Sunday, September 2, 2018

School Starts

Two weeks ago Kirsten had her first day of school.  Her teacher's name is Mrs. Pugh.  So far she hasn't had any homework, which I have greatly appreciated.  Kirsten seems to be adjusting well to her new school and new class.  She's made a couple of friends and feels comfortable walking into class by herself now.  Something kind of funny happened on the first day.  I assumed the first day was a half day because it has been a half day the last couple of years, and I'm fairly certain it was every year when I was growing up.  Well, it turned out that when I went to pick her up, school was still going strong.  It wasn't a half day after all.  I felt so bad and worried that it might have been tough on Kirsten to be expecting to come home after three hours, but not get to.  When school finally did get out, she was fine, but not altogether impressed by the school lunch she had to eat.  I was relieved that she still had a good day.
Kirsten on her first day of school

Reagan, Madelyn, and I spent a lot of time playing outside during Kirsten's first week of school.  We lowered Kirsten's old three-wheel scooter for Madelyn to pretend to ride.  I think it was pretty cute.  Reagan had me blow tons and tons of bubbles.  She was so enthusiastic about popping them!

Maddie on a scooter

Maddie on the scooter.  Reagan blowing bubbles.

Matt had his birthday on Thursday, and we went out to eat at Zupas, which has yummy sandwiches, soups, and salads.  It wasn't the most exciting birthday he's ever had, I don't think.  When you have to work, you have to work, I guess. 

My birthday was on Saturday.  We hiked to the Timpanogos Caves in American Fork Canyon.  The hike was only 1.5 miles to the caves, but it was steep.  The caves themselves were fascinating and beautiful.  I've been wanting to see them for years and finally did this year.  Of course, not every member of the family was quite so enthusiastic.  When we were done with the one hour cave tour, Reagan said, "I hated that.  It was definitely not worth it!"  Everyone else told her to keep it to herself.  Then we hiked down, and it was very steep on the way back down, too.

My family on the hike

My family
 Earlier that week I went to the doctor to get my knees looked at.  They started hurting every time after I went running, and I wanted to get them checked out.  My primary care physician referred me to an orthopedic doctor.  I had x-rays done, and it turns out I have arthritis under my knee cap.  He referred me to a physical therapist, but he told me that I could still run.  However, I should listen to my pain.  Well, Friday before my birthday I went running.  My knees felt tired, but no worse than usual.  Then on Saturday we went on the hike, which was by no means a stretch for me.  However, by Sunday evening I was limping around my house in wretched pain.  I've been in pain ever since.  Apparently, by the time I got to the doctor, I was right on the verge of having my knees rebel.  I'm glad I went when I did.  I started physical therapy on Tuesday, and the therapist predicts that it may take me a couple of months to be walking normally.  In six months I should be able to run again, but I don't think I will.  There are lots of ways to exercise that don't involve risking my ability to walk. 

It's been tough to find out I have arthritis right before my thirty-fourth birthday.  I feel like I'm too young to have arthritis, but it's genetic, I guess.  My grandma had both of her knees replaced.  My doctor said that I was probably born with a misshaped knee cap, and it was bound to happen sooner or later.  Still, it makes me feel old to be hobbling around, and now I'm kind of with Reagan:  I don't know if that hike was worth it!  No--in all seriousness, stuff happens.  I'm going to get better, and I'm going to be able to walk like normal again.  This whole experience is making me more grateful for the miracle that my body is.  God made it with hundreds of working parts that function together to keep me alive and moving.  I've always taken mobility for granted, and this blip is giving me more appreciation for my body and the many, many years of easy mobility with which I have been blessed and will be blessed.  Just remind me of my gratitude when I'm frustrated and impatient with my inability to walk down four stairs normally.  It's really hard to maintain a positive attitude sometimes, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Reagan started Kindergarten on Tuesday.  She loved her first day of school!  Daddy took her to and from school on the motorcycle, which was quite a treat.  I'm glad she's adjusting well, and I look forward to all of her growth during the next year.
Reagan's first day of school

Hanging out with Madelyn on the steps after school

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Big Move followed by a Big Summer

At the end of April, we moved into our new house in Mapleton.  We love our new house.  I was nervous about leaving our old home in Springville, but I haven't been homesick for it at all.  Of course, I miss some of our neighbors, but since we're still close by, we can still see them at times.  Our new house started feeling like home really quickly.  I feel comfortable and safe.  So long as I'm with my family, I'm at home.

Maddie learned to draw with chalk

We love our swing set

Reagan graduated from preschool.  Here she is with Teacher Lynda and Esperanza.

These two girls are so sweet together.

Mimzy came to visit around Kirsten's birthday, and she sang "We are the Dinosaurs" with the kids.

Kirsten blew out her candles

Kids eating cake

Playing with the parachute

Josh, Kirsten, and Harper

Quin and Kirsten

Kirsten, Madalena, and Laila

Madelyn and Jager have a special relationship.  I love to watch them together.  She is delighted by his every move, and he protects her by staying close, which means she gets knocked down a lot.  But that doesn't bother her.
Looking out our bedroom window at the chickens 
One afternoon Kirsten came into the family room dressed like a cow, and Madelyn couldn't believe her eyes.  She gasped with delight to see a real cow in the family room.  She ran up to Kirsten and grabbed Kirsten's nose.  It seemed like Madelyn was trying to figure out if the cow was real.  It was so cute.  She was absolutely delighted when she realized that it was Kirsten.

Look at the delight on their faces!

During the first week in June, we celebrated Art City Days by going to the carnival.  Nana and Grampa joined us.

On the Ferris Wheel

We convinced the girls to ride the swings at the carnival.  They were scared, but ended up loving it!

Kirsten and Reagan went to Farm Camp the second week in June.  This was their second year, and they loved it all over again!
Kirsten on a horse

Reagan on a horse
 We've been to the Reservoir near our house several times this summer.  This big watermelon float of Nana's is one of our favorite water toys.  Don't worry, when Madelyn is on it, we stay very close to shore.

For one date night, Matt and I went ax throwing with one of Matt's colleagues and his wife.  I have to say that I am not a natural at ax throwing, but after a couple of hours of practice, I finally hit the center of the target.
I hit a bullseye! 
The last week in June we went to Topsail Island with my family.  Growing up my family went to Topsail Island or another beach together most summers.  It's one of my favorite family traditions.  So relaxing and fun!  I was so happy to finally get to share that tradition with my dear husband and children.

It was so nice getting the chance to catch up with family members I haven't seen much of for the last several years.  We were all so relaxed and had such a pleasant, pleasant time.  I got to catch lots of waves, which is my favorite part of going to the beach. 

We went crabbing

And caught several crabs

I just really like this picture of Kirsten and my brother Michael

Many of the cousins on the hammock.  So cute!

Reading with Aunt Bonny

We went roller skating with Sierra
After going to the beach, we drove up to New Jersey to stay with Marc, Beth, and the boys.  It was so fun to see our girls play with the boys.  They loved each other so much!
Daniel, Maddie, and Reagan

Benjamin and Kirsten

We went to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC

We saw the Balto statue in Central Park

We met up with Shelley and Jesse in Pottstown at the Ridge for breakfast

We saw the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
 While we were waiting to get into Independence Hall, a torrential downpour started. At first we tried to stay dry in a small archway, but it became apparent that we were going to get soaking wet.  So, we went out in the rain, and the girls jumped in the puddles while we waited for our tour to start.

Jumping in puddles outside Independence Hall

The tour at Independence Hall was a fabulous experience.  I felt the Spirit so strongly.  I really believe that the Founding Fathers were inspired by God.

On July 4th we went to the Califon Carnival with Beth, Marc, and the boys.

Riding the rides

The next day our family minus Maddie, who stayed with Marc and Beth, went to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
On the ferry ride over to the Statue of Liberty

Looking out on Manhattan from the pedestal 

Reagan played in the splash pad at Battery Park

On our last day of vacation we went to the Turtleback Zoo with Marc, Beth, and the boys.  It was a lovely day!
At the zoo

A couple of days after we got home from vacation, Reagan graduated from Upstart, which is an online preschool that Utah provides for free.  Reagan learned so much during her year with Upstart.  She learned to recognize all of her upper case and lower case letters, the letter sounds, lots of sight words, and how to blend the sounds to read basic words.  She is so ready for Kindergarten--though she is pretty nervous about it.  She is mostly nervous about  making friends, which is a normal thing to be nervous about, but I think it's kind of funny because Reagan is so good at making friends.  Good grief!  She has so many friends that she doesn't have enough energy to play with all of them.

Reagan with Rosie and Rusty when she graduated.

Our new house has this really neat ramp that we use as a slide.  At the top of the slide, there is a little room.  In this picture, you can see Kirsten poking her head out of the little room.  We call it the "little room" because it is only about two and a half feet tall.  It's actually pretty large square footage-wise.  It's a kid's dream room, I think, because it is definitely not designed for grownups.  Kirsten and Reagan love to play up there, and about a month ago, when Madelyn was 16 months old, she learned to climb up the slide to get into the little room.  It terrified me!  I mean, I was proud of her, but she's pretty little to be going in and out of that little room.  For awhile, I was able to keep her from going up there by having her wear socks, but she learned how to take the socks off her feet pretty quickly.  Fortunately, with practice, she has gotten really good at maneuvering on the slide, and the novelty has worn off, so she doesn't do it all the time anymore.

Reagan, Maddie, and Kirsten on the slide

One Saturday we went up to Jolley's Ranch in Hobble Creek Canyon to see how Jager likes to swim, and we found that he's not crazy about it.  He's not comfortable swimming yet, but I think if we encourage him to swim, he could really learn to love it.

Matt, Jager, and Reagan at Jolley's Ranch
For Pioneer Day our family did the Mapleton 5K.  We all finished in under 45 minutes, which was very impressive.  Reagan and Kirsten ran for all of it except half a mile.  I was so impressed.  They'll either learn to love or hate running.  We push them pretty hard.

My brother Michael came to visit for about two and a half weeks.  He stayed at my parents' house, but we got to see him often, too.  One evening we had the gang over for dinner at our house.  Michael loves my homemade pizza, and I enjoy making it whenever he comes to visit.

Dad, Brian, and Michael
One evening while we were trying to read scriptures in the girls' room, Jager kept distracting us by getting in our faces.  So, Matt put him up on Kirsten's bunk bed.  As soon as we finished reading, Reagan and Kirsten had to climb up there to be with him.  It was so funny and novel to see how confused he was by being stuck up high.

Kirsten, Jager, and Reagan
One weekend we went camping up Maple Canyon at Whiting Campground.  It was quite an adventure!  Jager came with us, which made it extra fun.  We roasted hot dogs and bratwurst over our campfire and explored camp for awhile, but then we started hearing thunder.  We returned to camp to roast marshmallows and eat s'mores, but as soon as we put the marshmallows over the fire, it started hailing.  Shoving our marshmallows into our mouths, we ran into the tent.  Jager tried to follow us, but we couldn't let a wet, muddy dog come into our tent.  I felt so bad leaving him out there.  Matt tried to encourage him to go under the truck or the picnic table to stay dry, but all he wanted to do was be with us.  So he stood at the end of his chain watching us in our tent.  What a loyal doggy!  It rained the rest of the night, and it rained hard.  We all survived and stayed dry inside the tent--while all of us except Jager. 

In the morning, we had s'mores and a breakfast scramble for breakfast, and then we went on a hike up Diamond Fork Canyon.  It was 2.5 miles to five hot springs that we got to relax in for awhile.  The hike was way fun, and we all enjoyed it--especially Jager.

During the last three weeks of summer, Kirsten and Reagan took swim lessons at the Springville Rec Center.  They both made so much progress!  I'm absolutely thrilled to see how well they can swim now.  Reagan went from not swimming at all to being able to swim across the pool!  Kirsten went from doing only the doggy paddle to being able to do freestyle and backstroke.  We did lots of free swim after their lessons, too.  So they got lots of practice.  Maddie also got really comfortable in the water.  She started blowing bubbles and trying to float on her back!  I have to hold on tight to her because she will really try to take off after her big sisters.

While Kirsten and Reagan did their swim lessons, I went upstairs in the Rec Center and ran around the indoor track while pushing Madelyn in the jogging stroller.  It felt good to get some exercise, and after three weeks, I'm now in the habit of exercising, which will be really good for me long term.  Today I pulled out my bike and rode from our house all the way to the windmills at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon.  I don't know how many miles I rode, but it was pretty far--and lots of fun.  I feel so fortunate to have the Mapleton Parkway, which is a walking/biking trail, run right in front of our house.

Tomorrow the girls get to go meet their teachers at the open house.  I can't believe the summer is over.  It's crazy that I'll have two kids in school.