Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring, Easter, Winter

Thursday was beautiful. It was 48 degrees (downright balmy after the winter we had) and the snow had finally all melted. I mean all melted....even those stuburn piles of snow at the end of everybody's driveways (from being snow blowed higher and higher.) We could see grass (albeit brown grass) for the first time since December. After all, we got 99 inches of snow over the winter. Only four times in the past one hundred years had we gotten more than that. We are talking about a record breaking winter.

But it was over. The snow was gone. It was sunny. I was ecstatic. Then Friday came. And it brought a "winter storm." That meant 11 inches of show. No, I'm not kidding. Good Friday was a snowy day. And it was the day that the Smiths drove to have Easter with us. What was usually a four hour drive took them seven and a half hours. What a bummer!
Here is a picture that I took on Easter Sunday -- showing the snow and icicles on a bush.

The great part is that they made it and we had a nice weekend.

We had a tasty fish taco dinner on Friday night (thanks, AJ, for the great recipe!) We slept in, had a good breakfast (eggs, sausage, toast, berries, kringle) and then dyed Easter eggs on Saturday.

Saturday night was our Easter dinner -- M was in charge of grilling (on a spit) the leg of lamb, which had been marinating in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and rosemary for 24 hours. I made smashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and heated up some tasty, flaky rolls. I also put out a bowl full of berries -- strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I think we've had this same meal for three years now and I love the simplicity and deliciousness of it. It was also a hit with the family. Of course, we used our china, crystal, and silver.

The next morning was Easter and the boys got on their Easter clothes. Both were proud of their duds. T was happy with his, but he wished that he had a tie. I told him that next year he can have a tie. (He loves getting dressed up. For the Christmas program at school, the teacher told them to wear their best clothes to the concert. T wanted to get a tuxedo because that's "the best." He was actually quite disappointed that I said 'no.' He said that we got him one for Uncle D's wedding, and this was just as fancy. Alas, he wore a Christmas sweater and slacks, much to his disappointment!) Anyway, don't they look so grown up?!

Here is T showing off his argyle socks that the Easter bunny game him. He loves a complete outfit.
After church on Easter morning, we headed off to the beautiful manor on the lake and had a wonderful Brunch. It was a great time in a lovely house. They offered us a tour of the house, but we declined since we had taken the tour on the two previous Easters. But what a lovely place! And what a lovely brunch!

Grandma and grampa were proud of their grandsons. We had a great Easter!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pinewood Derby

Last weekend was a very busy one. I'm going to take it in parts -- this episode will be about the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby, which both boys were able to compete this year (T's first year and R's second year.) The boys (including M) have been planning their cars since January. First, they spent time drawing and redrawing their car designs on graph paper, starting over when they decided they didn't like their design or when M decided that their idea was too tricky to make.

Then, they got their kits and bought wood.

R wanted a "plain wood car that was really shiny." So he got some fancy-smanchy hard wood called "cocoballa" or something like that. (Yeah, I know it's called "pine"wood derby. I asked M about five times if it was legal to buy a different kind of wood besides pine. He reassured me over and over that it was legal and finally he printed off the rules so I could see it with my own eyes. It's all good - you don't have to use pine in a pinewood derby. Crazy!)

Here is Riley posing with his car before the race. (Notice the very lovely patriotic background that M set up for me. Actually, I took photos of all the boys -- as I did last year -- which everybody enjoyed.)
T wanted an "old fashioned racing car" and the color he wanted to paint it was "British Racing Green." Very specific, that boy is! He first designed an extremely difficult car that M really wanted to help T build, but just couldn't figure out how to build it and make it even sort of fast. T repeatedly said that he didn't care if it was fast. Finally, I asked T "T, if your car looks really cool, but it's always the last place in all of your races, would you still be proud of it because it looks cool?" He teared up a bit and said, "no, I guess I want it to be a little bit fast too." Relieved, M helped T design this really cool racing car. It's a bit hard to see, but believe me, it looked really cool with it's racing stripes and fake engine on top. (M tried to convince T to put a little Lego hat on top so it looked like there was a driver down in the car, but T wouldn't go for it. He likes his things to be authentic and cars don't have little hats on top. M even showed him pictures of race cars on the Internet and you can see the helmets and only the helmets sticking up, but T wouldn't budge.)

Here's a close up shot of it. M takes these "beauty shots" of the cars each year. It's an awfully cool car. As a matter of fact, I thought it might win the Best in Show prize. Alas, a Sponge Bob inspired car won that award that is voted on by the scouts themselves.

The race was a blast to watch. T and R raced in two different heats. Both boys did well. T got a few firsts, a few seconds and some thirds (he raced 10 races in his heat.) R did really well, getting mainly firsts and some seconds in his heat. He did so well that he qualified for the final heat...and won second place! (I had this huge fear that T would do better than R and R's been doing this for two years already. Luckily, both boys were extremely happy.

One of my favorite moments was when T leaned over and said to me, "I'm so happy for R! aren't you?!"
"Yes, I told him. I'm happy for R too. but you know what? I'm very proud of you too, T."
Yeah, me too, he replied.

The award ceremony was fun, because M was the MC since he's the Cub Master and because R got a second place medal. All of the kids got a trophy. Fun times!