Sunday, March 25, 2012

A blogpost for everyone

Since I've been negligent with the blog for the past month+, I've updated with blogposts to suit every interest. Are you a sports fan? See "Basketball." A childhood friend who knows my family? Read "Kim's wedding!" In a festive mood? Check out our adventure in "St. Patrick's Day in Chicago." Are you my kids' grandma or a fan of Jacob? Read about his budding interests in "Piano" or "Derby Day." If you're looking for some humor, check out "The things they're saying."

I will keep more up-to-date in the future, maybe. :)


I signed Jacob and Zachary up for basketball because it was only $15, including jerseys. The program is run by Pastor Bob at a Baptist church here. I said that I could help with practices, and I ended up even running one on my own when the head coach had work commitments. Have you ever tried to teach ten 6-year-olds a basketball drill? It was a workout for spirit and body! 
     My boys came into the season having never dribbled a basketball down the court--they were very obviously the least experienced on each of their teams. At the second practice, one of them was pretty humiliated at it and got teary when he kept missing shots. I agonized over whether I should pull them out. I wondered if it was really helping them to keep being the last ones to finish drills/make shots/etc.? Or maybe they needed to learn to stick with it?
    I decided to keep them in, mostly because they had enthusiastic coaches who were willing to work with them. We practiced at our church building and I even enlisted a young man in our ward to help out. Throughout the season, I saw them learn to not only dribble down the court, but to actually play the game. Zachary scored one shot for his team (this was heavily orchestrated by his coach), and the crowds from both teams erupted in applause. He was also their teams' secret weapon on defense. He wasn't as into the game as the other players as far as intensity goes, but he figured out how to make a steal: he ended up getting 7 steals during the final two games.  
Jacob also improved dramatically. Although he never made a shot in a game, now he can shoot pretty reliably during practice. He's also a great defender and had several steals himself, with a couple leading to assists. The boys now say that they want to play ball again next year. I'm proud of them for their happy attitudes and their grit. Good season, guys! 

Kim's wedding!

My next-younger sister, Kim, got married! In New York City! Her husband is a guy whose family was in our ward when we lived in Salt Lake. He's now at Columbia studying Religion. 
     I didn't know if I could swing it to make it to the wedding, but then I scored at $136 flight to the wedding (nonstop there, one stop returning!). And my gracious friend tended the children for me (including making meals, overseeing homework and piano, bedtime routine, EVERYTHING--the girl is a saint!). We (Max and I) were so happy to be able to make it there. 
Here's pretty Kim right before the wedding

and happy Kim and Archie (he's a 5th-generation Archie--can you believe that?) right after the wedding.
All of the wedding-goers:
Afterwards we had a lovely dinner and saw their apartment. It was relieving to be with my sister (my sister Sandra couldn't make it because she was having a baby!).
My brothers and I stopped by Times Square that night, plus we went to Battery Park to catch a foggy glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
It was a 60-hour trip, of which we spent probably 7 hours with Kim, but an unforgettable day for sure. Congratulations, Kim and Archie!

St. Patrick's Day in Chicago

Ever since seeing The Fugitive, haven't you wanted to see the Chicago River dyed green? This year was perfect for it: we are only 2.5 hours from Chicago and the weather was a balmy 80 degrees! So we drove down in the morning, ate lunch at Navy Pier,
and saw the river!
Seriously, that is Irish right there!
We stayed for the parade, too, along with 50,000 others:
It was also the most amusing collection of t-shirt phrases that I've ever seen in my life! A favorite: a little girl with a picture of Iowa on her shirt that said, "Kiss me. I'm Iowa-ish."

In the afternoon Eric went to a temple session (my turn next time!) while I hung out with the kids at the children's museum. They spent a solid hour in the car room:
It was easy to keep track of them because they were all decked out in green! I thought that the exhibits were perfectly suited for a team of brothers:
Chicago, we loved ya! Be back soon!


Several moms in our ward teach their own children piano. To help motivate us all, we get together once a month for group theory lessons and individual practice sessions. We switch kids for lesson time so that the kids are accountable to someone besides their own mothers. Then of course we play basketball and have a treat afterwards, bona fide Mormon-style. There are about a dozen kids in the group.
    Figuring out practice/lesson time has been a little tricky. A couple times I hired a neighbor girl to come play with the little ones during piano time. Most times, though, the little guys are close by:
I only saw Jacob do this once, but I thought that it was so stinkin' cute that I had to take a picture. He was playing with Max on his lap! 
Last weekend our group had a recital, where the kids performed beautifully. Jacob performed "Impromptu" by Franz Schubert (the one printed in the Children's Songbook). I was nervous that I had chosen something outside his ability level (he's only been playing for nine months!), but he really stepped up and practiced well. I don't know how moms manage daily practice time with multiple children--it's such a huge time commitment for each child. I'm hoping to grow into it better!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Derby Day

Jacob and I made his pinewood derby car on our own this year. We read a book about it and then read up on the power tools in our garage that we didn't know how to use. We were so excited on race day that we forgot to have Jacob wear his Scout shirt--oops! 
His car was a bullet of a car--our friend who built the track said that it was one of the fastest that has ever raced on that track, edging close to the all-time track record. Jacob ended up coming in second place overall, missing first by .012 of a second. I have to post those facts here because who knows if we'll ever be able to make another "good" car again! It was so exciting that we couldn't even hold the camera in focus:
And here I am with my buddy Tara at the event. (I remembered my Scout shirt--I am a Bear den leader! Love those boys.)

The things they're saying

Max roars, makes a monkey sound, says "ooh" at things that he likes, and calls out "Mom" (or "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom" like one of those copycat monsters from Sesame Street).

Adam, upon looking into the Kitchen Aid mixing bowl that I had set on the dinner table as a serving dish (classy, I know): "This is not cookie dough!" 

We had a friend named Simon over the other day and Adam kept calling him "Salmon."

Adam, holding a baby doll: "This is Baby Brains. He's my best friend."

Adam, after hitting three pitches in a row with his bat: "I play BASEball! I hit the BASEball!"

Adam, when a little girl at the library told her dad to look at the cute baby: "I am NOT a baby!" And then, stepping forward, "I am a KID!"

Michael, when I told him that I would give a piece of candy to whomever found Adam's brand-new, missing Crocs: "Oh! I think that Jacob took them in from outside."
Amy: "Where did Jacob put them then?"
M: "I think that he hid them somewhere." 
A: "Where do you think that he would hide them?"
M: "I think in the downstairs bathroom in that dresser down there in the drawer."
Sure enough, there they were.

Amy: "Did you know that jellyfish don't have brains?"
Michael: "Scarecrows don't have brains, too!"
And then, still thinking about internal organs, he asked, "How big is Max's heart?"

Zachary made a game for home evening this week. There were choices on the squares--you moved forward for good choices and backward for bad choices. My favorite choice was "You started a forest fire," for which I had to go back five spaces! When I went back the five spaces, I landed on "You littered" and had to go back an additional two spaces. Zachary was almost in tears laughing: "That's the whole joke of the game!" he roared.
Later, Zachary was cheering on Jacob when he got a big move. "Hey, do you want Jacob to win?" I asked. "Of course I do!" Zach immediately replied. "He's the best kid I ever met in my whole life!"

Zachary, looking at Michael's artwork, leaned over and whispered, "That was the best guy I ever saw you do." 

This is a picture of Zachary after he and I went on a "date" to the grocery store. We were in Eric's little two-seater car and had to squeeze the groceries in. Zach said, "Bury me! Bury me in groceries! Now take a picture!"

This morning I was showing Jacob how I could project a constellation on the ceiling by poking holes in an aluminum can and then shining a light through the can. Jacob reached for the pocket door to the room and opened it completely, letting in light from another room. "This is what the stars would look like in the city." Then he closed it about a third. "This is what the stars would look like in the suburbs." He closed it almost all the way. "This is what the stars would look like in the country." Then he completely closed the door, making the room as dark as possible so that our stars were brightest. "What's this?" I asked. "This is what the stars would look like if Earth didn't have an atmosphere."