Sunday, October 9, 2016

Autumn Flowers

I have an app that lets me know when Michael enters a certain perimeter around our house, and
whenever it chimes at me, I let the Brookelets know that he's almost home and they run out to greet him as he drives down the street to our house.  On one of those days I noticed that the light was quite nice, and my flowers were looking rather cheerful, so I grabbed my camera to document it all.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Queen of the Mountain Softball Tournament

A couple of weeks ago was her last tournament, this time an hour away, so I had to pull her out of school a couple hours early so we could make it up there in time for her first game.  That meant hitting a drive-thru for lunch, and lots of reading in the car for her, which pleased her greatly.

Given my back's instability when it comes to long car rides, I decided that we'd stay up there for the night and avoid the extra commuting, and we had such a great time!  I hadn't been able to prepare for our trip because the van's brakes required the van to be in the shop for three days (originally it was only supposed to be one morning, ugh), and I only got my van back about an hour before we had to leave, so I just said, "Forget it, we're going to eat out and not worry about things," and we did.  Penguin had fun, and she was incredibly wired and couldn't go to sleep, so we stayed up until eleven or so just talking and giggling.  Good memories.

Not much in the way of photos because my back was rather on edge and it was hard to concentrate on taking pictures, but that's just how it is sometimes.

It was a fun little weekend for us, and I'm looking forward to future overnighter tournaments!  This was the last tournament for this year, so we'll see what we get handed next year!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Weekly Report: September 10-30, 2016

It's become apparent to me that I'm not getting much "extra" homemaking types of thing done around here, and I really do prefer to mostly talk about the Brookelets, so "weekly report" it shall be from this point forward.  If I do manage to do something astounding, homemaking-wise, I'll be sure to show you because the only other witnesses are the cats, and that's somewhat depressing.  Ha ha.

Things are still crazy here, hence the "September 10-30th" date range.  I am NOT one of those annoying women who enjoys bragging about how busy they are, like being busy is the end goal of life, and the extended craziness has me scrutinizing our daily lives to try to figure out just WHY things are so crazy, and for so long lately.  My best theories are:
  1. I've not truly done a "back to school" before--last year was the first time the kids went through the whole "back to school" thing, but I had a broken foot and a busted back, and Michael was unemployed, so he mostly took care of all of that stuff.  Baptism by lava here.
  2. I started keeping track of how often a "last minute" schedule change popped up, and in the last two weeks we've had ten individual instances.  So...that's a lot of frustration and stress, which is undoubtedly making things feel like they're very off-balance.  I really dislike how our text-happy culture has swayed towards informing at the last minute.'s now October, and my calendar is practically naked, so I think things are going to calm down considerably.

So what's been keeping us busy?  Well, Penguin's softball has been one of the big things going on around here.  She had another tournament, and there's been games.  She really is improving quickly.

Bluebird, Penguin and I went to the Sundance Harvest Festival, which was a good day.  Oh, the drive up there was absolutely gorgeous, and the views at Sundance are always lovely, so it was quite nice.

After that, we snuck up to Park City to visit an animal shelter that happened to have a Scottish Fold cat newly on-site, and we loved her and pre-adopted her.  Michael has commented a few times that he thinks Scottish Fold cats are so hilarious-looking, and he wished we could get one, but they run about $500, and I'm not spending $500 on a cat, so I set up notification searches on various pet adoption websites to email me whenever a Scottish Fold showed up anywhere, and voila, five months later I had a notification, and only an hour and half away from me!

So, we now have Charlotte:

Quesnel hates her, and Charlotte ignores Quesnel.  Great buddies.  Charlotte likes Michael a whole lot, and they watch TV together each evening, which is great because I pretty much found her for him.  She hides under my bed by day, and Michael fishes her out in the evening and carries her about.  It's pretty cute.  (She's not going to like it when I get my room cleaned up enough so that the Roomba can come through...)  Sometimes I just look at her and bust out laughing.

I was released from my calling as Activity Days leader, and Michael was released from his calling as Sunday School teacher for the 14-15 year olds, and we were called to team teach the 11 year olds.  But they haven't called a new Activity Days leader yet, so I'm wondering what I should be doing in regards to that until they do.

I went to Bluebird's Parent Teacher Conferences, and she's doing well, and her teachers all said they liked her...her English teacher smiled big when I said I was Bluebird's mother, and she said, "Oh, I love her!  She's a ROCKSTAR!"  Well, OK then!  The only areas she needs to improve in are turning in her work, which is dragging down her grades in two classes, and to not read other books during class.  It's so funny, but that's what EVERY ONE of her teachers said--"She reads a lot, and I have to ask her to put her books away during class."  Every teacher.  ALL of them.  Honestly, girl...

And I need to get breakfast going, so I'll just pop the extra pictures in here for your viewing enjoyment: 

Oh yeah--I made a hat for Bluebird during Penguin's last tournament.  It matches her new winter coat, which she's not allowed to wear until it gets colder.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Courtney Osborn Softball Tournament

Playing second base

Talking to Coach

Getting some encouragement from our first base coach

Resting between games

Taking off from third base to steal home

(Barely...both the catcher and Penguin froze and then looked up to umpire
for the call, ha ha! It was a squeaker!)

So pleased with herself for stealing home!

Penguin's first tournament for her accelerated softball team is in the books!  It was only twenty minutes away, and it really was a lot of fun for her!  I had a feeling that she wasn't too terribly sure about being on the team, what with the extra games and practices outside of city league, but she really seemed to warm up to the idea over the two days of this tournament.  While eating dinner after her last game, I asked her how she was liking her new team, and she said, "I LOVE it!"  Whew!

It's a brand new team, and most of these teams have already been together for a year, if not longer, so our team got beat pretty bad each game; BUT, when you compare how the girls played this weekend to how they were playing just two weeks ago, it's amazing how much improvement they're already showing.  We'll be fine once we get the bumps ironed out.  The girls were getting kind of wound up over losing so much, and their coach went on a personal mission to remind them that above all else, we play softball to HAVE FUN.  Winning's nice and all, but ultimately we show up to play because we like to play the game.  Once they got that into their heads (or, really, got the anxiety of losing off of their radars) they relaxed, and played better.  Sweet girls.  Life's too long and full of things to worry about to start worrying when you're ten years old.

I love these pictures so much.  I'm so glad that she gets this opportunity to play a game she loves.  Lucky, lucky girl.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Homemaking Highlights: September 3-9, 2016

Hello, Brooketopia groupies!  (Hee hee.)

Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words after I let you know that I was having a rough go of things, my symptoms have been improving greatly ever since.  I think I'll be more on the "two/three weeks of symptoms" side of things than the twelve weeks side.  Thank goodness, I did not know how I was going to handle feeling that awful for three months.

Knowing that I was just suffering from withdrawals, and that I didn't actually have food poisoning or the flu, made me all that more adamant that I was going to plough through my discomfort and finally get some things done around here.  It was hard work, but I'm pleased with my efforts.

And I must say that I'm SO GLAD I started up with these Homemaking Highlights posts--I was really getting down on myself for being such a slacker, when I remembered that I had written that I'd been sick for three weeks straight, plus the last two weeks, which makes for five weeks of feeling like crap.  You can't get a lot done when you feel like crap.  I would have failed to realize all that important information were it not for keeping a record.  It may feel narcissistic to write these posts, but goodness, are they helpful to me.

I'm also going to change things up a bit in regards to my weekly goals--I will only list a maximum of three in each category.  It's too overwhelming to list more, and I'm still working up to my full potential after this slow recovery from back surgery.

I have fallen hard for the magnetism of autumn food!  We have a dinner plan (more on that later), I'm loading up the pantry, and I'm eyeing some lovely apple and pumpkin recipes.  Oh, autumn cooking, I love thee!  I also made the best carrot cake muffins for breakfast on Wednesday!  So good.


  • Create shopping list for autumn meal plan.
  • Make and can spaghetti sauce to use up the last of the basil and oregano in the garden.
  • Harvest the rosemary.

Laundry is caught up, which was no small feat, and I've gone through all the kids' dressers and closets and culled out the too-small clothing.  I also think I've got all their clothing needs taken care of, except for closed-toe shoes.


  • Closed-toe shoe shopping
  • Clothing inventory for Michael and myself
  • Hem Penguin's pants (I don't think this will get done this week, but I don't want to forget)

 Ugh. Got the living room and entrance cleaned up.  Dishes have been extra insane this week.


  • Office/Desk
  • Master Bedroom
  • Master Bathroom

A lot of my week has been spent on the phone, sending emails, and scouring the internet searching for information that just HAD to be out there somewhere, despite everyone telling me that it wasn't.  (Really, there's no schedule posted at all?  That doesn't seem right.  Oh, hey, here it is.  Amazing!)

Bluebird decided to join her school's tennis team, so that's taken up a bit of my time.  I'm very glad that she decided to go with it, but it meant last-minute shopping for gear and practice clothes, and rearranging my schedule to facilitate picking her up after practice.  Not a big deal, but an adjustment that requires some extra brain cells until it becomes automatic.

Music lessons started in earnest this week as well.  More running around.  Penguin's accelerated softball team started their season, too, with two games on two nights, and then a tournament Friday-Saturday.  More running around.  We'll figure it out.  :)


  • Mail all the things...whoa.
  • Pay the last bit of back-to-school fees, etc.
  • Clean out cubbies

 I'm behind on my Beehive Swap, boo.  I've decided to opt out of the #100blocks100days sewalong, my quilt guild's #wordart challenge, and sewing Bluebird's Halloween costume (because I found it pre-made for less than what fabric was going to cost me, SWEET!).


  • Beehive Swap blocks for August and September
  • Clean out garden, and plant bulbs

  •  Back-to-School:  We're almost done.  Need to pay tennis fees, and sign up for the teachers' texting app.
  • Bear Cub's birthday:  I have his gift.  Here.  At my house.  His birthday is in two days and it takes fourteen days for a package to get to him.  #auntfail
  • Family birthday prep:  Gotta get going on it
  • Halloween:  Almost done with acquiring all the elements of all of the kids' costumes, which is good because all the stuff they wanted to be has already sold out.
  • Thanksgiving: Keeping my eye on my china collection in case pieces of it go on sale.  I want to purchase four soup bowls so we have enough for my family this year (yay for a soup course!), and maybe the gravy boat.  Unfortunately, this is the time of year that it all starts to rise in price, until Black Friday...but I need it the day before Black Friday, ha ha.  (And, no, I do not pay the prices listed on that website, EVER.  I'm patient and wait for good deals.)
  • Christmas:  Added some items to the secret gift stash, three of which I'm really excited about giving, come December!  Trying to work the House & Holidays Plan, but it's taken a backseat to Back-to-School stuff.  This week is Master Bedroom week, which is also where my office is, so I'm hoping to concurrently finish up Office Week alongside Master Bedroom Week.

It's a big mess.  With me being so sick, the other Activity Days leaders have been running the show for weeks, we've had to reschedule a million things, and the year's calendar still isn't final.  Ugh. I need to get better, like, yesterday.  Tried to sing with the stake choir for Stake Conference today, only to have gone to the effort of learning the songs and then waking up with practically no voice thanks to allergies.

*deep breath*  This area will improve.
Waiting for her ride to the dance.

  • Bluebird's first harp lesson went well, AND her harp teacher went to BYU, AND she majored in Genetics.  I think Bluebird is in love.
  • Bluebird went to her first school dance and loved it.  It was an "Aloha" Dance/Luau meant to be a bit of an icebreaker, and she went with one of her friends and it was just so cute driving them home as they laughed and chattered about how much fun it was, and how glad they were that there were only two slow songs so they didn't have to worry about dancing with boys.  Oh, to be twelve again.

  • I have Moonflowers!
  • Penguin's first tournament was so much fun!  More pictures to follow.
  • I was having a rough morning on Friday, and so I sat down in my recliner while the Littles finished getting ready for school.  Monkeyboy came out, saw me, spun on his heel to return to his bedroom, and came back out with his blankie and the book, Dragons Love Tacos, climbed into my lap and said, "You look like you need someone to read you a story."  So he did:

  • Penguin had to miss a set of games this week because she had a fever and had to also stay home from school for one day.  She looked miserable.
  • Melted Scentsy wax was spilled on the living room carpet.
  • I dropped the maple syrup container, and, while it didn't break, it DID force the cap open and a lovely fountain of it arced perfectly into the air so as to drench me from head to toe in syrup.  Never thought I'd experience spluttering through syrup, but now I can say that I have.  (And a big SHUT UP to those of you who are going to suggest that this should actually be filed under "Funnies of the Week."  It was definitely not funny in the moment.  It's hilarious now.  But not then.)
  • We were having pancakes for breakfast one morning, and Michael was helping Junebug with her butter and syrup and stuff.  He always draws a face out of whipped cream on her pancakes because it makes her so happy, and on this day he gave the pancake face a full head of whipped cream hair.  Junebug was ecstatic, and yelled out, "BEST DAD I EVER HAD!"
  • Penguin is SO jealous of Bluebird's Junior High lunch options.  I've had to read Penguin the Elementary's and Junior High's lunch offerings almost every morning, and if it wasn't so funny I'd feel really bad about how bummed she gets when she hears them and sighs that Bluebird is so lucky.  (Junior High has the option of pizza almost every day, and Elementary only gets it on Wednesdays.  Supreme jealousy from Penguin.)
  • Monkeyboy thinks "mayonnaise" is pronounced "neigh-neighs," which explains why he always whinnies when I say we're having sandwiches for lunch.  I laughed so hard when I realized this.  I'm laughing now.  (He did it all summer long and it was just so weird, and I now I know why!)
  • Michael told me that he overheard Junebug and Monkeyboy talking about what cars they were going to drive when they grew up, and Junebug told Monkeyboy that he wouldn't be allowed to choose his cars because wives always chose the cars.  Michael stepped in and told them that not all husbands let their wives choose everything, only the nice husbands.  And then Junebug said that she didn't really care if her husband was handsome, just so long as he was nice...but he still had to be cute, or at least OK-looking.
  • Every time I walk through the front door, I see a movement out of the corner of my eye, and I look up and see this: