Saturday, April 13, 2013
Most of my Easter pictures were a bust, and there was certainly never a nice group shoot of all the kids dressed up together. I didn't see them leave for 9:00 church--I was still in bed in my Phenergan Fog--and Lucy never made it into her Easter dress. But I did get some cute pictures of Sarah! Her Easter dress was originally Anna's. Doesn't pale pink linen just scream Easter egg hunt in the dirt? Her girl cousins were dressing up for the Thompson Family Easter Egg hunt (really the pictures before it), so of course I put Sarah in her dress too. My pictures didn't turn out of the egg hunt or picnic we had on the grass, but it was a fun time. Woops--I forgot to adjust the ISO after taking pictures at twilight the night before. Travis never forgets!
Friday, April 12, 2013
Michael was chosen as the one representative from the four, fourth grade classes at Uintah Elementary School to visit the Utah Capitol Building and meet with Representative Brad Dee, our district's Representative in the State House of Representatives, and also the Majority Leader. My mom and Jed met us at the Utah State Capitol Building to take Sarah and Lucy to Temple Square while I took Michael into the Capitol. I'm so glad they could watch the little girls because it would have been much less ideal with them there.
Representative Brad Dee and Michael are in the middle of the back row on the floor of the House of Representatives.
I thought this would be a fun experience for Michael, but it was far better than I had anticipated. One of Rep. Dee's interns, Jashon Bishop, took us on a thorough tour of the Capitol Building. Jashon's dad is a U.S. Congressman, and we had a fun conversation while Michael was down on the House Floor. Brad Dee spent about an hour with Michael, teaching him all about the long process of a bill becoming a law, and how many bills don't make it through the entire process, or are not voted into law, or are even vetoed in the end (like the controversial bill that would eliminate the need for concealed weapons permits in Utah that was approved by the House while we were there and later vetoed by Governor Herbert :). I was very impressed with Brad Dee. I could tell he really believed in this project to invite one fourth grader from every elementary school in his district to spend an afternoon with him. He easily could have shaken Michael's hand, taken a picture with him, and pawned him off on an intern, but he was sincerely interested in helping Michael understand how his state government works. He was a very busy man, and the Utah State Congress is only in session for 45 days. I could tell he was very impressed with Michael, who absorbed everything he said and understood it all. He kept glancing over to me and saying quietly, "This is a really bright boy you have. Not all of the students understand this process like he does." I am very grateful Michael got to have this experience. We went to Whole Foods for some lunch with Mom and Jed afterward. I was four weeks pregnant (unbeknownst to my poor, unsuspecting family), so this was one of my last couple of days of health since I get sick so early.
Michael's assignment was an essay, due one week after his visit to the Capitol. It was a contest with winners receiving a check to buy school supplies for their classroom. Michael was nervous about writing his first essay, but he did a great job. And he did it all by himself. He cranked out a first draft the same day of his visit, then wrote a final draft a few days later. He edited it himself, and it was fun to see how capable he was of reading through his draft and sensing when something was awkward and needed revising. I was really sick already and didn't help him at all. He received 3rd place, and this week Representative Brad Dee and his wife visited Michael's school to present him with a check for $300 for his classroom. (It's not tax payers' money--I assume it comes from the Dee Family Foundation.) Michael was very pleased to receive money for his classroom. His teacher probably has her own ideas about the money, but Michael's first plan is to buy lots and lots of high-quality pencils. He likes Ticonderoga best because they sharpen so nicely. Since Utah schools can only suggest donations of school supplies instead of require that children bring pencils and scissors, etc., there is a huge lack of basic supplies, and teachers often spend their own money buying pencils. It really tickles me that Michael understands what a major stumbling block it is to not have enough of something as fundamental as pencils. Other students were wanting pizza parties and ice cream parties, and as much as Michael enjoys those, he would never waste the money that way. My mom happened to be visiting us (and helping me with my piles of laundry) when Brad Dee visited, so she got to be at the school when he received his reward. Then we stopped at the School Book Fair for a few minutes. A great experience for Michael, and I sincerely appreciate everyone who made it happen.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
It's not a real puppy, but Sarah loves her big stuffed dog that she received for Christmas. She named him Jasper after the Sandgrens' dog Jasper. They're her only aunt and uncle cool enough to have a dog, and their Jasper is also big and blonde. Sarah sleeps with Jasper in her toddler bed, which was cozy enough without him. She drags him upstairs and downstairs, lies on him while she reads, and involves him in all of her games. She totes Jasper's puppies around too, and tucks them into tiny blanket beds of their own in her toddler bed.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A very happy morning. The first picture is pretty bad, but Sarah was very excited to find an aquarium and goldfish on her bookcase on Christmas morning. She promptly named the two little fan-tailed goldfish Sarah and Lucy. (Sarah has passed on and we now have Cleo and Lucy has been renamed Figaro.) Everyone loves to watch them swim, Sarah and Lucy most of all. The cozy coupe with trailer has been a big hit. I always wanted one as a kid. The playroom at the hospital had one when I got my tonsils out. We've moved too much and have lived in too many small spaces to own one before, but sadly Lucy will never remember the condo or our little house in Minnesota or our Manhattan apartment. Sarah remembers the condo with fondness--and rose-colored glasses--and asks when we can move back there and all of the kids can share a room again. She has a new plan for the Sandgrens to move-in to the condo with us. What do you think, Elisa? Is your house feeling too roomy? Sarah loves her big Christmas dog, which she immediately named Jasper after the Sandgrens' dog. She wanted a mommy dog and puppies for Christmas, and she's lucky that Santa came through at the last minute. Michael fell in love with an expensive set of Legos, but he's a kid who loves deals. He was thrilled with his Legos purchased on ebay from another enterprising young boy. Anna was very surprised with a desk of her own that will fit in her room without needing to get rid of her beloved bookcase. I remember a day in the condo when she was ten, almost eleven. She was trying to do homework on her top bunk--her only little corner of noisy solitude in the condo. Anna is easily distracted and likes things quiet, so the kitchen table was hard for her to work at. She asked if maybe someday, if she ever had her own room, if she could have a clipboard to do her homework on. How I wanted her to have her own room with a desk in it someday! Having your own room is in no way an entitlement. I never had my own room, except for on my study abroad in St. Petersburg, but I'm glad Anna is able to have her own room right now, and that we've found a desk for her to work at.
I enjoy gift giving. There's stress involved in budgeting and wanting to do more than I can and should, or in not always having a perfect idea. It has to be kept in careful balance, but giving gifts easily gets a bad wrap too. I receive so much inspiration this time of year as I prepare for Christmas. I remember just knowing that I had to go to a particular store in October. I had no plans to go there, but one day I just had such a persistent need to go, and there was the exact desk that I had pictured in my mind for Anna, and on clearance for a great price that made it possible. It was a very happy Christmas. It was fun last year with a tiny newborn, but I must say we were able to enjoy this season more fully, even with a lot of sickness in December.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
A fun Christmas Eve afternoon/early evening with the Thompsons before we headed back to Ogden. The first picture is of Lucy and Scout, and it's the only picture where Lucy isn't mauling Scout. She just couldn't keep her hands off of her! Anna was recovering from a horrible cough. She actually fell sound asleep sitting--sort of--in a chair. How fun to spend time with family and enjoy old and new traditions. Angie has an amazing collection of costumes from around the world. My nativity pictures didn't do them justice, but I'll bet Aaron's did. It's a lot of work to prepare great food, but I always think it's worth it when we sit down and enjoy the feast. That's probably easy for me to say this year. I got off too easy on food prep. We got a lot of snow on Christmas Eve so the roads were slick, but it only added 30 minutes to our drive. We kept saying, "Stay awake, kids!" They did, and we got everyone put to bed at a good hour. I know we won't always get to Orem on Christmas Eve, but we're so glad we got to be with both of our families this year, and still make it home for our own special Christmas morning. It takes a lot of preparation to do it all, but we sure had happy visits with everyone. I love Christmas Eve as an adult, late at night. It's so peaceful and magical that I'm always a little slow to go to bed, but boy that pillow feels good when we get there.