Friday, October 30

sPookiTy... spOOk... sPoOk...

Woke up to a foggy, overcast, rainy day on the Thursday before Halloween. I actually love foggy, overcast, rainy days and it lent a perfect atmosphere to my plans for later in the evening.

A treasure hunt was on the schedule. This was a new little diddy that I wanted to do with the kids. They were willing participants, which isn't always the case with my many brilliant (or so to my way of thinking) schemes.

They gathered flashlights and waited patiently as I bundled the loot and hid it around the farm. I took photos and took my time waiting for it to become really... REALLY dark for their hunt. Ty is looking a tad apprehensive in the above photo... it sure was dark out there...

I attached clues to each of the bags of candy, leading them to the next stash of goodness.

{Clue #1}
Find a seat in the middle of a cement circle...

Our bench in the middle of our circular driveway.

{Clue #2}
Rhymes with high... low


{Clue #3}
Has anyone seen a skunk?

This was a trick question because we have many skunk sitings on the farm... but most recently we found a baby skunk eating eggs in our chicken coop (someone, aka Christian, forgot to close up the coop the night before)

{Clue #4}
Where can you float on your back?


{Clue #5}
Give said the little stream

Our little stream that runs off the mountain

{Clue #6}
Feeling Chilling? Throw a log on the fire!

The wood pile by our Fire Ring

The note found under a log read:

You are Victorious!
Now run home and share your treasure with your
awesome Mom and Dad.
We have hot chocolate ready to
warm your bones!

Very fun activity.
I think we will make this an annual hunt.
Now that they have shown me their excellent skills, next year's clues will be doozies, mwaaaaahhahahahaha.

Thursday, October 29

Guys Night Out

Last night was Trunk or Treat at church. As usual, Christian put tons of thought into his getup... remember last year's costume of choice? Enough to make this mom scratch her noggin!

Christian can find inspiration literally anywhere. This year, a trashcan, yep, a TrAsHcAn. He vandalized a perfectly functional trashcan for this project, but it was a huge success!

Ty is on a StarWars obsession... so for the second year in a row he was a SW character, a StormTrooper. The guys had a blast and came home on the appropriate sugar high.

Wednesday, October 28


For our Family Home Evening, we decided to make Mummy pizzas. Can I just take a moment to say how fun it is for me, when everyone makes their own creations for dinner... total bliss!

We made our Mummies using bagels, added our favorite toppings, and then mozzarella string cheese.

Then comes the real purpose for the whole evening... let the carving begin.

Ty's classic vampire jack 'o lantern

Savannah's meow

Shawn's skull

And Christian's creation... he always picks a toughy to carve, whew!

And me? What did I contribute to the process? Well, I kindly reminded everyone to keep the pumpkin guts neatly ON the newspaper cover. Then there is the ever important roasting of the pumpkin seeds, yum.

I had previously carved these two cuties. Not sure what has gotten in to me but I have been all about the faux pumpkins this year. No slimy guts... can't beat that.

These are a few of my favorite real pumpkins and gourds.

We finished off the night watching 'America's funniest videos'. I fear this show is becoming quite the addiction with our family. Seriously... we are a loud bunch while watching this show. My tummy usually hurts after the show, and I have found that several of my children actually snort when they laugh hysterically... new discovery :)

Sunday, October 25

Finding Balance

My girl has been an absolute joy since day one. Truly. She is so like me, so unlike me, a blend of everything beautiful, tough as nails.

I love quiet, I invite silence, I love to be still, I can say no, and though life can sometimes demand it... I do not like every minute of each day to be scheduled. Being Home is my favorite place to be.

Savannah is a go-getter! She dreams big, she is a goal setter, hard worker, believes resolution can be found in most situations, does not mind extending herself to gain a wanted outcome.

Learning early on that Savannah would handle most situations in her life much differently than I would... I have made a concerted effort, in raising her, to allow her lots of wiggle room... she has earned it.

The past few years have been a very strict focus for Savannah. She has an intense love for animals. Me? Did not grow up having pets, considered myself a non-animal person. I made it clear to her that her desires would need to be proven to me through incredible diligence.

I then got out of her way!!

Her biggest dream has been to own a horse. Horses are very expensive. I told her this financial obligation would be hers.

And so the past 3 years have involved work, work, and more work. No task was too small or too big... each task equaled one step closer.

Meanwhile, as her mom... I watched her intense focus. Managing school, church, seminary, weekly youth activities, youth conferences, Young Women's camps, sewing lessons, 2 jobs at the neighbors stables, 1 job in town, also working at her dad's office.

The question in the back of this mom's mind was... when do I blow the whistle? Do I step in and say when enough is enough? That incredible parenting balance of stepping back to let your child grow... stepping in when necessary... loving the many ways she is braver than me. Thankfully my faith in her and her decisions is yet again, not wasted!

In comes my daughter... 'mom? Can I talk something through with you?' She then begins to tell me that she has decided to re-evaluate the way she spends her time. With her goal of buying her own horse met, she has prayed about her many extra curricular activities and wants to omit.

Savannah has decided herself to stop her work at the stables. She is not needed at her dad's office now. She wants quite time on the farm to read, wants to focus more on school, and wants time to convince these 2 new horses of hers that they can fall completely in love with her.


I can not express the feelings I had as I listened to Savannah analyzing her time, and asking herself whether that time was well spent. After all, are we not counseled to Be Still?! And here is my daughter finding that balance, finding that maturity that is such a joy for me to witness.

My hardest parenting moments are those when I must bite my lips. But my reward comes when my children prove they are capable of balancing all the good and needful things in their lives. We have been told often in the gospel, that the choice is not always between Good and BAD... but yet the choice is often between Good, Better, Best! Savannah has wisely chosen the Best.

Saturday, October 24

A visit to our neck of the woods

Shawn's best friend came to visit us from Utah. Kevin's wife, Cate, gave him this trip for his birthday... in essence she gave us a huge gift too. We seriously have been looking forward to his arrival since finding out months ago that he would be coming!

His visit included visiting Shawn's office, seeing a little of H'ville, going to TN to pick up Savannah's horses, a 4wheeler trip back to the river in which Shawn and Kevin returned muddy messes, and just a lot of hanging out.

While Kevin was here last weekend, he and Shawn went to the Alabama Homecoming game.

Kevin will surely love me for including this pic, snicker.

Check out the trunk on the fellow in the background! Its hilarious to me what my husband captures when I beg him to take the camera and bring me home some bloggable photos ;)

And this photo... no surprise at all! Even I know who Erin Andrews is from ESPN... gawgeous!!

We were sad to see Kevin go back home. We hope he can bring Cate and his 4 kiddos on his next visit.

Tuesday, October 20

Proven Fact

Nothing restores my sanity as quickly as: sunshine, a parkbench, good book, bright yellow slides and monkeybars!

Sunday, October 18

Hiccups... caused by extreme laughter!

Saturday was quite cold and rainy. I was not looking forward to a whole day inside with very active little boys. Christian was quite cooperative to watch football games in the TV room. Shawn and his friend Kevin headed out to Tuscaloosa for the UofAlabama Homecoming Game... but I was left with these energizer bunnies! Don't let their cuteness fool you... nonstop, these two!

Turns out I had nothing to fear! Ty and Nate kept themselves entertained quite well.

The funnest activity by far was 'stair sledding'.

The giggles, snorts, and laughter that came out of these hooligans was hilarious. They got me laughing so hard, it was hard to see clear enough to snap these photos.

Ty and Nate were laughing so hard by one point that they both got these huge belching hiccups. Of course the hiccups were so loud and gross, it only added to the delirium ;)

My only question... why ohhhhh why when little boys need pillows and blankets, do they grab the GOOD stuff? Boys have quite a talent of grabbing the precise items you would never want them to use for stair sledding. Like...

my new y.u.m.m.y pillow/beanbag I got for very quiet, sedated, leisure, lounging in the TV room. It is a delicious creamy chenille bundle of fabulousness, and this is what they first grabbed for their escapade. Notice this chenille pillow made a brief appearance in the above pictures and then it is noticeable missing... that would be when mean ole mom (me) hid the poof pillow... cruel chuckle!

Later in the day, they reused their sledding equipment to use on much smoother terrain. Ty explained that lots of stair sledding 'made his bum pretty sore'. Note taken.

Saturday, October 17

2 for 1 dream

Yesterday, was the day Savannah's biggest dream came true!

Prepared with horse treats, halters, her dad and his best friend Kevin, and a borrowed horse trailer... she set out to Culleoka, TN to pick up her new horse.

This dream has been 7+ years in the making, Savannah started going to a summer camp back then and got to ride horses daily... in fact, any extra time at camp she spent in the stables.

When we bought our land, she started saving money, buying horse books, and studying... all in hopes of convincing us that this was something she truly wanted.

She has more than proved herself! In fact she currently has TWO jobs at the stables several properties down from us. She has looked at many horses and been very picky... and she finally found a beautiful 3yr old paint mare. But...

This is where the 2 for 1 dream came into play. The Mare had just had this little filly 6 months ago. The owner had hoped to keep the mommy and baby together. With a little negotiating, Savannah got them both!

Savannah named the filly Mississippi... Missi for short. We lived in MS for several years and have wonderful memories of it so I thought Savannah was so very clever for coming up with that name.

In the process of loading and such, they didn't get any good pictures of the Mare but I'm sure there will be no shortage of future photos of her. Savannah named the Mare DayBreak, Bre for short.

Bre is in the back and she is a black and white paint. Missi is in the front and is a brown and white paint. Missi will need lots of training and handling but Bre will be a great trail horse for Savannah pretty soon. Bre has not been ridden since she had Missi, so Savannah will take things slow and should be on the trails with her quickly.

As if picking up 2 horses was not enough excitement for one day... the borrowed trailer had a massive blown tire on the interstate on the way home. Through no small effort, they were able to find another tire and finally made it home several hours late. Safe and sound, thankfully.

We will start building our own stables at the end of this month and add some more pasture fencing. Until that is complete, our incredible neighbors have agreed to let us board her Mare on their land, and the filly will stay in the fencing where we have our goats and female donkey.

This is Kevin, Shawn's best friend since elementary school. Kevin's wife Cate gave him, for his birthday, airplane tickets to come see us. Shawn has been b.e.s.i.d.e. himself looking forward to this visit. How much more can a Utah boy ask for then to come down south, help pick up some horses, help fix a flat tire, ride along the TN river on the 4wheeler... becoming a muddy mess, and today they are off to the Alabama/S.Carolina homecoming game?

I had to include the above photo because this is the stray beagle, Shiloh, that hangs around our house. Shiloh always keeps a safe distance and won't let us touch her. Kevin is here a matter of HOURS and has Shiloh eating out of his hand... oh the injustice of it all!!! Yes, yes indeed... pea green with envy!