Stott Sphere

The entire world in one small home.

That New Car Smell April 12, 2015

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 7:01 pm

There are two new cars at our house. It’s been a very exciting transition.

I have been getting sick of my old Jeep for quite a while now. The needed repairs (and associated costs) were piling up, and the odometer was on the verge of breaking 200,000 miles, and I was starting to wonder how long we could survive before the car became a literal death trap.  Robb, naturally, thinks I’m being overdramatic, although he was sympathetic to my desire to not spend any more money fixing that old car.

I went online and started searching for cars, just to see how much I would need to save to get the car I wanted, when a sweet deal caught my eye. I decided to check it out, and just buy it now before someone else did. And that’s how I came home with a gold 2005 Kia Sorento. It’s not exactly low miles, and it’s not without it’s history, but all in all, it is in much better shape than the old Grand Cherokee was, and it’s nice and easy to drive, so I can’t complain. I’m calling her Golde, and insisting everyone remove their belongings and trash from the car each and every time they get out of it.


Ryan followed in my footsteps almost immediately, when he was offered (my brother) Andy’s old 99 Hyundai Elantra. Andy and his family are moving to Florida soon, and they did not intend to take the Hyundai with them. Ryan spent about half his life savings on it, and is really enjoying the associated freedom.

He is doing things like taking himself to McDonald’s during his lunch break, and going to movies with his friends after school, and driving around the corner to the neighbors house, which literally saves him about 3 minutes of walking time.

I can’t complain, though, because he also does a fair amount of my chauffeuring, with very little dissent. The biggest question on our minds now, besides how he’s going to afford his new monthly car insurance bill, is what to name the car. I suggested we keep the nickname “The Work Truck,” which was such an apt name when Andy was driving it. He always kept his tools, golf clubs, and random things like sprinkler parts and pipes in the trunk. Ryan thought about calling it “The Ex-Wife,” since the car left Andy and came to him. We’re still toying around with the possibilities, and we’re open to suggestions.

Hint hint.


Prom Pictures and Food Pictures

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 2:46 pm

The last few weeks have been exciting. A lot has been happening here at the Stott house.

The last weekend of March was Prom. Ryan, thankfully, had a choir tuxedo that he could wear to prom, as well as a black bow tie, so we only had to rent the vest. Quinn, on the other hand, talked me into buying him a new suit, on the grounds that it was much needed and that he hasn’t grown in 6 months.

He might be stuck at 5 feet 11.5 inches. Poor kid.

Here are some photos of the big event.


I was in California that weekend, and missed the whole affair. I begged for pictures, went on and on about it, told them not to be stingy, and the two you see above are almost the only two I got.  *sigh*  Boys.

Since Quinn doesn’t have a drivers license, and Ryan was with a different group, Robb got to chauffeur Quinn and Marianne around town. The dance was a Rice Eccles Stadium, which is a good 30-40 minute drive, and he met up with a big group of friends at a restaurant near the stadium for dinner. Robb and Brooklyn both dressed up, and they had dinner at a different restaurant on their own, after dropping Quinn and Marianne off.


They had a nice Italian meal, and asked for the oh-so-fancy San Pelligrino sodas to drink. The waiter poured it into wine glasses, and Brooklyn was very impressed and feeling so grown up!  They had a fun time.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I spent the weekend in California at a food photography workshop with some blogging friends. I loved the trip and learned a ton!

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Here I am with my friends in food prop heaven.

I learned a lot about lighting and food styling, and I was pretty proud of a few of the photos I took while I was there.  I’ll put a couple of my favorites here, but if you’re at all interested, I made this little album of just a few of my favorite food photos, several of which were taken during this workshop.


And lest we forget, Monster had an exciting weekend too, though I’m not sure he noticed it. Robb built this totally amazing doghouse for him, which has been finished for a while, but now that it’s spring, Robb finally took it out of the garage and put it in place in the backyard.


I personally think it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The dog really couldn’t care less. He has no intention of spending any time in there at all. We figure some stray cat will probably have babies in there at some point, so we have that to look forward to. Maybe when it gets hot, he will learn to love it in there.

Or maybe we’ll just bribe him with cheese to go in there so we can take his picture and make everyone think he uses it. That’s far more likely.

At any rate, it will probably be a while before we have a weekend this exciting again!



I’m Kind of a Big Deal

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 1:29 pm

Water polo season started this week, and Quinn warned us what the first game would be like by telling us that he is “kind of a big deal.”  If by that, he meant he is a top player on the team, then he was saying it sarcastically, because he is still second string.  If he meant he has improved by leaps and bounds, he was speaking truthfully.  I could hardly recognize my once timid son in the pool.  He was certainly playing like he was a big deal.

In all fairness, he is still far too sweet a soul to be playing water polo.  I feel weird giving him advice that basically sounds like, pretend you are at war and kill some people.  But it’s basically the advice I’ve been giving him at karate for a decade now, so it’s nothing new, I guess.


This photo, by the way, is terrible, I know.  But it was the least terrible of all the terrible shots I took, so this is what you get.  I tried to get his friends to come watch a game, but they shuddered at the thought of seeing Quinn in a speedo and those weird caps they wear.  I’m sure Quinn is going to love that I have posted it here.

I had to include this picture of him tilling, too, just because it warms my heart to remember him doing this kind of work.  Worst mom ever, I know.

Ryan is in California this week, going to his choir tour.  They took an all-night charter bus ride to Anaheim, where they are staying about a block or two from Disneyland.  They also visited Six Flags and the beach.  He sent me a couple photos from beach day.


My text conversations with him have been frustratingly low on information.  Typical boy stuff, I guess.  Here’s an example:

Me: How’s it going?
Ryan: Fine
Me: What are you doing? Can you send me a fun selfie? Do you have time to talk later?
Ryan: I’m on the bus.

And then he never answers the remaining questions.  *sigh*  After asking three times, he finally sent me these beach photos, and he told me he has been taking a lot of pictures on his phone, so I guess there is the promise of seeing them later.


Pimp Quinn D. March 15, 2015

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 2:21 pm

A few weeks ago, Quinn attended a murder mystery party with some friends.  In these parties, each person plays a character, and the characters try to figure out who done it, so to speak.  There was a girl at the party who Quinn had never met.  Her character was a prostitute, and she really got into her role, even bringing prostitute business cards with her to the party to hand out.

Which is how Quinn got her phone number.

Quinn decided he needed to ask her to Prom, and although he had a plan involving a puzzle and some balloons, Robb and I talked him into doing something much more poetic.

I was going to say more appropriate, but let’s face it, there’s nothing appropriate about this.


Robb and Quinn had a really good time making this card, which he had a friend pass to her.  After we looked at it, we decided we might be the worst parents ever.

He’s still waiting for an answer from her.  If she says yes, I guess they could be the most inappropriate couple at the Prom!


Where are you? March 8, 2015

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 3:02 pm

Although she is only 13, Brooklyn is extremely excited to drive.  She also has no sense of direction or where things are, which makes us extremely nervous.  We told her to start preparing to drive now by noticing where things are and how to get places.

It has not been going well.

The other night, we decided to get a late night dinner, and Robb had Brooklyn navigate us to the local Kneaders at Jordan Landing, which is probably 2 miles from our house.  Jordan Landing is a huge shopping complex, and a place we go very very frequently, so you would think she would know her way around it.

She missed the very first turn we needed to make to get to that shopping area, and it kind of went downhill from there.  In addition to missing turns because she doesn’t know where she is, she is also easily distracted, so when it was time to turn, she was busy talking about this store or that, or whatever she was looking at.  In the end, Robb finally said, “Forget it!” and did the rest of the decision making himself.

Brooklyn is also into swimming right now, and has decided to go to the pool every Saturday.  Yesterday, however, I was without a car, which meant she was without a ride to the pool.  She decided to ride her bike.  Once she got the bike out, found the bike lock, gathered her things, and was ready to be on her way, she asked me, “How do I get there?”

Which caused me to close my eyes, shake my head, and experience a great deal of stress.

Once again, the pool is right by the high school.  It is a place we visit very very frequently.  It is maybe 1.5 miles from our house, and requires just ONE TURN to get there.

So I went over the riding directions with her, in great detail, about 3 times.  Then I told her she better call me when she gets there, so I know she made it okay.  Being a 13 year old girl, she naturally completely ignored these instructions, and had a great time at the pool, while I spent my afternoon worrying about her.

When Ryan finally returned with the car, and wanted to immediately leave again, I told him I might need the car to go search for Brooklyn.  Because if she didn’t make it to the pool, she could literally be anywhere, even a landmark or recognizable place, and be totally lost.

On the bright side, she returned rather soon after that, having had a great time at the pool, and not having gotten lost.

Three more years of these experiences, and she might be ready to drive.


It’s All About Family March 1, 2015

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 1:49 pm

Between Robb spending a few days out of town, and Ryan spending more time with his friends, and Brooklyn spending time at the school play (she’s in the stage crew) I have felt like were were being torn 5 different directions this week.

Stott-family-march-2015 (1 of 1)

I decided we needed a little family photo, so I could guarantee we would spend at least 5 minutes together.  I figure when I look at the picture in the future, I’ll pretend we spent the whole day having fun together.

Okay, it’s a terrible photo.  I know that.  This is what happens when I procrastinate getting professional photos done.  At least my parents will finally have a photo of us to put in the cool family tree photo holder than Dan gave them for Christmas more than a year ago.

Best. Daughter. Ever.


Getting a Black Belt is Like Pregnancy February 22, 2015

Filed under: Fun Days — Jen @ 10:46 pm

Is it wrong for me to find a trip to the emergency room just annoying as all get out?  I feel a little guilty about it.  Perhaps I should be more worried about my poor injured son and less worried about how many doctors we actually need to see and how expensive it will all be.

In my last post, I told you all the tale of Ryan’s face injury.  Today will be the post script to that story.

After the long weekend, I decided we had better get it checked out, and I took Ryan to the pediatrician.  {Side note: I realized that this will probably be his last trip to the pediatrician before his age forces him to seek different medical help.  Gulp.}  The pediatrician told us his own horror story about having a very similar injury, and then he directed us to get a CT scan.

So the next morning, I kept Ryan home from school and took him to get the scan.  I dropped him back at school during his lunch break, and headed off to a friend’s house.  From my experience, I honestly expected not to hear anything about the results of the scan until late in the day.  But before I could make it to the friends house, the doctor’s office called with results.

Drum roll……     Orbital fracture.  A pretty serious one.  The radiologist apparently thought Ryan had been in an ATV accident, judging by the type of fracture it was.  He was surprised that he had been walking around all weekend and not in the ER already, and surmised that he must be a “tough kid.”

Well, he got that part right.  When I told Ryan about this, he heartily agreed.  “I AM a tough kid.”

The nurse went on to say that Ryan was going to need to see an opthamologist, an ENT, and a plastic surgeon.  I’m not going to lie, the words “plastic surgeon” freaked me out a bit.  She said there was no way to coordinate all these doctors on an outpatient basis, and that we would need to go to the ER immediately.  And not just any ER, they want us at Primary Children’s Hospital, which is a good 45 minute drive, past at least 3 other hospitals.


So I went back to the high school and collected Ryan, and we headed to the ER, where we scored the last parking space in the garage, and where the resident that saw us seemed pretty unconcerned.  He did agree that it was a pretty bad break, and got the ENT to come take a look.  The ENT told us that…

1. Ryan had nerve damage to the middle of his face, (half his nose and upper lip are numb) and…
2. There is nothing they can do about it.  In fact, it may take months or years to heal, or may even be permanent.


Both doctors agreed that Ryan’s eyes were fine, and there was no need for him to see an opthamologist or a plastic surgeon.  There is what they call a tripod fracture around his right eye, and yes, it is displaced.  But, guess what?  They can’t do anything about that either.  You just have to let it heal on it’s own.

In fact, the only question I asked that elicited much excitement or remotely useful advice from the staff at the ER was about Ryan’s karate classes.  They advised some solutions that were both ridiculous and expensive, of course.

I left the hospital feeling like I just spent half my day getting a really expensive consult with an ENT resident.  Grrr.

I followed up this fun little foray with a visit to the karate school, where I spoke with the teacher and advised him that no one was to touch Ryan anywhere near his face.  (I mean really, the last thing he needs is for someone to push a piece of that fractured bone into his eye.)  This led the teacher to not only remove him from sparring for 6 weeks, but also remove him from any partner work where a person might even pretend to hit him in the face.  This made me very happy, and made Ryan extremely annoyed.

To be fair, he is getting really close to that black belt, and the teacher at the advanced class has been pushing him really hard.  Ryan’s comment about all of this?  “Getting a black belt is like pregnancy, Mom.  Every week counts.”

It was not a phrase I had ever expected to hear Ryan speak, but he was right.  Every week he gets better and better, and if he is to reach his goal, he really needs to make substantial progress each and every week.  When I spoke with the teacher of the advanced class, he informed me that as recent as a few months ago, they didn’t think there was any way Ryan and Quinn would make it to black belt.  But now, they are looking like black belt material.  {I thought to myself… “That’s, umm… honest.”  I never had any doubts, myself.}

The real bright spot in the day was when Grandma and Grandpa came over with a treat, and took a picture of him for the Roper Famiy “Black Cloud Award.”  He got some ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Which made Brooklyn contemplate breaking her leg again.  *sigh*  They never learn.