Thursday, February 23, 2017

8th Grade Science Fair - Testing a Mother's Patience

No, really that was not the science fair project.  But, testing a mother's patience, should be remembered from this science fair.  However, the project did entail boiling eggs.....
 and seeing which additive would yield the best shelled egg.
 Did we mention, lots of eggs were used in the project?  Lots
Well, it was judged at the school level.  He did so well that he went to District Science Fair!!  Woohoo!  Go Caleb!  So, yesterday began part 2 of the science fair project.  Title:
Testing A Mother's Patience
Hypothesis; A mother has unending love and patience for her children
Materials; lots of eggs, lots of time, patience, children and science fair board
Procedure:  The test of patience began in doing the project.  Realizing that the teacher bumped up the due date for the project by a week and we had to get supplies sooner that expected.  Patiently encouraging Caleb to stay on top of all this with all the other homework and soccer was another test in a Mother's Patience.  But the eggs got boiled and shelled.  The board got done and turned in on time.  Whew!
This is where it gets fun.  You see, Caleb was notified last week (before the soccer tournament) that his project (the eggs) was moving on to district.  So awesome!  He would have a meeting on Tuesday after school about what to do.  Tuesday came, meeting happened, Caleb came home saying that district was tomorrow (Wednesday) and we were to go to South Jordan Middle (10200 S.) at 4pm to be judged.  He said that his science teacher would take the board to the school for him and all he had to do was show up with his presentation ready.  Great!
Wednesday.....round 2x25 of a Mother's Patience.  We showed up at the school, on time.  Whew!  But there was no board.  Caleb and I were starting to worry.  But another teacher informed us that Señor B. had gone back to the school to get more board.  Ok.  Did I mention that the school is on 7500 S. and the district science fair is on 10200 S.  That is 10 miles to go back and forth.  But we patiently waited for Caleb's board to show up.  We are getting worried.  At 4:25pm Señor B. shows up, WITHOUT Caleb's board!  AUGH!!!  Señor B. said he did not know he was supposed to bring the board, as he was taking off his lanyard to give me the keys to the school and his room, so that I could go pick up the board.  Really?  Haley and I dashed to the truck, judging had begun and Caleb did not have his board.  It was up to Haley and I to go back to the school, get in the school, find the board in the teacher's closet and dash back to the science fair in time for Caleb to be judged!  We did it!  I found the board, jammed in the teacher's closet with a bunch of other cardboard boxes.  We hurried back to 10200 S. to get Caleb his board so that he could present and judge.  WHEW!  What a test of Haley's patience.  She sweetly helped the whole time, without too much complaining.  After all was said and done we had driven 30 miles round trip (3 trips back and forth from the school) and Caleb was successful.  The judge did have to tell him to breath during his presentation (he was really nervous as first, a rocky way to start district).  The judge however did tell him that she learned a lot and he had done a great job!
Results and Conclusion:  A Mother's Love never ends.  Her children can push her to a breaking point, but the love keeps coming.  A Mother's Patience can be tested, and pushed past breaking point.  Trust me people, there were a few ugly moments along the way.  Moments where I broke, and showed the "psycho" mom side of me.  But we all succeeded!  Caleb got his science fair board, he went to district and he came out with a smile.  Haley was a supportive and patient sister.  Mom pulled through and is willing to help with anything.  Finally, A Mother's Patience will always be tested, hopefully I learn to have more as we go along.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

St. George; Fun and Wet

So, this past weekend our family took a trip down to St. George for the Icebreakers Tournament, a soccer tournament for Caleb (round trip: 770 miles!).  But, as with any vacation, we had other stuff on the side.  Different things that should be remembered.  I would say, 4 different chapters to our mini-vacay.  But before we get to that, our trip there was is worth remembering.  Haley and Peter were recognized at school as being the top readers of their grade for the reading contest.  They were very excited!  As we drove to St. George everyone did pretty well. But it was a long trip and Haley at one point lost patience and needed some sleep.  Fortunately, we got past that and arrived happily in St. George.
Chapter 1, plants:
With any vacation we have my kids look for any plants to play with on our down time.  This trip was no different. Soon after we arrived at our motel in St. George the kids went to explore the area close by and soon came back with different plants and berries, got out paper plates and started their games.  It sounds funny, but give them some plants and pipe cleaners and they can have a great time together.
This is what keeps Peter happy away from home.
Chapter 2, St. George Temple:
We figured it would be a good chance for Caleb to visit the St. George Temple while we were so close.  He went with Rob, the evening that we arrived, before all the games began.  It was a good experience for him, a nice time to focus on what matters.
On Sunday after church the other kids got to go walk around the temple as well.  Such good kids!
 Haley, as always, beautiful with the flowers.
Chapter 3, soccer - the main reason we came:
 Can you say WET?  Yes, it was wet.  2 out of our 3 games it rained.  The boys were soaked, and they were loving it!  They actually play pretty well in the rain.  The other game was just muddy.  Caleb played field for each of the games, but that was great!  He did so well, we were so proud to watch him.  He had some great clears, was where he needed to be, had a great header, even helped in the goal box to prevent a few goals.  It was a great experience for him.
 Unfortunately, our team did not win any of the games.  Game 1, we did not do too well.  The other team was just better.  Game 2, was incredible!  The boys were drenched before the game even began. They fought so hard to win.  They had it tied and then the other team scored and we lost 3-2.  But they played like winners.  Game 3, muddy and really early in the morning.  They tried so hard, wanting the win.  But we did not have enough shots on goal to be able to pull it off.  However, our defense and midfield (Caleb played defensive midfield each game) were terrific.  The last game ended 2-1, it was a hard loss but they gave it their best.

Chapter 4 - exploring:
 After the final game we went and checked out of the motel then went to explore a little.  We went to this beautiful red rock climbing area.  It was amazing to look at.  Almost like Arches in St. George.  Haley loved all the little caves and hidey holes.
Peter enjoyed being with Haley and exploring a little.  
  This was where we should have spent all of our down time in St. George.  It is Caleb's playground, Caleb's most perfect type of area to explore and climb and hike and get lost.  William was pretty happy too.  They only thing that made it a down moment was that Caleb had to stay with someone.  It slowed him down and prevented him from embracing the whole place like he wanted to.  But, I hope he still had some fun.  Before he got a bit unhappy, each of the boys climbed this point and were all happy together.
 This particular rocky area looked out over all of St. George.  Great place to explore.
Caleb being Caleb, climbing as high as he can and doing it on his own.  He loves exploring new places.  But it was time to go home.  We could have spent 2 more days there if it had not been for school and tired kids.  Caleb never gets tired of the adventure, but we headed home.  The journey home seemed MUCH LONGER than the one going there.  But we made it, making good memories and happy kids.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Moving on up

Thats right.  Peter graduated.  From Cub Scouts to

Boy Scouts
Look at the difference.  Not just talking in the bushy hair or the shirt color.  He has changed in a lot of ways.  And all for the better.  He will make an excellent scout.  He enjoys learning new things.  He will try his best.  He already has the trustworthy and obedient part down.  He is constantly working on the kind and helpful part.  I know that it will not be easy.  But I hope that with the right attitude and determination, we will succeed that this too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Time Together + Legos = Love

So, Valentines Day was yesterday.  Fun times.  Lots of work here and there.  But it was all worth it.  For example, I decided to make Valentine swirl bread.  Take bread dough, mix some red in, mix it all around.  Tadah!  Fun Valentine bread for breakfast in the morning.  However, I had to get up at like 2am to mix the dye in with the dough so it would rise and be ready to cook in the morning.  All good, I also had to get up at that time to finish "heart-attacking" the boys' room.  You see, at like 10pm the West Jordan police squad decided to flash their lights in the circle across the street from us (for like 2 hours), which kept Caleb awake, which made it so I had to delay "heart-attacking" his room.  So, fast forward to the morning; Valentine swirl bread was cooked, rooms were properly decorated for them to wake up feeling loved and happy.  
 Haley came home with a huge stash of Valentines from her class.  Funny story. The day before we were getting all the Valentines ready.  Haley, being a sweet girl wanted to give each classmate 4 things.  I had to break her heart and tell her, we needed stuff for the other boy's and their classes.  I said, usually you just give one thing to each person.  Ok, she conceded.  Well, jokes on me.  These kindergarten parents went crazy, at least some of them.  At least a couple of the kids sent each friend home with a bag of goodies.  Stickers, stamp, candy, tattoo, more candy, eraser......  Yeah, Haley got a lot of stuff.
 Valentine Swirl Bread.  Yummy and fun!
LEGOS!  Ahh, the great unifier of families and fun.  They got some legos for Valentines and man, they had fun together.  Yeah!!!  Love my kids, love my family and LOVE IT when they are all happy together.


 It was Peter's day.  11 years old on the 11th, his Golden Birthday.  The only present he said he wanted was.....plants.  I made sure he got at least that much.  He seemed pretty happy.
 We tried to fill the day with smiles.  Breakfast consisted of a lot of gold.  Gold wrapped candies on the table.  Gold plates and cups.  Yummy food for the boy that likes only certain things.
 I found that gold and 11 was pretty easy to make happen.  Also, making him smile was not too hard either.  Success!
 One of Peter's gifts was an electric scooter from Pa.  The boys all loved going around on that thing.  And Caleb (in the background) was going about his duty, saving worms from the previous night's rain.
 One more gift from us that I was pretty sure would be a hit, this book he has been waiting for.  He was excited to crack it open.
 One of our celebrations was going to Airborne.  They all loved it!  Well, until William was told he was just a little too short for a really fun area, then things slightly went downhill for him.  But Peter loved jumping everywhere, the dodge ball game, diving into the foam pits, getting sweaty, and having lots of fun.
 But it is really hard to take good pictures at a trampoline place.  Lots of blurry kids.
 11 years old and rice krispy treats.
 One last celebrations, the Jazz game.  Rob's boss was terrific and gave Rob 4 tickets to the game, which landed right on Peter's birthday.  Talk about a great way to end your Golden birthday!  The boys had fun riding on Trax to the stadium.  Being at a game like that can be pretty exciting.
The boys all loved the blimp that flew around the stadium.  Yes, Peter took his book to the game.  But once the action started, I do not think he got much read.  Rob said that towards the end, when things were getting tight and the Jazz were really trying to win, Peter kept things awesome by doing the math in his head.  Rob said that every time someone would score Peter would tell him, "they only need _____ points to win!"  He is such a cool kid!  And we love him!
So, what makes Peter happy? What makes him have a good day?  He can be a mystery sometimes.  #1, he loves it when people listen to him.  He can tell some pretty creative and cool stories.  Whether it be about a game he is playing, a book he is reading or something he has learned; you can have such cool conversations with him.  But usually one on one, Peter is not a huge crowd fan.  So, the fact that he enjoyed the Jazz game so much was pretty good.  #2, Peter really loves Haley and wishes she would spend more time with him.  #3, Peter loves to play with plants.  Tearing them up, playing games with them, creating his own mini battles and worlds with them.  We have one corner of the green room, just for Peter and his plant station.  Rob probably hates it, but he is a terrific dad and does not say much about it.  #4, Peter loves games that involve battle.  But as he has told me, he hopes he never has to go into a real battle. #5, Peter loves to read!  His school recently held their reading contest, read as much as you can to be the top reader.  Peter read for a total of 4,720 minutes, that that was over 12 days.  WOW!  He loves books about adventure, dragons, battle and comics.  He reads so much that we recently had to go to the eye doctor to see if he needed glasses.  He had started to complain that his eyes were hurting and of more headaches.  Result?  The eye doctor said his eyes look great!  Peter just needs to take more frequent breaks while reading. :)  Such a cool kid!  #6, Peter loves string cheese, plums, fishy crackers, ruffles, peach rings and double bubble!  He will eat other food, but always asks for those first.
Most of all, Peter has such a good heart and mind.  Peter wants to learn.  Whether it be about the gospel or math or something cool in science.  His mind is always thinking about things.  He also has such a good heart.  He genuinely wants to make others happy, but sometimes it is hard to figure out how to do that, because people are a mystery.  He has such a silly side too!  He can be known for crazy outbursts, at random times during the day.  And for a goofy face anytime you pull the camera out.  Finally, Peter is such a trustworthy and obedient soul.  I know I can trust him to do what is needed.  He may not want to, but he does it.  He may not want to turn off his IPod, but he will.  He may not want to go to sleep, instead keep reading or eating fishy crackers, but he will.  He may not want to do his homework, but he always gets it done (and even remembers it instead of forgetting).  He is one amazing kid and we love him!  Happy Golden Birthday, my amazing Peter!
This is how you can often find Peter.  Sitting, anywhere in the house, book cracked open in his lap and him reading page after page.  What completes the picture, the thing he is eating.  Today, his birthday, it was double bubble.  But other days it is string cheese, or fishy crackers.  I would not want him any other way, he is the coolest!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

We The People

Mr. Smarty Pants is also Mr. Awesome Guy!  Caleb's middle school, West Jordan Middle, is one of a few public schools in the valley that competes in a competition called We The People.  The kids were split off into groups in their history class.  Then their awesome teachers took the time to encourage, teach and train the groups on the constitution, the government, our country vs. other country's governments, plus a lot more things.  The kids had to work together to write reports and they presented it all to the school in a competition.  Caleb had the goal to go to state.  He achieved that goal, with a lot of work and time.  He was so happy.
 We were able to go watch the state competition today.  This is Caleb's group in front of the judges.  They were asked a question, then they had the chance to read the portion of their report they had written in response to the question.  Then they faced a few questions from the judges.
 Caleb was just plain awesome!!!  He has always been a terrific speaker in front of groups.  Speaks with confidence, clarity and conviction.  He did not disappoint today.  He never once stumbled in his words, never stuttered, even made eye contact with the judges without losing his place in his reading. He was very professional and represented well.
When it came time to answer the judge's questions, Caleb as again - terrific!  According to his teachers the judges asked questions that were not on the "practiced" list.  Some of the things that were asked, were not taught or gone over.  The kids had to go off of their own knowledge base.  When Caleb was able to answer something, he sounded so good.  He only faltered once, and he made up for it with pulling himself together and answering with accuracy.  One of the questions that he handled, basically on his own, was about the 3 branches of government and how they have checks and blanances and the power they have.  It was a terrific experience for him.  He worked so hard, learned some great information and achieved his goal.  He also represented his school and teachers well.  The school ended up taking 3rd place, which was disheartening for the teams.  However, I could not be more proud of Caleb.  He was outstanding!

Books and Eggs

About a week and a half ago the kids at their elementary school started a reading contest.  Every year the school encourages the kids to read as much as possible.  The more minutes you read, the closer the school gets to its goal.  Usually the goal is just a pizza party for the best class and kids, plus some weird assembly where they slam pies in teacher's faces.  My kids read, just to read, not for the prizes.
 This is the beginning tower of books that we started off with from the library.  Lots of books.
 There is the master reader himself.  Hunkered down with a good read and his snack of choice for the day.  He read 6 hours that first day. Lots of minutes.
 So, what about the eggs?  Caleb's science fair project is up for presentation.  He chose to find out which method of boiling eggs would lead to the easiest shelling.  We took 10 eggs per batch.  Had the control (nothing), added baking soda to one, vinegar to another, lemon wedge to another and ice bath for the last.  Caleb discovered one thing for sure, after 50 eggs - you get really good at shelling hard boiled eggs.
 In the end, we have LOTS OF BOILED EGGS and Caleb found that shelling them right after they are cooked (waiting 15 minutes for them to cool) was so much easier than letting them be refrigerated over night.  I will let Caleb tell you which was best though, vinegar or baking soda.
Here is Peter, still reading. Lots of minutes.  And now, he has eggs to eat as his snack of choice.