Sunday, November 1, 2015

"Play to me, son! Play to me!"

Name that movie?

Band is in full swing for Lucas these days.  Parades, football games, pumpkin regattas.  You name it, they can play at it.  He is in two bands this year so every other day he plays for at least 3 hours just in classes.  I decided to record some of his practice.

video

They played at our community pumpkin carnival where people hollow out gigantic pumpkins and race them, in costume, around the Tualatin lake.  Hilarious.  They had a ton of games, pumpkin decorating, food carts, vendors, crafts, etc.  Jonah was in heaven!

video

The video isn't very good.  I'm kneeling on the ground with a dancing Jonah constantly bumping up against me. 
video

Footballs are over but basketball season will be here plus the musical.  Between his euphonium and the drums, he's playing all the time. Love it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I am aghast.


We had the elders over for dinner for the first time since they've been moved into our ward and we got to talking about their families. Somehow it was mentioned both their mothers had just turned 40, like a month or two ago. That means I COULD BE THEIR MOTHER!!  That means I am OLDER THAN THE ELDER'S MOTHERS!! 

Granted, both of them are the oldest child and one literally just graduated from high school in June but oh. my. goodness. I mean of course the math works but with the facts laid out before me, I was floored.  It was a first for me but obviously not the last.

Anyway, I just felt the need to tell you all how much this little, old lady loves you all! 

Before I'm dead.

nati

Summer Condensed

It's October.  It's getting colder but we've been blessed with a very sunny and dry fall.  I personally love it when Mother Nature hears my plea to not turn on the faucet yet.

This turned into quite the epistle. But I'm summing up three months so even though it's a long post, I know I skimming over all our activities.

This was the first year we participated in our neighborhood's 4th of July Parade.  There was actually about 300 people who participated!  Who knew?!  We've spent every year with Genet's family since we've moved up to the NW plus it's her birthday. But they ditched us this year :) so we had to go.  It was stifling hot but Jonah had a blast!  Aaron actually put the GoPro on his head and it's hilarious! It's like being inside this kid's head.  He hummed to himself the entire time, giving every moment it's own theme music. You hear him talking to strangers, complimenting them on their costumes, threatening curses upon the families of our friends who shot silly string at him.  Hilarious!


Lucas got his learner's permit!  Big deal over here.  Luckily he's a great driver and we've haven't had any dents.  So far.

We had many trips out to the coast this summer.  Our favorite was during our Williams Family Reunion.  The TX Williams plus Mom & Dad came out for a week and we got to play!

We love cousins!



My boys.
  The day was windy but beautiful and topped off with a yummy dinner together at Mo's. (I know Aaron took a lot more pictures but this is all I have on my computer and I knew if I didn't just put up the few I had, I would never post waiting to collect better pictures.)  We had such a wonderful time together. 

Lucas and Aaron went on high adventure together this year, hiking about 40 miles in Eastern Oregon mountains.  It was probably one of the hardest things Lucas has ever done but ended up being a good experience and I'm so happy Aaron could go for the first few days.  He left at 5:45am on Wednesday morning, hiked 2.5 hours, had a flat tire on the van and drove all day to try and make it for Ethan's baptism that night and missed it by an hour.  He was so disappointed to miss his big day!


Mid August I took the boys down to AZ to visit our newest niece, Daphne.  Amanda and Geoff now have 4 girls and life is all pink princesses and girl drama.  I love it!  They are the sweetest family and I loved playing with the girlies and getting my baby fix in.  Lucas was a natural.

Katherine, the oldest, with creativity oozing from every pore drew portraits of each of as a welcome. All Jonah could say was, "Those are the creepiest things I have ever seen!"  We're working on tact with that one.

We drew pictures, played princesses, went swimming, spent the night up in Prescott, ate a lot of yummy take out and ran errands.  Jonah and Katherine, both alphas, played so well together in the beginning while it tended to deteriorate a little as the week went on. But they found common ground in their make-believe worlds and it was hilarious to hear of all the adventures they went on together.


We drove out to Grasshopper Point one day to escape the heat.  The non-existent rocky trail made it very difficult to get all the kiddos plus gear out to the water but once we were settled, it was perfect.  Shallow water for the little ones plus rock and crevices to explore while we watched the cliff jumpers on the other side.

 Nana and Papa met us out there to romp around.  There are awesome and really get in there playing with all the grand kids.  My mom especially loves the water!  That's the Arizona kid in her.

Jonah has no fear and always goes full steam ahead no matter the situation.  We had to rein him in as he tried to cross the river himself.  He loves to explore and Papa took him on an adventure, stalking through the trees and bringing back cold drinks for us all from the car. They were our heroes!

 
Lucas got some great reading time in the perfect place. 

He also was the sweetest cousin, playing with the girls and looking after them.  Genevieve became his little sidekick and sure loved him!

We of course made the obligatory trip to In 'n Out.  Aaron was jealous.

We had planned to drive out the Redwoods at the end of August but plans changed due to a new facebook project for Aaron at work and training for my new job.  So we decided to just go out to Florence, Oregon on the coast and the sand dunes we didn't even know existed.  It was awesome!

We stopped by the Oregon State Fair on $.25 day and had a blast checking out all the 4H animals, riding rides and eating elephant ears.


Discussing the universe.

We then drove out to the coast where Aaron hand fed a very bold seagull.

We stopped at Thor's Well, one thing on our Oregon bucket list. 


We decided to go the Seal Cave which is actually quite an amazing place if only there were seals.  Apparently we went off season, but we have vouchers to come back in January to come when 100's of seals are there to breed.  The pictures of the seals were amazing though. :)

Oregon really is gorgeous. And the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

We went miniature golfing, go carting, bumper boats, and the highlight dune buggies!  Aaron brought his GoPro so he has all the pictures and video.  I'll have to get them to post. It was a blast!  Jonah was is the front seat whooping and hollering the whole time while a father in back of us started puking from the motion and was sicker than a dog for second half of the ride.  Poor guy!  But we will definitely do it again!

Something about this pose Jonah loves...

Aaron planned a weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast in Newport for my birthday last May and we finally took went in August.  We had smores on the beach, late movies, hikes up to the lighthouse, afternoons reading in front of our beautiful view and the local quilt show. 

This was our view from the bed and our afternoons reading.  The Friesses watched our boys and we love cousin sleep overs! Jonah and I only threw up once from a little stomach bug passed through the Williams reunion.  But no biggie.

September brought school much to the chagrin of the boys.  Lucas started 10th grade and is playing in all sorts of bands this year.  Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, marching band, pep band and will try out for the pit in the winter musical.  He also has been rocking out on the drum kit and convinced us to take lessons.  We have a local teacher just one neighborhood over so that might start soon.

He's taking a lot of advanced classes and loves US History and seminary the best.  He's thinking about becoming a psychologist when he gets older.  Hmm, I wonder where he gets that?!  (My mother and my two sisters all got their masters in counseling, social work and guidance counseling while I got my BS in psychology.)


 My favorite.

Jonah started 1st grade with a brand new teacher to the school, Senora O'Connor.  He's has a rough beginning getting in trouble for hitting and messing around to the utmost frustration to his parents.  But after our 2nd conference with the teacher she said she noticed a pattern of things only happening in the afternoons.  We talked about his eating habits and that maybe low blood sugar could play a part in his behavior.  He's always gone crazier instead of lethargic when his blood sugar gets low.  She now will set a aside a time for him to sit in the hall for him to have an afternoon snack.   I truly think this will make a huge difference.  I hope.  Other than some behavior incidences, he does great with the Spanish and loves math.

Jonah is also playing on his first soccer team this year and it's been a real learning experience.  I've seen a lot of improvements in his ball handling and getting himself into the fray to kick the ball.  I have to smile as he's the only one I've ever known to sing "Go, go Power Rangers!" as he runs down the field!

In bigger news, my parents have received their mission call to Central America Mission Area.  My dad will be the area auditor and my mom was called the be the mental health advocate, basically a counselor to missionaries. They leave on Jan 18 and then will live near church's Central America headquarters in Guatemala City but will be traveling all over like to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize, etc.  They've been dedicating every minute practicing Spanish and Aaron has been giving them weekly lessons.  It's unusual for both missionaries to have a specific calling but if anyone could handle it, it's them!  I'm so sad they are leaving but happy about their dedicated service.

Overall we are happy and busier than ever.  I started a new job at the elementary school as a Title 1 teacher, teaching basic reading skills to K-2nd graders.  I do a few groups in English but a few in Spanish as well.  I love being at the school and I work with a fabulous group of women. I'm only there for 3.75 hours a day and am done by 12pm.  I've found I manage my time so much better when I'm busy and I find I'm much more productive the rest of my day.  I've made a new habit of getting up before the boys to study my scriptures and that has made all the difference.

Aaron has been traveling more for work lately and will be gone all this next week, being in 4 cities in 4 days.  He works so hard, both at his job and for us.  Love that man.  We just celebrated our 17th anniversary of our first date. Cannot believe it.

I am once again setting the goal of posting our family history at least once a month.  We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The dark future of my grandkids


Last Sunday while Aaron and Lucas were collecting fast offerings, Jonah got bored with me and started bugging me about not being able to watch TV.  I was checking my robin emails and decided to type out his rant in real time.  Here’s literally how it went….

“How can you kill my dream?!  If you don’t let me follow my dream, I will just do the same thing with my kids and they will be miserable too.  Do you hear me?  Do not let my dream die!  You have no other choice.  You have to do this for my kids.  You made this rule and you are the only one that can change it.  If you don’t, you won’t have any other chance to save my children.  I am not lying about this, I’m not even joking...  Stop laughing!  It’s not funny.  My kids will never be allowed to watch TV and it will be your fault.  Come on, Mom, or my kids future will never, ever, ever, ever, ever exist.  I want their future to be light, not dark.  I told you, no laughing!”

(He left for a moment but came back downstairs full steam to teach me the difference between light and dark with an object lesson using two balloons he got from the 4th of July parade.  If he puts with dark balloon into his bucket, his kids future will be dark. It will be my fault.  His kids will not be allowed to watch TV on Sunday just like him.)

 “I’m putting the dark balloon in the bucket, Mom.  Only you can stop it. It’s dark Mom, you made it dark!  I wanedt them to be happy….(he decided to take a new approach)

EVERYONE’s future is living in this balloon.  Do you want everyone’s future to be dark and miserable?  You want everyone to be light right?….  Dark!?!  Mom!  That’s not what I had planned.  My kid’s future will stay dark forever! What have you done, Mom?!  What have you done?”

Aaron and Lucas came home at this point and relieved me of his rant.  I guess I have doomed my grandkids to a dark and miserable future of no TV watching on Sunday.  I pray someday they might find it in their hearts to forgive me. 

Second story, JB and I went to Costco today and he asked to walk by the cakes.  We started singing “Happy Birthday” and he kept changing it around for his own version. 

“This is how I will always sing Happy Birthday.  Even when I have my kids I will sing it this way.  Like, I will sing my kid’s name. Let’s call her Laura.”

So he sings his version of Happy Birthday using Laura as the name. 

“We will HAVE to sing it that way forever.”

I ask just to see what he’d say, "What if your wife doesn’t want to sing it that way?  What if she wants to sing it differently?”

He thinks for a minute, “Well…I guess I’m just gonna have to be flexible.”

WHOA!  Jonah, flexible?!  Aah, he’s growing up right before my eyes.  

And he’s sure fixated on his own kids lately!  What’s up with that?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cotton, The Fertility Dog


We had been threatening it for months.  Cotton had become a grumpy, incontinent old man who wore diapers and nipped at little kids.  We had gone to the vet to see what could be done and they couldn't find anything really wrong with him.  He still loved walks, treats, snuggling and barking at anything that moved in front of our house.  But last Thursday he hurt something (we still don't know what) while the boys walked him and it just got worse as the day went on. By that evening, he couldn't hardly move and yelped when we tried to move him.  It was so hard to see him in so much pain.  Aaron and I looked at each other and knew it was time.  We talked to Lucas and JB, prayed as a family and made a vet appointment for the next morning.  Again, we'd talked about it, joked about it, threatened it for months, but when it came right down to it, losing Cotton was absolutely heartbreaking. 

I felt like this was a "daddy job" and Aaron thought this was a "mommy job" and neither of us wanted the job, so we went together.  And it was heartbreaking.  Neither of us had ever done anything like that before and it was awful but peaceful.

My sister and her family adopted Cotton as a puppy for their 5 year old since they hadn't been able to have more kids.   Right after they got him, she got pregnant with their 2nd son.  When they had their 3rd, she was ready for a break and I wanted a dog for Lucas.  3 months after we got Cotton, I got pregnant with Jonah after 8 years of trying.  Thus the name, Cotton The Fertility Dog, stuck and he's been part of the family for almost 12 years.  

We'll take his ashes to be buried at his most favorite place on the earth, the Gunson (Mark's family) property up at Camp Sherman near Sisters, where he has gone camping for Mark's family reunion every year.  And we'll have a sweet, little memorial for our sweet little puppy.  May he rest in peace.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Family Update May 2015

This last month has been busy and wonderful.  Lots of endings but great beginnings.

Jonah is officially a first grader and was truly sad kindergarten was ending.  He had a great year, a great teacher and especially a great teacher's assistant!  He finished his first year in a dual language program and it has been the perfect fit for him.  He has an ear for languages just like his dad and got the highest score in his class on his verbal assessment.  It's fun to see him succeed and love to hear him speak Spanish.  His math and reading have taken off as well.  Aaron teases him that he is NOT allowed to read because he is NOT old enough.  So every time Jonah reads a street sign, book, some word somewhere Aaron gives him a hard time, spurning Jonah on to read more and more.  It's been a fun game for him.  He loves to prove us wrong.  He has a summer filled with sport camps, learning to ride his two wheeler, lots of cousins and swimming at the pool.  Should be fabulous!

Here's little of the kid's groove during his Kindergarten Olympics.

video

Lucas finished his freshman year in high school, folks.  Yep, he is old. His last few weeks were filled with finals, presentations, band concerts and playing in a parade.  (Thank you Mark for sleeping on the parade route so we would have such perfect seats!  You get MVP of the whole parade.  I know it meant a lot to Lucas that you guys were there!) It's so fun to see him love something and be a part of such a great activity.  He'll be playing to two bands next year, plus pep band and marching band. He's so excited!  He'll be getting his drivers permit (hopefully) this week, so traffic beware.  He has a long way to go before I'll let him on busier roads than our neighborhood, but he'll be a good driver in the end. He is cautious and smart.  He has a packed summer filled with EFY in Tacoma with his cousin and best friend, Trek, 50 miler for scouts, plus hopefully working on his eagle project.  Add family visits, a trip to the coast, a week in Arizona and a road trip to the Redwoods, and summer will fly by for him!




Uncle Mark holding JB up to see Lucas' band coming.  I only have videos after that and the blog isn't letting me upload them
Our sign for Lucas on the parade route that there was no way he could see because he was marching in the middle of the band.  But here's proof!


I turned 40 this last month and it's been fabulous!  For whatever reason, 35 was harder for me.  Like I was a true adult by 35 and I didn't feel ready?  I don't know.  Anyway, Aaron planned a wonderful day.  My parents came into town to help celebrate so the girls went and got their nails done then out to lunch. That night Aaron threw a perfect party.  It was catered by our favorite Indian restaurant and my cousins, my aunt and uncle and friends plus of course my parents plus Genet and Mark and family came to celebrate with pakoras and chicken mahkani.  We ended the night with chocolate cake and a slide show my sister put together.  I couldn't have asked for a better night!  Thank you everyone!

My job in Jonah's class is officially over and that makes me sad.  It's been a true blessing in my life and something I didn't even know I needed.  I decided I really need to up my Spanish game so I'm setting a goal to study this summer.  Not sure what that's going to look like yet, but it's in the works.   I'm going to reapply for something in the fall, as a teacher's assistant again or maybe as a Title 1 teacher.  I want to keep it part time so we'll see if I can find a good fit.  There's a lot I can do at the school as I figure out if I want to go back to school to get a masters.  I'm still not sure.  It feels so daunting to me!

Aaron is awesome as always.  He's been traveling a bit to New York City, San Francisco and of course Seattle but work is going well.  Aaron landed the company a few projects with Facebook and their company is growing every month.  He's going the first part of the High adventure 50 miler and he's more than ready.  He runs regularly and is in good shape (though he doesn't think so).  He's been gathering emergency preparedness supplies these few months and I'm sure we're ready for the zombie apocalypse. He enjoys reading, by himself and to the boys, and loved having a few minutes to nap and read out at the property this weekend.

Summer activities are well underway.  We just got back from camping at my brother-in-law's family property near Sisters. We celebrated Aaron's birthday and enjoyed a few gorgeous days. (Thank you Friesses!  We sure love you guys!)  We have a Williams family reunion tentatively planned in July and then I'm taking the boys to AZ in August to help out and see our newest niece who is making an appearance in a few weeks.   I told them they gotta stop having their babies in July!  And they agreed.  4 girls is enough. :)  We're also taking the boys to see the Redwoods in northern California to be able to check that off my bucket list.

We sure love our family and appreciate the sharing of "facts" no matter how difficult.  We can only then know how to help and pray for each other.  And we do sure pray!  There is power in faithful prayer, letting the Lord know the desires of our hearts.  And may you each feel His love and strength as you go through these trials of mortality. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Freaking out a bit.

I always said when Jonah wanted to cut his hair short I'd let him.  
Well, he asked tonight.  
He really wanted to it.  
And I was in a mood and actually agreed.  
I now have very mixed feelings and there's not a thing I can do about it.

  

His cheeks grew 3 sizes!

He LOVES it and that's all that really matters.
video

In retrospect, I really should have gone to a professional for this monumental hair cut and maybe I'd like it better. Or maybe it would throw me either way.  
His signature shaggy hair is gone and it most likely never be the same again.  Sigh.
I'm not sure if I like this growing up stuff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bound for Berthoud

Between family reunions and EFY down in Utah, we decided to take a little jaunt east-erly.

(A friend suggested posting a few pictures so anyone who wanted to can see the pictures of the Adams new stomping ground! I know they have lots of Portland friends.)

Jody and I met when we were called to work in Cub Scouts together 3 years ago. 

Aah, the sweet memories.

 We became fast friends, both being new to the area, and our friendship was sealed when we found our HUSBANDS finishing each others sentences.  Eerie, really.

They sadly moved away this spring to new job, new schools, new house and new life.  :(

We decided since we were "so close" in Utah we might as well take a few days to go for a visit.

We had a very troubled start with our car's air conditioning conking out a few days earlier.  With no one being able to fix it in time, we decided to rent a car, making the space a little cramped for Lucas, Jonah and our nephew Jackson.

Also, Jonah tends to get a little car sick any time we travel over two hours. Have I mentioned that?  Or if we are driving Provo Canyon with all the twists and curves. (One early morning driving from Heber to Provo to see the hot balloon take offs, Jonah leaned over and puked all over his cousin Bennett.  Missed himself entirely but dunked his oh-so-patient cousin.)

So this morning we were trying to get Jonah to take his Dramamine as we drove out of town.  Didn't go so well.  He gagged on the medicine and threw up.  That just seemed to prime the pump. By the time we made it to Heber (normally 20 minutes through the canyon), it had taken us an hour and the poor kid had thrown up 4 times.  We almost gave up and just went back home.

But a stroll around Walmart and a dose of Dramamine later, he was good to go.


The lovely images of side-of-the-road upchucking.


So, a few hours behind schedule and one speeding ticket later (not mine :), we finally pulled into Berthoud, Colorado and the corn fields where our friends had moved.  It lays north of Denver, south of Loveland.

Below is a picture of the road toward their neighborhood.  You can see a small collection of houses wa-ay off in the distance, directly in the center of the picture.  That is the Adam's new subdivision!


 I didn't get any pictures of their home, but it is a beautiful brand new place that fits their family comfortably. 

But I did get the view from their back deck.


I couldn't get over how peaceful it felt and how beautiful it was.  This is definitely big sky country!

Did I mention they get around 300 days of sun each year??   (I just don't know if I'll ever become a real Northwest girl and love our 300 days of grey rain.)


They go out the back, hunting gophers and snakes with their air rifle enjoying the space and room to roam. Jody said the only drawback is that they are 10 minutes from anything: church, stores, schools, anything.  But I thought it would be well worth the drive to enjoy that view.


Our first day we took all the kids to the lake.  It was perfect weather and the kids had a blast.


The kids took turns burying each other.


Jonah thought it was the best thing ever!




Racing out to the buoys.

video


Saturday we went downtown to the Denver Aquarium where the sharks and mermaids were plentiful. Plus one random tiger.

We miss these cute girls!  They showed me their box of sticker earrings and we wore our "Girl Club" earrings all weekend, we read books and they showed me where they put everything in their new room.


Here's my one picture of the boys, and not even all the boys!  I did a very poor job documenting our trip.  I know Jody took more pictures but I didn't get very many.

We got to go to their new ward and everyone was so friendly.  It's small and I'm sure appreciate such a large, wonderful family!

We left in time to get Lucas and his cousin Jack to EFY in Provo. 

Driving north out of town.


Good friends and a great visit.  They are missed!  But I guess it's nice to know they love their new stomping grounds. I guess.

We got Dramamine into JB before the drive this time and it kicked it pretty fast.

Luckily not one upchuck all the back to Utah.