Saturday, March 17, 2018

Back to the blogging world...

I haven't written in my blog for 4 years or kept a consistant journal either, but I need a break from Instagram which has become my quick "post a pic" to document life for the past few years and I'm going to try getting back to writing here instead.  Instagram is easy and fast, but looking back through all these past posts I am sad I've not got more details from these last few years of life.  I'll just have to make it up now and document as well as I can from this point on.

Jack and Peter just competed in Oregon Battle of the Books and made it to Regionals (second time
for Jack).  It was a great wee team this year and we had pretty high expectations only because we absolutely killed the competition in the pool rounds and came in first.  Unfortunately, we were once again eliminated after making it through to the 'awesome eight'.  Same classroom's a curse! It was a crushing loss as we got some tough questions and felt like the competition got a lot of easier ones.  It's ok though, we did so well. Gracelyn and Jack took it the hardest and were in tears, I wanted to cry along with them, but held it together for their sakes.  It's been about 8 months of work, so when it's over it's hard to separate yourself from it!  I find myself waking up thinking about it and having a hard time going to sleep because I'm thinking about it.  Anyways, we found out that same day (March 10th) that the new book list contains a book with the topic of a transgender boy.  Ryan and I are currently reading it before we decide if we are going to participate next year only because some of the content in the book is not age appropriate.  We definitely don't want Peter reading it at the age of 8.  Time will tell if we are going to compete next year or take a year off, which would be sad as it's Gracelyn's last year at the Elementary level.

Jack moves onto middle school next year and so I have been meeting with his teacher, Stephanie Sayles, and Mrs. Putnam (who teaches him Orton-Gillingham) to talk about his IEP.  We don't live in the Mountain View boundaries anymore, but I have a request in to have him go there.  I'd rather he go to CV as it's closer, but I totally understand why he would want to stick with his friends.  Overall Jack has had a great year so far and we are super grateful to his teacher for helping him with his self esteem issues.  He is so smart, and I hope one day he realizes that!  He continues to be the most sensitive and caring boy.  Ryan has been working with both boys on their pinewood derby cars and Jack is constantly saying that he hopes Peter will win since it's his first time racing (he's always thinking of others.)  Unfortunately, he found out today that is best friend from school is moving out of State this summer, that will be even more of an adjustment for him, but he's very social so I know he'll be okay.  I was able to go into his class 2 weeks ago to watch him do a presentation on his heritage.  He made two paper dolls who he named, Hamish and Otto, he did an amazing job.

Peter is doing really well in his class with Traci Vail.  It's nice having her with him after getting to know her as the twins kindergarten teacher.  She is kind and is really challenging Peter in Math which is good since he seems to be very advanced in it.  I'm glad he committed to doing OBOB with his brother this year, it was nice having them on a team together.  His best friend is a Hispanic boy called Izac.  Peter seems to always make great friends with all the Hispanic kids at the school, although he still doesn't seem to know a lick of Spanish!  Peter is definitely like me in that he's quiet at school, then he comes home and talks everyone's ears off.  He really hates going to scouts and honestly I can't really blame him since he's the only one in the wolf den.  There are a few boys starting to come up, but it doesn't seem to make him want to go any more.  Thankfully Ryan was able to convince him to make a derby car and he's actually getting excited about it.  I'm mostly grateful for the time that he's getting to spend with his brother and dad making it.  Peter continues to be totally hilarious and very witty.  Never a dull moment with him around.

Olive is 6 now and as bossy as ever! Ha. She's going to absolutely hate reading this one day. Sorry Olive, you take after me! I am a bossy boots too.  She's on a roll in school, top of her class in everything and a really great helper to Reiko Haupt, her teacher.  Her two best friends, besides Penelope, are Ada and Ezra, although she really loves Layton too.  I get to go volunteer in their class once a week on Wednesdays and Olive is always so pleased to have me there.  She's been bouncing to the stars on that trampoline every day the sun is out! Santa did good on that gift!
She loves to read and her favourite books are anything by Mo Willems, especially 'Time to Pee!'  She will read that book to anyone willing to listen and laughs the entire time.  Olive really can bright a room with her lively personality, although she can also be very shy in public.  I love to hear her sing and that is definitely a trait she claimed from me, we both love to sing, although neither of us are particularly good at it! But we don't care one bit.

Penelope is still my wee timid lamb, although she is becoming more and more confident according to her teacher and Mrs. Gilmour (who helps her in Title I Reading).  She is like Jack (of course) in that she needs a little extra time to process, but she's very hardworking and committed.  I am grateful to have kids who are people pleasers at school and want to get their work done and done well! Penelope also attends a speech class just to help her with a few certain sounds, but she has made so much progression and again works harder than anyone else.  She too loves to bounce with Olive after school and ride her bike (this is a new thing) over to the church car park.  I am amazed by her artistic talent.  Penelope seems to be good at any art medium she touches.  All of the wee ones love art and are good at it, but she seems to have a passion that just takes over her!  I hope it's something that continues with her throughout her life.  She is very silly at times and I love that about her, she is constantly giggling and always looking to play with one of her siblings.  Olive is her dearest friend and I don't think she can stand to be apart from her for very long.  They don't need to sit beside each other in class anymore, but they do need to be able to see each other and whenever I drive by the school during recess time, I always see Penelope standing close and holding onto her sissy.  It's very sweet to watch their bond.

We bought a new house back in November, I think the date that we closed was the 13th, but we officially moved in on the 18th.  It's nice to be out of the Masse's house and into one we really love and actually own.  Renting wasn't my favourite, but that seemed to be what was needed for those 2 years while we waited for this one to come available I guess.  I truly love it here and still have to kinda pinch myself that we managed to get it when their were 3 other offers higher than ours on it.
We started buying some new furniture (2 couches to be specific) and it's all looking so nice!
I'm excited to paint our bedroom and start working on the upstairs spare room.

I don't have my new permanent resident card yet which is very frustrating, so as of right now going home isn't an option for the summer.  I'm missing family, but I also feel like I just need to stay put and maybe I can go back next year.  Daniel moved to Shetland (Lerwick) with his family and Euan is moving his family to Utah in June.  Two big moves, but both pretty exciting.  We are heading to Utah for Ryan's cousin's wedding in July so maybe we will be able to see them then.  They just had their fourth, a lovely wee baby boy called Callum.  We are excited to meet him.
And Isabel just had her second baby boy early this morning!  It's hard to know that she has another now and I still haven't even met Lee in person yet.
Hooray, I feel good knowing that I managed to get this blog post done!  Now hopefully I can keep it up.

Monday, March 12, 2018

May 2014...4 years later

I have no idea of the specifics of this post since here I am seeing it as a draft 4 years later, but I do know that these are some lovely memories of my birthday and Mother's Day that year.  I have such good memories of our time in the Foothills house and seeing these pics of my kids so wee is making me sad! If only I could turn back time.  I remember that I made those cupcakes and Olive wanted pink icing and Penelope wanted blue, so we did a plate of both.  They made those wee hand prints in nursery at church with Trish Arnold I believe.
I also did a workshop that month on creativity at the Stake Center one Friday night.  I think it went pretty well, but I also recall that I had a few old biddies coming up to me after and saying that they were disappointed that their wasn't actual art crafts at it.  I was talking about carving out time for being creative amidst family life, but honestly I didn't feel like I should have even been asked to was just because Sandra was in the Stake RS Presidency that I was asked. Never mind!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

March/April 2014

We have a wee playgroup in our ward that mostly just meets at the building until the weather picks up and then we head out to different parks in Newberg.  Well, we thought it would be nice to switch things up a little and take the children to the visitor's center up by the Portland Temple a couple of months back.  We forewarned the missionaries up there that we would be coming, which I think they greatly appreciated.  They had brought in extra Sisters to speak to the kids and had a few wee short films ready to show us too.  It was really lovely and all the wee ones seemed to really enjoy chatting to the missionaries and exploring to their hearts content.  It was a pouring day, but we managed to find a sheltered picnic area and park where we ate lunch before heading to a wee frozen yogurt place nearby.  

Jack and Peter were sitting with their good friends, Henry and Charlotte Platt.  And the wee girls were sitting with Caleb Yates and his cousin, Samantha.
Just felt the need to document more of our crazy bag lady! Hilarious wee Olive.  She has a total of 5 bags in the pic here on the right.  It's true what my friend, Sherri, says, I do kinda want to keep buying her bags and purses just to watch her carrying them all around.  It's just so hilarious to watch her.
There was a day Jack came home from school and he was really upset.  His best friend had left to a new school earlier that week (which I think had heightened his emotions) and the school is having a 'million minute challenge' that they had been giving out awards for.  Jack had been trying so hard to read as much as possible each week to earn a prize, but since they only chose one child from each class to win he fell short and wasn't it.  I'm sure there were many kids that had been upset by this, but Jack being a sensitive wee soul had carried the heart break of it with him all day long.  When he got home he was in tears.  It broke my heart to see him so sad and know that he'd been upset all day.  Well, Jack loves to dress up and so, we all got into our different costumes and played hard for the rest of the afternoon to cheer Jack up.  He chose to be a singing cowboy and we loved listening to him play on his Dad's ukulele.  He's a really special wee boy.

I've just finished teaching art classes from my home and I hope to start doing some more again during the summer holidays.  I ran it once a week, for six weeks and had six wee kids coming along to it. Course, then I had my own four here too, so ten in all.  It was busy, but fun. I've learned a lot from the experience and hopefully the next time I do it I will enjoy it even more as I work out all of the wee kinks to make it run as smoothly as possible.  The boys and the wee girls helped me prep for the classes each week.  We made demo pieces to show the kids and I think Jack and Peter really loved knowing what we were going to do before the rest of the kids.

Ryan's sister, Callie, is having her baby boy up here in the Newberg Providence Hospital.  She's due in July and so her visits for appointments are getting more frequent.  It's been fun having Miss Zoe over more often to play; these cousins of hers really love having her around.  I really love being an auntie too. I feel sad that I don't get to be much of an aunt to my gorgeous nieces and nephews overseas.  It kinda kills me actually.

We used to spend a lot of time in our local library when I just had the two boys.  When the wee girls came along it we took a fairly long hiatus from going. We went quite often last year, but as soon as the new children's section was completed this year, we've been hooked on going again.  The girls could spend hours flipping through books, playing with the puzzles, and exploring away with the fab new wall piece.

As the weather has begun to pick up we've been darting out to enjoy the sun at every opportunity we can get.  Whether it's washing Dad's car, playing on their bikes and scooters, or spending long hours at parks with picnics, we have been loving it and can't wait until summer is officially here.

We took a day trip out to the children's museum with the rest of Portland in April.  It was packed as it was a holiday day off for the schools. I'm not sure what I was thinking, haha.  It was fine though, hard to keep an eye on all four of the kids myself, but we all managed to get in and out without losing anyone.

March is when the U.K celebrates Mother's Day, and although I don't celebrate then, I still managed to have a really lovely Sunday with my wee lovelies.
It's not too often I'm on the other side of the camera, but I'm happy to have some pics of me with these wee darlings for memories sake.

Peter took a wee music class from a lady in the 2nd ward with some of his wee buddies.  He really enjoyed trying out some interesting and unique instruments from different countries.  While Peter was inside, the wee girls and I would hang out in the lady's nice garden.  They were always quite the riot pretending to be wee explorers and loving the gorgeous flowers she has.

Easter was lovely this year.  The children got thoroughly drenched at the Jaquith Easter egg hunt. The boys enjoyed it in spite of the rain, but not so much the wee girls.  They both wanted me to lift them throughout most of it and I just can't do that for very long periods of time anymore! Ha.  So on our return to the house I stripped them all down to their undies and they sat cozy on the couch watching a movie for a while and warming up.  They absolutely loved it.

We did a wee 'self-timer' photo shoot on the Sunday afternoon following church.  It was so hysterical trying to get all the wee ones to focus on the camera as I darted back and forth about a bazillion times from the camera to the couch for the pic.  I think this one was our best pic and it's not really all that great...I hate how I look in it, but oh well.
The wee ones loved running around the house on Sunday morning searching for their baskets the bunny left.  It brought back great memories of Easter mornings in my house as a kid with my siblings.  We never had baskets, but we always had to search for our one big Easter egg. 

I put together these cute wee animals as part of our Easter decor.  They took a wee bit of time, but they just look gorgeous.  On Easter Monday we went out in the garden for family night and rolled our eggs down the wee hill on the side of the house.  It had started to pour cats and dogs by the time we got outside, but the boys thought the eggs were going faster because of the rain. Ha.

The boys loved the wee kit I had picked up after Easter last year.  It was a brill wee pirate set and I was actually able to get another wee set at 70% off to save for next year.  Our ward and the 2nd ward put on a Passover activity.  Ryan was helping with it and we were able to get a sitter so that we could go enjoy the evening together.  A gentleman from the other ward who grew up Jewish conducted the Passover service.  It was really interesting, we loved trying the unique food and it was great company too.