Saturday, April 26, 2014

It was hard to decide which blurry photo to use to commemorate our Great Beginnings/Community Symphony Spring Concert...
A local group of string teachers including myself, got our string students together to perform a few numbers. Intermingled were a few solos. To top off a very cultural evening for these parts,  the community Symphony performed 3 pieces.  I am on the far left with my cello students. Brynn and Adrie are in the middle there. Brandon and I played in the Symphony (not pictured) It's hard to get pictures when everyone in the family is on the stage.

Our camera must have been on "Impressionism" mode, except it doesn't get any clearer the further back you stand.

The night went well and best of all it's over. I may have been threatened by the bandsters, just before the concert,  not to promote orchestra in the schools. I had no such speech prepared, unfortunately.  Both performing groups are newly formed in the last two years and even if we haven't been able to offer this in the schools, it's been great to contribute to the performing arts in our area.   There is a video somewhere on YouTube of our symphony performing "Pirates of the Caribbean." I'm sure it's going viral...

It was 80's week for the 3rd graders and 60's week for the 5th graders. America's got the corner on the market when it comes to fun in school.

In other big news this week, we made our first contact with our exchange student Sofie, who is coming in the Fall.  Ah the benefits of email and social media! She is super sweet and fun to talk to. We are even more excited now for her to come.

This was our backyard today. Luckily we don't have any HOA rules against multiple jumpers...or unfinished fences, or weeds, or dead grass...

Finally, I got around to making my Liege Belgian Waffle recipe (inspired by our recent SLC trip) This was definitely the best breakfast we've ever had for dinner.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter!
What a beautiful day to celebrate.

 Hooray for chocolate and new outfits...
We had a wonderful Easter Sunday Program at church this morning that Brandon directed. I sang in the choir. Both the primary and youth were involved. It was all about Jesus, very inspiring, and very beautiful music selections (that part was my job ;)

 Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ (The Family, A Proclamation to the World) That thought has been running through my head today and I believe it to be true!

We had our traditional ham and potatoes dinner--much like our Christmas dinner except we switched out orange rolls for cinnamon.  We enjoyed a balmy Spring walk, painted eggs, and will conclude the day with a community interfaith choir performance known as the Easter Convenio.  Yes, there was some sibling fighting arguing, a messy house, and "who stole my Cadbury egg??" in between all that loveliness. 

I love Easter. He lives! 

Spring Break/Egg Hunts

It's official. Grandma is the strongest person we know. All the kids tried to beat her and all the kids were humbled. 
 We had a couple of days off for Spring Break. We spent one of those at Grandma and Grandpas. They took us to the new hot spot in town where you could get smoothies, shaved ice, and fancy, or dirty drinks, as some might say.
 Lots of pretty blossoms everywhere. What a beautiful time of year unless you have allergies. Fortunately none of us do...
 Saturday morning brought Easter Egg Hunts. 61 people of all ages= 6 separate hunts.

 The kids scored lots of candy. I scored a $20, and a $10 and a $5 which I am slightly embarrassed to say means I must have cleaned house!
Lunch for the masses. Hooray for the first barbeque of the year!!

Grandma and Grandpa also spent some time with us going over the old photos and some stories of their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents all the way back from Denmark  They told our kids that all these people who have gone before and many more on my side were all looking out for them and supporting them. We are never alone.  This was really cool to think about, and something that I have felt strongly, especially since my parents deaths. I believe they have had more power to bless me than they did when they were on the earth. And to think there are generations of them!   I was very grateful my kids could receive gentle teachings this weekend from wise grandparents. We parents can use all the help we can get!  What a nice way to bring in Easter Sunday...


Roller Coaster Week

The ups and downs of the week:
1. Kids celebrated warmer weather with dodge ball on the trampoline. When Brynn kicked the ball out of the weeds, a good-size splinter of twig went in her foot. It was visible alright but too deep for me, or our helpful neighbor to remove. The next day it was red and swollen so off to the doctor we went, where they numbed and removed the foreign bodies in several pieces with surgical tweezers. The nurse did quite the wrap-up job as you can see. 

 2. I got a new camera (to replace the lost/stolen one from my CA trip)  Taking pictures has never been so much fun! It has all kinds of cool features like this one... and for such a great price?! How have I ever lived without you Olympus Stylus.
 3. I was on the radio again. We're on a first name basis over there now. This time I was talking with 2 other ladies about the upcoming community Symphony concert!  I thought we did a great job covering our objectives which were 1. advertise the concert. 2. recruit people to join the symphony for our next season. The interviewer also followed up with us about our efforts to get an orchestra program in the schools. We answered that we were still trying.... This, albeit mild statement, stirred up some discontent from a couple of the "band or bust " campaign and I got to hear all about later that day at rehearsal.  This is all so confusing to me. Where else would one be terrified and threatened by something as sweet and lovely as violins?

 4. More fun features about my camera.  This is the sister Kate has always wanted.  Speaking of sisters... We are getting a new one in this family! The easy way! This school year we will be hosting Sofie, age 16, from Denmark. Everyone is very excited. She seems like lots of fun and we are going to welcome her right in! 

5. And finally, Cannon's nose has decided to have random bleeding episodes quite frequently this week. He is getting very good at knowing just where to pinch his nose to stop the bleed. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quintin's Baptism

What a special event for the family. We headed to Salt Lake City very early to be with family for Quintin's baptism. What do you know? He was baptized at the same church that I was baptized in 28 years ago AND the same church my sister, his grandma was baptized in. Beautiful Mt. Olympus loomed in the background with lovely city vistas in the other direction.

 Some of the Nielson relatives joined us for this day. Seeing my dad was like seeing my dad again! It's occasions like these that bring families together.

 Treats after included homemade root beer
 Fantastic bubble machine...

 Carrying on a family tradition..the goodbye dance. We headed south towards home and did some shopping and car repairs on the way.
Little Ethan was not so happy that we were leaving. He cried and wanted to come with us.

On Air

This week we experienced all seasons. Friday was summer, Saturday was spring, and today it's winter. Such is Spring in Utah.

 Kate's traveling basketball team finished up their season with 2nd place. Kate plays on the wing and has good speed and aggression.  She plays with a great group of girls. Despite all the fun, she is glad it's over.
I took the students for a live interview on local radio station, KSVC.  The students were asked questions ranging from how do you get along with your host family to what were some of the biggest changes, coming here to our area.  Miriam from Spain said the biggest differences for her were the food and religion. When asked what kinds of fun things she has been able to do here, Abril from Spain responded that she had been to Bryce Canyon, the State Capitol, California, and lots of other really cool places.  Julian from Germany said it was an adjustment coming from his city of 8 million to Gunnison where the population is only 3,000 and that is including all the prisoners!  He said he really likes his school and the people have been really really nice. Maren from Norway spoke about how her host family was like her second family. They were so wonderful she couldn't describe in words how much they have helped her. She said her country was not religious and that coming here where religion is so important was a big change for her. She said she liked the religion and that people her were super nice and kind. "Even boys would open the door for me here and treat me with respect.  Boys in Norway are not like that."  Renato from Brazil was very well spoken as was Anna from Finland. They talked about how they are having a wonderful experience here in school and with their families here in America.  I spoke a bit about the exchange program in general and about how generous and open-hearted the families have been in our area to host these awesome students.
Being on the radio was a first for all the students! They were so excited to be "on air."  After we went out for breakfast and then I took them back to school.

Brandon was on-call this week and he was swamped with appointments. Adrie has been begging to join a cheer squad which, like gymnastics, involves lots of money and traveling for competitions. We haven't reached a decision yet. Brynn had her maturation program for 5th grade and I took her out for lunch after. Cannon earned enough money from cleaning the basement and doing book reports to buy his 2nd lego chima set. The day it arrived in the mail, he was a volcano of excitement.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

St. Conference Day

When we asked our 6 year old what special day it was going to be today he announced,
"SAINT CONFERENCE DAY!"  I love it. It just might stick.

We gathered all the essentials in preparation for our spiritual feast: fruit tray, veggie tray, keeping with Nana's tradition we all went to the store and picked out our favorite treat!

Cadbury Eggs *  Peachy Penguins * Peanut M&M's * Andes Mints * Gummy Worms
Speckled Jelly Beans

We also shared the day with family. Annie and Drake concluded their Spring Break weekend with Conference at our house.

Let the spiritual  feasting begin... 8 HOURS, 2 DAYS of it.
In between and sometimes during we played kickball, foosball, and ping-pong, painted nails, played with play-dough,  made loom bracelets, and took notes...

There are no endings, only everlasting beginnings  A Thankful heart is the parent of all Christlike virtues  I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints  Extend an invitation and then FOLLOW UP  There is nothing we have been through that Christ hasn't already experienced  LOVE thy neighbor as thyself  April 6 is the actual day of Christ's birth and the date His church was officially organized in the latter days (1830)   It would be amazing if everyone knew the conversion stories of their forefathers  Hark all ye Nations...Truth is on earth once more   Blame keeps wounds open, ONLY FORGIVENESS HEALS  Marriage and family are eternal   142 Temples   15 million + members   83,000 missionaries   Why do we resist endings?? We are eternal beings   Instead of being thankful for the things we have, be thankful in our circumstances whatever they may be   Gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness   Teach children about their ancestors, family stories   Changes in civil laws do not change God's moral laws   
God is our Father. Jesus is our Savior.   God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate beings. The heavens are not closed: God speaks to a prophet, he will speak to us if we ask   Through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of God   Do not  spend money on things that have no worth or labor for things that cannot satisfy   God will guide us through any difficulties we may have  Love is the very essence of the gospel. Jesus Christ is the exemplar.   Truth will always be opposed

I know these things to be true! 

Bryce Canyon National Park

We spent the day at our favorite National Park...

 We had a picnic at Sunset Point where a hovering blue jay kept his eye on our sandwiches. Brrr. It was freezing cold. Really, the high for the day was 43 degrees and we caught some snow flurries.  We hiked anyway..

 We took the Navajo Loop to Queens Gardens and ended at Sunrise Point--3 miles total.

 All the kids tried their hands at making cairns.

 Queens Garden Loop took us through this spectacular scenery

 What planet is this??

 Easter Rock, so named by Adrie because of it's pretty colors.
 Made it to Sunrise Point and walked the rim back to our cars.
After a cold day in the beautiful outdoors we headed to Ruby's Inn gift shop then to Old Bryce City for some Western photo ops.  We ate dinner in Panguitch, home of the famous Chubby burger then it was home to relax with a movie.  Thank goodness for a restful next day of General Conference!