Have been kind of busy!
All fun stuff, but busy. On Thursday after school, all three kids had their monthly group piano lesson, and then I immediately headed over to the elementary school with Will and Elizabeth for the big "Jazz Reading" event. Schools all over Utah are competing with accumulated reading minutes for a Jazz player to come to their school. This goes on for a month. Homework is cut in half, and the pressure is STRONG to read your brains out. Will said a girl in his class read 28 hours over the weekend?? Don't know if he heard that right . . .Will read "only" 6, and Elizabeth had one night last week when she read picture books to her dolls for two and a half hours straight!
As usual, I did NOT read all 18 lines of the one-among-fifty memos that came home from school (honestly, it's like a part time job keeping up on the homework, papers, appointments, special programs, fundraisers, etc. of school age children) so we were the only family without a blanket, pillow and books. Apparently, it was a "read in," and we luckily ran into some friends right off the bat who shared both their blanket and books.
There were two big highlights of the evening. One, Brandon Mull (who lives across the street and whose daughter goes to the school) came and did a really great presentation for the kids on being a writer and his New York Times bestselling series, Fablehaven.
But even better? Elizabeth won a copy of one of his books in the raffle and got his autograph. I wish I had a picture! She was out of her mind about it. Even started reading it that night with a flashlight under her covers. She's a great reader, but that stuff is totally beyond her comprehension, so she lost interest pretty quick. I think it was mostly the thrill of getting the thing all the older kids wanted--maybe in particular her older brother and his friends!
Friday night Brandon and I went to a Travel Expo. Why? Mostly because an advertisement showed up in my inbox with a two for one ticket. (5 bucks--that's a pretty cheap date night!) Also because Brandon and I LOVE (the idea of) travel. We don't actually DO any, but we have big plans for "someday." If the stars ever align, we've got all kinds of ideas in the holding tank. After learning about European river cruises, and torturing ourselves with the reality that we CANNOT afford to visit our friends Scott and Betsy while they live with their children in New Zealand for the next four months (sigh . . .), we drowned our sorrows in yet more Japanese food. I could have miso soup every day and never get tired of it. In fact, they eat/drink it with every meal in Japan, including breakfast. (Okay, so we've lived in Japan. I guess that certainly counts as travel, but it was like 40 years ago or something.) Before sharing some sukiyaki, Brandon had to try this little appetizer which I wanted nothing to do with--but isn't it pretty?
After forcing Kate to go to early morning church basketball (long story), some Saturday morning homemade waffles and chores, Brandon finally took the two older kids skiing and I had the pleasure of going to a place called "Jump On It" with the little girls. It's right up there with Chuck E. Cheese or a McDonald's playland. You know the kind of place--a parents worst nightmare, but a child's fondest dream. Okay, "worst nightmare" is an exaggeration, but of all the things I like to do with my children, these kinds of places are really, really low on my list. But I took them because I knew they would love it, and it would make great indoor exercise. And it was just that. And while I love to watch my children have fun (and join in when possible), Elizabeth was truly at her prime this day. If I didn't have my eyes GLUED on her bouncing body, she was calling out the mantra all mothers of young children love so much, "Look, look, look, look, watch me, watch me, watch me, watch me!" I really think it could have made a Guiness World Record. So I finally started taking iphone pics of her to prove I was indeed watching:
The last fun date of the weekend was the polar opposite: I took Kate to a harp concerto at Abravenal Hall in Salt Lake. Her harp teacher tipped us off, and since students get one free ticket a year, off we went! They were doing a really cool fundraiser for the symphony. Some of these painted violins had bids up to $2000!
I was deliriously tired on the drive home, but we had so much fun talking about the book "The Outsiders." She's reading it in her English class. Of course, I never read the book, just saw the movie starring Matt Dillon and Tom Howell about 5000 times when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I put posters of Tom Howell all over my bedroom. Kate thought that was pretty funny. (Little by little, she's going to discover that her mother was indeed a shallow, blooming idiot when her same age . . .)
We also just about drove off the side of a mountain trying to navigate through all the "fog" in the Salt Lake valley. It was so surreal as we came up over the mountain that separates the Salt Lake Valley from Utah Valley and we broke through the "wall" of fog, looking back down to see it blanketing everything. Happy that inversion stuff stays put up there and doesn't creep over into our valley! (Knock on wood.)
Okay, so that's just two and half days, but the other two and a half days are completely un-newsworthy, other than our paper whites finally blooming! I've been taking a picture a day, so the exciting progression will be forthcoming . . .