Monday, July 30, 2012

Diving Class

Cameron and Harrison are doing great in their beginning class.

Practicing their hurdle/arm circle combinations.

The moves they're working on are tuck jump, pike jump, straight jump, and target dive (and the cousin of that, the rainbow dive). At first neither boy was comfortable going head-first but after one class they were confident and Harrison was even brave enough to do it off the high dive!

Harrison off the high dive!

Cam's entry off the low dive.

They both like to do jumps off the high board--this is Harrison's tuck jump.

During free time Harrison actually likes to practice this--a superior belly flop. He has it perfected for maximum crowd-groaning "OHHH!"

We watched Olympic synchronized diving last night--talk about impressive! Our kids loved it. I think every parent has that moment when they think, "Hey, my kid has talent...maybe they'll be the next Greg Louganis." That went through my mind when I considered that my boys aren't only brothers, they're twins...that's got to be a gold medal advantage, eh?

Monday, July 23, 2012


Bryce and the big kids came back last night just in time for Bryce's birthday. He was smart to postpone his celebration though because people were avoiding, grouchy, or some degree of agitated at our glorious reunification. Some days I just wish our people were less temperamental.

My week with the twins was a breeze. Bryce's week with the big kids was hard on him physically (late nights and early mornings) but other than that, easy. I will write more about that later.

Things are stressful in every aspect. Mary has a migraine and is missing her first diving class. The house is a wreck. We have to buy a new car, like, today. Cameron's constant snorting tic is torturing us all--and these are just the small things. I am trying to stay positive but today is one of those days I feel I'm barely keeping my head above water.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just Thinking

Bryce and the older kids are in Utah (Tyce for YASE, Mare for cousin time). Last night both twins slept in the king-sized bed with me. We have a ginormous house and yet we feel most comfortable sharing the same 43 sq. ft (well, two of us do).

Today after diving class I'm taking Cameron and Harrison to Chuck E. Cheese, where a kid can be a kid and a mom can read a book (maybe). Wish me luck.

Last night a high school friend on Facebook posted an obituary of one of our former science teachers, Mrs. Sloan-Nelson. We had her for anatomy and physiology but she also taught Bio II AP and other higher level classes. Her course was hard and I still remember my report grades for each 6-week period: A, B, C, A, B, C. But I'll tell you something--I learned more from her than from most classes where I earned straight As. No college class I took was any harder than that high school anatomy and physiology.

She was a tough teacher and I'm sure all of us muttered at times, "She's so mean. It's not fair," but I know we all respected her. She was certainly intelligent but she also possessed that rare passion for making her students want to work to learn for themselves, and we did. What a gift it is to the world to have someone use their considerable talents for teaching--truly lighting that fire in others--instead of to make money or just satisfy personal whims. I am grateful to her for what she gave me--not perfect grades on a report card but a working body of knowledge that I still draw from today. The older I get the more I realize the sacrifices people made for me--for ME!--to help me along my way throughout life. I think I'm still figuring that out and what a humbling journey of discovery that is. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Traffic Court

What did you do last week for fun? Oh, you went swimming? Got a grape slush from Sonic? Well guess what I did. I dripped sweat in traffic court in the company of n'er-drive-wells.

I felt like a criminal.

I got the ticket the last day of May. The cop trailed me for a mile and I was like, "Go awayyyy.....pass me......come on....." until I got on the feeder to the highway. Because I was kind of nervous I was herky-jerky trying to merge with traffic. And just when I got my mojo I saw those dang flashing lights telling me to pull over.

"There's nothing wrong with your driving, Ma'am," he assured me. "But the sticker on the back of your license plate, your registration . . . it expired yesterday."

Yesterday! FOR REAL! May 30th, not 31st!!!!! Is there no mercy in this world?

So to fix the situation Bryce took the minivan to work the following week. But as you know. . . he got in an accident that day, before he could get it smogged! The insurance company told us it was total loss.

So then I had a ticket for a car I no longer owned.

"Just plead 'Not Guilty' and you can explain yourself to the D.A. outside," Bryce advised. "It won't be a problem."

And that's what I did. The lawyer probably took my side because she wanted to get out of the hot-as-Hades hallway and find some working A/C. I felt like my brain melted a little out there. Maybe hers did too but it worked in my favor. Thank goodness for that!

Now back to the courtroom. Prior to my call the cases were pretty routine. Failing to obey a traffic device. Failing to show proof of insurance. Expired this-or-that. People did their thing and then walked out. But one old man in the courtroom really wore his emotions on his sleeve and I couldn't help but relate.

The judge said, "Sir, you have three offenses: Driving Without a Valid Nevada Driver's License, Expired Registration, and Speeding. Do you understand the charges?"

"YES," the man boomed into the microphone, sounding rather depressed.

"On the charge of driving without a valid Nevada driver's license, how do you ple--"


"On the charge of having expired registration, how do--"


"And on the charge of spee--"


I heard a few stifled laughs behind me. I don't know why but that interrupting Eeyore voice was so sad and funny.

The judge asked, "Have you taken care of your expired registration? Great. Hand it to me." The judge looked over it and said, "Sir, this appears to be for a different vehicle."

"What? Awhhh, you're beeping me! BEEP! I left it on the table then. UGH!!!!!"

"Sir, you are in a courtroom. You cannot use foul language here!" the judge reprimanded.

"I'm sorry, Your Honor. I'm so mad. This is Beep. Oh, sorry again. I can't believe this!"

"Sir, I know you're disappointed in yourself but throwing a hissy fit isn't going to solve your problems. Just bring it to the window tomorrow, okay?"

They finished up and he was dismissed. As he walked out of the courtroom the man smacked himself in the head and said, "Ugh! Stupid!"

He made me want to give him a hug and tell him everything was going to be all right, poor man. We're all just one step away from losing it. I know.

That's what traffic court can do to you.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Backup Singers for Foreigner

How cool is it that Basic High School was chosen to sing with classic rock group FOREIGNER again? Their first time was at Green Valley Ranch last year and it was a blast. This year's invite was the Sunset Station's outdoor amphitheater and I think it was even better. It was more organized and the kids seemed to be a more cohesive group, which I attribute to the awesomeness of their new director, Mr. Duff. On the was blazing, back-to-normal, miserably hot. No freak perfect weather that day!

Celebrities don't like to be caught off guard.
Part of the Basic High School chamber singers--I chopped off the group at both ends. Tyce is in the middle , of course.

Our view of the stage--we got actual assigned seats for the concert this time.

The lead singer came out into the crowd. Touch him!

The kids waited patiently for their big moment to arrive.

Finally it was time--they got to sing " I Want to Know What Love Is" on stage with one of the most famous bands in the history of rock 'n roll!

They loved it and rocked the stage!

I was glad I got to share the night with one of my BFFs, Jen. She is my concert-going buddy. How nice for us that both our kids are in choir!
Sorry for the exclamation points but it was a (!!!) kind of evening! I love that Foreigner invited our kids to share their spotlight for the night. It was super fun and I know it's the kind of thing those chamber singers will be talking about for a long, long time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Let Freedom Ring

I enjoyed this July 4th more than any others in recent memory for two reasons: We partied with our friends at a really fun block party (thanks, Tippetts family!) AND the weather was unbelievably, out-of-this-world, nothing-like-summer AWESOME. What a treat to feel a cool breeze in July!

Our family before we left for the party.

The adults played a men-vs-women Bocce ball game. The ladies won!

The kids played croquet.

We had quite the feast with smoked ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs, and great sides. I brought 7-layer dip and a pasta salad.

When it got dark the kids finally got to light sparklers and set off fireworks. Some of our neighbors bought some super impressive aerial pyrotechnics and the older boys (Tyce and Spencer) were "helping" them out!

Mister Liberty, Cameron.

Patriotic Pup didn't mind the fireworks at all.

Another cute one of Cam.

We had some great displays right over heads . . .

.  . . as well as a great view of the Strip.

To me, Harrison is the very picture of Independence Day in this one. What a cutie.

Swinging glow sticks.
Looks like fun, eh? It was great to spend the evening with friends and celebrate living in the "land of the free and home of the brave". God bless America!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tyce is 16

Check out this adorable picture from when Tyce was only 2! I remember this like it was yesterday and yet 14 years have passed.

Birthday party at Mopsie and Grandpa's house in Kingwood, Texas.

He turned 16 on July 3rd. We just had a family party on the actual day because most of his friends are out of town. Everybody abandons him on Independence Day Eve, poor guy.

Birthday party at our house in Henderson, Nevada.

I set out to make a chocolate cake but halfway in I discovered my cocoa tin was nearly empty. Hm, a chocolate cake without chocolate would have been quite the disappointment. So I melted some semi-sweet chips to pour in to the batter and HO-LEEEE COW! was it delish. Yes, yes it was. I made Oreo buttercream frosting and it was pretty good (but not as good as the cake).

Don't drool on your keyboard.
He got money to buy the thing he really wanted--a new guitar. He went out that very night and got a great one, really pretty with a great sound. He hasn't had lessons but he has a good ear. He's figuring it out and I have to say that whatever he plays sounds good to me!

He still has several parental hoops to jump through before he can get his license (including getting his Eagle) so I don't know when he'll be driving . . . but I kind of like being his chauffeur. I get to hang out with his friends and we actually talk; I remember loving my independence as a teen driver but missing all of that quality time I used to have with my mom. I don't know if he'd feel the same way but I guess it's up to him as to when he'll be finding that out. He's in the driver's seat. Or at least he wishes he was.


So what do we love about Tyce: he's kind-hearted, loyal, talented, helpful, and independent. He loves music, animals, people, cookies 'n cream, Nacho Libre, video games, reading, studying the Book of Mormon in Swahili, and the gospel. He loves his family and friends. He's not perfect but I know without a shadow of a doubt that he has a good heart and that we are blessed to have him in our family. We love you, Tyce!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Girls Camp Redux--The End

This is my last post about camp!

After breakfast the YCLs presented the girls with awards. I love that the older girls came up with them on their own. Mary's award was called "Mile a Minute". Raven approached me and said, "Mary said that if there was one award YOU could have given her, she knows exactly what it would be." I feigned confusion but I knew that MARY knew . . . and I was right: Most Obnoxious! Glad the older girls had discretion and gave her something nice (which she did deserve, by the way).

My award was for "Cracking the best Jokes" and I couldn't be more pleased. When I came home Bryce said, "Hmmm. I'm noticing a pattern here. Our kids get in trouble at school for being class clowns and then you get awarded for being funny?"

"But I don't dance around with a lampshade on my head," I explained. "I occasionally play with words."

I am a boutique entertainer.
But fresh on the heels of my award I decided to play a little prank on the older girls, the YCLs.

YCL van.

On a side window they'd written one of their phone numbers. Earlier that week on our hike at Zion someone had written in the car dust "We love Mormon girls!" and finger-scrawled a phone number under it. This pleased the Beehives very much because presumably this was from a "cute guy" (or at least that was their hope!). So I decided to play along with the YCLs on the way home, and text the number on their van. This was our conversation:

Me: I noticed that your van has a lot of cute girls!

Them: Haha....who is this?

Me: A cute guy.

Them: .....

Me: jk It's Sis. Jones ;)

Them: Sis. Jones?

Me: Right behind you!

Them: Oh really?

And then the light turned green and I couldn't text anymore.

When we got to In 'n Out in St. George I said to Skye, "So did you like my texts?" She looked at me blankly and asked, "What texts?" I said, "I texted the number on your van  . . ."

The YCLs gathered around and that's when I discovered that the number actually belonged to one of the girls' EX BOYFRIENDS. The girls roared with laughter that I'd "winky-faced" him! Looks like the pranker got pranked, right? Aha, I'm glad I didn't keep that conversation going.

We eventually made it back to Henderson and everyone went home, Mary and I to an empty house. Bryce and the boys were in Utah (Tyce had gone to EFY, the twins and Bryce went camping with Grandpa Al). I had grand plans to clean the house before they came back . . . but I was falling asleep at 7:00. I guess living it up for a week takes it out of you (or me).

It was a great week and I'm glad I got to go to girls camp with some of my favorite ladies; really awesome and supportive men; amazing young women; and my favorite 12-year-old in the world, Miss Mary.