I do a lot of housework, but even though I have very sensitive, dry skin, I usually don't wear gloves when scrubbing and cleaning. In fact, I wear them so infrequently that my girls don't even seem to know the right way to wear them. Either that, or they both have monkey feet.
Snow should not be allowed to fall in September. That is all I have to say about that.
After I took this picture Ahsha said "Does everybody know it is Christmas now?" Oh poor girl. Snow should wait until Christmas! I took this picture about 10 minutes ago. The snow is sticking to the grass now!
Kyah had kind of a rough time in the first 3 weeks of 4th grade. She felt like her teacher was too strict, and that the majority of the class was unruly. Since her teacher's form of discipline involved looking at how the class was doing as a whole and not individually, Kyah came home daily feeling frustrated that she was being punished for the others' bad behavior.
Since going back on track again things have been better-- maybe the kids have finally gotten their summertime crazies out, or maybe the teacher feels more in control, but whatever the cause, Kyah is happier. This week was especially nice because her teacher chose her to get the Principal's Pride award (each teacher chooses one child from his/her class each month). It was validating for Kyah to see that her teacher did notice her efforts to work hard and obey.
All the honorees together
There was a special breakfast with the principal on Tuesday for those chosen, and then an assembly to recognize them on Wednesday. Kyah's teacher is the lady in the blue sweater.
The comments from her teacher on her certificate said "Kyah is an example of being proactive by taking charge of herself and acting responsibly each day."
I was at the grocery store on Tuesday with just Asher-- all the other kids being in school. It was the first time we'd been grocery shopping alone together, and I was really enjoying it. Asher was in a good mood, so I was too. We were nearing the end of our trip when we rounded a corner to the last aisle and heard yelling and screaming. You know the type; you can hear it in nearly any grocery store. Mom is arguing with her 8 year-old about why he can't have a specific product, and 3 year-old is sitting in the cart crying at the top of his lungs, no doubt because Mom put him in the cart for running away or some other naughtiness. As I passed this family I tried to do so quickly and quietly, not wanting to add more mayhem to what they already needed to work through. As I looked down at the opposite end of the aisle I saw a couple in about their mid-60's. The wife was giving the child in the cart a nasty look (which his mom didn't see) and mouthing for him to be quiet. Her behavior seemed a little strange to me, but I just kept on shopping. When I reached the couple the lady put on the sweetest face and said kindly "Thank you so much for having a well behaved child."
I know this was meant as a compliment, and that she was probably saying it because she was just grateful there was only one screaming toddler instead of two, but her comment (combined with her nasty face I saw previously) made me feel uncomfortable. I really felt I needed to defend the mom and her boys. I am not usually quick on my toes and don't come up with good replies in situations such as this, but I felt compelled to contradict her. "You just caught us on a good day. This one has his horrible moments too." I assured her. "Oh, I doubt that." She said, smiling at Asher "He's so precious."
As I continued on I came to the conclusion that this lady must not have ever been blessed to raise children, because if she had, she would know that every child screams and throws tantrums from time to time. Sometimes mom has kept them out shopping too long. Sometimes the kid is hungry or tired. Sometimes big brother has been throwing things at them for the last 1/2 hr. Whatever. It happens. In the past, when my kids have acted up in public (especially here in Utah where there are a lot of kids), I have always felt inside me that, while it may bother the people around me, at least they understand it is a normal part of life and won't judge me too harshly. This experience has put a little dent in that assumption. I fear that all I can do about it is more firmly resolve to not judge others for things I merely see and know nothing about. Love, guys. Its all about love.
I have fond memories of reading Shel Silverstein's book as a child. I loved reading the funny poems and seeing the goofy pencil drawings. But, being young and not such a deep thinker, I didn't really understand the title of the book. I remember a great sense of puzzlement as to why someone would build a place such as what the picture portrayed, and who in their right mind would go there. If you haven't read the title poem in a while, take a gander; its a good one.
Well, now that I have grown-up a bit more, I understand the poem better and realize that there really isn't a sidewalk like you see in the picture. Well, at least there wasn't, until I came home from the store this morning and pulled into my driveway. And there it was. The place where the sidewalk ends.
Okay, I admit it isn't quite as impressive a drop-off as in the drawing, but 15 ft. ain't too shabby.
Asher has thoroughly enjoyed watching the construction through our windows-- back of the house, front of the house, upstairs and main, they all give you some sort of glimpse of the action (even the kitchen window lets us see construction these days, but that is for our neighbor's new driveway, not the new street going in).
Yesterday one of the workers came over to inform us that they would have to shut off our water for several (read: 9) hours today while they dug through the existing pipes in the street. Ahsha was a bit worried that we would die of thirst, but I reminded her that we have bottled water to drink and that she would be just fine for one day with limited water. I must say, it is kind of nice to not have running water because then I don't have to feel bad for not scrubbing the showers or washing the dishes or cleaning the microwave like I am supposed to be doing at the moment. (Although, I actually did fill the sink up with soapy water this morning before the water cut off so that I could still do dishes later. Drat. Why do I have to be so much like my mother?) We are doing fine-- I just hope that they don't run into any problems that would keep them from getting it up and running today. The wind is pretty nasty at the moment and is blowing up quite a bit of dust too.
And, about that sidewalk, it only ends on the north side of the street. Since this street is really the only way for children in this neighborhood to walk/bike to the elementary school, the construction crews assured me that they would put the road and north sidewalk back together again before they ripped up the sidewalk on the south side of the street. Also, they have been very careful to watch out for children walking to and from school. I very much appreciate their thoughtfulness (though I think most parents are choosing to drive their kids the long way around for now). Hopefully by the end of the week they'll have moved on further down the road and it won't be an issue again for a while.
Oh dear. I much preferred last week's Saturday activities to this week's. And, since I've already shared the details with Jared and written a version of the happenings in Isaac's journal (and am therefore a little sick of recounting it), you get the Reader's Digest version here.
Jared went to a LAN party on Saturday and Kyah went with him. Isaac had complained of stomach aches the night before and off and on through the day, but still ran out to play with his friends all day, so I didn't think much of it. Then, at dinner time, he didn't want to eat. This is not normal. During clean-up time I heard him saying "Ow. Ow" when he thought I wasn't around, cringing and having the occasional tear drop from his eye. So, I laid him down and felt around his abdomen, trying to ascertain where the pain was. It hurt most on the lower right side-- appendix territory. So, although loss of appetite was the only symptom of appendicitis he had besides the pain (no fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), I called Jared home at about 8:30pm and took Isaac to urgent care, just to be sure. At urgent care I started thinking that maybe the boy was just constipated. Dr. ordered an x-ray that ruled out constipation. Dr. didn't feel good about waiting it out though, and advised me to drive up to Primary Children's ER for an ultrasound and labs. It was 11pm at this point. Primary Children's is 45 min away, and I was pretty sure that our local ER could do an ultrasound, so we stayed local instead of making the drive.
At the ER, after relaying his history and symptoms to 6 different people, waiting off and on (mostly on) for 4 1/2 hours, and putting Isaac through 2 heplocks (they hurt his arm so badly-- more than his belly sometimes!), a CBC, an ultrasound (which pushed on his painful belly), and a pretty brutal CT scan, we were told it wasn't appendicitis. Hurrah. It was 3:30am when we left the ER and we were soooo tired. But, Dr. visits mean shakes in our family, so we stopped by McDonalds (because Isaac was starting to get an appetite and was finally allowed to eat again), only to find their ice cream machine wasn't working. See? Told you it was not a great night. We ended up going to Smiths where we found a bag of candy corn that, fortunately, more than made up for the missed shake.
I am so glad that Isaac woke up after a good 9 hours of sleep with no pain, because I was not looking forward to more procedures to figure out what else it might be. And, I am grateful for the good people who supported Isaac through this all-- Jared's LAN party buddy who watched Kyah for 24 hours, Jared who came home to be with the other kids, and especially the nurse, Jeff, and CT tech, Gavin, at the hospital who did their very best to comfort Isaac and keep him informed, optimistic, happy, and encouraged. And, I'm grateful for Isaac who, during the ordeal couldn't really find a silver lining, but as soon as we were on the way home said "Thanks Mom. Thanks for taking care of me." and "You know Mom, if you ever get hurt I want to take care of you." I love that boy.
No pictures of the ordeal, but here is a pic of the boy with his new cars that he got at the ER. He got the first one (kind of a puzzle that you can construct, but with real wheels and a motor of sorts) when the nurse felt bad after giving Isaac the heploc. Jeff told him it wouldn't hurt, but since it did, he got the car as a peace offering. The green Hot Wheel he got after the CT scan. Like I said, it was rough, so they felt he deserved another one.
Since the kids were all heading back to school this week, we decided it would be fun to have a little vacation last Saturday. We knew we had neither the time nor the money to go far, so I began scouring the internet for fun things to do close by. I found a wonderful website created by a family who is dedicated to visiting everything there is to see here in Utah (and quite a few other states, but because they live in Utah there are more reviews of things here) and providing information and a synopsis of their experience for others. Encouraged by their good report of the Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden, I decided to make that our first stop.
Now, since our family has been to the Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum a number of times, I was not expecting them to be wow-ed by the museum portion of the Dinosaur Park. I must say, though it was small, I was pleasantly surprised. There was a gem and geode room that the girls especially liked, and there was a good mixture of skeletons, information, and hands on activities sprinkled throughout the dinosaur section. We all enjoyed the museum.
A fun (or creepy, depending on who you ask) surprise was this T-rex. He moved his eyes, jaw, neck, and arms!
A clock made of bullets and grenades in the gem room. Okay...
Isaac really liked it anyway.
How many kids can a Triceratops hold on its head? Well, it appears about 4.
What was really different about this place though were the life-sized statues of the dinosaurs spread along trails on the grounds of the park. Those, combined with the simulated dinosaur noises coming from speakers at various spots succeeded in "creeping" Ahsha out, but the rest of us thought they were just so fun. Tyrannosaurus turned out to be much smaller than I thought he would be, but still definitely large enough to scare me if he had been real!
"Eww! He's all bloody like he just took a chunk out of that other one!"
Most of the trails were paved, but some such as this, were dirt and added an extra sense of mystery.
Run kids! Faster! He's after you!
After walking the trails we had a good time eating the picnic lunch we'd packed and playing on their dinosaur-themed playground.
After that we climbed in the car again for another 1/2 hour drive to Brigham City to visit their Peach Days celebration. When I had mentioned our trip plans to my Dad a little while back he suggested that we also ought to stop off at Lorenzo Snow's grave (my Dad has a love for cemetaries) in Brigham City, as he is one of the few presidents of the church not buried in Salt Lake City. I liked that idea, so with my copy of Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow book in hand, we found his grave first. I shared a little of his life with the family and then mentioned a most amazing story that I don't remember ever hearing before (starting on pg. 25) in church lessons (though this is not surprising because I haven't been able to go to Relief Society for about 5 years).
Reading the story
Since there was a funeral service going on right behind us and we were trying to have a special moment as a family as well, we let Asher do his own thing so no one would be interrupted by screams and wails. We'll teach him respect for the dead in a year or two. :)
As good as an amusement park ride in his book.
Then it was off to Peach Days. I think that the primary memory of Peach Days for my kids will be walking. Walking from our parking spot to the attractions, walking to a grocery store to get drinks and cash, walking back to attractions, walking around trying to find the ticket booth, or the main stage, or the city sign for a picture.... but, they were pretty good sports. The treats were good (peach taffy, dutch oven peach cobbler, peach-topped funnel cakes, and Brigham's Brew- yum!), and Ahsha and Asher enjoyed their carousel ride. Isaac and Kyah weren't quite as in love with their choice of carnival ride, the Gee Whiz (basically and line of seats that went up and down around like hands of a clock, except in a jerky oval pattern). I was able to catch half of the belly dancing show that I had wanted to see, and the girls each got a piece of hemp jewelry from a local vendor. I kept looking for a farmer selling his peaches, but there were none to be found. When I asked I was told that they only sold the peaches on the highways out of town. So, we headed out in search of some, traveling along more streets than we planned to (because the streets our GPS told us to take were blocked off for the festivities), and even then never managed to see a farm stand. Peach days with no Brigham City peaches? Blast.
Peach cobbler and ice cream. Lots o' cake-- needs more peaches!
Brigham's Brew rootbeer. Don't pass it up if you run across it-- it is good stuff!
I didn't know anything about the bird refuge until we stood under this sign. Perhaps that'll be a trip for another day. What say you, Mom and CarrieAnn?
We left later than we had planned to and were bummed that we'd be missing a bit of the BYU vs. Texas football game, but when Jared turned on the radio we found the game had been delayed because of severe rain in Utah County. About 15 minutes into our drive south we hit the rain too and had it all the way home. It was a bit intense at times, but we made it home safe and were able to settle in a little before the game actually started, 2 hours late. BYU had a very successful game against a team that had been projected to give them a solid whooping, so it was a nice ending to a great day.
Although neither Kyah nor Isaac went to preschool (I did Joy School with them), we decided to put Ahsha in preschool this year. Having a fall birthday, combined with her shyness in social situations and her tendency to disregard authority in favor of doing what she wants to do led me to think that she would benefit from a year of preschool before heading off to kindergarten.
We signed her up way back in February, so it has been a long time coming, and it has felt long. Ahsha's feelings about preschool changed with the day. Sometimes she would tell me that she couldn't wait, other days she would say she was scared of going, and still other days she would just flat out insist that she was not going to preschool. After 2 tours of the school, a one-on-one meeting with her teacher, and an orientation meeting with her class, today was finally the day.
Ahsha was very cooperative with getting ready in the morning-- even agreeing to change the outfit that we had taken 10 minutes to decide on the night before when we found out she was supposed to wear her favorite colors today. The only hiccup came when we were dropping her off at school. I was going to park and take a picture of her in front of her school and with her teacher, but she did not want that. Sometimes Ahsha's like that-- she gets shy if she thinks we are making too big of a deal of something or if we give her too much attention, especially if other people are around. So, I retreated to the car and as I drove away I saw her walking right in and getting some hand sanitizer like she had done it a hundred times already.
I managed to snap a picture on my phone without her noticing. She's getting a welcome hug from her teacher, Miss Lori. Kyah is holding the door. I think she was every bit as excited about Ahsha starting preschool as Ahsha was!
When I picked her up she was all smiles. She is especially excited that she gets to be the Special Leader tomorrow and bring the snack. Ahsha told me that she was very good in class and that she even moved chairs when another girl wanted to sit in Ahsha's seat so as to be next to her friend. I was also proud of Ahsha for keeping her shoes on the whole time! That is something that rarely happens in her church class... :).
Over the last 10 months I've started thinking a lot more about the food my family consumes. Where we get it from, how it is produced, how that affects my community and the world, and what nutrition I am getting from it are all topics I've mulled over. I find myself so interested in vitamins and vegetables, and raw and natural products. Changes really haven't been much more than baby steps, but I have made decisions to buy more products from our local farm, choose raw products when available (milk, nuts, honey), choose water more often (and more of it!), and try to plan meals around vegetables instead of just throwing some in last minute as a side. It makes me feel good to do these things. But, then, sometimes I look at the 4 tubs of ice cream in my freezer and the cookie jar full of cookies and get a bit frustrated as I think that for all my interest, we really aren't changing that much. However, I had two experiences this last week that surprised me:
1) This past week one day for my kids' lunch I tried something new and cut up raw white mushrooms into slices and topped them with roasted garlic hummus. Isaac had his downed before Ahsha even made it to the table. When she asked what they tasted like Isaac said "Awesome!" The 3 older ones all ate them and approved. Huh.
2) We were at Sprouts Friday, and as we were walking around the produce section Kyah spotted some baby brussels sprouts. "Oh mom! Can we buy these?!" she excitedly asked. Now, as a child, brussels sprouts were the only vegetable that actually made me gag, and here is my child practically jumping up and down with excitement over eating them.
Maybe baby steps will get us there after all. :)
And then there are the nights that we eat pizza and cantaloupe (from our local farm!) and put our cups and forks on our heads. What can I say.
Kyah is getting to the age that she really feels the difference between herself and Ahsha. Ahsha still loves imaginative play (My Little Ponies, Littlest Pet Shops) and dress up/pretend. Although they occasionally play those things together (as well as playing with Kyah's new Calico Critters), Kyah is more interested in reading, drawing, listening to her iPod and riding her bike around with her friends these days. Ahsha gets on Kyah's nerves more and more often-- or maybe Kyah just has less patience than she used to. Either way, it isn't quite like it used to be. So, when I saw Kyah out with Ahsha on their skates, first fixing her boot clips and then holding her hand to skate, I just had to snap some pics. They do love each other, and sometimes they are both patient and calm enough to realize just how much they enjoy each others company.
Last week Kyah came over to me and Jared and asked if she could make cookies all by herself. She had found a recipe in our Mrs. Fields cookie cookbook that was called "Kids bake 'em cookies", so of course she needed to make these by herself, right? Knowing that she has made cookies with her Dad many times, we said sure and reminded her to ask us if she needed help. Donning her apron, she set to work. Jared went in to help her after she had most of the ingredients in the bowl, but I think that was more because he likes making cookies than because she needed help. She did a great job!
Then, Friday, I was weeding the yard (a never-ending task) and she once again asked me if she could make them-- this time with friends Sophie and Elsie. I told her I'd like to help her with the oven, but the girls could do the rest. Kyah didn't really need my help with the oven. She got everything from setting it to wearing hot pads to bending at the waist to avoid hitting the hot door when she slid the trays in without any issue. And even better, they tasted good too! She is sure growing up.
:) I think that "I can't believe my firstborn is doing this already" is going to be a common theme on this blog in the months and years to come.