Monday, February 28, 2011

HS Soccer

Great News!  Alex made the High School Soccer Team!!  We were so excited for him.  He tried out in both 7th and 8th grade and didn't make the team.  He was very nervous about trying out again, but decided to do it.  They had try-outs starting on Valentine's Day for 4 days, and he found out a week ago Friday that he made the team.  Eric picked him up after his first team meeting and took him to Dick's to buy new cleats, shinguards, socks, and shorts.  He was VERY excited about making the team AND the new gear.  We are proud of him for giving it another shot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meeting President Bush

This is a picture from the Leaf Chronicle of President Bush shaking hands with people at Fort Campbell.  No cameras or cell phones were allowed.

Last Wednesday, February 16th, I got the privilege of meeting former President Bush at Fort Campbell where he was signing his new book, Decision Points.  When I heard he was coming, I asked Eric to buy me a book so I could go meet him.  I had been interested in purchasing this book a few months back anyway.  The books had to be purchased ahead of time and then they gave you your signed copy when you finished shaking hands with President Bush.  It was a really cool experience and I am so glad that I did it.

When I got up to the front of the line to shake his hand and he was greeting each person by saying something like, "So glad to see you" or "Thank you for your service".  I think he said both to me, and I said something like "hi" and "thank you".  Afterwards though, I realized that a lot of people had actually planned a little sentence to say to him.  I wished I had thought it through better and thought of something specific to thank him for that I appreciated about him or the time he served as president.  There was a little awkard moment where I glanced back after shaking his hand and he was waiting, as if interested in what I had to say, and then I just said thanks.  Even though there were a lot of people there, he had a warmth about him that made each person feel important and that he was interested in what they had to say. 

As president, I don't think he made all the right choices, but nobody does.  I have always been a Bush supporter because I think he really did what he believed was right. He thought about things from not only a political but a moral standpoint.  Many times he showed that he truly cared about people personally and made many personal visits to families of 9/11 or wounded soldiers, etc. 

I have really enjoyed his book thus far.  I am just over half through reading it.  It has been an eye-opening learning experience for me of everything that goes on in a president's life.  It has been very interesting to see the factors that came into play with decisions that he made and his feelings behind the scenes.   I have learned a lot about government and politics. But, what I like most is that, when it comes down to it, he is just an ordinary person  like you or I with a very big responsibility.

Just like the Saudi Arabian minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resouces said about his company, "Are there things that now, in retrospect, with what I`ve seen happen to my company, would I have done some things differently? I think - I think we all would  - we would do a number of things differently."
-Ali Naimi

The Close of a Beautiful Day

After the cold, snowy winter that we have had, we enjoyed some warmer sunny days last week and the kids were very anxious to start playing outside again. One of the days I captured this beautiful sunset. It's amazing how quickly the colors fade. I took the first two pictures and then walked up near the big tree to call the kids and get a closer shot. In a matter of just a couple of minutes, all the pinks had faded and it was just purple and blues with white in the last one. You can also see Tessa and her friends running down to me after I called them to come home in the last picture.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Missing Something...

I know that I have blogged about Legos a lot lately, but this was just too good not to record/share.

The girls have been obsessed with playing Legos lately. Jarem often plays with them too.  They have created a whole village with houses, stores, etc. They each have their own Lego family (Jarem too) and they even have an enterprise system where the Lego people have jobs and earn Lego money, and then they spend their money on things like Lego food, etc. It is pretty cool. Alex has a house in the village, but he doesn't usually play.

Inside their houses, they have created bedrooms for each person and kitchens with appliances, living room furniture and etc all made out of Legos. Jesikah has redone her kitchen like 3 times in recent weeks.:)

A few Sundays ago, the girls decided that their town was missing was missing a church. So, they got on creator and built a beautiful virtual Lego church. On that site, you can purchase anything that you create, and it comes with instructions, box, and everything. It is really very cool, and their finished product came out very beautiful but at a hefty price of $143.00.

They didn't have that much money, and while I was very tempted to step in and offer to help pay, I am really trying to help them learn about money management with our token economy plan. We are trying to never lend them money to pay back because we told them that they have to live within their means. They don't have a line of credit. It's tough sometimes for me not to step in and pay because it really was a cool church. Anyway, I did tell them that I would buy it (because they lose the design if they don't purchase it in a set amount of days), and when they earned enough money they could buy it from me but they wouldn't get it until they paid for it. They weren't sure how long it would take them to earn enough money, so they didn't know what to do.

They decided to think about it.  They went downstairs and in a few hours they came back up to show me what they had created:  their own church with the Legos they already had. They said, "You know how people used to have to sacrifice to build churches and temples? Well we did the same thing. We each sacrificed by "donating" some Lego pieces off our own Lego houses or buildings that the church needed."  I know our experience in Nauvoo this past summer was what they were thinking about when they thought of sacrificing.  The early saints had sacrificed so much to build the Nauvoo temple.  It was very sweet and heart-warming for me to see that our children are applying things we are trying to teach them.

1) It feels good to sacrifice for a cause you believe in
2) Resourcefulness (sometimes we can use the resources we have to create something we want rather than spending money we don't have).

 In the end, they couldn't decide whether it was a church or a temple, so they just count it for both.  But, I believe they found more joy through saving their money and sacrificing a few of their things to build something they felt was worth it.  I was really proud of them.

Meetings are now being held in the new church. :) Not long ago, I came downstairs and Jesikah, Tessa, and Jarem's Lego people were having a testimony meeting in the new church.

Picture from above: Inside there are pews, a pulpit, a clock on the wall, and a phone off to the side.

It looks even better than it does in the picture.  It is really very nice with the windows and all that they have chosen throughout.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Valentines Cookies and Doors

Since the kids had nearly the whole week off school before Valentines Day for snow. I was determined we were going to make heart sugar cookies one of the days before Valentines. This is something I have always liked to do before Valentines and St. Patrick's Day. Anyway, I did make the cookies and everyone got 3 to decorate. Eric wasn't really interested and wasn't feeling good, so he went upstairs to lay down.

What is usually a fun activity, turned into a lot of this..

And this... (I don't remember what she was crying about.  It was probably someone taking too much icing or getting more sprinkles or something).

They did enjoy eating them in the end, (once the fighting was over).  I am going to keep trying though.  Wish me better luck next year.

My friend, Nadia, who lives in Washington shared this great Valentines tradition on her blog last year.  I love the idea of putting hearts on the kids doors with compliments on each for them to see on the morning of Valentine's Day.  I was determined to try it this year, but may have forgotten if it hadn't been for two people: 1) Linda-for teaching me how to use my Cricut and making it fabulously fun to cut hearts with that, and 2) Ale-for giving me a whole packet of "heart attack" hearts to give to someone.
Jarem's Door



I did the same thing for Eric's car, and he was pleasantly surprised.  I was a bit disappointed when he came in and asked if it was me or Jesikah that left the hearts.  (It is definitely something Jesikah would have done, but I just thought he would have known).  Then he felt bad and tried to explain that he thought it was me all along, he was just making sure he thanked the right person.  I am sure he would have known once he got in the car and read the card that was on the seat. :)

Eric and I decided to go out for our Valentine's Day date on Saturday night.  His brother called and asked him where that place was with the good steaks.  That got us in the mood for Longhorn, so we decided to go to Longhorn and a movie.  We got to Longhorn about 6:20.  There were cars everywhere and there was a 90-120 minute wait.  It was SO packed!  We decided to leave and go to a late dinner instead, so we went to Kirklands,(I had a coupon that I wanted to use to get something for the house), went to the movie first, and then went to a late dinner.  It all worked out great, and we even had a couple of friends meet us at the last minute for our late dinner.  It was a very fun night.  We went to the movie, "Just Go With it".  It was an entertaining romantic comedy that was light and fun for a Valentine's date.  When we got to the mall theatre, the line was backed up into Sears, but we waited and although we ended up being 20 minutes late into the movie, the previews were just ending and there were still seats, Yeah!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wacky Weather and Weird Things

Well, to start off with, we have had the coldest, snowiest weather lately.  Last week, the kids only had school on Monday and even Monday they were released 2 hours early due to snow.  Monday's snow held over to Tuesday, then Wednesday there was another storm that brought in a few inches and got them out of school the rest of the week.  Thursday, the low was -1 and on Friday there was a low temperature of -6.  It was SO cold.  This is the snowiest winter that we have lived here and apparently in a long time.  And, this is also the first time it has ever been below zero while we have lived here.  So, the snow stuck around for a few days since the highs were only in the 20s and low 30s. 

The kids mostly played and had friends, sleepovers, etc. all week.  They had a good time, but by the end of the week, I was ready for them to go back to school.  They were not really interested in playing the snow anymore last week at all, they were playing with friends, eating and making messes.  Don't get me wrong, I like snow days because I don't have to get up so early, but you can't really plan ahead because you never know until the night before or the next morning if school is going to be cancelled.  By Thursday, I was ready to get out of the house, so we went shopping for Valentines.  We found some for Tessa and Jarem, and Jesikah wanted to give them to some friends too.  It was just nice to get out, I felt like I had been couped up for days.

Saturday brought a nice surprise with warm, sunny weather up in the 50's.  It has been warm and sunny ever since with highs in the 60's.  I think it even hit 70 today.  I love the warmer temperatures at least for now...this winter has been too long and too cold.

A couple of weird things this week:

1) I went to the dentist on Monday to get my teeth cleaned.  While the hygienist was cleaning, she asked me how long ago I had braces on.  I told her it had been 20 years since I had braces.  She said that she thought she had found a piece of cement on my tooth from when I had braces.  Sure enough, she used her little tool and got it off.  Amazing!  All this time, I thought it was a ridge on that tooth that was damage CAUSED by the braces.  Now the tooth is perfectly smooth.  What a pleasant surprise!

2) On another note, a few months back, Jesikah had a fundraiser for band.  We bought several things and when I went to pick them up, I got talking to the man who was the representative for the fundraiser.  I was very interested in his experience because he had been in the fundraising business for something like 30 years and had a lot of knowledge.  I have been very involved in the PTO fundraising for the elementary the past couple of years and knew that we were looking for something better so I talked to him for probably an hour and asked lots of questions.  He had a lot of good knowledge and was not looking for business since he was 70 years old and ready to retire. (It isn't often that you can talk to someone with a lot of experience in that area that doesn't want your business). 

Last month, I presented some of the fundraising ideas and information that this gentleman had shared with me at our board meeting while discussing a spring fundraiser.  Everyone was very interested in some of the information he had, so Deon, (PTO president) called him to make an appointment to chat with him.  Well, as it turns out, he told Deon that he isn't taking on any new business but he will agree to do a fundraiser for our school only because he liked ME.  Of course, this became a big joke at our board meeting yesterday.  But there is more, apparently he is also interested in handing over his business to me.  Weird, huh?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Novel Group

I've been going to Tessa's class to do a novel group for the higher readers in her class for one hour 3 times a week.  We read together, discuss the book, we go over vocabulary, and I give the quizzes and tests occasionally.  We are currently reading "the Hobbit".  It is a challenging book for them, but they are really getting into it.  Here they were doing a choral reading of one of the songs.  They each picked a name out of the Hobbit book to be called during our group meetings. Tessa and I have had fun reading together.

The Groundhog Lied!

Did the groundhog see his shadow in 2011? This should have been easy to answer given the record-breaking snowfall and freezing conditions encompassing much of the winter here and many other places across the nation.  It seemed to most of us that that winter couldn't possibly be ending soon.   Yet the groundhog did NOT see his shadow on February 2, which gave some of us a false hope that spring might really be coming!  Well, I am here to tell you, "the groundhog lied!".

Here's is an excerpt from Clarksville's local paper today:
A cold, rainy morning quickly turned into a snowy disaster Monday, catching many Clarksville motorists and schools off guard.

This is a picture of our kid's bus stuck trying to make it up the hill on Powell Road yesterday.  Fortunately, we picked up Alex and Jesikah, but this same bus picks up our elementary kids and they arrived home 45 minutes late!  We were very nervous after reading about the road conditions and having been out there to see how bad it was.
The storm, which dumped anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow across Montgomery County, sent students home early and kept emergency personnel busy throughout the day.

Today, the forecast calls for it to be partly cloudy with a high near 31, but the fair weather will be short-lived. Meteorologist for the National Weather Service David Matson said there's a 60 percent chance for more snow on Wednesday. No winter warning has yet been issued for Wednesday, but Matson said the conditions are right to produce a good amount of snow.

"It's cold enough, and good moisture is coming up from the south," Matson said. " The closer we get to it, the better we'll know."

As the snow quickly accumulated, calls to the E-911 Center began to pour in. Wrecks were reported all over town and on Interstate 24. There were 370 weather-related calls between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Clarksville, according to a news release from Clarksville Police spokesman Officer Jim Knoll. Law enforcement responded to about 59 accidents without injures and 11 accidents with injuries and assisted 14 motorists, Knoll said.

Several school buses were among the dozens of wrecks reported throughout the morning and afternoon. A few buses had issues going up hill, slid off the roadway and got stuck in a ditch. No students were injured.

Students were dismissed from schools two hours early, but snow blanketed city and county streets before buses could safely deliver all of the children to their homes.

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System spokeswoman Elise Shelton said tow trucks and wreckers were on standby for the school system and that all CMCSS students were home safe by 5 p.m. "It's bad road conditions," Shelton said. "It happened faster than we expected. We made the announcement to close early before the precipitation came."

Shelton said students will not have to make up the two hours of missed time on Monday. However, with schools canceled today, 30 minutes will be added to each CMCSS school day beginning March 10, not to exceed TCAP week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

100th Day of School

Jarem's Kindergarten class celebrated the 100th day of school on Friday.  It was really a miracle that we made it to the 100th day with all the snow days they have had, but anyway, they were supposed to dress up like they were 100 years old.  This is how Jarem dressed...

Below are some pictures of the other kids in his class and how they dressed up:

And one last goofy picture of Jarem scrunching up his nose.
All the teachers and a lot of the kids were wearing Super Bowl team attire and all the kids were asking everyone, "Which team are you going for?"  So, not long after I got to school to help, Jarem told me that he was going for the Packers.  I told him that Dad was going for the Packers too.  He said in almost a whisper, "I don't want to go for the Steelers because they are "stealers".  That means they "steal"."  I was impressed with his 5-year old reasoning.  Then yesterday, he and Tessa were discussing whether the Steelers or Packers were better.  (Tessa was going for the Steelers). 
Jarem said: "I also like the Packers because they pack stuff and I like to pack and go on trips. 

Tessa said: "Yeah, they pack stuff in their bags to steal so see they steal too."

Jarem: "No, the Packers only pack their OWN stuff."

I just laughed.  It was especially funny because we as a family didn't really talk about the Super Bowl and we didn't watch it or anything.  They got all of this from school.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Foxy and Fuzzies

During the snow days, Jarem came into my bed each morning and wanted to play this game.  We called it "Foxy".  He came up with it.  The shape that he is making with his hands below represents a fox.  The fingers standing up are the fox's ears.  His guy was named "Foxy", and and I was the mother fox.  The foxes would be on the hunt for turkeys to eat which are below.  When Eric joined the game one of the mornings that he was home, he introduced "gator".  Gator would sneak up and try to eat the foxes.

Turkeys or chickens that the foxes hunt.  One morning Jarem didn't want the turkeys or chickens to get eaten so he decided the foxes could only eat apples or fruit.  He is sensitive in that way.



These are little fuzzies that the girls and their friends and Jarem had fun making and playing with on one of the snow days.
I like it when the kids can be creative on their own and come up with things to do without feeling like they need to be entertained all the time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jessica's Baby Shower

We got up early Saturday morning and drove to Huntsville, Alabama where we spent the day with Eric's brother, Kyle, and his wife Jessica.  Her first baby is due soon, and one of her friends had a baby shower for her.  The girls and I went to the baby shower while the boys hung out with Kyle.  The baby shower was fun with lots of good food.  We had a game where we were supposed to name that was pitiful how bad we all did!  Definitely not my thing! :) Jessica got lots of great gifts.  It was amazing how many talented friends she has that made home-made gifts.  I was impressed!

I took my camera but then ended up having fun with Jessica's new camera all day and left mine in the car. I went home without a single picture so I was excited when she posted some of her favorites on her blog. Here's the ones I copied from her blog.  I felt like I was legitimate in stealing them since I was the taker. :)

The bottom one is a picture of the cradle her dad made for her.  It was amazing!!

After the shower, we just watched some movies and talked. Unfortunately towards the end of the shower I was beginning to get a headache, and within an hour it had turned into a full-blown migraine with the nausea and all.  After taking all the medication that I could, I went outside for awhile to try and  see if the fresh air would help.  I was downright miserable for a few hours, but when I was finally able to take some more medication, it finally did the trick as well as a delicious meal at Red Robin (one of my favorite restaurants that we don't have in Clarksville) as well as Eric massaging my neck.  Whew! I was thankful for that pain to be gone.  Despite the headache though, it was a lot of fun.  We always have a good time with Kyle and Jessica and it was fun to get to know her mom and sister too.