C’est L’amore

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Tucked away in plain sight on a shelf stands a mini scrapbook I made ten years ago. I had one and a half kids and was four years into marriage. The way I journaled about my life with Heath, you would think we had been married forever.

I remember making that scrapbook. Mini scrapbooks were all the rage in the magazines I read. This was my first attempt. I also remember trying new techniques like hidden journaling. What I remember most was making such a big deal out of a gift for my fourth wedding anniversary. Not my first. Not my fifth. But a random fourth anniversary.

A couple days ago we celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary. It felt like a big deal. Bigger than the first, the fifth, or the tenth. Not that we did anything special. It’s just a feeling I had ten years ago that came back.

I think what really encouraged that feeling was finding a hidden treasure. While the scrapbook has been proudly displayed in my room for years, the book I found was tucked away in a box. It’s been years since I opened the book and I almost forgot I ever had it.

It’s a small journal wrapped in textured handmade paper. A little off white with the occasional vermilion leaf buried in a thin layer of paper. A creamy white ribbon lovingly tied in a bow holds the book closed.

Inside the book is filled with blank pages. A few of the first pages have been written on. My mom’s handwriting is on the cover page. It says “Tristan & Heath’s wedding day Feb 10th, 2001.” Turning that page leads to advice written by friends and family.

How fun to go back and reread the advice and well wishes of people who care about us.

It’s interesting to read these love notes now. Nothing has changed. In fourteen years of marriage we have only fallen deeper in love, added a couple more kids, and weathered every storm with as much faith as we could.

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We didn’t know what we were doing then and we still don’t know what we’re doing now. The journey is an adventure because we’re in it together.

Let it rain, I’ll ride anyway!

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For the first Saturday in months we actually had nothing to do. Nothing but hang out together as a family. The kids had a long weekend with no school on Monday. The possibilities were endless. How in the world would we appreciate this wonderful gift of time?

Every Saturday morning I ask the same question. What are we going to do today? Heath said he wanted to buy Gavin a bike. We went to a bike shop we hadn’t browsed at yet. I had forgotten about it even though it was the birthplace of my bike.

Prices were high but not as high as some of the other places we had been. Gavin is a big kid now. We can’t just find him some adequate cheap piece of steel at Toys R Us anymore. We were going to have to drop more than the $100 Santa left for a bike.

I like the salesmen at this bike shop. They are knowledgeable without being too hung up on selling bikes. We told the guy what we were looking for based on the type of riding Gavin would be doing. He would mostly be riding around the neighborhood but mountain bike capabilities would be nice. The guy pointed us toward the Trek mountain bikes. He even helped us find the best priced bike for what we needed. The total cost with tax was just under $400. I was impressed since I was expecting a bike to cost at least $400 without tax.

The salesman had Gavin test drive it outside. He stayed on the sidewalk in front of the different shops. It was a gray and wet day so the covered sidewalk was probably the safest place to do the test drive. Heath stayed by Gavin’s side talking to him. When Gavin got to the end of the parking lot he got off. Heath adjusted the seat as high as it would go and hopped on to ride the bike back to where we stood in front of the bike shop.

His reasoning was that Gavin is 11 years old and about 5 feet tall. He has lots more growing to do. If we never get him another bike could he still ride this one when he is 6’2” like his dad? The answer is yes. The bike was small for Heath but certainly doable. It should last for about 10 years being handed down to Parker when Gavin goes on his mission. We were happy with the solid purchase we were making.

Sprinkles were intermittently falling as Heath and the boys put the bike rack on the back of the van. As soon as they were done and the doors were closed, the deluge began. We drove home in the drenching rain.

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What a day to buy a new bike!

The rain slowed and then stopped by the time we got home. So Heath decided Gavin should at least have an opportunity to ride his new bike. The other two were excited to get in on the action.

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The rain was anywhere from heavy to non-existent and everything in between. Smiles never wavered. It was the best day of their lives! They had never ridden bikes in the rain before. Temperatures were in the low 60’s so it was a warm rain. It was a Pineapple Express Storm with the weather coming from Hawaii. If you’re going to play in the rain this was certainly the day to do it.

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We let the boys ride to the park as long as they came home if the rain got too heavy.

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Heavy rain is subjective. I felt more at ease knowing the boys were riding around the closed park than when they were driving around the circle. I hate that I can’t see our kids when they play outside. Heath and I were sitting in camp chairs in the garage right where the driveway starts.

It was quite peaceful watching the rain. But when all three kids were riding around I was pretty anxious. I can’t see too far on one side of the street before it curves around and is blocked by houses. We don’t get a lot of traffic on our street but enough that I worry about where the kids might be when a car suddenly appears.

Gwen rode around singing at the top of her lungs. The boys were safe in the park. Heath and I were enjoying the rain from the shelter of our garage. It was such a great afternoon. Eventually the boys came back home and we decided it was time to come in. We helped all the kids wipe down their bikes before hanging them up on the bike rack.

bike-rackI don’t think I have used this photo yet. My mom got us this bike rack for Christmas. It’s the best. This picture was taken the day we set it up. The little green bike on the bottom right has been donated. That used to be Gavin’s bike! He has not been interested in bike riding until now.

We need to get rid of Parker’s old bike. It’s the one on the top left. The bike rack only holds four bikes but even that makes a huge difference in our garage. Gwen’s bike tucks away nicely in front of the bike rack.

We live in California where garages are used as basements since basements are rare here. I just think it’s cool that we can fit two large vehicles, five bikes (six right now), and lots of other storage in our garage.

It was a very wet weekend. The weather people couldn’t really agree on the rain forecast. Saturday was actually supposed to be fairly dry all day with the bulk of the rain coming Friday and Sunday. Surprise! I wasn’t sure what to expect on Monday. Of course we need the rain and I hoped we would receive more rain on Monday. But I felt bad that Gavin finally discovered the joy of bike riding and couldn’t ride his new bike.

A thunderstorm rolled through on Sunday night. The rain was very heavy. Monday dawned gray. I was ready to pop popcorn and watch movies or play games with the kids on their day off. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day.

We spent the morning cleaning the house. We spent the afternoon riding bikes. We rode around the parking lot of the park for a while. Gwen said she wanted to play at the playground. So we rode up to the playground at the top of the park. The kids ran around playing and climbing and giggling for over an hour. I loved watching them play when they were little. This was fun because they are bigger and capable of so much more physicality on the playground. They had so much fun making up games and challenges for themselves.

They got tired and hungry so we decided to go back home. We took our time riding back through the parking lots. There was no rain but the kids went home just as soaked as they were on Saturday. They found every single puddle and rode through. They all had dirty rainwater splatters up their backs. Parker’s pants had a couple dry spots on them. They were pretty well drenched with leftover puddles from the rain.

One puddle was deep and long. Gwen called it the ocean. Which was a pretty accurate description since that thing really did look like a lake! It was super deep and spanned at least five parking spaces. I didn’t really see Gavin go through that puddle. Gwen and Parker did though. They rode straight down the middle where it was deepest. They steered for all the other puddles too. If they missed one they would circle back around.

When we got home they had to wipe down their bikes again! I thought it was nice of us to let them ride in the rain on Saturday. I swore we would never do it again though since it was such a pain trying to wipe down the bikes. Then I got to do it again on a dry day since the kids went out of their way to find every single puddle. You’re only young once!

As we were detouring our way through the park on our way home, Parker enthusiastically yelled out, “This is the best bike ride ever!” It really was.

Business or Pleasure?

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A couple photos from the Great Mall of America Minnesota.

Sometimes I think Heath just goes on these “business trips” to have a mini vacation from us. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I guess. Two story American Girl Doll store. Huge Lego store. Yeah right business trip! Only why would he go to a trendy overpriced doll store without his family? Hmm.

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If a mini vacation is what he’s really doing, wouldn’t he go somewhere warmer? This picture text woke me up the other morning. The temperature is next to the time. It is –4 degrees at 7:54 am. Brr that’s cold! He said that one night he walked outside and his contacts immediately fogged up. Contact lenses fogging up! Eyeglasses fog up easily in the winter but I have never had my contact lenses fog up in the cold. While they were in my eyes! Poor guy.

Heath and his boss picked up the rental car together from the airport. Heath was driving. He put it in gear and gave the car some gas.
Nothing.
He checked to see if the emergency brake was on.
All good. He hit the gas again.
Nothing.
They got out to see what might be wrong.
The tires were frozen to the ground.

Eventually the car broke free of its frozen prison. They dropped off their luggage at the hotel and headed out for dinner. Heath was only wearing his sport coat. He accidently left his overcoat in the room. He didn’t figure it would be so bad. They weren’t going to be outside for long. Well it was long enough to turn into a human popsicle.

The air was so dry and so cold Heath said his boogers were freeze dried. No sinus congestion whatsoever! At least that.

He did go to a place called The Bachelor Farmer with his coworkers, supposedly. Interesting name. The menu is a little odd too. Who orders a groaning board? It sounds more like a torture device than an appetizer. He did say the braised lamb was delicious. That really bothered Gwen. She was afraid the “fur” was still attached!

It’s a good thing Heath isn’t a bachelor anymore. Sitting around some country sounding place with a masochistic menu eating fur covered baby sheep? I don’t know. I guess for a Californian driving in fresh powder and 12 degrees will make any meal seem like it’s the last. Maybe anything tastes good under those conditions.

Yeah, he must have really gone for business. No one would go to Minneapolis in February for pleasure. Apparently there is an amusement park in the middle of the mall. But Heath said they didn’t want to ride any rides after stuffing themselves at an Italian restaurant. He was afraid he might taste dinner again and then not like Italian anymore.

So if he did go to Minneapolis with his boss to hang out and play, the vacation was a fail. Inhumane temperatures, having to remember how to drive in snow, and only strolling around the mall because he was too full to play, yeah, that doesn’t make for a great vacation. I’m just glad he’s home. I hate being a work widow when he’s on business trips.

Industrious Apathy

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kid happenings 003

A couple weeks ago Gwen came home wearing this special paper headband. Apparently it was the 90th day of school, halfway through the school year. Soon after we got information about the 100th day of school.

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This sketch turned into

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this

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by coloring, counting, and gluing.

We counted while we cut little strips of yarn. Then we counted again and again and again. Which is funny after finding out what one kid did with his poster. The kid had taped on dried leaves. There were two large fluffy flowers taped on top. I guess he said he didn’t really count. He just put on a bunch of leaves and it seemed close enough to 100. But just to be sure he put on the flowers. That should get him to 100! Mrs. M was not happy.

Another kid told her yesterday that he hadn’t even started yet. The project was due today! It seemed to be a special year for laziness regarding this particular assignment. When Mrs. M first told the students about the project Gwen and Lauren’s little minds started thinking. By the end of the school day they had concocted a pretty elaborate plan that boiled down to more work for moms and less work for them.

Gwen told me all about her plan. I didn’t like the sound of it. Gwen assured me she had Mrs. M’s approval. I would buy 50 of something and Lauren’s mom would buy 50 of something and they would work together to put their 100 items on the same poster. She assured me again that Mrs. M was on board with this idea.

“I don’t care! You are not doing that!”

Gwen pouted. How dare I stomp on her brilliant idea! No surprise that when I went in to tutor, Mrs. M talked to me about “my girls.” I told her I was not okay with the idea. Mrs. M made it very clear that she was never okay with the idea and never gave any bit of permission. I didn’t think so! She said in all her years of teaching she has never had students come up with such a plan. We both agreed it completely defeated the purpose of the project. And then the leaf kid comes along! Oh Mrs. M, you can retire now. Now you have seen it all.

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I love the way it turned out. Gwen loved it. Mrs. M loved it. Yesterday when I tutored again she said that she was surprised to see the mustache the way it was. She thought Gwen was going to glue 100 mustaches. Nope. This was the plan all along. For Gwen to fill a mustache with 100 mustache hairs. Only I made the mustache gigantic. Heath said that 100 pieces of yarn is a lot but there was no way it would fill the mustache I drew. So Gwen had to color it to fill it in a little.

She stepped away from her handiwork and then went back to admire it more I guess. She remembered she needed to put her name on it. I love that she wrote her full name. And that she continues to make her y’s backwards. She doesn’t write Gwenyth on everything but she has been writing it more often. It’s cute.

First grade tradition is that all the kids dress up as if they are 100 years old and get their picture taken. I can’t wait to see Gwen’s picture. She was pretending to be a crotchety old lady today. After weeks and weeks of no rain (nothing since Christmas Eve), it was a rainy day. Gwen took her umbrella to school of course. She likes to hunch over and use it as a walking cane. She was using it to walk up the stairs this morning. She stopped partway up and shook her cane. “Hey! Get off my lawn!” She’s such a goofball.

More than halfway through the school year and twice as smart. Or twice as shrewd. Awww … my last first grader.

Yagottawanna

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Most success in life is a result of determined desire. Payments and rewards have their place. Though they pale in comparison to the satisfaction of achieving dreams. Yagottawanna!

Gavin will enjoy his first Court of Honor this month. He has earned the Tenderfoot ranking. I think those are the words. He has worked hard to earn this award. I’m proud of him and he is proud of himself.

On Monday he went to his piano lesson. He rides his scooter there since it’s faster than driving. An hour later I started worrying that he wasn’t home yet. It had been a while since he stayed late to goof off with his teacher and siblings. Dinner was almost ready. I had timed it so we could eat as soon as Gavin got home. But he wasn’t home and I was getting nervous.

Heath had left that morning for a business trip in the depths of icy hell. More on that later. The first day is always the hardest for me so I was extra panicky that Gavin was so late. I texted Heath and called Adam’s house. There was no answer at their house which only fueled my anxiety. Heath hadn’t responded yet. I knew he had landed in Minneapolis so he should have been free to talk. I called him but there was no answer. Where are all the people?

Several more minutes passed and Heath finally texted that Gavin may be working on scout stuff with Adam’s dad Robert, who happens to be Gavin’s scout leader. Then Heath said he reached Robert via text. They were almost done with scout stuff.

The three of us ate without Gavin. After we finished Gavin walked through the front door. A whole 90 minutes after I sent him out the door for a half hour piano lesson. I was so relieved he was home but I had to let my emotions out somehow. I hugged him and said, “Next time call me! Don’t make your mother worry!”

It paid off. The next day Robert called to tell me that Gavin needed to set up his own Board of Review. He had tried to do it for the boys but was chastised for his charity. I wanted to roll my eyes that it took so many middle men just to set up the next step. But I appreciated the lessons Gavin needed to learn by doing it himself.

Gavin called and said he had his Scout Master Conference and was ready for his Board of Review. It was set up for the next night when he had his regular scout meeting. He passed with flying colors. Robert called that night to tell me.

Robert: Congratulations Mom!
Me: I had nothing to do with it. That was all Gavin.
Robert: Oh … well, good for him!

Heath and I decided before we had kids that we would expect our kids to do these types of things on their own. We knew too many parents who wanted their kids to earn their Eagle Scout or Young Women’s Medallion before they could get a driver’s license. What could those awards mean to the kids who had a driver’s license held over their heads?

Then again, what do I know? I didn’t earn my Young Women’s Medallion and Heath didn’t earn his Eagle Scout. We both blame moving. Deep down we both realize it wasn’t up to our leaders to encourage us. It wasn’t our parents’ fault for making us move. We didn’t want it badly enough to finish what we started.

It could be argued that yagottawanna still applies. The kids want driving privileges so they achieve great things. I just think people get what they expect. If all you want is a driver’s license then that’s all the award will mean. I heard a talk recently where the speaker talked about reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. He read for the rewards in Seminary. And that’s all he got out of the experience. Stickers on a chart.

Maybe Gavin had a fire lit under him when he didn’t earn his Arrow of Light. I don’t know. All I know is he cares about scouts now that he’s not a Cub Scout anymore. He came home from his Board of Review and said he wanted to earn the next award before he turns 12. He showed me that he’s already passed off several requirements. I love that he’s already set goals for himself.

Awards and recognition are nice. They look good on a resume. But they are even more meaningful when they were sought after and achieved through hard work and perseverance. I refuse to be the mother who is congratulated for her son’s Eagle Scout Award.

I’m so proud of Gavin for how much he has matured this school year. He is recognizing that life is what he makes of it. He is dabbling in different things and finding what he cares about. I love that he sets goals for himself and works hard to achieve those goals. He’s a good kid. He’s well on his way to becoming a successful adult. When the desire is there everything else falls into place. Yagottawanna!

I don’t do it for my health

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I live in the most beautiful part of the world. Between the weather, wildlife, and scenery, my corner of the world is breathtaking.

Lately I have rediscovered the park I live by. Living so close to a park was a dream when my kids were little. My appreciation for parks came when we lived in corporate housing in San Francisco. With no backyard I had to walk my small boys to the closest park. We did that twice a day. Oh how I missed having a backyard!

It was nice to move into a house with a yard again. But the park nearby was even better. We definitely took advantage of playing at all the playgrounds around town. One thing I have noticed recently is that my kids are starting to outgrow the playgrounds. They still think it’s fun but it seems like the toddler and preschool crowd have dibs on the playgrounds around here. With school age kids, I don’t feel like we belong at the park anymore.

Until last week.

I walked around the park. The morning was lovely. The sunshine was calling me outside. So I went on a walk. It was a very fulfilling experience. I have done this several times now.

The first time I went entire flocks of birds spontaneously lifted up into the sky. It almost sounded like frantic chirps and tweets as they swirled around the treetops. Several bushes lined the fences where I was walking. I remembered a part from Skellig where they talked about the fledglings that lived in the bushes. Curious, I carefully watched the ground under the bushes as I walked past. Sure enough I saw a couple tiny birds waddling quickly from one bush to another.

How incredible is that? I saw firsthand something I had read about in a book! The birds must be able to fly now because that first day was the only time I have seen evidence of baby birds seeking protection under the bushes in the park. It’s still amazing to me to realize I am walking around bird nests. Luckily none of the adult birds have dive bombed my head. Some birds are mean and will do that! I think the birds in the park are used to people being so close to their nests but never disturbing them. I wasn’t looking to harm anything. I think they recognized that.

Today I enjoyed listening to the bird calls. Different types of birds live all over the park. It sounded like I was walking through Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. But these were completely wild birds who naturally live in the trees right by my house.

When I come around the final corner on the far end of the park,  I’m pretty tired. I start to wonder why I didn’t just ride my bike. It would be faster to get home. The beginning of the last half of the park seems long and tedious. But then the sidewalk turns away from the street and back into the park.

The sun sprinkles down through the treetops. Picnic tables sit in a large patch of dirt. On the ground are seeds and old pine tree needles. It smells like the fresh air of the mountains I used to camp in as a kid. For a minute I forget I’m so close to home. I get my second wind and the rest of the walk is easy.

So far there haven’t been a lot of people. I must time my walks to avoid the hardcore exercise enthusiasts. Occasionally I will see a jogger. Usually there are dog walkers but more often than not it’s people like me. People in regular street clothes out enjoying the day.

That’s my favorite part of this activity. I’m exercising without having to shower when I’m finished. I love doing my Wii workouts in my bedroom. The problem is I don’t have time. Three kids on three different start schedules at two different schools makes a full on workout difficult. Yesterday I didn’t fit in a shower until after I got Gwen off to school. After getting myself ready for the day there wasn’t much time left before lunch and heading off to my tutoring session.

Time has been my biggest issue with workouts all along. It’s tough to find the time to do what I need to for my family and fit in a workout and shower. Not to mention the blood sugar game. Is my blood sugar going to crash in the middle of my workout? This is why I can’t stick with a workout routine.

I loved going on bike rides every day after lunch last year with Gwen. She’s in school all day now. I could ride my bike alone but it’s kind of like eating alone. Very lonely. I like walking. No dress code, no follow up shower. All I need is to find 45 minutes to walk a little more than 2.25 miles.

So far I have gone when my blood sugar was a little high. The timing seemed perfect. Take a couple units of insulin to get back in range or walk a couple miles enjoying the world around me. I prefer walking.

When I do my Wii workouts in my bedroom, I expect to lose weight. I expect to vacuum up burned calories and evaporated fat. I expect my muscles to be tone and my clothes to fit better. I expect noticeable results.

I did not expect much with walking. I expect the extra movement to help unlock the insulin to be used more effectively in my body. That’s it. That’s all I expect. Only my abs are sore. Who knew? And I have this new appreciation for the wonderful world just outside my door I have forgotten about.

Walking is supposed to be one of those gateway exercises. If you are a couch potato with the numbers worn off your remote and you can’t pull yourself out of the dent in your couch without the help of another person, or a crane, then you should start walking. It’s easy. Anyone can do it. You start out slow and small until one day you are training for a marathon.

That’s not necessarily my plan. I don’t walk for my health. I enjoy the friendly people in the park. The sunshine and warm breeze fill my soul. The wildlife make me feel like I am somewhere exotic. When I’m done I feel like I did something good for myself. I don’t do this for my health. But I sure love the results!

Welcome to the Winner’s Circle

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Friday was Pinewood Derby day. Parker was so excited. School was a necessary evil whose only redeeming value was that it helped pass the time. Evening could not come fast enough.

We went to the new sandwich shop near the church. I love sandwich shops. I wouldn’t say that one is my favorite. The one thing I do love about that place is the customer service. The people there are so nice. Incredibly nice. That right there will get me to go back. That and their sandwiches are different. Sometimes different is good. It’s a nice wild card for our restaurant arsenal.

Parker was in his Scout uniform. One of the sandwich guys was talking to him about Cub Scouts. The guy said he used to be in Cub Scouts but he didn’t really continue on with Scouting past Webelos. He said his car was always the fastest at the Pinewood Derby because few people knew about graphite back then. I guess his dad knew to put it on the wheels but not a lot of dads did that. He told Parker to stick with Scouting. I thought that was a fun little moment for Parker.

We finished up our sandwiches and headed back to the church. Heath and Parker went in while I took the other two mugwumps home to watch a movie. Finally the moment had arrived!

Pinewood-Derby

Heath made sure to put on his Doctor Who shirt for the event. It’s a picture of the Tardis with the words Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey around it.

The Tardis received lots of compliments. When they were checking in the car one of the ladies at the table knew what it was while the other didn’t. When Parker said the name of the car was Tardis the one lady said that she wished her husband was there to see it.

They posed for the yearly photo and then found seats to watch the races. Heath was excited they got seats right at the finish line.

At one point in the races the leaders asked if anyone knew a joke to tell. Parker asked if he could repeat a joke his dad had recently told us. Heath said yes so the last video clip is Parker telling the joke. You can see that no one was paying any attention! It’s hard to hear. I had to watch the clip a couple times to get it all.

Parker: The teacher says to the students, use a sentence with the word fascinate. So the student was like I have nine buttons but I can only fasten eight.

Parker was thrilled that his car kept winning! He only lost three out of ten races. Heath just said that the car didn’t come in last. It was actually early for the next race! Parker made it to the elimination round. While the Tardis did well it wasn’t enough to beat little Brian.

Brian’s family moved into our ward recently. They came from South Korea. The story is that they were living life as usual, not knowing what dramatic changes the future held for them. Ten days later they were in the United States starting a new job and a new life in a new country. They moved around Brian’s 8th birthday so he missed being baptized when he normally would have. The Stake Primary Presidency was able to fit him in on Saturday.

He doesn’t speak any English. His mom said to be patient with him since he will be shy until he feels comfortable. So he’s a brand new Cub Scout and he got a pinewood derby kit. His dad asked a few people for help in understanding what a pinewood derby even is. They made the car and Brian was the champion. Talk about your Cinderella Story!

Parker was fine with not being the winner. He made it to the final round and that was good enough for him. He had a blast making the car with his dad and racing his car. Making it as far as he did was the icing on the cake. It didn’t hurt that everyone was impressed with his creativity too. A Tardis pinewood derby car! That is a pretty creative car. It is now sitting in a place of honor in the office. It’s on a shelf with Lego sets and other display only items.

Busy Bees

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It’s been a busy weekend.

Friday was the Pinewood Derby. That event gets its own post.

Saturday was exhausting. We got up early so we could hit Costco soon after it opened. I still hate that store! I suffer from sensory overload every time we go. Too many people, too many products, too much noise. But hey, we were home with groceries put away by 10:30. That’s awesome!

Gwen went to a birthday party at 11. Rachel is really into American Girl dolls. She kept begging for one. Her parents told her she had to prove she wanted a doll by playing with the dolls she has. After several months of not letting go of the wish for an American Girl doll and playing with her current dolls, they gave in. She got one for her birthday.

I was so glad her mom told me the story because then I knew exactly what to have Gwen give as a gift. A while ago I had seen a hairstyling book specific to American Girl dolls. Perfect! I found one on Amazon that came with a book of hairstyles, a DVD full of hairstyle tutorials, a hairbrush, a water bottle, and elastics. Sold!

I saw Vicki yesterday at church and she told me how much Rachel loved that gift. Rachel spent the whole morning before church watching the DVD and trying out different hairstyles. I’m so glad she loves it.

The party was a royal tea party. Jon Eric answered the door in a tuxedo because he was the butler! Gwen seemed to enjoy herself and all the crafts. We went out to lunch. It was yummy and a lot of fun. But don’t tell Gwen it was at her favorite restaurant.

We dropped Parker off at Blake’s birthday party. That party went from 1-5. The boys played outside and watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and had pizza and cake. Parker had a blast.

He said that Blake opened his presents at the party. It’s very strange to me that the new vogue thing to do is invite a million people to a party at some fantastic venue and then not open a single present at the party. Blake’s family seems a lot more my speed when it comes to parties.

Gavin went to Luke’s party a few months ago. All Luke wanted for his birthday was to have a couple friends come hang out at his house for a party. John took the boys to a movie after they played at the house for a couple hours. Then he took everyone home since the movie was late. Anyway, Parker said that Blake was really excited to get a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lego set.

While Parker was at the party, I worked on the Primary Bulletin Board some more. When I was first called as Primary Secretary the previous secretary gave me a rushed overview of my responsibilities. She talks fast and there was a lot of ground to cover in only twenty minutes. I thought she said I was in charge of both bulletin boards. The one in the Primary room and the one in the hallway. I have been planning out ideas for the 2015 Primary theme ever since.

Only it turns out I misunderstood. After end-of-the-world-Primary-mistake #5897, the record was set straight. Oops. Admittedly I lost all kinds of steam for decorating the hallway bulletin board when I found out that was the only one I was in charge of. So I am forever grateful to Heath for coming up with a creative plan and helping me execute when I didn’t care.

BB-layout

This was the layout we built in the Cricut Design Space online. The yellow squares in the middle are just place holders. We had already cut those out earlier.

They turned out really cool. We picked a picture and word that represented each monthly theme. We cut the word out of the picture so the yellow matte showed through. It looks cool.

At first we were just going to put everything over the green and orange paper already on the board. Then we bought some blue paper and changed our design a little.

I wanted to get the board decorated this weekend. I felt like I was taking too long to get it done. So on Friday I took the above picture as a reference. I went to the craft store and bought more scrapbook paper. Unfortunately some of the frames were too big for the 12×12 mats. I only had 12×12 paper so they didn’t cut out well. I resized a few things and cut again.

Everything was ready to hang up by 3 pm on Saturday. I wanted to go and do it so badly! I may take a long time with my scrapbook layouts. Each page takes me a couple weeks to complete. I’m too much of a perfectionist. But once I’m ready to glue the elements down I’m ready. That’s where I was at 3 pm. I was ready to glue. Or staple as the case may be. But I was supposed to be at a baptism at 4. There wasn’t enough time to do both.

I got to the church ready for the baptism at 4. I walked past my bulletin board in the hall and into the Primary room. People were still setting up chairs. What? I walked back outside and looked up the emails about the baptism. Yeah, it was scheduled to start at 4:30. I was so annoyed. I could have gotten the board done! Instead I got to wait around for the baptism to start.

Heath picked up Parker from the party. He was hoping I would do it since I was closer. But with a 4:30 start time there was no way I could be done by 5 to pick up Parker.

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Later we went back to the church to set up the bulletin board. I think it turned out really well. By the way, I erased identifying information in Photoshop. Like the name of our ward and the announcements. That would be strange to beautifully matte the word Primary.

I feel this weight off my shoulders now. This was the last major project I was in charge of. Now it’s just business as usual. Create assignments, email assignment reminders, find out half the kids will be out of town, then put my kids on the agenda to do the assignments. Every week is the same. That I can handle.

 

Somewhere in the weekend I made a poster for Gwen. This Friday is the 100th day of school. Which is a big deal for first graders. It took me a minute to come up with a creative idea she could do 100 of. Gavin and I put together a 100 piece puzzle and matted it on poster board. Parker listed 100 things he liked and pasted them on a poster. Gwen was sent home with a gigantic piece of paper to decorate.

I looked online for ideas. I didn’t see a mustache but the images online gave me the idea of gluing 100 pieces of yarn onto a mustache.

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This is what I drew. I’m pretty proud of it! I have been drawing silly faces for the kids lately. They were putting smiley face stickers on their calendars when they got their chores done. I got tired of looking for the stickers so I started drawing faces for them. They love it. This 100 guy reminds me of the faces I make for them. I think he looks awesome. I should start drawing again!

What a busy weekend. I’m not ready for a new week to start. There isn’t much I can do about it so here we go!

Doctor Whom

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Parker is obsessed with BBC’s Doctor Who. So much so that I found him one afternoon in his suit with plastic glasses frames on researching Doctor Who on the computer.

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It may be hard to tell but he also borrowed a bowtie from his large penguin. When this boy decides he is into something he dives in head first.

Our new rule is the kids have to earn screen time by completing chores. I wasn’t sure if it would really work. We have had a couple hiccups along the way. For the most part the kids are extremely motivated to earn that screen time every day. My house has never been cleaner!

Parker works hard to earn screen time before Heath comes home from work. That way he can watch Doctor Who before Dad takes over the TV making us watch basketball games or something. Science fiction synthesizer sounds seem to always be floating through the house.

Not only does Parker enjoy watching the shows, he’s turned it into a competition. Because, hello, it’s Parker! Every day I hear the same question.

Parker: Dad, what doctor are you on? I’m almost caught up to you!

Apparently the doctor is the same guy but the show has been on for the last ten million years, so of course the actor changes. He’s been numbered in our house. The 8th doctor, the 10th doctor, the original doctor, etc.

It feels like everything is starting to revolve around this iconic TV show. Parker loses his mind every time he notices something Doctor Who related in the world. One day at church he spotted a car with a family of vinyl Daleks on the back window. A couple weeks later we found out the car belongs to our home teacher who got into Doctor Who because his wife loves the show!

kid-happenings-008No surprise that Parker made his Pinewood Derby car a Tardis. The Pinewood Derby came out of nowhere this year. His scout leaders gave us a late heads up and I don’t know why they never gave us a car. It’s possible Parker told them we already had one at home. I was ready to wash my hands of the whole thing. It’s just another dumb Pinewood Derby. Who gives a flying fig, right?

A sudden wave of nostalgia crashed over Heath. He said this is the second to last car we get to make. So his creative juices started figuring out how to turn a block of wood with wheels into a Tardis.

We don’t do regular cars in our family. Be creative or go home! That’s our motto. So Heath and Parker have been laboring with love to create the coolest Tardis Pinewood Derby car. Gavin’s scout leader is also a Doctor Who nerd. When he heard about the car he said that Parker will win every time. It’s a time machine!

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At Parker’s last den meeting the boys were supposed to bring a shoe box to decorate. The Pinewood Derby cars should be displayed in these shoe box dioramas on Friday.

Gwen worships her brothers and has to do whatever they are doing. We had to buy another Pinewood Derby block of wood after the first one became a practice mess. Heath bought a Dremel tool and fine tuned his techniques on that first block of wood. Well Gwen insisted on keeping it for her own Pinewood Derby car. She colored it red with crayons and claims it is also a Tardis.

In order to be different from Parker she calls it Doctor Hoe since Doctor Who was already taken. Heath told her that Dr. Hoe is not an appropriate name. So she calls it Doctor Whom. That girl is crazy.

This afternoon I think Parker wished he actually was Doctor Who and could go back in time. He got his grade back for his MLK Jr. speech. It’s not what you think.

A week ago Parker was given the speech assignment. He didn’t do anything with it. We talked about ideas one night at dinner but that was as far as any speech writing went. I saw the paper and reminded Parker he needed to work on his speech. He rode his bike and played instead.

We discussed ideas again. We spent a lot of time discussing ideas because it was crunch time. The assignment was almost due. Somehow the weekend passed by and all that really got done was the Tardis. No speech was written.

I reminded Parker on Sunday that he probably should work on his speech. He got upset and told me that he would not work on homework on Sunday. I appreciated his efforts to keep the Sabbath Day holy but at the same time he was making a bad situation worse. He assured me he could do it on Monday. The speech was due on Tuesday. Not just the written speech but the speech presentation was due on Tuesday. Yesterday.

Much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth occurred on Monday. Heath deserves a gold star for his parenting. I walked away from Parker. The fighting hadn’t solved anything and I wasn’t going to write it for him. Heath patiently worked with him, encouraging more thoughtful work until a good speech was produced.

Tuesday morning, in the twenty minutes before we left for school, Parker transferred his speech to note cards. He presented that day. He was disappointed saying the class didn’t seem to really be paying attention and they didn’t seem to like it.

The grade came back today. Just as I suspected he got a perfect score. It’s nice that his teacher thinks he walks on water … but … I kind of needed him to have some consequences to his choices. In fact, his speech talked a lot about responsibility. And she gushed over it.

I just asked if it was his best work. He hung his head and said no. I told him it was great that no one knows he waited until the night before to prepare his speech. But he better not do it again. He seemed to understand. If only he were Doctor Who and could go back in time to fix this mistake. Personally, I’m counting on him learning from the mistake.

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