Blackham Bunch 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015
I really need to take a minute and update my address book and my "Westra" group ... when it comes time to send out my weekly email, I generally just find the most recent letter one of YOU all sent to everyone and then use the "reply all" function, change the subject line and delete the original message ;)

It's my baby's birthday today, and I haven't even seen him ... unless you count facetime. Gray took the two little ones and headed out to Vegas over the weekend to watch the big football game ... the Royal Purple Bowl, between the University of Utah and BYU. Except BYU didn't show up (okay, they were there, but not there ... pitiful start, although they did have a good comeback, but not good enough). 

Monday I headed out to Zumba as usual. It's one where it's a bit of a drive, down in Draper. Usually takes about 15 minutes. It took 15 minutes just from getting off Bangerter to 3200 W, which is where I gave up and made my way home. The roads didn't seem that bad, but the traffic was at a complete standstill. A few days later taking Keaton to his basketball game, the snow was coming down in the largest flakes I've ever seen. They were huge!

On Tuesday Gray I went to the Symphony company party ... seeing "A Christmas Carol" at Hale Theater. It was good. Changed quite a bit from when I was in it, although some things were still the same. It was a busy day at home though, with basketball practices, a primary party, scouts ... I really had to scramble to get rides arranged. 

Callahan left for Orlando late Tuesday night. Hopefully they got some sleep on the plane, because it was off and running once they landed. They didn't have a game that first day, but did hit one of the Disney parks. They had a game Thursday, Friday and Saturday ... each game, a win would move them toward the championship, which they ended up winning! Ironically enough, it was against another Utah team (Maple Mountain). Varsity took the tournament as well. Cal is headed home now.

Colton had a game Wednesday, Keaton had his Thursday (Cooper has practice that night too).  Colton and Cooper decided to miss their Saturday games for the Vegas getaway, but Keaton didn't want to. His game was against JoelP, and a couple kids from Columbia (his elementary) were one the team that he wanted to reconnect with (and West Hills trounced them!)

Hopefully Colton and Cooper will give a full update of the Vegas activities. Daddy said Colton was NOT impressed with the game and played on his ipod the entire time. They did get a house with a pool and hot tub, but didn't pay the extra to heat the pool, and it was freezing. Except for a couple polar bear plunges, they stuck to the hot tub. They are on their way home now too.

I had a busy weekend ... almost caught up on making highlight reels of the boy's basketball games (just Cooper's clips from last week left). I've set up a different Facebook account. I just find it's easier to separate some stuff. So it's all basketball! Friend me there if you want to keep up with it all! I have different Twitter/Instagram for my family, fitness & basketball too. I guess it's just a manifestation of my multiple personalities! I've been working on the calendar collages too ... which does prep me for making the slideshow as well, but it is yet undone.  I'm not sure the calendar will make it (printing and shipping) by Christmas Eve, but will by the New Year. Sorry I'm late! I even wrapped some presents and put them under the tree. We still have no decorations (other than lights) on the tree ... except for the occasional cat! Keaton did put up the ice skating rink and the stockings today. 

I wanted to stop at Deseret Book and grab one of those cute "Elder" stockings (looks like it's wearing a white shirt and tie) but the one by us was gone! I didn't know it had left Jordan Landing. Keaton and I hit a few stores yesterday. Shopping with Keaton is an interesting experience. He puts on this silly attitude, but anyone around probably thinks he is mentally handicapped. He pulls it off really well ... almost too well. He would slip away and hide from me, I told him I was going to make him hold my hand! Drove me crazy, but also made me laugh a lot.

I totally forgot to mention Star Wars (that's about how important it is to ME). Gray and the boys went to an early screening Thursday night at 10:45 in Centerville. That was a late night. They got home around 2:00. Cooper was ornery the next morning. That boy needs his routine! Keaton went again on Friday with a friend. I'll wait until DVD I think ...

Well, that is this week. 
Jen and da boys

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Trying to get into the habit of sending out a family email after writing Landon ... I always seem to be a little late! But my computer has been out of commission since before Thanksgiving. I turned it off ... and it didn't turn back on. Luckily, the computer repair was able to get me back up and running (replaced the hard drive, mirroring everything onto it) and we do have another computer - between it and my iphone, I wasn't cut off from email/facebook and such, but it's MUCH easier from my own computer! I missed my "PlayOn" service (which records shows and then streams them commercial free to my TV), Snagit, Roboform, Muvee, Dropbox ...  I've got some catching up to do now that I have it back (the Christmas calendar for one, not even started yet! Of course I don't have pictures from everyone yet, Scott and Dunk!)

Basketball is in full swing now. Callahan has had a couple games. Lost the first to WoodsCross (heartbreaker, by one point), won against Herriman. I went to Landon's ol' alma mater to watch him play. Colton had a couple games too (lost the first, won the second, but he did great in both). This is with a 5th grade Superleage (Colton is just in 4th). I've had several people tell me that they haven't seen a kid his age with the skills he has (I'm trying to remember Callahan at this age).  Cooper had his first Junior Jazz game as well. So fun to watch him play again! They won easily as well. Lots of practices and such of course. Keaton's games will start up this coming week.  

Guess who finally learned to tie his shoes this past week? With Cooper back in basketball, and needing better shoes to play in, and also being on the cusp of "mens" shoes, which are just so much harder to find in velcro ... it was time (past time, I know!) It took about 10 minutes .... why did we wait? Now, bike riding?

I've been a little under the weather this week with a cold. Just dragging during the day, and having trouble sleeping at night. I think I'm finally on the mend, at least I hope so! Cooper wasn't feeling well Thursday morning and stayed home for a bit. The school has these "Fun Friday, or "Catchup and Relish" days that really do motivate the kids, at least MY kids! I think Cooper remembered C&R was the next day, so he wanted to go to school mid-day Thursday to make sure he was all caught up. It was recess when I dropped him off, and I was watching as he walked onto the playground and was immediately engulfed by a big group of boys. Okay, he was the one bringing the ball they play with at recess ... but it was heartwarming to me to see him so accepted and welcomed. 

Sorry to hear about Derek's back! I remember the couple times it happened to me and it was completely debilitating. I pretty much just had to wait it out. I did try a chiropractor once and it helped a little. Not sure what the deal with me was. 

It's our ward Primary program on the 13th ... our ward has always been late, having it in November, and then it got pushed to December this year! Crazy! 

We haven't done much Christmas decorating. We put the tree up, which the kitties enjoy climbing. I'm surprised they haven't knocked it over (yet). We didn't have a kitty last Christmas, this year we have TWO troublemakers! They did knock over our little ceramic Santa Head that we fill with M&M candies. Keaton glued it back together (as we must have the Santa head filled with M&M candies!). We go through a lot of M&Ms!

That's what's going on with the Blackham Bunch!
Jen and da boys

Monday, November 30, 2015
Unfortunately, I'm writing to from the kid's computer in the kitty room. That's the room off the family room, where the kitty litter box is now, and I feed them there too. It stinks in here. Why am I writing from this stinky spot? My computer crashed. It really wasn't a surprise. It's been on the edge of it's capacity (low space warnings) and making some interesting noises for a bit. I turned it off the other day ... and it never turned back on. Right over the holiday break  so we haven't been able to get it in yet, and then who knows what will happen (if it can be resurrected or not). With Dropbox and such, I think most things are backed up, but it will still be a lot of work to reset everything back up with a new computer.

It was a short week at school for the kids. Just Monday and Tuesday. The kids get a little bored around the house as there really aren't friends close by. One of Colton's buddies did come over on Wednesday ... which leaves Cooper wandering a bit (as Colton is occupied instead of playing with him).

Thanksgiving this year we hit the buffet at Grand America. Cooper and I both had some anxiety issues with the crowd and cost, and it was pricey! We had our own little dinner Sunday night, with my rolls and Gray's mashed taters... and leftovers. I like Thanksgiving leftovers. I did make my turkey cookies too... although I only decorated a few of them, as the boys seem to prefer plain sugar cookies without all the candy corn decor. I like the candy corn decor! Yum!

Poor Colton got the flu (the barfy kind) this weekend. I guess I slept through the first episode, but heard him crying for the second (about 1:00 am). Both Callahan and Keaton were right there taking care of him (and had earlier when he'd started). They had a couple buckets, sprite, water, a towel, some chicken soup. It was so sweet to see them caring for him. Reminded me of Landon, as he would always there with the other boys and get up to help me with them. It was a looooong night, as Colton continued to throw up every 20-30 minutes. Neither he nor I got much, if any sleep. Poor kid, his tummy hurt so bad. And then he had trouble at the other end too. He's feeling better now, off to school. Happily it is just a 24 thing. Long 24 hours though.

In addition to the computer going down, Gray had Callahan scrubbing the tub last weekend, and Cal pulled the faucet thing right off. Gray hasn't been able to find the part yet, so there have been no showers in the upstairs for over a week. Cal's car (the burb) is also having some electrical problems. His gas tank reading flips from full to empty (so Cal doesn't know what the level really is) and the seat heaters haven't worked in there for a while. At least the fuse that kept blowing (and moving the driver's seat) hasn't been blowing. Am I bad to say I'm relieved the Suburban isn't MY car anymore? First world problems ... right?

Cooper has been chagrined at the change in the weather as he can't play outside as much. As the snow melted he still did get some outside time. He gets on the treadmill and stationary bike pretty regularly as well. He hit 30k almost everyday last week. I had a little trouble hitting my 10k (required for my Pact program) some days, with the holiday and sickness and such. 

Basketball will be in full swing this coming week. Colton has a two games and two practices, Cooper will have a practice and game. Callahan's pre-season games start this week too. He is so excited. They are mostly away games, so I won't get to see many until the actual season starts. We did squeeze in his mandatory physical this past week, required before the kids can play. Keaton's practices are after school, so that is nice, as it requires no extra trips to the school for me. Instead of picking him up at 3:00, I grab him at 5:30 on practice days. His games don't start this week.

I'd usually attach some pictures, but it's harder on this other computer. The ones I would share (turkey cookies, sick Colton, Kitty in the Christmas Tree) are all on Facebook.

Jen and da boys

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Last Monday I didn't even SEE Callahan the entire day! He left at 5:30 and didn't get home until late, after I'd gone to bed. Straight from school to practice to work (a UofU game that night). But then he came home from school at lunch on Tuesday because he was anxiously and impatiently waiting for his new, personalized basketball shoes to come. Luckily, the man in brown (UPS) didn't disappoint. Cal took them back to school for practice and pictures. Maybe we'll be seeing him a bit more though ... I guess he and Amanda broke up last weekend. The Sadie Hawkins dance didn't happen after all (she went out of town with her family and he picked up a shift at KFC). He doesn't seem overly broken up about it. He just wasn't able to give her the time she wanted as he is so busy with basketball, school and work.

Wednesday night was the "meet the team" night at the high school. They announce the players and put on some little games for show (JV vs Varsity, Varsity vs Faculty). It was fun to watch. I picked up a couple pizzas and breadsticks and gave them to Keaton and his buddies (Keaton had been gone from 6:00 in the morning to a morningside, stayed after school for practice and then straight to the high school ... busy boys!). Then we had the parents meeting. I wasn't quite as overwhelmed as last year, at least knowing what to expect and having Callahan prepped to pay his way to Orlando.

Thursday was Gray's birthday ... he had a derby that night. He had one (a lego on) on Wednesday too. I made him a lemon jello cake and bought him some artwork for the front room (world map and landmarks). We celebrated his birthday later going out to a restaurant we had discovered during our little trip to Park City a few months ago. Windy Ridge Cafe. I had left a good review for them, and they had sent me a $25 gift certificate. Their baked mac&cheese, sweet potato fries and popcorn shrimp are family favorites. I did update Landon's missionary blog, and you can see all the boys raved about the restaurant!  We'd gone out to Tepanyaki the week before for my birthday.

I had done some grocery shopping this week and just got into the habit of dumping the sacks downstairs. I finally spent some time organizing the food storage and rearranging a lot of things, and have a couple big boxes of food that is past it's best by date, or just things I don't think we'll get to. I'll have to bring them by Mom's if anyone wants to peek (usually Mom, Chris or Conner find some stuff). There were some old soda pop cans, and Cooper had fun shooting them with a bb gun in the backyard.

It was fun to see many of you at McKenna's wedding reception on Saturday. Can't believe the cousins are getting to that age!

Congrats to CHRIS for putting pictures in Dropbox! If you add some, drop me a quick email to let me know they are there.

Jen and da boys

Sunday, November 8, 2015
Last Sunday, we had the "Westra Waffles" party as we do every month. As my mom's birthday was coming up, and I know she loves the white buttercream cake from Sam's Club, we'd picked one up and brought it. We were going to pose with it for a picture (me, dad and my mom) and I tilted it just a bit for the camera and ... it slid right off the plate, upside-down onto the counter. It did NOT turn back over well at all. Pictures are attached. Oh well, it made it memorable.

Not a whole lot happening this week. Gray actually had a week off of derbys. Cal is still working a lot, but he's been around a bit more, and it's been nice to see him, even if he is watching "One Tree Hill" again (I was SO glad when he finished it, I hoped I wouldn't have to see it again. It's such a silly, teen, soap opera). Basketball tryouts are next week. He finished up his "crew training" at KFC which makes him a "shift supervisor" and he is getting a little pay bump.

Keaton has been attending open gym at West Hills after school, and he says it's a lot of fun. He'll try out for the sophomore team, more just for the experience than to actually make it (this year). I much prefer the 9th grade team for 9th graders. I got him and Colton in for haircuts this week, they were both shaggy. Callahan went himself on Monday. Even with Olivia back, it's just hard to connect to get the boys taken care of. I wish I had learned to cut boy's hair!

Cooper has calmed down a bit on eating and exercise this week. Not as many steps (Sat&Sun hardly any) and he even had a bowl of ice cream. He just had the vanilla, but I had a Mint Moose Tracks hidden in the outside freezer for when the craving hit me ... but alas, Callahan can sniff those out a mile away. He has eaten all the fudge from it, as per usual with him ...

Colton's little basketball team has been undefeated this season. No other team even came close to challenging them. They are going to move up to a Super-league (playing on Thursday nights), 4th grade division. The team will also play in the 5th grade Junior Jazz. We didn't sign Colton up for that though, as we had run into his previous coach and been invited to play with them in a 5th grade Super-league (Saturdays and Wednesday evenings). So he'll be getting a LOT of basketball, but that is what he wants (we'll see if he continues to like being so busy once he is).

With the colder weather,  I've  been enjoying the new car's working seat heaters and heated steering wheel. Spoiled! We did finally turn on the heat in the house. We don't have any trees in our yard, but a neighbor's drops leaves, so I did fill up our green waste container. I had picked up a leaf rake, after Colton attempted to gather the leaves into a pile using a broom and a snow shovel.

Friday night was "Star Wards" at Desert Star. Keaton enjoys Desert Star (and Landon did too, the other boys will pass) and Keaton is a big Star Wars fan, so he came with us, and we met Mom and Dad there. I just wish there were subtitles (I put them on whenever I watch Netflix or anything) ... although I guess that would be tricky, especially when they go off-script, as they seemed to quite a bit that night (almost the end of the run, which is often when excess silliness happens).

That's the Blackham update for this week!
Jen & da Boys

Monday, November 2, 2015
Again, I remembered to write Landon but forgot to rewrite the letter for the Westra side. Maybe seeing most of you at the Westras and Waffles made it feel like I didn't need to write, but here it is ...

It was a busy week. I had a doctor's appointment on Tues, just an annual physical. I never even sat down in the waiting room, they were nice and quick and I was in and out in under an hour, even with a flu shot and lab work. My shoulder has been sore from that ol' flu shot! Cooper had a dental appointment this week too. He had a cavity in a baby tooth, and they were just going to pull it rather than fill it (cheaper that way). Unfortunately the cavity has spread to the tooth next to it, so we'll have to go back (they wanted to give him time to heal before attacking again). 

Thursday was the Halloween parties at the elementary school. I had to miss Zumba (so sad!) as the parade started first thing. After the parade, the 6th grade (Cooper and company) performed "Thriller" which was fun to watch. Then I went and helped in Cooper's class party. They were having the entire 6th grade together. I was in charge of the "game room" and the kids rotated through three stations. The Cup Crash (throwing plush pumpkins to knock down stacked cups), PictureEEKa and a relay race, balancing "eyeballs" on spoons. It took about two hours to rotate everyone through. One of the other classrooms was doing a scavenger hunt (taking pictures with an ipad) and needed a "parent in costume" so I got my picture taken several times, as I was wearing little cat ears. After Cooper's party concluded I headed to Colton's class for his party. I was in charge of Bingo there. 

The kids had the day off Friday ... Daddy still had to work, and Callahan did a day shift (11-5) and then brought Amanda and some pumpkins over to carve. Ahhh, the smell of gutted pumpkins! Amanda asked Callahan to Sadie Hawkins this week as well ...

Colton had an 8:00 game Saturday morning (too early! I wanted to sleep in). Callahan was working, Keaton was invited to a friend's  (he was out late and the friend was FAR, but Grayson was nice and dropped him off and picked him back up at 11:00).  Cooper and Colton went trick-or-treating, then helped pass out candy. I don't think we got too many coming to our door ... still had a lot of left over candy. Cooper gave his haul to Colton. I had made some cookie press cookies (pumpkins of course) and am eating WAY too many, in addition to snagging any of the Reeses the little boys collected.

Keaton was SO upset when grades were finalized and came out (late Friday) and he had an A- in Language Arts. He hadn't received any credit for an essay he was sure he had turned in. I was able to email the teacher and we were able to locate the assignment and got his grade changed ... so he has a 4.0.

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Week three of a Blackham Update!

Mom asked me if there was an update to Landon's blog ... but he hasn't written much of anything for the past two weeks! Just super busy he said (which means there should be a lot to write about, right?) We've been keeping an eye on the hurricane hitting Mexico this past weekend. Landon's mission wasn't in it's way, but we did hear from the mission president's wife that the missionaries had been told to make sure they had ample food and water for several days, just in case there was flooding that would cause problems. We were told they should still check in as usual tomorrow for their p-day. Hopefully Landon will actually write!

I mentioned the oil explosion accident at KFC in my last letter. That affected three workers who were unable to fulfill their shifts for the week ... and then three other kids quit too (or their parents made them after the accident) so it's been even crazier than usual at KFC for Cal. He's been working every spare minute. He had a pre-season basketball game on Wednesday, and then went into work after (8-close) and even with him filling in (he had 41 hours this past week!) they have been understaffed. We've really missed seeing him ourselves, and apparently so has his girlfriend. It is causing some stress between them, so a breakup might be happening. Callahan said it wouldn't be the worst thing. Life will only get busier with basketball season (although hopefully KFC will calm down). 

Keaton had some basketball this week, three games in a holiday tournament. One Friday night and two on Saturday. It was a 9th/10th division, and our team was all just 9th graders ... and they got beat pretty easily each game. 

Colton had a game on Saturday too. His little team is steam-rolling all the competition in their league. The coach has had to be creative in ways to hold them back (only using feet for defense, no hands, or no dribbling, only passing). Poor Colton was trying to save a ball from going out when he slid out and smacked his head on the concrete (the seating around the courts). He popped right back up, but then couldn't hold back the tears. No blood, but a nice bump - he says it makes it hard to sleep. 

Cooper continues to keep up with his exercise and eating ... and his reading. He has a 40-book challenge for school, and he's well on his way. He's followed my example and started reading while riding the stationary bike (which helps with both steps and reading minutes). He's always walking around, jumping rope, playing soccer or basketball outside, just staying uber active! 

We took the kids to Rodizio this weekend. We so wanted Callahan to be included but he said he couldn't possibly get an afternoon off work. Cooper didn't like anything on the buffet (they had mashed potatoes, but they weren't Daddy's mashed taters).  He really surprised me by trying a ton of the different meats (even some rattlesnake sausage, wild boar, chicken heart ... which he said were terrible). Our family favorites are the traditional beef, and the bacon wrapped chicken/turkey.  It was a fun outing (picture attached).

Gray got back from his weekend trip late Monday. Work has been a little stressful as he's tried to get caught up. He had one derby last week, and two next week. Derby season is slowing down though. He and Scott went mountain biking yesterday (Saturday) but Gray's front brake went out, so they had to cut the ride short (and get the bike in for repair). 

That's all from the Blackham clan this week!
JenB and da boys

Monday, October 19, 2015
Second week in a row ... ;)

Gray was given a couple Jazz tickets (preseason). Front row seats! The price tag on each was $835.50. Yikes! It included VIP parking and a buffet before. He took Cooper, as Coop is the most invested in watching basketball (even though he got to go last time Gray got good tickets too). Grayson commented that Cooper isn't the most talkative fellow with him. I actually really enjoy the little car rides with my boys (to school or basketball games) as that is when we get good talking in :)

Cooper got a couple more 30K days this week. A new record of 33+ ... he has been such a little go getter! Both he and Keaton are sometimes in MY gym (I'm really not used to sharing!) Cooper just wants to pull ahead of me on the Fitbit friend list ... but I'm a bit of a go getter too (and a SAHM, so I have more time than he does with school).

Speaking of school, it was Fall Break this week (as Keaton was writing his letter to Landon he said "Mom, how do you spell UEA?" He was being silly of course!). The elementary had early out on Wednesday, and then the kids were out Thurs/Fri. I'm not great at planning things for the kids to do, and I think the boys were a bit bored. Colton and Cooper had seen an advertisement to Golden Corral with some yummy looking popcorn shrimp. It had been forever since we'd gone, so I took them. Keaton didn't want to go, he and Daddy don't like Golden Corral. Well ... after this visit C&C don't like it either. Some stuff was over cooked, other stuff was cold. They never refilled our drinks or took away our dirty plates. I was glad the little boys got in on a $2 special. Cooper hardly ate anything, and didn't have ANY dessert (he's really been regimented in his eating). So ... that might be goodbye to Golden. I of course had a two-pound gain the next morning (even though I didn't feel I overate, and still should have had a deficit for the day as I went to TWO Zumba classes and did some elliptical that day).

Friday I took the munchkins to Gene Fullmer to play basketball. They just get a pass and shoot around. Usually Keaton (and Jacob) would go too, and I feel comfortable leaving the kids with the older boys around to watch. Without the older boys, I felt like I should stay and keep an eye on them. I jogged (well, walked) the track while I watched (picture attached).

Grandma and Grandpa came out Friday evening. We went to Mountain Mikes (they even have a gluten free crust for Grandpa). It's a good one for us, as they have video games for the kids to play while the adults chat (otherwise the kids are DONE and want to leave immediately). Then the grandparents came back to the house for games. We played Scattergories, Rummikube and Apples to Apples. I sent Grandma home with my plant basket, as kitten has been killing it! Pulling on the greenery, jumping in it, sleeping in it (I sent a picture of that last week). 

Daddy is out of town, visiting Kolby in Seattle. There is a "food festival" or something going on that sounded fun. He took Ana too. He'll be returning late Monday. He has posted quite a few pictures on his Facebook page.

Callahan was working the Real game (concessions stand) on Saturday ... rainy evening! He stopped off to check on his friend after. Apparently at KFC that night, one of the pressure cookers exploded or something, splashing three of the employees with hot oil. Callahan was home late, and then off early (to a farewell/homecoming ... two brothers, one just home and one just leaving, and there is another brother out right now too!) so I haven't had a chance to hear more about the accident or how bad it was. This is the second bad burn his friend Ben has had there (the first was several months ago, when a bucket of scalding hot water used for clean up caught on his headset and spilled over his neck and back). Callahan has had a couple small burns on his arm/hand, but nothing worse (although even small burns are incredibly painful!)

Well, that's it for this week!
Jen and da boys

April 19, 2015
Monday at  the elementary school,  as are part of a reward for a fundraiser they did all sorts of things to the teachers (made them into a human sundae, had snakes crawl on them, dunked them in a dunk tank, had them kiss a pig). The little boys thought that was fun. Monday night we all went to the Jazz game in Scott's suite. Nice to have a bathroom right there, and dinner and decadent dessert. I do struggle with the drive downtown though. 

Tuesday that was quite the storm that rolled in. It was one of those weird windy days. It kicked up so much dust in the air that the skies were yellow. The recycling blew over several times, I gave up trying to pick it back up. I was worried about Cooper, so I went to the school early so I'd be there waiting when he got out. He actually didn't seem too badly affected by the storm, although he did retreat downstairs for a while. It finally started to rain, but with all the dust in the air, it was like it was raining mud here. Very  messy on cars and windows! Gray had a derby, he's happy he has a closed in trailer, although he was a bit worried about that with the wind. 

Wednesday we were greeted with snow! Monday had been warm and sunny! Poor Callahan isn't used to having to scrape his car off. He didn't really start early enough, and then we couldn't even find a scraper in his truck or my car. We were trying to get the ice and snow off with a snow shovel, a rag, and finally a kitchen scraper. The snow wasn't that bad when Callahan drove to school, and when I took Keaton, but when I took the little boys it was a blizzard! It snowed all day. It melted pretty quickly the next day when the sun came back out.  Gray took Keaton to the Apple store so they could try on the new Apple Watch. I can't believe they didn't take a picture!

I finally took Cooper and Colton in for haircuts on Friday. Colton's hair could still be combed, but it was SO long. Cooper's hair just sticks out straight, and he'd wake up with bad "bed head".  I wish I could master cutting their hair myself. Save money and time. Olivia will be home soon, and with Maga's house closer, that should help.

We had a bit of a complicated moment yesterday ... Keaton had a bunch of friends over, and they were watching a movie when one of the playoff games came on. Cooper wanted to watch the game. What to do. I had a vague memory of the boys watching ESPN via the Xbox ... I looked into it and there was an app available for the Roku, so I was able to save the day and get Cooper set up watching in the master bedroom. Ah technology ...

Callahan had his first Spring game on Thursday. It was out at Highland, which is a little further than I like to travel (and I have my evening Zumba that night). He'll play again on Tuesday at Copper Hills, which is nice and close. I'll have to run straight from that game to our Pinewood derby. Colton and Daddy have been working on his car.  Colton has been playing basketball on Saturdays. I posted a couple cute clips to my Facebook page.

Many years ago, our home was the "go to" place for neighborhood kids and such. We always had a ton of kids around. But then so many families moved away, and as the older boys went to school further away, we were always out of the way and the house has been pretty much just Blackham boys. But starting last week, Callahan's friends have been coming over almost every day (they've been working out in our gym after school). We hosted a playdate with one of Colton's little friends who had moved away, and Keaton had a bunch of friends over Saturday (as mentioned above). The house has been busy.  

That's what's been up with the Blackhams.

March 22, 2015
As I've now been getting into the habit of writing Landon each week, I figured I'd try to send out a family letter as well. We'll see how long I keep it up :)

Gray has been super busy with work. The winter was a little more calm, but with Spring, it's gotten a bit crazy. It's also derby season. He's had a few this month (he was just out at Scott and Amy's ward this past week) but April and May are when he gets really booked.

Landon is doing well in the Mexico MTC. I've created a blog to keep his letters and pictures. You can check it out at He has been great at sending pictures, and keeping track of his steps (for me!)

Callahan got his license a couple weeks ago. He drove to school ... and got a parking ticket that first day. CopperHills is so crowded, that sophomores can't park in the school lot. He parked in a nearby neighborhood and got ticketed for not being "6 feet from a driveway" ... I'm sure the close neighborhoods are tired of having cars parked in front of their houses and they probably called the cops to ticket him. I guess we're lucky they didn't tow the truck! Callahan is getting very used to being mobile ... and I am too. He's been driving himself and Keaton to school, which saves me a trip in the mornings.

Callahan also had prom last night. I'll attach a picture. Callahan's basketball season is done, but I'm sure the high school team will play some spring tournaments. Callahan also tried out for UBC (Utah Basketball Club) which is an elite team made up from kids all over. They also play all over (Las Vegas, Idaho) trying to play in front of college coaches, getting the kids noticed and such. I will cost a bit of $$, and most of the games aren't even local for me to watch :(

Keaton's basketball season is done, and he didn't sign up for Spring sports, so I hope he stays busy and active. I took him to the dentist this past week, he has one cavity (which he is NOT happy about, as he feels he's been brushing really well) and we had an ortho consult. Unlike the other boys (and most people) it's not that his teeth are that crooked, or crowded, rather he has too much space! I've never really noticed it, but it is pretty obvious. It's actually a little harder to "fix" so we'll see what happens (his orthodontist said he had a similar problem and ended up going with veneers on his front teeth). 

Cooper has been doing great in school, very few or no anxiety issues of late. We'll have to see what happens when Spring storms hit (thunder and lightening). He heard about the book "Hatchet" at school and asked if we had it (which we do) and he really liked it and read all the sequels! I did a blog post about it (on my Jen'sJourney blog) I had read the first three books in the series, and at Cooper's recommendation I'm reading the last two (I'm waiting for my digital hold to come in from the library on the last one, even though we have the actual book, I prefer reading on my ipod). 

Colton is playing basketball for spring. We debated a bit between it and soccer. I prefer soccer if I am playing myself, but as a spectator, basketball wins big time with me! No weather worries (too hot or cold), parking issues, and more scoring. I often video the boys games it has links to videos) but Colton's games are at Gene Fullmer, which has a track above. Do I video, or jog? Keaton saved the day by manning the video camera for me, so I got in four miles while watching Colton play (of course Keaton missed the basket that Colton made, oops). I haven't jogged in forever and my calves are killing me today!

I'm still being spoiled as a stay-at-home mom with kids in school ... my life is pretty dang easy. I hit my Zumba classes every weekday morning, and then get in some additional activity during the day. I'm still loving Zumba. Not losing weight ... because it's the eating! I like to eat!

Our little Oreo kitty is a part of our family now ... although Grayson isn't a huge fan. I love to see the boys interact with him, and I'm really enjoying having a kitty as well. He really makes me laugh. He also makes computer work difficult, as he comes and lays down on the desk whenever I'm trying to work!

Gray and the little boys made a trip to Moab last weekend. Lots of pictures on Facebook. I really need to get caught up on my family blog, and get all these things updated there.

There is a little Blackham update for you all. Jen

September 09, 2014
There have been a few family updates, so I figured maybe it was time for a Blackham one. 

Gray has been busy at work, but also took quite a bit of time off this summer. Lake Powell, Seattle with the family, a whitewater rafting trip with the scouts (in which his raft flipped, he was caught under the boat for a few moments). This past weekend he and all the boys except Cooper went to the Little Sierra Sand Dunes for the annual Fathers&Sons. Another scary experience there ... one of the kids, our little 9-year old neighbor was lost for a time (about 45 minutes). Most everyone had been out playing capture the flag in the dunes, and when they came back to camp, he wasn't with any of the groups. Everyone went out searching, they got some other campers with ATVs helping. Meaning Kade had found his way back to the general campground and a friendly family put him in the car and started driving him around to the various campsites to find who was looking for him.

Landon is busy working (for a framing crew that works on some of Gray's houses) and prepping for his mission. These past few weeks he's been getting in the doctor's and dentist's appointments, and is getting his wisdom teeth out tomorrow. I never had mine out (if I have them) nor did Gray ... I was really hoping that would be the case for Landon, but no such luck. 

Callahan is Mr. Social. Seriously, he is never home, but just wants to hang with his friends all day every day. He bought a summer pass to the local rec center and did spend hours there playing basketball. Tryouts for the high school team are in November. He is playing on a team for Fall, and spends several hours a week in the school basketball prep clinic.

Keaton will be playing in the high school prep league again (Saturdays and Wednesday nights), with a couple practices a week. Now that Callahan and Keaton are at different school, it shifts up the school drop-off a bit, but I can do it in one trip ... Keaton is just a little early to school. Usually I am just picking him up after school, because as mentioned above ... Callahan just doesn't come home.

Cooper is struggling with his weather phobia again (and he is just very anxious overall about school assignments or tests, he's a homebody like his mom). He's  had some tough days but he's made it through. I gave both Cooper and Colton a Fitbit, and it's been very motivating to the boys, especially Cooper (which is good, as he's one of the lesser active Blackham Boys). He and I play badminton almost every evening (around 7:30 when the sun goes down, otherwise it's in our eyes). 

Colton is my little angel! He is SO cute with Cooper when Coop is having one of his meltdowns. It should be the other way around, with the older brother watching out for the younger brother, but Colton is always right there comforting Cooper, pointing out the positives. Such a sweetie. He's started up soccer. Unfortunately, after his undefeated season in Spring, he's having a bit of a tough time, as their team has not only lost every game so far, but hasn't yet scored a goal. The switch from 1st/2nd tp 3rd/4th is a big one. The field is a lot bigger, and you really have to work as a team. One person can't just do it alone (as Colton would often do in the past). 

Summer was good ... we spent a lot of time bouncing (Jump and Bounce, the local inflateable place, really made use of our family pass) and bowling (the Kids Bowl Free program, so do still have to pay for shoes).  Gray got in a lot of waverunner time, and I finally joined the family (my one time going out all summer). 

I've been enjoying my Zumba. I now go five times a week (Mon-Friday) to five different classes, all free! Here in Utah I think both the LDS culture (service) and the church buildings (a place to hold the classes at no cost) play a big part. 

So now you are caught up on most recent Blackham activities ... until the next time! :)
Jen and da boys

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