Hughes Family: November 2014

I always feel like November goes in like a lamb and comes out like a lion. At work we have a lot of holiday preparation to take care of and things go crazy right after Thanksgiving (and they don’t let up for a solid month). Lots of family events and activities create an even tighter time crunch. But we love it, right?

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We started off the month with a Thanksgiving feast. We hosted Fran’s side of the family in the wee days of November and had a dinner fit for a king. A good time was had by most.  Party number one- check. Tip: You can fit twenty five people into a room meant for six.

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We recently acquired more warehouse space in the building where we currently operate BHQ. This allowed us to consolidate some of our assets and we decided to turn our detached warehouses back over to the landlord. Since we had some of our personal effects in these warehouses we moved them into our new home. We had almost no storage space in our last house so this was super exciting for me (I like having things together). Randall and Catherine showed up with a mega trailer and  many of our friends came by to help and we made short work of the move. Thank you guys! Couldn’t have done it without you. Tip: Nothing builds character faster than hauling giant metal shelves down stairs.

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Another trip to the Museum of Natural Curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat, but so far it seems no children have experienced the same fate at the museum. Tip: Shaving cream- not just for shaving.

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A fun little dessert party with Erin and Doug and my parents. Eat, eat, eat. Seems like there’s a lot of that this time of year. Luckily conversations with the family are calorie free. Reading with Grandpa- also calorie free. And erasers shaped like food from Grandma- very cool and calorie free. Tip: Don’t ingest calories.

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This year we decided to add an extra holiday event at work. I’ve always felt like there’s just not enough stuff going on. What better way to address that than by having a bowling night? So we rented out the VIP room over at Jack & Jill’s (Lehi) and bowled the night away. I’m pleased to report that nearly all of us had scores over thirty. Or maybe I’m embarrassed to report that. Out of the eighty attendees the highest scores of the night were in the 160’s. Not too bad. The lane my family played on had broken bumpers but we suffered though endless gutter balls with dignity and long-suffering. Tip: When you write a blog historical accuracy is subject to foggy recollection.

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Moving in feels like an endless process. But we’re getting there, little by little! We liked the built ins from our last house so much that we decided to go that route again. It took about two months for them to make and install the shelves and desk but we were finally able to unpack most of our office items. That felt good. Tip: Every office should have a little girl reading in it.

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The Living Planet Aquarium… again. Do these kids ever get sick of this stuff? More importantly- do the appreciate that their mom takes them to do these things? I’m out of tips.

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In preparation for another dinner Fran made pies and rolls. Claire is turning into a great kitchen helper!  I wrangled out some long lost roll-making skills from my Great Harvest days. Chloe made a mess.

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And here is another dinner. Thanksgiving with the Hughes family (and my wonderful grandmother who is technically a Francis). We dined, we laughed. Mike’s plate of dessert made me question the meaning of life.

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Here’s a collage of us eating some more. Do we we go out and eat enough? I seriously can’t even describe how sick I am of food. Maybe this seems like a ridiculous thing to say but I have a really hard time controlling myself when there are group feasts, when we go out to eat or basically any time I see food. I would like a food break. Is that too much to ask? Give my food to someone who needs it please.

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Cocoa before trimming the tree. And then the decoration ritual. Here is the only picture I have of Chloe not pulling off ornaments. She looks concerned (probably contemplating ornament trajectories). I was sick that day so I sat on the couch and complained about tangled garlands. The holidays always bring out the best in me.

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Other November highlights. We put up a growth chart to keep track of the kids. If any of them hit the seven foot mark we’ll buy them ice cream. We had the first snow of the year and Claire made a snowman! He was very cute but in the sun he melted, melted. And somehow we made it to to the Lehi Legacy Center to run with the Sabins. It’s like running with the bulls except usually no one gets gored to death. November- a month of miracles.

Well… I think that’s enough sarcasm for one month. Let’s get together and do it again sometime. Maybe I’ll be a little less on edge next time. I can’t imagine that would be the case but you never know. Tallyho!

Hughes Family: October 2014

Okay! Made it through October. Didn’t know if I would. Way to go me.

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We celebrated Chloe’s 3rd birthday! She is such a great addition to our family. As much as I love to see our kids grow up, those feelings are coupled with a profound sense of sadness and loss. I have known no greater joy than parenthood and I will always be “Dad” but my children will not always be my “babies.” Happy Birthday!

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Furniture shopping usually makes me feel sick. I strongly dislike walking around looking at things that might go well with other things. “Hey, this buffalo hide might draw colors from the stainless steel cactus and the human bone table to make them work together.” We have done more shopping in the last month than I can recall doing the previous year. Do you like this chair with circles? Fancy. Table? Rug? Ugh (we did not buy that chair).

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Once in awhile I must appease the gods of parenthood and interact with my children. What better place to do this than Nickel City? (yeah… maybe Disneyland). The children quickly became smitten by the ticket bug and exchanged many nickles for the chance to take on fate. Happily I was able to persuade them to play a few “real” games with me.

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If you haven’t been to The Museum of Natural Curiosity yet (at Thanksgiving Point) you’re missing out!

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The kids always have a blast at Cornbelly’s. Fran and I met up for dinner, but I wasn’t feeling well enough to hit the main events this year.

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We finally got to the keys to our new place! We had a few cabinet related issues that necessitated work even after it was “done.”  This is what our house looked like a couple days after closing. No sweat.

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Moving in! The guys at 7 Brothers Moving were excellent to work with. And after nearly a decade of love, feeding and education one of our kids can do useful things!

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We wasted no time in starting the landscaping (no time). A bit of dirt here, some curbing there, a few sprinklers, some fence posts, more dirt, a trampoline pit and maybe some grass if we hurry. Winter Shminter.

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Halloween 2014! Fran and the more agreeable kids dressed up like the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. The older ones were committed to doing their own thing. Admittedly Claire made a cute vampire. I have no idea what Michael was- some kind of shadow guy in gym clothes (“I’m a morph, I told you!” “Okay, sure.”)

 

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Eating some Halloween breakfast (wearing costumes to school is a thing now- I don’t remember doing it when I was a kid). And then the long awaited Sabin Halloween Party! Each year the decorations get more elaborate, the costumes get weirder and the fun gets pushed past the maximum allowable limit.

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Here’s a couple of October parting shots. Mike got his Arrow of Light award!  Claire was asked to go to a recording studio to sing a French song for a Christmas album. Gabe has become an excellent RC car racer- he’s now working on becoming an excellent RC car mechanic. Chloe and I went shopping and she insisted on carrying the basket until it was literally too heavy for her to lift (cute, but inefficient). Awesome kids? Check.

Captain, I see November dead ahead! Should I drop the anchor?
There’s no point. It will just come to us.
Can we outrun it?
No… we’ll have to batten down the hatches and sail full speed ahead. Heaven help us.

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Hughes Family: September 2014

Yet another month has gone by. This one all too quickly. There were some good times, some bad times, some rip my hair out and then set the Earth on fire times. This post is going to be short and sweet (maybe just short).

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My lovely little girl celebrated her birthday with a trip to Texas Road House. Spoiled much? Yes.

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September highlights include putting up a tent in our microscopic backyard (Fran slept in the tent with Mike so he could pass off a scouting requirement). In an attempt to become tougher I ate a Jalapeno pepper. It turned into the worst stomach ache I can remember having (I also fed slices to my kids- some cried). Chloe ate her first Sushi roll- she seems partial to the California. The rest of September is a horrid blur. 

Our home is still not quite ready. It looks like we’ll be moving sometime in the next couple of weeks but the house still needs some work. I used to joke that I was building a fixer-upper, but it looks like the joke is on me. More to come… probably.

Hughes Family: August 2014

What did we do in August? Oh yes… we moved. We have been moving perpetually. In between moves we found time to go have a few adventures.It was a busy busy month!

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Toward the beginning of the month Fran had a baby and a bridal showers to attend I got to hang out with boys for the day. We hit JCW’s, went to see Guardians of the Galaxy (great movie) and worked on moving things and getting our old home cleaned up.

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Later that week we went to Lagoon with the Sandbergs. I know thatLagoon isn’t Disneyland but I think it’s a fantastic local park with plenty to do if your expectations are realistic. The weather was overcast so the park crowds were just right and everyone had a fantastic time.

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Lagoon has plenty of fun rides for thrill seekers. Wicked, in particular is a blast. Samurai is another fun ride… until is starts going backwards. For people not impressed with Lagoon’s coaster options the Cannibal is opening in 2015.

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Chloe had a lot of fun this time! She was pretty fearless and wasn’t afraid to go on any of the rides (and on some of the rides the kids have to go on alone).

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What trip to the park would be complete without some ice cream? And a broken phone. Fran’s phone was a victim of the Samurai- midway through the ride those of us on the ground watched her phone literally launch off the ride and sail about fifty feet through the air onto a bathroom roof and then onto the ground. Amazingly the phone still worked.

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The carnival games at Lagoon were as popular as any of the rides. Personally I don’t see the allure of throwing my money away on junk (okay, I’m sure some would disagree). The park food is so-so but there’s something exciting about eating it (maybe knowing you could barf it back up later).

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Here are a few fun parting shots. A pic from Colossus (it was really hard to hold my camera going to through the loops).  I went with Chloe on the BomBora roller coaster. Claire was really worried when I pulled out my phone for a pic on the Rocket. “No Dad! No! Put your phone away. Hurry!” But I’m not the one who breaks my phone on rides 😉

House stuff…

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After selling our Hunter’s Grove home we moved into a rental up in Traverse Mountain. It’s an interesting place (both Traverse Mountain and the house). The home has some quirky features…  For example the only outside access to the [very tiny] backyard is through a gate on the side of the home. It’s conveniently blocked by a rather large retaining wall. If you actually managed to work your way to the gate you’d find that it swings open into one of the porch supports ensuring continued difficulty. Awesome. And in the kitchen “there are four lights!” There is a strange sad little fifth light with a burnt out bulb. I think you could make a case that this is the location Captain Picard was held after being captured by the Cardassians. I discovered the lights while I was lying on the ground trying to hold our dishwasher door closed with my foot (otherwise it won’t complete a wash cycle). Aside from the home’s strange quirks we enjoy having potential buyers walk though at all times of the day.

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The house is coming along. The exterior is mostly finished at this point. I saw a rainbow shooting into our house and I’m totally sure that’s a sign we’re supposed to live here. Sigh.

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Lots of concrete! I’m happy we pushed the driveway out  (via the retaining wall). Can’t have to much driveway, I always say…   I’m pleased that Ivory epoxied the garage floors- they look great and it saves us a ton of money. I love a nice garage… Wish I had something to put in it.

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There’s always time for a wedding! Caroline and Brian were married in August. Beautiful wedding and a fun reception. Congrats! “What? That’s all your going to write about the most important day of her life?”  Uh… yeah?


I happily accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge extended by my sister, Erin. The water was way colder than I thought it would be! I called out my business partner, Jim, my friend, Tom, and my sister-in-law, Catherine. I think the general assumption is that people who pour the ice water on their head are getting out of donating to ALS, however for the curious I also contributed money toward their research (you can too by visiting www.alsa.org).

The kids got called out by their friends (and each other) and chose to participate as well:

Not done yet…

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Over Labor Day weekend we went camping near Mirror Lake with the Ercanbracks- Catherine (Fran’s sister), Lauren (Catherine’s daughter) and Randall (Catherine’s husband). Lots of good food, adventures and fun.

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Kids in nature are extra cute! They carve wood, play chess, build traps and collect firewood. They also get dirty and complain. All part of the gig.

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Mirror Lake was really pretty and equally as cold. Next time we’ll need jackets and maybe some fishing gear. Or maybe we could just look at these pictures and call it good.

Hughes Family: July 2014

While there was a good chance July was destined to destroy me I somehow persevered. I worked on the home to make is presentable. Darin listed the home and within ten days it has sold. The packing was then started. As far as I’m concerned this is how I spent my July:

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I put things in boxes ’cause boxes are fun!
I won’t even know where I’ll live when I’m done.
I stuck all my crap in boxes with labels
In went my books and my chairs and my tables.
I packed through the day and I packed through the night.
I packed all the heavy and packed all the light.
Two hundred boxes put onto a truck
Where are there going? Who gives a…

Meanwhile…

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Leaving Dad all alone in Utah. My lovely little world travelers…

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A layover in Paris for a few days. Lots of stuff to see (like that Eiffel Tower thing) and it helps with the time zone adjustment (ultimate destination is 10 hours ahead of Utah).

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Arrived in Reunion safe and sound. One of the first orders of business is a trip to get munchies… what a great view.

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Check out all this foooood. This is why they go to France & Reunion.  I just know it.

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View from the beach house – not too bad.  Some obligatory ocean time and a quick shopping trip – facilitated by Fran’s parents –  to get some nets so that the sea  life could be captured and studied.

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Playing in paradise – Reunion is a lot like Hawaii with lots of lush tropical vegetation. Three trampolines with swings. Doesn’t get any better than that.

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More time on the beach.

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Hanging out, playing and eating- the key ingredients of a perfect vacation.

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Fracoise’s family: Parents (Alain & Danielle) and her brothers and their wives (Pamela & Christophe & Alain-David & Sandra). They made the blog. Totally epic.

This section above is the France / Reunion trip. If my wife so desires she can hop onto the blog and update captions. She has that power. Will she use it? Well, it’s hard to say. History suggest that it’s unlikely. But there’s also a good chance that I’ve captioned the pictures so poorly her sense of order might override her apathy. It looks like it was a fun trip. Once they perfect teleportation technology I can absolutely see myself popping over to the island for a few days of sun, fun and food.

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Fran and the kids got back at the end of July and, after they had recovered for a couple of days,we lit off some fireworks in honor of Pioneer Day.

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Fran and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. Things were chaotic but we managed to squeeze in a dinner outing at Shoots.

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Having given up any hope of moving things ourselves we hired 7 Brothers to come take care of the furniture and boxes. They did a great job- if you need a moving company I can recommend them.

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The new house is coming along. In July Ivory finished most of the exterior, got the drywall and texturing done and made good headway on our retaining wall / driveway.

I’m not really sure where the time for this post came from. I looked in my draft folder and it was just sort of there. So way to go me.

Moving On

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to posting a “July” update (or even an “August” update for that matter). July was the busiest month yet and I’m still in the process of recovering from everything (although the recovery is going poorly since August is giving July a run for its money…). How can there be so much freaking stuff?

I did want to make a quick post about one thing though:

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Fran took the the kids and went to visit her family for a few weeks and that was an ideal opportunity to get the house in shape and put it up for sale. After being listed it was sold in less than two weeks!

Over the course of the ten days following the sale we moved into a rental in Traverse Mountain. We’ll be in that location until the end of September. Hopefully our new house will be done by then… if not I don’t know what we’ll do. Move again? You think I’m grumpy now…

Things on Ivory’s end are progressing more slowly than I’d hoped (albeit at the rate I expected). One of the big hang-ups is the cabinetry. Ivory is using a new company and the latest update we got is that closing has been pushed back three weeks because the cabinets won’t be ready on time (we have been very unimpressed with this new cabinet company). Overall the building experience with Ivory Homes has been okay. I’ll do a write-up at some point in the future.

I will miss our old house- it was in a great spot, we had great neighbors, and the home never gave us any trouble (outside the “normal” scope). I expect I have already idealized things in my memory.

Side note: Originally we were considering selling the home ourselves but a friend who’s a real estate agent convinced us to let him sell the home. I’d definitely recommend an agent for the additional exposure (i.e. an MLS listing) and convenience (you don’t have to deal with the hassle of scheduling showings, paperwork or negotiating the actual deal). If you need someone to sell your home contact Darin Southam.

 

Hughes Family: June 2014

Every time I think a month can’t get busier – boom! It finds a way. June was filled with a nice mix of fun, not so fun an totally overwhelming.

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We went to the Living Planet aquarium at their new location in Draper. The setup and layout is fantastic, but there didn’t seem to be a big difference – with regard to the actual “animals”  – between the new facility and old facility. A few of the exhibits were empty when we went so maybe there is some cool new stuff on the horizon.

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The Aquarium did have some cool new features like the rope bridge, an underwater tunnel and viewing room (in the shark tank) and an awesome aviary. Overall is seemed expensive to me but the kids seem to love it so I’m sure we’ll go back soon.

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As a pre-birthday celebration for Cindy and Fran we went to the Chef’s Table in Orem. It’s been about seven years since I’ve eaten there (and I don’t think Fran had ever been there) so I was excited to try it again. The appetizers were all excellent (cheese tasting isn’t my cup of tea, but I appreciated the idea). Sadly I think we all found our entrees to be a little underwhelming (the general consensus was that we would not go back for a “long time”). At least the company was good. Happy birthday ladies!

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Father’s Day. My parents came over and we had a fun celebration. Fran made us rib eye sandwiches (you ever had a rib eye sandwich at JCW’s? Good stuff)!

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Gabe’s birthday. I can’t believe this kid is seven already! He wanted a skateboard and an RC car. Instead of the usual RC garbage we got him a Traxxas Rustler (with some help from Grandma & Grandpa). That is a fun car so I think the skateboard may be getting ignored a little. 

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Fran’s Birthday. We had planned to go to Lagoon for the day but Fran lost her Yukon key (we only have one). We spent a long time looking for it and eventually decided to change our plans. We ate at Cafe Rio, opened presents and had some cheesecake. Maybe that doesn’t sound like as much fun as Lagoon but hopefully it wasn’t too bad. Happy birthday Francoise! You’re amazing and I love you. [We never did find the Yukon key- Fran had a new one made].

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When we built our current house I insulated part of it (around the bedroom). With regard to sound and temperature it has been really nice. So nice that I decided to insulate the interior walls in our new home. All of them. The time frame to install it was sooner and smaller than I expected and I grossly underestimated how much work it would be.  Luckily friends came to the rescue (Tyson, Fran, Jim, Tom, Ben & Mike). Thanks guys!

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Justin came by to help me do some wiring (for speakers). We noticed that a lot of the insulation upstairs had blown out and we put it back in securing it with twine. Here’s some of the finished project. 3. days and 100 rolls of frustration… er, insulation. Hope it helps.

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Here’s a cute sequence of images from a shopping trip to Costco. Claire was hellbent on getting the bag into the back of the Yukon by herself. One one casualty. 

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Lots of summer treats. No one was able to finish the deserts show in either picture. That’s living. 

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Before leaving for France the family went to watch the Lehi 4th of July parade. That’s some passionate patriotism right there. 

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I love sushi. I could for some right now. Anyone else eat sushi? Maybe we could meet up for lunch sometime. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks learning how to make it! 

Hughes Family: May 2014

The May run down is going to be super quick. I have so many things going on that my head is spinning.

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Nice weather, flowers, gardening. That sort of thing. But seriously- I’m glad for the nicer weather (not allergies though).

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My kids have a wonderful mother. I’ve got a wonderful mother too. Happy Mother’s Day!

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As school draws to a close the kids are forced to dance. See those glasses on Mike? Those are mine and now they’re missing. At least he looks like a stud.

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We went hiking on the Timpooneke trail. I am not in hiking shape right now! It didn’t help that a couple miles up the trail turned into mud.

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We had a fun little picnic…

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… in this little valley. Obligatory panorama shot. All in all we had a good time.

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Mike got his Webelos badge. He also started playing World of Warcraft. He had to set up a sidewalk business to help pay for his game. He works hard when he’s motivated.

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Claire and Chloe shopping (they love to shop for clothes). Gabe dressed up as a pirate with his wench. Chloe with her new haircut by Chloe.

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The house is coming along but it’s causing me massive stress. So far I haven’t had a lot of fun. I’m pretty picky though. For example I wanted straight stairs. Alas, all my stairs are crooked. Why am I so unreasonable?

Fun fact & tip: I edited these pics on the Razer Blade in Photoshop CS5. Photoshop doesn’t offer a HiDPI GUI so I have to change the desktop resolution to 1080p to use it (booo!). If you’re in the same boat be sure to click the “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” box under the compatibility tab (right click on application icons) or PS may ignore your resolution settings.