Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun at Fish Lake

My family has the tradition of going to Fish Lake every year on the weekend of July 24th and this year was the most fun I think we've ever had. A couple of things that were going our way was that we didn't have a 3-4 month old baby or a toddler just learning to walk so there was a little more freedom to just enjoy the time rather than constantly be worried about the youngest. We also stayed longer this year than other years so we had more time and got to visit with family a little more.

We got to Fish Lake at about 8:00 Friday the 20th and set up camp. The kids favorite, roasting marshmallows worked out just right after we got camp set up. The next morning we took our turn going out on the pontoon boat that my dad rents every year when we go up, and believe it or not, Ellie's little Barbie fishing pole and Catie's little Mickey Mouse fishing pole caught the biggest fish!!
Enoch also had a great experience catching fish - I think he caught
one of the biggest fish that day. We got rained on two nights in a row and decided that we had had enough camping and left a day early after going to church at the Fish Lake Lodge, visiting with family on my mom's side of the family, having the traditional whole Madsen family pot luck dinner and fishing a bit more. The nice thing about leaving early was we got back in time to watch Grandma Decker dance with the Lawn Chair Brigade in the parade and Grandpa Keith march with the drill team. We had a fun 24th of July, catching two parades and some sun kissed cheeks in the process :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

NEW CAR!!!!!

Two weekends ago, we were in Glendale, UT and while driving home (either on the way home or shortly after) we lost the overdrive gear on my stupid Pontiac Montana. We toyed with the idea of fixing it, but when we realized that it would cost as much to fix the dang thing as it would to sell it outright, and knowing that I can walk into our local mechanic shop and have them know me by name and vehicle, and the fact that I need a reliable vehicle to get to and from work in the upcoming school year, we decided to upgrade.

What I didn't plan on or expect is how much it would cost to buy a new vehicle, and not in the way that you are assuming right now. I looked at used first, have a thrifty minded tendency that occasionally surfaces, but I did not want a vehicle with more than 70,000 miles on it because that is what my van had on it when we bought it (maybe a little more) and most vehicles, when they hit that mileage, have lots of problems start to pick up, and as much as I like visiting with my mechanic, I think that our relationship is too familiar and one sided - me always giving them money. The problem/great thing I discovered is that all the vehicles that had under 70,000 miles on it were only $5,000 less than new models...which I would easily put into repairs over the next few years, along with the stress of not knowing how long the vehicle will last, etc. So we bought a new car!!!!

My new mode of travel too and from soccer games, Walmart, Cedar High, etc. is a 2007 GMC Yukon. It only has the first bench behind the driver/passenger chair, which is exactly what I wanted because now I have four feet behind the kids seat to put groceries, chairs, strollers, change of clothes, backpacks, etc. I love it, the reliability, the WARRANTY!!! and the lumbar support in the front seats. I'll take a pic and post it in a bit.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Classifications of Books

If you are reading this and you are even remotely tuned into the world, you will have realized that for the last month or so, there have been multitudes of people carrying around various volumes of Harry Potter for one of two reasons; they are either trying to remember what the volume that is coming out in the theaters is really supposed to be like or they are rereading the 6th volume to gear up for the 7th, which brilliantly is being released just after the newest film. It was brilliant because it gets all the people who are Harry Potter fans geared up for the new book, and because, sadly, if they had released the book first, I think it would have lost sales in favor of those who would rather experience the fantastical wizardry on film.

After that very long introduction, I get to the point of the post. There are books that are classified by various people into different categories based on numerous qualifications. I almost never read a book because it is on the NY Times best selling list unless it is pure coincidence - that has no bearing on my book choice at all. And since I have not yet read a single volume of the wizardry adventures, clearly popularity doesn't have much pull on my topping my need to read list. So, here are the explanations of why I read what I read.

First are recommendations of merit. The books that fall into this category are those who were suggested by someone who I admire for their intellectual gifts, similar interests, etc. Because of these suggestions I have had the opportunity to read Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I had several people suggest them and have loved them so much that those individuals are permanently on top of my If-they-suggest-I-will-read list.

Also on this list I work in the authors whose work I have read a large part of and either make time to re-read or to experience the joy all over again with a new work. These authors typically didn't vomit up a book once a year to make lots of money over a crappy plot or tell the same story over and over again but in a different city and from a different point of view, marketing it with some big company and a past name recognition because they had a book made into a movie. Generally at most, they have written about a dozen books, more essays and are humble about their writing abilities and the press that is awarded to them. I can't think of one that is currently alive.

Second (and this could be first, but the first needs to be dedicated to the true desires of my heart, eyes and brain) are those that I need to read to prepare for ____________ - depending on the assignment at hand, fill in the blank. At this point in my life, this reading category is filled with preparation materials for the adventure quickly arriving othewise known as my first year teaching experience. I just read The Old Man and The Sea, several books on teaching writing, and today plan to get through some modern one act plays.

Third are the classics, but not a classic for the sake of saying that it is a classic. For instance, the every popular Moby Dick was such a chore for me to trudge through, never capturing my interest or even amazing me with it's description, word choice, etc. While that may be close to the top of books that I never want to go near enough to know I'm near, that award hands down goes to One Hundred Years of Solitude (Marquez) - in fact I've never found a real person (real as in not a professor who has had his appreciation of good literature tainted by the weird and abnormal or someone who thinks that just because a book recieves an award it is worth reading) who has been able to read this without wanting to have a burial by fire afterwards. I love to read the really great classics - The Scarlet Letter, books by Hemingway, Shakespearean plays, great poetry, epics, etc. Generally the authors of these works have been dead for at least a hundred years, although there are some exceptions to that rule.

So there you have it - I don't know what is going on in Harry Potter - I would like to read them some day with my children and experience the phenomenen with them for the first time, but if you know of a book that would fit in the other categories above, please let me know. Perhaps you may even find yourself placed in the first category.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I am Victorious!!!

I am finally triumphant over a foe who has been avoiding my efforts to stop his little existence for several weeks. Yes, that foe was a mouse who never ran on the floor (where I first set the traps when I found him) but across the countertops which drives me crazy and has had me scrubbing them often.

Last night after I set up two peanut butter baited traps about three feet apart, I finally caught him - HAHAHA. I know, it's stupid, but I hate those stupid things. We even tried to put Benny (our 9 month old kitten) on the countertop on Sunday when I saw him out, but the mouse managed to escape him (and I'm not totally convinced that Benny is quite sure what he is supposed to do...)

Now I can rest a little better and scrub a little less, knowing this gross creature is out of my life. Hopefully Enoch can foam in the little spot by the gas where we think they are coming in before I have to prepare for battle again.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Almost Friday the 13th (OOO-WEEE-OOO)

I don't know how it happens but another week of good intentions has nearly flown by and here I am once again not having everything done that I planned to do. But rather than focus on all the things that I'm failing miserably at (LAUNDRY!!!!!) I thought I'd look at all the great things I got done.

First, we are in the midst of potty training Catie. She is doing okay, some days better than others, but seems to be improving and where she is the only one in diapers I think it is helping her want to be like everyone else. I'm really hoping that I can get her most of the way if not completely in less than a month...we'll see.

I just got the schedule for my first year teaching training. There are three days that I will be gone for seven hours a day, but then I have 21 hrs of the 39 I need to get each year to progress to the next level of teaching licensure, which I have to do. While I was figuring out all the contract stuff and paperwork, I ran across a name that I hadn't seen for a while - Valerie Pack and found out that the woman who is going to help me with all my first year training was also my third grade teacher. It was a funny experience and thankfully this time around I don't have to pass of my multiplication tables to her - I remember having a serious amount of anxiety over those dang sevens in 3rd grade.

I found someone to watch my girls, in my home for this upcoming year. She is really nice, has two kids who are 13 and 7 and then has a 8 month old baby that she will be bringing to my home during the week, arriving in time for Enoch to take Will to school and then I will be here between 3:15 and 3:30 in the afternoon. She is so nice and I'm very hopeful that she will do a good job with my girls.

I have arranged for all of the piano students I'm letting go to switch to my sister Tari, I'm going to fill out all the rest of the paperwork tonight for my employment and I set up the blog that I'm going to maintain during the school year so parents know what is going on in the classroom - something that I think the parents of the freshmen are going to appreciate the most. Along those same lines, I think I've figured out a rough idea of what units I'm going to teach this next year - now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do in each of those units. It should be a fun year, full of health insurance, free admittance to CHS sporting events (especially good so I can see Ryan play), Ellie and Will are going to start soccer and I will have all my afternoons (with the exception of one hour for my last two piano students) free to be with my kids!!! YEAH!!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Two black eyes and the Fourth of July

First off...for some reason I can't put a title in right's having a quirk so I'll title this post after it lets me :)

I have had a week of accident prone children. First, Ellie sprained her wrist (which thankfully after a few days got feeling better and she decided that she was even good enough to do this session of swim lessons) and then both Will and Ellie got black eyes. Will got his by jumping over the couch to get behind it when he needed to pick up some of his toys, and his face landed on the window sill and Ellie was standing on a card table in the basement playing castles or something and she fell off and landed face down on the concrete. I'm sure if people were really paying attention, they would think that we are the most abusive parents ever!!!

We had a fun Fourth of July. We first went to the local Cedar City parade, which always has lots of people throwing lots of candy, and Will and Ellie have got the collecting candy talent down. Catie even got into it, realizing that it was more fun to get up off of her chair and get candy. The girls loved the dancers and Ellie told me that she wants to be a parade dancer. I had already thought about starting her in dance lessons, but after she said that I knew it was something that I really needed to get seriously looking into.

The kids also had fun playing with the Snap Pops and I didn't buy any fireworks at all because we would have had to go to a designated location to set them off and because they are really expensive. We can see the fireworks that Enoch City sets off from our house and this year it was a decent show. Catie even stayed awake this year to watch. It was a fun, relaxing Fourth of July without huge crowds and limited arguing - which goes down in my book as perfect.

I'm trying to get Catie mostly potty trained before I have to start school, so I'm sacrificing my workouts for this goal. As it is there have been a few days when we have had tons to do and I've just put a diaper on her so that I didn't have to take the time to switch out the soiled underwear, but I have less than 40 days before I go back to school so I need to buckle down and really focus on this for a little while. If she doesn't get it by the time I start school, I'll have to come up with a plan B - but if it isn't consistent there's no way that she will get it this school year, which wouldn't be the end of the world, but I am really looking forward to having kids out of diapers after 6+ years of constant diaper changing.

The highlight of my week was receiving a phone call from my dear friend Tiana. I haven't really heard from her for a while - I had a baby, she got married (which voids out the first year) and now is pregnant (again, a pretty awesome excuse) but I had the chance to talk to her for over an hour yesterday and it just made my day. There are a few people who I consider to be a really great friend and she is one of them and I love her tremendously.