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

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

'Leaf' it for the weekend...

This last weekend we took and impromptu trip up the canyon to see that fall leaves.
It turned into an impromptu photo op
which was impromptu fabulous.
Here's a peek at our fun.


Being zombies...


Logan's face in this one is killer...love it!

There, now everyone looks relatively normal...
No wonder fall is my favorite (and the people along on my adventure aren't half bad either).  I love watching the world wander from everything fresh and green toward the vibrant quiet of yellows and reds and golds.  This world is an amazing gift.  And not only do I get to watch the canyons flutter and change, but moments like this I get to see the changes that my little family is graced with as well. 

I got to watch up close as Bryce and Aubrey fawned over their little sister who was afraid she would fall on big rocks.  I got to watch Gavin create a "walking adventure" for his younger brother so they could explore together.  I saw Parker trying to perfect his parkour (we used to naively call it street running) skills by leaping and sliding every chance he got.  I got to watch Josh be the most amazing father, and I loved every single moment of it.

Change is not always perfect, sometimes we get wrinkled or discolored, but as a family I think our overall progress has been toward something amazing and I'm grateful to be a spectator for all of these colorful events.

What a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greetings from my hidden craft bone

Sometimes I make cards.
I am not amazing at this, but sometimes they turn out sorta cute.  And when they do I like to brag just a little bit.  But not too much because I know what some people can do with cards...and I don't want to compare because then I'll feel inferior.  So instead I will just paste these on my happy, little blog and smile to myself. 
Ah, it's a good day.

If you want to compare notes with people who are actually pros at this you might want to check out sites like this (she's one of my favorites)...or just look up cards on Pinterest, that works too.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Run, baby, run

My oldest son, Bryce, started jr high this year and he has jumped in with both feet.  As part of that, he joined the cross country team.  He has gradually improved in speed and stamina and I've been really pleased to watch him grow. 
This week he ran in his first cross country meet.  He and 150ish other boys (per Bryce's coach) lined up for the first cross country invitational of the year.
This is Bryce at the start of the race (the little guy in the fluorescent yellow shirt).

This is Bryce sprinting down his final stretch, head down, focused.  Makes this mother proud.
I really am proud of this kid.  In this particular race he finished 27th of the 150 something runners.  The first 20 finishers apparently receive award ribbons, so to be that close on his first ever race I thought was fabulous. 
More than anything I am proud that my son stuck with it.  He ran hard -- hard enough that he said he was close to tears a couple of times (don't tell him I told you that).  His face was bright red by the end and his eyes were a bit watery.  But no matter how much his legs were aching and was choking for breath, he didn't quit.  He ran the entire way -- no walking at all -- and he finished in the lead group of kids.
That kid makes me want to be better.  He makes me want to stand up and chase my dreams.   

Friday, September 21, 2012

Get the dirt

Josh: "Gavin, how in the world did your face get like that?  Have you been making out with the ground?"
Gavin (looking bashful but smiling): "Well, yeah a little bit."

(Insert uncontrolled laughter here)
Who knew we were raising a kid who could smoothly deliver a one liner.
That's why it's great to be a parent.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lovin' me some love stories (but don't tell anybody)

We've already established that I am addicted to reading.  I love books.  I love their smell and their velvety pages and all that.  I won't bore you by going over it all again, but Josh's only real jealousy is not with something tall, dark and handsome it is with something paperback (actually I love hard cover too, I'm just making a point).
Well, this past couple of months has been soccer season.  Since Josh is an assistant soccer coach that means he has been gone.  A lot.  Practice and games and parent meetings and all that have taken him away from me.  So I've been lonely.  So I've plunged into my second true love.
And since I have been without my parental partner and have been crazy busy doing all the grown up jobs, I have needed books that are not especially taxing to my already thinning brain.
So I picked up a couple of Melanie Jacobson novels at the library (on one of the trips where the kids JUST COULDN'T WAIT to pick up the stories they put on hold).
I am actually not normally a romance reader.  It just isn't really my thing.  I don't love cheesy, dorky love stories for the most part.  But somehow, I get sucked into these.  I know they are not high brow literature with intense depth and deep meaning, but I like them anyway.
I love that the main characters remind me of me (although, to be honest, reading them all in a short span made it obvious how nearly identical each of the heroines is).  I was a total dork on the dating scene (who am I kidding, I am a total dork on whatever scene) and Josh did have to hunt me down and plod through my tundra of uncertainty and doubt before he won me over. 
The banter in these books is delicious.  I love it.  I enjoy the characters and just get lost in reading them.  They are great.
Along the same lines, these (below) are the books that got me through soccer season last year.  (What does it say about me that I read drippy romance novels when my husband is absent for long stretches?)
Sarah Eden is one of my favorites.  Her books have been passed around my extended family to the delight of each sister-in-law (and, let's be honest, my brothers don't mind the bonus kisses from wives all giddy on love stories).  We all love them. I got to meet Sarah Eden earlier this year and I think she is adorable so that makes me love her books even more.  Her books are all set in the Regency era and the witty repartee between characters is absolutely addictive.   

Sarah Eden has one other book called "Courting Miss Lancaster" and I love that one too, but I don't own it...sad.  Someday Aubrey will be very grateful that I have these on hand.

I just really don't think there are many things better than a good book.  I love getting lost in the world of written words.  I love letting my mind run untamed over phrases and descriptions and impossible situations.  I love having an amazing adventure without even having to leave my living room (because, lets face it, if I left my living room I would have six little sprites in tow which definitely changes things up).

There are only 11 months until soccer season starts next year.  I hope these smooth writing ladies are working on something that will get me through the next round.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthdays at Knight

So we had a two week span that included three birthday this past month.  That makes things a little bit crazy in the casa, but that's just the way it goes.  I can't complain too much, I was involved in the planning of the creation of each of these little monsters so it's my own fault (and I'll take credit for that every single time).
First came G.

Then came our Ellie-Lou.

And last, but not least, was Logan.

Logan turned five this year and was pretty excited about his birthday.  He counted down the months (by that he meant days) for weeks (by that I mean weeks).
Finding toys that Logan was really interested in was rough this year.  He doesn't really have a favorite activity at the moment (it seems there's always at least one child that is tough to shop for each year).  Just a couple of days before the big day, we were all a dollar and Logan's eyes popped when he saw this dress up set of shining knight apparel.  He was drooling.  It seemed like just the thing, so I stashed it in my basket under my other items and wrapped it up for him.
Yeah, it was a hit.

He and his siblings have been playing knight in one form or another ever since.

Logan even convinced Dad to get in on the action.  Good stuff.

I think we managed to help each child feel important and especially loved on their respective day.  I hope so at least.  I am eternally grateful that each of these little sprites landed in our home and I love celebrating the fact that each one of them stretched our family a bit more  until it was just the right size.  I could not be more thankful to be their mother, to have the chance to watch them learn and grow and explore the world around them.  I would not want to tumble through this lifetime adventure without them. 
Happy Birthday to my three youngest kidlets, I sure do love you guys.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I sort of hate the library right now

Ok, so this summer I made the mistake of teaching my kids how to look up and request books on the Salt Lake County Library website.  I thought this was a brilliant plan so we wouldn't wander the library halls while sad little Ellie screams because she is bored and ready to leave.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.
No, no, I am not sad that they are now searching the site several times a week for books, what I am upset about is that THEY COME TO ME EVERY OTHER DAY WANTING ME TO SCHLEP THEM OVER TO THE LIBRARY TO PICK UP THE ROTTEN BOOKS THEY HAVE REQUESTED!
Oh.  My.  Gosh. 
I am so sick of the drive to the library so they can scamper in and claim their waiting prize.  If I hear, "Mom, will you take me to pick up my books?  Please, Mom, I have been waiting my whole life to read this book and I may die if I don't get it TONIGHT!  Please!  Please!  Please!"  (This may be vaguely overstated but you get the picture.) 
Gigantic sigh.
Still, I feel like a total dork complaining about this.  "You know what's really rotten, that my kids love to read so much that they drag me to the library to pick up books over and over.  Sheesh, can't they just play video games or something!"
Even if it is silly, it is still a problem.  We've had adjust our library runs and now we go on Mondays and if a book shows up to wait for them on Wednesday TOO FREAKING BAD!  Mean old mom makes them wait.  And it is painful for them.  That's how I'll teach them about overcoming suffering.  Or something.
Like I said, total dork (but a dork with more gas in the tank and fewer unplanned road trips).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Simple Sweets

This week we gave a new dessert idea a try and my kids LOVED it!
You start with these things...
Then you do this...
(I only had full sized marshmallows on hand but I think this would actually work better with mini ones...although full sized ones did turn out fine.)

Then roll them up like this...

Cook them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and remove them from the tray as soon as you take them out of the oven (fridge croissants tend to burn on the bottom if left on the hot tray).  Our kids really liked these and have asked to make them again several times.  This is a treat that I can have them help put together without having to worry about a gigantic mess so that is a double score if you ask me. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Weekend Trip

We spent the weekend at East Canyon Resort.  I seriously love it there.  This resort is huddled between the reservoir and the forest and is incredibly quaint and rustic, which is just my style.  My parents have a time share at this resort and I am grateful that they share their fun with us.
It is always nice to get away for a minute or two and this time around all four of my brothers and their families were able to come up for the weekend so it was a mini family reunion as well.  We had a great time.
Aubrey is blossoming into a fabulous little baby sitter and decided at one point to take seven little adventurers out for an excursion.  She was amazing with them as she lead them on a guided tour of the resort (and I watched from the shadows to make sure she was ok without actually interfering).  She lined them all up and assigned them buddies and showed them the wonders of the East Canyon world.  It was incredible to watch.  That girl is something else. 

We spent the rest of the time swimming in the pool, playing miniature golf and tennis, scrambling around the playground, hiking the nearby trails, shooting BB guns and blow guns, launching over sized sling shots, watching movies and playing games.  We even tried to attend church in Henifer, but no dice, they were at regional conference. 

Logan enjoying the beauties of nature (and hucking the biggest rocks he could
lift into the river).
 We took a couple of family pictures because we haven't done that in a while (nothing fancy, just with our little camera). 

My triangular crew of monsters.

What the...how did that get in there (ok, it may be my favorite).
Last, but not least, we played family "Minute to Win it."  Each of my siblings was assigned to come up with a game and bring it up to share with everyone.  We had a great time goofing around (it's what we do best) and spending the weekend together.  Here's a piece of the game show action, Whitmer style.
Yeah, so we teach our kids not to cheat, but I can't say I am always the best example of that.  I like to have a good time...plus I like to win...plus I like to harass my husband.  That's how things like this happen.
Anyway, thanks so much Mom and Dad and Josh, Bri-Guy, Kephin and Joel for sharing your families with us and helping us have an awesome weekend.  We love you all and are grateful that we get to share life with you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What's Cooking?

Ellie recently turned three.  We try to make birthdays as fun as we can at our house without going crazy (budget on the salary of a school teacher and all).
We decorate the kitchen and have a special breakfast, and of course, there have to be presents.
This year, we found a cute little kitchen at DI (a local second hand store) that we thought Ellie would love.  We cleaned it up and then found a set of dishes on clearance while we were school shopping at Ross (another favorite store) so we figured that was perfect for her.
The morning of her birthday she was thrilled with her gifts.  That evening she got another gift from my parents.  They bought her a set of pots and pans that light up red on the bottom and make sizzling, cooking noises when you set them down.  OH!  MY!  HECK!  These pots are the cutest thing.  Ellie was in heaven.

 And then we brought the whole set of stuff in her room and this is what happened.

Ellie, Logan and Gavin  shredding it up in the kitchen.

Aubrey getting in on the cooking action.

Parker mixing a soup for me to eat.  What a sweetie.
Every child in our house (sans Bryce who is in jr high and is too cool for many things that I still think are cool) has spent -- I'm not joking -- hours playing with this kitchen.  I'm not sure we've ever had a gift that has gotten more attention.  The kids conjure up stews and casseroles and will cook to order if you give them the chance.  It has been so much fun to watch them be creative and let their culinary juices flow (even it if is only fake food and toy dishes).
Ellie has been awesome to share and the kids have managed to work and play together without much fighting (which is a birthday miracle if you ask me).  The newness of these things has started to wear off, but they are still the most popular toys in the house.  I love it!  Thanks, Ellie, for being born so this mini miracle could happen in our home (and for lots of other reasons too, you are a miracle all by yourself).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Snow in September

For Labor Day we had snow.
It was 90+ degrees outside, but we still had snow.
Of course, the snow originated in our deep freeze and had to be laboriously coaxed to leave the shelves it was clinging to, but still, it was snow!
Every five or ten years I notice that our upright freezer has too much ice clogging up the shelves so I reluctantly decide to do something about it.  Since there was (I'm not exaggerating) 3-4 inches of ice surrounding the two top shelves and bits of frozen food were beginning to be glued to the shelves by ice that was trying to surround it (yeah, I should have done this a long time ago, but I don't spend that much time gazing into the freezer so the project is out if sight and out of mind) it seemed like a good time to take on this job.
Anyway, so the battle was ON!
After loading every bit of frozen food into coolers and Rubbermaid tubs, I turned off the power and left to let things start to get soggy.  Josh, however is  not that patient (or maybe he just has lots more initiative than me) because he headed to the freezer with a chisel and hammer in hand and proceeded to pound out the ice. 
(Josh finishing up the job...boy I wish I had a picture of how much ice there was to start, my poor, neglected freezer was deeply in need of attention.)
 He scraped and chipped until there was nothing left but beautiful, white, plastic coated metal shelves.  We cleaned up the drippy mess which may or may not have involved throwing shovels full of soggy snow at the children who were scampering around outside.  There may have been wardrobe changes required by the time we were done, but everyone was smiling so it was great.
And now all the frozen stuff is happily stationed back in the freezer and is no longer worried about being swallowed by inching frozen quick sand.  Also, any food that is claustrophobic should be able to breath a bit better now.  What a relief.  It's always nice to get a job done and have results that you can see to let you know you accomplished something good. 
(And a snowball fight at the end of summer is always a bonus too.)
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