Thursday, October 18, 2007


I just got off a blog that is listed on Darilyn's blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, or something of the sort. It really made me think about growing up in Ocotillo. I feel so lucky to have grown up on a family farm. This photo is actually a part of the old colored school that was used before our family bought the farm. These buildings were torn down a few years ago and I felt the need to personally document them before that happened. They were back behind the Lewis' house. We never did play in these buildings when I was a kid. I kind of think that someone might have been living in them. There was one building back behind the barn though that we loved to play in. We always said it was haunted and dared each other to go in. When they tore that one down, we would still play on the foundation and claim that it was still haunted. Behind the barn was one of my very favorite places to play. I loved to climb up the cattle loading ramp and play in the shute where they would put the horses when they needed shots. We would climb up to the top of the hay pile. It was all the way to the top of the barn. My big brothers would dare eachother to jump off from higher and higher points. Once we even played with some firecrackers back there so that Mom and Dad wouldn't hear us. How stupid were we? Let's go play with firecrackers by the hay in Arizona! Luckily, nothing happened.

We really loved cotton season. For some reason, it was fun to even pick a few pieces of cotton to play with. What we really loved was to play in the cotton trailers. This was a rare treat. It apparently isn't really good for raw cotton to have children burrowing in it. More often, we would play on the piles of cotton seed. The cotton gin was across the street and the canal. The lot behind the gin would have rows of cotton seed stacked, oh gosh, I don't know, maybe 8 or 10 feet high, but I was a kid, so who knows? We loved to dig tunnels in the cotton. This was not as easy in the seed. Still possible, but tunnels were more likely to collapse. I can't even imagine when my kids would have time to do all of this! Sad. It had to have been late fall, because that is when the cotton is ready.

This leads me to playing in the canal and the ditches. We loved when Bobby would get out his blow-up raft and go from one bridge to the next in it. This was really pretty dangerous and Mom and Dad would get mad at us, but it was worth it. The ditches were not as fun, but still pretty good. The only good thing about getting up on a cold winter morning for school was those days when the ditch was frozen over. The conditions had to be perfect. Just about 3 or 4 inches of water in the bottom of the ditch, otherwise the water would run to fast to freeze for our little Arizona cold weather. The top would just freeze over and you could always break it with your shoe, so fun. These were often the foggy days, when the fog would come up off the canal. This was about as "winter" as we would ever get.

I think I'll save some memories for another day.

Tomorrow Sonny goes in for "surgery" and I have to get up early to take him in to Uncle Keith.

"Domesticated" Cattle

"Domesticated" cattle on the Savannah. I'm not sure I'd buy the domesticated bit. This ostrich sure didn't buy it. Of course, she was not very "domesticated" either. Or at least not very welcoming to her neighborhood. Her wings were even more puffed out than this as she tried to chase the monsters away.
Here is the giraffe picture I liked better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

zoo, zoo again

Emma calling to see if someone can get Megan out of the trees. Ok, I'll drop that now.

I love this picture of Emma who got caught just as she
popped a piece of Kettle corn into her mouth.

This is not actually the ostrich picture I meant to post. There was a funny one where the ostrich was trying to chase some longhorn cattle out of her spot. She managed to get him to walk in about a twenty foot circle that ended up about 5 feet from where he started.

Lauren had fun trying her hand at "professional" photography. Thanks Elise!

I really liked the other giraffe picture better, too, but Lauren liked this one. I may still post the other one later, but now, I have to go.

More zoo

This is right after the kids got to help feed the elephant carrots. They talked to them about how one of the elephants doesn't get along with the other two so they can't be out on display together. They told the kids that the elephant they tossed carrots to came from a circus. You sort of got the impression that she had been "rescued". They didn't ever mention that the reason she left the circus was because she killed someone. True story.

Here is Megan, probably holding more weight than she should be at this stage in her pregnancy.
The kids always love hanging out with Meg. Even 7 months pregnant, she more fun than their moms. J/k, Elise, I'm sure you're lots of fun, it's just me that got freaking old.

Fun Megan decides to test this jungle bamboo to see if it will hold. What is a visit to the rainforest, if you

don't get to climb it.

Deciding that it will hold just fine, she heads up.

Still waiting for Megan to figure out how to get down from the rainforest canopy. Why did we go to Colombia? Doesn't Megan know that she shouldn't do this sort of stuff when she's pregnant? Did I mention that we're in Colombia?

The zoo and prego Mego

We went to the zoo yesterday and had a great time. Lauren, Emma and I went with Elise, Kas, Addy, Zo, and Megan. I'm sure Meg loved walking all over the zoo, preggers. In this picture, there is some sort of African bird that is showing off during a presentation. Somehow, when the African King Vulture was flying a foot or two over our heads, I forgot to take any pictures. The presentation was interesting though.

Now, I messed up the other pictures and have to start over.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lovely Lauren

Where do I even
start with this girl who will be an official teenager this week? I guess, the beginning. This child came into the world with a vengeance. I was talking to Megan the other day about Lauren's birth, and trying not to scare her since it is too late for her to turn back on the baby path. My pregnancy with Lauren was relatively easy, no morning sickness, just some sciatica and gagging on my toothbrush. I was completely unprepared for the drama of her delivery. We did have a little trouble picking a name. We wanted cute and hip, but not trendy. David shot down Katya, we already knew a baby named Mariah, and when we heard someone else talking to their McKenzie at the movie theatres, it just didn't sound right. David also didn't think the world was ready for a little girl named Remmington, Rhett, or Austen. Lauren turned out to be the ONLY name we could agree on at the time.
Finally, the day arrived. We went to the hospital in the morning after trying to put it off as long as possible, I had woken up having contractions. When we got to the hospital, they of course sent us home, or to the park, or anywhere to walk around, just not there. I'm thinking, "How am I supposed to walk around when every five minutes I'm doubled over in pain?" When it became every 2 minutes, we went

back. Several hours later, we were moved to the operating room, because three hours of pushing labor is apparently, not normal. I really didn't want to have a c-section. Of course, I also didn't know that babies could die from being in the birth canal too long. So with oxygen for Lauren on my face, and suction, Lauren came into this world. Of course, by this time, I was completely doped up on demerol and couldn't stop shaking or even lift my arms for that matter. I lay there exhausted, wondering how blood managed to get on my face, while Karen fed my baby the bottle that the nurses brought.
When we went home, things did not get much better. Here was this beautiful baby girl, with this perfect little round face and I still could not feed her. We spent several teary sessions on the phone, both with Mom and the La Leche League. We did eventually figure it out, but not before I had one of the goofiest moments ever in my life. With all the sleepless nights, pain, and newness of the situation, I was a bit loopy. I have to add, I had spent many years babysitting and nannying. I was driving home with a crying baby and the thought suddenly popped into my head, "When are this kid's parents going to PICK HER UP?" The realization struck me right then, I was the actual Mama - forever.

Well, this precious little girl had personality plus from the day that she was born. She loved attention! One of our favorite memories is the time that she climbed up on a chair at Elmer's Tacos and sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the entire restaurant. She has become a regular at Elmer's. Every time we go, she asks to clean their tables or sweep their floor. Occasionally, they will let her, and sometimes they give her a soda or a frybread as a thankyou. I think she loves it more than a bean and cheese burrito. For a while, she asked for a job application at just about every restaurant that we went to. This was at about age 10. It was fun watching people try to figure out what to tell the little girl about why they could not hire her.
Lauren would sing for anyone at anytime. She sang Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam as a solo at a stake music festival and always seemed to have a singing part in the ward primary program. She was so excited to find that Orangewood Elementary, where she went to 5th and 6th grade had a drama department and put on a play each year. She is above as the feather bedecked Lily St. Regis in Annie during 5th grade and she played Zanita, the mayor's daughter, in The Music Man during 6th grade. She was great and we loved watching her performances. She also always participated in choir and got to go to California to a choir festival.
It's sometimes easy to only see this top, over-the-top side of Lauren. However, inside is the biggest heart that anyone could imagine. Once, we were driving down the road and she told me that her heart was full of love for the whole world. I couldn't do anything but smile and believe her. She never ceases to amaze me with the power and sense of self that she has. Of course, she has her moments of humanity and self doubt, but she often has to remind me that being herself includes liking things that her mom may not like.
I think that so many things that are wrong with the world stem from people who do not understand that they are sons and daughters of their Heavenly Father. This girl KNOWS that! I am so glad that I get to be the mom of this young lady. I look forward and am terrified at the same time of watching her mature as a young woman. I love her so much!