Sunday, April 16, 2017


I apologize for the lack of blogging and the continued lack in the upcoming week. Life is super busy in such a wonderful way. The kids are keeping me on my toes and I am happier in my chaotic organizer position than I could imagine.

Keep the home fires burning for me, and I'll be back with you soon.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Miep Gies

You have heard a lot about Science Fair recently and there is still more to go...but have you heard about History Fair?

I didn't know about History Fair until last year. Apparently, it is a huge deal. I wouldn't say it is bigger than Science Fair, but I do think it takes more work to prepare for it. Each year, the people in charge choose a theme. Last year the theme was 'Exploration, Encounter, Exchange'. June did a project about the Mormon Battalion. There are many options of how you can submit your project; paper, exhibit, documentary, website, or performance. All the kids were required to do the paper, so most people submitted theirs as their project. June did that as well. There is a day set aside where the kids miss school (much like Science Fair) and they present their projects at UVU and are judged, with an awards ceremony at the end.

I was not exactly sure about how it all worked last year. I did come to have lunch with June, but I missed most of the displays because I arrived there later in the day.

This time around the theme was 'Taking a Stand in History'. Projects can be done in groups and Hannah and June decided to work together. This is great because it means they share the work, but it is also harder because it means getting together often. (Remember how Hannah was here for St. Patrick's Day? That was a normal occurrence. There were many late night.)

The girls chose to do their project on Miep Gies, the woman who helped hide Anne Frank and her family in the annex. They decided to do an exhibit, which is usually a Tri-fold board, but you aren't limited to that. June and Hannah decided to be ambitious and make a spinning pillar of info for their display.

It was good to see them do a little internet searching to create a revolving base and you'd better believe that Tyler was excited to help with a project that meant more power tools for him.

It took a little while to decide on how to build it. With a combined effort of brain power, we decided on foam core, runners on the bottom to slide the pieces into (made out of foam core as well) and velcro on the inside to hold it together. Then the girls just had to design four panels full of information. I feel like it was a little word heavy, but I was impressed with the research. Check out the finished design. (There is a portrait of Miep Gies on one of the panels that Hannah drew with oil pastels.)

After weeks of work, it was the big day. I took the girls over bright and early so they could assemble their exhibit.

Here is a picture later in the day. You can see how the tables are now full of displays. They went around three sides of the room. So much hard work in one area, and that isn't even counting the website, performances, papers, and documentaries.

Judging took place throughout the day. I came back to have lunch with June, but the campus was closed for Spring Break, so we had to go eat elsewhere, but we returned for the award ceremony. Here are the girls waiting for it to start. Lauren is dressed up fancy because she did a performance.

They did all the other categories before exhibit. Papers/Essay is usually a large category. In fact, they told kids that they couldn't enter this category unless they had placed last year. They didn't want to be swimming in Essays. Lauren got first place in performance, with her sister Emily. Lots of kids from June's class and school did very well. I believe the boys won the website category.

Exhibit has so many entries that it is impressive to get an award. There are some extra awards from outside sources. I believe Kenzie got an award for doing a colonial project. (She got money for that.) Then they were calling the top three winners for group displays and June and Hannah came in 3rd place!

Good job girls!

Third place is actually an honorable mention. First and Second go on to State and third place is an alternate in case someone can't attend. Since first and second place were both girl groups from June's class, I think they won't need an alternate, but I was so proud of June and Hannah. We agreed 3rd place is best. You get recognized for all the hard work, but you don't have to do anything else.

It was really cool to see all the hard work come through for these girls.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Blue Rondo

Robyn has been doing very well in percussion. Especially since this is her first year, I am impressed with her progress. I mentioned before that Mrs. Taylor had put her on an advanced team for the upcoming competition.

Like many competitions, hours of practice go into one performance and everyone hopes that it all comes together at the right moment. Naturally, we went to watch.

Things to look for in the video:

Robyn of course. She is standing to the far right. She played the Xylophone. It has a brighter sound, so you can hear her come in about 9 measures into the performance. Also, because she has a louder sound, you can hear her mess up later, but it is minor, and I really think she does a fabulous job throughout.

You can see Pearl watching and being very good, because sometimes she has a hard time sitting still, but she was an excellent audience for this performance.

Robyn was very happy to be done with her song. We were able to go listen to the two other groups from our school perform in the intermediate division.

We didn't stay the entire time, but when Robyn returned home in the evening, she had great news. Their group had won second place in the Advanced Junior High Large Ensemble Category. (Turns out they only lost by one point, so it was close.) Here she is with Leah who had a Vibes solo.

Robyn was over the moon. This was a big deal for her. So much so, that she designed and made shirts for everyone in the group.

I like that there is an actual measure from the song on the front. It was a hard song to count in 9/8 time. I heard a lot of 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3.

I would say it was a huge success of a day. And I love the talent and smiles that go along with it.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lucky Number Seven

Birthdays keep coming...I'm used to that. But I haven't quite come to terms with my youngest getting older each year. June and Pearl, the oldest and youngest. Those are the hardest ones to swallow, although I realize if June stopped growing, Robyn would just catch right up and there would be a new leader that I would want to quell.

I get it.

Kids grow.

I love it actually, in a funny bittersweet sort of way.

And of course I love birthdays.

My baby is now 7! Not much of a baby anymore. I remember June was seven when Pearl was born and I thought she was soooo old.

Seven is pretty ancient.

Pearl opted to have a family party. (My preferred choice.) She woke up in the morning and since it was a Saturday, there was no school standing in the way of immediate present opening. This is the best face of the pictures. Look how intent as she opens up the plastic on that Beanie Boo.

She got great gifts from everyone, but she was especially excited about some gym clothes since we signed her up for tumbling. (She already has her cartwheel down solid.)

Measuring is a must. Pearl is leading the pack in height. (Which is funny because she is still the shortest.) When all is said and done, Pearl will get to look down at all her sisters.

Balloons came later in the day. The striped seven was requested by her highness.

Later we put the colored balloons over the can lights. It made a really cool effect that is very hard to get on film. But trust me, it was like a colored disco party.

Pearl wanted to go swimming for her birthday. Swimming in March is not your typical activity, but with a rec center nearby, it is always possible. (Even for us winter birthday people.) Her swimsuit was new along with a great swim shirt from Grandma Dargan.

The pool was great. A little cold, especially for Pearl who probably has zero body fat, but we were digging it.

The day ended with Raspberry Cake. Yumminess at its best. That Panda sleep mask is a favorite. Sometimes she will wear it around for days. (Luckily she takes it off for school.)

Candles out my big girl!

We love you Pearl. Your sassiness is almost unbearable sometimes, but if it means having you, I will take it all. I want every little bit of you in our family!!

Oh and don't forget lunch. She had to go a different day, since missing school is an important part. These dates are some of dad's favorites.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Jokes on Me

We took our annual silly pictures for April Fool's Day. I got them all edited and printed at Costco, but they closed too early for me to pick them up. But I thought to myself that I could still blog on the actual day.

And then I totally forgot.


Not that it really matters, but here they are just a few days late.

Cazier's in all their silly glory.

On the actual April Fool's, we listened to Conference and had a great time relaxing. No pranks for us. Just some old fashioned family time. That's the best way to celebrate a holiday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gymnasts Squared

I promise that I don't love Ivory more than my other children...she just happens to have a lot of stuff going on recently, so here is another post about her.

This year has been interesting because Ivory is following in June's footsteps in A.L.L. She has the same teacher June had in 5th grade and many of her projects have been the same. But several of her projects have been different. This is disconcerting to me. I feel like I know what is coming and then it is all changed. Most of it has been easier. From what I gather, Mrs. Mahoney feels there are some kids that couldn't handle the rigors of previous assignments so she has slimmed them down a bit.

Hmmm...not sure how I feel about that?

Images of Greatness is a HUGE night for A.L.L. In the past, the kids have made boards, done several side projects, dressed as their person and come to an evening where they recited a bio poem, which is a poem that rhymed detailing the life of their person. They had to write the poem themselves and memorize it. It was intense. June went as Laura Ingalls Wilder the first year and Princess Di the second.

This time around, the kids were asked to do an essay instead of a bio-riddle. That meant they didn't have an evening centered around the kids. Instead they had an afternoon where they set up their boards, but get this...dressing up was optional. Boo. It didn't have the same feel at all.

Ivory worked so hard on her project though. In 5th grade they have to choose an American who has had an impact. Ivory wanted to do Simone Biles, but Mrs. Mahoney said she didn't qualify. Ivory was very sad. She tried picking other people, but her heart wasn't in it. On the day they had to finalize their choice, Mrs. Mahoney caved and allowed a few exceptions. Simone Biles was one.

In part, Mrs. Mahoney was worried about kids finding enough info and getting a book about their person. Luckily, just such a book exists about Simone. Check out Courage to Soar. Ivory loved the book and was always telling me little tid-bits about it.

Her board looked great when she finished it. Kudos Ives. (Please ignore the messy house behind, although that is how things usually look.)

Here are some interesting facts about Simone.

On the day of, it was fun to go around and see all the boards. Even without the bio-riddles, it was cool to see all the people the kids picked to research.

Sadly, not many people dressed up, but you'd better believe Ivory did. We put glitter around her eyes (like Simone) and she even put chalk on her clothes as if she had just been competing on the beam or bars.

They had to bring three items to go with their board. Ivory chose the book, some medals, and I talked her into bringing her beam. It was a hit. Her project was on the edge, so she set up her beam nearby and entertained people. We took these pictures before it got too crowded. For a while there was a group of girls around her. She eventually put her beam away to keep it safe.

It was a very fun afternoon, although I think I still like the evening version more. Perhaps it was like this because the 5th and 6th grade A.L.L. are currently at separate schools. Who knows? All the kids did a great job on their projects. My other favorite board was this one...

Abby got special permission as well to do Bethany Hamilton. What an inspiring lady. Sadly, Abby was gone that day. I would have loved to see her dressed up with one arm.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ivory's 11 Year Gallery

That's right. This spicy personality is 11!

We already celebrated her last month, but as usual, birthday shoots run a little slower. I asked Ivory where she wanted to take pictures. We stewed it over for a while and then we both came up with the same the gym.

Ivory spends an insane amount of time there anyway. And it is fun to get some pictures of her doing what she loves. We got special permission to come in on a Saturday. On a weekday it would have been super crowded, but we had the gym almost to ourselves. (The tumbling team was there, but we stayed out of their way.) Ivory switched over to High Altitude a year or so ago and she has had a great experience there. I'm not sure gymnastics will be her entire future, but I love the skills she has learned and the strength she has developed. Enjoy her photo shoot.

Since we found a mirror, I was able to get a picture with her as well.

It was lucky that we were indoors because it decided to rain. Despite the dreary weather, Ivory was convinced that she wanted Menchie's for her treat. It was too early and they weren't even open, but we came back as soon as frozen goodness was available. Love my Ives. Do you like how I'm emphasizing my silver highlights. (Someone called me out the other day. She said, "Maleen, you are going gray." I told her it wasn't anything new. I'm just embracing it.)

I'm pretty sure Ivory is a chocolate addict. Remember her birthday when she asked for Brownies with Chocolate ice cream? Well, I think everything in her Menchie's bowl was brown with extra chocolate drizzled on top. I can't really blame her.

Ivory gets more expressive with every year. I love her more every year she gets older. And speaking of older, would you like a sneak preview of how she will look as a granny?

At least she will be a happy old lady.