Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dad's Book Club: Go Set a Watchman and The Wright Brothers

So, Dad and I swapped books for our birthdays this year (which happen to be only 10 days apart, by the way...) I got him a book that I really enjoyed listening to while training for the marathon: The Wright Brothers. He got me a book that he wanted to read: Go Set a Watchman. In honor of our great thinking alike minds, here's a bit about my experience with each one:
I absolutely adore "To Kill a Mockingbird." I mean, who doesn't? This novel should be read as what it was intended: a draft, a study, an experiment that led to TKAM. Harper Lee is still hilarious, still an exceptional story teller with quippy dialogue and moments that fill you with nostalgia for your own growing up years. I love the way she retold some horrifyingly embarrassing moments from Jean Louise's childhood. All in all, fun to read, good laughs, and a nice appendix piece for TKAM. Obviously, it's not the most polished work of literature. Quite frankly, I'm not entirely sure I understand what she was getting at with Atticus and Jean Louise having the fight of their life in his office... did Uncle Jack really set it all up? Was Jean Louise really discovering herself or just discovering that her "Finch" background is both an advantage and an excuse? Who can really tell... but in the mean time, the anecdote about the "falsies" discovered on the high school marquee was pretty much my favorite. I missed Jem... but I suppose it would have been too much for Scout to have two great men in her life...
I loved listening to this book as I was running.  It's rare that I enjoy a non-fiction book, but this one was inspirational and interesting. I loved learning about Kitty Hawk and the family dynamics of the Wrights. Those boys were protected from so many things, so many close calls avoided. I love that they were emphatic about not working on Sundays. Their determination was amazing. Their ideas were incredible. Great to listen to, and Dad says it's also good to read. 


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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