October 18, 2017

First soccer game

The boys are playing upwards soccer this year AND they get to play with the White's!  Eli and Jon are on the Wolfpacks team and Colin and Tolson are on the Cheetahs.

They all played great!  It was fun seeing them really get into the game.  I hope to get some videos soon, because watching Colin out on the field is something you don't want to miss.  Little squirt runs with his elbows out to keep his shirt up and is so fierce that he's exhausted by the end of the game.

October 11, 2017

This and that

I got to go on a girls trip to San Diego!  Fashion Valley was a little slice of paradise.  My face looks funny in the picture because for some reason Gwen was pushing me like "Get to the front of the picture!" and it was cracking me up.  I love that life can entail trips to ocean air...added bonus, I actually bought 2 pairs of jeans...except I wouldn't really call them jeans because apparently they don't make normal pants anymore.  Thankfully I live in the dessert and am used to rocking cropped pants.

 While I was shopping, Ben was holding down the fort.  He made the kids run a mile with him, took them to a movie and even hosted some friends for dinner.  While everyone was playing outside, Maya ran full speed into the glass door and gave herself a black eye (how the door didn't shatter, I'll never know).  Our friend that was over, is an EMT and looked her over to make sure everything is okay.  He gave her the all clear but apparently it was bad enough to make Ben and an EMT worry and that says a lot in my books.  If Maya were a cat, she would only have 7 lives left.

Our house has joined forces to get Colin to read.  Eli asked one day if he could do his lesson.  It was perhaps the sweetest thing I've ever heard.  He even held his little finger to help him follow along reading the words.

Ben worked with him while I took Alison and Eli to piano lessons.  This is the text I received:

Ha!  This will forever make me laugh.
He actually is doing very well for a 5 year old boy, it just takes 10 times more work than I ever imagined.  Reading time required a camp site one day.

 Eli asked if he could paint the sky.  It made me laugh because the sky is pretty much always clear blue here, but I loved seeing him out there being creative.  He ended up painting a rainbow.

He is constantly amazing us with his creations.  His new thing is, looking online at Lego sets and then recreating them with what he has.  BUT it's not just the same concept, he will replicate every detail of the picture. 

P.S. yes, we do grammar lessons in school.  I just didn't want to correct him on the video.

I am so excited to see how this gift is used in his life.

Speaking of gifts, Alison's love for gymnastics has not wavered.  She has continued to teach herself tricks and proven to be dedicated at something she loves.

She will snatch my phone and take videos of herself so she can see what her trick looks like.
 I tried to convince her to be a home gymnast, but Ben thought it might be smart to get her safe training...so, Alison's life was made today when we signed her up for a class. 

September 29, 2017

A new school year

We started our new school year 2 weeks ago.  So far, I am loving 5th, 2nd and Kindergarten.  I am always amazed what little breaks do for our kids.  Alison came back with a whole new view of school; she's been working more diligent on note taking and been really interested in learning more.  Bonus of 5th grade is that it's starting to build her foundation of independent work.

 Alison poses have turned into gymnastic moves.

Eli can read his own lessons now, which is huge!

One night at dinner, Eli asked me out of the blue, "Momma, why don't you go to work like daddy?"  I told him that I do work; just because I don't leave the house for work, doesn't mean I'm not a teacher.  Just like he still goes to school, even though he doesn't leave the house.  Then I joked that maybe I should get dressed up, drive around the block and "go to work".  Eli got so excited.  "Would you momma?  I'll wear a uniform too!  I have just the thing to wear!" 
So the next day, while the kids were cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I got dressed, slipped outside and rang the doorbell.  When Alison finally answered the door, I said, "Welcome to Windsor Academy.  School is in session!"  Eli ran upstairs and got uniforms for them all to wear...it was hilarious.

Colin still sits in the school room happily while we work.  He writes in his notebook and participates in history and science.  His main work is at reading time. 

September 28, 2017

Poppy's visit

Rick came to visit for a long weekend, in between meetings in LA and Phoenix.  I wish I could say we did exciting things, but we basically hung out at the house and got a few burritos.  It's been at least a year and half since we've seen Rick and the kids refused to leave his side.  Seriously, I felt a little bad for how much they smothered him. 

We spent most evenings outside, playing soccer and grilling dinner.

S'mores are a staple now.

We are blessed with very engaging grandparents.  I am confident Rick had lots of work to do to prepare for his meetings, but he never turned down an opportunity to play.

Colin especially felt bonded to Poppy and followed him around the house.  He would literally wait outside the bathroom door for him.  They got to hang out together while I took Alison and Eli to piano and Ben had a work emergency.  My favorite part of Rick's visit was hearing about their time together when we returned.  A telemarketer called Rick's phone and he gave the phone to Colin.  He said Colin just talked and talked and talked and eventually the salesperson just broke up laughing and said he was the cutest little boy.  Sales death by cuteness...I love it.

I found this gem on my phone.

September 25, 2017

If you need us

 We'll be here:

We've talked about making an outdoor space since we moved in, but you know, summers and deployment made that impossible...until now!  Literally the first day that was under 100, we were outside all.day.long working together to built this.  Ben gets a large majority of the credit for moving cinder blocks 8,000 times.  We lucked out that everything was on clearance for "end of summer" which makes no sense to me as this is the time when Yumans can actually be outside.  No matter the price or sweat, it was worth it.  We've spent every evening out there, looking at stars and eating marshmallows and just enjoying the fresh air together.

I did get some very strange looks when I tried to buy firewood...evenings are still in the 80's but it feels wonderful to us!  The first night we were out there, Alison made up a little game for us to play.  You had to roll dice and answer a question to go with the number.  Eli got "What is your best day ever?" and he said, "Right now!"

We've been so preoccupied that I haven't even posted about starting school and soccer.  Here's a short glimpse of the reading work we did this week.

September 16, 2017

Flagstaff fun

My goal for the trip was to be outside as much as possible and one thing I love about Flagstaff is it's abundance of activities to do just that.  We started the day at the park.

We played tag and had a race; Colin wanted to prove to the family that he is indeed the fastest.  Then we were climbing on a firetruck structure and Colin got pretty high.  We asked if he needed help down and he said in a very serious tone, "No.  I got myself into this mess, I can get myself out of it."  A theme of this trip was Colin saying the most hilarious things.

Then we went to Lava River Cave.

We had to climb down into the cave through these big boulders.  It was about 30° colder in the cave and the kids hands quickly got very cold as they braced themselves on the rock.  If I was writing a travel blog, I would definitely want to share to other parents to take gloves.  We just stopped every once in awhile and warmed our hands in our pockets and they were fine.

This time, it was Eli who didn't want to stop exploring and would have walked that cave for many more hours.  We saw a group of kids (maybe a field trip or camp) leaving as we were just getting in the cave and then we were all alone in there.  It made it nice to be able to just take our time, but also a little creepy.  We stopped here, all held hands and turned off our lights.  Ben made a good point that it's very rare in your life to experience total darkness.  It's amazing how disorienting and frightening darkness is.

It wasn't until I was watching them climb out of the cave that I thought, "This is crazy."

Then we went to dinner at a local brewery.  Any time Colin puts his face next to Ben's it just amazes me how much they look the same.

Apparently I tell the kids to "soak it up" a little too much, because I heard each of them say it during this trip.  We soaked up being cold in a cave, splashing in a river and wearing pants at the park.  Before heading home the next day, we found a trail to hike and stopped halfway through to soak up the mountains.  Honestly, Ben and I had a hard time leaving and we were stalling.  The boys started playing with the logs and sticks and could have stayed in that spot all day.  I love that about boys.

We drove through a crazy thunderstorm on the way home.  Seeing rain hit the desert (I wonder how many times I've accidentally typed dessert) is a unique site.  I wish I could say it cooled things off, but we came home to a very hot house and several more days of temps around 110°.