Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Driving Around in My Automobile: Part Deux

Today when I parked at the kids' school to pick them up, I glanced at my odometer, which read: 110111 I know it's geeky cool, but how often does your odometer match the current date?

In other travel news, now that the weather is cooling off, the cats--which I don't want to claim, but they have been hanging around for eight years so maybe I should accept that they are ours--have started sneaking into the garage to spend the night. Usually we set out a box of kitty litter and don't have much of a problem with them spending winter nights there. Plus, they keep down the mice population. Unfortunately, this week we weren't so prepared...and we didn't know they had sneaked in when Kent parked the car until the next morning...

When Kent and the kids hurried away from breakfast to load up and attempt to get to school on time, they discovered a fresh-ish pile of cat poopy on the roof of Kent's car. With no time to search for plastic gloves to clean the mess, they all headed off to school. #4 told me all about the strange looks cast toward the car at the drop-off line. Students and teachers alike were doing double takes. My girls huddled in the car for a few seconds until they thought fewer people were looking, and then hurried into the school. Only a few of their friends were on to them. Fortunately, my kids have strong self-concepts and found mostly humor in the situation. I don't think anyone endured any teasing.

Kent brought the car right back home for me to deal with. He came in gagging and said just looking at that little pile on his car made him want to vomit. I had it cleaned up in less than a minute. To give him credit, I can't deal with certain mold scents that we find lurking in Tupperware in the back reaches of the fridge, let alone dead animals that show up around our house. He's disposed of birds, mice, a rat, a cat, and a skunk! So one pile of feces is a good trade I figure.

Do you and your spouse have complimentary weak stomachs for different things? Or is there one mess that neither of you can deal with well? What is you kryptonite?

By the way, anyone want a free cat or two?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Yes, I know I've been neglecting my blog. If it makes you feel better, I've barely checked any of yours in the past three months too! And hey, do you like the new layout? Just be sure to click on the window to see the whole post. You'll know you've reached the end of a post when you see my name and a time stamp.

I was able to snap a mugshot of the culprit behind my MIA status:

But the paintbrush isn't in this alone.

Several weeks ago I received an anonymous letter with an anonymous gift from an anonymous friend. (It all sounds very suspicious, doesn't it?)

Whoever it was really knows how to push my buttons.

I've spent those past several weeks repainting my room.

It all started very innocently. My friend suggested a nice brown paint for my walls, I found some free "lumber" (reclaimed fence posts and boards), and several pieces of furniture that were marked for goodwill (DI) because they couldn't bring in the cash at Kent's office furniture store. Now I'm in over my head on a project that is taking too long (don't most home projects do that?)...and new carpet is coming on Friday.

Really, I'm not complaining. I think the master bedroom will turn out amazing. I just hope it's not another month before I get to post it all on this blog.

It's surprising how much trouble one little paintbrush can cause:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall, Break

Someone should have suggested that the idyllic weather we had through this past extended weekend was meant to beckon us outdoors. Instead, we tried our luck indoors...and it did not go well. We had a lot of this happen:

In an effort to prepare for the cold weather, I designated our Fall Break for canning and winter clothes sorting. We ended up with three canning explosions (two in the pressure cooker and one jar of pickled hot peppers in my face), one broken jar of delicious salsa verde on the floor, and seven exploded boxes of clothes all over the house. To wrap up the messy weekend, I ended up getting the flu, which I think caused an inflamed nerve in my ear, which resulted in nauseating vertigo for a day. Thankfully, my kids were around to send for help and hot pepper oil remedies as well as to feed the family through my illness; and thankfully again, they went back to school today. Maybe tomorrow I can begin the recovery process.

It wasn't all bad. We did play a little, including more falls (minus any breaks) at the skating rink.

Still, I'm really not sure how I'll survive Christmas break!

P.S. Lest I deter anyone from preserving their harvest, the canning explosions were due to our mistakes. The bands were on the jars way too tight, which didn't let them vent. And the explosions in the pressure cooker happened when someone tried to speed up the cooling process by removing the regulator. Now that we've experienced a few physics lessons, more members of our family are educated in the art of canning. (Maybe I should also let the responsible party have a lesson in removing pepper shrapnel from the cupboards where it has dried quite nicely.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Flowers in Film

Last fall I planted a couple thousand bulbs in my front yard perennial flower beds. This past spring was the first season for them to show their stuff, and I recorded the show in a series of photos taken every few days. Toward the end of the movie clip, the spacing was every week or two, because the allium just hung around forever.

Allium are more impressive in person. They remind me of purple fireworks in the garden. Wait until you see how I use them in home decor!

Anyway, here's the movie. Or one of them. I realize some of you think it's crazy that I love flowers so much. BUT, if you want to see all three movies, taken from different parts of the yard, you can visit my gardening blog: How My Garden Grows. The longest little filmstrip is less than two minutes.

Pretty nice, eh? I bought all the bulbs online from a company called Colorblends. I highly recommend them if you want an impressive bulb bed. I'm already looking forward to an improved show in years to come!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reason to Have Kids: Entertainment Value

Scene 1: One night last week, Kent walked into the younger kids' room to tuck them in. #4 was busy with a pencil and school worksheets, and #5 was crawling around on the floor.

Kent: It's time for lights out kids.

#4: Dad, I need help with my math homework.

#5, without missing a beat: Dad, I need help being a horse.

Scene 2: Last weekend, when the children were supposed to be getting their cleaning done so they could play the rest of the weekend, I came home from running errands to find this.

Hey, I find "Malcom in the Middle" pretty irresistible too. But COME ON! Did they really think no one would notice them spending forbidden TV/online shows time if they huddled under a blanket?

Scene 3: Today while he was eating lunch, I asked #5 if his teacher would be back today. (He had a substitute the last two days.) Here's his reply:

#5: Yeah, I think she'll be back. You want me to tell you why?

(He always asks if we want more information and then waits for a response instead of just following up with the information.)

Me: Yes. Why?

#5: Because today we are learning the letter K, and that's a hard letter. I don't think the other lady could teach it very well.

Wow. I want my children to think independently and not assume that their school teachers are always correct, but what a huge underestimation of the abilities of adults! It's a good thing a certified teacher will be there to instruct about the letter K. !!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Last year, Kent and I wanted to take our kids camping; but we never set aside a time to do it, and suddenly school was back in and then it was snowing. This year, we decided to PLAN a camping trip, and when I came across a bargain for a rafting trip in Moab (found on CityDeals.com) in March, I jumped at it. And lucky for us, our friends, the Petersons, happened to be visiting when I saw the deal online, and they got in on it too. Within a few weeks, we had campsites and the trip date reserved and on the calendar.

At the beginning of August, we spent three days in Moab. Even though our campsite (at Ron's Pack Creek Campground, which we liked) backed up to a stream and was shaded by river trees, the sun was still beating on us at 100 degrees as we set up camp. But almost as soon as our tent was up, a brief rain storm blew through and left us with a cool evening.

We decided to visit Delicate Arch in Arches National Park before it got dark, and the timing turned out to be perfect. The desert was still wet from the rain, the air was cool, and the sunset against the arch was amazing.

#1 got this great photo of Delicate Arch.

The only disappointment came from #5 who looked around at the small crowd viewing the arch and said, "Where's the guy selling the license plates?"

It grew dark as we drove back to camp, and we had a late dinner to fill our sleepy kid's stomachs before they conked out.

In the morning, I woke the children saying they needed to wake up or we'd be late, at which point I revealed the surprise rafting trip. One kid was excited because she apparently has always wanted to go rafting, one thought it sounded fun, one wanted to keep sleeping, one informed us that she hates rafting, and one was indifferent. (Kind of the same response as the time we surprised them by showing up at Disneyland, and all they wanted to do was get in the hotel where they could watch cable TV.) I'm starting to learn that I should keep my expectations low when I try to surprise them.

Anyway, we went rafting for the day.

Once everyone was suited up and headed up river in the bus, the excitement started to build. We chose a rather calm river trip hosted by World Wide River Expeditions. The most challenging rapids were a class three, which was great for our young families. No one fell out, but everyone got wet!

Even #4--who had protested very much about our camping trip, insisting vehemently, "I hate camping. I hate the nature."--ending up loving the rafting, as evidenced by this photo:

The air by the water was cooler than the rest of the desert, and whenever we got hot, we just jumped in and floated alongside the raft.

The river guides provided lunch at a beach midway through the trip, and it was nice to just float and talk and not have a care in the world.

That evening, following a Dutch oven dinner, we had another lovely hike in Arches where we all climbed around on the rocks and sat in a stone window to watch the sun set.

On Saturday, we took down camp and rested at a park in town. The playground was a group of oversized chimes, drums, and xylophones that kept all of us, children and adults, entertained for quite some time. Then, going with our play-it-by-ear theme, we discussed plans for the rest of the day. Our neighbor had recommended a Hummer tour on the slick rock, but it was too pricey for this trip's budget. We had wanted to go sledding down the sand dunes, but we were already too hot. So we opted to head home with a detour to Dead Horse Point.

The view was amazing! Getting photos there was humorous in the wind. (#4 looks like Cousin It! I guess I can see why she's not in love with "The Nature".)

There isn't much hiking to do there, but we spent two hours at the visitor's center learning about the geology and ecology of that portion of desert. There was a photo gallery downstairs where I found some fantastic artwork that I would like for my home someday. #5 and the Petersons' #3 became Junior Rangers--she did most of the work.

Plus, we got a second "passport" stamp in our Utah State Parks Field Guide.

We spent the rest of the day enjoying our air-conditioned vehicles, and grabbed dinner together in Provo before our friends continued home up north. It was nice to arrive home in the early evening and have time and energy to unpack and start laundry. Even though much of the trip was played by ear, everything worked out perfectly and I enjoyed the short vacation immensely. It was really fun to camp with friends, too. Besides having plenty of good conversation and someone to split meal duties, we could send grumpy kids to the other family's vehicle and they would almost magically be on better behavior. We came home having enjoyed our children because they enjoyed themselves more with others too. And now that I know there is so much to do in Moab, I look forward to saving up for horseback riding, Hummer tours, and late-night dining when we go again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Year's Favorite Mutant Vegetable

The harvest has begun! #5 and I picked 27 pounds of Roma tomatoes Monday morning, and by that evening, they had been transformed into quarts of spaghetti sauce sitting on my kitchen counter. All except for one tomato.

Kent called it Devil Tomato. I called it Wilbur.

See? Just put another little deformed tomato--notice the "pony tail"--on top and you have a cute little thing. Wilbur was "some tomato".

What can I say? We Whites, E.B. and me, like to save farm products from their natural fate.

Unfortunately, while my little Wilbur/devil tomato was saved from the sauce, the kids called dibs on eating its "arms" seconds after I took these photos. I didn't even get to put a little shirt on it. Sadly, s/he (or it?) is no longer with us. But my, homegrown tomatoes sure taste good!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Do you know what this picture means?

That's right! I have three hours to myself each weekday!

Oh yeah, it also means all five of my children are in school. !!!

Our charter school has grades K-8, making this the only school year that they all will attend the same school. (Are you noticing the word school popping up a lot? I'm pretty excited about this.) I've already over committed myself to helping at the school a lot this year. I even suggested to the eigth-grade language arts teacher that I might like to sit in on her class. They are studying some great thinkers and materials this year. I'll probably have to settle, though, for simply reading the poetry, essays, speeches, and books that she brings home, and then subject her to a re-hash of her classroom discussions. Maybe I'll call it our Family Dinnertime Book Club. (I should get extra credit for this.)

I am SO ready to return to the more normal schedule of bedtimes and morning alarm clocks. Now, how to fill those three, lonely hours? Maybe I'll catch up on everything I've put off for the past five years; my bathroom could certainly use a good cleaning!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Funny He Is: Part 2

While I'm at it, I might as well record the other funny thing he said tonight.

We were playing the spray bottle game at Family Home Evening. This is where the person who is "it" thinks of an item from a particular category and points a spray bottle at the players as they each guess the item.

When Edwin was "it", he chose "Old Testament prophets" as the category. #5's first guess in the round was, "Thomas S. Monson, because he's really old." The next time it came around, I clarified that we were guessing prophets from the Bible before Christ was born. With an excited look of eureka, #5 jumped up with his hand in the air and said, "I know who it is!" Then his hand wilted and he scratched the top of his head with his index finger. "What is his name? I can't remember his name." After a moment of intense concentration: "Oh yeah! The guy with the gray hair!" We were already in a silly mood, and that put me over the top! "Well, at least we know he didn't mean Moses or Deborah!" I answered.

Bible humor is the best!

He Doesn't Even Know How Funny He Is

Tonight while I was making dinner, #5 repeatedly expressed how hungry he was and that he couldn't wait any longer to eat. I gave him a banana, but five minutes later he was back at my side.

#5: Mom, I'm really hungry, so I can't help that I'm going to starting rhyming.

My thoughts: (Huh? Oh! He's heard us talk about how kids get whiny when they're hungry, but he thought we said kids get rhymy.)

#5: Truck, luck, duck. The duck in the truck had luck.

Then he did a little dance in place in the kitchen, obviously in a much better mood.

#5: That's silly, huh? 'Cause those words all rhyme.

And then under his breath: Truck, luck, duck, f***. Those all rhyme!

Me: Wow! Yes they do!

BTW, hearing swear words out of the innocent mouth of a five-year-old is just funny!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Isn't It Ironic, Don't You Think?

Yes, this is the correct time stamp. I admit to sometimes manipulating my posts' time stamps to reflect when I wish I had had time to write promptly. Well, today at 4:00 a.m. I guess I have time to post since I'm still wide awake anyway.

It all started about half an hour ago. Actually, it all started last night, but 3:33 a.m. is when I woke up with no chance of getting back to sleep any time soon. I just find the situation too funny.

Last night the kids begged and begged us to let them sleep in a tent outside. We didn't have time to set up a real tent, and we were afraid they would be eaten alive by the clouds of mosquitoes we've had this summer if they slept in the open air. So we turned them down. However, they were determined, and frankly, they wore me and Kent down with their petitioning. With their promises that we, their parents, wouldn't have to lift a finger for this endeavor, we let them sleep in their toy tipi. It only stands five feet tall, and I don't know how the square footage accommodates them all, but they managed to fit four pillows, sleeping bags, and children in there.

We gave several words of advice:

1. Cover yourselves in bug repellent.

2. Leave the sliding door slightly open so no one gets locked out during the night.

3. (From Kent) Lay down a tarp so the sleeping bags don't get wet. [Of course, he meant so they wouldn't get wet from the morning dew on the ground.]

4. (From sarcastic me) Try not to let the sprinklers bother you when they come on at three in the morning.

*Note: I didn't know Kent had given his advice about the tarp until I saw them dragging one out during their setup, and they told me what he had said.

Of course, wanting to prove themselves worthy and capable of sleeping outside, they attended to our advice as much as possible, sensing (correctly) that if they became a nuisance at any point during the night, they would not get to repeat this adventure. They even piped down permanently when I called out at 10 p.m. that they were talking too loudly. I had fully expected giggles and shrieks and games of tag at midnight; but they were on good behavior, and I didn't hear a peep from them after that.

I smiled ironically to myself when, at 10:40 p.m. the mosquito abatement truck finally started the rounds on our street for the first time this year. He made several passes with his flashing lights and noisy sprayer pump. Any neighbors who might have been asleep were now awake, and my children were now coated in repellent AND mosquito death spray.

Skip ahead to 3:33 a.m.

#3 knocked on my bedroom door and cautiously came in. When I moaned and rolled over and asked her what she wanted, she sheepishly replied, "One of the sprinklers is really big and we can't get away from it. Could you turn just that one off?"

What? The sprinklers really did come on?!

We've had the system turned off since last Thursday because a line broke. Kent fixed it last evening. When I made my sarcastic little comment to the kids, I thought about the likelihood that the sprinklers would actually come on and decided it wouldn't happen. The system is set to water the lawn every eight days, so really, what are the chances that my kids would get watered? (Yes, I was too lazy to make sure the interval hadn't worked through the eight days while the water had been turned off all weekend.)

My earlier laziness now forced me to put on my bathrobe and head for the sprinkler box in the garage at 3:30-ish a.m. On the way, I noticed a lamp in the front room was turned on.

I adjusted the lawn sprinkler interval to stay off for another day, and #3 tentatively asked, "Are you sure you turned off the big sprinkler?"

"I turned off ALL the sprinklers. I'm sorry you got wet."

After our comments about the sprinklers and the tarp, the kids thought the sprinklers were a necessary evil. They spent half an hour moving the tarp, sleeping bags, and tipi around the yard trying to avoid the cycle of sprinklers before working up the courage to send #3 with the request to turn off just one of the sprinkler heads. (I guess they don't really understand how a sprinkler system works.) Someone must have inadvertently locked the sliding door following a late-night bathroom trip, because she couldn't get in from the deck. Instead, she walked through the wet grass to the front door and rang the doorbell. That must have woken Edwin up, who didn't know how to help them; but he left the lamp on (which also illuminates his quarters) for #3 while she worked up the nerve to wake me.

It became a sleepless night for all of us. Except #1 who spent the night at Grammy's with a friend. Although, knowing Grammy, they are probably also awake watching a movie or talking.

Kent frequently tells me that the great thing about camping is the bonding that happens when the family works together to fix everything that goes wrong. The problems that arise during a camping trip might be annoying at the time, but they make for good--or at least fond--memories. Looks like our family doesn't even have to leave home to get these kinds of experiences.


Monday, July 11, 2011

The Memory is the First Thing To Go

Today the chiropractor asked me if anything new and unusual happened to me over the weekend. My answer: I became the mother of a teenager.

On the morn of her birthday, with her present in hand, I crawled into bed with #1. I brutally hugged her awake and proclaimed, "Happy Birthday!" She rolled over and said, "Oh yeah. Oh yeah! It IS my birthday." I'd always thought my memory started declining when sleepless nights with this same child as a newborn started sucking away my brain cells. Now I know: teenage brains really aren't all there from the get-go. It's going to be a long road until she gets her pink slip on life as an adult; I'm sure the time will fly by.

Her Aunt Carolyn brought Grandpa Al's old guitar--I mean, "The Carlos"--down to Provo yesterday and presented it with her gifts. #1 has been wanting to take guitar lessons for quite some time, so maybe now that can become a reality. (Anyone want to teach her in exchange for piano lessons from yours truly?) She had #2 take these pictures of her with her cool new instrument. (I hope The Carlos survives our family of five curious kids. It--he?--almost didn't make it through today as one small pair of hands repeatedly grabbed it from another.)

Happy birthday sweetie!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mexico Work Project: Saturday

Seeing as how Kent is now in Mexico again with another work project, I should probably tell you how the last one ended so you know what a pleasant day he can look forward to this Saturday. (Yes I messed with the time stamp on this post. I'm actually typing this a month late; but I want it to flow on my blog better, which is why it's in July.)

Saturday is the same with every work project. We clean up the camp, pack the cars, and head over to the orphanage to donate our leftover food and to play and say goodbye. The kids sang to us, we sang to them, and I cried through most of it.

Some of the young girls watched me quizzically, wondering why I was crying. Kent of course asked me to explain myself, which I couldn't do without creating more tears, which he found amusing. The tears were two-fold. Throughout the week, I was amazed by how happy and loving and service-oriented these children were. All of them came from bad situations, most from sexual or physical abuse. But none of them ever came across as victims to me. It was as if because they all come from similar backgrounds and find themselves together, they can move on and be helpful, happy people. Beyond that, I was struck with great gratitude for the full-time caregivers at the orphanages. At Buena Vida, Gabriel and Meche are a young couple with their own baby. Yet just a few months ago, they committed to essentially be foster parents for an ever-growing number of children. Their orphanage relies solely on donations, the majority of which come through A Child's Hope Foundation. They scrimp and plan, and even though they don't always know when or where the food and clothing and supplies will come from, they move ahead in this great work. The orphanage started with eleven children a couple years ago, and they now have 32 kids. I am amazed at the faith and love and patience of these good people who work to improve their situation so they can house and protect more children. Again, I was overcome with gratitude for good people like them. So my tears we happy ones. It was good to work closely for a week with good people: volunteers, children, and caregivers alike.

After saying goodbye, we drove a few minutes to La Fonda for breakfast. La Fonda is an oceanside restaurant that has been around for decades. Sitting there eating banana pancakes while watching dolphins and surfers and chatting with new friends is a very peaceful way to enjoy--and say goodbye to--Mexico.

With full tummies, we all hug and then disperse to our separate vehicles and make a run for the border.

The average wait time to cross the border in Tijuana is two hours, which means a little extra time to shop. We always get some hot churros from the vendors weaving between cars, and Kent and I even hopped out of the van for 20 minutes to browse the shops on the side of the road. Eventually we made it to the border, flashed our passports, and cruised into the U.S., where the stark contrast between the two countries is at once obvious. It is amazing to me that this little line drawn across a street determines a great deal about how a person born on either side will live out his or her life:

In a matter of hours we were landing in Salt Lake and picking up our kids, grateful to be home and grateful for the enrichment we'd had all week.

No matter how hard I work during these projects, I always come away feeling uplifted and blessed by the service to me of those whom I went to serve.

That is part of the reason I am excited to be working officially with the foundation. Beginning at the end of July, I am taking Sarah's place as Administrative Assistant/Work Project Coordinator at the foundation. With all five of my kids starting school, I'll have a few hours each week that I can give to the foundation, and I hope to take on more responsibilities there as my children get older.

Click the link if you want to learn more about A Child's Hope Foundation.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mexico Work Project: Friday

Friday is always the last day a group has to finish up work at the orphanages. When we took our family in December one year, the kids stayed hard at work sanding 20 benches our group had built for a chapel.

The rest of the group came at crunch time to finish the staining.

This last trip, part of the group finished work on the roof...

...others built walls for the girls' bathroom...

...but I was excited to help three other gals with a landscaping project. All we had to do was prep a large planting bed for the two dozen plants that had arrived fresh from a garden center. I took my shovel to work some manure and compost into the soil...and broke about half an inch into the dirt. (Note: While soil is a lovely thing, dirt is a four-letter word.) The dirt had been so compacted by years of little feet running over the bed that we had to use pick axes to break it up before turning in the amendments. You can see our determination to conquer the land!

About three hours into my pick-axe workout, a group of the children saw our plight and pitched in. It turns out I can be even a little hardened against orphans. The single ladies all thought the kids and their efforts at breaking gorund were so cute. I, however, thought someone was going to lose an eye. So the mother in me sent them to the other end of the planter to shovel manure and stay out of our way. (I think the kids knew I was blowing them off a little.) But when the de-roofers finished and picked up shovels to help, the kids realized their work was useful, even if they didn't get to swing sharp, heavy objects with me.

We ran out of time to put the plants in, but we left a bed full of rich, soft soil for another group to do the easy work sometime.

We had to hurry and eat to pack in some carbs for another game of soccer. This time we would play the Buena Vida kids, who are younger than the first team we played, and Kent assured us that victory was imminent. I even volunteered to play fullback, and was happy to discover that I am more coordinated as an adult and got a few good blocks in. Thanks to my prowess, we gave up only four goals in 30 minutes to these younger, "less-experienced" kids...without a single score of our own. To end the embarrassment--and before they thought to ask for a soda pop prize--we distracted them with the option of going swimming before they could run up the score any more.

BUT, we came up with a devious plan. On the way back to camp to grab our swimsuits, someone suggested that Kent bring a high-school soccer team down for a work project sometime. I love it!

We met the Buena Vida kids at the town pool, which is supposed to be heated by natural hot springs. In fact, Kent had communicated with the pool owners before hand to ensure that we would have warm water. Well, actually he asked for "sopa de ninos", hoping we would be swimming in a giant hot tub. The owners, not wanting to lose 54 potential patrons, conveniently forgot to mention that a pump or something to the hot spring wasn't working, so the water was more the temperature of a refreshing mountain spring. Kent was miffed and said he would only pay for those who actually swam. He spent the rest of the outing reading in the van. But the children, who are oblivious to chilly water, jumped right in and the volunteers followed them. We had a fun time splashing and playing chicken and cooling (way) off.

To show their thanks, Buena Vida invited us all to dinner. They served a special treat, which the kids don't get very often: fish tacos!

Kent and I ate with a couple of the boys who are his favorites there. (Yes, we have favorites, just like most parents. I mean, we love all our kids, but we just click with some people better than others. Fellow parents, am I right? Don't deny it!)

Dinner turned into another evening of face painting, games, manicures, and hair styling. Yeah, kind of like a huge slumber party. We kept those kids up way past bedtime!

Eventually we had to say goodnight and wrap up the day with our fireside and a couple rounds of telephone charades.

The game in a nutshell: One player tries to get the next player to understand a series of selected clues (person, place, and thing) who then communicates those clues to the next player--all through charades and jibberish. When Kent was chosen by the group as one of the clues, I had the pleasure of acting him out. I'm pretty sure that imitating his dancing sold it. For Kent's turn, his impression of Justin Bieber had everyone laughing.

Playing and laughing with friends is a great way to wrap up a day of hard work.