Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My 5 senses

I can smell it. I can feel it. I can hear it. I can see it. I can touch it. Spring is on its way. And with spring comes the thoughts of gardens, flowers, fresh peas, juicy tomatoes, tiny carrots, onions, canning pickles and Zucchini cake. I can imagine long days where Ali and Ashling spend the whole day search for and catching butterflies. Even though the temperatures are cold now the days are longer. The sun hits my windows in a whole new way. The birds are making their songs heard. At night the raccoons are on our deck enjoying mating season. A pleasant surprise is that the woodpeckers are not assaulting our house this year.

Last year our garden did not work out. Gophers ate it and the cold and lack of water destroyed it. What was not taken over by those critters was ate by the birds. It was a big dissappointment after the wonderful garden we had in Provo. But gardening in the mountains takes a lot more effort.

We have been preparing our new garden. We moved the location to a place where there is more sun. It is up against a wall and we think this will help it stay warmer at night so the tomatoes will be happy. (tomatoes have a very hard time growing if the temperature at night gets below 50 degrees.) We are setting up a system to protect it and a way to cover it in case it is too cold. I am also not pregnant and vow to spend entire days out in the yard protecting the garden. I will sleep by it if necessary!

We dug down about 10 inches and moved all the dirt. Then we laid chicken wire (the gophers can't come from underneath and steal the plants while I sleep,) and built a small retaining wall with some random cynder blocks in our yard. We also put this disgusting combination of cow blood and cayenne pepper down that is supposed to deter gophers. We have put poison in the gopher holes.

Right now we are working on getting the dirt back into our garden bed. We are sifting all the dirt through a sifter to get rid of pine needles, rocks and other debris. It takes a long time. We are mixing that dirt with garden soil that we bought. After work each night poor Cameron puts on his "work clothes" and goes outside to dig and sift. I try to help as much as possible but Annika is not particularly happy when she is not held in the evenings. So I am mostly moral support although my legs do hurt from bending over to push the dirt through the sifter.

Soon we will be planting. We have peas and carrots that are ready to plant now. Later- summer squash, cucumbers, brocolli and green beans. We have some tomatoes in my window sill waiting for warmer temperatures and we will have onions as soon as I find them at a store.

I am very excited for our garden and hope that the critters will all stay out of it this year. The bee bee gun got rid of the wood peckers so I am hoping that the poison and gopher repellant will get rid of the gophers. Do not mess with the Browns!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

By the sweat of my brow...

I have not always done yard work and I am still very bad at it. But the last couple days I have at least ventured into our yard with the intent to improve it. How could I not want to be outside when it has been so beautiful?

Our yard is HUGE. I am not kidding. We have a normal size backyard all on one side of our house and then a regular backyard and another side yard. Our front yard is pretty small but still has plants in it. We have to do the normal pine needle raking clean up before the 1st of June. That involves tons of trashcans full of the pine needles that need to be raked and then put into trash cans. Cameron has done most of that... I just swept the small concrete patio.

Today I planted some lilies into pots to put on our deck. And I finally bought a plant that is supposed to be in the shade and it flowers too. Trust me it is hard to find the right kind of plant. But I have one to sit on my front porch and make it beautiful... I also started digging the dirt out for our new garden spot. My back aches and my arms are tired and there is still a lot more dirt to move before we are ready. But hey... I tried.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Birthday my sweet Ashling!

Ashling is 4 years old!
My little girl is 4. I would love to have my children stay little. I remember when she was born so clearly. She was much too big for my stomache and I was induced. It was such a pleasant experience to have her. The epidural worked well, labor was pleasant, and she was born with hardly any pushing. She was so cute and fun to hold and so many people came to visit her. I was so happy to have a baby who did not have colic and who hardly ever cried. Mostly she was calm and let Ali do whatever to her without crying of fussing. She still is that way today.

Ashling is a joy to have in our household. She is the mellow one, the one with patience, the one who loves to please and who is excited by anything. Some examples.... One time we went to the mall and I needed to buy her pants. We found some and she was excited because she would not have to wear the pants with holes in them anymore. She also saw a really cute pair of shoes and really liked them. I could see it in her eyes that she wanted to ask to buy the shoes but instead she looked at her pants, had self control and told me they were beautiful-that was it. Today I asked her where she wanted to go for lunch. She said,"Wendy's because it wasn't too much money and I don't want to take all the money."

Ashling is getting so big. I do not want her to be four but she already acts and is as big as a 5 year old! She weighs 40 pounds and is about 43 inches tall. She know all her upper and lower case letters and numbers to 10. She can spell a few words although most of them are our family names. She loves to play with her barbies, ride her bike and go hiking. She plays so cute with Annika and will play with her for almost an hour in the afternoon almost daily. She loves to help around the house especially with dishes and laundry, although she doesn't like to clean her room too much. She is our family cook and helps with every meal that is prepared in this house. She tries to be a peacemaker and will give Ali whatever she wants. Everyone loves to play with Ashling because she is so fun. Kids of all ages gravitate to her easy going personality.

Today for her birthday we decorated the house before she woke up. All her presents were on the fireplace. She woke up early and excited that it was her birthday. We let her go pick out one present to open in the morning. It was a butterfly shirt and she put it on in a hurry. She went to preschool and took oatmeal cookies as a treat for the kids. We went to lunch and then we played at home. Daddy came home early and she got to open the rest of her presents. She got two barbies, a swim suit, sandles, sunglasses and a sandbox. We built a sandbox for her in the afternoon. We had hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for dinner and she ate it all. (This never happens!) Then we went on a walk to the park and came home exhausted, took a shower and she went to bed still giggling and laughing. The best part of the day for her was all the presents. Tomorrow we will have a birthday party with friends and there will be chocolate cake!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I posted a lot of pictures so please scroll down and look at all of them if you please. My spring break post now has tons of pictures! So scroll all the way to there and look at them if you want.


We went hiking twice this weekend. Once each day. On Saturday it was quite a difficult hike. We wanted to hike up to Vivian Creek but we were not aware of what the trail was like. (At least I wasn't.) It was a very steep trail with about 50 other hiking "friends." We took our three girls and the dog with us. Usually when we are hiking the dog just does her own thing but with all the people we had to have her on a leash the whole time. This made it harder for me to help Ashling hike with the dog in the way. Also since this trail was so steep people kept stopping in the middle of the trail to rest. And each time someone came down the trail you had to move over for them to pass. Each time we stopped, (actually moving off the trail,) someone who passed had to talk to our kids, give us suggestions so we could keep hiking or give our kids something. I am usually okay with this but I have never taken the kids on this kind of trail.

Amazingly despite the tons and tons of whining they were able to hike up the trail at about the same rate as all of the other hiking buddies. This meant that we kept passing each other on the very narrow narrow trail and I kept imagining Ashling being bumped off the trail and tumbling for 20 feet before she stopped on the switchback below us. The dog was hyper because of the walk and all the other people and dogs around. She kept trying to get off lead and sometimes I was worried about her bumping Ashling off the trail too. We did not bring enough water for the warm day and the hard hike. Soon I noticed our water supply was depleating and realized that I had forgotten both a diaper and wipes. (Yes I was very not prepared.) Annika started to fuss and this made me more on edge. A group of people stopped in the middle of the trail again and we had to hike around them getting still closer to the steep edge. Now my nerves were shot. I looked up ahead and yet another group of people was stopped in the way of the very steep trail! I am sure we had stopped at least 50 times on the 1 mile trail! I had it and demanded that everyone turn around and go back down! We never made it to the meadow (Cam said we were only 300 yards from the top) and for the rest of the day my nerves were shot! I will never take my little kids on such a steep trail with that much exposure and the next time I will insist we turn around much sooner.

So Sunday afternoon we decided to try a different type of hike. We went to a dirt road with a gate over it. There were no other cars parked around there. There was some up and down but basically the trail went across the mountain. We were able to let Sierra run and the girls ran all over the place. We brought a ton of water, a pacifier and diapers. Although we hiked for about 3 hours and were all tired by the time we made it back to the car there was only a very little whinning and lots of giggling and laughing. Cameron and I were able to hold hands and enjoy watching our kids try to climb the steep snow patches. We stopped at a creek and they made a bridge while I nursed Annika. We even found a second bigger creek at the very end of the hike. Lesson learned... start hiking with something the kids can do and they will be much happier than if you go up a cliff!

Annika is 3 months old!

Annika is now 3 months old! I can't believe how fast time flies when you are having fun! And we are having fun! She is sleeping through the night and still sleeping much like a newborn. She goest to sleep so easily. I just lay her down in her crib all swaddled and she is asleep soon without any crying!

She is laughing and giggling and cooing for everyone. She loves to play with toys and is beginning to hold things in her hands although she is not always sure how to do that. She loves her sisters and wants them to play with her although she is not as keen of their many hugs and kisses (called smothering). She rolls over but only sometimes and not always when she wants to. She is not happy when put on her tummy and spends her time trying to get out of that position and whining. (This is about the only time she whines.) She puts her entire fist in her mouth and loves it being there. I think she would sleep all night that way but I still swaddle her so she can't get her fist into her mouth. Instead she has a pacifier that she holds on to even when she is crying!

Last time she was weighed she was 12 pounds 10 ounces and so I am sure she is now about 13 pounds. She is growing and growing and looks a little chunky and rolly polly just like a 3 month old should look! I love having her to keep us all jumping with her few demands!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We're going to see U2!

Yes we are going to see the U2 concert in October in Las Vegas. All 10 of us (meaning Cameron's sibs and spouses and Cam's parents.) I guess this is one concert you can bring your parents to see too! Thanks to Cam's siblings they decided that just getting the new U2 album for his 30th birthday was not enough so they bought us U2 tickets too. But the concert in So Cal was on a Sunday and nobody wanted that.... so they decided on Vegas. Thank you very much for adding me in to the 30th birthday plans.

In other Cameron birthday news I threw a 30th birthday party for him. It was not a surprise party but he did not know all the details and really didn't know what we were doing. I wish I had a scanner because the invites I sent out were pretty cool. For his party we had grown up food and no kids invited. My neices who are 10 watched my girls and did an excellent job. I can't wait until they are really old enough to baby-sit all the time. I loved how the house turned out for a bigger party. I pulled the couches back so there was more room and then set up camp chairs to add to the camping theme. I made a mountain cake to go along with the "you are not over the hill yet but are at the summit" theme. I bought Cameron an outdoor fire pit and we put that on our deck outside. Then we had a fire going in the wood burning stove too. This way everything was open and it gave the illusion of a bigger house and also the comfort of fires inside and out. I had everyone tell a "camp fire" story about Cameron. It turned out good and I congradulate myself because I was not stressed out and had all party stuff done about 2 hours before the party was about to begin... and I did that with 3 kids to take care of too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy 30th birthday Cameron!

Cameron was born on April 17th 1979.He was the third of four children born to Mike and Sue. 1 year old

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We had a great party for Cameron that I will try and post about later. I am not sure if we took any pictures but I will get one soon to post for 30 years old. In his scrapbook I put a picture of a very old man doing something adventurous.
Happy Birthday Cameron! You are a great father and husband! I love you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Sunday- A photo essay

Easter Morning was beautiful and sunny as could be after some very foggy and soggy days! What a great way to symbolize the holiday.