Friday, June 29, 2012

The Preschool Program That Wasn't

Scarlet had a fantastic preschool year.  We loved her teachers, Ms. Moscado and Ms. Skyhe.  We loved the program, we loved the kids, it was just such a great situation to bloom from the craziness that was finding a preschool.

And then... 2 1/2 months before the end of the year they decided to combine the morning and afternoon preschool class which meant there were 25 kids.  This sent all of their daily routines down the window as most of them couldn't fit in very easily with all of the extra bodies.  Then, because they cut her hours and benefits, our fabulous preschool teacher and her assistant left us!

So for the last 6 week session, we had the director of the program step in as the teacher with two new assistants.  It was terrible.  There was no structure, not much of a curriculum, way too many kids and just a general lack of anything getting done.  One of the assistants drove me especially crazy.  She showed up for class every day in her sweat pants and t shirt with her hair pulled back in a headband and messy bun like she had just gotten done washing her face.  She would then spend the majority of the class time texting.

Because it was the end of the year, we just got through it but it was a mess.  I was not looking forward to the preschool program, knowing if it was anything like the last six weeks, it was going to be bad.  But I guess there was this little glimmer inside of me that hoped for more.  We were told their old teacher was going to come back for graduation and bring the picture slide show she had been working on all year.

Well, that is what happens when you get your hopes up.  Someone comes along and sends them crashing back down.  And all it took was one glance at the program.  My five year old daughter was scheduled to sing for me ABCs, wheels on the bus, and itsy bitsy spider.  I think Asher could have gone up and joined her.

There were no adorable graduation get ups.  The kids filed into the room and then sat in chairs for the performance.  So a crowded room full of moms and dads with cameras and then a bunch of sitting five year olds.  You can imagine how ridiculous we all looked trying to get a picture of our kid.

Her new teacher started off the program with an insanely long introduction about how she usually does individual introductions of the children but she doesn't really know our children because she had only had them for a month and a half because of an illness in her family she wasn't able to get more involved.... and she just kept talking and talking, mostly about how much she didn't know our children.

If this wasn't odd enough, the back of the program had a letter from the new teacher eloquently expressing how much she would miss our children and how much they had affected her life... of course not enough to learn all of their names.

My least favorite assistant was there again, this time all dressed up in her Victoria Secret lounge wear.

I did like Miss Megan though...

And, to top it all off, Ms. Moscado did not make an appearance and nobody seems to know anything about all of the pictures that were taken during the school year.  Awesome.

Scarlet did a great job at the program.  She got her certificate and really enjoyed the treats and a last chance to hang with her preschool buddies.

Scarlet and Sofia

Scarlet and Jane

Jane, Scarlet, Sofia, Nicole & Ellie

When we got home, I pulled out the camera and had Scarlet sing for me some of the adorable preschool songs she has learned over the year.  I have no explanation to you why these were not on the program.

Oh well.  Onto Kindergarten we go!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Four Weekends In A Row

I love to travel.  I love going places, visiting people, doing something out of the norm, even just for a few days.  Especially now that it is 10 degrees above blazin' hot here.

Even if we didn't do the greatest job of spacing out our trip, we still had a fantastic time.  Our four out of town weekends in a row started with a beach trip to California.  Jon is 1/4 salt water and every so often we have to make our way back to his beach mecca.  It had been a good  long time since we had made the trek and visited our friends the Mercuros so we set a date and were ready to go.

But because of some really unfortunate situations, the Mercuros had to cancel on us the night before we were going to leave.  

Then out of left field came the game saver.  Jon's cousin Chase and his family offered to let us crash with them.  

I think this might have been one of our favorite family weekend trips ever.  Everything went just about perfectly.  We showed up Friday and headed straight to Newport beach to get our swim on.  

Scarlet got a big chunk of her dad's beach side.  She had no problem with jumping right in the freezing ocean water.  Asher also thought the ocean was pretty darn cool

 Rhode got about 100 feet closer to the water's edge than he did last year.  I would call that significant progress.

After some good water time, we took a walk down to the pier.  We watched the fishermen for awhile when a loud barking noise drew our attention to the water.  Three sea lions entertained us for the next 10 minutes while they barked at the fisherman and swam around the edge of the pier.

We then headed over to the Campbells.  Chase and Sierra have three beautiful children, Johanna (5), Emerson (3) and Dylan (18 months).  I was excited for our kids to meet but it is always little nerve wracking letting their first introduction be while you are in their house.  If they don't get along, there isn't really anywhere for them to go...

It was a wasted worry.  Our kids got along so well it was almost scary.  The girls and boys instantly paired off and played happily nonstop all weekend long.  Even Dylan and Asher got along!  Plus, Chase and Sierra are just about the most agreeable and fun people ever.  Seriously, if the house next door to them had been for sale (and we were crazy rich) I might have just bought it right there so the weekend could have just kept going!

Our weekend activities included a trip to the farmer's market (hah, like we needed another reason to love the area) some time at the park and a trip to a very fun, private beach.

 Their kids have the sweetest temperaments, especially Johanna.  She is just the most pleasant little girl!  Instead of having to wonder if Scarlet was going to pick up some bad habits from a new friend, i was hoping Scarlet wouldn't share her bad habits with Johanna!

Even though our kids are the same age, the Campbells are on the small end of the scale and my children, well, aren't so much.  This picture just cracks me up.  I think I perfected the "wide stance so you don't tower too much above your picture crowd" pose.
Rhode and Emerson were instant buds.  It was so fun seeing Rhode play with a little boy his age.  There aren't a lot of those around here.  The really funny part is how simiar Rhode and Emerson look.  They just look related.  At one point, Rhode looked at a picture of Emerson as a toddler hanging in their house and asked, "Is that me mom?"  It did really look like him.
Our last trip to the beach was so flawlessly perfect it is hard to even believe.  The kids played so happily, the babies dug in the sand and ate a few gallons of it.  The sun was warm and shining.  We brought food to barbeque and smores which all turned out deliciously.  And as we were wrapping up our day, some dolphins decided to swim into the area.  Jon and Chase tried to see if they could get a closer look.  They didn't get too close, but they said they could hear the dolphins talking to each other under water.  So cool!

The weekend could have only been made more perfect had we been able to see the Mercuros as well!


Unfortunately, when we got back into town, my kids and I were instantly sick.  It was a bad one too. Coughs, fevers, achiness, runny noses, we were a mess.  

We had planned to visit our friends, the Stouts in Arizona for Memorial Day weekend but our chances of being able to go were looking slimmer and slimmer.  We delayed our trip for a day but our kids seemed to be recovering so we decided to go for it.

Luckily, it was the Stouts.  We love them, they dig us.  Our kids think they are all siblings.  It is always an enjoyable time.  We visited an old mining town and got to see some glass blowing (which I find incredibly fascinating, even though I know I wouldn't last more than 5 minutes without losing a hand)

We got to have an adult only night out and had some fun adventures around the town (which included some very fun thrift shopping, the fruits of which will be highlighted in a later post).

But, our kids were just really still sick, which meant long nights of coughing and gagging (remember my kids, the gag champions?)  Plus, we passed our germs along after we left.  I think they still like us... but I wouldn't blame them if they didn't!

WEEKEND #3  My family got to take a weekend off while I jetted of once again to California for my girls trip/race weekend!  We had the funnest group of girls you could imagine.  It felt so good to laugh straight through a 3 hour car ride.

Mindy Warren, Me, Brittany Peterson, Shauntelle Rowberry-Pallet & Tavia Hart

We got to pick up our race gear, enjoy a few running perks (yay free luna bar!) and then we went looking for our pre race pasta dinner.  Our find was delicious beyond expectations and the evening was incredibly enjoyable.  

We even shoved all five of us into one hotel room.  When was the last time I slept 3 to a bed in a hotel room?  Years... I must say it is not something I have missed but it was pretty hilarious.

And then the morning was there and it was race time!  We were running the Fontana Day's half marathon.  It was chosen specifically for its elevation map.

Looks a little better than my last one huh?  It was glorious!  For the most part, I do not think running is fun.  But this race was actually fun.  We started out at a camping grounds up in the mountains and slowly meandered our way down the mountain, and all the way downtown.  I usually want to die at about 8 miles but I didn't feel that bad this time.  

Jon challenged me to try to run the whole time (which I do not normally do) and with that in my head I just kept on moving.  I only walked while drinking water, as I didn't want to die by water inhalation.  

The weather was perfect and I was feeling great.  My only low point was as I was approaching a flag and thinking it would tell me I was at 11 miles.  Unfortunately it was only 10 miles... that was rough. But I just kept moving.  I finished my last race at 2:41 and I really wanted to finish this one at 2:20.  I was just about out of energy as I approached my finish line, until I saw my time!  I was so excited I was able to pick up the pace and finish strong.  My final time, 2:13!

The drive home was just as fun as the way there, with just a tad bit more muscle cramping.  It was a weekend I could totally do again.


 And for our fourth out of town weekend, Jon, Asher and I hopped a flight to Moses Lake for the Today's Generation Dance Recital.  It is always a crazy weekend.  Jon and I are filming the show, my sisters are in the show, my mom is crazily running around backstage for... some reason.  And my dad make sure we all stay fed and watered.  There isn't a lot of time to hang out, so I uninvited my other two children this time.

Asher got to come but spent recital day at Grammys house with his favorite person besides his mom.  She might even have a one up on dad...

Kendall and Grammy enjoyed a little Asher time as well, but seriously, only a little.  We arrived Friday afternoon and we back on a plane at noon on Sunday.


We did make one interesting discovery while home.  My sisters posted some baby pictures of us on the wall for a Mother's Day present.  Check out these little babies.

Uncle Bryan

 I guess I do have a few genes floating around my children!

We have been home for a few weeks now.  It has been nice to catch up a little... but I am ready to hit the road again.  Anyone want visitors?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

11 Things About Asher

11 months old.  I can't even believe it.  Eleven months old!  This is my favorite age.  I love my older kids but if I could just keep my babies 10-11 months old for a little longer I would be totally in.

I am pretty sure I could come up with about 100 different things to say about this baby.  He is the funniest little guy!  But I will limit myself to the top 11.  I like to stick with a theme.

1) My child is my daily circus performer.  His bear crawl causes a commotion wherever we go.  The kids had swimming lessons last week and Asher busied himself with crawling around the pool deck, looking for puddles to splash in.  You could just hear the gasp of the crowd followed by quiet giggles as he would take off from his spot and find a new one in seconds.

Now that he has mastered the crawl, he has moved onto standing.

He will crawl along, reach a spot he likes and then just stand up.  He can stay there for any length of time (unless of course his brother feels the need to dash over and knock him down just for the sake of doing so.  I love 10 month olds, not sure I like 3 year olds...)

He has only taking about two steps so far... unless of course lion is involved.  Then he is all about a good walk around the living room.

2)  He LOVES water in all shapes and forms.  He constantly seeks out puddles whenever playing in the backyard with his siblings.  If he hears the shower or the bath water on, he comes crawling full speed and will do everything he can to join whomever is getting clean.  He loves a good drink of water and will beg you to share your glass until you give in.  And, if you happen to have a few ice chunks floating around, you will also get a cute, sticky baby fist into your glass to help fish it out.

The kids and I have gotten to do a lot of swimming this summer and Asher could not be more pleased.  He sits in his water toy just as happy as a clam.

3)  I think he has the most beautiful eyes.  They are still changing color a little but they are still very gray most days.  

I even love those messy little cheeks.  

4)  He has an inner alarm clock that I would love to find the snooze button for.  He is finally sleeping through the night but he is up every morning at 5:30 a.m. on the dot.  It is seriously uncanny how many times I glance at my nightstand clock to see it between 5:25 and 5:35.  I could do without this one...

5) He is my first kid who isn't big on eating.  He is a pretty good little eater when he is in the mood but there is no talking him into eating something if he's not hungry.  In that case, the food will either be spit from his mouth and/or thrown across the room.  Hmm... another I could do without.

6) He adores Scarlet and Rhode.  He hates the hours in the morning between when he wakes up and when they do.  I keep trying to tell him if he would just sleep in then it wouldn't be an issue but so far he is a slow learner.  He plays outside with them in the sandbox, upstairs in the play tent they have set up, he watches shows with them.  Where they go, he goes.  

7) He loves to do things all by himself.  There is no feeding him, he would like to do it himself.  He also loves putting on his own shoes, sunglasses, diapers, hats etc.  Of course, he can't actually do any of these things.  He would just really like you to give him a good try before assisting.  

Can't you see it in his eyes?  See mom, it worked!

8) He is officially in Destruct-o mode.  
If it can be emptied, pulled apart, smashed, poured out, or just generally ruined, he is in.  We are at that fun stage where all of the toilet paper in my house is either haphazardly rolled back onto the roll or just out of its holder and on the bathroom counter.  

9) He is the chattiest little guy ever.  He has a few words in the vocabulary like mama, dada, baba, and bye bye.  Yesterday, he was fussing in the car so I turned around and said, "Asher, what do you need?"  He stopped fussing, looked at me and said, "Ba Ba."  So I handed over his bottle and he sucked away happily.  It sure is handy when they can answer you.

10)  Even with all of the destruction, there are a few chores that he likes to help with.  He loves to empty the dishwasher... onto the kitchen floor.  And when the vacuum turns on, expect to have a helper joining you shortly after.

 11) He still thinks I am the greatest thing in the world.  Even with all of his mobility, he rarely gives me more than about a 5 foot radius.  I think everyday as he cuddles and gives me loves how lucky I am to be a mom. Unfortunately his affection is also making me look like an abuse victim.  He is the most lovingly violent baby in the world.  He bites, pinches, pulls hair, and head butts all day long.  He used to find any bare skin he could and sink in his sharp, new little teeth.  I have finally convinced him that it is much funnier to blow raspberries than bite, and, well, it is a whole lot funnier.  But when he goes for skin, it is hard to tell whether he is going in for a raspberry or a bite.  I cringe a lot.

Oh Asher, how I love you!  Here's to an amazing 11 months!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mother's Day and New Blog Header

I sure do like being a mom.

It's the best ever.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Most Awesome Truck Driver I Have Ever Met

Some of the best stories from 'back in the day' that Jon shares with me are about his brother, Swen.  Most of the time they are great for a laugh... sometimes they make me nervous that I have two boys in a row... but one of my favorites is when Jon talks about how much Swen likes driving big vehicles.

I think part of the fascination is I get nervous driving a suburban.  All is fine and dandy until any creative parking is needed.  Not Swen.  Jon swears that Swen was adamant that his dream job when he grew up was to be a bus driver.  He used to wake up long before the sun and spend all day on a combine ridealong, come home 12 hours later and think it was the best day ever.  

His previous employment opportunities have allowed him access to not as many big vehicles but very fun vehicles.  He rented out boats, jet skis, snow mobiles and other fun toys.  But his latest career change has him in the driver's seat.  Literally.

Meet Uncle Swenny's latest ride:

It is a complete understatement to say that my kids thought touring Swen's truck was awesome.  They now can't understand why we live in a boring old house.  

I honestly took a moment to imagine myself maneuvering this beast of a machine even for a few feet and went into a slight panic mode.  Oh the things I would run over...

This was also the first time Swen got to meet Asher.  They hit it off right away.  Asher immediately recognized Swen's awesomeness.  I could tell. 

Now we just really hope his new job takes him through Vegas as often as possible.