Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
Your surprise appearance there
Just outside of my front door
Sure gave me quite a scare.

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
You did not fly away,
just tweaked your head and looked at me
and flitted the opposite way.

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
Into the house you came
and I with greatest gentleness
did guide you out again.

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
Still near the house you stayed
Until the boys came with a jar--
You didn't seem afraid.

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
Such beauty, majesty.
Seen close up by curious eyes
In the glass observatory

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
We truly wish you well.
Won't keep you long, now let you go
Just watched you for a spell.

Off went the lid.
No more hid.
Wings spread wide
Away you flied.

Oh Mantis! Oh Mantis!
Did you hear my shriek?
I saw that bird so swiftly dive
It's got you in its beak!

Oh Mantis! Oh Mantis!
You never found reprieve!
Now you're that bird's yummy lunch,
But for you we will grieve.

Oh Mantis, Oh Mantis,
I get it now, you tried...
When I very first opened the door
You wanted to come inside.

-D.S. Koberstein
Based on a True Story
from the Koberstein household

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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Ginger the Guinea Pig

My sweet fourth grade daughter informed me that her teacher's birthday was coming up and she wanted to make her something cute and fuzzy because her teacher loves little animals. 

So, she went to work and found a pattern online (it was actually a whole site of free stuffed animal patterns that we will likely visit again.,.)

Then, she put the pattern up on the projector and traced it in the size she wanted. Then she cut out the pattern, pinned it to the fabric that she picked out from my FabMo (aka Fabrix) collection from years past, cut out the fabric, and picked out some beads for eyes. 
Then it was mom's turn. I did the sewing machine work, then handed it back over to her to sew the eyes and ears on and stuff. We finished it up by sewing up the backside, wrapping it up for Miss Chapman, and naming her Ginger. I think it really turned out cute! I was really proud of Dawna for finding and sticking with a project like this! It was really fun to work on with her! I hope we have many more Sunday night sewing projects ahead :) 

Good luck, little Ginger!

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Goodbye July Stop the Last!

We finally come to the last stop on on Goodbye July series. We ended our vacation in a most beautiful and unique place: Glacier National Park. A year or more of planning came together for this week of family fun. Our family, along with Heather and Rob and mom and dad Severson arrived a day early to Glacier River Ranch, a mystical location that apparently Google Maps could find, but Siri could not... so my siblings with iPhones had a heck of a time figuring out where we all were. Only a location beacon from mom or dad led the Reeves to the right turn... Everyone arrived eventually by Monday afternoon and we all got settled in to the cabin and guest house.  We were going to drive the Going to the Sun Road, but when we started Eva, there was a funny noise and a funny smell... not a good thing when you're on a road trip. Rob took a sniff and a glance and said he was pretty sure it was the alternator. Yippie. Then we got to play the odds of "Can the almost broken down car make it to the shop?" game. Odds were in our favor and the car made it to the shop. Great start to our last stop... After taking the car in, Rob drove us on the Going to the Sun Road. We took in the sights and found our starting place for our Heaven's Peak adventure. 

Monday night, for our opening Family Home Evening, we enjoyed "Singing with the Seversons," a name that tune game celebrating the Seasonal, Silly, Situational, Spiritual, and School Play songs that we have enjoyed over the years. At the end, Heather, Abbie, Emma, and I sang a song we wrote...well, a song we parodied... the "I Lava You" song from the Pixar short became "Memories of Love with our family..."

Tuesday was adventure in Glacier day! Our family divvied up and took the extra seats in other family's cars (remember Eva is stuck in the shop with a bad alternator...). We hiked out to Avalanche Lake, loving the scenery and enjoying playing in the water... and the mud! I had to re-create the mud club from Larry's field trip :) Even Nana joined in the fun by striping her cheek with mud from the lake! The fishermen got carried away with the beauty of the mountain lake and stream and almost missed lunch! 


After a lovely hike, we drove the Going to the Sun road again, all the way to the Logan Pass closure. We caravaned with the Reeves and stopped at some points of interest and learned about the road and the people who lived in Glacier during its construction. Yes, it gets chillier the farther you go up the mountain...
Tuesday night, Matt put together an evening of, you guessed it! Seversons Sing Along!  Apparently we are a singing family... shocker...One of my favorite moments of the evening was when everyone started singing the Phinneas and Ferb theme song and Nana just stared in amazement that we all knew a song she didn't :) 
ALL the little boys LOVED Uncle Rob! 

Wednesday was the day of crazy insane adventure! That was the day we hiked up Heaven's Peak. There is no trail up to Heaven's Peak. There's kind of a stream that goes some of the way up the mountain, then there's some beautiful meadows, then there's glaciers, then insane scree fields, then a looonnnggg ridge leading up and out to the peak. 
We started the day quite early with Rob, Jon, Abbie, Emma, Hannah, Dawna, Matt, Luke, and myself. Our merry party of nine parked and scurried across the river, stashed our water shoes in the bushes, and began the long journey up the mountain.  It was a beautiful piece of nature practically untouched by people. Apart from an occasional cairn by the river, there were no signs of people at all! Walking, then climbing along the river, then fighting though brush... on and on the hike went. Several times, Uncle Rob had to get out some webbing to assist us less confident climbers up over a ledge. Finally, after several hours, we got to some beautiful meadows and the hiking was much easier for a time. There were wild onions all along the river, which we enjoyed picking and munching along the way.  
Somewhere around 1pm we finally reached the glaciers that were melting, creating the mountain streams that we had followed up the mountain. The location was beyond description beautiful. Nature so pure and beautiful. Ice, rocky ridges, and pure water streams. We played in the frozen wonderland and enjoyed a little lunch there. Matt and Luke decided to turn back at that point, but Jon and Rob really wanted to push forward to try to summit. 
I was doubtful, but agreed to push forward a little longer. We reached the scree fields and tried to scramble up them. It was successful for a time, but soon, we were sliding three feet backwards for every step forwards.  Rather unsettling... We called this part "Sketchy #1," meaning that it was a little frightening and we were a little unsure that we could traverse it safely. Jon and Rob went ahead and secured a rope at the top of the scree field, then threw the rope down to us girls and we then we all made it to the base of the crevice that would lead us to our final ascent! Jon and Rob scrambled up the crevice like two lithe and limber mountain goats, but Abbie, Emma, Hannah, Dawna, and I just sat watching and shaking our heads. That was Sketchy #2. Atop the ridge, the boys found that it was quite narrow and steep and were a little nervous about bringing everyone up there. 

As we were trying to decide what to do, some large dark clouds began pouring over the edge of the peak.  No way we wanted to be out on that peak if a lightning storm was coming through. And that was Sketchy #3, at which point we called it and began heading back. 
Silly me, I thought with a 5 hour ascent to nearly the top of the mountain that going back down would certainly be faster. Little did I know the hardest part was yet to come...

The descent started off easily enough. Abbie and I hunted for white rocks and built a little temple high on the mountain top:
After passing the meadow, the slow arduous descending began. Around every edge was another waterfall and another cliff.  I kept thinking I would recognize the terrain we were passing by, but I never did. It felt like a completely different adventure on the way down. Somehow, we had to bushwhack through some pine trees, after which Rob had to straddle a waterfall to help the rest of us across. While we were still stuck in the trees, we heard Rob slip, splash, and scream. All us girls feared that we had lost Uncle Rob over the edge of the waterfall!! But then we heard him shout, "AWWGH!!! My foot is wet!" Whew. Just a wet foot, not a lost uncle. 

All us girls were at out wits ends by the time we arrived at the last waterfall, so we took a celebratory dip:
Almost there... now we just had to go through the old growth to get back across the river to the car. Unfortunately, we veered a little too far right and ran into a LOT of thorny underbrush. Yick. Just when we thought we were finished, we had one last thorny pokey push and reroute. The hike down took about 6 hours in all. We were cold, tired, hungry, and SO ready for a shower by the time we got back. But at the end of the day, I think I would like to go back someday and try again to summit. 

Thursday was rafting day! We went rafting in two sessions because of the size of our group. Jon and I and our three older kids were in the second group, so we spent the morning doing monkey fists and carving soap and soap stone. Then we had an enjoyable float down the river and it felt good on our sore muscles to jump in the cool water. By the time we floated back to the cabin, Sarah and Ben had the best dinner of the week ready for us! Roasted pork and and carrot and chick pea salad. So yum.

Friday, the group split up. Most people went into the park to explore a little more, but between my sprained ankle and extremely sore muscles, I didn't want to go anywhere. Jon headed into the park to run, I stayed and did more crafts and got to witness Dawna and Hannah each catch a fish! Lucky for us, Emily was there and cooked up the fish and we all enjoyed a couple bites apiece.   Those fish may or may not have been legal to keep. They may or may not have been a very rare species of fish protected by Montana law. Nobody can prove anything because the fish have been consumed :)
Saturday was just a day to pack and clean and say teary good-byes to our dearest uncles aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins. And then Rob cheered us up by treating the rafters like monkey bars. Nice finishing touch. 
We drove away from Glacier River Ranch about 10am. And we drove and we drove and we drove and we drove. We kept thinking maybe we'd stop... but then we drove a little further... and then around midnight we were already in Redding, so we just finished up the drive and arrived home around 5am. We all rolled into bed and slept the day away. 

Thus ended our Goodbye July. What an adventure. Now I am completely ready to stay home, get into a routine, and never leave again. 

Until next time...

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Goodbye July Stop 6 aka the Shortest One

20 hours.

That's how long our next stop was. The shortest, most last minute-est of all the stops was a one-night stay at Uncle Brandt's cabin in Felt, ID, named Hihoopi. Even though it was a short stint, we spent the time well... well, sort of... soon after arriving, I went for a seven mile run and sprained my ankle.

That sucked.

But apart from that, we got to eat Suddenly Salad (apparently a UT Betty Crocker specialty), enjoy the hot tub which got REALLY hot... like 110 degrees and then shut itself down for overheating... have a bonfire, and Larry got to ride/drive the John Deere lawnmower! BEST. DAY. EVER!!! 


Goodbye July Stop 5, aka The Long One

After hitting four stops in under two weeks, we were ready for a change of pace. Our next stop was in Lehi, UT at my sister's house, and we were going to stay there for two weeks... yesssssssss! We had more than a few fun times in our weeks there, including but not limited to:

Backyard Microadventure! One of the first nights at the Reeves, the kids embarked on a microadventure sleeping outside on a tarp. Everything was going wonderfully until about 3am, when the rain began to fall... from the basement where I was sleeping, it sounded like a stampede when all five girls came barreling in with their sleeping bags and mats. At 5:30, Heather bounded through the house remembering that the sprinklers were still on, right past the sleeping mass on the living room floor.  It wasn't until after the sprinklers were safely off that she realized they could have gone on anyway... quite the adventurous night it was...

Visiting BYU museums! In one day we hit all three museums on campus: the dinosaur museum, the MOA and the Bean Museum. Bones, art, and wildlife all in one day!

...not to mention the Eyring Science center... Look out! 10,000 Ohms!!! <>

Hiking the Y! Super awesome family night activity... and apparently lots of people thought so... even at sunset, the trail was extremely busy and the parking lot was totally full. The girls and dads continued past the Y to Mouse Rock while the moms and boys headed home and made dinner, which was eaten close to 11pm. Epic FHE!

And then one day, the dishwasher started to smell funny. Heather started a load while I went to pick up Emma from band, and when I got back, there was an exciting story to tell... Electrical fire from the control panel, water spraying out of the dishwasher, Jon on headphones, breakers thrown, black thick smoke... I missed all the fun, but I got to hear about it many times. So, it was dishwasher shopping date night for Jon and I and Heather and Rob :) After seeing every dishwasher on the Wasatch Front, they finally decided on one and we got it installed on the very last day in Lehi!
Out with the old... 
In with the new!
 Food Adventures! We learned that Emma is very particular about organizing her chopped tomatoes...
And we also helped Abbie with some mission prep by having her try some new foods like shrimp, Mochi, and California Rolls.

We enjoyed swimming at the Lehi Legacy Center and going out to two movies, but most of the time, the kids just had a blast around the house eating sour grapes right off the vine, exploring the gravel pit, swinging and breaking the swings, and finding all kinds of good uses for the stairs:
Apparently, Jade is exactly as tall as the stairs are wide
And then everyone wanted in on the action. 
These two boys seemed to love their pseudo-brother time. Sisters just don't appreciate things like cars, garbage trucks, sewer sweepers, and gutters. Larry and Isaac were nearly inseparable the entire time. Once they even did the dishes together...though most of the time if chores were to be found, the boys were not...

And let's not forget the homework. Abbie got me all excited about picking out books for her honors English summer assignments. In two weeks we read Smile and The Secret Life of Bees.Both are excellent reads and hopefully brought some new insights about literature to our soon to be High-Schooler! The other kids all worked diligently on their homework and piano practicing and I continued on with my training. The most fun run I did was running from Heather's house to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple and then back again, covering 12 miles and amazingly, the run was mostly on a trail! Heather biked along with me on many of my runs and I even got Hannah and Dawna out biking with me one day.  Suffice it to say we got great use out of the Murdock Canal trail.

Visiting LaNae! One of my darling triplet cousins! I miss this girl so much! It was such a treat to see her with her cute boys in her cute house with two trampolines and a toy room! My kids were begging and making me promise to come back again by the time we had to go.

As you can see, Stop Five in our Goodbye July boasted plenty of excitement, accomplishments, and love, not to mention plenty of rest and relaxation in random places:

Jade hasn't quite mastered eating while sleeping, but she tries nonetheless...

No, Dawna is not sleeping with toilet paper! Those were streamers from Emma's birthday!

The Reeves home is a sanctuary of peace and love. Every moment there was uplifting, inspiring, and fun! Makes me want to make my home a cleaner, more loving, more Gospel Centered place. Many thanks to Heather and Rob for loaning out their basement to us for 14 days!!!

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Goodbye July Stop 4

Onward! To the Hale Family Reunion!

After the Terry and Luetta reunion, we expanded our family love to include the whole Hale side of the family! Jon's Aunt Susan and Uncle Nathan work as service missionaries at the Camp Early Girls Camp close to Logan.  It was a short and sweet reunion of cousins getting reacquainted and getting to know all the cousins' kids. I didn't meet one person I didn't get along with. I loved it!!

Friday night, we had a great campfire program with skits and hotdogs and marshmallows.  Then I had a pretty short night's sleep out under the stars and woke up with Lynn, Louis, and Weston to go for a long run. I had to go ten miles and they wanted to go 18 (yikes...) so I started off with them for five miles and then turned around and headed back to camp. We ran by something that I have never run by before... thus the strange selfie here...
 In case you can't read it, that sign says, "NO TRESPASSING: UNMANNED ROBOTIC TEST TRACK." Nope, never seen one of those before... I almost wanted to take that sign home because it was cool!
 And back at the ranch, reunion fun was going in full swing! Pancake breakfast, crafts galore including Monkey Fist necklaces, Origami, and designing your own stomp rocket! These hand carts provided more than a little entertainment (and a fair amount of danger among the littler ones...) Everyone enjoyed a ride or a pull!

Then we played a huge variety of "Minute to Win It" activities which were super fun! Then of course you have to play in the water! Bottle rockets and sprinklers and kites finished of the afternoon.
All the fun tuckered out the little ones and they couldn't even make it to the tarp to take a nap... Jade is particularly famous for her strange sleeping positions... 

Larry made friends with Ella, a cute little cousin-once-removed... she has very short hair and was wearing basic jeans and a shirt. Of course, as things go, clothes get dirty when one is camping, so Ella went to change.  While she was away, Larry started telling us about his new best friend Allen... I was a little confused... I hadn't met everyone, but I certainly didn't know any kid named Allen... As he was trying to explain about his new friend, Ella came back with a pink skirt and shirt on! Larry looked SHOCKED! "WHAT?!?" he exclaimed in disbelief, "You're a GIRL?!? That.... just... blows my mind!" We were laughing about that moment all day... but what made me happy was that Ella's being a girl didn't change how much fun they had together for the rest of the weekend. He's an equal opportunity buddy :) 

It was such a pleasant weekend with all the Hale family! I love getting connected and reacquainted... and we'll see you all again in 5 years :)

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Goodbye July Stop 3

After a lovely camping trip to the Tetons, our next stop was Garden City, UT to enjoy a few days by Bear Lake!
It started a little rough... we didn't have an address for the cabin, and poor Cheryl and kids were waiting for us to arrive for several hours... but once we all got settled in, we fell in love with that cabin!

The cooks loved the kitchen:
The runners loved the local trails: 
 The kids loved the swings, the fire pit, and the amazing willow good for climbing and swinging:

And everybody loved the close proximity to Bear Lake, just out the back door and across a field!
 On arrival evening, we played family Jeopardy! We got to learn about Koberstein family history, which was fun! Then we got Weston on skype and he officially announced his engagement to Myra! YAY!!!!

 The first full day dawned cool and wet... but luckily, the plan for the day was to relax and hang around the cabin. The kids all enjoyed playing and Aunt Karla opened up her hair and nail salon!
After some lunch, we biked/drove to Jake's Shakes, which was also a fun family history sites. Mom K showed us around the little house turned shake shop and showed us where her old rocking chair and Cuckoo clock used to be... it was her grandparent's house. I thought that was super cool! And the shakes were amazing also! Famous for raspberries! yum!
We spent some time out on the lake that day, but the rain brought us in earlier than planned... but no matter... cousins + cabin + board games = fun no matter what the weather!
That evening, we had a wonderful family fireside. Each of the siblings had been assigned an ancestor from Garden City or Montpilier to research. I thought it was a great assignment! Our family got to learn about Naomi Phelps Jensen, my kid's great-great-grandmother. It was fun to remember her so close to her home!

Thursday dawned bright and beautiful and begging for adventure, of which we had plenty! 
In the morning, we biked/drove to the Garden City Cemetery, where we found grave sites for several Koberstein ancestors. In this picture, Daniel Joseph, Weston, and Joseph are all sitting by their namesake ancestor: Joseph Weston Gibbons.

On the way back to the cabin, we indulged in several rentals of watercraft! Jon and Lynn rented Ski-Doos and Grandpa rented paddleboards and kayaks for the day! It was an adventure getting from the rental marina back to the cabin's sandbar...
Dan and Wes found a groove on the paddleboards and taught us all how to stand and maneuver them. So much fun!
Everyone enjoyed the little kayaks, especially the little people, for whom the loud Ski-Doos were a bit much... It was a perfect day on the lake... until it was time to return the Ski-Doos... My adorable and adventurous (aka reckless...) husband wondered what would happen if you take the Ski-Doo at top speed (50mph) and then turn as sharp as you can... twice... Answer: severe pain in the ribs after smacking water that feels more like cement... luckily, no bones were broken, no internal bleeding, but Jon is facing a long, slow, painful recovery of severe rib bruising.

Later in the evening, we enjoyed a mission report and pictures from Grandma and Grandpa!

And the next day...checkout at 10am. Bidding a fond farewell to our seven bedroom, seven bathroom cabin! I would go back in a heartbeat! It was lovely!

View from the cabin...
...and the view from the lake.

As one last bit of awesomeness, Dan, Jon, Grandparents, and grandkids 12+ got to go to the Logan temple to do baptisms. A fitting end to our great reunion!

This little guy wanted to be an honorary Koberstein :) We said it was ok.

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