Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Z is for...

ZION National Park.  We are a big outdoor family and love to go hiking in beautiful places.  One very nice benefit to living where we do is that we are in close driving proximity to the the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park is the closest of all three. 

We go to Zion fairly often and love the hiking tails that range from super easy, to "omigosh I can't believe I did that hike, lets go buy a shirt that says I did it!" (see Angel's Landing photos below). 

It was the first National Park and outing that we took Austin to when he was three weeks old.  We needed to get out of the house, but it was cold and flu season so we did not want to go somewhere that we would be indoors in contact with a lot of people so we hiked the Temple of Sinawava "river walk" trail.

One year for Dustin's birthday we hiked Angel's Landing, probably the toughest, and definitely the scariest hike I have ever done. 
Angels Landing from down below.

At Scouts Landing looking up towards the back of Angel's Landing.

Almost to the top, it's a straight drop off on either side of the ridge.

Looking down from the top, the trail is along the top of the ridge that you see on the left.
Looking down on the trail below.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Y is for...

Oh man, letter 25 and I fell off the wagon!  I tried and tried to come up with a topic for Y on Saturday, but it just escaped me, and was a busy day with taking Austin to a birthday party for an old daycare buddy.  So do I get one pass on the this 26 day adventure?  I already started a post for Z so I will finish it and post it in a bit.  In the mean time here is an ode to Y with "I don't know Y" performed by Norah Jones on Sesame Street that just seems fitting!

Friday, April 27, 2012


I am starting a new work schedule this week where I work Monday through Thursday and have Fridays off to stay home with Austin.  This doesn't bode as well for my participation in 5QF, but hopefully I can still work it in on a regular basis.  And hopefully I will have time to catch up with everyone else, if not on Fridays.

1. Do you make your kids finish all the food on their plates?

Austin is not a big eater, so most nights it's a challenge to get him to eat his dinner.  I don't really ever make him "clean the plate," but we do encourage him to eat more because he would eat like a bird if we didn't. 

2. Do you give an allowance?

He's three, so no allowance yet.  Once in a great while he enjoys playing with coins, putting them into a coin sorter or piggy bank, so I will give him the change in my purse and it usually ends up in his piggy bank afterward, but it's not really an allowance.

3. Do you actually park your car in the garage?

We don't have a garage, so nope!

4. What is one food you will NEVER cook?

Liver, yuck!  My Mom used to fry liver and onions and make me eat it.  See my parents' answer to #1 was YES THEY WILL CLEAN THEIR PLATE before they can leave the table. (even so to this day I do not have any eating disorders or weight issues though)  I hated liver and onions.  I know back then it was thought that liver was some miracle iron food, but now we know that it is horribly unhealthy in addition to tasting like poop, so I will never ever, ever eat it again!

5. Do you have anything exciting planned for the summer?

Well yes in fact, I am planning to give birth to this amazing baby girl I have growing in my tummy, and I think that is very exciting on the grand scale of life.  I am due August 12, but would be more than happy if she would make her grand entrance any time after 37 weeks and spare me the Arizona summer heat. 

A-Z Challenge: X is for...

XTERRA, my current ride.  We bought my 2007 Xterra gently used in 2008.  We knew we needed to upgrade our aging Isuzu Rodeo before Austin arrived and we went on a trip to the Denver area that summer to participate in Relay For Life to honor my Dad who passed away earlier that year and took advantage of the larger auto market.

Things I like about my Xterra:
  • I like the power, it really can get up and go.
  • The maneuverability, it's an SUV, but is still very compact and can access tight spaces.
  • It handles well off road.
  • It has tire pressure sensors, so my tires tell me when they need to be filled, or released.
  • Decent gas mileage for an SUV.
  • We have had relatively little mechanical issues with it.  I have really only had it in for routine maintenance (knocking on wood!).

Things I dislike about my Xterra:
  • I wish it had a third row of seating.
  • The key remote buttons are way too easy to accidentally push and I have set off the car alarm numerous times when I was reaching into my purse or pocket.
  • The seat belt tension-er does not work as well when it is cold in the winter so I often shut the door on the buckle and once I really messed up the door by doing that.
  • The cargo area is a bit tight and has a funny angle so stuff rolls around in the back.
  • Car seats don't install very well as the back seat has a pretty steep slant.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A-Z Challenge: W is for...

This is probably the most obvious letter for me as I am am currently a WATER Quality Specialist.  WATER is life.  Without it we are truly nothing and would not exist, as our bodies are made up of about 70-75% water. 

I think it's really easy in this country to take water for granted as we get clean and safe potable water easily and cheaply with the turn of a faucet thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act.  We take for granted that we on average use 150 gallons a day, much of it wasted down a drain or flushed away with our waste. 

I went to a tribal leader round table about water in Phoenix once and there was an Apache elder there who was a high school science teacher before retirement.  He spoke and was very fascinating as he had great insight about native belief and water science.  The one thing he said that really stuck with me is he said when you think of a molecule of water there are three components, one hydrogen and two oxygen. For those of you who follow the Christian path think of that as the Holy Trinity is represented by a molecule of water. 

I used this quote that I found on the internet in a presentation I gave recently that sums it up nicely:
Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious.
Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.

Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A-Z Challenge: V is for...

VALLARTA, Puerto VALLARTA, Mexico is where we went on our honeymoon. 

We booked our all inclusive trip through one of those travel companies and they booked us on a Hooters air charter.

We stayed at the Riu Jalisco Resort.  The first night they accidentally forgot to book us a honeymoon room with an ocean view and were booked solid so he had a view looking out at Nuevo Vallarta.

The second night they moved us to an ocean view room.

Here are some other photos around the resort.

There were two pools, one was for families and the other for adults only.  We used both since the family pool had slides.

Notice how the sky is cloudy in every picture?  That would be the remainder of Hurricane Stan.  We had no idea there was a hurricane until at our wedding reception and we thought the person who asked us about it was joking since it was in October.  Luckily Stan was mostly played out, but made it gloomy the whole time and made our fishing trip very rough.

We went deep sea fishing and it was quite an experience.  Because of the Hurricane there were 10-12 foot swells in the ocean and we were all queasy.

Here is a video that shows a little of how the boat was being tossed in the rough sea.

We also took a city tour and had lunch in the jungle.

On the way back to town we stopped at a Tequila factory.  That's when we discovered that the free booze at the resort must be watered down because we never really got much of a buzz until taking shots at the tequila factory.

Overall it was a great way to celebrate our wedding.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A-Z Challenge: U is for...

Since it's lunch time here and I am still UNSURE about what to write for U, I am going to go with UNSURE and just do a random thoughts post.

  • I have been enjoying the A-Z Challenge, but happy that it is in the home stretch and am ready for a break.
  • Dustin is on a little work trip and will be back in the morning.  I really miss him when he is gone, and it makes me appreciate the sacrifices that military families make when their loved ones are deployed for extended periods of time.  I honestly have no idea how the cope with that.
  • Dustin told me on the phone last night that the boys that I drive to school had pink eye (he works with their Dad).  This morning they show up and were already in my car when I came out and I asked the Dad if they were all over the pink eye and he said "well no, but they are on antibiotic drops."  I told him I was pretty sure the schools policy was that they had to have clear eyes before returning as they usually can't tell if it's a bacteria or virus, and viruses are contagious even with antibiotic drops.  He called the school and the teacher verified it so he took his boys home.  I felt like a jerk, but I didn't want Austin to get it and I hope he does not come down with it after that exposure. 
  • We have a busy weekend planned.  Dustin wants to finish painting our house, it's over 3/4th done now and looks awesome!  I ordered a Bountiful Basket that we will pick up on Saturday morning and they finally had a case of strawberries as an extra, so I will be making jam this weekend.  Saturday afternoon Austin is invited to a birthday party for one of his girl friends, and Saturday evening I have a book club dinner meeting to discuss The Book Thief now that we are all done with it.
  • I am going to a Physical Therapist in the morning to have my hip evaluated.  I have been having the worst hip pain with this preganancy and my right hip keeps feeling like it is popped out and pinching a nerve.  Sometimes it is hard to walk.
  • I got my garden started last weekend.  Austin helped me on Sunday and we planted spinach, mesclun, radishes, carrots and pea seeds and a six pack of tomatoes and a pablano pepper.  I put those wall-of-water things around the tomatoes and pepper as we still may have a frost for a couple of weeks.  I used them last year and had tomatoes way before anyone else. 
  • I am working on crocheting a baby blanket for a friend of mine who's baby shower is a week from Saturday. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A-Z Challenge: T is for...

TRACTORS.  I love TRACTORS and enjoy getting to opperate them every chance I get. When I was in college I worked for the Agricultural Research Service and various parts of my job required me to use tractors to conduct studies.
This is a potato harvester, we did irrigation research on a field of "chipper" potatoes that were contracted with Frito Lay

I enjoy visiting my in-laws farm in Iowa and my father-in-law lets me help with the chores.
I thought I had one of me driving a tractor, but couldn't find it

Also when I was in college I went with two of my sorority sisters to Denver to a Kenny Chesney concert at the Grizzly Rose.  He played his new single "She Thinks My Tractors Sexy" which hadn't been release on the radio yet.  We thought it was so great that we took a 20 mile detour on the already 65 mile way home so that we could go to a 24 hour Walmart to buy his new album for that song.

Monday funny

Since my T post isn't quite ready I have a funny story from last night to share.

Since I have been pregnant my skin is so bad and I have been battling acne. Last night I was in the bathroom with Austin while he was taking a bath and I looked in the mirror and go "oh man, I have a big zit right in the middle of my forehead" he studies it and goes "it's a zip?" I said "it's a zit" he says "oh yeah, a zip!"

Later on, maybe an hour later, when it was time for bed I tucked him in and went to walk away. He goes "wait Mommy, I have a zip" and points to his forehead where mine is located. I went back and kissed his zip to make it all better, then he was ready to go to sleep.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A-Z Challenge: S is for...

STRAWBERRY- they are my favorite fruit, I love a delicious, perfectly ripe strawberry.  I like them dipped in chocolate or powdered sugar.  They are fabulous all blended up into a margarita or daiquiri, even sans alcohol.  They make wonderful sauce or syrup to top a variety of foods- pancakes, waffles, angel food cake, cheesecake and more.  They are also my favorite fruit to make jam with, I love the beautiful shade of pink that fresh jam makes in the canning jar.

So I am just baffled at the current Starbuck's controversy with their strawberry smoothies.  I'm sure you have heard all about it, but in case you haven't they were looking for a more "natural" source of pink dye for their strawberry smoothies.  They went with something called cochineal extract, which comes from smashed up beetles.  Vegans and vegetarians were outraged, as I guess they find killing bugs unethical, so they were protesting.  When the news came out the rest of just about everybody was grossed out about them using bug extract so now Starbucks says they have found a new dye and will be switching to it this summer.  The new dye source: lycopene, a vegetarian-friendly tomato-based dye.

WHAT?  Tomatoes? Come on Starbucks, you have a STRAWBERRY drink, what on earth is wrong with coloring the drink with STRAWBERRIES?  Not only do you get a beautiful pink color, but you also actually add STRAWBERRY flavor, what a concept!!! 

So I guess I'll skip the tomato flavored smoothies at Starbucks and make my own smoothies with, drumroll please... STRAWBERRIES and yogurt!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A-Z Challenge: R is for...

RAMS... Colorado State University RAMS that is.  I graduated from CSU in May 2004 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering, Bioresource Concentration. 

I love football and am looking forward to the upcoming season which is the debut of our new Head Coach Jim McElwain who was the Alabama Offensive Coordinator. 

09/02/12vs. ColoradoDenver, Colo.
09/08/12vs. North Dakota State Fort Collins, Colo.
09/15/12at San Jose StateSan Jose, Calif.
09/22/12vs. Utah StateFort Collins, Colo.
09/29/12at Air Force Colo. Springs, Colo.
10/06/12vs. Fresno State Fort Collins, Colo.
10/13/12at San Diego State San Diego, Calif.
10/27/12vs. Hawai'i Fort Collins, Colo.
11/03/12at Wyoming Laramie, Wyo.
11/10/12vs. UNLV Fort Collins, Colo.
11/17/12at Boise State Boise, Idaho
11/24/12vs. New Mexico Fort Collins, Colo.

Our fight song:

Fight on, you stalwart Ram team,
On to the goal!
Tear the [opponent]'s line asunder,
As down the field we thunder!
Knights of the Green and Gold,
Fight with all your might!
Fight on you stalwart Ram team,

And of course I can't forget our unofficial fight song, Fum's Song (Our mascot used to be the Aggies when it was Colorado A&M):

"I'll sing you a song of college days, and tell you where to go.
Aggies, where your knowledge is, and Boulder to spend your dough.
C.C. for your sissy boys, and Utah for your times, D.U. for your ministers, and drunkards School of Mines.
Don't send my boy to Wyoming U. a dying mother said. Don't send him to old Brigham Young, I'd rather see him dead.
But send him to our Aggies, it's better than Cornell.
Before I'd see him in Boulder, I'd see my son in hell!"

And now I'm even more excited because I was researching current NFL players who were Rams and saw that Caleb Hanie just signed with the Denver Broncos, my all time favorite NFL team, so it's going to be great to see a CSU boy backing up Manning, I can hardly wait for August!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Q is for...

Who knew a post about polygamy would be so interesting to people, it is very strange to have seen it and been so close to it all of these years.  I enjoy the polygamy shows- Big Love and Sister Wives too, and probably wouldn't pay them any attention had I not ever lived here.  In both of those cases I have no problem with how those particular families are structured because they are all legal and willing adults choosing that for their lifestyle.  Another good read that talks about the foundations of fundamentalism is Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer.

Anyway, on with Q and a total change of direction as it is for QUILT.  I am a hobby quilter and have made several.  I made one for each of my seven nieces and nephews, and completed one for my son.  If you want to see some of them you can click on the label "quilt" in my sidebar and it will show you those posts. 

Now that I am expecting my baby girl I have been thinking about what I want to do for her quilt and am wanting to get on it soon since with Austin's I started it while pregnant, but didn't finish it until he was just about three.  It's a twin sized quilt and he uses it now on his big boy bed, so it worked out okay that it took me so long after all.  I want to do something kind of similar to Austin's but not as much hand work.  His quilt has 12 squares with farm theme motifs appliqued and hand embroidered around the applique.  It took me for ever to do the embroidery, so I want to cut back on that part.

On Pinterest I have been pinning away and came up with this for the general layout:

I do like the Sunbonnet Sue motif, and Austin's quilt has an Overall Sam block, but they are appliqued and take forever, so I am going to substitues some of the squares for traditional quilt blocks.  I'm thinking of leaving the three blocks down the center as Sunbonnet Sue blocks.  Then the top two and bottom two will be quilt block hearts:


The 6 outer side squares will be flowers on top and bottom, with a basket in the middle:

The other four blocks around the middle will be bows and butterflies:

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

I was hoping to go shopping yesterday after my doctor appointment, but just ran out of time with my other errands.  I am thinking of varying the colors more, instead of the browns I'm thinking of going with purple to contrast the pink, but we will see when I actually look at what they have. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A-Z Challenge: P is for...

Stick with me here, I know it's an off the wall topic, but POLYGAMY aka PLURAL marriage.  I know, I know...where did I come up with that?  Up until about 7.5 years ago I never gave polygamy a thought.  Then I moved to where I live now, 20 miles past the middle of nowhere and have been introduced to it because the town that is directly west of where I live is the home of one of the largest polygamy sects, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), in the US. The community actually straddles the state border and consists of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. Just so you know, everything I am going to write about is from my own observations, or from what I have heard around here. 

In order to get to the next major city for shopping and entertainment we have to drive a highway that runs through the two towns.  Other than driving through numerous times I have only had a handful of exchanges in either town.  My first was to visit their dairy store with a coworker of mine.  It was brief, but the lady at the cash register was very cold and spoke very little to us, no eye contact.  The next experience was walking around their greenhouse nursery.  The adults never approached us to offer help and only interacted at check out time, but there were a couple little kids there and they kept peeking around the corner watching us while we looked at the plants.  More recently they have opened a restaurant called The Merry Wives Cafe in Hildale and I have been there to eat a few times. 

The family that owns and operates the Merry Wives is actually from a break off sect called The Work of Jesus Christ that is just south of Colorado City in a community called Centennial Park.   These fundamentalists are more modern and progressive and don't practice the negative aspects of the FLDS.  They are the group that often goes on news TV shows, such as Primetime, to defend plural marriage.  If you are ever passing through the area I recommend you stop in and have a sandwich, it will be an experience you will not soon forget.  They are very nice and welcoming of outsiders.

Outside of their community the FLDS members can be seen around the big city that we go to for major shopping.  They are easy to identify as they wear prairie dress and the women all do their hair with a swoop in the front and braid in the back.  Before I moved here I loved to braid my hair if I was going to be working outside, but now I stick with pony tails to make sure there is no confusion.

So if you haven't heard about the FLDS and some of the controversies surrounding them, they not only practice plural marriage, but they often arrange marriages for young girls as soon as they hit puberty.  That is why their current leader, who they consider to be their prophet, Warren Jeffs is in prison.   Women are forced into marriages that are arranged by the prophet and have no say in any matters, they tell them to "keep sweet."  They also will often outcast the young boys of their community. These "lost boys" have very little education and training so they have a hard time acclimating into the outside world.  I have heard that the families in the FLDS milk the welfare system and call it "bleeding the beast."  And if that wasn't enough to raise your eyebrows, one last controversy:

From Wikipedia:
The Colorado City/Hildale area has the world's highest incidence of fumarase deficiency, an extremely rare genetic condition which causes severe mental retardation. Geneticists attribute this to the prevalence of cousin marriage between descendants of two of the town's founders, Joseph Smith Jessop and John Yates Barlow. At least half of the double community's inhabitants are descended from one or both men.

It is also my understanding that not only does it cause mental retardation, but also severe physical deformities, but I have never seen anyone there who has this deficiency and have heard that they hide the children and only take them out for medical care, which of course they take advantage of public health care sources. 

When it comes to the FLDS the least thing that bugs me is the polygamy, I figure to each there own and if they are all willing to take on plural marriage, then who am I to stop them.  In fact I think it would help things out a lot if polygamy were legalized and law enforcement could hold these people accountable for the child abuse and welfare fraud that occurs now and not give them the easy argument that the government is trying to interfere with their religious beliefs.

So the reason I am posting this late is because I went to the big city today and was going to snap some photos if/when I came across any polygamists.  Well I did see several at Walmart, but I chickened out on snapping a picture.

Wordless Wednesday

I will post my next A-Z post later, but I was just playing around on Facebook and saw this is my sister's photos, and thought it would be fun to share.  It's my Uncles and then Dad on the right.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A-Z Challenge: O is for...

See just when I didn't think I had a topic for O one just went and fell in my lap last Friday.  O is for OPPORTUNITY.  Remember way back in my C is for... post how I said:

"I love, love, loved living in Fort Collins while I attended Colorado State University and that would be the place I would live if I could choose to live anywhere."

My husband has been applying for jobs for a couple of years now since we are wanting to move closer to our parents and away from here.  There have been about 6 jobs in that time frame and it's a tough job market, especially since he promoted to his current level so quickly and is relatively young/inexperienced compared to the guys who are at the ends of their careers going for the same position.  We have been keeping our eyes open, and it has been really bad lately that it has been a while since a position has opened up in a location we would consider. 

Friday he got an outreach for MY DREAM LOCATION, his job in Fort Collins, Colorado!  The unfortunate thing about the timing is that IF we did end up getting the job, the move will be right about when I am due with this baby girl, but we will figure out a way to deal because this is a huge opportunity.  It will likely be the strongest competition of all the jobs he has applied for so far, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  And in the mean time next Monday he starts a detail where he will be the acting District Ranger here while his boss is away, so that bumps him up even one level more which looks even better on his resume, so it gives him that much more competitiveness in the race.

So if by chance you are a praying person, would you mind sending up a little one for us?  Or send positive thoughts and cross your fingers...oh this job would be so perfect, it just gives me the chills to think about it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A-Z Challenge: N is for...

NIECES and NEPHEWS  I have two nieces and six nephews from my full siblings and two nieces from my half sister.  My family is really close to my sister-in-laws family too and her sister's kids think of me as their Aunt too because I used to babysit them a lot and she has three girls and two boys, one of those girls is my Goddaughter. 

The immediate kids range in age from 9 to 16 and when they were young they all lived within about an hours drive of me so I spent a lot of time with them.  In a lot of ways they trained me to become a parent. 

Unfortunately they all live far away now so I only get to see them maybe once a year, but now that they are getting older I can keep in touch with them through email and Facebook. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A-Z Challenge: M is for...

MEATLOAF... one of our family's favorite dinners.  My husband and I are not crazy about the traditional meatloaf with sweet ketchup-y-ness to it, so here is the recipe I use:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 egg
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 small can tomato sauce
1 brick of mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

I chop the onion and cut the brick of cheese into 1/2" strips,

Mix all the ingredients, but the cheese in a casserole dish until evenly mixed.  You can salt and pepper to taste, but I usually don't add either. 

Form the meat mixture into the casserole with a depression in the middle.

Place the strips of cheese in the depression.

Fold over the remaining meat mixture making sure that the cheese is completely encased.  (Otherwise you will have a cheese volcano when baking) Form it into a loaf shape.

Take a paper towel and wipe around the rim of your casserole dish to make it look neater and for easier clean up after baking.

Bake for 45 minutes, check doneness with a meat thermometer, ground meat should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

You can let it stand for about 5 minutes to let the cheese set, otherwise if you cut it open right away the cheese will ooze out, both options are yummy, just depends on your presentation preference.

Friday, April 13, 2012

5QF | A-Z Challenge: L is for...

Okay, I am ready for my Sunday break from the A-Z Challenge, so I am going to punt today and make my L word LIST for my 5QF LIST.  Luckily I finished my "M" a while ago, so I have that post scheduled for tomorrow.

1. Who mows your grass?
Mostly Dustin mows the grass, but once and a while I pitch in.  I actually enjoy it.

2. Do you have a picture wall or picture gallery in your house (show us! <--- my addition to the question)?

I do have a picture wall in my home, it goes down our hallway.  I have been meaning to re-do it though so I am not going to share a picture on this post.  Some of my family came to visit a couple of weeks ago and the kids were disappointed to see their pictures from two years ago in my frames.  They did technically send me their photos last year, but since I planned to change the frames I never put up the new photos, and well, time marches on!  One of these days I will get it done.

3. What book has influenced your thinking the most? Or, what blog? (I want to read what gets people thinking!)
Hmmm, that is a tough one!  I guess in reality the book that has influenced my thinking the most is the Bible. All my core values come from church teachings, so even though it for some reasons seems cliche to say it, it is true. 

4. Do you have allergies? If so, how do you handle it this time of year?
Unfortunately yes I have terrible allergies.  Being pregnant just amplifies it too and my sinuses have been so stuffed the last month.  I regularly use a neti pot to rinse my sinuses and clear the junk out.  I also use Flonase nasal spray. 

5. What's your go to meal to cook in an hurry?

Our go-to meal is frozen pizza.  We always have a DiGiorno or Freschetta in the freezer and it doesn't get an easier than turning the oven on and throwing one in.  No, it's not delivery, we don't have that luxury here 20 miles past the middle of nowhere!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

We survived...

Our second earthquake!  Last night we were sitting in the living room and Dustin says "what is that?" and I was like "what is what?"  He said "that rumbling and shaking, I think we just had an earthquake." I was sitting in our recliner with Austin on my lap, and I didn't even feel the shaking.  I didn't notice the rumble over the TV either, so I totally missed it.  But sure enough I logged onto Facebook and two other people in our town posted about feeling it.   We live about 70 miles from Panguitch, so it's surprising that we felt it.

When Austin was a little baby I was up one night rocking him in his room at about 11:00pm and I heard a loud rumble and felt the room shake.  That time the earthquake was actually centered in Arizona, but it was only a 3 in magnitude.  Dustin slept through that one and was surprised to hear me say I thought we had an earthquake.

A-Z Challenge: K is for...

KIDS  I have always enjoyed working with and being around kids.  I love their curiosity and unending youthful energy. 

I remember my first babysitting job, I was on a summer vacation trip with my Aunt in Florida and my cousin asked if I could watch his step kids while he and his wife went out for the evening.  The kids were old enough to be pretty self sufficient, so I was just there in case something happened and to help them get ready for bed.  Later that same trip some other cousins took me to Cocoa Beach. We stayed at a time share and some random women at the pool asked if I would babysit her kids while she and her husband went out.  I wasn't sure about it since I had never taken care of a baby, but my cousin who is a year younger than me had changed her sister's diapers before and offered to co-babysit with me.

I had here and there babysitting jobs after that and pretty regularly when I went to college as my brother's wife's sister lived in the same city and I watched her 5 kids at different times for differnt things.  I don't think I ever had all 5 at once though.  For a year I even drove her oldest daughter from daycare to preschool, then back because it worked out that it was between my classes that year.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college I got a job as a camp counselor in a tiny little town in upstate New York.  It was a month long summer camp and the kids were all mostly weathly Jewish kids.  There were two sessions and both sessions I bunked with 9 year olds.  During the day I taught tie-dye and leather craft to all ages.  It was really quite an experience, especially since it was the first time living away from home without any family at all near by.

Towards the end of my college career I took Childhood Psychology and had to do volunteer work with a child organization.  I volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club and really hit it off with the kids and the staff at the branch I was at so they hired me.  I worked there for just over a year until I got a job that kept me too busy to continue on there. 

Now with my current job as a Water Quality Specialist 10% of my time is dedicated to community education and outreach and I devote a majority of that time to our tribal youth.  Once a month my coworker and I go out and pick up the kids and bring them to the community center where we teach environmenatal education and watershed science.   I really love the aspect of my job and look forward to it each month.  It is not mandatory so we have had anywhere from 2 to 25 kids show up which is pretty good considering our community at the reservation is only about 120 people.  During the summer we do extra work with the youth and have 1 or 2 overnight camps for the kids. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I have seen various other bloggers participate in Wednesday Hodgepodge, but have yet to participate.  Today is the big day, if you want to play along click the link above and answer away!
1. Have you ever played golf? Any interest in playing? Do you have a significant other who loves to play? Did you watch The Masters this weekend? 

No, I have not played real golf.  My husband has been a couple of times and liked it, but not loved it enough to go back regularly.  I absolutely have no interest what-so-ever in watching golf on TV!  We do enjoy playing Wii golf and I am pretty good at that.  And mini golf is fun too, but I haven't been in years.

2. Hats are back in fashion this do you feel about wearing a hat? (fyi-I'm not talking baseball caps) When was the last time you wore one?
I don't know that I have ever worn a hat that wasn't a sun protection type of hat.  I guess as a kid I probably had Easter bonnets.  When I was in high school I enjoyed wearing western wear to go country dancing and occasionally would wear a cowboy hat, but wasn't crazy about them as I don't think women look good in them.
3. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'proficient' and 1 being "I'd starve" how adept are you at using chopsticks? 

I'd have to say a 5.  I can do it, barely, as in I wouldn't starve, but I don't ever choose to use them if a fork is available.
4. Has technology taken over?
Of course technology has taken over, unless you live in a cave, or under a rock.  Heck my Mom even has a Kindle Fire.   Not that she uses it, it was a birthday gift from us kids, but she has one LOL! 
5. In the course of a day, how often do you look in a mirror?
I probably use the restroom 4-5 times a day seeing how this baby is pressing on my bladder and I of course look in the mirror because every bathroom has one.   Occasionally I will check the small mirrror in my purse if I need to check something on my face or mouth, but generally I am not a vain person. 
6. Tulip or Daffodil?

They are both nice, currently I have daffodils blooming in my flower beds and the tulips are just starting to open up.  I love how easy the are, that they take very little maintenance work and just come up and are beautiful every spring.  If they bloomed for a longer period of time they would be the most perfect flower.
7. I am proud of myself for_________________________.

This could be a really deep question, but I am going to keep it simple and say that I am proud of having all my A-Z Challege posts done so far. 
8. Insert your own random thought here.

It was fun that today I saw the Wednesday Hodgepodge link on Tracy's blog: so I decided to participate too and when I went to Joyce's blog: I saw that she is also participating in the A-Z Challenge.  It's a small blogging world!

I am enjoying the A-Z Challenge, and it is really racking up my blog posts.  Some of the letters come easily and some are more challenging.  I have also been enjoying visiting other bloggers and leaving comments, especially now when you visit and have several (10 if they are up-to-date) posts to read during the visit.  One thing I wish was different though is that there would be some way to identify what type of blog they all are.  There are over a thousand people participating and it's hard to tell what kind of blog you are visiting.  Some are really out there and I have no interest in their theme, and I'm sure there are several out there that I would love and become a dedicated follower for, but just can't find them. 

A-Z Challenge: J is for...

JAM and JELLY.  One of my hobbies is canning.  I have only tried boiling water bath canning and I have made peach, raspberry and strawberry jam, grape jelly, and apple butter and they all turned out great, so much better than store bought. 

I have also tried canning salsa, tomatoes and pickles.  The plain tomatoes were okay since I always used them in sauce, but the salsa and pickles were so-so.  The bread and butter pickles have turned out better than any dill pickles I have made. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We had an okay Easter.  Austin woke up way earlier than he normally does and he was crying.  I went in and he was crying that his ear hurt.  He developed a mild fever and was cranky all day.  He wouldn't even eat any of his candy in his Easter basket.  I think he developed a mild ear infection from the egg hunt the day before because it was windy and cold.  We decided to not attempt church since he can be challenging when he is feeling good.  We hung out at home to let him rest and played in the back yard for a bit in the afternoon.  I made a ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, and tomatoes with basil for dinner.

The Easter Bunny hid his basket in his play tent.
Look Mom, Veggie Tales!

I was going to take him to the doctor yesterday to have his ears checked out, but they were totally booked and could not get us in until today.  He seemed to be fine all day Monday and never had another fever, so hopefully the ear infection is all gone.  He did fine at school today.

A-Z Challenge: I is for...

INDIAN... I work for the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians in northern Arizona.  I am the Water Quality Specialist, so I monitor the waters of the reservation and work on projects to improve water quality.  I am not an Indian person, I am of European decent, but I have learned a great deal during my seven and a half years of employment with them.

Here is the ancestral territory map for the Southern Paiute Nation, it shows portions of Nevada, Utah, California and Arizona:

Some interesting things I have learned:
  • Every tribe is unique and different and each have their own tradition, beliefs and practices. 
  • Ancestral Native Americans had advanced traditional ecological knowledge and managed the land even bettter than many people do today with advanced degrees.  One example is that there is historical documentation that the Kaibab Paiute would have "prescribed" forest fires to improve the health of the forest. 
  • Desert Indians developed a method of removing cataracts from their eyes using lizard tails. 
 If you would like to learn more about the tribe you can go to their website: