Thursday, September 26, 2013

AWANA Cubbies!

Oh, the memories that this brings back!  Joe and I spent years and years with the older kids in the AWANA
program when we lived in Nebraska.  They all loved it and have really fond memories of it today.  So it is
truly a deja vu having these little boys start in Cubbies this year!  They are having a blast and I am very impressed with the program.  It's highly organized and makes learning God's Word fun and enjoyable Wednesdays are a great day here at our house!

Monday, September 23, 2013


I am so very glad that Fall is here.  I enjoy the rain of the summer months and the greening of Arizona, but the humidity is more than I can bear sometimes.  The older I get, the less tolerant I am of heat and humidity. 

As we began our Sunday morning-before-church-walk, Joe decided to pick one of our apples.  This is the first year they have born fruit, so this has been exciting indeed!  Look at that gorgeous deep blue sky..........

Walking north along the pump back ditch path................beautiful and peaceful.

Looking back towards the house.  Yes, a lovely Sunday........lower humidity, temperature around 80*, beautiful and majestic scenery.  Just a little bit of paradise, except for one thing..........................

This stuff is so nasty!  It grows like crazy once the monsoon rains begin, and Joe and David are both violently allergic to it.  It makes them sneeze, wheeze, and just generally feel miserable.  Once the rains stop, the weeds dry up and die - and then my allergy boys feel better once again.

Isaac and Joshua were a big help as we dug it out of the dog pen.  Pigweed season is at its end - Fall is here! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Texas Canyon

As we were driving home from Costco Wednesday afternoon, we had a little bit of a bathroom emergency.  We pulled off at my favorite rest stop, with the most incredible and unique an area that is called Texas Canyon!

As you are driving along the interstate, you come upon this area all of the sudden.......massive boulders all toppled over one another, sheer cliffs, and very interesting rock formations.  And then, just as quickly, you drive out of it.

Bathroom emergency over, the boys burned off a little energy by running around and being goofy.  It was nice to stop by today and enjoy the beauty of this area that we drive through so often.

"Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting
 to everlasting You are God."
Psalm 90:2

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Special House Guest!

Miss Amanda is a big favorite around our house.  Isaac and Joshua love her and she always has such an interesting stash of fun toys!  We were thrilled to work it out with her parents  so that she could stay with us for four days and help with the boys..........while I tried to get much needed organization done!

This had to be about 6:45 AM!  Notice the sun barely rising in the east, but the fun started early!

We did some fun things while she was here, too.  We went to Pizza Hut after checking out books at the library....................... 

had a fun photo shoot with Rachel down the lane.......................

went to the neighbors and saw the new baby chicks........................

had Miss Hannah over for one afternoon........................

And like Rachel said, it was nice to have another girl in the family - even for such a few short days!  How about we do this again next year, Amanda?  Hope we didn't wear you out too much!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monsoons, Bunks, and Snakes...........Oh My!

Monsoon season is my favorite/worst time of the year.  I love the rain, thunderstorms, and the greening of Arizona, but dislike the headaches that come with the weather systems.  That's one of the main reasons we moved here back in 2005 - to get away from the constant barometric pressure changes that weather can bring.  This season of rain has been one of the heaviest I can remember.

When we first moved here and we heard all the locals talking about monsoons, I seriously thought they were talking torrential rains that you might see in Bangladesh - 18" in a 24 hour period.  Definitely not........there can be a downpour a half mile away and we get nothing.  So much of monsoon season is looking at the clouds and rain that others are getting!  But this year, we have experienced a lot of rain!

Good old Buffy (named after Buffalo, TX, where Joe's aunt and uncle live!).  He's almost ten years old - officially Jonathan's dog.  He was just a tiny pup when we got him in 2004 and  has been a loyal member of the family ever since.

New bunk beds for the boys room.  Lots of smiles to go around!

Swinging at the park, hoping for a train to come by - a BIG thrill for these boys!

Yes, that is a snake.............a really big snake.  Actually, it's a Green Mohave, which is a very aggressive type of rattlesnake. It doesn't look like it in the picture, but they have a very distinctive green shade to them.   Their venom is supposed to be the most deadly and debilitating of all North American snakes,  Jonathan had one chase him several years ago when he threw rocks at it.  Anyway, we had friends visiting and they all went for a long walk while I was finishing up dinner and this is what they saw.  Fortunately, Mr. D. had his gun and blew the snake to bits.

And on that cheery note, I'll sign off for the evening!!  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Catching up on Summer 2013

The summer of 2013 has been incredibly busy with many changes for everyone going on.  I am going to hit some of the highlights of the last month or two.

David spent a month in Big Sandy, Texas, attending the Quest Camp.  What a marvelous experience for young men, ages 14-18 as they learn life skills, discipline in many areas, and a deeper Christian walk.  David got a CD with over 1,000 pictures on it, but here are just a few.

Joe's Aunt Lee Gayle, Uncle Bob, and Aunt Laura (who drove down from Oklahoma) took David to camp.

David and his roommate, Marcus, who was from Kansas City.

Kind of blurry, but a great picture of David at the end of camp.

Aunt Lee Gayle and Uncle Bob surprised David by driving up for the closing ceremony and banquet!

Okay, moving on...........having fun installing a new tarp for the trampoline.

We took Isaac and Joshua to Apple Annie's, our local U-Pick-It that is about five minutes away from our farm.  We didn't do a garden this year, so the boys had a great time picking out vegetables, and of course buying their famous, absolutely incredible sweet corn!

Joshua brings in a squash!

Rachel took the boys out for a photo shoot last week and got some really great shots!

Well, there's lots more summer happenings to come: school, football, a loose tooth, bunk beds, and yes..........a very large snake! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

OBT - Part Six -Texas!

I have been a very unfaithful blogger, and as as the keeper of family records and events, I had better get moving or I am going to lose the few followers that I have!! 

After we left Courtney in Alabama, we headed west towards Texas to spend several days with Joe's aunt and uncle who live in the small town of Buffalo.  There is just something about crossing the Mississippi River and being on the "other side" once again that is so familiar and restful.......less traffic, less people, and just more comfortable.  It's all what you are used to, I'm sure.

Joe's aunt and uncle have a beautiful home in the country and it was so nice to just catch our breath and breathe after so many events that had deadlines........we could just relax and regroup for a few days.

The "men" had fun feeding the horses and David really enjoyed driving the Gator around the property.  Gee, doesn't everyone look really rested now?  Ahhhhhhhh.......

Yes, that's me out in the pasture with the horses.  I think horses are beautiful to look at and are very picturesque out in the fields, but I have no interest in getting on one - this is about as close as I care to get!

Watching horse training in action with the relatives after a wonderful cook-out.  This brought back so many fond memories of Jonathan and his horse training days.

I guess I was so busy being relaxed that I never did get many pictures!  This is the only one I got of Joe's Aunt Lee Gayle and Amber, Cousin Robbie's wife.  Sorry ladies!

When we pulled out of Buffalo, we left David there to spend a week "on the ranch".  He was getting ready to attend ATI Quest Camp, held in Big Sandy, Texas in just ten days' time.  Joe's aunt and uncle graciously let him stay with them and then they took him to camp.  He had a great time with being their "only child"  and had a blast at camp - more about that later!  Anyway, Isaac and Joshua were getting very concerned at this point, because at every stop we made, we dropped off a sibling!  Jonathan at Ft. Lee, Rachel at the Richmond Airport, Courtney at UAH, and now we were leaving David in Texas.  However, their concerns melted right away when we stopped here............

The Russell Stovers Candy Factory and Outlet Store in Corsicana, Texas!

Boxes and boxes of "bloopers" at a fraction of the cost.  Plus, there were lots of samples to be had!

It's probably a good thing we don't live too close to this.......................could be a problem for all of us!

So, as we headed back towards home, the terrain became increasingly drier.....and drier......

and drier................The land may be barren, but I sure do like the dry air and deep blue skies of the Southwest!

The dogs were in fine shape (thanks, Hannah!) and were very glad to see us.  Even Willie, Rachel's dog, who made numerous escapes was still around and happy.

So good to be back home, safe and sound!  We felt like we had been gone two months rather than a little more than two weeks. But it was a GREAT trip and we will all have wonderful memories for years to come!

PS:  Anybody notice anything unusual about David's red t-shirt?