Sunday, October 5, 2014

right now

We're already one month into school.  October!  The kids are planning Halloween costumes (which change by the day) and I've got a list of to-do items that include cleaning out the garden and a trip to the pumpkin patch.  It's that time of year.

I feel a little bad at how sporadic I've gotten about writing down our little moments.  The funny and not-so-funny little bits that make our life go round.  I need to get back into the swing of things because as always, there are so many of those little bits that I won't remember if I don't write them here.

I like our right now.

 Like I said, school is in full swing and I think everyone if fairly happy about it.  Ryenne is in 9th grade.  She calls herself a freshman but I like to think of her as a middle-school-girl still.  Makes her sound a little younger, don't you think?  She is trying new things, making new friends, and learning so much.  It seems 9th grade is already a real stretching year for her.  For the first time since kindergarten, she is not doing ballet.  Last spring she decided she wanted to try out for the high school volleyball team.  I have to admit I was a little "what the heck?" about it, but after a lot of hard work, she made the team and it's been a great thing!  So many lessons being learned.  She has totally gone out of her comfort zone to try something new and I am so proud of her.  I don't think I would have had the guts to do the same thing, and am so glad we trusted her to follow her heart.  I am continually amazed (and humbled) at the lessons my kids teach me.  They are a good bunch.  Ryenne is working for Aunt Kelsey, so between volleyball, work, homework, and fun- we don't see her much.  It all the sudden feels like we have a high school girl on our hands!  She has always been my one who needs her down time, and so her busy schedule has been a little overwhelming to her.  But she is learning she can do this and is finding ways to manage her time better.  Once again, lots of lessons being learned!

Kate is in 7th grade this year!  She was a little bit sad after her first week, because she didn't know many people in her classes, but I kept telling her it would be great chance to meet new people.  I think she's finally beginning to believe me!  She has a great little group of friends that I feel so thankful for.  They are really such nice, good girls.  She is playing soccer again, and her team is doing awesome!  They've really come along as a team, and have gone from losing most games to winning most of them!  It's fun to see their hard work pay off.  This year their coaches challenged them to run a 5k race.  This was really hard for Kate to do, but last week they held a team 5k and she finished!  I was so proud of her.  I even ran it with her!  (First time running in 4 years!)  We worked a lot on positive thinking and replacing negative thought with happy ones, and she really pushed through.  She can do hard things!  Kate is loving Young Women's and is working hard at her personal progress.  She loves the structure of setting goals in this way and even takes it to school to work on the bus!  (Her older sister?  Not so much :)

Emmy is in 4th grade, and has one of our favorite teachers this year.  Plus her best friend in her class?. . .She couldn't have been happier!  She loves school and is a bit of a four-square fanatic right now!  She can often be found trying to round up her siblings for a game, and has been wishing she had her own ball.  She got a little award in school the other day for being a good problem solver and being able to turn "girl drama into true friendship".  That made me smile.  Like her big sister, Emmy is not in ballet right now either.  After lots and lots of begging, she and her cousin Halle are enrolled in a cheer class.  She is thrilled to pieces!  (After sitting by her at Ryenne's game yesterday, I am sure she was born to be a cheerleader!  She was bundle of positive energy!)  She is excited to be learning tumbling and is determined to master her back handspring by Christmas.  I've been thinking lately that I am so thankful we waited to send Emmy to school a year.  It took a few years for me to be sure we did the right thing, but now I can see that it was a great choice for her.

Miss Claire is in kindergarten this year.  I don't think the verdict is in yet as to whether she is a fan or not.  To my surprise, she hasn't been as enthusiastic as I thought she'd be.  I can't tell what that girl thinks sometimes!  She loved the unit on pachyderms, but has been a little annoyed that she has to go "every day?!!!!"  Yesterday we had our first "sick day" but I think she found that staying in bed all day wasn't all that exciting either.  The other day I was helping her pick out some clothes and she told me we needed to get in "the box" (of hand-me-downs) and find some cuter clothes.  Seems the girl she wants to be friends with only likes to play with the girls who wear "really cute clothes with lots of colors".  I guess her wardrobe needs a little work.  It's a hard knock life around here for sure. Her and Sam are getting to be quite the little buddies and I'm glad they have each other.  Claire decided to try soccer this year!  No ballet for Claire this year either!  Soccer was only 4 weeks and she was a big fan.  The first game she played goalie for a few minutes, and we laughed when she stopped the ball and then picked it up and ran almost all the way to the opposite goal to make her kick.  Kindergarten soccer is the best!  Claire also learned to ride her bike last week without training wheels!  She was so happy!  Dad was out of town so of course we had to send a video.  He had been helping her but they hadn't had much success, so I was taken back when she took me outside and showed me she could do it.  My favorite part was when she told me that Emmy (our resident teacher. . .for reals) had helped her by saying that Jesus is "up there" (in heaven) and Satan is "down there" (pointing to the ground) and so you want to stay up straight so you don't fall down like Satan. Turns out that little lesson did the trick.  Whatever works, I guess.

Sam is pretty much a favorite around here.  He has a way of turning even the worst, rough-day-at-school frowns upside down.  The girls adore him. He has started talking so much, and it is so fun to hear his little voice.  My favorite is when you ask him something, he often shrugs his shoulders and says "sure".  He makes my heart is so happy when he comes to me, lays his head on me and says "I love you too."  The other morning he was in our room bright and early.  Court and I were having a hard time waking up and we laughed when he hit the Siri button on Courtney's phone.  When Siri asked if she could help him, he said, "Yeah, I can't find find my treats."   He is happiest when he is with his dad, and loves wrestling with him.  He is loving trucks, tractors, and anything with wheels.  He has been lucky enough to go ride the tractor with Grandpa Lloyd a few times and loves that!  Grandpa was laughing one day when he put a bucket in the tractor for Sam to ride in.  Sam must have fallen asleep and suddenly fell off the bucket!  Grandpa got a good laugh about that.  He also loves going with Grandpa Bop wherever he can.  He calls him first thing most mornings to see if he can ride in his "fast car" or go on a "three-wheeler ride".  Today he is riding in his truck while they haul trailers.  Of course, he is super happy when he gets to do chores with Grandpa Jones as often as we are there.  Grandpa has learned that Sam has figured out how to unlatch the gates and run the lamb scale, so he has to be on his toes!

This is such a busy time of life, but a good one.  We have been trying the last few years to really cut out the extras, and I like where we are at right now.  It seems like our lives are plenty busy, but we are trying to be much more prayerful and purposeful in what we let into our lives.  A constant effort for sure.

 It seems strange to have Ryenne embarking on high school and all of the fun craziness that brings to our life, and still have little ones at home to cuddle with and make us smile with the cute little things they say.  I'm so glad to have each of them.  As crazy as it sounds, I've even been so thankful lately for how often they bring me to my knees in prayer.  As they grow older and more of their lives seem out of my control, I am realizing how dependent I am on Heavenly Father to guide them and take care of their needs.  I am learning that, to my surprise (!),  I often don't really know what they need.  I can feel promptings that something is or isn't right, but my solution isn't always what is right for them. I am learning to pray everyday that He will give them experiences to prepare them and make them into who He wants them to be.  I guess I am learning to let go of the reins a little.  Courtney and I are in a partnership with God, and it has never seemed so vital that I do my part.   It is a process of letting go and trusting him- giving up what I want for what He knows is best.  It is changing me and I am so thankful for this process, as hard as it is.

Like I said, so many lessons.  So thankful I'm learning them with this crew.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

trip to the zoo

Just after school got out, the kids and I decided to take a trip to the zoo.  Claire and Sam hadn't been before, and I thought they would love seeing all the animals.  We chose a day that I had a doctor appointment scheduled in Salt Lake.  I was a little worried about all of the kids hanging out in the waiting room for my hour long appointment, but they did fantastic!  Of course, Claire had made fast friends with everyone in the office by that time and even had one lady in tears telling me what a joy she was and how much the kids had cheered her up!  (We always make friends when Claire is with us!)   Waiting times don't always go so smoothly, so I was especially appreciative that this one had.

To celebrate, we went to eat at City Creek.  It was a fun little lunch date!

We met the Stosich cousins at the zoo.  What a crew!  It was a hot, busy day, and we were pretty disappointed that most of the exhibits seemed to be empty.  I'm not sure where all the animals went!  (That seems to be our luck with the zoo!)  I was bummed, because Sam had been talking for days about seeing the lions, and wouldn't you know!  We didn't see even one lion!  Emmy had just finished a report on giraffes, so I thought it would be fun for her to see one up close.  No giraffes either!  

So here's the real story of our trip to the zoo.  Our day had a great start, but by the end of the afternoon, we were all a little overheated, bored (there was nothing to see so the kids were running wild), and cranky. The kids were all campaigning for sleepovers with their cousins (which was impossible that week), Kate lost a twenty dollar bill from her pocket that we never did find, and Claire kept running away and hiding because she was mad we couldn't go swimming at Aunt Jodi's house. We left the zoo with a lot of tired, grouchy kids!

Oh well, we gave it a good shot!

I had to laugh (okay, maybe it was funny a few days later :) when I asked Claire if she'd had fun..  She responded, "No.  All day it was 'Claire do this. Claire do that.  You can't go there!  You can't go here!'  It wore me out!"

Me too, Claire.  Me too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We laughed one night at my moms when Sam hooked this suitcase onto the little car and rode around.  Such a Sam thing to do.  He reminds me of his dad, always thinking of how to make things work more efficiently.

See?  Always being efficient.

Sam loves me, but he looooooves his daddy.

One weekend at the first of summer, Sam got tonsillitis and the two of us had to stay home while the rest of the crew went to a cousin outing for the weekend.  He was pretty lonely.  Saturday night I was busy doing something and noticed he had gone missing.  After a little panicked searching, I found him out playing on dads "mini-tractor".  He was happy as could be.  I should have looked there first. :)

At long last, a sandpile!

dance lessons (otherwise known as future blackmail material)

the backyard and slave labor

We checked yet another project off our list this Spring with the long anticipated redo of the backyard.  The grass has always been terrible back there (more weeds than grass), and we have been wanting to plant trees and rearrange everything.  We finally tackled it this spring.

It just so happened that the only day we could get sod was the last day of school, so you can bet how excited the kids were about laying sod to celebrate the beginning of summer vacation :).   We would never have got it done without the help of Uncle Darrell and Aunt Alyssa, who showed up without us even asking.  They helped us so much, and we were so thankful.

We didn't quite get it done, however, and so the following two Saturdays we put the girls to work.  They were awfully excited about it.  Sometimes it seems that there is nothing quite so, shall we say expensive as free labor.  As in, it ain't really free.  It causes me great emotional pain sometimes.

These girls have a very hard life.  As you can see, we work their fingers to the bone all. the. time.

this just might be one of my favorite pictures. ever.


  I found this picture on my phone, apparently from way back at Easter time.  
Looks like yet another attempt to get chores done happily. . . :)

 I snapped this picture one day at Sam's Club.  Claire lounging on the bottom of the cart and Sam in his favorite cowboy attire and shorts.  We're nothing if not classy.

(Ryenne will kill me for posting this, but it's too cute.)
Sam was having a hard time falling asleep one night, and when I went in to check on him a bit later,
 I found these two.  She has a soft spot of that little brother of hers.

I was able to attend a field trip to the Dinosaur Park with Emmy.  I happened to have one terribly blurry picture to document the day, due to the fact that I managed to lock my purse, keys, and camera in the trunk of the car.  Don't ask. 

Kate and Ashley at the Breakfast of Champions.  This was held at the end of the year to celebrate students who excelled academically last year.  These two are quite the pair.  (And smart, too!)

We always do lamb chores in our princess dresses.  

Best buddies.

Emmy and Mrs. Christensen on the last day of 3rd grade.  
What an amazing teacher!  We loved her!

This girl is a character.  And she got new glasses!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

just yesterday

Yesterday you were looking through a box of some old pictures, and I died a little bit.  When did you grow up?  I looked at all those pictures and you looked so. . . little.  In my mind, it seems like they were taken just yesterday.  Your once bright-blue eyes (that are so very green now).  The cute round little face with those perfect cheeks I've loved since the day you were born.  Princess dresses and fairy houses.  Those first tiny freckles on your nose. 

You're taller than me now.  Beautiful.  You have a great sense of humor- I find myself laughing out loud at the funny things you say all the time.  Just yesterday, I was laughing at the things you said because they were funny in a cute sort of way.  (You know, when you didn't really mean to be funny, but it was so cute I couldn't help but laugh?  The way we giggle about the things Claire and Sam say?)  Now it's different.  I laugh at your jokes the way I would laugh with a good friend.  

Just yesterday it was frilly nightgowns and piggy tails.  A dozen new adventures with your sisters every day- with you at the lead of course. (You always did have an amazing imagination.)  Tea parties every day.  And a flair for the dramatic.

OK, some things never change.  :)

Just yesterday, you and Kate would come up with the craziest outfits to wear to "go on an explore" in the fields.  You slept with on your "care bear couch" and were never far from your "corner" (your favorite blanket).

Your first trip to the ocean.  And Disneyland.

The first ballet recital.

(Remember when Uncle Ronnie started calling you "Sassafras"?   His own little special name just for you!)

Just yesterday, you were counting down the days to our skip-the-pumpkin-walk parties.  One of these days, I'm afraid you're going to plan a skip-the-family-party party. 

I can't quite figure out when it happened.  One day you were my little girl.  Just yesterday I thought it would last forever.  The princesses and play dates.  Nap times and dress-up times and crying-over-toys times.

Suddenly it all seems new.  Our days our filled with drive-you-to-work time.  Friend time and Volleyball time.  First crushes (with code names, of course). Your first little ballet slippers have turned into pointe shoes.  Piggy tails are now "messy buns".  You borrow my make-up.  I go to your room to find my missing shoes.  You update me on the coolest new songs (and are learning I've always been behind in that department :).  We have late night talks and riding-in-the-car talks and you act surprised to find out that I had to suffer through some of the same stupid middle school stuff that you are dealing with (some things never change).

Lately I look at you and wonder that you are mine.  A beautiful, smart, funny, and talented girl.  My girl.

Just yesterday you made me a mom.

Today you make me a happy one.  Happy number fourteen, Ryenne Ashleigh.