Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I know I was on a roll there with posts, and now there hasn't been a post for an entire week. I'm sorry. I received my comprehensive exam questions last Tuesday, and life has been crazy since. Stay soon as I feel on top of my comps, I'll be posting: Ryan's Arrow of Light ceremony, Frances' graduation from Weber State University, Ryan's first scout overnighter, our family celebration of Ryan's birthday and Easter, and then both of those actual holidays. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Little Athlete is Being Recruited!

Many of you have seen the video that I made of one of Ryan’s swim meets. I posted it on Facebook last week. I tried to upload it to the blog, but it kept telling me it was loading, but never finished loading. I’ll try again…sometime.

A high school friend of mine is the meet director for swimming at the Utah Summer Games. He made a comment on my video encouraging Ryan to come and swim at the Summer Games. A few days later, HE CALLED ME! He said, “I would REALLY, REALLY like Ryan to come and swim in the Utah Summer Games!” Yes, Ryan is not even 11 years old, and he is being recruited. :)

We talked things through, and my friend really encouraged Ryan to swim in EVERY EVENT in his age group (a total of 15 events). He let me know that he is fairly confident that Ryan would medal if he participated in all of the events in his age group. He especially encouraged Ryan to swim in the 1500 event (mile). Ryan swims a mile almost every day in practice, but has not yet competed in that event.

When I talked to Ryan about it, I reminded him that there are even Opening Ceremonies, complete with the Athletes March. The athletes enter the stadium (by event) and walk around the track. When I told Ryan that, he said, “Oh, good! That will be good practice for the Olympics!” Gotta love that confidence!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ryan for Student Council

Ryan is running for student council at school. The kids have to make their posters AT SCHOOL, and only with materials provided AT SCHOOL. However, they may use images downloaded from the internet. We can do that. ;)

Here you go, Ry! Love you! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Swim Team Party and Awards

Wednesday, April 13, was the end-of-short-course-season party for the Tsunami swim team. About 85 swimmers from the team attended! They started at the pool with an egg dive. The eggs had numbers on them, which corresponded to prizes. Ryan ended up with one of the grand prizes for his age group – an Easter “goodie bag” filled with a chocolate bunny (Ryan could have stopped there and been happy), markers, a huge bubble wand, those tubes of rubber bubbles, and a bunch of other stuff. He was pretty happy.

While the kids were doing the egg dive, I was one of the parents who set up the food. The team provided about 15 large pizzas and 2 sheet cakes, and then each swimmer brought a food contribution – chips, salad, fruit tray, veggie tray, etc. There was A LOT of food there! I have never seen 15 pizzas disappear so quickly! It seemed like only about 3 minutes from the stacks of full pizza boxes on the table to turn to stacks of empty pizza boxes on the floor!

Here are a few pictures of Ryan with some of his friends…

The swimmers were awarded their medals and ribbons from the Park City meet, the BC meet, and the State meet. Ryan ALMOST looks like Michael Phelps with his collection of medals!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rara’s Birthday Celebrations ~ April 3 – April 8, 2011

We started celebrating Rara’s birthday early this year! Marc, Frances, Alice, Claire, Ryan and I went to Rara’s & Papa’s on Sunday, April 3, for our family get-together. Marc & Frances did the majority of the dinner, which was yummy!

We had fun relaxing and watching General Conference…

Ryan, Alice & Claire worked on their General Conference packets. Ryan loves that the girls are old enough for them all to color together.
And we all LOVED the molten chocolate lava cake!

On Rara’s actual birthday, Frances had a bridal shower for her sister-in-law-to-be. The rest of us went to Joy Luck restaurant and had a great time celebrating. Happy birthday, Rara!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading Week

The week of March 28 to April 1 was Reading Week/Literacy Week at Ryan’s school (actually, throughout the state, I think). Ryan’s school had fun activities like “Word Shirt Day” and “dress as your favorite book character day” (Ryan dressed as Will from The Ranger's Apprentice). My favorite day was Wednesday, March 30 – “Breakfast with a Buddy.” We went to school 45 minutes early, had breakfast, and then read together for a while.

Ryan’s favorite thing was probably the “Literacy Landing” at his school by Chopper 5! View the news coverage here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Early April Fools’ Day?

Whenever I relate funny and/or amusing stories, my boss always asks, “Is there a video of that?” Wednesday, March 30, would have been a great day to have a head-cam. Since there is no video of the day, I’ll try to be as descriptive as I can. Sorry, no pictures either.

I drive carpool on Wednesdays. Ryan attends a school a little further away than our neighborhood school, so it takes us a while to drop off the other kids in the carpool and then make it home. Wednesdays he has scouts at 4:00, so it is usually pretty tight to get home, get him changed to his scout shirt, get his scout book, and get him to scouts on time. March 30 was particularly stressful, as I had the conference call for my PhD comprehensive exams at 4:00. I told Ryan that morning that we’d really have to hurry, and that I’d have to take him to scouts a few minutes early so I could make it home in time to call in and log in to the web conference.

The day was warm and sunny – a switch from the Utah Spring snow we had the days before and after. Ryan BEGGED to “shoot hoops” for “just a minute.” That should have been my first warning.

Ryan and Copper have this high-contact basketball routine. As Ryan shoots hoops, Copper plays an excellent defender, trying to prevent Ryan from shooting. (As I type this, I realize that I really do need to video one of their games.) As they were playing, apparently Copper just unexpectedly ran off.

A couple of minutes later, Ryan shot the ball, and it went into the yard. He noticed Copper near the house, and went to investigate. Copper was standing over a newly-killed RAT! I have lived in this house on and off since 1972, and I have NEVER seen a rat!

Copper was standing over it, but kind of pawing at it. I knew we had to dispose of it immediately, especially before we left. I didn’t want Copper to be left alone in the backyard with it. I asked Ryan to hold Copper back while I went for the garbage can, which was outside of our back gate at the time. I opened the gate to bring in the garbage can, and Copper went running by!!!

Copper has escaped the yard a handful of times, and once he’s gone, he is usually gone for a very long time. Ryan and I have spent many hours chasing him around the neighborhood. As he ran down the driveway, I came to the horrific realization that I would not likely be making it to my conference call on time.

About that time, I had a thought. Copper loves to go for rides in the car. I yelled, “Copper, do you want to go for a ride in the car?” He ran back up the driveway! I opened the car door, he jumped in, and I closed the car door. He looked at me with the most betrayed look on his face! I yelled to Ryan to get the leash, and we got him a bit more restrained.

While Ryan was holding the leash, I went to our shed to grab a shovel. The handle would not budge! It is a metal handle, and it appeared to have rusted a little bit during the winter. We still had two snow shovels out, so I grabbed one of those.
For those of you who don’t know, Ryan and I both have extremely weak stomachs. That has caused many humorous scenarios over the years. I won’t go into great detail, but let’s just say that we both get grossed out pretty easily. Ryan held Copper on the leash as I tried to pick up the rat in the snow shovel. (I’m seriously grossing myself out just typing this again.) After a couple of minutes, I realized I was not going to be able to do it.

Ryan is greatly motivated by money. Sometimes that really concerns me, but in this case, it came in handy. I offered Ryan $10 to pick up the rat with the shovel and carry it to the garbage can. He handed me Copper’s leash, and he did it! Ryan carried the rat in the snow shovel to the garbage can, while I held on to Copper, who was still trying to jump up to see the rat. Those few steps, with us both maneuvering across the yard with crazy animals, was probably quite a sight, too!

We went inside and washed (scrubbed raw, really) our hands, Ryan put on his scout shirt, and I took him to scouts. Believe it, or not, he was on time for scouts, and I was on time for my conference call!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

BYU Basketball Team in the Sweet 16!

It’s likely that all of our blog followers know that we’re BYU fans. If you live anywhere near us, the Y Banner flying on game day probably gives it away. This has been an exciting basketball season, and we have been hopeful that the team would go far. As I mentioned in the last post, we enjoyed watching the BYU-Wofford game (the first round of the NCAA tournament – BYU won 74-66) at the Legends Grille on the BYU campus, and we listened to the BYU-Gonzaga game (the second round of the NCAA tournament – BYU won 89-67) driving home from Provo.

On Thursday, March 24, BYU played Florida in the Sweet 16! We had a fun family party watching it, complete with blue and BYU-themed food. Sadly, the Cougars lost 83-74 in overtime. We made some of the same comments about the Cougars in the Sweet 16 as we did with Ryan going to the State Swimming Championships. We were excited that the athletes we cheer for made it as far as they did!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

State Swimming Championships/Junior Olympics ~ March 17-19

I included this information in my last post in describing Ryan’s “BC meet.” But it’s somewhat necessary to include it in this post as well. Swimming times are divided into three different categories: “A” times, which qualify swimmers for the highest level of championships; “BC” times, which qualify swimmers for the “back-up championships” (Ryan’s description); and then “All Times,” which consist of everything else. This division is the same for all levels of swimmers, whether it’s those attempting to qualify for the Olympics and other national and international competitions, as well as younger kids trying to make it to the State Championships/Junior Olympics.

Ryan’s best stroke is the butterfly. He made an “A” time in the butterfly, which qualified him for the State Championships/Junior Olympics, held March 17-19 at BYU. His coach also signed him up for three relays. Warm-ups and preliminaries started at 7:30 am every morning. We were concerned about what time we’d have to get up every morning in order to be at the pool by 7:30. We were also worried about possible weather complications. So we made the few days of the championships a little “stay-cation.” In addition, my LAST TWO COURSES of my PhD program officially end 3/18 (but both instructors offered extensions of a couple of days, knowing my commitments this weekend). I decided it would be worth it to be able to spend a couple of extra hours a day working on school work rather than driving back and forth.

Ryan and I drove to Provo Wednesday, March 16, at about 6:00 (when he was finished with scouts and we had eaten dinner). We dropped Copper off at Coddled Critters, and then drove to Provo. Per Ryan’s request, we stopped at Krispy Kreme for doughnuts. We checked into our hotel and then went to check out the pool so we could go directly there Thursday morning.

Thursday morning (March 17), we were up at 6:00, at breakfast at 7:00, and at the pool at 7:30. Rara & Papa drove down and met us at the pool. Ryan did pretty well in his butterfly, making about the same time as he did in qualifying. He ended in 23rd place. However, that is for ALL of the 8-10 year old boys in the state. We were pretty pleased with his results. We know he did his best.

After his morning events, we had several hours until the evening events began. We went to the BYU bookstore, where Ryan received his “medal” from mom – a Jimmer Fredette basketball jersey. I had told Ryan that I’d buy him one just for making it to State. Ryan’s other request was lunch at his favorite restaurant, Brick Oven. Interestingly, several of his Tsunami teammates and their families were there. We decided that everyone was “carb loading” before the evening events.

Thursday afternoon we were back at the pool at 4:00 for warm-ups. Ryan swam the butterfly in the 200 medley relay with three other teammates. They finished in 10th place!

Ryan was thrilled to discover that the BYU football team was holding their spring practice right across the parking lot from where we were. The practice field is surrounded by fencing and very thick bushes. However, we could watch it perfectly from the Richards Building balcony!

As we were leaving the Richards Building (the pool), we walked by the Legends Grille, where the BYU basketball game was on! BYU was playing Wofford in the first round of the NCAA tournament. We ate dinner and watched the game there, cheering for the Cougars with about 100 BYU students. It was a lot of fun, but Ryan LOVED it!

We also spent some time walking around the museum area of the building, admiring the Heisman trophy, the National Championship trophy, and many other sports memorabilia items.

On Friday, March 18, we went to the Carl Bloch exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art. It was wonderful! Ryan especially enjoyed the iPad app, which provided additional information, videos, and 360-degree views of the churches where the paintings are housed. (Photos from the LDS Church News website.)

We had lunch at one of Ryan’s other Provo favorites, the Creamery on 9th. He is always amazed when I remind him that it was Carson’s Market when I was at BYU, and it was where I did my weekly grocery shopping.

Once again, we were back at the pool at 4:00 Friday afternoon. Ryan and three other teammates swam the 400 freestyle relay, where they placed 9th.

We stopped at Wendy’s for dinner, where we also saw some teammates and their families. Papa had to drive home to take care of some things for his Young Adult ward, where he is still serving as the Bishop. Rara, Ry & I went back to our hotel, where I worked on my final papers for my two final courses of my PhD program!

Saturday, March 19, Ryan enjoyed his free time by…swimming in the hotel pool! He made friends with some other kids staying there, and had a great time relaxing in the water.

We checked out of the hotel and went on a driving tour around Provo. I showed Ryan all of my former apartments, as well as some of the main buildings on campus. We made another stop at the bookstore, and then had lunch at Brick Oven (yes, again). After lunch, we met Papa, who had driven back down to watch Ryan’s last event. Ryan and three teammates swam the 200 freestyle relay, where they placed 10th.

As we passed the Legends Grille, the next round of games in the NCAA tournament was on, with BYU playing Gonzaga. Ryan really wanted to have dinner at the Legends Grille again and watch this game. But since we were finished with swimming, we opted to drive home (with another stop at Krispy Kreme) and listen to the game in the car. BYU won, sending them to the Sweet 16 for the first time since Danny Ainge led the Cougars to the Sweet 16 in 1981. Yes, I remember it well.
It was so much fun cheering for Ryan at the State Championships/Junior Olympics! Even though he didn’t place high enough to earn any medals or ribbons, he had a great time. We kept saying what an honor it was for him to even be there! He did get a shirt with the State Championships/Junior Olympics logo on the front, and the names of all of his teammates who made it to State on the back, with a red dot by his name. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BC Short Course Championships ~ March 11 & 12, 2011

Swimming times are divided into three different categories: “A” times, which qualify swimmers for the highest level of championships; “BC” times, which qualify swimmers for the “back-up championships” (Ryan’s description); and then “All Times,” which consist of everything else. This division is the same for all levels of swimmers, whether it’s those attempting to qualify for the Olympics and other national and international competitions, as well as younger kids trying to make it to the State Championships/Junior Olympics.

The “BC Meet” this year was held at our pool. Ryan made one state qualifying time (in the 50 fly), and made BC times in his freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and IM (individual medley). That is ALL of his events! All of his BC times were very good, almost state times. I knew he could do very well in his events at the BC meet. He was also asked by the coach to participate in one medley relay (4 different swimmers). All four boys had great individual times.

Ryan has wanted a Blake Griffin jersey for several months. I told Ryan that if he earned medals in all of his events, I’d buy the jersey for him. Apparently that was great motivation. HE DID IT!!!

Waiting for his freestyle… Freestyle… Breaststroke… IM… The team hang out spot… Waiting for backstroke… Backstroke… Relaxing toward the end of the meet with Papa, waiting for additional “time trials”… When we got home from the meet, we got online and ordered Ryan’s jersey. Rara also made Ryan a great candy bar card!