Saturday, March 29, 2014

Catch Me If You Can

This was our view for many of the weekends in March. Bowen ran for the Westover 7th grade team and Corbin was on the JV Randall High School team. Both boys did awesome!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Early Birthday Wish Fulfilled

Rex's birthday is coming up. He is going to be 11, and he has been telling me for quite some time that all he wants for his birthday is a "pet". Many times we have discussed what kind of pet he might like. We weren't open to getting another dog. I am allergic to cats. We had a bad experience with fish years ago before Rex was even born. So we started branching out in our research on low maintenance pets.
Some of the front runners were as follows.
First, we have the hermit crab. Quiet and unassuming. These little guys don't need much attention. You just have to provide them progressively bigger shells to move into as they grow. Not a lot of interaction though. We also heard they don't always last a long time. (I guess that could be a pro depending how you look at it.)
We also looked at leopard geckos. These lizard-esque creatures don't get too huge and they can even climb the walls. To tell you the truth, they creeped me out a little bit with the sticky feet. I vetoed them once and for all knowing we would have to feed them LIVE bugs. Eeewww.
 Next, we actually came close to getting a turtle. I found one on craigslist with a tank and everything. In the end, it was a no. The need to clean the tank and again with the live food, we opted out.

And so after much deliberation and study, we settled on a little rodent. I couldn't get excited about a mouse or a hamster. We actually liked the idea of a little chinchilla. This is the kind of picture I found online as I had never seen one in the flesh. They are supposed to have the softest fur of any mammal.
I had been watching craigslist for pets, and Theo and I had visited some pet stores in town. A few weeks before Rex's birthday, I can across an ad for a baby chinchilla that was 16 weeks old. I exchanged emails with the people, and we arranged to come see the little animal on our way back from a track meet in Dumas.

Bowen was the only kid with us when we arrived at the home of the chinchilla owners. It was an interesting home. When we pulled into the driveway, there was a small pack of dogs in the yard. The man greeted us in the front as they were moving things into the yard for a yard sale the next day. He ushered us into the house where we were greeted by his wife and a myriad of animals. There were cages everywhere, and the smell was a little overwhelming. There were dogs and cats in pet carriers and baby playpens. The living room was dominated by two especially large cages stacked on top of each other. The top contained an enormous prairie dog, the lower held two ferrets.

The older couple proceeded to tell us all about their efforts to rescue animals and find good homes for them. It is their passion. They were very knowledgeable about what the animals should eat and how they behave. At one point, the woman removed the prairie dog from its cage and encouraged Bowen to pet him. He very reluctantly obliged to stroke Nutter Butter a couple of times. We asked to see the chinchilla which had to be fetched from a back room in the house. I admit I was a little surprised by its size when I first saw it. Since it was still a baby, I was expecting something a little smaller. Bowen held it and happily stroked her soft fur. Theo and I asked to see the mom to get a feel for the full grown size. Think small-medium sized rabbit. After a few minutes of lecture on chinchilla care, we agreed to take her and quickly loaded her into the plastic crate we had brought. Off we went.

By the time we got home, all of the other kids were in bed. Bowen went in to his room and reported back that Rex was still awake. I went back to his room to invite him to meet his new pet. To my great surprise, the bedroom was immaculate! One of the things we had discussed with Rex in the preceding weeks was the need to keep his room cleaner if he was going to care for an animal. He had picked that night while we were gone to get the room clean (without prodding). I was so shocked! Especially since he didn't know we were bringing his pet home with us. Bonus! I told him to get out of bed to come and meet someone.

Rex was excited!

So was Ruby!

Since we hadn't purchased the chinchilla's permanent home yet, we put him in a dog cage and let him hop around for about 30 minutes. It was late, and we finally scooted the kids off to bed and put the new little pet in the family room for the night.

In the morning, Bowen came into my bathroom as I was just getting out of the shower. "Mom, the chinchilla isn't in its cage." WHAT?! A frenzied early morning hunt ensued for the little critter which fortunately was still in the family room as we had closed all the doors. We quickly got her back into the cage and then proceeded to watch her easily push right through the bars! This was a problem. For that morning, she had to go back in the plastic tote we had used to carry her in the car. At lunch, I made a quick trip to Petsmart to obtain a suitable home.

After much deliberation (and a veto of the name "Nightmare"), Rex settled on the name Sam for this little girl. Welcome to the family!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

By the Numbers

This Pinewood Derby car brings our count to an even dozen! Yes, Theo has carved, sanded, painted, sanded again, glued and polished TWELVE of these cars with his 4 boys over the course of 8 years!
Rex designed and honed this gem. With reserved excitement, he told me that he hoped that he would be in at least the top eight (not sure where that number came from).
As we arrived at the Derby, we discovered that not only were we  quite a bit over the weight limit, but that there were also no tools provided this year. Theo made a frantic dash to a nearby Lowes to grab a couple of supplies including the essential graphite for the wheels. We got everything fixed up, on weight and ready to go in the nick of time.
Then, just as we were awaiting the first races to begin, Corbin texts to let us know that he is about to race in the mile. Thinking it was going to be much later in the evening, we hadn't anticipated the need to divide our forces for the day. Nonetheless, we rolled with it. Theo made a quick exit to the track meet while I stayed to cheer on Rex in our last Pinewood Derby.
With the computerized track, we had no idea where Rex fell in the overall standings as his car zoomed down the track. He won only one heat. However, because they go by average time, he was delighted when they announced his name as the third place overall winner out of about 40 cars! Yay! Way to go Rex!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Goofy Foot

This is what can happen when I am trying to do too many things at the same time. I literally left for work wearing two different shoes! Not only that, but I was riding with my boss on our way to another town to give presentations all day! Luckily, I noticed my error as we were pulling out from my house, and I was able to quickly run back to get matched up. What a goof!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Combined Creative Craftiness

It is always a challenge to find fun, engaging and spiritual activities each Wednesday night for our youth. I think it is especially hard for combined young men and young women. You have little boys, maturing girls, bigger boys, an occasional man child and everything in between. It's a real mix of ages, personalities, preferences and ideas.
This month, we had a cake decorating challenge with a Book of Mormon twist. We divided the kids into 4 teams, each received an unfrosted cake that was already baked. We offered an assortment of decorating materials like frosting, cookies, wafers, candies, sprinkles and the like. Next, each group was assigned a Book of Mormon story to depict on their cake. They were not allowed to use any words or symbols.
Watching them attack the challenge was a lot of fun on its own. I flitted from group to group listening in as they negotiated, brainstormed and sometimes even argued about how to execute their task. There were certainly some stronger personalities that asserted themselves. There were also some creative types that waded in more than they may have in other settings. It got a little messy in some cases, both figuratively and literally!
When they were finished creating their masterpieces, they recounted their scripture story to the group and submitted their work for judging by the bishopric.
Here are the results of their labors. I have captioned the finished cakes with the scripture story they represent.


Moroni and the Title of Liberty

Samuel the Lamanite Preaches from the Wall

The Brother of Jared Builds Barges

Lehi's Dream of the Iron Rod