Friday, April 29, 2016

General Conference and Dinner

General Conference was phenomenal as usual this Spring. It is good to have the family all together while we listen to the words of the Lord's servants. This year, the kids started a puzzle that they did off and on during the sessions. It had 1000 pieces.

There was still stitching as well. (I always stitch...the kids sometimes do.)

Here is a group shot of us listening and keeping busy.

This year, the wall was well used. Dad, of course, finished first by a mile. He wasn't missing out on dinner. June, Robyn, and I also finished all the talks before the allotted time.

Tyler managed to be sick on the evening we were supposed to go out, so dinner was postponed for quite some time, but that doesn't matter as long as you get there eventually. We went to Culver's to dine on cheese curds and yummy custard.

We remembered the postage stamp we used last year and played with it. (I admit to being very slow. Even though Ivory had put her face over mine the year before, I still didn't realize that was what the postage stamp was for.) We had so much fun substituting our faces for others. Take a peek at our silliness.

Our new wall is up and ready to go and already sporting many names. I'm hoping to get at least 5 people out to dinner this time. Our record is still four. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the kids did finish the puzzle, although not until the following week during Spring Break.

These two worked on it the most, although I think everyone contributed a little. Even I put in a piece or two at the end.

Conference is always a good time of year. And the perfect start to Spring Break. More on that coming up.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Take Part in Art

Wow! Can I just say wow? After going to the art show at the Junior High, I feel like there is an artist in all of us. Maybe not the traditional kind, but I was blown away by all the creative ability on display. There was more this year than last. The art wound all the way through the halls. It was almost impossible to choose a favorite. I wish I could have taken pictures of every type of art, but that would have been dozens and dozens. I will show you our families favorites though. (And if you ever have a chance to visit a student art it!)

Let's start with Ivory. She chose her piece out of a section where kids would listen to different types of music and do sketches that came to their minds. She wasn't the only one who liked this, since it got a blue ribbon. (I asked the art teacher and she has six professional artists come in to judge, although students also get to vote on their favorites.)

Pearl fell in love with another ceiling tile. They are the first things you see as you come in, but I know that Pearl looked around a lot and still loved this one.

Tyler picked one in a category I didn't see last year. This theme is to take the picture into the border. These apples are amazing. (One of my favorites too.)

June also choose one in this category. (I think it was a Daisy favorite as well.)

Robyn picked one in the Media/Texture category. This piece is awesome and just Robyn's flavor.

This glitter girl is also Media/Texture. This was Daisy's other favorite.

And one more in that same category, but you can see that she won the School Purchase Award. (This was Tyler's other favorite.)

I had a hard time as usual picking just one. I always LOVE the graph art. It is amazing, but it usually doesn't contain my favorite. However, I took a picture of the winning piece.

The Zentangle art is fantastic. That is what we call it, but the actual name for this style is Pyscho-Realism. Remember the pineapple from last year? This bear is amazing.

But my favorite fell into the same category as last time. I have a name for it now: Surrealism. I think it is so intriguing to see the twists people come up with in their minds. I think this dancer turning tree is phenomenal. (Maybe it is a tree turning dancer? Are we tree...or are we dancer?)

Thanks for taking an art stroll with us. There were still many categories not covered. I wish you could see them all. Then I realize this is just one Junior High in the nation. There are creative kids all over the world. You can see why I think there is an artist in us all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Our Van is Now Full

Jana recommended we try and get tickets to go see Women's Conference at the Conference Center this last time. We traditionally go together and we had never gone up there, so I figured it was worth a shot. Amazingly, no one else from my ward wanted tickets, so our Relief Society President was able to give us 8 tickets.

We left with what we thought was enough time, but the parking situation was ridiculous. We were told which parking structure to use, but I don't think we would go there again. Our tickets said to be in our seats 30 minutes early, but that wasn't going to happen. But from the looks of all the people still waiting to get in...many people were going to miss the mark.

We found one of dozens of lines and waited our turn to go inside. It was sunny, but rather chilly.

I managed to set off the metal detector with my necklace. Ivory was almost in tears when they ushered me away from the group. I only got a scolding about women with their crazy jewelry and then I was back in the pack.

The Conference Center was beautiful. I liked the flower arrangements and the pink lights behind the organ.

We made it with a few minutes to spare and everyone went to the bathroom except me and Ivory. So we took a selfie instead.

Then everyone came back and the meeting started.

It was a lovely session, although short. It didn't even go an hour and a half. The multi-cultural choir was lovely.

After, we figured we should stay in Salt Lake to eat. Traffic trying to leave parking is usually worse than trying to get in. We headed over to City Creek's food court. But we walked through temple square first. Jana served her mission at temple square, so I'm sure she has memories on every corner. She'll just have to make some new ones with us. It was fun to have Rachel. She turned 8 just the day before, so we had three Keen kids and three Cazier kids. (I think you can tell which are which.)

We ate at Kneader's which is always scrumptious. Poor Esther is allergic to wheat (and dairy). As we were walking up, she said, "They literally have wheat as their logo. I'm not going to be able to eat anything in there." But she found a very tasty looking salad and a No-Dairy Berry smoothie.

I think there was a comic con the same weekend, because we saw some interesting characters, not to mention Batman that was standing outside for quite a while taking pictures. Too bad we missed him. We weren't far from the car, but it was chilly enough that we stopped for a moment to warm up outside Harmon's. How many grocery stores have fires outside?

It was a wonderful, inspiring evening. It is always nice to be with friends and be enriched by sound council, loving advice, and words from the Lord.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Accolades for June

June is blooming into a fine young woman. It seems she is good at everything she tries and has true talent in many areas. I know I am a biased mom, but she is a delight to be around.

During Student Led Conferences, which is the Junior High Version of Parent Teacher Conferences, we were able to go around and see all the fun stuff she has been working on. 

They had the seventh grade art up. (This isn't the big art show that the eight and ninth graders do later. In fact, that is going on right now and I'm so excited to take the kids and see all the fun projects again.) This is mostly pencil drawings practicing simple techniques, but it is still fun to see all the different interpretations. June had two pieces that were put in. 

She is taking a sewing class right now and she showed us her locker hanger that she made.

And I don't remember which class this was for, but check out this flag she made. There is so much of our family on here. I love all the little details.

June has still been enjoying the violin. I can hear her improvement through the year. She had another concert and got to sit right up front. That is her braid, since I didn't take a picture of her face apparently. (She isn't first chair or anything. They divide the violins and they take turns playing 1st or 2nd violin.) 

There was a solo competition that June participated in. It wasn't required for intermediate orchestra, but June wanted to try it out. I think she did a great job. Please ignore that last note. It was pretty flat. This was a month or so ago, and I can already tell the difference.  

June is at such a fun age where she is experiencing so many new things. I love watching her journey.

p.s. That is her awesome piano teacher, Becca, who accompanied for her.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Track and Field

I'd been waiting to post about track since the season isn't quite over, but I had a request from a Grandma, and you'd better believe I'm going to write about what my readers want. (All 4 of them.)

Track started in February. I know kids join for many reasons. Some to exercise, some to compete, some to socialize, and some to get out of class early on Thursday track meets. June decided she wanted to do track. I wanted her to try it as well. You never know what you will like. 

She really enjoys the running and exercising. She is pretty fit already with her long lean body, but track has been bringing out extra muscle and potential. 

Neither of us were nervous at her first track meet. We didn't know what to expect. Here she is with some friends before they got started.

Hannah, June, Holly, Christina

They have all the kids do sprints to find the fastest for events like the 100 meter dash and the 400. June usually finished fourth, just shy of being picked for the events. She didn't mind though because she wanted to focus on distance.

They also were tested on their mile time to see if they should run that. June made it in, so she was doing the mile and the 800. (I believe every girl runs the 800 unless they are a sprinter.)

I went down the track before the mile started. June likes to be right up there in front. Can you see her glasses? Also, she is one of the few wearing pants. We somehow lost her P.E. shorts and the new ones we ordered through track hadn't arrived. 

She did awesome. I was super surprised. She came in third. Here she is coming down the home stretch. (I was joking with the other moms, Those pants are probably slowing her down. Wait 'til she has shorts.)

June was proud of herself as well. She took off over a minute on her mile time. (Competition really brings out the runner in her.) She said the next day the coach learned her name. There are so many girls on the team that the coach doesn't always remember everyone's name unless they stand out. Coming in third in the mile put June on the map. 

She also ran the 800 and came in 6th.

The next track meet, both of us were more nervous. Now we knew June had potential to place. She still likes to be in front. And look...shorts. (Still not the ones we bought through the school. Those hadn't come. We just found the others.)

Looking good June. She came in 3rd again. And in the 800, she took 3rd as well. It was really fun to watch her. She ran a conservative first lap, and then passed five people in the second lap to place. I was going crazy in the stands.

Here she is with some friends after.

Abby, June, Hannah
There is a girl in June's grade who is ridiculous fast. Her name is Katie. If she runs the mile, she wins. If she runs the 800, she wins. But she picks and chooses her events, because she is fast everywhere, so they also have her run the 400 and the 200. They use her strategically, as they should.

So, for the third track meet, the coach told June that the opposing team didn't have any fast milers. They were going to use Katie elsewhere and that meant June should win. No pressure right?

She now has her jersey and a some fast shoes to fill. Good luck June! (Right up there in front again.)

It was true that the other team didn't have any fast milers, but a friend of June's (who had not run previously) stayed on her heels the whole time. This is probably lap 3. June with Marinn close behind. (Do you remember Marinn from the Crack Off?) 

I videoed the finish. I apologize for the loud yells. They are far back coming around the bend when it starts. They are lapping all the girls in front of them.

June got her first place finish. The coolest part is that she keeps beating her time by a second or two. That means more to me, because I know if Katie had run, she would have won, but June still got a Personal Record.

She is really doing amazing. I think that race, she finished in 6:24. I never ran a mile that fast in high school. I think I got under 7 minutes once. 

I was not able to be there for the mile at her last track meet. They changed the day because of inclement weather, and I had well checkups for some of the kids. But Tyler was able to go and he kept me apprised of her progress. She came in second with another PR. (6:21) And I believe she got 3rd again in the 800.

Track is officially over now, but Alpine Days are coming up, where they have the best runners compete. I believe you have to place three times in your event to qualify. June made it in easily for the mile. She will be running it with Katie and Christina. Christina is a good friend and I'm glad she made it in, because only those doing Alpine Days will practice for the next week and a half. 

I actually don't anticipate June will place during Alpine Days. There are some really fast runners out there, including Katie. But I think it is fantastic that she made it to Alpine Days and I think the competition can certainly spur her to a new PR. 

Most importantly, June has learned that she likes to run. It is a great sport that will keep her active and fit. I think that is the best prize of all. I'm so proud of all her accomplishments.