April 28, 2009


I'm sorry to say that only die-hard fans of the NBC sitcom The Office may fully appreciate the humor of the surprise I planned for Jason's birthday this year. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself!

Let's back up to Saturday, April 18th, the day before Jason's birthday. His parent's were kind enough to take our whole family to lunch at the Brick Oven to celebrate. We were sufficiently full by the time they brought out the complimentary chocolate mousse pie. I don't think Jason minded that everyone took part in eating it.

Sunday was the actual birthday, so we kicked off the morning with Jason's requested breakfast of French toast. He then opened his gifts, and I think Brevin was most excited that he got the game Whoonu, and I was probably most excited that he got Photoshop Elements. I think Spencer was just glad to have more candy options for when he climbs on the stove to raid the candy cupboard, and Garrett was satisfied to play with the tissue paper and empty gift bags!

I had prepared a crock pot roast so we could eat as soon as we got home from church, and since it was a special occasion, we broke out the china and Martinellis. After dinner, we headed to Jason's parents home for some delightful desserts and a game or two.

Now, for The Office inspired celebration explanation:

We purposely waited to do cake on Monday, after Jason's birthday, because that's how Jim and Dwight did Kelly Kapor's birthday party on the show. They also decorated with partially inflated black, brown, and silver balloons, white crepe paper streamers, masking tape, and a sign declaring the statement of fact, "IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY." (What more can you expect from a couple of men planning an office party?) I added the detail of a white frosted cake with pink words misspelling his name, just like in the show. The only element that wasn't quite exact was the Chicklet gum....it was orange in the show, but all I could find was white. Oops!

The boys and I were tipped-off by one of Jason's coworkers (thanks Amy!) when he went to lunch so we could come into his office and decorate his cubicle as a surprise. It was really fun, and I think quite unexpected. Oh, and in case you are like Jason and doubt my attention to details: Season 5 Episode 15 Lecture Circuit (Part II). Kelly's party is almost at the very end of the episode.

Happy Birthday, babe!

This post authored by Amber

April 27, 2009

Sprinter Break

Brevin showing off his "perfect snowball"

School let out for Spring Break, and go figure! It snows! All week long we'd been watching the extended forecasts to try and plan our activities around Mother Nature's fickle behavior. I think we did pretty well.

On Wednesday, we played in the snow. I think Brevin really intended for the above mentioned "perfect snowball" to be thrown at our teenage neighbor, Phillip, as he unsuspectingly answered the door. I thwarted Brevin's plans when I caught him waiting at the doorstep, snowball in hand (hidden behind the back)!

On Thursday, while the snow continued to fall, Jason took off work to join us at the Lehi pool. I highly recommend this as a family activity. It is one of the best facilities around, and the prices are reasonable too!

Brevin and Spencer are becoming more comfortable in the water and they both even went down the tube water slide (Brevin more than once).

Even Garrett spent the entire two-and-a-half hours in the pool! He loved it.

Friday's weather was looking a bit better and facilitated a trip to Hogle Zoo. I think because of the cooler temperatures, the animals were more active. I don't think I've ever been to the zoo and seen all of the animals out in the open like they were that day! This is only one of many pictures taken. Some of the others can be seen here.

Saturday turned out to be the best day (meteorologically speaking), and so we decided to take the boys on an eight-mile bike trek up Hobble Creek Canyon (it also doubled as my bike training for the day). We went all the way to Kelly's Grove where we stopped for a snack and gave ourselves a chance to stretch our legs a bit. Brevin and Spencer had a great time on the bridge throwing buoyant objects into the water on one side, then racing to see them pass by on the other side. Thanks to all off the recent moisture, the river was high and swift...all the more exciting! There are more pictures from that activity here.

All things considered, it was a fabulous Spring Break!

This post authored by Amber

Almost One!

With a Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet, a PTA fundraiser, and the St. George triathlon on the brain, it's hard to even think about planning a first birthday party for Garrett, but that's exactly what we'll be doing in a month!

So here's the rundown for his eleven-month post:
  • Garrett is on the move and crawls at a pretty speedy pace. No sitting still for pictures anymore! It was quite the ordeal to photograph him for this post. Even with the whole family involved, we only managed to get a few decent shots.
  • His new found independence has brought out the explorer in him. I have found garbage cans overturned, toys strewn around the house (not that that is anything new!), and his personal favorite is to pull the carbon monoxide detector from the outlet.
  • As he crawls, he carries things around in his mouth like a little puppy.
  • He especially likes to crawl around the area underneath his highchair and forage for food (Cheerios, partial vanilla wafers, goldfish crackers, etc.).
  • He has a healthy appetite, but apparently an overactive metabolism. People often comment on how small he is, but he also still garners many a mention for his huge, beautiful eyes.
  • Small, though he may be, he has the biggest heart. He still enjoys cuddling and laying his head against your shoulder.
  • He has discovered that the best view at church is found standing and facing backward in the bench. He also has great eyesight, because he can pick out a familiar face from completely across the chapel and offer a friendly smile.
  • Most importantly, every so often he offers me a glimmer of hope by sleeping a solid eight or so hours during the night. Hallelujah!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again....Yep! He's a keeper!

This post authored by Amber


The boys awoke Sunday morning to find baskets full of candy (as if they needed more! They'd already accumulated quite a stash from Jason's company egg hunt and another egg hunt by a friend), a box of sidewalk chalk, and a Webkinz each. Garrett received bottles of 3rd stage baby foods which he has yet to acquire a taste for. As for Jason and I, we relaxed and enjoyed our morning of getting ready for 1:00 p.m. church without the interruption of any scheduled meetings. We also managed to squeeze in Garrett's 11-month "photo shoot."

We took a much needed break from the commercialism of the holiday by attending our church services. I was in need of scheduling an additional musical number for the Sacrament meeting, so I planned to sing a duet with a sister in our ward. It turned into a solo when her family vacation plans changed, taking her out of town. Still, the meeting was very nice. Elder Holland's recent General Conference address was mentioned in a talk. It is such a pertinent message for the season, and can be read here!

The day turned from drizzly and cool to springlike by the afternoon. It was perfect for yet another search for candy-filled eggs, and so we were off to Grandma and Grandpa Park's for an Easter meal and festivities.

Garrett was assigned the orange-colored eggs this year. They matched nicely with Elmo's nose on his basket. He actually picked his eggs out of the grass (after we identified them for him) and put them into his basket, but only after a good shake to hear the rattling sound of a dozen pastel M&M's in a container of plastic.

You'd think that with a number of egg hunts under his belt, Spencer would have fared better. His uncle Jase was given the task of hiding his sports-themed eggs and, well, he did a really good job! I would stand in awkward places, poised to take a picture of Spencer finding an egg, and he'd walk around the area for some time before he would notice where it was.

Brevin was too quick to find his Spiderman eggs. I only managed to capture two pictures of him, and he wouldn't dare to stop and reenact a picture, no matter how desperately I implored of him!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I did eat my yearly quota of Peeps...one! Now I don't have to do that again for another year!

This post authored by Amber

April 11, 2009

A Splash of Color

The Saturday before Easter has traditionally been our family's day to color eggs. Despite our best parental efforts to maintain order and cleanliness, it often turns out a bit messy. The boys often lack patience to keep the eggs in the color for very long, and before the dye has a chance to dry, they are eager to eat the eggs. It's amazing how something that stinks up my kitchen could be so appetizing!

Carefully placing the eggs in their color bath:
Making sure they are submerged:
Just moments before Garrett pulled the pink cup over:
Drying on the racks:
Watching from a more manageable distance:
This post authored by Amber

April 1, 2009

Just Fooling Around

We've never really done much for April Fool's Day (aside from the occasional, "Mom! There's a spider in your hair...April Fool's!" comedic routines from my children). After I checked out this great book from our local library, I decided it was time to add some flair to the foolishness! We had "TV dinners" for dinner, and "TV dinners" for dessert. That's as creative as I get on this one, folks!

In case you're wondering (and you're probably not), the breaded chicken drumsticks are made with crushed vanilla wafers and graham crackers and a bone formed out of white chocolate, the mashed potatoes are garnished with a lemon Tootsie roll and caramel sauce, the peas and carrots are orange and lime Tootsie rolls, and the chocolate frosting with sprinkles is supposed to represent the pudding you'd get in your TV dinners that always warmed to a scorching and inedible temperature.

We may have started a new holiday tradition and that's just what I need--another reason to celebrate by consuming cupcakes!

This post authored by Amber