Saturday, May 30, 2009

Catching up - the busy month of May

It's been a while since I've had a post with any substance. Sorry. It's been a busy few days/weeks/months. Things really haven't lightened up much, but I don't want to get too far behind. So bear with me as I race through a month or so of catching up on our activities.

Towards the end of April, Jason's school class put on an Opera which they designed, wrote and performed themselves.

It was very impressive. A ton of work went into the fun ~20 minute opera (sung in Spanish with English supertitles) that included ancient Greek mythology, high-tech scientists searching for the thriving lost city of Atlantis, crazy undersea creatures and friendly monsters. It was a lot of fun to watch.

They recorded the show and burned it to a DVD which we've taken to grandparents and neighbors who couldn't make it to the show. It was great fun and a tremendous achievement for a class of third graders.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the last week of April through that first weekend of May was very full.

Lynette and some friends from the neighborhood headed down to BYU for Women's Conference. While she was gone, I got to conduct the April Pack Meeting for our scout Pack. The theme was Jurassic Pack and it was a lot of fun. The boys volunteered their numerous dinosaur toys as decorations, we sang about going on a dinosaur hunt, worked on a giant dinosaur jigsaw puzzle and we played a dinosaur stomp game where the kids tried to stomp the other dino eggs (baloons) while keeping their own egg safe.

Lynette got home Friday night and we had fun looking at her pictures and reliving her fun through the stories she told.

The next day, we loaded up the van and headed to Scout-o-Rama. It took about 30 minutes to get there, but once we were there, the kids really didn't want to leave.


Between wall climing, obstacle courses, crash test machines, boondoggle, tanks, boats, bowling, knots, fire, and all the other fun things to do, the kids were overwhelmed and excited. When we left hours later, we truly hadn't yet seen everything, but everybody was getting a little tired and we needed to head home and take care of our Saturday chores.

The next day we drove down to Orem for the baby blessing of our newest cousin/niece, Lena.

While the kids have cousins on Lynette's side, this is the first cousin on my side of the family, so there's quite a bit of excitement around her.

She really is a cutie and it was fun to get the family together to celebrate a new baby.

The same weekend I got to spend a few hours pounding out my final essay for school...a 7 page paper exploring the psychology of humans and animals as presented in The Island of Dr. Moreau and Tarzan of the Apes. When all is said and done, I'm truly not very happy with the way the paper turned out. But grades have come out and I scored an A- in the course overall, so I'm not complaining too much. I need 2 more classes in order to graduate (I thought it was 1, but sadly, it's 2). With work, family, and everything else, I can really only take one class this fall and another next spring. So right now I'm looking at a spring 2010 graduation...only ~14 years after I started down the college path.

Work has been crazy, especially following some unexpected layoffs (which were followed closely by trying to figure out how we were going to do so much work, now with fewer people...gotta love the business logic of constantly trying to do more with less). I'm still in the thick of trying to push out a huge relaunch of a site we've been working on for the last ~9 months. Along with that, we had "minor" updates to two of our other major projects. It's been a crazy month.

Mother's Day weekend was busy and a lot of fun. On Saturday, Jason had a scout field trip to go do a yard work service project at a house in the neighborhood. He helped dig trenches to prep for planting bushes. After he got back, we made a pit stop at Smith's to help Annie with her silent auction to raise money for Primary Children's Hospital. There were a lot of cool things donated (we picked up some fun gift certificates at a great deal) and they raised some good cash for the hospital.

Mother's Day in the FlowersThen, we headed for Salt Lake to have lunch at The Lion House Pantry with my family (my mom, dad, brothers/sisters, and my grandmother on my mom's side). Aside from a small snafu while parking the van (sorry about that dear), it was a great lunch and everybody had a great time. Then a few hours later (and after a few errands), we came back out for dinner at the same place, this time with Lynette's family. It was a gorgeous day and a lot of fun.

For Mother's Day, Lynette wasn't feeling up for a real breakfast in bed, so the kids made her toast and juice rather than the eggs and pancackes they had planned. We relaxed a bit and just tried to take it easy.

The next weekend, we headed down to BYU to look at the traveling exhibit Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic. Walter Wick is probably most widely known as the guy responsible for the pictures in many/most of the "I Spy" books. The exhibit was actualy very cool. It was smaller than I'd hoped, but still very cool. I wish we could have taken pictures. It included a lot of his "I Spy" pictures as well as some of the pictures he'd done for "Games" magazine which involved some crazy optical illusion and other visual puzzles. There were also photos of some very cool looking reactions of light, water and general visual perception. They also had a couple of models he'd used for his "I Spy" pictures. It was very cool to see how intricate these models were that he used to take the pictures. I think I'd thought that most of the pictures involved some Photoshop or other computer manipulated trickery. But looking at the way he did things, it looks like he tried to be 'honest' in all of his shots and just use different angles or twists of light to create the strange reactions.

It was actually a very cool exhibit....and it's FREE. It runs through August 1, so if you're anywhere near Provo, you should check it out.

Memorial Day weekend, the boys and I headed to Camp Zarahemla for a Father's & Son's Campout. We got there just in time for dinner and then went for a hike to the top of the hill. We watched the sun slink down in the sky over the green hills.

We ran through tons of yellow flowers (sorry, not much of a botanist) and saw a cool black bird with red diamonds on its wings (which I was later told is called a 'red winged blackbird').

That night we had a devotional and then settled back to relax around the campfires. Around 10 o'clock, Jason went off with some of his friends and their dad to go on his first Snipe hunt. He had a ton of fun. Andrew and I wandered around the camp at 11 to see if we could hear them anywhere. We did catch wiff of a skunk somewhere up on the hill. A few minutes later, Jason and his friends came back and let us know they'd startled a skunk and decided it was time to call off the hunt.

The next morning, Jason was up at the crack of dawn and helped with the fire (mostly just gave encouragement, I think). The kids had wheelbarrow races (there was only one wheelbarrow, so it was just a race against themselves, but it was still fun).

After a couple of hours running around the camp and playing by the stream, we headed home.

That Sunday, I fired up the charcoal and grilled some steaks, hot dogs, and chicken. Everything turned out fabulous. It was a great start to the barbecue season. Lynette's mom and two of her sisters came over. The kids had fun playing with their cousins and running around the yard. Still another week or so left of school, but the kids are definitely ready for summer.

On Monday, since I didn't have to work and the kids had no school, we went to see Night at the Museum 2. It was rather cute and the kids had a great time. (I'll make a "movie" post to talk about the movies seen in May).

The rest of this week included another Pack Meeting. This time we focused on 'nature.' I had a couple of "sensory boxes" where kids stuck their hands in the holes and tried to identify the objects inside just by touch. The objects were things common to the outdoors or camping (such as sticks, rocks, flowers, matches, pinecones, etc.). We also had a relay race to move feathers back and forth using only air.

The big highlight though were the awards. In addition to the belt loops and activity pins, we had one cub who earned his Bear and graduated to Webelos and another who earned his Arrow of Light and then bridged into Scouts. It was great to see these kids advancing and learning so much.

Next month is our Pinewood Derby...should be fun.

And that brings me up to date. There's still 2 days left in May. Tonight we're heading back down to Orem to have a barbecue for Oualid's birthday. I'm not sure if we have anything else going on tonight or tomorrow. I really hope not. I'd really like to just have a relaxing day. I've still got a big project trying to finish up at work that I'm working on some over the weekend.

One of our neighbors compared May to December...saying that they're both usually the most busy months, but in December you at least get Christmas out of it. In May, nobody's ready for it to be busy and so it catches you unprepared. I definitely feel like that happened this month.

Hopefully next month will be better (although it's looking busy as well...between helping with Cub Day Camps, Church barbecues, another set of big updates at work, Lynette heading off to a Trek training, and then hosting the Pinewood Derby, it's going to be hectic).

I'll try to post more frequently so as to avoid rambling catch up posts like this.

Wish me luck. :)

No comments: