Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Can of Worms

I've never been bitten by the genealogy bug... until now.

I just finished a four-day community course on the basics of genealogy. A lot of the material was review. I don't know a lot, but know just enough to be dangerous. I was given some good tips on narrowing down searches and various websites for getting information. On the last day of class, we had some time left at the end so I just started going through my family tree on Oh boy. I had no idea when I identified my great grandma's youngest brother as a good place to start that I would end up so entrenched in his wife's family.

The Flynn Family, ca. 1921
I dove in last night and ended up at times with way-too-many tabs open on my computer and a web of documents, dates and people. At first, there was really nothing to go by except a few census records, but from there I identified her parents and brother. Her dad was a pretty fascinating fellow who was born in Scotland and worked as a hairdresser on 5th Avenue in New York City. There are multiple source documents for her dad and it's so cool to piece his life together and learn parts of his life story from these pieces of paper. Her mom was born in Illinois so I feel a connection on both sides.

It's still in a mess and I have to sort through a lot of things to fill in some gaps in my information, but it's so fascinating! Every new discovery is so satisfying.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Drive Your Tractor To School Day

Today's the day! It's "Drive your tractor to school" day. This is what I saw when I dropped my boys off at the high school this morning. 

Ag classes are a big thing at the high school and many of these kids have been raised on the surrounding farms. It's in their blood, so it's nice that they let them bring their vehicle of choice to school once a year.

This phenomenon is new for me. I didn't see many, if any, tractors in my suburban Utah upbringing. But in Small Town, Illinois they are everywhere. This is where my kids come from and that makes me smile.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top Down

February is usually a pretty grim month here in the Midwest. If it's not snowing, it's gray and dreary and cold. There isn't nearly enough sunshine and it's hard to put on a happy face. Just look at this picture from February 2014:

This year it's a different story. We've had the most amazing weather! It's been sunny and mild like a beautiful spring. This week the temperatures got up into the high 60's several times. We may have even hit 70ยบ. I don't know that we've ever had a February where I could ride around in my little car with the top down before. I could get used to this!

Tomorrow should be nice, but then we're in for a week of cooler weather. I won't complain. February is almost over and it's been great!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My Wish

Maybe it's because Sam and Savannah are away at school, forging ahead toward a (hopefully) bright future. Maybe it's because Spencer will graduate from high school in 3 months. Maybe it's because life can be tricky at times and I want the best for my kids. Or maybe it's just because I'm feeling sentimental...

Whatever the reason, I've been listening to "My Wish," by Rascal Flatts on repeat. It's one of my favorites and does a great job expressing what I wish for my kids. If you're not familiar with it, listen to the lyrics. You'll see what I mean!

(I'd hoped to find an official music video by Rascal Flatts, but there isn't one. This one isn't bad--)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In For Repairs

It was bound to happen. After almost 22 years of marriage and 6 kids, Spencer has been awarded the "First Broken Bone" medal. We're feeling pretty blessed that we made it this far without prior visits to the Orthopedic Surgeon. That's not counting Jeff, of course, who broke the rod in his leg 11 years ago and had to endure several surgeries to make it right. His was a pre-existing condition from before our life together.


Spencer's break happened last Thursday in P.E. when he was shoved during indoor soccer and went down hard on his hand. He broke his radius. He was in a temporary cast over the long weekend and received his real cast this morning. The good news is that this should be a quick fix. The doctor informed Spencer that, surprisingly, his growth plates haven't closed yet. His exact words were, "You have the growth plates of a 15-year old." Usually, by age 17, they would expect to see the growth plates closing. Bones heal faster in kids who are still growing so the doctor said he could graduate to a splint in less than 3 weeks if all goes well. :) Of course, Spencer was thrilled to know that he's still got some growing to do!

Fortunately, Spencer broke his right arm and he's left handed. There are many reasons why this could have been a lot worse. We're still counting our blessings!

Monday, February 20, 2017


Images are from

Hands down, our game of choice these days is Ligretto. My brother introduced us to it last spring. It's similar to Solitaire, but you can have up to 12 players and it gets crazy!

A few things I love about it:

  • Everyone in our family can play. It's fun with two players and it's fun with eight players - and every number in between. (We have eight decks so that's our limit, but another box set would add four more decks.)
  • Anyone in our family can win. I used to win pretty consistently, but Sadie has gotten so good that I have gotten plenty of losing practice. Spencer beat me the other day and he has a broken arm. (I still haven't figured that one out. Having two hands is pretty crucial!)
  • It's fast. You can play one round in about 5 minutes. Or keep score and play to 100 which might take 30-45 minutes.
  • Every player is engaged the entire game. There is no waiting your turn. Get rid of your cards as fast as you can for the win.

Each box set contains four decks -- one player per deck. If you buy the Blue, Green and Red sets, you'll have 12 decks which would be total madness, but a really great time! We love it! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

On Failing and Finishing

BYU has a devotional each Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. mountain time. They are always worthwhile, but this past Tuesday's devotional was especially good. It was given by Cassy Budd, a faculty member in the School of Accountancy within BYU's Marriott School of Management.

I listened to the devotional after Sam recommended it. I listened again with Jeff as we drove to Indianapolis on Friday. Then I listened for a third time tonight with the kids. I could listen to it again. If you can take the time, you won't regret it. 

If you'd rather read it, the text will eventually be posted here. You can also access audio and video from the same site. This is definitely one I'll bookmark and keep for future reference. I loved it!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pixelated Ponys

What can you make with a shoebox full of pony beads, some wooden skewers and floral foam blocks? Pixelated pony bead art! Soren and Sadie made good use of their supplies this afternoon as they put them together to make these fun pictures. Sadie sketched out her design on graph paper first. Soren relied more on trial and error. I think they both did a great job and had a lot of fun in the process. 

Soren's mushroom and Sadie's emoji

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beauty Before Dark

We've had so many beautiful sunsets recently. Every night is a stunning display of color that fades from orange to pink to purple to a darker and darker blue until the light fades completely away. Breathtaking!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tulip Hearts

It's super early for tulips, but the weather here has been so mild that ours are starting to come up. Sadie has her own little bed of tulips. Today she pointed out how the unfolding leaves look like hearts. Aren't they cute?