Sunday, December 21, 2014

Slow down, you move too fast

As most of us know, life has a way of forcing us to slow down when things get stressful and difficult.  The last several months since my most recent post, our family has gone through a lot of stuff.  I started my first year of teaching at the best school in our county.  Craig and Ethan go to school with me, so I occasionally get to see them during the day.  I am loving my schedule and my work, although there have been the moments of overwhelming responsibility for my little charges...biological as well as the 60 7th graders who rely on me.  Jon has been taking full-time online classes as well as student teaching hours. During this, he took a long-term sub job for about a month, which was a blessing and provided much for a Christmas budget.  However, the added responsibilities took a toll. Not to mention that I was also completing several online courses to finish adding a teaching credential to my current one.  Next year, we'll be able to focus on jobs and none of these courses and deadlines.  Grant has been attending preschool as well and loves it.  The boys are blossoming in our life here, as Jon and I approach our one year anniversary.

Christmas has come with all of its preparations.  We have been looking forward to it, cutting our own tree, decorating, watching all the obligatory movies, and making cookies.  Right now, even, I'm typing this with "It's a Wonderful Life" is playing.  All of this along with our busy schedules.  I want to post some pictures of what we've been doing the last several months, but to wrap up this post I have to mention one more thing.  I guess my world got a little too busy, because on Thursday, after my classroom Christmas party, I was taking a box out to my car and tripped off a curb, stepped wrong on my foot, and it snapped.  My fifth phalanage broke clean through.  It's not how I wanted to spend this Christmas.  There are a million things I have been saving to do until the official Christmas break.  Jon and I had a great date night planned to see the third "Hobbit" movie after school on Friday.  Many of those things have been deleted from my to do list and, if I'm going to be honest, I've had my fill of dark nights that the "it's unfair" monsters convince me that this year just doesn't feel like Christmas anymore.  But, each day my foot feels a little better.  Tonight, I think the soreness from using one leg and crutches is beginning to fade.  And maybe it's not going to be so bad after all.  I still don't know what I'm going to do once school starts, or how I'm going to get around the classroom, or pass out papers.  There's still a couple weeks before then.

For now, here are some pictures to encapsulate our doings since July.

Santa Cruz--The Big Dipper!!!!

Jon's birthday

Stanislaus County Fair

Columbia Fourth of July Parade

Big Trees

Jon made me this sign for my desk.

First day of school!

Date day in San Francisco--Pier 39

Grant's 3rd birthday!  August 11, 2014

New family friends-Rocket and Groot (both girls)

I made this for Ethan for his 5th birthday.  He said he wanted an Ironman cake, eating a carrot.  Okey dokey.

Silly Craig

Silly Grant

Silly Ethan made this--it's his Venom costume.

Hurst Ranch fall festival

Christmas tree cutting

Opa's 93rd birthday.  Grant had to have his chance to help blow out the candles.

All decorated for Christmas!  We did this the night of Opa's birthday.

My Jem and the Hologram sweater for the tacky Christmas sweater contest at work.  Totally tubular.

This photo is a little out of place--our Halloween costumes.  We were the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Going out to trick or treat

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just writing, thinking, and percolating

Since things have been going a mile a minute for us lately and I'm usually in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong equipment to do a proper blog post with the pictures I've taken, AND since I've always gotten out of the habit of writing in my journal regularly, I decided as I was sitting here tonight to just type a bit of an update to keep a record, somewhat.  There have been a lot of changes in life for us, and I'll document those in due time, but tonight I'm feeling like writing about family.  I'm really enjoying this time with the kids.  It's so much fun having Jon in our family and incorporating his hobbies and interests into our activities.  He is a home-body and I've realized I am, too.  And the kids are, for the most part.  Grant often likes to ask where Grandma is (he has an attachment to my mom that the other kids never seemed to form--I think it comes from the lengthy time we spent living with them) but we usually lay low at home.  We have this great house now where the kids have room to play outside and places to keep their toys.  We've established a reward system for things like cleaning up after themselves and keeping the house rules and they abide by it pretty well, when we keep on top of them.  They love playing video games like Mario Kart, Minecraft, and Marvel Lego Superheros.  We play hide and seek outside, pick blackberries from the bushes near our house and on our street, and are really enjoying summer.  I want to remember this time when the boys are fun, innocent, and loving and the worst things I have to deal with are potty training (almost diaper-free!) and tattling.  We have recently established a new procedure where if they start fighting, they get one chance to work it out.  If it doesn't stop, they get locked in their room (which we call the Get Along Room) until they can get along.  Sure enough, we've only had to follow through twice.  The first time they didn't believe we'd do it and it took them some time of crying and screaming before they decided being in there was worse than whatever they had been fighting about.  The second time they were in there for only about a minute before we heard, "Okay!  We're getting along now!" and they out.  Now, we just have to remind them one time and they usually work it out, or it's not so bad that we can't just ignore them.  Jon and I are doing well with our mutual disciplining and the kids are responding well.  My goal right now is to just enjoy them every minute I possibly can.  I want to make great memories of the little, everyday things. And then somedays, like today, I just want to sit in my room and read or watch TV and I tell them it's Mommy and Daddy's quiet time and they have to stay out.  And they usually do.  Sometimes we go through days (or several days in a row) where they get on everybody's nerves, but we make it through and it's the days like today that I can sit back and remember and appreciate.  Tomorrow Jon and I are going to Santa Cruz and my mom is taking the kids for us, so yay!  I'm really excited.  They're doing a promotional thing where after 5pm the rides are only $13 a person if you bring a Pepsi can, so we're going for it.  These are the things we try to do alone (and simpler activities, too) now and then to try and have our newlywed time.  It's a trial being newly married and raising three active boys at the same time, especially since Jon has never raised kids before.  Everything is so new to him and I need to remember that more than I do.  We are so comfortable together that it literally feels like we've been together for years, and if I'm not careful I can easily let the ins and outs of life with kids take over everything.  So, tomorrow is couple time, today was family time.  And tomorrow my mom is taking the kids on a much-anticipated bus ride of Sonora! :) They built a new bus stop in my parents' neighborhood and the kids have been DYING to go on a bus ride.  Such simple pleasures.  They are so sweet and wonderful little boys.  Well, hopefully pictures to come soon.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Trip to Laughlin and Sonora

On Mother's Day, we loaded up after church and drove to Laughlin, NV (near where Jon's parents live) to visit with Jon's mother.  We stayed at a neat hotel/casino on the Colorado River called the Colorado Belle.  It's built to look like a steamboat and appears to sit in the water.  Here's a picture of it across from the river:

To walk in the front door, you cross a bridge and moat-type thing full of koi.  They have vending machines with fish food and the boys loved hanging over the side and watching the feeding frenzies.

On the other side, there is a great little walk way along the river.  It was a beautiful night.

You would think bunking in one hotel room with three little boys for two nights would be disastrous.  It wasn't too bad, though.  This is the second time we've all shared a hotel room but this time Grant didn't have his own crib.  The hotel wanted to charge an extra $10 per night for a crib for him so we stuffed them all in bed together.  It went really well, and here are the cuties.

On the second day, Jon went to his mom's house to help her with something and he took Craig with him.  On their way back, they drove past this little town off the beaten path where the have a resident heard of wild donkeys.

The had some hay to feed the grown ups but this little one had a sign on his forehead saying not to feed him.  Apparently the donkeys were really big and pushy.  I wish I could have seen them, but it sounds like it might not have been a good idea to have a bunch of little kids running around and getting stepped on.

One Wednesday we drove out to Sonora.  It was a fun trip since we went a different way than just driving through the central valley.  We went through Las Vegas, which was fun to show the kids and tell them it's where we got married.  Then it was up toward the Sonora Pass.  It was a nice drive.

Mono Lake

Snow, at the pass, in May.  We were lucky the pass was open on the way there.  It was closed when we left, but we went the other way, back down through the central valley.

Just a pretty scene with deer in a field in the same abandoned golf course the boys and I went to when we had our pictures taken last year.  Jon and I spent a lot of time driving around and showing him the lay of the land.

One night, my parents kept the boys for us and we got a hotel room at the Sonora Inn.  We had dinner at a great place called Mike's Pizza where I, believe it or not, won this little guy in the grabber machine!

We were there for about a week having fun and taking care of business.  Things are all in flux but, at the same time, things are clearing up as fast as they get cloudy.  One item at a time, I guess.  Life is never boring and we are excited to see how it will all turn out. :)