Being a "rancher" is tough for a kid . . .

This spring and summer, Colten and Sam worked on raising 2 baby lambs to show and sell at the fair through the county 4-H program. It was hard work . . . . for them and mom and dad! I had to go an catch the lambs a few times in the neighbor's yard when they'd get out of the fence we rigged for them. After having to do that a few times, I finally got it working right - thank goodness!!! It seemed like the lambs would only get out when Joe was at work or out of town - just like the horses! The first time the horses got out in the road, I looked like an idiot chasing them back and forth with nothing but a bowl of grain to get their attention!

The lambs got their own pen that Colten, Sam and Joe would stay near to keep the lambs fed and watered and clean. We were so happy to have some family come up to support the project for the boys.
There was a lot of waiting since there were so many kids doing it this year!

Sam isn't old enough to show and auction off his lamb, but Colten is. He did a great job with it for his first year. He got some blue ribblons, and looked really professional showing his lambs!

The judge was really good and explained every little thing that she judges on to the rest of us.

Chloe, as always, was a great sport and was just happy to be with everyone!

It was a lot of work, but it was fun.
Sam showed his lamb at the pet show, and he was thrilled to get a trophy for it.

Jake was a pretty good sport. He just walked around with me looking at all the animals. It was pretty hot, though, and when he was tired, he'd just put himself in a time-out in the shade.

Sam, especially, got sad about where the lambs were going after the fair, and made sure that I took pictures of them so he can have a picture of them by his bed to always remember "his cute little face."
It was definitely the "real deal" when he was up for auctioning off his lamb. There was a huge crowd, and the guy calling out the bids was very good at the "bid announcing". I bet it's really called something else, but I thought it was crazy fast and VERY entertaining. His voice almost made me want to bid on a $3,000 steer!! Good thing I never got a bidder-number! Joe actually bid on a pig - so we've got a freezer full of pork on the way!
It was so cute to see him up there with everyone watching and bidding. I couldn't help getting into it and smiling for him!
I know it was a good experience for Cole and Sam, and it was great for them to have something to work toward all summer - each and every day, but it was still really, really sad knowing where they were going right after the fair - the boys were pretty down about it.


I wish summer would never end.

My most favorite thing about summer is the swimming lessons. I got Cole, Sam, and Chloe going to a couple of sessions of lessons just because that is what summer is all about. Lazy summer days = sleeping in until 10, riding our bikes over to swimming lessons, ice cream afterwards, and friends over for the rest of the day. PERFECT. Okay, there's always a couple of chores thrown in there to keep the kids balanced, but really -- it doesn't get much better than that!
Chloe LIVED for swimming lessons this summer. She would wake up and start counting down the hours until it would be her class's turn. She needed me to teach her how to watch the clock and sometimes it would make her frustrated because she would swear the hands on the clock weren't moving!
She did great, though! No tears ever, and totally willing to go under and jump off the diving board whenever her teacher wanted her to.
Sam loved it, too! He wouldn't get in the pool in California without a life jacket firmly in place, but by the end of the first session, he was jumping of the diving board and swimming all the way back. It makes me feel so much better to know he's not going to sink like a rock whenever he gets in deep water. We have 3 reservoirs within 20 minutes of our house, and there's no community pool up here! I wonder how in the heck our kids are supposed to learn how to become good swimmers?!!?

It would just about drive Colten crazy to sit on the side of the pool waiting for his turn. He would look for any bug or piece of grass that would get in the pool, and that would be his signal to dive in and save everyone from the bug! He wanted to be her lifeguard, but it wasn't really a necessity since the teacher did such a great job.

Colten did great! I can't believe I have a son that is old enough to be diving off the diving board! The time flies by so fast!
Jake was just happy to splash on the side of the pool. In his underwear. Well, at least he has SOMETHING on, right? Out of all of my kids, he is the most naked one. He is definitely not shy about people seeing his "weinen" (that's what he called "it"). So, I think that everyone in Morgan has seen Jake outside riding his bike around in his unders and probably a large percentage of them have seen "naked Jake" on his bike, too! Oh,well, not worth the fight!


We love going to the cabin!

We spend a week every year with the entire Hansen family (and it's starting to get big!). We love it because everyone makes sure to be there. With some families moving out of state this summer, it was especially wonderful to have everyone there!
Colten is such a stud fisherman. He could sit and fish the entire day. I really can't stand the mosquitos, but they don't seem to bother him. That's dedication to me!
Grandpa Steve could always be counted on to help saddle up the horses. What in the world would we do without him?!?!?!
Chloe loves her uncles and aunts. Uncle Ben stayed with her for a while to help teach her how to fish. Thanks, Ben!
Colten has also become a great "horseman"! He went on some pretty long and steep hikes with the horses, and he did great! I even helped out all the adults when it came time to ride the horses back down the mountain to the corrals (a 3-hour ride!). Last year, he was pretty nervous riding them alone, but he has really "manned - up" in the last year. Now he controls the horse like a pro!

My allergies were SO horrible because of all the gorgeous wildflowers! It got to the point that just looking at the fields of flowers would make me stuffy!
Branson did great with the horses. Joe even let him be in control a few times!

I always love watching the horses roll after you take off their saddles. It's amazing how such a huge animal can just wiggle around on the ground and hop back up like it's nothing.

Chloe got a little dirty at the lakes.

This is Branson, one of Sam's best buddies. He and his brother came up the last day and a half to fish and ride horses. He loved both! I caught him fishing more than a couple of times without anything on the hook! The worm was long gone, but he didn't care -- apparently, sometimes you can catch a fish on faith!

Jake loves being a "cowboy." He always says, "I, Jacob! I, cowboy!" There's nothing in the world cuter to me than his little "picture grin" he does for me! We are so much in love, and I hope we always get to cuddle and be friends like we do now. He's such a great little buddy!!!

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for a wonderful week! We had so much fun!Why do I find it so amusing to watch a group pull together for a picture? That's usually when the best faces are pulled!
Ahhh . . . . . so put together!
Jake and Hank LOVE horses -- so there were TONS of rides! Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!

Joe's cousins were staying just across the field at their cabin, so we got together with them a lot. It was so great for all the second cousins to meet and play together. They all got along so perfectly! They did a lot of fishing, teepee building, four-wheeling, hiking, and air-soft gun shooting. What else could there be?!?!

Chloe got to spend time with her cousin who is also named, Chloe. They thought that was so cool! Same age, same name, same favorite color! Best friends from the begining!

There was a LOT of junk food - so Jake had a great time!

This is one of the teepees the kids built outside our cabin.

This might be a little TMI, but it's a story that must be remembered: Colten had proven himself a good and cautious driver of the ranger to me this week, and so I let him take his friends on a few excursions without a parent. I'm not sure he's really old enough for that, because one afternoon I saw what happens when you give a kid too much freedom.
He wanted to take Bowen and Branson and Sam and Chloe over to Ladies Lake just to do some fishing off the side of the lake. It's understood by now that he is NOT to get in the paddle boat without both lifejackets on and a parent at least on the bank of the lake. I was really tired, so I just let him go. About 45 minutes later, I went to check on them. I pulled up in a four-wheeler, only to find that NONE of the boys had ANY clothes on. They were all trying to cover their parts with their hands or hats, but it was too late. I saw it all with them dancing around naked, having a mud-fight. My sweet, darling, innocent Chloe was looking just a little distressed all alone in the ranger. Thank goodness she had her clothes on, too - that would have been too much for me!!! All I could do was pull up to her really fast, and have her jump on with me. Before I spun out of there, I told the boys that I expected them back at the cabin in 5 minutes with something covering themselves. The picture above is of them heading back to the cabin. They thought they were SO funny!
Needless to say, they were stinky, and gross, and dirty -- so that meant a full-blown group shower, a big "talking to" about staying safe and making smart choices, and a lot of giggles and snickers from the other 15 people who were all around to watch the festivities!
Singing around the campfire was great, and stuffing those double-sized smores in their mouths was definitely a favorite for the kids.
This is Bowen - one of Cole's best friends. He came up for the last day, too!
This little group of kids turned out to be quite the little trouble makers! Somehow, they found some little 22-gauge bullets (I think that's what they were, but I'm probably wrong), and the oldest one there knew that you can put stuff in the lighter of the car. They didn't plan on the bullets actually exploding, but they did. One of the girls got her hand burned, and we're all hoping they learned a little lesson about playing with things in cars (or rangers) -- I know I sure did!
These are the teepees the kids helped their cousins build. Colten and Bowen slept in one even! I was so worried about bugs and animals and being cold (because it got down to the low 40s by 10 p.m.!), but they said they were sweaty!
This is the whole family group! All the Hansens and the Garffs in one picture! Windy ridge is in the back (a favorite hike of everyone's). It's pretty rare to get everyone together like this - so it needed to be remembered! It was a lot of fun!

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