Sunday, October 26, 2008

Primary Program



Today was a rarity -- 3 out of 4 kids in the Primary Program! Matt was not a willing participant. As mentioned, he turns 12 in a matter of days. He looked nice in his blue suit. He left for church early, on his bike, and I didn't get a photo. We got to go to our new church today--the old one was 5 minutes away, this one is 1 minute by car. We are so spoiled!

Emily sang a duet for her part in the program. Megan will get a chance to sing another time--somehow lines got crossed on the message that she was supposed to sing the first verse, with two other girls, instead of the second verse as originally planned. But it's a huge primary, and they did well. After the dry run on Thursday, I knew we were going to need a miracle today. Bad dress rehearsal, good performance, something like that?

Matt's Birthday Party


Matt turns 12 next Wednesday. He wanted to go to Outback for steak, or take all his friends to dinner, but we decided to go for something easier. He invited friends over for pizza and Wii. Unfortunately, the bulb on the movie projector blew out halfway through the party!

They still had a lot of fun, though. He is definitely growing up. The first clue was when I asked him what he wanted to do for the party and he said, "Stuff."

Translation: I'm too old for parties where my mom plans the games. Honestly? Even though we had boys in our house from 11 am to 7:30 pm (one stayed longer) I didn't have to do much except hand out pizza, sprite, and make a cake.

Speaking of cake, I spent ages making a fancy cake with a spider web design and gummi spiders on it, and everyone was so full of pizza they barely touched it. Next year--hostess cupcakes?

The most important part was that Matt had a great time. His favorite party accessory were the plastic 'goblets' that looked like skulls held by a skeleton hand. There are definite advantages to having a b-day this close to Halloween.

Halloween Party


It's been a long time since I've done serious dressing up for a halloween party. The closest was a couple of years ago, when all I did was put on a cat-ear headband borrowed from Emily, white shirt, black pants, and taped an x-ray to my chest. I was a 'cat scan.'

So this year, we got invited to an all-out Halloween party. I thought my mom had thrown out all of her costumes from when she used to dance, but she kept a few. I borrowed this really great dress that used to be my grandmother's (Muzzy.) I wanted to do something different than the witch I've used the dress for in the past, so I took a cue from the botanical pattern and decided to frizz my hair and go as "Poison Ivy." (50's song, but I guess no one but me has heard of it.) Emily had lots of fun helping me, pinned ivy in my hair and helped spray green hair color. We had fun, even though I had to go to church today with slightly green-tinted hair.

The funniest part is how Barry, who boycotted costumes, was the one who got the prize. Milk duds, of course, if you get that reference.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Camping with a Cougar!!

Since Matt is almost 12, he got invited on his first scout over-nighter. They had a grand time, starting the fire from flint and steel. The bad part was when he got scared. It all started when the dog they brought was patrolling the teepee and they thought she was a wolf. They got scared, huddled together, and prayed. Then they heard a growl! It sounded like a cougar. One scout, who shall remain nameless, swore. Then they heard it again and it charged at them. It turned out to be the scout leader, who was bringing them pepper spray and making sure they were okay.

The foregoing paragraph, minus the first sentence, was dictated by Matt to me. He's good with words, don't you think? And it was all real enough to keep everyone up all night. He's still talking about the experience!

He Caught a Fish!!!


After taking Matt over to the pond in Midway several times last summer and the one before that and never catching anything, I asked my Dad to come fish with Matt. He did a better job. He, Matt, and Matt's friend KJ caught a bunch of fish! That was the good news. The bad news? Having to clean them. My dad did that too, thankfully.

Homecoming



Eric wanted a tux with a black shirt, white vest, and tails. He looked very good in it, although he wasn't sure at first. I told him if he was going to get tails, he had to sit down at the piano so I could take a photo. It's not a grand, but you get the idea.

It is really weird having a son old enough to date. I have to admit, I'm not nearly as cool a parent as I'd hoped to be--too worried about where he is, etc. But maybe being cool isn't what a parent is supposed to be. My mom did it better. Is it because I was so trustworthy? One can only hope.

He went with a big group, and they went to Stein Erickson lodge for dinner. I gulped when I heard that--I've never been there, but hear it's pricey. His date, Connor, has a dad who works there. So they only had to pay tax, tip, and valet. Can I get in on that kind of deal? I'd be happy to park my own car.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Matt



The girls seem to be getting a little too much screen time. This is Matt with his 'tickle' blankey, as he's called it since he was about 3. You can tell it's unwinding/bedtime since he's got it.

He's been having fun with an old cell phone we gave him when our plan got us new phones. True to Matt, he already knows how to do more things than I ever did in 2 years, including taking photos and finding ways to frame them with cute graphics I had no idea were even on the phone.

Thanks to Matt, we got our new phones programmed, the ring tones ID'd, and the rebates entered over the internet. This weekend he also mowed the lawn and put Megan's training wheels back on her bike (she just not ready to fly solo.) Thank you, Matt. No wonder he's tired!

Pioneer Day



We had an old-fashioned 24th of July day parade in our neighborhood. I got the idea to make skirts and bonnets for the girls. I did the skirts okay, but the bonnets still weren't done when my mom came up. Thanks to her great sewing skill and persistence, we got the bonnets done.

Emily and Megan won a prize for most historic costumes, and had a lot of fun.

More School Firsts



Emily is liking school this year. She comes home full of interesting facts like the mini-earthquake Utah just had that none of us felt. She's really gaining confidence in herself and doing well with friends. Next year she will be in middle school, and I'm not looking forward to her having to be on the bus before 7:30 am. That's what Matt is doing this year, and as you can see, I haven't gotten a starting school picture of him. I'll have to do a belated one if I can get a day when he's not running out the door, hair askew, having just gotten out of bed 10 minutes before he needs to be there. He's doing well, though, to always make it to the bus!

First Grade Mixed Feelings?



First Grade was a pretty big thing -- getting to eat lunch at school (she still wants to take PB&J most days) walking to and from school with her big sister, no more mornings at home with me. It's definitely a good thing. She got bored so many days, and begged for friends. But I will miss having her around. The house has been pretty quiet. Megan has days she loves school, and days she's, well, not quite so sure.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Slowing Summer Down


Every year I hold on tight and try to ride out January and February snowstorms, all the while dreaming of beaches, More realistically, I dream of going outside without a jacket or socks -- I wish I could live in shorts and flip flops.

I have memories of summers that seemed to last clear into the next year -- cartwheels on green grass, riding my bike to the local market for candy, 'laying out' for hours in the sun only to put my forearm up next to my mom and find that gardening always kept her more tan.

Before my parents remodeled their house, we had a porch swing. It was wooden, with white slats and little chain links that squeaked. I loved it. My mom, sisters and I used to sit outside and drink the drink my mom called 'orange juice ice' before the word 'smoothie' was invented. She liked hers with lots of mint. I tolerated the mint, but only because she made it. I liked the version I made with lots of yogurt and banana -- more like today's smoothies. I still remember sitting on the swing, the orange-banana tang on my lips, smelling breeze scented by fresh-mown grass.

What I remember most, though, is the feeling--hours of sunshine without any have-to's to end them. The phrase lazy summer days is cliche now, but it's becoming more of an urban myth. One friend carpooled with me to take my kids to a sports camp in Provo all last week. On Thursday, my turn to drive, she had to pick up her son in Provo, then drive to Salt Lake for a soccer competition. They didn't get home until after 10 pm. It's just one example of how our pace has changed. And I've started to wonder if that's part of what's making summer feel like it never quite exists.

A few years ago I decided to make summer memorable. I packed in extra field trips to the dinosaur museum, swimming in Provo, trips to Salt Lake. And got exhausted. That's when my mom said, "We never did this much in one summer. We only did one or two things each year." That got me thinking.

This summer, I had only a couple of goals. One of them was to buy a new swing. Not a suspended swing, though. The way my spouse and I are about mechanical stuff, we'd probably end up bringing the whole porch roof down. Or, more likely, the thing would be in pieces on the porch until 2010. Which, actually, is almost what happened with the swing I did find.

I have to back up a bit. Last year, I decided our empty backyard patio needed something. I went to Wal-Mart, got a swing on clearance. It only cost $49.95. The good side: Matt, our only mechanical one in the family, put it together in an hour. The bad side: I got thinking all swings could be put together, at least with Matt helping, in under two hours.

That item,incidentally, was only worth $49.95. The swing, being of rather lightweight metal that acted like a kite frame on windy days, and also being owned by Birkins (see not mechanical, above) didn't last through one whole season. So after seeing a really nice swing that my cousin Michele owned, I went out to find one of my own.

It took me two weeks and five stores to find one. I should have known this was not a two-hour parts and labor job. My first clue should have been when the store worker had to go find two other strong guys and a lift to get the swing-containing box off the shelf. My second clue should have been when it didn't fit in my car without collapsing both back seats and shoving the front passenger seat forward as far as possible. Still clueless, however, I took it home.

Matt unpacked it. Two hours later, it was still in pieces. Two days later, I asked Eric and his friend Sam to put it togehter. Three days later, after Matt fixed the wrong pieces they'd put together and added a few more right ones of his own, it was still mostly in pieces.

Matt told me, "Mom, this swing is really hard to put together."

"You can do it. Just keep trying," I said. I was really clueless.

Fortunately, my mom and dad came up to visit and take Matt fishing. Like usual, they turned their visit into a 'rescue Becca' trip. The pioneer skirts and bonnets I'd been struggling to make for the 24th of July children's parade were, thanks to my mother's creativity and skill, soon finished and looking cute.

[Emily and Megan, by the way, won a costume prize -- a giant Symphony bar, Emily's favorite.]

Matt, who'd been fishing with me four times and hadn't yet caught a fish, caught five with his grandfather.

After we came home from a nice lunch at Dairy Keen, my mom saw the swing, or rather the pieces of what might, sometime in 2010, be a swing. Anyone who knows my mom knows she can't stand an unfinished project. All three of us, with a little help from Matt, got to work. Hours and three trips to the hardware store later, it was finally finished. My poor dad looked exhausted. My mom had to be, too, although she didn't look it. I felt exahusted, but even more so, guilty -- they'd never want to visit if every trip became a major home improvement session like the last several had -- rearranging furniture in my new house, refinishing the banister and painting doorframes in my old house, now this.

Still, I was beyond grateful. I tend to rush through everything way too much. I'm feeling like I'd like to yank on the hands of time and grant myself and my kids at least three more weeks of summer. But if I could do that, maybe I could also make myself slow down too.

So tonight, as I was putting away zucchini bread [no, I did not make it] and trying to make the kids a quick smoothie before they went to bed, I did slow down. I left the bread where it was, left the berries on the counter, and went out to my swing. There I sat, the air tipped with the first hint of evening cool, and watched my daughters do cartwheels on the lawn. Maybe there's still time for some summer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

California Adventuring






we've been planning this California beach/Disneyland trip for a long time. Megan prayed every day that we'd sell our old house so we could go to Disneyland.
We got a good tax return, so took a short trip even though the house is still on the market. The beach was wonderful. It's funny -- every time we've been to CA beaches, different kids are excited to play in the water. One time, Emily wouldn't go near the waves. Another, Matt wouldn't. This time, they all had fun. Matt, especially, loved bobbing up with the waves and stayed in until we had to call him to go back to the hotel.
There were good and bad things about the trip. On the day we planned to go to Disneyland, Emily woke in the wee hours -- throwing up. We postponed things a day, and Matt, Barry and I went back to the beach. Em stayed in the hotel room with Eric. He and Megan weren't interested in the beach, no matter how many times I said, "You won't have this chance for at least a year." That's okay, the rest of us got our fill. Barry took a long walk, I took a short one, then went back to keep an eye on Matt in the water and relax on the sand.
And we did get to go to Disneyland. I was so worried Megan would be scared on Space Mountain. Even though Matt yelled, "Kill me now, Mom" halfway through the ride, he loved it and went again. Megan wasn't so sure about her reaction when I asked her after the ride. Then, at the end of the day, what was her favorite thing? Not taking her picture with Ariel (she got a little shy, as you can see from the photo) but . . . Space Mountain.
Mom's favorite part? The beach, and also a day recuperating in Las Vegas before we had to go home.

My House





It's been over a year since we moved, but a lot of people still haven't seen my new house. My camera is really, really dying. It's taken me forever to upload these three photos, so this is all you get for now, sorry. These are a couple of my favorite views, at least the parts I've gotten decorated-- the upstairs loft with my favorite blue chaise, the living room, (don't love the puffy couch, but like the art I put on the wall) and the new bench I just got to go in the entry way (sorry it's such a bad photo). I saw this bench I loved at the gift shop at Thanksgiving point. I read the price wrong, and when I realized it was actually $800, I didn't get it. But then I found this one at Robert's craft for less than $100. I can deal with that. Now I have a place for all the neighbor kids to put their coats. I got sick of them piling them all over the floor, but we're glad to have friends over for our kids.

Recitals and more Recitals




Who knew? Eric can really dance! When the ballet studio needed some guys to round out their production of West Side Story, Eric got recruited. He ended up doing a really good job with the steps, learning ballroom dance as well as the dance-acting for his part as a greaser. The production was really well-done (can I admit I teared-up when the main character died?) and Eric was really good in it.

This spring, Matthew was the only one without recitals. He took a fun cooking class with me at Thanksgiving Point, and created some terrific homemade pizza when he got home.
Emily had her second-ever piano recital. Her teacher player a duet of her twinkle-twinkle-little-star Suzuki song. Emily is excited to finally get to move to her first 'real' song after months of learning technique with 'twinkles.'
Megan, and her friend Addie, took Ballet. They got to be Pixies, scattering Pixie Dust for their part in the Peter Pan production. If I'm not mistaken, Megan liked the dressing up part better than the Ballet. This summer she's taking gymnastics. I'm excited to not have to beg her to go every week!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Emily's Thoughtful Gift


I don't know where Emily found flowers when we just barely got rid of the snow, but when I came home on Thursday, she had this little card and vase by my night stand. She's collected flowers for bouquets ever since she was tiny. Way to get rid of those dandelions!

Barry's Artwork

Barry and I are having a hard time figuring out colors for our master bedroom and bath. The color we have now had this great Benjamin Moore color name: Inner Calm. I liked it on the chip. On the wall, though, it's more like Inner Prison Gray.

I tried a color on the wall which was way purple. As he started to paint it gray again, Barry added his own artistic touches: "Led Zeppelin." Can you believe Barry is a closet hard rocker?

Emily's Jewelry


I think this is a cute photo of Emily. Her hair is the longest she's ever had it, and it's actually getting a little easier to deal with. She still gets that tangle in the back, but she's really learning to take good care of her hair. I guess it's part of growing up, and wow--she looks so grown up in this photo!
She's modeling the bead jewelry, necklace and bracelet, she made herself.

Matt's Mask

Matt made this mask (and the note -- too small to read) for me. For someone who claims he isn't artistic, I think it's pretty amazing!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Megan's New Haircut


Megan has been begging for a haircut for months. I didn't take her too seriously at first, because last year she was begging me to let her hair get down to her waist. It was on its way there, halfway down her back or more.
Next haircut, she still wanted it shorter. I noticed the ends were baby-fine and not looking all that great. And it's her hair. Although I asked she keep it long enough to pull back (which will help when she has her ballet recital next month) we decided to let her get it cut. Megan loves it!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

So Maybe I Answered the Questions This Way Because I Like Her Best?

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

Emily's Birthday Present




Emily's birthday presents were all great, except for one.

We planned her party so the girls could ice skate. Only one problem -- I didn't check with the ice rink. I mean, it gets darker and colder the later it gets, so who would have thought the rink wouldn't open until 6pm?
I rearranged it so the girls had pizza, cake and presents first, then skating last. Good thing--just as I was about to get the girls and go home, Emily tripped over a big ditch in the ice. She'd been helping one friend learn to skate, then hurried to catch up with two other friends. She fell right on her wrist.






Her strangest birthday present was what her dad called a classic wrist fracture.






She got the cast off last week, and is doing great. Emily was a good sport about the whole thing, and enjoyed having everyone sign her cast. Her piano teacher joked it was a good way to get her to hold her wrist up!

Friday, March 7, 2008

More Christmas Concerts




Megan is in ballet this year, and Emily, who loves to sing, dance, and make up plays, took a drama and singing class last fall. I'm getting smart, finally, and mananged to take photos of Megan during her dress rehearsal rather than trying to take them in the dark during the actual concert.

We were a little less organized for Emily's concert, though. It was one of those days when we were lucky to find her costume and both of her black ballet shoes in time for the concert to start. She made, it though, and had fun.

Eric's Swim Season


Eric finished his second year on the varsity swim team with a second-place finish in the 100 meter breast stroke. The boy's team took second as well.


Instead of complaining about not getting first place, Eric was sad only because the team is losing their swim coach, Leo (beside Eric in the photo) who's encouraged Eric all the way.


We're happy about the team camraderie, determination and hard work ethic Eric's gaining from swim team. About the 'temporary' hair black hair dye the boys chose for their school spirit statement (the team colors are black and yellow), well . . . it wasn't so temporary. Fortunately, he's a boy, and can cut the now-dark-brown off soon.

Matt's Christmas Concert


So maybe it's a little late for Christmas concerts, but after all that holiday time we spent sitting in them, we should at least get to share pictures.


This one is great because it's so classic Matt. He put tons of emotion and skill into playing the upright bass for the four-school fifth grade concert. Eric tells me how talented Matt is at picking up music, and I really love to hear him play.


Barry and I had to give a small chuckle over Matt's definition of 'fancy dress concert' as camoflage--with stripes to dress things up!