Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Catching Up

Two weekends ago we were happy to visit with some friends who used to live out here, Ryan and Sarah and their cutie Troy. Desert Boy enjoyed playing with one-year old Troy, but he enjoyed playing with his mom and dad even more. They were good sports, playing with his train, reading him books, and trying out his unique version of hide-n-seek. The game goes something like this:

Desert Boy: I'm going to go hide in the closet. Count and then come find me.
Sarah: Okay. One, two, three..(she rarely got above three)
Desert Boy: I'm ready, come find me.
Ten seconds later:
Desert Boy: You found me! Okay, you hide under the blanket and I'll count and find you.

The hiding in a secret spot and staying quiet concept hasn't really gotten through yet. That's okay with me!

Eventually Sarah got some down time and looks pretty comfortable holding Desert Girl while she reads to Troy a book about the desert southwest. (See, you can handle two just fine!)

Ryan, Sarah, & Troy: It was great seeing you!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Doctor's Visit

Anyone who comes to visit us has to be prepared for a doctor's checkup. Desert Boy carries his doctor tools around in a Cars lunch box. I'm just telling you this so you can be forewarned. Most people don't expect to get a checkup when a Cars lunch box is opened.

The checkup begins with Dr. Desert Boy dumping all his supplies out of the lunch box. Then he proceeds to check your ears, tap your knees, give you medicine orally, give you an injection in some random part of your body, comb your hair, listen to your heart and say thump-thump, and blow air on you with a bulb syringe (which is better than the alternative, wouldn't you agree?). Sometimes the order is switched around a little, and if we resupply his kit with notepaper and a crayon he writes down his report. Once in awhile we even sneak a bandaid in there, and that makes for some real excitement.

Desert Boy was in a very good mood when he let his friend Elizabeth give him a checkup. He not only held the stethoscope to his chest, but also provided the thump-thump noises so she would be sure to hear his heart.

It obviously takes a lot of concentration and practice to be a doctor. And it definitely helps to have a neat Cars lunch box.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rambo Cutie Pie

Desert Boy has to try everything that Desert Girl has, including her headbands.

And we unwittingly found out he can still fit into a pair of his old pants (size 3 months) that I've been putting on Desert Girl. My husband saw him on my son's drying rack and didn't think twice. The capri look was quite becoming, and I was amazed how stretchy the fabric was!
Oh my, he's so cute. And this may become great blackmail material in future years.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I realize it's been a little while since I've put up photos of Desert Girl, so here's a post to keep the grandparents happy! She's still eating, sleeping, and pooing well, in fact that last activity often precedes one of her baths.

Desert Girl didn't like her baths at first, but now she realizes how wonderful water is and enjoys the feel of it. That's good, considering that she was starting to stink a little. The milk that dribbles down her big cheeks and lodges in the neck crevasses doesn't smell so good after a day or two. And then there are the weird gray things that lodge between her fingers and toes. Whatever they are, they don't smell so good either. And new babies are just supposed to smell good.

Desert Girl's baby acne is fading. It hasn't bothered her a bit. And her eyelashes are coming in, at least the top ones. She doesn't have much in the way of eyebrows yet, at least they're not easy to see because they're so blonde.
She's an extremely sweet baby, and she just keeps getting more interesting as she starts watching us and smiling. Those smiles are priceless!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Holding two kids, reading a book, and watching TV at the same time!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scenes from the Desert

Here are some photos from a trip we took this weekend. It was nice to get out into the desert and travel those back roads.
This old bus depicts what it really means to 'take a wrong turn.'

It was off the side of this twisty mountain road.

My first flowering native plant of 2010--a lomatium, in the Carrot/Parsley family.

The snow on the far off mountains make them seem so much taller and rugged.

Here's a look into the south end of Dugway Proving Ground.

The cracked earth shows how dry it is. This is the terrain that Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, traveled in 1861 on the Overland Stage to get to Reno, Nevada, where he worked for a newspaper. In the book Roughing It, he wrote of his adventure. Apparently he didn't like the backroads as much as I do (although I admittedly had the convenience of modern transportation and March temperatures). This is the description he uses for this part of the trip:

And now we entered upon one of that species of deserts whose concentrated hideousness shames the diffused and diluted horrors of Sahara—an “alkali” desert. For sixty-eight miles there was but one break in it. I do not remember that this was really a break…there was a stage station there.

We plowed and dragged and groped along, the whole livelong night, and at the end of this uncomfortable twelve hours we finished the forty-five-mile part of the desert and got to the stage station where the imported water was. The sun was just rising. It was easy enough to cross a desert in the night while we were asleep; and it was pleasant to reflect, in the morning, that we in actual person had encountered an absolute desert and could always speak knowingly of deserts in presence of the ignorant thenceforward…All this was very well and very comfortable and satisfactory—but now we were to cross a desert in daylight. This was fine—novel—romantic—dramatically adventurous—this, indeed was worth living for, worth traveling for! We would write home all about it.

This enthusiasm, this stern thirst for adventure, wilted under the sultry August sun and did not last above one hour. One poor little hour—and then we were ashamed that we had “gushed” so. The poetry was all in the anticipation—there is none in the reality. Imagine a vast, waveless ocean stricken dead and turned to ashes; imagine this solemn waste tufted with ash-dusted sage bushes; imagine the lifeless silence and solitude that belong to such a place; imagine a coach, creeping like a bug through the midst of this shoreless level, and sending up tumbled volumes of dust as if it were a bug that went by steam; imagine this aching monotony of toiling and plowing kept up hour after hour, and the shore still as far away as ever, apparently; imagine team, driver, coach, and passengers so deeply coated with ashes that they are all one colorless color; imagine ash drifts roosting above mustaches and eyebrows like snow accumulations on boughs and bushes. This is the reality of it.

The sun beats down with dead, blistering, relentless malignity; the perspiration is welling from every pore in man and beast, but scarcely a sign of it finds its way to the surface—it is absorbed before it gets there; there is not the faintest breath of air stirring; there is not a merciful shred of cloud in all the brilliant firmament; there is not a living creature visible in any direction whither one searches the blank level that stretches its monotonous miles on every hand; there is not a sound—not a sigh—not a whisper—not a buzz, or a whir of wings, or distant pipe of bird—not even a sob from the lost souls that doubtless people that dead air…

…At last we kept it up ten hours, which, I take it, is a day, and a pretty honest one, in an alkali desert. It was from four in the morning til two in the afternoon. And it was so hot! And so close! And our water canteens went dry in the middle of the day and we got so thirsty! It was so stupid and tiresome and dull!...and truly and seriously the romance all faded far away and disappeared, and left the desert trip nothing but a harsh reality…

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Cows in the Yard. Ugh.

Okay, at first it was amusing seeing cows in the yard. They were an unexpected sight and kind of humorous. But then they started coming in every day, jumping our cattle guard. Although I didn't mind them eating the leaves in the yard, those leaves that I never got around to raking last fall (actually I raked them into a pile and then the wind blew them back all over the yard). What made me go over the tipping point when I had steaming fresh piles of cow manure on my nice patio. That's just not right.

So when I looked out my bedroom window and saw this scene, I was not pleased. The cows in the big group were eating Henry's old straw/hay doghouse. Something had to be done.

The first step was to get the cows out of the yard. Henry isn't much help in this, he usually chases the cows in the wrong direction. They panic and break through the fence. Here's one cow that's spotted an opening.

She gets closer and prepares for...
...the leap over the fence. That must be worth an Olympic medal.

We now have four broken sections of fence. My husband has repaired two and they aren't very pretty repairs. We're going to have to spend some time redoing them and painting if we want to have a decent looking fence. Which, I have to admit, is pretty low on our list of house and yard maintenance. So if you're looking for our house, look for the one with the yard full of cows and the crazy-looking fence.

My husband removed the straw bale doghouse. By the time he got to it, the cows had demolished the bales and it was pretty much just straw spread out. Desert Boy and Henry "helped." Desert Boy was very adept at telling his dad how to do it. He's already ready to be a boss.

By the way, sorry for the lousy quality of these photos. I had my camera on a wrong setting and didn't notice until I had them on the computer.

With the straw gone, the cows still came into the yard to munch on the leaves, bushes, and whatever else looked appetizing. Then we got the garden ready to plant, which included bringing a load of manure and old silage for fertilizer. Somehow those cows got a whiff of that old silage, and we suddenly had another yard full of cows. So we might not have much silage in the garden for fertilizer, but we should have quite a bit of manure, both fresh and old!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bike Riding Adventure

This afternoon Jenny and I decided to take the kids outside for some fresh air. Our older kids are learning how to ride bikes, which lets us push the babies at a fairly decent pace. It's also a bit of an exercise in patience, as Ava and Desert Boy don't always listen to our directions.

And Ava has only been riding for about a week, so Jenny figured out a way to tether the bike and pull her along. She's pushing the stroller with one hand and pulling the bike with the other. All I can say is wow! She is truly getting a good workout!

Ava and Desert Boy seemed to enjoy most of the adventure. It won't be long until they are racing each other and we won't be able to keep up with them.

For them the best part is when it's time for snacks. It's amazing how snacks can be such a great motivator!

Desert Boy especially liked trying Ava's snacks, which are different than his! Even with snacks, it always seems like the ride home is harder. The good thing is that everyone should sleep well tonight.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Secret Desert Canyon

My parents have been here visiting the last week, and I always like to take them different places so they can get the flavor of the high desert. One of our adventures was to go to a secret desert canyon. Although it's March, it's still chilly, and we had to start off by putting on winter coats.

This is the start of the canyon. It has beautiful rocks, and if you know where to look, you can spot...
...petroglyphs! These old rock carvings are a bit worn and not the easiest to see, but still it's really neat imagining the people who made them. Did they ever come in March? And if they did, what did they wear to stay warm?

Further on, Desert Boy enjoyed scampering up the rocks. He loves to climb, so we had to rein him in a bit or he would have been to the top with us trying to catch up.

Eventually we got to the end of the canyon section. Above that is a wash that curves and bends and eventually reaches a mountain range. I went ahead and was able to get a wider view. Then Desert Boy and Grandpa decided to join me.

Most of the snow had melted at this elevation, but there were still patches on north-facing slopes.
Grandpa was most impressed with how desolate this section of desert looked. At this time of year it sure looks like desert, with so many earth tones in all the rocks and vegetation.
We sat down to get a new profile pic for my blog. My favorite ended up being the unposed one (above).
But the posed one does show off the desert scenery behind us.
On the way back down the canyon, we found a little pocket with icicles. Desert Boy was intrigued.
He touched one and found out it was cold. Then he tried licking one.

Desert Boy and Grandpa continued down the canyon, enjoying the adventure.
We even found a little tunnel for Desert Boy to climb through. He liked it so much he did it twice. We made a number of analogies to Dora the Explorer since that's one of his favorite shows. Sometimes it makes the hiking much easier!
Grandpa and Grandma near the end of the hike are all smiles. Because "we did it, we did it!"
We took advantage of the scenic location for a photo op.
And then it was time to drive back out to the paved road. Grandpa was quite curious why there was a Stop sign right next to the gate. We stopped at both. Then it was time for a rest before we began the next adventure.

Hopefully we can find more fun canyons to explore on future visits.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Asleep

Here's Desert Girl asleep in her high chair. The thing that cracks me up the most is her hands.
How many people sleep with their hands flexed?
She sleeps best when someone's holding her, but sometimes we have to settle for second best, especially when it's time to make dinner!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Van

We recently decided we needed some new family wheels. I didn't want to take a photo in the driveway, so I stopped and took a photo on the way back from feeding the bummer calves. This is a much nicer background!

You can see we've already managed to find some dirt and dust!

One of the best things about it is all the space. Like some of our friends mentioned, it's hard to go wrong with the space, especially when we sometimes stock up on groceries only once a month.

And it's great for when it's our turn to carpool to preschool. Here we are with four car seats (Desert Girl's is in the middle and backward facing). We have room for one more in the back with Desert Boy. We can seat up to eight people. Ready for road tripping!
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