01 November 2011

Colin Runs

Autumn is my favorite season. I love when the weather cools down a touch, the schedule tightens up a bit and there are so many things to look forward to - birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. This past fall we had an extra awesome thing to look forward to - Our new grandson Jett came 11/11/11!
Colin is a fan of autumn, too. Colin is a runner. Summer is so hot for running, and he actually prefers winter type weather for training. Fall gives him hope that it will cool down soon.
Colin is pretty much the only athlete in our family, although Lauren did a few seasons of softball and ice skating. It is kind of strange - I get the Athletic Patron program a little better, we bought CHS sport stickers for my vehicle, we have someone in our family who uses the field house and we have gone to sports banquets. The things we do for our kids.
But it is super fun to watch Colin run. He totally loves it, as per his usual habits of interest - If he likes something, he loves it. If he is not interested, he does not do it. End of story.
It has been so great to see him grow as an athlete. When he first started running he wasn't too bad - He is a kid - Kid's know how to run. But watching him over the last few years growing taller, get stronger and improving his endurance and stride, what a difference! 
He just gets faster with each race.
All the guys on the team are really good, especially to each other. They cheer for each member of the team and congratulate one another, even if someone else had a better race.
They are focused and dedicated. They work so hard at practices, usually running five to ten miles six days a week, sometimes more. Sometimes they play mind or word games while running, jump in someone's pool, play in the river or on the ice. Other times they might have really difficult training like sprinting a half mile, take a very short break and repeat. Like ten times in a row. Ugh.
That practice pays off though. On race days, a 5K feels like a walk in the park (unless it is Cass Benton at Hines Park - very tough course). Spectators watch from different vantage points, usually moving to another spot when the runners pass. We mosey on over to the finish line to encourage the runners to run as fast as they can. It is good being a spectator.
After the race, and the cool down run (how running more cools you down is a little bit of a mystery, but it works), food. They have bagels and fruit - refueling. I bet they are pretty darn hungry after a meet.
(On the eve of a big meet, the boys and girls teams get together at someone's house for a pasta party - Fueling up for the race!)
All these boys are pretty great, but in a non-biased judgement, this one is the best. Really. There are a million reasons why that is true, so take my word for it.
The number one reason though, is that he is ours.
(By the end of the season, Colin earned his Varsity letter for Cross Country and took off almost a full minute from his first race to the last. I think his personal best 5K is at 17 min 49 sec.)

25 October 2011


How can our baby be 14 already?
Liam loves birthdays and parties, so we got on board with this. 
We had planned to do a neighborhood rally, having a bunch of 14 year olds run up and down the street, burning off lots of energy challenging their brains and each other in a constructive way. 
As it turned out, it rained. All day.
Quickly regrouping, we decided on a virtual rally, using the computer to find clues. Hero and I spend lots of hours challenging our brains to get things to work out. 
But they did work out - And the boys had a super fun time playing.
Look at that face. 
He got a lot of great gifts - great in that it was mostly cash. Liam received about $200 - Holy cow!
No Murphy birthday party is complete without the chocolate bar game. All kids totally love this game. A jumbo size candy bar is wrapped with every single seam taped to death. Then it is wrapped two or three more times. Everyone sits in a circle and rolls a pair of dice. If you get doubles, you first put on a hat, scarf and gloves, and then try to unwrap the chocolate bar, all the while everyone else continues to roll the dice in hopes of doubles. It is craziness. You would think at this point of the evening, everyone would be chilling and not really interested in more sugar. You would be incorrect if that were your thinking here.
Lovely cupcakes, just a few weeks before Liam was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. Next year will have to be gluten free.

Another successful birthday. 
I love having parties for my  kiddos. 
Thanks for turning 14 Liam!


The first boy for our family.
I just knew he was a boy. As soon as he was born, I totally had to sit up and look. Sure enough - boy.
He had the softest little neck. I very often had a hard time resisting kissing that soft fuzzy spot on the back of his neck.
He let me do that for a few years. And then he grew up.
Which is good. He did lots of good things along the way.
He went to preschool, went to church, played soccer, did a season of bowling (with his best friend Cassie and they got a free Burger King lunch each time), went to school, danced, joined a few different theater groups, sang, hung out with friends, performed at CHS in lots of plays and musicals, was a preschool teacher (at CHS), learned to drive, loved his family, became an expert in all things Hollywood (just ask him the best picture, actor, actress, etc from any year!),finished high school and enjoyed his last summer as a kid.
Brenden had a birthday! Somehow time sped up and he is now eighteen. 
Not possible.
For his birthday we wanted a duffle bag. Brenden has big plans to join the Air Force. He is trying to gain about 10 pounds to get there.
This thing is big! Look at all that can be stored in that bad boy! 
That is Colin in there.
After he was zipped up, he rolled around the great room for a few minutes. I could never do that in a million years. Colin is a trooper.
Pretty much every year Brenden wants Wacky Cake for his birthday. Oh. Yum. This cake makes lots of servings so we have leftovers for a few days!
Love the look that David is getting from the birthday boy.
Time to dig in!
Happy Birthday Brenden!

22 October 2011

Little Garden

A few years ago, we (and by 'we', I usually mean I came up with a crazy idea and Hero runs with it) built a square foot garden. The idea is that in each square foot, you can plant a certain number of plants and they will do great. 
No thinning, not too big and very organized.
It is a really great idea.
For some people. 
Actually, it is probably a good idea for us, too. But I have this little problem with plants. 
Most of them end up dead.
It does not matter what kind of plants - indoor or outdoor - but I do have better luck with outdoor plants, hence this crazy idea for a little tiny veggie garden. How bad could I mess it up?
This is day one.
I have tomatoes, spinach, peas, beans, peppers, cauliflower and mystery. So much potential.
Oh, and marigolds, for two reasons - One, they are supposed to attract good bugs, and second, they remind me of my grandma Norma. She used to cut flowers for me to take home every time we visited her house. The smell gets me every time.
You can see it is not too big. I should be able to take care of this, right?
And I can, except for one little problem. I have this thing about projects. I want to do them and be done. Maintenance projects are a downfall of mine.
I have 72 hour emergency kits that are half done, but I just cannot get excited about finishing them, as I know I have to clean them out after a while to rotate food and such.
I have photo journals that are seriously not up to date, because I know that as soon as I finish, I will not be done.
I recognize this is a problem. A weakness. I am trying.
Here is the garden at the end of the season. Do not let that plethora of tomatoes fool you - they are all icky.
The rabbits ate the peas and spinach.
We got one pepper.
The mystery turned out to be squash. They were good.
And we got two cauliflowers.
The only thing that really thrived were the marigolds. (That's something!)
Um, in my defense, I did water more this year.
Next year, I am going to turn this into a mini pumpkin patch. Since kindergarten, I have been able to grow pumpkins.
I wonder how many pumpkins per square I can get.

05 October 2011

Cuppy Cake

For Family Home Evening recently we decorated cupcakes.
Super fun!
I got an awesome cupcake decorating book from the library, made a batch of buttermilk cupcakes (buttermilk is my new favorite ingredient), stocked up on all kinds of candies and sprinkles, plus some mini vanilla wafers (so cute!) and mini donuts.
Instead of making frosting (like I know I should have - live and learn!) we used store bought. Not good. That stuff did not hold up - Way too soft.
Next time.
There was some serious art going on here. 
The intensity and dedication was awe-inspiring.
Check out the apron on Colin. This is serious.
Lauren wanted no distractions. Hair pulled back without a chance of any getting in her way. 
Or on a cupcake.
Hi friend! 
Looks like a great day for a swim.
Unless you are a fish. In Swedish waters. 
Swim away!
This is one of Brenden's cupcakes. 
It really does look like water with those sprinkles.
And drops on the table.
Another friend - Hi!
Looks like his feet have a little bit of a sunburn.
Good thing he has his arms tucked inside the inner tube.
She looks very happy. She may or may not be missing a flipper.
I think I mentioned the frosting was pretty wimpy.
This fellow is quite the swimmer. Hero worked on outfitting this guy. Complete with goggles, snorkel and flippers. 
Paddling away.
Looks like he may have forgotten his swim trunks though - check out that little fanny.
Not sure what is going on with the little swimmer to the right. 
That looks awkward. And uncomfortable.
Just another fun day at the beach!
Some with hats, some with inner tubes, some with flippers, some with no swimmers at all.
Check out this little creature. 
And his cute creature cupcake.
It's a lobster. Very clever, Liam!
Ready to serve.
Except who could eat them?
Well, friends or not, they were sure tasty.

23 September 2011

Bag Lady

I have been on the hunt for the perfect bag for church.
For a long time.
I have had some good ones in the past, and for a while I did not need one. I could put everything in my scripture case and be on my way.
But I have needed a bag again for about a year. I've tried going bagless, but there is just too much to carry, and little things like my phone and my keys end up sitting out. I was always worried I would drop them somewhere.
Or forget them.
I have a few bags that I have been trying to make work, but it just was not happening.

Anyway, I have a new bag! I absolutely love it! It is exactly what I need for my binder and books and all my little stuffs, and it is the right color and it was inexpensive.
Because I  made it that way.
A yard of decorator fabric on clearance for $3 a yard and a sheet of plastic mesh were all I needed to purchase. I had the lining material.
And I had the cute little flower from a crafty project I did with Lauren last year.

See inside? It fits everything I need, with some space leftover for unexpecteds.
And see that little pocket in there? For my keys. And cell phone.
Oh yeah.
There is another little pocket on the outside under the flap, too.

It is a keeper!
I just love it.
Want to make your own?
This is where I found the pattern.

31 August 2011

Upper Peninsula, Summer 2011

While Lawson and Alex were here visiting we had to go to the UP. It was such beautiful weather! 
We stayed at Grandma and Papa's house and got an early start to the day.
First stop - Castle Rock Souvenir Barn
We climbed 170 steps to the top and had a good look around. From here we can see the lake (of course) and the Mackinac Bridge. And trees. Lots. Of. Trees.
This was the first time our youngins had been to the UP in a very long time. For Lawson, definitely a first!
Alex brought along her baby bump. What a trooper baby Jett was.
Colin - stand here so I can take your picture with this awesome scenery. Thanks.
A little windy, as can be expected this high up right off the water. I wore my hat on purpose.
Love these boys. So silly. 
But really, there was a little tiny fence keeping us from falling 195.8 feet to the ground.

30 August 2011

Kirtland, Summer 2011

While Alex and Lawson were here from Idaho, we took the opportunity to visit Kirtland, Ohio, an LDS Church historical site. I have been there a few times over the years, and each time it is better. 
One of the highlights of Kirtland is the temple, the first one built in current times, although it is not used currently as an LDS temple any longer. In fact, this temple is not even owned by the church - It is owned by the Community of Christ Church. They do a terrific job of maintaining the building and the grounds, and showing people around.
But there is lots to do and see in Kirtland. The LDS church has many historical sites to see with tours by missionaries. You cannot help but feel the spirit in this place!
Starting at the visitor's center, we visited so many fun places and learned so much. At the sawmill, I have to say I was a little nervous about these humongous teeth on the blades!
At the ashery, Liam handled the shovel like a pro, and may have violated a few child labor laws.
Lots of walking, but it was such a beautiful day!
Other sites include the Newel K Whitney store, the schoolhouse and the Johnson Inn Resource Center. So much to learn!
On the steps of the Kirtland Temple.
What an awesome sacrifice to build such a House of the Lord. 
(We did discover a nest in one of the windows. Glad it was up high.)
A great place to visit and renew our testimony of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.