Thursday, December 25, 2008


Many years ago I came across this website that allows you to create bingo cards for any season or theme. We've been playing Wacky Winter Bingo ever since and several of the boys' teachers have received a set for their classrooms over the years. We decided to have a few people over this year to play Wacky Bingo with us and the only rule was to bring a white elephant gift or your favorite re-giftable. The kids played first and each got to win and pick prizes from the gift basket. Then it was time for the real games to begin. No playing "fairness first"....just GAME ON. So, our friend Ammon won like the first 4 games in a row. His first pick from the prize basket were these awesome tennis shoes (used.)

I also have to add here that we were at his house a few days later and he had been wearing them all day. Only A-man could pull these off and actually make them look stylish and cool.

So, like I said, he kept winning and his next pick were these awesome colognes Rob actually won at the Elder's Quorum Christmas party called "BODman Cologne". There were three different scents..."Black", "Ripped Abs" and I can't remember the other one. Best white elephant ever!

He also won some body lotion and Martinelli's but the next winner swiped his "Ripped Abs" cologne. By the time it made its rounds, Wil was the lucky winner who got to take them (and the Martinelli's) home. He's almost 16.....perfect for his first date.

Our friend, Grant won some hair clips (briefly) and wore them in his hair. I did promise not to post a picture of this.... so you'll just have to imagine it.....since he does sign my Temple recommend.

Rob and the gang...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is There Really a Santa Claus?

OK, first of all, SPOILER ALERT!! This post discusses the delicate issue of Santa Claus... so for adult eyes only. The other day, my 12 1/2 year old son, Jett, made a comment about "SC" that had me thinking he might actually still believe he is real. His two younger brothers have both asked certain questions, like, "How does Santa Claus get everywhere right exactly at 12:00?" and, "Santa's writing looks a lot like yours, mom..." I mentioned my concern to Rob and he felt like Jett was just stringing me along so he would for sure get all of his presents. We've always told our boys , "If You Don't Believe then You Don't Receive." But something about what Jett said and the way he said it convinced me he still hadn't figured it out yet. Each year, at our house, "Rudolph" shows up a week or so before Christmas one night while we're getting the kids ready for bed. Someone always sees Rudolph's red nose outside (it's really Rob or Zach or Kevin with a red sweater and flashlight moving around in the yard) and he leaves a gift outside by the door for everyone. Well, Rudolph had just come and I overheard Jett telling one of his friends about it.

Jett: "Uh, actually, my brothers and I are playing a game that Rudolph brought us. Yeah, he's come to our house every single year since I was born...we just put a little food out for him, some oats, and he brings us a present, usually a dvd or something. "

I have no idea what the kid on the other end of the phone was thinking, but fortunately it was his good buddy Dalton who wouldn't think anything Jett did or said was strange.

I actually did talk with him later and told him the truth about "SC" and I was right.....he did think he was real still. He took the news well, though and kind of laughed and said, "This is all starting to make sense now." On one hand I was pleased he was still so innocent and child-like to believe what we told him. On the other, I felt like at his age, I had to tell him the truth. I can't remember how old I actually was when I found out Santa wasn't real, but I remember how I felt when my mom told me. It saddened me to have to end that for Jett and to realize it won't be long before we no longer have any children young enough who "believe". But real or just a wonderful tradition we participate in for the joy and fun of giving, we're sticking to our motto. All Jett asked was that we keep Miller and Weston from finding out for at least another year so he could help hide gifts and be Rudolph next Christmas. Aahh...the tradition carries on.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jett the Poet....

We were finishing up some homework this evening and Jett asked us to print out this poem he wrote that he had to turn in. I thought it was really good.... The assignment was to do a journal entry about the kind of person you would liked to have been in ancient Egypt and then write a poem based on this journal entry.

I Am A Blacksmith
by Jett Whitten

I am a blacksmith.

I fight for my rights to defend my shop.

My shop is a small building full of the smell of sulfur.

I visit the town market as often as I can.

On the journey I saw a father smiting his child.

The father was furious, something about leaving the boat untied

for this child was weeping like a fountain never ending.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Witchey Witchey, Screamy Screamy, Happy Happy Halloweenie!

Halloween 2008 was a blast. We had beautiful weather, fun parties and lots of cavities...I mean candy. Our festivities began with our ward trunk or treat and a surprise visit from Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Then it was on to the Mortenson's annual Halloween Party. Brent and Erin always put on such a fantastic evening with great food, fun and amazing costumes. Rob and I went as golf caddies. Halloween night, we had a great time trick or treating and gettin' down with the karaoke at the Tippetts house. Hollee and Steve should be rock stars....they have some serious talent!

Our Bishop's wife, Amy, made an amazing Sarah!

The boys had a lot of fun dressing up. Weston, for the third year in a row (yes!) donned his goul mask and wig, Jett was a great vampire (thanks to dad's artistic skills with the make up and fake blood) and Miller made a very handsome Indiana Jones.

Rob and I dressed up as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf for trunk or treat. Rob is warm blooded anyway, but then I made him wear fur on his head, face and hands. This was pretty much the only time Rob had his full costume on. The rest of the time he just wore this furry tail. A nice lady in our ward told him he had a cute tail and it made his night.

Rob, acting frisky. I know....kind of inappropriate with a picture of the Savior in the background...sorry.

Rob dressed up for school on Halloween. I love how he got up extra early to create this bloody masterpiece. Brooke, the teeth are for you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zach's First Date...

Zach called me on Saturday to tell me he had gone on his first "real" date. He turned 16 last May and when I took him to get his driver's license, I asked him if there was someone he was excited to take out now that he was "legit". He didn't really say a whole lot but I knew she would have to be someone special for him to part with his hard-earned money., she's a girl in his Stake, not his ward. Her name is Eve..(cute, huh?) and according to Zach,.... she's hot. He was very excited for this date and went to a lot of trouble to make it nice. He got his dad to let him borrow the new car, he called the movie theatres in her neighborhood (about 20 minutes away) to get showtimes, programmed her address into the GPS, cashed his paycheck from Harris Teeter, did some push-ups (jk...but he is a hunk and a half, though) and drove to go get Eve. Just a few things went wrong...

1. He put the wrong address in the GPS and ended up in someone's driveway in a very "questionable" part of town.
2. After he called Eve and got her correct address, they arrived at the movie theatre only to find out that Zach had called the wrong theatre for show times and the movie they were planning to see wasn't even playing at that theatre.

Being the easy-going person Zach is, they just picked a different movie that was starting in a few minutes, grabbed some popcorn and Jr. Mints and found some seats. He was just settling in next to his "sweetie", relieved to finally get to sit close and maybe put his arm around her, when he felt a little tap on his shoulder......

Sitting right behind them with a big smile on his face was Eve's Bishop.....

Driving around town lost in this day and age.........$11.00 (gas)
Showing up at the wrong movie theatre.......$17.50 (can't use discount tickets)

Sitting right in front of your hot date's Bishop at the movies.........................PRICELESS!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Budding Photographer....

We have always loved going to Boyd's Orchard. We've picked blueberries, apples, pumpkins.....always a fun experience for us. The last time we went it was late summer, early fall....too early for apples, too late for peaches...and we were the only ones there except for the workers. We talked with the owner for a bit and he let us play on the slide and walk around the orchard for free.

On Friday, the boys were off school so we headed out to the Orchard for some kettle corn and their fresh apple cider. The place was a madhouse! (I don't know what I was expecting....) There were so many people there and because we are spoiled, non-crowded-going Boyd's customers, we were a bit disappointed. We walked around outside for a minute....counted all of the school buses....decided to go back inside the barn and get a bite to eat....waited and waited in line.... then finally decided to go get hot chocolate somewhere. I felt bad enough that my plans to have a fun day with the boys didn't quite turn out the way we'd hoped, but then I stumbled in the dirt on the way to the car and broke my flip flop. It wasn't so bad that I embarrassed myself....I do that all the time....but breaking my favorite pair of shoes.....devastating!
Fortunately, the drive to the Orchard is a beautiful one and Weston took some amazing pictures along the way.....

These are the sweetest boys....

He Gets it Honest....

I pretended to jog, again, yesterday. Miller was my little companion this time and followed along on his scooter to keep me company and keep me from quitting too soon. It's cooled down a bit here so I had to break out my new jogging suit from Gabe's. (That's Gabriel Brothers for those of you who don't live in a small enough town to know what this store is.) Anyways, as always, the pants were too long so instead of hemming them, I thought I'd try pulling up and rolling the waistband down once to take the length up a bit. Normally, I fake jog at night so no one can see me, but I'd slacked all week and it was a pretty day, so off we went. A few minutes into it, I felt self-conscious so I turned to Miller and asked if my nylon pants looked like they were riding up too tight in "the back". He performed the "I'm going to slow down and nonchalantly walk right behind you to make sure you don't have a spot on your bottom" maneuver, rode his scooter back up next to me and said:

"Yep...they're a little tight. I'm guessing that's why dad wanted you to have them."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Photo Tag...

Cutie-pie Brooke tagged me in a blog game of "Random Photo"...I was asked to post the fourth picture in my fourth photo folder. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing this very long and don't have a ton of pictures so I used the third picture in my third photo folder. Here it goes......scroll down if you want to see three guys barefoot and shirtless roughing it in the wilderness.....

I know...a little anti-climactic...
Jett took his camera with him on a campout this past spring. These are some of his Deacon buddies from our ward in Mount Pleasant.
OK....I tag Melinda, Lew, Ali, Angela and Kristen

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Our Year in Mount Pleasant, SC

One year ago, this weekend, our family moved from Lexington to Mount Pleasant, SC. It had been a difficult couple of years for us and the move, for me, was a gift. Rob had accepted a job, earlier that summer, with a company who needed him to cover the North and South Carolina territory. Although he was in the process of applying to dental schools, this job was a blessing and we needed to take it.

Last May, before Rob was actually offered the job, we were visiting Zach in Charlotte and decided to take a detour to Charleston on the way home. We had heard there was a dental school there and thought we'd just get a feel for the place. We got into town very late on Saturday evening and looked up directions for a chapel in the area to attend church the next morning. The first one that came up was for the Mount Pleasant Ward so that's where we went. Bishop Morrow greeted us as we sat down...he was about my age, tall and seemed both physically and spiritually strong. We had originally planned to attend just sacrament meeting so we could drive around the town and see a few things since we had to leave first thing Monday morning to get back to Lexington, but half-way through Sacrament meeting, I leaned down the row and told the boys we were staying for the whole thing. I didn't want to leave.

It wasn't until I was in Relief Society that I met the Bishop's wife. Sister McDaniel, our Relief Society President, (and THE BEST cookie and muffin maker in the entire world) taught the lesson and I loved the feeling of that group of women. Towards the end of the meeting, a beautiful woman scooted in next to me and whispered, "I just wanted to meet you....I have five sons, too, and it's not every day you meet someone with 5 boys!" She then stood up and bore her testimony...... She thanked the sisters for their prayers and support during this difficult time as her husband, David (Bishop Morrow) was recovering from surgery for brain cancer and had just finished his rounds of chemo and radiation. I was very moved by her testimony and the grace with which she seemed to be handling her situation. It never occurred to me that the man I had met earlier had even suffered a cold recently, much less brain cancer.

We did sell our house and found a cute place to live there....It was 10 minutes from our door to the sand on Isle of Palms beach. We were a few hundred yards from a crab dock and the tidal river, had alligators in our neighborhood ponds (our family likes this kind of thing), great schools and we enjoyed very delicious, fattening, southern foods. My favorite were the Just Chill Grill's Sweet Potatoe Fries with melted honey butter. Eventually, I had to buy some "buffet" pants. My jeans got too tight.

Our first Sunday, I noticed a guy who looked very familiar to me....I told Rob I knew him from somewhere...probably from my BYU days or something. Anyway, come to find out, he and his wife, Debbie, were at BYU the same time I was and Debbie and I lived in Helaman halls together our freshman year. The Smiths became our friends and shared their home, their family, and their freshly caught shrimp and oysters.

I didn't think I'd be able to leave this place...but we found out in March that we would be going back to Lexington for sure for Rob to go to school. I guess I felt so fortunate that we were even given the opportunity for Rob to do this that my focus turned to preparing our home and finances for the next four years. We were hesitant to tell the boys but we found out they couldn't be happier to be back in Lexington and our friends here could not have been more helpful in finding us a house in a safe place with good schools. The transition has been a very happy and positive one for all of us.

Here are some pictures of our "almost" year in Mount Pleasant.....I know this is a long post, but I loved this place, our time there and the people I had the priviledge of getting to know and I wanted to make sure it all got a place in our book.

In March, Jett received the Aaronic Priesthood. Rob's parents, Pam and Bob and his brother's family came to celebrate and be a part of the ordination.

Carter, Berkeley, Jett, Weston and Miller (front)

Rob, Me, MeMe, baby Marlee, Pops, Aunt Kristen and Uncle Adam

Weston graduates from Charles Pinckney Elementary School.

The Fergusons had us over for dinner our last night in Mount Pleasant. Bill was a great help to us on moving day.

Tessa, Sullivan, Natascha, Bill and Rob

Miller and Weston took First Place and Grand Champion at the annual Pinewood Derby Race!

This was an alligator in one of the ponds in our neighborhood. People didn't just leave their smaller dogs or cats outside unattended.

This little "fella" liked to sun on the banks of another neighborhood pond.

They boys got to fish a lot.....

and learn to ride four-wheelers....

Rob got to go deep sea fishing with his good buddy, Brent. They were out about 10-15 miles from the harbour when this photo was taken....smooth as glass.. He says he caught something (a Bonito) but I do not have documentation of this.

This is where we lived in Mount Pleasant...See Rob standing in front of our unit.

We had the neatest neighbors....Dave and Carolyn lived next to us on the right. They had the cutest dog named Daisy who was the boss of everyone.

Our neighbors across the street, the Bosleys, own Landmark Pictures. This is the company that makes the signs like the "Whitten" one we have on our living room wall. Marilyn and Scott were wonderful friends to us and we miss seeing them everyday and doing fun things with Maggie, Max and Miles.

My friend, Faith, took a few of us out on her boat before I was a beautiful, warm day. She's a lovely!

The boys' first catch from the crab dock...He was delicious.

View of the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston.

The boys at the USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbour.

Halloween 2007

Jack, Goul and Darth aka Miller, West and Jett

We met up with the Smiths and Baileys for trick or treating.

Evan and Bobby (Nacho Libre...)

I need to add a little note here....

Unfortunately, a few weeks after we moved back to Lexington, Sister McDaniel called to tell us that our loving Bishop, David Morrow, lost his battle with cancer and passed away. His beautiful wife, Stephanie, is fortunately surrounded by 5 loving, valiant sons, two sisters and their wonderful families, and an amazing ward family. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Stephanie and her beautiful boys.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Offical White Coats....

I guess it's the tradition at UK to give the first year dental students their white lab coats, names embroidered and all, during a ceremony put on by the UKDS alumni. It was actually pretty nice...kind of like a mini graduation.....Family and friends were invited and there was a reception outside in the garden afterwards. As I strolled the grounds outside and met some of the other student's families, I noticed I really look more like the parent of a dental student than a spouse of one but hey....who's counting wrinkles.

Anyway, here's some photos of the event.....Thank you, Rob, for stopping to pose during the processional so I could snap a few of you!

Outside before the it Rob!

A few of Rob's fellow students and friends....

Rob tossing his "sweat towel" at me on the way out of the auditorium.

Miller with dad....Weston and Jett were at a scout campout that night.

Rob and Miller with Kim Bryan.
Kim was the Dean of Admissions for the UKDS and just took a job at the University of Florida, Gainesville. We'll forever be grateful to this man for the opportunity he gave to Rob and our family.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dancing With the Staaarrrrs!

I am in HOG heaven.....Don't even think about talking to me while I'm watching this show unless your are sure you need a ride to the hospital. It's the new season of DANCING WITH THE STARS! here to see my current favorite couple. I love this guy! (Reminds me of my big daddy...) Beware....a few "rough" words and some "bleeps"....

Life is beautiful now........Ha-cha-cha-cha!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Never Judge an Instrument by It's School Issued Case

Here in Lexington, you get to take orchestra in the fourth grade. Miller has been so excited to start and decided he wanted to play the VIOLA. We were also thrilled he was going to be able to rent an instrument from the school for $25 a year instead of having to rent one from the music store for $25 a month. Unfortunately, on the day they issued the instruments, Miller was sick. He was anxious to go back to school two days later so he could finally get his VIOLA and start practicing. This is the conversation that took place on our walk home that day from the bus stop:

Miller: Mom....Look at my viola case. It was the only viola they had left and it has a busted lock and all of this tape on it to hold it together.

Mom: Wow....I see that. Oh well, I guess that's what happens when you're sick the day they hand out the school instruments.

Miller: You should see what the viola looks like....

Mom: Oh, I can imagine. I'm sure it looks like C-R-A-P!

Miller: (doesn't say a word)

Mom: Well, I don't know how he's going to do it, but when your dad takes a look at that beat-up instrument, the first thing he's going to do is march straight down to the music store and rent you a good viola.

Miller: Probably!

Here's what he brought home....

Notice the "busted" latch....
When Miller got in the house, he sat the viola case on the chair and called me in. He said, "Come and look at my viola..." Expecting to see the worst piece of junk I had ever seen, already feeling guilty that my children have to learn to play music on the school's used and beat-up instruments because we are in "Thrift or Bust" mode, I walked over and took a peek at what was inside.....and to my surprise.... was a beautiful, perfect little viola.

I guess none of the kids picked it because the case was so beat-up but Miller could not be happier and I was, again, reminded of how important it is not to judge an instrument by it's school issued case.