Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting the mail in December...

I love to get Christmas cards from family and friends.  I'm sure I'm like most people during this time of year -anxiously waiting to see what new greetings were delivered that day.  I love getting them from friends and family that I don't get to see that often, to see their kiddos, and feel the love.

So it is probably only fair that I reciprocate and finally get ours sent out after sitting here for 2 weeks.  Officially, our Christmas card is in the mail.  This year is really interesting.  After searching the database for a usable family picture, I came up completely empty handed.  Usually they only included 4 out of the 5 of us or one of the kids was gazing off, but the majority of all of our pics this year have this annoying yellowish tint or they are blurry.

I really tried to find a decent one, but finally decided to just use individual pictures of all of us.  The only card options (because I'm cheap) for a 4 picture card were very, very slim.  There was one choice.  So...the card is out, photography and aesthetics are less than desirable, but ultimately I still like the card because we are all happy in each picture and I think that's important.

The complete upside to all of this is that we got a killer new camera. I guess I complained enough that "our camera sucks!" as I was looking through all of the pictures for the year.   We'll keep our little digital point and shoot, but it's probably not going to get much face time anymore.   Hopefully we'll have better luck this year with all the photogs and have a bounty to choose from next year.  I'm excited to learn how to use our new toy- we have a nice dsl camera already, but the problem is that it uses that stuff our kids will only see in museums in a few  It's funny how used to technology you become and what once was the norm now seems simply archaic to use.  Not having unlimited shots (either 24 or pick) or being able to view immediately what you just took,  needing to have film on hand, dealing with negatives if you want to reorder.  It's sort of funny to think how much it has changed and how our kids will never know the excitement of wondering (and waiting) to see what is on that forgotten roll of film that you are finally taking in to get developed.  I'm excited to experiment this year, take a few classes, and become the awesome self-appointed Westenskow family photographer that I always knew was somewhere deep down inside of me, just bursting to break free!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Becks singing Bieber

I found this recording on my phone...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When You, I feel, Because....

Ethan has learned the art of making his feelings known while still being pleasant through writing.  Here are a couple of notes he's given me.  
Dear: Mom  I love you so so much.  You just don't like anything I make you.  Like the plant I gave you for mother's day.  Don't worry about it.  It's dead.

and then

Dear: Mom  I love you so much.  You are so cute.  You can be rude some times.   I'm going to hide  Don't try to find me at home.
love:  Ethan

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out of the vomiting mouths of babes...

So instead of school, today we are sitting here on the couches watching Cartoon Network, all 3 of my kiddos and I, because they all are throwing up.  Together.  It's awesome!
I said to them that tomorrow was Grandma Cherie's birthday, to which Ethan says, "Man, they sure do grow up fast!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mision Cumplida Chile!

As a self-proclaimed news junkie I have been extremely unproductive today watching the 33 Chilean miners being rescued. I love this stuff! It is about time we see something that is bringing so many people together, thanking God for the miracle, and everyone giving thanks and credit to others for making it possible. People showing leadership and ingenuity and above all humility and support and working together. I love this story for that reason alone- it shows what can be accomplished when people work together for the betterment of those besides themselves. Working as a team, unified and with faith.
I am completely inspired watching the reunions of the at-once-thought-dead miners with their spouses and loved ones. It makes me want to be better. To remember that nothing else in life is more important than the relationships we have with others. Awesome!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Doin' the Dew!

Today as I was checking-out at the necessary evil I like to call Walmart, I heard a lady behind me walking with a little boy as she was chanting out these words to a catchy little rhythm ....
Graamma-needs-her-Mountain-Dew.......Graammma-neeeds-her-Mountain-Dew......Grammma -needs-her-Mountain-Dew.  And they raced over to the little mini fridge at the check-out, and Gramma got her Dew.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grandpa Hair

"Dad, you have grandpa hair.  Because it's silver.  It's not REALLY grandpa hair.  It just looks like it."
 - Beckham, age 4 driving in the car with his daddy

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Belly Ache

Beckham told me yesterday morning that he wasn't feeling well.  He said his tummy hurt and that he needed to lay down on the couch and watch Curious George.  So we did.  He asked me to lay by him, so I did.  Then he said, sort of nonchalantly, "Mom.  Last time when Ethan was sick Dad bought him a box of doughnuts and they didn't make him throw up. Actually, they made him feel BETTER!"
Honestly, the kid must be losing his edge because he couldn't even finish the sentence without smiling.  He could see I was onto him.  But Mom is no sucker.  Dad is usually no sucker, either.  But if doughnuts are involved, all bets are off and he would have been out the door asking the 4 year old if he wanted cream filled or jelly.  Good thing Dad was out playing golf that morning.  Good thing! (ok, so maybe I AM  the sucker after all...)
I'm really not a jaded golf widow.  He's pretty darn good to me, and I know it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What you do in New York at 1:00 am if you aren't clubbin' it.

New York was completely fabulous.  But one of my favorite memories is of my sis-in-law Kirst and I coming back to the hotel, completely exhausted, and yet staying up to watch Antoine on you tube, laughing 'til it hurt and hurt some more. I'll post more about our trip, but enjoy this first!
Just for the record  - if you haven't already seen it, this was an actual news story.  The remake they did at the end is just for more fun if you can take it, home boy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Change of Subject

After coming home from church one Sunday, I asked Beckham how his day was.  I said to him, "Becks, how was primary today?"  to which he replied, "Don't you mean, Don't you want to make me some cake?"

Today he told me that I was so lucky that I got to go with Auntie on my own trip to YOU NORK.  That's right, You Nork or bust this weekend, baby!  Wicked tickets all booked and I can hardly wait...!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

For all the moms out there....

This video was on MSN's home page today.  As a news junkie, I love to come across stories like this.   Stories that remind you of what is important and that God is wanting to help us and will deliver miracles sometimes.
Teary eyed for me.  Enjoy!

Click here:  Mom's Hug Revives Baby

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is what is capturing my attention right now...

I keep trying to steal away a half an hour or so before the kids get home from school or before I need to get dinner or before I shower in the morning to read another chapter of this book.  I'm only 100 pages into it and it is as horrifying as much as it is inspiring.  I am shocked at how little I knew or was ever told about what took place during the cultural revolution in China.  I was a little hesitant to start it after my mother in law had lent it to me - I knew it would be difficult to read because of the nature of the material.  But it is filled with hope and perseverance with these stoic women at the core.  It has made me realize how much I take for granted.  Being able to have opinions, rights, and general safety.  Unbelievable book. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to School...

Look at the smiles on those faces.....  If only that would last all year!  I came home from a run and we usually get the kids up at 7:00 to get ready.  It was 7:07 and Ethan was upstairs, eating breakfast, clothes on, backpack firmly attached and buckled on, and ready to go.  Eva is excited to go back, too.  She had accessorized, had her 50 lb backpack all ready, and magnets and stuff for her new locker. They got to meet their teachers at Back to School night the week before and they were ready.
School shopping on the other hand is about 75% done.  I fear buying pants for Ethan  and this is why:

These are Ethan's pants from school last year.  He has a favorite soccer move - the slide tackle - that he does whenever he gets the chance.  Everyday I'd pick him up from school and he'd have a new pair of pants with big holes ripped in the knees and grass stains all over them along with a guilty face, knowing he was going to have to deal with mom.   2 months into the school year, almost every pair we had bought looked like this.  What do you do?  He's a boy.  That's what boys do, according to his father.   

This pair of pants is quite extraordinary.  They were a little long on him so I rolled the cuffs up.  They were brand spankin' new to replace one of the torn knee pants we had bought a month earlier.  The first day...FIRST DAY...the damage had been done.  It was rainy and when his cuffs rolled down, he just kept-a-walkin and sheared away an inch of the hem.  Do they make disposable khaki pants out there?  Ya know, to last a day or so and then throw them away?  I'm gonna google it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here's a little ditty for you...

After sorting through both of my son's rooms with them, I am almost ready to tackle Eva's with her.  She is her own girl and has her own ideas of how her room should be.  Occasionally, we need to intervene.  When we were reading this morning, Becks grabbed this book on manners called Are You Quite Polite?  by Alan Katz and David Catrow.  All of the poems go along with familiar songs and remind me a little of Shel Silverstein. Anyway, here is one of the songs that is dedicated to all of the mom's that are scared to go into their children's rooms for fear of being swallowed up and lost forever.  Enjoy!

Try Being Neat
(to the tune of "America the Beautiful"...much funnier if you sing it....especially opera style)
Look in your room
Is it a mess
'Cause cleaning's what you dread?
And does it take a
For you to find your bed?

Try Being neat
It's quite a treat, 
And the best news is this:
Under that clump
Of clothes, that lump
Could be your baby sis!

Check your backpack
For last week's snack
It's prob'ly hiding there
Don't touch it, though
Because you know
Pudding should not have hair!

Try Being neat 
It's quite a feat
It's good to show you care
So organize
All of your underwear!

(Angie - those last two lines are for you!  I know you read this once in a while......)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


 With all of the kiddos back in school, my little Becks Man is on my heels all day.  Today, he is literally on my heels because he is crawling around the house on all fours acting like a new puppy and only responding by barking or whimpering. It was funny for a few minutes - but I think this kid could go on for hours.  Let's hope something else sparks his interest!
Speaking of sparking his interest  - Beckham declared to me his future occupations yesterday.
When he grows up, he is going to be: a dog trainer, a train engineer, and a singer.  

Interesting mix, but it seems to incorporate all of his favorite things.  Shoot for the Stars kiddo!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chris Isaak. May I swoon for a minute here?

Ok.  I have a little crush. Kerry and I had tickets to see Chris Isaak  at Red Butte Gardens Tuesday night.  One of this summer's highlights, hands down.  He put on an incredible show.  He is all sorts of retro-cool and full of absurdities with a fantastic live band.  He is almost impossible to classify or describe. He had me at his bright yellow sequined suit he wore as he walked out on stage for the first time.  Not many people can pull off a suit like that, but he can.  I could have listened to him play all night and woo us all with his wit and charm.  Smooooth like buttah, this boy.   I started listening to him in college and I love his voice - the high falsettos and the low low baritones.  But I had no idea what a great performer he was in the flesh or how devilishly, genuinely funny he was.
 Fantastic venue, too.  Red Butte is one of my favorite places to see live music because you are right up in the foothills.  It's low key and a little more of an intimate setting.  The place was packed...completely sold out.  
Kerry originally wanted to see his "girlfriend" Natalie Merchant who played last week.  He's always had a little thing for her when she was with 10,000 Maniacs.  Well, I dragged him to this instead.    But he'll be the first to tell you he completely underestimated this guy.  His voice was phenomenal.  Kerry and I had so much fun.   Mr Isaak and his band looked like they were having so much fun.  Maybe that was what was so great about it -cool and confident, charmingly delightful Mr. Isaak knew how to put on a good show and make it look easy....and totally rocked.  Rockabilly, baby!
Kerry doesn't believe me, but the other guy that is similar in take-you-by-surprise-understated-charm is Lyle Lovett.  That man puts on one amazing show with his 'Big Band' in tow.  The full sections of the drums, brass, and strings - you get it all.    See him once and you'll become a fan.  Better yet, see both of these shows and you can thank me later :) 

Friday, July 30, 2010


Real Men, according to my 8 year old, don't wear shirts to bed.  They just don't.  He's also got the 4 year old on board as well, and we now lovingly refer to them as The Shirtless Wonders. Formerly, Ethan was also known as The Toothless Wonder - 4 years of missing front teeth needs a special title from their father.


Did you know that Real Men also carry purses?  Yep.  This one in particular was a clever attempt to disguise a toy train that the 4 year old knew his dear mother would not purchase for him at the store.  He asked for it, begged and pleaded for it, was repeatedly told no, and then told me that he would walk down "this aisle" and for me to walk over on "that aisle" and that we'd meet at the front of the store.  Upon our meeting, Little Man is holding a new little gold purse and says, "Ok. Let's go!"and he looks at me wondering if he was just about to pull off the biggest heist in his 4 year history.

But being the supersmart mom that I am, I am not easily fooled by his trickery.
"Becks, You know that if you take that train out of the store that would be stealing and they'll put you in jail?"  "Do you want to go to jail?" I say sweetly.
No response.  This picture from my phone was captured just seconds away from total destruction.  I saw his little fingers begin a death grip onto the bag.  His face shows the dilemma he is battling.  But apparently he's not afraid of going to jail, because at this point he was fixed and immovable.  Nothing was going to get that train out of his hands.
After all attempts at negotiations had failed, I told the sales clerk that it was about to get ugly and that I was just going to have to hand her the looted train and grab the 4 year old in a football hold and head for the car.  (I've done this before, you see.  I knew exactly what was coming.  I know any mean mom can relate.)
He began what was truly an amazing tantrum.  One for the books.  I didn't know he had it in him!  It's been a couple of years since I have seen something so well executed - I was almost wondering if he had passed that phase.  But this must have been his last stand.  He kicked, screamed, stomped his feet spinning in circles at the same time wailing like a maniac while I was trying to open the car, and basically put his best effort into escaping from his car seat.
After an exhausted 10 min, we finally left the parking lot and he began his verbal threats.
"Mom.  I am not living with you anymore!!"  He screamed, to which I sugary sweetly replied, "But Becks, I'll miss you!  Can I at least come visit you?"
"NEVER!!"  He yelled ferociously.  This kid was ticked.
"I'm going to mess up your room!!"   "I'm going to break your bike!!"  The threats continued for almost an hour before the little guy finally tuckered out and fell asleep back at home.  When he woke up, he was all loves and kisses.
Real Men and Little Boys simultaneously co-existing in the same little bodies.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Easy Parenting 101:  
Summer Baths for the kiddos

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'd Like You To Meet My Mysteriously Misguided and Mischievous Mini Me, Myrtle.

Mini Me Myrtle is driving me nuts.  She won't  leave me alone this summer and she has completely messed up my M.O.  It's like she is a dark rain cloud that keeps following me around and is rather quite stubborn and obnoxious. Very annoying.  Let me tell you why.
This has become the summer of Bad Habits.  Mini Me Myrtle has a simple strategy.  Destroy any and every good habit that I have worked so hard to develop.  Quite evil, yes?
The idea was planted over a year ago.  I was at a friends house one morning around 10am.  Her daughter was just coming upstairs and my friend told her good morning.  Good morning?  It's 10 O Clock.  My kiddos are all up by 7am every morning.  How I would love to have a few hours in the morning to get stuff done!  She said that because the rooms in the basement were so much darker, her kids sleep quite late.  Wow!  We were finishing our basement at the time and I couldn't wait to test this out this summer.  Well guess what?  It totally works.  
In fact, we started sliding a little on bed times at the beginning of the summer.  What once was 8:30 or 9:00pm, became 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30......Crazy late, but we knew that they would sleep in until 10 or so the next day.  That's still 10 hours!!  So I let it slide, and slide it did.
As the hours got later and later, I was going to bed later and later. Instead of waking up ready to run, I woke up really unmotivated.  Although my kids were sleeping later, I wasn't getting much accomplished in those early hours.  It was as if I needed their driving force to get me going.
So 10am wake up turned in to 11:00 breakfast, 12:00 finally getting out of pj's and then the next 2 hours playing the mean chore mom.  The day was half over and we're just getting started!  Simple fix was to get them to bed earlier.  This has become the most evasive task yet.  It had become a habit.  A bad habit that was not easy to change. It's kinda like when your car is stuck in a rut, your wheels are spinning and you're trying to get out, but you don't move anywhere.  You keep thinking, "Just gain some traction and kick in, you dumb tires! This isn't rocket science!" You finally get agitated enough that you call in for some help and have others give you a push. But the whole process is not quick  - and therein lies the frustration.
Kids not getting enough sleep is nightmarish.  They fight, whine, and complain.  Which makes Mom extremely unpleasant.  So unpleasant, that Mom had finally had it with the 8 year old whining when she told him to "Get off the wii!" for the millionth time and ultimately unhooked the entire system and told Ethan he was done with it for the summer.  The ENTIRE SUMMER!  It has been 4 days, and I am happy to report that the said 8 year old is still alive and the earth did not stop spinning.  Who knew?

This has just become my summer so far.  Everything I've done to create a healthy, mentally stable me over the years has been replaced by Mini Me Myrtle's masterminded ideas.  I used to get up and run every morning or go to the gym.  I've been doing this for years.  I can count on my 2 hands how much this has happened this summer.  I've woken up tired, decided I needed to sleep more than to run, and every day this just got easier and easier. I've been a little unmotivated to blog.  Not sure why, because I really like having this connection, but the desire just hasn't been there.  Gardening?  Not quite wanting to anymore.  Cleaning my house?  I need to, but really don't have any drive to do it.  Doing the daily dishes?  Biggest task ever.  Reading?  Usually love it.  Can't seem to get interested in any book.  Traveling?  Eh..don't really feel up to planning anything.  But the really weird thing that Myrtle has done to me is mess with my water skiing.  Everything seems off-kilter and that was not left off her list.  Up at Bear Lake last week I tried, unsucessfully 10-12 times to get up out of the water on a slalom ski.  I've waterskied for the last umpteenth years, usually getting up on the first try.  But now, Nada.  It was like my body had forgotten how to do it.  Kerry was sort of laughing and a little confused, wondering what in the world was wrong with his wife in the water.  I started to wonder if I was done - if 35 was the magic number that would be the end of doing something I really love.  I never got up that day.    It was like riding a bike but getting on and falling over everytime.  So I'd say to myself, "Wow, that was weird.  Must be a fluke."  And get on again and fall over.  Repeating 15 - 20 times.  
I tried again the next day.  No go for about 5-6 times. Finally I broke the curse and was up on top of the water and was skiing again.  I yelled out in a mighty Hallelujah and told Mini Me Myrtle, "In your face!!"
This post was really for no other benefit than my own, but I appreciate being able to rant a little.  I've got to address this issue and start making some changes around here, and usually writing it out gives me some accountability to stick with it.
I'm happy to report that Mini Me Myrtle has plans to be leaving, quite quickly I hope.  And that's a good thing, because I'm sick of her.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Growing pains.

Today at church Becks' teacher, Sister Stuart,told me that the usually well- behaved- answer all the questions -child of mine was a real stinker!  She said it was like he traded places with one of the usual troublemakers, but he was entertaining her so she decided to let him live.   She wrote the word "reverence" on the board to which one of the little girls, the usual troublemaker, says, "That's not a real word"  Beckham looked at his teacher and said with more attitude than I can write, "Yeah, that word means Blah to me." or rather Buuuulllllaaaahhh.  He then said ,"Sister Stuart..are you smiling at me?  I see a smile"
 He makes me laugh every day, but lately I feel like he has turned a little corner that I am not too happy about.  It's the 'I'm going to be a total rebel and do anything and everything you don't want me to do and look at you like 'what are you going to do about it' corner.  He told Kerry the other day, "Yeah, well you can ground me, but you can't catch me!"
(I'm trying not to fast forward 10 years to see how this behavior might repeat itself..)

As I look back a month or so ago, I can almost pin point the day he decided to take his life into his own hands.  He told us he was tired and the next thing we knew he had put his jammies on and put himself in bed.  When I went in, I couldn't believe what a big kid he was turning into.  He asked me to close the blinds and said matter of factly, "Good night mom."  I kissed him goodnight and let him sleep.  Later that night I went in to do a quick check on him before I went to bed and noticed the all too familiar smell of urine.  I followed my nose to the garbage can by his door and saw that he had decided to pee into his bedroom trash can rather than making the long walk to the bathroom 3 steps away.  He flat out denied it the next morning until he couldn't keep from smiling.
Total turkey.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quick shout out cuz I'm tired..

I think I took 3 pictures last night from Kerry's party, and they are on the old 35 mm film....long story.  Anyways, I'll have to post them later.  But just wanted to send out a big Thank You to all of you who came by- we had so much fun and Kerry 'Stick in the Mud' Westenskow felt very loved.
We had a great time and wish you all could have stayed longer!  We ended up on the deck talking with friends until almost midnight (and let our kids fend for themselves, running amuck in the neighborhood playing night games all hours of the night)  and then Kerry and I watched his gift from me - the movie of his fam and friends roasting him any way they could.  It was gut busting and he loved it.  Thanks for all of your help!!  We stayed up way to late  - 1:30am is killing me and I now need to get ready for Monday fun and I really just want to go back and sleep.  But had to send out lots of hugs for all who were able to be there or sent emails or videos.  We love you all! Thank you :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Y.E.S. is starting the fun early....

Kerry 'old man' Westenskow walked into this as he opened his office door this morning...
All of you in the office rock!  That's pretty funny - nicely done!

Dinner at 4:30. In bed by 7.

This week is baptism and 40th week.  Ethan is getting baptized and Kerry is turning 40.  40!  I'm still trying to come to terms with both of these...the fact that I have another 8 year old and that the 40th party I am planning is for my husband, not for my dad.  Aging is interesting.  It's like you are the last to know you are getting older.   I used to listen to people say "I really can't believe I'm 30/40/50/60/70....I still feel  20"  and I would think they were just being dramatic and making conversation.  But now I get that they were dead serious - that they were really trying to process  and come to terms with their age in their own minds.  In fact those are the words that are now coming out of my own mouth..."I can't believe I'm blah blah blah."
So anyway, we are celebrating big time again this week.  It's like the fun never ends around here - I just want someone else to be in charge.  Any free party planners out there?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Let. Me. Eat. Cake.

This week/weekend has been crazy busy, just like the entire month of May.  But it's all good stuff, so I want to do it all.
Wednesday:  all day field trip to the Uof U
Thursday:  kids soccer tryouts 5-8
Fri:  Ethan soccer / Kids Primary Activity / Ethan Scouts    Family bday party for Ethan
Sat:  Ethan soccer game / Brooke's baby shower / Eva's tumbling exhibition/ Ethan Party for Friends
Sun:  Dad's b-day celebration

All of the above (except the soccer and field trips) included rich, sugary, chocolatey, sprinkly, gumballed, yummy delicious cake and/or cupcakes.  And all of the above also included rich, frostingly, chocolatey, cold-from-the-fridge delicious leftover cake and/ or cupcakes.
I have no will power.  None.  None!  I've had cake for lunch and dinner and a late evening snack.
Just had to get that confession out there.  It wasn't like a dainty piece of cake here and there, either.  It was like 6 cupcakes and a big fat piece of chocolate cake eaten with a spoon out of the tupperware.  And that was just this afternoon.

I've analyzed this before - the lack of will power issue on sweets.  I think that what I am trying to do is eat the cake/chocolate that I am craving to an extreme so that I will eventually make myself sick to stop me from eating it.  Heaven forbid I use a little discretion or conscious eating practices!  Actually, now that I think about it...hormones could have something to do with it.  Yep.  It's not me.  It's the hormones, dang them!
As soon as I get out of my sugar stupor I'll have to post some of the fun stuff going on.  But until then...
I'm going to lick the batter from the beaters and from the spatula I used for the frosting, thank you very much.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

US History

Watch it Sunday Night!  

I think this is one of the best shows out there right now.  If you have seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about.  It is a great way to learn basic US history and quite entertaining.  Fascinating, really.
It is so well done and I look forward to it each Sunday night.  I could do without a few of the celebrity interjections, and I'm sure there is a political slant to it.  But I like the basic overview it gives.  It is a series of 6 episodes and goes through American History from the first colonies up to the present day.   My kids were completely captivated  by the Revolutionary and Civil War episodes, especially Ethan who has an affinity for World Wars and  US Presidents.  Ethan told me about a dream he had the other night of George Washington: Ethan was fighting for him and it somehow also incorporated our Tahoe as an escape car....go figure.  Anyway, the point is, this kid really is intrigued by history and all things military.  

I never liked history growing up.  It wasn't until after I had graduated from college that I found the correlation between God and Country in the Revolutionary War.  This fascinated me.  The British Army, the most powerful army in the world at the time, being defeated by a bunch of farmers loyal to their desire for freedom.  It wasn't supposed to happen.  It never should have happened.   But it did, and God's hand was all over it.  This changed everything for me and I had a desire to learn more.  Kerry's parents are extremely patriotic and over the years it has been amazing to hear the stories that his dad has told from his time of service as the chaplin for the state of Utah in the National Guard.   I loved reading 1776 by David McCullough  because it goes into so much detail about the role of divine providence and the leaders who knew that they were called to such a time as this.  Good men. Honorable men.  Men I want my kids to know.
With everything that is going on with our country today, Kerry and I were talking about how we could study parts of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence with our kids for family night.  It really is being diluted and I'm afraid that they are going to need to know it, far better than us, to maintain the freedoms we have in place.  We haven't been great at family nights, a little sporadic, and we could definitely be better.  But I like the idea of teaching them about God and country, freedom and agency.  I want my kids to understand what they have and all that is at stake.  And to know the sacrifices so many made on our behalf.  And to do what it takes to preserve these freedoms.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just Google it!

Technology is amazing.  Really, our kids are going to think we sound as ancient as the pioneers when we tell them how life was 'pre-internet'.  How we actually had to go to the library and look up subjects in large wordy books called Encyclopedias and sort through micro films to get articles from past newspapers.  If we wanted to take a vacation somewhere, you had to write to the local tourist bureau and have them send you informational brochures, then call a travel agent to see about what hotels to stay in and what they cost.  They'll think we are archaic when we tell them about the first time we had a 'car phone' (not a cell phone yet, it had to be plugged in to the lighter) that was as big as a brick.  How we actually had to make sure we were home or up at a certain time if we wanted to watch a specific show on TV, and that we used to actually write letters to see how people were doing. 
In the world they live in, information is just a few keystrokes away.  To prove my point as to just how powerful and all knowing the internet is in their minds, here is a google search that Eva put in to look for a new toy our family is getting.  

  Google search:
 every trampoline in the whole world for sale

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eva's Substitute Mom

So while I was at Women's Conference learning how to be a better mom, I missed Eva's Mother Daughter Activity Days Date.  The irony here is killin' me.
So just wanted to say thanks to my super duper sister Britter Critter who saved the day!  She was Eva's "stand in MOM" for the evening, and I think Eva was happy as a clam. 
Thanks Little Sister!

This Just In.......Breaking News

Prepare for like, really annoying tweenie talk:

Oh. my. gosh.  Oh. my. gosh.  Oh my gosh!  Don't be, like, totally jealous, but I just found out that
teen heartthrob Justin Bieber has the same birthday as, yours truly.  March 1.  Eva.Can.Not.Believe.It.
She found out while reading his unauthorized biography.  So it must be true.  So totally awesome!!  It must be a sign!

Aaaaagghhhh!  Are we really to this phase already?  She's got the Bieber Fever like every other girl in America and would love to become a tweenie groupie for Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber.  She just spent her reading tickets to buy a JB book and a JB CD.  The fantastic thing about this is that it also came with a free poster of the beloved Justin Bieber that she can plaster all over her walls.  Heaven help us!  And it's not just her.  Oh no. It is every friend from school, in the neighborhood, etc.  She and her friend Elisabeth just made a JB fan club poster.  It's pretty exclusive.

I guess it was about this time (4th grade) that I had a HUGE crush on this guy Michael Jackson.  You may have heard of him. My first love, really.  I specifically remember on my birthday getting a pencil box with his face plastered all over it and a large MJ poster that would hang in my room for subsequent years.  It was the pure Michael.  Pre nose job(s), skin lightening, Neverland)  The Thriller Days.

I'm sure my parents were just dying when I begged and pleaded for that poster.  But they gave it to me anyway.  Maybe they remembered how they felt about Elvis? haha  So I am going to try and remember what it feels like to be a 10 year old with a crush and let Eva just 'be'.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

'Sup Homies.'
Jack The Dog wants to tell you about a cool new website for your chitlans.  
It allows you to check by age and reading level for good book suggestions and other media, like movies, websites, etc.  It's a great resource for finding new books for the kiddos this summer.  You can add your kid's ages when you register and then it personalizes the picks for you.  Handy little tool, Fo Sho.
Peace Out.

Part Deux: Speaking the Lingo......Again.

Compare and Contrast:  

What is different about these 2 pictures - that should look exactly the same because they were taken only an hour  apart? 
Just after the weeding that the little 4 year olds decided to do to my garden, I went back inside and watched as they played in the sandbox and did little boy things.  All was well. Broccoli was dead, but all was well.
2 hours later
Becks mentions in the car as we are getting kids at school that he picked some flowers for the moms in Honduras.  I asked what flowers he had picked, to which he quickly said, "No. I mean I DIDN'T pick any flowers."  Hmm..  Suspicious  
Next Question:  
Why is there a red bucket hanging from my tree branch?


To keep the tulips safe that they picked to give to the moms over in Honduras.  All of them.  Each and every tulip that decided to light up my yard with color as the only sign that the bleak winter was coming to an end.  

We have been making little bead bracelets for Kerry to take on his trip to Honduras that they hand out to all the kids, and I guess Becks wanted to make his own contribution.
Honestly.  How do you get mad at a kid when he tells you he's picking flowers to take to the moms?

One year, all too soon, I am going to have all of my tulips blooming beautifully in my yard and wish I had a little 4 year old that would come back to pick them and hide them in a bucket for safekeeping.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Speak the Lingo

So when your 4 year old and his little buddies explain that they just weeded the garden for you, that is little boy code for:  We just went out and pulled up all of your new broccoli plants that you finally got in the ground yesterday and threw them all over the sidewalk.  Can we have some cookies?

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Money (eating) Tree

This tree in our yard was pulled out a month or so ago.
This was an expensive tree.
This was the subject of an important lesson.
This post may sound a lot like your mother. Or Grandmother. Or some other wise person.

When we moved in 10 years ago, there was this wild, itsy- bitsy, cute as a button, little tree that was only 5 feet tall growing too close to the fence. Adorable, really. It started to grow a bit.  And a bit more. And a bit more.  Oh the shade!  The privacy!  The lush greenery!
At the time, I could have reached over and plucked it out with my bare hands - like a lumberjack.
 But instead....
We ignored the neighbor that said, "One day that tree is going to have to go, it's too close to the fence!"  To which I thought seemed pretty certain, but still YEARS away.  Chillax, lil' neighbor!

So throwing caution to the wind, time went by.
Well 10 years happened.  It arrived.  Dang tree took us hostage.
It demanded payment in full.  And if not, it promised to rip up the fence, the neighbor's fence, and lift the cement foundation of the shed in the other neighbor's yard.

This tree removal process is not easy.
Or Cheap.
This cute little tree required us, my Uncle Mike, and a good friend to give up an entire Saturday to rebuild the fence it had broken up.
This itsy bitsy tree required us to break through the fence of the next door neighbor to get the huge bulldozer in.
This big, destructive bulldozer held a man in its claw as someone else raised it up and down for him to cut branches.
(This would have been a great commercial for workers comp on "What NOT to do.")
So here is the lesson ....

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Or in other words,  Nip it in the bud! Now.  While the nipin' is still good.

When someone advises you to 'Nip it in the bud', then nip it!  Nip it like it's goin' out of style.
That's it.  That's the lesson. In any area of life.  Do it. 

Tree removal :        $800
Fence boards:         $200
Lesson learned:   Priceless.
(an oldie but a goodie)

Monday, April 12, 2010

As Seen on TV - Tomatoes and Trysts

It happened upon a recent Sunday afternoon that Kerry and I came upon a rare, fortuitous moment that allowed for a little romantic tryst. (Anyone with kids knows, Ya gotta take 'em when you can!)
 With the kids completely enthralled in a movie, we headed into the bedroom, made sure the door was locked, and yada yada yada.....
Moving into the yadas, we heard a frantic pounding on our door.  It was the precocious little 4 year old, Becks.  "Mom!" (knock knock knock) "Mom!" (knock knock knock, knock knock knock)
Not knowing if we should play dead and see if he would scamper away or to try to appease him with the tried and true "we'll be out in just a minute, sweety, go watch your show" response, Kerry decided to oblige the persistent toddler.

Kerry: ( yelling  loud enough for him to hear out into the hall) "What do you need Becks?"
Becks:  "Not you, Dad.  I need Mom!"
Me:  (yelling loud enough for him to hear out in the hall)  "What do you need, Buddy?"
Becks:  "Come out here.  I need to show you something."
Me:  "Okay Becks.  I'll come see it in just a minute.  Go watch your movie."
Becks:  (frustrated and yelling so we can hear him)  "MOM!  You need to get this.  It's an upside down tomato plant grower.  You need to get it.  It's on the T.V. right now. It grows tomatoes.  You put the tomatoes in and then add garden soil and it just grows upside down. You Need To Get It!"

Sure thing there, Becks!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coming Home

Little road trip to Las Vegas last week with lots of sunshine made it really, really difficult to come back to this wintery wonderland.  I was digging in my heels, wanting to throw a tantrum, so I wouldn't have to come back to January.  It was a last minute decision, but perfect timing on Kerry's part - to get us out of Dodge just before winter decided to come back.  Nice, wonderful break with Auntie and the family, and our dear old friend, The Sun.

We stopped at In and Out Burger on the way home in St. George and ran into (almost literally as we pulled up behind their car and laid on the horn for good laughs) my dearie friend Kristin and her family.  She had already offered us the couch at the condo they are staying at before she left - we should have taken it.  All 5 of us, Kerry and I and our little chitlans, all sleeping on the couch together a few more nights sounds completely do-able.  Maybe a little hellish, but it would be worth it for a little more of Spring.

But alas, it looks as if the sun is going to show its face today.  Melt, snow, melt!  This is the only time you'll hear me say that, as I usually am a big supporter of the snow.  I like winter, love to ski, and try to enjoy it.  But I am ready.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I was just putting in a calendar appointment and I had a good little laugh, all by myself.  So I thought I would share.

What I typed into my phone was supposed to say :
 11:30 Appt. with Dr. Yeates.

But what it actually says, because the smart phone autocorrected the word 'Yeates' is:
 11:30  Appt. with Dr. Testes.

I wonder if I should reschedule?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Psycho Analysis

  We all have odd behaviors.  I'm the first to admit that I drive myself crazy.  However I do, in good faith, try and make an effort to systematically think through it to figure out WHY I do what I do.  If for nothing else,  I think human behavior is interesting.

  But this one is hard for me to identify as to the mentality or reasoning behind it.  Here is the issue:

 When reading articles - be it on the internet, in a magazine, informational booklets, etc,  I find myself starting at the end of the article.  And if I like what I've read, I'll move to the next paragraph above it, and so on and so on.  Many times I'll almost read 3/4 of the article backwards and wonder why I didn't just start from the beginning. This happens almost 9 out of 10 times.

Anyone else out there with this little irritating eccentricity?

 Or better yet,  anyone else out there that can tell me the psycho analysis behind it?  Is it because I'm impatient? Untrusting?  Arrogant - need to make sure it is worth my time?  Just extra cool?  That's probably it.  Any wise (or sarcastic) insight is gladly welcomed.  Any other weirdos out there?  Don't be shy.

p.s.  I also ritually crack all of my toes before I fall asleep, among other things.  But that's just a bad habit - no analysis needed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beckham did a little decorating in his room. 
(enlarge photo for full details)
For all you do-it-yourselfers out there, the only materials you'll need to get this same look for your own home are:
 *scotch tape
* a used Pencil
* and a little watercolor paintbrush.  

All of these items can be found in your kiddos backpacks or desk drawer.

Very minimalist, straight lines, very modern.  He has excellent taste.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ruprecht the Monkey Boy and I Are Tight.

Ruprecht!  Don't take the cork off the fork!
My conversation with the receptionist at the after hours clinic last night at 6:45pm:
After looking at my finger and grimacing, she asks:   How long has it been since your last tetanus shot?

Me:  Oh, a few months ago when I came in to get my other finger stitched up from losing a fight with the toilet.  Yeah. I'm covered.  

Tonight I am feeling a close kinship to Ruprecht.  I, too, should have kept a cork on the end of the knife I was using to de-pit an avocado while lovingly preparing the yummy black bean/red pepper avocado quesadillas for dinner.  I held the halved avocado in my hand, and (I think my blood sugar was running low, because, really,  this is not the smartest thing I have ever done) with my large paring knife drove the tip of the knife right through the skin of the fruit and jabbed it straight into my finger.  It was supposed to go into the pit and pop out, but instead it slipped on the pit and I de-fleshed myself, right there in the kitchen.  

Because it may have nicked a tendon, I am now beautifully ordained with this lovely "head gear" looking brace on my hand for the next 2 weeks. Oh, for the love!!

 I know.  I know.  I should have ordered out.  I agree.  Cooking is much too dangerous.  I'll remember that next time!

Now for some enjoyment, enjoy a little Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on me. 
 Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Oklahoma!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If you were a fly on our wall this week you would have heard this:

Sunday we were talking about horses and Ethan mentioned that when a horse breaks a leg, they have to shoot it.  Eva then said to us, "They don't really shoot the horses in the movies, though.  They just tie them up and then shoot another one."
Oh my - we rolled and rolled laughing so hard.  She then clarified, saying she meant that they would "shoot the other way, not another horse."  But we thought it was pretty funny the first time.  She will be really mad if I pass this along, so don't bring it up with her.  She's just so great and we love to tease her.

"It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you knowowow... "    Recognize this Lady Antebellum song that is playing almost non-stop on the radio right now?  I love it, so my kids have heard it a few times.  Well Ethan was singing it the other day and continued on to the second verse that says, "It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk and I need you knowwooww."  I thought, wow, the whole drunk thing is really not what I want my kid singing about.  So I said to him that maybe we shouldn't be singing that song.  He looked really confused and asked, "Why is it bad?"  And then started to sing it again,  "It's a quarter after one,  I'm a little TRUNK and I need you knowwowo....  A trunk mom, ya know, like a box or a treasure chest.  Why is that bad?"
Oh, you're right, Dude.  Just keep singing about that little trunk.

Last night we had family prayer and it was my turn.  Becks lookes at me and asks, "Mom, do you want me to help you say the prayer?  I'll help you, ok Mom?   Ok. You start."  He then walked me through our family prayer word-for-word, including blessing us that we can let our dog in the house who was barking and that we could all play together in the back yard.  When I was done he was so excited and said, "Good Job Mom!!  You did a good prayer!!" and gave me a big hug.  Those are the best ways to end the night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring is trying!
The first signs of life again...   I swear these little guys shot up overnight.     
Grow! Grow! Grow!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Smoochie Patrol

We have moved into a new phase in our family.  The phase where dad takes mom and gives her a big kiss, deliberately in front of the kids, just to get them to hide their faces and cry out, "EEWWW!!"  My parents did it to us as kids, Kerry's parents did it to him and his siblings, and here we are fulfilling our parental obligation to pass on the love.
Eva had the camera and snapped this great photog just as Ethan was running in the room, full speed to break us up.  Ethan has taken it upon him to proclaim himself as the "Official Smoochie Patrol."  When any display of affection occurs, the kids sound the alarm, yelling "Smoochie Alert! Smoochie Alert!" .  Ethan runs full speed from any corner of the house that he is in and barrels himself right into us, saying, "Alright. Break it up.  Break it up".  Using as much force as he can muster, he attempts to break us apart by squeezing himself between us.    All Ethan needs now is a clipboard and an orange vest leftover from the elementary school's hall patrol. 
We are such law brakers!  We are total Rebels.  Breakin' the law, all day long.  Laughing danger in the face of the hall patrol.  
We. Are. So. Incredibly. Cool.   One day our kids will know that, too! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Morning Chores

I am really trying hard to keep my kids consistent on their daily chores before school. So this morning as I was telling Ethan he needed to stop putting his papers in his backpack and come wipe down the bathroom, he gave me some sage advice. He said, "Mom. Maybe you don't know this, but a clean bathroom isn't as important as learning."
Dude, just get in here and wipe down the dang bathroom!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Here's the latest installment of "Bed Hair Gone Wild"
Ethan Westenskow