Thursday, January 28, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT

Happy Birthday Scott! I am certain 10 will be a FABULOUS year!  This past year you have gained an inner confidence of who you are and what you are capable of doing; knowing your likes and dislikes. You are obedient and want to do what is right.  You are responsible. You are a loyal friend and well liked.  You want a play date everyday, all day. I usually tell you to figure it out, you hop on your bike and find a friend. When I tell you no, you get grumpy and moody which usually results in getting sent to your room.  The moodiness is beginning.  You like being a leader.  Student council has been fun (even though it means missing recess). You love being active, riding your bike to school, swimming and running.  You are quite the athlete.  You have the fastest mile time in school and did amazing in swimming.  You don't love team sports but instead individual, timed sports (probably because you like things being fair).  You get emotional when you are tired. You are an amazing leader and helper in school.  

You made it into GATE which you were most excited about for a bowling party. You are willing and eager to try new things.  This year you learned how to surf and ski.  You loved skiing and are fearless and liked trying out the terrain park this week.  You are enjoying garage projects with dad.  This week you learned about electricity at school and come home to solder your own light, switch and motor.   You love Mel and Ruby.  Mel likes to sleep on your bed and that makes you happy!  You like making hash browns and helping with breakfast in the morning.  You set your alarm for 6:00 every morning to practice your piano.  You are becoming a great piano player.  You don't want to put down your books at night when it is bedtime.   You love to read.  Instead of asking for toys and games for your birthday you asked for electronics and clothes.  Instead of wanting to go to the park, you want to go to a friends house to play video games, go skiing or for a run.  When you learn about something cool, you find out a way to go and do it.  You have an ever growing maturity and are a great big brother and example to your siblings.  You have so many talents and I am so excited to see what this year has in store for you and the incredible things that you accomplish and person you continue to become.  You want to be an engineer or dentist someday and are usually proud of yourself.   Here are your many faces..........













Sunday, January 24, 2016

Welcome Back Routines

Caring for parents or sick children puts certain things on hold or out of reach for far more important things. Kids activities, gym classes, the ability to work, cleaning routines, etc all become secondary to caring for and spending time with those you love.

I am by no means someone who is great at sticking to routines.  If something comes up, however last minute, I am usually one to join in. With that said, with each new kid, the more I have come to like routine.

So we have begun to figure out routines again with not knowing what the future had in store.  Scott started a running club. It was only 10 weeks but something he has enjoyed and has been good for all of us.  A return college runner has created running clubs for high school as well as elementary/middle school kids in the area.  They meet for 1.5 hours 3x a week.  Scott can't do the big run on Sunday but has been able to go to the M and F practice.  They start with a warm-up run, drills, games, etc.   He had fun and it was great to get outside and once he made some friends he was all in.  It has been great to hang out with the park with the other kids.  They like to bring friends along and spend time in the volleyball sand, pirate park and spiderman web.  Grateful for running club. Originally he was going to do CYO track, but recently decided that it would be too much with swim so he just wants to swim.  I think we will do CYO cross country in the fall when he doesn't have another sport going on.

It is so nice when your kid knows what he likes and what he doesn't like.  I feel like Scott is at the age and maturity that he knows how much he wants on his plate and what he wants to do.  What a nice thing.

He started a GATE class on Wednesday and was excited to see one of his friends from swimming in it.  It is once a week and I wasn't sure if he would like it.  He isn't one that loves extra 'school' or educational stuff after school.  The first meeting was kind of boring for him, but the first day is always boring, right?.  Regardless, he isn't complaining about going and excited to do an engineering project.  We will see how it goes.  They asked if we would be interested in going to another school next year for his 5th grade class for a district class.  I thought there was no way that Scott would want to leave his friends and school but he actually said he would want to do it. We will see how that all pans out. In some ways it would be nice to help him learn at a faster pace since he sometimes gets bored at school.

Kira started gymnastics a couple of weeks ago. She was in a weekly rec class that she LOVED!  She looked forward to it all week.  It was really cute so I decided to have her try out for the team which I thought would be a little more progressive of actually learning and building upon skills. She tried out and they just kept saying she was soo strong.  That is my Kira. She did her first class and she LOVED it.  She was with 3 other kids and they had an instructor and helper.  She spent time on the bars, beam and floor.  It brought back memories watching the older kids.  Glad she likes it so much!  Blake has been begging to start gymastics so we are going to sign him up at little gym.  It will be great for him!

Tyler starts baseball next month which will be fun!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Practicing companion


Scott likes Mel to sit with him while he practices in the morning.  It's been raining for the past few days so we take the car to school.  It hasn't been that cold even though it seems it.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

OUR 1ST SKI "ADVENTURE"

Tyler's Heart, lots of babies and my parents illnesses has deterred us from skiing the past couple of years.  A couple of months ago, I realized they needed to ski!  We live 3 hours from the Sierra's, grandparents are 20 minutes from Utah slopes and my kids had never been skiing.  GASP!! So I made it a goal that 2016 would be the year to learn.

Danny had off Thursday-Sunday over New Years, so we planned a last minute trip.  Goal #2 is to become a better planner. I found the last hotel with vacancies in a cute town of Sonora about 45 minutes from the mountain.  We were going to just take turns to watch the baby, but my AMAZING sister offered to take him.  Taking care of a 9 month old for 3 days and 2 nights isn't an easy task. She really is incredible, but everyone knows that.

Shawna, an amazing friend, gave us her ski gear, we went to sports basement to get some ski boots for the boys, my parents for my old skis, dropped off Parker Thursday morning and headed to Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. Dodge Ridge is a small resort.  We didn't know what to expect and it was perfect!! Super affordable, friendly, relatively warm, not crowded considering it was new years and the conditions were perfect!

I watched a video on teaching kids to ski.  I think Danny went along with the plan just to be a good husband.  He was worried about his leg pain (which has been quite bad lately) and the logistics of teaching 4 kids to ski with 2 adults.  We nicknamed the trip our "ADVENTURE".

DAY 1: Afternoon skiing from 1230-400 would be plenty of time to learn how to get gear on and push the kids down a mountain, right? YES and then some!  The magic carpets and smallest runs were of course dedicated to ski lessons.  4 kids going in 4 different directions was truly an adventure. Scott and Tyler fended for themselves.  I would hike Kira and Blake to a learning spot and Kira would get scared when I was about 20 feet away.  After about an hour, Kira and Blake were ready to be done.  We formed a hot cocoa club.  Danny spent a little more time with Tyler until Tyler joined our club.  The hot cocoa club ended in flames with a nice lady carrying a lot of our stuff to the car for us, while I carried screaming kids to the car to play games.  I think the kids were exhausted from being up way to late and then staying in Walnut Creek instead of their own beds.  Danny had about 1.5 hours with Scott and Scott loved it!! They went up lifts and he liked going straight down the mountain plowing.

I thought it was a total success since Scott LOVED it and did so well.  The rest I think I cleared from my head.

We tried to get Kira and Blake signed up for ski school but they were totally filled because of my last minute planning.  They told me the 3 year old program was more play and less ski.  We formed a plan for day 2...the "switch pass".

DAY 2: Switch pass was 1 adult skied while the other watched other kids. Danny took Scott and Tyler and they did well.  Scott got mad at Tyler that he wasn't going fast enough, etc.  Tyler was frustrated being pushed outside his comfort zone. Scott was kind of a punk.  He thought he was awesome and everyone should revolve around him, but at least they were both skiing.  We had lunch and I took Kira to the tow rope.  She did well and started to get the hang of it.  While I was teaching Kira, Blake didn't want to wait any longer, so Danny took Blake to the hill, hiked him up and off Blake went.  He was doing awesome and actually learning to stop.  I skied backwards while Kira skied to me and she did great.  It was a LOT of work but they were all getting it!! YEAH!!  We had skiers for the most part.  Danny took skiing for the end because we listened to him for about 2 hours asking us to take him to harder runs.

Day 3: Scott LOVED skiing and couldn't wait to spend ALL day on the slopes.  He was determined to work on his parallel skiing. Kira and Blake were so excited to ski some more and Tyler was impartial.  I told him he could be my helper. All of us headed to the easiest chair lift.  Kira was totally getting it.  She was comfortable and confident.  Tyler was much happier being able to go at his pace and waiting for us at the lift.   After 1 or 2 runs, Blake perfected his turns and stopping.  He would turn, turn, turn, turn, turn all around, but at least he was turning.  He was very conservative but really getting practice on essential skills.  Scott and Danny left us after about 30 minutes for harder lifts.  They tried some experts, Scott was getting parallel skiing, Kira and Tyler partnered up for the lift and I partnered with Blake.  They did great together.  They tried going to this little hill each run to "jump" off it.  The morning was perfect for everyone to slow down and enjoy skiing.

We met up for lunch at 1 and headed out for the last 2 hours together on a harder lift that would push blake, but allow Scott to work on his jumps.  It was so fun skiing together and watching the with smiles on their faces.  Kira followed as closely behind Tyler as she could because she didn't want to be left behind.  People would always comment to Blake saying things like "go little man" and he would usually grunt back.  It was funny.  Scott looked for the jumps he could find and Blakey gained confidence going straiter down the mountain.  Nobody, including the parents wanted to leave!

After 1.5 days of learning how to ski, the kids were really skiing!! It is so freeing to see your kids go down the hills on their own.  Watching them find little jumps, know that they know how to get their skis on if they fall off.  Ideally, it would be nice to have 1:1 ratio with teaching little kids.  It would be nice to have a magic carpet, but we persevered and grew to LOVE skiing.

So proud of them!  Can't wait to go back!! Already thinking about where I can find their own gear for them.

We stayed in the cutest little town of sonora. It is a gold mining town. Our hotel was perfect.  We made perfect time each day getting to the slopes, but it took a LONG time getting home each night.  I will definitely go back to this mountain.  Relaxing in a hotel after a day of skiing is so nice.  It was fun!  All the kids had a blast!  It was an awesome vacation for me.  I realized I like adventures.  I like my kids learning new skills and this was both of those.  I loved being outdoors.  It was BEAUTIFUL being in the sierras and surrounded by people helping each other.

Much needed great quality, family time.  LOVED it!  So proud of these kids!  And adults too!  We did it!

Sports basement renting the gear way too late.





















video






Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas isn't the same without my parents. My mom LOVED presents (some might say she would go overboard) and my dad went along for the ride.  It was always filled with excitement and love. Christmas day is filled with family and tradition and without my parents it just didn't feel the same this year.  We made the most of it and had the best Christmas that we could have without my mom and dad.

On Christmas Eve we always went to my parents church.  It is filled with music and much more entertaining than we are used to. This year, Paisley was in the choir and did such a great job. We got there late and she was singing and got so excited to see us walk in. It was so cute and so fun. There weren't seats left so the 6 of us crammed into seating for about 3. Blake didn't last long sharing my lap with Parker so we spent about half of it outside.  We went to my mom and dads grave which was nice. 

After we went to Heathers, with her in-laws and aunt and uncle.  It was really nice. We ate a lasagna dinner and the kids had fun opening presents.  The boys loved legos and kira and paisley loved their barbie biking while walking her dogs. Quite the set-up.  Everyone had a great night.

Christmas morning the kids woke up before 6. I told them to go back to bed, which they did. We ate a great breakfast with bacon (always a treat) and had a relaxing morning. It is so nice to have DAnny home and just spend the day with the family.  That afternoon we went to my parents home to have one last feast.  Betty, Heather's mother-in-law made a great dinner which was a gift to all.  It was nice not to have to make anything.  Her gift to us and so appreciated.   

We visited Carl's grave. How grateful I am for his quiet, yet undeniable strength in my life. How grateful I am for our Savior to know that we will all be together again because of him.  

It was a sad, happy, wonderful holiday. This year it was special to be in their home and celebrate one last Christmas where we have spent Christmas for the past 20 years. Next year we begin new traditions.  Knowing me, I have to start planning and thinking about it now. I am such a last minute, spur of the moment type person, that traditions is hard for me. So that is a goal I have for next year.  How to make December Christ centered.  How to make it about family.  How to fill our home with the spirit of Christmas.  We will see what I come up with.  


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

GRIEF

Grief is such an interesting emotion.  I am not the most outwardly emotional person, but have come to know grief intimately in the past couple of years.  It affects everyone do differently, at different times and in different strengths!

I remember when my Grandma died, my mom was overcome with grief, sadness and depression.  She did fine for a couple of months and then her loss hit her like a ton of bricks.  She couldn't function, was in extensive therapy and trying to mend her broken heart.  It was real, debilitating, horrible to see.  Nobody could take it away.  It was a process she needed to work through.

When she was ill she was so sad to leave behind everyone understandably so.  She got the most joy and love from being with people and it just broke her heart knowing that she had to leave us.   That was so painful to watch.  So painful at holidays to experience the joy, but also the extreme sadness that his would be the last birthday party of a grandchild, last thanksgiving or christmas celebration.  Especially because those events brought her so much joy, so much happiness.  I remember leaving, holding it together and then just sitting in my car crying for how sad I was for her, for us, for the grandkids.

My dad's illness was so different.  So much quicker, which is what he wanted.  He didn't want to be sick.  He didn't want to have to be cared for.  He was logical and so much at peace with the life he lived.  He didn't want to have emotional conversations.  It was too hard.  The one thing that brought him peace was knowing that everything was in order.  What a blessing that he was so organized so that he could be at peace.

There was really only one day that I saw him upset and that was hard for me but taught me a lesson that will stay with me for the rest of my life.   I came to realize that the greatest gift we can give to our loved ones is what they want.  It might not be what we want, need or even what we think they need, but it is a time to be selfless and fill them with what they want.  For my mom, it was spending time with her, just sitting by her side, for my dad it was reviewing paperwork and taking care of business items.  So different, yet equally deserving of what they needed and how they dealt with grief and illness.

Loosing my parents is surreal in so many ways.  I look at pictures from a couple of years ago of how healthy they were, how youthful they were and just can't believe what cancer can do.   I am so sad for my grandkids.  I am sad that the two greatest supporters in my life, two people who believed in me 100% aren't here.  I got so sick last week and I really missed my parents.  I missed my mom just calling to check up on me and my dad bringing me whatever I needed.  I missed that they would drop everything to come and be with my kids.  I am beyond BLESSED with amazing friends who bring in meals and watch my kids, but sometimes I just want that to be my parents.

Death doesn't make me super sad.  I have extreme peace knowing that they are in a better place, they can watch down on us and are a great strength from the other side.  I feel like that has been a gift from God.  It does however, make me feel so sad at the grandkids activities.  Things that they would be at.  It makes me sad that Parker will not remember my parents.  It makes me sad when the kids bring up things like going to Marine World or Chuck-e-cheese with my parents.

I was a combination in many ways of my mom and dad.  I had the energy of my mom, love being on the go and doing too many activities.  I miss that she understood that.  That she was there at all the activities cheering, helping, and loving our little family.  I miss that my dad understood me.   I am not the most emotional person and either is he, but he didn't take that away from me.  He never thought I needed to be more emotional or someone who I wasn't.  I was fine just being me.  What a great lesson and attribute I want to pass onto my kids.  They are all so unique.  Some have similar attributes to me, Danny and are just so unique in many ways.  I want them to know that they are perfect just the way they are. My dad never tried to change me.  I am grateful for that.  He understood that I liked being independent.  My dad had total confidence in me and Danny before he died.  That was such a gift to us.  He was so proud of Danny's business and how well he was doing.  He was so proud of the mom I was and confident that we were going to be just fine.  When I am not sure if I can do it on somedays, I remember that 100% confidence he instilled in me and believed in me.  He was so proud of each of the kids and how well they were doing in school and how much they loved school.  I will forever cherish those conversations and reassurance that he gave me to before he passed away.  What a gift to have those months, weeks, conversations and time.

I go through a period that I don't feel like doing much.  I don't really want to be around a ton of people, socialize, do sports with kids.  That is unlike me.  I feel like I am just coming out of that.  I signed up Scott for running this week, signed up kira for gymnastics, blake and tyler for baseball in the spring.  It was so fun going to the park with the kids while Scott was running.  I feel like I am starting to want to do things again.  That is a great thing!

One of the hardest things in the journey of loss and grief is that when you are taking time to sort through emotions, depression, grief, some of which you aren't even aware of and how they are affecting you, everyone else in your family unit still needs you.  Your kids need you and your spouse needs you and at the moment sometimes you need you and that is all that you can do.  I am grateful that Danny is being patient with that.  Wanting to write again is therapy to help me process.  I have't wanted to write in a long time so I am grateful that I wanted to write to start processing my feelings and emotions.  Time to start giving more to them!

I am excited for the new year.  We have so much to be thankful for this upcoming year.  My kids are all doing great in school and love their friends and teachers.  What a blessing!!  Danny loves his job for the most part and is doing so well.  I love our home and neighborhood.  A lot of good things to come next year and I am certain my parents will be close by!

Callings

One of the most amazing things about the church is that ordinary people keep it running.  I love that we all have callings to serve on another, grow, learn knew skills and get to serve alongside people with different talents, skills and personalities. 

I have now served in every auxiliary in the church and loved them all for different reasons.  Relief Society I love because I love serving other women.  When I was called to be over homemaking back in the day, something I have zero skills with, I learned how the Lord always blesses you with people who are AMAZING to serve with.  I learned what committees and callings are all about....letting everyone serve with their strengths, unique abilities and talents.  

Compassionate service is my love language. I still have great memories of throwing together baby showers and the blessing of organizing funerals.  Families coming together from all over the country to honor a family member. It is a really unifying and humbling thing to be a part of.   Visiting all the sick and afflicted who I grew to love.  There is perhaps no better calling of service and love.  

I didn't think I would love primary, but I DO!!  Primary is so much fun.  I learned primary songs, I got to teach kids, I got to be a fly on the wall and watch my own children grow and progress.  It was perhaps the most fun calling I had.  I have never been in primary as a child so it was such a wonderful program to be a part of.  

Cub Scouts Administration... To be honest, didn't love it but learned that I need to be more organized.  Definitely not my strong point or what I love doing but I survived. I would much rather be working with people than doing the paperwork and organization, but someone has to do it.  Glad for all the talented secretary's and organized people in life!! 

Young Women is such a unique calling because you grow to love those amazing young ladies.  My young women are now on missions and doing amazing things in life.  You really do feel like they are a part of you.  You learn so much from their strength and love and faith.  

Family History.  Something I love.  Something I want others to love.  Something that really does give you strength beyond your own.  

And now I get to teach Gospel Doctrine and be on the enrichment board.  Our enrichment leader is AMAZING!!  Has an amazing heart and love for women.  What fun to work with her and the other board.  Gospel Doctrine is so much fun! I get to teach alongside an amazing teacher and man.  I look forward to the weeks I get to teach.  It is fun and such an amazing gift to dedicate time each week to prepare for the lessons.  It makes me realize the power of really preparing for lessons.  You get so much more out of it and I am usually not great at doing that.  I have grown to love the New Testament this year.  I have grown to love Paul, John, Peter, Christ and so many of his disciples. They are amazing men and women!!

It is such a selfish calling because it doesn't take much time away from your family, which is a blessing right now with young kids, and something that give you such strength and knowledge and the spirit.  I LOVE it!!  Grateful for my calling!