Friday, February 27, 2015

Eight Leggers

* Ivory took the camera on a school field trip. She was very responsible, although the batteries ran out. (That is normal and why I don't use that camera.) She had all these fun pictures, but it isn't my story to tell. So you get a guest blogger today. Enjoy!

This is me, Ivory.

And this is my teacher, Mrs. Peterson.

This was my lunch for the field trip day. The animal on my lunch was the animal I was really looking forward to seeing.

Megan was my bus buddy friend on the way there.

Melissa and Megan on the way back to school. (In this picture only got Melissa).

These were the three annoying boys behind Me and Megan. We nicknamed them ourselves--The Three Annoying Boys Behind Us!

Goodbye school.


Salutations AQUARIUM! We have found our destination, we are at our arrival.

My group. (Me, Brooklyn, Isaac, Megan, and Ezra who is currently not in this picture).

A cute little tortoise after meal time.

Penguin swimming up on top, perspective from the bottom.

A toucan, a treasure from Brazil, Brazil was where my dad went on a mission.

A scarlet macaw parrot. How wonderful!

Polka dotted stinger ray.

Starfish topia!

The octopus! Bad perspective, right, don't you agree with me? 

Spiky sea urchin. (FYI there's a little puffer puff fish in front of it, tan.)

There's my crush. He was eaves dropping on us. He's the one covering his face with his hand. If he didn't do that you would see why I like him, HE'S SO CUTE!

* Looks like Ivory had a great time! And I think she will make an excellent blogger one day. 

February, My Old Nemesis

I have mentioned before that February and I don't get along. This year was no different. January was smooth sailing and on Feb. 1st Robyn got sick. It is like we step over an invisible line into a contaminated zone.

Stupid bio-hazardous February.

It is kind of par for the course, but this month it was more annoying since we are trying to stay well so a weekly visit to Grandpa doesn't bring germy stowaways. Our choice of which girl goes to Idaho often tips in someone's favor because they aren't coughing, etc.

Daisy got a small cough shortly into the month, and Pearl showed up everyone with a stuffy nose that turned into a double ear infection. She really had a rough week or so.

But it worked well for her, since she got antibiotics and got to go to Idaho last weekend. It was going to be June's turn, and then we thought Daisy, and after ice skating, we settled on Pearl. Good choice since Daisy woke up the next morning and threw up. Another victim to February...

Tyler has been just fine though and as we rotate through, three of the five girls have gone up to Idaho. The fourth goes tonight. (I have more pictures of those trips to put on here soon.)

So, although February is doing its normal thing, it hasn't slowed us down much. And truthfully, it is not like this has been a normal winter month. It has been gorgeous outside. So many warm, spring-like days. Pearl and I have been taking advantage of the nice weather.

Moxy probably likes the sun more than any of us. (Poor CA dog transplanted to UT. She has mostly gotten used to it.)

Before Pearl got sick, she had her spotlight at school. We made an awesome poster for her.

Fun facts that you might not be able to read:

* Pearl got her middle name from her Grandma Cazier
* Pearl has four sisters--she is the youngest
* She wants to be a doctor
* Nicknames: Peapod, Pearly-P, Pearlite, 'P'
* Favorite animal: Butterfly
* Favorite holiday: Valentine's Day (possibly because it was the next one coming up)
* Doesn't like: mosquitoes, sharing a room, soup, winter/being cold
* Favorite Food: Pizza
* She is the only blonde in the family

(By the way, all the cute little pictures were drawn by Robyn, since our printer wasn't working that day. Handy to have artists in the family!)

Pearl seems to really enjoy school. I think it is good for her to get away from boring mommy at least a couple times a week.

February, it has been fun. Don't feel like you did badly. Three kids sick, one who wasn't sure for a while, one jammed finger, one hurt knee, one sore wrist, and one beautifully horrendous bruise. I think you can chalk up 2015 as a success. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Birthday time again in the Cazier household, with another following close on its heels. Ivory is just shy of double digits. She turned 9!

She is such a fun, energetic girl. I love being around her, and if I can get her energy moving in the right direction and with the right motivation, there is nothing she can't do.

She dearly loves breakfast in bed, so I decided I would do that for her. And this year, I told her I was bringing it up, so she wouldn't come down and miss it. ( last year.) Weirdly, I made her the exact same thing as last year. (Not planned at all.)

Ivory opted for a friend party this year and all the rules have changed. Before, I got gifts for the birthday girl from the family and allowed a friend party as well, every other year. I realized it was stretching the coffers a bit much, so now, one must chose between family gifts or a friend party. (Friend parties still involve gifts after all.) Ivory was very excited to open a card from Grandma, because she knew she wouldn't be getting many presents until her party in the evening.

And there was gift from mom and dad, mainly because I bought it back in December and it was likely that she would grow out of it if I saved it for a year.

We chatted with Ivory and took pictures of her enjoying her breakfast.

As soon as she finished eating, on went her new item of clothing. (I'm not even sure what you call that thing. I just thought she would like it.)

We threw her out the door for school, but it wasn't long before Tyler picked her up for lunch. He has a tradition of taking the girls out for lunch on their birthdays. (I think they really look forward to it.) Ivory chose Golden Corral, and Tyler peppered my phone with pictures while they were there. Here is Ivory with a huge plate of melted cheese. (I guess there were chips there earlier proclaiming to be nachos. All I see is a BUCKET load of cheese.)

Selfie with Dad!!

I think Ivory went through three or four desserts, but this one was my favorite.

Back at school, it wasn't too long before Mom showed up. (I always bring the balloons. Not as cool as lunch, but still graciously accepted.) I brought along toffee, because that was Ivory's treat of request. I told her that the school frowns upon homemade treats, but she had her heart set on toffee. I left the nuts off (just in case) and no one threw me out the door. (Whew.) And the kids got to enjoy something without a mound of preservatives.

Ivory liked her balloons. She still has a soft spot for elephants.

In the evening, we took a carload of loud, crazy girls over to the ice rink. (Wow! LOUD!! The kids, not the ice rink.) I didn't take pictures of everyone on the ice. You get the idea. We skated, some fell. There weren't too many tears.

I did grab everyone for a group picture at one point.

Front row (left to right): Anabelle, Reagan. Back row (left to right): Sierra, Bailey, Danielle, Megan, Robyn, June, Daisy, Pearl, Tyler, Ivory, Brielle (It is possible those two in the front had no idea I was taking a group picture.) :)

We skated to our hearts content and stopped briefly for brownies and ice cream.

Ivory wasn't even close to blowing those candles out in one shot. Maybe she was out of breath from skating?

She opened gifts and loved everything. (Honestly, she got more stuff from her friends than I would have gotten her anyway. Good choice on the friend party toots.)

We all rushed off to get in fifteen more minutes of skating. I was proudly holding my record of not having fallen even once, until...

Robyn talked me into going to the other rink to play hockey with her. Robyn is fairly sure footed on the ice. (Sure skated??) But when you add in a hockey stick and a small ball, it is a different game. Even for me. We were all over the place trying to get that ball. Both of us collided with walls and each other multiple times. I thought I had it all under control until suddenly I tripped and fell flat on my face. Well, I caught myself, so no actual face damage, but I was sprawled out on the ice as if I belly flopped from the sky.

The only real damage I sustained was a bruise on my thigh. In my pocket was a die I had picked up from home. (One of the kids left it out, so I slipped it in my pocket until I could return it to my dice stash.) When I fell, the die came between my leg and the ice and left a pretty nasty bruise. Not very big...just about die sized. Tyler says that is what happens when you play games of chance. (I think he was referring to dice...not hockey.)

I would call the evening a success. Ivory was happy, everyone was tuckered out, and Tyler headed out to Idaho. (Pictures of Idaho trips soon.)

Speaking of Tyler, I told you I would put the end of his birthday on here. Seems fitting since this is a birthday post.

Brownies again.

We finally got around to making his birthday brownies. We had another rousing chorus of Happy Birthday and Tyler enjoyed the spotlight as always.

No worries. He blew every candle out the first time.

Happy Birthday to my winter babies. One more coming up soon!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Art Exploration

There are so many cool things happening around town all the time, but we don't always take advantage of them. Sometimes it is because of cost, other times, just pure laziness.

This week, I heard about an old friend who has an art studio. He just finished an amazing sculpture and he opened his studio to the public so people could  view the art before it was bronzed. I thought this would be a great experience for the children.

It was amazing. I went to high school with Scott Streadbeck. I found him on FB a while back, but I'm not sure if I made the connection that he lived here in Utah. He is an amazing sculptor. He always liked art and he found he had a knack for clay. He has done many projects, but this is a special piece commissioned by the city of Lehi to put at the entrance of a new infant cemetery. You can read a little about it here.

I was actually not aware of the statue's purpose at first. I just thought it would be really neat for the kids to see the studio. Also, I wanted to catch up with Scott. It has been almost two decades. (We doth get old.) It was very touching to be there and realize there were many families visiting to see the art that would be outside a place sacred to them and their families.

There were so many interesting things to learn about the whole process. On one table there were several very rudimentary sculptures. Scott put together several ideas for what the statue should look like. Being an infant cemetery, he eventually settled on a family with an infant. Then, he put together two 16 inch models to show to the city. They voted and chose the one they liked best. Even from there, he still changed a few things.

The original sculpture had a couple holding an infant, but they both had their eyes open. As Scott brought models in, every woman who picked up a doll or child to cuddle would automatically close her eyes. He thought that would give a good feel to the final product.

He has several different versions around the studio. He has smaller ones and one done in marble. (Marble and something else, but I can't remember what.) He plans to make a 12 inch version that families can purchase and put in their homes.

The girls got to touch some clay and feel the consistency. It felt rather hard to me, but that is good when you are working on detail, Scott said. He actually will put clay in the fridge sometimes to make sure it is nice and firm. Other times, he uses a heater to warm the clay so it is more malleable.

The bronzing process is quite an ordeal. The machine will only accept smaller pieces, so with a statue that size, Scott will have to cut it into pieces. I can't even imagine. He showed us a smaller version that had been chopped up to be bronzed. It was mostly the same, but you could tell where pieces had been hacked. Artists can save the clay and reshape it back to the original piece sometimes, but it depends on the amount of damage and the desire to redo the work.

There were many clay and bronze pieces in the studio. June liked a large Spartan soldier and some of the animal pieces, like the turtles and dolphins. Robyn liked a woman holding a flag, with her hair blowing in the wind.  I really liked the boys running to the pool. Many of the girls liked the big statue we came to see. I took a picture of artist and his creation.

What an amazing talent. And how nice of him to share his time and studio. It was a very fun night with the kids.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are the Police After You?

Robyn's turn for the Science Fair. Remember, two projects this year.

Robyn went a completely different route for her project. She experimented in the social sciences, checking out people's opinions and reactions to a survey.

Her idea partly came from me. We watch people run red lights (usually on a turn signal) and speed every day. Why do they break the law? Are they not worried about the fines? Do they think they won't get caught? Are there certain circumstances when they feel justified?

Robyn (with the help of Dad--he totally helped this time!!) put together an online survey with her questions. She had a lot of stuff on there, from what fine prices you would give certain infractions, to your favorite soda.

Her hypothesis was that people would be willing to pay higher fines for driving while intoxicated and texting while driving. She also figured people would break the law when they thought they had an emergency.

She worked really hard on her board. I was really proud of all her efforts. Looking good the day of the science fair.

Close up on my beautiful Robyn.

In case you are wondering what she found out, here are some of her findings:

* People think fines should be lower than what they are currently.
* People are willing to pay higher fines for drinking while intoxicated and texting while driving, but still not as high as the current fines.
* People are more likely to break the law if they feel it is an emergency.
* People are more willing to break the law if a family member is sick than when THEY are sick.
* Most people agree that fines should be higher in construction zones.
* Interestingly, people did classify texting while driving, speeding, and running red lights as higher offences, yet we still see that happen every day. We concluded that people believe they won't be caught, but they will be unpleasantly surprised by the fine costs.

Other interesting data:

* We had 180 people take the survey. (Thank you FB and all those that passed the survey along.)
* Most survey takers were from Utah, but we had other states as well, like CA, HI, ID, WA, NY, OR, AK, CO, IL, NV, and WV. (Pretty cool huh?)
* We did some fun correlations with soda. If you drink Orange soda, you are less likely to break the law, while Pepsi drinkers are the most likely to ignore those silly traffic rules.
* When asked about pricing fines, Dr. Pepper drinkers chose higher fine costs, while Mountain Dew drinkers were more frugal.
* Dr. Pepper was our most popular soda, but it came in second to NON-soda drinkers. (Myself included.)
* The highest fine median (awarded to driving while intoxicated) was $800. The actual fine is $1420!
* We had to use the median instead of the average because someone actually said the fine should be $10,000. (Probably a Dr. Pepper drinker.)

It was a very fun project and Robyn won at the school level. She was very excited.

That meant we got to go to district. I'm not sure if I ever finished up about June, but she did not advance this year, and that was just as well. It would have been awkward to have the girls competing at district. (Also, the night could be about Robyn.)

We went and set up again.

Although June wasn't there, I knew all the girls from her class, including Hannah, who carpooled with us. I took a picture of the gals together. (I know Robyn is shorter than everyone, but I promise she isn't a complete midget. She bent down to make sure she wasn't blocking anyone, which is ironic, since she wasn't blocking anyone, and it made her look immensely shorter.)

We sat with Hannah for the awards ceremony. Selfie time!

They went through the same process as last time. Honorable mentions first. Robyn was not one of them. Next up...all the people who would move on to the next level.
Hannah made it. (Good job Hannah!!)

Robyn, sadly, was not a finalist. Honestly, I was really surprised. Her project was very unique and I thought much better than some of the people who moved on. (Yes, I know I am biased.) But then I was really surprised that she didn't even get an Honorable Mention. Sometimes that is just how it goes. I know she was disappointed, but learning to lose gracefully is also an important life skill.

We came home and ate ice cream bars. Seemed like a good way to end the evening. I think she did an amazing job, and I am proud of her no matter how far she made it. Maybe a wise man I know said it best,

"Science is not about awards. Science is about having fun."    -Tyler Cazier

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Skating Before the Skating

A few weekends ago, when Tyler was up in Idaho by himself (sans kids) I wanted to be fun mom. Usually on Saturday, we do chores. (Well, we always do chores.) Some days we do less, some days...more. (I am not very fun. Ask the kids.) This particular Saturday, we still did chores, but I told the kids that we would go swimming in the afternoon.

Swimming is fun, but not my favorite activity because it involves a lot of getting ready and remembering essentials like towels and goggles. (The latter of which we frequently lose.) Then there is the stress of trying to watch five children and pray no one drowns. This is less frightening now that three can swim, but it still crosses my mind every time we go.

Finally, there is the exodus from the pool. Kids are tired, wet, and cold. Such a lovely combination. We usually skip the pool showers and head for the barn where we throw everyone in the warm tub, but wet bum-prints and a pile of swimsuits and towels are what I can look forward to. (See, I am NO fun.)

This swimming trip, I decided to watch from the edge. Kids paired up (quite the trick with an odd number) and happily swam for an hour or so. (No pictures this time around, although they were all cute little ducks as usual.)

An hour in, I received a text from Jana. (Hannah's mom - Hannah being June's best friend in case you forgot.) She asked if we wanted to come ice skating that evening for free.

I won't lie. The fun mom that I had forced to come out for the afternoon was looking forward to a quiet evening with children going to bed early. She did not want to go ice skating. She also realized that few opportunities come up for kids to go skating for free.

There was an ugly internal battle, and then I texted back that we would love to come. (I was all sorts of proud of myself at this point. One activity without the husband in tow is amazing. Two is phenomenal!!)

We rushed home, ate a quick dinner and changed from skimpy suits to coats and gloves.

And it was fun, just like I knew it would be. I have proof too. Here is everyone happy at the beginning.

Here is everyone happy at the end. Success!

And even some pictures in between. First, Jana didn't have a camera with her, so I took photos for her as well. Here is the Keen Clan. (And the only picture of Chris since he didn't don skates.)

Rachel and Esther on the ice.

Ivory was as happy as a clam. (Wait, who decided clams are all that happy?)

James seemed to keep his balance well.

June spent plenty of time standing, and plenty of time not standing, but she seemed to fall with grace.

They had these nifty blue helpers. They were just the right size for Bethany.

Actually, they were good for any size.

Wait, go back a second. Robyn started bundled in a hundred layers. I guess she warmed up throughout the evening.

Hannah was strutting her stuff.

The best part was the 'time out box.' I would leave one child there, do a circle and then come back for the other little one. We didn't get a blue helper thing for quite sometime, so the girls relied on me to keep their balance. The box always seemed to have plenty of company.

Even the moms took a 'time-out' in the box. (Maybe more than one.)

When we took out turn with the blue thing, Pearl was a pro. Skating all by herself. Woot. (My arms were super happy with some down time.)

Is June giving her a push, or taking a break? Hard to tell.

I had to take a selfie and send it to Tyler. (He knew right where I was.)

It was a really fun evening. So fun in fact, that Ivory decided right then that she wanted to have her birthday party at the Ice Arena. So, I had to get these pictures on the blog before I post a whole bunch more ice skating photos next week.

Thanks again Keens. You were wonderful to invite us and entice fun mom to take an extra shift.