Friday, May 31, 2013

Miscellaneous May

Bruised Boy
Time for the random pictures post ... Miscellaneous May stuff. Keaton had to show off his bruised and banged up leg. I guess it's pretty par for the course with a house full of boys.

Cutting Crusts
While we're concentrating on Keaton ... shall I admit to cutting off the crusts of his sandwiches? And not only do I cut off the crusts, but I actually cut them into cute little dino shapes with a cutter made just for such a purpose. When Keaton takes cold lunch, a PB&Honey Dino Sandwich is always in there. Many days he has one for breakfast too. 

Memorial Memories
Gray went with his mom down to Granny Goose's Grave.
Cute picture of these two!

Sibling Sandwich
We also went up to Maga's for a family party (Adrian's birthday) and I caught this on camera. Gray and Clay catching Ana in a loving hug. 

Bird Babies
And while on the topic of loving families ... starlings have once again nested in the cinder block pillar in the backyard. I've posted about this a few times in the past. They are very noisy little birds. This year more than most, I noticed the fledglings make it up the pillar and come out, waiting for their parents to return with yummy bugs. 

I tried collecting on my "Frustration Free WakeUps" coupon from Callahan ... the mornings were often better, but still not completely frustration free. School finally ended though, so now the kid can sleep in.

... and that's May.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eating Out

We don't eat out a lot, but we went out twice over Memorial Day weekend. Only Grayson had been to The Cheesecake Factory, and he wanted to introduce the rest of to the restaurant.  So we packed up and managed to get in without much of a wait (mid-day on a Saturday). There was a wide variety of food for dinner, and of course, cheesecake for dessert. 

 On Memorial Day morning,
 Gray suggested we go to Virg's ... 
the favorite breakfast spot. 
Love Gray and Landon in the corners of these food photos!

Big Pancakes = Full Tummies!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cooper's Court

Cooper has always been a basketball fan ... ok, this last year he REFUSED to play Junior Jazz, but he's outside almost daily with his little hoop and ball. We used to keep the hoop over by the edge of the garage, closer to the front door ... but not lately. It had been in that spot for years, I'm not sure why it moved. I guess Cooper just wanted more space, and designated court markings. He painstakingly drew a complete half court, and he has to redo it often, as the chalk washes away with the rain. He used his jobchart reward points to buy himself some new chalk, and also a new ball. He has his eye on a new hoop too ... although he says he doesn't really want it to replace this old one, he wants it in ADDITION to it, to create a FULL  court there on the driveway. Daddy would LOVE that (we already have two full size hoops and two soccer goals cluttering up the front yard). 

Yes ... the hoop is positioned directly in front of the garage, and that is a problem when it comes to pulling the car in and out. We do need to shift it over several times every day. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chore Chart Take Two

We'd tried several different chore charts in the past with mixed reviews. They always seem to start off strong, then lose effectiveness as the novelty wears off. That was true of the computerized "My Job Chart" I introduced a few years ago. It really did work for a while ... although I did have to double check little Colton, he tended to get a little excited checking things off and would suddenly have 100 points accumulated. We had discontinued the job chart, but not the jobs (to the kids chagrin). Recently, the boys wanted CREDIT for doing things, and asked the job chart to be reinstated. So I did.  It's really just the little boys who are interested. They like to earn points toward small prizes and it is a good reminder of the things they need to get done each day.

Topaz Mountain

I think the scouts go to Topaz Mountain every year. Four Blackham boys went this year ... Gray, Callahan, Keaton and Colton (he was just along for the ride, the kid likes camping). Unfortunately, it was a RAINY night, and unfortunately, neither Grayson nor I had double checked Colton's bag when he SAID he had packed a jacket.

Luckily it was nice the next day ... (back at home, we were hit with rains on and off all through the morning). The boys collected rocks and even found a horny toad. 

I have the boys write in their journals each week ... 

this was Colton's entry:

"I went to camp it took 3 hours to get to the campsite we went hunting for rocks but they were special rocks they are called tapas they are crystals I don't think they are volable you could find clear ones and some in rocks."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Derby Workshop

 While Pinewood derbies can be run at any time during the year, April and May tend to be "derby season."  Grayson has been very busy with multiple derbies each week. I addition to those, as the derby for OUR ward was coming up, he also hosted a Derby Workshop in our garage (as he has done for years now). He provides the tools, and the expertise, to help anyone along. 

Saturday morning Gray got everything set up. 
Tables and Tools. Primer and Paint. 
Step-by-Step instructions ... see them taped to the freezer.

 Cut out the car body

Drill holes and add weight.
Bondo to cover and keep it in.

Sand Smooth.

Ironically, OUR scout (Cooper) has not been wanting to go to scouts lately. I thought for sure he'd still want to participate in the derby. He did NOT. He did not even want to discuss building a car. We decided not to push him.  So when derby time came ... there wasn't a Blackham boy in the race :(

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The EVIL Elm

I love my lilac bush, and my little sideyard flowerbed. I can see it as I look out the kitchen window. I do NOT love the HUGE Chinese Elm tree that you can see there in the background. The tree itself is in the neighbor's yard. The seeds however, do not stay in the neighbor's yard. 

 They gather all over ...

 Pile up in the flower bed ...

They are all over the grass ...
Sometimes it looks like it is snowing.
They end up in the house too. Yuck!

In fact ... one of those little seeds turned into a tree. I didn't notice it for a long time, as it blended in with the lilac bush. It wasn't until it grew taller than the lilac, and was poking up a foot or so over it that I even noticed (you can see it in the top picture if you look). Landon did go ahead and chop down that tree for me (it wasn't the first time he's chopped down a tree for me, I posted about the old peach tree here). Heaven knows I don't want another evil elm tree spreading it's seeds!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Return of the Jedi

... it all started with Origami Yoda. That's a book I picked up for Keaton to read. He read it, he folded the Yoda, and the Darth Vader, and even the Fortune Wookie (you can see the post about Origami Keaton here). We ended up buying all four books in the Origami Yoda series. But it didn't end there. Star Wars made a complete comeback at the Blackham house, all thanks to Keaton ... and Origami Yoda.

First Keaton pulled out all the DVDs, and watched all six movies. The other boys watched them too. Then Keaton pulled out the old lightsabers, and  lightsaber wars were happening daily. Unsatisfied with the saber situation, he used his hard earned money to buy more, including the cool double sided Darth Maul saber. We had trouble finding a "green" one, but then found one at a yard sale. Keaton has also brought out all the Star Wars games (on the PSP, Wii and we even got a new one for the Kinect). It really is the return of the Jedi!

Let there be Light(sabers) ...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Phone Home

For months now, our old kitchen phone has been on the fritz. The display is for the callerID and the answering machine (showing the time and date of the call) and lately, it hadn't shown much! Sometimes it would just seem possessed, scrolling through or flashing random numbers. If we unplugged it, it would seem to reset ... for a minute or so anyway. I'm not one for change ... but it was time.

Now I know - many people don't even have a home phone in this day and age. Grayson was all for dropping it completely, but I still like having the basic landline and a number of cordless phones around the house. This old phone was actually an answering machine too, and  I even wanted that again (yes, we do have voice mail as part of our phone service, but I like the basic answering machine more). 

So ... we're all set up again. 
I wondered how long it would take 
for the kids to notice the change (it didn't take long). 

So call us maybe *Ü*

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day I got the traditional breakfast in bed treatment, and the custom cards from the kids. I was especially grateful for the coupon from Callahan for "frustration free" wake ups, which will be a change from the usual ten minute tug of war with the blankets we have every morning. There was a new chaise, some chocolates, flowers, and a big tub of licorice (which was gone by the end of the day ... I shared! It wasn't ALL me!). 

All my boys!

After church we went up to Maga's to wish her a happy mother's day, then we hit my mom's on the way home (Scott's family was there at the same time, so it was good to see them too). I'm very grateful for my mom and my MIL, and of course my wonderful boys!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Go BIG at the Blackhams!

At the Blackham home, we go BIG ... especially when it comes to sugar (or so it seems by the picture above)! Can you say sugar coma? While on his trip to New York, Gray brought home a couple of the huge Reeses (the peanut butter cups were a 1/2 pound EACH) and a FIVE pound chocolate bar.  And while he was gone, a box came from Vat19 and we've ordered from them before ... it it was a FIVE pound gummy bear and a three pound gummy worm! (You can also tell that the first couple pictures were taken BEFORE the haircut post, as the boys are still shaggy in them). 

Whenever we get a box delivered, the boys are always anxious to open it up ... especially if it is from Vat19! I didn't take any pictures of the eating of the big gummies, but I did in a previous post (here). That post also spotlights some of the other fun treasures from this unique online store. 

Callahan and Landon both ate their Reeses Cup ... I think Callahan managed it in one sitting (although I can't say he enjoyed it by the end.)  Keaton and I are still hanging on to ours. The gummy worm got attacked after that, followed by the gummy bear. The last to be opened was the chocolate bar. Callahan looks pretty content, doesn't he? That first night, we just made a dent in the side. The kids hacked off chunks to add to their school lunches over the next several days, and friends would help eat after school. It's actually not quite gone yet ... but almost.

If you are what you eat ... then MY boys are sweet!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's haircut time AGAIN ... I really wish the boy's hair didn't grow SO fast. They were so shaggy. We were having a big Blackham bash, and we asked Aunt Olivia if she would bring her shears and give the boys a trim. And she did ...  Landon was up first.

 Landon After 

Cooper does NOT like getting his hair cut. But he also doesn't like getting his hair combed. I told him it was one or the other (and the combing wasn't really working at this point) ... so actually he didn't have a choice. It was time for the hair to GO ... 

And it's gone ... 

Callahan was up next ... 

Callahan's Cut 

 Then Keaton

Olivia had been making funny faces in all the photos ... 
Colton decided to give her some competition!

I forgot to snag an "after" picture of the last two boys, but here they are.
From shaggy to shorn!

If only it would last!

Thanks Aunt Livi!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Maga

May is a fairly busy birthday month. It's Maga's birthday on May 3 (as well as my brother Shane, and my Uncle Merrill). Derek has his birthday a couple days later, and my dad has his at the end of the month. Unfortunately both family parties fell on the same night. We had our RSVP into the Blackham side before we knew about the Westra gathering. We were sorry to miss it, but still had a blast with the Blackhams. 

There was a pinata

 ... and the traditional chocolate cake. Maga is laughing because we used trick candles on her! Even with the wind and her blowing (and the kids helping) those candles kept coming back. Landon finally pinched them off. (If you missed Gray's birthday with the trick candles, it is worth checking out, I have video here). 

 Clay pulled the ol cake in the face trick on Colton

We gave Maga the game Ticket to Ride (European version). She actually gave US the regular version a few years ago and was always telling us to bring it to her house to play. Now she'll have it (in case we forget) and we can learn some European Geography too.

We didn't see Maga on her actual birthday, but the boys drew pictures and we posted them to her Facebook page. Happy Birthday Maga!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gray Goes to NYC

Gray had been discussing making a quick trip to New York City to take in the sights ... talking with his friend Rob (who he worked with at Symphony Homes) they decided to make it happen. There were many who were a little upset with Gray that THEY were not invited along (Landon, Keaton, Olivia, Maga ... I was actually NOT upset in the least. I am "easily overwhelmed" and if NYC is anything, it is overwhelming!) Kolby and Clay were both chiming in about where Grayson should get a pastrami sandwich for lunch.

Gray took a boat tour ... unfortunately the Statue of Liberty was closed, so this was a close as he got (Colton asked, he has learned in school that there are steps inside and you can climb all the up and look out the crown). The didn't make it to the Empire State Building, but went up 30Rock. They also took a bus tour. They enjoyed the food, visited the M&M and Hershey's store (and brought back some goodies). While on Broadway, the went to see a show ... The Book of Mormon (Gray said it was extremely irreverent *Ü*). He said it was a great trip and I was really impressed with his picture taking. He really documented his stay so we at home could see it vicariously.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Other Off Track Activities

I've already posted about a couple of our off-track activities. Our trip to All Star Lanes and to Planet Play. The last week of off track ... (and it is the LAST, Keaton will be going into middle school, so no more "offtrack" time for him, and I've been looking in the possibility of transferring the two youngest to a school on a traditional schedule) we continued to go out and make memories and have tons of fun.

We started the week (Monday) at Chuck-e-Cheese.

Wednesday we went to Classic Fun Center. Keaton and Colton enjoyed the Blast Zone (Cooper didn't want to try it), then they all roamed around the jungle. Then they bounced for a bit, and finished off at the arcade. They turned in their tickets for a variety of treat treasures.

Thursday we met Grandma and Grandpa at Golden Corral for lunch. 
The kids LOVE the dessert bar. 

 Then we headed to NickelMania. There used to be one at Jordan Landing, but it has closed down. The boys did have a lot of fun there though. They pointed out the Qbert game (featured in Wreck-It-Ralph) and Keaton really liked this Star Wars game. He played it over and over until be beat the whole game.

The little boys seem to like just getting tickets (rather than the enjoyment of the game itself). They ran through their nickels twice as fast as Keaton (who was actually playing to PLAY) ... he had a ton of nickels left over and let the little boys split them up and use them up.

They turned in their tickets, I had to laugh when I saw that both little boys had almost the exact same amount (just off by one). They turned in their tickets for treats, a hacky sack and other little toys.

Ready to go back on track and finish up the school year!

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