Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Ethan...

Sometimes this kid makes me laugh and sometimes he makes me wanna pull my hair out. The other day a note got sent home from his teacher to all parents. During recess her whole class had been involved in a chant while two other kids were not getting along. She wanted us to talk with the children about bullying and that we do not encourage fighting or being rude to other kids. Stapled to this computer generated note was a hand written note that informed me, Mrs. Nelson, that Ethan had been the one to start the chant "fight, fight!" I read this note and didn't know what to say!?! I talked with Ethan about what him saying those things might say about his family and our home life. He didn't really get it. He didn't really see what was wrong, he didn't get into a fight, the kids were going to fight anyways... He went on and on. I explained that as a family we love each other and we never encourage each other to fight. He agreed, but I don't think he still got it, really. I told Ethan that I would discuss it with his father and we would determine his punishment after we talked. We decided to ground him from his bike and friends for a week, also an earlier bed time all week. He agreed it was a fair punishment. Although he would have loved his idea of no Wii for a week.... He hasn't played the Wii in a month... The next night was our ward Christmas party. We were waiting in line to see Santa and the kids were messing around with the other kids in line. Two brothers started pushing each other and what did my son do, with me right there? He started chanting "fight, fight!" I dragged that boy out so fast he didn't know what to do. We had a good little reminder talk about why he was grounded... That night as I was telling Chris about it, we both just stopped and laughed... What else can you do? The kids is a good kid, he is a kind kid, but he is also MY kid. I can't expect perfection when he came from ME? Can I? I laugh when I tell my friends what he did, I know he shouldn't have done it, but he did and we have talked with him about it, so now all I have left to do is laugh about it. He has never and will never see me laugh about it, but it is really kind of funny to me. The boy is just like his mother! He is a crack up, he is a lover and he is unpredictable.... I recently was notified that I passed my CRCM exam. It was exciting news so we went out to dinner that night to Applebees (it's close to the house and it was a school night!) Ethan decided he was going to have the kid's steak. When our food comes Ethan looks at his plate and goes, "what the heck do you call this?" I, thinking he might have forgotten what he ordered, told him it was the kids steak. He looks put out and says, "I guess I should have gotten the adult steak, this thing is so small!" I just started laughing, the boy is 7 and this 5 oz steak just wasn't big enough. He was about half way done and complaining that he was still hungry. Chris told him he still had half his steak left and Ethan looked at him and said, "Ya, I've only had two bites!" This boy cracks me up! He ended up eating Katelee's left over mac n cheese, so he was eventually fine! The kid is an eater, specially when he is going through a growth spurt, makes me grateful at times to only have one boy! Ethan got two "Cs" on his report card and the rest were B's. He has been working from an F in one of the subjects, so I'm fine with a C. Call me a bad parent, but we rejoiced when he got a D on his progress report and then rejoiced again when it got moved to a C. He is a smart kid, he just needs to get a little more focused... But once again, he is MY son and I can't expect him to stay too focused, I can't even do that and I'm getting pretty old and experienced! Ethan is not all that excited to have ANOTHER sister, but he isn't throwing a fit about it either. The day after we found out about the girl news, he said he had a dream he lived with Ammon, but that has been the only real negative thing he has said since. All I know is that Ethan will have three little sisters that will be grateful one day for a crazy older brother...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Unexpected (Very Long Post)

Many things in life are unexpected.

A car breaking down, a child getting ill, some challenges in life are unexpected. But nothing has been more unexpected in our lives than what happened the weekend of September 6th, 2013.

Friday both Katelee and Ethan had baseball games. Grandma and Grandpa Snickers didn’t show up, but we figured Grandma just wasn’t feeling up to it that night. We went to dinner after the games were over and then headed home. It was late for us, but it was a Friday. When we got home Chris got a text from his dad that his mother was in the hospital and wanted a blessing. Chris helped put Ashlee to bed and then headed out to the hospital to administer to his mother. It had been a long day and I went to bed. I watched a bit of TV but eventually fell asleep and didn’t wake back up until Chris got home a little after 1am. I asked how his mom was doing and he said she has sepsis, an infection they don’t know the origin of, and was having some problems breathing. See was on oxygen, but the infectious disease doctor was going to be in tomorrow to see her. At this point I felt like everything was normal, Karolyn had been to the hospital many times and was always ok, so we both fell asleep.

Ethan had a baseball game Saturday morning that we woke up early for. Chris looked at his phone and realized he had a text from his dad. Karolyn had been placed on a ventilator in the middle of the night and was not doing well. We decided he needed to head back out to the hospital to be with his dad and I took the kids to the baseball game. When he got to the hospital they were still waiting for a few doctors to visit and then they would have more information. After the game my dad and I stayed to do some field clean up. During this field clean up I got a text from Chris saying the doctors had just been in and it was not looking good at all. He didn’t want the kids to see Grandma this way, but he felt like they should probably come out and see her one last time. My heart stopped as I read this message, how could it be this bad, this quick? I grabbed my dad and we headed to my parent’s house to get the kids. Ethan and I got cleaned up, we ate lunch and then my parents took the kids to Matt’s gun shop (right around the corner from the hospital) and I headed to the hospital. I wanted to see how Karolyn looked and if it was best for the kids to really see her. When I got there Chris told me that she was semi-conscious and could nod her head. Once I heard that I felt like the kids should come. They needed to talk to her and let her here them, let her know they wanted her to fight. (As I type this it sounds a bit silly, of course she knew they wanted her to fight, but maybe just maybe hearing their voices would give her a drive to fight!) My parents brought the kids over and we took them in to see her. Katelee came in, looked around and the many IV’s and ventilator and then said, “I don’t want to be here!” She walked out into the hallway with my mother. Ashlee didn’t know what was going on, Chris held her up so she could see Grandma and we told Grandma that the kids were there. She opened her eyes the best she could and nodded. Ethan was a little hesitant to talk to Grandma, he didn’t know what to say to her. (What six year old would?) He touched her hand and Ashlee talked in her quiet voice, which she never uses. My dad told her she would have been proud of Ethan at his game today. She did nod at my dad and then we decided that was long enough for the kids. My parents took the kids home and I stayed to be there a little longer. Chris’ sister got there from SLC a little later and Chris and I headed over to his parent’s house to get a few things.

While at the house Chris made a few phone calls to family that wanted updates. My heart broke as I looked around and saw Karolyn’s glasses on the table, shoes by the door, purse on the bench and other things that indicated she would be right back. My heart again broke listening to my sweet husband, struggling to talk on the phone with family due to tears. He was loving and truthful when asked how she was doing and tried to keep a positive vibe for the other person on the line. After a bit we headed back to the hospital. Poor Jim was so tired and Lisa was rubbing her mother’s hands trying to get the blue to go away. Chris and I broke the news that we were pregnant to Karolyn and Jim and we asked her to be nice as she picked a spirit for us. I stayed for a while longer and then decided I should go be with the kids. Chris stayed a little longer after I left, but headed home around 7pm. He felt ok leaving since Lisa was there to be with them. My prayers that night were more like pleading and begging with God to allow a miracle to happen. Let my kids’ grandma pull through so they could enjoy her laughter and sweet spirit longer. I sobbed as I prayed ending with a prayer for comfort to accept his will, but not really meaning it…

The next morning Chris’ two brothers were flying in from Dallas. Chris had planned on picking them up and dropping them off at the hospital and then heading back for church meetings. That night Ethan had been up all night coughing and not feeling well. Chris got up early, dressed for church and took Ethan to the doctor. He then went and picked up his brothers and then dropped Ethan off back at home. The kids said hello to their Uncles and then they headed off to the hospital. Once Chris got there he decided against leaving and going to church, which we both felt was the right decision. I took the kids to church with the intent to stay for all of it and have my parents pick Ethan up after sacrament since he wasn’t feeling well. Of course those plans changed after realizing how emotional I was. I cried during the entire special musical and nearly sobbed when my friend came into the bathroom and hugged me and offered to do whatever she could to help out. I decided then that I needed to be with my husband and support him and so I had my parents take all of the kids and I headed back out to the hospital.

When I got there my niece was in town from Cedar City and Karolyn’s brother and niece were also there. The mood was light, just like Karolyn would have liked it and everyone talked and laughed at the stories being told. The ICU staff was so nice and kind and didn’t ever once complain that we had too many people in her room or were being too loud… Pretty soon it was just Karolyn’s kids, husband, granddaughter and daughter in law left. We stood and sat around, taking turns rubbing her arms and wiping away small tears that would fall from Karolyn’s eyes. I decided to leave around 5 or so and headed to my parent’s house to eat and get the kids. Chris met us all there a little later. We headed home and Chris helped get the kids to bed and then headed back to the hospital. Later as I knelt down to pray, I pleaded for comfort and the will to accept the plan our Father had in store for our family. I expressed my opinion of the unfair and injustice of my kids losing a grandparent as such a young age, the injustice at the world losing such a great lady and especially of my losing a great mother in law so young. I sobbed for minutes with no words being uttered, but I know my Heavenly Father heard every pleading and pain within my heart.

Around nine I got a call from Chris letting me know they had decided that once Karolyn’s sister got into town and spend as much time with her as she wanted, they were going to take her off of the ventilator. Chris asked that I come out and join the family for that. I immediately got off the phone and called my mother. Without hesitation she agreed to head over and watch the kids so I could be out there. Pretty soon my mother and father were at our door, my dad in his work uniform in case he had to head to work from our home. I broke down when they got there, my emotions completely overtaking me. I asked my dad for a father’s blessing and he granted that to me. I was overcome by the spirit and felt a sense of comfort I desperately needed to feel. My dad then drove me out to the hospital and visited with Chris’ family for a while. He then went in and said his good-byes to Karolyn, of course telling her to say hi to his dad and let him know he missed him. He left a while later after hanging out with the family more.

Around eleven everyone went in separately and spent as much time with Karolyn saying our own good-byes. What do you say to someone for the very last time? Chris went in and I followed him about 10 or so minutes later. I told her I wished she had been a horrible mother in law, so this would have been easier, but then I thanked her for not being a terrible mother in law. Thanked her for being the best grandma my kids could have, thanked her for loving me so much and doing so much for our family. I wiped away tears that fell from her eyes, and I know deep down she heard us. Around midnight we all gathered back in her room and had a family prayer. Her boys and husband then gave her a blessing. The nurses then came in and prepared Karolyn to be taken off of the ventilator which was now doing all of her breathing. Once that was done we all gathered around her bed and watched as she took her last breaths. About 8 minutes later she took her last breath and passed into the next life.

Karolyn’s body was overcome with an infection it just could not fight off. With her going through chemo her body just wasn’t in fighting shape. Her kidneys shut down, circulation worsened and soon other internal organs began to shut down as well.

Silent tears fell from each of our eyes and hugs were given freely. We stayed in her room for about another hour and then headed back to their house. Chris later commented that the hardest and saddest part for him was not watching his mother take her last breath, but leaving her body all alone in her hospital room after she passed. I would agree, that part was tough, but it was no longer Karolyn, just her body. Her spirit wasn’t there any more. We visited at the house for a bit longer and then headed back home so my parents could get back home.

The next few days are a blur of activity. I worked Tuesday, but then took the rest of the week off. Chris had the whole week off. The funeral was planned and many other things taken care of. During this time Ethan told me when we were alone that Sunday night while he was doing a breathing treatment with Grandma Jiggs, that Grandma Snickers had spoken to him. He said he heard her voice say that she loved him and was going to miss him very much. Ethan immediately after telling me this broke down. His cousin had a similar experience. I know Karolyn loved her grandkids more than anything and so I believe she did tell Ethan that. Lisa, Julie and I went and dressed Karolyn in her temple clothes on Thursday and then we all headed up to Spanish Fork on Friday. My Aunt Net was so kind in changing her plans for the weekend and allowing my family to stay with her. She spoiled us rotten, with all the food, treats and love we could handle.
Saturday morning we headed into Spanish Fork for the family viewing. We set up the room and when the body arrived, the boys brought her in, including Ethan. He was so honored to be a pallbearer for his grandmother. He was an emotional mess the entire viewing, the devastating realization that his Grandma Snickers was gone pure evidence in his tears, sobs and face. The girls were their normal self, Katelee followed her cousin Spencer around Ashlee went wherever there were treats or attention. Ethan placed a colored picture in with Grandma before the casket was closed and then sat on Grandpa Snicker’s lap for the family prayer and sobbed. He broke everyone’s hearts, especially this mother’s heart! The body was then moved to the cemetery for the graveside services.

Ethan was the cutest pallbearer, serving with pride and love. He stood with all of the pallbearers during the services, standing in front of his great Uncle Brent the whole time. He held it together, though at times you could tell he wanted to breakdown. Chris conducted the services, Brian did the Eulogy, Lisa did the kid’s talk. I then read a poem I wrote for the services, followed by Sarah who did the Grandkid’s talk and then Chris did an awesome job on his closing remarks. Cory then dedicated the grave. It was a beautiful service for a remarkable and beautiful woman. The kids placed flowers on the grave, Ashlee explored the cemetery and found the perfect headstones to sit on. Katelee followed her cousin Spencer around some more and Ethan eventually discovered the pile of dirt and started jumping off of it.

We eventually left and headed back to my aunt’s house. Aunt Net and Uncle Randy took the kids to have some fun while Chris and I went to the family luncheon. After the luncheon we headed back and took a nap while Aunt Net and Uncle Randy took the kids to have some more fun. (I told you we were spoiled!!!) Later that night we had a birthday party for Katelee at Aunt Lisa’s house. Aunt Lisa went out of her way to make is super special for Kate, getting her an amazing cake, decorations and matching plates and cups. My sweet Cousin Tiffany even came with her kids to celebrate so Katelee would have some kids at her party.

We came home the next day to face the new reality of our lives. We headed back to work and school and have tried to slowly grow accustom to the new “normal.” A few nights ago I laid with Ethan as he sobbed uncontrollable about how much he missed his grandma. He told me all of the things he use to do with his grandma, all of the things she use to let him do and how much he loved and missed her. My mother heart didn’t know what to do. I just cried and laid next to him, telling him everything was going to be ok. He would keep saying, “The important thing to remember is that Grandma is with her parents now.” Or, “The important thing to remember is that Grandma is with Jesus and doesn’t feel pain any more.” The poor boy, he knows everything will work out, he just is human and doesn’t know how to apply it completely to our simple minds. He still has moments where he will cry and say he misses her and when we go over to Grandpa’s house he reminds me that we should still say Grandma and Grandpa’s house, because it was her house too! He has such a strong spirit and knowledge; I often stand in awe of the things he comes up with. The girls have moved on, seemingly un-phased by it all. I think Katelee has put up her guard and Ashlee is just too young to comprehend it all.

My heart is saddened that this baby within me will not get to do the same things with Grandma Snickers as the other kids did, but my heart is also gladdened knowing that this baby will get to do things with Grandma Snickers that the other kids didn’t get to do. I have learned more from this that you should always leave the ones you care about with them knowing how much you love them. You never know when you won’t have that chance again. The last time we saw Karolyn was at Katelee and Ethan’s baseball game that Tuesday. She came to as many games as she could. I always made the kids give hugs and thank them for coming and I’m so grateful I did that. I also gave hugs that night and am thankful for that. “If you love em tell them!”

Through this pain I have been reminded time and time again how much we are loved. How great my family and friends are. How willing and quick they are to serve us. As I prayed for comfort, our family and friends reached out to provide that. As we watched Karolyn slip from this life to the next, we were reminded how special and fragile life is. We received cards of sympathy, flowers, texts, hugs and so much more from those that love us. Each expression of love towards us did not go unnoticed and was appreciated beyond our ability to express. This has been a tough time for our family, but those around us have made it much easier to bear.

We talk of Grandma Snickers often, we miss her often and tears are still shed in remembrance of her often.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

This Memorial Day we kept with the our tradition of going to the graveyard and heart-attacking the graves.  I love involving the kids in this, taking them around to the graves and decorating them.  We had the kids make their own hearts the night before and then we met up with Grandma and Grandpa Blackburn and the Trevino Family.  First we went to Grandma and Grandpa Stewart's Grave.  We go here a few times a year, enough that the kids know exactly where they are going! 
 Four of the great Hazel and Peter's great-grandkids!
 Then we headed down to Uncle Cecil and Aunt Toddies graves.  These were my mom's aunt and uncle.  I got to meet them both when I was young.  We would go over to their house and sit there while my parents chit chatted with them.  One time Aunt Toddie told us a story about when the Indians came and raided her house as a child.  We would also go into their backyard and swing on their tire swing, which was awesome!  I loved them and will always remember them! 
 Then we stopped by a family friend's grave that is also near grandma and grandpa's grave. 
 After that we went to the other side of the cemetery to see Russ and Arlene Howard.  This is my Uncle's parents.  I never got to meet Russ, but I can still remember Arlene.  She was a very sweet lady, always laughed at my dad's jokes and always smiled! 
This year we also went to the Air Force memorial area and placed some hearts for Cousin Brian.  They were having a military memorial and we came right at the end, so we all got some refreshments too!  Awesome!

We then went to another cemetery to see a few more graves.  We all had fun, even the kids.  Our kids love going around cemeteries and I think that is awesome!  We will keep this tradition as long as we can!     


Katelee and I went to a skirt party the other night and we got some matching skirts.  She was so excited to wear them to church together so we could be twins.  I was excited that she would want to match me so we even did our hair similar!  Her hair is way more curly, but we parted on the same side and left it down.  We got a lot of compliments and I loved how excited Katelee was about matching her mother!  Made me so happy!  (The picture was taken by Ethan, who cannot hold still to save his life, thus it is quite blurry, but you get the point...)

First Day of School 2013-2014 School Year

Today was the first day of school for both Ethan and Katelee.  I cannot believe that Ethan will be at school ALL day long.  I have been a little bit emotional the last few weeks just thinking that my little boy will be eating lunch at school and finding his way to his teacher's line and classroom without me.  I know that boy is more than capable of it, but I still have been worried for him.  And while I can't believe Ethan is old enough for 1st grade, I really can't believe that Katelee is old enough for Kindergarten.  But she is, she is more than ready.  I really think going to a preschool at the Elementary school was really good for her.  She has not been nervous at all.  She has been ready and that has made it easier on this torn mother!

Ethan goes to school at 7:40am, but Kate has to wait until 11:40 for her PM Kindergarten class to start.  Of course they were both so excited that they were up and at em early today.  Kate went with me to drop Ethan off.  Luckily for this mother they allowed parents back with their kids to show them where to line up and stuff like that....  
 Notice how nervous this kid looks???  Ya, me neither!  He was just ready for school!

 You can always tell when Kate is excited, she holds her hands in front of her body and she talks A LOT!  usually she is pretty quite, but yesterday and today she has been talking nonstop.  She chats about anything and EVERYTHING!  I love seeing how excited she was...
 Here is Ethan in his line.  I tried to get a picture of his teacher in the background but she is so tiny and that ladies fro is so big it didn't really work!  He was ready, but I could tell he was a little unsure about it.  He never verbally expressed that to me, but when we walked through the gates he grabbed my hand and gave me a hug and kiss before we left.  I don't like being one of those parents that has to be with them until the very last second.  I feel like they should have some independence.  He knew Kate and I were just a little bit away, but we were far enough away that he was doing it by himself!  
 See, he didn't need me there, there were more parents than kids today....  

Kate and I went home and waited and waited until it was her turn to go.  We went grocery shopping, played monopoly, ate lunch and then Kate played in her room for a while and then it was finally time for her to go!!!  When we got out of the van, Kate leaned over and told me she was feeling a little nervous.  I told her that was totally fine and then explained that Kindergarten was going to be a lot like preschool, she would do centers, calendar and a lot of the same stuff she has already done.  Then we ran into her friend Lana and the nervousness just dissipated. 
 The little posers! 
 Look how little she looks.  And of course, Ashlee had to get in a picture!  Kate and I had a small talk again before she started walking into school, she told me she wasn't nervous any more and she was ready to go.  That made me happy so I said have fun and I'll see you soon! 
 And with that, she followed Lana and Kira into the gate.  I once again felt like she should have some independence and also didn't want to fight with all the family members and Ashlee.  It wasn't a big deal, Kate never looked back!! 
 Kira got this picture for me.  Notice her hands in front of her, so excited!  She was still smiling even when walking through the classroom door....  Yay!!!! 
And here is a picture of Ashlee.  She wanted to know where Sissy was when we got in the van, it was so cute!  

I wasn't nearly as emotional with Kate going into kindergarten as I was with Ethan, but I think it's just that she has already done preschool there, so it doesn't seem so foreign this time.  I did get a little chocked up with Ethan again this year, but I think it's just more of my Mommy mind worrying that he wont be able to find me after school....  But he will, the kid has never met a stranger...  And maybe it has a little to do with him being my first kid, in my mind he is still my little boy....  As I type this I'm missing my little Katelee too, the next time I see her she will officially be done with her first day of kindergarten...  So so so can't believe I have two kids in school.  Where did the time go?   

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Staying at Home..... One Day....

The other night the kids asked me to read from their journal that I keep for them instead of a regular bedtime book.  We do this every once in a while, they would love to do it every night if I would let them.  One of their favorite entries is this one, July 27, 2010 "today Ethan farted on his hand and said to me, "hey mom, I farted on my hand want to smell it?" I declined and then he said "wanna smell it now?"  It was hilarious! That kid really is a character."

As you can see the kids have their mothers sense of humor.... Well I just turn the pages and read from them and I read this one to them...

April 2, 2011
Just a quick note to you kids!  On Monday (1day away) I have to return to work.  My maternity leave is over (6 weeks) and so I must go back to work.  I want you kids to know that I want nothing more than to stay at home with you each and every day.  I want nothing more than to be a stay at home mom.  I cherish every crazy minute with you guys.  The last six weeks have flown by.  It has been great to grow closer to each of you - I know my divine role is to be a mother to you kids and I do feel like me going to work is not fulfilling that role - but know this my children I love each of you beyond belief and one day when I'm able I will be a stay at home mom and spend every day, every minute with you!  I work to support this family while daddy is in school....  When he is done with school I will be done with work and ALL yours!  Please know my desire for being a good mother and to stay home with you.  And please know of my love for each of you.  Good night my loves, I love you to pieces.  Mommy!

As I read this entry to them I couldn't help but get chocked up.  After I finished I asked the kids if they knew how much they meant to me.  Ethan said yes and then I looked at Katelee and she had this perplexed look on her face.  I asked if she was ok and she said, "that almost made me cry!"  I was slightly stunned, I knew I had felt the spirit as I read to then kids but I didn't realize that I wasn't the only one.  I asked her how it made her feel and she said happy and then I talked with the kids about feeling the spirit and how it makes us feel.  As I reflected on this exchange later that night I couldn't help but smile and feel good about our journal reading that night.

I look forward to staying at home with my kids and being able to provide them with all my time and attention.  So many nights I come home stressed from work or preoccupied by things going on at work or just plain tired and I don't feel like I give enough to my kids.  I know staying at home will be tough and I will struggle at times but I look forward to it so much!  I hope when I am having a rough day I will be able to read this post and remember those feelings that I have felt so strongly for a while now and be grateful for the opportunity of being at home.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ashlee, My Ashlee

Our Ashlee is growing up so fast I don't know where the time has gone.  This girl is a crack up and full of sass.  She knows what she wants and she wants what she wants.  She is a funny girl and loves to laugh!  I wanted to put some pictures of the different faces of this girl.  We just love her so much and cannot imagine what our family would be like without her!
 Cute one day before church.  Love that her little curls are starting to show...
 The other day we took Ashlee to Build a Bear to use a gift card she got for Christmas.  She LOVED it, and she loved her new Dog.  This girl loves to cuddle, our only kid that has been one.  She loves stuffed animals and even sleeps with them. 
 Throwing a little tantrum before church right after her cute picture...
On our way to Grandma's house one day.  It was a bit cold and we were in the car that takes a while to heat up.  She was loving the gloves and the blanket, but they were both off after about 10 minutes.
 Cutie Pie after a bath.  Love her crazy hair.  It may be short and taking forever to grow, but it is still cute!!!  And look at that smile! 
 This is Ashlee's latest face when you ask her to smile for a picture.  Apparently she thinks she is smiling and looking super cute too!  The girl is crazy!
 Ashlee is a girlie girl.  She loves all things girlie and she loves all things boyish too.  She got this new purse from her Aunt Lisa and she is loving it! 
 Ashlee before church today.  At least her smile is a little closer to looking like one.  She is just a plain cutie pie, to me at least!  But I'm sure I'm quite bias.
Just wanted to add this picture to show all of her curls.  She is following in her sisters footsteps for sure!  I love it because it helps me with doing their hair.  I just have to throw some product in it and BAM it looks pretty nice.  Oh how we love this girl!  How she gives us a run for our money and we are so grateful for it!

Grandpa's Boy

The other day we went out shooting with my dad.  It was Grandpa, Ethan, Katelee, me and Chris.  We had a good time being out in nature and enjoying each others company.  Afterwards we headed out to my sisters house for a family gathering and as you can see Ethan and Grandpa were quite tired.  It makes me laugh at how similar these two are.  Ethan wants to be just like his Grandpa and I'm just fine with that. 

Elementary School

Having kids in school I always imagined was going to keep our little family busy, but I think I may have underestimated it by quite a bit!  It seems like every week there is some different activity, fundraiser or parent meeting that we need to attend or participate in.  It has been nice having Ethan and Katelee in the same school, so at least it's all in the same place.  We have gotten to attend many fun family nights at the school such as the Thanksgiving program put on by the Kindergarten classes along with a Thanksgiving Dinner (at 7:45am, my kind of breakfast), The school Carnival, Holiday Family Craft night, awards ceremonies, many PEAK meetings (once a month meetings to go over what the kids will be learning that month so we can help them at home), PIE nights (PTA at night), Book Fair, Take Your Parent to School Day and also during reading week I was able to read some books to Ethan's class.  Along with all of these I work in the class at least once a month just so I can help out and so my kids can see that I value education.  On top of all of these different activities we of course have homework, reading and spelling words to work on. 

It has been quite fulfilling having Ethan and Katelee in school as a mother.  I feel like I have some way of actually gauging now the job that I am doing with my kids.  Of course I have quite a lot of work to do, but it is nice to see my kids progressing well in their education endeavors.  Katelee enjoys going to school and is doing a very good job in her class.  She plays well with all of the kids and has really come out of her shell.  It is great to see her run around with all of the kids at the afternoon recess.  She talks about school and her classmates and loves her teachers.  Ethan is your typical boy, he does not enjoy school.  He HATES homework.  He complains about doing anything related to school, especially sight words and writing.  But he does them and he is doing very well.  He has been getting spelling words for about a month or longer and so far he has gotten 7/7 on all of them.  It's a struggle, but I hold hope that something will catch his enjoyment and it wont be such a struggle.  A mom can dream right?  

Here are some pictures of some of the school things we have done so far this school year....        

 Thanksgiving Presentation...  My cute little Indians....
Holiday Tree decorations for the whole school....
 School Awards Ceremony.  Ethan received the Certificate of Merit for Attendance, Recognizes All Letters in the Alphabet, Counts from 0-100 and Academic Achievement.  Proud parent moment when he got all of those awards.  (Sad moment seeing that so many of Ethan's classmates didn't get many awards...)
 Ethan's project for the 100th day of school....  In true Vegas style!
 This was Katelee's project for the 100th day of school...  Don't know why Kate's not holding it...
Take your parent to school day.  This was a fun day at school.  It was a nice time but a bit sad to see that only two other parents came to school.  

It has been nice to work in Ethan's class, to get to know his classmates and his teacher.  At the beginning of the year Ethan had Mrs. Watkins, however she has since taken a leave of absence and he now has a new teacher Mrs. Regina.  Mrs. Regina is a great teacher who really tries to help the kids learn and progress.  From working in the class the kids know who I am and don't hesitate to ask me to look at their work and help them out.  Ethan enjoys having me there also and is so sweet to me.  The other day I came in at the beginning of school to read to the class.  When he called me at work after school he said, "I missed you when you left today."  Sweetest thing he ever did say!  

Kate's class isn't so big on having parents come in to help.  In the special class that she has they usually present more of a distraction than a help.  But Chris was able to go with her to Take your Parent to school day and she LOVED it!  She has asked why I don't go to her class often and I just have to explain that we aren't really able to right now.  But I cannot wait to see her in her class setting as well!  

Although school keeps us busy I am so excited to start this new chapter with my kids!  I hope to instill in them the love of learning and progressing!