Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Choir Camp

I am definitely living vicariously through my oldest daughter right now. She's shown an interest in singing since, well, she could talk, and now I am finally finding outlets for me, er her, to use her voice. I'm treading carefully, since as of May she wanted to quit her children's choir, went through multiple auditions but didn't make it into a more "fun" choir,  and chose not to audition for Annie Jr. But when her choir director told us about a summer symposium choir directed by Ryan Murphy, associate director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I couldn't let her pass that up!

As we walked in on the first day, Savannah pulled out her rare shy side and clung to my arm a little more tightly than usual. I told Savannah to go make a new friend and she balked at first, but I fed her some conversation starters and the next thing I knew she and another little girl were all giggles. By the end of the week, she was so sad not to see her new friend every day anymore. Every day she would come out with a big grin and tell me how much she loved singing in this choir. Phew!

On Saturday after the camp had ended, they held a concert to showcase their work. I probably need to clarify a bit. The camp was actually an orchestra camp, with the campers separated into three orchestras based on ability. The choir was a 1-hour enrichment in the middle of the day that the orchestra attendees could chose to go to.... or you could just sign up for that one enrichment class. So most of the concert was an orchestra concert, with just a short interlude by the choir. The instrumental parts of this showcase were a rare treat for us. The last (and most advanced) orchestra was absolutely incredible. They played an original Rachmaninoff, and the score to E.T. It was gorgeous and now I want all my kids to played stringed instruments.

This video is really long, but if you need some background music sometime, just turn it on and listen. So cool.

The choir only sang three songs, but I was so impressed by all of them. They were accompanied by a professional orchestra (brought in to supplement the children's orchestras), which really brought an added depth to their performance. The last song, Brazzle Dazzle Day, from the original Pete's Dragon, was arranged by none other than Ryan Murphy himself. It was announced that he had composed the orchestration to the song just two days earlier! What a privilege to experience such talent. I hope one day Savannah can appreciate what a rare thing it was to sing under him.

Brazzle Dazzle Day: (Savannah obviously could have used a potty break before going on)

How Can I Keep From Singing:

Bear Lake Reunion Continued

More fun from our Bear Lake reunion:

Silly cousins in the pool! I hope these three always stay as good of friends as they are now. They will need each other in their teenage years.

Jumbo kerplunk!

Isabelle is a very dramatic game player.

 Just before this turn, Izzy said sternly, "Uncle Joe, whatever you do, don't drop the balls!" Whoops!

How many kids can you fit around one tablet?

Stories with Grandpa on the deck.


Service project with Aunt Ashley.

Cheeto heads. What a riot!

The last night the kids were being extra sneaky. They invited all the adults to the loft where they'd set up a date night for us! They had snacks set up and had made a dance floor out of foam pads. We all danced for a good while and had the best kind of fun of all, the spontaneous kind!

The required grandchild picture. I only had to swap five heads to get this one!

You can't go to bear lake without stopping for some burgers and raspberry shakes.

Our third day, we decided to head back to the lake for more water fun, but didn't want to pay the $10 parking fee for three cars. Since it was a super short trip, we packed seventeen people into a 7-seater minivan! (Coincidentally, the same van we piled in after the Speedy Spaniard.) It was super crowded, and we made the kids duck as we drove through the guard gate. As soon as we had paid and started to pull away, Savannah yells, "SHE LET US IN!" Way to give away our cover, Savannah!

The whole gang.

This postcard photo op was cracking us up!

The last morning I dragged myself out of bed to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful and so peaceful. Goodbye, Bear Lake. You've been good to us.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Pendleton Games

As part of our Bear Lake reunion, the Katschke family organized an obstacle course challenge. There were beach ball gauntlets, cup stacking races, "pie" eating contests (Swedish fish hidden inside a plate of whipped cream), passing the wet sponge, silly string/squirt gun races, and a toss the cards challenge. It was a lot of fun, a ton of laughs, and just the thing for a warm summer afternoon.

Bear Lake

Without so much as an hour between them, we immediately ended one reunion and started another! This was the year for our bi-annual Pendleton reunion, and Michael and Ashley planned a fabulous week in Bear Lake for all of us.

The first full day there was spent entirely at the lake. We had a huge inflatable raft to play on, sand and water toys galore, a boat with skis and wakeboard, and a jet ski. I don't think I heard a single complaint from anybody the entire day!

I got to try wakeboarding for the first time in 8 or so years. The last time I went, it completely beat up my body. This time was no different. Every single muscle (even ones that I swear didn't exist before that day) hurt for at least a week. But it was worth it. I love wakeboarding, especially in such perfect conditions! I'm no stunt devil, but a quick, smooth ride is plenty of adrenaline for me!

Sawyer and Jack were the captains of this particular group. Neither had any interest in getting in the water, but loved being in the boat and using their life jackets as punching vests.

Logan, Savannah, and Izzy all tried the tube and mostly loved it. When it was Isabelle's turn, we took it really slow. Too slow, in fact, and the entire tube filled with water and capsized! After that, she was done.

We all got a turn on the jet ski. Sawyer was in heaven. I think we've discovered that Sawyer likes the water as long as he doesn't have to get wet. I took a turn with Emma (13) so she could drive. Wowsers! Talk about no fear! Logan got a turn driving as well, but Jeff was riding with him that time so I can't speak for his daredevil-ness.

Speedy Spaniard

Several months back, a few of us in Jeff's family committed to running the Speedy Spaniard 10k in Spanish Fork. Things started snowballing and by the time the race rolled around, all four siblings and spouses were on board! We had quite the party at the starting line. Jeff looks super excited. Can you tell

I hadn't been training very well the few weeks before the race, but my summer race goal has been to beat an 8:00 pace at all my races, so I pushed for that. It was a rough start and my legs felt like bricks for the first few miles. I wish I could say it got easier after that, but it never really did. Just goes to show that training is important! I pushed through and finished in 50:01 at 8:02 min/mile, just missing my goal. I felt sick as I crossed the finish line and came as close as I ever have to losing my breakfast after a race (although that sensation is not a new one!).

Everyone in the family did great and finished ahead of their personal goals. I was so proud of them, especially several who had never run that far before. Even Jeff, who hates running with a passion and made sure to let everyone know it, finished in 1:08. Michael, despite considering himself a short distance sprinter, finished 3rd in his age group! It was a great morning spent with a group of people I admire so much. 

Since it was one of these start in one location, finish at another kind of races, we had to all pile in a single van to get back to our cars at the starting line. It's one thing cramming a bunch of kids in a minivan; it's another when it's a bunch of sweaty adults (and you have more people than seats)! Good times.