Saturday, June 30, 2007

Our Favorite Boston Picture!

As we were totally lost in Boston returning from Lexington and Concord on Wednesday, we were driving along the Charles River and came across this idyllic view of the city with the sunset. Surprisingly we were able to find a parking spot in the perfect place, so we could preserve the view in our memories. Our only regret is that we didn't stop one of the passing runners to take a picture. If Glen had been in it, there's a good chance you would see this picture again in your Christmas cards. Oh well!

FYI I think we're finally installing our new computer and upgrading to DSL (can you believe we've had dial-up internet this whole time?). I have no idea how long it will take me to get up and running again, but I may be off-line for a couple of days.

Boston Adventures Part 5: The Way Home

We heard stories about how delicious real Bostonian ice cream was, and being a family full of sweet tooths we decided that before we left we needed to sample some for ourselves. We made it a goal to go to a non-chain ice cream shop, so we could taste the real Bostonian deal. After a consultation with our hotel's concierge, we headed off to a real tasty sounding ice cream shop...JP Licks (doesn't the name sound like it would be a yummy place?).
After a long frustrating ordeal, getting checked out of our hotel and looking for a place to eat lunch first, we finally got to our destination, JP Licks. We excitedly ordered, collapsed into a booth, and began enjoying some delicious, creamy ice cream when we notice on the wall, all of the accolades the restaurant has received...in various cities. Darn it! Definitely a chain. Oh well, so we didn't get true Bostonian ice cream, it was still tasty, and as far as I know not in Virginia.
We had given each of the children an allotment of money to buy their souvenirs with. Adam, in particular, had a hayday with this and cheerfully frittered his allotment on a wide sundry of items to include: a penguin pen holder, a lobster magnet, a squishy Red Sox ball and bat, and a box of Scooby Doo Band-Aids. He carried his items with him everywhere and showed them off to anyone who would pay attention. Of course now that we're home I'd be shocked if he knew where any of them are.

We got out of Boston a little later than we hoped and got caught in the afternoon rush hour leaving Boston. Finally free of Boston we got caught in an awful NYC back-up. What should've been an 8 hour trip became 11 hours...bringing us home at 2am.

The kids all sacked out pretty well, but since Glen was leaving for Asia at 9am that same morning, Glen & I had to unload the car, do laundry, and get him packed, etc. before he left. The math isn't tricky...that didn't leave much time for sleeping for Glen and me.

It really was a wonderful trip and though I felt like we crammed so many fun things into our trip, we already have a long list forming for what we'd like to see and do next time we get to visit again.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Boston Adventures Part 4: Duck Tour--Quack!

On our final day in Boston we decided that we would try one their famous "Duck Tours". These unusual looking vehicles are actual amphibious vehicles from World War 2, and really drive on the streets and then down a ramp into the Charles River where it becomes a boat. People on the streets quack and wave liberally whenever of these "ducks" drives by, and the guides encourage the passengers to respond with our own loud quacks.

Despite our guide's constant jabs at the male gender (or maybe because of them °Ü° ), and frequent insults of people on the street, she really was hilarious and very informative. We saw the entire city in 90 minutes and the best part of all for the kids...











she let them actually drive the boat!


Spence, Cam, and Emma actually had to use their skills and steered...Spence even guided the boat under a bridge between the pilings. Adam & Ellie (our guide kept calling her "Cindy Lou Who") just moved the steering wheel back and forth in the open water and loved every second of it.

PS If you never saw Part 3 of our Boston Adventures, because it got covered up by a little sibling rivalry...just look past all the goofy posts and you'll find it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wow you've just witnessed a Blog War!

For all of you who aren't blood relatives you're probably quite confused by this rash of strange (and untrue) postings. Apparently we all know our siblings a bit too well when we know their internet passwords and can post goofy things on their blogs in their behalf.

All in good fun!

Amazing!

Kristina posted a similar one about me, but when I saw it I went and switched it back so the joke was on her.  













My sister's been feeling a little under the weather lately so she decided to go to the doctor this morning. I am still in shock over what the doctor told her. The doctor said she is expecting QUADRUPLETS!

She's never taken fertility drugs or anything! I thought it would take ages for anyone to catch up to me in family size. Seriously I am very excited for her and hope that she will take this opportunity to move closer to family, so we can help.


My Teenage Secret



Most of you don't know what a problem I had with facial hair as a teenager.

Delicious Cinnamon Rolls


This recipe is from my friend, Karen, who is well known in our ward for her superior bread making skills. Not only is she consummate teacher of the bread making class, but she is generous in sharing her delicious creations with those of us lucky enough to serve in Primary with her.

CINNAMON ROLLS

2 1/4 cups hot water + 1/2 cup evaporated milk
OR
3 cups hot water + 1/2 cup powdered milk

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dry potatoes (potato flakes)
2 eggs
2 Tbs. yeast
4 + cups flour

Mix all dry ingredients (except flour and yeast). Then add the water/milk and the eggs. Mix. Then add 1 cup bread flour, then the yeast, and finally the rest of flour. Knead well.

Place dough in greased bowl, covered and let rise for 1 hour (Cami skips this step with seemingly no ill effects).

Roll out dough flat and then brush well with melted butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture (2 Tbs. cinnamon + 1/2 cup sugar). Roll up and cut into slices. Allow to raise, then bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes. Wait 5 minutes before frosting. Serve warm!

Frosting: 1/2 cup butter
1 lb. powdered sugar (~4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbs. milk

Now you can see why we were so amazed at Cami not only attempting such a feat in the first place, but also succeeding wildly in creating them perfectly soft and delicious!!!

If you want to read about Cami's first experience baking these click here.

Who me?

Do I look like someone who would post old pictures on
my siblings' blogs?


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Boston Adventures Part 3: The Freedom Trail

So one of the cool things about Boston is the Freedom Trail, which is essentially a red brick path that winds through the city taking you past most of the popular sites. It's perfect for tourists, because you can't get lost as long as you stay on the path.

One thing that is for certain is that just like a lot of the great historical cities, there sure are a lot of statues in Boston. This donkey was a favorite, because it wasn't of a war hero.

We also enjoyed seeing lots more Paul Revere sites, and hearing all about the historical inaccuracies of the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere".


















The pictures are :
1--Old North Church where the two lanterns were hung in the belfry chamber to signal the minutemen that the British were coming by sea
2--Paul Revere's home where he lived with his 16 children
3--Paul Revere's grave where he...well you know (if you look really closely you can see the remnants of my Aunt Valerie's knee, who left it there while a missionary a few years ago)

We ended the night at the Union Oyster House, the longest continually running restaurant in America ( the picture turned out too dark, so you'll have to imagine what an old Bostonian restaurant might look like with our family and 2 friends standing in front of it).

We had high hopes when we saw the high prices, but alas when we found the bug struggling for life on Cami's lettuce we got a little nervous. Then when my meal was served about 5 minutes after everyone else was finished with theirs, we were wondering how they had stayed in business so long.

The silver lining to all this and the answer to our question about the longevity of their restaurant, was that they did not charge us for Cami's or my dinners and they bought us all dessert on the house. So we got some official Boston Cream Pie, which was quite tasty and put us in a better frame of mind for tipping.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Glen!!!

Glen is currently half way around the world,
flying from Hong Kong to Shanghai.
But I wanted to wish him a very happy 36th birthday!
Glen and the girls at the Boston Temple.


We love you Daddy! Happy Birthday!

Boston Adventures Part 2: Listen my children and you shall hear...

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

For whatever reason, my kids (especially Emma & Adam) LOVE this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We have a nice illustrated book version of it and it is chosen several times a week for me to read to them. Cami and Emma have the first three stanzas memorized. Anyway...when they found out we were going to Boston it was just expected that we would see anything and everything related to Paul Revere. This would include a trek to Lexington and Concord where Paul Revere rode to and where the Revolutionary War began the next day after his ride.

So this became our plan for day #2 in Boston which dawned with cloudy skies and the threat of imminent rain. Glen was busy with his work conference and having heard horror stories about driving around in Boston, we hopped onto the Metro and then onto a city bus to Lexington. Since we didn't have a car to get us around to the sites we thought we'd sign up for one of the tour buses that takes you around.

As you can see from the picture our guide was dressed for the part, but unfortunately lacked the liveliness that accompanied his clothing. It was informative, but not interactive and did not allow us to get out and explore any of the sites. So once the tour was done I realized that this trip would not be very exciting for the kids unless we could do some real exploring.

So we called Glen and talked him into joining us in the car. So while we waited for him we found that even the fire hydrants in Lexington were patriotic.


Now we finally got to get out and see everything up close in person. Here is where Paul Revere was captured that night between Lexington and Concord.




This is where the Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775 with the infamous "shot heard round the world".


Wow! This trip reminded me why I love living in the East. In the time it would take to drive from SLC to Denver we passed through Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, NYC, Stamford, New Haven, Providence, and Boston.
Our kids go on field trips to Jamestown, Yorktown, Richmond, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and of course our own beloved Washington DC...places I only read about in history books. It's amazing the powerful impressions that seeing and experiencing history has made in my own life and in the lives of our children.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Boston Adventures Part 1: Make Way For Ducklings

One of my favorite books when I was a young girl was the classic, "Make Way For Ducklings". When I realized that the book takes place in Boston, I thought it would be fun to bring the book along to share it with the kids.

We had an uneventful drive up to Boston, arriving right around midnight. So first thing on Tuesday morning I was so excited to take them to Boston Commons to read them the book while we were in the actual setting (okay I admit I may be a little funny that this would be the first thing I would choose to see in a city like Boston). °Ü°

Now I figured that there would be some ducks, but I had no idea how many there really would be. There were ducks everywhere (and a couple of swans too) and the kids were enamored.

So right when I was reading them the part about the swan boats (remember...Mrs. Mallard thinks it's a real swan) we look up and right in front of us is a passing swan boat that looks EXACTLY like the swan boats in the illustrations. The kids were completely tickled (especially Ellie, Emma, and Adam).
Of course then we had to take a ride on the swan boats. Surprisingly the rides were not the tourist trap they could've been and only cost $1.25 for the kids to ride and $2.75 for adults. The "driver" actually pedals the boat around, so it is quite a lumbering, peaceful ride. We highly recommend it!

Just when we thought we were all done with the duckling fever and we are walking out of the Public Gardens we find these cute little statues built as a tribute to the author and illustrator, Robert McCloskey.
There's the Mom duck and her eight little ducklings, Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack, which just cried out for my own five little ducklings to go and sit upon them.

All in all--a very fun beginning to our Boston adventures!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Spontaneous trip to Boston...

School let out on Monday and Glen had a work conference up in Boston on Tuesday. Since we'd never been to Boston before we decided to tag along with him and take advantage of a hotel room paid for courtesy of Glen's work.
Boston is a gorgeous city full of fascinating history and we've done our best to see it all. We've logged a lot of miles on our walking shoes and walked through 3 thunderstorms, but we're all still hanging in there!
The only negative is that the kids are completely wired trying to sleep in the hotel room. Ellie goes to bed each night and spends about an hour, no kidding, giggling and trying to initiate conversations with the rest of us. Throwing her pillow and blankie out of her bed are also popular bed time delayers. I don't think anyone's been to bed before 11pm all week. And lucky me --Glen leaves for Asia on Saturday, so I'll get the exhausted kids by myself at home.
Look for pictures and updates sometime this weekend or Monday.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chunky guys and Father's day tradition

So we have this funny Father's day tradition in our house. Every year we buy an assortment of candy bars and make Glen a message using the names of the candy. The kids love it, Glen tolerates it in good humor, and the results are always entertaining.This year I gave complete free license to the kids to create it (mostly Cami) and here's what they came up with:

Dear Daddy,
We DOVE you MOUNDS and you love BUTTERFINGERS. You are a FAST BREAK and you will SKOR in the BIG CUP over the CHUNKY guys. MR. GOODBAR is an AIRHEAD but you are a NERD. On PAYDAY you will send Mommy on a shopping SPREE.
Love,
Your SWEETTARTS

Glen was grateful that they used the dangerous adjective "CHUNKY" in a nice way!

We love you Daddy! Happy Father's Day!

6th grade graduation

Spencer is an official elementary school graduate...okay he actually has to go to the last day today, but he does have a 6th grade diploma. (Can you believe they make the last day of school on a Monday and they only have to go for 2 1/2 hours? What a waste!)
Here is Spencer and his 6th grade teacher who is retiring after this year. At graduation he actually received another couple of cool awards...a literacy excellence award (only three given) and an academic excellence award. It was really cool to see Spence and all his friends dressed up all fancy and so excited to be moving onward.

Why I don't buy juice boxes...

I don't normally buy juice boxes, but we ended up with a couple left over boxes after donating to all of the end of the year parties. Here's why I don't buy juice boxes...
...I have 5 kids, this is 14 juice boxes found just in the very top of our kitchen trash on one recent afternoon. Apparently they think they've been deprived!

Yahoo...Emma won too!

Emma has won the same Citizenship award that Cami received. There is only one chosen from each class yearly and it is quite an honor. Emma is SO excited and has worn this medal everywhere she's gone for the last few days!
So each of our school kids have won this award multiple times (except Emma since she's in kindergarten).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cami's award!

For the third year, Cami received her class citizenship award. It's an award given to the student in each class that displays upstanding, exemplary citizenship. It's a wonderful honor and she is literally glowing with excitement about it (and she gets a medal to wear).

Athlete of the year and more

So we got a phone call from Spencer's gym teacher the other day, which definitely was a first for me. I immediately thought that he must've been injured during class or something. Fortunately my first instinct was not correct and the phone call was to invite us to the PE awards assembly at their school (also a first for us).
Cami & Spencer both received National Fitness awards
(one step below Presidential, but still pretty cool)
And the coolest of all...Spencer was chosen by his PE teachers as the male athlete of the year for his school. It is awarded to the student who best exemplifies being a good athlete, a good student, and exhibiting good sportsmanship. His teachers summed it up by explaining that the award was given to the person they'd most want to be on their team playing sports.

He got the cool trophy and his name on a plaque that will memorialize his accomplishment for many years to come in the hallways of his school! He proclaims that he's really excited about it, but you couldn't tell by the reaction he gave when they called his name. He HATES attention being drawn to him and this was a whole lot of attention and loud cheers all directed at him, and now I'm blogging all about it...he'll be so excited!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How Ellie made friends with a goat...

Hi Mom!

Oh, look there's a goat behind me!

Ellie with her new friends,
Sylvie and Billy (isn't that what all goats are named?).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Karey's cake...

So I really like to make pies and I usually can make them so they look and taste pretty good. But I have this huge block with cakes. I just really don't know how to make a really tasty cake, and it's completely elusive to me how to make them look pretty. So I usually avoid making them except for birthdays when I feel compelled to produce a cake. Lately, I have ended up delegating the task to Cami who is quite adept at making cute "people" cakes.
My sister-in-law Karey just had a birthday and I decided I was going to try my best on her cake, since she is new in the family and all. I labored over it, and tried some things I thought would be cool...so it tasted pretty good and looked a lot like a 10 year old had created it...but that's about as good as it gets for me! °Ü°

What do you think of Spence's new "do"?

Spence is trying out a new do. What do you think?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jokes only a mother could love...

Ellie: Knock Knock.
Me: Who's there?
Ellie: Knock who.
Me: Knock who who?
Ellie: (silence, awaiting me to finish joke)
Me: Owls say, "Who who"
(Yeah I know I'm hilarious.)
Adam: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Adam: Car
Me: Car who?
Adam: Banana, I named the car, Banana
Emma: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Emma: Radio
Me: Radio who?
Emma: Radio not! Here I come!

The books I'm hooked on...

I've read a lot of classic books over the last year (Bleak House, Count of Monte Cristo, Sense and Sensibility, etc.)
So when Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" showed up on our book club's reading list I was more than a little skeptical when I went to Amazon to read the reviews. I got a little scared off by the words, "vampire" and "erotic" in the same sentence. After three friends raved about it and informed me that the author was a BYU graduate and that it was actually a "chaste" love story about vampires...I decided I could try it....Well, several hours later after a long night of not being able to put it down I was officially hooked! Who needs sleep anyway?

Now AnnaLisa and Glen are caught in their snare and we are all anxiously awaiting for "Eclipse", the third in the series to be released this summer.

It's actually listed as a teen novel and frankly the quality of writing is not super great. But the story is completely compelling and you'll want to make sure that you have "New Moon" waiting for when you finish "Twilight".

So here's an excerpt from the Amazon review:
"Meyer has achieved quite a feat by making this scenario completely human and believable. She begins with a familiar YA premise (the new kid in school), and lulls us into thinking this will be just another realistic young adult novel. Bella has come to the small town of Forks on the gloomy Olympic Peninsula to be with her father. At school, she wonders about a group of five remarkably beautiful teens, who sit together in the cafeteria but never eat. As she grows to know, and then love, Edward, she learns their secret. They are all rescued vampires, part of a family headed by saintly Carlisle, who has inspired them to renounce human prey. For Edward's sake they welcome Bella, but when a roving group of tracker vampires fixates on her, the family is drawn into a desperate pursuit to protect the fragile human in their midst. The precision and delicacy of Meyer's writing lifts this wonderful novel beyond the limitations of the horror genre to a place among the best of YA fiction. (Ages 12 and up)" --Patty Campbell

Friday, June 8, 2007

Fashion Statement

Adam and Emma pick out their own clothes and get dressed themselves each day. We’ve gotten used to the long sleeves Adam continues to wear and it isn’t unusual for one of them (usually Adam) to completely mismatch.

In case it's hard to tell: Adam is wearing his blue BYU shirt with black and red sweats
Emma is wearing a light pastel calico shirt with very bright large print capris

So it was on Friday we had to suppress giggles when they each walked out of their rooms wearing these respective outfits.

...Yes we let them wear them all day.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Letterboxing: Good family fun!

What is letterboxing? In case you haven’t noticed the link we have listed under our hobbies, letterboxing is one of our family’s favorite pastimes.

Basically letterboxing combines a hike with a treasure hunt. An actual letterbox is a waterproof container that contains a hand carved rubber stamp and a logbook.

We pick somewhere we’d like to visit (usually parks with hiking trails) and we find the nearby letterboxes listed on www.letterboxing.org website and print off the clues on how to find them. They are hidden in and around trees and rocks near walking/hiking trails in many parks. We’ve been to many amazing and beautiful places in hunt of a letterbox.

Can you see the letterbox hidden right at Emma's feet in this picture?

Once you find a letterbox you stamp their stamp into your own logbook and stamp your own family stamp into the box’s logbook. You sign your trail name, where you’re from, and the date. It’s a wonderful way to get outside with the family, and you can’t beat the price…FREE!

If you are inspired to try it yourself then buy a small notebook (for the logbook), a stamp (store bought or hand carved), and an ink pad (your only expenses) and then print off some clues…and happy letterboxing trails to you!

Make sure you let us know how your adventure goes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

No joy in Mudville...

To quote from the classic tale, Casey at the Bat "there is no joy in Mudville." Cami did awesome on her speech today, but unfortunately did not win the elections. Her and her two best friends all picked different offices to run for so they would not have to run against each other. Her two friends each won their elections, so her disappointment is compounded.
However true to Cami form she is already starting to perk up and show us her smile again.
Thursday update: Cami is already doing so much better and eagerly enthusiastic about her next pursuits (field day and pizza party today)! She is even setting an excellent example for all of us as she is including her friends and running mates in her prayers. I love children's prayers.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cami's campaign for student council elections!!

Cami's campaign sign, using the same slogan Glen used to win
President of DECA elections in HS and VP of accounting honor
society, Beta Alpha Psi at BYU


Here is Cami's speech:

Good morning! My name is Cami Goold and I am running for the SCA position of Vice President. I think I would be a good Vice President because I have two years of SCA experience, I am not scared to talk in front of people, and I am creative. What I want to do in the SCA next year is have more spirit days, more after school activity nights. More language, club, and spirit day choices for the whole school. I want to have more language choices because many of us wanted to have an option on the language we get to learn. The world is a big place and it would be nice to be able to learn a variety of languages. I think there should be more clubs because we all have different interests and a lot of them can be easily put into clubs that we don’t have. Like cooking and many other things that people might have interests in. I want more spirit days because we have such a great school like Fairhill and we need to show our spirit more often. That’s why I think I should be Vice President. VOTE FOR ME!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Preschool soapbox...

This is my eighth year in a row participating in a home preschool group with my kids. Somehow I’ve ended up the unofficial coordinator of all the groups in our ward and adjoining ward. Each year it has become more and more rewarding for me and I have never once regretted the time or effort that it takes to be an integral part of teaching my preschool aged children.
Adam at the end of another year (2 down 1 more to go)

That time kids have at home with their mom is way too short to send them off to be taught by others who are probably much less qualified anyway, not to mention that they don’t know your child’s interests and learning style, nor do they have the same values I’m trying to instill in my children.


A shot of this year's preschool group (minus one).

AnnaLisa finally talked Adam into wearing shorts and a tshirt, but it was a one time occasion. He went home and
immediately changed and hasn't worn short sleeves since. But could this be a crack in the armor?

Our home preschool groups consist of 5-7 students and each mom takes a week teaching preschool at their home that week. This year we had mother “experts”—for instance I always taught about heroes at our house, like George Washington, Helen Keller, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, etc. Another mother focused her teachings on music—teaching them to play the recorder, to recognize the different instrumental sounds in Peter and the Wolf, the musical alphabet, etc. The other focuses were science and nature, character development, geography, art, and seasons/holidays. Of course still learning all the other preschool skills of numbers, letter sounds, singing songs, taking turns, and much more.

Summary: I love our home preschool and I think it’s been a very good thing for my children (and myself).

…now off my soapbox…

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