Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My New Look

Yes, my hair is purple. I have been getting some very interesting looks in the halls at school. And I even had a young "gentleman" make some suggestive gestures toward me yesterday- which hasn't happened for years, so here's the story. . .

Last May or June a bunch of the marching band students were hanging around and fantasizing about how cool it would be to win state and how teams sometimes shave their heads or bleach out their hair. After they suggested that I could shave my head if they won, I said there was no way I would shave my head but I would dye my hair purple if they won at the Red Rocks Competition in St. George, which is the closest thing we have to a state championship. At that moment in time I was looking at a rag-tag bunch of musicians who were having a hard time marching- even without their instruments. I didn't think they could do it and I never really thought about it again, but apparently the band did.

A few weeks ago they started teasing me that they were going to win Red Rocks and I would have to dye my hair. I was still pretty unconcerned because our show had not totally clicked and the judges were not seeming to love us. We continued to work hard and make changes to our show that we hoped would please the judges. . . So, imagine my surprise last Friday night when the band stepped onto the field at Dixie College and delivered the best performance I have ever seen from them! It was almost magical! When they announced that we had won the music caption, the visual caption, and the Color Guard caption, I knew we were going to win. About 20 seconds after they announced our first place win and I let the band break attention, the chant began. . . "Pur-ple hair, pur-ple hair!"

We got the band back to the hotel and Ed drove me back to Sally Beauty Supply in St. George. A very helpful salesperson helped me find the products that she felt would work the best to produce a luxurious, purple coif. I was armed with items that brought a look of wonder to the cashier's face and was out of the store in under ten minutes. Later that evening I donned my rubber gloves and got to work. First I had to bleach my hair for about 30 minutes. It was a good thing that the salesperson had given a warning about the results AND that Ed was asleep when that process finished. My hair was a terrible shade of bright orange and felt like straw. Then I applied the semi-permanent "Vicious Violet" tint and left that on for 20 minutes. I was not happy with the results at the end of that process, so I had to repeat it. By then, I felt that I was sufficiently purple.

It was hilarious to watch my students' reactions as they came to breakfast on Saturday morning at 6am and realized that I had kept my word. The real fun began at about 8:30am when the sun topped the mountains and my hair began to glow with color. I lost track of how many people stopped me at the competition to tell me that they liked my hair and that I looked good with my lavender locks. A lot of people wanted to touch it to see what it felt like. Too funny. I am sure that most of the male band directors with whom I work and compete thought it rather silly and unprofessional, but that didn't bother me at all. I said I would do it and I did.

I will probably be back to normal this weekend although Colby thinks I should have it purple at church. I think I will let the professionals handle the next round of color treatment. Hopefully my hair doesn't fall out.

UPDATE- It seems that purple hair dye appears somewhat bluish under flourescent lighting, so you may want to go on the pinkish side. Just a tip for all you crazy people who may want to dye your hair purple, too!

And no. . . I am not hiding out while sporting my school pride. . . last night I attended a City Council meeting and a joint meeting with the Alpine School District Board of Education. Most people think it is cool. Some people are too afraid to ask. . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Cabin

We love to go to Sanpete County to our cabin.  We looked for a long time (4 years!) before we finally found the right place for us.  We ended up doing a LOT more renovation than we originally planned, but we are almost done.  Now we are getting down to actually getting some art up and building a shed for the 4-wheelers. My "Soda Spot" is on a deck that got built last fall. It has a great view of the woods, some bird feeders, and the hot tub.

Ed's favorite spot is the front deck.  I was standing right in front of the hot tub, but I forgot to take a picture of it!

This is a view of the cabin from the kitchen.

We love the rocking chairs- both inside and out.

Here's the kitchen.  The wood stove is our main heat source in the colder months.  We didn't plan to totally re-do the kitchen, but the original cabinets were so nasty that I couldn't clean them.  When  we started tearing them out we found mouse nests, so we are really glad that we tore them out.  All the holes got plugged up and now I know that things are clean!

And this is the back deck/playground area.  The firepit area is behind the playground.  I am pretty sure that one of these days I will get to the cabin only to find that this area is torn apart.  The deck is in a great spot, but not in the best shape, so I know that this project is rising to the top of Ed's list.  I imagine that a re-make will include a bigger deck, a bigger sand box, and the swingset in a new place if it sticks around. . .

It is a wonderful place to relax and just be. . .

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

National Ice Cream Day!!!

Does it get any better than this?

It's going to be a nice hot day in Utah and it is National Ice Cream Day!  For some of you, that may mean that you have an ice cream treat, but as for me and my house, we will have a smorgasbord!

We have several favorite ice cream places.  The BYU Creamery in Provo has the best "traditional" ice cream, but a new favorite is Sub Zero in American Fork.  They mix the milk and the mix ins and then pour in some liquid nitrogen to freeze it into ice cream.  It's pretty fun and tasty, too!

So. . . here are our favorite flavors. 

Reed- Vanilla, Strawberry

Parker- Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla

Colby- Chunky Monkey, Cinnamon Bun, Mountain Dew

Kaye- Chocolate, Butter Pecan, Black Raspberry

Ed- Pistachio, Vanilla, Strawberry

Leave a comment with your favorite flavor!!

Check out Joan's Blog. . . she will analyze your ice cream choices!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I have truly begun to see the value of the siesta lately.  I think the Spaniards are on to something.

About 17 years ago, Ed and I traveled to Spain with a group of 21 students from Calais High School in Calais, Maine.  Calais is a small city on the eastern border of Maine.  Although most of the students were comfortable passing through customs to go into St. Stephen, New Brunswick, many of them had never made it to New Hampshire. 

To those of you who think Ed and I are brash and pushy now, imagine how much we have probably mellowed in those 17 years!  One of my favorite memories of that trip was from Malaga- a resort town in Costa del Sol.  On the tour bus our tour guide was regaling the students with tales of this beautiful hotel where we would have the honor to stay.  She made sure that we understood that it was a four-star hotel and that we should act with utmost respect.  Soon thereafter we walked into the lobby of a once-beautiful but quite run-down establishment.  While the students were oohing and aahing with a fervor that would have made Franco proud, Ed plants his feet in the middle of the lobby and questions with a loud voice, "Was that four stars out of one hundred?"

Alas, I digress.

The point of my story was that it drove Ed and I crazy that the whole country shut down for a couple of hours each afternoon.  Sure it was hot, but we had paid good money to see Spain and were not happy about our sightseeing efforts being thwarted.  Methinks we may  be a little too Type A.  It amazes me every day how well we get along. . .

But now, in my middle-aged years I am beginning to understand the value of having the noonday meal be the big meal of the day and then taking a nap afterward.  I am way more productive with the rest of my hours and I only need 5-6 hours of sleep at night.  This is especially useful on days when I know that the Lehi City Council meeting will easily go from 5:30pm to midnight.

Hey!  Maybe we need a "siesta ordinance."  Long live the siesta.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Real Bat Girl

Note:  If you are a devout environmentalist, squeamish, or you accidentally pee when you laugh, please stop reading now.

OK.  You are still here.

On Friday Ed and I were at the cabin. . . alone.  All the kids were on Scout adventures, so we took the opportunity to go build the new railing on the deck and stain it.  We worked hard and didn't bother to eat anything except a couple of leftover Krispy Kreme donuts.  This could account for our behavior later in this tale.

Our friends Ron and Julie FOggin came down to unwind and go out to dinner with us.  This sounds relaxing and uneventful, huh.  But no.   We had a lovely chat about our kids and dogs and parades and obnoxious bands with the initals of W.J. and then we dove into a fierce game of hand and foot.  When you are sitting at the table in the cabin, there is a lovely view of our bird feeder.  Unfortunately, the chipmunks have found the feeder.  Ron tapped the window to scare the little guy off and he just looked at Ron and went right back to eating.  We were all stunned by the critter's brazen attitude, but it was too much for Ron.  He grabbed Parker's pump action BB gun, opened the window a crack and continued playing.  After about 20 minutes Chippy showed up at the feeder.  Ron picked up the gun, took aim (all the while sitting in his chair) and beaned the critter. 

By this time we were all laughing hysterically. . . especially when Ron buried Chippy. . . complete with a cross grave marker.  For those of you who enjoy gore. . . we were amazed at the clean shot and how the little intestines came right out.  Wow.  I guess that qualified us all as rednecks!

Not too long later we had moved back into the living room area when Ed noticed something moving up in the top of the cabin.  At first we thought it must be a mouse, but then we realized it was a bat.  Three out of four of us were standing, staring up at the roof with binoculars.  They don't work super well inside at fairly close range, but it must have been a funny sight.

Since Ron was all warmed up, he loaded the BB Gun and went up to the loft to get a close range shot.   

He shot the bat and all of a sudden it came flying out.  Julie and I screamed as it swooped down.  It was quite a scene.  The bat landed on the top window sill in the front of the cabin.  There are pretty large cracks and crevices in the sill and the bat went down into one of them.  We figured he was dead, but then we started seeing movement.  While surveying the scene, Lewis licked my foot and I screamed again like a little girl.  Then everyone was laughing at me.  Once I got my breath back, I was OK.

Julie just could not imagine leaving the bat up there, so Ed and Ron got the ladder while I kept watch on the flying critter.  Julie donned a surgical mask and two layers of procedural gloves.  I just about peed my pants when she announced that she was doing that because "Hey, I've read The Hot Zone and I know the importance of double gloving."  I, too, have read The Hot Zone, so I knew what she was talking about.
If you haven't scared yourself silly worrying about Ebola, you should.  Here's the link: The Hot Zone

Here she is gloved, masked, and heading up the ladder to do battle.
The tools of choice at the beginning of the adventure were two pairs of tongs.  About the time that this photo was taken, Julie started screaming "He's alive!  He has his mouth open and he's hissing at me!"  We were all laughing like fools by this time.  It was clear that more lethal tools were needed, so Ed put the dogs out and Ron handed her a BBQ fork.  After a few more exclamations an hisses, Julie stabbed the bat.

"I got him!  I stabbed him right through the mouth!"

We were all terrified that she was going to fall off the ladder if the bat flew out at her, so we were glad it had been stabbed. Dead.  But Ed was laughing so hard that he couldn't breath and he had to go outside.

She hauled the bat out of it's death hole using the tongs and climbed down until she could drop the little rat with wings into a cup.  BTW, what do you think of this stunning chandelier?  When it is on it makes the cabin look like it is on fire to the casual observer.  I will replace it one of these days and then I'l either sell it on ebay or host a blog give-away!!!

After the  bat was hastily done away with, we all washed thoroughly while we were still laughing uproariously.  My stomach hurt from laughing so much, but finally hunger had set in, so we headed to Mt. Pleasant to eat at Rodger's.  We laughed all the way there and halfway through dinner.  It was just a confluence of crazy occurences that set us off.

What a fun afternoon!  We hardly ever see the Foggins, so it was great to catch up.  Next time we get together, I am sure that we'll have another good laugh!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Boys and Engines

My boys must be unusual.

I keep hearing about how men and boys are just addicted to anything that goes. 

They love hearing the rev of the engine.  The shimmer of the candy apple red paint.  The maneuverability.

I just don't understand why no one wants to take this baby out for a spin???

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating Collins Style

Although today is the Fourth of July, our celebrations began yesterday and will continue until tomorrow.  Since we don't have any family living in the area, we are not beholden to any traditions- we have the opportunity to make our own.  Since buying the cabin, we tend to come here for the holiday and invite anyone who wants to come eat, relax, and be.  Yesterday we were happy to have the Rice and Lockhart families come join us.

The day began with Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches (celebrating the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence) and moved through 9 holes of golf, ATV/ golf cart rides around the mountain, time in the hot tub, naps, a few small projects and lots of fun conversation.  Dinner was the most delicious ribs. . . Ed did a fabulous job on those and several side dishes.  The main topic of conversation during dinner was the Twilight series of books and movies.  (I have read the books and I haven't seen any of the movies.)  

I bought a birthday cake for Daniel's 19th birthday, but when it sat there next to the strawberry shortcake, it got no attention at all.  I just have to have strawberry shortcake for the 4th of July. . . mostly because my mom always made it.  I just buy pound cake at Costco and everyone thinks it is amazing.

At about 9:15 we all left for Mt. Pleasant to see the fireworks.  We have never seen them before, so we didn't know where to go to watch.  Last year we planned to watch the fireworks with all the same friends, but God had other plans and sent the most amazing lightning storm that most of us had ever seen.  Anyway, we lucked into a great spot and were pleasantly surprised by the fireworks.   

Daniel Rice- 19, Dallin Rice- 17, Colby Collins-17, Dania Rice- 15, Stephen Lockhart-14, Parker Collins-14, Dalton Rice-13, Reed Collins-12

After all the oohs and aahs, the Lockharts headed back to Provo and the Rices came back to the cabin.  We ate some more. . . (that's the "Collins Style" part) and headed to bed around 12:30.  What a wonderful day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quartz VS Pot

Someday, I am going to be a great cook.  Maybe.

My Nana was a great cook- everything that she made was delicious and the epitome of comfort food.  Her bread was fabulous and she was just about famous for it.  She died one morning of a burst aneurysm in her brain. . . while she was making bread.  I always have loved that she died doing what she loved. 

My Mom on the other hand, was not much of a cook.  Probably because she never had to when she was growing up.  She was good at no-bake butterscotch cookies and raspberry squares, but she didn't like cooking and just wasn't that great at it.  The good news was that my dad was decent in the kitchen and he made dinner at least 75% of the time.  I must admit that Friday was my favorite day, though.  We ALWAYS went out for dinner on Friday night.  I loved it.

Now there's me.  I can bake bread and I can cook, but I don't really enjoy it most of the time.  I am LOUSY at following a recipe (or a pattern or any other instructions, for that matter) and so my favorite celebrity cook is Rachel Ray.  I have learned a lot from her and I really appreciate her "go for it" method of cooking. When I cook RR Style, it is usually a hit with my family.

So. . . today I got the urge to cook and to use up some left overs that we had.  I didn't have any incidents while making the pasta salad although the dogs were awfully interested in the bacon.  Then I made Sampson beans which is a bunch of different cans of beans, some hamburger, and some seasonings.  Shouldn't be hard, huh.  All was well until I sat down in Ed's chair after carrying a basket into our bedroom.  I swear his chair has a dopamine injector in it.  I promptly fell asleep. . . but only for about 10-15 minutes.  I woke up and darted for the kitchen because I knew the beans were on high.  (Ed says that I only cook on high, but it's not true.  I also use off.)  I was afraid they were burned, so I pulled them off onto the counter which is made of quartz and which we were told when it was purchased that I could put hot stuff on it.  I turned around to put the pasta salad in a bowl and I jumped a mile when I heard a large "crack".  Parker heard it and came running, too.  I knew instantly that the &8%* counter had cracked.  Luckily it is a small crack and is hard to find. 

Next time I am getting concrete countertops.  And cooking lessons.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ahhh. . . summer!

Summer has finally arrived.  It is going to be in the 80's and 90's all week.  That is welcome news to those of us who don't really enjoy the snow!  It has been a cool spring, but there is a benefit- Utah is beautiful and green.  Quite possibly the greenest I have seen over the past 16 years of living here.  That probably means we will have a lot of fires later in the summer, but I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

The weird thing is that I haven't planted any flowers this year.  Not one.  I usually get flower baskets and seedlings for Mother's Day, but it was so darn cold that Ed didn't buy any.  I think that was wise as some people have planted two or three times!  My backyard is a jumble of color with my roses and perennials and the front yard looks awful.  I am not pleased with how the landscaping has evolved, but am too lazy to want to do much about it.

We spent the weekend at the cabin where the scrub oaks are gorgeous.  We managed to get two sides of the cabin stained a very dark brown that I love!!!!  Murphy's Law was at work, but we triumphed.  Now we just have to schedule the other two sides. . .  Ed had a load of gravel dropped off as well and I cannot believe what a difference that has made in the look of the front of the cabin.  I will post photos when we are all done.  Right now we still have two sides and a mountain of gravel to deal with.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hmm. . .

I love being a mom. 
  • I love that I never open a door.  There is always a handsome young man opening doors at church, school, stores, and even the car!  How pampered am I?  
  • I love watching my kids do karate, play baseball, play euphonium, and the dozens of other things they do. I am WAY more proud and excited about their accomplishments than I am about the crazy things I do.
  • I love hearing my kids laugh.  I think my kids are generally witty and hilarious.  Sure, we border on the crude and socially unacceptable. . . but these are BOYS I am dealing with!
  • I love being loved.  There is absolutely nothing better than a big bear hug from your son.  Especially when they are 17 and still give hugs- even in front of their friends.
But being a mom is scary, too.
  • What if I haven't taught them everything they need to know?
  • What if they aren't happy?
  • What if they get sick?
  • What if they end up just like me?
  • What if they end up hating me?
I can't dwell on the "What ifs," because they will drive me CRAZY!  I will just be happy with my awesome kids today. Now. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Deja Vu. . . All over again. . .

In the summer of 1997 I was hired to be the Band Director at Lehi High School.  It wasn't much of a job- since there were only 15 students on the first day of class.  Eight of those students were horrified to find out that they actually had to bring (and play) their instruments, so I sent them to drop the class.  One moved away in November, so for most of the year the band consisted of 6 students.  I had no real idea how to be successful
with that group, so I decided to make them successful as individuals.  Three of the six made All State that year. 

Since the JH was in much the same condition it took a while to grow. Pete Swiderski was a brand new teacher that year and as his program grew, we added students at the high school. I was a half time teacher and the seams were starting to stretch by 2003.  We added some classes, did some additional recruiting, and made the position full time beginning in the 2004 school year.  I was excited for the new challenge. . . until my mom broke both hips.  The stress level in my life had exceeded my ability to handle it, and I ended up quitting my job.

During the last six years, I have had very little to do with music.  The stress of dealing with my mom clouded my memory and made me think that I was done teaching forever.  I watched what was happening at the high school, but stayed away through three teachers in 5 years.  This became increasingly more difficult as Colby became more and more of a band geek!

Everything changed in December.  Our band director, who is also a member of the Army National Guard, was activated.  He announced the news to the students and sent out an e-mail to the parents.  I was blissfully shopping and ignoring my Blackberry's message features when I got a call from Ed asking if I was ready to teach.  After he read me the e-mail, I called Mr. Seamons and offered to substitute whenever he needed me.  Little did I know what that would mean!  I taught most of January, most of March and I will be back at the school on May 6 until the end of the year.

I was pretty nervous about subbing so much, but it has been a joy.  I re-discovered the love of music and I remembered why I became a teacher in the first place.  What a great group of teenagers!  After much talk and discussion, I decided to apply for the one year position to cover for Nate while he is in the Middle East.  There were 14 applicants for the one-year position! I got the news this afternoon that I was chosen to get the job.

So, deja vu.  Same classroom, same office, new students, more classes.  A little like 1997, but it's going to be a whole lot more work!  Watch out Lehi High- I'm coming back!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I am really sick of snow.  I grew up in Maine, live in Utah, and plan to retire somewhere WARM. . . and alone.  Ed is one of those crazy people who enjoys the snow, but I am planning on going anyway.  There are some sure signs that spring is coming. . . or could possibly be here already.

  • The snow isn't sticking.
  • My crocuses (or is that crocii?) are blooming.
  • My furry boys have new short hair-dos.
  • It's spring break.  Aptly named?  We shall see.
  • It is baseball season.  
This last one warms my heart in a big way tonight.  There is nothing better than having the whole family snugged up on the bed while we cheer for the Red SOx.  Colby really does not enjoy baseball, but he humors us once in a while.  Tonight he called it quits at the beginning of the 9th inning.  Heelllooooo!!!!  Three outs to VICTORY?????  Oh well, at least he was with us for a while!

For those of you who aren't baseball fans,

The Red Sox kicked the Yankees butts!!! 

Oh, yeah, baby!  It's spring all right!!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Speed Machine

At first I wasn't sure.  Which model?  Which color?  It was bigger than I was used to and had a lot more power.  The features were amazing, but how would I ever figure out all those buttons? And the cost. . .  was I really ready for that monthly payment?  Would it be worth it?

After almost a year. . .Oh, yeah. Definitely.  :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It was an absolutely crazy day, but there was no way that I could miss the caucus.  We adjourned the City Council meeting at 6:24 and I was out of there in just a couple of minutes.  I ran to McDonalds because I was totally starving.  After bolting down several hundred calories, I headed into the high school.  I didn't pick up any information about the candidates because it all looked like the pamphlets that I already have, so I just found Precinct 16.  I was surprised and pleased to see the room fill up with lots of people I know, several I recognized but couldn't place, and a bunch of people that I had never seen before.  We had a good turnout. 

The business of the precinct was taken care of in fairly short order.  That occurred because there were lots of people who were willing to serve.  I am the Treasurer.  That is a job I can probably handle!  I want to be involved, but my City Council duties have to come first.  After the meeting there was a little paperwork to do and, of course, some chatting.  I was stunned when I was leaving to see how many people were at some of the meetings!  Some precincts had to be moved to the commons and cafeteria because there were so many people!!!

I am really happy that so many people came out to the caucus meetings tonight to get involved at a grassroots level.  It's too bad that they had to be there, though.  What I mean by that is it is too bad that our country is in such a state of confusion and mess that people are willing to get involved.  What a change!

My predictions based on tonight's observations:

Bennett loses his seat.
Sumsion re-elected.
Steve White is not going to be re-elected.

We'll know how I did in a few months!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

10 Happinesses for Today

1.  It's SPRING!!!!! (the calendar says so. . .)
2. My guys
3.  Lehi High School Band (most awesome students. . .)
4. Philosophy Products- especially Amazing Grace
5.  Short hair-dos
6.  My Blackberry keeps me in touch with loved ones
7.  Irish Water Spaniels (my furry children, Lewis and Clark)
8.  The amazingness of digital photography and editing
9.  Cold medicine
10. Pens with colored ink- especially purple!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Bossy Mom????

I took this quiz today to find out more about me.  I am almost as fascinating as you!  I am pretty sure that the EITJ is the same way I came out when I took this big personality profile during a teacher's workshop.  So, basically this means that I like to be in control (big surprise there. . .) and keep everyone moving in the same direction.  Hmmm. . . I think this trait came out at City Council the other night. 

I'm an "Executive" Mother!

(Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging)

Competent and confident in a management role, I organize the needs and schedules of family members into a workable family system.
What's your mothering personality type? Take the MotherStyles quiz at FamilyEducation.com!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Last night at Pack Meeting we had three gorgeous cakes that my friend Laura made.  I tried two of them and I don't even feel guilty!  Trust me. . . yesterday I NEEDED cake!  I got thinking that it had been so long since I had made a layer cake that I couldn't even remember doing it.  I'm pretty sure it hasn't been since we lived in this house, which is 6 years!  Anyway, today I baked.  Today we will celebrate the Olympics Opening Ceremony!!  I absolutely LOVE the Olympics.  We will also celebrate love and Valentine's Day.  And we will celebrate that Colby made the Wind Symphony and will be the Baritone Section Leader for Marching Band!!!  That is BIG news and he is very excited.  I am so happy that I have at least one child who loves band as much as his dad and I do!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mystery Device

This morning I had an epiphany moment as I walked through my home.  I realized that there is a mystery device in our home that is meant for women alone.  Apparently, these devices are completely invisible to the male species until they reach approximately middle age.  I know this because these devices are almost never engaged by the three young males who reside in this house.

If you are a man, stop reading now.

This is classified information.

This is on a need-to-know-basis only.  You may already be able to see these devices, but you must learn about them on your own.

Below is a photo of the mystery device.  Please remember that these are invisible to young males and plan accordingly.

Please note the three-letter word written on the mystery device.  This denotes the appropriate position for most daylight hours.  Oh, how I wish my sons could see and read these devices!  Maybe someday. . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Romance. . . or Nightmare???

It's that romantic time of year when young ladies at Lehi High are asking the young men of their dreams to the Sweetheart Dance.  You have to ask early, or some other young lady might ask first!

Brittany made plans with me this week to come over on Saturday afternoon while Colby was playing basketball at the church.  I managed to get him to clean his room under the guise that we had to take down his little Christmas tree. All seemed well. . . until I took Colby to Barnes and Noble and he decided that he would rather stay at home and read than go play basketball.   At that point, I called in the troops.  A quick call to Becky Struthers and in just a few minutes Paul was calling Colby and getting him revved up for the game.  The minute he walked out of the house I called Brittany and she came right over.

The torn sheet says "It would be a nightmare if you don't go to Sweethearts with me."  There were little candies all over the bed. . . but inside the bed were rubber spiders and snakes!  He didn't fond those until later and it was pretty funny. . .

So, now he has to decide how to answer. . .  Of course it will be YES!  But it has to be creative. . .  I told him that he should give her a sweet dreams pack with a mask and stuff since the nightmare is over.  But what do I know?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lock Down!

My life has become much busier in the last couple of weeks- not only because of my City Council duties, but because I am substituting a LOT at the high school.  Our most wonderful new band director, Mr. Seamons, just happens to be in the Army Reserve and he will be deployed to the Middle East on May 3.  He has training for most of January and March, so I will be subbing for him while he's gone.  I will actually be at the school more than he will be there this spring!

It is a little weird substituting in the same classroom where I taught for 6 years. . . but I am having a blast.  The kids are great and I already knew many of them because of their associations with Colby.  I was pretty burned out after 15 years of teaching, but now that I have had 5 years off, I am enjoying it again.

Except for Friday.

Some dumb kid decided to call in a bomb scare, so the school went into lock down.  I had the percussion ensemble, so we kept right on rehearsing for a while.  I figured it was just a drug bust.  But after a couple of announcements, it was clear that there was something going on and we needed to be able to actually HEAR the announcements, so we packed up.  Not long after that, the school psychologist came to the room to help me check for out-of-place items or articles that did not belong to one of the students in the classroom.  Hello!  This is a band room!  There are hundreds of cases and bags!!!  But, there were a couple of items that looked a little suspicious, so she decided that the dog should come in.

At that point I decided to tell the kids what was going on and that the dog was coming- just in case I had someone who was going to freak out.  There were a couple of kids who were a little nervous, but the big surprise came when one of the kids said, "Uh, you should probably know that I think I have firecrackers in my backpack."  Oh my heck!!!  Duh!!!

I thanked him for being honest right up front, stopped him from retrieving the firecrackers out of the backpack, and reported the problem.  When the dogs came in all was well because the handlers already had a heads up.  The suspicious items turned out to be fine and the perpetrators were arrested.

After about 1.5 hours the lock down ended.  The students gratefully headed to lunch and the restrooms.  I headed for the young man with the firecrackers and used a little teacher voice on him.  If he doesn't clean out his backpack this weekend, I'm gonna bust him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snowboarding Lessons

We had a GREAT idea for a Christmas gift this year- snowboarding lessons at Sundance Resort.  They have a great starter package for Scouts that includes 4 hours of lessons, 4 hours of free ski time, and gear for under $100 AND you get the Snow Sports Merit Badge.  On top of all that, Reed says that it was, "The most fun I have ever had in my whole life!"

DISCLAIMER:  We have had injuries.  Despite the helmets and lessons, stuff happens.  Parker's very first fall last week landed him flat on his back.  This dislocated his rib, both in back and in front.  He had a hard time breathing and was in pain.  That didn't stop him!  Yesterday he had the rib adjusted in the afternoon, had it knocked back out at Scouts last night, and had it re-adjusted late last night.  (Ron Anderson is an AWESOME chiropractor and a good friend- who else would meet us at 9:30 at night???)  We will probably be back there tomorrow since there were some issues when Parker fell tonight, but he's hanging in there.  The ligaments are so stretched out that they are not holding the rib. . .

Today was their second lesson.  They were excited to go and everything was simple and easy.  The board shop had all their equipment ready when we arrived, so there was no fuss.  Tonight they learned about waxing a board and they mastered S turns.  From what they say, they are doing really well.  I must say that we were pretty surprised at how much better they were today.  Colby stunned us with his smooth descent to the lift- he looked awesome!  Reed and Parker show less finesse, but are more daring. . .  I think I am glad that I can only see a small part of the mountain.

This is the lodge/snack area that is right at the bottom of the slopes.  This is where Ed and I have spent HOURS drinking cocoa and playing rummy.  We actually even met a couple of new acquaintances who were also hanging out.  We enjoyed watching the parade of people in their various "outfits" as they warmed up and had a snack.  We are sedate people.

Sundance has just begun having night skiing again after many many years of darkness.  This has worked out really well for us since it is so close.  I want to take the boys snowboarding during the day so that I might have a prayer of catching some action shots!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Scary Task. . .

We have some wonderful friends- the Sampsons.  We have been camping and eating out with them for years- ever since all of our children were just little.  Here's the scary thing. . . their eldest daughter is engaged.  Now of course we think that she's WAY too young to get married (heck I was 24), but that's far from being relevant.  Miss Jamilyn asked me to take her engagement photos.  Whoa!  I am no professional photographer, but I figured that if they came out bad and she wanted someone else to do it, I would not be offended.

Today was about the clearest day that we have had in three weeks.  The inversion is icky, but we made it work.  Because it was pretty cold and we were losing sunlight at an alarming rate, we did this three-location shoot in about 20 minutes!  I didn't want poor Jamie to have a red nose!!!  I was worried that the shoot would be a disaster, be we got some good shots.  I did it all in manual mode- and shot them using RAW.  Although the results are not in the realm of professional, here are a few of my faves!

Congratulations Jamilyn and Kendall!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Official!

I am now an official member of the Lehi City Council.  We had the swearing in ceremony this evening in the Council Chambers.  Once I sat down in the big chair, reality struck!  Oh my heck!  I am actually on the City Council!!!!

I am really excited to have this opportunity to serve my community.  I hope that I will be an effective decision maker.  Everyone that I talk to gives me advice, and from 75% of them it is, "Give 'em hell."  The other 25% say something a little gentler, like, "Go get 'em!"  I am still not totally sure who the 'em is, but I am on it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Milestone Reached

Ed and I had an interesting experience in church on Sunday- we found ourselves sitting alone. Reed turned 12 on the 19th and was ordained as a Deacon. This past Sunday, December 27, was his first day passing the Sacrament. It was an amazing experience to hear Colby bless the Sacrament and then to watch Parker and Reed pass the Sacrament to the congregation.

This is the first time ever that we have had two children in the same "group" at church with both Parker and Reed being in the Deacon's Quorum. It won't last too long because Parker will turn 14 in May, but I think they are enjoying it! This morning they had to be at Brother Lemon's house at 7:15 to go to the Temple to do Baptisms for the Dead. This was Reed's first time at the Temple.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Finally. . . a cougar!

We were able to spend the past few days at our cabin in Fairview.  Just after we entered SMR, I noticed an unusual bird soaring through the light snowflakes- I was stunned to realize that it was a Bald Eagle!  That is the first time we have seen our national bird in Fairview, so it seemed like a good omen.  I had a feeling that it was going to be my weekend to finally see a cougar. . .

This morning I was out taking photographs of the birds around the cabin when Parker came screaming into the driveway on the ATV.  He wanted me to jump on, but I protested saying that I wasn't wearing socks or a coat.  When he responded that there was a cougar treed on Birch Creek Road, I was on that ATV so fast it would have surprised any bystanders!  We tore down the hill and around the corner onto Birch Creek Road.  We had only gone about 1/2 a mile when we came upon a clump of cars.  We jumped off and headed to where Ed was standing.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  A real live cougar!  I only had time to take four shots before the big cat turned and ran down the tree and along the creek with the yowling hounds headed after him. 

The crowd dispersed and on our way back down the road, we stopped to talk to the people who treed the cougar.  They are the Adamsons of Lehi and Jake is their lead dog.  He's a handsome critter.

As we left them and headed down the road, the cougar ran across the road right in front of us.  I missed it, but Ed and Parker said it was cool to see him run.  He headed up the hill towards C loop, so we alerted the Adamsons and the dogs immediately picked up the trail and were tracking. We headed back up to the cabin and ran into the Adamsons on the middle road. . . they said that the dogs had just gone through towards the north.  (The dogs wear special GPS collars so that they can be tracked.)  I exclaimed that they wear heading right for our cabin!  By the time we made it around the corner, the dogs were headed on the other side of the road. . . and I needed socks on, so I went back to the cabin.

The first thing that I heard when I got off the ATV was Colby yelling at Lewis and Clark to be quiet.  He was quite frustrated with them and said that there had been a couple of dogs running by the cabin that got the boys all wound up.  Apparently one of the hounds even went under the deck!  I have to wonder if the cougar did. . .  After a few minutes we let Lewis out and he immediately headed north- up by our water wagon.  Parker chased him and found cougar tracks.  All I can say is that it was a very exciting morning!  A little too close to home, but exciting none the less!

I guess that it is a good thing that we have Ice Sword Reed around to keep us safe!