the Salmon Course was 47, and he oftentimes scored in the 50's (in golf, the lower the score--the better). He enjoys playing golf, and he especially loved playing with his new clubs and new cart that he purchased with his own money this spring!
Because this was his first year competing in tournaments, he didn't know what to expect. He had a difficult time playing with other people his age, it was challenging for him to play on new golf courses he'd never seen before, and he was hard on himself if he ever made mistakes while playing. But he said he wants to compete in tournaments again next year, because he wants to keep improving his game. I think Ammon is a terrific golfer! He's already surpassed my golfing abilities, and he beat his dad at the game several times this summer! I'm glad he's not ready to give up competing just yet!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

with a 'Meow-Meow' here & a 'Neigh-Neigh' there

I'm not a pet person. When I was growing up, we almost always had a dog, and I had several bad and uncomfortable experiences with them. So, even though my boys constantly ask and beg, we will never have a dog.

But, we do have a cat. We used to have two cats, but one of them disappeared the winter before last. It happens on ranches--small pets disappear. They're either taken by coyotes or other wild animals or ran over by trucks or farm equipment. Our cat, Sugar, has been with us many years. She's beginning to age, I can tell. Even though I'm allergic to cats, I rather like Sugar and I will be sad when she's gone. Grandma has two cats, and for the past couple of years, her cats have been hanging around our home more than our cat was (I don't like Grandma's cats, and neither does Sugar). But, Sugar's been hanging around a lot more this summer, and I'm glad to see her face and the kids like feeding her. She's an outside cat, and she catches lots of mice! She likes to go on walks with our family and she likes napping by us when we're playing outside. Did I already mention that I'm rather fond of her?!! We also have two horses. Josh is the horse-lover in our family. He's had QT since he was a teenager. She has foaled many times, and always creates beautiful offspring. She is a little older, but she is nice and tame and smart. The kids especially have loved riding her this summer.

Her last foal, Mia, is now over 2 years old and Josh started trying to teach her this summer how to be ridden. She looks so much like her mother, but she's got a wild streak in her!Our two horses pasture with the neighbor's two brown horses, and they've all become good friends. Their youngest female horse is named Bella. Bella and Mia do everything together. Their older male horse is named Topper or Copper--I can't remember which, so I just call him Dorkus (I don't really like him). Whenever we catch the horses to ride, it's QT and Dorkus that get to be saddled up.The boys rode the horses more this summer than they ever have before. They enjoyed taking them for strolls around the yard and around the ranch. And even though I'm not fond of horses (because of another bad experience), I'm glad my boys are taking after their father's love for them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wanna Know Somethin?

I like to hold hands with the one that I love.and I like the way my little hand & his big hand go together.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Family & The Fourth: Part 2

On Sunday, the 4th of July, we had lunch with Josh's family before his siblings left to return to their homes. My parents and sister and brother's family came up and ate with us too, and visited for a while on their way to Washington. It was such a wonderful luncheon, being able to spend time with both of our families. I truly enjoyed the two hours that we were all together that day!

Highlights of Independence Day...

Eating together:

Wishing Jen a happy birthday:

Playing in the boat on the water:

(thanks Trina for the photo)

and more swinging:

and swinging some more:

Watching the Salmon fireworks show:

and Playing with Sparklers:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family & The Fourth: Part 1

We had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend! Josh's siblings were in town for our Tolman Reunion, and we also got together with the Harris/Sumner clan.

Highlights of Friday and Saturday...

Seeing the Salmon River Days Parade:

Relaxing and talking with family members:

Eating yummy food together:

Riding horses:

Playing with golf clubs:

Playing in the boat and the ditch water:

Playing basketball:

Playing soccer barefoot:

and Watching Josh's fireworks show:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Snip Snip

He likes it long.

I like it short.

But the more I tell him I want him to trim it, the more he insists on growing it out.

I'm talking about his goatee:

One night in July, after weeks of hinting it would look better with just a 1/2 inch cut off of it, my girlfriend Kimi came over. She helped me persuade him that we should cut it, and surprisingly, he allowed us!!! Kimi's friend & our cousin Jeff came too, and he tried to convince Josh that he was making a mistake, letting two girls cut his facial hair after midnight, since we were all pretty tired. Jeff thought the end result would be disastrous. But thankfully, Josh didn't listen to reason and he let us proceed.

We each took a pair of scissors, and met in the middle.
Well, almost met (cut me some slack, it WAS after midnight)!

He had to fix our trim job, of course, but I still consider it a success! Because for the first time in 12 years of marriage, Josh let me take a pair of scissors to his facial hair!!!

And I think it looks MUCH better!!!

(wouldn't you agree?!)



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Agua, Water, H2O

Does the title sound redundant?

Well, that's because it is!

And this spring/summer when we were having water problems and water leakages and water damages, it all seemed rather redundant to me, too.

It all started when we were living in the travel trailer. I felt like we were plagued by water while we were living there because of how much it rained during that time--forcing us to stay inside the cramped space and forcing me to do constant laundry (at other's houses) because of how wet/muddy our clothes became. But I had no idea just how much worse the water problems were going to get!

Just one week after moving into the new house, we discovered there was a leak in the wall that lines our shower as well as Josh's closet. We had just finished hanging up shelves and rearranging everything in Josh's closet the day before we discovered the leak. It doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it was the first project that Josh had helped me with in the new house, and we had spent over 2 hours working together in his closet. We had to undo all our previous day's work and take it all down in order for the repairman to open up the drywall and identify the source of the leak. One of the valves had been bent, so every time any water was on in the house, the water pipe was leaking. For several days, we had heaters and fans running in that closet to dry out the drywall and insulation before we could put it all back together again. It was not fun. But that wasn't even the worst of it.

Around the same time we discovered that leak, I discovered a far worse leak in our old mobile home. It was parked approx. 100 feet away from the new house, and I slowly moved items from the old house to the new house every day. It rained something fierce for 2 days, and I didn't hardly get anything moved during that time. After the huge long rainstorm, I went to the house and realized that my pile of photos in the living room was soaking wet. At some stage of moving the mobile home, the roof was partially damaged. There was several little boxes of photos--including my wedding photos, the professional photos taken of our family last year at Gideon's wedding, all of my 2009 photos that needed to be put in an album, and old photos from Josh's mission. I was beyond upset--and I basically lost it. I set out my wedding album and opened the pages, I took out Josh's mission album and opened the pages, and I set all the utterly destroyed photos in a garbage pile. After that, I couldn't focus anymore on what needed to be done, and I went to my bed and cried for hours. Thankfully, my visiting teacher Chris came over that night and she helped me go through the remaining boxes of photos, and we laid out each individual photo on the floor to dry. I felt much better after she came and helped me. I assessed the situation more rationally: the wedding photos were saved, half the mission photos were okay, and everything else that was ruined I was going to order replacements for. I let the salvageable photos dry out on the floor for two days. One evening during another rainstorm, I decided to go pick up all the photos and put them away. It was then that I discovered yet another leak.

Apparently the roof was not damaged in just one place, it was damaged in four or five places. So almost all the photos that had been dried out got water dripped on them all over again. I took each photo, patted it dry and put it away in a big plastic tote box. It took me over an hour just to do that. And in addition to that, my 2 boxes of cards and envelopes got dripped on. Did you know that when envelopes get wet, they seal themselves shut? Yeah, I found that out and had to throw them ALL away, as well as over half of my blank gift cards due to water/mold damage. It also rained on boxes of paperwork that was waiting to be filed, including some of my PTO volunteer papers and some of Josh's school board papers. And it rained on some magazines and books. I couldn't believe my bad luck. I wish that had been the end of it, but it wasn't.

Two weeks later, we took the travel trailer and went camping for the first time this summer. During the packing and preparation part of camping, we filled up the trailer's 40-gallon water tank. After we arrived at the Craters of the Moon park and started to set up camp, we realized that the water tank had a big crack in it, and water had spilled out the whole time we were driving (a 2 1/2 hour drive). The water tank is in our storage under-compartment with all the sleeping bags and camp chairs and blankets and extra camping supplies. We had to pull out every single item, lay them all out to air-dry, and we left the doors on the compartment open for 24 hours to air out the inside of the trailer and its carpeted floor.

Water can be such a blessing. But during May and June this year, water felt more like a curse.

One of my personal goals this year was to catch up on my photo-ordering & printing. I had just barely completed printing all of 2009's photos before we moved out of the old mobile home. But with the stress and chaos of moving, I had delayed in putting them in an album. I was sick when I saw the water damage to my photos. The ONLY box I have left to unpack from moving is the big box containing all my drip-dried photos. I'm still trying to gather the courage to open the lid, re-assess the damage, and re-live the despair that I felt the first time I discovered all those wet photos. I put that box in the living room right by my front door. Every day I look at that box of partially destroyed photos and it feels like I'm repeatedly taking 2 steps back in completing the photo-printing goal. Just seeing the box makes me feel like I got punched in the gut; I don't have the heart to face opening it up just yet.

But, in a more positive note: July and August have been water-damage free and I'm truly thankful for that!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To the Moon and Back!

Last year, I was reading a FamilyFun Magazine, and saw a story on "Cousin's Camps". Most of the families featured in the magazine had a grandparent who took the grandkids for a few days and did activities with them and called the week "cousin's camp". I wanted to do a cousins camp after reading that article, but with a different take--I wanted to take my kids camping with their cousins!

As a child, I felt like I didn't get to see my cousins enough; we never lived by any of them. Once a year, I'd get to visit my Crouch cousins overnight, and a few times a year for a few hours at a time, I'd see my Rose cousins. I want my children to know their cousins and have fun memories with them!

I approached Jen, my sis-in-law, with the idea early this year, and she liked the thought! We set the cousins camp date for the last weekend in June and the place--Craters of the Moon near Arco, Idaho. I'd never been to Craters before, and neither had Josh (even though we've driven by it numerous times). It's a 2 and 1/2 hour drive for us to get there, as well as my brother's family, so it seemed like a good mid-way place to meet and have lots of adventures at!

Craters of the Moon is an old volcanic area chock-full of:

volcanic rock and lava formations:

caves and lava tubes:
& volcanic ash and wildflowers:

Upon arriving on Day 1, we set up camp and had lunch before starting our adventures in the park.
We looked through the Visitor's Center and headed on our first activity--walking along the caves trail and visiting the Dewdrop Cave, Indian Tunnel, Boy Scout Cave, and Beauty Cave.The Indian Tunnel was my favorite, because it wasn't too difficult and we all walked/hiked through it: Seeing the caves was the perfect activity to do on the hot afternoon--their darkness and coolness and dampness felt so wonderful!

After the few hours of cave exploring, we headed back to camp and had dinner. Then we set out again to see the Cones. We hiked up the Inferno Cone (which is even taller than what can be seen here):

And then we saw the Snow Cone and the Spatter Cones:
After that, Josh took Ammon on an evening 3.5 mile walk along the North Crater Trail along with Jen, Tawna, and Aspen. That was Josh's favorite part of the cousins camping experience:And I took the younger 3 boys on the much-shorter .25 mile North Crater Flow Trail:
That night, the kids designed and colored their official "Cousins Camp" T-Shirts. And we all marvelled at the beauty of the moon and its orange-hues before heading to bed:
Day 2 started off with breakfast in the morning and the cousins all wearing their hand-made shirts. The front says 'Cousins Camp 2010' with outlines of all the kids' hands:
Everywhere we went that day, people commented about the kids' shirts and how adorable they were! The back of the shirt says 'Craters of the Moon' and everyone drew their own pictures:

We set out late that morning for a 2-mile hike along the Broken Top Trail. The Buffalo Caves were located a 1/2 mile into the hike, and Josh and Jen especially enjoyed spelunking those! The last leg of the long hike was downhill, and the panoramic view of miles and miles of lava rock was so beautiful:
Our last activity in the park was walking along the easy .5 mile Devils Orchard Nature Trail:
Then we headed back to camp, ate lunch, and packed up our camping gear. Before we said goodbye to the park (and each other), the kids showed us their special "fort" that they'd discovered and played in near the campsite:

I felt like our 'Cousins Camp' was a success. In just 24 hours, we saw all the major features at Craters of the Moon! And the kids had fun being with each other, camping together, and exploring the unique features of the park. I think we made lots of good memories, which was my whole goal for the experience. I think we might just do it again!

The Tolman Family:

The Perkins Family:

Aunt Tawna with the cousins: