November - another long one

Forgot to add this to last months post. Noah and a couple other kids from our ward played the opening hymn for the primary program (all 4 verses).  It sounded really cool.  He's such a cute cello player.

Continuation from the last post...... still in Hurricane for my dad's 60th birthday shindig. Kyle took us to Kolob to check his traps, fish and play at the cabin for a little while.  The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever. 

Just as the kids were starting to complain about being bored and not catching any fish (above 5 minutes after they cast their poles - short attention spans, I guess), Kyle said, "I bet a fish starts biting in 1 minute".  We started counting down and before we even finished Noah had a bite.  He reeled it in and had a nice looking trout. 
 As soon as Noah's fish was out of the water, Ava had a bite.  She reeled hers in and had a really nice trout.

As soon as Ava got hers in Grant had a nibble.  He got his almost in and then wanked a little too hard and broke the line. :/  It was crazy, all three caught fish right in a row.  Bam, Bam, Bam.  That's my kind of fishing.  Quick and easy. :)
When I was little I loved gutting the fish.  Ava wasn't so sure about it. Ha.  Love the look on her face in this picture.
Of course, Noah liked the guts.

My moms latest shenanigans.  It's super dodgy, but the kids love it and do it all day.  Her neighbors wanted to pour all that cement, so now it's a perfect hill for wiggle cars.  My mom goes down with all the tiny kids.
The big day finally arrived - my dads 60th birthday celebration.  Emily got us all shirts (a picture of my dad in his early 20's, afro and all was on the front and Ballard and 60, was on the back).  Rachelle and I were in charge of breakfast for everyone, so we did build-your-own breakfast burritos. 
Grant wanted to run it like a restaurant, so we made 'menus', and everyone had to fill out what they wanted in their burrito and Rachelle and I made them and Grant delivered them.  He loved it. 

Satisfied customers
Some paint balling in the backyard during clean up.
My little Jack buddy was sick most of the time we were there, so this is about the only day I got to see him this trip.
Kip and Ali flew in from Hawaii for the occasion.

After breakfast we loaded up all 100 ATV vehicles (seriously, so many bikes in our families) and headed to the ranch.  My dad knew we were all coming for his birthday, but didn't know what events were happening that day. 
We started at the ranch house and had my dad tell everyone the history of the ranch and a few stories.  We spend a few hours exploring the ranch and listening to stories. 
Cute little Georgia.

We searched for arrow heads and I found the best one of the day!  Grandma Scholzen would have been proud.  Although I came home and looked at some of the ones she found and they all put mine to shame. She was an amazing treasure finder.
The plan was to go to the big sand hill where we always go Eastering, but a rain storm washed out one of the roads we usually use, so we had to stop at the watering trough instead.  There was a small sand hill the kids played on.  We had dutch oven lunch/dinner and had eclairs (dad's favorite treat) for dessert.  I think my dad had a great day and loved that everyone came to celebrate with him.  

Em has the originals on her camera, so these aren't the greatest quality, but this is all of us (well minus Adam).  Emily set the timer on her camera and then had 20 seconds to jump down a ravine and run up the other side and over to the rock.  She made it!!  
The day after the kids and I got back from H-town, I went on a field trip with Noah's grade to the Sierra College Campus.  The astronomy professor gave them a fun lecture on space and did a presentation in the planetarium.  The all thought it was the coolest thing ever. 
They got a tour of the museum and learned all sort of facts about animals.
Last tour was a nature walk.  They learned about woodpeckers and how their tongue wraps around their brains.  Noah hasn't stopped talking about it.  They also told a story about how the woodpeckers are such a problem, because they knock down power poles and shut off power to the whole college.
November 6th - Grant was helping me juice oranges and then he decided to play with the peels.  He was trying to push a butter knife up thru the top of the peel and when it finally gave way it sliced right thru the webbing between his fingers.  So, now you can never say "you can't get cut with a butter knife".  I was going to just tape his 2 fingers together, but then grandpa Mel said he probably needed a couple stitches.  Of course this happened on a Sunday (I think the only times we've been to an Instacare is on a Sunday) and Adam was gone.  It was our stake conference and he was singing in the choir, so I dropped Noah and Ava off and found some friends for them to sit with and then took Grant for stitches.  Luckily, they were able to use the 'magic' juice to numb it, so he didn't have to get any injections.  He walked away a proud owner of 2 stitches.  He was super proud of them and showed everyone. 
A couple days later he turned 7!!  How is my baby 7?!  Still a hard pill to swallow for me.  It happened to be harvest day in his classroom, so I helped in the classroom all morning.   He handed out a citrus gum pack to all his classmates. 
Back up - before school he opened his presents.  Lazy mom wrapping job (blanket over the box). :)  He got money from gma and gpa Ballard, legos from gma Connie and gpa Rob, more legos from mom and dad and his favorite present, a giant teddy bear (NOT even the biggest one at Costco!). 

I went against my better judgement and got it because that's all he's been asking for.  The bear has already been stitched up a few times and he is now sequestered to Grant's bedroom. :)
Ava loves him too.
 Syrup with waffles for breakfast (heavy on the syrup - this boy loves syrup)!
Adam had to go to a Kings game for work, so I took the kids to Bucca di Beppo (he wanted to go somewhere where he got the biggest free cake. Ha!).  They let us sit at the booth in the kitchen. 
His 'big free cake'.  It was pretty disgusting.
Kids were out of school the day after Grant's birthday so we went to the cabin to build bunk beds.  Found this very long docile lizard.

The sun coming thru the clouds was so cool looking.  Too bad I can't capture it in a picture.
We waited to have cake until the following Monday.  I try to learn something new each time I do birthday cakes, so this time I perfected my chocolate tempering skills.  Beautiful, crisp, shiny chocolate.
This cake was fun to make and I love how it turned out.  Grant and I came up with the idea.  It's a story about how Grant wanted to go camping, so he took his camping gear (of course he had his blue blankie with him) and set up camp in the woods.  While he was sleeping, a bear (looked a lot like the one he got for his present) came and ripped open Grant's marshmallows and started roasting them over the fire.  Grant helped me make the 'marshmallows'.  To get the chocolate to look like bark I painted more tempered chocolate over the chocolate bark pieces. Then I brushed it all with cocoa powder.  I cheated with the rocks and just bought chocolate rocks.

Grant loved it.  The hardest part of this cake was making all the elements small enough to fit on top of the cake.  I used to just make 9" cake rounds and end up wasting half the cake, so now I try to just make what we can eat (this is only a 6" round cake).  Much more tedious when you have to make everything so small.

Loved how it looked with the candles/fire burning. 

Oh my goodness, this cake was so delicious too.  Chocolate cake with salted caramel Italian buttercream, chocolate Italian buttercream and salted caramel alternating on each level. Oh man, so good.  
We had about 2 weeks between our trips to Utah.  It's citrus season in California, so the day before leaving to Utah I took the kids to one of the Mandarin farms to pick Mandarins.  We wanted those Utahns to taste what Mandarins should really taste like.

Noah loved this tiny baby one he found.
That grassy field to the left is next door to one of the Mandarin farms that we go to and it's for sale!!! My dream property.  It's 5 acres, in the country, on top of a hill overlooking the rolling hills of Auburn.  Oh man, someday. 
This time around we wanted to go thru Salt Lake to visit gma and gpa Ellis.  We stopped at Nancy and Medardo's, and of course they put together dinner and train rides for us.  They are the coolest.
We stayed at gma and gpa Ellis' house for a couple nights.  They are the most incredible people!!  
We finally got to meet baby Suzie too!  She was so fun to hold and snuggle for the week.  We didn't get to see everyone we wanted to, but we did have a fun visit with aunt Amy and the Deaners. They are the coolest too.  We're so lucky to have such amazing family members. 
Made a quick trip to temple square and lunch with Rachelle and Marcus before heading to H-town.
Got to see Shelbie's wellness clinic.
We made it to H-town a couple days before Thanksgiving.  Kyle took grandma, the kids and I (Adam got sick the day we got there. Boo) to Molly's Nipple for a little adventure.  Again, Emily racing to beat the camera timer.  Anything for a picture. :)
Love Utah's super blue skies.
Em and her timer. :)
Kyle knew of a geocach on top, so we signed our names.
Cool picture of grandma and fireball Jack.

Kyle brought stuff for a picnic and guns to shoot.  Who would have thought my obnoxious brother would have turned into such a great man?  Miracles do happen. I credit his awesome wife for a lot of it. :)

Made another quick trip to kolob to check Kyle's traps. 
Cute baby Bristol.  Babies everywhere, right?!!

Stopped at one of Luke's projects. 
Noah sure loves babies. 
Thanksgiving day - we started at Connie's for a late lunch Thanksgiving feast. 
Sweet little Lucy.

I love this little Sooba.
We also got to meet baby Benjamin.  He's really a cute little guy.  Erin was sick for a couple of the days, and Adam tried to stay away from the babies once he found out he was sick, so I didn't get as much Benjamin time and I would have liked.  It's hard when there are so many people in the same place. That's why we like people to come to us.  We get one-on-one time. Hint-Hint.

Sleepy Snuzie.
For dinner we went to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner.  Grant set and decorated all the tables.  I used to love doing this too.

We were stuffed after a day of binging.
My mom wanted to give us all her old Christmas ornaments, so we all (minus Kip and Melissa got there after I took this) went downstairs and took turns choosing ornaments.  Fun walk down memory lane.
Friday was the start of the Wilson reunion, so we spent most of Friday and Saturday hanging with the Wilson fam.  We went bowling in the morning in our matching shirts.  I bowled an impressive 55, I think.
This little bowler wanted to do it all by herself, so her ball stalled in the middle of the lane a few times.

Luke has lots of 4-wheelers and motorcycles that the kids LOVE to ride.
Some serious Tetris games going on.

Saturday we got family pictures.  These are just from my camera. 
Oh yeah, and Saturday morning Mary and her kids surprised us all and showed up to Connies (they weren't going to make it to this reunion).  I was so happy, but so sad that we had to leave that night.

Eli blessed baby Benjamin on Sunday, but we had to miss it because we were traveling home.  Cute family. 
Had a couple rainbows on our drive home from Utah.
My baby lemon tree produced quite a lot this year. Yay! 
Love that everything gets so green and many things bloom in the winter here.

My walks are getting greener and greener.  Busy November, but so nice to see so much family last month.


mammasweet said...

Summer, Thank you for your amazing picture journey once again! I think you do such a great job. Thanks for making that long trip and staying at my house for awhile. Your kids are awesome. Today, it was 64 degrees outside at 2:30 and Rob and I planted our bulbs. There were four little neighbor boys in the tree at the end of the street hammering in new stairs. I just kept saying, "Noah and Kate should be there with them!" Tell Noah how awesome his "Spirit of God" on the cello sounded. You named Lucy "Jane" in the highchair picture.

Summer said...

Oops. I was thinking lucy, but obviously didn't put that. ;)

Mary said...

Okay, a few comments:
1. Noah is REALLY good on the cello! Makes me want to play again.
2. The Ballards are cooler than the Wilsons
3. That is the coolest cake you've ever made. You could make more money than Adam selling those delicious works of art.
4. I miss you. Next time we're together, I need a picture of you and me, schnookums. It was dumb that we didn't get more than a few hours together.