Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jumping in with Both Feet

Last summer when Bean turned eight and was able to join Cub Scouts at our church, Fish was really jealous. It was extremely hard for him. I figured he'd get used to it after a few months, but he never really did. Up until yesterday he was still absolutely crushed that he couldn't be a Cub Scout yet.

Bean is still eating Cub Scouts with a spoon. He loves it. Here in Utah the Badger and I have been called to be his den leaders and so we're all very involved in Bean's scouting experience. This has been great for Bean, but not so great for Fish.

Last Friday I was in the local Scout shop buying some patches for the uniform shirt I bought the Badger on ebay. I mentioned to the store clerk who was helping me how my six-year-old was just dying to be in scouts. Then he mentioned to me that he had personally chartered a Tiger Cub pack and Fish would be welcome to join it.

For those who don't know, Tiger Cubs are the youngest Cub Scouts. They are first graders, ages six and seven, and have to have an adult partner with them at every single den meeting (boy, do I understand why!) For this reason, it is very impractical for the LDS church to be involved in the Tiger Cub program and the LDS church does not charter Tiger Cubs in their packs. In the LDS culture Scouting begins with wolves at age 8 but in the scouting world at large that is not the case.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought that Tiger Cubs could be just the thing for my poor downtrodden Fish. I discussed the idea with the Badger and he wholeheartedly endorsed it, agreeing to be Fish's adult partner and go to his meetings with him.

It is so satisfying and thrilling as a parent to consider carefully the needs of your children and then to find something that you can do to supply their needs. I just get so excited whenever I can provide my children some opportunity which will provide them both growth and enjoyment. This is especially the case with Fish, who has always been steamrolled by his dynamic, outgoing older brother. I have a tender spot in my heart for Fish because I see the middle-child issues he goes through and so I am over the moon about him being able to be a Cub Scout NOW.

But here was the kicker-- the next meeting of this illustrious pack of Tigers was to be their annual Pinewood Derby. Talk about jumping into Scouting with both feet!

Fish, of course, was thrilled. His first Scout meeting would be an exciting race! I was a little concerned: we had two days to make a car for him. "No problem," said the undaunted Badger. And so we put our heads together and innovated.

The next couple days went like this: No power tools? No problem. The Badger is pretty handy with a pocket knife. Hmmmmm... it looks kind of like a shark. Wow, the only color of paint we currently have on hand is neon orange. Hmmm.. a neon orange shark. Why not give it black stripes and make it a .... tiger shark!?

Fish came home from the Pinewood Derby triumphant. His Tiger Shark car won quite a few races. And the Badger overheard a couple of the other dads talking about what a cool-looking car it was. It is a really groovy car. Fish loves it. I think this is an experience he will never forget. It was definitely a strong start to his Scouting experience....

...which will be looooong and glorious!!!!
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pattern Blocks

One of our favorite toys is pattern blocks. Roo asks for them every day while the boys are doing their school assignments. I love seeing what she makes with them.

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Morning Snow

And this is what we woke up to this morning!

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Night Snow

Last night we went to dinner at the home of some old, old friends. Just as we arrived at their house at 6 pm a few flakes started falling. Pretty soon it was coming down thick and fast, with big light fluffy flakes piling up on the icy crust of the old tired snow from a month ago. When we left at 10 pm, there was nearly 3 inches of snow and it was still falling.

It was one of those magical winter nights where the snow clouds are so low that they reflect back all the lights of the city and it's bright enough to see. We took a drive around the neighborhood on our way home. The Badger enjoyed driving the car in the slippery snow. I enjoyed looking all the trees under their white spell. When I got home I decided to try to take a few pictures and I was very pleased with how they turned out.

The first picture is with the flash on. Then I turned the flash off and that's when things got really fun.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So, my mother-in-law recently obtained a Vita-Mix and it is the coolest thing EVER. I knew they were cool but I didn't understand just how cool until I had one at my disposal. Did you know that you can cook soup in a Vita-Mix? You just leave it blending for 6 or 7 minutes and the friction of the spinning blade heats your soup. It's so fun. I've been feeding my family all sorts of recipes from the Vita-Mix recipe book for the last few weeks. Some of them have been rather dreadful, but others have been downright amazing.

And it's taken our enjoyment of smoothies to a whole new level. This one had (along with the typical stuff like bananas and frozen blueberries and yogurt) almonds and flax seed and spinach. And my kids didn't have a clue! They thought it was dessert.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010


AAAH!! Some woman dressed like 1981 is holding my Rabbit!

Oh, wait! That's my mother and that's ME she's holding!

Now, here's my mom holding my Rabbit.

Mom, aren't you glad I produced a daughter that looks just like me so you could have the fun of holding cute little Me again? And aren't you glad that you're the grandmother so you don't have to deal with her on a daily basis when she's twelve?
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Friday, January 15, 2010

In Which the Flu Makes a Very Brief Stop at the Burrow

Last Sunday we kept Roo home from church because she was coughing and had a runny nose. That night, as far as I knew, she slept fine, and in the morning she seemed better. Except for some pieces of dried spaghetti stuck in her hair. Whaaaat? Could she have thrown up in the night?

Usually when your kids throw up in the night they come and get you and you find yourself dealing with, well, you know. But I hadn't heard a peep out of any of my kids all night. I went into their room and sure enough, there were some bits of spaghetti stuck to the sheets. "Mom," said a small Roo voice that had suddenly appeared by my elbow, "spaghetti came out of my mouth while I was asleep." Aha. Well, luckily it wasn't aliens coming out of her mouth and even more luckily it wasn't very much spaghetti. By now it was all dried up and it was simply a matter of washing the sheets.

Roo never threw up again, but later that day I found myself feeling slightly icky-- you know that feeling you get when you're first coming down with the flu? I thought to myself, "oh no, here we go!" I mentioned my queasiness to the Badger and he said "drink a really tall glass of prune juice and you'll be fine." I HATE prune juice. I REALLY HATE prune juice. But I didn't want the flu, so I figured it was worth a try.

I made several nasty faces at the Badger and gulped down the prune juice. And he was right-- I was fine. It's been several days and I never did get the flu. Everyone else in the family is fine. Thank goodness!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter Walk

The Badger took the boys on an outdoor outing yesterday.

My Badger has quite a bit of skill as a photographer. Aren't these lovely?

Looks like they had a great time!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mine is the Morning

One thing I'm working on lately is getting up earlier. It's the only way I can find any time in my day to exercise and I'm desperate to shed the 5 lbs I picked up during the holidays. I hate my clothes not fitting. Anyway, getting up at 6 or 6:30 has had all sorts of side benefits. One of them is watching the sky grow light over the mountains. I love living in Utah!

(Can you see the moon?)

"Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's re-creation of the new day"

-Eleanor Farjeon
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Friday, January 8, 2010


(That's what the electric eel says.)

Isn't he darling?
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Four Kids in a Canoe

This was taken at the Living Planet Aquarium
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A Trip to the Aquarium

We recently went to the Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City. It's a very small aquarium, but it has a lot of the most popular stuff the big aquariums have. The children loved it. So did we. The octopus was being very active (and you know how I feel about octopuses!) I also enjoy watching the jellyfish-- they're sort of hypnotic-- and the sea horses.

Bean loves petting the rays. I don't blame him. I love petting the rays too.

The Rabbit loved the coral reef play area with all sorts of hidey holes just her size.

The nice thing about the aquarium being not too big is that your kids don't get too worn out before you've seen everything. And we went on 1/2 price family night, so it was affordable. What a great family outing!
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Orange Heaven

We recently procured 50 pounds of freshly-picked, privately grown, unsprayed oranges from Arizona.

They are absolutely amazing. I've never tasted oranges so sweet and juicy.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The youngest Beaver is the squeeziest baby I have been around in a long time. She's at that delightful squishy age and you can't help but want to pick her up and squeeze her.

Here she is with her teenaged cousin. She is delighted to let anyone hold her. I guess when you're the youngest of eight it helps if you're easy-going.

Look at those beautiful eyes!

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What Friends!

When we lived in Idaho several lifetimes ago, we were very good friends with the Beaver family. When we befriended them, they had five boys and we had two. Get-togethers were very lively, to say the least. Their first daughter was born the day before Roo. Now they have three daughters. That's a total of eight children, but the very first time I met Mrs. Beaver she coolly stated that she was going to have ten children in the same voice most people use when they say they're going to go have their nails done tomorrow. I think she's amazing. She has been such a role model to me all these years.

The Beavers currently live in Montana, but they came down to Utah for New Year's. We wanted to get together, but where do you contain twelve children in the winter, seven of whom are boys?

Carl's Jr Playland.

The Beavers brought their cousins along for the get-together, and that meant five more children. That's a total of seventeen kids in our party. I think we terrified some of the other customers. We stayed for over three hours, we were having so much fun! The kids were really pretty good-- they were noisy and active but they weren't destructive or unkind. There were almost no tears. This is amazing because some of the Beaver boys had major behavioral issues a few years ago-- and I mean major-- but that all changed when their mother decided to homeschool them. I can't believe the difference. Now they are all delightful boys.

It was so neat to see the way our children played together like they'd never missed a day. And the Badger and Mr. Beaver had to be pried apart when the toddlers started to come unglued and it was time to go home. Mrs. Beaver and I had a wonderful time too. It doesn't happen very often that both the dads and the moms are extremely close friends and the children are the same ages and are also extremely close friends, but when it does it's absolutely wonderful!

P.S. In the photo are all seven of our boys plus one cousin and Roo.
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