Thursday, July 21, 2016

Seven Peaks!

I have the best, warmest feelings for Seven Peaks in Provo.  I went there with my high school best friend, Maren, the day before I started BYU.  I was so excited to start school.  I was so excited for that part of my life to begin.  I really thought that I would pull into the parking lot at Snow Hall and this amazing young man would greet me at my car, ask if I needed help with moving in my stuff, and we'd start dating and be married by the end of the term.  That's really what I thought would happen.

I feel those memories every time I go back to Seven Peaks.  Today I was cruising the lazy river with my Molly and my Braden on my lap.  And I thought, if I could have received a glimpse of this 22 years ago when I was there as a new college student, wouldn't I have been so excited?!?  Wouldn't I have thought our kids are so beautiful.  I may have been a little discouraged over how long it took to have them.  But, oh!  What wonderful kids!

Today was our third trip to Seven Peaks Provo this summer.  We met up with Emma's good classmate friends, the Skadal triplets.  I lied and tricked Braden on a big kid slide.  It was pretty painful.  We had to scoot all the way down the entire slide because the slide was SO SLOW and there's not enough water to get you to move along.  Never again.  Kharma for lying and scaring the little guy.

Dance 2016

This year in dance was very successful.  Macey joined a competitive dance team.  They performed at Juan Diego, Weber State, Lagoon and a few other conventions.  She was also a "Violet" in Willy Wonka.  She had a great time!  She also took a ballet class and a jazz class.

I think Molly might be done with dance class.  Soccer is ramping up and her evenings are usually filled, even in winter.  I may put her in a gymnastics class.  She is so strong and so little, it seems as though she'd be a natural in that sport.

Hooray for a successful dance year!  And hooray for a few months off!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Whirlwind of the Last Week of School!

The last week or so of school is crazy!  I feel as though I might as well just rent a room in the school and move in!

Last year was hard because Braden was littler and impatient with program after program.  This year was a little better.  Maybe we were just better prepared for it.

Emma had her play: The Wizard of Oz.  Oh, how she loved doing this play!  She loved each and every minute of it!  It got to the point where I told her she could not talk about it anymore at breakfast because it was ALL she wanted to talk about, all day long.  And I thought we should at least get a break at break-fast time.  She was the Scarecrow.  I used to have a zillion coveralls but I guess I gave them away?  donated them?  Because when I went to get them for her, they were gone!  I went to no fewer than 15 stores in two counties and finally ended up buying a pair online that ended up being too short but good enough.

Emma's class also had a talent show for the parents.  I came to her class and talked a little bit about my job as a ghost writer and played the piano with a blindfold.  I think they were impressed until a parent came in and talked about creating coloring books.  Then I was not so cool.

Macey had her Wax Museum.  She was Shannon Hale and a very popular exhibit because she passed out chocolate!  Her teacher, Mrs. Jarvis, told her to stop giving chocolate to the other 4th graders!  She also did her state program.  She had a small speaking part and did a great job with her songs and her dance.  We also had lunch together after her wax museum -- Chick-Fil-E, per her request.

Molly had a puppet show and a project for Chinese class.  For her puppet show she was Gretel in Hansel & Gretel.  And she made a poster of sea animals and wrote all of their names down in the proper characters.  I did not think she could do it, but she did an amazing job!

Phew!  What a whirlwind!

Last Day of School 2016!

July 1 was the end of the school year for Molly (first grade), Macey (fourth grade) and Emma (fifth grade).

It was a great year!  Especially for Emma.  She really shined in Ms. Simi's class.  She loved everything about fifth grade.  She had great friends in her class, she loved her teachers, she did exceptionally well in all subjects.  It was a really great year!  I saw her Chinese teacher at Costco and she raved over Emma's kindness, brilliance, and her Chinese fluency.  She said she wished she had a class of all Emma's, then life would be perfect.

Macey progressed really well.  Her Chinese teacher was wonderful.  Mrs. Jarvis, her English teacher, was very involved and dedicated in helping Macey progress.  Macey is brilliant.  We call her "The Vault" because information goes in and actually stays.  Sometimes I tell her that living with her is like living with Google.  Her recall is amazing.  She is so gifted.

Molly had a rough year in Chinese.  She had three teachers over the year.  It was a little tough.  She also had problems making friends, which I do not understand because Molly is just so dang lovable.  But the year turned out okay.  She found a few good friends and I hope next year will find some more.  We are just grateful to have a break from spelling for a little while!

Aren't they beautiful!

The Year I Turned 40

I stink at birthdays.  I really do.  Every year I hope it'll be better and every year I fall into a depression that is so deep, so physical, that it kind of takes over the entire day.

And so it was this year.  Garry & the kids went above and beyond to help me have a great day.  Garry even took the day off from work, something that he really tries not to do.  I was greeted with gifts and chocolates and balloons and little suckers that said, "40 Sucks".  It kind of really does.

I get a little in my head on birthdays.  I think of what I am not doing or what I don't have and it crushes me with a very real, but completely mental, weight.  This year it was friendships.  I do not think that I have done a good job building strong friendships in this community, though I have really put in the effort.  Everyone is busy.  Everyone has a lot going on.  It's hard to form solid friendships in the chaos.  In a perfect world my doorbell would have been ringing all day on my birthday.  It really wasn't.  And I felt a little sad with all of that.

The next day the weight lifted.  I was able to enjoy a day at the spa that Garry paid way too much for.  And we went out with wonderful friends, the Moores.

My friend, Stacie, said that next year when I start beating myself up over what I do not have and what I am lacking, I need to call her.  And she will remind me that I have a supportive spouse, a wonderful family, a beautiful home, steady jobs.  So maybe 40 does not suck so much, after all.

Fourth of July 2016!

Every year Garry and I go back and forth about, well, the Fourth.  Should we stay home?  Should we hit the road?  If we hit the road, where should we go?

This year Emma was in Texas and Macey was in Florida, and so we decided to stay here.  We went to a nearby community for a pancake breakfast.  The kids also participated in kid races.  Braden won 50 cents.

We went to Seven Peaks and then hit the BYU creamery.

Garry made some yummy barbeque chicken and then we watched fireworks in West Jordan.  We had a perfect spot near Redwood Road.  The fireworks were right in front of us!  So close that ashes rained down on us.  It was AMAZING.

Great day!

The Summer Wales Almost Won It All!

Genetically speaking, a large portion of me is Welch.

Which is why we try to support all things Welch when we can.

This summer it was the Wales National Soccer Team!  They played in the EuroCup and did really well!  They made it to the semi-finals where they were beat by Portugal.

To celebrate, we went over to my sister's house and made Wales-themed ice cream floats.  They were beautiful.  Pretty much everything my sister makes is beautiful.

Garry also bought me a Wales jersey.  It's the only red thing in my closet as we are devout BYU fans.  At Target the young man at the check-out station narrowed his eyes and looked at my jersey incredulously.  "Is that a -- a Wales jersey?"  he asked.

"Yep!"  I said.

They had a good run.  Hope they can make it all the way next time.

A Summer Tradition

My niece, Samantha, told me that I have the weird habit of trying something once, liking it, and then declaring it a tradition.  She is right.  I do that, actually.  It just means that we have a lot of fun traditions.

For example, ice cream!  In the summer we would meet at the gelato shop in Daybreak and play in the nearby splash area.  It was a great tradition!

Until the gelato shop closed!  So we moved down the street to the frozen custard shop.  It was fun.  Not the same. But still fun.  A new tradition?

Maryland Reunion 2016!

Last year while Garry & I were at Seven Peaks with the kids in Provo, we ran into the Zortmans, friends we knew in the White Plains ward in Maryland.  On the way home, I sat there in the van and thought about how fun it was to see them there and thought, "Wouldn't it be fun if we ran into them and all of our friends from Maryland on purpose?"

So I had the idea to plan a reunion and reached out to some friends to gauge their interest level.  And it turned out that everyone wanted to get together and friends from far away -- China, Saudi Arabia, Africa, etc., -- were going to be here in July and could also come!

Garry and I started looking at parks.  We wanted enough activities for the kids to be happy so the adults could sit and talk and eat and talk and eat.  We finally settled on Riverton because it has many great facilities, was close to the Interstate, and had shade -- kind of a rare thing in this part of the valley.

What a great night!  In Maryland we needed each other.  No one really had family that close by, and we needed the support of a ward family.  And what a wonderful family we found! Love them.

Sparta Cup 2016!

It was fun for Molly to participate in the Sparta Cup this summer.  We knew it was a bigger tournament and better teams would apply.  And we would get the first look at what Avalanche and Celtic had put together, two really good clubs.

Molly's team did not disappoint!  Although they were beat by Avalanche in the second game, they came back and beat Avalanche in the final and won the Sparta Cup.  Molly did not have any goals this tournament, but she played hard and played smart -- stealing the ball, passing the ball up, and assisting in goals.  Molly also got a foul, which made the whole sideline laugh because Molly is so very tiny.

Great job, Sparta!

Impact Cup 2016!

Molly joined Team Sparta this Spring.  It was a really hard decision and tough week as she tried out for Sparta, Forza and USA.  Molly is a crazy good little soccer player.  We call her Red Card Molly because she has never been afraid to throw around a few elbows as long as she was the one who was able to come out with the ball.  We wanted to make the best decision for her and thought that Coach Steve could help advance her technique and foot skills.

Our first tournament was hosted by Club Surf.  Molly had to play up because they did not have any other teams in her age group.  They did really well, against girls at least two years older, until the semis, where they were soundly beat.

But with the Impact Cup we played against players our own age, and Molly's team did really well and won every single game.  Molly also had two goals!