Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Bowl

For those of you who don't know what a Turkey Bowl is... I will explain. First off, turkey bowl translated literally means "cold football" - at least it does in the northwest. Turkey bowls (flag football) are only fun for those who are playing in the game because it is just too cold to watch!

Our ward sponsored a turkey bowl on Thanksgiving morning from 9-10. I am on the activities committee so there was no chance of me skipping out on any of the fun. I mean, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Men and boys showed up by the carload dressed in an array of clothing.

Some were dressed to stay warm like David...

Some were dressed to intimidate, like Robbie Waites...

And some were dressed like a candy cane, like David Plate!

Kaitlin Waites was the only girl brave enough to play. Go Kaitlin!

The game was held at Phil and Pam Law's house. They have the coolest yard ever! It is huge. We have ward campouts there. They had marked off a 100 yard field complete with yard markers and down markers and everything. We have wicked volleyball games in their yard in the summer. They have an awesome net and lights. It's the greatest.
Here is Bryan in action. He's the one in the 1987 sweatshirt:
Here is a diving catch he had:

The spectators stayed close to the fire. And just for the record, there were about 10 spectators for all of those players! Yeah, we love our football players but not enough to watch them when it's cold!!
Here is Kendall, Tricia (our exchange student from Taiwan), Belen (our new exchange student from Mexico), Kylie and Kristy.
After spending the morning at the Turkey Bowl, we headed home and got ready for Thanksgiving. It was at our house and we had Ludeen, Tom & Gail, Ryan & Nena & kids, Myca & Jared & kids, Corbin, my dad & Gloria and 2 missionaries. Courtney and Kristy were home from BYU and it was great to visit with them. It was a small group for an Earl gathering - only about 24. We missed those who were gone. This is the first Thanksgiving we've been home for in 8 years. I didn't realize it had been that many. Kacey and Jon spent Thanksgiving in Gridley with the Nielsens. It was a wonderful day and I am feeling very blessed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday surprise for Kylie!

Kylie turns 17 on December 6th but David & I came up with a fun birthday surprise for her that required us to celebrate her birthday a little early...
Last night about 7:40, in the middle of drill team practice (which was scheduled from 7-9), a couple of random boys carried in a box wrapped with a ribbon and on top was a letter. The letter was simply addressed

To: Kylie

Open immediately and read aloud

Where the return address should have been there was only the letter E

This is what the letter said:

My Dearest Kylie,

I know that your 17th birthday is still a couple of weeks away, but I just couldn’t wait to see you. You are all I think about. Your scent is even more intoxicating than Bella’s.

I have arranged for you to come and see me tonight at a private viewing of Twilight. It starts in just a few minutes so you’ll need to hurry. You may bring your friends, but you cannot bring Dylan. Tonight… you are all mine!

And later, when you sleep… I will be watching over you.


Inside of the box were treat bags filled with red vampire candy for the girls to take with them. It was the most fun surprise ever! Now, the girls love drill team but they generally prefer performing more than practicing. So to get to skip out of practice and go to a private showing of the hottest new movie out, well, does it get any better than that? The girls owe Lori a big Thank You for making it work. The plan was to surprise all of the girls, not just Kylie, but some people just can't keep a secret. I'll have to ask and see just how many of the girls actually were suprised. I know Kylie was!

I love a good surprise and I'm pretty disciplined about it. I never wanted to know what the sex of my babies were, I never opened my Christmas presents early and I never read the end of a book first. I especially love surprising my kids with things that I know they will love. It's the best! We don't have a ton of surprises around here, but occasionally we come up with a good one. Probably our most consistent surprise over the years to our kids was, "Surprise. You're having another brother or sister!" Actually I suppose after a while that was not too surprising.

As far as Twilight goes, I think they did a pretty good job. For me personally, this is how I felt about the casting. Of course, this is me judging purely on aesthetics and the picture that was in my mind, and giving no credit for acting skills or being a good person cuz I don't know these people ...

Bella was great! Good casting there. Mike was also perfect. Not that he is such an important character but that was just how I pictured him.

Edward would not have been my ideal choice, but he will do. My ideal choice would have been Paul Walker. To me, physically, he is a perfect specimen. (My husband is a close 2nd!)

In general, I did not think the Cullens were nearly good looking enough. These people are supposed to be ridiculously good looking

I did not like:

Esme - She is not pretty enough. Ever since I saw her on Grey's Anatomy she just looks like an accident victim who looks "pretty good" for having had to have her face put back together. Was I the only person out there who was disappointed when they uncovered her new face? A better choice would be the mom from Gossip Girl

Carlisle - Too short, strange nose, overbite and they made him too white. I love this character cuz he is so commanding and so wise but so kind, I really wanted him to look the part. I would have cast Rob Lowe even though he is not that tall either, but his looks make up for it!

Another option for an older couple would be Jacklyn Smith and John Schneider. Maybe the Cullens will find some long lost gradparents!

Rosalie - Not nearly pretty enough! How many gorgeous blondes are there in Hollywood? About a billion? Every blonde on our drill team is prettier than this girl. (I know that's mean, I'm just being superficial for a few minutes here. Please indulge me!) In this role I would make a bold move and cast an unknown - Rosalie Black (what a coincidence, huh?). For those of you that know her (she lives here in Moses Lake and is in my ward) - she is gorgeous. Just to give you an idea of what she looks like, her twin sister has a part-time job as a stand in for Reese Witherspoon. Rosalie has the same look only more classic. Or if Rosalie was too busy with her 3 kids, I would cast country singer Carrie Underwood.

Emmet - He was okay but how much better would Tom Welling be?

Jasper - Come on! Can't we do any better than that? How about Chace Crawford?

I liked Alice! But another good choice would have been this girl from Smallville:

Jacob - yuck! Too short. Bad hair - just because his hair is long doesn't mean it has to look awful. I can't think of anyone that could play this role right off the top of my head but I'm sure there are better choices out there. Any suggestions? Also his friends were extremely unattractive as well. In any love triangle where a girl is torn between two guys, they need to be equally good looking in their own way in order to really feel torn. Come on people!

Lori & Kenzie came up with a good one to play Jacob - our very own Jaymz Tuaileva! Good thinking girls...

Now that would be a cast!

Anyway, it was great fun and we are so grateful to our friends at the theater who made it possible and to so many good friends and fond acquaintances who were able to share it with us - thanks for coming! It was nice to be able to make Kylie feel special because December birthdays generally suck, so this was a nice surprise for one of our two children who have to put up with December birthdays! Happy early Birthday Kylie!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Peggy's Pearls

I often hear or read things that I find inspiring or interesting, but I have a hard time keeping them in my brain both for future reference and for sharing. So I am going to start a new blogging segment called "Peggy's Pearls" featuring pearls of wisdom I would like to remember and share. These will not be my own original pearls of wisdom because I don't think I have any, but if I ever come up with any I will be sure to note it! My hope in doing this is that I will be able to remember them for a longer period of time and maybe someone else out there will also find inspiration from them. They are most likely to be of a religious nature, though it's hard to say at this point. Here goes my first one:

I was reading in the Oct. Ensign (church magazine) about the conversion story of a family who was originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was forced out because of political persecution. The family fled to Zambia and eventually to the Washington DC area where they expressed an interest to know more about the Mormon church after visiting the beautiful temple there. Friends and acquaintances advised them so steer clear of that church and shared some of the negative things they had heard about the church. Norman Kamosi and his wife responded in the following way:

“In Africa we have an expression,” Norman says. “When you see people throwing stones at the mango tree, you know they are doing so because the tree is bearing good fruit. So I said to myself, ‘Since people are criticizing the Church, it must have something special, something good.’ I said, ‘We have to investigate the Church. Something good is in there.’”

The Kamosi family joined the church in 2000.

I thought that African expression was great and I loved the way that they looked at it. I think my mind works in much the same way. I always want to know more about the things that seem to stir people up and evoke controversy. I love 60 minutes and 20/20 and those kinds of shows. I am surprised that more people aren't curious to learn more about a church that claims to be Jesus Christ's true church restored to the earth in the early 1800's. That's quite a claim... is it true or isn't it? I am always surprised that more people don't investigate the church merely to prove to themselves that it's not true.

I am surprised that more people aren't curious about a church that sends out 50,000+ missionaries every year to serve all over the world at their own expense. What motivates these missionaries to serve and their families to be willing to send them? What sort of a church would send out mostly 19 year old males (who are untrained not only in theology but also in virtually every other skill that would make a good preacher) to spread the news that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in 1820? We have a saying in the church that goes something like this, "if the church were not true, the missionaries would have proven it long ago!" It is so true. The missionaries we send out are nothing special. They may be special to us, their families, but mostly they are average young adults and Alzheimerish older couples. (No offense, I consider myself to be Alzheimerish as well!) What the missionaries have that is special is the message that they are sharing. That is their greatest asset.

And aren't people curious about a church whose youth not only continue to go to church and carry on the tradition of their fathers, but gets stronger with each coming generation while so many other congregations around the world are filled with older people but so few young people. For many members of other churches, religion has become something that their parent's generation did but something that younger generations have either little time for or little need for.

I think it often comes down to what I have been told by quite a few of my friends over the years. Many of them have shared thoughts similar to this, "I'm not sure if I want to know if the church is true because if I found out it was true, then I would have to do something about it." I truly don't mean to offend anyone by my religious musings. I know so many good people (both family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances) who choose to worship in their own way and I admire the people that they are and the devotion that they have. I do not claim to be any better than they are, in fact, I think most of them are better people than I will ever be. I am just surprised that more people don't react the way that Mr. and Mrs. Kumasi did and ask... what's all the fuss about? I want to know for myself.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Too busy to blog!

It's been pretty busy around here lately so no time to blog. One of the things that has kept me busy is that we have had quite a few dance workshops recently. In October, Jaymz Tuaileva was here. He came last year and choreographed two hip hop numbers for us. He is so much fun and were so excited to get him back. Jaymz was on Season 2 of SYTYCD. He was also "the pool boy" in HSM 2, as well as, a principal dancer. He is currently dancing in the Cher show in Vegas and just appeared on an episode of Eli Stone dancing in a scene with Katie Holmes. You can totally see him in quite a few shots. He said that Katie is not a dancer but she did extremely well and he was impressed. Jaymz is such a good dancer and he is hilarious too. He makes classes really fun.

Jaymz with Elite dancers. Kylie is 2nd from the left on the bottom.

Jaymz with Senior dancers. Kendall is behind Jaymz on his R. and McKayla (my niece) is behind him on L.

Jaymz at the house with Kendall, Kylie and Tricia.
We even had him work with our Elite boy/girl group we started last year. We somehow talked 16 boys into dancing with our Elite girls. (Real men are smart enough to figure out that if you are willing to learn to dance, you get to hang around really pretty girls at least once a week!) Our boys are the greatest. We have to work around football, basketball, swimming, track and wrestling but we manage to get it done. They do a clogging number and a ballroom number. Yes, we actually taught them how to clog - sort of! Jaymz taught them the lindy hop. Here he is in a video clip dancing with Katelynn Reed.

Jaymz with the Elite boys and girls.

Just a week after Jaymz was here, some of our girls were also able to attend a Hip Hop workshop with Tabitha and Napoleon in Tri-cities. T & N have been coming to Tri-cites for a few years because they choreograph for a team over there, but we were worried that with their new found fame as top fave choreographers on SYTYCD that they would be too busy to come. Kylie has had the opportunity to take 3 workshops from them. They are awesome. They have been married 10 years. They met in Las Vegas when they were attending college. They met in a dance class but neither of them were studying dance. After college, they decided to try and make dance their careers because they loved it so much. Tabitha is amazing!!! You have to see her in person to appreciate her. What I love best about her is that she is a little white girl and she kills at hip hop. She is so little but she dances so big. She gives hope to all white girls out there that it is possible to be good at hip hop - even if you are white. I love their choreography. They have such great musicality and they always tell a story.

Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

Blurry picture of girls with Tabitha and Napoleon (in back 2nd and 3rd from L.)

Last weekend we had yet another workshop with Kaydee Francis. Kaydee is co-owner of The Dance Zone in Henderson, Las Vegas. We came across The Dance Zone last summer at the nationals competition that we went to in Vegas. At competition, we always like to have lots of studios to compete against but ideally we want them to be "beatable". It's much more exciting when you think you have a shot. It's fun to try and size up the competition as different groups arrive. Sometimes you can just tell as they walk in whether a group is good or not so good. There are tell-tale signs (but it is a trade secret that we can't divulge!) It's a fun little game we play in our own minds. Whether they are willing to admit it or not, most of the dancers and directors are doing it. When I saw some girls walk in with DZ jackets I thought, "Oh crud!" The only thing I knew about the DZ was that Sabra Johnson (winner of SYTYCD Season 3) had danced there so I figured they were really good and they were! Once we saw how good they were, then we just hoped that they were not in all of our categories... well they were. They had multiple dances in every single category we were in! They have some amazing dancers and they have an impressive program. Even though winning is great, it's always nice to compete against great studios because they make everyone "up their game". Sometimes we are the studio making everyone "up their game", and sometimes we are the studio "upping our game." I am happy to report that we outscored the DZ in quite a few categories at nationals and we felt it was a great compliment every time it happened.

You know what they say, "If you can't beat 'em - join 'em." Well, we struck up a friendship with Kaydee at nationals which eventually led to her coming up to ML to work with our dancers. She choreographed a jazz number for Elites (Kylie's group) and a contemporary number for Seniors (Kendall's group) and a jazz number for Minis (Cassidy Earl's group) along with some technique workshops. It was great for the girls. We currently have a lot of great routines started and we hope to be able to keep up with all of the cleaning and changing that needs to be done before they are ready. Potentially - we have some great numbers this year!

Danny, Lacey, Neil and Sabra from SYTYCD Season 3.

FYI for all you SYTYCD fans - Kaydee said that Sabra winning couldn't have happened to a nicer person. She said that she is kind and genuine and a very hard worker. When her car was broken down, she would walk to the studio. Always fun to hear the inside scoop
So that is why there has been a blogging lull!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Brad turns 21!

Brad's birthday is Nov. 2nd. It's hard to believe that he is 21. Wow, time is such a crazy concept. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday that he was a baby and other times it seems like it was centuries ago. Turning 21 for a mormon male is a little different than it is for the average American young adult. The binge drinking usually involves chugging a gallon of milk without throwing up and the gambling generally involves asking a girl out and hoping that she says yes. For a mormon missionary it is even less exciting than that. But there is no better place to celebrate your 21st birthday than on your mission!

Brad was a good baby. We were so excited to have a boy. He was due on Nov. 1st and he actually tried to arrive on time (which was more than his 2 older sisters did!) I checked into the hospital about 10:00 p.m. on the 1st but he was actually born on the 2nd - pretty good. He weighed 9 lbs. 2 oz. but even then he was skinny because he was so long. He was a good baby. He was a thumb sucker no matter how hard I tried to stop him. Once I discovered what good babies thumb suckers were, I stopped worrying about buck teeth and just planned on orthodontia. The weird thing was that Brad would never sleep in the car. He would cry and cry in the car and he wouldn't suck his thumb. I knew that some babies didn't like the car and I just figured he was one of them... until we were going somewhere for the night and I threw his blanket in with us. He immediately grabbed his blanket, sucked his thumb and went to sleep. Are you kidding me? This discovery was about a year into his life! We finally realized he only sucked his thumb when he was holding his blankie.

Fun facts about Brad:

He had the cutest speech impediments. He pronounced his r's like w's so he was actually "Bwad" for quite a few years. David used to practice with him saying "rock". Brad also pronounced his th's like f's so theater was "feater". That was another word that David worked on. We don't really know why rock and theater were important words to David, but it seemed to work - or more likely he just grew out of it.
Brad had the measles when he was about 2. He fell and cut his head and needed stitches. The emergency room said that they had just had some cases measles in there that day so to be sure to get him vaccinated but he came down with them just a short time later. He was so sick. Once he recovered, he was so week that he would just sit on my lap and watch other kids play. It broke my heart. It took him about a month to fully recover.

When Brad was about 3, we forgot his blankie at my sister Lori's house which was about an hour away. He cried for the first couple of nights but soon was able to go to sleep without sucking his thumb. This was unplanned but turned out to be a perfect time to stop the thumb sucking. We told my sister to get rid of the blankie. She didn't understand that we meant permanently. About a year later (with no thumb sucking at all mind you) at a family gathering, Brad found the blankie in one of her closets and immediately stuck his thumb in his mouth. Great! David has the wonderful idea of having a blankie turning ceremony like in "Mr. Mom". Brad says yeah, yeah, yeah. My brother-in-law Chris was not so keen on the idea because this is southern California and you just don't light fires in the back alley like David was planning to do. I, of course, am somewhat hesitant myself but David has got Brad all excited and I don't want to wean him off the thumb again so what the hec. Well, Brad was happy and excited until he saw the blankie start to burn. Apparently, he either didn't quite understand what David meant or he underestimated his own attachment to the blankie. So the blankie is burning and Brad is screaming like someone has lit him on fire. What do you do? Well, David lets the blankie burn, Chris keeps an eye out for the cops or the fire department which he is sure is about to come any minute and the rest of us (siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles) try to console poor Brad!

This is Brad holding Bryan with Courtney, Kendall and Kylie looking on.
Brad has always been pretty quiet. His personality is nothing like David's. But those who are lucky enough to get to know Brad find out that he is hilarious. Brad reminds me of Jared Bates. He doesn't say too much but when he does you find out that he is intelligent and funny - that's Brad too. Maybe it's not so much that those two were quiet - maybe they just didn't get a word in edgewise growing up around Ryan, Collin and Corbin? Hmmm...
Brad never won a Pinewood Derby. In fact, I don't think Brad ever won an individual race in a Pinewood Derby. He always had the worst car. David is an amazing father in so many ways but building derby cars was not one of them. Every year after losing miserably, I would insult his manhood and tell him that I didn't care if he had to pay someone to make it for him, he better come up with a decent car next year for his son. The closest we ever got to success was with Bryan (mind you, success meant not totally sucking) was when David worked alongside Phil Law and Phil gave him some tips. David really thought we had a good one. The practice runs were going well. There was liquid metal involved to weight the car. There was graphite involved to help the wheels turn. This was our year! That 3rd place ribbon was so close we could taste it. We gathered our family around with anticipation of possibly beating someone - anyone! We held our heads held high just like the other families who knew their dads had built a winner. The cars were set on the track, the button was pushed, our car dashed out into the lead and then stopped dead in the middle of the track! Oh yes - it stopped!! The metal on the bottom had caught on the track, yada yada yada. It will be interesting to see if Brad and Bryan tell their sons that Pinewood Derby is stupid or if they will work day and night on a winning car?
Brad has had some good friends and I think he has been a good friend too. This is Brad skiing with Michael Tucker. I think they are both wearing their sisters' hand-me-downs but we were smart enough to buy black! Michael accidentally gave Brad a bloody nose during their yellow belt test for karate when they were about 8. Yes, Brad cried. Michael just returned from a mission in Mexico.
This is Brad with Quinn Baker after a Big Bend basketball camp. Brad and Quinn played together on the high school team. Quinn was younger and better, but Brad was taller and more even tempered. If we could have combined those two, we would have had quite the player! Quinn is currently serving a mission in Fiji.
This is Brad with his cousin, Bryce Mordoff. There aren't as many cousins on my side of the family but Brad was lucky enough to get a boy just his age! Brad and Bryce didn't get to see each other as often after we moved to Washington but they were always good buds. They have a lot in common - mostly that they are both exceptional young men but I'm not sure that they are even aware of it.
This is Brad at his high school graduation with his cousin, Mitch Roylance. Brad plans to go into dentistry and has already started pre-dental classes at BYU.
Brad is somewhat of a daredevil. He is not super crazy like some but he is pretty adventurous especially for someone 6'4". He spent quite a bit of time boating with his buds Jake Bruce, Mitch Poth, Tim and Niko. He also did quite a bit of skiing and snowboarding. In fact, he taught snowboarding up at Sundance while he was waiting to leave on his mission.
Brad was not a big dater. I pretty much had to force him to attend the school dances. I told him if he didn't go that meant some poor girl had to stay home and girls didn't like that. So after a considerable amount of prodding, he generally got someone asked. He is going to make a terrific husband to some lucky girl out there!
We thoroughly enjoyed cheering Brad on during his high school basketball career. Brad is definitely a team player. There were lots of times when he should have hogged the ball but that is just not his style. There are just so many things I admire about Brad!
And now he is 21 and finishing the last 6 months of his mission. I know he will be home before we know it and I can't wait. I am so proud of how he has handled himself as a missionary. Opening up a new area is not easy.
Here he is in the little tiny meeting room where they hold sacrament meeting. I guess you don't need too much space when there are only two members. Someday, there are going to be so many members in Slovakia that they will look back on this picture and wonder if it was ever really so!
I love his positive attitude. Missionary work is extremely rewarding but it can be hard. I can't wait to see how much he has grown and matured.
We love you, Brad. Happy Birthday!