Waterskiers and snakes

 September 15th - Ava got up on regular (not tied together) skies.  She didn't like it. :)  We had to remind her how she thought it was hard to get up on the tied together skies at first.  Grant already got up a couple months ago, so he's improving each time.  
 Noah has been slaloming a few times by dropping a ski, but this time he pulled up on a slalom!!!  That is so hard!  It only took him 5 tries.  I think it took me like 20+ when I was learning.  
 We went exploring up a creek and found this little water snake. 



 The kids thought this peach was amazing and huge.  
 It was pretty huge.  This was the first weekend we went to the cabin with no friends.  We did end up inviting a family from the ward up there to join us for Saturday on the lake. 

A momma and baby bear have been hanging around the cabin a lot lately.  Our neighbors see them all the time, but we've only seen them running off once.  One morning we finally got to watch the baby climb on of our manzanita trees and eat berries.  It was so cute.  We were on the top deck looking down at it (probably 20 ft. away).  Adam took some pictures, but he was zooming in on it so they turned out blurry.  Of course when I grabbed my camera the batteries were dead.  I can't find the original pictures so these are screenshots from my Instagram account.   The top one is from my neighbor when the mom was pounding on her sliding glass door and the baby was playing on their deck!  

 While at his yearly check up (which we don't do yearly, BTW) his Grant's pediatrician discovered a heart murmur.  We were referred to a cardiologist, and he said it was a Stills murmur, which is totally benign.  Since he was already out of school we decided to hit up the new bakers in town.  He, of course, loved that you could squeeze in your own cream. 

 Spent a Saturday helping one of Adam's YM with his eagle project.  Adam is THE HARDEST worker!  He was the first one there and the last one to leave.  He ran all the big equipment and worked hard the entire time.  One of the many reasons I love him so much. 

Noah turned 11!!  He couldn't think of what he wanted for his birthday cake.  One day he was telling me he loved his converse shoes, so I decided to make a converse shoe for his cake.  I think it turned out pretty cool.  
Front is his nasty shoe.  I was debating whether or not to make his cake look dirty too, but decided to make it look like it should. :)  I used his actual shoe as my template (on paper, the shoe didn't touch the cake), so it's the same size.  The kids kept telling me I should have made it so he could have put his food in it. Yuck!  
 He was so excited to open presents.  I got asked many times a day for weeks if he could just have a hint as to what they were.  I was nervous he would be disappointed because his main present didn't show up on time.  He got a 6 month subscription to Tinkercrate.  It's a company that sends a building kit every month for however long you want.  His first kit was a bubble machine.  His second one came yesterday and it's a catapult game.  He thought it was pretty cool and put it together by himself.  He also got a gold pan (ever since his gold panning field trip he's been wanting one).  His 'big' present was a Sphero ball.  It's pretty cool.  It's a robot ball that is controlled with a phone.  You can program it to do pretty much whatever you want, or just use it manually.  This one can got in the water too.  It didn't show up until a week later, but he was a good sport about it.  

 Birthday candle with 3 fried eggs (his choice), using his new bubble blower to blow out the candle. 

 Every birthday we do the spanking machine line.  They have to go thru as many times as they are old.  HA!!  They think it's funny and actually ask for it on their birthdays.  Weirdos. 
 Adam promised Ava a 4-wheeler (I would have promised her a candy bar) if she finished all her Judy Moody books.  She finally finished a couple months ago, so we found this little 4-wheeler on Craigslist and picked it up.  She still doesn't get to claim it as her own until she writes a summary of all the books.  I'm proud of her for trying so hard.  She's really worked hard the last year to become a better reader.  I promise I make them wear a helmet - I just wanted a picture. 

 Finally got all my garden boxes in last month.  It was a big project, but I'm loving them.  They all have soil in them now and 4 of them are planted and growing.  Now I'm just dealing with squirrels. UGH.  Any ideas how to get rid of them?  I'd shoot them, but I have too many neighbors nearby.  
The kids begged me to decorate for Halloween, so we got all the stuff down and I decided to let them do most of the decorating.  Grant did most of it - I helped a little.  They did a great job.
 Crazy Ava has been wearing these witch fingers ever since.  
 Date night with Ava for Womens Conference.  I think 8 is a little young for them to attend.  She was bored out of her mind. :)  She loved the pizza though. 
 Grant won something at school and picked to 'bring a stuffed animal to school' as his prize.  He really wanted to bring Tom (his giant bear), but I told him no (a million times).  The morning of he was carrying Tom to the car and I said, "no, you can take a small one".  As he was going in to get a different one, I remembered the talk given at Womens Conference about 'What matters most'. I thought, why couldn't he take it?  I went in and told him he could take it, and he was beaming from ear to ear.  He and Ava were so happy carrying Tom in to school.  
 Who knew the friend was so entertaining?!  Ava and Noah read/look at the friend EVERY SINGLE DAY during breakfast, and often randomly throughout the day.   Crazy to me how they can reread them so many times. 
 Finished up my square gallery wall and we have been loving it.  Every night for dinner the kids want to play 'I spy'.  People have been asking me how I got it so straight.  Well, I was walking around the house thinking about what I could use as a guide and found some legos in the toy drawer.  It was the perfect width, so I made an "L" out of them. I put the "L" on the picture already taped up, and then butted up the next one to it.  It worked perfectly and saved me tons of time not having to tape up a grid. 
 Went to the cabin last weekend with the Oakes (I need to get a guest book up there so I can keep track of who we've had visit).  I've been wanting to hike to Mossbrae falls for awhile now, but found out it's actually illegal. A few years ago the Union Railroad started cracking down on trespassers when a lady was hit by a train.  After doing a lot of research I found out that no one really cares if you hike there anymore, as long as you don't park in private parking lots.  There were lots of fly fisherman there and we passed quite a few other groups hiking to the falls. 
I can see how it could be dangerous.  The entire hike is done along the railroad tracks.  Most of the time there is quite a bit of space between you and the tracks, but there are a few spots where it would be a little scary if a train came at that moment.  A train did pass while we were hiking, but we just moved to the side and waved at the train conductor.   The falls are also pretty hidden if you don't know where they are.  All of a sudden you hike down to this!!  It was amazing. 
 Google Mossbrae falls and look at some of the professional photographers photos.  They are awesome. 

 How we haul people to the lake.  The kids are really good at ducking when the see a car.  I know, awful parents. 
 Sunday afternoon we hiked to the fire tower lookout and had lunch.  We don't get service at our cabin, so when Adam and Tyler went to town for the priesthood session they downloaded the Saturday morning session and we listened to that on Sunday morning.  We're slowly catching up on the other talks. 
 Not bad views from here either.  Some of the hills are turning yellow (most of these mountains don't change color, since they are evergreen trees) so it was really pretty this time. 
Beautiful country up there. This is the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake (the part of the lake we see from our cabin).   Fun conference weekend.  This is our favorite time at the cabin.  No one is on the lake, the water is glass and the weather is perfect. 
Wow, I'm caught up for a brief moment.  Hallelujah!! 



 Fort building at its finest.
 Every morning in the summer, Ava woke up with this knot in her hair.  We made up stories about what/who came into her room at night and slept in her hair. 
 Playing at Upper Clementine with friends while daddy was on High Adventure with his scouts, and found this hat on the rocks.  Crazy small world. 
 Trying to muscle their way up the 'rapids'.
 Looking for turtles at the creek (lots of them this year). 
 Luke and Jana and their girls came to the cabin in August.   We loved having them!!  I love Jana's company, Luke and Adam work on projects and the kids get along great.  My kids couldn't get enough of Mae's shenanigans.   Kate and Brooke both got up on skies and did awesome. 
 We took them to McCloud falls.  Noah and Adam jumped off the first fall and then we hiked down to the second fall (these pictures).  The water is freezing. The boys were trying to see how far they could go without dying.  Adam made it half way to the waterfall before he said his limbs were getting tingly. 
 Ava getting braver - I actually think she had to pee and decided to just get in so she could do it. :)
 It's so pretty up there. 
 Boating life is hard work. 

 Noah my baby whisperer.  He still talks about little Mae Mae. 
 Book lovers. 
 Couple days before school started I took the kids to 6 flags.  They all earned a free pass from the school for reading a certain number of books.  Adam had to work, but didn't feel bad missing out. :/
 We ran into our friends, Noah's best friend Evan, so that was awesome.  We also saw 2 other families there from our ward. HA!  They were expiring that week, so everyone must have had the same ideas as us. :)  I couldn't convince my kids to do the big rides, so we stuck to the shows and some smaller rides.  We ended the day on Joker, a big roller coaster, and they loved it - mostly.  It had a huge drop and they all said they couldn't even think or move when we were dropping. HA!!!
 Special back to school dinner.  The kids picked the menu (crab legs, jell-O, sushi, punch, corn).  Almost identical to a previous years. 
 My amazing mother sent me all these peaches and I'm happy to say I've only gone thru 1 bag.  That's BIG people!  I usually devour them ALL in about a week. 
 School started for these yayhoos.   My big 5th grader!  Last year in elementary school.  CRAZY!!  How did that happen so quickly?!?!?
 My cute little 3rd grader.  
 My bucky-beaver-teeth 2nd grader.  

 Noah got braces a week after school started.  Crazy contraptions they use now. 
 He was so excited to get braces (??) until a few hours later when his teeth started to hurt. :)  He told everyone (as did his siblings).  He lost his teeth quickly, so he skipped phase 1 and is in phase 2, which means he has 2 years and then he's done.  Awesome that he won't have to have braces on when he's a teenager. 
 Adam getting the disco ball ready for a multi-stake dance.  Whenever we chaperone these dances it makes me realize how old I am. They are SO different than the dances we used to have.  We had a lot of slow dances growing up and very little fast dances.  Totally opposite today - they only played 3 slow dances the entire night.  
Noah's last event as a cub scout - Raingutter regatta.  He made the boat entirely by himself - took him all of 10 minutes. :)  He loses interest really quickly with projects.