I'm constantly trying to figure out how to help my kids pick up after themselves.  I have found the most success with a before bed chart that includes cleaning up their room and putting away toys. It's a lot of work to constantly pick up toys and snack trash all over the house.  A friend of mine has a job chart with pictures of her kids doing the things they need to do before bed.  I thought we'd try a different job chart to help spice up the process.  Our last chart had the whole month listed on it and they put a sticker by each task they completed before bed.  After they were all full we went to do something fun like go to Dairy Queen.

Our friends Jared and Melissa are caretakers at the X Lazy F Ranch up on the Black Mesa and we love going up to visit.  Last year a group of friends got together for the 4th of July and I think it started a tradition.  We got together again this year with about twice the amount of people, a PA system for playing music and a roasted pig.  Who knows what next year will bring.

No back county adventure would be complete without a getting lost/prayer story.  Wyatt and Willie took the four wheeler out today and after they were gone for an hour I started to get worried.  I thought they were just going for a little outing.  Then another hour passed and we said if they didn't get back in half an hr we'd start sending people out to look for them. I was afraid they were either lost or ran out of gas.  Well it ended up being both.  They took a wrong turn which is easy since there are so many jeep trails and dirt roads.  After Willie realized they were lost, he and wyatt both said a prayer and they started to try and find their way back.  He said they started seeing things they recognized and that helped them find their way back to them main road.  Luckily they ran out of gas after they got back to the main dirt road so they knew what direction to walk back to the ranch. I was worried since it was hot and they didn't have water or food.  Willie got a little sunburned but after a good lunch they were just fine.

We had a roasted pig who had been under ground getting cooked for a over a day but it still didn't get cooked enough so they just stoked up the pit and roasted him the rest of the way over the open flames.  There was lot of music, fireworks, kids, dogs, jeep rides, picture taking, and socializing. It was great.  We also had a mini DeFord church service and with the Bishop's permission we had the sacrament and sang some songs in the shade.  It was so fun. Here are so  iphone pictures. I took a lot of pictures on film, so you'll see them eventually. I also put some digital ones up on Facebook.

Gratitude

Sometimes I'm overcome with waves of gratitude.  It's usually for different things, and I'm not always sure what triggers it, but I love the feeling. It's so humbling.  Here are a few from the past couple of days.

1. I was putting on my makeup before church on sunday and I was so glad my sister has given me such nice makeup.  It's true I only wear it about once a week, but when I do I think of her and am glad.  She sent me a package of nice makeup right after Hank was born to help me feel pretty.  Then after I used that same mascara for about 3 years she bought me a fresh new mascara.  So thoughtful.

2.  I was looking in the basement for something today and I saw the box for my cinema display (big computer screen).  I couldn't help but feel so thankful for the generous outpouring from my brother Travis and his company to me as an employee.  With my year end bonus I was able to buy that cinema display and go to a Santa Fe Photographic workshop.  This is just so huge. I'll never forget it, ever.

3.  During church we were talking about mothers and I remembered when my mom came to help care for me when I was on bed rest pregnant with Wyatt and then right after he was born.  I can't explain what it felt like to be under-slept, sick from mastitis, terrified about my child and totally emotional and depressed.  I remember Willie and I celebrated our anniversary by coming home from the hospital in Denver to watch a movie and order in some food.  Leaving wyatt at the hospital was so hard and the fact that my mom was sitting right by him, getting updates from the doctor made it possible for me to even go home and have a few minutes of rest.

I can't post without a picture.  That's a crime.

I put some pictures of our 4th of July up on my photography blog.  It was a fun holiday.  I just love having little kids that are so excited about everything. They were hyper all day about the fireworks we bought.  The whole experience lived up to their expectations and I'm sure they'll be even more excited next year.  I'm having a hard time finding a good place between practice, practice, practice on my film cameras and frugality.  I'm going to try and develop and scan and print my own black and white.  For these rolls I paid to get them developed since I'm missing a few items for developing but hopefully after tomorrow I can start printing in my darkroom.

http://sallydefordphotography.com/2011/07/4th-july-2011/

So I just looked back through some old pictures to our first 4th of July trip to the Mesa and found some cute pictures.  That year it was also really hot in Grand Junction and we had amazing thunderstorms up on the mesa.  We waited out a few in the car and everything was all wet and green.  I can't believe Wyatt was our only child then.   I can't believe how fast my life is passing.  Wyatt and Hank are growing so fast. I want to creep into their rooms and snuggle up with them right now.




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