Thursday, August 26, 2010

out of the mouths of babes

As a new first-grader, Christian has been learning the rules and procedures of the lunchroom. He has told us all about the lunchroom "cones." These are orange parking cones that the lunch lady places on a table when the children at that table are not having proper lunchroom behavior. When said cone is place on your table, you have to sit for a period of time before being excused to recess.

Today, Christian walked in the door and announced that his table got "the cone of shame." I tried hard not to laugh as I asked where he heard that from. He told me that he chose the name. A fitting name, I think.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's just me and you TIger...

All of the kids are now in school. Jessi started a week after the other three went back.

Every year, I experience the same two emotions--excitement--that they get to go out into the big world and learn and experience things, and sadness--that they are growing up so, so fast. I worry about them. I want school to be great. I want them to have great teachers and good friends and healthy lunch and I want people to be nice to them and I want them to be nice to people. I want them to learn and grow and be confident and happy.

School was moved to a 9:00 start time, and we still have a hard time making the bus. I end up driving them most days. Getting 4 elementary-aged kids ready is kicking my trash.

So, the first day they all went we were of course in a rush. We didn't have our prayer, so Andrew said it in the car. I gave them all my morning advice and loves and dropped them off. I walked Jessi to her class and as I left, she turned around and said, "Mommy, have a fun day with Tiger." (She has repeated that sentiment everyday since.)

After I dropped Jessi off I checked in on the other kids. I used to get teary and anxious the first few weeks of the new school year. I have adopted a new method of dealing with these feelings--I just stalk the kids. Because I am at the school so often, I peek in on them--often.

So, I dropped her off and got in the car. I sat there for a minute and wondered what to do with myself. Don't get me wrong, I've got plenty to do. I guess I was pondering something much deeper. Who am I now? What am I supposed to do? What is my "job?" I have figured some of that out. I know that I have only one year left with Jessi at home part of the day. We are using that time together to do fun things and to work on developing some skills she needs. I know that part of my job will be to be at the school. I volunteer three mornings a week. The reality is that I am as busy now as I have ever been.

So, after sitting in the parking lot for a few minutes, I drove up to Maverik for a Diet Pepsi and then headed home. The house was SO quiet. I folded some laundry while drowning my sorrows in Pepsi and an episode of Hoarders. (btw, not the best idea for a pick-me-up.) Before I knew it it was time to pick up Jessi.

The kids seem to be doing well. Christian is still not loving being there all day, although he has stopped asking about all the possible diseases and injuries he could sustain in order to miss school. We are taking that as progress.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Catching up, July

Oh internet, I have so much to tell you. We had a wonderful, busy, fun July--so fun and busy that I don't have time for both the internet and Jack Bauer. Mike and I started season 5 and holy cow, President Palmer got assassinated and Jack came out of hiding and there was nerve gas and President Logan ended up being a bad guy and then it all got resolved and I was relieved that I could get to other things on my to-do list and then, right at the end, Jack got kidnapped by the Chinese. So then we did what anyone obsessed with Jack would do--we started season 6.

So, most nights, we put the kids to bed and then watch it in our room. We always pretend that we are only going to watch one episode, because that is the responsible thing to do. But, we watch at least two. Only a few more episodes and we will be closing this chapter of lazy t.v.-watching and be returning to real life. I may actually have to start doing something productive during those precious hours between 9:30 p.m. and midnight--something like sleep, dishes, laundry. I also think I am ready to see everyday kinds of things (airplanes, oxygen tanks, briefcases) and not actually wonder if some terrorist is up to no good.

Enough about my obsession. Back to our busy July.

The kids finished up the school year on July 2nd. Jessi and I spent a lot of time at the school with parties and field day and end-of-the-year activities.

The kids had a big party for the last day of school. We played water games and decorated cookies and ate pizza.

I am still taking a picture every day. This is what our pantry door always looks like. It is the place for artwork and awards.

Right after school got out, I stocked up on ice cream/popcicle products.

This summer we went crazy for tie dye. My sister Melanie came up with the great idea for us all to make shirts and wear them in Yellowstone. It was so fun that we did a second set for the kids.

All I had to do was mention the idea of getting an ATV for the kids and it was done. I had been thinking about it for a while and had been looking for one online. I happened to mention it to my brother-in-law, Landon, and he talked to Mike and the next day I came home from dinner with friends to find it sitting in the garage.

Mike got his shed and I didn't like the color, so I repainted it. I really like painting things--it's sort of therapeutic for me. (And now it matches the house better.)

Beverly and Jessi did a week-long tumbling camp. Everyday after camp we did arts and crafts. The kids painted birdhouses while Andrew and Dad were at scout camp.

Andrew loved his three days at 11 year-old scout camp. He got a walking stick and tipped over in the canoe. He got to sleep out in a tent with Dad.

Two of my favorite things this summer--watermelon and Pace fruit bars. Yummy!

If we don't go to the pool then the kids set up the slip-and-slide in the yard. It seems like they wear swimsuits more than regular clothes these last few weeks.

We did our annual Huff Family Vacation this year to Yellowstone. I love Yellowstone. It is a lot of driving, but it is amazingly beautiful.

We stayed in Island Park. Activities consisted of: fishing, jewelry-making with Aunt Erika, eating good food, playing games, hanging out, driving--a lot of driving, seeing amazing sights in Yellowstone, going to the candy store in West Yellowstone, and doing a river run in Big Sky.

The river run was an adults-only adventure--and adventure it was. We were in a raft with Ryan and Erika and while in some white water rapids, our raft got caught on a big rock called The Thumb. The one side went under the water and we literally had to sit on top of the other side as we tried to free it from the rock. After about a minute we got it loose. I loved it.

The kids waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.

This is the gang at the house where we stayed. Each family did matching tie dyed shirts. It was great--we could keep track of the kids and each other really easily.

My little (and brightly-dressed) family at Lower Falls.

On our way home, we decided to stop by Bear World. It ended up being a great way to end the vacation. We saw lots of bears, spent time in a great petting zoo and the kids got to go on some carnival rides.

We celebrated the 24th of July weekend in Spanish Fork for Fiesta Days. We took all of the cousins to the Provo pool and then had the annual movie and sleepover in Grandma's backyard.
Everyone was up bright and early for the Speedy Spaniard. The kids did the 1 mile kid's run.

Some of the adults did the 10K.

Every year Grandma B gets us tickets to the rodeo. Christian has been obsessed with Mutton Bustin' since he was two years-old. This is where kids ride sheep. The kid that stays on the longest or has the best ride wins a big trophy. Last year Mike told Kiki that we would let him do Mutton Bustin'. So, we sent in the application and with some help from Grandma Huff, he got in for the night we had tickets to the rodeo.

Grandma arranged a "training" session with a friend who has sheep. I took the other kids to a birthday party while Mike and my parents took Kiki for his training. He got worked. The sheep kept bumping him into the fence to get him off. He came home with bumps and bruises. And yet, his enthusiasm remained.

I headed down to the Cal Ranch to get him outfitted for the event, and can I just say that I love Wranglers. I. Love. Wranglers. A lot.

He was the cutest cowboy in the place (and there were lots of cowboys in attendance.)

So, he was number 11 of 12. All the kids before him had fast, wild rides. They all eventually fell off, and a few got stepped on by the sheep. It was time for Kiki to ride. His sheep came out of the gate very slowly. In fact, the sheep came walking out of the gate. It literally walked. It walked up to another sheep and stopped and then walked a little faster and then Kiki fell off. The announcer asked what Christian had whispered in that sheep's ear.

I was worried that he might be disappointed. He got back to our seats and our big crowd gave him a big cheer. He sat down and I asked him about it. He then said the cutest thing. He said,

"Mom, I am the luckiest Mutton Buster--I got a nice sheep. He didn't want to buck me off so he went slow."

I am so glad that he got a nice sheep, and that he was happy about it.

Then we went back to Grandma and Grandpa's and did fireworks.

Two days later the kids started back to school. Andrew and Bev went back on Monday. Andrew is in 5th and Bev in 4th. Christian started on Tuesday. He is in first grade.
Kiki is in a Chinese immersion program where he is taught half the day in English and half in Chinese. The first day he came home and told us that Chinese "sounds angry." He also made lots of comments about missing school for various reasons--some kind of illness, being too sleepy and wishing he were a cat because cats don't have to go to school. It has been hard for him, going a full day and having half of that day taught in a language that he doesn't understand.

It's not helping that he is having leg aches at night. They disrupt his (and my) sleep. I was explaining to him that they are called "growing pains" and that means that he must be getting bigger. Then he said, "I don't want growing pains--I want to stay small. Small kids don't have to go to school." I am sure he will adjust to this big kid life soon.