Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011

This year we spent Thanksgiving with the Brunners. Betsy and her family showed up late Tuesday night, they just couldn't keep away from Texas.
Over a month ago, Betsy talked me into doing the 5-mile Turkey Trot with her. I also convinced my friend, Mandy to join, which wasn't hard. She is a great runner! So, a month ago, I was running 20+ miles a week and was all for running it. And then November hit and we had school plays, rehearsals, running meets, and more visitors (more in posts to come.) I think I had only made it running 3 times before this morning. But, it was exactly what I needed. I hated mile one and two but by mile three, I was ready to go. I can't wait to do it again and better next year! Another insane thing was, there were 20,000 people running this race. It was interesting and fun. They had even shut off part of the Interstate 1 (Mopac) for the runners.
And then it was home to cook. We went all out again. Turkey, mashed potatoes, salad with fruit, homemade rolls, veggies, stuffing, italian soda.....and plenty of pies. (14 to be exact).
I have so many things to be grateful for. My family is at the top of the list. Along with, the gospel, shelter, food, great friends, health, vehicles, and technology to name a few. I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving too!

(Pictures were courtesy of Betsy too! She is a great sister-in-law!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A big Feast!

(I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving time. I really need to catch up with my header!)

Happy Thanksgiving - Kindergarten Style
I helped Katanya's class today get ready for their Thanksgiving Feast. Each class did their own food preparation and then they lined the Kindergarten hallway with brown paper and the kids lined up for their food. Above is all of the Kindergarten classes. Katanya's teacher (once again) went above and beyond. That morning they made their own cornbread, shucked the corn, and snapped the beans. Then with the fruit salad, it was a lesson of having different fruits but that they can go together as we can as people. We are all different and we can all be friends. The kids loved it and were adorable! Now it's on to prepare for the real feast!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

"go, go, go"

A week after we moved to Texas, I met a new friend at church. She and her family had just moved to Texas as well. We had kids around the same age and we started running together during the early summer mornings. Mandy was the one to kick start me into running and actually got me to not just run but to enjoy the run and love it.

As the school year started, she and her brother started a cross country run club. Kirsten asked if she could do this. Of course it was a no brainer because as parents, who wouldn't want their kids out running and exercising? So twice a week she was doing her "run team."
Today we drove to Marble Falls for the Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships. It's was only Kirsten's second race but she has improved over the weeks.
It was a 3k race (1.86 miles) and I believe it was her best time yet. She finished strong and it was fun to cheer on as well as her friends during their races. I'm so proud of how far she has come.
This is Kirsten and some of her "Cougar Cross Country" friends. They all qualified to go onto Regions in two weeks so it will give Kirsten some more experience. So when my mom comes down to visit in less than 2 weeks, not only will she see McKay's school play but she can help cheer Kirsten on as well. What great planning!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I have a love / hate relationship with Halloween. I think there is more hate than love. I can't think of anything I really like about it. But I love my kids so I bear with it. And I love that my kids do look pretty darn cute!
As I mentioned in my last post I had 4 days to make the two girls' costumes and 3 days after that to make Jacob's. I hate deadlines but I made it. I finished at midnight this morning. (Hannah, I have to say I thought of you and your love of gnomes as I was sewing these costumes.)
McKay is "Rapunzelgnome." She had to personalize her costume with her own touches. Cruz was a ninja (again) but with swords this year. Kirsten was another gnome and Katanya is supergirl. We had to add a little extra length to her costume. It's so hard to find decent costumes. I guess that it is one bonus to making your own costumes.
The whole gnome idea came from Jacob. He found a toddler gnome costume, took a picture and decided that was what he wanted to be. The girls copied with a girl gnome. All I had was two pictures. I'm very grateful for the sewing basics I learned awhile ago. I have to add that as I was sewing his costume, he was the pickiest one of all. It took everything I had to laugh it off. But it ended up pretty amazing if I say so myself. Back to Jacob's costume....
Not only is he a gnome BUT....
He is Super Gnome.
And not only is he Super Gnome, he is....
Nerdy Super Gnome.
McKay came in late last night and asked what was on the cape. Jacob explained that Gnome was also an operating software program and that the logo on the cape was the logo for the software. She paused for a minute and said, "Dad, you just made your costume nerdy." His reply, "That's the best part."

I hope everyone has a safe, fun, and Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

how it works inside

It all started on Saturday. I went to find a Halloween costume for the two oldest kids (as the two youngest wanted to be something from past years) and then while shopping for the kids, Jacob saw a costume he wanted. I admit it's an pretty great idea and it soon spread that that was what the two oldest girls wanted to do too. Before I go on, I need to add that the kids need their costumes by Thursday evening. So it was off to the fabric store to figure out materials as I tried to figure a pattern out in my head. I went to put my plan in motion Sunday afternoon except my sewing machine didn't understand the motion idea. The tension was off and not picking up the basting stitch and I had no idea to fix it. I asked Jacob if he knew anything and that was where it all went down.
I should have known better. I think he wanted to see how it worked more than anything. After all he is an Electrical Engineer. My poor sewing machine has been laid to rest. I guess that is what you get when you buy ol' cheapo model at WalMart. I'm not too upset though. For the 8 years that I've used it, I've definitely had gotten my $100 worth of sewing out of it. I'll tell you what I mom's serger.

P.S. I think I work better with a deadline anyway.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Halloween week has begun!

Last night we had some friends over for dinner. They surprised our kids with plans on making "Haunted Houses."
Evidently, they (Dixie) had some mean Gingerbread house making skills. To start off the house and the base, she melted sugar. This was better than any liquid nails idea. It was pretty solid. And for the Halloween season, candy and decorations work great!
Katanya had Matt wrapped around her finger.
This was suppose to be the smiling picture. I can't get over Cruz's silly face.
And all of their houses turned out great!
Kirsten put it best when she told her dad, "It figures you have to have the biggest and the best." You can tell he was the last one with the sugar and the crackers. I don't know who was more excited, the kids or Jacob.
Thanks Dixie and Matt for showing us how it's done. I can't wait to do this again for Christmas.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

one picture = one happy mom

Just when I thought I was going to lose it from all the teasing, yelling, not listening, and fighting this weekend. I came upon this.
Its moments like this is that makes it ALL worth it.

Cruz drew this as we listened to conference yesterday. I love that he drew him and the prophet together. He even wrote the prophet a letter (in yellow ink).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When I grow up....

This week at school is "Education Go Get It Week." Monday was "I want to be a ...." day. So the kids got to sign a poster stating what they wanted to be. This started a wonderful conversation at dinner time. I thought I'd share....
Katanya wants to be a cat trainer. She made it clear by saying, "Not a lion or tiger trainer, but a cat trainer...C-A-T."
Cruz said he wanted to be a police officer. He also said it was because it was a safe job. (?????)
Kirsten thought long and hard. She first thought about being a vet because she loves pets and that way she would get to be around them. Then she realized that she would have to deal with blood and quickly changed her mind. She decided (at this age) to be a math teacher.
And last but certainly not least, McKay wants to play in an orchestra and be an actress. Oh my! I think that maybe having two orchestra periods (chamber for violin and advanced for cello) and getting a main character in the school play has fogged her thinking. : ) Kids will be kids and I love mine!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

i saved the best for last

Remember back in July when I posted the before pictures of our house? If not just click here to remind you. This was one of the rooms that was the UT orange. I really didn't want to do orange again.
So speed forward a couple months and we finally have those two rooms ALMOST put together.
This is suppose to be the formal dining room. It can be on occasion too. Right now it's our homework / computer / study room. We have all the computers on a big power strip down the table. (This table isn't to it's full size either. It can still expand on another 18 inches.) We figure if we ever need the space, we can clear everything off and eat on it. *Hint, hint, I also still want to find an antique dresser to store all of our "office" things.
And this is our music / reading room. There is just something about green. I love that color! I always have to have at least one room green. This one is my favorite shade yet. I need to take a new family picture and get a big picture of the Salt Lake Temple to hang on the walls. We also want a nice comfy chair by the bay windows that you can sit and read or relax in. I still have yet to find the right one for the right price. (Although I did a super nice one for the wrong price here and the color would be in black.) I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


My little guy's birthday was last Saturday. He always waits so patiently as his birthday is the last one in the year. I love his smile and how happy he is in this picture!
He got plenty of presents and we spent the day driving remote controlled cars & helicopters and we ALL ended the day with a big nerf gun fight led by his dad. This one shocked me because it's usually Jacob that growls and doesn't like to play around.
He picked his cake and tried to blow out the candles. This year we found some really tricky trick candles. (From Toys R Us if you are wondering.) He eventually had to give up because they all wouldn't go out.

Happy Birthday Cruz! I hope 7 is Super!

Friday, September 09, 2011

her own personal orchestra

McKay is definitely a loved one. This is her new cello. Her teacher helped tune it this morning. This was the first time picking it up and playing it. (She already told me that this picture is a bad picture because she is holding the bow with a violin hand and not a cello hand.)She's been practicing nonstop for the last two hours. She hasn't had a lesson yet and she sounds quite good. I think I prefer the sound of the cello over the violin. The video below is just of a song she had memorized that she played on her violin. I was quite impressed.

McKay is playing in the Chamber (top) Orchestra with violin and her teacher wants her to play either in the Intermediate or Beginner Orchestra with the cello. With her quick learning and background in music already, I'm guessing it will be Intermediate. Hmmm, if every kid plays two instruments, maybe I'll have my own orchestra someday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

i love to see the temple

Today our youth went to the San Antonio Temple. For those of you not familiar with Texas, it's about a 2 hour drive each way. It was such a great experience. Each one of our Young Women's faces glowed and they couldn't stop smiling. It was a first for a lot of the beehives. We had a total of 30 Young Women and Young Men. It was McKay's second trip to do baptism's for the dead.

There was some things that are different. I'm not sure if it's just because this is a smaller temple or if that is just the way they have changed them since I was a youth. The leaders were able to dress in their whites and help with the experience.

The girls went first so when we finished we went down to the lower parking level and had a testimony meeting. It was 105 degrees outside but yet no one said a word about the heat during it. (Plenty was said during pictures though.) Each one of the girls shared their thoughts and feelings. I can't describe how strongly we felt the Spirit and knew of His love.

I love this ward!

P.S. Jake gets to speak tomorrow in church with the topic of a conference talk by David A Bednar: The Spirit of Revelation. I'm seriously so excited to hear it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We survived the big day.

The REAL official "first day of school" picture.
The question was asked, "What was your favorite thing about school today (excluding recess and lunch)? Here is what they answered with:

Katanya: Laying on a towel for rest time.
Cruz: Writing.
Kirsten: The beginning when we did a work packet.
McKay: Not getting lost. (Which I honestly felt sorry for her when I dropped her off and she was left in such a big school and not yet having a schedule and knowing where any of her classes were.)

I think we can definitely handle the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My kids keep growing and growing....

It's the first day of school today for ALL of my kids. I just dropped them off. I'm a little overwhelmed. The traffic is just crazy. They say to give it a couple of weeks and it will get better. I hope so. I didn't expect it to take 18 minutes to go a little over a mile. My friends in Idaho, you have it so easy.
I still wasn't ready to send them off. I have really enjoyed this summer and how well everyone got along. I know I'm not ready for a schedule either, although it will help me get a lot of the things that I slacked the last year caught up on.
I took these pictures on Friday. These two are only a grade apart and their classrooms are right across from each other. I love how close they are and how they can help each other through school.
Over the last couple of years they have learned to really get along and play with each other.
They are so goofy....
but yet lovable.
I really can't believe how these two girls have grown. Especially when we were shopping for school stuff. They are smart, strong willed and willing to learn.
And yet they still try to act so much older than they are.

Back to my kids being gone. I just got home and my house feels empty and quiet. What to do first?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kirsten's special day

Kirsten had quite the day yesterday.
We started it off by taking her and only her shopping. She had wanted to pick out her own clothes and some jewelry. We went down to Forever 21 and she was in love. She picked a couple new outfits and of course....
A necklace and some "danglely" earrings. She has some rather nice taste.
Later in the afternoon she opened her presents and she was surprised. She loves to sing to her ipod and she her only thing on her birthday list was a microphone. I had been thinking that maybe a karaoke machine would be nice but Jacob suggested that maybe the Wii might have something that would work. It did and it works so much better. Plus between the two new games that she got, it has a lot of her favorite songs. She's been singing the past two days.
For dinner she chose to go to Rudy's. For those of you that don't know, this is probably my favorite BBQ place ever. You have to like meat to go here. Here is what we got.....
You pick out the meats you want and how much (in weight), choose some sides, and then they give you bread and butcher paper. It's delicious! I forgot to include a picture of their tasty BBQ sauce.
We started our fast after dinner as our stake, and several others in the area, were fasting for rain. We are in the middle of a bad drought and heat wave. Kirsten wanted her cake on Sunday. It was a good dessert to break our fast. She chose "pie O dirt" for her cake. (Chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust with oreo's and gummy worms {I used bears} on top.) May her birthday wish come true!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Nine is no longer considered a little kid."

Or this is what McKay has said and Kirsten hasn't forgotten it. As of now, It is Kirsten's birthday....officially.

Nine years ago on August 19th, we helped my parents take their garden out. I was pulling out corn. I remember thinking, "maybe this will help me go into labor." It did. I woke up a little after 2:30 a.m. with heavy contractions and my first thought was, "I have to do my hair and makeup." I didn't want the pictures to look horrible. I learned a lesson after the first. She came less than 4 hours later. We could never decide on a name before she was born. Jacob and I took one look at our sweet little angel and we looked at each other and said "Kirsten." And so it was.

Kirsten Skye reminds me of when I was a little child. I think she looks the most like me when I was that age. Although she is a very strong willed child and a counter just like her dad, she has a tender sweet spirit. She wants to learn and wants to do what is right. She really looks up to her older sister. I am so glad that she is a part of our family.
Happy 9th Birthday Kirsten! I hope this year is fabulous for you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

small fish in a big ocean

Today Katanya went to Kinder Kamp. Basically it was where the parent and child meets the teacher, the child goes in for an "imitation of a short school day," and the parent goes to the lunch room to fill out papers and buy PTA selling fundraisers. Katanya was stoked. She has waited a long time for this. Her new teacher is amazing, too.

There are a few differences between our rural Idaho elementary school and our new Texas urban / community school. One big one is an additional 650 kids per say. (Roughly 1000 students and it's only K-5 here not K-6). Another will be where the bus used to pick up my children right outside my house, I get to drive them since there are no buses here and we are far enough away, (which could be a hassle for a couple weeks or so I've heard.) And lastly, they have all day Kindergarten. Wow! I'm excited though. The school seems great and really structured.

Although as I waited for Katanya to come back from her class, it hit me that this was my last one. I've never been one of those parents that cry when there kids go to school and thankfully my kids have all been excited and anxious to start school, but Anya is my baby, my last one, and she is my most independent. I still didn't cry but I ALMOST choked up as I read the cute little survival bag that the teacher gave them. (See bottom, it was just too adorable that I couldn't help but copy it.)

Now that poses another question. What do I do with all that time? Obviously I can volunteer at the school again and help the teachers. Do I find a part time job for a little extra income since things are a little more expensive down here? I definitely need to be home to pick up the kids and be home when they a are home so wanting that would make finding a job a little more difficult. I'm sure I can find (or rather I know of) a couple projects that need to get done, like my filing and books from last year and this year.

So school starts in less than 2 weeks. This summer flew by. We've lasted the heat by being at the pool so much. I've enjoyed having the kids at home. They've learned how to help clean so we can all get to play later and I've enjoyed the lax in structure at my house, like bedtimes and meals and waking up. But, all things must change and it's on to a whole new journey for ALL of us.

Kindergarten Survival Kit
(and then the following things were inside the bag)
* A penny because you are so valuable.
* The cotton ball is to remind you that our classroom is full of kind words and warm feelings.
* And eraser to remind you that it's okay to make mistakes.
* The lifesaver is to let you know that you can go to any adult in the school for help.
* The tissue is for drying your tears and those of others.
* A Band-Aid to let you know that together we can make things better.
* The chocolate hug is to remind you that you are cared for.
* A Smartie because you are so smart you will even teach me many things this year.
* A sticker because we always stick together and help each other in Kindergarten
* A starburst to remind you that you are a Kindergarten star and everyone in this class shines in their own way.