Thursday, December 31, 2015

Blogging Backlog 2015

Oops ... I did it again. I got behind on my blogging. I mean, I did okay, especially at the start of the year. But as always, there were posts that never got posted. As the year ends, the desire to be caught up, to be able to start the New Year with a clean slate is calling. Here's what I have to catch up on ...

As I get to these posts, I'll leave them at the top for a day or so, then backdate them to where they actually fit chronologically (but I'll leave this post here, with active links, so updates will be more obvious).

Wish me luck ... the countdown to the end of the year is here. I don't know that I'll make it, but I hope to get caught up, and they STAY caught up in 2016!

JenB's Journey 2015

Time for the annual look at one of my other blogs ... JenB'sJourney. I lost weight back in 2006 and was able to keep it off for a while, but it went back up and by the end of 2012, I needed to "start again" as it were. Part of my plan, was to keep a blog. Internet accountability, and my own personal record. I have a "fitness" Facebook (Twitter and Instagram) too, so I don't overwhelm the family accounts. But once a year here, I figure I'd do an annual update looking at the past year's exercise/eating and activity.

Here's my journey in 2015 ...

For a more in depth look at any month, these are all posted with a monthly update (and daily journal) on my JenB's Journey blog, generally the first blog post in the following month.

Here's a quick look at the weight (ahhh, don't look!)

Much more of a range than last year ;(
September/October is usually GOOD for me (with the kids return to school and such)
It was my low last year (JenB'sJourney 2014)

... and here is how 2015 compares to years past.
Not the best year. Here's hoping I can improve in 2016!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

** This post will be backdated to Dec25

This year was the first Christmas with our kitties. Although Oreo is over a year old, we didn't get him until this past January (when he was four months, Introducing Oreo).  We put the tree up right after Thanksgiving was over ... we never got around to decorating it. We were just a little afraid of what the kitties would do (we've watched all those YouTube videos!) It still looked pretty, with just the lights that were woven onto the branches, and the kitties spent a lot of time up and in the tree. They never knocked it over though.

I didn't get around to pulling out much decor this year. I put the wreath on the front door, pulled out two or three of the favorites, finally put up the stockings shortly before Christmas Eve ... but of course we MUST put out the Santa head filled with red and green M&Ms! Unfortunately, our little Santa head did fall victim to the kitties curiosity. It was knocked over onto the hard floor and it broke. Keaton superglued it back together (but see the crack?) It still held candy just fine, and I can not believe how many packages we went through!

We have a pre-Christmas party on the Blackham side a few days before Christmas. This year, it was Monday, December 21. There was a little dinner and visiting and then ... you would not believe who showed up. Santa Claus AND his wife! They had little gifts for all the grandkids, even the big ones who are almost too big for Santa's lap ...

Colton is SO cute Mrs. Claus couldn't help but kiss him!

All the grandkids

... and the entire Blackham Bunch!

On Christmas Eve ... we head over to my folk's home.
Soup and breadsticks for dinner. Grandpa had the clever idea of putting Santa hats upside-down in Grandma's glass vases. It was a very festive look! I'd made the annual Westra Slideshow and calendar (although I didn't get the calendar printed in time to make it to the family party, dang it. You can see both on What's Up with the Westras. ) Even though we show my muvee every year, we can never remember how to get it onto the television. See all the men trying to figure it out in the top/right picture! The bottom/left is all the kids playing the candy bar game, another Westra tradition.

I was not feeling well Christmas Eve, and upon returning home, I went to bed. Gray had "Santa" duty, but pretty much everything was already wrapped and under the tree. He just had to stuff the stockings. I wish we'd got a picture of it all. In the morning, the kids had sorted all the presents into proper piles, and pulled in a big garbage can ready for all the paper and boxes.

It was a WHITE Christmas!
We got dumped on.

We went out to Maga's for a bit, then came home awaiting our call from Landon. It was funny to have been following Facebook on Christmas day, as in was inundated with missionary call posts and pictures. I guess we are just at that age where so many of our friends are in a similar situation. We finally got our call to go through, and our 40min Skype conversation went so fast. Landon looked and sounded great (except for the very end, when he ate a little dessert, which had walnuts in and started to have an allergic reaction! Not life threatening, but I could hear it in his voice/coughing as his throat swelled some). Makes things memorable!

Landon sent me this picture ... I LOVE it!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

What's Up with the Westras?

As the year comes to a close, and the annual Westra Christmas Eve party nears, I always gather photos from all the families to make into a video to show when everyone is together. This gathering of photos is also used to create a calendar to hang up in all the households year round. Originally, Chris's family did the calendar, then Gray took it over (and switched to digital), then Alicia put her skills to use for the past few years. She was a little busy this year, and as I'm gathering and organizing all the pictures anyway, I figured I'd try my hand at it. Making the calendar and slideshow, it was interesting to reflect on all that happened on the Westra side this past year ...

Most memorable, was Dad(Grandpa) having a heart attack. I remember getting the call from my nephew Jase, who had been with him when it happened. Just that original thought of "this can't possibly happen to MY dad!". Dad has been in excellent health and very active, this was absolutely unexpected. All the siblings gathered at the hospital and it was touch and go for a bit. Then, it seemed he would pull through physically, but his mental health was still in question. Happily, after just a few rough days, Daddy was back.

In Scott's family ... we had a wedding!
The first wedding of a Westra grandchild.

... it was the year of the missionaries! Chris and Kim and THREE missionaries out for 2015. Kim's two girls, Crystal and Kourtney. They both finished their missions here at the end of the year. Kaden is almost home (January) and Corin will be leaving. They will have a combined "homecoming/farewell" for their family! Landon left of course, but so did Janika, Wendy's oldest. 

Shane's family made a big move as the year came to a close ... literally. Due to job changes, they are leaving Utah and heading to California! We've been so lucky to have all our family close by. We will really miss having them around.

Derek and Danielle had some unexpected, but wonderful news! They are pregnant! After infertility and two darling adopted daughters, they were going to get to experience the entire pregnancy process themselves as well. Derek has been so cute documenting Danielle's pregnancy progression. It's another girl, and she's expected in January.

So THAT's what has been up with the Westra bunch this past year. 

Here's the Slideshow I made 
(it is a little long, I mean it's the WHOLE year from seven families!)

... and there are the calendar pages
We use the Apple Calendars, they are so nice!
These are the custom picture pages above the calendar for each month.













In the extended family~
My cousin Nikki and her family had to bid farewell to their little Eliza.

I'll always admire my cousin Nikki and all she has gone through with such strength and purpose. They are an amazing family!

2015 will be remembered. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Back to Basketball

Here in the Blackham home, we are never really "done" with basketball. But during the summer, Colton was really the only boy actually on a team playing games. 

As school started back up, again, Colton was the only Blackham boy playing in a Fall league. But this hiatus wouldn't last long! The official basketball season was here!

  • Callahan tried out and made the team at Copper Hills High School. He's so happy to be playing ball again!
  • Keaton tried out and made the team at West Hills Middle School. They will be playing in the district league, and then also in a Thursday Superleague.
  • Cooper surprised me by saying he wanted to play on a Junior Jazz team with his school buddies. Although Coop is as talented as his brothers, he hasn't wanted to play on a team or in a league for a couple of years. I'm SO excited to be able to watch him play again!
  • Colton will be super busy this winter. He made friends on his Spring/Summer team, but then they were moving up to the 5th/6th grade division, and I thought that would be a little too much for Colton (in 4th grade). He tried out for the Bantam Copper Hills team, but there wasn't enough interest to put a team together. By combining the kids from 3rd/4th they had enough, and they played together in the Fall, and planned on a Winter Superleague as well. We also reconnected with Colton's old coach and a couple of the kids who were playing in a 5th grade superleague, and Colton decided to join them as well.

Of course this all keeps ME pretty busy too! Luckily I LOVE watching the boys play basketball. I go to every game I can, armed with my video camera. Back at home, I combine the clips into highlight reels to post on YouTube. So as not to overwhelm my Family Facebook, I went ahead and set up a separate account just for reporting about the boy's basketball (JenB-BasketballMom).  As the kids aren't really using FB anymore, I also set up "Basketball Mom" accounts for Instagram and Twitter for anyone who wants to follow their games/clips/etc.

I also have the Hoop Dreams BasketballCal Blog, devoted to just the boy's sports activities. I'll only post about basketball a couple times here in on the family blog *Ü*.  Here's a link to the current schedules for this season. 

With all the boys in basketball, we have something almost every day except Sundays. Happily, Callahan can get himself to his own practices and games, and Keaton's practices are right after school (saving me a trip picking up and dropping off). Thursday nights are a little crazy, as both Keaton and Colton have games, and Cooper has practices, and then on Saturday the three younger boys have games. There are conflicts. I won't be able to make it to every game. I'll have to arrange for some rides with teammates, have Daddy or other relatives pitch in to cover it all ... but it's worth it. We LOVE basketball!

Friday, November 20, 2015

KFC Callahan

Callahan got a job! He is 16, and with the basketball team planning on a trip to Disneyworld in December, he needed to earn some money. He had a friend's brother working at KFC who told Callahan he'd be hired if he applied, so he did. It's really close by, and he looks so cute in his KFC cap!

Callahan has turned out to be a very hard worker. I know as a mom I'm a bit biased, but I've been so impressed by his loyalty and commitment. They are lucky to have him! He's moved up the ranks pretty quickly.  

He actually didn't work that much during the summer, when he had the most time (they had some college kids home from school for summer who wanted shifts). I was a little worried when school started, and suddenly he was getting more and more hours. Sometimes even full time! He'd be working so late, and up so early (with early morning seminary). 

There were some troubles ... a couple accidents (both involving his buddy Ben) with some bad burns, and a bunch of people quit. Callahan was always ready to step up and step in.

In addition to KFC, Callahan also worked concessions at the Real games at the Sandy Stadium. This was another hookup with a basketball buddy. Between the two jobs, he made more than enough to finance his trip to Florida all on his own, and still have money left over.

Even with busy with basketball, he's still working. KFC offers some nice incentives for college scholarships, which is something he's working towards. We don't go visit him at work very often, but we have a time or two (much to his delight!) He'll often act offended if we go to Popeyes or Chick-fil-a instead. 

So if you are hungry and in the Jordan Landing area ... go check out KFC and see if Callahan is working. It's finger licking good!

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