Wednesday, August 15, 2018

First Day Of School 2018

I just realized that the first day of school posts started on this blog when KJ went into KINDERGARTEN. Woah. So crazy. Thanks, family blog. I now present to you, KJ's first day of school as a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT. 😭😭😭😭
It's fine. We're fine. No issues here.

KJ left for early morning seminary and the ninth grade at 5:40 in the morning. He was excited and nervous and everything in between.
I am so thankful to say everything went great and is going great and so far the transition into high school of going super smoothly. Hallelujah! He told me at freshman orientation last week he never thought he'd be going to high school in a giant high school in Las Vegas. I agreed and told him that his childhood will be a life lesson in expect the unexpected.

Olivia began her career as a MIDDLE SCHOOLER. 😭😭😭😭 No, no, it's fine. We're fine. We can take it.
She started 6th grade at the new STEM middle school at 8:00 in the morning and goes until 3:11. Long day!
She has also been doing great with the change, thank heavens! We also learned  that she scored high enough on the entrance tests that they have put her in the accelerated classes in English and science. The accelerated SEVENTH grade classes. Wild. She is excited and motivated, so go, Liv, go.

Katelyn began 3rd grade at a new school because of a zoning change. She is our third child to start third grade in a new school. Thank heavens we didn't have to move for this one, though! Phew! Her new elementary school is also a STEM school, so how cool is that.
Kate the Great starts school at eight. (That's a little back to school poem for you.)
She was really cool as a cucumber going in and had a great day. Hurray! Her teacher is nice and the kids are nice and she is really hoping to make good friends. I think she will. Third grade is the best!

Phew.

I include this picture because it's funny.
Benson enjoyed getting to pick his own shows again, and honestly, that's how I let him spend his morning, as king of the castle. Then he climbed up on my bed to cuddle and promptly fell asleep for a long post-summer nap. When he woke up he really wanted his siblings back! And we welcomed them all home with open arms, anxious to hear their reports.

It was a good first day of school. Hurray.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Girls Camp And The End Of Summer

Girls Camp came and conquered.
It was an interesting week. I don't think I've ever missed my husband and kids so much. I don't know when I've continually felt the Spirit so much. I definitely bonded with the girls and leaders and felt my Heavenly Father's love and concern for me, and I know the girls felt the same thing. It rained every day and we laughed every day. It was great. It was a lot of hard work. And it was great.
Especially the part where I rode the flying squirrel contraption and flew through the air.
That was fun.

I had to have a minor arm surgery to remove a cyst from my right armpit area. Sounds like something I would do, grow a cyst in my pitter. Not everyone can do that! I was awake (kind-of wish I was asleep because it's a really uncomfortable feeling when someone is chopping you up. I was numb but could feel exactly what he was doing). They were hoping it would go away because that's not a pleasant area to have a big deep incision in, because of all the movement you make from that area, but no such luck. And five days later, it still hurts like mad. Very obnoxious. I'm about ready to rip my arm off and fling it into a swamp. How do you amazing women who have had c-sections survive?? Benson is sitting next to me and just said "Momma, you're brave. Your arm won't hurts you anymore." While patting my hand. Dang cutest kid. He's been very encouraging and interested in the whole ordeal.
Very, very sweetly, my Mia Maids brought me flowers to help me recuperate! Isn't that so thoughtful. They were so happy when they brought them that night and said they picked the colorful ones because they reminded them of me. That's just nice.
I'll include the picture of the flowers and not my mangled armpit, for your benefit.
P.S. We got a new table. We are grownups with a grown up table, yo!

This week I had SIX back to school thingies. That seems excessive for any parent of four children. To be fair, three were for my brand new high schooler. Life is exciting.
Here we have my newest third grader at her big night in her new school. She got a new zoning and bravely decided to just go for it! Her teacher seems awesome and she's actually pretty excited.
Boy, do I hate to see the summer come to an end. It's been a particularly magical few months. I sure love these tiny chickens of mine. It's my last year with a little one home with me, so I'm going to savor every minute.
Summer highlights of 2018:
Family B Reunion
Disneyland
4th of July
Aunt Megan's birthday
Ute Stampede
Cousin Week in Utah
Steven Benjamin's homecoming
Girls Camp/Dad Week
Katelyn's baptism 

I love you, Summer.

Katelyn Gets Baptized, Hurray!

The day this girl has waited so long for finally arrived! On August 4th at eleven in the morning, or own Kate the Great was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Such a happy, happy day.
  Here's Daddy giving her some last minute instructions.
What a girl this is. She was so excited and looked absolutely angelic in her beautiful white dress and braids and peaceful little smile.
Lots of family came down to support her and several ward members, including friends who had been at Girls Camp with me all week and just gotten down the mountain!
I think she felt very loved.
As a parent, being able to share the faith we treasure with our children -- the people that we treasure most in the world -- is an amazing gift. These are the most special days.
Katelyn asked Olivia to give the talk on baptism and KJ to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. It was so cool. They both prepared their talks on their own and knocked it out of the ballpark. It was about more then my mother heart could take. Benson was a very enthusiastic cheering section.
The Double B and I are incredibly blessed. These are the good old days. I know it and am so thankful for this family of ours.
My friend Tashina took this picture of me and my BFF. So love my Mom (and look more and more like her the older I get).
Grandma A played the piano, Grandma B led the music. Grandpa gave the opening prayer, I gave the closing. Grandpa and Uncle Nick were the witnesses. And Katelyn got to be baptized twice, because the first time her little toes popped right up out of the water! She looked so happy coming out of that water, finally baptized!
Daddy baptized her and she had a lot of good men in the circle to bless her with the gift of the Holy Ghost: Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Nick, Uncle Steve L, and Brother Whipple.
The family gathered at our house afterwards for lunch and visiting. 
Here's Kate and her FC Bella.
Proud Grandma.
Proud Grandpa and Grandma.
We are family people, so for us there is nothing better then being surrounded by our loved ones. It was such a happy party!
I told Benson to put his arm around Bia for a picture, but he just wasn't quite sure what I meant about that, and this is what I got, ha ha.
He was happy to do it, though, with a little more instruction! These two are so funny together.
Uncle Nick is staying with us right now while he starts his new job flying helicopters in Las Vegas, so he and Aunt Sil were pretty happy to be together.
We are truly blessed to have family that loves and supports us and our tiny Kate the Great.
What a happy day. One to be remembered forever.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My July Babies

11 days ago this little sugar plum fairy turned 8 years old. EIGHT. EIGHT!!!!! 
How to describe Katelyn? That's tricky because her waters run deep. This year I have been blown away by the observations she makes on life. She is wise beyond her years, deeply sensitive to the energy around her, devoted to those she loves, kind and quiet and finds delight in little moments. Katelyn is becoming. And how I love this little lady.
We got to spend her birthday in Utah with family and had a great time. You'll be glad to know that she did get tape and sticky notes, much to her delight.
She had her baptismal interview the other night and is all set for her big day on the fourth! She is so excited to be baptized. We are so lucky that she is ours.
Today, Benson turned "the number FOUR"!!!! This kid. He had such a ball being the birthday boy. 
Benson is the baby with all the rights and privileges that come with that responsibility. He is beloved and watched out for by his siblings and gets away with a lot, ha ha. What a joy he is to us all.
Benson is full of adventure. He has big feelings. He adores having fun and loves to be tickled and to laugh more then anyone I've ever known. He likes his independence and likes to do things his own way and doesn't mind a scuffle. He's all boy and we are so thankful he is ours.
We had a fun day today and he got lots of trucks and cars much to his delight. They are all in the bed with KJ while Benson snuggles with me, trying to wind down from an exciting day and plugging his ears because he doesn't like his Dad's snoring, ha ha. 
These two are two peas in a pod and I am so thankful for the adoration in Benson's eyes for his Dad! The feeling is very mutual, I know.
I've been thinking all day about the intensity of a parents love. There is no way to say with words what these four humans mean to me. No way to express my gratitude for all they have added to my life. I love them with the best that I have. I know their Dad does, too.
I read a book recently where the author gave a description of what each of her children represented to her, and I've been thinking on what I would say for my own children. 
So, here in the Summer of 2018, subject to change in description but never in devotion:
KJ is my light. Olivia is my heart. Katelyn is my treasure. Benson is my joy.
💛💜💚💙

Thursday, July 5, 2018

4th

A full and accurate accounting of The Family B's 4th of July, as told by Marie B, family matriarch.
We stayed in fabulous Las Vegas this year to celebrate our nations independence, mostly because it would have been a one day trip up to Utah and the children are still a little travel weary, and voted to just wait until next week to go up for the Utttte Staaaampede.
We started our day nice and early with a trip to Wally's to pick out a new bike for Katelyn so that she can learn to ride before she graduates from high school. We are way cool parents, though she had her doubts about our coolness, because she's pretty nervous about this learning curve.
As the Double B told her, we didn't learn to ride our bikes with all this safety gear back in days of yore!
Kaje and Liv went home but Benson came with us to ride his wiggle car at lightning speed and yell out encouragement like "power blaster activate!"
She definitely made progress but she still has a ways to go. I was proud of her for doing it in spite of her fear. There were a few tears but she kept trying, and that is courage, ladies and gentlemen. 
After that we took a little rest in the cool house and then headed out to lunch at PDQ (which stands for "pretty darn quick," if you didn't know. I didn't, and the Double B was truly shocked by this). Here's a lovely candid of my children, proving that this really did happen.
Donuts and watching 'National Treasure' followed. Then I took a little nap to cure a headache (it worked) and my children continued their binge watching of 'Gilmore Girls' before it was time to get food ready for our barbecue. Which was yummy.
The kids loved their little snapping fireworks but NO ONE could love them more then Benson. He went nuts with laughter every time he pulled one. Pretty entertaining.
We ended the night with a beautiful plan to go to Sonic for treats and head down to daddy's work to watch the Stratosphere light their fireworks. It almost worked, too. But Sonic was super slow and we got stopped at every single red light (which in Vegas, is a lot of red lights). So we saw a little of it from the car and by the time Daddy got Benson's chair out and Benson in it, it was over. Ha ha! What we saw was way cool, though. The kids were disappointed, but I reminded them that sometimes missing it makes a better story then making it! Plus they still got ice cream and still saw lots of really cool fireworks all across the valley on the drive. It really was cool.
Everyone fell into bed and that was the end of a really fun and full day. We are thankful for our freedoms and despite all that is going on in this troubled time, we are still proud to be Americans. 
The end.

And now, a few family quotes. Pulling out of the hotel parking lot last week, Benson said slowly "Momma... you are my best friend." 
Melted my heart.

A few days ago Katee and Benny were playing their pretend game. Kate said "Oh, baby baby baby" to Benson and he answered indignitly "No, I'm not a baby! I'm a KID!"
Message received.

We were window shopping to get ideas for Katelyn's upcoming birthday. She excitedly held up a bottle of glue. I asked her if she really wanted glue? She answered "Glue. Glue is my favorite. I need tape and glue, every day." 
I thought that was darn cute and kinda perfect. She also wants sticky notes. Cute. That's just cute.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Disneyland 2018

The blessed event finally arrived. An event we have waited five long years for. OUR FAMILY AND DISNEYLAND WERE REUNITED!!!!
I don't know who was more excited about being together again, Disneyland or Us. Either way, it was great. We used our magic morning the first day and got in some groovy fantasyland rides. Jonnie was so good to us and did all the running for fast passes that day. A real life hero, ladies and gentlemen.
Daddy and Benson came a little later after they slept in, ate a leisurely breakfast, and strolled on over. They left early each day to go watch cartoons and it worked for both of them. They are basically twins.
Teacups are a favorite for my kids and I was just pleased as punch when Katelyn loved Alice in Wonderland, one of my top five D-land rides.
Let me tell you about Miss Katelyn here. She is the woman to take to Disneyland. An absolute GEM of a Disney partner, right here. Did not complain once, could go allll day, just pleased and happy to be there. We were riding partners and I treasured it. She is da bomb. This happy, calm little creature, always with a mild and content look in her face. 
She tried everything (except Splash Mountain, but who can blame her), thought Space Mountain was amazing, Thunder Mountain gave her a racing heart and she LOVES Bear River Rapids. She got to ride it twice in a row and Uncle Jonnie loved it because he said she smiled big and whispered "this is my favorite ride!" Kinda melted his heart.
This is the only character picture I got, when we were in line for Soarin', ha ha. The parks were crazy crowded, it was hot, and so I made the girls stand here to get their "picture with Pluto." They thought it was pretty silly but knew they'd better just go along with it.
I am so thankful we got to have this experience with cousins. They really are best friends and they love every second together. Thankful for new memories made!
Aunt Trina got this radical shot. They're so cool.
We spent Tuesday and Thursday in Disneyland and Wednesday in California Adventure. It worked out great. I actually think it worked out better for us to not hop parks. And we saw the most amazing parade I have ever seen, 'Light Up The Night.' It was truly magical! We also saw the new Pixar Pier, which wasn't much to write home about, but hey, we saw it.
Greatest picture collection of my two Double B's ever. Waaaay too cute.
My nephew Ty and I were "boat buddies" then "bus buddies" then "car buddies." Being bff's with this cutie was one of the very best parts of the whole trip for me. We had a seriously great time together. I love this little human. Being Aunt Rie rocks.
The Double B is a little bit of a prickly traveler. He WANTS to have fun, but it can be a little hard for him to just relax and enjoy in these situations. So by day two in the parks, I knew this was my only hope of getting a picture of the two of us together, ha ha. I had to sneak it, and I'm glad I did. We're not perfect, but we belong to each other!
Day three meant starting out with Indiana Jones! This was an act of courage for Olivia, who was scared last trip but had a ball this time. KJ and Kate both love it and meee, too. It was so cool because we were in the stand by line almost there when who comes up behind us but Jon and his kids from the fast pass line! That was perfect because Liv and Leighn had vowed to ride it together. Right after that I got to ride it again with Trina and my parents, which was even more fun, hearing Trina's very genuine scream. It was a true bestie enjoyment moment  (for me).
The girls and I recreated our picture from bugs land from five years ago. Boy have they grown up! Benson was so proud of his Autopia drivers licence.
KJ was really amazing this trip. He was so mature and helpful, I was truly proud of his patience with his siblings and how far out of his way he went to help Mom and Dad any chance he could. And he held Benson soo much (because Benson forgot that he has feet at the end of his legs). And that's a really hard job with that giant kid. But you can see the love and trust Benson has for his big brother in these pictures that I just treasure. 
KJ also carried my backpack a lot, was cheerful and positive, and basically a teenage hero. How I love that kid!
He and Liv went off with Addie for a teenage adventure for a couple hours and the Double B and I enjoyed some Kate and Benny time with a yummy relaxing lunch, a train ride, and the Pixar parade. It was great.
Benson really enjoyed the parade but he just went nutzo for the 'UP' floats! He recently saw UP for the first time and loved it. That was super cute to watch his excitement.
After a few more hours and finishing up the Double B's longed for beignets in New Orleans Square, Benson announced he wanted to go back to the hotel and watch cartoons. I can't decide which of these faces I like best, but his pronouncement was both sudden and very, very serious. It worked out just fine because his Daddy had also had enough and so we sent them off into the cartoon ether. The older three kiddos were still ready to party and so was their Mom!
Riding Small World with Grandma and Grandpa. I think this picture is a pretty good grandparent/grandkid version of 'American Gothic.' Stoic yet joyful. Three of my very favorite people, right here.
It was fun to see the individual ears each kid chose. They had all saved up some spending money and they loooved searching the shops for their perfect souvenirs.
I really love Disneyland. I really, really do.
Liv had a great time. I learned that Olivia REALLY needs her sleep and that will determine the quality of her day. She had a much better time the second and third day based on the results of this discovery (information that I am planning to pass on to her future husband). She is a charmer and the daringest daredevil of the B kids, because she rode Splash Mountain! But she drew the line at Haunted Mansion. Not for her, thanks.
Things were winding up and we were making plans for what we really wanted to see for the last few hours. Isn't this a great shot of these two ladies?
The crowds really were huge, so we didn't get all of our last ride wishes in, but we got the carousel, shopping, the All-American College Band, the train at night, the fireworks show with cousins, and Fantasmic. And it was so great.
I am so thankful we got to go make these memories. 
I am so thankful for my amazing family.
I am so thankful for my parents that are responsible for any good thing that I am and whose good marriage we celebrated on this trip.
I am thankful for Walt Disney, too. Hats off to you, sir.

Thank you, God, for all good gifts.