19 February 2017

Happy Sunday!

Courtland playing the hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."


17 February 2017


The yard is finally (mostly) done!  We have grass & we have a trampoline, so the kids are able to get outside. We got impatient waiting for the landscapers to install the trampoline springs & jump pad, so Courtland & Isaac helped us put it together the other day. And the boys love it!  Now we're just down to a handful of last little items for the landscapers to finish, and they scheduled the replacement of the damaged garage door panels for March 1st, so once they get the garage door fixed and painted, they could finally be done. The funny thing is, March 1st will be exactly one year from the day they started work on our yard. So glad to finally be at this point where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

12 February 2017

Coyotes & Hawks

I just looked down in the canyon behind the house and happened to see these two coyotes trotting down the path below. Then a shadow passed by and I looked up to see one of the two red tailed hawks that frequents our canyon (which our boys have lovingly named Carmen & Diego).  I like that even though we live in a neighborhood with lots of houses & people, we have our own little part of the outdoors and we can still enjoy nature right from our back yard. 

11 February 2017

Courtland's Baptism

Today Courtland was baptized. And lots of his family got to be involved. His Great Grandma Faun said the opening prayer, Grandpa Dick gave a talk about baptism, he & his brothers & Dad all sang a song together, his Grandma Debbie played the piano, his Nana gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, his dad baptized him, his dad, Grandpa Dick, Papa, and Great Uncle John helped confirm him, and I said the closing prayer. And our friends, the Beeghley's, came to the baptism too.  It was nice to have family & good friends with us to support our sweet little Courtland boy on his special day.


Today was a great day!  Even though it started out rather rainy, it cleared up after a while and the boys got to go out and really enjoy our back yard for the first time since we got the turf.  Dick & Debbie were here this weekend for Courtland's baptism, so Michael & Dick put together the soccer goals and repaired the broken backboard on the basketball hoop (both Christmas gifts from Dick & Debbie that we've been waiting to use until the back yard was ready). And they got to play a fun game if soccer with the boys, a couple of their friends, and of course with Berkley who wanted to play soccer too and be right in the middle of the action.  And it's fun for me to watch the dogs run and play together until they're all worn out, without them throwing up dirt and gravel in every direction.  I LOVE that our family can play in our back yard again, after 1 year of landscaping I am SO ready for the landscapers to finish the final few little parts of the job and be done for good. It's been a long wait, and we are so grateful to be able to enjoy our little part of the outdoors together as a family. 

Elijah's First Time at the Temple

Elijah just turned 12 and is now old enough to go to the temple. Last night he went in for the first time. And because family is in town for Courtland's baptism this weekend, we got to go together with Nana & Papa (my parents), Grandma Faun (my grandma), and Grandpa Dick & Grandma Debbie (Michael's parents). It was a very sweet experience to have our two oldest boys in the temple with us, and I'm looking forward to a few years from now when all of the boys will be old enough to go. And the night was even more special because over the last few months Elijah helped me to do the genealogy and submit the temple work for lots of his ancestors -- he seems really excited about doing this with me. 

31 January 2017

Camden's Braces

Camden got braces today.  He was so excited to get them & to pick out the colors. 

29 January 2017

Tenaja Falls Exploration

Yesterday Kolby & Elijah had a deacons basketball game at the church at 10am, and after the game we had one of those rare Saturdays without anything else on the schedule for the day. Since last summer, I have been eyeing these really fun-looking hikes out in the dessert, and waiting for some free time when the weather wasn't too hot and it wasn't supposed to rain to explore some new slot canyons that we haven't been to before. But the hike that I really want to try out is a few hours drive from here and the hike itself is a few hours long, so it's the kind of thing where we would need to get up in the morning and go spend the whole day. 

Since we didn't have an entire day free yesterday, we decided to make the most of all this rain we've had over the last few weeks and find a waterfall. I found one up north of Temecula, 1 hr and 20 min from us, called Tenaja Falls. The photos online of this waterfall didn't look especially impressive -- I mean, most any water feature on a hike in the San Diego area is great since we have so few waterfalls here, but even though Tenaja Falls is 150 long, it's more like 150 feet of cascading falls in different tiers, rather than one massive falls rushing over the edge of a cliff. But there were some pictures of the pools at the falls, which looked really pretty. And when I watched someone's video of their drive to the falls down a very narrow, pothole-ridden road with barely enough room for two cars to pass each other, I decided this looked like the adventure for us.  :)

So after the basketball game we threw the kids and the dogs in the car and headed out. 

It was a pretty drive, and the narrow road at the end as we approached the falls trailhead just added to the effect of the rugged adventure. The one downside was the fact that we were definitely not the only ones who had the idea of hiking to a waterfall after the heavy rains, so we had plenty of opportunities to scoot all the way to the edge of the narrow road to allow cars to pass, and we were lucky that someone was leaving when we arrived so we were able to find a parking spot in the small overcrowded parking area off the side of the road.  [The parking area/trailhead was at  33.549121, -117.394503]. 

As soon as we parked the car, Camden discovered that he had gotten into the car in his socks and accidentally left his shoes at home, so he did the hike in his socks. 

It was an easy hike up to the falls -- there was a stream crossing at the beginning of the trail (you could find rocks to cross on to stay dry if you were careful). But the water was a few feet deep, probably 6 or 8 feet across, and flowing quickly. We met another hiker who told us he had been there before when they just walked across a dry stream bed. 

We hiked up the trail, which was uneventful, other than Camden taking a little longer than normal as he hiked in his socks, and lots of hikers stopping to pet the dogs as we went along. 

At our first glance of the falls from the trail, I could tell that it was a more impressive falls than it had appeared from the photos I'd seen online. 

When we got to the top of the falls, we climbed down to the first pool, (which wasn't hard for us, and just took a little extra assistance to get the dogs down too).

The water was too cold for swimming (which means it was actually cold, since my husband and boys will often swim in much colder water than I would ever consider getting into), and we took off our shoes, but no one did more than a little wading in the pool -- until Courtland slipped and went entirely in. (At least he was good natured about being completely wet the rest of the day). 

We decided to hike around the far side of the falls down to the second main pool, which looked pretty steep from across the falls, but really wasn't tough to get down to, even for the dogs.

After the boys waded a bit, climbed on the rocks, and played with sticks in the water, we decided to climb back up to the top of the ridge and check it out.
When we got up there, we thought we could handle climbing (and a bit of bushwhacking) down the far side of the ridge to get down to the pool at the very bottom of the falls, and then making our way downstream back to the trailhead. It took some convincing before Kolby and Courtland would put their shoes back on for the rest of the hike, but Isaac insisted on hiking all the way back to the car barefoot. (And Camden continued to do the same out of necessity).  We climbed and slid down the ridge and made our way to the pool at the bottom of the falls, with a nice sandy bank. 

It'd be such an ideal destination on a hot summer day, except that the water flow would surely be much lower, if not nonexistent. And there were already too many people there for my taste (including one guy climbing around the rocks at the top of the falls playing very loud music that couldn't be ignored, and another group of adults up there who were smoking something that smelled awful). So it was nice, because the further we climbed down the falls, the fewer people there were.

The rest of the way back we just followed the water, walking along the bank and crisscrossing back and forth across the rocks. And I eventually gave Camden my shoes and walked back the rest of the way in my socks (he wasn't complaining, just slowing down more and more without shoes on). From down there, we were able to avoid the crowds, and get off the beaten trail. It was a great end to a fun day. 

27 January 2017

Sweet Boy

Courtland is in a really sweet phase lately. Last month he gave this to me:

20 January 2017

Courtland's baptism invitation

I took Courtland last week to have his portraits taken for his baptism invitation.  They turned out really cute.  And I just finished making the invitation.  What a sweet boy.  (I can't believe we're already to the point where our youngest child is getting baptized!)