Greek Quiz Video Answer

Jack’s summer has been focused on mythology.  He devoured the Percy Jackson series in the first two weeks of summer break, then set upon all its companion books, as well as other mythology series by Riordan.  While we were in GJ, he enjoyed being quizzed by our family about Greek myths.  Although Jack knew every god we could come up with, He was disappointed to find out there was a book called The Odyssey, and his knowledge from the Magic Treehouse version apparently wasn’t strong enough.

Ben recently got Jack a copy of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths to encourage his newfound interests.  This afternoon Jack bounded downstairs and proclaimed that he was ready to make up for losing the quiz on Helen of Troy.  I offered to film a video response, and he readily agreed.

To do

Hmmm. My morning’s to do list has some unforeseen addendums.

To Grand Junction in the new blue van

I decided to break-in the minivan with a quick trip to Grand Junction.  The van served us well.  Comfortable drive, good gas mileage, and fun movie watching (until the kids got too nauseated).

We had a great time, visiting mostly with Waterhouses, and Saturday morning with the Masons.  I got to help out at the soup kitchen with my folks.  It was a chilly weekend, so the boys couldn’t jump into the pool immediately.  By Sunday it warmed up enough and they spent a good chunk of the day being fishes.

We had a picnic on the Monument and were excited to see a whole herd of bighorn sheep gathered there.  We went yarn shopping (my parents are enablers 😉 and Lego shopping. We got the telescope out to see Jupiter and her moons.  And more swimming 🙂  These pictures are exactly in order, but I think you get the gist.  It was a great summer indulgence!

b and d

Learning to read and write is hard.  Sam made great strides during Kindergarten.  I’m trying to keep his brain in the game with reading and writing over summer break.  There are two letters he didn’t master in reading.  He complained yesterday that he was still frustrated by identifying b and d.  Whenever a word starts with one of those letters he pauses, hesitant to sound it out, because he’s not sure which sound to make.

I did some research to see if there was a good trick to help kids remember the difference.  I found this great idea and, as I suspected, Sam took to it with gusto after lunch.

Focus on which part comes first, the line or the circle.  For b the line, or “bar” is first.  For d the circle, or “donut” is first.

Now replace those with a Twix bar and a chocolate donut and suddenly the kids are eager to form d’s and b’s – d starts with a donut, b starts with a bar.


Even the third grade grad was excited to practice his b’s and d’s.


The memory device seems to actually work.  Sam wrote “sudway,” noticed his error, and changed it to “subway” without me pointing it out!


They were engrossed with writing until Freddy started toying with my flower.  Not even chocolate can compete with a prancing kitty.


A busy Friday with a magic show

I feel like my days are nonstop since…early May?  Today I packed it full: yoga class in the AM, then a quick change before selling my car.  Sniff!  Sad to see my Versa go, but after driving my van for a week the Versa seemed so small cramped!  I felt like Alice, suddenly too large for her house.  I went down to Carmax and they offered me a fair trade, and got it all done in an hour’s time.  I had just enough time to scarf down lunch before taking the kids to the library for a special show.

As part of their Summer Reading events, we saw Magic Rob!  I registered the kids a while ago, figuring magic was a slam dunk way to spend Friday afternoon in June.  Jack was excited by Sam dug in his heels.  He loosened up when I allowed him to bring some blocks in a fanny pack “for my entertainment.”  After less than two minutes Sam had forgotten his blocks.  He even shot up his hand to volunteer (along with most every other kid, neither of my boys got a turn to help).  I did not expect the magician to be a version of Chris Farley for kids, but the kids were rolling on the floor with laughter.  After the show, during the meet-and-greet with Presto the bunny, I embarrassed Jack by telling Rob that Jack is an aspiring magician too.   Rob was genuinely excited to hear about that and pulled Jack aside to ask him about his tricks and to give him a trick coloring book to take home.  Jack was glowing with pride.  Pictures and video of the show are below.

The Golden library where we saw the show is right along Clear Creek, so the boys waded a little bit.  They were shocked how cold the water was.  It’s snow-melt, guys!

Home in the afternoon gave me a chance to sit down and do my billing work for a while, plying the kids with backyard hammock-time and popsicles.  Then Ben and I blitzed through the house cleaning.  A brief but intense summer storm had me running to shut windows, and we lost power for a few seconds.  After the storm lifted I went to the bank to deposit my car check and get McDonald’s for the boys.  Ben and I enjoyed Indian take-out with his friends.  We hosted Gloomhaven at our house tonight.  Between serving and cleaning up the kids, helping set up their movie, and baths later in the night, I had a few moments to myself to eat samosas and watch some youtube.  I’m ready for a slower weekend tomorrow!  Just a birthday party at lunch and an Alamo movie with the fam on the schedule.



Waterhouses in NYC

My folks invited me to come to New York with them last weekend.  Ben offered to keep the kids at home, and the Masons came over to help out with them.  It felt so strange not to have little kids to manage and extra items in my luggage to care for them.

It was a fantastic trip!  Tons of great shopping and experiences.  We saw Tootsie and Hadestown on Broadway.  We saw the Camp costume exhibit at the Met and I got some extra time in the European halls (I’m usually dead-tired by the time I get up there, so I went straight there this time.)  We ate a ton of great food – so many delicious pastries!  We visited two unique yarn shops and I had to borrow an extra bag to get all my yarn home.  There were a few street festivals too.  Here’s some pictures from the trip:

May – a month of changes

Sometimes I feel like everything is changing.  In the last month:

  • We became a two-cat household
  • I started yoga, and make it to those classes more often than zumba
  • My last child finished Kindergarten
  • My oldest is officially a “tween” (according to the library’s summer reading program)
  • We got a new car
  • We got new callings at church (Ben is leaving primary after 6 years in this ward, I’m leaving YW after 3 years, we will both be Youth Sunday School teachers)

All good stuff!  I’m not complaining!  But I think it justifies how completely exhausted I have felt recently.

Minivan Upgrade!

Despite the hectic weeks with new cats, school ending, and a birthday party to host, we have been shopping for a new car.  My little Nissan finally needed some significant work (new struts), giving me just cause to replace it.  We’ve been wanting a minivan for years.  Ben and I did deep research into SUVs, crossovers, and all the available minivans on the market.  Then we had to locate a car on the market that best matched the features we wanted.  After hours of reading, looking, driving, and haggling, we took home the perfect new car!


A Chrysler Pacifica Touring Plus.  It has a heated steering wheel for me and a DVD player for the kids.  It has power doors and a back-up camera – these are pretty standard nowadays but a total luxury for me!  We wanted cloth seats and the easy to stow flat bucket seats in the back.  I love being in a higher position on the road and having SO MUCH ROOM.  Sam is finally able to buckle himself into his booster seat because in my old car it was too cramped and squashy for him to reach.

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I quickly added some minivan essentials: trash bag suspended from the front arm rests, and a tennis ball to help park in the garage.  Some things can’t be improved upon with technology 😉

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Ben took a picture of my old car side by side as we were leaving.  They low-balled a trade-in offer, so we’re going to figure out selling it after life calms down a little more.


I looked back in my blog to the last time I got a new car.  Might as well update the timeline:


Jack’s Birthday Party

Saturday we celebrated Jack’s 9th birthday by playing mini-golf with friends!  This was the first time we held the party away from the house, with a smaller group of friends.  It was a total success!  Adventure Golf gave us a wonderful experience.


I made the cake on Friday. Jack requested a chocolate cat-cake that looks like Freddy.  The ears are made of Kit-Kat bars.

Dylan, Grady, Kingston, Jack, and Addie.  Ruby joined us later in the clubhouse after her soccer game.

Ben took Sam and his friend, Elias, on another course at their own pace.  They started tearing through the tees as soon as we started, so we decided everyone would be happier split up for a while.  

There’s a volcano that erupts every 10 minutes.  A few of us have never seen it, so the group decided to wait for eruption.  They patiently waited 8 minutes for the big show.  It was much bigger than I expected!

Jack was obviously impressed too.

After an hour of golf, we got to our reserved clubhouse.  It had cable TV, a popcorn machine, a soda machine (UNLIMITED JUICE -Buster Bluth), and balloons all set up.  

Our host brought pizza and utensils.  I loved how hands-off the party was for me!

We had the clubhouse for 90 minutes, so I suggested we bring Jack’s Beyblades for a grand tournament.  Most of them hadn’t played before and it was a fun diversion.

Cake time, and then presents and goodie bags were passed around.  For the last half hour the kids took ice cream vouchers to concessions for a soft-serve treat, then played in the Mine Maze until parents arrived.  No tears – even from Jack!  It was a slam dunk party.  (Especially with all the snow and rain this May, right up until Thursday we were wearing heavy coats!  But Friday and Saturday were sunny and warm, just perfect).

Sam and Jack wanted to bring balloons home for the kitties.  Freddy had a good time.

Marker update

Not so washable.

And feeling a lot less coy after a brisk bath scrub.

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