So again my lack of posting is due to the fact that so much has kept us busy.
Sports...In mid November, Maddy and Ryan finished soccer. Finally. This week...Ryan and Cade have both started basketball. This is Ryan's 2nd year and Cade's 1st. Both are very excited and both have Matt as their coach. It works out really well because both practices are on Wednesday one right after the other.
School...All 3 kids are going great. We had parent/teacher conferences before Thanksgiving break. Ryan has been involved in ASB and decided to run for Activity Person. There were already 3 people running so he decided to go for Secretary instead. Two reasons for that: 1. there was no one to run against him and 2. he thought it was security not secretary. He won. He is most excited because he gets to tell people to quit talking when he thinks they have gone on long enough.
Thanksgiving...We went over to Granny Janny and Papa Butch's for Thanksgiving. It was the first time in awhile we had all been together in Manson. The kiddos loved seeing their cousins. Matt, Maddy and I went to see 'New Moon' with Sara, Sara, Kelsy and Aleasha. Matt and the boys played in the Turkey Bowl.
Work...I have been busy subbing. I got a 10 day sub job working in the special ed room at the elementary. In the mornings I am assigned to a little girl (www.jaydaswebsite.org) and after she goes home I am kind of a floater. It has gone really well and the days go by fast. Matt has been crazy busy too. He has been doing his normal job but they needed someone to work a short term gig as well. On top of that he got called to jury duty and was selected. They are expecting the case to take 2 1/2 weeks. He gets to go into downtown Seattle 4 days a week for that. He seems really interested in whatever the case is about. He says he will tell me in 2 1/2 weeks. For some reason he thinks I might want to let him know what I think (or how he should think)! December was supposed to be a busy travel month (Spokane, California, Dallas and back to California)but the jury duty thing is pushing that back. He had to go to a work meeting after a day in court. He walked in and everyone started applauding. He asked what that was about. They told him he had received the President's Award for the last quarter. He says, "Jen said something about that." They then asked who had texted me and Matt informed them that BT has sent something in the mail. They were a little irritated that BT would send something before they even got to let him know. He has done a such a good job there. There is usually a lot of flexibility which is nice.
Christmas...I went to a Relief Society meeting the other night and came home to a decorated Christmas tree. Thank you Madison, Ryan and Cade! It looks fabulous!
Duvall Christmas Tree Lighting...Last night our town turned on the lights on the community Christmas tree. They have booths and there is an area in the parking lot that is covered with hay. The kids dig through it and find candy and cheap little toys. Cade was playing with one of his toys last night when the little ball inside fell out. Ryan grabbed the toy on the floor just like it, took the ball out and put it in Cade's. "There you go, Cade." I told Ryan that what he did was so nice and showed what a big heart he had. Maddy looks over and says, "That was my toy!" Ryan says, "I never told you it was mine!"
Last summer we drove down to Utah to see family. We saw Sara in Boise. We saw Matt and Sara and their boys and Beckie and Doug and their kids in Salt Lake. While we were in Salt Lake we got to go to the wedding of another family member. Family in a kind of not really related sense but close enough. Matt's brother's wife's sister, Kristen got married. (Matt's brother, Hyrum, is married to Karyn. Karyn and Kristen are sisters.) Kristen accomplished a lot in her pre-40s life...college, went on a church mission, had a good career. Last summer she was able to marry in the Manti Temple. This past spring she gave birth to a little girl, Kaylee. We received an email from Karyn last night. Kristen was at the airport in Las Vegas on their way home from visiting Karyn and her family. She complained about being very tired and then passed out. They got her to the hospital where they discovered she had blood clots in her lungs. They gave her blood thinners but unfortunately some clots made it to her heart. She passed away Friday night. It's kind of a strange feeling. It's not like we saw her everyday so it almost doesn't seem quite true. The last time we did see her was at her wedding. The kids were talking tonight about going to the reception and sitting in the limo Kristen and Keith got for the night. They remembered the bubbles in wedding cake shaped containers. They remember the jelly beans, the waterfall, going into the bridal suite. I have been emailing Karyn. One of the hardest things for everyone is knowing this little girl won't remember her mommy. She won't ever taste the bread her mom was so good at baking. She won't be able to share the Dr Pepper her mom would sneak to her nieces and nephew. Being so far away makes us feel a little helpless. We have decided to make a book for Kaylee. A book about Kaylee's mom. A book that will hopefully bring her a little closer to someone who loves her so much. We want to add Kristen's favorite things and the everyday things. Her pictures. Her recipes. If you were in Kaylee's place, what would you want to know?
I haven't posted anything in a while and it's not because nothing is going on. We've been quite busy as a matter of fact. Soccer started the middle of August and has been keeping us busy 4 days a week. Maddy and Ryan have practices Tuesday and Thursday and games on Saturday. Cade had practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now practices have been replaced by games those days. Matt is coaching Cade's team for the second year now and is enjoying it. Cade isn't sure about that set up because he sees Maddy and Ryan at practice without a parent and thinks he should 'be on his own' too. There is one dad on the team who has been our team photographer. I'm so glad because his pictures turn out so much better than mine. Ryan is quite the soccer star. He is so much fun to watch because he is so fast. We are trying to figure out if he has a dominant foot because he scores with both his right foot and left. Unfortunately his team doesn't have a team photographer so you have to look at my pictures. Maddy has been on the same soccer team for the last 3 years. We really like her coach. She has been playing defender (which is not her favorite) until yesterdays game. She finally got to play middy (don't know how they spell it) which is what she wanted. She soon figured out how tiring it is to be there...a lot of running. Almost all of her games are at 9:00am so it is getting pretty chilly. The assistant coach's husband brought a huge container of hot chocolate for the girls yesterday. Very smart! Maddy's pictures aren't as clear because of the fog. My mom and Dad came over this weekend and my sister Sara flew in from Boise. The three of them and Maddy went to see Wicked in Seattle. Matt and I went in September and loved it. I think Dad was a bit skeptical knowing it was a musical and not knowing any of the story. All 4 ended up really liking it. I'm so glad they got to go. (Doesn't Dad look happy in this picture?)
School update: Maddy is loving 5th grade. Her teacher is amazing. She is starting to play the flute this year. I am so glad she opted not to get the drums or the sax she had talked about. Ryan is starting 3rd grade off really well. I was a bit worried about the teacher he was assigned but it has actually worked out great. He was just voted to be one of the ASB Reps for his class and is waiting to hear if he gets to be a Tech Kid again. Cade loves first grade. He has the same teacher Ryan did. He actually likes to get homework. I think it is the feeling of being 'grown up' like the other kiddos. He (and I) loves the fact that he can walk home without someone having to pick him up. Parent update: Matt is on his way to California right now. He will probably be going down a lot for the next 6-8 weeks with work. He has really had fun coaching soccer and the kids love him. He is also busy with Scouts. I have been at the school a lot. I am PTA co-chair for the Recognition Committee and we have been busy staying on top of that. I also worked in morning kindergarten class for the first month of school getting them ready for parent volunteers to come in. I finally decided that I am over there so much that I might as well get paid for it. I turned in my sub application last week and had my first job last Friday. Hopefully it will keep me busy as well. I was also put into Relief Society as one of the counselors.
Monday Matt and I took the boys to the Ballard Locks. The Locks are where the sea water from the Puget Sound meets the fresh water from the lakes (Lake Washington and Lake Union). The water level of the lakes is 20-22 feet higher than sea level. What does this mean? It means when boats want to go from the sea water to the higher lakes or the other way round, they have to go thru the locks. The boats go thru one set of gates and 'park' behind another set. Once there are enough boats in between the gates, the back gates are closed. They raise or lower the water level between the gates and then open the front gates. Besides the boats, we were all entertained by the fish. The salmon were going crazy! I don't think I have ever seen fish jump out of the water like they were then. In the second to last picture you can see the splash the fish have made from jumping and I think you can see one fish in the air. In the last picture (bottom righthand corner) you can see the fish flying. I was really hoping to see some of the boats from "Deadliest Catch". No luck with that but we did see the bar they all hang out at.
We reached a milestone today in our family. Today was the first day in almost 11 years that I haven't had a child at home with me for at least part of the day. Today was the first day of school. What did I do on my first 'free' day you ask? Why, I spent it at the school of course! Katie and I were in charge of making the teachers back to school snack bags. I made the bags and Katie decorated the front of composition notebooks...very cute! I think the teachers really appreciated them. While I was busy doing the PTA stuff, Matt was at home getting kids ready...packing lunches, writing checks for supplies, making sure teeth were brushed and everyone had on clean clothes. Maddy and Ryan had already told Matt it was fine if he walked them to school. Cade would have nothing to do with that. "Not on the first day, Dad!" Matt took two pictures of the 3 kids together outside and they were off. I saw Matt at the school wondering around and he had already lost everyone. We found Maddy and Ryan exactly where they should be. We decided to divide and conquer to try to find Cade. I ended up chatting with another mom when I hear, "Hey, mom, what's up?" We got Cade to where he should be and all was well. Maddy was pretty excited for school this year. This will be her first year having a man for a teacher. She also gets to do DARE and the High Tea (which she is was the first one to finish this year). As fifth graders they also get to do a rotation so they get to have all the 5th grade teachers. This was Ryan's first day as a 3rd grader. He was also excited but also a little nervous. I don't think he had any idea what to expect his teacher to be like. He came home saying she was nice so that puts my mind at easy some. Mr Independent, I mean Cade came home a little disappointed. He couldn't believe they didn't have 2 lunches today. I told him there is only supposed to be one. He says "Well there should be two because I am STARVING!" Apparently the long day is going to be an adjustment for his eating schedule. He did mention he made some new friends. There is one girl in his class that bugs him though because she keeps telling everyone to SHHHH! Besides doing the PTA stuff I got to help in Ryan's class and in the office. I got home thirty minutes before the kids did just so Cade wouldn't think I was picking him up. I might actually take the day off tomorrow. Maybe.
We were all sitting around the tv tonight watching "Wipeout." I see a gal on there with shorts on and I made the comment "She's as white as I am." Ryan apparently mishears what I say and replies, "You're not as fat as she is, Mom." I clarify myself. "Whiter, Ryan, not wider!" Thanks anyway, Ryan. I think.
There are some trips you go on and you are so glad to be back home. There are others that you wish you didn't have to leave so soon. We just got back from the England Family Reunion and I really wish I was back at Kara and Todd's. We first went over to Manson so Matt could participate in the ChelanMan 1/2 Ironman. This is one race I don't mind him doing because we stay at Granny Janny and Papa Butch's house and they make it very easy to get to the race. Matt did great. He finished first in his age group. Because he did he got a little glass mug that is tinted yellow at the bottom. Everytime I look at it I think it's dirty. From there we drove to Boise and stayed with my sister, Sara for 2 nights. Her complex has a nice pool that the kids (and Matt) took full advantage of. Matt also requested that we stop by Sonic so he could get his double jalapeno cheese burger he has been craving. As we ate our dinner I noticed my burger had a bit of a kick to it. The jalapenos had been put on my burger by mistake. From Boise we headed down to Matt and Sara's house in Salt Lake. We took the kids to Cowabunga which is a waterpark in Draper. As soon as we parked, Maddy informed me that there was no way she was going on any of those slides. (She can be a bit of a chicken.) We dragged her inside and all the kids loved it. We were even able to talk the kiddos into riding on some of the non-toddler slides. Great place to go for 1/2 day if you are in the area. Friday we headed to Kara and Todd's in Pleasant View. Matt and the kids spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool. I had a pretty good sunburn going so opted to avoid the sun. Later that night we pulled the kids from the water and went into the Ogden Rodeo. Crazy. Parking was insane. We walked into the rodeo grounds and could not find a seat. The place was absolutely packed. I finally found some nice people who let us squeeze in next to them behind the grandstand box. Every once in awhile we were able to see something. The kids enjoyed it though. Saturday we went back to Kara's and had family pictures. I think there were 90 of us there. We had yummy burritos for lunch and hung around the pool some more. It was so nice to visit with people. After dinner we dragged the kiddos back to the hotel. None of them were too happy to leave. After everyone else went to bed, a group of us went to the hotel hottub and just talked. We decided at about 12:30am that we should probably get to bed. On our way to our rooms, we heard a lot of noise coming from the breakfast room (those Englands can be loud!). We stayed in there chatting away until about 2am. It was fun. Sunday, my cousin Brynne had her mission farewell but we had to miss it so we could get Matt to the airport in Boise. We brought back a lot more baggage than we went down with...Kelsy, Aden, Thaddeus and Ben tagged along for the drive back to Washington. The 7 grandkids are all at Granny Janny and Papa Butch's house until tomorrow. They have had a blast and I will have to do another post for that. I'm glad they were there with air conditioning instead of here. It was 105 degrees yesterday according to weather.com. So Kara and Todd, we tip our hats to you. You were fabulous hosts and we had a blast. My kids are already asking to go back. You took such good care of all of us and went far beyond what anyone expected. You are awesome! Next time, Kara, I hope you get to relax and come visit with us! Thanks for a great time!
Cade and his friend have been drawing all over the street this afternoon. I went out to see how they were doing and came across this lovely drawing of their 'friends'. Notice the lines coming out from under the arms of the friend on the right? Cade says that is armpit juice. Nice.
1. Sun- The whole weekend was beautiful. High 90s, low 100s made bearable by air conditioning and the lake. 2. The Lake and Stutzman's beach- Our family has known the Stutzman's for years. They have a beautiful piece of property right on the lake and they are always so generous with it. Matt took the kiddos down Friday and Saturday for hours. Cade 'cannonballed' off the dock and Maddy and Ryan learned to snorkle. 3. Time with Granny Janny and Papa Butch- I don't know if our kids realize how lucky they are to have grandparents so close who just love to spend time with them. 4. An uncle who will take you for a ride...a helicopter ride that is! 5. Fireworks- I love watching the fireworks show in Manson. We are lucky enough to have a prime waterfront location to watch from. This year the barge where they shoot the fireworks from was directly in front of us. I love hearing the echo of the explosions bounce off the mountains. I love seeing all the boats in the water and hearing all the horns honk when the boaters approve of the show. And just to be mean, I have to throw this one in.
Today Ryan asked me when the next holiday was. I told him the 4th of July and then asked him if he knew what happened on the 4th to make it a holiday. He said it was the day America won its independence. One point for Ryan. He then asked me what happened on the 24th of July. I told him that was when the Saints (or pioneers) made it into the Salt Lake Valley. Ryan said, "Oh yeah, I knew that. You mean its when the Saints go marching in!" Ummm, sure. We also just found out that Michael Jackson passed away. I switched the TV on and turned to MTV so I could show the boys who Michael Jackson was. They were showing the 'Beat It' video. After about 30 seconds, Ryan looks at me and asks "Michael Jackson was a girl?" I informed him that he indeed was a boy. "But how can he sing that high? I'm pretty sure she is a girl." Can ya' really blame the boy?
Today Cade turned 6 and this whole weekend has been all about him. Yesterday we took a group of his friends to see the movie 'Up' in 3D. All the kids seemed to really enjoy it. As part of the birthday deal, each kiddo got a drink, popcorn and a treat to have during the show. I think we only had one boy lose his food when he stood up from his seat, put the treat box on the seat and let go. There wasn't enough weight to hold the seat down so the treat box went flying. After the movie, someone took us all on a tour of the projection room. We could have skipped the whole tour part. I don't think the guy had much experience in dealing with the younger crowd because he didn't try very hard to keep their attention. Oh well. We went back to the party room where Cade got to open presents. I had talked to him before the party about not saying anything bad about any of the presents. I could just imagine him saying something like "I didn't really want this." He actually did a great job letting each guest know exactly how much he LOVED everything. Today was the family birthday celebration. Cade opened gifts this morning and then after church we had cake. Much more laid back than yesterday. Happy birthday, Cade!!
This point in the school year is when I feel I am so ready for summer break. I thought we were busy when we were in baseball season but now that school is winding up for the year, we are getting hammered with things to do. Here is a (kind of brief) breakdown on what's been going on. Ryan is finally done with baseball. I was a little worried at the beginning of the season on how well Ryan would like being in (and how well he could play) baseball. Midway thru the season though, things clicked and Ryan did GREAT! This is a picture of him with his almost double. He would have made it to second base but he missed first and had to go back. He improved a ton and ended up being quite the player.
Cade really liked his first year of tball. Maddy took this season off from softball so got to (or had to if you ask her)go to all the boys games. We were able to enjoy Duvall Days. Worked on putting in a new pathway to our gate. The kids came up with 'Make Your Mom Happy Day'. Matt, Maddy and Ryan have learned a few piano tunes. Cade got to celebrate his birthday with his fellow kindergarteners. The boys were boys. And Maddy...I'm just not sure.