Thursday, October 30, 2014

October's end

Sarah carved a sad pumpkin. Joel had me carve (his was a very hard pumpkin) a cyclops and Will had me carve a scary pumpkin with a forehead scar. Will carved the Hi. Joel and Sarah's pumpkins were from our garden. We bought Will's big pumpkin and the small pumpkin was one Will brought home from school--a gift to each student from local farmers.

Sarah continues to love going to her Tuesday night beginning ballet class (in north Orem). This Tuesday she drove our Subaru (with a mostly calm me riding shot gun) both ways--freeway out, city streets back. She is almost ready to take her drivers test. Left turns on busy streets are her only real remaining concern.

Tuesday Sarah came home from school and informed us that she had been one of six students honored in the assembly that day with the Red Devil of the Term award. Pretty impressive. They started out by stating that this student excelled in drama and seminary but it was when they announced that "her fiery red hair matched her passion for learning" that Sarah knew that her name was next to be announced. The award came with a free school parking pass. Too bad she won't get to use it since Semester at Sea will prevent her from getting her license until next summer.

Next day, Will came home with this 100% attendence award. Glad he got it this year because next year we may have to skip a few days for skiing.

Today, Joel was honored in his school assembly (parents received a letter last week inviting us to come, Joel found out right before the assembly when he was called out of class early) with the Super Knight Award (a Knight is the school mascot) --given each month to two students from each grade who exemplify "the highest qualities of students that seek to be effective communicators, responsible citizens, and successful learners." The bio read by the principal and written by his teachers (who nominate and choose the Super Knights) talked about Joel being a good student, being friendly, and having a good sense of humor. Fortunately his math teacher didn't mention how much socializing and visiting he did in her class. Here he is shaking the hands of the student council and then the administrators.

In the cafetorium (its real name) of the brand new Springville Jr. High School.  There is no formal auditorium for assemblies, concerts and musicals--just the cafeteria with a stage. Surprisingly, the folding chairs were very comfortable. The Barcelona Shirt was one of several soccer shirts and jerseys that I bought for Joel and Will at outlet stores in Indonesia.

The six Super Knights. Tall seventh grade Andrew on the left lives across the street and is in the car pool with eighth grade Joel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sand dunes and hot springs

Last Friday/Saturday Joel and the rest of the scouts in the ward headed out to the Little Sahara sand dunes--1 1/2 hours southwest of Springville. In all my years in Utah, I have never been to the dunes (perhaps because I perceived it primarily as a place only good for four wheeling), so when it became necessary for Joel to come home earlier than the others for a soccer game, Will and I volunteered to go out later on Friday (after a four hour rank and status committee meeting--yech) and join them. We got there just in time for a late dinner of fajitas. Next morning (above) we enjoyed omelets in a bag and bagels.

After dinner, all of the boys (including Will) headed back out to play night games on the dunes. They all wore glow sticks around their necks, arms and legs. A cool sight. They eventually ended up on this steep dune (where another troop was playing around the next morning) chewed up the night before by our boys where over and over they jumped and flipped down the steep slope.

I am continually amazed by the varied beauty of Utah. 

Happy campers. We left at 9:30 in time for Joel to get back for a game in Bountiful--He scored two goals and had two assists in a  8-1 win. Later that day Will scored two goals with one assist in a 4-0 win at their home field in Spanish Fork. Today, as they often do, the two Saturday games conflict so Marie went with Joel and I went with Will.

That night, Joel celebrated his 14th birthday (two days early) with 10 friends. They had pizza and sliced veggies, watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure while eating pop corn, had their fill of cake, banana splits and sundaes and then played night games.

Yesterday was the first day of fall break so we decided to go for a family hike. Will balked at first, but then ended up having a grand time. Originally I had hoped to climb Spanish Fork Peak, but on second thought it sounded too long and challenging for some of us so we opted for plan B--a hike up to Fifth Water Hot Springs. They are a 25 minute drive up Spanish Fork and Diamond Fork canyons. Last year Aunt Diane attempted a hike to the hot springs with the kids, but they took a wrong turn right off the bat and ended up hiking a considerable way up an adjacent dry canyon before realizing their mistake. They were too worn out to then attempt the hour long hike up to the hot springs. No wrong turns were made this time. Most of the fall colors had faded and dropped but there was still enough color to make it a most enjoyable hike and at just the right temperature.

The lower pools of the stream/spring with Marie and the kids in the distance under a tree eating lunch. I went on ahead to make sure everyone was properly clothed in the upper pools. Many years ago Aunt Diane took other young nieces and nephews on a hike up to the springs only to have them all happen upon some of the skinny dippers who like to frequent the place. No skinny dippers in sight. Perhaps all the young families on hikes scared them away.

Fifth Water stream drops cold water into the steaming hot springs. The various pools, depending upon the mix of hot and cold are either too hot or just right for soaking.

Ahhh--a great way to spend a day of hooky from work.

On the hike down, this random pillow became a place of destination. It led to some good exploring and some dam building. 

Will's dam from above.