Sunday, December 9, 2007

An Early Education

Regan and Spencer took Ben downstairs to play while I was on the phone today. This his how they returned him. It was obvious that they were quite proud of themselves.
By the age of two, he ought to be a professional. After all, he's being schooled by the best.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nuttin' But Trouble

Looks can be deceiving. Nearly everyone thinks he's just a sweet, precious little thing. But I know better. Aside from his one twenty minute nap a day (he dropped his morning nap), and of course bedtime, I get no relief. His latest mission is to find things that I may need, such as car keys, toothbrushes, socks, shoes or spices, and put them in a spot where they may never again be seen. Or at least not until I've long since given up hope and replaced the item.
Today, I caught him stuffing his treasures into a new hiding place. The mail slot on our front door.

There goes the Spiderman mask.

There goes a hat.
I think he's learned to reach into the laundry chute and pull out laundry. That may explain why Regan's underwear was sitting on the front porch under the mail slot.

Gingerbread fun

You're probably already wondering-did I bake this gingerbread myself? No, of course not. These handy little kits came from Robert's and were 40% off. The kit includes the gingerbread, candy and icing. What the $7.80 kit does not include is a gingerbread homeowners warranty that covers damage done when you slam it to the ground out of frustration. Therefore, I chose not to slam it to the ground and waste my $7.80. Tempting though. It came with icing (if you can call it that) that was so thick, it took every ounce of my energy to squeeze a line of it out for the wall to stand on. By the time I could get enough out to try and put the wall up, it was already as hard as a rock.
After several failed attempts to put the walls up, I told the boys we'd have to resume construction after we got some decent icing. They were good sports about it and we were able to finish the job tonight.
Next year, I may be brave enough to try baking the gingerbread myself. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here Comes Santa Claus

How does he come up with all of these? It usually depends on the movie he's most recently viewed. In this case, it was The Grinch.
It all started out with a blanket and a paper towel beard (attached with scotch tape), then my Mom found the Santa hat for him. At that point he decided the blanket wasn't really 'Santa' red, so, he was off to rummage through the suitcases. After combining 2 red shirts (one was only part red and needed to be covered by another), some pajama bottoms and Grandma's black belt, all on top of 2 other layers of clothes (necessary to achieve the "fat look") -Santa has arrived. But Santa can't go anywhere without his reindeer, and what makes better reindeer than kitchen stools (they both have 4 legs right?).
So, to those who would argue that television has no influence on children-Spencer is living proof that it does. Just put on a movie, then watch out. With him, you never know what you're going to get.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Regan!

Regan turned eight today. He opted not to have a friend party. Instead, he wanted me to take him bowling. So, after school I took Spencer & Benjamin over to a friends house while Regan and I had our night out. We bowled two games. I was surprised when he only lost by ten points on the first game. Not that my scores are anything to boast about (I average somewhere from 80-100), but I thought that was very good for an eight year old.
We ate dinner at the bowling alley when we were done playing. They're supposed to have the best burgers in town. I thought they were all right. Maybe I didn't order the right one.
I had made a cake earlier and brought it over to my friends so that when we picked up Spencer & Ben, he would see it there.

He wanted a black Spiderman cake. I thought it turned out okay. I was unhappy with the eyes, but didn't have time to fix them.

I bought him a set of books for his present. They include the children's versions of classics such as Swiss Family Robinson, Peter Pan, Oliver Twist, Moby Dick and 14 others. I found them at the craft store today and thought they'd make a nice gift. I wasn't sure how he'd feel about getting a load of books for his present, but he seemed to really like them.
It was a good day. He enjoyed himself and I think I would enjoy every birthday being like this one, not having to put together a big party. Sadly, my days may be numbered for being the preferred companion to his party. I'll enjoy it while I can.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our home, before & after

I've had several requests (okay maybe two) for me to post some pictures of our house.
There are certain members of my family who have never been to visit in the 2 years we've lived here. I won't mention any names.
Anyway, I've been wanting to do a before and after page. Many of the "before" pictures aren't very good, and a lot them were only taken after we started to work, so they're not the best examples.
This is the kitchen. Everything in this home was original 50's.

Check out that dishwasher!

This is construction phase.

Jason and his Dad poured the concrete counter top, complete with a drain board and 2 maple leaf impressions.
Notice the horrible windows. I was so glad to get rid of those.

Our kitchen today. We put in new windows, a new sink and dishwasher. For the back splash, we used the same slate from our entry way, but cut it into fourths. We also added trim around the window (not totally finished).
When I say "we" what I really mean is that Jason did all the work while I stood back and commented once in a while.

This is the original 1950's oven made by General Motors.

These are also the original metal cupboards. I covered them with a stainless steel adhesive. The wood floor had linoleum on top of it. It took Jason and his brother, Freddy, a good 8 hours to sand off all the glue.

This is the bathroom in the construction phase. We had already ripped down all the turquoise plastic tiles off the walls. We had put the floor in and started on the rock wall.

There was no shower before, only a tub, so we tiled it and turned it into a shower.

These aren't very good examples. We had already ripped up the 50 year old carpet and started painting the walls. There was some kind of plastic sheeting and old thick drapes over the windows. I don't think they had been opened for at least twenty years.
The floors were in pretty good shape underneath the carpet. The hardest part was pulling our all the staples from the floors and filling the little holes. After that, we put a few coats of polyurethane down and they were good to go.
We also replaced all the windows and painted all the walls.

Looking down the hall.

Here, you can get a look at the slate that we laid in the entryway, hallway and bathroom.
I couldn't find any good before pictures of our bedrooms, so below I'll post a few pictures of our room the way it looks now. I'll have to post the basement (after we actually make some changes to it) and the yard pictures later.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Defeat of the Ninja

This afternoon my visiting teachers called to say they were coming over, so I banished the boys to the basement to entertain themselves. And what could be more entertaining than wrapping your whole head in packing tape (I've since been informed that this is the preferred method for concealing your face if you're a ninja)?
So, about 30 minutes into our visit, Spencer runs up the stairs screaming. No reason for alarm just yet. It's probably a small scratch, or maybe he fell down. Oh wait, you're having trouble ripping the packing tape from your hair? Yep, this one's going to hurt.
"Now tell me one more time why you wanted to wrap your head in tape?"
"Regan did it!"
"Spencer told me to?"
"We wanted to be ninjas!"
"Oh. Of course. Do you feel like a ninja now, tough guy?"
In the end, I had to overpower him and rip it off his head as fast as I could. He told me it was the worst thing that has ever happened to him in his whole life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An Apple a Day....

or maybe fifty a day is what you'd need to eat to finish off this load.
A group of five of us got together yesterday to do applesauce. Twelve hours and 900 lbs of apples later, we had over 200 quarts of applesauce. We also saved some of the applesauce to make fruit leather with.
We had 3 camp stoves running plus the stove in the house. It was quite the process. I was completely wiped out by by the time I went home, around 9:00, but it didn't end there. I was canning applesauce in my dreams most of the night.
We were all grateful to Ivie (who bought all the apples) for volunteering her home for complete and utter destruction. There were, at times, up to 15 kids running loose, and every time the rest of us looked around at the mess, we were silently giving thanks that it wasn't one of our homes. That's when I decided there are advantages to having a small home. Nobody wants to cram 5 women and 15 kids into my home for a canning project. We're heading back there today to try and repair some of the damage.
Overall, it really was fun. It was nice enough to do most of the work outside and it was nice to have the company while working. And of course, it was nice to have the mess somewhere else (sorry Ivie).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treating around Grandma's house went over rather well. I can't wait for their bedtime so I can begin my raid of the chocolate. They'll never know the difference. All they care about are the suckers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Catching Up

After my last post and the period of time that followed, perhaps you thought I'd been checked into the local mental institution. It was either that or check myself into my parents house. I chose my parents house.
We brought Jason up to the airport on the 25th and then came up here (North Ogden) to my parents. After 5 days, I've only just begun to start enjoying my vacation because I had some kind of stomach flu for 4 days. Jason had the same thing up there in Washington. We're both feeling better. I'm just waiting for it to hit the rest of the family. Probably just in time for our drive home.
Saturday night we had our annual Halloween dinner. Every year my Mom puts this dinner on for us. Saturday morning she blocks the kitchen off with sheets and spends all day cooking for the dinner. When it's time to eat, we're each given a menu with 15 items such as- giant monster toes, bat eyes, sliced carcass and witch's brew-to name a few. There are 3 courses to the meal-5 items per course. We fill out the menus, turn them in and then the fun begins. On your first course you may have unknowingly ordered your spoon, fork, knife, napkin and drink. At the end of the course it is all taken away before the next course, so you would end up eating the rest of your meal with no utensils. It's a lot of fun. It's been a tradition in our family for over 20 years.
After the dinner, all the kids (and dogs) get dressed into their costumes so that we can take pictures.

All the kids in their costumes, complete with one pimp dog and one hippie dog.
Uncle Steve supervised the carving of the pumpkins.



Thank goodness for family-especially when you're sick! My Dad took the older boys on long hikes two days in a row. He also took them shopping. They love shopping with Grandpa. This time they scored new bats, balls and mitts as well as pumpkins and new haircuts.
My mom took them miniature golfing and to a corn maze. She also took care of all the kids when I needed to be in bed or, um, in the bathroom for extended periods of time.
Much better than being sick at my own house!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Today in conversation with some friends, the definition of insanity was brought up: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Well, I think this qualifies- everyday I put Benjamin down for a nap, and everyday I expect him to sleep for AT LEAST ONE HOUR! Yet, everyday I put him down, and everyday he's awake in TWENTY MINUTES! There you have it! I can officially declare insanity. What one year old sleeps for only TWENTY MINUTES!
I just had to get that out.
On a different note, I thought this was funny. Last night, after Regan and Spencer had gone to bed, they came upstairs arguing (something we've become very accustomed to).
"Spencer's keeping me awaaaake! He won't stop singing!"
"Well, Regan Keeps telling me to sing in my head, but I can't hear it when I do that!"
Oh, the joys of children! I guess it's time for me to get off the computer and go get Ben. It doesn't sound like he's going back to sleep.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The new garbage man

Ben's new favorite pass time is to throw away anything he can get his hands on. Our spice cabinet is conveniently located right next to the garbage can. Salt & Pepper anyone? Just check the garbage...




2 Weeks

Jason never thought this day would come. After almost 8 years, it's official. He gave the Leavitt's his 2 weeks. Our boys think he crazy. After all, he gets paid to play in the dirt.
So what are the big plans? He flies to Washington on the 25th to frame his Dad's house. He should be gone about 6 weeks, give or take.
When he gets back he'll be doing fireplace maintenance and hopefully just handyman jobs on the side. He'll be starting school in January. SUU now has an Outdoor Rec degree that he's interested in. That should take him about 2-2.5 years.
Basically, we have no idea where these next couple of years will take us, but we feel like it's the right thing to do and I'm sure it will work out.
For those of you who are wondering, I'll be back in Cedar on the 30th. You can call me to schedule meals to be brought in, or to arrange to take my kids from me. But really, I'm not too worried. I'm surrounded by great friends who already take good care of me, and my Mom will probably make it down a time or two, which will be great.
It's been an eventful few weeks (with only one anxiety attack along the way). We're excited, and a little anxious, to see what the next few years bring. Thanks to all our friends and family who are helping us get there.