Thursday, January 28, 2016


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


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.