Category Archives: Family

Roger “the cow whisperer”

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Roger last day of work is only 10 days away. I think I found his new profession….animal whisperer! It was a sad day to see these docile cows leave for the butcher…I say this as I ground up some fresh beef for tacos tonight. Roger promises never to tell me when I am eating Jack or Jill.

Cousin Fun

Liz & crew came into town for some R&R at the Hall family spa. She indulged in free babysitting, good organic food, built in play dates, morning glory breakfasts, and some recreation at the cabin and on the Rogue River in a raft. Our favorite activity was the nightly sleepover with one of her children which my children thoroughly enjoyed as they were able to feast on popcorn, soda, and candy nightly for 10 straight days!!!

 

Of course, what is a cousin get together without a pinata for the cousins with birthdays (Jon & Sophie)

Here is the pre-pinata picture.

Aunt Jill introduced them to real processed food including mac-n-cheese.

The trio helped me decorate cupcakes (shhhhh…don’t tell the other cousins we weren’t necessarily all that hygenic).

1st Cut of Hay 2008

Each summer we now have the opportunity of helping Roger & Rozanne with their hay crop. We really do love it. There is nothing like working outdoors overlooking the beautiful views from this farm and sweating a little bit. But, being a hay farmer means that you have to really work at timing the cut of that first crop of hay. This is complicated by even the lightest of potential rain falls. Wet hay can devalue the hay by half. And, the first crop of Hall hay was further complicated by a late cut because of vacations/work schedules. But, when all was said and done, we loved being out there in mid-June. There were approximately 2000 bales that were created and we put nearly all of them in the barn ourselves! There is no better memory than seeing Nana driving the tractor while Roger, Brian and I load the trailor. This year we also benefitted from Steven’s help, Mike & Ezra’s help, and we won’t be forgetting how Sam Cloward persevered through a horrendous bout of hay fever, allergies, and asthma. This all occurring from the moment he first started to load hay. It didn’t stop him, even though he was miserable.

 

 

I hope that this continues to be a wonderful experience for my kids to participate in as they grow older. They really learn what hard work is and truthfully, working together as a family makes us stronger and deepens our feelings for one another. The 2nd cut is just around the corner. By labor day it will all be completed…and then we will be dreaming about the next June’s cut again.

Hall Family Reunion 2008

Nestled under the shadow of Mt. Timpanogas is the BYU Alumni Aspen Grove Family Camp. Clearly, this is the first vacation experience where a mother must have been in charge of designing the family trip. All meals, entertainment and lodging were perfectly provided and packaged into the most awesome bonding experience for the Hall family clan.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and were thrilled to be together with everyone. Kathryn and Stu flew in from Charlotte, North Carolina and we all gawked at the transformation both he and Kathryn had made physically. If there was a biggest losers contest for pre-reunion get togethers, they would have won. The rest of us would have been booted off the show within the first week…and truthfully….you should have seen us eat! All-you-can-eat meals were provided but that didn’t stop us from eating chocolate covered strawberries, pounds of Harry and David Moose Munch, Nana Rozanne fudge, Hummus, Salsa, Chips, Candy….and how could I forget the 20 boxes of Girls Scout cookies compliments of Bridget’s Girl Scout troop.

The camp events began with an orientation meeting for parents and our first experience with our kids being wisked away by magic happy counselors who made each and every child feel important and loved. What was even better was that every cousin had another cousin in their group, except Seamus, but he IS a teenager and that would have been so uncool. The highlight of the orientation meeting, other than finding out when our where meals were, was the fact that they handed out awards to families who had tenured at Aspen Grove the longest. The winning family was a couple who were attending their 26th camp at Aspen Grove. They won a frisbee. Steven made the best comment of the night when he quipped, “If they have been here 26 times, why are they showing up at the orientation meeting? Must be some frisbee!”

Having experienced Aspen Grove as a child I quickly assumed the duties of Hall Family Event Coordinator. I raced over to the camp board that had all “elective” activities posted and filled the Hall family adult schedule up with random activities that Hall family members would never had signed up for had I not been there. These events included archery, rifle shooting, remote control race cars, ropes/repelling course, paintball, dance dance revolution, and a basketball tournament.

Quite the Maid Marions! (sp?) I think this turned on their Robin Hoods!

Steven took the top prize, I proudly hit the target once!

Brian has always said he was the top dog driver. He then proved it on the mini-race track. For the record, several Hall family members didn’t complete the course and yep, they still have drivers licenses. Nana couldn’t get her car to drive in a straight line, this was no surprise to anyone!

Paintball was probably the highlight elective activity of the week. Picture 8 Hall members/in-laws taking out that loving family aggression on each other in a hard fought game of steal the flag. Initially, no one truly wanted to hit another as to not wanting to hurt their family position (or inheritence), but after the first shots that landed were Stu’s as he pelted Roger repeatedly, he yelled out, “That felt good!” Then all mayhem broke out. The best target practice was Brian’s pelting of Steven repeatedly in the butt as he was retreating in the “free zone.” Brian said he just couldn’t help himself. Taylor was on Brian’s team and was sent out to get the flag while Brian was to give cover. The only problem was the cover given was to Taylors back! Many family members ended up with paint ball hair, paint ball clothing, and most importantly, paint ball welts. And how can we forget our infamous elective sports tour guide, whose background as a marine trainer proved much more superior to our own paintball/archery/rifle skills…oh….and how can I forget Dance Dance Revolution!

Dance Dance became not a show of whose the better dancer (which we all know the Liz, Anne, and Kathryn are), but was a show of who is technically savvy, i.e. Jill and Brianne. Rozanne, for all her attempts, just could not comprehend where to put her feet, even as Matt was on the ground putting his hand out to show her where to step. We love you Rosie!

The ropes proved to be challenging to some, a quick scamper (Brianne & Steven) to others. Grandpa tried, and nearly made it up the pole. The rest made it up the pole, the rock wall, and then across the ropes. Matt, being brave, let go of the ropes and dangled there on the lines-Crazy! The only part of the ropes course I didn’t like was the harness on my thighs accentuating their gigantic status, especially in the Hall clan! We did the ropes course on two separate days. Ethan came to watch one day and wanted to do some climbing of his own.

Our lodge accomadations were cozy to say the least. There was plenty of hot water, plenty of bathrooms, plenty of sleeping quarters but a lack of privacy. There was no hiding your morning hair, breath, or dirty socks! They were on display for everyone. But regardless we all felt well rested-er-maybe not Stu as he frequently ended up out on the sofa with Henry-who is the most adorable little Hall-Brown! We adults would mandate bedtime for all the cousins/kids despite their ear shot distance from us. We then would stay up till midnight chatting as we Hall family members do so well about all sorts of things…babies…tractors….hay…breast feeding…jobs…kids…movies…movie quotes…politics…food…

Speaking of food, the dining hall provided 3 gigantic meals daily complete with your choice of bottomless refills of both food and beverages. The kids experiemented with all of the flavors, then mixed some, then tried some more, at every meal. The food was great…reminiscent for some family members of their days in the dorms. Even if the meal didn’t appeal to our kids, there was always bread/butter, chicken nuggets, or some other baby food that would be an acceptable food substance. And the best part about it, no preparing, delivering, or cleaning up of each meal. We simply walked away, checking our watches for when the next meal bell would ring, like Pavlov’s dogs we would begin salivating. The funniest thing was that the food was relatively healthy and I happened to lose 3 pounds while gorging myself. Who would have thought?

The grandkids had a blast! Each day they would dissappear from 9am-Noon and Mary, Blaine and Ethan were together in their group. Lizzie, Sophie, Jon and Coleman were together as “Kittens” (who by the way could yell a little louder). The trio, Max, Ben and Andrew were together as “Cubs.” Sam & Bridget were “Panthers.” And Seamus was an infamous “Cougar.” The kids had a theme each day which would dictate their activities. They were cowboys, pirates, and detectives. They would play on play structures, climb a rock wall, do arts and crafts and even swim in the pool with the temperature outside hovering around the low 60s.

They even shaked their booty and sowed us how to YMCA!

Despite the endless noise, confusion and clutter, Grandpa found the vacation pleasant. We only found him out on the porch away from everyone once, and that was so he could curl up with a good book!

We even put on a skit at the family talent show. Steven’s authentic “moos,” Grandpa’s version of Pa and his cow, the kid’s great tree swishing, and we will never forget the Tony Award winning performance put on by Rozanne as “Ma.”

We adults also made time to explore our inner artistic groove. Brianne, Anne and myself dazzled everyone with our painting abilities, Liz, Stu, Bridget, Kathryn, and Rozanne made amazing pottery creations…and the key word is creations.

The camp also had an Aspen Follies day where we worked as a team to show our athletic abilities. We were all surprised with Brian’s competitive streak in these family affairs as we were expecting him to mock the activities, not attempt to help us with the giant ball competition!

Aspen grove thought of everything as even Steven, Anne, and Kathryn received birthday cakes for their birthdays they celebrated that week.

Despite all of the activities there was still plenty of time to relax at the lodge. If you weren’t too keen on the noise you would find family members engaged in a mediocre game of tennis! Ethan and Blaine loved running around on the court.

 

Anne and I attempted to to even do a little hike. Stu, Matt, and Kathryn had taken the Stewart Falls trail on various mornings. We thought we would do the same. This picture was taken 20 minutes to us discovering we were lost! Anne and I phoned for help and our superheros Stu and Matt arrived to rescue us from dissaster. Truly, the only one who felt the pain of our brief dissappearance was sweet little Roger who was quite hungry!

Overall we had a wonderful time together. Thanks Nana and Grandpa for the memories!

Another Utah Vacation….and wedding!

For 3 years we have lived in Oregon and, with few exceptions, the only vacation time Brian has taken off, has been trips to Utah, usually for weddings or trips to Bear Lake. He also has the blessed opportunity each summer to spend a week at scout camp. So, a 5th Martin wedding was on the schedule this time around and we went the week prior to the wedding to focus the majority of our time with my family. On the road there, within the first hour, Elizabeth began the, “Are we there yet?” questions. Then Sophie chimed in. Brian, to their delight, promised treats at each gas station if they could hold their urine for each 3 hour segment, and McDonalds in Winnemucca. It was a very long day which didn’t start until 10am as we left a day early after Brian rounded on patients in the hospital. Brian, after being patient for 8 of the very long hours with the kids, blurted out, “Why do you like going to Grammie’s so much?” Andrew’s reply, “I like her swingset and being pushed by Grammie.” Sophie’s reply was to see Teddy. Brian quipped, “Well Jill, that settles it, to save on these long road trips let’s buy a swingset and get a dog! 

 

Once we arrived, the kids were in heaven. They never had to leave the house with so many aunts and grammie to entertain them. Chuck-E-Cheese was one of their only outings…along with many trips to Costco with Grammie. The kids had fun playing in the backyard, building forts, taking Teddy for walks around the cul-de-sac, and Grammie’s chicken nuggets.

Ethan loved playing with all of Grammie’s toys and yep, even in the family room with a TV you could find the kids picking up my sister Chelsea’s crazy habit of watching a movie on a little portable DVD player.

Because of the timing of our trip we were able to see my sister Michelle graduate from graduate school at the University of Utah. This was followed by dinner at Chili’s. The most comical part of the night was cramming us all down this very long table and yep, lots of noise as we Martin’s are famous for. Everyone was fighting to be heard!

Then, the happy day arrived and my beautiful, wonderful, cheerful, fantastic, sexy sister Michelle wed Andrew Cardon, who we all adore. We were hoping these two would tie the knot as we liked him so much and they seamed so happy together.

Ethan had very little patience for the days events but was happy to be in his dad’s arms. Lizzie and Sophie just wanted to follow their Aunt Michelle around like little princess helpers. The day couldn’t have turned out more beautiful, although the temperature was slightly chilly in the 50’s. Despite this, we were thrilled there was no snow (like the day before), or rain to dampen the days festivities, including an outdoor wedding at my folks house.

Yep, only Michelle could get me in a flourescent pink dress. I have to admit. The colors were beautiful. My kids also looked so adorable.

Michelle wed Andrew in the Jordan River Temple. My parents then put on the luncheon in their church cultural hall. Andrew wanted to ride his scooter to the church so we drove slowly watching him push his scooter the 1/2 mile distance.

The biggest shock at the luncheon was when Brian stood up to roast Andrew a bit. Now, we all know that Brian isn’t one to draw attention to himself and rarely speaks to public gatherings, but he couldn’t let this opportunity pass without extending his congratulations to the new married couple.

My mom made the wedding cake and as usual did a fantastic job. The turnout was amazing especially considering this was only one side of the family as Andrew’s family was from Arizona. The line extended out the back yard for most of the night.

Our trip was so much fun and sadly came to an end too quickly. Fortunately, I am in the midst of packing for another trip to Utah this coming Friday, this time a Hall family reunion. Brian can barely stomach thinking about the drive again, this time in a rental as I had my first car accident this past week. But, as usual, I can’t get to Utah fast enough and am so excited to wrap my arms around my nieces and nephews, and my mommy and daddy!

Grandpa Time

I took some friends to the ranch for a “farm day” experience. I was a little surprised to see Roger there. He was surprised to see 25 women and children running towards him and the ponies. He was so sweet and humored all of us with horse rides. The kids enjoyed the chickens, tractors, and cows. It was a spectacular spring morning at the ranch. I am so grateful for Roger on this day.

Easter Egg Hunt at the Eagars

Traditionally, we go to an Easter egg hunt at our good friends the Degraw’s every year. This year, the hunt ended up being on the day we were at the coast with my sister and her fiance. That left a hunt for the medical alliance we belong to here in town but we ended up getting rained out at that event. The kids were dissappointed that we were not going to go to an Easter egg hunt this year and I comforted them with the knowledge that Grammie Martin in Utah was going to have an Easter egg hunt for them. Then, friday night of Easter weekend I got a phone call from my mother-in-law’s good friend Debbie Eagar. She invited us to her home for an Easter egg hunt and barbeque. The weather cooperated and the kids had a ball. Even Ethan figured out the benefits of collecting eggs.

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The kids all got a ton of candy and they all had happy faces!