Thursday, February 28, 2008

The End of an Era

Pack Night: A night all boy scouts love and parents try to tolerate. They sing ridiculous songs made up from familiar tunes with new lyrics, the words never quite jiving. They have different cheers for every occasion (example: last night we all stood up and hissed as long and loud as we could, then sat back down). It wasn't long after I started going to Gavin's that I realized why my dad was always willing to pay my brothers $20 not to go. (I tried talking Gavin out of one - only once. His response: "I have to go and support my troops". I refused to give up $20 to him so we went.)

For three years now, we have gone, endured and watched our son enjoy the process. Last night's meeting was really no different from the rest. We sang "Oh, I Wish I Were A Little Hunk of Mud" and hissed our loud Hissing Cheer. Gavin received all twenty of his Weebelos pins (According to Richard, that's a pretty big deal) and his Arrow of Light (again Richard deciphered and let me know it's like an Eagle, but for Cub Scouts). Gavin was excited and I was happy for him. What came next shocked me.

He turns 11 in a couple of weeks and therefore will move up in the Scouting Program. At the end of the meeting, he was called up and given his certificate of Cub Scout Pack Graduation. He will be moving on to the 11-Year Old Scouts which means no more activities after school, no more Pine Wood Derby's and no more Pack Nights. ...No more Pack Nights! Something I thought I would jump for joy over and yet, when he stood at the front of the room and recieved his certificate of advancement, I honest to goodness had to choke back the tears! I wouldn't allow myself to actually let the tears roll down my face, but my heart was heavy and I had such a hard time letting go. I'm sure, part of this sentimentality comes easily knowing that I won't have to endure another one, but I never would have guessed that I would miss those corny little meetings. Knowing that they marked a certain era in my child's life and that it's over makes me appreciate them a little more. Kids really do grow up way too fast!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Science Guy

Gavin wearing his medal from the District Fair

So, Gavin and his partner, Trayl Grace, won 2nd place in the school's Science Fair. That, of course, meant they had to go to the district competition. After hanging out at Mapleton Jr. High for 5 hours to be judged and then wait for their deliberation, Gavin and Trayl made it into the finals and will be going to the regional fair. To say the least, Gavin's pretty excited. I am happy for them, but I must admit, I was hoping we were done with this whole thing. I think that makes me a bad mom!

FYI: Their project was to test different kinds of soap and see which one kills the most bacteria. Between regular soap, anti-bacterial soap and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, the sanitizer won.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kids Pick Up On Everything

It's a well known fact that Richard Bean is an emotional and tenderhearted guy. Several people in the ward comment or joke with him about the tears he sheds while sitting on the stand in Sacrament meeting. He can't help it, he leaks over something tender almost every week.

While Alece and I were in a little meeting after church yesterday, our kids decided to kill some time in the chapel. I know, not the best place for them to "play" and we weren't thinking much of it until Cole Ercanbrack came in to report what they were up to.

Apparently, they were playing "Sacrament Meeting". Ethan was pretending to be his dad (the Bishop) and Gavin was his dad (the Bishop's counselor). The girls led music and played the organ. When Cole happened upon them, the two boys were sitting on the stand and Gavin, true to character, had a tissue in his hand and was repeatedly dapping his eyes to wipe away the "tears". We all got a good laugh over that one... except Richard.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Before and After

I hesitated posting this because some of you aren't going to really care, but for those of you who play around in Photoshop, I thought I'd share. Once again I spent way more time on this then necessary, but that seems to be my habit these days.

(BTW - these girls are 5 of the 13 girls my activity day group. We had a big parent night with them last night and I made a poster with their name and photo on it. They turned out pretty cute, but most importantly the girls loved them.)

I admit, she's my favorite!

Smoothed the hair, whitened the teeth (and took the food out of them) and lightened the dark circles under the eyes.

Peep hole and glaring highlight: First you see them, now you don't!

Who knew a few clicks of the mouse was as good as a brush?
This is very subtle. You almost have to look up close to really tell. I couldn't get her to smile much when I took the shot, but in the end, I won by using the Liquify technique.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mom's Gone Crazy!

The science fair project has been taking up the week's spare minutes. We didn't even think of what we were going to do with the valentine's boxes for school until the night before they were due (common occurance, I'm afraid). This year needs to be be different the kids keep saying. They want something really cool. Not just a box wrapped in valentine wrapping paper with a hole cut in the top. So, we gather supplies to the table. Alli gets paper and stamps while Gavin starts making a check list of body parts for the robot he wants to create. It's already 8:15pm -

The kids went to bed at 9:00pm. That's right, they lasted 45 minutes. Mom continued to work on boxes all the while remembering the fun she had in elementary school doing this sort of thing with HER mother, only she remembered actually doing it together. Then mom called her friend and they talked and laughed at each other because they were both still up working on valentine's boxes after the kids were long gone from being a part of it.

Dad returned home at 10:00pm from meetings and mom was still working. Punching, glueing, stamping, wrapping, cutting, glueing (again)...

Finally, after 11:00pm, the boxes were complete and certainly not cool enough for the time put into them, but isn't that the way the cookie usually crumbles? Mom has only one thing on her mind that late at night and that is, "why does she feel the need to blog this event before she goes to bed?!"


RODNEY ROBOT- shoe box, foil, nerf football, milk lids - one from the jug scrounged from the bottom of the big, stinky, black garbage can outside and the other off the still full jug in the fridge (my kids are going to be waking for bathroom breaks all night from the milk I made them drink in order to use that lid), toilet paper roll (cut in half), pipe cleaners, a sign that reads "Love-O-Meter" (but only if you have a really cool robot-looking font) and a disposable container spray painted black for the hat (and it doesn't matter how tired you think you are, it really is better to wait for the paint to dry before glueing it on top of the football head).

GROOVY FLOWER BOX - shoe box, swirly wrapping paper meant for wedding gifts (any kind will do as long as you use the expensive stuff that really isn't meant for projects such as this), cookie cutter to use as a template for groovy flowers (I don't think I have ever used a cookie cutter for actual cookies...), two different sized circle punches because two is always better than one (and it's important to feel you've got your money's worth out of those punches you rarely use), alphabet stamps and coordinating ink colors to match the paper you've chosen (once again, coordinating will make you feel better about all those stamp pads and paper you have purchased specifically to match your project. Really, despite what you might think, 4th graders do notice those kinds of things).

And there you have it. Now every mom will have the resources to be as crazy as this one, just don't let the sleep deprivation or collosal aftermath deter you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Newest Thing For Exercise since the Ab Roller Plus...

I found this on a friend's blog and thought it was too funny not to share. Thanks Jen!

I've Been Tagged...

I tag Chelsey and Jenni

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Gavin was almost a year old, I had just had surgery #2 of 3 and was pregnant with Allison. We were living in Elk Ridge with R's parents. Richard was recovering from the weird aneurysm in his head and was working at Whitewater. Life pretty much stressed us out, but it's better now.

5 things on my to-do list today:

1. Make cookies for the neighbor who just shoveled my driveway and walkways.
2. Buy posterboard and letters for Parent Night with Activity Day girls.
3. Go to the grocery store to buy chips and cheese for Taco Soup
4. Take dinner to my other neighbor who just had a baby
5. Clean the kitchen and the pans of hamburger grease and onion ring oil from the birthday party dinner we had last night for our other, other neighbor.

Things I would do if I were suddenly made a a billionaire:

1. I would pay off all remaining debt.
2. Travel to Europe first then anywhere I darn well pleased
3. Go on a cruise
4. Remodel my house and add on
5. Build a cabin and buy a condo in Spain

2 of my bad habits:

1. I leave my shoes all over the house. As soon as I sit down somewhere the shoes come off and there they stay until I finally pick them up.
2. Richard hates this one. I don't always clean up my hair and makeup stuff immediately upon using them. My excuse is that the curling iron has to cool off or I am in too big of a hurry to get out the door. R still complains, but I am better than when we first got married...

Places I have lived:

1. Orem, UT
2. Blanding, UT
3. Macon, GA
4. Pueblo, CO
5. Columbus, MO
6. Sandy, UT
7. Pleasant Grove, UT
8. Woodland Hills, UT
9. Provo, UT
10. Elk Ridge, UT
11. Spanish Fork, UT (I have lived here for five years now and it's the longest I have lived anywhere since I was born.)

5 Jobs I have had:

1. Bank Teller
2. Receptionist/Loan Processor
3. Floral Delivery gal
4. Waitress at the Burger Barn
5. Cherry Sorter - longest three weeks of my life, aside from the last three weeks of my pregnancy with Allison.

5 Things people don't know about me:

1. I hate the smell of gasoline
2. I had an "accident" at school and had to go home and change clothes (at the age of 31!) Long story, but it's a good one!
3. In order to sleep at night I need ear plugs, total darkness, chilly air and to lay on my right side with the blankets tucked between my knees.
4. I hate rollercoasters, fast rides or even spinning doughnuts in a snowy parking lot.
5. I was the fastest runner out of all the girls in the sixth grade.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Trip to Italy

Italy. Her plans were complete. She had watched as many others had gone to this beautiful country. They came back sharing such wonderful stories and experiences about their trip. Italy was glorious and the finest place to travel on earth.

She began her preparations and saved her money. It took years to put aside enough funds to make this trip. It would be a once in a lifetime journey, but so worth all the sacrifices made to get there. As the time drew closer to her departure date, she got more and more excited. She couldn’t wait to experience the vacation she had heard so much about! She boarded the plane with visions of great Catholic Cathedrals and dazzling cities and villas. She could almost smell the sweet, fragrant vineyards and salty, coastal winds of the Mediterranean.

As she is dreaming in her window seat, looking down on the ocean, the captain’s voice comes over the speaker above her.

“We have had a change in flight plans. Your destination is no longer Italy. We will be landing in Holland. We’re so sorry for the inconvenience and we regret we are unable to offer any refunds for tickets purchased for Italy.”

Devastation sweeps over the girl. This is not what she expected or what she wants. Italy! She wants Italy! She has never heard of anyone taking a trip to Holland. There has got to be a way for the captain to land the plane in her Italy! She simply isn’t prepared for a vacation to Holland. Her suitcases are filled with beachwear and sandals.

Despite her prayers and pleadings, the plane lands in Holland where she and her luggage are left alone, alone to enjoy uncharted territory. She sees nothing that resembles the golden streets and rustic, antiquated buildings she so vividly pictured in her mind of Italy. But in Holland she must stay.

After days walking the streets of her new destination, the girl soon begins to notice the buildings are charming and lively with architecture as unique as the landscape. Many of the hillsides and fields offer colorful beauty in the tulips that spread for miles. It is almost impossible to describe the varieties that exist in those rows and rows of blooms! In place of cathedrals, she finds windmills of all shapes and sizes. There is much splendor in this hidden country. Holland has surprised her.

In her gallivanting, she has not forgotten Italy. She will always feel the pain associated with the detour that took her away from her lifelong dream. When she returns from her trip, she will continue to hear how fabulous Italy is, all she knows have traveled there. But to allow her thoughts to dwell on a place she cannot go, prevents her from beholding the loveliness her new land has to offer. She would not have chosen this side road and perhaps if given the choice, she would still choose the sun-swept Venetian beaches of Lido. And yet, how can she forget the sites she has seen! They have been more beautiful than she could have dreamed. The air in Holland is crisp and clear; the colors are vibrant and clean. Wildlife and countryside flourish among the waterways that connect the land. Nothing can compare, not even Italy.

The end of her venture comes before she is ready, but she arrives home to find there are others who have also been to the places she has traveled, others who have seen the beauty in the never-ending rows of color and the sunsets that take your breath away. She is not alone, as she once thought. She is happy to have found joy in a place she least expected and happy to know that Italy is not the only place in the world worth journeying to.

I heard this story in bits and pieces. I liked it so much, I had to come home and write it down. Although it's not told as the original probably was, it captures the main parts. I couldn't help but think of my own Holland and the various places that life takes us. They are unexpected and yet, when we take time to see those different destinations for what they are worth, we find more joy in them than we thought was possible.