Monday, April 3, 2017

Conference Weekend.

We headed to Grandma's house to watch conference.  It is always a pleasure to listen to the speakers but with the house a bit dark and sitting in comfy chairs it was easy to doze off.
We all struggled a bit! It is a good thing we can go back and listen to them again!
The weather was beautiful so it was difficult to stay indoors.  Between and after sessions we went out to explore the pasture. 


 Learning how to make grass whistles.




 Trying out Grandpa's tire swing.




 Taking "the walk" up the street.

Julie always like to hang back and walk several yards behind. 





 We fed the neighbor's horses.

 And mostly just enjoyed the wonderful green all around us and blue skies above.
 I had fun playing with the panoramic function on my phone's camera.


More March

I am not being very good about documenting anything we are doing lately. I guess I have pictures of some of what we have been doing but that seems pretty slacker like if I never get around to actually blogging about it. My kids love looking through the photo books I have printed of my blog from past years and I have even intention of continuing but somehow I just never find the time to actually make my posts all that meaningful.   So anyway, here is a catch up post. Lots of pictures of what we did through the rest of March. 

Sophia and Ian were invited by some friends to go to Fresno to go to the temple. The Oakland temple was closed for a month so this small group made the 2 hour trip to Fresno to try out a temple non of them had been to before. 

There was some scouting going on in March too. They held a court of honor and gave out awards.  But I think the kids all loved the toasting of marsh mallows and eating of smores the best!


The scouts also got to take a tour of the Federal Aviation facility in the area. 



 We have been blessed with a bit more rain too.  Rainbows popped up some afternoons when the sun peeked out from behind the dark clouds.
 Molly played a lot of blocks and Pishu likes to get right in to observe the construction.

I am now a Young Woman Adviser. I have never worked in the Young Woman program so this is new for me.  We, the other leaders mainly, put together a beautiful New Beginnings program. 
 Of course it was a rainbow theme.  And we had a candy bar with all the different colors of the Young Women's values.

One of my Young Woman had a birthday and she is a big Harry Potter fan so I made her a plate of chocolate frogs as a gift. 


 The new park opened. It is the park nearest our house and they took out the old play structures and put in two new ones.We have been anticipating the opening of this park for weeks. It had been scheduled to open in January but because of all the rain we have been getting the construction was delayed a bit. We would often stroll by during our many rambles about the neighborhood and check on the progress while waiting and waiting for it to be done so when the fences were finally removed and kids finally allowed to play on the new playgrounds it was momentous.


 These two feel like they are too old to play at the park. Ian says he doesn't really fit through the openings anymore. It just isn't fun to grow older!
Molly finally talked me into making her some new playdough. This time we made it orange.

 Pishu is such a strange cat. We find him is the strangest places in in really uncomfortable looking positions.
 Sophia went to the youth dance. The picture makes it look like the kids had a great time but Sophie said it was horrible. The music was too loud and the boys don't ask the girls to dance. That is her usual complaint.  She loves to go to dances despite her usual complaints.

Molly made me a deal that she would do her school work for a month without throwing a tantrum about it.  In return she would get a new "boy barbie". She did great through the month. There were many moments when she would be missing and will have run outside when I was distracted elsewhere rather than finish her work.  There was even a few thrown pencils and books because something was hard. But never a tantrum about having to do school so I guess that is a pretty good improvement. She even practiced her piano more and without complaint.
 I did try to mix things up a bit to make the school work fun. She especially likes to do spelling tests on the fridge with the magnetic letters.
That just about sums up the month of March for us. We did lots of school work and tried to keep our house somewhat clean. We took lots of walks between rain storms and played a whole lot at the park once the new structure was finished and when the sun shined. This lovely spring weather has been so nice! I sure hope it continues for a little while longer before the heat of summer get here!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Local Ecology

This week has been "spring break" for my kids. Williamsburg Academy, their online school takes a week off at the Mid term. Sophie had to take a few tests and the boys were given a few assignments to do over the break.  One of the things the boys were supposed to do was visit a local place and study the ecology of that place.  When they told me about the project I thought of the many different places we could go. We are only about a hour from the delta or even the ocean. That would be some fun ecology to study.  But instead I thought of Big Trees. It is a State park about 45 min from Grandma's house. It is a beautiful redwood forest with lots of very tall and BIG trees.  So we planned to go over the break. I told the kids that morning as we were headed out the door that since we had had so much rain the last little while it was probably going to be muddy. Little did I know and certainly didn't prepare for what was actually there. 

As we drove to from Grandma's house toward Big Trees we passed through Angels Camp and discussed the jumping frog of Calaveras County and why that is the mascot of that town. When we got up to Murphys we started to see little tiny bits of snow on the ground and the kids got excited. This was the first snow they had seen all year. Ian went up to camp in the snow but the rest of us have stayed snug in our wet, rainy valley and hadn't had any snow days this winter. As we kept going up higher toward Big Trees (3,000 ft) the snow became thicker and much more plentiful. Finally, when we only had about a half mile left before the turn off, there was a sign that said "snow chains required".  We ventured slowly up to the parking lot for Big Trees state park and I could hardly contain my excited kids. They were miserably prepared but they loved every bit of the snow they could. 

Quickly formed snow balls and threw them at each other.

Pulled icicles off the roof of the visiter's center.



Yes, Henry was only wearing some knit shorts but he was too excited to be cold. 

We did go into the visitor's center and looked around at the displays they had that showed what animals and such we would find out in Big Trees. 

But that visit didn't last long. We had to get out into the forest and see all that snow.

We tried to follow the trail, we knew where is should have been but it was so covered with snow that we had to just blaze a trail of our own. 

We actually couldn't go very far into the park. Years of drought and then with all the rain that we suddenly have had recently there have been a number of the really big trees that have fallen down and the trails are blocked until they can get in there and check out the full extent of the damage.

We were able to get all the way to the big stump that had been used as a dance floor back in the logging days. 
I played with my phone's camera and took a few pannoramic photos of clearing we were in.


It made people look a little strange but the scene was beautiful.



The boys decided to build tiny snow men on top of the stump.



Henry's hands were just a bit cold!

 But there was no complaining about the cold from anyone. (Okay, Sophie may have complained a bit about the coldness and her lack of boots and gloves)  They were all too excited about the adventure.



It was really beautiful to play in the fresh snow that hadn't been walked in.  We did spy some animal prints in the snow.


The boys and Molly decided to leave their own marks in the snow as well. 


Perfect snow for snow angels.

They could have stayed longer but we left the snow behind. 
 But they asked if we could come again next week. I told them perhaps later in the Spring or Summer.
I had never been the Big Trees in the snow before. Having grown up in the area I have been there many many times but this was one trip that will be quite a happy memory. We didn't see many of the BIG trees. But we certainly got to see snow!



On the way back down the hill we had to stop for a late lunch and a quick run around the local park. Funny what a difference a 10 min drive down the mountain makes.

Oh, and one more stop on the way home. We decided we had to go see the 44 lb gold nugget that was on display at one of the local vineyards.  It had actually been found in a gold mine only a mile or two from my parent house.


Gotta love the Mother Lode!