June 26, 2009

Fire Station No. 41

Springville City has built a much needed, brand new facility to house the fire department and other emergency response vehicles. In celebration of the building completion, the fire department held an open house where anyone interested could come tour the building, climb in, on, and around the fire trucks and ambulances, and even get inside the Life Flight helicopter. Cake and punch was served as well. Yes, it was a young boy's dream!

This post authored by Amber

June 22, 2009

Cupcakes for Sale

So...I figured if my sons were old enough to ask to own an expensive item like a Nintendo DS, it was time for them to learn something about fiscal responsibility. Besides, I am not going to shell out over $100 for a piece of technology that will shortly be superseded by the next "big thing." Instead, I offered to bake cupcakes for them to sell in efforts to raise their own money. (Too bad the cupcakes did not taste like these ones!)

We found a good spot on a busy road, not too far from our home, that proved to be ideal for a small business operation. People were quick to stop for a twenty-five cent cupcake and to give support to the budding entrepreneurs. We didn't stay outside for very long; long-term exposure to warm temperatures doesn't bode well for butter-based icings. Nevertheless, an hour and a half on Friday and one hour on Saturday allowed the boys to bring in $30.00. Not too bad.

If I decide to take my cut, the boys will only have to do thirteen more bake sales like that before they will have their coveted Nintendo DS in hand. Well, it appears this experience may be a two-for-one, because I may also be teaching them something about being patient...really, really patient!

This post authored by Amber

One Final Post on Art City Days

We really have enjoyed living in our quaint, little town of Springville. Despite continued growth, it still feels small-townish to me. The Art City Days festivities seem to punctuate that feeling.
I look forward to another year of talent festivals, carnival rides, parades, teddy-bear picnics, and a fresh hot scone from the Kiwanis booth. What a cute little town we live in!

This post authored by Amber

June 16, 2009

"It'd Be Nice If You Could Pull Me Into Town"

Yeah, I thought this idea was pretty clever, but now that I look at the pictures, I realize it was comedic gold!
Each year for the Art City Days children's parade, I have made my children dress up in costumes because I am too lazy to put streamers on their bikes. They've been clowns, Spiderman, clowns again, and one year Brevin was Napoleon Dynamite. So I got thinking, Spencer hasn't had a chance to wear the Napoleon costume, and this is a good opportunity to wear it. So when Brevin asked to ride roller blades as opposed to a bike this year, everything came together to create this perfect costume duo. I guess you could say this is our little tribute to a ridiculously funny, yet pointless piece of cinematic creation.
While the boys worked their way around the block, I pushed Garrett alongside in the jogging stroller. It was fun to hear all of the comments people were making about Brevin and Spencer. I don't think Brevin heard any of them. He was fixed and concentrated on not falling down while trying to keep up with Spencer's erratic pace. They made it completely to the end without mishap, but that's when Spencer stopped the bike abruptly, causing Brevin to bump into him and fall on his bottom. From his new position on the ground, he managed to get off a frustrated kick that hit Spencer square in the back. That's when "the gloves (wig and glasses) came off" and a slight scuffle ensued. I broke up the fight and was met with protests of, "I never want to do this again!" I hope they were talking about never wanting to do the fighting in public thing again, because I am all for that!

Oh well, I'm just glad I got pictures of them during happier moments of this whole experience. Although, they don't exactly look too happy in these pictures, do they?

This post authored by Amber

June 12, 2009

Bronze Baby

In the past we have entered each of our boys in the Art City Days baby contest, and have had relative success. Brevin placed third and Spencer came in second. Not too shabby. Win or not, you get a bag full of goodies, coupons to local businesses, a diaper, a t-shirt for the baby, and a professional photograph just for entering, so we're always sure to participate. I admit, it is nice to receive the extra validation of a perfect stranger's opinion that your child is worthy of recognition.

Of course, all of the babies are darling. I haven't quite figured out the judging criteria for the contest. I think it must, in large part, have something to do how much your child interacts with the judges (smiles at them, claps hands, does other funny little tricks that mom and dad are trying too hard to encourage, etc.). I couldn't keep Garrett on his assigned number, let alone get him to perform for the judges. But they must have at least got a glimpse of those beautiful baby-blues, 'cause they decided to give him a medal anyway. He placed third for boys ages 11-13 months. That meant he would have his picture in the paper, a ride in the parade, and his oldest brother would have major bragging rights ("My brother, Garrett, won third place in the baby contest just like I did when I was a baby!").

Below is a picture of him right after he placed. You would think I would have tried harder to tame that crazy hair, but that cowlick on the forehead thing makes it difficult to figure out the direction the hair should be combed.

And now here is the picture taken of Garrett and I during the parade. Yeah, it looks like I've got the "elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist" wave down. Garrett, on the other hand, did not want to be on a truck bed. He wanted to be in his own bed in a quiet, dark room. The parade time ran right through his morning nap.

But look how happy he was when we got off our float and joined the family to watch the rest of the parade:

Okay, I'm done boasting about my sweet, handsome boy...for now, at least!

This post authored by Amber

Boys of Summer

Now that Brevin has completed his first year of school, he is eligible to sign-up for t-ball. His team is the Giants and his number is 7 (because it rhymes with Brevin). During his practices and first game, he really has emerged as a team leader. Well, at least he likes to boss people around a bit, a trait of a first-born child, no doubt. But he really does have a pretty good grasp on the workings of the game. All of his time playing catch with Dad, receiving many pointers, has translated to skillful play on the field. Here are just a few of the "action" shots we got from game one:

This post authored by Amber

June 6, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation

Look who's moving on up in the world! Parents were invited to listen to an hours worth of songs with choreographed hand motions just prior to an individual presentation of diplomas and donning of paper caps.

I am thrilled that Brevin's teacher, Mrs. Sabey, provided him with a foundation for his educational experience that includes an excitement for school and a love of learning. He thoroughly enjoyed kindergarten, and he looks forward to being in first grade. But first, he will greatly enjoy the summer, I'm sure!

This post authored by Amber

June 5, 2009


I look forward to Memorial Day. In my opinion, it is the most perceptible signal of the start of summer, followed closely by the sudden appearance of dandelions everywhere. While we celebrate those who made this great country what it is, we also celebrate those who have made us who we are.

Our family tradition has been to visit the Provo cemetery on Sunday to place flowers on grandparents and great-grandparents graves, take several pictures, and allow the children to canvas the cemetery with watering cans to water everything within reach, including themselves. We've also been fortunate to hear "Amazing Grace" being played on bagpipes during our past two years visits. It was a lovely day.

Here's a fun photo comparison of how things can change in a year's time:

Memorial Day 2008

Memorial Day 2009

This post authored by Amber

On Being a Mother

This year on Mother's Day, I was in St. George (it was the weekend of the triathlon). I sat in the kitchen with my father, and we shared our thoughts about the Mother's Day of 1996-the first that followed my own mother's passing. During the sacrament meeting, all of the graduating young women were invited to the stand along with their mothers. As I went up to be recognized, Sister Carlson, my dear young women president, did not hesitate to leave her seat to accompany me and stand in the place of my mother. To be honest, at the time, I really didn't think much about what had taken place. But since my father and I spoke of the event, I've thought about it quite a bit.

Having served as a young women president myself, I now have a better understanding of why Sister Carlson's act was not only sensitive and appropriate, but it was completely justified. I felt such a connection to the young women whom I served, that many times I would have considered them to be my own daughters; I referred to them as "my girls" and I thought about their best interests the same way I did my sons. I feel certain that Sister Carlson felt the same way about me.

And so I've been thinking about how other women have stepped into the immense void that was created when my mother died, lovingly doing their part to make it feel less empty.

There's my sister, Cheryl, who taught me how to bake a turkey, prepare several different kinds of pies, and make Mother's famous homemade rolls. She helped me plan my wedding and did all the work to pull off two receptions. She served as my escort when I went to the temple for the first time, and whispered the same advice our mother had shared with her during her first visit to that holy place.

My stepmothers have given encouragement, advice, and love, and have been sensitive to my needs to hold on to the memory of my mother, all the while filling the role as grandmother to my children.

I am blessed to have a mother-in-law who will hold me close just like Mom used to do, and tell me how much she loves and appreciates me.

There are also women all around me who, in small and simple ways, have profoundly effected me. Jan Ladig, a woman I worked for at Franklin Elementary school, instilled in me all the confidence in the world to take on any creative project, and she helped me to feel qualified to do so.

I could go on and on. Great parenting books have been recommended, sewing tips have been shared, I've been alerted to sales with unbeatable bargains, I've been assured that what I thought was the chicken pox was not, gardening questions have been answered, decorating tips offered, and workout routines have been encouraged by women who have been kind enough to take an interest in me.

It's really quite remarkable, when you think of it! Just as it came naturally for Sister Carlson to stand by my side that day, it has been natural for many women to nurture and to love, to teach and to support . You know, I think that is what women do best.... we mother!

This post authored by Amber