Monday, October 12, 2015

My Husband, the Olympic Gold Medalist

Okay, so I know I claimed to be all done posting about the Wabash Trace Marathon, but apparently I lied.  Just a couple days ago I remembered a story that is too funny not to share. 

During the awards ceremony following the race, the announcer went on and on about Shenandoah's own Missy Rock, the 1st place female finisher who is training for the Olympic trials.  We also heard about her amazing runner husband who already owns an Olympic gold medal.  Still speaking of Missy's husband, the announcer looks down, sees Jason smile, and points, "This must be the guy!"  It's hard to say who blushed more: Missy or Jason.  She quickly started sputtering corrections while Jason threw up his hands and said, "I'm just the photographer!"  (He'd been temporarily assigned the job by the race director.)  As if this wasn't funny enough, the announcer just kept going on, talking about how Jason looked like such an athletic guy that he assumed he must be the one. 

Here's where I really have to chuckle.  We were hanging out at a marathon.  No offense, but there were quite a few athletic looking guys hanging around.  But apparently, my husband is the Olympic-gold-medaliest looking of them all.  (Not to make you jealous ladies, but yeah, I struck pay dirt.)

As long as I'm bragging about my gold medal hubby, I thought I'd share a few Olympic sized accomplishments:

1)  As of July 22nd, Jason is officially a licensed architect.  Hooray!  5 years of undergrad, 4 years of grad school, 7 licensing exams, and 4 more years earning IDP credits, and what does he get?  A half-sheet of paper just one step up from a social security card and one step down from a birth certificate.  I told Jason that the kids' kindergarten graduation certificates are more impressive.  No matter.  We are still so very proud of our Daddy.

2)  So I know Jason probably won't consider these quick sketches from General Conference to be all that impressive, but if I could draw like Jason for just one day, I would consider it a lifetime accomplishment.  Add in the special spiritual dimension of these drawings, and I think they're Olympic worthy.

3)  Thoughtful and considerate, Jason not only notices when people need help, but he takes the initiative to do something about it when most of us might walk on by.  Jason, in case you ever forget the difference you make, remember the bike for Ering.

Peanut Butter, Olympic medal or no, in the eyes of Jelly you've already won gold.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Ultimate Star Wars Birthday

So, Eli has a Star Wars obsession.  Ever since Jason borrowed the movies nearly a year ago, our little guy has driven us to the verge of insanity with his incessant chatter about death stars and light sabers and x wings and tie fighters.  From the moment he saw the films, he began planning his birthday, even though it was still ten months away.  Back in the spring, I got so tired of hearing about it that I told him he wasn't allowed to even mention his party again until August or I would cancel it.  Well, after many long months of anticipation, the joyful day arrived.  Here's Eli dressed in the Anakin Skywalker costume NomiAnn made.  Can you believe how well his hair matches the braid she ordered?

Much to our surprise, our entire guest list was able to make it for the occasion so we had a full house.  As soon as our guests arrived, they got to choose a light saber.  (So easy to make--just a pool noodle cut in half, then wrapped with duct and electrical tape.)

I'm all about unstructured play, so as you can imagine, our trampoline was a favorite. 

We set up different activity stations around the house and yard.  Here's Eli pinning the bun on Princess Leia.

NomiAnn was a hero and helped everyone tie dye Tie Fighter T-shirts.  Here she is helping Rio.

Meanwhile Thomas and his mom Kelly watch the excitement.

We had to wait until the next day to rinse them all out at NomiAnn's house, but as you can see, they turned out great!

Daddy Jason, demonstrating how to navigate the Vadar Lasers.

Daddy's long legs hop right over...

...while Annika slides right under.

Papa Kay brought out some rocket balloons to enhance the party fun.

Too bad a few of them popped.  (Or got lost on the neighbor's roof.)

Strike a pose, Katie!

Inside the house, we had plenty of Star Wars themed food:  Wookie Water, Obi-Wan Kabobies, Leia's Buns, Ewok Treats, Padawan Popcorn, and Vadar Veggies.  (Thank you, Pinterest.)

"Use the Forks, Luke" was definitely my favorite.

A Death Star pinata served as our centerpiece.

We're just not going to mention how I exploded it ahead of time when I tried to hurry up drying the paper mache by putting it in the oven on warm.  Remember how warm air expands?  Balloon go POP! 

Downstairs the party guests got to make their own nifty R2D2 droids.  Looks like Adelle has the ultimate secret for Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Walden and Rio are doing a great job cutting theirs out.

Last but not least, we had our photo booth.

It was a bit of work to set up, but worth the effort.  Just dollar store tablecloths taped to the wall and decorated with stars.

In a moment of last-minute inspiration, I pulled out the Nativity clothes and made these simple Yoda and Leia headbands so that our guests could dress up.

In no particular order, here's Max...






...and our ewok Annie.

The group pictures were even more fun.  Here we have Talia and Adelle.

Joined by Brooklyn, the third Princess Leia.

Big girls can have fun too!  These are some of my favorite parents.  Metta (center) and Kelly (right) both have kindergartners and third graders at Crestridge as well.  I love how Metta's very pregnant belly states: "The Force is Strong with This One."

An anonymous voice breathes from afar: "Kara, I am your father."

A group photo of our Padawans in training.  From left to right: Gabe, Max, Brooklyn, Thomas, Adelle, Eli, Harrison, Walden, and Katie.

And my very favorite Jedi picture: Eli and his pal Thomas.
Before we knew it, it was time to crack the Death Star Pinata.  Eli gave it some great whacks...

...but in the end, this Jedi brought it down.

In an effort to simplify, I let the grocery store make the birthday cake.  Too bad Annika attacked it before the guests even arrived.  :(  Every once in a while someone will ask me if we named her after Anakin.  Not wanting to equate my daughter with the future Darth Vadar, I insist that the answer is "no" but perhaps the dark side is closer than we thought.

Good news is that the cake tasted great all the same.

As luck would have it, Eli's birthday party happened to fall on my actual birthday instead of his.  Not only did I get to blow out a candle on the cake, but I dressed up to celebrate my wisdom as well: "When 900 (or 37) years old you reach, look as good you will not."

My very favorite part of the day came after we had said goodbye to all of our party guests.

We had plenty of time left to play and enjoy the gorgeous day as a family.  Here's Eli enjoying his new Lego Star Wars set with his new Darth Vadar hat.

Annika was excited to play too.

Talia created a hat all of her own.

Brooklyn and Eli continued their lightsaber training...

...and we all felt glad to say:

Eli, we hope your Star Wars birthday was everything you dreamed it would be.  We're so proud of you and how well you're adapting to kindergarten.  Your bright smile and inquisitive mind make every day a delight.  We love you, little Jedi!

May the force be with you.