Friday, May 12, 2017

A Cindy Quickie

As a punishment that I had to levy against Cindy, her ipad has been taken away for the weekend.  She has now been "playing" the harmonica for the last 20 minutes.  I think I need to reassess my discipline plan...

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Luke Quickie

Last night I was watching The Wizard of Oz.  It was getting late and Luke was watching with me on the couch, but he was not very happy with my choice of movies.  He kept asking me to put in something different.  Based on the time and what a full day he had had,  I knew starting a new movie would be pointless.  I said, "Just lay down and watch.  You are going to fall asleep in five seconds anyway."  He replied, "How can I fall asleep with all this horrible singing?"


First, how dare you, Luke! And second, good for you for finally having the guts to tell me how you really feel about something! Even if it was insulting one the greatest movies ever made.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

This Is Completely Unnecessary

Summer has officially arrived in Florida.  In it's honor, I have enabled a feature in my car that displays the "feels like" temperature.  Seems legit.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hang Ten

This past Sunday was Luke's 10th birthday, which I am still denying is even possible.  It seriously could not have been an entire decade ago that he was born.  I mean, do you understand that in two years, he will be a deacon and passing the sacrament??!!

I KNOW!  But I digress...

We celebrated, as Luke has reminded me several times, by NOT having a friend birthday party, but rather with Grandma and Grandpa Bingham on Sunday night after dinner.

Pinterest, you complete me.  Without you, I would not have been able to make this super awesome Minecraft Creeper Hershey bar cake.

One Creeper and one super duper totally NON-creeper

Grandma went a little crazy with the presents.  Strangely, Luke did not mind.

Grandma Sweeney sponsored Luke's new bike, which he has been riding non-stop since he got it.  He has even rode unaccompanied down to the church and back twice.  As long as he doesn't park it behind the car again, all will be well :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Cindy Quickie

Today while driving in the car Cindy was expressing her annoyance at having to go to girls camp this summer.  I told her that if I am going to be there, sweating my guts out and swimming with alligators, she's going to be there too.  Then I heard her say, "Well, I'm just going to have to get gingivitis so I can't go."  I immediately started laughing because I was about 1000% sure that Cindy had no idea what gingivitis was.  "So you're going to get gum disease so you won't have to go to girls camp?"  To which she replied, "Aw, crap, that is not what I thought that was.  No, I won't get that.  I'll get something else."  Keep dreaming, sister! Flaming Arrow awaits your arrival :)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Backblogging like a Boss

Time to recap everything I didn't have time to blog about:

I ran a race and won a baseball.  Luke lost his over the fence, so this seemed like a good way to get one back.

I would like to thank the little people,
like Orange Theory

Luke has been having a magical 4th grade year.  His latest adventures included dressing up as Andrew Jackson (duh) and celebrating Florida Pioneer day, where I packed his lunch of beef jerky, cheese and a hard boiled egg inside a paper bag.  Tasty.  

I'm saving this outfit for Trek.
It will probably still fit.

I love my job :)

We've gone blueberry and strawberry picking once again.  During this time of year I start to get sad that the hot weather is lurking out there, waiting to pounce on us and get us right in the jugular, but at least we have delicious fruit to ease our pain for a month or two...

Do not leave him unsupervised with giant
bowls of strawberries

Or buckets of blueberries...

Blueberrries, ahoy!

Conference has come and gone again.  Here you can sort of see our updated living room, complete with couch and ottoman that we bought ourselves.  Not a hand-me-down.  That's gotta be some kind of record.

Luke started soccer again!  This time around he is team Spain and Uncle Brian is so proud.  We are now four games in and Luke has scored in every single game.  He even had a hat trick today!  ¡Vamos Lucas!

Luke had his final Spring Musical performance for South McKeel Academy.  It's the end of an era! And marginal recorder performances.

And finally, I have big news!  I have adopted an alien baby named Zartho.

Don't look at her. She'll turn your heart to love.
And then maybe melt it with lazer vision or take it back to her spaceship to
run some tests, I'm not sure.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Cindy Officially Becomes a Teenager (though she has been acting like one for a year)

Oh sure, it looks like Cindy is smiling joyfully at the awesome Eiffel Tower crepe cake I made her for her 13th birthday, but do not be fooled.  This was her "I am going to oversmile for approximately .8 seconds and you better get your picture or you're just going to have to live without one, got it?" face.

I'm pretending it was a real smile

I made it out of a blue velvet cake mix and two cans of cream cheese frosting.  I probably did it completely wrong, but the ruffles kind of added to the the french theme and gave it that perfect jen is sais quoi, oui?

Photobomber level: Luke

But lest you think the balance of power is way off around here, you will be happy to know that I had Cindy unwrap a package of underwear.  In front of her dad. And grandpa. And grandma. And little brother.  And it was glorious.  And I regret nothing.  Sucka!!

If looks could kill, I would be vaporized

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Lunchroom Quickie

This is the exact encounter I had with two first graders in the lunchroom last week...

1st Grade Girl:  "Ms. Sweeney, he just called me liar, liar, pants on fire!"
1st Grade Boy: "Ugh! Yes, I did.  But is it even true that inside our bodies is ham?"
Me: "What did you just say?"
1st Grade Boy: "Do we have ham inside our bodies?"
1st Grade Girl: "Yeah, like if you cut open your arm, inside is ham, right?"
Me: "I will answer you as soon as I get back from laughing my head off."

Yet another instance where it is proven that you can never ever correctly predict what a kid is going to say to you in the lunchroom.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snow Much Fun, Vol. 2

It's a good thing that the next day happened to be Sunday, because a 'day of rest' is exactly what we needed after skiing all day Saturday,  We did go and see The Lego Batman Movie Saturday night, which I should probably see again because I may have drifted off for one or forty-five minutes.

Sunday night my brother and family came over from Saratoga Springs for dinner and a quick visit, which means I got to see JULIA!  Eat your heart out, Grandma!

The rest of Sunday was spent playing Drawful (the best game ever) and having a small devotional with Grandma and Grandpa Sweeney about patriarchal blessings.

Monday the plan was to go snowmobiling at Snowbird.  However, as just south of us became under a Winter Storm Warning, I knew it might be iffy.  As we waited out the morning to see what would happen in the canyon, it began to SNOW big time at Robert and Brooke's house.  Which was such a neat surprise.  I couldn't have planned it any better if I could have.  Once it got going just a little more than a flurry, we quickly put on our snow clothes and headed out to enjoy the winter wonderland.

It started falling so fast that we decided a legitimate snowman needed to be made.  Good thing Jacob has a lot of experience with snow and building stuff, because he didn't miss a beat and got right to work.  

I did too. See me? Do you see me working?

(I forgot to mention that on Friday, Cindy actually made a snowman with the limited amount of snow she could find in the yard.  But her perseverance paid off and I thought Jimmy the snowman turned out really cute!)

Luke made a snow angel (in the mulch bed?) and wasn't half bad at making a true snowball.



The winter storm actually closed down the snowmobiling at Snowbird, however, they did say that their Midway location was open for business.  After polling the kids, they decided to stay behind with their cousins who were playing hookie from school that day anyway, and Jacob and I went ahead to brave the snow and have an adventure.  It wasn't the most ideal day for a trip up to 9,000 feet- there was pretty much ZERO view that day, but when you are leaving the state in 8 hours, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The roads were slushy and we were in and out of snow the entire drive, but by the time we made it to the snowmobiling place, it was lightly coming down and very pretty.

In fact, I took this photo and did not alter it one bit.  It really looked this.  Amazing!

I've heard that a snowmobile is pretty much like a jet ski on snow.  Yep, it is!  Including the lovely smell of gas from the motor the entire time.  That part was not pleasant, but  seeing foot upon foot of new fallen snow in the back country with Jacob was amazing.  At one point we were going through a campground and if I stood up on the back of the snowmobile, I could have almost touched some of the lower hanging power lines that were overhead.  The snow was just. so. deep.  

In fact, right before we took this photo I walked on the other side of the snowmobile and the snow was up to my thighs!

The best part was getting to take turns driving in the giant valley.  And not just because I was getting motion sickness from sitting on the back for 45 minutes.  Here I am looking totally hardcore. I know, I always look hardcore, but now I am looking hardcore, IN SNOW.

I'm not gonna lie, it was cold out there. And every time I took off my gloves to take a picture, I was reminded what a lousy pioneer I would have made crossing the plains, because my hands were FREEZING and I wanted to weep after 10 seconds.  But even despite my pansie nature, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Especially with Jacob. He only gets you lost a little bit ;)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Look Right Here

I'm working on Vol. 2 of our trip, so while you wait, I will throw you two bones.

1.  I went to the beach last Friday and finally got back into the seagull punch groove!  Well, Cindy did at least...

2.  Watch this in case you have been living under a rock for the past 24 hours.  It doesn't disappoint.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Snow Much Fun, Vol. 1 (Of 2, Don't Worry)

Pop Quiz Time!

1.  I wanted to take the kids to Utah to experience snow to:

a. broaden their horizons
b. visit family we have been missing
c. make memories
d. finally get them to shut their pie holes about not ever seeing snow in their lives

The first thing we did after landing was head straight to Grandma Henrie's house to pick up some snow clothes that could get us through a couple hours of first day sledding.  Her yard was covered with about 2 inches of fresh powder, so upon arriving the kids could barely wait for the car to stop before jumping out.

After at least putting on some knitted hats and gloves, we made some snowballs and tramped through her yard, freaking out like total Florida weirdos.  

Watch how the pros do it, Luke

This picture reminds me of:

a. that shave ice I once ate in Hawaii
b.  how my hair used to look when I was a kid
c.  how knitted gloves are terrible in snow
d. Spinelli from the cartoon Recess


We knew we were burning daylight, so we got right on the road to Robert and Brooke's house to make camp and get ready for some sledding! The view coming over the mountains down to their house was incredible.

We began by sledding on the hill at the side of their house, but the snow was only probably about 1 inch deep and left something to be desired.  So Brooke and I got in the van and formed a scouting party.  

2.  We ultimately ended up finding an epic local sledding hill by:  

a. Scouring Internet message boards
b. Driving around aimlessly and then getting really lucky
c. Asking Siri
d.  Asking two random kids on the street where they sled and following their recommendation

It's no joke, kids know where it's AT!

That little hill was ridiculously steep, which meant it was actually fun for Jacob :)  And also killer on your legs and thighs.  I could barely even get up the hill more than twice without falling over!


We stayed for about 2 hours and I have to say the kids had moderate fun, but overall were just COLD. Which put me into panic mode that I had dragged them 2,500 miles only to suffer and be unimpressed. But this misery was mostly due to the fact that we weren't exactly layered properly and wearing everything we needed. Wet snow was ending up down the backs of jackets and in people's faces and we weren't wearing the correct gloves or hats.  So the first day of sledding felt like this:

Why do you hate me, mom?

3.  In fact, this picture shows Luke:

a.  frolicking in the snow
b.  running from his cousin who is chasing him
c. showing you just how deep the snow was that day
d.  running to car to get warm, thus giving up on sledding and joining Cindy who had already left 25 minutes earlier to do the same

However, there was an awesome silver lining to that experience that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  We were able to troubleshoot all of our coldness/under-preparedness issues in time for Saturday's skiing session. YAY!

4.  Overall, the best part of sledding was:

a. being outside in the crisp, refreshing air
b. going down the hill at tremendous speeds
c. the kids realizing their lifelong dreams
d. Going home afterward and actually needing to drink hot cocoa.  (Because we were so cold.  Did you hear what I just said!!? We needed to drink it!  It wasn't just a pretend ritual that makes you have caloric guilt.  And we also needed to put three inches of whip cream on top too.  It was necessary. ) 

Good Morning, Utah! Time to go skiing!

Saturday morning was the day of all days: ski time.  I was so nervous about this part because this was pretty much what the entire trip was about.  Would I love it? Would I hate it? Would I break my leg in three places in a fiery crash?  Would I be skiing black diamonds by the end of the day because of my phenomenal athleticism and good looks?  

Ummm, I think we all know the answer to that one: 

We headed out early to Snowbird with Sean and Tara leading us the whole way.  They had completely outfitted us with approximately one million choices of ski pants, jackets, goggles, gloves and layering accouterments. And since we followed their layering instructions to a T, we were not cold the entire day.  I dare say at one point, I was even sweating. 

5.  Which could have been because: 

a. I put everything on too early while still inside the resort
b. Luke and I got lost in an elevator and thought we would die of heat stroke before we managed to find our way to the Chickadee lift
c. we are from Florida and our bodies only have one temperature setting

Skiing turned out to be a pleasant experience!  Sean and Tara were great teachers and Jacob and I picked it up way faster than I thought we would.  Luke: loved skiing and was a little Bode Miller by the end of the day. Cindy: skiing she no likey.  But I was proud of her for simply giving it at least one try.  Tara's calling and election was made sure by the 45 minutes she patiently spent trying to help Cindy learn to ski. I actually didn't even get one picture of Cindy in her ski clothes because we kind of got separated and by the time I found her she was inside planning her escape home :)

Here is some amazing footage of Luke captured by skiing sensation Sean Sweeney.  Seriously, skiing and taking video at the same time is HARD!

I call this, "I've watched four YouTube videos on how to ski. Out of my way!"


Whoever said that skiing is like ice skating was totally right. And not just because it's slippery, awkward at first and involves excruciatingly uncomfortable footwear.  (In fact, my new phrase for looking on the bright side of a bad situation is, "Well, at least we aren't wearing ski boots!")  The turning is very similar, so at least that was on my side, as I am a pretty decent ice skater.  I was proud of myself for how well I did.  The first hour was pretty dicey, but after that things got easier and I finally got the flow of how the skis worked.  Chickadee run became our little training ground and was just the right mix of incline and length.

Jacob actually was a whiz out there, I was impressed

Sean, Me, Brooke, Jacob and Luke

Luke really likes his Uncle Sean :)
And why wouldn't he?  He SKIED him down a mountain.  More than once. And he liked it! A LOT!

Halfway through the day, Robert treated us to a crazy-overpriced, but very good bacon cheeseburger at the resort snack bar.  Cheeseburger, $14.50.  We think that's fair. That's what we charge in our country.  

Brooke, Robert, Jacob and Me

6.  The craziest part of eating lunch outside in 28 degree weather while it's snowing is:

a.  watching the flakes land on your hamburger
b.  having the snow go up to your knees while you're sitting down
c.  trying to eat Cheetos while wearing mittens
d. getting a cup of water from the concession stand and having it get COLDER the longer you sit there!  Seriously, it was wild!

28 DEGREES.  And yet I continued to live.

After lunch Sean and Tara convinced us to try a little bit higher of a run.  We stupidly decided to give it a try.  

Going up Mid-Gad lift. To our deaths.

I'm gonna die coming down this thing, aren't I?

So from up top it looked like this:

But it felt like this:

The only legitimate moment that  actually gave me a heart attack the entire day was when Luke decided to go down this run with reckless abandon and no one with him.  He dug in his poles, and off he went. I may have had a small hyperventilating moment all while commanding Sean to go after "my baby" and save him from his own stupidity.  Which he dutifully did!  Jacob, Luke and I made it down in one piece, but that's because I slid sideways down the entire run and Jacob would use the ingenious "just sit down" (and crash) method of stopping whenever he got going too fast.  As Sean and I were up a little higher taking our time, we watched Jacob for a few minutes and saw him use his "stopping" technique a few times.  

7.  As I was laughing, I looked at Sean who said:

a.  "Poor guy!"
b.  "Well, at least he's not getting hurt!"
c.  "He's actually doing really well!"
d.  "That's for making me eat a jalapeno, Jacob."  (Best. Moment. Ever.)

Clearly, we lived to tell the tale of skiing Mid-Gad (barely), but I would be lying if I said that it wasn't terrifying at certain points.  By the time we finished the run it was almost 3pm and our leg day, I mean, ski day was kicking our butts.  Luke was BEAT!  Here he is waiting for the ski shuttle.

And here he is in a crumpled, yet satisfied pile as we finally drove home.

There is tired and then there is skiing tired.

It is no joke that skiing takes a lot of physical energy.  I was trying to figure out where I would rank "skiing tired" on my Tiredness Totem Pole.  I think I finally decided:

Coming out of Snowbird was crazy!  It had totally started snowing and you forget that there are about a million other people trying to leave as well, so you get a nice, slow drive down the canyon to once again see the beauty of the snow.


I realize now that the conditions were 100% perfect for a first time skier.  The snow was the best powder ever.  Absolute heaven.  No crazy slick ice, super soft and a pleasure to wipe out in.  And I should know.  I bit the dust hard about 6 times during the day, but thankfully nothing that scared me off or caused significant trauma.  Luke did have a very uncomfortable derailment that left him in the "downward dog" crash position, but he handled it like a champ and had a great day.  In fact, in the week since we have been home he has said the phrase, "I really want to go skiing again" about 114 times.  Which, I can say, will probably happen again :)  Hey, when you got Sean and Tara and the warmest ski clothes ever, how can you say no???!