Friday, November 3, 2017

Middle School Life

Scott is really liking middle school.  His favorite subjects are band and PE.  He really likes studying math but is pretty bored and wishes it was harder.  Whenever he talks about how slow they learn, I remind him how much he missed his friends the when we home schooled and then he quickly changes his attitude about how much better school is to be with his friends.  I am grateful we homeschooled for a semester so he has something to compare it to.  Homeschooling was great to go at your own level and speed but not great learning alone most of the time. He has a good group of friends at school. 

The school district gives the kids the day after halloween off which is kind of nice.  Sports give a day off so the kids can go trick or treating so we had a day with nothing to do which was nice.  After he had cross country he called to tell me he was going to a friends house and was going to go trick or treating later. I told him to touch base if he needed rides, etc.  He had fun with his friends.  They dressed up in morph suits. Tight, spandex suits and had fun.  I remember when halloween changed from being all about candy to being about hanging out with friends.  Someone once told me most of your influence ends around 12 and I am starting to see how a lot of that is true.  I think you still have tremendous influence throughout middle and high school but kids are going to making their own decisions at that point and need that inner confidence to choose what they were taught was right. 

He is doing cross country at school which has been fun for him.  A couple of his friends are doing it which is always nice.  He does a running group in the winter which he says is more fun because it is more running and instructional but this is fun to be with his friends and actually do races.  He was too scared to go to meets last year with running club so it is fun to see him enjoy racing.  I am really impressed with how fast he is for how little he practices.  He went a 9:15 in the 1.5 mile run.  They have 5 meets against the other high schools.  He has had 2 meets so far.  Every time he has a competition he is excited about how he knows he can go faster the next time.    The first meet he had was a really confusing course since he had never run it.  He thought the finish line was in the wrong direction but felt good about everything else.  I listened to them explain the course and had no clue how the kids would figure it out but it turns out each course is a home course so the kids from the home school knew how to run it.  I was proud of him for having a smile on his face.  I missed the running part because it was on a  golf course but excited for him.  The next run was much more straight forward and he said was a lot easier.  It was cooler and not as hilly so that is probably why it was easier.  Not sure what his time was but it was fun to see him cheering on teammates, seeing him see friends from other schools and enjoy being part of the team.  He thinks he went slower but it could have been the course was easier. I have no clue.  It has been a good experience for him.  His goal is to go under 6 minutes for his pace which is a good goal.  

He has been playing basketball at lunch with his friends which is nice because he doesn't really know how to play but is willing to learn and assist his friends who play.  He has a tendency to not want to do things that he isn't totally confident or comfortable with so it is nice to see him try new things and have fun doing them.  The other day he said he was going to work on getting better which I thought was cool.  I asked him if he wanted to sign up for a league but he didn't want to do that just shoot for fun.  That was so refreshing to see him want to have fun, learn a new skill but not have to be competitive with it.  Maybe he is maturing.

His first band concert is tomorrow which should be fun.  It is nice he is enjoying band.  I thought it would be fun for him to try out for jazz band next year.  I did jazz band and it was fun but he thinks he wants to still play the flute and play the piano at home so we shall see. I am so glad he is involved in school activities.  They had their first school dance which he and his friends didn't go to.  I have learned not to tell him what he should and shouldn't do because that just bugs him and in the long run it isn't that big of a deal.  Originally they were all going to go with a group but then decided not to.  Maybe next time.

Aquabears has been fun for him now that he has a wetsuit and stays warmer.  He is still cold but is having a lot of fun with his friends.  It is such a great group of kids.  He is gaining confidence in trying new events at meets. He isn't as confident and a racer at practice and meets as he is in the summer but I think that is just because there are so many kids and it is new events.  He doesn't get as scared to try new events which is nice.  He usually goes about 3 times a week since he has scouts and usually one other activity or playdate.  Grateful he is having fun with his friends. 

He is enjoying scouts. He got two ranks completed which got him excited to work towards his eagle.  He is really motivated and we are figuring out the scout world.  It is so different than cubs.  Some of the merit badges are really cool.  It makes me want to sign up to teach some of them.  Maybe in December when I have a couple months off of work.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


And just like that, we're in November.  Here are a couple of pictures from October.  

Tyler wanted a better picture from the one that we took on Hanna's blessing day.

Kira was barely recognizable with her heat-straightened hair.

Tyler loved his Dustin costume and was in good spirits all day.

This is my first attempt at sports photography with the 70-200.  It was pretty dimly lit in the gymnastics studio and even with the ISO at 1600, the max, there still wasn't enough light to have fast shutter speeds.  But a bad photo is better than no photo.

Got the white balance all dialed in for this one. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

San Francisco

We have break and I always am torn with wanting to get away and staying home and doing stuff here.  I feel like I am cheating the kids if we don't go away on some fun adventure.

We were going to go to San Diego but the fires came to northern and southern california and I decided to stay put.  I wasn't sure what the air quality would be and if the Anaheim fires would get worse.

We had a lot of playdates and played outside a lot which was a lot of fun.  The kids had fun.  Scott said it was a good balance of relaxation and activities so I guess that is nice.  It was so nice that we had days off of sports.  Even though it meant staying inside and getting cabin fever from the smoke outside, it was nice to be home.

We went to San Francisco on Saturday because a meet got cancelled from the fires.  Loaded the bikes, road around Golden Gate Park and followed signs to a lake.  I am realizing there is so much that is close by.  People come from all over the world for a day in San Francisco and it is in our backyard.  We are so lucky! It was this little lake with a boathouse that we couldn't see but apparently rented paddle boats.  Scott wanted to do that.  After the kids got their fix of throwing bread, dirt and pebbles to the ducks, we headed on bike to rent our boat.  We were on the boat for probably an hour.  It was a lot of fun.  Parker and Hanna did great until about the last 15 minutes and then we just wanted to get back.  The kids liked trying to catch the turtles that sunbathed on the logs.  They all enjoyed pedaling. Parker and Tyler took off their shoes and hung their feet off the back of the boat.  It was a really beautiful day.  Nice to be out of the smoke.  Nice to be outdoors. 

We headed back and hung out on the grass.  The kids all got sticks to play with and fight with.  We people watched all the people in their late 20's hanging out, having bbq's, playing volleyball.  Everyone seemed to be out.  We laughed about what it was like pre kids in the City.  Wondered who of these people would remain with this life, who wanted a family.  I loved seeing a group of people playing a very casual badmitton tournament.  About 30 people paired up dressed in teams of 2.  So eclectic and inclusive.  That is one thing that I really like about San Francisco's quick glimpse.

A fun day in the City!  So grateful we are so close to so many wonderful places.

California Wildfires

A couple of weeks ago were massive hurricane Harvey that hit Houston killing almost 40 people and leaving 100000 homes flooded.  Then another hurricane destroying Caribbean islands and Florida killing 130+ people. That was after vast evacuations.  Cops and media for days telling people they needed to get out. A high school classmate showed the devastation of living on Anguilla.  Still no running water and pretty much a desolate island.  Then the mass shooting by a shooter from a hotel into a crowd at a Country concert in Las Vegas which killed almost 60 people and injured nearly 600.  Followed by California Wildfires in Napa, Yuba City and Santa Rosa.  Fires that spread soo quickly people didn't have time to evacuate. So far killing over 40 people that I am sure is going to climb.

One disaster after another.  The scriptures tell us that devastation will sweep the earth in the latter-days.  Is this just a coincidence or will this continue to be the norm?  Is my mind baffled because they hit so close to home?  It is devastation. Entire communities destroyed, lived put on hold, lives lost, countless people whose lives will never be the same.

It is heartbreaking.  It makes me humbled, sad, praying often for all those that are hurting.  Grateful for the plan of salvation and a knowledge of a world far better after this one.  I feel so grateful for this life and reminded to give, be more forgiving, more patient and grateful.  People 40 minutes away had their lives turned upside down. It is amazing to see so many helping and wanting to help in small and simple ways.  Coming together to help people we don't even know but who we love and pray for.

I pray that this stops.  That there is some respite from the storms of life.  I recognize a need to be better.  To help more. To love more. 

Life pretty much shut down the past couple of days because of smoke and we weren't even that close.  You woke up to thick smoke you could smell and taste.  The smell of campfire everywhere.  You realized if it was like that here, what it must be like for firefighters, victims, closer communities.  The sky was red.  You could look directly at the sun because it was covered in smoke.  Going 10 minutes could be drastically worse or better.  We went into San Francisco on Saturday and there was a line of grey with smoke underneath.  You realize that not far away huge fires are still raging.  The City would have people who were directly affected by the fire.  So sad!

All our sports, schools and pretty much everything was cancelled.  Nobody was outside, masks were put on and it was time to reflect, slow down and serve.

I vividly remember the San Francisco earthquake.  Where I was, how I felt, events of the day, watching the news.  I was at home watching TV, eating a snack and getting ready for swim.  I remember my mom running down the stairs and telling us to get under the doorway and the earth shook again.

I remember 9/11.  We were at morning practice and Stan got us all out and we watched a little TV in his office of the aftermath.  It was surreal.  Almost as if you are in a dream.

These events I will remember.  They can't be forgotten.  They remind us to be more grateful, more giving and aware the earth is filled with good people who just want to help.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Swim Meet Fail & Sewing

I entered Kira and Scott in the swim meet next weekend but forgot to pay and the meet closed.  Totally something I would do and total bummer because I go to work anyway and they both wanted to go.  Oh well.  But making lemonade out of lemons.  Scott was bummed because he wanted to do 200 breast and 200 free.  What a difference compared to a month ago when he was too scared to do those events and complained that he needed to do meets.  He said he was excited to do new events.  Progress as a swimmer.  He thinks he is going to do one more year of Dana Hills then switch to year round.  I am excited for him. I think he will have a great time and develop as a swimmer.  He is pretty small and skinny and did great with 50's but it will be fun to see him gain confidence in other events and grow as a swimmer.  Only problem is going so far for swim but  I am putting it in the Lords hands.  It is so nice having danny so close to us, bike the kids to school, come home for lunch, and be 5  minutes from home by bike.  One of our greatest blessings in life for our entire family.  However, now I am finding myself commuting the kids to their activities that are all about 30 minutes away.  Kids activities seem to be a lot more established in Walnut Creek area.  It is so nice having him close to home but becoming a pain to drive the kids to activities.  I don't mind the driving.  It is actually nice to think, listen to the radio, talk to the kids but I know it would be nicer for them to be home for dinner and give them more down time at home.  Especially as homework starts.  Right now they all pretty much do their home work at school. 

I am totally content and feel very blessed right now in life. A lot of that comes from the addition of Hanna.  The other part comes from loving what I do.  I am blessed for my jobs, Danny's work is going great, our kids are doing relatively well.  Life is pretty simple and great!  We love our callings!  Both in callings that we are good at and allows us to be with our family.  So I realize it can't get much better except for commuting to Walnut Creek and Concord but that is pretty minimal in the scheme of things.  Part of me realizes that it can't get much better than that so I am hesitant to change anything about it.  Dana hills is really close to us so it is basically just from Sept-Dec driving to aquabears but come next year it would be all year.  We shall see what ends up happening.  It always all works out and I know it will work out how it should. 

One activity Tyler started was sewing.  After getting over the  fact that he was the only boy in the class, he is really enjoying it.  So far he has made a baby blanket, pillow case and apron.  He said that the hardest part is thinking about how he is going to design his project.  He said he spends all his time thinking about what to do and then only has about 30 minutes to sew.  That is the same way I am.  So not creative.  I worry too much about it turning out just right so grateful he gets to be in something that allows him to think and create since it is hard for him.  He is enjoying learning how to sew. Our sewing machine needs a new pedal that Danny is ordering so it will be fun to see him comfortable on the sewing machine. Always great learning new skills!

Best part of his sewing is that he walks from his class to my work and comes into the pool with a big smile on his face excited to show me his creation.  Glad he is enjoying it so much!

Tylers 10

Tyler turned 10 a month ago and we went to Sacramento for Labor Day. We had his party over break.  He likes his yearly sleepover birthday party.  I don't love sleepovers but the kids always seem to have a great time.  They came over, played in the front yard throwing around a football. We then went to pick up pizza at Mountain bikes and the kids mounted bikes, scooters, spinny cars and whatever they could to walk to the pizza place.  We went to the park and Scott's friends came to play basketball and Tyler's friends threw nerf footballs I got them at the park. Made up game of tag with footballs while they ate pizza.  Scott is leaving the kid/play stage and entering the hang out, meet up with friends, get to places on his own, plan his hang outs via text stage.  Don't know how that happens or how I have a kid that old. Tyler is not far behind.  Came home when it was dark to do a fire and smores, followed by Captain Underpants and a no sleep over as Danny refers to it. It was a great time had by all. Tyler invited about 12 kids but 8 of them were out of town for the first week of break.  It ended up being 4 really great kids that all had a great time celebrating Tyler.  Tyler felt so special and had a great time which equals birthday success!   It was so great to see him so happy and feel so special.  I am so grateful we had such a great time.  I used to plan everything and have these activities and now realize to go with the flow. I had this cute table set for his birthday, but the kids wanted to eat at the park so we opened up the pizza boxes an they ate as they play which was great.  I am grateful I have learned to go with the flow and let the magic happen.  Those really are the best days and memories.  Letting kids be kids.  Happy Birthday Tyler!  We love you! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

1st Fall Swim Meet

We had our first fall swim meet today.  It was a beautiful high 80's day at Acalanes.  I saw a bunch of otters which was so fun.  It is amazing how much I have grown to love these little swimmers and their families in just 2 seasons.  They do so much for our team and my family to help me coach.  I am full of gratitude and so proud of how hard these swimmers work.

I have reflected on what athletic success really is.  So often I see parents and kids view success as the end product or a time which I don't totally agree with.  I think success is measured in the journey.  The journey of working hard, balancing life, life lessons and growth along the way that inevitably will lead to the end product.  We put too much emphasis on the end product that it takes away from the things the athlete actually controls.  They might not be able to go the goal, but they can make it to workouts, work hard, improve skills and become better people and athletes along the way. Focusing on the journey inevitably results in an amazing end product.  

I told Scott that a great goal he could have this season was to try new events.  He is an 11-12 which means that he gets to do 200 strokes this year.  Not sure if they are offered as a 9-10 but there is NO way he would have done that last season.  The 200 free gave him great anxiety for about 2 weeks prior to racing it last season.  That is a rec swimmer problem that only this area truly understands.  I saw how hard it was for him last year.  He did amazing the 2 times he swam it but really wanted him toovercome his anxiety about trying new, longer distances.

So I decided I would try to help him overcome some of that fear.  I decided I would give him $5 for every new event he tried.  I told the other coaches today that I have resorted to bribing my child to swim new events.  One coach said I was just motivating him. Well, it motivated him and I don't feel too bad about it.  

So Scott did the 100 breast, 200 IM and 200 back for the first time today.  He was nervous but not as nervous as last year.  I was so proud of him.  He didn't totally know how to swim the events but he did great and did his best!  I was so proud of him for going out of his comfort zone and growing as an athlete. 

His attitude this morning prior to swimming was that he was never going to do those events again.  And the best part of the day was when he was going to bed he said he hoped he had another chance to swim the events this season because he knows he can do better.  That is SUCCESS!  Not the times or how well he swam the race but the attitude and confidence of wanting to swim distances that he was once afraid of. He said he wasn't afraid of them anymore.  YEAH!

So proud of him.  So grateful for Steve and Russel who are positive, great coaches.  We are blessed!

Kira also swam. She did the 50 breast and 100 IM as well as 25 free and back.  She wasn't nervous and I was so proud of her.  I think back to last year when she wouldn't even swim and would definitely not do swim meets.  She has come such a long way.  So proud of her!
It was a fun day.  Hanna came with us and was such a good girl.  I am grateful for a job that my kids to be a part of.  That is why I do it.  I feel like I get to do something that I love and am good at that is a part of my kids lives.

I am grateful for sports and what they are teaching my kids about life.  It is a great journey!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Typical Day with Parker

It is fun having some time with Parker in the mornings.  Just the two of us and the baby who right now doesn't fight for much attention.  I can hold her and she is happy or fussy.  The day always starts with him wanting to ride his bike.  He goes out in the morning with his siblings as they ride in the court waiting for the last of the crew.  This is fine but it is the time I need to get the house in order, dressed and ready for the day.

We had my 6 week check up at Kaiser.  I got there 10 minutes late because Danny had to go into work to cover for someone for the day so it took me a little longer to get the kids ready.  Usually no big deal but the doctor left to do a C-section.  That is rare at Kaiser because usually they have doctors to see patients and other doctors delivering babies but they must have been busy.  Usually this would irritate me but it didn't so I was grateful.  Maybe I am becoming more patient.  Maybe I just didn't see the point of the appt except that I wanted a referral to a dermatologist.  Instead we turned in paperwork for Hanna which is the best feeling. I hate filling out paperwork and dealing with it so that is always a great feeling.  As I held the Hanna, Parker loved to push the empty stroller.  His favorite thing is to find bumps in the road or along his path.  he seeks them out and will go over and over them.  As we waited for the paperwork appt I fed Hanna and read a book to Parker.  I have realized that when I feed Hanna it is a great time to read to Parker.  It makes it his quality little time.  He LOVES the baby.  To the point that I can't leave the two alone because he will just want to hold her, hug her and probably smoosh her if I wasn't watching.

AFterwards, we needed to get mealworms for Scott and his gecko.  We went into the pet store and it was the BEST date in the entire world.  That kid loves animals, but HE LOVED IT!  I was so sad I forgot my phone.  HE went to every animal using his limited vocabulary and shrieks of excitement.  It was so cute!  He would show anyone who went by him the bird, then the mice then the snake.  We probably stayed in there for over an hour looking at the animals.  It was so fun to watch him.  Finally we had to get blake but I had such a great time with my little man.  He is so sweet, feisty, cute, easy going, independent  and determined all in one somehow.

I realize how fast the time goes so I am really enjoying my time with him.

Hanna's Blessing

Hanna was blessed this weekend in church.  September 24th by her dad. It was a simple and beautiful blessing.  The kids were all excited for the blessing which is refreshing because lately they are not excited for the others things much.  Tyler and Blake both sweetly said before church they couldn't wait for the blessing.  We are always running to church but before church was actually relaxing.  I am usually getting things together for my lesson, but spent a day during the week prepping for class so i didn't have to do it on Sunday.  Danny leaves early to get ready for primary and get us a seat which is awesome.  It means we get to sit in the front in the pews.  The kids still have a long way to go with reverence but definitely better in the front then back of the church.

Parker fell asleep on the way to church which was so nice, Blake sat with the needhams which is amazing.  I am going to see if he can sit with them every week.  Game changer! He is so good if he is removed from his siblings.  Scott, Tyler and Kira were within normal limits.  We had a relatively relaxing sacrament. I fed the baby before church and she even slept for the beginning and her blessing.

Danny's parents came into town.  Danny, Glen, Devin Blodgett, Mike Nielsen, Jeremy Roos and Matt Needham were in the circle.  We thought our bishop would stand in but apparently we forgot to formally invite him.  I noticed it and wanted to point to him to go up, Danny didn't even know who came up but oh well.

Danny gave a beautiful, sweet blessing.  It talked about how Hanna would have a strong faith in our Savior, his atonement, be an example and bring many to the waters of baptism.  Know how much her parents loved her and be able to come to them with any questions or concerns.  It talked about how she would be strong spiritually with a deep faith of our Savior. It was beautiful and I was touched.

I had the opportunity to bear my testimony and was so touched about what a miracle she was and going to go up and talk about the miracle and love of our Savior to give us another sweet girl.  The love I have for the priesthood and my family.  However, I got up and it turned into sharing my love for my ward family.  How grateful I was for the peace, help and devotion they have been to our family over the years.  I was touched by so many tender mercies and the love of our Savior.  Baby blessings are beautiful.  The spirit was so strong.  I am grateful for fasting.  It really does strengthen you spiritually.

I know life will not always be easy for Hanna but with a love and reminder of the Savior, it will always work out.  What a blessing to have her in our life!  I am just so grateful for her.

She is doing well.  She always looks like she is in distress with her furrowed brow and concerned face.  It is scrunchy and serious and concerned.  It makes me smile.  I call her my grumpy old man.

I couldn't find my christening dress.  I am certain it is somewhere.  After going to 5 stores with the kids on Friday night, I gave up and decided she could just wear a white little sundress we had.  I ended up asking Kim and she let us borrow her blessing dress which was beautiful.  It made me grateful for great examples in my life and in my children's life.  It really made an impact on me of how important your ward family is and the circle of friends you have to help raise your children.  I really wanted a dress of her and Hanna but by the time I got out of church it was too late.

Danny took pictures after church which I am so grateful for.  I LOVE them!  I can't wait to put them up in our kitchen wall.  The most important thing I got from my parents home were 6 picture frames that hung above there bed.  I put it in our kitchen with pics from our kids an it means so much to me. 

The boys had the Sunday hypers running around like crazy boys.  Blake was angry, Parker just like running on the grass.  Kira was drama but we sat on the grass on a beautiful day and eventually people listened and we got great pictures thanks to Danny.  He got a new lens that he loves and I now love because I get these great pictures of my kids.  The photo session and photos bring me great memories. The Northgate ward would always stay on the grass afterwards and congregate for 30 minutes or more. Our ward doesn't do that.  Everyone is busy to get home.  It is nice to not be needed anywhere and just be able to sit or take all the time you need for a photo.  There was a moment I thought we needed to get the photo done before all meltdowns occurred and Hanna got hungry, then I realized to just chill and play with Blake on the grass collecting pokey balls which was the little seeds from the tree. He calmed down and we had fun collecting leaves and pokey balls we were going to go home and do marble painting and make paint prints with.  He was excited and sadly we put them down the photo, forgot them and had to do marble painting with gumballs instead.  He loved it because they did it in school.  Next week we will collect again.

It was nice having Glen and Janine in for the weekend.  The kids only see them 2-3 times a year so it is always special for them.  They come out for baptisms and baby blessings so next time they come will probably be for Kira's baptism next year.  We go to Utah for Thanksgiving and summer reunion.  Sometimes I go during one of our kids breaks.  Maybe I will do that again.  On Saturday, Scott had Scouts and Tyler had a party at Water World so Blake and Kira got quality time with Grammy and Grampy and I could tell LOVED it!  We played on bikes, they jumped on the trampoline and played board games.  No big production but exactly what my kids needed.  On Sunday, they enjoyed playing hide and seek. I used to feel like we needed to go and do something but now I realize when we have 2 days to hang out, the kids just want to spend time with them.  Very grateful for there sacrifice to come out and be with the Danny and the kids.  Here are some pics....

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Quality Time

Every time a new baby joins the McMillan clan, it is like people have to find their place in the home.  Attention-seeking behavior, either good or bad, to not be forgotten.  I majored in child development in college which I LOVED!  I learned about birth order, emotional needs, etc. yet it is sometimes hard to apply.

i am like my mom.  I have countless energy and always need to be going.  That is a great blessing in many ways but also a curse because I need to remember to sit down and spend quality, one-on-one time with my kids and spouse.  Not quality time while I am folding laundry, prepping dinner, washing windows.

I am not an emotional person.  I don't need quality time or words of affirmation to fill my love language so it is something I need to remember to do to fill my family's love tank.  My husband is a words of affirmation man.  He in many ways is more emotional than me so I need to work on this.  I am sure that is one reason why we are the perfect match for each other. I need to learn to give more to grow.

Blake has been so angry.  He would get angry this summer but gets these bursts of anger.  So yesterday I took Blake out of school a little early to bring him to a lunch of his choice.  5 year old boy lunch dream....McDonalds.  He LOVED it!  You could see in his eyes and little heart how much that meant to him.  I was planning on going to Winco to get him his favorite ice cream that the kids voted against on our last trip over the weekend, but only when he was done and if he wanted.  I didn't care if we got there or not.  I just wanted the afternoon to be for him and about him.  I could always do grocery shopping another time.  It was a beautiful mindset to have.  Much better putting people first instead of the endless list of things I need to do that really should come second.  So that was a great lesson for me.  Everyday, I really need to remember to take time with each kid to connect emotionally.  The kids get to bed too late because I come home from work around 8pm and they are still up, like to come down and eat again with us, etc.  Blake wanted me to read to him when it was late and he needs sleep, so instead I laid down in the dark and told him a story about himself.  How great he was, etc.  It was just a few minutes but filled his love tank again.  My husband always tells me it isn't hard, it doesn't take long which it doesn't.  I just need to rewire my brain that this should take priority.

So I am going to work on dedicating more time to them.  Quality time.  I wrote little notes in their lunches and Blake really liked it. I remember a talk years ago about being at the crossroads with your kids.  Picking them up from school and maybe having 5-10 minutes with a child and using that time wisely.  I make Scott turn off his phone or i-pad in the car to talk to me.  He can't go anywhere and in some great way it is quality time.  I ask him questions and he answers.  Yesterday I heard all about his teachers.  He doesn't have any favorites.  Likes them all which is awesome.  Said Band is so different than other classes because it can't really be graded like other classes.  He is excited for PE this week because he and Ryan Price are doing paddle ball and realized they can win by giving really fast serves.  He talked about the halloween dance coming up and how someone asked someone.  We talked about going in groups to dances, asking people to dances, my experience with junior high and high school dances.  I told him about a time I remember I wasn't asked to a dance and that was hard and my friends found a guy to ask me that I didn't really know.  I remember one of the best dates I had to a dance with a good friend and we had so much fun!  I was kind of dating someone else but he had promised my best friend he would take her about a year prior.  It all works out.  I asked him if his teacher runs with him and he said, "oh, I am not sure if she will be able to do that.  She was foaming at the mouth yesterday."  Apparently they had to run up this hill and he felt like she was foaming at the mouth.  I am sure she wasn't.  Maybe out of breathe.  I shouldn't have laughed but I did. It was innocent and kind hearted but sounded so funny.  Scott is a good runner.  He was thinking about not running because of interfering with swim, but I am glad that he did.  It will be fun for him to try a school sport.  He makes it to fall swim when he can but does other things.  He goes about 3 times a week because of scouts or running or playdates.  He is enjoying middle school and that makes me happy.

I am coaching Aquabears this fall.  Just through the beginning of December.  Last year I kept coaching and while I love it, I missed time with my kids.  If my kids are there, it is great because I would be there anyway but as soon as they stop, it isn't worth it because I am missing out on being present in their lives.  I am so grateful to have a profession that my kids are a part of.  That allows them to be there with me.  It is something I love, gives me great balance and I think something that I make a positive impact on others and am good at.  I like teaching little kids.  Feel so blessed for my jobs!  They really don't feel like jobs.

Now that Scott swims in a wetsuit he really likes it.  It is funny because in the summer he wants to push himself and work hard and has goals. Fall swim he doesn't quite know his place.  I gave him a goal to try new events this fall.  Rec is awesome but it is all about racing shorter events and winning.  USS is more about swim development and not all about winning.  There are pros and cons to both.  So I told him not to worry about racing, placing or winning and just succeeding by trying new things and going out of his comfort zone.  The first meet is in 2 weeks and he is going to swim the 200 IM and 200 back.  He wouldn't even go near those last year so I am very proud of him.

Kira used to be so sweet but she is becoming sassy and kind of mean.  She will do these little mean things to her siblings and lie about it.  Like put her foot out to trip them and pretend like it is an accident.  Not sure why she is doing this but need to get that under control.  One thing she is doing better than last year is her anxiety to try new things or do new things seems to be better.  What a difference from last year that she wouldn't even swim. Was too scared, too anxious.  I signed her up for Rasmussen Swimming twice a week to swim with paisley.  It is 30 minutes before Scott's workout and last week it was too hard to get out the door so she just swam with me but we are hopefully going to make it this week. Maybe at least one of the days.  I thought aquabears would be too cold and wanted her to have time with her cousin plus I love christian. He has a great program.  I leave it up to her and our schedule and whatever works for the day we do. It makes me happy she likes it.  She goes to gymnastics and after wants to swim.  Reminds me of me growing up. Countless energy and always on the go.  Blake tried to swim but was always angry so now he isn't swimming.  Not sure why he was angry.  he always blamed it on his goggles because I didn't have his right goggles.  Needless to say now we are taking a break with him.  I am pretty chill with allowing my kids do things when they are ready or when they want.  Not sure if it is the right approach but for now it seems to be working. It is always hard to know the balance if you push or just let them choose.  I think they have to choose to do things to some extent because it has to come from within.  At the same time they can't just sit home and do nothing.  I don't care what they do as long as they are doing something productive.  Swim works for our family because it isn't in a million locations at once.

Tyler seems to be doing well.  He loves his teacher.  I got to teach art last week and his teacher is so nice.  She emailed a couple of times asking for an art docent and after nobody responded I said I could do it.  I am not an artist and 5th grade is a little intimidating because some kids really are talented artists.  More talented than I am but I can teach and told her I would love to teach as long as she knew I wasn't a real artist.  She is so nice.  It is always great volunteering in kids classes.  Tyler loves it.  It is his quality time.  She has them doing book clubs that they are accountable to read for their book club and for the first time he is really enjoying reading.  He reads and does finger knitting in his room and it is great down time for him.  He has never done his reading homework so if that is what we get out of this year, it will be a success!  He started a machine sewing class on Thursday last week which he was excited about.  He felt bad because he was the only boy but I know he will have fun. Scott would hate that but Tyler will be ok.  I think it is funny that Tyler isn't as aware of gender roles or norms like most kids or Scott.  Some of that is because he has an innate self confidence that he just doesn't care what others think.  It is a great quality and I hope it stays with him because it can and will be a great personality trait to have.  Self confidence is hard to teach and he just has it. He seems to be doing well.  I sometimes bring him breakfast in bed just so he can have quiet time upstairs and sleep a little longer.  He seems to need that.  I am sure it is because he doesn't feel well so I try to encourage that so that he feels the best he can feel.

Parker is doing well.  He is pretty easy going.  I hope he stays that way.  He is used to going with other people and tagging along wherever we go.  I think he is looking more and more like me as a kid.  He LOVES this little push bike Renee gave to him before leaving for London.  He would spend all day and night on it outside in the court if he could.  It is great but I also need to get some things done so the tantrums of having to come in are hard.  I then bring the bike in and ramps inside and he is good.

I am in love with Hanna.  I love holding her and her little noises.  I prayed so hard for her and recognize what a miracle she is.  It makes getting up at night easy because I realize what a gift she is.  What a tender mercy that is.  When you yearn and pray for something and think that it isn't going to happen and it does, it gives you a whole new appreciation and love.  Truly great things come out of trials.  There were months that I mourned her absence.  I didn't think we would have another child and it was really, really, really hard.  It ached.  If I didn't feel that, I would appreciate her as much as I do.  I wouldn't recognize the love of the Savior, the love I feel for her and the gift she is as much as I do.  I really do feel so grateful!

Danny is a great dad and husband.  I feel like I am learning to see things how he sees things and that is making me a better wife.  I am not a great wife.  Danny is not me and I sometimes forget that.  He has so many amazing qualities I don't have.  He is patient, can fix anything, loyal, obedient.  I wouldn't consider myself good at any of those.  However, I am a multi-tasker, can read people and just know what needs to be done. He isn't so much that way.  He just needs to be told.  Sometimes I get frustrated that he isn't a mind reader or just know what I need or a kid needs done.  It would take me 5 seconds to just ask him or tell him and he would gladly do it and I wouldn't get frustrated.  I am finally getting that after 13 years of marriage. Ha!  I have such a long way to go. I am grateful for all that he does and I feel so grateful for him and his patience with me and how long it sometimes takes me to get things.

This deserves a post of its own and once I get pictures I am going to do another post but Danny has a calling of being the primary chorister and is AMAZING!!! I peek through the window and he does such a great job.  A calling he was made for.  He is talented and wants the kids to learn how to sing but also fun and doesn't get stressed or have expectations of how kids need to learn or what level they should be at.  It is so fun to see him in his element.  Everyone loves him and tells me what a great job he is doing.  His pianist is a good friend to him and they make a great team.  This needs a whole post on its own.  I need to take pictures of all the fun activities he does.  Tyler loves that he is the chorister and always tells me how great it was.  All the kids do but I am learning that quality time is important to Tyler and means a lot and that is one way he gets it.  I am so proud of him.  I am so grateful he gets this opportunity.  We are so lucky to have him.  We are so lucky in my home to be blessed with great music.  As soon as I get some pictures I am going to show you how fun his classes are.

This parenting/spousing thing is no joke.  So much to work on, figure out and improve.  I am trying to make scripture study and prayer a bigger part of my parenting and wifing.  I know that is the greatest tool we can use.  It feels good to be journaling again.  This is my journal for life now. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

And life rolls on

Heidi's working with the Aquabears again.  Scott and Kira go out there with her in the IS300.  They complain about the cold water and wear wetsuits but they seem to enjoy it.

Mister got into the diaper rash cream.  I don't know why kids do this.  Desitin is so hard to remove.

But he loves his balance bike and cries when it's time to go in.

The kids have been enjoying doing their wheeled activities in the evenings while Heidi's working.  I just put the baby in the bjorn and walk around.

I shot these with the new 70-200.  It's harder than you think to get a good picture of a moving person.  Plus, there was low light.  But these were keepers.

Missy is three weeks old.

Mister should take naps during the day but usually doesn't.  Then he has a melt down in the evening that can last 1.5 hrs.  This time he fell asleep on my shoulder while I was reading scriptures.  I lay on the floor with my head against the wall to read from my phone.

Blake went to the principal's office today for anger management.  The teacher and principal described his tantrum-like behavior, which is what we deal with everyday at home.  He has a hard time articulating what is bothering him.  Instead, he explodes, gets punished, and then a few hours later can use words to describe why he was upset.  For example, I pick him up a lot of days.  He comes over to me, throws down his helmet, throws his backpack in the air, and walks off.  No words have been exchanged.  Finally, after a twenty minute stand-off, he yells, "You didn't even charge my helicopter!"

"Did you ask me to?"  No.  He just assumed that I'd do it--I don't know, because I can't read his mind--and was now melting down that it wasn't charged.  It's frustrating.

We've even had some behavior issues with Kira.  Maybe all of this is because of Missy's arrival.  Kira can be so kind and thoughtful most of the time.  Maybe she's just getting to bed late because of gymnastics and swim.  Most of the time she does piano in the morning with me.

I really like my lenses though.