Hockey, horses, and hay bales!

Sam and I are trying to figure out how to throw around a 105 lb hay bale! See this and more July adventures by clicking on this photo :)

Sam and I are trying to figure out how to throw around a 105 lb hay bale! See this and more July adventures by clicking on this photo πŸ™‚

Biiiiig Bucks! Doug would be thinking VENISON ;0

This video is a cross between Dick Proenneke and Blair Witch Project, but these were SERIOUSLY the biggest bucks I’ve seen in a while. Mostly the “big daddy” you hear me mention, but who is the first to leave the scene. You don’t get to see him much, but he was huge.

Now for some great pictures I haven’t posted yet – last weekend we hiked up Mt. Walker and enjoyed the day with Mom and Richard. They were able to enjoy some walks around other trails nearby before driving to meet us at the summit. Then we enjoyed an awesome dinner at The Timber House!

Out on a walk on Mt. Walker with Mom and Richard.

Out on a walk on Mt. Walker with Mom and Richard.

Richard telling Ben all about this old tractor. You are so wonderful, Richard, to take the time to explain everything.

Richard telling Ben all about this old tractor. You are so wonderful, Richard, to take the time to explain everything.

Having a picnic lunch before starting up the trail!

Having a picnic lunch before starting up the trail!

Selfies are getting more unruly by the year! Ben looks a bit too much like the Biebs.

Selfies are getting more unruly by the year! Ben looks a bit too much like the Biebs.

Great shirts from Nana and PopPop! Krug #47 on the Bruins!

Great shirts from Nana and PopPop! Krug #47 on the Bruins!

Fun at the summit :) It was a HOT day - over 95 when we started but a good breeze through the woods.

Fun at the summit πŸ™‚ It was a HOT day – over 95 when we started but a good breeze through the woods. Sam is working on a large 7×7 Rubik’s cube!

First schooling show!

Emmy and I embarked on a huge adventure – enter a schooling dressage show up at the Saddle Club on Sunday. We are lucky – we can just hack (ride) over there from her barn. I didn’t sleep the night before. I was worried that her excitable self might be tough to manage and that we’d end up being more of a rodeo ride than a refined dressage duo. I had visions of her jumping the rails and ending up outside the court, being spooked at the boxes with letters on them and flowers (one of my favorite videos is “dressage horse freaks out at the Olympics” with exactly this unfortunate scenario) or me falling off. Thankfully, I returned home alive to my children and husband, and none of these bad things happened! (I realize, though, that if they had – I might be richer for it if the YouTube video went viral – so either way, it would have been fine. Provided I was still alive.)

Enjoying some relief after our test - yay! We did ok!

Enjoying some relief after our test – yay! We did ok! Thank you Kris for joining us and sharing Emmy with me (foreground, Emmy’s new owner) and Jenni (standing next to Emmy) for coaching me while Janet was away showing Havana.Β 

Warming up in the schooling ring before we go do our test.

Warming up in the schooling ring before we go do our test.

Kind of not amazing position, but that is a strong horse to manage and we were barreling around! The next transition came up super fast. I couldn't believe I kept her inside those rails  :)

Kind of not amazing position, but that is a strong horse to manage and we were barreling around! The next transition came up super fast. I couldn’t believe I kept her inside those rails πŸ™‚

This particular Ride and Review affords you a chance to ride a test (a sequences of gaits and patterns), then receive coaching, then ride it again and try to improve your score. I really enjoyed the whole experience, especially getting another crack at the test and some expert advice from someone who has never seen you ride before. Thanks to Jackie Chipman (Saddle ClubΒ President) and Rebecca Parker Black (judge) for such a great experience! Will remember this one a long time πŸ™‚

Gramma and Richard arrive!

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Here’s their awesome new coach! The chickens were in awe!

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Gramma got caught on the chicken mesh around the planters while we were trying to get the naughty hen OUT of the planter box! Richard ran to get scissors to free her button but Ben managed to get her free first πŸ™‚

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Then off to Hammy’s for dinner. While we waited, Sam worked on lowering his 3×3 times – he’s approaching world class elite solving pace! He takes cubes with him everywhere. So cool to watch him focus and his fingers are a blur!

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Hockey game this morning! The teams both played really well and it was a close game.Β  Sam got his third hat trick of the season. I’m sitting now at an Arduino circuit board workshop checking It out. I was floating around learning and mentoring as best I could. Needed a quick break! Ben is reading Through the Looking Glass – finished Alice in Wonderland yesterday. He says the Queen of Hearts is kinda strict.Β  :-X

Nerf bullets springing up like shoots from the gravel

Ben is psyched about these new soccer cleats Daddy picked up for him!

Ben is psyched about these new soccer cleats Daddy picked up for him!

And some skating at school with some buddies. This was a great time! We did some zone entry drills - watching Adam and Sam go at it in a friendly way was really cool. They switched offense and defense frequently.

And some skating at school with some buddies. This was a great time! We did some zone entry drills – watching Adam and Sam go at it in a friendly way was really cool. They switched offense and defense frequently.

The days are non-stop around here! I have arranged mini camps with responsible older teenagers, and Camp Caden this week is very popular! It was six boys and one fearless girl. They started out with skating at school across the street (which was a little problematic for one boy who brought his dad’s hockey bag instead of his own!) then did some shooting here, then some other activities. I also left out some dead devices (phones) for boys to take apart and put back together. They didn’t exactly do the learning exercise, but they did seem to relish taking them all apart. I have an amazing parts box now.As a reward for reading 30 min (I started small given the group) the boys got to cook up some Taquitos that Sam got from the commissary. They also enjoy mixing up Nestle Nesquik. As soon as I got home from riding, I had to grab Sam and Ben and head to the dentist. I didn’t quite get out the door as quickly as planned – lots of show and tell, messes that I’m a little OCD about, gear gathering, milk left on the counter, etc. I called and apologized then headed down after dropping one boy off so he didn’t have to drag gear. Dentist was very understanding – the receptionist has 7 kids! I really enjoy the house being full but I will admit being the master coordinator is tiring for me – you’d think it would come easier as I do it all the time, but I still don’t like being on my phone texting, coordinating, emailing, scheduling, devising, etc. etc. I want to just SIT sometime and hang out with the kids! It’s a bit busier this week due to a little ride and review I’m doing on Sunday, so I’m fitting in one extra ride. The boys are really enjoying hanging out with friends and were really helpful tidying up today. We did a quick 10 min broom and mop routine because it was a little messy and sticky. πŸ™‚ The floors look really nice now!!! Just in time for Friday. πŸ˜‰ And the Nerf bullets…I have picked up 20 just as I walk around. I swear they are procreating!!!! Honestly!

Ben has the skating bug BAD! He skated from 4pm to 7:15 tonight and wanted to put them back on after dinner! He's really gotten good. So natural on them.

Ben has the skating bug BAD! He skated from 4pm to 7:15 tonight and wanted to put them back on after dinner! He’s really gotten good. So natural on them.

This is me being brave and trying to ride a dressage test up at the Saddle Club arena where I will be in a mini show (ride and review) on Sunday. Horror of horrors. It will be embarrassing. But - good experience! It was more like barrel racing today than dressage. We kicked a cone over, nearly jumped one, and careened around like ranch hands. Someone was a tad wound up about the cones being out there and a small kid's wagon with supplies in it. Ah well...it was fun. I think I even neck reined once. ;)

This is me being brave and trying to ride a dressage test up at the Saddle Club arena where I will be in a mini show (ride and review) on Sunday. Horror of horrors. It will be embarrassing. But – good experience! It was more like barrel racing today than dressage. We kicked a cone over, nearly jumped one, and careened around like ranch hands. Someone was a tad wound up about the cones being out there and a small kid’s wagon with supplies in it. Ah well…it was fun. I think I even neck reined once. πŸ˜‰

Happy Fourth of July!

Ben practicing while Sam is in roller hockey. Couldn't feel more like Hawaii with this warm weather!

Ben practicing while Sam is in roller hockey. Couldn’t feel more like Hawaii with this warm weather!

Roller hockey mini-tournament - thanks for the camping flag, Dad! We are putting it to excellent service!

Roller hockey mini-tournament – thanks for the camping flag, Dad! We are putting it to excellent service!

And breaking with tradition, we got off the island for some much needed family time on a nice bike path, 7 miles out from Port Townsend and back through woods and rolling hills. Happy Fourth, God Bless the USA!

And breaking with tradition, we got off the island for some much needed family time on a nice bike path, 7 miles out from Port Townsend and back through woods and rolling hills. Happy Fourth, God Bless the USA!

I’ve spent much of the last week testing and uploading new skins for the photo album. I hope you find it easier to use on mobile devices. There should be a Facebook comment feature, and also ways to share photos via social media if you wish to. You would not believe how long it takes to upload 10 years of pictures… OMG. πŸ˜‰

Roller Hockey fundraising!

Here’s a couple funny pictures for you. Three families (Renna, Peterson and Krug) went in on a small bake sale today at the rink, at the playground, over to Jiffy Mart and finally back to the rink (no one out, no one in a buying mood!). Hap made his famous from-scratch cookies, Dillon and his sisters made puck-shaped brownies, and we brought watermelon and cold drinks. Together we raised $50 then families had to leave around noon.

From the rink, my boys and I decided to sell the rest of the watermelon and CapriSuns. We went to High School Road around 1pm to peddle watermelon and cold drinks to those returning from their Rotary pilgrimage. It was tough going, but we raised $40 more! Ben really worked it as best he could. “Nice cold drinks! Support Bainbridge Island Roller Hockey! Get ’em while they’re cold!” People trundling uphill with hands full don’t readily stop to dig out a dollar. All together we three families raised $90 and met some nice people along the way. Here are a couple shots!

To be honest, I came home pretty spent and hungry I took two iron, two zinc and four Advil with a beer and replenished electrolytes with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and tortilla chips! I’m finally recovering πŸ˜‰

Some really nice folks who stopped by to buy a drink and chat. Thank you!!!

Some really nice folks who stopped by to buy a drink and chat. Thank you!!!

"Ooooh, so nice and COLD!"

“Ooooh, so nice and COLD!”

Thank you, kind girl, for supporting the kids!

Thank you, kind girl, for supporting the kids!

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San Juan Island camping trip!

My Dad came out for a week in June and we concluded the visit with an awesome trip to San Juan Island! My Dad was quite a trooper dealing with all the activities which surround having boys – from eating messes, body noises, hockey in the house, roller hockey games, and going to watch me ride in a lesson. He really got into all the action, enjoyed all our routines, and we had so much fun catching up with him. I loved all the camping tips, like how to roll a tent and tie it up (so you don’t have to deal with the stuffing-fiasco that the tent bag always is), kitchen patrol (Dad was KP boss!), and how to properly embellish ice cream (sauer kraut or jalapeno jam, anyone?).

Here are a couple shots. Please visit the album for the full tour! (Images are uploading now!)

Camp is all set up!

Camp is all set up!

Sunset over British Columbia.

Sunset over British Columbia.

American Camp is an enormous National Park. We were really impressed with its expansive beauty for such a small island.

American Camp is an enormous National Park. We were really impressed with its expansive beauty for such a small island.

Did you know that you can roast socks to dry them out? Ben suggested that the rainy evening was due to my stinky sock evaporation. I can see his point! But I thought it was pretty frontier-girl of me. ;)

Did you know that you can roast socks to dry them out? Ben suggested that the rainy evening was due to my stinky sock evaporation. I can see his point! But I thought it was pretty frontier-girl of me. πŸ˜‰

One attempt at a family photo!

One attempt at a family photo!

Do something new each year…

My birthday present to myself is to do something unusual, learn a new skill, or just do something that makes me nervous. In Hawaii I enjoyed trail riding (horse) with a few girlfriends, a Hawaiian canoe paddle, a long run, etc. Here I have done a couple things, like paddle boarding, and last summer I rode my bike down stairs at the school because I’d seen the 10 yr old boys do it. Looked fun, but I didn’t want to when a ton of kids were watching, so I waited for summer then rode down them. A bit nerve-wracking. You want to go somewhat fast, and not turn your front wheel. Then I had this image of myself biking UP the stairs. I got halfway up and toppled. This year I knew it had to be the climbing gym. Lots of little kids go there for their birthdays, and the grownups watch. I have always wondered if I could do it – strength, agility and fear of heights were concerns. Well…today was the big day! Dad is in town, so I took the two boys and Dad for the adventure. It was SUPER fun!!!!

Cameron is my belayer. He's telling me the commands to use. I'm thinking of Uncle Tom here, big time!

Cameron is my belayer. He’s telling me the commands to use. I’m thinking of Uncle Tom here, big time!

I'm motoring on up the wall. I found that if you just keep going, it gets less scary. If you stop and think, you get a little nervous. Better to keep thinking about the next hand hold and not look down. I wore my riding gloves for inspiration. This wall cannot buck, so it's far less scary than an annoyed grey mare can be!

I’m motoring on up the wall. I found that if you just keep going, it gets less scary. If you stop and think, you get a little nervous. Better to keep thinking about the next hand hold and not look down. I wore my riding gloves for inspiration. This wall cannot buck, so it’s far less scary than an annoyed grey mare can be! I did three different routes and a total of four climbs. I will be back again! This was a really memorable experience.

I'm even more proud of Sam than I am of my feat. He is very nervous about heights and still he asked if he could climb. He tried several times and got higher each time. It sure takes guts to challenge yourself to overcome a fear. Kudos to you Sam! You made it more than halfway up this time!

I’m even more proud of Sam than I am of my feat. He is very nervous about heights and still he asked if he could climb. He tried several times and got higher each time. It sure takes guts to challenge yourself to overcome a fear. Kudos to you Sam! You made it more than halfway up this time!

2 lucky coins, an opossum and a raccoon

Sam, Hap and Eli getting some good coaching during a D2 game. They got to "play up" because the next division up had a team short on players. It was a great experience for them! Very hot, and second game in the heat, but they did fine. I think they actually won even though technically the team had to forfeit due to the roster change.

Sam, Hap and Eli getting some good coaching from Jeremy McCann during a D2 game. They got to “play up” because the next division up had a team short on players. It was a great experience for them! Very hot, and second game in the heat, but they did fine. I think they actually won even though technically the team had to forfeit due to the roster change.

Ben is climbing all the way up to the top! He is so brave! I don't think I could do this. It's a local climbing gym. I may need to try for my birthday. I always do something that I'm nervous about doing on my birthday. It's a tradition...Maybe Ben will coach me?

Ben (on the right) is climbing all the way up to the top! He is so brave! I don’t think I could do this. It’s a local climbing gym where a friend was having his birthday. I may need to try for my birthday. I always do something that I’m nervous about doing on my birthday. It’s a tradition…Maybe Ben will coach me?

The boys and I had a pretty productive Sunday. Ben and I sold 9 dozen eggs – took some work. People were really not in a buying mood. We had to work our sign spinning pretty hard. They must not realize eggs are in demand in the East Coast area due to avian influenza killing off 46 million birds. Oh well. I didn’t price-gouge πŸ˜‰ Then we fixed a broken sprinkler timer, and finally cleared the trails of massive spring overgrowth. Sam had the machete, Ben his favorite clippers and me a weird golf-club like machete thing.

Just as we drove home from picking Dave up at the ferry (he’s been in Connecticut), Dave goes “There’s a raccoon in the coop!” I could not believe it. Truly. We drove up JUST as the marauder was in attacking our birds. A few feathers were lost, but all the birds were ok. Seriously a miracle. I went back out with the staple gun and repaired the fence. Mommy was already a little tired and cranky from end-of-school insanity, but this did me in! Thankful I still have a flock, what with the bird flu and all!!!! I was not pleased that my friends the coyotes were back, literally howling as I stapled. JERKS! No licking your lips over chicken dinner!!! I will howl back at you. I have before. You just wait…

Oh – the lucky coin bit. We hide things for kids to find on Halloween. It’s always fun to find them later…I actually found two coins and a dead opossum. Is that lucky?

The boys and I were out clearing trails of spring over growth and I found this in a pile of hair. Ick! It smelled a bit, but then I got past that and the biologist in me got super interested. There were wormies crawling around decomposing the carcass, and I found the whole skull and jaw bones. Even a paw! I carried it off to hang it all from a stump so I could find it later (would also be a super cool Halloween decoration, right?). Then I found SCAT! Wow! The picture was complete. Here are my artifacts on a mossy log. Dave is disgusted. I should probably not mention I actually did think about cleaning it up and bringing it in to my little "artifact shelf" in our entryway. I Googled the jaw bone and think it's an opossum.

The boys and I were out clearing trails of spring over growth and I found this in a pile of hair. Ick! It smelled a bit, but then I got past that and the biologist in me got super interested. There were wormies crawling around decomposing the carcass, and I found the whole skull and jaw bones. Even a paw! All were connected by what was left of the backbone. I carried it off to hang it all from a stump so I could find it later (would also be a super cool Halloween decoration, right?). Then I found SCAT! Wow! The picture was complete. Here are my artifacts on a mossy log. Dave is disgusted. I should probably not mention I actually did think about cleaning it up and bringing it in to my little “artifact shelf” in our entryway. I Googled the jaw bone and think it’s an opossum.

Sam’s first hat trick

Some serious backhand here! Is that high sticking if it's a back hand? This hockey mom does NOT know much still!

Some serious backhand here! Is that high sticking if it’s a back hand? This hockey mom does NOT know much still!

Sam is holding a golden puck given to him by his coach for scoring three goals (called a "hat trick"). This was his first hat trick - a real milestone for any hockey player.

Sam is holding a golden puck given to him by his coach for scoring three goals (called a “hat trick”). This was his first hat trick – a real milestone for any hockey player.

Sam's good ice hockey friend Dillon Peterson on the other team, chasing him down!

Sam’s good ice hockey friend Dillon Peterson on the other team, chasing him down!

Lilies blooming!

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These guys just popped out over the past week! It’s getting pretty warm here, a sure sign that summer is around the corner. Just a few more days of school left, and it feels like we’re going out with a bang. May and June are always frenetic, but we’re finding time to just be together between the spurts of frenzy. I finally got a good night’s sleep last night so I’m ready for this week πŸ™‚ I’m also looking ahead to the summer – lots of unscripted time, as well as time to focus on neat projects we don’t have as much time for as we’d like during the year. The boys are very lucky to have teen mentors who will be working with them (and a few friends) on hockey and skating, maybe learning how to skateboard (Ben and me), programming and robotics and indulging in the card/board games they love. The teens benefit from being paid to do things they love to do anyway, while mentoring the younger guys. And they get paid about twice minimum wage. Good for everyone! This is my second summer coordinating this informal co-op of neighborhood boys. Wish me luck! πŸ™‚

Hope you’re all having a good weekend!

 

Dear Ben,

Dear Ben,

It’s your 7th birthday! I cannot believe how fast time has flown. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have two more years with you at home when we moved here in 2011 when you had just turned 3. Now 4 years have passed and you’ve done both kindergarten and are nearly done with first grade! You are so big, and you run faster than me already. Your feet hit the ground running when you were a baby, and we have had a joke for a long time that “Ben doesn’t know how to walk yet” because you only know how to run!

Here are some pictures you will enjoy.

You weighed in at 10 lbs 2 ounces, and were born at 12:22pm Hawaii time (3:22 pm here on the Pacific coast).

You weighed in at 10 lbs 2 ounces, and were born at 12:22pm Hawaii time (3:22 pm here on the Pacific coast).

Daddy is introducing Sam to his little brother. What is Sam thinking right now? Do you know what Sam said when you were 3 days old? "Will he be with us for a very long time?" I think Sam maybe thought you were just having a sleepover that first night. ;)

Daddy is introducing Sam to his little brother. What is Sam thinking right now? Do you know what Sam said when you were 3 days old? “Will he be with us for a very long time?” I think Sam maybe thought you were just having a sleepover that first night. πŸ˜‰

Mommy was very happy that you came out just fine!!!

Mommy was very happy that you came out just fine!!!

Gramma gave you your first bath!

Gramma gave you your first bath!

Uncle Tim was visiting for a month, and flew home the morning I went into labor. This is where hockey all started - a broom, a golf club, and a ball on our tiny driveway!

Uncle Tim was visiting for a month, and flew home the morning I went into labor. This is where hockey all started – a broom, a golf club, and a ball on our tiny driveway!

You spent a lot of time in the water - even before you were born!

You spent a lot of time in the water – even before you were born!

So, Ben, Mommy would like you to know that you have been a happy, bouncy boy for 7 years. When you’re upset, you are really upset, but you bounce back quickly (unless you’re making a point). You still love to play the ukulele and are just now learning not to SHRED it. You’re an excellent dribbler, bouncing the basketball through your legs and around your back at high speed. You are also good on skates, keeping up with big kids and working on your wristers, slap shots (nearly knocking me out with one!) and enjoy hanging out with the D3 teenagers at the roller rink. You’re quite the conversationalist, and very independent. Sam likes to tease you about your girlfriends – everyone says “Hi Ben!” to you at school, and you have a friendly, warm attitude when “coaching” other kids in sports. One really nice mom commented on that specifically while watching you play with her son. She said “You are so good at saying positive things while sharing the rules, like ‘Well, you wouldn’t want to do that in the NBA because it’d be a foul and the other team would get a free shot, but it’s ok today!’ ” ‘.

Other Ben traits to note…you do the laundry for both of you boys. You load the wash, put in the soap, set the dial and start it. Then you listen for the bell and switch it to the dryer without being asked. You help fold carefully, just like Gramma showed you. You like to dress smartly, and are careful to always tie your shoes nice and tight, with a double bow. In fact, you are such a careful dresser, it’s hard to get you out of the house, whereas Sam is already out shooting hockey pucksΒ with his hair all over the place and his pack still in the house!Β You don’t like to be messy, and don’t like the brunch for lunch option at school because the syrup is sticky. You never forget to wash your hands before eating, and always like to clean up afterwards. You and Sam could not be more different! Daddy thinks you’re a mini-Mommy. Well, I would take that as a huge compliment!

Ben, we love you so very much and hope you have a wonderful day today!!!

Oh – Sam liked to know how big he was each year. Here are your stats: 4 ft 4 inches. You still haven’t passed 60 pounds. I keep trying to sneak you food…

Love,

Mom and Dad

Ben’s 7th birthday party

Ben got to have his friends over for a soccer birthday party. Snoopy attended because he is Mrs. Baker's favorite character -the birthday child gets to take Snoopy home for the weekend and record in a journal what they did together.

Ben got to have his friends over for a soccer birthday party. Snoopy attended because he is Mrs. Baker’s favorite character -the birthday child gets to take Snoopy home for the weekend and record in a journal what they did together.

Daddies against kids!

Daddies against kids!

Nice job, Safeway!!! $16 - I consider that a bargain!

Nice job, Safeway!!! $16 – I consider that a bargain!

Singing loudly!

Singing loudly!

Testing out one of the toys!

Testing out one of the toys! A HUGE SUPER SOAKER!

Thanks to all the friends for coming! He got right into the Minecraft Lego set!

Thanks to all the friends for coming! He got right into the Minecraft Lego set!

First roller hockey game!

Sam scoring a goal! I can't believe Deborah (Coach Harris' wife) caught this action shot! The puck is actually in the air.

Sam scoring a goal! I can’t believe Deborah (Coach Harris’ wife) caught this action shot! The puck is actually in the air.

The game started out with a 0-0 first period – tight game! In the second period we came back from being behind by 2 and just rallied with 8 goals scored in all! I think the game ended 8:3. Lots of great passing, defense and teamwork.

Coach Harris - another most AWESOME coach. We are so lucky! In the hoodie is Asst Coach Ethan (in high school).

Coach Harris – another most AWESOME coach. We are so lucky! In the hoodie is Asst Coach Ethan (in high school).

Coach Harris made this "Tough as Nails" award. Sam earned this one for finishing his shift strong after blocking a shot with the side of his leg. He actually has a decent lump there - it missed the shin guard.

Coach Harris made this “Tough as Nails” award. Sam earned this one for finishing his shift strong after blocking a shot with the side of his leg. He actually has a decent lump there – it missed the shin guard.