The Cutest Blog on the Block

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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Steroids and a Cookbook

For years I've had to modify my yoga poses to accommodate my wrists.
They hurt if I put pressure on them.
I've tried everything.
A Massage - aka heaven, but it didn't help
Essential Oils
A Deep tissue massage - aka Brazilian torture (the therapist is from Brazil)
Chiropractor who had a special procedure to help ganglion cysts - nothing.
And even a Chinese Mystery Paste.
So I finally went to an osteopathic doctor who specializes in wrists.

He was nice.
But before I knew it, I agreed to let him give me a shot of steroids to the wrist.
Going into a doctor's office and getting a procedure that I had not researched to death is not my style.
But I did it
and almost immediately felt a touch or regret.
I probably would have ended up researching and coming back and doing it,
but I like to know exactly what is happening and why before it happens.

As I drove home, pain began to spread from the wrist into my hand and forearm.
It was a dull heavy pain.
There is extra fluid in the joint so that can cause pain.
It should subside soon.
I hope this was the right decision.

I would love to have my wrist back and to be able to do some hand balance poses that I've been longing to do again.

I put on a wrist brace and it seemed to help.
I'm pretty sure this is the adult psychological equivalent of a band-aide.
Suddenly, it just felt better.

The cookbook in the background is my favorite these days.
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner.
I have seen her show on BYU TV, but never thought I'd like her system.
It has been revolutionizing.
I've used a bunch of recipes from it and have never had such a "go-to" book.
I've tried her spaghetti sauce, chicken tacos, white sauce, butter rolls, baguettes, french bread, garlic bread, beef tacos, homemade pizza, pot roast - all delicious.
I'm working on making her recipes even more healthy while maintaining my kids' affinity for the dish.
I've been reading lots of books about family dinner time.
This is a priority for me.
I want to make good food that the kids are excited about - excited to come home for.
I like cooking from scratch and knowing what's in the food.
But the best part is creating a positive atmosphere around the table - something much easier to have when everyone loves the meal.

Glenn is gone tonight so we are going to have lasagna and homemade garlic bread and greek salad.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Miss My Mom

My mom came to visit at the end of last week.

We watched Porter's track meet.

We went to BYU Women's Conference.

And just enjoyed time together.

My mom is light hearted.  I love that about her.  She naturally doesn't take things too seriously.  She didn't complain and is probably one of the easiest people in the world to get a long with.

She is friendly.  She talks to others.  She gives strangers compliments.  She tells them how cute their kids are.  She smiles.

One woman on a bus next to my mom started telling her about her problems.  Everyone has hard lives.  That woman didn't know that my mom just had 6 rounds of chemotherapy and was wearing a wig.  Mom cheered her on and gave her encouragement.

When she left, I missed her.  I missed her spirit.  I think in a very, very, very small way, that is how the Nephites must have felt when Christ left them.  What a blessing in our lives are people who, through their goodness, we can feel we understand Christ a little better.  Those are the people that when the bell tolls for them, it tolls for all mankind.

Both grandmas got to see Porter run.

Mom helped with crafts at Home Depot before she left.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Little Wild Horse Canyon

This is the best hike for families!
And it has made it into my top ten favorite hikes of any kind.
Coming from Southern Utah, 
I'm used to red rock and fun rock formations.
Still, I was in awe of this hike.
It's pretty much flat.
It's shaded most of the time.
And the changes in rocks keeps everyone entertained.

Toward the beginning of the hike, 
there was this circular crater.
Apparently, it wasn't there in the past - it just formed in the last year.
There was a quick and scary way to go around the pit
and a longer, less scary way to go around.
Stafford, Porter and I went the long way.

Glenn, Warrick and Christian went the short way.

The part where they had to jump from ledge to ledge helped me make my route decision.

Stafford busted out some moves on a ledge.
Lion King meets the Macarana.
I loved this hike.
We walked for over an hour,
sat and ate trail mix,
then walked back down.