Saturday, February 27, 2010

Where in the WORLD are Elder and Sister Lee?

Last time I posted about this, my parents had to give up the opportunity of serving their next mission in Bangalore, India due to visa issues. And after going through several other possibilities over the Thanksgiving holiday, they were able to choose (yes, choose) to go to the Slovenia-Croatia mission.

My parents entered the MTC the second week of December and then hung out at the Family History Center in SLC, UT waiting for their visas to come through. They were told it would be around the beginning of March.

Shortly after the beginning of the year, my parents found out that there is NOT family history work or a need for such missionaries in the Slovenia-Croatia area as they were initially led to believe.

Because family history work is what my parents had their heart set on....where would they go now??

A quick switcheroo and one more First Presidency approval, and they left February 15th for Edinburgh, Scotland! They will be going through archives of records and taking digital pictures of them for the Church. They work in a long room with 4 other couples. My dad has a camera station and my mom works with a computer to quality check the images once they are taken. The room they are in has no windows so the mission president encourages them to get out on the weekends and see the country. (Tough life!)

Interestingly enough, my parents just up and took a trip to Scotland last May. My cousin actually lives over there and they joined her and her parents and had a wonderful time gallivanting around the beautiful country. This is a real treat for them to be going back. Now that my parents are actually ON their mission, I don't foresee them changing country locations prior to their release in 18 months!

AND...even if we don't have any vacation time, Jared insists that we go visit them. I had totally forgotten that the name "hough" is rumored to have Scottish roots.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

He survived!

Phew! Jake is officially done with his participation in Century High School's rendition of "The Music Man".

Back in September, Jake came home on a Tuesday and said he really wanted to try out for the high school musical at Century. He said they were asking for younger children to audition for "The Music Man". Auditions were the next day, but of course he couldn't tell me when, how long, what he needed to do to prepare or anything else about it. He didn't have the handout. So I told him to bring me the information the next day after school and he did. Sure enough, it was just as he said. There were some possible time conflicts, but I told him we'd try and make it happen. I dropped him off, signed him in and made sure it was okay that I didn't stay since I had three other loud and squirmy kids to juggle and that it was in EVERYONE'S best interest if I didn't stay. I was told it would be about an hour for the elementary students to audition. So I waited in the parking lot for him to come out. To this day, I have no idea what the audition entailed. Jake was nonchalant about the whole thing. Said they'd call if he made it.

I had just enough time to drive home, get dinner on the table and welcome Jared home before needing to leave for a missionary discussion that was scheduled for 6pm. That's when I got a phone call from the stage manager telling me Jake made the audition! I couldn't believe it. She told me that about 75 kids tried out and only 19 made it and only 5 of the youngest towns people were boys. We were so proud of him and were excited and a little anxious to find out how this would all go down.

Rehearsals for him started in December. (Fortunately for me, I just had to drop him off two miles down the road and come back and pick him up.) Obviously, rehearsals got longer and later the closer they got to opening night. But it was still doable. (We did take a break from piano lessons for the month of February before it got too crazy.) All told, he had 11 performances in 8 days and he wasn't getting home 'til after 10pm in the evenings. Considering his rigorous schedule and his usual 7:30 bedtime, Jake managed it very well at home and at school. He kept up on his schoolwork and chores and even missed two days of school for two weekday matinees. For his first theatrical debut complete with a 3-word speaking part, singing and choreography, Jake was a great little towns person and despite hating the knickerbockers, enjoyed his chance to rub shoulders with some very talented youth. When people ask Jake if he would be in a musical again, he responds with an emphatic "yes!" And quickly follows that up with this: "as long as I don't have to kiss anyone!" (Just keep thinking that, son!)

Here's Jake in full costume. I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of him in his band uniform at the end. He "played" the clarinet. (Huh...I didn't know they had metal braces in 1912...)

This was opening night, Feb. 11th, when Jared and I saw the show together.

I was so mesmerized by the charm of this musical and how WELL the entire cast did, that I had to see it again before closing night. Considering this was put on by a high school and lots of other younger kids, I was soooo impressed. The costumes were authentic, the set was cool, the singing of the leads was fabulous and entertaining. My only complaint is that it was sometimes hard to hear certain parts, but that's technical equipment issues and not a reflection on the cast or crew.

Jared took Cooper to the first Saturday matinee and to this day, Cooper wanders around the house singing "Seventy-six trombones led the big parade, with a hundred and ten cornets close at hand" and "Shipoopi!" I went the following Thursday with my neighbor and then to the last show on Saturday with another friend who took Jared's ticket since he had to work. The musical was 2 hours in length but clipped right along at a relatively fast pace. I was always surprised when intermission came after the first hour. It was so fun to watch! Kudos to the Century Theater cast and crew and the members of the orchestra pit!

And a HUGE thank you to all the friends who attended the show to support Jake. We appreciate you!

This was Jake on Sunday 2.21 after closing night (with a matinee that afternoon) and a cast party until 11:30pm. We have 9am church so Jared and I told him that if we let him stay for the cast party, he could not fall asleep in church but could take a nap when we got home. He was definitely "Shi-pooped."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

100 days, 100 verses

Today marks 100 days the kids have been in school. It's a VERY big deal to the lower grades who are learning about place value and of course, it's a fun day to participate in activities and extra treats and have other experiences based around the number 100.

The kids in Cooper's class were given a variety of pattern block shapes over the weekend and were asked to use exactly 100 and CREATE something with them. I hung those up in the hall at the school today and they are INCREDIBLE! Also, while I was there, the children were given the assignment to draw a picture of what they'd look like when they were 100 years old. One kid drew a picture of a grassy hill and his gravestone on it indicating he'd be dead!

What about those 100 verses?

Well, this year, 2010, our family is veering away from the suggested stake challenge to read the New Testament by the end of April (having started the beginning of November at Stake Conference). Since we've read the New Testament and Book of Mormon, cover to cover already, we decided to read the Old Testament together. Except that we gave ourselves 12 months to do it. We are studying the Old Testament world-wide this year as a Church in Sunday School and the older Primary children are learning about it in their individual classes, so we thought it would be a perfect time to do so as a family. In order to get the most out of our reading, we are also spending two family nights a month on studying certain passages in the Old Testament. There are so many hidden treasures in this underutilized and under appreciated book of scripture. We certainly don't expect to be Old Testament Master Scriptorians when we're done, but at least we'll be more familiar with it than we were before!

Spreading this challenge out over a year is very doable, but it's not quite the end of February and we've already fallen behind!! Blasted! This, of course, doesn't surprise me. We're great at the "read on schedule for a week, fall behind for four, catch up over three, repeat." honor of the 100th day of school today, we will be reading 100 verses in Exodus tonight as part of Family Home Evening. I'm sure the kids will freak out. However, a closer examination of the pages that follow where we stopped will reveal that there are 100 verses EXACTLY in the next 3 chapters. Maybe we should EACH read 100 verses. Sadly, I still think we'd be behind.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hygienist wins over patient

Ever seen that commercial several years back that shows a Kindergarten teacher with her children gathered around her in circle time. She asks them questions: "What color is the sky?" They answer "Blue!" She asks them, "What color is the grass?" They answer "Green!" She asks "What color are my teeth?" hoping for the answer of "white." She was completely thrown off-guard when the children came up with responses like--"beige", "ecru", "mother-of-pearl". It makes me laugh every time I think about it.

For the past couple of years I've actually had that nagging feeling that my teeth are yellowing and need to be whitened. I just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. It's not exactly on my priority list, let alone the HIGH priority list. Do I try doing something myself or do I get it professionally done? I haven't researched a thing about it. I just don't want my kids calling my teeth color "ecru".

Today I went in for my second six-month cleaning and check-up with the dentist whose office is right next door to Jared's. And who just happened to move into our ward two Sundays ago!

I'll admit, right up front, I'm not the perfect dental patient. Far from it in fact, which is why I hate going to the dentist. One more reminder where I fail in life is just not pleasant. I got my first cavity at the age of 25 and I cried. Yes, I cried. The other cavities I have are my "graduate school cavities." We had no medical or dental coverage for the four years Jared spent getting his masters degrees and while I am SO grateful we didn't have any major oral issues during that time, it was a complete drag to my pride to get more than a handful of little cavities all over my mouth a few months AFTER getting dental insurance. *sigh*

I sat in the chair this morning and of course, it was the check-up for the bite wing x-rays. The gal who put the first gag-reflex-checker in my mouth said, "Wow, you have beautiful teeth." I was more than surprised by her comment. Certainly she wasn't talking about the color of my yellowing teeth. It couldn't be the shape of my teeth either. I think they're a little big myself. Hoping for some more feedback I asked, "Really?" She said, "Oh yes, they are nice and white. Do you bleach them?" Stunned, I told her I didn't whiten them and that I was actually thinking of doing so. Then she said more as a statement than a question, "You don't drink coffee do you." I shook my head no. She said, "We can always tell who does. Your teeth are very pretty." That totally made my day.

She continued to rack up the points with me with her genuineness. Later, when the dentist came in to do the exam, we were discussing how his wife is due to have her third baby any day now and her past deliveries. I mentioned that with four kids, I've had four VERY different deliveries. This same gal gasped. "You've had FOUR kids??" I told her I had. She gawked at me, flipped through my chart to find my birth date and said, "Huh, you're my age. Wow--you don't look like you've had four kids." As I was leaning back for the exam, I told her I really hoped that would help me out when I'm in my 50s. She said, "Seriously, I thought you were 23...25 at the most." After which I mumbled, "I wuv woo" while the dentist was checking my teeth. That totally made my YEAR! As I was leaving, she said she meant every word of it. I told her she was now my favorite ;)