Sunday, October 30, 2016

Trunk or Treat

Our church Trunk or Treat was yesterday.  The kids were super excited about their costume.  I think Emma was the last one to decide what she was going to be, with Annie choosing first.  Annie knew she wanted to be an Ewok months ago, and Maddie liked the idea of staying with the Star Wars theme.  
 SCOTT STERLING (and yes, you have to yell SCOTT STERLING whenever you say the name), Ewok, Princess Leia, and Jem.
 Maddie is wearing a white bedsheet that I cut into a dress.  I sewed two side seems, and it was done.  Well, done-ish.  I didn't even have a pattern.
 I could not for the life of me find brown sweats anywhere.  So Annie was a grey Ewok.  But a very, very cute Ewok.  Again, I had no pattern at all for the head scarf thing.
 I felt sort of bad painting bruises on Elizabeth's face, and blacking out her tooth.  Emma offered to give her real bruises, but Elizabeth wouldn't go for that offer.  The kindness between sisters never ceases to amaze me.
 And Jem from Jem and the Holograms.  The kids found the old '80s cartoon on Netflix and thought it was great.  I'm pretty sure the '80s threw up pink and Jem was born.  Emma thought it would be an amazing costume for Halloween, and she was right.  This was her second choice, but I couldn't find any Halloween footed pajamas so she could be the Studio C's Kyle at Halloween.  People at church couldn't get over how grown up she looked.  And Emma discovered the painful joy of "cute" shoes.
 Ryan and I handed out candy from the back of his pickup.  This was the first year I let the kids do the loop on their own.  I've always walked with Annie and Maddie.  I was a little sad they are big enough to go without me, but it was nice to sit by Ryan and hand out the candy for the first time ever.
 Found more good uses for the left over pumpkins from our house.
 The carnival was scaled way, way back from its usual size.  Some people were a little upset about it, but overall, I think it was a good way to go.  There was a prize walk, and that was about it.

Maddie, Elijah, and Elizabeth, with Tiffany calling out the numbers.
 Job, Sarah, Annie, Kaylee and Evey.
 Emma and Kendra.
 Ryan dug out that nasty old mullet wig again.  Gross.
 Maddie, Annie, Kennedy, and Salem.
 After the trunk or treat, Emma would not put her shoes back on.  Said they gave her blisters.
And here's who was left when it was time to clean up:

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Funeral

Today was Bruce Rick's funeral.  Ryan did take a day off work, and I kept the kids home from school.  Ryan was asked to be one of the pall bearers.  Ryan was at the church before 9 am and stayed until about 4 pm.  He stayed with Bruce in the Relief Society room for the viewing until Jeanie and family arrived.  I arrived with the kids and my offering for the luncheon afterwards about 10 am.  We knew it was going to be a full house, and if you wanted a "comfy" seat (the pews cannot really be called comfortable unless contrasted with folding metal chairs) then you were going to have to be early.  So we staked out seats and went through for the viewing.  Someone had been really sweet and brought glow sticks for the kids in honor of Bruce, as that is always what he handed out at Halloween.  And sometimes at church when he was Bishop.

It was a beautiful service, and there were plenty of laughs and plenty of tears.  And then we were part of one of the longest funeral processions to the cemetery I have ever seen in our small town.  He would have gotten a kick out of how many lights we got to "run" and how long we stopped traffic.  Bruce was not known for following traffic laws well.

And then he was laid to rest.
 After the cemetery, we took the kids through a drive-thru for lunch and dropped Annie and Maddie off at school for their Halloween parties.  Emma and Elizabeth stayed and we attended the luncheon afterward.  Then I let some of the Ricks' grandkids have pumpkins from our pumpkin patch and then realized that Oh No It's Friday.  Elizabeth has piano lessons on Fridays, and that happens in TWO MINUTES.  So we were a little bit late.  Then I rushed back to pick up the twins from school, and then back to the church to help finish cleaning up after the funeral, and then back to pick up Elizabeth from piano.  Meanwhile I was carrying a vase of flowers Jeanie had given us from the funeral in my van.  Which spilled on one of the last corners taking the kids home after picking Elizabeth up from piano.  Some days, life is like that.
Listening to people talk at funerals generally makes me feel pretty inadequate.  I'm pretty sure when I die, people will say I was quiet and sometimes nice, and that will be it.  Today definitely left me feeling like I need to step up my game.  I fall so short of the goal.  But also thankful that I was able to know Bruce Ricks, and how he left the world a better place.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thursday Happenings

Today I got to help in Maddie's class.  It was caramel apple day.  My job was to have the kids pick out their apple, stab a popsicle stick into it, and get a small piece of wax paper before heading over to their teacher and her crock pot of caramel.  We had a great sticky time.
 Afterwards I stopped by Ryan's school.  He was in the middle of their student of the month assembly when I arrived.  It's so fun to see him with the little kids.  I didn't stay long, but sometimes you have a down week and need things like a hug in the middle of the day.
 On a positive note, I made some pretty amazing looking biscuits today.  They have layers, like what you might see in the premade cans of biscuits.  It was worth celebrating.  We've been listening to The Magic Thief audiobook in the car, and Con always wants to eat biscuits.  Then I want to eat biscuits.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


We almost always carve pumpkins on the Monday before Halloween, but we are a little off this year.  We did finally make time for this important tradition.  It's kind of fun to be able to pick out pumpkins from our own pumpkin patch.  The kids designed their own, and we helped Annie and Maddie with some of the harder carving.  And we got it done before mutual!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was a very emotionally draining day.  One of the hardest I've had.  A great man was called home.

To start at the beginning, Bruce Ricks was the first bishop Ryan served with.  He was the reason Ryan was the youngest high priest in our ward for 9 years.  Even after Ryan was released from the bishopric, Ryan and Bruce stayed really good friends.  Now, Ryan doesn't have a lot of friends.  He's a friendly guy, but for the most part, he mostly just likes being around me.  But Bruce filled the place of a friend who liked to putter outside, and help Ryan with his beekeeping hobby, and they definitely got each other's sense of humor.  Ryan was one of two people he called to give him a blessing when Bruce was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 3.5 years ago.  President Johnson promised Bruce in that blessing that he would beat the cancer, and while we all wondered how that would all play out (Bruce most of all during treatment), Bruce beat the odds and had almost 2 years of being cancer free before it returned late last spring.

Sunday during sacrament meeting I got a text from Ryan saying that Bruce Ricks was not doing well at all and after church he'd be going to the Ricks home to help out.  At the last chemo appointment, Bruce's white blood count was too low, so he was given a shot to help raise the count.  His body did not respond well.  He couldn't walk to the bathroom by himself and his wife couldn't help him alone.

So Ryan went over twice during the day, and the last one before bedtime, I went with Ryan.  I sat with Jeanie while Ryan held Bruce on the toilet.  Once he was back to bed, we visited with Bruce and Jeanie in their room, and Bruce held my hand until he fell asleep.  He told Ryan I was much prettier to look at than him, ever the ornery guy.

We said goodnight and to call if they needed help again during the night.  Bruce was given medicine to sleep, and Bishop Martin was planning on taking the first bathroom shift in the morning.  I promised to come and help once the kids were at school.

After I dropped off the girls Monday morning and was on my way, Ryan called to say that Bruce had just passed away.  Dr. Weaver and Bishop were in the process of calling their kids to tell them that they'd better come quick to say goodbye to their dad.  His body was definitely shutting down, but no one had any idea he'd go so fast.  

So I spent the day with Jeanie.  I was there while she laid in bed hugging and kissing him and not wanting to let him go.  I was there when the funeral home came to collect Bruce.  And I stayed until the first of their kids arrived from Boise.  It was a very emotional day.  And Ryan hated that he had to he at work instead of there helping Jeanie like he'd promised Bruce.

Bruce and Jeanie have been our home teachers for 4 years.  We all loved him very much.  He was a great man, a spiritual man, a wonderful teacher, and we miss him very much.  There were many tears when we told the kids after school.

For Family Home Evening, instead of carving pumpkins like we had planned to, Ryan built a fire in the firepit Bruce helped him make.  We roasted marshmallows on the roasting sticks that Bruce had given us a couple of months ago when he knew his cancer was back.  And we talked about the Plan of Salvation, and how we looked forward to the day when we would see him again.

To read Bruce's faithful and inspiring story, click here:

"Everyday is sunshine."

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Primary Pumpkin Patch

Having a big garden means growing a lot of produce.  We shared our pumpkins again with the primary this year.  We arranged to have it from 10 until 11 am, and we finally said our last goodbye about noon.  Some people aren't big on things like schedules and time.

The primary provided apple cider, hot chocolate, and cookies.
 We had two Beehives come too.  Emma was glad.

The germination rate of our pumpkins this year wasn't great.  We were a little worried for a while that we weren't going to have enough pumpkins for everyone.  But once the temperatures cooled down and the pumpkin foliage wilted, we were able to count them and we had just about the right amount.  Just not tons and tons of extras, which is ok.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Last of the fall soccer

Our last soccer game was supposed to be last Saturday, but it was rained out.  The games that were at 9 am still played, but it was pretty sloppy by 10:30.  So we rescheduled for the following Thursday.  Someone was supposed to get a referee, but by 10 minutes past starting time no ref had showed up.  So the opposing team coach refereed the game.  We needed to get started because the sun was fading fast.

As the game progressed, I noticed fog? mist? was starting to come in.  I had to take a picture of it behind the kids.
 Then I noticed that we were in for a spectacular sunset.  Be warned, I took a lot of pictures.
 The fog was surrounding us.
I got the soccer ball in the air:

 The kids probably thought I was taking pictures of the playing.  But the sky was a pretty amazing backdrop to the brutal game.  All of our team got kicked hard at some point in the game.  At least Annie and Maddie held it together better than some.

 That sky though...
 Made it to half time!
 Half time pep talk with Coach Michelle
 By the end of the game it was pretty hard to see.  There were small girls out there, but I couldn't always see where the ball was.
 Taking an end of the season team picture in the fog in the dark isn't the easiest thing to do.
We made it!  Go team Sunnyside!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Adventures in canning

Made applesauce, and pickled onions and peppers today.  I'm just slowly trying to get through some of our produce.  There is no way I'm going to use up all of the onions and peppers we grew.  It was by chance that I started making the relish.  I ran out of cucumbers one day while canning pickles, and decided to pickle onions and peppers with the rest of the pickle juice.  They were really yummy on sandwiches.  So I am purposefully making more.  We grew some lunchbox peppers (the small sweet ones), sweet peppers, the banana peppers which were not at all spicy this year, lots of onions, and cayenne.  Those are quite spicy.  I only put one cayenne pepper in those quart jars, and I leave it in one or two pieces, just to give some spiciness to the relish.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Milk Mustache

I'm not one to take selfies.  At least selfies of myself with no one else in the picture frame.  But somehow my kids have picked up on the trend, and so sometimes I find gems like this on my phone.  Annie must have been pretty proud of her milk mustache.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Just Because

Some kids thrive on making noise.  Lots and lots of noise.

That's Elizabeth on the piano, Emma on the bass clarinet, Maddie on the trombone (Ryan's from back in the day), and Annie on the clarinet (Elizabeth's from band).

Maybe someday they will collaborate on something that sounds... good.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The English language really doesn't make any sense.  Why wouldn't "ghost" be spelled like "toast"?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Corn Maze

I was one of the drivers to take the youth to the corn maze in Union Gap for mutual tonight.  As you can tell, we are all a bunch of serious adults in the haunted corn maze.

Monday, October 10, 2016

School Pictures

The middle school pictures came home today.  I keep all of the pictures in the same frame, stacking one on top of the other so I can look at them all side by side when it's time to insert the latest one.  I love the comparison of the pictures, watching my girls grow up.  At the same time, I want to freeze time, or reverse it so I can snuggle my little girls one more time.  Emma is nearly as tall as I am, and not particularly snuggle-able.  Hugs-yes, snuggles on my lap- not so much.  Elizabeth still tries to sit and snuggle on my lap.  She is definitely not ready to give that up, but she's big too.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Honey Harvest

I was brave this year, and helped with the honey harvest.  Or perhaps it was the fact that Ryan had gone through the process before and could make do with my unskilled help.  We both suited up in our half bee suits, taped our pants closed at the ankles, and walked out to the bees.  Ryan went through his three hives and took out the frames he wanted to harvest honey from.  It makes the bees very mad to shake things up like that.  The sound of angry bees is something that belongs in a nightmare, with the bees that try to dive bomb your face.  I came through the process unscathed, but Ryan picked up a sting or two.

Once we had our two heavy boxes of honey frames, we took them over to the garage.  Ryan shook bees off the individual frames one by one, and I took them into the garage.  With that done, we wandered around a little bit waiting for the bees to leave us alone so we could take off the bee suits and sneak in the back door.  There were still some angry bees by the front door of the house, since it is so close to the garage.

One evening after a couple of days, Ryan turned on the space heaters in the garage.  It is supposed to help get more honey off the frames because warm honey is less stiff.  This year Ryan put two space heaters out there to make sure the honey was good and warm.  Did you know there is such thing as honey frames that are too warm?  We didn't.  At least until the next morning when Ryan went to check on things and found that the wax cappings had collapsed and honey was oozing off the frames, onto the table and dripping onto the floor.


So Ryan let the garage drop a few degrees and we tried again today.  
 First you take the electric hot knife and cut off the wax cappings.  You do this over a bucket with a grate in the bottom so you can collect honey from this part too.

Then the uncapped frames go into a borrowed electric centrifuge and you let that thing spin for an hour or so.  And you watch the honey start to trickle out of the bottom.  It's a good idea to run the honey through a colander to catch bits of wax and bee parts.  Meanwhile, you and your kids catch honey on your finger for tasting.  Yummmm...
 Once your 5 gallon bucket is good and full, then you filter the honey one more time and then put it in containers.  In our case, those would be canning jars.

Our honey was a different color this year.  The big jar on the left was last year's honey, and the smaller one is from this year.  Ryan thinks it is because he grew a whole lot of sunflowers this year.  He planted those sunflowers partly to keep weeds down, and partly for his bees.

 This is all the honey we canned tonight.  There is still more.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


We have had to do some changing in our landscaping.  Both the dogwood tree and the big bush in our front yard had to be taken out, which has left us with a lot of empty space.  So we ordered a whole lot of daffodil and tulip bulbs, and today was planting day.
I can't wait to see spring!