Saturday, April 21, 2007

Last October Lili's old high school had a dance they called MORP (prom spelled backward) where the kids could dress in whatever Halloween costumes they wanted to create.
Lili and a bunch of her friends decided to make a day of it. They held a picnic in the park near our home, then played on Lili's trampoline for a while before getting ready for the dance.
Left to right on the park photo (left click for a larger version) Jeremy, Josh, Elle, Hannah, Micah (in the red shirt), Steven, Lili, (don't remember this kid's name - he wasn't a regular at our house), and Nick (Blondie from last week's post). On the tramp is Steven bouncing Elle with Micah, Jeremy and the unknown boy watching. - Just for reference, Steven is over six feet tall. THat will give you an idea just how much air Elle was getting. - I'd post my photos of the kids in their costumes if I could find them but I've filed them away somewhere - or maybe lost them when we had to clean my hard drive last winter.
Oh well. So goes life.
I really do have a reason for discussing last year's MORP. Because I can't figure out how to make these photos upload the way I want, I've had to resort to two blogs, today, in order to get the photos in the right sequence. Even then it didn't turn out the way I wanted but at least you get the idea.

Today's MORP - and other tidbits

Nessa, Gabe, Julie, Larry, Lili and Josh
Gabe, Larry and Josh Today her new highschool had MORP. This time it was 'black and white'. Dress was casual but supposed to be something that would look cool under black lights.
Again Lili and some friends had a dinner. The girls had planned to have a picnic, again, but we got a spring squall just as they were finishing preparations so everybody ate in our kitchen. Dad and I retired to my sewing room where we could have some peace. :) The kids had a lot of fun without us.
Just before the kids were ready to leave for the dance Julie's mother called in a panic - she'd just seen some of the neighborhood kids leaving in tuxes and formal dresses with corsages and the works. Our kids must have misunderstood (our group was in jeans). I made a quick call to one of the boys I knew was on the planning committee and was reassured our kids were dressed appropriately.
I don't know where those other kids were headed. Maybe a Latino girl's 15th birthday bash. Who knows? We'd have been in trouble if our kids had had to have formal wear. I think Lili is the only girl who owns a fancy dress and Gabe was the only boy who had anything that even came close to evening wear.
Sometimes I look at my hair and marvel at how grey I'm getting! I think I just acquired another zillion white hairs today.

Lili, Julie and Nessa

In between everything else she had going today, Lili had a one hour meeting for her church youth group this morning and a two hour meeting for People to People this afternoon.
Today, after their People to People training session, the kids put together boxes of goodies to be sent to servicemen in Iraq...things the soldiers out in the toolies can't get - like small packs of Kleenex, hand sanitizer, gum, candy, playing cards, magazines, etc.
I was very glad the leader chose that as a service project. Other projects such as working at the aviary downtown and observing Earth Day by cleaning a hiking trail had been proposed by various parents. In my opinion People to People is about people and I felt the service project should be more people oriented. I was more than happy to contribute items to this project. Lili was, too. We even stayed late to help finish packing the boxes and load them in the leader's car.
Next month we'll be having a general fundraiser in the form of a flea market/bake sale where each family can have a table and sell items. Lili was already working on getting things ready for a garage sale so we'll just do this instead.
Before that day, however, Lili will take a snorkeling class so she can snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. Some of the kids and one of the leaders will be scuba diving at the Reef but Lili won't be allowed to because she's asthmatic and it's against Australian law for asthmatics to scuba dive. Interesting law but it makes sense. It's much easier to rescue someone who's having an asthma attack if they're paddling around on the surface of the water rather than 50 feet down.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How come nobody else posts on this thing??? Hello! Lets get with the progam folks, and pull together as a family, even if we don't always see eye to eye!

Larry's birthday party

photo on right: Rich, Lori and Rick
photo on left: Left to right (back row) Blondie, Michael and Larry (middle row) Josh, Airk, Ashley, Vanessa and Julie
(front) Lili, Gabe and Nate
Because Larry's birthday is during the week next week and his friends from Job Corps could not be here, we held a surprise party for him after the completion of Lili's raffle drawing.
Most of the kids we'd invited were present for the drawing so afterwards, while the rest of us loaded Lili's things in my car, Airk Bennett took Larry with him to pick up Ashley. That gave the rest of us time to get everything ready at home.
Birthday time at our house is rather low key. We have a dinner - with whatever foods the birthday person chooses - and then everyone is free to hang out and do whatever they choose. Generally the birthday person knows when the party is happening. Larry and I had planned to have his party next weekend but when I spoke to the kids he wanted to invited, I found there as a conflict at Lili's school. the last minute we threw it all together for after Lili's raffle drawing and Larry was one startled kid when he came home.
Attending Larry's party were his brother and sister-in-law, Rich and Lori, and his friends, Vanessa(with her fiance, Michael), Josh, Nick (can't remember his last name - we just call him Blondie), Airk (with his girlfriend, Ashley), Julie, Gabe(from Job Corps), Nate and, of course, Lili, Rick and me. We had a full house!
It's a very eclectic group of kids from a wide variety of backgrounds yet they sat in our living room last night and had the most fun. I couldn't help commenting to Rick how fortunate we were that these kids, raucous as they were, were having good clean fun. I can put up with the boisterousness any day. What I knew I wouldn't have to deal with was having to involve the police or an ambulance because one of the kids ODed or got stabbed or shot. I can't begin to express how grateful I am for that! Diverse as they are, these kids come to our house and hang out and have fun.
Julie was the first to leave. Since she lives around the corner from us, everyone walked home with her. You could hear the kids all the way to her house and all the way home - sometimes I wonder what the neighbors think of our noisy bunch. It was fun to listen to them, though. We'
ve had drive-by shootings just a few blocks from our subdivision lately. When Lili and Josh and Gabe were out selling tickets the other night some man started stalking Lili - not realizing she had someone with her. My kids weren't involved in anything I had to worry about as they walked Julie home. I have a lot to be thankful for.
And so Larry starts his third decade. He made the comment, the other day, that it didn't seem real. He thinks his life is on the downhill slide, now that he's no longer a teenager. I had to laugh. For me, the pinnacle was when I turned 18. I've been on the downhill slide for the past 40 years. Guess the ascent is pretty steep but the descent has been really gradual. I think he'll find his life is the same. I hope so, anyway.

finis - lili's raffle drawing

lili stirs the tickets directions to support staff walmart manager, melissa,
draws winning ticket
Lili's People to People raffle closed at 7pm, April 14, 2007. Melissa, night manager at the WalMart Market that has so kindly allowed Lili to sell tickets in front of their store, drew the winning tickets. As we loaded the car after the completion of the raffle, Lili's heartfelt comment was, "Thank GOODNESS that's over!!!"
Approaching adults she doesn't know is very difficult for Lili. I am pleased with the People to People program because it has forced my daughter to develop in ways she never would have developed had she not been chosen as one of their student ambassadors. She may still be reticent to approach people in asking for something that will benefit herself but at least she has learned how.
This particular fundraiser has forced her to approach strangers and initiate conversations with them - soliciting sponsors and explaining her program. Although asking for donations - even if it means the person may have the opportunity to win a siginificant prize - was extremely difficult for her, she still had a lot of fun with some of the people who purchased tickets from her.
One of her very staunch supporters and helpers commented to me, "I've learned so much about people (from sitting with Lili outside WalMart, selling tickets)!" And it's true. My daughter and her friends have seen a much wider swath of humanity than they would have in any other way. It's one thing to run down to the Market with a list of items you want to purchase before hanging out with your friends and a totally different experience when you spend hours sitting in front of the same store watching and talking to the patrons who come and go. Teenagers generally socialize with their own age group. Through this fundraiser Lili and her friends have had to approach and interact with adults of all ages.
I'm grateful for Lili's staunch supporters. Josh , the young man in the photo I posted last week, spends every weekend at our house - has ever since he started studying welding at the Clearfield, Utah, Job Corps last July. He is one of Larry and Lili's dearest friends. I know I can always count on Josh to accompany Lili if I need someone to be with her for protection purposes. He's gone with her to sell tickets when she's gone door to door. He helped her with her car wash. He helped her sell tickets at the Market. He's helped her with the yard work project she has going. He's one of the very limited group of kids I'll allow in my home with her, alone, if I have to go somewhere and Rick is at work.
Vanessa has spent countless hours with Lili on all of her fundraising activities as well. Nessa also spends every weekend she can at our house. She and another of Larry's and Lili's friends, Airk, have worked with Josh and Lili on the yard project. She and Airk both donated the money they received to Lili's fundraiser. In gratitude, Lili gave them tickets equal to the amount they had given her. Since Nessa is getting married in May, Airk gave his tickets to her as a wedding present. Nessa won both of the messages in the drawing. The couple they did yard work for won the dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill.
The grand prize was won by a gentleman who lives in downtown Salt Lake. I took Nessa and Lili down there to sell tickets the day Lili applied for her passport and he was the first person to whom they sold a ticket that day. We had met him when we helped his next door neighbors (another elderly couple who are dear friends of ours) move from their home a couple of years ago.
I am sure that all of the folks who bought tickets from Lili and her friends were very fine people. They were kind to my daughter and supportive of what she was doing. ...But I'll have to admit I'm so pleased with those who won - because I knew them all and I appreciate the particularly kind people I happen to know each one of them is. Good neighbors; good folks.

candid of lili goofing off with friends