Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles!

Our family likes to put puzzles together. It’s so fun!

The tradition started a long time a go when I was a little girl. We usually had a puzzle out on a card table at Christmas time, and whenever we wanted to we would sit down, either alone or together and put pieces in the puzzle. Whoever came over to our house during the holiday could sit down for a few minutes and visit and put the puzzle together. As the puzzle would progress and get closer to being finished, more of us would gather around the puzzle. Finally, when there were just a few pieces left to go there would suddenly be no more pieces, but several empty places in the puzzle! We would all ask each other, “Do you have one of those pieces?” We would each smile and say, “I don’t think so….”. This would go on until someone would finally put in the puzzle piece that they were hiding in their hand under the table. We were all trying to be the one to put the last piece in to complete the puzzle. Then we would all laugh and admire the puzzle, and be a little sad that it was all finished.

As my own family began, we also liked to play with puzzles. We had a few wooden puzzles and added to our collection over the years. As the children got older we began the tradition of putting out a puzzle at Christmas and putting it together over the holiday time too.

This is a picture of Curtis and I in December 1998 when we lived in our Springville, Utah house. This year we even put together a 3 D puzzle. Can you see the sky scraper? Our favorite puzzles lately are pictures from the artist James Christensen.

Here is one of our latest ones that we put together here in Bakersfield.

We used to just break the puzzle up and put it back into its box to do again another time after they were finished, but lately we’ve been saving the puzzles by putting a coat of ‘liquid puzzle saver’ on them. Curtis would like to use them as pictures on his walls and we have several saved for him.
Want to try a puzzle for yourself? Just click on the picture of the fish. Here you go!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Skim Boards in the Living Room!

One time when Grandma and Curtis were up visiting my mom and dad in South Lake Tahoe, Jake, Sam, Tony, Thomas, and I made skim boards in the living room. We bought plywood and cut them into circles of different sizes, and then we sanded them smooth and rounded the edges. Then we spread newspapers all over the living room floor, mixed up resin, added color, and poured the resin over the boards. First we did one side and when that side was dry; we flipped them over and did the other side. When both sides were dry we applied different decals and then we put wax on the top side so that we wouldn’t slip on them.

Hey, what do you use a skim board for anyway? Well, you take your skim board with you to the beach and stand in the place where the water rushes up when the waves break, and you wait until the water runs back to the ocean and when the water is very thin on the sand you skim your board on the water and run and jump on to it and skim along the sand. If you start to slow down you can scoot the board out in front of you with your foot and run after it and jump on for another ride.

After we finished the skim boards we took a trip to a beach named Ensenada in Mexico. When we arrived at the camping place we parked and I was unpacking the Suburban. Tony was the first one to head down to the water, excited to try his skim board. He waited until the water was very thin and then he tossed his board and ran quickly behind it, leaped after it, but when he landed he twisted his ankle very badly. I went down to the beach and could see that his was in a lot of pain. I carried him up to the Suburban and got some ice to put on his ankle to keep the swelling down.

Tony rested in the car and ate too many chocolate bars that we had packed for our trip as I set up the tent. When I finished setting up the tent, I carried Tony into the tent and when we got inside he threw up because he had eaten too many chocolate bars. I laid him down on his sleeping bag, cleaned up the tent, and asked him to rest so his ankle would get better so we could have fun tomorrow.

After all, we all had a very fun trip.

Grandpa Familia

Bird Watching

At the same place that we stayed while we went on our rafting trip they offered activities every day. One of the days they offered a class in bird watching. This sounded like a fun thing that we would like to do. It didn’t cost any money, and you didn’t have to sign up. You just had to show up in the morning at the front desk a certain time. Grandma and I were the first ones there and we were surprised that we were the only ones that showed up for the class that day.

The teacher arrived and told us about what we would be doing and what birds we might see. She also had a little electronic devise with pictures of birds that were native to the area and when you pushed on the picture of the bird it would play the sound that the bird made. She had a certain walk planned that took us to one side of the lake and along the way she would stop and point out the different birds. Some of the birds were easy to see and some of the birds were way up in the trees or flying through the air. It was interesting to be with someone who knew all about the birds that lived in that area. She was a very nice teacher and she let us use her binoculars. She also set up her telescope when we got to the lake so we could see some nests that were in the swampy areas of the lake.

She told us about a little hatchling eagle that was in a tree across the lake and she thought that it was almost time for it to fly from it’s nest, but we didn’t see it that day.

Rafting Trip

In June of 2005 we took a trip to Washington State to check out the school that Thomas was going to go to in the city of Pullman, Washington. Curtis was going to move there with him also and they were going to get an apartment together.

This is the Sociology Building where Thomas spent most of his time

After visiting the university and picking out their apartment we decided to go on a river rafting trip. We rode down the Clark River on a raft that 6 people could fit into.

This picture is where we had just gone over some rapids and the water splashed up all over the side of the boat that Thomas and Grammy were on. We would float smoothly down the river for several minutes at a time. During that time we would look at the scenery around us-down into the water, out to the side of the river where tall trees grew, up into the sky that was a beautiful blue with fluffy white clouds in it. One of the things we saw was an eagle sitting high up in a tree watching us pass by.

Eagle in the Tree

Every now and then the river would move faster and faster and our raft would swoosh up and down rapids. Through the rapids we paddled together to keep our boat going straight down the river and that part made us very tired. We got splashed a lot and the water was cold but the sun kept us warm. At one stop along the way at a sandy beach we had a picnic. At the end of the ride on the river we loaded our rafts on top of a bus and they drove us back to where we began.

Mesa, Arizona Temple Trip

Mesa, Arizona Temple

The summer before I turned 17 our stake Church youth group got to take a trip to Mesa, Arizona to go and do baptisms for the dead at the Mesa temple. It was the temple that was closest to where we lived. There were lots of kids that went. We all got up early in the morning and met at the Church to ride a bus there. It was really fun. We packed lunches and lots of snacks to eat on the way there. It took all day to get there. We sang songs, ate, and talked all the way there. When we arrived in Mesa we were all assigned to stay the night at different members houses. We all got up early in the morning again to go to the temple.

Everyone looked so beautiful in white baptism clothes while we waited our turns. It was very quiet and peaceful as we sat and watched each other be baptized. It was easy to remember how happy I had felt the day that I got baptized when I was 8 years old. I thought about how happy the people whose names I got that day might be also.

Afterwards we went outside and walked around the temple grounds. There were oranges and grapefruits growing on the trees all around. Our leaders told us that we could pick a couple of them to eat and to take home. I had never seen a grapefruit growing on a tree before. I had mostly grown up in Utah where it’s too cold to grow oranges and grapefruit. I was really excited to pick one. (Oranges are one of my favorite fruits, although if I eat too many of them at one time I sometimes get a rash on the inside of my arms.) The oranges were too high up on the trees to pick so I picked a grapefruit. So did a couple of my friends. We sat down under the tree to peel our fruit and eat it. As I opened up the skins I could see that it wasn’t a pink grapefruit, but a while one inside. I peeled it apart and put one of the sections into my mouth and bit into it. Oh, as I tasted it my mouth puckered up into a tiny little circle and my eyes closed tight as could be. My whole face shuddered. It was soooo sour! I was very disappointed but still wanted to eat it so I just kind of licked it like a lolly pop for a while and sucked out the juice more slowly. It was fun to eat and talk. My friends also made funny faces as they ate theirs and we all laughed.

We all got back on the bus and stopped at McDonald’s and got some food for the trip home. One the way home we mostly talked and slept. We didn’t get home until quite late, but we had nice memories of the trip and had made a few more friends.

Josie-Albuquerque, New Mexico-age 17

This is a picture of me (Josie Fletcher) when I was 17 years old. The year was 1970. I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I was a junior in high school. The name of my high school was Manzano High school (which means apple in Spanish) and our school colors were purple and white. One of my favorite colors is purple so I really liked that. Our school mascot was a lion , so purple was very majestic and regal. I even bought a purple Sunday dress that year because I thought it would be fun to do. Mostly I made my dresses, but I bought this one. My other favorite color is turquoise or blue (the color of a robin’s egg).

I only lived in Albuquerque for two years and this picture was taken the second year that we were there. I loved the sunsets there. The sky was big and open and when there were a few clouds in the sky it would light up at sunset with beautiful colors of oranges, reds and yellows. Many times I would watch out my bedroom window until the sun went completely away.

As you can see from the picture below I had very straight hair. Sometimes when I was younger and many of the girls had beautiful curly hair, I had wished that I had been born with curly hair also, but that year I was very happy that my hair was straight. I was happy about it because many of my friends were trying to make their hair go straight and mine already came that way. Some girls would roll up their hair in orange juice cans when it was wet and keep them there until it was dry to try and make their hair more straight, and some would put stuff in their hair to make it more straight. Many people asked me if I ironed my hair on an ironing board to get it straight but I didn’t. I just blew it dry with the end of my portable hair dryer. Sometimes my sister Susie and I would crack an egg on our hair when we were in the shower to make our hair more shiny. Mostly it didn’t work and we just got bits of cooked eggs in our hair that was hard to pick out.

Taman Safari

In June I started a family newsletter titled, Our Family Stories. It didn't work out very well because everyone didn't have MSPublisher and when I transferred it to MSWord it was kind of fuzzy. So I'm going to put the last stories on my blog. Here goes.....

This picture is when we visited an animal park in Indonesia where you could drive through and see the animals right outside your car door. Before we started our drive through the park we bought some special little bananas to feed the animals with. One time an animal that looked like an antelope put its head right inside our window! Grandma screamed and hid her head and then the animal took its head out of the window and we kept driving.

As we were driving along a mommy hippo and two baby hippos walked in front of our car and then splashed into a pond.

At the end of the road through the animal park you could get out of your car and go to the petting zoo. It was quite a special petting zoo because there was a white tiger and orangutans. We first petted the white tiger while he was resting. Then a man asked us if we wanted to have our picture taken with two orangutans. We took a walk with them and held their hand. They were very strong and they pulled you along wherever they wanted to go. After our walk we sat down to have our picture taken with them and they put their arms around us. The big one kept kissing the top of Grandpa’s head and that made us laugh.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hatched Birds

This is a follow up to my last post.

Yesterday I was out in the garage picking out some glass for my next project, and I heard some loud chirping sounds. I remembered the bird's nest right outside our front door and knew that the birds had hatched, and it sounded like more than one baby! I went inside the house to look at the calendar to see how long it had been since I had first noticed the nest, and it had been 3 weeks. I usually leave my house from the garage door and I'm also usually in my car so I don't notice the birds.

Quickly I picked up my camera and went out the front door to take a look at the nest. As usual, the mother bird flew out of her nest to distract me away from her growing babies. I got out the ladder so I could climb up closer and see how big the little birds were. Even with the ladder I couldn't get quite high enough to take a peek. The nest looked a lot fluffier than the last time that I checked it so I thought that the mother bird had brought in some feathers to line her nest. On the ground under the nest were quite a few bird drippings, but I decided that wouldn't be unusual because the amount of time that the nest had been there. I raised my camera as high as I could and took a photo. The birds very very, very quiet and very very still. I didn't want to scare them, so I tried to be very quick about taking the picture. I'd have to wait until I was inside and downloaded the pictures onto my computer before I could see what was actually there.

To my surprise there were several birds, and they weren't babies without feathers, either! I saw at least three, and there might have been another one, but I don't really think there was any more space for any more. It was definitely crowded in there. Well, I also discovered that it wasn't feathers lining their nest to make it more cozy....... The new birds looked like they were as big as their mother, and their nest was very messy. No wonder! That was a lot of birds in a tiny space together. They have to have all of their feathers before they can fly out of their nest, and I'm not sure how long it had been since they had hatched.

That was so fun to see. I wonder when they will be big enough to fly away? I wonder how many bugs the mother bird has to bring home every day to feed her 'not so small' birds? I've read that a bird can eat as much as twice their weight in food, so if she only had 3 birds plus herself how much food would that be if she were about the size of a half cup? Wow, that's 4 cups of bugs a day! What do you think about that?

I looked up what kind of sparrows live in Bakersfield, and as near as I can tell, it's called a nesting house sparrow. Here's a picture that I found of what they might look like closer up.

Bird in it's Nest

The first part of this post was written on May 20th, exactly 3 weeks ago today.

Here is a picture of a bird that made it's nest just under the roof of our garage. When we go outside the mother bird flies away so we won't find her nest.

If you look closely, you can see her hiding in the nest because you can see the tip of her beak.

We're not sure what kind of bird it is.
We think that it's a little brown sparrow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My First Blog

As I began to create my first blog, I was given the option at the end of telling about to answer a random question. The question said: 'The children are waiting! Please tell them the story about the bald frog with the wig': "OK fine" as my grandaughter says. Actually, I want to do this blog because I don't live near any of my grandkids and I want to post some stories about our famiy so they can get to know us better. So I began to make up a story. As I finished the story and pressed the 'save' button, I was given an error message that said, "Must be 800 characters or less". Now they tell me. So this is how I'll begin my first blog....with the story. And since my favorite stories have some kind of lesson to be learned, here goes.......

Once there was a little old frog named Flix. He had a round body and very long legs. His arms were short but his fingers were also very long. He could jump higher than all of his friends. He loved to jump! He jumped everywhere he went. He didn’t hop or skip, he just jumped. This is how he jumped. He'd scrunch down, tight as a ball, count to three and then LEAP upward with all the strength he had!

He had a board that he fastened to the outside of his house that had rubber prongs sticking out of it that he could hit each time he jumped. Each time he leaped he tried to touch a higher one than before. Because his fingers were so long they aided him in reaching up so high.

Like other frogs he had beautiful, moist, green skin that sparkled in the sunlight, and glistened in the moonlight. When it rained, the rain would just roll off his skin in large drops and leave him as dry as can be. But unlike other frogs he had brown bumps on his head that brought all kinds of curious questions from little frogs. The older frogs were too polite to ask questions, but he noticed them staring at him quite often when they thought he wasn't looking. Have you ever see a frog with brown bumps only on their heads? Neither have I. It was very embarrassing for him.

He decided to solve his problem by buying himself a wig to cover the brown spots. He looked in all the shops that sold frog wigs until he found just the one that he liked. It was pure white with curls rolling all different directions so that he never had to care for it any more than just shaking it out every now and then. He wore it every time he went out of his house. Now he didn't get questions or stares at his brown bumps on his head any more. Guess what he got? You're right! He got questions and stares about his new white wig. O what should he do now? Whenever he tried to jump with his friends his wig flew off. Whenever he swam in the water with his friends his wig floated off. Whenever the day was hot beads of perspiration dripped from underneath his wig right down his nose and onto the floor! This would never do! It was worse than before!

"I know what I'll do this time" he said, I'll paint my brown bumps green!" And he did. But his new green bumps didn't glisten in the sunshine like his other skin, and his new green bumps itched him until he scratched all the paint off and he was left with his old brown bumps with scabs on them. Again, no better.

This time he thought and thought. "What if I just count every one of them and when the little frogs ask me about them I'll have something to tell them instead of trying to pretend they’re not there." So that's what he did. How many do you think he counted? Five, ten, fifteen? He counted seventeen brown bumps! Six large ones, seven medium ones, and four very small ones! Is that how many you guessed? That's a lot of bumps to have on one frog's head, isn't it?

After that he had a fun time looking for little frogs so that they could ask him about his brown spots on his head. He never again tried to pretend they weren’t there. As for the older frogs, whenever he noticed them looking at his brown spots he quietly turned around and smiled at them. They always smiled back. Now THAT was better!