May 30, 2020

Hope of America

It's been almost exactly 5 years since Sport earned the most prestigious award that can be given to a 6th grader in the state of Utah, maybe even the whole United States. He was the first of our kids to be recognized as the Hope of America by the Kiwanis group.

Earning that same award has been Curly's goal ever since that day (check out how cute he is as a first grader on Sport's post!).

Curly has always wanted to be like Sport, but this one was special. Sport's picture still hangs on the wall at the elementary school and now it will be joined by this year's winners and that includes Curly.

He received an email from his teacher this morning and the first thing he did was come in and wake me up, give me a big hug, and proclaim his victory for all to hear. He was so happy and so excited!

The actual award will be given next Wednesday and I will be sure to share a pic with you, but for now, I want to share with you a little video about one of Curly's favorite projects for the school. He was required to build a castle.

It took him a couple of weeks to get it together, but he was sure happy with the way it turned out! His dad suggested he put it in the sandpile and dig an acutal moat around it. It looks fabulous in the video, but we had to fill it about 5 times because the sand kept soaking up the water.

See those pink flags? I think they have been on at least 3 other castles made by my kids. Sadly, I had to replace the chain this year when the links from previous years went missing. It's weird to think that only Baby Doll will be in elementary school next year. We all just keep getting older and older.

May 26, 2020

An Amazing Memorial Day Weekend

We had an amazing Memorial Day weekend! It started on Friday with Curly's baseball tournament and on Saturday, 15 of us headed for Richfield to spend the night in the Hampton Inn. It didn't start that big, but as the week progressed, we kept adding rooms until we had 5 total. We had everyone at my house except Grandpa (he had other plans), Teach and her family, Dog Walker and Puppy Lover, Drama Queen, and Little Warrior. He was a last minute stowaway and we were so excited to have him even though Beauty and The Beast were unable to come with us.

 We arrived around 6:00 pm and my sweetie immediately ordered pizza while everyone else got ready to get in the pool. We were only missing Curly and Sport. They drove up later, after the last baseball game. It was about 8:00 pm when they pulled in. Fortunately, everyone headed back to the pool for round 2 just so they could all have a chance to swim together.

My sweetie and I took Twizlet and Little Warrior back to our room so they could sleep while all of the kids hung out and played games in one of the other bedrooms. Finally, everyone slept (at least for a little while) until morning.

We got up around 9:00, grabbed sack lunches in the lobby, and then met in our room for Sacrament Meeting. We checked out around 11:00 and headed for our first cemetary. It was the first of many, 12 to be exact, counting the 4 we visited on Monday.

Ready for church!
We stopped in Ephraim and met with my family for a tribute to my Grandpa Neal, and then we stopped for a little bit to visit grandma. We finally arrived home just after dark, unloaded the van, and got settled for the night.

It was such a fun trip! People were social distancing, but they were also talking and laughing and acting almost normal. I'm so ready for normal.

Monday at Calder's grave, Skittles insisted we have a water fight!
Maybe we can talk a little more about Monday tomorrow.

May 24, 2020

Memorial Day Baseball

Curly played 4 baseball games in the last 28 hours. It was the 1st Annual Nick Strong Memorial Day Tournament. Sadly, they lost all 4 games, but the regular season begins on Tuesday, so that takes away the sting a little.
Curly pitched his 4 innings, but mostly he played 1st base. I love baseball. Watching my son play is just an amazing bonus.

May 22, 2020

Ready for Memorial Day Weekend

I just love Memorial Day! I love visiting each cemetery and placing a brightly-colored mum next to our family headstones. I love the drive, the frequest stops, the picnics and the visiting. But mostly I love the stories.
Grandpa posed for this fun pic.  See all the mums lined up along the porch? This year, he bought 8 of his own, so now we finally have enough for the whole length of the porch!!

Don't worry, I will be sure to share our outing and other fun stuff too.'s a secret!

May 19, 2020

COVID-19 - Night at the Movies

Our family typically goes to a couple of movies a year. It's not that we don't like them, it's just an expensive activity when we can watch the same movie on Netflix in a few weeks. That's why I was completely stunned when my sweetie suggested that we should take 18 of our closest friends to the movies.
Wait, let me back up a bit.

Last week, Bossy posted an ad from the Megaplex on our Slack channel. They were offering private screenings for up to 20 people and we could choose the movie title. It also included a large drink and a large popcorn for each member, all for $375.
That was our entire entertainment budget for the year!! But my sweetie said these are crazy times and we want to burn happy memories as well as the scary ones. 

So I bought the tickets.
The movie we chose was the original Shrek; my younger kids had never seen it, but a bunch of the older ones remembered going as a family and seeing it on the big screen when it was released in 2001.
As it turned out, we were able to bring the 8 of us living home, Teach's family, Drama Queen, and Bossy's family. We started with our own personal guide who was actually the manager of our theater here in the District.  She ran over a few things and then took us through the private entrance where we each made our own drinks (except me, my sweetie sent me off to hold things down in our theater while Scout made my drink).

The popcorn buckets were the really big ones and everyone got their own!! They were waiting for us on a table right outside our theater door. We could choose any seat, even the fancy recliners, but my favorite part was singing LOUD, calling to someone across the room during the movie, letting the littles wander, and the dance party at the end!
If I could afford it, we would go back on Thursday and do it all over again. I think that's about how long it will take us to finish the popcorn...

May 17, 2020

COVID-19 - Finally, we are Yellow!

I don't know how things are where you live, but here in Utah, we are very conservative! Our governor has done an amazing job with the coronavirus (and pretty much everything else!)
Saturday was our first day of Yellow or low risk status. Curly is so excited to play baseball and Scout is looking forward to volleyball. Baby Doll can return to her dance studio if she wants or keep using Zoom. All are under huge restrictions, but we are all feeling like maybe our world will be just a bit more normal.
I forgot to show you, my sweetie and I had an afternoon date acouple of days ago. It was our first time in a restaurant and I was impressed with how careful they were to keep us safe.
Things are definitely looking up! I just need to learn how to wink..

May 15, 2020

COVID-19 - Wash My Hands Challenge

I just have to tell you that I have the cutest kids and grandkids on the planet! They are always willing to jump in on pretty much anything. Our neighbor, Steve James, works with the governor and they have put together a #WMH20challenge that encourages everyone to wash their hands.

They even wrote a song and we were supposed to use their music and words to do the song on our own. Anyway, here is our attempt. I think it turned out awesome!


May 12, 2020

COVID-19 - My Favorite School Assignment So Far

Home school has been a challenge and some of the assignments just seem like busy work, but some teachers are still working hard to challenge our kids.

This is a fun book trailer Scout made for her Language Arts class. The book is called Catch a Falling Star. You probably recognize Taco as her love interest and Curly as the paparazzi.

Way back in the early days of the blog, Prima Donna did a similar thing for the library. Here is just a quick reminder of all the work required for this kind of effort.

Look how little some of my kiddos are in 2014! Time flies by so quickly.

May 11, 2020

Happy Mother's Day!

I have had an amazing mother's day week!! Starting last Monday, my sweetie gave me a special gift each and every day of the week. Some of them were small, like a half dozen of my favorite donuts, and some were very large like our new deck box that could probably hold half a dozen children!
But all of they showed that he loves and appreciates me. How adorable is that? 💕
Then tonight he arranged the best gift of all! Ten of my 12 children and their spouses made up our first real family party since COVID-19 began.
We ate outside, mostly keeping our social distancing and just enjoyed being together. I miss that part of life and can hardly wait until we can all be together again.
Happy Mother's Day everyone!!

May 8, 2020

COVID-19 - Our Schoolroom

Every Sunday night, as the evening is winding down, the boys head for the garage and bring in two folding banquet tables. They push them close together end to end and then they cover each one with brightly colored paper. They leave a little distance between them for the Chromebook cords to run down to the floor where they attach to an extension cord.

Chairs are brought in, computers, pencil boxes and a vase full of writing tools. Sometimes they stake a spot by writing all over the paper, sometimes they just leave it for scribbled notes and math papers.

It looks good; the promise of a new week.

But by Friday morning, it looks more like this.

(At least I gathered up the dirty dishes - which are against the rules - before I snapped the pic!) This is proof that we fought the good fight. There is NO way I am letting my kids have an early summer vacation.

That just wouldn't be fair.

May 6, 2020

COVID-19 - Making Memories

Normally this time of year we would be spending lots of time at the ballpark or the playground, but this year, everything is different. We have to think up new ways of taking care of each other, new ways of having fun.

The ladder ride is actually very traditional for my sweetie's side of the family. Every year it is necessary to level the garden, and every year my sweetie lets the grandkids have a little ride on the ladder.

Without family parties, it took a couple of weeks, but we finally got it done.

This is Twizlet and Little Warrior. And today we got Baby Doll, Tadpole, and Polliwog. They were a little nervous, so Princess climbed on to help.

Seems like yesterday when that was her...

May 4, 2020

COVID-19- A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Yesterday, some of us gathered at Drama Queen's house for what she affectionately called Covid Thanksgiving.

Utah has eased restrictions to allow groups of 20 and I'm sure you figured out already that even with these higher numbers, family gatherings are still not possible for us.

Even so, we have much to be thankful for.

When asked to pray before dinner, Crafty reminded us that as a missionary last November,  she had missed Thanksgiving. 

Fittingly, she shared her gratitude to God in Tagalog, in honor of her postponed mission. None of us understood what she said, but our hearty amens made it clear that we agreed with her; God loves us and all is right with the world.

May 2, 2020

COVID-19 Sometimes it All Seems Like a Dream

I made more masks this week, tried to help my youngest two finish the requirements for their Soaring Leader medallions although it is not quite as exciting as having them presented in front of the entire school. Baby Doll would like it to be summer vacation.

Bossy's family decided to invest in chickens so they don't have to ever worry about running out of eggs. They bought 6 and now they are finally big enough that they can be in a henhouse. I believe that is how they are planning to spend their weekend.

The Air Force did a flyover and we were so excited to see the planes that we drove over to the park. The kids brought their $1 store kites and they were able to get them as high as the string would allow.

We watched for the planes while the older kids played frisbee and we just enjoyed the sun. The planes themselves were pretty anticlimatic. We finally saw them skimming the tops of the mountains, but very far away.

I told you about the yurt the kids put together in the backyard. Well, a quick summer storm had me washing blankets all day long.

Utah went from Red to Orange today. I think some things opened back up, but way more things were cancelled based on the Governor's prediction of when that Orange will turn to Yellow. The church cancelled all summer camps and activities. The Girl Scouts also cancelled all summer camps and clinics. A letter about baseball said nothing will begin before we see Yellow. Our dance studio is still trying to figure out how they can hold the end of year recital. Baby Doll dilligently gets on her Zoom dance classes and tries to make it feel like the studio and that she is really with her friends.

It all feels like a dream. Like maybe someone somewhere challenged God. That "show me a sign" moment is a perfect reminder of who is really in charge here. Yes, the world as we know it truly can be shut down. Missionaries around the world can be sent home. All churches and temples can close. People can be forced to stay in their homes. And Costco can make everyone wear masks or send them back to their cars.

Truly, I'm ready to wake up now.