"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Friday, June 27, 2014

4H Showcase Showdown, Day 1

 This boy of mine knows how to have a great breakfast (or any other meal).  He insists on eating out on the deck whenever possible.  This was Tuesday morning before we headed out for Showcase Showdown.

 Breakfast is always either a grilled cheese or a quesadilla, plus fruit.  We're a little stuck in a rut.

 On our way, we saw a Uhaul with this add on it.  I'm pretty sure the people of Manitoba don't want visitors.  At least that's what I got from it.  :)

I had to take a picture of these still windmills.  I think this is the first time I've been through Arlington, Wyoming when there wasn't any wind.  Figures, though.  It would have been pushing us.  I'm sure we'll have a good strong headwind on the way home to make up for it.

 We got to Grammy's house in Colorado Tuesday afternoon, and played with their cousin.

Then Wednesday we headed to Laramie, WY for the state 4H event known as Showcase Showdown.  The boys were very impressed with the air conditioner in our room. Showcase Showdown is a big event where the kids get to participate in a bunch of different competitions.

I was more interested in our proximity to the University of Wyoming football stadium.

 The ten year old participated in a tour of the athletic facilities - they got to see the locker rooms, gym, etc.

Then the group made a clover formation for a group picture.  It is the 100 year anniversary of the 4H program in Wyoming.

This is what the shirts look like. 

On the sleeve...

 After the photo we walked 5 blocks to a huge park and had a barbecue.  Kid approved, as you can tell :)  I didn't think to take a picture until we were almost done.

We met lots of new and interesting people from around the state, and one very interesting dog.

His name is Angus, and he is a Dante Bordeaux, which is a French mastiff.  He weighs 160 pounds, and was as tall as my two year old (who will be 3 next week).  He is also a therapy dog, and his handler was such a sweet lady who told us all sorts of interesting facts about his breed.

I couldn't get over the size.  His face must have been a foot wide, and he slobbered constantly.

 The park where we had the picnic had one of the little free library boxes in it.  I've seen these online but never in person. Fun idea.

After dinner the kids just wanted to run and play awhile.

 While we were at the playground, we heard a band start playing, and the trumpet-obsessed five year old wanted to go see the trumpets, so we headed over to the outdoor concert.

These guys were really good.  They started out with the national anthem, and played marching music, old Big Band style swing, classical pieces, an Irish jig, and spy thriller music before we finally headed out.

 It was starting to sprinkle, and the older boys wanted to get back to the hotel to swim, but the five year old kept refusing to leave.

We got back to the hotel, and I enjoyed the sunset and the view while the ten year old went swimming with his friends.  The little boys wanted to swim too, so we got dressed and headed down.  They were both excited to go. But when we got there, the five year old couldn't force himself to go inside.  The pool comes very close to the door, so there is a lot of water right up to the door, there were a ton of kids there (our conference with all those kids is at this hotel and most are staying here), it was super-humid, and they have a fountain that is like a constant enormous shower.  It was too much sensory input all at once.  He kept saying he wanted to swim, but he couldn't make himself go through the door.  Thankfully the two year old was cooperative when we had to leave without even getting wet.  The five year old was pretty upset and told me, "We have to find a different pool."  Poor guy.  We will be swimming this weekend at Grammy's though, so hopefully he will be brave enough to get in then.

 Thursday morning the ten year old began his competitions.  He gave his presentation entitled "Living with Diabetes."  I only took this one picture when he was setting up because I didn't want to distract him.  Unfortunately it is a little blurry.  His aunt asked him how he thought he did, and he said, "High mediocre."  HA.

Then we got to go watch his best friend in the robot sumo challenge.  His friend is in the yellow, leaning on the table.  His robot is on the left.  He won 1st place :)

My sister and niece came up for the day, so my two year old had two friends to play with.  The one on the right is his cousin, and the girl in the dark pink is the ten year old's best friend's little sister.

After a quick lunch, we took the boys over to the food cookoff competition.  It was a little stressful right beforehand because I had two of the boys and all of the supplies in my vehicle and couldn't find my keys.  One of the other moms came back for them, but we were very late - arriving 15 minutes after their scheduled start time.  And thankfully about the time she came back, I found the keys.  They were very accommodating though and just had a group that was there and ready go ahead of us.
They worked together very well and seemed to have a good time.  The recipe came out as well as it ever has, so we'll just have to wait and see how the judging goes.

They decided to call themselves The Buckaroo Bunch - hence the western shirts.  And they named their recipe Buckaroo Crunch.  I did overhear one of the judges asking if they thought this would be a good recipe to make in a Chuckwagon, and them answering no.  I had to chuckle when she asked why not, and my son said "It would be too bumpy." LOL

The cookoff itself took an hour, plus the time it takes to go and come back (they had that event at the high school), so overall it was about two hours, and by then my little people were beat.  The five year old was telling me we needed to take a nap.  So back to the hotel we went.  The boys settled in for a good rest while the ten year old went to a workshop on rockets, and then to dinner.

 I ordered a pizza for the five year old and I, and fed the allergic-to-everything two year old from the food I had brought from home, and then we headed down to the banquet hall for awards.  The five year old did pretty well for most of it, but then one of the counties started screaming and whooping for every person from their county who got called up, regardless of whether they finished dead last or first.  And we happened to be sitting right next to their table.  He kept telling me we had to leave, but the presentation awards were listed last on the program.  It took over 2.5 hours to get to them.

 Meanwhile, the two year old was happy as a clam with my Nook.

 When they finally got to the presentation awards, the ten year old won 3rd place!

At first he was a bit disappointed that he hadn't done any better than third.

That was, until I pointed out that that was third place in the whole state!  He wanted to pose like this for his uncle, so we texted him this picture.

His uncle sent this picture back, along with a cajun "AaaaaaaEeeeeeee" and a promise for a celebratory steak dinner when we get there this weekend. 

I'm pretty proud of him.  Third place at state in a competition he didn't really want to participate in to begin with (nerves).  We will find out about the cookoff results at the awards ceremony after lunch Friday.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Snow in June

Okay, this is going to be a run-on post, so fair warning.  I wanted to post the snow pictures Wednesday, but our internet (and Verizon) was down.  So here it is,  better late than never, right?

 It's been really cold the last couple days, and Wednesday morning we woke to snow.  Not a lot of snow, but enough to know we had some.  There's a lot more in the mountains

 I drove into town early Wednesday to drop off the ten year old.  He headed up into those snowy mountains for a three-day 4H camp.  He took all his winter gear with him :)  It was really foggy heading in.

 Only a few hours later, the snow around the house had melted, but there was still plenty in the mountains, and it continued to snow all day - a bit down here, but mostly in the mountains.

 We had MESA riding again, and this time the five year old got to ride a new horse.  His name is Buck (because he's a buckskin).  He's a beautiful horse, with a soft coat and a gentle stride, but he's bigger than Sadie.  We weren't sure how he would do with a new horse as new things don't always go over very well, but thankfully he was fairly okay with it.  Another child with autism was riding Sadie, and I wondered if it would bother him to see someone else on Sadie.  But we made sure and visited with Sadie a bit beforehand, and we talked about Buck all morning, looked up pictures online of Buckskin horses and prepared him the best we could.

 He rode around for awhile with his eyes covered. I think that was just his way of being a bit rebellious.

 It snowed all during the lessons, as you can see from the dogs that just went out for a minute.  The snow was coming down pretty hard at that point, but it was more like snowballs than flaky snow.

 I really enjoyed watching the sky all day ... so dramatic, and always changing.

 We refilled the bird feeders and each of the boys fed the birds.  :)  They can't reach either feeder, so they just make a little pile, and the birds eat it right off the deck.  The other day I actually saw a gopher up on the deck.  Didn't know they would use those steep stairs.  This deck is really high.

By the end of the day it was nice enough to sit on the deck, watching the sunset and reading my book.  I truly do live in paradise :)

 Also on Wednesday, the five year old had therapy at his old preschool.

   The two year old likes to tag along for these appointments because they have so many toys :)

 We took the two little boys out for pizza.  They have a great salad bar full of stuff the allergic-to-everything two year old can have.  He has tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peas, craisins and sunflower seeds.  He usually eats two plates this full.

 All my boys like salad stuff - veggies, fruits and so on.

 The day after riding Buck, the five year old found one of our toy horses that looked most like him, and that has been the toy of choice all week.

I was pretty impressed with his makeshift halter.  He is always wanting me to cut pieces of yarn off for him, and he's pretty creative with what he does with it.  He told me now he needs a saddle and some reins. :)

 He tied him off to a Lincoln Log, and later the two year old tied him to a giraffe.  A lot of fun can be had with a simple piece of string :)

In other news, we finally got a target set up for the ten year old to practice archery in the yard.  We have the state shoot coming up in July and he will miss two of the practices for it because we'll be out of town, so we borrowed a bow and have him practicing at home.

And just for the record, this is NOT why we have a king-sized bed!

Sorry for the blurry picture.  On the way home from book club Thursday night the sky was beautiful, but I only had my phone.  So I snapped a couple of pictures, but it doesn't nearly portray the beauty it really was.

So now I think we're caught up.  I guess I better get busy. We have a special meeting at church tonight with Ben Everson.  If you've never heard of him, you really ought to listen to some of his music online.  It's amazing.  He sings a cappella, and produces all the background music and all the different parts with just his voice recorded over and over.  Very impressive.  Click this link to see how it works.  Click here to listen to a my favorite song.