Thursday, March 24, 2016

Las Vegas

We went to visit my sister Tiffany in Las Vegas for her daughter's first birthday. I have been to every single 1st birthday party for my Daniels' side nieces and nephews and I'm sticking to that record! So we headed to some warmer weather the end of February. My mom was able to come with us, and it was nice to have an extra passenger to hand out snacks to hungry boys on the long ride. 

We were able to do some fun things while we visited in Las Vegas. First we went to this awesome park. It is built to look like a wild west town. There are also some huge rocks to climb on, and a sand pit. The boys loved playing here. We also walked the walking trail around the park and spotted bunnies, lizards, and a hummingbird. We love finding adventures everywhere we go!
This park was AWESOME!

Seth loved climbing on these rocks! He felt so big.

This hummingbird was singing, too! We had fun spying wildlife even in Las Vegas.

My boys were introduced to a lot more girl stuff. Tiffany has two girls so there is plenty of girl shows and toys in the house. They also have a boy who is Dax's age and loves Star Wars, so that keeps them plenty busy. I'm pretty sure he has 8,000 light sabers! Anyway, Mark was a real trooper. He played  Sophia the First with Audrey and Grandma. He also played a princess cupcake game with Audrey, and when she got bored, I had to fill in so Mark could finish the game. Later, he asked if Grandma could play with him and soon Dax and Josh were playing too. It was hilarious to see these 3 boys playing the princess cupcake game! 

Mark and Audrey had fun playing Princess Sophia.

It's a pretty fun game!

We had cupcakes for Hattie's birthday! And then headed back to Utah the next morning. It wasn't a very long trip, but we had a lot of fun visiting our cousins. 

Happy cousins!

Happy Birthday Hattie!

On the way home, we took Grandma to see the Taysom Cabin in Meadow. Her great great grandpa built this cabin!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Storytelling Festival

This year we encouraged our boys to participate in the Storytelling Festival. They are required to memorize a story and tell it to their class, then grade level, and finally the school--if they are chosen to move on by their peers and teachers.

This was quite a challenge for Mark who has a hard time making eye contact with people because he gets so nervous. Dax is more confident in front of a crowd, but he was very nervous, too (as you will see from the video). In order to sweeten the deal for the boys, we promised them Slurpees if they participated. Over time, the deal morphed a bit: If they told their class, they got a medium Slurpee. If they won that level and moved on to grade-level, they earned a large Slurpee. And if they advanced all the way to the school level and told their story in front of the whole school, they'd get the extra-large, gut-busting Slurpee.

Mark told a story that is famous in our house about losing his first tooth. Randy made it up and everyone loves to hear him tell it. Mark did a great job. He was the top teller in his class, and then he moved on to tell in 3rd grade. There were 3 really good tellers, but he was not chosen to move on to tell for the school. I wished I would have recorded him telling in front of his grade because he did so well and the students obviously loved it! But I only have a recording that we did at home to help him practice, so it will have to do! I was so proud of Mark. He really did an amazing telling.
Dax told a story about how Seth got his name (which is not true, even though I had a lot of people ask me if it really happened). He was the only one in his kindergarten class to tell, so he also told in front to the entire Kindergarten. Dax was also chosen to move on and tell to the entire school. He was excited, but very scared about telling in front of the school. It ended up being half the school, K-3. Dax was the first story teller, which was probably for the best so that he wouldn't have to sit on stage and be extra nervous. He started out very well, but by the end he was showing more nerves. I sat in the back and was so proud of him for being the youngest little teller up there! Dax was awesome. I did record him telling to the school.

They have already been talking about telling next year, so this adventure was a huge success for them.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Star Wars Pack Meeting

We had another awesome pack meeting this month. It was the blue and gold dinner and it was Star Wars themed. The cub master did such a great job of training these young boys as Jedi Warriors. They had different trials to become a true Jedi including fighting obstacles and finally, defeating the Sith. Our boys loved every second of it. Randy helped them all make light sabers, and they all decorated them how they wanted. 

Mark also earned his Bear, so we got to wear the Bear teeth and try to speak like Chewbacca from the Star Wars...I was very horrible at it! But I'm proud of Mark for moving along in his Cub Scouting adventure. 
Mom dressed as a scout, Mark dressed as a Jedi, and Dad dressed to go on splits with the missionaries.
Dax defeats the evil Kylo Ren.
Mark, the newest Bear in the pack also battled Kylo Ren.
Brother Hansen, our back neighbor has some serious Jedi skills,
but only Mom knew the name of Chewbacca's home planet!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Randy's Guitar Lessons

When I turned 9 a new family moved in acrossed the street. The father opened a music store in the center of town, and he was well-known for having charted a hit in the '50s called Candy Striper. On the side, he taught guitar lessons.

I'd always been resistant to piano, so Mom thought it would be a great chance for me to learn a little music. Though it sounds quaint enough to be the 1920s, it was the '80s, and we actually traded a dozen fresh eggs from our chickens for each lesson. So every Wednesday I'd walk across the street with my brother's old, beat up guitar under one arm and a carton of eggs under the other.

The problem was, I didn't really understand music, and I was too young to be a very good student. I practiced hard, and learned chords with my left hand, but I was too small to form the chords well or even hold the guitar correctly. Worst of all, I didn't understand time signatures at all, so my right hand just sort of flailed at the strings randomly, and it was impossible to recognize the tune I was playing, even for me.

Over time I gave it up, though I always loved guitars and old rock-n-roll music (in my fantasies I'm a rock-n-roll historian). I learned to pick out the first 5 bars for Stairway to Heaven and about the same of another song called Under the Bridge. Many years later, after my mission, I was at the same house, with the same family, though the father, my guitar instructor had long since moved away. I showed his son the two songs I could "play," and he fell in love with the guitar. He was still in touch with his dad and learned to play very well. He even started a band, which he let me name (Samurai Seven), sing for, and write lyrics for, and we made a few cds which he self-produced. I still have a couple of band t-shirts leftover from those days. It was a lot of fun, though our talents were limited, but he never let me near the guitar when the record button was pushed.

Fast-forward 15 years to our Christmas Sing-Along in December. We had a few friends over, and one of them brought his guitar along. It turns out that he is a guitar teacher. As we talked, I realized that I still wanted to play. So last month, I started guitar lessons for the first time in over 30 years. I still remember a lot of the chords, but I am pretty rusty! The lessons are fun, though, and I've been practicing a lot-- usually around 45 minutes per day, which drives my roommates crazy. But between the guitar teacher and Natalie graciously counting out beats and helping me with time signatures, I can actually play a tune or two you might recognize. One day Natalie even came in and said, "The Eagles have landed," as I was fighting my way through Hotel California, which sent me over the moon! She could actually tell what I was playing! (Usually when I asked if she can tell what I'm playing she says, "Ummm... the guitar?")

Anyway, I'm not going to play the guitar for you, but if you happen by our house and it sounds like someone is strangling a harp inside, you'll know not to disturb my practice....
Mark loves singing songs with Randy. Every night they rock out together!

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