Tuesday, February 28, 2017

St. George Mom's Retreat

Little Beanie and I took off last weekend for a Fox Sister-in-law retreat in St. George.  She did pretty well in the car, and was relatively happy, even if she didn't nap as much as I would have liked.
I drove there and back with my sister-in-law, Lori, who is seriously one of, if not the, funniest people I know.  She constantly cracked me up.
It was my idea to do duck lips...
...it was not my idea to do double chins, but I'm just going to say it... I ROCKED the double chin!  Nice try, though, ladies.  Thanks for playing.
So let me tell you what we did on our girls' retreat.
We ate out.  A LOT.  We had breakfast at the condo and we ate out for every single other meal.  How glorious.  This means I DID NOT COOK!  For anyone!  Can I get a hallelujah!  I was rather mocked for my lack of adventurous food spirit, but no matter.  We can't all be foodies.  And why would we want to be anyway?  But I digress.
We had hoped for slightly warmer temperatures, but Greta didn't seem to mind.  I assure you she was happier than she looks here..
 The most raucous part of the trip was staying up way too late working on the fox puzzle together.  
Once we had it put together we turned off the lights to see the glow in the dark hidden figures.
That's when one of the smartest among us was stunned to learn that jackalopes are mythical creatures, and not just extinct.  What a disappointment.  
It really was quite lovely to have some time away to just talk and be silly and eat out.  Did I mention that I didn't cook for anyone and we ate out a lot?  

Happy 14th Birthday, Elinor!

Oh, YES! Have I mentioned how much I adore this girl?  How she has a style all her own?  How genuine and authentic she is?  She is good and kind and generous.  She is so helpful with her younger siblings and can be counted on to be where she is supposed to be, doing what she is supposed to be doing.  She is kind of a glue that holds us together and if for some reason she isn't at home, there is a big hole in her absence.  She is smart and talented and plays a mean piano!  She is a voracious reader and for her birthday she ordered 12 new books from Amazon-- they'll be arriving tomorrow, so if you need her, she'll be curled up on the couch reading for the next two weeks-- if even that long.
She and Bethany and good friend Corrine went on a shopping outing as part of her birthday celebration.  I adore Corrine and want her to come live at our house-- except that we really don't have a place fore her to live.
They did not come away empty handed.  It is best that I wasn't involved in the expedition.  I tend to encourage people to come away empty handed.  I believe that makes me a kill-joy.
I do think they made excellent choices-- better than if I'd been with them.  I lack vision, but when shopping I am often found crushing the vision of others.  Also, I loathe spending money.
I believe that makes me a tight-wadded kill-joy.
I may be a vision-lacking, tight-wadded, kill-joy, but I know when I am blessed!  And I am beyond blessed to have these girls for my daughters.  My cup runneth over.
I hate that I am showing my dirty kitchen, but such is life.  We had a delightfully enjoyable family time together on Sunday celebrating the joy that is Elinor.
Happiest of birthdays, my dear Elinor!
(Some of her many books)

We Made It Through February!

Bethany and Faith have always looked quite a bit alike.  Bethany recently did Faith's hair for her gymnastics pictures and the resemblance was striking to me.
Abe, Clark, and baby Greta working on submitting Clark's mission papers.  He's hoping to have them submitted in a couple of weeks and possibly have a mission call by the end of March.  WHAT?!?  CRAZY!  How did we get here already?
Peter and yet another attempt at smiling:)
Here he is with a collection of his favorite toys on this particular day.  His all-time, top favorite toy is the little yellow dump-truck.  Can you believe we have kept track of the toy truck since his birthday in August?  I think that's pretty impressive!
Peter's Magformer creation... and a somewhat normal facial expression.  
Sweet little baby Greta.  She is undergoing some "sleep-training" this week.  Happily it hasn't been too traumatic, but it has resulted in much more sleep than ever before for her.  Happy day.  Happy night!
A Cannon family dinner a couple of weeks ago.  Chip and Laura brought their awesome puppy-dog, Crush.  Cannon cousins!
Clark and Co. watching the robot reveal videos for other FIRST robotics teams.  I really enjoy how much of a family affair the robotics competitions are.  The Utah regional is March 8-11.  Clark is getting his wisdom teeth removed on March 2nd, and while he recovers that weekend he plans to watch live streaming of regional events in other parts of the country.  I'm hoping we can access it on the TV so we can all watch.  We follow robotics teams like some people follow basketball teams!
Lucky baby.  Lucky Daddy.
Our very good friend's son, Nathan, got married this weekend and we felt very fortunate to be invited to the festivities.
I am thankful for these good women in my life.

Goodbye, Holly Berry

We recently attended a funeral.
This was a sad funeral-- unlike the funeral for the hermit crab a few years back.
Our Christmas kitty mysteriously died and we found her shortly thereafter on our front walk.  We have no idea what happened to her.  She seemed perfectly healthy and had no signs of trauma.
We all really, really liked her and we don't know if we want to get another cat to replace her.  We'll see.
This was the last picture we had of her, curled up on my lap during reading time.
She was a beautiful cat and now all I have left of her is the scar she's left on my hand when she scratched me when we first got her.  I'll probably always have that.

This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You

A couple of weeks back was a "Red Out" gymnastics meet up at the University of Utah.  This means everyone was encouraged to wear red to the big rivalry meet against UCLA.
Now you may know that I am an alumni of BYU, a school not known for the friendliest of relations with the University of Utah.  What was a girl to do?
Faith wanted a shirt with a U logo.  I could handle that.
I've been told red is a good color for me.  Fine.  I will wear red, but I couldn't wear the logo.
I will say that it was a super fun, exciting evening with my girl.   We cheered our little hearts out.  I even stood up, clapped along, and yelled "Go Utes!" at the end of the fight song (as per Faith's request).  What is happening to me?  It's just that these gymnasts are INCREDIBLE!  And I do love me some gymnastics!
For the record,  I did not purchase the flag.  It was free.
I may or may not have waved it.
We did a little ice pack test on Faith's arm to test for a "cold allergy".   Sure enough, her arm turned into a giant hive.  Can you live in Utah if you're allergic to the cold?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Not Our Week

This hasn't been our finest week.
In very saddest of news, our cat died.  Our Christmas kitty.  We found her on our sidewalk.  We don't know what happened to her and there is great sadness at our house.  Abe saw another cat in the neighborhood who appeared to have passed on.  So I fear that there may be a cat killer on the loose.
Faith broke out in hives twice this week.  We don't know why.  The first time her ears got super swollen and hot.  She had hard, fat ears.
Today her hands swelled up.  She couldn't make a tight fist because she had fat sausage fingers.  This picture is her hand between Cannon's and George's.
Her face got hives and her feet and ankles.  She is sleeping peacefully this evening thanks to a generous dose of Benadryl.
What the heck?
I took Greta to the Dr. yesterday where she was promptly diagnosed with double ear infections.  She's had a bad week with the same sickness that Peter had the week before.  I'm not a believer in flu shots, but I think I made the wrong call this year in not getting them for the littles.
On Valentine's day I took Clark in for his mission physical.  All was well, except his red blood cell count was a little high.  They retested it a couple of days later and it was still a little high.  We went to have blood labs done at Primary Children's.  They came back in a normal range.  Just a little elevated.  Why?
I have a theory.  According to my research, chronic exposure to higher than normal carbon monoxide (working in tunnels, driving taxi cab, working parking garage) can raise red blood cell counts.  I suggest that working for hours and weeks, and months on end in the sub-basement of the Leonardo Museum, right by a parking garage, has affected his oxygen levels.
At least build season is almost over (Tuesday is the final day).

Anyway, it's February.  Maybe I've mentioned before that this isn't my favorite month.  More like my least favorite month.  I am struggling.  Weeks of sick kids and poor sleep have taken a toll.
In good news, this little guy is feeling better.
He looks like the Tin-Man, but Faith made this robot costume for George.
I didn't grow up making Valentine's boxes, but it is all the rage here in Utah.  Of course, having homeschooled my children, they haven't grown up making Valentine's boxes.
We had a homeschool gathering the day after Valentine's and this is what George and I came up with for his box.  Not too shabby.
The kid's cousins in Spokane always send a package of Valentines.  This year it contained these most attractive paper glasses.  Work it, girlfriend!

 The week is almost done and I cannot say I'm sad to see it go.  Not our best.  May Greta's antibiotics take effect quickly.  May our cat rest in peace.  May robot season wrap up quickly and Clark and Elinor's exposure to CO be minimal.  May Faith's throat not swell up in another outbreak of hives. AND MAY WE ALL SLEEP WELL TONIGHT! 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Team Infinity Squared Goes to State

I don't like surprises.

What?  Come on, everyone likes surprises.

No, they don't.  I don't like surprises.

In that spirit I will relate the events of yesterday's FIRST Lego League (FLL) Utah North Championship, beginning at the end.  No surprises here!
Team Infinity Squared won the Judges Award!  There were 48 teams at the state competition held at Weber State University.  There were roughly 15 awards given out.  Here is what FIRST says on it's website about the Judges Award.
"During the course of competition the judges may encounter teams whose unique efforts, performance or dynamics merit recognition. Some teams have a story that sets them apart in a noteworthy way. Sometimes a team is so close to winning an award that the judges choose to give special recognition to the team. Judges Awards allow the freedom to recognize remarkable teams that stand out for reasons other than the Core Award categories."

So basically, we won something, but we don't know what we won for.  The judges liked us (or felt sorry for us) and wanted to recognize us as being a great team.
We'll take it!
Going up on stage to receive our Lego trophy.  It now has a place of honor on the bookshelf by Frog and Toad.
Greta held up pretty well all day, but by the afternoon her fever had spiked and she was a sad baby.
George and his intended sharing some screen time while waiting during the last robot round.  Some of you may notice George has rediscovered his love of the one hand, finger-less glove. RIP MJ
Talking to passersby about their project.
The team waiting for their final robot round.  Keeping with my theme of no surprises... this round did not go well.
Don't my three children look darling in this picture taken just before the 2nd robot round.
Let me tell you, moments after this picture was taken, all  #%*!  broke loose.  Faith was holding the jig that helps line up the robot.  She was fiddling with it and several pieces broke off.  They were frantic to put it back together and there were some not so loving sibling feelings.
The second robot round did not go well.  There were tears and this was definitely the low-point of the day.
This picture was taken just after the first robot round and IT DID GO WELL!  It was a 30+ points higher than their top score at regional.
Little Evan, pictured here, had a great idea that earned us extra points on our last mission!
Doing the team cheer!
They are such great kids!
Clark has been such a great coach for them.  We will have a team next year, but it won't be as much fun without Clark.
There was a team called the Lego Foxes.  It was easy to cheer for them!
Walking in the opening ceremonies.
We arrived early and had an awesome location with comfy seats nearby.
Greta was happy for most of the day to be held and cuddled by Mom and Dad all day.
It was a huge treat to have Abe with us all day.
We gathered at 6:00 AM.  The team mentors and Elinor had a late night at FRC robotics.  Abe and I and Camille had terrible nights with sickness and the early morning.  
We were not in the best of spirits and it was a long day.  I know we were all quite relieved when the day was done.  Hopefully, as time passes our memories of the day will improve.  
Even still, I am so grateful to have been involved with such a great program and such wonderful young people.