Sunday, August 31, 2014

Our Family: Week of 8/25-8/31

On Monday morning Adam and Grace woke up bright and early.  They were excited for their first days of 3rd grade and 6th grade!

And to see all of their friends again, I'm sure.

The first day of school is always a l-o-n-g day for me.

Josh and Sam slept the day away.

I guess their olders siblings wore them out this summer.


On Tuesday they woke up bright and early, too.

I'm hoping this excitement lasts.

We started a new routine of scripture study in the morning (rather than in the evening).

I'm hoping that lasts, too.


On Wednesday I filled out forms.

The kids did homework.

And Mike went to mutual.


On Thursday Grace brought some treats to school to celebrate her birthday.

They were devoured.

That evening we went to Josh's pre-school orientation.

I've never been "for" pre-school for my kiddos.  When Adam was 4, I talked to a friend about whether I should do pre-school and she told me that "once they are gone, they are gone."

So I didn't.

After years of the kids being in school, I now know what she meant.  

Once they are in school, you never get them back.  You no longer become the only influence in their lives.  You lose that time with them each day.

So, I worked with my kids at home, and vowed to keep them there until kindergarten.

Until Josh.

Josh is very attached to me.

He is extremely adventurous and daring, but is also very much a Mama's boy.  (Which I love).  But, has also made knots form in my stomach at the thought of him crying next year (me too) as I dropped him off at kindergarten.

An amazing friend is doing a pre-school class this year.  So, after much prayer and deliberation, I signed him up.  He will go Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2 1/2 hours.  Just enough to get him used to the thought of being away from me (while having fun and learning.)

He still doesn't want to go... even after his teacher gave him this cute countdown and everything: 

But I know it will be good for him.

And me.


On Friday we baby-sat.

And made Grace's birthday cake.

She wanted a Barbie doll cake, again.

Blue like Elsa this time.

After she went to sleep, the boys helped me decorate: blue and purple streamers and snowflakes for a Frozen themed birthday.


On Saturday we celebrated our sweet Grace's 8th birthday!

Grace is such a little light.  She brings joy and smiles and laughter in the form of giggles, sweet notes, and her charm.  When we walked into school last week for the open house, all of the teachers and kids we saw said, "Grace!" and gave her a big hug.

That girl is a doll, I tell ya.

So thankful she is mine.

In our family, we let the kids have their first "friend" birthday party when they turn 8.

However, with her getting baptized next week and school just starting, I was stressed as it was.  So, I asked if we could bump it to her 9th birthday, and instead she could invite her best friend over to celebrate her day.  She happily agreed.  I found a Groupon for Bounce U, so we went there for some jumping fun.

We all had a blast.

Afterward, we came home and let the girls play.

We called our friends, the C* family, and they came over to join us for pizza and cake and presents.

Grace got a pair of roller skates and "smelly" markers from us, a friendship bracelet kit and gift card from friends, a book, cards, and money.

She is very excited to spend that money on some "fluffy" boots.

Afterward, we had cake.

My cell phone stopped working, so this is the only pic I could get:

My sweet friend grabbed some for me, so I'll have to post those when I get them.

We had a wonderful day celebrating a very wonderful girl.


On Sunday we went to church.

And rested.

After our first week of school and a birthday celebration, we needed it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our Family: Week of 8/18-8/24

On Monday we woke up bright and early to take advantage of the cheap "early bird" bowling rates.

It's our little tradition to get us back into the routine of waking up early for the school year.

We all had a blast... most especially Josh (who now wakes up each morning requesting to go again).

And, not a single one of us picked up Grandma Wilkins' bowling talent:

We have fun anyways.


On Tuesday, we baby-sat for our friends all day long.

We whipped up a batch of my mom's famous wedding cupcakes (she had graciously sent us up a mix with Kayty).

They were delish.

Afterward, we played with play-dough.

They were all playing nicely, so I left to change Sam.  Adam had the camera, and was working on a "claymation" video.

5 minutes later when I came back, the camera was broken.

And I've never actually gotten what really happened out of anybody.

So, we are using our sometimes-working-cell phone's camera abilities until we can get a new one.

(Photos may be a little more sparse/blurry... but I'm grateful for it).

Apparently, my kids don't understand my need to photograph every mundane detail of our lives.



On Wednesday we baby-sat again.

It was a really hard, long day.

At one point during each of my pregnancies I thought how fun it would be to have twins.

After watching two 7-month olds all day and two 4-year olds all day, I'm glad all my babies came separate.


That evening, Mike gave to boys' haircuts, I gave Mike a haircut, and then (after months of Grace pleading) I cut 6 inches off of her hair.

If she only knew how long I had waited for that long hair!

It's too adorable to be too upset, though.


On Thursday we had Activity Days.

We talked about the new school year and being organized.

We made "To Do" jars.  Each mason jar is filled with sticks that the girls painted on one end, and wrote their daily responsibilities on the other.

When they get that job done, they can flip it over.

They (and my kiddos) had fun with it.

After Activity Days we raced over to the kids' school for Back-to-School night, where they got to meet their new teachers and see their classrooms.

They both adore their homeroom teachers already, and are excited for the new school year.


On Friday we baby-sat.

We will baby-sit every Friday from now on (which is good, because one of the boys I baby-sit is Josh's very best friend, and they need friend time).

Also, my big kiddos don't go to school on Fridays, so they can help.


Afterward, we had fun getting some school supplies.


On Saturday morning we went did the yard sale thang.

My kids have heard plenty of stories from their grandparents and friends who have found glorious things at yard sales for a little cash.

All month they worked hard and earned money, so we could hit the yard sales.

We dropped Mike off at work, and headed out.

We had the best time looking around, and I loved watching the kids carefully spend their hard-earned cash.

Adam got a toy gun, Josh got a Hungry Hungry Hippos game, a lightsaber, and Connect 4, and Grace got some jewelry.

I found a set of Lincoln Logs.

We came home and we got the house crazy-clean... and then they spent 3 hours of blissful non-fighting happiness playing Lincoln Logs and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

It was heavenly.

That evening, we went shoe shopping.

Adam was very concerned we wouldn't get to it in time, but we snuck it in.

He found some shoes he loved.

Grace found a pair she really, really loved, too.  Unfortunately, she had a brand-spankin' new pair that Mike had brought home from D.I. in January.

So Adam offered to give her his remaining yard sale money so she could buy them.

It was the nicest, kindest thing... that he chose to do for the sister that he normally fight with 16 hours of each day.

Brought tears to my eyes.

Love him.

We finished with our pizza and a movie Saturday evening tradition, and headed to bed.


On Sunday after church we made our traditional "Back-to-School" dinner: sweet & sour chicken, rice, wontons & broccoli.

We had Father's blessings.

We read The Kissing Hand.

I kissed each of their sweet hands.

I got all teary-eyed.

We ate our "kissing hand" cookies.

Got backpacks and clothes ready.

And closed out our summer.

It was a hard one.

But, oh so good, too.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our Family: Week of 8/11-8/17

On Monday our ward Primary had a water/pizza party to celebrate the kids' filling up their scripture jar (they put a Tootsie Roll in every Sunday they bring their scriptures).

They had a fabulous time.

That evening, Mike had a staff party at our very favorite park.  I managed to only say nice things to his boss, the kids got to play with all of the other staff member's kids, there was a fun pinata, and the very best (truthfully, only) ribs I have ever eaten.  But, they were super good!  I loved getting to meet the other manager's wives.  We had a great night eating, talking, and playing.


On Tuesday, Adam came home from swim practice.with his ribbons from his swim meet 2 weeks ago: two 5th place and one 6th.  Yay, Adam!

He has one more practice and one last meet for the summer.  It's been so good for him.

Grace's friend invited her to go on the High Roller with her that afternoon.  It's the world's largest observation wheel.  She was terrified at first, but ended up having the best time ever.  (On Tuesdays, locals are 30% off and kids under 18 are free... Adam wants us to just drop him off, so he can ride by himself ;) ).

While Grace was off partying, I took Sam + Josh in for the 6-month and 4-year well checks.

Sam was 24 pounds 11 ounces and 29 1/2" tall - 100th percentile for each.

Josh is 37 pounds and 41" tall - 50th percentile for height and 30th percentile for weight.

Josh was ordered to gain some weight.

They both got shots.

Josh was super-tough and didn't cry... he even did a crunch and watched the nurse put it into his thigh.

Sam was super-upset.  After screaming for a minute, he stopped and just stared down the nurse until he left the room.

He knew who the bad guy was.


That evening, we went to the Relief Society back-to-school night.  Each year, the sweet sisters sew backpacks and fill them with school supplies for all of the kids in the ward.  It's amazing.  This year, they sewed them each a pillow case, too.  And then, they even spoil the kids with root beer floats on the Back-to-School night.

We love it.

I love our sweet sisters who work so hard to serve.

That evening, we had leftovers from the work party for dinner.

Josh took his order to gain weight pretty seriously.  ;)


Mike was at mutual on Wednesday, and I was in the thick of making dinner, when Sam started to scream.

I asked the boys to watch him for me.

And later found these on the camera:

There are 15 more of Sam sitting in the rocks for his "photo shoot" sans pants (because it was hot) with Adam's photography assistant dragging him around.

The moral?

Ask Grace next time.


When we cleaned out the shed a few weeks ago, Grace found a pair of rollerblades that Mike had purchased at D.I. years ago and wore exactly one time.

She fell in love.

And has been in those babies ever since.

That evening we made some homemade play-dough with Mike, once he was done with Young Men's, and had a big, fun creative fest...

... that somehow ended with the boys torturing Dora in lava.

Sorry, Dora!

Sam sympathizes with your pain.


On Thursday we dropped Adam off for his last swim practice.

I'm so grateful he was able to be a part of the swim team this year.

We did chores, did some summer school work, I refereed 128 fights over ridiculous things.

When Mike was done with work and Adam was done with Scouts we went over to Sunset Park.

We hadn't been back since the renovations, and it was amazing.

Sam slept through the fun.

But, it makes me grin just to think about his little toddler legs running around the splash pads and parks next year.

You can't really tell, but it has a cool log/treehouse theme.

Josh was in heaven with so many dangerous things to climb on (and jump off of).

Sunset Park is huge, and also has a lake that you can go fishing in... which we are planning on doing pretty soon.


On Friday, we went over to Barnes & Noble to get the kids free books for reading in their summer reading program.

Sam went ahead and took apart the shelves:

And we had to play on the uber-fun Lego table there (of course).

How many germs are on the Lego Sam has in his mouth, you ask?

I don't even want to know.


He hasn't been sick yet, though, so I think we are just building up that immune system.


On Saturday, we went to Adam's final swim meet.

He swam the 50 meter breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke.

He came in last in every race.

But, he finished and worked hard.

We can't wait until next summer!

We came home, did our Saturday jobs, ran to the store, where my sweet Sam rode in the cart for the first time:

... and my sweet ungraceful Grace knocked a candy display over:

Only Grace.

(True Story: Once we walked into the church building, and Grace fell down.  My RS president was standing in front of us, and without even turning around, she said, "That must be Grace.")

We love that sweet thing.

That evening Mike took the oldest three to the dollar theatre to see Rio 2.  I stayed home and mopped, studied my lesson, and took care of Sam.

And lest you think I'm being a martyr or anything, I can't stand "talking animal" movies, so I begged Mike to do it.  ;)


On Sunday the Primary counselor came over to see Grace, and talk to her about her upcoming baptism.

She is pretty darn excited about that.

After they left, Mike napped while I filled out interview sheets with the kids.

They are so fun.

We had a fun evening making dinner, going on a drive, and playing games.

I used to super-dread Sundays.

Turns out they aren't so bad after all.