The Cutest Blog on the Block

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A creative toy that you already have and that isn't connected to power!

Two days ago,
Stafford had an idea to make a city out of Lego pieces.
I helped him rummage through the Lego bin for appropriate pieces.
Then I let him be.
I cam back to a green square filled with roads, sidewalks, houses, cars, a school bus, a mountain, trees, people, bunnies, chickens, eggs, elk, and even a cougar.
They were all abstract figures, made of squares - 
kind of like Minecraft.
But each piece had a defining characteristic that make it different from the other pieces.
He played with this for hours.
Pretend play.
Warrick joined him and they made him his own house and gave him his own animals.


Stafford's friend came over and it kept them busy for a LONG time.
James R.

I'm loving it!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Story of the Snowman

 Warrick spent an afternoon working on this snowman.
He picked the hat, scarf, carrot, and used chocolate chips in leu of coal for the eyes and mouth.

Mr. Snowman didn't look like he felt well the next morning.

That was a lot of hard work down the drain.
I sang the song of "Frosty the Snowman" to him.
It didn't make him feel better.
Christian went out and helped Warrick bring him back to life.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stake Conference

Remember Glenn teaching the boys about having fun without electronics?
Good because I blame that.
Somewhere in the middle of the two hour meeting, the boys must have been scrambling for something to do - something to entertain their minds.  
(Listening would have been great, but...)
Warrick turned to me with a big smile, but his eyes were FULL of tears.
"We're having a staring contest and I haven't blinked!"
As I took the picture he was saying, with pure delight, 
"They don't even hurt anymore!"
His eyes reached saturation point and started releasing tears.
He was so proud of himself - the reward of self-control.

Then Stafford decided to try.
If you look closely at Warrick, you can see the liquid still in his eyes.
He still hadn't blinked.

I tried to explain that this was probably not the best activity.
I think we forgot to read the chapter in parenting about teaching your kids non-painful boredom busters.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Piano Tutorial Before School

Porter started playing an Imagine Dragon song on the piano using a piano tutorial on youtube.
It's kind of like a game.
It shows you what note to play on the piano.
You play the note when it gets to the bottom of the screen.
Christian enlisted himself to play the bottom hand to turn it into a duet.
Porter thought it was distracting and wouldn't allow it.
After Porter got the hang of it, he let Christian join in.
Warrick was moral support, I suppose.  Not sure.
And then we were late.
Socks started flying,
the "late for school" panic ensued 
and things got intense.
We finally made it into the car,
pulses slowed down and
apologies were made.

Nothing quite like starting a day with piano and panic. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Road Trip Ends

After a great night's sleep,
we woke up,
packed,
and then the boys decided to leave their marks.
The roof of a lower level jutted out below our window.  
There were lots of paper airplanes on it.
What does a boy do when he see's lots of paper airplanes on something?
The same thing a dog does to a tree that's been "marked".
He joins in.
Each boy made their airplane and let it free.
When they attempted to just throw out paper, 
I put a stop to it.
I'm responsible like that.

As we were walking out to our car,
Christian, Porter, Stafford and I decided to go to the 29th floor to see the view.
When was the last time you saw a phone like this one?
I wish it had one of those round dialers.
That would have been nice.
We were in a rush, but Porter and Christian wanted to go to the stairwell to look down 29 floors.
(You know when there are lots of levels of stairs and you can see all the way down when you peer over the hand rails?)
We had seen the looking up view from the fourth floor, but they wanted to look down.
I told them to hurry.
Stafford and I waited by the elevator.

And waited.

And waited.

Then I got a phone call.
It was Christian.
"Um Mom, we're locked in the stairwell."
And right at that moment the family phone paid for itself.
They were in two doors deep.
The first door led to a small cement box of a room, 
the kind where murders happen,
and then there was another large and heavy door that led to the stairs;
that's where they were.
I had Stafford hold the first door open while I went through the murder room to the second door.
I was greeted by two relieved and wide-eyed boys - 
just like puppies.

This was one of those trips where you spend almost as much time in the car as at your destination.
Glenn had to miss school and we drove through much of the first night and were back at home less than 48 hours later.
It was a whirlwind from the moment we got there to the moment we left,
but I have to say that I'm thankful we went.
The driving was something that I would have dreaded at one point in my family career, 
but at this point, 
I can honestly say there wasn't one squabble until the last hour of our eight hour drive.
Even with that restlessness, what we gained was huge!
We had great family time.
Books on tape.
Swimming.
New inside jokes.
Bonding with extended family.
Spontaneous teaching moments about
gambling,
addictions,
and God.
Memories that will be my roses in December.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Wedding

You know the plan about having the boys pack their own bags?
Well, when Stafford pulled out his church pants, it turns out he packed a pair of Warrick's
Just a bit too big.
He wasn't happy about it.
After tightening the waist and then adding some thick soled shoes, it was hardly noticeable.

The wedding breakfast

There was some down time at the breakfast.
The boys were beside themselves with wonder of what a person should do without electronic entertainment.
Glenn and I started in on the, "When we were young we didn't have ipods or the internet and the only thing our phones did were call people and they were hooked to the wall!"
This was followed by unimpressed stares.
We explained that we did things like Rock, Paper Scissors or played I Spy.
So Glenn, jumping into the spirit of things, challenged Porter to a staring contest.
For the record, I have never seen the draw to a staring contest.
What is fun about keeping your eyes opened so long they hurt so badly you have to close them?
So in the spirit of fun and in the heat of competition, Glenn won, but not before his eyes were read and crying.
This is a picture of Glenn after the win and before the blink.
If you could see the small lakes that lined his eyes, you would be enjoying this as much as Porter was.
"Boys, this is what we call fun!"

The high school where Kyle Van Noy played football was across the street so we took a few moments to touch the field.

"If you touch the temple, the temple will touch you."  -President Monson
Every time we go to a new temple, we have the boys touch it.
We'll take all the help we can get.
Reno, Nevada Temple




Chatting with Granddad





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reno

We made it!
At one in the morning.
I had the boys pack their own bags.
That little toy suitcase that Stafford is holding is supposed to hold all of his clothes.
This may be an interesting weekend.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Double Life

Glenn and I have always loved denim quilts.
Since we were first married, the plan was that I was going to make us one.  
For years I have been saving worn out jeans in a big box for this very purpose.
Then, just a few months ago, I had a reality check.
Who was I kidding?
I don't do things like make quilts.
I don't sew and I don't do crafty things.
I felt the liberation of letting go and being true to myself.
I tossed every one of those cute little boy jeans with the knees worn to holes.

Then,
weeks later,
somehow,
a friend of mine said she had lots of extra jeans that I could use to make a quilt.
We went out to dinner as couples and
somehow,
Glenn mentioned that we don't have any blankets and that he's always cold.
This concerned her.
I quickly told her he was exaggerating - 
comments like that will get you on the sub for santa list.
We do have blankets.
Then
somehow,
sometime later,
the plan was set in place.
Everything aligned.
1.  I had a friend who was great at quilting and wanted to teach me and had free jeans.
2.  I had a husband who didn't have any blankets.

Soon my secret life began.
It started with a covert trip to JoAnn's to pick out the backing and get supplies.
Then for weeks we worked out our schedules so that I could come to her house to 
cut squares,
find the perfect layout for the squares,
sew the squares,
iron the squares,
connect the rows,
add the decals on the front,
connect the front and the back,
and finally sew the stitching.

It took a long time and Glenn had no idea!
He called me several times while I was over there.
Sometimes I'd forget myself like when I poked my finger with a pin while we were talking.
I said, "Ow!"
He asked if I was okay.
Remaining vague, I assured him that everything was fine.

Another time, he called and he said something that I thought my friend, who was right next to me, would find interesting.  So I told her right then with him on the phone.  She reminded me with frantic motions that I really shouldn't be there talking to her.  So then I had to backtrack and pretend that I was talking to myself.  He bought it.  No questions.
(I guess I should be concerned that my behavior didn't surprise him - what does that mean?)

I got all the hand stitching done when I visited my parents just before Christmas.
It worked out well.
I spent a couple hours doing it while talking to my Grandma.
We had a great conversation,
talking like friends,
about life,
books,
and memories.
As Mom rested in her chair, I'd join her in the family room and stitch away.
Then the last night I was in town, I spent my stitching hours at my sister-in-law's house.  
She was working on some last minute Christmas crafts.
There I was.
Crafting.
With my sister in law.
I had arrived.

The thing that surprised me most was that I actually enjoyed the whole process.
It was fun to try something new.
Develop new skills.
Create.
And the beauty was that I had time to do it!

So, Christmas morning I had Glenn open that gift first.
I couldn't wait.
It was folded with the heart on top.
He was so surprised!
Then when he found out that I had made it, he was even more surprised.
Super fun.
Here are the pictures.

King of the photo bomb.

Queen of the photo bomb


Thanks Angela!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Duck Dynasty

Years ago my family used to love Dirty Jobs - everyone but me.  
It just wasn't enjoyable to me.  
So when Duck Dynasty became a popular show, I was quite certain that it would be a show that everyone would enjoy it except me, the only girl.  
I wanted to watch What Not To Wear not a gross and dirty show!  I still don't see why seeing gross things is fun.  So we never ventured into the Duck Dynasty Realm.  Then I read this quote from Phil Robertson, a person on the show who was being bashed because he said he believed something that didn't fit in with the gay agenda.  
He said, 
"Our culture has accepted two huge lies.  
The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them.  
The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.  
Both are nonsense.  
You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."
I loved that.
And so, we gave the show a try.
I think I love it more than anyone in the family.
It makes me laugh.
I love that they put family first.
They are relaxed in the work place - mostly.
They really seem to enjoy life the best they can.
And I love how each episode ends with a prayer at a family meal time and a few words that ring true about living.
This show is a keeper and one that we all love.
Now when I see their pictures in Walmart I feel like I'm seeing old friends.
Yep, I like it that much.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Yesterday Evening

Porter working on his Pinewood Derby.
I'm thankful to have a husband who will help the boys.
Every dad has his strengths. 
This was not one of my dad's strengths,
but it is one of Glenn's strengths - for which I'm grateful.
Glenn is an engineer and his enthusiasm to fix and build has rubbed off on our sons.

Glenn Mod Podging our puzzle
(I just took the liberty to turn a noun, "Mod Podge", into a verb.  It feels good.)
Christian watching a "How To" video on the Internet
And then Christian trying to execute and follow the "How To" video
I was late getting dinner done so all of these things were being done when we should have been eating.
We had meatloaf that every person loved - a rarity.
With mashed potatoes that were left over from Sunday dinner.  
(Sunday we had the best beef stew EVER)
Peas
And Lettuce with my favorite little Cherry Tomatoes
(Porter said, "Meatloaf is what parents feed their kids when they have given up.")
Then Porter and Glenn rushed off to their basketball game and the rest of us cleaned up the kitchen.
(Glenn is coaching his team.)
Porter is wearing the red shorts.
Where was Stafford in all of this?
He had started pouting because he didn't have a Pinewood Derby car.
As his pouting sessions generally go, he wrapped himself in a blanket and hid somewhere only to be found asleep.
We woke him up with an episode of Duck Dynasty, fed him and then watched the end of Porter's game.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Secrets - Nonconsequential Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

After we first got married, I had to learn to stop myself from jumping out of dark places and scaring my husband.  He didn't appreciate it.

As you leave our city library there are security sensors that beep if you didn't check a book out correctly.  I have a plan that the next time they beep when I walk through, I'm going to drop all the books in my hands and hold my hands up as though the cops are about to frisk me.

During my early elementary days I had the record at the local rollerskating rink in the limbo.  I could get as low as 1 foot 4 inches while on skates.  (No, I didn't have to bend backwards.  We just had to get under the bar without anything touching the ground but our skates.)

I accidentally had one of my babies at home.  And then for kicks, I decided to have one at home on purpose.  I don't think I'd do that again.

I have fired an M16 and gone skydiving.

I think people are the most interesting thing about this life.  People add depth and meaning.  They can also add heartache, but the good outweighs the bad and we are resilient creatures.

I suffered from postpartum depression after two of my babies.  The thing is that I didn't realize it until I started to come out of it.  For my third baby I was ready to combat it, but I didn't need to.  I didn't get the blues with my last two kiddos.  Yay!

I had a scholarship to a top pharmacy school, but turned it down.  They came back and offered me more money to go there.  Only on the hardest of hard days do I wonder if I'd be happier passing out drugs to people on the side.


Selfie in the bathroom - classic.  I can explain...
I minored in chemistry and love it.  It's a puzzle to be solved.

I used to own a dance studio.

I'm working on my sugar addiction.

I have finally reached the point that I don't feel sorry for myself for not having a sister or a daughter.  I have learned to be incredibly grateful for the four little boys that call me mom.

Yesterday, my friend told me about some serious knee problems she is having. During church she left the classroom and happened to mention she was going to the bathroom.  I followed her shortly. Just as I was hoping, there was no one else in the bathroom.  I went a couple of stalls down from her and started grunting like words can't describe.  Because my humor is on the level of a 10 year old boy, I laughed and laughed (quietly) between each LOUD grunt.  I heard my friend come out of her stall.  As she washed her hands, I flushed and came out.  We had a great laugh together.  She was quite relieved that it was me.  (Something I've learned from my brothers and my sons is that potty humor can cure a crappy day. Pun intended.  Okay, it can't really fix it, but we sure laughed hard.)  As we talked, she said she was thinking, "Under what circumstances do you have to go that badly?" And she wondered why that person couldn't tone it down a bit for the sake of others because really, who does that?  Then she wondered if everything was okay.  Is that something you offer help for?   We settled ourselves down and then walked out of the restroom and past the PTA president on our way back to class, as though nothing unusual had happened - civilized.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Snippet of Christmas

Erector Set

Stafford recently discovered Star Wars. 
The Star Wars Lego Sets were top on his list.



Christian saved his money and thoughtfully chose a present for each brother.
He gave Stafford and mini long board since Stafford had been admiring Christian's long board.





Warrick got a Triops set again. (small little animals you can raise in water)

Christian doesn't love our cat, Chelsea. 
Well, he says he doesn't, but I know deep down he likes her.
There was a package for Christian from Chelsea.
It was a used ace bandage.

Christian bought a couple of BYU items for Porter.

Stafford got a remote control helicopter form Grandma and Granddad.

From Grandma and Grandpa

From Grandma and Granddad
A strobe light.
I'm excited for my boys to play with this.
I have so many fun memories of my childhood with a dark basement, a strobe light, and pillows flying.

 The gift I was most excited about was what I gave to Glenn.
I'll try to post about it tomorrow.