Hughes Family: September 11, 2013 – September 30, 2013

Ah… the gaps in my blogging are getting bigger and bigger. Each time I commit to writing bits of the blog posts as I go. But I never seem to have the time (or maybe it’s just a memory issue… I forget). I may slow things down even more with the holidays approaching. I know I say it every year, but this time I might mean it.

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We went and got family pictures taken a couple of weeks ago. We’re still trying to figure out where this blond kid came from…

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Here’s a shot of my offspring. There’s no prouder dad anywhere than me.

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Claire had her 8th birthday this month! She invited some friends over and the they went to In ‘n Out (assisted by my lovely wife and I) and then…

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… back to the house for cake and a party. I don’t have pictures but after the party Fran took them down to the Provo Beach Resort for a ropes course adventure.

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After driving around our work truck for awhile it became apparent that I would need something a little larger. I decided to get another Tacoma (there will be a separate post about this… someday). I think I’ll name him Truxton.

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Recently the kids had their annual school fair. Because the weather looked bad they had it inside the school. Apparently it was crowded, claustrophobic and loud. One of the moms said “I hope my kids love it as much as I hate it.” The kids did have a good time romping around, getting their faces painted and winning prizes. Chloe got a cute face flower too.

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Usually for our dates we go to eat and see a movie. The past few weeks there hasn’t been anything we wanted to see so we’ve been organizing our warehouse, our garage and trying to get “important” stuff accomplished. On one of our dates we decided to try the Blue Lemon (Fran had eaten there once before). We both got fettuccine alfredo and honestly is was maybe a 4/10- just super bland. The soups we got were actually really good but I don’t know if we’ll give it another try.

Some good news:

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I recently mentioned my ticket I got for having no insurance. Our insurance company wrote a letter explaining what had happened. Although overly beaurocratic, in my opinion,  Lehi city was nice enough to dismiss the charges against me.

And some very sad news:

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1981 ~ 2013
Our loving son, brother, uncle and friend, Thomas Lee Allen, passed away in his sleep on September 19, 2013. Tom was born to Silja and Lee Allen in Little Rock, Arkansas on July 5, 1981. He moved to Provo ten days later with the family. Tom was active in scouting and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. After finishing high school he attended UVSC until going on an LDS mission to Birmingham, Alabama. He then entered the aviation program at UVSC. Professionally, Tom was an expert watch repairman and received top awards in sales. He was also a VP of Operations for a successful internet start-up. Tom enjoyed being an uncle, flying, hunting, fishing, camping, and BYU sports. He traveled widely with his family and friends and got along well with people wherever he was in the world. He loved his family and friends who were a very important part of his life.

I want to add a bit more here too. The picture on the right is from when Tom helped me go pick up a Corvette in Miami Florida. We flew in, picked up the car and drove the 2700 miles back in two days. There was no better road trip companion than Tom. The hours flew by and we had a blast cruising through the county. Yeah, Tom got a ticket and ran over a rabbit but that was just how he did things. I have so many good memories with Tom and even though we had a falling out in later years I will miss him more than words can say. R.I.P. buddy.

And that wraps things up for this stretch.

Hughes Family: June 17, 2013 – July 2, 2013

Some of these captions are going to be really short. I’m hoping I can get Fran to swing back through and fill them out a bit. It’s harder to write about events that I wasn’t present for. Also, it would be nice to have her share some feelings from things like her birthday. She’s pretty busy (mostly doing the stuff here on the blog) but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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Fran’s birthday started out with some Flowers. Later we took a trip to Rodizio Grill. I’m pretty sure I asked the kids about  a million times to clean the house for Mom’s birthday but they were much too busy being… well, kids. Claire did make some very sweet cards for her mom though.

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For her birthday Fran wanted a fridge / freezer combo with no ice maker. That’s not an easy thing to find, but she pulled it off (she picks practical “house stuff” so later she can announce “it didn’t count” and get something else).  For the birthday finale we ate cheesecake and watched Oz: The Great and Powerful. She later locked herself in her room and wept for her lost youth.

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A few days later it was Gabe’s birthday. He scored some sweet binoculars and a basketball hoop & ball. He was quite ecstatic to be six.

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He had a wet & wild birthday party with some friends. Water fights ahoy! I spent most of the day putting together his basketball hoop (there was some swearing). At least Gabe spent some time shooting hoops- that made me feel like my day wasn’t totally wasted.

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Here’s some evidence of my sensitive side. I did Chloe’s nails with a nice yellow top coat and then added some accents. She was quite interested while I did the first hand, but it degenerated into uncontrollable squirming after that. The results were quickly transferred to various pieces of furniture.
And here is my obligatory picture of the large moon. It really was quite stunning; it looked like a pearl resting on a black sea.

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And then it was time for another birthday! This time around it was Rachel’s youth that was on the line. The Sabins treated their friends to wild rumpus at the Provo Beach Resort. We played on the ropes course, dodged lasers, danced badly and had a grand time.

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Afterward Rachel and Jason took everyone to Malawi’s Pizza! Delicious. After dinner we went back to the Provo Beach Resort and played some croquet. There were some verbal skirmishes and trash talk but in the end it was Lee who walked away the victor. Look at those happy couples. What dark secrets do they hide… Thanks Sabins!

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Work recently got another warehouse (for storage and a new manufacturing division of our company). I have commandeered a section of this warehouse in honor of the fallen “Cam’s Corner” of yesteryear. I put in a couch to show people I was serious. Then I parked Fran’s trailer in there to show people I was really serious. No need for a storage unit now.

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Shortly thereafter Fran and the kids went camping at Cherry Hill with the Wilsons.

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They spent a day at Lagoon too. I got a text letting me know it was hot. This was helpful because I had stayed home and was was nice and cool at work.

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We decided to try out the Lehi Rodeo. I’m sure it takes a lot of skill to rope a calf, ride a bucking horse and be a perverted clown, but ultimately we decided we’re probably not rodeo people. Still, it was fun to try something new (I think I wrote that last sentence because I waned to believe it…).

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The kids picked cherries from our tree. I think these are tart cherries, so they’ll end up in a pie. Kids picking fruit is cute to me.
And I leave you with this wonderful picture of the hardware that came with Gabe’s basketball hoop. It says “Hardware is actual size.” I was really happy about that.

Hughes Family: March 16th, 2013 – March 31st, 2013

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St. Patrick’s Day is always fun around here. The kids dress up in all kind of different green outfits (I think they referred to themselves as the “Leprechaun Gang”).

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Fran and the kids made Shamrock cookies and I made the kids a pop-up card (Claire makes really cute pop up cards all the time so I thought it would be fun to make one for them).

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Jim, Cindy, Fran and I hit Ruth’s Chris for some birthday steak. It was, as usual, delicious! Ruth’s Chris is the only place that can ever seem to cook a steak just right. I like mine rare and I cut pieces off and let them sizzle a bit on the 500 degree plates. Anyone else like their steak rare?

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I turned 35 this March. There’s nothing particularly memorable about turning 35, but it was a nice birthday. Fran made me pecan pie and we watched Condorman. The kids (Claire & Gabe) gave me Kit Kats.

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Blade HQ’s new store had its grand opening on March 29th, 2013 (and it was also our ten year anniversary). My Mom, Fran and my kids came by, spun the BHQ prize wheel, ate some food and hung out for a little bit. It was a fun (and exhausting) day.

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As is tradition we colored eggs for Easter (I make some striped eggs for Chloe since she was already asleep… and because she has very spastic motor coordination… and because I wanted to).

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On Sunday afternoon we had an Easter egg hunt in our backyard.

This was the first Easter where Chloe sort of understood that she was supposed to find eggs and put them in her basket.

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We finished off our day with a trip to Olympic Park. We played a bit of freeze tag and took a walk along the Jordan River trail. Lest anyone question the activity’s Sunday appropriateness know this: as we walked along the trail we were visited by the Easter Bunny himself.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Hughes Family: February 11, 2013 – February 24, 2013

Okay, here’s a quick recap of some our adventures in the past couple of week. I hope one day our kids read this. I hope one day someone reads this. People need to know where we ate.

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Fran and I try to have at least one date a month (usually we have more). We really enjoy Thai House in Lehi. The center picture is green curry. I don’t know how to explain it, but it tastes green. And green is delicious. I honestly can’t remember what we did after we ate- it must have rocked so hard that it jarred the memory loose.

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For the past few weeks I’ve been looking for a handgun (more on that in another post) and my search took me to Cabela’s. This wouldn’t have been a big deal but it was Saturday and I had all four of our kids. Not my best idea in retrospect. It was literally too busy to shop (luckily they didn’t have what I was looking for) so we walked through the animal displays and aquarium instead.

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Fran decided that the kids should have cubbies for their toys so off we went to Ikea. Each of the boys got a 2×2 unit and the girls share a 4×2. Gabe, who is the neatest of our children, seemed quite excited about organizing his toys. I think the other two responded positively as well. Sadly, if history is any indicator I would guess that the sheleves- if the shelves are still intact – do not look like they did on that beautiful first day.

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On Valentine’s Day Fran dressed up the kids in cute shirts, made them heart shaped waffles for breakfast and even let them eat some of their Valentine’s Day candy!

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For Valentine’s Day dinner Fran prepared a raclette (the plate has a misting of heart candies) and served us fancy chocolate covered strawberries. Then the kids are more candy while Fran cried. And let me just say for the record that I love Fran. She is a wonderful wife, fantastic mother and my best friend. She makes me truly happy and there is no one on earth I would rather have by my side as we journey through this life.

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Fran and Claire went to a BYU ballet production of Sleeping Beauty (once again, I wisely opted to stay home and hold down the fort). Fran’s report went something like “There were a couple of really good dancers and a bunch of so-so dancers. If it had only been an hour it would have been perfect… but it was three.” Culture has a price.

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What do you do with snow, besides curing it’s existence? You sled. The kids got together with their cousins and did a few downhill runs in Mapleton. I hear it was crazy. Fran snapped a shot of the sun halo earlier this month while they were sledding.

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Another trip to the aquarium (seems like they go there a lot).

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A couple weeks ago my treadmill blew up (really). I was joggling along and sparks started flying out of the motor and the belt seized. I’m going to get it fixed, but in the meantime I opted to get a new S77 model. Comparing this model to the old one I have concluded that 6mph is not necessarily 6mph. I’m excited to get back on track (ah, it is a pun!).

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And then we went out again. Thanksgiving Point sandwiches, quiche, salad and a few desserts later we were ready to cry our eyes out while we watches Les Miserables. Yes, I look annoyed in this picture. But that was after Fran took about twenty pictures of me and our food. I returned the favor but all I could elicit was amusement.

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We capped off last week with a double birthday party (for James & Nelly) down in Mapleton. By the time we finished singing “Happy Birthday” in English and French the candles had burned down to tiny nubs and a skeleton was clawing his way out of the cake.

And this video? I don’t know, I just thought it was really beautiful so I wanted to share it.

Hughes Family: December 3rd, 2012 – December 9th, 2012

On Monday we celebrated Mike’s Birthday again (to be fair, that was his actual birthday). He requested two chile verde burritos from Mi Ranchito (he happily ate them for several meals). Fran made a sweet potato cake but the platter it was sitting on in the oven shattered (from the heat) embedding the cake with tiny glass fragments. It was also hard to get the cake off the broken platter and it fell… a couple of time. But we popped a “9” candle on top of it and sang anyway. Then it was on to the presents. I would venture to say that Mike has very nice parents and extend family.

One funny thing that I wasn’t actually going to share: One of Mike’s presents was a Lego Batman figure (kind of like a robot). He put it together and seemed pretty pleased. I told him that I thought it was really cool. He looked at me and said, “You want to buy it?” I asked, “Why do you want to sell me your birthday present?” “Because,” he replied, “I’m all about the money.” Oh dear.

During the week Cam attended a documentary premier about the Garifuna people. It was filmed and edited by Ben Petersen, one of cam’s coworkers, while he was attending BYU.  Ben did an outstanding job and you can see a trailer of his video below.

March 3, 2013. UPDATE: Ben has made his documentary available to watch on YouTube now. This is it:

One of Mike’s birthday presents was an Xbox Kinect. Now, before certain people accuse me of getting him this because it was present at a certain party… Mike had asked for a Kinect months ago, having used one at a friend’s house. I just want to say for the record: Wow, this is a cool toy. There was just nothing like this when I was growing up. We played a bit and it’s a blast (more games incoming). As per some unspecified parental guidelines somewhere I recorded my kids using the Kinect to they could laugh at themselves twenty years down the road.

And this is the year the Hughes family will not be the shame of the neighborhood. We used SilverLeaf Landscaping for our lightning needs and unhesitatingly recommend them- we are thrilled with the results. Fran picked red, white and green for the house lights. I have no idea how to take a picture of this so you get this crappy photographic abomination. But we didn’t  stop with the house. White lights on the juniper trees…

…which have this nativity nestled between them. The pine tree in  our front yard got done up in red with larger white bulbs. And green for the peach tree (and that’s an angel sitting next to it). Yes indeed, we are going to run these things 24/7, 365 days of the year. Yahoo!
And we finally managed to finish decorating our Christmas tree!  Although it won’t really stay finished for long. I’m pretty sure there was some kind of ornament war going on this morning when I came downstairs. However, there were no survivors left to question. I look forward to the day when our tree will be left alone and we can upgrade to something nicer and decorate it with a bit more flair.

Hughes Family: November 26th, 2012 – December 2nd, 2012

It’s two in the morning. I need to get to bed. But I really want to bust this post out. For some reason this reminds me of college. I’d often be up late at night faced with a paper deadline. My intent was always to finish it as quickly as possible; rapid mediocrity was the goal. But I could rarely pull it off… I wanted to do my best. Luckily there are no real blog deadlines. No need to fight against the sweet siren song of my pillow. I will work on this tomorrow.

[The next morning] And just like that I’m back.

Work is getting busier. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve, but each year we get slammed harder than we expect. Of course, we’re still light years ahead of where we were just a few years ago.  I used to sleep at work during the holidays!
A couple of months ago Fran moved out of the office we used to share. It’s taken awhile, but I have finally replaced her with a couch, two pictures, a shelf and a plant. Cumulatively they talk about as much as she did (which is to say when she was at work, she worked). No going back now.

On Tuesday Mike got his Wolf award! Fran is his Den Mother and I know she works hard to keep all the cubs on track. It’s possible Mike might actually enjoy the scouting program though. I wanted to attend the meeting, but I had made plans to see Skyfall with my Dad and brother (before I knew about the meeting). Overall I thought Skyfall was excellent (8/10).

Friday was the Sabin’s Christmas party (SCP). Everyone who’s anyone attends the SCP. Here’s a shot of our lovely hosts, Jason and Rachel… Jason is kind of holding her, I guess. I’m not sure really sure what’s going on. And here’s me and some of the boys. Fran isn’t going to like the picture of her I posted. I have no idea what hanging out of her mouth, but I love her.

Party goers played games, ate delicious food from Rubios and the evening culminated with the white elephant gift exchange. The gifts ranged from slightly thoughtful to comically obscene. I’m sure the full scoop will be provided by Rachel later this week. I don’t know why they do it, but a big thanks to the Sabins for another fun party.

Saturday brought another party- Mike’s ninth birthday. We rounded up a few of his friends and headed over to the Lehi Jack & Jill’s. First up: Bowling. Kids love bowling. I think for them it’s like a chance to break something over and over without getting in trouble. The kids turned out to be better bowlers than the adults (excuse: kids had bumpers).  I think Fran will be okay with this picture of her. She was an excellent party coordinator.

After pizza and cake it was time for Laser Tag. I really like the Jack and Jill’s setup and it’s nice to see what you are shooting (visible beams). Once again the kids the kids beat the adults (excuse: gun issues and uneven teams). After laser tag we opened presents and returned home exhausted.

On Sunday we ate at my parent’s house (sandwiches… I love sandwiches!) and reveled in their cool nativity (I used to play with pieces from this same set when I was little). When we got home we were able to get the tree up, but the only thing that got decorated was Mike. Maybe next week…  if we have any energy left.

Hughes Family: October 8th 2012 – October 14th 2012

We had a pretty laid back week.  Work is taking up more of my time these days, but hopefully things level out.  Well, come to think of it with the Holidays almost here they will only get more hectic. Ah well…

Chloe took her first steps this past week! Fran had a gut feeling it might happen and so she actually captured it!

Claire lost her second tooth this past week (and the tooth fairy remembered to come this time). More and more often basement access is blocked by giant piled of couch cushions, pillows and blankets. Cam used to do this kind of stuff when he was a kid and this appears to be the much referred to “karma” that his Mom warned him about. Speaking of messes- something things get so bad that we use a snow shovel to scoop up all the crap on the floor (the carpeted portion of the floor) and have “throw away” parties. Yes, this is for real.

Fran picked Saigon Cafe for this week’s meal. Saigon is a little Chinese / Vietnamese restaurant down in Provo. We used to go there each week when we lived by it, but only make it down there every few months or so now. Good food.

Fran and the kids made some pies. It’s hard to figure out how helpful the kids are this point. When Gabe turned on the mixer is was definitely not helpful. The Apple pie is made with apples from our very own tree. Fun!

On Sunday we went to Cam’s parent’s house for dinner. Mom made delicious pulled pork, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and we at the pumpkin pie Fran made. Grandpa & Grandma gave Chloe a cute bear while Claire quickly adopted (as mentioned in another post Chloe doesn’t quite get stuffed animals yet).

Hughes Family: September 24th – October 7th 2012

Where does the time go? A question that millions of people ask each day. And yet there continues to be no answer. What can be done? Capture as many fleeting moments as possible, I guess.

Claire lost her first tooth (left central incisor)! Michael spent a long time tying floss to her tooth, but it kept slipping off. Ultimately it just wiggled free. Claire put the tooth under her pillow and – don’t judge us – the tooth fairy forgot to come. Claire wrote her a hilarious (albeit nasty) note. Luckily the tooth fairy came the next night.
Gabe is a funny kid- his attention span is incredible. The other day he came home from school and, without taking his backpack off, spent about an hour coloring a picture which he then folded up into a “robot.” He has also been building “forts” next to his bed (out of cardboard boxes) and sleeping in them.

Recently we implemented a new policy at our house: Whoever does dishes each week gets to pick where we eat on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, Fran has picked for the last few weeks. So far she has taken us to Sweet Tomatoes, Juice Press and Chuck O’Rama. The pictures above are from our trip to Juice Press. They offer smoothies and sandwiches- it’s worth checking out if you’re into “health food.”

Fran was called as the Den Mother of the Wolf Den (Michael is in that group). This past week they made tool boxes (and a mess). 
On September 20, 2012 the  Brigham City LDS temple was dedicated. Since Michael was old enough he got to attend the dedication ceremony (he would have rather gone over Niagara falls in a barrel).

Chloe turned one this past week! Given that nearly 80% of kids don’t make it to their first birthday we’re pretty proud of ourselves.

Few things are as enjoyable as watching a one year old open presents. Chloe had no idea what was going on but she was delighted. She scored some sweet lute like a drawing board, and some stuffed animals from her siblings.

Cam is working on a super secret project. We were able to capture this image of him…doing something. To be honest, it looks like he’s stealing furniture from work. But Cam wouldn’t do that… would he? I’m certain more information will be forthcoming.
Speaking of Cam-  with four days of his Onstar six month trial left Cam decided to activate the Onstar iPhone app (having never used any of the Onstar services) . You can monitor all your car’s vitals, and lock and unlock your car from your iPhone. Of course this only works if you don’t mind waiting. And waiting (slow app). Unimpressed Cam called to end his Onstar service and they gave him the “If you deactivate this service we can’t help you even if you’re in a crash and are burning to death” scare tactic. Cam has no fear. Goodbye Onstar.

The new store at work is coming along. This past week the drywall was put up. The build-out is over a month behind schedule at this point so setting up the storefront will have to wait until next year.

So ends another couple weeks in the life of the Hughes Family. I don’t know how many more blog posts there will this month. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now (work expansion, car project, secret project, working my way through Breaking Bad, etc).