Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of School

This summer just zoomed past for us with all the travel we did. Today the kids started back to school. They were both so excited and up and at it and ready.

Rhianna is in 4th grade, has a great teacher and great friends in her class. Her teacher is very organized, has different colored folders for each subject and a planner for each student, and has some great reward systems and it looks like they will get to learn even more in each subject this year. She was chosen as their student council rep after a convincing speech ("At the end of the year last year I was elected as the temporary president so I do have some experience." - though she did vote for one of her friends even though she really wanted it). She is excited to be a patrol this year. Rhianna gave a very detailed report of all they did after school and can't wait for tomorrow.

Rand is in 1st grade with a teacher Rhianna already had and we love. He got to eat outside for the first time since he is in 1st grade now. He is at the yellow table and mainly with kids he didn't know before, though there are a few kids in his class from last year. He told me about two activities they did today. On one they could choose to draw about their favorite place, thing to do, or make up something silly - so he made a crazy story picture. The other was a fun poem about balloons and the places they go and then POP! Some kids made bad choices, mainly talking too much, and Rand was happy he had 0 bad choices today.

Seth packed a backpack of cookies this morning, which we ate at a picnic table outside after all the kids went in to school. He will be my buddy and assistant again this year.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Calvin & Jane's Wedding

We left on Wednesday, August 3 to travel to Minnesota. My younger brother Calvin would be getting married that weekend to Jane and so we wanted a few days together with family before the wedding. We enjoyed all the celebrations and the time we had to get to know Jane a little as she became part of our family.

Thursday was a really fun day. Most of our family was staying at DeAnn and Brent's house in Rochester and so we went over there just after breakfast. I went shopping with Maria to get some of the last supplies for the family dinner on Friday. The kids all played and then after lunch we went to our hotel to swim. We were at the TownePlace Suites and it had a super cool pool for our kids (and we had fun too). There was a shallow pool with a little slide and fountain and then a deeper pool with bigger slides. It was just a really fun few hours splashing and sliding and playing.

Then we headed back to Brent's house and had dinner with just our smaller family: my mom, our family, Brian and Logan, Maria's family, and Calvin and Jane. My mom helped us make curry chicken and it was awesome the amount that us original kids ate. It was delicious. We all love it and appreciate it more than others I suppose. The only bad thing happened this night. Rand was jumping on the tramp then decided to jump off a few times...landed on his feet but then fell on his arms. His arm was hurt and he didn't want to move it. It didn't look broken but he was super freaked out (I think because he knew about Rhianna's bad broken arm) and with the wedding coming up we also wanted to make sure we took care of him. So the kids were supposed to have a sleep over and we were supposed to stay up late playing games. Instead, Seth had a sleep over and ate some good candy, Rhianna beat all the grown-ups at Dominion, while Steve and I took Rand to Urgent Care for x-rays. The good news was that his arm was not broken.

Friday the kids just got to play most of the day with cousins and they really just all had a great time together. Rand and Andrew really get along and Seth, Emmy and Logan had some good pretending going. We helped set up the church for the dinner. My sister Maria had great ideas and did a great job organizing and decorating. The dinner was catered and had sort of a nice picnic feel. Brian and Jane's dad did family introductions. After we had eaten we had some short tributes to Calvin and Jane and it was fun to hear a few stories and thoughts of others. Rhianna also played the piano and a few of Jane's family and friends played guitar. We had pie for dessert and then my dad joined in from India via Skype. We ended with a book Maria put together for Calvin and Jane with thoughts from all of us.

Saturday, August 6 we drove up to the St Paul Temple. The kids played in the church next door and I was happy to be in the sealing room for their wedding. The sealer's biggest advice was to return to the temple and reflect on what the covenants mean in our lives. He then spent time going through all the covenants and promises we make and sharing some of his thoughts and insights about them. It is just a happy time, wonderful blessings, and I am glad I was there. We did just a few pictures outside and then headed in to the church for a little lunch before going back to Rochester.

Jane's family did a marvelous job on the reception that was held at their house. The driveway was decorated and they had a big tent and lights set up and flowers everywhere. Jane's grandma made all the delicious mini desserts. I think my kids particularly loved these tiny cones that were filled with a nutella mixture. We ate a good share of all the treats. The boys didn't last for the whole party and so Steve took them back to the hotel. Rhianna and I stayed for some of the dancing and to see Calvin and Jane off. They had some fun songs and we were hot and sweaty and had fun. We said good-bye to Calvin & Jane in their balloon-filled decorated car and then soon after said good-bye to everyone else.

We all left for our homes on Sunday. It was nice to see some of our aunts and uncles that came to join us. Especially Brent was great to us while we spent so much time in his house. We always have a good time when we get together. Part of what I tried to say to Calvin and Jane on Friday was about the importance of these moments and time spent together as family. I left for college when Calvin was only 7. I came back for Christmas, but as I left at the beginning of January to start the next semester I really felt sad. Calvin would turn 8 in just a few days and would be baptized soon and I thought I was going to start missing out on all these things, including important things, in my brothers' and sisters' lives. So I was so excited when my parents called and surprised me saying that they would fly me back to Colorado for the baptism. And since then there have been many times we have had reunions together in places like Florida or Boston just last year before mom and dad and Michael left on missions. Many times they came to us in Utah or Texas or Arizona. So I am glad I still feel close to my family and we have had time together and that I was able to be there in the temple with Calvin on this day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Valerie's Visit to Tucson

Valerie came out to visit us as part of her sabbatical. Here is a list of what we did:
*Swimming - she taught the kids new pool games
*Played Games
*School supply shopping
*Wedding clothes shopping
*Bug catching

*Babysitting (so Steve and I could go to the temple) - she helped the kids weave paper place mats and then made them an indoor picnic
*Dates with each kid - McD's breakfast and playplace with Seth, Chuck E. Cheese games with Rand (on which she taught both boys to hold doors, hold hands, and be good gentlemen), and Color Me Mine pottery with Rhianna

*Eating at Rand & Seth's homemade restaurant "The Date" - created while she was on her date with Rhianna, complete with menus, money and a bill

*Eating Philly cheese steaks at Frankie's
*Bowling - she beat all of us

*Making Hair Bows - where I burned her finger with a hot glue gun

We loved having her and I am glad she got time with each of the kids by themselves. I like having her in person to talk to. And I think it is extra fun for her to visit here since she still has friends in the area from when she lived with us a few summers ago. It was a good week and not even too hard to say good-bye since we knew we would see her in just another week...