Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Another Halloween has come and gone.  Our candy bowl was emptied to all the trick-or-treaters and then refilled with our own haul of goodies.  The kids spent hours canvassing the neighborhood with their friends.  What fun!

Caleb was the wolf from Hoodwinked.  He loves that movie, he'll even quote it if you'd like.  Do you see the resemblence?

Alyssa was a vampire.  I did a pretty lame job with her costume but she was happy anyway.

Natalie and Emma like to coordinate their costumes.  The other day Natalie told me that she would like to be a vet when she grows up.  That idea made for the perfect costume to go with Emma's dog ensemble.

She's a vet, not a doctor.

Oh boy, what a stash!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Most Perfect Saturday in Fall

There weren't many pumpkins in the patch--which was the main reason we went--but there sure was a lot of fun.

I was randomly picked from the crowd to be the "lucky" lady to "bless" the pig races with a ceremonial kiss.  I really didn't want to do it but I couldn't let the cheering crowd down.

They gave me a pig nose as souvenir for my services.

We soaked in the warm sunshine and stunning fall colors, then we went to the grocery store to get our pumpkins.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Rookie

I've never taken her gymnastics very seriously. She just sort of played around and taught herself some skills she'd seen the other girls do. Last May I finally gave in and let Natalie start training with me as a Level 4.

It's hard to be Mom and Coach at the same time.  As a coach, I only see flaws.  Being the perfectionist that I am, I am in the business of building state champions.  As a mom, I just want her to be a kid and with one serious gymnast in the house already, I wasn't exactly anxious for a second. (Holy moly it's expensive!)  And because I never wanted to be accused of giving my own daughter more attention than the other members of my team (I deal with a lot of CRAZY parents) I almost did the opposite and gave her less.  I think I wondered all along if she would actually go through with this whole competition thing.

She did and boy was she excited!  She wasn't as ready as the coach in me would have liked, but the mom in me could not have been more proud.  She's only six, so I'm hoping that she'll develop more body control but I see the potential.

Natty surprised us all with a 9 on vault!

She got a 7.7 on the floor, 8.1 on bars and a 7.0 on beam.  That's a 31.8 all-around which means she qualified for the sectionals meet.  I certainly wasn't expecting that!

Our veteran supporting our rookie:

I think it was hard for Alyssa to watch from the sidelines (she doesn't start competing until January), she's used to the gymnastics spotlight resting solely on her.  But she was very sweet and encouraging to her sister.

Way to go, Natalie!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend With the Cougars

"Mom, you so gotta blog about this!" said Caleb.

He's right, it's worthy of documentation.  It really was a most perfect weekend for a football-loving, Cougar-crazed family like us.  It's not every day that our team comes this close to home and we'd been looking forward to this game for months.

The kids had the day off of school (a state waiver day--whatever that means) which allowed us to get an earlier start on our fun.  How convenient.  We met Grandma, Grandpa, Chad and Amy in Portland to eat lunch at a favorite restaurant.  Then we continued south to Albany, Oregon and checked in to our hotel.  The kids headed straight for the pool.

That evening we made our way to the team fireside where the Stake Center was packed to standing room only.  What a neat experience it is to listen to the players speak not about football, but about truly important things.  Marcus Mathews spoke about standing in the light and being a light for others.  Eathyn Manumaleuna spoke about prayer.  Then there was a special musical number by several of the players, "Abide With Me."  Holly Mendenhall spoke about courage and standing up for what was right.  She was followed by the whole team singing, "We'll Bring the World His Truth"--my favorite primary song!  Bronco was the final speaker and he shared a message about how our faith in Christ can help us face every day with enthusiasm and optimism.  Great messages.

And then it was time for autographs!  First up, Josh Quezada:

Then Kyle Van Noy.  Caleb told him, "Please pick one for me tomorrow, OK?"  "I'll try," he replied.  Imagine our excitement when he kept that promise and saved an OSU touchdown!

Ross Apo:

Brian Kariya:

Not sure who that boy is in our family picture but at least he's sporting his BYU tie. :)

Love the Band of Brothers decals on the team busses.

We saw Jake Heaps--I find myself feeling sorry for him.  Seems like he's being a good sport about his less than ideal situation.

At last we were finally able to get to Bronco.  He'd been swarmed all night and was hurrying his way to the bus but when we asked for an autograph and photo, he willingly complied.  You can't see much of Caleb in this picture but I love that Bronco is using his scriptures to sign Caleb's "Y."  Find me another head football coach in the country that would be using scriptures to sign autographs!

And finally, McKay Jacobsen.

As we were walking to our car the busses passed by.  Caleb was jumping and waving wildly.  It looks like Grandma may have been, too. :)

On Saturday morning we made the short drive (25 min.) to Corvallis for the tailgate and big game.  Corvallis is a beautiful little college town and it was a simply perfect fall day.

We stopped in at "Cougar Town" (held at the Corvallis Stake Center) to tailgate with BYU Alum.

Caleb's shoes kept coming untied so his little sister decided to lend a hand.  So cute.

Jon and Caleb threw the football...

...and then it was time for some face painting.  Caleb decided on a full face job.  The girls were much more dainty.

Then Cosmo arrived and signed Caleb's ball.

The Cougarettes put on a little show.  They're good dancers and all--National Champions, in fact--But I have to admit that I was a bit sad that the cheerleaders didn't come to this game.

After the tailgate we all piled in one car--illegally--to catch a shuttle (school bus) from the fairgrounds.  This was about the time I started getting nervous.  Uncle Chad and I had an ongoing banter about who is the number one fan.

Reser stadium is nice and in a really beautiful setting.  We sat smack in the middle of a sea of orange.  I heard one or two religious slurs but overall, I found the Oregon State fans to be very nice and welcoming.  I've been in hostile stadiums before but thankfully, this was not one of them.

We didn't get to sit in the BYU section--that would've been fun--but we still had good seats.

I was a nervous wreck throughout the game.  So glad the Cougs pulled it off.  SO glad we got to see it live!

BYU 38, Oregon State 28.  Ah, sweet victory!

Lots of BYU fans played around on the practice field after the game.  Caleb tried a field goal or two.

And all the kids took at a shot at the tackling dummies.

The kids hit the pool one more time before we all fell into bed that night.  I was the first to wake up on Sunday morning and when I stepped out of the shower, I saw this:

Caleb had taken a shower after swimming the night before and must have made his mark on the mirror.  It  reappeared every time the mirror fogged over but once the condensation cleared, you couldn't see it anymore.  Hope the maids use some good window cleaner or the next guests will be getting a fun message every time they use the shower. :)

I'm so proud to be a Cougar.  What a great weekend.

In the end, I did concede the number one title to Chad.  I'm OK being number two.  But Caleb thinks he may bump us both down a spot.  And he may be right.

Go Cougars!