Monday, January 26, 2015

Little Red 2015 - I MADE IT!!!

Results were announced today.  June 6th... here we come! 

A little cycling, cadence music please...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two Presentations in One Week

Our Sweetie completed his 3rd grade Heroes Report this year.  Just like his older brother did three years ago.  And just like his older brother, Our Sweetie chose his great grandfather, Max Wendell Carver as his hero.

I cannot express enough how it thrilled me to learn that Our Sweetie was the only one in the entire 3rd grade to chose a relative as his hero.  

Behold... the power of family history.   

The Heroes Reports were on Thursday.  Friday was the Science Fair.

Enter Our Big Guy... 

I have to confess that I wasn't in the loop on what exactly Our Big Guy was planning for the Science Fair.  I helped him with some data and charts on Excel, but I had no idea where it was all leading.  Welcome to Junior High and parental involvement.  

He and his team (Becca and Ariana) tested the acidity levels of various spots around town.  Our backyard.  The school.  Turns out the swampiest places held the greatest acidic levels - meaning it's the most healthy.  

His report didn't win any awards to allow him advancement.  But he's already got serious plans for next year... 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January Prose

I don't know how or why I got on this kick of blogging a poem every month.  I think I'll stop when I go a whole month without reading something that doesn't move me...or if I get too busy... or too tired.  

This latest one was such a delight I posted a copy on my office door.  It so perfectly expresses my many moments of incredulity - in spite of all my organized attempts to steer clear.  It's impossible to live unscathed.  It's inevitable.  It's people like me who desperately need the "inverted exclamation point".        


We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we're capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we're ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn't bounce back,
The flat tire at journey's outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it – here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, "See, that's why
I don't like to eat outside."

-Paul Violi-

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Second Time Around (and hopefully last)

When Our Big Guy woke up from surgery, he didn't know where he was or what had just happened.  Instead he whispered in a very scratchy voice, ".57 is the fraction of 57.  At least I still remember math, Dad."  

Not bad for someone who just went through an adenoidectomy and a second round of tubes.  

Now go away evil fluid!  Go!  And never come back.  

On the plus side... the prep room had Minecraft.  A little paradise before going under.    


Sunday, January 11, 2015

An Exhaustive Happy New Year!

For the past 10 years, we've been able to trick our children into following Eastern time zones on New Years Eve.  It's quite simple.  At 10:00 pm we switch on the traditional, live Dick Clark New Years Eve Special on cable and then we all watch the famous crystal ball descend to a new year.  Following which we laugh, cheer, toast our plastic cups of juice, bang a few pots together - and then we go home!  

To SLEEP!  Precious, precious sleep.

And if the occasional child was woken up in their beds 2 hours later to the sounds of fireworks and loud cries of celebration, we merely shrugged it off as crazy neighbors who obviously got the time wrong.

This all failed last year - and our scam was revealed in all its horrible glory.

So this year there was simply no getting around it.  The kids demanded recompense for all the years they'd been deceived.  And with back-breaking, aging fatigue... Greg and I were forced to stay up till midnight. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas 2014 My Favorite Things

Prepare yourself.  Lots of photos in this post.

#1 - McKinnon Party. 

This was a singular Christmas for Greg's family because 4 out of 5 missionaries arrived home this fall.  1 is already engaged and the 5th one is due home in February.  All of them sang to us in Spanish for our talent show.  It was amazing!

The next round of cousin missionaries leave in a year.  And then the next batch includes my oldest.  I don't want to think about that yet. 

#2 - Carver Party.

Once again we were so happy to celebrate Christmas at my parents' cabin.  The effects of my Dad's tumor have been making him weak lately.  So I was thrilled to see him up and about with the grandchildren.  Every additional year with him is a tremendous blessing.  Dylan Thomas' prose has never been so painfully poignant to me than it has the past three years.  I'll never be ready to let my Dad go.  

#3 - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Our Christmas was heavenly!  Lots of happiness and fun. 

Next to my nativity set from my time in Jerusalem - this little guy is my favorite Christmas decoration.  He's a smoker my brother brought me from his LDS mission in Germany.  The crafted detail of his backpack is exquisite - esp. the flowers.  I hoard the two boxes of incense that came with him.  We only light 1 per year - and always on Christmas morning.  I love love love him!

Christmas Eve dinner with our first attempt at Christmas Crackers.  They didn't go as planned.  One child got scared by the explosion and cried.  Another child couldn't find their treat in the resulting mess and cried.  Another child thought the whole thing was stupid and the fourth one was indifferent. 

We're not doing them again.

The rest of the night went better - jammies, our nativity play and making cookies for Santa Claus. 

My husband really knows me well when it comes to my stocking...  :)

The boys and I did our traditional puzzle.  We do this every year - and it usually stretches out over a few days.  This one took 20 minutes.  Yes, we're THAT good.  It was also only 100 pieces :)

We went sledding with the kids' new ski masks.

We made creme brulee.

And then everyone crashed with me in my bed around 8:00 pm. 

I miss Christmas already.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Some Things I Missed...

These events were definitely worthy of a blog post, but for whatever reason, they slid through the cracks.

#1 - The Ghost Tour

One of the fascinating facts about my work is that my campus is haunted.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding about this one.  There are a few buildings - especially a particular basement - that I won't venture into alone (and even then I'm cautious).  I've never seen anything myself.  But this past year I've become quite popular with my brood of nieces and nephews because I can scare them to death with stories around a campfire.  

The delightful caveat about these haunted buildings is my Superintendent.  He's a historical guru and every October he gives "Ghost Tours" of the campus.  The tours are limited to 8 people.  You can only bring 1 guest.  And you must bring a flashlight.  

It was extremely awesome!  

#2 - Inspirations  

I can't believe I forgot to record this!  

This year Our Big Guy and Our Sweetie wrote a duet on the piano and won 1st place in the Inspirations Contest at school.  I was super proud of them!  The sad news is the rules will not allow them to advance together.  Apparently only 1 of them can take credit for the duet and advance to Regionals.  Makes no sense whatsoever and we're all contemplating withdrawing in protest...

Pretty Girl also entered with a painting and got a ribbon for participation.  She was pleased as punch! 

#3 - Undiscovered Talents

I'm not sure what prompted this, but around the end of September our Our Big Guy took up cross stitch.    

And if that didn't get his creative juices flowing enough, he took 3rd place in his middle school's "Ugly Christmas Sweater" contest with this marvelous assemblage of Christmas riffraff.  I'm wondering if a designer career is on the horizon... 

#4 - Days Off

We had a few scattered days off of school.  And we tried to make the most of them.

#5 - New Tires

While inflating my tires for an afternoon ride, I was lucky enough that Greg noticed this bulbous tumor nearly popping through my back tire.  $100 later... I now have new tires. And the worst part is that the new tires look EXACTLY THE SAME as the old tires.  

Crossing my fingers they give me another 5 years...

#6 - Lucky Sunday Afternoons