Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little Perk

It is a glorious moment each day when everyone is finally dressed, groomed, and fed.  The cleaning jobs are done and the house is as clean as it's probably going to get all day.  We sit down together in the family room and it is our 'reading time'.  Today we were reading about the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WWI.  It was all very interesting, but this is the scene that captured my attention.
Cannon and George LOVE Clark.  
Cannon loves to lay by or lay on Clark while Clark does his reading. 
And when Clark started rubbing George's back, George had found his new best friend.
It was all too much for him and he conked out laying on Clark.  Just a little perk of homeschooling:)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Return of Pi POD

Today was Utah's Lego League State Championship.  Team Pi Pod came back as the returning champs, but I don't think they had very high expectations for the day, as far as winning went.  They wanted to do another year because they enjoy each other so much and it is great fun.
The day began early with the parade of teams.
Their first of three robot runs was their highest and it let them hold onto the 2nd place robot score out of the 52 teams competing.
Here is a long-ish video of 2 robot runs if you're interested.  It's not very obvious what to look for but there are several different missions the boys programmed their robots to complete on a table of lego obstacles.

The boys were pleased with their judging session on Project presentations.  There are also team work and robot design and programming judging sessions.  But the teams don't know anything about their scoring or standings, except for robot performance, until the awards ceremony at the end of the day. 
There are awards in several categories and then 2 overall champion awards.  Pi Pod won the 2nd place champion award and they were thrilled!  A Utah team is not eligible this year to go to the World Festival in St. Louis;  instead, one of the champion teams will get to go to Legoland California to compete and one will get to go to Legoland Florida.  Tough choice!  The 1st place team gets to choose first, so we don't know yet which it will be for Pi Pod.  But very fun either way!
We had a very enjoyable day hanging at the U.  The hats that Abe and Cannon are wearing were a handout from another team named Lego Bistro.  They won an award for best project and two of the boys are in our ward, so we were very happy for them.
Here's a picture of Cannon, just because I love him and I think he's really cute.
I love him, too, and he is YUMMY!
Abe and I had a fantastic birthday date last night. 

Here's a little video of them winning their award.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January is Not So Bad

We are almost to the end of January (I hear you cheering).  I've got nothing against January-- I save my blah feelings for February.  Nevertheless, I understand that there are many who do not love January.  I've put together a little list of what I am grateful for to counteract any January blues.

1.  Abe's birthday is TODAY!!!!  He is 37 and we have a hot date planned-- a play at Hale Center Theater and then dinner at P.F. Changs.  To quote a little Black-Eyed Peas, (because you know how up to date I am on the music scene) "Tonight's gonna be a good night!"  Abe is still my favorite person on the planet, and I do believe I am his favorite.  Then the children, but then Mitt Romney.  And I'm okay with that order.

2.  I live in a relatively safe and honest community.  Case in point, I can leave my keys in the ignition and leave all my doors unlock while I take my little boys into Walmart and my car is left undisturbed until I return.  As happy as I am that my car was still there, in hindsight, it really wasn't a good decision.   I will try really hard to not do that again.  Oops. 
I don't think I think very clearly when I am go to Walmart because the last time as I was heading back out to my car I parked my cart next to my car and tried over and over to unlock it.  I was so confused when the van suddenly started on it's own.  I thought, "What is going on?  I don't have one of those fancy 'start you car with the press of a button on your key chain' cars!"  I looked at the driver's seat and lo and behold-- someone is sitting there.  Yeah, it was not my van. 

3.  I am grateful for reasonable, realistic expectations.  For several years now it has seemed to be too much for me to make sure all members of this family are dressed anew and groomed neatly every day.  I don't want to say I've given up the quest, but let's face it-- I hit the mark on Sundays and I think that is acceptable.  There are days I forget to comb my hair.  If you see me with a rather unkempt ponytail, there is a good chance my lovely locks have not made contact with a brush that day.  (How have I come to this?)  It is not uncommon for Cannon to wear his clothing--regular daytime clothing or pajamas for 48 hours.  I am happy to encourage him to wear a super-hero outfit overtop his pajamas because then I am not reminded of what he's got on underneath.  Meanwhile, Faith still changes her clothes 4 times a day.  I figure between the two of them we average a proper amount of clean clothing. 

4.  Friends.  I am always grateful for friends.  Book club friends, piano friends, home school friends, church friends, exercise friends, sister friends, long-distance friends family friends, couple friends.  Bethany recently asked me if my friends were as important to me as her's are to her.  I explained that with adults, it is different.  I don't need to get together with my friends a lot to play.  For me, they are a support, they think the best of me, they are on my side, they want to best for me and vice versa. 

"It is a good thing to be rich and a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be loved by many friends." --Euripides

5.  Tomorrow is the end of an era.  Clark's final PiPod Lego League state competition is tomorrow at the University of Utah.  It is bittersweet.  For the last 3 years the experience as nothing but positive and a HUGE blessing to Clark and our whole family.  Very, very grateful. 

6.  Grateful to be able to home school my children.  I enjoy them.  I enjoy the rhythm of the day.  Which rhythm as been interrupted by my blogging at 10:00 in the morning.  Time for me to go crack the whip!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Can't the Americans Learn to Speak?

Listen, I love America as much or more than the next guy.  I cry when I sing the Star Spangled Banner.  I'm big into the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Fourth of July is one of my very favorite holidays.
But let's face it.  There is nothing lovely about the way we speak.  I feel such envy when I listen to the English speak.  And it's not just the way they pronounce their words-- its the the way they phrase things and the order of the words.  It is just lovely.  So soothing.  And so correct.

I am now teaching my fourth child how to read.  There are words in the "American English" that do not make any sense.  Why do we pronounce "been" as "bin"?  The English don't do that.  I bet English children have an easier time learning to read since they pronounce words as they ought to.

I cannot get enough of BBC broadcasts or Masterpiece Theater.  Pretty much the only things we get from Netflix are English period dramas.  My latest favorites:  Downton Abbey, Lark Rise to Candleford, Sherlock, Cranford.

I don't play tennis at all, but I quite enjoy watching (listening to) Wimbledon every summer.  I don't watch any other tennis tournaments, but I love Wimbledon. 
Even as I write, my family is joining me in watching the BBC souvenir William and Catherine wedding coverage DVD.  I got it from the library and I was so excited because we were on our St. Louis trip and I didn't get to soak in all the wedding festivities. 
As the DVD was getting started they had a BBC reporter interviewing a group of young ladies from several different English speaking countries-- South Africa, Canada, Australia, and yes, even the great United States of America.  Why did the reporter have to let the American speak.  Painful to my ears. 

I'm sorry to be so harsh, but there it is.  William and Kate were just pronounced man and wife.  Lovely.  Just lovely.