Saturday, September 8, 2018

Notes, Revisited

+ They WERE playing chess. Reed has played before (a long time ago) but didn't really remember the rules. So they just looked up the rules and figured it out! They pretty much had the moves right, except for the bishop. I was impressed.

+ Lila's game was HOT. And because my antibiotics make my skin extra sensitive to the sun (who knew that was possible, really?) I got an awful sunburn on the back of my neck and in the v of my shirt. It hurts sooooo bad. Like I couldn't even stand to be in the sun for mere seconds later on the day.

+ But on a happier note, Lila had a great morning and loved her game. She scored two goals! She's in the "playground" league which means they have a 30 minute practice followed by a 30 minute scrimmage. I was really impressed by how coordinated she was during the practice. Her dribbling was spot on and her throw-ins and kicks showed a lot of body control! The scrimmage was 3 on 3 and the other 2 kids on her team decided they weren't really into it and mainly stood on the sidelines with their parents. The field was tiny but, as mentioned, it was HOT and Lila was running everywhere. She started crying after a while because "she felt like it was just 2 on 1" (actually it was 3 on 1 but I didn't mention that to her). But she cheered up, encouraged a team mate to join in, and worked hard. She's already got her not-so-subtle push the other kid out of the way with your body move down.

+ The boys are almost to GJ! We just talked to them and they were about an hour out. Lila and I had a great time together--we went to a birthday party, to the library, shopping (wherein I let her peruse to her heart's content. She had money to spend and literally asked me the price and function of at least 23 separate items), cereal dinner (her favorite), and watched Moana (the boys never want to watch it with her).


+ The kids didn't come downstairs at 7:00 a.m. (cue shock and awe). When I went upstairs 15 or so minutes later, I overheard them in the boys' room. I'm pretty sure they're playing chess and it sounds like it's Lila vs. someone. I heard the boys telling her, "Move the rook!" and "Take the horsey one, Lila!" I LOVE THIS. Also I didn't know they knew how to play chess.

+ Last night was Asher's first soccer game--and, consequently, my first game as coach! It was so much more fun than I thought it would be. I had no idea how we would stack up against the other teams, but we ended up doing great. The boys played so hard and ran so much (it's a much bigger space than we are used to practicing on) and I was so proud of them. It's good to see what we need to work on, too.

+ After the game I told Asher how proud I was of him for working so hard. Lila asked me, "Do you think you will be proud of me tomorrow when I play my game?" Of course, baby doll.

+ Ryan has had steadily increasing tooth pain over the past few days. He was hoping ibuprofen would bring the swelling down and make the pain go away (it has in the past), but no such luck. He called Nick and is going to drive up to Colorado this morning for some emergency-ish dental work. We are so blessed to have Nick! And that Nick is always willing to help with dental problems, as we've had many. What a tender mercy for our family.

+ Yesterday I went to the case lot sale at Smith's. When I got home I realized that my pantry, backup pantry, and backup backup pantry were full! Or at least full-ish and messy. So I organized them! I only had a few (like 3-4) things that were expired and a few things to give away because I wouldn't use them up in time. Everything fits with room to spare. Yay.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A {Busy} Day in the Life

Whenever someone finds out that my youngest child started full-day school, their first question is, "What are you going to do with all your time?" This post is my response! Disclaimer: this day was particularly busy, and there are days that aren't quite so full. The main difference in my life with kids at school is that I get more things done than I used to in a much more efficient manner. But I still have a whole list of things to do!

6:01 a.m. My alarm goes off (I don't like even times). I go downstairs to read my scriptures and write in my journal. I've been fighting off a sinus infection--I think it's almost gone, hooray!--or I would wake up at 5:30 so I can exercise, too.

6:45 a.m. All the kids are up and downstairs. Usually they are supposed to stay in their rooms and rest or read until 7, but they're down early because the Gandolas have been in town and are packing up to go.

7:00 a.m.-8:40 a.m. We hug our cousins goodbye, eat breakfast, I teach Lila her piano lesson and the boys practice their piano songs for their lessons (we do lessons on different days so things don't get too crazy), get dressed, do hair, pack lunches and fill water bottles, and generally get ready to go!

8:50 a.m. We pick up Ryan and Hannah Whittaker, then I drop all the kids off at school. Reed offers to walk Lila to the Kindergarten playground.

9:02 a.m. I arrive at Ryan's office and trade cars. I then drive to an auto shop because apparently the Malibu's registration expired last week. We didn't realize the registration was expired until he was parked on the street in our neighborhood and got one of those obnoxious orange stickers put on his window warning of an impending tow for expired registration. Oops. I already set a calendar reminder for next year.

9:45 a.m. The smog check is done, so I head to AAA to use the DMV Kiosk. That kiosk literally saves HOURS. Vons is in the same parking lot, so after I get our new registration tags I run into the store quickly to pick up a gallon of milk and some strawberries (97 cents a pound!). Then I stop by the gas station to fill Ryan's tank.

10:18 a.m. I'm back at Ryan's office to trade cars again.

10:29 a.m. Home at last! And it's cleaning day. I spend the next three hours cleaning and doing laundry. The house is extra messy from having guests, so my general cleaning takes a little longer than usual. I listen to a few episodes of 3 in 30, a podcast I love, while I clean.

1:45 p.m. I'm about to sit down for lunch when I remember that I wanted to try to unclog the sink drains! After a quick google I know what I'm doing (mostly) and successfully unclog the upstairs drains. (They weren't fully clogged, just draining slowly). Side note: drains are gross. I am stumped by the pedestal sink downstairs because how on earth is a wrench supposed to fit back there? I'm starving anyway so I decide to ask Ryan later.

2:01 p.m. Lunch and weekly planning. My weekly planning consists of calendaring for the week, meal planning, library book renewing, checking in on our budget, getting the family council agenda ready, and going through my inbox. I also quickly throw some chicken in the crock pot (should have done that a few hours ago!), grab the boys' soccer and swim clothes/supplies out, put my coaching bag in the car so I don't forget it later, then book it to school.

3:21 p.m. I'm back at school just in time to pick everybody up! We all hop in the car and after a quick stop to drop the Whittakers off we are back home.

3:36 p.m. Home again. We play a little Chinese jump rope and have a snack before starting in on homework. The boys do their homework on their own and Lila just needs help reading the instructions. After homework, the kids quickly clean their common zones and 10-minute tidy for the day, then ask for a little tablet time.

4:20 p.m. I watch part of Lila's show with her (she prefers to watch a show on her tablet to watching a show on the TV. No one knows why), then go to work on dinner. I'd asked Reed if he felt comfortable going to and staying at swim alone on his first day, but he was a little worried about it and hadn't felt the best that day anyway so wanted me to come and to stay. I was happy to do so--but definitely needed to revise our dinner plan. I left the crockpot cooking away (it totally wouldn't have been done on time anyway) and turn on the griddle. I throw together a dinner of hot dogs, yogurt, strawberries, and veggie straws. Not my best work but I had no microwave (ours broke yesterday) and approximately 14 minutes in which I need to cook and package a dinner that we can eat poolside (me, L, and A) and fieldside (R).

4:38 p.m. I tell the kids to wrap up their tablet time and get dressed for their activities.

4:45 p.m. Out the house and in the car once again! We get to swim right on time. Asher and Lila do dot-to-dots while I nervously watch Reed take the entrance skills test. He's in the giant lap pool for the first time ever--he just moved up a swim level--and for the test they have to freestyle half the distance of the pool, then turn around in the water and backstroke back to the start! Can he even do this??? Turns out he could. EASILY. (He was surprised, too!) He told me later that he felt like he could have gone the whole way!

5:20 p.m. Asher, Lila, and I go outside to eat. The food is miraculously still at a perfect temperature. We watch Reed while we munch on dinner. We even have enough time for a few more dot-to-dots. At the beginning of summer, Lila needed a lot of help knowing which number came next, but now she can do the dot-to-dots with little to no help. Apparently she's learning something in Kindergarten. Lila FINISHES her entire book, which she is over the moon about. She also makes a dot-to-dot for me to do--it's a crown. Asher lets me do one of his complex (300 dots) dot-to-dots, too. As soon as Reed is done I send him into the bathroom to change, then we head to soccer after a quick stop to pick up Cooper Hastings.

6:15 p.m. We get to the soccer field and I'm a tiny bit stressed about getting the field set on time. Turns out it's not a problem.

6:30 p.m. Soccer starts. Did I mention I'm the coach? It's kind of a long story :) Anyway, I finally have a fully-functioning voice (I've finally kicked the sinus infection and ear infection that took a full month and two rounds of antibiotics to cure) which is good because I coach nine 8-9 year old boys! And they're crazy, man. But we have fun and cover most of what I wanted to cover. Reed eats dinner--he was annoyed because I accidentally got the empty lunchbox out of the car instead of the full one so he had to walk back up the hill to trade it--and Lila plays until she's bored and just follows me around.

7:30 p.m. Practice ends and we get to go home! Hallelujah. The kids all need a snack, then take a quick shower and brush their teeth. Ryan made it home a few minutes before we did, so we gather for family prayer, scripture study, and of course our reading streak (night #554). Then we tuck everybody in after a few minutes of individual "chatting." Ryan goes back downstairs to get dinner while I settle in to fold laundry and to watch Psych.

9:04 p.m. Laundry is finally done being folded. We had SO MUCH with all the towels and sheets from visitors and swimming and an extra day of laundry (I usually do laundry on Monday but the holiday pushed laundry and cleaning to Tuesday.) I record our book for the night and write in my line-a-day journal. Ryan joins me for the last few minutes of Psych, then we chat for a while about our days. Eventually we settle in to an episode of The Closer and I drift off to sleep around 10:20.

So there you go--that's what I do with all the free time I have now that the kids are in school :)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

More Photo Re-makes

One of our favorite things to do as a family--and the birth of a new baby is the perfect time to do it!

Weekly Beast

1. Lila wrote me a "joke for my lunch" one day, giving me strict instructions not to read it until lunch time. When I opened it up, it said "BLAH BLAH" with hearts drawn around. The boys asked later why it said "Blah blah" and Lila responded, "Because that's the only word I know how to spell that's not my name?"

2. Why, you wonder, does Lila know how to spell the word "blah"? This summer while we were on our California road trip she composed a "song" on notecards. Each card had an assortment of letters on it that you were to read before flipping to the next card. At one point during his song composition, she asked me how to spell "Blah." Later, when I read her song, I found that about 3/4 of the cards said "blah." And apparently that has stuck with her.

3. Later on the Blah day, I was at the 99 and found a pack of sticky notes that said "blah blah blah" on them. You know I had to buy those. The boys thought they were hilarious and Lila immediately wrote me a note to save for tomorrow (which happens to be today). That note said, "I (heart) you Mommy." Reed helped her spell it. Then, this morning, she got another idea. She found a joke in my joke stash for lunches, then had the boys write the joke in pencil on one of her blah blah sticky notes. Then she traced all their letters in marker. She left the joke for my lunch today. I love it.

4. Asher's class got to apply for jobs in their classroom. He applied to be a banker and was ecstatic when he learned that he got the job. They've been playing this skip counting game in class where everyone stands up and has to skip count in turn (one kid says "two" then the next says "four" and the next says "six" etc.). If you say the wrong number or pause too long, you're out. The goal is to get to 120. On the first day, four kids were still standing when the class got to 120--Asher, Jackson, Aria, and a girl in their class who I don't know--and those four all ended up being bankers! Asher is pretty excited about it.

5. Reed also got to apply for a job this year, but his is on a school-wide level. And he gets paid in snack shack coupons, which isn't a bad perk. He filled out his application and had his interview with the assistant principal, and now we are just waiting to hear if he got the job! He also decided to try out for ensemble this year. He felt good about his audition and he asked the kids he auditioned with who confirmed that he did a good job. We are waiting to hear back on that, too. Lots of waiting!

6. I have had a sinus infection and an ear infection for just shy of a month. I'm slowly going crazy and am pretty sick of being sick! The first round of antibiotics didn't work. I'm on a different type of antibiotic and it's only been two days--but I dare say that these antibiotics seem to be working! I've gotten two good nights of sleep (it's been a while), can actually hear, and am way less congested. Fingers crossed this continues.

7. Asher and Lila both decided to play soccer this season. Lila is on the pink pirates and starts practice/games next week. Asher is on the Flaming Volcanoes and started practice last week. And I transitioned from Soccer Mom to Soccer Coach! Our first practice went well but I'm a little nervous about games and hope we'll be ready when they start. Asher is a big fan of having Mom as a coach and I love having an extra little bond with him. We are also lucky to have two buddies on our team: Cooper Hastings and Carson Gifford.

8. Reed just finished all seven Harry Potter books. He flew through them at lightning speed. Now he's waiting (not very) patiently for Asher to finish book five so we can watch the movie. We've read all the books together, but this was his first time reading them on his own and he loved it. When we read books together, we watched movies 1-4 but decided to hold off on the rest since they're a little darker. We told Reed that when Asher finishes 5 this time around we can watch movie 5. Reed can't wait!

9. Lila got treasure box this week and chose foldable toothbrushes. She is more excited than I knew you could be about a toothbrush.

10. During the first week of school, I accidentally gave Lila Reed's ham sandwich and Reed Lila's jam sandwich. That night we were talking about goals for the week and Lila suggested that my goal could be to put the right sandwiches in the lunchbox, ha! The next day she prayed that I'd get the sandwiches right, haha.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Summer Travelogue: California {Everything Else!}

Phew! The Last of the California posts. I'm surprised I made it, knowing how I ramble on.

So what else did we do?
1. Went to Travel Town in Griffith Park. We've been before, but not for while--so I think we all had fun. The crowd favorites were riding the tiny train around the park, getting a smashed penny for our collection, and climbing into a few trains. A crowd collective boo came when we went to the carousel in another part of the park, only to discover the accepted cash only. Bummer summer.

2. On Sunday, Reed fell asleep on my lap at church. Biggest surprise of my life to date, right there. Then, that same day, Asher fell asleep on me while we were sitting on the couch! Apparently I made a super cozy pillow that day.

3. Lila and I were grumpy?

4. Griffith Park, round two: this time for the Griffith Observatory! We were accompanied by Jenn + kids, Grandma and Grandpa, and Peyton. We got to see a show in the planetarium which was the highlight of the day. It was also insanely busy so we walked literally over a mile from our car to the observatory. And it was not a cool day. But it was fun!

5. Asher and Lila both fall asleep on Reed in the car during long rides and, while adorable to me, it's one thing Reed LOATHES. It makes him so crazy. Anyway, I snapped a picture real quick before he started pushing Asher off of him. I also had to take a picture of Lila because she fell hard and fast for Reed's note cards and note card box on this trip--so much so that she bought her own note cards and box for the drive home! She wrote the word "BLAH" on at least 20 of her cards. She calls it her song.

6. The boys won Laser Tag tickets at the Fourth of July thing. Lila did not win a ticket and we thought she wouldn't like it--Laser Tagging would be kind of scary for her. Anyway, Ryan was the cool uncle and took a full carload of kids--Reed, Asher, Peyton, Declan, Greer, and Calum--and went Laser Tagging. They had a fantastic time. I'd prepped Lila and she knew she wasn't going; but when the kids all got shoes on and started out the door she got her shoes on and was following them. When I reminded her, she immediately burst into tears, poor thing! So we came up with a girls' night: pedicures, mnms, and a show (Bubble Guppies). We ended up having a really good time together.

7. And finally, the Family 5K! This year was a "fun run." Shannon and Jared were in charge and they planned fun activities to break up the race: tatoos to put on, playdough to make a self-portrait, legos to build something, giant jenga, a hose spray down, etc. It was one of my favorite 5Ks to date! At the end of the course was a blow-up slide, swimming in Shannon's pool, a yummy breakfast, and kids' awards! I thought I wrote down what Lila and the boys got (Shannon and Sharalyn always come up with the best awards, but alas, I did not!) Right after the 5K, we loaded up our sweaty bunch and hit the road for home!

The Reading Streak

The Great Hambly Reading Streak was inspired, surprisingly enough, by a book I read: The Reading Promise. In the book, the author describes starting a reading streak with her father--and continuing for years! They started keeping track of their streak when she was around 10 years old and her father read aloud to her every single night until she went away to college.

I really loved the book and thought more than once about how great it would be to start our own reading streak. But I hesitated for a while because, well, committing to doing something every single night is a little daunting. Eventually I talked to Ryan about it, then we talked to the kids about it--and everyone was game! We started our reading streak on February 23, 2017, reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Then we continued to read--every SINGLE night. Without fail! Now, our reading wasn't always lengthy or high-quality material--there have been several nights when we've gotten home way late and have read a BOB book solely to keep the streak alive. Some nights certain children have lost their reading privileges and the other children + parents have kept the streak alive. Some nights we split up--Ryan reading to one or two and me reading to one or two. But we are all totally on board. Along the way, we've read some really great books. And we've started my favorite habit we've ever had.

When we reached a full year of reading, we celebrated with Martinelli's (and chocolate milk for Lila who doesn't like Martinelli's), bundt cakes, a movie night--a book adaptation, I think, but I can't be sure because I didn't write it down!--and, of course, a book: Henry Huggins.

500 seemed like another big milestone, so we celebrated again! Ryan and I had decided to buy the kids Amazon Fire tablets on Prime Day because the tablets were an insane deal. We'd thought about waiting to give them the tablets until Christmas, but we (mostly Ryan) were too excited to wait! So on our 500th night of reading, we gave the kids their tablets (they were shocked and pumped) and had bundt cakes again. (We do love bundt cakes--but we also had cards that gave us 2 free bundts every month for a year!) We also read, of course: The 39 Clues The Emperor's Code.

To date, we've read 542 nights and finished 37 chapter books--as well as countless picture books. I can't wait to see where our reading streak will take us.

Novels Finished:
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
3. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
5. The Chocolate Touch
6. Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
7. The Westing Game

1. Fudge-A-Mania
2. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
3. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
4. Superfudge
5. Double Fudge
6. Ellen Tebbits
7. Henry Huggins
8. Nancy Clancy and the Silver Key
9. Henry and Beezus
10. Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark
11. Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns
12. The Worst Best Halloween Ever
13. The Worst Best School Year Ever
14. The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever
15. Henry and the Paper Route
16. Henry and Ribsy
17. Henry and the Clubhouse
18. Ribsy
19. 39 Clues: Maze of Bones
20. 39 Clues: One False Note
21. 39 Clues: The Sword Theif
22. Ramona Quimby, Age 8
23. 39 Clues: Beyond the Grave
24. 39 Clues: The Black Circle
25. 39 Clues: In Too Deep
26. 39 Clues: The Viper's Nest
27. 39 Clues: The Emperor's Code
28. 39 Clues: Storm Warning
2939 Clues: Into to Gauntlet
30. 39 Clues: Vespers Rising 

Match Match

The other day I pulled a new-to-us skirt out of Lila's closet and realized that I had a skirt in my closet (that, coincidentally, was also new-to-me) that matched almost exactly. When I showed Lila, she was overjoyed.

She immediately found matching bows, matching shirts, and matching shoes. She tried to talk me into wearing tights but I abstained, explaining I didn't have solid black tights (also, it's 1 million degrees outside and I was sweaty just getting ready, so I didn't even want to look at the lacy black tights I do have). 

When we were ready and adorable, taking photos only seemed right.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Summer Travelogue: California {Fourth of July}

We love celebrating the Fourth of July in California and have only missed it one year in the last 10! The only reason we missed the Fourth that year was because the holiday was mid-week and Reed was still in school. Laaaaame. One of the great parts of having a real summer break this year was that we got to go to CA not only for the Fourth but for a full 10 days!

Usually we watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the field behind the church. But we learned in the past two years that the trees in that field have kept growing and the fireworks aren't going any higher--so we miss half the show! This year we decided to try going to the hub of Independence Day activity: the park. We were a little worried that it would be too crowded and crazy but it ended up being just fine. And we had a fabulous view of the fireworks.

We spent the daylight hours playing "pickle" (or something like that--a game with a baseball), visiting the booths (we came away with swag for days and a few free rounds of laser tag), eating treats, and playing. I'm not going to lie, the kids did get kind of antsy as the evening wore on, and we were all relieved once the fireworks started :) 

It was a little strange not to be with a whole gaggle of Hamblys (usually we are with Steve and Sue's family, too), but we had a great night anyway.

Photo remake!

Summer Travelogue: California {Beach!}

What's a trip to California without a trip to the beach, am I right?

We were in California for about 10 days. The weather started out on our side--the nights were cool, the days were pleasant, and we loved not being in 100 degree weather. By the end of our trip, though, temps were in the low 100s. Boooo. One of those 100 days was when we planned to go to the beach, which would make for a hot beach day--but when you only get to go to the beach once a year, you do it anyway! 

We talked Janelle and the girls into meeting us there early. And that strategy paid off because when we arrived we got early bird parking (only $3 instead of $10--and if we'd come 6 minutes later we would have missed it!) and our pick of spots--hardly anyone was there yet.

My kids love to dig in the sand and had a great time doing so. We buried each other, Lila and I made a pretty dope sand castle, and we all got covered in a fine layer of sand. Then the boys got brave and, with some coaxing from Janelle's girls, tried out the boogie boards. As it turns out, they LOVED the boogie boards and literally rode them for hours. Eventually Lila got in on the fun, too, and spent her day begging people to take her on boogie boards (she couldn't quite manage them herself, so someone had to get her on and give her a push). She got long turns from Ryan, me, Zoe, Peyton, and Kamdyn. Lucky girl. 

By 1:30 or so it was getting hot and crowded so we decided to pack it up. The kids would have stayed for hours more, but we were also sunburned and out of snacks so it was clearly time to go. We had such a great time!