California Adventure – Part 2

June 29, 2015 on 1:38 pm | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

My boys are lucky to have grandparents who love them and the boys love their grandparents.  Visiting Grandpa Brent and Grandma Jeanne is always a happy experience!


Bobby isn’t a big fan of people.  He gets nervous around others and chews his nails, amid crying and fighting to get away.  However, I was able to catch this rare (and blurry) moment of Bobby climbing up to sit with Grandpa Brent.  It only lasted a few seconds, but it happened!


On Sunday we went to church with Kevin’s parents.  It is never easy to tell how much my boys learn from church.  I am usually too focused on keeping them quiet and still to worry about making them listen.  They get notepads and colored pencils and I hope they pick something up.  I learn best while doodling, so maybe they will, too.  This particular Sunday, though, I KNOW they learned something.

One of the speakers was a convert who had lived a very colorful life.  As he told us his story of coming unto Christ, he shared a story about finding happiness no matter what your circumstances are.  In the story, there was a cookie singing, “I’m a cookie!  I’m a cookie.  I’m a cookie!  I’m a cookie.”  The cookie gets shot and his whole middle gets blown out.  Looking down at the hole that remains, the cookie now sings, “I’m a donut!  I’m a donut.  I’m a donut!  I’m a donut.”  My boys heard that story (and got the moral of it, too) and I hear, almost daily, at least one of them singing, “I’m a cookie …”  Oh, how I love knowing that they listened at church!

After church, we decided to visit a couple of cemeteries in honor of Memorial Day.


We visited the Arlington National Cemetery.  More than 10,000 flags were put out to honor these heroes.  The boys thought it was pretty cool and, despite being encouraged otherwise, they headed off on their own among the headstones and flags.  Once they found their way back to their parents, and were scolded for crossing one of the driving paths inside the cemetery, Tommy proudly said, “I looked both ways before I crossed that road…Billy didn’t!”  And then he smiled big.  As if THAT were the problem, my son!


We also went with Kevin’s mom to the cemetery where his Grandpa and Grandma Van Blankenstein are buried.


Kevin’s mom shared a few stories and memories as we all looked on.



I enjoy visiting cemeteries.  I like thinking about who these people are and what their stories were.  There is a peace in cemeteries for me.


We were going to leave for Disneyland fairly early on Monday morning, so a good night’s sleep was in order.  Rusty and Tommy snuggle so well whenever they need to share a bed.  They actually seem to enjoy sleeping together…


California Adventure – Part 1

June 28, 2015 on 2:03 pm | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

We left for our family vacation shortly after the boys come home from school on the last day.  We had the good old suburban loaded down and just had to get some gas and get on our way.  It was shortly after 3 pm when we left Hooper.

Kevin and I thought we were doing so well.  We thought we’d make it to Mesquite that night and get into Riverside before lunch on Saturday.  The plan was set and we were on target.

We didn’t account for life.  And things like the weather.  We got to Bountiful and started crawling down the freeway.  The rain was coming down so violently we couldn’t see the road at all.  Then, even when it let up a bit, we couldn’t see the lines on the road to tell if we were close to the right lane!

That slowed us down a bit, but we picked back up and were cruising along nicely.  Until just after Downtown Salt Lake.  Then back to the crawl.  Or just plain stopped.  Traffic.  Lots and lots of traffic.

At 6 pm we pulled off in Riverton and found a park to eat dinner – that cleverly pre-packed dinner that I packed thinking we’d be picnicking in the middle of nowhere by the time dinnertime came.  Nope.  In 3 hours, we had traveled what normally takes a little less than 1.  To say I was disgruntled would be an understatement.

But the park was fun.  The boys climbed a rock wall and crossed the monkey bars.  Kevin and I gave the monkey bars a try as well.  Feeling better, we started on our way again, this time avoiding the interstate and taking Redwood Road until we could see that the freeway had cleared up.

Our travels went well and we were making good time again until about Beaver.  That’s when we found the rain again.  And when we found that our windshield wiper was about to fly off!  Thank goodness for truck stops that sell parts at 10 o’clock at night!  We decided to try for Cedar City and spend the night there.

The problem with this new plan was that there were no vacancies in Cedar City.  In addition to it being Memorial Day weekend, CEU had just had graduation so the hotels were packed.  On to St. George.

The new plan was to find a room in St. George or else sleep in a rest stop for a few hours.  The boys already looked like this …



Except for Bobby.  He was wide awake.   Completely and totally wide awake.

Our luck didn’t seem to be changing in St. George as we met “no vacancy” after “no vacancy.”  Finally, one nice deskman called around and found us the last empty room at the last hotel before reaching Arizona.  It only had two double beds and a chair, but we took it.  At 1 am, we took it.  And Bobby was still awake.

We only slept about 6 hours and then started on our way again.  Travel was going great … the boys were occupied, the suburban was functioning, the weather was nice, and there wasn’t even any traffic in Vegas.  We were SOOO close.

A few miles before hitting Cajun Pass, we began to crawl.  We crawled up the pass, over the pass, and back down the other side.  No other option.  No round-about way to go.  Just bumper to bumper.

We finally reached Grandpa Brent and Grandma Jeanne’s house about 4 pm … 26 hours after we had left our home.  The best laid plans …

There were a few “laugh out loud” moments in all this slow-never-going-to-get-there traveling.

The first came in Payson, Utah.  We always like to point out the LDS temples to the boys as we drive along and we had forewarned them that the new Payson temple was coming up.  Rusty likes this game and had his eyes on alert.  We came up to a power plant of sorts and Rusty knowledgeably let us know, “That’s Satan’s temple!”

Then, no matter how many times we corrected or pronounced it slowly, Tommy insisted on saying Nevada, “New-in-Vada.”  Every time.

“Good-bye, Arizona … Hello, New-in-vada!”

“Is that Las Vegas, New-in-vada?”

“Are we still in New-in-vada?”

“Good-bye, New-in-vada … Hello, California!”

Now that we were out of New-in-vada, we started looking for our California landmarks, including the big ole thermometer in Baker.  It was actually working this time and the boys could see the temperature clearly from the car (it does ranges so 100* was lit, but 110* wasn’t).  When Tommy noticed it was working this time, he said, “I guess they put big batteries in the big thermometer!”

It took forever to get there, but we were definitely READY to start our vacation!

End Of School Year

June 25, 2015 on 7:59 am | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

The end of the school year is a mix of loads of fun and loads of activities and some mixed feelings.

We had such wonderful teachers this last year that it was hard to let them go.  Billy’s teacher, Mrs. Liechty, made such a huge difference in his education this year and just loved him – I joked that I would remain active in PTA just so I could request her for the upcoming boys.  Ricky had his teacher, Mrs. Fowers, for two years in a row and she has helped him develop in amazing ways, so moving on for Ricky is full of unknowns.  Rusty’s teacher, Mrs. Young, will have Tommy next year, so that one wasn’t so bad!   And Tommy graduating preschool means we won’t have a student for Ms. Cherie until Bobby is big enough to go there…it will be odd not having a student with Cherie after so long!

Tommy’s last day of school …





Kindergarten does a big Mother Goose Field Day on their second to last day of school.  It is fun and cute and I got to help again this year.  I was supposed to run the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe game, but instead I brought the rubber duck races from the school’s Field Day with me and the kids loved it!  Thankfully, I had this picture taken of Rusty and I because I completely forgot to get his last day of school picture the next day.  Did I mention it was a busy month?



The month included several PTA meetings, me being gone to PTA convention for two days, Field Day, a PTA assembly, Teacher Appreciation Week, Mother Goose Field Day, 5th Grade Day at the park, Preschool Field Day, Preschool Graduation, and 2nd Grade Lunch in the Park.  On top of that, we left as soon as school got out on the last day for our family vacation in California.  I was busy.  But I loved spending the time with my boys!

Billy’s 2nd grade Lunch in the Park …




And Ricky and Billy on the last day of school …


Hello, Summer!


Space Derby 2015

June 18, 2015 on 10:30 pm | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

Our last week of school was nutsy busy.  Then throw in the middle of everything, the Cub Scout’s Space Derby.

We didn’t have a lot of extra time, so the boys did their rockets themselves and, while they weren’t fancy, the boys were happy with them.


Ricky’s was called “Water Bottle 3000”  He originally wanted it to look like an empty, twisted water bottle.  Then he got sanding and decided it didn’t need to be twisted.


Billy’s was the Fire8.  Looking good, son!


Both did really well in their races and got knocked out only at the very last race.  I love that they did so well and that they did it all by themselves.  My boys are awesome.

That night Ricky also was awarded a few more pins and Billy earned his Bobcat Badge.  Momma got a new pin!



I do enjoy the boys being active in Scouts.  They are learning and growing so much more than they would without this program in their lives.  We are a scouting family!

Miscellaneous May

June 17, 2015 on 10:27 pm | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

Let the randomness begin …


Sometimes a boy needs his picture taken next to a beautiful snowball bush flower.  Sometimes he needs to make a … nice smile, too.


Our pew at church.  That’s a lot of boys.


Rusty enjoys digging in the dirt.  He also enjoys building with legos.  Building with PVC pipe in the dirt equals a very happy 6 year old.


He made his own zoo … as if you couldn’t tell.



Number 5 is a lover of legos as well.


Number 5 is also a lover of dog piles.  We call them “puppy parties” at our house.  He likes to be on top best.


I believe that this is one of those lovely snowball bush flowers that has exploded all over Tommy!



I attended our state PTA convention and got to hang with some really influential people …



Occasionally the mother and father get to go hang out with some friends.  We like our friends a lot.


And I like this little boy a lot, too!


Another puppy party on the poppy!


I love Field Day at the elementary school.  I’ve been the coordinator the last 3 years.  It is fun but exhausting.  This year was mentally exhausting because the weather wouldn’t make up its mind – rain or no rain?  Kevin is fabulous helper!


New this year … rubber duck races!



Bobby really really likes vehicles.  If it has wheels, it makes him happy.  If he can line a whole bunch of them up in a row, he is even happier!


Little did we know that this would the last time our baby would sleep in the crib.   The next day we left on vacation and that was the end of the crib.  He figured out how to climb out of the pack-n-play on our trip and, when we got home, he used the same technique on his crib.   His transition to toddler bed has been much rougher than any of the other boys.  Sigh.  How I miss those crib days!




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