Thursday, March 2, 2017

February 2017 Book Reports

1. Old MacDonald Had A Truck by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban

Emil, Colin and I sang this book instead of reading it. Old MacDonald has all kinds of heavy equipment on his farm in this book. They're building something, but what could it be? When we reached the last page Emil was so delighted that he declared, "The is the best book EVER!" It truly combined every single thing Emil loves the most. We recommend it to anyone who likes to sing or who likes heavy equipment and big tires.

2. Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney

This is the story of a pancake and a piece of French toast racing to get the last drop of maple syrup in the well-stocked, talkative fridge. I think I liked this more than the boys because I was the one reading out loud and there was rhyming in addition to all the fun interpretations of what kind of personalities the foods had. My favorite was the surprise ending - hint; what else needs syrup?

3. Boot & Shoe by Marla Frazee

Boot and Shoe are dogs who were born on the same day (like Emil and Colin). They like to eat at the same time (like Emil and Colin), go to sleep in the same place (like Emil and Colin), and pee on the same tree (hopefully not like Emil and Colin). Boot and Shoe DO NOT like to sit all day in the same place, though. One likes the front porch and the other likes the back porch.

One day a squirrel disrupts the dogs' lives and they end up chasing the squirrel ALL OVER the place. The squirrel walks away after all that chasing, but the dogs are on the wrong porches and are worried about the other. That would TOTALLY happen to Emil and Colin! Ha! Very fun book to read out loud.

4. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

This was a too-long book for Battle of the Books that Bridget and I read together. It takes place during Medieval Times when there are all kinds of rules about what princesses were supposed to do. Princess Cimorene (Bridget and I did not agree on how to pronounce her name, but I deferred to Bridget since she is more of a princess expert than I am) breaks the mold, of course. She wants to know how to sword fight! She wants to learn Latin! She wants to learn magic! Every time her father catches Cimorene learning anything that isn't "proper" for a princess, he puts a stop to it.

Cimorene is betrothed to Prince Therandil and after meeting him and seeing what a dum dum he is, Cimorene runs away and becomes the princess of the dragon, Kazul. I guess in this world dragons have princesses who work for them as a status symbol. (Eye roll.) Cimorene and Kazul get along well. Cimorene can make cherries jubilee! And she can organize the many books in the dragon library and catalog all the treasures. Cimorene is also really great at foreshadowing, if by great I mean obvious. Bridget and I always knew what was going to happen next.

There were some interesting elements in the book - how dragons live, their politics and all that. One of my beefs with the book was all the superfluous filler. Too many words that didn't advance the plot or reveal anything about the character. And, of, course all the predictability.

5. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show. I've enjoyed what I've seen of him, which is mostly clips and an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. Noah was born in South Africa during Apartheid when it was literally a crime to be an interracial couple. Noah's mother couldn't be seen with him in public as his mother - she had to pretend to be his nurse.

This book has a lot of swears, but I still recommend it because I learned so much. I've never thought for a moment about what it might be like to grow up in South Africa, let alone to be a colored (mixed race) person growing up in South Africa. Trevor Noah is not a victim - he doesn't want pity and he speaks in a strong, insightful voice (I listened to him read the book). His words about race and language blew my mind!

“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”

Most of the stories Noah tells from his childhood are kind of unbelievable, but yet they had to be true. Who would make that stuff up? :) One of the most fascinating to me was the one about Trevor and his friends deejaying for an interfaith conference. He and his buddies were representing hip-hop culture and the mostly-Jewish audience was loving their performance until Noah asked them to welcome their principal dancer, a kid named Hitler. At the time, Trevor thought they got kicked out of the venue because of the provocative dancing. South African kids had not been taught about Adolf Hitler the way some parts of the world had learned about him. They were taught that he was a dictator and a bad guy, but Noah points out that there have been many millions of Africans murdered because of their race. Their names weren't recorded as the Jews' were during the Holocaust. Whoa.  Genocide being part of life is beyond my comprehension.

There were many times during the book that I thought about things I've never thought about before. Trevor Noah is brilliant in a strange and exciting way.  One more quote:

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”

6. The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson

I was binge-ing on The Office during February and Rainn Wilson's performance as Dwight Shrute makes me so happy, I thought I'd enjoy his book. Meh, not so much. Wilson is a very talented actor - I could watch him all day (maybe only as Dwight). I could not read him all day, though.

Wilson's childhood is pretty unusual (not growing up in South Africa-unusual, but still) because his parents were members of the Baha-i faith and he lived in Nicaragua when he was a toddler. Other than that, it felt like he was attaching too much meaning and drama to a situation (parents getting a divorce, Dad getting a new job, moving to a new state) that is mostly normal for a lot of people.

When he was in high school, Wilson moved to Chicago where he had a chance to re-invent himself. I remember this part of my life, except my re-invention as a new kid in 8th grade was several steps down from the status I enjoyed in my previous junior high. Suddenly I was getting threatened by a "rocker" in my Home Economics class. In Rainn Wilson's case, he could act like he was a super-cool, funky drama guy. Hard pass on that personality. He sounded disproportionately proud of this part of his life.

There was a lot of odd and not delightful stuff leading up to his time on The Office. I loved hearing that they often couldn't get through a scene because they were laughing so hard. Wilson said the very worst instance of that was a scene where he and John Krasinski (Jim Halpert) are the party planning committee and they've forgotten Kelly's birthday. Dwight makes a sign that says, "It is your birthday." He also barely blows up black and brown balloons to decorate the room. Both men are totally out of their element, sweating and fighting like two 11 year old boys. It is one of the funniest things on that whole series. I really liked that they thought it was as funny as I did.

Then it was back to boring ol' Rainn Wilson thanking every person he loves by name. I absolutely agree with his philosophy on how to love and show love to another person. I'm happy for him that he found a religion and philosophy that brings him happiness. I was left wishing that he had a weird cousin named Mose who would come run alongside my car if I visited his house.


February We Hardly Knew Ye

February went by pretty fast. I did a lot of stories for the Lehi Free Press because I wanted more foldin' money for our trip to New York. I got to go to Roots Tech for free this year because I was covering it. Once again, I was inspired and energized by the speakers, the classes, and the amazing concert Brian and I went to at the Conference Center.
I shot this from the balcony above the Exhibit Hall.
This is a CAKE, you guys!
They had free cake after the keynote speakers. Yaaassss!
Emil and Colin had a ski lesson on the Family Discovery Day, so Bridget and I went to the Salt Palace on the train to go, just the two of us. We heard President and Sister Nelson speak, looked at the unbelievable cakes in the cake contest, listened to Sister Sheri Dew and two former Philadelphia Eagles, Vi Sikahema and Reno Mahe (Mahe lives in Lehi and his wife was Bridget's volleyball coach a few years ago). The food and the music spoke to me this year. :) I'm on board with my callings now (church calling and self-imposed family historian calling). Git 'er done.

Then there was Valentine's Day. The boys picked out Valentines during one of our Field Trip Fridays, so they were set. Bridget procrastinated like crazy and I ended up at JoAnn's the day before getting stuff to make a box as well as Valentines to hand out. 
 The boys signing their Valentines. They both remarked at how hard this project was. Sigh.
Bridget was so excited to take her Chewbacca Valentine box to school! I totally STOLE the idea from a friend who posted her son's Chewbacca box on Instagram. Stealing feels good.

Brian took the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's house, picked up some wings from Wing Shack in American Fork, and came home to watch a terrible movie (Jack Reacher 2) with me for our Valentine's date. :) Later that week we learned how to country swing at a ward party, then we did some Victorian dancing at Brian's cousin's fundraiser ball the very next night. It was kind of exhausting doing all that stuff, now that I'm remembering it. We had something every night that week! 

Probably the biggest event in February, though, was Cousin Janessa getting home on the 28th. She's been in Peru for 18 months serving a mission. Bridget and Colin had shy attacks at seeing her again, but Emil was cool. She's been in our prayers for so long and she's been gone for almost a third of Colin and Emil's lives, so I kind of get it. We're so happy she's home safe and so proud of how brave and awesome she is.
Darin, Dena, Janessa holding Brighton, Jake, Kelsey holding Olivia, Jed together again!
I'm putting this here because Janessa's missionary tag was filthy and it makes me Olympic cry to see that.
Olivia met Janessa for the first time when Janessa got off the plane. Now we know Olivia understands Spanish! Good to know. :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Front Room Make-Over

I've been meaning to do a post about our front room makeover for so long that I forgot if we painted last year or in 2015. How could I forget something like that?! I know it was a week at the beginning of summer and that I spent a lot of time sitting in the driveway to be out of the way. We hired painters and they did all the upstairs living areas, the hallway, and the upstairs bathroom. (I painted the entire basement, master bedroom and both kids rooms by. my. self. so I knew I couldn't take on vaulted ceilings with three little kids running circles around my ladder for a month.) We chose the same paint I used for the master bedroom "Natural Choice" with "Dover White" on all the trim and white on the ceiling. Behind our cabinets in the kitchen we used "Revere Pewter," which is the shade just darker than "Natural Choice." The metamorphosis in the kitchen isn't complete, so I'll save that for another post.
 We were almost done breaking down the room before I thought to take "before" pictures. I had family photos on those ledges and a big photo of my immediate family over the piano.The photos are pretty much the only thing I liked in the room. That couch. We bought it because we needed something in our guest room in our first house. It is a fold-out single bed. We got it second-hand and I hated it from the first, but thought it would be a place-holder until we got something we really wanted in the room. Thirteen and a half years later...
I had a nice lady paint the piano blue (with chalk paint) and I got those shelves from Ballard Designs (marked down 50%!). My goal in this teeny, tiny room (11' x 11.5') was to make the furniture seem less imposing. Painting the piano a light color makes it take up less space, see. (Not really, it's an illusion.) The corners of the room were useless space before and now we have storage for our favorite books and games. I had the big canvas print of the family photo Melissa took last year made at Costco for pretty cheap. The baskets under that couch have my piano books in them.
I did have curtains up, but they started under the "eyebrow" of the window. Not great. The chairs were another purchase I made because they were cheap and we needed something to sit on in the front room. When the home teachers came, our whole family of five would cram into the chair and a half and the home teachers took the chairs. Elbows! The file cabinet was part of my brilliant plan to store my piano books for my students in file folders. When I got the drawers home I discovered they do not fit standard hanging files. The Worst.
I researched couches for a year before we bought these. They had to fit width-wise, but I didn't want them coming into the room too much, so they had to be shallow too. I wanted couches that didn't invite lounging. Sitting only. These are from Crate & Barrel and they are 33" deep (most couches are at least 36" deep). We went back and forth for a long time, then decided on one couch and one love seat in the same fabric (platinum). The curtains are from Ballard Designs and we placed the curtain rod above the window "eyebrow" to make the room seem taller/bigger. I put the same crown molding ledges up and the same photographs are in the room as well, with a few added.

I'm in this room a lot because I teach piano in here. Before we redecorated, the room made me grumpy. Now I love to be in it. All my favorite books and pictures are in the room. (I thought it would take pressure off the other bookshelves in the house, but somehow they're still full too. I may need a support group for people who buy pretty books.) Here are some of my favorite views of our front room:
Aren't those the most gorgeous books?! On the wall is a photo of my Grandpa Furniss as a baby with his parents.
This corner has my favorite pictures of Brian and me and my favorite books.
Looking out of the room you can see whichever quilt I have hanging up and a photo of my Grandma Furniss when she was a toddler (the bottom photo), and a photo of my Grandpa Furniss and his sister, Lola as toddlers. Lola introduced my Grandparents to each other. :)

That concludes our make-over tour for today. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

January 2017 Book Reports

That's right! I'm going to do book reports monthly again. They're for me. I love going back and reminding myself of the great, terrible, and in-between books I've read. It's happening. I'm including stand-out books I read with Emil and Colin (they are six years-old) and Bridget (she is 10 years-old).

1. Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer feast: 70 Simple Recipes and Crafts for Everyday Celebrations by Melissa Bahen
This is a cookbook, but it's also a tribute to family history. I cannot get enough of it. I have Swedish ancestors (on my maternal grandfather's side) and I have read a few Scandinavian novels. I'm fascinated by the style, the art and colors, and the connection to the ocean.

Bahen goes through uniquely Scandinavian celebrations and describes her Norwegian family gatherings, includes recipes and directions for crafts to make. I bought this book a few weeks before Christmas and right in time to have a St. Lucia celebration on December 13th. I had Bridget wear a white dress with a red sash, we decorated the table with a white tablecloth and green wreath and lots of sparkly votive candles. I made Swedish Meatballs (even though that wasn't part of St. Lucia in particular) and we had gingerbread cookies. It was fun to talk about traditions our ancestors had and the meatball recipe was so good.

I noticed after reading the book that my Christmas decorations and the colors I've used in my house (blue piano, red and white in almost every room) fit right in with the Scandinavian decor in the book. Strong vibes from my Swedish ancestors? I think so. :)

2. Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell
This is the true story of Jane Goodall. The illustrations are very sweet. At the end of the book there is a cute photo of little Jane with her stuffed chimpanzee. Since Goodall went on to fight to keep chimpanzees from becoming extinct, this book made me take a hard look at the boys' stuffed toys; Scooby-Doo, a T-Rex, a couple of bears, and Mike Razowski. What seeds am I planting, you guys?!

The book shows Jane's normal yard and home transforming into a jungle in her imagination. She was never afraid and she wanted to learn everything. That reminds me of Emil. :) At a book store a few weeks ago Colin was too afraid to ask one of the employees where the Pokemon books were. Emil walked right up to a guy and said, "My brother wants to know where the Pokemon books are." They have such different gifts! Anyway, Me...Jane is really great. The boys loved that it was a true story, too.

3. The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
I can't remember why I bought this. I think it was super cheap somewhere and I'd heard of Kate Grenville. I usually enjoy Man Booker Prize-winners, too. (I didn't realize when I got it that she'd won the prize for a different book.) The Lieutenant is about a young man, Daniel Rooke, who is very smart, but mostly awkward. He gets a very good education, but ends up going to war (navy) for the British during the American Revolution. (I couldn't think of a book I've read about the American Revolution that wasn't from the American perspective. Hmmm.) Rooke sees terrible things. He comes home injured and very shaken up.

One of Rooke's navy buddies, Silk, tells him about a ship headed for New South Wales, on the east side of Australia, to colonize. Rooke decides to go on this voyage as the astronomer. His mentor had predicted a comet even bigger than Halley's Comet and this would be a great place for an observatory.

Once the ships get to New South Wales, it's pretty grim. Rooke manages to convince the captain that he should build an observatory (i.e. get away from all the other people) farther inland so that he can watch for the comet. Rooke is also trained in linguistics, but he doesn't really think it will be part of his assignment. But of course, that is exactly what his calling turns out to be. The regiment doesn't see the native Aboriginal people living in their soon-to-be colony as human. Rooke begins communicating with a young Aboriginal woman - he teaches her English words and she teaches him her language.

"But language was more than a list of words, more than a collection of fragments all jumbled together like a box of nuts and bolts. Language was a machine. To make it work, each part had to be understood in relation to all the other parts."

When Rooke and the girl start understanding each other, he has a moment of joy and clarity. He recognizes that it is his calling to record this language, to understand them. Of course his captain is not on board, nor is anyone else. Rooke comes to a crossroads - he finds himself part of a "hunting" party with other soldiers to drive the natives off their land. There is a terrible moment when he has to choose between doing the job he was hired to do, or quitting and getting hanged. Reminds me of a scripture I read recently where in a lists of opposites was "joy and remorse of conscience." So the opposite of joy is regret. That spoke to me.

4. Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton by Meghan McCarthy
Betty Skelton rode motorcycles, raced cars, jumped out of airplanes, flew jets and helicopters. And she was a LADY in the 1930s! What is the meaning of this?! The illustrations in the book are great - lots of red and white, very whimsical. The writing isn't the best. I didn't like that McCarthy kept pointing out that Betty was fired BECAUSE SHE WAS A WOMAN. Or Betty couldn't be a pilot BECAUSE SHE WAS A WOMAN. I think I would have had a much better discussion with Emil and Colin if they'd had to ask the question, "Why was she fired?" or "Why couldn't she be a pilot?" Nothing to explore or talk about when the reason was stated so flatly on every other page.

I want to know more about Betty Skelton! I'm interested in interesting people. :) There were a few places where I thought more explanation was required. On one page Betty is shown as a 7 year-old kid "flying" an airplane while her Dad kept a lookout so she wouldn't get in trouble. I think she just sat in the cockpit of the plane, but the book made it sound like she actually flew the plane. When none of the other experiences were imaginary, it was odd to have that one thrown in without explaining that she got to pretend to fly. Again, though, the boys always like hearing true stories.

5. The Great Bicycle Experiment:The Army's Historic Black Bicycle Corps, 1896-97 by Kay Moore
In 1896 Lt. James Moss tried to get the Army to use bicycles instead of horses. He led an infantry of Buffalo Soldiers in Missoula, Montana and this all-black regiment made several experimental bicycle rides to see if bicycles were a viable option.

This is one of the books for Battle of the Books this year. Bridget is her team captain! She and I are reading some of the books on the list together. I found this story so fascinating, but Bridget and I agree that it is one of the most boring books we've ever read together. The writing is not up to the story.

The Bicycle Corp. rode to Yellowstone (fun pictures) and from Missoula to St. Louis, 2000 miles! It's truly an amazing story. They had to be in amazing physical condition. The Army ended up passing on using bicycles for the main transportation, though.

6. The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough
I'm a huge David McCullough fan and I'm visiting New York City for the first time in a few months. One of our activities is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, so I wanted to do some research. (The other day Bridget commented that Brian and I sure are doing a lot of studying for our vacation. Hahahahaha! I want to have an immersive experience, what can I say?) I listened to this book and I probably should have read a hard copy. I need to see pictures of a caisson. I don't get it.

Every time McCullough was recounting the human parts, the political machinations behind getting the bridge built, the absolute decency of Washington Roebling, the role Emily Roebling played, the con artists who tried to make a buck... that's when I was so interested that everything else in life took a backseat. A guy won the bid for the cables that would hold up the bridge and he went to very great pains to deliver inferior cables that hadn't passed the inspection. WHY?! Why on earth would you risk killing or injuring hundreds of people? Of toppling a work of art that had already taken 12 years to get this far? People who work so hard to deceive and make a quick dollar are the dumbest.

I heard a lot about caissons and Caisson Disease (The Bends). I think I might have it. I shouldn't joke. It was interesting to see the doctors and Roebling and the other engineers trying to figure out what was going on with workers who were having paralysis, headaches, memory loss - all hours and sometimes days after they'd been working dozens of feet underwater in the caissons. They'd get "this close" to figuring it out, but never all the way. Washington Roebling was one of the most tragic victims of Caisson Disease (several guys died from it - including his father, John Roebling, who was the original architect of the Brooklyn Bridge, but he didn't live to see even the first pillar coming out of the water). He still had everything in his head, though. And Emily Roebling became an engineer and ambassador for her husband as a result of his disease. Theirs was a pretty inspiring marriage. It's my favorite to read about and know couples who become better because they are together. The Roeblings weren't competing for attention or recognition, they were trying to build a bridge that would stand the test of time and elements. Emily did what she had to do to help her husband execute his vision.

I'm so excited to see the Brooklyn Bridge in person! McCullough is the master at conveying the emotion of historical events. One of my favorite parts of the book was his chapter on the ceremony for the official opening of the bridge. They had no microphones, so people (of which there were thousands) who were sitting more than 50 feet away couldn't hear a word. Back in that day, speeches would go on for HOURS. (We got a taste of that at the Golden Spike reenactment a few years ago. The humanity! Stop talking!!) The crowd got very restless because all these old guys were going on and on and finally a trumpet player got up and played the Star Spangled Banner. He was cheered and cheered (people could hear him!). The guy played an encore. More cheering! The next speaker pulled the guy off stage before a third song and the smiling trumpet player started playing a song off stage, which delighted President Chester Arthur and many people in the audience. Ha! Fun.

Truly, the Brooklyn Bridge is a triumph.

7. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett illustrated by Jon Klassen
I bought this book for Emil for Christmas in 2015. (I always get the kids a book for Christmas.) The story of boys digging a hole speaks to Emil. :) Sam and Dave vow to not stop digging until they find something "spectacular." Every time they decide to start digging in a different direction, we pan out to see that they are a few shovels-full of dirt away from a huge jewel. Emil and Colin both go crazy when they see that jewel! The three of us end up laughing hysterically every time we read it. Then Emil talks about digging holes every day for a week. :)

Year of the Rooster

I had a story assignment at the Community Chinese New Year Celebration at Skyridge High School last weekend. There was so much to do and the kids were INTO it. I took a lot of photos. I've already wrung 300 words out of this, so I don't have much to add, but I would like to write that I love taking my kids to do stuff and see stuff. They are always interested and "all in" when we are having an adventure. I saw and heard many kids screeching at their parents that they wanted to go home and mine were busy planning what we were going to do first, second and third. I really love Bridget, Emil, and Colin, but I also like them and being with them. To the photos!
This one ended up on the front page of the paper. Someday their grandchildren will be looking through the archives of the Lehi Free Press from 2016 to 2017 and be able to find a photo of grandma or grandpa in almost every issue. Ha!
Emil insisted on going back to try on the smaller lion since he couldn't carry the bigger one.
Painting terra cotta soldiers. Bridget and Colin were super careful and Emil was done first. :)
Bridget chose the Chinese characters for "Brave." We think. It probably says "Girl with Freckles."
I took a video of them learning a fan dance and I watched it 100 times. I was sitting in front of the mirror they're looking into and they forgot I was there. Best time to observe. :)
So cute. Skyridge is the biggest high school I've ever been in. I enjoyed high school, but I think I would have retreated way into my shell if I'd gone to a school as big as Skyridge. I can feel the anxiety of many young people every time I'm there. They do have a very clean, very nice building, though.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ski Weekend

Brian's Christmas present for the boys was ski lessons. He scheduled the first two lessons on the first Friday and Saturday in January thinking they were still on Winter Break from school. Instead, we had to take the kids out of school, BUT it was totally worth it.

I do not ski. I carried the bags, took the pictures and cried the Olympic happy tears. It took a lot to get the boys situated the first day, but then Bridget and Brian went off to the lift and I went to the Alta Grill to watch out the windows. My first view of Brian and Bridget coming back in was this:
I knew they weren't talking to each other, and yet they were communicating. Something about watching them skiing together made me teary. They've been going together for five years. Bridget is a good little skier now - she doesn't care to go fast, she wants to make the turns and learn how to do everything. Brian patiently follows her. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Then they get on the lift where Bridget can open her chatterbox until they get to the top. They went down a few Black Diamond runs together - Bridget has complete trust in her Dad. I do too.

I went to see what the boys were up to over at the Magic Carpet for a minute.

They'd ski down on either side of that conveyor belt (the "Magic Carpet"), then get back on it to the top.
Their instructors are giving them snowballs to hold as they ski down. For balance, maybe? I know nothing.
It was only in the single digits while we were there the first day, so Brian and Bridget came in to warm up.
After a very expensive lunch at the Alta Grill (we are such amateurs), Brian and the kids got bundled back up and we all went to the tow rope. (I inadvertently ended Colin's lesson early when I called to him and waved from the balcony 10 minutes before he was supposed to finish. He saw me, waved excitedly, took off his skis and left them where he was standing and ran into the building to get me. Ha!)
Skiing is a bit like bowling for Colin.
Emil struggled a lot that first day - he fell and fell and fell. Colin seemed to pick it right up. Emil always got up when he fell, though, and he couldn't wait to try again. It's his best "feature," as Bridget says. :)
Brian is the World's Best Backward Skier. :)
My favorite. 

We got to our hotel at about 3:00 and all three of the kids were laughing and bouncing around with happiness. Our room was on the top floor, so we had a great view. We hurried and dressed for the pool. Because it's always Go Time.
The pizza we ordered (after a few hours at the pool) took forever and I think we could have eaten another pizza. (I did have carrot sticks and string cheese too, but they'd all worked so hard that they couldn't stop eating.)

Our second day at Alta was a lot like the first, but there were more people at the resort. Emil used all his experience from the first day to ROCK the second day. He made it onto the Red Team. I think Colin was still tired from the day before because he fell down more the second day. Even though they were both tired from their lessons, they were happy to go to the tow rope with Brian and Bridget again. 

We're already planning our ski trip for next year. It's our Thing. :)