Sunday, June 9, 2019

Keaton ... Class of 2019

High school for Keaton. I think it was as much a social experience as an academic one.  Cheering on school teams, going to dances, leaving for lunch, hanging with friends. He got a 4.0 his final quarter though. A couple years ago at Callahan's graduation, I was so stressed (I don't do well with crowds and chaos, no parking, no seating, hoping the car didn't get towed) that I texted Keaton right then and there and asked "Do I have to come to your graduation?" ... I went.  

It was at the Maverick Center again, like Callahan's two years ago (Landon's had been downtown in the Vivent Arena). Instead of trying to have FIVE school graduations in one day there, the lesson had been learned, and there were just three. Time enough in between that hopefully one group had left before the next school came. Parking (getting IN anyway) wasn't really an issue. Cal and Kate and her parents had gone earlier than us and saved us some seats (Kate's brother was also graduating). So overall, this year wasn't AS stressful for me. 

I didn't know as many of the speakers this year, but the valedictorian was one of Keaton's good buddies. As the kids came in to sit, they had it alternate boy/girl (until the end, as there were a lot more girls than boys in this graduating class). But as I was watching Keaton and crew during the program, I saw some squirming, and the guys changed seats so they were sitting together and would get their diplomas one after the other.  They keep things interesting! 

Grayson had a derby scheduled, and it was a little (or a lot) stressful trying to get out of the parking lot and make it there on time. Keaton hit the "Senior Sunset" school activity graduation night. Held at West Valley Fitness Center. There was ice skating, swimming, a rock wall ... lots to do, lots to eat. There were a couple of friend parties on Friday night, and then over the weekend we had a family dinner out to Tepankaki to celebrate ourselves. ConGRADulations Keaton!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 In Review

2018 ... I really wasn't good about getting my blogging done. As I write up this review, organizing it into categories, I can "see" the blog posts in my head (similar to scrapbooking in my sleep in days gone by). I really have NO excuses. With the boys getting older and doing things on their own, I  have the time to sit down and dedicate to recording the family history. I'm going to attempt to hit most of these bullet points with their own post (backdating as needed, as I like the blog in chronological order). Of course, I still have some from LAST year I should catch up on too. But like Scrapbooking, better late than never, and create as inspiration strikes and then put the memories where they belong in the timeline. It's all good ...

  • Animals: Our four ducks made it through the winter, and the two girls started laying eggs around Easter. Then sadness struck, as Gabby died. We adopted three new girls and had a lot of eggs all summer. Nothing new with Oreo and Joy, but Landon brought Toby over a lot, and then he and Sol got Nala too. Our final fish turned belly up. Cal and Kate's hamster visits.
  • Girls: Landon and Sol got engaged earlier in the year, and married on September 1. Cal and Kate are still totally tight and planning for the future. Keaton has hit several school dances but doesn't really "date" ... neither do Cooper or Colton. Unfortunately, Gray and I haven't gotten out much either. Other Westra Weddings ... Janika, Corin, Connor and Kaden. 
  • Garden: Tons of tomatoes, a zillion zucchini and a plethora of pumpkins. Sunflowers too. 
  • Grayson's (and Grandma's) Garage: It was quite the project. Tons of time and money and rearranging and perfecting. Had to get a storage unit for extra stuff. Gladiator strips and siding on the walls. I gave the grandparent's a tour and sparked them redoing their garage (and grandpa's cave ... Staircase to Nowhere). 
  • Grayson's Getaways:  Off to Orlando in January with work for the Builder's Convention. A quick family trip to Seattle (sans Cal and I) in April. Work trips to California and Phoenix in May. Moab (work, but fun, rafting and razor rides) and Bear Lake (Gray and the littles), in July. Crashing Kolby's birthday in Portland in September, then a quick Canada/Seattle trip in November.
  • Gray Gourmet: Grayson continues to smoke all sorts of yumminess. His latest foray into gourmet is Sous Vide. We enjoy his experimentation as he tries to perfect his trade. He added a broiler and refrigerator to his garage. His guacamole is legendary, he set out creative Caprese salad and made pretzel bites for the first (but not last) time.
  • JenB's Baking: brownies, cookies, breads. New Grinch cookies.
  • Gadgets: Alexa. Ring. 
  • Games: Switch, Jackbox, and all the others. 
  • Segway:  We got a Segway.
  • Summer Stuff: Many trips to Pineview.
  • Room Rearrange: With Landon moving out ... all the boys have their own rooms. New beds. 
  • Medical Moments: Colton's knee. Anxiety issues. Blood Brothers (donating blood and plasma). 
  • Musical Moments: We went to Hale's Aida ... Gray fell in love with some of the music. The Greatest Showman was big in theaters. Landon was able to go see Hamilton with Olivia. We had an Itunes family membership for streaming songs, but switched to Spotify at the end of the year. 
  • Halloween: Painting pumpkins. Cal and Kate in scrubs (April and Matthew), Landon and Sol dressing up the animals. Connor's wedding. Colton off trick or treating. Keaton's Star Trek group. 
  • Basketball: Colton's Copper Hills Grizzlies wrapped up their relationship as the team members went separate ways after Spring. He's continued playing with his Wolves (a grade up) and started with the West Jordan Bantam league. Keaton enjoys being part of the crowd cheering on the high school team, always dressing up for the themes. As far as play, Keaton is doing Junior Jazz again, but Cooper is sitting it out this year. Cal continues to play in a men's league. 
  • Fitness, Fitbits and 5ks: Family 5k, Dirty Dash, home gym, Fitbit family again. Jen Zumba.
  • School: Landon and Callahan have been attending SLCC, working toward their associate degrees. Cal switched his focus to electrical apprenticeship. Sol graduated. Keaton started his senior year at Copper Hills. Colton wrapped up his elementary experience, and he and Cooper are both at Elkridge (7th and 9th respectively).  School boundaries were realigned (or not really, in our area) causing a lot of speculation and stress. Cooper's school anxiety amped up. Summer homework (How We Roll). 
  • Work: Grayson had a good year at Symphony Homes. Landon had been working at Discover but is making a change for next year. Callahan had enjoyed UPS, but then started working full time as an apprentice electrician. KFC keeps Keaton busier than we like. 
  • Derby Daze: With the LDS church announcement about pulling out of Boy Scouts, we aren't sure what the future holds for Pinewood Derbies here in Utah ... but Gray had 45 this year! With Keaton working at KFC so much, Cooper has become Dad's right-hand man, although all the boys helped out at least once during the year.
I made the monthly "1 Second Every Day" videos throughout the year, and I combined them together for an all-inclusive annual review. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

JenB's Journey 2018

I've been really bad at keeping up the family blog ... and only slightly better at my personal food/fitness blog. I have at least kept up with my weekly and monthly recap posts there. Here's a quick collection of the collages from each month this past year. It just gives a little peek at my progress ... or lack thereof!

January: Pastry wreath, snowflake cookies, new calendars, 
Zumba, snow, basketball, duckies

February: A non-black shirt, Cal's b-day, a fantastic find, baking, 
Colton's basketball break and valentine's day. 

 March: Spring flowers, derby workshop, Prom, more baking,
Eggs and Grandparent's lunch.

April: Spring snow, Easter ears and boy's baskets.  Fabulous friends and cute cousins. 
Basketball. Gordy's grave, gardening, movies and medication. 

 May: Mother's Day. Purple flowers and broken eggs. Five Fitbits. 
An engagement and school awards. 

 June: Father's Day get-togethers. More basketball.
Sleeping with kitties, and a Segway.

July: A family 5k and trips to the beach. Anniversary, Girl's Lunch. 
More basketball. Duckies and eggs. 

August: Street stuff/closed for construction. Bachelors at the beach. 
Garden. Birthdays and back to school stuff.

September: A birthday, a wedding, and other stuff. 

October: Kitty case. Family games. 
All things Halloween. 

November: More birthdays. Sick Colton, then more basketball.
Continued candy. Turkey cookies and casting a vote. 

December: So many cookies, and the Santa head. Kitty and the tree.
Christmas Zumba, ornament earrings, a birthday and Christmas morning.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Family 5k Fun Run & The Dirty Dash

After Cooper had expressed some interest in running a couple years ago, I had looked into local 5k races. Last year I discovered the Linda Butter's 5k over at the Veteran's Park, which is super close to home. It is also inexpensive! I admit, the $$ is a deterrent with many of the races out there (I realize most are raising funds for a good cause, it can just be too expensive for the whole family). THIS race is more of a service, there is no way they are making money. But it's one I can commit to. This was the second year I signed the Blackham Bunch up for the run.  

Grayson said he wasn't in good enough shape, and Keaton wouldn't get out of bed. We missed Kate this year, but Sol joined Landon, so I wasn't the only girl. I was still last (from our family).  The previous year, all our times were a little too good, I don't think the course had been measured correctly. This year, the times were a little more as expected (and it was an extra lap around the park).  I got lapped by Callahan and Colton. I think the overall winner lapped me twice!

I didn't get around to photographing the finish sheets this year, but from our family, Callahan came in first, with Colton close behind. Then Sol and Landon and Cooper ... then me.

We got cute matching shirts again. Nice. Plus a goodie bag with some fun stuff. I really liked the tube of chapstick stuff. A race, shirt and swag ... $10 for everyone/everything! 

While Kate couldn't make the family fun run, she and Cal did the Dirty Dash. 
They said it was hard!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Grandpa Gordy's Grave ... Over the Years

It was just over 26 years ago when Grayson's dad passed away after battling pancreatic cancer. There are quite a few family photos gathered at the grave over the years. It's often in April that the Blackham Bunch goes out, as April 23 is the day Gordon left this earth. Sometimes we get together around Memorial Day in May. As we gathered at the grave this past Monday, Maga wondered how many pictures we had from the past years. I've posted several here on the blog ... but thought I'd do my best to compile them in a collection. 

2018 is posted at the top. Missing some family members as is generally the case. Landon and Keaton were working. Olivia too. Courtney and Addie were in New York. It was a nice day, but still quite cool. We hit Crown Burger afterward, which is also a bit of a tradition.

Here's the rest of the photos I could find. Some years, I know we went and there are the family photos at the duck pond from MY phone, but the picture at the cemetery would have been taken with Grayson's or Maga's phone/camera, and I wasn't able to locate them. Going back further, pictures were taken with film cameras and then scanned to digital. The olden days!

Only Gray and Keaton represented our immediate family this year. Landon and Cooper were off to a Jazz playoff game. Callahan was working and Colton was under the weather, so I stayed home with him. 

We didn't stay very long this year ... it was cold and rainy!

Two shots from 2015
 ... the selfie with only partial Gray

... and one using the timer.

Maga and Ana made another trip that year (2015) ...

Not sure where the 2014 photo is.



More pictures from 2011 in the long grass here. 


More pictures here.






Monday, April 16, 2018

Fun with Friends and Family

If you search this blog for the DiFran family ... you will find a plethora of posts. Years ago, we just clicked. Of the five Blackham boys, four line up exactly with DiFrancesco kids. Our oldest boys, Landon and Chance are the same age, although those two were never quite as involved in the gatherings. My Keaton and Kiana's Tony were the same grade (although in age, Keaton is almost a year older), Marc and Cooper have been in the same classes at school, and Colton and Mara match up as the youngest for both of us. Callahan is the only odd man out. 

Several years ago, the DiFrancesco's moved to California. We've kept in touch on social media, and they've made trips back. We love to see them whenever they can squeeze us into their schedule as they visit. This year, they were here for Spring Break, and it lined up with our Spring Break, so perfect timing. We got to spend several hours on a Thursday just hanging out, visiting and eating.

Just in case the image doesn't work ... the link is HERE.

They kids played several games of Spikeball.
The boys gathered around the video games.
We introduced everyone to the ducks.

Then that weekend, Jami and the girls flew in from Seattle to spend a few days (Grayson had found a great deal on airfare, and he and four of the boys are heading out to Seattle next weekend. Jami just figured she'd take advantage of the deals too).  Sunday morning brunch, we had all the grandkids together.

Friends and family made Spring Break 2017 a little more memorable!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Easter 2018

Easter ... it's that time of year when other families hard boil eggs and color them. Occasionally that happens in the Blackham home, but EVERY Easter, we separate the egg whites, beat them into a meringue and add sugar, salt and cream of tarter to make "nests" ... these crumbly, flaky, melt in your mouth bites are OUR tradition. Every since elementary school for me. 2018 was the year of the nests. I made so many batches, and ate more than my fair share.

Easter morning was underwhelming again. In years past, there were times that Easter almost rivaled Christmas with the number of goodies and gifts brought by "the bunny" instead of Santa.  Last year, this year? Not so much. Buckets weren't even laid out and filled until the morning this year. Not much in them, but the kids didn't complain. They even posed for pictures, although I didn't get the boys all together. 

In the afternoon, we headed over to Maga's house. It conference Sunday, and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Warm and sunny. Perfect!

 I'd made roll dough, turning it into orange rolls and traditional dinner rolls (forgot to grab a picture of them). I also made Brazillian cheese rolls, as they are easy and a family favorite on both sides. 

We had quite the smorgasbord laid out. Grayson had smoked brisket and made mashed potatoes. Maga had her mac&cheese and ham, Clayton prepped mussels. 

Then there was the "peeps" cake ...

Keaton had to work and was missed (Sam's first words as we entered were "where's Keaton?") but we did get both the big boys and their girlfriends. Should have grabbed a big group photo!

Landon joked he was going to hit the stores the day after Easter to stock up on clearance candy. He didn't ... but I did. I mean, I was going to the store anyway, not making a special trip just for that! I must admit, most of the candy this year, was picked up last year. My Monday stop at Smiths I grabbed a few bags of the Reeses eggs (favorites for me and the three older boys) and some Robin Eggs (I love them), but that's pretty much all they had there. A few days later, at Walmart, I was surprised there was still quite a stock of clearance candy. More Reeses eggs (as they were less $$ than Smiths had been), some odds and ends (jelly beans, smarties, KitKat and Twix, Cadbury Eggs, PB M&Ms Eggs ... only found one package of those or I would have grabbed more). I had grabbed a couple of the FavorREDS jelly beans as I saw them mixed in with the others, as the reds ARE our favorites (and then I still pick out the dark cherry reds) ... but then I found a bin full of just that flavor. I grabbed quite a few.

What are YOUR favorite Easter eats and treats?
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