Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Well, to be honest Christmas felt a little different to me this year, I suppose simply because my whole mood had changed to some degree considering the trials my family had faced this past year.  I usually type up a letter to send to family and friends sharing some of our best memories over the year and update them on the kids and how much they've grown, etc.  And truly there were so many great times to remember - our family reunions, Disneyland, etc.  But how could I write about those things and not write about the things that impacted/altered our lives (particularly mine) the most this past year.  So I gave it up all together. 
The Lord must have known (of course :) that maybe I needed an extra boost to encourage me to remember my many blessings and the "reason for the season" this year.  He must have prompted our dear friends to chose us as their "12 Days of Christmas" recipients.  This was fun and did lighten things up.  Our kids loved running to the door and peeking out the side windows to see what surprise they'd left us each night.  I'll tell you what - they had to be fast in their escape too because our kids were quick to answer the door.  I had a sneaky suspicion as to who our "gifters" were (knowing our friends liked to do this as a family tradition each year) and although they usually don't reveal themselves to those they choose, they decided to this year with us (figuring we knew who they were).  It really was very fun!
And once we got right up to the holiday where we carried out some of our own traditions (sleeping under the tree as a family the night before Christmas Eve, reading the Christmas story from the scriptures along with "T'was the Night Before Christmas" and opening one present each on Christmas Eve, etc.) Christmas this year kind of miraculously turned into one of the best Christmases I can remember.  It was just such a relaxed, great holiday where I truly cherished every moment spent with the ones that mean the most to me. 
We just did our own thing,  stayed home and enjoyed a quiet Christmas with lots of yummy food.  I made my mother-in-law's delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning and decided that would be a great traditional breakfast.  And later, we had a traditional ham and potatoes with all the delicious side dishes.  All the food reminded me of my mom's cooking which was nice (seeing as we weren't able to see them this season as her and my step-dad serve their mission in Belize).  There's just something about having traditional cooking that brings back memories and makes certain holidays more special or homey or something to me.  I love it! 
So Christmas day was filled with yummy food, loads of excitement, and even some work.  As you'll see below - the girls got new bedroom décor and we started working on moving Vanna from Cash's room, taking down Rosie's crib and putting the girls together in one room with their bunk beds. 
So...I'll give the traditional run-down of what we all received this year.  Ty has wanted to work on doing more cardio exercise rather than just weight lifting so his big gift this year was an elliptical machine.  He also got a book and some Wii games from his parents and a movie, treats and orange to fill his stocking.  Ty's grandma also gave him and each of us a keepsake to cherish (she is almost 90) which was amazingly thoughtful and so sweet.

A couple months ago, we got a new Kirby vacuum and decided that was going to be my Christmas (because they're so expensive) but I also got a calendar & planner along with treats and a book lamp and orange to fill my stocking.   Ty's parents also got us a beautiful serving platter, bowl and gravy boat set and my favorite - almond roca.  I've always wanted a gravy boat (is that silly?) and a nice dish to place the Thanksgiving turkey on in the future - I felt so spoiled!

Cash finally got his Nintendo this year.  He'd been asking for it three years running - never wavering - however "Santa" had thought maybe he was a bit young for it until now apparently. :)  He was beyond thrilled!  He also got a couple games and a Nintendo set that included a car charger, ear plug, cleaning supplies, etc. to go with it.  He also got some books and clothes.  He got some cozy new pajamas and Wii games from his Grandma and Grandpa Bazil and an electric toothbrush, some treats and an orange for his stocking as well.
Next is Vanna Marie.  She got new bedding and room décor for the room she and Rosie will now share.  She also got a new outfit and an animal flashlight which was the one thing she'd asked Santa for.  She also got books (including one that teaches her simply ways to draw animals - she loves to draw!) and this Flutterbye flying fairy.  You should have seen her face when she opened it squealing, "This is what I always wanted!" did Santa know?  It's actually really cool, almost like a remote control helicopter.  It takes off flying into the air and all you have to do, when it begins making it's way down, is place your hand under it, somehow it detects that and makes it's way back up into the air.  She also got cute pajamas from her grandparents and treats, an electric toothbrush and an orange for her stocking of course. 

Rosie Posie looks delighted with her new present doesn't she!?  Especially when her brother or sister pushed her around on it!

She simply loved opening the gifts.  And as she did, she'd walk over to dad to show the new treasure to him and then to me to show me. 

 Much of what Vanna and Rosie got was shared - their new bedding, and bedroom décor (much of which is pictured with Vanna).  But she also got books and pajamas both from mom and dad and Grandma and Grandpa Bazil.  In fact, she liked those ones so much she immediately started stripping her clothes off and insisting that we put them on her.  She had woken up early before Cash and Vanna and since she's to young to understand what the day was and run out to the tree, we waited until they woke up so they all saw their surprises at the same time - I just got her ready as I got myself ready that morning.  Anyway, she wore those pajamas the rest of the day - they are  pretty cute complete with a little tutu!  And if you couldn't guess at what filled her stocking - she also got treats, an electric toothbrush and an orange as well.

Both Cash and Vanna got electric scooters as well.  You can imagine their surprise and delight when they saw those in the family room!  It didn't take long before they demanded we take them outside to give them a try.  Cash caught on right away but Vanna struggled a bit with knowing when to let go of the throttle and actually grew a bit scared of the scooter since it would keep going, until I got on it with her and helped her.  I think she'll get the hang of it - it may have been a bit advanced for her but Santa must have figured she'd want one too when she saw her brother with one. :)

My dad and Jannie gave us a big jug of seeds for a huge variety of fruits, herbs, and vegetables.  Now maybe this sounds funny but it was actually  a very good idea I thought.  We put them with our emergency kits where they would prove very useful should we be without the ability to run to the store during a catastrophe.  They gave each of the kids money which is burning a whole in their pockets of course.  They loved it!

My mom and Tab are so funny.  They had already started purchasing Christmas gifts when they got their mission call (that's my mom - the planner) and so we literally had a bit of Christmas in July when they gave us our Christmas gifts before they left.  They got Ty some waders for fishing which he's excited to get out and use.  And over the past few years they've bought me more of my Willow Tree Nativity Scene, piece by piece.  They bought me the wise men and a few more animals this year - yay!  They also got each of the kids toys and jackets - the kids have already worn them lots of course! 

 Ty had Christmas Day off of course and, although he had to work on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, we were pleasantly surprised to see that then he had six days off in a row (since they had to re-arrange everyone's schedules a bit to accommodate the paid holidays).   We decided to take the family on a "stay-cation" to McCall over that span of time. 

We left on Monday the 30th and took the long way up through Horseshoe Bend so that we could take the kids on a train ride.  It's really a beautiful scenic area and you can go on a train ride right along the river.  It was pretty (so beautiful to see the river frozen in areas, etc.).  The ride takes three hours and I figured that half way through the kids might start getting bored so I brought plenty of books and snacks and even let Cash bring his new Nintendo but they all did very good - even Rosie.  In fact Cash didn't even pull out his Nintendo.  I was a bit surprised it turned out so great! 

Half way through the ride, the train makes a stop for bathroom breaks, hot chocolate/apple cider and to explore their little village.

Love this picture - what's in there?!

Some of the beautiful country we saw along the ride!

After the ride, we drove up through Cascade (which again, is just beautiful country) and on to McCall where we had dinner and checked into our hotel.  The kids always just love to swim so of course, as soon as we checked in we headed to the pool. 

The next morning after breakfast we wandered through the town of McCall and through many of the shops.  There's always a couple we make a point to stop at - a rock shop that carries all sorts of petrified stone, wood and polished rocks, etc.  The kids are so fascinated by the treasures in there and so is Ty.  I had to take Rosie out to the car after only a couple minutes for fear she'd break something. :)  And of course we have to stop at the candy shop.  They have the best caramel apples there - my favorite is first covered in caramel, then white chocolate and then covered in a sugary/cinnamon mixture - so yummy! 

After we killed time at the shops though, it was time for the indoor ice skating rink to open and so we gave that a try.  I guess it was a good experience - fun to try something new but oh boy we had the hardest time.  Hahaha.  Cash, who is usually a natural at most anything, struggled most.  He kept falling and falling and then he'd get all dramatic with waving his arms around when he was slipping that he'd fall some more.  And he was so hard to help with all his antics because he'd knock you down too.  Poor kid.  By the end of it all though he was starting to get the hang of it a bit.  Miss Vanna started out very slow and cautious taking the tiniest of baby steps but she didn't want our help and really she did great.  She got a little more brave as time went on and I think she enjoyed the experience.  I'm not sure Cash could say the same.  Hahaha.  We tried to give Rosie a chance but she didn't go for it, so Ty and I took turns with her on the benches and watching while the other went out and tried to help Cash and Vanna a bit.

Afterwards, we warmed up and ate a yummy meal at the Pancake House in McCall.  It was my kind of restaurant where they serve delicious home-made fill-you-up kind of food.  The kids were worn out and slept pretty much the whole way home (2 hour drive).  We got home really good time so I was able to get things put away, start laundry and then sit and relax.  Funny how you try to get away to relax, and you do, but then you also want to return home to relax.  Hahaha.  It was a fun little get away and really we all had a great time it just felt like over the whole holiday season we had so much good quality time together and I think that's what made it all so wonderful for me - I love that!

Looking back I just sigh with contentment over what was such a great holiday!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beginner's Luck?

Ty went hunting this year for the first time ever.  We have a friend here who has talked Ty into putting in for a variety of hunts every year since we moved here but Ty has never drawn...until this year.  He drew on both an antelope and a cow elk.  I kept teasing him because he didn't even own a rifle.  And I kept thinking...what would we do if he actually got something!?  It was all a little comical but we were also excited for him to go.  
Ty's work schedule is so hectic in the fall (with immunization shots and an average of 400-500 Rx/day) that we knew it would be so very nice for him to take a break from it all, get up in the mountains, enjoy nature, etc. However, the way his schedule worked out, he never did find the time to go try for an antelope.  In the long run, this worked out okay because everything we kept hearing was that antelope isn't too good to eat. 
But, Ty did get to go on his elk hunt and again, we owe so much to our friend who lent a pack, his gear, camo and even one of his rifles to Ty and then practically acted as a guide and took Ty right in to where the elk could be found.  They had to hike around a lot of course and Ty was shocked at how physically draining that was.  He keeps himself in pretty good shape but he told me afterwards, "if I'm going to keep doing this I'm going to need better hiking shoes and get in better "hiking" shape...oh yeah, and I'll need a gun too." Ha ha ha.  
Anyway, Ty left with Brian Adams (our friend whom we teasingly call "Summer of 69" :)  on Friday, November 8th at about 5:30am and by 12:45 that day, he called saying he got his cow elk!  Pretty fast huh?!  Maybe it was beginner's luck or maybe we have a natural born hunter on our hands.  Ha ha ha.  I've never been too partial to deer meat but I don't mind elk meat, especially when you spice it up a bit.  And I have to admit, I am very excited about how full our freezer is and am anxious to see how far it goes/how long it lasts us.  I might make Ty do this for us every year!  :)

The way Ty tells the story is this:
We left early sat. Morning for Cambridge with my buddy Brian. Brian is pretty much a hunting guide because it is his passion and lives to hunt. He usually spends about 3 months out of the year just to hunt and take others out to hunt. So Brian knew just where to go and find the elk. We stopped at a few places on our four wheelers to look for elk, but didn't see much. So, we headed to a spot where he was sure they would probably be. We started hiking over a couple ridges and would stop occasionally and with our binoculars try to see if a herd of elk was near by. After hiking for about an hour and a half, we spotted a huge herd of elk, approximately 200 elk. The only problem was that the elk were from the direction we had come from. We couldn't initially see them because they were hidden around the mountain side, it was only when we were farther out and at an angle that we could see them. So, as it turns out, we had to hike back the same way we came which was quite tiring. I soon realized how out of shape my legs, lungs and heart were. Brian on the other hand was pretty accustomed to the hiking because he was already a couple months into the hunting season - as this would be I believe his tenth elk of the season (helping with friends and family combined). So, I lagged behind and about an hour and a half later we came into view where we had seen the elk. We had a problem though, the elk had moved and we couldn't see where. We assumed they traveled around a ridge - after a little more hiking to our disappointment and relief, the elk were not there. We wanted to find them, however if we would have found them where we were looking, it would have sucked trying to pack it out of the steep terrain. We backtracked and arrived at the location where we saw them. Within a little time Brian and I were able to follow tracks and droppings to there current location. As it turns out, we were right on top of them. They were down below the ridge we were standing on. And to make matters better, the four-wheelers were not too far off for a much easier pack out. We slowly got into position and we picked a medium sized cow that was lying down (probably a 3-4 year old). I lined it up and with one shot at approximately 100 yards, shot the right spot - she couldn't get up, it was all over. It ended with one more shot to put her out of her misery. After that, there was a little celebration and we went to work to get her off the mountain.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Smiles

Again...trying to play catch up a bit over here so look for several blog posts over the next week or so.
I want to post about the kids' smiles.  And to start, I have to tell about how funny Vanna is.  One night in August, we had let just Vanna stay up with us to watch a movie because she had taken a long nap earlier that day and Cash and Rosie were plain worn at the end of the day and had gone to bed earlier.  It was fun to have some one-on-one time with her. 
After the movie, when her dad went to get in the shower, she sat on my lap and we just talked (I love that!).  Whenever we do that I often find myself just admiring her features.  She has such big beautiful eyes, the perfect lips, such a pretty shaped smile and such unusual teeth.  Hahaha.  Vanna has always had a cross-bite and as a result, she has scarring on her teeth and they are worn away in the places where they collide.  It was at this time that my attention was drawn to her teeth and the thought came to me...the thought came to me that it shouldn't be long before she starts losing teeth.  I remember Cash started losing teeth in Kindergarten so I shared this with her.  Only half serious I said, "Let's look at your teeth and see if you have any loose ones."  Imagine my complete surprise when I found that both her bottom front teeth were incredibly loose.  She thought my reaction was fake and that I was teasing her.  She honestly had no idea she even had loose teeth - which baffles me (specially because she is my best teeth brusher and you'd think she'd somehow realize this).  I thought it was so funny how clueless she was to it! 
She did not want to wiggle her new found loose teeth or have me or Ty help her to pull them - she was afraid it would hurt.  But she lost them both within the month and loved her visits from the tooth fairy! 
As Vanna's permanent teeth began to grow in we soon realized she had indeed inherited my family's genes when it came to our mouths.  My side of the family were pretty much all doomed to have large teeth and small mouths which eventually makes for beautiful smiles but in the years leading up to that, it makes for very crowded mouths as new and large permanent teeth try to find room to grow into such small spaces.  
Son after we had dentist appointments for Cash and Vanna and it was determined that they should both have teeth pulled.  Cash had already had two teeth pulled in an effort to provide room for his huge teeth to grow in but as you can see below - they started growing in behind other baby teeth because there was still a lack of space. 
Horrible lighting/shadows + Cash hadn't brushed yet = terrible picture...but you get the idea. :)
The dentist thought it would be best to pull all of his K-9 teeth and decided that Vanna should have two pulled (the ones next to her new lost teeth in the front bottom) in order to prevent the same problems we've already experienced with Cash. 
Maybe it was Cash's previous experience that had him nervous for the experience, maybe it's just that he can often be a bit melodramatic or because his teeth were large (with large roots) and more difficult to pull than Vanna's smaller ones but he had much harder time of it than she did (having to hold my hand, wincing/whining, etc.).  However, I was very proud of how brave Vanna was.  she was actually hilarious, acting as though nothing was going on - just shooting the breeze while watching cartoons on the ceiling TV...hahaha.  Maybe it was the laughing gas...what do you think? :)
The kids were such a sad sight as we left the dentist office - both their mouths packed with gauze.  I felt so sorry for them.   Needless to say - we had lots of soft foods for them to enjoy as their mouths healed...poor things.
And I definitely don't want to forget Vanna's comment - when it came time to spit out the gauze, she said pointing to her lip, "Mom take this off, I don't like this!"  I was confused at first and she kept repeating it until I realized she didn't understand what she was talking about.  She was simply pointing to her lip thinking it was more gauze in her mouth or something - just knowing it felt different because it was still numb.  I had to take her the mirror to convince her of the truth of it.  So funny!
Now months later, the kids look much different than they did just a short time ago with such different smiles (for a while there we called Cash "Toothless") but we can see a dramatic improvement with the alignment of the kids' teeth/smiles and we're glad.  We'll probably have much of the same in the future and our dentist teases (although he's completely serious) about how we have lots of orthodontist visits to enjoy in the future as well.  That will cost a pretty penny - what we don't do for our kids right!?  Hahaha.