Monday, May 2, 2011

Ballroom -- Spring Recital

Last weekend Sam and Conner had their spring ballroom recital. For Sam this event was a culmination of everything he has learned this year in ballroom. For Conner it was what he had learned in a six week pee-wee ballroom class. Their feelings about ballroom couldn't be more opposite. Sam loves ballroom. He has since he started about four years ago. He often tells me if he had to quit everything but one extra curricular activity, he would choose to stick with ballroom. Conner on the other hand HATES it! I signed him up last year for it and he didn't enjoy it. This year I had him do it again because they were short on boys. Conner got out of school every Monday about 20 minutes early so he could go to class. Even getting out of school early was not incentive enough for him to kind of enjoy the class. All the way to ballroom every Monday, he would inform me that it is child abuse to force him to do such things.

Last Saturday the spring recital was literally an all day event. They had dress rehearsal starting at 11:00. Because they were unable to secure a larger venue, it was decided they would do two recitals, one at 4:00 and the other at 7:00. Some of the older groups, like Sam's had learned three songs throughout the year. In order to cut down on time, it was decided that they would perform one number the same at both recitals but then one different song. I was torn which performance to go to because I really liked both of Sam's numbers. I decided that I would attend both performances. My mom said she would go to both of them with me.

Dress rehearsal started at 11:00. I knew they wouldn't finish by 2:00 but by 2:45 when I still hadn't heard from them, I decided to drive to the college to see if they were done. They weren't. My mom and I went to a couple of stores in order to kill some time. When we got back, I got the perfect parking spot. Sam and Conner were just walking out. It was 3:20 p.m. The doors for the first recital opened at 3:30 p.m. Sam and Conner were starving. Bryon, my dad, Logan and Natalie were on their way. We decided that my mom, dad, Logan, Natalie and I would get in line and go in and save seats. Meanwhile, Bryon would run home and grab my mom's camera and glasses as well as run Sam and Conner to get something off the dollar menu somewhere. The recital was beautiful. Conner danced to Inspector Gadget. Sam danced to Splish Splash and Thriller. Thriller was a number that his class and another ballroom class worked on together. They really had a fun time practicing and getting it ready to perform.

I figured that their performance should be about 1 1/2 hours. I had made a couple of salads that morning with the plan of grabbing some fried chicken on the way home, in between performances so we could eat dinner. The performance went just over 2 hours! I enjoyed every minute of it. However, it left no time at all to go home and grab something to eat. There is no way my dad, Bryon or the little kids will sit through one more performance. They go and buy Sam, Conner, my mom and I a hamburger off a dollar menu so it will hold us over until we can have dinner.

The second performance was just as spectacular. Sam the second performance danced to "I Won't Say I'm In Love" from Tarzan and Thriller. Conner, again, danced to Inspector Gadget. The little kids could sit with their parents after the performance. Conner came down and sat by me. He got so sick. I am not sure exactly what it was. He had to wear a felt coat for his costume. I tend to think it was a combination of being too hot in his costume and with all the stage lights and being overly tired.

I am so thankful to live in a community that supports the fine arts. There were 325 kids that performed. It is just amazing to me. I am so proud of Sam and Conner and for the hard work they put in this year and all they learned. I am so thankful to their instructors, Janie and Joy, who spend countless hours teaching them dances and routines.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Conner's First Pinewood Derby

Conner had his first Pinewood Derby on Thursday night. He and Bryon (and the neighbor) have been working on this car for about the past month. Conner was so excited!

Bryon found some Pinewood Derby templates online. He and Conner went through them and chose one. They then sanded the car down. A couple of weeks ago it came time to paint it. Conner wanted to paint it his favorite colors: yellow and blue. He also
wanted somehow to tie his favorite past time of reading into it. Bryon and I racked our brains trying to come up with something. We got an idea of Modge Podging the comics onto the car rather than painting the car. Conner loved the idea. He and Sam had a blast picking out some comics to put on it. The outcome was very cute. (Can you say that about Pinewood Derby cars?)

Our ward meets with another ward for Pack Night. There were probably 15 boys there to race. Conner won his first race by a landslide. Bryon and the neighbor were pretty excited! Conner then lost the rest of the races. Conner has the best attitude. They awarded prizes to the winners. After Pack Night, Bryon took Conner to the grocery store so Conner could pick out his favorite candy bar for a prize. I was so touched that Bryon thought of doing that to celebrate Conner's efforts.

My boss at work drives Corvettes. She and her husband have a couple of Corvettes. Conner went into work Friday to show my boss his Pinewood Derby car. Bryon was giving her a hard time and told her that next year she is in charge of helping Conner make a Corvette for the Pinewood Derby. She told Conner that she was not going to help him make one, she would just let him drive hers when he is old enough. Now Conner is counting down the days until he gets his driver's license.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some Things Are Just Better Left In The Past

Have you ever done something so dumb, that you were hoping it would stay buried in the past (and secretly hoping it would soon be forgotten)? I know I have. I think probably more often than I care to admit.

My mom must have had karma today and know that the tension in the household today was getting a little thick and I needed a good laugh. Between a five year old son who decided again to check his ability to trust me and a tense morning spent with my husband trying to pick paint to finish up Sam's bedroom as a birthday surprise while he is with a friend for a couple of days (which might be a post for another day)I desperately needed a good laugh.

My mom started out the conversation by saying, "I want to read you something and see if it reminds you of a time in your life." That in and of itself told me the experience I was to recall wasn't going to be good. I just wasn't sure exactly what instance she was referring to. It only took her reading me the first paragraph to have an instance pop into my mind.

I am NOT going to go into specifics about my situation, other than I will say the writer's experience was very eerie in how similar it was to our own experience. I thought the author's words capture the experience mighty well.

The following is an article my mom found on

"When your neighbor unexpectedly shows up at your doorstep and the first thing they say is, "This is going to be just as embarrassing for me as it is for you" chances are the conversation is destined to be an awkward one.

Something that comes along with the joys of home ownership is the getting to know our neighbors, for better or for worse. Many of us have had to engage in the occasional awkward neighborly conversation, "Hey, your dog pooped on my lawn again" or "your teenager drives by my house a little too fast for comfort."

But I confidently declare that non can rival the awkwardness my husband and I recently went through when confronted by our backyard neighbor about a certain, um, concern.

In the moment Mrs. X approached me a couple weeks ago with "this is going to be just as embarrasing for me as it is for you" my mind was racing. What is she about to say next? What could we have possibly done to bring about such a discussion?

The next sentence she uttered will forever go down in family history. “I don’t know how else to say this, but the fogged glass in your shower window isn’t as fogged as you might think it is.”

Wow. Gotta say I wasn’t expecting that!

It took me a few seconds to compute what she was saying. Once the implications set in I wanted to curl up in a little ball and hide. Our master bathroom shower window to which she was referring is on the back of our house directly facing our neighbors. Our yards aren’t enormously deep, so you get the picture (no pun intended).

Shocked and mortified, my husband and I stewed over her claim for hours, well, more like days. Actually, we are still stewing a little. How long had this been going on before they finally decided to confront us?

I was too thrown off guard to ask that during the conversation and now bringing it back up would be too awkward so I may never know. (However, if that certain neighbor is reading this you can always respond with a comment because it might be less awkward than calling to talk about it in person).

Anyway, back to that night.

We wanted to test her claims, so one of us stood in the shower while the other went outside to see just how bad it really was. Sure enough, the glass looked much less fogged looking in than out. Hardly fogged at all if I’m being perfectly honest. And this had been going on for eight months! Why had we trusted the glass company? We were ready to demand for our “fogged glass window” money back!

Then my husband recalled what might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The night before the conversation he had taken a shower, with the light on no less, and had decided to clean and scrub the shower including the tile ceiling of the shower while showering. To reach the ceiling he had to stand on the bench to do the scrubbing.

Dun dun dun. Oh, our poor neighbors."

I did find it comforting that we aren't the only ones who thought fogged glass was supposed to be, I don't know, say foggy! To help keep what happens behind fogged glass PRiVaTE! All I can say we were brand new to a neighborhood and after hearing this devastaing news I was convinced we were putting the house up for sale and moving far, far away from that neighborhood. Bryon convinced me to stick it out. We went onto live about eight years in that neighborhood and some of our best friends came from the people we met there.

I challenge anyone that can beat this story to give it a shot!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What if Your Blessings Come From Raindrops?

I couldn't sleep last night. I think it has a lot to do with this cold that I have. What is there to at 3:00 a.m.? Catch up on all your friends blogs, right? I came across this song on a friend's blog. It really touched me.

'Cause what if your blessings come from raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights,
Are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life,
Are your mercies in disguise?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Nightstand

I love to read and I LOvE a good book. The problem is in finding time to sit down and read. At dinner group last month, we got talking about some good books to read. I came home and immediately requested a long list from the library.

When Natalie got sick a couple of weeks ago, it provided me some much loved reading time. The book I started reading was called "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult. This is a book about a boy with Asperger's that is fixated with forensic analysis. He is always showing up at crime scenes and trying to help the police in solving the crime. Then he soon finds himself being charged with the murder of his social skills tutor.

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. Being the mother of two special needs children, one of them who struggles severely socially, I found myself relating to the mother in this book. While the book is fictional, I thought the author did a fantastic job of doing her research on Aspergers.

What is on your nightstand or one of your favorite reads?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Family Trip To Coeur D'Alene

Last weekend we took a family trip to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho to support Conner who was competing in the State Boys Gymnastics Meet.

We left Friday morning about 11:00 a.m., our time. Bryon was the only one from our family that had been to Coeur D'Alene and it had been a while since he had been. I had heard how beautiful it was and was so excited to see new sights. We have a built in DVD player in the van. I was nervous about the kids watching too many movies on the way up and back. They were excellent! I think they only watched one movie on the way up. Sam and Conner did play with their DS's. We didn't even have to stop once for a bathroom brake so that was a bonus! We went up through Dillon, Butte, Missoula and on to Coeur D'Alene. We stopped in Butte, Montana for lunch. We decided we wanted to breakaway from the chains and decided to try to find a local restaurant to have lunch. We found a pasta place on our GPS that sounded good but got there only to find they weren't open. Then we decided to have lunch at Paul Bunyan's. It is a little (and by little I mean our whole family filled the restaurant) sandwich shop. We enjoyed our lunch and then got back in the car to drive the rest of the way. Those that know me, know I don't do a lot of driving but I did offer to drive. I drove from Butte until we stopped for gas in Missoula. We stopped in Missoula, Montana to fill the car up. We ran into another family filling up with gas that is from the same gym we were.

Upon arriving in Coeur D'Alene, we checked into our hotel. We stayed at Days Inn. Several families from the gym were staying at Days Inn. We enjoy staying at the same hotel as most of the team. Days Inn wasn't located on the lake. Actually, I think it is about as far from the lake as you can get in Coeur D'Alene. The desk clerk suggested a place called Tomato Street for dinner. We loved it! It was such a relaxed atmosphere. There was butcher paper on the table. The waitress came by and scribbled her name (writing upside down). The kids thought that was so cool! They could draw while we waited for our dinner. They also provided the each of a packet of pasta and Play-Dough. They could make pasta necklaces or mold creations out of Play-Dough while we waited for our order.

Conner had to be at the meet the next morning by 8:00. Once we got back to our hotel, we basically went to bed. The next morning we hurried to get ready so we could be at the gym by 8:00 a.m. It was just starting to snow as we left the hotel. The gym was located in Hayden, about four miles from our hotel. We ended up in a full blown blizzard by the time we got to the gym. The post below tells all about Conner's meet. After the meet, we drove back to Coeur D'Alene and had lunch at Chili's.

Before we left Rexburg, I had found a grand way to save money. At, I noticed that you could get gift cads for discounted prices. I typed in Coeur D'Alene, several restaurants appeared to choose from. Some of the restaurants had an 18% gratuity added to your final bill which made the gift cards not that great of a deal. However, I found one restaurant that didn't add gratuity. The only stipulation they had was for a $25 gift card you had to spend $35. I was so excited! I ordered this gift card online. It was a $25 for $10. When I was checking out online, I noticed a promo-code that if you entered you could get an additional 70% off. I was stoked! I was going to feed my family a $35 meal for only $13 out of pocket.

After lunch, we decided to drive by the selected restaurant and scope it out for later that night. We typed the address into our GPS. We followed to the GPS to our selected destination. My stomach about sunk when I saw a picture that resembeled the picture online. There was one huge difference: the real place was all boarded up! About the time I am realizing this, Bryon says, "Is that the restaurant all boarded up?" We got a good laugh out of my smokin' good deal!

There is a place in Hayden called Triple Play. They have a ton of different things to do. We decided to go there after lunch and check it out. We ended up going swimming. They have a huge indoor waterpark. There are three waterslides, a kiddie pool and a giant wave pool. We had so much fun! There were two other families from the gym that ended up there the same time we were. Conner thought he was so cool haning out with his friends. I think I cramped his style by making him check in with me. We literally spent all afternoon at the pool.

For dinner, Sam and Conner wanted to go back to Tomato Street. While Bryon and I loved it, we wanted to try something different. One of the lifeguards recommended a pizza place called Mackenzie River. The kids ordered off the kids menu and Bryon and I ordered a pizza to share. It was sooo yummy! It hit the spot.

When we got back to the hotel, we noticed one of Conner's coaches and a few families were gathered down in the room where the continental breakfast is served. Bryon and Conner went down to get popcorn and see what was going on. The kids and I soon decided to go down and join everyone else. We had so much fun haning out with the other families. There was a hot game of cards going on. Being a card shark, I jumped at the chance to join in. Bryon and the kids ended up going back to the room about 11:00. I ended up playing cards until about 1:00 a.m.!

Sunday morning we got up and got ready to go. There is a continental breakfast offered at the hotel. About the time we were down trying to grab a bite to eat before hitting he road, so were several other families.

I told Bryon I didn't drive all the way to Coeur D'Alene not to spend some time at the lake. Before leaving on our trip, we were told about a darling children's book called "Mudgy and Millie". It is about a moose and a mouse that play hide-and-seek through Couer D'Alene. A scuplor then scuplted five life size statues of Mudgy and Millie and they can be found around Couer D'Alene. Sunday morning we read the book with our kids. We then went downtown to find the moose and mouse statues. Our children really got into it and we had to find all FIVE statues.

Our little treasure hunt took us right down by the river. It was beautiful there. As you can tell by the picture, it was cold. After our little treasure hunt, we headed for home.

Bryon wasn't feeling well. He thinks he got a little too much water sliding the day before. He drove to Missoula where we stopped for lunch. We ate at Mackenzie River again. I had a salad this time. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the pizza the night before. I then drove from Missoula. We had decided earlier, to take the scenic route home. We had decided instead of driving through Montana again, we would turn off at Missoula and go home through Salmon. This was a very pretty drive. I hadn't been to Salmon before. I am not sure it added very many additional miles but I feel like it took longer because of the speed limit. On the way home, the kids drank more pop and so consequently we had many more potty stops on the way home. At Leadore, we hit a complete white-out where I couldn't even see the side of the road. It was there, I decided I was done driving and Bryon and switched off again.

It was a great weekend. I was so thankful for the chance we had to get away as a family.

Boys State Gymnastics Meet

Last summer Conner was asked by his gymnastics coaches if he would like to compete for gymnastics. He would be a Level 4. This would mean that he would travel throughout the state competing in gymnastics. It was a one year commitment. The gymnastics season starts in January. His first meet was here in Rexburg. In February, we traveled to Boise to watch him compete at Gem State. Last weekend was the culmination of the whole season.

I felt like we and Conner had done all that was possible to get ready for the state competition. Conner put in some extra time in the gym working on getting ready. We paid for three private lessons, in order to help him better prepare. Conner has six elements he competes on: the high bar, the rings, the parallel bars, the floor, the mushroom and pommel horse, and the vault. He is pretty strong on all of the events except the pommel horse/mushroom. This is really two different apparatus but it is scored as one. Conner does really well on the pommel horse but struggles with the mushroom. The mushroom literally is just that: a round apparatus that is about two feet high.
The goal of Level 4 is to spin around the top of the mushroom three and a half turns without touching down. This is a very difficult task to master. The reason for learning this skill is so that they can prepare to do actual turns on the pommel horse. Most of the Level 4 boys will do one turn touch down, one turn touch down, one turn touch down and then a half a turn. There is a full point deduction every time they touch down. When Conner was doing his private lessons, I talked to the coach about spending most of the time working on fine tuning his other routines and just leaving the mushroom alone. The coach explained it that most of these boys skill wise are all about the same. They will usually only win an event by the smallest margin. The place where they can really pick up points is on the mushroom doing their three and a half turns. He really worked Conner on the mushroom. We even brought the mushroom home one night for Conner to practice on. Conner even took the mushroom to school one day to practice on during recesses. It wasn't very often that Conner could do more than one turn without touching down. When he did, it wasn't pretty. He would really struggle after his first turn to not touch down. We left for Coeur D'Alene knowing we had done all we could do.

Conner's competition was set for Saturday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m. The gym they competed at was a newer gym. However, their equipment wasn't new and was actually pretty rickety and wobbly.

Before I go into his individual scoring, let me just say that the total possible on any apparatus is 16.0.

Conner's first rotation was the rings. He scored at 14.4. This was a pretty good score for him. His second rotation was the floor. The floor tends to be one of his strongest. I don't know what happened, but Conner started off in the middle of his routine and his coach had to call him back to start over. He then tipped over on what is called a "candlestick". It is a very easy element. He ended up with a score of 13.2. The next rotation was the mushroom and pommel horse. I wanted to hold my breath.

He did the most beautiful mushroom routine that he has done all season! He went around beautifully twice without stopping. Then he went on and did his one and a half times around. It was beautiful! He pulled off the second highest score on the team and his personal high on this apparatus with a score of 12.1. Their next rotation was the high bar. Conner did a beautiful but ended up sitting down on the landing. His score on the high bar was 13.7. It was then time to vault. He scored a 15.2 on the vault! I would have to look but I also think that is a season high for him. The final rotation was the parallel bars. He did a nice job on those and scored a 13.8.

Conner ended up placing third in the state overall. His team also took first place in the team division.

We are so proud of you, Conner!