Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Day of School 2016

My first interaction of the day with Lila was her marching down the stairs yelling, “Mom, it is a school day!!! Do you know where my packie is?!” I told her where her backpack was and she yelled, “Okay, thanks, bye!” She’d already had Ryan help her put on the shirt she’d laid out the night before and, after locating her packie, went straight to the garage to grab her new shoes. We took off her shirt for breakfast—a special breakfast of waffles with strawberries and whipped cream—but she wore her shoes from the time she woke up until the time she got home from school! When we got to school, she (somewhat impatiently) waited while we dropped off the boys, and was happy to grab hold of the little ring-rope thing all the preschoolers hold to stay in line when we got to her drop-off. She went into school with no problem, blowing kisses as she went.

Asher was similarly excited—though truly, I’m not sure anyone could have been as excited as Lila. He bounced around all morning, so happy he could barely contain himself. He loved packing a lunch. And he told us he wasn’t nervous for anything, not even the bus. When we got to school, he had just a minute before the bell rang and, once it did, he walked right in without looking back! Ryan peeked in Asher’s class a minute later and Asher was at his desk, happily coloring.

Reed was not excited. I think he was fine with the school portion of the day, but he was very worried about riding the bus home. At Forbuss, the buses all have numbers but they also have colors (just a colored paper in the window) so it’s easier for the kids to remember which bus they ride. Well, we knew the number but we did not know the color of the bus yet and Reed was really worried he wouldn’t find the right bus. He was worried no one else in his class would be on his bus so he wouldn’t have a bus buddy to walk with. He was teary more than once. It took a bribe of a Hershey’s chocolate bar and a promise to re-visit and re-evaluate the bus decision after a week of riding to ease his mind. He also didn’t love that I was going to take him to his line in the morning, but then leave him before the bell rang so I could help Ryan with Asher’s and Lila’s drop-offs. Happily, I forgot school starts 10 minutes early this year, so when I dropped him off, the bell rang! He didn’t have to wait alone at all. I gave him a big hug, assured him again that the bus would be fine, and sent him to class.

My first day alone was interesting—I took Ryan to take his car to the auto shop, then took him to work, then got a text that a ward member needed help cleaning her house because she was moving that day. I didn’t spend any time at home alone, which I was fine with J It was nice to be able to get a text to help and just to go, without worrying about bringing any kiddos or trying to find someone to watch them!

Before long it was time to pick Lila up. She was excited to see me and happily gave her teacher a hug as she left. She was bubbling over with excitement in the car—they colored a picture (Mickey Mouse and a blank one), had a snack (goldfish), played on the playground, played in the toy school bus, etc. Her teacher told me Lila was a good helper and when I mentioned that Lila said, “Yeah, I told a kid who didn’t want to hold the rings that he should hold on!” She also asked if she could go back to school tomorrow! I surprised her with a lunch date at McDonald’s to celebrate her first day. She gets really loud when she’s excited, so we were quite a scene, but we had a fun time!

After Lila’s nap and some play time, it was time to get the boys! Lila rode her bike up to the bus stop and we waited. When they climbed off, they agreed that the bus really wasn’t a big deal and told me that (1) Reed’s friend Riley from kindergarten was in his class and on his bus, (2) a teacher came around during the day and gave them a wristband that corresponded to their bus color, (3) they were the first stop. Oh happy day. They both had a great first day.

First day items of note
(A) (R) and (L) were all quite excited to choose out their outfits and each was very particular about the bracelet they chose to wear to school.
(A) got to go to art for his special. He drew an owl in pencil to take home and one in crayon that the teacher was going to hang on the wall in the hall!
(R) had P.E. for his first special, where they just watched the safety video, which he was glad to get out of the way
(R) and (A) saw each other in the hallway a few times and waved to each other
(A) walked by Lila’s class (his is just down the hall) and saw Lila in there coloring
(R) had homework, but it was just a “me in a nutshell” bag that we filled with three items
(A)’s class watched a video about using the restroom. The boys died laughing when Asher said that at the end of the video, the girl raised her arms and shouted, “I did it!”
(R)’s classroom is in the same pod as Mr. Turney (his favorite technology teacher), Mrs. Sears (his first grade teacher), and Jamie (our teacher friend from church).
(A) had plenty of time to eat his lunch (he even had like 3 extra minutes) and it was tasty.
(R) can get a night off homework if he earns 25 class dojo points in a week (class dojo is a behavior tracking system)
(A) saw Maizey and Ryan (friends from church) on the playground and said hi.

After school, we picked up Ryan, grabbed his car, then went to Sweet Tomatoes to celebrate a great first day of school! After dinner, we joked about going to Target (it’s around the corner and Ryan and I always end dates there). The boys were not fans of the idea, but Lila was—so she and dad had a Target date while the boys and I went home and watched a few fun videos together.

Everyone was excited to go back for day two. Lila wore one of the new dresses she picked out at Target with Ryan, and the boys wore their new matching blue shirts, which totally warms my heart. I think it’s going to be a great school year!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Slipping and Sliding

Another one of our RS summer activities was a giant slip n’ slide at Spring Mountain Ranch! Our ward happens to extend allllll the way out to SMR, and one of the rangers is a member—which means we often get to do fun activities out there. The slip n’ slide was one of our favorites to date!

I wore my swimsuit because I had a feeling the kids were going to try to talk me into going on the slip n’ slide, and I wasn’t totally opposed to slipping or sliding. And I was right—within minutes, they were asking me when I was going. I talked them into letting me play photographer and videographer for a bit before I got wet. After taking a picture and video of each child (and listening to Reed ask me approximately 64 times when I was going to slip n' slide), I went for it. I will say that I maybe went for it a little too enthusiastically and was a little bit sore when I stood up, but I did have quite a fun ride—and I did get quite the round of cheers from both the kids (I know them all from Primary J) and the moms (I was the first mom to attempt the slide!).

The kids loved the slip n’ slide. Asher was the first (of our family) to figure out the run and then jump onto your knees/hip combo. He got the furthest distances and once even made it all the way to the end! Reed had a few less successful runs until he figured out that he was jumping to his knees a little too soon—after that, he was solid. And even Lila, who started out by sitting on her bum and just being pushed, figured out the run and jump method! Also, side note: when I wanted to take Lila’s photo, Reed volunteered to be the one to push her OF HIS OWN VOLITION. What a sweetheart.
I wanted to try the knee method--everyone got so much farther going that way--but knew that would probably not be the best idea with my knee issues, so I went for a volleyball dive every time. (Also, ELEVEN years later and I can still do a great volleyball dive. Go me.)

After most of the kids were done sliding, the Denters surprised us all with lunchables! And then, as we were pulling out to leave, the Buxtons invited us and the deLespinasses over to swim and eat pancakes! We were not sad to accept that invitation. The Buxtons’ pool is a great size for kids—it’s only 4 feet deep—and the kids played and played until the pancakes were done. They demolished the pile of pancakes—even though they’d already had lunchables—then hopped straight back into the pool, only climbing out when rain started coming down. They were pretty worn out at that point anyway, so they headed inside and collapsed in front of a show until it was time to go home.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Shark Reef

Just like that, it was the last Friday of the summer. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at how quickly our “summer break” passed—the break was only 3 weeks long—but it still feels a little crazy that we start school THIS MONDAY. We started the morning off with breakfast on our "veranda" because the weather was GLORIOUS. Then, we went to our last ward activity for the summer: Shark Reef. We were all pretty excited because the last time Reed visited Shark Reef was in 2013 and the last time the other kids and I visited Shark Reef was in 2014! We had quite a large group from our ward and we had quite a lot of fun. One weird part of our visit was that I was literally the only mom there without a stroller. What?! Somehow I’ve transitioned out of that baby stage and into the older kids who can all walk by themselves and aren’t an escape worry stage.

Asher particularly loved the Komodo Dragon (and his drool) and the Zebra Shark. He was dying for me to get a picture of the zebra shark, and I actually ended up chasing the shark around the tank in a mostly vain attempt at taking a picture. Fun fact: zebra sharsk are born with stripes, but the stripes change to spots as they get older. Lila was most interested in the human divers in the shark tank! She followed them around the big tank room the entire time we were there. And Reed was really intrigued by the jelly fish. He asked me how they exist, since they don’t have brains or organs or anything. We ased our docent about them and learned that they have four stomachs and their stingers, in addition to their tentacles. And that’s basically it! So crazy.

After Shark Reef, it was time to go to school to meet our new teachers! Lila was SO PUMPED to go to her class. She’s been talking about it for days and wearing her backpack since we bought it last week. She was a little shy once we actually got into class, but I think she will warm up quickly when school starts. She is most pumped currently about a (large) toy bus in her classroom that has a chair inside and an opening door on top. Asher was also quite excited. His favorite part of his classroom—well, he has a lot of favorite parts! He likes that he has two sinks, a bathroom, AND a water fountain. He loves the “library” corner with the three camp chairs and one stuffed animal. He loved all the under-the-sea decorations. I think he is going to have a great year. And Reed is excited, I think, but pretty used to the whole back-to-school thing by now. He was a little antsy because he had to wait through the other kids’ classrooms, but when we finally got to his room he was happy to meet his teacher. We also found out that two of his Kindergarten classmates and two of his first grade classmates are going to be in his class again this year. His teacher seems really great—she sent him a card in the mail that we got today, which I thought was really cute.

And just like that, ready or not, here school comes!

P.S. I just blogged about something on the DAY IT HAPPENED. Mic drop.

Friday, August 26, 2016


One day, Ryan texted me from work to let me know it was Bring Your Own Container day at 7-11. We immediately decided that as soon as we finished dinner that night, we were going to 7-11. After much debate, we settled on the perfect container: a one-gallon pitcher. Once at 7-11, we filled our pitcher allllllll the way to the top (layered like this: sour patch juice--it wasn't frozen at the time--a lot of cherry, a drop of birthday cake, and a topper of blue raspberry. We paid our $1.50, then decided to go to the park to slurp our slurpee.

Now, usually Vegas in August is NOT pleasant. And really, the days are still not very pleasant but not as bad as July. Anyway, lately, the mornings and evenings have been quite pleasant indeed. I had been a little nervous to go have our slupee at the park for fear of melting, but my fears were unfounded. The weather was perfect for enjoying a gigantic slurpee. The kiddos played on the "chips" and came running back to us after each trip to the top for more slurpee. Ryan and I lounged on a bench and talked and slurped while the kids played. Eventually, we finished the entire confection (entire confection!) and were a little past bed time, so headed home.

We've had some perfect summer days lately. It's hard to believe that school is right around the corner!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


A week after our weekend in St. George, Lynnie and her girls were going to be in St. George again. We knew we wanted to pop up for a visit while they were there, so looked over our summer calendar of awesomeness and decided the best time for us to go would be Thursday morning (Asher had a birthday party to go to Wednesday night) through Saturday night. But when I texted Lynnie Sunday right before dinner, I found out they would be leaving St. George Friday morning--so with our plan, we'd have one measly day with them. One day kind of defeated the purpose of us going up for a few days, so we quickly changed plans, at dinner, and drove to St. George that night! 

On Monday, we were going to go to the downtown river splash pad (our favorite) but it was CLOSED. For REPAIRS. Monday was the first day of school in St. George, so this timing made sense for St. George kids, but it was a little bit sad for us. Luckily, I remembered a splash pad and park we used to frequent when we lived in Bloomington and even remembered how to drive there! The kids had a ton of fun playing together and our family hit two huge milestones: Reed learned how to effectively push Lila in the swing (by himself, I didn’t even persuade him to try), and Asher learned how to effectively pump in the swing. As in he started himself and built up and maintained height! This is monumental. I watched the children swing and did not give a single push. What?!
After the splash pad, we had to stop at Judd’s, a local candy shop, because we’d been planning on stopping at Judd’s after the river splash pad. Judd’s happens to be a lot more convenient to the river splash pad (it’s across the street!), but it also happened to be on the way back to Grandma’s house. Randomly, Judd’s was way more packed than I’ve ever seen it. An Asian tour group filled the shop. It was crazy! But we got our treats without too much trouble and we even found a new treat called “Reed’s.” We chose rootbeer flavored Reed’s and they were delicious.

That night, Aunt Lynnie hosted FHE Olympics. Our events were the high jump, the shotput, the beanie baby toss, and gymnastics. Everyone was awarded medals and they all had a fantastic time playing. I think my favorite event was the high jump, mostly because it was hilarious to watch. After the Olympics, we tried out a new treat: campfire cones—which should have been called campfire fails. The idea is that you fill an ice cream cone with chocolate chips in marshmallows, wrap it all in foil, then stick it in the fire and let everything get gooey and delicious. Our ice cream cone bottoms were burnt and the tops were mushy. We settled on filling new cones with treats and not roasting them.

On Tuesday, we wanted to have a Grandma’s house day. We stuck around her house, tried out a craft Lynnie and I had picked up at the store, checked out books from “Grandma’s Library,” and turned the Ty Store into a cozy reading nook. I’m pretty sure I forgot to mention the Ty Store in my last St. George post, so let me explain. When we were in St. George for the baby blessing, I woke up one morning, went into the big room to check on the kids, and found that they’d taken it upon themselves to organize Grandma’s under-the-stairs toy storage. This area used to be a play area for Kayla long ago, but had since been filled with toys and not super useable. They made Grandma a pile to donate, a pile to toss, and a pile to keep. I asked if Grandma had told them they could organize the area and they said, “Nope! But Hailey did!” Well, Hailey is 12 and practically an adult, so I followed their reasoning. After they had the area cleared, the organized shelves of beanie babies and passed out fake money to the adults, who they had take turns coming and purchasing items from the Ty Store. There were arrows down the stairs and hall leading us to the store and, my favorite, an “employees only beyond this point” sign hanging by their storage area. Hailey was in charge and I believe at one point Cole was fired and later re-hired. They made a terrific mess for Grandma (sorry, Mom!) but had fun playing in their store all weekend long.

Anyway, this week, the boys laid down a floor of pillows and beanie babies and turned the Ty Store into their reading nook. I found them in there reading a few times, which I found to be super cute.

On Wednesday, we spent a few hours in the morning at the Children’s Museum. I was really glad to have cousins with us, because Lila and the boys always want to do different things—so this time I could send Lila with Lynnie and her girls for a bit while I took the boys somewhere else. The boys mainly just wanted to play with the projected game board. It projects interactive games on the floor where you have to stomp on bugs or move puzzle pieces with your feet or whatever. The little girls wanted to do a little bit of everything. They all had a great time.

That afternoon, we painted bird houses. Everyone enjoyed that activity for a good solid amount of time, which is always nice. And before too long, the kids and I had to hit the road to get back to Las Vegas for the birthday party.

Other items of note: one night we went on a girls’ night shopping date. We left Ben with all our kids watching a movie (and planning on going to sleep when it was done) and Ellie, who had just eaten and was sleeping. We sold it to Ben as the easiest babysitting job, ever. EVER. And we truly believed that, we weren’t just saying it.  Well, about 30 minutes later Ben called to tell Kayla that Ellie had been screaming since she left and the rest of the kids were running around and playing. I gave my boys a stern talking to and, happily, when we got home allllll the kids were asleep. Good job, Ben! Also, one afternoon we decided to work on a puzzle. Grandma's puzzles were a little too hard for the little girls, and they quickly lost interest. Asher kept at it, though, and helped us with a large chunk of the puzzle. I happen to love puzzles and worked on it as much as I could. We finished the puzzle the same day we started it!

And totally random aside: The Saturday before the kids and I went to St. George, we'd planned to watch the Olympics and make an Olympic treat (something red, white, and blue). Our plan morphed into making ice cream cookie sandwiches. We told the kids the cookies were totally the Olympic circles and even arranged them as such. And, whilst waiting for cookies, poor Lila was so tired she fell asleep on the couch!