Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eagle Project

Ryan again!
Recently I finished my Eagle Scout Project and it was a big success. My project was to create 24 lap quilts for the residents at Sunrise Senior Center. I made the lap quilts big and fluffy and enough for each resident. Almost my whole ward and some other good friends showed up to help so it went by very fast. By the time we really got moving, we could tie a quilt in about 20 minutes. Churning out 24 in a couple of hours became a piece of cake with 6 quilts going at once. We made them all on that one Saturday and I have typed up my project. So all that is left for me is to present it to the Board of Review for them to approve of what I have done. After that I will be able to drive. I passed my permit test but I am not allowed to use it until the project is all complete. We will check it over and once it is approved I will be tearing up the streets. Going the speed limit of course. haha I can't wait to get out there and get some real driving experience.

Volleyball Championship

Hey guys, it's Ryan here,
Recently I played in a YMCA volleyball season. I was the only boy on a team of girls and had lots of fun. We went undefeated the whole season and when it came down to the Championship we were just as successful. We were missing two people so we were down to playing with 4 people.  However, the other team had 4 people as well, so it was pretty even. We won the first game with a score of 25 to 17. Closer than we would have liked but we would take that win any day. The second game came along and mid-way through, the score was 23 to 9, we were losing. We took a timeout and got our heads back in the game. Then out of nowhere we went on a point spree and got the score all the way back up to 23 to 24, we were ahead. We served the ball and got a really good volley going. We got the ball and they set the ball up for me to spike it. I hit the ball but they blocked it and it slowly fell between three of us. That made me really angry so I threw the ball at the ground. The referee apparently didn't like that and gave me a yellow card.  If I got another I would've been kicked out of the game and we would lose for sure. I calmed down after that and we ended up winning the last game 15 to 9. It was pretty intense and I had a great time playing. My team was amazing and I can't wait to play in this next season's championship.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Carol and Spelling Bee

Bonjour, it is Cameron here. So recently I auditioned for "A Christmas Carol." I made it in.  I am a Caroler. My sister and I are both doing it this year and it is Megan's last year to do it.  Megan is Robert Marley and as such she plays a boy. Her friend who is also a girl plays a boy too, Jacob Marley. I am surprised I am enjoying it as much as I am.  I like to sing and it is fun to do this on stage in front of a lot of people. I also get a lot of attention - which my family will tell you is something I really like.  If you get to come see it, I promise you won't be disappointed.

I have also had the opportunity to make it into the school spelling bee. I am not the best speller so I was really nervous on the day of the spelling bee. I made it to the sixth round. I got out on the word *thurbred. I still don't even know how to spell it. :)  Perhaps that is why I got kicked out...

State Champs!

Football is one of America's greatest sports. Well, I didn't always think so, but I have learned. This is Megan.  This year,  Ryan's and my high school football team had the best season we have ever played. Every year we have the "Tukee Bowl" which is the football game against our arch rivals, Mountain Pointe High School. The night of the game the Desert Vista Choir and the MP Choir came together to sing the National Anthem. It was really special. Even through our diffences we were able to create a beaufiful sound and represent our schools in a classy way. I only stayed about 10 minutes, but this was a crazy game. Pretty much the entire school came out for this game (and that's a lot...). DV started off and we just kept scoring and scoring, but the weather was getting cloudier and rainier. At half-time they made everyone evacuate the stands, then changed their minds, then Mountain Pointe forfeited due to weather, which went down as a win for DV! That was a cool experience.

From there, DV went undefeated, until we played Hamilton High School. At the time, Hamilton had gone 49 games in a row without losing. There were Seniors on that team who had never lost a game. We wanted to win so bad, and we played well, but Hamilton came out superior. Now don't get discouraged, because this is not the end... :)

Except for that minor set back, DV won every other game. And not just won... we STOMPED other teams. In fact we stomped our way to the State Championship game. Again we had to face returning state champs Hamilton High School. They too had kept up their winning streak.  By now, they hadn't lost in 54 games.  The game would be at the Cardinals Stadium. We went as a family to support our school, but everyone knew we were going to lose. We mostly went just to experience it all. Well, long story short, Desert Vista came out on top. We actually stomped them! The final score was 45-19.  No one could really believe it had happened  - but it did! It felt like a Disney movie! We ended up killing their 4 year winning streak. The whole school was walking on air all week. I was proud to be a Desert Vista Thunder.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day of Service

This weekend we participated in the National Day of Service.  We got to pick weeds and clean up the desert landscape around the Tovrea Castle near the airport in downtown Phoenix.  The work wasn't too treacherous, and it was good for our kids to sweat a little.   Cameron did get cactus stuck in her shoe, but lived to tell the tale.  Now, if I could just get them to pick weeds at OUR house for 3 hours straight!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Girls Camp 2011

Hello Blogs and Blogettes! Megan here. About a week ago I attended my sixth and final year of Girls Camp. This year was probably my favorite of any of the six years that I went. From the girls, to the leaders, to the activities - every little moment was so fun. We first started planning for it in January. We met at the Stake camp leaders house and discussed the theme. We decided to make the theme centered on Angels. More specifically "Angels Among Us". We created a town called Angels Landing, where each ward was a different shop around town. We had a "Benevolent Sweet Shop", "Good Works Pet Shop", and the 6th years were the Rescuers of the town. For some reason the leaders thought it was a really good idea to give 13 seniors in high school life guard whistles. That was really fun. On the first day our leaders gave each of us a river rock, and told us to wear it around our necks the entire time we were at camp. We were told to bond with our rocks and let them become apart of us. We were supposed to pay close attention to all the ways they changed.

Every year at camp we do something with the other girls in our age group that we can't necessarily do here in the valley. But in years past, the 6th years have usually gone into town and shopped. This year the leaders decided to shake it up a bit. They told us at our first meeting that we would be trading shopping for hiking. And not just any hike.... We would be hiking the east rim. Eight miles, very steep, very hard. The night before we were supposed to go a couple of us girls were talking about the hike to come. None of us really wanted to go because none of us were that great of hikers. We even kinda joked that maybe the leaders were just kidding and would actually be taking us to town as a surprise. So the next morning we woke up and got into clothes we could hike in, packed our lunches, put on our rock necklaces and met our leaders at the flag pole. After a "Before" picture was taken, we were off. While walking to the trail head, our leader leader pointed up a huge mountain and told us that in 2 hours we would be at the top of that mountain looking down at the entire camp grounds of Camp Lomia. The trail was extremely steep and there were a bunch of loose rocks on the trail that made it extra dangerous. The entire hike up we looked for heart shaped rocks, mostly to keep our minds off of how steep it was. Whenever we stopped to take a break, we looked out over the valley where the camp was, and each time the view got prettier and prettier. It took about two hours to get up there and once we got to the top we had lunch and just admired the view. Before we hiked down we hung a white sheet at the top that we were supposed to be able to see from camp itself. Unfortunately after we hiked all the way back down we couldn't see it. But we know we were up there. We know we did it. And that was good enough for us.

When we got back from the hike, we all fought over who got the first showers. The cooks surprised us and decorated a fancy table with candelabras and a lacy table cloth. It was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen! For the rest of camp we got to go first in line, and sit at the fancy 6th year only table. They even brought us breakfast in bed one morning. Part of the reason was to show the younger girls all the perks you get as 6th years to encourage them to keep coming all 6 years. On the last day of camp we had our final fireside in the Sacred Grove at Lomia. In front of us was a picture of the soon to be Gilbert Temple. The Stake Camp leader spoke about temples and how they are the the ultimate goal for us as young women. She then proceeded to tell us that the rocks that we had kept around our necks, and infused into our lives, had not actually changed. They ones that changed were us. Now as silly as it sounds, that rock really did change me. Especially now that I know that rocks future. Our leaders husband owns the concrete company that is supplying the Gilbert Temple with the concrete for the base of the temple. They asked each of us to cut our rocks out of the wire and place it in a bucket up front. Each of our rocks is now going into the base of the new Gilbert Temple. How incredibly cool is that?

Summer fun!

Hey guys it Ryan here, and I just wanted to let you know how my summer has been going. Well I have had a great summer from the Caribbean Cruise to my robotics competition to planking all summer (and a couple hiking and water skiing trips in between). The cruise was a week long to the Cayman islands, Jamaica, and Cozumel. We all had a great time, but I forgot to put it on sunscreen on all of my belly. I only put a little on my belly button region, it looked funny afterwards (pictures on Facebook).

About a week before the cruise I took part in this robotics competition at Chandler High School. All year after school we had been working on a robot. It was a square made with aluminum L-brackets.  We wanted to originaly put a winch on it and also a claw that opens/closes and turns. Our control system failed and so we ended up just taping a stick onto the front of our bot and using that. Because of some technical issues we had to rebuild our bot during the competition - it took 6 hours until 2:00 am.  We ended up winning FIRST PLACE!! I dont know how we did it but we beat out all other competitors for 1st place in a national competion. I know... you're jealous. Hahaha

So if you dont already know what planking is... SHAME ON YOU! Just kidding, but seriously Planking is really fun! Planking is where you lie face down all over the place. Like you can plank on a chair...

Or on a clothes rack...

Its a lot of fun! And all of you should try it! You have to be creative and take a picture when you have it. Post the pics on Facebook so we can all see! Talk to you later! Bye,

                                               - Ryan Gardner

Amazing Summer!

Hi, this is Cameron. 
The last week of school brought our first week of being an official scuba diver. We are so lucky that we got to wear 7 mil wet suits in a 60 degree lake called Lake Pleasant. I don’t get why they call it Lake “Pleasant”, because it isn’t pleasant at all. It was three feet visibility with cold water. Yeah it wasn’t very exciting but all worth it!!!

Me and Ryan got our dives done before Megan because she had a cold and couldn’t equalize her ears very well.  But, after a week of drugs Megan finally felt good enough to dive again and she was successful! We were all very happy to be able to dive in the Caribbean on our very fun Caribbean cruise!!!!!

Our whole family went on a cruise to the Caribbean.  It was seven days long and left out of Miami Florida. Our ports were Cozumel, Mexico; Cayman Islands; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. In Cozumel we snorkeled in a cenote. A cenote is a deep natural hole found in limestone, especially in Yucat√°n, Mexico.  Parts of it were pitch black and we had to snorkel with underwater flash lights.  It was very cool.  We also went on a Book of Mormon tour of Tulum. Then in Cayman Islands we went Scuba Diving. It was the first "real" dives for the kids (our parents are old pros).  We did a two-tank dive with a dive shop called "Living The Dream" divers.  It was great - so much better than Lake Pleasant.  At the beginning of the first dive we saw a baby sea turtle. Then at the end of the same dive we saw another sea turtle. They both had remora fish clinging to their shells. Then on our second dive we saw a lion fish, but no one had a dive knife so they couldn’t kill it like you are supposed to. We also saw an angel fish that blended in with the sand, it was really cool. At the end of our dive we also saw some shrimp and lots of other cool tropical fish! Then in Jamaica we climbed up a waterfall called Dunns River Falls. We also went tubing down a river in the middle of the jungle.  After that we just went souvenir shopping. On the cruise I met this girl named Carmen, I know what a cawinkidink! She is just like me and a great hip hop dancer. I hung out with her during the whole cruise. She lives in Seattle which is sad but not very far. If she was from Florida it would be far, like other people I met on the cruise. I loved our cruise and miss it very much.

You know how annoying sales men on the phone can be? Well, me my dad, Megan, and Ryan are having a contest to see who can keep a telemarketing salesmen on the phone the longest. Megan is winning by twelve minutes, Ryan is in second place with ten minutes, and I am in third with six minutes. My dad hasn’t started yet.

We have had one amazing and fun summer this year. I am sad it is almost over!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Cruisin' in the Caribbean

Our family took a 7-day Carnival cruise to the Caribbean for vacation this summer.  We had a blast.  The cruise left from Miami, FL so we arrived on Friday, and spent the night in South Beach before sailing on Saturday.  Friday night in South Beach is quite the spectical.  We ate Cuban food at "Larios", which is singer Gloria Estevan's restaurant.  The kids enjoyed trying Ceviche and Plantains.   As the clubs came to life, the people-watching got more and more interesting.  We all enjoyed the show.   Click on any photo to see it larger, or check out the link at the bottom of this entry for a more complete album of our trip.
We were aboard the Carnival Liberty, which is a relatively new ship.  This was the third cruise the kids have been on, and it was the longest, but the time went by quickly. 
The first port we visited was Cozumel, Mexico.  We took a ferry boat over to the mainland of Playa del Carmen, and took a guided tour of the ruins of Tulum.  It was raining, but fascinating.  Then we went to snorkle in a cave called Dos Ojos Cenote.  There were stallagtites and stallagmites, and we had to have flashlights because part of the snorkeling was in a bat cave and it was very dark.
Next we stopped at Grand Cayman and took our newly certified scuba divers (Megan, Ryan and Cameron) for their first "real" dive.  They certified in Lake Pleasant, which was 60 degrees, wearing 7mm wetsuits, and having 5 ft. visibility.  Grand Cayman was 80 degrees in the water, wearing only swim suits, and having 250 feet visibility.  It was beautiful.  We dove with "Living the Dream Divers."  They were FABULOUS, and we highly recommend them, especially if you're taking kids.   As soon as the kids started to descend, there was a sea turtle cruising by.  They saw all kinds of interesting sea life, and the dive masters said they were great little divers.  The exact quote was "they must have had really good dive instructors."  We agree.  They learned at Academy of Scuba, in North Phoenix.  If you are looking for a great place to get certified, we recommend these guys!   It was so much fun to dive as a family.  It's something to which Mike and I have been looking forward for 20 years. 
Our third stop on the cruise was Jamaica; Ocho Rios.  Mike and Trish really enjoy visiting Jamaica, and have been there almost every year for the past 10 years.  The people are wonderful, and the place is beautiful.  We enjoyed giving the kids a taste of this fun place, by climbing Dunns River Falls, a huge waterfall that is a must-do when visiting Ocho.  We then went tubing in the White River.  Both, refreshing, fun activities.  This might have been the kids' favorite day.
We took our camera along to dinner each night in the dining room, so if you go by the photos, it appears that all we did on that ship was EAT!  We even tried some things we never would in Arizona such as deep fried alligator and shark.  We did take a pass on the frog legs.  And, although we did our share of dining... there were some great shows, and comedians, and the teenagers (and almost teen) loved the teen club activities and made lots of friends. 

When we returned to Miami, we had a few hours to spend until we caught our plane, so we went to see some of the sights where they film the USA series "Burn Notice."  We saw Michael's loft, and his Mom's house.
If you want to see more photos of the trip, here is a link to a web album.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Graduation and Soul Food

 For Mike's Birthday, we took him to one of his favorite restaurants, "Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles."  Evidently, Chicken and Waffles is considered to be "Soul Food" and, as you might expect, we were one of only 2 parties of Caucasian folks in the place.   We told the kids that it was good practice for Jamaica, because we will be a minority there, too.  The food was yummy, though.
Cameron's 5th grade graduation was very cute, and Megan even made the sacrifice to skip school that morning to attend.  Pretty wild to think the baby of our family is out of elementary
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Busy Springtime

Life is busy around here. Cameron just finished 5th grade, and is heading to middle school. Ryan finished his Freshman year, and Megan finished her Junior year. Sometimes I forget to mention some of the fun things we do. Here is a quick recap of our Spring. We ran "Pat's Run" as a family. However, Ryan had a volleyball game that afternoon, and we had to cut the run short to make it to the game. Ryan is the only one of us who made it the whole 4.2 mile run, and into Sun Devil Stadium.

We also went, as a family, to the Kenny Chesney concert. Mike and Trish have seen Kenny several times, but it was a first for the kids. Uncle Kracker was one of the warm-up acts, and so was Billy Currington. A great concert out at the Jobing arena. (click on the pictures to see them larger).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ryan's Volleyball

Hey guys! What's happening? Its Ryan here, I haven't talked to you guys in a while so let me fill you in! I have recently been on a YMCA volleyball team. We did alright, lost a couple, won a couple, and had a great time doing it. This last Saturday we had our last game of the season. We won the first game by a lot! The score was like 25 to 8 and I was on fire. The second game came and we were feeling good. I don't know what happened but that second game we just didn't play good at all. We lost around 25 to 12. Our last game we just couldn't return anything and ended up losing. We ended the season 3 wins to 2 losses. We still have a tournement coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping we can get our act together and win the tournament.
Great season. It was a lot of fun!

Scuba Eggs

Hi this is Cameron your favorite Gardner of all. A few weeks ago for a family home evning I taught about Joesph Smith's first vision. For the activity we made Scuba Eggs. I found the craft online. What we did was dye a third of the egg on the bottom with egg dye. Once it dried we glued a clear bottle cap on it for the mask. Then we glued an about 5 inch bendy straw for the snorkle. Lastly we drew eyes on the mask and posed them for this picture.
(Far left: Cameron; Megan; Ryan; Dad; Mom)
First the eggs, next we will scuba dive for real!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

California Girl

I am the most spoiled kid on the planet and I love it! Two weeks ago we had our school's spring break, and I got to spend it in Hollywood with my show choir. It was an amazing week full of celebrities and fun! And yes I said celebrities! We saw one celebrity every day but one. On the first day we saw Shannon Cook, a guy from some Canadian show. He was cute!
On the second day we went to Universal Studios, and we did a really cool VIP tour. We saw the prop closet, that wasnt really a closet at all... more like a prop university! It was huge! But on that tour we also saw the CSI LV crew filming and we saw Nick just walking by in costume. On the third day we were at Sony Studios, and we went on the set of Jepordy and Wheel of Fortune. All that color that we see on T.V. is all created by lights actually. The set is gray and silver, but the lighting makes it look awesome and bright. But as we were walking around the rest of the studio, we saw Andrew Garfield puttering around on a golf cart! For those who don't know who he is, first shame on you! But he was in the Social Network and he is the new Spiderman in the upcoming movie. Then we spent the rest of the day at the beach.
On Thursday we didnt see any celebrities, but we did walk past Johnny Depp's apartment! Does that count? On our last full day we went to The Grove, and as we were walking through, a random lady grabbed me and my friends and asked us if we wanted to be on Extra with Mario Lopez. And I mean, how could we refuse?!? She put us right up front! We just had to sit there and act like we were interested in what he was saying. My director said she would pay one of us to make a weird face on camera. None of us were brave enough to! Some other fun things we got to do was go on the set of Central Perk from Friends! They kept it up for tourists to take pics with. And for those that watch the new series, Pretty Little Liars, we saw Spencer, Hannah, Aria, Emily and Toby's house and the school. All the girls in my show choir were freaking out!
Great trip. I think I am destined to be in Hollywood some day! :)

Annie Warbucks

Hello blogsters! Megan here. And it probably won't surprise anyone, but I just finished another show! Shocking I know! I think that is what the majority of my post's on here have been about... Ha ha! Well anyway, I just finished the show "Annie Warbucks". And no, this isn't your classic, The sun will come out tomorrow show. Oh no... this is the sequal!
This show picks up right where Annie left off, Christmas morning. Annie has just been adopted by Daddy Warbucks and everything is happy and peachy! Right? NO! Enter New York City Commisioner of Child Welfare, Harriet Doyle (Me!). She breaks the news, that becuase Mr. Warbucks is not married, he cannot leagally adopt Annie. So she helps set him up with tons of women, trying to get him married. While all the time she is secretly trying to set him up with her daughter.
Lots of drama and funny jokes happen, all ending in my character getting arrested and Daddy Warbucks marrying Grace Farell. For my character, I had to wear a wig. A brunette wig. I looked so different! And the good part is that it only fell off once in a dress rehearsal! Whoo! This was definetly in the top 10 of my favorite shows. From the cast to the script to the music, every little bit was amazing!