Friday, March 16, 2018

The Truth is Sweet to Me

New Beginnings is a special part of each year in Young Women's. It celebrates the beginning of the year. It often has a theme for the year and they bring all the girls who will be turning twelve to the event so they can get excited about coming into Young Women's.

This year is funny because all the girls turning twelve had already done so. They are all early January or February birthdays, so when they had New Beginnings, all the girls were officially in Young Women's. But that doesn't matter.

It was Ivory's first mutual activity. She was supposed to come the week before, but she had Science Fair, so they were very kind to move it back for her.

It is great to see so many wonderful girls looking out for each other. Robyn is currently the Beehive President. She drew a picture of all the girls on the board. Well, all the girls in the Beehive class at least. She was very excited because there aren't many girls her age in our ward. Four new girls were added recently and it tripled the numbers they had.

The theme was cute. It was all Candyland stuff and each of the older girls talked about the sweetness of gospel topics. Truly the Savior and the church make life much sweeter. The refreshments were super cute with their rainbow and candy theme.

I'm so grateful for the Young Women's program. It is fun to have three girls in there. It is always amazing to me the sacrifice people make to teach and watch out for the youth in the church. I try and reach out and learn the girls names around me. That is one of the reasons I love camp so much. And I am so excited for this group of girls that is coming this year. It will be so fun.

It Don't Mean a Thing...

For this post you are going to have to backtrack quite a bit. If you recall, I am not caught up with last year. Old news...but most of the posts don't repeat themselves. It isn't like Christmas is going to happen again this month. However, ballroom competitions started last December and I haven't blogged about any of them. Yet, today I'm blogging about ballroom competitions that happened recently. I will eventually get those December ones on here, but I'm staying this is what you get.

Here is a little history though. The Elementary school started up a ballroom program for 4th-6th grade. Both Daisy and Ivory were interested so we signed them up. It was a trick getting enough boys. Oh yeah, I did put Ivory's persuasion letter on the blog, so maybe I have mentioned ballroom before. Anyway, they got enough guys to start the program, but the guys usually dance twice and girls just share a partner. At the same time, June signed up for a ballroom class at school. Ballroom competitions happen around the same time. In December, they were the same day, but this last month, they had them on different days. Also, most of the competitions were smaller; just held at the high schools, but this one was at BYU. It was big. 

I actually enjoyed it a lot more. In the smaller competitions, there is no selection process so everyone comes and there are tons of kids. Any given dance has multiple heats and it goes a long time. At BYU, there was only one heat for each dance. Teams had to be a certain size and it went very quickly. However, there was also the newcomer dances.

Man...I'm getting ahead of myself. This was all new to me, so I'll try to explain better. A team event consists of couples who dance designated songs. For instance, June was scheduled to dance the Tango. Other couples danced the Waltz, Swing, and Foxtrot. Then there is an All Around Couple. They get a mystery dance. They draw out of a hat and dance that particular style, so they need to be ready for anything. However, in the second round, they draw out of the hat for every couple, so really, everyone needs to be ready. In this case, June's surprise dance was Swing. The All Around couple just gets TWO surprise dances. The teams are judged all together and they get a bronze, silver, or gold depending on how they danced. Then they give an award and sometimes money to the top bronze, silver, and gold team. That is the team event.

There are also elimination dances. They will choose one style of dance and all the couples will compete from all the schools in different heats. Then they will call back dancers that they liked and they will keep eliminating them until they give the top 6 or 8 an award. These elimination events are usually pretty big starting with 100-200 couples. I think the elementary had 11 heats with 20 couples on the floor at a time. Anyway, these newcomer dances are before or after the team event, but they aren't connected. 

So, now that you have a little history, let's see if we can get through this ballroom day. This was June's competition. It was all day. They had newcomer cha-cha in the morning and I was working so I missed that. But I got out to the Marriott Center just in time to watch June in newcomer Swing. Her partner was James and they did a good job, but they weren't called back. (She wasn't called back in the morning round either.) You can see her here circled.

The elimination rounds were finished then, but the team dance wasn't until the evening so we had some time to kill. There is stuff going all day though. They have competitions back to back, and whenever there is judging being completed, there are more dancers coming on. I actually think they have it organized very well. Junior High competitions are fun, but they are plain. The kids are all instructed to wear the same kind of outfits. (In fact, June almost got in trouble for having some glitter in her hair. Oops.) However, at the higher levels, the more outlandish the costume, the better. Most of the day, June and I sat and talked about dresses and costumes and glitter and dancing. It was so fun. Here is just a hint of the costumes. Every girl down there has a sparkly costume...guaranteed. And half the time, the boys are just as sparkly. This was an elimination event as well.

They also have formation dances, which are the ballroom teams. They dress in matching apparel and dance a number all together. Those are the coolest. We watched our high school team. I almost didn't recognize some of the people. They had all got matching tans and all the girls had dyed their hair black. I wish I had taken more pictures. Some of the costumes were incredible. The dances were so fun to watch. There was a robot number that was my favorite. The only picture I did take was of this following group because I thought the dresses were so ugly. They danced to avenger music and probably some Wonder Woman music, but I'm thinking the ketchup/mustard look is not attractive.

We did take a break and go out for lunch. We were looking for something that would not need to stay warm, so we stopped by Great Harvest to get some sandwiches. It is funny because they put on the board that every sandwich has lettuce, tomato, and onion. But they don't mention that they have mustard and pickle as well. June was not impressed with her sandwich, although mine was quite tasty. I got one with stuffing and cranberry on it. Our other treats were good though and we also got Jamba Juices. Here we are hanging out. It was actually a very fun relaxing day. Especially since I just got to watch.

In the evening, it was time for the team competition. Each of the Junior Highs are announced and they enter together. They have flags for their team color. The girls wear ribbons around their waste so you can see what color team they are on. For this event, June was on the gray team. I believe their Junior High had at least three to four teams. I think one was lime green, just next to them.

As I mentioned, June's assigned dance was the Tango. Her partner for this event was Eli. (One of the twins!!) Here they are ready to go.

And here is the video. Let's see how these blogger videos work. I never could get youtube to work, but I was happy that I could do the videos right on here. Just click play. You should be able to see them. (Not on the blog book of course.)

And then the surprise dance...Swing.

While they are compiling scores for the teams, they always do a fun event where they have all the guys from the Junior High schools choose a girl from another school and they dance together. It mostly works. It really depends on whether they learned similar steps, but it is still fun to watch. Here is June being escorted to the floor by a guy from another school.

And I always try to get a picture of June with her partner. Although Ben came and somewhat photobombed this one.

It was a weird award ceremony. They always announce the bronze first, then silver, and then gold. So if you don't hear your team color in the first two groups, you know you got gold. Well, I didn't hear gray announced in bronze or silver, so I was excited. But then it wasn't announced for gold either. I had heard lavender so I was trying to decided if June's ribbon was a really ugly shade of lavender??  Turns out that they ran out of gold medals, so even though gray team got gold, they just didn't announce it. I'm not sure why? They went home with bronze medals because that was all they had left. But it probably was more humiliating that they didn't even announce that they got gold. Weird. Regardless, it was a very fun evening and June had a good time.

And, I'm just now remembering that they had a competition just a few weeks previous. I may as well get some pictures on here, since I won't want to come back and do a separate post. This was an event at a high school. It is very similar except a lot more kids dance. I believe you have to qualify at these kinds of events to go to BYU later. Or maybe that is just the elementary level??

June does not like that everyone comes in and sits on the floor. She says it isn't very comfortable, but I understand why they would want everyone close by to dance when they need to. Here is a great blurry shot of her on the floor with her teammates.

She was assigned Swing in this competition. And her partner was Declan. Here they are ready to dance.

And away they go. (Haha, this one was funny because they started with the wrong music. But they got it right just moments later.)

Their surprise dance was the Waltz. For some reason, I can't get that video to load. I'm impressed the others worked, so we'll just skip this one.

It was funny because I ended up randomly sitting by Briana's mom. Briana is in ballroom, but also percussion with Robyn. So it was fun to chat with her, but even funnier when she realized we were wearing the same style of shoe. Great minds think alike.

They ended with the same group dance, although none of my pictures turned out. It is hard to see one couple in a sea of people. And I believe that June's peach team got gold. Good job June and Declan and other teammates.

Ballroom has been very fun. It has taken up a lot of time around here, but I don't even mind the events and the cost has been minimal. We had to get some shoes for the little ones but most of the things we have had on hand. I like that it is a good social experience with a little bit of sport added in.

I'll try to get the younger girls' events on here shortly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Birthday Girl Getaway

For some reason, my videos are not being processed. You know I don't put videos on here unless I really want to because:

1) It takes time.

2) The videos won't show up on the book.

But I'm sad that I can't the one I really want for this post. But, the show must go on. If I get it later, I will include it.

So...Ivory had a birthday last month. Her really good friend Ember had a birthday just 9 days after her. Ember's mom, Amy, called me up and asked if I wanted to do a surprise for the two of them. We would plan a little getaway and then take them out of school. The plan was that they wouldn't know at all beforehand. mostly worked. One child (who will remain nameless) gave away some info that she shouldn't and Ivory was alerted that something was afoot. On her actual birthday, I didn't give her a gift. I told her it was still being shipped and probably wouldn't arrive until March. Normally Ivory would not be suspicious (many of her gifts have come late) but this time she wasn't so sure about the whole thing. Every once in a while she would tell me that she didn't think a gift was coming at all, and that I was going to take her somewhere, like a picnic.

Phooey. I thought about calling the whole thing off, but we had already reserved a hotel.

Fine, it would still be a surprise where they were going and when. And to confuse her even more, I actually put together a package and left it on the doorstep. That confused her a little bit. She went to school and told Ember that there was a package after all. (Bwah ha ha.) I told Ivory that she had a dentist appointment and that I would be picking her up from school a little early. It just so happens that Ember was being checked out at the same time. (Not a coincidence.) And I brought the package so Ivory could open it, since she had had to rush out the door in the morning. We recorded her opening the package and I'm sorry I don't have it to show you.

It was very cute. She opened it up and there was a note on top and this is what it said:


This isn’t your typical gift.

But there is still a present involved.

Look over at your friend Ember.

Go give her a hug.

Wouldn’t you like to spend some more time with her today?

Maybe you would like to skip the dentist?

Okay...I have a good idea.

Let’s escape. All together.

You, me, Ember, and her mom.

In fact, we are going to kidnap you two from all your responsibilities and take you away to snuggle you and spend time with you.

We love you girls so much. We are proud of all the stuff you do.

You deserve a break.

And happy birthday...both of you! This is our gift to you.

Now let’s go get in the car and have an adventure.

The girls were very excited. They didn't know where they were going although Ivory was so funny when she said, "It must be somewhere sunny. My mom shaved her legs and she never shaves her legs." (True story. Who shaves their legs in the winter?)

We were headed to Park City. The girls snuggled up in the back and turned on Little Princess. I haven't seen it for a while but they looked so serious watching it.

Once we arrived and the girls knew their options, they chose pedicures right away. We found a place that seemed nice, although the guy kind of ripped us off. But sometimes you just go and have fun and apologize to your husband later. Ivory got the royal treatment. Massage, soaking feet, gel color. They probably didn't even have to scrape any rough skin off her feet. That is reserved for us old ladies.

Ivory, Ember, and I opted for toes. 

Amy got her nails done. She chose the same color as me and after looking at her beautiful nails, I wish I had done my hands too. So glittery. I am kind of a sucker for sparkles.

Check out these cute toes. And with gel nails, they dry instantly and we were ready to roll.

Up next was shopping. Ivory has never really done a shopping trip before. All her clothes are handed down or I buy them without consulting her. But she needed some pants and Ember needed shoes, so we shopped at the outlets. Right away we found some pants for her and I picked up some for Pearl's birthday as well. (Bonus.) The toy shop was really fun. We found these weird animals called Tiny headed Kingdom. I think they are some of the freakiest things I've seen. So naturally I took a picture of Ember cuddling one. Its head is so small.

Since we found pants, it was time to get shoes for Ember. She is particular about what kind she wants. I love that she knows what she wants and she isn't going to settle for less. She tried on a lot of shoes. Ivory took a siesta. She wasn't really tired, but those empty shelves seemed to need some kind of decoration.

After a lot of shopping, we were all hungry. We tried to talk the girls into trying some exotic local cuisine, but sadly, Ivory is not a big eater, so we settled for Cafe Rio. At least it is familiar and super tasty.

After dinner we went back to our hotel. The hot tub was calling our name. It was perfect. The girls loved it. 

They also played in the pool, but we moms stayed in the heat. We had the place pretty much to ourselves. There was a couple German ladies who stopped in briefly. They confirmed that Utah has amazing snow for skiing and snowboarding and they were kind enough to take a picture for us.

We played a game called Bubble where you start a story and whoever you are pointing at has to continue the story. You can switch who you are pointing at mid sentence. It makes for funny stories. 

Back in our room, we did face masks. We looked amazing, what can I say? Ivory and I did an orange one, Ember had a white wash off, and Amy did a clear peel. We are rocking face purification.

We spent the entire evening playing games. It was so fun, despite the fact that stinking Ivory won almost all of them. I guess she takes after her mother. Amy and I snuck in a win here and there, although poor Ember...I don't think she won anything. She was the best sport though. We played Love Letter, Cover Your AssetsWise and Otherwise (I barely beat Ivory right at the end) and King Domino. That was a new one to us and it was really fun.

Time went by quickly. Finally it was bedtime. I slept very well. Ivory didn't even kick me at all. The thermostat was really weird though. There was no steady temperature. It was either really hot or cold. We would try to stabilize it but it seemed to just go back and forth.

Breakfast was yummy the next day, but I thought it was funny that with a full hot breakfast, Ivory still chose cold cereal. I may have trained her too well. We went to check out the World Market before we left. I had never been there before and there were so many fun things to see. The girls picked out cute stuffed animals. Ivory and I split the cost of hers and we bought one for Ember for her birthday. At checkout we saw a baby Nutella. Ivory loves Nutella so it was super fun to find a size that would be just right for her smallness.

Before leaving we stopped and checked out Main Street. We didn't have a lot of time so we toured a couple art shops, but we were done with our spending for the trip. Ember got a caramel apple at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Those are her favorite. And of course we took a couple pictures. It was such a beautiful morning.

We stopped at Granny's Drive In for lunch on our way home. It has been years and years since I have been to Granny's. The food was okay. They forgot Amy's avocado. :( Ivory seemed to like her food. Remember...this girl loves burgers.

Finally it was back to reality. It was such a fun getaway. I'm tempted to do it again sometime. Ivory and Ember are a delight and it was a blast to celebrate their birthdays with them. Check out these cuties with their animals 'Charity' and 'Biscuit.'

p.s. I should mention that Amy was so awesome. We haven't had a lot of time to spend together. I usually see her at school functions or when she drops Ivory off at the house. It was so fun to get to know her better. She is a great person to travel with and shop with. I feel like she is a kindred spirit. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Staying Current

Wow, I'm surprised with how many posts I already need to do for this year. Perhaps this is why I fell behind in the first place. I always think there is less to document than there really is. Plus. keeping up with my other journal...phew. This is my favorite 'journal'. I am so proud of the many years I have kept up with all the stuff we have been doing; over a decade of blog books and funny memories. I am amazing.

Now that I have given myself a nice pat on the back, let's see what today holds for us. I think I need to do more current events for a while. Those posts from back in November aren't going anywhere. They will find their way on here eventually. And who doesn't want to read about Christmas in the middle of July? It will help everyone chill out.

Today is a nice short post. The kids had some of their art submitted to the District Office. I am still unclear about how this works. I have finally decided that Mrs. Hunter chose some of the students that she thinks excel and put their art work in. It seemed a little random what she chose though. They asked her for pieces at the beginning of the year, so the kids hadn't done much. Robyn's grade had just finished the silhouettes, so she submitted that one for Robyn. And June's grade had just worked on montage, so that is the piece that went in for June. However, some students had pieces from last year submitted. I don't know why she chose different styles? You never can tell with art teachers, but it was fun that she chose something from both June and Robyn.

So we dutifully went to the recognition night. It was super weird. It was actually a school board meeting and we were invited to the first part. They recognized art from each school and had all the kids stand up for a picture. But the entire school board was in the picture as well. I think that is strange. Can you find both my kids?

Then they all had to line up and shake hands with everyone in the school board. It was like this weird ritual and they did it with each school. I couldn't tell if they genuinely wanted to thank each student, or if they wanted the students to think it was cool to shake their hands.

We didn't stay for all the recognition, although I think we were supposed to. We stayed for all the art ones, but when they invited the wrestlers up, we took off. Although I wish I had stayed and taken a picture. The wrestling team that came up had dyed their hair to look the same. They were all bleach blond. They looked like a strange Aryan Dystopian group. I could see them all being in a movie.

Instead we went to check out the art that was on display in the district building. We found Robyn's first.

And then June's. (June doesn't even like this piece very much. She didn't enjoy the montage assignment, although I love her tree with the changing seasons and her caterpillar changing to a butterfly.)

I had to take a picture of Sophie's piece. This was from last year. They did it after the art show, so it will be in this year's display. I think it is amazing and I can pick out several people since I know a lot of her school mates.

It was a strange evening, but I agree that I think my kids are awesome and I love their art.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Fotos de Familia

This is possibly the easiest post because all the work was already done for me. It has been two years since we took family photos. It was time. I did Fotofly again because I had a coupon. We all got up bright and early on a Saturday morning and smiled a lot. And I think we were well rewarded for our efforts.

Oh and June taught me how to play Snaps:

The name of the game is Snaps. Snaps is the name of the game.

Family photos are the best.
(snap) (snap) (snap)
Look closely.
My favorite is all of them.

Have fun browsing the Cazier gallery.

My family is amazing. They are my world. I'm happy to have these moments because they keep growing. I can't seem to stop time. I can only push pause a lot by taking photos.