Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pioneer Celebrations 2012

We were able to celebrate the Mormon Pioneers in several ways this year. Our stake has an annual childrens' parade and pancake breakfast that Alden, Roland, and I attended. Aaron had gone to Utah for a family wedding and took Emmett with him. Emmett almost decided not to go on the trip, just because he didn't want to miss our 15 minute little parade, but we convinced him and he had a great time with his Dad and Papa. Our fun in Mesa included the parade, the breakfast, and some pioneer games and activities afterwards. The bow and arrows and slingshots were the bigest favorite of the boys. We even broke out the crepe paper to decorate bikes, although our pioneer outfits were pretty sad & consisted of plaid shirts.

Also while Aaron was gone I gave a talk in sacrament morning about pioneers. I talked a lot about other pioneers, rather than just the early Mormon Saints: Lehi's family, the Jaredites, and the Children of Israel. I was helped out during the talk by Roland, who snuck up to the front of the chapel and stood in front of the podium during the second half. I think he even kicked the podium a few times. He mostly scowled at me, which made me smile and made me much less nervous. Guess he was mad I wasn't sitting with him.

We had pack meeting the night of the 24th, which went well. I managed to coordinate 6 peach cobblers and 3 batches of homemade vanilla ice cream. (I am the cub committee chair.) One of my den leaders texted me that they were the best refreshments yet!

We left for Pinetop the morning after pack meeting, to stay until right before school starts. I can't tell you how much we love it here. Today we went to the Pioneer Day celebrations in Snowflake. We watched the parade with my brother and sister-in-law and the cousins. Thanks to Missy and her family, we got a great parking spot and good seats too. The boys collected a ton of candy so they were pleased enough. We caught a BBQ lunch at the church, which I loved but the boys didn't. Then we went to the fair for a while, but the weather was a factor - the rain and wind, along with lightning made them deflate all the bouncy houses, which is all the boys really wanted to do. I loved the weather though, as long as it wasn't raining too hard. It was cool, but not cold. So nice in the midst of our hot AZ summers. We watched some kids ride a mechanical bull, walked through the booths, bought some snowcones, and headed home. I was anxious to get home to watch some Olympics! And the boys were anxious to get home to do this:

Alden has been desparate to make our own bows and arrows since the stake pioneer activity. He looked up directions on Google, and this week we finally bought supplies and got them started. The arrows have foam on them, so I'm hoping we have no injuries. Wish us luck! All in all, we wrung all we could out of Pioneer Day this year. Those people were amazing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To Swim or Not to Swim

Swim team for Alden and Emmett started the day after Memorial Day, and all three boys and I were at Skyline Pool bright and early. I wasn't worried about Alden at all, he did fine last year and has been swimming for months with Aaron at the YMCA pool. And I wasn't too worried about Emmett either, since Aaron has been working with him and the requirements for swim team are only to swim across the pool. He could totally do that.

So the 5 and 6 years old lined up - Emmett was in good company with almost a dozen friends from the ward. He jumped to the front of his line and when they said go, he jumped in without hesitation and swam all the way across the pool without stopping or holding onto the lane lines. I was so proud! But when they lined up on the other side... he kept pushing other people in front of him and ended up at the end of the line. He didn't want to jump in again. The water was cold! Quite a few kids were crying at this point. I finally coaxed him in, but he kept stopping, crying to me that he wasn't going to make it, and hanging on the lines. And things really didn't get better from there.

It was a big struggle the entire 1st week for Emmett - he didn't ever want to go in, then wouldn't swim like I know he can. Yet I was still surprised at the end of the week when the head coach talked to me and said that Emmett needed another year before he joins the swim team, and then they asked us to pull him out and get a refund. I was really disappointed and went through a range of emotions over the weekend: anger, sadness, sympathy for Emmett, who seemed most upset that now he couldn't earn the prize we promised him for going to swim team every day all summer. If we had been at another pool I don't think this would have happened. Skyline seems to be the most competitive, they had a long waiting list, and cut a bunch of people from the team. We knew 6 or 7 other kids whose parents pulled them out or the coach talked to them too. Here's a few pictures of that first week though.

Emmett's friend Benson Radcliffe did not get cut. I think Emmett is as good (or better) than him but Benson had a completely different attitude. He was happy, jumped in every time it was his turn, and did his best. If Emmett had done that then maybe he would have stayed too. 

Alden with one of his many friends on the team: Reece Anderson. Reece is such a great kid and I love that Alden is friends with him. They are in ALP together and I spent an hour every week with the 4 ALP boys all this last year of 2nd grade. Their teacher, Mrs. McDaniel, was fabulous!

And of course, (as I'm writing this post much later), Emmett has been a stellar swimmer this summer. He swims lap after lap at the YMCA, and can breathe to the side better than Alden. All three boys did one session of lessons at Brimhall and it helped everyone a lot. Roley is still too impetuous and doesn't follow directions well. Alden had two teachers and only three kids in his class so he got a lot of individual stroke instruction. Emmett's class was a little too easy for him, but he did learn the backstroke. Next year I will put Alden and Emmett on Brimhall Swim Team, both in the 7-8 group. I usually push Alden up a year to play sports with his friends, but I want him to swim with Emmett. At the end of swim team this year, I found that Alden really only socialized with his friends a little anyway. We do love swimming though!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Long Weekend

I wish the entire summer could be like this first long weekend. From the time the boys got out of school on Thursday, all the way through Monday, things were heavenly. We had completely beautiful, amazing, unusually cool weather on Saturday and Sunday, and it was only about 100 on the other days. Here's the rundown on our fun weekend.

Friday I took the boys to visit my grandmother, then to the dinosaur museum. I love having a season pass because we can enjoy our favorite things but not feel like we have to see everything in one visit. Then we stopped at Tia Rosa's for lunch. I don't think the boys had ever been there and I was gratified to see them enjoy it as much as I do. Although they don't appreciate the chips & salsa yet. After a little quiet time when we got home, Alden & Emmett ran off to play with friends and I was able to get things ready for a dinner with guests. My friend, Jeanna, was visiting here with her family from San Fransisco and we were lucky to snag them for a couple of hours. Her two boys are super cute & we always love catching up with Jeanna & Jason. I wish we could see them more often.

Saturday was so gorgeous and Aaron went golfing early, played 18 holes, and then had me drop Alden off for 9 holes of Daddy & Son golf. I work for hours in the backyard, getting it a little more presentable, especially the porch. All three boys went to a birthday party for Alden's buddies, John & Dylan. And then Alden & Emmett went to the park to play slip 'n' slide, sprinklers, and water balloons with Alden's friend, Joshua. We finished off the day with a BBQ at our good friends' house. We love hanging out with the Pearces, and were happy to see them in Mesa since we often get together at their cabin in Pinedale. Alden & Ryland play so well together. We were excited to find out their kids were doing swim team at Skyline this year too! It will be a fun summer.

Sunday was full of church, including attending sacrament meeting in our old ward so we could hear Dot & Boyd Williams speak. They are reporting this week to their family history mission at temple square. They both gave wonderful talks on repentance. The boys were pretty good so we were able to listen & it was fun to see some of our old friends. Sunday evening we had our friends, the Bowens, over to BBQ hamburgers and visit. Even though we see them a lot (they are in our ward), we don't often get the chance to visit for more than 5 minutes at a time so it was great to spent time with them. Their two oldest & our two oldest always play together well, their two girls occupied themselves, and Roland holed up with my iTouch somewhere. So everyone was happy!

Monday morning I took the boys to the weekly summer movie at Harkins. We used the rest of the day to do a few jobs, plan some activities for the rest of the summer, and stock up on groceries for the week. I am hoping for a fun, peaceful summer full of swimming, time up North, and some schoolwork and fieldtrips thrown in too. Wish up luck!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Welcome to Summer!

Yesterday afternoon was our Welcome to Summer party. The boys got out of school at noon & I was waiting for them with signs, streamers, and ice cream bar for lunch, and a new Wii game from redbox. We started a little rough: I waited and waited, watching for them out the window when I finally received a call from the school saying I needed to go pick up Emmett because his tummy hurt. He was doubled over in pain & couldn't ride home. He even waddled out to the car all doubled over. Luckily after a little TLC & movies in Mom's bed he was able to join the fun an hour later.

Auntie Candice, Jaycee, and Rocco came over for the afternoon to join in the summer fun too. The kids all played pretty well & Candice & I were able to rest and visit a bit. Alden spent a couple of hours at Reece's end-of-the-year pool party, and then Dad took the boys swimming at the YMCA while I made everyone's favorite, orange chicken, for dinner. Summer is off to a great start!

Here are before & after shots of Alden & Emmett's new summer haircuts. Bring on swim team!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Little Character

Roland finished up the school year at Boulder Creek Elementary in the speech program preschool. Teacher Julie puts on a cute program at the end of the school year, complete with songs, awards, and even a buffet. I got some video of Roland in the program and will lodge it here, even if no one wants to watch it except his Dad. You better watch it, Aaron. We do love our Ro Ro!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

This is for my sweetie, who is ever thoughtful and understanding, whom I love more than anything. I love you, Aaron - Happy Valentine's Day! Will you be mine forever?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not Such a Baby Anymore!

My baby is 4. I don't know whether to be elated or cry over this. A little of both I guess. And despite my New Year's resolution to post more about our family here, it's the last day of January and I've done nothing. And we've had a fun month. I might as well start with a tribute to my big boy.

Despite big plans, Roland had a hard, grumpy birthday which started with tears in the morning (mine) and many, many tears the rest of the day (his). I think he's been losing too much sleep in the last week. But he's been planning a "new lego ninjago birthday" for months now, so we went ahead despite the grumpiness. He loves lego ninjago, which is why I was surprised when he hated the new t-shirt I gave him first thing in the morning. We are working on giving gracious thanks whenever you receive a gift from someone. (understatement of the year)

He did okay playing alone in the morning, which he does well every day. Roley is always an independent player and has a harder time interacting well with his brothers. And I sure hope he had a good day at preschool, but I didn't receive any negative feedback, so...      The party was scheduled for after school and I want to thank my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for all their help in setting up and then helping at the party. They are awesome!

We had balloons and dancing, cupcakes and soda, bubbles and swings, games and favor bags. And Roland only had to be taken out three times in 1.5 hours for crying meltdowns. Let's just say it was a lot different than Alden's 4th birthday. Ro is definitely my baby. But I think the three guests from his preschool class had fun and Roley's first friend birthday party is history.

We made Ro's favorite orange chicken for dinner and he had visits from Auntie Candice's crew and Ma'am and Grampa before bedtime, which couldn't come soon enough. Apparently we are in the formidable fours now. The mood swings are amazing.

Here's some details about Roland's personality and life right now:

  • I can still convince him to snuggle with me for a few minutes at a time. Especially if I rub his back or his skin somewhere. He likes it when I touch him really light and give him goosebumps. He holds so still. We call him Master of Snuggles, which comes from Lego Ninjago where each ninja is the master of an element.
  • He loves preschool, where he now has the same teacher and school as last year. He started the year at a new school and despite how wonderful his new teacher was, I just didn't feel good about it and he is back with Teacher Julie now - he's a Boulder Creek Bulldog! I even got him a school t-shirt for Christmas. He rides the bus (which he enjoys too) and is gone from 11-3 Mon-Thur. Roley's speech is still hard to understand sometimes, but he is making great strides with the therapist at school, Miss Cindy.
  • Roland loves to dance, do ninja fighting (pretty much the same as his dancing), and play Lego Hero Factory, Lego Ninjago, Kung Zhu ninja hamsters, and Star Wars light saber fighting. And he loves sticks. Are you sensing a theme here? His choice of toys & television is much older than it should be because of his older brothers - it's pretty hard to separate these things. He is also generally athletic and good with balls, but hasn't shown a distinct preference to a sport. I'm thinking about soccer for the fall as his first team sport but we'll see.
  • Roley started as a sunbeam in primary this year - he is the oldest in his class and the tallest too. (he's above the 90th % for height) He is not terrible in primary, but he has a ways to go before we can stop asking his teachers how things went every Sunday.
  • He still sleeps every night with his Minky Moo. We have been reading the Book of Mormon (kids comic book-type) as a family every morning early and he loves to bring his Minky downstairs for this. Otherwise we try to keep it up in his bed.
  • When Roland gets hurt he cries huge tears that drop all over everything and he needs to hear this: "Oh, Roland! That's awful!" And then he says, "And terrible!" Or we say terrible first and then he says awful - it's hilarious. This is true for everything from imagined hurts from his brothers to serious injuries.
  • He loves to take pictures and I often find tons of random shots of the floor, walls, and his toys on my camera. He loves the self-portrait of his feet or legs too.
  • When Roland is concentrating on something, especially if he is having a hard time, he will yell at anyone in the room to "Be Twiet!" Even if you aren't talking to him. Even if you aren't talking at all. Mostly this is directed at Mommy, but others too. Today he even told me. "Don't even breathe, Mommy."
  • He's a super jumpy kid. He loves trampolines, bouncy houses, jumping on beds or couches, and just seems to hop along through life.
  • He has a big gap between his front teeth just like Emmett. I love it and worry it will be gone when his permanent teeth come in.
  • He has the cutest buns in the whole world!

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    FHE Hip Hop Style

    Alden & Emmett took an after school karate class this fall, and then Alden had golf and a Lego class. And Emmett has been taking a hip hop class. (We love that we can use our school contribution money that is tax deductible to pay for these classes!)

    So tonight for Family Home Evening Emmett showed us the routine he's been learning. I even bought the Justin Bieber song so he can practice. And as soon as his routine ran out the other boys joined in with their best moves. And Aaron & I sat back and enjoyed the show.

    Afterwards we worked on putting up the Christmas tree. We're planning to have all our decorations up this week since we are hosting a Carpenter Christmas party on Saturday.