Thursday, December 30, 2010

Soup's On (Challenge) over at my new blog!

Go here to see my new blog and challenge!
I'll still be blogging here. The new blog is specifically for kitchen related stuff. Giggles and Raspberries will remain mostly family updates. Dolly Parton will continue to be my running blog.

Imagine that. You can follow every facet of my boring life just by having these three blogs at your fingertips. How lucky are you?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12 Days of Cookies, in retrospect on day 13

Here are some important lessons I've learned over the past couple of weeks:

Don't embark on a cooking extravaganza without knowing if you have at least half of the needed ingredients. Day 4 is not the time to be scraping the bottom of the flour container.

Be sure that your spouse knows that when you say "cocoa," you mean COCOA not hot chocolate. This will eliminate yet another trip to the store during the busiest time of the year.

If you are asked to bring 3 dozen of these various cookies to Granny's holiday party, be sure NOT to leave them on top of the fridge. You'll just have to eat them later which is NOT a good thing if you have had the equivalent of a sugar IV since Halloween.

If you plan to deliver some of these little morsels to the neighbors, plan accordingly. In other words, when you only have 2 neighbors that you give baked goods to, make small batches.

Don't expect pre-schoolers to care after about day 7.

Don't expect pre-schoolers to keep their hands out of the batter or the frosting. They won't.

Make sure that all pre-schoolers involved have washed their hands. Even then, don't tell the neighbors that the kids helped because your neighbors aren't stupid. They've had kids. They know that hands and fingers were in the batter and what kinds of germs are in there even if you did wash hands several times...

Find new recipes, but don't forget to enjoy the family "classics."

Oh, yeah. I'll do this again.

12 Days of Cookies, Day 12

I made spritz for the first time ever! Bub and her mom are big spritz fans, so we made them for granny's Christmas Eve party. Meatball and I had a good time squeezing the spritz making contraption, and they turned out very tasty.

I thought about my Aunt Colleen while making these because she made them every year at Christmastime (and probably still does). I really looked forward to these light little cookies and thought that she must have taken loads of time out of her schedule of trying to make sure that Shellie and Stacy didn't strangle each other and that Clint and Jake didn't burn down the house.

Turns out that they are very easy to make which makes sense for her busy life. However, she was never too busy to sit down with my mom over several cups of coffee and laugh. She has a great laugh, and she was one of only a few people who could consistently make my mom laugh until she cried.

Happy holidays, Aunt Colleen. Miss you, mom.

12 Days of Cookies, Day 10

Bub loves shortbread and has been not-so-subtly hinting that we should make her some during this cookie extravaganza that we've been having. I've never made it before, and I'll do it a bit differently next time (more sugar than Betty Crock*r calls for). They are crumbly and have to be carefully handled. Meatball helped me cut out the Christmas tree shapes but couldn't be bothered to do much more because Papa was over for dinner; everyone was running around and being crazy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Cookies, Day 11

Tonight, I paid homage to one of the best cooks ever: Grandma June. It doesn't matter what kind of variation I put on her brownie recipe, but everyone always loves them. I think that it's because they are subtle when it comes to the chocolate. So many brownies are just overwhelmingly chocolate (yes, it's possible to do) that hers are a nice change. The variation today was just to add chocolate chips to the batter. I did these "cookies" by myself because the boys were busy tearing up the house and couldn't be bothered with things like butter, flour, eggs, and cocoa.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Days of Cookies, Day 9

I was silly to think that two 3-year olds would actually want to bake cookies for 12 days in a row. Looking back, this was more of a mommy thing... [Sigh] Maybe next year. Maybe not.

So, for day 9, we simply frosted some of the sugar cookies that we made on Saturday. And by "frost," I mean mommy smeared frosting on the cookies while boys shook sprinkles all over the frosting, and the counter, and the floor, and the rug. Peanut managed to get frosting in his hair, and Meatball's shirt was covered in it. It was also very fun to put those red cinnamon candies on the snowmen and then take them off and eat them and then put more on and take them off. Suffice it to say that these few cookies have boy germs all over them and will not be delivered to any of the neighbors.

We have enough various cookies to deliver to our neighbors. Actually, we have MORE than enough since we only deliver to three of our neighbors and one of them hates everything sweet. (He's getting home made enchilada sauce.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh, Santa - please come through!

Dear Fat Man In Red Suit:

PLEASE be sure to deliver the E1mo Playd*h Pie Machine to Meatball this year. It's the ONLY thing that he wants out of life.

By the way, no naughty person in the world should receive one, ever. Just in case you were wondering. (As in: "Mommy, that man [on tv] is naughty. He won't get the E1mo Playd*h Pie Machine from Santa." or "Mommy, you said 'jerk.' Santa isn't going to bring you the E1mo Playd*h Pie Machine.")

Meatball, of course, has been a shining example of really fabulous behavior and deserves nothing more than the E1mo Playd*h Pie Machine. The throwing of the food, the tackling of the sibling, the screaming at a pitch that makes mommies cry and dogs howl - it's all good, right?

PS - if you are crazy enough to bring Peanut anything other than train stuff, you are wasting your energy. The world continues to revolve around all things railroad.

"Have a holly jolly....."


Yup - Peanut likes the song, but has chosen a day that isn't politically or religiously charged at all.

Have a holly, jolly Wednesday
It's the best time of the year
I don't know if there will be snow
so have a cup of Wednesday

Have a holly, jolly Wednesday
And in case you didn't hear
Oh by golly, have a holly, jolly Wednesday
This year

I have no idea why, but it cracks me up every time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Cookies, Day 8

I got a little wild in the bulk section of my favorite grocery store and ended up with a LOT of raisins. So, we made oatmeal raisin cookies! YUM! Plus, Granny really likes them. Meatball helped me dump all of the ingredients and use the hand mixer - he loves that thing. We substituted applesauce for the shortening, and the cookies aren't lacking at all. (Shortening just makes me want to heave...) Peanut couldn't have cared less about baking. He was only concerned with his trains, as usual, until bedtime. Once jammies were on and stories were being selected, he threw an enormous fit. Kicking and screaming about making cookies as if it would keep him away from his pillow. There were also excuses about being thirsty, being hungry, needing lip balm, having cold feet, having hot feet, blah, blah, blah, but the biggest and longest fit was certainly about the cookies. When the time comes to make shortbread on Tuesday, I'm sure that he will not care in the least.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12 Days of Cookies, Day 7

For day 7 of the big event, we (I) chose to EAT cookies instead of bake them. We had some friends over for brunch, and one family brought sugar cookies that were really very good. So we ate them. All day and all night. I had my last cookie at about 8:45pm. My scale presently hates me, and these late night cookies aren't going to help.

She's a purdy good catch

I haven't mentioned this lately. So, let me do it now.

My wife has been awesome lately. Really, dang cool. Yes, she drives me insane (especially when I have PMS). Yes, she is a clean freak (which means that if my glass of water isn't in my hand, it's in the dishwasher and I am then parched). Yes, she curses when she loses her temper (but, then again, so do I).

But, in the last month, she has single-handedly taken care of the boys while I crammed an entire semester into three weeks. She has made almost every meal for the year. She has (for the entire year) endured the monthly jam and other canning creations (which has, I must say, produced some masterpieces like peach-sage and apricot kiwi and key lime pie martini). She has done ALL of the holiday shopping. She has taken care of her mom and step-dad. She has built and re-built Peanut's train track about 703 times. She knows exactly which cat toy would make the Meatball smile super-big. She has worried enough about a party that *I* planned to make ALL of the food except the gingerbread waffles.

And, she only bitches a little bit and that's only about her football team (which does suck this year).

So, although it's been a hard, hard year, I want to say thanks to her. Publicly. Big enough for two or three people to see. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll even tell her that I posted this. (She hates it when I post stuff about her.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12 Days of Cookies, Day 6

Can't be the holidays with two 3-yr olds without sugar cookies, can it? If we're not making a mess with the flour and the rolling and the cutting of the shapes, we'll for sure be making a monster mess tomorrow when we are decorating them with 5 other kids...

Friday, December 17, 2010

12 Days of Cookies - Day 5

Ah - up for tonight: chocolate banana cookies! Yum! Except that we didn't get cocoa from the store. Bub thought that I meant hot chocolate.... So, we just made banana cookies with walnuts. They basically taste like little slices of banana bread. They are quite tasty, but I'll still need to grab some cocoa. Can't have 12 days of this without Grandma June's brownies!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 Days of Cookies - Day 4

Almost time to go to the grocery store, thank goodness! Tonight we had to really look hard to make sure we had for a good recipe with the ingredients we had on hand. Result? Carrot/orange cookies. They must have been good because they were mostly eaten up by people at work during our annual food-for-all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Cookies of Christmas, Day 3

Up today? Blondies. I've never made them before, but I know that I'll make them again. YUM! We were all set to make a different cookie (something German and fried and artery clogging), but we're out of powdered sugar. Then, another cookie (chocolate snowballs), but out of cocoa. Then, another cookie (banana sandwiches), but out of both powdered sugar and cocoa. We had all the ingredients for the blondies (even the coconut - I always have coconut), so that's what we did. We don't go to the store until tomorrow, so I have no idea what we're going to make tonight! Maybe we'll skip making cookies tonight and just EAT some cookies!

Winner of the ugly holiday sweater contest? ME!

Is it any wonder that I took top honors in the ugly sweater contest? I think that the accessories really helped me clinch the winner's spot. After all, who doesn’t LOVE a glittery poinsettia tucked subtly behind the ear?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Cookies of Christmas, Day 2

Since my carpool person is in London, I'm taking the bus. And, now that the semester is over, this means some nice reading time. Ahhhh..... That also means that when I get home, there isn't a lot of baking time to be had. This 12 Cookies of Christmas thing is going to be interesting!

So, tonight we opted for something quick and easy: pumpkin chocolate chip via cake mix. Can of pumpkin, package of cake mix, chocolate chips, nuts, drop onto cookie sheet and bake.

Yummy, fun, and the boys get to whip batter all over the kitchen with the mixer. Perfect. (But a horrible picture!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Cookies of Christmas, Day 1

The 12 Cookies of Christmas - a fun idea that I'm borrowing from Apron Antics (who, incidentally, hasn't posted anything for a year, and I'm officially threatening to remove your blog from my roll. Come on, Julie - I love what you cook - throw me a bone - or a recipe!)

So, the idea is easy enough, right? Bake a different cookie each day for the 12 days before Christmas!
Day 1 - didn't work out like I thought it would. We ended up at granny's for dinner which meant that we wouldn't get home in time to bake anything before bed. So, we opened a package of refrigerated sugar cookies that granny had, plopped them on a baking sheet, and tossed it all on the oven. Peanut and I still had fun watching the cookies flatten out and get brown. (Meatball spent much of this time in the naughty corner for various reasons.)
So, we had cookies, but not according to plan. The best laid plans..... right?!?!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Movies with mom

This is a horrible picture taken with my phone in low light. However, I want to remember how stinkin' cute these three are together! Boys and mom watching a movie in bed:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Messages

We have an advent calendar that is super cute, but the little stockings are so teeny that you can't fit much more than a roll of Smarties in them. So, this year, I decided to do something different. I have written little notes to Bub and the boys and placed them in the stockings to be read each morning. The notes say things like "I like it when you sing. It makes me happy. Love, Mommy" or "You are such a fast runner! Way to go! Love, Mommy" or "Thanks for teaching our kids the difference between right and left. Good job."
I hope that Bub and the boys have as much fun reading the messages as I did creating them. I hope that this can be a yearly tradition (read: I hope I remember to do this every year). The picture is fuzzy, but it gets the point across.

Friday, December 3, 2010

thanksgiving nap

I'm not actually sure why they needed a nap because they didn't bother to eat ANYTHING - especially turkey! (They did, however, both wake up in the middle of the night because they were hungry. I told them that they had to wait until breakfast. It was a lllloooonnnnggg night.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Throw mommy under the bus.....

While eating lunch today, Peanut let a big 'ol toot. When Momma Bub said "Who did that?" while me and the two boys giggled. Normally at this time, the guilty party will say "Scuse me." However, today, Peanut's reply was "Mommy did it." That's right. He didn't even have the decency to blame the dog.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

View from Burlington hotel

I know, this is about three weeks late... But, check out the view from my hotel!

It was cold and overcast for the whole trip, but it was still beautiful. This is Lake Ontario, and I followed the shoreline path for one of my evening runs. There were a lot of geese, more runners and walkers than I expected, and even some guys fishing in the fuh-reezing cold. (They were gone when I came back from my run, so I don't know if they caught anything or not. Apparently, there are trout and salmon in the lake.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bitchy, and I'm OK with that...

I find facebook interesting when it lets me see pictures of a friend of a friend of a friend because those are people that I was never friends with, probably won't ever be friends with, and will still manage to live a full life without ever being their friend. Sometimes, I knew of them. Sometimes they are complete strangers. It's rather odd in that way. Kind of voyeuristic in a non-pervert fashion.

I LOVE facebook when I realize that the friend of a friend of a friend used to be the head cheerleader - a real snot of a girl - who is now fatter than me. I get a warm little feeling in my tummy when I see that. I realize that this is not a good reaction, and that it makes me seem like quite a bitch.

I'm mostly fine with that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

or what?!?!

Mama Bub was sharing her jello with the stinkers.
Bub: Is this good, or what?!?!
Meatball: This is good AND what!!!

I love three years old (minus the screaming at every meal and bed time)!

Mr. Sensitivity

Last night, we all laid in mommy's bed and watched ET. I must admit that I fell asleep, but the boys and Mama Bub watched the whole thing. I was awakened at the end by Meatball yelling "Run, run!" while ET and Elliott were trying to get away from the scientist guys. He was terribly concerned about it. Then, when the spaceship arrives and ET boards to go home, Meatball actually started to cry. "Don't go," he said to the little alien. Mama Bub and I had to really talk through it with him that ET had to go away. He was so sad. We had no idea he would be affected like this. He's just so sweet and sensitive.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the crap!

The stinkers were really wound up tonight. Not eating dinner; not sitting still; yelling; ya know - 3yr old stuff. Both boys had a time out when Mama Bub stood them together and said "Enough! Be good boys. You need to be nice boys, and be good for mommy. This is crap. No more!". Peanut responded with "No more naughty crap! Just nice crap!"

Moms had a really, really hard time keeping it in...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Canada (Toronto), Day 5

Sandra, one of the Canadian Account Reps, and her husband, John, took me on a fun tour of Toronto on Thursday night. John filled the time with some great trivia about the city, and even laid down in the street in order to get the top of the CN tower in this photo:

Sandra and I laughing it up. (She has a really warm smile and ready laugh.)

And, here I am in downtown Toronto. It's like a mini-Times Square but SO MUCH CLEANER!!!! (And filled with much nicer people - only two of whom were smoking)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why I want to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Early afternoon; it's snowing outside, but not even enough to cover the grass (yet).
Meatball: Hey, mom! I have an idea!
Me: You do? What is it?
Meatball: We could build an igloo!
Me (laughing a bit): We could, but we need a LOT more snow.
Meatball: You know, I lived in an igloo when I was a baby girl.

Late night; boys are falling asleep on my lap as we watch RENT. I'm singing (poorly) 1000 kisses along with the TV (Angel and Tom):
Me: Our liiiiiife, all my liiiiiife - with 1000 sweet kisses
Peanut kisses my shoulder
Me: With 1000 sweet kisses
Peanut kisses my cheek
Me: With 1000 sweet kisses
Peanut kisses my shoulder again - smiling with his eyes closed.


I saw the following sign on the way home from the store yesterday, and while I realize that it's not a funny topic (AT ALL), I also wonder if it could have been phrased just a bit differently because - really - how does this happen:

Survivors of Suicide - meeting Wednesday, 7pm, at Dow James

I'm not stupid - I'm sure that they meant "Survivors of Attempted Suicide" or something like "Family Members Affected by Suicide" or etc. And, again, I KNOW that it's not funny. It's not even a little bit funny because someone is really, honestly, always grieving (my apologies to Lish, and I've had two friends commit suicide, so REALLY, it's not funny) - but I still laughed at the sign.

Does that make me a bad person? Probably.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First night in Canada

I missed Bub and the boys before I ever even left the house. The day was long, and the flights were longer. Seated across the aisle from me was a young mother with an 18-month old girl who just wanted to get up and walk around. Occasionally, young mother would let her. It scared me to have that little girl even a few seats away, but I may have been the only one. Seated right in front of me was an older lady who talked non-stop to the woman next to her, tickled the little girl when she would wander around, told the entire plane that she was on an emergency trip (although none of us know what the emergency was), and reprimanded young mother for the fact that little girl was still drinking from a bottle. I was so happy that the seat right next to me was a 17-ish year old guy who just wanted to listen to his iPod. Flight #2 was aboard a very small plane which seated 50 people. I thought of Bub the entire time. She would have been in a state of complete panic and white-knuckle terror. The drive from Toronto to Burlington was complete good luck since the directions give to me by M*pquest full-on sucked. I drove past my hotel three or four times before I realized what I was doing. I’m driving a Prius, which is nice, but weird – there aren’t even keys or a gear shift. It took me two minutes to figure out how to put it into park! I talked to the Bub and the boys right after I got to my room. Then, I cried. Then, I headed to the hotel treadmill to pound out four miles putting me at approximately 73 miles for the month – a far cry from the goal of 100. Then, after I finally ate, I sat down to do some work only to find out that I don’t have the right internet connection. SonOfA……. I could do some homework, but I decided not to. I just decided to go to sleep and tried not to miss my guys too much.

Friday, October 29, 2010

20 years!

This is the speech that I will give at my 20-year service anniversary presentation later today:

I became a mom for the first and second times when I was 37 which is pretty late by Utah standards, and those little boys are my whole life. So, I’m just now experiencing firsthand what many of you have already experienced thousands of times. That is: every time I say “thank you,” or “good job, buddy,” or “I appreciate your help,” or “I’m proud of you” my guys radiate with pride. I can almost see their sense of self-worth growing right in front of me. It is the best feeling in the world.

As a company, that’s what O. C. Tanner does for grown-ups, and I’m very proud to work for a company whose entire purpose is to promote a person’s sense of self worth.

I want to thank all of you for being my friends. I want to thank those of you closest to me for occasionally being my family. I’m grateful and honored to work alongside each of you at a company whose mission we all should be very proud of and dedicated to.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arts & Crafts

This is what every art/craft project looks like after about 30 minutes:


The stinkers are supposed to be knights for Halloween. Here are the cheap costumes that we bought them:

I hate that I'm buying costumes. I really want to be the mom that makes the BEST costumes/treats/decorations, but right now, I'm lucky to get breakfast made. [Sigh.]

We went to a carnival at a local school on Friday night. There were bounce houses, a cake walk, a pick-a-nose prize game (uber-gross), football toss, haunted hallway, hay ride, hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, cotton candy and a lot more. We didn't want to be knights.

All pictures are taken with my phone because we can't find our digital camera. Just like we can't find a pair of scissors, mom's reading glasses, and several kitchen utensils. Is anyone surprised by this?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In honor of PFC Jordan Byrd

I don't know the Byrd family, but last week their son became the first soldier from Tooele county to die in Afghanistan. The county has really done a great job honoring him and his sacrifice. When his body was returned, 1000+ flags lined SR36 from Lakepoint to Tooele - all 19 miles. All of the businesses in town had thier flags at half mast, and many of them mentioned him in their marquees.

He had only been in Afghanistan for three weeks. He received special permission to deploy later than the rest of his platoon so that he could be present for the birth of his first/only child who is now just three weeks old. It's horribly sad. He will be laid to rest tomorrow.

GLPU halloween party

We went to the gay parent group halloween party last weekend. It was hosted at a home out by Baccus Highway. That's as much as I can say since it took us 30 minutes to find the house. It was a lot of fun, and the family (2 dads, 8 kids) did a great job. The boys had a blast jumping on the trampoline, running around, eating cookies (although they did start out with carrots, fruit, and peas), and playing games. Here are two pictures from the spider web game. (Ball of yarn, kids in a circle, throw it back and forth, wrap it around you when you catch it, drop spider in center, scream and try to get out to run away.) Sweets and her girls were there as well as Weenie and the twins. P & S were in Alaska, so we missed them; Bek's entire house had the flu, so they missed out, too.

No, their faces aren't dirty - those are supposed to be whiskers or scruffy beard. They didn't want to wear their costumes, so they just ended up looking like kids with dirty faces.

Monday, October 18, 2010

fire fighter for an hour

We were headed home from the park one Saturday and passed the town's fire house. All of the engines were on display as well as various other rescue vehicles, the fire station was open, people were milling around, and kids were spraying the fire hoses. We stopped, of course, and had a cookie, watched a Ses*me Street movie about fire safety, got new pencils, and sprayed the fire hose! Peanut was all over the hose, but Meatball was a bit hesitant. He had to "help" mommy spray it before he would take it over on his own. It was pretty cool; the engines are amazing!

Not a great quality picture, but they got to sit in the driver's seat and talk on the walkie-talkie!!! It was pretty cool.

Meatball finally takes control of the hose.

You're not a fireman until you scrinch your nose up against the glass.

Gimme that hose! No hesitation, that boy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Afternoon on the farm

Wheeler Farm is fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Oh - and tractors ROCK! We could sit on these all day long.

Monday, October 11, 2010

good advice

The following question was asked on a local news show this morning: What was the best advice that your mom gave to you?

When I turned 18, my mom sat me down and said "Anything bad that you do now can land you in jail, will be on your record, and there is nothing that I can do to fix it."

And I was the good (nerdy, geek, no social life) kid. Imagine what that conversation was like for the other four kids!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bad dreams?

Boys' door opens, closes, and I hear little sobs. Peanut walks into the TV room where I am sorting clothes. I hug him close.

Mommy: Did you have a bad dream?
Peanut: Uh-huh.
Mommy: Do you know what a dream is?
Peanut: No.
Mommy: It's when you see pictures in your head while you are asleep.
Peanut: OK.
Mommy: Did something scare you?
Peanut: Yeah.
Mommy: What was so scary?
Peanut (pauses): Can you tell me some scary things?
Mommy (thinking I don't want to put any ideas into his head): No. What if I thought something was scary, but you thought it was funny? That wouldn't be good. Like a toot. What if you made a toot, and it scared me. Aaaahhhkkk!!!
Peanut (giggles): Toots aren't scary, mommy.
Mommy: What about a burp? Yikes!
Peanut (giggles): Burps aren't scary.
Mommy: So, what were you scared of?
Peanut (pauses): A BURP! (Laughs like crazy)

Then, he went back to sleep.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Once bitten, twice shy

Meatball was bitten once this summer by a mosquito. Let's face it; that's never an enjoyable experience. However, for the Meatball, it has stayed with him, firmly ingrained in his memory. So much so that he is "bitten" at least 60 times per day by a mosquito. These mosquitos usually swarm around him when Peanut is getting some attention, and they are apparently quite vicious and tricky.

This scene is played out several times per day:
Meatball: Ow-ow-ow! [fake crying]
Mommy: What's wrong?
Meatball: I got a mosquito bite!
Mommy: Oh no! Where did it bite you?
Meatball: Right there!
He then points to various parts of his body like the sole of his foot (even though he is wearing socks AND shoes), his tongue (even though his mouth was closed), the top of his head, his arms, his tummy (even though he is wearing a shirt and/or jacket), legs, ears, cheeks, and hands. In fact, one of these "mosquitos" even managed to bite his eyeball last night. Pretty impressive mosquitos, dontcha think?

We should like that

During almost every toy commercial on TV, Peanut will watch most of it and then say "We should like that toy," meaning "Mommy, please buy that for me."

Mommy: Who wants to go to the store with me?
Boys: Not me.
Mommy: You don't want to go to the store?
Peanut: No, and YOU don't want to go to the store.
Mommy: But I need to go buy some milk.
Peanut: No, you don't want to buy some milk. But, you should buy some trains. We should like that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Relaxin' at the park

Mommy Bub had cat scratch fever*, so the boys and I went for a picnic and play time at the park. Peanut sucked down some "monkey yogurt" (which is completely overpriced and they LOVE) while Meatball laid in the grass and exclaimed "This is nice. I'm just relaxin'."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Peaches and peppers

Ah, autumn's beauty and bounty. And cheap prices!

I am a huge fan of Ranch* Marke+s. Not because I shop there, but because Wal-M*rt has to honor their prices as part of their price match guarantee. And Rancho's prices rock! Niiiice.

Add that to the farmer down the street with super fresh food and great prices, and you get a new batch of jalepeno (with serrano) pepper jelly, quarts of peaches, peach jam, and - my newest fave - peach sage jam!

But, I'm not done yet. More jalapeno/serrano jelly, spaghetti sauce, and either tomatillo salsa or chili verde - I haven't decided.

And, apple season hasn't even started yet! Our tree got hammered by some wind storms earlier this year, but our neighbor's apple trees are full (and he could care less).

If I could get Bubba and the Meatball to stop eating all of the plums, I would do something with them. I have carrots to harvest, too. Look for some of these orange jewels to be frozen as well as some carrot cake (of course) and more jam. I am in love with carrot jam! (And peach sage, and lemon balm, and apricot kiwi and ...)

Monday, September 13, 2010

identity crisis

Mommy: What is your whole name?
Peanut: Ben
Mommy: Your name is bigger than that. What is your whole name?
Peanut: Earth to Ben!

Mom has obviously had a hard time getting someone's attention!

hair color

Nana: What color is your hair?
Meatball: Brown
Nana: What color is Papa's hair?
Meatball (after a bit of contemplation): Away!

Friday, September 10, 2010

United Way Day 2010

My and 29 of my coworkers got together earlier this week to do some good deeds (school grounds clean up) for United Way Day. Here are my friends from Client Relations (left to right): Roland, Jody, Brandon, Lish, JoElla, and me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Isn't this almost the cutest thing EVER?

Yes - so cute that it surpasses butterflies, unicorns, and trees that sprinkle glitter when the wind blows.
No - not so cute that is could ever surpass baby toes, anything that a 3-year old says, or old people holding hands. I said "almost" the cutest thing ever, not a greeting card moment!
TOTALLY cuter than anything in my wardrobe, my wife in the morning, and my feet after a marathon.

Well, you get the picture.

For purposes of scale, note the pen. It's just a regular pen.
Yes - the hamburger meal that you see is really a dessert. Sugar cookie fries (from scratch, no less), frosting fry sauce (which only makes sense to Utahns), and a mini-muffin/brownie burger. FYI - it was as tasty as it looks.

50 of these were made by my friend Jolene-the-wonder-woman who is also in the MBA program with me, is also a mom and wife, and also works full-time. The difference is that she takes the time (six hours - WITH help) to do really great things for her friends on their birthdays. I have a hard time remembering to FB my heartfelt (?) birthday wishes to them, and that's WITH the FB reminder!!!!!

I am, however, determined to make these next year for the boys' birthday. I will be the coolest mom on the block. (I would have been the coolest mom in the world if Jolene hand't gotten to this before me.....)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Really, I CAN cook!

About a month ago, we had a team building exercise here at work. It was probably one of the most fun activities we've had in long time. There were about 40 of us in the kitchen of our cafeteria. We were all given the same ingredients and had to whip up a meal that would be judged by our resident Chef (highly trained and award winner), the VP of HR, and the VP of our department. We had steak, potatoes, and the secret ingredient: brussel sprouts. We had access to anything in the kitchen.

Our team chose to do a pepper crusted grilled steak, mashed potatoes, and however you cook brussel sprouts. We also sauteed peppers and onions as well as mushrooms in bleu cheese to top the steak.

At first, we were at a loss. What to do? What to do? So, I whipped out my phone (thanks, company, for giving it to me) and looked up how to make brussel sprouts - which I've hated the whole one time I've tried them. We put them on to boil and then found some bacon. After frying up the bacon, we crumbled it and added the 1/2 boiled sprouts and a bunch of walnuts to it. We then popped it into the oven to bake.

Then, we set about chopping peppers and mushrooms while I covered the steaks with pepper and kosher salt. It looked like way too much pepper, but I was just doing what Bobby Flay or Jamie Oliver would have done. (See? TV can be instructional.) Potatoes were boiled and veggies sauteed while we grilled the steaks.

The result? Our team WON! Two of the teams were very close, but what really put us over the edge? My steaks!!! They were perfectly peppered! Yay for us! And the brussel sprouts? LOVED them! Maybe it was the bacon. Maybe it was the bacon fat. Maybe it was the walnuts. Whatever. I'm totally making these bad boys again!

Time to shave

A few days ago, Meatball and I were snuggled up on the couch watching something on TV (probably Chitty-Chitty-friggin'-Bang-Bang). I was wearing a tank top. He turned to me and said "Mommy, you have pokies (whiskers) like Papa!" Oops - time to shave my underarms.....

But, I like YOU....

The boys are SOOOOOOOOOOO into Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang right now. So much so that I'm frequently called Truly Scrumptious and Bub is Mr. Potts. Peanut doubles as Jeremy and Meatball as Jemimah (?). So, last night, I was UNINTENTIONALLY singing my "theme" song, and the Peanut joined in. I then told him that I was Truly Scrumptious. He said no (which is weird because he is usually the one who eggs it on). So, I insisted. He stood his ground. I was not Truly Scrumptious yesterday! So, I asked him if I was Mr. Potts. No. The Toymaker? No. Baron VonBursterberg? NO! "Mommy - you are my mommy! I like it when you're YOU!!"

Things to do

Last night when I was brushing my teeth, Meatball was going potty. This is what he had to say to me (and yes, he actually counted them off):
"Mommy. You gotta' do some things.
1: you need to brush your teeth.
2: you need to spit
3: you need to look in the mirror at you
4: you need to be afraid of sharks"

I must admit that a little bit of toothpaste spittle landed on the mirror.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You're different...

We went to the park to play with some other gay parents and their kids last weekend. We've been a few times this summer, and we've had a really good time. We go partly because we want the boys to know that there are lots of other kids with families like theirs, but mostly we go because the boys really need to have some playmates, and there are precious few in our neighborhood. Also, they still do not go to daycare or pre-school, so they really need the interaction. They are getting much better about sharing the playground equipment with other kids, and they are losing some of their inhibitions.

We've played with E* a few times now. He's about a year older than the boys. He and his daddy are both quite nice, and E* lets us push his trucks around in the wood chips and tries desperately to get us to understand how to play soccer (his dad is quite good at that).

Well, last Friday AFTER mommy stopped Meatball from peeing right in the middle of the playground (yes, he was dropping his drawers right there to the east of the slide), we were playing trucks with E*. As if it was just occurring to him (and maybe it was), Meatball looked at E*, reached up and touched E*'s ear, and said "You have brown ears." No mention of E*'s brown nose, fingers, knees, arms, cheeks, or toes. Just his ears. E* replied with "That's because I'm brown."

And that was the end of that.

Difference. Recognized, noted, and then disregarded.

It was sweet, really, until I found that it was bittersweet, too. It won't be long before someone tells the boys that they are different because their family is very different. It won't be long before some idiot's young child will say hurtful things (learned from said idiot) to them that will make them feel like outsiders. Someone will always be telling them that the people they love are rotten. (I know because I hear those messages constantly, and if they listened hard enough, my family would hear them, too.) Then, they will be hurt, and angry, and they'll want to be hurtful back. They will have to grow up - possibly faster than their peers - and that makes me sad.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ow! I need a bandage

For some reason (Grandpa, maybe?), both boys need a “bandage” when they get hurt instead of a Band-A*d. Everyone I know calls it by its brand name, not bandage. Grandpa is the only person I can think of who would say bandage. Whatever…

We went for a walk on Sunday night. It was a horrible walk. First, there are some new dogs up the street – pit bulls – who are very aggressive and come right up to the fence to snarl, bark, gnash their teeth and generally spread bad vibes throughout the neighborhood. Their owner got mad at us because her dogs were barking up a storm. Stuff it, lady – I’m trying to drag two dogs and two toddlers away from your rabid, ugly animals – don’t give me your shit. Then, we stopped at the corner to look for cars before crossing the street. As we debated which way to go (I let the boys decide if we go right, left, or straight ahead) we were surrounded by a swarm of wasps who just happened to be nesting in the pole that holds the stop sign up. So, I hurriedly drag everyone across the street again. Next we pass another house with two unleashed German shepherds in the front yard. They, of course, start growling and creeping up on us. Their owner called them off, but not before I have to drag everyone along further.

Then, the real mess begins. Almost everyone on this block has removed the grass from their park strip and replaced it with something that doesn’t need water like bricks, cement, or rocks. Many of them also have big decorative boulders on the park strip. The boys like to sit on, try to push, climb on, run around these boulders. This night was no exception. They climbed and laughed and since it was only about 18” tall, they began to jump off of one of them. I was distracted for a brief second, but I turned around just in time to see Meatball fall off – right onto his forehead and face. (He gets his grace and coordination from Bubba, I swear!) I drop everything just in time for the screaming to begin.

I picked him up and he was bleeding a bit (nothing gushing) and a big ol’ goose egg was already formed right below the hairline. He also scraped below and just to the side of his left eye. Poor little guy! He screamed and cried for a few minutes while I held him, tried to collect the dogs, and argued with Peanut about the fact that he wanted to turn left and I wanted to go home. “Finally, I convinced him to be my helper and carry Meatball’s baseball cap…”

We headed home – now with a screaming toddler in my arms – past the German shepherds, past the wasp nest, past the snarling pit bills. Finally, we had to cross the street again, and I wanted to hold Peanut’s hand. He had stopped crying by this time, so I asked Meatball if he could walk across the street. “I really shouldn’t, mom,” was the response. But, he did…

By the time we crossed the street, he was singing a song, so I knew that he was fine, but he looked horrible. We got home and went right into the tub because that’s how he wanted me to clean the wounds. Fine – it was bath night anyway. After a while, Bub came in to see us since the walk was so short and since we didn’t say anything when we walked back in the house. Upon seeing his poor little face, she – of course – flipped out. “I think that we need to take him to the emergency room!” She is nothing if not (overly)concerned. He was, however, reciting his address and half of his phone number at this point, so I figured a trip to the ER wasn’t really necessary. In the end, he was held and coddled and loved all night long. A couple of Lightnin’ McQueen bandages and an ice pack later, and he is feeling fine, but has learned how to work it in order to get popsicles, strawberry milk, and whatever TV show he wants.

Fast forward to the next day. Bub was applying a new bandage to Meatball’s face, and who else should have a problem? Peanut, of course. We’re pretty sure that he was sick of all of the attention being shown his brother. Bub gave him a bandage and said that she would help him with it as soon as she was finished cleaning up Meatball. Apparently that wasn’t fast enough because when she turned around, Peanut was sitting on the couch with NO pants and NO underwear. He was in the process of applying the bandage to, well…. “Mom! My penis is broken!”

Poopin’ on da Potty!

With the exception of a few early morning accidents, we are officially potty trained. YAY! It happened just like everyone said it would: when they’re ready, they will do it. Of course, the fact that we waited FOREVER to start time is another story. All I know about that is that everyone needs to be on the same page: kids, parents, grandparents, etc. We all weren’t.

Anyhooooo, last night, Peanut took off like a shot from the TV room headed straight for the bathroom. “I gotta’ poop!” he hollered. So, I go in to make sure that everything is fine and get to the door just in time to hear him say “Get outta’ there, poop; you’re stinkin’ up the joint!”

Monday, August 9, 2010

brain freeze

At 47 years old, Bubba just had her very first brain freeze today. Really. Very first brain freeze, ever. Dontcha think that's freakin' WEIRD?!?!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

funny boys

Every once in a while, both boys will say "Oh! What did I'm thinking?"
Cracks me up every time.

While reading bedtime stories a couple of nights ago, I pulled out Pinocchio.
Peanut: Oooo, Vinocchio!
Meatball: No, Binocchio!
Peanut: No, VIH-nocchio!
Meatball: No, BIH-nocchio!
This went on every time I uttered poor PIH-nocchio's name through the whole book. At one point in the story, Meaball pointed to the pictures and said "Look, mom! BIH-nocchio's nose is getting older and older and older!"

Friday, August 6, 2010

First baseball game

Thanks to Nana, we got to go to a baseball game for free last night. The boys were looking forward to it because Bubba and I had been talking it up for a week. We got there early so that I could go and say hi to some old friends.

Then, we found the balloon lady who made some blow up swords. Then, we got hot dogs and soft pretzels, fries, and a cheeseburger. THEN, the snowcone guy walked past our seats. Finally, the cotton candy girl was in the area. It was a junk food extravaganza. And, the boys had a blast. (Here we are eating our very first cotton candy. Mommies wouldn't allow it until now, and will reconsider it in the future!)

We only lasted through the 3rd inning because the Peanut hadn't napped all day, but we did manage to see Bumble, ride the train (while giving high-fives to people on the sidewalk), and wash our hands a million times in the echo-y stadium bathrooms (screams echo really well in there!).

It was a fun night.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

But for the grace...

I briefly shared the bus stop yesterday with a man carrying three very big garbage bags full of crushed aluminum cans. He was headed to the recycling center on 33rd, and from the looks of things, was having a hard run of luck. We chatted, and he seemed very intelligent, polite, and kind. All the while, I was reminded how lucky I am to have a job, a home, a cute and healthy family. All of that could change in a heartbeat, and it's good for me to remember that.

I'll donate blood today because I know that my health could be taken from me, too, at any time. I hope that my small donation can help someone (like the dad in critical condition after being hit by teen talking on a cell phone yesterday), and I hope - but surely cannot guarantee - that it won't be me next time. But for the grace of god/fate/good luck/aligned planets go I.

Black Toast Tuesday

Unlike the stock market crash of '29, black TOAST Tuesday is that morning when you realize that you forgot to dial back the toasting level knob after hollering "Get down from there" for what seemed like the 84th time the night before.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And, THIS is why Funniest Home Videos is now banned in our home

Because I know two little boys who think that slamming the other person's face into the top of a cake (or pie, or pudding, or yogurt, or anything messy - yes, even pancakes with syrup) is hysterical.

Now, in all actuality, it is pretty silly. It's quite funny unless it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU SIT DOWN. Then, it's just messy. They giggle like they have just sniffed some serious laughing gas, but mommy is getting tired of it.

And, since mommies don't push each other's faces into plates of food (although, it does hold a certain appeal), I know that they didn't get this from us. Nana generally forbids all dessert-type items, so I'm sure that Papa didn't teach them this one (but peeing on trees was all him). I'm absolutely POSITIVE that Grandma and Grandpa did NOT bring this about because, well, they just didn't.

Curses to you, Tom Bergeron! Curses!!!!!

There is no originality in rural Utah

I know, DUH!

We went to a 24th of July parade last weekend in central Utah. It would have been fun if the firetruck sirens and the drums of the band hadn't scared the bee-jeebees out of the Meatball.

But anyway...

Along come the NSH Cheerleaders. Oooo, yay, right? I'm telling the boys to watch them and they will do something cool with their arms or legs or something. Then, the cheer starts (with only clapping, no cool acrobatic movements or even SPIRIT hands!).

[clap, clap]
"Don't take no - UH! - jive"
[clap, clap]
"We are alive"
(repeat as necessary)

Really? I mean, REALLY? Seriously, REALLY!?!?!?!?!?!
Do you know how long I've been out of high school? 22 years. Yes, 22 years, which should be obvious given my crow's feet and gray hair. The cheerleaders were doing this same cheer 22 years ago. (Although, to be fair, they said UMPH instead of UH, and their arms WERE flailing about - synchronized flailing, of course....)

WORSE YET: When I was a little lass about the village, I took cheerleading "lessons" for a few summers as part of the cheer squad's annual fundraising efforts. WE LEARNED THAT SAME CHEER BACK THEN!!!!!!!! So, for 32 years (and probably longer given that the term "jive" originated in popular culture when I was about 2 years old), the NSH cheer squad has been chanting the same tired verse.

What's next?
"Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar"
"All for the Hawks, stand up and holler"
Woooo (insert SPIRIT hands, here)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I got 3 words for ya!

Yup. Finally. Both boys "held it" all night.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Sadly, I haven't had time to attend properly to my cherry tree. It's full of fruit, but it's all past its prime. I did manage to get three pints of cherry jam and three pints of cherry-peach jam put up, but no plain cherries for pies later in the year. :(
NEXT year, I'll totally be on top of it! (Or, mired in the middle of my last project for my MBA. I guess we'll see.....)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dinner decisions

On the way home last night I asked the boys what they wanted for dinner.
Meatball: pancakes
Peanut: macanories (macaroni)
They were insistent. Pancakes and macanories. I still gag when I repeat that particular combination. I mean YUCK!
But, I did it. They got what they wanted. In my defense, the pancakes were whole wheat with walnuts, and I did add a veggie (sweet potatoes) and some apple sauce. Double gag. The pancakes were even topped with homemade pear jam. It was a culinary disaster, and they ate every bite.

Bub and I had leftovers of fish and pasta.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wheels on the Bus - New Verse

Yesterday, Peanut was singing The Wheels on th Bus. Here's the most recent verse:

The Sammys on the bus say "Give me that, give me that, give me that."

Perhaps we have a sharing problem.....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

you can't always get what you want

Meatball (holding two sandbox shovels): Mom, which shubble do you want?
Me: Hmmmm... The yellow one.
Meatball: No.
Me: OK, the orange one.
Meatball: No.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A letter to the boys about sanitary conditions


This weekend we went to the local arts festival. We had to go into the porta-potties a few times. I just want you to know that it is really hard to keep the two of you under control for even a couple of minutes at a time, so trying to make sure that one of you doesn't run away half naked into a crowd of strangers while getting the other one onto the potty is really pushing it. (Disclaimer: your other mommy was running to the car for new diapers. Otherwise, this would have been just a smidge easier.)

Trying to make sure that neither of you touches anything in a porta-potty is a ridiculous ideal, but it's still a one that I not only entertain but also try really hard to accomplish. I'm not very good at it.

After telling you both 900 times not to touch anything, this, that, or the other (especially the urinal), I instead promised to remind you when you are all grown up that you are lucky to have survived that particular weekend due to the amount of gross and disgusting germs that you must have picked up in the 2-minutes we were in the orange castle. It's incredibly barfy for me to even think about this, and I'm NOT a germaphobe (at least not yet).

I'm sure that you're only alive because I put so much of that anti-bacterial stuff on all of our hands. Nothing could live through that (I hope).

Let's make a deal: I promise to avoid places with porta-potties as much as possible until you are potty trained if you promise to keep your grubby little hands off of all the gross things when we do need to enter one of these disgusting places. Oh, and I won't let Mama Bub off the hook again. Next time, we'll wait until she returns with the new underwear.

Love you, you little germ magnets!

Potty training - it's working!!!

The Peanut has gone into the bathroom by himself, lowered his pants and pull-ups by himself, climbed on the toilet by himself, and made poopy in the potty by himself, TWICE! It's finally all starting to come together. I can hardly wait until they are both there. Not buying diapers and pull-ups will be like getting a pay raise!


When we walk the dogs, the destruction (Sadie) is leashed because she is still too young and untrained to be off-leash. [Did I mention that we have this new family member? Well, we do. More on that later, I suppose.] The angel (Lizzy) runs free because she is the best dog EVER.

At the end of our walk the other night, Lizzy was up the driveway, and we were all still moseying along since 3-year-old legs don't walk really fast and there are lots of ants to look at which slows us down quite a bit. Anyhooooo,
Me: Look at that! Lizzy is already home and wondering why we are such slow pokes!
Meatball: Yeah. She's a fast poke!

I full-on cracked up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The time has come.....

In my mind, there has always been an age when the term "ma'am" is acceptable. Therefore, no matter how old and leathery and decrepit I looked, I could still say that I wasn't old enough to be a ma'am.

Until now.

That age was 40, and here I am. Son of a......

So, two days ago when the helpful boy in the store said "Did you find everything you needed, ma'am?" I cringed, exhaled slowly, unclenched my fists, and said to myself "Ah, fuck it. Ma'am."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Me: Hey, bud. Eat your beignets, please.
Meatball: Benny-Yays?!?! Yum!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

To a Child, LOVE is Spelled T-I-M-E

The following is a forward to a book called TO A CHILD, LOVE IS SPELLED T-I-M-E:

In the faint light of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little half-windows. Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph album after another. Eyes once bright but now dim searched longingly for the source that had drawn him here.

It began with the fond recollection of the love of his life, long gone, and somewhere in these albums was a photo of her he hoped to rediscover. Silent as a mouse, he patiently opened the long buried treasures and soon was lost in a sea of memories. Although his world had not stopped spinning when his wife left it, the past was more alive in his heart than his present aloneness.

Setting aside one of the dusty albums, he pulled from the box what appeared to be a journal from his grown son's childhood. He could not recall ever having seen it before, or that his son had ever kept a journal. Why did Elizabeth always save the children's old junk? he wondered, shaking his white head.

Opening the yellowed pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an unconscious smile. Even his eyes brightened as he read the words that spoke clear and sweet to his soul. It was the voice of the little boy who had grown up far too fast in this very house, and whose voice had grown fainter and fainter over the years. In the utter silence of the attic, the words of a guileless six-year-old worked their magic and carried the old man back to a time almost totally forgotten.

Entry after entry stirred a sentimental hunger in his heart like the longing a gardener feels in the winter for the fragrance of spring flowers. But it was accompanied by the painful memory that his son's simple recollections of those days were far different from his own. But how different?

Reminded that he had kept a daily journal of his business activities over the years, he closed his son's journal and turned to leave, having forgotten the cherished photo that originally triggered his search. Hunched over to keep from bumping his head on the rafters, the old man stepped to the wooden stairway and made his descent, then headed down a carpeted stairway that led to the den.

Opening a glass cabinet door, he reached in and pulled out an old business journal. Turning, he sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold, while his son's was tattered and the name Jimmy had been nearly scuffed from its surface. He ran a long skinny finger over the letters, as though he could restore what had been worn away with time and use.

As he opened his journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words:

Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn't catch a thing.

With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read:

Went fishing with my Dad. Best day of my life.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

summer travel plans

This morning, Meatball and I had the following conversation:

Meatball: Hey mom, let's go to the earth!
Me: OK! That sounds like fun. How are you ging to get there?
Meatball: Huh?
Me: Are you going to drive a car to earth? Or are you going to take a boat?
Meatball (looking at me like I'm an idiot): No! A spaceship!
Me: Oh, right!
Meatball (putting a dish towel on his head): I have my helmet. I can go!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mommies gave the boys new fishing poles, reels, and tackle boxes for their third birthday. Real, honest-to-goodness poles, not those silly Tweety Bird or Sponge Bob poles that are shorter than the child. We went fishing the day after their party. We didn't catch anything (because it's hard to catch something when your bait only stays in the water for 13 seconds), but it's fun to cast and reel, cast and reel, cast and reel, throw rocks, cast and reel.

Meatball waiting for a fish to bite

Peanut checking out the tackle box goods (and in the same clothes as the day before - he slept in them, too)

And isn't this just the cutest thing? Fishing with Mommy Bub.

Wheeler Farm

We went to Wheeler Farm to play for an afternoon. Grandpa went with us. It was really quite fun. We fed animals, we drove tractors, we went for a wagon ride, we climbed in the treehouse, and we were completely UNinterested in the antique stuff that Mommy K wanted to look at. (Duh, hello.....)



Fun wagon ride:

Grandpa and Meatball:



Walking with Grandpa:

Playing in the tree house:

Nobody wants to get off of the tractor (including Grandpa):

Seriously, LOVE the tractor:

Am I having fun, or WHAT?!?!?: