Monday, June 12, 2017

May 2017

May! I love May in Idaho. The weather starts to warm up and finally feel like spring. School lets out. The grass turns green. It's time to start gardening. I can plant flowers. We can go the park and it's just the right temperature. Days are warm but nights are still cool. I love it all!

The first Monday in May we did a health and fitness night at the school for Family Home Evening. They had activities set up and some Zumba instructors came to teach for 30 minutes. Tommy's favorite part was the smoothies for sale. He tried three different flavors - we made him share with the rest of us.
 Hula hoops and push up contests were the the favorite activities. Tommy's version of a push up is to get on all fours and then squat his legs up and down, while keeping his arms straight. He looked like a little frog about to jump, but never going anywhere. No one wanted to do Zumba with Mommy. They were too busy running around like crazy.
This year Tommy and Joey were in a Mommy and Me music class. We loved it. I saw so much improvement in Tommy's confidence and speech. Joey took to the music right away and loved to go each week. Their teacher did a recital for all the beginning level students. The boys sang a few songs they had learned, but the best part of the show was the Elephant Walk dance at the end.
What is funny to me is that Tommy refused to dance in class, but suddenly in a room full of people and up on the stage, he put on his elephant hat and did the entire dance. He is full of surprises!
I love our little elephants! The benefits of the class were so great. We are doing the class one more year, but we're taking a break for the summer months.
Annie threw up at school and spiked a fever. Turns out she had another UTI! She stayed home for two days until her fever went down and she felt better. In June we are having her go in for a VCUG procedure to try and diagnose the cause of her recent infections.
We went from cool spring to hot summer overnight. We got a few 80 degree days that left us melting. One afternoon I invited Tommy's friends over to have a water balloon fight and play in the water.
It was still so early in the season that I couldn't find our sprinklers. The boys got creative and took turns filling up one of my steel bowls with the hose. Then they would put the bowl on the trampoline and jump to make it splash and spill all over them.
Funnest afternoon we've had in a long time!
Tommy loves to watch a show called Special Agent Oso. Oso is a bear who is a secret agent sent to help children with tasks that are difficult. Oso helps break the tasks down into "three special steps" so that they are more manageable for kids. After watching an episode about how to make sandwiches, Tommy was inspired to give it a try. He made his own jelly sandwich and ate it. He was so proud of himself. Now I need Oso to make episodes about eating new foods, making beds, and sharing with friends. A mom can dream, right?

Daddy had to attend an accounting conference in Austin Texas. It was the first time in a while that we didn't have him with us for a few days. We survived (barely) and we loved doing video chats with Daddy every night before bed. Lily was a great helper and read to the kids at bedtime for me.
Sunday at church was tough all alone. But once we got home we celebrated with popsicles out in the sunshine and an oragami lesson.
These are some of Daddy's pictures from Texas. His hotel and convention center, a bridge that houses a large bat population (ewwww), and some pictures of the swarms of bats coming out to feed at dusk.
People come to this spot at night to watch the bats. You can see the dark smudges/clouds in the sky. Those are part of the millions of bats that live under the bridge. There must be a lot of bugs in Austin to support this many bats all in one place.
While Daddy was gone, our friends the Nielsens came to visit us. We have known them since our Meridian years and all of our kids are the same ages.
Joey had fun playing trains with the big kids. Annie and Jillian were best buds right away. The Neilsens came to attend the Idaho Falls temple open house. They were sad to miss Jeremy, but it was still great having them here. We stayed up past midnight just talking the way we used to before we had kids. I love being able to pick up with friends right where we left off, even after being apart for years.
Lily and Annie are still busy selling cookie dough and breads. We added bakery style sugar cookies to the growing list of products. These were a hit. We had to buy sprinkles three times to fill the orders. People went nuts for them. I think too many sugar cookies don't have enough flavor. These have lots of vanilla and almond extract to amp up the flavor, and our customers couldn't get enough.

To help wear the kids out while Daddy was away, I took them to our high school track to run and play. Tommy was amazingly fast and left all of us in the dust. Joey didn't want to be on the track, he was more interested in the football field. He loved being chased all over the grass. I think we have some future track and field athletes in our family.
When Daddy returned home he gave the kids Armadillo Poo. It was a chocolate and caramel taffy. The girls were nervous to try it, but once they did, they loved it. We had to reassure them frequently that Daddy would not feed them real armadillo poop - and if he did, it would not taste this yummy. The box was gone after one day because the kids wanted to share it with all their friends.
I love catching the boys in quiet snuggle moments. They can be so sweet when they want to be.
I forgot about some bread rising in the oven and it was in there for an extra 45 minutes rising. After baking, the forgotten loaves came out 2-3 inches taller than my usual loaves. They were so big, they didn't fit in our bread bags. Oops! Delicious mistake.
For Mother's Day weekend we made our way to Utah for a clogging competition at Lagoon. I let Tommy hold my phone for a little while in the car. Once we arrived at Grammy's house I found 20 selfies from Tommy - complete with messy face!  The kids were so wired in the car. The girls were super excited to go to Lagoon. It was our family's first time going. We stayed with Grammy and Grampy and the Wanners were able to join us too! The kids loved having all their grandparents in one place.
Lily and Annie were so excited to dance. Annie and Mommy were a little under the weather for this trip, but we still had fun.
It was a crazy morning for Mommy, trying to watch two girls dancing on separate stages. It was so nice to have extra adults to manage the boys and cheer for our dancers when I couldn't be there. Daddy was a trooper managing Joey so I could help the girls with costumes and snacks. And Papa was a fantastic photographer. Thank you to all of our family for coming to cheer on the girls. They were so proud to dance for you.
My favorite dances this year were Annie's wooden shoes dance and Lily's Moana themed dance.
We had super chilly weather, but the kids didn't seem to notice. They were too excited about dancing and the rides. Thank goodness they didn't notice, since Mommy didn't pack warmer jackets.
I spy Lily and Grammy on the Jumping Dragon ride! Can you spot them speeding by?
Uncle Brady came down for the day to support the girls and play with us. He was my Joey whisperer.
Tommy had a rough start with the rides, but after convincing him to try a few slower ones, his courage and interest grew. Joey loved chasing this peahen.
Mommy didn't get to ride very many rides, but this little Jeep was a lot of fun.
Daddy was a good sport and rode as much as he could with all the kids since Mommy was sick most of the day and couldn't stomach the rides.
It was tough keeping track of so many people and all of our stuff in an unfamiliar place. We lost Annie's Shopkins backpack somewhere in the park and never recovered it. It had a spare change of clothes for all the kids in it. Good thing we didn't need it.
Joey and Tommy loved the train. They rode it four times. They wanted to sit and watch it steam and whistle as much as possible. They didn't even notice the cool zoo animals on exhibit during the ride. They just wanted to be on the train.
Joey was only allowed on three rides - the carousel, the ferris wheel and the train. We spent a lot of time on each of them so that he could have something fun to do. Hopefully next year he will be big enough to ride more things! At the rate he eats, we have no doubt he will grow and grow and grow.
Finally it was time for dinner. Not a lot of eating options were available in the park. We decided on Arbys. Mistake! The service was slow and not good. The food cost twice what it would at an Arby's outside the park. The kids hardly ate anything because they don't like Arby's food. All they wanted was ice cream - which they got an hour later. Next time we will just pack dinner too.
Daddy wanted to ride Cannibal, but by the time we finished "dinner" and got to that side of the park, the line was too long. We did a quick ferris wheel ride with grandparents and then said goodbye to them.
After the grandparents left, we hit a few rides with Uncle Brady before going home.
The kids were wiped out after our first Lagoon adventure. We are excited to try it again - when Mommy and Annie aren't sick. Now that we know what to expect, we can plan out our day a little better. We were so happy to go to sleep that night! Annie was hoping for a dip in Grampy's hot tub that night, but we were too tired.
I woke up on Sunday morning to this custom sign from Annie. Daddy got up early with the kids so I could rest and get better. Grampy and Daddy made breakfast for our crew and Daddy got everyone ready for church.
Grammy and Tommy got to have some fun one on one time reading books.
We did a big breakfast before church and dinner with Jake's family and the grandparents after church. Before we knew it, we had to go home. We didn't fill up in Utah before we left. Daddy was hoping we could make it all the way home. We got a few miles outside of Pocatello and only had 5 miles left in our gas tank. We were biting out nails as we cruised into town for a fill up. We made it with 2 miles to spare. Whew!
Life went back to normal after Lagoon. Joey is eating and growing like crazy. He plays so hard each day that he falls asleep in his high chair during lunch.
Lily won a Jr. All American award at Lagoon, but since we're new to clogging competitions, we didn't know that we needed to check the bulletin boards. We missed the wards ceremony. Oops! Her teacher collected the award and gave it to Lily the following week in class. This award means that Lily was a top scorer on all of her short solos. Apparently it is a big deal. We feel so bad for missing it.
The girls dressed up one last time for pictures and awards at their dance studio. It was a fun day. Now we get a break from clogging until clogging camps in late June and early August.
I love how Annie and Joey snuggle together in the mornings.
I got to help with field day for Annie's grade. It was cold! We were in hats, gloves, and our winter coats.  Annie's teacher said the boys could come along. The boys didn't seem to mind. They were happy to play on the playground and hang out with the big kids.
I was in charge of a game called Jump the River. But my favorite event was the Scream Run. The kids lined up, took a deep breath, and then ran screaming as far and as fast as they could until they couldn't scream any more. They had to do the run in one long scream. The second the sound stopped, they had to stop running.
The kids liked it so much, they tried running forward, backward, holding hands, skipping. There was a lot of screaming that morning.
The next day I came to help with Lily's field day. I left the boys with a friend so that I could concentrate on helping better. Lily's class was representing Columbia in the events, so I brought face paint for the kids. We put stripes on their cheeks in the Columbian flag colors. The kids thought it was so cool. It's getting harder to earn cool mom points, so I was happy too. All the other 2nd grade classes were jealous of our awesome face paint.
I was in charge of the limbo station. It was fun until.....I got a call from the babysitter that Tommy had thrown up. Another parent came to cover my station and I raced home to help Bubba. He just wanted to go to sleep. He stayed in bed for 5 hours and then woke up like nothing had happened. No one else got sick.
Joey somehow wrapped himself up in Annie's backpack and couldn't get out. At least he thought it was funny. Might be a good way to contain him in the future.
After only 9 weeks of piano lessons the girls had their first recital. Their teacher said they have both learned faster than any other beginning students she has ever had. I love their teacher. She is high energy and funny. She helps Lily relax and forgive herself when she makes mistakes. She is right up Annie's alley. They get along great. I am so happy the girls like to play and like to practice. Here's to growing our talents!
When I was a kid, An American Tale came out in theaters. I loved that movie. I remember crying while watching it. I felt scared, happy, silly, excited....all the feelings you should get while watching a good story. We did a family movie night and played it for the kids. I was worried they wouldn't feel the same way about the movie. Entertainment these days is so overstimulating and kids are almost numb to feeling excitement during movies. but our kids loved this one. They were singing along and gripped by the story. They even ended up sitting on the coffee table so they could be closer to the screen. It was great for them to see what immigrant families went through to start their lives in America. Now the girls want us to sing "Somewhere Out There" to them at bedtime.
May 20th was the last day of the Idaho Falls Temple open house. We couldn't let the chance to take our kids into the temple one last time go by. We woke everyone up early Saturday morning to ensure we'd get a spot in the 8 AM tour. They were so excited to be there again. Tommy did much better with wearing the booties this time too.
The girls said their favorite rooms were the Celestial Room and the Baptistry. Tommy said his was the cafeteria. Joey just wanted to be anywhere he could see a painting of Jesus. He loved the big murals of the Savior. The tour is supposed to be silent. Joey wanted to say hi to Jesus and call his name each time we passed a picture of the Savior.
This is the bridal room. It was not part of the tour, but I showed the girls this picture and talked to them about what it feels like to get married in the temple.
Having our little family in the sealing room together was emotional for me. It will be years before we're all together in a sealing room again. I hope the kids felt how special the temple is. Don't worry, I didn't take these pictures of the interior, they are from the church media site.
It was a beautiful day to share one of our favorite places! We're so glad they love the temple and plan to go there someday.
The heatwave was back by Sunday so we went to Freeman park and spent the afternoon close to the river to cool off. The kids wanted to play in the sand and throw rocks for hours.
 I love how the girls set up their Barbies to swim in the water.
 Tommy got this bottle of Coke at the hardware store on Saturday with Daddy. He begged us to bring it in the car to the park. He kept saying he needed a drink of "coco-lala". He used to call it diet coco-nut. At least coco-lala is closer to Coca Cola. He loves soft drinks just like Puna.
 The kids got so cold after wading in the river that we had them take warm baths and put on fuzzy jammies. Annie wanted a hat and coat too - on an 80 degree day.
Joey loves Ring Around the Rosie on the trampoline. The kids did it over and over until they were dizzy.

Annie finished kindergarten! She had a fun year learning Spanish and making new friends. Livia is her best friend at school and at church. They are sad to not be in the same 1st grade class next year.

 The kids did a few songs for us. Then their teacher presented each student with an award. Annie got the State Farm Award because "like a good neighbor, Annie is there!". She is always where she is supposed to be during class and she is a natural leader in her class.
 Daddy even got away from work to see the graduation ceremony. This year each class held their own ceremony. It was so nice to have smaller groups and be less crowded than we were for Lily's graduation.
 Thank you for a fantastic year Mrs. Taulanga!
 The last day of school, we played all day. In the morning, the boys and I met Annie in the gym for Zumba with all the kindergartners. Brilliant idea. The kids are so wired on the last day, and all the supplies were sent home the day before. This way the kids could be active and burn off some of their energy.
 After a good workout, we delivered gifts to teachers, and we met Lily and her friends for picnic lunch on the school playground. This is Lily with Nicole, one of Lily's best friends this year.
 Joey liked getting attention from all the big kids.
 Eric, Nicole, Gage and Lily at their last lunch recess of the year.
 Joey was not ready to go back inside after lunch.
When the kids got home from school, the other moms on the street and I had a surprise waiting for them.....neighborhood water balloon fight!
 I made snickerdoodles and filled ballons for hours. Other moms brought treats and balloons too. It was a fun party.
You may have noticed that one child was missing from the action. Lily had an emotional day saying goodbye to her friends and her teacher Mrs. Jasper. She came off the bus crying and wanted to sit with me and snuggle for a long time. We tried to get her to come join us for the water balloons but she wanted to rest and watch a show on my bed.
Tommy was exhausted after a long day of events and school and errands with Mommy. He had a blast at the water balloon fight. He went home to go potty and never returned. I left the party to check on him and found him wrapped in his favorite blanket, passed out on his bed. Too much excitement for our little dude.
Lily said she could sit with Tommy so I could go back to the party with Annie and Joey across the street.
After a 4th round of water balloons and a second round of treats, we called it a day and went home. It is often crazy living in a neighborhood with so many kids the same age. But parties like this are so fun. Ready or not......Summer is here!
I can't remember what was happening when we took this picture of Joey. He sure looks excited to eat dinner.
Saturday morning at the Hall house. Messy hair, don't care. Time to practice piano. Joey wants to try too.
One of our favorite ice cream spots was having a special on frozen coconut custard and POG Italian ice. The flavor combo is amazing. After a long day of chores, exercise, and work, we took everyone out for ice cream and play time at Porter Park.
The kids love riding the historic carousel in Rexburg. I know Joey isn't smiling but he truly loves this ride.
The kids look forward to Sunday dinners with Uncle Brady. Mommy and Daddy love it too. Brady plays with the kids and wears them out - which is needed after a quiet Sunday.
Annie decided the tree needed to be watered - because she wanted to play with the hose.
 Joey loves hats. He borrowed Lily's pink sun hat to play pirates with Brady.
Everything was going fine until Tommy decided to water the tree too. The boys kept fighting over the hose. It is hard to take a one year old wearing a diaper, teddy bear shirt, and hot pink hat seriously. Poor Joey. Sometimes there's nothing left to do but cry.
 Before we knew it, Memorial Day had arrived. Grammy and Grampy invited us to visit and decorate graves for Grampy's side of the family and then they treated us to lunch.
 This was the first Memorial Day since we moved here that didn't start out freezing cold. It was a stunning day from beginning to end.
We put on our annual neighborhood BBQ. We had great turn out and lots of fun. So many people told us they look forward to this every year. We do too! It's a great way to strengthen our neighborhood and make memories together. We are excited about adding trees, more patio area, and more shelter to the yard as the years go by.
 The kids requested water balloons, so we let them fill up a few.
 Let the fighting begin!
 The adults stayed safely away from the water play.
 Adaline and Trinily
 Baby Charlie
We had the most amazing weather. The kids played until they were all red in the face and worn out. The girls were looking forward to this night all weekend. It's obvious they had a wonderful time. I think Tommy ate at least 5 cupcakes. Every time we saw him, he had a new one in his hand.
Summer has just begun but we're feeling the effects already. The kids play and play and play all day long. I have gone shopping three times in one week for food! Everyone is hungry all day long and so tired by dinner time that they fall asleep at the table. The pace has slowed down at our house now that the girls are older and I don't have a baby to feed and keep away from friends who are too helpful. Hopefully this will be a wonderful summer for all of us. I read an article about how we only have 18 summers with each child - so how will we spend those summers? 
 Sleeping in, swimming, playing, praying, reading, riding, traveling, teasing, gardening, growing, the list goes on! I hope their summer will be full of love and good memories.