Holiday Prep

This year the kids were super excited to buy our Christmas tree. They were very specific about height, needle quality, and color. They were even more excited to decorate it. We gathered together and placed all our many and varied ornaments from over the years while listening to Christmas music. When we finished they were like, “What!?! We’re done already!” 

“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”  Charles Dickens



A couple of years after we moved into our house, Jess mentioned that he thought it’d be fun to host Thanksgiving. I didn’t have as much excitement for such a task. I worried about all the work, the cleaning, the stress! What if the turkey wasn’t right or the mashed potatoes were over whipped?

Fast forward to this year, where I have a few cooked turkeys under my belt, the mashed potato king by my side, and a dining room table that has a leaf. We had 20+ people over and it was a delight. I brined the turkey (and turkey breast) and Jess prepped the potatoes to perfection. The company was wonderful, the side dishes superb, and the desert plentiful. 

Here we are putting the finishing touches on the meal. Jess and his dad carved the turkey!

Ansel dressed up as a pilgrim. His cousin was a Native American. It was fun

We had a kid table and an adult table which worked perfectly. 

It was really a wonderful afternoon...except for the short time when two pipes under the sink came separated from each other (due to a loose fastener) and about three gallons of water flooded into the basement. But everyone acted quickly and the problem was addressed. 

I am so grateful for the people who came and who I love so much. What a great way to spend one of my favorite holidays. 


bp’s science: don’t throw away those giblets yet!

Most of us don’t use the giblets that come with a turkey. Am I right? The recipe I was using said to pull out the giblet packet and discard. This year, my boys were watching me prep our turkey to brine as I pulled out the neck and giblets. Instead of the quick discard, we pulled out the heart, liver, and gizzard. I let them hold each organ and we discussed what it did.  It was a neat science lesson about how bodies work. It also allowed my kids to think a bit more about what they eat. Ansel may just be a vegetarian now :). 

Afterward, I took the heart and dissected it a little. Fascinating! This may give me a little more biologist cred with Jess, seeing as I don’t practice in the field but graduated with a degree in it and love to claim I am a one. But I digress. 

Try it! When you prep your turkey this year, open that giblet pack and see if you can guess which organ is which. But not if that’s too disgusting. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


That time I put string lights in my family room

Once daylight savings hits and the nights get darker and darker, I start to anticipate how we can keep those dark days from seeping into our moods, or maybe just my mood, but anyhow. This year I painted my hall to a nice light grey over the very early 2000s beige and it helped immensely. Then I took to the family room, which I lovingly call the cave. 

See what I mean? The photo below is with all of the lights on. Still dark!

I bought string lights and strung them across the room. I feel like this breaks all kinds of interior design rules, but I just went for it!
Not only does this lighten up the space, but it makes it feel larger, and sometimes, if the moment is just right, I feel like I’m outside on a patio with an ocean breeze traveling across my face and the sun setting. I hope the lights can work this same magic come February. 


Fall afternoon

The wild park around our house has been put up for a possible city project to make the place into a organized park with soccer fields, tennis courts, and a dog park.  I recently went to a town meeting on the subject. Many people had a chance to talk. Someone in the minority called the area ugly and commented that she wanted to make it “look good.” The group boo-ed this person. I was happy to find out a majority of the citizens around the park want it to stay wild. Thank goodness, this place is a treasure. 


Twenty eighteen Halloween

Pumpkins, costumes, decor, doughnuts, soup, and candy - Halloween was fun as we walked through the leaves around our festive neighborhood. 

LEGO folk art from Jess (and Ash)

Flame face from Oliver

Colorful Frankenstein from Ansel

Knight ninja, Salvador Dali, and Hungry Elephant

Guess who stayed out the longest trick or treating? Ian. Maybe it was because he was carried most of the night :). 


Zion National Park visit

Taking in the beauty of Zion was a great way to spend fall break. Since Oliver is a fourth grader, he and his guests get into all Park lands for free. It was fun to thank him for his kindness in providing this perk.

On our first trail, we saw this tree and loved how it’s roots were in the side of the hill.

The Weeping Rock was something I’ve never seen anywhere else. The water comes out of the middle of the rock because of a shale layer. It creates an oasis in the desert and beautiful hanging gardens. 

Riding the shuttle bus was barely tedious. The kids loved it and the buses came often. I’d take the shuttle bus over traffics jams any day. The Park Museum said back in the 90s the Park was just full of sitting yet running cars. 4.5 million visitors a year at this place. They do a good job making the natural wonders very accessible. 

The older boys, including Jess, used this rock as a natural slide. Much fun was had, all pairs of shorts were damaged. All worth it. 

We hiked up to the Narrows and Ollie wanted to keep going. Someday Ollie!

Ian was a trooper and got some good rest on our longest hike.

The views were amazing everywhere we went. 

The next day we stopped at the Big Bend of the river and hung out listening to the water and throwing lots of rocks. 

And getting wet. As a parent I am slowly coming to learn that: Water + kids = kids in water. Ansel loved floating leaves and sticks. 

One of us went pantless. It was warm out but became chilly if you kept your wet clothes on. 

It was a beautiful spot. A great trip. We’ll have to go again to hike the Narrows and hit up Angel’s Landing when the kids get bigger. Plus, the Upper Emerald Pools we’re closed as was Hidden Canyon. Next time!


“Mom, where are you?”

All of my kids ask this when I’m not in the kitchen or family room. I’ll answer back, “I’m in here.” They’ll try to hone in on my voice and I listen for their little (or big) footsteps looking around for me. Oftentimes I have to give them more of an explanation as to my whereabouts. Then they find me. 

On busy days, I feel that I just need a break to sit down and read something without an interruption. However, sometimes I think to myself, “I am going to miss this someday,” and I perk up the minute they find me. “Hey, what do you need?” Usually it’s a drink of water (Ian), a bottle of food coloring (Ansel), or participation in the latest magic trick (Oliver).

Recently I read a blog where a woman in her fifties looked back on her experience as a parent to four kids. She sounded pretty amazing and cool. Many of the things she said were so good, but the one that stuck out to me was: 

At the end of the day, I’ve done what’s worked for me and my family. Other people’s value judgements typically say more about their lives than yours. 

I love that! Parenting works differently for every personality. We all do things that allow us a balance so we are the best parents we can be. Anyway, I’m trying to take in all of this stage of parenthood because everyone whose gone before me tells me it goes by so fast and I’ll miss it. I’m sure they’re right. 


Fall sports

Oliver played mostly defense on his soccer team and got a lot better at stopping the run and keeping balls away from the goal. When he’d come to the sidelines, he’d ask Jess, “What can I do to play better?” It was fun to see him get into the game. 

Ansel played T-ball and was a hustler! He loved running fast and scrambling for the hit balls with his glove. 

Both boys enjoyed their team this year and want to do more of it. We had many games during the week, instead of weekends, and I really enjoyed it!


“Scary guy”

While on vacation this past summer, we watched some Star Wars on cable television with the kids. We viewed about a half hour and for much of that time the scenes included the Emporer. As such, Ian dubbed him “scary guy.” That same vacation, every time we’d watch TV, Ian would declare that he wanted to see the “scary guy.” Of course, the rest of us thought this was hilarious which made Ian say it that much more. 

Fast forward to October with the stores that have so much (so much!) Halloween decorations. My kids love to explore the offerings and Ian often asks to see the “scary guy” at the stores. One afternoon, Ian and I found ourselves shopping without the other boys. We had to peruse the Halloween section and since it was so impressive, I decided to take photos to show Oliver and Ansel later. What I caught on digital film was Ian’s face and fascination with the whole thing. 

This werewolf was no joke!

While I got a shot of the witch, Ian was being captivated by an equally frightening ghost. 

This fortune teller can tell you your fortune for $129.00! 

Every time October rolls around I am amazed at the selection and creativity of the offerings these stores come up with!