Friday, December 16, 2011

Ward Christmas Party

This was our first Ward Christmas Party as a new ward (our ward was split over the summer), so no one quite knew what to expect. The only building available that we thought would be large enough was the university stake center. Come to find out, the gym was not a full size gym, not even close to full size and they only had round tables. It was a bit tight. Actually, it was a lot tight. So tight, in fact, that I didn't even attempt to wade my way through the sea of people to get to the dessert table. I never miss dessert. It was that bad. Although the elderly lady sitting next to me, who brought her own meal, offered me her jell-o for dessert. I politely declined. But I digress. My job at this party was the decorations. Now, I'm no decorator. I'm not even crafty, really. So how do you decorate 30 (round) tables for under $50? Lots of cheap wrapping paper and friends who are smarter than I am.

I thought they turned out really nice. It even looks like there might be enough space to move about, but trust me, after packing 250 people in there, there was no going anywhere.

So the decorating, which took all afternoon, was only the beginning of the fun. I realized about 15 minutes before the party started that no one really knew what was going on and everyone assumed that I was in charge. Does the Relief Society President always have to be in charge? Apparently. I had no idea what to do, I had already done my job. I finally gave up and just started telling people what to do. I really wanted to just sit down with my kids. Jason had to work, so I was trying to keep my kids in control as well as answering everyone's questions. Crazy. Finally, it came together and the food was served.
Shortly after dinner, when the primary was supposed to be getting ready for the program they had prepared, we found out that Santa was on a tight schedule and needed to get started now. It was then that it was realized that the bags of Santa treats for the kids had been left at our church in the clerk's office. The Bishop made a mad dash to retrieve the goodies while the kids lined up to see Santa. Because there was no stage nor extra room of any sort in the gym, Santa sat in the foyer, which caused all the older people to assume that the party was over.

Santa wasn't the friendliest, nor the most realistic Santa I've ever met. And if you can tell from the look of skepticism on Ben's face, the children were not entirely convinced. Ben later asked whether he was the "real" Santa because he wasn't wearing glasses and he didn't have a Santa bag. He also went outside to check the roof for his sleigh and reindeer. And when he saw him leave in a car (gasp), that sealed the deal. He was not the "real" Santa.

Weston, however, was oblivious. He may of thought the whole thing a little weird, but as long as he comes away with some candy (which didn't arrive until well after sitting on Santa's lap, so he probably didn't even know the two were connected), he's happy.

After Santa left and the kids were running crazy around the building, the poor Primary President tried gathering them all together for their performance. The song leader had to leave earlier, so the Primary President had to lead the music as well. Again, because there was no stage, we opened the curtains into the chapel so the kids would have somewhere to stand. Most of the ward had already left by now, and they had started to put away tables and chairs, but everyone stopped for a few minutes to watch the program. I think they did a good job, given all that had gone on.
It was a crazy night, but we're taking good notes for next year. The food was good and the kids always have a good time, no matter what. The older people? I'm not so sure, but at least everyone got a free meal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Climb On

Every so often, the kids get to miss a day of school for some one on one time with their dad. First he took Regan to climb Leopard Skin in Snow Canyon. I'm not sure about the details, but I believe it's a 4 pitch route with a combination of sport and trad climbing.

Here's Regan after the climb, showing from a distance where they climbed.

Jason took Spencer to a place near Cedar called The Cone. He was a little jipped in the picture department. This was the only picture that they got. They took mostly video, but I've been having trouble getting my videos to upload.

They both love their outings with their dad, and they're both pretty sure they have the coolest dad in town. I'm pretty sure they're right.


This year I decided to throw a Halloween party and let the kids invite a friend. They stayed at their friends' house until everything was ready. When they got home, we had the lights off, candles lit and the fog machine going. For dinner we served Jack O Lantern grilled cheese, Halloween pasta salad, worms, goblin mouths, and of course dead hands floating in the beverage.
After dinner, a showing of the old Legend of Sleepy Hollow cartoon, followed by Halloween bingo and a million light sticks flying around, pretty much pure chaos. It was fun.

Jason and I even dressed up. Me, a witch, which my kids quickly informed me that a witch is the chosen costume for every mother. I guess it just comes natural to most of us. Jason...I'm not really sure there's a name for his costume, but it's what you dress up as when you decide 5 minutes before the party that you want to wear a costume. Crazed, bug-eyed, bloody cowboy guy? Maybe?

Dessert- Oreo bats, Oreo pumpkins, Nutter Butter ghosts and zombie marshmallows.

We always have fun decorating for Halloween, but we especially went all out this year. I didn't take pictures of all the decor, but the kids had the most fun making all these potion bottles. Luckily, several months earlier, Jason had brought home all these cool liquor and wine bottles from the recycling plant just knowing we would someday need them. And to think I ever doubted.

Here's a shot of all the grand kids at my mom's for her annual Halloween party. Yes, the unique...duct tape guy, is Regan. He came up with that one all on his own, all the way down to the duct tape shoes.

This was Halloween evening, on the way to the largest trunk-or-treat we have ever been to. A whole stake center parking lot filled with cars. The kids seriously scored. Which means I seriously scored because the little kids never seem to miss their chocolate.

Still Pretending

It's been a long while since I've posted anything about Spencer's uhh... creative side. You may have been wondering weather he's still in the business. Rest assured, it is still an almost daily occurrence. Often, he still dresses up as something or someone, but this recent creative moment didn't require costume.

I came downstairs to find that Weston's bedroom had been turned into an office. A principal's office. I quickly learned that it's not okay to just walk right in to the principal's office, unannounced. I had to call the phone number on the door for an appointment. The secretary must have stepped out of her office.

That boy looks like trouble to me. I can only imagine. No wonder he spent the entire afternoon in the principal's office.

Hard at work. A principal's job is never done. Keep at it, Mr. Murray, someday it might just pay off.

Wood Fired Oven

Over a year ago, the director of The Homestead Museum (or whatever it's called now) approached Jason about building them a wood fired oven similar to his pizza oven. Jason gave him a bid, but they didn't have the funding to do it. Last spring they finally got the money, so Jason got started on the oven.

This picture below is right after he got it put into place. The oven was poured at home in our garage in sections and moved over the the museum to be finished.

After many, many hours and more time and money than we thought it was going take....

the finished product! I think it turned out awesome. It's WAY bigger than our oven. I could lay inside of this one. The roof was the project of an Eagle scout.
Even though it turned out to be more of a donation than a money maker, he learned a lot by doing it and the community can enjoy it for years to come, probably mostly for baking breads. And it's pretty cool to have a piece of Jason's work in a museum!


Oh, where to start when you haven't blogged in 5 months. I guess birthdays should be at the top of the list. I've missed two birthdays and I'm a little too lazy to put them in separate posts, so poor Ben and Regan will have to share their day in the spotlight.
Ben turned 5 back in September and although his birthday falls well before Halloween, all the stores are preparing for it seemingly months ahead, so it was only natural for him to want a Halloween birthday. I also might have made a few suggestions to him, because this Jack O Lantern cake was probably one of the easiest decorated cakes I've ever made, and "easy" is a qualification for pretty much everything on my to do list these days.

Of course, the party was easy too. Our friends, the Dotson's came over. We hung a pinata from the tree, which Regan decapitated with one swing, but not before all the younger kids took their best shot. Then, on to opening presents and eating cake, which pretty well covers it.

Ben is a lot of fun. He's at the age where he wants to know everything, asks a ton of question, loves to cuddle, wants to do everything his older brothers do, loves to wrestle and most of all loves to eat! We love you Ben!

Regan turned 12 in November. He'd been looking forward to this birthday for a long time. We didn't do anything to celebrate on his actual birthday, but we celebrated in parts. At the last minute we decided to celebrate the day before his birthday because we had to work on his birthday. He invited a few friends, I made his favorite cake- fruit cocktail cake, and they watched a movie.
On Sunday, he was ordained a Deacon, which was very exciting for him. He's been loving every minute of passing the sacrament, attending mutual and going on scout camp-outs.
The week after his birthday, we took him out to eat and to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, which is what he really wanted to do more than anything, but of course it had to wait until after his ordination. We were able to round up a few family names to use and Jason baptized him. It was a great experience.

Star Wars Legos from grandma, which have provided hours of entertainment.
And a longboard, which has also provided hours of entertainment, but is much harder on the pants and knees.

It's been fun to watch Regan mature into a young man. He enjoys everything he's involved in- with the exception of house work, he's reliable and responsible, he does well in school, and is a good example and big brother to his brothers. We love you Regan!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Cake Nightmare (and Weston's birthday)

Weston had his 3rd birthday on May 9th. How did it get to be the end of July already? I can't believe how bad at keeping up I am. Better late than never.
Weston had been telling me he wanted a dinosaur cake for his birthday, but I succeeded in talking him into a snake cake instead. Way easier cooler, I told him.
He didn't like it. But not because it wasn't cool. Because he was scared of it, or of any other cake for that matter.

A few weeks before his birthday, one night, several hours after Weston had gone to bed, he came running up the stairs screaming, "The cake is coming, the cake is coming!". He was shaking and crying and obviously very terrified of the cake that, in his mind, was in hot pursuit.
Now, I don't know, my nightmares have never included food. If I were to have a nightmare about a cake, it would most likely be me chasing the cake and not being able to catch and eat it. Now that would be a reason to cry. At any rate, he was scared and would not believe me when I told him that cake is our friend. Our very good friend. Hours later, when he had calmed down enough to return to bed, all he could say was "Don't get frosting on your face mommy". Hmm...I really wish I could have seen that dream.
Over the next few weeks, he kept talking about "the cake", but didn't seem to be as frightened. In fact, he told us that he was no longer scared because whenever the cake came for a late night visit he would just eat it. Smart boy. Problem solved, I guess.
Fast forward to his birthday. He was taking a nap when I decorated the cake, so when I excitedly presented it to him later, he stood very quietly looking at it and left the room without a word. He kept his distance all night and wouldn't even touch the piece of cake we put in front of him. Oh well, more for me.
Otherwise, he seemed to have an enjoyable birthday. I think it's now well behind him because he's back to eating cake. Now if I could just get him to have a nightmare about candy and marshmallows, life would be much easier.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Mom, you did it all! You successfully raised 5 children ( 4 unruly boys and 1 sweet, thoughtful daughter).

You made 3 meals a day. Real meals too. The only time we had cereal was on Saturday morning. How did you do it? My kids have cereal at least half the week for breakfast and maybe a time or two for dinner too, depending on how crazy my day is.

We were well dressed. I mean really, how many moms have a sense of style like that? Those pants were awesome!

You always kept the house clean and neat. Although green shag probably helps keep certain things hidden.

You always made our birthdays special with your specialty cakes and parties. That's something I've tried to do for my own children.

You made all our Halloween costumes. I don't care what all the boys say about it, those costumes were cute!

You taught me to sew. Or at least you tried. And some of it I still know how to do.

You planned and budgeted every year for a family vacation. That was in the days before the internet and you actually wrote the Chamber of Commerce in the areas we visited before hand and had everything planned and organized long before we all piled into the station wagon for our vacation.

You bar-hopped.
Oh wait, that was just a photo shoot on your annual vacation with your sisters. I'm glad you got some well deserved vacation time away from all of us once in a while.

You wrote helped us write our many reports and school projects.

You went to and supported us through many many music recitals, dance recitals, games, etc etc....

You faithfully planned FHE lessons every week. The ones we spent at the State prison were especially memorable.

You spent hours and hours and hours sewing me this dress for the Jr. High dance. Even though I clearly didn't know how to do my hair at that age. Or maybe that was just the style? That's what I tell myself anyway.

With 4 sons, you spent hours and hours at scouting events learning the "round of applause" and "watermelon cheer" among many other cheers and applauses that have no doubt been useful in your day to day life.

You still took us on family vacations and other outings even when we (by "we" I mean my brothers) were obnoxious know-it-all teenagers.

You kept a journal for each one of us. On a TYPEWRITER!
You always held a calling in the church in which you've always done an excellent job.
You took time to play with us.
I could go on and on.

Mom, you really did do it all. And I don't know how. I don't do half as well or half as much as you did. Somehow, you made it look a lot easier than it is, because now I know-IT'S NOT EASY!

I appreciate you. I love you. I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day.