Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Derby Daze

It's that time of year ... Derby Time! For the past several years, Grayson has run the derby for our scout pack. It's usually in May, but as May has generally been pretty busy, Gray asked if it could be moved to April this year. Of course, turns out April is pretty crazy. In addition to our derby, he has FOUR more before the month is out. Gray also hosted a workshop, giving the boys and their dads access to tools and expertise. Our scouting troop has thinned out considerably though, only six boys in cubs, and only five participating in this year's derby. But it went well and was a lot of fun ... here's video proof...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Running Man

Who wants to run for 13 miles? Apparently, 4621 crazy people did, and Gray (and his brother Clay) were among them. Grayson hadn't done any specific training for this race, but he'd done several long runs just as part of his usual workout routine (in addition to the biking, racquetball, climbing and weight lifting). He'd run two half marathons before (Provo River and Moab) and on Saturday he clocked his best time yet, 1:33:26, that's an average of 7:08 per mile (I don't think I can keep that pace for ONE mile ... but then, I'm a wimp). Grayson was 10th in his age division, and 130th overall. Great job Gray!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cooper the Coloring Kid

Cooper is my coloring kid. In so many things (walking, talking, socializing, potty training) he took his own sweet time, often seeming far behind his peers ... but not when it came to coloring. From a very young age, Cooper has been an avid artist! When other kids his age were simply scribbling, Coop would want a variety of colors and would stay meticulously in the lines. He was great at drawing freehand as well. Below is a picture he drew of the five Blackham Boys.

We go through a LOT of paper at our house. We frequent the various Internet sites that offer downloadable "coloring pages" for all his favorite characters (Pokemon, Sonic, Mario, Spongebob, Toy Story, etc.) . Cooper wants to keep ALL his artwork too. I've got bags full. The boys actually cut them out and play with them the way they would with action figures. In the picture below, Cooper took a full sheet of paper and cut a slit in the middle for a "mouth" then created these clever critters (an alien, the Easter bunny, a woman and a sheriff ... although he looks a bit like Hitler). Then he'd have them "talk" and he made paper items to feed them. Cooper's loves all art mediums. Paint, crayons, colored pencils ... he also love using a white board and dry erase markers. Sidewalk chalk too. His newest love is PERMANENT markers. He LOVES how they bleed through to the other side of the paper. He proudly shows the front ... and the back ... view. I told him (too late) that he has to put a protective sheet of paper down ... our poor kitchen table ... Cooper colors EVERY SINGLE DAY ... I have stopped even trying to put his crayons and markers away, because they never stay away. As he proudly shows me his latest creation and I gush over it, he always replies "yes, I'm an artist" ... and he's modest too!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spice Can Be Nice

I think Gray has been cooking in the kitchen more than I have! We've gotten subscriptions to the magazines "Eating Well" and "Clean Eating" and he's always up for trying a new recipe ... no one else is really, but maybe Daddy's good habits will rub off on the kids eventually (I'm a lost cause). Trying to locate a certain spice in the chaos of the pantry can be frustrating, so Gray came up with a solution. These little circular tins are magnetic... you just pull them off the metal sheet hanging on wall. Everything is right there in plain sight, easy as pie spice to get to. Above the magnets is a little rack for the small bottles and such. Not only is everything better organized, but it opened up a big section of shelf space too.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Historical Highlights

I watch DVDs as I exercise, and I've been going through a LOT of movies and television programs. One show I decided to try was the HBO miniseries "John Adams". The program was fine, I didn't love it, but I did feel I learned a little that I hadn't been aware of before ( now I realize that with most Hollywood productions, there is some poetic licence taken with historical facts). Anyway ... viewing this movie brought up some of MY memories ...
  • When I was a junior in high school. I toured local elementary and Jr. High schools with a traveling educational presentation about our American history. It was with a teacher from our school, five guys ... and me. We sang some of the songs from the musical "1776" and the teacher gave a little lecture. I played the part of both Abagail Adams and Martha Jefferson. I had to go look up the music and listen to it again. Those songs are now on my Ipod.
  • When I was in elementary school, I was in a performing group called "Carousel Kids". I remembered a song we sang called "Are You For Independence" ... which chronicled the 13 colonies saying "yes". I Googled and actually found it on an album called "American Pie" ... were a couple other songs ("There was a Man" and "The Inventors Song") which I learned and loved in that group too. They are now on my Ipod as well.
  • My oldest did a report for his American history class last fall, and I helped him (a little!). It was on Richard Lee. As I watched the "John Adams" series, I was able to pick out this character from history based on the information learned in that report.
  • Many years ago I read the historical novel "Those Who Love" by Irving Stone, which also documents the love story between John and Abagail Adams. Watching the HBO series got me a little in the mood to dig up this book and give it a re-read. We'll see if I get around to it, I don't read as much as I used to.

So, while I enjoyed the mini-series and felt I learned a little about American history, I came away from it with a few historical highlights from my own past too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chocolate Party!

So apparently in elementary school now, they have a lot of parties. I found this out last year when Callahan said his class was having a chocolate party. He thought it would be a great idea if we brought our chocolate fountain to his class ... so we did.

This year, Keaton thought it was only fair that we bring the chocolate fountain to HIS class for their chocolate party ... so we did.

We took the small fountain (yes ... we have a larger one ... yes, we have TWO chocolate fountains). Grayson handled the fountain (he gets the heavy lifting and messy cleanup), while I was made sure there were plenty of yummy things to make yummier by dipping them in chocolate. Keaton's class seemed to like it ... right before lunch *Ü*

Sick Day

Cooper started it ... on Monday, he started looking a little green around the gills. I gave him "the bucket" and settled him in the "sick spot" on the couch. Sure enough, he threw up. I wasn't sure if it was too much Easter candy the days before, or if it was the flu bug.

Everything was fine on Tuesday ... Wednesday was the sick day. I had run Landon to school and was about to run the elementary kids, when Keaton complained of a stomach ache. I decided to let him rest for a couple hours (I could always take him at 11:30 when I picked up kindergarten) and ran the other boys to school. When I got back ... he had thrown up.

Then I got a call from Landon ... back to the school to pick him up. Now ... I have two dedicated "barf buckets" ... so one is always available while the other is being emptied. Usually they aren't both in use at once. As Keaton was already in the "sick spot", Landon had to make due with the other side of the couch.

Then, another call from the school ... Callahan. Luckily, his call coincided with kindergarten pickup, so I was able to grab him when I was going to the school anyway to pick up Cooper. And of course Colton decided to join in on the "fun", rolling on the ground saying HIS tummy hurt.

It was pretty miserable. I've never seen Landon so sick, but he really took it like a man. Callahan is a moaner ... now I actually can't even remember when any of the other kids have been sick, but this is old hat for Callahan. I have tons of Callahan puke stories. Keaton wasn't too bad ... he threw up a few times, but it was the other end that gave him problems (sorry, gross!). Baby ended up barfing a couple times too. He even managed to understand the use of "the bucket" (btw, I had to pull out my cleaning buckets to have enough to go around ... Colton ended up using a small sand pail I had gotten him for Easter). Poor baby fell asleep holding it - being sick is exhausting!
Cooper was ok, but he seemed lost ... he just kept wandering around, wanting his brothers to interact with him in some way, but they were all too sick. Daddy would call or email from work for updates ... he wasn't sure if he dared come home into this smelly germ nest.

It's amazing what a difference a day makes. Thursday ... although there were a few lingering aches from yesterday (headache, backache, sore throat) the kids all went to school and sports. Time for loads of laundry (towels and blankets) and a last wash and disinfect of the buckets.

I've wondered if there was ever a category on Family Feud ... other terms for "vomiting" ... there are a lot (barf, puke, throw up, ralph ... just to name a few). And do other families use Sprite or 7-Up as a rehydrating beverage? It seems it was almost medication to soothe an upset stomach as I grew up. Cooper calls it "tickle juice" because the carbonation bubbles get into his nose. We went through an entire 2-liter bottle.

It makes you grateful for your health!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dyeing a Day Late

I had hard boiled the eggs on Friday ... I thought we could color them early, and then take deviled eggs to the Westra Easter party on Saturday ... but we just didn't get to them. Saturday came and went ... then Easter Sunday ... but I had cooked the eggs already, so even though Easter was over, Family Night on Monday, we did a little dyeing ... a day late.
... and just for fun let me point out Keaton's new pajamas in this picture and in Easter morning (see the post below) ... *Ü*

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Activities

When I was young, a friend introduced me to meringue nests. She would make them friends each year, topped with a little peep chick and a couple of jellybean "eggs". Now, I make them myself each year and the kids look forward to this Easter tradition. They are SO yummy, flaky and chewy, super sweet, melt-in-your mouth good. They are also very messy! They break into bits as you bite, and I always have quite a mess to clean up after the kids eat theirs.
We have a big egg hunt over at Grandma and Grandpa Westra's house with the cousins. There are a lot of kids, so we need a lot of eggs ... does this look like enough? I try to put in lots of little toys, stickers and non-edible stuff as well as just candy. The bigger boys helped hide ... the little ones enjoyed hunting (Colton, Cooper and Keaton in the photos below) ...

EARLY Easter morning (6:30) ... the kids snuck out of bed to see their loot. They were trying to be sneaky, as Mom and Dad were still asleep. They had a flashlight and a camping lantern ... but they weren't quiet enough (I caught them) ...

...and another photo with the lights on ...

The boys get Legos every year (putting them together above). The bigger boys were thrilled with a new pellet gun (you'd think the Easter Bunny would be opposed to such an item, wouldn't you?). Even though it was cold and snowy, the boys couldn't wait to go out back and give it a try (nice smile Grayson!).

Later in the day when it warmed up a bit, even the little boys got in on the action ...

Gray bought me a pretty Easter lily ... very fragrant too ... Hope YOU all had an "egg"cellent Easter! *Ü*

Friday, April 2, 2010

BlackEyed Blackham

Gray came home from racquetball Thursday night with a black eye ... now I do have to admit I have smacked him in the head, back and other various body parts while playing, but THIS wasn't on me. I wasn't even his partner at the time (but it wasn't his partner's fault either) ... Grayson smacked himself in the eye with his own racquet! He was NOT wearing his protective eyewear, that probably would have helped a bit ... the picture just doesn't do it justice *Ü*

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mother Nature's April Fools Joke

April 1st ... Spring Break ... SNOW ... looks a little like the picture I take Christmas morning! I do adore a Southern exposure though, no shoveling (or at least a lot less) ...
The poor tetherball with it's little snow cap ... this ball is pretty beat up and flat, but I figured I wait until spring (REAL spring) before replacing it.

I don't think the kids will be riding their bikes today ...
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