Saturday, August 30, 2008

I will Follow You ((follow you)).....

Ah, Sister Act-GREAT movie.  hee hee.  I added a widget in my right column that is new from blogger, it lets me easily track who looks at my blog by letting me know when you've posted something new so I can be sure not to miss your posts. :) Really this is a win win for everyone.  I get to feel loved by seeing that you "Love me, you REALLY love me!" -Ah, Sally Field-what an actress!...ahem, oh ya, how you benefit...well YOU  get to see that I REALLY love you because I won't miss any of your posts anymore!!  ;)  soooo go ahead and click the follow button, you know you want too!  

Don't miss it....

So I posted a blog about the GREAT Saturday the kids and I and the rest of the family had last Saturday but it's posted before Calee's birth I just don't want anyone to miss it.  I'm trying to keep some of this stuff in chronological order and that's why that is so obscurely placed.  Also, I had intended to get it posted much sooner but that cute little girl came and for some reason that post got put on hold. :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Flashback Friday

Flashback #8
Christopher, The Musical

OK, so back in the early 1990's, the church stake I grew up in started a musical about Christopher Columbus. I was lucky enough to be cast in the musical. Now, you should know that pretty much if you were alive, could commit to the rehearsals and promised to behave-you were in the musical! LOL

The first year there was a musical it was performed at some kind of fair or something (help me out guys!! where was it..the Rose Garden festival? or Festival of flowers?...something like that) well, we had long practices and late night rehearsals because we had to practice when the festival or place we performed at was closed. This was soooo much fun! Brother Hail would drive us up to rehearsals and then take us out to Dairy Queen afterward for ice cream. My friends and I spent many nights during that summer making the long drive up to the Stake Center for rehearsal, but we didn't mind one bit! Of course we weren't driving OR paying for gas at the time *wink* LOL!

I don't have any pictures-or at least not ones I can find of this first production. One of the things I remember most though was that in one of the scenes I was suppose to "kiss" Keith Smith during one of the songs. The song said something about fresh breath or something related to that, so the kiss was suppose to relate to the song and be funny. WELL, he was NOT going to kiss me. At first I was pretty much adverse to the idea as well, but seeing his reaction just made me mad. OK, so I was actually hurt at first. What was wrong with kissing me?! LOL well, eventually the kiss was changed to a hug. Not as cute as the kiss would have been, but I guess it worked!

*side story* growing up Keith was dubbed the President of "The Virgin Lips Club"! This was because he somehow managed to make it through high school and quite a bit of college if I remember right without ever kissing a girl!! I know, crazy....but also sweet. :)
Back to The Musical!! So, the first year was lots of fun and set a tradition in motion for summers to come. The next time I was in the Musical it was performed by and on a ship that had been constructed and docked on the riverfront in down town Columbus, OH. VERY COOL! This year there were some changes to the script and another change was the music we had practiced so hard to learn was now pre-recorded and going to be piped through speakers. We still had to sing so those close enough could hear us singing and we didn't just looked like we were mouthing the songs and lip syncing. But....most of us did that anyway! Also added this year was a set group of dancers with special costumes and everything. Oh, you better believe I wanted to be a dancer! So, my friends and I tried out. During the try-outs we had to perform little dance moves and one by one DURING the dance we would be excused/eliminated from the dancers audition group. Well all my friends and I made it in! Then, disaster!! The head dancer "lady" came to me and said that I was actually going to be cut from the list because they only had so many dresses-ALREADY made and the one that would fit me was going to a girl that was coming out with her Dad from UT, who was going to perform the role of Christopher Columbus. Well, to say the least I was devastated.The next practice all my friends flitted off to dance rehearsal while I went to the gym for general rehearsal. How droll. Then, SURPRISE! The dance "lady", her name was Jocelyn, came and said the girl wasn't coming after all and would I still like to be a dancer? YEAH!! So, I was once again back in my happy place and no longer hating all my friends for abandoning me to "general rehearsal". Hee HeeThat year was a lot of fun. We got to perform on the river front and use the ship. I can still feel those rehearsals and the excitement of rehearsing and then the jitters of performance nights. I can still feel and remember the sadness as the last performance for that summer ended. I was extremely blessed to have the experiences that I did through out the summers I participated in Christopher.

NEXT! So, the next time I performed in the musical was very interesting. This year they added MALE dancers. WA-HOO! Or so we thought. Well, I got paired up with Frank Scardina. (not sure that's how you spell his last name? oh well) Now, Frank was a member of the amazing group of friends that I was blessed to grow up with. We always gathered at the dances and stake activities, parties at mine and other's houses, snow sledding and LOTS of other fun stuff.

Being Franks dance partner was pretty much a nightmare. Love ya Frank, but you can't dance. The boy has NO rhythm! This was a struggle, of course. What didn't help matters was Frank is a bit of a jokester, one that doesn't always know when to stop. I remember one rehearsal in particular where Frank and I were practicing a lift. He was suppose to lift me up in his arms, in the same fashion as being carried over a threshold of a house. Well, he kept missing the beat and dropping me.Instead of owning up to his dancing inadequacies (you really need to read this with smart sarcasm *wink, wink*) he started blaming me! The tears came when he said I was too heavy for him to lift. Well, that did it. I had had it and I let him have it! The dance instructor called for a brake and tried to talk to us and then our friends stepped in. The guys basically told Frank you just don't say that to a girl and the girls all told me that I was being too sensitive and Frank was just being "Frank". So we made up and in the end the lift worked just fine and we had a blast dancing together! And now this brings me to the last year I performed in Christopher. (or so I think....because my head is starting to swirl and get fuzzy with dates and memories so if anyone reading this can help me out or correct something I've said-PLEASE by all means do! :) We got new dancing costumes for this year and though they were much more comfortable than last years, they made us look 3-5 mo pregnant! Oh me!! Two of the new comers for this year were the new Mission President's kids. We had SO MUCH fun with them! I remember so many runs to Wendy's during these rehearsals. Much of that change was due to the fact that most of us now had driving licenses. Scary-yes.
At some point, maybe during the shows or after the last show all of us girls ended up spending the night in the Mission home. This was a blast! Imagine, a bunch of 16-17 year old girls sleeping in bunk beds that 19-21 year old boys had last slept in!! Now multiply that by like 20 and you're close to where we were that night! We had a blast. In this picture my friend Melissa and I are...well being weird yes and apparently puckering up for the shot. :) So much fun!Another change for this year was that our old Young Woman leader that had played the role of the Queen who gave Christopher the go head on his sailing discoveries in past performances was played this year by my friend Amber Smith. It's time to own up....I was SO jealous! She was a stunning Queen and delivered an amazing performance though. :)

The after parties for this final year for us were GREAT! We were less than mature and took all kinds of silly pictures. My personal favorite is this one where we are making our dresses look more like barmaids outfits than colonial maidens! So, here we have Bishopbric member's daughters, Stake President's daughter, Mission President's daughter, you get the picture....all "takin' it down" for the camera!! LOL Please note the dumb struck faces of the guys in the picture. So typical! But, can you blame them?...look at us! *random memories that just didn't fit in the story: Mark R. had never applied mascara before, phew, and so I helped him get it on each night. It was like putting mascara on Snuffalufugus from Sesame Street!! Longest thickest eyelashes I have EVER seen! We use to play hide and seek during the rehearsals that took place at the stake center when we weren't "rehearsing" at the moment...those were fun! We usually ended up in the room overlooking the gym and watched everyone below. I can't find the picture but one does exist of me fake kissing my best friends boyfriend..or maybe ex at the time (too hard to keep up!) and sent a copy of it to my boyfriend who was serving a mission...LOL! fyi- you put your thumbs over their mouth and kiss your thumbs, that's why it's fake*

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Momma did WHAT?!

The day before Emily started pre-school I decided a trip to the Duck pond was in order. We called Aunt Janece and our friends the Taylors and invited them all to join us. Our friends Bella and Bubba went with us as well. The kids had a great time-and really what kid doesn't when they get to see ducks and turtles?!

The highlight of the trip was when we spotted two momma ducks with little ducklings. The one momma had 11 babies who were a few weeks older than the second momma's with 6 ducklings. We watched and took pictures for a bit. For purposes of this account we'll call the momma with the 11 babies Big Momma and the other Little Momma.

Shortly after watching the two moms tend their little ones opposite a mud mound from each other, Big Momma's ducklings started wandering over to check out the other side of the mud mound. Little Momma was not so thrilled with this and instantly became protective of her family. At one point one of Big Momma's ducklings got just a bit too close for Little Momma's liking and she pecked at the duckling. Janece and I suspected a fight was brewing and so we quickly got the camera turned from picture to video!
Any other mother might have quickly gathered her children and found some more peaceful ducks to watch. Not us! This was too interesting and the kids were just as engrossed in the spectacle as we were. LOL At one point Big Momma turns and started walking toward us. Isaac, one of the friends with us for the day pulled out the plastic sword from behind his back to protect us-it was GREAT! I think you can hear Janece and I laughing on the video at this. Just too CUTE!
*ok so, the movie WON'T post and I only discovered this AFTER I thought it worked and posted I'm re-posting, but I'm not happy with this. one. bit.* :)

We also got to watch two ducks practice their synchronized swimming routine. The kids thought this was just hilarious! Every time the two ducks would dive and send their tail ends up in the air with their webbed feet flopped over the water, the kids would roar with laughter! The duck pond never disappoints!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

She's Here!!

Janece, Jeremy and Preslee welcomed a new baby girl into their family today! Calee was born at 12:01pm she weighed 9lbs 14 oz and is 22 inches long!! Get this-Janece only pushed for 6 mins!! Can you BELIEVE that?! She is just so adorable and precious. I was able to go to the hospital and see her tonight for the first time and just ate her up! :) She reminds us so much of Preslee when she was born. Of course Preslee is in heaven now that she's a big sister. It's funny to see her with her, she makes me think of the toon cartoons growing up with the little girl (Elvira maybe?) that would find a pet and say "I will love her and squeeze her and make her my very own!" I love it!!
Janece kept telling us this baby was ornery. She would move around like crazy at night and keep her up during the pregnancy. Jeremy does a paper route on Tuesdays and we joked that she would decide to come on a Tuesday just to be a stinker...well she PROVED 'EM RIGHT! LOL

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spectacular Saturday

Today was a spectacular day! I love to have fun with the kids on the weekend especially since school is back in full swing and I miss the time we had during the summer. It just so happened that this Saturday we had TONS of fun!

The day started off with a trip to Lowe's Home Improvement store. They have a great program that's company wide, where little kids can go and build projects for FREE! They do it here about twice a month and the kids love it. They get to wear a little work apron and goggles and use little hammers that are just their size! The kids have built several projects now and we just don't know where to put them all anymore. This time they built a truck. Each time they complete the project they get a certificate and a little badge to put on their apron. I need to get them on the aprons...but the few methods of quickly getting them on have just not worked out so well. Any suggestions for getting "boy scout" type badges on half plastic half fabric aprons? :)

As we were leaving Lowe's the kids wanted to race their trucks down the big shopping lanes. So I though "Why not?!" They had a good time racing. I only let them race twice though much to their dismay. Just as we got close to the cash registers the kids all started to BELT out "Called to Serve" from primary! I was a little caught off guard by this. They sing the children's hymns all the time at home which I love but I'm not sure what brought that loud so fun and cute performance on in the middle of a home improvement store?! As much as I loved it, I told them we'd better wait to finish until we got outside. So, as soon as we passed through the store door they started singing. Two men were loading up their truck with lumber and turned to see what was going on. when they saw my five kids all singing like a little choir they just smiled at me and each other. :)

We left Lowe's and headed straight over to Aunt JoJo's apartment. (aka my sister Kelly) There Grandma and Aunt JoJo were waiting with a special Boxcar Children lunch!! Each night after the kids are in bed my mom has been reading chapter series books with them. She has wanted to read the Boxcar Children for a while now but has been unable to find the 1st book in the series. So she read three books from another series that the kids loved until she finally found the first book in the boxcar series.

We had all made plans to go to Kelly's for lunch after Lowe's since we were staying in town most of the morning and early afternoon for various fun activities. Grandma thought it would be really fun if we ate lunch the way the orphans did in the book. So when we arrived for lunch the kids were so excited to see a blanket laid out in the middle of the family room with cut up chunks of bread, cheese, grapes, water and a surprise wrapped up in a towel. The kids were ecstatic!
During lunch they decided to pretend to actually be the boxcar children and act out some of the book scenes they had already read. It was so cute and just so darn adorable!!
After our very tasty and fun lunch we headed over to the bowling lane just down the way from Aunt JoJo's house. The bowling alley was celebrating 6 years of business. Because of this for certain hours of the day bowling and shoe rental was FREE! The kids had been asking me for several days if not a few weeks if I could take them bowling. When Janece saw this in the paper we were so excited and just had to go!
Watching the kids bowl was entertainment all in it's own. Kaleb is a natural bowler. The kid was hitting almost every pin down each time and not always using the bumpers. After a bit this went to his head a bit though and his game went down hill. He just thought it was funny though! He's so great at laughing at himself and not taking things too seriously! What a great kid!

Christopher is very serious about just about everything he does. So he was a bit downhearted when he just couldn't get all or even most of the pins to knock down. He had a massive cheering section though from all the family there and soon forgot about competition and had a BLAST! It was really fun to watch his reaction though when he did knock a lot of pins down! He's just so stinkin' adorable!
Kayleah had a lot of fun trying to compete with her Aunt JoJo. It seemed they were up to bowl at the same time just about every round. This might be a good place to mention that we took up two lanes. LOL She was dramatic with her bowling-of course. I got some good video of her bowling and watching the pins, it's really funny to watch! She's just too graceful to throw around a heavy ball!

Sarah had the hardest luck. It was so hard not to laugh at the fact that Sarah could still get gutter balls using the bumpers! It really was weird. She would roll the ball and it would bounce back and forth like you'd expect and then at the end pick a side and roll right on in without touching a single pin! Poor thing would just turn around and look at us like "what is wrong with this game?!" She never gave up though. Each time her name came up she went up and tried again. After some private lessons from Aunt JoJo, Sarah improved her game and found success. Let me tell you, it was SWEET success!! So fun to see her beautiful smile and face light up with such excitement!

Emily was all about just having fun! She had me or someone else help her a few rounds but eventually wanted to just go up like her big brothers and sisters and do it all on her own. It was so funny to see her waddle up with the ball and then slide/run to the end of the lane and throw the ball down just about taking her down the lane with it! Then she'd stand, spin around or stay on the ground if it knocked her down and watch the ball. It was so fun to see her determination at being counted among the big kids who bowled for herself! I wish she'd just stop growing up! :) LOL

My niece Prelsee was there too and she was just so adorable about all of it. She is very animated and super cute and hilarious! She reminds me of her mom in so many ways. She has the classic only child way of talking in that she says phrases above her age level. I LOVE to hear her tell me a story or recount an event! She so adorable you just have to pick her up and give her a big "squish!"

Not only did we all get to bowl for free but they were also handing out free popcorn and had free face painting for the kids! The businesses in this town have a great sense of community and do a wonderful job of promoting their businesses in fun and family oriented ways!
After all the fun of the morning and early afternoon we finally headed back home. But the fun was not over. Several of us suited up and headed out to the pool. The kids had so much fun playing and swimming. One of our favorite things to do in the pool is take a swim noodle and stick one end in the water return which acts like a hose and then start spraying people down! The kids had fun doing this as they have many times throughout this summer, only this time there was a surprise. When Sarah and Topher took over the noodle it sprouted a leak in the middle of the noodle creating a double spraying!! At first it kind of shocked them when it happened but they quickly burst into fits of giggles and used this to their advantage. It was a BLAST!
After swimming we went inside and watched some of the Olympics together. At this point all the other family members had gone home and even Grandma and Crapa had left to run some errands. The kids and I enjoyed our time together with just us in the house. After watching some sports together, talking about our super fun day and the kids talked with their other grandparents in Oh on the phone, it was time for me to get dinner ready. I hated to get back to business as usual. It was so fun to just "have fun" with the kids all day. The cherry on top of the day was listening to the kids laugh and enjoy each other playing board games while I worked in the kitchen. It truly was a Spectacular Saturday!

Kaleb Beckham Returns!

Kaleb is back baby!! That's right, he's back to playing soccer. Anyone who watches him or listens to him talk about himself on the field would agree that to him, He. Is. The MAN! LOL It was so fun to see Kaleb reunite with many of his team players from the previous two seasons. For some reason Emily's coach did not have the team uniforms yet to pass out, but Kaleb's did. They are SO COOL looking! His team name is the Black Dragons. Very cool!

Kaleb's skills have improved in many areas over the last two seasons. However, he still has one MAJOR area that needs a lot of improvement....pushing. He just can't resist grabbing and pushing somebody away from him when he's going after the ball! Poor guy! It is a natural instinct, a gut reaction if you will. It is not kosher with the league though ;) So after trying to remind him during practice the Coach finally told Kaleb that every time he pushed in practice or in a game he has to drop and give him 10 push-ups or sit-ups. Kaleb thinks this is hilarious, so we'll see how effective it is! LOL
The exercises the coaches did with the kids were fun to watch. The boys had fun doing them as well. I'm so grateful that Kaleb has the same coaches now for this third season here. They both understand that they boys should have fun and enjoy what they're doing. At the same time, they are good at teaching them how to properly play the sport and improve their individual skills. It's a great balance. Here's some video of his practice.

In this video, Kaleb's been chosen to take out each player one at a time. To do this he has to kick his ball outside the circle of cones. He did really well with this. He really enjoyed taking on his Coach!

Kayleah's Trophy

Last week Kayleah won a trophy in Gym class. I'm still sketchy on the details but basically her class played a game, she won and got to bring a trophy home for the weekend. Sadly she had to return the trophy on Monday. Unlike when Olympians are instructed to return their metals, Kayleah knew this was a short term loan.

I think this idea of the traveling trophy is really cute! She was so excited coming off the bus with it. I think she carried it around almost the rest of the day at home and I even found it in bed with her that night. LOL This picture is from Monday just before she had to return it. She did vow though that she would get it back before the end of the year! I believe her!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Flashback Friday

Flashback #7
The Summer Olympics & My Cousin

I LOVE the Olympics. I have favorite events that I love to watch in both the Summer and Winter. However, I'll sit and watch just about any event that doesn't bore me to death simply because I LOVE the Olympics and am in awe of the talent and abilities of the Athletes.

For the last two Flashbacks I've been hunting down a photo that shows some of my family with some of my cousins all crowded in on my parents bed in our House in Galloway, OH. We are watching the Summer Olympics in 1996. If I remember correctly we are specifically watching the Gymnastic events. Clearly this photo, and just about all the rest in this post and other flashbacks, is not the best quality.
My cousins came up from Texas to visit us in OH that summer and we had a blast while they were there. My cousin Cami was already out at BYU so she wasn't with us :( My Cousin Alyssa and I had a lot of fun together though! We took the Martins to visit the ship in downtown Columbus where the church performed the a musical about Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. I and lots of my friends were in many of these productions. Consequently-LOTS of memories and photos! So, for the first time ever I am going to let you in on what next weeks flashback will be about! Drum roll please......My experience in the Musical!! Get ready for some really hilarious photos. hee hee
OK back to this flashback. While we were touring the ship it started to rain. That's why there's water stains on our clothes and I'm wearing a hat. Not sure why I needed/wanted the hat...but at least I don't look too ridiculous in it. lol
Poor Alyssa had to really arch her back for this photo in order to get her back and arms up and over my big hips! LOL
So, I can't tell from the photos if the jeans we are wearing are the amazing jeans we found that weekend at a store closing sale or not-but I just must tell you the story about those jeans! Well, after going home from some outing some of us "kids" wanted to just get out of the house for some more "in town" fun. So naturally we went shopping! Who ever wanted to go loaded up with me in our 16 passenger van and we headed off to the mall. That's what I drove people. No lie.

There was a store and for the life of me I can't remember the name of was a one name store....Alyssa do you by chance remember?, we go in because there's big signs all over saying the stores closing HUGE sales. Well, most of the clothes were hideous not so fashionable "white girl" clothes. *please note I say that with love I'm so not racist but lets be fair-some fashions are specifically designed for specific bodies and tastes. That's what's so great about fashion!*

So we go inside and it's all a bit of a mess. We start casually looking through the racks and bins and then we start to notice how CHEAP all the clothes are! I'm talking a few dollars here people! Well, Alyssa and I found some jeans. To this day they are the most fashionable and comfortable jeans I have EVER worn. Not to mention they looked SMOKIN' on us!! They were so comfortable that we fell asleep in them that night talking before we got ready for bed. LOL I remember waking up at some point and realizing the lights were still on and we were all sprawled out in our basement room. I got up and turned the light off but Alyssa and I just stayed in our amazing smokin', stylin', super comfortable and best of all CHEAP new jeans. To this day whenever I think about those jeans I get a little nostalgic and sad as I wonder what on EARTH happened to them?! LOL

Um....strangely I have several pictures of me holding animals, dead and alive, where I'm posing to kiss them. I'm not sure what that is all about? I'm sure my sister Kelly could analyze that for me-she's good at that. ;)
So this picture is NOT from our weekend in 1996, it's actually from our family reunion in Moab in 1994. This was the infamous cabin reunion where were run out by sick rats whom the adults just KNEW had the hunta virus. I don't even know how to spell it-but it was a really bad thing. This reunion was truly one for the books. But it has given us so many years of laughter and lots of nights talking and reminiscing about it. This post is getting long enough so I'll have to go into that story another time. Maybe Alyssa or my sisters or any of my other relatives that see this post would care to share the story and comment. :) Ahh, memories. Anywho, I just liked this picture of the two of us and since I had sooo many from this trip thought it was fun to show our growth in two years time. I love ya Alyssa!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Emily is playing Soccer!

Emily can now say she can play soccer. She felt so left out because she was the only kid who had not yet been on a soccer team. This fall I sat the kids down and explained that we had to take turns doing a sport or sport like extra activity. Time wise it just was crazy taking 5 kids to different activities and financially...ya-enough said. So Kaleb and Emily are doing soccer right now.
Emily was so excited to be going that she skipped the whole time we were in the store getting her shoes, that are pink and white, and her soccer ball. She was so disappointed that her ball wasn't pink. They were out of the pink ones, but she got a beautiful red one instead. :) Her team is called the Honeybees. How cute is that?! During practice another teammate ran her over knocking her to the ground. She was in such a good mood though that she jumped up and turned around to her coach and laughing said "I fell down!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flashback Friday

Flashback #6
Freaky Photo

OK, so this week's flashback was two days late. The first half of Friday was pretty full. Friday afternoon I got a phone call from a dear friend and that occupied my thoughts for the rest of the evening. So.....I know you've all been DYING to see this weeks flashback (especially since NO ONE gave me any blogger love on last weeks, lol) so here it is.

I was going through pictures looking, for the second week in a row, for photos taken from an Olympic weekend many years ago and came across this picture of me just before a New Year's Eve dance, also many years ago. My instant thought was TWILIGHT! LOL!! And the fact that my friend Melissa posted a comment on the movie date changing before I posted this flashback makes this all the more funny to me. That and the fact that it's 11:15 pm and I'm getting a bit slap happy. ;)

Just so you know, I did NOT edit or correct this photo in any way. If you click on the photos they will fill your screen. Please note how Ghostly white I look, my super white and slightly sharpened looking teeth and my red beady eyes! OK, so I'm missing the extreme beauty part of the whole New Born Vampire thing-but other than that, dead ringer for a Vampire! BA-DA-BUM Oh me. Here's another picture of me on the same night with some friends. I like how we all look a bit colorless-hee hee. In this picture left to right, Melissa, Me, Marci and Becky/Lynn. In the background you can see my friend Michael.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And then there was one...

It's true, I only have one little one left at home this year. Emily is thrilled to have mommy all to herself during the day. Even though she's not in "school" as the other kids like to remind her she is in Pre-School. Emily was lucky enough to get the same Pre-School teacher Sarah had last year! WA-HOO! I loved Sarah's teacher and I requested that Emily be in her class this year. Emily felt like she knew her teacher already and that help tremendously with the her separation anxiety. She still had a bit of a time, but she did VERY well.

I'll start with her Open House. It was a lot of fun because right when we got there she saw her teacher and aid from last year! She gave both of them big hugs. She and her friend Bella, who were in the same class last year but not this year, had been talking about how much they missed their old teachers. Then she saw her new teacher! After a quick orientation in the Chapel of the school, she attends a Church of Christ Pre-School, we headed to the classrooms to meet with the teachers.

At each of the chairs there was a little stuffed animal with a child's name on it and little bag of treats. All the kids got to color a paper while the parents listened to instructions from the teacher. Basically how much we pay, when to whom and all the other "stuff" we need to get and purchase and sign up for. LOL!

The next day was Emily's special Back to School dinner and blessing night. Emily chose her absolute favorite meal-NOODLES! It's homemade beef stroganoff but she just calls it NOODLES! She also picked fresh strawberries for the fruit (that's my girl!) and her most favorite veggie-corn. Only Emily would have to pick ALL the details out of her meal. The other kids just cared about the main dish. :)
For dessert she simply wanted Brownies. Have I taught this child right or what?! Chocolate, pasta and strawberries-I'd say she's good to go. But not yet!! Tee Hee! In the morning she asked me to make her an egg sandwich-with NO crunchies. Crunchies are bits of sea salt. We love ground sea salt but the chunks are too strong for her liking. Then we packed her book bag, got dressed and headed out the door!

I barely got a picture of her running to the van. She was so excited! At the school I got her to take a few more photos for me. After all it is her LAST year of Pre-School. She could be the last child of mine to go through Pre-School! It's a good thing she loves me "big so much" and is able to put up with my stubbornness at letting her grow up. :) Once we got into the classroom she became pretty clingy and bit timid. She only had two classmates from her class last year and they were both boys. All of Emily's girlfriends ended up in the same class. Talk about feeling like the one left out! There was a group of girls and a couple of boys off and on that were playing with a very cool castle Lego set and My Little Pony's. After a lot of coaxing she started to play with them. That didn't last very long though and soon she was wanting to show me all the little things her teacher had up on the walls. One was the Behavior chart that had all the kids names on apples.

Eventually I had to pull us both away from each other and give a final hug and kiss do a special little ritual that helps and then head out the door. I didn't get too far mind you. I talked with a few parents in the hallway for a bit and then after several minutes peaked back in the room to make sure she was ok. She was. I started to cry though feeling very alone for her and for myself. She was sitting at a table all by herself playing with a stack of Lego's. The kids she was playing with earlier were at another table and all the other kids were on the floor playing games. Just so you know she moved the Lego's over to a table by herself-the other kids did not leave her.So as I walked out the long hall and then down the longs stairs and through the long gym out to the never ending sidewalk I did my best to maintain my composure. I had gotten in a crowd of parents leaving and though we weren't really talking to each other much we were all just trying to make it out the doors acting relieved to have some alone time before we fell apart privately in our cars! I love seeing my children grow and excel, learn new things and come into their own. it's just too bitter sweet at times.

Emily was a happy girl when I picked her up! She acted very shy and was extremely quiet while I was signing her out and talking with her teacher about her day. Once we got in the van though it was a WHOLE different story! She talked all about her day in the most dramatic voice and body language she has. It was quite entertaining! I had a hard time not looking at her through the rear view mirror and focusing on driving it was so funny! So that's it. My baby is in her last year of Pre-School and I feel as though I'm just about to the top of the roller coaster ride. Ya know the point where you're thinking "Oh my GOSH" this is about to go SO fast down and then up hills, around sharp corners, around milder ones while you catch your breath just in time to take it away again with another drop with more twists and turns. Some of it you will laugh, some will make you scream. Some of the ride you'll feel like you're going to make it to the end alive and other parts you're sure this is it for you!" But no matter how scared or anxious you are in that moment you know that at the end of the ride you'll get off and say "That was SO FUN I can't wait to do it again!". There will be some around you that are thinking "Are you insane?! Did we just ride the same ride?-NO WAY". LOL

I figure that's what the next 15 plus years will feel like. Lots of emotions, lots of calm and chaos. Moments when we'll smile and laugh, some when we'll be scared and worried. No matter how many twists our ride has in store for us I will thank heaven everyday that we are on the ride together and try to find and focus on all the fun and happy parts. Can I just find a brake to make it not go by so fast?!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

3 Second graders, 1 Kindergartner and 1 Downhearted Momma

Sarah had her first day of Kindergarten yesterday. She was so excited and brave. I made her an egg sandwich for breakfast (at least one of my kids will let me cook for their first day-the trips did not want me too) and she ate it fast for fear of being late. I tried to tell her several times she was just fine on time, but I think the excitement was making her anxious. She did have a small teary moment during breakfast when she thought about not being home with me all day. It was all I could do to keep it together and not sit and cry with her! SO HARD!!

Last Monday Sarah got to attend school for Kindergarten pre-screening. It was all day long. I took her into to school and we took some pictures of things in her classroom that she just loved and wanted to show everybody. I have to say, she has a GREAT classroom and it's so perfect for her! Because I had taken her and picked her up on Monday she wanted the bus experience yesterday. That was not easy for me to give in on. She insisted that she was a big girl now and would be fine with her older brothers and sister. So after giving the trips instructions to have at least one of them sitting with her on the bus and then also in the cafeteria until they were dismissed to class AND making them all PROMISE to actually do those, I let her ride the bus. As a side note, Sarah loves that she and Kayleah can wear the same size and share clothes, so she chose to wear the same "first day" shirt that Kayleah wore last week :). hee hee
We walked down to the bus stop and listen to her chatter the whole time we waited about how great her day was going to be and wondering what she'd do and how she would do it and with who, etc! She is such a hoot! After taking pictures I watched and waved my little princess off to begin her Elementary experience. Then I fell a. part. Poor Emily walked hand in hand with me back to the house and asked in a curious and almost disgusted way "Are you crying momma?". I had to laugh at the way she asked. For Emily, crying wasn't the appropriate response to having one less kid at home during the day. No, for Emily it was more like P. AR. TAY! I assured her I was excited about the mommy and Emily time too but that I was also a little sad to see my babies grow up and will miss the time we had at home together while they're at school. She asked if I was going to cry when she went to Kindergarten and I said, yes. She looked pleased with this response and was then quickly ready to start mommy and Emily day!

Sarah's exit off the bus could very well be compared to a red carpet entrance/exit! Even the older kids on the bus that got off at the same stop were smiling and giggling at her carefully posed exit. She then stopped and posed for a picture of course. Since I was videoing the event I had to quickly switch my camera back to picture mode. She patiently waited for me do so. Such generosity for the little people-yep that's my Sarah Bear! Once we got in the house I heard all about her great first day. The only new friend's name she could remember was Mary. ;) She was excited to go back today-which is a good sign. I did much better today. I haven't had to call anyone talking in cry language which no one understands apparently. LOL The tears have been fewer for sure today, but my heart is still aching and wishing I could slow the clock just a little bit.

OK so typing all of this sent me into a bit of a cry session. A small one, promise. Now, I'm back tracking a bit here. We have a long tradition in the Johnson family that the night before our first day of school we have a back to school dinner. We get to pick our meal and dessert AND eat it all on China (or fancy dishes as my kids call them). We also had blessings for the school year. This tradition was one I have enjoyed continuing with my children. I waited for Sarah to have her first day so that I could get this all in one big ol long post! Here goes-

Kaleb, Christopher and Kayleah started 2nd grade on August 1, 2008. The night before they all picked Pizza as their special dinner and Aunt Janece made some very very yummy fruit crepe-like desserts that were delicious! Crappa (that's what the kids call my dad, his doing mind you) gave them blessings. They all loved the evening and were very excited for the next day.FINALLY the first day of 2nd grade was here! You have never seen such excited kids I tell you! This year they are in separate classes. So far I have not heard one word of complaint or comment in the opposite direction that they are glad to be separated. The only comment they have made so far was to note that Christopher's class is not on the same "color" schedule as Kaleb's and Kayleah's. This means that their classes follow the same recess and specials each day. Specials are Art, Library, Gym and Music. They have gym two times each week.

Christopher did not seem bothered by this really, just noted it to me as a fact. He is so quiet about his feelings at times and I've learned to just listen to what he has to say without asking too many questions if possible. When he starts to feel like he's being grilled on his feelings or stuck talking about them longer than he wants, he tends to stop sharing them for a while. :) Sometimes I get lucky and we'll have some really good conversations about what he thinks or how he feels about something. I love those moments, little views inside his heart. They are precious.

Kayleah was a bit down to see that her bestest friend from Kindergarten and 1st grade was not in her class this year. Her name is Kaylee Triplet. They (and we) get a kick out hers and Kayleah's first names being so close and they are both "triplets" ha ha. Some day I will have the guts to tell her that one of the reasons they are not in the same class is because I requested they not be. I love that she likes her so much, but she was starting to lose her sense of self a bit last year with their friendship. She couldn't decide if she liked an outfit or song or anything else until she knew how Kaylee felt about it. I'm all for friends opinions (I know you're all nodding your heads at the countless times I've asked "what do you think") but I want her to feel confident standing on her own and forming her own opinions. I don't want her to be so dependant on another persons opinions so young. Ahem, I'm sure she will be less than thrilled to know that I made sure they were separated this year...

Kaleb was also missing his best bud Alva. I had nothing to do with that one-but his first grade teacher did! LOL! She had a time with those two chatter boxes in class last year. Every few weeks she would change the seating arrangements so that the kids had an oportunity to sit close and learn new things from all their classmates. Because the change around was so often they sat together several times in the same grouping. Well it became pretty obivous after a few rotations that Kaleb and Alva couldn't be in the same grouping together-they just couldn't stop talking! It really made me laugh when she told me this at a parent teacher conference. Poor kid got that from his mom. ;)

When the kids got home they couldn't even wait to get off the bus to start telling me about their days. Since they all had different days it was so fun to hear about them each without someone else getting sad that they didn't get to share that particular tid bit! They all have friends in their classes from last year and even kindergarten. Getting them to hold still for an after 1st day picture was not easy. Kaleb kept trying to talk (big shock) during the I couldn't really get a good smiling picture with him-oh well! LOL

Finishing up Sarah's story...She chose her absolute favorite meal of all time, Chicken and Rice. Seriously! She loves this meal-but only if I make it. One time my mom made her version of Chicken and Rice for the kids and they all asked me to please make it from now on. LOL, we make it a little differently ;). I cook my chicken in a mixture of Italian dressing and Soy sauce for a little over half and hour then throw in some frozen mixed veggies and turn the heat on high and caramelize it all together-it's soooo good! For her dessert she and I made our own version of Coldstone ice cream. We took chocolate or vanilla ice cream and put homemade brownies, mini chocolate chips and a drizzle of chocolate syrup in a bowl and chopped it all together then served. It was very yummy! After dessert we had a special Family Home Evening where Crappa gave Sarah her blessing. I started to tear up when he asked her to tell him her full name, she answered "Sarah. Bear." When she was little when asked what her name was she would answer the same way.

last night was Emily's Pre-school open house and tonight will be her special dinner and tomorrow her first day of her last year of Pre-school! That's a mouth full to I will post her open house, dinner and first day tomorrow. If I can see through the tears. No promises.