Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not Many Pictures from the Pool This Summer

I usually take a million pictures poolside every summer.
For some reason, I was in the pool more often but my camera was absent.
These are a few of my favorites. Moms love kisses from their boys.
Sometimes, when it's late afternoon or after dinner, we head to the pool for a quick swim. Sometimes, the kiddos just wear their underwear as they strip on the way to the water.

Evie learned to swim this year--and she's our most recent entry in family cannonball contests off the diving board. Pink goggles and brown limbs all curl together into a tight little ball before making an unimpressive but amazing splash. She's quite proud of it--"Micah taught me!"

It may seem strange in other parts of the country, but most AZ kids are proficient swimmers before they enter kindergarten. It might have something to do with being in the pool at least three times a day all summer long. Maybe.
I love having a pool in our backyard. I used to think it was quite an extravagance, since I grew up in southern Idaho where we didn't even have a community pool. If you ever fly over Phoenix, you'll see aqua kidney-shaped puddles in most yards, no matter the neighborhood. With temperatures this week headed over 110*, there really is nowhere else to be outside other than in the water. Unless it's a movie theatre.
Nathan and Ellie were a little timid around the water at first, but they acclimated almost as quickly as their little bodies bronzed up.
I wonder if they look really tan to all of the Idaho people now that they're home again.

Hyrum finally reached the height requirement for the diving board at the public pool. I call this photo, "Mom, are you sure you're watching??"
Evie also reached a milestone this summer--height requirement to go down the twisty water slide. She's such a scaredy cat, that I knew she'd back out at the top of the slide. Lucky for her, no one else was in line, so I walked her to the top of the slide, the lifeguard gave the signal, and I dropped her into the chute before she had even a second to reconsider. She kept looking up at me the whole way down, but she made it--without a single tear. Plus, she said it was "Fun." I think she meant it.

Ah, the joys of AZ summer. They are few, but at least there are a few.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big Surprise Revealed

A month ago, I posted this enigmatic statement on my blog:

I am working on something even bigger, beyond the scope of grad school and academia and theory. It's so far out of my comfort zone that every time I think about it, I get that pit-in-my-stomach feeling. I have to be prepared to be wrong, and that's scary.

It's time to reveal my big surprise. Here it is--a new website/blog. If you'd like to visit the new blog, here's the link: www.mesasgiftedkids.blogspot.com.

I have put my whole heart and soul into this project. I believe in it.

The blog is only the first step. I intend to approach the gifted education administrators with a proposal to completely overhaul their program--in the entire district of over 63,000 students. I have formed a group called For Mesa’s Gifted Kids that needs your support. If we can assemble a core group of vocal supporters asking for change, then I expect the administration will listen. Please take the time to read through the website and sign the petition, adding your voice to others who agree that MPS should reevaluate how our gifted kids’ needs are being met. 

For those of you in Mesa Public Schools--past or present students, parents/grandparents/guardians, or teachers--please take the time to read and review the site. Tell your family and friends and children. Share the site on your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram--whatever your social media choice may be. It's time to make a difference in Mesa, and with your support, we can effect that change. Those not in MPS, you're welcome to visit and leave comments as well. I would love to hear what works in your districts and what doesn't--what you'd like to change and what you'd never like to lose. More support=more possibilities.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment here or on the new blog. I look forward to your responses.

Time to put up or shut up.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday #28--It Fits Now

Three years ago, I somewhat reluctantly acquired a new title--you can read about it here.

It's strange what three years can do. 

Just like the arrival of my own children, I feel my heart stretch and embrace each new grandchild. I love learning who they are, what they like and what they hate--and loving them.

As their grandma. 

That's right. I'm their grandma. Gran D. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Family Tradition Dating Back at Least a Decade

Mesa Community College conducts a musical theatre workshop every June. For two weeks, kids from all over the valley come together to sing, dance, make friends, and share their love for the stage.
In two weeks, the talented directors take squirrelly 5-17 year-old kids and transform them into a performance troupe.

Micah hasn't shown any desire to participate, until this summer. 
He was the youngest in the entire group, and he didn't love it at first.
He changed his mind as the songs morphed into mini shows and the kids became his friends.
In fact, it's been almost a month, and just yesterday he started singing one of his MCC songs--"Mesa, Arizona" (a very cleverly rewritten version of The Music Man's "Gary, Indiana")--adding, "I'll know these songs the rest of my life."
On the other hand, Miss Lily was, as they say, "Born to Entertain." She has participated in the workshop since before kindergarten, and the second that spotlight goes on, so does she.

Remember the theme song from "That Thing You Do"? She was one of the groupies swooning over the guys.
I think my favorite number from the show was "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. That song makes ya wanna move, doesn't it?

All of my kids have performed on that stage, and Micah has already decided he will be back next year. Can't wait--gotta keep that tradition alive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First Family Photos

New baby Annie and her new parents.

Tucker and Karli are completely in love with this little girlie.
 Daddies have a special role with their daughters--their first love, the model for men in their life.
Tucker will be those things for his daughter, with a ton of silliness and fun thrown in!
You know you're thinking of Rafiki right now.

Annie is so lucky--not every baby gets serenaded with Italian arias and German Lieder as lullabies.

Now they're a family.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Who Would Have Thought?

Kids surprise me sometimes.

Sometimes they complain mightily about the simplest chores.

"Me? I have to put my shoes away? Isn't there a Bill of Rights that protects people around here?"

Other times, they think work is fun.

For instance, Lily was assigned to clean out the fridge and freezer--a job that I really detest. It takes forever, it makes me mad that I neglected that now-slimy bag of asparagus in the bag of the fridge, and it focuses my on another job I hate--grocery shopping.

I love assigning Lily organizing tasks, because she not only does them well, but her brain works similarly to mine, and I can count on things being replaced in a way that I understand.

She hauled the garbage can over to the fridge and began tossing and sorting.
Funny thing. It was like bees to a soda can. Hyrum and Micah thought it looked like . . . fun. And they couldn't stay away. Micah became the self-appointed assistant, while Hyrum just wanted to photo bomb.
Thirty minutes later, both sides of the fridge were cleaned out, organized, and mostly empty. That was my clue to head to Sam's Club.

At least I got out of one of my most hated chores.

Why is it so hard to make them do little chores, but when it comes to the big things, they are so willing? Anyone got the answer to that question?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday #28--Number Four

I've been gone for the past nine days having a big anniversary adventure with Brad in the Bahamas (more to come on that), but the best part of our trip was meeting our newest granddaughter, Tucker's first baby. I'd like to introduce you.
Diana Joyce Denton
June 29, 2014
6 lbs. 13 oz.
18 inches

Diana is Great-Grandma Tucker's name (my mom) and Joyce is Great-Grandma West's name (and Karli's middle name). They are calling her Annie--sometimes Annie Jo.

This tiny person shares one quarter of my genes, and she immediately captured all of my heart.

She is tiny, blond, beautiful, and perfect in every way. If you'd like to read her birth story, click over to Karli's blog.