Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Catching up!

So I'm starting to realize I might actually have too much to keep up with!  I haven't updated this blog in quite some time (and let's be honest, I'm not super great at updating the preschool blog regularly either!).
we've had a few exciting things happen around here lately so it's past time for me to write them down!

Our first bit of excitement came when Travis was transferred from Prudhoe Bay Alaska down to Kenai Alaska.  They transferred him because they were needing more men on their crew in Kenai and Prudhoe Bay wasn't super busy.  This transfer resulted in him having to stay at work for an extra week.  He was suppose to come home on Thanksgiving Day but due to the transfer, he was delayed a week.  It was a bummer for us (and for him) but he got to have some really neat experiences while he was there.  For starters, he was working off shore.  That's the first off shore job he's ever done.  And apparently the first off shore job in Kenai that Halliburton has had in quite some time.  In order to get to the off shore rig he got to fly in a helicopter.  That was another first for him!  He took all sorts of photos to show the kids his air tight flight suit (Nash will tell you dad told him not to fart in the flight suit b/c it's air tight and you'll let it all out when you take off your suit!).  He didn't have the greatest cell service while he was off shore so we didn't get to talk to him much while he was out in the ocean.  He was able to text though so we knew he was ok.  He's close to a volcano out in Kenai.  I do believe that's another first for him.  We finally got him home a week ago and he's been keeping busy since he landed!

Speaking of keeping busy since he landed, Travis has gotten back to work on Samantha's new bedroom (in the basement).  She is DYING to move into her new room.  I caved and let her pick two things out when we stopped at Gordman's on our way home from the festival of trees.  Her new room will be purple (a dark purple, not lavender) and lime green.  Yes, I did say those two colors on purpose.  She's also going to have a ballet bar in her new room.  Dad isn't so thrilled about putting said ballet bar up, but he's willing to do it.  Her room is also going to be all things Batman (her FAVORITE).

I recently began another new business!  This business is called ItWorks!  They are best known for "that crazy wrap thing" (aka the body applicator).  I'll be honest, I originally only signed up to sell it because I wanted to get the products for a discount.  Since trying the products though, I'm in LOVE!  And, the more I learn about the company the more I know I made the right choice.  The CEO of this company wants families to have freedom of time and financial freedom.  The company is completely debt free and is opening to distributors in more countries all the time.  I love what the wraps have done to the stretch marks on my belly (went from purple to nearly gone).  I'm using the defining gel between wraps to keep tightening, toning and firming the loose skin on my belly (thanks four babies) and I'm using it on my tattoo as well (helps bring back the color and life to tattoos).  I've started taking greens (both chewable ones and ones I can dump into juice/water).  These greens are a full EIGHT servings of fruits and veggies.  I already feel better each evening because I know my body is getting more of what it needs.  I'll be the first one to admit I'm a horrible eater!  For example; today I ate: 1 bowl of cereal at about 8 am, a few gingerbread cookies at snack time during preschool, 1 1/2 apples after school and then at 7:15 pm I finally got a mcdouble from McD's because I was starving!  That allowed me time to get a snicker's bar from the grocery store when I picked up a few random odds and ends for dinner & lasted me until I was able to eat the hamburger Travis made!  See - worst eater ever!  And that's a typical day for me (well, minus the mcdouble - that's not a very frequent event).  Anyway, as you can tell, I'm super excited about this company and all the products they have to offer, as well as the opportunities they offer their distributors!

(Trav's wrap results - he relented and LET me wrap him the first time.  After he saw the final results of the first wrap, HE asked ME if I would wrap him!  Can't believe I made a believer out of him that easy!  He's such a skeptic!)

Samantha danced at the annual Festival of Trees in Sandy on Dec. 5th.  This was about the 6th year in a row she's danced at Festival of Trees.  It's become a bit of a tradition I'd say.  This year I just took her and Brooke and Travis stayed home to take care of the boys after school.  We had lots of fun.
Sam also just did her end of semester performance for her ballet company.  Her class did an excerpt from the Sugar Plum Fairy dance in the Nutcracker  I took Brookelyn and cousin Jade with me and Sam's second grade teacher and her 2 yo came along as well.  She did amazing and I'm so proud of how she's pushed herself.  She has loved the ballet class and has signed up again for next semester.  To be honest I seriously thought she'd have had enough by now and not want to do it again next semester.  Guess that shows how much I know!

We've been cruising along in preschool.  Can't hardly believe it's nearly Christmas already!  Didn't school just start?  At the beginning of the school year my plan was to let Brooke come to the 3 yo class on Tuesday/Friday and send her to daycare during the 4 yo classes on Monday/Wed/Thursday.  Turns out Brooke rather likes preschool and attends EVERY SINGLE session of preschool.  In fact, it's to the point now that when she actually asks to go to daycare I have to ask several times if that's really what she said!  She's making great progress and gives most of my 4 yo students a run for their money in fine motor skills.  She can trace her name beautifully now and can put her name die cuts in order.  The only letter she doesn't remember the name of is y (yes, I make her spell Brookelyn not Brooke).

Brooke started speech at the beginning of the school year too.  I was a bit worried about how I was going to get her there on Wednesdays.  So far she's only missed a few times because I couldn't find anyone to take her up and bring her back.  She's making great progress with her sounds and her teacher, Teacher Angie, is really happy with her progress.  So far she's worked on the sounds c, f, and g.  She loves having her speech homework and is quite good about reminding me about it!  She's even started "doing my homework" on the piano!

Caleb was diagnosed with ADD in Sept. or Oct.  We got him on some meds (same ones as Nash takes for his ADHD) and he improved greatly at school.  I cannot believe the difference it has made for him.  Ok, actually I can, but only because I've seen the difference they have made for Nash!  Caleb is currently reading on about a third grade level.  He has almost 40 AR points.  Anyone familiar with AR knows that's a big deal for a first grader.  98% of the books he's testing on are books he's reading by himself at bedtime.  I read the test questions to him and the choices, but he does the rest.  Most of the time he's getting 100%.  I LOVE that he loves to read!  The medicine that we got Caleb on for his ADD has acted as an appetite suppressant for him.  The kid is so tiny to begin with that I was worried about him losing weight.  He only weighed 39 lbs when he started his meds.  He's gotten to the point that he literally will only eat about one single slice of toast in an entire day.  Has me worried sick.  I had Travis take him in for a well check this week.  Turns out the kid has only lost 4 ounces.  GOOD.  Of course, I have not been giving him his meds on weekends or when there is no school because I want him to eat.  Maybe that has helped.  He's such a picky eater to begin with!  The dr. listened to our concerns and gave us a prescription for a medicine that should counteract the appetite suppressant.  Tonight he ate three whole hot dogs, some chips and then wanted more.  That's a HUGE deal at our house!

Nash is doing great in school.  He was just accepted to the new Robotics club at school.  He is beyond THRILLED.  He has said for the last 24 hours, "I just CAN'T wait for Monday!'  I'm happy to see him so excited about something!  He's also been playing basketball since the beginning of November.  He practices on Wednesday nights and plays his games on Saturdays.  So far they've won all but one game.  He's had so much fun and I love that he's having such a great time interacting with other boys his age (he doesn't have ANY of those in our neighborhood!).  Nash is currently reading at about a sixth grade level.  His first grade teacher (Caleb's teacher) is amazed at his progress!  Nash came in one day after school (I go in and help in his class Tuesday afternoon's while Brooke is at speech) and put his things down and walked over to his piano.  He was learning to play the theme song from Beauty and the Beast and had nearly half of it memorized.  He started playing on the piano and his first grade teacher just dropped her jaw.  She told me that she NEVER thought he would be able to do something like that - not because of lack of ability, but because of how bad his ADHD is.  sure am proud of this kid.

Both the boys are in tumbling again this year and are loving it.  They got to participate in the USU homecoming parade.  Nash loved that he got to walk behind the trailer and throw candy.  Caleb thought that wasn't so fair.  I think both of them are doing well in their different classes.  I know Caleb sure looks forward to tumbling each Friday.

Samantha made the honor roll first semester at school.  That was not without some challenges.  At parent teacher conferences she had a D in her reading class.  Turns out that the reading log slips they fill out each week are worth more than half their grade and she hadn't turned in two of them.  This continues to be a challenge for her, but she's working on it.  I've threatened to pull her from ballet class and that tends to get her attention.  Her fifth grade teacher recommended she get extra math help so she has math class for the first two hours of school every day.  This has made a huge difference for her and I'm so glad her teachers recommended her for it1  She also has study hall so that has helped as well, seeing that she dances four days a week! 

We've been busily getting ready for Christmas in between all our daily events.  Not sure I'm going to get the sewing done I need to for Christmas, but I'm trying.  Here's to hoping anyway!
(Sam's xmas quilt - waiting for it to come back from being machine quilted so I can get the binding done)

And one last bit of exciting news - well, at least for the kids.  We've currently got a "rent a pet" living with us.  Mocha's owner works in the oil field.  He needs someone to keep her while he's at work.  When he's back for his days off he will keep her.  He said he'd buy her food too.  So, here we are with 3 dogs now.  I think she might be my favorite.  She's 4 yrs old so she's not in the puppy phase or on ornery old thing either.  She is already house trained - MASSIVE bonus.  And she is the sweetest thing in the world.  The girls absolutely ADORE her.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

We kicked off Halloween by going to Caleb's Halloween play on Thursday.  He got to dress up in his costume (Oompa Loompa) and they sang all kinds of cute Halloween songs & told a cute Halloween story.  All the decorations on the curtain they made in class all month long and they got to take them home at the end of the play.


Caleb with his teacher (Mrs. Olsen) whom we love dearly!  She was Nash's first grade teacher too.

Thursday night we finally carved our pumpkins!  I made the kids wait until their dad was home because it's a bit difficult for me to carve five at a time!

On Friday after teaching preschool I went up to the elementary school to help with Caleb's class party.  They always do a Halloween costume parade so all the kids can see each other.  The parents line the walls of the school as the kids go by.  After they parade through the school they go outside to perform a Halloween dance they learned in PE.

Doing their Halloween dance for all the parents:

The kids were super excited that dad was home for halloween this year.   This is the first time in the last five years that he's been home on Halloween to go with us!

My Oompa Loompas:

Zombie Mad Hatter & Zombie Alice

Silvermist the water fairy:

Red Riding Hood & the big bad wolf:

Zombie Alice's Cheshire Cat (and cheshire cat pumpkin)

We ventured out to Grandma Kris & Grandpa Scott's house to celebrate Grandma Kris's birthday.  The kids took off running right after Grandma got pictures of them in their costumes!  Nash ended up with close to 4 lbs of candy!  Brooke did two sides of two streets and was done but that's just because she wanted to play with her cousin Olivia!  It was super nice weather (a smidge of wind but it wasn't cold and it wasn't long) too.  Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

USU Homecoming Parade

Can I just say how weird it was to sit and watch a parade without a single child?  All FOUR of the kids were in the USU homecoming parade this year with LaShars!  And they loved it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dance Season 2014

Turns out I'm lucky enough to drive to the dance studio EVERY SINGLY DAY OF THE WORK WEEK this year.  I know, everyone says I did it to myself because apparently I don't know how to say no.  That or I'm a total sucker for working my hind end off so my kids can participate in all of the activities they'd like to participate in.

Sam told me this spring that she wants to take pointe.  In talking to Jenny I learned that she needs a minimum of 1-2 yrs of classic ballet classes/training prior to taking pointe class or she will very likely ruin her feet.  Seeing that she wants to be a dance teacher I think she kind of needs her feet to be well loved and taken care of.  I talked to some people at Tueller's and apparently they are putting students into pointe classes at the age of 11 now.  They start classic ballet classes there at 3 yo - LaShar's doesn't offer classic ballet classes because they don't have a demand for it.  The only other place I knew of in town that teaches ballet is the Cache School of Ballet (aka Cache Valley Civic Ballet).  I called this summer and found out the information about classes, tuition, etc.  In doing so I learned that they operate on a semester basis rather than a season or yr basis.  The fall semester is 15 wks and runs $300 (that's $100 a month or $48 a month more than what I pay for her competitive tuition).  They also have to wear a uniform - black leotard, black skirt, pink tights and pink ballet flats (not half soles).  I explained to Sam that if she signed up at CVSB and stayed at LaShars it would mean she would be dancing four days/five hours a week.  This wouldn't leave much time for friends or much else.  I told her she had to make that decision and if that was the decision she made she had to be ok with it.  I also told her if her school work slipped I would pull her out of the second studio because school is most important and still comes first.  It took her a week or two to decide that's what she really wanted to do.  Her dad wasn't so sure - something about that's too many days, too many hours for a kid her age. ;)  When Sam heard that she had a bit of her mother's "I'll show you" attitude come out.
Thus, she has begun dancing at the Cache Valley School of Ballet this year.  She feels super naked wearing the uniform and was horrified to think I didn't have her black skirt the first day (hence a super quick stop at Wal mart on lesson two prior to class starting).
After her first lesson I asked her how it went.  She told me that they were doing a dance and the teacher was telling them to do this and do that and she didn't understand what the teacher was talking about.  Finally the teacher stopped and asked who didn't know what such and such was.  Sam raised her hand and the teacher asked her what level she had been in prior to this class.  Sam told her she was new there.  Apparently the teacher had been using the French names for the ballet positions rather than the English version of 1st, 2nd, 3rd position, etc.  Sam told me, "Once she used English I knew what she was talking about!  Who does that mom?!  Who uses the French words?!  I don't speak French!"  I tried really hard not to laugh.  I had to tell her teacher at LaShars about it and let her know she should throw out the French names on occasion in order to help Sam out!
I asked her if it was something she thought she was going to want to keep doing after the first semester.  She kind of shrugged her shoulders and said we'll see.  She likes the instructor and she said the class wasn't bad "once she started speaking English!"  I think she just feels out of place because she's uncomfortable in her leotard (they don't require that at LaShars) and everyone else in her class has been there since they were B's age.  I felt bad for her on Wednesday though because apparently the instructor didn't have them stretch on Tuesday and her legs HURT like the devil on Wednesday and I still made her go to class at LaShars.  She did say that they stretched before their second lesson though so that was good to hear.

The bright side of Sam's self induced torture for my other kids is that the Cache Valley School of Ballet is located at the Whittier Center.  This means that for an hour and a half twice a week they get a free for all on a huge playground.  It was quickly voted favorite dance studio by these two:

 And this little diva started lessons this week as well.  This time there was no crying, no screaming, no standing in the corner telling me "You're ruining my life!"  I took her upstairs and helped her with her shoes.  She had met Teacher Misha the day or two before and she was good to go!  I asked her if I could wait downstairs and she was like, "Um, yea.  Bye!" and off she went!  Yay for progress!  And, yay for the fact that her dance day is one of the days Sam is already at LaShars.  Too bad their classes are back to back instead of at the same time!

The boys are back in tumbling this year as well.  They loved going so much and asked if they could do it again this year.  That means on the one day that I'm not hauling Sam to dance lessons I'm hauling boys to the dance studio for tumbling!  At least they're on the same day, right?  Too bad they are back to back too instead of at the same time.  Oh well, makes us get creative on what to do without spending any money while kids are at practice!  How we're managing to squeeze piano in there a day as well, well, I'm not really sure!