Sunday, October 12, 2014

About Teeth

In our house, teeth are a big deal.  We talk about them all the time...Andy is working on them every day...and we hear about all of the hard procedures, easy procedures, and crazy procedures he does during his workday.  You'd think that we would get tired of teeth...
 
Nope!  Lainah lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago and we were all so excited for her!

Isn't that the cutest little baby tooth ever!?!  I'm sure the Tooth Fairy agrees with me.  Absolutely positive that she agrees.
In fact, that silly tooth Fairy left fairy dust all the way from the girls' bedroom window to Lainah's pillow...and the crisp new dollar bills that she left in place of that cute little Baby Tooth were magically dusted with fairy glitter as well!  Silly fairy!
 
And speaking of cuteness...this is one of my favorite things to see each night at bedtime.  Andy swooshes little Addyson up in his arms and places her on the bathroom counter...where she opens her mouth and says, "Ahh....eeeee.....ahhh...." so that he can brush her teeth for her.  She even likes to floss...crazy!
He has done this with each of the kids until they've gotten old enough to brush well on their own.  I love it, and there's just nothing cuter!  (And it also helps to decrease the amount of time they spend in his chair at work!)  I keep thinking that in this new house we're building, that we need to just put a dental chair in one of the bathrooms with a TV on the ceiling so that at night, I can just sit back, relax...and let him clean my teeth for me too.


Student of the Month!

Rachel has completely immersed herself into her new school.  She has smiled when she's been afraid and felt like crying, and as a result has met many new friends and has grown into an even more beautiful girl.  She tried out for the very competitive South Volleyball team her very first week of school, and made first cuts but didn't make it through the final cuts.  She was devastated...but picked herself back up and the very next week tried out for a part in the school play and the school musical.  She landed parts in each...including a lead role in the musical! 
She has been working hard in each of her classes...and her next endeavor is cheerleading or girls' basketball...she hasn't decided which.  She is an amazing girl, and I love her and admire her so much.  She was awarded "Student of the Month" last month, and we were so proud of her.  I think the funniest comment was from Taylor who congratulated her and then said, "hmm...I don't think I've ever been awarded Student of the Month...how'd you do that!?!" 
 
Way to go Rachey!  So proud of your hard work!

Firsts!

The first day of school this year was an especially exciting one for our family!
All of our kids started new schools due to the new house being built.
Taylor started high school...wait, what!?!
Rachel is a 7th grader at South...
Here they are, that very first morning ready to leave the house at 7 am...Rachel was so nervous, she told me she was worried about not having Taylor at the same school as her, and no younger siblings either.  This was the first year she would be in a school all by herself.  Well, they both did great and are now loving it!

Brooklynn started her very last year of Elementary school!  She is a 5th grader and next year will join Rachel at South!  Matthew is a 2nd grader, and they both love their new school, Lakeridge Elementary. 

And this year was a huge one for Lainah...she started Kindergarten!  Here she is on the morning of orientation...she was SO cute and excited!  She was a tiny bit worried until I told her that I would stay with her for the whole time and then bring her home with me...then it was all excitement!

And here she is the following day on her first full day of school.  I could tell she was a little nervous, but she was brave and at the end of the day was so excited to tell me all about it!

There she is, turning to give me one last wave...I was brave too and didn't even cry...
Until I got into my car...and then I let my heart break and I  cried and cried and cried.  I have loved having Lainah with me at home.  I didn't even send her off to preschool, I taught her myself, because I wanted to enjoy every single second of having her all to myself without outside influence.  We're into school almost an entire quarter...and I miss her.  I miss all of my kiddos when they're gone.  It's a good thing I have Addy and Emma to keep me company!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Great Visits

I grew up living right down the road from my grandparents.  As a mother now, I realize how extremely blessed I was to live so closeby to both sets of my grandparents.  I spent so many hours and days up at their house playing piano with grandma, doing her hair, cleaning house with her, writing stories with her on her old typewriter, coloring pictures to submit in coloring contests, and eating ice cream cones and hot dogs with cheese whiz.  Grandpa was usually out working on a tractor, or plowing a field, or changing the water...so sometimes I helped grandma take his lunch out to him.  I always knew that Grandma and Grandpa's house was a haven that would welcome me at any time of any day, and I grew to love these two wonderful people so very much.  I still look forward to and enjoy talking to my grandmother on a regular basis over the phone.  She has so much love, and so much wisdom.  I love how she listens to me, and how she cheers me on in all of my endeavors. 
 
A few weeks ago, she and grandpa made the long trip over to Boise to see my niece and nephew be baptized, and also to meet baby Emma.  They are 84 and 87 years old...and have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember...I was so glad that my Emma was able to be held by them.
 
Here is grandma Helen telling Emma all of those wonderful sorts of things that grandmothers tell their little ones.

Emma was a sweetie, and listened to everything Grandma had to say.  She just gazed up at her like she knew what she was saying and like she knew who she was already.

I love how my children gather around their "Grandma Helen."  They love listening to her, and she loves sharing stories with them.  Watching them like this makes me so happy, so happy that they have been blessed to know her!

One of my favorite things about Grandpa is his ability to tell stories.  I remember as a little girl that after dinner (we had Sunday dinner at their house a lot!) we wouldn't leave the table...instead we would sit around to listen to my Dad, and grandpa talk and laugh over the same old stories that we had heard over and over.  But Grandpa was such a great storyteller that they never got old.  Through the years, his stories about World War II, about meeting and "courting" grandma, and stories from his youth have made me laugh, cry, and have given me strength. 

Taylor and Andy love listening to him too.  Grandpa wanted to know all about Taylor's football games and was telling Tay all about how they used to play in the "olden days" without pads and with leather helmets...and how Grandma used to be a cheerleader wearing a poodle skirt!

Grandpa's hands have done many things throughout his life.  From fighting on the battleship USS Alabama during World War II, to working on machinery on his farm, to giving Priesthood Blessings at times of need.  And now, his strong hands are holding sweet little Emma.   

I love how Rachel will just squeeze right in to snuggle up with Grandpa...and I know he loves it too. 
What a great visit we had!  I'm so thankful that my kids have had the chance to know their great grandparents so well...it's truly a gift.  I'm so thankful for family...and as I see my grandparents slowing down and getting closer and closer to that 100 year mark...it makes me so thankful for the knowledge I have that this life is not the end, that families are forever, that we continue on, and that after this life because of the sacred covenants we have made within the Holy Temples through the power of the Priesthood...that we will never be separated but will be together forever.  

Leaders in Training

This year, instead of participating in the regular Scout Camp, Taylor chose to apply and participate in the National Youth Leadership Training Camp.  He spent a week up in McCall doing all sorts of leadership based activities.  He said a lot of it was listening to seminars, and then applying the skills they had just talked about.  He really enjoyed it. 
At the end of the week, they had a special graduation ceremony for the scouts who participated in this training, so I booked a condo and we took the rest of the family up there for a fun weekend.  Little Emma was only three weeks old...but she traveled really well, and seemed to really enjoy sleeping in the huge bed.  In fact, Andy and I were amazed at how one so small could completely take over a King sized bed.

Here is the group of NYLT's...they were divided into 10 patrols, and in true Scout fashion, part of the ceremony was sitting through 10 different skits. 

Emma survived the skits by taking a long nap.

There were huckleberry bushes everywhere, so we let Lainah, Matthew, and Addy pick huckleberries.  Addy was sharing some of her yummy treasure with Daddy.

Matthew would sit and watch for a little while, and then he was off picking again.  By the end of the ceremony he had purple fingers.

Rachel and Brooklynn kept me company on that hard log the entire time!  They kept asking me why none of the skits were funny!  And a few times, Brooklynn would whisper to me, "Mom, I don't get it..." to which I would reply, "that's okay Brooklynn.  It's a scout skit...there's nothing to get!"

Here is Taylor's patrol.  When he went up for the week, he didn't know if he would know anyone up there because he was the only boy from our ward who signed up for this...but he ended up being in the same patrol as a friend from school, and became friends with the rest of the boys. 

They were awarded a special neckerchief and slide, and a couple badges for the training.

I missed him a ton, and was so excited to give him a hug.  This was the first year of him going up to Scout Camp that Andy didn't go up at all, and it made me miss him more and worry...because I knew his Dad wasn't up there looking out for him.  He's growing up and is a great kid.

This is Taylor's Camp Counselor, Jeremiah.  Jeremiah had asked Taylor to introduce him to us.
He shook our hands, and told us what a great young man Taylor is...told us about the leadership he had displayed during the week within his patrol, and invited Taylor to apply to come up next year as a Counselor.  It was one of those moments as a parent that you think, "okay...maybe we aren't doing everything all wrong!"  

Stolen Contraband

So as I was going through Taylor's closet a few weeks ago...I came across some interesting things.  Actually, he is quite the pack rat and it was really like seeing a history of his past few years of Middle School.  A few of the items that really made me laugh...were items that should have been turned in at the end of their respective seasons.  Ahem. 
 
I'm not sure how he gets away with things like this...Rachel was a few days late in turning in her track uniform last season, and she was given a notice that she was going to be given a fine if it wasn't turned in the next day.  Well.  Obviously, Taylor is very lucky...either that, or we owe the school some money and they school is just happily accounting for the interest we owe on his fines for keeping these uniforms for so long.
Last year, Taylor wrestled.  I found not one, but two "unitards" as I call them.  He would always correct me, that they are called "singlets."  Whatever.  I like "unitard" better.  He also played basketball, and I found that uniform as well.  This summer he played basketball with Skyview, his new school, so he now has a Skyview basketball uniform to add to his collection. 
I couldn't help it, and had to take some funny pictures.  I love Matthew...he reminds me of the guy on Nacho Libre.

So here we have Rachel and Matthew modeling the Unitards, while Brooklynn is sporting Tay's basketball uniform.  He thinks he's pretty awesome...

Until I told the kids to take him down! 

Even Lainah came to join in the fun.  I have to hand it to him...
even with all four of them tackling him and hanging on him, he stood his ground.
 
The stray uniforms are now washed and in a bag ready for him to return to East Valley.  I told him it was his responsibility...the secretary there is too scary for me.  

Eggsperiment!

Rachel is really enjoying her science class this year.  Her teacher is really strict and has tough standards, but Rachel is learning a lot and has really enjoyed her.  To introduce the unit on cells, her teacher gave the students a two week project involving two eggs. 
 
Rachel had to do certain things to her two eggs each day at the same time for two weeks.  The reason for two eggs was in case one accidentally got broken.  I'm thankful for her teacher's foresight because with only two days to go, while completing the daily task, Rachel handled one egg a little too abruptly, and it burst open.  Yuck.  Thank goodness she had it over the sink!

 
It was crazy to see the transformation of the egg.  After soaking it in vinegar and different household substances, the shell became soft, transparent, and rubbery.  The yolk shrunk inside to a small sphere.  The very last day they were supposed to soak the egg in whatever they wanted...so Rachel chose to put it in Tang...which is why it ended up orange.
In the middle of her two weeks, we went out of town over the weekend and she had to find a friend to "babysit" her eggs.  I'm glad she has such good friends...because seriously?  These things started to get a little stinky near the end!
 
I wonder what her teacher will come up with next!?!

Toilets...

About a year ago, as a surprise, I divided my office/craft room in half, and moved Rachel downstairs so that she didn't have to share a room with three sisters anymore.  I didn't do anything too extensive, because I knew we'd be building a house this year...but I did make it as cute as a 50 year old basement room could be without tearing out the walls and starting over.
 
Well.  This old house, which was built in the mid 1950s apparently thinks I should have gutted the room and started over to do the remodel right.  In fact, this old house must have thought that I should have gutted the entire basement and done a proper restoration job.  Why am I convinced that this old house has that opinion? 
 
Because about a month ago, it flooded.  In the middle of the night. In fact, it flooded in the wee hours of the first day of school.  Now that's a way to start a school year, wouldn't you say!?  Needless to say, our lives were complete chaos for about a month.  That first week of school was pure survival.  With a newborn infant not sleeping through the night...this flooding could not have been worse timing.  But then...when is it a good time for a flood? 

Poor Rachel, Taylor, and Matthew had to move all their stuff to the upstairs living room and camp out for a couple of weeks.  The water damage was extensive, the cleanup crew had to cut out all of the carpet, pads, and the walls halfway up throughout the entire basement.

While Andy, Taylor, and I worked frantically to box up our stuff as quickly as possible.  My craft room, the home office, our family room with games, toys, DVDs, Wii equipment, etc.  Our food storage room, which was full...is now empty.
And our new home, which is now in the framing stage, could not be finished quickly enough for our liking!!!

 I've had a few people say that I'll miss this old place when we move.  So the other night, I sat down and tried to make a list of the things about this house that I would miss.  I sort of came up empty.

Road noise?  Nope.  Outdated electrical that trips a breaker when I have my dishwasher running at the same time as my crockpot?  Nope.  The nice breeze that comes through year round through my nicely not-efficient windows?  Nope.  The 1970s mustard yellow kitchen linoleum?  Nope.  The extra narrow hallways that I am constantly hitting my shoulders or hips on as I turn the corner?  Nope.  I know, I think I'll miss the unattached garages.  Wait, nope.  hmmm...maybe the plumbing that makes me waiting an hour inbetween each load of laundry so that my basement doesn't flood?  Nope.  I know, I know what I'm going to miss!  I'm going to miss the culprit basement toilet that ran all night long and flooded my basement, which will make our last few months in this home such a delight.  That's what I'm going to miss.  I might just have to pull it out, and bring it along with us.

In all seriousness, I really won't miss this house one bit, not one part of it.  However, we have made lots of good memories here and those memories I'll look back on with joy...but the house?  Nope.  Not the house.