Monday, May 9, 2016

Recipe for an Excellent Mother's Day

Two boys fighting during primary song in sacrament meeting--check.
Relief Society consisting of a mingle with delicious food, provided by the men of the ward--check.
After-church hike on the Billy Goat Trail--check.
Perfect weather (after a week of rain, it was sunny with temperatures in upper-60s)--check.
Chatting with my own mother via Skype--check.
Dessert of banana cream pie--check.

That's it! Excellent.

P.S. Chuck brought lemon rice krispies to Relief Society. I may have eaten some Saturday night before they even made it to church.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Little Obsessed

I am obsessed with watching the progress of deconstruction/reconstruction of the boys' school. Most of what was happening was inside...until last week. These pictures were taken only ONE week apart. Crazy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Give Me a Mom Patch: Host a Child's Birthday Party

I realize that we're a bit late to this game, and still haven't managed to actually let other kids in the house during a birthday party. Following my sister's example, we plan on doing "friend" parties every four years. So we celebrated with friends when he turned four, and now that he's eight, we had to do it again.

He wanted a camping theme, and as we have most of the stuff for it, (and we love camping) we said YES! He invited five friends and all were able to make it. As I'm a little wary of posting pictures of other people's kids on my blog with no permission, I'm only showing the ones with my kids only. But believe me, we had six 7- and 8-year olds and Ollie. They were all adorable.

The kids made their own trail mix...

...decorated wood slice necklaces...

...shot bows and arrows (the PVC bows worked out great, the arrows could use an improved design)...

Ollie may have pouted a bit.

We also roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

Not pictured was the fishing, wherein the boys cast a fishing pole into a baby pool full of 20 goldfish. Only six goldfish survived. (See above about seven little boys.) We also had sleeping bag races, which were a bit harder than you'd think. Finally, we ate Oreo pie for dessert. Good thing because it was HOT.

Was it hard (ahem) for us? Of course. Chuck and I think two hours would have been much better than our three. But we survived. Good thing we have four years to recover!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I Made Stuff

One of the few positives of Chuck being gone is that I get stuff done. (This may have more to do with the time of year. Now that it's not freezing, I can crawl out of my blanket downstairs and work on stuff once kids have gone to bed and not have my hands freeze.) I was only a couple of days away from my current purse's handle being shredded from use. Whilst checking my Pinterest board, I found this duffle purse tutorial and remembered that YES! I wanted to make it. So I made it.

P.S. I also made this "Congrats on your wedding! Sorry I can't be there" card. Kinda love it.

P.P.S. Just realized I didn't post these drool bibs. I don't get to make much baby stuff any more so these were fun.

P.P.P.S. Anyone else troubled by the spelling of "duffel?" I've never been comfortable with it, going back to my college days at Kirkham's.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Solo Parenting

A friend recently told me that she likes to see me and my family because we're always together. Of course this isn't 100% true, and she knows that. But really, we're not that big of a family and our kids aren't yet involved in a bunch of outside activities, so we are together a lot. Grocery trips, walks around the neighborhood, whatever. It's all four of us!

Want to know why? Because neither Chuck nor I likes to be left alone with the kids. In that unusual way, having kids brought us closer together. So when one of us has to travel, it's hard. Because it's usually me that travels alone, it doesn't affect me (ha). This time, however, Chuck got a turn to solo travel. This week he's visiting his parents in (mostly) sunny, (mostly) warm Arizona, I'm at home with the boys in cold, snowy (if just for three minutes) Maryland.

If the boys weren't constantly fighting, it would be no problem. But they just can't keep their bodies apart. And if their bodies are together, it's poking, pinching, punching and then tears. It's incredibly frustrating. Thank goodness I'm pretty good at ignoring it. Plus dinners of pancake tacos, frozen pizzas, ward BBQs, are pretty easy and crowd pleasing.

But still. I'd rather Chuck be here.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dr. Mudd House

It has come to my attention that Smallwood State Park is infested with brown recluse spiders who bite like crazy (well, I can't be sure it was brown recluse, but a terrible biting spider is enough to keep me away). So, um, I don't really see us returning there. I guess it's lucky that we decided to stop by the Dr. Samuel Mudd house on our way out. Wait, what? You don't know who Dr. Mudd is? Kidding. Of course you don't. (Well, maybe you do in which case I'm impressed.) Dr. Mudd's house is the place that John Wilkes Booth rode to after shooting President Lincoln. Yep, that Mudd. Anyway, they offer tours there and we took it. The tour was much longer than anticipated (they take themselves very seriously down there) but the boys were amazing. I don't know what got into them to behave so well. Anyway, it was interesting as history gets for me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

First Camping of the Season (State Park #14)

Because the baptism was at the very start of spring break, we were able to get in a little two-nighter at the end of spring break. Thank goodness we had the scamp because it rained every morning! But at least it was warm.

We went to Smallwood State Park, which is right across the Potomac River from where I grew up, as an elementary schooler. There wasn't too much to do at this park, but that's okay. Both boys were very excited to fish, Ollie especially so. He caught one fish and Rhett caught two, one of which being decently-sized! Of course, neither boy was a very patient fisherman.

And the second night some friends joined us, which is always amazing. I had no idea we  had talked until 1 a.m. until I crawled into bed. I honestly didn't know my body could do that anymore.

Already planning the next trip!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Rhett's Baptism

Saturday was Rhett's baptism. We had most of our good friends there to celebrate and it was a really simple program...just how I like it. (And how Rhett likes it, I'm pretty sure.)

He was given a gift of Pokemon cards, his first new set. He may have been slightly preoccupied at the start of the program. Ha.


...After. It should be noted that Ollie spent the entire service sitting in the back row, pouting (see top picture about Rhett getting Pokemon cards and him not). Well, at least he was quiet and idle.

Beating up his brother. Well, guess he has something to repent of now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Chuck's sister and her family came to visit us for Rhett's baptism. We were thrilled that they would make such a trip and were happy to host. Plus, it was a good dry run for when my sister and her similarly-sized family come this summer (note to self: we need more pillows and towels). They got in late Thursday and so Friday we headed downtown to see peak bloom of the cherry blossoms. The weather was perfect and so was the day!

Oh Ollie.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rhett's 8th Birthday

Rhett turned 8 last week. Because his birthday fell on a school day (you know, one on which he gets home from school at 4:45 p.m.), we opened presents before Chuck even left for work. Among other things, Rhett got a microscope and a Lego boat. It was plenty to keep them busy before school.

For dinner, Rhett chose another mystery menu meal, so that's what they got. And dessert was a rice krispie treat cake (like Auntie Em, like nephew). It was a pretty great day for a pretty great boy.

Monday, March 21, 2016

In Case You Missed it on Instagram

I don't normally cross-post between my blog and Instagram. But as my parents and sister (a very large portion of the readers of the blog) don't do Instagram, I feel I must.

Calculating pi with pancakes on Pi Day.

P.S. You want to know about those scratches on Rhett's cheek? That comes courtesy of Ollie. Nice.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Best Way to Handle Spring Daylight Saving Time

Saturday night Chuck had a stake YM thing to go to around 4:45 p.m. Loathe to spend 2.5 hours alone...with my boys...when we're all at our worsts, I devised a plan. What if, instead of waiting until 2 a.m., I reset the clocks when he leaves? He walks out and suddenly it's 5:45--time for dinner, boys! Time for pajamas and time for bedtime! While 2.5 hours seemed like a long time, 1.5 hours--I could handle that!

And that's just what I did. The boys fell asleep fairly easily and then, even easier than falling asleep, was waking up at the regular eastern daylight time. Which was admittedly painful on a Sunday morning, but with 8:30 a.m. church, ain't nobody sleeping in.

So there you go. You're welcome.

Oh, and happy Pi Day everyone!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Update (on more than just people)

Seriously, February is the worst. We all know I'm a creature of habit and routine, and February's job is to upend it. Between snow days, ice days, and sick days, nothing is as it should be. I hate it. Plus, by February, I'm done being cold and done being in the house. I just want to be warm (but not hot) and run without gloves. That's not asking too much, is it? Apparently it is.

But we made it through. We even said goodbye to February by having one of those silly dinners where the kids had menus, but weren't sure what they were ordering. You know, "Farmer's tool" for a fork, "Utah's choice" for jello. They loved it. Strangely, Chuck and I had a perfectly normal meal! So weird how that turned out. And because it was a lot of work, it's perfect for doing every four years. But not that much, so maybe I'll break down before 2020. (HOLY CRAP. 2020 is only four years away? I'm excited for it because it's just so cool to say.)

And now for the updates, in order of increasing excitement:

Chuck. He's the same. He's happy in his new-ish job, and we all love his hours. He's still in the stake young men's presidency, which isn't too taxing.

Me. I'm the same. My job has been pretty fun lately but only because of a certain project. That's how it goes. I'm running a half marathon in May, and if my knees would cooperate, I'd be happy. I went to "Reading Day" at Rhett's school last Friday and it was so much fun. I think the kids liked the book I read to them, and then they had fun drawing things to go along with the book. It was really great. I'm happy in this time where Rhett was still really excited to have me in his class!

Ollie. I can't believe he'll be in kindergarten this August. He doesn't hate preschool these days, especially when he gets to be the line leader. He's definitely matured, which makes me less nervous about kindergarten. He's a silly happy four-year old!

Rhett. Is thrilled that I recently bought him four long-sleeved polo shirts. I'm thrilled that he's not wearing the same two shirts over and over. The boy will not wear t-shirts. Weird, no? Also, he's being baptized this month and so we're getting ready for that. Chuck's sister and family are coming into town for it and so that'll be so fun. School is good and the transition to getting home at nearly 5 p.m. has gone pretty well. Right now, his favorite things are his kindle and Calvin and Hobbes. Also, we've been reading the Book of Mormon with him and will have it all finished before he turns 8!

House.Home ownership is so overrated. The week we were all sick, the TiVo broke and our cable/internet/phone went out. Nice. Our dishwasher is dying. A pipe under my bathroom sink was rotted through and now we're having some weird electrical problems. Plus, after being in the house for nearly eight years, I'm starting to get sick of some of the things inside it (window treatments, couches, floors). But see my previous sentences to see why we're unable to do anything about it.

Rhett's Old School. We are anxiously watching its transition. Right now, portables have been removed, power has been cut, and construction trailers are set up. Hopefully demolition starts soon because that'll be fun. I've been taking weekly pictures so that a fun flip book can be produced at the end of the building process.

The Scamp. Really wants us to go camping! And we all want to go camping! Hopefully we'll get out a couple days over Spring Break. We have plans in June, so that's good too.

My Parents. Still enjoying their location. And we are getting excited to visit. The boys' passports came in the mail last week, so we're getting ready!

Maryland. Is warming up! Every once in a while we'll get a day in the 50s or even 60s! I took the boys to Sugarloaf Mountain a couple Sundays ago and it was so great to be outside. I'm hopeful that warmth will return. You know, because there have been years where it hasn't. Duh.

I think that's it. Here are some pictures.

This is what happens when you run out of things to do inside and you give your boys the camera to let them take pictures. This is one of about, oh, 50.

And another...

And another. This one cracks me up. I, of course, had no idea what I'd find when I finally transferred them off the camera.

On Sugarloaf Mountain's 1,282-foot summit. Whoa.

Friday, February 19, 2016

What I'd Post if I Felt Like Posting

1. Updates on everyone
2. New things to whistle at my boys
3. A post soliciting help planning a baptism and a birthday party
4. My hatred for February
5. My desire to plan a dinner worthy of Leap Day (you know, a meal you should only eat every four years)
6. Why I only feel cute in my clothes for about six weeks of the year

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pigs in a Blanket

As if carrying around up to three pigs at a time (Original Pig (aka "Piggie" or "Pigpen"), New Pig (aka "Pigilina"), and Beanie Baby Pig (aka "Allison Hogson")) isn't quirky enough, check out how he sleeps with them: they must be tucked between the bed and the wall. Why, one asks? Because he likes them chilled. Chilled. Parents can't make this stuff up.

He's four and a half and totally awesome.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snowzilla, Part Even-I'm-Done-Talking-About-the-Snow

Sometimes when I'm cooped up for too long, I buy stuff. And sometimes I don't, but I want to. Like a snowblower. That sounds heavenly about now.

But we did, however, find on Craigslist one pair of nice snowshoes for the boys (to share). As soon as we brought them home, each boy tried them out. Rhett did better than Ollie, who had trouble keeping a wide enough stance and ended up tripping multiple times. But c'mon: how cute are these boys? I can't wait until another 30" drops at my house so we can go on a snowshoe date. Strike that: yes I can wait. At least until I have that snowblower and a place for all that extra snow.

P.S. Because Ollie's birthday is in the summer and he can't celebrate it at school, we're celebrating his half birthday this week. I made these to take to his preschool class. You'll have to count for yourself how many cubes of butter went into it. When coupled with almond extract means of course they'll be amazing.

P.P.S. Let the melting commence. Sunday was in the 50s, and temps are expected to remain that high through Wednesday, at which point we could even get thunderstorms. I could be trail running by Saturday--cross your fingers for me!

P.P.P.S. It's February!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Snowzilla, Part 5

Done. I'm so done. School is out again today, making it six weekdays that the kids haven't been in school. The boys are still having fun and are behaving no worse/no better than regular, but still. I crave our regular routine and my sanity.

Monday. They're back in school on Monday. What do people do whose spouses don't get off when the kids do?!

P.S. Snowshoeing was awesome! It was hard because the snow was super powdery then, but it was gorgeous. I saw deer tracks, duck tracks, bunny tracks, and cross-country skier tracks. Cool!

P.P.S. We're staring down some serious intense snow melt starting on Sunday. Temperatures in the 50s through Wednesday. I can't imagine what's going to happen to these snow piles!

P.P.P.S. Unlike other storms, people in my neighborhood are actually shoveling their walks. On my run Wednesday morning, I estimated 1 in 7 houses hadn't shoveled. And this is only a couple days after the historic-sized event. Way to go, neighbors!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snowzilla, Part 4

More pictures from the snow.

Rhett hiding in his snow hole.

This was our street Monday afternoon (note the snow median). The only reason it's changed now is because it was unusually warm yesterday and things have melted. But maybe this explains why schools are still closed today?

Tuesday morning's sunrise! Gorgeous. Please ignore the ugly everything else.

The snowman Chuck and Ollie made, only seconds before Ollie destroyed it.

And check out how much we've changed!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowzilla, Part 3

There was a reason I was feeling so anxious about this storm: shoveling a lot of snow is the WORST. And especially when (1) there's so much and (2) you run out of places to put it. It's ridiculous. However, once it was cleared, I could kind of enjoy it. Don't go crazy thinking we've seen a plow and can get out. Because we haven't and we can't. We don't expect to see a plow for a couple of days and schools are already cancelled Tuesday (Monday is a teacher workday so kids were already out).

But we're holding up inside just fine. We made some delicious whole wheat bread on Saturday (even using the wheat grinder and the Bosch--serious business). Sunday morning I made some coffee cake. Monday I want to do cinnamon rolls. Don't worry: I'm more than burning those calories. I can't even stress enough how much shoveling we've done. (In our house, it's not a man job, like lawn mowing. We both shovel.) And tomorrow, since I can't run, I'm going to take a snowshoe hike on the trail. I can't wait to see it all snowy!

I had all these plans for getting stuff done while being housebound, but not one has happened. Mostly because we're (1) outside shoveling, (2) outside playing, or (3) inside recovering from (1) and (2).

I can't resist this kid.

Job well done, us.

Snow shadow selfie.

Moving was just so slow with that much snow. Kids really struggle! Thank goodness I could tamp is all down with my snowshoes.

I love the shape of the snow on the roof. I also love this kid.

Rhett is in the middle of our street. OUR STREET, PEOPLE.

The hill that grew in the backyard.

What good is a bunch of snow if it's not made into a cave or a tunnel? No good, I tell you. And as I type, he's still out there working on it. Man, I love the increased stamina in older kids!

Posting early so my parents can read before they leave for Belgium. Oh their hard life.