Monday, June 20, 2011


I like to camp.  I like planning out the meals, making lists of what to pack, and the beautiful scenery.  Well, this past weekend another family (Mitch & Jen) and we decided that we wanted to go camping.  Of course, it being Father's Day weekend almost all campsites were full, or at least that is what it showed online.  But some campgrounds you couldn't book online, only had a phone number, and some just an address.

We decided to take our chances and drove south.  We came to the beautiful, small town of Spring City.  We drove out to the mountains to the east.  We did find an official campground (maybe we didn't drive far enough up the mountain) but we found several cut outs along the road with firepits.  We chose one and set up camp.  We were losing daylight because we had gotten a late start (which kind of made me grumpy because I hate to be late).  We had a nice dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and of course, S'mores.  Oh, and we roasted Starburst too, that is a kid favorite (but I don't know where they learned it).

For breakfast I had brought some Dutch Ovens.  I made a breakfast casserole of potatoes, onion, peppers, bacon, eggs and cheese.  I also made some Monkey Bread or Cinnamon-Pull-Aparts.  They were good except I put too many in the DO and the sugary topping burned. 

We were near a river and had the rushing water sound, it was lovely.  The only thing I didn't like is that there were no bathrooms.  We were really roughing it.  We packed out all of our trash, I even found numerous cans (beer & soda) to recycle.  Another person's trash is my treasure.

After we tore down camp we did a little sight-seeing in Spring City.  Mitch knew a family from a former ward that had moved there.  She and her husband had been renovating an old theater.  We got the grand tour of that and her house.  It was awesome.  We also stopped in at a couple of art galleries/studios.  Mitch teaches art at a Junior High.

Then we headed home.  We stopped in Mount Pleasant for some pizza for lunch, it was the best.  Oh, Mount Pleasant has a working drive-in theater.  We thought that maybe next weekend we could drive down for that, they are showing Kung Fu Panda 2.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Special Olympics in Cedar City

So I went to Cedar City this weekend for Special Olympics.  The events were softball, track & field, and soccer.  My group was Unified Soccer.  This means that the teams are a mix of students with and without special needs.  Traditional teams are athletes that all have special needs.  Bingham High had 4 soccer teams.  We play with a ratio of 2 with special needs and 3 without.  Our A team took gold, B and D teams took bronze, and C team got a fourth place ribbon in their divisions.  A couple of times our A and B teams had to play each other and once our C and D teams played one another.

We took a charter bus down to Cedar City Thursday  morning.  It seemed pointless for me to drive up to South Jordan just to get on a bus to go south.  So it was agreed that the bus would pick me up in Spanish Fork.  I told them what exit and that I would be waiting there.  Many did not believe that they would just pick me up at the exit, but there I was on the side of the road by the stop sign.

We watched some movies on the bus.  The kids had a great time talking, playing some games, listening to their mp3 players and napping.  Many of our peer tutors had graduated the day before and had stayed up all night partying.  I chatted with the bus driver a bit, his name is Tyler.  We talked about bus driving.  I told him about my dad and his bus driving & mechanic career.  He thought that was neat.  Tyler drives a school bus during the year, he also teaches 6th grade, plays the organ at the tabernacle for midday recitals, and drives charter bus part time.  I thought he is amazing.  We also had some things in common like our teaching experiences and relatives with special needs.  We also talked about our addiction to caffeine (mine Diet Pepsi and he Dr. Pepper).

Anyway, back to the Special Olympics.  Thursday was opening ceremonies.  That was hosted by Bob & Randy Harmon of the grocery chain Harmon's.  There was a local band playing and of course all our male peer tutors fell in love with the lead singer Carlie.  We all stayed in the Holiday Inn Express.  I was worried that our group would be very noisy.  They weren't too bad, but they could have been better.

Friday was competitions.  We played many preliminary games.  Some we won by forfeit because the other team did not show up on time, or they did not have enough players.  My voice was hoarse from cheering on all of our athletes.  There was also a Victory Dance that night in the parking lot.  Our kids really know how to boogie.  While there I recognized a kid.  Turns out he was a student at one of the middle schools where I had worked.  So I texted that teacher (and my friend) about him.  Of course she remembered him and had me tell him hi.  One of teams ended up playing his team the next day.  So I was cheering for both teams that game.

We all got sunburned, possibly a little heat exhaustion.  We tried to keep hydrated with water and Gatorade.  A few had minor injuries that required having a knee taped up but no one broke anything or had to go to the hospital.  That was a blessing.  We did however see the ambulance a couple of times during the weekend.  It is rumored that one person had either choked, passed out, or had a heart attack and died.

The students were amped up and tried to play some practical jokes on the other teacher, Jared.  He's a good sport, but I often feel bad for the guy since he is such a target for practical jokes.  They were going to shave parts of his hair and even shave off his eyebrows while he was sleeping.  Luckily he woke up in time and kicked them out of his room.

Saturday were the final games.  These determined the medals earned.  All of our athletes did well.  Sometimes we had two games going on at the same time.  Luckily they were in neighboring fields so we stood between the two and cheered back and forth.  It was confusing because while you were watching one team, behind you the other team scored.  Also, it made it hard to keep track of the score. 

Somehow we missed the closing ceremony that evening.  Then headed home.  We were still amped up on the bus, but I had movies we could watch and I think that settled the kids down some.  As we got close to where I needed to be dropped off I walked up to the front of the bus to be sure the driver remembered the exit.  But as I walked from the back to the front of the bus I got caught in a tickle gauntlet.  I was laughing so hard I thought I might pee my pants.  I made it to the front, Tyler our driver remembered the exit.  So then I had to make my way back to get my stuff.  Again, the tickle gauntlet, one of the aides tried to intercede by tackling students so I could make my way.  I got my stuff.  A lot of peer tutors and aides gave me hugs goodbye.  For  many of them this is the last time they will see me since I will be working at a different school next year.  It was hard not to cry. I know 2 peer tutors teared up a bit.  One peer tutor gave me a can of silly string that I could use as a weapon to make it back to the front of the bus.  Well, it wasn't a tickle gauntlet but a hugging one that time.  When I got to the front of the bus I turned and said, "Goodby Suckers!"  Then sprayed everyone with silly string.  Somehow it got taken from me and then I was sprayed.  I got it back, then got off the bus. 

Kyle was there waiting for me and had seen the craziness.  I handed the can to Tyler and told him he may need this.  Some opened the windows and yelled good bye as the bus pulled away.  I waved until they were out of sight.

It was a long, fun, crazy weekend.  I'm glad I went, it was a great last hurrah to my first year of teaching.