Friday, April 29, 2011

Amazing What a New "Toy" Can Motivate You to Accomplish - Week 8

So have I mentioned the big trees around this place.  And also the fact that those trees make quite a mess?  Mess equals work and boys do not like work.  Who does really?  But you mention yard, rake, shovel in the same sentence around here and everyone scatters.  That is, until Grandpa bought this nifty little trailer for the tractor.  Actually the trailer was bought a few weeks ago but Dad had to get the mower and the tractor going.  Yesterday that actually happened.  And you will not believe what else happened, the words, yard, rake, shovel were all in the same sentence but with a couple of added words and Voila!!!! magic - the boys volunteered to clean up the front yard.  That's right - no yelling, no bribing, no threats!

Week 8 of 52

Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  "Hardworking" Boys

Before you are too overwhelmed with the awesomeness that made the boys work, I must note one disclaimer.  The effects of this said tractor/trailer combo wears off quickly.  You may only get one actual load of branches and debri into said combo before all actual work ceases and fun time begins.  But hey, I can't complain, if they are working at all, that is a HUGE plus for us!

Now our only trouble will be keeping that little tractor filled with gas.  This may prove to be an expensive chore!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy, Busy Month is Almost Over

This has been such a crazy busy month!  Cameron, Rachel and I all decided to auxilliary this month.  I am helping Cameron and Rachel finish up their time.  Cameron ended up in Arizona until the 13th so he is playing major catch up.  Rachel ended up getting a full time job so her evenings are spent playing catch up.

We had the memorial and this past weekend we had our circuit assembly.  It was so encouraging.  For our circuit, both A and B parts we had over 700 auxilliary in April.  Combine that with our over 200 pioneers and we had more people pioneering in April than filled the auditiorium that day.  AWESOME!  The assembly had so many good points: simplify, make room for pioneering, get your advice only from Jehovah not worldly self-help books, read the bible daily, consistent family worship night!  Whew, so much to work on.

Reuben's house is under full construction now.  The boys and I helped him Friday tear out a bunch of drywall and remove old wall studs.  He and Cameron are there now rebuilding walls.  They say the upstairs will be move in ready by the end of the week.  We shall see if that happens.  It is so great having them here.  Reuben's daughter is loving the outdoors and Aunt Carol's house.  And Reuben's son is just the cutest thing ever!

Spring is popping up everywhere.  Baby animals are running around fields.  I planned on a day to go photo hunting but it is supposed to rain for the next few days. BOO!  Hopefully by the end of the week I will get to go.  There is a field with little sheep running and kicking and I so wanted to get over there.  Hopefully they don't grow too much in the next few days.

We have flowers growing like mad in all of our flower beds.  We aren't quite sure what some of them are yet but we are anxiously awaiting the buds to open.  My hydrangea bushes are sprouting, I can't wait until they are in full bloom.

The seeds we planted for the garden are growing nicely also.  In the next week or two the garden is going to be leveled, tilled, and ready for planting.  Woo Hoo!  We are so excited for that.

Today I went on a field trip to the State Capital with Z.'s class.  It was a very whirlwind field trip, 2 hours to the capital, 2 hours back, left only 3 hours to tour the State Capital Building and the Museum.  Whew.  It was interesting though.  The Capital Building is over 130 years old and has been restored to look exactly the same as it did the year it was built.  Awesome architecture and decor.

That is our month in a nutshell.  Busy, busy, busy but almost over.  One final weekend that is packed full with too many activities.  Anniversary party, going away party, three festivals, and hopefully some moving in.  What's a family to do?

Love and miss you all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Winter Fun - Week 7

Pure Joy
Week 7 of 52
Location:  Lakeview, Michigan  Townline Lake
Subject:  Playing Ice Hockey

I love this photo of J.  The pure joy on his face as they attempt to play ice hockey.  This was his second time playing the sport.  I think he likes it.  One of the many new things he has learned moving here to Michigan.  I think it is safe to say he loves it here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Moving Days - Work, Work, Work - The Big Maple Tree

So this is where we left off with our moving days.  This beautiful maple tree in the front yard.  It is gorgeous.  This tree has many, many jobs.  It is home to a mommy squirrel and her babies, numerous birds seek refuge in her foliage and rest atop her branches.  My boys love to climb on her and swing from her limbs.  My kids and I love to lie in the shade she provides and star at the sky through the branches or read together on a blanket.  Soon it will be host to a bench so more people can enjoy her.  She is beautiful.  But those beautiful leaves that turned red and orange and yellow, well, they fall off.  And this tree is massive, so that means, lots, and lots of leaves.

Lots and lots of leaves equals lots and lots of clean up.  We had so much fun raking the leaves into big piles and jumping in them.  Burying each other in the leaves and laughing at the dogs trying to sniff us out.  So much fun.  Soon we realized those leaves were getting pretty high.  So out came the rakes, shovels, and wheel barrow.  This job was much too big for that one wheel barrow to handle so we decided to be ingenious and create our own way of hauling off those leaves.

We raked leaves onto a big tarp and hauled them off, this was much, much faster.  The kids all worked so hard.  It took us all day on a Saturday and after meeting on Sunday we finished up.  Whew - what a job.


Gone!  Whew, finally!

That big ol' tree is a lot of work.  But we love her so.

Next episode:  Here Comes Winter

Curiosity killed the Cat? How bout the Dog!?!

Our family has two dogs, well three if you count Rachel's little Roscoe.  We moved here with one more, but as the title suggests, curiousity got the best of him. 

Our three dogs, Buster (the oldest), Coco (the chocolate), and BJ (their baby), were all definitely city dogs.  They were used to a big walled yard where they could run to their hearts content.  We moved out here to the county and all of us have more space and feel more freedom EXCEPT for those poor dogs.  Our property is not fenced and they are not good little dogs who stay in the yard.  Almost everyday I was chasing them down and putting them back in their dog run.  One day they went very, very far.  We looked and looked and could not find them.  Three days later Coco came back home all on her own and all alone.  We found Buster at the animal shelter.  When we went to pick him up they told us that BJ had been hit by a snowplow.  So very, very sad.  But I didn't mean for this to be a sad post so let's move on.

Coco is definitely our wanderer.  If Buster gets out he goes to visit the neighbor down the road and we know right where to go to get him.  Coco, on the other hand, loves to run and chase things down.  First she found a skunk.  YUCK!  You couldn't get near her without gagging.

Last night she dug her way out of her dog run, not once, twice!  The first time I had to chase her down and put her back in at 2 in the morning.  I filled the hole with large rocks and thought it would do until I could have the hubby to fix it in the morning.  I got up this morning to discover she just dug around the rocks and got out again.  As I climbed into the truck in my PJ's to go find her she came wandering back.  But she came home different than when she left:

Yep, those are porcupine quills all over her nose and a couple in her mouth.  You would think she would learn her lesson.  You would think if she ever smelled another porcupine in her life she would run yepling in the other direction.  But no, when we showed my brother the bowl full of quills she sniffed them and then tried biting them. 

If dogs are anything like cats, you know, the nine lives and all, she definitely has used them all and then some.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Robins - Week 6

Week 6 of 52
Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  Robin in a Maple Tree

Mostly we see Robins bopping along on the ground, cocking their cute little heads to the side listening for worms.  This little guy decided to check us out and flew into the Maple tree in our front yard.  This photo was taken last Sunday when it was 85° out.  It was such a beautiful day.  Z. and I spread a blanket out under the Maple tree and read to eachother.  Rachel and Jake enjoyed a bike ride and then we all just layed under the tree enjoying the warmth.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Moving Days

Okay, so you keep asking, and I keep promising.  So here is a start.

Moving days.  Yes days, not day.  I have moved plenty of times in my life.  My family moved from Michigan to Arizona when I was 7 years old.  BIG move.  But I was only 7 so really the only responsibility I had was to stay out of the way and enjoy the ride.

Once I flew the coop I moved 6 times.  Single apartment, married apartment, duplex, rental houses, first purchased house, you get the idea. All of those moves were stressful, but relatively smooth.  And we had time, take a little stuff today, take a little tomorrow, let's wait to move that till next week.  Moving across the country, that is something all together different.

So we sorted, packed, threw away, gave away, sold.  It was all a little sad, a little enlightening, a little freeing to have to get rid of some things.  Condensing was a word that we kept using.  Because it wasn't just us moving, we were combining two household into one.  That meant condensing a LOT of things.  It was well worth it thought.  And even though we did all of those things we still ended up with a lot of stuff to move.

Our truck and trailer

My Dad's truck and trailer and Our "Moving Van"

Moving took a long time.  A very long time.  We have made the trek from Tucson to our hometown many, many times since we moved away.  We always drive straight through no matter how many people tell us we are crazy for doing so.  We always make it within 34-36 hours.  We left Tucson about 11am on a Thursday morning.  We arrived about 12am on Sunday morning.  A very long 61 hours later.  But we had mishaps, and we were all so very tired we stopped to sleep a couple of times.  The big red moving van did NOT like hills and we had a tire blow out.  But we made it!

The new place is awesome.  Definitely needed some sprucing up and someone to love it again.  We are working on all of that.  Rooms have been built.  Rooms have been painted.  Things have been repaired.  She kept us warm during the winter so she definitely earned a spot in our hearts.  Spring and summer are going to be busy.

With a tree like this you can't help but love her.

Stay tuned for the next episode - this beautiful tree creates lots of work!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Birds of Prey - Week 5

Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  Osprey

I apologize for picture quality.  It is a grey sort of day around here and these birds were very, very high up.  But these birds are very, very large.  Its body can reach up to 24 inches and its wingspan 7 feet.  They mainly feed on fish and so nest high up near bodies of water.

We have so many birds now that spring is here.  Or is supposed to be anyway.  But we see new birds everyday.  We spotted these two on the way to meeting the other day building their nest right around the corner from our house.  I stopped today on the way home from service in hopes of catching them so we could figure out just what kind of birds they were.  Happily we found them both in their nest working away.

Enjoy these large birds of prey.  Hopefully next week the sun will peek out from behind these clouds and I can get you some cheerier pictures.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trees, Glorious Trees - Week 4

Maple Tree
It has been such an absolute crazy week I completely forgot about my 52 week challenge.  I did manage to squeeze in time to capture this tree in its winter stage.  We don't often head in the direction where I found him so I was excited that I actually remembered my camera on the day we did head that way.  (Wow that was a really long and most likely improper sentence!)

Location:  Near Beal City, Michigan
Subject:  Maple Tree - Winter

Have I mentioned how much I love trees?  Well let me tell you, I do.  Love, love, love them.  Trees are symbols of so many things, and provide so much for us insignificant little humans.  Love them.

History in the Making

Get cozy - this is a long one.

This week has been a crazy busy week.  My Grandmother has been in the hospital since last week and things were not looking good at all.  She needs surgery.  She needs surgery on her broken arm, she needs surgery on internal things that are not functioning as they should.  BUT, she is so frail, so frail that they said she will not survive surgery, so she has to live as comfortably as she can with the ailments she has.  It is all so, so very sad.

Last week my parents and my two older sisters decided they needed to be here.  They arrived on Sunday.  We were all so glad to see them.  Six months is a long time to be without them.  Tuesday my Grandma was transferred to a nursing home to see if they can give her some therapy to make her a little stronger so that she can go home.  So this crazy week has been spent back and forth first to the hospital, then to the nursing home, and trying to squeeze in some quality time with the family.  Whew - busy week.

It also happened to be the week of the Circuit Overseers visit.  Time for myself?  Nah, who needs that anyway.  Thursday we had to feed the C.O. and his wife lunch.  I planned on being all suzy homemaker and preparing a fruit tray with hand made dip.  That so did not happen.  Thank goodness for Meijer and their fresh fruit tray.  I will admit that I jazzed it up a bit.  I cut the fruit into smaller chunks so it would spread farther, added some I had at home, and put it all in a fancy little dish.

Saturday we did service.  Arizona people stopped early, it was too cold for them.  We tried convincing them that it was a "dry" cold so it really wasn't at cold as they thought but they didn't buy it.  So Rachel and I along with a couple of the munchkins and a friend continued on.  I got a very nice call with an older gentleman, 93, we talked for about 30 minutes.  Then I got back to the hall to discover that he was the only do not call on the street.  OOPS!  Then we got to attend the entire pioneer meeting.  So encouraging!

This morning I had to say goodbye to my sisters, again!  I hate that!  We went to meeting with plans of service afterword.  Rachel, Cameron and I are all auxiliary pioneering this month so we were trying to jump start our hours.  We walked out the doors after meeting to a blizzard.  No kidding, full on blizzard.  So crazy.  And usually Rachel drives like 90% of the time.  But today I thought I would be nice and offer to drive.  Mistake!  BIG Mistake!  We made it about half way home and I did a big giant spin-out in the street and almost went off the road.  So scary.  But we made it home alive and I am refusing to leave again.  So intended sleepover person for the night is postponed till tomorrow.  Sorry young person, please forgive me.

It was a very busy week.  So busy.  But all encouraging as well.  I love when the Circuit Overseer is here.  Everyone is so uplifted and encouraged to carry on.  He read us this letter from the JW Media site and congratulated all of us for being part of "history in the making".  I am so proud of our little family this month.  Cameron is pioneering for the first time ever.  So very proud of him and all the progress he has made these past couple of years.  Kids have all set goals of increased time.  It is going to be a busy month.  But busy in service to Jehovah is a good busy.

Love you all.