Friday, June 29, 2012


I smiled when I came across these tonight. Usually it's all three of my kids in a tub, but Isabella's been feeling a little squished lately, so sometimes she takes a shower/bath on her own. On this particular occasion, the younger fish were quite splashy and lovey/dovey with the extra room!

Kinder Grad!

It doesn't seem like long ago at all that I was very nervously sending Isabella off too school for the first time. And yet I blinked a few times and what-do-ya-know, today we got her final report card in the mail. Will and I couldn't be prouder of how well she did. I'm a little jealous that she seems to be naturally good at reading/writing and math. Granted, I know this is just Kindergarten we're talking about, and things can change, but still! You go, girl!

All in all, I'm just so thrilled at what a positive experience school has been for us so far. The only thing I'm still puzzled about is why she'd get off the bus grumpy almost every day. Maybe she was hungry and tired? But anyway, I felt like she learned a lot and was challenged, and I couldn't speak highly enough of her teacher.  Here are just a few of my favorite things that her teacher wrote about her each trimester:

1st Trimester:
* Isabella is a thoughtful, polite student.
* Isabella is quiet, but always contributes valuable ideas to our daily discussions and lessons.
* She is a true pleasure to have in class.

2nd Trimester:
* Isabella is a hard-working and focused student.
* She is at grade level or above grade level in all skill areas of both reading and math.
* She puts forth consistent effort and I can always count on her to be ready to learn.
* She is an exceptional girl, and a positive leader in her class.

3rd Trimester:
* Isabella is becoming such a great writer. I always enjoy reading her journal and notes.
* Math continues to be a strength for Isabella.
* Isabella has made wonderful progress in kindergarten this year. Her hard work and focus in class are assets. She is a true joy to teach.

Okay, enough gushing from me. Here's a few photos I snapped the morning of her last day of school. After a week of rain, it was actually a sunny last day!

Here she is with her teacher at her Kindergarten graduation. :) She wanted Mrs. Sullivan to have flowers and her Grandma Rise and Grandpa Billy brought Isabella some beautiful flowers to mark the occasion, too. 

Here's a quick (sorta) family picture after the graduation. Liam and Juliette weren't in a picture-taking mood, I guess. Stinkers. :)

Lastly, here's a little bit of what our summer vacation has been looking like so far. Lots of Isabella reading to her brother and sister-- I love it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

30 Rocks

I've had some weird aversion to putting together my birthday post this year. Maybe I'm in denial. Maybe there aren't any pictures. Maybe I'm just so busy, I can't keep up! Whatever the case, it has come and gone! But before I forget, here are some things I want to remember about my big day:

1. On the eve of my birthday, my sweet Will (with the help of my friend, Terrilee) threw me a surprise bash! There were so many people that came to wish me a happy day, and after the shock wore off, I truly enjoyed the evening. I have so many dear friends in my life and I'm grateful for every single one. Thank you, Will! Thank you, friends! I'm sad there are no pictures, but it is what is. (And honestly, it probably would have looked as horrendous as the picture taken at my last surprise birthday party when I was twelve, so ya know, I'm not that sad about it.)

2. Two of my friends brought me a vase with thirty rocks in it... I thought that was clever and cute. And so far, I must agree-- 30 rocks! I got all sorts of fun gifts, including homemade bread and a giant bag of chocolate chips! Another friend wrote me the sweetest card about how much she loves her thirties. Up until that point I wasn't really excited about this birthday, but her words seriously changed my attitude. Bring it, 30! I own you.

3. One friend gave me flowery reading glasses, a shower cap (just like the one I already have!), bright lipstick and a pill dispenser. It was a total old-lady gag gift, but I didn't catch on. The only piece of the present I was a little puzzled about was the pill dispenser. The rest I was honestly excited about! I wrote her a heartfelt thank-you and then she broke it to me. We laughed a lot about that.

4. I had two cheesecakes. One at the family birthday dinner my awesome mother-in-law always puts together, and one at the surprise party. I LOVE cheesecake. She also watched the kids so Will and I could go on a birthday date... I always look forward to those. :)

5. My big present was a trip to UT to watch my mom graduate and have girl time with her, my Grandma Minnie, and all three of my sisters. It was the best! And I got showered with gifts and love while I was down there, too.

6. For weeks and weeks prior to my birthday, I couldn't find my glasses. I have contacts that I wear during the day, but I was really missing my glasses at night because it's always nice to take a break from wearing contacts. I looked everywhere for those spectacles, and was pretty bummed that they were nowhere to be found. But on my birthday, I found them! Guess where? Right where they belong. Yep, inside my glasses case, inside my bathroom drawer...where I always keep them! Somebody explain to me how I can look inside my glasses case (at least five times) and not find them until I look the sixth time. Birthday magic, I guess! Actually, it was an answer to prayer, and I'm so grateful to be back to my four-eyed geek ways.

7. Will gave me the most beautiful bouquet! I loved, loved it.

8-30. All the things I'm forgetting. But I'm happy to blame my forgetfulness on my age. Thirty really is the best.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's are so Special!

Once upon a time, I saw my dream guy from across the room. He looked like the all-American family guy to me--so attractive! Turns out I was more than right. He's the ultimate family man, and the very best kind of dad. Here's a sliver of what our Father's Day looked like this year:

1. Liam crashing on Will's lap. 

2. The Grandmas and Great Aunts wanting a BFF picture. Aren't they cute?

3. Liam and Grandpa Billy snuggling on the couch. Liam was especially cuddly after waking up from his nap and would go around the room and plop himself in different laps of the grandparent variety.

4. More laughter and smiles from some of my favorite ladies. They are so adoring of my kiddos, who run laps and squeal and jump on them constantly.

5. Presents and Father's Day cards that put smiles on all of our faces. There were fill-in-the-blanks in Isabella's card, and one of them went something like this: "My daddy taught me how to... (drumroll please)... walk." ;) I'm glad she appreciates the fundamentals! 

6. We topped off the evening by watching old home videos from when Great Grandpa was alive. He died before Juliette was born. It was a sweet touch to a very special day. 

For me, the only bummer about the day was not getting to talk to my own dad! Between competing with other siblings for Skype time, crazy Sunday mornings before church, and it being 11:30pm his time when we got home from church, I didn't catch him. Hopefully I'll get to talk to him soon. Today he took off for Paris to celebrate his wedding anniversary with my mom. I guess living in a different time zone does have its perks!

Monday, June 18, 2012

June Bugs

Aside from birthdays, I'm terrible (terrible!) about pulling out the video camera. It seems like I always go for my camera-camera when there's a picture opportunity. It doesn't help that once my kids are past the age of one  or so, they just want to see what I'm doing and watch videos instead of get filmed. But I was able to distract Juliette enough the other evening to get a little bit of her, and while I was filming her, Will came home from work. To me, it was the cutest thing ever to catch all three kids run for daddy as soon as they heard the garage door open. So, this video is mainly of that, but I also incorporated some old videos and some Father's Day footage, making this a Father's Day video of our little June bugs for Will.  We love you, Will!

And to my dad, I think you are absolutely perfect. I honestly can't think of a better dad than my very own. I love you so much, Dad!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Up Close & Personal

This is a post wherein I show you a million pictures of wild beasts--not normally my thing, but when a yak (or bison or whatever IT is) gets in your face and wants bread, how can you not take a picture?

So, let me back up.  On Memorial Day, we piled into the car and took a longish drive to visit a place called Olympic Game Farm. Basically, it's a drive-through zoo. And it is awesome! Will and I were laughing so hard at how up close we got to lions and tigers and bears. (Oh my!) Isabella and I went here five years ago when she was younger than Juliette, so it had been awhile for the two of us, and the others had never been. I'd definitely forgotten what a funny place this is. 

The kids loved it even more than I expected they would. Isabella kept asking me to take pictures of every little animal--the rabbits and pigeons were right up there with the bears. She wanted to document everything, and she's been begging me to print out these pictures so she can take them to school to show her class. Both she and Liam were great little navigators, too. 

Will let Liam sit in his lap and drive the car for awhile. Even though we were only going a few miles an hour, it still made me a little jumpy. He was all smiles, though, and didn't want to to give up the wheel.

I think my favorite thing to take pictures of were the peacocks. They were everywhere, and so pretty!

There's no doubt in my mind that Juliette's favorite thing was not having to wear a seatbelt. She pretended the car was a jungle gym and loved sitting in Isabella's booster.

I know, sick, right? Slobber on my window... being THAT close. It's just a little crazy to me.

I loved the bears. They were so cute and if I didn't know any better, I would've gone up and given one a great big bear hug. They were so adorable, and there were so many of them! There were baby bears, too, and Isabella was definitely upset that I didn't get a picture of any of the babies.

After we went through the whole driving portion, we waited for a tour about how Disney used to own this farm and used the animals in their movies. While we waited, it was pouring out, so we found some cover and the cute kids climbed.

While I'm on this random animal kick, I also wanted to mention that we recently went to Will's Aunt Julie's house to visit, and her neighbor has lots of chickens and roosters, and three new baby calfs that we got to see. The kids were pretty guarded and didn't want to get near the calfs, but they definitely enjoyed the visit, and it kind of felt like our own private petting zoo for the afternoon. Thanks so much, Aunt Julie!

This picture makes me laugh. I guess the calfs didn't want much to do with us, either. :)

Anyway, on our drive home from Olympic Game Farm, we stopped by a cemetery and talked about how grateful we are for the men and women who have died to provide and protect our freedoms here in America. It was the best Memorial Day I've had in a long time with the people I love most. And who knows, maybe we'll make getting up close and personal with wild beasts a Memorial Day tradition. :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Doggie Pile

Because today has been on the tougher side, I was especially happy to see Will walk through the door this evening. I think the first words out of my mouth were, "I'm exhausted!" Juliette had climbed over bins and boxes and bags to get to the farthest corner of our ridiculously large coat closet to meet up with Liam and Isabella, who were probably hiding from "dinner time." Just as Will walked in the door, I was trying to wrestle her flailing body out of there without hurting her, especially since she broke her elbow on Saturday night. She was not a happy camper about having to get out, but our coat closet is a booby trap for babies with broken bones-- plus it was time to eat! Not fun.

Anyway, the poor thing spent the morning laying on the couch, not at all herself, but when she woke up from her second nap this afternoon, she must have felt like a new woman because I could not keep up. She wanted to chase her siblings, walk up and down the stairs, stand on the couch, and generally just put me in a constant panic that she was going to fall on her broken arm. She isn't in her cast yet, so you can call this normally jumpy mama, JUMPY MAMA.

So, yeah. I'm always happy when Will comes home, but today I was especially. I know he has long days at work, but he always seems to have energy for us when he gets home, and instantly goes into full daddy/husband mode the second he walks in the door (granted, I'm noticing in the picture above that we don't always leave him much choice). But seriously, what a good, good dad he is, and I love him for that. 

And boy are we all looking forward to when I can sit back and enjoy watching Juliette doggie pile with the rest of them again.



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