Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Cat Walk is Over!

My major assignment in the PTA is the Cat Walk fundraiser. Many of you know the story of last year when Ellie was chosen as one of the winners of the limo ride and breakfast with the principal. You may also recall that I heard Griffin screaming at the other end of the school when he wasn't chosen, but even worse, she was. It put me in a horrible spot and I thought I solved it this year by having a family prize of certificates for Tralfaga Fun Center. I would never go through that again!
Well, the prize assembly was this week. I calculated the number of laps--translated into miles--walked. The kids walked from Orem to Disneyland and back! They raised nearly $4000! The class with the most number of laps was one of the sixth grade classes (92 miles!). The student who walked the most laps and raised the most money from each class got a certificate of recognition and a cheesy prize. They all got to sit on the steps of the stage. And now, the drawings for the prize packages. First, preschool. Then kindergarten. First. Second. And through all of these, Griffin was getting more and more upset each time his name wasn't called. (It didn't matter that he wasn't in those grades.) It was time for third grade. I knew he had five entries in the drawing, but I also knew (since I filled out all the tickets) that one of his classmates had 18 entries! The principal reached his hand into the third grade bag. I said a quick prayer, the typical, "If there's a God above, please pull Griffin's name." I knew Griffin probably wasn't breathing. I looked in the principal's hand and thought I saw a G on the ticket. The other girl didn't have a G in her name. Did anyone else? I couldn't remember after filling out those hundreds of tickets. Mr. Beckstrand said, "Griffin Asplund!" He walked up to the stage, his face red and eyes puffy from crying the whole time. Mr. Beckstrand says, "He's so happy he can't stop crying!" I knew better. Ellie was already up there for raising the most money in her class and greeted him like this:
They stayed like that for quite a while, even as the other winners were chosen. Then we announced the class winners (both of the laps and the money raised). Griffin's class raised the most money (over $300)! Yeah! Ice cream party! The grand prize winner was announced (a winner by $0.65!) and the prize given away. My job was done for the year, and we survived. That night, I took Griffin out for ice cream so we could have some time to talk about the events of the day. We decided that it was okay for someone else to win next year and that we could be happy for them. I realize that day is nearly 365 days away and we'll have to talk about it an awful lot between now and then, but it's a start!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Second Cache!

Unlike last Tuesday's 6.5 mile day, this one was only a 2-miler. The majority of the mileage came in my weekly GPS class for 4H. This was the second time we went out with our GPS systems in hand or around our necks to hunt for a local cache.

I have learned that I need to go find these before the class because it wasn't where I thought it was going to be!

Here it is, hidden in a tree wrapped in camouflage tape

My group

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Well, if the Patriarch Says . . .

Ian told us at dinner that he had a blank stare at the end of his class in priesthood. The young men's president asked him if he was deep in thought and he said, "Not really." He then asked if he was thinking about the Eagles game that was going on and he admitted that he was. Ian then backed up his response with, "My grandfather says that the sabbath ends at 4 (eastern time) or when the Eagles game starts, and HE's a patriarch." Our Bishop made note. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing!

As we watched the game during dinner, and I screamed throughout, Ellie would say, "Geez, Mom. It's just a game." Ian responded, "It's the Eagles. It's okay." That's my boy, that's my boy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"I'm a Geek"

As we were driving to school today, we passed a "Geek Squad" car. Ellie asked what it was and I explained--maybe poorly--that it's what Dad does: troubleshoot computers and electronics. Ellie naturally came to the conclusion that both John and Ian are geeks. I agreed and said that being a geek is a good thing because in the end, a geek can always support his family. Griffy thought that calling them geeks was a terrible thing and that we should be called to repentance. I put him on the phone to John so he could answer the question himself. Griffy tenuously said, "Dad, are you a geek?" to which he responded, "Yes." Griffin said that people shouldn't call him that, that he was not a geek. As John talked to him, I could see him getting almost distraught. When I parked the car, I got out to help Griffin and he was closing the phone. I asked what Dad had said to him and he said, "Dad said geeks like Star Wars, so I guess that means I'm a geek, too." I walked him to class so I could briefly talk with his teacher and he muttered down the hall, "I can't believe I'm a geek." I hope this moment doesn't come back in therapy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A 6.5-Mile Day!

This has been such a long day! Since our big fund raising Cat Walk, I spend about a half hour each morning in the school waiting for pledge envelopes and counting money to be deposited. From there, it was on to a fifth grade field trip to see The Da Vinci Experience. We walked from the school to the mall, toured the exhibit which had some really cool stuff, then back to school.

Who needs to go to Paris to see the Mona Lisa?

At that point, my pedometer was at 4 miles. After a short rest, it was off to teach my weekly 4-H club, GPS and Geocaching. This was our first time actually going out into the "field" which meant two caches that were close to the school. That added mile 5.5.

Clubs ended at 3:30 and we headed home so I could take Maggie to the doctor to try and head off or lessen what looks to be another shingles outbreak. We were at the doctors by 4, done at the pharmacy by 4:50, and then back at the school to pick Ellie up from her club. It was home for a few minutes, then back to the car at 6:00 so Griffin, Ellie, Ian and I could go to f.y.e. where they were celebrating the release of the latest Star Wars video game, The Force Unleashed. There's a local group called "The Alpine Garrison" complete with stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and other characters from the George Lucas universe. Griffin was so excited when we went, but once we walked in the door and he saw some of them, he took off running towards the other end of the store. (This is where the rest of the mileage came in.)

Ellie tried to show him that it was easy after posing with the living statues in Italy.

After a half hour of kind of peeking around corners and a woman who worked with austistic kids and also the Alpine Garrison, we were able to get the first picture with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Boba Fett scared the pants off of him and Darth Vader still wasn't there! At 6:45, we saw a few of the characters go outside, and then, walking back to the store with them, was a tall man with a Vader mask in his hands. I think being able to show Griffin that they were just dressed up in costumes made a huge difference (except when it came to Boba Fett). We waited around the store while Vader got dressed and then, out he came! Griffin had agreed to maybe being held while we posed for one picture, but I guess the woman who had worked with us before had talked with the cast and he came right over to talk with Griffin. He shook his hand, they briefly talked about the cool Lego Star Wars shirt he was wearing (coincidental that that's what he chose to wear for the day), and then we quickly gathered for the picture. As we finished the second shot, Vader said to me, "Your children are well versed in the force. You have raised them well." (Giggle, giggle.) Grif was so proud of himself, but he took off running out the door.

As we left, we saw Anakin going into the store. He said he would like to have "met" him, but he couldn't take any more. (He was dripping with sweat from this whole experience. It was like being back in Italy again!) So I hope you enjoy the pictures. They said we could go onto their website in a week and see the professional pictures. (Mine were taken from a side angle, so we didn't get the full backdrop.)

I came home, looked at my pedometer, and collapsed in a heap. And yet, here it was after 7, and I still had to make dinner. We settled for BLTs with homemade McDonald's parfaits and I was asleep by 9:30 or so. I don't get many of those days, and I'm so glad!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Lesson I Learned Today Was Don't Teach Your Son to Drive When You are PMSing

I think I did really well, considering . . .

We finished up an abbreviated Family Home Evening that consisted of going through the schedule for the week, deciding to read scriptures either at 5:45 am or 9 pm (guess which one was the winner), and then Griffin doing the activity which was entitled "Road to God." Each of us were asked to choose a marble and place it on the path (using his marble maze he built after school). If you made it through, then you got to live with God. If you didn't make it to the end, then you were going to the Devil's Den. (Maggie's marble fell off a couple of times, but she fortunately made it to the end.) This was all ad-libbed as he went along. Nothing like a little eternal salvation pressure to liven up FHE!
Since everyone had finished their homework (this mostly related to Griffin who had four pages to do since he didn't finish everything in class), I told them I would take them to Arctic Circle for cones or shakes. The kids had been fighting and arguing since dinner and I realized that what I really wanted was for everyone else to go and for me to stay home. Ian suggested that he could drive, and I told him that I would let him drive home. He had never driven the van or at night before, and I knew this would be challenging. (Yes, say it with me, "What was I thinking?")

He really did fine. He drove much slower (which I was okay with), but he was a little thrown by the size of the van. I finally said to him, "The key is, when you think you're going to hit something, STOP! rather than thinking to yourself, 'Oh, I hope I don't hit that.'" Maybe that should be a life motto or something. I think I was realtively calm and didn't raise my voice (I should probably ask him if he felt the same way).

We got home and I said to John (who decided not to go), "What was I thinking having my teenage boy drive when I'm PMSing?" My advice for any future and similar situations: don't do it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It Must Be the End of the World

It was our semi-annual stake blood drive today and I went in for my scheduled appointment at 5:00. After going through the initial check to make sure I was healthy enough to donate, I went through the round of questions. I noticed a question this time that I hadn't paid attention to before: have you received any donor grafts in the past 12 months? I skipped that one, finished the rest, and then flagged down one of the techs. After asking whether my cadaver/donor bone from the cervical fusion in my neck qualified as a graft, and having her go ask a few other people, I was told that I wouldn't be able to donate for a year following the surgery. I couldn't believe it! I was so disappointed! (Yes, that's where the title comes into play.) I had made a concerted effort to drink lots of fluids today so they could find the vein easily and my blood would flow quickly. All of that for nothing! Trip after trip to the bathroom for no reason!

I guess I'll see them again next summer. Who would have thought with my tumultuous past with needles that I would be so distraught that I couldn't give blood?

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm a Nun, I'm a Nun!

As we were coming home from the festival Saturday afternoon, Mags asked if we could stop by the high school to see if she had made it into the cast of their fall musical, The Sound of Music. She was nervous since she didn't made the group for Shakespeare, so we did our best to reassure her that we still loved her no matter what the outcome of this audition. As we pulled up to the door where the list was posted, we let her get out by herself so she could look over the cast. Then we heard, "I'm a nun! I'm a nun!" (This was all the funnier because when they did Les Mis two years ago, one of the girls came away yelling, "I'm a prostitute! I'm a prostitute!" not knowing what a prostitute was. After her mother explained, she was a bit more reserved in her enthusiasm.) We all jumped out of the van to look over the list and share in her moment of joy.

So we're thrilled to announce that our daughter is a nun!