Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Larson Christmas Party

Last Saturday was the Larson Christmas party at my house for the half of my family that could make it. It was so fun! We went sledding, decorated cookies, and played a white elephant "lefty-righty" game. We ended the night with Ethan's preschool Christmas program which was a riot. I've never laughed so hard at a program before but get a bunch of 2, then 3, then 4, then school age kids to perform on stage can be quite entertaining. Below is the story I wrote for the Lefty-Righty game. It's long but there were 12 people to include!

Christmas time is here again and it is nice that the weather is finally right for a party complete with sledding. It wasn’t right that we couldn’t celebrate Christmas and Grandma’s birthday together last week because the weather left everyone in the cold.

This has been another busy year for the Larson family. Irene has been right on track at work and made several trips right up North to Aironn and Sunnie’s. She also traveled right past Idaho and into Oregon for baptisms and blessings. She left her fear of travel abroad and signed up for an exotic trip to Egypt this coming March. I hope she filled out her passport application right! This summer, she did what she thought was the right thing by lending her car to her co-worker for a short trip and was left with a few minor dings that needed to be fixed. The other lady must have been using her left, not right, foot to drive with!

Brandon left the life of a farmer and turned more into a rancher this year with the addition of more cows, chickens, and a kitten. We think he is right on track with the organic wholesale beef business. We are just glad he left his old butcher behind and chose the right one this year! He studied hard this year and became a very valuable asset to the Larson clan when he answered all the test questions right and became an EMT. Do you think he left his doctor kit at home for this party? I hope not!

Sunnie decided it was right to stay with third grade again this year. It has been nice to have someone right at our fingertips with homework help. Do you think she knows the right way to add multiple digits? She left Idaho this fall and jumped right into hunting pheasants. With the right advice and the right location and the right gun, she knocked birds right down. Brandon also tried to get her hunting deer but they were left without one. She did learn the top-secret right way to make salad for the Streadbeck Thanksgiving dinner though.

Ryan left Mom’s upstairs and moved right into the downstairs apartment after the other tenants left. It is the right spot for the gang of poker players to gather and every once in a while he has the right hand to take home some money. He has been busy building a number of things in his wood shop for family and friends and, believe it or not, he still has all of his fingers left! This summer, he left Utah and moonlighted in Oregon. Didn’t he learn that Oregon isn’t the right state for him? I guess he still knows how to operate all the equipment right.

Connor has been very busy this year. He learned the right way to play tennis, the right plays in football and the right girl for his girlfriend, Whitney. He left third grade for the challenges of fourth and is learning all the right answers to Utah history this year. We loved listening to him sing for the right Rock Band song over Thanksgiving. He left home this summer for Cub Scout Day Camp at Jeremiah Johnson’s camp and left with several things passed off in his scout book. He also left Utah for several out of state journeys to Oregon and Idaho with his Dad and Aunts and Uncles.

Austin left something great behind the last little while. He left his shyness when he left gluten behind and is quite the prankster. He thinks this party is right on track with scheduled tubing, since it is one of his favorite things to do. He hates that he left his girlfriend, Kim, in Utah but it was the right thing to do to come to Idaho. He is reading all the right things in first grade and is turning into the right kind of athlete with football games this fall. He is also right on track with Rockband and plays better than many adults in the family!

Gary left home for California a few times this summer and also left for Florida in February. It wasn’t the right kind of fire season to keep him in Idaho. He finally got the right kind of lay-down blind to help him slay the birds and the right hunting buddies to keep it interesting in Tom and Logan. He got the right motorcycle this year and spent many days enjoying the right way to get to work. Now it just needs the right paint job and he needs the right jacket to complete the deal.

Aironn did the right thing in driving the boys to all their sports games and practices. She also left Primary and moved right into Cub Scouts. She left the garden to fend for itself this summer and was left with not very much to can. I guess the right thing to do would be to spend some time out there.

Thomas had a right busy year. He played baseball with the right league and used a pitching machine, learned how to play flag football right and earned an award of offensive rookie of the season. He also learned that it is good to choose the right when he was baptized in January. He has made the right decision to join Gary on his hunting trips and hopes to learn to shoot a gun right to hunt birds next year. He is right on track in Cub Scouts and earned his Bobcat and Wolf this year too.

Logan left the clean-cut missionary hair do behind for a longer version. I think it looks right good on him! He was a star soccer player kicking goals right in and defending the goal which left the other team without as many points. He is right on in reading and math and that has him in the top groups at school. He also learned all the right moves playing basketball this spring and even left the ground shooting some times. He loves to play with his friends that live both to the left and right of our house!

Ethan, Ethan, Ethan. What is the right thing to say about him? He left home for preschool two days a week and left his teacher bewildered at his talents. He will be leaving nursery for Primary soon too. He picked the right girls in primary and preschool to be his girlfriends and soon he will see them both right by him at church. He has learned the right way to sound out words too. He has left his mom and dad smiling when he says funny things every day like pirouette and this pan is stuck on my head help!

Dylan has learned it is alright to be the youngest. It is fine to be left out of conversations because he can get what he wants without too many words. He left crawling behind for running and running was left for climbing. It isn’t right that he is always on top of the table! He doesn’t think it is right for Gary to go to work and is right at the window to wave bye and right there again when Gary comes home.

The rest of the family couldn’t make it this year so they will just have to be left out of the story! We hope you’ve had a great Christmas party and we can do it the right way next year, at Grandma’s house!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kids Say and Do the Darndest Things

Me: Logan, what did you have for lunch today?
Logan: Nachos and chocolate milk.
Me: Are the school nachos good?
Logan: Yeah! They are really really really damn good.
Me: (Trying not to be both shocked and laughing a little.) Damn good? Did you know that "damn" is a swear word?
Logan: (Looking shocked and horrified at the same time.) No... I won't say that again.

Later in the day we were driving to the kid Christmas party at Gary's office when Logan asked out of the blue, "Why does it say under like under a table and rest like you are having a rest?" (For those who take a minute or two to put it together, he was talking about policemen putting someone under arrest.

Ethan and Dylan were playing with all the pots and pans the other day so I took a chance to check email downstairs since I could hear every pan hit the floor right above me. After a few minutes, Ethan came downstairs yelling, "Help Mom! I'm stuck. Mom, help me. Help me Mom!" I looked over to see a sauce pan stuck on his head. He had been trying to get it off by pulling on the handle which pulled the pan on an angle and it wouldn't come off. After I quit laughing, I pulled it up evenly and it came off easily.

Tom was giving Dylan a piggy back ride around the house the other day and passed by Logan. Tom looked over and said to Logan, "When you were two, I gave you piggy back rides too." Logan replied, "I don't think so, you were only four!" The truth is that Logan was almost as big as Tom when they were two and four and there is no way Tom could have given Lo a piggy back ride!

Kids really do keep it interesting. I can't wait until Dylan can talk and add to this list!

Monday, December 15, 2008

With Every Calling Comes a Release

Yesterday the Primary Presidency I've been serving in for 3 1/2 years was released. It was kind of bitter sweet. The kids are amazing and Ethan will be joining Primary in a couple of weeks. It's been fun getting to know each of their personalities and watching kids that were in Sunbeams when we started, grow into little school kids who can read and answer questions. It is a very rewarding calling in most ways. It's also been a great place for me to serve while I've had Ethan and Dylan. Ethan was just a baby when we started and it worked well when he needed to be taken out or fed. It was the same for Dylan. He started Nursery for real last week so now I am kid free for two whole hours on Sunday. Weird. I don't remember the last time I was in Relief Society or Sunday School. That will take some getting use to. Sitting still for a whole hour without a baby to rock or take out. I am looking forward to hearing spiritual messages each Sunday and getting to know some of the new people in the ward that didn't have kids in Primary. There are so many faces that I don't have names for yet. I was reminded of a quote by President Uchtdorf that said, in part, every time you accept a calling, you also accept a release. It makes change a bit easier knowing that the four women replacing us are amazing and more capable than I ever felt. They are so full of love for the little kids that it radiates from them already!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Party Wrap-up

The neighborhood party went great. We had about 25 families come and donate food and money for the food bank. We borrowed a fire pit from the Mullen family and everyone went home smelling like a campfire but it really helped people to mingle a bit more than last year. Santa came and handed out candy canes to all the little kids. (THANKS SANTA!) All in all it was a fun evening with neighbors that you don't see much during the winter months. Gary took the loot in to the food bank this morning and reported that they were very happy for the donation. It's a great way to get your neighbors out, regardless of their religion. It seems like there can be such a division between Mormons and non-Mormons for some reason and it's nice to have an event that isn't church sponsored but still helps with the greater good. Hopefully next year we'll have an even bigger turn out! Thanks to everyone who came and donated so generously!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Neighborhood Party

Tonight is the neighborhood Christmas party and food drive at my house. It is a bit nerve racking wondering if anyone is coming and if they realize it isn't IN my house but outside in the garage, driveway area.

Last year was the first year we tried it and we had about 20 families participate. This year we are hoping for an even bigger turn out with promises of Santa and reminder signs at the two entrances to the neighborhood.

The concept is pretty simple. I think I got it from the Family Fun magazine last year. Instead of taking neighbor gifts around to everyone and everyone swapping their plate of cookies for yours, you spend that money on items for the local food bank and get together with everyone one night for hot cocoa. Everyone brings just one plate of cookies to share and the food bank gets a load of food to help out the less fortunate.

This year we already have about 1/3 of the food we collected last year in the garage from people who can't make it tonight. It really is heartwarming to get together with everyone and see how a little here and a little there can add up to something that really makes a difference. It's also nice to have something my kids can participate in that goes to helping rather than getting at this time of year.

So, if anyone is reading this from the neighborhood - or just wants to contribute - TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cards and Shopping and Parties and Travel and and and and and

Christmas time is definitely here whether or not the snow is coming. Last night, we continued working on our Christmas cards - the ones that I was going to have stamped and ready before Christmas. The shopping is just about done. All we need to do is take the boys out individually to shop for the brother they drew this year. Then there is the neighborhood Christmas party that I keep forgetting about. Oh, it's in OUR garage. Guess I better remember. It's really not too big of deal. Everyone brings cookies to share and canned food for the food bank and then, as an added bonus this year, Santa will be joining us.

Gary and I sat down last night to talk about our holiday travel schedule that had been all worked out prior to the announcement of a preschool Christmas program on a Saturday night we had reserved to be in Oregon. Honestly. It looks like we may have to bump Oregon by a month and hopefully Dad will understand. The holidays are CRAZY when you have four kids with schedules and family in four states this year and shipping deadlines and only so many weekends and.....I better stop. I feel my blood pressure rising.

I do love Christmas and what it is really about though. Hopefully, amid all the hustle and bustle, we can all take a moment and think about the reason for the season and, as President Hinckley said, "Try a little harder to be a little better."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let it Snow

I am NOT a cold weather fan. I don't ski or snow board or do much of anything outside when it is cold but this year I am ready for it to start snowing. It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it is 50 degrees outside. The ever so trustworthy weathermen say there is a chance of snow today so I am keeping my fingers crossed. I should be waiting until after Saturday to hope for snow because we are headed out to cut down our Christmas tree but I think I am ready for it to start snowing RIGHT NOW!!! Is there an ancient snow dance we could all do or something?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Smell of New Babies

Thanksgiving was great. We went to my mom's house in Highland, Utah and spent the day with almost all of my siblings. My youngest brother and his family came over on Friday night, so in the end we got to see all my siblings and thier kids. It was great. My boys love love love spending time with cousins and since my brother lives there with his X-box, and my mom has her Wii, and there is a pool table and movie room, there is seldom any complaining that there isn't anything to do, even if the weather is cold and wet. We had a great time visiting with family and playing games as well as eating yummy food.

Friday, we got to go over to Gary's brother Kevin and his wife Amy's house to visit. They have a cute little 2 1/2 year-old, Cohen, and a brand spankin' new baby, Truman. I have been waiting for two weeks to snuggle into that little man and finally got to meet him Friday night. He is so adorable and there is something about the whole new baby smell. They hold so still and love to have you snuggle them in. Watching each of my boys hold and cuddle him was precious. The look on their faces as they would hold him was complete joy and love for such a little man.

Tom was pretty funny when he held him. He was rubbing his hair and came across his soft spot and knew he couldn't touch it. Then he looked at me and said, "If his head was harder and he didn't have a soft spot, I'd give him a very gentle noogie." Couldn't help but laugh.

When we got back to my mom's house, my brother Oliver and his family were there. They have a little man too named Ryder that is about two months old and so incredibly cute. I loved on him for a while and just wanted to snuggle him in tight. He is such a chunk! When he would get fussy, I'd hand him to Gary who always has had such a way with babies. He would calm right down when Gary would hold him and then when he was happy again, Gary would give him back to me to snuggle.

Mmmmmm, babies smell so great!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The True Meaning of Motherhood

My friend, Valerie, had this talk on her blog and it was the perfect timing for me. So often I forget what the true meaning of motherhood is. It takes a talk from Sister Beck to remind me that there is so much more to it than cleaning bathrooms, making meals, doing laundry, getting homework done, etc. etc. It is an awesome responsibility that Heavenly Father has entrusted to us as women. We are literally raising and teaching HIS children. Thanks for the reminder Val!

Julie B. Beck said...........Mothers who know desire to bear children….Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants….. Mothers who know are nurturers, nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work…Mothers who know are leaders. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening….These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most... Mothers who know are always teachers….Mothers who know do less….They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this—women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times….There is eternal influence and power in motherhood."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is our anniversary. Eleven years. It seems like we just got married in so many ways. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. Gary is an amazing father who doesn't hesitate to teach the boys anything from drilling screws into scrap wood to scrambling eggs for breakfast. He is by far the best teacher I have ever met and I love to watch him explain things to our children or even me. He just has a way of making things easy to understand.

I also love the way he is so very patient with his crazy wife. The things he puts up with are......well, let's just say it's always interesting around here. He always puts me first and is constantly watching for ways to enforce that with the boys. I'm so thankful for such a gentleman for a husband and he is teaching our boys to be the same way.

It's great that eleven years later, his corny jokes still make me laugh and that he will come home from work at night and dance me around the kitchen. He keeps me grounded and helps me realize what is truly important in life.

Thanks for a wonderful eleven adventurous years! I can't wait to see where the next decade takes us. I love you Gary!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tom's Wolf

My little boy is not so little any more. Tom is almost nine and I can't believe it but then he will do something and I realize that he is getting older and more independent with each day. Tonight at Pack Meeting he earned his Wolf badge in Cub Scouts. Okay, so maybe Tom, Gary, and I earned our Wolf badge. He was so excited that he kept chanting, "I'm getting my Wolf!" on the way to the church. I'm so very proud of him! We'll add some pictures when we get them developed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

To Cut or Not To Cut

Every couple of years, my hair has gotten long enough that it starts to drive me crazy. I chopped it a couple of years ago and donated it to Lock of Love and I loved the shorter cut. Well, it's time again. I just made my appointment to cut it off in an hour and I'm freaking out! I know it is just hair and it's not like I do so much with it while it's long anyway but.......the questions are starting. What if I hate it this time? What if Gary hates it? What if I can't do anything with it? What if......YIKES! I'll try to post some pictures soon of my new shorter "do" if I get around to getting a picture taken that is. Why are women so worried about their hair anyway? It just grows back!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ethan's Latest Question

Here I am typing on my computer and Ethan comes in to ask me a question.

"Can you do a pirouette? You know when you stand on your tippy toes and spin around?"

Where does he get this stuff?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Bathroom

After living in our home for almost seven years, we REALLY needed to do some cosmetic fixes to the boys bathroom. For anyone who has ever potty trained three boys, you'll understand what I mean. Bleach based cleaners really only go so far. Between the potty training and the tub splashing, the baseboards needed to be replaced which meant Gary had to remove the toilet. While we were at it, I suggested we paint the whole bathroom and really freshen it up. So yesterday, Veteran's Day Holiday, we jumped in. I picked a light but bright blue color and with the white trim, tub, and toilet, it really pops. I have to say, I really like it! Today is just touch up for the paint color and tomorrow I will touch up trim and paint the trim that we didn't have to replace. It's amazing what $40 in supplies will do for a bathroom. It practically looks new! Now we just need to decide if the boys will EVER be allowed back in there again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tagged!

So Valerie tagged me the other day and now I'm suppose to list seven things people may not know about me.

1. I want to be on the Amazing Race with Gary. I think it would be a BLAST!

2. I love to play any sort of game but I am very competitive and really hate losing.

3. I really don't enjoy shopping unless I find amazing bargains and then I'm all over it.

4. Ideally, I would live at the beach with all the sounds and smells of the ocean.

5. I took swimming lessons every summer growing up but I can't swim now to save more than my own life.

6. I am a junk food nut. I love m&m's, twix, cookies, etc. YUM!

7. I really enjoy baking and cooking a lot more than eating it. I like to make pies and cake but I really don't like to eat pie or cake. Give me a cookie any day.

How Old Am I?

Logan said something to Gary the other day that was pretty funny to two people who are over 30 in this house. He said, "Dad, that is SOOO old! It is probably from the 80's!" If he only knew how young that seems now.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Now? He Wants a Pacifier Now?

None of my boys have been pacifier boys. Not for our lack of trying either. We put them in, they spit them out, repeat. We did this for quite a while. I think we spent a small fortune on different types of pacifiers trying to find one with the shape and size the boys liked to no avail.

About two weeks ago I came across a pacifier in the church diaper bag and since I was trying everything I could to get Dylan to be somewhat manageable for the last hour of Primary, I gave it to him to play with. He loves to play with them now. He'll walk around at home with one we found here and have it in his mouth or he'll pull it out while biting it with his teeth to make the cool popping sound he likes.

Gary and I think it's funny and since he doesn't use it to suck on for comfort, we let him have them. It is amusing to us that at almost 18 months old, the time most pacifiers are disappearing, Dylan has finally discovered them.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Dreaded Note from School

Yesterday, Gary took the volunteering shift in Logan's class. Last week, Logan made it perfectly clear he wished I was anywhere but in his classroom with all his friends. That kid. Gary surprised Tom and Logan at lunch and luckily they eat at the same time so Gary only had to eat one school lunch, not two.

Anyway, when Gary came home he told me that Logan had to stay in from recess to write a note to us. It went something like this:

Dear Mom and Dad,
Yesterday most of the boys in the class were not very nice to the substitute and it was partly my fault. I am sorry and I will be better.
Love,
Logan

I'm grateful for a teacher who would make them sit down and write a note to us and then send us a letter explaining what went on during class. We had to sign the note and send it back with Logan. Hopefully he learned his lesson and won't be one of the crowd anymore!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Have Become "Those People"

For the last couple of years when Gary comes home from the deer hunt with a buck to hang in the garage, we have turned the majority of meat into sausage. This year, we wanted to go a step further and make link sausage.


We found another attachment for the trusty KitchenAid (I think we almost have them all now) and called the local butcher to find some casings to put the sausage in. Did you know you buy casings by the hank? It is enough to do about 100 pounds of meat which is twice as much as we had but that's how they sell them.

Once we got started, we discovered our hank was much larger in circumference than regular breakfast sausage - more like brats. It didn't matter though. Sausage is sausage and here we were making it ourselves. It is quite rewarding to see the finished product although, to be perfectly honest, I can't bring myself to eat it now that I've helped stuff it into those casings. The boys are digging it though!
Getting it ready to start stuffing!
Gary having WAY too much fun stuffing.
It really wasn't appetizing to watch the process.
The first round of links.

The finished product.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Vote Vote

Today is election day. It's been a very long campaign this year it seems like. The sad thing is that by the time today finally came around, I had had enough of everything political and partially voted just to make it all stop! It was fun this year to talk politics with Tom a bit. He had been studying some of the candidates in school and would ask Gary and I questions.

I want to instill in my children that voting is a privilege that not everyone has. I am very grateful to live in a country that - even though it gets off track now and then - is run by the people and for the people. We are truly blessed to be able to just run down to the neighborhood precinct and cast a vote in a matter of minutes without the worry that someone will attack us outside the door or that, by voting for whom we like, we may be killed later like so many countries around the world.

So, whatever your party or political views, go vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

These are our little Clone/Storm Troopers and theif fearless leader of the dark side, Darth Vadar this year.




Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baptism Poem

This weekend we are going to be traveling all over the country it feels like. We will be spending Saturday in Oregon attending my niece Baylie's baptism and my new nephew Ryder's blessing. They were nice enough to move Ryder's blessing up a day so the family could all be there and still make it home Sunday. We get to make the trip in one day because Sunday is my other new nephew Silas' blessing in Utah. We didn't want to miss any of these special days so we'll be living out of the car for a few days.

I made Baylie a white, snuggly blanket for her baptism and wrote her this poem to go with it:

The Baptism Blanket

This soft, warm blanket White and clean
Is here to remind you
Of something unseen

When you were confirmed
A member of the church true
You were given the Holy Ghost
To comfort, lead and guide you.

This blanket is white
Like the clothing you wore
Not a spot to be found
Through and through, clean and pure.

When the blanket gets dirty
Throw it into the washer
Just like when you sin
Pray for repentance, the answer

On days when you’re sad
Scared, lonely or blue
Wrap up in the blanket
It will warm you through

The Holy Ghost is the same
Comfort, love and peace He will give
He’s just waiting for you to ask
And a righteous life to live.

I have to run now and get a bunch of unfinished stuff done before Gary gets home from work and is ready to carve pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Are We REALLY Going Down This Road Again?

For those of you who don't know, Ethan and Dylan are really really allergic to anything milk related. No lactose or lactase at all or they get bloated and have horrible diarrhea and don't absorb any nutrients which means they don't gain weight or grow. Anyway, we finally figured this out almost two years ago after a long list of both non-invasive and very invasive tests on poor Ethan. They tested him for everything from giardia to cystic fibrosis and finally had his stomach scoped at Primary Children's to discover he was missing the enzyme to digest lactose and lactase. Dylan was easier to
figure out because we knew what we were looking for and just put him on the same diet that Ethan was on and his symptoms vanished.

Here we are almost two years later and I think we are headed down the same road again. I took Ethan to the doctor yesterday and was telling him that he was potty trained but now he was having a hard time getting to the toilet fast enough to not poop in his pants. Watching him, I don't think he's waiting too long, I think he doesn't have enough warning to get there in time. So, it's back to CBC blood tests and stool sample collection at our house. At least this time he's not in a diaper so the collection part is easier. With the diaper we had to saran wrap him first because it couldn't touch the diaper itself or it would be contaminated with whatever chemicals they use in diaper making. That was an adventure!

I'm still holding out hope that it is just Ethan being three and he will snap out of this and we won't have to go down that long road to re-scoping him like the doctor mentioned. UGH!

So off to collect some poop. YUCK!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Primary Program

Yesterday was our ward's primary program and it was quite the event. We have over 100 kids in our primary so the chapel was completely full. Thankfully my mom came up to help with Dylan and Ethan since Gary needed to be on the stand with his class and I was helping the kids who had forgotten their parts. Thanks Mom!

Tom and Logan did awesome. They had their parts down and they didn't even seem nervous when they were at the microphone to say them. I am so proud of them! I was a nervous wreck for all the kids and the secretary and I were crying before the first part was said. I've become such a baby since I've had kids!

Tom had a talk in primary after the program and he did an amazing job. He picked the subject by himself and all I did was help type it up for him and hold the pictures when he gave the talk. It was about Lehi in the Book of Mormon. I can't believe he is old enough to put a talk together by himself. Where have the years gone?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Moving Into This Century

As many of you know, Gary and I are old school. I'm talking cameras. We don't own a digital. Gary uses them for work but we have been very content with our 35mm. We bought it for our first Christmas as a married couple and it is a very nice Nikon that takes great pictures when we do what we are suppose to with it. I love the surprise of getting film developed and the anticipation as I'm waiting for the photo lab to hand me my envelope full of pictures. Often, I don't even wait to leave the store before I've ripped open the package and started looking through them.

This brings me to our very very sad news. On Wednesday night I was taking pictures of the boys in their costumes for trunk or treat at the church when the camera just froze. Like I do with all things I break, I took it to Gary to fix it. Even after taking the batteries out, it wouldn't turn all the way off. We couldn't rewind the film with the emergency manual button either. *%$!@*&$!!!!!

I took it to the repair store here in town and they told me that if I paid them $150 up front, they would do me the favor of mailing it to Nikon to be repaired. Nikon would then mail it back to repaired. Great! How long? ONLY - key word here - six to seven weeks at least. That would take us right through the holidays with no camera at home. Gary does have a little 35mm he takes on fires sometimes so I could use that but it isn't my GOOD camera with the big fancy lens and body that makes me feel like I can take the best pictures ever.

So now we have a dilemma. We can spend the money and the time to get it fixed or we can jump into the land of digital at home too. The decisions are killing me. I want a great digital camera but I don't have the cash to get the perfect camera so what do I skimp on? Which one will hold up to being jostled around in the bottom of my purse? Which will let me zoom in so that the kids don't know I'm taking their picture? So many questions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tom, Tom, Tom

Yesterday afternoon/evening was all about Tom. We took him to the orthodontist again to check on the progress of his teeth getting ready for braces (he has to lose so many and have the adult teeth in before they can fix his under bite) and got a shock to our system. OK, really it just seems to be shocking my system. The rest of the men seem to be dealing fine. It seems he doesn't have two adult teeth to come in. The ones right next to his two top front teeth are missing in action. As in they aren't ever going to appear. As in we have to talk options. As in, "WHAT THE HECK DID I DO TO MY CHILDREN IN THE WOMB TO MAKE THESE THINGS HAPPEN!?!"

So, it looks like they may start braces sometime in January or there abouts. That we were prepared to hear. The fact that there is a good possibility that my first born may need tooth implants at $3000 a piece that most insurances don't cover yet was something that I was less than prepared to hear. The good news is that he doesn't need them right now or even in the next year and insurances are covering them more now than a year ago so time is on our side. Hopefully by the time he needs them, our insurance will step up and pay for some of it. He's getting to be an expensive kid!

From there we headed to his final football game which they played under the lights at Halliwell field. It is quite entertaining to me to watch the coaches and some of the moms at these games. They are screaming and yelling and jumping up and down and high-fiving mid jump and WAY into ever little thing that happens out on that field. I actually heard the coaches talking about the need to put the "monster squad" in during the fourth quarter to ensure a win. It is 8 and 9 year old flag football for Pete's sake! They should be learning how to play not pulling the little guys to make sure they win!

Anyway, off my soap box. Tom did great. He is turning into quite the little player. Still not my most aggressive child but that is a good thing most of the time. After the game the coaches had a little awards ceremony until they turned the lights off on us. They gave each boy a personalized trophy with an individual award which is no small fete for a team this size. Tom was awarded the Offensive Rookie Player of the Season. Good for you Tom! I'm proud of him for putting in the time and effort and giving his all to a new sport. He's a great kid with tons of potential for anything he wants to do. It's a good thing he does well at sports because his life will now be focused on playing professional something in order to pay off his mouth! Just kidding.

This is a photo from the last football practice. They ended with a game of parents versus the kids. Gary and Tom had a great time. We'll get more football photos soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The View


This was a picture from Gary and my vacation to Glacier. We hiked into Hidden Lake at the Logan Pass Visitor's Center and this was the overlook. It was so beautiful! The weather was perfect and the company even better.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Snow






A week or so ago it turned into winter. The boys were very excited to shovel and kept asking Gary when they could all go out and help him. This all happened before 8:00 in the morning. Even Dylan was excited and I don't think he even remembers snow from last year! Usually he runs away from me when I want to get him dressed but this morning he was completely cooperative when I put his snow pants, boots, snow coat, gloves, and hat on right over his pjs. I may be partial, but I think they are pretty cute snow shovelers!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Up, Up, and Away!

OK, so the week has calmed down enough that I can finally post about last Sunday. It was amazing. At least it ended in an amazing way. Church was chaotic - we are practicing for our Primary program and everyone was squished into the small Primary room for two excruciating hours and I found out I had to plan pack meeting for Cub Scouts again ugh. By the time we got home from church, I was exhausted and Gary was going stir-crazy from sitting in that a fore-mentioned practice with a bazillion screaming kids.

Finally we had a moment of peace and quiet and were just getting settled in for our after church siesta when his work phone rang. I thought this was kind of strange because it isn't really the peak of fire season and people weren't working weekends as much anymore but whatever. When he was done, he told me that I needed to change clothes because we needed to leave. I asked him what I needed to wear to our mystery location and he smirked and said, "I'd wear all cotton fibers." At this point I made him tell me where we were going.

HE HAD ARRANGED A RIDE IN THE HELICOPTER FOR ME AND THE BOYS!

It rocked! We all geared up and loaded in to the helicopter and Gordy - the pilot - took us for a quick trip around town and then buzzed over our house so the boys could see it. We left Dylan in the hangar with a guy Gary worked with so the whole time I was freaking out that we left him all alone and what if something happened......I know. Crazy mom. It was so beautiful up there and I couldn't believe how fast we zipped around. The boys were in heaven. Tom and Logan had headsets on so the could talk with all of us and about 90 seconds into it you hear one of them say, "This is SO cool!"

Yep, Gary is by far the coolest dad on the block and quite the amazing husband. I had told him that I would love to go up in a helicopter one day just in passing but he pulled it off. It is one of the best surprises I have ever had. Thanks Gary for a GREAT Sunday!


Getting ready in the hangar before our flight.

Gary getting Tom and Logan's flight helmets on. Thanks helitack crew for sharing!

Do we look like Jedi fighters on Star Wars?

Tom in the helicopter mid-flight.

Logan in the helicopter mid-flight. Yes, he even poses while flying!

Ethan mid-flight. He was too little for a flight helmet so he wore some shooting ear muff things instead. Gary would just shout questions to him. I think he may have been a bit nervous but he'd never admit to it.

If you know what you are looking for - and I DIDN'T during our flight - this is an aerial view of our house. Our house is just a little to the right and up from the cul-de-sac i the middle. Look for the line of trees.

Walking back to the hangar at the end of the flight. The boys are all wearing their Forest Service Fire sweatshirts just like Dad and all the other firefighters.

The whole family on the ground again. It was an incredible afternoon. Thanks again Gary!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They Grow Up SOOOO Fast

Last night Dylan and Ethan were exhausted from a day playing with the neighbor boys. They were both asleep before 7:30. In fact, at dinner Ethan wasn't really eating and Gary asked him if he wanted to just brush his teeth and go to bed. His response was, "No, just go to bed," and off he went to his bed. I think he was asleep before he got to his room.

Since it was just the big kids and parents, we decided to play a round of dominoes and then read scriptures for bed. It was so fun playing a real (sort of) game with the boys. When it was scripture time, Tom and Logan both took turns reading. It is still weird to me that they are old enough to actually read the Book of Mormon with us and it isn't just Gary and I doing it every night. We really slacked off this summer and are just getting started again. I know it shouldn't come as a surprise because the prophets have promised us this but, it really does bring an added measure of peace into our home. For some reason, I tend to think that nothing can bring that peace to OUR four fighting boys! It really does work though. We don't make it very far each night - sometimes only a handful of verses - but every little bit helps.

By the way, I've been waiting for some pictures to be developed before a post about our way cool and exciting weekend. Hopefully I'll get the pictures today!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dylan's Prayers

Every night before bed, we read scriptures and then kneel in a circle holding hands for family prayer. Dylan isn't really old enough to understand the kneeling thing so we've started to just put him on my lap or Gary's during the prayer and he starts out folding his arms - which is the cutest thing ever by the way! Lately, he's taken to showing the person praying just how much he loves them. Last night it was Ethan. He started with Ethan and walked over and threw his arms around him in a big hug. When he decided it was a big enough hug, he moved on to Logan and then Tom. By then the prayer was over so he waited for his turn to hug Gary and me. We all give hugs after prayers so I'm not sure if he is getting a jump start on it because he thinks he won't get a turn or if that is just his way of participating more fully during the prayer. Either way, I'll keep it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ethan's Harem

Ethan is the little Romeo of the family. Since starting preschool, he's taken a liking to a girl from our ward that goes to the same class, Emma. She is adorable and I think he has pretty good taste. Yesterday the teacher said they spent the morning holding hands. Emma's mom has told me that Emma won't talk to her about Ethan. She gets embarrassed and shy when he's mentioned.

Ethan is also a BIG fan of red heads. His neighborhood girlfriend, Claire, is also adorable and has beautiful red hair. The way he lets her name roll off his tongue is priceless, like he's taking about a newly discovered treasure. At church, they also spend time talking, giggling, and holding hands during class or while out in the foyer.

A couple of Sunday's ago, Ethan's world collided. There he was, minding his own business walking out of nursery with Claire when he ran smack into Emma leaving her Sunbeam class. He stuttered and stammered and just ran past both of them and on toward out car. It was the funniest thing I've seen in a while. At three, he wasn't sure how to handle both girlfriends he's been juggling in the same hallway. Would they find out about each other? What would the fall-out be? Would they still be his girlfriends? How did they end up in the same place?

It was too funny!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Setting the Record Straight

Picking Ethan up from preschool today, I had a chance to talk with his teacher for a minute and asked her how he did last week while Gary and I were on vacation. She said fine and then told me that he came in and said, "My Mom and Dad had to go away for a few days and talk." So........if any of you are worried, we didn't go away just to talk. We were actually just getting away to spend some uninterrupted time together! I wonder where he got that from and who else and what else he's been saying!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Glacier National Park


Gary and I went on a great vacation. For any of you who haven't gotten away with just your spouse for a while, GO FOR IT! It was so nice to just spend time together without worrying about the kids. We drove to Kallispel, Montana the first day and even though the ride was over 8 hours, it was beautiful and time flew. The hotel was amazing and the scenery seemed to get better and better.


The next morning we drove into Glacier National Park. The road that goes over the top was closed for construction just past Logan Pass but it was still amazing. We hiked to Hidden Lake at Logan Pass and saw mountain goats and big horn sheep as well as quite a few interesting people. It was nice to be able to take our time and see what we wanted to see. There weren't very many people this time of year and the leaves were all changing colors making the ride to the top great.


The next day, we took our time driving around Flathead Lake on our way to Missoula. It is mostly Indian Reservation by the lake but it is more touristy than reservation. I guess it's suppose to be the largest freshwater lake this side of the Mississippi and it too is beautiful.


The next day we drove home to our kids and Grandma. I think I fell in love with Montana! I love the rural feel and the mountains and the trees. Thanks Dani and Grandma for making this trip possible by staying with the rug rats!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Vacation Eve

Today is officially Vacation Eve. I am so excited to get some much needed time away with Gary but boy oh boy is there a lot of work involved in leaving for a few days! We are going to Glacier and the weather reports say it will be perfect weather while we are there. It will be so nice to just relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If anyone has any great places to eat in the Kallispel, Montana area, let us know ASAP! I'll try and post pictures when we get back but I'm not sure how great we will be at taking photos!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm Finally Finished!

I finally finished my canning spree this afternoon. Another 19 quarts of sliced peaches and 9 quarts of tomatoes. I know when Gary and I get back from our vacation next week, there will be more tomatoes waiting for me but it is SOOOOO nice to have the fruit done. Thanks to Kris Mullen for helping me out with some Fruit Fresh since the entire town is out! There is nothing quite as rewarding as looking at your counter the next day and seeing all the jars lined up and ready to be put away. Now I get to tackle the extremely dirty and sticky kitchen so that it is ready to go for our vacation. Hopefully I'll get my second wind soon and will get it all done tonight.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Guilty for Enjoying a Cold

I don't have much of a cold, just a few sneezes that the allergy medicine won't take care of but......

Dylan started having a fever yesterday afternoon and it carried through to today. He is sniffely and hot and cutting two molars all at the same time. The poor kid looks rough with his watery eyes and red nose and red cheeks. Even with all this, I am kind of enjoying it. He is NOT a snugly baby. Not when he was a newborn, not when he was a few months old, not now. This morning I just sat in my bed and held him while we watched Survivor. He just laid there and let me rub his head and play with his hair which is NOT like him at all. I do feel bad he is sick, but is it so bad that I am enjoying the time a bit too?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Run on Canning Supplies

This is how I spent the morning. Smiths, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, Cal-Ranch, Winco, and calling Albertsons. To show how productive my trips were, my grand total in spending was just over six dollars. I was on the search for some Fruit Fresh to finish up the last of the peaches today while my kids were at the neighbors. Apparently it is harder to find Fruit Fresh than most illegal substances at the height of canning season. The entire Pocatello area is OUT. If anyone knows a secret canning store, let me know! I am now putting off the peaches until tomorrow and working on Primary stuff instead. Never a dull moment here! And, if any of you have a stash of Fruit Fresh, I am betting you could get a mint on the black market right now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Three P's of Fall

I haven't been very diligent at updating my blog the last week or so and here's the reason why: peaches, pears, and plums.

Our neighbor gave us 5 gallons of ripe plums last Friday so Saturday was spent turning the 5 gallons into 46 pints of plum jam. It was an all day endeavour but, knowing how much the boys enjoy pb&j's, I think it was well worth it.

Monday Gary told me he had some peaches and pears for me and they would be delivered Tuesday morning. Our canning stores were running low from a couple years ago and he works with someone who knows someone who can get something.........

Anyway, a bushel of pears and a bushel of peaches later, my kitchen is sticky from top to bottom. Yesterday I bottled the pears. You wouldn't think that 19 quarts would take that long but it did. I was grateful that Logan requested pancakes for dinner instead of something that required much cooking. Today I canned half the peaches - 17 quarts in all. I don't know why peaches go so much farther than pears but.....Tomorrow is another day and I think I'll be doing much of the same to finish off the peaches and then I can clean my kitchen!

Canning is definitely work but it is rewarding work when you look at your full counter top or when you pop open a jar in the dead of winter and know where the fruit came from and who put it in the jar. Later this week I need to do something with my tomatoes. Does anyone have a pizza sauce canning recipe? If so, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time For New Shoes?

We (Dylan, Ethan, and myself) were just getting ready to head out the door this morning to run some errands and I was waiting ever so not patiently for Ethan to decide which pair of shoes he would like to wear when this conversation happened:

E: I chose my army guy shoes (camo crocks) because I love them. They are army and they don't hurt.

Me: Do other shoes hurt?

E: Yeah, those ones (his school shoes that are still practically new looking). You tie them and my toes go, "OW!" And my garden boots make owies on my nipples.

Me: (trying not to laugh hysterically when I realize nipples is really ankles) We'll have to get you some new shoes buddy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Benefits of Driving the Truck

I took Ethan to preschool this morning and realized an important benefit of driving the truck. I get to sit right next to my little guys! On the way home, I could talk to Dylan and joke around with him. It was too funny to watch his face and see his responses. He is really in a teasing mood today. When I said, "I love you!" he smiled an shook his head no. I tickled his leg and told him yes I did and he just laughed and shook it harder. He's going to be quite the jokester I have a feeling!

We forgot Ethan's backpack today for preschool. All we have to bring is him and the backpack so I'm not sure how that happened. When we pulled up and I realized we didn't have it, I told him I'd have to bring it when I came to pick him up.

His response: Oh, dang it! That's okay if you bring it.

I'm glad he's an easy going kid! Although the first thing he told his teacher was that he'd left his backpack at home.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Feel Stranded!

This summer, as some of you will remember, I had a little incident with my car and the tire tread. Well, the time finally came to get the body work done. It's been driveable and you couldn't see most of the damage so we didn't have to get right in to the shop. Finally, my week looked slow enough that I could schedule it and yesterday Gary and I dropped it off at the shop.

It's interesting how stranded you feel when you don't have your car of choice! I have the purple truck but I don't drive that very often and it won't fit more than three so we won't be using it much. Today I have two little neighbor boys so we all will be staying close to home. No McDonalds for lunch for us! To top it off, Gary left for a prescribed burn today and won't be home until late tomorrow night so I am here with no car and no husband! How did they do this before most families had two cars?

I realize I will be getting the car back by Wednesday most likely because the guy running the shop already painted the bumper and made sure all the parts were in when he found out we didn't have rental car insurance. He has been terrific to work with and does a great job. If any of you need some repairs made, I highly recommend Brent at Flatline Autobody! He's done work for us before and it is always on time and for the price he quoted.

OK, I'll quit whining now and get back to work. We'll be fine I'm sure. It's only a couple of days and it will be nice to be home getting things done around here!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Football - Way More Intense Than I Thought!

It's been a few days since I've posted but I've been meaning to write about my first flag football game experience. Let me start off by saying that I wasn't prepared in the least.

Gary was out of town on a burn so I took Tom to his game. Luckily, I left the other boys home with a sitter. When I showed up, I ran into a mom that I knew from Utah - we were actually in the same ward growing up but she was a few years younger I think. WHOA! She was REALLY into this flag football thing. I figured that she was just a bit excited. NOPE! We have quite a few moms on the team that are really into every aspect of the game from holding the down markers to critiquing jerseys to discussing the best photographer to get the action shots.

I, naively I realize now, thought that this would be similar to soccer, baseball, or basketball. You go to the game and cheer the team on. You even cheer for the other team when they do something great. You get to catch up with the other moms sitting on the sidelines and everyone is like a big family. I was sitting between Anna McDonald and Jen Muhonen and we did spend some time chatting but all the while we were getting dirty looks from other parents. Whoops! I thought at eight, it would be more fun than intense but from the looks of it, I better start getting more into football and start watching for those scouts out looking for the next break-out star!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Shouldn't the Box be Bigger?

The other day I realized that my little Ethan had no pants for school. I pass down the clothes from boy to boy but apparently the size he was in was worn out between Tom and Logan and he only had play worthy pants. So, off to the Children's Place website to order a small fortune in clothes. I picked up an outfit for each of the boys for Christmas as well as some pants for the two little ones now that it's getting colder. I was pleased with how many items I ordered for each of my boys for only $250. I know there are better bargain shoppers than me out there who could have done much better but.....

Well, after days of anticipation, the delivery arrived. Shouldn't the box be MUCH bigger? It kills me how small of a box can fit over 20 items of clothing. At least send it in a bigger box and add packing material! OK, now I've gone of the deep end. Here I am, the "green" part of our household wishing for larger boxes and more Styrofoam peanuts!

In the end, the boys will each have some cool boy stuff for the holidays and Ethan won't look as much like an orphan at preschool anymore.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What's for Dinner?

A few months ago, I stumbled upon this GREAT recipe on the Notes From the Trenches blog. It has become one of my favorites. Not only is it cheap and easy, it tastes good too. We are having it tonight again and I can't wait for it to cook. I'll call it Chicken and Black Bean Tacos.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken - the amount you need to feed your family
Black Beans - I use one can for every 4 chicken breasts
Salsa - I use one pint for every 4 chicken breasts
Grated Cheese - we put this on individually due to our lactose intolerant little ones.

Put the first three ingredients in your crock pot and cook all day on low or about 4 hours on high. The chicken should just fall apart when you shred it. Put it in tortillas and top with cheese. YUM! You can also add some rice to it before serving to stretch it out even further. The juice from the chicken and salsa mix in nicely with the rice and give it a Spanish flair. Hope you enjoy it! Let me know if you try it and what your family thinks.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Logan's First Soccer Game


I don't know when it happened, but I'm relatively sure that Logan was abducted by aliens. I can narrow down the timing to the space between the end of spring soccer and the beginning of fall soccer but that's as close as I can get. I have proof too.

First, his best friend on his team is Morgan, a girl. They played in spring and he wouldn't talk to her at all.

Second, Logan hasn't been known as the kid who LOVES soccer - especially the running. He was always the first one asking his coach for a break. Not today. He wanted to stay in AND he ran the whole time!

Third, last season I told myself that he was just hanging back because he was a natural defender. This year he is actually a great defender - blocking goals and stopping the other team. He also goes after the ball this year instead of practically looking allergic to it.

Yep, I'm pretty sure he was abducted by the David Beckham Aliens!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is It REALLY Time Again?

After what seems like way too short of a break, it's once again time to start the sports seasons back up.

Yesterday Logan had his first soccer practice. I had threatened him with his life that if he didn't play his hardest instead of the way he played most of the season last year, so help me...........

Wa-La! Totally different kid out there this season. At least for the first practice. He had promised that he wanted to play again and that he would actually play this time and I guess I didn't give him enough credit. He was actually playing and looking like he enjoyed it. He has another practice on Friday and then their first game on Saturday. Two practices a week, an hour a piece and a game. Are we ready for this again?

Tom also had his first practice yesterday but this time it was for flag football. We missed the team meeting because of the fair so I found out about practice about 45 minutes before it was suppose to start. Apparently football is WAY more intense. They will have practice Monday through Thursday for 1 1/2 hours! If there happens to be a game on practice night, then they will skip practice though. Really? Like I was going to make my eight year old practice for over an hour and play a game for an hour on top of it?!?!?! When is the poor boy suppose to do homework or scouts or piano that I thought I'd start teaching them next week?

Oh, I forgot to mention that soccer and football practices overlap and are nowhere near each other. It's a good thing football is within walking distance of the house so Tom can just take care of himself because until they have started cloning moms, it's just me here and I can only be in one place at a time! How do you mom's of more than two athletes do it? I have two more on their way to practices and games and running around and..... YIKES!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Eastern Idaho State Fair

Last night the whole family took our annual trip to the fair. It was a blast! We did the traditional look at the booths and animals all on the way to the carnival rides. The boys had so much fun. Ethan could only ride a few of the rides because he is only 36 inches tall but he didn't complain at all. Tom and Logan were taller but still couldn't get on all the rides which didn't really bother them either. At first, Logan didn't want to ride anything too scary or fast or spinning but by the end he was loving it. I don't know how they rode some of them. I was almost sick just waiting for them on the ground!

Gary and I split up and took two boys each. He had Ethan and Dylan first and then Tom and Dylan. When we met up right before going to get some yummy fair food for dinner, he told me Dylan was MAD that he couldn't ride the rides with his brothers. That sealed the deal. We bought some extra tickets for Gary, Dylan and myself and all hopped on the big carousel. Dylan was in heaven. It was worth the $6 for the three of us to ride.

On the way to the food court area, we passed a mechanical bull. It didn't take much pleading from the boys and Gary was paying up for them to each have a turn. I wish we had our camera. It rocked. The man running the bull kept it going just fast enough for each of them that they were "really riding" but slow enough not to buck them off. He told them to wave their hats in the air at one point and each of them did on their own turn. Gary and I just at on the sidelines and alternated between laughing and cheering for our little cowboys.

It was a great night with all of us together. I'm actually looking forward to next year already!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ethan's Big Day


Today was Ethan's first day of preschool. I think I had a harder time with it than he did. Actually, I KNOW I had a harder time with it than he did. He was stoked. Walked right in with his Batman backpack like he owned the place. When I went to pick him up, three or four of the teachers came up to me telling me how great he did. I love the kid and his fearless attitude. He loves school and being big and helping his new friends.

When I asked him how school went, he told me it was great. Later, as we were sitting on the couch holding hands and watching Caillou, he told me about a girl in his class.

He said, "This girl was having a hard time with the monkey puzzle at school so I did it for her and then told her I would get her a sucker to make her feel better." The whole story in a nutshell. He is a sweetheart and I can't believe he is big enough to start preschool already!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Top Ten Lessons of the 2008 Bishop Family Camping Trip







10. It only took Dylan two minutes to be COMPLETELY covered in dirt including a hand print to the face.

9. Logan only tried to get lost once as he ran ahead on the trail back to camp very nearly giving Gary a heart attack.

8. Ethan can eat more for breakfast than his three brothers combined when he gets to eat in the good ole outdoors. (We're talking three fried eggs, some bacon, and a bit of hash browns.)

7. Tom can almost cut down a tree that is about 3" in diameter with his pocketknife he bought at cub scout day camp.

6. A new box of baby wipes (80 total) will last a family of 6 about 26 hours of their 48 hour camping trip.

5. Dylan can indeed fall out of his booster seat and land face first when you put it on the camp chair while remaining seat belted in.

4. Tom can defend himself when deep in the woods from mountain lions with the before mentioned pocket knife while yelling at the top of his lungs, "DAAAAAADDDDD!!!!!!!" when he hears footprints.

3. A queen sized air mattress is big enough for five of the six family members to share throughout the first night but Mom's mummy bag is only big enough for Mom and Ethan for about ten minutes before claustrophobia sets in.

2. There aren't any mosquitoes this time of year - the yellow jackets must have scared them away!

1. The Bishop family can indeed survive two nights in the wilderness without running water, bathroom facilities, picnic tables, gas grills, toys, etc. with only 5 gallons of water!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Garden

We are finally starting to have ripe veggies in our garden! I love this time of year when we an pick tomatoes and peppers and make fresh salsa. By next week, we should have our first salsa batch. Gary also dug up one of our potato bushes today to see how big they were and we had a handful of marble sized purple potatoes. We planted blue potatoes this year to mix it up for the boys. I hope they grow fast now! Fall is coming! Mmmmmmmm I can taste the fresh garden veggies already!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Daddy's Home!

Gary made it home yesterday. I didn't tell the boys he was coming - except Dylan who I knew wouldn't tell :) - and they were VERY excited to see him. Since then, Dylan hasn't wanted to leave his side. Gary is tucking him in for naps, playing with him, and just hanging out together. If he leaves his sight, Dylan has one of his melt downs. Hopefully he'll be a bit more secure in Gary being home by the time he goes to the office on Thursday otherwise it will be a LONG day at home.

I'm glad the boys all have such good relationships with their Dad. He spends time doing stuff they love and always has time for them when he's home and they know that they are important to him. We are going to go on our first camping trip in a couple years this weekend so we can have some family time. They have been begging to go and they'll be so surprised when we finally go! I'm excited to.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy to be Home

We went to American Fork for the weekend for a baby shower and made it home last night. We were only gone two nights this time which made packing so much lighter and easier! I always think it is fun to watch the boys reactions to being home.

Tom is pretty easy going. He is happy to be at Grandma's or happy to be home. The only thing that bothers him about coming home is the end of staying up WAY late and getting back into the regular routine. He gets so tired playing when we are away that even though he wants to stay up until midnight, he is usually crying over everything and nothing after about eight. This was the case last night when it was bedtime but he was out about the time his head hit the pillow.

Logan is about the same away and home. He is my argumentative kid lately and he can do that here or at Grandma's just as easy. It doesn't seem to phase him where he is.

Ethan is my happy go lucky kid. He is always sad when he has to leave Grandma's but he is happy to have his toys and bed and stuff around him.

Dylan, on the other hand, is CRAZY when we get home. He practically runs from room to room like a mad man, touching everything as if to make sure it is still there. He sits and laughs to himself like he can't believe the luck - he is actually is home. He'll play with one toy for a minute and then move on quickly to another one. He's been climbing on everything, playing the piano, emptying my cup cupboard and pulling down my dish towels with complete joy. I've watched him all morning just enjoying it.

I love how different they all are.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Day Recap

About 1:00 the boys were suppose to be home from their first day of school. Right on time, Tom walks in the door. And then, shuts it behind him. I casually ask him about his brother, Logan, expeciting him to say he's coming. Instead, this is our conversation:

Me: Where's Logan?

Tom - very nonchalantly: I don't know. He must have missed his bus or something?

Me - a bit more concerned: What? Wasn't he on your bus with you? You didn't see him anywhere?

Tom: Nope. I guess he got on a different one or something. What's for snack?

At this point I am on the phone calling the school to see if they have a missing first grader. While I'm on hold waiting for them to find his teacher, Logan comes strolling in looking a bit warm.

Logan - with a disgusted sigh: I had to walk ALL the way from the baseball park! (Which is less than an extra two blocks.) The bus driver WOULDN'T drive me to the right place.

Me: The baseball park? You must have gotten on the wrong bus.

Logan: No I didn't. My teacher told me bus number 36.

Me: Who was on your bus? Was there anyone you knew?

Logan: Yeah. The Mullen kids and Ryker..........

Me: Well next time you need to be on the other bus.

Logan: NO! MY TEACHER SAID BUS NUMBER 36. SEE, IT'S RIGHT HERE ON MY NAME TAG!

Me: Even teachers make mistakes. You need to ride bus number 59 next time.

I can't wait until they ride home again on Monday! Thank goodness I'm picking them up Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Day Jitters

Today is the first day of school and boys were so funny this morning. They got themselves up before 6:45 a.m. and were ready to get dressed first thing. They kept yawning but I'm pretty sure some of it was pretend like, "Oh we are SO tired and now it's school and we don't get enough sleep." They only really woke up a few minutes earlier than every other day! Neither of them could eat breakfast either. Both wanted to be in charge of combing their own hair now too. Too bad they can only see the immediate front of their head! I had to step in on the back now that they have both decided to grow their hair out into a shaggy longer style.

I can't believe summer break is really over. It went so fast in some ways and so slow in others. Tom is starting third grade and that just doesn't seem possible. Logan should still be half day in my world but I guess he really is in first grade and is big enough to remember his lunch number and eat his lunch and deal with big kids at recess and......


When we came home from walking them to the bus stop, the house was so very quiet. I'm sure I'll get use to that soon enough!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To Do Lists

I had a conversation the other day with my sister, Sunnie. She is a school teacher and had the summer off. She was telling me that when she went back to school to set up her room, she and the other teachers couldn't believe summer was already over because they didn't get ANY of their list of projects done. All the crafty things they thought they would have time for when they weren't teaching, were still sitting, untouched.

As school starts up again, I too have a huge list of projects that I will get done while the boys are at school and the two little ones are napping during the afternoon. I hope I get to at least half of them.

I always seem to have one to do list going at least. Somehow writing it all down and crossing it off make me feel like I've accomplished something. I'll admit, some days the list is full of things like: shower, dishes, lunch.......but some days are harder to be a mom than others and we need that sense of accomplishment where ever we can get it right? How many of you also have a never-ending to do list?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blood and Gore

There I was, trying to take a fast shower while the boys were all playing this morning after breakfast. Right after I've got conditioner in my hair and one leg shaved - you know, the point of no return - Tom comes in to tell me Dylan cut his chin.

What? How bad? What did he cut it on? Did he fall down?

Tom assures me it is just a scrape and I tell him to wipe it off. About ten seconds later, he comes back in to tell me it isn't a scrape and it bleeding like crazy. There I am, shaving like crazy while trying to rinse off conditioner and soap so I can get out while Tom brings Dylan into the now VERY small bathroom. He is bleeding everywhere but it isn't coming from his chin. He cut the tip of his little thumb and then touched his face. Nothing was cut off, just one cut, straight into his thumb but boy did that thing bleed. It took about ten minutes for me to get it to stop.

Since then, I've been finding blood EVERYWHERE! I noticed the outside of my shower curtain looks like we had our own version of a slasher movie with blood streaked across the outside where Dylan tried to pull it open. There are drops across the carpet. The linoleum was a mess and the outside of the bathroom door was pretty scary too. Who knew one little cut on one very little man could do so much damage!

Since then, Dylan has taken his band-aid off and there is no more bleeding. He's healed except it is a bit sore I think from the way he keeps touching it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sheets

I'm a firm believer that one of the essential parts of a great night's sleep is great sheets. A few years ago I stumbled upon such a set on a clearance table at Macy's. Great price and great sheets.

I think it may have been more than a few years ago because this morning as I was pulling the sheet up to make the bed, I heard a fateful sound. Riiiiippppp. The top hem literally ripped off the main part of the sheet. I was on the phone with Gary at the time and he laughed and said I would have to turn the top sheet around now knowing full well that I couldn't do that. It just wasn't how the sheet was suppose to work. Sheets are one of the many things in life I seem to be freaky about and he loves giving me a hard time about it.

So now I'm at a crossroads. I have an old set on the bed now. Do I just wait until the perfect set comes my way again at a great price, or break down and find some soon? I think it will be sooner than later! I'm heading to Utah next weekend and a crisp new set may be coming back with me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

No House Envy Here

Today I went to the Parade of Homes with three friends. It was so nice to have a day out with the girls. I think I had fallen into the "no one sees what I'm wearing so why does it matter" point of Gary being gone. I forget how re-energizing it is to have some time away from my mom role and back into society.

The homes were, for the most part, gorgeous. You know what I mean, new, no chips in the baseboards or paint, no grime in the corners of the cabinets, no stains on the carpet. They were also decorated by experts without a budget in mind and the whole house coordinated. It's easy to think that I need to go out and spend a fortune to have such a house but then.........

Reality. I have four beautiful boys who love being boys. We try to teach them to treat things with respect but they are still little boys and the walls get dinged and the baseboards get chipped and the carpet gets stained and there are fingerprints EVERYWHERE! I wouldn't trade it for anything (although a weekly maid service would be tempting) and even though the homes were decorated beautifully, those decorations will age and need to be replaced but my boys just seem to get more and more priceless if that is even possible with each day. Sappy thoughts I know but, hey, I'm the Mom here!

So, instead of a bright and shiny new house with new landscaping and all the latest in home decor, I'll stick with my almost new house and my not really new home decor and my "broken in" landscaping and have one more reason to be grateful for the every present grime that comes with the territory of having kids.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Twilight

For quite some time everyone seems to be reading the Twilight series and wondering why I'm not. Well, my neighbor finally got me to commit to read it when Gary was on a fire and I started the first book on Tuesday - should be finished today. I miss reading sooooo much but it seemed like keeping the house semi-clean, boys fed and watered, and all the activities straight, there hasn't been any time to sit down with a good book. After reading this one for a couple of days, I'm hooked! And for all of you who were pushing for me to read it, could you please come over and feed, clean, and entertain my children who are running crazy through the neighborhood because their mother has her nose in this book? I don't know if the house will ever be the same again!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bath Time

I had just gotten Dylan out of the tub, dressed, and down for his nap this morning when I went back in the bathroom to get Ethan out. Here's the scene: no bubbles, a handful of toys scattered around in the water, Ethan in the water laying on his stomach with his head just above water but face down.

Me: It's time to get soapy.

Ethan: Slight giggle

Me: Stand up so we can get you all soapy please.

Ethan: Slight giggle but still no movement.

Me: Are you ready?

Ethan finally standing up with a smile from ear to ear and the mischievous look on his face: I was hiding from you!

The innocence of a three-year-old!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Missing Dad

The boys usually handle Gary's fire assignments pretty well. We count down the days, circle the approximate date he's coming home on the calendar, and leave rambling messages for him every night after prayers. For some reason this assignment is hitting Tom harder than others. Gary's only been gone a few days and he's already tearing up at night. He has such a soft heart at times.

I left Gary a message last night asking him to call if he got a chance to talk to his boys. First thing this morning, the phone rang. He got my message and made it a priority to talk to each of them for a few minutes. Tom was beaming! After listening to them, I realized their conversations are SOOOOO different. Tom wants to hear something cool that happened. Ethan wants to know if he saw any animals. Logan is all about the statistics: fire size, number of people, helicopters, etc.

I love how Gary responds to their needs individually. He is a great father and really makes the time spent with them count - whether it is on the phone or in person. I know it is also hard for him to be away but he does it for the family. I'm lucky to have such a great husband and father!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fabulous Sunday Dinner

Gary left Sunday morning at 5:00 - is that morning or still the middle of the night? - for a fire assignment in California. Since Logan had joined us somewhere around 1:00 after having a bad dream and Gary getting up a few hours later, I was beat come Sunday afternoon.

Church is always an adventure without a husband and four small boys but they were pretty well behaved for the most part. Thank goodness because Primary was a nightmare! By the time we got home, it was all I could do to put together pb&j's for lunch and then get Ethan and Dylan in bed for a nap. About ten minutes after they were asleep, so was I. I love Sunday afternoon naps!

Anyway, by the time we all got back up and moving, it was time to eat again and I hadn't planned anything for dinner. Finally, I just grabbed a few bags of Ramen and figured that would do. The boys thought Ramen was the best thing ever. I forget how much they like it. Logan took the cake with his comments though.

"This is my favorite! I love this stuff! Boy, I bet Dad wishes he was here to eat this. I don't think he is eating anything this good right now. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM" And he wasn't even being sarcastic. They ate three packages!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Adjusters, Estimates, and Tires, Oh My!

There we were, Thomas, Logan, Dylan and I driving home from Preston in a hurry to pick up Ethan from a birthday party. Cruising along the interstate without a worry when..........horrible noise, slight shaking of the car, tire tread flying from behind my vehicle.

Slightly rattled, I pulled over to check out the damage and, much to my surprise, found the tire still fully inflated but missing all the tread. At this point we are exactly between McCammon and Inkom - for those of you not from here, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! - and pulled off on the shoulder with cars whizzing by at break neck speed.

I call Gary's cell phone and get his voice mail. Figuring he is already on his motorcycle on the way home, I call back immediately. I know if I keep calling back immediately, he will have to pull over and see what is going on. He answers on the second attempt with, "Is this an emergency?"

"Yes it is!" He hangs up with his other important call and comes to my rescue. I limp the car into Inkom and he meets me there to change the tire. It's then that I see the extent of the damage. The bumper is broken, the underside of the car in the wheel well is cracked, the wires for my tire indicator lights are hanging down.

Well, to make this long story short, I've gone in for my estimate, talked several times with my insurance agent and now I'm waiting for the claims division to call me back. $1600 worth of damage. We think the tire that blew was on the Firestone recall list from a few years ago but was put on my car anyway when they ruined my original tire trying to fix a flat. Let the paperwork begin.

It's a HUGE blessing it was on the back of the car and that we didn't wreck.
We were definitely being looked over yesterday! By the way, does anyone know a good rental car company?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back to School

I don't remember my parents being stressed out about which teacher we had in school. There were no meetings with the principal, no requesting a specific teacher, no worrying that you won't get into "the" kindergarten-first-second-etc class. It seems like lately the stress level is high enough that you would think it affects which college they go to. YIKES!

I just registered Tom and Logan for school again and found out that Logan didn't have the teacher I thought he would have and then discovered that his circle of friends all did have that teacher. I stressed and stressed and then called the school to see if I could switch. After last year and the nightmare of second grade, we need a good year. Even though I am a college graduate, calling the Principal's office still makes me nervous - like I'm in trouble. Mrs. Herdt was and always is great and made a switch with no problem. Crisis averted. This time anyway!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ethan's Day

Today was the last of the dates for school shopping. Ethan and I hit the town running. Well, almost.

I got him strapped in his car seat, put the key in the ignition and........nothing. Not just a dying battery. A D-E-A-D dead one. I tried calling my husband to rescue me but he was out of cell coverage. It was then that I went to my "I am woman, hear me roar" personality and decided I didn't need a man to help me anyway. I backed Gary's truck up to my car (which Gary had backed into the garage a couple days ago thankfully!) and pulled out the jumper cables. After I figured out how to get the hood up on two very different cars, I hooked red to red and black to black and then started the truck. I gave it about a minute and then tried starting the car. NOTHING. Not a click, not a beep saying the door was open and the keys were in, nothing. A few more minutes and still nothing. At this point I called the other Bishop man that seems to solve all my problems this summer. Kevin was more than patient even when I screamed into the phone - hey, there were sparks flying at me! I got it started and, after a mere 20 minute delay, we were off.

Ethan was so patient. We had errands to run on our date. We dropped of quilts to the quilt shop, signed Logan up for soccer and then signed Tom up for flag football all before lunch.

The boys each get to pick their lunch spot. I give them no restrictions - they don't really know about anything more expensive than Sizzler anyway. I was sure Ethan would pick the new McDonalds. I was sure Logan would pick the new McDonalds. No one picked the new McDonalds. Ethan had his sights set much, much higher. He wanted the restaurant we ate with Grandpa Great. I don't think he ate much for having a HUGE buffet to pick from at Golden Corral. He did like the chocolate cupcake the best I think.

From there it was off to Wal-Mart to try on backpacks. That is the only school supply he needs for preschool. He picked out a school shirt and a Batman backpack and the date was done. The kid makes me laugh. He kept asking if we were going to go on our date - while we were on our date. I finally figured out that he thought it was suppose to be dark and for some reason he wanted a tent to be involved. Where he got the tent, I'll never know.