Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back to School

I have really looked forward to school this year.  I've anticipated having four children who are bused to school and Johnny starting preschool.  One thing I hadn't considered is I have children coming every 1.5 - 2 hours all day long!  Caleb's school starts at 7:30 AM and his bus comes at 6:40!! If you know how we like to sleep in you can see how this is a little scary for me.  Cara, Andy and Ali leave 1.5 hours later at 8:20.  Johnny's preschool is 1.5 hours later at 10.  Then I have a wapping 2 hours before kids start coming home.  Johnny is done with school at noon and Ali arrives home at 12:30.  Caleb comes home next at 2:30 and then Cara and Andy get home at 3:40.  That doesn't count all of the chasing in the evenings, but my time isn't going to be freed up as much as I've hoped.

Back to school night was a little crazy with four kids starting school!  There is always a ton of paper work for the mom so as soon as we got home I started going through papers, discarding many.  I handed Josh a stack of papers to throw in the garbage.  He glanced down and said, "that's Caleb's t-shirt design!!" Apparently Caleb had won the PTA t-shirt design contest, but he'd never been notified.  Needless to say we kept the paper and ordered some t-shirts!

Caleb is LOVING Spring Creek Middle School.  It is one of the best middle schools in Utah and I'm so happy he is going there.  He comes home happy and seems to be thriving.  He is doing well getting up in the mornings, and Josh and I have started an earlier routine as well.  It is serving us well.  His friend, Carter's, dad picked him up for the first day of school in his classic convertible.  That was a fun way to start the year!

Caleb has had some rookie moments.  Monday was the first time they had "power up" a special class they usually have to start the day.  He was having locker trouble so ended up at his first hour class late.  He didn't realize he was supposed to be in a different room at that time for power up.  At 5 PM Josh and I received a text that Caleb had missed one of his classes.  I must admit that I was concerned that we were only three days into middle school and he was already sloughing.  We had a good laugh.

Tuesday he had an even bigger rookie moment.  I'll write the story because I think it could make a funny children's book.  It reminds me a little of the "If you give a Moose a Muffin" books. It all started when he chose to ride his bike to school.  He was ready in time to ride the bus, and Josh was also willing to take him because he wanted to get some Oreo cookies for his science class moon project, but he decided to take the down hill bike ride to the school.  The plan was for us pick up his bike later in the evening.  I think he was also planning to go to his friends house, but that wasn't discussed. When he passed the school on his way to the grocery store he noticed that kids were arriving so he decided to go straight to school.  (Probably not wanting to repeat Monday's experience.) At the end of the day he called to beg me to go to his friends house.  After getting a "no" answer he went to find his bus (it was the 4th day of school but he hadn't rode the bus morning or evening yet).  He couldn't find the bus so he sprinted back into the school to ask the secretary and learned that his bus was in the shop so there was a different number, but the bus he needed had just left.  Luckily he had the cell phone on him and he called me.  He informed me that he had missed the bus and proceed to beg me, once again, to go to his friends house.  I felt he shouldn't be rewarded for missing the bus, and I knew his friend was busy. Ironically my car was at the shop getting detailed so I had no way to go and get him even if I wanted to.  Over the next three hours he called me 28 times!!  (About 12 of them I didn't answer because I was making RS visits. I had told him I was busy.) I never had to wonder where he was!!  A few of the times he called he was sobbing because he was sure he would physically die if he was forced to ride his bike home in the heat.  He was only 2.5 miles away, but the idea of riding up hill in the heat was almost more than he could bare.  He had some money burning a hole in his pocket so he went on a funny journey.  He started by going to his friends house and reading a book in front of the house for a while.  Finally he decided to disobey and knock on his friends door.  He was devastated that they were leaving.  The friends mom called me very concerned, but I assured her that Caleb as okay he was just learning a hard lesson about not missing the bus.  His next stop was Zeppes.  He bought TWO large desserts.  Next he headed to Walmart to shop for some action figures and pick up those cookies he intended to get before school.  Ironically he had forgotten that they no longer needed them. After shopping he decided maybe he could ride to my mom's house, but stopped and called me when he got to the elementary school because he couldn't make it any further.  At the school he went in to find the principle and enquire about a prize that was due to him for winning the school t-shirt contest.  By the time he made it to my mom's he had been on his journey for 2.5 hours.  She wasn't home either so he spent some time in her air conditioning while he waited for Josh to pick him up on his way home from work.  Hopefully he learned his lesson and won't be missing the bus any time soon, again!!

Cara has an amazing teacher once again, Mrs. Flukiger.  She is already adapting for Cara's dyslexia and trying to help her be successful in the classroom.  Cara has a gift at staying positive and persistence even though school is so difficult for her.  I am having our neighbor Jenna do homework with Cara again this year and that SAVES me!  I am grateful for all of the support we receive.

Andy has a very exciting year because he is starting the French dual emersion program.  Half of his classroom time is 100% french.  They say it will take about six weeks for them to understand what is being spoken, but they are learning through emersion.  By the time he is in four grade he should speak as well as a return missionary.  I'm so excited for this opportunity that has been presented to him, and will be offered to Ali and Johnny as well. 

Andy is a great little student.  He is motivated to get out and play with his friends so he comes home and gets his reading, homework, and piano done so he can disappear outside until dinner.  I am so grateful for his independence.

Ali is SO EXCITED to start kindergarden.  She has a fantastic teacher as well, Miss Sharp.  At orientation I was so happy Ali has her that I almost wanted to cry.  She is young and single, but mature and runs her classroom with love and respect.  The children would do anything for her.  Ali is going to have a great year!!

Johnny gets to start Joy School this year. We do have one major hang up - potty training!!  He is so STUBBORN!!  I put him in under ware May 1.  For eight weeks he pooped in his underwear all but two or three times when I caught him at the perfect moment.  During those eight weeks I tried EVERY trick in the book.  Of course there were celebrations and prizes for success as well as a bag of prizes waiting to be enjoyed.  There were also negative consequences including cold showers for the first six weeks and then spankings for the next two.  NONE of it worked so we went back to pull-ups in August.  The prize box is still waiting and we constantly talk about going in the toilet.  This week I started using the hose to spray him off outside when he poops in his pull-up.  The only thing that seems to be helping at all is his desire to go to school.  The first time he woke up and everyone was gone. I told him "you can go to school when you start pooping in the potty."  He promptly took of his pants and pooped in the toilet.  No coaching, no begging, no help.  He knows how to do it he is just choosing not to!  What a kid.  Good thing there is one week between the elementary kids starting and Johnny starting.  It will give us some time to hang the "do you want to go to school" question over his head.  He can't wait to get started!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Family Pictures

Family pictures are never perfect with seven wiggly and sometimes uncooperative people, but this year we got some that are pretty good. I especially like the individual shots.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wrapping up summer

We played right to the very end of summer!! Nothing says end of summer quite like the fair.  This year I dipped my toes into figuring out 4H.  I grew up doing SO MUCH 4H.  The programs have changed a lot and I'm in a different state so the learning curve is bigger than I'd think.  Cara did a sewing camp with my mom and made these four pillow cases.  She loved it!  We tried to talk her into modeling in the style review, but she is shy about being on stage so she wouldn't event budge when my mom offered her $100 to do it.

My kids are not farm kids!  Ali walked through the animal portion of the fair with her nose plugged.  She didn't thing the pigs were as cute as I thought they were.

Johnny was to scared of the animals to even walk.  He cried and hid most of the time.  I love Ali's discussed face in this picture.

There were some cool elephants at the fair.  They were fascinating to watch.  

Here is the next round of boys hanging in the cul-de-sac.  There are even more 2-3 year old boys, not pictured.  These four were trying to play frisbee but Johnny was the only one who could throw it forward.  Amazingly there were no older siblings telling them what to do and on their own they organized a game of duck-duck-goose.  They are adorable!!

One of the best days of this summer came on a Saturday when we had nothing formal planned.  My mom let us use her 4-Wheeler.  Caleb and Cara became proficient at driving with a parent on back.  We had a wonderful time in the beautiful fall weather.

We capitalized on being in the canyon with the 4-wheeler and had a camp fire and roasted hotdogs. I love roasting marshmallows.  I pride myself in making perfectly melted marshmallows.  Caleb has caught on and does a great job too. The kids always love having family time in the mountains! It makes me wonder why we don't do it more often. 

Josh and I have lived in Providence for almost 9 years and I had no idea that there was this beautiful water fall up Providence canyon.  Cara LOVED it!  She and I drove to it 3 times on 1 day.  She couldn't get enough of it.

Caleb and Josh hiked saddle rock with the 11 year old scouts.  Josh was called to be an 11 year old scout leader this spring.  He does a great job with the boys.  I'm so glad he get's to do that with Caleb!

We spent the last Friday of summer "vacation" in Bear Lake.  (I can't really call summertime vacation because it doesn't feel one bit like vacation to me.  It feels exhausting and like tons of work.)  We loved our family day in Bear Lake.  The Bandito show at Pickleville Play House was fun as always.  Ali and Johnny didn't love it.  Johnny was scared of the darkness during scene changes.  Ali had a hard time following, but the talent always impresses me.

Ali was very content playing on the beach.  She was mostly there alone while the other children including Johnny played on the "island trampoline".  The kids LOVED IT!!

Josh and I rented a Jet ski for an hour.  The kids were all scared of it.  We even offered to let Caleb and Cara each drive, which they did for a very short time, but they were a little too scared.  Josh and I loved throwing each other off multiple times.  An hour was enough but it was a really fun hour!!

I had to post this picture.  Cara made the kids "popsicles" out of sprite.  They were enjoying them on the deck and making a sticky mess so I asked them to go eat the popsicles on the grass.  I had to laugh because they moved in the right direction, but they weren't quite obedient.  Still dripping on the deck, but happily enjoying their cool treat.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My mom turned 60

In honor of my mom's 60th Birthday we threw her a big birthday party.  It was very well attended and a great tribute to the life she has lived.  We thought it would be fun to have it in her yard so that she could show off her new home and the work she has put into the landscaping in the year she has been there.  We also hoped it would cheer her up as she hasn't been well since Christmas and is now finished with school and trying to figure out the rest of her life.  

My cousin Diana made this beautiful play barn to match the old farm house barn in Idaho.  Of course this one is the fixed up version with no missing doors!  Merle bought farm animals to go with it.

Mom likes to call her grandchildren by number.  These are the first two sporting the customized shirts with their first name's and numbers on the front and their last names and numbers on the back.  It was fun to have her 14 grandchildren there in their numbered shirts.

Stephanie created a memory book for mom.  We all contributed pictures and memories.  I'll include a few pictures and the memories I wrote for that book here as well.

My mom was the 6th of SIX daughters and grew up on a farm in Elwood (outside of Tremonton) Utah.

She married my dad at age 21 and had me nine months later.  Fourteen months after I was born my sister Christie joined our family.

My mom dressed me, Christie, and Cathie in matching cloths often.  We were her whole life.

I don’t know how mom did all she did when we were growing up!!  She did so many extra curricular projects with us, and she always did 110%.  I remember taking a day trip to see Craters of the Moon.  I think it was for Idaho History when I was in 4th grade.  I remember it was a longer drive than she expected and we drove at leas 100 mph to get home for piano lessons or something.  She was always willing to go the extra mile so that we could excel in whatever we did.

She allowed us each to have two lessons outside of 4H and school.  When we moved from Soda Springs to Preston we were all really disappointed that there wasn’t a ballet school in Preston so we settled for clogging, and we were especially disappointed that there wasn’t a swimming pool.  (I was sure I was going to be an Olympic underwater ballerina.)  Despite our terrible financial situation mom found a private teacher who would drive us to Logan for private swim lessons.  She was willing to let me pursue the most expensive wind instrument, the oboe and not only bought me reeds but allowed me to take weekly lessons at USU.  When we were little we lived in the car as she chased us from one extra curricular activity and lesson to another.  When she got the license plate “c iva go” she truly deserved it.  She was racing many times a day from our home 15 minutes up Glendale canyon to town.

Mom not only encouraged extra curricular activities but she even stepped in as the advisor for many of the things we did.  I remember her leading the Drug Free Council for many years.  She would help us to plan red ribbon week and make it an outstanding experience for all of the members of that Junior High School and High School Club.

Mom lived 4H especially in the summer helping us each to complete 10-20 projects each year!!  The amount of work she did was unheard of.  She would sit at her typewriter, while we sat on her bed, and type up our record books while we glued in the pictures and put the pages in sheet protectors.  The week before the fair the house would be covered in paper and picture clippings from all of our record books.  We didn’t just complete 15 projects each, but they were the best projects at the fair.  Mom made sure of that!  She would also go all out with our 4H demonstrations.  I think each of us won top demonstrator at the eastern Idaho State Fair at least once during our time in 4H, and most of the credit for that goes to mom for making our posters and writing outstanding demonstrations.  

Dad was extremely dedicated to farming and worked way to much.  Mom took it upon herself to take us camping in Yellowstone, among everything else.  It was extremely memorable because we got soaked by the rain on the first night.  We dried off in a hotel the second night but continued to camp and cook over the fire for the rest of the trip.  Our last night the tent caved in with snow!  Mom was quite the woman to continue that trip! 

Each year for 4H mom helped me, and each of her daughters, sew a dress that we could model in the style review.  This particular year I was making a formal I loved and wore many times.  Unfortunately I was new to surging and sewed right into one of the pleats destroying the bodice. Needless to say this mistake made it so we had to buy new fabric and reconstruct the bodice. We were all a little sad about it, but mom and Grandma didn’t give up on me.  The dress turned out beautiful.  In teaching us each to sew mom always did the pinning, pressing, and unpicking, making sewing much more enjoyable for us girls.

Mom and Dad had a very limited budget, but you wouldn’t know it from the way that mom treated us.  She hated that they were poor, and she felt that her kids shouldn’t have to go without because of the financial circumstances of their family.  She taught us that no one ever needed to know how poor we were.  We could be poor without looking poor.  She would make sure that our cloths were clean and in good repair so we could always feel confident about the way we looked. 

Much to dad's discomfort mom wanted us to experience the joy of travel.  We went to Disneyland, with or without dad, whenever someone in the family turned 5.  Mom grew up with Disneyland and wanted us to love it like she did, we do!  Here we are pictures on our amazing trip to Hawaii over Christmas break when I was a senior in college. 

Pageants were not something mom encouraged, but she supported me in my expensive and time consuming hobby.  I am grateful for the loving support she provided.  My pageant experiences were not easy on her, but she went right along when I decided to participate. 

Christie enjoyed drama as a child and mom allowed each of us to pursue our interests so she encouraged Christie to try out for The Music Man production at the Worm Creek Opera House.  While Christie did that production mom realized that we were all stuck in town waiting for play practice anyway so we all just as well be in the productions together.  Some of the plays I remember being in with mom and my siblings were: Brigadoon, South Pacific, and King and I.  Here she is pictured as the head nurse in South Pacific. 

This is one of my favorite family pictures!  It was taken just outside of the MTC the day I left on my mission. 

When I received my mission call my mom was not crying tears of joy!  She was so sad to say good-by to me for 18 months.  She was never a worrier, but I think she was also a little concerned that I would be serving in the former Soviet Union.  I have never felt so loved.  She and dad were so happy when I returned.

I remember each time mom was released from a church calling (or even had a change of visiting teaching route) she would be devastated because she had given her whole heart and soul to the calling.  In my childhood she was the activity chairperson multiple times.  She felt very strongly that every person in the ward, especially the inactive and non-members know about the activities. She would drive around our rural ward and we girls would jump out of the car and run the fliers to every house in the ward.  She and dad were so good about friendshiping everyone.  I remember the 100’s of hours she would put into ward activities.  She was attentive to every detail.  I remember her putting on a ward rodeo, carnivals, and other huge events.   

Her children were her life!  She was willing to do anything for any one of us at any time.  She was one year from graduating from USU in Elementary Education when I was born, and she decided to quit school to be with me.  When I was in 4th or 5th grade she was preparing to go back to school and the prophet, President Benson, gave a talk about mom’s staying home with their children.  She chose to heed that council and postponed school once again.  She has always been an extremely dedicated mother!!

 Now her grandchildren are an important part of her life and the feel her love.
Grandma, Cara, and Caleb crawl racing.

Sometimes I think she drives a truck because she loves to let the children ride in back.  They love it too! Cara, Caleb, Colter, Grandma, Corbin, Emi

Caleb, Cara, Colter, Grandma, Andy, Danny, Corbin, Emi

 Mom sharing her balloon hat skills with the grandkids. Cara, Ali, Ethen, Caleb, Grandma, Kate

 Mom came to Caleb's baptism the day she got released from the hospital from a knee replacement.

 I am grateful for my mom and all of the things she has taught me!