Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School...

WHAT??? I have a FIRST grader!!! Almost seems impossible but Bella was definitely ready to go back to school and to go all day. She looked forward to eating lunch at school and having 2 recesses! Does it get any better than that?

The night before the first day of school, we set out her uniform clothes and I told her that I'd wake her up with plenty of time to get ready. About a half hour before my alarm went off, I was surprised to have a visitor crawl into bed with me. I was even more surprised to see that it was Bella and that she was dressed head to toe and ready to go! She did that all week but apparently the excitement has already died down as evidenced by me actually having to wake her up now. But, she is off to a great start and is having fun. She even lost one of her front teeth just days before school started. She officially looks like a first grader with that missing front tooth! Watching her walk into the school with such confidence really hit me first baby is growing up on me!

We tried to squeeze in a little more fun the last few days before school started by hitting a water park and miniature golfing. The kids are at such a great age to have fun with them. It's hard to say goodbye to summer but it is also nice to say hello to a routine again.

Until next summer...

We've got a 2 year old in the house...

Our PRECOCIOUS PRINCESS turned the big 2 this month! I am trying to remind myself that TWO isn't so is just a little CRAZY!

We celebrated Cali's birthday with a picnic at the park with friends and family. Although she was given many gifts, what she REALLY wanted most was to be left alone with this sucker. I mean really, we just kept bugging her to open more presents when she was perfectly content with her sucker!

I can really hardly believe that it's been 2 years since Cali joined our family. She is the "naughtiest" child ever but I say that with a whole lot of love. She just goes a mile a minute and I can hardly keep up with everything she gets into. Ezra loves to tell me that he isn't "naughty like Cali." She has quite the knack for driving her big brother batty but she is just as sweet and lovable as she is naughty. She is also very adept at TALKING and carries on real conversations with me, which amazes me and keeps me laughing, too. And because she is such a social butterfly, everyone seems to love her...especially ME! Love you my sweet Cali-girl!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Plenty of Pictures! A Summer Review

I feel overwhelmed to even try to undertake the last month or so of blogging our activities. I always think that pictures say it the best so here I go...

After the Allen family reunion, I stayed in Utah for another week and a half with the kids while Blaine went home to work. I stayed with my parents at a rental house high in the Draper hills. The intention was to have a place where all the family could congregate and wish Beema (my Grandma) a happy 90th birthday. Extended family and friends were in and out of there all month. I took the opportunity to not only spend time with family but to also catch up with lots of old friends. It was a reminder of how so many people have shaped my life and how blessed I have been to cross paths with so many incredible people.

The whole gang. The only people missing were Blaine, my brother in law Mike, and my niece Maddie.

Beema and my siblings and I.

We celebrated Beema's birthday a few times to accommodate different family's schedules.

4 generation picture: My Grandma, My dad, myself, and my kids.

Bella had a BLAST hanging out with cousins in the hot tub.

Playing down at BYU's campus. This is part of my siblings' campaign to brainwash their kids into thinking that BYU is the ONLY option for college. (I say that a little tongue and cheek as we were brainwashed by our parents in a similar fashion.) After shopping at the BYU bookstore, Bella proclaimed that she wants to attend college there so that "I can shop here." Daddy was thrilled about that declaration. :)

Cali had a fun time pushing Beema around in her wheelchair!

Aunt Linda, cousin Amber, and Kaylee, Amber's she my second cousin? I get confused...came up from California to visit. We went to the taping of Music and the Spoken Word together and we went running on a Draper park trail in search of the illusive backyard zebra, that we never found! Aunt Linda, Beema and I also went to the Draper temple one evening together. That was pretty awesome.

We also got to catch up with Ezra's birthfamily. It is always a treat to visit with these guys and the love is definitely abundant and mutual.

They also took us to a REAL Soccer game on the 4th of July, which was super fun!

The trip was exhausting and the kids didn't sleep well at night. Ez fell asleep anywhere and everywhere. Cali seemed to NEVER sleep which made her a total nightmare for me. Playing in the sink water became one of her favorite, relaxing activities.

Even though sleep was scarce, it was great to hang out with family and friends.

I met with Kim and her kids, one of my favorite missionary companions, at Temple square.

Jenn and I, Jerusalem friends and old roommates, met up at a splash park for the kids.

And Naomi and I, high school friends, got to visit over lunch one day.

And Kristi and I, Bulgarian bus accident victims together and former roommates, caught up with each other one evening.

And I was able to go totally old school with Debi, jr. high bffs, as we met with our kids at an ice cream shop. I LOVED how meeting with each one of these friends was like picking up right where we left off, whether its been a year, a few years, or a decade or two, it was easy breezy conversation...Friends for Life!

And what did I do 2 days after I got home from being away for 3 weeks??? I went to girls camp in Wyoming for the week. Thankfully Mom and Dad Allen were able to take my place on the homefront and provide excellent care for the kiddos and Blaine even got his mom's homemade cooking all week, which he sure didn't complain about! Girls camp was fun, dirty, stinky, and stressful but it was also AMAZING...especially after working so hard on it for half of the year. Who knew it would be like a full time job to plan a stk. girl's camp? It was incredible to work with these women: Alison, Tandy, and Leslie. I learned to TRULY LOVE them as we worked so well together and were really of one heart and one purpose.

Alison and I were tent mates. A whole week with out a shower...let's just say it got a little stinky in there! EEWW!!!

This is the view I had from on top of Brandie's Suburban as I gave the girl's a welcome speech and we talked about letting go of pre-conceived notions, fears, anxieties, and bad attitudes.

And then we sent all those worries and fears and bad attitudes heavenward with their balloons. It was cool.

Being in the wilderness with 200 12-18 year old faithful girls was awesome! There are some real gems out there and they give me hope that I might have a chance at raising my kiddos into respectful, responsible, faithful young people.

And only because this blog post isn't nearly long enough, nor does it have very many pictures (insert heavy sarcasm here), I am including just a few more to finish off this summer's review.

This is a pic of Blaine and I on one of our most fun dates ever...roller skating.

And we've spent the past two weeks going to daily swim lessons. Bella has improved so much this year. She is swimming, going down the slides, and jumping off of the HIGH dive now.

While waiting for their swim lesson, Ez and Liddie always had fun playing in the sand.

And then it was their turn to get wet.

And what did Cali do during the hour, you wonder? She spent her time snacking and trying to jump into the pool. She kept me on my toes for sure!

So it is only the beginning of August but summer is already winding down. School starts in a week and so do schedules, and early bed times and homework. Although it has been a fun went WAY TOO FAST!!!