Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cabin Fever.....Still

Dylan has a serious case of cabin fever. Whenever we are pulling back into the neighborhood from the market or Flagstaff or anywhere really, he starts to cry and say, "I don't want to go home!"

Winter has been long this year and there aren't many places here to take little ones to break up the monotony of being in the same house with the same toys and the same people day after day. He and Ethan play really well together which has definitely helped the last few weeks but he is ready for a change.

Until the last couple of days, the snow has been so deep that even putting on their snow clothes does not do any good. The snow is too deep to walk or even play in for a two-year-old! The last couple of days, though, the temps have been rising and the snow has been melting. Now it is the heavy, full of water type of spring snow. His little feet can stay on top if it and he can go out an explore on his own in our back yard again.

I have been finding him out front "shovelling" quite frequently lately. Now that he is big enough and strong enough to open both the back and front doors, he goes out when he wants. Now if I can only convince him that a coat is still necessary and that his hands will get freezing cold without gloves if he puts them in the snow, I think we'll be in business.

I'm not sure I'm ready for the mud that will come with Spring but I know I am ready for the snow to be gone for another year! Bring it on Spring! We're ready and waiting for you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Is He Really That Big?

Yesterday, Gary dropped a bombshell. On February 7, 2010, Dylan said his first prayer in Primary. Like a bitter-sweet dagger to the heart. I am so proud of him for even going to Primary and staying the whole hour - we are on a two-hour instead of three-hour church block here. I am so proud of him that he would actually agree to even say the prayer. I am so proud of him that he had the courage to repeat a portion of the words that his amazing Primary leader was saying before him.

But.......first prayer already? Really? If we were in a big ward or even a bigger branch where there were more children than just the Bishop boys coming to Primary, he would still be in nursery playing with blocks and singing Itsy, Bitsy Spider. They do bring toys in for him each week and he is learning so much by being in Primary but it's like my baby is growing up so much faster than I was ready for him to do!

As he told me this morning, "I not baby Dylan. I just Dylan!" Yep, the little boy is emerging more and more each day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's Your Hypothesis?

The annual Grand Canyon Elementary Science Fair was last night at the school. Before you start thinking of exploding volcanoes and parents hurrying to finish "their child's project," let me tell you about a wonderful rule with this science fair. If you want your project judged, you have to complete it at school with mostly school supplies. A parent's dream announcement I think.

Logan worked on his project once a week after school and decided to do it on the weight of liquids. He wanted to see if water or oil was heavier and dropped balloons filled with the same amount of each liquid into a cardboard box full of nails punched through the bottom so he could see which one would pop first. The only thing he could do at home was the filling and popping of the balloons. All the charts and presentation was done at school and his display turned out really nicely. He won the 2nd Grade Honorable Mention which was the equivalent of third place. I am so proud of him! We keep trying to tell him that Honorable Mention does not mean last place but right now, he is convinced that it does. Oh the drama.

Tom worked on his project in class with his partner, Travis Moreno. Being the non-scientist of this family, I'll try to describe what his project was about. They had two batteries hooked up to some wires and then they would touch different objects to see if the electricity would flow through the object and light up a tiny light at other end of the wires. They wanted to see if other things than metal would also conduct electricity. I thought the project was amazing and looked very professional and apparently the judges agreed with me. Tom and Travis won first place for the fourth grade!

Because they won first place, their project will continue on to the regional science fair in Prescott, Arizona. I was so excited and had already begun to plan the trip to Prescott when I saw the date. It is the night before his Odyssey of the Mind competition in Flagstaff and we have already booked our hotel. If they announce the results early enough, we may have to spend some extra car time to hit both events.

I am so proud of both of my boys for getting involved in the things the school offers and excelling at them!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shiny, New, Red

Our washer and dryer began to go downhill quickly about the time we were thinking of filing our taxes. Gary and I had great aspirations for where the money should be spent. Should we take a cruise? Should we buy a rifle for elk hunting? Should we save it all in our down payment account for the day we move again? Those decisions vanished just as quickly when the sporadic leak from the washer became a constant, every load leak and the dyer began taking twice as long to dry and we figured we bought that set over a decade ago. Thank goodness for the blessing of tax refunds!

I researched and read reviews, shopped prices and watched for upcoming sales and then still worried about making the right choice for such a large purchase. It's amazing how much stress a washer and dryer can cause! In the end, I chose the LG front loaders and have loved, loved, loved them.

Because we live remotely, we are not on natural gas. Instead, we have a large propane tank in the back. Gary and I both knew we wanted a gas dryer because they are so much more efficient and end up saving you money in the long run. When you buy a gas dryer, they are set for natural gas instead of propane and you have to buy a part to convert it over. The new dryer hadn't been in the house five minutes when Gary began taking it apart so he could change the natural gas part for the propane one. I was a bit nervous. There sat my brand new, shiny red dryer - in several pieces. In the end, he got to the place he needed and switched the teeny, tiny part over so it would work with propane.

I never thought after spending such a chunk of change on such a nice appliance, that it would be sitting in so many pieces in my living room right after we brought it home. Gary did great, though. Not a scratch on it!

Here he is trying to put the small adapter into a small part on the dryer. You would think they would make access a bit easier, not requiring the removal of the top and front of the dryer!

Finally, all installed and ready for many, many loads of laundry.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Will His Little Fingers Do All Day?

Ethan had some bad news. If you are four and a half, it is terrible, life altering news. His Nintendo DS is broken. Won't charge, won't power up, won't let his little fingers push the buttons moving Mario around the imaginary Mario world. Broken.

The DS became part of Ethan at Christmas and isn't often far from his side. He is the only Bishop boy so far that needs playing limits. If we didn't set them, he'd sit on his bed with his little thumbs moving all day. He loves the thing and loves Mario almost as much. Knowing how much time he spends playing it, I was a bit apprehensive when my research led me where it did. I have to send the DS in for repairs to Nintendo. It could be two, maybe even three, weeks before he gets it back. OH THE HORROR!

He actually took the news very well. Acted like it was no big deal at all in fact. Luckily the warranty doesn't take me filling in the card and mailing it back to activate. It activates as soon as it was scanned the day after Thanksgiving and is good for a year. A ray of sunshine in the gloom.

Now to find a Fed Ex drop off in the middle of no where..........

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Storm Warning - Again

The groundhog wasn't far off with his predictions this year. There is no sign of Spring here at the Grand Canyon. It started snowing again on Saturday and has drizzled snow since. School was again on a one hour delay, church was cancelled yesterday, and the snow continues.

We have a serious case of cabin fever. The big two go to school and come home but the little two know the inside of the car and the house lately. We are more than ready for spring to come!

Gary gets to drive through the winter storm to Tucson today for a meeting. Three days in the sun and warm temps should be worth the stressful drive off the rim. He is hoping to have time to stop in and see Grandpa and Dianna while he's in town.

The good news is that because the snow keeps falling, we aren't in danger of having that ugly dirty snow and I don't have to worry about the mud yet! Seriously, though, I'm more than ready for Spring to come!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cedar Ridge

Since Monday was a holiday and the boys didn't have school and Gary didn't have work, we planned to go into the Canyon and finally take the boys on one of the trails. I've been nervous about taking them. Drop offs, icy trails, plunging to their death. You know, basic paranoia. We talked to several people and decided on our day hike. We took the South Kaibab Trail which is one of the most popular trails that take people to the bottom when they are hiking rim to rim. It had the perfect distance for our first attempt; a three mile round trip journey to the Cedar Ridge overlook.

Gary loaded up the car with the camelbacks we all got for Christmas, snacks a plenty, extra clothes and jackets for all, and the backpack to carry Dylan and off we went. We didn't get started until about 3:00 because Tom had practice for Odysey of the Mind but it actually gave us the perfect time of day.

The first mile and a half is, as you can imagine starting at the top of the Grand Canyon, a continuous downhill trail. Easy on the lungs, not so much on the knees. Ethan held on to my hand and Dylan rode up top in the pack constantly begging to either get down and walk or have another drink from Gary's pack. I can't believe Gary could carry that the whole way in and out. I have to remember who I married though!

Here are Gary, Dylan, Logan and Tom about half way down the trail. The top have was a bit snowy and icy and then we got out into the sun and it was either muddy from snow run-off or dry.

After about an hour, we made it to the look out! Ethan did awesome. He never complained or wanted to stop and take a break. His camelback was leaking and by the time we reached the overlook, his pants were soaked from his waist to his ankles. What a trooper!

Tom and Logan were also amazing hikers. They listened to our rules about no running, jumping and climbing and we didn't get too nervous with them hiking the narrow trail. Dylan was the warmest dressed and the coldest because he didn't hike but he also did great. The first half of the hike he had to have his sunglasses on. It really added to his nickname of Your Highness as he was being carried into the Canyon.

The view was definitely worth the hike! I still can't believe we call this our backyard!

Time for a much needed snack break before we start the journey back up.
We took our binoculars and saw some Condors flying right over us on the way down. Dylan loves looking through them. When we'd ask if he could see anything, he would answer with, "I see rocks!" He was thrilled as could be to see some rocks.
Here's Ethan hanging out at one of our rest stops on the way back up.
Logan had some added inspiration to keep going. His teacher and her first grade daughter hiked to Phantom Ranch in the bottom the past weekend. We've been talking about doing that and told him we need to build up to it with some day hikes first. He was an awesome hiker and is already asking about our next adventure.
Tommy Boy never complains. He just hikes along and loves being outside. He's always been the one to just keep going and not ask to be carried or to rest. What an amazing kid!
Back up the trail we go. It was about this incline the whole way. Sometimes there were steps to climb as well. All I could think about was climbing Old Main hill in Logan when I was going to school.
Dylan was a pretty thirsty kid once he figured out he could drink from Gary's camelback! He drank half of it I bet and his diaper really showed it.
"Yeah! We conquered the Grand Canyon!" At least that is what they were saying. We'll see how they feel after a longer hike.
If you look closely, you can see some zig-zags in the snowy hillside. Those are the switchbacks the trail starts with. They were a bit slick but much easier going up than down.
Here's a shot from the top of the switchbacks. You can see the trail snake around into the sun.
We made it back to the car! It only took us 2 1/2 hours which is much faster than Gary or I thought it would. We made it back up in about the same amount of time as going down which was really surprising. We passed two different couples on the way up. One was from Canada and let us pass them and then they would pass us the whole time telling the boys how inspiring they were that they could do this at such a young age. It was fun to hike along side them. The other couple was starting down the switchbacks just as we were about to the top. Just after passing all of us, I heard her say, "That is all the prevention I need!" Gary and I have been laughing at that ever since. The boys weren't even whining or crying or anything! They were just happy hikers.
Now that we've conquered, or so the boys think, this trail, I am excited to go on our next hike as well. It is amazing to live here and awesome to think there are numerous trails to hike still!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Living where we do, we often have visitors at church. Since the Branch members only total around 15 each week, the visitors are easy to spot and made to feel very welcome with all the members introducing themselves and shaking their hands. Usually, I am too tied up with the four boys so I don't get to talk to many of the visitors. I figure that keeping the kids in line an some sort of reverence in the room we use as our chapel is more important.

Today, however, was a bit different. Tom decided he was too sick to go to church today. I wasn't convinced he was actually really sick but Dylan did have an awful runny nose this morning and he was exhausted from our Flagstaff trip yesterday, so I didn't fight Tom on the extent of his sickness. I let him make the choice if he was too sick to attend church or not and let him know he would be staying in his room reading the Friend or his scriptures and NOT just chilling eating all the treats in the house and watching cartoons. He decided he was in fact too sick so I left him home and put Dylan down for a nap.

I learned one thing very quickly. After having four kids at church, two is a cake walk! (For all you with just two kids, I know it isn't really a cake walk. I was blessed with Logan and Ethan today.)

So, back to the visitors. Since I just had the two, I felt I could shake hands and introduce myself. I went over just in time to hear my lovely husband invite the young couple to dinner. Yep, dinner. Yep, on Valentine's Day. It was actually a great day to invite someone. I had planned one of Gary's favorite meals and knew we would have tons. The menu would include shrimp, tomato and mushroom Alfredo with crunchy onion loaf, a Caesar salad and asparagus. It was going to be great. Right up to the point that we learn Kenny is lactose intolerant and vegetarian followed closely by finding no croutons for the salad (a pivotal ingredient) and no burner to saute the asparagus.

No problem. I'll just open up a jar of pasta sauce and have that as well. It was actually a huge hit with the boys and that way Ethan and Dylan wouldn't have to eat the cream and butter laden Alfredo sauce.

So, at six o'clock on the dot, Kenny and Danielle came to dinner. They were great dinner guests. The conversation flowed easily. They were gracious. They appeared to like both the boys and the dog. They were a great pair to invite over.

I never in a million years would have thought that one of the benefits of living in the Grand Canyon and attending a teeny, tiny little branch, would be meeting people from all over the world and getting to have dinner with the few that dare take complete strangers up on the offer. I'm very grateful today that Kenny and Danielle did take Gary up on the offer and I hope we will stay in contact. I wonder who's coming to dinner next week? I'll put on extra potatoes just in case.

Friday, February 12, 2010

But it comes with FLUFFY socks!

My boys end up with money each Christmas and birthday that instantly begins burning a hole in their pockets. When we were in Pocatello, we would hurry right down to the game store and pick out a new DS game that they would later lose. Since living so far out, trips to town are not as easy and we don't always have the older ones with us because they are in school. Because of this, at least that's what I'm telling myself, my boys have become quite versed in the infomercial. They can recite them word for word some times and don't seem to realize that most, if not all, of the things on those infomercials are overpriced and not going to live up to what they claim.

They couldn't take any more of my dismissals when they asked for random items when it came to the snuggie commercials though. As soon as they heard that the famous snuggie now came in kid sizes, there was not talking them out of it.

I told them they would have to pay for it out of their own money. Money magically appeared.

I told them since it came in a, are you ready for this, buy one get the second free with additional shipping and handling that they would have to find a brother to also want one and be willing to pay for it, a brother magically appeared.

When I told them that if they bought the snuggie, there wouldn't be enough money for a new DS game and were they sure, all heads nodded vigorously in agreement.

The final push over the edge on the infomercial for them, it seemed anyway, was the promise of "free" fluffy socks with order. Free socks? How could anyone say no to free socks?

I waited a week before placing the order thinking they would change their minds. Every day one of them, and it varied which one by the day, would come to me with the innocent and full of hope eyes only kids seem to have asking if I had ordered their beloved snuggies. After a week, I could take it no longer and placed the order.

From the moment I hit send, they began asking me if they were here yet. Could I track them? Where were they? Oh, they were made in China so it would take a while for them to get here. It was almost comical.

When we were riding home one day from the park and passed the UPS man, Tom said, "Ooooh, that's a good sign."

I responded, "What is a good sign?"

"The UPS man was coming from where our house is. We probably got our snuggies today."

It was amazing how excited they were. They day I picked them up, from the post office no less, they immediately put them on and wondered why the back was open. Did the company make a mistake? In the commercial it looked like they were sewn up in the back. Maybe we could glue it?

The socks were even more amazing than they had dreamed. They even had little bumps on the bottom so they wouldn't slip and they were, in fact, quite fluffy.

Yesterday, Tom was on the couch all snuggified and said, "Snuggies are just MADE for the weekend." Really? Really? Did he just say that? I guess it was worth it! Have you ever caved to an infomercial and been so pleased?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Logan's Baptism

On Saturday, February 6, Logan was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was an amazing day full of the spirit, our own little miracles, and plenty of fun.

We were pretty nervous about the weather the night before the baptism. The church was an hour away and visibility from here to there isn't the greatest in bad weather. We all prayed that we would be able to have the baptism and we were blessed with just enough good weather!

I was so proud of Logan! He invited several of his friends that didn't know much if anything about our church and two of his classmates made the long trip south to Williams to be there for his big day! What a little missionary!

Logan, Thomas, Gary and I got to the church about an hour early and found a member of the Williams ward bishopric already there getting things set up and ready for us. It is so humbling to know that someone we had never met and who didn't know anything about us was willing to sacrifice his entire Saturday morning to make sure we had everything we needed for Logan's baptism! After we got the chairs set up and the cultural hall ready for the luncheon, Gary and Logan changed into their whites and got ready for the program to begin.

I am so grateful that I am married to a man who takes his priesthood seriously. He sets such a great example for our future priesthood holders and I never question if he is ready to use his priesthood! He is worthy to administer to us when we are sick. He is worthy to bless our children. He is worthy to help Logan become a member of the church by baptizing and confirming him. It is an awesome blessing in my life to be married to such an amazing man!

Doesn't Logan look handsome all ready to be baptized? During the program, Gary leaned over to him and told him his stomach was doing flips and Logan, smiling, said his was doing the same thing.

The program was special because Logan was the only one getting baptized in Williams that day. The rest of the Stake was in Flagstaff but, due to the distance, the Stake President gave us special permission to hold our service in Williams. Thanks President Frost! So, since it was only Logan, he got to plan his entire program.

We started with our Branch President, Don Keil, conducting and then sang, "When I am Baptized" followed by Irene Davis, Logan's grandma, giving the opening prayer. Logan's other grandma, Leslie Bishop, led the music and a member of our branch, Sharyl Allen, played the piano for us. After the prayer, I got to speak on baptism. Boy did I try to talk Logan out of it! He wouldn't be swayed though, and, honestly, I was honored to be asked to speak. Brandon Streadbeck, Logan's uncle, followed my talk and gave a great talk on the Holy Ghost. Then it was time for the baptism!

While Gary baptized Logan, Brandon Streadbeck and Clyn Bishop, Logan's grandpa, were the witnesses. We went back in to wait for Gary and Logan to get dressed. They came back pretty quickly! Too quickly in fact for Ethan, Dylan, and the men of the Moss family! They were all in the kitchen sneaking cookies that Coleen had made. When I found them to tell them we were ready to get started again, all five of them had a mouth full of peanut butter cookies. They were tasty so I can't really blame them.

Gary gave Logan a great blessing when he confirmed him a member of the church. He was joined in the circle by: President Don Keil, Brandon Moss, Brandon Streadbeck, Scott Bishop, and Clyn Bishop. He blessed Logan that he would serve an honorable mission, marry in the temple and be spiritually, physically, and emotionally strong. Logan has a strong personality and he blessed him to use that on his mission to let people know about the gospel.

We closed by singing, "I Love to See the Temple" and then Sunnie Streadbeck, Logan's aunt, gave the closing prayer.

From here, we went to the "after-party" as Logan had been calling it for weeks. We ate sloppy joes, had yummy cake and cookies and a delicious vegetable platter. The kids played and the adults talked. It was a great time!
We were so thankful for the family that traveled such long distances to be at Logan's baptism. I know that he feels the love and support of all of our family and can look to them for help when he is making some of life's hard choices. Thank you all for your love and support!