Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 23, 2010: Memories

Merry Christmas Adam! Memories from Christmas past.

December 22, 2010: A GNO to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple

For those of you who don't know what "GNO" is, it stands for Girl's Night Out. When Ellie turned 12 in March, she got her temple recommend. But when it was our ward's turn to do baptisms, she was unable to go. I had promised her that we would find another time to go, especially since we had the whole summer ahead of us. Summer came and went, school started, schedules got even busier, and I still had never taken her to the temple.

When we were in the waiting room at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, I called the temple to ask them about their schedules for baptisms--and we went ahead and planned on going that Wednesday because we didn't have mutual that night. When Wednesday came, we invited Maggie to go with us so she could support Ellie for her first time.

Arlan Greening, a former member of our ward, was working the baptistry recommend desk. He couldn't believe how old the girls had gotten and was so supportive of Ellie. We visited while the girls got changed. The crowds hadn't come yet, so it was quite empty. I sat with Ellie at the side of the baptistry while Mags did her list of ten. And then it was Ellie's turn. What a special night this was! I found some quiet to read the scriptures and just enjoy the quiet. The girls came out and we left in almost 30 minutes!

Since things had gone so quickly, we decided to stop at The Chocolate for a treat. It was a great night with just the girls, doing good things. I hope we have many of these to come.

December 19, 2010: "I Am Goliath"

I have a friend by the name of Candace Bergquist. She substitute taught at Westmore quite a bit and became a friend to Griffin. She contacted me to let me know that she was part of an interfaith choir and they would be performing on Sunday the 19th, with Thurl Bailey (former Jazz basketball player and star of the Living Scriptures' David DVD) and that she would love the have the family come--along with the Williams and Elliotts. Griffin, Mags, Carma and Cherise and I set up quite early: 5:00 for a 7:00 performance. And it's a good thing! We got so lost that it took us nearly that whole time to get there. It was just in Alpine, but we kept ending up everywhere BUT where we were supposed to go. Finally, after Griffin mentioned to us once again that we were lost, Cherise called Blaine who was able to get us there five minutes before it was to start.

Because we were so late, we were in the very back row. BUT, because we were so late, they had brought in the chairs from the Relief Society room, so we had comfy chairs--and were right next to the refreshments!

The performance was lovely. It as a bit difficult to see Thurl, but he is rather tall, so we were able to see his head. They performed probably ten songs, and I learned that "Far, Far Away in Judea's Plains" is an LDS Christmas song. I had NEVER known that before!

Afterwards, Candace invited us to her house for cookies and hot chocolate. Griffin enjoyed meeting her cats and we enjoyed the company and hospitality.

I am most grateful that I had good company with me. After last night's shenanigans, I couldn't have made it through without my friends. And we'll never forget it!

December 18, 2010: David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Every year, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir puts on a concert with a well-known singer and actor. It's a lottery process where you enter your name and hope to get 4 tickets to one of their four performances. This year, we were chosen. The guest singer was David Archuleta, a home-town boy who was the runner up in American Idol several years ago, and Michael York was the actor. The night before we were supposed to go, one of the lead stories on KSL was that people who had been there 45 minutes early didn't make it in because, while they usually oversell the performances based on a certain percentage of no-shows, David was a big enough draw that people weren't skipping the show. We decided to go very early, spend some time at Gateway Mall, look at the decorations downtown, and then head to the conference center.

Well, we got there around 2 and were told that we couldn't get into the parking structure until 3:15, so we went to the Gateway first. It was a lovely afternoon, quite warm, and we enjoyed going to some of the stores--none more than Bath and Body Works which is the girls' favorite. We stopped for some cookies and hot chocolate, and then, noting the time, we went back to park. From there, we walked through the temple grounds and decided it would be good to see "Joseph Smith: The Restoration" again. That would take 90 minutes and then we would have plenty of time to get in line.

I love that movie. As Emma Smith remarks to Joseph, "Do you ever think the Lord asks too much?" I thought about the Empty Nester's dinner again and thought, "I'm such a dork! I haven't had to bury a child or cross the plains." It's such a great production. I looked at the sister missionaries who were bearing their testimonies and thought about Ian, who was doing the same in another part of the world.

When the movie finished, we walked over to the Conference Center only to see the line going all the way up the hill, approaching the Capitol Building. I told the girls that we didn't have a prayer of getting in, so if we didn't, we would head to dinner instead. I think they were secretly hoping we didn't. But after being in line for about a half hour, they opened the doors and we made it in. In fact, when we got inside to our seats, we couldn't believe how much of it was still empty! That's a lot of people in there.

The concert was great. He can certainly sing! He needs a little maturity behind him before he addresses crowds, but the music was superb. The girls really liked Michael York as well and thought he would have been a great Dumbledore.

These were the best parts of the day. From there, it all went downhill. Of course, it took a while just to get out of the parking garage. Then to get to the freeway. And then, traffic wasn't terribly bad, but we knew that they were shutting down I-15 at Pleasant Grove to work on bridges, so we had a time crunch ahead of us. And then, there was an accident that shut down the freeway about five miles ahead of that. I screwed up the detour and ended up in this horrific traffic situation. I can't believe I wasn't arrested because I was FULL of road rage. I had an 18-wheeler ahead of me that was just NOT cooperating; a police officer who was letting everyone ahead of us (and that's when I yelled). And I had to go to the bathroom. I kept posting status updates on Facebook, venting over and over. (Mandy was very helpful in updating me on what was going on.) And I couldn't get anywhere. Man, I was dying. Ellie put on Brian Regan so we could at least laugh a little. So once we got back on, we decided to get back off and find somewhere to eat. We stopped at the Sonic in Pleasant Grove and they were out of food left and right.

Needless to say, I was SOO happy to get home. I found the bathroom first, then took many deep breaths. (It ends up that three pedestrians ran across the freeway and were hit. They had run out of gas and decided to cross the road. The mother died and the others were in stable condition.) I apologized to my girls for losing control and decided to just remember the good parts of the day and evening. In fact, as I write this a couple of weeks later, I had forgotten about the traffic until I was looking at my FB posts.

December 17, 2010: The Annual Christmas Sing at Westmore Elementary

Only two more years at Westmore, which means two more Christmas "sings." The fifth grade performed two numbers: Mele Kalikimaka and The Elf's Lament (a rap). I accompanied both, so had to have someone else take pictures of Griffin. He loved getting to wear a hat and sunglasses for the day--and really, it was quite the laid-back school day. They watched two movies, practiced the songs, exchanged gifts, and generally, accomplished nothing. But it was the easiest class party I've ever had to throw. All I had to do was provide a monster bag of popcorn for the movies (provided by the Scera), so I was very grateful!

December 15, 2010: Lessons Learned

Today is the day we were supposed to have our annual Empty Nester's dinner for mutual. But we went caroling instead and delivered gifts. Why, you ask? Well, meet my alter-ego: Laman. I murmured. A lot. December is a tough month as far as how many activities are crammed in a short period of time. At the start of the month, we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional where we were reminded to focus on the important things of the season and to simplify. And yet, we have something every single day and evening. This dinner has gone from a simple event to dinner for nearly 100 people just three days after the big ward party. And so I complained. To anyone who would sit and listen. To my friend, Laurels advisor, and Bishop's wife. She shared my frustrations with him. And the dinner was canceled. And I felt horrible. I knew that I had let myself down.

That Sunday, the Bishop called in all the youth leaders. He spoke about the parable of the sowers. And I was humbled. And I felt remorse. And I apologized for my part in everything that happened. As the Laurels tree had "failed" in a painless way, so had we. No one was killed. No one was bleeding. But we let down the other members of the ward. We didn't impress upon the youth the importance of following-through. We failed them as their leaders. It was a lesson well learned.

December 11, 2010: The Ward Christmas Party

This is it! The day the ward waits for! The annual Christmas breakfast. Last night we brought pizzas and joined the Prestons (along with a few others) to set up all the tables and chairs. Decorations were minimal (which I always like) since each organization was providing a tree that represented themselves. (I alluded to that in an earlier post.) The Laurels had said that they wanted to do a tree similar to YW in Excellence and do four ornaments each that represented them. Unfortunately, only one of them did. So I provided a snowflake ornament with a picture of each one of them, added a few balls, the tutu skirts from camp, and lights and decided it was a good object lesson that we would talk about in class the next week.

I tried a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman (thank you, Megan Clawson, for introducing me to her website--although my waistline doesn't appreciate it) for the breakfast casserole. It wasn't too shabby; nothing of hers is. We signed all the letters to the missionaries, enjoyed a short program, and cleaned up! I brought my tree home and Griffin changed it from a Laurels tree into a Bakugan tree and took it downstairs.

December 10, 2010: Ian Turns His Back on the Teen Years

My first baby turned 20 today. No longer a teenager. Off in Argentina. Serving the Lord.

I think what was most surprising to me was how old I feel. I'm old enough to have a 20-year-old son? It's those moments like when they first go to school, when they graduate, when they get a mission call, that make me realize how fast time is going.

Ian's mission is almost halfway over. Before we know it, he will be back and heading off to college. In a few more years, he may be getting married and then starting a family of his own. We won't even mention the word "grandma" although I'll be a fabulous one!

Happy 20th Ian!

December 9, 2010: 4H Parent Night and Christmas is in the House

This is probably the busiest week of the season. As earlier mentioned, Maggie and Ellie both had performances, there were tryouts, the 4-H parent night and prepping for the ward party (which required set-up the night before and a tree that represented the Laurels).

We enjoyed the performances of club members, saw Griffin the in the video for cup stacking and chowed down on cookies and punch. Afterwards, it was time to work on the tree for the Laurels. It didn't work out quite as we had planned, but I thought it looked nice just the same. Griffin loved having two trees next to each other in the living room, so I took some pictures so I could remember how great it makes me feel when the room is decorated for Christmas.

December 9, 2010: The Next Westmore Production Auditions!

With the huge success of last spring's musical, Annie Jr., it was time to decide what would be the next production. There was an even greater interest so it would need to be something that could handle a big cast. The decision was made to put on the play "Peter Pan." Note the word "play" rather than "musical." And since I had been asked to be the musical director, I felt that maybe my job was about to become a lot easier. I am in charge of the background music (which means recording it for a soundtrack) and the foley artist. I'm kind of excited about that part!

The main reason I agreed to do this was because Griffin wanted to be part of the play this year. So here it was, time for auditions, and Griffin decided he couldn't go through with it. Mrs. Draper said that he could be on the "crew" with her, so he's happy as a lark now.

Rehearsals start in January so I will be spending time over the Christmas break working on music and transitions. We'll see how it goes!

December 8 through 12: Maggie Heads to California!

Ian had the opportunity to go to Salt Lake and SUU a time or two for M.U.N. and student council. I always thought that was really cool. Maggie took it one step further this year. As part of the ballroom team, they were able to go on tour to California. So Maggie became the first in our family to go to Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, California Adventure, and Hollywood. This also included an opportunity to be taught at THE "Dancing with the Stars" studios! This five-day trip was truly the highlight of her 17-year life. Even though she didn't take any pictures, she was tagged in several on Facebook, so I've snagged a few of them to share.

I'll need to have her give a better summary of the tour since she was the one who had the great experiences!

December 7, 2010: Ellie's Christmas Concert

All I had heard about this concert was that they had to dance during one of the songs. That a boy actually had to touch a girl. So we sent Mags a little early to get a spot for us since I needed to visit teach and John wasn't home from work yet. We got there as quickly as we could, just in time to enjoy their warm-ups. I really like the new Lakeridge choir teacher. Her name is Mrs. Covington and she is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (that's not the only reason I like her--she has been really encouraging and supportive of Ellie). She included several of the choirs for a few of the numbers, then broke out into the different classes.

One of the groups did a really good rendition of "Carol of the Bells." It's one of my favorites. And then, it was time for the song and dance number. You would think they would have been told to spit in their hands and then hold hands. The looks of utter disgust and displeasure were more entertaining than the song itself. You know how I know this? I don't even remember what song they sang, but I remember the dance number!

I will try to upload some video in a bit. I didn't get any photos because we were too busy videotaping.

December 5, 2010: The Season of Tradition Begins

As is tradition for the Asplund family, we gathered at the Rodens for the reading of the first stave of A Christmas Carol. Not wanting to arrive empty-handed, we quickly made some Ebilskivers to share. Claire and Rachel Asplund were able to join us as well.

John had gotten a new phone that weekend, so Griffin was entertained by some of the new games, but most surprisingly, he seemed to be listening! The trickiest part of this tradition is finishing the book. I always hear the first stave, but don't progress past that point unless I watch the movie. This year I was fortunate enough to go see a junior production of it with the fifth grade, so that helped bring the spirit.

December 3 and 6, 2010: Maggie Dances, Drops, and Recovers

This is the night I've been waiting for! I love watching ballroom dance and with Maggie on the team, it makes it even better. I knew she was frustrated with some things and thrilled with others. I decided to go both nights so I could take pictures one night and video the other.

She did SUCH a GREAT job! On the first night, during the final dance, when she was being lifted up, her finger was bent backwards and we were sure it was broken. (Fortunately, after several sets of x-rays, it wasn't, but it was pretty badly hurt.)

On Monday night, the whole family (including Patt and Malcolm) came to support her. And during this performance, she was dropped in the last number. But she just continued to dance, not missing a beat.

So she did four dances: the chango (her ballroom technique class),

the disco (team),

the rumba (team)

and the quickstep (team).

You can tell by watching her how much she loves being part of the team. She always dances with a smile on her face, even AFTER she was injured or dropped. I'm looking forward to their next concert when it is just ballroom team and not with Orchesis.

I don't know if you have to friend this teammate of hers to see the videos, but he has some great HD footage of some of the team performances.!/video/?id=100000105309667