Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Jack #economics #football #brokenfinger

Jolie #fourthgrade #seesaw #brokentooth

Leah #firstgrade #scissors #haircut

Calvin #Legos #Legos #Legos

Eddie #nursery #hugs #kisses

Katie #grateful

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waffle Blocks

Last year, Santa brought us a set of giant waffle blocks, and eleven months later they are still our favorite toy.  If you need an idea for Christmas, I very highly recommend them!

They have served as a train, boat, school desks, spy headquarters, Barbie hotel, rocket ship, movie theater, prison for bad guys, and prison for siblings, to name just a few.

Endless hours of creative play. Can't say enough about these.

Ours were made by elves, but I hear you can also purchase them HERE. Note that one set is not quite enough - It took two to create the above adventures, and I'm planning to add a few more the collection. A little pricey, but a good investment. Once the kids outgrow them as toys, I intend to assemble them into an addition on the house.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We got a lot of mileage out of Halloween this year. Ward trunk or treat, town parade, town party, gymnastics party, class parties, preschool party, trick or treating at the Air & Space Museum, ACTUAL trick or treating...Make it stop!

Jack & I only wore our costumes once. Then, not coincidentally, he went and bought himself a new set of golf clubs.  

When I asked Jolie what she wanted to be, she said, "Kind of like a pop star...but scary...like a zombie...who sings...and dances...like a....Frankenstein...star...FRANKENSTAR!"

Frankenstar! The new German word for this - 

When I asked Leah what she wanted to be, she said, 


Cal, proud gun owner. Eddie, proud Redskins fan. Me, proud mom. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

According to Cal

This is Cal's last year home with me before he starts school.

I do adore having him around. He is helpful, clever, and perpetually entertaining. Some days I wish I could have a 4-year boy as a sidekick for the rest of my life.

Last night I was looking through a journal I keep of funny things the kids say and realized that, in spite of being my youngest talker, he has the most entries. Here are some of my favorite quotes of his from the past year -

"I wish I was half kid, half grownup, and half Spiderman."

(Walking into IKEA) "Oh wow, I've never smelled THIS place before."

"Mom, did you know Buzz Lightyear can lift a train? Not even I can do that."

"What if you're a REALLY good boy, you just REALLY want to shoot ducks?"

After Jack made him get out of pool for taking Leah's toy, he stormed past me and said, "This is my worst life!"

One morning I asked if he wanted to invite his friend Adam over for a playdate. He said, "I don't know, that's a hard question. He's kind of a Sunbeam."

Eddie grabbed a razor in the bath and cut his hand. Cal walked in as I was trying to stop the bleeding and said "Wow, Mom. That was your fault."

"Mom I just remembered something I forgot to tell you this morning when you dropped me off at preschool."
"That I didn't want to go."

"Eddie is so cute. I'm going to miss him when he goes on a mission."

Jack told him he was taking him to a Washington Nationals game. He picked up his bat and said, "OK. I'll do my best."

Pointing out the Bishop's Christmas card to his preschool class, "Look guys. It's the boss of the Church."

(Exiting the bathroom) "I still have a wiener. I'm still a boy."

I keep a trophy in the kitchen that's a statue of a chef holding a spoon. He asked if I had won it and when I said yes, said "Wow, you must be really good at stirring soup."

His friend Paul gave him a note that said, "I love you Cal." He gave it back and said, "Next time just draw Batman."

One night I bore my testimony that after we die we can be with our families forever. I asked if he had any questions and he said, "Will we be able to eat hot lava?"

"Why is Uncle Richard taking a nap? Only moms take naps."

"I had a bad dream. I dreamed the moon could talk."
"What did it say?"
"That I had to clean the whole world."

I told him we need to buy a new jacket because his is getting too small, and he said, "Really? I thought I was getting too big."

After an employee at Costco called him Batman, he leaned over and whispered, "HOW does he know??"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Summer Vacation

The girls started school last week, and Cal begin preschool this week. We are officially settled into the routine of fall, which gives me an opportunity to catch my breath and reflect on summer.

It was a busy and happy couple of months, in which we stayed up way past our bedtimes. Jack & I repainted the family and living rooms, hung curtains, and replaced light fixtures. The kids swam, completed the summer reading program, and discovered Legos.

And then there was our annual trek west to visit family. As always, this was not the highlight of our summer - It was the highlight of our year, which I hope justifies the following inundation of pictures.

Starting with this one -

This is the first picture I took on our way out of town, of Eddie leading the Dulles aerotrain toward our flight.

And this is the last picture I took, a month later, of Cal leading it back home.

The images are nearly identical, but they evoke very different memories. The first is exciting, and conjures the thrill of anticipating all the fun ahead. The second shot feels heavier, a combination of fatigue from a journey that ended at 2:00 in the morning, and the feeling we left our hearts behind. 

About halfway through our flight home Cal said, "Mom, can we ask the pilot to turn around and go back?" I told him we couldn't, but what we can do is count our blessings for the memories we made while we were there. 

Here are a few of my favorite - 


Our first stop was a stay in Prescott, Arizona, with Jack's family. My parents taught me that nothing beats a cabin vacation, and this was no exception to the rule. The weather and trees were beautiful. We visited on the porch, played games, assembled puzzles, ate buckets of peanut M&Ms, and gathered around the TV to watch Nik Wallenda tightrope across the Grand Canyon.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed our stay there, unless of course you consider the animals that dared cross the paths of Cal, his Uncle Todd, and their BB guns. 

Cal ranks his Uncle Todd in the same category as Batman and Buzz Lightyear, and his hero worship was forever sealed when he presented him with his own gun and taught him how to use it. He took careful notes of the wisdom Todd imparted, which included things like, "Never shoot pretty birds Cal, only the ugly ones. That's called natural selection."


Prescott was also home to the 19 firefighters who were killed by the Yarnell wildfire the day after we left Arizona. 

When we arrived in Utah, we baked our best cookie recipes, boxed them up, and delivered them to Station 55 in West Jordan. The kids presented them to the firefighters and thanked them for their service.  I can't say the visit was entirely charitable, because just as they were enjoying the cookies and presence of our adorable children, we asked if they would be willing to stop by our 4th of July party and hose down the guests. They said yes!  

The fourth arrived and over 100 friends and neighbors were gathered, most of them children, all of them anxiously awaiting the truck. When it finally pulled up the street it was greeted with a hero's welcome. Posters! Cheers! Chants of "Station 55! Station 55! Station 55!" 

Less than a minute after getting out of the truck, the firefighters turned around, jumped back in, and drove away with lights flashing. Turns out they had received a call. Cal's face says it all.  

Alas, about a half hour later, another truck arrived from neighboring Station 53. The kids were overjoyed, and we were touched that the task had been considered critical enough to call in backup. God bless America. 


Speaking of God blessing America, this was our fifth 4th of July spent at Jane's house and my Mom's, and I declare my independence from ever celebrating elsewhere! Slip and slide, bounce house, barbecue, friends, family and fireworks. I pledge allegiance to the Maples. 

14 Day Scruff  

It's also worth mentioning that Jack grew his annual vacation beard, and put it to good use by hiking Mount Timpanogas with the brothers in law, playing football, and going about town looking handsome.  

Cousins & Grandparents 

I will let the cousin pictures speak for themselves. How I love these kids, and how they love each other.  

most of the time 

I wish I had grandparent pictures to also speak for themselves, but I failed to take any. I think because each time they were being spoiled by their Grandma Susan, Grandpa Jack or Grandma D, I was off enjoying the free time it allowed me. 

Daneille taught the kids to play Uno at the cabin, and spent hours (hours!) in tournaments with them. She never turned down an invitation to play. Grandpa Jack would whisk them away for adventures. They would disappear for an entire afternoon and come home showing off Happy Meal toys and movie ticket stubs. Grandma Susan unveiled the newest version of GrandmaMall, which upped the ante from tickets to actual cash. When a grandchild earned their share, she would take them out for frozen yogurt and the store of their choice to spend on whatever they wished. 

Annual armband collection 

By the end of our trip, I don't think there was anywhere in Utah Jolie couldn't gain admission. 

Highlights included Airborne, Hollywood Connection, Jump and Bounce, and the Kearns Rec Center. The Hollywood Connection band stayed on the longest - 4 weeks and 1 day, for those keeping score. 

Lakes Lynx and Oquirrh 

Say that ten times fast! 

Lake Lynx, Prescott

Oquirrh Lake, South Jordan

Airports & Civil Rights Activists 

I actually really enjoy flying with the kids. I credit Jack, and his longstanding family policy that we arrive at the airport two and a half hours before takeoff. I thought it was extreme at first, but have come to appreciate the way it eliminates stress, and recommend everyone with kids do the same. We have a relaxing check-in, eat a leisurely  dinner, and let the kids go hog wild on the people mover so that by the time we board the flight everyone is ready to sit and rest. 

It also allows us time to make small talk with Reverend Jesse Jackson, who walked into the bathroom behind Jack and the kids at Chicago Midway. 

I don't take very good paparazzi shots. 

My sister Jane however, does. The sneaky airport picture that steals my heart is this one, which she took after she and my mom said goodbye in Salt Lake.  

Jane has a talent for photographing from the most interesting angles. This one is so artsy I think it leaves room for multiple interpretation - At first glance you look at the boy and feel pity, because he is so sad to leave his extended family behind. But on closer inspection you realize he is actually a boy to envy, because he is so lucky to have them. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

18 months

Eddie turned 18 months this week, which is my favorite age. 

Old enough to go along with my ideas, but too young to ask any questions. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Leah graduated from kindergarten.

She and her classmates put on a performance, wherein they showed off their musical talents, and all the reading, math and Spanish they had mastered. 

She did a wonderful job

but was really only interested in showing off one thing.

Fortunately, Eddie didn't seem to mind at all. 

In fact, now that school is out, I think he's really looking forward to spending more time with her.

A Brother Like No Other

(Written by my mother Susan Foutz, who would like to clarify that she actually has two brothers like no other ) If you lived in Arizona in t...