Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Thesis Progress

It's slow going right now.

That stack to the left of my computer keeps getting taller, no matter how much I read.
When I was in Richmond doing original research, one of the librarians said, "Research is a slog. Like trench warfare." Best analogy ever. I'm up to my elbows in mud, fighting to keep my head above the muck, dodging distraction shots from every direction. Some days are really productive, but most are underwhelming at best.

I moved onto a desk in the family room, and the light and the location and the view have helped. The best part is that Eve wants to be next to me, doing her scripture study or homework or her planner (every Sunday after church, without fail).
I charted out my research and proposal--I should have it ready to present to a thesis director in May.

As hard as this is, I love every second of it, and I'm already sad that this experience is reaching the end.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Eve's Fun Run

Gone are the days of wrapping paper and cookie dough fundraisers at our elementary school. Now they do a "fun run" to raise money for the school.
I hate the idea that schools need to do anything to raise money outside of our tax dollars (another soapbox, another day, perhaps), but this is a pretty good activity.
Eve got into it, focused hard on getting each lap recorded, then took off around the course again.

These pictures crack me up because they reveal her quirky, silly, funny personality.
She and her friend Summer were dancing it up surrounded by all the runners . . . and didn't care what anyone thought about it.

Eve only has one year left of elementary school. It's so weird. And yet so good . . . 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Big Game

Brad and Hyrum got to experience Suns basketball VIP style.
A family friend (who also happens to be our favorite Dr. P when someone around here gets injured) works as a team doctor for the Phoenix Suns, and when they played the Houston Rockets last week, these guys got courtside seats.
I don't know if the boys liked the game as much as they liked the unlimited snacking--full buffet before the game, plus hot dogs and cookies at halftime.
I have it on good authority that Hyrum may have eaten twelve cookies . . . what boys do when moms aren't around!
With their passes they even got to meet the players after the game. Hyrum isn't a huge basketball fan, but Micah is, and he lent Hyrum his Kelly Oubre jersey for the special night. When Hyrum met the players afterward, his main goal was to get Oubre to sign Micah's jersey, especially since it was Oubre's highest scoring game of his career. Hyrum was a little disappointed when neither Oubre nor Booker came to sign autographs, but he did get to meet some pretty cool guys willing to give a little time to young boys who look up to them.

Thanks, Dr. P for the tickets. The guys had a great time.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Saturday Is a Special Day

There is nothing more spectacular than AZ Saturday afternoons in February. Lucky for us, we have one extra this year, and we will be using it very wisely, I promise.

I watched Tucker's kids last Saturday while all the brothers (including Ben on FaceTime in UT) played Dungeons and Dragons. 

Don't get me started, 1986. Yes, I remember.
It was such a gorgeous day that Gypsy came out of hibernation to catch a few rays. While Caroline isn't afraid of much, she was a little hesitant with the tortoise.

But she sure loves Cleo. And we have the world's most patient dog who allows kids to grab her face and tail and just loves being around the family every waking (and sleeping) moment.
Hyrum hung the hammock in the front yard a few weeks ago, and it's become a temporary installation that the even the neighbor kids use.

Annie was pretty proud of herself figuring out how to get Caroline into it. I still don't know how she did it, but I got Eli in because he's close to Annie's weight now.

Brad works in his yard about an hour every day before work and almost all of Saturday. And it shows. His yard is the most beautiful in the neighborhood--flowers, vines, trees, fruit, and no weeds (which is saying something this time of year). Caroline helped him with some dirt for the front beds.
If you look closely at this picture, you can see Annie up in the tree.
Caroline wanted to get up there with her so bad. She loves that big sister of hers.
As I lay on the grass watching the kids and enjoying the sunshine, I kept watching Annie up in that tree. She sat in the crook for twenty minutes, just thinking about stuff. I asked her what she was doing, and she replied, "I can feel the breeze and smell and sit and think." I loved that.

Whenever the kids find Gypsy, they beg for lettuce so they can feed her. It's really fascinating to watch her beaklike mouth chomp bite after bite after bite.

I know lettuce isn't that filling, but she can eat three whole pieces as long as her body!
She is a rescue tortoise from AZ Parks and Recreation. I don't know her full story, but she couldn't be reintroduced to the wild for fear of introducing disease, so the ranger (a family friend) gave her to us. She is the world's easiest pet. We don't even know she's around most of the time. As long as she has access to water (more plentiful in Brad's green yard than in any AZ desert, I'm sure!), she's content. We've had her a few years now, and I can't tell if she's getting bigger or not, but she will probably outlive all of my kids if she stays healthy.
Ah, AZ. I love you in February. Just not as much in August.
But it's worth the tradeoff.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Rugby in a Tie

Hyrum's first rugby season is over. He played for the same club Ben and Micah did--the club that has consistently taken the state U18 championship for almost ten years now, I think.

Hyrum went into the season expecting a similar outcome for his U14 team. 

They didn't win a single game. Not one. A few games they got skunked--we're talking 110 to 0, 146 to 0. Needless to say, their season is over. No playoffs for the Knights this year.

That's pretty painful, but I valued his experience on a losing team. There are lessons in constantly losing that can't be taught any other way.

He was one of the smallest on the team (not yet 13), and one of the smaller guys as well. That's hard when you're on the ground or in a scrum or fighting to get the ball from a ruck. But Hyrum didn't let his size define his season.

He was new to rugby--never played a game and didn't know the rules. But he diligently went to practice, learned fast and listened to the coaches.

He hates to lose. Doesn't everyone, but Denton boys are notorious for the competitive streak. Ironically, after games, he got in the car and wouldn't be fuming angry over the losses. He'd be bugged or mad, but as the losses accumulated, he began to let losing roll off him in a way he couldn't learn if they won. They went into each game with hope that this game would be theirs. They came close a few times, but never really challenged an opponent all season.

Best lesson of all: On top of all the losing, only two boys on the pitch Never. Gave. Up. no matter how bad the score looked. One was Hyrum. No matter how many times the opposition would take off down the field, Hyrum ALWAYS gave chase from wherever he was on the field. He ran as fast as he could, even when it was obvious to everyone--and him--that he had no chance of catching his opponent. Now that's a life lesson right there. Never give up fighting even though loss is inevitable.

He fought to protect the ball when he was on the ground. He never shrank when confronting an opponent six to eight inches taller and 30 pounds heavier, taking down a few guys much bigger than he is through sheer tenacity and fight. He took cleats to the face and back and legs even when in the protected position on the ground, then he'd jump up and hustle into position again.

He spun and cut and pushed and earned the second top-scoring spot on the team, making a season average 2 tries per game (when you recognize that two of the games were scoreless for his team, you can appreciate that stat a little better).

No trophies for the perennial losers. No accolades. Not even a playoff game to close out a dismal season.

He did bring this black eye home from his final game where he scored three of their five tries in an uneven matchup that doubled his team's efforts. He said he was basically punched in the eye as the guy tried to stiff-arm him.

Sporting the shiner all spiffed up for church.
His coach called me this week to tell me how impressed they were with his progress this season. He recognized how hard it is to play for the bottom team and how hard Hyrum worked at every practice and in every game.
Personally, I'm content with the black eye prize. Tenacity in the face of loss. Scrap and fight and work hard, no matter the outcome. Life lesson.

This made me think of Terence Vinson's talk from October General Conference when he referenced two injuries he received on the rugby pitch when he was young--a fat lip and a broken jaw. He said

"Lessons were learned from this parable of the fat lip and the broken jaw. Despite my memories of unsatisfied cravings for solid food during the six weeks when I could ingest only liquids, I feel no regrets about my broken jaw because it resulted from my giving my all. But I do have regrets about the fat lip because it symbolized my holding back.
Giving our all doesn’t mean that we will be continually enveloped in blessings or always have success. But it does mean that we will have joy. Joy is not fleeting pleasure or even temporary happiness. Joy is enduring and is founded on our efforts being accepted by the Lord."
Hyrum already told me he will be back at wing on the rugby pitch next season.

And I'll be there on the sidelines cheering for him, no matter what.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Photo Shoot with Her Daddy

What better way to enjoy AZ spring than a bike ride with your daddy?

Brad took these pictures one Sunday afternoon, and I can't believe how grown up my baby looks!

She's at that age where she's growing disproportionately--feet getting bigger but body still a kid.

And every model needs a cool pair of sunglasses, right?
This girl is strong and kind (and a little bossy!) and works really hard to do her best at things. I'm so happy she's ours!

Monday, February 10, 2020

How High Can You Go?

Don't mind us here in AZ.
We know you're struggling with subzero temps, snow up to your kneecaps, and freezing wind.
February in Arizona is glorious. It's why we live here (if your allergies don't sideline all your outside activities. I've stayed on top of mine this year, thankyouverymuch, and I'm not sneezing my life away every time I'm outside. There's still time for that).

What better way to enjoy a gorgeous 70-degree day than bouncing as high as you can on a trampoline?
These two had a blast, laughing and screaming and flailing and begging for more.

I must be getting old, because I worry they're going to get hurt, but I seem to be the only one around with these concerns . . .
Guess I should relax a little. In the 20+ years we've had a trampoline, we've only had one injury that required a little more than Mom TLC.

Remind me of these days when it's 118 outside, would you?