Monday, August 24, 2015

New State, New Schools

The day finally arrived! The kids have been SO EXCITED!!! And nervous and anxious and everything in between. But it got here. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, my 6th Grader 
Middle School. Sheesh! I'll admit I've been dreading the very idea of middle school for some time. Here is my little boy. My precious, tender, sweet, innocent little boy. And I have to send him off with "THOSE" people. And I know perfectly well who those people are -- I was in middle school once! But you know what? He's going to be okay. In fact, he'll do great. I asked him if he wanted me to drop him off or walk him in. He asked me to walk in with him (don't worry, there were other parents! I checked!). On the way I asked him if he was nervous or excited. He said "I'm both! I'm ner-cited. Excit-ous." Ha ha! He cracks me up! He took a big breath when we walked in to fifty million big kids, but got him to his classroom and he was fine.
After school he looked good. He couldn't figure out how to open his locker (I remember that!), so we went back in and I helped him figure it out. He said it was a good day. He liked his teachers, made it into strings, and even had a teacher that loves BYU! He said "Mom, I haven't made any friends yet." He didn't dare talk to anyone at lunch. I assured him that will come. He said it was funny, everybody sits a seat away from each other at first, then those seats get filled. 
Too bad, in some ways, we can't stay like elementary school, where you don't have to be cool and can become instant bffs! As I was leaving him this morning, I was thinking about the incredible diversity at his school. Every color and shape in the rainbow. That's a gift. It was a good day and I'm thankful for that. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, my 3rd grader 
When I got up at six this morning, the girls were dressed in their school clothes and ready to go! They just could not wait! Olivia did really well until we were trying to find the line I was supposed to leave her in. It was so chaotic and hot outside and pretty overwhelming. I felt so bad leaving her there, but I had to drop katelyn off at the other end of the school. Next year I'll make sure the Double B has the day off so we can tag team it. She was very brave, though, and when I saw her this afternoon she gave me a flying hug! She said school was AMAZING!!! She loves her teacher! She made a ton of friends! Everyone is so nice! She ate her fruits and veggies in her lunch first! She has gym two days in a row! She can't WAIT to come back tomorrow! I'm so thankful things went so beautifully for her. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Kate the Great, Kindergarten Baby
No one could have been more excited then Katelyn. She was so, so excited! But things did get pretty scary in the mass confusion of the drop off this morning, and it was so scary to follow her teacher, and let go of mom's hand and go into her classroom. But she did it! And I was so proud. It's just hard to leave your little ones so unsure, but I knew she'd be fine. And she WAS! She told me "at first I was just so worried about you! But then I wasn't so worried anymore." When I picked get up she was on cloud nine. School was GREAT! She loved it! She loves going to school! She loves going aaaaalllll day. She loved eating her big kid lunch. She loved going to P.E. Her teacher is so nice. She made lots of friends! She got a green card for being a giraffe champion! Basically, it was the best day ever. I'm so so so glad. Love this sensitive little soul. 

Here are my girls, off to face the world an hour after brother. The sun was bright. It made Katelyn feel pretty mad, because her eyes were WATERING. Sheesh, Mom! 
When Benson and I finally got home, I pulled him out of his carseat and chatted away about how quiet our day was going to be, got to the door and thought "wait a minute. It's our first day, too." I pulled out the camera. He looked at me, I looked at him, then we got it. Both happy and content our buddies were off to learn and grow. He went down for a nap, I climbed back in bed with my little migraine hangover, and it was so, so, so quiet. The quiet reached way down deep. My children were well cared for. I felt at peace. 
P.S. How about that little haircut Benson is rocking? Pretty much ripped my heart out with a spoon! Who is that big boy!?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Safely Settled

Well, we're citizens on the surface of the sun.
For growing up in the hundred degree plus desert, I am amazed and inspired by the absolute inferno that is southern Nevada. Absolutely scorching! Blazing! Nuclear! Good thing I like the heat. This might be a lot even for me, though.
I am glad I spent my adolescence in the desert. It makes the adjustment easier -- I can see the beauty in the tan and the barren. I think it would be more of a struggle for my native Missouri friends. For us, it's a lot like home.
It's only been a week since Wednesday, but we are getting settled in and comfortable. The kids are doing great -- although super ready for school to start! They toured them today and are very excited. But I am MORE excited. I never thought I'd be that Mom that is delighted for school to start, but LET ME TELL YOU. I don't know if it's the difference in their ages, 1 to 11. I don't know if there's just so danged many of them. I don't know if it's that I dragged them across the country. I don't know if I'm just older and more hag-like. But DANGIT. THE CHILDREN NEED TO GO TO SCHOOL!!! They just changed kindergarten to full day here this year. I honestly consider that a great blessing for Katelyn. She is so ready, and desperately needs the structure. Basically, it'll be Benson and I for a long time. I kind of feel bad about that for him, but I can't help he's that far behind... that's when the Lord sent him! I love my children and I'm so glad I am their mom. They are the best. And I will be a better mom when we are all back on schedule again!
Seriously, everything we need is within about 5 blocks. Couldn't be more convenient. I never have to leave my little corner! Although we all know about my hermit-like tendencies. I told the Double B I signed up for some things at the middle school in an effort to battle my inner recluse. He was both perplexed and impressed. He said "Say no to hermitage!" Which I think we can all agree is my new life motto.
I was thinking tonight about our life course -- what kind of insanity possessed us to leave our happy little life at home and become national wanderers -- and I have no answers about that. I don't know why we did it, what got us to do it. And I don't know that we'll ever get home -- or at least, not for many, many years. Sometimes that makes me sad. Sometimes I am glad for the adventure. Always I hope for growth and not just survival. I don't know. I never foresaw this for us. But that is when I have to apply my faith that the Lord is involved in our lives and that he DID have a hand in it. It's the only way for me to be able to travel this course. There is no looking back and no alternate course. This IS our course. It's the one that I believe the Lord chose for us. So I will be happy and rejoice in it.

Monday, July 27, 2015


This little love of my life turned one year old. 
He wasn't feeling the best with teething, and he thought it was pretty crazy with all those people singing at him, but it was a GREAT day to celebrate Bens.
He loves his cute little toys.
He is so blessed to have so many people love him so much! And we are so blessed to have him. 
A year ago at this time I was so happy. What an angel, sent straight out of heaven to bless my life. He was sent to us by the grace of God, and I'll never forget that. He is a source of joy to every one of us! This silly, precious little boy! 

Dear Grown-Up Benson, 
This first year of your life was a real whirlwind of activity. You joining us was the best part of it all! I love you, I love you so much, my little son that is probably now a giant! 
Your buddy, 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ma Ma

Laying awake while my right hip and knee throb away. I'm such an old lady it's adorable.
Speaking of adorable -- this guy! 
Benson now makes the "ma" sound. He can't always quite get it, he'll look at you and smack his lips to impersonate you, but every now and then out it comes. So cute. He is also incorporating a face-plant-and-slide scoot thing with his usual ninja rolls and is becoming quite a menace when it comes to getting where he should not be! He also is the ultimate vacuum cleaner -- and thinks it's hilarious to not let you get the offending thing out of his mouth -- clenched teeth, shaking his head, pushing it to the other side. What a character! Then giggling through the whole thing! Love that precious boy. He is teething and doesn't feel good, but he still just keeps being adorable. What a good sport! So lucky he is ours.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Katelyn the Greatlyn turned 5.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen. This girl is 5.
How I love my little Captain Insane-O-Pants. She is a profound joy to me, and also the kid that gives me the best run for my money. She is so smart and an incredibly deep thinker. She asks hard questions. She is headstrong and relentless. She is funny and creative and deeply sensitive. 
To celebrate I took her and KJ and Liv to see the movie Minions last night (including Minion happy meals, naturally) and we had a blast. Even got a free birthday cupcake, which she graciously shared! 
Then today she came with me to pick out donuts for breakfast, opened presents (she kept saying how much she loved her surprises), lunch at Dairy Queen and a family birthday party at the park with grandparents, cousins, and even Aunt Sil's uncle, aunt and cousin Bia from Brazil, who so kindly gave her a very sweet stuffed animal that she adores. 
My favorite quote of the day? "You can't be mad at me! It's my birthday!" And she's right, too. When I asked her if she liked her birthday party she said she loved it and loved the whole day. Her eyes were so happy, and my heart was so full. 
The only sad thing was going to bed: "But it won't be my birthday tomorrow and I'll be sad!" Ha Ha. I get it, Katee. I love birthdays so very much. I love your birthday and I love you. 

Dearest Grown-Up Katelyn, 
I know the years will fly by. So I want you to know that now, then, and always -- I love you with my whole mother heart! You are so good and such an individual (which you know I love). You are the perfect daughter for me! I am so thankful for your life and your lion heart. I know you will always bring me great joy and laughter and always keep me on my toes, for which I am forever grateful. I love you so much. You were the cutest little five-year-old ever!
Your Friend, 

Friday, June 26, 2015


Saw this gem of a picture today at Mom B's. That Double B McButter Pants gave Benson the exact same hair and much of his cuteness. 
I guess my suspicions could come to fruition and my tiny Double B could grow up and have his dad's black hair. Time will tell. Either way, that is one cute family. 
In national history, today the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nation wide. That makes me pretty sad... because as a history student, the overriding of states rights scares me. We have a carefully constructed government. It hangs on its ability to check and balance itself. 
In family history, today we went to an awesome trampoline place with Sil and her girls. The kids LOVED it, it was awesome! Olivia found several ways to injure herself but she was a champ. She has some serious circus basketball skills! They were all sweaty and tired, but we had fun. Costco, sweltering in 111 degree heat, a fun visit with the grandparents B and cousins, and lemons to top it off. Can't complain about that. 

Christmas Flash Back

So I'm not a hundred percent sure what got me thinking of this, since it was 110 today and we spent hours at the splash pad and drinking our weight in Frys drinks (a tragic discovery if ever there was one. They already know my order when I pull up to the window -- Diet Coke, double lime. It's so sad. And yet is so happy, too).
I think my Christmas Flash Back comes courtesy of a little board book Benny was playing with -- that puts pictures to the song "Mary, Did You Know." Kate wanted me to read it to her, recognized the lyrics, hunted down the Pentatonics Christmas CD and the portable movie player, and danced her little heart out to the music, on repeat.
So my little mind time machine took me back to last Christmas, when the Double B ate his entire box of birthday-cake Oreos and most of his sock candy during the opening of presents. Then ate a very sugary breakfast. Then declared himself very ill. All before about nine o'clock in the morning.
He spent pretty much all of Christmas day in bed, and didn't even feel good enough to come with us to celebrate that night with the Tates. Which was too bad, because we had fun. The rest of us had a jolly time. But not the Double B! We got back just in time for me to help offer him moral support while he barfed up everything he'd ever eaten in his life to that point. I pitied him -- at least 50%. Then Olivia called me upstairs because, sure enough, Katelyn was barfing. Then Double B. Then Katelyn. It was a Christmas barf competition!
Olivia was awarded the red badge of courage for being my faithful, compassionate assistant with all the yakking going on.
So that was Christmas 2014. A good year. Recited to you this 25th day of June, 2015.
The end.