Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Opening David's Mission Call

My son, David, will be serving a 2 year, volunteer, Vietnamese speaking mission teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Cambodia.  We recorded him opening his letter so those who were not able to join us in person could experience this special time with us.  That video is at the bottom of this post.

His letter arrived Thursday, May 3, which was also his Eagle Scout Court of Honor.  We waiting until Friday morning, so we could open it with family and friends (the family joined us via skype and telephone).

My Birthday

Boy, am I getting old!  My birthday was quite a busy day with Mormon Helping Hands, AJ attending a friend's birthday party, and Michael's fundraiser for Scout camp.  When we got home, John surprised me with some flowers, a cake, and a gift.  (Earlier, David also gave me a gift.)  It was a great day!  Thanks to my dear husband and kids for making me feel special.

Mormon Helping Hands, 2012

Our family loves volunteering for the annual Mormon Helping Hands service projects in southern California.  This year, we painted a huge fence around the local aquatic complex.  I forgot to take pictures during the project, but here are a couple I took just after we finished painting.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Neon Day at School

AJ's school has several fun "spirit days" at school where the kids can dress up.  Last month they had a "neon day."  AJ decided to make a Tron shirt with neon duct tape.  Here are the results.

David's Job at the Helaman Creamery

David got a job his second semester at BYU to earn money for his mission.  He worked at the BYU Creamery at Helaman Halls.  He made burgers, fries, and ice cream desserts for customers.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Michael's Swim Competition

Michael joined the swim team this year.  Here's a video of one of his first events.  Sorry it's turned sideways.  I forget that I can't rotate videos after I record them.  So tilt your head to the left.  :)

No "Real" Basements in California

I miss having a basement.  In California, there aren't many houses with basements, and the basements some homes have are not the same as the basements I grew up enjoying.  East coast basements allow you to put all your junk away where no one can see it.  You can actually use your garage as a garage. Most California garages have stuff in them.  A few have cars, but most of my neighbors use at least one of the car stalls for stuff.

I have attempted to clean our garage several times since we moved into this house two years ago.  Each time, I feel I have done well and that it looks a lot better.  Yet, we have NEVER parked a car in the garage of this house.

A couple of months ago, some friends of ours at church were giving away an air hockey table.  I jumped at the opportunity, but that also meant I needed to REALLY clean our garage.  Not for a car, but for the air hockey table.  Thankfully, all my previous attempts paid off.  The kids and I cleaned the garage and made some space.  We put down one of our area rugs from the old house, then John and I picked up the table.

We LOVE it!  The kids play it regularly, and our garage is now used most days.  It was totally worth it.

Webelos Art Pin

AJ participates in the Cub Scout program through our local congregation.  He's currently a Webelos Scout, and he has a fantastic leader.  At the March Pack Meeting, AJ received the Art Pin (which he earned with his den).  Thanks, Maria!

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Our ward (congregation) has an Easter Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast every year.  As all my kids are getting old, only AJ participated this year.  I took several photos, but I had a weird setting on my camera, so some came out blurry.  (I'd been testing different settings and forgot to put it back to normal before I took these pictures.  Oops!)

Accelerated Reader Award

AJ's elementary school uses the "Accelerated Reader" program to encourage children to read.  Each grading period, each child sets a reading goal with their teacher.  The child reads books and takes comprehension tests and receives a point score.  Their goal will be for a particular number of points (10, 30, 50, etc.) based on their reading level and ability.  If the child reaches their goal, they can attend the school AR pancake breakfast.  If the child reaches 150% of their goal, they receive a medal.

The first grading period, AJ exceeded his goal, but didn't reach 150%.  He was a bit disappointed, but he worked harder the second grading period and received at least 150% of his goal.  Here is a picture from the award assembly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Girls' Day at Disneyland

As I mentioned in a previous post, some friends and I went to Disneyland for a "girls day."  Unfortunately, it was pouring rain when we woke up in the morning.  We decided that since we weren't paying to get it, we were going to go anyway and have a good time. 

The drive down took a while because of all the rain (parts of the freeway were flooded), but it wasn't too bad.  When we arrived, I bought a rain poncho, because I knew my jacket and umbrella weren't going to cut it. 

With all the rain, we found the park was pretty empty for a Saturday.  We are able to walk onto a lot of the rides, and we had so much FUN!  I can't wait to do it again!

Swim Season

Michael really surprised us this school year when he decided to join the swim team.  While Michael has had several years of swim lessons and could swim, he never seemed to enjoy it, and he wasn't the strongest of swimmers.

Well...  After several months of swim practice (2 hrs a day) and "dry land" (1 hr a day after swimming), Michael has become an awesome swimmer!  We are so proud of him.

Here are a few pictures from some of his swim meets.  I will add some videos later.

Gate Night

AJ participates in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program at school.  One night a year, the school district holds "GATE Night."  All the kids proudly display the projects they worked on during the school year.  Here is AJ's.


When we went to Disney's California Adventure in March, they had a neat "attraction" in the Hollywood Backlot called "Electronica."  Michael and AJ competed in a video game competition against some other kids, and Michael won!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hollywood Tower of Terror, Take Two

Did I mention that I like having free passes to Disneyland?  Well, I went to DL and CA Adventures with some girlfriends and convinced my dear friend, Jenna, to go on the Tower of Terror.  She was a bit scared, but she did it!

Hollywood Tower of Terror

We are really, REALLY enjoying the free passes to Disneyland that come with John's new job.  We took a trip to Disneyland and California Adventure a couple of months ago and convinced Michael and AJ to go on the Hollywood Tower of Terror ride with us.  It's a ride where you drop multiple times in an "elevator." John and I really like the ride, but the kids had never been on it (with us) before.

Michael tolerated it, but didn't love it.  AJ was quite scared and closed his eyes and held my hand most of the time.  This picture is a bit blurry, but I think you get the idea.  We're on the left hand side in the middle row.


Okay, we are a little bit obsessed with Girl Scout cookies in our house.  We buy them every year.  In fact, I always buy quite a few boxes and pop them in the freezer so we can enjoy them for months to come.

Well, this year, we noticed that Keebler had what looked to be a knock off "Samoa."  So we decided to have a taste test.  While the Samoas were better, the Keebler ones were pretty close.  Close enough that we will really love having them when we can't get the real thing.

Tammy's Wedding "Reception"

My sister, Tammy, got married on March 3.  I was able to take a quick trip to Maryland to join in the festivities.  Here are a few pictures from the "reception", aka family dinner at Cafe Rio.