Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fun Filled

I've mentioned a couple of times that my younger brother, Rob, was here all of last week. My kids long ago decided he was their favorite uncle and I'm pretty sure his visit cemented that status! We had a great time. Sadly, the camera did not join us for any of our outings, but I can't let the memory fade without jotting down some of the things we did:

  • Rob, a frisbee golf enthusiast, found a course right here in my little corner of the world and brought his discs. The weather was perfect for the first 3 days of his visit so we played several times. 
  • We visited the fastest pop machine in the world (or so we'd like to go on thinking). It's an ancient vending machine that seems to read your mind and guess your selection before you push the button. Not really, but the pop spits out so fast that it seems that way!
  • We played tennis at the high school and rode bikes on our bike trail.
  • We went to Amish country. 
  • We saw what is probably the tallest Lincoln statue ever (over 70' tall.)
  • We visited several cemeteries (a favorite pastime of Rob's.)
  • We did some family history.
  • Rob bought the kids a cool frisbee and we had fun seeing how far we could throw it. It was a really windy day and the Aerobie would catch a breeze and lift up and up and go way farther than we expected every time.
  • Rob taught us 2 new card games -  Golf and Three Up, Three Down. He's hard to beat, but we sure gloated when we won!!
  • We ate lots of good food and treats: homemade bread, hot buttered O's, toffee covered nuts, frozen hot chocolate at DQ, homemade butterfinger ice cream, Thai food, Cadbury mini-eggs, Riesen chocolate caramels, white chili, creamy italian chicken, homemade buttermilk pancakes w/buttermilk syrup...etc. Yum!!
  • Last, but not least, we caught fireflies! They came out just in time for Rob to see them before he left. After watching and catching them in our yard, we drove to a nearby field and watched their mini-fireworks display. We love fireflies and are glad Rob got to experience them, too.
We loved having Rob here. He came at the perfect time, just as school was ending, which helped get us up and active every morning - a great start to our summer!!

You can read Rob's comical take on our time together here. :)

Thanks for coming, Rob. We are looking forward to seeing you again next month in your little corner of the world!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Last night, Jeff went to pick up Savannah from her friend's house. Sadie was sound asleep in her bed and the three youngest boys were all tucked in for the night. Sam, never one for sleep, was most likely reading upstairs or caring for his plants in his greenhouse/office. I was working on a project at the table and finally decided to call it a night.

The house was quiet as I walked into my bedroom. Then I heard something - was it music? I couldn't make out the tune. When the music stopped, I heard a quiet muffled voice.

"Hello? Somebody. Anybody. Please let me out!"

Insert mini heart attack here.

The voice was so quiet I thought about convincing myself I hadn't heard anything. I listened for a few seconds more and then the music started up again. I managed to unstick my feet from the spot where they'd frozen and started to investigate.

Sound travels unpredictably in my house so I couldn't tell if the sound was coming from upstairs or down. I stopped at the base of the upstairs and listened. Silence. As I entered the basement staircase, I heard the music louder than before. I followed the sound and ended up in our storage room. In the back corner of the room is a smaller room where the original owners of the home used to keep their honey. We use it for our long-term storage. It has an old door - original to our 1916 home - with a crude latch that we never close. But last night the door was closed and I was finally able to relax when I realized Sam was in there playing his violin.

Sam was visibly (and audibly) relieved when I turned the latch. It may not look like much, but it turns out it is impossible to open from the other side of the door.

Sam had been stuck in there for an hour. He had just wanted a quiet place where he could play around with some made up tunes on his violin. He shut the latch before he realized it was one-way. (Having lived here for 12 years, you would think we'd have learned this before now!)

We had a good laugh about it and joked that Sam wouldn't have starved because of the year's supply of peanut butter he was serenading.

All's well that ends well!

Update (5/31/12): I was reading in bed last night after posting this entry. The kids were home from their church activities and there was talking and playing heard in various corners of the house. I heard some muffled yelling that sounded like it was coming from the toyroom above. Then I heard it again, a little more desperate this time. Then I heard, "Please, somebody let me out!" Savannah and I ran downstairs to find a frantic and traumatized Sterling locked in the remote storage room just like Sam had been. Once he settled down enough to talk, he said he had gone in there so he could prove Sam wrong and show that it's not impossible to get out. That didn't work out so well... Fortunately he hadn't been there long and was soon able to laugh about it with us. To make sure this doesn't happen again, I bent the nail so the latch has nothing to hook onto. Whew!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Best Fortune

Yay! Sunshine and happiness - two of my favorite things! :)

Monday, May 28, 2012


My younger brother, Rob, left on Saturday morning after a week-long visit to my little corner of the world. We crammed in as much as we could while he was here. It was a great week and I'm still trying to recover! :)

Rob likes cemeteries and we have bunches of little ones in this area so we visited a few of them while he was here. We saw the grave of Abraham Lincoln's father and stepmother. We found a grave that said it belonged to Abraham Lincoln's tutor. We came across several others of interest and searched for the earliest death date. 1824 was the earliest we found among those that were still readable.

We saw several graves belonging to soldiers, many of whom were killed in action. I was touched by this one of a 26-year-old soldier who died on July 4, 1865, just after the end of the Civil War.

So many people gave their lives to secure the freedoms I enjoy and I'm grateful.

(More on Rob's visit coming soon!!)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Welcome Skylar Mae!

Welcome to my newest niece, Skylar Mae. What a beautiful baby! Skylar was born on May 17 to my sister, Amy, and her husband. She has two big sisters who are so happy she's finally here. We can't wait to meet her next month! Little Skylar, don't grow up too fast! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Soren's lunchbox note on Tuesday
It's that time of year.

Sam and Savannah are cramming for finals.

Teachers are cramming as many field trips and big projects as possible into these last days of school.

Schools are cramming award presentations, talent shows and choir concerts into every available open space on the calendar.

We're cramming in music recitals, teacher appreciation gifts and service projects along with all the normal stuff that still needs to get done every day.

But after today, Sam and Savannah can breathe a big sigh of relief.

After tomorrow, Sterling's commitments are through.

After Tuesday we can officially put away all the school stuff and my table and floor will be folder/backpack/textbook/lunchbox free for a full three months!

Just don't ask me to cram in anything else in the mean time!

[Rob, I think we can fit you in! :)]

Dare to Stand Alone

I love this latest youth video from President Monson. I hope my kids can always have this kind of courage!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


chocolate strawberries
beautiful clouds

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pay Dirt

After harvesting only two or three strawberries at a time for the past week or so, we were shocked when Jeff went out to pick berries yesterday and quickly realized that he would need a bigger bowl.

Spencer brought out the big colander and the three of us were like kids on Christmas morning as we discovered big, beautiful, perfectly ripe strawberries hiding in groups all throughout our small strawberry patch.

It was strawberry shortcake for dessert and plenty of berries for snacking. My favorite way to eat them is dipped in a mixture of equal parts brown sugar and sour cream (plain yogurt can be substituted for the sour cream). Oh so good!!

What we don't eat in the next day or two will be pureed for jam. In the meantime, there are more strawberries to come!

What a happy surprise!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do You Have a Shoulder Angel?

If so, chances are he's not nearly as nimble as this one. Funny stuff!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Honk! A Preview

Opening night of our high school's production of Honk! is tonight. We're all pretty excited around here! Here are a couple of first glimpses of the play as seen on the front page of this morning's paper:

Sam is on the left. What a good looking guy! I love the plaid for "Ugly," the main character. Ha!

The arrows point to Savannah (who I didn't recognize in her wig) and Sam. 
This is going to be fun! :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Early Birthday

I found this drawing on my pillow over the weekend:

"Happy Birithday Mom."  

I love Sadie's rendition of me driving the Mini with her in the backseat saying "This is fun," and my reply, "It shr is, Sadie." It makes me laugh because for the first year or so after we got the Mini, she freaked out (to put it mildly) whenever I wanted to put the top down. Now it's fun. Go figure! 

Oh, and for the record, my birthday is in October. :)