Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Springtime Birthday Celebrations

Both our kids were spring babies, and we know that the winter has passed by the time their birthdays roll around.  This year was no exception.  Our daughter turned 18, and our son turned 16, two milestones, for both of them.

Spring usually arrives here with lots of mud!  This year was no exception to that rule!!!

 The rain that we got plus the ground thawing created a very soupy mess out in our yard!

But when we begin to see the robins out in the yard and the sparrows building their nests in the barn... then we know spring is here...

 Even though we don't welcome the mud as being a sign of spring... still... that means good things are ahead!

The day we had our daughter's 18th birthday party, the day started off with snow flurries!

In spring, snow is always possible, although the nice thing is, it doesn't last as long!

For our daughter's party, I made homemade whole wheat pizzas...

I love the smell the yeast makes in the kitchen as the pizza rises!

Then we built the pizzas... pepperoni is always a big favorite...

 ... and my personal favorite is the supreme ...

and the finished product getting ready to go into the oven...

I thought I had a picture of the pizzas cooked... but no doubt they disappeared as soon as they came out of the oven! No time to get a picture with hungry kids hangin' out in the kitchen!

 Annie making her rounds at the party, trying to get as many hand-outs as possible!

The floor is always carefully patrolled by these two serious watchdogs!

 Well... maybe not... this one appears a little too relaxed for floor patrol duty!

On the actual day of our daughter's birthday (we had her party a day earlier), the day didn't start so well for her.  She went to leave for school, and didn't realize how soupy the yard had gotten...

Dad to the rescue!  She had to be pulled out of the muck by our 4x4 truck.  The dogs were carefully watching from a distance all the mud-slinging going on!

Not exactly the best way to start her 18th birthday! But, at least Dad was here to pull her out, and all ended well.  A good lesson to remember in spring... don't drive in the mud unless you have 4 wheel drive!!!!  Driving a Ford Ranger with only one wheel that spins, makes for a lot of mud slinging, and no progress... and the need for a 4x4 to come to the rescue!

In between our children's birthdays, we took a spring trip to Texas, and I have already blogged about that wonderful visit.  Exactly one month later... to the day... our son celebrated his 16th birthday.

He chose to have his birthday party out on our land where he and his friends could camp out, ride dirt bikes, and play air soft wars.  We ended up having his party one week earlier than his birthday, because of the weather.  The last bit of nice weather was the weekend before his birthday, and so we hurriedly put together a little party for him and his friends.

Once we got out there, the boys had fun gathering up limbs, twigs, branches, and splitting up kindling to get the bonfire going.

It soon turned into a competition...

But in the end.... together they had a big enough stack of kindling to get the fire going... which really is the main objective and goal here fellows!

Soon enough, the sun had set, and the fun was just getting started.  It takes a long time to get things set up when you're camping out for the first time of the season.

I set up a birthday table, and the crock pot full of cowboy soup for hungry bellies, and cold bodies!  Nothing like cowboy soup to warm you up!

And by that time, the fire had begun to really take off.

Huge piles of brush were being consumed rapidly by this hot burning fire!  Between the cowboy soup, and this blazing fire, I finally started to feel warm again!

The moon came out and its light was hazily transmitted through the flames and smoke from the fire.

Cosmo tried to stay as close to the fire as possible.  He loves being warm.  Annie, on the other hand, stayed far away from the fire.  She prefers the cold.

A view of our little makeshift campsite.

The boys kept adding wood to the fire.  It was nice to see them having fun doing work!  I wasn't about to stop them!

 The moon's light posed no threat to the light and heat from this bonfire!

The shadows created with the fire backdrop were pretty cool...errr hot!

The fire got so hot that it seemed the limbs were just melting into the fire.  We had to stand several yards away.  It was about 40 degrees out here and the warmth of the fire really felt great to me!

We kept shovels and water handy... just in case.  There was a lot of dry grass near the fire that we kept a close eye on.

Soon it was time to wind things down.  After birthday cake and presents, the boys hung out a while longer, and then they were ready to make up their beds in the camper and call it a night.  After making sure that the fire was out, and the boys were tucked safely into the camper, we left the four of them out there for the night.  I'll admit the mom in me worried a little about this... but they were all good responsible boys who seemed genuinely tired, and ready to call it a night, and who promised me they would stay inside the camper for the night.  

The next morning, I got up early, made coffee, and bacon, egg and cheese breakfast tacos.  As we arrived with the hot grub, the boys were barely waking up.  One of the boy's mom had made and sent homemade cinnamon rolls with him - what a treat!  The tacos and cinnamon rolls were devoured and only crumbs left after these boys tumbled out of bed to another beautiful day!

My husband and I hung out there all day with the boys, as they played air soft wars, then rode off on their dirt bikes, and 4-wheelers.... only while they played.... we worked.  It was great watching them load branches on the fire last night, but they seemed nowhere near as anxious today to do that today!  So, my husband and I kept the fire going, as he cut down brush, and I hauled it to the fire.

The boys were having too much fun with their motorized vehicles...

A picture of the back of our little campsite.  We spent the entire day out there ... the boys were celebrating and we were working... but it was nice to begin to see a lot of the brush get cleaned up.

Finally the day drew to a close, and all the boys made it back home safely, and all had a great time. Our son informed us that it was his best birthday party... I agreed... it was certainly great to have all the mess and fun outdoors!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Moon Ecclipse, or Blood Moon

We were able to see the blood moon in an amazing show on April 15th.  Our daughter stayed up to take pictures of the entire event. It was pretty amazing!

These first pictures were taken just pointing, and shooting, without a tripod.  Then, later she found the tripod, and played a bit with the settings and was able to get some better pictures of the moon towards the end of the show.

So up until this point, the moon was very bright, and there was a slight shadow beginning to move across it.  From this point on, the pictures are more dramatic...

Wow! Pretty impressive to see the moon looking like this!  Using a tripod definitely helped the camera to stabilize and take better pictures.  It was a pretty incredible event to be able to see!  Hope you enjoy the pictures that she took, if you weren't able to see it yourself!