Thursday, August 25, 2016

Johnny Goes to Kindergarten

I know I already touched on the kids' first day of the school year, but I feel like I need to expound a little bit with Johnny's first day of school EVER. Kindergarten is a big deal, you know.

Johnny isn't one to have any sort of social anxiety, so I wasn't too worried about the transition for him.  His teacher, Mrs. Shupe, came to visit our home the week before to prepare Johnny for what was ahead. From the moment she left until this morning, that boy has been nothing short of stars in his eyes as he counted down "how many sleeps"there were until "KINDERGARTEN!" 

Last night after I tucked the other kids in and then went and knelt by Johnny's bed, we talked for about fifteen minutes about how he was mostly excited and he wasn't sure if he would be able to fall asleep, even with the magic confetti Mrs.Shupe gave him to sprinkle under his pillow. I said I was excited for him and he said, "But you are also sad right? Cause you are going to miss me."  I responded with a "Of course." Then he looked to the ceiling, put his hand under his head and said, "Yeah, I'm going to miss you too....but at least I'll be back in the afternoon and you can make me peanut butter honey toast for lunch." Then he started nodding his head, "Yeah, peanut butter toast is going to taste good, right mom?"  I gave him one more kiss on the forhead and his right cheek (those are his favorite spots that he always points too.) Then I told my Johnny-boy I loved him and closed the door.  He grew up so fast. 

This morning was the first morning in the history of ever, I swear, that Johnny had trouble getting up. That confetti worked a little TOO well. Haha. Once he realized what day it was, he was in a mad frenzy to get ready on time and to make sure William knew that he wasn't coming to kindergarten with Johnny, but that Johnny would be back in the afternoon. 

We had german pancakes for breakfast, took a million pictures and then got on our bikes to take off to school.  He couldn't get his bike to go and he started crying. That was weird.  I tried to help him, but he just kept crying "I can't."  I realized it didn't have to do with the bike so much and I knelt down and grabbed his shoulders and said, "Johnny today is going to be AWESOME! Your teacher can't wait to see you, and you get to sit by William (his friend.)"  He took a deep breath, smiled and said, "OK, I can do this."  And off we went.  The whole ride there he was telling Caity how awesome it was going to be and how excited everyone in his class was to meet him, haha.

His brothers were as excited to see him off as Caity was to guide him around the school.

No, Matthew doesn't have hypothermia- he just ate a blue marker.

He wanted me to make sure you all knew he wasn't nervous in this picture, just super cold because his mom told him it was warm enough to wear shorts.

We walked into his classroom, where he gave a picture and an apple to his teacher. His buddy, William showed him where to hang his backpack and how to play with the blocks at his table. Because we were late (shame on me and hello, story of my life), I didn't get to helicopter loiter as much as I would have liked. So, I reluctantly headed toward the exit. I looked back at him and saw a smiling, busy boy. I walked through the door, they closed it and it's hard to explain what went through my mind in that moment.

A change occured as that door closed. There is a new element in Johnny's life that I am not really a part of. Sure it is only a few hours in the morning, but it seems to symbolize a whole lot more. He is moving on to the next stage, there will be new adventures and experiences and I get to be there walking with him through it all...but in a different way than before. For a while I was his whole world, and now there are others that comprise the world that is forming around him- how grateful I am for all those others, and how I pray that they will see in Johnny the special boy I see.  My heart broke and burst all in one swift moment and I don't know how to catergorize the feeling that surged through me tempting tears and a ball built in my throat. It wasn't nesessarily sadness, nor exactly happiness- perhaps more of a fulfillment and peace that this is life. These milestones happen and will continue to happen and I will let go a little bit because I love him and want to let him grow.  A segment of our life kind of died today and in its place is something beautiful is begining to grow that I pray I can live up to my end of that beautiful something.

There is only an hour until I pick him up. I can't wait to hear all about his first day of school!

After School

How was school today?

"I was happy and I did the monkey bars!! (hand pump) it was a little scary, but that tube thing, do you think I went down it? Yes, I did. I slipped down, like zooom, like it took two seconds to get all the way to the bottom. And I was on the swings with some pushing me, I thought, but.. no no, I didn't see anyone pushing but when my legs went in and out, guess what, Mom? The swing went back and forth. You wanna know what I wish? That there were some sings that you just sit on and they go back and forth really fast and go around if you say, "go around."  And I was like playing with that marble thing, there were lots of stick things and you put the marbles in and you can stick them together and they do really cool stuff, like you want to make and if it is an "M" it will do an "M".  I played with Really big dinosaurs, like this big, there is a shark one that's THIS big. No it's not scary. I can carry it with all my hands and all my might. See my might? Big muscles, right Mom? Only with everyone can we make it this high. Cool right? The shark is a tiny bit bigger than William. But what you wanna know what its super duper bigger than of? A plate.  Uh and like there's like the other thing, but with big marbles and you can see there and the things stick and a rolly thing with a pretty big marble like this big and if you back is really cold, and it goes on your back and do you know I trided twice? I love it.  You want to know two serious things? There are two bugs. One daddy long leg and a poisenous spider. Oh and there is little dinosaurs. Oh, and I was going up the slide and the girls said, "GIRLS ONLY" and kicked me off and I didn't tell though, because I didn't want to get them in trouble. Yeah, that was Baaaaad."

What did you learn today?

"Quiet. You have to be quiet. And love one another. Actually we didn't learn anything because everyone was new and learned first day of school stuff.  And actually William wasn't that nice, he was chasing people to make them scared, so I chased him and said WIIIIIILLLIIIIIAAAM! and he was like Ahhhhh and everyone said thank you.  My friends I don't know their names, but I know a Kaden and my other new friend uuuuuh, it's something with a "Buh" like, Brandon. Or maybe Braylee."

Sounds like a good first day in my book!

When he got out of class he ran up to us. William met him halfway and and they hugged as they rotated in a circle, Then he cusped Matthew's cheeks and said in his baby voice, "Aren't you just the cutest?? Did you miss me!?"  Then he hollered, "After-school HUG!" And pummeled me. Which made my entire exsistance.  We talked to his friend, William, who is in his class and then as we walked away, he said "Stinks to be Caity she still has the rest of the whole day going to school."

Johnny and his buddy, William Brewer.

And their shadow, William Brassell.

Here is a picture of his whole class a couple days later on red shirt friday:
Kindergarten, ready or not- Johnny is going to rock your world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of School 2016

There is a certain level of trust a mother has to have when she drops her children off to school. There's trust in the teacher, that they will love those children and educate them. There's trust in society as they send their kids out in to it, that as those children learn independence they will see their place in a bigger world.  There is trust that as a mother you have done everything to prepare that child for this moment, for the times when you are no longer by their side but you have trust that the lessons you have taught them and the countless talks have sunk into their hearts and they act their better part. You trust that they will remember who they are, the person you have guided them to become.  Then there is the trust in God.  In my mother's heart, every day, there is a prayer sent heavenward, asking God to watch over those children, and I trust that He will. When they are lonely, I trust he will comfort them, when others need a smile, I trust He will whisper to my child's heart to be the giver.  When they are learning something knew, I trust God will witness to them the truth and importance of what they are learning.  Yes, there is a lot of trust that goes into dropping my kids off at school.
It is a weird, emotional feeling the first day of school.  I'm not necessarily sad or happy, or proud, or aching...but there is a definite moment of emotion. It's like your heart breaks and swells all in one moment and you are overcome with how great life is, and how happy you are that those kids you love get to experience it.  It's just special to be a front row witness to their  life's journey.

BUT enough of my sappy thoughts. Because today isn't just about me and what's going on in my life, but about these two crazies right here:

Today, Caity started 2nd Grade. Her teacher is Mrs. Galer and we are so excited.  We went to the open house last night and just fell in love with Mrs. Galer, she had a way of making Caity feel so special and valued and that is something that settles this Mama's heart!  Caity chose out her outfit with particular care. She was the last one asleep and the first one awake this morning.  Her class has something called flexible seating which she thinks is the coolest thing ever- I feel like I should mention she always sits at a desk though, haha.  She was nervous at first when she read her class list because she felt like a lot of the kids her people she "felt awkward around." But after her first day, I think she realized it was all going to be OK. 

Johnny is in Mrs. Shupe's AM Kindergarten class.  He met Mrs. Shupe on Monday, so he was already so excited. His best friend from preschool is in his class, William, so that was also very exciting.  Mrs. Shupe is exteremly organized and she has already equipped us with a lot of tools to work on Johnny's learning and I am stoked.  I will write more about Johnny's first day in a seperate kindergarten post- but know this much: this boy was so excited and we are thrilled with his class and teacher.

We rode our bikes to school and after Caity and Johnny parked their bikes, Caity put her arm around Johnny to give him some quick big sister, who is a second grader, guidance that I couldn't over hear, though I tried! haha. She introduced him to all the faculty she remembered from last year and I couldn't help but smile and thank heaven above for that little girl!  We dropped Caity off and scurried off to Johnny's class and then I turned around and took William and Matthew home. Those two were thrilled to have the house to themselves and were running around into every room growling and laughing.  With that said, they were equally, if not more thrilled when they were reunited with Caity and Johnny. 

It is going to be a great school year.


You guys. This really happened:
Sometimes the redneck in us shines a little brighter than I would hope. 
John drove past me after this first picture and said, "I'm just going to drop this trailer off at the north pole then come right back home." I was a little confused until I heard giggling in the back...this is what I found:

Gosh I love those kiddos.  It was the last day of summer and they were making the most of it.

Also, about a week ago, we had a rain storm that ended in us running in the parking lot and having bike races through puddles...I want to remember that time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Livin' for the Weekend!

This weekend was another good one. I'm tellin' ya', not studying for the BAR is awesome.  Saturday morning was spent at a church service project and in the afternoon we headed over to the Rigby Car Show.  It was so much fun, and they had quite a fun variety of cars.
When we first got there, there was a vintage fire truck that would lift people into the air, it was cool, it was freaky, and it was definitely the kids' highlight.  It was fun while we were up there to hear the kids point out their favorite cars- Johnny liked "a mater truck with with a flag on it." Caity liked a turqouise car, mostly because I think she is trying to prove a point that her favorite color is no longer pink (PSA:that is now her third favorite color.) William loved the huge red tractor.  John's favorite (and you can see it in the front row on this picture) was the Ford pick up with the extended cab. He wants one of those so badly, and I'm struggling to get on that bandwagon, or wold we sat band-truck?.  He also liked an old Camaro that reminded him of Dr. Dollar. (A good friend and dentist he worked for in high school.)
We love car shows and this one was no exception. We had a blast.
Here is every single picture we have of that adventure:

In other news...Matthew! This little wanderer is always keeping us on our toes!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eagle Park

It only took us all summer to finally get over there, but Eagle Park did not disappoint.
Who would have thought such an oasis exsisted in our little town?
(Probably everyone who told us we needed to go there, haha.)
We waded in the water, walked up stream, threw rocks, raced leaves, and just enjoyed the sweet summer breeze.  It was a nice little break from a busy week.



Friday, August 19, 2016

Two Non-Photographed Adventures

Adventure Number One: Rexburg Rapids and Night at the Park.
Monday night, we cashed in the kids' Rexburg Rapids passes they scored from completing the library program. We had a blast. My phone has a knack for spontaneously dying at the worst moments and John didn't bring his phone because he was afraid of it getting stolen (does that kind of stuff even happen in small town, Idaho??) Soooo, beneath are the only pictures we had of the outing:


BUT we had so much fun. If I had a camera you would have seen:

Matthew running to the water than running back out, giggling and watching his feet.

Caity's shivering little body timidly swaying to the music while she waited in line to go down the slide. Then her giving me a double thumbs up before my turn.

William lounging in the intertube as we went around the lazy river, looking like he owned the place with his hands behind his head smiling big.

John sitting with all the boys in the hot tub waiting for me and Caity to get done with the water slides.

Matthew's big smile when we bounced him up and down through the river.

Johnny feeling cool because he could touch three feet deep water.

All the kids eating dinner after baths in their pajamas.

The kids playing fetch with our friends' dogs at the park before, well- after bedtime.

It was a good day as we were winding down our summer. Earlier we road our bikes to the school to see our class lists and although there was some clear disappointment from a certain social seven year old who only had people in her class she felt "awkward around," I think it is going to be a good year. 

Adventure Number Two: Celebrate Youth Festival

Madison School District hosts a huge festival for the sake of children and nothing else. It is awesome. There are popsicles and inflatables and prizes and booths and games and free merry-go-round rides and a firetruck hose and well just a whole lot of fun.  All those people and lines were a lot for me to take in, but I did it, and aren't you proud of me? It was totally worth it. Again, no phone. Thanks a lot phone. BUT if I could have taken pictures, it would have been:

Johnny's run as he sprinted through the obstacle course with a huge smile on his face. (I love that he just jumps into things, he has no social anxiety whatsoever. It was actually a really hard obstacle course! I was so proud of him!)

William running through the firetruck hose water so excited with his painted on tiger face.

The kids in their "real-life" sunglasses, they looked so cool and hip.

Caity and William waving to eachother.

Matthew's smile while he dominated his Monkey Bar.

Johnny's pumped fists when he hit the paint ball target.

The kids showing each other the books they got from the Book Wagon.

Johnny dancing every time we got close to speakers.

Caity's bashful face when vendors would talk to her and she would just whisper "No thank you." 

Their pink faces when we finally got home to our relatively cool apartment.

It was so much fun and a lot of excitement for one day. It is just another example of why I am so glad we one- live in Rexburg for this short time, and two- we opted for a smaller/older apartment with a a great location close to the park. Again, a great event to top off our summer.  Thank you, Rexburg!!

Soooo, I got a couple of pictures after the fact:

...And the Other is Gold.

This summer has been awesome. We have been able to connect and re-connect with so many grear and amazing people. 
With the warmer weather, we have found ourselves at the park a lot more, which means new friends! Yay! And though that makes my heart all excited inside, nothing quite makes my heart sing the way it does when I get to see good, long time friends. We have moved a lot, you know.  It has been hard getting all settled, only to root up and start over.  I hate leaving behind friendships, and yet I'm learning those are the kind of things you get to take with you!  
O have found myself on my knees multiple times this summer, thanking Heavenly Father for my friends.
I'm going to attempt to document all the ones I have gotten to see over the last month or so...we'll see how I do! haha.
First- my old college roommate and chum, Lisa Jo Lines came to visit! I still remember meeting her the first week of our Freshman year, I loved her right away and convinced her to room with us for the Fall. She was so much fun and we had a blast together. Well, flash forward 11 years later- BAM, here with are with eight kids between the two of us and it feels like nothing has changed in so many ways! It was fun to watch our kids play together and our husbands talk about guns and other husband things.
I just love her and am so grateful she carved out time for me!
And on that note, AnneMarie planned a groupchat with me, Lisa and Kristin and it was so fun to see everyone again, and watch the dynamics continue much like they did when we were all roommates. So fun.
Here we are with our kids (minus Matthew):

Next, I got to see Ellen! Ellen is one of my kindred spirits. We met in Moscow and I am so glad we have kept in touch despite living on opposite sides of the state.  During our internships, Ellen was my lifeline and pen pal, and I just love her. She gets me. She had to come to Idaho Falls for work and heck yes, I wanted to meet up with her for a quick dinner! It was so good to spend time together in person. It was good for my soul and I don't remember the details about the day, but I do remember it being a hard one, but after an hour with her, the cloud lifted and I just couldn't stop smiling. So glad I got to see her. 

In this same thread, at the end of April, Eliza and Jakob Browning came up to Rexburg with Jade (pictured above) and we were able to see them for a too-short thirty minutes. It's hard to put into words how good it felt to see them. I love Eliza and am so flattered that she is willing to be my friend, haha. I love our conversations because she likes to dissect topics in the same way I do. In one conversation I will change the subject three or four times before I come full circle and I don't lose Eliza once. Her and I are alike in ways I usually don't find common among other people. And once a sister missionary said we looked like sisters and I about lost my mind because hello, ELIZA! 

The weekend before the fourth, we went down to Ogden. While we were there, we were able to see Brittany (John's sister) (Duh, we saw her.) But I feel like I need to include her despite the fact I see her all the time, because I feel like this summer we have been able to have a lot of late night to the early morning chats that have just meant the world to me.  Brittany and I met 10 years ago in the Summer of 2006 and she has been my most consistent friends ever since. I am so glad I married her brother because she has been a rock of a friend for me and I look forward to visiting the Brassell's home because I know I get to see my girl, Brit.  
(And Brittany- for the record I wrote this the day BEFORE the facebook notification!)

During our trip, we drove down to say a hello to Jon and Ashlee Barker and their boy, Wyatt. Jon was John's best man at our wedding.  When we were newlyweds, Jon was like our best friend and he would drive up to Rexburg and sleep on the floor of our studio and we would stay up and talk and play mexican train. Oh it was good times, and we just love Ashlee.  It was so good to see them and catch up while we watched the fireworks over the valley. 

On our way home we stopped in Idaho Falls to visit Whitney and Jordan Stott who were in town. Jordan was John's study buddy and Whitney was my fellow law widow as we lived in the school's family housing. (I'm tellin' ya, those Moscow friends!) It was sooooo good to see them. Here is an older picture of Whitney right after Carter was born:
We stayed and talked with them for quite awhile and it was seriously so good for my soul. While the boys talked about guns, politics, and law stuff- seriously- law stuff...they are so boring sometimes....anyway, while they did that- Whitney and I had a heart to heart about mothering that I needed so desperately!  When we first met, I only had Caity and Johnny, and since then Whitney had Addi and Carter (who is the happiest baby ever), not to mention my two has changed for us both so much and it has been nice to have someone to walk with through the ups and downs. That Sunday afternoon, it was just someone to lean on for support and to just connect with. Gah, I love the Stotts. I especially appreciate all the memes Jordan sends John about guns and politics. haha.

Once we got home, we were able to have Adrianne and Kendon Jensen and their kids over to visit. We met them in Boise (another dear time in my life) and I always call her my sister...and I just don't know how to expound on that, "sister" seems to do the trick. Kendon worked nights and John studied late, so Adrianne and I spent seriously every night keeping eachother company while our kids loved and fought eachother. We have an unspoken agreement that we can just be ourselves with eachother, and I really do feel at home when I am around her. She is so selfless and aware and supportive and strong. They came to our place for dinner and so we could meet their sweet new addition, Lincoln- he was everything and set of chunky cheeks.  As soon as they walked through the door, no time passed and we all picked up where we left off, it was great. 

Next to come into town was the Wilcox family!  We met the Wilcox family as newly weds when I was pregnant with Caity. John and Cameron bonded over their love of Dodge trucks and fishing and Kassandra and I over BBC Jane Austen movies!  We had such a fun group of friends at Park Place apartments during that time with camping trips, game nights, paint ball, RISK tournaments and group dinners....oh, the good ole days.  Cameron has remained one of John's closest friends and when Cameron called to go fishing, John was stoked!

Here is a picture when I picked up John. It was so good for John, he was in the best mood after they hung out- fishing is good for that husband of mine.  I loved seeing how grown up those Wilcox children are now! Karys was just a baby when we moved away from eachother and now she is in first grade!

Next to pull into town was Emily Johnson and Lauren Whoolley. I haven't seen either of these ladies in five years and they both just happened (unbeknownst to eachother) to be in town at the same time! It was so great to see them.

First I got to see Emily. Emily was my neighbor when I lived in Peterson Pointe. She is a saint. I remember most about her was how much she was going through at the time and yet she was always reaching out and concerned for others.  She was such a fun and creative mom, and would plan a story time with other moms where we would all take turns. Years later, she is someone I think of often and try to emulate. In so many ways it felt like no time passed at all, and even though our busy lives haven't allowed us to to keep in close contact, it is like we have been living parrallel lives in raising our kids. I especially love talking"books" with her.
I have become park friends with Emily's old roommate, Sarah Riley- who I love, so it was fun for all of our kids (12 between the three of us) play together after lunches at the park the few days Emily was in town.

William being social (for like, the first time ever.)

At one point Jackson came up to Caity and said, "You're in love with Lincoln." to which Caity responded, "What? No I'm not, I just met him, besides I'm only seven. I don't know that much about love."

And here are Caity and Lincoln (Emily's son.) They were best friends when they were 18 months old and it was so crazy to see them 6 and half years later all grown up.
I feel like they were so similar, and it was kind of a cool experience to see.
And for the sake of it, here is a picture of the two of them way back when:

Later that day I got to see Lauren and her family. It was so good! Even though it has been over five years since we lived close, we have kept in touch through blogs and social media and I love watching her parent from a far, she is a mom I admire so much and she inspires me to try harder and appreciate the stage I am in more fully.  The moment I saw her, you could just see the light she radiated. She always has, and she is always a person that I have looked up to for being a sunshine in others' lives.  It was so good to finally meet her kids in real life. It was fun reminising. I still remember Lauren's summer goal was to try all the Snoasis flavors, haha! She was so fun and was such a special friend to Caity, it was a treat to see her as a mom now.

Not to mention- Emily came and we all got to be together for a brief moment!

Well, I know I didn't do anyone justice and this post basically took me days to write, so excuse the length and the inconsistant style! Haha.  BUT I had to at least document how grateful I am that I was able to see all these amazing people and revisit the beautiful memories we shared, the times we helped eachother through and the discover how lasting friendships can be.

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