Thursday, June 30, 2011

Randy in the News

Check out Randy in the Deseret News. They interviewed him regarding male teachers and the lack thereof, but the best part was the boys got to be in the pictures with Randy!

Male Teachers Lacking in the Classroom

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Slip 'N' Slide

We bought a slip 'n' slide this year. We thought it would be a fun adventure for Mark and Dax--well we were right. They LOVED it! We have had it out almost every day. They love the summer and anything involving water.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New nephew

Randy's sister, Amy and her husband Brian, welcomed their new baby yesterday. Aiden Brian Schuster is so cute. Since the big event was a scheduled c-section (scheduled at 6am), we watched Samantha, Amy and Brian's oldest child. It was funny to watch Amy and Brian be nervous about leaving her with us--it was Sam's first night away from her mom and dad! I heard that Brian walked into her room 20 times the night before and shed a few tears. I am glad that he loves her so much.

Samantha was an angel. She slept through the night, ate everything I gave her, and had fun playing with my boys. We went to the zoo and wore them out, so all the kids, including the big kids Randy and Natalie, took a nap when we got home. It was fun to watch Samantha love her new baby brother so much when we took her to the hospital last night.

Mark loved holding Aiden, but when we asked Dax if he wanted to hold the baby, he said, "No thank you." I asked, "Are you sure?" Dax replied, "He's too little." That's just how his father feels! Randy didn't hold Aiden either.

Here are a few pictures of our day with 3 kids!

Riding the Zoofari Express!

Loving the carousel.

Being silly!

Love at first sight.

He's TOO little!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mark Avoids Stitches, Again!

What is it with Mark and head wounds? I guess he is a boy and never stops running, so he is bound to get lots of injuries. Well, we had another one on Friday. Mark was running around the corner and cut his head on the door latch--you know the little metal plate that the latch closes into. He has hit his head here before, but never with a big cut. Randy wasn't home, but I stopped the bleeding and thought it didn't look too bad and would wait the two hours until Randy could check it out. He is our resident decider on whether a wound needs to go to the doctor or not. Apparently he has some experience in this!

The doctor debated for a long time and said it was on the borderline. He knows Mark very well and understood that if we didn't need stitches, we wouldn't feel like our time was wasted. Unfortunately he said he needed one stitch. Well, he decided on a staple since it was one poke and the stitches would be a poke for the numbing shot, plus the stitches. Mark was so brave through the whole thing. He cried pretty good when the doctor put the staple in, but I was so proud of how he behaved. Thanks Dr. Knorr. Check out the picture!

It brought back memories of Mark, age 18 months, falling and cutting his head on the windowsill. He had his head glued together--his first time avoiding stitches. Here's the picture of his head glued together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yellowstone Waterfalls

I have tried to figure out the best way to talk about our trip to Yellowstone. We did so many things and saw so much, and instead of trying to do a play-by-play of our vacation, I decided to highlight some of our favorite things to see in the park. Today I will tell you about the waterfalls!

By the end of the trip, Dax kept saying, "No animals, just waterfalls!" His favorite part of any trip has to do with bodies of water, or in this case cascading water. There are many waterfalls in the park. The largest are definitely Upper and Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There are lots of hikes to the brink of the falls and for better views of the falls. This year we kept it pretty simple and used the overlooks. You can find these waterfalls right next to Canyon (makes sense right?).

Lower Falls

Dax at Artist Point looking back at the Lower Falls.
On the way into Yellowstone, we drove past Gibbon Falls. Here you can stop and walk a few 100 yards to see this waterfall. This year it was running really fast with the heavy rainfall. This waterfall is between Madison and Norris.
Mark by Gibbon Falls
This year we didn't stop at Undine Falls because Dax fell asleep, but you can almost see this falls from the parking lot. You pull up, walk a few steps so you can see around the trees and there is an amazing waterfall. Here is Mark, age 3, in front of Undine Falls near Mammoth.

A popular waterfall to see in Yellowstone is Tower Falls. You drive past it between Canyon and Roosevelt. You hike a short 200 yard walk and see a beautiful waterfall. Usually you can walk further down and see it right from the base, but the path was washed out. Dax didn't mind. He wanted to stay at this waterfall for a long time.

Tower Falls. I am proud of this picture because I caught the rainbow.

Dax loving the waterfall!
We love to hike and our two favorite waterfalls this year were seen on hikes that we did. We always do Wraith Falls--it is on the way to Mammoth from Roosevelt. It is an easy 1 mile hike where we always see some kind of wildlife (this year it was lots of ground squirrels, but the highlight was the babies!). The boys love to do this hike and at the end we are rewarded with a small waterfall.

Mark and Dax in front of Wraith Falls.
The last hike we did was a new hike for us called Fairy Falls, 5 miles north of Old Faithful. We read about it in our Yellowstone Hiking book and it said it was a flat, 3.5 mile hike with a 200 foot waterfall at the end. We thought that sounded great, so on the last day before heading back to Grandma's house, we set out for Fairy Falls. While the hike was definitely the flattest hike I have ever been on, it was actually 5.2 miles round trip. The book had the mileage listed incorrectly. Mark complained for a little bit, but luckily he has an amazing dad who told him 3 fairy tales that entertained him the entire time. He was so engrossed in the stories, he didn't know he hiked 5 miles. And the waterfall was worth it. It was amazing!
The boys by Fairy Falls.
Fairy Falls landed in a beautiful pool that is perfect for throwing rocks into which happens to be our boys favorite pastime.

I almost forgot about Little Gibbons Falls. It was a hike we did on our last trip to Yellowstone (2009). We took this hike with my sister, brother in-law and there almost 1 year old. It was a fun hike through a meadow and then up into the hills to see the waterfall. This hike is between Norris and Canyon. Here are some old pictures! It's hard to remember Dax that small.

I am sure there are many other waterfalls in Yellowstone, but these are the ones we have experienced. 


Hey, this is me, Randy. . .

One of the things our boys love is the garden. Mark and Dax both water and weed (sometimes correctly) and pick and eat (also sometimes correctly) anything they think looks good. Though all the vegetables are behind because of our eternal winter, the strawberries have finally come around. We love our strawberry patch. It is easy to take care of, and the strawberries far outclass anything you get at the store. In fact, Dax doesn't eat store strawberries, but he has had strawberries from the garden up to 4 times a day!

We usually pick strawberries every other day for the 3 weeks they are ripening, and this is a pretty average take. Though we occasionally do have smoothies or strawberry shortcake, we most enjoy eating them just like candy.

We highly recommend you start your own strawberry patch. It's easy to take care of, spreads like wildfire (I have to take the weed whacker to it 2 or 3 times a year), and lasts year-to-year. All we do is cover the plants with netting to keep the birds (and kids) out and pick them when they are ready.

We have also sprinkled some slug bait in the spring because we had a problem with that one year. This year, though, after 3 harvests like the one above we've only found 3 berries that have been nibbled by insects-- it seems Natalie's slithery friend has been quite effective!

We Need Your Help!

This is me . . . Randy!

There seems to be some disagreement about this mustache. One of us thinks that the it has potential and should be allowed to grow and flourish. The other thinks that it should never rear its ugly head again (I won't tell you which of us thinks what, so as not to bias you). Please vote by making a comment. Should it stay, or should it go?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is Randy-- Get it?!

Hey, this is me, Randy. I got some feedback on my blogging. Apparently, no one in my family can tell Natalie and I apart on the blog. I keep telling them I'm the blonde one pictured above. I think that no one I know thinks I can type or something. Well, little known fact: I was on the Manti High School Type Team for 4 consecutive years. Maybe if you'd have put down that clarinet or tennis racket, you'd have noticed how cool I was. In my prime I could type 88 words a minute, and only about half of them were "as" or "a." As for my editing skills, I often tell people that I worked at the BYU writing lab (mostly so I can convince them to put that comma after the second item in a list) and even though I didn't work there, most people I tell believe that I did. I count it as a testament to my editing skills that this lie seems viable to nearly everyone I've told it to. At any rate, I will now be putting "This is me, Randy" at the beginning of each entry I post. (It was that or get a Google account, and I don't trust any companies that start with the letter G-- it's the reason I don't eat Lucky Charms).

So, if you couldn't figure it out, it was Randy that blogged all the Hawaii trips (Natalie added pictures and most captions) and;

This is me, Randy:

We just got back from Yellowstone today, and it was a great trip (more on that later). I had quite a scare while preparing to go, though. I think that my greatest fear is to have car trouble on a vacation far from home. As I'm driving, I feel the slightest wobble, hear the tiniest ping, or smell the tiny whiff of car trouble and I obsess about it and can't enjoy the trip. So I nearly had a fatal heart attack when I went out and started the van prior to leaving on our trip.

I wanted to back the van in so it would be easier to load, but as soon as I turned the key, I heard this horrible screeching sound. If you've ever driven a '74 Ford Pinto (I have) then you'll recognize what a loose belt sounds like, it's a high pitched screech that tunes down and levels out until it final disappears. This screech sounded similar, but far worse, and much louder-- almost like it was coming from inside the van. I covered my ears with my hands and shut my eyes tight (it seems like this helps in these situations). Unfortunately, the atonal screech wouldn't stop, and it was accompanied by a rhythmic thump. Have you ever had a blowout at 55 mph and heard the tire thump against the under carriage as you try to steer to the shoulder? It sounded just like that. My first impulse was to kill the motor. I reached out and turned the key to the Acc position-- you know, where the electrical components still work, but the motor stops. Sure enough, the van ceased idling, but the noises kept coming! I was at the edge of despair when I finally figured it out. I reached over and turned the radio off. I hate when Natalie leaves the Dixie Chicks cd in the player.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Snakes, part 2

And so the story continues . . . Yesterday I was weeding in the garden and I was pulling huge weeds out of the strawberries. "Uh oh", you are probably saying (at least those of you who read my previous post), and that should have been what I was thinking, but I wasn't. For some reason, the thought of a snake in the strawberry patch never even crossed my mind, until I  stood up to walk around the corner of the box and a snake slithered out of the garden box into the rocks by my feet. Of course, I screamed. All three boys came to see what happened. Mark saw it was a snake and said, "Oh, it's just a snake. Mom, I thought you saw a big spider (can you tell what he is afraid of?)."

It was a pretty small garter snake, smaller than the one we watched in the grass, but I didn't care. Randy asked me if I wanted him to get rid of it. YES! I told him. He is convinced that the snake does good things for the strawberries as far as bugs are concerned, and he may be right, but I can't live knowing that snake is in my garden. So Randy caught it and carefully took it to the field next to our house. I just know it will come back--it has to have a home in there. I told Randy I am never going near that part of the garden again. At least he understands. I can't stand snakes. Yuck!

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