Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Maeve... a-spinnin' and a-tappin'! (Ahem. Her dance recital.)

Maeve had her ballet/tap recital in MAY.  It was pretty adorable.  She is very smiley, and just pretty much grinned most of the time, as you will see in the video below.  This is in stark contrast to the performance faces of Bran and Nuala, as you will also soon see (because I am totally being a better blogger), in their Eisa performance...  

Now, behold: The Maeve Grin! The Maeve Grin.  I pulled this pic off our video, so of course picked the frame where she looks perfect and adorable, and of course caught every other child in a slightly different stance. But hey. She's in a funky position in some other little dancer's pictures... ;)  The little girl to her right (well, to her left, but looking at the pic, to her right), is Macie, a little friend from church. There were two other little church friends in her class, too, so that was fun. For them, and for the moms, who got to have nice little chats during class...

Waiting for her turn on stage...

Here she is with her 3 little friends from church.  They're a fun bunch, they are!

Now. The video! I'm the mom. I replay this (and our other kid vids) over and over and over... but I think even you non-moms-and-dads-of-Maeve will find it pretty darn cute. She's just so smiley! I have each full dance on its own video, but then I came to my senses a smidge and thought I'd do more of a highlight reel... So.  2:20 of ballet and tap adorableness.  Knock yourself out... Wait!  If it's kinda fuzzy, and you care (which I logically know most of y'all won't too much. Not offended, just reality...), you can click on the HD in the bottom right. I think it might take you to the video on our vimeo page, but it will be nice and sharp! Soooo... carry on with the knocking out...

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Nuala's first ER trip


Nuala had her first trip to the ER.... Playing on the school playground after school on Wednesday she dropped of f the bars and landed funny.  Then she fell forward onto her hands and broke her right radius at the wrist.  Luckily not through the growth plate and no need for surgery.

At the ER she was worried about shots and surgery... Of course it didn't help that all of us were there to keep worrying her with the possibilities... It's just too much fun!

While we were in the ER a lifeflight came in with a marine that had fallen out of an Osprey.  Maeve and Bran did their best to find reasons to leave our curtained off area so they could try and sneak peaks at the marine in trauma care.  We successfully deterred them but maybe some views of compound fractures would help deter them from crazy stunts down the road.  They already don't listen to mom and dad so maybe another night in the ER Next a trauma patient will do the trick! Doubtful...(the marine will survive, just had some compound fractures but otherwise did ok)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

While Mommy was traveling...

For years I have had to travel for work and once a year I have gone on a hike with my family.  Fiona has supported me throughout, even when the appleTV has broken down and the car battery died... I have been trying to get her to go on a trip with her sisters where she would not have to worry about packing skivvies for the kids or not be able to watch anything on 26 hours of flight and airports whilst wrastling the wiley kids...

Well, this year it finally made sense to her to go meet her sisters.  So I was left to manage the rascals for 12 days.  Mommy will return tonight and surprisingly the house is intact, the laundry is done, tha cats are alive, and the kids are pretty much undamaged...

Dinner at Chilis the night before mommy left

Catching fish and turtles at the turtle pond with Grandma Buttons

Building a new cat tree

Playing in the oppressive Okinawan heat with a brand new hose

Nuala's war wound from the slip and slide

Bran reading in the hammock with Koji

Maeve and little Fiona flying the AWAC at the Kadena air show

Watching the Shi Shi Mai dance

Maeve and Zumi watching some toons together

New crockpot quiche recipe fed the crowd after church

Maeve and Zumi sleeping off a busy day

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Maeve had a birthday! (so it was in February. Big deal...)

Maeve turned FOUR in February!! (Pointing out that she is quickly coming up on 4-1/2 will do no one any good, so let's just focus on the fact that I am know getting these up... hey, just wait until I get N&B's bday stuff up... Now THAT'S late... ;)  Really, the motivation to go back through the pics and dig these out was to show off my rainbow cupcakes.  Though there is much I could say about our darling and maddening Maevesters... Oh, we love that little stinker! But for this post: just the surface stuff. So... Tara shared a link showing craft project fails.. right HERE.  Number 22 showcased the exact cupcakes that I made!
Well, the exact picture on the website that I followed to make my rainbow cupcakes. Not the exact ones that *I* made. Though mine were alllmost that good. And honestly, I'm not... um... talented... in the kitchen. But these actually turned out right! and they were pretty easy! So, that made me feel accomplished.  Honestly, I think the person who messed them up had to have done it on purpose. They're THAT easy.
They were just slightly time consuming because we had to mix up six separate bowls of batter, and then plop them, one by one, into each little cupcake liner.
But look how cool! 
And you can kinda see the inside here.  Believe you me... the layers stayed separated and colorful... they were awesome!  I don't know what that poor chap did up above. Something horribly wrong. If *I* can do these, it's a safe bet that pretty much anyone can...
Annnnd... just because we started into the bday pictures, here are more. Maeve, with a bday t-shirt. She loves this shirt. Who wouldn't? Cats. Wearing a variety of hats.
We had her party in our neighborhood community center.  This is the picture where they are dancing around with the rainbow ribbon wands I made. I spent FOREVER on those wands.  Finding the right materials... little eye screws... fishing line swivels... bells... the right ribbon... cutting and sanding the dowels... pain-stakingly hand-stitching the ribbon on even though my awesome friend has a sewing machine and would have helped me...etc... And then. I didn't screw the ribbons in tightly enough to the dowels and there was an epidemic of wands falling apart! Argh! We got it taken care of, we did. But still.  Also, the ribbon-dancing lasted about 2.7 seconds before the kids were ready to move on. I exaggerate.  Maybe 2.7 minutes. haha... Really, though, just dance longer!!!
A close-up of a wand.  I was quite pleased with them!  They're so pretty.
For her actual party (it was a rainbow-themed-ish party), I didn't do the cupcakes because of how time-consuming they were.. plop...plop...plop... (and then of course wished I'd done them, but we went out with friends the night before and got in late, etc. etc.), so I just did them in cake form.  You can't tell from the top, because I then just did stripes of left-over batter down the top, but inside the colors were still nicely layered and lovely looking.  And I didn't frost it, obviously. Just puffs of whipped cream. Like clouds...
Just a bit of how we decorated the community room. It coulda been better, coulda been worse.  Those are big tissue paper pom-poms that I made... the idea also gleaned, and beautifully executed, if I do say so, from another online crafty site... Nice and cheap, and big!  They were really cool. And plastic tablecloths in the middle, like big streamers.  There is definitely stuff I would've changed about the party, but overall it went well. And Maeve had a blast, and that's what matters!

Not looking like she had a blast, but she did. Ohhhh, she did.  Even if she didn't, I will keep telling myself that she DID! ;)  And she did...

Maybe shows the cupcake better? Still not bitten into, but without the wrapper... and this one has real frosting, with sprinkles.  Good thing I'm showing you so many cupcake pictures, because the idea of them is difficult to grasp... ha!
The wreath I made out of a styrofoam flower wreath thing and felt! The blue background with the M on it is removable, so it's just a circle rainbow now... Man, I was REALLY crafty this go-around! Good job, Fiona!
Hair chalk! Fun! Somewhat messy! We were gonna do it at the party, but forgot. Thank goodness.
She got a (used, from ebay) Build-A-Bear. She named her Jammies, and she's really cute.  And a little carrying pack for her.
Grandma Buttons sent her this bouncing toy! She has a lot of fun with it, if that's not obvious.  It's a Kidoozie Foam Pogo Jumper. Pretty cool. I've even tried it... I don't get quite the bounce that she does, but it's still fun! They really should make more adult-sized toys like this. Really.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Hiking in Havasupai

Left to right: Randy, Jeff, Hillery and Olivia, Patrick, Curtis, Eldon, Hunter, Mike, and Zachariah

In early May we all met for our annual guys hike (plus Hillery and Olivia this year) at hilltop in the Havasupai Indian reservation in Arizona.  We had tried to get permits for hiking either Havasu Falls or the Grand Canyon South Rim.  Mike did the leg work.

The South Rim ranger station laughed at Mike when he called, and said he could get us in for sometime in mid to late summer.  Havasupai ranger station said they could get us in, but sounded really non-committal.  We were a little nervous we wouldn't actually have the reservation when we arrived in Supai.

We arrived at the parking lot called Hilltop at around 1130pm the night before our hike.  Along with most of the people that were planning on getting an early start the next morning.  As we set up the tent it quickly became apparent that there was going to be a duel of snores between Randy and Curtis on polar opposite sides of the tent.  I curled up on the floor of the car and I could still hear them snoring through the car door...

Eldon: "I work out!"

So, somewhat rested we got up early monday morning ready to make the 11 mile hike from canyon rim down to Supai and Havasu falls camp site.

Olivia in front of the Supai ranger station after 11 miles of hiking

Hunter and Eldon with Navajo falls behind

We got down to the falls in 4-5 hours.  The water was so inviting after the hot dusty trail.

Jeff and Zachariah with Havasu falls and the mouth of carbonate canyon behind 

 Randy cooling off in the pool under Havasu falls

Havasu Falls 

Havasu Falls 

Dinner time! 

The only place where you can camp is between Havasu falls and Mooney falls.  We spent three nights in the campground.  It was nicer than what we usually have on our yearly hikes.  There were picnic tables, nice non-smelly self composting outhouses, and the creek ran right next to most of the sites. You had to be wary of stray dogs and industrious squirrels, but otherwise it was an excellent spot to stay.

Mooney Falls 

On day two we decided to make the 15 mile roundtrip hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Since you can only camp in the one place in the Indian reservation you have to make the trek to the Colorado river and back all in one day.  So once again we set out early.

The descent to the base of Mooney falls was a bit precarious.  First you squeeze through a cave that then opens out to a line of ladders and hanging chains that you use to clamber down the side of the open cliff.
The Cave

After Mooney falls the trail followed Havasu creek all the way to the Colorado.  The only real difficulty was that we had to ford the creek about 8 times each way down and back.  The scenery was beautiful, there were hardly any other people, and because of the creek we had nice cool breezes most of the time.

 Where the creek and river met the colors were almost unreal.  Randy carried a little bag with him all the way down to the river which had his mask and snorkel.  As soon as we arrived he went to jump in, and was disappointed to hear that it is actually illegal to swim in the Colorado in the canyon.  I think it almost broke his spirit that he couldn't jump in.  Uncle Randy is like a fish, loves the water.

On the way back up we came across a small Bighorn sheep eating wild grapes.  It was pretty unphased by our attempts to get close for a good picture.

The climb back up from the base of Mooney falls.  It doesn't look quite as daunting from below as it did coming down.  The ladders and chains were all muddy and slippery.

We arrived back at camp at exactly 10 hours after we had left for the Colorado.  As we went to start making dinner Jeff went to dig into his backpack and found a squirrel passed out with an apparent sugar and oatmeal coma.  Jeff first saw the thing and jumped back from his bag like it was full of rattle snakes! Then he tipped his bag over and shook out the poor squirrel.  He was so bloated and lethargic that he couldn't even move.  He kept trying to climb under Jeffs tent to hide.  Eventually he made his way to the edge of camp but couldn't climb the small rocks to get all the way away.

On day three we explored Carbonate canyon which opened up to the east of Havasu falls.  The canyon had an old mine that we were able to explore.  The walls had huge veins of crystals running all throughout.  The canyon itself had tons of fossils all over the canyon floor.  We spent a few hours exploring the mines and looking for fossils.  Afterward we went back to Havasu to swim.

Before swimming Mike and I got roped into hiking back up to Supai to pay for the use of one mule to carry out 4 bags.  Even though we weren't sending our bags on a mule... not sure how that happened!

Starting the long hike out on day 4

Zachariah and Mike entering Supai

Olivia and Hillery entering Supai


There is a constant stream of pack mules going up and down the trail.  Sometimes they sneak up on you.  Several of us even got knocked out of the way by pack mules on a mission, they didn't even slow down just ran at their same speed and hikers beware!

LDS church building in Supai village

Waiting for Curtis, Patrick, Jeff, and Randy's bags to show up by pack mule

The hike out took about 3-4 hours and we got out just before it got really hot.  Havasu lived up to it's reputation.  It was amazing, beautiful, and a perfect way to enjoy a piece of the Grand Canyon!