Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Behind on Blogging!

Several years ago I was a scrapbooker. I didn't do it just as a creative outlet, I actively sought publication and ended working in the industry (for Provo Craft, teaching at the local store, and ended up as Creating Keepsakes editor for the "Fun With Photos, Memories & More" direct mail program pictured above). I'd often have "scrapbook brain" where I would envision a page or project in my head.

I think I scrapbooked myself out. Poor Colton doesn't have a page to his name! I started blogging a few years ago, and it is very similar to scrapbooking. I get "blogger's brain" now. I'll have a picture or story in mind, complete with title and journaling. I just need to find the time to sit down at the computer and get it out of my head and onto the web page. I really don't know WHY I'm so behind. I fully admit that as a SAHM with kids in school I have more time than many.

Part of the problem may be that I dislike sitting. Blogging requires sitting. I also have my JenBsJourney blog, which I've admittedly been more prolific at posting and staying up to date than here on the family blog. 

As the year is winding up, I REALLY should try to get in all my 2014 family posts, don't you think? I'm pretty well caught up through spring, and the end of school. I lost my way a bit in summer. I've done some recent posts, but still have quite a backlog for the blog. Some of the blog posts I have on the brain are (probably not a complete list, I'm sure I'll add to it as I remember more and this will be a good place to keep my ideas referenced. Maybe once I complete a post I can come and add the link to the list *Ü*) ...

Hmmmm, can you tell I like alliteration? 

There are pros to being behind ... some topics will cover several months of photos. Sometimes by waiting I can create a fun grouping I wouldn't have if I had been posting promptly. But ... it's also good to stay on top of things too! We really do use the blog as a family history to remember events in the past years. Even the little boys know how to come search the blog.

If you haven't checked the blog in a bit, I did get several posts up in the past few weeks. Not all are in order (that is to say they ARE in chronological order, I have backdated some of the posts, so newer posts may be behind ones you had already seen). FathersDay2014, Flags, Floats and Fireworks, Summer Scouts, Elementary Artwork ... I also did get to Halloween and the Fall Birthdays. 

Ok ... so I've got a list, checking it twice. 
Can I catch up before the new year starts?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

JenB's Journey (2014)

Originally, I had started doing a monthly posting on this family blog about what was up on my fitness blog, but then I decided that an annual recap was enough. You can always check out JenB'sJourney for updates as they are added  ... Here's a quick look back at my year.

Here's a weight graph for the year ...
You can click on the image to enlarge it. Weight was between 144-156 for the year. Not too bad. Anything in the 140s I feel really good at. I had some success there in the late fall, I just wish I could have held it there!

Here's a graph of this year, and all the preceding years,
 just so you can see my journey thus far.
Again ... click on the image to enlarge.

That was 2014!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

School Assignments and Such

 Doesn't Callahan look excited and happy?
It was SHAKESPEARE day at school ...

I'm behind on blogging. This picture is actually from last Spring, when Callahan was still in ninth grade at West Hills. In addition to this dress-up day, they had to write a little play. Shakespeare has never been a favorite of mine either honestly ...

Another school assignment from last year had Callahan and I walking the neighborhood finding different types of flowers. We had to take pictures and ask Maga and Grandma to help with some of the identification. 

But what have the Blackham Boys been up 
to in their school assignments THIS year so far?  
Here's a little look...

One of Callahan's more memorable assignments was participating in a PUMPKIN DROP for physics. Pumpkins would be tossed off the roof of the school, and the kids had to design something to catch them. Intact. This big box contained pillows, an inflated air mattress, crumpled newspapers ... and they were successful (in catching at least one of the three pumpkins thrown).

Keaton is taking Spanish and once a week watches a movie IN Spanish (most DVD/Netflix offer a language option). We've found that the animated shows work best. The kids are already familiar with them, the words/lips line up better that with un-animated shows. Most have captions available in both English and Spanish. In addition to that, each quarter there is a cultural project.  The first quarter, we (yes, a little help from mommy and her scrapbook supplies) made a poster of a Spanish proverb ...

In science... Keaton would get extra credit if he woke up and took a picture of the "Blood Moon" that occurred this past Fall. I didn't commit to setting my alarm and attempting to wake the child in the wee hours of the morning. But,  I did wake up, and I did wake him up. It was rather cool. 

Keaton also had to write a children's story featuring chemical and physical properties ... I'll admit to helping him some, but we had fun! Read it here.  And then of course, there is the dreaded science fair project! He did a social experiment, seeing if people were more likely to obey a law (stop at a stop sign) if someone was obviously watching ...

Onto the CooperMan ...
Cooper's class was having a "Colonial Days" activity. I went and helped. There, they moved from station to station learning things kids had to do back in the 1600s. From carding wool, to weaving, to making soap, writing with a quill pen to candle dipping. Cooper was pretty stressed about it all, any change from routine will do that do him, but I think he ended up having some fun.

Another BIG assignment Cooper has been working on is earning his Great American Award. This is a project assigned the first day of school, due in April. The kids have to sign off 15 of 25 possible assignments. Things such as learning all the states, all the capitals, the first colonies and when they joined the United States. Listing the presidents, the Gettysburg Address, the Preamble, writing the Pledge of Alliance with no errors.

There were several other choices too ... drawing a picture, making an "American Collection". For that, Cooper brought in his collection of quarters, which we had gathered over the years as they were made featuring all the different states (Cooper's Coins).

Cooper also "collects" license plates,
(Cooper's Collection)
and we used that collection to inspire a poem ...
 another one of the possible choices.

License plates, license plates
All across the United States.
As I travel in my car
Whether I’m going near or far
I look at the license plates.

In Utah, our cars show what is in our state
Everyone knows the skiing is great!
Or if you like it dry and hot
Give our National Parks a shot.

There are some license plates are just plain yellow.
Like New Mexico. A good place to go and be mellow.
New York and Alaska have yellow plates too.
But Texas, Indiana and Idaho’s are red, white and blue.

Florida features oranges on it’s plate.
It is also known as the “Sunshine State.”
Both Ohio and Iowa take time to show
The beautiful land where they plant and grow.

Hawaii shows a rainbow so high
Up against a blue, blue sky.
California and Illinois plates are pretty plain.
Except for the fancy cursive of their name.

South Carolina has a plane. They were “first in flight”.
Wyoming shows a cowboy, putting up a fight.
Oregon features a tall tree of green.
But in Arizona, only a cactus can be seen.

Wisconsin says it’s America’s dairyland.
Washington and Colorado feature mountains grand.
Minnesota features it’s 10,000 lakes.
While Nevada proclaims it’s the “Silver State”

Of course there’s a lot more that we could name.
Like Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Maine.
I keep a look out in my car.
But those states are so very far.

Maybe now you’ll start looking too.
To see different states, many or few.
Make it a contest, make it a game.
None of the license plates are exactly the same.
I found a lot … how about you?

Cooper had been SO worried about the Great American Award assignment ... but he completed it before Christmas! Now he can relax ... (see the picture on the next school update!)

Colton is a stellar student. I got a call inviting me to a special program, where he received the Principal's Pride award for passing off math facts. He continued and was the first student in the school to pass of Xtra Math for the year.

That's the school showcase for the first half of the year ...
I'll do another for the second half!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's Ornamental

As Christmas rolls around, we put up the tree, and I pull out the box of ornaments. The ones the kids have made in school and church over the years? They are the favorite!  My favorites, and the kid's favorites too! I really do like the ones with pictures on! It's fun to see the boys look at them and comment on their memories making them, or just from the general age years ago.

As Christmas was complete, and all the decor was being pulled down and put away, I set aside all the handmade ornaments from the kids. I sorted them into sets, per kid, and took pictures.

Keaton wins for the most ornaments over the years.

I've told the boys, that even as they get older, I've decided this is what I want for Christmas each year. Ornaments. Preferably with pictures. I pinned a bunch of ideas!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas From the Blackhams!

A partial picture from the crew. I didn't get family pictures or Christmas cards sent out this year. I feel like we're lucky we even got the tree up and decorated! December is B.U.S.Y.  In addition to other activities (see some of the previous posts) we had our annual Blackham Bash the Sunday before Christmas. Pam hadn't quite moved into her new Riverton home, but that's where we met up. We played the candy bar game and some bingo. 

For Christmas Eve, we always go out to my folks. I thought I had everything planned. I was bringing chicken soup and breadsticks, and also prepped some Brazillian Cheese bread ... something our family has been enjoying lately and great for the gluten-free crew. I thought I had timed everything pretty perfectly and had loaded up the car and had one pan of breadsticks cooking around 4:30, so that we'd be on time at 5:00. Except that it actually started at 4:00. Not sure how I got that wrong! My bad! At Grandma and Grandpa's we ate, watched the annual slideshow, and played the candy bar game (which is a slightly different, more frantic version than the $50 Blackham one). 

Then time to go back home ...
Every year I try to take a "before" picture of the look Santa brings the boys. It's always laid out pretty much the same. There are five couch cushions, one for each of the boys. After they descend on it, it doesn't look quite the same ...

The After

This year I also had all the boys line up in the hallway, youngest to oldest as they approached the presents (not that they hadn't already been in and peeked!) This was a tradition during my younger years ...

This will be Landon's last Christmas with us for a couple of years!

How was your holiday season?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Colton - 9

Lost in all the hustle and bustle of the holidays ... Colton has a birthday. Nine years old and never had a "friend" party. If I'd thought ahead and tried to get invitations made before school was out Christmas break, we might have tried to have one after Christmas. But alas ...

I was feeling uber guilty about it, as I do every year. Poor kid, he's such a good sport about it too. He did express and interest in a bowling party, even if it was family, not friends. We quickly threw one together. We did invite Jacob, and Callahan's girlfriend Amanda came too, so it wasn't just family. Maga, Ana and her boys came and it was a lot of fun.

We ordered pizza and punch, and after bowling we let the kids play on some of the arcade games. I think Colton had a good time. He'd asked for "shirts with sarcastic sayings on them" and he got quite a few (he's wearing one in the pictures above). 

We did the usual cake and ice cream too. Many of the boys prefer the chocolate cake from Sam's Club, but Colton said he wanted the white with buttercream frosting. That's MY favorite, Grandma's too. She and Grandpa came out for cake and to wish Colton a happy birthday and play some games.

I LOVE looking back at baby photos ...
Love this little boy.
See all the pictures HERE.

Happy Birthday Colton!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Leg Lamp, Lights and a Limo

As Thanksgiving ends there is a tradition in the extended Blackham home ... Uncle Clay puts up the "leg lamp" (you know, like the one featured in the "A Christmas Story" movie) and makes donuts,  inviting friends and family for the official "lighting of the leg lamp".

Gray and the boys went last year. This year I attended also, but we were missing Landon, who had to work. Cooper wasn't in a very good mood ...

My boys love to play with their little cousins, and I think the little cousins LOVE to play with the big boys! There were several flavors of donuts (eggnog, brown butter, chocolate, red velvet). Uncle Clayton has become quite the donut connoisseur. 

That wasn't the only fun we had with the extended Blackham Bunch for the holiday. Pam had recently purchased a new home, and as a thank you from her realtor, we were treated to a limo ride through the lights at Thanksgiving Point. 

We were missing Callahan, as he had basketball practice. 

A few more pictures ...
After the limo ride, we got some hot chocolate. There was a reindeer display and the creation of an ice sculpture. Many fun photos and memories from that night ...

Limos, Lights, Lamps ... and Donuts!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eating Out (and In)

 I don't think we eat out as much as many families, but we do hit our fair share of restaurants through the year. I included some in my Belated Birthdays, Landon's Graduation and our Anniversary posts, because eating out does often accompany celebrations and such. As I glanced through photos from the past year however, I found quite a few random "eating out" pictures, so I thought I'd gather them together to reflect on some eats in 2014 ...

Wendys ... always a favorite! \
Chicken nuggets, fries and frostys (also known as "dipping sauce!)

Kneaders is a family favorite. Nice and close over in Jordan Landing. I'll often sit this one out (trying to conserve calories) but several times during the year, Daddy and the boys would go for the famous french toast. The milk containers are SO puny though!

After priesthood session, Daddy took Callahan and Keaton (and Travis) to his old high school haunt Italian Village. Gray introduced them to the infamous PIZZA BENDER. We did go back as a family once too (I think I'll leave it to Gray and the boys!)

Every year for Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa Westra give the local siblings a gift of "going out to eat" once a month. Their effort and getting the families together for food and fun. Red Robin is often a favorite, especially if the kids are coming too ...

... a couple different Red Robin trips.

For Mom's birthday, we all took HER out. 
Wendy was in town and so Chris and Kim and 
Gray and I and the folks all had dinner at Asian Star. 

Occasionally Gray and I get out alone on a date too.
Here, we are at Rodizio.

At the end of the year, Kolby flew into town as a Christmas surprise for Pammy. 
All the adults went out to dinner downtown at Ruths Chris. Fine dining!

I'm sure there were many other dinners out, and probably some more pictures in my files of photos ... but these ones I had set aside for blogging purposes. It's fun to look back on the different places and groups and remember the food and fun.

As for eating IN, aka "Take Out" ... I don't have a lot of pictures, but I thought I'd mention a couple family favorites. Papa Murphy Pizza has been a bit hit over the last year. We pretty much have "Papa Murphy Mondays".  Basic cheese and pepperoni are the favorites, but Gray and Landon enjoy the chicken garlic ... and I do too, as long as there is no tomato or green onion on it, and I pick the chicken off first (so by then it's basically breadsticks).  Another restaurant that peaked the interest of the family was Popeyes. It moved in over at Jordan Landing, and our family picked up many boxes of chicken tenders over the past few months. Chick-fil-a has become a favorite as well ... pretty much replacing Wendy's (it was Cooper's birthday choice).

I'll have to do a repeat post for next year, to see which places we hit again!

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