Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bike parking, and Friday Fun: peach lemonade

I normally have a friend I share a carpool with each week for elementary but Friday we told the kids we could ride bikes to school. The bike cage was chaos! It it was too small for the amount of bikes that come in and so kids even parked their bikes all around the outside of the cage. Hopefully we can get that changed while we're here. 
 We always look forward to Fridays when Scott and the kids are home for the weekend, so we will usually have a treat and do something fun as a family. This past Friday we made peach lemonade (stevia sweetened which has zero impact on blood sugar and is all natural, from a plant) and air popped popcorn.
 We played games that night and Saturday we went swimming and then Scott and I went on a double date with the Hansen's to an Uplift Families, Parenting conference and the kids watched a movie.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Kids back at school

The Saturday before the kids went back to school we wanted to do something fun so we went to the Classic Fun Center for skating and water slides. 

We sang this song Sunday, which I've song many times before, but this time I actually paid attention to the words and the message and it touched my heart, so I took a picture of it to help me remember.

 Monday the kids had their 'back to school' night where we could find their classrooms and meet their teachers. Annabelle's third grade teacher loves Harry Potter and has her room decorated with floating lights, a 9 3/4 entrance, and all sorts of other Harry Potter things.

 Elisabeth is in 7th grade which means we have a child in Junior High! Even with our move, she's able to attend the same Junior High which is nice for her because it means she's with all her friends. This young woman is a joy in our home.
 Charles is in the fifth grade, and though he had to move elementary schools this year, he's tall, athletic and kind so I don't think he'll have trouble making friends.

Annabelle is in the third grade. She's our cheerful, and spunky little girl.
Jane started the first grade which means it's her first year going to school full-time. She has done well so far and doesn't seem to have any complaints. 

It's just me and Nora at home now. We miss them. The house is a lot quieter, and it stays a lot cleaner, which is nice, but we miss having them around. 
 She's my buddy and helps me clean in the mornings,
and one day this week we ran errands to Costco and Sprouts and afterwards had a lunch date at Cafe Rio, 

and she helps me cook in the late afternoons. 

After lunch each day she'll work on some puzzles 

and then we have school time for about 15 minutes. 

 Once the kids leave for school we walk around tidying the house and when I walked into Charlie's closet, I found that he'd made a 'man cave' (or at least that's what Nora told me that he calls it). Pillows, blanket, Calvin and Hobbes books and even a little box of food :).

Saturday, August 27, 2016

BYU Education Week with Mom and Luis

Luis flew in late Sunday night, and mom came with me to the airport to pick him up. We all loved our time with mom and Luis. The kids always tried to get them to do a game with them or just sit and visit. Monday classes started at 830am and went til 4pm. I went all day that day with mom and Luis but then mostly did evenings so that the kids weren't home all day without me, every day. Elisabeth and Charles did the babysitting, but really Annabelle is quite helpful as well, and we don't have any little babies and so they all kinda just do their own thing and take care of themselves which is nice. But it's nice to have mom around, reminding children to do their chores and to be kind :). 
 Here we are in the Wilkinson Center eating lunch. Tuesday and Wednesday night they stayed with my mom's brother Fred who lives near BYU and works on BYU campus so they could spend some time with them (and I think also so that I wouldn't have to drive back and forth so much since it's a 45 minute drive one way).

I attended classes on various topics including marriage, parenting, stress, meditating, time management, nutrition, cooking and more.  

In my stress class with Miller, he said that James E Faust, if asked to do something or speak somewhere when his schedule was already full he would say, "That's touching my plimsoll line, so I'll have to say no, not this time." and then he would explain that just like a ship has a plimsoll line marked at the bottom to show when their was enough weight and you shouldn't add more, so we have plimsoll lines and we don't want to sink. 
I was able to hear some old favorites like John Bytheway, 

 Chef Brad,

and Hank Smith. I also loved Brad Pearce who was a professional tennis player and he taught a class on teaching your children to be mentally tough and resilient. I hope he comes back again next year. 
 This girl and the rest of the kids, did so well on the evenings when I was away (of course Scott came home after a couple of hours), and on Friday when I was gone all day.
 The house was always spotless when I got home, and Scott said that's exactly how it looked when he got home. He appreciated their help so much that he took them out to dinner, by himself, one night :).
I also loved the stress class by Kevin Miller (the one mentioned above with the plimsoll line). I love the quote below and the scripture:

 During that week, I went jogging with Luis one morning and he reminded me of the benefit of having your kids, and he thought in particular Charles, run with me in the mornings. Charles and Elisabeth did that with me quite a bit in June as we were preparing for the 5k race over the 4th of July, but then they both sorta stopped. I asked them if they'd be interested in starting up again and Charles did, so he's been going with me a couple mornings a week. One day last week we ran a mile to this ramp and then ran up and down this ramp as fast as we could several times. It's about the closest thing we have to a hill nearby and we wanted to get some 'hill repeats' in so I think we'll be doing this again.
 Wednesday night I stayed home so that I could get Elisabeth to her piano lesson and see Charlie's last flag football game for the season. And he scored a touchdown! Way to go Charles! He loved it and I'm sure he'll be doing it again.
 Oh and here's the update on my toenail that died and fell off from running :). It surprisingly, doesn't hurt.
 Luis and my mom didn't stay for the evenings of BYU ed week because they were there all day and it didn't finish until 930pm so they were tired, but Thursday they picked me up on campus (with Luann and Fred) and we went to dinner at Guru. My mom got a salmon salad and I tried a piece of salmon! My first time ever. It was okay. I'm a vegetarian because mostly, I don't like the taste of meat, or the thought of it, but it wasn't that bad. I don't think I'd ever get a whole meal to myself with salmon but I'd be willing to have a bite sometimes. They dropped me back off at BYU and once I finished my classes at 930, I picked up Luis and my mom and we dropped Luis off at the airport and headed back to my house.
 I found this note from Annabelle in my bathroom one night when I got home:
 The children were so good and sweet and I missed them, but was so happy I was able to attend these classes which I know, are making me a better mother and person in general. I've picked a couple of things I want to work on and so far, so good. I'm wanting to be more like Jesus, and I love this quote below of what I'd like to be when it comes keeping your inner calm and peace:

With a family of 7, our lives get very full and scheduled and busy and if I'm not careful and prioritizing and really thinking about what's important here, I can get caught up in it all, doing 20 things at once with my 'robes flying' and feel a little crazy and a lot less peaceful and like a loving mother. I'm working on this by taking a few minutes each morning, during my prayer and scripture study time, to meditate. First I spend a couple of minutes just deep breathing and focusing on my breath, pushing all thoughts away. Then I continue to breath deeply, but now I think of common scenarios when I'm might normally be stressed, flustered, rushed, impatient etc and I visualize myself in that scenario, responding in a more christ-like way. This has been so helpful for me, and it works! My other goal is in marriage, and that's to make the departures and arrivals more important/big. Some days, Scott gets home and I'm busy switching laundry or cooking dinner and I don't even notice he's home for a couple of minutes and then it's like, "Oh, hi hon. How was your day?" and a small kiss and back I go to my task. Does he feel important to me and missed when I respond in that way? I don't know, I've never asked, but I know I wouldn't feel that way and so I'm working harder at making his departures and arrivals a little more important and fun :) because that's what I'd want.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mom's(Granny) visit, Mini Triathlon, Italian mission reunion, stake conference

I'm a bit behind on this blog, but I will do my best to catch up this week, and since the kids are back to school, I think I can do it! 

My mom and brother came from a visit from WA and NY so that we could attend BYU education week...more on that later. My mom arrived first and was here to congratulate us at the end of our mini triathlon. This is the multi-stake one that is free and that we did last year. This is a picture of me and my good friend Elisa L before the race. 
And this is my good friend Gina (she was one of my first visiting teachers after I was married) and Elisabeth. This was Elisabeth's first ever triathlon even and she did amazing! After I finished the race (and I got the same time as last year, which was a little disappointing because I wanted a PR, but at least this time I placed 3rd for women which was fun), I got some water and waited to see Elisabeth come in on her bike. Once she came in on her bike, I took off my number and I ran the 2 miles with her again so that I could help her a long with words of encouragement :). It's exhausting and I'd trained with her prior, so I knew this would be a little bit of a struggle for her. But she jogged the whole 2 miles and she finished in 1 hour and 2 minutes!!! Awesome Elisabeth! She was so happy and proud of herself. 
I finished at 43:29 and Scott at 45:05 which was a PR for him! We all loved it and are looking forward to doing it again next year. 

That night, Scott had an Italian mission reunion at his mission presidents home in SLC. Not everyone wanted to go along so we left a couple at home with Granny and the rest of us went and ate and visited for a couple of hours and had a nice time. They had an outdoor pizza oven going so I went out and watched the Italian family that was cooking everything up. The pizzas were amazing! I love the crust and the toppings were so good too! I had one that had a little balsalmic vinagerette and apricots, another that had very thinly sliced potatoes with rosemary and so many more fun flavors. I was kinda in heaven :).
Here with are with President and sister Pacini.
We got home just in time to head over to our stake conference for just the adults (the kids stayed home and watched a movie), and then the next morning was stake conference for the whole family. As always, we went away feeling uplifted and edified and wanting to be a little better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Crazy kids, Annabelle date night, Cottage Cheese Pancakes

I was doing airplanes on my feet with Nora the other day and then all of my kids wanted a turn :). Charles is the heaviest at 80 lbs, but it was easy :). 
Elisabeth took these pictures of the girls one day while she was babysitting which I thought were cute. Elisabeth babysits for us whenever we need/want and we pay her a flat $20/month, 10% of which goes to tithing, and she saves about half of it...well and actually, she's saving all of it this year because she's trying to earn enough money to go to piano camp next summer which is $600. She has been very diligent and good about saving so far and has about 1/3 of that saved already.

This is what happens when you have a boy living in your house. He was apparently, jumping down the stairs and his knee hit this wall coming down :/, which seems a little odd to me, but odd and unlikely things do happen.
Annabelle's date month is in August (and February), and she choose to see the BFG at the theater. We went on a Tuesday when it's $5 for tickets at the movies.
Each of my kids are assigned to help me with dinner once a week, and on this particular day I had help from both Elisabeth and Jane as we made Cottage Cheese pancakes. These, are so good! You can find that recipe here.