Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A camp-out!

My dad had initially planned to take the kids and I on an overnight camping trip to some mines a little ways from his house (close enough to be a day trip, if desired) but since it was so hot (close to 100 degrees!) and there was no shade there - except in the mines themselves - we decided to camp a little closer to home. So, we took the kids for an overnight trip into Joshua Tree National Park. We found a perfect campsite with lots of shade and wonderful climbing rocks - just a few spots away from one that I camped in with my parents when I was a kid!

We climbed rocks, chased lizards, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and slept out under the stars! Much fun was had by all!

Joshua contemplates his next move.


Climbing through 'the cave'.

Miriam insisted on having her new monkey friend with her as she climbed so I turned her bandanna into a little sling for her. As it turns out that ornery monkey kept trying to slip out of the sling and ended up hanging by her tail several times, but it looked really cute!

We weren't at our campsite long before this guy slithered out of the bushes and along the base of one of the large rock formations that bordered our campsite. Yes, he is a good sized rattle snake, a 'Mohave Green', we believe. It was a bit disconcerting, especially considering that we planned to sleep under the stars that night! But dad escorted him away from our campsite and across two streets...and we just hoped he didn't have a buddy nearby. We also knew, though, that even with the high temperatures during the day it was still quite cool at night so we really didn't have to worry about being bothered by snakes while we slept.

Another, not so intimidating, visitor to our campsite. The kids had fun chasing this guy and his buddy...

...who was smaller and a bit better looking.

Isaiah, on the hunt!

Oh, so close!


Feisty little guy! Isaiah was too tough for him, though, and held on in spite of his protests!

Miriam gets a turn holding 'the catch' and checks out the teeth Isaiah just experienced first hand. (Which didn't do any damage, in case that wasn't clear)

Showing off his (or her) brilliant blue belly.

Roasting hotdogs...they never taste quite as good as when they are roasted over a campfire. So yummy!

If you look closely you can see Isaiah in this cool (at least I think so) photo of him roasting a marshmallow.

Star gazing.

It was really cool sitting there with all my kids resting on me and staring up at the stars and talking about what we saw - so I asked dad to take a picture. Well, the only problem with that is that we were all sitting there in the dark and when dad went to take the picture the flash does this little 'pre-flash' which made the kids shriek in 'pain' (as in 'my eyes, my eyes!') and got us all roaring with laughter! So instead of a picture of us all peacefully staring up at the stars, this is actually a picture of us laughing hysterically because we keep being blinded by the flash!

Then, to get even, Isaiah took this picture of Dad and I by the campfire. Lol!

Dad took this picture while the kids and I were still sleeping.

Miriam and I snuggled in my sleeping bag, we were both a little chilly and she was a little scared so I just had her climb in with me. I slept pretty well, really, all things considered.

Mm-mm! Isaiah and Miriam enjoy their donuts in the early morning sunshine. A perfect way to top off a wonderful adventure!

A Hike with friends

On Sunday evening, after our visit with Joe and Gina, we headed to our (Josh and I) best friend's house in Canyon Country. I have been friends with Scott and Veronica since High School and Josh and Scott have been friend's since the 2nd grade! So they are old and dear friends, and with our nomadic lifestyle we truly appreciate such a long-lasting friendship.

In April Scott and Veronica visited us in Coos Bay with their two girls, at that time their youngest, Natalia, became very attached to Isaiah - who she called 'the boy'. Whenever he was in another room or something she would ask 'Where is the boy? I want the boy!' Initially our trip itinerary had me visiting Scott and Veronica on the way home from our vacation, when I would have only Miriam with me. But after their visit, seeing how much Natalia liked spending time with Isaiah, I added an extra one night visit to their house so she could have a little more time with her 'boy'.

On Monday morning Veronica took us (the kids and I and Natalia, Nicole, their oldest, was in school) to a nice hiking spot near their house. We walked as long as the kids wanted to and then enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade. After lunch the kids enjoyed 'squirrel spotting' until it was time to go.

Miriam, Natalia and Isaiah heading off on our adventure.

Before we reached the trail we saw this woman training a falcon, something I had never seen before. Veronica said there is a large falconry nearby, so cool!

Natalia and Miriam, I just love the holding hands. So cute!

Miriam discovered a beetle on the path which she enjoyed holding for a while.

She even let Natalia hold it, which was all good until it crawled a little too far up her arm at which time he was rather unceremoniously shaken off. None the worse for wear he scuttled off into the grass beside the path and we bid him farewell.

Natalia and her boy.

All tuckered out

Ah, children, always drawn to the water!

A nostalgic view.

This view brings me back to my childhood. I don't believe we hiked in this particular spot but there were many hikes and camping trips with similar views. A creek, large overhanging oak trees, some dry brush in the background...all so familiar. This is the part of California I do miss.

Isaiah finds himself a nice perch to hang out, for a minute.

Joshua, taking it all in.

Well, you can't really see much in this picture but it is a hawks nest high in a tree right by where we ate our lunch, with some little hawks moving around in it. Even though you can't really tell what it is I had to share because it was just so cool!

I am so glad I decided to add this extra visit to our trip, it was so nice to have a little extra time to visit with such good friends. It is also very special to see our children becoming good friends, too! God is so good!

Mother's Day spoiling!

On Saturday Joe took the kids out and brought home flowers for Gina and I (Somehow, I didn't end up getting pictures of them! My bad!) for Mother's Day. He and Gina also gave me a really cool glass coffee mug and card on Mother's Day. But wait, there's more! I was triple-spoiled because in addition to those two things Joe and the grand kids made breakfast in bed for Gina and I on Sunday morning!

I really should hang out at their house more often!

Busy in the kitchen!

Gina snuck these pictures of Grandpa and the kids hard at work (we were told we weren't allowed out of our rooms until breakfast was served!)

Joshua was in charge of the eggs and Isaiah was in charge of the pancakes, Grandpa supervised and - based on these pictures - Miriam appears to be in charge of sitting on the counter eating the rejects and looking cute! :-)

While breakfast was being cooked Gina and I were served coffee after the kids took orders on how we liked it. Then, when breakfast was almost ready Joshua took orders on how many pancakes, eggs and strips of bacon we'd like. A little while later Isaiah came in and informed us that the pancakes were on the small side and asked if we'd like to order more because of that. They certainly gave wonderful service!

Here I am with my breakfast in bed. Mmm-mm good!

What a feast!

So, it would seem my husband and kids have a lot to live up to next Mother's Day...Lol!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

At Grandpa Joe's

The kids and I visited Grandpa Joe and 'Granny' Gina's house on Mother's day weekend. We had a wonderful visit, including much spoiling for the mom's (more on that in another post) and, of course, for the grand kids as well!

Teaching Grandpa and Grandma about all things 'Spore' - the kid's favorite computer game.

Miriam giving Grandpa Joe a 'run for his money'.

In motion!

Joshua really got the hang of jumping on the pogo stick, he got almost to 100 jumps in one turn!

'Miriam, get yer guns!'

Miriam bought herself this holster and guns set earlier that day and 'Granny' Gina gave her this cool cowgirl hat to go with them. I especially love how this 'get up' goes with her long sun dress! :-)

Isaiah and Miriam check out the storage loft in Grandpa's garage.

What a surprise, Isaiah hanging from the rafters!

Joe and Gina treated the kids and I to ice cream at the Cold Stone Creamery after dinner on Saturday. Yum!!

Isaiah and Granny Gina enjoying their ice cream.

Grandpa Joe and his cowgirl granddaughter.

Granny Gina and Isaiah battle on Guitar Hero...

While Joshua tops off the day with some 'Spore-time'!

So much fun...and that was only the first day of our visit!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


One morning while we were staying at Dad's he stepped outside to go for a run and saw this medium-sized gopher snake sprawled out in the sand just off his patio. Once Isaiah, Miriam and I (Joshua was still in bed) came out and started getting close to him he moved up behind a plant on the patio and curled himself up, hissing and shaking his tail to try to look ferocious. We knew better, though, and I caught him and held him for a little while. I even went inside and woke Joshua up with the snake in my hands...I don't think he appreciated that too much, actually.

Once we were all done checking him out we let him go where we found him, thinking that he would quickly slither away and we would see him no more. Instead, he crawled up into a flower pot not far from where he was discovered and just curled up. When the boys came by and saw him there he 'jumped' out of the pot and hid underneath it, but once they left he crawled right back in it again! He stayed there for much of the day, until about mid-afternoon at which time he slithered off behind the house and climbed up into the wheel-well of my dad's Bronco. We don't know where he went after, he was no where to be found the next day, but since he hung out around the house for so long Isaiah decided we should name him Dave.

'I am ferocious!'

Me holding Dave.

Dave, being ferocious again. We are next to Joshua's bed at this time.

Dave enjoying his plant.

Isaiah and Miriam tracking Dave down.

Dave in his new hiding place.

I think we were all hoping to see Dave around for more days to come, but having a wild snake hang around (where we could see him) for a full day was pretty special. Hopefully Dave is happily eating up rats around my dad's house still! (-: