Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oregon Battle of the Books

I coached our school's Battle of the Books team this year. It was the first time that our school has participated, and I was proud of how well they did. We joined up the beginning of November (the books are released to the schools in April), and the kids read the 16 books by March. We had book review discussions at lunch, and then did our school battles to pick the final 5 kids to represent our school at the regional battle in Roseburg on March 14. Leilani made the final team, and Emilyanne was the standby 6th person in case something happened to a team member. One of the boys quit the team, so Emily happily ended up being on the team.
The kids designed t-shirts and named their team the Cranes.
The kids did a great job. They tied for 11th out of 42 teams, and won both their battles. We are excited and looking forward to next year. (Leilani even wants me to get it started at Kelly!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

An American Girl Mystery

Leilani had an American Girl birthday party this year. The girls dressed up as characters from Samantha's books. Samantha is the American Girl doll from 1904 - the Victorian Era.
They made paper fans out of paper and popsicle sticks. We found out why the instructions told us to use wrapping paper, because the paper I chose did not fold out as easily, but we figured out a solution and made the fans work . They turned out really cute!
Then the girls figured out their parts, read through a script, found clues around the house and solved a mystery about one of the characters in the play. They did a great job acting out the parts, and they seemed to have a lot of fun!
When they were done, Leilani got to blow out candles on a birthday cake.
They drank lemonade in tea cups (and had lots of fun pouring the lemonade out of the pitcher into the cups), ate cookies, ate cupcakes and ate cake and ice cream.
Leilani opened presents. She received many nice things.

With the help of my mom, sister and another mom, we traced and cut out sihouettes of each girl.
Then the girls ended the party playing dolls. It was fun to see them all playing and acting like little girls. Some of them said they didn't even have any dolls at home. And some of them met their parents at the door asking for an American Girl doll for a birthday or Christmas present. LOL I wasn't trying to advertise for the company, but I am glad they had a good time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Can't Believe She's 11

Leilani recently had her 11th birthday. I can't believe she is getting so old! Her birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, which is the night I have Young Women. I was going to have her birthday dinner and family party on a different night, but she felt VERY strongly about having it on her birthday, so we had it early and people came when they could. Her dad came late, I left early, Uncle Chris came late, ect. It all worked out and she was happy.

You may notice that our Christmas tree is still up in the background. That is not an is still sitting there. I think I have set a new personal record for how late our tree is up this year. The only other time it was still up by Leilani's birthday, Alan carried it out to the back porch and undecorated it himself during her birthday party. This year, none of us care. Life has just been full of other things that were more important. (Or I am just lazy - take your pick )
Aunt Kim gave Leilani one of her old sweaters that Lani really likes. She loves it, and would wear it every day if I would let her. Kim seems to know how to pick presents that are the hit of the party!

Grandma also knows how to treat a girl right.

Because we decided to do her party on her birthday at the last minute, I didn't have time to make a cake. So, we made cupcakes. I wasn't home, but I think they stuck a candle in one and sang to her. She didn't complain, so she must have had a good time. We took cupcakes to school for her too, so she had royal treatment. All in all I think she had a great day!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow Shoes at Crater Lake

We decided to give the free snow shoe tour at Crater Lake a try. So, we picked a free Saturday, called and made reservations, secured babysitting, and left early Saturday morning to drive up to Crater Lake.
Uncle Kelly and Grandpa brought their own snow shoes, so they immediately started putting on their gear. The snow was fairly deep at Crater Lake, but the roads were plowed and they were clear most of the way.
Ranger Dave and Alan helped the girls get on their snow shoes. Alan helped me put on mine too.
This is our group as we head off into the forest. It was cold and windy at the beginning, but once we got into the forest there was no wind and the temperature was fairly nice. I even unzipped my jacket and shed my gloves.

The trees were so beautiful with the snow on them. My dad looks small next to them, and just the tops of some of them were sticking out - the rest was buried under the snow.
Leilani and Emilyanne were at the front of the line with Ranger Dave the whole time. I quickly learned that I liked it much better at the back of the line. At the front of the line you were breaking the trail, so you were sinking in the snow and working harder. At the back of the line the snow was packed down and it was much easier!
The lake was so beautiful! It is much different in the winter.
At the end of the hike, Leilani made a game out of falling down and yelling "help" until her dad helped her up. It brought back memories of when I was in outdoor school in 6th grade. We went up to Odell Lake, and part of the experience was learning to cross country ski. We had high school kids accompany us as counselors, and of course some of them were boys. When we went out to ski, me and a friend of mine were at the end of the line with one of the high school counselors bring up the rear right behind us. We kept falling over and having our skies come off and having all sorts of problems - some of it real and some of it imaginary. A lot of it was to get attention from that poor high school boy. After watching my husband's frustration build, I really felt bad for all that we put that poor teenage boy thru :) I'm sure his memories of that trip are not as fond as mine are!

We gathered in circles a few times for Ranger Dave to instruct us (and to rest). We learned about the trees and lichen, the animals, the snow pack and the lake itself. I learned a lot, actually.

It was very fun and very beautiful! We would love to go again. I don't know if we will get there again before May (when they stop doing it until the next winter), but I think we may make this an annual family trip!