Saturday, August 30, 2008

Firsts and Lasts

Ryan has had some fun firsts and lasts during the past week. Last Friday night, he attended his first slumber party! His friend Zachary invited four friends to come for pizza, go swimming at the rec center, and then sleep over. I have not allowed sleepovers until now, but Zachary’s parents are good friends of mine, and I knew the boys would be well supervised. It sounds like they had a lot of fun, although, as expected, they didn’t get much sleep.

Friday was the last day of swimming lessons for the summer. The rec center has them throughout the year, so Ryan wants me to see when they are offered. We may pick up a few sessions between soccer and baseball. Ryan completed level four, but we think we’ll have him take it again just to develop the strokes a little more. He learned the front and back crawl, the breaststroke, the backstroke, and the butterfly. Look at that form!Ryan has a little bit of anxiety, especially when it concerns new and unfamiliar things. I guess we all do to some extent. Last Monday, August 25, was the first day of school. Papa came and gave Ryan his annual back-to-school blessing, which helped Ryan feel more calm and confident about things. Ryan’s school has a big welcome assembly outside on the first day of school, and most parents attend. I asked Ryan if he wanted me to go with him, and he said he did.

As we walked to the area where the 3rd graders were lining up, I started hearing all kinds of little-girl voices yelling “Ryan!” “Ryan!” We went over to Ryan’s class area, where he met all of his girl friends. (I must point out that I’m using TWO words to say girl friends. MUCH different from girlfriends!) He started talking with them, and I walked over to where the rest of the parents were standing. I could hear Ryan talking, and then a lot of giggling, then Ryan talking, then more giggling. He’s going to be just fine! Monday night we went to the last of this season’s World Stage Concerts at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. It was jazz night, and it was a lot of fun. Celina and Cecilia and Giovanni were able to come again, so the kids had fun playing while the moms talked and listened to great music. There was a fireworks show, but it was stopped after about six minutes. The wind was blowing, and some of the fireworks blew into a nearby field, starting a small fire. What an exciting evening!Tuesday was Ryan’s first soccer game of the season. The first game is always a little questionable, as everyone is getting back into the swing of things. The boys did great, and although Ryan didn’t score, he literally came within about a foot of scoring FOUR TIMES!!! Next time, for sure!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Final Celebrations of Summer

The past week has been full of festivals, concerts, parties, and trips to the zoo, the county fair, and Lagoon as we wrapped up the summer.

Rara and Papa took Ryan to the county fair, where Ryan’s favorite thing was the “critter booth.” Ryan held a scorpion and a tarantula, but Rara and Papa also got into the action holding a very large snake.
On Saturday, August 16, we made a trip to Hogle Zoo and to the Italian Festival with our friends, Kristin and Abby. We rode on the new carousel, and loved seeing all of the animals. We were able to see the white crocodile again…we thought he’d be gone by now! The Italian Festival was a lot of fun. We had awesome lasagna and pizza and gelato. Ryan and Abby had fun on the bouncy slide – Ryan showed his adventurous and entertaining side, as usual. Speaking of entertaining, Ryan learned a little bit of the Italian national anthem when we were in Italy. He has learned to burst into song at opportune moments. We had been talking with an Italian grandpa at the festival. We knew he’d like Ryan’s rendition, so Ryan sang for him. The little grandpa grabbed Ryan’s face in his hands and started jabbering in Italian, then kissed Ryan on the top of the head. It was really cute. Italian Grandpa gave us a couple of Italy magazines.

Ryan found another opportune moment on Monday, August 18, at the World Stage Concert at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. Even though it was the Native American concert, there was a man there selling gelato. As it became our turn to order, Ryan burst into song. Mr. Gelato started saying, “Bellisimo!” and then asked Ryan what his favorite gelato flavor was. Ryan got free gelato for his song! I’m tellin’ ya – if you ever need to borrow my kid for free Italian stuff, let me know! (Oh, he also sings the “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a” song for free Hawaiian stuff.)

The concert was wonderful. It was Nino Reyos, the Native American flute player who has performed all over, including during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake. He played a few pieces, then emceed the rest of the evening of drum circles and dancing. There was an amazing hoop dancer that mesmerized the kids. It was fun to have Celina and her kids there again. Ryan and Giovanni took money up to the hoop dancer on stage, and then all three kids (Ryan, Giovanni, and Cecilia) danced with the dancers. They had a lot of fun. Ryan also finished level 4 in swimming, but the pictures of his last couple of days of class are on my new camera! I'll post them after I have time to figure out how to upload them. :)

Now we’re ready to get back into the routine of the school year!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Future Olympian?

Four years ago during the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Ryan became fascinated with Michael Phelps. Yes, Ryan was only four years old, but every time the TV showed the Olympic swimming pool, Ryan would say, “Is that Michael Phelps?” If it was an event in which Michael Phelps was participating, my little four-year-old would be glued to the TV until the event ended. Ryan had just started taking swimming lessons, and would tell me that he was Michael Phelps every time he was in the pool! Fast forward to now – the 2008 Olympics in Bejing. Four more years of Ryan taking swimming lessons and becoming a better swimmer; four more years of Ryan understanding the significance of the Olympics and of the difficulty of the events; four more years for Michael Phelps to prepare for this moment. Once again, whenever the TV shows the pool, Ryan asks if it is one of Michael Phelps’ events. Actually, most of the time, he knows exactly when Michael Phelps will be swimming. If he is, we stay home and watch the event.

Did you hear us screaming on Sunday night when the men won the 4 x 100 relay (or on Friday night when Michael won the 100 meter Butterfly by 1/100 of a second, for that matter)? We were. Ryan has been doing his imitation of Michael Phelps after the relay win all week. (Even if you didn’t see the event, I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures. This one was from
Most of you know that Ryan has a love of superheroes. He has several superhero costumes, and rotates through them. Although I haven’t let him see the new Batman movie, he has spent much of the summer in his Batman costume. So we chuckled when my mom saw this Bagley cartoon in the Salt Lake Tribune this week…
Oh, and this is the wallpaper on Ryan’s laptop…
Ryan is a great little swimmer. Since he was a baby, we’ve spent time in the water, and he has a love of the water and an innate comfort in the water. He loves swimming lessons, and is pretty consistently the best swimmer in class. In fact, his teacher last session wrote on his final evaluation: “Ryan has the best front crawl that I have seen all summer!” He was pretty happy about that. Today Ryan’s teacher told the class that they would be starting on the Butterfly stroke. She mentioned that it was a difficult stroke, but that they needed to have a good attitude and try it. Ryan immediately answered, “Michael Phelps does the Butterfly stroke!” Yes, he does. And if Michael Phelps does it, Ryan will do it.

Here are some fun pictures of Ryan’s swimming lessons throughout the summer…

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rescue Heroes

If you have a boy between the ages of 3 and 10, you probably have at least one “Rescue Hero” action figure in your home. There are police officers, fire fighters, and all sorts of other rescue personnel. (Interestingly, I’m not sure if there are female figures available for any of them.) The figures at our house have helped my young man act out many different scenarios where he helps others.

Last Wednesday evening when Ryan and I were getting home from cub scouts, we saw a baby bird in our gutter! We parked the car and went over to check it out. We have a nest in one of our trees in front (not this nest in our cherry tree in the back yard), and have already had two baby birds fall out and die. We were determined to save this one.

There was only one problem. Well, two really. First, the tree was so thick with leaves, we had no idea where the nest was. Second, I was expecting several people at my house for a cub scout pack planning meeting. A few neighbor kids were outside (including the kids of a couple people coming to the meeting). So they formulated a plan to save the baby bird.

As we started the meeting, the kids took turns climbing a ladder and pulling leaves and small branches to try to find the nest. They came into the house periodically to give us updates. (Moms, rest assured that they were given gloves and told not to touch the bird unless they were wearing gloves.) I wanted to go out with my camera and take pictures of all of them working so hard out there, but didn’t want to disrupt the meeting. About the time we were finishing, the kids came in and told us that they had found the nest, and had gently lifted the bird back into the nest. They were all so proud! Our own little neighborhood rescue heroes!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Summer Concerts and Festivals

I know…I’m SO behind! We’ve been having so much fun DOING things that I haven’t had a chance to blog about them! Here’s a quick update of some of our fun activities the past couple of weeks.

On Monday, August 4, we continued the Worldstage Concert Series at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center with Kristin and Abby. This concert was “Jimmy G Pop,” who was hilarious! He had some pretty funny songs about respect and other necessary life skills. The kids loved his creative clothes, hats to match his songs, and lyrics. Ryan and Abby danced (and played air guitar) and laughed the whole time, and Kristin and I laughed the whole time watching them!
It was also the community night against crime, so Ryan and Abby enjoyed meeting MacGruff.
August 7-9 was the 20th annual Summerfest in Bountiful. It is amazing to think that it has been going that long. We were reminiscing that we were a host family for some of the dancers from the very first year, and we continued as hosts for a few subsequent years. We remembered the year that we hosted the Greek dancers – everyone thought that Marc was one of them! Everywhere we went, people would come up and start talking to him in Greek! I’ll see if I can find some pictures from those years. That was a lot of fun.

This year, we attended Summerfest on both Friday and Saturday. The countries have different programs each day, and there were a couple that we wanted to see again. We were particularly entertained by a little boy with the Greek group. His name was Lambrose. He was absolutely adorable! Our favorite performers were the Greek group and the Costa Rican group.

We also enjoyed eating a couple of meals there. It’s always fun to try some of the new foods they have in the booths there. A friend and former co-worker and his wife own a Scandinavian gift shop in Centerville. It’s always fun to see him in his liederhosen.
Ryan’s favorite part of Summerfest is the Children’s Art Yard. He always enjoys making fun projects there. This year he made a wreath crown, like those that were given to the athletes at the 2004 Olympics in Greece, a Chinese dragon, and some Chinese character paintings. There is always face (body?) painting available. This year Ryan chose a Chinese dragon up his arm!
During Summerfest, there was also an International Convention being held. Part of that was the display of a Chinese brocade loom in the South Davis Recreation Center. Every day as we went for Ryan’s swimming lessons and my workouts, we checked the progress of the work on the loom. It was amazing!
We were also able to see one of the Olympic torches on display!
Monday, August 11, was another fun concert in the Worldstage Concert Series. Kristin and Abby were unable to attend, but we had been spreading the word about these fun concerts, and were joined by some other friends! My former co-worker, Celina, and her kids Cecilia and Giovanni joined us, as well as Celina’s nephew, Antonio (from Cancun, Mexico!). I hope Celina doesn’t mind me sharing this, but a couple of years ago, Antonio’s family lost many of their possessions in a hurricane. It was right before Christmas. Many of you know that right before the holidays every year, Ryan and I go through his toys and choose some to give away. Most years, we have taken them to a women’s & children’s shelter here in Bountiful. That year, we took the opportunity to send some of Ryan’s clothes and toys to Antonio. It was SO fun to meet him in person and know that we helped him and his family get back to normal after such a devastating event!
The concert was “The Soul Survivors.” Michael, who introduces the performers each week, kept stressing what a famous group they were (although we had never heard of them). They were great, and we had a lot of fun dancing to all of their music.

The kids decided that they wanted to go right down to the stage and dance. They all took the cameras and had fun being paparazzi.