Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's a GIRL

The Blackham Boys have a new little cousin, and it's a girl! My youngest brother just added to the Westra grandkids. Little Aniston was born two weeks ago, and we figured it was past time for her to meet her cousins. So for family night, we stopped by D&D's house to say hello and snap a picture. Boy ... can we get any more clashing colors in this photo? Green shirt, yellow hat, orange tank (there was some discussion about this orange tank), red shirt ... and pink pants ... very seldom do I have pictures of pink *Ü* ... then we left little Ani for a REAL photo shoot (Aunt Alicia was there with that purpose in mind) and we went to Mountain Mikes for some pizza.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Super Saturday

We had a BUSY Saturday! The day started with ...
  • Garage Sales. A few neighbors were having garage sales and the boys would run over, look around, and come back with TREASURES ... they spent some money, but lots of stuff was given to them "for free" ... such nice neighbors! *Ü*
  • Water Parties. In the late morning, Cooper (and Colton) went to a kindergarten water party and Keaton had a water party with his baseball team. I walked the little boys to their party (it was in the neighborhood). There were slides, pools and water guns. They had some water balloons but couldn't keep up with the demand, filling them one at a time at the kitchen sink. I ran home and grabbed Grayson's WATER BALLOON FILLER (I'll have to do a post on it!) which has seven spigots and we still had trouble keeping the kids busy with balloons. I had to leave a little bit early to get to ...
  • Callahan's Basketball Game. Summer season has started. We blew away the team last week and were expecting a fairly easy game today ... but the boys had to earn it! They pulled ahead early, but then got into foul trouble and the other team caught up and even pulled ahead. The kids did manage to get the win. I jogged five miles while watching the game from the track above. We came home for a bit and then it was time for ...
  • The Neighborhood Carnival. We walked to the park at 4:00, right when the activities first started. There was a dunk tank, and my boys were the first to get wet. There was a fishing pond, gunny sack races, face painting, cars and motorcycles, apple bobbing, a tractor pull and a pie eating contest. Lots of fun for everyone. I DID bring the camera and photos are below. We had to leave a little early again, because I had purchased tickets to ...
  • The Demolition Derby. There is a demolition derby at the West Jordan rodeo grounds every year. We hadn't ever gone before. We left the little ones with a babysitter and went to check it out. It was great fun watching the cars CRASH into each other, almost tipping over, blowing tires and having to be carried off the field with a forklift. I didn't bring enough water and the boys were DYING of thirst, but it was a very fun evening ... the end of a very fun, very full day.
Colton getting ready to throw the ball (above) ... Landon getting dunked (below)

The boys enjoying a snowcone after getting dunked ...

gunny sack races (above) and the tractor pull (below)

The pie eating contest ...

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Wax Museum

One of the activities the 3rd grade does each year is the "Wax Museum". The kids choose a famous person, write a report on them, dress like them and then freeze in a pose for parents and other students to see. When Landon was in third grade, he dressed up as Ben Franklin, Callahan was Martin Luther King Jr, and Keaton ... he chose Bill Melendez ... um ... WHO? Apparently, he is the guy who took the two-dimensional Peanuts characters created by Charles Schulz and animated them, bringing them to life in the tv specials. He was even the voice of Snoopy (Snoopy spoke?) So anyway, we tried to create a costume (can YOU tell which is the real Bill in the two photos above?) *Ü*

Parents and siblings are invited to come and view the wax museum. When Landon did it several years ago, I believe they used the cafeteria. When Callahan's class presented theirs, they were in a couple different classrooms ... this year, they were lined up down the hallway. The timing worked out well in that I had to go to the school to pick up Cooper from kindergarten and then we could go right to the wax museum. Even Landon wanted to come and see.

We knew several of the kids ... Betsy Ross and Helen Keller are our neighbors ... and just for fun, I located the picture (below) of Landon from years ago ... as Ben Franklin.

And They're Off ...

Landon finally got his braces off! He had them on for over two years. Now it's time for a retainer on top (and bottom) ... we paid a little extra to get a cool logo on it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baseball Boy

Baseball is a sport the original Blackham boys (Gray, Kolby and Clay) had grown up with, but this generation hadn't tried it out yet. Callahan and Keaton had done a season or two of t-ball, and Keaton had shown some skills, so I wanted to see how he did in baseball.
We signed up with the West Jordan PONY League and were thrilled to get onto the same team as our neighbor (that helped a LOT with carpooling). The season was a bit more intense than I had anticipated, with many practices and 18 season games.
Batting proved to be one of the challenges for Keaton, but he did get a couple good hits. He got some great catches, and the highlight of it all was a TRIPLE-PLAY! Keaton caught the ball, tagged a runner trying to get back to 2nd, then threw the ball to first to get the runner out there before he could get back to base.

Here's the team ... Coaches Andy and Danny ... Ryker, Jared, James Jeremy ... Keaton, Brandon, Jackson, Devon, Jake, Tanner and Jacob. The season started a little rough, we lost the first four games and that was a bit discouraging (we happened to face the top teams right off the bat). Then we went on a winning streak, and came back to win several of the teams that had beaten us originally. The Angels finished in fourth place. In the tournament, we had to face the #1 early on ... and we actually triumphed in that game! We got to play in the championship game and came in 2nd place in the tournament.
I spent most of the season pacing the outfield fence during the games. I could usually get in five miles during one game! Sometimes the little boys would come and watch ... and throw the ball around too ... future baseball players you think?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Daddy's Day

We started Father's Day with breakfast in bed ... waffles and watermelon, bacon and eggs. Landon is in the picture too, but he was "too sexy for his shirt" and I wasn't sure if you all wanted to see his sexy self, so I cropped him out (but you can see his hair there at the front). After church, we went out to Draper for the annual Westra Father's Day Barbeque and photo. We were missing Wendy's family (who couldn't make it up from St. George), D&D (who are still out of the state adopting their new baby girl) and of course, Grandpa Norman.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Derby Dude

Grayson is a derby dude. Of course he runs the pinewood derby each year for our own pack (in addition to offering workshops and any car help as needed), but he also is available upon request to run other derbies as well. Here's a great video forwarded to us from one of his recent runs ...

Spring Soccer

Cooper played soccer last spring and last fall, so this was his third soccer team, the "Green Dragons". He ended up playing with several members of his kindergarten class (Matthew, Mark, Hailey, Grace). Unlike past soccer seasons at Gene Fullmer where a midweek game was played, the games were only on Saturdays, which made for a longer season (that, and a couple rain outs that had to be rescheduled). I think Cooper was done with soccer, but I hope he'll be up for it again, because I already signed him up for Fall with a different league. Colton will actually be playing soccer this summer, so there will be more soccer to come! Here's a little video of the season ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Last Supper

It was the last supper at the house on Linden. Grandpa Gordy built the house many years ago, when Grayson, Kolby and Clayton were just little guys. It hasn't only been Maga's home, but all of ours (literally!). Back when Grayson and I were engaged, we were sitting in the living room when I ... I don't want to call it a vision, but it was something like that. I could see us, instead of where we were upstairs, in the same part of the house downstairs (which was currently an unfinished basement). We ended up finishing the basement into a small apartment. Gray and I lived there for our first year of marriage. Kolby and Jami lived there when they got married. So did Clay and Courtney. Currently, Ana and Adrian (and Aiden) call the apartment home. And of course, through the years, we've spent countless hours upstairs visiting Maga. Warming our back by the the fireplace, gathering around the dining room table for a meal or barbecuing on the grill and eating outside. The HUGE backyard for the kids to run and play ... Sleepovers and countless crafts ... We will miss the house, remembering where the boys grew up and where we all started our married life. I'll miss having Maga's house so close to my own parents (as we could often piggyback visits to both grandparents). But waiting in the wings is a big, beautiful new house up North. Maga certainly deserves something fresh and clean, and I know we'll enjoy making memories in the new house too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

Happy Flag Day! Every year, our neighborhood scout troop does a flag fund raiser. For the annual contribution, the scouts put up a flag on holidays throughout the year. I enjoy the patriotic look of the neighborhood with flags flying at almost all the houses. Today, the Cubs were in charge of putting up the flags. So Callahan and Keaton (and Grayson ... who ALWAYS seems to be on flag duty regardless of what age group has the daily assignment) were up and off at 7:00 this morning to put up flags before school.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The WJ Pool

Up until a couple of years ago, none of my kids had ever had a swimming lesson. I think part of the problem was ME, remembering my fear of swimming lessons when I was a child. And currently, with young children still at home, I didn't want to have to drag babies to lessons and entertain them while waiting. A neighbor signed her kids up for swimming lessons and offered to take Keaton too. As the lessons came to an end, my neighbor encouraged me to come see how much Keaton had progressed, so I packed up the brothers, and we went. The lessons were being held at the West Jordan Middle School pool, and all ages were being taught at the same time (I don't know if I realized that's how it was done). I was really impressed with it all, and I signed up ALL five boys for the next session. Initially, Colton and Cooper had a tough time, but soon blossomed. Landon had managed to teach himself to swim over the years, so he didn't really need additional lessons. Callahan and Keaton were able to progress, and I was thrilled that everyone was learning this important skill. We continued with lessons the next year, and are signed up for this year as well. In addition to the lessons, we also like to go to the pool to swim as a family. I put together a little muvee, containing video and photos from both lessons and open plunge time.

We've been so sad to hear that the swimming pool is going to be one of the cuts the Jordan School District is making. After this summer ... the pool will be closing :(

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bottle Blast

Grayson constructed this awesome bottle rocket launcher (actually, he made a set of FIVE of them). He used them for the school's field day for a couple of years, and they are a blast to just pull out for some front yard fun as well. You place a 2-liter bottle with some water in it upside-down on the pole, then pump air into it using a compressor. Pull the trigger and ... it's off! Water sprays everywhere and the kids try to catch the bottle as it returns back to earth. I made a muvee of some bottle rocket fun from a few days ago ...

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Warranty Worked

We keep a small TV/DVD combo in the kid's room (I know, I know, there shouldn't be a TV in the kid's room ... it isn't hooked up to receive a signal, it just plays DVDs or shows off the Ipod). The combo unit is a little more compact than having the TV and DVD player separately, but it seems like the DVD player is prone to problems and when it's a combo unit, you can't just replace that part. After going though more than one combo unit over the years, I was making another purchase when I was offered the "extended warranty" plan (this one happened to be through Shopko)... I usually don't do these. I figure that I'll misplace the paperwork, that it wouldn't actually break within the plan timeframe, or that if it did and I tried to collect, that there would be some fine print that would void the coverage. But we'd had such consistent bad luck, I decided to give it a try. I did manage to keep track of the paperwork, and, after 18 months ... sure enough, the DVD player stopped working. I had a two year warranty, so I made the call. Things seemed to go smoothly, they said they would email a mailing label for the return of the unit. I took a couple days for the email to come, and when it did ... it was a simple label, NOT postage paid. Even a postage paid label would have been a pain, having to find a box and package it up and drop it at the post office, but I sure wasn't going to pay for postage too! This was not a small item, shipping charges would probably cost more than the warranty had, and then what if there was additional fine print and they wouldn't pay even if I did ship it back? I made another call and nicely explained the situation ... and they said to just mail in the paperwork, so I did... and I got a check ... it actually worked. I'm a little surprised it worked out out, but I'm happy it did. I'm sure I would have wanted to post bad press had it NOT turned out, so I figured I should give a thumbs up publicly ... a compliment instead of a complaint.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Donut Day

Today is National Donut Day ... I didn't make this up, this is actually a real holiday (I even posted a link there if you want to look it up). I felt the need to support this holiday. Our favorite local donut shop is Dunford Donuts. We pass it as we come home from the park or rec center after sports, so we often stop for donuts after games. It has become such a tradition that we've started calling donuts "Saturday Circles" (not to be confused with Sunday Circles, which are Belgian waffles). But National Donut Day is the first FRIDAY in June ... today ... I can still eat donuts on a Friday (or any day really). Simple glazed donuts (or the twisted knots) are probably the traditional favorite, but everyone does have another from an assortment that catches their eye. Grayson likes the white cake donut with sprinkles. I like a chocolate frosted raised donut ... but see that big chocolate circle in the photo above? It's like a chocolate cinnamon roll ... that's actually even better. Landon likes a good maple bar. Callahan prefers a sugar donut. Keaton ... ok, Keaton just sticks with glazed. He likes to pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up. Cooper loves the Dunford classic chocolate cake donut. Colton sticks with either white cake or glazed. And even though it is DONUT day ... the boys had to get some of the fudge brownies and I can't pass up their pink sugar cookie. I hope everyone has a great donut day! I know we have enjoyed it here *Ü*

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stepping Up

I'm a pedometer person. For the past few years I've worn a pedometer and recorded my daily steps. I set a new personal best, just topping a high from about a year ago. 10,000 steps is about five miles, so throughout my day, I got in just over 20 miles. I actually wear two pedometers (I wrote a little about them in my Gadgets post). My Omron (shown in the picture above) shows me my total steps, as well as my aerobic steps (steps taken continuously for 10 minutes or more). My new Fitbit gives me a daily chronological graph which is fun to follow - the image below was my day ... Got up and did 20 minutes on the elliptical (first spike) then got the kids of to school. Then some short bursts of steps (laundry, walking the little one to a neighbor's for a play date) then another 20 minutes on the elliptical. Then the walk to school (twenty minutes each way, with a small break in between as the kids enjoy the playground before we head back home). Make some lunch, get in another 20 minutes on the elliptical. Play with the kids, mow the lawn, a couple quick 10 minute elliptical sessions. #3 has a baseball game ... there's not a lot of parking, I always have to walk a quarter mile just to get from my car to the field (as I'm a walker ... I don't really mind). Then rather than just sitting and watching the game, I walk and watch. From the edge of left field to the edge of right field, back and forth ... the games last about 90 minutes ... I usually get in five miles. I was pretty much done for the day, got the kids to bed and was ready to head there myself when hubby got called away on an errand ... so, I went down and did 20 more minutes on the elliptical (just to go ahead and break my personal best record). Hubby gave my poor tootsies a foot rub ... thank you Gray!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's always fun to have one or two hula hoops around for the kids to try their hand ... I mean their HIPS on. We'll have to see if the real life experience will help them out on the Wii Fit activity. I was surprised at how good the little guys were. Back in the day, I was a pretty good hula hooper myself, I'll have to give it a try (when no one is looking!) Another fun Hula activity happens when I throw the hoop, giving it a back spin so that it comes rolling back. The kids stand in a line and then try to dash through the rolling hoop. Sometimes when I start this activity with my own boys, I end up with a line of over a dozen neighbor kids as well. It's actually a pretty good arm workout! Happy hulaing ... *Ü*

Scout Shakes

I said "Smile Grayson" and this was what I got (picture above) ... as I posted about the last couple young men's scouting activities (pizza and scuba) I thought I might as well post these pictures, taken after the last outing. The kids actually did gardening, but Gray brought the boys back to the house after for some of his famous malts. Made in his fabulous Blendtec blender ... you can watch some funny videos (WillItBlend) where they put this blender to the test crunching up all sorts of things ... tonight, it was just ice cream ... We went through the entire gallon, Grayson whipped up several batches! The little brothers and neighbor kids also joined in. It's always yummy fun at the Blackham house.

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