Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Clayton is 5.  Today.  This morning, five years ago, I was snuggling with my giant (9 lb. 9oz) baby after a 24 hour long labor.  Totally worth it!  He is such a sweetheart, and I often refer to him as my gentle giant.  He is sensitive and loving and such a good helper.  He's the first to respond to Cooper's cries and can get a good gut-chuckle out of his baby brother easily.  He's unbelievably creative, and his imagination keeps me -and his brothers and sister- in stitches and thoroughly entertained everyday!  He is constantly changing identities - the dress-up box is the most used container of toys in the house!  I especially love that we have our own superhero flying around this house to help out in times of trouble....and even when there's no trouble to be found!  Clayton, you bring us so much joy and we love you!!!
Clayton (baby on the bottom) and the baby across the hall in the hospital. Born the same day, but with about 4 lbs. difference between them. 

About 3 months.  Serious deja vu.  I frequently look at Cooper and think, "I've seen this face twice before!" 

One Year Old! So. Stinkin'. Cute.

Second Birthday - shortly after the beginning of the Batman obsession.  
And also, just days after Connor's birth.  Hence the sad brownies with frosting piped not-so-carefully on top. But it was Batman.  So he didn't care.  (AND, he totally looks like Connor to me here.  Which is funny, because sometimes I don't think they look anything alike.)

Happy three-year-old.  (He got a superhero party that year and was beyond excited!) 

Four years old and keeping the peace in our home. 

Imaginative 5 year old.  Yesterday, he put on this interesting ensemble, without the "hat".  I told him that he sortof looked like a knight, to which he replied, "Then I need a helmet.  Where's the bumbo?"  I think it's interesting that he recognized the shape of a medieval knight's helmet's nose guard on the bumbo seat.  That's the kind of creativity I'm talking about.

The Big 3!

Connor turned 3 on Sunday.  I'm having a hard time believing that it's already been three years since he joined our family!  After our scary experience with an emergency C-section after over 24 hours of labor, we're glad that he's a healthy, VERY active, normal 3 year old!  He was the busiest baby while in the womb, and I think it's safe to say that it was pretty indicative of his personality. He's always going, going, going and keeps us on our toes, but we love him bunches and can't imagine what our family would be like without our little busy bee!
Brand New 

Going home from the hospital.  Already a happy little guy.

One year old. (It's killing me how much Cooper already looks like this!)

Second birthday. 

Such a big boy!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sizzlin' Summer

On Sunday, July 22, as we were getting ready to head home from church, Jake got a call from a friend, informing us that there were several fires in our area.  The closest was about 2 miles North of our home, on the land where some dear friends and neighbors run their cattle in the summertime.  As we got closer to our house that day, we could see a little smoke, but not much.  We could see smoke in a couple of other places to the West of us, which soon disappeared.  The smoke to the North also seemed to lessen that afternoon and we thought things were all taken care of.  About 45 minutes later, I heard Caroline, who had been sitting by the kitchen window, say, "Moooooooooom??????"  When I went to see what the matter was, we could see huge black billows of smoke that seemed to explode every few seconds as trees were taken out by a fire that seemed to be rushing toward us.  I had already packed the car with our necessities.  The men had cut firelines around our houses and filled buckets of water to prepare for the worst.  We learned that the fire was still about the same distance and our good friend, who works as a firefighter for the Forest Service, paid us a visit late that night to let us know we were in no danger. 

Monday morning was pretty smoky, but the helicopters and buckets were on the scene.
 Monday evening, the smoke was pretty scary looking, but we were again told that the fire seemed to be moving East and West with the wind change, but was still the same distance from us.  This is the view from our yard:
 Tuesday morning, the smoke seemed less.  Around noon, Clayton and Cooper and I headed to town for immunizations - leaving Caroline and Connor at the ranch with Jake.  When prepared to return 4 hours later, this is what we saw from town - about 30 miles from our house:
 From Highway 385, looking West probably about 15 miles from home:
 From our back porch:

The wind had turned East and the fire had gotten away from the firefighters, raced out of the woods and up to the "top".  I was stopped twice by deputies on my way home, as they were trying to keep as much unnecessary traffic as possible out of the area.  As I drove towards my house, I could see that the fire was heading North East - away from our property.  But it was heading toward friends and neighbors homes and had demolished the summer pasture for the friends I mentioned earlier.  It was awe inspiring and frightening to watch the orange flames lick the prairie and see trees just burst into a bright glow as I drove.  When I got home, I could still see huge flames shooting toward the sky as tree after tree was engulfed.

The wind changed West again, and fortunately, the fire turned into a burned out area from the fire we had in 2006.  . Because of the limited vegetation as a result of that burn and also with the blessing of a little bit of a rain shower the fire slowed and they were finally able to get a handle on it.  When Jake and I went to town later that evening and then returned, we couldn't even see flames, personnel or vehicles anywhere and we were told that by then, most of the firefighters had been able to finally go home.  How grateful we are for those who spent countless hours away from their families, in unbearable heat and rough terrain and conditions to protect our homes in this area!  And how grateful we are to Heavenly Father for hearing our prayers and protecting our home and all involved!