Archive for July 2008

There’s another set of braces in the family

It has now been about a week since Anne got her braces and she is now pretty used to them. The day we went in to get them she was very nervous because Emily told her that they would hurt once she got them on. When she got in to see the orthodontic assistant who would be putting the braces on, she was not at all happy. The first thing the assistant did was to adjust her MARA appliance, this was not too comfortable because it meant that Anne’s jaw would be moving a little more forward and she would have to get used to this as well as braces. Luckily for me the assistant and the orthodontist were great at calming Anne down and reassuring her that everything would be fine. So for the rest of the procedure Anne was great. The first thing they did was to put this big plastic lip mover over, tongue holder inner, and mouth widening gadget in. Then the assistant put this blue stuff on her teeth to make sure they were good and clean.

Then the assistant had to wash it all off and then dry it really good. Then she placed the braces on and then had to wait for the orthodontist to do the final positioning of the braces. They did the top first and then the bottom.

After everything was done Anne got to take a good look in the mirror, and I think she thought they were looking very good.

The Assistant then showed Anne how to clean and take care of her teeth now she had braces. This went pretty quickly because Anne pretty much knew what to do because Emily went through it before she did. Anne has learne that she needs to take good care of them because Emily didn’t so now Emily has swollen gums that we are trying to remedy and she doesn’t want to go through that.

I think Anne looks great in her braces and when she is all done in a couple of years she will look even greater.

Kennecott Copper Mine

I’ve lived in Utah most of my life and had always wanted to check out the Kennecott Copper Mine but had never managed to make the trip. Last week I had some vendors in town from Boston so we took the opportunity to finally go and see the mine.

The visitor’s center had a number of displays and educational info about mining in Bingham Canyon and also had a movie with propaganda information on the mine and how amazing the various Kennecott reclamation projects are.

The mine itself is truly amazing in its scope and scale but I left there having very mixed feelings. On the one hand, the mine has produced massive amounts of copper and other materials and has provided jobs and the vital raw materials of industry for many years. On the other hand, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling of how brutal on the earth the mining process was and how the analogy of “raping the land” is actually quite apt.

Trying to undo the effects of the mine and reclaim it would be like trying to put a chicken back into a hatched egg – it isn’t going to happen. In that respect, I say “keep on mining”. However, humans ought not to take lightly our stewardship over the earth and in that respect I think one mine of this type is probably enough and man ought to find a better way to extract the needed resources in the future.

Bike Riding

Nancy worked with Caroline and Sam for a couple of weeks each morning to help them learn how to ride their bikes. After much whining and complaining, a few wrecks, and some threats/bribery/cajoling, they finally learned how to do it within a few days of each other. Their reward was a lunch date with Mom or Dad. Yesterday I took the day off work and paid off my lunch debt to Sam. He rejected all the places that I suggested (Training Table, Chilis, Thai food, etc.) and selected McDonalds. Off to McDonalds we went.

Caroline learns to ride a bike

Now that they’ve learned how to ride their bikes we can’t get them to stop. It’s funny how one day they’re whining and moping along with one foot on the curb and one on the pedal and the next day they’re zooming around the neighborhood and doing “jumps” off the curb.

4th of July

Lori and Bryan invited us to go water skiing on the 4th of July. We left early in the morning for Echo Reservoir and got there before the sun had a chance to get really hot. We were expecting 100 degree weather but it was semi-cloudy and rather pleasant all day. In fact, in the early morning it was downright chilly in the water. Lori and Bryan were already there in order to be the first boat on the water and get the best runs of the day in. They met us at the dock and we all piled into their boat.

They have a bright red boat with all kinds of fancy technology gadgets such as inflatable bladders (for giving the boat different kinds of wakes I presume) and cruise control and high tech ski rope holders. The littlest kids (Diana, Natasha, and Texas) were content to just sit in the front of the boat and let the wind blow through their hair. The rest of us tried various forms of water sports.

When I first went water-skiing at a ward youth activity 20 years ago there were only two options: one ski or two. Now there are all kinds of things to do like raft riding, wakeboarding, and “surfing”. Bryan made wakeboarding look easy as he jumped over the wake. I tried my hand at wakeboarding but after about three or four attempts the best I could manage was a wobbly one second of barely getting my rump out of the water before crashing. Bryan and Lori cut beautiful rooster tails as they slalom skied around the lake. I had been able to ski on one ski back in high school but I knew that 20 years of weight gain and weak upper-body strength would prevent me from doing that again so I simply went to two skis and was fortunately able to get up a time or two.

Giving up after several unsuccessful wakeboard attempts

Anne was adventurous and decided to try skiing on two skis but wasn’t able to get out of the water after a few attempts. Next we inflated a huge raft with multiple handles on it and had fun pulling the older kids around. Even Nancy gave the raft a try. Eli and Sam were fun to watch as they bounced up and down on the raft. I got on the raft a few times and my ample waistline finally showed some value in sending the raft careening back and forth as I leaned into the turns of the boat. Between Bryan carving big turns with the boat and me leaning back and forth on the raft we were able to really give the kids a fun ride and managed to dump them off the raft several times.

Bouncing along on the raft

After riding the raft we pulled up to a beach and had a picnic lunch on the beach while the kids spent time playing on the raft. At the end of the day we configured the boat for “surfing” by filling the bladders and positioning people in the boat such that we created a huge wake. Bryan then got a very short rope and a mini-surfboard and started skiing on the massive wake. Eventually the wake is so big that you can “surf” down it’s face continually and thus let go of the rope while still able to stay behind the boat. I gave it a try once or twice but there was no chance of me being able to get up on a surfboard if I couldn’t even get up on a wakeboard. I managed to snap a picture of Bryan surfing with my cell phone camera but unfortunately I cut off his head.

Bryan “surfing” behind the boat

After a fun day on the water Lori expertly backed up her truck and Bryan loaded the boat on the trailer while Nancy and I watched the kids and had snacks at the car. We then met up at Grandma Wilma’s for a short visit before heading home for an evening barbeque and fireworks. The only problem was that a day of waterskiing and bouncing around on the raft left both Nancy and I exhausted so that we were ready to do fireworks and put the kids to bed before it was even dark. We held out until dusk and then lit fireworks in the South Jordan wind.

Fireworks in the wind

I would have to rank this 4th of July as one of the most fun days we’ve ever had. Thanks to Lori and Bryan and their family for inviting us and for being gracious and patient with us novices as we swarmed around their fancy boat. We really had a great time. As Nancy put it, “It sure beat the heck out of sitting around in the hot sun waiting for the parade!”

Anne’s birthday

Anne had a family party this year for her birthday. She got to choose the place she wanted to go out to dinner to and then when she got home her new present was waiting for her. A brand new bike!!! We didn’t eat cake and ice cream on her birthday because for one, Emily was at girls camp and secondly we went out to eat at Leatherby’s and had nice big ice cream treats after dinner. So after Emily got home from camp, we got out the cake with eleven candles on it and sang the happy birthday song to her. Next year she will be able to have a friend party and if she wants to she can get her ears pierced.

He’s almost there

I have been meaning to help Sam learn how to ride his bike without training wheels for a few months now, but only recently have I really put in some time with him. He is improving but not quite there yet. He will peddle for about two seconds until he thinks he’s going to fall and then he puts his foot down.

When I run with him down the sidewalk and hold his back he does better, but as soon as I let go, down goes the foot. I think he just needs to learn to have the confidence to ride without help and without fear of falling. I think this will happen with practice-practice-practice.