Monday, September 28, 2015

Take a Hike

Cal and Colton - Kings of the Mountain

Several years ago, Gray and I had gotten out hiking several times (see post), but then nothing for years and years. We had done our little nature walks earlier in the season, but then we got in quite a few hikes this summer as well. I don't know that the kids actually enjoyed them at all ... Colton once commented "what is with all this hiking?" in an exasperated tone. We were hit by a storm which had Cooper, our weather phobic child, completely stressed out, and between the crowds and getting soggy shoes, our final hike was dubbed "The Donut Falls Disaster." But we made some memories :)  Gray also got out with some of the guys on my side of the family a few times too. Here's a picture recap ...

Ensign Peak - June 2015

Gray took the three youngest boys, 
picked up Ana's two boys and Maga for a quick climb.

Suspension Bridge in Draper - August 2015
Our first family hike, sans Callahan (and Landon). Quick and close, but it was quite a climb at the start, and my heart rate got up there for a few minutes. Fun to compare everyone's Fitbit stats (steps, stairs, etc.)

Cecret Lake - August 2015
For this hike we were joined by Callahan (and his girlfriend) and the entire extended Blackham family. This was the hike where thunder rumbling had Cooper completely in tears. I pulled out some headphones and an ipod and hoped that music blasting in his ears might be able to distract him somewhat. Luckily, the storm never really materialized. It was a bit chilly, but we didn't get wet. Pretty views up at the lake, and fun to see the salamanders swimming in the water.

 You get pictures like this 
when you leave your phone where Uncle Clay can get it.

Amare got rides for much of this hike.

Hidden Falls/Donut Falls
Labor Day - 2015
Daddy thought it would be great fun to head up the mountains the morning of Labor Day. Much of Utah apparently thought it was a good idea too. Oh, the crowds. Cars parked all along the roadways. The trail got backed up at one point, it felt like we were waiting in line at Disneyland. Trying to traverse the trickling waters under the falls, the boys shoes got soaked and they were not happy. But Callahan is still giving us a smile and a thumbs up in the photos (it's his new picture pose).

Bells Canyon - September 2015
When Kolby and Jami were in town this summer ... of course we had to do another Blackham Bunch hike! We decided on Bells Canyon, nice and close. Gray and I had hiked it alone years ago ... it was a lot steeper, rocky and more challenging than I had remembered. We only went to the reservoir ... or the large puddle (I also seem to recall the water level being much higher on our previous visit). It wasn't a long hike, but it was fun. We were missing Callahan again, who had to work.

Westra Guys Friday Night Hikes
Summer 2015
Dad and Chris have been going hiking for years now. This summer, the other Westra guys (and Gray is included, having married into the family) went up the mountain trails several times. The girls were invited, but the guys tend to go faster/longer/later than I think I could have handled. Besides ... boy's night, ya know? And it's hard to compete with Scott's classy hat. I'm just not that fashionable ;)

Callahan and Amanda went hiking several times together too.

The cooler weather has now hit, so our hiking days are done for this year.
What will 2016 look like for hiking?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Homecoming for Cal

Ah ... Homecoming at the high school. Callahan didn't go to the dance last year, so this was his first Homecoming dance. He asked his girlfriend Amanda, and went with a huge group of friends. 

Previously, for PROM, I had to help out with the ordering of the corsage, picking out a tux and such. Here, he had everything covered himself. 

For the "day date" portion (which wasn't a thing back in the olden days when I went to school dances) the guys rented big inflatable balls. You know, the kind you actually insert yourself into. There was rolling down hills, colliding into each other, and an attempt to play soccer. He said it was a lot of fun, and luckily there were no injuries requiring a trip to the emergency room.

Then it was home to shower and dress for dinner and the dance. Callahan's original idea was to hit Italian Village (a hangout from MY high school days) but apparently he wasn't the only one with that idea (it was packed with people from CHHS) so they went elsewhere. 

Then group pictures and the dance. Following the posts on twitter and instagram, it seems like everyone had a great time.  Here are more pictures ...

The day date activity.

Travis and Cal ... off to pick up the girls.

He got the Girl :)

 Group Shot

 Just the Guys

Boys will be Boys!

Happy Homecoming!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Plethora of Pears

A plethora of pears! We've been feeling a bit fruity here in the Blackham home, our cousins #McMullinOrchards dropped by a bunch a bit ago. Peaches, pears, plums and apples. I DO love fresh pears! When I was growing up, my mom would buy boxes of them and then we'd bottle them. My job was to peel them ... one for the bottle, one for my tummy, one for the bottle, one more for me. I know ... I SHOULD eat them peel and all, but alas, I'm just an appealing person!

It was so nice having unlimited pears for a week or so. We ate a LOT of them every day (as I'm not a bottling person myself). It was nice getting them green, and then waiting for them to ripen. It seems like when I try to buy pears at the store, I go for the riper ones (because I want them NOW) and I can't get them home without bruises and other damage. These pears were great!

Keaton was really into pears a while back. I bought some canned pears, and some of the little plastic, one serving packages for lunches. But it was a phase for Keaton, he only wants fresh ones now.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back to School Stuff

It's the most wonderful time of the year ... for parents anyway! I do like the return to routine, even if it does mean getting up early, making lunches, shuttling kids to/from school and helping with homework. 

Callahan is a Junior at Copper Hills. He has early morning seminary, which starts at 6:00 in the morning. I must admit, I wasn't up early enough to catch him for an official "first day of school" picture, but grabbed one his girlfriend shared (thanks Amanda!).

Keaton is a 9th grader at West Hills. King of the school this year!  Cooper and Colton are still at Terra Linda Elementary. Cooper is in 6th, with Ms. Fulmer as his teacher. He was a bit bummed that none of his best friends are in his class this year. Colton is in 4th grade with Ms. Matthews. They are out in the portable out back. We'd worried about the portable situation, with Cooper's weather worries, but happily HE has never been in one. Colton says there are advantages ... the a/c works a little better in the single room, and they have a water dispenser for nice cold drinks.

Here are the school pictures taken a month or two in ...

Here are the two elementary boys. I thought they turned out cute.

... and my bigger, no teeth smiling boys.
Not the best, but not going to go to the bother of redoing them.

The little boys had a fundraising carnival at the school. They had fun!

As always, I spend a bit more time with Cooper and class than the other kids (as he usually has anxiety issues and such, but he's really doing well this year!). I am a class mom, helping out planning parties and such. I went to the school to help make t-shirts for their "Olympics" ...
The kids groups (countries) had picked out three shapes to represent them, and then positioned them on colored t-shirts. They then sprayed bleach, and then vinegar to counter-act it. Cooper still wears his shirt even after the Olympics finished up. He competed in the three lap run, and came in second. It was fun to see the kids cheering each other on. Cooper's country/team won the Olympics!

Then they moved onto studying medieval times. 
Cooper had several projects for that. 
Here is a hennen (a woman's hat) and a shield.

We had parent/teacher conference in November and both little boys got rave reviews from their teachers. Excelling academically, and just great kids all around ... not that I need anyone to tell ME that! The older boys did great in school too. Keaton got a 4.0, perfect attendance and all honors, which awarded him the "Triple Crown". Callahan made honor roll as usual too. Great job Blackham boys! Keep up the great work!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Grayson ... Biker Boy

Gray is a Biker Boy!

 Up top here, I believe he was in Park City. 
He does both road biking and mountain biking.

He also explored Antelope Island  ...
Those don't look like antelope though ...

Gray went riding with my brother Scott a few times too ...

Up to the suspension bridge in Sandy. 
We've hiked here as a family that same year (still 2015)

In May 2015, Gray and Rob went on a Moab biking trip that lasted for several days. Camping out under the stars between the daily rides. He was completely out of contact with me during this time. He'd done this trip (or similar) a couple times before. He and I hadn't communicated enough about what the trip entailed the first time, and I was expecting a daily check in. When a day and then another went by, I was a bit concerned but was able to look up the excursion information on the computer and figure out that they were actually out of touch electronically. I was better prepared for the next trips. Happily, he came home unscathed, and with quite a few photos!

Some shots from 2011 (as I don't think I ever blogged them).

... and from his 2015 trip ...

... and a quick video clip concluding the trip!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Looking Back at Life With Landon

I have a folder full of photos that haven't made it onto any post (some even back to 2014). There were a lot of Landon posts at the beginning of the year, and now I'm updating the Elder Blackham blog each week. But I still had a lot of random Landon pictures. Some may have been shared on Facebook or other social media, but didn't have a permanent place on this family blog. It seems that almost all of my pictures of Callahan had enough of a theme that they got their own posts, but I have made a Keaton Compilation and a Catching Up with Cooper post for such miscellaneous photos. It's now Landon's turn (and then a Colton Collection should be coming too!)

Ah Landon ... it's been many months since he left us to serve a mission in Mexico! We miss him and his fun personality he brought to all the family gatherings. He's such a good big brother! I remember shortly before he left, Callahan was struggling with a physics problem from school. Landon had taken physics ... different teacher, different school, but I asked him if he could perhaps see if he could help (heaven knows I couldn't!) It warmed my heart to see the two brothers working together over the homework at the kitchen table. And yes, he helped.

This little photo collage will always make me smile. Landon had gone to Target, wanting to pick up a chaise lounge for a little reading outdoors (at the family expense). He sent me the three pictures at the top originally, ranging in price from over $100 to $25 or so ... then the bottom two pictures, indicating HIS preference (for the more expensive ones of course.) 

This is another favorite memory! The Disney movie "Frozen" had been out for a bit, and one Saturday morning as the little boys were attempting to sleep in, I heard Landon bound for their room, and then say in a high pitched Disney-style voice "the sky is awake, so I'm awake, so it's time to PLAY".  Ah ... we love Landon!

Landon's little cousin's LOVE Landon too!  I have a ton of pictures with Landon and Amare. Landon has always been so good with kids, it's totally impressed me. I even wondered if he might be drawn to something working with children (he was going to try and work at the preschool at Herriman, but it didn't fit into his schedule). Here's a cute little clip of his interaction with Sammy ...
A video posted by JenB (@jenblackham) on

Landon LOVES babies!
This is Landon with little Layla at a Westra family gathering. Sometimes he gets a little TOO enraptured (he went to a friend's house for a party and a gal brought her baby and he held the baby the entire time). I would always tell him there is plenty of time for that in the future! Not quite yet!

Landon has always been pretty comfortable in the kitchen too (maybe he gets this from Daddy). After a trip to Seattle, he fell in love with Aunt Jami's buttermilk syrup. I never got around to making it ... so he did. He's helped me make a multitude of things before ... you'll see him in some of the recipe posts (lasagna and homemade oreos I remember for sure!)

 Another funny "Landon" item was "the hidden head" ... back when he was taking ceramics in school (to fulfill the required art credits) he had made a "head" and brought it home. He would hide it around the house to startle me. And he was successful. The car, a closet ... the shower. Landon made a second head in another ceramics class (colored this time) and again, it would turn up in the most unexpected places! Shortly before he left on his mission, I was going to bed when that's where I found the head. It currently resides in my closet and I see it every day ... but it stays put without Landon around.

 Many years ago, Landon made this necklace. It's just a simple Pinewood Derby wheel on a string, with a little decorative lacing there to keep it in place. He wore this 24/7 for years! Showers, sleeping ... it was always on him. Of course, it's not missionary appropriate, but he wore it right up until he left. It's now hanging in my room where I see it everyday.

 ... I'll end with this picture. I have no explanation.

Look into Landon currently on Letters From Landon 
and check out his "Little Landon" photo album on Facebook for a COMPLETE look back!
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