November 30, 2016

a teenager

He hit 13!


We have an official teen in the house. But there couldn't be a better one!

Kyler is patient, strong, resilient, forgiving, peace keeping, competitive, fun loving, smart and just an all around great guy.

We had so much fun celebrating him. Somehow his birthday celebration spread over many days.

The week before his birthday we took him and some friends to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie. We had pizza and ice cream before heading to the movie.

On thanksgiving, since we had all that family around, we sang to him and Jacqui (who share a birthday).

On his actual birthday, after a motorcycle ride with grandpa, we went for a hike.

We then surprised him with a bunch of balloons. There were slips of paper inside each balloon directing him to open a present or giving him a coupon to decide on a birthday treat, a family activity, and where to eat out for dinner etc.

After the hike, we went to see the new disney movie at the theater. Unfortunately, after the movie Kacin was sick so birthday activities came to a halt. Which really just means that his birthday celebration was extended over the course of even more days (we got the treats the next day, etc.).

We love you, Ky-by!! You are going to rock your teenage years.

These Days

The weather here has definitely cooled off and I am thrilled. I can wear boots and long sleeves and sweaters again. And the sun keeps shining! Arizona is wonderful.

Perry finally got to try out the boat during swim lessons. Quite fun for him.

Layla came with me to a baby shower for a friend. You know, having a daughter is absolutely amazing. She loves coming to girls nights (usually its to activity days with me though). And I love having my sweet little sidekick and friend with me. Of course, sitting at a restaurant listening to a bunch of ladies talk didn't keep her entertained for very long. When she got bored of all the talk, I let her play on my phone. Which meant a hundred pictures of chairs and the ground. But walking away with my Layla girl that night I had one of those moments. A simple moment. But, looking over at her, her hand in mine as we crossed through the parking lot, happiness shining on her face, and pride for being included in a mommy thing, and my heart swelled with joy, too. It was a hard to describe, pure joy feeling. I am just so grateful to be this 5 year old's mom and to have her friendship and love.

I took Layla and Macie to see a play about Elephant and Piggie one morning. Layla was so excited to go that the night before she carefully picked out her outfit and spread it out on the floor in anticipation of the play.

Kyler and Kacin played another season of soccer. They ended up being on the same team again. Which, logistically, was quite nice. They had a lot of fun playing and made some friends. However, it was definitely a rough season. Rough seasons can build character and give valuable life experience, and this season did just that for them. Kacin scored a goal during the first game of the season and Kyler scored a goal during the last game of the season.

When I was at Kacin's band concert (shout out again for that band concert. 6th graders are awesome. Especially the percussion section.), we saw this hanging on the wall from part of a social studies Mesopotamia project.

When Jenny and I were hiking, we noticed some male hikers with "man tights" under their shorts. And then the next day, what was Kyler wearing when we went to help the Schlink's move? You bet, man tights. I had to send a picture to Jenny.

We went to a park in Gilbert that is preserve for burrowing owls. We saw the cutest little owls there! It ignited Eric's love of birdwatching again and he is planning another birdwatching venture.

My cousin's son will be leaving on his mission soon. We gathered for his farewell talk at church. He will be an awesome missionary.

Layla had the first hot chocolate of the season!

We finally have Perry in a homework routine. That routine might include a motivating piece of candy each time, but at least he is sitting down and knows he needs to work. He may not be happy about it, but we are seeing progress. It's quite the effort and the feat for everyone involved trying to get a page of homework done. And Perry tells us exactly how he feels about it all. This particular night when Eric worked with him, we heard it all ("It's going to take forever, I hate you guys, Ahhhh man, only one side!, are you trying to kill me?"). He is quite expressive about his feelings. But, ultimately, he does it (with a lot of support). And Eric and I have learned to see the humor in it all (we just have to work really hard to hide that humor in front of our little guy). We really are proud of our little man! Things do not come easily for him and it is some tough work to get the eyes tracking, and the fine motor control, and the comprehension, and the recalling of words, but he is one strong kiddo to keep going and keep trying.

November 27, 2016

thanksgiving day

We gathered at our house this Thanksgiving day. I think our greatest blessing this year has been moving into our nice new house and being near some of our family again. We are all most grateful that we moved back to Arizona. It is where we need to be right now. And we are surrounded by the people who help us feel comfortable, safe, and loved.

The thanksgiving meal was huge! So much yummy food. The adults gathered here and the kids gathered at the table outside on the porch to eat.

I had Layla, Macie, and Logan make these turkey name cards for everyone.

Some lovely people sat at our tables.

Though the littler kids didn't do much sitting--they just wanted to play.

Perry was so proud to show everyone the thanksgiving turkeys he made at school.

We played a rousing game of "are you thankful for your neighbor?". Then we sang "happy birthday" to two of my favorite people who share the same November birthday.

They asked for dirt cake.

Happy thanksgiving!!

November 23, 2016

a few days of thanksgiving

Today I am grateful for nearby grocery stores stocked full of food. And money so that Layla and I could buy a cart full of good stuff to nourish our family.

I am grateful for my kids hardworking teachers. And enough food to fill our bellies.

I am grateful for cute turkey crafts.

I am grateful I got to hear some spectacular music last night at Kacin's band concert (he plays percussion). And for opportunities for all those elementary kids to develop their talents at school.

I am grateful that before Kyler went to bed last night he told me two good things that happened at school that day.


I am also grateful that Eric works from home. So when Perry had a big potty accident this afternoon he went to his dad to clean it up instead of me. Good choice, Perry. And a big thank you to Eric for taking care of that one.