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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brag brag braggedy brag: musical performance

These are my two oldest littles.

I guess they aren't so little anymore, but still.

Last night was the Matheson Jr. High choir/concert presentation and these two music lovers were part of that event.  In fact, as it turned out, one or the other of them was in every single musical number presented last night.  This greatly increased the attentiveness of their parents throughout the performance (not that we are particularly rude during programs, but when your kids are in every number you do tend to focus a bit more).

Since we were neglectful and didn't remember to invite our grandparents (cough cough sorry about that) to this concert we thought we'd share a bit of the fun with you.

(Plus, we like to brag just a titch about our sweethearts...they are pretty fabulous.)

Aubrey performing "Monster Mash" with the jr high show choir.  Not only did she sing in this but she and a friend created all of the choreography for this piece.  Guess those years of dance classes really came in handy.

Aubrey also plays the flute in the concert band and this was their rendition of "Night on Bald Mountain."

Last, but not least, here is Bryce with the Jazz band performing something...I think it's "Frankenstein," but I can't remember for sure at the moment.  Bryce did also perform with the concert orchestra, but our silly camera decided not to cooperate so we didn't get video of everything.

Anyway, all in all a fun night and a lot of talent from hundreds of impressive jr high kids...our two among the crew.  It was a great evening.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Down By the Banks to the Death!

Last night my entire crew sat around the living room in a circle while we played "Down By the Banks of the Hankey Pankey."  This was the chosen family home evening activity for the week.  Can you imagine a 14, 12, and 10 year old duking it out with a 7 and 5 year old for the chance to be crowned the Hankey Pankey champ?  It was an epic battle!

But the final shootout came down to the 7 year old versus the 5 year old.  Their eyes were focused and their muscles tense and there was no letting down and they warred for the crown.   And  -- after much turmoil -- our 5 year old came out on top.  It was pretty wild!  There was much cheering and whooping (and maybe a bit of disappointed pouting too).  Who would have guessed that a room full of eight fairly normal people could get so involved in a silly, playground game.

It is nights like this that I am most thankful for the incomparable family I've been blessed with.

This week we've had some things come up that have had me thinking about my children.  I feel incredibly lucky to have been blessed with each of these sweethearts.  There is nothing in the world either Josh or I could have done to deserve such an incredible group of youngsters, and yet here they are banging in and out of the front door, singing songs along with the radio in the car, whining over one more page of homework, turning up their nose at dinner, joking with each other until they are laughing so hard they can't even talk and all else that comes with an eight person tromp through home life.  They are lively and creative and funny and energetic and kind (mostly) and intelligent and I just love them to bits.  I learn more from them than I can ever hope to teach them, but I am so so so grateful that the eight of us (Josh included, of course) get to meander through life together.  

Now, none of us is perfect and we have our share of moments of sadness and anger and frustration and quirkiness and tempers and everything in between.  However, I love that as we come together, most of the moments are good.  Most of the moments are full of smiles.  There is more laughter than crying in our daily life and we do work to help each other when we can (although we also have moments where we shove each other down...but not very many).  

I just adore these people.  They are the very best of what this world has to offer (at least if you ask me).

I'm forever and ever thankful that I have each and every one of them.

My sweethearts.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Trunk or Treat Fun

This weekend was our ward trunk-or-treat activity.

It is always a lot of fun.

The kids love any excuse to break out their costumes and run around hoping for sacks of candy.  

Also, I love any excuse to force my sweetheart into weird or quirky duds

(view some evidence from years past).

And, big reveal, the wild wear that I maneuvered him into this year...

Like I said, fun.

And our crew had a great time.  They all got in on the dress-up action to some degree (we have Izio from Assasin's Creed, a mad scientiest, a cat, Spiderman, an army guy, and the beginnings of a weeping angel -- but without her makeup and wings -- thanks, Dr. Who).

Yup, fun.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My oldest boys

I was sifting through our photo files and found some gems taken by my two oldest sons.  

Fun with the camera.  

Good stuff.

(I really do love these lads.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Phobia Themed Party for my middle-schooler

This weekend Aubrey threw a party.  She loves to play hostess (and to be honest I like to plan parties so together we make a good pair) so she puts together a shindig for her friends every now and again.

This year, for Halloween, she chose to go with a "phobia" themed party.

For fun!!!!

So we decorated our living room with all sorts of things that people are afraid of (you might be surprised some of the phobias that actually exist -- we have fun sorting through them all).

She asked each of her friends to come dressed up like something they are afraid of.  We had lost of people do spider outfits (including Aubs) but some came dressed as death, a syringe for a shot, a faceless body and more (plus a couple football stragglers who came straight from practice so they were in their uniforms).

We prepped the food, the activities, the house, the other kids (have to make sure they have something fun to do so they don't end up in the middle of big sister's gig) and we were ready to rock!

The gang showed up.  We played games that helped them face their fear of worms by digging them out of jello with their faces, their fear of performing by playing reverse charades, and their fear of public embarrassment by having Josh around to tease and torment them pretty much the whole time.

We then planned to watch "Arachnophobia" to continue on our "phobia" theme, but the kids decided they would rather face their fear of the dark so they went outside to play night games.  

It was a lot of fun and I think Aubrey was pleased (which is sort of the point).  This really is a great group of kids and I feel grateful that my daughter has chosen such great friends to spend her time with.

Halloween party: CHECK!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Little Sweetie Pie

Yesterday afternoon Ellie was sad.  This happens to five year old girls sometimes (and to the rest of us as well).  

Her older brother, Logan, noticed she wasn't particularly chipper and decided he wanted to try to cheer her up.  So he drew her a picture of Elsa from Frozen.

And he wrote a little note on it too.

No wonder I love my job.  Sometimes it can be rough, but moments like this make it oh so worth it.

Love these little crazzies. 

(P.S. Ellie did cheer up.  Nice work, Logan!)

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Lately we have been swallowed up by tomatoes around here.

I love that.

Ellie and I are the only people in the household who eat tomatoes, but everyone LOOOOVES our home made tomato sauce which we use in soups, pastas, lasagna and the like.

So that means we have been processing and cooking down and canning tomato innards over and over when we have enough to manage a batch.

Family picture.  There are many types of tomatoes here which is why there are so many shades of fruit.  All are yummy.
After a minute long bath in boiling water to loosen the skins, these babies got to run their way through our processing process. This year we added this little play mate to our canning adventure -- a lovely food strainer.  I adore this processor.  It made such an amazing difference when peeling and de-seeding the tomatoes (like a HUGE difference...I think I prefer to NOT do those jobs by hand if I have the choice, thanks anyway).

Anyway, I boil the tomato water until it reaches a thicker, sauce like consistency then add some salt and a touch of lemon juice and seal it in glass jars.  This stuff is uber tasty and waaaaay better than store bought tomato sauce.  

Thanks so my happy, little plants for furnishing us with 25+ quarts of tomato yumminess for the coming winter.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Family fun at Gardner Village

This week we took a trip to Gardner Village.

We always go in October to see the witches (if you haven't been, you should go, it is super cute and free) but this time around we went with my entire extended family to take family pictures.

So, while the photographer was taking pictures of all the awesome super cute families and stuff, we (ok, mostly just Josh) were snapping shots of other moments that we wanted to remember.

You know, moments like this....

and this...

and this...

and this...

And all the girl cousins together.

And all the boy cousins.

Just kidding, here are the cutie pie boys (and also my youngest brother for good measure).  

Anyway, it was fun.  We didn't get to enjoy the witches as much as usual, but we had lots more people to goof around with so it was a good trade.  Can't wait to see the family pictures coming soon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Warming up lunch

I sauntered into the kitchen at lunch time and this is what I found...

Me: Ellie, why are your quesadillas on your arms.  You're supposed to eat them not wear them.
Ellie: I was cold so I was using them to warm me up.

Seems logical.

She's a cute little weirdo.

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