Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kaleidoscope and the KC Streetcar...Oooh Aaah!

We met our friends, the Guenthers, for our annual trip to Kaleidoscope. It was fun and also crazy. 10 kids between us...running all over the place. The kids enjoyed it. blah blah...I don't know if I can think of anything else to say about this! We go every year. They paint. The make more puzzles than they are supposed to. They get lost. I get scared. I find them. 

We go home. 

I immediately toss out their artistic treasures. I'm a horrible mother. Please forgive me, kids. I don't know what else to do with them!

This year we decided to ride the new KC streetcar. It was new! It was.....boring.

We made a full loop from Union Station and then back again.  We found a spot by the fountain to have lunch and then it....rained.  We ran to the skywalk and hoofed it back to the parking garage. We made it out in exactly 3 hours...FREE PARKING!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mathew blooms into a fragrant TEENAGER!

I managed to sneakily close his door and get the streamers up about 15 minutes before he woke up.  It looks like Mark went around and through the girls room and shared bathroom to hand him and instrument of destruction.

What is more appropriate that the sword of Braveheart to usher in your manhood.

One hot Huffmuffin for breakfast and he was off to spend the day as a Youth Leader at Cub Camp.  We stopped by in the early afternoon to bring a Big Gulp of Sprite with lots of ice. The theme for this year's camp was "Camping on the face of the Sun". Welcome to Kansas, folks.

For dinner he asked for a roast with mashed potatoes and french bread (sliced, buttered and warmed in a glorious cocoon of tinfoil).  I once had a missionary ask me if I "made this bread myself"......why, yes. Yes, I did.

His cake was yellow with blue cool whip icing and crazy requested.

Mark grandly delivered the cake for the ceremonial blowing out of candles. Unfortunately, he wasn't aware that those curly waxy sticks were, in fact, candles.

Do over!

What to wish for? What to wish for?

How about a Reuben.....

Ta da! Reaben appears!

Mathew received lots of treats, and a monitor for use in his room as he learns to code on his Raspberry Pi (it's a computer thingy). I also grabbed a scooter at the last minute. Which he oped to trade in for a iTunes gift card. Wah wah....welcome to teenagehood. Brutal honesty.

Exactly one week later and we had a birthday party with friends...which I allowed on a "Family Year" due to epicness of turning 13. But I actually love teenager parties. There is nothing easier.



Paper goods.


Party is a success!

Haley Johnson, McKenzie Clarke, Dax Hurst, Emma Flynn, Audree Sirios and Mat all watching Zootopia

Happy Birthday, Mat!

Monday, June 27, 2016

General Legos....Lego Conference....Henry B. Lego

I wonder if we could get this in the Friend?

Henry B. Eyring giving his General Conference address. 

by Megan Hufford

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day 2016...a winner!

After the shame of last year (a total flop in the make-him-feel-special department). The kids really came through this year. 

Mathew coded a question/answer program for Mark that featured a message of love from each of us and had Mark follow prompts and answer questions. It was supercool. And he game Mark a copy of it on a thumbdrive. 

Ethan made a series of Manly paper dolls. Each one representing a difference side of Mark's life/ personality. My favorites are the Tuff Mudder Mark and Church Mark.

Anna and Everly drew pictures and made multitudinous construction paper hearts throughout the day.... I heart DAD!!

Laney went for the gold and made a yarn birdie in paper nest....

Chocolate chip dispenser....

Megan walked herself to Price Chopper and used her allowance to by a funny card, a touching card and some treats.

One of Mark's favorites were the treats in a can that the girls made at their Activity Days camp. He was amazed that he could pop open the top!

And what Father's Day would be complete without the Chocolate Lover's Favorite Cake?

Happy Father's Day, Mark! You've earned it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Littles

I will always be grateful that we had our kids in sets. Obviously we had almost no say in who came when, but I love that the big boys have each other, the middles are reading The BFG to each other at night, and the Littles are giggling and fighting and playing lunchtime rowboat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

First Ever Activity Days Camp

Sometime back in February, I attended a Primary Presidency meeting as a newly called Primary Chorister. I'm fairly certain that I was only meant to stay for about 15 minutes and get up to speed on anything relating to my calling....buuuuut....i have a hard time voluntarily leaving any situation where I get to speak to other grown up people. So I stuck around and gave my two cents on this and that.  Which brought us to a place where I wondered aloud if we couldn't possibly put together a day camp for our Activity Days girls, seeing as the cub scouts have one every year. 

Our awesome Primary President, Marie Johnson, not only liked the idea, she got the go ahead and then put it all together and organized the whole thing. 

She split the girls into older and younger groups, signed up three moms per group for 3 days, facilitated dozens of crafts, organized 2 plays and a new song to learn for sacrament meeting. It was impressive!

I was the host mother for the younger girls on the first day. We made chalkboard signs, sewed button bookmarks and drew self portraits. It was fun and even though we had 15 girls it went pretty smoothly. Of course, it helped that Jessica Clarke and Lisa Gotfredson were there to help. Regina Sirois came by about halfway through and helped rethread needles. (I may have underestimated the amount of work there...)

We had the girls sign each other's portraits with positive traits about that person. I liked this idea. It was perfect for this age level.

We made a big batch of my mom's braided bread and had the girls make their own buns and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. The house smelled amazing.

On the second day, I was an assistant at the older girls camp held at Kristy Braithwaite's house. The did a get to know you game and practiced their play and song....

Then they did yarn weaving for bookmarks, temple mosaics and pie making. Sheila Lemon was the other helping mom. I was amazed at how calm and kind everyone was with each other. It was so fun and I can't wait for next year.

Also...what a great group of woman that sacrifice and prepare and use their energy to help their daughters feel loved and important. It made me proud to be a part of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

T-bones...sans Mathew

Poor Mathew. This is the third year in a row he has been at scout camp when we go to Wachter night at the T-bones.  Mat's a kid that appreciates the thrill of spending missing out on the Wachter bucks is a real blow. He made us promise to use his bucks for a large kettle corn. 

As is our tradition, we spend most of our time hoofing it up and down the stairs with kids who are on the search for the next treat. Trying to help Everly find something tasty that won't give her leg cramps is our new challenge. I think I ended up debreading a chicken finger and eating most of her chocolate strawberry shake (gack!) while she wasn't looking.  Oh the sacrifices!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Movies...In the tradition of large families


#1 Always. Always stop at a grocery store for treats. It is the only way. Also. If you can, let them have their own box/bag. If you have properly deprived them beforehand, this will feel super special. 

They might even sing about it with passion.

Others will need a little sit-down time to make a truly informed choice.

#2 Give yourself plenty of time. Trying to rush the candy selection because you are worried about getting a good seat at the movie will only backfire. There will be crying and you will say, "Why are we even doing this?" Then everybody will get scared you are about to "turn this car around" and it will get weird and stressed and you'll be off to bad start.

#3 Don't feel bad if you get off to a bad start. About 85% of the things we do as a family get off to a bad start. Most likely, you'll iron things out. Kids will apologize and straighten up and you'll still make to the movie/grocery store/church/school/doctor.

#4 When you get there, don't feel bad about sneaking in treats. Hold your head high and your purse close. Those movie theater treats are highway robbery. You are restoring balance to the universe.

#5 Buy the large popcorn that gets free refills and bring a water bottle or two. Ask for cups or small bags so you can divvy up the popcorn and then let them go crazy! Send big kids for refills. Lots of refills. Get your money's worth!! Don't feel bad when your fifteen year old rolls eyes as he gets his paper cup of day he will do the same to his kids.

Rest assured.

By the time he's taking his kids to the movies. Popcorn will cost 50 dollars.

#6 Have fun! You aren't nursing a baby and everybody's potty trained. Plus, its a lot cheaper than bowling!

Fido failure

Every year we go to the library the "Find Fido". They used to love it. 

See him?  Right there on the shelf behind Anna? 

Isn't that so fun and exciting? 


You're bored and you just want to go read some books?

Me too.

I think we may skip Fido next year.

The swallowtail

I'm getting concerned about our local Swallowtail population. We used to be veritable Swallowtail Preservation Society around here. Now we are lucky to find even one to raise....and don't get me started on that freaky parasitic hornet last year. 


Isn't this sweet?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Buttoned up

I love that Ethan wanted to go find some good button down shirts. 

And I REALLY love that he was excited to go second hand hunting for them. 

I super love that he let me talk him into this killer pearl button number:

And he knows perfectly well that not long ago he would have been crazy excited to wear this masterpiece:

After the year we've had, it was wonderful to have a few minutes together. Have some good laughs and ZERO drama.

Minus the very dramatic dragon shirt.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sprinkler run and lounging in the sun

I still think this is one of the best things I've ever built.

Everly has no problem using me as a chair.

Or "braiding my hair" which is a fancy way of saying she intends to pull it out by the roots.

I don't actually mind. I kinda love it.

Also, that munchkin can really put away the cuties. 

Look at that pile of peels!