Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Days of School

What an interesting year this will be. Tyce had his LAST first day of school since he is a senior this year. A SENIOR in high school, as in 12th grade, Class of 2014. Wow.

Picture after school. I didn't get up early enough take one before school (which starts at 7:00 am, hello).

Tyce still has some schedule issues to work out but he is very excited about choir this year. As you know, he goes to school to be social first, academics second. Oy. Heaven help him actually graduate. We already know he'll have fun.

This is a big year for Mary as well. She's in 8th grade and we are homeschooling her. It's only been a few days and we don't have our full curriculum in place but so far, she has been happy, enthusiastic, and a joy to have around.

Check out Miss Thing in her pajamas for school. That's how she rolls.
The first day we worked on Personal Progress together. She chose to do the first value experience in the category of Knowledge, which involved reading a lot of scriptures, journaling, and discussing. She said she wasn't very good at looking up scriptures but I helped her out and she read each of the required verses out loud. It was a lovely experience for me and I think it was for her, too.

This week we are both doing a lot of organizing in preparation for the full school days to come. She completely overhauled her room, down to scrubbing the walls and spreading carpet cleaner on her floor. I am doing similar projects but will probably never get to those kinds of details. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming....that's about all I can handle.

I asked her what she would like to learn besides the required subjects and she mentioned Latin and French. So I'm really excited to start Latin with her, which is the language I studied for four years in high school. French will come later, if she wants (though I secretly hope by then she wants to learn Spanish, which is way more practical). She also said, "You know how I like to bake? I would like to learn to cook. Will you teach me? Oh, and I also want to know how to do my own laundry." Um, YES. I will teach you, dream child.

Harrison is in 3rd grade and his teacher is Mr. Amberg. He is very happy to have a male teacher.

So cute when he's not posing for me!

He was excited about his Chewbacca shirt.

Cameron is also in 3rd grade and his teacher is Mrs. Dillashaw. He's excited because he is in a portable.

Cam kept singing and I found it hard to get him to be still.

Do you like his bracelet? It says "PURE AWESOMENESS".

I love these little guys so much and I am so proud of them. They look so grown up going off to school on their bikes. Both boys signed up for the running program JAWS. Cam said, "The only way I'm not going to make it to 100 laps is if I quit. And I'm NOT a quitter!"

Bryce gave each child a blessing, and even gave one to me. With four kids doing four very different things, I think I'm going to need all the help I can get. For myself and for the kids, I am grateful for human support and divine guidance in this journey we call life.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

10 Things We Did This Summer

I always think I'm going to dread the summer break because of the clash and clang of people not used to so much togetherness, but it is actually always lovely. The end of the school stress transforms the kids back into nice human beings for this 3-month stretch. We had great time!

1. We made God's Eyes. I intended this craft for the twins but Tyce and Mary made as many or more than they did. In fact, Mary used an entire skein of yarn herself. I think Tyce took a bunch of stuff to his room so he wouldn't have to share. In crafts as in snacks, it's every man for himself.

Only a sampling--they made many more.
I also attempted to teach making friendship bracelets, but that didn't turn out so well and there are no pictures.

2. Tyce started his job at Albertsons at a courtesy clerk. He bags groceries, sweeps floors, and gathers shopping carts from outside. He was a total punk about getting his picture taken but I wanted to document his first day as a real working man.

Trying to keep his face out of the picture.

His badge.

Walking in to the store on his first day.

3. Bryce had a low-key birthday. A highlight was the challenge Mary and Bella issued to him: A Mario Kart Championship race.

You will notice that #3 says Isabella Smith (your favorite daughter).  Hehe. The disclaimer at the end states: Withdrawl before the races are over will result in immediate execution.

4. During chores the boys wore some of my aprons one day. I thought they were so cute!

If you're going to clean you might as well look pretty.

5. Mary was creative. Here are just a few things she did.

A disturbing, meant-to-be-funny dark poem called "Dead People".

A reward sign for the ancient Game Boy she had stolen from Harrison and played non-stop, obsessed over for weeks.
 I like her rewards: butler for a day; the dog for a night; a coupon for a stuffed animal rent; a Mario and Sonic profile and 1 mystery prize; and dragon lessons. Unfortunately for her the Game Boy is still missing...but I know who took it.

The logo she created for our upcoming Santa Run team. The red-caped reindeer are Mary and I, Vixen and Dancer.

6. Bryce took Mary on a Daddy-Daughter trip to Disneyland!!!!!!

Pretty girl in the parking lot. She lost my hat though on a ride.

Classic! Splash Mountain was one of their favorites. Notice, no hat. Hm.
The next day they went to the beach. Both Bryce and Mary were in their element. They were made to live by the sea. And yes, she is wearing her red cape.

7. Tyce and I went to Les Miserables at the Smith Center. Awesome as expected.

Our view from wayyyy up there.

People kept thinking Tyce worked there!

8. Cub Scout Day Camp was a blast. I got to go every day and hang out with my favorite Cubs. They learned about animals, the environment, knot-tying, citizenship, and teamwork. Favorite activities were archery and bb guns. The last day was a huge fun day with a rock wall, a maze (which was creepy and made me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it), and rocket launching.

Cameron on the wall!

Check out how high that is. Cam didn't make it all the way but he did great.

9. The Prices came for a visit! And while they were here Kira had a birthday. 

Birthday girl--7 years old.
She had a giant cookie for a cake. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

10. I made homemade play dough, Gack, and bubbles for a Relief Society Meeting. I've made play dough plenty of times but it was a my first attempt at gack and bubbles. The gack turned out great--guess what....Harrison made it by himself. I just supervised. It was super fun. The bubbles turned out pretty good but were not amazing, probably because I didn't have "real" bubble wands. If I hadn't used homemade wands I think the bubbles might have actually been just fine.

Cam with the play dough.
Harrison, the never-normal-for-a-picture poser.
Look at that gack!
So that's a good overview of what we did. Now we're back to the school routine and I'm missing those carefree days already. Goodbye, Summer! Come back again soon!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Can You Believe . . . 18 Years!

Our anniversary is always at a very busy time. Last night we were like, "Oh. About tomorrow. Yeah, let's do something." We had to ditch the calendar because the start-of-school schedule threatens to choke the life out of our free time. You may be proud that we declined going to a fireside and a choir activity (but we may do that one because we have an intense inclination toward duty and obligation. That is something we have in common). If we had the ability to leave the children we definitely would but since that's not an option we will do the best we can to party in a 2-hour time frame.

Actually we are going to the temple this afternoon so that's 2 hours right there. But then we're coming home and going back out later. That's the plan, at least.

Guess what, after I thought Bryce had left for work he came home with two lovely bouquets of flowers! What a nice surprise to start off our day.

I love Bryce so much and I can't imagine spending these past 18 years with anyone else. He is my rock, my love, and my best friend. He helps me be my best self and I am grateful that we can be together forever.

At dinner after the temple.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Days

I have lots more pictures to upload but here are scenes from a typical summer day.

Mary jammed to her iPod. Her favorites artists include Taylor Swift, The Fray, Linkin Park (some songs), Audrey Assad (a Christian singer). She can't do chores without singing at the top of her lungs, lost in her own world.

 Art projects like this fashion oragami are staples for her.

Tyce signed off some Cub Scout stuff for Harrison. Oh and guess what...Tyce got a job at Albertsons!

Official stamp of big-brother approval.

Harrison showed off his mending skills. He repaired a lot of stuffed animals this summer. He's really good with a needle and thread.

Sock monkey surgery was a success.

Cameron amused us with his commentary. For example, one day at Walmart Tyce got a bag of Cheetos with his own money. As he and Cam walked to the check-out Cameron said, "Those are MY Cheetos." Reaching for Cameron's toy Tyce retorted, "Then that's MY sock monkey." Cameron nodded his head in defeat and said, "Touche."

Funny guy.
Anyway, I've been remiss in writing but will get my act together soon. You may be interested to know that we have decided to homeschool Mary this year and that I am submitting my application to substitute teach. It's going to be a little crazy around here but then again...when is it not?