Sunday, December 14, 2014

Where did November (and half of December) go?!

Time is flying!  If my kids didn’t LOVE reading the book I make each year, compiling my blog entries, I may stop blogging.  But since it serves as our family journal here I am to share some of the events and details of November. 

One thing that contributed to November passing so quickly was having the Coombs in town.  My sister Cathie, her husband Keith and their six children are relocating from Alaska to New Mexico.  They spent three weeks, mid-move here in Utah.  It was awesome for us.  My kids love having their cousins around.  It made life crazier than usual, but it was totally worthwhile.  I didn’t take many pictures, but there was a lot of playing, tackle football in the basement, board games, soccer, Barbie’s, running around, and craziness.  There were big family dinners and visiting.  One special outing we did was spending a day at Boondocks.  I had no idea the kids would love it so much.  We were there for 9 hours.  Admittedly I really like the laser tag myself. 

We usually stay home for the holidays since both Josh’s family and mine are local.  That gives us some extra time to play here in Cache Valley.  Call me crazy, but I took the kids ice skating the day before Thanksgiving.  Josh has had a really heave workload lately and I have to get out every day or I go a little crazy.  The kids loved it.  Ali even caught on eventually.  She had to watch for about an hour (after getting her skates on) before she decided to give it a good try.

Thanksgiving was really low key this year.  It was just us, Lonn and Sharon, April and Ethen and my mom.  I am making the tradition of having an essential oil booth at Novemberfest the two days after Thanksgiving.  It seems to be an event that is worth the effort. It keeps me busy while Josh enjoys some time with the kids.

Rec basketball is in November and December.  This year we have two boys playing.  Caleb is so tall that he has a lot of potential, but he isn't a super aggressive player. He loves sports so much and wants to be great, but he'd rather not do hard practice or push himself during games.  

Andy is playing on a kindergarden team.  They play first graders and there is apparently a lot of progress in coordination in that year.  His team doesn't often win, but he really enjoys it.  He especially loves playing on a team with some of his best friends. 

Cara had her first ballet recital.  She seems to have enjoyed ballet this semester, but the week before the recital she became very apprehensive.  She was really nervous about dancing in front of people.  She decided she wanted to quit just before the recital.  She pulled herself together and did it, but she has now decided Ballet isn't her thing.  She is in the smallest class at Cache Civic ballet.  Most of the classes have 10-12 and hers only has 4 so I'm going to keep her in for one more semester just to build a little more confidence.  For the recital they did parts of the nutcracker.  Cara and her class were the flowers.  Adorable!

I told Cara that she has to choose something extra curricular to practice and work on.  She just wants to play with her friends.  She doesn't want to do anything that is hard or cuts into play time which makes everything unattractive.  She did say she is most interested in becoming a chef.  I told her she is more than welcome to help with dinner every night and we can teach her how to cook, but she needs to be actively developing her talents.  It will be fun to see what she decides to focus on.  I'm hoping she will become actively involved with the orchestra and start violin again or another instrument next year.  

The Christmas festivities continue even though the weather has been warm and beautiful. The kids love the tradition of sleeping under the Christmas tree on Friday nights in December.  

Our neighborhood Christmas party and our ward party are both behind us.  The ward party was Grinch themed and was probably the most detailed and beautiful ward party I have ever attended.  

I may be business than I've very been with my calling and my business, but I'm enjoying my little clan.  Here they are lined up waiting for tithing settlement.  It is a wonderful time of the year.

For many years I have done some sort of 12 days of Christmas count down.  This year I am doing one that helps us remember Christ as we try to focus on the true meaning of the season, the lights, the giving, the trees, etc.  This is one worth filing and doing again.  I have adapted what is here:  Each day we are opening a gift that helps us to remember the things Jesus has given us.  The gifts are inexpensive, but always exciting to open.  Having a Christ centered discussion each evening is a blessing.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Unlikely Halloween

We accomplished all of the usual Halloween festivities this year, but Halloween weekend was marked by the funerals of two dear family members.  With Halloween on Friday, Josh and I went separate directions early Saturday morning.  Josh, Andy, Ali and Cara in the direction of his Grandma Alice Kirk's funeral eight hours away in Montana and me, Caleb and Johnny to my dear Aunt Vickie's funeral in Sandy.  As time passes heaven seems to get sweeter and sweeter.  Despite the 16 hours of driving in two days Cara, Andy and Ali seemed to enjoy the little trip to Montana.  Maybe it was the bag of candy they had in the back seat!

In keeping with tradition, we carved pumpkins.  I'm glad to announce that the kids to a little more than they used to.  I'll be so glad when they are independent pumpkin carvers!!

We went to the pumpkin walk!

We got excessively hyper and rough housed until someone got hurt!

We dressed up for school and trick-or-treating. 
Cara was a beautiful Dark Bride

Caleb and Andy were Black Ninja's. 

Ali was a purple witch (for the third year in a row.)  I did give her other options, but this is what she wanted.  She has grown out of her original costume into the costume Cara wore when they were twiners!

Johnny was a Lion

Of course the kids loved Halloween!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We survived football season

We survived football season - barley!  Caleb was so excited to get started!  He has been begging since he was eight and old enough to play tackle football to get started.  I've been able to convince him to wait for the past two years, but this year he was even willing to pay $50 of the fee, proving to me he was serious.

We got of to a very sad start.  Tackle football is unlike other sports, it is a "draft" type system.  It has nothing to do with where you live or who your friends are.  The coaches sit down and take turns picking names.  There were eight 10-year-old boys from Caleb's elementary school all playing football so it never occurred to me that he wouldn't have a friend on his team.  To our total discouragement, when the teams were assigned, every Providence boy was on the OTHER 10-year-old team.  To add to the slap in the face, they practiced on a field 1/2 mile from our house.  Caleb didn't know a single boy on his team, which I could live with, but the hard thing is that I had no car pool and they practiced about 15 minutes from our house, at Mt. Crest.  (Two trips a day at 30 minutes round trip is one hour a day driving to football, not counting games.)  I wanted to quit before it even started.

I tried to get him on the team with the Providence boys, but I was unsuccessful.  In the process I learned that Caleb's Coach, John Belles is one of the best in the league.  That proved to be true.  He worked so well with Caleb and the entire team.  I was totally impressed by him.  It also worked out there there were some neighbor boys on the eight-year-old team that practiced in Hyrum at the same time as Caleb so the car pool thing worked out which was so important to me with 90 minute practices four days a week.  I would have died without other moms to help drive!

The season didn't get any easier for me.  In some ways it would have been better if I'd let Caleb start playing when he was eight, because he was defiantly the underdog.  The coach was required to play him 10 plays each game, and I think he averaged about that.  Ten plays is basically just kick offs, and kick-off returns.  He played a couple of plays each game as nose guard and a little bit of defense at the end of the season.  It was SO PAINFUL to have our entire lives revolve around football including every night and Saturday's to watch Caleb play ten pathetic plays each week!

Josh and I agreed with the coach that Caleb was not giving 100% at practices or in the games.  He didn't push himself, but it felt impossible to inspire him to do better.  Mid-season he started having extra practices with Dave and his best friend Isaac Low.  He actually started pushing and he learned what 100% felt like.  Unfortunately it was too late for the season.  He had his position, and it was on the sideline.

He did have a team that he can be proud of.  His team was one of two, of all the Mt. Crest teams, to win their devision.  (The other team was the other 10-year-old team.)  They were one of three Mt. Crest teams to make it to the play offs and the only team to make it to the second game of the play offs which they nearly won!

The great thing about football is that Caleb learned to work a little harder than he has worked before. He learned about being part of a team and about taking his sport seriously.  He learned about dedication and about following directions.  Most of all I saw an increase in his self confidence and sense of belonging.  I think football contributed to this school year getting off to a good start.  He identifies himself as a football player.  Now - do I encourage him to do it again next year?! Can I live through another football season?!

His last game of the season was followed by the USU homecoming game.  Who ever thought two non-athletic parents would be spending so much time at football games.  I'm afraid or football days have just begun!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meet the Bus Driver

You guessed it - it's me!  My season of life is shifting from being chained to my house by naps, feedings and diapers to being the taxi mom.  I don't really drive a taxi, I drive a bus!  This summer we purchased a beautiful, black 2008, gas guzzling suburban.  I am spending hours on the road!

Ali is in preschool at USU four days a week.  She loves the social and getting out every day. (I love it too.)  Fortunately we have a car pool, but driving to USU almost every day is a 45 minute round trip effort.  Luckily she is having a great experience, which makes it worthwhile for me.

Saturday Caleb's first tackle football season came to an end.  More about football later, but as far as the bus goes, football has added to the chasing!!  With practice four days a week for 90 minutes, in Hyrum there has been a lot of back and forth not to mention a game every Saturday. 

Cara started ballet with Cache Civic Ballet this fall.  She is loving it!  She is such a beautiful ballerina!  Sadly she is taking a brake from her violin to free up the time for dance, but now is the time to explore and find her passion so I decided to let her go for it.

I'm enjoying my hobbies and business as well.  Sharing essential oils and wellness products brings me great joy and fills any extra time I can find.  Convention was last month and I was honored for hitting the rank of Gold.  It is so exciting and fulfilling for me to participate in this company that is blessing so many lives, physically, emotional, and financially.  I am grateful it has blessed my life in these ways too.  I'm looking forward to tremendous growth again this year and grateful for the joy that I find in my friendships and and the personal growth that it brings to my life!

I was also called to be in the RS Presidency a few weeks ago.  I'm looking forward to additional church service.  I love the gals I will be serving with and always have a burning desire in my heart to serve God. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Andy turned 6!

Andy turning 6 is evidence that time flies!! It really feels like he was my baby just yesterday.  I sure love him!! Sometimes he follows the bad example of his older siblings, but his nature is to be so good.  For example, Caleb hates to practice the piano so sometimes Andy acts like he hates it, even though he likes it.  Same thing with homework.

I've learned that the best day to have a birthday party is on their birthday.  Other wise we end up having multiple parties.  For Andy's birthday we had a baseball party.  It was easy and low key.  The boys seemed to have a great time.

Usually I don't get to tap into Josh's graphic design talents, but sometimes he's willing to create party invites.  I love it when he does.  This was Andy's cute invitation.

The boys gave awesome gifts!  It makes me feel like a bad gift giver, but so grateful for their generosity.  It is amazing!

I am not an awesome cake maker, but somehow the cake is always a highlight.  Caleb has such a strong influence on the rest of the family.  The things that are important to him are important to everyone.

The boys had a great time playing baseball in our back yard.  We are so fortunate to live among so many wonderful children and their amazing parents.  

 Happy birthday to my dear Andy!