A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Busy body

Shayla has had one week of summer break, and I've decided this summer with her home all day will kill me. She always has to be busy doing something. Too bad she's not extremely helpful or I'd send her to work with Grandpa, who is a busy body himself.

To try to ease the boredom of summer, Shayla came up with a schedule for herself. It cracks me up:

  • Games
  • Draw pictures
  • Journal
  • Make place mats
  • Jump rope
  • Journal
  • Crafts
  • Kites
  • Clean the windows
  • Go on a picnic
  • Bubbles
  • Play school
  • Play dough
  • Mosiac
  • Streamer dance
  • Make cookies
  • Friends
  •  Make a family newspaper
  • Parents day
  • Make a map
  • Make suckers
  • Play marbles
  • Sound quiz
  • Make a dance
  • Start piano
  • Pump up bike tires
  • Sleep on trampoline
  • Work on numbers
  • EZ Bake oven
  • All about Me poster
  • Typing
  • Sign language
  • Weave yarn on sticks
  • Rock painting
  • Ride bike
  • Journal
  • Chore
  • Friends
  • Scrapbooking
  • Bubbles
  • Cut pineapple
She started the calendar today. She had finished half of her list by 9:45 a.m. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh!!! We did cut a pineapple today, but I didn't really have plans to have a pineapple every weekend of the summer. :) I'm sure she'll figure out more and more to do as the summer continues, but I'm thinking first grade can't come soon enough!

Friday, May 25, 2012

High School Graduation

Yes, following the big kindergarten graduation we had high-school graduation. Shayla was quite upset that Paul took off the day for Becca's graduation and not for hers. Oops.

Let me backtrack slightly to Sunday when we had Seminary Graduation on Sunday. As Austin expressed his displeasure at having to spend a second hour in the same day in the chapel, I realized that we were basically the only people there with kids so young. I guess that's what happens when you're 7.5 years ahead of where you started out. :) Austin actually got fussy at the precisely right moment for Paul to step outside and see the eclipse. We were a little bummed that the seminary graduation was right at the pinnacle of the eclipse. Since there was a musical number right then, I let my kids step out with Paul to take a look. (After all, this own't happen for another 10 years!) Apparently a bunch of other people had the same idea. I missed it, but I'll live. :) Anyway, we had 16 seniors in our ward receive Seminary diplomas. I believe that's one of the main reasons we were lead to live where we did -- they have been a great group for Becca to grow up among.

Anyway, Becca was so excited and nervous to graduate from high school. And we're so excited and nervous to send her to college. We've been her parents for less than 8 years, so we're not really keen on the idea of sending her off to be on her own. But what do you do when they grow up?

Her graduation was at Utah Valley University. We got off the exit 40 minutes before her graduation and thought we'd made great time. But then it took us 20 minutes to get to the parking lot! I was sure glad my Mom had gone a lot earlier and saved us seats. (She got the second row right where Becca would walk after getting her diploma.)

The ceremony was long and boring. What graduation isn't? They had 7 or 8 speakers and 400 graduates. (Again, Austin would have much rather been napping than sitting in a boring graduation ...) At least Becca was toward the beginning since she's a B. (Rebecca, your Youngberg kids will have to wait forever! :) They had the kids pick up their diploma cases and then walk over and stop for their parents to take pictures. Guess who wouldn't stop for her Mom to get a picture? She didn't see anyone else stop, so she was too afraid she wasn't supposed to. I got her to look at me for a quick picture at least:

Caleb has always joked about taking an air horn to graduation to blow when your person's name is called. They had up signage not to blow air horns as to not interrupt the next name, but people did anyway. (Fortunately everyone kept it short so it didn't interrupt others' names being called.) My mom heard them and said, "We should have brought one!" My bro was prepared and pulled one out of the diaper bag. If anyone asks, it was baby James blowing it:

Caleb heard it and started pointing in our direction. He was so happy to graduate:

I didn't realize until we were already headed to graduation that we hadn't pre-set a place to meet up with Becca after graduation. Sigh -- that turned into a nightmare! She knew where we were sitting, so we waited there for 30 minutes before finally deciding she wasn't coming to us. We tried her cell phone repeatedly, but she hadn't charged it and the battery was dead. Paul wandered around trying to find her and couldn't. Finally she ran into my sister (who was looking for Caleb), and they called my Mom. Phew! That was so annoying! We finally met up after about 45 minutes of everyone calling and looking without luck.

The cousins were so happy to graduate together:

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Becca graduated with high honors -- I did not expect that. (Not that she's not smart enough -- she definitely is -- but because of what a struggle it was to get her to hand in her homework! :)
I always forget how short I am until I see pictures ... at least I'm in school colors. :)
Becca & family
While we were still trying to find Becca's boyfriend (who we have no pictures with at graduation since we never found him), Becca's Beehive advisers found her:
Sis. Arthur, Becca, Sis. Baird
They had no relatives graduating, but they decided they'd come see their nine favorite Beehives graduate. How awesome is that? (They're better than I am -- I won't even go to my own nieces' and nephews' graduations! :)

And since this blog is as much for family memories as for anyone else to read, I better include the picture we took of Becca and Kyle after he was finally found (after she had turned in her cap and gown):

After all, the day had more in store for Becca after graduation since it also happened to be the same day as her first kiss!!! Am I to discuss Becca's kissing on my blog? Too late. :) She and Kyle have been dating for more than a year and have been awesome about making sure they're not too physical. She had a goal to get to college before she got kissed. (In fact, I told her I'd give her $100 if she made it, and she almost did! :) Earlier this year she decided her goal was dumb, but Kyle had promised not to kiss her during this school year, so he didn't -- not even for prom. But now that the school year was over they went for it. Good thing she doesn't read my blog or she might kill me for sharing and embarrassing her. (Then again, things I think will embarrass her don't and things I think nothing of mortify her.)

Way to go, Becca! (On the graduation, not the kissing. But congrats on that, too? ;)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kindergarten graduation

Last week Shayla finished up kindergarten and had graduation on Friday. She was pleased as punch! (Where did that saying even come from -- how can punch be pleased? Must date back to Kool-aid commercials where the walking Kool-aid jug had a big smile. But I digress ...)

Anyway, they had a cute little program and did some fun and silly songs:

Shayla LOVED her teacher this year. She loved school so much she kept asking me to take her early, even if she beat the teacher there. Oh, and even when she had read her library books, she wouldn't return them because she didn't want to miss those five minutes of class. What a sweetheart! She took lots of pictures and drawings to her teacher. I wonder what a school teacher does with all of those? (Christina?) Maybe they're easier to toss when they're not your own kids drawing them.

Anyway, this is Miss Mellor, who spends more time than she should preparing to be a fantastic teacher:

Summer is going to be SO BORING for this poor girl! She loves to stay busy and always wants to be doing something. We already have a list of things that she can check for ideas when she gets bored. (We looked in an idea book for after-school activities, and it had a few she was really excited about, including washing windows. Yes! I hope she loves it! Other ideas the book had: whale watching or feeding zoo animals. Okay, like those are realistic after-school activities! Obviously I got the book on clearance. :)

Anyway, here I am with my sweetie:

I love my Shayla Bela!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Plinko anyone?

The fifth graders look forward all year to "mini society." This is when they come up with a business idea and go through the steps of starting their own business: Getting a business license, taking the test to get a food-handler's permit, etc. They also have to pick a location and pay more if they get a prime location. (The location is determined by a "land grab" where they run to the spot they want to have their business and the first one there gets it.) The other kids in the school earn "mini bucks" and get to go spend them at the businesses they so desire. (Let's just say they get plenty of candy that day at school! :)

Tyler worked with three other boys on their business. They had several ideas, but they ended up doing a sucker grab (two of the boys) and Plinko (Tyler and his friend Jackson, who ended up being in Disneyland during the mini society). By the way, Jackson prayed for rain so the mini society would be rescheduled for the following week. As I dropped off Tyler the morning of the mini society, I thought how nice it looked outside -- sunny and bright and perfect to be outside. We lathered him in sunscreen and I sent him on his way.

Then an hour later it looked miserable! The wind was blowing, it was cloudy, and it started to pour. I didn't know what they were going to do -- they would surely cancel, except that all the kids brought their stuff and set up thinking this was the day. (I figured that Jackson must have remembered to pray right when it started instead of earlier in the day. ;) So I ran down to the school to see if Tyler needed a jacket if the mini society continued as planned. I drove to the back of the school and was so surprised to see all the students outside in the rain. Really?

Well, I took Tyler a jacket and umbrella and found that they had actually relocated to inside and had their businesses running inside. However, the cotton candy machine of one business started smoking and set off the smoke detectors, which forced everyone outside into the rain. Tyler didn't look too grumpy about it:

In fact, he said his teacher said this would be the most memorable mini society ever! She is so positive, and the kids feed off of it. We'll surely miss her next year. Anyway, eventually they went back in and Tyler got people playing his Plinko game. I think it was quite a hit:

We used a 50-cent piece (which was stolen at the mini society!) and a peso to go down the board. Players got different prizes depending on if they landed on 1, 2, 3 or 4 (with 4 being a can of pop!). It is actually pretty fun to play, and I love the sound it makes. Now that I've practiced somewhat I need to get to the Price is Right and win some money instead of the stickers I kept winning. :)

But guess who loved playing Plinko the most? He played it for about 30 minutes straight one evening:

Who knew Plinko is a great diversion for busy, busy toddlers? :)

Zachary, my boy

I rushed back from the zoo as quickly as possible (well, Leslie was driving so I guess she drove as quickly as possible) to get to the Mother's Day program in Zachary's classroom. They did a great job with all of their songs and speaking parts, and Zach drew a great picture of me:

This year he also did his first Hershey Track Meet. It was so hot! (And I wasn't even the one participating.) It had been scheduled for a few weeks ago but ended up getting rained out. That day ended up being much nicer than this one. But he did a great job anyway in the 200, the 100 and the standing long jump:

Zachary is a little smarty-pants. This year he took second in the 3rd-grade chess club and came home with a certificate today honoring him for this. Tyler and Zachary love chess, and they're teaching Shayla to play. I haven't played since 5th grade, so I guess it's time for me to brush up on the rules so I can play with them, too!

Going to the zoo, zoo, zoo ...

Both Tyler and Shayla got to go to the zoo this year for field trips. I wasn't able to join Tyler's class, but I went with Shayla's class earlier this month. The Hogle Zoo is undergoing some major changes, and I can't wait to see the new polar bears they have acquired. Unfortunately, though, the bears were too busy adapting to their new romping grounds to be on exhibit. But we got to see lots of cool animals.

First we saw the tigers, my favorite animal:

As we were leaving, one of the zoo workers had a piece of tiger fur for the kids to touch. I hadn't even realized before that the coloring of a tiger is much like my cute Shayla's. No wonder I think her hair is so cute! ;)

Can you tell what animal this is:

It's an ostrich! It came up to the fence and spread its wings and bobbed its head back and forth. I've never seen that.

Gotta love the lion drinking fountain -- classic!
I always feel bad for the giraffes -- totally uncool place to be kept
Huge tortoise

Star Wars Day

We decided that we'd celebrate Star Wars day in full fashion this year. May the 4th be with you! The boys each wore a Star Wars shirt we had made for Disneyland, and Shayla was quite upset there wasn't one for her. I tried to convince her that she could wear her "Princess Power" shirt and tell everyone it meant Princess Leia, but she didn't go for that. So we searched through and found her something we thought would work. (Fortunately someone donated this shirt to our yard sale, and she thought it looked very Princess Leia-like.) I put buns in her hair (albeit a little too high) and she was set:

We went to a couple of stores before she headed off to school, and she loved it when I'd say to people, "It's Star Wars day -- do you know who she is?" and they said, "Princess Leia." However, she wanted to have someone know who she was w/o me saying it was Star Wars day. I was nervous. But we stopped at Grandma's, and Aunt Rebecca and Grandma recognized her right off. Phew!

We invited over anyone who wanted to come for Yoda Soda and wookiee cookies. Yoda Soda is perfect on a hot day:

And wookiee cookies? Good out of the oven ANY time:

I didn't think to take a picture until most of the guests had left, but these ones are my kids' best friends anyway. :)  I'm sure I spoiled dinner for them all ... but Star Wars Day comes around only once a year.

Oh, I can't forget to mention the best part: We put on Star Wars episode I to watch for Star Wars day. Austin (who is barely 2) laughed his head off at any joke and loved watching the aircrafts in space. I guess true Star Wars love really is just a little boy thing. :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Start 'em early

I once read that you should have kids start helping you with chores when they are four or five years old. Great idea. Even better idea? Start them earlier! Kids LOVE to help, and even though it takes 100x longer than it would for me to do it, I'd rather they start learning the proper way to do things. (Then again, I don't think this necessarily works, because my 18-year-old still doesn't do it the proper way most times. Ditto to my 10-year-old, and especially my 9-year-old. Sigh ...)

Anyway, Austin decided he wanted to help unload the dishwasher, so we let him. I figure a broken plate here or there won't matter ... but fortunately he didn't break one.

(By the way, we designed our kitchen with the plates low so the kids could help. That has been a great decision!)


Now to get the bigger kids to think helping is fun. I guess that's not really a possibility since I don't think any of it is fun, either ...

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Zachary's first time in our Bear Den was a special treat! The woman who does scouts with me and Paul is a police officer, and she arranged for a police dog to come!

This was officer Lawrenson (or something like that) and his dog Kilo:

The dog's name is Kilo, and the trainer showed us how excited Kilo gets to find his toy:

He explained to the boys that Kilo always thinks he's trying to find this toy because they dipped his toy in drugs to get him used to the smell. Now when he smells drugs, he goes and lays down and whimpers to get his handler's attention. The officer had hidden some drugs before we arrived and asked Kilo to find them. He was very quick:

Once Kilo has found drugs, the officer will then cover his eyes and make the toy "magically" appear. So Kilo keeps finding drugs so he can play with his toy that he loves so much.

The officer also brought Kilo's new bullet-proof vest and let the boys see how heavy it was:

Oh, and the boys loved having Sis. Martin come in uniform. We had mentioned it for weeks before, and yet some were still surprised that she is a police officer. Gotta love kids!

Pinewood Derby

So I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but our Disneyland trip made us miss the Pinewood Derby. I was so sad! A little boy has three shots at the Derby, and our vacation made my boys miss one of these shots, including Tyler's last year in cub scouts. Mind you, they were okay with it, especially since we could still enter cars to be run.

So they designed their cars. Tyler got some tips from his friend Jackson, who has a whole book about tips and tricks to winning the Pinewood Derby. Paul was crazy, crazy busy with school right before we left, so he spent probably about 15 minutes total on each car. (Fortunately we found weights that you just stick on the bottom and already have adhesive. Where has this been?! Every year Paul drills to add weight, and this was about a zillion times easier. Phew!) The boys finished off the painting designs and this is what we ended up with:

Since we weren't going to be there we asked a family in our ward if they would help with the cars. We asked their daughter to run Tyler's car, and their son to run Zachary's car. We knew that Tyler would win the fastest car in the Webelos den, so we were happy about that. (There is only one other boy in Webelos, and since his brother got married that day he didn't even enter a car.) As we were driving home from California, we got a text saying our boys' cars had done great:

Tyler won fastest car in the Webelos den, the second-fastest car in the whole pack, and Best Silver Speedster.

Zachary win Best Blue and Gold Scout Racer:

They were thrilled, even though they hadn't been there to see them race. Look at these happy faces!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Senior Pictures

We had fun taking senior pictures of Becca and Caleb. They were almost instant friends when we moved to Utah more than five years ago. What fun for the cousins to be in school together and to graduate the same year.

The best part was that any time Becca's smile started to sag (it happens when you're taking so many pictures!), all I had to do was say, "Give me your Kyle smile." She'd immediately get a HUGE grin. See what I mean:
Smile starts to fade ...
Kyle smile!
 Good luck, Caleb and Becca!!!