Friday, September 15, 2017

September 2017 - Part One

I think September and October are so wonderful. All the warm days and cool nights. School is back in session. Routine returns. It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling. After a few days of the back to school routine, we got a day off for Labor Day. We decided to get out of town and explore the Palisades Reservoir area in Swan Valley. We loved it!
 The total hike round-trip is 8 miles. We knew the kids couldn't handle that, so we just went as far as we could, stopped for a snack, and then turned around and went back to the car. We probably pushed it a little too far, Joey cried most of the hike back down. But the rest of us had smooth sailing and we can't wait to go back.
 There were so many places to duck off the trail and play near the creek.
 I loved seeing all my ducks in a row on the trail. Notice Joey is in front. That boy loves to hike, that is, until he doesn't anymore.
 The trail was busy that day. There were signs warning us about bears. Those made Lily a little nervous. She tried to stay right next to Mommy or Daddy for most of the hike.
 We loved the bridges, the shady trail, the secret places to explore. It was a perfect hike for a family with little ones. Plenty to see and do, and the trail was well maintained and fun to walk on. As the kids get older and can go further, it will be fun to make it all the way to the lake to play. I hope we'll make lots of wonderful memories at Palisades.
 No trip through Swan Valley is complete without a trip to Rainey Creek store for a square ice cream cone. The kids all started licking before I could get a photo of the square ice cream.
 I didn't even notice how dirty Joey's hands were until after I took this picture. Yuck. Where was his mother?
What a great way to spend Labor Day 2017. We love family days with our little troopers.
Finally...after weeks of was Tommy's turn to start preschool. We went in the day before to meet his teacher, do a welcome scavenger hunt, and get familiar with his classroom. Tommy couldn't hold still due to his excitement.
 He picked out his clothes - a new Captain America shirt and he asked if we could have lunch at McDonald's. Sure thing buddy. Tommy was so excited, he could hardly eat. Joey never has that problem.
 We stopped in Mrs. Stirlings's driveway for a picture before hanging up his backpack. Tommy was happy to find his name and know that this cubby is just for him.
 We've been working all summer on learning to hold pencils and crayons - and how to write letters. Tommy was proud to bring home this little paper and tell me all about his first day.
 His teacher sent me this adorable photo. Oh the cuteness! Tommy is so happy to be a school like the girls. We weren't sure he would be ready, but he is doing just fine. However, he is still bummed that he doesn't get to ride a real school bus yet.
 I was released from my Primary calling and will be put in as Relief Society president very soon. When I announced to the Primary kids that our presidency would be released, the kids were very sad. One family brought me this bouquet the next day with a note that said "Thank you for helping our testimonies bloom!". I love Primary and I loved being in there with my kids. It will be hard to serve somewhere else, but I hope I will learn to love Relief Society too.
 Annie lost a front tooth. I am so glad we snapped a picture the night before - it's our last one with her top two teeth in. While at school, she had one fall out. She ran in to door form the bus, tooth in hand, to show me. The next one is very loose tooth. Soon she'll be missing both front teeth.
 We had Uncle Brady over to celebrate his 24th birthday. I was out of regular candles so we used 2 matches and a number 4 candle. Brady didn't care about the candles, he just wanted a slice of his favorite pie. Happy birthday Brady. We hope this year will be a good one in every way.
 Annie had a big week. She lost her first top tooth and learned to ride a two wheel bike! Now she needs a bigger bike. Our whole family needs bicycle upgrades - Santa? Will he got one for Mommy and Daddy too?
Having Tommy at preschool leaves just Joey and Mommy at home twice a week. Joey loves getting one on one time with Mom. We captured some of the last summer sun at the park and had a wonderful time together.
After a long summer filled with constant mess, children, and chaos. The order of September is soothing to Mommy's soul. We are thriving in our new routine and all the kids are loving school so far. Life is good.

August 2017

Mommy gets excited when August rolls around. The nights start to cool off again and we can officially begin the countdown to school starting. For family night we made puff paint and let the kids paint outside so the kids could get messy. That was a good call. Joey had the paint everywhere! He must have been going for the body art look. Lily and Annie created blue waves and puffy flowers. Mommy helped Tommy make an Incredible Hulk with puffy muscles.
The paper chain is our way to track what is left of summer. Tommy thinks he's getting on the school bus at the end of the month too. We keep trying to explain that preschool is different from grade school, but what do we know?
Once the paper chain went up, Mommy started thinking about all the things we wanted to do this summer, but hadn't done yet. One of them was - go to the splash park. Easy fix!
We went early to reserve a good spot on the grass. Then we played until we were hot enough to get wet. Every time we come to the park, we ride the Centennial Carousel and share a cotton candy.
Daddy was able to join us for lunch and play before going back to work. We had a great afternoon.

Lily's friend Kayt was baptized. She invited us to her baptism and the luncheon following. These girls are so cute and giggly when they get together. We are happy for Kayt and her choice to be baptized.
Our ward threw a phenomenal ward party. We had bouncy houses, amazing food, and lots of people. I know this photo will be a treasure in 20 years. Remember Joey's new horses and cowboys? Well they go everywhere with us. Joey brought them to the party and left them in the grass. A few different kids picked them up and soon they were lost. By some miracle we were able to find everything before we went home. Thank goodness!
Joey's actual birthday was fun. We had neighbors and friends over for cake and ice cream. Rather than struggle with another horse cake, Mommy just made a two out of cupcakes. Daddy couldn't help but find humor in the fact that it was a brown number two.
Happy birthday JoJo. We sure love having you in our family!
The Idaho Falls Arts Department put on an art in the park day. All the booths had a free art project based on a children's book. We did as many booths as we could before Joey was too grumpy to go on. Then we went to the park and had a picnic. Great way to spend a Saturday.
Lily did very well with the charcoal. Annie did too - and somehow ended up with charcoal on her forehead.
Joey got a card and more presents from Grammy and Grampy in the mail. He liked his dinosaur card and didn't want us to read the inside because he wanted to just look at the cover.
The young women of our ward put on a sweet little fashion show of modest clothes for the Activity Days girls. Each young woman wore a favorite outfit and explained to the younger girls why she believes in being modest. It was a wonderful night. Lily had a great time.
August flew by in a wink. Puna and Papa returned to watch the solar eclipse with us. We took them up Cress Creek Trail. There were strange little black bugs crawling thick as a carpet all over the trail. We have been there many times and never seen anything like it. Those bugs must have hatched recently. It gave all of us the heebee-jeebees to have so many bugs everywhere. Yuck!
Just before starting the hike we tried to get Tommy to use the potty. Pit toilets are not his thing. He insisted he didn't need to go. Not long into the hike we came around a corner to find him peeing. That boy!
It was a beautiful night and we are so happy we got to enjoy it.
On Sunday Jake and his kids drove up for dinner and a place to stay for the eclipse. While Mommy and Daddy prepared dinner and the house, Puna and Papa took the kids to the BYU-Idaho gardens.
They were gone for hours, so we're guessing it was a great time.
The gardens in the summer are such a treasure.
After letting the kids climb all over the rocks and water features, Puna noticed a sign that said do not climb. Ooopps! We've been going for years and never noticed the signs either.
Monday August 21 was eclipse day! The kids were so excited to wear their glasses. They were disappointed that they couldn't see anything with them on. We had to teach them how to look at the sun with the glasses and explain that the glasses are not meant for regular viewing.
Lily said her favorite part of the day was playing with cousins on the ping pong table.
There was so much excitement and energy in the air. We kept checking the sun and looking heavenward all morning long.
The guys tried using a colander and paper to see the eclipse shadows.
When the sun was really getting covered, the temperature dropped and it got so dark. It certainly didn't feel like 11 in the morning.
Leading up to the eclipse we laughed about the reports of the thousands who would come to our area to view the eclipse. We'd never seen anything like this before so we didn't know what to expect. Turns out, the thousands who were expected didn't show. But now we understand why people would travel for a total eclipse. The feeling was amazing.
Once the eclipse was over, Jake and his kids hopped on the road to beat the crowds back to Utah. We decided to try our luck at the water park. It was a fantastic day to go. Hardly anyone was there. This time, Uncle Brady got to join us, which made all the kids very happy.
Lily finally got to try the waterslides. Annie was too short to meet the height requirement and didn't pass the swim test either, so she has to wait until next year.
The rest of us waited at the bottom of the slides to watch Lily and Papa come out.
Joey tried nachos for the first time. He loved them.
Thank you Puna, Papa, Jake, Drake, Gabriel, Jasmine, and Brady for coming to visit us this weekend. We made lots of great memories.
Our neighbor invited us over for a little boy water balloon fight. All the boys in the neighborhood came and had a great time. Tommy even got brave and joined in the fun!
Daddy completed part 2 of his Spartan Trifecta this month. He volunteered to assist at the registration tables in order to get a free race pass. After working a nearly six hour shift, it was finally Daddy's turn to race. It was late in the afternoon and so hot. There were lots of medical problems due to heat. Mommy was at home in Idaho worried sick.
Grammy, Grampy, and Uncle Jared came to cheer Daddy on and offer Mommy proof of life photos during the race.
Daddy handled it all like a champ and came in at a better time than he did in the Boise race because he didn't have the team to slow him down.
Daddy went through the course with another volunteer. We were all glad he wasn't alone. Daddy said this race was so tough - especially after working all morning. He is excited about the last race in Seattle. Mommy just hopes that once he finishes the Trifecta, he'll stay close to home for a while.

Our Primary presidency got a few surprises this month. Our second counselor's husband was laid off from this job, took a new job in Boise and moved in less than two weeks. Our president was called as the stake young women's president and Mommy was called as the ward Relief Society president. We were a great team and had three fabulous year together in Primary. It is hard to change and have friends move away. To celebrate the end of our time together we hosted a dinner party at our house.
Jodi, Christine, Julie, and Kendra
The kids got tired of sitting around and listening to the grown ups talk so they started doing tricks on the trampoline. Such a fun night. We are so thankful for good friends and how the Church helps us love others through serving together.
Our Fall raspberries are coming on like crazy. Annie has been interested in jam so Mommy enlisted her help one day. Annie dressed in red from head to toe and helped make two batches of jam. She was an excellent helper.
Lily had some trouble with being honest one week so she had to help with extra chores. She worked hard without complaining and did all that was required for her punishment. Hopefully she'll thank us one day for holding her accountable.
August wrapped up so quickly. Daddy gave all the children a father's blessing to help them prepare for school. Everyone except for Tommy. He didn't want to sit in the big chair and hid in his room instead. Joey wanted a blessing. Daddy wasn't sure what to say, but did his best. Joey was just tickled to sit in the chair like the big kids and he was remarkably reverent too.
We attended back to school night. It was a little hectic without Daddy there to help with all the kids. Joey kept running away and Tommy was crying because he wanted us to go look at his classroom - which wasn't at either of the schools.
The girls did great. Annie is a little nervous about being away at school all day, but she can't wait o finally eat lunch at school with her friends. We didn't get pictures of Lily's teachers or classrooms due to escaping little brothers.  But the next day we got great back to school shots.
Annie loves her new unicorn backpack. It is one of a kind...just like her.
And so begins school year 2017-2018. Lily in third grade with Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Hill. Annie in first grade with Mrs. Romney and Mrs. Smith. Tommy will start preschool in two weeks with Mrs. Stirling. Bring on September!