Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Day of School

As much as I hated to see summer end, I absolutely love when school starts as well. I love the new clothes and backbacks. I love the smell of school and books and paper and sharpened pencils. I love that I had my own classroom to go to this year. And I love that my kids are as excited for school as I am. This is us on that wonderful morning. For some reason we all chose green for our first day of school outfit and I didn't even realize it until I saw this picture.

Mitchel is in fourth grade this year and Max is in first.

Mrs. Penton. Her baby is due in November so that will mix things up a bit for Max then. Max will also get to have some of the other teachers too since they ability group for Math and Reading.

Mrs. Linford. She was my sister-in-law, Kari's, mission companion. Funny huh. She is so cute and energetic and fun. I'm sure Mitchel will love her. He'll also get to have all the other fourth grade teachers too since they run it kind of like Jr. High with each teacher being in charge of one subject and the kids rotating around.
So it's looking like it will be a great year for the kids. I haven't started teaching my own class yet. We are going to get all the kids tested in DIBLES (a reading test) first and then decide how to split them up. I'm hoping to get an "official" class after Labor Day. For now I have just been going and helping the third grade teachers and getting trained on the DIBLES test. I can't wait to get my own students!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The End

Can I just say that I hate, hate, hate the end of summer!! The whole three months go by way too fast and there is just too much I want to do with my kids and time seems to just slip by until here we are again at the beginning of school. I love the lazy, carefree days of summer where we can go where we want and do what we want and stay up late and sleep in. I love, love, love spending time with my family of boys and feeling their joy as we participate in summer activities such as swimming, camping, exploring, etc. I think it is even better as a mom than it was for me as a kid. Probably because I appreciate each moment and realize how little time I have with them all being little. I have experienced pure joy this summer just watching them play together and listening to them laugh and talk about how much fun they are having. I hate it when it ends because I know it means we are one summer closer to my kids getting "too old" to hang out with their mom and closer to them growing up and being missionaries and husbands and fathers and leaving their poor mom to entertain herself. Okay, so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but really, I do see how quickly this childhood thing goes by and I am determined to cherish every moment. (And document it all on this blog so I never forget)
So here are the things we did to celebrate this last week of summer. Monday night for family home evening, we hiked up Ensign Peak. It is a short, pretty easy hike, but the view of the city from the top is amazing.

Tuesday we went back for one more dip in the Herriman Reservoir. It was a perfect day spent with some friends from the ward.

(My body is just as white at the end of summer as it was at the beginning. I am the sunscreen Nazi)

Wednesday was a day spent at Lagoon thanks to my sister who got us free passes through her work. Mitchel got to take his friend Ethan.

Unfortunately there are no pictures to post of this last summer adventure thanks to the following two rides.
I took my oldest camera in a little camera case to wear around my neck. When I went to board the Jet Star II, I was told that I couldn't carry anything on the ride, even if it was secured around my body. So I had to get out of line and not ride. Well, I wasn't going to let the teenage workers at Lagoon keep me from getting some really cute pictures of all the fun we were having. So I took the camera out of the case and put it in my pocket. All was well and I got some great pictures of the kids in kiddie land and Mason and I on the Music Express. Then it was time to ride "Wicked."

Well there is a reason they tell you to leave all loose articles with a non rider. Half way through the ride, my camera fell out of my pocket and went who knows where. I didn't even realize it until the ride was over and it was gone. I'm not too upset about loosing the camera per say. It was old and didn't take the greatest of pictures and I actually took it in case something like that happened. But what I am upset about is loosing the few good pictures I had on it of our trip to Lagoon. Oh well. Just know that we had a great time and we loved it. My favorite part was riding the "Turn of the Century" with Max and we both put our arms and legs out and closed our eyes and pretended like we were flying. It was such a simple, carefree moment with my son and one of those living in the moment feelings. The other was riding the wooden roller coaster with Mitchel. He just yelled and laughed through the entire ride just like a nine year old should on a ride like that. My Mason moment was on the Music Express. Since he is still to short to ride a lot of the rides, every one else rode another ride and we rode this together. He was laughing and smiling the whole time and loved that the ride made him "squish" me. We were both grinning from ear to ear and hanging on for dear life. So fun!!!
The rest of the week was spent getting ready for school and cleaning the house. So this is the end of summer. I am so glad I have this blog that I can look back and read about and remember all the fun we've had together. My boys really are a joy for me to be with and I hate that I have to send them off to the care of someone else for 7 hours a day. But I also know that they will learn a lot a gain experiences that I could not give them at home. I am hoping that they will find joy in learning academic and social skills and that school will be a positive and uplifting experience for them. I hope I can teach them to get along without me and to figure out how to solve problems and how to deal with the "real world." I also hope they know that they are unconditionally loved by me and their dad and that no matter what things are said to them at school that home is the place where they are safe and where they are the most important, special person on the planet. I just want them to be happy and know who they are and that they are so important and amazing and smart and handsome and so full of potential. Good luck at school boys and know that I'll be here with hugs and kisses when you get home!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Getting ready and Fun with the Youth

What a crazy, busy, stressful, amazing, exciting, hard working and yet peaceful and relaxing week this has been. Monday I went to my classroom for the first time to drop off some of my things and this is what I found. I was expecting to be put in a classroom that didn't have a teacher last year and was empty. Instead I got put in the classroom of a teacher who left on maternity leave in the middle of last year and left all her crap! So instead of just moving in the next day like I'd hoped, my mom and I spent the entire day cleaning out all of her crap!
This is me saying "What the crap am I going to do with all this crap?!"

But we got to work and I actually found a lot of very helpful and useful items and all the supplies I could possibly need. We filled up about 8 very large garbage bags and also threw out a broken book shelf and lots of crappy storage containers.

My mom in the middle of the mayham.

I wish I would have taken a picture of these cabinets before we cleaned them all out. There was paper stacked and tossed everywhere all mismatched. Supplies where all over the place with no rhyme or reason. So we matched everything and put everything in totes and now I know where all the staples, paperclips, glue, markers, etc are and they can be easily accessed.

It took the next day with my mother-in-law and my mom to get all the bulletin boards up and the desks out and everything all cute and clean, but here is the finished product. I love it and it totally feels like "my" room!
So after working on that all week, the next adventure was Youth Conference. The young men's president (who is awesome) and I worked together to make it all happen. I planned the place and all the activities while he did all the food. We went down to Manti where my sister-in-law's husband's family has a house. They let us camp out on their lawn. Our theme was
"Life....THE Amazing Race!"
The first thing we did was baptisms at the Manti temple. Very cool!
These are "my girls." Since I don't have daughters of my own, I honestly feel like I've adopted these. I love being around them and feeling of their energy and enthusiasm. I care about them like they really were my own daughters. We have good fun together and I am proud of how they are living their lives.

The whole group. 11 Young Women and 6 Young Men. A small group but you won't find a more amazing group of youth in the church!

Now with the leaders. Me, my second councilor, my secretary, and one Mom, the Bishop, the Second councilor in the bishopric, and the Young Men's president. We have amazing adult leaders as well who really care about these kids and magnify their calling.

That night I put everyone on a team and we had all sorts of races and competitions against each other.

The next morning, we did an "Amazing Race" through the city of Manti. The team would get a clue, then have to walk there to perform a challenge before getting their next clue. SOOOOO fun!

The winning team!

The afternoon was spent swimming at Palisades State Park. We all just chilled out in the water and swam and sat on the beach. Very relaxing and a great way to wind down the summer. One particular Young Man threw me in the water not once, but twice! Thanks Jake!

I got back at Jake for throwing me in the water by showing him that I have bigger muscles than he does!!

Manti city will never be the same now that the Ridgecrest 1st Ward youth have been there. They truly are the future leaders of this church and I am amazing at how prepared, righteous, courageous and amazing they are. It was a wonderful weekend and I know my testimony grew by being with them.
So pretty much I didn't see my kids all week and I appreciate so much the babysitting and care given to my children by others. I could not have done any of these things without Grandmas who love me and love my children. I also am so grateful for a husband who supports me in my calling and steps up when I can't be home. He is a wonderful father and I think the kids are benifiting from spending so much time with him. I am one lucky mom and I know Heavenly Father is watching over me and blessing me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week Nine- Summer is almost over!

This will probably be my last post counting the weeks of summer. It has all just gone by too fast! The last two weeks of "official" summer will mostly be spent in my classroom setting everything up and getting it all ready. In fact that will probably be my next post. But this past week, we were able to do a few more fun summer things. Monday we went swimming at Murray Pool.
Miles has totally gotten used to the water and was running around and splashing like crazy. I had to keep chasing him around to make sure he didn't drown. About 2 hours into it, I picked him up and he just crashed on my shoulder. We spent about another hour like this while the other boys continued to play and swim.

Eventually, the clouds came rolling in and it started to sprinkle. Luckily, this was about the same time we were ready to leave so it worked out perfectly.

Another day we took Mitchel's new friend, Ethan, with us to the West Jordan Park. It was fun to get to know him and he is a cute kid.

We went to Jumping Jacks this week to just exercise and use some energy. That was the day I forgot my camera though.
But the best part of the whole week was the camping trip we took over the weekend. Friday night was the ward campout just past Heber in a place called Walsburg. When we got there it was already almost dark and then the next morning was spent keeping Miles happy, so I didn't get one picture of us at the ward campout. It was fun though. We decided that packing everything up for one night just wasn't worth it so we planned on camping one more night. We drove through the Alpine Loop and got a perfect spot in a place called Timponogee (or something like that). Our camping was extra fun because we had Aunt Tracy with us.
Miles really has a hard time when he is taken out of his normal environment. He is also just in that "naughty" stage where he gets into everything and runs into the road and basically just causes trouble. He got to spent some time in what we all call "baby jail." Not his favorite place.

The kids like to play card games when we go camping. This is our newest favorite "Monopoly Deal."
That evening, we went on a hike up the canyon. We went as far as everyone's little legs could go. It was beautiful.

At one point Mason was whining so much that Mike picked him up and carried him too. I hope Mike doesn't have back problems for the rest of his life!

This was the top for us.
That night it was a little chillier, so we all snuggled around the campfire and made different kind of S'mores. The best was cinnamon graham crackers, melted Caramello candy bar, slices of apple, and the toasted marshmallow. Can you say "YUMMM!"

The next day (Sunday, yes we decided to miss church to extend our camping trip) we went on one more hike in Pleasant Grove. My friend had told us about it and it was on our way home (sort of). It is called Battlecreek Falls. The hike is only about a mile long, steep, and kind of ugly, but at the end are these two cool waterfalls. Where they come down is really shallow, so we just got right in with our hiking boots and everything. It felt awesome and was so fun!

Mitchel and Max even braved going all the way under the falls. Nice and cool!

Camping is by far one of my favorite activities. It is a lot of work to get everything ready and packed up, and a lot of work to clean it all up when you get home, but the memories are priceless. I love that there are no distractions, no T.V., no phone calls, no Facebook, no computer games, no washing machines, no vacuums, no time limits or schedules. We can just do what we want when we want. We can stay up late and sleep in. We can just sit and listen to the wind in the trees or be hypnotised by the fire. We can eat all the junk we want. We can get dirty and wear no makeup and not even change our underwear if we don't want. It is such FREEDOM! If we could, we would spend every weekend in the summer camping. I love it that much! I am so sad to see this summer coming to an end, but at the same time I am excited for school and my new job. Luckily I know that time goes by too fast and pretty soon it will be summer again and time for more adventures.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 8- The week of "FREE!"

Because I spent way to much on groceries and clothes on Monday, I tried to keep our activities this week in the "free" category. We spent the first part of the week at home while I tried to work on as much school stuff as I could, but by Wednesday, it was time to get out. I had a coupon for free miniature golf for 4 people at Hollywood Connection. It was great! We were the only people on the course so we took our time and really got our "money" worth!
My kids fell in love with miniature golf when we went camping at Mt. Rushmore, and they actually have gotten quite good at it. So we even got a little competitive on a few holes.

Wednesday night I was able to take our Young Womens group up to "This Is the Place" state park. Technically, this wasn't free, but it did come out of the YW budget. It was well worth the price. People told stories as if they were the pioneer and it was incredibly touching and spiritual. It felt like they really were that person and they were telling their own story. I loved it and it was a perfect way to remember all the pioneers did, and more importantly, why they did it.

Thursday we ventured out to Herriman to play on the splash pad they have there which of course is free!
Unfortunately the clouds came rolling in after we had only been there for a little while.
It got kind of cold and windy, so the kids played on the park nearby for a little while. Then the rain started coming down so that was the end of that.
On Friday I again spent most of the day on the computer working on school stuff and such, so by the afternoon the kids were a little bored. They had been asking all summer if they could have a lemonade stand (something they had seen kids do on a PBS television show). I had been putting them off all summer, but this day seemed like the perfect one to try. I helped them make a sign and Mitchel stirred up some batches of Kool-Aid lemonade. We borrowed a table and headed out to a busy corner in my neighborhood, in front of our bishop's house.

It didn't take long for the kids to drum up some business. They were out yelling and waving to all the cars that drove by. I thought Mitchel was going to loose his voice. We were there between 5:00-5:45 when lots of people were coming home from work. In that 45 minutes, the kids sold all the lemonade (about 17 cups worth) and made over $5.00. They were THRILLED!

It was awesome to see them work together and take care of their "customers." I'm glad I let them give it a go. They want to do it again and I don't know if we'll have time the rest of the summer, so I'm glad we were able to fit it in this week.
On a side note, I just hate how fast this summer has gone by. There is so much I still want to do with my kids and I still want to spend so much time with them. I feel like their childhood is slipping through my fingers and I don't want to miss a single moment. I love being with them and having their laughter and their yelling fill my house. I love watching them play and work together. I love teaching them and hugging them and playing with them. I love how sweet they are to me and to each other. I love that they love spending time with me as well. I never want that to end. Summer is just too short!!!