Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Grant is NINE!

Loved celebrating our little boy. He means everything to our family.  For his birthday this year, we enjoyed spoiling him to pieces!  I think he really needed it this month and plus, it was fun.  Grant is a generous kid and never really wants anything for his birthday.  In fact, he asked that instead of presents..... we could maybe all go to Disneyland or Universal for the day!  I thought that was an awesome idea.  We tweaked the plan since our older kids can't really miss school.... and Blake took him to Legoland-- just the two of them;  they had such a great day.   Grandma and Grandpa also took him for a special day all to himself at Disneyland as their gift to him.  Nothing's more fun than Disneyland at Halloween time!   We also went to see Goosebumps and out to dinner as a family!  We also had a big hamburger dinner and ice cream cake  with the Jones.  We also had an amazing Halloween Birthday party with Grandma-- complete with pizza making and ding dong ditching!  Haha.... I think we covered our bases.  It was a really fun week of celebrating. Here's an excerpt from Grant's journal:

Grant, sports are your favorite thing.  You absolutely LOVE to play soccer and football.  You love to do anything and everything active:  swim, hike, golf, tennis, vollyball.  You are so good at sports and amaze your dad and I with your athletic abilities.  You work hard and rarely complain about attending practice or doing drills to increase your skill level.  You love music.  You have a playlist that grows weekly.  Evelyn helps you to find songs you enjoy to add to this playlist and you listen before you fall asleep at night.  You love to dance and you enjoy singing.  This year you joined chorus at school and also auditioned for Beauty and the Beast. You auditioned for LeFou, but earned the role of Maurice, Belle’s father.  You are loving it and enjoy spending time with your buddy — our neighbor Luke Jorgenson.  You are always up to try new things and put your heart and soul into everything you do.  You are a good student, though you don’t particularly enjoy school and find it difficult to sit still and stay indoors all day.  You really dislike homework and it’s not easy to get you to do it— but it is important to you that you are responsible and get the job done, so you do your best.  You love math and definitely prefer math to reading and writing.  Your favorite book series this year is definitely Harry Potter— you’ve read 5 books!   We are trying to finish but have plateaued a bit!  You love Studio C!  This is your favorite thing to watch.  You love Dude Perfect and Odd Ones Out on Youtube.  You enjoy playing legos, but mostly you love to run around outside and have never been one to play with toys much.You enjoy baking and gardening and camping and hiking.  You love sweets and Sprite.  You love roller coasters and love to watch youtube channels that show the route of various roller coasters in the world.  That is literally your favorite thing to watch!  You love Disneyland and Universal and Sea World.  You love holidays and enjoy helping me prepare for various traditions and events.  You are helpful and kind to your siblings.  You adore Dane and would do ANYTHING for him.  You look up to him and you are a darling little brother who tries hard to allow him to win and be at the top.  You are a peacemaker and bring a lot of joy to our family.  Your favorite food is Chick Fill A and Rubios.  You love spending time with cousins and with Grandparents.  You are sweet and tender and your teachers flat out adore you both at school and at church because you make such great decisions.  You love your Dad more than life itself and would do anything for him.  You are loyal and take care of your siblings.  You are a great brother to Anna at school. She always finds you to give you a hug at recess and you are always willing to cheer her up and comfort her.  I love how kind and affectionate you are to younger children and babies.  You adore little kids and adore dogs and small animals.  You have a very kind and giving nature and it’s evident when you spend time with kids.  Parents are always thrilled to have you around because their little ones like you so much.  You can be stubborn at times and when you have your mind set against something, you will hold strong.  But then when I tell you- the decision is yours and I’m not forcing you to do anything, you ALWAYS make the right choice to go ahead and do what is expected or do the thing you wish you didn’t have to do!  I’m proud of how you earned the Trustworthy Character Award first before anyone else in your class— both this year and last year.  You are running for student council as spirit commissioner.  Your description of why you’d make a good commissioner:  Because I have so many great ideas and I’m really a fun guy.   So cute.  All of the kids at school enjoy being your friend, but you are more interested in Dane’s friends- and older kids.  You are very mature and hang out with older kids easily and naturally.  You are so fun to watch grow.  Dad and I are so thrilled with the person that you are and all that you accomplish in your life.  Mostly just for being a super awesome kid who makes everyone happy.  So glad you are our son.
Memories/Trips:  This year we went to Tucson, AZ over New Year’s;  St George in February over winter break, Scottsdale, AZ in March, Pismo Beach in June, and Seattle in July.  Mt. Hood, Oregon in August. We had Uncle Dave and Aunt Jenny visit in May and Uncle Mike and Aunt Jess come in September.  The Rustands came out to visit as well a few times.  It was a busy and fun summer!

grant ding dong ditching!

October Happenings

What a month!  Halloween festivities, going away parties, birthday parties, Grant's BIRTHDAY!, school elections, Broadway plays, pizza parties-  we did it all and lived to tell.  I think the highlight of the month for me was watching Grant prepare and run for spirit commissioner at his school.  Though he didn't win, he sure gave it his all and we were all very proud of him for trying.  This month Grant has been on my mind more than ever.  Not only was it his 9th birthday, and therefore, tons and tons of celebrations on his behalf.... but sadly, he's had a rough month in regards to school.  He has just simply struggled to make it out the door every day.  Of course this school refusal has spilled over into every day life.  I've certainly found myself feeling sad, angry, impatient, worried, humbled and very prayerful as his parent.  I've felt discouraged MANY times throughout the month.  I've felt sorry for mothers who deal with special needs!  Typically my life flows easily and with all of the chaos this challenge has presented, I've realized how much I've taken my normal life for granted.  It's been a learning experience and it's far from over.  But I've been comforted to know that God is always in charge.  He's given me the strength many times over to deal not with the problem in it's entirety.... but to manage the moment, the actual hour of need.  And that is all I could ever hope for.  I am so grateful to have a Heavenly Father to direct me as a Mom. I'm also grateful to have Blake there.  He is wise and patient and a very good father and listening ear to me.  I don't think I could do this parenting gig without him.  And that's all I will say about that!  

On to more upbeat happenings!  Halloween festivities!  The Boogie Bash at school, Halloween parties galore, caramel apples and Monsterville on TV, Trunk or Treat, school Halloween parade and parties! Trick or treating, Halloween art and crafting! Wow.... it was a month full of celebrations.  Evelyn hosted a fun Fall Day with her friends here at our home in which the girls carved pumpkins, ate chili, and visited the Haunted Hayride!  That was about the most I saw her all month as she was so busy with the play coming to a close! More on that NEXT month.  But I loved party planning with my girl... she and I found an idea to serve treats out of a skeleton-- it turned out super cute and it was such a blast working on it together.  I love how much she loves holidays!  She obviously gets it from me! I've done something right!  Currently, her room is already decorated for Christmas and it's only November 6th!~  But we had all sorts of parties throughout the month.... we enjoyed throwing a going away party for the Tylers and having all of the Young Men from church over for a sleepover.  Hmmmm.... enjoyed? I don't know that I quite enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it until midnight.  Then I felt too tired to enjoy it anymore!  Haha.... Blake has been super busy taking the boys hiking, and camping and serving and everything in between.  Can't wait for Dane to turn 12 and start to enjoy all of the activities.

I loved celebrating Elizabeth's birthday this month!  We are the same age and I'm so grateful to have her for a friend and neighbor.  She's always there when I need her.  Loved meeting up with all of my new friends to have a birthday breakfast at the beginning of the month.  Pancake House is always a hit!  And felt very blessed by the love and kindness that my family and friends showed to me on my special day.  And speaking of friendships, of course I love whenever I get to spend time with my Del Norte friends!  We all went up to LA to see Dear Evan Hansen this past month and it was amazing in every way.  The entire day was a blast.  So grateful for that opportunity to get away and see such a touching play. 

Fun to spend a few days helping Michelle move in to her new home in San Marcos!  It's beautiful and it's been awesome to find fun new accessories for every room and decide where each piece of furniture should go.  Sad she is farther away, but grateful she has found a great place to settle.  Besides, if there's one thing I'm good at-- it's keeping in touch with people I love.  Speaking of.... Cathy came to visit this month!  And of course I put her right to work with Star Grams!  She helped me fill messages in a bottle and cut and glue all sorts of little crafts for our booth.  So fun to see her and spend a few days together.  We do this every year for our birthdays..both at the end of September.  

We tried out the new pizza oven Blake bought me for my birthday!  And it was a HUGE disaster!! HA!  It was such a mess to make, the dough wouldn't stretch, the finished product was.... doughy and not very delicious.  ACK!  We were bummed out.  But after a long chat with my brother in law, a few new tools and better dough-- we finally got the recipe right. And we are loving our pizza oven so much!

I was grateful this month to have Grandma down helping with star grams as well.  She made no less than 70 candy bouquets for the kids!  They turned out adorable and I was ever so grateful for her help on this project.  Along with homework and housework help.  She is always there in a pinch when I need her and I am so lucky!  T shirts for the play turned out adorable and we had great news that Evelyn would be able to wear her own hair instead of a wig because of our great friend Jen who was able to get it to look so fantastic!  Evelyn had an awesome time this month hanging with her friends at football games, Hocus Pocus parties,  and everything in between.  She sure loves her friends and I'm so glad she has such awesome kids to spend time with when she's not at school or play practice!

Anna has enjoyed having me as her art teacher at school-- only once a month, but so much fun! I am loving coming up with ideas and helping the kids to create.  Anna has certainly taken to stealing my phone and taking pictures and videos whenever possible.  She takes them of herself, of me  and everything in between.  I laugh at my camera roll when I scroll through at the end of the day.  Ha!  Anna is adoring 1st grade and is as happy as can be.  I'm so proud of her for working hard, accomplishing her homework and putting in a lot of effort.  She loves her teacher and is thrilled every day.  

Dane is plugging along --- working so hard at soccer and football;  enjoying school, accomplishing homework the minute he gets home!  He is so very responsible.   The boys had a blast at their 3 v 3 tournament a few weekends ago.  Dane has really grown so much and is doing an amazing job juggling the various aspects of his life.  I was sad the other night when he told me that a few girls had described him as "cute" and wondered why his face looked so young.  He was actually very upset by it.  Of course, I think he is the actual most handsome boy on earth, so I could barely take the conversation seriously.  Ah.... the joys of middle school.  It was a good chance for Blake and I to talk with him about how people in life are going to find problems with you no matter what. And to just let it go and realize you are YOU and that's pretty outstanding.  I was so happy that he came and shared with me what he was feeling.  He is such an open kid... unlike Evelyn!  I so hope he always shares his worries with me.  I adore that kid.

So this is the update for the month.  Hard times, good times... we are here to learn and grow! I know it can't be otherwise.  I pray that I'm learning what I need to in order to help my son feel good about life again.  Here's to hoping November will be a little smoother!

birthday leftovers

Anna and Miss Anna at her field trip!

Geraldine looking wonderful!

Anna's selfie

My dad on his 6 week cruise!

 Jamie and Jason in Hawaii for their 20th year anniversary!

 Young men sleepover
making granola!