Monday, July 28, 2008

Do you have $1

A couple of months ago I donated $10 to an organization that was trying to get the most $10 donations on Facebook. Whichever organization got the most $10 donors got $50,000 or something like that for their organization. I thought it was well worth my $10 so it was that venture that got me signed up on Facebook in the first place and how I have reconnected with some good friends that I would not have otherwise reconnected with. This post however really has nothing to do with Facebook though.

The organization I donated to is Love Without Boundaries, they helps families in China get life saving operations for their children. So often these families just abandon their children because they can’t afford these operations and they hope that someone will adopt their child so they can have the operations and live. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to say goodbye to your child forever so they can get the help that they so desperately need. The operations cost $5000 and the average monthly income is $50 so they can’t even begin to fathom how to get the money. I got an email today that Love Without Boundaries is doing a $1 campaign and trying to raise $5000 for one of these operations. Obviously they need 5000 donors to get to their $5000 goal. I know that I have $1 to spare, do you?

You can either just pop $1 in the mail to Love Without Boundaries at:
Love Without Boundaries

P.O. Box 25016

Oklahoma City, OK 73125-0016

or donate through Facebook by clicking "donate" and then choosing "other" and putting in $1.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Me – Visually Summed Up

My friend Nicole did this on her blog and I thought it was an interesting idea to sum oneself up in twelve pictures, so here I am:

1. Desi(Red), 2. cpk, 3. nov8-005, 4. Black & White, 5. There's just no one like you !, 6. Diet "Pepsi" & baby, 7. Child in Tanzania, 8. Cheesecake, 9. Humanitarian Aid, 10. Raccoon Family, 11. insecure, 12. Sumatran Tiger

Try it out yourself and then come back and leave me a comment so I can go and see what you look like in 12 pictures or less :)

Here’s how you do it:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.b. Using only the first page, pick an image.c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your favorite animal?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Swim Ari Swim...Whoo Hoo!

I can attest that you don't die of heat exhaustion by sitting poolside for an hour in 109 degree weather. I did it and I’m still alive to tell about it.

As I mentioned before Ari had her first ever swim-a-thon yesterday and she was amazing. It was so hot they were spraying down all the swimmers with a hose when they got to our end of the pool (hey what about all us lap counters who aren’t in the water staying at least somewhat cool?)

Ok, ok, I know back to Ari and her swimming. They had to swim as many laps as they could in one hour and since the most laps Ari had over swum before at one time was 4 (and she was tired after that) I didn't figure she would get more than 20 maybe 25 laps before she was just too tired to go anymore. She blew me away, she swam exactly 50 laps! Here’s how it went down:

And she’s off, look at her go. That’s an awfully strong pace for her to try and keep up for an hour. I think she’s going to have to slow it down and settle into a groove if she’s wants to have any endurance left for the second half of this swim-a-thon.

It’s fifteen minutes in and Ari is at 15 laps and looking very tired. A lap a minute…can she continue with this pace?

It’s been a half hour and Ari is stopped at the side of the pool. She looks exhausted and she is only half way through with her time. How will she go on?

I think Ari might be done! It’s 45 minutes in and her breaks on the wall keep getting longer and longer. Will she quit? Will she end now with 40 laps under her belt? 40 laps is nothing to sneeze at, the average for her age is between 40 and 60 laps so at least she got to 40 right? Oh no, she’s not going to stop now, she has fifteen more minutes to go and she’s no slacker!

There are 2 minutes left and she had two laps to go to get to 50 laps. (I went to the edge of the pool and told her how close she was to 50 laps and encouraged her to swim hard and swim fast) She went for it and swam hard, go Ari, go…Yes!!! She made it, 1 hour and fifty laps later she reached a huge accomplishment. Good job Ari!

Because she did so well we told her we'd take her to dinner where she wanted to go (within reason) and she choose In-and-Out. I hate in and out, but it was her reward so I sucked it up it wasn't too bad this time! Check here to see a little about my distain for In-and-Out. People swear by this place and drive far distances to get there, I just don't get it. It’s not only the raw burgers either, their fries taste like they’ve been freeze dried or something before they rehydrated them to fry them up. They swear they use fresh potatoes, but come on, I’m from Idaho, I know my potatoes and those are nothing of the sort, but I digress. Good job Ars(my nickname for Ari, sounds like the plural form of the letter R) for a trying so hard and accomplishing so much. You did awesome!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What would you like to learn?

Ok, I’m pretty much terrified of public speaking. It’s interesting because whenever I tell people this who have seen me speak they don’t believe me and say that I’m a natural; perfectly at ease, when in reality, my heart is beating so hard and so fast that I feel like it’s going to beat right out of my chest.

Well, I’m the Relief Society secretary for my Ward which is pretty innocuous, except a member of the presidency is in charge of the first Sunday of the month lesson, and my turn is in August. Now that the first Sunday in July is over with I’m already getting nervous because my turn is next. I realize there are other lessons between now and then, but mine is the next presidency lesson! I know there is nothing that I can teach that the women in my ward don’t already know more about then I do so that is a little nerve wracking also.

Here’s where you come in. I need a theme for my lesson. I need to pray for an inspired theme, which I will do, but I figure if I have some ideas in mind it might help the inspiration come. So, what are some Relief Society lessons that you’ve had that you particularly enjoyed or a motivational topic that you would like to learn more about? And, along with any great topics, great resources would also be appreciated. I like visuals or music to go along with my lessons, so if you know of books or articles or songs that would help “drive home” the message let me know those too and I’ll head on over to Deseret Book online and pick up one or two.

One of topics that I was thinking about was Finding Peace

I found these books online and thought they might have some good info. Has anyone read them? Would this topic interest you? Do you know of any songs that might go along with this subject?

Another topic was either Judging Others, or Judging Ourselves Against Others Accomplishments. Would either of these interest you? Do you know of any songs that might go with this subject?

I’m totally open to suggestions so comment away!

Oh, and thanks for your help.

* I forgot to mention that the lesson needs to apply to women between the ages of about 25 -85. Tell me that that's not quite the span of ages. :) *

I'm Proud to be an American

I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am to live in this country and call myself an American. I feel truly blessed by the freedoms that we enjoy and am continually reminded of how blessed we are when I hear stories of human rights violations or tyrannous governments that don’t have their citizens best interests in mind. I realize this is a few days late, but we had a very calm and relaxing 4th and I wanted to share a little of what we did.
Our day started off with…
Ari and I were messing around on my bed when she fell off onto a screw that was sticking out and got this nasty scratch. Not the greatest start to the holiday, but she was fine after Daddy bandaged her up.
Then we went and did some of this…
Ok, I didn’t do any of that because I won’t put my body into a swimsuit. But everyone else did. The local community pool was free for the day so we took advantage and the girls had a good time. It was Devyn’s first time in a public pool.
We painted these...
Which got kind of messed up while swimming.
Finally we went to the park and did this…
and Dante did this...
While Devyn did some of this…
and this…
and this…

This was Devyn's first time on one of these types of swings and we thought it was hillarious how she kept "running" through the air as the swing decended.

and then she fell asleep while we ate some of this...

Which was made mostly by Ari, and it was delicious!

and watched some…

I hope your 4th was as fun and relaxing as ours and I hope you had a chance to reflect on how blessed we are for the country that we live in. I wish I could personally thank all the men and women who have ever fought to give me the rights and freedoms that I have. I will forever be in their debt.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What is that in your mouth?

Anyone who’s ever had an infant knows you are constantly trying to keep them from putting things into their mouths, or else you are fishing things out of their mouths. So last night we’re at Target and Devyn is in her car seat that’s hooked to the Target cart. I was trying a darling pair of shoes on her (which of course we bought because they were just too cute, see picture below) She doesn’t like them on her feet I might add, and DH thinks I’m crazy for spending money on them, but all you moms out there understand, right?!? But I digress, so I look at her face while I’m trying the shoes on her and notice something white in her mouth. Confused because she hadn’t been anywhere that she could have gotten a hold of anything to stick in her mouth I tried to pry her mouth open with my fingers to figure out what it might be. I see another glimpse and think; no it can’t be…a tooth?

I dismiss this thought because first of all she’s been happy go lucky all week, no fussing or grouchy behavior, and secondly babies in my family just don’t get teeth this young. Yes, I said that correctly, I know most babies are starting to cut teeth by eight months, but none of my sisters nor I got teeth before we were one and neither did Ari, so I was definitely not expecting it. I thought to myself, maybe she has a canker sore in her mouth from something, so I try to open her mouth to look again, but do you think she’ll let me get a look at this tooth/canker sore thingy? Nope! She has been doing this thing with her tongue for a couple of weeks now where she is constantly sticking her tongue out, not really out but down, so it’s resting on her chin, and just the very tip of her tongue it curled up, it’s quite cute actually, and we laugh at her often while she’s doing it, (hopefully she’s not going to have some complex about it). So anyway, every time I tried to get my fingers near her mouth to try and get another look, she did that tongue thing and I wasn’t convinced that my hands were really that clean to be sticking them all up in her mouth so I just couldn’t get a good look.

We went to pick up DH from class and told him of our possible discovery and we were headed to the Marble Slab to get shakes, so Ari ran in and washed her hands because she wanted to feel and see if she could feel anything. She sticks her finger in Devyn’s mouth and says sure enough, it’s hard like a tooth. DH always says that there is nothing about Devyn that resembles him and “is there anything I should be telling him?” Well, I’m going to venture a guess that this eight month old tooth getting thing is from his side and not mine, so there you go honey, a trait from you! :)

Can you see it, can you see it?

* I forgot to add this picture even after I wrote up above "see picture below" so here they are!

On your mark, get set, SWIM!

Isn’t summer great, spending everyday at the pool, taking lessons to learn how to do all the cool strokes and tricks you see swimmers do in the Olympics. Who can forget watching Greg Louganis dive or Janet Evans as she swam her way to three gold medals in 1988. I wanted to be like them and swim or dive my way to greatness, I mean what better way to spend your day then being in a pool everyday and getting a great tan, right? Swimming lessons were cool because I was going to get great at it.

Ari has yet to catch the swimming bug or Olympic dream, I had many of those. I would watch just about every sport in the Olympics and think how cool it would be to be good enough at it to compete in the Olympics, ok, well maybe not every sport, like curling or the trampoline (but I did have a trampoline and it probably would have been my best shot at any of the sports, but whatever, this isn’t really about me). No, Ari thinks she is good enough that she doesn’t need swimming lessons. She has thought this for the last three years, telling me every time I sign her up for lessons that she is already good enough. Ari holds her own in a pool, but she is definitely no Janet Evans. She needs swimming lessons!

Well, this year we tried something different. The local swim team has a summer program that isn’t quite as competitive, but they still get to compete in meets and a swim-a-thon so I signed her on up, hoping it wouldn’t get the same argument of “I already know how to swim, mom!” No such luck, when I got home after her first day I enthusiastically asked “How was your first day?” “It’s just like regular swimming lessons,” she replied in a very dejected tone. So I’m thinking, so much for trying to make her swimming lessons fun. Well, when she got the sign-up this week to gather sponsors for her swim-a-thon next week she started to get excited. She called Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Brandee and Auntie TT to see if they would sponsor her. When her Achievement Day leader asked what she was doing for the summer she enthusiastically said she was in SummerDarts and she was swimming in a swim-a-thon so her leader offered to sponsor her at $.25 a lap also. She likes this whole getting people to sponsor her thing. She has lofty goals, she wants to swim 100 laps, but since she’s never really swum laps before I’m thinking about a quarter goal of that might be more realistic, but who knows. I told her to go for it! Now maybe she’s catching the swimming bug and maybe the Beijing Olympics will help to foster some excitement too, who knows. We’ll just have to wait and see.

But for now, swim Ari swim, and I’ll be there next week to cheer you on!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Calling all teachers and mothers out there…

or just anyone with good suggestions.

Ari struggles a little with school. Don’t get me wrong, she does fine, her lowest overall grade for last year was a B-, so not bad, but sometimes she struggles to get those grades. So for the summer she has this workbook that we “require” her to work in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We started off having her do the workbook every weekday, but she didn’t like that so we compromised and now she has to do one page in each section of the book (there are 5 sections) three days a week. Her biggest struggle is with math and multiplication in particular. I even got her to help her with her multiplication facts, but she doesn’t like it and I have to admit its pretty bad (too juvenile for her). So then we got these DVDs and she kind of likes them, so along with the workbook three days a week she has to watch the multiplication songs on the School House Rock DVD every day. I’m trying to find ways (like the DVDs) to make it more fun, but I don’t want to burn her out over the summer either.

I also told her that I want her to read at least one book a week (which is not a problem because she likes to read and does very well at it) she has averaged about 3 books a week so far this summer so I don’t think that’s a big deal. My question is, am I expecting too much from her? What else can we do to help her retain the knowledge she gained during the school year and increase her knowledge of her multiplication facts and still keep her summer fun? What do you do as a parent in the summer? Is it just for fun or do you do anything related to learning? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Bookies

1. A gambler who accepts and pays off bets (especially on horse races).
2. A specific group of girls who get together to share in the joy of reading.

Two weeks ago a friend and I started a summer reading group for our daughters and a couple of their Achievement Day friends. They meet every other week, because let’s face it, we as parents have a plethora of things to accomplish in the evenings so a weekly gig for the girls wasn’t going to happen.

The girls voted on names for their group and came up with “The Bookies.” When we got home and Ari told DH the name of their group he looked at me and asked if rather than a reading group we were teaching the girls tips and tricks of gambling or how to live a life of crime. :)

So we met two weeks ago at the library and let the girls choose a book. Really I kind of chose the book because I went through and found books that might work for the girls multiple reading levels and then narrowed it down to books that the library had more than one copy of, knowing that the girls would have to share. They got to write down their top two picks and we came up with a winner, The Word Eater by Mary Amato. This book was a little on the easy side for Ari, but not really knowing the other girls reading levels and knowing that at least one of them is two grades lower than her in school I wanted to keep it pretty easy. I am facilitating the first discussion (without having read the book, oops) this evening so we’ll see how it goes and if the girls liked it. Ari read The Naked Mole Rat Letters also by Mary Amato last year for battle of the books at school and liked it much better than this book, so we’ll see what the other girls thought.
The other mom sent out an email this week just telling the girls to bring their book suggestions for the next book so we’ll see how it goes in regards to reading levels and number of books available. It should be fun!

What are your kids reading? Anything these 8-10 year old habitual gamblers might enjoy?