July 30, 2016

back to school

We have failed our children. We moved to Arizona and we discovered that not one of our children can correctly say "saguaro".

I guess it's time for a real education as an Arizonian.

And so, after a short 4 week summer vacation, it was back to school for these kids.

Kyler started 7th grade. He is in Jr High this year, which hasn't been a huge adjustment for him since he went to middle school last year. He is a pro at switching classes and managing his time and schedule. He is in honors classes again. And he is pretty excited for his two electives this semester--guitar and Spanish. He has already found some cool friends at school. He is independent, friendly and oh so smart. I know this year will be a great one for him!

Kacin is in 6th grade. He is top dog at the elementary school, again. He has a super nice teacher. And Kacin is stoked to be a part of the band this year and to learn to play percussion. After one week at a new school, he was also elected his class representative in the student council. He is a natural leader. He is brave, bright, and has a wonderful sense of humor. He is just awesome like that (words from his speech when they voted on class representatives).

Perry is in Kindergarten in the ADPTS (autism) program at his elementary school. He has really enjoyed his new school. His language is increasing exponentially. He has a very energetic young teacher this year. His program will include some cooking and gardening projects, which I'm sure he will love. He has been so proud to show me the work he has brought home. He is such a bright little boy and he is growing more and more each day. We are so proud of him.

Layla is off to half day kindergarten this year (with the plan that she will go to full day kindergarten at the elementary school next year). She is soooo unbelievably excited to start at a big school with a new teacher and friends. She has been counting down the days (her first official day is tomorrow). She is also starting a musical theater class tomorrow--she is pretty excited for that as well! She is such a helpful, sweet, and thoughtful little girl. She will shine in half day kindergarten!

We are excited for all that this new school year holds for these four wonderful people!

July 28, 2016

happy 4th of July

The 4th of July in our neighborhood in Washington was the absolute best. It's fireworks in surround sound and viewing. And we were lucky enough to have the company of our good friends, the nielsens, too.


We set off so many fireworks! When we were done the cul de sac and yard was fully littered with firework pieces.


Layla and Perry both enjoyed joining the other kids in the lighting of the fireworks and the mad dash to safety.

I do think watching everyone run away is one of the best parts of fireworking.

The kids had fun with the sparklers, too.


Sweet Carly made sure to protect Kyler's eyes by putting the safety goggles on him.

We made sure to take some selfies and close ups that night.

I am so thankful for our freedoms and this wonderful country we live in. God bless America!



July 24, 2016

Woodland Park Zoo

I made sure that we went to the zoo one last time before we moved. We have been there countless times since we moved up to the Seattle area, since we usually keep a zoo membership. We started going when Kyler and Kacin were Perry and Layla's age! I have so many memories of being there with my children, preschool, and with friends. 

In fact, we have been there so often, the kids are more excited to climb the rocks and trees and play on the playground than they are to see the animals. How sad is that.

Kyler and Kacin are such great brothers. They made sure to help Perry and Layla climb up the trees whenever they needed help.


Standing on top of the bridge waving on the way to the zoo entrance has always been the boys tradition. I think this particular day they got 11 waves and 3 honks back from the cars passing on the 99.

We had great plans to go right away to play at the Zoomasium (the indoor play area). Well, don't you know that we were lucky enough to go to the zoo on the one day that the Zoomasium was closed for a special event. Layla burst into tears when we found out. Within 30 seconds of that, Perry lost it because he wanted to hold the big bag of popcorn we were sharing but I had to tell him no. Two tantruming kids within a minute is quite chaotic. Layla calmed down quickly when I explained the situation, but Perry kept escalating until all I could do was try to contain him on the side of the crowded path while he bit, scratched, thrashed around, screamed, and threw his shoes, etc. 

A whole bunch of thoughts ran through my head while I tried to deal with the situation--"what are all these people walking by thinking? how else do I keep us safe? am I going to have to sit on him to restrain him? I wonder if a zookeeper will walk by and try to help, or kick us out? How long will he keep this up? maybe I should never leave the house again. does it look like I am beating him? Will someone call cps? Man, my arms hurt. I can't let myself cry. I hope my other three kids are ok.... Etc."

What seemed like ages was probably only moments. And then a little miracle happened. Someone called out Perry's name! When Perry saw who it was, it snapped him out of it. It was his former primary teacher. And this guy and his wife are amazing. He knows Perry well. And he is probably one of the few people who could've walked up at that moment and Perry would respond to. Perry curled up in a quiet ball while we talked for a few minutes. He still tried to bite me a few times while we stayed there, but he calmed down enough. It was such a miracle that the Kenyon's happened to be, not only at the zoo, but in that exact spot right when we needed them. And that's one reason I know that Heavenly Father watches out for his children and takes care of them. 

The Kenyon's made sure we were ok and then we parted ways. Eventually, Perry was able to come back to his normal self again and the rest of the zoo outing went as should be expected. 

I'm so happy we got to visit the zoo before we left. We love that place.


July 23, 2016

Brace Face

Their smiles changed a little yesterday. They woke up like this.

After an 8am appointment, 


they came home like this. 

They were such champs about getting all that metal in their mouths. And we think they wear this new look quite well.