Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hall Happeninz

We are good…had a GREAT summer...but now, school is in full swing. Hubby insisted I stay OUT of it this year, forcing them to keep up and not miss assignments…withOUT my constant checking and pushing. It’s HARD, since ALL of their academic happenings are accessible to parents online! No skipping a class or getting a tardy without your parents knowing THESES days…sure glad I’m on the PARENT end now!

They’re all doing surprisingly well, though. Last year was a HUGE transition for John & Sterling, going from a poorly-run private school (which they attended for ONE year)…to this HIGH on the Utah Academic charts charter school…AND into Junior High in the SAME leap!

Taylor has been an A student, but has B’s & C’s this year, as this 6th grade works hard to prepare them for the increased responsibilities of Junior High…and is much harder.

Sam has always earned A’s, and been a peer FAVORITE…but this past week has been “playing” a little to hard, & hurt two kids! Should I worry about bullying? We’ll see. Maybe it’s only because he has two BIGGER, rough brothers and is just more aggressive than others his age? I know I was…and sometimes had mishaps where people thought I was TRYING to be mean when I was really just stronger than I realized, and a tad (HA!) clumsy. I remember how BAD I felt when I hurt someone on accident. I hope that is the case with him, and that it is NOT a developing anger problem.
Gabe IS an A student and is smarter than most students his age (…because he is CURIOUS & must KNOW things…NOW! Like yesterday when he noticed my magnifying makeup mirror shows you right side UP when close, but turns your reflection upside DOWN when you back away to a certain point! As usual, he made me google it…and we ALL got a lesson on physics.  Curiosity + Determination = READING…which inevitably equals INTELLIGENCE!) He is decidedly THE class clown of EVERY class he has ever been in! Needless to say, parent-teacher conferences invariably include discussion of enjoyment of his personality by both peers AND teachers…yet hopes of taming his TIMING of comedy to appropriate moments so as not to disrupt quiet teaching times.
Paytie is SO dad gum BIG…but cries if we mention it, saying between tears, “I d’own WUNNA git big like Johnnie! Eye’n jus a cute LITTLE girl!” Said as if she is proclaiming that Johnnie is NO LONGER describable by the word “cute”…and is afraid it will happen to HER! Funny!

Johnnie always says in an exaggeratedly-mock sweet baby voice, “Thanks, Sweetie…I love YOU, too!” Before rolling his eyes and laughing.

Can you believe he is TALLER than I am? He will pass John before long. He now weighs 145 lbs…only ## lbs until he reaches ME! (Ok, 25 on most days…but LAY OFF, wudja?! )

ME? Well…I am lately obsessed with couponing. I print them from manufacturer’s websites, from Sunday paper inserts…and even unashamedly digging in (somewhat hidden!) recycling bins at an elementary school in a RICH neighborhood…where people don’t bother to clip even the BEST ones. (But MAN, it makes me mad when they DO take one…I mean, how DARE they take their OWN coupons from me?  It’s usually just the pistachios, though, so I try to forgive.) It’s amazing that the world seems to be consistently diligent in never putting anything other than CLEAN paper and boxes in the bins.

I spend about 15 hours per week researching online, matching store sales to coupons on hand, cutting and organizing hundreds of them, and making lists and plans of attach for various stores. THEN taking HOURS to shop, coming home with everything in multiples due to most store sales requiring that you buy so many to get the sale price…which I combine with my many DUPLICATE (from bins!) coupons…for a STEAL!

I get LOTS of items for FREE. I LOVE when coupons don’t specify a SIZE…such as “$2.oo off Dayquil, 80 count or larger” versus “$2.oo off any Dayquil product.” I just shop around and ultimately find whatever product I am looking for, in TRIAL size…which the coupon allows me to get it for FREE.

Sound dishonest? I WOULD say so, if it were a secret practice. But it is widely posted and advertized by couponing sites around the world, which are certainly accessed by manufacturers who can easily see and ELIMINATE the issue by simply printing, “Excludes Trial Sizes” on their coupons…so, I figure it’s fair game.

I am able to get LOTS of freebies through “stacking” store sales, in-store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. It is SO much work! It wouldn’t be worth it to someone with plenty of money & little time…but to ME, short on money with plenty of time…it pays.

It is my LEAST favorite time-consuming chore, second only to LAUNDRY. However, the children watch and think I must LOVE it. Whistle while you work, I guess…and no one is the wiser! We like the show “Extreme Couponing” on TLC, where women spend 40-60 hours a WEEK at it, making it possible for them to buy over $1000.oo worth of grocery and household products for $0.oo-$30.oo…CRAZY! Sometimes they come out with the store owing the CUSTOMER for overages!

But…that’s only in states that DOUBLE manufacturers coupons. Utah doesn’t…as of yet. Though I hear ONE Wal-Mart in Southern Utah does…so maybe it will catch on. THEN I’ll be capable of extremes! As it is…I am getting EVERYTHING for less than 50%, so I can’t complain! Brand names, too…instead of the generics I would buy if it weren’t for the coupons. Generics usually don’t have coupons…and WITH them, the name brands are actually cheaper!

Other recent obsessions include researching about getting my book/s published, DIRT…and using coupon-purchased items to experiment the differences between products, documenting the results with pictures, and writing about them on my blog “

Aside from a natural interest (as shown by a lifetime of daily experiments…though withOUT documentation) in generic vs. name brand differences, if any…my blog will also serve as a stepping stone in “Platform Building”, which is necessary before even TRYING to land an agent… which is the ONLY hope of landing an editor which must be acquired before finding a publisher! One simply can’t GET published…if they AREN’T ALREADY. And the process to even get an AGENT to take a mere GLANCE at you is quite extensive. Once I have it going steady, I’ll have to plead to all family to log on & “follow” my blog…in order to show (or fake!) that people are actually interested IN my writings.

It’s step ONE of about TWENTY. Did you know only 10% of writers ever GET published…with most working toward it for about FIFTEEN years before obtaining a deal? And…only a very small percentage of THOSE ever actually make a living at it! So WHY do it? Because, as motivates most writers…I LOVE it.

I also love experimenting…and rock hounding. I really wanted to get up to the old Lucky Stare Mine to hunt for Malachite and Azurite this summer…but the access road is now closed until spring.

                                        We pray you are all happy and well! Love, Ry 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paytie's Play-Dough...Uh...Pasta?

This morning I showed Payton how to push play dough through a little gadget that forces the firm form through little holes, making it into many long strands.

“Look, Paytie! It looks like…” I started to say ‘little worms’, but stopped myself just in time. She is one girly child…and I didn’t want her to reject the entire play dough concept over one silly phrase! So, instead, I finished with, “uh…hair! Or, spaghetti!”

Perhaps I had unknowingly displayed some sort of expression on my face as I had contemplated comparing the fun stuff to annelids, because she scrunched up her nose as I finished, and quickly determined that what I had said must really freak me out. Thus, she carefully assured me, “Don’t worry, Mommy. It’s not skeddy…it’s PLAY dough!”

I looked a little shocked at the protective inflection in her voice, and she continued, “Can you say ‘playdough’?”

“Uh…playdough.” I obediently answered, as if I hadn’t already used that word fourty-five times today.

“BEH-ree GOOD, Mama!” She praised in with motherly animation, thankful she had successfully averted the almost-disgust-Mommy situation!

Boy…am I lucky to have her to watch over me. I shall never fear spaghetti again.   Now, if she could only fix my hair issue!

Crazy Note: Trying to sound smarter than I am, I googled ‘What family do worms belong to?” wondering as I typed, if anyone had ever actually googled the crazy question before. There were ONE MILLION, two-hundred and fifty thousand hits. Wow. Maybe I’m not the only one who has forgotten what they learned in 4th grade science!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Daddy Discussion

This morning I was avoiding getting out of bed, as I hadn’t slept until 5:00 am. But, it was now 10:00, and Paytie was bright and happily singing down close to my face:

“Good MORE’neen, Good MORE’neen, Good MORE’neen! It’s time to rise an’ SHINE! Ged outta bed, you seepy HEAD an’ face duh day so FINE!”

I decided to be the pouty baby that she sometimes pretends to be in the mornings, and put forth my best imitation of her pretend-pouty-baby face & voice. “I wun my DADDY,” I whined, sticking out my bottom lip dramatically.

She looked a little confused, and then giggled. It suddenly occurred to me, and I asked, “Do you know who my Daddy is?”

She shrugged her shoulders and took a guess, “Daddy Shan’in?”

I resisted the shudder that tried to creep up my spine, and laughed. “NOooooo! MY Daddy is Grandpa Whicker.”

“Oh!” She said with a smile, “Did he hug ewe an’ kiss ewe?”

“Yep!” I said, enjoying her sparkly little eyes.

Then, this look of bewilderment slowly came over her, and I could see those little wheels turning inside that beautiful messy morning bed-head. I was so curious…but I waited for her to form words.

“Soooooo…’yur Daddy….uh…’yur Daddy got mean? An’ you,” I could tell she was deeply conflicted, not able to quite believe the story her mind had concocted, because it conflicted so greatly with her heart, ”…an’ you…you left that house? That mean, mean house?”

Sweet baby! She just could NOT think of ANY reason on earth, why a little girl would EVER leave her Daddy. Mean-ness was the only excuse she could fathom! But, at the same time, she knew Grandpa Whicker is NOT mean at all!

“Grandpa’s not MEAN!” I laughed, “I just got married. When you grow up and get big, you will get married, and then you will move away from your Daddy, too.”

She surprised me with her answer, “Oh! I willy want to do that!”


“You DO?” I asked, shocked at her sudden change of heart regarding this whole leaving Daddy business. She nodded, with wide, excited eyes. “Well, who are you going to marry?” I queried.

She giggled as though that was the silliest question she had ever heard. “I don’t know!"  She giggled.  Then she got serious & decided to guess, "Grandpa Whicker?”

I shook my head, & tickled her pokey little bare tummy. Then I asked, “Do you know who Mommy married?”

“Uh…no, I don’t.” She responded, as though prompting me to answer my own question.

“I married,” I paused to reach out & pat her chest as I finished, “your Daddy.”

She suddenly burst into laughter. I’M not your Daddy! (giggle, giggle) Silly MOMMY!”

It is humorous how confusing our language can be…especially if you punctuate or pause in the wrong place! “No, you are not my Daddy! But I married your Daddy.”

She only giggled and restated her bubbly argument, clearly thinking I was intentionally teasing her, just for kicks & giggles! “I’m NOT your Daddy!”


“You silly baby girl!” I said, wondering how on earth I was going to get her to understand. Finally, I pointed up to a wedding picture on the wall. “You know that picture where Daddy and I are eating the cake? THAT is when I got married to Daddy.” I said, entirely removing the “your” this time.

Now she only got sillier. She honestly thought I was just playing one of my teasing games, where I say something ridiculous, and she tries to convince me of the obvious truth. So she went along with my insanity, and stated her honest-to-goodness perception of the truth. “HE’s not your sisser…he’s MY sisser!!!”

So, there you have it folks. You can’t fool this one! She is way to smart to believe I am married to John, my very own sister! I am married to Daddy, her very own sister!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bear Lake

The weekend of September 24th was the BEST weekend our family has ever spent together. Undisputedly, the mostiddleyOSTest awesomESTer vacation we have ever taken! Did we go to Paris? Race up the steps of the Eiffel Tower? Take a Caribbean Cruise? Spend three days at Disney Land, Lego Land, or Sea World in absolutely ideal weather? Repel down the Grand Canyon? Nope! We drove a mere 98 miles…to Bear Lake, Utah.

That was the longest amount of time we have ever spent in the truck with all eight of us at once…and that was a lot of fun all in itself. Some of the kids completed a whole weeks worth of reading, and others just enjoyed sitting back and doing nothing but listen to music and daydreaming out the window…as did I. We don’t have a lot of sit-and-do-nothing-at-all time at our house, so it was quite relaxing…especially since Paytie slept most of the way, during which time we got to make a very-unusual music change from her ever-loved c.d. “Kids Sing” (A.K.A. Cedermont Kid’s Bible Songs…which we all now know inside & out, frontward AND backward!)

That is, until, we entered the canyon after Logan…when we all became engrossed in the scenery. We’ve always enjoyed passing rocky cliffs, and trying to spot rock-climbers. A sport I would enjoy myself, and that I can still enjoy watching, until they turn eighteen and possibly decide to try it themselves. I’m quite certain that if that ever happens, it will suddenly become my most hated sport!
The lake and sky were both SO blue, that they would not have been distinguishable if not for the small strip of mountains that separated them in the distant horizon! The kids were astounded at the lake’s crisp, clear blue water. It must be the prettiest water I’ve ever seen…I sure don’t remember seeing any that blue as we travelled through Europe when I was a teenager.

We stayed in a small cabin at the K.O.A. campground in Garden City. The center room had a futon couch, a small wooden bench, and a table with three chairs…which we had to move any time we needed to squeeze past the small counter sink, microwave & under counter fridge to get to the restroom. Quite cozy! It had a room in which the double bed barely fit, and a small cove on the other end containing one small bunk-bed set. Eight people in a cabin made for four little people…and it was absolute heaven.

They had a small grocery/necessity store on site, that shocked me with reasonable/non-tourist-inflated prices…a little recreation room with all sorts of fun tables and games, a playground, a big jumping pillow, and bike rentals. The log cabins had front porch swings, and were absolutely adorable! They also have a pool and a lot of children’s activities (coloring your own Bear Lake T-shirt, outdoor breakfast, and a swimming pool) which had ended the previous weekend as “off season” was entered.

The kids enjoyed running around camp, with free-at-last legs, while I unpacked and organized the seemingly large amount of stuff we had unloaded into that tiny place. I have this incessant desire when staying away from home, of settling in completely, putting everything away into drawers, and getting all luggage completely out of sight. I made the beds, packed away the groceries, and actually managed to make our temporary home look just like it had when we first opened the door.

Then, I was ready to play…and I couldn’t wait to get out and explore with the children. As soon as I located my three pillows for our bed, I would be OFF! Not finding them, I was suddenly a little worried. (As is quite unusual, I had allowed J.J. to pack them, very last, in the truck…with very specific instructions to ensure they did NOT touch the ground, or ANYTHING gross.) I checked the truck. They were nowhere to be found. I found J.J. to inquire about them, and he assured me he had placed them on the very back seats. I went to the truck once more…and found them now neatly lining the FLOOR BOARD, under which six of my sweet children’s disgusting SHOES had rested, kicked, and rubbed…for almost two full hours. Can you imagine me, Ryanne Whicker Hall, putting my face on those pillow cases after that? Can you imagine me letting them touch any part of my body? Uh, no. And never in a trillion years would I sleep on them without cases! John suggested putting his clean-t-shirts over them…but, incase you didn’t know it, T-shirts have holes in them!

So…off I went…to explore the Laundromat. I wasn’t too happy about this for the moment. Regardless, I couldn’t resist smiling at the lifetime memory it was creating.

After two trips across the campground, finally carrying a palm-full of dish soap for use as detergent, the dad’bern pillowcases began washing. Sam had been quite amused when he met me half-way, laughing at the fact that I was carefully attempting to keep the handful of liquid in my hand…twisting and turning them to employ the force of gravity to keep drops on me as they would try to escape & roll down to slip to the ground. “Mom, why didn’t you just carry the whole bottle over, and then take it back?” Gee…it’s embarrassing when a 9 year old points out your stupidity! I smiled and stuttered, “Uh…...well, because, um..."  I paused trying to come up with an excuse for my stupidity, wishing to save face.  "Uh...because it isn’t technically ours, and I didn’t want to steal it???” I asked as a question, which made us both burst into giggles! He loves his crazy Mama…

I hurried back to use the small countertop two-burner range to heat up water, ramen noodles and canned soup, etc…as we were shocked to discover there wasn’t a dollar menu in town, and most of the town shut down and went to sleep at SEVEN p.m.! Oh, wait…there was a pizza joint open, who charges $47 for a large pizza! No, that is not a typo. So, we were thankful for few, but seemingly unnecessary varied cans of edible substances I had packed. I was feeling so smart and prepared…until I discovered that the cupboard of dishes, utensils and pans did not contain a can-opener, as promised.

It was quite an adventure, though, and took me over 15 minutes to open each can…without a can opener! That was not fun. Ever tried it? Every second of the time, I was picturing myself suddenly spurting with blood, and having the whole world asleep and closed without so much as a band-aid to be found. But, I prayed, punctured, prayed, pried…and prayed my way through it…and I came through unscathed. My prayers then turned to hoping the kids were not consuming small shards of metal in their food.

Before the kiddos went to bed, we popped popcorn, and watched part of a DVD on a 10” screen hanging up high on the far wall. Well, they watched. I listened, and gazed in that direction.

Then I hurried over to put the pillowcases into a .25 cent dryer. The door? Was locked!!! I panicked, as you can imagine. I knew I wouldn’t get to lay my head down ALL night…and the entire vacation would find me ornery and miserable! John took me back to attempt the lock with every key we had…and, as a last desperate attempt, I actually removed the screen and tried to open the window. Mind you, I am completely against illegal activity. But that night, I found that my germ-obsession over-ruled my integrity…and suddenly realized that I totally deserved the lesson that God was going to teach me, with or without my permission.

Ultimately, I wound up using John’s T-shirts, showering first thing in the morning, and then, by sheer determination, refusing to allow myself to wash all my bedding which the t-shirt-covered pillows had touched. But…I DID it!!! Though, knowing what could already be ON the bedding, made it almost seem silly to wear socks any time I walked on the foreign floor, and then carefully remove them at the bottom of the bed before getting on it…so as to not allow the floor-trodding-socks to come in contact with the bed, but placing them within reach in order to slip them back on before my feet could touch the floor once again. (I said “almost”)

The next morning, I found that most of the pans provided had rust in the bottom. Being “off-season”, the office didn’t open until noon…so I postponed cooking the big breakfast and fed everyone cereal and microwave oatmeal for breakfast. Then we readied ourselves for a day near the water!
Unexpectedly, we were given the opportunity to use two wave-runners for 2 hours that day! Wow…that was SO MUCH FUN. My two favorite things…nature, and speed. I was, well…totally STOKED! The kids loved it, and each spent at least 45 minutes out jumpin’ the waves & creating whirl-pools.  It was soon determined that there were only a couple of the kids willing to go a second time with ME. Sterling, and Gabe. Taylor, Sam, and Paytie each asked for an early drop-off…wanting to go with Daddy. know...the oldest, "bravest" one???  Sucessfully evaded me the entire two hours!

I know. Normally, it would be the other way around, with the Mom being the more cautious and comforting parent. But…give me speed, and I just can’t BEAR to go slow! I hit every boat-wave I could find…at top speed, as my hair flew behind me, parallel to the water! I wonder if the kids would have been embarrassed at my whoops, hollers and yahoo’s…if anyone else in the world could have heard them. 
It was a rush. Undoubtedly the most exhilarating experience I have had in at least a decade! For the last 40 minutes, Sterling & I went at top speed all the way across the lake and back…a fine way to round out the 2 hours. We all agreed that was an incredibly fun time!

When our time was up, we pushed the machines toward the beach to park them 20 feet out, and wade to the rest of our little family. One of the kids had found a golf ball in the sand beneath the water, and a child-wide search ensued. Not just our children, but also the children of the family who was preparing to take over the wave-runners. It was fun to watch their excitement as each of them would pop up out of the knee-deep water, proudly holding up another golf-ball & yelling out the number of balls it represented before throwing it to the sibling-ball-retriever on the beach. The last number yelled for our family was “Fifty-TWO!”

The other family, with little cousins all under the age of eight, were on their number 12…so before we left, we enjoyed throwing about 20 balls back into the water, in various easy-to-find locations…for them to excitedly discover.

We had been determined to go to one of the white-sand beaches with water 2 feet deep stretching out forever to play IN the water…but after our unexpected ON-the-water experience, we were all exhausted, and voted to return to the cabin for lunch.

After eating and showering, I took the kids to the bike shop and borrowed a bicycle built for eight! It had a canopy cover, and 4 sets of pedals. While John stretched out on the futon and enjoyed a quiet nap, the rest of us spent an entire hour on and off of the towns paved bike trail, leaving it only to go down to see the evening scene of the lake. We rotated so that each of them had a turn at each set of pedals, and Gabe & Paytie sat in the two little buckled seats extended out over the front of the contraption.

Paytie enjoyed this so much, that she kept putting her hands up as if on a roller coaster, and hugging & kissing Gabie between chants of encouragement whenever we slowed…”Go Johnnie, Go Johnnie, Go Johnnie…” alternating names between each of us! It was adorable…and SHE didn’t seem to tire at all during that long ride!

The camp gave us new pans and a pancake turner, and we had a big breakfast…for dinner. Our favorite! When evening arrived, the kids & I turned chairs around to create somewhat of a circle between them & the futon in which to sit and play a new game. One person went out of the room, while the rest picked someone remaining to be “it.” Then the isolated person returned, and whoever was “it” then began a series of movements or antics, with everyone else quickly following suit. The object was to be sneaky enough to make it difficult for the isolated person to guess WHO was “it”. Which one in the circle was initiating the moves??? It was a hoot. Some of those crazy kidlets initiated repetitive facial contorts that would have HUMILIATED me if visible to any other soul on earth!  Taylor….oh, Taylor! That girl can be weirder with those facial muscles than anyone I have ever seen! We laughed our heads off…while trying not to disturb the sleeping Paytie & resting Daddy on the other side of the thin wall…which made it all the MORE funny, of course!

I couldn’t sleep that night. Too much excitement, perhaps? Oh, well…there was a lot to think about and remember about the day, so I didn’t mind. Ultimately, I got up and shut myself in the tiny closet-of-a-bathroom with a clipboard, a paper and a pencil. We didn’t take any pictures with the wave-runners, but the kids descriptions had created an exaggerated picture in my mind…and since the only time I can draw anything discernable is when I am at my most mentally-incompetent, I decided to make use of my sleeplessness.

The next morning, I awoke to my husband’s laughter as he discovered this cartoon on the table:
The next morning, I was so relieved to know that the office was to be closed all day…because that fact might mean that John would not be anxiously pressuring me at 10:00 am, when check-out was not until Noon. I was right! He chilled out a bit, and persisted only enough to get us on our way by 11:30. 

I attempted to direct him to the awesome beach I had seen the day before, but after two wrong turns, I was certain he was just going to head home. (He is an adorable, but not extremely patient man.) He does have area of weakness, however…which can be quite irritating at times. But today, I manipulatively used it against him.  evil, I know! “Oh, Paytie has been looking forward to “wimming” all morning,” I said, sounding remorseful. He sighed with a knowing smile, and tried one more little road…which just so happened to lead right to that beautiful beach!
 The water was so clear that it seemed as if we were looking straight down to the sand beneath it…which was rippled perfectly by the small waves it had experienced through the night. It was GORGEOUS! I think we even took a picture. The kids & I quickly rolled up our pant legs and waded out about a hundred feet…and I was as content as anyone could ever be…

You know me, I couldn’t keep from looking at, picking up, and pocketing rocks here and there. With me, it isn’t about the monetary value they might hold…but about their distinctness, their beauty, and the memory of from where they were collected.  Of course, I also love to gather some for tumbling…as I can’t understand people who love tumbling rocks, but order their “rough” (unpolished rocks) in bags from various companies.

What fun is it if someone else found them? No fun at all, I think! Paytie loves joining me in this hobby, hands me every rock she sees, and anxiously takes my collection cup from me to rinse off each find, individually, in her tiny wading hands. I would worry, except that she is SO careful, and never drops even one!

My only worry in the entire world during those moments, was that John was going to yell, “Time to load up!” But when I waded back to where he was, he very sweetly said that since I was enjoying it so much, he didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t stay for a while. So, when he got tired of it, he went for a drive and left us all there.

Except for Sterling, who immediately wanders off in his own explorations all alone, the kids played and tumbled and rough-housed far off in the water for a while. When they returned, they steadily worked to bury each other in the 3’ wide wet-sand “island” that popped up ten feet from the beach. I left my rock-hunting to join them, and hunted the surrounding area looking for Sterl. A few minutes later, I saw his little body, tiny in the distance, running toward us. “Who wants to bet Sterling has found something really cool?”
I said, and pointed to him 200 yards away, sprinting towards us along the beach. The kids didn’t hesitate. Sterling always finds the good stuff! They quickly climbed out of their sandy graves, and ran to meet him, with Paytie trailing behind until Sam noticed, turned around and retraced his steps to swing her up into his arms to finish his little race.

Sterling’s excited hands proudly displayed something like clam shells, with a shiny pearlized layer coating the underside…and the unified hunt was ON! They found many, but reveled over the few whole halves that were unbroken. In their hunt, they came across an entire ridge of natural clay under the shallow water, about 15 feet from shore… and John & Taylor, with occasional help from Sam & Gabe, began carving chunks away to carry them to their ever-growing clay collection on the beach. Sam helped me find various colors & designs of little (likely-snail?) shells, and Gabe spent some time digging in the shallow water sand with a little play shovel that someone had discarded or left during the summer.

Even Mommy had some fun in it, once it was abandoned, of course.
 John had taken some pictures with his phone, but I decided it was time for me to go to the truck for the camera. Paytie & Taylor followed me ½ way, until we reached an area of perfectly dry, warm sand where they plopped down and began burying their slightly chilly bodies.
I retrieved my phone/camera, took a picture of the sandy sisters, and then headed back to the now deserted clay/shell area to take some shots of Gabe & his Daddy out in the water, skipping rocks. That was when he said the dreaded words. “It’s about time to load up, don’t you think?”

His wording was crazy…of course he knew I wouldn’t “think so”…but we had been there for several hours by then, and he had been very patient, so I didn’t state the obvious.

I hurried down the beach to get a few pictures of a small Sterling, WAY out in the water (yet still not up to his waist!), on a scavenger hunt for another yet-unfound discovery. Then to capture John & Sam, who had almost-successfully built a tunnel under the wet sand to reach each other, 7 feet apart…over where my rock collection sat soaking in the shallow water.
I weeded through them, reluctantly discarding one here & there, before gathering odds & ends left behind by happy, care-free children before heading to the truck. We drove home, happy & content, each agreeing we had had the very best weekend of our lives.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Paytie's World

The other day, John asked Paytie, "Do you like Mommy?"
She replied with sweet animation, "I lub BOFE ewe guyz. It's Daddy, Mommy an' Payton!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our Rental Business

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