Wednesday, June 14, 2017

7 Peaks Silliness

I've not been entertaining the children as much this summer as I have in the past.  I've got lots to do--at home, in the yard, with Relief Society--and so I've been leaving the children to their own devices.  That has meant a lot of TV, a lot of eating of stuff they shouldn't, and a lot of mess making in their rooms.  I've made helpful suggestions about what they could be doing besides sitting in front of the TV, but I haven't had a lot of welcome cheer.

Today I decided we would get out and go to 7 Peaks.  It wasn't super hot today, only in the high 70s, so it wasn't very busy.  That meant we could do water slides quickly without waiting in long lines, and there weren't a ton of people in the wave pool or lazy river.  The water in the lazy river was very warm and we went around twice, but the wave pool water was chilly.  The kids didn't make it a full ten minutes of wave action.  I do enjoy being with the kids at 7 Peaks and am glad I only have two children so I can be and do with them.

I also intend on stepping up my game a bit, just because I think we all have a better time when we're active and involved in things off the couch and outside the house.

Post water fun basking.
Blythe specifically asked if we could "bask."

Friday, June 9, 2017

Camp Big Springs--A Full Report

Brandt returned today from spending the week at Camp Big Springs, the fifth grade camp for Provo School District.  I went to Camp Big Springs when I was in fifth grade, and I'm not sure much has changed since I was there.  Brandt seemed to have a marvelous time.  He got off the bus absolutely filthy, and the clothes in his suitcase were largely disgusting, if he had worn them.  There was a pile of five shirts all neatly folded just like they were when I packed them, leading me to suspect that Brandt only changed his shirt once.  Everything he had had on was ripe!  I had made him promise to change his socks every day.  I suggested he put on a clean pair just before he went to bed to keep his feet warm, and then keep those on the next day.  This bit of advice he followed faithfully.  However, his socks were so filthy, I threw them all away--all five pairs.  I couldn't bring myself to put my hands inside the socks to turn them right-side out.  He has been singing off and on all day, songs like, "The ___ up at Camp Big Springs they say are mighty fine . . . Oh gee, I want to go to Bi-ig Springs!  Gee Mom I wanna go. Where do you wanna go? Gee Mom I wanna go to Camp Big Springs!" and sharing bits and pieces of his activities.  We are so glad he had a marvelous time.

Here is a report of what Brandt did while he was gone all week.

We didn't get to do the seven mile hike.  There was too much snow.  Instead it was a four mile hike.  We got to go sledding down an ice slope and had snow cones right from snow.  I got all the flavors that they had, which was only two.  There was a zipline which I never went on.  But I did do the challenge course.

Mr. Mac told us scary stories.  One was about him and his brother.  They were on a road trip, headed home.  They heard a report on the radio about a guy breaking out of prison.  He was dangerous.  They needed gas so they pulled into a gas station.  Mr. Mac went to the bathroom while his brother went to find the guy behind the counter and get snacks.  Mr. Mac went to the bathroom.  When he was finished he heard someone rattling the doorknob.  He said, "Brother, is that you?"  No answer.  The doorknob stopped rattling, but then started again.  It was like someone was picking the lock.  He hid behind one of the stalls and the door opened.  There was a guy looking in with a knife in his hand.  Mr. Mac looked around the bathroom and saw a window he thought he could get out.  He bolted for the window.  The guy came charging after him.  Mr. Mac jumped through the window but his legs got stuck.  The guy was pulling on his leg and he was jerking it back.  Just like Mr. Mac was pulling our leg.

I got to look through the telescope.  It was pretty cool.  We looked at Jupiter, the Gas Planet.  We basically saw the moons of Jupiter.  There were onion plants and I ate one.  It made me cry.  There was another one that tasted like black licorice and I ate that one too.  Very light green pine needles are actually edible, and so is stinging nettle and minor's lettuce.  Minor's would pull off the edges of stinging nettle and put them in a pot of boiling water.  You can eat it plain but they preferred it cooked.

We played mine field and mushball, which is like baseball only you hit a volleyball instead of a baseball, and Old Sal.  To play Old Sal you basically hit a can with hockey sticks, and to play mine field you can't touch the ground.  You have to put rocks and step on them.  When there is a siren you have to duck down but you still cannot touch the ground.

We did rockets and beads.  We had a tug-o-war and we had a thing where you could score points for your team if you went all the way under the water.  I went back to my tent until that part was over because they chant your name to convince you to go in and I didn't want to.

I slept in tent 4.  It was the farthest away, at the top of the hill.  I got to sleep with my friend Spencer, Teva Mataoa, Greyson Bushman, Grant Jensen, and Brigham Richards.  Mr. Mac was our tent guy.  We had a camp fire every night.  Each tent did a skit on a different day.  Our skit was The Firing Squad.  We all participated.  I was part of the firing squad.  One night there was a person dressed like a giant chicken who cracked eggs on the top of two kids' heads.  And El Flamo was there too.

Top row: Mr. Mac, Brandt, ?? Peter ?
Middle row: Spencer (Brandt's buddy), and five other guys.  The one in orange is the other Spencer.
Bottom row: Teva, Cash, Grant, Greyson, Benji, and Isaac

The food was good.  We had french toast twice, pancakes, tacos, hot dogs, Hawaiian haystacks, and this morning, before we came home, we made toast, eggs, and bacon using a buddy burner we made ourselves.

We dissected owl pellets.  I found a skull. (Little bits of owl pellet came home wrapped in tin foil.  Brandt opened it to show me and then little bits of bones and stuff ended up all over the desk.  Yum!)

That's Brandt's report.  From his schedule I saw that there was "hand check" before each meal.  Based on how Brandt's hands looked when he got off the bus, I'm not sure how thorough this hand check really was.  Each night the schedule also said 10:00  Light's Out! Sleep (please).  I'm not sure how strictly this was enforced either.  All three lunches they had jicama sticks, which Brandt couldn't pronounce, and one day they had soy butter sandwiches.  This astonishes me.  Who would think to prepare a large group of 11 year olds soy butter sandwiches.  What the heck IS soy butter?  Too weird.  Wednesday night was also taco night, and there was a competition to see who could eat the most tacos.  Brandt's friend Spencer won by eating eleven tacos, beating out the teacher who was only able to eat eight.  Eleven tacos!  I wonder how Spencer's mom feeds him on a regular basis.

I posted an "Off to Big Springs" picture or two.  Here is one from the Big Springs Facebook page, and some I took following his return.  Blythe, in spite of saying she wasn't going to miss him at all, really did miss Brandt.  On Tuesday when we were looking at pictures on Facebook hoping to see him, Blythe said wistfully, "When does Brandt come home?"  She made him a Welcome Home! poster that included "happy day for everyone!"  She also felt cookies and lemonade were appropriate and insisted we bake this morning in preparation for his return.  Brandt was happy to see the sugar cookies and wolfed several down before washing his hands (gag gag!).  It really was a happy day to have him back.

We're not sure what's happening here, 
except Brandt is looking at grass.

Our happy camper disembarking.
He and every other child coming off that bus were filthy!!!


How could these hands have been washed before breakfast and still look like this?
You see those red eyes and runny nose?
Brandt didn't take his allergy pill, and he didn't eat well and get enough sleep,
and he wound up with a cold.

Brick and Cora and Kal were with us for pick up.
Brick wanted a picture with Brandt (blurry!).
And Cora wanted her picture taken, too.

Here we are eating welcome home cookies and drinking welcome home lemonade.

Pile of dirty socks that all went in the trash.

Stack of unworn shirts.
There are five of them there.
I only sent him with six plus the one he was wearing.
The shirt did not get changed like the socks did.
I didn't include a picture of the neatly folded underwear.
I washed them, telling myself he actually did change his underwear more than once and he just
folded all the dirties up again.
That's what I'm telling myself.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cora Deathwish

Mikayla and the kids were over today for a bit.  I had been spraying a tree in the backyard, and had the ladder out.  I took it out of the shrubbery and set it against the house rather than walk it immediately to the garage.  Mikayla and I were talking, not paying super good attention, then turned around and found Cora nonchalantly climbing the ladder.  No biggie.  Just the two year old climbing feet off the ground.  She does all sorts of danger-danger things that have earned her the nickname Deathwish, and here is another example of that behavior.  Let's hope she makes it to three.


While helping Blythe to clean her room today, I came upon a paper titled "Blessings."  It was from her Primary class.  Here are the 10 things Blythe considered blessings on Sunday, June 4th.

  1. figet spiner
  2. babtsum (baptism)
  3. Gosple
  4. blesings
  5. family
  6. freinds
  7. the Earth
  8. a tesamony
  9. a beutaful place to live in
  10. forgevness
For the record, Kent got the children a fidget spinner while I was biking on Saturday, something I probably would not have done had they asked me.  I hope these things weren't listed in order of importance.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bedtime Selfie

Just a mom, her girl, an owl, and a dog getting ready for bed.
Kenza and Butterscotch (owl and dog) are some of the many creatures that keep Blythe
company through the night.
I love an evening snuggle, reading, and praying with Blythe before she goes to sleep.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Eva's 50th Birthday

My dear friend Eva Fisher is turning 50 this month.  She and her family will be at Lake Powell on the actual day, so her kids threw her a surprise party this evening.  They are moving to a beautiful home up Hobble Creek Canyon which makes me sad as I will miss seeing her regularly.  She is one of my biking buddies.  Although it is Blythe's birthday and we were planning on dinner with her, she and I went up to say "Surprise!" and happy birthday to Eva.  She was delighted to see us, and we were delighted to celebrate, if only briefly, withe her.  Here's to friendship and looking super fantastic at 50.

Camp Big Springs--Off to Fifth Grade Camp

Brandt left today for fifth grade camp.  It's all week long.  We don't pick him up until Friday at noon.  We can't believe our boy is big enough to be off to a week-long camp all alone.  How can that be?  As we gathered his gear and helped him pack, I encouraged him to change his clothes, to go to the bathroom regularly, to wash his hands, and to definitely change his socks and underwear.  "Please," I begged, "don't return home having worn only one pair of socks."  We worry about how he'll sleep, if he'll have a good time, and if people will be nice.  We've sent him into the world without someone who loves him.  When we dropped him off, we got all his gear on the truck, we found his name tag, and we checked in his allergy pills.  There wasn't anything else for me to do, so he said I could go.  I said alright and gave him a little hug.  Then I had to dash away because I started to cry.  I cried halfway home!  Our sweet boy is growing up and soon he'll be going on a mission and then I'll really cry!  We'll pray for him to have a good week.

A carload of stuff to keep him warm, bug free, and relatively clean.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Last Day of School

Amazingly, school is over today.  The last day.  180 days have passed and summer begins.  We are ready, and not ready at the same time.  Brandt told me he was sad and glad, and Blythe said she wished that Mrs. Miller could be her teacher again next year.  It's been a good year for both Brandt and Blythe, and we feel like they have made great strides in their studies.  We will miss the structure that school brings, but will enjoy the freedom of summer.

Halls filled with nothing but stacked desks.

Blythe and Mrs. Miller
When I asked her what the best parts of third grade were, Blythe said,
"I liked the stores and how when we were good the teacher would give us little privileges like sitting by our friends.  My teacher was very kind and patient.  Mostly everything."
I think she was distracted when I asked.  
Happily, Blythe did like school.

Brandt and Ms. Cooper
When I asked him what the best parts of fifth grade were, Brandt said,
"Colonial store and Colonial Day.  Basically all of it."  When I probed for more he said, 
"My teacher.  She was kind.  Point parties. Being a lunch worker. Recess.  Lunch.
Math, social studies, science."
Yep. He's spent nine months in fifth grade and he can't think about what he liked best.
Distracted.  But he liked school, too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Light on Rock Canyon

The light shining on Rock Canyon tonight was amazing!!!  It was otherworldly.  It looked like there was a giant spotlight shining up from Rock Canyon park illuminating the sides of the canyon.  I don't know how it was happening based on the location of the setting sun, but as I drove up to the house, I honked and yelled for everyone to come out and look because it was unreal.  The picture doesn't capture it well.

The sunset the other direction wasn't too shabby either.

Pinewood Derby 2017

Tonight was our last pinewood derby.  Brandt will turn eleven at the beginning of July and will move on to boy scouts, which means no more cub scouts or pinewood derbies.  It's sad but true.  Brandt is growing up.  Actually, I'm not so sure how sad anyone really is.  It's been a struggle every year to get Brandt's car to work well, and this year was no different.  He had a good design and he and Kent talked to Brother Niven about getting it all to work smoothly, but it didn't roll well.  The first practice run, Brandt's car didn't even make it all the way to the end of the track.  Kent made an adjustment and it ran a bit better, but even still, it wasn't speedy.  Kent continued to make adjustments after each race and it did go progressively faster, but never fastest of all.  Oh well, you can't win them all.

The cub scout leaders had done a darling job decorating.  Jennifer Hainsworth and Ruth Jensen made cute treats and a backdrop for photos.  And even though Brandt's car wasn't the fastest, he had a great time.  Blythe, too.  She made a car and was able to race after the official racing was over.  We didn't let her ever race Brandt's car, for fear that she would beat him every time.

Dip stickers were pretzels, spare tires were donuts, safety cones were Bugles, 
and tow rope was licorice. 
So clever!

Not absolute last, but not good.
Everett Bushman, Garrison Jensen, Lukas Thornock, Evan Runia, Grant Seamons, 
Paul Moreland, Brandt, and Fisher Sorensen

Brandt got "Funniest" because he called his car Mr. Magoo
and had the weight cab.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fifth Grade Field Trip

Today Brandt and all the fifth grade had a fabulous field trip to Salt Lake.  I got to be a chaperone.  We took off on buses first thing, right after school started, and headed to the Natural History Museum of Utah.   Brandt was in a group with his friends Spencer, Jacob, and Cooper.  We rode towards the back of the bus where they all wanted to sit, and Brandt largely ignored me.  He chatted with his friends, and I chatted with mine.  Angela Richards, Brigham's mom, came along too, and she and I talked the whole ride while the kids talked among themselves.

The natural history museum is great, with lots of exhibits focused on Utah's natural history.  There was a fantastic dinosaur section with my favorite exhibit of triceratops' heads.  There was such variety I was reminded yet again about how creative God is, and how He likes variations on a theme. There were rocks and minerals, lots of Native American artifacts, preserved animals and bugs, a Lake Bonneville replica, and a botany exhibit.  They had lots of sensory exhibits you could touch, see, hear, and even smell (rotting dinosaur dinner, swamp gas, and shrubbery--Oh, my!), but nothing to taste.  We had to keep our tongues in our mouths.  I could have stayed much longer at each exhibit, but I had to keep track of my boys, so we sort of raced through.  Brandt's favorite part of the museum, in his own words, was "the Native American thing.  And the dinosaurs."  Stunning detail.  I'm going to take Brandt and Blythe back another time, during the summer.

Faux archaeological dig of a Native American dwelling. 

Brandt, Spencer, Cooper, and Jacob

Look at all those triceratops!

The guys are sitting in front of windows through which you can watch people 
working on actual dinosaur bones.  
It was cool!

This is essentially a video game exhibit where you can try and figure out how to manage water.
The boys were here the longest of any exhibit in the museum.

Brandt is playing in sandy water that earthquakes and liquefies.


Cooper and Brandt standing in front of a huge glass sampling exhibit of 
everything you can see in the museum.  It rises upward three stories.

We all loaded back on the buses and went to a park to eat lunch.  Although it's the middle of May, it was a very chilly day.  I had a jacket and so did Brandt, but as we sat outside in the park eating, we all wishes we had our winter coats.  There was a bit of a wind, it was overcast, and really not super comfortable to be outside.  The kids snarfed lunch and then played before we headed off to the Capitol.

Our second stop was to the Capitol building.  We got a great tour and were able to see where all three branches of the government do their thing.  We went to the State Supreme Court, the House and Senate chambers, and then went to the Governor's office and caught a brief glimpse of him as he was finishing a meeting.  It is a beautiful building which underwent an extensive four year refurbishment and retrofitting for earthquake safety which was finished in 2008.  I had never been to the Capitol and was very impressed with the craftsmanship and detail.  Our guide was very knowledgeable and made the whole experience very interesting.  Brandt's favorite part was the bathroom which he described as "completely marble except for the toilets and stuff, and the sinks."  

The Senate

Brandt's class, the tour guide, and an awfully cute face!

We rode the bus back to Provo and arrived just in time for school to be out.  It was a great day, surely one of the highlights of fifth grade.  And I was delighted I got to be with Brandt.