Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kindergarten Baby

 I felt that pang this morning when I saw the morning kindergarten students lining up, knowing that I would be taking my baby there in a few hours for his first day of kindergarten. I know he's in good hands. Mrs. Clegg is an excellent teacher and Mira loves her. The office staff is wonderful and is right there to help when needed. Look at that bubbly expression.
There are only 21 students in afternoon kindergarten, which is awesome for us! There they are, all lined up and ready to head inside. I picked up Matthew from school and he needed some sustenance immediately. So much that the thought of washing his hands before snack threw him into conniptions. But he was happy about his day, and happy to tell others that he is now officially a kindergartener!

Back Home

Now that we're home from McCall, we are getting back into the swing of routine. Kind of. The girls missed their first week of 3rd and 5th grades. They were anxious to meet their teachers, about whom we only hear glowing reports. Matthew was so excited to start his kindergarten year with Mrs. Clegg.
 He gets a little silly at home. He found my star sticker collection and decided he needed every single one from the sheet on his clothes. Micah was his co-conspirator. Now I am finding rogue stars in the carpet, on the tile.
 Mira and Chad had Razzia practice last night and wore their spiffy new jerseys for the first time. Mira looked the part with her outfit. She's such a doll. And Chad looked handsome in his coach's jersey. They had a great practice. Mira got her arm stepped on with cleats at the end of practice when kids were goofing off. She went to bed with that and then awoke with a terrible kink in her neck this morning. She toughed it out and went to school anyway.

McCall Vacation

 Boy, oh boy! After some shopping to stock up for our trip, we were excited to get on the road to beautiful McCall, Idaho.
What a gorgeous spot in Idaho. Payette Lake surrounded by all those trees, the mountains, the wildlife, the weather. It was great. The day after we arrived we went on a fantastic little hike: Boulder Lake to Louie Lake loop. It was about 2 miles in and ended at this lake. Everyone was pretty toasty by that point. Micah was the first to talk about jumping into the water. He and Ella jumped in. Then others started stripping down and getting in. Even Aunt Maren! Great memories.
 The crew on the hike:
 We started the hike going the wrong way, unbeknownst to us. But it was a little adventure, and the children like feeling adventurous!
We all rented a motorboat on Wednesday, which was completely awesome. We spent most of the time tubing, either single or doubling up. In once instance Micah, Mira, Matthew and I were all in it at the same time. Maren and I had some wild rides, courtesy of Chad. Matthew had a great time in the tube and just riding in the boat. He told me just today, "It's so weird that we're home. McCall was the best trip EVER!"
 Mira and Ella getting splashed on their ride:
 I think that's Micah:
 As far as wakeboarding, Blake, Maren, Colin, Micah, Ella, Mira, and I all gave it a go. Colin loved doing it, and got some good runs in. Ella stood up on her very first try! Micah started getting cramps in his hamstrings and arm. The wakeboard was really adult-sized, so for the younger ones, not as much fun as tubing. But we had a great time cheering each other on!

We also had access to a kayak and inflatable paddleboard, which we all had a great time using. Unfortunately, the paddleboard never inflated enough so that adults could ride it. But the kids had a good ol' time.
 We went on a hike in Ponderosa State Park which was less than 2 miles total. Grandma had a fun scavenger hunt for the kids. They searched for nests, butterflies, ladybugs, feathers, and animal tracks. It kept them occupied!
 Colin, always interested in the great outdoors and survival. It is his big interest right now. He and Micah each have assembled a survival pack. Colin checks out survival books from the library and pores over them. His greatest wish is to be dropped off in the wilderness and left on his own overnight to build his own shelter, fire, and catch food.
 At the beach in Ponderosa State Park the kids had the best time just playing in the sand at the beach. Braden and Ella especially focused their efforts on this, Dragontooth Castle. Brody, Matthew, and Mira also helped dig holes.
 Cute little Hunter having fun!
 Chad provided comic relief for me, watching him try to get up on the paddleboard. But then it was my turn, and I'd have to say I didn't look any better! Colin was able to get up and around better than we were.
 Chilling in the shade.
 Friday we were at another beach in McCall by the city center. The deck made for a fun change of pace at the beach.
 I love this picture with the kids all running back up to the deck for another turn to jump into the water.
 Ella turned out to be a little pro on the paddleboard! She loved paddling around on it and did it quite a lot.
 More playing on the beach!
 Matthew, Colin, and Micah in the kayak. Ella on the paddleboard.
 And Mira takes a turn out on the paddleboard. Trickier than it looks!
 Matthew even got to give it a try.
 While relaxing on the grass in the shade and wrapping up our day at the beach, Ella wanted to do a little hairstyle for me. I think she did a bang-up job of it. Good job, Ella-Bell!
 After a delicious meal of burger and hot dogs, Grandma had a fun family activity planned. She'd gone to the dollar store and purchased an item for each person, representing a unique quality each person has. We had to try to guess who that person was. We loved it. I definitely want to do it with the Millers next year. I also enjoyed the devotionals we had each night. Thanks for the idea, Maren.
 As a group, the kids would cross the road to a forested area and work on building a shelter. Micah and Colin did actually put one together using their skills and tools. They'd hoped to sleep in it one night, but worried they might be trespassing. Regardless, lots of time was spent being creative!
 Initially, the plan was to travel back home on Saturday. But we didn't want the vacation to be over, so Blake and Maren, Chad and I stayed one more day with the kids. We decided to find another hike. The very first hike of our vacation was the jackpot hike. It was beautiful, ended in a perfect lake to swim in, and we were fresh, besides. We tried finding the next best hike we could. We settled on Grass Meadow. It was also a beautiful hike. But by the end of the week, we were pretty well spent, most especially Hunter and Matthew. They ended up being carried a good portion of the way. The lake was pretty. The kids did luck out and found a hoard of tadpoles in various stages of development on the banks. Chad and Micah did get in all the way and swim around a bit.
 Mr. Matthew hikes along.
Pristine is the word that comes to mind.

 And one little tadpole with a long tail but also legs developing. Pretty cute!
Our trip was memorable. And I know the kids loved it because Colin asked me, "Mom, which has been your favorite vacation: Bill's Island or McCall?" Bill's Island has been one trip the kids like to recall and wonder about returning to. So if this trip was compared to that, we know it was a success!

Pioneer Day with Cousins

 Doug and Rachel and the cousins came down to celebrate Pioneer Day with us. Rachel came Friday to allow the kids to have time to play together. I've noticed with regularity that when Micah and Grant get together, the Xbox and computer are put to good use. In fact, they'll wake before everyone else in the morning to get a head start on their gaming! The kids also get imaginative in the play room. They'll disappear down there for a long time playing, dancing, singing. I love that they do this together!
Matthew, Juliette, and I played a mean game of Yahtzee together.
 Chad, Rachel, and I took Matthew and Juliette on an evening walk to the park where they played at the playground together.
 Shirlayne Harris invited us all over to her house for fireworks. They generously shared Pop-Its and glow sticks with the kids. They had fun with those.
 The next day, Saturday, Doug drove down to join us. He joined me for a class at the CrossFit gym I just joined. (Much thanks to Mom and Dad for sponsoring me!!) It was so fun to do the workout together. I love my brother. While we were doing that, Chad and Rachel packed up lunches for the rest of us to take up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Silver Lake. It was a right warm, beautiful day. Micah brought his fishing pole in hopes of getting lucky. I love this picture:
 Silver Lake is gorgeous. I love that there's a boardwalk around the lake for an easy stroll. In addition, we went on a one-mile hike to Lake Solitude.
 Cute cousins!
 The scenery made the hike so enjoyable: trees, wildflowers, animals.
 Micah wasn't having any luck catching fish, but the guy next to us (in the khaki vest) sure was. He let each of the kids have a turn reeling in his line. He gave Micah a container of power bait, which was the best bait for the lake. What a sweet guy!
 Micah ended up bringing home a few fish, which he looks forward to cooking up.
 Theron was pretty happy with her catch!
We had a nice picnic lunch at the lake. It was a great day!


 Chad and I have enjoyed several date nights on trails recently. We have hiked Ensign Peak, the Living Room Trail, the Three Sisters (Mary, Martha, and Catherine) Lakes, and Silver Lake. We were just in time on the Living Room trail to make it to the top for a pretty spectacular sunset.
 So nice to get out of the house, just the two of us to enjoy a little more vigorous hike.
 Micah's good friend, Alex Howy, moved to Bountiful after the school year ended. Micah got a chance to spend a day at Lagoon with him. (It's pretty convenient that Chad can drop him off on his way to work in Ogden.) They had a fantastic time together!
 Matthew had his kindergarten checkup and shots, then made a stop by Smiths to get some groceries. Bruce stopped and chatted with us. When he heard that Matthew got shots, he treated him to his choice of a donut. Sweet!
 She loves the outdoors and nature. Tree climbing is on her list of talents! She brought chair cushions to the branch of our honey locust to make a comfy spot to sit and read.
 We have taken advantage of our Kearns membership this summer, and have gone swimming several times. Matthew just gets more and more comfortable and skilled in the water. He's perfecting the backfloat.
 And Micah loves to play around!
 These are amazing wildflowers from a hike Chad and I went on up to Lake Mary. I couldn't get enough. In my head I was singing "The Sound of Music!"

 On our way out of the parking lot, I saw 2 moose only 15 feet away from me. Thought they were cows at first!
 The Natural History Museum of Utah had a day open to the public, which we took advantage of. The kids loved coming here last summer. There is so much to see! Colin was not with us because he was at tennis camp. I wish I had pictures of him there. He loved tennis camp, his counselor, his roommate, and the other boys in his group.
 Here is the one and only picture we have of Colin at tennis camp. Chad sneakily snapped this on his way out after getting a text from me reminding him to get a picture of Colin! Colin, we love you.
 The kids are building with some magnetic toys at NHMU:
 And climbing inside a tortoise shell:
 Micah melts my heart. He is affectionate and sweet. He loves his dad.
 After NHMU, we headed to Liberty Park for some water and play. I have told Micah he has the best abs in the family, but he's too modest to show them off!
 Cute kids! They are good to each other.
 Micah was invited to go fishing with his friend, Strider Fontaine, at Daybreak. We discovered that a fishing license for a 12-13 year old is only $5. Great deal! He caught a couple of small fish and was super excited to cook them up. With butter and lemon pepper, the trout were delicious.
 Ella is quite a beauty. She takes good care of her long hair. She enjoys the length, and likes to have it styled sometimes. This particular Sunday, she wanted to get on "Cute Girls Hairstyles" to find a new 'do. I thought this turned out beautifully:
 I love the back with the braids and long curls. Scrumptious-looking hair!
 And these two look like quite the dapper couple. Micah got the suspenders and bow tie from JCPenny with his own money. He loves them.
 Who doesn't like to earn money? Micah has been racking his brain, coming up with ways to earn extra cash. Yardwork is hard, and pulling weeds is not his favorite job. So he and the girls went through the toy room and pulled out everything they wanted to sell. They didn't have any luck on this day, but I think they may try selling toys again on a Saturday morning during garage sale hours.