Joyful Liberation

Joyful Liberation

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reading and Writing...

 Willow and I read A LOT of books!  Lately, she has been reading more to me than I have been reading to her. Her choice as of last week...the Fun with Dick and Jane series :) There is something bittersweet to me about my children learning to read.  I have witnessed each of them in their own time figuring out "the code". It is just another growing up moment, where they won't need my help figuring out a word. We have never been in a rush to get this concept. It comes when it is time.  I had a well meaning person tell me once that I was ruining my child's life because she could not read at age 6...that child just graduated from college, majoring in creative writing and has already published a learned to read at age 9, all on her own.  She went from not reading at all to reading Harry Potter. Why the rush? It happens when it happens.
 I am enjoying every moment of her wanting to read to me. I am so lucky that I get to see the process unfold.

I have been reading this series to Willow for a year now and we are almost finished with these magical "Old Mother West Wind" stories by Thornton Burgess. If you have not read these, they are a must! My children love these tales of the creatures of the green forest. We will forever refer to the animals of the forest as "Happy Jack Squirrel", " Unc' Billy Possum", "Reddy Fox"...

With my kids, writing and reading have always gone hand in hand.  When I was putting Willow to bed, I found this bit of writing on the floor...It was too precious and says it all about the day that she had at the Open Classroom.  I think we definitely made the right decision :)

Translation: "Today I went to school and I had a great day and I met some friends When I see them I am happy"

Life is good :)

3rd Grade

Willow started 3rd grade today at the Open Classroom!  A new adventure for her and for us as a family.  More to come I am sure....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Amazing Eggs!

 It s the greatest thing to go out in the backyard and gather eggs for breakfast :) Our sweet chickens just started laying 2 weeks ago and now we are averaging about 4 eggs a day. 
Josh, home from work, hanging with Bertha :)

Willow and Shasheeba

Willow and I have been cooking together for a long time.  This is one of our favorite cookbooks, along with Pretend Soup. We made the Gingerbread French Toast the other day and were so happy to find another double yolk egg!

 Josh and David loved it too :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


 Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mara! I cannot believe she is 16! She will be driving soon :)

 Her birthday started at 6 am since she is now in High School and has to be there at an ungodly hour.  I pulled myself out of bed and made her french toast before she left for school :)...then I went back to sleep  LOL  Gone are the days where David would take the day off and we spent the whole day doing activities the Birthday child wanted to do. They grow up too fast!

 That evening, she chose Friday's for dinner. 

 I think she liked her presents....

Her party started off with everyone meeting at the Gateway for some shopping.  Then they all came back here and enjoyed their "make your own pizzas" :)

Gayla, Mara, Alex and Christian :)  (Carlie had to leave early)

 Enjoying the horrible horror movie they picked out while eating pizza, candy, chips and soda...ahhh to be a teenager again lol

Willow and her deluxe cheese pizza :)

Then David made his famous shakes...Mara is not a cake eater.

I made her hold them so we could sing to here  LOL 

She was done with me and my camera :) 

Happy Birthday Mara!  We love you so much!!

Singing Snowy

This is an old video that I found on my camera :)  Willow had just started taking violin lessons and Snowy would "accompany" her by singing along :) He gets louder towards the end. Sorry it is sideways.  I can't figure out how to turn it...That little dog loves her more than anything.  Thank you Teresa, Wolfie and Addy for bringing sweet Snowy to our family :)  He is so very loved.

Deathcab for Cutie!

A big Thank You to Aric and Rebecca for giving us tickets to see Deathcab for Cutie!  We have the greatest friends :)  The concert was great and they played all of my favorite songs!


A Suprise Visit!

David and I were so excited to have a visit from our dear friend from High School, Missi Pyle.  It had been almost 20 years since we saw her last.  I sooo feel old! She is so amazing!  She is an incredible actress and I am sure you have seen her in many movies and on TV.  She lives an amazing life with her husband Casey, from Nat Geo Wild and his Grizzly Bear, Brutus :)  

Willow could not wait and wanted her to have her bedroom for the night.  She wanted to know all about her role as Mrs. Beauregarde, in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory :) 

Looking forward to more visits and making it up to Montana to see Brutus at the
Montana Grizzly Encounter Rescue and Educational Sanctuary . 

FactoryMrs. Beauregarde

Friday, August 19, 2011

Opening Doors Can Be Dangerous

Who would have thought that opening a door to go into a building would leave you gushing blood and needing stitches?


 She was so brave and so calm once we made it to the Instacare :)  I on the other hand totally lost it and was bawling and shaking.  Seriously, it was like something out of a horror film.  She hit a blood vessel so it was literally pumping the blood out. That was the longest drive of my life!

She will be wrapped up for a few days and no swimming for 10 days but other than that all should be well. I am sure that toe nail will fall off.
So, 2 stitches and a tetanus shot later she is back to her old self :) 

First Egg!

 Our ladies laid their first egg on August 18th! Willow was so excited!  We cracked it open to cook it and were so suprised to find a double yolk! We love our chickens and hope they bring us many, many eggs!

Yellowstone: August 2011

We had an AMAZING trip to Yellowstone last week! It had been 4 years since our last trip and definitely time to get back.

On our way.  We love our RV...aka..Maude :)

As soon as we entered the park a Bison was walking on the road :)

We decided to pull over and tour the hot pots and geysers on our way to the campsite...

Then we stopped to see Old Faithful....

Willow wanted to cuddle the ground squirrels...

Once we got to our site at Bridge Bay, Mara and Christian started fire for smores :)

Dinner of fajitas and smores for dessert....

The next day was full of adventure....

First stop...Fishing Bridge.  We needed to go there so Willow could find out why you can no longer fish off of the bridge for her Junior Ranger case you are wondering, it is because it is a nesting ground for the trout and they were being over fished by all the fisherman.

We saw some HUGE fish in the clear water....

And Willow found the babies in the grasses :)

Then we are off to Hayden Valley to check out the big animals....

A little bubbling hot pot...

Bison hanging out by the mud volcano area...

This is the Dragons Mouth hot spring.  It gushes jets of steam, while making gurgling and growling sounds.  A very cool place to start our tour of the Mud Volcano trail area.

So many colors and textures on the rocks near the Dragon's Mouth Spring.

This may look like a macro shot of mud cracks, but it's not.... yes, they are cracks in dried mud, but each scale is 10-12 inches across and the cracks were 6-8 inches deep.  They were quite impressive.

After leaving the Hayden Valley area, we made our way up to the Canyon area and were greeted by this small herd of Elk.

We pulled over at the Brink of Upper Falls and saw this rainbow over the water...Yellowstone is so magical!

So many kids were carrying their DSi's...not because they were checked out and playing games but because they were snapping photos :)

Then we went to the other side of the canyon where you could see the lower falls and to do a hike to Lily Pad Lake :)

It was so quiet and so peaceful here....

Then Mara had to totally freak me out....

Willow got a "Buddy Bison" from the gift are supposed to take pictures of him at different sites and upload it to a website :)  All the proceeds help the park.

Back on the road...
More Bison :)

Back at camp, Mara entertained us, while David cooked up some burgers...

David, Josh, Willow and I rode our bikes down to the down to the dock at Bridge Bay and saw the bats flying over the water eating bugs :)

The full moon was incredible! We walked down to a ranger program about the wolves in Yellowstone and it was so bright!

The next day we headed out again with another stop in Hayden Valley...

We climbed up on top of Maude and the Bison surrounded us.  It was so cool! They were so active!

Then it was time to check out the Sulfur Cauldron...

More Bison on the road :)

Mara. Christian and Willow rode in the loft with a great view of the animals...

Future game

Off to Norris Geyser Basin...

Wolf footprint...

Goofy kids :)

One tired Willow and one very sweet Josh :)

Bear footprints! A ranger pointed them out to us :)

Then we were on our way to cool off in the Firehole river...

We had so much fun swimming!

The next day, David woke up early and just started driving while we were "sleeping" lol  we all woke up and got to see the fog on the water and the beautiful sunrise.  We were headed up to Mammoth to soak in the Boiling river...

Along the way we stopped to see the Canyon...

Cute little ground squirrels :)

In Mammoth, the elk were hanging outside the hotel :)

we had breakfast on the 45th Parallel :)

Then it was off to soak where the Boiling river meets the Gardner river...

A short hike in and you are in a magical pool!  But don't get too close to those waterfalls! You would have 30 sec to get out before you suffer 3rd degree burns! However, that boiling water mixing with the freezing snow melt water is perfect! Just got to find that perfect balance :)

After soaking we had some lunch in Mammoth and then headed back to the Norris area.  We pulled over at this meadow and hung out for a few hours.  We were all exhausted from getting up at dawn...we are so not morning people!

little trout :)

The we headed back to Canyon to turn in Willow's Junior Ranger program.

The next day we were off again to find some adventure...

So happy and free, she LOVED Yellowstone so much!

We pulled over to watch these elk and heard them calling to each other.  The baby had been separated from its mom and wanted her.  It was the sweetest thing!  Check out the video below :)

It started raining and we needed gas, so we headed into West Yellowstone.  We stopped and grabbed some shots at the sign :)

The sun came out and we headed back to the Firehole River for some swimming...

After swimming we headed to Midway Basin to check out the Grand Prismatic Spring...

The colors here are AMAZING!

Then is was back to Old Faithful and to check out the lodge...

Our last morning...all snuggled together :) No,we did not sleep like this but we used to! I miss those days when my kids were wee ones and we all slept in one big bed ( a king and 2 twins pushed together on the floor ;) ) They grow up so fast.  I am so glad we can still get these family vacations in before they all leave!  Oh, and time you are so coming! ;)
Check out our videos...

Hayden Valley...

The baby can hear them calling to each other, so sweet :)

David, Josh and Willow swimming in the Firehole River :)

'Till next time...

About Me

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I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and 2 partners and married to my best friend and love of my life for 28 years now! We co-habitate with 2 cats, Asha and Gustav, 1 dog, Juniper Wren, and 2 Chinchillas, Ozwald and Turbo. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 15 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint, travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!