My Boys

My Boys

Friday, July 17, 2015

July Update

Father's Day 2015

July 4th Bike Parade followed by swimming at the neighborhood pool

Bryson conquered potty-training! I needed to wait till preschool was over before I could fully concentrate on it. So after our vacation in the beginning of June, it was time to make some progress. We were already at the point where if I left Bryson naked all day, he would go in the potty just fine. It was time to take it to the next level where he could wear clothing and still go in the potty. That took a few weeks to master. Then it was a matter of having him tell me while we were out running errands as well as be able to tell someone other than his parents (babysitter, nursery leaders, extended family). He did 5 days in a row perfectly, and I thought we were there. Then when we were at someone else's house, he had a poopy accident. Ironically, I had just written in his journal the day before that throughout all the potty-training saga he had never had a poopy accident in his underwear! Another week without accidents and him being able to tell his nursery leaders at church when he needed to go potty, and I feel like we're there. It feels quite liberating not to have to change diapers for a few more months! He's 2 years and 8 months, so later than my other boys. Bryson was very interesting in the fact that he didn't like having a potty seat on the toilet. He loved to climb on all by himself.

Occasionally Bryson will go on the potty like this. It's too funny!

This boy is slow in the losing teeth department. He just lost his 4th tooth (almost 8 years old)! He's been working on it for several days.

Also, I started teaching piano lessons this summer. There are three teachers in this area who moved, and it has left a lot of people in need of a teacher. After several approaches, I decided to commit to 5 students (including Carter) for up to the next year (my year off of teaching preschool) while they try to get in with other teachers. There's also the factor of a new baby end of Aug./beginning of Sept.--I'll take a month off after he's born and see how things go with teaching piano with a newborn!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Shurtliff Reunion 2015

This year for my family's reunion we headed to Llano, Texas and rented some cabins.

The cabana/outdoor kitchen is the lower left red roof, with a few cabins and a lovely view.

Swimming pool and fun water slide

We all arrived at different times on Sunday evening. We were all nervous from the start when the owner told us that they'd seen a lot more rattlesnakes and scorpions out. The kids had very specific instructions not to leave the paths and to tell a parent before they went anywhere. We did encounter one rattlesnake during the week as well as a handful of scorpions. Fortunately, no accidents.

The majority of our time each day was spent in the pool!

Hot tub

Aunt Kara caught some action shots:
Matt catching the frisbee

Carter jumping off the "high dive"

Then some of the men tried to coordinate jumping and sliding out at the same time with a high five

Playing with Grandpa

Taking a break from swimming and playing games

We took one day to tube down the Llanos River. There were some really great rapids right at the start so we decided to keep tubing down the river knowing that the next chance to exit the river (to avoid private property) was a mile away. Right after we passed our last exit opportunity, the rapids died and it was still water. There were 5 adults left to paddle 10 kids for a mile. It took forever, and worried the other people who stayed behind. We thought the rapids would continue and therefore asked my brother, Jared, to pick us up in 45 minutes. It took more like 2 hours. No one brought sunscreen to reapply and several people got burned badly.

A few days later, some adults and older grandchildren went to kayak on the river again. I didn't head out that time, but I believe they just stuck to the short section of rapids.

As characteristic of Shurtliff vacations, there were morning workouts and tennis games. Here is Carter playing with Lili and Talmage so mommies could workout.

Drew and Caleb playing basketball with Grandpa

Ping pong fun

Matt brought dodge balls for a night game

Great food is another characteristic of Shurtliff vacations. Each family took a day of meals.

Kara celebrated a birthday on vacation. There were plenty of volunteers to help make her birthday cake!

Once kids went to bed, adults congregated every night for some chatting and games. We had a great FHE Monday night about marriage. Ironically, Matt and I were still disagreeing about something that happened 2 days earlier so it was a good lesson for us. :) {My side: he played in a dodge ball tournament which took up 6 hours of his Saturday morning--the day before vacation. I was super stressed about getting some shopping done for vacation, packing, getting the house cleaned, and there was also a neighborhood luau I promised the kids we would go to as a family (minus Matt). Plus he had worked late almost every night that week and not seen the kids much. His side: He still got everything done he was supposed to that day (except I didn't have his help for the 2 hours at the luau), and he needed the outlet from a tough week at work!}

Family picture--impossible to get everyone right :)

Dallin at the top of the water slide

Hanging out with Daddy on our last morning

Relaxing for a minute from all the packing up and cleaning

Finishing off some ice cream on our last morning. Can't let that go to waste!

A big surprise came home with us which I discovered as I was doing laundry!

I absolutely love spending time together with my family and look forward to vacation every year!

Fun memory from this year: our family's cabin had an outdoor shower, so we got very comfortable with  our nakedness and nature.

For the last few years, we've had some illnesses spread around while on vacation. This time we lucked out and everyone was healthy, but somehow Matt still caught some bug the day after vacation. Just like the previous year when I was the sickest I've ever been (caught on vacation), Matt caught something that hit him like a ton of bricks. He struggled with continuing to make an appearance at work each day to get some things done--he had to be there having missed the previous week. Finally the Thursday after vacation he went to the doctor and got some medications. He had a lung and sinus infection--lots of coughing, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and just felt awful. The cough is still lingering, but he's finally starting to feel better now, 2 weeks later. :(

Sunday, June 14, 2015

All Done Second Grade!

Caleb finished off 2nd grade with a bang! He got on the all-A honor roll each grading period, and had a 100 in math for 3 of the 4 grading periods. He tested Gifted and Talented (GT) for Math. He also won an award in PE for how many laps he ran during their running time. (Most kids walk)
This is his Language Arts/Social Studies teacher presenting his award for all As and Citizenship (good behavior each grading period). When she called him up she described him as incredibly shy, soft-spoken, and a really, really fast talker. I don't like to think of Caleb as shy, but he just knows the times when it's appropriate to talk and when it's appropriate to listen and be respectful.

Summer break, here we come!

Soccer Season

This was Carter's first season playing soccer! We had no idea what to expect...Caleb is an all-star (in our opinion), but we didn't want to set up false expectations for Carter. We weren't sure if he would go after the ball or be one of the kids on the field who smiled for the audience a lot while not actually doing much on the field. Carter's never shown as much interest in sports as Caleb has, so I think we went in with low expectations and were blown away! Carter caught on really fast and totally got the object of the game--run to the ball, dribble it down the field, and shoot a goal. He was the best kid on his team (again, our humble opinion), and without him on the field, not much happened for his team.
With the league he plays with, you are only allowed to score 3 goals--which I semi-like but mostly dislike. After Carter scored his 3 goals each game, he would help out his teammates by dribbling it down the field for them and setting it up on the white goal line to allow his teammate to kick a goal (which they still struggled with even with all the work done for them). We encouraged him to pass it to teammates for a few games, but there was only one other girl coordinated enough to dribble it down the field. So in the end we just told him to dribble it down and set it up. He had a great season!

(And isn't he so adorable?!?)

Carter's team and coach
I failed to get pictures of Caleb in his soccer attire this season. I was the team manager for his team so between that and watching Bryson during games, I never remembered to snap some pictures. He had another great season and had an awesome coach who helped him improve in several areas. He had a great learning experience this season in that there was a handicapped girl on his team; he learned a lot about patience and love. However, the competitive side of him got frustrated because I don't think they ever won a game. Whenever this girl played goalie, the other team tended to score at least a few goals. Sometimes if Caleb was on the field (and not sitting out) he could prevent the ball from ever getting down to that side of the field. He played well and had a good season though.
The boys with their trophies
(Off topic side note for my own record: I tried to download a typing software for Caleb to work on this summer while school is out--it was a program that they use at school--and it gave my computer a virus! Because I was trying to avoid the problem, I shut down my computer and restarted it and now can only get a blank, blue screen. Fortunately I saved all my preschool and church files last week on a back-up drive, but I'm nervous to lose all my pictures and other things I have saved to my computer. I also don't have access to my calendar where I write daily commitments, and I don't have access to my picture program to enhance photos etc. Thus the blurry trophy picture. I'm going crazy! And I'm nervous it's going to be a costly fix.) 

Friday, June 5, 2015

9 Year Anniversary

One of my birthday presents this year from my parents was tickets to see Cinderella on Broadway. Because the date of the show was 3 days away from our anniversary, we decided to count it as our anniversary date. We enjoyed dinner and the show and a fun night out together!

I love when Matt and I get a chance to spend time together without the kiddos. :)


I bit on more than I could chew this year with teaching preschool to 10 kids (including Bryson--and he definitely counts as another student!). I was grateful to have a mom of one of the girls come in and help me do centers most days to make sure that time was very productive. These last two years were more challenging than the first two years I taught due to certain personalities in the class, but amazingly the kids made just as much progress if not further progress than my first group of students that I taught my first two years. I'm so proud of all of them! They are all great readers, able to solve addition/subtraction problems, count to 100, and write all their lower and uppercase letters. They are definitely more than ready for Kindergarten.

I enjoy teaching, but I'm looking forward to having a year off before I start up with Bryson's age. I'll be able to focus on the new baby and other projects that I've neglected (mainly catching up on my blog books/family journals). I'll miss these kiddos but am excited for them to begin a new schooling adventure in the fall!

Swimming in the Rain

I can't recall a rainier spring season ever in the area where I live. We've had so much rain that it has led to some flooding in surrounding areas. I haven't complained too much since the rain has kept the hot weather at bay a little longer. It's been a huge bummer to have the pools open though and not be able to swim! One Wednesday in May, I promised Carter that we would go swimming that day when it wasn't raining. The issue though is that it would clear up one minute only to rain 15 minutes later. I told him it wasn't a good day for swimming, but he was insistent. Finally I packed up the umbrella, and we headed to the pool. We were the only ones there. 5 minutes after we arrived, it started raining (no thunder/lightning). While I stood under the umbrella, the boys went for a swim. They didn't care!