Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Girl and Her Dog

Milcreek Canyon, New Year's Eve

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day

 I'm not gonna lie, Christmas Day with a two-year-old is just about as fun as life can get. Here's the run-down of Aven's Christmas:
Santa brought Aven a princess doll, which was her #1 request. 

Each present brought a new wave of excitement.

Ian's mom didn't think she'd be as excited about clothes as she was about toys. Silly grandma.

After all that present opening Aven was a bit hungry.

We spent the rest of the day playing with toys and watching movies. We ended the day with Beauty and the Beast. It was the first time Aven has ever sat through an entire movie- quite a momentous occasion. 
 We had a great Christmas, now if it would only snow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Christmas

From Cara, Aven, Ian, and Grace Dog.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 2011

This has been the worst December, weather-wise, that I can remember. There has been no real snow to speak of and there has been a non-stop inversion that has kept us inside. So far December has been pretty blah. I'm looking forward to Christmas and getting to see Aven enjoy all her new toys, that will be a nice diversion.

Here are a couple pictures from our very uneventful December:

Aven willingly, although apprehensively, sat on Santa's lap this year.

Aven on stage at her daycare Christmas pageant performing "Where is Santa" to the tune of Frarajaka.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Blast From the Past

This document was recently unearthed in an old cabinet by a workman fixing a heater at my school. There may not be air conditioning, stable heat, or enough electrical outlets but there are definitely benefits to working in an old school. I wouldn't move to one of those shiny new schools if they begged me.

Click pic to embiggen.

I have to say that I'm surprised at how much of this is still an important part of what we do even if the language has changed. I just can't get over #10 though- can you imagine the riots that would ensue if this went on a public school document in this day and age?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pretty Damn Cool

This awesome video from "All.I.Can" (Sherpas Cinema) is definitely worth checking out. I heart J.P. Auclair.

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Need of Something Positive

The last couple weeks have been rough. I was really in need of something positive. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving I found a bundle of thank you notes in my box. Some saintly teachers in my school had their students spend the day before Thanksgiving writing to their teachers. I am very grateful, so I thought I'd share my favorites:

This student is amazing. She went to Pakistan for 7 weeks for her brother's wedding. I missed her everyday she was gone.

From the kid who has never caused even a moment of trouble.

Sometimes even I don't know what's in store from one day to the next.

I love it!

I'm always grateful to find out that quiet students really enjoy my class. Sometimes you can't tell.

Thanks to all of the wonderful teachers I work with who took time to help students write these amazing notes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Visitors from the not as far east

Way back in January of 2010 I posted about a visit from our friends Trevor and Dee. At the time they lived in China and were in the states visiting us for a few days. Here it is almost 2 years later and we got another visit. This time from not so far away. Earlier this year they moved to a more geographically friendly location for visits and now live in Missouri. It's still a bit of a trip for them but it's not a 14 hour flight. Which is a very good thing because, they also had a new addition to their family. They had a little girl named Nyx back in April.

Dee, Trevor, and Nyx (Who does not appreciate them playing with her hat)

They were just in town for two days on their way to Montana for Thanksgiving. We spent the weekend mostly at our home relaxing and catching up. We also went to Liberty park with the kids. Aven loves the swings. It was a bit cold out but it was fun. 

Aven eventually got past being shy with Nyx and gave her a little hug for the camera.

Thanks for visiting Trevor, Dee and Nyx hopefully we'll see you again soon (hopefully sooner than two years from now).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Warrior

Grace and the squirrel who lives in our neighbor's walnut tree have been at war since we moved in. Grace patrols the backyard and the squirrel jumps from tree to tree and occasionally stops to chirp loudly at the big, lumbering, interloper that is now occupying HIS territory. So, while painting with Aven this morning I decided to give Grace some war paint to make her feel more powerful in her war with the creature who refuses to be caught. I thought she looked tough. When we went to my mom's for dinner, my mom ran from the room yelling "Grace! Grace! . . . Cara, get in here! . . . oh my god!" thinking that Grace had blood smeared all over her face. The paint didn't intimidate the squirrel, but at least it worked on someone.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Getting ready to go trick-or-treating.

Payton and Aven were ready to bring home buckets full of candy.

Payton's dad ate WAY too much candy before we left.

After trick-or-treating we enjoyed our spooky jack-o-lanterns before bedtime.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Little Devil

Ian and I decided to transform Aven into a devil for Halloween this year. As a two-year-old, a devil was the easiest most natural transformation we could think of. Enjoy a couple of great pictures of our little devil:

Aven in an ironically angelic pose.

Dancing around under red lighting at Garden After Dark.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Fun with Cute Kids

It's fall break, so some friends and I decided to take the kiddos out on the town for some fall fun:
We started at a pumpkin patch in Sandy but it was more playground than pumpkin patch, so after playing for awhile we headed to a different pumpkin patch in West Jordan. My favorite line of the day came from Payton, my friend Amber's son. When they were running to get on the airplane pictured above he said "Aven you get in back, I'll drive!". Typical man.

Zachary, Aven, and Payton

It doesn't get much cuter than that.

Again with the cuteness.

We had a really fun morning. Thanks Amber, Payton, Natalie, Zachary, and Baby Jacey!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Popcornosaurus Rex

Ian and I went to a movie last night and came home to find that our dining room had been invaded by popcorn-eating dinosaurs. Pretty Cute.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kids and Opera

Today the Utah Opera Education Outreach Program visited the middle school I teach at. All students with a fine arts class had the privilege of attending. I spent a portion of every class period this week talking about opera and trying to prepare the students for what they were going to experience. The overwhelming consensus was that opera was boring and for old people even though not one kid I teach had ever seen an opera. I was ready for this presentation to bust some of those preconceived notions wide open.

Freeze Frame: Dr. Miracle
was performed and was designed for junior high and high school audiences. During Dr. Miracle, a short comic opera by Georges Bizet, a clever young man disguises himself several times, each time attempting to win the girl he loves from her protective papa. The performers occasionally stopped the action with a "Freeze Frame" device to highlight elements of drama and opera right as they occurred during the opera.

After the program I had my students fill out an evaluation. I was pleasantly surprised to get many thoughtful responses but I did get a good laugh from other responses.

Here is a sample of my favorite responses:

Question: On a scale of 1-5, 5 being best, how good were the performers in their presentation?
-"I rate the performers a 5. They were very loud and knew what they were doing."
-"4. They were not bad singers, but the "tenor" was way too high to be a tenor" (thank you 14 year old voice expert)
-"2.5- it was ok. I only connected with the omelet" (an omelet was a key part of the story)

Question: What did you like about today's opera assembly"
-"The romance part. I think it was the best."
-"I like that the opera was funny, that made it better"
-"Eventually, it ended."

Question: What questions do you have about opera or about today's performance?
-"What did they say?"
-"How did they discover their talent?"
-"None, except why it exists."

In the end I feel like most kids got some enjoyment out of it and were surprised to see young attractive people performing an art that they thought was reserved for boring old people.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Drawing with Aven

For the last couple months the only thing Aven has been interested in during drawing time is the ABCs. I have written the ABCs more times than I can count, which is why I was so delighted today when she wanted me to draw skeletons:

She has been really interested in Halloween this year and she loves the skeleton decoration in the front yard. Aven created the beautiful scribbles on the right side of the page while I drew the skeletons and added all the details she requested. I did take some liberties with the shorts and the brand name of the watch, however.

I love my silly little kiddo :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New House Pictures . . . Finally

We sold our old house and bought a new one way back in July and we have finally gotten the house together enough that I can post some pictures- yay!

The front.

Before I show you the pictures of everything put together and looking amazing I have to show you what Aven's room looked like before because Ian spent a lot of time turning the awful built-in drawers and cabinets you see below into something beautiful and functional. When we first bought the house we thought the drawers would make great storage, but they were heavy, didn't slide out easily and I hated that there was such a huge part of Aven's room that wasn't usable for her and her mountain of books and toys.

We thought this might be a project for next year, but we came up with a plan and got all worked up about it and decided to dive right in. Here is the space after demolition:

And here is Aven's room now:

We actually found a shelving unit at Ikea that fit almost perfectly in the space. Ian had to do some major pain-in-the-butt finishing work around the top and side of the shelving unit to make it look nice, but now it's a perfect place for books and toys. The other super weird thing about this room is that it contains the only rear portal to the out-of-doors, but that's something we've gotten used to.

Now, without further ado, here are more pictures of our house looking clean and put together:

The master bedroom. Having a true master with a bathroom was Ian's number one desire when we were looking for houses. It wasn't a big deal for me, but now that we have it I totally love it.

The kitchen. Granite counter tops are pretty but they are a pain in the butt to take care of (have you ever prepared a stain removing poultice before?). I wouldn't have picked them, but they came with the house so I'll try to enjoy them while doing my best to keep acids, oils, and fats off of them.

The living room. Look ma, no TV! Oh, the laptop we watch Hulu on counts? Oh well.

The dining room with a big picture window. We don't watch TV while we eat, but we do watch our neighbors and make snarky comments about some of them.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. Maybe I'll take you on a tour of our basement and office sometime, but right now they are still pretty chaotic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Got to love that smile.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Utah State Fair

Aven got to go to the Utah State Fair with Payton. They ate pizza, saw animals, and most importantly, went on lots of rides. Aven had never been on a ride before and now I think she's hooked.
They flew in an airplane. The best part was watching them have a conversation while they were riding. We had no idea what they were talking about, but I'm sure it was deep.

Aven got to go on the Ferris wheel with dad. After a couple rotations she laughed uncontrollably for the rest of the ride.

Aven wasn't technically tall enough to ride most rides without a parent but because Payton was tall enough the ride operators let Aven ride with him. He's not exactly a responsible adult, but it all worked out okay.

The favorite of the day was the big slide. They wanted to go again and again but us old people thought it was a bit rough on the backside.

Aven was so tired by the time we left I was barely able to keep her awake on the 10 minute ride home.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cowboys and Mountain Men

For Labor Day weekend we decided to get out of town for awhile. We were gone all of 28 hours but it felt like a lot more because we packed so much in.

We drove to Evanston, Wyoming, checked into a cheap motel and then went out in search of adventure:

We started out at the old train depot, than is currently being remodeled.

After that we decided to check out the rodeo. I hadn't been to one since I was a kid. Aven had fun seeing the horses and cows.

My favorite part was the Mutton Busting. Watching 3-6 year old kids cling to the backs of frantic sheep was hilarious (even though I realize it is cruel to the sheep AND the kids).

The next day we headed to Fort Bridger for the annual Mountain Man Rendezvous. We saw lots of people in 1830's period costumes engaging in 19th century activities.

Some costumes were more authentic than others. I am 99% sure that there weren't any buckskin wearing chihuahuas in the 1830's.

Aven scored an adorable prairie bonnet.

And we met up Amber, Dustin, and Payton for some more Rendezvous fun before heading back to Salt Lake.