Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Fun, Something's begun!

Our first week of summer was filled with fun and excitement on all fronts.

Around the house, it was fun to watch American Home Renewal work hard replacing all our windows and our sliding patio door!
 Scaffolding had to be used to reach the upstairs window and trim. Jade was particularly tempted by the low bars and potential for climbing...
Goodbye old door!
Fun to see one by one the old windows go and the new slick windows go in!
And now there are bedroom windows that my kids can actually open! And they're up to code and fire safe and all that jazz...
But as any homeowner knows, one home improvement project begets another... so yes, as you can see, we now have a painting job to consider... yay...

For our Cub Scout, the first week of summer was filled with loads of learning and crafting and shooting at Cub Scout Day camp!
 Lawrence's den performing the classic "JC Penny" skit ("Where'd you get that jacket? ... watch?" etc. "From JC Penny." Last scout runs by wrapped in a towel. "Who are you?" "JC Penny!" haha...)
In spite of a rough beginning to the week with the scout trailer being burglarized, the leaders pulled off a great camp for the boys.  Lawrence was particularly proud of a wooden box that he made and the gold bead that he earned for making a bulls eye on the archery range! On the last day, I treated the kids to McDonalds for lunch and had a picnic lunch at the park before watching each den perform their skit. 

Back at home in our garden, we thinned out the carrots and enjoyed nibbling on the little ones, making room for bigger ones to grow.  We're trying some multi-colored fun this summer in the garden, including purple/white/yellow/orange carrots, green and gold beans, and yellow/red/purple beets. 
The only big downside to the week was that daddy was gone at Zion's camp all week.  He had a great time helping the boys do some climbing and serving with the youth, which is a good thing, but the evenings are always harder when daddy's not home... and clearly, my photography is not very good when daddy's not home... 

Week one of summer fun: done. 

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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Three Through and Through!

 My baby is three. Yikes. (pause for a few deep cleansing breaths...)

Jade loves to sing, loves to chat, really hates her curly hair (probably because so many people like to tug on her curls...), loves "Nastics-for-day" (gymnastic s day), and climbs like the craziest little monkey you've ever seen! She scales the outside of the stairs, tries to climb up door jambs, and loves to traverse around the low hand holds while Dawna and Lawrence are at climbing class.  And lately, she's been into My Little Ponies like crazy. Every day after the big kids go to school, she asks, "Wanna play ponies with me?" On one particularly busy day, I hadn't found time to play with her yet, and she informed me, "Mom, Jesus knows how to play ponies," in an accusatory tone.  Ok, Jade, I'll try to be more like Jesus.  ;)

We did most of the celebrating the day after her birthday... because on her birthday, a couple friends and I dragged the poor little thing into the city for...

The Hunger Game Exhibition!
 But really, what three-year-old wouldn't want to sit on the set and pretend to get interviewed by Caesar Flickerman for the third Quarter Quell??? Yeah, I know... all of them... I think she mostly had fun though. There were quite a few interactive exhibits. to play with...

Anyway, after school, it was crazy as usual getting homework done and getting to climbing and gymnastics, and in the middle of all that, I took Jade to Costco to pick out a birthday cake. She picked a cheesecake (yesssssss!!!) and enjoyed putting her very own candles in it!
 The next day, she actually got to open all her presents and have her favorite dinner--pepperoni pizza with the pepperonis taken off--NOT cheese pizza, mind you... and as a bonus, Alex came over to play!
All in all, a successful little birthday for my sweet little one! Can't wait to see what this new year brings to you, Jade!

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Friday, June 03, 2016

Pinewood Derby!

Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats! The race is about to begin! But before the cars are lined up and the lever is pulled, let's journey back in time a bit to see how we got here...
As any scout mom knows, a pinewood derby event begins long before race day--in our case, months before. Lawrence got his car kit back in March, but there was no date for the race set. Even so, we took initiative and started to get to work on his car. Back in April, the same weekend as the quarry climbing in Sacramento, we brought that pinewood derby car kit to Uncle Weston's house... for he is endowed with many woodworking tools, yea, saws of all kinds hath he in the garage. 
 Lawrence sanding his axles on the drill press! Perfectly safe, I assure you.
 And here's Lawrence cutting his car shape out on the band saw, which is a significantly scarier instrument...
But don't worry, daddy's fingers are there to take the fall if something should go wrong...

The sisters of the cub scout hanging around that day could not resist trying to tell Larry what he should do to make his car fancy and awesome! Larry was not particularly interested in their wild ideas. But thanks again to Uncle Weston, he found scraps around the garage and helped each of my girls design and cut their own cars. 

Dawna made an awesome pickup truck. Xochitl designed a classic race car with fins going up the back and everything. Jade wanted a little truck, and so she got a little half-sized flat bed to call her own. The cars got painted; we ordered extra pinewood derby car wheels for the girls' cars, and waited for a date to be set for the big day!

Finally, June 3 was date decided upon. But there was just one minor problem... our troop had no pinewood derby track. 

Somehow, I volunteered myself to find out what track the other troops around the stake had used and where they were stored and figure out how to get one.  My phone scavenger hunt led from Becca S. to Jeff A. to this guy named Larry S. 

Larry S. was an electrical parts store owner in Fremont, getting ready to retire and downsize his shop. Way back when, he was involved in cub scouts and had stored in his shop for many years a pinewood derby track.  
And as it just so happens, our troop was on the hunt for one at the same time that he was trying to get rid of it. Perfect! And so it was that literally one week before our pinewood derby, I went to pick up a very fine hand-crafted track, along with loads of other goodies such as a winner's podium, cones, signs, and all manner of decorations. 
All in all, thanks to Larry, S., we actually had a very nice pinewood derby. Had it not been for this fortuitous meeting, our derby would have been much less fancy... or may not have happened at all... Our little troop of ten boys was delighted by the event. The following Sunday, one of the boys even gave the event a "five star" rating.

So, was this meeting Larry S. and finding a track at just the right moment a miracle? Well, that might be too strong a word to use. I sometimes like to call it a stroke of "guk," (rhymes with luck) meaning God Understands and Knows. He understood what we needed and understood how the parents and leaders of the troop were doing their best. And He knew how to align the timing to fill the needs of both parties. God indeed Understands and Knows what we need.  As we are obedient, He'll nudge, align, and arrange things to make our life just a little easier. And that's what happened with this pinewood derby track thing...
So in the end, Troop 197 got to have their pinewood derby. Lawrence, with some assistance from dad's YouTube research on how to weight cars and bend axles, got second place for speed out of the ten boys!
And after the event, many many races were carried on late into the night! Fun times on the race track! Can't wait for next year's derby... and this time, we won't have to go on a wild hunt for a track :)

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Terrifically Ten!

 Our darling daughter Dawna is a full decade old now! As a mom, it feels almost surreal to have a kid so big! She is an incredible girl, as anybody who has met her knows--far more than I could ever have imagined she would be!

Dawna is always so aware of having healthy, yet still special and fancy, treats for her birthday. This year, she wanted to make apple swans for her class. Jon and I made these a month ago for the Mormon prom dinner based on this YouTube Video. We were all up late Tuesday night carving 18 of these babies (I insisted that the kids in her class could share them...).
 All the kids in Mrs. Chapman's class were impressed and enjoyed their swans! Especially when they  dipped the wing slices in caramel and peanut butter! Mmmmm....
Dawna also loves naturally beautiful things! She asked for fresh flowers and an exotic fruit--so we found this Santa Claus melon! It was quite delicious! Very light green flesh with a good sweet taste--though I couldn't tell you if it was ripe or not...but we loved it! 
 And since Dawna's mom couldn't get her head on straight enough to figure out a birthday party, the primary presidency did it for her :) Sis. Ringlein invited the activity day girls plus a couple extra to come over after school to escape the heat in her pool!
I made this watermelon "cake." It's literally a cylinder of watermelon frosted with heavy whipping cream--whipped almost to butter status to make it thick enough to stay on the wet melon--and then topped with fruit and coconut cookies. 
 Just for proof--once it was cut through, you can see that it's just solid watermelon! (you can tell that I didn't exactly get a straight cut... so I filled it in with some whipping cream...) It was refreshing and delicious on a hot summery afternoon! And MAYBE healthier than cake... definitely
Hard to keep a candle lit in the afternoon breeze... 
Happy Birthday, my dearest Dawna! Lover of good books, fruits and vegetables, and all things musical! I can hardly believe she's TEN!!!