Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Break 2011: Installment 3. A walk (or ride) on the WILD side. . .

Wednesday came, and I ran again. Ugh, I was starting to get really sore!
But oh, was the doggie happy. It is funny though, he runs in front of me for the first mile, next to me for the second, and I kind of have to drag him for the third!

We packed up Andrea and went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
Now they call it the San Diego SAFARI Park.
As we have been there LOTS of times,
as we take the same pictures in the same places
this might get boring.
look at the difference in the kids in this. . .
And in this. What a difference a couple of years makes.
Yep. Meerkats again.
This time it as feeding time and the keeper had smeared banana in different spots.
They kinda acted like it was some new form of addictive substance.
This guy even scaled the rock to get the banana.
Maybe I should give bananas another look!
The a hike out to the baby Elephant. He is several months old. Not nearly as new as the baby girafee, or the baby hippo (that we didn't get to see),
but seriously cute as well.

I think he likes it there. Can't you see he is smiling?
He plays well too.
*Can I mention how much I was enjoying the weather? It was 92 degrees.
Though some might think it is the place in the other direction. . .
but after months of sub-zero temperatures it was
SO NICE to be
Lion camp was closed for a remodel. Tacey couldn't get near her boyfriend to give him another kiss. Guess long distance kissing will have to do.
Wonder if she would consider that in real life too. . .
Then the tram ride and the
Lots of babies.
And the endangered, almost extinct white rhino.
Look now, I don't know how many more times I will get a picture of her.
See the animals against the wall?
In the shade?
Nature isn't stupid.
Also the deer near the tree have a white circle on their rump. That is so as they migrate they can follow each other through the folliage. Makes it easier for them to follow each other.
I am not sure I would want to go through life with a big target on my rear.
They don't seem to mind though.
I guess it is in fashion for them.
The giraffes were having lunch.
And we finally found the Mountain Goats!
Can you?
Can you now?
How about now?
Tricky little suckers!
*This exhibit started with lots of foliage. Within a week they had it looking like this.
They 're-greenified' it. Within a week, again, it looked like this. These animals know how they want their enclosure decorated!*
*The epic tail of the mongoose and the snake*
(Actually the tale of the lizard on  the trail who was attacking an earthworm)

Actually there isn't much difference between the two.
It was pretty exciting for the kids to watch the lizard attack and eat the worm.
Well, it was cool for us adults too.
Yeah, at the premiere park for Wild Animals from all over the world, and we get excited about a Lizard.
Oh well . . .

Then we hiked up to see the TIGERS.
They are not usually out, but since they had the Lions away, I was hopeful.
We were
Baby tiger.
There were three.
Tired mommy tiger.
Can you blame her?

Mommy and one of the babies.

When we got back to the car, the thermostat said it was a
94 degrees.
It was an amazing day.

I understand they had 4 inches of snow in Shelley.


Spring Break 2011: Second Installment (All About the Dog. . . )

Yep, Tuesday was, in a way, all about the dog!
After we had gone to the Zoo on Monday,
we had stopped by to visit my Dad and my Grandma and spent the evening there. While we were at the Zoo, he got to go to the doggie park with Andrea.

*The doggie park is a magical place where doggies get to run around in a safe, enclosed area without leashes. They meet and sniff other doggies, and share all sorts of things (most of them pretty gross). But in Koda's little fuzzy brain, it is magical; and a nice change from being stuck inside in the cold as he has been for the last several months!*

Tuesday we got up and went for our run. We had gone running Monday morning as well, so by Tuesday morning the puppy knew what was coming and was really happy.

*Running San Diego is quite the thing. I can run fairly good anymore. I exercise a lot, though I am not going to win any sort of race anytime soon. They have a bike/run/walk path in San Diego like they do here. The exception is here the path is FLAT and there it is full of HILLS. The easiest place to park is at the top of the hill. So you think you are doing amazing in the beginning, but completely fall apart in the end. It also really makes you sore in different places. I need to run hills more often!*

So after the run, Tacey went shopping with Andrea and Shane, the Boys and I took the puppy to the dog beach. The dog beach is like the dog park but MUCH bigger and full of all SORTS of new things to smell!

Koda is a good dog, but he does forget to behave when there is something exceptional to explore. This would make him exactly like the rest of my kids. . . hahaha!
That is me, Dallin & McCade watching him run up and down the hill. He ran up there to follow a group of dogs, and was having a hard time deciding to come back. If I stay in one spot he will more-than-likely come back, but if there are other dogs he will forget I am there entirely and follow them.

He finally decided to test the water. He wasn't too impressed and drank more of it than he should have. It made him kinda sick later. Serves him right. Who purposely drinks Ocean water? Yuk!
The best part was the other puppies to play with; in his opinion
 He had good fun with this boxer, but the boxer was a lot more interested in swimming out to get the stick his owner threw for him.
McCade thought he was fun too. He wasn't very dry either.
And Shane?
Well. . .
as you can see, Shane was doing what he usually does. . .
When it came time to walk back to the car I put Koda back on his leash.
Shane thought he would walk right with us
so he let him off the leash.
Koda did a complete 180 and ran back to the pack of dogs we had left behind.
It took a minute, but Shane got him back on the leash.
Koda is lucky Shane didn't tie him to a rock and dump him in the deep water! HAHA!
Then we went back to my Dad's house for a hose and towels.
Had to de-salt the dog & McCade.
Amazing how much a dog and a boy can hate a garden hose!
Then a visit to my other grandma and
Muffie is doing well; but I think the surgery on her last knee was a failure.
She doesn't seem to care.
She was really happy to see us!
(If you are wondering if I am referring to Grandma or Muffie; the answer is both!)
The boys played with Muffie and McCade is still her best friend.
Muffie recognized right away that her alpha was there, and amazed Grandma with how good she acted.
It was nice to see both of them.
This time we got out the door without McCade crying; Muffie was upset though.

So yeah, Tuesday was all about the Dog!


Oh! And Tacey's Shopping trip that was only going to last about 2 hours turned into an all-day event where she spent ALL her money, plus someof her Aunt's.
Several hundred dollars.
Well, now she has a new wardrobe and saved me the trouble!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Break 2011: First Installment

After the reunion we continued on the San Diego for Spring Break. I ended up driving the
way! Well, sort of. Shane was in Anaheim, so the plan orginally was for me to drive to San Diego on Saturday, then drive back to Anaheim on Sunday to pick him up.
In the end, I drove to Anaheim, spent the night, then finished the drive to San Diego on Sunday. Shane paid for the hotel room, then called to tell me where it was. I asked him if they took pets; which they didn't.
The problem was we had Koda with us.
SO . . .
I stuffed him in my purse and sneaked him in. Tacey said it was pretty clear what was in my purse. I was just glad I didn't get caught and he didn't bark! We left the next morning and finshed the drive. (Shane drove that morning. So I guess technically I didn't drive the WHOLE way)

Okay, so we know that my weather-related driving skills are not the most fabulous. When we left Provo it was about 1:00. I was feeling really good, but I was very anxious to get on the road. Normally the drive would take about
9 hours.
 I tend to feel better at night, so I was confident we would be okay.
 it had snowed while we were in Provo. I was
 about the driving conditions. Things started out okay, then the icy rain came, then the temperature dropped and the big fat, nasty snowflakes fell. Then more of them fell. Then they fell faster and faster. I was trying to see the road as well as STAY on it; it was getting pretty icy. That lasted until St. George. Then there was the strong winds that tried to blow me off of the road from Mesquite to Cajon Pass. By the time we got to Cajon Pass, I had been seeing visiblity advisory warnings for several miles.
I couldn't figure out
 they were flashing. As I got to the top of Cajon Pass, I figured out why.
 Pea-soup fog. Fog that makes everyone drive 25 miles an hour with their hazard lights on fog. Yeah, all the way down a
 pass. As I got to the bottom of the pass, it was pretty clear (or unclear) the fog was here to stay. Then the RAIN came.
Not just rain, but "watch out for Noah and the Ark" type rain.
So, yea.
EVERY type of bad weather except Hail.
No one died; the car was still in one piece.
Monday we decided to use our San DIego Zoological Society Memberships.
We love those things.
We spent Monday at the Zoo. The plan was to see giraffes, tigers, the new baby hippo, bugs and reptiles.

Of course there are things to see along the way. Like the Koalas.
And Shane, on the phone. *haha*
Dallin says "We have pictures of Dad on the phone every vacation!"
I said "How do you think we pay for vacation?"
Dallin says "Yea, I know."
Good kids.
We visited the Meercats.
The Giraffes.
And the baby Giraffe that was only 4 days old! He was super-cute.
Across from the baby giraffe were the Rhinos.
And there is the Kangaroos.
Check out this guy's
he also
uses that amazing tail as like a third foot.

I am not overly-fond of Flamingos. They smell
But as I fancy myself a photographer, and this guy posed for me . . .
National Geographic here I come!

Can you find the animal in here?
The fishing Cat is in there.
He is not your average cat.
More like a Mountain Lion who lives by the river.
Can you see him?
Here he is!
(He also smelled REALLY BAD)
The tiger was out. Way up at the top of the enclosure, not close at all,
but still he was
Here's a Hippo. But it wasn't the Mommy and the Baby.
We missed the baby.
But this big guy was taking advantage of the bright sunny day.
And here we are taking our pictures in the same spots. . .
The Hippo!
And then a trip to Polar Bear Plunge.
They recently remodeled it. Now Dallin can look stuck in the ice with the Seal.
Mac (with those ears) chillin' (haha!) with the seal.
Tacey with a new boyfriend.
And posing on the silver surfer polar bears.
The polar bears were absent. I dunno where they were, but we missed them.
Ah, then a sky-tram ride across the park.
And a walk into the Children's Zoo to look at the bugs.
On the way there were more Meerkats.
These Meerkats were
liking the sun.
They look like people on the beach, don't they?
After that we watched the Sea lion show.
I had to laugh. The people in front of us were using copious amounts of sunscreen.
Coating every inch of exposed skin.
I didn't bring sunscreen.
The kids and I were rolling up our sleeves,
turning our faces to the sun.
to get
I don't think those people lived somewhere that gets snow.
Then we walked around the reptiles.
Like the Galapagos Turtles.
They are very large,
and very old.
I dunno if this is the one I rode on when I was little. But since none of them has died since I was 3,
chances are I saw the very one I rode at the Zoo this day.
We thought it might still be too cold for the lizards. But they were out
also enjoying the sun.
Guess I am a bit like a lizard.
Can't get enough sun.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thoughts that are bothering me . . .

I should post about our amazing spring break vacation. . .
I should NOT post and get to my list of things I need to do. . .
I should contemplate what I am going to make for dinner. . .

But I am going to discuss something on my mind instead.
This has bothered me for awhile; I try not to think about it.

So, We know that Dallin has what is known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder.
Okay, maybe we don't KNOW that.
But I do; because it is the only diagnosis I have and I am going to cling to it for now.
(The neuro-psychologist diagnosed it, not an audiologist. Apparently you only need to know about ears to make a formal diagnosis about how your brain works with them.)
How CAPD was explained to me is that he has no 'sound filter' in his brain. So he hears EVERYTHING, all at once. This was extremely painful for me to watch as he didn't interact socially on the playground in the lower grades. He couldn't distinguish what the other kids were saying, so he couldn't join in. It makes high noise-level classrooms painful. It makes it hard to communicate with him in a crowd. It makes him watch the subtitles on his PSP instead of just listening to it.

It also makes it so he has a hard time with his speech.

The poor kid has been in speech therapy since he was 2. Is there improvement? I think so. But I still have to really look at him when he is talking to understand him sometimes. Will this EVER be fixed?

He is so patient. He doesn't get discouraged. He handled it bravely as we added additional after-school speech therapy this year.

At the same time we got the CAPD diagnosis, we were also told his IQ is amazingly high, and that his 'coping strategies' are well beyond his age. (When he was 8, these strategies were on the level of a 35 yr-old).

Props to him for figuring it out in a world that makes no sense to his ears.

He was also tested and placed in the Gifted and Talented program.

Yep, Special Ed and Gifted and Talented all at the same time. How often does THAT happen?

On to my recent thoughts;
I read that gifted children had some distinct characteristics;

Extremely Curious
Intense interests
Excellent memory
Long attention span
Excellent reasoning skills
Well-developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization, and synthesis
Quickly and easily sees relationships in ideas, objects, or facts
Fluent and flexible thinking
Elaborate and original thinking
Excellent problem solving skills
Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
Unusual and/or vivid imagination
Interested in philosophical and social issues
Very sensitive, emotionally and even physically
Concerned about fairness and injustice
Well-Developed Sense of Humor
Usually intrinsically motivated
Relates well to parents, teachers and other adults
Extensive Vocabulary
May Read Early
Reads Rapidly and Widely
Asks "what if" questions
Enjoys learning new things
Enjoys intellectual activity
Displays intellectual playfulness
Prefers books and magazines meant for older children
Skeptical, critical, and evaluative

All these thing are SSSOOOOOO Dallin. But it was the last one that got me.

Asynchronous development

Yep, it is that last one that got to me.

What exactly IS that anyway?

This is the definition I found;

Asynchronous development refers to uneven intellectual, physical, and emotional development. In average children, intellectual, physical, and emotional development progresses at about the same rate. That is, the development is in "sync." An average three-year-old has the intellectual and physical abilities as well as the emotional maturity most other three-year-olds have. However, in gifted children, the development of those areas is out of "sync." They do not progress at the same rate. A gifted three-year-old child's developmental profile could look like this:
Intellectual ability -- age 6
Physical ability -- age 3
Emotional maturity -- age 2

Or this:

Intellectual ability -- age 7
Physical ability -- age 3
Emotional maturity -- age 4

Or this:

Intellectual ability -- age 6
Physical ability -- age 4
Emotional maturity -- age 3

Or any other combination of the three, although the intellectual ability is always advanced. (Some believe that it is possible to advanced physically, but not intellectually.)
The higher a child's IQ is, the more out of sync his or her development is likely to be.

Now I look at everything he does or has done wondering if he is 'out of sync'. Will he get in sync? Yea, eventually. But will it be before he is permanently scarred by the stony path of Elementary School Middle School and High School? I hope so.

I know he will be more successful than any of his peers can begin to imagine.

I know that people discount him because of his speech.

I know he will prove them all wrong.

I know this because he already has.

Just some thoughts.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The missing piece of my heart

Long ago in a land across the great waters our ancient father had a dream.

In his dream the Great Spirit came to our father and carried him away on wings of fire.

The spirit told our father he would lead him to a new land

- A place of bounty, a promised land -

For he had walked in truth and light all seasons.

And so it begins. . . It is the story not just of my people, but people throughout the ages.

There is a time and season for everything.

Seasons of Faith and Prosperity,

Pride and War,

Forgiveness and Rebirth.
I have reached the season in my life when I attended a reunion for a group I danced with in college. (The first time). It showcases the dances of the cultures of Polynesia and the Islands of the Sea, the Latin cultures of Central and South America, and the Native cultures of North America. Being Mexican, I was part of the Latin Section. Okay, so yeah, I am not what comes to mind when you think of a Mexican. You see someone darker, maybe with a bit of an accent.
Those things aside, my DNA, and my importantly


are Mexican.
The problem with not looking Mexican, is the Mexicans don't include you sometimes. And as I live where my husband grew up (and he is not Mexican) I haven't had the opportunity to embrace the culture I so dearly love and so greatly miss, not to mention expose my children to these things.
So, yes. This reunion was important to me.
Thursday night we attended the evening performance of the current group with a smattering of Alumni included. Friday we attended a luncheon. I hadn't seen anyone I knew at the evening performance. There was 40 years of Alumni and their families. That didn't surprise me. However, there were several who knew me and recognized me at the reunion. That did surprise me, though it should not have.

This is Janie Thompson. She started the group. She is almost 90 and is spunky and fiesty and talented. She directed the group for many years.

After Janie, Ron Simpson directed the group. He is a record producer.

After Ron came Randy Boothe. Randy was not only my director, but he also was one of my advisors as an MDT Major. He was also my voice teacher for several years. Sometimes I wonder if he still thinks I am that high-maintenance co-ed. What a pain in the hiney I must have been!

After Randy came Janielle Christensen. She is still the director.

All the directors spoke, but Randy is more of a 'hands-on' type of guy. He writes a lot of music; a lot of music I have sung. I didn't realize how much I missed being spoken to through music until this day. This is how Randy always communicated with me. . .

I can't tell you how many times I have sung this very song. I can't tell you how it makes me cry with happiness. All I can say is it is, with the beats of the drums of the Native, Latin and Polynesian cultures; it is the beat of my heart.

After the luncheon, there were pictures. They split us into 5-year increments. I'd give the year, but you wouldn't believe me since we all age so well . . .

After pictures we went to a Fireside given by the current group members. I remember those days. These are not fully-constructed firesides. You are told as you get there who the speakers will be that evening. Then the speakers are told what they will be speaking on. As scary as that is, it is a very good thing. Things are always better if you speak from your heart.

They spoke to my heart, they filled my soul. I can say they did that for Tacey and Dallin as well. Both of them were wiping away the tears. McCade. . . not so much.
Ah, well. Can't reach everyone.
After that came the Children's Workshops. I figured McCade would get back with the program at this point in time; he got to wiggle instead of being trapped in a chair.
Tacey was ready to go in the Polynesian section.
It was during this I realized why I hold my hands the way I do when I dance; even to this day.
I have Hula Hands.
Even though I am not Polynesian.
It was fun to see the kids of all the Alumni glimpse what we all spent an important part of our life doing.
They had the kids perform for us, but didn't leave them hanging. They helped them as they performed.

And I would like to point out that MANY of the parents there are as camera-obsessed as I am.

(Isn't that kind of funny? They look like paparazzi.)
Tacey did a simple Modern Hula. Then the boys did a Haka which is the Maori War Dance.
That is McCade in the back.
That is Dallin in the back.
They did a horrible job of standing close together so I could get good pictures.
They also stood in the back line all the time.
I guess they think they are tall.
Next the Native section taught an Alaskan Indian dance about daily life.
Next came the Latin Section. See those feet? Those belong to my kids. They were the only feet that actually did it right.
I guess the years of Tap Lessons will pay off!
They learned a Polka from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.
Again, they are not together and they are in the back.
Again with the beautiful, wonderful helpers.
But all is not lost. As you can see from this picture, they had a camera crew there all weekend.
I bought the DVD.
I will cherish it; for many reasons.

This is McCade's 'Haka' Face.

Since it is a War Dance,
the point is
As it was explained to them you make a Haka Face as follows:
Make your eyes as wide as you can so you look crazy
then stick out your tongue like you are trying to lick the floor
Scream really loud.

Dallin's 'Haka' Face.

The final thing was to learn the Traditional Indian Sign Language.

Before I get into the song, and how important it is let me make a comment about this picture.
This is where the bad attitudes came in.
It had been a long day.
It had been emotional.
It had been very snowy.
But this was,
of all things,
the thing to learn.
But you can see the bad attitudes in the eyes.

Later that evening while we listened to a CD with 'Go My Son' on it,
they were singing at the top of their lungs and doing the sign language.

Mission Accomplished.

Go My Son

Go my son, go and climb the ladder.
Go my son, go and earn your feather.
go my son, make your people proud of you.

work my son, get an education.
work my son, learn a good vocation
Climb my son, go and take a lofty view.

From on the ladder of an education.
You can see to help your Indian nation.
Reach my son, and lift your people up with you.

Isn't that what we have all been told?
Go, do your best.
Do your best for yourself and your family
because you would not be who you are without them.
Go do better for those that come after you.

After that we went to Brick Oven for Pizza.
As we tend to eat at a lot of PIZZA PLACES.
They did like this one a lot.
It is a Provo institution.
The Homemade Root Beer was also a big hit.

So was this guy.
No, it wasn't that Tacey thought he was hot.
(She didn't)
It was that he made AMAZING things out of balloons.

Tacey got Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Pretty darn amazing, right?
Mac got a Giraffe. No surprise there. It was simple.
So simple the guy really didn't want to do it.
But he did.
Props to him.

Dallin got an Alien with a Ray Gun.
Pretty Darn AMAZING!

The next day the Alumni performed.

All of this will be on my DVD.

The Alumni Banquet, the evening performance of the current members, the Luncheon, the fireside, the children's workshops, the Alumni Showcase and the devotional.

All will be treasured.

As I said; this made me feel like my heart was whole again.

These cultures, these people are my brothers and sisters.

How I miss them.