Saturday, March 31, 2012

California Here We Come!

This morning we work up to a surprise from the Easter Bunny.  It was a week early but there were a few things that we might need for our trip!  Beach toys, towels and some new movies.  YAY!

Also since it was Conference weekend I had prepared bags for each child for each session with words to listen for and the treats that went with them!   We had a great drive.  Our first stop was in Draper....I know we made it so far!  But Grandpa Wittke had something for the boys.  They were all shocked at the more than generous spending $ he gave them.  They can't wait to find the best souvenirs.  We made it to St. George in time for Mike to get fitted on his new bike and then head to the Priesthood session with Ty and Grandpa Staten. The other boys and I played at a park and then all got ready for bed!  Can't wait for another day in the car!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Preschool fun!

This month we've had A LOT of fun at preschool.  We went to Jamba Juice for a field trip (the mom's that were brave tried the wheat grass...not me!), we went to the dentist, and Nick had a blast learning about his body.  He had his body traced onto butcher paper and then he got to color it.  All on his own he added blood vessels, muscles and bones.  He was SO proud!  We hung it on the wall for quite a while but finally I had to take his picture with it so I could get my wall back! Then we had a great Easter Party at the park.  Such great mom's and such great kids!  Oh I love doing preschool with my sweet Nick!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Way To GO MATT!!!

 I feel like I say that all the time!  Matt kills it at everything he does, and his essay about his day at the capitol won 2nd place (there wasn't going to be a second place but his was so good they made one!) !!!!!  I got a phone call from the school saying that there was going to be a little awards assembly for Matt and that Rep. Dee and his wife were going to come and make the presentation.  Matt won $250  for his teacher!  I'm always so impressed with that kid!! He was so excited!  The school even said congrats to Matt on the Marquee and the city news letter mentioned it in the city newsletter!  This has been such a great opportunity for Matt and I'm so thankful to his teacher for choosing him and to Rep. Dee for coming up with such a great idea!

My Trip to the Utah State Capitol
By Matthew Staten, Riverdale Elementary
            State government is very important. Without it, our state would probably fall apart. In our state, we have three different branches of government. They are the Legislative branch that turns the bills into laws, the Executive branch that enforces the laws, and the Judicial branch that interprets the laws.
            When I took a trip to our Capitol Building down in Salt Lake, I learned many things. I spent my time on the second floor, which is where the Legislative branch belongs. The Legislative branch is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate, and is where laws are made. A law starts out as a bill which is a statement made by someone in the house or senate. Bills get talked about in committees for some time, maybe even for a few years until they think that it is good enough to be sent to the house or senate to be voted on. If there is a majority vote in both the house and the Senate, then it gets sent to the governor. Then the governor decides whether or not he likes it. If he likes it, he signs it. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t sign it. Then the governor sends it out for the people to read and hopefully obey as a law.   
I got picked by my school to spend a few hours with my Representative in the House of Representatives. His name is Brad Dee. He is also the Majority leader for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. I was the only fifth grader in my school to go to the Capitol. When I got to the Capitol, we went down to the second floor. Then Representative Dee took my parents and me to his office. He told me that there were very many bills to go through. He had his intern, Sasha Seegmiller, give us a tour of the first few floors. She showed us a picture of The Gold Room in some pamphlets that she gave us. Sasha also showed us some paintings of Utah’s history, as well as some statues and historic objects. Then we went to look at the House floor before the session started.
This next part of my story is the part of my story that catches people’s attention the most: we went down to his office, got some candy from his little candy store, and went to get some drinks. We got a Coke for Representative Dee and a root beer for me. I think that it is awesome that he has a candy store and that there is a drink dispenser in the building at all. That part was cool, but not the coolest part of my whole trip. After that, we went down to the House floor. In the House of Representatives, the longer you have been there, the farther back you sit. Because Brad Dee is the Majority leader for the Republicans, He is in the back row on one half of the room. He has a big telephone that he can use to call anyone that he wants to. The others just have small ones to talk to one person.  There are 75 people in the House of Representatives. That means that in order to get a majority vote to pass the house, there needs to be 35 votes. Only the back two rows of half of the room are Democrats.  The rest are Republicans.  That’s called a super majority. 
I got to sit next to Representative Dee for about an hour while the session was going on. I saw that some bills get put off until they are revised. Representative Dee even acknowledged my parents and me to the house! Until that trip, I always thought that it would be silent on the House floor. I was interested to find that there were many conversations going on at the same time. In one of those conversations that I took part in, Rep. Hughes told me “It’s like a shark tank in here. You don’t want to drop a drop of blood in the tank or else the sharks will all attack it. Talking about your bill is like dropping in more and more blood.”  Representative Dee said that one day, I might be in the House of Representatives and invite him back to sit next to me while I vote. I was interested to find that the current Speaker of the House is the first female Speaker of the house in Utah history.
            After we did that for about an hour, we went back to his office and talked a little about some past things that he has done that affected my city. When the time came, he would go down and vote, and then come back. Then we went and looked as the Senate acknowledged and given medals to the same people who got recognized for saving some people’s lives. I got to see those people in the House of Representatives and the Senate!
            Well, to wrap it all up, I went down to the gift shop and got an art book, then went to Crown Burger for lunch. All things considered it was a pretty great day! I learned not all politicians are always just serious. They are just ordinary people who want to help us out and do what’s right. I will remember this day for the rest of my life.

Are you having fun? 'Cause I sure am!

On my way to work today (after paying $450 I hadn't planned on for new tires - grr) I realized that, despite the newest in a series of financial setbacks including going back into debt for a working family car (grr again, but at least it has 13 cup holders) - despite all that, I was smiling. Why? Because I'm having so much fun! Here's why:
  1. I had just left the elementary school where Matt received recognition from Brad Dee, our state representative and the house majority leader, for his essay about state government that he wrote that won the school $250.00 - Matt was grinning from ear to ear as Mr. Dee (My wife keeps correcting me when I refer to him as "Brad") told how much fun they had and how good Matt's essay was. It's fun to see my kids succeeding.
  2. I talked with Mr. Dee and he agreed that he'd sponsor a complete streets bill, if Wasatch Front Regional Council wanted his help - I'm going to a WFRC Complete Streets Committee meeting tomorrow. We're also forming an ad-hoc committee on the City Council for Riverdale complete streets tonight. It's fun seeing volunteer community service work actually coming together, and it's related to my job and my cycling hobby.
  3. My kids are sleeping really well. After 12 years of diapers and needy kids at all odd hours of the night, believe me, it's nice! More often than not lately I wake up needing to "go" and realize it's almost 6:00 am and nobody has been in our bed or crying in their room or anything and I'm not really even tired, AND I have another 15 minutes before my alarm goes off in which I can snuggle with my sexy sweetheart. Which brings me to the next point:
  4. I have the most awesome wife. Her smile lights up my entire soul. She's supportive, loving, fun, affectionate, gorgeous, motivating (the pc term for nagging me when I need it), oh so wise about how to raise kids, and and and...I can't say enough, but to sum up, being married to her is just plain fun.
  5. My kids continually impress me. They're all so amazing to me - all doing so much better than I see myself at their age, and it makes me happy. Sometimes they fight. Sometimes they whine and don't listen. Most of the time they're so good, and I forget to tell them that.
  6. We do fun stuff - last night was family dodge-ball night at the community rec center, and it was so much fun. Nick was awesome, running around trying to grab and throw the balls. It got so that the people on our team would run up ahead of him so they could grab the balls he threw before they rolled across to the other side. Lucas was so cute as he put his entire heart into it. He really did well (thanks to sympathy from older players) and was usually one of the last two or three people out, and when he did get hit, he couldn't help but burst into tears, though he tried to fight it, because he was SO into the game. The best was when he won last-man-standing - thanks to nice people for letting him win. And Tyler nailed me with a really good, very satisfying shot straight to my face.
  7. Work is going well again. Things were dead slow and scary for so long, and a lot of people I know lost their jobs, including people at my own company and friends at other CE firms. It was rough. Now I'm happily engaged in satisfying projects again. I hope it keeps going this way because it feels so good to work an honest day again. It's hard to feel honest when you and your boss know you were trying to fill your time with fluff and nobody could do anything about it. SO glad to be back to scrambling to meet deadlines.
  8. I love my calling - scouts is so much work. I don't do it well enough - continually feeling like I'm falling short. We need to do more presidency meetings, plan camps better, stuff like that, but there are little successes, little chances to improve the lives of these boys who are future missionaries, hopefully, and future fathers, and have so much potential.
  9. We're getting in shape around our place - it's good to feel good. P90X, cycling, a 5-K on Saturday, losing fat and gaining muscle and getting sick less. It feels good to feel good! I enjoy working out with my wife, and she enjoys riding with me, and we enjoy being active as a family. Granted, soccer gets a little nuts, as it seems to take over our lives, but I manage to get in bike rides here and there (combining time on my bike with my commute to work helps) and all of us, except Liz, get to do at least a little of what we like.
  10. I had ice cream last night. And then I went to bed tired. Liz and I have this almost unconscious policy that if we're not tired when it's time to go to bed, we haven't done as much as we should. Sometimes I think we're crazy.
My to-do list around the house is getting longer and longer, but I'm sure enjoying the ride as we run around going crazy trying to raise good boys and do our part. Sometimes I call it Chaos Surfing - you can drown in the waves of chaos or you can surf on them and make the most of each opportunity that comes your way. It's so cool having Team Staten - my awesome wife and amazing kids - along for the ride as we catch each wave we can.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Top O' The Mornin to Ya! I LOVE St. Patricks Day!

 Oh I love St. Patricks Day!  It's one of my favorite holidays.  I love wearing green, eating green, and seeing everything green!  This year we had green pancakes for breakfast, a fun b-day lunch for little Lucy, and Green mashed potatoes, green peas and meatballs for dinner!!

A Big First!

 A few months ago Tyler and his friend Riley started talking about their love of Airplanes.  One thing lead to another and next thing I know Ty's invited to St. George to see the Blue Angels at the Airshow!  It's not easy for me to just let him go off with a friend, but he was so excited AND I totally trust the friend and his parents so off they went!  They left Friday and got back LATE Saturday and Ty was higher than a kite!  He loved it all, and I have to say that I can't blame him:) I'm pretty jealous!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gettin' Our Kangaroo On!

We had the day off of school today so Mary and I took the kids to Kangaroo Zoo to bounce out a few of their wiggles.  I love that the little ones and the big ones are all happy there!  Even cute little Livi was happy and content....ok so she was asleep but hey!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed!

I'm so excited!  Tonight Tyler had his Eagle Board of Review!!!  He was so nervous and so excited and I was so happy to see him like that .  He's worked so hard for this.....and I mean HE has worked so hard for this!  He did the writing.  He filled out the packet.  He made the phone calls.  I LOVE it!  Way to go TYLER!!  I can't wait for the Eagle Court of Honor!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Go ReAL!!!


We LOVE ReAL Salt Lake and this year because we bought the 7 Peaks pass of all passes we get to go to 4 games free!!!  This morning Mike O and I drove down to Sandy really EARLY and got in line to get tickets!I'm so glad that we did too because the game ended up being SOLD OUT!  It was fun to sit in line with Mike O:)

The game was great and we had so much fun sharing ReAL games with the Ovesons! Thanks for going with us guys!!

5K Fun!

This morning while I was waiting in line for ReAL tickets Mike, Tyler, Matt and Isaac ran the Golden West Credit Union 5k.  Mary thankfully watched the other 2:) .  I was a little nervous about Isaac.  The others all wanted to run the whole thing and I didn't know if Isaac could do it.  Well, he totally showed me I was wrong!  He ran it in 28 minutes!!!  He rocked it!  The others came in about 2 minutes faster and I'm so proud of them too.....but I really didn't expect that from my 8 year old!  I am so amazed at the way my kids have learned how to push themselves.  Way to go guys!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blessing Day!

Blessing days are so much fun....even more so when it's not yours!  I was so excited to see little Miss Olivia in her dress and she looked beautiful!  Mike did a great job with the blessing and it was so great to spend the day with family that I love!

 On a side boys can't get enough of out little Livi! They all just adore her!  Here are a few pic's of Nick and Matt with her!!