Monday, July 28, 2008

Hurst Family Reunion 2008

It's been just over a year since we all got together for our reunion and we did it in the mountains by Cedar City this year. Everybody, except Trish, was able to make it and it went well overall. The family is getting big (fifteen were present). It was great fun.

A couple of highlights:

The Scavenger Hunt. Maggie and I put together a list of "Flora, Fauna and Other" (complete with unicorn, jackalope and dinosaur) of which everybody was to take pictures. We had two teams, with Xavier on one and Lexi on the other. I think Xavier's team won in the end (which happened to be the one I was on). ;) Over all we got some cool pictures and picked up a lot of trash (worth 2pts. per piece, but it had to be picked up). We decided it was a good thing we weren't in Blanding, because somebody would see all the beer cans in the garbage and start a rumor.

The Treasure Hunt. On the second day Maggie, Tiff, Tim and I buried a treasure (yes Xavier, it was really us. You were right), consisting of candy, and a clue for my dad, to lead him to a bunch of letters of appreciation we buried elsewhere. We made paper pirate hats and I drew a map on some crinkled brown paper and it was Lexi and Xavier's job to get us there. They did a pretty good job and only had to have a few hints from us.

Now a little bit more about "my" part of the Hurst family. Ian loves the outdoors. He is definitely missing them now that we're back home. He loved going for rides on the 4-wheelers and would hum if he wanted to, or while he was riding, in imitation of the engine noise. He also hummed while riding in the back of the truck. He used to hum once in a while, when playing with his Tonka truck, but now he does it more.

He now walks much better. After walking on the uneven ground on the mountain, the level floor at home is a cinch. He grew while we were up there and thinks he is an even bigger boy than he actually is. He is a joy.

As a final note, I am a quarter century today. Yep, I am officially old (but just because I am, doesn't mean that anybody else out there is, just because they are as old or older than me). Happy Birthday to me. P.S. I don't feel any older than I did yesterday, but hopefully my insurance will go down.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Camping

Well on Friday night, we went on Ian's first camping trip. We're glad we did, because we learned a couple of important things for this week when we going camping for three days on the family reunion.

The first thing we learned was not to leave Ian unsupervised, especially when sitting in the big-boy camp chairs. I put him in it, an he was sitting there just fine. I then went to the cooler to get a water bottle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. Suddenly, there was a crash. I turned, and Ian had stood up and leaned on the arm of the chair (toward the downhill side). It had hit and he had hit hard, but was more shook up than hurt. He did get a small scratch from it, but soon got over that.

Second, we learned that his shoes are too small. He has some hiking boots, which we had tried on him the day before we left, but they seemed to be too big, because he had a lot harder time walking in them than he normally does (which leads to plenty of tumbles without help). Instead, we chose his older gym shoes (which can be seen in the previous picture). We spent the whole time fighting to keep them on, because we couldn't get his feet in them the whole time. In short, he will be wearing the hiking boots for the next camping trip and is already practicing the art of walking in them and is getting fairly good. Maybe it will keep him out of the dirt a little more. Probably not, but here's hoping.

Third, Ian can drink from a Juice box. If he has the straw in his mouth and you prime the pump (squeeze the box until the juice gets in his mouth), he will suck the juice down. He almost drank a complete "Apple-White Grape" juice box. When we got home, we also learned that he will suck smoothy through a straw, because the smoothy doesn't travel back through the straw, thus it is pre-primed.

Fourth, Ian loves the outdoors (as do we). We was happy pretty much the whole time we were out there. He didn't hardly cry and always seemed to be able to find something to do. The best part was in the morning, when we had gotten dressed and opened the tent. He thought it was so cool that we were already outdoors.

Last, we learned that we are so glad we will be camping somewhere, where there won't be as many people. There may be a few around (as it will be Pioneer day), but not like at the campground we went to. Yankee Reservoir was beautiful and none of the other campers were especially annoying, but we still prefer solitude when we are out in nature. The view was great (see below), but there were just too many people.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary...

How does your garden grow??

...With water and sunshine and occasional weeding, that's how! Our ward has a garden plot across the street from the church and we've got two little rows. Nothin' better than home grown tomatoes. Hopefully we'll have some of those in the coming weeks. We have little baby tomatoes and little baby yellow squash and one little wax pepper. Most of the plants are blooming and we saw a bee yesterday. Hopefully he'll keep busy and pollinate our plants so we can have lots of yummy veggies. Ian likes to go to the garden but he wants to put dirt back into the furrow so we don't let him help much. Anyway, here are some photos of our beautimus garden. See Our squash plants?










lil' squash^
and lil'pepper>

The first of our tomatoes

And a full view of the garden...half of it is corn :)
The corn is for everyone, and our part is closest to the bottom of the picture.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ho-nee toad


We all went up on the mountain last night, which was beautiful because we got to get out of the heat. We went to the basic area we are going to have the family reunion, but took a road of the opposite side of the main one, which our bishop told us was neat. At the very end, it opened to an amazing view of the area. It was breathtaking. I backed into a spot of shade, got out and proceeded to walk around the back of the truck to get Ian out. I saw movement on the ground and upon closer inspection found a horny toad. I caught it without delay.

I then took it around, opened the passenger door and showed it to Ian. He thought it was the neatest thing, but I was sure he would kill it if I let him because he's not very gentle. Well after it climbed on his chair for a moment and he had tried to catch it, I took Ian out, got the horny toad and knelt down to let it go. It proceeded to climb back onto my knee. Okay, maybe I scared it back, but I then put it on Ian's knee (he was kneeling next to me). It climbed up his clothes. I helped him pet it and tried to keep him from hurting it. Ian is quick sometimes though and when it was about to his chest, Ian reached down and picked it up by the head. He shook the now ridged horny toad a couple of times and threw it on the ground. It landed near my knee and seemed unhurt. With only slight coaxing it climbed back on my leg.

Over dinner, the horny toad slowly crawled up my clothes until he was sitting on my shoulder, where he seemed intent to stay. He sat there until I took him down. Horny toads are way cooler than lizards any day. Now I just have to convince Maggie we should catch one for a pet.

We didn't have a camera, so the above picture is one stolen from the internet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I hate working on cars!

Okay, I don't really, but sometimes in the middle of it all, I do. If there weren't the feeling of deep satisfaction once I accomplish it, I would hate it. In order to get our 4Runner registered, it needs a new muffler. It has had a hole in it for a while now, but we had put it off. Last night, Eric Moses and I took it upon us to swap it out. I bought a Dynomax Super Turbo system, which looked simple to put in, because all parts are pre-bent and ready to install. All I had to do was unbolt the muffler and tailpipe from the catalytic converter, assemble the new one and bolt it in. 1 hour tops I thought, but planned on a possible two. Well in 3 hours we got the old one out.

I knew it was going to be a problem as soon as I got under there. The bolts were completely rusted in place. I started by spraying it with Liquid Wrench deep penetrating oil. I only had one socket that fit and no wrenches. It was 17/32, which is a very off size. 9/16 is too big, as is a 14mm, and 13mm or 1/2 are too small. My 17/32 socket is only 1/4 drive, so I had an adapter from 3/8 (my ratchet) to 1/4 and I promptly broke the adapter. We headed to ACE Hardware, but they didn't have another 17/32 with a larger drive. We went home again and tried a crescent. No beans.

Next, we headed to Autozone (the closest autoparts store). They had no 17/32 so I bought a new adapter and I higher quality crescent wrench. Going back home I promptly broke the new adapter. The crescent didn't work either. I got into my sockets, and found my 9/16 and my 14mm, which were six sided so they provided nice wide sides. The 14mm seemed to get a fairly good grip and since it was a 3/8 drive I hooked on a 1/2 to 3/8 adapter and put on my (dad's) 3 foot breaker bar. The first one came free. Only one to go. Of course, the socket wouldn't work on that side, because the corners had already been rounded to much.

Next I pulled out the Vice Grips. No beans. In the end, we went back to ACE hardware and bought a hack saw (I later learned we already owned one). An hour later, just before we lost sunlight, and had endured much frustration, we finally cut through the bolt and it all came free. Yes. Victory. We then took the old muffler and beat it into submission with the blunt side of an ax. No, it wasn't necessary, but it was fun. Tonight, we get to put in the new one. I figure it shouldn't take more than an hour. . .

Do-do-do

This is Ian showing off his musical skills. The Alpen horn is the center from a roll of wrapping paper, so it is a little larger than using one from paper towels or toilet paper. It looks like he will be a great musician, just like his daddy is (who, going by the year book, played baritone one year). It's fun to see him grow, because at first he just chewed on the end of the cardboard tube. Now he likes to talk into it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Drill Weekend

Normally, I don't have very much to tell after a drill weekend (although Maggie might tell you otherwise), but this time I do. I have been in the guard since 2001 and never have I had such an awesome drill weekend. We had Blackhawks. When I saw them on movies, or flying around they didn't seem all that impressive. The story changes when inside them. It was an amazing experience. They had the doors open as we flew around and the only thing holding me in was the seatbelt. I did feel for the new guy (can't remember his name), who probably thinks all drills are going to be like that. He is going to be sorely disappointed. SSG Walker is going to try to get them again next year, but I won't be in the unit then, so it won't affect me.
I got home Sunday night about 10:15 or so and my beautiful wife was waiting for me. What I didn't expect was that Ian was awake, because he went to bed at 8:30. He had just eaten, so Maggie let him stay up to see me. I had been gone only 67 hours, but it was amazing how much he had already changed. Ian was taller and looked more like a little boy than ever. They sure change quickly.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Very Munchkinly

I got my early birthday present yesterday (it's on the 28th, hint. . . hint). It was the card game Munchkin, which we played for the first time while in California for Mike and Ashley's wedding in May. We had a couple of friends over, and played a game last night. Maggie and I also played a game yesterday night after it arrived. Why can I never win a game I own?

I played four games in California and maybe I am remembering differently than it really happened, but I think I won each one. So far, since it belongs to me, I have had 1 win out of 3 games. Maggie won the first one we played and Dave won the friendly game last night. After they left, Maggie and I played another one and I won - although we were originally only going to level 3, 5 or 6, which she would have won. It was going so well, that we decided to go the whole way, and I won. It was a good feeling (I am a bad winner).

Anywho, it is a fun game, even if I rarely win now that I own it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back in Cedar


Hi. It's Sean. So we headed out to Blanding for Independence Day. Actually, we went out for Cat and Ronnie's new son, Kaden Troy Butler's baby blessing, but went a few days early in order to spend the 4th there. It was a great time. If forgot how good the parade and fireworks are in Blanding (definitely better than one would expect for the size of the town). We didn't go to the booths, so I cannot vouch for them. It was a good 4th.

This group shot is from the parade. Maggie's behind the camera. The kids loved getting all the free candy they could hold. It was almost as good as Halloween.

On Saturday, we went up on Blue Mountain. My parents had their truck and four- wheelers, but we only had our Jetta (definitely no off-roader). The Jetta only has three or four inches of ground clearance, so I had to pick my way carefully, but we eventually stopped in a small meadow and unloaded the toys. Ian got to ride a four-wheeler with grandma and was very cute. Grandma headed up the road at about 1/2 mph for a ways, then turned around and came back. By that time, he was leaning back against her, sure he was the biggest boy in the world, because he was riding the four-wheeler with his grandma. He definitely thought they were cool.

Tiffany's kids, Xavier and Lexi, were there as well and enjoyed them thoroughly. Xav even got to drive one of them, with grandpa on back and again with me. I also took him on a small jump, which he thought was the greatest thing ever. We barely caught any air, but it was much more than that (judging by his reaction).

The blessing was great. Kaden is a special little boy and definitely received some special blessings. It reminded me of Ian's blessing. What a great ordinance, even if it isn't necessary for salvation.

The trip back was great. We went the "middle way," which goes through Hanksville, Loa, Koosharem, etc. It didn't really take any longer than going over I-70 and was definitely a lot more interesting drive. I think we'll be doing it more often. You do have to pick your rest stops though. We were going to stop in Hanskville for lunch, but missed the only rest stops. Luckily mom had packed us lunch so we just pulled over and ate (and allowed Ian to eat what he would). We then drove and drove (not having had a pit stop yet). Finally, in Koosharem (90 miles later) we pulled over for a bathroom break. There was one gas station with two pumps that said "Clean Bathrooms" on the side of the building. We stopped and tried to go in, but they were closed. We got back in the car, fed Ian again and headed on our merry way. To make an already long story short, we never got a bathroom break. The trip took 6 hours and 15 minutes, with the two stops to feed Ian. Normally, it takes us 7, but the lower time was because Ian was a good boy. He only cried starting in Parowan, so we sang "Johnny Burbek," "Five Little Ducks," and "Five Little Speckled Frogs" to keep him happy.

Overall, it was a great trip. Thanks to everybody.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Wednesday

This is Maggie by the way: Happy Wednesday everyone. Ian now thinks this walking thing is pretty cool. He's trying to take steps on his own and is successful for a few steps usually. He also likes to climb stairs but now he knows how to get down too--though he's still a bit shy about doing it. (Sean's taking over 'cause Maggie left). Ian is definitely getting more secure in his walking ability, although he will crawl from the get-go if he is in a hurry. That's all I can think of to write. I don't know if Maggie planned on more, but I'm just going to post now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Families

As today is Monday we had Family Home Evening tonight. Although it'll be Tuesday before this actually gets posted (no internet at home)...We decided we'd write a little about the importance of families. As we attempt to type this, our munchkin is doing his best to put in his two bits. We hope he doesn't break the computer in the process. Sometimes it's overwhelming to be a parent and to take care of all the responsibilities that come with it. We have to see that bills are paid, we are all fed and clothed and clean periodically as well as fufilling one another's social needs. Then on top of that we have the responsibility and privelage of raising a child of our Father in Heaven. We know that "the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). This means there is nothing more important than what we teach our children.

The demands pf parenthood are great but the rewards are awesome too. It's amazing to watch our little boy continue to progress and develop his personality on a day to day basis. We are amazed at how quickly he learns and acquires new skills and abilities. One day he's crawling and the next, it seems, he is running across the room to get the camera (see previous posts with video). We can see why Christ told us to be like little children (not childish) because of the innocence and purity that is still aparent when you look in their eyes. One day, as he faces the challenges of the world, he will inevitably be stained. As much as we'd like to shelter him from that we know it to be part of the plan and that through the Atonement of Christ we can all come a little closer to being childlike again and in doing so come closer to our Father in Heaven.