Sunday, September 8, 2013

June - Slightly less late

Fun things we did in June - the short(ish) version.

I started full-time work partway into the month.  I accepted a job as a part-time administrator at the fitness club I work at to become the Head Swim Instructor for the summer.  Basically, the aquatics director has been so busy with new pool construction and working on some club manager duties that he didn't have time to oversee all of the hectic chaos that goes along with running a swim lesson program.  So, he asked if I would be interested in the position.  If I had known the hours I would pull (40-45 hours a week working Monday through Thursday) and how little I would see the girls at times, maybe I would have said no.  As it was, I said yes, and honestly, I really enjoyed it.  I loved the administrative work;  I enjoy working with parents and kids and problem solving;  I like the puzzle of figuring out the schedule.  (Don't remind me of this though when I dropped a not-so-great word after the 3rd instructor just told me they're out of town for a week of the session and I'm going to have to redo the schedule for the 5th time that day.)  I loved a lot of the instructors I got to work with, and really feel like I've taught enough in the past to offer novel or experience-based solutions on how to teach skills.  I just, liked it.  It was hard work, and at times I. WAS. STRESSED.  At times I got yelled at by parents or took negative interactions at work, but I learned a lot of computer skills as I mastered looking up past receipts, doing lesson registration, and balancing our billing with our attendance.  It was a wonderful experience that showed me I have a whole skill set that I enjoy using that I wasn't aware was there before.  And I'm extremely grateful for that opportunity.  I don't know what if anything will come from my work this summer, but I really did enjoy it, even if I missed my family - a lot!

While I was at work, Steve got to be the stay-at-home Dad with the girls.  I remember thinking before the summer it would be good for Steve to learn about my day, and maybe he did, but I sure learned a lot of empathy for him when I came home tired to the girls and him...  Anyway, Steve was at home with the girls, which meant that Ellie started an ant farm and learned about the plants, birds, and bugs in our yard.

It also meant that by a few weeks into my job Ellie could tell you that photosynthesis makes plants grow, the prisms change light into colors, that clouds are made of water vapor, that spiders have 8 legs and fangs whereas ants and ladybugs have 6 legs and mandibles, that a butterfly eats nectar from flowers with it's proboscis, and that the Snake River and Yakima River are tributaries of the Columbia River which leads to the Ocean.  Yeah, make me look like a slacker much?  You'd never guess her Dad's a science teacher, would you?  It was awesome.

Since I was working a lot, every weekend we tried to squeeze in as much quality family time (and cleaning) as possible.  This meant we went to a local minor league baseball game.  Ellie loved her hot dog....

And to lots of local parks.

We also took a tour of some ships that came to our area for tours.  It was admittedly hot and a bit of an emotional roller coaster for Ellie...  But the ships were cool!

And we hit Spokane one weekend via Palouse River Falls.

Look closely by the picnic table - they were investigating a marmot.

All the girl cousins playing at Grandma and Papa's in Spokane.

Other fun things that happened in June were, of course, Father's Day.  Ellie helped pick out these shirts for Steve, and she still gets excited and comments every time he wears them - and then wishes him Happy Father's Day.  They're the gift that keeps on giving...  (Also, the T-rex shirt has a small picture on the back of upside down dinosaurs that says "And handstands"  Awesome!)

Steve also lost his cast and got to be in a walking boot part way through the month, which was such a relief and a blessing for us, even if Steve was sad he wasn't so speedy as riding his scooter.

We also got Ellie her early (very early admittedly) birthday present and got her the princess bike she was so in love with.  We figured that way she would get to use it all summer, but it mostly just holds chalk in the basket as she hasn't figured out how to pedal it and isn't super motivated to learn just yet...  But she was really excited to get it!

And lastly, a few fun pictures from the month.  Left, Ellie was watching a movie with music (maybe Cinderella?) and suddenly ran down to the playroom.  A few minutes later she came up dressed like this telling me she had all she needed to dance with me now!  And Right, Mckayla in her cute new Happy Little Llama diapers we got not long before.

And that about sums up June.  Hopefully July is on the way soon!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

May - a little late...

So... Yeah.  I will explain.  Starting in May, a lot happened.  A LOT. Which means less blogging time and even more to blog.  Things are only JUST NOW starting to return to normal enough I'm trying to START to catch up.  We'll see how it goes.  Some things may get left out, forgotten, or glossed over.  Admittedly I've gotten really lazy with the camera at times, just trying to enjoy moments with family instead of "capturing" them.  Unfortunately this means we have some fairly big events with no pictures.  But, despite all of that, here we go.... May.

May started out with a bang as Steve had ankle surgery on May 1st.  He had injured his ankle before we got married, but dealt with it for years until it got to be too much to deal with.  When he saw the doctor, the specialist said he can hardly believe Steve could walk as he had a "rhinoceros horn" bone spur, and stretched out ligaments and tendons that were so full of junk they had to be cleaned out, cut, and sewn back together shorter to try and prevent continuously re-injuring the ankle.  Yeah, he did a number on it.  But go big or go home, right?  It's a beaut.  And this is only one of three surgery scars he got and after it had healed a while!
And of course Steve chose a bright orange cast and put a Broncos sticker on it.  He was very inconspicuous as he wheeled around on his scouter with his neon orange leg...

On a more serious note here.  Steve and I got so focused on finally getting his ankle fixed that we didn't fully take into account all that would change when Steve was in a cast and couldn't walk for 6 weeks.  I took on double house duties, learned a LOT of love and respect for all Steve does to help me out, and increased my gratitude for his and my partnership in parenting and caring for our home.  By the time Steve got his boot in mid June, I was FRIED.  Laundry, kid duty to myself much of the time, dinner, mowing the lawn, cleaning, extra cleaning as things fell or got tipped over as Steve tried to help out hopping and crawling along, extra cleaning as things had to be reachable for Steve and meant they were kid-accessible....  It was a real trial at times.  And one I hope I don't soon forget as it taught me how lucky I am that I don't have to do this all alone.  I love my husband.

Anyway, back to the chronicles of May....  Unfortunately, not knowing earlier when surgery would be, I also committed to going back to work the first week of May.  We had some wonderful neighbors watch the girls the first day I went back to work, just a day or two after Steve had surgery.  In May I also agreed to become the Head Swim Instructor at work through the summer, but more on that later.

May also brought the Spokane Lilac Festival.  For those of you who don't know, I was a Spokane Lilac Festival Princess in 2006.  This year was the festival's 75th anniversary, and as such they wanted as much past royalty to return as possible for a reunion and to march in the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.  (Seriously too long, but seriously an amazing parade that I cry at at least once when I go because of all the Veterans and Service men and women.)  Steve and I had agreed I would go participate earlier on in the year, so despite all the craziness in our lives, I did.  It was so fun to catch up with most of my old royalty court and to have Ellie so excited to see me be a princess in the parade.  She still tells me I'm a princess, which is pretty awesome.

The same weekend we were in town for the Lilac Festival Steve also blessed my niece Aubrey.  Steve blessed her brother Wyatt, so it seemed fitting that he would also use the Priesthood to bless her.  It's always wonderful to have our family in church together and to see the Priesthood in action.  Ellie loved being around "Baby Au-ber-ey".

The other main event that occurred in May for our family is that Steve's nephew Tyler gave his mission farewell down in Smithfield, Utah.  We, of course, were there.  Tyler planned to give his farewell during Memorial Day weekend so we could travel to get there even though he left in the beginning of June.  It was a pleasure to go see him one last time as we'll miss him for the next two years.  (This is one of those events I tried to enjoy rather than photograph, so I'm lame and have no pictures of Steve and Tyler as I should.)  Instead I have someone else's cell phone picture of Mckayla enjoying time with Papa Bennett at the luncheon after Tyler's talk.

We also took lots of detours on the way down to see Tyler and on the way home.  On the way down for the farewell, we left home Friday after Steve got off work and drove part of the way.  The girls enjoyed staying in a hotel, even if they didn't sleep perfectly.

The next day we stopped at the Boise Zoo we kept meaning to hit to break up the driving for the girls.  We only spent a couple of hours there, but it was fun none the less.

After the zoo we trekked on to meet up with some old college friends.  There was a group of single guys, and one married couple, who hung out when I met Steve in the single's wards in Moscow at the U of I.  At the time Steve was in Vet School and they were all Law Students, so they all were doing the grad school thing and hanging out.  It's a pretty fantastic group to hang out with, and we had a BLAST catching up with them and seeing everyone and they're cute kids.  (This picture is missing Steve-O.)

 May ended with Ellie's last dance class with Miss Jill.  The sister of a gal I go to church with was offering for little girls to come to the church Friday mornings and take a very informal dance class for soooo cheap!  Ellie of course already thinks she's a ballerina so she ATE IT UP.  She was so excited for dance each week.  We were sad when Miss Jill moved.  Most of the dance class and some little sisters as well.

Other random notes:  Ellie fell in LOVE with the snails we got for our fish tank - which are all long since dead now...  And decided she needed to "fix" everything with whatever she decided were tools - plastic megablock Elmo arms, plastic eggplant, random McDonalds toys...
We fought Ellie A LOT on naps and sleeping at night, and finally settled on her only napping every couple of days, but she still stays up some nights after napping.  Ellie got a bike helmet at a free community safety day, which led to her wanting a bike and talking about getting a princess bike all the time.  It got warm enough to play outside.  Poor Mckayla got the flu, and was still her chipper self.
 And these two were cute all month!

Like I said.... It's been BUSY!  And it only continued from here!  Stay tuned for June!