Monday, June 15, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Girls Camp in 3 Words

Rain, wind, cold. (I have 5 layers on in this picture.)

I'll write more later when I warm up!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Just Call Me Elder!

Woah! That's weird! Today Ian received the Melchizedek Priesthood and became an Elder. My son can now give me a blessing! We were able to have one grandparent participate, and the other grandparents watch via Skype. Bruce and Ben were also part of the circle. It was a wonderful blessing and an overall awesome experience.

Workforce Solutions' Lagoon Day!

For the first time since John started working at Smart, we took advantage of the discounted tickets for Lagoon. We also felt like Griffin had reached a height where we could do all the rides together. However, we still planned on a 50/50 split with the little ones: first, Ian and Mags would go and do the rides they wanted while we took the little ones, and then after a few hours, John and I would go do our faves and the little ones would go with the big ones. As it turned out, we had more fun doing everything together! John won a $10 iTunes gift card and an egg-shaped clock in the employee drawing, and then we took off for Rattlesnake Rapids. To our surprise, we stayed together for almost the rest of the day and went on almost every ride together. It's kind of hard to snap pictures since we had to keep a lot of things in ziploc bags so they wouldn't get ruined (water rides) or in the mini-pack so they wouldn't fall out (roller coasters). But here are a few.

After the two water rides, we went on the new ride: the Jumping Dragon. Ian had already taken Griffin on it, but he wanted to go again. So did Ellie. John took Ellie first.

Then I took Griffin. I knew "round and round" rides were death for me. I said to John, "So how was it," and he said, "Fine." I thought, "Oh, I can do this." (While I was waiting, Crystal Huber Hunter came up behind me to say hello. She saw on my Facebook status that I would be at Lagoon and was there with three of her kids. It was so good to see her!) Unfortunately, my video won't load, but as John asked what I thought, I suggested that the ride was "pukey."

We went from there to the Flying Aces so John and Griffin could give it a whirl. I, on the other hand, was sitting another "round and round" ride out. While we were in line, Mags called to let me know that she and Ian had done the Rocket Blast Off (0-200 feet in 2 seconds). (She would never do it before.) I told her we were right by that, so she and Ian came back. She got in line with Ellie to do the Hydro Luge while Ian took pictures of Griffin and John and I waited in line to do the Rocket with John.

While John and I were waiting, we asked Griffin if he wanted to go with us. He made it quite clear that he was not interested--until we were about to get on and then he said he would do it. But the kids kept him with them and Ian took some pictures.

Surprisingly, this seemed to actually settle my stomach from the "round and rounds," so I was good to go again! Now, this was not our first time on a ride like this. John and I have done it on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, so starting from the ground made it a piece of cake.

We went to the ferris wheel so Griffin could get a view of the park and we decided what to do next. While Mags and Ellie went to Cliffhanger, John and Griffin did the bumper cars.

It was off to the Sky Ride to explore the other end and hit the roller coasters.

We started with the Wild Mouse. I knew this one was going to be the roughest on my neck, so I said I would do this but no others like it. It's just a slam fest right and left, round and round.

From there, it was on to the Spider, a rollercoaster with a car that rotates as you go. I wasn't sure if I could do the "round and round" factor again, but this actually was my absolute favorite. While we were waiting in line, Griffin ran over and said, "Mom, a GONK droid." (From Star Wars--walking battery droids.) I guess we all see things differently.

I didn't notice the round and round, but Griffin came off saying that he "broke his butt" on that ride.

We stopped for dinner, and I went to a booth where they have to guess your age. Maggie had told me that the girl running it was horrible and that I was sure to win. So I forked over my $2 for my $1 stuffed animal. She guessed I was 25. Not bad for a nearly 42-year-old.

After winning my stuffed turtle, we went on the train through the animal kingdom. It gave us a chance to take some pictures and decide what to do from there.

I was pretty much done for the day as far as rides go, so I volunteered to hang out and take pictures. They wanted to take Ellie on the Pirate Ship and Griffin saw, for the first time, Kiddieland. Seeing that he is 53" tall, and you have to be over 50" to ride the big rides and under 54" to ride the kiddie rides, he had the best of both worlds. So he would get off and get back on. Off and on. Run to the next one. Off and on. Off and on. Run to the next one. During this time, they rode on the Tidal Wave (pirate ship) while Ian did the swings. (He said he had never done it and "Why not?")




We left Kiddieland for the Odysea (another new ride) and the family friendly roller coaster, "The Bat." I sat next to Griffin on this one--a coaster you sit in with your feet flying free. As we started the climb, Griffin said, "This is the part I HATE about roller coasters." And then of course, the fall and the twirls. When we finished, he said, "I LOVE THIS ROLLER COASTER!" I think he would have spent the whole day there had we done that one earlier.

As we finished "The Bat," Ellie said she wanted to do the Jet Star 2. Ian and I hate this ride with a passion. Talk about whiplash! Maggie came off saying that she just about lost Griffin and he almost died because the restraint didn't come all the way down to hold him in.
We watched Ian and John do the Samurai, an insane ride that turns you 360 over and over, up and down, round and round. We cheered them on while I worried that John's life insurance policy might not cover "death by Samurai--the ride!" After they finished, we ended on the Ferris Wheel once again, only for the cold front to move in and rain to start while we were on the top. Our timing was perfect, and we knew it was time to go home (it was, after all, nearly 10 pm).

It was such a great day, better than any of us had expected. It was maybe 72 degrees and slightly overcast. The lines were never too long. We all enjoyed one another's company. Nobody threw up (but boy, would I have liked to). A piece of heaven on earth.

Pinewood Derby: Introducing Hot Shot!

Griffin started dreaming up his car design months before the actual race, and was happiest to just have six wheels! He didn't place, but could care less as he just wanted to be able to play with his car.


Thursday night was the annual cub scout pinewood derby. After much jostling (pretty much between the dads), the races began. Faced with no high-tech finish line, we put our camera on a tripod and were given the charge of "photo finish." There was only one time that we had to actually use it, but at least it gave me a good spot to see the end results.

He also earned his Bear badge. Hopking that he could go to Webelos, he was disappointed when we told him that he would have to wait until he was 10. Rats!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Big BANG!!!!

Around 1 this afternoon, Ian and I were watching E3 on TV when the power flickered and we heard a big BANG! I thought, "That's no ordinary outage" and we took off outside. Not able to see anything, we (Griffin, Snowflake and I) started walking around the block while Ian went back to get in the car because he didn't want to walk around in bare feet. He found the first problem and came round to pick us up and show us. There was a small downed line about a block down the road. As we went back, we saw that our street was blocked off on both ends and that he would have to park elsewhere. And then, we saw what REALLY happened.

A trailer had gone down the street to pick up a car our neighbors were getting rid of. Apparently not aware that there were low lines connecting the cable/electric wires to the other side of the street, the wires were caught on the upper tier, pulling down wires in both directions and causing them to come down in our backyards. As block captain, I got to go house to house and make sure everyone was okay and to instruct them to NOT go in their backyards until we were given the a-ok. That came at around 6:30 tonight when all the wires were finally fixed.

It was an exciting way to spend our first full day of summer vacation!

How Successful is a Flavored Bottled Water Stand Run by a Boy With Autism ?

He has a goal in mind (this REALLY was his idea--down to the bottled water with flavors):
He spends most of his time spinning and running around.
About 10 minutes into it, he said he was ready for a lunch break. After convincing him that he really didn't need to go home but could stay a little longer, he sold two bottles of water and made $3 (they gave him an extra dollar because he's so cute).
That seemed good enough for him and he started walking home, leaving Ian and I to clean up. It's his plan to do this every day. I don't know that I'll make it!

Pomp and Circumstance

On Thursday, May 28, Ian became a member of the real world and a graduate of the Mountain View High School Class of 2009.

It was two hours long, but didn't seem to drag. At one point, the Senior Class Historian, Jared Cisneros, said, "I'd like to read a poem written by Jennifer Asplund." My phone began lighting up with texts as he said the following,

video

In case you couldn't understand it, here it is:
As good friends come together,
They must also turn and part.
But all those memories are forever,
And join in the heart.
Though true friends never disappear,
Some fade into the past.
Yet with those few who are so dear,
The love can always last.
A new life is beginning
An old life just behind
The world to face in front
The lesson in your mind.
The joyous gifts of passion
The heartbreaks of a loss
Are all a part of growing
And becoming your own boss.
So hold on to all those friendships,
And remember when you're blue;
Your friends are there to turn to,
To tell you, "I love you."
This was a poem I wrote for my graduation and gave to several of my close friends. In turn, Greg Hoffman had it done in calligraphy and framed as a gift to me. I have it hanging in my laundry room and Ian took it to student council to read to them at their end of year meeting. That's how Jared heard it. It was a surreal experience to have my poem read in front of all those people. (Even afterwards, people in my stake were coming up and telling me I was "famous" and how did it feel to be the only parent mentioned by name.)

Ian was one of the very last ones to receive his diploma cover since he was part of the student council.
After Ian turned in his gown and got his diploma, we went home to let the kids change clothes and then went out for a celebratory dinner to Sakura, a Japanese Steakhouse and sushi bar (Ian's request).

It was very entertaining! We had never been to one of these before, and it was an adventure for us all. Griffin shocked us by ordering sushi (which, to no one's surprise, he didn't eat) and shrimp (which he ate one), but enjoyed watching the show most of all.

Ian attempting to catch the shrimp our chef was throwing at him.

We found out the next day through one of Griffin's friends, that Griffin told his class he had seen a volcano! Here's the proof.
After the meal, the family retired for a bit of rest, while the girls and I went out to try something new: a gelateria that just opened (they say it's imported from Italy). We brought home six flavors and enjoyed the memories of our trip last summer.
When it was 8, it was time for the older ones to head off to the end of year dance while I went into the school to set up for the all night senior party. Carma, Terri Hatch and I were in charge of the entertainment from 1 to 3 a.m., so we came up with 3 rounds of Deal or No Deal and 3 rounds of Family Feud. They seemed to go over really well. I only have one really horrible picture from the evening and that's of me and Ian (while I'm in my "costume" as the 70's game show hostess). It really is horrible of me though, so I didn't include it. I guess that's the benefit of being the blog hostess!

We got home at about 5:15 a.m. and I slept for an hour before going with the little ones to their last day of school. They have an end of year assembly and you never really know if you are or aren't getting an award, so I just always go "just in case." Griffin was sure he wouldn't be getting anything, but ended up receiving a certificate for 100% attendance for the school year! We didn't even realize that he hadn't missed a single day! Ellie received an award for scoring in the top 10% of the Iowa Testing for reading and language. She was shocked as well. I was glad I attended, but unfortunately, was so blitzed from the night before that I had left my camera at home, so no pictures.

By 9:30 Friday morning, everyone was declaring that the summer had begun, and I went back to bed! (By the way, there are only 80 days until they go back to school, but who's counting?)
Congratulations, Ian. Welcome to the real world!