Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

jack-o-lanterns 2011

This year we teamed an older kid up with a younger kid to carve pumpkins.
Caden and Nolan were a team:

Isabelle and Kami were a team:

Maddie ended up being on her own,

because all her counter-part cared about doing was climbing all around on the top of the counter and trying to pose for pictures any time we pulled out the camera -something that he is really excited about right now, and always does like this:

True to age, Caden had WAY too much fun with their pumpkin - he was laughing and enjoying himself the whole time.  In this picture, he told me to only take a picture of his finger wiggling in the pumpkins nose, but he was laughing so hard, and all I really wanted a picture of was him.:)

He rearranged it's face several times and kept sharing how the pumpkins "labotomy" was going with all sorts of gory details.

These were the final products, with L-R Caden and Nolan's pumpkin that Caden said was feeling pretty sick after it's intensive "labotomy", Kami and Isabelle's, which was artistically drawn onto the pumpkin by Kami, and Maddie's, sporting a traditional look.  Everyone was very pleased with their creations. All day yesterday whenever Nolan heard a strange or gross sound he said, "That was our pumpkin!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tree tying

 Last week we told our neighbor, who owns the big tree farm behind our house, that we thought we'd like to buy some little trees from him. He said to meet him at his tree farm and he'd show us what he thought we ought to pick from.  When we arrived he showed us some really tall trees (fifteen footers) that were growing too close to each other and needed thinning, (or else he was going to have to cut them down) and if we were interested, we could have them for a really good deal!

Oo-duh-la-lee, I have been so excited I have hardly been able to stand it!!  There isn't much that gets me as excited as plant material. Barbara Kingsolver said in one of her books, "I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January." I could really relate to that quote because that's how I feel looking at plant magazines every spare minute that I have ALL YEAR - I pour over them the way some women read "Vogue" magazine or surf all over the internet.  It doesn't matter what kind of plants; it can be flowers, shrubbery, trees or food- producing plants.
This is Shawn tying me up to a tree:)  I think I forgot to tell my face how excited I was feeling!
Well Saturday, around 6:00, John Ferguson, our generous neighbor, took us out to the farm to show us how to tie up a tree. He left, and then Shawn and I got busy for the hour before it got dark.  First you tie a bow line knot on a branch and wrap a bunch of twine around your right hand:

Then you go around and around the tree pushing the branches up and holding them tight with the twine. There I go just getting started with one:
Until it looks like this and Mr. Ferguson can get in there and dig it right up with his equipment without breaking off any branches:

Well, at seven O'clock it was already too dark to see and we had only finished eleven out of the 32 that we had yet to do.  We went in and ate a lovely spaghetti dinner made by our lovely Madeline Mary with consultation advice from her lovely sister Kami.  

This was the night after the big party we let the kids have, and Shawn was EXHAUSTED - we'd only had six hours of sleep and a hard day's work already.  I should have been tired, but I was living on excitement and all I could think about was getting the job done.  SO...I invited Caden to come out with me. (Shawn had asked Caden to remind him how to tie a bow line, so I knew Caden could do what I was too impatient to learn myself.)  Caden and I grabbed the twine and a lantern and headed out. It was kind-of creepy walking out there (although we didn't admit it to each other until the next day) because it was pitch dark and there had just been a bull moose in the tree farm the night before.

Once we got there and got working it didn't feel creepy, it was just really fun. Cade tied knots for me and timed me while I wrapped up the trees and tried to beat my previous times, and we talked and laughed.  Did I mention that tying trees is REALLY hard work?  I was sweating and panting like crazy! Caden was patient with me when I changed my goal number of trees- for that night- from 10, to 11 to 14.  We made a good dent in it before we decided it was getting too late and we ought to get some sleep.

Shawn and I finished off the trees today, and if the weather is good tomorrow, they will get moved into our yard.  I am SO excited!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall Get-together day

Kami has been wanting to have an outside late-night ever since school started, but ever since school started she has had cross country meets every Friday.  However, Cross Country ended last week, and it looked like it was going to be good weather, so I told her and Caden that they could invite friends over for a party.

Kami invited her friends from school, which I was excited about because I hadn't met some of them, and Caden opted to invite all of the boys his age from our ward.  He has been going on camp-outs with them once a month and is really enjoying them.  They are such a neat and fun group of boys!

Part of the preparation for the night was letting the younger kids have friends come over earlier-on so that they would feel like they had had their party and go willingly to bed for the older kid's party. The girls had a good time with their friends painting nails, having a tea party, (for which I let them have foods that I had bought for later on- it's amazing how far food goes when you're eating in tea- party portions) baking and eating cup-cakes, and playing games outside.
Anna and Maddie
Halli and Belle
Nolan and Josh - Nolan begged for a friend to come over, but I'm telling you - I think there's a reason that I don't do play dates at this age.  This was Nolan's first real one (he plays with cousins quite a bit) Josh started crying off and on for his mother, and Nolan just wanted to play by himself most of the time.

Shawn got home from a trip at 5:00, the younger kid's friends went home at 5:30, and Kami and Caden's party started at 6:00.  I love throwing parties for this age group, because all I have to worry about is getting everything ready, and buying LOTS of food.  The kids take care of the activities, which is usually the part that I worry over.  We ended up with about 18 party-ers. They started out by playing volleyball:

Then they canoed across the pond to a bonfire and a table laden with food and roasted hot dogs and ate doughnuts, Halloween cupcakes, apple cider, root beer, chips and salsa, marshmallows, etc. You know, lots of unhealthy, but fun fare.
This picture looked so pretty in real-life, but my camera wasn't capturing "dusk" pictures.  Anyways, the white in the middle of the picture is the table of food, and we built the bon-fire down by the water's edge.

Shawn and I took that hour or so to feed the little kids and get them into bed, and then we went outside and wandered around making sure that we had a presence at the party :) and sometimes we would just go sit on the front steps and watch the goings-on and listen in on all the conversations.  It was SO fun!! I really enjoy this age of kids- they're so fun and entertaining. The weather was just beautiful - warm enough, and with a nip in the air.

The kids spent their time playing "murder in the dark", "kick the can", "steal the flag", and canoeing around the island in the pitch dark just because it was exciting.  A couple of boys ended up with wet shoes and wet pants up to their knees.

The kids had a great time, and so did we....until 6:00 this morning when Abram started yelling that it was time to get up. (sigh)  I think that's the hardest thing about having older and younger kids - you're up on both sides of the clock.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A lion and a lamb

Lately Nolan has been developing quite a temper and when someone crosses him I can hear him roaring at whoever has done it clear across the house.  If I am clear across the house when this happens, the person he is roaring at is out of luck and usually also gets some fists or something equally charming like that.  If I'm close at hand, I can step in and tell him that I'm not liking the tone of his voice and remind him to notice how he's feeling inside when he behaves that way. (That always does the trick with him.)  Anyways, he can sound so ferocious lately, and yet he is so sweet and really does like to correct his behavior as quickly as possible so that he can feel happy again.  He can go from a scowl to a joyful smile so quickly - Oh to be like a child!

I know that I write about my little boys a lot, but they're the bulk of my day - lately Nolan has done two very gentle things that made me smile. 

Yesterday I was having one of those great accomplishment days and didn't want to quit "accomplishing" for anything!! Our dog, Jack, had been on his leash ever since Caden went to school, and suddenly noticing him,  I said to Nolan, "Poor Jack.  He's been on his leash all day today, but I am too busy to go outside with him."  Nolan went over to the window and looking out at him, sadly shook his head and said, "Yeah, poor Jack.  Bless his little heart."

Today we were reading a new book about a little llama that went to preschool for the first time and was missing his mama. He couldn't join in any of the activities because he was missing his mama so much.  Then in one part it says, "It's too much for little Llama...Llama Llama MISSES MAMA!"  I made it sound like the little Llama was crying when I read "misses mama".  I glanced sideways and Nolan was wiping his eyes.  He noticed me looking at him and abashedly said, "Boy! That makes me cry!"  I guess he could totally relate - he hasn't wanted me to leave lately when I drop him off for his church class.

There's something about a four year old - their moods all seem so intense.  But boy do I love this little guy, in all of his moods!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


One of the great things about living in Idaho is that every fall, school lets out for "spud harvest vacation".  I'm not kidding! School lets out for 1 - 2 weeks depending on which school district you live in.  (In our district we got a week and one day this year.) The reason for this vacation is that all the potato farmers need help harvesting their potatoes, so the schools let out so that the students can get jobs working in the potatoes.  I'm thinking that Kami and Caden will want to try getting jobs on the potato crews one of these years soon, but for now, we use potato harvest as a family vacation time. 

Last year we went and visited my family and went to the Oregon coast.  This year we wanted to do something inexpensive and weren't sure what to do about Jack (arg!!) while we were gone, so we decided to go camping. Shawn took the week off from work, and we decided that we'd go for two nights and three days.  We loaded up the canoes and grandpa Gee's four wheeler and everything else fun that we could think of to do and eat, and finally headed out Tuesday after lunch.

After we arrived, everyone got busy setting up camp:

The littlest wood carriers

Kami and Caden setting up the tent

Shawn set up a tarp where those boards are because we were expecting some rain!
 It was a beautiful evening and surprisingly warm for October.  That night, we were sitting around the campfire and Shawn was reading to us from a book (Mrs. Mike) that we're reading aloud as a family, when I suddenly heard noises in the trees nearby. I told Shawn to stop reading and we heard a large animal grunting and moving  - did I mention that it was REALLY close by?  I immediately thought of bears.  Anyways, everyone was looking concerned and anxious, so we told the kids to get in the car.  Shawn stayed outside and listened until it sounded like it had passed, then he got in the car with us and we drove down the road to see if we could see what it was. 

It wasn't long before a big bull moose came walking around one of the big ponds up there.  He wasn't the least concerned about us and kept coming, almost right up to the car, even though our lights were shining right on him.  So that was our big adventure.  After the little girls saw what it was, they weren't worried anymore, either.  We have moose in our yard almost every day, so it didn't seem like a big deal to them.

I thought I ought to include a pict. of the guy who makes all this happen.  I was telling Kami that I love going camping because it's a big break for me.  Shawn's a great camp cook and does it all!
I had visions of us going to bed and reading for awhile by lantern light, but Abram wasn't about to lay down and calmly listen.  He turned into the energizer bunny or something, and started running faster and faster around the tent and laughing hysterically, so we turned out the lights to calm him down.
During the night it started to rain, but we were as cozy as could be.  The next morning, the sleeping bags that had been around the edges of the tent were a little wet.  We thought that maybe we could dry them out as the day went on, (it was supposed to be scattered showers) but the rain kept coming and it started to get colder and colder.  At lunch- time we decided that the rain wasn't going to quit, so we packed up and came home early.  A good decision, it turns out, because we had an inch or two of snow sticking around on Thursday and Friday! We ended up continuing to have a fun and relaxing week at home.  Man I love it when Shawn doesn't have to work!!

I hope the potato farmers have enough help to get their potatoes out of the ground this week since the weather didn't cooperate during harvest break.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conference weekend

There were a couple of really great moments, for me, during conference this weekend. Usually my great moments come from a talk that is given or an impression that I get while I am listening to a talk.  I thought the talks were great and very up-lifting, but I didn't have anything really stand out to me this time.  My great moments had to do with my kids.

It's been a tradition for Shawn and I that after he goes to priesthood meeting he comes home and shares with me who talked and what they said.  Caden got to go with Shawn for the first time this year, so we included him in the tradition.  We dished up big bowls of ice cream and Shawn would tell about one speaker and then ask Caden if he had anything to add that he had forgotten.  Caden had picked up on totally different, but good things.  Then Caden would tell about the next speaker and Shawn would add to that.  That was one of my great moments- watching Caden and seeing how seriously he took everything and what he had learned and noticing how sharp he looked in his suit.

This year we pulled conference up on the internet, (we have a T.V. that is only for watching movies at our house but isn't hooked up for anything else) rearranged all the furniture so that everyone could see, and settled in to listen.  And everyone seemed to listen pretty well - all except for Abram and Nolan who were having WAY too much LOUD fun in the "nest" of blankets that they had built on the ottoman.

I got my best listening in when Abram went down for his 11:00 naps.  Conference was once again amazing and I can't wait to re-read all the talks so that everything can sink in better and I can see what I missed during the Nolan/Abram riots.

During the Sunday sessions the girls started showering Shawn and I with notes and works of art. Here are the works of art:
A hat made by Isabelle  - very jaunty, don't you think?  And a picture of Shawn drawn by Kami - kind-of hard to see.

Every Sunday afternoon all of the Gee family members, who live close, go to either grandma Shirley's or my in-laws around the same time, and we have treats and catch up with each other for the week.  We refer to it as "going visiting." Yesterday we did the same thing, only we also had a pot-luck dinner.  My next great conference moment was walking into the kitchen and hearing Maddie and her cousins Abby and Ali rehashing conference.  They were re-telling the conference stories to each other.  I listened as they told one, with each contributing a different detail.  Then Abby said, "Were there any other good stories that I missed?  I'm not sure that I heard everything."  This brought on another story and they went on talking and enjoying what they had heard in conference! 

I was telling Shawn about it later and we were being amazed that they are so much further ahead than we were at that age.  I remember really listening to conference, and feeling the spirit, and getting something out of it for the first time when I was twelve.  I remember driving with my family one Saturday for the half hour that it took to get to our church to watch conference in the chapel.  When we got there my siblings and I sat through a couple of talks and then we went and pulled our roller skates out of the car and roller skated around the church for the rest of the time.  (A real treat because we grew up out in the country where there was no good concrete to roller skate on!) These kids are amazing!

Trappings and trimmings

Before school started, the girls and I got busy on making some accessories for their hair - everything turned out so well and it was such a fun project! 

side view
front view
We made them with satin material or ribbon and cut it out in various sizes of circles, singed the edges of the material and put the circles together like flowers. Then we added netting, pearls or fancy buttons, and feathers and arranged them on a headband.

The one above was just some wound up ribbon; the one below is Kami's invention - layers of netting with a button on top (sewn through the layers.)

side view

front view

We also made some that we put on clips.

This picture's kind-of fuzzy, but we put circles of netting between each layer of satin.  It has a very flapper-girl look to it.  I love it!
It was great to have a project that the girls and I were all so excited about and that we can enjoy all year long!

Oh, wait.  I think more than just the girls and I have been enjoying them:
Shhh...don't tell Shawn!!

Abram's antics

Abram stays so busy all day mimicking me and the rest of the family.  While I was making dinner the other day, Abram spent his time "canning" some tomatoes that were on the counter into some of my clean jars.

He noticed that I had a bulb of garlic on the counter and hurried over to put it into the food processor:

And was sure to use an oven mitt to keep from getting burned:

 He works so hard every day, and I can relate to how he feels when the end of each day arrives: