Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Goodbye, School! Helllooooo, Nurse.

So we all agree that May is worse than December when it comes to kids and programs, right? We had all kinds of stuff every night and all day on Saturdays. It was hard to keep it together sometimes.

I had a piano recital on Saturday, May 13. I had scheduled the library in American Fork, as usual, for a May recital. They called me on the Monday before and said the pedals on the piano had been broken when someone knocked it over (!) and I may want to reconsider having my recital there since they wouldn't be able to fix it in time. I decided I didn't need the pedals that much and to go ahead. On Wednesday the same woman called and told me some of the keys were broken too and I couldn't have my recital there. BAH. I called a few other places (and they laughed at me) before resorting to the Primary room at our church. My students' parents were very understanding about the whole thing. Brian wasn't going to be able to come because of a Scout training meeting he was teaching, but another piano Dad helped him leave a little early to catch his kids' performances. Bridget played the Barber of Seville Overture like a pro. She's done enough of these recitals that she can play through her nerves - and she knows how much she needs to practice to be able to do that. Kodi couldn't make it to the recital, so I filled in for her on the Chopsticks duet with Bridget. I love playing duets with Bridget! Emil and Colin made their debut at my May recital. Colin bobbed his head to keep time and he did very well. Emil didn't make any mistakes and kept perfect time. I've had enough students to know that being able to keep time is a big deal. :)

Emil and Colin played soccer in April and May on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The two games that Bridget and I missed, Colin made lots of goals and their team won. Emil was great on defense, but would overthink kicking the ball. He'd take too many steps and then end up kicking it with his left foot. They were on a team with Micah, which was very fun for them.

I've signed the boys up for a soccer camp later this summer so they can learn some skills. They need more skills, y'all.

Bridget was in the big Hope of America concert at the Marriott Center with all the other fifth graders in the world. Ha! Just Utah County. I covered it for the paper and interviewed the lady, Kathy McDonald, who started this big concert in 1996 (the centennial of Utah becoming a state). She had so much energy! Bridget loved being part of something so big and patriotic.
This is a terrible picture - I should have brought my telephoto lens. Five rows from the bottom of this shot Bridget and Sami are playing a hand-clapping game. They're in white and Sami has a braid down the back of her head.
This was our view. Emil said to Brian, "If they had stars in the blue they would look like a flag." AHAHAHAHAHA! Brian and I laughed and laughed at that. So close. :) The concert was long and the traffic was really bad, but it was inspiring. I love that there are people out there willing to go to so much trouble to help kids have a meaningful experience.

Emil and Colin got to come with me for a lot of cool newspaper stories during May. The coolest was Fire Ops 101. Emil put on all his firefighter gear (Halloween 2015) and the firefighters could not get enough of him. Colin wore a crazy get-up and a bad attitude. They are contractually obligated to not be happy at the same time.
We got to watch them set a car on fire so the civilian volunteers could put it out.
Emil's holding the jaws of life!
He also got to hold that ax and the hose. Like I said, the firefighters couldn't get enough of him.

Bridget had her big state report due in May. She worked on it all the time, researching all the cool stuff in Ohio. We brainstormed together quite a bit, but she did all the work herself. I was so proud of her! She had it done plenty early and when we saw the other tri-folds at the "state fair" at school, I was even more proud. 

Colin and Emil had their Kindergarten Showcase during the last week of school. They were on opposite ends of the stage and I fell into the trap (again) of trying to take pictures when I should have just sat down and enjoyed the moment. They were so cute singing and dancing with their classmates. Colin was standing by his friend Nash and I didn't know it, but I was standing next to Nash's Mom in the audience. They were pointing at us and smiling and talking to each other and I didn't know why until later. How adorable is that! "Look! Our Moms are standing by each other and so are we!!" Awesome.
I'm going to miss this version of Colin and Emil so much. I loved watching them get on the bus every day with their backpacks on. Both boys gave me a kiss as they got out of the van and then Colin would come running back for another hug and kiss as the bus came around the corner to their stop. Can you even stand it?! They are my sweethearts.

Then! It was finally time for the Dance Festival. If you read this blog, you know of my love/hate relationship with the Dance Festival. The principal talks too much, Bridget is always as far away from where we sit as she can possibly be, the boys are usually bonkers. On the other hand, I always start crying for joy and pride when I see the kids dancing together. Why? It's not like they are the best dancers I've ever seen. Maybe knowing they have no inhibitions and that it won't last? I don't know. This year, the boys could be bonkers sitting with the other kindergartners, so I thought we were home free. Then I was asked to do a story about the dance festival for the paper, so I had to take pictures of everything. And I could feel the part in my hair getting sunburned. Still love/hate, I guess.
Bridget's class sang one of their Hope of America songs and I got a sneak peek at where she'd be for the dance. Back row on the left, naturally. Standing next to what looked like grown women. For the love of all that is holy!!!
Bridget is the shortest person in her class. By a lot. She says she was absent (at Bring Your Child to Work Day) the day they were assigned their spot. Really? We can't put her next to someone who isn't a head taller? They danced to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" and every time it comes on the radio in the car the boys yell, "Bridget's song!" :)

The kindergarten kids always go last because they are the most anticipated dance. This year they did "Friends are Family" from the Lego Batman movie. Their teachers had them wear black garbage bag capes with the bat signal on the back. So cute! And so very very hot.
Oh my goodness. My favorite part is watching the kids RUN onto the field to take their places. Can you see the girls on the left who fell down and kinda got trampled by their classmates who DID NOT care what their deal was, they were getting to their spot. Colin, as always, looks like a character in a 1960s book. Hahahahahaha!
Signature move, pretending to make a call on a cell phone.
Colton is not a real super hero, so that cape got in his way several times. No capes! (I was sitting RIGHT in front and Colin was on the front row. He's in the 1.88% for kids his age. Sigh.)
Emil can really dance. Look at those fingers!
He could do that dance for you right now, that's how well he learned it. :)
Running in place, the other signature move.

I'm getting stressed out just thinking about the last two weeks of May. It was nice to check things off the list as they happened. Bridget did the rec league track this year with her bff, Sami. They went to practices twice a week and they had a meet once a week. The meets lasted for three hours. (Note to self: three hours.) Bridget ran the 4 x 100 with Sami and two other girls their age, the 100m and the javelin. That's a total of four minutes of action in a three hour meet. Where are my emojis? I need that one eye roll face...
For the first couple of meets they let Sami's little sister, and Emil's dream girl, Lizzy run in the 4 x 100 with them. Pretty adorable. Maybe not three hours of sitting on a bench and freaking out because I can't see Emil or Colin adorable, but adorable.

Toward the end of May the boys started playing T-ball. Brian had sworn off coaching T-ball FOREVER, but the moms of the other kindergarten kids in the ward convinced us that it would be awesome to have all the friends on the same team and Brian could coach them.
Front row: Micah, Colin, Lydia  Back row: Pierce, Weston, Gavin, Emil, Jett, Hazel, and Coach Dad

I love knowing all the kids' names so I can cheer for them. They can get a little crazy waiting to bat, but they all work together and encourage each other. It's sweet. Also, Emil figured out how to hit home runs off the T the last few weeks and he's pretty proud of himself.
This is as close to all of them looking and smiling as I got. (I took the team photo.) We're missing Henry and there is one other little girl who didn't sign up for the team. We have eleven kindergartners in our ward! 
Brian coaching, herding, whatever you want to call it.
Who can't find their hats? Hmmm.

After field day (the second to the last day of school) we whisked the kids away on a little adventure, but I'm going to do a separate post about Capitol Reef. That little End of School Getaway is more for Brian and me than the kids, I discovered. Sometimes you just have to get the heck out of Dodge! So long, May!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

March and April 2017 Book Report

Better late than never!

1. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

It's a classic and everyone on Goodreads gave it many stars and kudos. I listened to a fun British guy read it on Audible, too. And YET, I didn't like it and I didn't finish it. All the chapters I listened to were familiar - how he meets Little John and how Robin sneaks into an archery contest. Yes, but did you know how he BECAME Robin Hood? I didn't. He killed a guy who made him mad. The guy bet Robin that he couldn't hit a deer with an arrow from 200 meters away (or some ridiculous distance). Robin did it, then the guy wouldn't pay up. So Robin killed him. I got the feeling I was supposed to be on Robin's side in this dispute, but I wasn't.

I did keep reading/listening after that. Then Robin robs and embarrasses a guy simply because the guy had a warrant for Robin's arrest. Robin killed a guy! He should go to jail! Of course there is a warrant out for his arrest. I don't know. Breaking the law and getting away with it doesn't sound like a good time to me. The Merry Men split up their earnings and gave food to widows and children, which is nice. It seemed like they were doing it to keep people quiet more so than out of kindness, though.

2. The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mordecai Gerstein

Remember how I'm a National Parks Nerd and a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt? This children's book imagines the exchange between John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt during their famous camping trip in what is now Yosemite National Park in 1903. Roosevelt got a first-hand look at the wilderness that needed protecting with the most famous advocate for wilderness preservation, John Muir. As a result of that camping trip, Roosevelt would establish the National Parks System.

Historical non-fiction picture books are my favorite! This one is so good. The illustrations are fantastic.

3. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I was more than halfway through Alexander Hamilton when we went to New York in March. After seeing where he lived and worked, I had to finish the book. He is hands-down the most interesting Founding Father. The attention his life is getting after all these years is kind of awesome.

"Americans often wonder how this moment could have spawned such extraordinary men as Hamilton and Madison. Part of the answer is that the Revolution produced an insatiable need for thinkers who could generate ideas and wordsmiths who could lucidly expound them. The immediate utility of ideas was an incalculable tonic for the founding generation. The fate of the democratic experiment depended upon political intellectuals who might have been marginalized at other periods."

By now everyone knows the story of Alexander Hamilton, growing up father-less and then orphaned completely in the West Indies. He submitted poetry to the local newspaper and a letter of his describing a terrible storm that mostly destroyed the city he lived in was published in the newspaper. That letter ended up catching the eye of people with money who were willing to send him to America to get an education. They hoped he'd come back to the West Indies after that and be an asset to them, but he ended up staying.

Hamilton spoke French and English fluently and the amount of words that he wrote down in his life makes it seem as though that's all he did while he was alive. He became General Washington's aid de camp (sp) during the Revolutionary War. It sounds glamorous, but it was copying hundreds of letters, responding to minutiae, and bunking with five or six other guys in uncomfortable places. Nope! Hamilton wanted to head his own regiment and make a name for himself as a war hero, like, the whole time he was with Washington. (One of my favorite stories from this time period in the book was Benedict Arnold's betrayal. Chernow did a fantastic job laying out the facts, but keeping the emotion.)

Since Hamilton was hitched to Washington's star (even when they didn't agree, Washington always believed in Hamilton's abilities), he became a political heavyweight in New York. People either loved him or hated him. He made an enemy of New York's governor, which hurt him during the Continental Congress. Hamilton made enemies of quite a few people by never shutting up. Like, ever.

The big scandal with him and Mariah Reynolds was teased for what seemed like forever in the book before we actually got to it. Washington was President, Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton loved to rescue women in distress - his own mother was a woman in distress. If he'd had therapy today, they would definitely make a connection there. Anyway, Mariah Reynolds came to Hamilton and cried and told him her husband abused her and if only she could get Hamilton's help... Reynolds was setting him up. She and her husband made the plan to extort him together and they sound like super trashy people. Someone saw Hamilton at the Reynold's home (many low-brow discussions took place between Hamilton and Mariah's husband and Hamilton did pay them several times to keep the affair secret) and thought he was giving away financial secrets he would know about because he was Treasury Secretary.

Like a dummy, Hamilton spent hours confessing every disgusting detail of his infidelity to the two men investigating him (one was James Monroe) as proof that he was not selling state secrets. No one wants to know all that! Also, interesting that it meant so much more to him for people to know he wasn't that kind of liar, only the kind of liar who cheats on his wife. Tomato/Potato.

The *spoiler* I found at the museum was one of Hamilton's sons was killed in a duel. Awful. So sad. It was very similar to Hamilton's duel with Aaron Burr later. Hamilton advised his son to throw away his shot (did you sing that part? I do every time). In Hamilton's view, obviously missing his opponent would mean both of them would live and his son would come away honorably. The other guy, however, didn't know Hamilton Jr (can't remember his name!) had missed on purpose. What a stupid way to die.

Alexander and Eliza got over the very public and humiliating cheating scandal with Mariah Reynolds, but Hamilton's political career never recovered. He went back to being a lawyer to try to get out of the money pit of working in public service. I loved that Hamilton argued for the law instead of going with the waves of emotion against pro-British citizens. Anyway - the Hamiltons enjoyed a few years at Hamilton Grange, their country house north of Manhattan (now Harlem). They had lots of kids and even took in orphaned children. Eliza became a great advocate for orphans. And she championed her husband and defended him until she died, which was on the eve of the Civil War.

So, yeah, Hamilton wasted his own shot and dueled with Aaron Burr in an effort to defend his honor. Burr was finished after he killed Hamilton. He went on living, of course, but he was finished.

I haven't even scratched the surface of all the interesting stories in this book. Chernow is amazing.

4. Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

This is a story about a 13 year-old boy named Patrick Ashby, a twin, who appeared to commit suicide just a few months after his parents were both killed in a boat accident. Eight years later, a close friend of the Ashby family meets a man who is a dead ringer for Patrick in a bar in London. This "friend" decides to coach the man (Brat Farrar) and have him claim the family fortune instead of his twin, Simon.

I think the British (all Europeans?) were obsessed with this scenario. Probably a lot of people were lost during the war, lost at sea and presumed dead, ran away... It must be excruciating to not know what happened to a loved one.

Anyway! Brat seems to be pulling off his acting job brilliantly for everyone, except the twin brother. Simon is POSITIVE this is not Patrick. When Simon sees that he can't convince anyone else and he's starting to look crazy, he subtly tries to get rid of Brat.

There are side stories about horses and breeding and Brat starts falling in love with one of the Ashby girls (ew). The writing is engaging and the Audible performance is great. I mostly knew what was going to happen, which is always a little disappointing with a mystery. There was a final twist that I didn't see, so that's fun.

5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This is a pretty trashy, soap opera-y novel. I watched the HBO mini-series for 15 minutes and it was so disgusting and so far off the mark that I couldn't endure it. The reason I kept reading, and mostly enjoying, the book was because it was making me ask questions about my own life and my own parenting. I think it's a good thing to examine those things.

The story is following a handful of moms (the book takes place in Australia, so "mums") of kindergarten-age children. (The TV version has them in California with first graders. Meh.) One of the mums, Celeste, even has twin 6 year-old boys - like me! There is a whole hierarchy of mothers and lots of posturing to show the other mothers how they should be doing the whole parenting thing. The women seem all wrapped up in their little kindergartners lives and how their education and socialization might affect their precious psyches. Then we look at their home lives and every single one of these mothers is a bona fide MESS. They expect this 23 year-old kindergarten teacher to be acutely aware of every little thing their child is experiencing, yet these mothers (and fathers) are blind to how their marital relationships are affecting their children.

The longer I'm a parent of children who attend school, the more I recognize that what happens at home to reinforce any learning is THE THING. Teachers can spend every minute doing the best possible job teaching my child, but if nothing happens at home then it won't catch.

I already knew that nobody's life is perfect no matter how it may look on the outside, so that message wasn't revelatory to me. For one of the 40 year-old mums, it is a revelation that someone's "perfect" family isn't so perfect. Sad to go that long in life and not recognize that. On the other hand, there are people (and I feel like I'm one of them) who do live happy lives and don't feel like they need to hide things. So, not everyone is secretly miserable and putting on a show of being happy and put-together.

Moriarty did a good job of portraying strong female friendship. I really liked that part. From what I saw (and what I've read in reviews) of the HBO series, the main focus was the sex lives of the women. Why? Aren't we all bored by that? Let's talk about the million other things that make up relationships and marriage and life experience in general. Moriarty showed that you can't hide from your children - they pick up on everything. Didn't someone say in a recent General Conference talk to give children something great to imitate? Also, seeing your life through the eyes of your child makes decisions much easier. (It's the ONLY way Celeste finally sees her marriage clearly. That was interesting.)

There are swears and a few scenes of violence in the book. I listened to Caroline Lee (no relation) read it and her Australian accent is a delight. I think this might be a beach read.

6. Anatole by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone

In the mouse world created by Eve Titus, mice husbands and fathers provide for their families by going out at night and "stealing" leftovers and garbage from humans to feed their families. Anatole hears humans complaining about mice eating their food and he is shocked. What?! Humans don't like mice being in their kitchens and scurrying around their food?!

Anatole can't live with this information and decides to find a way to "pay" for the food he takes. He sneaks into a cheese factory and finds his solution. Anatole takes a bite of every cheese (shudder) and leaves a note on each one telling them how to improve the flavor or when the flavor is just right. The humans see these notes and are, like, "Awesome! Now our cheese factory will be the best in the world!" No, really. That's what they do.

The take-away is, earn your own way in life. And, always trust notes that are left on your food even if all the doors were locked and there are no signs of a break-in... No, man! It was a mouse! A mouse was eating your cheese and writing reviews of it! :)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What Just Happened, April 2017?

Thank goodness for Instagram or I'd have no idea where the last 30+ days have gone. We got home from New York and got back on the Crazy Train with a second trip to the doctor for Colin the day after he went off his anti-biotics for strep that he finished the day after we got home. He was walking from his classroom to the bus when he threw up all over the sidewalk. It was literally the first sign that anything was wrong. The school secretary called me while I was teaching a piano lesson and told me all my children were in the office ready for me to pick them up. Eh? Anyway, Colin had strep again (or still).

The following weekend was General Conference and Bridget got a job watching a dog for a friend at church. We also had a quick visit from Aron and Banks, here to go to the Priesthood Session in person, a fun tradition in their family. On Conference Sunday we  picked up Taylor and ate fun food (take 'n bake wings from Wing Shack, veggie tray with dip, chips, and other stuff I can't remember now). Bridget was a champion dog sitter and Cocoa was very good. She became very protective of Bridget.

I tried to keep the kids happy during Spring Break by taking them on an adventure every day. I combined the first outing with a story I was doing on a family farm. Bridget and I milked a goat (for her I'm guessing it was the first and last time she'll be doing that), the kids found eggs all over the place and I got sniffed and manhandled by a lot of goats and a couple of enormous dogs. I took the kids to Gardner Village where we had lunch and found some cute stuff for Grandma Peggy's dolls at the doll store there. Another day we went to the University Mall to eat lunch with Brian and spend the kids' hard-earned money at The Disney Store. On the final day of Spring Break, a Saturday, Brian took the kids skiing one last time. They had The Best Day Ever.

After Spring Break it was the week of the final choir concert FOR THE YEAR. We had an assembly on Wednesday and an evening concert on Thursday. My friend and accompanist, Elisa, and I both thought the assembly was in the morning, because they're always in the morning. THIS one, though, was in the afternoon. Elisa and I both had piano students during the assembly, so we requested that the choirs go first (they usually go last). It was a revelation! The junior choir kids were only trapped in the art room for 15 minutes, they came out and sang their songs, then joined their classes in the audience. Ta DA! On Thursday night the choir had to go last, after the band and chime choir. Our little kids (none of them are in band or chime choir) were trapped for an hour and ten minutes in the art room with Elisa and me begging them to be quiet the whole time. (I have to write this down or I will forget to try to change this tradition if I'm still doing choir next year.) The fun part was having Bridget, Emil, Colin and me all in the same performance. :) Grandma Peggy and Brian's parents came to watch, which made it very special for the kids... and me, really. During my hour and ten minutes as warden of the art room, I set my music down on a desk (the better to clap "Shave and a Haircut" until my hands turned blue) and I accidentally left my copy of the final number on that desk. I didn't realize it until we were ready to sing, so I had to run out of the room to try to find it after the Senior Choir's second number. Grandma Peggy said it was her favorite part. Ha!
The boys and I on our way to the music assembly. Triplets!
Waiting in the art room.

Next up, Emil's long-awaited one-on-one field trip with me to Salt Lake City. He started planning it right after Bridget and I went to North Carolina together last year. I got tickets to Lion King at Eccles Theater and planned around that. Emil wanted to stay in a hotel, go to the Family History Library (hahahaha!), go shopping, and go see a show. He had the spinning chair in the hotel room all to himself, and the remote. Even though I suggested we could go somewhere for dinner, he wanted to order a pizza and stay in the hotel room watching whatever he wanted on TV. 
We slept in the next morning, then walked to City Creek for breakfast at Kneaders. It was about a block and a half to walk (the street was already full of homeless people staring us down - what's up, Salt Lake City?) and Emil complained several times that we should have taken the train. The station was two blocks away, but Emil was not hearing that.
He complained about the train before and after this photo. We walked across the street to Temple Square where the flowers smacked us in the face with their beauty. I can't remember when flowers have been so gorgeous! We've had a very wet Spring, that must be it. At the Family History Library Emil got to hold the iPad and rush to all the stations so he could check off all the stuff. I joined him in one of the sound booths to record a story and he lost his mind. He wanted to be alone! He didn't want me to talk! I left the room so I could count to ten and he came out a minute later and apologized and told me he loves me. Getting everything he wanted kinda ruined his life for a few hours.
We rode Trax around downtown in the free zone for a while. One of the drivers saw Emil and let him come up front and honk the horn. So happy! We went to the Gateway mall (my first time in about 10 years) to go to lunch and it was a very scary ghost town. What is going on, Salt Lake City?! Once again we were stared down by homeless people and there was a lot more security at that mall than I remember. We made our way back to the theater for lunch.
Emil ate his whole lunch, which was a weird soup, then said he needed to go potty. I told him I thought the bathrooms were downstairs, then turned to see if I could confirm that with our waiter. When I turned back Emil was gone. I hadn't paid for our food and I had no idea where he went. It's a big theater. I found someone and paid our bill as fast as I could, then ran downstairs to find Emil. There are three bathrooms downstairs and I am not a man. I called Emil's name at the door of each of the men's bathrooms and he answered casually, "What?" at the last one. I almost started crying with relief. It took almost the whole show for me to calm down. It was an impressive production and I loved the music, but I have to admit I didn't love the puppets. After the show we came home to dye eggs because the next day was EASTER.

Easter morning was fun - the kids found their baskets and we ate a nice breakfast of Kneaders cinnamon bread made into French Toast, and hard-boiled eggs. Colin was acting strange during sacrament meeting at church. He fell asleep in my lap and didn't want to sing with the Primary. I took him home and made a cake while he slept. Spoiler alert: it was strep AGAIN. Third time in five weeks. 
When Brian, Bridget, and Emil got home from church I made Colin put his blue shirt back on for an Easter photo on the porch rocker. That's as friendly as Colin was willing to look for the group photo. Sigh.

Thanks to the extra hours, I was able to get our Easter dinner on the table at a reasonable hour and I made a coconut cake, too. Silver lining of having a sick boy come home during church on Easter.
Bridget got a Rubiks Cube in her Easter basket and she and Brian and Colin are obsessed with it.
Emil got a set of desert vehicle Matchbox cars. 

The boys started soccer the Saturday Emil was on his field trip, but not to worry! There are plenty more games where that one came from. The next Friday it was Colin's turn for a field trip. He wanted to go to the zoo and he asked if Emil could come with us. I cannot love Colin more, you guys. We got there right when the zoo opened and enjoyed free reign of the place for more than an hour.
The boys had their big animal report due the next week. Colin's report was on the rhinoceros. We did some very hands-on research for that story. (Colin and Emil came with me to interview a couple about their 100 year old home. Colin told me later, "Mom, this is a big story." I broke it wide open.)
Colin posing by his report subjects.
Emil chose the grizzly bear. They kept sleeping even though we were there to visit.
This could just as easily be a statue of me with the boys.
We had the hardest time finding the "small animals" building (where the snakes are) even though we had two expert map readers.
We did find the carousel. Happy day!
One of the fun things about Hogle Zoo is the peacocks. They wander around like they own the place and we saw several. This guy was being flashy for a female peacock nearby. She was not having it.

The very next day we had our annual trip to the sand dunes to play on four-wheelers and hunt for Easter eggs with Brian's family. Except we weren't allowed on the actual sand west of Utah Lake, so we made do with dirt and sage brush. It was just as fun and we didn't get sand in our food.
After a few rides with Dad, we let Bridget drive the four-wheeler by herself in a wide circle around our camp. She was awesome at it! Safety first with her, so she went nice and slow.
The little boys set up their own little bistro in the bed of Uncle Hal's truck.
Lucky for them one of the Rzrs broke down after only a couple of rides and they could use Aiden's walkie-talkies in it and pretend to have all kinds of adventures. We heard Colin say into his walkie-talkie, "Do you copy?" 
I wonder if they can hear each other.
Emil will wait here all day for someone to take him for a ride.
Cousin Abby obliged.
Time for the egg hunt! Back row: McKade, Kalvin, Jake, Janessa, Abby and Bridget. Front row: Nate, Aiden, Colin, Brighton, and Emil.
Emil showing off his bounty to Grandpa and Dad.
Bridget was on the other end of the hunt this year. She's a big kid now! :(
Grandma rigged up a branch to roast our marshmallows since we couldn't find our sticks in the garage.

For our final trick in April, Bridget had her ballroom performances. The ballroom class was every Friday before school. They had a couple of Saturday practices and a Wednesday evening dress rehearsal. It gave Bridget a taste for what would be in store if she became serious about ballroom dancing, so she says she's done with it. She was partnered with one of the neighborhood boys, which was so cute to watch. :) 
Bridget will participate in anything if she gets to wear red lipstick. :)
Grandpa came just to watch Bridget in two dances. 

And that's it! May is already full of stuff, so we won't get a break anytime soon. It's a fun time of year and a fun time of life, though.