Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 on FB

June 1: Buzzed this boy's hair tonight after he attempted to cut his own hair (not once, but TWICE) and he cut it to the scalp in a few spots (both times). He's not very happy with the new haircut, so I hope a lesson has been learned in the process!

June 2: I caught a glimpse of the future over the weekend when I saw an older version of Micah in the face of some stranger. The similarities are uncanny: same style of glasses, same hairstyle, same facial shape, same skin tone, similar facial expression. I'm pretty sure Micah will look a lot like this fellow in about 7 or 8 more years!  

June 3: I was so nervous/excited for my students' Kindergarten Graduation today that I woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep! They did a wonderful job and I was very proud of them! And as soon as graduation was over, I watched my own children at the elementary school's Track & Field Day, and I was beaming with pride for their athletic skills, too. It's been a good, but exhausting, day!

June 4: Hooray for the last day of school!!! I'm so glad it FINALLY came!

June 5: Today is the FIRST day of summer 2015; Jonah and Micah left this morning to their FIRST overnight scout campout, I get to direct the band tonight at high school graduation for the FIRST time ever, and Kanyon declared he was going next door to Grandma's house, where he ate his FIRST ice cream sandwich of the summer!

June 6: Today felt like summer! Oh that's right...because it finally and actually is!!!

June 7: Watched "Pitch Perfect 2" with girlfriends at the theater last night, and loved it! I laughed so hard at everything the girl from Guatemala said!!! Also, the surprise of Pentatonix performing in the movie was fun to see, too!

June 8: Five years ago today we moved into our current home. Purchasing this home was one of the best decisions of my adult life!! I love having a bathroom connected to our master bedroom, a bathroom just for the boys (although I wish it had a urinal), an open kitchen, and a family room for the kids to play in that's separate from the living room. Josh surprised me today with a new air conditioner for it, and I'm loving being in the much cooler house (literally) on a hot summer day like today!

June 9: Only one Peony bloomed on my bushes this year. My goodness, it is beautiful to see and lovely to smell. I wish there were more of them!

June 10: This is my new favorite yogurt. I was introduced to it by my sister Lisa in Virginia back in February, and our local grocery store recently started carrying it, which makes me super happy!!

June 11: Science has been my least favorite subject for a very long time, and I'm not really sure why. I'm currently halfway through my college class 'Integrated Natural Science' (which I've been dreading for months) and I'm finding it extremely interesting and fascinating!

June 12: Josh and the boys went to Father & Son Campout tonight, so I spent a quiet evening at home alone, eating what I felt like (rice with chicken, cheese, & coconut), and watching what I wanted (a DVD of the original Broadway show "Into the Woods")! 

June 13: Oh Snap! I just realized today that some of the "weeds" I've been constantly pulling out of my flower box all spring are actually Snapdragons!!! Epic Green Thumb Failure!!!

June 15: I haven't been camping since March, and it is long past overdue to go again! So...today is the day to make that happen! (Even if it is just going to be a 24-hour excursion.)

June 19: I went golfing tonight for the first time this year. Josh and I played together on Couple's Golf League. The golf course was so beautiful and i just loved seeing the products of his daily hard work! Also, we made par on 3 of the holes, so that was a bonus, too!

June 20: Took Jonah on his monthly date tonight. He chose to go to the 28 Club, and he ordered his first Prime Rib! It was so big, he couldn't finish it all (although due to the angle of this picture, the scone looks about the same size as the large cut of delicious meat)!

June 23: Jonah, Micah, and Kanyon all scored goals tonight in their soccer games! It was exciting to watch them!

June 24: I feel so elated! I just took my Integrated Science college final and PASSED!! It's a huge moment for me due to mental challenges (I've always struggled with science), emotional blocks (I quit working on this class for 6 solid weeks because I didn't think I had what it took to finish school and become a teacher), and pressing deadlines (I was supposed to be done with this 4-credit class on June 12, and I didn't even start working on it until June 5th). I was able to get this 2-month class done in 2.5 weeks, and although it's taken up my entire summer thus far, it's been worth it because I feel so empowered and proud of myself at the moment!!

June 29: Took the boys to see the movie "Inside Out" today. I totally loved the mini-movie before it! Now I just want to say {sing} "I lava you"!!

June 30 [posted by Josh]: Sometimes my "office" is simply amazing! I loved how the clouds and shadows formed a direct line off Monument and Freeman peaks in the sunrise this morning.

June 30: I went on vacation for the first time this summer, and took the boys with me. We were gone four days, and had a great time with family and friends, but I'm so glad to be home and sleep in my own bed tonight! And apparently the boys were just glad to be home so they could all use our own toilet again. It seems as if 4 days is the max amount we can be gone, because as soon as we walked in the door, everyone had to instantly go poop!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Music in the Parks tour, Day 3

The last day of our music tour started with another delicious breakfast at the hotel. Breakfast time got real interesting when people started recounting tales of what had happened the night before after we got back to the hotel from Lagoon. The hotel had hosted some sort of awesome party the night before that lots of adults came to. There was a bar on the main floor of the hotel, but the bar got so full, that they extended the party to outside. There were several people from our group (both kids and adults), that slept on the main floor, and the music from the bar kept one room of our group awake, but the outside party was the real eye-opener. Apparently, a portable dancing pole was set up in the outside area (and was very visible from several rooms' windows, both on the main floor and above it upstairs), and half-naked ladies were dancing on it until the wee hours of the morning, and loud, drunk people (paired with the sight of the dancers) kept several other rooms of our group up pretty late. Lots of the youth in our group had eye-opening experiences. Literally.

Anywho, after we ate breakfast and checked out of the hotel, we loaded the bus for Salt Lake City to attend a live session of Music and the Spoken Word in the tabernacle. I was looking forward to this event on the itinerary, because I've never heard the Mo-Tab choir live and in person before!

When we walked in, we sat as a group on several benches towards the back and watched the end of the rehearsal. I noticed that Darcy and Ammon weren't around, and after discovering that they had walked up closer to the front to sit, I moved and sat by them before the program started. 
Several of our group seated at the Tabernacle waiting for the show to start.
The speaker for the show introduced several international guests in the audience, then told the audience that they had to be extremely quiet during the production, as it is a live televised event. The video countdown began, then the choir and orchestra began singing/playing. I snapped this picture as they began, and about 15 seconds later, there was a blood-curdling scream. 
The sound came from a woman sitting in the row directly across from us to the right. The cameraman, who sat at the base of the large camera in the above photo, passed out. He fell off the platform that the camera was standing on, and landed directly onto the row of people behind it, hitting his head on the wooden bench in the process. The loud scream came from his wife who was sitting behind him to his right, and as he fell, she screamed in panic. It was such a horrible scream--the kind that gives you shivers, or makes you deathly afraid, or you know someone is in pain. It was so awful that the rest of our group who were sitting in the back thought that someone had been stabbed or shot or something like that. The weird thing was we had all just been told to be quiet; and then to suddenly hear this extremely loud, high-pitched, scream full of fear and pain was unreal and very unsettling. The program only lasted 30 minutes, and it NEVER stopped going. During that time, however, most of the audience's focus was not on the program, but rather, on what was happening to the cameraman:  the row of people that he landed on was cleared out, he was laid flat on the bench, his wife took over the camera for a few minutes until a different guy took over for her because she was just too emotional, personnel came down to check on him, they retrieved some kind of bag of medical supplies and 5 men hovered over him, then his wife sat by him and cried tears on his chest, then the EMT's came in with a gurney, and they scooted him to the end of the row, placed him on the gurney, asked him several questions in the aisle, took him out, and then there was just 5 minutes left in the program. I enjoyed one whole song at the end of the program: one song free of watching the drama unfold right across from me or feeling panic in my chest (due to the nature of the scream). 

It was all so strange. I couldn't wait to get out of that building. I felt trapped, and not being able to talk about what I felt (because we weren't allowed to talk since the show must go on) made it worse. I felt such horror at what had transpired, and I couldn't shake that on-edge feeling all day (again, due to the nature of the scream). When we walked outside after the program was over, my sister Tabbi was waiting for us. She lives and works in SLC, not far from Temple Square, so I texted her that morning to tell her that we were in town. She had just recently returned from Hawaii, and surprised us with some fun goodies from her trip. She also had this amazing lipstick she got from Hawaii. It's color is green from the eucalyptus plants it's made from, but when you apply it to your lips, it instantly turns your lips red and the longer it stays on, the redder your lips get. It was magical and I loved it!!

We walked/roamed around Temple Square for about 20 minutes before heading back to the bus. It was another nice, hot day. The bus driver wasn't there yet, so we waited in the shade of a single tree on a narrow strip of grass right next to where the bus was parked. It reminded me of a field of cows on a hot summer day--they all crowd into the shade, with a giant area around them completely vacant!

When the bus driver arrived, we were happy to start the drive back home. On the way, we stopped in Ogden at John's parents' home. His brother had recently returned from a mission, and they were having his homecoming and family get-together that day. His mom said she would gladly serve us all lunch if John could stop by so the whole family could be together for the first time in 3 years! And I'm thrilled that we did; I think it was exactly what we needed to rejuvenate our souls after the terror we felt that morning. We all enjoyed the lunch stop! The food was fantastic, the mood was peaceful, there was plenty of shade to sit in and eat, and everyone liked being able to relax and chat.

The original Anderson Family
The whole Anderson Family as it is now
The two Tolman's on the trip

Before we loaded up the bus {again}, the choir sang the a cappella song "Hide and Seek" for everyone. It was a lovely treat!

The bus ride home was not at all like the bus ride down two days prior. It was abuzz with sounds of life, of happiness, of fun. I had liked the quiet of the bus ride on Friday morning (I am not a morning person), but I equally liked the sounds of laughter and music emanating from the kids on the bus ride back home on Sunday evening, because it meant they were enjoying one another's company, which made the trip feel successful.

When we stopped for our last major pit-stop in Idaho Falls, my son got off the bus wearing a woman's dress. And truthfully, I couldn't have been prouder. I am glad that he felt comfortable enough to dress like that AND walk through a public gas station (even though it startled a little girl who saw him and she ran and clutched her mother's hands!!). I'm glad that he spent a lot of time with good friends on this trip, because they make him feel accepted for who he is. He's been around other friends this year that aren't like that, and it was refreshing to see my son be happy with himself, and exude confidence. Teenage years are hard, and it's harder when you feel like you have to fit a certain mold to be "cool" among your friends. These kids are not like that--the youth that we took on the trip are very open, accepting, good, strong kids, who aren't afraid to be themselves, and as a result, the goodness spreads to those who are around them. This trip was so wonderful for both Ammon and I, because we were surrounded with such high quality people!

The bus ride home was miserably hot, but I loved everything about it otherwise (well except for the stinky tuna and broccoli that John alternated between eating the whole time non-stop. Such a smelly combination! And since he sat right across from me, that's pretty much all I could smell).

My favorite memories of the trip include: watching the students unite, bowling with the ladies in Ogden, being at Lagoon with adults all day, laughing on every single ride at Lagoon, talking and laughing with Darcy on the bus, singing harmony with John on the bus ride home, and listening to John and Skyler serenade us at the front of the bus on the guitar. These last two pictures capture the essence of that strong memory. Many thanks to Mr. A for providing such wonderful opportunities like these for the students, because they improve the students' individual and collective talents, inspire cultural awareness, and promote feelings of unity and togetherness. This experience has also filled my mind and heart with memories of pure joy as a result of his efforts! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Music in the Parks tour, Day 2

On the 2nd day of our Music in the Parks tour, Saturday May 30, we had an early start due to the morning's band and choir competitions. After the yummy complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we left around 7:30am, drove to the school that the competition was being held at (it was a super nice, new Junior High, and since we have super old, crappy school buildings, we were all impressed with it!) and our band was very first on the schedule. It's hard to play instruments so early in the morning, but I thought they did well considering!

They played 3 songs: one warm-up song, and 2 competition songs that they were judged on. Ammon did a good job playing the trumpet!

He also had a solo part that I captured the end of:

Ammon and his roommates had {stupidly} stayed up ALL night, due to a dare that the first person to fall asleep would get his legs shaved, so the boys who did that were very, very tired as evidenced by this photo I took during the band's performance:

Every member of the band except one was able to come on the trip!

There was about an hour between our band and our choir's performances, so in between we listened to some of the groups from other schools.

Then it was our choir's turn. They sang two songs in the competition, and did a good job as well.

Almost the entire choir came: three of its members didn't join us on the trip. 

I didn't think it was possible to love a music trip more than I did last year, but I do believe this year was even better in some ways: all of the youth in the group were such awesome kids, the chaperones were awesome, and I think I was emotionally feeling better than I did last year (I found out on the music tour last year that I wouldn't be teaching music the upcoming schoolyear, which put a damper on my experience)! The kids were so fun to be around, and had positive attitudes, and we all had such a good time! It was a pure delight to be with them for 3 days and to be one of their chaperones! 
All of the high schoolers and their director Mr. Anderson

The whole group doing "Annie Get Your Gun" poses!
 After our judged performances were done, we headed to LAGOON!!! Our stamped hands all said "#1 for FUN".

We got there at 11:00, which is when most of the rides open. The group I spent the day with went straight to Wicked (my favorite!), hoping to avoid a long line, but that was just wishful thinking! It was beautiful weather, and it was the first Saturday in weeks that it hadn't rained, so the crowds were huge in number!

I saw glimpses of Ammon occasionally throughout the day. When we stopped for lunch, he was there, too.

Unfortunately, shortly after this photo was taken, the effects of staying up all night, walking too much in the heat, and eating spicy food for lunch caught up to him and his buddies. They all felt sick. Ammon said he felt nauseous, tired, and had a headache, and they wanted to leave, and it was only around 1:00 at that point! They took a nap on the shady grass in the Pioneer area, they took some Tums, and I gave Ammon some Ibuprofen and bought him a large water, too. After about 2 hours, they started to feel better, and I'm so glad. It was a lesson that needed to be learned: do NOT stay up all night the night before competition and a fun, full day at Lagoon! I'm glad they were able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with us.

After lunch, the adult group that I was with watched the live musical show "Live in Living Color" at the main Lagoon stage, and just loved it!  I've honestly never watched a production at Lagoon before, because I've always felt like we paid to ride the rides, not see a show, but I was so wrong! It only lasted 30 minutes, and was so worth it! The show included popular songs from the 60s to the 80s and  broadway show tunes. I was very impressed with all the costume changes, the amount of songs and choreography that the performers learned, and how quick/well each transition was.

It was getting hot, so we headed to Pioneer Village to do the water rides. Three of the kids didn't want to wait for their sick friends (who were still napping on the lawn), so they joined us in line for the Rattlesnake Rapids!

This is another of my favorite rides! Our boat didn't get too wet until the end, and I think Maleah got the worst of it!
Wet riders at the end of riding Rattlesnake Rapids
We went on the Log Flume after this, and waited in line for forever! But actually, I didn't mind at all. I have never been to an amusement park with just adults, I've always either been a kid or have taken little kids. It felt so wonderful to not have to worry about taking care of the needs of kids' or their complaints ("I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm hot, I need to go pee, how much longer, I wanna go..."). We spent so much time talking and laughing together the whole day while we waited in line. It was a group of adults that I normally don't hang around, but we all got along super well. They were wonderful people, with senses of humor, and good attitudes, and I enjoyed learning more about everyone in our group, and spending the day with them!

Sometimes, we caught up with other groups, and joined together in the line, and that was fun, too. I liked being around the energetic youth who were also having a great time!
Waiting in line for "The Bat". Ethan is part bat apparently: he can fly!
At 5:00, we met at the Pioneer Pavilion for awards in the Music in the Parks competition. I don't know why I didn't take a single picture of it, but we came home with two big trophies for our ratings and placement in the competition. Then everyone dispersed quickly and went back to riding rides. Our group headed for the northern end of the park.
Dylan & Annie

When we went on Jet Star the first time, we somehow squished 8 of us into the cart. I was in the very back with Annie and Dylan, Darcy was in the middle with John and Jett, and Ammon and Emmy were in the front. We were packed in like sardines! I could barely breathe, it was such a tight fit. So tight, in fact, that when we went down and around the first hill, the seatbelt couldn't handle the weight, and it split apart! Dylan said he was freaking out, but due to my bosom holding us in the back, he didn't budge from his seat despite no longer having the seatbelt around him! I laughed so hard the entire ride! Ammon said they were much looser up front: when they went down and around, Emmy's head whipped back and hit him in the head, and that's all he can pretty much remember from that ride! It was definitely a memorable one!!! The second time, we had a few more kids join us, so we split up into more groups that fit better into 2 carts:
Jett, John, Teva, Jodi, Hannah, Hunter
While a lot of the group went on Samurai (I am not even remotely interesting in riding that crazy ride), I rode on the Bat again, but with Jarred this time. I laughed so hard while riding the Bat, that both times I was on that ride, I peed just a little. TMI? Too late! While walking back to join the group, Dylan and I almost stepped in puke from someone who had ridden Samurai (Ewwwww! Another reason not to ride Samurai!). The remainder of our group were still in line, so I went and got in line for the nearby Rocket Re-Entry. It was similar to the ride I rode at the top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. Ammon and Darcy joined me in line after they were done riding Samurai, and we were at a standstill in line for over 20 minutes due to the ride technician who pushed a wrong button after flirting with some girls on the ride. Boys can be so dumb!

The ride takes you up high slowly, then drops you back down super fast. Dylan texted me while were in line and said "Don't Pee, Don't want it to rain" (he sat by me the first time I was on the Bat).  Hahaha, I thought it was sooo funny!
Dylan took a selfie with my camera while waiting for us on the Rocket Ride.
This happened several times during the day when people took care of my
camera for me while I was on rides. It was fun to find surprise pics!

FINALLY it was our turn to go! Ammon was so nervous, and kept saying as we were going up "It's so high, it's so high, it's so high!"!
Going Up, Up, Up!

Dylan took this video for us. You can see Ammon's legs nervously shaking the whole way up, then after we come down, I'm laughing so hard and saying "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh" as I'm laughing. It's hard to see/hear it all, but I'm so glad that Dylan recorded it for us!

Still smiling on the way down at the end of the ride
We stayed at the park until 10:00 that night. I didn't go on a ton of rides during the day (only 8 different ones), but I went on some rides that I've never been on before, and went multiple times on rides that I liked. In addition to the rides I already talked about, I also went on the wooden Roller Coaster twice and Spider twice (I've never been on it before and just loved it!). It was a bummer that Cannibal (the new ride) wasn't open yet, though. The very last ride I took that day was Wicked (it was my first ride of the day AND my last!), and I rode it with Maleah and Trey.

It was THE funnest day at Lagoon I've ever had, and the funnest day I've had so far this summer. I laughed SO hard all day that my stomach was sore the next day! I was so happy for good weather, fabulous company, fun rides and entertainment, and I enjoyed the whole experience immensely!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Music in the Parks tour, Day 1

Ammon went with the high school band on music tour again this year, and I was lucky enough to go as a chaperone on the trip again as well! Last year, we had an epic trip to Seattle. This year, we headed to Lagoon. We left on Friday morning, May 29 and drove 6 hours on a school bus until we reached Ogden. The kids were pretty quiet on the first stretch of our trip!! I sat in the very front with my friend Darcy, and Ammon was at the very back--near Dylan (who you can see standing in the pic below). 

I loved having Darcy as a seatmate! She was my hotel roommate, too. We had such a fun time together! John sat right across from us on the bus, and we talked and talked and laughed and laughed the whole ride. I just loved it! 

When we got to Ogden, we stopped at the Salomon Center. Everyone was on their own for entertainment. A lot of us went over to Fat Cat's. They had just started their summer special, so all their activities were just a dollar each!!! The group I was with played a few rounds of bowling; it was awesome to only pay a buck to bowl!

There was some great music playing, and we did a lot of singing, dancing, and cheering while we bowled in the large alley. I was on a team with some of the other chaperones Darcy, Dawn, Teva, and Maleah. It was so much fun!

Ammon came bowling after a while, too. He was down a few lanes from our group, but we kept checking in with each other to compare our scores!

Ammon played lousy the first round, and I did well! I got a score of 110. The second game, Ammon did well and tied my score of 110, but I played awful the second round (which was okay, because all my teammates did awesome the second round).

When bowling was over, a lot of us ate at Costa Vida next door (I love that place and their sweet pulled pork!), and then it was time to meet up again at the bus to head for a play.

We went to a community theater in Ogden called Terrace Playhouse to see the play "Annie, Get Your Gun". It had been years since I saw the play, but I remember it being full of humor and good music, and I knew it wouldn't disappoint. The majority of our kids hadn't seen or heard of the play before, and it was a big hit with all of them! The leading actress was truly AMAZING! She's my age, and I was so impressed with her talent! It made me wish (once again) that we had a community theater in Salmon; it's been my dream since I was a child to be involved in community theater productions like this!

Some of our favorite songs, which we quoted and sang for the next few days were: "Doin' What Comes Naturally", "I'm an Indian, Too", and "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun". We got to talk to a lot of the actors from the play in the foyer after the play, and some of the thespians in our group got a picture with the leading lady Annie (whose real name is also Annie!).

It was late by the time we were done watching the play, and we still had to drive to Layton to our hotel. By the time we arrived, it was after 11. It had been a full, but fantastic, first day of our trip!