Oct 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

We are so busy chasing from one Halloween event to the next, I will just share with your our picture from the Scarecrow Festival. Check back tomorrow to hear about all of our amazing Halloween adventures!

Stay safe tonight.

Oct 30, 2013

Scary Stuff from Teach in Texas

I know I usually write a bunch of stuff and share parts of Teach's letters with you, but I had to just give you this whole story all by itself. It's one of those times when I am so grateful that we pray for safety every day!

In Teach's words...

It was so terrifying. So scary. I was making some hashbrowns and I put a pot of veggie oil on the stove to heat up- I ran to put my contacts in (which I KNOW I shouldn't have done, but I did). Sister Blood called to me and said my oil had burned out so I was coming to check on it and then I heard a crash a scream and I ran out to find a fire blazing in 2 places and my companion bent over shaking her hand where it had burnt her. I told her to put it under cold  water in the bathroom and I searched for the fire extinguisher. I found one and was so grateful that I'd been taught how to use it. I pulled the pin and put out the fire. 
I went to check on Hermana Blood and the back of her hand below the thumb was bubbling pretty intensely. She was laying on the ground going almost in and out (she says she never actually passed out...) and I tried calling Sister Ames. She wouldn't answer. I knelt down and just prayed to know what my companion needed. I stood up and said we are going to the hospital. I helped her out of the house. I double checked to make sure everything was off and wiped up the spilled oil so the house didn't catch on fire again... we went to the ER and two hours later she was bandaged and on some heavy drugs. 
They say she will lose the skin over the next 6-8 weeks but if she is careful she won't likely lose the mobility of her hand. It was so terrifying. I learned a lot. I am able to keep calm in hard situations but it is the worst feeling when you are stuck in construction at a red light and you can't do anything and your companion is biting her finger to keep from screaming in pain... and all you do is keep your foot on the brake. I felt helpless. But I'm grateful that it worked out. 

Mom. I didn't like it at all.

Oct 29, 2013

Carving Pumpkins

I think I've probably mentioned in the past that carving pumpkins is not my thing. Once when I was little (and I only remember doing this once!) I actually tried to carve a pumpkin. But nobody told me to cut the top on an angle so of course the first thing that happened was my lid fell in on my masterpiece, effectively ruining it as a Jack-o-Lantern. Since that day I have not been interested in trying again.

Oh, I have painted pumpkins and stuck stickers on them, but the actual carving I will leave to my sweetie and the kids. In all honesty, I would rather be in charge of the cleanup.

So tonight was our night to carve pumpkins. I know, it's a little earlier than we generally do it, and my sweetie was worried that they might be yucky by Thursday, but it was our only answer. Tomorrow night is the big BSA Production at the Conference Center where the Dog Walker is participating in the Eagle Scout choir and that will take the entire evening.

Then they just announced that Wednesday night is the big pep rally for Sport's football team, and we have tried to carve them on Halloween, but the kids are too distracted with the idea of getting out there and gathering those free treats so it never quite works out.

I warned my sweetie that he would be in charge of this messy activity for FHE, but I wanted to try to make it a little easier on him. We had seen this new tool advertised that was supposed to pull the guts out of a pumpkin much quicker than the old spoon method. I heard that I could buy one at WalMart, but they had never heard of it, so I headed for the Farmer's Market and paid about $11. They told me this drill attachment was developed in Utah just for pumpkins.

After cleaning up dinner, we covered the table in newspaper and my sweetie cut the top from the first pumpkin, on an angle, of course. He attached our fancy new tool to his drill and without reading the instructions, he turned it on high. Pumpkin guts were flying everywhere before I convinced him to look at the packaging. After a little more practice, he degutted the rest of the pumpkins with relative ease. I'm not sure it was worth $11, but it did seem to make the job easier.

All lit up!
The kids drew fancy designs on their pumpkins and started cutting. Curly was so proud of his cute pumpkin face! Sport turned his into a football, of course, Princess a ballerina, and Prima Donna attempted to make the castle from Tangled. She did a pretty good job except there was not enough support and she collapsed the back.

All in all they did a terrific job! The mess was pretty minimal except for the random pumpkin guts on the wall and some of the chairs likely from the initial run of the drill attachment. It only took me about half an hour to clean up, not bad for carving 9 pumpkins!

Oct 28, 2013

Costume Contest

I promised you the story about the costume contest today. Apparently our city does an annual costume contest although this is the first time we have ever heard of it. Princess had signed up as part of the Youth City Council to assist with the Farmer's Market event, so she was anxious for us to come.

The kids worried over their costumes for days, but finally settled on something awesome on Saturday morning. We were still putting on the finishing touches as we headed out the door at 10:45. The contest started at 11:00 and we didn't want to be late. Fajita and Burrito joined us and my sweetie went with Bossy and Gamer to Taco's football game.

When we arrived, there were very few people waiting, but after a few minutes they started to fill in. The city had set up a little makeshift podium near the front steps of City Hall. They had a table of judges and a little canopy for shade. For the end of October, the weather was beautiful!

They had several categories, and Baby Doll was part of the 0 - 3. She was nervous, but climbed the stairs by herself. She was wearing the little cheetah costume that was originally her Dad's. Every one of our 12 children have had their turns wearing that costume! She looked adorable. I didn't get a pic of her on the podium, but I did manage to get one in the fire truck later at the Safety Fair (check out yesterday's post).

The second category was 4 - 7 and Curly, Burrito, and Scout were all in that group. Curly dressed up as the mayor complete with a sign asking for the vote next Tuesday. I would have given him the prize, he looked so cute in his little suit and tie with a city hat and his sign. Burrito was a ninja and Scout was Little Red Riding Hood in a shortish skirt with long black boots.

The third category was 8 - 12. Sport climbed on the podium in his football gear since he had a game in about an hour. Not very original, but I thought he looked good. There were lots of kids in both of those categories and I was starting to think that our chances of walking away with a prize or two was pretty slim. Fortunately for us, there were only 4 people in the 13 - 17 category. Fajita was one of them and Crafty was another. We were virtually assured to win a prize! Fajita made a cute witch and Crafty was a pirate with a corset and long boots.

When they started the adult category, we decided it was a good time to hit the businesses who were giving out treats. We found Princess manning the city booth where they gave out t-shirts, candy, and water bottles. Just as we finished the last place looking for treats, they passed the word that they were ready to announce the winners. We rushed back to the podium.

Crafty, Princess, Bossy
They started announcing winners with the babies. Unfortunately, my cute little cheetah didn't win. In the second category, Scout was the first one announced. She had scored a third place victory and a cool $20.

We didn't win in the 8 - 12, but when they announced the winners for the 13 - 17, we cleaned up! Fajita won 2nd place in her witches costume to the tune of $30 and Crafty won the day at first place coming away with $50 in her pocket! My kids are awesome though, they gave the money to me to share with all of the siblings. We are going to go out to lunch next week after Sport's play-off game.

Not bad for a morning of fun!

Oct 27, 2013


I'd like to believe that I'm not all that competitive, but I think my sweetie might argue with me. Although I think he would agree that I am not nearly as competitive as I used to be when we were younger. Just lately I have become a little obsessed with contests for my kids. Not anything huge and life-changing, just little things like the Reflections contest and the coloring contests at the Maverik, the scarecrow contest at the library (which won second place, by the way), and most recently, the coloring contest at the Home Depot.

I always have my eye out for fun and free activities for the kids, so naturally coloring contests are on my radar, but my sweetie brought home the one from the Home Depot. It was not Halloween-themed like so many that are out there this time of year. It was honoring the Fire Safety Month and the kids loved coloring the cute little firefighter.

On Wednesday night my sweetie ran their finished masterpieces back to the store, and then it was just a matter of waiting. We knew they had a safety fair scheduled for today and that the winners would be announced this morning, but I was still a bit surprised when my phone rang during the costume contest sponsored by our city (I will tell you about that one tomorrow...).

It was the Home Depot and they were excited to tell me that Sport had won first place in the coloring contest and could we come by and get his prize! I thanked her and assured her we would stop by when we were finished and I hung up my cell phone. About 30 seconds later, it rang again. She was calling me back to inform me that Scout had won 2nd place in the contest. That's when I asked her if any of my other kids had won, just to spare her all of those phone calls.

Sport's Winning Entry
Surprise!! They were all winners! Curly and Scout had tied for second place and then everyone else who entered was given a 3rd place prize. After the costume contest we drove over to the Home Depot and hurried to the staging area. They had a huge fire engine there and a bunch of firefighters to help the kids climb around and pose for pictures. They all received goodie bags, some more full than others, but the kids were very excited!

I'm going to show you Sport's winning picture and share one of our secrets. I believe my kids win contests like these because they go a little above and beyond what is required. Can you see the road and the tiny firetruck in the background? That's why Sport came out in first place!

Oct 26, 2013

Reflections Winners and the Concert

Scout gets a medal.
My elementary-aged kids had their Reflections assembly last night and they came away with some awesome wins! Sport won in Film Production, Scout won in Film Production and Dance, and Curly won in Film Production and Music.

Sport gets his medal.
They were so excited! Curly just loved his two medals and couldn't wait to show them to a friend of mine who stopped by today for a minute. They all got envelopes full of free coupons and other good loot.

Crafty also had a band concert last night. Did I tell you she is playing the clarinet? They only played 3 songs, but it was the first concert of the year so they had a few technical difficulties. During the first song, the tech crew accidentally turned off the lights on the stage and the kids could barely see their music.

Mugging for the camera!
They finally fixed that problem, but then they forgot to turn off the speakers after the announcement of the second song. The speakers kept cracking and whistling until the awesome band teacher stopped the band mid-song and hollered to the crew to please turn off the speakers. (You would have thought someone in the booth would have just noticed it was a problem and taken care of it...)

Crafty is the cute witch in the black and gold hat.
It was actually very cool; she handled it like a professional. After the speakers were off she just said, "Pick ups at 41..." and they resumed the song right where they left off.

Sorry for the bad pics today. Someone put the good camera in a weird mode (You would have thought someone would have just noticed it was a problem and taken care of it...)

Oct 25, 2013

The Dog Walker's Amazing Halloween Display!

I know you have all been looking forward to seeing the Dog Walker's amazing Halloween display. He works so hard on it every year and with school and the new bit of concrete, it has been a real challenge getting it together this year.

He is still taking classes at Salt Lake Community College. I'm pretty sure I told you they renewed his scholarship for this year and he has been very busy. He began the semester with 13 credit hours, but just last week he started another 5-hour class that is more like a 10-hour class because it is only half a semester long. It puts him in a seat class all five days of the week (not counting the weekends) and forces him to stay focused on school which is good. He is a hard worker and he tries very hard!

He has also had some crazy rehearsals for the BSA 100-year Anniversary Celebration in the Conference Center next week. He was there for 4 hours tonight and 4 hours on Tuesday. He will spend pretty much his whole Saturday there too. That makes it difficult to get homework done, but so far he is managing although we finish up pretty late.

Bossy has some pretty amazing decorations at her house too! Maybe we can get her to post some too.

Oct 24, 2013

National Honor Society

I joined Princess at the high school today for a wonderful honor. She was inducted into the National Honor Society! I'm so proud of her for all of her hard work. She is very service-oriented and she has amazing grades. To be nominated she filled out the application, and got reference letters from several teachers. Then when her name was presented to the committee, she was accepted.

When I was in high school I always wanted to be part of the National Honor Society. My older siblings had been selected and since I had the second highest grades in my graduating class, and my dad was a teacher, I figured I would definitely be voted in. But they did things a little differently in our small-town school.

When I was a junior, my name was presented and one of the teachers blocked me. Yeah, that's right, all of the teachers voted every year and if even one teacher felt you shouldn't be in the society, your name was removed from the list. So our assistant basketball coach was the gym teacher for the girls. I think I told you before that I played my freshman and sophomore years, but then I decided that I wanted to take some college classes and I was working, so I didn't go out for the team. She was very angry with me for abandoning ship.

When she blocked me that first year, I thought for certain by the time I was a senior that she would have gotten over the fact that I had disappointed her. But I was wrong. I was the first Salutatorian in the recent history of Manti High School to have not been included in the National Honor Society (I say recent because Dad could only remember back about 20 years).

In fact, Dad was so angry that he refused to ever vote anyone into the National Honor Society again. It's much better the way they do it here. One teacher should not be able to negate a dozen teachers who think someone is awesome.

And Princess is pretty amazing! Congrats, my sweet girl, so proud of you!

Oct 23, 2013

More about Teach in Texas

A few days ago I got a letter in the mail from Teach's first companion. She and Teach were together for about 3 or 4 months before she was transferred. Teach spoke fondly of her and we learned that in all the time this sweet sister had been on her mission she had never received a care package. Well, the kids wouldn't have any of that. We immediately set about putting together a little box for her with some fun items. We decided we had better do one for Teach at the same time, so suddenly this became an FHE project.

We carefully wrapped jars of fresh apricot jam in new socks and we wrote a family testimony that we placed along with pictures in several copies of the Book of Mormon. We slipped in a few extra things including a couple of church CDs the Dog Walker burned for us.

We were pretty excited to receive her thank you note with this beautiful picture of Teach and her kind words about Teach I want to share with you.

Your [copies of the] Book of Mormon have been great. I am serving by the prisons and they have put some of them in the libraries there. They will change lives. And last of all I just want to let you know how much I love Sister Teach! She brought so much light and enthusiasm with her. I saw first hand people's hearts softened and changed by the spirit working through her. 

I know this is where the Lord needs her. She has such a pure and caring heart. She has such a strong testimony and close relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ. I know every one of you mean EVERYTHING to her and she loves you more than you know. Thanks for your influence, examples, and love.

Sister Companion

That is so like Teach, sharing her love with companions and friends. I say "friends" because it is impossible to be in a room or even on the planet with her for more than a few minutes before feeling like her oldest and dearest friend. She is the sort of personality that just draws people in and makes them want to stay. I'll share some of her own words in a day or two, but just so you know I'm not biased...Teach really is changing the world... one heart at a time.

Oct 22, 2013

Dinosaur Nuggets and French Fries

You know Baby Doll had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. It was the third in a group of 3. I think I've told you before that we like to let the birthday child choose the food they get to eat. Well, it was just me and my sweetie at Sam's Club when I suggested to him that we needed to introduce Baby Doll to Dinosaur nuggets and french fries. "Don't forget the broccoli!" he reminded me.

This particular dinner goes way back and I mean WAY back in our family history. I believe Teach is the first one who ever had a dinosaur chicken nugget, but that led to the craziness we experienced at Baby Doll's birthday party. You see, this is one of those classic times when parents ENCOURAGE their kids to play with food! The broccoli is the trees and it is a very important part of the dinosaur world.

Never mind, it's too hard to explain. I'll just show you the pictures and you can decide for yourself if my family is actually crazy or not.

Just a little crazy, don't you think?

Oct 20, 2013

Laid Low

Our internet provider was down last night so I didn't get the opportunity to post. Not that it mattered much, I was too busy cleaning up vomit from my sick little Baby Doll. It started out a regular amazing fall break day. We painted pumpkins at the City Hall where Princess and Prima Donna were running the activity for the Youth City Council.

Then we had lunch and headed out for Sport's football game, which he won, by the way. The kids all dressed in their cheerleader stuff and helped them to victory. Maybe I'm deluded, but I really believe their energy hyped the boys up at half time, because before that it was 0 - 0 and we ended up winning 13 - 0. Some of the dads on the other side saw how much good we were doing and they even started cheering, but it was too little, too late. Ok, so I just have to tell you this one part. Our boys were pushing for the touchdown and they made it all the way to the 1-yard line. Then they fumbled it and the Grizzlies recovered the ball, so we started cheering for a Safety. On the first play the Grizzlies moved it out a little, but on the second play THEY fumbled the ball and one of our boys fell on it in the end zone! Touchdown!! Pretty exciting!

So after the football game we headed home and my sweetie, the Dog Walker, the Gym Rat, and I put the backboard on so the kids could shoot some hoops. I took the girls out to do a little fundraising for their dance team and when we got back my sweetie had dinner pretty well done. After we ate I started chopping apples for applesauce so I could finish up all these leftover apples. It was almost 10:00 pm. That's when Fajita threw up. She was the first one.

Then about midnight Baby Doll started heaving. Her little body was spent by the fifth time. Bossy's family was long gone by then. It was in the middle of the night that Scout came running in and I directed her to the bathroom where she managed to keep hers all contained to the toilet.

I woke with a sour stomach and figured I was next although I haven't managed to lose it yet. But others were puking too, Prima Donna, Sport... My sweetie took Princess, Drama Queen and Crafty to church. The Dog Walker took himself to church but came home half an hour later complaining that his stomach hurt. When it appeared that no one was showing up for the nursery today, my sweetie brought the Drama Queen home and she gathered her things and quickly hit the road. She does not want to get sick!! I'm hoping it's not too late for that.

I am surprised how quickly we all caught this bug. Bossy says her family had it last week except for Fajita, so maybe it is just running its natural course. I hope it finishes up fast, because my sweetie has to be on an airplane at 10:00 tomorrow morning. I hope he asks for plenty of barf bags before he buckles up.

Oct 19, 2013

Scarecrow Festival 2013

Nervous about the ball, Sport?
Remember yesterday when I told you I was thinking about going to the Scarecrow Festival today at West Ridge Academy? Well, I finally convinced my sweetie that it would be fun. We had to wait until afternoon since the girls had a dance class and the Drama Queen was still driving. The kids made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Bossy brought chips and fruit snacks.

About 1:00 we all climbed in the vans. Last year the crowds at the festival were light and the lines were short. This time we almost turned around and headed back home. There were hundreds of people everywhere!

Some of the kids wanted to walk in the big ball, so we put them in line and then  made our picnic on the grass just outside the rope. The lines moved surprisingly fast and by the time we were finished eating they were at the front of the line. They rolled and tumbled in the ball and then popped back out the hole when they were done.

After that Bossy and the Dog Walker had to have their annual bungee contest. They both get pretty serious about this competition. The Dog Walker came out ahead this year although I'm pretty sure Bossy was the winner last year.

Then the little ones were off to the bounce houses while the older people got in line for the munchkin radio wheel. They were giving away passes for free kids' meals, so I thought it would be a great idea. While we were waiting in line, Thriller came on the speakers. Well the Dog Walker wasn't going to pass up a chance to perform and pretty soon he had all of his sisters doing a flash mob dance with him. They were pretty good! He remembered all the moves from the Just Dance version and I don't know if they realized that a hundred people were watching them.

After we got our coupons, we played the carnival games. The kids earned enough tickets to get some cute little rubber ducks dressed in various costumes. We all participated in the last dance competition (we didn't win), and then we had to pack it up. Sport had football practice at 4:30.

He only has two regular league games left. The season has gone so quickly! And Halloween is nearly here. I'll have to take some pics of the Dog Walker's annual light display for you. And you know what? Bossy has an amazing one too! Now if we could just figure out what we are going to do for costumes...

Oct 18, 2013

Fall Break

Remember last year when we did something fun and exciting every day over Fall Break? Like on Thursday we went to Cornbelly's. Then on Friday we went to the Church History Museum and on Saturday we went to the Scarecrow Festival. Well guess what I did today??

Clean toilets!! It was so not fun. What was I thinking? I really need to plan something a little more exciting for tomorrow. The Dog Walker just has so much homework that there really is no break for us. Princess and Prima Donna had a previous commitment with the Youth City Council to help at the food pantry today, and of course Sport had football practice. And I was at the church for 4 hours of volleyball in the evening. That doesn't leave much time for anything else. Oh yeah, and I took Crafty and Sport to the dentist today too. Sport was pretty upset to discover that he had a single cavity.

Last Monday we spent our FHE time making scarecrows for the contest at the Library. Sport made one out of Legos, the girls made this one with the shiny gold hair, and Bossy made one that looks like a Bingham football player. The cool thing about hers is that it is mostly made from old socks! I made the little bodies out of fabric and the kids did the rest. I don't know if we will win, but we had a good time with them.

So I need to plan something fun for tomorrow. I believe Bossy told me the Scarecrow Festival is going on this weekend, and since we are professional scarecrow makers, and I already know my sweetie would like to spend the day cleaning the garage... I'd better find something fun ...quick!!

Oct 17, 2013

Guest Blog - Big Excitement at our House by Scout and Curly

We have been waiting for days!

Sport kept saying it was never going to happen. (I don't know why he would think that, it's only been almost 20 years in the planning.)

Yesterday they promised, but the rain kept them away.

Then this morning, the big trucks woke us up really early!

We watched out the kitchen window while they poured the back. It was the most exciting part, but Dad made us stay inside. He thought we might get in the way.

 They took what was left of the concrete and fixed up our driveway.

But Dad says it will still be 72 hours before it is hard enough to put up the basketball hoop. We can hardly wait!   To be continued...