Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jam Session

Last night Caleb Chapman Music had a jam session with Jeff Coffin. He's a three time Grammy award winning saxophonist, in case you didn't know (like I didn't.) Joseph has been working a lot on rhythm changes this summer, and when the said they were going to do Oleo, Joseph was ready and ran up to show his stuff. 
It was pretty cool and Corey was a super proud dad.

Ethan did Stolen Moments with Jeff.
Fun night for our musical boys. Corey's been the one working so hard with them, so good job Corey. It's still work, but they like it so much that it's mostly fun and they are really starting to excel.

Birthday Coming Up

Abi made these two documents yesterday:
Try as I might, I could not figure out what the red strip of foam said. As far as I could tell, it was the following:
With a little help from Melodie, we came up with our first transcription:
Then Abi came to interpret and we now know the English translation:
Abigail ~ 12 Days till her Birthday! It'll be lots of fun!

Ok, so now we know the gist of document 1, let's see how we do with document 2.
Melodie and I were able to do this one without help. It says:

First transcription:

English translation (this is the people she is going to invite to her party):
In 12 days it is going to be my Birthday!
Gwen, Ellie, Juju, Brook, Dallin, Maren
You're cute Abi! Corey's going to do something with Abi tonight since he'll be gone on her birthday. I better figure out how to make her birthday special as I'll be on my second week of single parenting. She's a pretty simple kid though, I think I can handle it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School Year's Eve Family Party

Happy School Year's Eve! (yesterday!) and ~
Happy New School Year today!
It wasn't school year's eve for all our children, but it was the new school year's eve for our family, so that meant that even the Kindergartner and Junior High crowd that starts next Monday were invited to come. First, we had a feast of ham and cheeses sandwiches, with custom ordered turkey bacon avocado sandwiches for those with refined tastes (Corey).
Also on the menu were cheese puffs, Lay's chips, mango slices, and pickles.
Part of the decorations were our educational place mats. Sophia knows her letters!
After everyone ate their sandwich, they were free to have a cupcake.
We made three tiers, the lower tier for Elementary school (cupcakes said their grades, "granite" and such) middle tier was Albion for Hyrum. And the top tier was Churchill, with the greatest achievement of Jr. High schooler's world (around here atleast) being properly represented with the high and noble "SBO" cupcake. (cue holy music)
Abi's holy grail was the lollipops. She's always wanted a flat lollipop, so this was her lucky day.
Joseph being weird with his lollipop, kinda making a muppet face.
After dinner, we had some "back to school" activities at different "Centers" - (just like in elementary school!) First "center" was our lesson. Our theme for the school year is "Of Things That Matter Most" from this talk by President Uchtdorf. We watched this video.
We talked about what matters most. Being honest when you didn't finish your homework and might get a bad score, or copying from a friend and getting a good grade? Some hypothetical situations like that. Then was our questionnaire center.
This was our questionnaire. (I'll make the questionnaire cuter next year). This part was to capture a little personal history for their scrapbooks and is also going to help me (in my quest to be organized) to have everyone's heights and weight ready for when they go rent skis this year. Corey usually catches me off guard and I have to scramble, not this year! Go me! Then we did  a quick "Routine" Center...
And then it was really getting late (cause this is a school night), but I said we could start the "Visualization Board" center.  
Once the kids got going with this one it was hard to pull them away. Hard to pull myself away too.

Abi did a good job on her board. :)
Melodie and Ethan are working on their more this morning, they want to take time to get it just right.
Ethan is being serious about it, but he is also a big goofball, he was cracking me up.
Do you like his little mouse "Steve" who is at the top left of his "W"? Nice headphones, "Steve".
And some guy "Photobombing" Harry Potter in the middle of his W. Ethan, you're funny.
Ethan is going to Brazil with Corey on Saturday, so the quote under neath Steve was appropriate "It's a big world out there, Someone's got to see it" Yes, very appropriate for you, Ethan.
We didn't get to the Father's blessing center or the school supplies center, going to do the blessings sometime before Corey leaves for Brazil on Saturday afternoon.
And I'll have to catch them each individually about our family school supply center. The kids did think it was pretty fun, Wesley said "It's like our home is like school!" Well, I do want to be planned and prepared for school like school teachers are, so I'll keep trying to give the kids that impression. 

Overall it was a great success and I think will be a tradition we will keep for each upcoming school year. 
The little girls that will be my companions this upcoming school year were happy to play with balloons the whole time. I'm grateful to have them with me to constantly remind me of the moments and things matters most. Small and simple things ~ that's going on my visualization board. 
It's going to be a good school year!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

School Year's Eve Prep

Tonight is our August Family Party. It is going to be the "back to school" theme. 
I took these pictures last night. When Ethan woke up this morning, he said "Where is Wesley's grade?" I pointed to the 5 on the window. He said to me "He's going into 4th!" What do I know, I can't keep track of all this. But I ran downstairs and quickly got the 4 (from our Birthday Window decorations) so maybe Wes won't find out that I didn't know what grade he is in. But anyway, let me show you my favorite part so far ~ look at the cute little banner I made! It makes me very happy to see it's back to school colors and fun patterns. :)
Honestly, I'm not thrilled about school starting again. But I know the kids are (mostly, especially Abi and the Jr. High crowd) so I figured since I can't stop it, might as well try to make the best of it.
If I had my way, we'd homeschool or buy a motorhome and have a cross country field trip and visit everywhere in the US or the world and just be together. But employment and kid's friends are becoming very important to them. What's up with that, right? I mean, MY world didn't center around friends when I was a teenager. Oh wait... nevermind. It did. Yeah, so like I said, if you can't beat 'em, join em. I must and I will celebrate school and school schedules and all that the new School year brings. I will smile like I mean it.
So for our family party, we're going to have a special "school lunch"-ish dinner, going to have "centers" where the kids will do some school prep stuff and learning, like "Where do you put your backback when you get home from school" which no one seemed to know last year. This year, I'm almost ready. Gotta do a bit more prep work and then make cupcakes and stuff. Should be fun!! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Printer Box Nap

This is what a "printer box nap" looks like:
As I cleared out the basement, I almost recycled this box, but then I thought it could be used for play by Natalie first. All I had to do was leave it in the front room where a kid would find it, and they do the rest. Hyrum put Natalie it in with pillows and blankets and pushed her around in her little "car". And you know how babies fall asleep when they're in the car, right? Yes, well that's what happened here.
She fell asleep to music practice and other household noise. So we all kept talking and laughing loudly right in front of her as we admired her and talked about all the cute things she's done today, and it did not disturb her slumber at all. She was in the nap zone.
Sooo relaxed... so cute.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Family MTC

As I've been doing my final push at organizing the house before school starts and purging paper and clutter, I happened upon and read an Oct 2013 Friend article about an idea of having a "Family MTC". I thought it would be a great idea for us, as I've been searching for something we could do to make our Sunday more Christ centered and worshipful. Today we had our first session and I loved it.
It lasted an hour and went by quickly for all of us. We didn't have 4 different sessions like that article said they did. We just did journal writing today. After we read the article and started, I had several kids asking "why are we doing this?!" and "I'm not going on a mission yet!" and then we were able to review the quote we had just barely read by Elder Perry " and they each wrote it down on page one of their Family MTC journal about when we should start to prepare... "Start now to prepare yourself for the glorious service which is ahead of you as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ." I helped Abi and Lily, and with my and Melodie's artistic doodling, the boys caught a little bit of the vision that this could be a little fun.
They each wrote down what year they will be old enough to serve a mission. In journal, I wrote down all of the dates.
Corey doesn't think Lily will actually make it on a mission, he thinks the world will have ended by then ;) I'm trying to picture it... 2028... but I can't think that far. Doesn't that just seem like a very very long time away? But I bet it will be here before we know it and we'll either be surprised by how things are so much the same or by how things are so very different. I guess we'll have to wait and see! So, I put everything in a box and we'll get it out again next Sunday for session 2.
In this box we've got a little "missionary journal" for each kid (Composition notebook), a Preach My Gospel manual, my old MTC and scripture mastery cards and scripture timeline things, just a lot of fun churchy stuff. I also am including two books/journals where I took notes during my mission - notes from classes and conferences during my mission.
And, last but not least, for this Sunday, I have to show you how absolutely adorable Natalie looked today:
She was so goofy after church it took some true photographer skills to get her to hold still long enough to snap a picture to capture her beautifulness. Her brothers helped me out by making loud silly sounds to make her beam.
She, Sophia, and I took a walk around the neighborhood before dinner. Natalie toddled along beside me holding my finger and we slowly walked along looking at flowers and ants. Doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Kid Snippets

If you haven't checked out Bored Shorts on Youtube lately, thought I'd point you their way. We are still Kid History fans around here. They haven't made a Kid History video for a while, cause for the past year or so they are doing short videos called "Kid Snippets". So, just in case you haven't seen these, here are our two favorites: Math Class and Driver's Ed. Oh, and "Ultimate Workout" too!

And for some reason I keep quoting a line from part 1 of "The Wand of Universal Power" around here "No ONE CaRES wHat YOUR NAme IS, ROBERT!!!" So those are funny too. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 ~ Funny videos for your Friday. And one more video we shared with the kids last night, funny!
Date night tonight, hooray! Have a good weekend

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reunion Recap

Here's the recap on our 20 year high school reunion over last weekend. It was at Solitude's "Last Chance Mining Camp". It was beautiful to be up in the mountains. I need to get up there again since I didn't have too much time to take in the mountain air. Let's see, so Erica (teal jacket) did just a fantastic job on the whole thing. We are lucky to have her as our class president. (For any up and coming high schoolers out there, don't run for Senior Class president unless you're ready to be in it for the long haul!)
All the spotlights I did came in handy as decorations at the meet and greet and again at the dinner. People came in and registered at the table, and then were so excited to see friends that for a good while it seemed everyone was crowded on the lower floor talking in groups. I tried to interrupt them as politely as possible and tell them to head upstairs for dinner.
"...But first get your picture taken at our photo booth!"
More talking upstairs. Corey and I enjoyed our dinner when we had a chance.
Overall it was pretty good, but I wasn't very impressed with the salads. Or the desserts. It might have mostly been the buffet presentation though.
And we ran out of food. But that's cause we had about 30 extra people show up that hadn't rsvp'd. Probably the biggest stressor of this whole thing is trying to plan to accommodate everyone, while not knowing how many people that will be for sure, and not having the money to do it but taking the risk and hoping we will be able to cover costs. Erica is taking a much deserved vacation with her family this week, but we're still counting up money and paying our expenses, and I think we might barely break even, so that's good. A few months ago I thought we'd be $5-$3k in the red. So anywhere in between a profit and $100 in the hole, I can live with that. We still have to count up $ on Erica's end when she gets back, so after that we will really be done. Our last class reunion was a 10 year in 2004, Erica held on to the banner from that reunion that someone made that time around - Angie. So impressed with her work. And so impressed with Erica that she keeps track of all these things.
The decorations upstairs were simple - white table cloths with blue, gold, and yellow ribbons placed on them (5 ribbons each table, I worked on that part for the set-up) and there was a simple centerpiece of 9 tea light candles on each table. Simple and pretty.

Reunion selfie!
After the dinner, jeopardy game, a raffle, and some fun awards (Corey and I won the "breeder's cup" can you guess why?) there was a slide show, and during the slide show I had a moment to pause and feel calm and grateful... the music was taking me back in time, I'm here with my amazing in every way high school sweetheart, our life is beyond what my high school self could have imagined. And then in the slideshow there was a picture of a dark eagle flying with a full moon behind it, and from where I as sitting, out the window, I really could see the almost full moon in the sky (Nancy captured it rising).
It was a nice moment of peace for how it all turned out, after this summer of reunion planning. Then it was over... everyone continued to visit and take pictures with friends.
Corey and our "Master of Ceremonies" Tim remember that they both served missions in Chile, Corey in Santiago West, Tim was in the North mission. Corey told him a little bit about our family adventure in Chile.
It was really fun to reconnect with old friends (aka everyone we follow on facebook!) I don't think facebook changed our reunion much. We know a little bit about what people are doing, but it's still so nice to see them in person and to have a chance to visit. Everyone was impressed and felt we did a great job, so I'm glad that everything fell into place and that everyone seemed happy with it, especially Erica! Very good job. I think in 10 years we might have fond enough memories of this whole experience that we'd consider doing it again. :)
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