Friday, July 31, 2015

July 2015 on FB

July 1: Jupiter and Venus' orbits were so close last night, that apparently together they looked like the Christmas Star. I didn't even realize it was happening in the night sky, so I looked at them tonight, and took a picture of them, but they've grown apart just a bit since then.

July 5: Josh and I had a fun 4th of July weekend, and are feeling all patriotic after the fact with these red, white, and blue remnants!:

July 7: I spent the day scrubbing--and my fridges and bathtubs are now all pearly white! What a good, clean feeling!

July 8: On the way to Kanyon's swimming lessons this morning, he pointed to the shifter in the suburban and said "look, mom: the trailer is farting!" It took me a minute to understand, since I've never looked at it that way before. But now that he's imparted of some of his little boy wisdom, I'm sure I will never look at it the same again!

July 9: TBT (throw back thursday) photo to 2 years ago: the last time I visited my Grandpa Perkins. He turned 98 years old yesterday!! He's my last living grandparent, and he still lives at his home! I'm looking forward to our family vacation to visit him at the end of the month.

July 9 [posted by Josh]: 3 lives in our community lost WAY too young. Our hearts break for those families involved. Tell your kids you love them, and hold them close every opportunity you get. (Charlie Heald passed away from cancer, and Justin Olsen and his friend Jake Smith died in a car accident.)

July 15: I awoke this morning to my dog making a terrible shrieking whimper. I'd never heard her make that noise before, but I knew it was the sound of pain. I was still half asleep (and wasn't wearing my glasses) and couldn't figure out what was happening. She had been chewing on a cord that was still plugged into the wall, and it was zapping her with electricity. In the process of trying to get to her and pull the cord from her mouth, she peed twice on my floor. It reeked! Thankfully, she seems to have recovered okay, although I spent the rest of the morning scrubbing carpets and trying not to puke from the smell.

July 16: After a year of having pink bangs, I switched to "neopolitan" bangs this spring. It was my own idea. Now I have "vanilla, chocolate, AND strawberry" colored bangs. I just got them retouched today by Amanda, and I just love them!

July 17: Josh and I golfed with Al & Melanie at Couple's League tonight and had a blast! On Hole #8, we got our first birdie ever! We finished with a score of 50, which put us in 1st place in our flight! 

July 18: I just looked at today's date and realized it is a forward/reverse mathematical equation: 7/18/2015. Reading left to right 7+1=8 and if you go the opposite way, reading right to left 5+1+2 also=8!! Which also means, starting in the center and going left, that: 8-1=7, and also starting in the center and going right: 8-2-1=5. I'm such a nerd.

July 18 [posted by Josh]: An almost-to-Freeman-Peak selfie:

July 19: Ammon told me today that every morning he works at the golf course, he sees worms mating on the ground. Which I found hard to believe, but Josh confirmed it. So naturally I had to google it and see for myself!! It was very interesting--I've never thought about how worms reproduce before!

July 19: Josh broke his rib today, playing a football game with kids of all things! We were at a friend's house, and he went to dive tackle one of the kids, missed, and smacked his chest hard on the ground instead. It was the dads versus the kids, and although he was in pain after that, he proudly said "well, at least we won the game". {rolling my eyes}

July 20: Summer is half over, and I can't really believe it. Everyone keeps asking me "are you enjoying your summer?". I hate that I can't answer "yes" to that question this year. I should be, but I have been working so much on my college classes since school got out, that it hasn't exactly been an "enjoyable" summer so far. I'm working on my last project for this semester which ends next week, I'm preparing for a huge Praxis test that I'm taking in the middle of August, and then I will have two weeks to "enjoy" what's left of summer before going back to school & work!

July 22: Josh and I took Micah on his monthly date tonight. We went to Fiesta En Jalisco, the Mexican restaurant in town, because Micah said he'd never been there before. As he was looking at the menu, he said "I don't know what any of these words mean", so he just ordered Tacos, because he knew what they were!! We tried Xangos (deep fried cheesecake bites) for dessert, and they were super yummy!

July 23: I was on pins and needles this week waiting for the graded results of my last science project I submitted in my college Science Applications class. There were 19 requirements I had to fulfill in this particular project, and when I discovered that it passed, I couldn't believe it! My experiences with college science classes started 17 years ago, and passing this class was such a personal victory for me!
Jonah and Micah helped me with my last science project
of testing different paper airplanes. I originally wanted to
do a musical project and test people's vocal ranges, but the
university wouldn't allow me to "test on humans". 

July 24: Last night, my sister Tabbi and her friend spent the night at our house. They played Qwirkle with Josh & I after the kids went to bed, and we had a good time! She brought lots of fun food from Trader Joe's, too. We particularly love the Cookie Butter Cookies that she introduced us to!! Thanks Tabbi for the fun visit! 

July 25: Everyone had their own agenda today: Josh went to Challis for his motorcycle driving test, Ammon participated in the Boosters Golf Tournament in Salmon, and I took the 3 other boys to the Stake Pioneer Activity. While there, Jonah and Micah played with friends and tried out pickleball for the first time, I was involved in the primary activity as a pretend camp host for the kids' mini-trek around the church, and Kanyon went on the mini-trek and played in the water games afterwards. It was a good day for all of us! 

July 28: We were all sleeping together in a hotel room this morning on our family vacation, and I was starting to toss and turn in the early morning hours when I heard Ammon sleep talk, except this time, it was a creepy whisper. He said "Are you dead yet?". I immediately opened my eyes to make sure there wasn't a creepy murderer in my room. It startled me for sure, and I couldn't go back to sleep after that! Nobody else was awake yet, though, so I couldn't just get up: I just laid in bed, paralyzed with fear--it took me a while to slow down my rapid heart rate, get my breathing under control, and calm down my fearful thoughts! 

July 29: After spending 3 long, fun-filled days on vacation, we arrived back at home at midnight last night. Today is the first day all summer that the twins have slept in! Our family vacation obviously wore them out, as I've never seen them sleep in past 10am before!

July 31: I treated myself to an early birthday gift by coming to Boise to visit my friend Krissy. We had the best night together: eating at the Cheesecake Factory til we were way past full (we didn't even have to wait to be seated--bonus!), and watching Magic Mike XXL in the theater (it was WAY better than the first one, which coincidentally we also watched together in the theater for my birthday 3 years ago).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our 1st Summer Trip

We finally took our first vacation of the summer at the end of June. Josh had to work, so it was just me and the boys for 4 days. I was so ready for a vacation, and I was apparently so relaxed during it that I hardly took a single picture during our entire trip!

Day 1 (Saturday June 27): We drove to the Tolman Family Reunion in Tremonton. We talked to relatives, the boys played with cousins, Ammon went golfing, I went to Shaylene Barrus's weddding reception, and we spent the night at my parents house.

Day 2 (Sunday, June 28): We played chess and Dr. Mario (on the wii) at Grandma & Grandpa's house in the morning, went to church with them in the afternoon, played croquet in the yard in the evening using a set I just purchased (Ammon won the first time and I won the second time), ate yummy food, and spent the night at their house again.

Day 3 (Monday, June 29): We left Tremonton at 6am and drove to Idaho Falls for Ammon's Jr. IGA tournament tee time at the Idaho Falls Country Club at 9:00am. Thankfully the boys mostly slept on the car ride. We watched Ammon golf the first 9 holes, then the other boys and I left to go shopping, eat lunch, and I took Jonah and Micah to their dentist. They both got good reports, and had no cavities!! YAY! 

After the dentist, we went back to pick up Ammon at the golf course; he shot a 92 on the 18 holes. He played really well, but he had a hard time on Hole #2 (which was while we were still there watching him, and he pretty much told me it was my fault because he said he always does worse when I watch him and told me he wished I would leave, but I didn't, and he played better anyway after that!), and that unfortunately affected his overall score, or he would've been right with the top players--most of whom were in the high 80's. He got 8th out of 14 players in his age group.

It was a super hot afternoon (it was in the upper 90s just like the previous few days), and I took them all to the air-conditioned Edwards movie theater to watch the matinee of "Inside Out". We all loved it! The boys especially loved the feeling actor "anger".

After the movie, we went shopping again, got some pizza for dinner, and drove to Rexburg to go swimming at Rexburg Rapids. On Monday nights, they have a family special of buy one get one free, so it cost only like $12 for all of us to get in! I thought it would be a great activity to keep cool after such a hot day, but unfortunately about a half hour after we got there, a huge rainstorm came through and it was really chilly. We only stayed for about an hour and a half, because the 3 older boys were freezing and huddled in their towels by our beach chair. I still had fun, though! Kimi came with us, and we just chatted away while floating in the lazy river together. At one point, we were floating along together, and Kanyon swam along beside us. We got him a tube so he could float with us, too, but then one of the lifeguards said only 2 tubes could be connected, not 3 (Kimi and I each had a hand on the other's tube and one hand on Kanyon's tube). After he said that, Kimi and I both instantaneously took our hands off of Kanyon's tube so that we were both still connected to each other, and then we both laughed so hard realizing what we'd just done! We decided to go down one of the body slides since there wasn't a long line, and we even got Kanyon to go down the big water slide, too (he refused to go on the big water slides last year; he just stayed in the kiddie area with the little slides)! As we were in line on the platform, we could see the 3 other boys below us shivering and having a miserable time, so after we went down the water slide, we decided it was time to leave.

(Funny side story: Apparently the same storm blew through Salmon that evening. Josh was weed-eating up on the terrace by our house when out of nowhere a huge bolt of lightning struck our neighbor Tim & Barb's power box on their house. It was so close to our house that Josh could feel and hear the strike. He instantly fell to the ground, so that he wouldn't be the highest thing up on the terrace for it to strike next. He laid on the ground for several minutes, waiting for the storm clouds to pass. He hadn't seen any lightning before that strike, and he didn't see any after that. He had just decided to get back up when his mom came to see if he was alive. Apparently she could see him weed-eating from her kitchen window, and when she heard the lightning strike, she looked out and he was laying on the ground. She feared that he had been struck, and came to see if he was okay before calling 911. Thankfully, he didn't get struck!!!) 

After the water park, we drove back to Kimi's new apartment in Idaho Falls to spend the night. The boys watched a movie while Kimi & I made dinner and unpacked all her kitchen boxes. They slept on air mattresses in her living room, and I got to sleep in her comfortable bed with her! I just love this friend of mine!

Day 4 (Tuesday, June 30): Ammon and I left Kimi's place about 7:30 that morning for his Jr. IGA tournament tee time at 8:30 at the Blackfoot Golf Course. I dropped him off and went back to get the other boys in Idaho Falls, who were thankfully still sleeping when I returned. We cleaned up and packed up all our stuff, and headed to the Edwards Theater again, because they have a special on Tuesday mornings in the summer: they show family movies at 10:00, and charge just $1 per person. We watched the movie "Paddington", then drove back to Blackfoot to pick up Ammon. He scored a 90, and placed 5th in his age category. Then we headed back home to Salmon, ending our road trip.
Ammon picked out and bought these new clothes
when we shopped at Ross just the day before

We had a lot of fun, and on a budget, too! I liked getting out of town, spending time with my kids, visiting family and friends, and feeling like we were doing something summer-y!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BHT Reunion 2015

The Benjamin Hewitt Tolman III (BHT) Reunion was the last weekend in June. It was Aunt Louise's turn to host it, and she had it Abel park, which is just down the street from her house in Tremonton. The park was built by an individual who owns the property; it's behind his house down by the river bottom. I'd never been to the park before, and it was a little hard to find. I actually drove past the entrance to it, missing the sign by the road, because the access road to it starts as a little driveway between his house and shop, and I was looking for something more noticeable, I guess. At least I'm not the only one who missed it (I was following a cousin's car who also drove past it), but thankfully I found it on the second time down the street! 

Josh was unable to come this year, so I drove the boys myself to go to it. Since it was in Tremonton, we spent the night at my mom's house, so it was a nice to visit both sides of our family on the trip! Everyone kept saying "You came to his family reunion without him?"; yep I sure did!

When we arrived on Saturday, it was about lunch time. It was a super hot day, in the high 90's, and most of the family members were sitting in the shade of the trees or the shade of the canopies that had been set up. 

One of the canopies had pictures, books, and memorabilia in it celebrating the lives of Benjamin Hewitt III and his wife Emily Knowles Tolman. It was so interesting to look at all the photos and read about their lives. One of the binders on the table was full of announcements and photos that Aunt Louise has kept from the BHT reunions since they started 50 years ago.  

There are 10 children of Benjamin Hewitt Tolman III, and they each take turns hosting the reunion, going from oldest to youngest, before the rotation starts over again. As I was looking through that binder, I found myself remembering all the BHT reunions I'd been to, beginning with the first one in 1998, right after Josh and I got married. It was at Uncle Gerald's home in Belt, Montana (near Great Falls). I remember being smitten with this awesome extended family that I'd married into. 
(L-R): 5 of  Benjamin's 10 children in 1998:
Gerald, Ed & Joy, Rex & Beth (Josh's grandparents),
Wanona & Jack, and Louise & Joe
Josh's family at the 1998 reunion: Josh, Tiffany, Gideon, Malachi, Kathy, & Ed

When I married Josh, all of Benjamin's 10 children were still alive, Through the years, though, they have all passed away, as well as all of their spouses, with the exception of Aunt Louise and her husband Uncle Joe. Louise was the youngest of the 10.

The reunions have kept going, but the grandchildren of BHT have taken over the hosting for their parents now. I'm not sure how much longer the tradition will continue, but I've loved coming to these reunions and have only missed one since I married into this family in 1998.

After we ate lunch on Saturday, I was sitting around talking to other family members when Micah came up to me and said "I don't know anyone here", and I replied with "You're related to all of them!!! Just find someone your size! I'm sure you've played with them in your younger years, and you just can't remember!" It wasn't long before all 3 of my younger boys were off playing with their cousins, having a good time!

Ammon, however, was content to just sit by me and talk to the adults. That's a definite sign of aging!!

Because it was so so so hot (like 97*, the hottest day so far this summer), a lot of the older generation left after lunch. It got pretty quiet in the afternoon, but then Allen got out a candy cannon and started shooting the kids with candy, toys, and water, which livened things up!

And to keep things cool, Aunt Louise and Uncle Joe had ice cream ready for everyone after we sang happy birthday to Great-Grandpa BHT (who turned 135 this year) and Great-Grandma Emily (who would've turned 120 this year).

Look who was one of the first in line!!!

Sherrie kept the kids happy with her famous cotton candy that afternoon as well. She's just so stinkin' talented on that machine, I was mesmerized by her handy work!

Kanyon ate some of the sugary deliciousness before playing a bag-whipping game with some of the cousins:

The boys had a great time playing all afternoon and evening, despite the heat. I went to a Tolman cousin's wedding reception before dinner (good timing with the reunion on the same day!), and Ammon went golfing at the Tremonton course while I was at the reception. When I came back, we had hot dogs for supper, and we hung out for a while. Tammy showed a lawn movie that evening, but we went back to my parents house when it started getting dark so we didn't see it. 

The next morning, there was a family meeting, and Aunt Louise shared lots and lots of stories from her youth about her parents. It was super interesting, and nice to listen to her. She talked about places they'd lived, experiences they had, and her memories growing up. She said there will be a reunion next year (Ralph's family's turn to host), and she talked about having our family song revised to include listing the baby boy that died (Ellen, BHT's first wife, was pregnant when she passed away). The family song (to the tune of "Father Abraham") is sung at every reunion, so we closed the meeting by singing it with the new revision.  

There are almost 1,000 descendants of Benjamin Hewitt Tolman III and his two wives Ellen and Emily. There were around 175 people that made it to this year's reunion, and I saw family members representing 9 of the 10 original siblings, which is fantastic! Aunt Louise has been instrumental in keeping the reunion tradition going, and I'm so grateful for Aunt Louise and Uncle Joe and their kids for hosting the reunion this year!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What's black and white and eats grass?

Did you say "cows" as your answer?!

One day a few years ago when my friends and I were taking a walk down our country lane, my friend John pointed to some black and white animals in the pasture that were eating grass, and he said "those are some strange-looking cows". I responded, "That's because they're not cows--they're our horses!"

We have two paint horses: QT, the mother, is 28 years old, and her daughter Mia is 8 years old. They look a lot alike and spend most of their time together.  
Mia (left) and QT (right) in the pasture by the river in 2009.

We move them from time to time to different fields on the ranch, depending on the time of year and the feed that is available. In June, they spent about 3 weeks in a partially-fenced, partially-roped-off area right by our house. They are usually in that area once a year, to eat down the tall grass that's in the open area between our house and the ditch, which is mostly used for trailer parking. They did a great job eating down the grass and weeds, and Josh supplemented their feeding a few times a week with the grass clippings he'd acquired from mowing lawns, too. It was nice to have them so close for a while; we liked seeing them every day and Josh and I could hear them move around and neigh from our bedroom window at night. They were in that pasture with the neighbor's horse Bella, who's about the same age as Mia. One night in June, as well as the following morning, Bella escaped from the fenced area and ran into the field above our house, and it made our horse QT go crazy. She was whinnying and running around in circles both times that it happened, and didn't stop until Bella was brought back. That was when we knew it was time to move the horses again, this time down to the field south of our home. The following afternoon, Josh got the horses ready to be moved to their new feeding location. Bella never does well staying in that field, so he had to move her to a different spot, but since she doesn't let anyone ride her and she's hard to catch to even be haltered, he had to use QT and Mia to guide her to her new spot before bringing them back to the field they would be in. Kanyon and Micah had been asking to ride the horses, so Josh put the saddles and riding gear on our horses so the boys could ride them as they were being moved. 

It was a little bit stressful at first, trying to guide Bella, and Mia wasn't cooperating very well (she's got a wild streak in her), but the horses calmed down after a bit, and the boys had a good ride after that. I'm so glad Josh took the extra time to saddle them up before moving them in order for the boys to have the opportunity to ride them, as they only do it about once a year.
Look how cute Micah and Kanyon were, both riding QT back in 2009!

Friday, July 24, 2015

An overdue lesson in overcoming

This week I finished my third semester of college at WGU. It was a monumental semester for me because I had to overcome some mental barriers to complete it. One of these mental barriers was my perception as a science student. In order to better understand this statement requires a trip down memory lane. 

After high school, I attended SUU in Southern Utah. I had two scholarships to attend that college: academic and theater. It was a dream for me to be able to go there AND get the scholarships, too--particularly the theater scholarship, as there's only one freshman female and one freshman male who receive that particular scholarship each year. I'd wanted to attend that university since my sophomore year of high school, when I attended the 2-week long Governor's Honors Academy there. And from my sophomore to senior years of high school, we had Shakespeare theater competitions on the campus every fall as well, which increased my love for the place. Three weeks before I left my hometown to start school in Cedar City, I met Josh. He had just moved to Tremonton (in northern Utah) and I took an instant liking to him. We emailed and called, and had a long-distance relationship while I was away at college. Over Christmas Break, I came to Salmon with him and it was then that I decided that I wanted to marry him.
Josh and Kala during Christmas Break 1997 in Salmon

Josh felt the same and he wanted to get married sooner, rather than later. At that time, SUU was on a trimester system. I'd attended both fall and winter, and I was debating if I should enroll in the spring trimester as well. I had enough credits earned that I just needed to take two more classes in order to earn my Associate's Degree. The two classes were a biology class and a biology lab. Science was my least favorite subject, and I dreaded staying another semester, living with roommates I didn't like, just to take those science classes which weren't my favorite. Ultimately, I decided to quit after winter semester in March, move back home to Tremonton, get married that spring, and I would transfer my credits to Weber State University (which was closer in distance) and take the final science classes there.

After I got married in April of 1998, I applied at WSU and was accepted, but when I found out how much it would cost to take just the classes necessary to obtain my Associate's Degree, I realized I couldn't afford it. Josh had just bought a house, and his income paid for the house and all the other monthly bills we had. Since we were recently married with no children, I no longer qualified for the financial aid limits, so without scholarships like I had at SUU, and with just the minimum-wage job I had, it wasn't something I could afford to pay for. I didn't feel good about taking out student loans, because we were trying to keep our credit good and our debt down, so my plan to finish schooling and earn my 2-year degree was no longer obtainable. 

Throughout the years, I've have moments when I felt bad about the decision I made to quit school. I occasionally regret that I didn't finish the last semester of my freshman year and get married in the summer instead. I had all the tools necessary to be successful while at SUU: I had two scholarships, a part-time work study job, and lots of opportunities in the theater program which was a huge asset because I planned on being a theater teacher when I graduated. But at the same time, I'd struggled with my roommates, I was so far from home, and I missed being with Josh, and my grades were starting to plummet as a result. At that time, I thought those two science classes that I needed would just be the end of me and my college career anyway. 

Fifteen years after quitting college, I decided it was time to return. I'd always said that when my youngest child Kanyon was in school all day, I would go back. So in October of 2013, when he was in first grade, I applied at WGU. I took their entrance exam, got my AP exams and SUU transcripts sent in, applied for financial aid, and I waited. They accepted me as a student, I was approved for financial aid, and they transferred 22 of my 60 previously earned credits to my degree plan. I officially became a student at Western Governor's University (an online school based out of Salt Lake City, Utah) in January of 2014. 
So much has changed between the first and last college I.D. card issued!

Remember how I said this was a monumental semester for me? Well, I just barely completed two science classes: Integrated Science and the Applications class (AKA lab) to go with it. Those were similar to the two classes that I needed to get my Associate's Degree so many years ago, but quit before taking them. I dreaded starting them again this time around, and I got all the other classes for this semester done first. By mid-April, all I had left was the science classes: both were 4 credits each, and had a lot of material to cover and multiple projects to complete. I kept telling myself that I couldn't do it; I would look at all I had to get done in the course work, and I didn't think I was capable of completing the tasks. And on top of that, I was experiencing some emotional issues--which just increased my mental block towards teaching and completing my college work in general. So for the second half of April and all of May, I didn't do any work in those science classes. In fact, I didn't do any college work, period. So when the kids' school got out at the beginning of June, and I no longer had to work every day, I decided it was time to just buckle down and get to work on my college classes.

My current college semester ends on the last day of July, and if I didn't get these two classes done before then, then I would be put on probation with the university, I would lose my financial aid, and I would potentially be in the same position as before. I didn't want to have two science classes get between me and my degree again, like they did in 1998, so all of June and July I've been working my butt off trying to finish the classwork and tests and projects. It hasn't been easy, and it's taken up most of my summer thus far, but I did it! I got all the required work done and I am so proud to say that I passed both classes!! I did all the classwork and took the final for the Integrated Natural Science class in June, and submitted all the Science Applications projects in July. And surprisingly, I've mostly enjoyed taking the science classes! I actually understood it more this time around, and appreciated the aspects of science that I never did before. It's been a positive experience for me to take these classes. I don't know why I had the mental stigma for 17 years that I wasn't compatible with learning science, but overcoming that mental block has become a gratifying personal victory for me!
I was elated when I found that I scored an 80% on the Integrated Science final.
There was a lot of information covered in the class and I was so nervous to take the exam!
The class included physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, geology, and astronomy.

With the completion of these two science classes, I have now finished my 3rd semester at WGU, am back up to the 60-credit mark again (which is where I was at when I quit SUU), and am now exactly 50% done with my schooling to earn my elementary education K-8 degree! I feel like everything from here on will be forward motion with my schooling! And I say "bring it!"--I'm ready to tackle the remainder of my schooling to finish what I started way back in 1997!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's been nice gnoming you!

For about 10 years now, our family has enjoyed watching the T.V. show "The Amazing Race". It's a a reality show that airs twice a year with teams that race around the world doing different tasks. It's sponsored by Travelocity, and during every episode there's Travelocity commercials featuring the Travelocity Gnome, and usually once a season, the competitors have to do a task with that particular gnome, too. 

Back in early 2008, while the winter episode was airing, one of our friends Ryan Hilton told Josh one day that he looks like the Travelocity Gnome. Josh wasn't sure how to take that: was it a compliment (as in: "Oh! I found your celebrity doppleganger!") or a negative remark (as in: "Man, you're aging fast, and shrinking, too")? We didn't exactly see what Ryan saw--Josh doesn't have white hair, or a long beard, or is short and pudgy, or wears tall red hats like the famous gnome:

So the whole comment became a joke between us. Since every good gardener has a gnome in it to help protect the garden at night, and since Josh and gnomes apparently look alike, I figured he was deserving to have one. So for Father's Day in 2008, he received his first yard gnome:  
Father's Day 2008 with our first yard gnome

For every Father's Day and birthday since then, Josh has received another gnome to add to the yard collection. They protect the trees, the garden, the deck, and the driveway. Our collection has grown to 22 gnomes. But in June, for the first time in 7 years, one of the gnomes passed away. He was a birthday gift to Josh in 2011, and a couple years ago, one of his legs broke (I believe in a lawn mowing accident). But one day this past June, Kanyon was angry and swung a metal bat, and accidentally broke off the gnome's scalp with the cone hat attached. I had already planned to replace this gnome with a new gnome for Father's Day, so we weren't too upset when days before Father's Day the decapitating accident occurred. Several of the gnomes in our yard now have broken pieces, but it still made me a little sad to see our first gnome officially die. The Wheelbarrow Gnome is now at his final resting place in the county landfill.
the decapitated gnome

he lost his left leg several years ago

We replaced his location under the plum tree with the much-taller, more unique gnome that Josh received for Father's Day this year:
(Which I think kind of does look like Josh in a way, what do you think?!)

So now our gnome collection is down to 21. We have a big variety: there's a Duck Dynasty gnome, a mooning gnome, a BSU fan gnome, a spy gnome, a gnome in a hammock, a set of see-no speak-no hear-no-evil gnomes, a solar gnome that glows at night, a gnome on a motorcycle with spinning tires when the wind blows, and many others. I love our collection! They truly add to the fun atmosphere in our backyard!

I think all I need to add to the collection now is a Travelocity Gnome--Josh's supposed original dwarfish twin!