Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg Rocks it at BYU

Well I heard a week ago from my college-student son, Devin,  that Mark Zuckerberg was coming to BYU for a forum to speak to the students. And when I heard that I had to of course invite myself to the party. He had been invited by Senator Orin Hatch of Utah. So Hatch ended up being the moderator and the two of them sat up on a raised platform stage in the Marriott Center sitting on 2 comfortable looking high back chairs. They just talked for an hour and it was great!

Mark Zuckerberg with Orin Hatch at the BYU Forum...I don't know how I got this great shot!?!
 The Facebook founder was funny, interesting, engaging and not a bit awkward. The movie done about him doesn't seem to ring true. He seems very passionate about Education, philanthropy and giving back to the students in college. He had some great advice for them. He told them to find something they are passionate about and follow it. He is still very passionate about Facebook and growing it into something the whole world can use to stay connected.

My husband John....looks like he's on drugs! Or else has a bad photographer?
 The students had been invited to submit questions to the BYU Facebook page and they chose 40 of the best ones.  The first one asked was the question my son Devin had submitted; "What's more important in business;  management, marketing or a good idea?" And the Zuckster said, "Neither of these. The most important thing in business is the people you hire."  I thought that was a great answer, and then he went on to introduce 3 people from the audience of BYU grads that he had brought along with him as hirees. He said each one was a great addition to the team and was very talented. A nice touch.

The Zuckster...on the big screen above
 He talked about how you shouldn't wait to be placed in a leadership role at your job, you should make roles for yourself, just become the leader in whatever area we choose. He told us how he had started at Harvard as a Psychology major AND a computer science double major. Facebook seems like such a logical melding of the two.  He says that he never intended Facebook to become a business or to make money. He just wanted a way to stay connected with the people he cared about in his life. And he recognized that this is true for all of us. He has a girlfriend in San Francisco in medical school. He really opened up to the students! Very cool.

Devin and Brendan taking camera shots of him....Caitlin was sitting a row up with her boss who also invited herself! hehe We are all so rude. But hey, it's open to the public!

Here he is on stage hoodie and Adidas tennis shoes...That part is true....he loves hoodies!
I remember a year and a half ago sitting around with my kids talking about Facebook and how fast it had grown to 250 million users. We were all blown away by that. Then a short year later it had doubled its users to 500 million!!! I told my computer geek sons to get busy writing an app for Facebook!!  Well, when Zuckerberg said they are now moving toward a billion users worldwide the whole place cheered. He promised he would never sell any body's private info and that he is very careful and concerned that they keep privacy a very strong issue for Facebook. He said the things you have heard to the contrary are not true.

They cheered for him over and over.  Especially when Hatch said that he had heard about Mark donating $100 million to a school district in New Jersey. And Hatch told him what a wonderful school BYU was. Everybody laughed and cheered.  And Zuckerberg was flustered for a second, and then he said, OK, I'll remember that!  And I bet he will. 

We got there an hour early thinking it would be super packed.....it was but not till 10 minutes before...

He asked a few questions back at Hatch about Government taxes on business...Hatch says he think government should get outta the way of business....that garnered another cheer from the audience....
 The cutest thing happened at the end. These 7 student body presidents from all the Utah colleges surrounding BYU came up on the stage with a school hoodie. One by one they shook Mark's hand and passed him the hoodies. He had this huge pillowy stack piled up to his ears. And he turned to the audience and hugged them all like a little, beloved Teddy Bear! So cute. Everybody laughed and cheered for him again. It turns out it was the first college invitation to speak he has ever accepted. This was a first for him. What a great event.

Me at the BYU Museum of Art...Carl Block exhibit...I think this was an alter piece. I wonder if we saw some of his paintings in Italy?

I loved this exhibit the best. It was called "Words"and it is made up of a gazillion books piled high in this cube shape....

Then we spent the rest of the day eating lunch with Devin and his wife Caitlin and cousin Brendan at Kneaders. Afterwards we went to the Yogurt Shop. Super fun. I think I mixed up 8 flavors. But my favorite was mango. We were the oldest people in the restaurant! Boo to that!  Later we had a reservation at the Carl Block exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art. We had a really great day even in all the rain.  Life is good. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Easter Decorating

As I sit here watching snow lightly falling on this "Start of Spring" day I am deciding which of the 4 seasons is my favorite. I grew up in Southern California near the beach, so you would probably think I'm a summer beach girl. Well, I must admit I LOVE laying on a beach, man made OR real, anytime, anywhere, but it's not my favorite season.  I also LOVE seeing the tops of the tulip bulbs just starting to peek out of the snow covered dirt in the yards. I love the first signs of Spring too. And I can hardly wait for some warmer weather to happen. But although I love Spring and the holiday of Easter so much, and Spring Breaks from school I'm a real big fan of, it is only my 2nd  favorite season.
Tulip Gardens are so beautiful in the Spring!

I love the Fall season the very best. I love Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays, pumpkin patches and apple orchards, and back to school stuff. And it's also when my birthday happens, go figure. But Easter Egg hunts in the flower garden and Tulips Festivals at Thanksgiving Point come in a very close 2nd.  I will have a 4 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 9 month old grand daughter this year so the  Egg Hunt will be lots of good fun. They will love to color eggs with me too. I can't wait!

Aren't my little munchkins cute?
They are all decked out and ready to find a little leprechaun or a pot of gold! So the day after St. Patrick's day I dragged out all my Easter and Spring decor and decided we need a little Easter now! I always start at the kitchen table and work my way around the house.It always takes a few days to finish. And it always puts me in a good mood to see the mercury cracked-glass eggs, the wire baskets my kids have used for years, the pastel linens and candles and the florals and ceramic bunnies.

Easter Table Decor....I got some cute new placemats this year....Thanks Kohls...

Last year this same time of year I was feeling rather melancholy and "blue". It was the week of my Son Danny's birthday, and I was missing him a lot and feeling sorry for myself. So I took a "mental health" day off of work just to go do something for myself ...maybe to commune with nature or something. I've always felt joy in the presence of some beauty of nature. I stumbled upon the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. I had never seen so much natural beauty concentrated into one little square acre of garden. It does something physical to your senses. It almost makes you cry it is so breathtaking! And it did take my breath away. So yeah, this season I do love a lot.
Thanksgiving Point's Tulip Festival....coming April 15th
Our PTA at my school is ultra fabulous. They are freakishly fabulous. They go past the mark in almost every way. They don't just go the extra mile, they go the extra MARATHON MILE! They did one of their fabulous things this past fall. It was Red Ribbon Week. That's code for "Say NO to Drugs" week. We all do things with the color red to remind us to be committed to living our lives drug free. So the PTA went out and bought 1 red tulip bulb for each child in our school to plant in October. That's like 600 plus bulbs!  What a great idea right?

Red Ribbon Week ....we planted tulip bulbs!

 Well, as I was one of the last people leaving the school yesterday, I looked down as it started to lightly pitter patter with rain around me. I saw those flower boxes across the front of the school just teaming with the tips of green tulip bulbs just trying to break through the soil about an inch, getting ready to burst forth with bright red beauty. A little wave of delight washed over me. I remembered the tulip fields at Thanksgiving Point last year brightening my countenance and my grieving soul.. How excited those kids are gonna be to see the little part they played in what is going to be a remarkable display of nature at its best. I can hardly wait myself!

I love tulips with pretty pottery....and garden decor...

So I'm getting into Spring as you can tell. My husband hates toting all my Easter "junk" (he calls it junk but I don't think he really appreciates little wooden bunnies :D)back and forth up and down from the basement storage room. But he's a pretty good sport. He's been busy making the basement into his "man cave" with a big screen, a blasting stereo (complete with 70s disco music) and 4 workout machines; the elliptical (my definition of modern day torture vehicle), the treadmill, the life cycle, and some kind of weird rowing machine. 

Kitchen counter...Marisa helped me stack all the mirror ball eggs....she loves Easter!

So anyway, he got all this 70s music like Saturday Night Fever and Donna Summer stuff, and compiled it onto this CD and we've been dancing and biking and rowing ourselves into a "disco fever!" It's been funny how all the girls in our family now want a copy of John's cool CD and he's made a copy for Tiff, Wendy and Caitlin. Wendy has done the whole thing and says it is brutal. I have gotten to like, 15 minutes of it before I poop out completely. The object is to keep exercising to the beat, no matter how fast it gets! Wazoo it gets hard! Boogie Oogie Oogie! And I've lost 6 pounds already! There may be something to this sweating to the oldies!'

Easter Decorations.    Easter Baskets for everybody!
So while I've been decorating the house this week, my daughter and her husband are leaving to go out of town and asked us to babysit....guess who.....NOT the cute grandbabies, oh NO!....THE DOG!  I have grand dogs... They have this beautiful, huge, golden retriever named Gunner. He is really such a good dog, but he is so dang HUGE!

Table Decorations...little Megan grabs gobs of these jelly beans and stuffs them all in her mouth....:D

But my fat little dog still think HE is the alpha dog at our house. But he is not the Alpha dog anymore. When Gunner is around it's kind of comical to watch him cautiously sniff around the bigger dog. He is so curious but kind of a scaredy cat at the same time. He's even scared to eat his food, or a little doggie treat around Gunner. He waits till Gunner is out of eye shot or something. What's up with that Scaredy Cat?

Well he wasn't too shy to bite the face off bunny boy! Notice he's missing an eye? Dogs can be so cruel...

Marisa and I hung all the eggs on the little tree...she loved it!
So when I got home from work there big old Gunner was. And I gave him a big old hug and was fluffing up his fur with a little bit of scratching and my husband says, "Oh, No.... you better watch out, Bruce is gonna get so jealous!" And just then Bruce comes jumping up wildly on me like "hey man, don't pet that big guy, pay no attention to HIM,  I'm the kingpin around here!" OMGosh I'm thinking, I have a JEALOUS DOG! How did that happen? hmmm

Easter ceramics and Spring Decor...

Then John says, "watch this" and he calls Gunner over. Instantly Bruce jumps up and runs over and jumps on Gunner like, get outta the way, he's MY DAD! It was really funny. Poor Brucie! He's so small next to Gunner, he better get used to eatin the scraps this weekend. Gunner's the Alpha dog at our house this weekend and he knows it!
Guess which one is the big bad Alpha dog? Brucie's the little piggie in the background....

I love the little  egg plates I found at DI for 50 cents each!

So anyway, I'm grand-dog babysitting this weekend. Last weekend was much more fun babysitting Megan and Marisa at our cabin and listening to the hilarious things they argue about at 21/2 and 3 1/2. They actually had an argument on who likes mom better and who likes dad better. They both fought over dad. It's always like that, isn't it? Mom does all the work, dad gets all the glory. hehe. Megan is always excited to see my new decorations. She plays with my little, tiny, ceramic figurines like they are action figures. So I made them up their own little kiddie table with unbreakable decorations.

Kid's Easter Table Decorations...they love eating at their little table....

Anyway, I'm planning a really beautified front and back garden this year. I've decided that will be my summer focus. I always have 3 months off in the summer from work, so I pick a "job" to do around the house. I'd like to plant new stuff, and add some stonework or stamped concrete, and put in a jacuzzi. They are $700 bucks off at Costco this week. I've almost worn John down. hehehe. We had one in California and it was one of the best purchases we've ever made. When the kids were little and we couldn't go "out for a date" after putting them all in bed, we'd just head out back and sit in the jacuzzi and talk and drink strawberry-banana smoothies and raspberry lemonades. It was better than a date. And the kids loved it too.

So here's to the 2nd best season of the year.....Spring! And to creating an amazing flower and plant garden. And I hope we get to see a little bit of spring peeking through this snow sometime very soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

KISS ME I'M IRISH! St. Patrick's Day Fun!

 I love St. Patricks Day. My nickname growing up was Patrick, and I'm half Irish, so of course I'd love to celebrate being Irish on this one special day each year.

My class in their Leprechaun Hats and leprechaun math wheels...

Let's have a party! I want to fill some little black "pots" I bought with some gold ROLO candies, some gold almond kisses, and some gold coins. Maybe I'll add a few green gumdrops or green jelly beans.  A cute topper for the bag of treats can be found at Chicoandjo.com.  They have lots of cute party ideas.  Link is HERE

Rainbow science experiment in milk  

I have some fun with the kids knocking over chairs and making little footprints around the room with green glitter, using a little stencil shaped like a small doll's footprint. Then I knock over the chairs while they are at recess or lunch.  They come back and are all squealing with delight that the Leprechauns came to visit them.
The whole rest of the day I'm dodging kids "seeing them" here and there, in the bathrooms, at the drinking fountain, back on the coat rack, you name it. 

We played a St. Patricks Day Word Bingo game I made...

("I'm a Little Teapot" tune)

I'm a little leprechaun
All dressed in green.
The littlest lad that you've ever seen.
If you set a trap for me
The legend goes
I'll give you 3 wishes
or my pots of gold!

Here are my little leprechauns!

This student used sticky trap stuff from mouse traps! The little black pots of candy were from me.  But nobody caught one, darn it! 
This year I had the kids make "Leprechaun Traps" and they brought them in and explained their inventions and how they will "trap" their little guy to get his gold.

Climb up this very sturdy ladder, then slide down the tube! Super Fun! Why didn't they go for it?

Can you see the hole in the green grass? The leprechaun didn't either! Trapped!

Would you fall for the free all you can eat buffet? Neither did the leprechauns...

Don't you love the spelling? What an ominous threat! Eek!

I got my grandbabies some cute little green princess crowns to wear when they come over for dinner on Sunday. They love dress up and these will add to their little stash of costumes. They were only a buck at Target!  And they look so real!  Here's my little cuties all dressed up for church.  So sweet!
Here they are again!
My daughter is very talented and made this cute Skittles rainbow cake for Megan's 2nd Birthday.
Cute Rainbow Cake!
Rainbow layers must have taken her awhile. Isn't it super cute?

Here she is getting ready to blow out the candles! Woosh!

Leprechaun Handprint cards for mom and dad...

A fun thing we do is to make green hats.  All year long I collect anything I see in the craft stores that is green and especially things that are on clearance. Glitter, pipe cleaners, beaded necklaces, foil wire strings of shamrocks, felt, green christmas tinsel, anything! This way nobody can pinch anybody else. Uh ya. And that's a good thing if you are only 6 and in first grade.


For fun we do some leprechaun alliterations and similes.   I teach them what a simile is (A leprechaun is as tricky as a fox and as tiny as a mouse, etc), and they try to come up with their own. They are usually very hysterical, way crazy or just funny.  Then we play Simon says, Simon being an Irish little leprechaun, and if you can do what he says, you can take his place.

I play them a utube of Lord of the Dance, and I've got a CD of their music too. That's always fun.
It would be fun to eat green cupcakes and green punch and call it a cherrio day! Speaking of cherrios.At home I make little rice crispie treats  or popcorn balls, tinted with green chocolate disks and green M & Ms. Mmmmmm. My husband loves rice crispy treats. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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