Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Headed out...

Alex snapped this picture right before we left.  Our renters used our couches, dressers, our bed and nightstands, and a few lamps.  Everything else is packed in our garage.  The kids beds and mattresses, the kitchen table, and nearly everything else we own is in here.  And look at all that space left above the car!  


With the help of some members from our church, we were able to get the house cleaned and ready for our renters.  We headed out for summer travels in the late afternoon - later than planned, but we made it to our first destination.  Whew!  Getting on the road meant that my work was done (well, at least all the manual labor...)  

Still working on securing a place to live in England...

Weston's 7th birthday

Someone turned 7 in July!  He transitioned from Angry Birds to Batman this year.  He really likes one of Batman's villains - Bane (probably because of his big muscles).  He was very excited to get his Batman Lego set with Bane.  Owen was thoughtful and drew Weston a picture of Bane.  If you can't read it, it says, "I know you like Bane so here is a picture of Bane beating up Batman.  I love you!  From, Owen"   Such a sweet birthday card... 😃

He also got the whole set of "Who Would Win" books, although we haven't had much time to read them...  He also was happy to get another Batman Lego set - Joker Balloon Escape.  


I also got him a Bane t-shirt, which he wears until I tell him to put on a clean shirt.  He got some insect toys and some real insect wings and parts (to be looked at with magnification). 

He got 7 pieces of bacon for breakfast and a cake from our home teacher on his birthday.  I made a cake later for his friend party.  Here he is holding his coveted Lego Bane.

We usually do friend parties every other year now, but we let Weston do two in a row.  Since we are moving to England and won't be back until after his birthday next year, we let him do a friend party with his kindergarten buddies.  It was hard to get good attendance with summer vacations, but we got 4 of his friends from school at his party.  They had a great time - we filled a bunch of water balloons and let them have a water balloon fight.  Before that, they got to throw water balloons at laminated pictures of Batman's villains and do a mini obstacle course.  Then we had pizza and cake and let them run around wild! They each got a Batman fidget spinner for party favors.



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Weston wanted a Bane cake, and I was worried how I was going to put that together.  Weston said it would be okay to put a print out of Bane on his cake, so that made it pretty easy.  


It was fun!  Happy 7th birthday Weston!



scout camp

As I mentioned in the previous post, Alex went to one week of scout camp.  Alex was the scout master, so he had to "suffer" through this rough week... Nathan and Jared both went.  They took a boat out to Santa Cruz Island, then backpacked for a couple of days.  They hiked 14 miles and had to carry all their water.  It actually was rough doing that, because Alex carried 3 extra gallons of water so that they wouldn't run out.  

This is what Alex posted on FaceBook:  "Just got back from a great scout camp out on Santa Cruz Island. So proud of the boys for making the 14 mile backpacking trek gaining over 1400 feet of elevation from Prisoners Harbor to Scorpion Harbor while carrying ALL of their water. We also got to kayak into several sea caves and even had time to earn a few merit badges. Great job Young Men."





Summer 2017

My summer was super busy and full of daily manual labor.  This was probably one of the hardest summers for me.  In April, we found out that we had an opportunity to go to England for a year for Alex's job.  We were excited to take the opportunity to go, but that also meant a lot of preparations and work to be done to get ready to go.  I started right away trying to de-clutter our house and get it ready to show potential renters.  It was a big job cleaning and clearing out our house.  Alex was gone most of the summer for work or scouts.  He went to Spain for 1.5 weeks, more work related things in New Mexico for 3 weeks, and 1 week of scout camp.  So for 5.5 of the 7.5 weeks of summer, Alex was gone.  The remaining 2 weeks he had to spend most of it at work too.  That left me to clean and show our house, find renters, yard work, box up and clear out our house, pack, clean, make travel accommodations, vacation arrangements and baths and vet appointment for the dog, swimming lessons, dentist and doctor appointments, and being a "single mom" all summer with the kids home.  I did 95% of our move all on my own.  I barely survived and several times wanted to call it quits.  I had friends help out a few different times when I really needed help - couldn't have done it without their help.  

We didn't have much time for fun things this summer, but managed to go bowling a couple of times, swimming lessons, and a few play dates with friends.  


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We all had dentist, doctor, and eye doctor appointments this summer.  Savannah did well at her first teeth cleaning at the dentist.  

We went as a family to the LA Temple in June - last time until sometime in the fall of 2018.  (I went one time by myself in July).


I traded watching kids with a friend some this summer.  She had a few times when she really needed help (as a single mom) and I had a few times when I really needed help (when Nathan wasn't around to baby-sit).  I got the better deal with sending 3 kids with her... having her daughter Sunny over was fun for Savannah.  Savannah really latched onto her and loved when Sunny brought her tea set over to play.  Owen was a good sport and played waiter to Sunny and Savannah.

Owen, Weston, and Savannah did 2 weeks of swimming lessons.  They all did well.  It was Savannah's first swimming lessons.  Weston made progress in doing strokes, Owen continued to get better at swimming, and he jumped off the diving board for the first time.     

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Weston got glasses (Nathan is our only kid who doesn't have glasses yet).  Weston loves to eat sardines, but we have to send him outside to eat them because they smell so bad.   

The 4th of July was a pretty fun day.  We had a church function - playing baseball and potluck lunch.  (I spent the afternoon working.)  We rented a movie and had cookies and ice cream in the evening, and I took the kids to watch fireworks.  



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We got in a quick visit with family before we left.  I met my sister-in-law Carrie and her boys one day for lunch and beach fun.  It was nice to catch up.

...but then it was right back to work!  

The good part of the summer was the couple of evenings we spent with friends, who threw farewell dinners for us.  It was sad to say good-bye, but fun to hang out.  Didn't get any pictures from Alex's work party or pictures with all our friends.  Wish we had time to hang out with all of our friends.  





End of school

Jared was recognized for a few different awards, as shown below.  He participated in a math club after school one day a week for the last couple months of school.  He got to be part of a team that competed against other local schools.  They didn't win any awards, but it was good for him to participate.  

He had a great year!  He loved his teacher, which Nathan also had in 5th grade.  He had a second teacher for some of the year when his teacher's wife had a baby.  We didn't catch any of Jared's friends to take pictures on the last day, but we just took pictures of all his friends at Jared's party in May.   



 Owen also had a great year, and he loved his teacher too.  He had lots of friends - here are some of them:

Weston was best friends with Brandon, but got along well with several other classmates as well.  He wanted to take pictures with lots of friends on the last day.

It was pretty sad to say good-bye to Weston's teacher, because she was such a great teacher.  I had to hold back tears with the giant hug.  It must be hard as a teacher to spend so much time with the kids for the year, and then they move on.  Teachers invest so much time in their students and develop relationships, but then they're done at the end of the year.


I was more emotional during the Kindergarten graduation this year - I was glad to see how Weston has grown and been successful this year.  He has some kind of challenges (maybe a little autistic), but it hasn't impeded his progress this year. 

Weston's favorite Kindergarten memory was reading the "Who Would Win" versus books by Jerry Pallotta.  We went through a list of things they did for the year, but out of all the fun things they did, his favorite was reading books.  

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

School choir

I talked Nathan into doing choir at school this year, which was a 0 hour class (at 7:30am on Monday and Fridays).  He wasn't sure about it at first, but ended up really enjoying it.  Here are some clips from their last performance.  They ended up doing some dance moves along with the singing.  They didn't spend a lot of time practicing the steps - but they pulled it off.  You can see that Nathan probably could have used a little more practice time...but they did well considering the little time they spent practicing the steps.  

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Baby shower

I helped do a baby shower for my friend Kellie - she had a baby girl in June.  We did a nautical theme, so I made some paper boats, some pendants, painted a wooden light house, and put together a diaper wheel.  The diaper creation turned out really cute, but it was way too much work (and I didn't want to pay for the instructions on Etsy, so I had to try to put it together without any guidance on the how-to).  

I did the invitations too.  😊


I did not do any of the food - others took care of the food.  The mini cheesecakes were cute, and I liked the vegetable anchor too.  

I found these cute boxes at Michael's, which were perfect for storing the extra diapers and a few other little baby gifts.  The box says, "Love you to the beach and back."

We had a fun time!  The mad-lib pregnancy story was memorable - so funny!  I'm disappointed that I didn't think to take a picture with Kellie or even take pictures of any of the guests.  At least I took a few pictures of Kellie opening gifts.  

Mother's Day 2017

Alex made breakfast and dinner for me, and the kids had some cards and gifts for me.  



I haven't been good about honoring family for birthdays or holidays in the way of gifts, but that doesn't mean that I don't think about them or love them any less.  I just haven't been acknowledging them in the form of gifts very often.  
  I did put together these collages for my Mom and Mother-in-law on Mother's Day, but before I could post them the computer crashed.  Here they are a few months later... 

I love and admire my Mom and MIL for the great women that they are and for their kindness, love, service, and support.  They are great moms, but also great grandmas, who are dedicated to their families.  Happy Mother's Day!  
  


Jared's 11th birthday!

Jared turned 11 this year - he was excited to get his big Star Wars Lego set.  I didn't make a cake for his actual birthday, because he had a friend party later.  But our home teacher from church brought over a cake for Jared.  He got his requested meals - omelettes and bacon for breakfast and lasagna for dinner.  

His birthday was the day of the final mile of the marathon mile club.  He ran a personal record of a 7 minute mile.  He also ran faster than any of the other kids in the school.  They ran miles during lunch recess, so I was proud of him for taking the time to do that.  At first he wasn't going to do the running club, because he had "been there, done that", but I convinced him that he should participate anyway.  Way to go Jared!  The kids ran their 26th (or more) mile together at the high school track.  
 

Jared wanted to do a Spartan style birthday party.  The Spartan races are a series of obstacles that involve jumping over fire and climbing up walls or through different obstacles.  We didn't do anything extreme, but put together some challenges at the school.  They had two running challenges - one for distance and one speed challenge.  The other challenges were hauling sand bags over short walls, balance beam, rope climb and monkey bars, climbing over a wall, and climbing up to the top of a play structure.  We timed them for speed, and then Nathan made two teams based on their individual times.  Then they competed in a team relay, with individuals assigned different challenges.  It was a really close race!  


We had hamburgers and cake back at our home after the challenges were done.  

I love Weston trying to help Jared blow out the trick candles!  

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Best buddies

I had to do a special post about Weston's best friend from his class.  He met Brandon last summer when they did a week of safety camp together.  They latched onto each other the first day of school when they discovered they were in the same kindergarten class.  I was a little worried how Weston would adjust to Kindergarten, but his friend Brandon made the transition easy.  He already had a friend on the very first day, and then they were best buddies the rest of the year.  I wish I had a video of them greeting each other - each time they see each other, it's a full body hug, as if they hadn't seen each other in years!  It's so cute.  

I also love the picture of them holding hands, walking home after school for a play date.  They might be embarrassed about that later, but it's still cute now!

So thankful for good friends!  Weston will really miss his friend next year.  


May pre-school



I saved letter P for our last day - our Princess Party!  We had popsicles first (because I knew they would be so messy...), and then they picked out a princess dress.  I did their hair and make-up and then we had lunch.  After that, we read princess books and made sparkly paper purses.  Best pre-school day of the year!




I sent Annie home with an alphabet photo book from our year.  


Here are a couple of the pages:




Savannah enjoyed having a friend come over and play.  And this turned out to be our last day of pre-school crafts for Savannah too, because we later found out that she will be going to school next year in England!  It's a little surreal to be done with our pre-school season.  It's been fun!