Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And the bike goes on........

On Monday, Memorial day, Alora and I met up with Natalie and Jayson and kids in Pinehurst to ride the "Rails to Trails" bike route... The kids were pretty tolerant of the ride at first, but Allie doesn't care much for the trailer, and finally had to ride in Dad's lap for a while. We also had Mckenzie and Trenton Frank with us, (Trenton is quite the stunt rider!!) He kept us amazed with his "wheelies" along the route. It was the most beautiful trail I have seen! We went from PInehurst to within 2 miles of the Cataldo Mission--a fabulous beginning to the day!

Memorial Weekend!! No camping--just biking, biking, biking!

This craze started on Saturday! We met up with Nicole and started at Riverstone and peddled all the way to the parking lot at Tubbs Hill. Duane had biked enough so we turned around and all went back to the cars. The girls and I decided to take a little more time to ride, so we told Duane to meet us at Higgins Point with the car in about an hour, to an hour and a half. We all managed to get there in less than an hour and when we arrived at the parking lot, no Duane! I called him on my cell, only to find out that he had gone home to move the sprinkler! So--Nicole said, well, lets start back and we'll keep going until he gets here! Never thought I'd make the Bennett Bay (Sunnyside) hill forward and backward, but I DID IT! Yea!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ella bella Ballerina!!

After the race, I came home, took a quick shower and drove down to NIC to watch Ella's dance recital---I told Jean Gatten that this is the real perks of being grandmom's--all the cute and none of the pre-recital stress the mom's have to endure! She was as adorable as this picture and really dances well!! Good job Ella!

Still going Strong!!!

So, Mom did a half marathon today, Saturday! She did amazing! We headed down to Riverfront Park, and watched and waited for Mom, and all the rest of the fam doing the race. Luckily for me it was nice and warm, but unfortunatley for the runners, they were probably dying of heat towards the end. I wasn't even running, and I still got toasty and a little sweaty out there. IT WAS AWESOME!!!.. not the sweaty part, the warm part. I am so proud of my mom, she accomplished so much, and she's inspired me to become a runner! Seeing her doing it, and the accomplishment she felt, and the fun she had, almost made me jealous, and wishing I had done it with her. Maybe next year, but still she is amazing and a huge example to me!.. Love you mom!! Love Alora!

From MOM: I love you too Alora!! It was so awesome to see my family (Alora, Duane, Shawnte and Cameron and little Vance) at the finish line cheering me on! I expected to arrive all alone and have to go back to the car by myself!! What a surprise!! The race was grueling--I wish I had trained a little harder, but that's all hindsight! I finished a full 40 minutes earlier than I thought I would so YEA for me!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A new adventure--the Spokane Falls!

Wow! I never knew so much water went over the Falls!! First time ever on the gondola ride--a happy day for all of us!!--Doesn't Duane look cute???

Ahhh the SUNSHINE!!!

Today was the best day ever!
The sunshine and warm weather was absolutely infectious!! We went into Spokane and enjoyed sights we hadn't done before--like jumping from block to block, running with the statues and hanging on a goat?

Friday, May 8, 2009

The busy Red Hens are a-working and HARD!!!

Today Mikin totally surprised me and came over bright and early to help in the garden! She and Cameron worked almost all day fixing the garden on the porch and weeding like crazy in the huge field garden!! Mikin is such a hard worker!! Nothing stops her--I am amazed and grateful for all the help.
The garden is growing and I was feeling pretty confident about it until Natalie told me that she knows two friends who have tomatoes much bigger than our little starts in the basement.
Maybe we should have planted earlier???? Gosh will I ever get the hang of this gardening thing??? Maybe a New Yorker is just genetically challenged not to ever grow green things, just concrete.......Aughhhhh!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Terrific Tubbs Hill! A family Saturday outing.....

So we took advantage of the wonderful weather and headed toward Tubbs Hill--with a stop at Costco to get something for Duane's camera, and by the time we got there, the weather had changed a bit......

Undaunted, we pressed on and took pics all along the way....flora, fauna, mostly us! Smile! You're on Candid Camera!

The Wind picked up and really started whipping around--Duane was afraid he would get caught in a rainstorm, so he quit and waited for us--Alora jumped on a rock with the hair and everything a flying!

OK, so the funniest part of this picture is that this guy and his dog (pictured) came along the path and Duane asked if he could take the dogs picture--the man said "sure" do you want to hold him? And gave the leash to Alora--the dog was very friendly and turned around and snotted all over Alora!! I almost hurled!!! It was so funny I'm still laughing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Field garden!!

I think I can- I think I can-I think I can....

Cameron made this amazing gate to keep out deer, critters, and Preston! We decided to name it the Little Red Hen's garden because Natalie and I have been the main gardener's so far......

It's really happening!!!

Can it really be?? Natalie and I are trying a fantastic experiment this year--the "family" garden. It started out with four families and now we are down to three--we have already begun our seedlings (marigolds, nastursiums, peppers, and two types of tomatoes) and as you can see--they are sprouting up really well!! I am so excited!! We have also had Cameron till up our field garden and we have planted our potatoes, strawberries, onions, lots and lots of onions, and lettuce and carrots----the whole cool crop kit and kaboodle!!! If we are really lucky and pray alot, we are hoping for a pretty terrific harvest this year (no more Carvers farms??)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


     What a fun day!!! Allie's birthday party was themed on 'bugs'!  Natalie really went all out!! She headbands with antennae for each party-goer and decorations galore!  I made the caterpillar cake and her 'personal' cake--a lot of work, but lots of fun too!  I also made a pinata in the shape of a bee and I think the kids had a lot of fun whacking the daylights of it. 
      Natalie also had a find the bug egg game (like and Easter egg hunt) and a pin the head on the butterfly, which we didn't get a chance to do--too much fun--not enough time!  Lots of good food to eat and family to share it with!  A great turnout for a terrific little girl!  Grandkids are fun! (most of time!)

A Soggy Spring Break!!

Alora and I  started out in North Idaho with freezing weather--hopeful that we would be able to use the bikes we strapped to the car when we got to Utah.  As you can see, the weather on the road was just as icy as home!!  We did get a slight break on Tuesday and went for a short, but pretty dang cold ride, just so we could say we did!  We were doing the 'girls away for the week' thing until Wednesday--then Duane flew in and joined us.  We went to the zoo--as pictured--and I discovered I really like zoos!!  O.K. so I'm weird, but they are really interesting to me.  
We were going to come home on Saturday, but Duane got a ticket to Priesthood, so we stayed until Monday.  Yes, Alora missed a day of school--again.....  But--she did get a ticket to the Saturday morning session so both of them got to go to the Conference center--which was pretty amazing!!  
We also took Friday to be our "church" day and went to the Salt Lake Temple.  Alora did baptisms--with a slight hitch--and we did some initiatory work.  I had called the temple the day before to make sure she didn't need an appointment or anything, and they said that it is on a walk-in basis--no problem!  So after finding out where we needed to go, I checked her in and left to go back to the main entrance to find Duane.  After an hour we were done and we went back to the foyer to meet Alora.  We found her there, and she had a strange look on her face---we found out that there was a huge group from Florida that came in and she wasn't able to do any baptisms!  She was crying and upset, so I went back to the font area and talked to the leaders there--we ended up going to the museum for a couple of hours and then returned when the 'Florida" group was done.  The next group to come in was just four boys from-----yep---Spokane!  Alora didn't see them, but she said that although it was really neat to see the elegance of the SLC temple, she liked Spokane better!  More opportunity--they only let you do five names in SLC.  The best part of the trip was getting to be with family and having an opportunity to do whatever we wanted without interruptions!  

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm Back!

So, I know it has been way too long, but I need to get back into the habit. Finally, I am done blogging about Peru. Too many things have happened in the short months since I last blogged, so I will mention a few of the highlights.
First, and the one that consumed most of my time was Tami's wedding. I do have to brag for a moment though, I believe it turned out so beautiful. Tami was sealed to Casey Fowler in the Spokane Washington Temple on March 6, 2009. Besides the freezing cold weather outside, it was the perfect sunny day to take pictures on the temple grounds(even though the forecast predicted rain, and we brought umbrellas just in case). After the wedding, most of the family that attended the sealing went to the church building next door and ate lunch. Next, we went straight over to the reception and took the last of the pictures before the guests started to arrive. The reception followed. It was full of dancing, food, and the traditions of wedding parties. It was fun planning and participating in Tami's wedding, but I can honestly say I am glad that it is all over, I was exhausted!
Second, Asa turned one! Actually, he turned one on Tami's wedding day, but his parents celebrated his birthday a week later. He had a polka-dot themed birthday, it was really fun. I can't believe he is already a year old. He' s walking all over the place, getting into mischeif and just plain being adorable, I love those dimples. Happy b-day Asa, we love you.
Lastly, Natalie and I went to a musical at the Spokane Opera house this weekend called "Aint Misbehavin'." It was a blast. Beforehand, we enjoyed dinner at "P.F. Changs." Delicious! We even got appetizers on the house, because they thought that we had to wait for a long time, but we had a reservation, so it was only like 20 minutes. After that, we walked around the mall across the street and window shopped, then went to the show. It was not what we were expecting, but it turned out to be really well done. It was fun to have a girls night out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Sunset Tour

We were able to relax for pretty much the rest of the day. But we had an optional jungle walk which we opted to do. There is no way we were going to pass anything adventurous up! Duane was too tired to go and Denise wasnt feeling well, so it was me, Alora, Tami, and our other tour buddy. Phil wanted to stay with Denise and Deanna was sick too. We walked for awhile and saw peanut bugs, mccaws, and more monkeys. These monkeys were alot more active and playful than the ones we saw that morning.
Once we got back to the resort Tami and I went to the hammocks inside the lodge to take a break and journal a little. Its a tough life to live... It was hard to journal in a hammock though because its so relaxing that all we wanted to do was nap. Alora was off doing her own thing most of the time because she had an admirer that would follow her around. He wanted her to teach him English. His name was Paolo to which Alora loved getting attention from. He was a good looking guy too, so she would get giddy and giggle when around him. Later we went on our next tour with almost everyone. Deanna still was sick and wasn't feeling up for anything.. The sunsets are so beautiful there. At one point in time, Tami suggested that Alora go back and help Paolo paddle the canoe around. She was just giving Alora a hard time but she was so excited that it seemed like she was just waiting for someone to give her the opportunity.

The funny part about Alora paddling was that we were heading in cirlces. Poor Paulo had to paddle twice as hard. She got the hang of it eventually, but its hard to compete with a buff Amazon man! When the sun went down and the sky was pitch black, we began looking for the red caimen eyes in the water. I couldn't believe how many there were! We couldn't have the flashlight on for too long though because it attracted bugs. Once the tour ended we headed back to the lodge once again for a long awaited sleep.

A little of the wildlife in Peru!

In the morning we woke up and started our journey for the day. We cruised around the lake on our canoe while the same guys that carried our bags, paddled us everywhere. We saw so many herons and exotic birds. Also turtles and a whole tree full of monkeys. The tour guide told us that they were slower moving monkeys and liked to take their time while eating... this worked perfect for us because we were able to take a couple decent pictures! You can kind of see them in the picture. Tons of large black dots. We also saw a few turtles and the biggest black caimen in the lake. The tour guide said it was about 3 meters long. Which is pretty big! It didnt let us get very close to it though. Our canoe started back to the dock of the lodge, when all was said and done. When we jumped up on the dock we looked down and saw a black caimen staring at us! He was a little guy but it was neat to see him only a few feet away. Tami got a few good pictures. I think he liked the camera because he stayed there while everyone took a picture.

I know I know, I really need to get out of Peru

After our hike through the jungle, it opened up to a small canal in which we got into paddle canoes and were on our way to being that much closer to the resort. We reached the shore and jumped out onto a long stretch of wooden stairs. This trip has proved to be a pretty good workout as far as stairs and long hikes.

We are at Sandoval Lake Lodge/Resort. We were complemented with a very tart drink and then checked into our rooms. The rooms had mosquito nets above the beds! I was hoping we wouldnt encounter many mosquitos on the trip... but thankfully our tour guide explained that there arent many at this time of year. There are billions during the rainy season. We had a bit of down time to get settled and check the place out before we went to dinner and also on our night jungle tour! We found a nice bench that over looked the lake and had an awesome foot rest. The funny part, is that those who know us Mortons know how short we are.... needless to say, we had to stretch our legs as far as they would reach to get to the foot rest.
We then went to dinner and met up with our tour guide. He explained a little about the night jungle tour, like what we would encounter and what we should bring. We ran into a few creepy spiders and bugs. I think the biggest trial was trying not to trip over the large tree roots in the ground. Its crazy walking through the jungle during the day, knowing all these bugs are in the cracks of the trees waiting to come out at night! We then went to bed because there are only certain times of the day they keep the electricity on at the lodge. The housekeepers tucked our mosquito nets around our beds. We were very excited for the next day because we were getting up at dawn to see the giant otters of the lake playing, and also see some of the other wild life living around the lake.