Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Jase: Tonight marked the beginning of our caroling adventures for the season. Ruth made zucchini bread, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, and toffee after church today. Fudge was made last week. We loaded up some plates and went out to howl at the people we love and even some that we aren't so sure about.

We sung to a couple neighbors, tried to see the people we home/visit teach and a few others. Some weren't home so we added people along the way. One sister was especially touched and it was wonderful to be able to share that experience with her and our children as we sung to her.

We shared this with our extended family last year but we wanted to offer it to anybody else to alter or inspire to create their own. We sing these words to "jingle bells" to the people we carol to who have not yet heard it.

Driving through the rain
In a seven-seat minivan
Bringing yummy treats
Made by Ruthie Anne!
Singing carols loud,
Knocking on your door,
Hoping you will open up
And that we aren't a boor!

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! Jingle all the way!
O what fun it is to sing on your doorstep today!

I will have to record us singing this and somehow post it on here for posterity's sake.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Juicy Details

One of the first projects on our home when we moved in four years ago was making the sump pump under the house operable. The pump had been replaced as part of the home purchase, but the knucklehead who installed it must have had too much to drink before or during the installation.

For those of you who don't know, a sump is a low spot or hole where water collects where a pump is placed to remove the water when it reaches a certain level.

The work I did involved digging a whole in wet clay under the house where the crawlspace is less than four feet tall. Imagine trying to use a shovel in those conditions! The hole was dug, a large plastic pot with holes in the bottom placed in it and surrounded with gravel. The sump pump was placed in the pot making sure the float switch could move up and down without catching, the previous failure. To this day operation of the pump has been very good. During one big storm the pump was removing at least 100 gallons of water a day from under our house!

Tonight I went under the house to retrieve the Christmas tree. The pump is immediately next to the crawlspace access, so I reassess it's condition every time I go down there. Anyway, I was surprised when I looked inside the sump pot to see an enormous Jerusalem cricket, drowned, floating on the surface of the water. I thought you all would like to know about that...

Ruth put up the Christmas tree tonight! We will decorate it tomorrow for family home evening.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Jase: Over a month ago our ward organist broke her finger. I'm the only other person in the ward who is known to play the piano. So I've been playing in Sacrament and in Primary for the last five or six weeks. She and I have had a standing arrangement before where I would play in Primary for her every third Sunday. Thankfully, she is playing the organ in Sacrament meeting again. However, piano keys are much harder to hit than organ keys so I will keep playing the piano until she is ready.

I love playing the piano for the Primary children. Part of that comes from enjoying the poetry and gospel truths taught so simply by the songs, and part because they can be encouraged so easily to participate with enthusiasm. Its impossible to enjoy it to the fullest as the pianist but its fun to be involved with them.

I find it amusing that I was "bribed" into taking piano lessons, only continued lessons so I could be "better"(which I am not nor ever was) than a brother or sister, and now cheerfully (usually) agree whenever my skills are requested.

Playing in Sacrament and Primary and having six young children makes church a lot of work. It is difficult to listen to any part of a talk for more than 30 seconds with a two-year-old that won't stay still. And the hymns are supposed to be uplifting and inspiring. But when you are having difficulty playing a song, you can't pay any attention to the words. A few of the hymns I know well enough that I can sing while I play, and I can actually let my mind wander away from the song while playing. I suppose I need to devote more time to practicing so that music at church is edifying whether I am playing or someone else.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Cause, Not a Business!

For those of you who blog, and have not utilized the "Monetize" tab on your dashboard or post creation screen, blogging is about connecting with the people that mean the most to you who happen to be out of touch when you wish they weren't. Or its about voicing your opinion because this environment gives you complete control over your little corner of the blogosphere. Hence the title of this post.

This post's title comes from an advertisement over the radio in Lake and Mendocino counties promoting a certain "collective" and its wares. I've never heard ads like these in the Sacramento area. So its entertaining, disturbing, discouraging, and incredulous all at the same time, to hear marijuana edibles, drinkables, topical solutions, and even dope-laced-ice cream being peddled over the open air waves like Happy Meals or weekend Home Depot sales.

The ads are not just from one "collective". I have noted at least three different vendors of wacky tobaccy who buy radio air time. The fact that one of these uses the phrase "Medical Marijuana is a cause, not a business" as part of their ad is amazing, since they pay to broadcast those words to generate revenue for their business. I don't wonder how their cause is doing; this time of year business is booming for them, which is probably why I am hearing more ads lately, despite the fact that my car radio only works one minute for every ten!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Big Bird


Thanks to Donny for bringing this to my attention. Apparently it was first shown on the Tonight Show.

When I first heard that Barack was awarded the Nobel Peace prize I thought it was a joke. But it is actually quite fitting since the intent of the award is to celebrate those individuals who have labored towards reducing standing armies and propagating peace conferences. He is perfect. Of course, that isn't exactly what I want in a commander in chief.

But for those of you who are shocked I am in agreement with you since the nominations were required to be submitted by February 1, 2009, a whole 12 days after his inauguration. And since his life's work is so void of valuable accomplishment, those 12 days must have been amazing. Perhaps they could make a movie about it called "12 Days". It would rule the box office and provide everyone with a much needed nap, kind of like that other "days" movie, "13 Days".

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Aaron's 2


Aaron had his birthday a few weeks ago (the 16th) so I guess it's about time I blog about it. The boy has been acting two for the past six months so we're already used to the terrible two's attitude. He's such a sweet boy when he wants to be or when he wants to get out of trouble. Which has been working lately. All he has to do is flash that adorable little grin and we (Maybe Jason's a little stronger at resisting) melt. Of course we have realized this and are trying our best to put a stop to this behavior. He's just too cute and he knows it!!!

On the night of his birthday, we celebrated with just our little family. We ate a great dinner of grilled pork tenderloin with rice and spaghetti squash from our garden. We then put together some foam airplanes toys and had fun flying them around the house for a little bit. For the cake, I had some icing left over from Liz's wedding cake, and Christopher's cake, so I wanted to use it all. I hate wasting good food and this icing was definitely good! We enjoyed the evening together and He opened his gifts. He got a homemade dinosaur toy, which he named Dino and a colored twirly flashlight. He had fun touching the light to everything, listening to the different sounds it could make. He even had to try it out on David's head.Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit last week and brought him and Christopher more presents. For Christopher they brought a Percy train to go along with the Thomas that he got on his cake. And for Aaron, they brought him a Flicker flashlight from the Handy Manny show. The boys LOVE these new toys and are playing with them daily. Thanks!!!

It was a great day for our little stinker and I'm sure he was happy! We love that he is so full of life and that he can find the joy in everything! What a wonderful addition he has been to our family! Love you Aaron!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another juicy post!

So I picked about two gallons of grapes when I got home from work on Monday. I took some pictures of the juice making process. Removed the grapes from the stems, sorting at the same time. Washed the berries a couple times. Mashed with a pastry blender and my fingers for a while. 

Gave up on the manual labor and broke out the hand-held mixer since the Osterizer was dirty. This worked really well to break the pulp loose from the skin of the grapes. Heated the mush and occasionally mashed til boiling. Let it boil for about 10 minutes mashing the grapes more every couple minutes. The skins start to give up a little color at this point and release it into the liquid. While the liquid is heating I got the cheesecloth over a strainer and bowl with a rubber band. I poured the mush into the cheesecloth. I let it sit for several minutes. Then I gathered the edges of the cheesecloth and put a rubber band round the top to make a bag with all the grape gunk in the middle. I didn't want to let it sit out overnight so I squeezed the bag in various ways for at least 30 minutes to press the liquid out. The result is over 4 cups of concentrate.  I did apply my tongue to the cheesecloth bag before I threw it away and it was like a grape popsicle!

This morning I tasted it to see how much water to add, which was almost two cups for every cup of concentrate. Rachel loved it. It turned out great, even better than the previous batch.

Some crystallization occurs, probably due to the cooking process, and the crystals tend to settle at the bottom, requiring a final straining a day after the juice is done.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 Blog Name tribute

Jase: Our debut post in 2006 was about our grapevine and so is this one. I don't think Ruth even knew we had a blog then. But, we have lived in Clearlake for four years now. When we bought this house it had a little Concord grapevine that was pretty much just a stump. It takes a few years to train a vine and ours has developed well. We had a good harvest this year.

Here is Rachel with what's probably six gallons of grapes before they are sorted.

The grapes in the foreground are a little too pink. Ripe concords look a dusty blue color that changes to a shiny dark purple when you begin handling them.

The pink and the green grapes get thrown out of course. We wash, then mash the grapes, heat them in a pot till they boil, then heat and mash them for another ten minutes. Then we strain it overnight through cheese cloth into a bowl. The juice that drips off goes through a mesh strainer to get the remaining solids out.

The first year we lived here we just ate the grapes. I showed the girls how to find the ripe ones by looking under the leaves. I got paid back by finding grape skins and seeds all over our sidewalk.

Year two we actually made a 1/2 gallon of juice with the little bit of fruit we got. It turned out perfect! I was excited to do it again. The juice actually had to be diluted about 2.5 to 1 water to concentrate.

Year three I was impatient and picked the grapes before they were ready. The juice turned out sour and did not have a lot of flavor. I was disappointed even though we had a lot of grapes.

This year we've got lots of grapes. We waited as long as we thought was wise to harvest and the juice turned out much better than last year. We didn't have to dilute it much though. This batch of grapes yielded a gallon of concentrate that gave us 1.5 gallons of juice. Monday we will pick what's left and finish the juice making for this year.

Monday, September 21, 2009

a note

Jase: As I go through my day I often think "I should blog about that" when some thought crosses my mind. Whether its something fun I did, or about my wife or kids, or about our home or the area where we live. Since we live far from our families and old friends this is my preferred method of telling the stories of our lives (since I can edit and exaggerate and adjust history to my liking?). I wonder sometimes if I just do this to vent or complain. But I think I enjoy sharing so I can get a reaction from people, whether good or bad. And the boy in me likes to occasionally gross out the females who might read our blog.

I drive 23.6 miles to work everyday, the majority of it along the north shore of Clear Lake. The morning drive is beautiful for various reasons that have mostly to do with the pleasantness of a new day. The afternoon drive is not so pleasant right now and hasn't been for some time. Back in June the algae bloom began and turned the lake into a stinking toxic puddle. Some people said a sewer pipe broke but as far as I know that didn't happen. So all around the calmer water where the algae collect, a wonderful aroma wafts through the air. I wish I could share a little bit of it with over the internet but, alas, its just not possible yet. So if you want to know what it smells like in our town in the afternoon, crawl under your sink, take apart the p-trap, stick your nose in an open end of the pipe, and breath deep. Welcome to beautiful Lake County, California.

Here is a link to an article that answers some questions about the lake as well as some info on the effects of the algae bloom this year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where are the tomatoes?


We planted our Cherry tomatoes a little late this year, so when we weren't harvesting that many I wasn't too worried. Well, now it's September and the tomato season is almost over. I was still wondering where my tomatoes were! Rachel has been such a wonderful helper this summer watering our garden, and I realized one day that it took her quite a while to turn off the water, so I asked her what took her so long and she told me that she was picking and eating cherry tomatoes! That crazy girl has been picking and eating them every time she waters! Little stinker! I guess we can consider that her pay for the watering job.

Jason: I think she was overpaid.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What are you going to do with your retirement time?

Again, another e-mail sent from a good friend:

Working people frequently ask retired people what
they do to make their days interesting.

Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and
went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes.

When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket....

we went up to him and said,

'Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?'

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi turd.

He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.

So my wife called him a butt-head.

He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.

Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes.

The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care because we came into town by bus and
the car had an Obama sticker.

We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Christopher's Birthday!

Our big boy turned Four on Monday, Sept. 7th! We had some friends over to share the cake and ice cream with us. He was so excited to have a train cake! The girls and I made a toy Dinosaur for him and they put together a treasure hunt to find the presents. The clues took us outside around the house and back to the living room where he found his gifts wrapped and set in the entertainment center. He had seen us working on the dinosaur, so he knew about that gift but he was astonished when he opened the gift with the track for the train that was on his cake. Every one enjoyed putting the track together and seeing the tiny Thomas chugging down the track. We spent the rest of the night listening to happy squeals as they watched the little engine that could!

After our friends had gone home and all the children were in their PJ's ready for bed, we all ventured outdoors to watch the space shuttle Discovery glide through the sky. When you watch the video you can't really tell how fast it's moving because I was trying to keep up with it. It was in our view for about four minutes. And the kids, as you can hear in the video had a ton of questions about it! I have yet to teach them about it for school credit, maybe I'll get to that tomorrow! We were happy to see such an awesome sight as a family and celebrate such a wonderful little person we have had the pleasure of having in our home for the last Four years! Love ya Buddy!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Summer can't be over yet!

Why is it so much easier to sit down and read about what's happening in my family and friends lives? I guess I have a good excuse for NOT blogging as often anymore but I can't use the new baby reason forever! I had to take some extra time to recover this time around! Along with all the drama after his birth, I still had some retained placenta and had to have a D&C at six weeks postpartum. The bleeding continued on and off (Mostly on) for the weeks that followed and only stopped last week. Apparently that happens occasionally and I'm pretty sure it has played a part in postpartum depression for many women. I know I was feeling pretty crumby about it all. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who has a very wet shoulder. I'm so glad to have him and his support. Now that I've probably spilled a little more information than anyone probably wanted to hear I'll get back to our fun summer!

It really has been quite a busy summer! Full of excitement! We've been keeping busy that's for sure! First with the addition of our sweet little David, his blessing, family gatherings, Liz and Cameron's wedding, at which I made their cake (pictures in a previous post) and it was delicious! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to make that fun cake Liz and Jameron! ;) Our family spent hot days playing in the sprinklers, the slip'n'slide, and taking every opportunity that we could to swim in swimming pools of friends. Because even though we live in Clearlake, there's no way any of us are going to set foot in that water that is anything but clear! We've played games together and visited the park a couple of times. We've celebrated a few birthdays. We've also enjoyed the company of good friends near and far! I feel that we have grown closer as a family and I truly can say that I've enjoyed having the kids home all summer. If you'd like to see pictures of all this fun please click on our photo bucket link to the right. I will try to add photos to this post later but it's not a top priority right now!

We started the first day of Home school today. Rachel in Fourth, Emily in Third and Kaitlin in Kindergarten. Rachel was so excited to get going and did her work mostly all by herself! Which worked great because Emily needed extra help and of course Kaitlin needed the most attention. The boys were ornery and fought too much. Which took my time from helping the girls and poor David had to wait a little too long for lunch (poor mommy too!) I know that these first few months will be the hardest and I hope I can do a good job for the girls. I just have to find that happy medium! Any ideas and suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Last weekend we split our family up. Rachel & Emily went with Grandma & Grandpa Christensen to Utah for Liz & Cameron's reception there. Kaitlin stayed with the Chapman's. And we took our boys to visit our friends, Brett & Rachel and their kids in SoCal. We had a most excellent time enjoying their company and home, good food, and a fun trip to Knott's Berry Farm. After our Knotts trip we went to Chili's. Christopher fell asleep on the way and didn't wake up at the restaurant or until the next morning.

Mark (Ruth's borther) hitched a ride with for the trip south. We dropped him off at San Diego State University on Friday morning at the start of the weekend heatwave. Mark and I climbed the eight flights of stairs to his apartment on the first trip up because the lines for the elevators were so long. Once up the stairs was enough.

Sunday we went to church with our friends. All three boys fell asleep in sacrament. I wish that happened every week! One of not-so-enjoyable moments was the third hour of church when Christopher refused, including a few minutes of screaming, to go to class. This was becoming a common occurrence (without the screaming) so I made the entire hour as unpleasant as possible for him by making him stand against a wall with his arms folded or following me with his arms folded if I wanted to walk the halls. I was really hoping he would remember this for the next Sunday. On this particular day I had mistakenly taken him to my Sunday School class for the second hour, which reinforced in his mind that he would get his way.

All in all it was a great trip and we look forward to visiting our friends again.

Last Friday night I drove up to Goat Mountain to go deer hunting. It takes about 2.5 hours to get to the campsite. But nearing the top I noticed my car was making a noise in the driver side front wheel. It was a grinding/rubbing noise that seemed to occur with every revolution of the tire. I was kind of worried that the bearings were ruined. Being at the top of the mountain there wasn't anything I could do so I threw my bedroll out and slept under the stars.

I don't sleep very well under the stars. Stars keep my awake. And unless I have an air matress I don't sleep well in the outdoors. So I woke fairly often with a cold breeze blowing on my face and not very comfortable. I had a makeshift pillow that served me very well though.

My alarm clock woke me at 5:45 and I got up and had a quick breakfast of hot granola with milk. I drove back down the mountain a couple hundred yards to where I found a place where I could begin hiking and hunting. There are quite a few old logging trails on Goat mountain that I found and wandered around. At some point I got tired of hearing trail-riding motorcycles near me and went back to my car. Upon inspection of the wheel on my car I found the brake caliper had lost the lower bolt! I guess Honda Accords aren't meant for climbing mountains in. I found a small bolt in my car that fit in the hole enough to keep the caliper in position. With a wet swim diaper from my car I washed off the caliper and duct-taped the bolt in place. Driving back down the mountain I was glad to not hear the rubbing noise anymore! Once off the mountain I stopped at the first store I could to get a bolt that would actually thread into the hole.

So I headed towards home. I had to other places that I could stop and hunt at. So I stopped at about 1pm where our family had hiked before in the Cache Creek Wilderness. No rattlesnakes this time. It was a beautiful day and I walked several miles hunting and exploring since I had never seen most of the area except from Google Earth. Around 5pm I was heading back to my car, still a couple miles away. I knew I had a few more hours of daylight and was thinking to myself: This would be a good time to get a deer. I'm not exhausted yet and there's still plenty of light. In the next minute I stopped as looking down into a gully to my left I saw a grey body that looked a little too smooth to be a rock. I watched for a second, checked through the scope, and then moved a little closer. I again checked through the scope and saw a deer raise its head. I am a little disappointed because I can't tell if its a buck or not. Its standing in the shadows and keeping very still. It sees me but does not move right away. After half a minute it finally turns its head and I shoot. The mortally wounded dirt behind the deer didn't scream in pain or fall, and the apparently still-healthy deer took off running into the cover, never to be seen again, into the next county. I reflected on this on my walk back and realized there were several things I could have done differently. But then, I'm still learning. I'm glad I got a chance to shoot. It made my day and made the walk back to the car a little easier. Five months of office work and no exercise aren't a good work-up to the walk I took. I've got two more Saturdays. I'll go out again and stay close to home next time.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

from Liz's Wedding and other stuff

Here are some pictures of David. He's a tummy sleeper.His blessing outfit:
The Cake
Another shot of The Cake
Some of the sunflower we grew that were vertically challenged:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Picture Updates

I realized that it's been quite a while since we've posted pictures of the kiddos.

Rachel, still goofy at 9
Pretty Emily, 7 turning 8 in Nov., almost ready to get baptized!
Silly Kaitlin, 5 starting Kindergarten this year!
Christopher, 3 turning 4 in Sept., a picture IS worth a thousand words, and this one speaks for itself.

Crazy Aaron, 1 turning 2 in Sept. This is his Alfalfa look-a-like picture! What do you think?
Our newest love, David, 3mo. on the 6th of Sept. So fun and sweet! We're trying to enjoy it while it lasts!
All the gang, we took this about a month ago, I haven't tried to get a group picture since. You have to time these things just right! All in jammies, but most of them happy, works for me! We'll see what happens when we try taking a new family photo, hopefully soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Birthday Boy! I mean MAN!

My sweetie turned 33 today! Man is he getting old!

He has spent the day away from home mostly. With work, helping Sarah and Joe pack the U-Haul, and helping another friend in our ward install granite counters. He's so busy, and I'm sure tired!

We knew he was going to be busy today so we celebrated with the Chapmans on Wednesday evening. We had tacos, the way he likes them, and yummy cake and ice cream. The kids helped me pick out some balls for his present, a Volleyball, Soccerball and a Nerf-ish football, they even decorated the box, since I didn't have any birthday wrapping paper. So he got artwork from the kids too!

His cake looks girlie because I was practicing for my sisters wedding cake I'll be doing next week! Yay Liz and Cameron! I only just realized as I was loading the picture, and after the cake has been mostly devoured, (by me) that I for got to put the "d" in birthday. No actually, I did that on purpose! We were celebrating with style! ;)
Anyways, I hope he knows how much we all love and appreciate him! I love you sweetie, and I hope you had a wonderful day!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Which one are you?


I got this email from a friend, just thought I'd share! Enjoy!

Are you a Democrat,
a Republican,
or a Redneck?

Here is a little test that will help you decide.
You're walking down a
deserted street with your wife
and two small children.

Suddenly, an Islamic
Terrorist with a huge knife
comes around the corner, locks eyes with you,
screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you.

You are carrying a Kimber 1911 45 cal. ACP,
and you are an expert shot.

You have mere seconds before he reaches
you and your family.
What do you do?



Answer :

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!
Does the man look poor or oppressed?
Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
Could we run away?
What does my wife think?
What about the kids?
Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?
What does the law say about this situation?
Does the pistol have appropriate safety built into it?
Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this
send to society and to my children?
Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?
Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my
family get away while he was stabbing me?
Should I call 9-1-1?
Why is this street so deserted?
We need to raise taxes, have paint and weed day and make this happier,
healthier street that would discourage such behavior.
This is all so confusing!
I need to debate this with some friends for few days and try to come to a consensus.





Redneck's Answer:

Click..... (Sounds of reloading)
Daughter: 'Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the
Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?'
Son: 'Can I shoot the next one?'
Wife: 'You ain't taking that to the Taxidermist.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Technical Difficulties Chapter Two: Disagreeble Dryer


So the cooler is working great. Everybody is happy. I need a haircut so I ask Ruth to get up early one morning before I go to work. She happily agrees.

The next morning we go out to the kitchen and there are ants everywhere. Instead of trying to squish them all or clean them up with a washcloth, I say "Let's break out the vacuums and suck them up." This works really well, avoids that nasty, squished ant smell and I didn't have to rinse off an ant-covered washcloth a hundred times. So instead of a 15 minute haircut, we spend 45 minutes cleaning up ants and 5 seconds blocking their entrance, a wonderful little drain hole in a window. So the haircut waits. Which is okay because we need to get a new blade for our clippers because they are getting dull and don't cut all the hair!

We like to visit our families as often as possible which we did for the first weekend in August. We travel to my parents on Friday night. Saturday morning comes and I request a haircut which Ruth gladly provides. Then we throw each of the boys up on the hair-cutting stool and run the clippers over their heads. An what wonderful surprise does Ruth find, but a louse on Aaron's head! Then a few more. So what do we spend the rest of our Saturday morning doing? Shampooing and combing hair. After some contemplation we decide we know the source of the infestation and make some phone calls to warn other parents.

If there was ever a reason for girls to have short hair this was it. Trying to comb long hair with a nit comb is, to me, an exercise in futility. I combed Aaron's hair and was responsible for Emily's hair. I only hope I did a satisfactory job on Emily.

We get to throw all the bedding we have used at Grandma & Grandpa's house down the laundry chute (easy, thankfully) and clean all the bedding at home and whatever else the kids may have put their heads on, along with retreating all the kids' heads in 7-10 days. Well, the dryer didn't think that all this laundry was necessary and quit halfway through the day. I get home from work Monday evening and there are two wet loads of laundry and several loads left to wash.

As I have mentioned before we live on a well traveled dirt road. This is not conducive to having a clothesline as wet clothes hanging in a dust cloud don't stay clean for very long. But Monday at 9:30pm I was putting up a clothesline on our back deck so our wet laundry wouldn't mildew. This was after I took the dryer apart to figure out why it was being so disagreeable. I suspect the belt is broken. And after working on the dryer for an hour I find a broken belt. ask me about the symptoms if you care to know.

Ruth is able to find a belt the next day ($30!?) and after I get home from Scouts we get the dryer put back together and it works! And I only lost one screw in the disassembly!

So here's hoping that you'alls houses and all their gadgets are working properly for you, and that your homes are louse-free, forever.

to be continued...? (I hope not)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Technical Difficulties Chapter One


Holy cow.....

Ever since David was born nothing is working right or everything is breaking. We have been having a hard time posting because our computer died. We have lived in this house for nearly four years and the things that need attention keep calling for it louder and louder.

When we moved in the previous homeowner, a kind older woman, left us her fridge, washer, and dryer with the house. We don't know how old they are, but the house is about 16 years old now. The fridge is a small one (does 14.8 cubic feet mean anything to you?) and I'm surprised we get by with it. The washing machine has been leaking oil onto the floor almost the entire time we have been here. But the latest story is the dryer, but that is only part of the story.

We have a roof-mounted evaporative (swamp) cooler to keep our house comfortable during the hot times. Swamp coolers are pretty simple creatures. That being said, they have to be taken care of. Ours has gotten old and contracted an appliance form of gangrene and leprosy combined. Swamp coolers have water sitting or running through them and this invites fungi, mold, rust and, if you live on a well traveled dirt road, like we do, mud.

Our swamp cooler was at the point of rusting into millions of pieces and my employer had offered me a pair of them. I have a hard time turning down free stuff, especially when I need it so I took the offer. I took a couple months to get the replacement day scheduled, but we finally got it on our books. That was for two weeks ago.

So the scheduled Saturday came and we loaded everything up and brought it to my house. Things went swell. My boss, John, did an excellent job of removing the old cooler and getting the replacements ready to install. I wanted to move the cooler switch inside the house to a more convenient situation. That went well. So we moved on the the second cooler.

Now, John had offered me two coolers, both of which had been sitting in the "yard" at work for several months. The coolers were pretty dirty from sitting underneath an oak tree for all that time, and spiders had taken up residence inside them.

John had this idea that two coolers on a house, both functioning on the low airflow speed, would work better than one cooler on high. So we cut a hole in my bedroom ceiling and in the roof to place the second cooler. The corresponding holes lined up surprising well and while John began work installing the cooler base on the roof, I started running wires for the new switch that would go in the bedroom. So I am minding my own business, trying to pull wires down through a wall. It's a clear day and already hot in the house since there aren't any functioning coolers yet, when all of a sudden it starts raining ductwork from the bedroom sky!

The straight sheet metal duct that was to connect the cooler with the bedroom fell (with some encouragement) straight down from John's hands and hit the base of my neck right at my shoulders. That nearly ended our day as it cut my neck pretty good. But it wasn't bleeding much and there was still work to do. We pulled the coolers up on the roof and set them in place without connecting the water or power. We picked up all the tools and trash and since band-aids weren't sticking I went to the ER to get some attention. John thought I needed stitches and my head wouldn't turn around far enough for me to examine the wound so I believed him.

It ended up that the doctor just put some glue on it because the skin wasn't cut all the way through. I hooked up the power and water the next day to one cooler. The other still sits waiting patiently.

One last note on the coolers. Among the nice little arachnids that had made the coolers their home were at least four black widows, two of which got blown into the house sometime after we turned on the cooler.

Ruth's note: One things for sure, our kids know what Black Widows look like. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our fat little boy

Sorry to all you avid readers of our blog. Since school has ended and David has joined us our lives have not been the same!

We are still trying to get a schedule of our summer life and we are finally making progress. Everybody wants to sleep later than they should and stay up late. Daylight savings time definitely is against us as far as that goes.

We have been neglecting family scripture reading and finally started again this morning. I leave for work by 7:25 every morning. So starting today the kids and Ruth get up and 7 am and we read from the Book of Mormon. It feels good to have that time together.

David is really filling out. Our other boys have stayed skinny from the day they were born. But David is from a different mold. Hopefully he continues this pace and will be a fast grower.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm NOT Wonder Woman?

David Almon Mavy
(Yes that's a binky IN his mouth! First one of ours to take one!)

As you all know by now, David has joined us! We've had an interesting few days since then.

Labor and Delivery was wonderful. I had Jason, my mom, my sister Becky, and a good friend,Tonya there to help me through contractions and be a part of the blessed event. My contractions started about 2am on Saturday and were coming about every ten minutes until about 4 that afternoon. They closed in at about 5 minutes apart and less at around 6pm and we headed for the hospital. He was born at 8:33pm and it was wonderful to have the company and help from all those present! I also was able to have my nurse midwife there. She has moved to Texas and she came to do a little "On Call" work for another doctor.

Everything seemed to be doing fine until Sunday afternoon. All the family and kids that were able to, came to the hospital for a visit. Everyone was able to get pictures with David. And we were all enjoying the visit. To make a long and crazy story shorter, I ended up losing about half of my blood volume and almost fainted a number of times from the loss. All that because there was a tiny piece of the placenta that came out in the last bleeding episode that I had. So, instead of going home on Sunday night as planned, I had to stay longer for observation and fluids. I was also at the point of having to consider a blood transfusion. Luckily the fluids worked well enough. They made me puff up like a roasted marshmallow, but they helped me feel a lot better. We planned on coming home Monday night after they were done pumping me with fluids if all was well. But apparently the doctor didn't like my numbers enough to let me go, so I was stuck there another night. Tuesday morning came and I was so ready to be out of there. Unfortunately, David was looking a bit yellow, so they tested him and his bilirubin levels were high. SO, we had to stay and keep him under the lights ALL day. The doctor also wanted me to be able to walk around without feeling dizzy before I would be able to leave. So, I tried my hardest. I took a shower, walking there and back the whole way and I felt good. I did have to sit for a little after to rest but I did good enough. All we were waiting for was the test results for David which they couldn't take until 8:30pm. I had to talk to the Dr. about the results which were good, He came down from 13.9 to 10.1, but she wanted me to stay another night with him under the lights. I told her that I knew how to handle Jaundice and I promised to bring him in to test again the next day. I just wanted to get the heck out of there before they found another reason to keep me longer. We got home at about 10:30pm Tuesday, and I had a wonderful nights rest in my own bed! We've been home for two days now and with all this running around and testing they've had me do, I'm pooped. I feel a lot better and am slowly getting my energy level back. They said I won't have my blood level fully recovered for at least three weeks and I am not allowed to be by myself with all the kids until then. It's so hard for me to HAVE to take it easy! I've always been able to bounce right back and get on with life. As of now we are both doing well, we're still waiting on the last test they did for his B.R. levels. I feel like they will be just fine. I've been nursing him like crazy and sitting him in any sunny window that I can. The kids all love having him around and I think they are all feeling the difference of not having as much attention from Momma. We've had some cranky kids around today for sure. But it's definitely to be expected right! Life is just so different right now for all of us! So, needless to say, I won't be able to do many of the things I wanted to do this summer even though he came early. Oh well, camping and L.A. are going to have to wait until another time!

I hope I haven't bored you all too much, but I guess if I had you would've stopped reading a long time ago! So, thanks for caring and for all your support and prayers! We love being a part of all your lives as you are a part of ours!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Van

So we have a seven passenger van and a family of eight. We want to replace our van, but not with something more expensive.

Yesterday the federal government gave us, and everyone else, the solution to this problem. The feds will give us $3500 if we trade in our van for a vehicle that gets 2 mpg better. First I've got to make sure our van doesn't get better than 18 mpg.

Edit: Here's a link to an article about the House passing the bill.

The following is quoted from the article:

Trade-in vehicles must be rated at no more than 18 mpg to qualify, meaning it will benefit truck, SUV and van owners more than passenger car owners. For those who trade in a car that gets at least 4 mpg more, they’ll receive a $3,500 voucher; pick a car that averages 10 mpg more and those buyers will get an extra $1,000 for $4,500 total.

The program is designed to last for a year - or until funding runs out. The House says it will spend about $4 billion that was expected to be allocated to a war supplemental spending bill, rather than using previously allocated dollars - as had initially been proposed by Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

Dealers will be required to prove that traded-in vehicles have been crushed or shredded, and not resold.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

He's Here!

David Almon Mavy joined us today (6/6/09) at 8:33 pm. He weighs 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and is 20 inches long. Details and pictures to follow!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Prego update

Hey all, Ruth here! Last week at my appt. I was at 1 1/2 centimeters. I went to the dr. today. I'm dilated to a 3 now and am hoping this new little soul will join our family in the next couple of days!!! Just thought I would let you all in on the excitement that we have going on around here!

This was taken 5/24/09 one of the few times I actually am picture worthy, before church! I finally got Jason to take a picture of me at the right time, he insisted that I stand in front of our gourgeous grapevine!

Wish us luck! Hopefully our next post will have a picture of this cutie inside of me!!!

Childbirth at 65

This is from an email I got from our bishops' wife. I thought it was too funny to not pass along!

at 65

With all the
new technology regarding fertility recently, a 65-year-old friend of mine
was able to give birth. When she was discharged from the hospital and went
home, I went to visit.

'May I see the new baby?' I asked

'Not yet ,' She
said 'I'll make coffee and we can chat for a while

Thirty minutes
had passed, and I asked, 'May I see the new baby now?'

'No, not yet,'
She said.

After another
few minutes had elapsed,

I asked again,
'May I see the baby now?'

not yet,' replied my friend.

Growing very
impatient, I asked, 'Well, when can I see the baby?'

she told me.

demanded. 'Why do I have to wait until he CRIES?'


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Sunday

The last Sunday in May, that is.

Christopher, tired at bedtime.. This will be a great blackmail picture.

Ruth was released from the Primary Presidency today after 2.5 years. She has done a great job and always tried to do her best. She has been called to serve as a primary worker in the nursery. When Sarah and Joe move away our Aaron and one other little boy will be the only children attending nursery.

When we got home we had a snack of popcorn, kettle corn, apples, crackers, cheese and summer sausage. I asked Christopher and Kaitlin what they learned about in their class (they are in the same class). Of course they couldn't remember. I asked if their teacher told them any stories and Kaitlin said "Yes". She couldn't remember what they were about except choosing the right. For some reason I admitted that even I choose the wrong sometimes. Kaitlin jumped on this and said with a chastising tone "like when you yell at your kids?!"

I was going to respond but let it go and just thought about that for awhile. Sometimes our children don't listen to us and we feel we have to raise our voices. This is definitely not the most effective method of teaching good behavior, in fact its the opposite. We may feel that we don't have time to isolate a disobedient child to have a quiet teaching moment. But the time we have isn't really for anything else but to teach with love. If I feel I have to yell, for something that isn't dangerous, then I am probably being lazy and selfish myself, which is the behavior I'm trying to correct.

I got to play the piano in Primary today. It is one of my favorite things to do in church. It's not my calling but I fill in at least once a month. Now that Ruth is going to be in the nursery I will be back in Priesthood and playing there.

I love music, in case you didn't know. It has a power that speaks to our spirits that I can't explain. But it has had a profound effect on my life. I love being able to be part of that influence for other people.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stiches and Rattles

Ruth: I hardly ever mop.

On Wednesday the nesting instinct took over and I mopped all the floors when the kids were at the computer. As I was rinsing the mop Kaitlin and Christopher came out of the bedroom, Kaitlin dressed up in her pretty pink-and-purple princess shoes and white gloves. The girls have some plastic shoes that they like to wear for dress-up. They are too small for Rachel and Emily. But Kaitlin still wears them sometimes as well as the boys. Before I had a chance to warn them about the wet wood floor, Kaitlin lost it and fell on her chin, splitting it open. Emily was freaking out, took one look and said "She needs stitches!" I didn't want to scare Kaitlin, so I told her she may not have to get stitches, but we should get it cleaned up first.

Kaitlin was much braver than I was, but the fat showing through her open wound was making me faint. I called Jason asking him to come home as soon as possible, but I knew she needed to be taken care of right then. Luckily, Sarah and Joe still live right down the road. Sarah came over to find me crawling around the house avoiding potential fainting injuries and Kaitlin holding cotton balls to her chin.

Sarah drove me and the kids to her house where we left the uninjured children with Joe and she took Kaitlin and I to the emergency room because I did not yet have the stomach for driving. We waited for 2.5 hours before being seen by the nurse. They numbed her chin with Lidocaine(sp?) and Kaitlin was back to her goofy self for an hour until they came to stitch her up. I couldn't watch but I held her hand with my head between my knees.

Jason visited twice, both times to take my place, but Kaitlin wanted me to stay with her instead of her dad. Jason brought us some roast beef sandwiches while we waited because we were missing dinner at Sarah and Joe's.

Kaitlin was very brave. She said that the only part that hurt was the shots (anesthestic). After they were done they gave us both juice boxes and let us lay there for a little bit. The apple juice was good. On the way home I bought her an ice-cream cone and let her choose some popsicles from the supermarket.-RuthJason: Saturday we spent most of the day at home. I worked outside digging holes for a fence around our garden. But we did something fun this evening because we aren't going camping.

The Cache Creek Wilderness lies in the mountains between Clearlake and Woodland. There are some trails that are accessible from highways 20 and 16 that border the wilderness area. I wanted to go out there for a evening hike since we weren't going to do anything else for the weekend. I have been studying the area on Google Earth as a possible deer hunting area.

For the trip we popped some popcorn, made some kettle corn, filled our water bottles, and stashed some carrots, raisins, trail mix, granola bars, and fruit snacks into our bags. We left the house around 5:30. It had cooled off by then and was quite nice outside.

The trailhead is about a 20 minute drive from our house. When we were almost there I ran over a huge snake at the edge of the road! The road trip was enjoyable with the kids and parents singing silly songs most of the way.

There is a "bathroom" at the trailhead that amounts to a two-stall pit toilet. Some of the kids said they needed to go, but mysteriously changed their minds after sizing up the bathroom. So we locked the van and started walking.

We gave the kids rules before we began. Everybody stays together, stay on the trail, no running, etc. We hadn't gone 15 feet down the trail when i hear a loud "BZZZZ". Kaitlin and Christopher are in front of me and my heart starts racing because they are between me and the noise. Luckily the noise had stopped them in their tracks. The rattlesnake slithered away through the grass still shaking its tail. I never saw it but the grass bent out of its way as it left. It sure got my adrenaline going. I was ready to grab both kids and pull them back when the snake started moving away. But the snake never showed itself.

The rest of the trip was enjoyable and uneventful. We walked in about .8 miles (according to google earth) and stopped for dinner. We saw a gopher snake on the way and lots of blue-belly lizards. Our dinner site had a limited though pretty view of the mountains and a little valley to the south. It was breezy but very nice. No noise but the wind and nobody else on the trail.

Happy Memorial Day to all of you. Thanks to God and to those who have given their lives for ours and our freedom.


P.S. That was the first rattlesnake I've heard of the five that I've encountered.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm getting anxious!

Here we are with about three weeks to go before this new little person will join our family and I'm starting to get anxious! I have been telling myself this whole pregnancy that he'll probably be late. But now that we are so close I have been hoping for him to come early. There are so many things that I want to do this summer that if he came early it would make them so much easier to do! I know he'll come when he's good and ready, I just hate this last month of WAITING!

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and she told me that the baby is probably about 5 1/2 pounds. When she said that, all I could think was, that is too small and he can't come for at least another pound. I don't get to have babies that are that tiny. Of course, they can't really tell for sure how big the baby really is until it actually comes out. She also told me that I'm dilated to a one but he's still pretty high. So really there's no telling when he's going to make his grand entrance.

While I wait, I've decided to have as much quality time with the kids as possible. I know I'm gonna be tired for about three months soon.

By the way, if anyone knows of a great deal on an eight-seater vehicle, please let us know!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Truth Commisions

Here's an excellent parody of our Congress' top National Socialist at a news conference.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I've had a bin of maternity clothes that I won't be wearing for the remainder of this pregnancy sitting in my room for quite some time. I finally got it out and asked Jason to put it under the house (Since I'm the last one left pregnant in our family,*sniff*) until I'm done with the ones that I am using. Jason enlisted the help of Rachel. She is what I think a really good reader and she loves to read. She read the label on the bin and asked Jason, "What are may-ter-nitty clothes?"

We had a good laugh and Jason explained that it's pronounced muh-ter-ni-tee, and that they are clothes for pregnant women, but he used different words of course. It was cute and I thought I'd share. Even eight-year-olds say funny things!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Enjoying spring

A couple weeks ago I noticed some potatoes with eyes and leaves on them. So, i took the out and stuck them in the dirt, six pieces of potato altogether. This was right before the rains got here. I didn't realize potatoes liked water so much. They've really taken off as you can see below. A couple of the potatoes got dug up by who-knows-what before they could start growing, But we still have four potato plants going.

We're enjoying our yard lately. We've built new boxes for gardening.

Ruth got dirt for Mother's Day. Enough to fill our new boxes and other areas where we will plant stuff. Ruth planted a bunch of seeds in cardboard egg cartons. Its so fun watching stuff sprout and grow! I hope our tomatoes produce better than last year.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Kids in a Blanket

I don't know what else to say, but that we had fun this morning!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How do you start your day?

How to start each day with a positive outlook:

1. Open a new file in your word processor.

2. Save it as 'Barack Obama'.

3. Send it to the Recycle Bin.

4. Empty the Recycle Bin.

5. Your PC will ask you: "Do you really want to get rid of 'Barack Obama?"

6. Firmly click 'Yes.'

Feel better?

GOOD! - Tomorrow we'll do Nancy Pelosi!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...

Is there anything cuter than a seven year old missing her two front teeth?

Emily's first front tooth fell out during dinner one night a few weeks ago without any pain, and she was hoping that this second tooth would do the same. Much to her dismay, dinner was over and her tooth was still attached by the smallest string. So she mustered up the courage and pushed pulled and got that sucker out by herself. She only had to pull for about 30 seconds when it finally gave way. She so brave!!! I don't remember ever pulling out my own teeth. I was always willing to endure the pain of letting my dad use his pliers and get the dollar he would give me afterward. If we mention the word pliers around a loose tooth here we always get a loud NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Are they really that scary?

Did you pull out any of your own teeth?
Or were you content to let your parents do it for you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Get rid of the Loveseat?"

Ruth: I've been wanting to rearrange furniture and change the decor in our home, since we've decided not to move. Last week I asked Rachel and Emily if we should get rid of the loveseat in our living room to make it more open and roomy. Rachel's response was:

"Where would we put the clean laundry?"

So, we're keeping the loveseat.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


So, what do you think of the Federal Reserve Bank now? Obviously they control the value of the U.S. dollar, now they've got their fingers in the every possible pie they can, what with TARP money being doled out to so many banks, and giving orders to the heads of banks to buy other banks and requiring their silence as well. The whole thing stinks to me.

Anybody buying gold?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter, Dr. visit, Goodies, and Mid 70's

Easter: We had to be at our ward for this Easter Sunday, so we got to enjoy just our family for this special day. It was a nice quiet day. I cooked a little ham dinner and we colored 10 hard-boiled eggs. I hadn't thought that we were going to do a hunt this year, we were lucky I had the hard-boiled ones we did! Jason hid the eggs after they dried and the kids enjoyed finding them. Jason hid them pretty well to make it last a little longer and because he likes to give our kids challenges! It was a wonderful day! We sure wish we could've been with our families, but it was nice to just have our little family together, teaching about Easter and why we celebrate it.

And we finished off the evening with a good zerrbert!

Dr. visit: I went to my 32 week check-up this last week and it turns out that I only weigh 4lbs. more than my skinny husband with 8 wks. to go before delivery! This is a first for me so I'm pretty proud!

Goodies: Money has been tight lately so I didn't get a lot of Easter candy for the kids and I didn't take advantage of the after Easter candy sales. So what's a prego girl to do when there is no good munchies in the house and she's cravin' something good? That's right, I baked up a storm and all before 9:30 am this last Thursday. I made Banana muffins, Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and Ranger cookies. They were all so good! I'm thinking the gap between Jason's weight and my own is going to rapidly get bigger!
76 degrees!: Today we enjoyed some beautiful weather! We spent the morning working to get our garden ready, and after luch the kids got their swim suits on and ran through the sprinklers! The girls had a blast getting wet! Aaron was asleep and Christopher ran through once crying the whole way. Jason is going to grill hamburgers tonight for dinner, and the kids have been outside for most of the day! I hope this weather keeps coming and I can muster up the energy to go out and enjoy it with the kiddos! I really can't wait to get the garden in, watch it grow, and enjoy home grown tomatoes, zucchinni and other yummy veggies!

Are you making goodies for yourself and planting a garden this year too?