Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

Phew!  Boy is it the dog days of summer--it sure is hot hot hot out there!  But that hasn't stopped us from jam packed fun.  Eric's sister, Hillary, and her family came our for a visit.  We did our annual Parade of Homes tour with just the ladies, swam at Jessica's pool, had a BBQ, and went up to Salt Lake City.  The adults and "almost" missionary Nathan, went through a session while the rest of the (old enough) kids did baptisms.  It was really neat.  I'd never been through the Salt Lake Temple so it was pretty cool.  So much attention to detail inside and so much history.  Then, of course, Kneaders French Toast for breakfast rounded out the trip nicely!

 We've been working like dogs in the yard trying to get grass growing, trees planted, mulch spread, and on and on and on and on.....  It feels like it will never ever be done!  The grass in the front is doing well but the backyard not so much.  It is really struggling to get going.  It's actually pretty depressing.  So we thought planting some trees would help make the yards start coming together (shrubs and flowers come later--baby steps here).  We planted about 45 trees (!!!!) Most went in pretty easily (assuming they don't die in this heat), we did have to do some pick-axing and I've got lots of blisters and a MAJOR farmer tan to go along with it all.  But we've had a few snafus as per usual when doing this kind of stuff.  First snafu was the horses--we tried planting a couple aspens in the back of the yard by the corrals but look who decided to snack on them....
 Argh!  Oreo and a few other horses decided they had a penchant for Swedish Aspen and ate the entire middle sections of each tree, including the bark.  So they are both dying.  Sad.  So we got some electric fence wire and strung it up along the corral fence.  They don't bite at the trees anymore (zap zap--Eric "tested" it to make sure it worked) but we will have to replace them.  Ugh.

Second snafu was when we managed to get an auger to dig a few of the tree holes.  We were sure to be super careful and make sure we didn't hit any of the electrical lines or plumbing going out to the barn...but we were lifting the auger out of one hole and wrapped around it was a length of........sprinkler pipe!  Of course, the sprinkler we had just put in only a couple weeks before.  We dug right through the spot where the main line goes into the yard--and we knew it was there, but it just totally slipped our minds to make sure we weren't digging into sprinkler pipe.  Duh!  What do-do heads.  Well, it ended up only being a minor crises and easily fixed.  It turns out we only hit the pipe that held the wire for one of the zones and tore the wire.  We must have missed the main water line but millimeters because they were in the same trench.  It was one of those tender mercies!  Easy fix--we just got a remote timer for that zone and once we figured out how to set it, it has been working great.

Snafu three was because I was trying to be a good wife.  Eric really wanted an Austrian Pine tree but the place we normally get our trees didn't have any.  So while he went to Priesthood session of conference I went to a different nursery.  They only had bigger ones that were kind of pricey.  I wasn't going to get one, but they were having a Father's Day sale 20% off and since I'm such a kind wife (and since I didn't get Eric anything else for Father's Day) I decided to get one.  It was big and heavy but we had a borrowed Bobcat at our house I thought would make it easy work.  So once Eric got home we dug the hole (and it was big--the root ball was about 3 feet wide and 3.5 feet deep).  It took both of us heaving our hardest to get the dang thing in the bobcat bucket.  But we managed with a little elbow grease and sweat.  Then we got the tree to the hole, dumped it in and......the hole was too shallow.  Ugh.  So now to get the tree out.  .   .   .   .   yeah, it wasn't coming out.  We broke a rope trying to lift it, could not even budge it.  So, what did we do?  We dug another hole right next to the other one and rolled the tree into it!  Ha ha.  It was a lot of digging (and now filling) but we managed to get it in.  Now it better not die!!!!

After we installed the sprinkler system we were having trouble with dry spots and puddles so we spent a lot of time fiddling with the heads.  Eric had to leave for scout camp a couple days after the hydroseed was sprayed so I was worried about getting it all worked out and ready to go.  We had spent all day outside and in the evening noticed one more head that needed to be switched out.  So we switched it fora different type of head and turned it on.  It just sputtered water and didn't spray.  Then we realized we needed a little plastic insert to make it spray the correct way.  We had just seen them the day before so went to the barn to get one......they were gone.  No where.  Seriously.  We looked EVERYWHERE in the barn (where they had been and where all the sprinkler stuff was).  Every box of sprinkler supplies (and there were like 20), we moved hay to see if they got covered up, every garbage can, the garbage pile.  Then we thought maybe the kids grabbed them, they said they hadn't seen them.  We checked the house everywhere--every garbage--even went dumpster diving in our big outside garbage can.  We must have looked for an hour.  Then by that point we figured it was useless--no where left to look.  Plus it was dark and getting hard to see.  The next day was Sunday, then Eric was leaving Monday morning for scout camp.  But we figured we'd just have to figure something else out the next day.  So we turned off the barn lights and started back to the house.  Eric was ahead of me and the whole time I had been saying those little prayers to help us find these little blue plastic things.  But it seemed that it wasn't meant to be.  But then, as I walked back to the house, I saw out of the corner of my eye a little something literally glowing on the ground, in the middle of all the rocks. I looked at it...and you won't believe, it was ONE of those little plastic things we needed.  Just one.  (They came attached to a strip of plastic as a set of 10).  It was seriously like manna from heaven for me.  We put it in quick and it worked like a charm.  When I found it I seriously looked up at the dusk sky and felt like God winked at me, as if to say, "I've got you.  Don't worry."  It just made me think about how God is in the details of our lives, and even something as eternally trivial as a sprinkler system He knows about.  And even though I KNOW He doesn't care about a sprinkler system, I know He cares about ME.  I'm telling you we walked over those same rocks at least 10 times between the two of us.  And it wasn't until after it all that I found it.  Sometimes God lets us dig through the trash a little and get a little dirty before He gives us the answers--but it will always be for our benefit.  It seems like a silly thing, but to me it was actually a neat spiritual experience.

So anyway, back to summer fun--we got a picture of the tallest/oldest and shortest/youngest grandkids on the Swenson side.  Look at that difference!  Joey just loves Nate, it is so funny, because he hasn't spent a lot of time with him. But Joey talks about him all the time--usually about how tall he is and how he never eats any sugar (Nate had to set him straight that sometimes he does eat a little sugar, ha ha).
 Eric and I took our kids up to temple square one evening, just to take a break from all the yard work. We went to eat at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, then walked around temple square and the visitor's centers.  It is such a beautiful place, and so calming.  I remember going there when I was a little girl when we'd come out to Utah for reunions, but I am pretty lucky to live so close to it.  It is impossible to feel negative there because I realize in all the ways that really matter I am so so so blessed.  It was a nice respite from the day and stress.

Swimming lessons were a must for Maggie and Joey--my last 2 who still need lessons.  Maggie is my little Coppertone girl.  Blond, tan and loves the water.  She loves to swim and did awesome at her lessons this year!  Best in her class.  Joey, well, he almost got kicked out the pool the first day, (yikes) but by the end of the week he was hugging his teacher at the end of class.  So things must have turned around!

And it wouldn't be summer without another injury, and it wouldn't be the Swenson's house if Joey wasn't getting stitches again.  My goodness, this boy is going to be like Frankenstein.  This time he was running while holding a tuna can lid.  I had told him to throw it away because it was sharp.  So of course, he runs to the kitchen with it, and in the process bumps into Maggie and it gouges him in the chest.  It wasn't huge but it was pulled way apart and you could see the fat and stuff under his skin.  So I took him in to Eric and he stitched him up (gave him some happy gas--which makes Joey like a zombie...I love it).  Ended up with 6 nice stitches.  This boy!  He certainly keeps me on my toes.

 After a break from yard work for a few days, we were back at it, installing a garden fence.  Of course it can't go smoothly (when does it ever, right?).  So this time as we were drilling with a hand auger we rented, we broke a sprinkler pipe.  I know what you are thinking--how could we forget to think about sprinkler pipe AGAIN!?  But this time we had, and there really wasn't a pipe where we were digging...I guess, except this one.  But you can see we just hit the edge of it.  It was so close of a miss!  And of course we didn't realize it until the sprinklers came on and Eric and I were not home.  So after the backyard is a gurgling flooded mess, Tyler notices and call us.  For Pete's sake.  It was a muddy sloppy MESS.  SO SO SO much water had come out.  Back to the store to buy more parts.  I think they will know us by name there soon.  At least we got it fixed, and eventually it did dry out (after like 3 days).  Here's the culprit...

We managed to get the key to go up to the top of tower mountain.  We took the ranger up and had a nice time.  It was so hot at home, but WAY cooler up at the top.  If you haven't done this, the first half is really rocky and bumpy and you can't go too fast--especially because one side is a drop off down the mountain.  As as you get higher, so does the drop off!  It makes me nervous at times but I try to remind myself that Eric doesn't want to drive off the side any more than I don't want him to drive off the side.  But still, I was white knuckled for a lot of it!  Here's me and Jake keeping a brave face!

 But then you get to the top and it is so cool.  Beautiful views, nice cool air, and green trees and plants.
 You can tell we don't take many selfies--we haven't mastered how to not look weird in them....
 The kids were having fun too.

 Look how pretty!  And yes, Maggie has pink hair.  We got her a little pink hair wash shampoo.  It washed out after a couple washes but it is fun for summer, and she loves it (shocking).
 At the very top there is a radio tower and a big helicopter pad you can go up on to.  Views of the entire valley pretty much.  The kids think they are awesome, which they are (because they take after their mother).
 On the way down we stopped at took a peek in the actual Dream Mine (if you don't know the story you can look it up).  It is a pretty crazy story and it is a pretty crazy building!  It is spooky--it looks like one day they just walked away.  The machinery is there, many tools, parts, etc.  It was really cool, and it was even cooler because I got to make up a story about how it is haunted by some miners who died in a cave-in.  Bwah-hah-hah (my evil laugh).  I must not have been very convincing though because they didn't believe me.
 We came up here with my sister too and she said how this entrance/sign looks like something from a Disneyland ride.  It totally does!  LOL.  "Responsible."  Love it.
 After we had gone up and down the mountain with my sister it was soooo hot and Eric had the brilliant idea to jump in the canal and swim down a ways and I would pick him up at the road by our house.  Well, he jumped in, and promptly got out!  It was freezing!  No matter how hot it was outside apparently it wasn't so hot as to make him want to swim in that cold water!
 Here we are riding up with Carrie and her family.  Such cute girls!  Wish they lived closer!
 I got to drive this time (which I found I actually prefer because i feel more in control) but I think Dick could have been happier staying home--he's afraid of heights!
 We borrowed a 4-wheeler and rented a side by side to get us all up there.  After a few over-heated stalls we made it!  It was fun and we had a nice picnic at the top.  Look behind Eric--you can see one of the trees we planted!
 We took them to check out the dream mine too.  I didn't try to scare her girls though.  I'm not THAT mean.

 While they were here we also took Becky on a horse ride (Carrie wasn't feeling well).  It was beautiful, cool, and a great ride....until for some reason Becky's horse decided to jump over a tiny stream and made Becky fall off.  I was so surprised the horse did that!  It wasn't a place where you'd think they would.  I felt so bad.  Becky took it like a champ and got right back on and didn't complain, but I've fallen off a horse and it is scary and hurts!  So props to her (I told her Carrie would never have gotten back on, ha.  Take that, Carrie).
 What is a week with cousins without a sleepover!  One night at grandmas (just for Maggie though)... and a night at our place.  No sleep but lots of giggles.
 We went one afternoon to Funtopia, a place with a bunch of climbing walls for kids.  It is really fun and the kids had a blast--especially on the giant slide!  All my kids made it to the top and came down.  Joey made it on his third try--and his look of terror as he first let go was priceless.  I wish I could have captured it on camera!

 The week with Carrie, Becky and the girls was so fun.  My kids love her girls so much.  I keep telling her to move closer!  C'mon guys!

I realized I forgot to post about my Mother's Day cards in my last post.  I got some great stuff.  I got a monster heart card from Maggie.  Tyler wrote me a poem:
Moms love you
Enough to correct you.
They hug you and kiss you
And when you're gone they always miss you.
When we have fallen
She stops us from bawlin'.
And when someone hurts her cubs
Mama bear starts maulin'.
I'm running out of room
So lets go out with a saying I LOVE YOU!

Jacob made me an awesome card designed like a pro.  He said I am the best mom he could ask for.  Nice.

But my favorite was Joey's.  He made a card at school where they filled in blanks about their mom.  He knew how old I was and said we like to cook together.  Here's a few snippets of my favorites:
Mom likes to say:  "I love you"
My Mom really loves:  Me
My Mom's job is a:  Doctor (maybe because I always put bandaids on his owies)
Mom is really good at:  Being a Mom

and my favorite...

If I could go anywhere in the world with her, we'd go:  To a gas station.

HA HA!  Remind me not to take a trips with Joey!  We would only make it down the block to the gas station.

It's been a crazy summer and I can't believe it is half over.  Wish me luck with the grass and we will keep plugging away!

1 comment:

Jeri Calder said...

Loved loved loved reading this post! I completely agree with you about finding that small sprinkler truly was a tender mercy. I sure hope all your landscaping efforts work out and that very very soon you can just look outside and enjoy your yards without having to do any more work on them.