The Cutest Blog on the Block

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cousin Ella Comes to Visit

 As soon as we got home from camping,
we began clean-up and getting ready for our next thing.
Ella lived in Colorado Springs when we lived there and as a result, 
she and Christian developed a close bond.  They are 9 months apart in age.

After she arrived, she and Christian went on a motorized scooter ride
and then we all went to Glenn's company party at Fat Cats.
Glenn had school that evening so he came late,
but that didn't stop us from enjoying food, bowling, arcade games and mini-golf all for free.
They played music and we couldn't help but to bust out a move here and there.
There were cheers and high fives.
Warrick even managed to get a gutter ball WITH bumpers.
That takes talent.
I'm so proud.
And I finally found someone worse than I am at bowling
I think I'll invite her over more often.

Saturday morning Christian and Ella headed out to baptisms at the temple.

After the two of them made no-bake cookies, 
 they went to the movie, Catching Fire. 
We had pizza for dinner just before she headed out to the next stop of her trip.

Ella came back two days later for her last night in Utah.
I invited the cousins that were attending BYU to come over for dinner.
Glenn was in Europe so I hesitated to take on the hostess role.
(Usually when he is gone dinner is easy like grilled cheese, frozen lasagna, macaroni and cheese, etc.)
I made a very simple meal.
Turkey breast, carrots, baked potatoes, Rhodes bread, and for dessert, white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies.
(I had frozen extra cookie dough a couple of weeks ago for an emergency such as this.)
Blaine and Paige were the only ones that could come, but as always, we had a great time and I really enjoyed their company - even though we ate off of paper plates.

Ella and I woke up early the next morning and headed to the airport.
It was so fun to talk to her and hear about her life and her thoughts.
We had an adventure of missing exits, getting in trouble in security and then teaming up with a security guard to hide my soda that I didn't want to part with.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Birthday and a Camping Trip

Stafford's day started with a few yellow streamers tucked here and there.
Years ago I started decorating for the birthday boy.
It is never fancy and really usually quite pathetic.
Not even close to Pinterest worthy, but my boys still like it - 
Probably because they don't have a Pinterest account and don't know what life could be like.

At school Stafford got to show some things from home that mean a lot to him.
He took our picture of our family from Sea World, a teddy bear from the dollar store that he loves, his new Pez dispenser from Grandma and the case of the movie Frozen that we just bought two days before.

He passed out cupcakes and the kids on his bus sang to him.

After school, we had a party with some of his friends.
It was an old fashioned party with no theme.
Just simple games and a cake and present opening.

Stafford's two wishes for his birthday was a football cake and Star Wars Lego anything.

As each child arrived, I traced their bodies with sidewalk chalk in any crazy position they wanted.
Then they played in the yard while we waited for everyone to come.
When everyone arrived we decorated our chalk bodies and faces and made them "funny".

Then they each picked an animal to draw and we played a game guessing what it was.

They were so responsive and well behaved.
A wonderful relief after this party.
Mia was a trooper with all those boys and didn't seem to notice.
James put his arm around her and said, "I love you."
Then one of the kids teased James that he liked Mia.
James denied it.
That's when Brock let them all know that he had a crush on her.
They all seemed to accept that just fine and we moved on.
James R., Kaleb R., Stafford, Daxton, Mia O., Cooper C., and Brock D.
(Three of the six kids are first cousins.)

 Then we played a game.
Called Job.
I told them that I needed to hire someone who danced really well and the way that I payed them was giving candy and toys.
I gave them bags that I called their Bank Accounts.
This is them decorating the bags before the game began.
Each time I paid them, they were to deposit it in the bank account.
Here's how we played.
I played music and when the music stopped, they rushed to a square with a number on it.
The squares were scattered around the room.
Then I drew a card with a number on it.
Think cake-walk.
If you're number was picked, you got paid.
I had one extra number and if the empty number got picked then everyone who hadn't gotten a toy got to get "hired" and they all lined up and then took their stuff to the bank and got ready to boogie again.
This kept their attention for a LONG time and they got all their wiggles out.
This became their goodie bag to take home.
After opening presents, we finished with the classic game of freeze tag.

Then I moved to the next thing on my list.
Packing to go camping.

Between Glenn's school and travel schedule, we don't have many weekends open these days.
We decided to take our new trailer up the canyon to a friend's property for the night.

Their property is GORGEOUS.  A piece of heaven.
The land is flat so the kids could drive the 4-wheeler around without worry.
And there is a large fire pit.

We brought a cake that got tipped upside down.
No one seemed to mind, but me.
So I got over it.
After reconstructive surgery, we sang to Stafford and he opened his family gifts.
At our tent kitchen table.
Then we played cards until it was time for bed and the next morning after breakfast (homemade Egg McMuffins), we played again.
Cards were a hit!
When we first arrived on the property, the boys mentioned that it'd be nice to have some other kids around.
From just one evening in the mountains, I heard comments from one brother to another like, "We're best friends." and "This is bonding." and "I love him so much."
That is worth the world to me.
Especially since while I write this, I'm listening to a bickering match.
Baby Steps.

It was a big birthday for this six year old.
But I'm glad he is still little enough that I can carry him inside after he falls asleep in the van.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Update in a Flash

Glenn - almost finished with MBA (end of June), still traveling to cool places with work
Kelly - teaching yoga at two different places, using yoga as a missionary tool
Christian - school musical, spring training for football, will do swimming this summer
Porter - piano, friends, will start lacrosse and swimming in the summer
Warrick - piano, loves school, hopefully will do swimming this summer if arm isn't broken
Stafford - friends, will do t-ball this summer,

Family news - Since the beginning of this year we traveled as a family to Colorado and Reno.  Both were great trips full of memories.  We are hoping to add some camping trips to the line-up soon.  My mom has finished her chemo treatments and we are hoping to go see her for Easter.  Glenn is going on a 2 week trip with his MBA class during the last few weeks of the kids school.  If anyone has any tips on how to keep everyone's limbs and lives in tact during such an event, please send them to me.  It always starts out smoothly and then...

Highlight Story
Stafford is liking Kindergarten enough to not complain about it every morning.  He had a problem on the bus and said he thought he could "handle it", but the kid was two years older and had his sister as backup.  Stafford felt pretty intimidated, especially when the kid listed off all the martial arts disciplines he had mastered.  I stooped to the level of a five year old and reassured Stafford that Glenn was stronger than the other kid's dad, not to mention I'm taller than the kid's dad.  Stafford thought the tall comment was hilarious and his head leaned back in huge laughter.  Low blow.  I know, but the kids comes from a family of bullies so I didn't feel too guilty since it was a true statement. The next day Stafford's brothers flanked him on both sides.  Issued solved.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Read-A-Thon Ends

Reading the Westing Game

Warrick started reading with a CD during the week and following along with the book.
(Harry Potter #1)
At times he would chuckle out loud while reading.
That's one of my favorite things - a child LOL while reading.
He is really motivated to be the top reader of his grade so he can go to lunch with the principal.
In my day that would have been a punishment, not a reward.
That tells you how great our principal is.
When one of our boys was having problems with bullies, 
she was so helpful and invested.
So much that I had her cell phone number and we texted regularly.