Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Ah ... Halloween. It's not my favorite holiday. But this year wasn't bad. With the boys on D track at school, the school Halloween party always sets the stage a little early (it was on October 19). I went to school to watch the costume parade (it was the first year they actually had D track do it) and to help with class parties. During Keaton's party I was busy running one of the game stations, but Cooper's class had enough help, so I grabbed my cameras and took pictures and video. The muvee is below ... featuring the parade then Cooper's class party.

As if Halloween doesn't provide enough temptation with all the candy around, I was also in a baking mood. I made the pumpkin cookie press cookies (Keaton's favorite), cinnamon rolls, homemade oreos, spiderweb cubcakes and sugar cookies cut with a pumpkin cookie cutter ...

It's fun to make funny faces
on the cookies with candy corn.

The Saturday before Halloween, it was the annual neighborhood "Trunk or Treat" over at the church. Callahan's group was in charge of one of the theme rooms. They all dressed up like nerds and gave out nerds candy. I wish I had gotten a picture of him! I took Cooper and Colton over and they enjoyed it.

While the younger boys were out of school on Halloween itself, Landon and Callahan were still going. They both dressed up a little.

I took the little boys to Maceys in the morning (groceries and credit union for me, trick or treating around the store for them). They broke out the jailbird costumes, complete with handcuffs. Then both boys went to a scout Halloween party in the afternoon.

The boys were SO excited to go out in the evening. Grayson took them around. Cooper started out as a stormtrooper, but said the mask was too hard to see through, so he dashed home and changed after just a few houses. Callahan wasn't planning on going out, but when friends were, he (and Keaton) joined them ... their costumes? An NBA jersey ... I don't feel too bad I didn't get a picture of that (as that's pretty much everyday attire for them).

At home with the "haul"

Kit Kats and Twix are the favorites for the little boys. I let them trade things they didn't want for things on our bowl (we were actually passing out the good stuff this year, KitKats, Reeses, 100 Grand and Crunch, the kids current favorites. I HAD picked up a big bag of Smarties but then Grayson mocked them ... but my boys do like them!). I love how the kids sort and count their candy *Ü*

And of course the Halloween season wouldn't be complete without the Halloween Ghost (other years it has been the Phantom). I do like this online version, with printable sheets. Dropping off a treat, encouraging you to pass it on ... I admit, I was ssss.....l.....o.....www to pass it on ... but I finally did. Halloween night I was inside baking goodies inbetween answering the door (actually, Landon was a big help with that).

The weather couldn't have been nicer for trick or treating!
Thanks Mother Nature!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Landon's School Spirit

What??? Landon wearing a BYU sweatshirt? While I graduated from the Y (yes, that is MY sweatshirt), and Grayson grew up cheering for BYU ... our boys are little Ute fans (Uncle Clay is SO disappointed). So what is up with this? Oh ... it's Red Ribbon week at Herriman High school, and it was "ugly sweater day" ... now Landon, that's just mean!

One of the other days was "silly socks" day.
Landon raided Cooper's sock drawer.

I don't know if the poor socks will recover after a day on Landon's big feet! I didn't get pictures of the other days (sports attire, red and superhero) ... continuing on with the ToyStory theme, Landon wanted to be BUZZ for superhero day, but alas, the costume we have (Colton wore it a couple years ago) doesn't stretch as well as the socks do ...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Soup Season

It's getting cooler ... even cold some mornings. The leaves are turning color and dropping ... it's that time of year when I don't mind turning on the oven or stove and cooking up something warm. It's soup season!

I LOVE a basic chicken vegetable soup. When I say "basic" I mean basic! As anyone who knows me is aware, I'm a BIT of a picky eater. No celery or onion in my soup. Mine is chicken, carrots and potatoes with a chicken broth base. I add a can of Cream of Chicken soup to add flavor and thicken it up. And then I add some shredded cheddar cheese. I discovered the addition of cheese when making cauliflower soup (from Maga's recipe, I'll post it sometime) or taco soup (which I make, but don't eat). It just melts in, adds an extra burst of flavor.

On Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the Westra side of the family gets together, and soup is often the meal served at these gatherings. I'm on deck to bring chicken noodle soup. Again, I keep it super simple, just the chicken broth, meat, soup and noodles. I actually love adding carrots to my chicken noodle soup, but when I'm making it for the family gatherings, I usually leave them out. Grayson always teases me a bit about the amount of soup I make. I use the HUGE pot (that HE gave to me). But there are usually little or no leftovers.

Ironically, my boys will devour the chicken noodle soup at the family gatherings, but if I ever make it at home, just for us (in a smaller pot!) it generally doesn't get eaten. I've even seen them pull out a Maruchan Cup-a-Noodles when I have a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup sitting on the stove!

Another famous chicken soup recipe in the Blackham house is the chicken and wild rice soup made by Aunt Courtney. Again, my boys will RAVE about this soup, and gobble it up while out, but if I make it at home ... it sits. But Courtney always gets asked for the recipe, so I'm going to put it here for reference and safe keeping *Ü*

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup- Kim Olsen

1 large onion, finely chopped
4-5 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups half and half
1 cup flour
2-3 large grated carrots
6 cups water
1/2 cup margarine
3 1/2 cups cooked wild rice (about 2 boxes)

In a large pot melt margarine; add onion and grated carrots. Cook on low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add flour and stir until well mixed. Slowly stir in the water one cup at a time until blended. Add the bouillon cubes and the half and half, chicken and rice. Simmer, without boiling, for 45 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Court of Honor

It was Court of Honor tonight. Usually, just Gray and the older two boys go, I stay home with the little ones. But Grayson accidentally scheduled a derby for himself, so I got to be the parental presence, and the little boys got to come along too. Keaton did turn 11 last month, so he is now included in the "bigger boys" although he didn't get any awards last night. As Cooper has started scouting, I went ahead and had him get his shirt on, and I even found an extra for Colton! Five Blackham Boy scouts!

One tradition of the Court of Honor are the POP prizes ... 2-liter bottles of soda sit on a side table, and as the boys are presented their awards, they get to pick a bottle of pop. Another item that has become standard at the presentations, is a video slideshow of the activities since the last Court of Honor. Gray was a little busy with work so he asked if I would put it together this time. I love making Muvees, and there were a lot of fun photos and video to work with. So if you want a glimpse into the activities of Pack 717, here you go ...

Drawing Dragons & Cute Kindergarten Creations

Cooper has always been my "coloring kid." I was cleaning up in his room, when I came upon a box a drawings and artwork I had set aside. Inside, was a little "book" he had created that I had always meant to scan into the computer for safekeeping. I think he made these a couple years ago when he was in kindergarten, but I'm not positive on that timeline. I remember he went through a dragon drawing phase ... he drew SO many, with slight variations, but always the same basic shape. So better late than never, I finally scanned them in and am sharing them here on the blog.

As I saved the drawn dragon files on the computer, I came across a couple other cute kindergarten creations (that I HAD gone ahead and scanned and saved ... I'm so glad because I have no idea where the original projects are now). Below, is a short story by kindergarten Callahan ...

Years later, he still like DREBY cars *Ü*

I remember Keaton creating this short story ... I had to ask him for a little help with the interpretation, but he knew exactly what it said. I posted the translation to the side ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baked Ziti

When the boys went to Seattle last summer, they came home with many memories and a plethora of pictures. They brought home a need for Netflix ... and also a zest for ZITI. Aunt Jami made some, and Gray and Landon especially, urged me to contact her for the recipe. So I did. It has become a Blackham family favorite. I usually make a double (even triple) batch, and freeze pans of it for quick and easy dinners in the future.

1 lb. ziti pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 jar of favorite marinara sauce
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (cooked and drained)
8 oz. sliced provolone
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella

In a casserole dish, pour 1/3 of marina sauce. Add 1/2 the cooked pasta. Pour another 1/3 of the sauce. Place a layer of provolone slices on top of pasta. Spread sour cream on top of provolone. Add sausage (Grayson also suggested adding some pepperoni, so I do). Next add remaining pasta. Pour remaining marina sauce over the top. Add mozzarella. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Let There Be Light

For a few months now, our outdoor lights on our garage have been down to a solitary bulb. It's not that we were too lazy to change out the other two, it was that it was practically impossible to do! You would twist and twist, and the bulb would not budge. So Grayson decided it was time to just replace the fixtures as a whole. He put Landon to work ... and now we have light :)

You know how it is when you make one change ... you notice other things that need to be fixed or replaced as well. Grayson also replaced all the lights in the kitchen with new LED ones. They are brighter, and hopefully won't need to be changed (as they are so high, changing bulbs in them was quite an ordeal).

And not to be left out ... he also replaced the light attachment on the fan in our bedroom. He'd just replaced this one a little over five years ago, but I'd never liked it. The fixture covered the bulbs completely, which made it not very bright and very difficult to change burned out bulbs. I like my lights open ... and this new one is. I'm surprised every time I walk into the room now, it's so bright.

Gray also went around and replaced burned out bulbs throughout the house ... thanks Gray! It's so nice to have such a handy husband. Let there be light *Ü*.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Decor

Colton kept asking WHEN we were going to decorate for Halloween. I certainly wasn't going to spend the time outside during the week of rain we had, but it finally ended. I'm loving this fall weather. Cool, but sunshine. The leaves are turning. I had Colton help me pull out the decorations from the shed and now the front porch is showing some halloween/fall spirit. Unfortunately, Colton isn't terribly impressed. "That's ALL?" was his response when we were done. I guess he was expecting a full set of decorations for inside the house too. My little glass pumpkin filled with candy corn just doesn't cut it I guess (have I mentioned I LOVE candy corn ... I must resist!) He sighed ... "I wish there was just a button you could press, and the whole house would be decorated with spiderwebs, pumpkins and ghosts" ...

I found this video on YouTube ...
I wonder if Colton would be happy with this ...

YouTube suggests similar video links too
(same house, a variety of different songs)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Honor Roll

School has been in session for several weeks now, in fact, the quarter is coming to an end. We had parent/teacher conferences with all the boys, and an honor roll assembly for the Columbia kids. So that the assembly doesn't drag on and on, the school breaks it up into two different programs. On the school website, it seemed to suggest dividing the kids according to their track (C track and D track), but then they did it according to age. One for kindergarten-2nd grade, and for 3rd - 6th grade. I actually think the track division would work better, because for families (like ours!) with kids in all grades, it makes for a LONG afternoon sitting through both assemblies (and the break in-between). But I was happy that my three Columbia kids all made the honor roll! And thanks to friends who helped with middle and high school carpool pickup (which I usually do) so that I was able to attend.

I had been a little concerned that Cooper's weather worries might impact his learning and school performance (he's missed quite a bit of class coming home or sitting out a storm in the safety of the office). But academically, he's doing great (and while we're still working on the weather worries, I think we're slowing getting better there too).

I'm not exactly sure what it takes
to make honor roll in kindergarten ...
but way to go Colton!

All three boys also got attendance awards (for missing 0-1 days of school) and rave reviews from the teachers at Parent/Teacher conference. Callahan's conference at West Hills was a student/lead conference. I'm not totally sold on those. He's doing great and while none of the teachers requested a meeting, we went around and touched base with a few of them while we were there. Landon's conferences at Herriman were in the gym, with all the teachers positioned around and parents could visit with those they wanted to connect with. We talked with all of Landon's teachers. He still had a couple hiccups from transferring in late, but we worked out a couple of items that night and I think we're on track for good grades as the quarter comes to a close.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Little Sahara Sandbox

It's a great big sandbox ... Little Sahara. The scouts have gone camping there quite a few times. This past weekend the scouts (Fathers/Sons) went out again. Grayson took four of the five boys (can you guess who stayed home?) and there were plenty of other boys in all ages from the ward. The standard campout dinner is ribs (precooked, reheated in tinfoil). Yummy! Friday night, the boys played "Capture the Flag". Saturday, the group went to the top of a huge sand hill and with a couple of snowboards, they "sandboarded". I've included a few pictures below (more on my FB page here).

A little hacky sack action

Food and drink for Colton

I always get a little nervous sending my baby out camping without me, but he LOVES camping, he was SO excited to go. We were only packing for one day really. I gave him the overnight bag and told him to pack pj's, and extra outfit, and some extra underwear and socks ... when I checked his bag, he had put in seven underwear and eight pairs of socks! I added a jacket and some jeans :)

The boys brought a LOT of sand home with them (in their shoes, in the car ... and into the house).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Soccer Success

While Cooper's soccer season was stressful, we did have a lot of FUN soccer memories with little Colton. We signed him up with Gene Fullmer Rec, putting him on the team with buddies Bradley and Randon. I didn't originally sign up to be coach again, but after being asked if I'd be willing, I went ahead and said ok. We ended up having two little girls that been on the Spring team as well, plus a couple new boys that really knew how to handle the ball. We were the Blue Sharks and we had a very successful season, we only lost one game.

Colton was enjoying soccer so much, that when Uncle Clay said he was putting together a kindergarten team at Marv Jensen Rec, we decided we'd put Colton on that team too. Gene Fullmer had started really early in the season, and with mid-week games, it only lasted four weeks, ending in September. There was about one week of overlap, one Saturday Colton had TWO soccer games, then the Blue Sharks ended and the Green Monkeys had their season.

The Green Monkeys won their first few games, I even stepped in to coach one games as Clay and Courtney were in St. George. Then we hit some harder teams (and colder days and nights, brrr). So, soccer season is now officially done ... it was fun. Here's a couple videos ...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Stressful Soccer Season

Soccer seasons are Spring and Fall... at the start of the season last Spring, Cooper broke his arm. The signups for the next round (Fall2011/Spring2012) were in April, and I went ahead and signed up my little broken-armed boy with his team (and his best bud Ridley) and also got his good friend Marc to join the team as well. His arm would be healed by Fall.

... I didn't anticipate Cooper's anxiety ...

He was very worried about breaking his arm again ... combine that anxiety with his weather phobia, and soccer became a very stressful situation. Cooper did NOT want to play. I could have just bagged it, but ... I didn't really care about wasting the money, and I think the team would have been fine without him (we had a couple additions to the team, so there were enough kids which is sometimes a problem in the spring half of the season) ... I just did not want to let the fear win. If I left it up to Cooper, he would spend almost all his time in the bedroom under his covers, and I didn't want that ... so I pushed him a little.

Every game was a struggle. He would cry and cry. We did miss a few of the games, some we just played for a bit and then went home. There was some success ... he totally got into one of the games; he was excited to play, played well, even got a couple of goals! I hoped we had turned a corner. My smiling soccer Cooper was back ... but he was gone again by the next game.

Everyone was very supportive, really trying to cheer Cooper on, making him feel needed and wanted. At the first game, Cooper took a fall and everyone on our sideline gasped and held their breath until he got up again, shaken but unhurt. Cooper seemed content to just stay back and play defense most of the time, and as I'd pushed him just to get to the game, I let him do what he felt most comfortable with on the field. He did get a couple of fast breaks, running up the field and got some great goals.

We were both ready for the Fall soccer season to be over ... Cooper still says he doesn't want to play in the Spring (which he's already signed up for, from the signups last April). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when the time comes he'll want to play. I won't be signing him up again unless HE ASKS for it ... I hope he does. I love watching him play. Here's a little video from a couple of the games from fall season...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

School Stuff: Pictures, Switches and Other Updates

So ... school back in session, back to the routine.
Homework, carpools and school pictures!
Five Blackham Boys :)

Here's a few school updates ~
  • School Switch: A week or so into the school year, a friend of Landon's transferred from West Jordan to Herriman High School. Landon decided he really would like to make the switch too. After taking a look at all the pros and cons, we went ahead and instigated the transfer. Landon seems to be enjoying his new school.
  • Carpools: One thing that made the school switch possible, was the Landon found a carpool that would get him there in the morning if I could pick up after school. In the mornings, I'm taking Callahan to school, then I get home in time to get the Columbia kids off in their carpool. The afternoons are spent driving ... Highschool carpool, MiddleSchool carpool, then elementary school ... But luckily I haven't been having to make the trip to the school in the middle of the day because of the kindergarten carpool!
  • School Carnival: The school hosted a fundraising carnival. It had to be pushed back a week after the plane crash. The new date was already completely packed. Grayson and Landon had a pinewood derby, Callahan and Keaton had basketball practice, I needed to take Colton to a soccer game ... which left Cooper really wanting to go to the carnival, but no one to take him. Luckily, we had some friends who were willing to have a tag-a-long, so he went and had a great time. Colton and I hit the last 30 minutes, getting in some games and treats and bringing Cooper home.
  • Dress-Up Days: It was Red Ribbon week at school, with dress up days...

Hat Day

Sports Jersey Day

There was also "Dress like your twin day" ... Cooper and his buddy Ridley both wore their soccer jerseys, and Keaton took a complete outfit for a buddy at school to wear (he said they looked SO much alike, I wish I had a picture). The final day was to wear a shirt with a geographic location on it ... we had a couple "Utah" shirts for that.

I remember years ago (in 2005), the school had "crazy hair day" ... as the boys needed haircuts, Gray cut them into mohawks just for the day. As soon as it was over, it was back to the Blackham buzz!

Daily Doings (Oct2011)

1031 (Monday) Happy Halloween. Landon wore the "chick magnet" to school, Callahan wore the jack-o-lantern shirt. I needed some groceries, and Macey's had advertised "trick-or-treating" through the store, so I had the little boys dress up (Keaton didn't want to go so I let him stay home) and we went. I deposited a check at the bank and we made the rounds. We stopped at Arctic Circle after for an ice cream cone and to let the kids play. 7800 was SO torn up around both locations. We had come the back way, I haven't been down 7800 in weeks. Got in cardio and weights, then it was time for carpools in the afternoon. Cooper had a scout party at 4:30, Colton came too (and I stayed). Gray was home really early. I had made roll dough and had some breadsticks and cinnamon rolls rising, and I hurried and stuck the lasagna in to bake. It was perfect trick-or-treating weather. Callahan hadn't planned on going, but when some friends were, he (and Keaton) joined them. Gray took the little ones, and Landon stayed home and helped pass out the candy. Maga stopped by. I made spiderweb cubcakes and did a belated "boo" to our neighbors.

1030 (Sunday) Sunday Circles ... I haven't been keeping the calories in check for the last few days. Weekends are always hard. It was really a pretty day out ... so nice in fact that Cooper didn't complain about church at all (VERY unusual). Colton and I walked to church. Primary was practicing for the program. I will be playing piano this year. Tacos for dinner. Gray and the older boys had a fireside. We had been given some halloween sugar cookies (the prebake ones) so that was the Sunday treat (the older boys were not impressed, they would have rather had the usual homemade oreos).

1029 (Saturday) Landon left early for an all day excursion to Logan for a state football game. The school rented a bus and it just cost $5 per student. Cooper was still very stressed about the party, enough that he was making himself sick. This was just something fun, something I wouldn't have even planned on except that HE seemed so excited for it. I had made arrangements and actually wanted him to go. It made me sad that he was too worried. It was overcast and gray out. So ... no party. I still went out, dropping Callahan off to watch a game at GF, picking up bread and stopping to see one of Keaton's friends to see if he might want to join their Junior Jazz team. Keaton did decide to switch from Steve's team to Klint's team. He really likes them both, so it was hard to choose. But Klint is playing 5th, whereas Steve is playing 6th, and for me, having C&K with the same coach should help with scheduling conflicts (not having those games/practices at the same time). I do wish more of the kids were 5th graders (several are 4th) that would be going to West Hills in the future, so that if that is where Keaton goes he would know some people. Anyway, we turned in the paperwork for C&K today, and I'll be signing up Cooper and Colton with friends (hope Cooper will play!) and keeping fingers crossed that there won't be too many conflicts. Gray cleaned the kitchen. While I do appreciate having a clean kitchen, it always makes me sad too (not the clean kitchen, just Grayson doing it). Maybe I was just down with the overcast skies, Cooper and PMS :(    Anyway, Maga wanted the little ones to come out for cookie making. Callahan had a game, but Gray took Colton, Keaton and a crying Cooper. Cooper stresses about going to Maga's, I think because it is fairly far and we tend to stay a while when we go. He had a pretty good meltdown but was fine once they were on their way. Gray kept me updated with pictures and video. Callahan's game went fine, playing Steve's 7th grade team. It was an easy win for our boys. I went to pick up Landon and Spencer returning home from the game (Herriman lost, not unexpected). Over at the church it was the annual Trunk-or-Treat. Callahan went early, dressed as a nerd for their room. I went a bit later with the two little boys. We didn't stay too long, just enough to visit the rooms and get some candy, playing a few of the games.

1028 (Friday) Had a low on the weigh-in ... see if I can keep it up and keep it going in the right direction. Still over where I want to be. Got in cardio during the day, should have done weights but ... carpool in the afternoon. Spencer was late, which makes me late picking up Callahan. So late in fact that I decided not to drop Landon off. Landon decided to hide in the back and scare Callahan, and he was quite successful! Gray had a derby. Keaton went with him. It was in Utah County, and it was an "adult" no rules type. They did 70 heats and so the poor guys didn't get home until quite late. Cooper started stressing about his party tomorrow ... I guess that isn't as much of a surprise as the fact that he wanted to go in the first place.

1027 (Thursday) Pretty quiet day at home. We really should get out. I have the pass to Jump N' Bounce, Groupons to Fun N' Motion, Chuck-e-Cheese and Planet Play ... it's just so easy to stay home ... got in cardio. I ran to the store, returned a DVD to Blockbuster and picked up some breads from Little Ceasers. Traffic was backed up at the railroad crossing ... a truck had pulled too far forward and the barrier arm had come down on it. From back where I was, it looked like the truck was actually stopped on the track, but he must have actually been ok, because the Trax trains did come (both directions), slowed, stopped, then inched forward to pass, then the arm went back up. I had the afternoon off carpool duty, but did have to take Cooper to counseling. I picked up Callahan from open gym, then took him and Keaton to basketball. I jogged the track, getting in over four miles to break 30k for the day.

1026 (Wednesday) Got in cardio and weights during the day. I picked up Landon's carpool, but Callahan was staying after school for open gym basketball. I did have to go grab him at 6:00. He was a little late coming out, so I went in and watched as they scrimmaged. I love watching him play :) Gray got off to the derby, his first one alone in a long time (he wanted the boys to go to the Court of Honor). I usually don't go, but with Gray gone ... and so I had to bring Colton and Cooper too. I did get a cute picture of the boys in their shirts (even Colton!).

1025 (Tuesday) Gray has a Court of Honor tomorrow ... except he accidentally scheduled a derby. He always makes a slideshow, with the pictures of the scouting activities. He asked if I would, so I did. I do enjoy making Muvees. Usually during off-track times, the boys do bowling, but I hadn't seen anything advertising it, and when I called, it seems it will not be offered. The boys were actually ok (Cooper hadn't fully committed to it anyway). It was an overcast and gloomy day. Carpool in the afternoon, then I drove Landon and friends back to the high school for a football game in the evening. One of the other mom's brought the kids home. It was late, after 10:30 ...

1024 (Monday) Off track for the Columbia Kids. Those three slept in. I still had to get up and get Callahan to school. Landon got off ok, with Spencer's mom driving, until Brayden returns to school. It does mean I pick up the afternoons I had off again, but that's ok. Got in some cardio and weights. Very quiet day at home with the boys. Keaton and Cooper and quite content at home, and Colton is fairly content with them around. Callahan was the hard one, always needing to be entertained. Carpools afterschool, then Callahan had basketball practice at the park. I went to Sam's Club in the evening ... it's actually very slow on a Monday night.

1023 (Sunday) Stake Conference ... Cooper was very stressed, he always seems to get especially stressed about things he doesn't want to do. I told him he wouldn't have to go. We did Sunday Circles, and I made oreos in the evening. Cooper and the kids slept out on the couch Fri/Sat ... which isn't necessarily newsworthy or even a good thing - but it is something that Cooper USED to want to do all the time, but then hasn't done in months. Not since the weather worries kicked in ...

1022 (Saturday) Callahan had a birthday party at 9:00, so I dropped him off. Keaton's game was at 10:00, they lost but kept it closer than I would have anticipated (facing a good team without Garrett, Max and Tanner). Callahan didn't get home until right before his game (4:00) ... the other team was no match for our boys. It's hard to play when there is such a discrepancy (it was 75-20). One ref was really mad at our coach and team (although I do think our boys did try to take it easy, but unless they just stopped trying completely ...).  The lights out front have been out for a bit, but they are almost impossible to replace the bulbs, as something inside has been stripped ... so Grayson decided to replace them, and the kitchen lights (with LEDs) and our bedroom light (which was horrible) ... let there be light!

1021 (Friday) Slept in again. Got in some cardio then made cookie press cookies, Keaton's favorite.Used the cute pumpkin shape. Gray had talked about going out to a movie, but then he got home late. I wasn't really surprised, or upset ... trying to keep the weight down, not going out probably saves me 2000+ calories. IF I could just control myself, I could have the best of both worlds, but ...

1020 (Thursday) Ah ... sleep in. Got in some cardio and weights. Made dough for cinnamon rolls and got them rising. DeFrancesco's were going to Jump N' Bounce, so we joined them there. Cooper didn't want to go, and as Landon was home to tend I let him stay home (this time). We grabbed some cheese sticks and cinna sticks at Dominos on the way home. C&K had basketball practice ... this was the first time I've actually taken them, as I've been booked the past several Thursdays. I jogged the track and it was good. Gray was busy prepping for a BBQ for work tomorrow.

1019 (Wednesday) Got the kids off to school then followed there shortly after. It's the last day before they go off track for a few weeks, so the Halloween parties and parade were today. I helped out with both Cooper and Keaton;s class parties. Colton's was at the same time as Cooper, and Colton came with me to Keatons, but by the end he was ready to go, even with little friends Mara and Reagan there. Carpools after school. One of the kids in our high school carpool broke his hip today! That seems to be more associated with the elderly (grandma broke hers twice this year). Callahan stayed after school for basketball and did receive some interest from the coach, but he's still young for the team (the team is usually 9th graders with a couple talented 8th graders). But still fun to be noticed. Gray had a derby and Landon went to help.

1018 (Tuesday) Lots of sessions on the elliptical today. Went into the school to volunteer in Cooper's class, and bring home the kindergarten carpool. Carpools in the afternoon too, then I drove Callahan to basketball (open gym at the school) and he got a ride home. Made some sugar cookies (pumpkin shape for Halloween) ...ummmm, candy corn ...

1017 (Monday) Back to the school routine ... for a bit anyway, the kids will be off Thurs/Fri for Fall Recess, then the elementary kids are off-track for a few weeks. Grocery shopping, cardio and weights, then to the school, where the younger kids were receiving awards for honor roll. It was at the same time as carpool for the older kids, so I had to make arrangements there. Callahan went home with a friend then to basketball. I picked him up in the evening. Family game night with chocolate malts after.

1016 (Sunday) Cooper always seems to have a harder time on Sundays. He was crying a lot today. I gave him a BabyV. He has been doing better with the BabyP pills, putting them in the drink then swallowing. I walked to church, a little late as the dishes and laundry were calling. After church, we went out to Clay and Courtney's for a birthday celebration (Addie and Will this month). Cooper cried again about going, but then once we were there, he ran outside to play without a problem.

1015 (Saturday) Quiet morning with just one kid, although there were still some friends over last night and today. Keaton's game was at 12:00, and they didn't make it back in time. They got back around 2:00, in plenty of time for Callahan's 4:00 game. They had a good game and won. Reggie came to watch for a bit, trying to scout a couple new players for the Superleague team. I made homemade oreos in the evening, then Gray and I watched a DVD (State of Play) and had some of his popcorn.

1014 (Friday) Late start, early out ... carpool afternoon. Did the Arctic Circle pickup again, it's a little busier on Fridays because it's earlier. Dropped the little ones home, then picked up high school then middle school. A solid hour and a half in the car. Gray and four of the boys were leaving on a scout/fathers&sons campout. Cooper was invited but of course didn't dare go. So there was some last minute packing. I had told Colton to pack some extra socks and underwear ... he put in seven underwear and eight pairs of socks! I added a outfit, sweatshirt, etc. The boys got off and it was a quiet evening for Cooper and me. I had considered going out with just him, but on a Friday night ... we just stayed home. I got in some more cardio and did weights.

1013 (Thursday) Another nice day. Got cardio in during the day, laundry ... not really feeling super productive but I can't see that I'm just wasting time either. The pickup at Arctic Circle went well, of course there are just a few days left before the kids go off track and the weather and construction could change by the time they go back. We went straight to Cooper's counseling. I brought Colton in his soccer gear, and we went straight to the game after (with a quick detour to Wendys for some food). The game went fine, our team lost but Colton did get a couple goals. I had volleyball in the evening, but I hadn't fully committed to going. It was region, which isn't as fun as just our fun get togethers. Instead of not having enough people, there are usually more than enough, so you don't end up playing the full time anyway. Also it was quite late, I'd had a full day, and I was afraid I wouldn't see Gray at all if I went, so it was a fairly quiet evening at home. I actually beat Gray home (pulling in after 7:30). Callahan and Keaton had basketball practice, but I had arranged a ride for them, I'm glad Callahan's coach has been willing to swing by and pick them up, as I've been completely booked these past few weeks. I'm actually looking forward to taking them myself and maybe getting some jogging in ...

1012 (Wednesday) Nice weather day :) cardio, weights and some sun. Playdate after kindergarten. Carpools ... it was SO bad at Columbia. The construction is everywhere. The road in front of the school on 7800 is totally torn up. I couldn't even get in the back way my usual route, but had to circle around. There was NO parking, I circled twice hoping that someone would be leaving, but the kids spotted me and ran to meet me down the road. I was so frustrated with the situation, I contacted the other parents to see if they would be ok with the kids walking down to Arctic Circle, so I think we'll try that tomorrow. That wasn't the only frustration of the day, the three older boys had an altercation, which had me sending them all to their rooms. Gray left for a derby, taking Landon. I headed back to the school for PT conferences. They encourage bringing the children, I don't really know why though. It's always hard to entertain them. I left them home today, as I really wanted to talk to Cooper's teacher without him being there to overhear. All the kids got glowing reviews. I came home and was going to take Callahan to the school for open gym, but he was nowhere to be found. I discovered he had hitched a ride with a friend. I went to pick him up ... almost hit a family of deer on the way! It's not really deer locale... dropped the friend home, and was pleased to find he isn't too far away, so there are some carpool possibilities there.

1011 (Tuesday) I told Cooper I'd come volunteer in his class today, I think that calmed him down some. I went in from around 11:00 until kindergarten got out (11:48) and then I brought home the kindergarten carpool. Colton was invited to play at Randon's, but he wanted to come home. He's been more of a homebody lately too. We ran to Walmart for a few things. Cooper didn't have his scouts, but Keaton had one last session with Brother Hill to finish up stuff for his Arrow of Light, which he'll get at the next Pack Meeting. Spaghetti for dinner. Gray went out to check out a former neighbor's house being built.

1010 (Monday) Cooper cried and cried before school :( It was still overcast and cloudy. I had been hoping for better weather this week. I got in cardio and weights. Carpools in the afternoon. Callahan had basketball practice in the evening. I stopped by Smiths on the way home, grabbing a few groceries and the new pill prescription. Chicken pillows for dinner.

1009 (Sunday) Cooper was anxious about church, I gave him a BabyV but didn't see any marked difference. I'll need to call and change the BabyP prescription, as Cooper hates the taste of the liquid SO much. If he is going to have to take it everyday, I guess we should work on getting him to be able to swallow a pill. Church went fine, it was actually nice enough that I walked to and from. Gray made BBQ dinner, chicken, steak and mashed taters. Yummy! And we're back in the Otis business, as Gray made a run to Costco yesterday.

1008 (Saturday) Still cloudy and cold, but the weather forecast is looking up. We had overlapping games in the morning, so Gray took Colton to his soccer game and I took Keaton to his basketball. Keaton won, but Colton's team lost in another disappointing shutout. Keaton and I stopped for donuts on the way home. .. and I ate donuts ... Callahan and awakened in pain today, enough that he was in tears! Nothing had happened, maybe just slept wrong? The pain was in his shoulder then moved to his neck. I gave him some medication and a heating pad and he rested all day until his game. He was still sore, but able to play. It was an easy team to beat too, so he didn't have to be at 100%.  Gray and I got our date today, a movie "50/50" which was good ... too much popcorn and treats though. Baaaaaaad eating day.

1007 (Friday) Another overcast day. I didn't give Cooper any medication, I think after so many days of constant clouds he has to have some desensitization. Landon and Callahan had the day off of school. I ended up driving the kids and staying and volunteering in Cooper's class. While he didn't seem overly upset about the weather, he seemed sad and solitary. Before school, he just stood all alone, and when the class gathered on the rug for storytime he was away from the group in a corner ... it made me sad. I think I'll try volunteering once a week, just to keep an eye on how he is in the classroom, and we'll start the BabyP medication too. I stopped at Walmart on the way home, and the kids were home soon, as it was early out. Gray and I had a movie date planned, but he was running late. It worked out well for Landon, because then I was able to drive him and Patrick out to Herriman for the football game. Brrrrrr! But they won, so Landon was happy.

1006 (Thursday) Drizzly morning. I gave Cooper one of the BabyV pills ... and I don't know if it is medical magic or the power of persuasion, but he was just fine all morning! I rested easier during the day too, not worrying as much. It was so cold and wet, I didn't know if Colton's soccer game would happen, so I didn't take him with me as I went to pick up the kids and take Cooper to counseling. Cooper was quite apprehensive again, he doesn't want to have to "talk", but he did fine. Despite the cold, Colton's soccer game was on, but I wouldn't be able to get home and get him there in time, so brother's got him ready and Uncle Clay picked him up. I dropped Cooper home, arranged for Callahan and Keaton to get picked up for their basketball practice. Gray and Landon were gone to a derby, so I asked Travis to stick around from 6:56-7:15 with Cooper, and I went to Colton's soccer game, which was pretty miserable. It was so cold, and the other team just dominated. It was like 12-0.

1005 (Wednesday) Another rough morning for Cooper. I actually had an appointment scheduled with the pediatrician at 9:00, so I got the other boys off to school and then we were off.  He stopped crying once we got into the car. We got two prescriptions, basically for kid Prozac and Valium. The Valium can be used as needed for immediate relief, the Prozac can take weeks to kick in. But if we can get through the next couple days (still stormy Thurs/Fri) then the weather should improve, then it's a short week (with a Halloween party) and then off-track. So that will give us some time. I took Cooper to school and he didn't complain, went straight to class. It started raining and rained the ENTIRE day. I was pretty stressed out at home wondering how he was doing, anxious to pick him up (as it was raining for pickup) but he was ok! He hadn't even gone to the office. I had stopped at the store on the way home from picking up Callahan and got the prescriptions. I had also been successful in getting more Ambien for Gray (I just tried having the pharmacy request it from the doctor and he ok'd it). It was Callahan's PT Conference, he's doing perfect. Home again and the older boys and Grayson went to scouts, which was dodgeball, a favorite for all.

1004 (Tuesday) The weather looked worse this morning, but Cooper actually seemed to do a bit better. While there was rain in the forecast, the sun actually managed to shine through. I decided to take Colton and run to Sam'sClub, right as we went to leave, the storm hit! And it was quite the storm! I should have just waited it out ... I did wait about five minutes or so before leaving Colton with a neighbor there at the store entrance and running to get the car. I had left the windows cracked, and both front seats were soaked, which really didn't matter, as so was I. I had to change clothes completely when I got home. I expected a call from Cooper, but it didn't come. The storm was over pretty quickly though, and then blue skies and sunshine returned. Cooper went to scouts after school. Gray had a derby, Keaton went with him to help. Callahan had a basketball thing at the middle school, and Landon had Parent/Teacher conferences. I got Bailey to tend the little boys.

1003 (Monday) Very difficult morning with Cooper, who was crying from the moment he woke up. The weather forecast is not good, but the morning sky wasn't bad. Some clouds, but lots of blue. I took him for a walk around the block, he cried (loudly) the entire time. I put him into the carpool crying, but Christy said he stopped as soon as they drove off, and I didn't hear from him. But it actually turned out to be a nice day. I even got some sun. Many sessions on the elliptical. Carpool afternoon, then basketball practice for Callahan. I stopped at Smiths on the way home to grab a few groceries and my prescription. Gray and the boys were heading out to In and Out Burger ... Cooper came home shrieking, as the wind was kicking up.

1002 (Sunday) General Conference, so no official church meetings. I made Sunday Circles, then it was time to go up to Maga's. Cooper didn't want to go so far from home with cloudy skies, so I stayed home with him and it was a very quiet afternoon. I even got a nap. It was so delicious!

1001 (Saturday) Cooper had a soccer game. I'm never sure whether to force him to go or not. It was the last game of the Fall season, and I didn't have a conflict with other games, so I decided to make him give it a try. He cried and moaned, but when we got there, he was ok and seemed to have fun. Not quite as good as a few weeks ago, but he did even admit he was glad I had "encouraged" him to go. He got two goals too. Colton's game was right after. I had time to quickly run Cooper home, but he actually said he wanted to go, which was surprising, but good. He enjoys playing with Will. Clay was off running the marathon in St. George, so he had asked me to substitute as coach. I didn't really feel like I knew these kids (knew their names) but it went well. Maga was there too, which was good, as Colton got a ball in the face, and with me on the field, it was good there was someone on the sidelines to offer comfort. Colton got two goals and our team won. Keaton's game was at 2:00, it was a pretty easy win. Grayson ran some photos back to my parents (we had taken them well over a year ago to get them scanned in and hadn't gotten around to it. Wendy is now taking over the project.) He and the two older boys went to the priesthood session, Callahan had to skip out a bit early to get to his basketball game at 8:00. It was against a good team (one that creamed us in summer) but our boys pulled out the win this time.
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