...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Moving on...

 You may think this is just a sweet little montage of a day in the life of my family...but no!  This is actually the last hurrah of our five year old, silver, have to pry the flash open if you want to use it, will only focus most of the time but thankfully was available while we needed it Cannon Powershot S1 IS.
This week we added the last couple of needed dollars to our savings jar and we were able to purchase our fancy (ok, not really) new camera.  Bryce and PJ have been mowing lawns for Grandparents and Uncles all summer to earn money to replace the camera that they accidentally but carelessly broke (we are all about accountability around here).  They have worked hard and done a good job and actually done very little whining about the whole ordeal.  

So, on Friday we headed to the store and came home with our new Canon Elph 300.  It is pocket sized but still packs a photographic punch (or so says all the reviews, we've only had it a day so I don't really know from personal experience, but I have told you before, I am pretty type A so much research and reading has gone into choosing this little flash bucket).  


I hope that this camera will be a great one for our family and will last for many MANY years (are you reading this boys?).  We are awfully grateful to have it and are particularly thankful to all those who helped us get here.  We feel very blessed. 

Happy photoing, everyone.
First adorable shot with the Elph.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strep throat and a wart

Tuesday was the first day of school for our kids.  They are always THRILLED to go back to school.  That morning, Aubrey complained that her throat was a little bit dry, but she was too excited to start school to say much about it.  I assumed it was no big deal because she she acted pretty normal and had no other symptoms. 

Wednesday morning, her throat HURT....badly.  She was having trouble swallowing and she no longer wanted to go to school (a sure sign that this child is sick...sorry to all the kids we accidentally exposed to germs that first day).  We took her in to our amazing doctor and found that she has strep throat...and a wart (I don't think the wart has anything to do with her sore throat though).
 So, Dr. VanDenBerghe gave us a fancy RX paper to trade for anti-biotics for the strep and then he plunged a needle into Aubrey's hand to inject the meds to kill the wart.  Aubs was pretty embarrassed to have a wart (which is funny because it is a tiny little thing that no one would really see anyway...except our doctor, it was the first thing he noticed when he came in the room...man that guy is good!).  I told her having a wart means she is either a toad or a witch.  She assures me she is neither.  I'm not convinced, but time will tell. 

After all, she thinks I'm a witch on a pretty regular basis, and I imagine that is probably genetic.  Guess we'll see if she inherited the gene.

Thankfully, she is on the mend and will be back to school in a day or two, no longer contagious and very happy to be back.
Aubrey did give me permission to show this, I wouldn't want to
tease her without her consent.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hairstylist in training

Gavin has recently taken up hair styling as a hobby.  He tries to style Ellie's hair but she has not patience for it (and he gets frustrated when she screams and runs away) so he has taken to styling mine.

He is very gentle and very patient.  It makes me smile when he asks if he can make me beautiful.

Don't I look lovely?  Great job G.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Putting in a pool

When you decide to install a quick set back yard pool in your yard there are a few simple steps to follow.

1. Have a whole big bunch of sand delivered to your house.  Go ahead and have a dump truck just leave it in your driveway because then you will have incentive to move it quickly so that you can get your cars out and they don't end up high centered on a big fat ol pile-o-sand (wouldn't that have made an awesome picture...but it didn't happen).
 It is also probably a great idea to let any kidlets that you have handy play in the sand.  They will end up covered in sand.  Just have them strip down to their underwear and spray them off with a hose before you let them walk back into the house (or else have your vacuum readily available).
 2. Find a section of grass that you don't care much about and dump all of your sand on it so that your pool can rest on a flat surface (especially if your yard is on a slope so there is nowhere that is even remotely flat in your yard). 

Having a flat spot is UBER IMPORTANT even if your husband gets annoyed because you are finicky about it.  You should not let his grumpy attitude make you give up on leveling the ground (I love you honey!)  If you give in you may have to empty a nearly filled pool by hand because the sides are all skewampus (this I know from experience...and so does Josh...now).
 3. Fill up your pool with water and then fill it with kids and have loads of fun.  (This is the best part!).  You should join your kids in your pool for some fun on a regular basis, but don't forget the sun screen or else you may end up a little bit more crispy than you started.

 4. If you have leftover sand, just leave it in the wheelbarrow and let your kids play in it.  It's almost like having a hand box only they don't have to sit in it to have fun.
 5. Push the baby on the swing because while she loves to swim, she tends to get run over but she really hates her life jacket so you have to entertain her some other way.

I just have to say, my husband was amazing during this project.  He worked like crazy to find the best way to do things and put all of his energy into creating a back yard oasis for our children (even the level sand mishap is fun to laugh and tease about now).  He is incredible.

Quick set 12 foot back yard pools....I highly recommend them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

For the love of Harry Potter

Ok, we are big Harry Potter fans here at our house.  We have read the first three books as a family and our oldest two kids have read the other books on their own.  Josh is the kind of fan that stood in line at midnight for the books and then stayed up all night reading them.  He generally re-reads the series when one of the movies is released.  I have read the books and loved them, but I am not as fanatical as my sweetheart.

I think everyone has a favorite character.  Josh named his car "Lupin" after Professor Lupin (a kind an friendly werewolf who mentors Harry).  Bryce loves Harry the best (not surprising, he always loves whoever wins). 

Me, on the other hand, I ADORE Professor Snape!  I have loved him since the first book.  I knew from that very first story that even though he had a dark and icy nature, he was going to end up as a catalyst for the triumph of good in the tale.  I NEVER doubted him, even when his actions seemed contrary to any kind of happily ever after.  When the first movie came out and I saw that they had cast Alan Rickman as Snape I knew I was in love.  I could not imagine a better face for my favorite character.  I love that guy, both in the book and on the screen.  I was pretty thrilled when I was sorted into Slytherin House by an online sorting hat (the questions were not dead giveaways so I didn't cheat to get there).

Aubrey, apparently, takes after her mother.  Her favorite character is Draco Malfoy.  She totally has a crush on him (and she did before we ever watched a movie so it is not just that she thinks that actor is cute).  She makes me laugh.  Sometimes I think she likes him best just to annoy her older brother because it drives him crazy that she likes a "bad guy."  (That passive-aggressive tormenting she gets from her mother as well.)

Josh and I are pretty excited to see the new movie and to finish off the big screen version of the series.  I'm not really sure we will be watching with the kids because it is pretty intense for most of them yet.  It looks great and we can hardly wait to see it.  Hooray!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Buying other people's stuff

Are you a yard saler?  I have always loved finding a deal so I love yard sales.  The last couple of years because finances are tight I have come to rely on yard sales to help me create a fabulous "ho ho" holiday stash.

The last couple of weekends Josh and I have trundled out in the morning to peruse the merchandise that people are trying to get rid of.  We have learned (over the years) to focus on yard sales in more affluent areas of our valley because their goods are a bit better (does that make us snobby even if we live in the hood?). 

Thankfully, we have come across some fabulous treasures that have helped us fill the Christmas coffers (they aren't full yet, but we're working on it).  I am really grateful that we have been able to find things that our kids will be excited about in a way that we can afford.  I would post some pictures of our exciting finds, but my little sprites like to read the blog so that just won't work. 

Whether you are a yard sale lover or not, whether you shop in July or November, I hope your Christmas shopping goes well and that you get all set for that amazing holiday (even if it is still five months away).

Monday, July 11, 2011


This weekend's adventure included haircuts for my boys.  Josh has been complaining for a while that he had developed wings behind his ears because his hair was so long.

Lots of years ago, Josh and I decided I would learn to cut the boys hair because it would save us oodles of dollars over time.  We got a set of clippers and a a fabulous VHS video (I told you it was lots of years ago) and I worked at learning to cut hair. 

We had some exciting moments.  Poor Josh had to put up with some not so stellar cuts at first and there was one time early on where I put the wrong head on the clippers and he got a REALLY short haircut (at least I didn't forget to put a head on altogether).  But now I'm an old pro and every six weeks or so we line the boys up, shuffle them into the bathroom and lower their ears (that's what my Grandpa Grange calls it...love it!).

We ended up with a garbage can full of varying degrees of sandy blond hair and some really good looking boys (at least if you as me).  Anyone looking to save some dollars over time, I highly recommend this hair trimming endeavor.  Clippers are pretty cheap and you can get a great "how to" video (on DVD now) from the library or even off YouTube.  Except for the screaming three year old that is afraid of the clippers, haircuts are a pretty good thing.

G showing off his haircut and pulling a weird (adorable) face.

Logan looking freshly trimmed and cute as a button (actually I think
cuter than a button because to me buttons aren't all that cute).

Gavin wanted to be sure I got pictures of his haircut from every angle.
Silly kid.
Aubrey asked me to cut hers to her shoulders today too.  We'll see how it goes (I'm not quite so good with girl hair...the clipper don't work for that).  I'll let you know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just helping out...

The other day Josh and I were working in the yard.  Some of the older kids wanted to come outside and play by us, so they threw their shoes on and scurried out the door.  As the screen door slammed shut I could hear Ellie yell "NOOOOOOO!"  and then start to scream and cry.  She wanted to be outside too and was mad that no one had brought her with them.  The work we were doing would have made it hard to keep on eye on her so I felt it was better that she stay inside.  As mean as it sounds, I just let her cry.

However, her big brother, Logan (he is not quite two years older than she is) felt bad for her.  So, he searched around the house and found her shoes and put them on her so she could come outside with him.
 What a sweetheart.  I never get sick of watching my kids take care of each other.  It warms my heart time after time after time (and makes up for the near constant fighting and bickering the rest of the time). 
 As often as these two drive each other crazy, it is obvious that they really love each other too and I am really glad to see it.  They are wonderful. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bryce's Final Pack Meeting

This wonderful cake was made by Mike and Angela Daley
and Bryce felt like the star of the evening because of their
kind attention.  Thanks you two.
Last week Bryce (and the rest of our family) attended his final pack meeting as a cub scout.  Bryce turned 11 in June and this pack meeting he was to receive his Arrow of Light award.  The Arrow of Light is cub scouts highest award and is the only award that is carried on to be worn on the boy scout shirt as well (proud mom here!). 

Our stake is blessed to have a big scouter who puts on an incredible production for boys when they receive their Arrow of Light and it was really neat to watch Bryce be a part of that.

I am a HUGE advocate for scouting, I think it is a great way to shape young men into something incredible and I am very grateful for the leaders and teachers who have worked so hard to help my boy succeed.  He has done a great job and I hope he will keep it up as he heads down this road toward Eagle Scout. 
The incredible set up to present Bryce with his Arrow of Light. 

Bryce getting ready to pin on my mother's pin...I love that the scout organizations recognize the efforts that moms make in helping their boys achieve success.

Bryce being welcomed into the boy scout troop by our awesome scout master.
 After the Arrow of Light program, the kids all got to participate in a bike safety activity that was really fun as well.  It was a wonderful evening for everyone.
Bryce and Logan shredding up the safety course.

Gavin and Parker.

Good-bye to pack meeting until PJ starts his scouting adventure at the start of next year.  We have four boys to help along the way so scouting will be a regular part of our lives for many years to come, and that is a good thing.
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