When I saw the recipe for these spiky monster cupcakes, I knew I had to make them. Logan's 3rd grade Halloween party needed treats so, two dozen cupcakes later, I had a blast. I am thinking I need to make another batch to give to neighbors. I hope the kids like them as much as I liked making them!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
When I saw the recipe for these spiky monster cupcakes, I knew I had to make them. Logan's 3rd grade Halloween party needed treats so, two dozen cupcakes later, I had a blast. I am thinking I need to make another batch to give to neighbors. I hope the kids like them as much as I liked making them!
Posted by aironn at 12:59 PM
Sunday, October 3, 2010
We were sitting down for the first session of General Conference when Dylan, looking at the t.v. during the opening hymn says, "That man has a lot of arms." A lot of what? He was a bit concerned until Gary told him that there were two men sitting there, playing the hymn together. I just had to laugh. During that and the next session today, every time a hymn played, I smiled watching the organists play. The innocence of youth.
I especially loved the talk today by President Monson about an attitude of gratitude. How often are we depressed because we don't have such and such or we don't live somewhere or this or that or the other. We are so blessed to live in this time, even with the economic hardships that are happening right now. We live in a world filled with modern technology. We have comfortable homes and food to eat. We have loving families that just want our time. Like we also heard in conference, "You spell love t - i - m - e." We can be grateful that we have time to show those around us how much we do love them.
I am grateful I am in a place I can watch all the sessions of conference. I can listen to the messages, tape them on my DVR fore later, make a disk to share with branch members who had to work, and, most importantly, have my children see and hear the words of the prophet while their testimonies are developing and growing. I'm very grateful we are blessed with this opportunity every six months and I'm already looking forward to it in April!
Posted by aironn at 3:53 PM
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Today was General Conference. We all sat down to watch the morning session together. The boys had their conference booklets and Gary and I settled in to watch and listen to the messages. The boys made it almost to the end before we released them to go outside and play. A huge improvement over years gone by. Maybe it was because this is the first time in recent memory that Gary was able to watch the Saturday afternoon session with us. It was great having him home.
During the break between sessions, we had lunch and started playing a fun domino type game called triominoes. After lunch and after Dylan was sleeping, we thought we'd play one more round before starting conference. I love having our DVR so we can watch and rewind and pause when the phone rings and start a few minutes late if we need to.
Well, we sat down to play and the thunder started to roll into the neighborhood. We continued playing and the hail began to fall. Another turn and the hail became bigger. Someone else played a piece and the thunder became louder. Next player and the lightening was no longer something that was hitting in the forest somewhere. It hit in our backyard. Gary saw it and is pretty sure it hit our laundry line. Wow was the thunder loud. Luckily it didn't hit one of the dozen trees or the house. The electronics are all fine. There was no fire. No tree toppled over onto our house. No worse for the wear.
I'm thinking it was a sign from above that it was time to put away the games and get to conference. Maybe next time we won't delay the start of the session to meet the recreational desires of our little family.
Posted by aironn at 3:55 PM
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The other day Tom brought a permission slip home from school. He has reached the ripe old age of the school puberty talk and needed our signature to attend. For some reason, Tom always wants me to sign things like this while Dylan is crying, Logan is asking me to help him spell something and Ethan is reading me his after school book. I told him I would look at it right after dinner and make sure everything was taken care of for school the next day. Apparently, he didn't think I would get it done.
As he was getting things out of the fridge for dinner while Gary was stirring what ever we were having in the pot on the stove, Tom asked completely nonchalantly, "Dad, can I go to sex ed?"
There are times in life that you REALLY, REALLY wish you had a camera. This was one of them. Gary's face was priceless. A mix between shock, confusion, and a bit of, "If I ignore this, will it just go away?" mixed in for good measure. I reassured him that he did indeed hear Tom correctly.
Needless to say, we signed the paper.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and the big maturation discussion has arrived. Tom came home from school busting at the seams with all his new found information. Being a girl and never attending a boy class on the subject, I was a bit taken aback by the amount of information. Tom wanted to debrief. I wanted Gary to be there. We agreed that when Gary got home from work, the three of us would sit down and talk all about it.
Tom was very excited to show us all the fun things in his kit. Mostly facial cleanser and deodorant because boys break out and stink. This was one of the main topics I gathered. He also learned quite a bit about his anatomy. From growing taller and getting muscles to what may happen while he's sleeping (I think you know what I'm saying here), it was all covered.
I think I made it through most of the conversation without blushing and giggling like a little girl. I'm still wondering where my baby went. How can it be possible that he is learning about puberty when it seemed like yesterday we were worrying about teething and potty training.
Posted by aironn at 7:26 PM
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I'm not sure I will ever get Dylan potty trained. He is by far my most challenging. Yesterday he pooped in his underwear and then, ever so quietly, he went in the bathroom and took them off and put his shorts back on commando. Today we found the underwear, which apparently is more than a one-day process, wet on the sink next to his brother's toothbrush. He had scrubbed his underwear to get them clean. Where does he learn these things? He's never seen me scrubbing his underwear with toothbrushes. This morning, the boys were all sitting at the table ready for breakfast when I had to tell them that I threw all their toothbrushes away and they could pick a new one from the closet this morning. They asked why and I said something I never thought I would need to. "Because your brother was cleaning poop out of his underwear with them." Honestly, where do these ideas come from and can you buy pull-ups for kids going to college because I think Dylan may need it. Ugh.
Posted by aironn at 11:35 AM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The months since we have been home from Utah have been some of the roughest months since we've been in Arizona, or anywhere in the distant memory for that matter.
Soon after we were home, we found out my dear friend, Amy Tacey, was in the hospital. Amy had been battling cancer for three years and things had taken a turn for the worse. She fought hard and was as stubborn and determined as anyone I've ever met but that evil disease finally took her three weeks ago. She left behind a sweet husband and four adorable kids, three of which are around my boys ages.
I know they say that grieving comes in stages and right now I'm not even sure what those stages are but I know I've been going through some of my own. It's still crazy to me that she is gone. I seem to sway between the guilt and the anger parts of grief right now. I feel guilty that I feel so sad about her leaving. I mean, I only knew her for a year. Do I really have that right to feel this depressed? What about all those amazing people she touched for many, many years? Don't they get to have these feelings more than I do?
And then the anger sets in. I'm not angry with Amy. Far from it. She is my hero. So positive. So determined. So full of life and love and all that is good in this world. I'm angry that even though I knew she was sick even before I met her and that the outcome didn't look great, I still let her take up residence in my heart. She instantly became my friend, my ally, my confidant. I couldn't help it. She was fabulous in a down to earth, sometimes life gives you lemons, when will the dirty diapers ever end, excuse me while I lock myself in my room so I can hear you over my children sort of way. It was like she was the only one who understood me at times here at the Canyon. She also stayed home with her little ones and I never felt like I had to explain that while, yes, I loved doing it and wouldn't change it for the world, I still wanted to pull my hair out most days. She gave me an insight into this new world we had moved into and helped me navigate the acronyms and the expectations. So, if I knew she was really only going to be here for a little while, why did I let her move into one of the biggest rooms in my heart? Why?
The answer is so simple and it does help the grieving. I let her become a part of my life because she made it better. Just because she is now gone, does not mean she has stopped making it better. I look at things differently now. I enjoy the little things a bit more. I hug my kids a bit tighter and kiss my husband with a bit more feeling all because of Amy. She taught me that life is what you make it and you better make it great.
I miss you Amy!
Posted by aironn at 3:45 PM
Monday, August 16, 2010
The boys went with Gary to get two loads of firewood on Saturday. This is what they came home looking like. I can only imagine what three loads would have done to them! The funny thing is Logan didn't wash his hair when he showered and I didn't realize it until we were sitting in Sacrament meeting. He told me he was too busy getting the black off to remember to wash his hair. YUCK! They were two happy boys though.
Posted by aironn at 8:14 PM
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The first week of school was a smashing success. I have to admit, the first day Ethan was there I had to stop myself from calling the office to check on him during the day. It's a long day from 7:30 to 3:30! Maybe it's just a long day for me to be away from someone I've spent almost every day, all day, with the last year since moving to the canyon. He did great though. Here are some brief recaps.
Ethan almost missed the bus his first morning. The bus came five minutes early and he went running out of the house with his backpack as big as he was - it was filled with his lactaid pills and a giant box of granola bars for class snack - and he was yelling as loud as he could, "I'm coming bus! Don't leave me!" He was running toward the bus at this point. The bus driver could see him run the length of the neighboring house to get to the bus. My guess is he wouldn't drive past the running kindergartner.
After school he got off the bus and with eyes HUGE and smile even bigger said to me, "Mom! Yellow and blue make GREEN!" and then showed me his scribbles on a paper from art class to prove it. He was thrilled with his new knowledge. He was also thrilled to find out he didn't have to carry his medicine and granola bars every day back and forth to school and could, in fact, give them to his teacher the next day. At least I know I can keep things securely in his backpack for the entire day without him ever thinking about it.
Logan is a bit more cool about his day. He was very excited about the picture he drew for his homework folder. He was also way excited to write in cursive. He sat down in the first night of school with a clean sheet of paper and said, "I'm going to write the entire alphabet in cursive for extra credit." Extra credit? On the first day? That is one excited kid! Today when I asked him how his day was, he replied, "Awesome!" but that was the end of the description. I think he is loving third grade.
Tom is still acting as cool as ever. He loves being the oldest in the Elementary school. With it comes a lot of responsibility and prestige. I think I've heard a million times that he is in charge of the school flag so he may not be able to pick Ethan up from the Kindergarten room to get on the bus. He will be sure to send Logan who doesn't have such enormous responsibilities though. He's also told me he will probably be able to see Ethan at recess occasionally because he will be in charge of the "ball box" and Ethan will have to request playground equipment from him or some of his 5th grade colleagues. He also gets to be in 5th grade band and gets to pick his instrument he will learn to play. So far the list is narrowed down to the bass guitar or the saxophone but, since 5th grade is the youngest, they get to pick their instruments last after high school and middle school students are done. I'm excited that he is really pumped about learning an instrument again. I hope it takes better than piano did!
Dylan has been adjusting pretty well to being the only child during the day. The only time it came up was nap time when he looked over and realized he was being unfairly punished alone. He asked where Ethan was and wasn't thrilled when I told him school. Today we went to Flagstaff on a "date" together. It was nice to spend that time with just Dylan and I was surprised how much faster the shopping went with just one monster instead of two or three or four. I think I could get use to this!
Posted by aironn at 8:05 PM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This year we have three very excited boys starting school. It's so much more reassuring sending off a kindergartner if he has two older brothers watching out for him. I still get a bit nervous sending Tom because each year it is new territory. We've never sent a son to 5th, yes I said 5th, grade before. I know he can handle it just fine. It's not him I'm worried about, it's his parents. Can we pass 5th grade again?
Posted by aironn at 2:57 PM
Saturday, August 7, 2010
When we moved to Arizona, I knew we weren't in the Phoenix, Arizona climate but I wasn't prepared for the weather we've experienced. We were greeted to winter in November with amazing amounts of snow that continued through the spring. It seemed like it would never melt.
Spring came and with it came no wild fires. An unheard of event here in Arizona. April and May are typically wild fire season as things begin to dry out and tourists and campers are beginning to come in droves. Not one single reportable incident.
June is usually the hottest month of the year here we've heard. I built a fire in mid June because it was 40 degrees at two in the afternoon. The fire wood pile was still being used through the middle of the month. Strange.
July usually brings monsoons. We've heard that monsoons mean the clouds build up with the afternoon heat and then the thunderstorm comes for a quick downpour cooling things off in the afternoon.
Sure, there's been some thunder but the quick downpour is the understatement of 2010. It's been raining almost daily since we came home from Utah the end of July. There are flash flood warnings. There are new flowers blooming. There are green grasses growing. The humidity has been so high that we haven't needed lotion or lip balm. The clothes come out of the dryer dry but by the time you are done folding one batch, it is damp. Forget hanging them on the line. It takes all day for them to dry out. This is not the Arizona weather we were expecting but it is nice to hear the rain and feel the cool breezes in August, just don't tell my fire fighting husband.
Posted by aironn at 12:00 PM
Friday, August 6, 2010
Since this is the last week before school starts for the three oldest boys, we decided to have a week full of adventure days. Every day has been something a bit different and every day a surprise to the boys. It has really been a lot of fun and I think it is something we will continue each year.
Monday we kicked off the week with Gary taking half a day off and the six of us heading in to Flagstaff. The boys kept guessing what we were doing right up until we pulled into the movie theater parking lot. We saw Despicable Me and loved it. It had a great message and was pretty funny. All the boys loved the movie and loved their popcorn and drink just as much I think. Since we live so far away from a theater, this is a special treat for them.
After the movie, Gary and I stopped by the hospital to see a dear friend who is battling cancer and the boys didn't even complain once about hanging out in the car to watch a movie for a few minutes while we went in.
From there it was off to dinner. We really wanted to have a family favorite, Chinese, but still hadn't found a great place so we just started driving down Route 66 in hopes of seeing one we had missed before. Sure enough, the Golden Dragon had cars in the parking lot - a sure sign - and we enjoyed one of the best Chinese dinners we'd had in a long, long time. We'll go back for sure.
Tuesday it was just the boys and me and we headed off for the Tusayan Museum and Ruins and the Desert View Tower on the East side of the Grand Canyon National Park. Even though we drive by it every time we go to Utah or come home, we've never stopped. It was very interesting. The ruins were the homes of people living in this area in the 1100s and told about how they survived in this harsh climate using everything around them. Dylan wasn't thrilled but the older boys and I loved it. The tower was a bit more nerve racking for me. We climbed the stairs and the boys insisted on looking over the edge in the middle of the tower to see how far they had climbed. The tower was filled with drawings on the walls and ended with an awesome view of the canyon. A stop at the Desert View market for some rootbeer and lemonade capped off a great morning.
Wednesday I decided to visit another place we often drive by but have yet to stop and see. Yabba Dabba Doo is a Flintstone village in Valle, 30 minutes south of our house. It has all the homes you would see on the Flintstone cartoon and all are made of rock. It was.....interesting. If it hadn't been so hot and if there had been more than my kids there, we may have stayed more than the hour we did. It was a great place to use their imagination and they pretended to be all the characters in the cartoons. Not sure if the season pass we bought earlier in the spring was worth it though.
Thursday we decided to do an adventure evening instead of day so Gary could join us again. We headed to the Best Western where the local bowling alley is located. It was a blast! Gary helped Dylan push the ball down the lane and they were the only ones to break 100. The rest of us just did our best and almost broke 80. Yeah, we aren't entering the professional bowling circuit any time soon but it was a lot of fun. Gary and I asked each other why we hadn't taken advantage of that place sooner. I think we'll be back for sure, if only for date night.
Today we are off to Williams to the swimming pool. Tom's fourth grade teacher hosts a farewell party to all her outgoing fourth graders each year the week before school starts. We'll swim, eat pizza, swim some more, and just have a fun afternoon. Gary is even going to take half a day and join us. I'm not sure if it's because he wants to or he's afraid I won't be able to keep all four boys alive at a pool but either way we are excited he's coming.
Now that I see how much fun it is to have a week long adventure right before school, I'm already looking forward to adventure week next year. Now the challenge will be to find five more fun events that we haven't done yet or don't get a chance to do very often. Half the fun is discovering something together and listening to the boys try to guess what it is we are going to do!
Posted by aironn at 9:00 AM
Friday, May 28, 2010
In April, we had visits from several of Gary's family members when he was put in as the Branch President. Kevin and Amy and their two adorable boys came a day earlier and stayed a day late to play and we had a blast! This is a day in the life of a Grand Canyon tourist at our house.
The day starts with a long drive. Waiting for your turn is the hardest part. Ethan makes a pretty good driver's education teacher.
After all those hard miles, a boy needs some refreshment. There is nothing better than sitting on the front porch with your cousins while eating fruit snacks. They are there own food group, right?
More eating. What? Do they think they are growing boys? We had been looking at several overlooks and they worked up an appetite.
Next on the agenda was a hike down the South Kaibab trail. We were quite the sight to other tourists. Six kids (at least one in a backpack and one on shoulders the majority of the time), one pregnant lady, camelbaks everywhere. You can imagine the looks we got. We were stopped once on the trail by a well-meaning lady making sure we all had sun screen. When we said we were fine, she proceeded to apply it to the kids. No joke.
The reward for our hike was an awesome view. This is the Oooh and Aaah point. Beautiful! I can just hear the boys planning their adventures as they look into the canyon.
Posted by aironn at 7:55 AM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Over Easter weekend, we hiked the Hermit's Rest Trail. Rest isn't a word I'd associate with this trail. It was gnarly to say the least. Even though the hiking was a bit rough, we all had a fabulous time.
Here we are just getting started. What a beautiful place to play in each weekend.
A couple things happened shortly after we started hiking. Dylan started snoring - loudly and...
Ethan started peeing at every corner. I guess it's hard work hiking in the backpack for Dylan because he didn't make it very far awake. The backpack on Ethan's back is a Camelbak and he definitely knows how to drink from it. He had to pee every corner it seemed like even though we took him to the bathroom right before we got started at the trail head. He was amazed how far it would travel when he would pee over the side of the mountain and Gary and I were amazed how often he could go - and we mean really go! I think he had his water gone by the time we got back to the car and it should have been enough to last for a hike three times as long!
Posted by aironn at 8:13 AM
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Today at church we became a member of the "Help me Bishop!" family only a slightly different version. Gary was conducting and asked me to give the opening prayer. He told me he would love to hold Dylan on his lap while I prayed. Great idea. Too bad no one consulted Dylan.
I go up to say the prayer and put Dylan down steps in front of Gary so he could go sit with his dad. He didn't want to apparently and when Gary grabbed him and put him on his lap the screaming began.
It was a short prayer. No one could hear it anyway since Dylan was wailing. I ended and turned to grab Dylan who then, loud enough for the entire 30 person congregation to hear, said, "I don't like Dad!"
Gary got up to continue conducting and, with his little smirk, said, "At least he didn't yell save me Bishop."
I think one of the reasons we are here at the Grand Canyon Branch is to entertain the members. Some weeks are more entertaining than others. This is probably in their top ten.
Posted by aironn at 4:20 PM
Monday, May 3, 2010
Gary started on a softball team a few weeks ago. They practice on the only baseball/softball field in town which happens to be at the Rec Center next to the school. This also happens to be one of the only places in town with grass. Lush, cool, tasty grass. They shooed the elk off so they could start practice and then, after about 45 minutes, they came back. There were almost 20 elk vying for position. I'm not sure if they wanted to be the center fielder or just the cheer squad but they weren't leaving. At one point, when Gary was up to bat, he hit one right into the middle of the herd. The fielders decided to leave it where it landed and come back for it later. Can't blame them!
Posted by aironn at 7:35 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This morning Dylan asked to watch Scooby Doo. The problem is Dylan is incredibly scared every time he watches it. This is how our conversation went:
Dylan: Can I watch Scooby Doo?
Me: You get too scared when you watch it.
Dylan: No I don't. Can I? Can I? Can I?
Me: Okay, fine.
As soon as the intro was over and the movie started, it showed a ship on the ocean being swallowed by a sea monster in the Bermuda Triangle.
Dylan - eyes wide and hands animating his words: I just saw a BIG monster! A BIG monster!
Me: It's just pretend.
Dylan - as he's making his exit: No it wasn't! It was a BIG monster!
I think he watched the movie less time than it took me to set it up. On the up side, Ethan likes Scooby Doo!
Posted by aironn at 8:05 AM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A few months ago, our Branch President announced he had signed his retirement papers. This may not mean much in most places in the church but, at least in the Grand Canyon Branch, it has major impact. You can only live in this amazing place if you are employed here. All housing is company owned. Retirement in this community means you will be moving soon and moving more than a couple houses away.
As soon as the announcement came, the Holy Ghost began preparing our family. I'm not saying we were hoping for the call. Just the opposite in fact. Gary was happy to be a counselor and I was happy in the Relief Society but, the Lord knew we would need to be prepared. A couple of weeks ago we got the call to meet with the Stake President and it needed to happen in the next couple of days. Thank goodness we have amazing sisters in our branch that would take time off work to tend our children while we went to Flagstaff for a long, long night.
Even though we knew what was coming, it was still so overwhelming and humbling when the call was actually extended. How can our little family be the examples we need to for this branch? I have no doubt Gary can do and amazing job as the Branch President but how can the rest of us hold up our end?
Sunday he was sustained and set apart. He was also made a High Priest. It was an emotional and amazing day. To see that mantle descend on his shoulders and to know that I am married to a man worthy of that calling made it such a spiritual day. The blessings were given and the work began.
Now I'm here wondering how do I support him and not ask questions and not talk to my husband about normal frustrations with church because he isn't just my husband anymore, he's now the ecclesiastical leader of our small band of mighty members. There are so many things that will stay the same and so many things that are going to be different.
Before the calling came, Satan also knew what was happening. He tried his best to get to us and, I almost hate to admit it, he did get to me more than once. Looking back it is easy to see where he tempted and tried us. Where our patience was worn thin, where we were easily annoyed, where we couldn't see the good and where things looked hopeless - all marks of our cunning advesary.
We have been so blessed since accepting the calling. Our relationship is so much stronger. Our kids are behaving so much better - I know it may be a temporary blessing! The support from our other members and family has been amazing. The new counselor and his wife seem like the perfect fit for our branch. Our prayers are more meaningful and our scripture study more reliable. Opportunities to attend the temple have just fallen into place. Every where we turn, we are being blessed.
As we start this new chapter in our lives, I pray that the members continue to love and support us as a family and Gary as their Branch President. I hope they remember that we aren't perfect and we will have our moments but we are trying to live the gospel the best we can. I hope we can be an example to those around us and that our children can continue to grow and mature in the gospel. I also pray that there will be enough time in the day for everything that needs to happen. We always need the Lord's help but boy do I feel like we could use a bit extra right now!
Posted by aironn at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I think every parent wants their child to succeed. In all their extra-curricular activities and even the not so extra ones, you want them to do their best and feel that all their effort paid off with the promised end result of first place. First place comes with many benefits; trophies, ribbons, bragging rights, and sometimes continued competition.
The continued competition is why Gary and I are terrific second place parents. We love to support our kids in whatever they choose to do. We run them back and forth from school. We buy the miscellaneous supplies they need to be successful. We take long lunches volunteering with their activities. We attend performances, competitions, exhibits, you name it. We cheer. We take pictures. We tell our friends and family and neighbors.
And then we secretly hope for second place. Second place has amazing benefits. Second place says you did a fabulous job. Second place says you can keep trying next year to get even better. Second place says, most importantly, you have more free time because the competition has come to an end. That is why we are second place parents.
Our boys are not doing so well with the second place theory lately. It started with the science fair. Tom and Logan both entered. Their projects had to be completed at school. There would be one night that they would be displayed and you could see how you fared. I loaded up the boys, crossed my fingers, and headed for the school. There is always that knot in my stomach when they both are competing for something. What if one wins and the other doesn't even place? What if they both win? What if they both lose? I always have some sort of parenting lecture running around in my head, ready to give at any moment depending on the outcome.
We walked into the science fair and saw Logan's display first. Honorable Mention. Not bad and, more importantly, it was an award that didn't mean more competition. We had to explain to him that it didn't mean last place but more like third place since they only awarded first and second place.
We continued looking until we found Tom's project with a big fat first place award. There it was, larger than life, staring at me, taunting, telling me there would now be a regional competition to look forward to. I tracked down the teacher in charge and learned that it would be in Prescott, Arizona the night we had already booked a hotel room in Flagstaff, Arizona. Opposite directions from our house. The awards ceremony would be that night at 5:00 and they wouldn't let us know before hand if we needed to be there. If we were going to Flagstaff just for the fun of it, we would have easily changed our hotel to Prescott and played there instead. We weren't going for the fun of it.
We had booked our hotel room in Flagstaff because the boys needed to be at their Odyssey of the Mind competition by 8:00 the next morning. There would be no science fair the night before for us. We would just have to ask how it turned out.
Odyssey of the Mind is an amazing program. The team of kids are given a problem that they need to solve through a sort of play. Logan's team would be presenting their problem but they didn't actually compete because they were the Primary - or young - team. The seven kids from first and second grade had to come up with a surprise party that wasn't a normal party and it had to have gifts and unique noisemakers. The kids do it all. They write the script, sew the costumes, and make the props. It was awesome! They all did such a good job and it was incredible to see what the kids could do on their own.
Tom's problem was a food court where one food was accusing another food of being unhealthy. They had to create their set, costumes, script, and a jury that wasn't one of the team members. Tom had spent countless hours after school working on everything with his team. His science fair project was about using batteries to light up bulbs so he incorporated it into the jury box. The time came for their performance -they are only about eight minutes long - and they brought all their props into the room in time. They are only given a short amount of time for everything to be in before they are penalized. They then can set up their props and begin their performance. Everything was in - everything except the jury box. Tom was devastated but they acted like nothing happened and the performance was great.
The awards ceremony began and finally Tom's group was announced. The top two teams go on to State in Tucson and, if a team took first place in one of the judging categories but didn't place first or second, they would also go on to State competition. Sixth, fifth, and fourth place were announced. We still had a shot that this would end here with great memories and plans for next year. Nope. Their team took first place in style and took third overall so they would also be going on in April. The long hours would continue. The Friday practices would continue. The hotel rewards points would continue to add up. Off to State we go in April.
Next came the Pinewood Derby. Once again Tom and Logan would be competing. It was Logan's first time and he had a design all ready for his car. They raced by dens first. Tom took second in his Webelos den. Logan didn't lose a race. First in the Wolf den. Next came the overall races between the four dens. Logan didn't lose a race. First place overall. The regional competition was in Flagstaff at 9:00 the next morning. Gary loaded the racers and Dylan in the car and left at the crack of dawn. Tom didn't place in his class but did win a couple heats. Logan didn't lose a race in the Wolf classification. First place among all the Wolf scouts. Overall races began and Logan finally tasted a bit of defeat but still placed fifth overall with over 120 cars competing. Not bad! State competition is in Phoenix the week before we head to Tucson. We've finally had to call it quits. No state competition for us. It's actually open to everyone so it will be more like a pack Pinewood Derby with fast and not so fast cars competing.
Gary and I are ready for some free time. We are ready to not be running all over the state for competitions. But......if Tom wins at State......Worlds are in May in Minnesota I think and what a memory that would make. We love seeing their success and we love they are enjoying competing. Maybe we should start being better first place parents?
Posted by aironn at 9:11 AM
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
1/2 head of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 Sprinkle chicken strips with a little salt and pepper and cook them in a small skillet with a little bit of water (just enough so the chicken doesn't stick). Cover and cook until cooked through (3-5 minutes), turning the pieces over half way through cooking. Drain and set aside.
2 In a large salad bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Adjust to taste. Add the chicken and salad ingredients and toss well. (If you don't have toasted sesame seeds for the salad, add a tablespoon of tahini or peanut butter to the dressing before tossing.)
Posted by aironn at 7:13 PM
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Dylan has a serious case of cabin fever. Whenever we are pulling back into the neighborhood from the market or Flagstaff or anywhere really, he starts to cry and say, "I don't want to go home!"
Winter has been long this year and there aren't many places here to take little ones to break up the monotony of being in the same house with the same toys and the same people day after day. He and Ethan play really well together which has definitely helped the last few weeks but he is ready for a change.
Until the last couple of days, the snow has been so deep that even putting on their snow clothes does not do any good. The snow is too deep to walk or even play in for a two-year-old! The last couple of days, though, the temps have been rising and the snow has been melting. Now it is the heavy, full of water type of spring snow. His little feet can stay on top if it and he can go out an explore on his own in our back yard again.
I have been finding him out front "shovelling" quite frequently lately. Now that he is big enough and strong enough to open both the back and front doors, he goes out when he wants. Now if I can only convince him that a coat is still necessary and that his hands will get freezing cold without gloves if he puts them in the snow, I think we'll be in business.
I'm not sure I'm ready for the mud that will come with Spring but I know I am ready for the snow to be gone for another year! Bring it on Spring! We're ready and waiting for you!
Posted by aironn at 12:46 PM
Friday, February 26, 2010
Yesterday, Gary dropped a bombshell. On February 7, 2010, Dylan said his first prayer in Primary. Like a bitter-sweet dagger to the heart. I am so proud of him for even going to Primary and staying the whole hour - we are on a two-hour instead of three-hour church block here. I am so proud of him that he would actually agree to even say the prayer. I am so proud of him that he had the courage to repeat a portion of the words that his amazing Primary leader was saying before him.
But.......first prayer already? Really? If we were in a big ward or even a bigger branch where there were more children than just the Bishop boys coming to Primary, he would still be in nursery playing with blocks and singing Itsy, Bitsy Spider. They do bring toys in for him each week and he is learning so much by being in Primary but it's like my baby is growing up so much faster than I was ready for him to do!
As he told me this morning, "I not baby Dylan. I just Dylan!" Yep, the little boy is emerging more and more each day.
Posted by aironn at 9:09 AM
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The annual Grand Canyon Elementary Science Fair was last night at the school. Before you start thinking of exploding volcanoes and parents hurrying to finish "their child's project," let me tell you about a wonderful rule with this science fair. If you want your project judged, you have to complete it at school with mostly school supplies. A parent's dream announcement I think.
Logan worked on his project once a week after school and decided to do it on the weight of liquids. He wanted to see if water or oil was heavier and dropped balloons filled with the same amount of each liquid into a cardboard box full of nails punched through the bottom so he could see which one would pop first. The only thing he could do at home was the filling and popping of the balloons. All the charts and presentation was done at school and his display turned out really nicely. He won the 2nd Grade Honorable Mention which was the equivalent of third place. I am so proud of him! We keep trying to tell him that Honorable Mention does not mean last place but right now, he is convinced that it does. Oh the drama.
Tom worked on his project in class with his partner, Travis Moreno. Being the non-scientist of this family, I'll try to describe what his project was about. They had two batteries hooked up to some wires and then they would touch different objects to see if the electricity would flow through the object and light up a tiny light at other end of the wires. They wanted to see if other things than metal would also conduct electricity. I thought the project was amazing and looked very professional and apparently the judges agreed with me. Tom and Travis won first place for the fourth grade!
Because they won first place, their project will continue on to the regional science fair in Prescott, Arizona. I was so excited and had already begun to plan the trip to Prescott when I saw the date. It is the night before his Odyssey of the Mind competition in Flagstaff and we have already booked our hotel. If they announce the results early enough, we may have to spend some extra car time to hit both events.
I am so proud of both of my boys for getting involved in the things the school offers and excelling at them!
Posted by aironn at 12:35 PM
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Our washer and dryer began to go downhill quickly about the time we were thinking of filing our taxes. Gary and I had great aspirations for where the money should be spent. Should we take a cruise? Should we buy a rifle for elk hunting? Should we save it all in our down payment account for the day we move again? Those decisions vanished just as quickly when the sporadic leak from the washer became a constant, every load leak and the dyer began taking twice as long to dry and we figured we bought that set over a decade ago. Thank goodness for the blessing of tax refunds!
I researched and read reviews, shopped prices and watched for upcoming sales and then still worried about making the right choice for such a large purchase. It's amazing how much stress a washer and dryer can cause! In the end, I chose the LG front loaders and have loved, loved, loved them.
Because we live remotely, we are not on natural gas. Instead, we have a large propane tank in the back. Gary and I both knew we wanted a gas dryer because they are so much more efficient and end up saving you money in the long run. When you buy a gas dryer, they are set for natural gas instead of propane and you have to buy a part to convert it over. The new dryer hadn't been in the house five minutes when Gary began taking it apart so he could change the natural gas part for the propane one. I was a bit nervous. There sat my brand new, shiny red dryer - in several pieces. In the end, he got to the place he needed and switched the teeny, tiny part over so it would work with propane.
I never thought after spending such a chunk of change on such a nice appliance, that it would be sitting in so many pieces in my living room right after we brought it home. Gary did great, though. Not a scratch on it!
Here he is trying to put the small adapter into a small part on the dryer. You would think they would make access a bit easier, not requiring the removal of the top and front of the dryer!
Posted by aironn at 12:11 PM
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Ethan had some bad news. If you are four and a half, it is terrible, life altering news. His Nintendo DS is broken. Won't charge, won't power up, won't let his little fingers push the buttons moving Mario around the imaginary Mario world. Broken.
The DS became part of Ethan at Christmas and isn't often far from his side. He is the only Bishop boy so far that needs playing limits. If we didn't set them, he'd sit on his bed with his little thumbs moving all day. He loves the thing and loves Mario almost as much. Knowing how much time he spends playing it, I was a bit apprehensive when my research led me where it did. I have to send the DS in for repairs to Nintendo. It could be two, maybe even three, weeks before he gets it back. OH THE HORROR!
He actually took the news very well. Acted like it was no big deal at all in fact. Luckily the warranty doesn't take me filling in the card and mailing it back to activate. It activates as soon as it was scanned the day after Thanksgiving and is good for a year. A ray of sunshine in the gloom.
Now to find a Fed Ex drop off in the middle of no where..........
Posted by aironn at 7:28 AM
Monday, February 22, 2010
The groundhog wasn't far off with his predictions this year. There is no sign of Spring here at the Grand Canyon. It started snowing again on Saturday and has drizzled snow since. School was again on a one hour delay, church was cancelled yesterday, and the snow continues.
We have a serious case of cabin fever. The big two go to school and come home but the little two know the inside of the car and the house lately. We are more than ready for spring to come!
Gary gets to drive through the winter storm to Tucson today for a meeting. Three days in the sun and warm temps should be worth the stressful drive off the rim. He is hoping to have time to stop in and see Grandpa and Dianna while he's in town.
The good news is that because the snow keeps falling, we aren't in danger of having that ugly dirty snow and I don't have to worry about the mud yet! Seriously, though, I'm more than ready for Spring to come!
Posted by aironn at 8:44 AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Since Monday was a holiday and the boys didn't have school and Gary didn't have work, we planned to go into the Canyon and finally take the boys on one of the trails. I've been nervous about taking them. Drop offs, icy trails, plunging to their death. You know, basic paranoia. We talked to several people and decided on our day hike. We took the South Kaibab Trail which is one of the most popular trails that take people to the bottom when they are hiking rim to rim. It had the perfect distance for our first attempt; a three mile round trip journey to the Cedar Ridge overlook.
Gary loaded up the car with the camelbacks we all got for Christmas, snacks a plenty, extra clothes and jackets for all, and the backpack to carry Dylan and off we went. We didn't get started until about 3:00 because Tom had practice for Odysey of the Mind but it actually gave us the perfect time of day.
The first mile and a half is, as you can imagine starting at the top of the Grand Canyon, a continuous downhill trail. Easy on the lungs, not so much on the knees. Ethan held on to my hand and Dylan rode up top in the pack constantly begging to either get down and walk or have another drink from Gary's pack. I can't believe Gary could carry that the whole way in and out. I have to remember who I married though!
Here are Gary, Dylan, Logan and Tom about half way down the trail. The top have was a bit snowy and icy and then we got out into the sun and it was either muddy from snow run-off or dry.
After about an hour, we made it to the look out! Ethan did awesome. He never complained or wanted to stop and take a break. His camelback was leaking and by the time we reached the overlook, his pants were soaked from his waist to his ankles. What a trooper!
Tom and Logan were also amazing hikers. They listened to our rules about no running, jumping and climbing and we didn't get too nervous with them hiking the narrow trail. Dylan was the warmest dressed and the coldest because he didn't hike but he also did great. The first half of the hike he had to have his sunglasses on. It really added to his nickname of Your Highness as he was being carried into the Canyon.
The view was definitely worth the hike! I still can't believe we call this our backyard!
Posted by aironn at 6:58 AM
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Living where we do, we often have visitors at church. Since the Branch members only total around 15 each week, the visitors are easy to spot and made to feel very welcome with all the members introducing themselves and shaking their hands. Usually, I am too tied up with the four boys so I don't get to talk to many of the visitors. I figure that keeping the kids in line an some sort of reverence in the room we use as our chapel is more important.
Today, however, was a bit different. Tom decided he was too sick to go to church today. I wasn't convinced he was actually really sick but Dylan did have an awful runny nose this morning and he was exhausted from our Flagstaff trip yesterday, so I didn't fight Tom on the extent of his sickness. I let him make the choice if he was too sick to attend church or not and let him know he would be staying in his room reading the Friend or his scriptures and NOT just chilling eating all the treats in the house and watching cartoons. He decided he was in fact too sick so I left him home and put Dylan down for a nap.
I learned one thing very quickly. After having four kids at church, two is a cake walk! (For all you with just two kids, I know it isn't really a cake walk. I was blessed with Logan and Ethan today.)
So, back to the visitors. Since I just had the two, I felt I could shake hands and introduce myself. I went over just in time to hear my lovely husband invite the young couple to dinner. Yep, dinner. Yep, on Valentine's Day. It was actually a great day to invite someone. I had planned one of Gary's favorite meals and knew we would have tons. The menu would include shrimp, tomato and mushroom Alfredo with crunchy onion loaf, a Caesar salad and asparagus. It was going to be great. Right up to the point that we learn Kenny is lactose intolerant and vegetarian followed closely by finding no croutons for the salad (a pivotal ingredient) and no burner to saute the asparagus.
No problem. I'll just open up a jar of pasta sauce and have that as well. It was actually a huge hit with the boys and that way Ethan and Dylan wouldn't have to eat the cream and butter laden Alfredo sauce.
So, at six o'clock on the dot, Kenny and Danielle came to dinner. They were great dinner guests. The conversation flowed easily. They were gracious. They appeared to like both the boys and the dog. They were a great pair to invite over.
I never in a million years would have thought that one of the benefits of living in the Grand Canyon and attending a teeny, tiny little branch, would be meeting people from all over the world and getting to have dinner with the few that dare take complete strangers up on the offer. I'm very grateful today that Kenny and Danielle did take Gary up on the offer and I hope we will stay in contact. I wonder who's coming to dinner next week? I'll put on extra potatoes just in case.
Posted by aironn at 7:53 PM
Friday, February 12, 2010
My boys end up with money each Christmas and birthday that instantly begins burning a hole in their pockets. When we were in Pocatello, we would hurry right down to the game store and pick out a new DS game that they would later lose. Since living so far out, trips to town are not as easy and we don't always have the older ones with us because they are in school. Because of this, at least that's what I'm telling myself, my boys have become quite versed in the infomercial. They can recite them word for word some times and don't seem to realize that most, if not all, of the things on those infomercials are overpriced and not going to live up to what they claim.
Posted by aironn at 3:32 PM
Thursday, February 11, 2010
On Saturday, February 6, Logan was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was an amazing day full of the spirit, our own little miracles, and plenty of fun.
We were pretty nervous about the weather the night before the baptism. The church was an hour away and visibility from here to there isn't the greatest in bad weather. We all prayed that we would be able to have the baptism and we were blessed with just enough good weather!
I was so proud of Logan! He invited several of his friends that didn't know much if anything about our church and two of his classmates made the long trip south to Williams to be there for his big day! What a little missionary!
Logan, Thomas, Gary and I got to the church about an hour early and found a member of the Williams ward bishopric already there getting things set up and ready for us. It is so humbling to know that someone we had never met and who didn't know anything about us was willing to sacrifice his entire Saturday morning to make sure we had everything we needed for Logan's baptism! After we got the chairs set up and the cultural hall ready for the luncheon, Gary and Logan changed into their whites and got ready for the program to begin.
I am so grateful that I am married to a man who takes his priesthood seriously. He sets such a great example for our future priesthood holders and I never question if he is ready to use his priesthood! He is worthy to administer to us when we are sick. He is worthy to bless our children. He is worthy to help Logan become a member of the church by baptizing and confirming him. It is an awesome blessing in my life to be married to such an amazing man!
Doesn't Logan look handsome all ready to be baptized? During the program, Gary leaned over to him and told him his stomach was doing flips and Logan, smiling, said his was doing the same thing.
The program was special because Logan was the only one getting baptized in Williams that day. The rest of the Stake was in Flagstaff but, due to the distance, the Stake President gave us special permission to hold our service in Williams. Thanks President Frost! So, since it was only Logan, he got to plan his entire program.
We started with our Branch President, Don Keil, conducting and then sang, "When I am Baptized" followed by Irene Davis, Logan's grandma, giving the opening prayer. Logan's other grandma, Leslie Bishop, led the music and a member of our branch, Sharyl Allen, played the piano for us. After the prayer, I got to speak on baptism. Boy did I try to talk Logan out of it! He wouldn't be swayed though, and, honestly, I was honored to be asked to speak. Brandon Streadbeck, Logan's uncle, followed my talk and gave a great talk on the Holy Ghost. Then it was time for the baptism!
While Gary baptized Logan, Brandon Streadbeck and Clyn Bishop, Logan's grandpa, were the witnesses. We went back in to wait for Gary and Logan to get dressed. They came back pretty quickly! Too quickly in fact for Ethan, Dylan, and the men of the Moss family! They were all in the kitchen sneaking cookies that Coleen had made. When I found them to tell them we were ready to get started again, all five of them had a mouth full of peanut butter cookies. They were tasty so I can't really blame them.
Gary gave Logan a great blessing when he confirmed him a member of the church. He was joined in the circle by: President Don Keil, Brandon Moss, Brandon Streadbeck, Scott Bishop, and Clyn Bishop. He blessed Logan that he would serve an honorable mission, marry in the temple and be spiritually, physically, and emotionally strong. Logan has a strong personality and he blessed him to use that on his mission to let people know about the gospel.
We closed by singing, "I Love to See the Temple" and then Sunnie Streadbeck, Logan's aunt, gave the closing prayer.
From here, we went to the "after-party" as Logan had been calling it for weeks. We ate sloppy joes, had yummy cake and cookies and a delicious vegetable platter. The kids played and the adults talked. It was a great time!
We were so thankful for the family that traveled such long distances to be at Logan's baptism. I know that he feels the love and support of all of our family and can look to them for help when he is making some of life's hard choices. Thank you all for your love and support!
Posted by aironn at 12:12 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Logan's birthday was yesterday. I still need to write to Logan and Tom for their birthdays but here are some pictures of last night's festivities. It's kind of nice to have just us around for birthdays sometimes.
Ethan gave him a Lego Indiana Jones 2 game for his DS. This morning, Tom and Logan woke themselves up around 6 just so they could download onto each other's DS and then play it together. If we would have known weeks ago this was what would work to make mornings a bit easier, we would have walked through the snow to get it!
For years now, Tom and Logan have been way into Star Wars. They can't seem to get enough. Tom picked out a Star Wars transformer and more of the little figures to collect. Despite not looking like it in the picture, Logan was thrilled with the choices.
A couple of weeks ago, Logan's bike helmet became a two piece. The inner section separated from the outer shell. Dylan, always safety conscious, bought him a new one complete with a flame decal for his birthday. Even though the other one was shot, when I mentioned that Logan could throw it out when he finds it again, Logan asked to keep it. The kid could keep everything!
For our boys eighth birthdays, Gary and I give them a bb gun. When we decided, Tom and Logan were quite small. Now that we own three bb guns (Gary, Tom and Logan all have them securely locked away in Gary's gun safe), I am wondering why eight sounded so old! At least they only shoot them when Gary is out with them and they are learning the finer points of gun safety at a young age.
Logan wanted a skull cake. When he found out that it would be one dimensional, he was slightly disappointed but when he saw the final product, he decided that it would be okay.
Posted by aironn at 10:36 AM