Saturday, January 31, 2009

Look What Came in the Mail Today

Letter 1:

Admissions Office
201 S 1460 E Rm 250S
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Dear Ian:

It is a pleasure to inform you of your acceptance to the University of Utah. Your place in the freshman class is reserved beginning Fall 2009. Etc., etc., etc.,

Barbara A. Fortin, Director of Admissions

Letter 2:

Dear Ian,
Congratulations! Based on your outstanding academic achievements, you have been selected as the recipient of a scholarship at Southern Utah University. The details of your scholarship are as follows:

Scholarship: Dean's Scholarship
Length: 2 years (4 semesters)
Amount: $1200 per year

etc., etc., etc.,

We congratulate you, Ian, and offer you any assistance needed in your plans to attend Southern Utah University.

Malinda Rhodes, Scholarship Coordinator

Letter 3 (actually received a couple of days ago):

Dear Ian,

Congratulations! You have been selected to receive the Aggie Housing Scholarship from Utah State University, worth $500 over two semesters. Etc., etc., etc.

Jenn Putnam, Director of Admissions

So this is what we have learned. College is REALLY expensive (even with these offers) and I don't know what we are going to do. Ian had mentioned that SUU has a better graphics program than USU and he obviously got a better offer from them, but his dream was to go USU. And then there's the local school, UVU (Utah Valley University, formerly UVSC [Utah Valley State College], formerly UVCC [Utah Valley Community College]). He's taken some concurrent classes there throughout high school. Housing and food are free because he could just live here. Maybe I liked it better when they were all younger and the choices were easier, and definitely less expensive.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ian Could Be a T-Bird Too!

January 23, 2009

Dear Ian:

Congratulations! You have been admitted to Southern Utah University for the 2009-2010 academic year. I am delighted that you are considering SUU as your college choice.

This is a memorable occasion for you and your family. You have an opportunity to utilize the University's top-notch resources as part of your college experience. Be proud of this accomplishment! SUU is one of the finest public universities in the nation recognized for personal attention, high job and graduate school placement and great tuition value.

You have been admitted as a resident for tuition purposes. You have also declared an intent to study Graphic Design in the College of Performing and Visual Arts.

If you decide to change your area of study prior to registration, please contact the Admissions Office and we will update your status. You are welcome to call me or to email Juliann Smith, your regional representative, at if we can help in any way.

Once again, congratulations and welcome! It is exciting that you could be part of this year's outstanding group of new students at Southern Utah University.


Stephen C. Allen, Director of Enrollment

Look What I Found!

As I was grocery shopping at Wal-Mart today, I came upon these:

I'm sad to say that I haven't found any Devil Dogs yet, but there's always hope.

Ian Finishes His Duty to God

Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down with the kids and go over their duty to god/personal progress/faith in god books. As we went through, we could see that Ian had one thing to do (which he did immediately) and his was done! That means he earned all three awards and will receive the medallion in May. I remember when we first looked through the books there were some really difficult challenges that would be required of him and I wasn't sure that he would be able to complete it. I'm proud of this accomplishment, more so than if he had been on an award-winning lacrosse team or received some other sort of award. He has received two of the highest honors I can imagine: his Eagle Scout and Duty to God. You're awesome, Ian!

Also, you can see his new blog (Ian in Real Life) that he designed (the layout, banner [notice that the figure is Ian "ghosted"] and style) by clicking on the link on the side of my page. I've asked him to try to figure one out for me, so we'll see what he comes up with!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Win Stupid of the Day! Award

As I was leaving for work this morning, I walked out of the house with my arms full, went to put my keys in the car door, and then realized that I had left my keys in the house--which was now locked. Not being skinny enough to fit through the dog door nor have arms long enough to reach through the door and unlock the deadbolt, I wandered around wondering what to do. John was in Salt Lake, and the kids in school, but I could call and get Ian excused long enough to have him come home and let me in. I called John and he suggested I start trying windows. Now, the girls are a bit fanatical about making sure the windows are locked (remember Elizabeth Smart? They do.). Griffin isn't tall enough to lock OR unlock them, so I figured since I was the last one to do it, if I hadn't locked it, I had at least activated the security tab which allowed the window to open only 6 inches. My last hope was Ian's room.

God bless that boy! (Although now I know a few major security flaws in our house.) I was able to climb in through his window (greeted by a "huffing" Snowflake--the extent of her security detail) and get my keys.

But here's the upside. Had it been earlier, I would have been in my leopard-print pajama bottoms, socks, and a sweatshirt. At least I was dressed and wearing a coat (and shoes!).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Utah Tradition

Each year with the winter comes the inversion, where the smog gets trapped in the valleys, leaving it cold and smoggy underneath and warm and sunny up in the mountains. We're in the thick of one now and have been for some time now, with some relief hopefully coming this weekend with a low pressure system pushing out our monster high. Besides the obvious downsides of dirty air and lots of fog comes difficulty breathing for Griffin. Since we're in a "condition red" stage as far as air pollution goes, he isn't allowed to go outside for recess or spend much time outside. Today he really wanted to walk to cub scouts which is just one street over, so I told him we could as long as he covered his mouth and nose with his jacket.
We took Snowflake with us and got to see some of the unusual patterns found in the snow as it starts slowing melting.
(There's not much moisture left in the snow, so she was less than satisfied when she was eating the snow to quench her thirst.)
The tops of the snow piles are still there, but the undersides have melted leaving no stability. If you touch one of these delicate crystal formations, the whole thing collapses. It's quite amazing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Jr. Day

Griffin thought it important that we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by having a cake with chocolate and vanilla frosting. I thought we could just have a white cake with chocolate frosting, but he told me I was messing with his plan. So we ended up with this, with the line in the middle blurred.

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

Ian Gets His Braces Off!

We are currently a family without braces! Ian went in thinking just the top braces were coming off, but instead, he came out with tops and bottoms gone (braces, not clothes). Unlike Maggie's marathon braces, his were on and off in less than a year. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ian Goes to Preference

For the first time in his high school career, Ian was asked to preference. He and Riley Payne played board games with a group during the afternoon, then ate Wendy's on fine china with forks and knives, then were off to the dance where they played tag with the others during the slow songs. He got back home around midnight. I was still up having several chapters to typeset for Don Ferruzzi, a professor back in New York. (It's been ten years since we last worked together and he took some time to track me down since he had a deadline to meet and knew I was already familiar with the work.)

He looked so sharp in his tuxedo (courtesy of Men's Wearhouse from Mr. Mountain View) and she is stunning! She was in Maggie's Emergency Services class and I guess is best known for her hate of everything "Twilight" related as well as her fondness for Dora the Explorer. Although she was in charge of the date, Ian made sure to buy her some chocolates and Dora the Explorer band-aids. I made sure to snap a picture (I don't usually get to since Ian's doing the picking up.) I guess it's kind of odd to shoot them in the usual spot in the living room since we have a new picture there (even Ian said, "You want our picture in front of Jesus?"), but at least it keeps them honest, plus its the best lighting in the house.
Glad you had fun!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Clear Creek

One of the highlights of fifth grade in Alpine School District is the opportunity to attend Clear Creek overnight camp (located just above Scofield Reservoir) each year. This camp also provides a week-long leadership training in the summer for stuents who want--and can afford--to participate. The boys left on Wednesday and the girls on Thursday. I went up with three other moms to chaperone and assist their teacher, Mrs. Draper (who, as previously mentioned, is also one of my good friends).

After much weeping and wailing from Griffin (who was sure that I wouldn't return), the time came for us to go. We left the school at 9:15 with 22 girls and the four moms and arrived a little before 11. Let me point out that three of the four moms have been to Girls Camp together, so we started to get these girls prepped and ready through songs and other games. The bus ride was certainly not peaceful.

The first order of the day upon our arrival and loading of luggage into the cabins? Dodge ball, boys against girls. I gave myself the assignment of chief photographer, thereby excusing myself from the more violent activities. (I did join in for a game of moms versus girls a little later.)

The activities included some science experiments, snow-shoeing, crafts, survival tactics, the movie Snow Dogs,

a ropes course,

the game Curses,

sledding and general merriment in the snow,

tug of war,

and karoake. Ellie sang two songs (one of which was Summer Nights from Grease, a truly filthy song, that hopefully 10-year-old girls don't understand!).

Unfortunately, Ellie saw the side of me that Maggie has seen for years. The "moms" performed three numbers: I Love Rock 'n Roll, Love is a Battlefield, and We're Not Gonna Take It. Ellie kind of sat through the first number, was hiding by the second, and left the room by the third. We had a long talk afterwards about it and how Maggie went through the same thing when I taught the sixth grade the Napoleon Dynamite dance and how by her girls' camp experience she realized she just had to get over it. Mrs./Sis. Draper reassured Ellie that what happened at Girls Camp/Clear Creek stayed at Girls Camp/Clear Creek. (Although helpful at the moment, Maggie told her later that all these things end up on videotape and become part of history.)

After a night with no sleep (no fault of the girls as they were asleep by 11--just my usual "go to camp and not sleep" situation), Ellie and I took advantage of some free time to go snow shoeing just by ourselves, except for the caretaker's dog, Jasper, who wanted to come along.

We packed up, cleaned the cabins, ate lunch, took some group pictures, then came back to Westmore.

me, Debbie Draper, Lisa Call, Diane Stringham, Terri Hatch,

Jordan Boswell, Carolyn and Paul Kenley

Once we got back into cell phone range, I started texting Ian, Mags and John to find out if the front door was locked. Not only were we an hour earlier than we had expected, but the van was back at the house so Ian could pick Ellie and I (and all of our stuff) up once we got back. Now we were early, had no mode of transportation, and no house keys. I figured no one would have locked it, but of course, it was locked. My friend, Cherise, took us home, but then came the next step: getting in the house. Ellie is fortunately still small enough that she could fit in through the dog door in the back. She just had to compete with the dogs who were trying to come out at the same time!

I stared at the television for a few minutes before Ellie wanted to go to her friends' house (as if they hadn't just spent over 24 hours together!), so I dropped her off, then came back for a few minutes before Ian and Mags got home.

I hope Ellie enjoyed it, even though she suffered mass humiliation.

P.S. When I went to pick Griffin up at the end of the school day, he said, "I didn't really miss you, Mom." Boy, that was a killer!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mr. Mountain View

I've never seen anything like this. A simple fundraiser for the Drama department is turned into a full-on pageant for a guy from each club in the high school. Ian was chosen to represent the student council back in November. Today was the pageant. They were judged on all sorts of things throughout the past couple of weeks. Here is Ian's talent (air band):

They also had to do an interview portion. Here's Ian's question and answer:

Ian didn't win, but we knew going into this that it was about having fun and not winning. We're proud of you E-Dog!

Ian's an Aggie!

January 14, 2009
Taggart Student Center
1020160 Old Main Hill
Logan UT 84322-0160

Dear Ian,

Congratulations! You have been admitted to Utah State University. I loved my experience here as a student and hope you are looking forward to the amazing opportunities you will discover here. Your official acceptance letter is on its way, so watch your mail this week. Please take some time to learn all you can about Aggie life by meeting our students and visiting campus. You can schedule a campus tour online at We’d love to show you the ropes and help you make the best decision for you. We are excited to have you join our Aggie family.

On behalf of Utah State University, congratulations and welcome! Go Aggies!!!

Jenn Putnam, Class of 2001
Director of Admissions
Way to go! Ian's dream has come true!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Andrea Griesemer's Baby Shower

The girls and I were invited to attend Andrea's baby shower at The Dodo Restaurant in Salt Lake City yesterday. (Thanks, especially, to Bishop Goodfellow who treated us all!) It was so good to have the chance to see her--she looks fantastic!--and all the darling things she received. Jessica and the girls and I were at the opposite end of the table, so we chatted away the entire time. I really consider Jessica my sistuh-from-anothuh-mothuh since she's closer in age than I am to my own sisters. I enjoy her company so much, especially how much we laugh when we're together.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the luncheon. I took more, but just visualize lots of cute little girl outfits. And Piper Jo, we can't wait to meet you!

Kids' Accomplishments

I would be remiss if I didn't post some of the pictures of the kids and their recent awards.

Maggie is now a certified first responder having passed all the tests and practical exams in her emergency services class. In fact, when I was making bacon today and the grease sputtered into my eyes, everyone called for Maggie to help. (She's always upset when we pass an accident and she wasn't the first one on the scene. And if we see a story on the news about someone who died from a heart attack or someone who maybe choked to death she'll yell, "I could have saved that person's life!") Because of this one class, she really wants to be a doctor, but she doesn't have the math grades to back it up, so she's not sure what to do with her life.

Ian and the FBLA group went to Logan a few weeks ago for a series of tests. He came out with first place in Visual Basic. (I didn't even know he was a member of FBLA.) It was quite a surprise to him since he was just winging it through these tests. (I just wish a scholarship to Utah State came with it.) All this was before he got the mega-media software package for his 18th birthday. I've seen what he can do now and I'm sure he'd wipe the floor in any future competitions.

Way to go, you two!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Digging Out From the Storm

After spending a good portion of the past two days shovelling, it was nice to have the sun come out and give us a bit of a reprieve. (And I don't care what you might say, Kevan. I know the beach and sunblock beat the shovel! You don't really miss this at all.)

We invested in enough shovels for all the kids and nearly 100 pounds of ice melt just trying to stay on top of things. Snowflake has been loving it, even running after Griffin to "rescue" him when he fell over in the snow. (And as you can tell, Wilbur isn't loving it so much. He's much happier snuggling up with someone.)

In grand total, we had another foot of snow fall on top of the foot-plus we had already received and didn't really go away. It just compacted into solid ice, so you can't even get down to the grass. It just provides a platform for you to stand on.