Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 2015 on FB

Sept. 1: Today was our first day of the new school year!

Sept. 4: It rained all yesterday, and when we got back to Salmon after attending Coral's wedding today in Boise, the sky was all cleared up. The rain made the smoke that has been here for 3 weeks go away, for which we are all super grateful!

Sept. 7: I labored for Labor Day today: picked about 200 ears of corn from our garden, shucked it, washed it, cooked it, cut it, and after 7 hours of work we now have 31 quarts of corn in the freezer!! It's a nice visual reward for my aching body!

Sept. 11: I found Jonah's iPod today--the one that's been lost for 4 months due to Kanyon taking it and hiding it in an angry moment!! I thought I wouldn't figure out what happened to it until I died! But alas, it was under a box of too-small clothes in Kanyon's closet. And when I lifted up the box today in order to empty its contents into a large bag to take to the clothing fair, there it was! It was a wonderful surprise, especially for Jonah!!

Sept. 11: I caught the dog sun-bathing today in our family room! She is such a strange dog!!

Sept. 12: Jonah's football team just won their first ball game in 2 years and it was a shutout 22-0!! And guess who won defensive player of the week?!

Sept. 13: Josh took me on a fun motorbike ride down river to Shoup for milkshakes today. We'd never stopped there before. It felt like summer and was such an afternoon delight! I loved every minute riding behind this guy!

Sept. 13 [posted by Josh]: Had a beautiful afternoon ride with this hottie!

Sept. 16: I like that facebook has an "on this day" app. Apparently 6 years ago today, this happened (which I can't even remember, but it made me laugh reading it!): Just got out of the shower to the sound of aerosol spraying. I opened the bathroom door and saw the entire hall filled with aerosol mist. Kanyon had found Josh's Old Spice spray and filled the house with its aroma!!! Yum, now I can smell Josh everywhere! And I mean EVERYWHERE!

Sept. 18: Jonah and Ammon were in the Homecoming parade today--Ammon for the Sophomore class, and Jonah for the Little Savage Football team. The Cross Country team was the only fall sports team that didn't have a float for the parade, otherwise Micah would've been in it, too.

Sept. 18: The Pioneer Woman's new line is out! When I walked into WalMart and saw an entire shelving unit dedicated to her products, I stopped and ogled for several minutes! I was so excited!! I loved it all, but limited myself to purchasing just one item (I will get more next time, though!).

Sept. 19: Ammon all ready for homecoming dance tonight!

Sept. 22: I can't believe my twins are 12 years old today!!! I remember the day I finally got to hold them both together for the first time--they were two weeks old. I loved the feeling of snuggling two little bundles of joy! Now they are much too big to hold, and much too "cool" for their mom--I posted some love notes on the back wall of their lockers during school when they were in class, and when they saw the notes in their lockers, they were both so embarrassed that someone else would see them that they immediately threw them away!!!

Sept. 23: We FINALLY got our cat Torch neutered yesterday. He was quite upset after the procedure when we brought him home, but thankfully he's back to his usual self today! 

Sept. 25: This is the first year our peach trees have grown fruit. We picked all the peaches today and I'm so excited that the 2 young trees produced so much!!!

Sept. 26: Jonah and Kanyon helped me cut the pumpkins from the field yesterday and today. We have a lot of good-sized pumpkins! Also, I was surprised with how many mini pumpkins grew from just 6 plants this year!

Sept. 27: Micah is running XC for the first time this year and is on the Salmon Middle School Boy's XC team. When they ran at the Bob Firman meet in Boise yesterday, his team got 1st place overall out of 63 teams competing in their division!! He was the 7th member of the team to cross the finish line, and the top 7 members of the winning teams received medals. He was so happy to get this!

Sept. 27: We are sad that Waffle Love didn't win the Great Food Truck Race finale tonight. We have loved watching them this season and I soo want to go eat from their food truck the next time I'm in Provo!

Sept. 27: Best part of my day happened tonight--Josh drove me up to Lover's Lookout so that I could have a better view of the harvest blood moon lunar eclipse. It was so awesome! I've always wanted to watch an eclipse, and we sat in peace for an hour just watching the sky and talking to each other. It was heavenly!

Sept. 28: Since water aerobics ended two weeks ago, I decided to start going to Yoga and went tonight for the first time since last winter. Kitt (the instructor) has added some core exercises to the flow workout, and it totally kicked my butt (but in a good way).

Sept. 30: Josh and I took Ammon on his monthly date tonight to Bertram's (after we dropped off Jonah and Micah at their 1st YM activity!). He was in the mood for Fish & Chips, so that's what he ordered. It wasn't as good as the same dish we've had in Seattle, DC, or Chesapeake Bay, but it fulfilled his cravings!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Can they come play?"

We have the perfect backyard for kids to come play in during the summer: there's water, playground equipment, dirt, trampoline, shady grass, and we are surrounded with fields on the ranch. I love when the boys ask me if they can invite their friends over to come play because I know it gives them more satisfaction in their home's surroundings (when they don't have friends over, they don't play outside a whole lot by themselves because they say it's "boring").  Plus, when they have friends over, they stay pretty occupied and don't need me around, so I get a lot more done!

I know that it won't be too much longer before I stop hearing the boys ask if their friends "can come over and play?" (Ammon has already grown out of that stage and has moved into the stage of "hanging out", where he and his friends sit in front of the XBox instead of "playing" together inside and out). I truly enjoy watching my boys be productive with their friends and finding ways of entertaining themselves outside! This summer, the twins had their friend Kota over several times, and they liked to ride 4-wheelers, go fishing, and play air soft gun wars with him. Their friend (and 3rd cousin) DJ came to play a few times while he was visiting his grandma in Salmon, and they played in the ditch, rode 4-wheelers, played air soft guns, and rode bikes around with him. Kanyon invited his friend Hestyn over a few times, and his favorite thing to do with her was sit and talk, and they liked to play in the hammock. He really wanted to spend a lot of time with Hestyn this summer, so we also took her to play at the park one day, and went swimming at the pool together another time. The Williams kids came over a lot, the Oliverson boys came over a few times, and the Beesley boys came several times while they were visiting their grandma. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures of kids playing in our yard this summer, because when the boys did have friends over, I took that opportunity to mostly work on my college classes, but I did capture a few moments with my camera because I wanted to remember how much both the boys and I love having their friends come over to play! I wish moments like these could last forever!
Jonah and Micah playing on the ditch's rope swings with DJ

Hestyn and Kanyon eating pickles in the yard

Hestyn & Kanyon sitting and talking in the hammock--
his favorite thing to do with her!

Kanyon and Abby playing in the ditch. Kanyon's face makes me laugh!

I love the look on Abby's face as Kanyon is splashing!

Kanyon is so glad that Abby lives so close--they play together a LOT!

The Oliverson boys after playing mud wars with the boys--
Erik already got washed off but Aidan wanted me to
take his picture as he was still covered in mud!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

menus and movies, mushrooms and magic

For my birthday this year, I treated myself to a girl's weekend trip to Boise! I stayed with my friend Krissy for 2 nights, and we had a hilarious time together!! I was there from July 31-Aug 2, which was halfway between both of our birthdays (hers is July 9 and mine is August 14). I loved my birthday excursion and spending time with one of my bestest friends!
I didn't actually take a photo of us together the whole time
I was there--this is from January of this year. Close enough!
Basically all we did for 2 days was eat out and watch movies. And it was bliss! 

We ate at the Cheesecake Factory on Friday evening after I arrived in town. And surprisingly, we didn't have to even wait to be seated! That was a first for me! Our waiter was so nice, even though I may have accidentally said something super embarrassing in front of him, which I will not put on here because I'm keeping this blog G-rated. Dinner was delicious--although now I can't even remember what I ordered (something with chicken, I believe?!), and we ordered cheesecake to go so that we could have it for a midnight snack. After dinner, we went to the Edward's Cinema and watched Magic Mike XXL. It was SOOOO good--wayyyy better than the first! Since I saw the first one on my birthday with Krissy 3 years ago, I held out watching it this year so that I could see it with her again. And I'm so glad I did!! After the movie, we went back to her house and watched an Adam Sandler movie on TV until we were ready to go to sleep.

On Saturday morning, we slept in, and took our time getting ready as we watched another Adam Sandler movie. Then we went shopping at The Village--the giant shopping plaza in Meridian (which is actually right across the street from her apartment). My favorite store we went in was Charming Charlie's. Oh my goodness, I fell in love with how they color coordinate their sections of accessories! I got myself some earrings and a necklace. It was a super hot day, and after shopping for a bit, we were famished and so tired! So we went to Ling & Louie's down the street for lunch and binged, which was the worst part of the whole trip. We each ate an appetizer plus a meal, and we were so sick to our stomachs. Their nachos were DISGUSTING (but since we were so hungry we ate all of it, which was a huge mistake), and Krissy and I were bloated the whole rest of that day and the next because of it. I don't recommend ordering their nachos!!! I will definitely never eat there again. after lunch, we were too bloated to really do anything, so we went back to Krissy's house and watched yet another Adam Sandler movie on TV (there must've been an Adam Sandler marathon going on). Then we went to the movie theater to see "Paper Towns" (it wasn't as good as I thought it would be), and did some shopping at WalMart, and I got some new exercise clothes. Then we went BACK to Krissy's aparment, watched part of an Adam Sandler movie and decided on where to eat for dinner. We picked Gino's, a local Italian restaurant. It was located in Meridian, and it was a fantastic choice; I loved it! We ordered the stuffed mushrooms for our appetizer, and it was strangely the only photo I took of my entire trip to Boise!! I can't even remember what I got for dinner (again), but I did order a canoli for dessert, and it was FAR better than the one I got in DC last spring (which was the first time I'd ever had one). Our waiter was super awesome, and I loved the whole dining experience that night!
I try stuffed mushrooms whenever I see them on a menu, to see how they
compare with my friend Gina's recipe which is the BEST (and still is!!)

After dinner, we decided to go to a late show of Magic Mike XXL because we both loved it so much the first time!!! We looked all over the theater for a poster of the movie, but there wasn't one because it was the last weekend they were playing it, so they had already replaced all the posters of it with newer movie releases. I wanted to replicate this photo that was taken back on my birthday in 2012: 
My birthday in 2012

The next day, before I headed home, I went shopping at a few stores, and I got the soundtrack of that movie at Hasting's while I was there, so this is as close as my replication will be:

On my actual birthday, Josh and the twins were gone on the scouting trip to the Bighorn Crags, so I didn't actually do anything that day. But the Elder's Quorum party was in Ed & Kathy's yard that evening, so I got treated to a delicious prime rib dinner, which was nice! And I got to spend the evening hanging out with friends, which was fun. AND...John and Amanda surprised me by singing "Thank You for Being a Friend" to me at the party. It was the first time I'd ever been serenaded to (or received a singing telegram, whatever you want to call it). I did NOT see that coming! And then Barb brought me a cupcake and I blew out the candles that were in it, which were actually trick candles and I embarrassingly couldn't blow them out no matter how many times I tried (because I didn't know at the time that they were trick candles!!). Good times. 

All I wanted for my birthday was Telestrations, the game I'd asked for for Christmas, but didn't get. So I kept telling Josh over and over, and reminding him that's all I wanted. The morning he left for the Crags, I found a hidden note in my bathroom from him saying that his present to me was hiding somewhere in the house. I was tickled that he was so thoughtful about my gift even though he was already busy with getting everything ready for his trip. I found the gift a couple hours later, and it was Telestrations! Yay! The day after he got home from his backcountry hiking trip, I opened my presents from my mom and the boys. My mom gave me some new kitchen cooking utensils and money (which I used to buy more garments--boring but SO necessary). The boys gave me some of my favorite chocolates: Andes mints and Lindt balls. In addition to the game, Josh gave me my very favorite cereal Cracklin' Oat Bran (which I never buy because it doesn't go on sale and it's expensive). Kathy gifted me some money (which I bought new bras with--again very boring, but super essential!). Amanda and John gave me a bath soap collection on my birthday at the Elder's Quorum party, which was very thoughtful of them, too. I felt very spoiled and loved. 

I really wanted to go to dinner at my favorite restaurant Stockman's for my birthday, too, but it didn't end up happening. I was disappointed at the time, but Josh took me to lunch in Hamilton instead a few days later, and I was glad for the alone time with him. Overall, I had a fabulous birthday that was stretched out over two weeks' time!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bighorn Crags

Josh finally accomplished a 25-year dream this summer: he hiked into the Bighorn Crags. When he was 13 years old, his scout troop went on a 50-miler into the Crags, and he wanted to go desperately, but he was just a few months short of the required age 14. He's wanted to go ever since! He's been talking about it a lot the last few years, and since he was getting some of his bucket list items accomplished this summer (like purchasing a street motorbike and hiking to Freeman Peak), I suggested to him that maybe he could go with the boy scout troop when they were going in August. He didn't know of their plan to go this summer, but after I suggested it, he started talking to the scoutmaster about possibly going along with them. He wasn't sure if he would be able to go, so he didn't commit until the week before they were to leave because the timing wasn't the best with our family schedule that week and his work schedule since there was a golf tournament that weekend. But then Ammon said he wasn't interested in going on the hike with the scouts, so that freed up Josh to go since Ammon could stay home and work. So, Josh decided he would for sure go and take the twins along with him, but because of Josh's work and mowing schedule, they had to leave the morning after the rest of the scouts departed. 

In preparation for the hike, Josh bought the boys new frame backpacks, and he took them shopping for all their food and lightweight necessary items. They loaded and packed their backpacks the night before they left, and weighed them to make sure they would be able to carry their individual loads. The boys' packs each weighed 20 pounds, and Josh's weighed 40 lb. Josh's backpack was heavier because he also carried the tent. They left at 5am on Thursday morning (Aug. 13) to drive up to the trailhead and meet the rest of the scout troop who'd left the previous afternoon to spend the night at the trailhead. It was a 2-hour drive, and once they arrived, the scouts were still preparing breakfast. They ate breakfast, the boys packed up their stuff from the night, and they got started on the trail about 8am. But before they took off, a forest ranger gave them a 15-minute schpeel about how to responsibly poop in the wilderness. 

They hiked almost 8 miles, stopping frequently for breaks.

Josh enjoyed spending time with this group of boys:
(L-R) Micah, Treygan, Travis, Aiden, and Jonah

Can you spot the twins?

The halfway point of their hike was Cathedral Rock.

One of the oldest boys in their scout group was an extremely slow walker, so they took their time on the hike, and Josh really enjoyed the views along the way. 

The trail overlook to Wilson and Harbor Lakes

However, about 2 and a half miles after Cathedral Rock, the [slow] boy didn't think he could go any further. It was a mile and a half to Birdbill Lake where they wanted to camp or they could turn around and go the same mile and a half back to a spot that they could tent for the night. It was still early afternoon, and Josh thought they should press on. So he took the other boys, and they went on to Birdbill Lake. Josh told the leader he would come back after they set up their stuff, so he could carry the boy's backpack for him and get them going a little faster. After the boys and Josh made it to Birdbill Lake and set up their stuff, he headed back to get the other boy that was straggling with the scoutmaster. They were only a half mile from the Lake by then, and the boy was able to make it to the camp site on his own. By the time they all reached the camp spot though, a storm had arrived and the rain started coming down hard.  

Fishfin Ridge
A view of Mirror Lake on the trail to Birdbill

Good thing the boys set up the tent first thing
so they could stay dry when the rainstorm hit!

Birdbill Lake

Birdbill Lake getting hammered with raindrops

Josh and the boys ate a lot of dry food while they were hiking for 3 days: crackers, jerky, granola bars, pop tarts, and for dinners they had ramen noodles cooked over the campfire! Josh also bought a water purifier, and they cleaned their own water daily when they filled their water bottles.

The storm didn't last long--less than an hour. After dinner, some of the boys (and Josh!) went swimming in the cool mountain lake. Nobody brought their swimming shorts, though, so everyone stripped down to their underwear to swim (Josh just wore a pair of shorts he'd brought). Travis, Aiden, Treygan, and Micah all braved the cold water in their skimpies--but Jonah refused to take off his clothes to swim. Instead, he opted to just dip his feet in the water while sitting on the shore. 

Josh said it was refreshing after the long hike!
The Bishop (who's a Fish and Game Officer) was on a backcountry trip, checking fishing licenses, and he stopped by the camp that night on his horse, and Josh enjoyed visiting with him. The boys sat around the campfire for a while that evening until it was bedtime. It had been a long day!!

The next morning, they ate breakfast and started hiking to see more lakes. The scoutmaster and some of the boys had brought fishing gear to fish, so that was the plan for the day. They hiked two and a half miles to Airplane Lake. From there, the scoutmaster hiked up to Shoban Lake with 2 of the boys to fish, and Josh took the rest of the boys down to Ship Island Lake, back to Airplane Lake, and up to Shoban (with was a 3 mile round trip).

Airplane Lake and Ship Island Lake

Ship Island Lake, the largest of the Crags lakes

the Spires

There's still a patch of snow at the base of that mountain!

Selfie at Ship Island Lake

The boys walking around Airplane Lake on their way back

A gorgeous, peaceful frog pond

Micah walking down to Shoban

Ted the Scoutmaster fishing at Shoban

Sheepeater Lake Selfie

A trail of wildflowers leading to Shoban Lake

Shoban Lake

Foot Therapy after hiking many miles

Jonah is tired after all that hiking

Micah taking a much-needed break
The boys stayed with the Scoutmaster at Shoban, and Josh decided to hike back to their camp at Birdbill Lake by climbing over the pass. He walked back up to Sheepeater Lake, and then over. There wasn't really a trail and it was steep at some points. He was glad he didn't have the boys with him, because it was difficult terrain. The boys were going to walk back to camp with the Scoutmaster along the trail when he was done fishing. 
Another view of Airplane Lake, taken from the mountain 

Josh's last view of Airplane Lake and Ship
Island Lake before going over the pass to camp

A view of Gentian Lake

When Josh arrived back at camp, he took a nap until the others arrived. Then they had dinner, and he walked around Birdbill Lake snapping some fun photos. The storm that had come through the previous night started a fire in the Crags area, which made for some pretty photos of the sun, and a golden reflection on the water, too.
another view of Birdbill Lake

A cute little snowman in August!

It's like a solar smoke eclipse

The golden reflection is so sparkly and inviting!
That night, the wind blew a lot, and it was hard to sleep. The next morning, they ate breakfast, packed up, and left at 7:30 to start hiking back to the trailhead. Josh took the 5-pack of boys that he'd had the previous day and they hiked back out in 3 hours--which was half the time it took them to hike into camp 2 days prior! The Scoutmaster took the slow boy and his 3 brothers, and they were considerably behind Josh's group.

This portion of the trail is remarkable--carved out of the large slate of stone

When they got back to the trailhead, they ate lunch, and then Josh drove the boys he had to their homes so that they wouldn't have to wait for the others to return. They got home before 3 that afternoon.

Josh had an amazing time! If you look at the Crags Map, the area basically has 5 fingers of trails. They only covered one of the "fingers" on this trip, and saw 9 lakes in their 3 day excursion! Josh definitely wants to go back and see more of this amazing wilderness! He was SOOO glad that he went, and he treasured his time in the mountains immensely. In fact, for days after returning home, he just kept saying "I wish I was in the Crags right now; I just want to go back!". It's hard to return to busy everyday life after a relaxing, rejuvenating trip! I am so glad that he chose to go and get yet another item crossed off his bucket list! He was so happy, and when he talked to me about the trip and showed me all his photos from his, I could hear the enthusiasm and excitement in his voice--and he truly doesn't get so overly happy very often! It was also great for him to share this experience with the twins; he enjoyed spending time with them on this awesome excursion!