Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saying Aloha to Labor Day!

[click to enlarge] Monday evening we took Daniela to the luau at Thanksgiving Point. It started with dinner and singing and then progressed to dances from each of the islands.
The chief showed us how to start fire with two sticks, weave palm fronds, husk and crack coconuts and tell jokes. He had great patter, but he was no nonsense with a pointed stick.
Staking out our spot in the amphitheater with 6,497 of our closest friends

Rob thought this guy looked like a polynesian version of my brother, Mr. Twinkie.
It really would if Mr. Twinkie ran around with a spear and warpaint and his tongue sticking out. Or if he licked fire.
The chief came out at the end as the star of the fire dance. Keep in mind that it was about 30 degrees by this point in the evening but the performers were still sporting the alohawear native to their tropical islands. Rob, Daniela and I were wearing everything we had and fighting over the quilt!
I hope the fire kept him warm . . .
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Labor Day Continued

Saturday evening we took the kids and went to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. It's an annual benefit for the Orem library and we'd never been, but KK gave us tickets for the Laughin' Night at the Scera Shell.
We brought blankets and jackets and a big picnic and ate ourselves silly on goat cheese and bread and fruit while we listened to the opening musicians. A young guy next to me said "Can I ask you a weird question? Was your husband speaking German? I thought I heard him say 'goat cheese' in German and I just don't know any English words that sound like that . . . " Turns out he is from Berlin so we picked his brain about places to go and things to see for our next Study Abroad.
I don't know what I expected the kids would do for four hours of storytelling, but I was astonished by how much they all loved it. We heard from seven men and women and they were all phenomenal and hilarious, from the Cinderella-meets-Rocky-Balboa opener to the "Afralaccian" tale, to the sophisticated Brit with the Oxbridge accent whose story was all about flatulence (my entire family was giddy). The kids were transfixed nearly the whole time. Our blankets weren't even folded up before Will declared that we were coming back to "this exact one" next year and I felt like the Parent of the Year (though really it is KK who is Parent of the Year).
Sunday we did nothing. Thank heavens!
Monday we got up and visited the neighbors' garden. J is our home teacher (in Mormondom, everyone is assigned two people who come visit once a month to make certain that you're ok and that you don't need to borrow power tools/help with moving furniture/casseroles or quickbreads etc.) and since his family was going out of town, he said we could come over and pick from the garden. This was a huge deal because despite Gartenjahr 2010, there are some things that didn't grow well.
Like everything except zucchini and basil.
It was like free day at the farmers' market! Of course I'm still trying to use up all of this great produce, but I am making a valiant attempt.
Next we threw the boys' bikes in the back of the truck and drove down to Utah Lake. We rode along the levee out to the airport control tower. It was a great, flat place to go with planes landing and taking off right over our heads and boats on the lake. We went until everyone was good and tired, then took them to Five Guys for lunch. Will and Sebi were such appreciative kids -- they thought that it was fine dining with all-you-can-eat peanuts to crack and vinegar to dip your fries in. Even Joss ate his burger and didn't meltdown until long past his naptime.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Naming Practices

Last week my mom sent a package full of My Things Still At My Parents' Home even after college, mission, marriage, four kids and nine years of home ownership. Among them are the teddy bears that I made sweaters for to practice knitting. Joss seized upon these and has been insisting that they go with him everywhere since their arrival. He named them (from L to R) Papa Bear, Baby Pictures, Friends, and Pico Joe.
We think he gets this talent from his Uncle Rick. Rick had great names for everything, from a goldfish named Potassium to his firstborn, Hildebang. Hildebang herself seems to have the gift. Rick asked her to name a metal insect he had welded: she named it Nooble.
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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor? What Labor?!

We took the long weekend as an excuse to fall back on our hard partyin' summer ways. Rob and I started early with a private concert by my dad's cousin. He's on the music faculty at BYU and in the American Piano Quartet. But he is also a dutiful nephew, and so when he has a solo program coming up, he calls his Aunt Nelda and gives her a preview in her living room. And Nelda invited us. He played a Beethoven Sonata, the Debussy suite containing Claire de Lune, and finished with three Rachmaninoff preludes. Ahhh. It was lovely.
Next night, Rob and I bribed the kids with TV dinners, and went out with friends for dinner and Brian Stokes Mitchell in concert at the deJong with a crazed, sold-out crowd. He's got an incredible set of pipes, but is no less an actor. He entertained us with jazz and Broadway tunes. Highlights were Soliloquy from Carousel, Face to Face from Les Miserables, How Long Has This Been Going On by Gershwin, and Waters of March by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Three encores later and the three chicks in front of us were ready to start throwing articles of clothing at him.
Saturday we went with Fistful of Daisies to the Payson Grotto. They'd been before and acted as guides. It's a great hike for kids -- not too far, but with lots of interest crossing the stream on logs and a good destination at the end:
Sebi and Eleanor testing the water.
We also brought the department's new visiting professor, Daniela. She has known Rob since before Maddie was born and he is thrilled to get her to BYU to teach this semester. This week we tried to get her up and running with a phone, a bike, a bus pass, a social security number . . . So on Saturday we took her in the minivan with the whole family. She's a well-behaved environmentally conscious single vegetarian European, so a trip to Payson is out of the ordinary. Here I am with Ann & Daniela wiggling our toes in the water and watching kids splash.

Rob began peeling off dollar bills and daring kids to drench themselves. Mark was busy dipping his baby into the ice cold water one body part at a time.
Then Rob and Will had to scale the wall to the top. They descended by a more civilized route and took the others with them. Joss wanted to go too, but I distracted him by heading back down the trail. We managed to see a chipmunk and a wee little snake on our walk.

We finished by taking Daniela to the Daley Freez for lunch because she's a vegetarian and those are just the kind of hosts we are. While waiting for the academics to come back with the food, Ann said "She's probably from some really cute European town." and when I told her that yes, it's green and beautiful and full of half-timbered houses and a river in the middle, she said "And she's living in the pit of Provo and we brought her to Payson?!?!"
We're keeping it real. Next week, I told Daniela that we need to take her to Costco for her cultural adventure.
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