Archives for the month of: March, 2013

grand canyon 1

GC a different view

Grant Canyon 3

Nothing can really prepare one for the grandeur of Grand Canyon. It is so much larger, more colorful and simply “grander” than my imagination can hold, though I have been to the south canyon rim several times. The kids were awed as well, and Ted took dozens of photos.

S and R at GC

Ted says there is evidence that the area has been occupied by humans for 13,000 years. It was hard to believe there were so many people there, we had been driving on mostly deserted roads but once there, we realized that folks from all over the world were visiting and we could hear the hum of a variety of languages. The Ranger’s presentation was given with the Canyon as the background.

Ranger lecture

Driving on to Phoenix we saw an amazing variety of wild flowers, orange, yellow, lavender, and red, as well as cactus, the huge guys. We hope to get a walk on the dessert to be able to get some close up photos. What an amazing world we inhabit!
We are now staying with Heather and Bryan, today we will visit the Heard Museum to learn more about Native cultures.

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arch 2Cactus 2walk to archwith treeframed archArches National Park–we have waited a long time to visit this natural wonder.  Yesterday as we traveled through Utah we got to see the amazing rock formations.  According to the information we were given these formation were created because of unusual rock combinations, water erosion and time.  The kids loved it and we couldn’t begin to see it all in one day.   We are spending the night in Moab, Utah.

We also visited the Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah.  There were no other visitors there at the  moment and someone brought out a dinosaur egg for the kids to hold.  Seneca’s favorite part was sweeping the sand from dinosaur bones in a special discovery exhibit for kids.

Unearthing bones

Seneca unearthing bones with a brush

Goofy kids with dinasours

Goofy kids and Dinosaur Bones

Dinasour egg

Dinosaur egg

Covered wagonIn wagonThe kids are missing school so we are trying to make this an educational experience, which is not difficult, there is so much to see and learn.  Raven had studied the Oregon Trail last year so was interested in visiting Glenn’s Ferry where wagon trains had crossed the Snake River.

I imagine we are not the only grandparents who believe that their grandchildren are the greatest. We are no exception.  Adam is 3 and the son of Nate, one of the Ripley kids that was born to us.  Nate met and married Mesky, while working in Ethiopia and Adam was born while they lived there.  They are now located in Port Angeles and it is great having them close.

Look at those dimples!

Look at those dimples!

Seneca and Raven love entertaining him and when he visits he has their undivided attention.

Seneca pitches the balloon

Seneca pitches the balloon

With an assist from Raven, Adam gets a hit

With an assist from Raven, Adam gets a hit

At the moment we are visiting our daughter Robin and her family in Salt Lake City. She and Ryan have three children aged 11 to 17. They are each very special as well and I’ll be writing about them very soon!

Razor Clams.

Yum!!

Yum!!

Razor clams must be one of the tastiest of sea creatures, and digging them is an adventure.

To preserve the clam beds, digging is only allowed a few days a year.  The dates chosen by some mysterious formula known only to  the Fish and Game folks. Low tides are in the late afternoon or early evening digging dates are in winter months, meaning the digging usually takes place after dark, by lantern light.

However this past weekend, with the cooperation of the sun and the tides, there was clam digging in daylight, the day was calm, perfect conditions.

We drove onto the beach and Raven, a beginning digger, got a refresher lesson.

Clam digging lesson

Clam digging lesson

Seneca spotted the "holes."

Seneca spotted the “holes.”

First clam!

First clam!

Soon we had the limit-- 15 clams

Soon we had the limit– 15 clams

A happy clam digger

A happy clam digger

Ready to clean

Ready to clean

Raven helps clean

Raven helps clean

With a hot water bath they slip right out of their shells

With a hot water bath they slip right out of their shells

Seneca helps cook

Seneca helps cook

Seneca and Mom cook

Seneca and Mom cook

Less than an hour from beach to table, are we lucky or what???

close up of boy quilt

The Little Boy Quilt I made recently now belongs to a little boy. He and his two sisters were brought to our foster home this week with nothing. We had about an hour of warning that they were coming. They are a beautiful little group, ages 5 to 8. We are given very little information about kids who come to us, but from their frightened, unsmiling expressions we knew they had been through something unpleasant.

The girls go to the same school as Seneca and Raven and they brightened when they realized that they would be staying with “friends.”

It was nearly supper time and fortunately Ted had purchased a family sized pack of drum sticks the night before. I fixed other things most kids like including rice, carrot sticks, and applesauce. Our table was a little crowded with seven people but two of the kids ate well with one declaring, “I am not hungry.” After dinner they helped clear the table and I worked on homework with the older kids while the little boy played with Legos and little cars.

practicing spelling words

While the girls were bathing I asked the little guy which of the three quilts I had available he would like to have. He chose the one with the cars and trucks that I had pieced.  This was not a surprise, I had already noticed his love of cars and trucks. He wrapped himself in it and was ready for story time.

wrapping up

reading stories

Raven was enjoying being “big brother,” and cheerfully agreed to climb to the top bunk so the little guy  could sleep in the bottom. Amazingly they all went right to sleep, and they woke up with smiles in the morning. I was prepared for bad dreams or restless sleeping but it didn’t happen.

Sound asleep

Raven had a doctor’s appointment so I let him and the little guy sleep in. While I was getting dressed they woke up and when I came down, Raven had fixed breakfast for the two of them.
We got Raven to school, and the little guy busied himself playing with cars and trucks on the quilt, using the yellow border as the road. What a thrill to see the quilt being used and enjoyed, just as I had hoped it would be.

playing cars on the quilt 2

Later in the day I got a call saying the little guy’s father had been located and was available to care for him, so the caseworker came to get him. I asked him if he wanted to take the quilt with him and he nodded, went back to get it and carried in his arms as he went out to the car.
The girls returned and asked if we would all sit at the table again and pass the food around, this was evidently not their usual experience. We had a nice evening of homework and stories.
The next day I got a call saying an aunt had agreed to take the girls and they would be going with her later in the day. In the afternoon we were at school to pick up Seneca and Raven and the counselor happened by. She said the girls had told her what a good time they had had at their foster home, and mentioned the drum sticks we had had for supper. Then the principal popped up and said the school was grateful that we had “stepped up to the plate” for the girls.
It seems like such a little thing, providing for them for two nights, but I know that I won’t forget these three, and I suspect they will have good memories of staying with us. And I hope the little guy will continue to enjoy the quilt, I guess I’ll have to get busy and make another one.

I wish I had had quilts on hand so I could have given one to each of the girls as well. I’d like to encourage others to make small quilts, they are so comforting to children in crisis.

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Seneca in her “Cat in the Hat” shirt

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Seneca and Raven ready to go to the celebration of Dr. Suess’ Birthday

March 2, 1904 is the birthdate of Dr. Seuss.  He has always been a favorite at our house.  At our kid’s school they have a celebration each year.  On Friday students and teachers  wore comstumes depicting Seuss characters.    Seneca wore a Cat in the Hat tee shirt that had belonged to Robin’s kids.   Raven wore it to the celebration for a couple of years and Seneca has worn it for the past three. Toward the end of the school day each student takes a favorite book into the halls of the school where they read together.

Here are a couple of my favorite Seuss quotes:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know, And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” from “Oh the Places You’ll Go”

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” from “I Can Read with my Eyes Shut”

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Reading with Aunt Robin

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Reading with Dad and her baby doll

A new book

Reading with Summer the dog, was this only a year ago?