Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Devil's bathtub hike

We all drove up to Spearfish Canyon (about an hour away) the final Friday in September, thinking that it would be one of our last really nice days (90 degrees in Rapid but cooler up north in the hills) and that perhaps some of the fall leaves would still be on the trees. It was an incredibly beautiful day and it was so refreshing to get away from the house, town and every day life. 

Terry and I hadn't been up there since I was early pregnant with Noah in 2004 and we were taking a break from my nursing school study time. But when several of my church friends started posting photos of their Devil's Bathtub hikes, I wanted to visit again along with the kids. Plus, I saw this blog post which made me confident that I could find the place again.

Here we are just getting ready to cross the bridge at Cleopatra Place.

I had to take a selfie with Terry to prove I was there.

 There's no point in wearing socks or hiking boots on this trail. You have to cross the stream so many times that your feet about get all wrinkly. Our very first crossing was like 20 feet after the bridge. The water was frigid at first but by the second and third time, you were pretty well used to it.

The kids did pretty good. Well, Noah and Evie rocked it but Samuel was really only up for half of it. But all the way up he did very well.  

Ezra did much better than on the Flume hike we had done a few weekends before. There were lots of branches for him to grab. 

We had probably missed the peak of fall color but there were still enough leaves up to enjoy the change of season. 

Another stream crossing. Samuel needed lots of help over. Actually though, the stones could be very slippery. 

Look at that weird growth on the tree! There were some business cards on top of it when we went by. 

Kids being kids. Sillies.  



After about 30 minutes we came to the best part - the limestone. How ridiculously gorgeous is that?! 

Couldn't get over it. So pretty. 

The whole hike was like food for my eyes. 

The farther along you went, the more you had to climb rocks and cross the stream. Samuel needed even more help.  

Getting closer to the bathtub. 

We made it! Well nearly. Just had to finish traversing this little cliff. That brightly lit waterfall farther on empties into a little pool, Devil's Bathtub. No idea how it came by that name. 

Evie waded right in. The last time I was here there was a large boulder at the bottom of the waterfall so you couldn't slide down it. I was so happy to see from my friends photos that it had somehow been removed.  

I had prepped the kids for this hike by showing them everyone's photos and videos of their little friends going down the waterfall slide. Noah was the first to go and had no problem. 

He made it! 

Though she had been prepared, Evie was still frightened. I don't know if she thought she'd drown or what.  

She did just fine, though, she didn't want to go again.  

I went and stood at the top of the waterfall and took this shot looking down. It was a lot more narrow than I remembered it.  

Ezra was happy to sit like that for a while. I was worried he would slip and fall in the water! He was perfectly safe though with a watchful hand.

Yeah, hard to believe last time I was here Noah was a little baby in my tummy and now he's a huge nine year old! Oh, and I have three more of them. Crazy.

Daddy also went down the waterfall and then they both went down the next smaller slide too.  

Another couple hiked up and we took photos for each other. I'll have to frame this one! 

At the bottom of the second smaller waterfall was a deeper pool. Terry jumped in from that little cliff, which was probably about six or seven feet above the water. Noah did it with him from the other side first. Pretty cold to immerse your head! 

Evie didn't want to go down another slide so Daddy got her to sit on his lap. Except at the last minute he let her go by herself. Hehehe! It wasn't bad - she was just being a little too sensitive. 

After about an hour of playing we went a little further down where the water was less deep to eat our packed lunch. 

I wish I had taken more photos on the way down because that vantage point was even prettier. But Samuel needed even more help. He'll do better next year. The kids agreed we should do it every year. 

"Hey mom, take a picture of me!"  

Poor daddy ended up carrying two boys a lot of the time going down. If we didn't have Ezra, Samuel would have been better off on Terry's back. But really, he was big enough for this hike. Just kind of tired out and whiny. 

Nearly back to the van.  

Ezra started nodding when we were just about done. He never does this! 

He went to sleep immediately in the van and even slept through Dairy Queen. Guess all that sunshine, fresh air and beauty wore him out :) 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Honest Eva

I have very seldom, if ever, written here about myself, personally. And the reason is that the purpose of this blog has been to record my family's lives, stuff we do, not necessarily my personal thoughts. Any photos that I take I like to write about about so we don't forget them. However, I don't usually take photos when my kids are fighting, when I snap at them or when I'm stressed out, feeling lonely or bitter. Those things happen a lot but they don't make it into the blog. I mostly take photos of happy things and I think that's how most people are. You don't take a photo of a fight. 

Recently, however, I have felt convicted about something very important to me:  Honesty.

I very much value honesty, sincerity, frankness, truthfulness, openness and straightforwardness. I don't know if it's a part of my DNA, if it's been crafted into me through my upbringing and experiences or a combination of the two. I am a very honest and transparent person. Very much like Candor in the Divergent series (3 books I recently consumed), if people could be more vulnerable with each other, every one would be better off. How many interpersonal problems could be solved by honesty: "You hurt my feelings when you said that. Oh I did? I'm so sorry! Please forgive me." Bam, done. Honesty is one of my core values and something I genuinely like about myself. Terry likes this about me too. I like to think my friends like that about me but I don't know. I have a hard time with friends.

The thing is, I think I have been holding back lately. Factors involved in that could be primarily insecurity, having a baby and being more stay at home, homeschooling and therefore being more stay at home, and again, insecurity.

I like to think that I'm not insecure. But if I really look deeper at any problem or unpleasant emotion that I have, insecurity has a lot to do with it. And that seems odd to me because I also like to think that I don't care what people think. I had a very bad experience right before I went into high school where all of my friends ditched me and said very awful, appalling, horrible things to me. Did you read where I said when this happened? Yeah, I went into high school with no friends. I had to start over. And this sort of thing (bullying) is regrettably, pretty normal anymore, but it doesn't make it any less devastating. So right there, when that happened to me, I made some promises to myself. 

#1 I wasn't going to care what anyone thought about me anymore. That had been part of my problem. I changed who I was to fit in. Turned out it didn't work and I was becoming a genuinely terrible person. Therefore, I thank God for taking me out of that group. 

#2 Another thing I wanted was to be even more honest, though I think I still had been up until that point (my family just doesn't beat around the bush about things). I was going to be who I honestly was and not try to be like who others thought I should be. I like that.

#3 One other thing I changed about myself, unknowingly, was that I was going to trust people less. And that change was bad. I thought that I didn't need anyone if that's how they treated you. I am still working on this one. It's difficult. 

So, I still value not caring who people think I should be and honesty, but to be honest (tired of that word yet?), I have been failing a little. In my own mind I have begun to care about what people think of me. I'm always thinking I "should be" this or that. Or I "should be" like her or them. Or that I "shouldn't be" like how I am. And some of those things are true, but most of them are not. Most of them are lies. And I have been swallowing those lies. I am an absolute sucker for some of those lies. And then for good measure, I project those lies onto other people and then all of the sudden, they are the ones telling me who I should be. And then I'm angry with them for having unrealistic expectations of me, all without them saying a word. Works good right?

If I could just be honest it would be a lot easier. So that's what I'm doing here. All over again in my life, I'm going to try not to care about who I think I should be and who you think I should be. If I have let you down, I am genuinely very sorry indeed. I never want to hurt anyone. But I am who I am and I will let people down unknowingly. Paul was all things to all men, but I have a hard time with that. 

So who am I? 

I am shy! I am an introvert. I would prefer most of the time to be alone. When I'm around too many people or have too much going on, I get really stressed out.

 Going to youth group every week is very difficult for me. The wall of sound hits me and I want to turn right back around and go stand in a corner and observe. But I don't. I push myself all the time (if you think I don't, I do). I go stand in a group of people and try to think of something to say or ask. Terry makes it look so easy. He tells me all of these questions I could ask. It's not that easy for me. Literally, when I'm standing in front of you not saying anything, it's because there is absolutely nothing in my mind to say. I'm completely blank. Seriously. I have thoughts flying through my head all the day long but somehow when I have to talk to someone I don't know well (which is anyone I'm not married to) I have nothing to say.

I don't like being too busy

If I don't have an appropriate amount of downtime, I am a mess. I get more emotional and needy with Terry and cranky with the kids and all around unpleasant. I need alone time. I am totally not a party planning or party attending or large groups kind of person at all. I am not the life of the party. I am not all fun all the time. I am probably not even all that friendly, but I do try. If you knew how hard all of this people stuff was for me, you would know how hard I do try. My husband is a youth pastor forgoodnesssakes! I'm supposed to be "friendly" and "loving" and "giving" and "nice" and "outgoing"  and all that kind of stuff. Well, if you didn't already notice, I'm not very good at any of it. 

I am who I am and I don't need to be like someone else. I'm doing the best I can and am attempting to trust and obey God where I'm at. God loves me right where I'm at but He doesn't leave me there. He works on me every day. I'm not the same person day in and day out, whether or not you or I see the change. His grace is sufficient and He is transforming me. He is faithful to accomplish His will in me. I am not the one that has to change me. HE changes me. He is the one who made me an introvert in the first place. Will He now turn around and say, "That's not good enough. You have to be an extrovert so everyone, including me, will love you." NO! And yet, those are the lies I believe.

So that's why I'm writing this post. I want to say sorry for letting people down and ask for their forgiveness and grace. I have not arrived and will never arrive until the day I die and can finally go to that city. I cannot wait. I hate all these lies and expectations and unspoken thoughts and feelings. Why can't we all just be honest? If I hurt you, tell me. If you hurt me, I'll try to be brave and tell you. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

apples, pies, peels

It's apple harvest time! Or it was the last week of September. A very next day after the kids picked up apples, there was a another ton load of apples dropped on the ground. It was incredible - that ground had been clean of apples just the day before! So when we finished dinner, we headed out to pick apples and clean up grounded and bruised ones.  

Samuel was not much help. But Ezra was. A little too helpful actually. He kept chucking the good apples on the ground and putting bad ones in the buckets. Mommy had lots to keep her busy. 

We picked these five buckets! All the grounded apples went into the field behind our house and it's been fun to watch the deer come nightly to eat them. 

It's been wonderful not having to buy apples every week.

The following Sunday, I heard what has been become known as "the carb call." It was a dull, cloudy day and I just wanted to bake. And eat. Terry wanted apple pie. I put him to work peeling the apples.

Noah is strange and likes the peels of the apples the best. His very favorite snack is apple peels smeared with peanut butter and a banana slice on top.

I made an extra pie to share with connection group the following night. 

Noah likes the apples peels and I like the carbs. I am pretty addicted to these homemade pretzels. Since my baking took all afternoon, that night we had apple pie and pretzels for dinner :)

fall sprinkler afternoon

Thursday, September 23rd was a really fine day. We took a break from the history reading I had planned to do and played outside instead. Well, the kids played and I took pictures and made some rhubarb bars with the last of the rhubarb.

Before Ezra came out, Evie and Samuel had been running through the sprinkler and spraying eachother. Once Ezra arrived Evie was so nice as to shield him from the spray. Perhaps Samuel was helping too...

Ezra is so darn cute. He absolutely loves playing outside.

He did not love getting sprayed. But what kid could resist not doing that to a baby just to see what they would do?! And what mom would stop them when there was a funny picture to be taken? Okay, perhaps I'm a bad mom.  


He's my baby and he is cute :) 

Yelling baby. 

Pretty cold water.

But lots and lots of fun. Mr. Four Teeth.  

The last of the whatchamacallit blooms.  

Evie was kinking the hose so he could play with the water safely. 

Until she wasn't kinking the hose anymore... 

Big sister getting warm and dry. 

Our apple tree did great this year. There were probably about as many apples on the ground as on the tree. The deer loved them (the bruised ones) once we put them in the field. As for the humans, we have been eating the good ones. 


Sandy bottom. He sure loves that sandbox.

More grounded apples. Oh, and a super cute baby.

Terry wanted the kids to pick up all those apples before he got home. I had to crack the whip a lot to get them to do it. There was a ton of them though! Even Ezra was helping :) 

Ezra kept knocking the bag over in his haste to help. Noah was so annoyed. 

This water puddle is too cold mom! 

While the kids worked on the apples, I transformed this...

...into these rhubarb bars. And then I had it with eggs for breakfast for the next week (it has oatmeal in it! and fruit!). And Terry had it whenever he walked by. Good thing he's not home all day like me.