Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fall Fest and Fall Dance

So our middle school is grades 5-8, a huge spread at that age but they really do keep them pretty separate from one another.  Case in point in the fall the 5th and 6th graders have a Fall Fest, where they play games, eat junk food and win prizes.  The 7th and 8th graders have a school dance where they "dance", eat junk food and take group pictures at the photo booth.  I've helped with the fall fest, never the dance.

This year I did both.  It was fine.  A lot of line/group dances, not so much the middle school shuffle of awkward slow songs.  I'm okay with that.  Wyatt ran around playing games against his friends and despite his small size he's not afraid of a little trash talk and competition.  I love this boy!

And because my friends keep asking me, where I've been and why I'm not even posting on facebook that much, here's a summary of my life this past month or two not already covered by pictures and stories here:

Foster Care and Parent Visits
Splits with the Sister Missionaries
Finishing the Cross Country Season and Banquet
Farm Show Madness and Wrap Up Banquet
Setting Up the Non Existent Book Fair
Brother and His Family For Dinner
Dentist Appointments
Subbing for a Volleyball League
PTO Meetings
Helping at the Nursing Home
Visiting Teaching
Omega Field Trip (Oh, I have pics - I should post about that)
Computer Crash and Restoration
Birthday Parties
Being Released and Getting a New Calling at Church
Fundraising Events (WCM Auction, Extraordinary Give, Manheim Car Show, etc...)
Hosting Class Parties at Halloween (Also post worthy)
Meals for Friends
Seeing Newsies in Philly
Halloween Parties
Writing Competitions (for the kids)
Book Clubs
Play Dates
Temple Trips
Helping at the Middle School (clothing drive, fall fest, book fair)
Parent/Teacher Conferences and Report Cards
Board Meetings
Classroom Help
Planning Vacations (couple - January, family - July)
Hosting Baby Showers (forthcoming)
Feeding the Masses (seriously, always extras)
Getting the Boys Ready for New Placement, Packing
Prepping for Thanksgiving Trip to Texas
and a whole lot of other stuff.

And don't get me wrong, I choose to do it, I love to do it, I think it is important, valuable and worthy of my time.  So don't think this is me complaining.  But when you ask, half the time I can't remember and the other half it'd take too long to tell you so I don't even bother.  But here's the record, just in case you really care.  But I love and miss my friends too.  So call anytime, I'm ready to play too!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Third Grade Field Trip - Philadelphia Zoo

Someone asked me how many times, I had been on this field trip to the Philadelphia Zoo.  The answer would be three times.  I then explained that my husband and I had been on the Manheim Farm Show fieldtrip 14 times.  Yes you heard it here.  You see they go every year for all students K-2 and since my kids are so close together in age, there have been many years when I've gone twice in the same day on the same field trip just at different times or he and I have divided and conquered.

I'm that parent...on every field trip.  I don't think it's too obnoxious for my kids yet, because I would gladly give some of them up if they showed any signs of annoyance.  But alas, parenting is like anything I do in life and I'm not willing to settle for doing it second best, so there I am - where they want me to be, even if it is 3 or 14 times.  This year for Philly, I got a group of 5 little boys.  When one of the other 3rd grade teachers found out, she was like that is our biggest group and they are boys  To which my son's teacher responded, "I know she can handle it.  It's like her everyday life."  Which is true often I travel single handedly with five little boys.  And it was fine.

They are good boys, we had tons of fun.  The animals really put on some good shows for us.  There were baby tiger cubs.  The rain and mist were cold and wet, but our good attitudes prevailed.  It helped that most of these boys have been best buds for years. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Team Marathons and Friends

So when you and your friend make lofty plans to run a half marathon every other month from April through October, it sounds fun.  But when crazy schedules, broken ankles, and life intervenes you make do.  And you do a couple races, but otherwise just run the miles on your own one day to keep the goal instead of registering for and running races by yourself - not my idea of a fun way to spend money.

But as you close out your season and she calls you to do a team relay type marathon with you and your hubby and her and her hubby, you think about it.  It could be fun.  And the mileage is easy 26/4 is just over 6.5/person.  And since your daughter is coming out of cross country you think this might be a great race experience for her and a good way to increase her miles (in terms of racing miles). 

So we set one up for November 8th.  It was right outside of Philly, so 1 1/2 hours away.  And everyone wanted to do one mile loops and just keep alternating all day long.  They brought their baby and the boys stayed home.  It ended up being really fun.  And our team time was 3:53, which is not bad.  And if you are the type to track everyone's lap times, you can then calculate your average mile times and everyone else's too, even Miss Gimpy - who is still recovering from a broken ankle, whose doctor has expressly not cleared her for running. 

Bella ran 6.25, I ran 6, Travis and Derek ran 5 miles, and Christie ran 4.  And our paces were respectively 8:26, 8:41, 8:19. 8:48 and 10:28.  I would say we crushed it.  Kudos team.  Love you guys the most!  Link for their pictures...bib numbers 401-405 for our team. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Thereabouts

So in usually high drama, the third week of October our elementary school was shut down.  First for the day, Friday, and then for the next week.  It turns out that after being viewed by an engineering firm in preparation for a remodel and addition next year, it's structurally unsound.  A second firm has confirmed the first's assessment and so long term, much is to be determined.  But back when school was first shut down, I was sitting around with four children for a little over a week and not much to do.

Travis was supposed to go on a business trip to Toronto.  I was to go with him for an adult vacation of sorts, but that week at school was Book Fair and I was the chairperson.  So with Book Fair cancelled as well as school, I was ready to hit the town with Travis, the town being Toronto.  We put the two foster kids in RESPITE (mid-term foster care babysitting) due to leaving the country, the two middle school children stayed with friends because they didn't want to miss school and they were still very much in session.  So the two youngest and Travis and I left.

It was a great vacation.  It was a little over 6 hours to get there.  We were staying in a small town outside the city, where the company was based.  He had meetings through most of the days.  So the kids and I explored the small town and surrounding area.  But eventually we headed off to the "big" city, fourth biggest in North America - pretty similar in size to Chicago.  And the similarities don't end there.  They are both cities that sit on Great Lakes with beautiful lake side roads weaving around the cities.  But all that being said, Toronto is pretty awesome.  The traffic is way less than NY, LA or Chicago.  Downtown is super navigable.  I would guess because so many use public transportation.  The city is very clean, has great incorporated parks and free space, not skyscraping high adding to the open and not overly crowded feeling.  I'm a total fan.  If you haven't gone to visit - go.  It has all the major attractions that big cities do and tons of small time fun too.

On the way home after all our fun we stopped at Niagara Falls, just for a short bit.  We've been before, but I always worry that Kody forgets so much, even Issac, because they are the youngest.  And so to solidify in their brain, we hit it again.  Neither was that impressed, but it may have just been because of the first bits of cold in the season, made them want to stay indoors.  Regardless I love mini-vacations or major vacations, planned or unplanned.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Who You Are and What You'll Be - Child 4

Dakota Dean,
Kody man,
You are summed up by your two names.
You are such an old soul in a little boy body.
Your my boy, who in innocence, crushes my windpipe with suck intense love and hugs.
The boy who has always embraced and encouraged the snuggle.
The boy who has more ability to love than perhaps any person I have ever known - seriously ever.
Your empathy is bottomless and your championing of the underdog is noble.
You sacrifice endlessly your desires, because other's happiness is your greatest wish.
Sometimes your maturity and depth makes me teary eyed in awe.
You are strong, physically and spiritually.
You do amazing feats of strength and are the reminder to me of who to rely on in a crisis.
I know that Heavenly Father is pleased with who you are.  You are special.
You were meant to be a "foster" brother.
Your ability to love and include people is priceless.
You never hold a grudge and you forgive endlessly - at least 70 times 7 easily.
There are times I don't feel worthy to be your mom.
I'm sure I'm learning more from you than you are from me.
I can't begin to fathom what your Earthly life will shape up to be.
So much of you came to Earth already formed.
I'm just trying to figure out how to encourage what you already are.
Your perspective has always been more eternal than most.
Your whole life is one big mission, but the two year stint will be...
somewhere like China or where the people will need the love and coddling you excel at giving.
I hope your wife will be playful and draw out your fun side.
Your kids will revere you.
The Lord will always be your best friend and your heart will continue to grow.
You'll increase in righteousness and be a beacon of the Savior's love.
Your gifts are not as easily recognized by others.
But know that I see them.
I know who you are.
You are my inspiration of charity.
I adore you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who You Are and What You'll Be - Child 3

You have so many great and readily seen gifts.
You are filled with bubbles of love, happiness, warmth, and
agreeability that always float up and outward.
Add to that your brand of honesty, truth and charm and the world is yours to claim.
Your love of the gospel and your simple faith make you admirable,
but your constant desire to really know and serve people have you leading wherever you are.
And I love the way you lead, it never feels bossy - always fun, even when working.
You are fearless and not easily deterred from your goals.
You stick with things and aren't afraid of a little pain.
I guess it's not so much that you are fearless, but that you are brave enough
to beat your fears time and time again.
It's exciting to watch.
What does Heavenly Father have in store for you?
Only time will tell.
I don't know that you'll ever follow the most traditional or easy path.
I don't think that you will rebel,
but that you will be brave enough to listen to what and where your heart/spirit leads.
You'll share the gospel with many and convert tons.
Probably in a place like Honduras or Costa Rico.
You'll marry a beautiful girl that will think you walk on water.
I can't see you working 9-5, but instead running a company - probably your own.
College will be one large social experiment.
You'll be the consummate fun dad.
You'll have tickle wars and find that you de-stress by spending time with your family.
You'll unknowingly spoil your wife and she'll love you for it.
You'll spend your life building momentum and enthusiasm.
It's inevitable.
My Issac, we'll always be linked by our many similarities.
I hope that you'll spend your life coming to me to chat, like you do now.
I love seeing how your brain works and what you're thinking.
It's such goodness.
Stay pure - it suits you!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who You Are and What You'll Be - Child 2

Man do I love you!  It's so deep, this feeling I have for you.
You may not be quick to give affection to new people, but when you do...
those reserves run bottomless.
You are first in line to give hugs and kisses.
Almost daily you surprise me with gestures of your limitless love.
You are such a strength to those around you.
You never worry about what others will think or say, you are who you are.
And although you may not be keen on large social situations,
you are a constant first pick among your friends and classmates because of your character.
You are firm and steady.
You remind me of the Army of Helaman and the faith of those Stripling Warriors.
Right and wrong are clear to you and you almost always do what you should.
I know it's hard for you to see injustices and struggle with the accompanying anger you feel.
But I know that in the end, you'll figure out how to be a champion for good,
without trying to right every wrong in your way.
Who will you be? 
What type of woman will you choose to marry?
What profession will challenge the great mind Heavenly Father gave you?
What kind of missionary will you be?
How hands on of a dad will you be?
These questions remain for me as you are still growing and changing.
Some of the answers are more clear than others.
I have no guess as to what your wife will be like.
I hope she sees how amazing you are, despite your being a man of few words.
I can't see you doing anything for life except science.
Whatever you do, it will always require you to learn or discover something new.
You'll be a missionary who works hard and is innovative in your teaching approach.
I think you'll go somewhere obscure - Mongolia or Syria???
You'll be the most doting father to your daughters and you'll be a best friend to your sons.
You'll do remarkable things, I'm sure.
I'll watch and see.
Impress me - I have never doubted that you could.
All the love, my heart holds.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Who You Are and What You'll Be - Child 1

You are a special kind of beautiful that is not only surface deep
but through every cell of your making.
You radiate happiness, goodness and I am so proud of you.
You work hard and accomplish as much as a small army.
Speaking of armies you could run a small one; you actually do.  It's called - brothers.
But you're not a dictator or a tyrant holding your birthright and age over their heads but leading by example and gentle persuasion in the form of treats and special time.
You're smart, funny and just a joy to have as a child. 
I don't have to worry about you - your heart is pure.
But I do wonder who or what you'll be.
Will you ever work or always stay at home?

What will your legacy be as a mother, a wife?
Will you go on a mission, what will be your major in college and why?
Will we forever be best friends, like we are now.
I hope so.  Because I sure think you are awesome!
But here are my predictions for the future.
You will go on a mission to France,
you'll go to college - major in English or Literature.
You'll stay at home and try to write on the side.
You may not ever pen the "next great American novel" but you'll be an amazing mom,
much better than me.
You'll marry a man who sees how wonderful you are and treasures and adores you.
He'll love God and together you will raise these amazing, beautiful grandbabies - for me of course.
You'll take your love of life and share it with everyone around you.
You'll inspire those you meet and make the Lord proud.
Go and do - the future is yours to grab.
Love you, baby!