Sunday, April 28, 2013

Big Girls, Late, Barker Keys

Do you ever feel behind enough that it's just better to start again where you are?  Me too.  Even though it's been mainly the last month that I've slacked, it feels like climbing Mount Everest getting back there.  But I will.  ...?  So here's the latest.

Yesterday morning at breakfast, for whatever reason Melanie decided she needed to do some motivating for Madeleine to finish.
Melanie:  Madeleine, let's race, and whoever finishes first is the big girl.
Adam (already done and apparently only half listening):  I win!
Mom:  hahahahahahahahahahah

Again yesterday all my men folk were gone.  The girls and I were hanging out trying to get some Saturday stuff done, when Melanie (my personal secretary) walked up and handed me a card.  I looked at it - an invite for my cousin's fiancee's wedding shower that had started 40 minutes before.  (Why Melanie doesn't remember my appointments better is beyond me.  Sheesh!)  The boys were at an Eagle project, so I got the girls some lunch, found out how much longer the boys would be, got the girls ready to go, stressed about the boys needing to be at the church later for a hike, gathered the girls up to go, the boys got home, I told them to walk, and we headed on our way.  We arrived with less than 10 minutes of the shower left.  It was at my grandma's house, so at least we could hang out there with her, my mom, and sister.

(Not sure why these pictures turned out so green?)

Although a few hours later grandma probably wasn't so happy we went to all that effort to go when she discovered the skeleton key from her front door missing.  Not so easy to jaunt down to the local hardware store and get a new one of those.  It's such a temptation for the kids to play with, and I think Madeleine took the bait.  Erin said she heard her playing with it.  When I asked her if she played with the keys at Grandma Barker's house, the light immediately turned on.  She told me grandma took it from her and put it up high, so she got a chair.  Ummm . . . grandma didn't take it away this time, so . . . yah.  Looks like we'll be taking another jaunt to see grandma tomorrow so maybe we can help track it down.  Thank goodness when we got there we realized she left her shoes home (remember the big rush?), so at least we know she didn't pack them down to the farm with the other kids.  And I don't remembering hearing clinking keys outside, so hopefully they are still inside.

Overheard recently after an egg was dropped on the ground:  "The floor is fine, but the egg will never be the same."

Carolyn was laying on the couch with a headache recently.  She was getting up for something and told me not to let anyone lay on the pillow she was using because, "someone with a headache was been laying on it," almost like it was catching or something.  Or maybe she was looking for enough sympathy that it would still be available when she came back.

Sammy came home from the park the other day, walked in the door, and said, "My shoes are FULL of socks."  After we all settled down, he told us he meant to say rocks.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


March 30 - My Dad's Birthday!

We have this great tradition in our family that the birthday person/people get to bite the cake first.  Here's a great demonstration.

Dad taking some time to decide the best spot . . . 

Still looking . . . 

And diving in!

Sammy put red pepper flakes on his ice cream.  He said it was awesome - hot and cold at the same time.

April 7 - My parents have been going through CERT training.  They mentioned one day that they need to check their fire extinguishers because they are old enough that they might not work anymore.  A couple weeks later we were over visiting and my dad decided to pull them out.

It worked!

Since once you check they leak air and won't be good much longer, my parents took at as a good opportunity to teach our family how to use a fire extinguisher.

Point it at the bottom of the fire . . .

Each of the kids got a turn.  Pretty cool stuff!

Little Miss M even had a turn, but since I was helping her, I didn't get a picture.

Then we got the real how-to.  You're supposed to have a partner.  The person in front with the extinguisher just watches the fire, and the person in back guides them backwards away from the fire after it gets sprayed.

Carolyn got one more turn, the last little puff of powder.

A great experience.  None of us had ever used one before, so now we have a feel for what it's like.  One of those skills you hope you never have to use.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sleep On It

I have lots of notes of things I need to catch up on, but had to get this while it was fresh.

Sammy was reading about the Sons of Mosiah for class Tuesday, and when I finished, I was asking him what he'd like to do with what he learned to share it at Vanguard.  He said he didn't know, so I threw out a few ideas and he tossed around a few of them but couldn't decide.  It was after 10pm, so I finally said, "Well, go get your medicine and sleep on it," meaning, well, you know what I meant - think about the ideas, and you can work on it tomorrow.  Being my joker, he fell into a pile of laughter.  "Get your medicine and SLEEP ON IT???"

Ha ha, funny funny.  Now get ready for bed.  I specifically laid out every step for him this time, including lay down on your bed, think about the ideas we talked about, and tomorrow you can work on it.  Before he headed, he told me I should "go to bed and sleep on it."  Thank you, Sam, I probably should.

Before all that started, we also decided it would be cool if there was a Book of Mormon tribe called the Flyakites.  I told him we need to send that to the New Era.  "Daddy, what tribe is this again?"  "They're the Flyakites," with a bunch of Nephitish looking people flying kites.  Pretty good, eh?

You're right. I'll sleep on it.

Eagle Project

Adam put together his Eagle project for last weekend.  Quite a while ago he got the idea from his grandma to upload pictures of headstones to the website  He put it off for quite a while, then finally decided to get on it.

It really was a great leadership project.  We put the lists of names together of those that don't already have headstone pictures, and thought through how it would work best and be the most effective.  The day before, Adam, Melanie, and I went and did a trial run down one row and got a few more ideas on how we could tweak a few things.

Our local cemetery isn't that big, but even with all those that came, it took about an hour and a half to get all the pictures.  He put everyone in pairs, and one person would check the list to see if that headstone was on the list, and the other person took the pictures.

Adam's main responsibility there was assigning where teams were going and answering questions.  He was never part of any of the teams that day (though he had plenty of opportunities both before and after the big project day to do that).

When all the pictures were taken, we headed back to our house, uploaded all the pictures to one computer, then got the uploading to Find A Grave command center going.  We had four computers uploading like crazy.

The next day Adam, Melanie, and I went and took retakes (we figured between service and family history, it was a worthy Sunday activity).  That evening we got pictures that we hadn't gotten yet, and ended up with ore retakes the next morning.

When we printed out the first list of people there were 315 names on it.  When we decided his project was "done" (after 90 hours of service) it had 75 names left.  We would love to have it down to 0, and that's still the plan, but those last 75 are apparently going to be a lot harder and will involve a lot more searching.  Granted, some may have been missed in the initial searches, but we're still on the first page of the 75 and we've discovered that two of them don't have headstones and one that I don't think is even really buried there.  For those without headstones, we can at least take pictures of the area to upload, but we didn't have any way to know that in the initial run.  Our city doesn't have a cemetery map, so I've been using the website to find where they're buried.  Using their map zoomed way out, I used Print Screen to create my own map, and here and there we're mapping where the rest of those people are, searching for their location individually on Names In Stone, then zooming back out enough to be able to see where they are.  Eventually we can go over and finish it off.

A few things we would have done differently that we didn't think of before the big day:
- Instruct that if it's a two person headstone, still take a picture of the whole headstone.  We had two teams that didn't realize that.  Retakes!
- Check the picture size on everyone's cameras.  Some of the cameras we could upload without a problem, but if the file sizes were too big, we had to edit them down (extra step, extra time).  Some of the pictures were ultra small, so when we were editing to make them bigger, some of the pictures were entirely unreadable, or just shoddy looking enough that we wouldn't want to put his name on it.  Retakes!

Overall, it was an incredible experience.

Not just watching my amazing son take this project over and run with it - because I already knew he was amazing.  I get to see that all the time.

But also having my testimony strengthened with experiences over and over that there are people out there wanting to be found.

For instance . . .

- We took a retake picture for someone with a unique grave marker and name.  After that group had been added, I was working on some other names later and noticed the woman's name still on our "to be taken" list.  I went back to that group of pictures to get it added, and in doing the search I noticed she was the only one with that last name listed, but she was buried with her husband.  After more searches to make sure I wasn't duplicating, I got him added him to the website.  I went through all the other pictures in the picture group, and that was the only picture that had been missed.  I asked Melanie about it (she had worked on uploading that group), and she told me she remembered looking at and uploading that picture.

- Though it wasn't on his row, Sammy took a picture of a very unique gravestone, I'm sure just because it was a fun one (it had pictures of the M&M characters carved in).  Knowing it wasn't on his row I didn't think much about it, especially after glancing at the list and seeing that woman wasn't on our list at all.  Later I was checking through the pictures on his list, because the scout entering his pictures didn't upload the back side of the graves.  Going through to add those, I noticed that extra picture again, and checked on the name to make sure she had a picture (from our group or not).  I couldn't find her on the site at all, so I got her added in.

- After retakes on Monday, we got home and were adding them in.  Keep in mind, this is our 3rd retakes trip, and our list was far more specific at this point.  Melanie got to a picture that wasn't listed on our new "no headstone picture," so she looked to see if he was a retake that we had had uploaded but wanted a nicer one.  Again, no listing on the website at all.  We got him added, and uploaded his picture.  (By this time Adam told me I was getting to spiritual freak out mode, but really, why did we take that picture??!!?!)

- Also that Monday there was another that needed a retake, but we didn't know where it was in the cemetery.  I had walked up the row they were on (husband and wife) but missed it somehow.  From the first picture I had jotted the pictures that were on it since it was pretty unique (a truck, a temple, and a woman playing ring around the rosie), but didn't note the name.  We wandered and wandered the cemetery looking for them, and Adam finally found it on that first row I'd been on.  Got the pictures home, and again, no listing for them.  I wouldn't have gone for a retake if I hadn't seen the first picture and written it down.  Why did that first picture get taken?

I can't in any way logically explain why all these random pictures were taken.  The teams all had a list to check and then take a picture if their name was on it.  No pictures were taken that already had a picture uploaded for that person.  Every not-on-the-list picture was someone that needed to be added to Find A Grave.

Like I said, an incredible experience.  And a lot of fun, especially with all the great people involved.  I was very grateful to those that showed up and supported Adam in his project.  And thankful to scouting for helping to build boys in this way.