Sunday, December 31, 2017

Epic Bug Collecting

Growing up, I never had to do a bug collection, thank goodness. When we moved here, there were rumors circulating about bug collections at our school. I heard the kids had to do a collection their 7th and 9th grade years. I was kind of dreading the whole thing.

June amazingly missed the 7th grade one entirely. I smiled to myself and thought maybe we could get through without doing one. Then when Robyn hit 7th, she got one. She was very diligent, caught all her bugs and I didn't have to hound her at all. But it was a fairly easy project with minimal requirements beyond the 10 basic bugs. Good job Robyn.

Then June got to 9th. She is taking Biology which is an amazing class, but first up on the list was a large bug collection with 30 bugs and requirements to get certain bugs in certain families. (Meaning their scientific classification, not bugs that were brothers and sisters.) June knew this assignment was coming all summer, but really didn't do much. Her only collecting was in Texas when I saw a huge millipede and made her catch it. (Which doesn't even count as an insect by the way.)

So with school started she decided to crack down. Robyn was very interested in helping. If she helped collect the bugs, she could also turn the project in and get her points now. (That is crazy cool that Mr. Glassford allows that!) So bright and early on Labor Day, we went down to the Provo River to collect some bugs.

We saw two teachers there. (Mrs. Frost and Mrs. Brooks) And we found some bugs. We even collected some spiders. (Yes, they are also NOT insects, but you can catch five NON-insects for extra credit.) The girls were a good team, with occasional squeals. We got a dragonfly and some other bugs I couldn't classify. It was actually a very fun morning.

One thing about the river trail is that there are a lot of bugs. And where they are lots of bugs, there are lots of spiders. So many spiders!! We caught a couple by the water, but we tried to avoid most of them. Like this huge orb weaver in his web. Look closely. My camera only wanted to focus on the background, but you can see him sitting in the middle.

After our morning foray, we had plans with the Hulse's. It was really the last day to play and their family wanted to go swimming, so we came along too. We all met up at the Provo Rec Center.

I thought the outside slides would still be going, but they weren't. So we contented ourselves with the inside equipment. The kids tried out the climbing wall. See if you can identify people. Remember, Henry and Jane were with us too.

Ivory is still fearless about jumping off the diving boards, or in this case the diving ledge. It is not my favorite, but look at her go.

Hulse's wanted to play games with us later, but we confessed that we had to catch more bugs. (June had checked out a net and she only got it for the weekend.) Jonny had the great idea that if they helped us collect, we would be faster and therefore have more time for games. It seemed like a good idea. So we all packed in our cars and headed into the canyon to South Fork Canyon Park to do some hunting. It was actually an amazing spot. We got tons of bugs. And plenty of unique ones.

We caught this butterfly right away. (Spoiler: We did not know how to preserve it well and Tyler finally put it in the freezer, but its wings stuck when we tried to get it out and it lost most of a wing. So senseless killing of butterflies. I'm sorry.) It was really beautiful.

We caught some cool caterpillars. One was quite fuzzy and yellow. You put them in alcohol to kill them quickly. Although some creepy spiders still don't die very fast in the liquid.

The Hulse's were amazing bug hunters. We spread out and found lots of stuff quickly. Jonny and Henry even helped get some water skaters. Ivory tried to help and ended up taking a dunking in the river. She was really not happy about that, but Beth had some extra clothes she could wear. Seriously, Hulse' guys are the best!

Naturally, we went home and celebrated by playing games.

K. Stay with me, I'm going to jump topics, but I promise it will all relate in the end. Next year for Girls' Camp, we are going to Heber. It is a very nice facility. I have not been there before, but they had a preview day where you can go and learn about it and tour the area. Several of us carpooled up there to check it out. It was really cool because we went up to check out one of the ropes courses and there were people running it. They asked if we wanted to try it out. Um...yes!

There were three parts to it. First, the rope ladder. It was a little unstable, you had to watch your footing carefully.

The trickiest transition is to the suspended bridge. (Hahaha, I've been watching too much Beastmaster. I feel like I am commentating.) Once on the bridge, try not to look down too much. Focus on each step and keep moving.

Once you reach the platform, there is a kind lady who will hook you up to a zipline and then it is all thrills and smiles as you go flying down the zipline. Super cool.

I stupidly wore flip flops to this activity, so Jolene loaned me her shoes and socks so I could try it out. That is true love right there to let someone borrow your shoes and socks. I left my camera down below and asked the ladies to take pictures, but I must have been amazing to watch because no one remembered to pick up my camera to take a picture.

It was an awesome facility. I loved the Yurts. They are like circular cabins. They had bunk beds which give a little privacy. They are behind the walls here.

And there is a cool skylight at the top. I really like the yurts. Camping in style.

Amy was on a roll. She was finding wildlife all over the place. She pointed out lots of deer.

We were at another campsite when Amy looked down and spied a strawberry? She stood back to get a better look. Turns out it was a Shamrock Orb Weaver. (And trust me, we had to look that up.) It looked much like this.

It had a bright redish orange body and cool black and white striped legs. I knew that I wanted to catch it for June's bug collection. (Aha, see we have come full circle.) But I was so afraid. Sorry, spiders are not really my thing. I took a little bag out of my purse and Jolene amazingly trapped it inside. I then proceeded to hold it by a corner all the way home.

The best part was that I handed the bag to June and told her she needed to get the spider out. She got out a jar of alcohol and was going to tip it in there, but I suggested she put it in a bowl first. That way the spider legs wouldn't get caught on the lip of the jar. When she unzipped the bag and shook out the spider she was shocked at how big it was. "Mom, you didn't tell me it was huge!"

I'm sorry I didn't get a picture because the alcohol washed out his colors. That actually is a common problem when you leave bugs in alcohol. For a while, we had jars and jars of alcohol floating bugs and the freezer was full of more strange creatures. I was very happy for June to put her collection together. This isn't the finished product, but this is close. (She ended up using Robyn's dragonfly because it was a great looking one. Oh, and Robyn got all the points for this project plus extra credit for turning it in a year early!)

Here is a close up on our non-insect friends. The millipede was really cool. Not to mention the Shamrock spider.

Also, a great catch was this leaf bug. We found him right outside on our window. He looked just like a leaf. June's teacher helped her spread him out.

Although this project was not as bad as I originally thought, I'm glad it is over. And I'm slowly getting to the point where my first thought when I see a bug, isn't...'Must catch it.'

Saturday, December 30, 2017

August Phone Dump (2017)

It really is fun to go back and look at all the fun things we do. There is so much random day to day stuff that makes life joyful. Or weird. (Either way we can laugh at those memories.)

When we got back from Texas, we had really missed hanging out with the twins. So they came over and we took strange pictures as usual.

Brooke's dog Pepper had puppies. They were super cute. Sadly, the runt passed away. But she found good homes for the other three.

I'm trying not to add too many weirdies in here. (I'm a little weirded out) But this toe weirdie is classic.

Ivory wasn't feeling fantastic one day so we took pictures of her on the couch. I love how creepy her smile looks in the second one.

Tyler must love seeing us read together because when I curl up with the kids he always tries to get the camera out. Shows that I don't read with them as often as I would like.

When we got back from Texas, we found that our fish, Flibble, had been drastically overfed. He started to get very sick. This is how he looks normally.

This is how he looks when he can't keep his balance.

He ended up lying on the bottom of the bowl for almost a week and not eating. We managed to revive him with some medicine, and lots of prayers.

I finally got a picture of the owls we made with Grandma sometime during the summer. The kids have been using theirs for pencils and other fun items. I never finished mine. (Shame.)

Here is Pip hanging out during the eclipse. She is so funny when she sticks her tongue out. That curved tongue is perfect for licking her nose over and over.

Robyn did a little photo shoot up in Idaho. I think Grandma was very patient to let her try on all her clothes.

Spirit Whale has followed me ever since last year. Tyler thought it was funny when he opened his computer to find this. It is kismet.

I am not the best eater when it comes to lunch time. I can't be bothered to put anything together. Half the time I sorta skip it, but this day I made something yummy. I love yummy food. (Even if I have to make it.)

After Tyler decided to take the fence down, he enlisted the Young Men to help. They needed a service project and we needed some extra hands. It worked out nicely.

Daisy got a new helmet. I like her choice.

Football season started for the twins. Although we know almost nothing about it, we still like to go and support. And it is probably good for the girls to know a little something about sports. They may not be as lucky as I was to marry a geek. :)

Oh, and speaking of football, Ethan (in CA) plays as well. He is awesome. Jeannie put this picture on FB of Ethan getting an interception. He's in the red and looking studly.

And although this last picture is technically on September first, that was June and I going on a date for August. We went to see Wonder Woman. It was a cool movie.

And that officially puts August in the books. I'll just keep chipping away at my long list of posts. Happy Saturday to you all.

The Monkeys are Back in School

And then summer ended...

Well summer didn't end so much as our freedom to do whatever we pleased. We didn't have many complaints though. Summer had been full. Amazingly, getting back to school pictures on the blog was one of the few things I accomplished.

The day before school started was the solar eclipse. I really wanted to go up to ID, but I was already back at work making copies and the younger girls wanted to go to Back to School Night. It was super busy at work the day before school started, you can imagine. I did take a break to go home and see the eclipse with my kids.

I'm not sure where the older girls got eclipse glasses but thankfully they left a set behind so we could share them.

I tried to take a picture through the glasses. It worked okay, but I clearly did it too early.

Radi and Hyrum came down to watch with us. They brought welding goggles which seemed to work fairly well.

And they were the perfect size for Cheeseburger. He has such large eyes, he really needs the protection.

We didn't have the awesome experience that they had in ID, but it was still unique. The light didn't look the same and you could feel a difference in the air although it was hard to place. It just didn't seem usual. It was pretty cool.

The next day (you guessed it) we all went back to school. But to make things a little more busy (because we don't know how to slow down around here) June and I signed up for Education Week. I have gone before when the kids were in school, but this time around it seemed like it would be more fun to take her with me.

It was such a blast. We went to some separate classes and some together. We ate yummy food on campus (although remind me not to get the mint ice cream again) and went to as many classes as we could. We only did classes after 4:30 and we didn't even do them on Wednesday because of Mutual, but we still got to go to plenty. We would meet up on campus depending where the next class was. I plan on taking Robyn next year. Classes can be for youth 14+. They have specific classes for youth and those are sometimes my favorite. (Although the youth don't HAVE to go to those classes.)

I saw this picture on campus in a display. I really like the idea of the Savior reaching into the water to grab your hand, but I don't like the idea that you are already under water.

Finally we got to go over and see cute puppies over at the Moore's. Everyone needs a puppy break now and then. Check out the cuteness.

Ahhh. That is the perfect way to end the first week of school. Puppy therapy.