June 24, 2011

Kyler's Last Day

On Kyler's very last day of First grade, I spent his lunch recess jumping rope with him and watching him shoot hoops. He had such a good school year, but I am soo excited that school is over for two reasons. First, I get to spend with my boys doing lots of fun things. Second, I get to throw away the red lunchbox Kyler used all year. Kyler had such a great year. He learned and made many friends. He especially likes playing with his friend, Ian. I also asked Ky about his favorite part of first grade and without hesitating he said the best part of 1st grade was that his classroom was right across from the special kids room so he got to meet them and play with them. He explained to me that this is his favorite because they are fun and he cares about them and he learned how they can communicate and play in different ways.

June 23, 2011

Worthy of the Fridge?

I have two clips hanging on the fridge
for Kyler and Kacin to each hang
an art piece, project, or work they are proud of.
Apparently, Eric felt the need to display something, too.
I would've been happy with a finger painting,
but he had to be different.
And expensive.
He proudly displayed a ticket.
$124 for talking on his cell phone while driving.
Plus, $550 because he couldn't find the insurance card
until after the cop pulled away.
Yes, I would've been much happier with a fingerpainting,
or even a nice stick figure drawing.
Eric hung it up on the fridge and then sat down with us for dinner.
When he started telling us what happened,
Kacin sure lightened the mood by smiling and shrieking with delight
and shooting off questions
about the cop and the ticket and if he was speeding, too
and how he wished he had been there to see it all.
And then we told Kacin the money to pay for the ticket
was going to come out of his piggy bank.
Of course, just kidding.
But really now, you should've seen his utter happiness about the situation.
I still would've preferred the fingerpainting,
or maybe a few scribbles . . .
or a collage . . .
or a watercolor. . .

Don't worry though,
I still love you, E! :)

June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

Eric made me watch a documentary with him about
the Young at Heart Chorus.
Check it out and watch the movie.
It made Eric want to be old.
It made me want to sing.
Which gave me a desire for a good karaoke party.
I got on youtube and demonstrated to Eric
how much fun it would be to sing karaoke.
He thought maybe it should just be a party with games.
Leave out the karaoke.
I wasn't convinced.
But I couldn't think of a good time to have a party.
And then we remembered
The Summer Solstice.
E said if I had a Summer Solstice party
I could celebrate better
by frolicking in the grass and sun
with fairies and dryads.
So I contemplated the idea of the boys and I in fairy wings
flying through the air on the trampoline.
Until I realized I don't have fairy wings.
All we have is light sabers and alien costumes around here.
It wouldn't be the same without the fairy wings.
So after a long, busy day today
I settled on a bike ride
with a twist
to celebrate the first day of summer.
We rode through the neighborhood
and at each corner we took turns choosing our next direction.
Right, left, and straight
we meandered through unfamiliar neighborhoods.
And that's when Kyler's chain came off his bike.
We were pretty far away from home.
Eric wouldn't be done working for another 40 min. or so.
I tried and tried but couldn't get the chain back on.
And that's when a sweet girl across the street
noticed us and pulled her friend out of the house.
A mountain biker himself, he was able to help us
in our time of distress.
He got some tools out of the garage and got the chain back on.
Very grateful to our rescuer,
we finished our game
and went home.
I think Sister Summer Solstice
was sending us a message and metaphor
for our summer ahead.
Like, instead of wandering away,
stay home and sing karaoke.
Or at least learn how to put a bike chain back on by yourself.

Best Friend, after Kyler

I know these two were inseparable at school and if Kacin had his way they would've played together every afternoon, too. He just loves his friend. And as his parents, we are so glad he made friends with such a good kid. The other day, Eric was asking Kacin a bunch of questions about all his friends and Kacin quickly named Owen as his "best friend after Kyler". He explained that Owen is so creative and that's why he likes playing with him. It's true. Kacin's imagination has developed so much since playing with Owen. And that is such a good thing! The last time Owen was over, I had to sneak some pictures. They were playing school and had arranged all of the stuffed animals around the room naming each one after a classmate. They were the teachers giving out work assignments and moving students who were talking to each other (I think Kacin has had some personal experience with that one). The pictures above show the point when their story transformed and they became teacher aliens visiting from Saturn or some such thing. Kacin always has so much fun playing with O. I'm so sad to think that today is their last day of school together. I'm sure there will be lots and lots of playdates, but I know Kacin will miss seeing him at school each day.

June 20, 2011

Number Roll

Kacin has been working on this for a
He'd do a little bit almost every day at school.
He had a goal to make it to 1000.
He finally did,
1009 to be exact,
and brought it home on Thursday!
He is so proud of his work and reaching his goal.
This thing is so
It reaches from Kacin's room
down the stairs
all around
and to the fireplace.

The only problem is
I don't know what to do with it now!!
It's too big to fit in his scrapbook and
he wants to hang it on the walls of the house . . .

(Note: watch the video without sound because I do not like when I am heard on videos and please make allowances for backward numbers as we will be working more on that this summer) 

June 19, 2011

Daddy's Day

Eric is cool.
Eric the Dad
is even cooler.
His fills his role flawlessly
as provider, wrestler, teaser, bedtime tuck-er-in-ner, answerer of Stars Wars questions, griller of yummy food, reader of chapter books, leader of scripture study and family prayer, and teacher.
To show him just how much we love him,
we made waffles for breakfast
and gave him a coupon book from all of us,
designed by Kyler and entitled "The Ultimate Cleaners",
so named beacause we promised to clean his car.
But then during the creation process,
we added in other coupons
like a foot rubbing and puzzle doing.
We are grateful that Eric has made
being the Dad
one of his top priorities.
We all love him a lot.

(Totally unrelated: As you can see from the picture, Kacin is back to patching his eye AGAIN. This time with a different type of patch and only for 2 hours a day. I hope this helps!)

June 15, 2011

Kindergarten Graduation

I can not even believe how quickly this year has gone by. Four more days of school and Kacin will start claiming he is in 1st grade. His school had an end of the year music performance and graduation for the Kindergarteners. We will miss this school and Miss Randa so much! Last summer, we were so worried if we were making the right decision to keep Kacin in Montessori. But we are sure now it was the best decision for Kacin. He has learned and grown in so many ways and made friendships that I know he hopes to keep for a very long time. I wish we could stay another year! We are so proud of him.

June 10, 2011

The Last of the Artifacts

Are you ready?
The final artifacts . . .

While looking at this view of part of the middle room,
you see many artifacts
from my Grandparents Neff--
the love seat, the bear rug, and the antelope rug/hanging thing.
My Grandpa, a big hunter, brought home this bear.
The antelope thing that is hanging is the softest thing you'll ever touch.
Did it come from something he hunted, too? 
I really don't remember many
pieces of art or decorations on the walls of our home,
but this picture of the Mesa Temple has always had a place in every house we've lived.
 My mom's guitar.
She used to be in a band.
With Cathy Couch.
My mom played the tambourine and sang.
They used to get together all the time and jam.
I loved hearing them sing and harmonize.
And I remember a few very good ward talent show performances.
They probably did some Monkees songs,
but I definitely remember the Mockingbird song . . .
("Mock (yeah) ing (yeah) bird (yeah), Mockingbird. Everybody have you heard . . .")
My dad's acoustic guitar,
NOT the guitar he used to wake us up with
bright and early weekend mornings.
That's what the electric guitars were for.
The "Middle" room should really be called the "Music" room.
This room grew from two acoustic guitars to
about 6 electric guitars, a bass guitar, a drum set,
a keyboard, a piano, two or three amps, 
and equipment to record. 
Which meant lots of loud music and impromptu concerts
from family, friends, and neighbors here.
(by the way, we do call it the Middle room because the house is a big rectangle with this room in the very center and all the other rooms of the house surround it.)
 My grandma's picture of my mom and her brother, Joe.
I couldn't show artifacts from our house without including
our swimming pool.
Everyone in AZ has a swimming pool so of course we do, too.
One problem.
Ours has always been filled with dirt.
Bad for swimming.
Good for walking on "water".
Over the years us girls and our friends made many attempts at uncovering the pool.
We made it down to the second step at one point.
And this was the inspiration
for many ghost stories about our house . . .
What is really buried in that pool??
More backyard.
The other side of the wall is the alley.
We climbed this wall a lot when all of the neighbor kids
played tag and hide and seek and had water wars.
One more of grandma's frogs that always hung in the bathroom.
I guess so you could time yourself . . .
 My parents also now have my grandparents table and chairs.
At grandma's house,
we sat around this table
eating cheez-its and drinking rootbeer
as she taught us to play poker with pennies.
Don't worry. We played other games too--
Checkers, Old Maid, Donkey . . .
But you always had to watch out for Grandma--
she was a cheater.
And she taught me everything I know.
 Another of grandpa Neff's creations . . .
  Trays for coloring and writing and eating on . . .
My dad is such a romantic guy.
Sometime shortly after they were married,
he gave my mom this gift--
a little porcelain toilet.
Her name is even engraven on the top.
I've heard there was an even more romantic note that went with it,
but I can't imagine how you can get more romantic than a toilet with a green lid.
The lid even comes off so you can keep things in the bowl,
or maybe use it as a candy dish.
And serve tootsie rolls.
Oh dear, I think I've gone too far.

And on that note,
my artifact documentation ends.

When He Grows Up

We were chatting in the car the other day
and my Ky-by told us
his plans for the future.
He says that when he grows up
he first wants to be a teacher
and then he wants to help special kids.
I have no doubt that those noble positions
will be part of his path at some point.
His caring heart is drawn to people he can help.
Each day she is at lunch,
he sits and eats with his friend,
a little girl with Rhett syndrome.
He tells me about the days
when the "special kids" are out at recess at the same time as he is
so he spends his recess playing with them.
He has a friend who broke his leg and is in a wheelchair now.
Ky's thoughtfulness leads him
to make cards, pray, and bring books to school for his friend.
He is proud of his responsibility to help push the wheelchair
and is happy to stay in with him or sit out of an activity
to read with him and keep him company.
I am so proud of this sweet, caring kid
and I look forward to seeing all that he becomes.

June 8, 2011

We Didn't Start The Fire . . .

And I don't know who did, but it sure is making a lot of people's lives difficult and destroying some beautiful country. My parents and siblings, along with several thousands, joined the growing number of evacuees from the Wallow Fire in Eastern Arizona. The town that I grew up in is now a ghost town as people packed up what they could and left not knowing what will be left when they return.

It is surreal watching your small town on the national evening news, while you're thousands of miles away. I was even more surprised when I saw my dad's store with its red horse standing proud on the roof in the background.

Click on the link to see the clip: ARIZONA FIRE

Hopefully, this is not the last image of my family's store. Let's all pray that the monsoons come really early this year, so that we can save whatever is left of where I grew up.


Some More Artifacts

Shall we continue?

I guess I should've included this one with the fireplace pictures.
These three howling dogs used to be the guards
keeping us safe from all intruders
who dared come through the fireplace.
There was a bird once
who tried to enter our abode through the chimney.
He never made it all the way in though.
Thanks, protector dogs.
This is a punching bag.
I think my dad got it
when he had four teenage daughters in the house.
This hung at Grandma and Grandpa Neff's house back in the day.
Connecting the room we call "the Middle Room"
and the room called "the Arizona room"
is a sliding glass door.
The only profanity I ever heard in our home
was because of this door.
We would often close the door
to block the sound
from the piano, drums, guitars or noisy kids playing.
We were under strict command to always open it when we were done.
Well, unfortunately, that didn't always happen
and there were a few mishaps
when the door was left closed
and the glass was too clean
and an unsuspecting person would SMACK into the door.
Oh, the pain from running into that door! 
One of Grandma's frogs.
She was a frog collector.
It was her thing.
She had a frog room
with shelves and shelves
of all sorts of frog items.
She had over a thousand, I'm sure.
In Kentucky, By the dad, With leaves.
A picture in my parents room of me (though I'm hard to find), Jenny, dad, and my great uncle.
I used to think this was my sister, Jacqui.
Not that it was her,
but that it was a figurine of her.
My mother painted it a long time ago
and it has always sat on her dresser.
She says I am wrong and it is not Jacqui.
Not of Jacqui.
My mom's scriptures in their brown leather zipper covering.
I so wish this picture wasn't fuzzy.
She modeled the scriptures for us.

The scale that we all love these days.
It always shows 5 pounds lighter than you really are.
It makes us feel good.
I don't really know what to think about this.
It's a piggy bank,
but not a piggy.
I'm really not sure what he is.
He is an heirloom from Grandpa Neff.
"Here we come, walking down the street, we get the funniest looks from everyone we meet.
Hey, hey we're the Monkees!"
I was raised Monkee.
My mom made sure of that.
I'm almost positive I know the words to every Monkee song.
At least, I've danced or made up a routine to every song.
Remember that mirror at the end of the hall?
This is that hall standing from the entry way.
The left wall wasn't always white.
It began with birds.
Gray-with-lots-of-birds-perched-on-trees wall paper covered the left wall.
Why did we get rid of that again?

Well, I guess this artifact exhibit is going to have to be a 3 part event.
I'm not quite finished
but I'm being beckoned away 
by a 6-year old
who wants banana bread cut and a bouncy ball retrieved from on top of the kitchen cupboards.