So here we go again. Time for another update. Seems like I just wrote one the other day . . .
With another school year almost gone, the family is shifting gears in preparation for summer. Andrea is bracing herself for bored kids kicking around the house, the kids are counting down the days, and Willie's daily routine will not change a bit.
Wesley is excited to go to scout camp this summer. To help raise money for the cost of the camp, he sold tickets to a pancake breakfast his troop put on, and then helped out on the day of the event. Grandma and Grandpa came to the breakfast, which was very fun. Afterward, the girls went their shopping ways and the boys went to play nine holes of golf.
Wes has been playing about once a week at a little nine-hole par 3 course that is nearby. Burbank students play free on weekdays, and if I want to come along, they charge me 3 bucks. Weekends, the rates skyrocket to $4, and everyone pays. It's really a super course for learning: the longest hole is 90 yds and the shortest 75. It really helps me work on my short game, too. The price is right, and the kids are really enjoying it. Come to think of it, Carina is the only one who has not gone. More on her later.
Wesley is lacking a couple of merit badges for his Life rank. Tonight he received his Aviation merit badge. We've already done a little groundwork for an Eagle project idea involving helping schools start a 'no cussing club.' The club will then in turn help the city with service projects to eradicate graffiti.
Wes has also been in a journalism class in school, and has published a couple of articles in the school paper. Adjusting to a new school was hard on the kids, socially and academically. Wesley has done a great job of pulling through it and his grades are as good as ever.
Wes has found a good friend in Marshall, and the two of them are two jokers from the same deck. Luckily, they are a grade apart in school, but at church, their teachers are not so fortunate. Wesley is the only deacon who regularly attends, and Marshall was just ordained a teacher. The two of them are lucky to have found in the other such a good friend. Both sets of parents feel blessed.
This summer, he and Maddie both are signed up for a water polo program with the city. Maddie has been busy, too, making new friends, doing well in school, and getting completely lost in books.
For the past couple of months, she and Zach have played in a Boys and Girls Club soccer league. It's super informal: they practiced once at the beginning of the season, and none since. They play weekly at their own school each time, and both have really enjoyed it. Zach said the other day, 'I just like soccer 'cause I get to run non-stop." But more on him later.
Maddie is quite a sculptor. She's been making stuff with her clay, and she really gets into it. Her latest creations are little teddy bear looking guys. She's made 6 of them, I think. We'll be placing some pictures of them on the blog soon.
A couple of days ago, the whole family went to my work to see some of the sculptures and other fine art. Maddie really studied the sculptures and you could see she was keenly interested in the artistry. Maybe she'll go Maddieangelo.
Maddie, too has made some friends at school and at church. The group for activity days is a good group of girls, and their leaders do a super job at having activities the girls love.
Maddie participated in a dance festival at her school last week, and her class dressed up in 70s era clothing. She had a blast doing that, and I think we'll be posting some video of that dance.
Maddie, more than any other in our family, devours books. It's getting to be pretty common that we'll notice Maddie is not around, and we'll call out to her, figuring she's in her room reading. After a few long seconds, she responds, but we know she's really not here, but somewhere far away, lost in a book.
Zachary has recently earned his Wolf rank in Cub Scouts, and he has earned his gold and four silver arrow points. Periodically, he will go 'wolf crazy' and just knock out a ton of stuff. He'll resist us if we suggest he work on something, but every time we get started, he doesn't want to stop.
This evening, for the monthly pack meeting, Zach's entire pack went out to a nearby nature center and hiked up to a viewpoint overlooking the valley. We've done the hike once before, with the Lane family. It was lots of fun, and we picked up trash on the way down to 'leave no trace.'
Zach is also attending Camp Akela cub scout day camp this summer. They also have a sibling camp, and Carina signed up for that. She gets to do some of the same things Zach gets to do. Also, they were looking for youth leaders to help out, and Maddie and Wes volunteered. So every morning for a week, Andrea will be dropping off all four kids at camp!
Wes, Zach, and I went to the Father and Sons overnight with our stake this past weekend, and we had lots of fun. We got up there just before nightfall, set up camp, and threw together some burritos. Lo and behold, guess who's camping with us? Napoleon Dynamite and his twin brother. We had been told we'd prolly see him at stake events, but my boys never dreamed we'd be on a campout with Nap! Once we walked past him (his name is Jon Heder, sounds like 'heater') and I was having a conversation with Zach. We were 30 feet past Jon, and I realized Zach wasn't listening. I look over at him and he's still walking with me, but his neck is craned around looking backwards, marveling that it's really him. Pretty funny.
The next morning, after breakfast, we had a really fun game of capture the flag. Boys, young and old, all participated, and it was really intense. We were all on the same team with Jon, and I was happy to find that he was really friendly and fun (unlike Ramses, who turned out to be a real dirtbag.) Also, tonight, at the court of honor Wes and I attended, there he was, in uniform, the assistant scoutmaster.
Zach and Carina both are taking swim lessons this summer. Zach's nervous because the pool is outside, like the one in Sierra Vista where he was stung by a bee. He's a strong swimmer, and we think this will be the summer where he'll no longer judge the swimmability of a pool by how deep it is.
Zach is still happiest when he is doing something dangerous. Today he fell off the wall at our house, and on the way down scraped off a good portion of his elbow. And it was just two days ago that we were finally able to remove his last bandage.
Carina, on the other hand, likes to play it safe. She's happiest when she is engaged in some creative outlet. She likes drawing, mostly drawing people, but she's been delving into animals, and mazes are another of her favorites. These are no simple mazes: there are obstacles to avoid, keys to find which unlock doors, etc. She really gets into it.
Carina has still shown very little interest in riding her bike. The training wheels are still attached, and I'm feeling like I've let her down. She's pretty speedy on her scooter, and she's improved on her bike, but she is just not interested.
Monday our family hiked to Switzer Falls in the Angeles Crest mtns, and it was really nice. The weather was much cooler up there, and we worried that it might be a little chilly. We had no complaints, the weather was fantastic. I expected very little water, but there was actually quite a bit. We hiked down the lower falls and back up again, a round trip of around four miles. Andrea and I were so surprised at how well Carina did. We carried her on and off right at the end, for maybe 10 minutes total. She was a real trooper, and seems to be showing us in a lot of ways that she's not our little baby girl anymore.
She was recognized today for her outstanding reading, and Abuela was able to be there for that special moment. Carina is sharp as a tack, and nothing gets by her. She's still sweet as can be (unless she's hungry) and she'll always be my sweet beej.
Me? I'm a bona fide employee now at my job. That's a relief. It started off as a temp-to-hire, and then midway through that they put a hiring freeze in place. So being hired despite the freeze was good.
Andrea is a walking fiend. She walks for miles around this hilly neighborhood, and likes her 'me' time. She's usually run ragged by shuttling the kids all over, but she does a uper job taking care of our family, and we love her to pieces for that.
We're also really enjoying having our parents and other family close enough to participate in the stuff we do, and vice-versa. We spent Monday afternoon with Wayne and DD, Jan and Jan Bennett, and Jen, Alex and Carrot. We had FHE with them (Maddie taught the lesson, and did super) and then watched the Lakers get waxed.
Also, this coming Saturday, we're off to see the Lanes to celebrate Claire's birthday. We can't wait!
For the 4th of July, we've got plans to visit Q, Shelly, and Boyd. That guy is one good-looking dude. So we're looking forward to that, too.
We're busy but happy, and I've said nothing of our callings at church. We each have two callings, and I've spoken twice in sacrament meeting now. We're not in Arizona anymore!
I'm sure I've left stuff out, but that's going to have to do for now.