Saturday, September 24, 2016

Kira and 1st grade

Kira is doing really well in first grade.  She had such a hard time when I went to work in kindergarten and seems to have outgrown a lot of her fears and anxieties.  Some of it I am sure was loosing my parents and time seems to heal and make a lot of things better.

She is really smart.  Just gets things.  Reminds me of Scott in a lot of ways.  Has perfectionist tendencies.  Scott used to be hard on himself.  She isn't hard on herself or the outcome but just scared to do new things or in the process if they aren't turning out how she wants, she gets real frustrated.  It has been fun to see her learn to read.  All of a sudden, her reading just took off and somehow she went from learning one word to reading at a pretty high level.  I read an article years ago about how they teach kids in Switzerland (I think) how to read when they are older and actually ready to read and they progress happily and much faster than in America.  It really impacted me and for the most part I have adapted that into letting the kids learn skills when they are ready.  It has worked for reading for us.  She loves it.  In her free time, she goes onto RazKids, an online reading program, to read.  Reading has been such a great thing for Scott so I hope it is for Kira as well.   Scott has been really bored in school the past couple of years and this is really the first year I addressed it with his teacher, but I am going to stay on top of that with Kira because I can see her also getting bored in school before long.

She doesn't seem to have a group of friends like my boys did or at least I am not as much in he know with her.  With every kid, I feel like I am more and more removed.  With Scott, I would go to the park and knew all the moms and kids.  Now I find that Kira plays with her brothers friends more than her own.  Not that it is a bad thing, but just how it works out.  With that said, when we go to school, her friends seem to always say hi and she seems to have a lot of friends.  She is happy to go to school and always seems to have fun.  So we just plug along.  She has Mrs. Shirley, who Scott had.  Danny or I volunteer on Tuesday and I teach art once a month which is fun!

She is doing gymnastics which she really likes.  She seems much more confident and comfortable.  Last year, she didn't want us to leave her and now she doesn't mind so that is a great thing.  She has another showcase coming up.  The last one she was so scared, so hoping she is happier this time around!                                                            

Tyler's Yearly Cardiology Appt

Tyler met with Dr. Saba, his new cardiologist.  Dr. Cooper retired with Kaiser a little over a year ago, so this was our second appt with Dr. Saba.  Great guy, great Dr.  We are so blessed.  It was the first appt that I was able to drop him off for because I had Blake and Parker with me. He did great and the best news of all was that his heart is doing great!  We are so blessed.  There are so many kids that spend most of their lives in and out of hospitals and I Tyler has been blessed with a fairly normal childhood.

He is getting to the age that he needs to start using judgement of how to manage his health. 4th grade is the first year that the class has a P.E. teacher and I suggested to his teacher and Tyler that he probably shouldn't run for warm up but instead save his energy for more fun activities such as tag, frisbee or whatever they are playing.  He came home one day and told me he had to sit out all of P.E. because he didn't run in the beginning so it was a good opportunity to remind him to vocalize his limitations to his teacher.  I talked to the teacher again and he said he forgot which I totally get, but Tyler needs to continue to work on communicating his needs and limits.

He is doing fairly well emotionally. Still can be mean to his siblings at times, but everywhere else he is really a wonderfully nice kid.  He is kind of shy at school, obeys, works hard.  His patience and that love is still being worked on at home even though I do feel it is going in the right direction so I will take it.

He isn't doing many activities outside of school and that is fine. I am someone who is always on the go and can probably overschedule my kids, but I am doing a better job at realizing it is ok for them to have down time or just activities they want.  The kids play with neighbors a lot and always have kids over and I realize that is something I loved about my childhood so grateful they get to experience that as well!

He is doing well in school.  He has his same 1st grade teacher and always says how she is so much stricter in 4th grade than 1st, which I find funny.  He is so smart but also really lazy with doing homework or any extra work.  I should get on that but for now we are just kinda coasting along until I get more disciplined.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Tyler's BD and such

Kira's into having her hair done.  She asked for [French braids] and I didn't know how to do them.  I told her I'd have to watch a youtube video.  Then, in church, Megan was doing French braids on Malie and I learned how to do them.  My first attempt was pretty ugly, but you gotta start somewhere.  This was my second attempt.  I'm still not that good at them and it takes a while, but I had to take a picture before Kira took them out.  Her hair's not quite long enough to do two braids and merge them into one, so I did three separate ones.  




Tyler celebrated his birthday by having a sleepover.  More like a NO-SLEEP over.  I think the kids had a good time, though.




The piƱata was popular even though it was too heavy to support its own weight on the hook.  The kids ended up smashing it on the ground.




Our new neighbors are great.  Our kids take turns jumping on each others' tramps.  They just climb over the fence like this.  Here they are enjoying some fudgecicles and popsicles.  Mmmm.


Yesterday we went to the redwood valley railroad at Tilden park.  It's been a while since we've been there.  I always like that place.













This is the little farm at Tilden park.  It was fun until Blake had a meltdown.


Last stop was the Oakland Temple visitors center.  They showed us the new "meet the Mormons" video and then Parker started to melt down.

We finished the day by eating at Mi Pueblo.  The kids were kind of wired but the food was good.  We even had a little left over.  


We got Kira this Trek Mystic bike on craigslist.  She probably could have used her 16" bike for another year but I've been searching for several months for this bike in pink, and when it came up in Stockton for $35, we had to get it.  Kira loves it.  She was telling me about it and then when I started to film, she thought I was taking a picture.  But she was so cute I had to post this.

video

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dana Hills County Dinner

Hey.  Thursday was the Dana Hills dinner for the county qualifiers.  Only Scott qualified, but Tyler and Kira came, too.  It was at the Oakhurst country club in Clayton.  Heidi wanted me to dress up so I wore my Neal Caffrey pants.  Heidi likes when I "dress up."  Except for church, of course, because I am down to just one suit--my power suit.  Which, incidentally, has been worn 202 times.  I've gotten my money's worth two times over.  

Anyway, it was a pasta feed.  I'm not much into pasta but the salad and dessert were good.  Plus, it was fun talking to my friends.  Heidi and I have the same phone but her lenses always seem to be cloudy, but a bad photo is better than no photo.  I brought my big camera and took a few pictures.  Can you tell the difference?  I am amazed at how much brighter and clearer the SLR's images are.   Hint:  the last ones are from the SLR.

I don't know everyone in these photos but it's easier to me to make this post than have her do it.  



I sat by Neal, who has to commute to SF.  I told him to get a motorcycle.  His wife flatly responded with a hearty "NO."  I said, "They're not gonna take away his temple recommend if he has a motorcycle!"  She came back with something like, "No, but he won't have a temple marriage anymore if he gets a bike."  Wow.






This is actually one of my favorites:  Tyler with a closed mouth crusty.  He usually likes hanging out with his friends and must have been tired.  Scott, on the other hand, wanted to stay as late as he could.



This reminds me of the red carpet photos in People magazine where they comment on what you're wearing.


Heidi called these girls her twinners.  Don't know who's photobombing.


Kind of a weird expression on Scott but whatev.  My, he's getting big.

Heidi with Nicholas and Sofia.

I've been happy with the Dana Hills swim team.  The people are friendly and like to help out with Parker.  It's cool that the kids play outside instead of just sit on their electronics.  Somehow, I've gotten to know more of the Dana Hills parents than the Diamond Hills crowd and we were with the latter for four years.


Scott finished his 50 free in 7th place with a personal best time of 29.38.  Not too shabby.  Well, Parker's crying so I gotta go.  Bye.
 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Aspen Grove family camp

Hey.  We did our annual McMillan family reunion at Aspen Grove family camp in Provo, UT.  The campus is owned and operated by BYU.  I was a little hesitant to go because I thought it was going to be lectures like, "How to manage conflict in the home," or "How to be a better parent," given by a person with no kids but lots of education in child development.  Britton and John A. said that it was lots of fun, so I thought it they can enjoy it, then so can I.  

I worked on Friday and took the five kids with me in the van.  Heidi stayed behind to work a Saturday meet and then flew out.  

I was excited to drive the van because I finally got the steering all dialed in and I had put in a new air filter that morning.  The only time available I had was while Scott was swimming, so I used the house tool kit at autozone.  

We stayed at a super run-down hotel in Winnemucca, the halfway point.  I had booked it on hotwire.com but there was a problem with the booking.  Then we go to our room and it smelled real bad of smoke.  I asked for a non-smoking room and this one was such, but it shared a duct with a smoking room.  Woof.  

We pulled up at about one in the morning and the kids were all wired, including Parker, who wouldn't go to sleep without his bottle of milk.  Even still, he woke up every fifteen minutes and I thought I was going to lose it.  

The next morning the kids were up and at 'em at 5:30.  I was still pretty tired but took a cold shower to help wake me up.  We shoved off and the van was running real good.  I averaged 24 mpg on the way out and the check engine light didn't come on.  

At Tooele I was so tired that I thought I might fall asleep at the wheel and not realize that I was sleeping.  I have only fallen asleep twice like that.  The other times, like in school or church, I think, "I'm tired.  I'm going to close my eyes and take a little nap."  One of the times was in dental school.  I woke up in the lecture hall and thought, "What am I doing here?"  

Well, I didn't want to wake up upside down and wonder why I hadn't pulled over sooner, so I went to a parking lot and parked under a tree.  I slept for 16 minutes and then I was good for the rest of the drive.  








Grammy hired a pro photographer and we had to wear color-coordinated outfits, and Heidi doesn't like family pictures much, but I like taking advantage of everyone's done-up selves.  This one of Tyler and Scott was a pretty sweet candid.  They were laughing at something else and then Tyler saw the camera and looked over.  Nice.


Heidi's BYU swim coach and her family came up to visit, so that was cool.



This was the ropes course.  You had to climb a lodge pole, scale a climbing wall, and then do a cables course in the trees.  The fastest kid could get up in 18 seconds.  My best time was 35.  I'm an old has been now, but the interesting thing was that my silly nerve didn't hurt up there.  But my lungs really felt the altitude and it felt like my legs were full of lead all the time.


This was the air rifles course.  I did the best but got disqualified because I fired six shots.


Ultimate frisbee was fun.  Chelle was pretty competitive.


Nobody was as good as Katniss Everdeen but it was fun to try.


This was Stewart falls, a 1.7 mile hike.  The water must have been in the mid to high 30's and the feat was to walk under it from one side to another.  All these young cross country whipper snappers came up to the falls and the boys were all showing off, doing pushups under the falls.  I wanted to ask the girls, "Do you find these boys more attractive because they can do stuff like that?"  But I didn't.  Then Heidi took our picture right as a butterfly flew past.  Tyler had wanted a picture with a butterfly, so this is the best it'll get.


This was the cabin we stayed in.  When we first pulled up, I said, "I hope this is the storage shed for the real cabin.  Well, no.  This was actually an efficient usage of space and could sleep over ten people.


My favorite part was playing volleyball with some people who really knew how to play.  I was the weak link but not bad enough for them to kick me off the team.  I made a couple of good bumps, sets, and the occasional dig.  I played softball on the last day and I could always get hits, but when I went to run, it just seemed like the brakes were on.  I always made it on base, though, and one of the guys even commented, "You're fast."  Ha, that's funny.  I used to be fast but I feel like I can't run like I used to.  I'm still faster than Scott, though.

Speaking of Scott, he wanted to make a pen with me.  Normally the activities are divided for parents and kids, and I had to explain that Scott was savvy enough and could do it.  I started reading the destructions and made my first cut on the bandsaw.  The girl in charge was wary about me doing my own thang, so I explained how I was going to use the drill press and the saw.  Then she put the stock on the lathe and powered it up, but there was an awful racket.  She fiddled with it for a while and then left, so I removed the stock and determined that the bearing on the holder was bad.  Sure enough, the collar came off without much effort and all the balls fell out of the retainer.  I explained to her that the reason it got so hot and made the racket was because the bearing was toast.  She gave me a look of, "You broke my machine."  I had to explain again that it was already broken.  I just diagnosed it.  "Got any bearings?"  She didn't know what bearings were.  At that point, it seemed her attitude changed about my knowing what I was doing.  A couple of the maintenance people came down and I was like, "It seems like this piece is non-serviceable, but if you had a press, we could just retrofit a bearing."  My sisters had to leave because there weren't enough functioning lathes but Scott, Boy and I made our pens.  It was fun.

I recognized the voice of one of my classmates whom I had never met, and when we talked, we determined that we had several courses in common.  Good old cell biology.  Woof, that class was so stinking hard, but it made us learn how to think.  I hope I never have to discern a gel electrophoresis again.

The food was pretty good.  It was buffet style and I thought they did a nice job with the shredded pork.  My dad didn't like it that much, though.  I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have creamery chocolate milk on tap, but they did have a wide selection of sodas and juices.

I was impressed at the program the BYU put together, especially how solid the youth seemed.  I got all amped up about BYU again and wanted to visit the parent campus to get some BYU paraphernalia.  Heidi was all down for it so we took a long tour.  I got shirts for each of the kids, a pen for myself, some slippers for Scott and a football for Tyler.  Oh, I got some fudge too.  I was telling Scott that I used to get Cookies'n'cream milk on Wednesdays and leave the bottles in the cupboard of my biology lab.  Good old college.


Heidi's whole career was spent mostly at the RB, and I just remember riding White Lightning there with Dan-o to go diving on Friday nights.  



They were out of Cookies'n'cream milk so I go them ice cream and a chocolate milk for myself.  Despite the difficult time I had socially at BYU, I really took advantage of the facilities.  I called it "Get to know your university."  I was telling Scott about the engineering building, making a gearshift selector knob for Bessie, and how they made an electric car there.  The point I was trying to make was that if you can conceive it, you can make it at the university.


We went to my nerd stomping grounds, the Benson building.  C-158 is where I entertained Chem 105 office hours and it hadn't changed a bit.  This was my favorite desk.

None of my teachers still worked there but the replacement chem 353 teacher was there.  She asked if we wanted to see anything and I said, "Yeah, a hydrogen balloon."  I told her about how we used to blow them up and she played like she didn't have the resources to do it.  Whatever, she just didn't want to.

We made it back home at 3:03 am.  It was not a super pleasant drive but it wasn't awful.  Okay, let's see when Chelle gets her post up.