The kids' last day of school was Wednesday and we took some after pictures for comparison on their way out the door. My camera got broken over the course of the school year, so they didn't come out the best quality but you can see how much these two have grown in a short 9 months!
Elle finished her first year of school as a Kindergartener:
After months of indecision about where to send the kids for school this year (at one point we had them enrolled at different schools on different ends of town) we heard about a home school-charter school option that was opening up this fall ended and up deciding to pull Corbin out of his PAL program and Makelle out of the planned charter school and try this bridge option. So for their Kindergarten and 2nd grade year Makelle and Corbin are going to do home school for all their core subjects and then on Wednesdays they get to go down to Farmington and take a bunch of fun electives and be with friends. Makelle is taking a science class, Lego robotics, animal encounters, dance and PE. Corbin is taking the advanced Lego robotics, building and engineering and science classes (for 3rd-6th graders) and then animal encounters and PE with his age group (K-2nd grade) so he and Makelle have a couple of classes together.
After I picked them up I asked them about their day and Corbin spouted off the names of a few kids he played with or sat by and Makelle said she didn't talk once the whole day, other than when they asked her her name at the start of the day. They have polar opposite personalities when it comes to making friends. Makelle even told me once, "Corbin likes the crazy kids and I just like the nice girls." I asked her if she was lonely or if she had someone to play with during recess and lunch and she just told me she sat by Corbin and played with him and his friends. She is so sweet and shy and he is so patient and kind. I can't believe he lets her hang out with him all the time, they are always so thoughtful of each other. I want them to maintain that close relationship as long as possible while also carving their own paths in the world.
As time has continued since that first day Makelle has started to become more comfortable with the kids there and made a few little girl friends of her own, but I love that they are willing to love and support each other and be kind to one another in those times of concern.
The school also provides some school materials and I have enjoyed being able to hand select everything that I want them to learn this year and to set goals and explore their interests with them. I am really looking forward to teaching them and being with them this next year.
I chose what subjects I wanted to cover and which companies to purchase from and then let them choose the focused topic to study. So for history we are going to cover ancient civilizations. In geography we are going to cover a different country each week in our unit studies. In science we are going to learn about astronomy the first semester and chemistry the second semester. And Corbin has decided to take a course on beginning web design and computer programming that he is pretty excited about.
We are also pretty excited about the field trip opportunities to explore museums and locations around us. Right now the plan is to go on an outing at least every other week as well as spend lots of time at the library and getting together with cousins and friends to compensate for the disappointment Corbin has expressed over not being able to see his friends from last year on a regular basis.
For now the plan is to stick with for this year and reevaluate and plan for next year when the time comes, so we'll have to see what the future brings.
My maternal grandpa's family had a family reunion down in Kanab, Utah that we drove down to. We were a little confused about the starting time so we missed the big picnic lunch in the park but were able to go over to the city pool and play. They rented out the whole water park and only a few of us actually had little kids that wanted to swim, so our kids basically had free run of the place for 2 hours straight and LOVED it! We are not fans of crowds and thoroughly enjoyed being able to chat and catch up with family members while swimming round and round the lazy river, going down the water slides, playing water basketball, and splashing around.
Seth is like a hound dog when it comes to sniffing out fruit, it is by far his favorite food!
I love how simple and easy to please toddlers are. All summer long a small water bottle has been able to instantly make this one happy.
Do you see that small dot of a head in the end of the slide? Having absolutely no body fat at all makes poor Seth constantly cold. It can be 100 degrees outside and if he is even slightly wet he will be freezing within about 30 minutes. So he found that the water that was sitting stagnate against the red plastic was the warmest spot in the pool and spent quite awhile sitting there in his little hot tub :)
Eventually even that wasn't enough to regulate his cold-blooded body temperature though and he had to get out and dry off.
The kids loved the water slide with no lines to wait in. They were such light weights that they had to bum scoot along the last 5-10 feet though. Then we took them on our laps and they flew down!
It was so much nicer for him to get to play without a ton of kids around splashing him or knocking him over all the time. He loved being able to crawl around and explore.
After the pool party we got cleaned up and went over to the cemetery to show the kids some headstones from their ancestors. Despite their restlessness I think we were able to instill an appreciation for their heritage in them. As night fell most of the extended family had to leave so we ended up going out to dinner with Grandma Nash and the Lloyds. The next morning we had to head home from our short, but fun little get away.
Since moving we have really missed having a pool to use everyday during the summer, so instead we were forced to join the masses at the overcrowded city pool. In an effort to retain their strong swimming skills that they have developed we let them take swimming lessons at the beginning of the summer... needless to say I wasn't all that impressed and am not sure that we will do it at the same place again. Although they didn't learn too many new skills they did at least have a ton of fun though, so I guess it all worked out.
(Clearly she didn't learn proper diving form :)
(Poor Seth, the little tot class that he could have gone to was all full, so he got stuck watching from the boring, hot pool deck with me and hated every second of it :(
(Jefferson however loved people watching the entire time!)
Makelle is such a girly-girl and is always trying to get me to watch princess shows and paint fingernails and other such rubbish. So when I heard about a short demonstration of the Nutcracker I figured that was my chance to let her see a ballet (something she has always been interested in) without having to commit as much of my time and money. Win-win!
So this morning I took Makelle up to the Egyptian theater in Ogden for a little preview of the Nutcracker ballet. She loved every second of it! I was checking my watch and she was on the edge of her seat, staring in awe. It always amazes me how into plays and performances that little girl can get.
Afterwards she was asking me all kinds of questions and requested to go see the whole, long performance one night. So rather than appeasing her, I think I just stoked the fire.
My favorite part was the gourmet doughnut shop we found near the theater, so in the end we were both happy! And it was great to see how excited she was and hear how much she enjoyed it.
So although I will never admit to enjoying a ballet, I have to say that it is kind of fun doing things with just her and learning about her interests.
Every year we make a gingerbread house out of leftover Halloween candy. This year I happened upon this giant gingerbread man mold and decided to try something new, so tonight we decorated our own gingerbread men. It was actually a lot funner than the house because everyone got to do their own thing and there was no worrying about how the house was slowly falling apart.
Caleb and I even made one of our own! (Next year we are hoping to improve upon the mouth shape :) It was a pretty fun little family night.
We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early this year. Most of Caleb's family was able to come into town on Wednesday, including his Aunt Mel and Uncle Ron, Jenna, Bryan and Celeste, Sam and Benson and Shirley. We all made a delicious meal and thoroughly enjoyed the entire day, eating, talking and playing together.
Corbin has gotten interested in flag football recently and was really into the idea of a turkey bowl. So while we were still making the side dishes he got Uncle Bryan and Caleb to go outside and play some football with him. Bryan and Celeste recently got a new dog and at one point I looked out the kitchen window into the field and saw this small scene straight out of a Hallmark movie:
My un-raked autumn leaves, the kids, the dog--all of it was so perfect and the kids said they had so much fun, I think it might have to become a new tradition.
The next day it was just Jenna, Shirley and us, so we went to see a movie and put together a puzzle while eating leftover pie. As far as having fun goes we have definitely hit the "old middle-aged, married couple" stage of life but it is pretty great so far!
Corbin turned 8 on Thursday, November 20th. On the day of his actual birthday he went out to lunch with Caleb and then came home and asked to play video games and watch a movie. (I recently made a new rule that the kids can't use screens during the week, only on weekends. So he was excited to use the xbox and the tv on a Thursday afternoon! He even did extra school work on Wednesday afternoon so that he could take the day off and just play on his special day.) Then for dinner he requested his favorite meal... breakfast. We got him cold cereal, english muffins, sausage and bagels. He was in heaven!
We decided against a big friend party this year so the focus could be on his baptism. So instead the next day he invited a few friends to go see the new Disney movie, Big Hero 6 with him. At one point I looked up and saw this:
And it really got to me! He is getting so big, dang it! It is so cliche, but really, "What happened to my little boy?!" He should not be wandering around a shopping center checking out the little kiosks and laughing with his friends. He should be holding his mommy's hand and laughing with me!
After my wave of emotions passed we headed home for some cake and ice cream. It was perfect. He is perfect, we love that kid! While it truly does sadden me in some ways, in other ways it is the best thing ever to watch him grow and mature. He is truly becoming a mini adult more and more everyday. And he is such an amazing little person! I love his desire to do good, his ability to recognize the spirit in his life, his willingness to be a good example to everyone around him, his intelligent curiosity and his sarcastic, dry sense of humor.
Two weeks later on December 6th Caleb was able to baptize our little man. Seeing him that day was so fun and exciting, but looking back at the pictures of him in that little white jumpsuit seriously brought tears to my eyes.
He made a good decision that day, but even more so, hearing him reflect on his experience and seeing how he chooses to live each day, he consciously makes good decisions everyday. He actively seeks out the spirit in his life and has a much deeper understanding of the gospel than I ever did at his age. Since his baptism and confirmation he has come up to me numerous times and told me about an experience he just had (helping a neighbor, doing a good deed for his younger siblings, trying to lighten my load, etc.) and tells me how "I just can't stop smiling, like even if I wanted to, I can't. I feel so good because I can feel the spirit really strong. Heavenly Father must be so happy when I help people." He is a good kid and he is going to do great things with his life.
After his baptism he wanted to have hamburgers and hot dogs with everyone in attendance. After my failed attempts at talking him out of a December BBQ we went out and bought a watermelon, made lemonade, and uncovered the grill and somehow we ended up with 60 degree weather that day. So many family members and friends came to support him and celebrate with us, it was a most wonderful day.
After his confirmation we had neglected to inform him ahead of time that he needed to shake hands with everyone in the circle and he got a little embarrassed. So I told him the next day to be ready when he went up on the stand to get introduced as the newest member of the ward to shake the hand of the bishops' counselor afterwards. Well he remembered this time, but our brand new counselor did not and everyone thought he was just the cutest little man when the adult sent him on his way and he stop and stuck out his hand and waited for a firm handshake.
There was a cute girl with some good business sense that volunteered to take pictures of home school kids at the park for $5. Every mother thinks, "Hey, what a great deal!" and what appeared to not be worth her time became taking a hundred or so pictures in an hour at $5 a head and you suddenly just made a significant amount of money... smart lady. Anyway, here's our $20 worth :)