Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recent Events

Each Sunday as we struggle to get all the little ones looking their best, plan our lessons, and get ourselves ready, it's always a wonder if we'll look decent enough for our Sabbath meetings. Every once in a great while, the kids look as precious as they are in our hearts. This was one of those days. My heart melted as I looked at my beautiful daughters; Bevan (2 1/2) and Halen (9). Their personalities are just as the looks on their faces; Bevan quirky, funny, cheerful, bold, and Halen, timid, shy, smart, adorable, and loving. We are so very blessed!

This was one of those very rare moments where Bevan is sitting still and pondering. She usually doesn't waste any time telling us of her thoughts and wants. How I got this picture pose, I have no idea, other than to keep pushing the button and catch an instantaneous moment. She such a pleasure to have around and a breath of fresh air, most times.

Here is a picture more indicitive of Bevan's personality. CUTE and crazy! She is mid giggle in this moment and her laughter is so infectious and fun that we were all giggling just watching her. She kept lifting her skirt up and covering her face over and over and thought she was so funny, well, lifting her skirt was funny, but not even close to as funny as watching her think she was funny.

Brigden and Bevan are as good as friends as different as they look from each other. They are constantly playing house; Brigden the baby and Bevan the mother. Brigden walks around calling her, "Mommy," and Bevan calls him, "Honey." It's really funny to watch because their role-playing fits their personalities perfectly. Bevan loves to boss him around and Brigden loves to act like a baby. They are very quirky and cute together and love each other dearly.

This last Sunday we were so blessed to have a visit from Dave's brother Brian and his wife, Kazuko. We love them dearly and are so excited to see them since they live in Japan. Our boys are always more than thrilled to see Uncle Brian visit because as soon as he enters the room, all of a sudden our family room transforms into a wrestling ring where Uncle Brian is the Professional Wrestler and the boys are the wimpy peons that he gets to throw around the ring. The funny thing about it is each time after the boys are thrown onto the couch, they laugh and jump up as quick as they were thrown down and run towards Uncle Brian throwing the biggest punches they can manage, which actually wouldn't hurt even a fly. We all sit back and watch, loving every moment of it, but for sure not as much as the boys love the wrestling match.

As our life has fallen into a routine funk, things are going much more smoothly. The kids are comfortable with their classes and working hard.  One of the highlights of our week is watching the kids in their soccer games. Halen is adjusting to the much larger field, working hard, and advancing in her skills. Harris is thriving in the small field game since just last week he scored 3 goals and a great assist in only 2 and 1/2 quarters. He loves the game and is really learning quickly. I have to be honest, it warms my heart that they are loving MY SPORT!!! I don't mind if they choose something else instead, but I love that I can at least enjoy watching them play while it lasts.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Busiest Week of the Year!

August 28, 2011

This first week of school used to have such a different meaning to me. It used to mean quiet, peace, the beginning of organization and clean, excitement, and relaxation after a busy fun summer. Now it couldn't be more different. As a full time teacher and mother, this is the busiest week of my year. I dare say even busier than Christmas. I remember as a child having dreams of anticipation, nervousness, and excitement for the first day of school, but now my sleep is full of dreams of worry on how to protect my students when an uninvited intruder enters my classroom, what to do with all those nervous teenagers in a very hot un air-conditioned room with highs of 90s outside, worries of how am I going to figure out what to wear with my lovely belly bulge, or concern over my children and their feelings towards returning to school and a new family schedule. I get stressed just writing that sentence. To say the least, it was a week of chaos. The fact that after conquering the weeks amazingly long list of events, I had a tired emotional breakdown on Sunday which required my sweet husband taking over and calming me down. He's getting better and better at it as my life gets more and more crazy!

Here are the highlights of our crazy week:

I managed to remember how to teach after a few class periods. It’s amazing how a few months off the job can totally rob you of your skills and experience momentarily. It was scary starting off the first few days as I remembered how to put philosophies and routines into play. The air conditioning hasn’t worked in my classroom all week. The worst part about it is that it works in all the rooms in the new wing except for mine and the one next door to me. Frustrating. My neighboring classroom teacher is wearing a sweater to school. Huh? I’m sweating buckets and trying so hard to maintain a positive attitude as I waddle around my room with sweat pit stains, uncomfortable pregnancy clothes, and all. Supposedly they figured out why my room is so “hexed” and are working on fixing the problem, but we shall see. I’ll believe it when I feel it.

Halen enjoyed her first day of 4th grade. Her teacher was unable to be at school for the first week due to family health issues and Halen was very disappointed. She got over it as she found her friends and cute new outfits to be a benefit of returning to school. As we all say, I can’t believe she’s headed for 4th grade. She has grown so much and matured as well. She is a blessing! One of her favorite moments was making her own pencil holder with a can that she attached to her desk with Velcro. What a cool idea!!! She had a lot of fun during her first week of school and was happy to see her friends all at once again.

Harris was so excited for his new school clothes this year that he wore one of his shirts 3 of the 5 days. Since Mom is already starting her day at high school Harris chose to take advantage of the situation in wearing the shirt over and over again. We had a talk about cleanliness on Wednesday and I told him he can’t wear his favorite shirt two days in a row, so he then skipped a day on Thursday and wore it again on Friday. What can you say? He followed my rule. I had to explain further the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law. We’ll see what he gets out of this rule next week, but the truth is sometimes I just have to be grateful he wore his clothes to school and not his pajamas. That’s just the level of our life right now. He was excited to see his friends as well and is really enjoying being older in 2nd grade. I was looking at some of his pictures from last year and shocked at his physical growth!!!

Brigden struggled this week because as a Kindergartener he wasn’t able to start school yet. He had a testing session with his teacher, but officially starts tomorrow. It was a long week waiting for his first day at home while the others marched off to the bus, but he has finally made it and is super excited to ride the bus tomorrow. I’m excited for him because he is ready for educational stimulation!!!

Bevan is a joy as always. She loves her binky, her toast, and her legos. She’s a horrible eater, but loves toast, especially with cinnamon sugar and the crust cut off (which her mother won’t do, but others will.) She’s speaking full sentences, and most are understandable to the trained ear. She’s a very bright girl and best friends with Brigden.

One of our events this week was to watch Harris in his first soccer game ever. He has been watching Halen for years and waiting somewhat patiently to play. He was unable to join his team practice in the week so his game was his first attempt to reenact what he’d been watching for years. It was one of the funnest games I’ve ever watched, including REAL soccer. First of all, Harris was told by his coach to stay in the back field and play as a defender. The amazing thing was, he did. While all the other kids hovered over the ball in bumble beehive style, Harris stood patiently in his spot and waited for the ball to come his direction. Dave and I were shocked at his obedience. After convincing him to move within his specified area and play with the ball in his position, he started to get more drive to participate in the game, no matter his position. After a while, his coach put him in the middle and front of the field and within minutes he was a scoring machine. This was the really fun part. He would manage to get the ball and seriously dribble through players and take it to the goal and score, sometimes with a really great shot too. All of us on the sidelines were amazed at his determination to score and very much enjoyed watching him. He ended each quarter with a red face and entirely sweaty head. He was running his little heart out and doing awesome! Harris ended his first game with 4 goals and knocking a kids tooth out. I wouldn’t mention the tooth except for it really wasn’t a hazardous situation. The kid chose to slide when Harris had the ball and then Harris plowed him over and the kid’s tooth came out as he hit the ground. After a bit, the kid was excited to have lost his tooth, but what a story. 4 goals and a tooth! Dave and I have always remarked on Harris’ innate athletic ability, but this was crazy! It was so fun to watch and I can’t wait for the next game!!!! He loved it!!!

Halen also enjoyed her first game of the season. Her game however was not as fun as Harris’ for anybody. It was super hot outside and it was her first time playing on the big field. It was very intimidating for the entire team and for the spectators as we roasted in the sun. Even in the shade it was hot. She worked hard and didn’t complain, but doused her head with water each break as she headed out for more torture. She’s past the point of soccer being fun because now it’s more work learning positions, game play, and skills. She’ll do great, but this was a very difficult first game of the season. She was quite the trooper in the heat.

Halen also enjoyed her birthday this last week and a birthday party to celebrate with many friends on Saturday. It was a fun in the sun get wet party and after decorating flip flops, the girls played water kickball, drip drip drench, water balloon toss and then enjoyed presents and cupcakes. It was a great success and a perfectly HOT day to celebrate with water and friends. She received many fun presents including a fish to replace her fish that had passed a few weeks ago.

Dave and I finished off the week with a High Priest Dinner Activity in our ward. We really enjoy the High Priest Group and enjoyed being with adults. We are blessed with very sweet people in our neighborhood and ward.

Today we get to celebrate my brother Kevin’s birthday and my father Chris’ 60th birthday. Amazing! 60 years. I can’t even imagine what my life will be like at that age. It seems so far away, but I know it’s just the day after tomorrow. I love my father very much and am so grateful to be able to enjoy his earthly presence. His determination to do good is examplary.

And last, but not least, near the beginning of this week we found out we are expecting a baby girl in December. I am surprised to find that while I am excited to be having another girl because we have such precious girls already, I am also sad to not be having a boy. No, that doesn’t mean we’ll be getting pregnant anytime soon in search of a boy, just that I’m sad that the era of our boys is most likely over. I would love to have many many children if I didn’t have to have the energy to rear them. We are very excited to have our 5th be a girl however. So much fun. She might even have brown curly hair and look like her mother, but that of course would be asking too much!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Countdown to Christmas!

Really? Already? Yep! We've begun our countdown to Christmas. Why? Well, not only to celebrate the birth of Christ, but also to celebrate the birth of our next child. We're very excited to announce our newborn's due date is no other than Christmas Eve. YAY!!! Busy and festive times ahead!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Grandpa Bell's Easter BBQ

Each year some of my family members get together to have a Spring - Easter BBQ. We've had so much fun over the years at this event. This year, my Dad was awesome enough to plan it and did such a great job. For starters, just as we arrived, he gave the grandchildren a huge bag of their favorite cereal to take home and enjoy another day. He knows they aren't so lucky as to get sugar cereal very often so his gift was a huge hit.

He was great to get us going on the activity, take the grandkids on a hike through the woods near the park, and hold an egg toss competition for the kids.

Believe it or not, this egg didn't even break when it hit Niki.

Dad even taught the grandchildren how to properly toss and catch the unboiled eggs. They are so blessed to have such a wonderful caring Grandfather.

What a wonderful afternoon together.

Park Play!

While Halen was playing her soccer game, Harris, Brigden, and Bevan kept themselves happy at the park right next to the field. Bevan went up the stairs and down this slide over and over about 40 times. She loved every slide ride!

Then she found the tire tred bridge and would bounce/run across it with a huge grin and giggle.

It was most fun to watch her get really irritated when other children were putting wood chips on the end of the slide. At first she tried to just yell at them and tell them not to put the wood chips on the slide by saying, "Uh Uh! NO!" When that didn't work, she decided to go down the slide and push the wood chips off with her bum.

The other children weren't very happy, but Bevan was happier. Then, as if sliding down into the pile wasn't enough, she got off the slide, turned around, and started wiping all the wood chips off herself.

One of the funniest parts of the instance was that Bevan was at least half the age of these children and she wasn't even close to afraid of them. We love her determination and independence. She is truly a blessing! We love Bevan!

Harris loves to swing on the monkey bars and is quite good at it.

He's your typical boy, climbing on everything he shouldn't be like the outside of the slide. We absolutely adore Harris' daring adventurous nature. He is a pure blessing. We love Harris!

Brigden went down the slide 3 times before I could finally get a decent picture of him. Each time he went down the slide he would be looking down and giggling and grinning so big. I kept telling him to look at me, but he enjoyed the ride so much he couldn't think of looking at me too! Finally, I gave up and went for the shot before the slide ride! What a grin! Seriously! He's such a joy and a blessing in our lives! We love and adore Brigden!

He was so excited to run like crazy on this wheel, he ran around just like a hamster in a hamster wheel. He ran so fast I couldn't get the camera to focus until he stopped.

Harris was all about getting his picture taken on the wheel as well. Anything for some attention.

What a beautiful day at the park. I just love these Spring days! Soccer, smiles, and such fun! We are truly blessed in so many ways!

It's Soccer Season again!

It has been such a joy to watch Halen grow in her soccer skills and field sense. For being such a peaceful loving daughter, she really has a fighter spirit and works hard out on the field. She's even started getting frustrated if they lose and excited when they win. She is such a blessing in our lives and we love her dearly, almost as much as we love watching her play soccer. The best part is that I don't even have to work so hard out on the field to enjoy the game again. I get to enjoy it right from my comfy lawn chair.

This is Halen's second year playing with her cousin Niki. They play really well together and are great friends! Such fun!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ush EEEth!

All you have to do is say the word "Teeth" and immediately Bevan will be moving a chair from the farthest point of the kitchen to brush her teeth. She can seriously stand at the sink brushing her teeth for 30-40 minutes, if we'd let her. Brigden just happened to need to brush his teeth and as usual, Bevan joined in just as she does when anyone is brushing their teeth.

This blurr effect on Brigden is so awesome because of the focus on Bevan that I love this picture. Her eyes are so piercing, just like Dave's! Amazing eyes!

Brigden and Bevan are most definitely our Cheesier Children! They both share amazing contagious smiles that you just can't help but smile when you're around them.

What a glorious moment to be able to watch them enjoy just being children.

How we love those beauties and look at those teeth!

Goodbye Uncle Collin!

My brother Collin has head off on a career adventure to Switzerland for at least 6 months, possibly a year or more. I'm very excited for him to be doing something so fun and adventurous at this time in his life, but very sad that he is leaving me and my family. My little family adores Collin. He is a buddy to my children and one of my best friends!

We've spent many a nights just hanging out barely saying a word, but just understanding one another just the same. It could be that he and I were created from not only the same parents, but seemingly the same mold as well. We're very much alike, with some differences, but most similarities.

I appreciate him and his efforts to maintain a relationship with me and my ridiculously busy life. He's always willing to be charitable, kind, and loving. I just hope he marries some adorable girl someday that likes me because chances are if she doesn't, Collin and I will be very sad not to be so closely aquainted.

As he was traveling and adjusting to Switzerland and the new job I was very nervous for him, like his own mother. I realized during these moments that I am not even close to ready to have my children leave me for any amount of time. I really worried about him and was finally comforted when we were able to skype-video chat for a few moments. Silly, but it really helped me to see him all in one piece and know that he was safe and sound. I love that he's taking a leap during his few "free" years, but selfishly wish he weren't going to be gone for so long.

I love my Collin!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Isn't that a beautiful view? Well, it sure is for December of January maybe, but spring break, NO WAY! Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the moisture, but seriously for me to finally have precious one-on-one school-free and job-free time with my children and watch it get ruined by snow,...frustrating!!!

It's not that we didn't enjoy being together indoors, but you can only watch so many movies and play so many video or card games with super active impatient stir-crazy boys! Halen, Bevan, and I were completely content to just hang, but those boys had to get out!!! Finally on Friday we decided to go sledding and pulled out all of our winter wear.

Yeah, it was snowing the entire time we were sledding, but we didn't care, we were out of the house. The snow was perfect for sledding after making a trip or two down to pack down a sled path. It was also perfect for eating, as Brigden usually enjoys doing.

I was surprised to find we were the only ones out and about in the snow, but maybe that's because everyone else was content to sit still in their homes, unlike Brigden and Harris.

Bevan, on the other hand, was excited to get out side just as much as the boys, but after 2 trips down the hill in the snow, she quickly changed her mind. She wanted in the car. She stripped her snow pants off faster than I could help her or take her picture.

This girl is determined and independent. They are wonderful attributes when steered in the right direction. She is very attached to the pink knit hat she's wearing. It's way too small for her head, but she pulls it on tight whenever she finds it and wears it all around the house all day long. It's quite the sight. She LOVES it!

She was very excited to spend her time inside the car playing with the windshield wipers and car accessories since we rarely let her have free reign in the car.

Oh, the joys of being warm and snow-pant free on a Wintry Spring Break day!

Regardless of the snow, it was just wonderful to spend time with my children and just be a Mom! It was so hard for me to really appreciate or understand what a blessing it is to be a stay-at-home Mother until it became unavailable to me. I love my children so much and I am able to appreciate them so much more now that they've been taken away from my close grip and watch. It's been such a journey for me to learn to pick and choose my battles with my limited time and very great list of chores and needs required of me. Amazingly, while I'd rather be a stay at home Mom, I still feel extremely grateful for all the lessons I've learned and am learning. I'm so grateful for my amazing children who have stepped up to the plate and really taken on more responsibility than I dreamed they could at their ages. I love my coworkers and employers and am very grateful for the opportunity to provide for my family with my dear sweet supportive husband. We are very very very blessed and happy, regardless of unwanted snow!

Halen's 3rd Grade Program

Halen was able to perform along with her 3rd grade elementary class in a program named The Wonders of the Earth. She was very nervous because this was her first time to perform in front of such a large audience including the entire studentbody and family members. The students were asked to wear Hawaiian attire. Halen and her best friend Avery were very excited to wear matching Hawaiian outfits.
Even though she wouldn't dare show it during her performance, she was excited to be able to play a wood block instrument as they sang, "Tiny Little Creatures in the Big Rain forest." Her favorite song to sing was "North Pole South Pole." Even though Halen was very nervous to perform , she still managed to show after the performance how much fun it was for her and her friends, including Avery and Megan.

The program was held during the evening so we were all able to attend. It was a very entertaining family event.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jeep Buddies

We were fortunate enough to receive a used Jeep for our children to drive around in from my cousins Jeff & Jamie. Our children have absolutely loved having it and driving it around our neighborhood. Brigden frequently enjoys driving it, too fast, of course, and with much yelling guidance from Mom watching from the front porch. All the neighbors enjoy sharing a ride. This particular ride included Brigden's buddy; Korbin.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bevan's First Haircut

Bevan was not blessed with a full head of hair as a baby. She's only even getting her first haircut at the age of 2 because she barely has any hair now. The only hair cut she's getting is to even out the bottom. When she saw Harris and Brigden, she wanted to get her hair cut. I found it quite interesting that she wanted to have one because Harris and Brigden don't put on a very appealing show while frowning during their own hair cuts. Regardless, immediately after the last boy jumped off the chair from getting his hair cut, Bevan climbed in and was all ready for the cape and cut.

Maybe that haircut wasn't such a good idea. Her smile is sure gone, but at least her hair is even on the ends. We just have to make sure she has a bow in her hair most of the time so she clearly looks like a girl.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Boy Toy Sidewalk Sale

Frequently, the children will ask me if they can sell one or some of their toys. This particular afternoon, Harris came home from school bursting through the door begging to have a boy toy sale. I told him to gather the items he wanted to sell and then I'd pass off the items that could be sold. He and Brigden gathered about 3-5 things each and after being passed off headed out to set up their sidewalk store. Brigden found some of his cars, pictures, and planes to sell. Unfortunately, his smile wasn't for sale!

Harris gathered some of his toys, including a large flexible frisbee, dominos, army guys, and cars. He even took the time to make signs for the price of each item. The frisbee he was trying to sell was donated to us from our neighbor.

I found it hilarious that one of Harris' first customers was this neighbor's son and laughed as I watched Harris try to sell this boy his old toy back. It didn't quite work, to Harris' dismay, but Harris didn't let this get him down because moments later Bevan was playing with the frisbee and Harris turned to me and seriously declared, "Mom, you need to give me some money because Bevan is buying the frisbee." I laughed so hard, but then had to explain that Bevan wasn't buying the frisbee, she was just window shoppping. Wow, what bold moves! Quite the con-artist with his neighbor and his Mom. Unsuccessful, thankfully! We'll have to keep a watch on this one.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Brigden's 5th Birthday

Brigden chose a Toy Story birthday party to celebrate his 5th birthday with friends. Brigden chose to dress up as a dinosaur, Halen and I were cowgirls, and Harris was a cowboy; like Woody. Brigden invited his bestest friends and was extremely excited for this party for months before the actual event. One of my favorite memories of Brigden's excitement for his party was his constant requests to be surprised at his birthday party. I kept trying to explain the impossible nature of holding a surprise party for a boy who planned his own party, but he wouldn't hear of it. He just kept saying, "But, Mom, I can hide downstairs and then you can tell me when to come up after everyone has arrived and then they can all yell 'Surprise!' " Just one look at his super dinosaur grin and you can understand why such a giddy silly boy would dream up such a surprise party.

We were able to enjoy many Toy Story activities including, pin the star on Woody, Woody Woody Buzz (Duck Duck Goose), Buzz Lightyear Air Glider Contests, Find your Toy Story friend, and Coloring Pages. It was fun to watch some children buzz right through their coloring jobs and others really take time to do detailed work.

The party was a huge success regardless of my error in forgetting to "surprise" Brigden. He was still able to end the event with a smile enjoying his pizza and bug cupcakes. What more could a kid ask for, besides a surprise party, eh?

As a family we celebrated on his actual day with yummy cupcakes, lit candles, and even more presents.

Bet you can't figure out which of his presents was his favorite in these pictures!

Yep, the pillow pet. He loves it!!! He thought it was the most ingenous thing to fold it up into a standing pet and then change it into a pillow. Seriously? Why didn't I think of something so ridiculously simple to earn millions off of? He still sleeps with this pillow pet and smile nightly!

If giddy, silly, flightly, cheerful, ambitious, tedious, detailed, loving, and active personality is to your liking, then you should spend more time with Brigden! He can be such fun with his infectious giggles and large hugs. His energy is amazing and sometimes overwhelming. Bringing him down from Utopia to Earth is our greatest difficulty as his parents. He lives on Utopia and vacations on Earth. The truth is his trips to Earth aren't usually vacations, however, because they are filled with chore lists and activities which include requirements for a 5 year old boy who is learning responsibility.

As a toddler, he loved to watch CARS, and now he rarely watches it, but still loves to do CARS puzzles and draw CARS characters. He knows his numbers in preparation for Kindergarten, but also knows the number 65 because it is the number he puts on all the race cars he draws. He loves to draw speedy fast fire cars, trucks with dinosaur heads, and other strange vehicles.

In primary last year, he learned the 4th LDS Article of Faith and now he not only still knows the 4th, but has learned the other 3 before it. He's very diligent in reading his scriptures and saying his prayers and remembering to pray for others in need. He has become great friends with his sister Bevan and is frequently found sitting on the couch next to her with his arm around her as they watch TV together.

We absolutely adore Brigden and feel very blessed to have him in our lives.