Sunday, August 27, 2017

Happy Double-Digits Emmy!

Well, you are 10 today!  Happy birthday!  You've been excited for this day for quite a while.  You kept telling me how once you're 10 you'll be able to stay up late.  I was like, "Uh, no."  Mainly because you share a room with your 7-year old sister.  Then I read your birthday letter from last year and it mentioned how when you are 10 you'll get to stay up later!  We'll see about that . . . there is a chance we'll move the boys permanently downstairs and then you girls would have your own rooms - then maybe you can stay up later.  :)

As I read your letter, I thought, "Yep, she (you) is pretty much the same!"  Still a lot of sugar and spice and FIRE.  :)  You're crazy and can drive me crazy lots.  But I'm also crazy about you and love seeing you and hearing you and watching you.

Seeing you:  You cut your hair real short this year and it was a perfect fit on you!  You got oodles and oodles of comments from people everywhere who just adored your hair.  I loved it and so did you.  But you are now growing it out . . . we'll see how long that lasts once the snarls come back, too.  :)  Either way, you are totally beautiful.  I love seeing how you tie up all your shirts in the back with a hair rubber-band.  It's not something I taught you - your figured out that style all on your own.  You're petite, of course, so a lot of shirts are big on you and you like a more fitted look.  It's good to see you have some sense of style . . .  I love seeing you and your sister play.  I love seeing you and your brothers play.  I love seeing you run.  I love seeing you read.

Hearing you:  I love to hear you sing.  You sing just like me - I'm so sorry!  I have nobody to blame but myself for that.  :)  But it's sweet.  You do like to sing to songs we listen to in the car.  Your brothers, mainly Jonas, do not totally love it.  I loved hearing you talk about Dork Dairies this past summer.  You totally got in to the series this summer and would tell me all about it.  We even listened to one of the books on our girls-only trip to Utah.  I also love hearing you talk about your "special" friends.  You are greatly endeared to the special need students at your school.  You've had a couple in your classes and you have been really great with them and they have all really liked you, too.  You would make a great special-ed teacher!

Watching you:  Of course I love watching you at gymnastics.  It's fun to see you get new skills.  I especially love watching you with your cousin Grace doing gymnastic routines.  I can't wait to watch you someday in a gymnastics competition!  Your coach says you and your team will be competing soon, but we'll see . . . I hope so.  I loved, loved, loved watching you sing with Lucy in sacrament meeting on Mothers' Day.  You and Lucy memorized your verse and it was just about the best present ever.  I loved it so much.

I love seeing you - especially when you make good choices.  I love hearing you - especially when you are saying nice things.  I love watching you - especially when you are working hard.

I love being a part of your life and especially being your mother!

I love you,

Monday, August 21, 2017

The First Day of School (for everybody else), 2017-2018

And they are back to school - every one of them now!

First-grade for Lucy!  She has Mrs. Dodd.  Jonas had her for first-grade, too.  She is fabulous and Lucy already loves her!  She had a great day and was so happy when I picked her up from school!  Lucky for us, 3 days before school started they hired a third 1st-grade teacher - so Lucy now has 20 kids in her class, instead of 32.  Thank goodness.  This is Mrs. Dodd's last year - it should be a great one with Lucy in it.  :)

 4th-grade for Emmy!  Wahoo.  Although it's a little strange this year as it is 3rd and 4th graders in her class and in every 4th grade class.  Instead of having huge 3rd-grade classes, the teachers decided to have five 3rd/4th grade classes.  So every class is a mix.  Emmy is not thrilled about that at all.  I'm not either, but think it will be okay.  Emmy is thrilled that she has Mr. Scott.  He's like the most fun teacher in the school - plus he gives out candy.  The students all rotate and have other teachers for math and writing, but Mr. Scott is her homeroom teacher and she totally likes him.  She was all smiles picking her up from school today, too!

 Miles is in 8th-grade and still doesn't know how to smile for the camera when it's just him.  :)  He admits it himself and we all had a good chuckle as we looked at the pictures this evening.  Miles has all your regular classes (Algebra, reading, writing), plus science all year (no social-studies - is that weird or no?!), art, and I can't remember.  He seems excited about all of his classes and his teachers.

 All four kids ready for a new year of school!

 Such crazies.

 My adorable Northsiders!

 I rode my bike with the boys for their first day.  Miles is tricky and likes to ride with no hands.  We pray all the time that our boys will be safe as they ride their bikes to and fro school each day!

My handsome Centennials!

Fantastic Fillmores

Our trip to Utah was quick - we got in late Friday, woke up early Saturday, and played with friends late that night.  Then we went to church on Sunday and we left straight from the parking lot to home!  But we still did a lot!

After my triathlon, we came back to my parents' home.  Actually, my dad took our kids home - me, my mom and Ben stopped off at Cabela's on our way home.  The kids got to spend a couple hours at the pool and they loved that.  My parents had something going on that night, and so we went down to Provo.  We wanted to eat out at Macaroni Grill - but it was completely closed down.  Such a bummer!  So we ate (after getting menus and then leaving The Pizza Factory) at a being-remodeled Olive Garden - the ambiance was less-than-ideal, but whatever.

After dinner we went to see our friends the Fillmore family.  There were four of us families that were all great friends here in Montrose.  We Maxwells are the only ones left here!  The Fillmores left first - they moved to Seattle about 6 1/2 years ago.  We haven't seen them since.  But they were getting in to town on Saturday night (the mom, Brandolyn, is going to BYU's education week) and so we went to their grandma's place soon after they got in.  We talked the Fillmores in to hiking the Y.  It was fun and a good adventure.  We loved spending time with Golden and Brandolyn - and their kids!  We topped it off at the BYU Creamery - although most of our family was still full and just got a drink.  :)  It was good and we stayed up too late with them - but it was worth it!

 At the start of the hike!

Six of the eight kids up at the top - little Lucy and Nora were still making their way up.  :)

We love friends and Provo!


Many months ago I signed up for Utah's TriathaMOM.  It's a sprint triathlon that is just for females and is non-competitive.  I had always thought I would never be able to do a triathlon because of the swimming part.  But I started swimming last fall/winter and after months I was able to swim consecutive laps - it was truly a miracle!  I had never ever swam a lap in my life.  I started slowly - I would swim a lap with flippers, a lap with a kick-board, and then a "real" lap.  Then repeat.  My first laps that I swam, and this happened for weeks, I would have to stop after a length.  Anyways, once I started being able to swim laps after laps, I decided to sign up for my very first triathlon.

So last Saturday was the race.  We left after Jonas' first day of middle school and so got in to Utah late-ish.  I was not expecting anyone to come with me in the morning to get all set-up and stuff, but Ben wanted to and was planning on it and so that was super nice.  We dragged Miles along so my parents would only have to take one car with the rest of the crew.

We got up at 4:30 AM and was on the road by 5.  We got to the race by about 6 AM and I was able to set up my transition area and check out "the hill" on the run.  I finally sent the boys away to get some breakfast.  A friend of mine from Montrose was doing it as well - as well as one of her friends.  So I hung out with them.

The race started a little after 7:30 and we were in line waiting our turn for the swim.  We were supposed to be grouped according to our swim times . . . but it was sort of a joke.  We saw "expert" swimmers who wouldn't put their heads in the water, were walking, etc.  The swim-part was quite lame, actually.  I was behind people who were walking (it's a shallow pool)!  It was super frustrating.  I got bonked, hit, and splashed - and I'm sure I did my fair share of hitting, bonking, and splashing.  I lost count of how many times water got splashed up my nose.  It was very unpleasant.  You are told to pass on the left  - which sounds good, but not when you have people swimming on both sides of the lane.  And lots of people - like 10 or so in the same lane.  Anyways, I swam it and finally got out!

Then it was to transition area to get on my socks, shoes, and helmet.  Plus eat an energy chew and put in a stick of gum (in my training I realized how dry my mouth got after swimming; gum really helps).  I felt great on my bike ride.  I ended up passing lots of people.  I made it back way faster than I was predicting.

Last was my run.  I dropped off my bike and helmet and started to run!  It was an out-and-back (like the bike ride) and it started by going down a good hill.  Then it was pretty flat to the half-way point.  Then back - including, of course, going up the hill at the very end.  I passed many people on the run as well - and got passed by one person.  I felt good all the way to the finish line.

I ended up placing 25th out of 364.  That is like amazing for me!  I never do that well!  I think it was because I was with a group of mom-athletes.  :)  But I liked being with them - I felt good and strong.  I honestly felt like I was going to be slow on the bike-ride - but that's because I ride with Ben!  Ha.  Also, I got 7th place out of 100 women in my age group.  Top ten!  Wahoo.  I was really pleased and excited.

I think my training I did over the summer worked great.  I did at least 5-6 "tri-trainings," where I would do it all - swim, bike, and run.  I always swam 1,000 yards for those trainings.  The triathaMOM was only a 300-meter swim.  The bike-ride was supposed to be a 12-mile ride, but was only a little over 11.  The run was a 5K.

 It was still dark and a little chilly!  Here I was setting up my transition area.

 Ben took a picture of the pool.

 Christine, Heather, and myself - all from Montrose and all doing our first triathlon!

 There I am waiting to get in to the pool - finally!  :)

Haha, nice picture Ben!

 Done with swimming (Ben missed me as I jumped out of the pool and ran by) and on to biking!

 Coming in from my ride!

 There was free cotton candy for everyone waiting, plus bouncy houses and face-painting.  It was all free.  My girls really wanted their faces painted, but the line was way too long.  The girls enjoyed the slides and everyone enjoyed the cotton-candy.  :)

 My fans!
 Finishing up my run - almost done!

 Our legs got stamped with our age - awesome.  Ben loved checking out all the ladies' legs to see their ages.  It was actually cool to see everyone's ages!

 My fans!

Me, the TriahaMOM, with my four awesome kids.  My biggest fan and supporter, though, was/is Ben.  He's great and amazing and always super supportive of me!  I'm a lucky gal.

Just for my records, here are my stats:
Place 25th (out of 364), swim time 9:24/swim pace 3:08, T1 time 2:10, bike time 34:42/bike pace 20.7mph, T2 time 0:56, run time 29:03/run pace 9:22, total time 1:16:13:8, 7th place out of 100 in my age division.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hot-Dog Shirt

So today is Jonas' first day of middle school!  He's ready and excited for it.  I think it will be a great year for him . . . fingers crossed.  I hope he makes new and, especially, good friends this year, too.

Last night was back to school night for both of our schools.  It was a bit crazy with four kids, really.  Especially when Ben had to leave for the church . . . but I survived, barely.  We met some of Jonas' teachers and then had to run around to meet a few of Miles' teachers (we had already gone to Northside and met the girls' 2 teachers . . . more about that on Monday).

Today was the first day for just the 6th graders at Centennial Middle School.  The other middle school in town, Columbine, started on Tuesday.  If you remember, Jonas' best-friend Ivan now goes there.

Since all the other kids were still home, I thought it would be fun for us all to ride our bikes together.  So we did.  There was a parent orientation meeting that I stayed for - Miles, Emmy, and Lucy played at the new playground the school just put in this last month.  The 6th graders were already off for their own orientation.

I think he'll have a fun first day - we'll see when he comes home!

 He sure is handsome . . . hot dog shirt and all!  (Remember how the kids got to pick out some clothing at Old Navy.  Yep, both my boys picked out the hot dog shirts . . . that were on clearance . . . go figure.  :) )

 He's looking older!

 Waiting at the longest stop-light in town . . . per Jonas.  He's probably right, too.  But it's the safest route and so they (the boys) will just have to wait every morning for that green light.

 The gang - minus Miles and myself.

As Dr. Seuss said, "You're off to great places!"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Day Lucy Turned 7 . . .

Lucy's birthday turned out to be a full day of fun!  As soon as I came home from my run, the girls squealed in excitement - finally they could come downstairs.  The girls came down and checked out the wrapped - and unwrapped - gifts.  After breakfast, I started baking the cake and making the homemade strawberry ice-cream.  I had all the kids help make the decorations for Lucy's Moana cake and they all had fun doing that - plus, the decorations turned out awesome.

We left for Grand Junction a little after 10:30.  Our first stop was Old Navy.  I have lots of "free" money I earn from my credit card and so I told each kid they had $30 to buy whatever - which turned out to be a big mistake for my boys, who picked out some of the most odd clothing that Old Navy offers.  Ha.  The girls got some cute stuff and I ended up only paying $10 cash - for tax.  So that was awesome.

The kids got to eat lunchables for lunch and that was a treat since they get them like twice a year.  Then we went to Get Air.  A trampoline jumpy place.  Emmy had gone before, but the rest of us had only heard about it.  We decided to take the kids there in honor of both girls' birthdays.  It did not disappoint and the kids had a fabulous time.  We paid for 1-hour and were able to stay for about 80 minutes.  The kids were very tired afterwards!  Emmy got an aerial on the tramp and she was super excited about that!  It was really fun there.

Then it was back home . . . luckily Ben had just gotten home as well and so Lucy could open her gifts.  She got many neat gifts - including a tablet.  Emmy was amazed and probably even more excited than Lucy was.  :)  Lucy will get to do her online homework on it, plus use it for their weekly game-time.

All year long whenever we'd have a yummy dinner, Lucy would exclaim, "This is what I want for my birthday dinner!"  Well she couldn't remember what any of those meals were and so she declared that she wanted to ride bikes to Colorado Boy (a restaurant) and have dinner there.  Done!  We had a delicious dinner there and a fun bike-ride, too.

We came home and watched Moana, stopping 1/2 way through for some cake and ice-cream.  Then we finished the movie, read a book and the girls went to bed - listening to the new Moana CD Lucy got . . . Can you tell Lucy loves Moana?  :)

What a fun day celebrating a fun new 7-year old (plus her older sister, too)!

 She's 7!  Since she was born at like 5:30am, she really was 7 by this time - my kids like to make sure about that type of stuff.  :)

 Her Moana figurines weren't wrapped - as they were needed for our cake!  Lucy loves playing with them
 Too cute in her new outfit from Grandma Dixie!

 The kids all helping make the fondant decorations for the cake.

 The kids all loved the cake and it was fun that they all got to help make it awesome!

 At Get Air!

 Wahoo, so fun!

 I'm sure we'll be back sometime again.

 Happy birthday to Lucy, happy birthday to you . . .

Make a wish . . .for another awesome year of life!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Lucy,

Another year has gone by and you're due for another birthday . . . this time turning 7!  How fun.  You are usually nuts about your birthday and talk about it for weeks and weeks before, but you haven't been so crazy this year.  Emmy made you a birthday chain about a month out and you've been excited as it has gotten smaller and smaller . . .

So this past year was your first year in school - a kindergartner at Northside.  As expected, you did great!  You were a fabulous student and really had no problems the entire year.  Your teacher loved you and you loved her - Mrs. Arrechea.  And you loved school.  You were always happy going and coming.  You loved writing and won, I think, 2 awards for that at the awards assembly.  I came in just about weekly to help out in your classroom and it was a joy for me to see you at school and to see you doing so well.  You usually played with Dory (almost always) and sometime Genevieve or Abby or Madison at recess-time.  I think you would still consider Dory your best-friend (well, besides Emmy).

You love, love, love the Berenstain Bear books.  We'll go to the library and you'll check out 20 of them!  I don't quite share your love for the books . . . I mean, I don't mind reading one to you every once in a while - but several books every night is a bit too much for me.  Luckily for you, your dad seems to enjoy them almost as much as you do!  Luckily for me, you'll let me read other books we've checked out.  :)

You continue to do well at gymnastics.  You always have fun and love it so much.  You got to go to Emmy's class (once on a Thursday and a couple times to their Saturday practices) a few times and totally loved it.  Emmy might have complained in the beginning, but I think she liked it in the end.  :)  I'm excited to see you get new skills and just get better and better with each year.

You totally love riding your bike and say so all the time and love going on bike-rides.  That is, until we start going uphill.  Then you complain - a lot!  It drives me a little crazy . . . but once we get going flat or downhill, you're all smiles again.

The one not-so-fun thing we've experienced with you this year is your crying.  I say this a lot (usually to dad), but it seems like you've cried more this past year than you have your entire life combined!  I'm not sure if it's just you, the change with school, etc., but it's been rather . . . annoying.  You've greatly annoyed your siblings with this trait as well.  Don't worry, I remind them when they were your age, they cried bunches, too.  They probably cried just as much.  But it just seems so much more with you because you weren't apt to cry/whine much the past few years before, so it was kind of a big - a annoying - change.  But you can't be perfect so I guess it's good you've got this problem.  :)  But let's just keep it a "Being 6" problem, okay!?

Now back to the positives.  You have empathy far greater than most kids (including your siblings).  It's sweet to see that in you.  You genuinely apologize to your siblings when you've done something wrong or something they didn't like.  I don't ever have to tell you to say "sorry" - you know when you should and you do.  You get really upset and frustrated (and cry, of course!) when Emmy won't let you say "sorry" to her.

I missed having you around this past year, but am glad that you are growing up and going to school and all that fun stuff.  You are definitely growing up in to someone that I continue to love and adore and someone in whom I am very proud to call my daughter.

Stay good.  Stay sweet.

I love you,

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Family Photos

We had our family pictures done while in San Diego since all of my parents' kids and grandkids were there.  They turned out super great!  I'm going to post a bunch for fun: