Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cleaning the Church

Our family helped clean the church today with the Relief Society.  I think Robert was more excited about it than anyone else in the family.  We were all there by 8:30 am, ready to clean and clean.  (Leilani threw up as we were leaving, so we left her home)

 First they emptied all the garbage cans.
 While the younger kids did that, Emily and I shined the drinking fountains and Alan vacuumed the halls.
 Then we cleaned windows.  The kids did a pretty good job!  Alan and I just had to go behind and clean up a little with paper towels when they were done.

It was hard to get up early on a Saturday morning, but it felt good to help out and clean the church.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

We Are the Champions - Oregon Battle Of the Books 2015

Saturday I took our school's Battle of the Books team to our regional competition at Thurston high school. (I am the coach) There were 52 elementary school teams there ready to compete.  Our team is a young team - all 3rd and 4th graders - so I wasn't sure how well they would do.  Benjamin is one of the two 3rd graders on the team, and he has worked very hard reading all of  the books (16 of them) and studying questions.  But two of our team members have only read half the books, so I wasn't sure if the other three team members could carry the bulk of the knowledge.

 The kids were excited at ready to compete when the battles started.  There are only 4 team members and an alternate.  We took turns switching out the two kids who hadn't read all the books.  Our battles during pool play were against two schools named Laurel and Maple.  I have never heard of either school, but apparently one is from Junction City and one is from Springfield.  At the end of pool play, they take the top 16 teams with the most points.  Win/loss doesn't count at this point (although we won both our battles).  We ended up with 113 total points.  If you answer all your questions in a battle, the most you can get is 40 points in a battle, and 80 points total in pool play.  But, you can steal the other team's questions if they answer them wrong.
While we were waiting to see if we made it into the top 16 bracket, the kids took some funny pictures and ate lunch.
 The kids were worried when they started announcing the top 16 teams, because they start with 16th place and work up, and they didn't hear our school name.  I knew we had made it in when I heard #11 Malabon called, because I had talked to their coach and knew they got 87 points total.  But it shocked us all when we found out we were the #1 team going into the sweet sixteen brackets.  The kids were jumping around screaming and excited!
 Once the sweet 16 starts, it is all about win/loss.  Each time we won a battle (and they were all close!), the kids were so excited!
We moved up gradually until we were in the quarterfinals with St. Paul.  The highest a team  from Yujin Gakuen has ever finished is 3rd place, and we wanted to beat that this time.  When they won their quarter finals battle, everyone was excited, because we knew it was a guarantee we were going to state. (They take the top three teams because our region has grown so much.  The last time we took third, they only took the top two teams, so we missed out).  But they were really excited to be playing for first place too!
 It was held in the auditorium, on the stage, with microphones and twice as many questions as usual.  We were playing Prairie Mountain school from the Bethel school district.
 Our team was so surprised/shocked/happy when they won!  First place!  They only won by one question (5 points), so it was a close battle.  I couldn't believe we had actually gone all the way.  I had been trying to coach a winning team for 7 years, and we finally did it!  Of course it is the kids who get the credit.  They have to read, remember the info, and answer the questions.  But I like to think that I help them :)  I read all the books too, and quiz, motivate, and work these kids.

Benjamin was so excited!  He kept saying that now he had done something his sisters hadn't done, because none of their OBOB teams had ever taken first place.  Now we get to prepare for the state competition on April 11.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Getting Mom and Dad to the Temple

My kids gave Alan and I a great gift of service last Friday.  It took some sacrifice on their part, but they all pitched in and made it so Alan and I could go to the temple with my parents.  It is about a two hour drive to Portland each way, so it makes it a full day trip.  It was stake conference for us, so they were having the stake temple night and chapel session at 7pm.  We wanted to go up early, though, so we could go to a session before the chapel session and also do some family sealings.  My dad also wanted to visit his brother on the way.  So that meant we needed to leave about 11:30 am.

When Alan first mentioned going to me, I didn't think there was any way that it was going to happen.  I needed to go to Battle of the Books at the elementary school, Elisabeth had a half day, Ben needed to be picked up at 3 pm, and then the kids had dance and gymnastics.  With my family all in the same stake, I couldn't really have any of them help me out.  But Alan really wanted to go, because he hadn't gone to the temple for a while, and we hadn't gone together for even longer.  So, I asked the kids what they would think about missing their activities.  They were surprisingly congenial about it.  Then the two older girls stepped up and were willing to go out of their way to make it easy for us to go.  Emily went to the school and did my Battle of the Books practice for me.  Then she walked from the elementary school to the middle school and walked Elisabeth home.  Not an incredibly long walk, probably under two miles, but it was raining, and my kids don't usually walk much, so it was a sacrifice.  Leilani stayed home and put Robert down for a nap.  Later that afternoon, they put the dog on a leash, Robert in the stroller, and all walked in the rain to the elementary school to pick up Benjamin and then home again.  It takes me about 15 minutes to drive it round trip, so I imagine they were pretty wet when they got home from walking there and back (apparently only Emily brought an umbrella and rain coat).  But they didn't complain.  I don't know what they did the rest of the day, but when we got home at 10 pm that night, school work was done, chores were done, the kids were all alive, the animals were taken care of, and the three younger kids were asleep in bed.  I was such a proud mama!

Meanwhile, we had a great day at the temple.  We made it to an early session, and Alan and I were asked to be the witness couple.  There were quite a few members of our stake in the session with us, including the stake president and his wife.  Afterwards we were able to get our family sealings done.  It was a very spiritual experience to have Alan and I be proxy for my great-grandparents and my dad to be a proxy for his dad, and get that family sealed together.  We had time afterwards to eat in the cafeteria before we went to the stake chapel session.  I really enjoyed spending the time in the temple and getting away from the world for a while.  It would be nice if we could get there more often.  Who knows.  Maybe we will now that we have older kids who can cover for us. 

Memorizing Scriptures As A Family - March

We are still going strong with the scripture memorizing each month.  I forgot to print out the ones for March, and the kids reminded me tonight that I needed to do that.  For March we have:

I am going to try two scriptures again this month, since I think both scriptures should be familiar to the kids.  We will see how that goes, and maybe adjust again next month.