February 22, 2013

Trail to the Arrow

Our Cub Scout Pack 1476 recently held its annual Blue and Gold Banquet.  It was a night of significant advancement for both Brevin and Spencer so we were grateful that Grandma and Grandpa Park were able to attend as well.

The evening began with a flag ceremony led by Spencer.  Brevin had the honor of being a member of the color-guard and carried our nation's flag.

One of the first items on the agenda for the evening was the dinner.

After the completion of the meal, awards were presented.  Spencer earned the rank of Wolf and was presented with a patch and parent pin that he could give to me.  As you can see, he takes Scouting very seriously.

Brevin was one of seven boys who completed the requirements for Cub Scouting's highest honor, the Arrow of Light.  I commend the fine efforts of his amazing Webelos leaders, Paul Kelley and Tyler Voorhies, for their role in such a remarkable accomplishment.  They have done so much to help the boys along the way.

We then viewed a video slideshow with images from last year's activities along with a tribute to the boys who earned their Arrow of Light.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, Jason and I gave Brevin a shadow box containing all of his patches, belt loops, pins, and awards he had earned during the past two and a half years of Cub Scouts.  Now he has a place to display them all, along with his arrow.  (He'll just have to settle for a "naked" uniform for the last few months he will still be in Webelos.)

But even with all the pomp and circumstance of the evening's award ceremonies, all the boys really wanted to do was put the chairs away so they could shoot some hoops.

This post authored by Amber

February 20, 2013

Brevin's Basketball Season

Brevin participated in Jr. Jazz basketball this winter as a member of the Pacers team.  Chad Hall was his coach and Jason was the assistant coach.  Brevin was excited to be on a team with his good friend and fellow classmate, Brian.

I guess it's safe to say that Brevin seems to take after Jason when it comes to the sport of basketball.  He is very comfortable on the court and adapts remarkably to the quick game pace.  He shoots consistently well, he plays hard defense, and he seems to really enjoy himself as he plays.  I enjoyed watching him play and witnessed the improvement to his form and technique over the course of a season.  He's a great little basketball player.

This post authored by Amber

February 15, 2013

Eat, Sleep, and Drink Pink

Since Valentine's Day is a day about celebrating love, I thought I'd show everyone how our family loves to celebrate this day.  Usually it involves eating food prepared in a specific color scheme, loaded in sugar, and generally shaped like hearts.  (It's not exactly our healthiest of holidays, but then, what holiday is?)

At one time, I used to make clever hand-crafted valentine's for my children to deliver to their classmates, often with some small candy attached, but last year I began buying valentines from the store.  As it turns out, it is much simpler to do it that way, it costs much less, and I don't have to fret over which of all the ideas found on the internet is best to try and duplicate.  The boys chose Avengers valentines, and each card came with a matching pencil.

On the morning of Valentine's Day, we had the table set, ready for our traditional heart-shaped pancakes and strawberry syrup.  The children also received their own personal bucket filled with candies.  Inside each bucket was a gift certificate good for a ride with Mom or Dad on a favorite attraction at Disneyland.  The certificates were only redeemable for a specific set of days.  That was our way of letting the children know we would be going to Disneyland for spring break.

They were a little confused at first, but once the realization set in, you can imagine how excited they all were about their certificates.

Each certificate was customized to each child, and had offers for a ride on their favorite attraction from our last Disneyland visit.  Garrett's certificate had Pirates of the Caribbean, Ella's had Monsters Inc., Spencer's featured Indiana Jones, and Brevin's listed Star Tours. 

Once everyone had a chance to be photographed holding their plate displaying a pancake, it was time for breakfast.

After the older boys left for school, I prepared to host a Valentine's party at my home as part of my preschool teaching rotation.  At the party, Garrett and his friends exchanged valentines, decorated bags, and made various heart-shaped crafts. Each child received a heart-shaped rice krispy treat from me.

When Brevin and Spencer arrived home from school, we delivered the remainder of the rice krispy treats to Primary teachers and Nursery leaders.

The evening brought us together as a family for a candle-light dinner of heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's, and for desert, Ella finally got to eat the cake that she had been admiring all day. 

(Jason and I went alone on a dinner date the following night to the Olive Garden.) 

The cake was a concoction inspired by the photos I saw on NIENIE's Valentine party here. I put my own twist on the layers inside and even switched up the colors a bit, and I decided not to display it on a $100 cake stand.  I loved how it turned out, and Ella loved how it tasted.  She requested cake for every meal for three days straight.  I think I did, too.  Gotta love holidays.

This post authored by Amber

February 10, 2013

Breakfast of Choice

Garrett is now old enough to understand our family's reward and consequence system and he eagerly insisted to be involved in earning his own "Fun Bucks"  that could be exchanged for various incentives.  The very first reward he requested once he had earned enough to afford it was to have breakfast served to him in bed.  When Ella awoke and saw what was going on, she, too, wanted to be waited on in a like manner.  She hopped back in her bed and called for her meal to be brought to her as well.  Well, I hope Garrett's participation in the system will help to manage his behavior in an effective manner, because it is quite apparent that no matter what he does, he will always have a little sister following him about, wanting to do everything he does.

This post authored by Amber

February 8, 2013

Spencer is a RAD Kid

Since the beginning of the school year, all second grade students at Art City Elementary have participated in RAD Kids, a personal empowerment program sponsored, in part, by the police department.  They have learned safety tips and practiced fight/flight techniques during P.E. class.  Upon completion of the program, parents were invited to attend a simulation during school hours where the students demonstrated the skills they had learned.  Each child had a turn to attempt an escape from a physical encounter.

I brought Garrett and Ella along with me to the simulation.  They were reluctant to sit for the full hour and so I did a lot of chasing, retrieving, and trying to hold them in my lap.  And while the second grade student's demonstrations were quite impressive, none of them held a candle to Ella's ability to wriggle free from my grasp.  I've decided that the go absolutely limp like a rag doll when someone tries to lift you from behind is the most successful technique used to evade capture.  Kicking and screaming is also effective.  (I would have greatly benefited from the padded suit and face mask the police officer wore that day.)

I did manage to watch Spencer as he did his exercises, and I was pleased to see how well he performed.  I hope he will never have need to use the skills he was taught, but I feel a sense of relief to know that he would have some idea about how to respond in adverse situations if he had to.

This post authored by Amber

"Play it again, Sam."

Jason and I have wanted to enroll the boys in piano lessons for some time now, but circumstances didn't fit well, and so we put it off.  I was thrilled, however, when my dear friend and close neighbor, Karen Wilding,  announced she was taking on students.  Everything fell so nicely into place, and I am pleased to say that Brevin and Spencer are now taking piano lessons and enjoying them very much.

 This post authored by Amber