December 9, 2010

Novem-blur

When the calendar was turned over to December, I was baffled and confused.  Where did November go?  It went by so quickly, I wasn't sure what happened during the month.  I hadn't even loaded a single picture from my camera to my computer since Halloween.  Once I viewed the pictures, I realized there actually was a month of November during 2010, and it was plenty eventful.  (I must just be loosing my mind!)  Here is a recap of a few of those events:


The month started out a bit unseasonably warm--so warm, in fact, we managed a backyard wienie roast. 

 We finally purchased a new, flat-screen TV for our family room.  The box provided just as much entertainment for the boys as the new TV.

 Brevin prepared and presented a fantastic report to his second grade class on the country of his choice, Japan.  Jason was most helpful in providing souvenirs and food for the demonstration. 

Both Brevin and Spencer had many activities leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday in their classes at school. 

We met with family at Grandma and Grandpa's house in St. George for a fabulous Thanksgiving feast, followed by a traditional tournament of dodgeball (I was merely a spectator, though).

 During the holiday break, we made a point to catch an early showing of Disney's animated film, Tangled.  We were unaware that the showtime we selected was a 3-D showing, but it turned out to be awesome.  Garrett was completely riveted, which means this was the first movie at the theaters that I have enjoyed in quite some time (and, boy, did I enjoy it!  The film is darling).

This post authored by Amber

November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010 Reconstructed


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20:  Halloween festivities kicked off at the annual Park Family Halloween Party held at Greg and Tilly's house.  Recent dealings with road construction projects in Springville and on I-15 inspired our family themed costume this year (and also inspired Craig and Heather, as they came dressed with the same concept).

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22:  Jason left in the afternoon to campout prior to opening day of the deer hunt.  I took the boys to the annual Ward Chili Cookoff and braved one of the three-alarm chili entries as well as braved taking three boys to a ward function without reinforcement. Not good...oh, but the chili was lovely!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23: With Jason gone for the entire day, I costumed the boys and packed them in the van for a day trip to Ogden for cousin Addie's birthday. The visit with family and cupcakes were well worth making the trip. We arrived home late that evening (as did Jason).

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24:  After church, Jason left to head back up to the deer camp.  Hail and fierce winds pounded the windows all night and Brevin ended up in the room with me sleeping on the floor. I was enjoying hogging the whole bed to myself too much to let him join me.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26:  Snow storms and unfavorable forecasts caused the deer hunters to break camp early and bring trailers home while the roads were passable.  The timing was nice, because it allowed Jason to be back in the afternoon in time for Spencer's kindergarten Halloween program.  Spencer did us parents proud by singing his little heart out from the back row.  He knew every single word and choreographed gesture of every song, and he garnered the praise from his teacher for being a great performer. After the program, Jason returned to the mountains for an evening hunt while I commenced making cupcakes for Brevin's class party.


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27: Jason left early in the morning for the final day of the deer hunt.  I finished preparations for Brevin's class party which I had signed up to be in charge of. (Don't ask me why I thought that was a good idea!)  I made rat and cheese cupcakes inspired by this amazing book, we played pass the rat, and party favors that included stretchy rats were given to the children.  I'm kind of a sucker for themes. After the party, the whole school did a costume parade and the children were excused to leave early.




    

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27 (CONTINUED):  Once home from school, we got a phone call to meet Jason at the meat locker to see the deer that he nabbed this year.  I opted to wait outside with Garrett while the boys went in and watched the deer have its head removed.  It's not the sights that are so bothersome, but the smells that I was concerned about.  I'm sorry, but that place stinks!  We got home, cleaned up, and Jason suggested the whole family go out to dinner.  I did not protest in the least.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29:  School was out for the children which conveniently allowed us to go into Jason's work to trick-or-treat.  After canvasing each floor of the nine story building, the boys were exhausted and their buckets were full.  While there, the costume contest judging committee insisted that Jason enter the contest.  As he was the only employee among our group, he was included in the individual category for most creative. We were considered his "props" (I know!  That's stretching it a bit). It turned out to be worth forcing our overtired, overstimulated children to stay for the judging since Jason won second place and was awarded a cash prize.  Cha-ching!


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30: We spent the morning carving pumpkins and I spent the rest of the day preparing the traditional family Halloween feast of dinner in a pumpkin.  After our elaborate meal, we bundled the kids, waited out the hailstorm, and then Jason and the boys went off into the drizzly night for more trick-or-treating.  I stayed home to pass out treats, quite relieved to know that we were on the holiday "home stretch."


    



SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31:  With Sunday being the actual day of Halloween, I tried a recipe for pumpkin pancakes that I found from this website.  I will pass this tip along, though.  If you decide to make the black cinnamon syrup, cook it only until it barely starts to thicken.  I cooked it a bit longer and it turned out to have a sludgy consistency that was reminiscent of black snot.  While grossly appropriate for the holiday being celebrated, it was deemed as inedible by my children.  But we did have a bit of fun decorating our pancakes.


Whew. We survived Halloween! (Did you survive reading that long post?) Now the real question is, are we going to survive the ongoing road construction?!

This post authored by Amber

October 25, 2010

Jumping on the Bandwagon (Or at Least, the Hayride)


The blogosphere has been overwhelmingly assaulted with pictures of Halloween festivities, and so I figured it was time to add my two-cents worth.  I do not have a cute tutorial for making fabulous wall decorations with crows and skulls and vinyl ghosts (Jason will tell you, we have absolutely no Halloween decorations...gasp!).  Our decorating is limited to placing a few pumpkins on the porch.  Granted, what Jason does to those pumpkins is nothing short of amazing, as you can  see here.

Normally the majority of our pumpkins come from our garden, but we had to rely wholly on the local pumpkin patch for produce this year. (Darn you, squash bugs!)   As it turned out, the local pumpkin patch has expanded and now offers more allergy-inducing amenities than ever before!  Now there is a petting zoo pen, a corn box, hayrides, and mazes and towers of hay bales.  Jason and Spencer were in hay fever heaven!

We went with extended family and had dinner at Two Jack's Pizza afterward with everyone. It really is an enjoyable tradition, and just one more reason why I love fall so much. So without further ado, here are the photos:





This post authored by Amber

School Lunch


We recently celebrated the little known holiday of "National School Lunch Week" by going to Brevin's school to eat lunch with him. I must say, I think they feed these kids a whole lot better than I ever got fed in elementary school. They even have a fresh fruit and salad bar (although, I noticed some children weren't choosing to put those items on their tray). And nothing makes you feel more nostalgic than drinking milk from a small carton, don't you think?


After we ate, we went outside for recess. Garrett even helped with operating the jump rope for several of Brevin's classmates. He was laughing and having a grand time until I started taking pictures and video footage. I was only able to capture the images of a disinterested, nap-ready two year-old, but they still are pretty funny.


video

Can I say, this sure beats an afternoon at home eating a bowl of Ramen Noodles?!

This post authored by Amber

October 13, 2010

Fall Sports

This year's soccer season ended much the way it began.  Spencer was part of a U-8 team who utilized a three coach system, focused on teaching the boys proper field position, and thereby annihilated every opposing team they faced.

Brevin's U-10 team was a slightly different story.  They lacked the coaching attention of Spencer's team (to say the least) and the result was a loosing season. 

Despite the differences, Jason and I enjoyed spending a month going between fields to watch the boys play with fierce determination and, most importantly, a positive, sportsmanlike attitude.

And just like that, the season was over.




So now, with Thursday evenings and Saturdays suddenly free of any soccer commitments, the boys were quick to accept an invitation from dad to attend a BYU football game.  They were able to enjoy the Cougars homecoming win over San Diego State, but I think they could care less for the outcome of the game.  They just love to spend time withe their Dad.




Boy, we are sure loving Fall!

This post authored by Amber

October 1, 2010

Taking in the Fall Colors


Every fall we make sure to take a drive through Provo Canyon and take some photos just above Sundance resort.  This year was a little more challenging because after we drove all the way to our destination, we found that I had not charged the batteries for the camera and they were both indicating that they were drained.  I kept switching between the two, warming them in my hands and pocket, in attempts to get just one more picture out of each battery.  With each shot, I worried that it would be the last. Needless to say, it added a little stress to what was planned to be a nice evening with the family, especially when Spencer decided to make faces and wreck limited family snapshot opportunities. 


Only after being sternly threatened with a loss of media privileges did he cooperate and we got a picture sufficient to add to the archives of fall photographs. 


Getting a decent individual shot is a little bit easier, we've found.


This post authored by Amber

September 8, 2010

About Adoption


I have a dear friend who has recently announced her plans to adopt and she requested help to spread the word.  I know that only a handful of people even read our blog, but perhaps someone might come across this and pass it along to others.  We've added a button on our sidebar just underneath the photos of our boys. It will take you to their blog and allow you to get to know the couple. Or you could simply click here.

So why did I take the time to post this?  Well, I had the privilege of knowing Liz in high school and she was among my dearest friends.  She has this incredible, infectious sense of humor and positive outlook on life; it's a gift really.  I never fail to have an enjoyable time when I am around her.  I think that is a credit to the sincere friendship she offers to others.  Okay, Liz is just a total blast!  Her capacity to share her zest and passion for life is seemingly limitless.  She would be such a remarkable mother because she is, first, a remarkable person. How my life would have been empty without Liz!

I should also mention how the adoption process has personally affected me.  Not long after I found out I was having my third boy, our family learned that Jason's brother and wife were welcoming a son to their home whose birth mother made the brave choice to offer him for adoption.  It has been such a blessing for Garrett to have a cousin close to his age.  As an extended family, we have embraced and loved him as our own (who simply happened to take a little "detour" with his arrival).  How our lives would have been empty without him!


 This post authored by Amber

September 7, 2010

How Many Times Have I Heard That?!


For the past two weeks or so, Garrett has discovered how much he likes to watch Horton Hears a Who on my bed.  When he first wakes up, he comes into our room and starts up the TV and DVD player and I groggily awake to the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Carol Burnett (mingled with a little bit of Garrett quoting the film).  I'm a little scared to think about how many times the movie has been played each day.

What is so charming about it all is how Garrett likes to get set up for the movie.  He sits on the pillows and requests that all his bears be lined up alongside him. Everyone is then covered with blankets. He then watches, with fixed attention, as Horton journeys through the jungle to restore Whoville to a safe, stable location.

One day, I set him up around noon and left to do some dishes.  When I came back to check on him, this is what I found:


I couldn't resist taking a picture and sharing it on our blog.  I think it is so sweet. Now, if only I could sleep so well through the movie!

This post authored by Amber

September 3, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


You know the classic Staples commercial where the dad is skipping down the aisles of the store, filling his cart with post-it notes, pencils, and other various school sundries, all to the tune, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?"  Following in his wake of pure bliss are two sullen children, dreading the end of summertime leisure. I love that commercial, even though it is over the top cheesy (especially the voice-over). I guess I have always related to the idea of getting hyped-up for the start of school.  Yet, I have always wondered, why is it the dad and not the mom?  Isn't it mom who survives the worst of what summer has to dish out--keeping idle children busy, breaking up fights between siblings who spend a bit too much time together, grocery shopping with all children in tow, etc.?  But I digress....

It is not going to come as a surprise, then, to learn that I do not cry when I send my children to school, not even my kindergartener.  I do not shed one tear.  It's not that I am insensitive or not a loving, attached mother.  I just get excited about the start of school--the start of a new challenge and adventure.  Sure, I am fully aware that my children are growing up at hyper-speed. That is why I take loads of pictures to document their growth.  So here they are:

 The traditional pose-in-front-of-the-flowers-on-the-first-morning-before-school-starts picture

Brevin with his new 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Roylance                   Spencer with his new kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Miner

Each sitting at his desk (er...table)

Ready to go, and not looking back!

This post authored by Amber