29 March 2008

Flip Video Underwater

We finally got to use our flip video in the water.

This is Darwin diving to the bottom and coming back up. It was around 35 ft.

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This is one of the kids in the water....Brooklin is trying to help London back into the boat by pushing on her hiney, and Caleb is at the end of the clip

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This last clip is of a surgeon fish. The camera doesn't have good zoom, especially in the waterproof case, so this one actually let Dar get pretty close to it.

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Video of Melissa snorkeling

Some of you know that I am not a snorkeler. I am always the one on the beach with the little people, while Darwin takes the older two out snorkeling. Two years ago, when Darwin and I went over to the Big Island to attend the Kona Temple for our ward temple week, I tried out snorkeling for the first time. It didn't go so well....I could not convince myself that I could put my face in the water and still breathe. Next, one of my contacts slid up under my eyelid, and I had to get out and fix it, and finally after about 30 min. I was able to put my face in the water and float. I looked like a dead person, and Darwin just held my hand and dragged me around in the water. After I got a little more comfortable, I started to kick my legs a little and was pulling him with me. Then I looked up and right in front of me was a turtle that was as big as my torso, and I lost it! I shoved Darwin under the water and was trying to scream through the snorkel tube while climbing Dar to get out of the water and swim backwards all at the same time. After Dar recovered from being half drowned, he laughed at me, and calmed me down. I decided to try again, and as I started to relax, another turtle showed up, and I decided that if I wanted Darwin to survive, I better get out of the water. Needless to say, I haven't tried snorkeling again since then.

Today, I decided to give it another try. We were at the Molokini Crater, which is the place where all the tour boats take people to snorkel. They pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per person to snorkel there, and we only had to pay $30 for the boat rental, and fuel up the boat afterwards....we spent less than $75 total for our trip today. I was a little nervous, but I really wanted to try it again. I had Darwin take some video of me, so I could prove that I did it and didn't freak out.....granted there weren't any turtles, but I am proud of myself for trying again.

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Snorkel pictures

After watching the whales, we went out to Molokini Crater and went snorkeling. We were in 35 ft. of water, and from the boat, you could see clear to the bottom. There were some fish and coral to see, and luckily (for me) no sharks today. Darwin and Brooklin were praying to see sharks today!







Pictures of the whales

The video is really small, so here are some shots of the whales I took with the 300mm zoom lens. This one was really playing around, and slapped the water for several minutes.















Whale Watching

We took the Coast Guard morale boat out again this morning, and we saw plenty whales! This video is called "Tail Slap". Isaiah went on a whale watching field trip earlier this month where they taught the kids about whale behaviors, and as we were watching the whale today, every time the whale would slap it's tail, Isaiah would shout "Tail Slap!" It was pretty funny, and also very cool. The ocean was much calmer today, and we hardly got wet at all.

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27 March 2008

This is old...but so funny

My family has all seen this...and a few of my friends. This is some of my immediate family being silly. This video includes my sister Marnie, 3 of my six brothers...Logan, Levi, and Joel; Joel's wife Lila, and my own mommy dearest. They did this over Christmas break, and some of my friends wanted to see it. If I figure out how to get some of their other music videos on here...I will, because they are so funny


24 March 2008

Monarch caterpillars have taken over our back yard!!

We have a crown flower tree in our backyard. We call it the butterfly tree, because it is covered with Monarch butterflies, caterpillars, and eggs. The butterflies lay their eggs under the leaves. The eggs take around four days to hatch. When the caterpillar hatches, it eats milkweed (our crown flower tree leaves) nonstop for about two weeks. When it is done eating, it leaves the tree to find a place to make it's chrysalis. They usually end up on our deck, and if they attach themselves to a bad spot, then we end up accidentally squishing them.





We try and catch the caterpillars when we see them on the deck, and we put them in a bug catcher. This week we have the most I have ever seen. So far we have eight inside the bug catcher, one on the door frame, four in trees, one on the garden chest, one on a deck chair, and one under the outdoor table. I am sure there are more, but those are just the ones I have found so far.

This was taken yesterday. The caterpillars anchor themselves by spinning a silk web, just like spiders, and hanging upside down in a "J" shape for several hours. After awhile, they start thrasing around, and end up shedding their skin from the bottom up.



The black dots on the two in the middle are their old skins. You are able to count all eight in this shot.

It was getting a little crowded in the bug catcher, so the last one I caught yesterday got put in a tree. I hope he stayed there!




Happy Easter

We had a fine Easter. The bunny didn't realize that Easter was so soon, so we ended up going shopping on Sat. night to find candy and such. It was amazing to us that all Wal-Mart had left at 8pm on Saturday night, was easter grass and peeps. That's it!! We have a ton of plastic eggs, so we just needed to get filling for them. We were "forced" to use the regular candy aisle, and were able to find plenty of chocolate there...it just wasn't pastel colors or covered with rabbits and ducks, and it was also reasonably priced. Instead of chocolate bunnies, we got the kids those giant candy bars, which worked out just as well. Hopefully, Easter will be in April next year, and it won't sneak up on us!

We don't have church until 1pm...which seems like plenty of time to get ready to go, but we were racing at the last min. to get there on time and this is the only picture I took of their easter clothes. We are always on time, I just apperently prefer to push everything into the final minutes.....

We also didn't have any easter baskets. After rummaging through the easter box from the garage, I realized that for the last few years, we have bought the kids sand pails to gather eggs in, and all of those are too dirty or broken to bring in the house and put candy in. Oh well, we had kind of a red neck egg hunt, but the kids really didn't care...they got tons of candy, and that is all they cared about anyway. Isaiah and London got painting books, Caleb got a Boba Fett transformer, and Brooklin got three word puzzle/cryptogram/seek and find books.

We only got wet

On Saturday, we took out the Coast Guard' s morale boat. We were going to try and see some whales, but we only got wet and cold. The ocean was choppy, and the wind was really blowing. I am glad we bought the water proof housing for the video camera. The kids would laugh their heads off every time we got hit with more water, Dar was grinning from ear to ear, and I never let go of the handle near where I was sitting. Darwin actually did see two whales, but none of the rest of us did. We might try and go out again....hopefully on a calmer day. I didn't think that we would be able to hear anything on the video, since the microphone was sealed tightly inside the waterproof housing, but some sound did get through. Enjoy watching us get soaked.

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20 March 2008

Camping video

We got a new video camera a few weeks ago. It is called Flip video. Glen Beck gave it lots of praise on his radio show, so we bought one. It was really cheap (for a video camera) and it is so easy to use, even my mom could figure it out...maybe even without reading the directions. It has a flip out USB connector right on the side of it, and all you do is flip out the plug, and stick it into your computer. It is so awesome. We also bought an underwater housing for it, so hopefully soon, Darwin and Brookin can take it out scuba diving with them. It has a really good quality picture, and the sound is good. I was watching the clip on the camera, and couldn't hear it very well, but when I put it on the computer, it sounded just fine. Anyway, here is a short video of us while camping this week.


**03/24/08**As a short side note...it took me four days to figure out how to post this video. It was too large (154 MB and blogspot only accepts 100MB or less), and even after setting up YouTube, it took me several hours to figure out how to link the two. Actually they are still not linked...it just says "fetching your information, please wait" and never loads, so I just copied the embedded link, and that is how I got it on here. If any of you have other suggestions, please share them!! Thanks! The video quality is much better than it shows too...so don't judge the video quality by this clip. I will try to post a shorter video using blogspot, and maybe it will be better quality. ~@~Melissa~@~


19 March 2008

Camping at Hosmer's Grove

Monday was the start of our two week spring break, so we decided to start our vacation off with a camping trip up on Haleakala. We left our house on Monday afternoon, and drove up to about 6500 ft. and set up our camp at Hosmer's Grove. We spent three days and two nights playing in the outdoors. The first day it sprinkled a little, and by the middle of the first night, it was pouring...with thunder, lightening, and freezing cold temperatures. Needless to say, all of us felt like the night drug on forever, and were all a little sleepy the next morning.

Tuesday morning, we drove up to the summit, and were going to try and hike down into the crater, but the visibility was about 10 ft. and it was raining, so we decided to go back to the campground, and play there, since it was a little less rainy there. Isaiah and I (Melissa) drove back down the mountain to retrieve a few things we had left home, and get Isaiah some more clothes...he got most of his clothes wet on the first day (and night)...and Darwin and the other three kids ate lunch and went on a little nature hike adjacent to the campgrounds. When we all got back, the sun was shining, and we were able to warm up a little. (It was between 40 and 45 degrees in the evening.) We set up a rain shelter just to be safe and then prepared dinner. Caleb planned all the food for the week, to pass off a cub scout requirements, and we had "shamburgers" for dinner. We had talked about using dinner rolls as buns, and making small hamburgers for dinner one night, so on the menu planning sheet, Caleb had written "shamburgers" in the dinner spot. I asked him what "shamburgers" were, and he said the "s" was for small, but he didn't put a dot after it, so now he will be forever reminded about the time we went camping and had "shamburgers" for dinner. After dinner, we toasted marshmellows and made s'mores. Tuesday night was much more comfortable for all of us...Isaiah stayed in his own sleeping bag, it didn't rain, or thunder, or lightening, and Darwin turned our mattress, so I wasn't sleeping in the crack between the two mattresses.... and we all woke up feeling rested.

This morning, after eating breakfast, we played and packed up camp, and came home. We had a lot of fun, and no one fell in the fire...Caleb did get a burn on his arm from the grill lid...and everyone wants to go camping again, so I think we can call this one a success. Darwin is taking the boy scouts camping on a beach on Friday and Saturday, so as soon as we get all the gear cleaned up, it will be back in use.

All of us around the campfire...we got a fellow camper to take a picture for us.



Kids stirring the fire.


Brooklin and London slept in this little green tent.


London, Caleb, Melissa, and Isaiah sitting around the fire

Darwin cleaning up after dinner

Darwin, Melissa, Caleb, and Isaiah slept in this big blue tent. The other tan tent is a shower tent, but we only used it to keep gear in. It was way too cold to shower up there.

Brooklin found this giant pine cone while exploring the campsite.

This is Brooklin's shoes and socks after the first day. When I went home, I got her, London, and Isaiah dry shoes and socks. Caleb was the only one that kept his shoes dry.



One last family shot around the campfire.

17 March 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Each year, we have a sneaky leprechaun that plays tricks at our house on St. Patrick's Day. His name is Calvin O'Russell. This year, he made a rainbow in our living room. Each string had a name attached to it, and after the kids followed their rainbow, there was a piece of gold at the end. Afterward, we had green waffles for breakfast. We are going camping for the next few days...see all the backpacks in the living room?....so I need to go and help get ready.





11 March 2008

It is finally done!!!

It took a little over 2 months to finish, but I finally got the penguin quilt finished. Here are eight shots of it. I'm really excited (and so is Caleb) that it is "pau". The last five weeks have been all handstitching on the back, which I found out I don't really like doing, but it turned out awesome. If you click on the pictures, you can see them larger, and on the close up one of the back of the quilt, you can see the handstitching along the seams. The blocks were machine quilted, individually, as were the yellow strips (sashing). Then I used the quilt as you go method/handstitching, to attach each block and sashing piece together, and I also hand stitched the back of the binding on.

The front

The back
Front on back
Close up of back

Four close ups of the front





09 March 2008

Gold and Silver

Brooklin did really well at her track meet on Saturday. We had to be there at 7:45 am, and when we left at 1:30pm, there were still the 100 m, the 50 m, and the relay races left to go! There were about 10 middle schools represented...which was more than I knew existed here! There are a lot of private schools, so I guess I wasn't counting as many.

Brooklin's events were the long jump and the 400 m. Her three trys in the long jump were 11 ft. 1/2 in., 11 ft. 1/2 in., and 12 ft 10 in. After her second jump at the same distance, one of the officials told her she was taking off too soon, and she should try to get a little closer to the line. She won first place in the long jump, with the second and third places jumping 11 ft. 11 in., and 11 ft. 6 in. (all three of them made their best distance on their third jump.) She placed second in the 400 m. The girl who won has been training since she was six, so we felt really proud of her for coming in second. This is only the second time she has ever run an actual race(or done the long jump), and they haven't had any coaching or practicing at her school, just whatever time they have in PE. Not even anything after school. We hope that when we move, the school there will have a better track program.

OK, the last few posts have been all about Brooklin....I need to write about some of the rest of us. =)

I am sick. I sent Darwin to church with all the kids, and I am at home right now "resting". I really am, I just needed to eat lunch, and I am eating it while I type. I have some kind of sore throat/lung gunk thing, but my nose is fine....not stuffy or runny. Caleb spent Saturday with his friend Jordan's family at the beach. London was sick on Thursday and Friday, but she is mostly better now. Isaiah went on a whale watching boat this week with all 8 kindergarten classes. They took four of the classes out on the boat, while the other four went to a classroom in the Pacific Whale Foundation building and learned about whales, and then they switched. He had a lot of fun, and saw a lot of whales. Darwin took the scouts out to the shooting range Saturday, and they all got to shoot a shot gun, and a .22 I think. None of the scouts got qualified, but I think they all still had fun.

Well, there is a little about the rest of us.

06 March 2008

More from Spirit week

Wednesday was pajama day, and Brooklin wore the pajamas I made her for Christmas. Lots more kids dressed up for pajama day, since it wasn't as difficult or embarrassing for them.


Today (Thursday) was called Terrible Thursday, and the kids were supposed to dress in mismatched clothing. I actually saw a few kids dressed up this morning when I dropped Brooklin at school. She wore a reggae hat (I made this one), one braid, a very colorful scarf, one earring, a blue/brown print shirt, pink stripped capris, one oscar the grouch sock, one santa sock, and two different shoes. I think it is fun that she likes to participate. I was always one of the kids that didn't participate in these kind of fun days, because I was afraid someone would laugh at me. She is having a ball with it though.

04 March 2008

Middle School Spirit Week

This week is Spirit Week at Brooklin's school. Monday was Monster Monday, and the kids were supposed to wear a Halloween type costume. Brooklin chose her very favotire costume, that I partially made for her for Halloween when she was like seven. The belt and the boot tops just barely fit. ;) She said there were only a handful of people who dressed up, and people stared at her all day, but she kept the costume on until it was time to go to the store after dinner. When we went to pick her up from school, Caleb said, "Well, there's our little pirate!" It was funny.
Little Miss Pirate
Today was called 70's disco day. We went to Savers last night and bought her the shirt, pants, and head band, and then we also bought a pillow case so I could make bell bottoms out of the pants. They didn't have any beads/necklaces, so on the way home, we stopped at Wal-Mart and got her a bunch of beads. A random teacher stopped her in the hall, and told her that he went to school in the 70's and she looked exactly like the way everyone dressed back then. Again, she was one of only a handful that dressed up, but she did say that everyone thought she was really cool and lots of people talked to her that normally wouldn't.
Miss Hippie
Peace

03 March 2008

Tagged by Lila

I've never been "Tagged" before, so I hope this is how I'm supposed to do it. Lila (my sister-in-law) tagged me in her blog...I don't think I will tag anyone, since I really don't know the rules quite yet, but it was fun, and I hope you learn something in the process. If you don't you might need to read it through again.

5 things on my to do list

1. Finish the binding on the penguin quilt, so I can start another quilt.
2. Apply for college...at UAS
3. Finish mucking out my craft room
4. Learn to play the guitar
5. Exercise 4 days a week

10 things I enjoy - in random order

1. reading
2. sewing
3. crochet
4. going to the beach
5. geocaching/hiking
6. taking pictures
7. leading the music in primary
8. talking on the phone
9. blogging/keeping up with family on the internet
10. my faimly

Suddenly a billionaire?

I wouldn't let anyone know...but I would share it all secretly with everyone I know, and of course buy a really nice house in Juneau, AK

5 jobs I have had

1. Burger King cook
2. Shoe sales at JCPenney
3. Customer service rep at Key Bank
4. Mom
5. Volunteer

5 things most people don't know about me

1. I have had chronic hives for 3 years now...meaning I get hives every single day, and no one knows why. My doctor calls me the itchy lady.
2. Darwin bought me a really cool sewing maching this week. It is a baby lock ellure plus, and it is very cool!
3. I ate cookies and played video games for 6 months, and lost 10 lbs.
4. I want to have a pet lovebird...or two.
5. I know where we are moving this summer, and if you read this entire entry carefully, you will know too. =) It is kind of interesting, and I think we are really going to have fun, especially the kids.