Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Civil War Trail

Atley has been studying Civil War History in school.  He considers himself an expert on the subject and after hearing him spout off all he knew while we explored Bull Run Battlefield I think he is right.  On the way there he explained to us that many Civil War Battles had two names for example the battle of Bull Run is also called the Battle of Manassas or the battle of Sharpsburg is also called the battle of Antietam. He explained that the south usually named the battle after the nearest town while the north named the battle after the closest body of water.  
Bull Run was one of the first real battles of the Civil War, taking place July 21, 1861.  People from both sides assumed this would be the only real skirmish of the war and actually packed picnics to observe from the surrounding hillsides.  The Confederates won the first battle of Bull Run and it was there that Thomas Jackson earned the nickname Stonewall when he was observed staying perfectly still and stoic as volley landed all around him.  The second battle of Bull Run took place a year later. It was even more bloody than the first, almost 30,000 soldiers lost their lives.

As you can observe the cannons were especially exciting to the kids.  We have had the chance to visit many Civil War battle sites and each one is special.  It may sound a little corny but there is a sacred feeling you get when you visit and read about the places and the battles that shaped the future of our country.
After we finished the boys wanted to eat Civil War food, hardtack to be specific.  Apparently, Chick-Fil-A would not suffice. I took them to Cracker Barrel. They were in awe and totally convinced that we had gone back in time and were eating just like they did in the 1860's.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


When it is finally warm enough for us to play outside it means it is also warm enough for the critters to come out and play too.  Usually those critters are alive, sometimes not so much.  Friday after the boys got home from school and changed into their swimming trunks I began picking up the clothes they had been wearing. It was at this point I began to smell something dead.  Boys are generally stinky but this was worse than usual. Before throwing their jeans in the wash I emptied their pockets and found the skull of squirrel in Atley's pocket.  Complete with one snaggled squirrel tooth. I put it in a plastic bag and it is sitting on my kitchen counter. They won't let me get rid of it.
The very next day Atley caught the first toad of the season. In true big brother style, he convinced his little sister that if she kissed it, the toad would turn into a handsome prince. It took some coaxing but eventually she did kiss the toad.  When the toad didn't change into a prince she expressed her relief. She was glad because she said he was much cuter as a toad.

Probably most exciting of all was when Harley captured a lady bug.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Fever

Friday was 80 degrees. It might as well have been 100, because the boys raced home from the bus stop and immediately stripped off their school clothes and put on their swimming suits with their little sister in tow. It felt like the last day of school, they were so excited.  They hooked up the hose and soaked themselves in water that is still very cold from the winter.  When the water got too cold to bear they retreated to our sand box which has not been opened for months. It was full of the remains of melted snow and old sand.  Of course none of that stopped them from taking a "mud bath."  The mud bath required us to shower them in the cold water once again before allowing them in the house.  I must admit hosing them down was pretty enjoyable.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Popcorn Popping on the Cherry Blossom Tree

Nash ditched school today so that he could go with Harley and I to see the Cherry Blossoms.  Atley had the same option but chose school so he wouldn't have to do make-up work over Spring Break.  How responsible of him! We really missed him though. Of course it was lovely and crowded and pollinated.  We rode the paddle boats on the Tidal Basin and got in trouble for climbing the trees but my favorite part of the day was when Nash kept photo bombing a local news reporter.  She finally lost her temper with him. After her exasperated outburst she looked to me for help but much to her chagrin she found me laughing hilariously. Needless to say, she and her cameraman found a different location. We were also stuck in traffic with former Utah Governor John Huntsman.  We kept trying to get his attention by blaring Talk Dirty to Me! on the radio and dancing in our car but he stalwartly kept his focus on the road with hands firmly grasping 10 & 2. Perhaps he being a Utah Alum didn't appreciate our BYU Alumni license plate.

Monday, April 7, 2014

1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare a PEEP War

'Tis the season where Peep's abound everywhere.  Harley is obsessed with Peep's.  In fact, she loves them so much that on our most recent trip to NYC she chose to get a package of Peep's at the Time's Square Toys R Us above anything else in the store. We have a tradition when we buy Peep's.  First, each member of the family picks a Peep to be his warrior and then arms the Peep with a toothpick.
 Next we pop our Peep's into the Microwave for about 15 seconds.  The Peep's immediately go to battle, puffing up and clashing swords. The first Peep to fall over loses.
 (Pardon the fuzzy pictures and the mold growing on Nash's ear and hair, he seldom baths)

Of course the next step is to eat the melting, messy, gooey decadence!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The White House Butler

No, this is not a post on Lee Daniel's book or Oprah's most recent acting performance, although I have only good things to say about both. This is about Atley's most recent school trip. We found out that Atley's class was invited to the White House a couple of weeks ago.  He was over the moon with excitement and we spent lots of time drilling him on proper etiquette and respect for the office. And just when I thought he understood what I meant he would ask me a question like, "Would you like me to tell the President how our family feels about Obamacare?" or "I think I should tell him that we have lots of guns and we aren't criminals."  or  "I get it mom. I will just tell him I was really disappointed that Mitt didn't win but I still feel honored to get to meet a president." or "I don't understand why I can't tell him whatever I want, he works for me. He works for all of us." Anyway, three days before his trip he became deathly ill.  We took him to the doctor and of course we got the old, "It's just a virus that has to run its course." nonsense! He missed two days of school and the night before his trip he was still running a high fever.  I was torn.  This was a chance of a lifetime, but he could barely sit up in his bed.  I said my prayers with increased fervor as did his brother and sister and Scott gave him a priesthood blessing.  But, honestly my faith was faltering I didn't really think he would be able to make the trip.  I worried all night about how I was going to break the news to him.  The next morning he woke up without a fever, no cough and he was significantly less congested.  He was stronger, miraculously stronger.  He could go to the White House!  Not only would he get to tour the White House but there was a strong chance that his class would be chosen to plant vegetables with Mrs. Obama in the White House garden that afternoon.  It was such an exciting morning. Of course, my excitement for him turned into pure anxiety when he told me right before boarding the bus that his plan was to find the bathroom as soon as he arrived.  He wanted to steal some toilet paper from the White House so that the whole family could wipe with the "same stuff as the President."  All day I was waiting for a phone call implicating my son in some sort of national scandal.  But, he got off the bus all smiles, still relatively well and full of stories of his day.  He didn't get to plant vegetables with Mrs. Obama. Apparently, a class more ethnically desirable was selected but he did get to see the President and even watch him board Marine 1 and depart from the West Lawn and as far as I know he was completely respectful. His mission to obtain toilet paper was thwarted on 4 different occasions by "people in authority."  So, needless to say we are not using the President's toilet paper at our house.  He learned a lot and so did I. I learned that Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  He is in the details of our lives.  He doesn't just give us what we need, sometimes He even grants us the things we want.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Please Dad! Begging for a Puppy

We often frequent the local Pet Store for entertainment.  They let us play with as many puppies as we like and then we leave them behind, sometimes in a dramatic and heart wrenching fashion.  Harley and I spent three hours there the other day.  In fact, if she hadn't been bit by one of the dogs I am certain they would have had to forcefully remove us. You see, our cat Lucy was like a practice pet. She is pretty low maintenance and can be left home alone for up to a week at a time, but the truth is, we are more dog people. She was a small step in our master plan to get a dog. Although I must admit I unexpectedly love that fat cat.  The truth is I am an animal person and would love a whole bunch of critters, a farm even, and if I could put that farm in the middle of NYC I would call my life perfect.  However, we can't quite get the dad or the county zoning board to go along with our little farm plan.  So, a dog is out of the question for the time being, but we are working on Scott and we will break him, oh yes, we will have a puppy someday.  In the meantime, we continue to learn more and more about the life and times of the Petland employees. I feel a bit like a foster mother to those crazy kids.  

Here is a video of Harley with the puppy that finally retaliated and bit her chubby little arm.  Can you blame the poor creature?

An Undesirable Plant

I almost called this post WEED, but I was a little afraid that I would get a lot of Stoner traffic so I changed the title.  However, Nash starred as a WEED in his first grade play, entitled, "How Does Your Garden Grow?"  Apparently, being a WEED is the most socially acceptable part a 7 year old boy can aspire too, because Nash was stoked. It also appeared that every naughty boy in the 1st grade received the same part. It looked like a green gang of future ex-cons.  My son excluded, of course. I hope and pray that there is no correlation between being a weed and smoking weed someday but I guess only time will tell.
Please enjoy this video of Nash performing with his ensemble of Weed Brothers!
He is the Weed farthest to the left.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

For Future Reference (St. Patrick's Day Game)

We had a lovely snow day on St. Patrick's day.  We decided to play a game called:
(Click Picture for Original Source)

Nash had to kiss his dice for good luck with each roll.  Unfortunately, it didn't work and he lost the game.  At which point he threw a major fit and crumpled up his leprechaun art.  Here is a glimpse of his fit which for some reason involved throwing snow clothes.
Yes, that is the boys' schedule behind Nash on the chalk wall. I run a pretty tight ship around here. (Read with sarcastic tone)

Have you ever notice how when one kid is being the devil the rest pretend to be like perfect angels in an attempt to prove to their mother how much more valuable they are than their sibling?