Friday, April 30, 2010

Drawings :: by Da Mikey

Just looked through Mike's art folder for this school year.

Hmmm...I'm seeing a theme here.

As you may have gathered by now...

he really likes cars, trucks...vehicles, in general.

Crawler...or is this a Baja?


A little monster action

Slight departure, but yeah, boats too.

Bird's eye view of a very dusty race

Speaking of "bird's eye view"...can't forget the flying vehicles.

Above all though, he is really *rEaLlY* REALLY into suspension and articulation.

He even draws Da Vinci-esque diagrams of shock systems he dreams up in his head.

So, is "slightly obsessed" too strong a descriptive phrase for Da Mikey?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Free-range kids

Last weekend, we drove out to our friends' place in the country to see their 3-day-old chicks.

Their big hens have currently livened things up a bit by laying their eggs somewhere hidden on the property. So, they'll have to stay in their enclosed yard until they stop playing their silly hen house games!

We've been getting some of our eggs from these free-range chickens.

They're such nice feathery cluckers and love to be held.

This one lays such pretty brown eggs. See her earlobes? That tells you what color eggs she lays. Red earlobes = brown eggs.

Even though the feather coloring of a hen has nothing to do with her egg color, this one lays brown speckled eggs.

They've got two roosters who occasionally duke it out to see who's in charge.

This beautiful, white, silky guy keeps the hen house lively and the yard noisy with his cock-a-doodly-doos. He's currently in charge.

The neighbor horses were quite friendly.

This is what you get when they like you (*smooch*).

As long as we were filling our day with nature, we ended up down at the river to do a little fishing and swimming.

Actually, before the kids got in the water, we noticed a snake in the river.

Yeah, ewww!

This guy (clutching his toddler) sauntered over to take a look and noticed that the snake was injured but certainly not he "ensured" it was dead and tossed it down the river.

Then we thought, "Why let a perfectly good science experiment go to waste?" So we brought the snake back to our friends' house...and let the kids dissect it.

We even kept the skin it just finished shedding. (It's now on our nature shelf.)

After the snake's robust nervous system calmed down (when it stopped twitching around every time we moved it), our friends' boys did the honor of dissection.

You just can't know the joys of nature unless you see a snake heart and liver, you know? (We identified it as a non-venomous blotched water snake...although it immediately looked WAY too much like a rattlesnake to me.)

Mikey holds up the trachea and esophagus.

Our friends are also hunters, and Jimmer was fascinated by how they clean and reload their bullet shells.

He spent a good chunk of time there helping clean them out.

We ended the day with grilled burgers, a campfire, and S'mores.

It was a wonderful spring day with our nature-loving children getting to roam the land and waters, frolic out-of-doors with other kids, unite with animals and critters, eat wild onions, and just kids.

Friday, April 23, 2010

First Dip in the Drink

We got a late start in the pool this year.

Usually, the kids take their first plunge in March.

To think, they had to wait until the third week of April this year.

It's been a rainy, sniffly beginning to spring.

But all that's behind them now.

The pool season has definitely begun!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cali Reunion

After our family returned from our spring break trip, I found out that my Aunt Pat had passed away. Pat's family had a beautiful celebration of her life--she was my dad's oldest sister. My dad is now the only one living from his immediate family.

Photo taken on October 19, 1996 at my wedding. It was the last time I saw both Pat and my other aunt, Joanne (also seated).

Since it had been almost 25 years since I had seen any of Pat's family in California, it seemed like a wonderful time to get out and have a bit of a reunion. So my dad, brother Chris, and I (as well as cousin Dianne from Utah) met out there and had a fantastic time catching up with our California contingent...meeting many of our cousins' children born after 1985, the last time we were in the LA area.

Dad (Corky), cousins Dianne, Mary, and Mark, brother Chris, cousin Lynn

Chris got a surfing lesson from my cousin Mark, we saw frolicking dolphins, and we all caught a little sun at the beach.

Cousin Luke with daughters Megan and Hannah

We had gatherings at different places each night.

Mark is a lot of is his new CD, Stick Around. It is a seriously great CD, and I've had to stop our kids from playing it so much so we could get some schooling done this week! Hope he gets them out to CD Baby soon!! You can check out some of his music here. Luke is also the drummer for the band.

I got to hang out with this young man, who is the luckiest boy in the world to have such a wonderful mom--my cousin Lynn. And she claims to be the luckiest mom in the world to have such a sweet 21 year old boy, Anthony.

A small group shot at my cousin Mary's (who served some great grilled Korean ribs and Asian cole slaw--yum).

Luke's girls, Megan and Hannah, Me, Joslyn with baby Ford, Mark and daughter Carly with her older son Hudson, and husband Chad

This was the end of a very busy weekend for Carly and Chad Brannon since Chad had just finished producing, co-directing, and acting in his SAG short film, "Serving Justice" all day Friday and Saturday. You can read more about it in this post on Carly's blog. Oh, and Carly was sweet enough to give me one of her new spring Carly Jean Home candles, Mediterranean Fig. It's REALLY nice! I'm going to have to find out what other new scents she's got up her sleeve...

My cousin Luke and his boy, Little Luke!

I'm still laughing when I think of the story Big Luke told us about when he was touring with the Moody Blues (early 80s) and he sat on and destroyed Ray Thomas's legendary flute that he used to play songs like Nights in White Satin. What a great story. =)

Two of Luke's daughters with baby Ford Brannon. Joslyn, the one holding Ford, is a 14 year old, 6'2" volleyball player who is already being recruited by UCLA. Hey, maybe we'll even see her in the Olympics one day!

The last morning I was in Cali, Dad and I with Mark, Jean and her mom met up with Chad, Carly and kids at Aroma Cafe, a great place to have an outdoor breakfast.

I was full for the rest of the day.

And I flew home filled with wonderful new memories and stories from our California family visit...reminding me that we must get together before another 25 years goes by.