Monday, November 17, 2008

All the Grandchildren Together

For about 15 hours, we got to have all of our grandchildren together in our home! Tori and Owen arrived from Florida late in the evening on October 20. Elly and her kids--Nathan, Matthew, Maggie and Becca--were already here and didn't leave until the middle of the next day. We had a grand time.

Owen got along great with his cousins.
Owen's favorite activity was to climb up and down the stairs. After watching his cousins, he decided that he was big enough to walk down the stairs instead of crawling backwards. We had to watch him constantly! He loved throwing balls and playing with the kitchen utensils.

He showed us his new teddy and gave it lots of hugs.

Owen tried to get involved in everything that was going on.

What a great bunch of kids! It was so much fun to have them together.

After Elly and family left, Tori checked out housing and toured the neighborhoods in Boise. Owen was a very well-behaved explorer. Grandma tagged along on a couple of expeditions, too.

The fall colors were stunning!

Owen loved being out in the backyard with Grandpa. They picked apples....

...and checked out the chickens.

Grandma treasured each hug and enjoyed watching him take his first steps.

It was hard to send Tori and Owen back to Florida but we enjoyed the visit. We're looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Grandpa's Farm

Elly, Nathan, Matthew, Maggie and Becca came to visit in October. Nathan and Matthew immediately went to their room and dumped out the Legos to start creating. Matthew told me that he likes our house better than his because we have better toys and a better backyard with lots of grass. We also have chickens and apple trees to climb. Nathan, Matthew, and Maggie helped Grandpa pick apples. Nathan also picked a bucketful of carrots!

Nathan especially liked climbing the apple tree to pick the hard-to-get apples.

Matthew was best at standing on the shed to get apples that even the big people couldn't reach.

Nathan, Matthew and Grandpa made some marshmallow roasters Friday night then we piled in the car and drove up to Lucky Peak. Grandpa and the boys built a campfire. We each assembled our own pizza, wrapped it in foil and cooked it over the fire. Yummy!

The kids played in the leaves, threw rocks in the river and rode bikes and scooters with Grandpa.

Grandpa and the boys put up the tent in the backyard when we got home. Maggie insisted on joining them in their "campout". She lasted for about five minutes and then decided that she wanted to come back in the house. Grandpa, Nathan and Matthew slept in the tent the whole night!

Saturday night, Jim and Elly went to the stake conference adult meeting. I stayed home with the kids. We decided to make Halloween cookies (a big mistake). Unfortunately, the dough was too sticky to roll out. By the time we figured that out, we had dough stuck to everything! We ended up scooping up spoonfuls of dough and putting them on the pans as "pumpkins". They baked up plump and somewhat pumpkin-like. My homemade frosting was gooey and didn't spread very easily, though. All that work and the kids decorated about two cookies each before they grew tired of the activity. By the time the mess was all cleaned up, I remembered why cookie decorating was scratched off the family tradition list.:) Next we played Clue and Uno Attack. I actually won the Clue game but I think Nathan is catching on to my tricks.

As you can imagine, it was a little difficult to concentrate on Stake Conference on Sunday. We pulled out the dress up boxes Sunday evening.

Elly donned her favorite childhood dress-up.

Elly and the boys entertained us with a play about a princess, a king and a knight. Maggie was supposed to be the wicked witch but was a little too wicked for the cast's tastes. She didn't appreciate their criticism and left the show. I think Maggie liked being a bag lady better.

On Monday we went to Albertson Park and played on the playground. Then we climbed on our various modes of transportation and followed the Greenbelt to Julia Davis Park. It was a beautiful day! The fall colors were so vibrant. Elly and the kids paid a quick visit to the zoo while I made sure the bikes and scooters didn't disappear. We traveled back to Albertson Park on the Greenbelt and eventually made our way home to eat dinner and celebrate Nathan's birthday.

We were excited because Tori and Owen would be arriving the next day!

First Snowstorm!

The first snowstorm of the year arrived on Oct. 10. I can't recall ever seeing snow on the green leaves of the trees before. The snow actually stuck and stayed on the ground for about 24 hours!

Uncle Sam and Aunt Hilary were visiting. None of us could believe our eyes.

Feeling So Provident

We've been preserving food, a traditional fall ritual, and we feel so provident! We bottled about 30 pints of tomatoes from our own garden. We made 40 quarts of dried peaches. We are now working on the apples from our backyard. So far we've produced 9 pints of applesauce and about 25 quarts of dried apples. We still have about 4 boxes of apples left to preserve.

It feels great to see all that food on our selves. We're ready for the winter!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Campout at Grimes Creek

At the end of September, Jim and I got the urge to go camping again. Jim had done some winter camping with the scouts at a place called Grimes Creek. He thought it would be the perfect place to to do some fall camping and bicycle riding.

We found a great camping spot right by Grimes Creek. It wasn't easy to get to but Jim's persistence paid off. After several attempts, we were finally able to finagle our way in.

We woke up in the middle of the night to the strong smell of propane gas. We opened windows and turned off the gas which quickly cleared the air but it was cold. We couldn't turn on the heater and so we piled on every blanket we could find.

The next day, we rode our bicycles for several miles on the dirt road which followed the river.

We saw some incredible sights on our journey.

Our favorite was the perfect beaver dam and pond.

Early Sat. afternoon, we broke camp and headed for home. We got sidetracked along the way and ended up on another one of those wild and crazy dirt roads that we always seem to encounter on our adventures. Luckily, this time we were able to turn around before the adventure became hair-raising.:)