Monday, May 19, 2008

Father and Son Campout

On Friday, Kade and I went, with my dad, on a Father and Son Campout.  Our church does this annually and this is the first one that we all three have attended and Kade's first camping experience.

My first camping trip

It was held at The Res in Mishawaka, IN.  Kade and I got there a little after 6:30 pm, grabbed our gear, and headed down the trail towards the camp site.  We then helped my Dad setup the tent.

Essential camping gearSetting up the tent

Next it was time to build a campfire.  We all helped build the log cabin of twigs and with the help of some dryer lint and one match, we had a great looking fire.

 FirestarterAdding sticks to the fire

After a quick trip to pickup some breakfast supplies, we took a three generation picture and then it was time for some dinner.

 Three generations of campersWatching Grandpa cook hot dogs

We had hot dogs and dad and I topped them off with some chili and cheese.  Towards the end of dinner we had a few small sprinkles of rain but nothing too bad.

The night came to an end with a spiritual message about the commemoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, which is the basis for the Father and Son Campout.  It was getting quite late so we headed off to our tent while others stood round the campfire telling stories and jokes.Kade slept through the night in his new Lightning McQueen sleeping bag while I on the other hand didn't get much sleep at all.  It rained on and off through the night, but we stayed warm and dry inside the tent.  Unfortunately we had to leave a little after 6:30 am to get home in time for Megan''s softball game so we missed out on breakfast.We had a really good time together and oh yes, this story would be incomplete if I didn't tell you about Kade's favorite part.  He got to pee in the woods and thought this was the funniest thing.  I guess the camp site did have a restroom but that was too far away and they always smell really bad, so Kade helped water nature.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Chocolate Factory

On Thursday Mattey's class, well really all the first graders, went on a field trip to the South Bend Chocolate Factory.  Mattey was so excited to go on a field trip since Megan's gone on a few already this year.  She really wanted me to go with her but I didn't think Kade would be very good.  Mickey said he would go.  I guess there were LOTS of kids and they had to squeeze in the factory for the tour.  They also got a sample to bring home.  I think it was a good trip.  I don't have a lot of details since I didn't go but there are pictures.

Here's Mattey with her friend Hayley (who also happens to have the same birthday) and then with Mickey.  Nice hair nets.

Hair Nets! Mattey and Dad

Next is the all important chocolate, first being stirred and then coming off the line.

Mmmm...ChocolateComing off the line

Next Mattey is getting a taste of the chocolate and then she's just being cute.

Taste testingDon't I look cute?

Here's Mattey with a group of her friends.  From all the smiles I think they had a good time.

This was a good trip.

She's got another field trip on Monday.  I guess it's the end of the year or something.  Oh, we only have two more weeks!  What am I going to do?



Play Ball!!!!

In March Megan was called in for tryouts for the Major league.  Thankfully the coach thought she needed another year in Minors.  (Mickey and I didn't want her in Majors yet.  She'll get more playing time in Minors.)  She's with the same coach as last year and Mickey is again helping out with the team.  The first game was last Saturday.  Megan is a good player.  She made a few plays from second base and was 2 for 3 at batting with one RBI.  Her team won 4-0.  I couldn't believe how well both teams played defense, especially for the first game of the season.

The next game was on Thursday night.  This one was good too.  Meg went 4 for 4 with two doubles.  (She likes the high ones.)  She had 3 RBIs and scored 4 times herself.  I could hear her loud mouth in the dugout singing chats and songs.  She's really getting all the other girls into the game.  She played second base and catcher.  She had a close play at home but didn't get the tag but the important thing was she caught the ball.  How many people can do that at 9 with someone running at them.  Her team won again 18-3.  Mickey said the other team's fans were getting ugly.  Come on it's only a game.  I have forgotten the camera for both games so I have no pictures to post.  I think I've been doing this subconsciously so I won't have to scrapbook them.  Maybe the next game I'll remember.  By the way her next game is Saturday at 4:00 pm if anyone wants to come.  Then the Saturday after that it's at 2:00.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Trip Out West

This post has been a long time coming, sorry!  I already posted about the first half of Spring Break and this is what I did during the second half.  We got home from Ohio on Wednesday late afternoon and Kelly helped me pack up my stuff that night.Thursday morning, I picked my parents up around 6:30 a.m. and we drove to Midway Airport in Chicago, IL.  After watching my Dad get patted down (we talked about taking his picture during this), because he looked so much like a terrorist (or maybe because he has heart stints), we found our Southwest gate and waited for our plane to arrive.  The plane ride was fine, we had one of the flight attendants who like to sing behind closed doors, and the flight only seemed a tad bit too long.  We landed in Salt Lake, with this view from inside the airport,

View From the Airport

found our rental car, a very nice Chrysler 300 Touring,

Our Sweet Rental

then stopped downtown to tour the Conference Center.  The tour guides there are so knowledgeable and helpful and though we only took the short tour it was really nice.Then it was on to Rexsburg, Idaho with this being the view most of the way

Some of the Beautiful Landscape on the Drive to Rexburg

The drive was long but not unbearable.  We found Amanda's apartment at BYU Idaho and met a few roommates before running over to The Pita Pit for supper.  Next was a short ceremony where we watched Amanda receive her diploma, well at least the blank diploma holder, and then some photo time.

Mom and Dad with the GraduateMe and the Graduate

The Graduate Outside the Rexburg TempleThe Graduate

We then met some more friends of Amanda's at Frontier Pies where I had some good Lemon Meringue pie.  Finally about 1:30 a.m. (SB time) we finally crashed from a long first day of travel.On Friday morning Dad and I were treated to a good continental breakfast at the Comfort Inn where we stayed.  My Mom stayed with Amanda for her last night at her apartment. We took a load of stuff to the local DI before walking over for Commencement.  We were lucky enough to hear from Elder M. Russell Ballard for a second straight day.  He gave a great talk on using the Internet to influence the world and let our opinions be heard.  We then toured the campus, ate at Gandolfos Deli, and then back on the road.  This time we were headed for Bountiful, Utah to have dinner with the Coltons, who used to live in South Bend.  Here is the view from their balcony.

Bountiful Sunset

After dinner we talked for a little while and watched their daughters perform ballet and play the violin.  Then Mark Williams came and picked me up and I was back on the road, this time heading towards Provo.

I arrived too late to see the girls, although Janel tried to wake Sage up to say hi.  We talked for a little while and then I was ready to crash after another long day of travel.

Saturday morning Janel scored a new swimming pool for the girls and here is Sage and Eliza trying it out (minus the water).

Sage and Eliza

The Williams took me to BYU campus where we spent a lot of time in the bookstore and then looked at some art in some other building (failure to store that name in memory).  Then we stopped at another LDS bookstore, where I got one of the books that I had bought at the campus store for half the price (we would go back later to return the more expensive one and then spend that money on sweets).  All that shopping made us hungry so we grabbed some food from Cafe Rio and took it to Janel's parents house.

With some more energy it was on to the next activity, the zip line in the backyard.

Lets Get Ready to ZiplineThe End of the Ride is Kind of Bumpy

What we don't have any pictures of, was the ensuing activity.  Mostly because I didn't want any incriminating evidence of my dirt bike riding.  I did spill the beans, once I got home, so as not to get into trouble, since I was worried that Janel might squeal on me.  * Update - before I had a chance to actually finish this post, Janel sent me some great pictures.

 Mini Mini Bike Riding with SageMasked Dirt Bike Rider

Check Out That Air 

We stopped and picked up "I am Legend" on the way home and since we hadn't quite had enough activities for the day, Mark and I headed off to go hike to the top of the Y on Y Mountain.  It didn't look that far or difficult as we started out, but it was actually a nice challenge with a huge reward.  The hike sometimes seemed pretty steep and I must admit that I had to stop for quite a few breaks along the way (I think it was the altitude, it had nothing to do with my physical shape - HA).  After reaching the top we sat down and just looked out over Provo and the beauty that God has bestowed upon our land.  It was so peaceful and as we climbed down, we had a good time talking with one another and watching the sun set, what seemed like almost faster than we could hike down.

We hiked to the Top of the Y in Provo

The Sun Going Down While we Hiked Down From the Y

We finished the night by setting up a theater in the living room and watching I am Legend.  This was a really good and thrilling movie, although some people got quite scared during certain parts.

Sunday morning we went to Sacrament meeting and then Mark found someone to play the piano for him in Primary so he and I could see a few more sights in downtown Salt Lake before I had to leave.  We said goodbye to Janel and Eliza (and made the huge mistake of forgetting to say goodbye to Sage, who was still at church) before Mark chauffeured me again.

Janel, Mark, & Me

We made it just in time to see one of the showings of the Joseph Smith: Prophet of Restoration movie and I am really glad that we did.  It was a very moving movie.  We walked through the old Tabernacle and the Museum of Church History and Art.

And then on to the airport and my flight home.  No problems there and no singing flight attendants either.  Back at Midway, I walked over to where my car was parked, paid, and headed for home.  I was glad to be back home after a really long week of traveling but I had a really good time.

Thanks to everyone who made my first visit to Utah memorable!  I look forward to a return visit and maybe this time Kelly and I can visit at the same time. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

School Activities

Every Wednesday for the last few months I've been going to the girls' school to help with Mattey's class.  I help the kids with reading in various ways, such as  reading books or plays in a group, and playing word Bingo.  I get a kick out of the kids.  There's always one or more that have to share their life history with me.  Sometimes it's more than I wanted to know.  Mattey loves that I come in and spend some time with her.  (By the way she is already reading at a 2nd grade level.  She's doing great!)  A little draw back is that I take Kade with me.  He's usually pretty good but he's started exploring and getting into things lately.  He also likes to carry on conversations with the kids while they're supposed to be working.

Every other Friday since the beginning of the school year I've been going in to help Megan's class with computer lab.  Mickey takes the other Fridays.  This is not really my area of expertise but I don't really have to help with the computer stuff since most know how to log in and they are supposed to be working on a specific program, such as math or reading comprehension.  I just help out with problems they are working on like adding fractions or whatever.  Megan is in a 3rd and 4th grade class due to high enrollment and not enough teachers.  I'm always amazed how well she does compared to some of the other students.  I shouldn't be but I am.  Kade tags along for this too.  He likes to give the boys five and they all comment when he's got his hair done in a mohawk or spike.

Today Megan's class did a poetry reading.  (I forgot the camera, again.)  I had to go to Mat's class first and then to Meg's.  I was really worried about Kade being good for that long.  He usually only lasts about 30-40 minutes.  I had a little talk with him before we went into school.  I told him I really needed him to be good today because we were going to be there for a while.  He was pretty good while we played bingo in the hall and then we went to Meg's class.  Her teacher knew I was coming late so she let Meg wait to recite until after I got there.  She did great.  She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear and she didn't seem the least bit nervous.  She's not related to me.  She recited "Hungry Kid Island" by Shel Silverstein.  After the program all the parents and kids were socializing.  I was watching Kade interact with all the boys in the class.  I came to realize he's like a mascot for that class but without a costume.  He goes around high fiving, talking to the kids, and hitting fists saying bladow but it sounds like butt out.  I think he's going to be trouble when he's actually in school.  We'll see how he does in the fall when he starts preschool.  We've already visited the school and he didn't want to leave.  He talks about going all the time and points out the building when we drive past saying "There my preschool!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rag Quilt

My friend Jessica makes these darling rag quilts. Last month I had her show me how to make one since she will be moving to CA soon. I bought 8 yards of flannel and had to cut it into 7" squares. That was a lot of cutting. Let me just say I love my rotary cutter.

flannel squares Iflannel squares II

After the cutting I had to figure out how I was going to lay the squares out because of course I can't make it random. After figuring out the pattern the sewing began. I sewed strips of squares and then sewed the strips together to make the quilt. It actually went pretty fast since this is the second one I made. (I'll post pictures of the first one soon.) Then the fun began...the ragging. To rag it you have to make several hundred (maybe even thousand) cuts before washing the quilt. I used a pair of rag quilt scissors. Yes, this is popular enough there are special scissors for it and believe me they are the only ones you want to use. Then I washed it once and dried it about 5 times. After it was dry I put the dryer on no heat to save energy and it still removed a lot of lint. And there was hands full of lint.

Here are pictures of the finished project. One side is ragged and the other smooth. I think it turned out great, except for all the lint I had to pick off, but that's just me. It's a great cozy blanket.

the ragged sidethe flat side

Monday, May 5, 2008

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

This year I wanted to get more into the celebrating of Cinco de Mayo.  I've really had a craving for Mexican (tex-mex) food the last year or more and I wanted to get in the spirit of it.  My sister-in-law is from Mexico and I've been asking her for food ideas.  She recommended some cook books by Rick Bayless.  My brother bought me one of his cookbooks.  That was a nice surprise.  The celebration didn't go like I thought it would since I've been fighting a cruddy cold for about 1-1/2 weeks.  We opted to eat at Hacienda for dinner.  (We were bad and didn't take the camera to the restaurant with us.  Nothing fun happened.  I thought they might give out something for the kids but they didn't even have a special or anything.  What a let down.  At least the food was good.)  This afternoon I made a flan for dessert.  I tried talking Mattey, who's turn it was for activity for FHE, into doing a Mexican hat dance but she didn't want to.  Oh well.  After FHE we had the flan.  Let me just say I really, really don't like cooking for my picky eaters.  I was the only one that ate it.  So if anyone wants some flan let me know.  I thought it was good, especially for my first one.  Here's the picture.  I don't think there's supposed to be flakes of the custard in the caramel but like I said it's my first one.

Flan for Cinco de Mayo