Friday, March 29, 2019

happy weekend

Jordan offered Porter a prize if he could build a magna-tile tower all the way from the floor to the ceiling - and after a couple mornings of working and re-working (and tape!) he proudly completed the challenge yesterday :)

Ellie had extra orchestra rehearsals this week and a school performance, so this morning she was feeling done with school. Fortunately, it's the last day before our Spring break! I still need to come up with a few fun plans for early next week to enjoy the time with these kiddos all being home - I've been excited for these days. 

This weekend is also the beginning of a busy month-full of company and travels. I've been working on getting things organized and tidied up a bit... I remember that things always seem to move at a faster pace once we get back from Spring Break, so combined with some family events too, hopefully we'll get through the busy-ness calmly and happily!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2019


One day in middle school, my friend Kjerstin and I realized our ride was not coming any time soon, and we decided to walk the two miles or so home together. She showed me the forest near where she used to live and we sang this little song that I think she made up as we walked up the hill toward our neighborhood.  And I was a little upset to have been forgotten at school, but grateful for the adventure and to have really made a friend. And still  every time I think of Spring this song is the first thing I think of!

Some Spring fun from the last week or so :
Our neighbor made this spinner, and always pulls it out for the kids to play on when it warms up each year
"Porter, that's too high and  I'm feeling worried, will you come down lower?" "Okay, but will you take a picture first?"
Groundbreaking ceremony at the school (funny thing -they scooped up that dirt from the edge of the field and brought it over for the ceremony, then scooped it back up after school! :)
Front yard cello practice (with the bob for a music stand)
Ellie and I made this trellis for our garden with some branches pruned from the apple tree (a fun idea from our neighbor!)
Morning cheerios on the front porch  ("I need gloves!")
A family bike ride adventure yesterday - we rode to Taco Time/Old Grist Mill then had a picnic dinner at Whittier park, and stopped at Aggie Ice Cream for the kids on the way home.

Porter's under-the-rock wiggly-worm discovery. These cute brothers spent the morning yesterday finding, collecting, and watching box elder bugs, roll-poly bugs and big and little wiggly worms :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Lego Robotics

image here
Yesterday we finished off our second year of lego robotics with a coding + treats party :) Jordan and I had fun coaching a team this year after school, and with help from friends (one coming each week to help, one picking up Porter every Tuesday and another watching the boys every week!) it all worked out really well.

Today, Jordan started a new Lego Robotics activity with Owen's class! He and Owen worked hard yesterday to make some fun robots and plan a great demonstration to introduce programming and robotics -- all in Portuguese! (I got to practice being the audience and give some tips too. And it was so fun to hear Owen speaking in Portuguese more than I've heard before.) Jordan was happy with how it all went this morning, and is excited about this next new thing to try!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

New School

This afternoon is the groundbreaking for our new school, and despite the balloons on and around the tractors and 'diggers' out in the fields, it feels like a sad day to me! Change is hard for me! And as I sat in on the meetings with architects over the last year or so, it was hard to accept how wonderful the new open concept plan, the bright light-filled rooms, the learning centers and collaboration hallways would be when I already have so many sweet memories of this (admittedly) old building.

When we first moved to Logan, we'd drive by this way and I'd point across the field to 4-year-old Landon in the backseat - "that's where you're going to go to school next year!" On his first day of kindergarten, I had this image in my mind of walking Landon to school, but then I could only leave the kids for so long with Jordan on his lunch break so we drove partway and parked just a block or so from the school so I could walk him that last block!  2 1/2 hours later, I stood outside the kindergarten doors with the other parents, feeling very much like my own first day of school as I started out this new part of life as a mom of school-aged children!

It will be an interesting few years for these kiddos -- we'll have a year of construction (starting now -those fields are just about  to be completely fenced off for crews to begin!) then a year in the new building with another school using the old building (while their school is rebuilt), then (the part the kids are excited for, wrecking balls and all!) a farewell to this old building!

Monday, March 25, 2019

fashion design via magna-tiles

I just loved this project of Ellie's on last week's Friday off from school -- a closet full of dresses designed with magna-tiles :)

Also this weekend:
+ Rainy days and lots of Stake Conference meetings (which were really great. Jordan also helped to keep all the technology running smoothly through all of the meetings), and some calm time in between.
+ Some planning and brainstorming on making a basketball (and pickle ball??) court in the backyard...
+ Ellie's first on her own babysitting (while Jordan, Landon & I were all at a Stake Conference meeting) + her first time changing a diaper (!!) with Owen as her very helpful partner.
+ An evening run for Jordan on a familiar route he likes -- up across the Bonnevile trail to first dam and then back home.
+ A Studio C Pizza movie party
+ Sunday family study and some board game time for Jordan and the kids

Friday, March 22, 2019


With parent teacher conferences earlier this week, the kids have the day off today. We're almost to lunch time and so far today we've had:

- early morning wii time
- morning jobs
- blueberry muffin making by Ellie
- Brazilian dinner planning by Landon (for the service auction)
- Piano lessons for Landon, Ellie & Owen
- this cute playing (above) by Owen and Porter (still happening and I love the sound so much!)
- magnatile creations by all (still going and I love this too!)
- rainbow loom creations by Ellie
- coxinha prep by Landon + friends
- renewing library books by Debbie ('oh, those were all actually do on the 12th...')
- snow on the ground, and a morning of Springtime rain melting it all away

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Watercolor class

I just finished a great online watercolor class that I've been working on over the last several weeks, and these are all the fun things I painted! With Isaac napping while Porter is in kindergarten, I've had a little more free time this school year. And with my newer medication, I've also had more energy and have just felt better in general which has been so exciting!

This class was the perfect thing because whenever I had the time & energy, I could just grab my little watercolor supply box and a cup of water and get to work! And since I was following a specific course, I didn't have to spend any time deciding what to make which I really liked too. Not everything turned out wonderfully, but some things did (I love that lemon and that pear and the tiny little Spring bunting and the leftover paint dashes :)

I felt like I learned a lot about how watercolors work, and it was great to try some different types of things. And I'm excited to keep practicing! I made the 'thank you' wreath of flowers on my own a few weeks after I'd finished that other flower picture with the video, and I felt like just that second try was so much better than the first!  (Here's the class I took - and she has been doing a great daily watercolor project on instagram that I've loved too!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy first of Spring!

We've been loving these warm Spring days already! About two weeks ago, Porter asked if we could bike to school, so we bundled right up. And since then (except for that snow storm in the middle!) we've had some really lovely days! Some time last week, I took the boys on a walk and we saw some signs of Spring popping up, and there are more and more little green bits coming around (also, lots of mud!) 


Also, Jordan got me a cool digital frame for Christmas, and each month I've filled it with family pictures from that month over the years. It has been so fun to see some of these pictures that we wouldn't normally, like this cute toddler Ellie at our Provo house! (Even though this is also a March pic, that's a lot more green than we have here right now, but it's coming! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Yesterday I was helping at the school, talking to kindergarten parents about our Portuguese program and helping them sign up for next year. When I got there, there was a sweet third grader sitting at the table helping and she ended up staying for about an hour more - helping and keeping me company so cheerfully :) It was great. I had brought along a podcast and a book, but it was much more fun talking to this happy-to-help third grader!

As I was talking to parents about this I was thinking again about how amazing it is that our kids - in this little town of Logan, Utah! - can be learning Portuguese like this at school. We've had some hard times school-wise this year, even to the point of some intense consideration of home schooling for one of our kiddos. But this DLI program has been a big reason we've chosen to keep going (also, friends!)

Also, it was so fun to see how many people had connections to Brazil! Parents who had served missions there, a family who had lived there a couple of times for work, a mom who was from Brazil... it was a fun surprise!

We had a service auction last month where the youth volunteered their services and the ward members bid on them. Landon's Brazilian dinner had one of the highest bids, and this weekend he gets to prepare it. (On Saturdays lately, Jordan has been letting the kids vote on what we'll do and making Brazilian dinner is almost always on the list that the kids pick out!)

I loved Ellie's response when I told her what I was doing to help out at the school  -- 'why would anyone not want to do Portuguese?' :)   I just love that this is all a part of life for our kiddos.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Basketball Season/Tournament

This Saturday, Landon ended his basketball season with a tournament, and it was really fun to get to spend the day with him cheering, hanging out in between games, and having lunch together in the middle too.

A few things about this season:

* Landon's a good player, but he ended up on a really good team (they won every game they played) with boys a year or two older who were all good friends already... it was a tough team to join! But the kids and coach were nice and mostly I was so proud of Landon for getting through it!

(Also, Landon said on Saturday, "Thanks for helping me through this mom!" which warmed my heart... especially since there were a lot of strong "Do I have to go...?'s along the way too)

* His coach was very good, and also very down-to-business -- no feel-good, Dad kind of talk like other coaches the kids have had. At one of Landon's last games, I found out he wasn't one of the players Dads (like I had assumed) but an older brother (about 21 years old!) Ha! It all made a lot more sense then  :)( Really, his coach was super. Landon learned a lot, and his coach was great at giving all the players time to play - even when a game was close and he might have wanted only his best players in!)

* At one practice (with a good deal of dreading leading up to it) the boys ended with a scrimmage like they often did. They were setting up to choose teams, and the coach said "but, I'll be the last pick" so Landon was thinking "well, good at least I won't be the absolute last one chosen..." But then, one of the boys picked him first! It was such a little thing, but that little bit of kindness really made a difference.

Friday, March 15, 2019

ten things on Friday

1. You would think these two pictures were taken months apart, but they are both from this week! Certainly in January I might wish for San Diego's constant 70 degrees, but the crazy back and forth we get as the seasons get ready to change is pretty fun too.

2. We've had a shiny red car in our garage this week that the kids think is pretty great. (From a friend who we pick up from school each day "Whoa! This car is way nicer than your regular one!"Ha!)  Jordan hit a rock in the canyon driving back from Ellie's ski day last week and the end result was that we're having to have the van's engine replaced. As we started driving our other van this week we realized it has some issues that we need to have looked at before driving it too much more. So we're driving this bright red rental! And we've been grateful that things are working out as smoothly as they are though even with some pretty big car troubles!

3. I came across this cyclist/artist's site yesterday, and I think the idea is so fun -- he plans out a route and then when he bikes it, his gps maps out the picture he designed. Jordan really likes to have destinations in mind when we go out for an adventure and this seems like it could be a fun thing to try sometime!

4. I've been tending for a friend for a couple days this week, and the boys have had a fun time having an extra friend over to play! We even made play dough yesterday :) Jordan took a half day today along with the big kids and took Ellie and Owen skiing, and Landon's playing with a friend so it's a quieter day with just these littler kiddos at home. (Also, Porter is not a fan of quiet time!)

5. Ellie and Owen have been getting up early this week and working hard to finish all their morning jobs as quickly as possible, and they've done great -  even to the point that they were both starting to wonder what to do with all the extra morning time!

6. We've had young women's activities at our house a few times in the last month or so, and a book group last week and I'm still getting used to these things. We don't have company over much, so even those little things feel big.   And I've felt for a long time like there's truth to the idea of how important it is to just invite people into our homes - imperfect as they may be - but then I also feel really stressed about that imperfectness when it comes down to people arriving in a few hours.  Still more to figure out here!

7. I finished the watercolor class I've been working on, and I liked it so much, I signed up for another painting class. (It's a very different style this time though!)

8. Last weekend, we had a pizza movie party like we do many weekends. It felt extra fun though because we had picked out a movie a couple weeks in advance and we even wrote it on the calendar "Ralph movie night" so we got to anticipate it like a big event for a little while.

9. A few weeks ago I took the kids skating at Cache Valley Fun Park, and when the pizza wait was too long we ordered some soft pretzels instead. As we were eating our pretzels, the kids were remembering their favorite street pretzels from New York and the questions from the kids   went something like this... "When do you think we will go to New York again?  If the kids all saved up all our money and we paid for our airplane tickets to go, would you let us go sooner than you think? How much is a plane ticket to New York? Hmm..."

10. This year, I've been going in to help with Porter's class once a week, and for the last few weeks I've gotten to also spend some time in Owen's class which I love. In Porter's class I get to help with "STEAM bins" with a small group (I love this!) and in Owen's it's the last part of the day when his teacher is gone to a faculty meeting so I just help or join in with whatever happens to be going on.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 14, 2019


San Francisco Fall 2018
Last week I  read a sweet blog with thoughts on the new Mo Willems book, Because (I even ordered the book which came earlier this week and I love it!)  and on her own "because" and how the course of her life was changed by one high school decision. And it reminded me of my own "because" story that I've often thought about. 

As seniors in high school, my best friend Karisty and I were thrilled to be making plans for our time at BYU together. We'd been through the Honors and AP classes together, the extracurricular clubs and activities, the college applications, and the exciting acceptance letters.  I'd be working for her mom in the Engineering &Technology advisement center and we'd be starting our college lives rooming together. We watched for the opening day of Heritage Halls housing applications, and with help from her mom turned in our applications together the moment we could.

I'd looked forward for years to the new start college would bring me - to be on my own! making my own choices! living my own life! I couldn't have been more ready. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I really wanted and needed my own space - even from my best friend. I can remember how terrified I was to make the call to let her know I didn't want to room together after all. But that moment mattered.

Because I made that so-hard phone call, instead of rooming with a best friend from high school, I moved into Heritage Halls and met my new room-roommate Laura, who became a rest-of-my-life friend.

Laura and me at Alta  (and the couch slipcovers that we couldn't agree on ;)

Because I met Laura, I also met Cassie, Andrea, and Jenn who we moved to Alta with after our freshman year of college.

The cheer squad at one of Andrea's marathons (in St. George?)
Because I moved to Alta, I met so many other friends who helped me learn how and who I wanted to be.

One of my favorite pictures -- our friend Kelda & Jordan at Alta
And Because I moved to Alta, I met Jordan! (Who made the great call of becoming great friends with some of my best friends! :)

And Because one sweet night Jordan asked me to marry him, I said yes!

And Because I said yes, we were married and had 5 dear children and have a wonderful family and life together!

(And it was obvious as I searched through my old shoebox of pictures for those college pics --- there were of course so many other little bits and pieces, big and little moments of 'because' along the way too!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

from Hobby Lobby

Three fun things from a Hobby Lobby trip last week:

1. I feel like I'm pretty practiced at giving a quick 'no' when the kids ask for pretty much anything at the store. (Except fruits or veggies - then I'm excited to say yes.) I'd answered lots of those no's to Isaac's requests through the store (giant basketball-sized plastic Easter eggs? nope.) As I was picking up some felt, Issac had grabbed this little rhinoceros from the clearance shelf behind me, and asked again "Can we buy this? Can we take it to our house?" He was so excited about it that instead of such a quick no, I asked "What would we do with that rhinoceros?" He looked at it lovingly and gave it an almost-hug and said as sweetly as can be "Say good morning to it!" And we are now the proud owners of a great little rhino :)

2. Years ago, I designed some cute little deer fabric to make into some cute little bowties for the zoo gift shop (here - and look at that cute little Owen!) and it was so fun to spot such a similar design right on the fabric bolts of Hobby Lobby! Not exactly the same, but the same white on grey and everything!

3. And I just thought that swirly picture was so pretty, and I just finished a fun online watercolor class so it made me think - I could make that! (coming soon?)

Monday, March 11, 2019

My letter!

For Christmas, I picked out this cute wooden alphabet puzzle for Isaac. We sat on the floor and played it together a few times -- taking turns putting the letters in place as I told Isaac what they were. I'd pause on the letter "I" to say "I for Isaac!" and B to say "B for Brough!"  Sometime in those first few weeks after he'd gotten this, we were singing our "B for Brough" family song and Isaac hopped up and ran out of the front room "I'll get it!" A few minutes later, he came back with the little orange letter B from the puzzle -- "I got it! My letter!"

It has been so fun to watch in the last several weeks as he has continued to be so excited when he spots one of his letters in a book or written on a note or in a picture... and often he'll even go back to his puzzle to find the match - I love it.

Also, his favorite song his the ABC's (which he can almost sing with some help). His latest version on his own goes (on repeat) something like "A-B-C-D-E-F-ee-G Next time won't you sing with me my A-B-C-D-E...

I think watching the kids learning about letters and learning to read has been just one of the most delightful things to watch - with all the kids. Porter is reading more and more and it is always such a fun surprise when I'm working on the computer or something and he'll peak over my shoulder and start to read along! I sure love these learning about letters and learning to read stages.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Writing Contest

Landon stopped by his 6th grade English teacher's room that day to pick up her personal copies of the books so he could get them signed by the author for her (Hooray for good teachers like this who make such a great impression!)

Last year, Landon was super excited to write a story (in Portuguese) for the young writers & artists festival at school. He was even more excited when his story was accepted and he was invited to go the activity, but then at the last minute we booked flights to New York (then found out within a few days that the writing fest was happening while we were gone!) 

This year, he wrote a great Choose Your Own Adventure book for this ("The Winter Campout"), and he'll be going to the writer's fest next week!

He also submitted his story to a young writers contest they held at the North Logan Library, and he was chosen as a finalist in the middle school category! Last week, we got to go the celebration. All of the writers sat on a panel, and answered questions about their work asked by author Tyler Whitesides. And this author was so fantastic -- every time he asked one of the kids a question, he also mentioned something detailed and specific that he loved about the story that person wrote. It was really impressive, and what a gift to these kids! 

Landon's friend even came along for the evening which made it that much more of a celebration for him.  Yay for Landon and yay for great opportunities like this!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

At last

Last year, we had this big kid's group in our neighborhood where we'd each take a turn watching the kids for a couple hours one day a week and then have 6 weeks or so in between with a free morning while the kids played at another house.  At one of these kid swap days, Porter made bath bombs at a friends house and thought it was so fun. Since then, he has been so excited to make them at home. It had been so long, and I needed some motivation to make it happen so I even got Porter some bath bomb molds as a stocking stuffer, and made sure we had all the ingredients in the cupboard. Somehow though it still felt so hard to set aside time to make them!

Finally, finally,  today we made them! We had an empty calendar day (hooray!) and a friend over playing with Isaac (till we started and they both wanted to join in too :)

And it was very fun, and also so silly that it took me a year to get to it since it was about a 15 minute process from start to finish (including finding the bath bomb molds from all the places they'd been over the last few months).

I'd like to say that I learned my lesson to just do the things I'm always tempted to put off, especially with the kids.  But I kind of know that the dreaded "we'll see" will probably continue... maybe I'll remember how simple this was though and do a little better?  It sure does feel nice to have finished this fun little to-do at last!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Girls Night Out

a pile of flower decorations from our Girls Night Out (I'll have to write more about these because they were so fun to make!)

Last night for Young Women's we had a "Girls Night Out" party with some of the ladies in the ward too. We met last week to make plans and I got things ready during the week, and managed to feel a lot of stress even though I knew in my head it was no big deal... still I was so grateful for help from the other Young Women's leaders. One of them just had surgery and I volunteered to take dinner over. When I arrived and she had a pile of decorations, lots of encouragement and ideas, and more offers to help I realized how silly and small my little dinner was compared to all the help she was giving me! (It reminded me of this favorite instagram post that I still think of so often - "How are we going to trade money - that don't make sense!")

We had a fun, simple evening - the girls came early and did a great job setting up and decorating, then we had a little photo booth, snacks & 'would you rather' questions, a "best" chocolate chip cookie contest and a very funny game of charades. And it was so fun to sit with some of the women I don't usually get to talk with much and get to know them a little better too. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

cello performance

Last week I got to take Ellie and her friends to an orchestra rehearsal before their evening concert. Before I went to find my seat, I was just delighted to watch Ellie and the other girls pulling out their instruments and the accessories they might need, getting their cellos and violins tuned, finding their music... seeing them all spread out in their little corner made me think of that famous painting (by Degas) where the dancers are just finishing preparing and lacing up their shoes - such a sweet capture of those getting-ready moments. If I could I would paint that little corner of the room with the cellos and violin cases and instruments spread out and the girls excitedly getting everything ready, for now I'll enjoy my little waterlogue app "painting" :)

And I loved her concert too. Jordan was on call for work so he needed to be home to keep tabs on things, and he kindly kept all the boys home too. So I just got this very fun evening out. I ate dinner and listened to a fun podcast and read a book while they rehearsed, and then I got to just sit and watch and listen to them perform too. What a treat!

This morning was "parents day" for orchestra - Landon took care of the boys (since Jordan starts work early) and Ellie and I were out the door by 6:45 (yay for Ellie doing this twice a week!) The kids got to show off some of their songs and their 'perfect position' holding their instruments and bows, and they even got a turn switching roles and teaching the parents a little song too. Ellie was super excited about this (even more so than for her concerts) so I was happy to be able to make it work out to go.  (Also, their teacher is fantastic! I feel like we are pretty lucky for the kids to have this opportunity!)

Monday, March 4, 2019

And a snowy welcome to March too

Welcome March with sunshine and blue skies and drip, drip, dripping, and also with lovely fresh snow and wet roads and cold days... March snow is fine for me because I know there's green under there! In January it's hard to imagine our Logan world was ever anything but cold and white, but in March, you just know Spring is on the way!

I had a happily productive morning, facing the day with extra energy for a Monday and working hard to tackle a "Monday, Monday" list of laundry, tidying, groceries, reading with Porter, etc. But now I have to tackle the second half of my list which requires decision making and planning and figuring out and brainstorming...

I'm thinking of a day a few weeks ago where I woke up overwhelmed with the tasks of the day and felt only the energy to pray for help with just the very next thing (most likely a first 'help me be kind to my children') and then, the next thing, and then the next thing. And eventually I was climbing into bed at the end of the day and felt such a wave of relief that all the things of the day were done (finished or not, I'd made it through).

Today's actually not a day like that, but what do you do when you just don't want to tackle the things that need tackling? (You just do. I know that. :) Plus some music? And maybe some peanut butter cookies to make later? )

Ready, set...
Ready, set...
Ready, set...go!

Friday, March 1, 2019

happy Friday, happy March!

Yesterday, the kids celebrated Baby Day (have I written about that? I'll have to more sometime.  I heard one of the kids yesterday explaining to one of their friends why we had a tissue box taped to the wall labeled in sharpie with Isaac's Baby Day Mailbox.

"Isaac was born on the last day of the month, so every last day of the month we celebrate baby day. So Porter made that for him today." I loved that it was as straightforward as that - like, of course - it's baby day, that's just how it is!

It has been a busy week. Almost every night I've left Jordan with some or all of the kids and come home before bed to find the kitchen clean, most or all the kids in bed - thank you dear Jordan! And also I'm ready for some quieter evenings to come.

Also, it has been lovely outside (except a bit of dreary grayness yesterday, but then it turned into such a beautiful evening!)  -- today is just a beautiful blue sky, fluffy clouds, warm sunshine day -- a perfect welcome to March!