Monday, April 2, 2012

My kids are the best!

I have been really enjoying my kids lately. Getting out of the baby stage is a tad bit sad but a whole lot of fun too.

Lucas is making us laugh, talking more and more clearly each day, and really is a full-fledged big boy these days! I am too scared to start potty-training him just yet but I fear that day is coming pretty soon. :) He loves to talk but HAS to be acknowledged. If he is talking to me, I have to say, "Yes, ok, mmm-hmm, yay," etc. or else he repeats whatever he's saying OVER and OVER! The other day at the park I was on the phone and he climbed something. The friend in front of him and had said, "I did it!" so when he climbed it, he said, "Mom! I did it!" I saw him do it but was listening to my phone call and didn't realize he was talking to me. My friends at the park with me were saying, "Yay, Lucas, good job," to get him to feel acknowledged and move on but I guess he repeated himself 20 times trying to get ME to acknowledge him! :( Bad mommy move. He likes to say, "Mom, I hungy," and run to the pantry. He still loves to cuddle with his "nee nee" (blanket) and give big hugs and kisses that involve a little tongue licking me (ha ha) and do somersaults and throw himself down and say, "Uhhhh," like he's dying or something. He cracks me up. Oh and he pulled our tall 4-drawer filing cabinet full of music down onto himself the other day about 30 seconds after leaving the dinner table! Ran straight into the study, opened too many drawers quickly I guess, and got his finger pinched between two drawers. We got it upright in about 20 seconds and he has a small scratch on his hand. He likes to show everyone his "squatch" and have us kiss it. :) I tried to put a bandaid on it and he screamed louder than when the cabinet fell on him! ;)

Natalie has always made me laugh. She just has this infectious giggle and a funny sense of humor. One day in the shower she got the giggles and kept laughing the whole time. I said, "Showers are more fun when you giggle, right?" She agreed and has giggled through every shower since. Seriously, she steps in the shower and starts to giggle. That makes me laugh and then she giggles some more. If we all just forced ourselves to giggle throughout the day, we'd be much happier. :)

The other day someone called and talked to me about going to "Time Out for Women" with me. That's a women's conference for LDS women and it will be held in Arlington this year, so I've made reservations for a girls weekend. :) Jill asked who called and I told her who it was and said, "She wants to go to Time Out with me." Natalie said, "Time out? But that's bad!" Ha ha. Obviously when I put Lucas in "time out" ten times a day, it IS a bad thing but mommies like to have time outs. :)

She likes a new cartoon she found on Netflix and there aren't a ton of episodes but she likes to watch this one episode over and over. The other day she was just bawling and I asked what was wrong. Evidently something sad happened on the show and the little sheep was crying and she empathized with it and cried too! Such a sweet girl. I saw her just put that episode on again while she was eating her breakfast and I said, "Is this the one that made you cry?" She said, "Yeah, mom, just watch it and you'll know what I'm talking about!" :D I sure love my sweet girl!

Natalie's new favorite thing to do is READ! Yes, it finally happened! She's had some ability for a while but now the DESIRE is there! She wants to do the reading most of the time but will still ask me to read to her sometimes too. I love this stage! A whole new world has opened up to her now. :)

Miranda attended a birthday party for a friend at a cosmetology school over the weekend. It was a hair & nails party, so it was right up her alley! When I picked her up she had the CUTEST braided crown all around her head and had pretty pink nails on fingers and toes. None of the other girls looked much different from when I dropped her off. I asked why the other girls didn't get cute hair like hers and she said, "I'm the only one that didn't mess with it!" So I guess the other girls were more interested in running around, playing, eating cake, etc. but my little diva sat perfectly still while eating her cake, so as not to muss her hair! :) Ha ha.

She has been reading a ton lately and can finish a chapter book in a day, so she's really racking up the points for AR (Accelerated Reader program). She has enough points to go to Midnight Madness (late night celebration party at the end of the year) but I'm encouraging her (along with her teacher) to keep going. Her goal is to reach 100 points and she's in the 70s now, so I think she'll make it! She & Jill both won a ticket to Six Flags for reading so much and we're planning a summer trip to Dallas to use those!

Jill has been so pleasant and helpful lately. She's always wonderful but she's really maturing in a good way and it's fun to see her grow. I'm buying her clothes out of the juniors section now (xs but still!) and her hair is more than halfway down her back. I've told her it's easier to take care of short hair but it really is beautiful and she takes pretty good care of it.

We had one of her best friends, Courtney, and her little brother stay with us for a few days while their parents were out of town and she LOVED having her friend here. At this age it's not hard to have an extra one around. They just played together the whole time. :) The little brother played with Lucas and he loved having someone to roughhouse with, of course!

The weekend before Courtney & her mom and Jill & I went to paint pottery. It was pretty comical because neither of us moms are crafty at all but all of our things turned out really nice and it was a lot of fun!

Chorus Abilene (the group that runs the choir my kiddos are in) held an "Abilene Idol" competition and I took Jill, Courtney, and Miranda to the finale last weekend. It was so fun to hear all the great talent and we even got to text in our vote! I have started working in the Chorus Abilene office for 3 hours every Friday and I actually get paid, instead of just volunteer work this time. My great friend, Sara, watches my kids while I do it and it's nice to feel a little part in the working world. Although I do feel slightly guilty for missing out on my kids for those 3 hours! Luckily I know the kids are having a blast with their friends and the nice praise I get at work when I do a good job is SO nice to hear!

This past weekend we watched General Conference instead of the normal church routine and it was such a nice break. I LOVE listening to inspired leaders and am hoping to incorporate what they said into my life. :)

Ben is still busy working and bishoping but things are pretty good for now. :) He doesn't have much time for hobbies but his latest favorite thing to do is read! He's in the middle of the first "Hunger Games" book and doesn't want to put it down, so he'll probably be done tomorrow. I told him to hurry up, so he can take me to see the movie!!! :)

I am helping in Jill's & Miranda's classes twice a month each and it is so fun. It almost makes me think I'd love to be a teacher but all day every day probably would not be NEARLY as fun. :) It's so nice to get to know my kids' teachers and friends. Remember last year when I told the PTA president I wouldn't do my Room Coordinator job because I needed to not be so busy? Well, the lady who took my place moved away and left none of her information of who is a room mother, etc. right before our Winter Carnival (and biggest fundraiser!). So I stepped in and will finish out the year doing that AND already volunteered to do it next year too! But I'll have 3 in school next year and it really is a fun job, so I don't think it'll overwhelm me. :)

I'm also singing in a musical program at church next weekend called "Women At The Well." The music is beautiful and I hope it all comes together nicely for the performances. I love to sing but I'm really tired of the time it's taking away from my family on Thursday nights due to rehearsals. It was fun but I'm ready for it to be over.

There is usually only ONE Tuesday a month where Ben & I are both home, NO Wednesdays (Ben has church mtgs), and Thursdays have been rehearsals for the past six weeks or so. So freeing up Thursdays will be significantly better! :)

I didn't post about Spring Break, so I will quickly sum it up.
*My dad calls on Sunday afternoon saying he's halfway here to drive to Kansas with me. He's very sweet but I said, "Don't you remember what happened last time you did that?" He didn't remember but I will never forget Lucas crying the whole drive to Kansas.
*We head out the next morning, all is well for about 20 miles, and then Lucas throws up! Dad pulls over and I clean him up, change his clothes, move on down the road. We stop for lunch in Wichita Falls. Lucas won't eat and won't let me put him down and just cries while I try (and fail) to eat.
*Lucas sleeps for a while and wakes up screaming. He's burning up. We stop at a Walgreen's in Chickasha where he throws up in Aisle 8 all over the boxes of medicine I'm holding!
*Lucas falls back asleep and the girls take turns whining the rest of the way. I need to go to the bathroom but there is NO way I'm stopping when Lucas is sleeping and the girls don't have to stop.
*We get to my dad's old house, a.k.a. the bunkhouse (where we stay) and the door is locked! I can't get to the bathroom! I load everybody back in the van and run down the road to my Grandma's! Yay! :)
*Kids take turns whining and driving me crazy and I take them back to the bunkhouse. Their behavior was worse the next day but improved after I break down telling them they're ruining my trip to see my family!
*The girls ride horses, feed the baby calf, play with the dogs and cats, swing on the swingset, basically want to stay outside the entire time and I feel sad my kids can't grow up on a farm. It is a really cool place!
*Natalie's horse spooked and jumped a little, her hands went up in the air, and it bolted out from under her! She fell into a "Natalie-sized" puddle of mud and other than having a mouthful of mud and being totally muddy, she was fine! I'm glad I wasn't there to see it happen because I guess my girls screamed enough for everybody! I was in the house with Lucas while he napped and heard about it later when everyone could agree it was a funny sight since she didn't get hurt.
*My Uncle Tim spoiled us all again. All 3 girls got cowgirl boots, Jill also got a genuine cowgirl hat and spurs! I got a bunch of clothes that I really needed and I love them!
*I got to visit my best friend since kindergarten and I really wish we lived closer! We are so much alike in all the good ways! :) We can not see each other for a year but when we're back together it's the same as always and I love that!
*My dad drove us home and my kids were excellent, so hopefully my dad isn't too traumatized!!! :)
*I love my family! Not too fond of the drive! :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Family Update - January 2012

I wrote this in an email to Ben's siblings but felt like I should post it here for others who might be interested too. I am horrible at keeping up this blog! :/

He passed his 2 year mark of being bishop, so only 3 years left. Woot woot! :) He is still enjoying his job and just hired a new employee last week. The employee that left actually filled a spot in Southlake, so Ben was able to give a good recommendation for that guy to his old boss! He plays basketball 3 times a week with his boss and another co-worker before work and plays Wednesday night with the guys from church and wishes he could play more. Actually he'd prefer to play soccer but it's just not big here! :( He was playing keyboard in a rock band for the past couple of years but the lead singer and organizer of the band got deployed to Afghanistan for a year, so the band has broken up (so sad). ;/ It's actually nice to have him home on Thursday nights!!! :)

She is in 3rd grade and LOVES her teacher and has a lot of her old friends from her 1st grade class in her class again. It's been nice for her to have some BFFs and she is always having them come over and "hang out." Her current obsession is Harry Potter and she loves to play Lego Harry Potter on the Wii or on the DS and has read all 7 books twice in the last year. Almost every conversation brings out an, "Well, in Harry Potter..." comment and it's driving her mother batty but it's kind of fun to have an HP expert in the house. Who knew that everything in life relates to Harry Potter? Ha ha. She is also in the community children's choir for the 2nd year and her voice keeps getting better and better. Her director is amazing to take this group of chatty, fidgety kids and get them to perform so well! She has a speaking part (in the middle of the song "Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious") in the next performance and it cracks me up when she does it. I think we might have a drama girl on our hands. :) We took a break from piano lessons for budgetary reasons but Mom has decided to start teaching her own children piano (the horror!). ;) It's actually going pretty well but I think they'd do better with a real "teacher." Maybe some day...

She is in 1st grade and does very well in school and tells me all about her friends. When I volunteered in her class last week, people were talking to her and hugging her and paying attention to her but she just kind of goes about her way and rarely responds. I asked her why and she just shrugs. I guess she can't be bothered by too much socializing??? :) She is our giggly, boy-crazy girl. Recently she started wearing her pink-tinted sunglasses to school. I asked her why and she said that Drake wears glasses and she wanted to be like him. I asked who Drake was and she said, "The cutest boy in my class!" ;) She also loves to read. She's currently working through HP #1 slowly but takes breaks for Rainbow Fairy books and other short chapter books. :) She also joined the community children's choir this year and is really coming out of her shell. She loves to sing but is actually doing the actions and dancing as well now. I started teaching her piano (only 3 weeks so far) and she is super excited because she can already play, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." It must be the fabulous teacher. Ha.

Super funny little Nat is 5 and will start kindergarten in August. We have to tell her how far away that is every day. :) She has started to read but gets bored with it after a few pages and says, "Ok, now you read the rest, Mom!" She is obsessed with horses and loved riding a real one when we visited Kansas a couple of weeks ago (all the girls loved it actually). She has a new friend that moved into a neighboring ward and we have play dates almost every week. It's so nice for her to have a friend since all the kids her age in our ward are already in kindergarten or go to preschool and there's noone to do play dates with ever. Miranda doesn't have anyone her age in our ward and her friends from school haven't been able to work out a play date yet (parents schedule conflicts!), so she's awfully jealous of her sisters always having friends over lately! We measured and weighed all the girls today and found that Natalie is only 1 inch shorter and 2 pounds lighter than Miranda. And Miranda is a stick, so I guess we have two sticks. :) I checked their BMI on a health website and it shows Jill as normal and the other girls as underweight but I can't get them to eat more! Any suggestions??? Natalie enjoys singing with her sisters and by herself. She's actually quite shy but ask her to sing a song and she'll belt it out. She sang with her sisters in church at Christmas, then again a couple of weeks ago in my Dad's church, and then today she gave a talk in Primary about the creation of the world and sang, "I Will Follow God's Plan For Me," all by herself. Then she sang it over the phone for Grammy to hear tonight. :) So that's kind of fun that my girls can all enjoy doing that together.

Adorable, crazy, cute, funny, talkative, bossy, sharing, talented with a spoon, always on the run. That about sums up Lucas. :) He does like his own way like all 2 year olds but he's getting better about sharing and when he does he says, "Uh! Uh!" in this little squeaky voice that makes it sound like he's saying, "See? See? See how good I was, Mom?" It's so cute. He's still a rough and tumble boy and other than the literal run-in with the desk last month resulting in stitches, he's been pretty coordinated in his craziness and hasn't been hurt lately. Now to pay off the $1000 stitches bill. Yes, I'm serious... $1000. I tell the kids every time they're being crazy, "Be careful! I can't afford to take you to the hospital!" :) I didn't measure him (he wouldn't stand still that long!) but he's very tall and most people think he's 3. His favorite way to greet a friend is to grab them around the middle and throw them to the ground. Yes, unfortunately, I'm serious. He is a born tackler and I hope he makes millions with that talent some day. :) He doesn't try to be mean at all but he acts like he's giving them an exuberant hug! :) Most of his friends love it and they love to wrestle on the floor but some don't appreciate it and I have to keep a watchful eye when I'm babysitting! He's always gentle around babies and all girls (other than his sisters) but little boys watch out! He's a pretty good eater when he wants to be and can get 90% of his food actually in his mouth with a spoon, which is pretty impressive to me. :)

I am... tired. Ha! I'm doing well. I'm the Relief Society secretary and feel like that's been a crazy busy job lately but hopefully things will slow down a bit. I'm the Attendance Taker for the girls' choir and that is fun because I get to see all of their rehearsals and I exchange my time for tuition which makes it affordable for us! I have a million projects I'd like to get to around the house and at the school but I think I'm doing ok accomplishing a couple of things each day. :) So what are YOU up to??? :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Well, since school started not much has happened. Except:

It was my birthday! I am officially 34 and my body is falling a little more apart every day. :) Our summer was good but a little stressful at times but now that we're back on a schedule, I think things will be a little easier for me and I can get back into a groove. My official birthday was the pits (Stake Conference, which I really do love, took my hubby away most of the day and the kids weren't in their best form!) but the next day was great and my family made me feel loved. :) We ate cake after church and one of my girls snapped this photo of me being old now. :)

Miranda lost her first tooth FINALLY! And then her second the next day! They have been loose, wiggly, TRYING to come out for four months! Finally I asked my dentist for a good way to grab on to the tooth so I could pull it. She suggested a damp paper towel. Worked like a charm! I pulled one out and seeing the blood about made her throw up on me! But the next day she was brave enough to let me pull the other one out. So no bottom middle teeth. Correction. She has adult bottom middle teeth. They were coming up behind the baby ones for all these months, so she never really had a gap! ;)

Labor Day! The first school holiday after the rigorous first 10 days! :) On Saturday we were invited to dinner with some friends, which was nice but Lucas was in his usual crazy mood, so I was chasing him most of the time. On Monday, we had some more friends come over for a BBQ. We had a lot of fun eating out on the back porch (yes, it was pleasant weather unbelievably!) and playing outside. Such a change from those four long months of horrid heat! I took all kinds of fun pictures of everybody and... I can't find them. BUT we had so much fun. :)

Jill & Miranda are involved with a community children's choir and I'm the Attendance Taker this year, which means I take roll and a whole lot of other stuff (from taking kids to the bathroom whose cousins taught them about Bloody Mary and now they can't go alone to filling in as accompanist when the real one is out of the room to awarding points to those who brought their music/got in position quickly/listened to the teacher/sang their part well, etc.) It's actually fun but really busy. I take one of Jill's friends to rehearsals too and it fills up a lot of our after school time on Thursdays but we all enjoy it. The girls got to sing with their group on a float in the West Texas Fair Parade last month. The first concert is Saturday!

The West Texas Fair came to town. We NEVER go and Ben never wants to, so I don't go by myself. Well, this year I was determined... and Ben got sick. Seriously! Anyway, he stayed home with Lucas and I took the girls. It was hot, they got tired of walking around (I didn't know where stuff was because it was my first time and I didn't have a map or anything), and they wanted to ride the rides. And they only accept cash in the whole place! I pretty much never carry cash. Woodburys to the rescue! Luckily our great friends found us floundering in the fairgrounds and took pity on my poor, pitiful girlies. They lent me some cash and the girls rode some rides. I will be more prepared next year!!!

Jill turned 9!!! Man, that makes me feel old! She is such a joyful, kind, and loving girl! I'm so happy that girl came to me in Grapevine, Texas through C-section on a wonderful September afternoon! Surgery never felt so good! :) Hee hee. She is a HUGE help to me and I don't know what I'd do without her wonderful friendship too. As she's getting older, we have more fun conversations and love just hanging out together. I wonder how long that will last! She got her EARS PIERCED as a birthday gift and she was thrilled. No screaming or drama and she's taking great care of them! Her adorable friend Courtney came along and explained how to do everything because she's had earrings for 4 whole months! ;)

She had 8 friends over for a party and her Grandpa from Kansas showed up 10 minutes before the party with pizza! He surprised us all! He called me and asked how I was. I had been sick and wasn't feeling great. I told him that I just had to frost the cake and pick up the pizzas and he said he'd take care of the pizzas. I laughed it off and he said, "No really, I'm in Abilene!" Such a great grandpa (and dad!). He brought my uncle Sam (his big brother) along for the ride and it was fun to see them. They went to church with us the next day and then drove back the 7 hours. They must really love us! Sadly, because I wasn't feeling well I totally didn't remember to take pictures!!! I snapped one on my phone and it's not great quality at all but enough to capture who was there. :)

The next weekend was the Ward Campout and for some reason... NO PICTURES! Man, I'm doing horribly. Anyway... we had an ok evening. I got everything all packed up and ready to go and... left a grocery bag full of our dinner and snack things. Luckily the state park was only 20 minutes away. I came back for it and the drive home and back was the best part of the evening for me! ;) Ha ha! Ben had all the kids, so I got to blare MY music and enjoy the drive with NO interruptions. I didn't realize how much I missed that! We ate our dinner but since there was a burn ban, we couldn't do s'mores. We brought graham crackers, chocolate frosting, and marshmallow creme to make an easy version of them. I enjoyed them more than anyone else. :) Some of the Scouts took the younger kids on a hike. Jill & Miranda went. About 1 1/2 hours later... they were STILL gone and it was dark! We were getting worried and some parents went to look for them and found them. None of the kids seemed too concerned about how long they were gone! They saw some neat wildlife and flowers and were fine. Jill did say to the Scouts that she thought they should let the parents know where they were at one point but they just kept going. I don't think I'll let my kids go off on a hike like that again. I'll just go with them! That night we tried to all bed down but I knew Lucas wouldn't go for it. People were running around and screaming and flashing their flashlights through our tent as they went by and that's all well and good for older kids but mine were exhausted and wanted to go to sleep at 9:30. So I packed Lucas up and went home. He went right to sleep in his crib and then woke up every hour on the hour screaming. He was fine the next day, so I have NO idea why but I got less sleep than the campers did! Oh well, maybe next year he'll be camping age. :) We did go back to pick them up and went on a family hike with some of the others. That was quite nice even though I was holding Lucas, Natalie, or Miranda most of the time. My little girls are NOT hikers apparently. :) Lucas really loved it though.

The next weekend was General Conference and we went to Dallas to hang out with family. We saw Ben's two brothers and their families, plus old friends from Abilene and Roanoke and it was really fun and relaxing. The last 45 minutes of the drive home was the usual madness of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, of course. Unfortunately, no pictures again, so... I will challenge myself to bring my camera more often! I almost always have my phone, which takes pictures, so I really have no excuse except forgetfulness!

Yesterday Jill was in her 3rd grade program. I went to watch it with the rest of the school at 9:30 and went back at 6:45 to watch with the family at the PTA meeting. The theme was US History and they did a great job. Jill sang with a few other girls the 2nd verse to "America the Beautiful" and did a great job. I actually teared up when the curtains opened (I know, I know) and then was openly crying when they sang a song about 9/11. I was so proud of my girl and all of her sweet friends that were up there.

Lucas is getting to be big stuff already. He is saying his sisters' names (clearly to us but probably not to anyone else). He crawled out of his pack and play while visiting relatives, opened the door, and went down a flight of stairs to go play with cousins, all while not waking me up in the next room! He stands up on his changing table after I change him and pull up his pants and he JUMPS at me! I can be 2 feet away and he'll leap towards me! The kid has no fear! Well, he always waits until I'm watching him and I know he's going to jump. :) He is extremely coordinated and physical and wears me OUT! We have a futon mattress up against our fireplace bricks, like an extra couch and he'll jump off the fireplace bricks on to the futon and he jumps high and lands hard and loves it! :) He can totally do a somersault off of the bricks on to the futon but also just flat on any floor. That amazes me! He's also clearly adorable. This pic is perfect because you can see how handsome he is AND also see that glint in his eye. We were at the zoo and he was ready... to... RUN!!! :) I LOVE THAT BOY!

So I guess we HAVE been pretty busy just like normal for us. Ben is at a work conference in Austin this week, so I'm just sitting around wishing he was here, or rather that I was there! But alas, no sitter. :) Another busy weekend ahead of us... stay tuned. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

1st Day of School 2011

My cuties got off to school today and had a successful first day. I'm so proud of my girls being confident and happy to get on the bus and totally expecting the day to be fun and full of making friends. I love these girls so much! :)
Just click the collage to see the pics bigger. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Long, hot summer!

Hi all. We have been enduring a long, hot summer here in Abilene and I am so tired of it but Fall will come someday, right? :) Here is the quick run down of what we've accomplished this summer. :)

We finished the school year on a high note. Both girls did great and will miss their teachers. We had both of their teachers eat dinner with us (one in a restaurant for Miranda's birthday & the other came to our home). The girls had dentist appointments which they love and they still have healthy teeth, so yay! :) Miranda is officially six and LOVED her birthday party at Bonzai Japanese Steakhouse. We all enjoyed the Hibachi experience and the gong they rang for her birthday. It scared Natalie to tears. Ha ha. ;) I threw her the first friend party she's had. It was at the park across the street in 103 degrees with a princess castle pinata. It was fun for her, so that's what counts. I was so hot and exhausted. :)

Our air conditioner needed a new coil and we didn't need $1,800 sitting in the bank anyway! :( It's a good thing we got it repaired before this INSANELY hot summer started, so I'll count my blessings. The Easter hail storm last month did a number on the roofs in our neighborhood and I finally called our insurance to check ours out since everyone was getting a new roof. Ours was totalled and the process was begun with our insurance.

Ben performed his first wedding at church and did really well. I played the piano for it and it all went off beautifully. Happy for Brenton & Tabetha! :)

Jill & Miranda took swimming lessons at a local university. It was WAY better than the teenaged teacher at the YMCA and Jill is quite a good swimmer and getting better every day. Miranda is less and less scared of swimming and actually love to jump into the water from the side, go down the slide, or let dad throw her high in the air (as long as she has her life jacket on). A VAST improvement for both of them. Jill did an Art Camp at the library (love free summer activities!) and has kept busy all summer with Activity Days.

We visited family in Kansas and on the way we stopped in Fort Worth for my dear friend Meredith's baby shower. SO fun to catch up with a bunch of friends at once. Then we headed on up to Kansas and saw my family for a week. Ben was at Scout Camp while I was gone. We went swimming, rode horses, and played with cousins! Super fun! When we got back, Jill & Miranda went to Music Camp. Two people backed out at the last minute and my kids got to go for free! Pays to know the person in charge of filling the class! :) Both girls will be in Chorus Abilene next year. Miranda backed out of her original audition date in May but changed her mind and did great! I will still volunteer this year but am the Attendance Taker this year and will go to every rehearsal, concert, event, etc. BUSY times!

We talked to a roofer and we started discussing what kind of roof we want (I want the exact same kind because it's the best curb appeal of the house!) and we decided to go with a certain company but they would start in July some time.

The ward had a swim party and the kids did great. Lessons were so worth it! We have some very generous friends who have pools and let us come over all the time. Thank you Ugazio family, Davis family, and Woodbury family! Taking all 4 swimming is easier now but still not a TON of fun for me. I am always hanging on to wiggly Lucas and I'm constantly watching to make sure everyone is ok and happy and safe. It's exhausting. :)

I took Lucas for his 18 month appt and he was doing great. The dr said he should have 6 to 8 words by now but he had only 3 or 4. She asked if I wanted a referral to a speech therapist!!! Um, no thank you. I should just work with my kiddo and make sure his sisters don't fulfill his every need without making him ask for what he wants. :) So we started paying attention to it and he has more than a dozen words that he can say just six weeks after that appointment. I think he's good. :)

Our school kids got free tickets to Six Flags for reading a lot, so Ben & I left Natalie & Lucas with Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Andy and took Jill, Miranda, and our nephews, Jacob and Brady, with us. We had so much fun! It was about 105 and smog alert was on high. Ha ha. The worst day to be outside for hours but we really had fun. We went on water rides to cool down and we stayed nice and cool (and soggy-shoed) the whole time.

Later that same day, we went to see our wonderful friends, the Coopers, who deserted us and moved to Dallas a couple of years ago. :) We went swimming with them (and Lucas fell in the deeper part for about 5 heart-attacking seconds and I seriously had a nightmare about it later that night!) and had dinner with them and the kids played hard! It was such a great time. We dropped the girls off at their cousins' house in Allen, so they could sleepover and then we stayed the night at Ben's parents' house in McKinney. It was so nice to hang out with family.

The next day we met the Coopers at the temple and did a session and then ate lunch at the Purple Cow. I highly recommend it! :) We went back to Ben's parents' house to pick up the kiddos and then headed home. A quick, whirlwind trip that was VERY full of fun! Uncle Andy entertained Lucas most of the time and he has a new best friend! :)

We came home and the next day our friends had us over for Parents Day. Their kids decided it was a holiday and invited some families over. I was vigilantly watching my Lucas at the top of their stairs as I was telling a friend about the swimming incident. Suddenly he fell down the stairs! Ben launched himself across the room and caught him halfway down the stairs!!! Of course he had been looking at Daddy when he stepped off the top step without looking, so Ben saw the whole thing. I about had a heart attack AGAIN and Ben had sent an end table sliding across the room and scared the dickens out of one of the ladies there as she jumped up and screamed. It was SO hilarious! Everyone laughed and it made it not so traumatic for me. :)

The next week Jill had a Science Camp at the library. She brought home a tornado in a bottle and a lava lamp. Pretty fun stuff for her. We also fed the missionaries a ton in June and July. With everyone going out of town this summer, their calendar has been pretty blank. We have four guys now, so it's a lot to feed but they are very fun dinner companions.

A friend of mine had to go out of town for a couple of days and I watched her two kids during the day and her husband came to get them at night. They are really good kids and had fun playing with mine. One of the days that I had them, I also watched another friend's five kids for about an hour and a half. I had someone from the lumber company come here to measure my doorways because we'd like to replace our old, yucky doors and he said, "Oh, do you run a home daycare?" Ha ha. No, I do this for free. 11 kids in the house but it was fun! They all entertained each other, so my part was easy!

I accompanied my friend who sang twice in church in July. She has an amazing voice and I like to be a part of that beautiful performance. :) I am playing for her again at Stake Conference at the end of the month and I really need to get practicing on that song. Why is 2 sharps so hard for me to play???! :)

Book Club happened all summer too, of course, and I really enjoy going to that. In July, we were able to see the movie adaptation of one of our favorite reads, "The Help," by Kathryn Stockett. It was premiering early on the Air Force base and we got FREE tickets. Seven of us went to see it and it was amazing! I'm so glad they lived up to the book!

We signed a contract with a roofer and materials were dropped. Then the crew's truck broke down in Houston and we were set back a week! We decided to have our garage sale that we had been postponing and just worked around the roofing materials on the driveway. I made my goal of making $300 and cleared out so much stuff! I still had a bunch of baby boy clothes and little girl clothes and shoes, so I donated them to people at church and they were so grateful! Does a heart good. :) I'm glad people I know are using those adorable things.

Our hot water heater stopped "heating" our water, so after several days of tepid showers and baths (the kids loved that!), we paid a plumber to come out and adjust it. We didn't need that $50 anyway! :( I'm loving the hot water again and am grateful to not live in a time with no air conditioning and no heated water. Count your blessings, name them one by one...

Ben & I went on a date to see "Hairspray" at a local university and we loved it! I have always loved live productions and musicals are my favorites. Ben has really come to like them as well now and that makes me so happy. :) The other guys in the group we went with were grumbling about being there instead of watching "Cowboys & Aliens." Ha ha. Thanks for taking me, honey!

The nightmare that is our roof continues. The roofer even told me our house is cursed! A local crew started working Wednesday and just didn't come back on Thursday!!! They said they had a bigger, better job and just left! So no work Thursday. Roofer going crazy finding another crew. They showed up 4 PM on Thursday and worked for a few hours. They came back on Friday but by 3 PM, they were gone. I text the roofer and he says they are too worn out from the heat and will be back Saturday. I TOTALLY don't blame them. Can you imagine working on a roof for hours in 105 or higher heat!!!!!? They were supposed to get the huge dumpster off my property by 4 PM Friday and they weren't done cleaning up, so I said they could leave it until Monday. They were supposed to start bright and early Sunday morning and... the crew leader had a family emergency. REALLY???! So the crew (totally separate crew out of Houston) was supposed to be here this morning to put the new roof ON and the old one was still partially on! There was a layer of wood shake shingles under our metal roof and that is not up to code anymore, so they were removing two roofs basically. ANYWAY, both crews showed up this morning and went to TOWN! The old roof is totally gone and they've decked it and will start putting on the tile tomorrow. It is FINALLY getting going and the president of the company was even here today to smooth things over with me and he really got things back on track. Yay! I wasn't being mean but I made it known that I wasn't thrilled with the progress of this project! Should be done Wednesday or Thursday morning at the latest, so cross your fingers for us! :) The storm was only FOUR MONTHS AGO! Let's hope we don't get another one right after this!

My dad, his wife, and my brother's three kids came to visit this weekend and it was so nice to spend time with them! My nephews are 13 and 10 and my niece is 10 days older than Jill. They love to entertain my children and I wish they would just move in with me! :) My oldest nephew stayed up late chatting with me and playing games. We've always been close and I love that even though he's a teenager, he still thinks his "Aunt B" is cool. :) The other kids all slept on the floor in one room and stayed up way too late having fun. That is a wonderful part of childhood that I have fond memories of as well, so I allowed it but now I'm paying for it. They are tired and grumpy and sad their cousins are gone. Oh well, it's worth it!

We have had a TON of baptisms at church lately and I'm so excited for these missionaries that are working so hard! I usually get asked to play the piano at the baptisms. Either last minute before the meeting starts or 30 minutes before it through a text. :) I am trying to be willing to serve but I wouldn't mind a chance to practice!!!

On Saturday we had a ward Fiesta to welcome the new Spanish-speaking members in our ward. We are holding Spanish classes and we have Spanish missionaries, trying to build up a group big enough to have their own branch. It's been really neat to have people bearing their testimonies in English and then again in Spanish. We are very blessed to have MANY people in the ward who can speak Spanish! Ben even conducted a baptism in Spanish and I could understand 90% of it! I can't speak it worth a darn anymore but oh well. :) So someone had the idea of having a Fiesta but everyone thought someone else planned it! So I called around to those who I thought might be involved and no one knew of anything being planned, so I went with it. I sent out an email, posted it on Facebook, and bought some cheap and easy decorations. 24 hours later we had a rockin' Fiesta! :) I was so glad that so many people came. It was a great turn out with great food. We had an "Enchilada Throwdown," there was a candy cannon shooting candy into the parking lot for the kids to scramble for, there was Mexican music playing in the background, and I think everyone had a good time. The missionaries thanked me over and over for doing it and they say they owe me big time. Ha ha. I didn't do much but now they're offering to do yard work and stuff for us. Score! :)

If you've read this far, you must be really bored right now. :) I wanted to right it all down to look back at later, so it's mainly for me but now you all know what we're up to. :)

Jill is still growing like crazy and she looks 12 but will be 9 next month. She wants pierced ears and painting supplies for her birthday. She starts 3rd grade two weeks from today. She is beautiful and kind and tries so hard to make everyone happy. She is very helpful at grabbing the phone for me while I'm changing a diaper, getting something I forgot out of the van, unloading the dishwasher while I make dinner, preparing parts or sometimes all of dinner, and she is my "Mom, let's talk!" kid. Just like I was with my mom! :) She's also the only one who calls me "Mama" and I have no idea why. But it just fits for her. :)

Miranda is growing taller now and looks much more grown up. Her beginning of the year kindergarten pictures look so different from her now! She is ready for 1st grade! Natalie is still growing like Jill did and is the same height as Miranda and now they have to share clothes and shoes!!! Oh the dread! They have totally different styles (I know, styles at this age? I definitely did not have a "style" at this point) but there are still several items that they love to fight over. In fact, their favorite thing to do together is FIGHT!!! Miranda is stubborn and feisty and doesn't mind throwing a punch. *SIGH* I do not like that! Natalie is a screamer who dissolves into tears at the drop of a hat these days. Can you say, READY FOR SCHOOL TO START!!!!! BUT... Miranda is my most helpful hard worker when she's in a good mood. She seeks out opportunities to help me and can clean up a room (the correct way!) faster than anybody! And Natalie is the sweetest, cuddle bug who just needs a LOT of attention. With her sisters home, she doesn't get as much.

Lucas is AWESOME! He is so much fun and I love this age. He is unfortunately in the HIT and THROW stage that I knew would come with a boy but oh my goodness! I can't count how many times a day I say, "Don't hit!" "Do not throw!" He totally knows what I mean in almost everything I tell him. It's amazing he's only been here for 19 months but knows so much about this big ol' world. :) He is also oh so handsome. He still has his nice big head (ha ha) and I think it's bigger than Miranda's and Natalie's! :) He fits in 2T clothes and has outgrown his size 6 Sunday shoes. :( Growing so fast! I sure love that cute boy!

Ok, so I have taken about an hour to go back through my calendar and remember all we have done this summer. It's been fun to remember. I've had some hard times with having ANY motivation on some of these super hot days when I'm trapped in my house with my kids and they're BORED with their DS and TV and the computer and the Wii and all of our board games and books, etc. :) I hope to get back in the swing of things with our school time routine and get some projects done around the house. Painting and stuff. Wish me luck! Ciao for now. :)