Monday, January 31, 2011

Road Show? What's a Road Show?

Being in the youth program 30 years ago, road shows and scripture chases were significant events in each year. I still remember when we had to move our show from Broomall to Valley Forge and how exciting that night was.

A few months ago, one of our neighboring stakes decided they wanted to bring back road shows and invited us to participate. The problem? It would be over Christmas break and it was difficult to get the support we needed. In fact, the big dress rehearsal with all the wards in our stake was on the night of the big rivalry basketball game between MV and Orem as well as the game between BYU and SDSU (two top 10 teams).

So we assigned a couple who were already serving in the youth to take charge. They wrote it based on the theme, "We Believe" and we started rehearsals the first week of January. Ellie was one of the Mormon rappers as well as part of the basketball team and then the big family. Maggie had to drop out because of the ballroom competition, but she came to rehearsals and gave her suggestions when they would run it.

The gist of the show was based on a song the Bishop's son wrote on his mission. It was about 6 high school kids (3 members, 3 non-members) and the curiosity of the non-members with the members. They included things such as firesides, big families, confusion of Mormons with Amish people, and the gym being used for a wedding reception and basketball game. In the end, the missionaries (who had been confused with FBI agents) were seen teaching them the discussions. The kids sang a Mormon rap, used the Ghostbusters theme (which most of them have never heard of nor seen!) and closed with The Church of Jesus Christ.

It turned out fine, very road-showy. I think it was a good experience for them but hope that if we do it again the timing is a little different.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Maggie's First Ballroom Competition

Today was Maggie's first competition as part of the MVHS Ballroom Team. The first dance they did was the "cha-ngo." I wasn't able to see that one since our ward was involved in a multi-stake road show at the same time. She let me know that their team placed 8th (out of 8) and they were stunned as the winning number was a hip-hop piece (not typically seen in ballroom, for sure!). She still had a couple of hours before she would perform the quickstep in the team match portion. I was relieved that things would be over and I'd have everyone home so I could go see the second number.

LOUD!!!!!!!! That's the only way to describe this event. I got their about 45 minutes before the team match. The other participating schools (and private classes) obviously had a much bigger budget than Mountain View. (All her teammates had to either rent costumes or make something up from what they had. Maggie's dress was rented from a local theater company, but she looked great in it.) One group in particular (from Idaho) had probably 100+ people there who had no shortage of lung power or enthusiasm (or money!). My ears were definitely ringing and the headache was overwhelming to say the least. (I'm most grateful I didn't take Griffin along. He wouldn't have lasted three seconds in there.)

All the teams gathered in a circle and it was just like watching Juliet Prowse in PBS with all the couples doing their specialty dance and then the next groups coming in. After the first few dances, they gave the standings; MV was in 5th (out of 7) place. Their number was called, so Maggie and Lance (Elliott) took their places on the floor.

As a result of their dance, they brought their team up one place to finish in 4th. She was very pleased with their performance (as was I).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Fifth Grade Heads to Clear Creek

This is the most anticipated event for fifth grade. (In sixth grade, it's Space Camp.)

I was fortunate enough to be asked to go as one of the teachers/chaperones, and to drive Debbie Draper's Suburban loaded to the roof. That saved me the headache of going on the bus and afforded me the opportunity to listen to my scriptures for the 90-minute drive.

When we arrived, the caretaker told us that it had been -27 that morning, but fortunately they didn't expect any more sub-zero temps through our stay. It was 13 when we got off the bus, so we sent everyone to unpack in their cabins and get their snow gear on so they could play for a while. There was 5 feet of snow; the top 2 were pure powder. The boys immediately went to the snowbanks and broke out the sleds.

The other favorite activity of the boys was dodgeball. Griffin didn't want to get in the game, but he wanted to participate so he coached from the sidelines.

We decided we wanted to have our picture taken together on the first day rather than the last one, which we usually do. So from left to right, it's Debbie Draper, Tiffany Hone--and me!

After some play time, we decided to take them to the ropes course. (Unfortunately, the majority of it was under snow.) This is where they get to bury their teachers in snow. Since the school that went the week before us didn't allow their students to go in the snow (go figure), it was all untouched powder. The adults (the 3 teachers and a few dads) were given snowshoes to break the path. That is hard work!

Griffin was plain exhausted after the walk.

After we got back to the parking lot, it was the boys' turn to snowshoe. Griffin and I decided to go and break our own trail. Ellie and I had gone when she was there, but there wasn't nearly as much snow and the majority of it was packed, so it wasn't as difficult. Griffin probably made it 100 feet before having to take a rest, then deciding to turn around and be done.

Now it was time to build snow forts. The boys divided themselves into two groups with a prize of a king sized candy bar (per boy) on the line. This is "phase one" of Griffin's group. We called it "the hot tub."

After that part was finished, Griffin and his friends, Erik and Darrin, made themselves a security force to prevent any spies from the opposing team.

When they were both finished, we took pictures in them. Please excuse the goofy hair. Headbands aren't really conducive to keeping hair in the same place.

Here are the boys in the finished fort: the delicate arch, slide, tunnel, and hot tub.

That evening, after dinner, we broke out the karaoke (which failed miserably due to technical difficulties) and a movie (National Treasure) complete with popcorn, soda and movie snacks. When the movie was over, they returned to their cabins--to not sleep. Unfortunately, we can't go to bed until they are all asleep, so we were up to 1 waiting.

The next day, we spent some time going over the physical and chemical states of matter. (They hadn't done very well on their test.) This is Griffin and a few classmates illustrating the atoms in a solid.

Here they are as a liquid.

And finally, as a gas.

Then, it was time for more activities. This time they focused more on sledding.

The boys before they boarded the bus.

Since the rest of the pictures I have don't include either of us, I'll just include the last one with the three of us after 3 days. I had decided to take a shower (the "Executive Inn" cabin was nicely equipped with them) so I wasn't too freaked out by my appearance.

It was a great few days. I survived without ever being too cold, and Griffin had a great time as well. Bring on Space Camp!

Monday, January 3, 2011

We've Been Adopted!

Our neighbors have a cat named Gus. I have included him before in our blog. Lately, he seems to have found his way into our family--by way of the dog door. For a while, I thought Griffin was struggling making the kool-aid because I seemed to find these little "splatter" patterns on my counters. Once I realized that Gus had been coming in when we were gone, I noticed that these patterns were actually his paw prints. And to our astonishment, the dogs didn't react when he came in. This made us realize that this must not be a new behavior; we're just the last to know.

In fact, at one point last week, we realized that he's made his home under Ellie's bed. We didn't realize just how often, though, until we were dog sitting and the little pup--who fit quite easily under the bed--regularly was barking in Ellie's room until Gus made his way out.

We've been in quite a cold snap lately, so Gus has been coming in on a more regular basis. He's even skipped going under the bed to just snuggling in with Ellie. This morning, as I was getting out of bed, this was what greeted me.

When I came home, this was the scene in Ellie's bed. Did I mention we've been adopted?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Belated Anniversary!

Today--after church--I was sent to my room. I wasn't allowed to come out. I was able to use my laptop to watch the Eagles game while I updated Ian's blog (also behind since August). I was able to play around with new templates for my blog; new year, new template. And then, after a few hours, I could smell steak. And it smelled GOOD! I had heard little helpers out in the kitchen working feverishly. And then my door opened and I was invited to sit at the table.

The kids had cleaned off the table (a miraculous feat in unto itself!) and had set a lovely place setting for two. John had made (for all of us) french onion soup, salad, steak, roasted red potatoes and asparagus. But the kids were banished to the basement. And one of the two dogs was sent to the great, cold outdoors. And we ate. Just the two of us.

The Eagles lost. Griffin choked--a little. And Wilbur kept barking. But my dinner was wonderful! And the company was wonderful. And my day was wonderful. And even though we waited four days to celebrate, it was worth waiting for.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

All Caught Up!

It's January 1, 2011 and I just spent a week updating five months of the blog. I know the entries aren't as detailed as they could be, but my new year resolution is to stay on top of things this year!

Christmas Eve was on Friday this year, so both John and I had the day off. Keeping with our new tradition, we took all the change we saved from the year and went to Nickel City (formerly Nickelcade). And I guess because it was Friday, everyone else decided to go as well. It was crowded and noisy, but we had nearly 3,000 tickets at the end of the day and the kids had a good time, which is all that matters. I got to wrapping, deciding I didn't want to wait until night, and was done and had the house clean and was in bed by 9. Of course, I couldn't sleep so I was up until about 4. Just two hours until the kids would open the door!

Christmas was wonderful. Griffin had wanted an assortment of Nerf guns (I know, no Star Wars toys) and I had purposely saved those until last. He was gracious with every gift, but you could see the disappointment building in his eyes. And then, with no presents left, I directed his attention to the bags behind the chairs and his face lit up. It was totally worth it. Although smaller than usual, the best part was talking with Ian. He was supposed to call between 9 and 10 a.m., but jumped online to tell me that he would be a couple hours late. And so we got to "chat" online for about 90 minutes before he was able to call. And then we talked for 90 minutes, so we got nearly three hours of visiting!

He sounds great. His cadence is a little different, but there's no accent. He didn't trip over his english or spanish. He is struggling a bit with some companion issues, but is on the right path to taking care of them appropriately.

That afternoon, we went to the Elliotts to enjoy wings and other good food. Griffin and Liam both got Nerf guns, so they had a battle. I stayed in comfy clothes all day and didn't cook. I saved the Butter Chicken for the next day, holding firm to my not cooking on Christmas Day tradition.

John and I celebrated our 21st anniversary by doing nothing. We'll be saving our dinner for tomorrow night, but have already purchased the steak and other delicious food with the Costco gift card. In fact, that day we "enjoyed" quite the snowstorm/blizard and didn't go ANYWHERE!

The girls and I spent December 28/29 "like-ing" the Wal-Mart Fighting for Hunger campaign. Wal-Mart would donate $1 million to the food bank of the city with the most support. And this is one determined state! I can't even guess how many entries we did and how many we liked, but as of yesterday at 5 pm, it looks like SLC won by nearly 1 million votes! The final winner will be announced January 5.

For New Year's Eve, we went to Kim's, something we haven't been able to do for a couple of years. Since the rest of the kids had other plans, it was just our family and Kim. We went and saw "Tangled" in 3D and then, well, ate and ate and ate. We tooted our horns at 10 when the ball fell in New York, and John went to bed. We also watched "Inception," a movie I can't wait for Ian to see, and ate some more. She sent us home with enough food to last a week and I spent the rest of the evening catching up!

And now, I consider myself caught up! Happy New Year! Farewell 2010. Here's hoping 2011 is the best year yet.