The Cutest Blog on the Block

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Lights

The night started at Crown Burger, with the rest of the state of Utah.
After dinner, we were walking to Temple Square when Stafford announced he needed to go.
Crown Burger was packed and crazy and going back in there was too much.
So, we turned away as he found a bush.
Discrete was something we thought he would try to be.
Not the case.
Legs wide, hips pushed out.

The evening was nice, not too cold and not too crowded.
As we looked at some displays, we heard a distant chanting.
It was erie and hard to decipher what was happening.
Then it grew louder.
A large group of people, some with scary Freddy Kruger masks, made their way down the street.
Right when they got next to where we were standing, they fell on the ground.
Still chanting.
Cops were spotted here and there - just in cas.
It was creepy and the boys seemed a little scarred from it all.
Then the "demonstration" moved on and we could hear them every now and then as they moved throughout the area.
We then gave the kids an impromptu lesson on freedom of speech 
and stupid people.
Topping the night off with hot chocolate, we headed home.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Catch Up


We went camping and though we had a great time, we learned that the only thing worse than fishing and not catching anything is fishing and not catching anything while everyone around you is emptying the lake.

Glenn started a KickStarter Campaign for color change shirts.

Glenn had his final weekend for his MBA program.  The wives were invited for a weekend in Midway.

Christian and Porter started lacrosse.  Christian liked it and Porter loved it.

Christian and Warrick started tennis and they both enjoyed it.

The boys went to the annual Father and Son's Campout.

Porter attended a day camp for WEBELOS and loved it.

Christian attended a week long scout camp.  He came home happy which was a big improvement from last year when he came home and said, "That was the worst week of my life."  I guess there was no way to go but up.


For the Fourth of July we went to Southern Utah and enjoyed our traditions of parades, races and barbecues.

I emptied out my storage room, gave it a cleaning and still haven't gotten the purge and replacing of the items back in.  It is all sitting in my unfinished basement which I have now deemed my new storage room.  Easy peasy.

My family came up for a barbecue and then we all went to Lagoon together (minus Stafford's family).

The Small Family Reunion.  Everyone was able to make it this year.  We hadn't seen some of them for years.  We had Fear Factor, Alpine Slides, Swimming, 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, and LOTS of laughs.  Some of the funniest people ever.

Danny and Tammy and family stayed with us the week after.  It was so fun to have them here.  I hadn't seen them for four years and it was great to be together again.

Christian attended Timberline (a leadership scout camp) and loved it.  He came back with added confidence and lots of stories to tell.  (Right now he's teaching his brothers all the songs he learned while there.  You know, "Boom Chicka Boom" and the like.)

That brings us to the last couple of days that were quite eventful and will need a post of their own.

Coming soon.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Kick Off - Boating

Glenn Tries to Wake Board
George Tries to Coach 

Warrick, Porter, Christian, Allen B 
L to R - Stafford, Me, Porter, Benson B.
On the run before this, Christian was in Porter's spot and Porter in my spot.
Christian would put his foot in and spray Porter.
Porter decided to do that to me.
I told him to not bite the hand that feeds him.
I heard him say to Benson, "Look how wet I can get my mom."
Our next Family Home Evening Lesson will be titled, "Respect".

I love seeing Glenn with our boys.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Try It Tuesday - Crochet

Thanks to Youtube, today we tried crocheting. 

With varying degrees of success.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Snapshot of My Day This Very Moment

Right now as I sit down to my computer...
I'm at a desk that gets piled up with "stuff" - a new system is definately in order.  I'll add it to the list of "To Dos".
Everyone just finished their Morning Must Do List.
The first day of summer was exhausting and non-stop.
There was a lot of hands on work for me.
There was a lot of encouragement - even though they all thought the plan was a good idea yesterday.
There was a lot of "See, 15 minutes really isn't that long," explanations.
There was a lot of math. "I am only asking you to do a few things the ENTIRE day."
It will get smoother.  But right now, I'm playing catch up.
I have a long list of things I need to get done, but I'm putting out fires instead.
I need to go to the store, but still don't have a list ready.
I have piles of crumbs swept to the spots I always sweep them to before they end up in the dust bin. More often than not, I'm simply proud to get the pile out of the way and then I get interrupted and the little piles sit in their little corners - little mice buffets.  Thanks goodness for our master hunter, Chelsea, and a Pest Control Company, Moxie.
There is a pair of socks draped over the banister - I guess that's better than the floor.
The dishwasher is obediently washing our dirty dishes.
Craft sticks have been pulled out.
Shoes are scattered around - I have summoned their owners to take care of this.
The clothes washer is waiting patiently with wet clothes - I just need a minute to get in there.
Three of the four boys are out in the yard with a couple of neighbors looking at Christian's squirrel trap.

Pandora is playing "Carry On" by FUN - a feel good song.
I'm smiling.  Inside.  Probably scowling on the outside - if we're being honest.
It's early afternoon and I've already herded two boys out the door for swim team, ran down to a swimming meeting for parents that I had to leave to go teach yoga.  I took two boys to their first tennis lesson, took the other two boys to the library to gather reading material for the next few days, got locked out of the parking lot to the tennis courts, sent Porter past the gates to gather his brothers while I listened to my book on tape, "The Boys in the Boat".  Took all the boys home, fed them nachos with not a veggie or fruit in sight and then I continued tutoring Stafford in reading in math.  (He is learning long vowel sounds and place value.)
The counters are not completely wiped.
The sink is not completely clean.
There is a cookie sheet waiting to be washed by hand.
I have yet to find the wet towels that were taken to swim team.  I wonder where they are and if I'll find them before the smell finds me.
I need to clean my car before I carpool tomorrow.
All the boys pile back into the house.
Christian figured out how to learn math this summer online so I don't need to purchase a workbook - bonus.
And now my six year old is saying, "What can I do?"
I don't answer.
So he goes to the squirt bottle and is now spraying it into the air.
I still haven't showered, but I am dressed and I do have make-up and deodorant on.
AND my bed is made!
90 minutes until dinner time.
I think I'm going to have to move my Wal-Mart/Costco trip back a day.
I have enough milk and gas to last one more day.  I hope.
My 13 year old is hungry.  Again.
My 10 year old is playing a game on his tablet.
My 8 year old is now playing with the 6 year old.
My 13 year old has now satisfied his growing hunger and is now fiddling around on the guitar.
The 6 and 8 year old have disappeared.
The 10 year old hasn't moved in an hour.

I feel hot.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Snake Business

When I told Stafford that my friend frequently sees snakes at her house
and that she doesn't like them,
and that she would love for someone to remove them,
he started asking me several times a day if we could go over there.

And so,
our snake hunting
has expanded to a new level.

I'm thinking he should pass out a flyer around town.
"Snake Busters"

He was ready with his dad's work gloves 
a helmet box to contain the thing
and a no-nonsense attitude.
Just like all of our 
we saw nothing.

I keep hoping that each hunt will satiate his hunting instinct and he will move on 
or that he will become bored with the whole thing,
but no such luck.

So, if you find a little slithery thing in your neighborhood,
Who ya gonna call?

At your service.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Coping Technique

 As you know Glenn travels a lot.
I've learned to make it work.
We are thankful for his job
and for the great company he works for.
We won't complain.

He is ALMOST finished with his MBA.
In order to finish, they require the students to travel on a 
foreign business excursion.
He was gone for over two weeks.
This is long.
To break it up,
I took the kids to visit family.
The end of school really is a great time to miss.
End of the year testing is over and the parties had not yet started - 
so they didn't miss a thing.

Just in case you wonder how you survive 16 days alone with four boys,
I'm going to share with you a coping technique - go stay with your mom and pretend that real life doesn't exist. 
(Works like a charm until you get back home with twice the laundry and 1/2 the sleep you're used to.)

Las Vegas.
My brother Stafford's house.

What Women Want Expo with
Cherie (sis-in-law)
Jade and Ruby (nieces)
Children's Museum
Jade's dance recital

The boys all organized games in the different Children Museum Rooms for the little kids.
Here they organized the store, gave the kids money, and became the cashiers.

Dad and Porter mesmerized by a coin donation thingy
Swimming at the "Poo Palace"
aka Washington Recreation Center.

Visiting with Grandma Great - 90 years old.
Grandma made the boys all feel special.
She asked each one about themselves - the things that were important to them.
Then she told them stories from the past that would interest them.
Earlier in the day I went over to talk to her.
She talked about things that interested me and pertained to my life.
She always tries to teach and advise during the discussions, 
but the truth is, that what she says is good advice - timeless advice based on human nature.
She understands people.
Later that night, Warrick commented on how Grandma Great always makes him feel so happy.
She is a great lady and a blessing for a grandma.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The last few days of school

Christian's band concert.

 Porter's teachers - the blondes are sisters
and did a magical thing this year.
Porter has actually really liked school.
When I kept him home for a strep throat,
he said he was "school sick" instead of homesick.
He missed school!
His teachers were sisters and he spent half day with one and half with the other.
They were fun, light hearted and understood boys.
A blessing!!!

Some of Porter's friends
Cameron O, Duncan H, Ryder, Porter, Seth R. 

This teacher, Mrs. Hylton, was also a blessing.
The improvements that I saw in Stafford's reading and writing was AMAZING.
He needed this gentle woman to be his teacher.
She has the softest voice,
is always telling the kids how smart they are,
and is so organized and gifted with children.

This year has flown by and has been our families best so far as far as school goes.
It's a crazy thing that you leave your kids with strangers for a good part of the day and simply hope for the best and I don't know who I'll get next year, 
but this year I have loved seeing my children thrive.

I don't have a picture of Warrick with his teachers, but they were wonderful too.
One of his teachers was just finishing chemo for breast cancer as my mom started her journey.
His teacher talked to my mom on the phone and was a support and blessing.

Christian's first taste of Jr. High

The beginning of school

Stafford's first taste of elementary school
and his dear teacher.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mountain Monday - Hobble Creek Canyon

Hobble Creek Canyon
Searching for snakes

Loaded with lacrosse sticks and footballs we spent our evening in the canyon.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Power of Intention and Snakes

Stafford will not stop thinking/talking about hunting for snakes.
He wants to skin them and sell the skins.
 On Sunday we went for a walk and assured him we would tell him if we saw a snake.
We have not seen many snakes while living in this home.
Since moving into this house over four years ago, we've seen two maybe three - and they were little.
Just as I was putting the kids to bed, I heard voices coming from our front yard.  
I looked out to see our neighbors standing next to the biggest snake I've ever seen in the wild.  
4 plus feet and 3 inches in diameter - a blow snake.

Not sure what I think about "The Power of Intention", but Staff has been relentlessly looking for snakes and then right in our driveway, there is a huge one.
and slightly disturbing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Snake Hunting

Stafford has been going on daily snake hunts.
Which means that you walk the countryside with a stick.
Today we all joined him.
 Even the cat came along.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day

Glenn was in Rome this Mother's Day.
The boys, especially Christian, really tried to step it up this year.
During church, they planned a surprise party for me.
Warrick ran home from church and got home before us.
I could tell something was up.
The boys were trying to keep me out of our family room
and said they would make their own lunch.
I had visions that they had decided to clean the living area.
No luck - it was just as messy when they finally let me in.
I decided it was as simple as just making their own lunch.
Since I started the day with no expectations, 
the boys making their own lunch was a bonus.
I was content.
Then, the big reveal came. 
I was told to follow them downstairs with my eyes shut.
(This is a very dangerous thing to do in our house.  It's a gamble to assume that the stairs are obstacle free.)
I kept one eye open - a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do.
"Ok, open your eyes."
I opened and was rather surprised.
Where our double shot basketball hoops were, was a chair, a lamp and an assortment of presents made during school and scouts.  
There were decorations on the wall and church music playing.

 When I sat on the chair, one of them pulled the leaver so that my feet were elevated.

I thought the crown was a nice touch, but that was nothing compared to a cooler filled with a "salad bar".  I wonder who thought of that one.  They had brought down some lettuce, two different kinds of salad dressings and one topping (carrots) and several plates.  I guess the excess of plates was so I could go back for seconds with a clean plate. (The salad dressing ended up spilling in the cooler so I emptied the cooler and wiped everything down and then gave the cooler a good cleaning.  They mean well.)

Then they watched as I opened the treasures they had created.

Super fun.

When we realized the strobe light was down n the same area, we cleared away the chair, turned on the strobe light and had fun throwing balls around and playing games until the flashing light gave me a headache and I had to excuse myself.

We had our family home evening - which didn't end very picture perfectly and then I made brownies and we headed for Glenn's parents house for a wonderful dinner and evening there.
I love watching my kids interact with their grandparents.  I think there is a lot to learn and gain from these relationships.
Before we knew it, Granddad was showing all of his treasures from around the world to Warrick and Stafford.  I'm quite certain that Stafford felt that was the highlight of the evening.

When we got back home, Stafford reminded me that it was his turn to choose the activity for family night.
Things had turned south during family night so the activity had been forgotten.
The boys love choosing the activity so I wanted to make sure we didn't miss it - even though it pushed bedtime back a bit.
He chose to play with Lego and magnets as a family.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Everyday Life

That's the lizard cage.
That's our cat.
And if you look very closely, that's Ironman -  one of the many Lego figures that seem to be perpetually scattered about.

Stafford came home from school and after almost peeing his pants on our doorstep, he made his usual mad dash to the bathroom.
This is normal.
Then the abnormal sneaking here and there started.
"Don't look in here!" he said as I passed his bedroom door.
Then he would creep past me, and dash somewhere else to gather supplies.
Then he presented me with a gift.
I had assumed it was from school and was one of the mother's day gifts that I love to recieve and asked if I should save it for Sunday.
"No, it's your birthday present since I forgot to get you anything."

Still thinking I would uncover the class craft, 
I found this.
A little white rock!

Then we had lunch.
This week I pre-packed salads with tons of toppings to make eating them a snap.
It worked.
I ate it.
And it was a snap.

Stafford then dug through the cabinet that I keep for rotating church toys, that I never rotate, and found a little magnet board.
He used pretend play and I finished up some of my "to do" list.

A couple of Porter's friends came over.
Just like the cat,
they gathered around the lizards.

That night we ordered Zubs subs (our favorite turkey and avocado), bread sticks and pizza.
We made it a family party night.
Glenn is off to Europe for 2.5 weeks and we wanted him to go out with a bang.
We had treats and a good old fashioned game of RISK.
There were no fights and that is a beautiful thing when it comes to this game.
The boys said their good-byes as Glenn tucked them all in bed.
This is the longest he's ever been gone.
I've got a good game plan.
We're going to be fine,
but I'm sure going to miss him.
When he leaves for these long trips,
I'm reminded of the little things in life.
I'm reminded of how much Glenn contributes to our family and how blessed I am.
(A friend of mine's husband passed away suddenly at 44 from heart attack.)
I'm reminded that nothing is for certain.
I'm reminded to not take for granted those in our lives.
I'm reminded that the "simple life" is beautiful.