Saturday, April 26, 2008

Student Retreat

I was a teacher/chaperon on Wed-Fri. for a retreat up in Keystone. We had great weather, fun (but challenging) hikes, and a lot of team bonding.
Here are a few highlights.
Beautiful weather the first two days.
Some of us even hiked in t-shirts the first day.

The snow was definitely melting for the season,so if you went off the trodden were likely to sink. Luckily there was someone to help you out.

Some boys decided it would be cool to wear shorts on the hike. There were consequences:)

We hiked up to this awesome view on the second day.

I tried to get a picture of myself with the cool background...but it didn't work:)

We also stopped at a lookout point that was only a short hike from the road. I can't remember the name.

I have been fascinated by "gators"- these Velcro things that go under your boots and keep snow out of your socks and the top of your boots. Every time I hit deep snow, I felt no wetness. I can't believe I didn't know about these sooner!

Another super interesting point of discussion/learning was the dead trees in the mountains. The Lodgepole Pine is being eaten by the mountain pine beetle.

Mountian Pine Beetles are usually a good thing for forests because they eat weak, tall, old pine trees and help thin the forest a bit. When there are too many MP beetles, they feast on specific pine trees that are in the 100-120 year age range. Many of the pines in keystone (and the rocky mountains) are in that age range because of the gold rush back then. (Some say that there are too many MP beetles because not enough are dying off in the winter (warm temperatures/global warming).

When a MP beetle attacks a tree it burrows into the bark and right underneath the bark makes a vertical tunnel where it lays eggs. Where it burrowed there is a resin left that looks like popcorn puffs.

When a MP beetle attacks a lodge pole pine, the needles turn yellowish/reddish/brownish and it dies. There is nothing you can do to save a tree that has been attacked. It is pretty sad to see how many trees are dying in the RM forests.
The fun thing was that woodpeckers are one of the things that eats MP beetles, so on our hike we heard a few of them pecking into the tree to look for MP beetle eggs.

I lightened the picture a bit in photoshop so you can see how many dead trees there are.

One thing that is being done in "high traffic" areas like campgrounds is preventative spraying. They spray a chemical on the trees they want to save (during a specific time of year under very specific conditions). It seems like a good answer, but not good for national forests and places with millions of trees. There are other possibilities like tearing off bark to expose larvae to unfavorable conditions (but who wants to do that?:)

I've never really cared that much about bug outbreaks, but this one is pretty interesting. If you would like to know more, check out this website.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fun Garage Sale Find....

I went to a few garage sales Saturday morning on my way to reffing soccer all day...and I got a big smile on my face when I pulled up to one driveway. They had the cutest thing I've ever seen- a little kids drum kit.
I bought it:)
It includes a kick drum, snare, 2 rack toms, a floor tom, a cymbal, a stool, and some drum sticks. All of it is mini-sized designed for a kid:) John and I can't wait to teach our nephews (and our kids someday) to play on it!
It is so much fun! John and I even had a contest.

and...because I am wearing no makeup or jewelry and I was in the sun reffing all day, John was not supposed to show my face:( :)

This drum kit is waiting for someone smaller than John to come and play it:)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Not the icky ones that you find in your basement...or the ones that fly around outside and bite...the plastic sparkly ones you get from the dollar store:)
My 2nd graders worked hard on their insect (and spider) projects. One part was information/research, the other part was drawing the insect in Paint and being able to put that and a picture from the website in Word. I was so impressed by their work I decided to hang the pictures in the hall. (I always put things in page protectors otherwise the edges get ripped up in the hall.)
As I started hanging the marvelous pictures in the hallway...I decided they needed a little more punch- something to catch the eye. One of my classes canceled because of an I hightailed it to the dollar store and picked up some punch. (not actual punch...just bugs)
I had a heckofatime attaching them to the wall with staples...but it turned out cute:)

In case your interested, I downloaded the buggy font from It has awesome fonts that you open, unzip, and drag into the fonts folder on your computer (under control panel). For those of you who don't know much about downloading fonts, once you get it in the font folder you can start using it!
Oh, and if you want to avoid finding exactly where to download, use this link.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

High School

So my 10 year high school reunion is comming up, and it makes me think about who I was back then.
I am one of those people who LOVED high school. It was a blast. If I could go back to high school for a few weeks I would (if it was in the 90's- not now).
A large part of that has to do with the awesome friends I had back then. I hope they are still my good friends after they see this picture on my blog:)

We spent our time doing lypincs and fashion shows at sleepovers, planning which Sunday night church we were going to, playing "Girl Talk" and discussing which boys we liked at the time. We picked out our wedding colors during games of MASH, and loved being crazy during the 4-8 hour trips to STATE tournaments.

Yeah, I liked the Orlando Magic. (kinda cheeseball now)
We also had an aweseome group of guy friends that we hung out with, but I'm not talking about them today.

Other great things I remember about high school:
*Everyone wore t-shirts and jeans.
*I didn't feel much peer pressure.
*The guys would build a haunted house every year!
*I genuinely got along with other people that weren't in my group of friends.
*State Volleyball.

Sr. year in high school has kind of blended into freshman year in College (because so many of us went to Dordt) the ones that didn't, we adoped as Dordt hockey fans anyway!

Once we got to college, we met Karen...and we adoped her as Unity Alumni:) She knows all the stories from high school like she was there! I keep wanting to ask her if she is coming to the reunion:)

As I ponder how much has changed in 10 years, I am hopeful that my classmates can look back on high school fondly, as I do.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hello J.T.

This post goes out to our little nephew J.T.. He is a little over 2, and lives far away. Everytime John gets off the phone with him he says "yeah, he talked to me for quite a while...but I have no idea what he said". We wish we could be closer to all of our family, but for now, we would like to send a shoutout and a wave to J.T. From Uncle Johnny.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

my embarassing moment...

I'm having my class write about embarasing moments, so I thought I would share one with you too.
In high school on "retreat" day, I was in a small group (10 kids)with other kids from random classes. I had a really cute small group leader, and a bad cold that day.
One of the "Ice breaker games" was where everyone has a toothpick in their mouth and we have to pass a lifesaver around on the toothpick. It was really fun...and pretty hilarious.
When the lifesaver was at me and the girl next to me we were trying to get the lifesaver on my toothpick we almost dropped it. I started laughing really hard. I also had a really runny nose.....SO...when I blew out to laugh, snot came out of my nose all over the toothpick. It was GROSS. I turned and ran like 20 yards to get away because I was so embarassed. My group joked about it for the rest of the trip.