Friday, July 21, 2017

Tappana Times: Summer Kick-off

June started out celebrating my brother, Ryan, turning the big eighteen. 

Soon, he'll be off to college and we'll miss having him around.

We also enjoyed our Maple Valley Days parade.

Kendrick insisted on wearing a hat, and successfully made a getaway into the middle of the street to join the parade.Twice. Those bubbles get him every time - it's like baby crack. The other kids filled their bags with candy like it was Halloween.

After the parade, we checked out the festival where we saw Lydia's Lorax artwork displayed. She was excited that her drawing was chosen at school to be shown with others' at Maple Valley Days. We walked around the booths and the kids volunteered to help pick up trash, earning them one free roller coaster ride.

We finally finished up school! Lydia finished up second grade and I loved her personality coming out when she insisted on flashing a peace sign for her last day of school picture. She grew so much this year and my favorite compliment from her teacher was that she was so kind and that other kids enjoy being around Lydia. I was so happy to hear that. I know how kind and sweet she is, and to hear that she treats others that way makes me feel like something is going right in this world. As the school bus turned the corner on the last day of school, I could hear all the other kids chanting "Summer! Summer!". And yet, when Lydia stepped off the bus she was crying because she was going to miss her teacher so much.

Ammon finished up Kindergarten - boy has he grown! When I got his final report card I was so thrilled to see his marks in focusing and following directions had gone up a level. This kid has matured so much from the shy boy that was so unsure of himself. His reading level also impressed me. I'm so sad to send him to first grade and lose my buddy for half the day. I feel like it's been me and him together for quite sometime, and I only have the guts to send him away all day because of how much I've seen him grow at school this past year. (And I'm happy he gets to try hot lunch because he is REALLY excited about it)

I conquered another 10k. And by conquered, I mean I made myself do something that was so hard for me last year and did it again this year. I thought I would do so much better, and while I did improve on my time, it felt just as hard, I didn't get the time I wanted, and I cried....again.

Oh man, this course kicks my butt. I had trained and ran six miles and felt fine, but the trail we run for the race is uphill the entire second half. And it just drains me. I prayed and cried and watched a 5 1/2 month pregnant woman pass me as I cheered and clapped for her. But I finished. I can do hard things. I learned I need to train on this trail in particular, and that I need more practice than I thought. The only people that came in behind me was a ten year old girl and her dad, who ran with her.

I also included a picture of the 5k results of Brigham and the kids. I was really proud of them running/walking the 5k together. I've always dreamed of us being an active family together, and though we are at different levels, it was nice to get out on a Saturday morning and move. Their participation was a huge support to me as I ran my race.

A couple minutes after crossing the finish line, I got a call from my brother inviting our family to go hiking later that afternoon. Not much keeps me from hiking, so I said yes. So a couple hours later we were out enjoying the hanging garden wall hike.

We packed in lunches and sat on the rocky banks eating and enjoying the river. Kendrick was thrilled to sit on the edge and through rock after rock into the water.

After eating, we threw rocks to splash each other and Brigham tried to impress us with his throwing prowess.

The hike back to the car was up a decent incline and it took it's toll more on some than others.

It was a fantastic afternoon, and the hiking kept my legs from getting too stiff or sore after the race.

We had a tree that died in our front yard. Our landlord said he was going to take the tree down, but months later it was still standing there. So, we had our friend who is an expert in tree removal, and he kindly agreed to help us take down the tree. He brought all his fancy equipment and we had fun playing as loggers as we removed the dead tree from the yard.

Jon let Brigham use his big equipment, and then he even let the kids play around on it for a little bit. Lydia and Ammon both drove the claw machine and were able to knock down wood in the tractor.

Now our yard is dead-tree free. I kind of miss the thing. It added character.

Our yard was gorgeous in June. The flowers started blooming and the grass was green with the sunshine finally breaking through all the rain and clouds.

We can't keep ourselves indoors and the kids have actually been spending time out back willingly.

Lydia and Ammon like to run through the sprinkler or put it under the tramp, and Kendrick was feeling left out. Thinking I found the perfect thing for him to do while the kids run through the sprinkler, we bought him a little pool. Unfortunately, the kid was terrified when I put him in a swim diaper, terrified of sunscreen (born and bred in WA), and afraid of his swimsuit. And then he refused to step foot in the pool. Lydia and Ammon spent hours playing in it while he just watched from the perimeter. As Lydia and Ammon moved on to the sprinkler, I finally got Kendrick to throw his balls into the pool, hold my finger and step in the water to throw the balls out, and then step back out to do it all over again. We're slowly discovering that he is not a fan of swimming.

And that's June. We are getting used to the sun again, running around growing up, and being crazy together.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kendrick 1.5

Well this is overdue, but our youngest little man turned 18 months this past June and I need to document his craziness at this age!

Here he is on his actual half birthday, showing off what he knows.

He is one smart little dude. One smart, STUBBORN little dude. That's why we don't always get along. But he's so dang cute and loveable that I pretty much forgive him instantly. He loves books and never gets tired of them. If you sit down, he only sees that as an opportunity to run and get a book and put it in your hand with a "erago" (there you go).

He picks up so much from the older kids and he is maturing so fast. As I watch these videos, I'm amazed at how much he's grown already in a month since these were taken. He used to squeal at every single basketball hoop that he'd see as we'd take walks or drive around, and now he actually says "hoop" at every single one. He says "cuck" for every truck and is still obsessed with basketballs, and really all balls. He says bubbles the second he sees any and doesn't stop saying it until he's satisfied that we've all passed out from blowing him bubbles for hours. He loves Elmo and says "Elmooo" with such love and joy in this voice, I can't get enough. Sesame Street is the only show he'll sit still enough to watch, and he loves to point to the tv and say, "shoooow". This is one of my favorite ages with all my kids, and Kendrick is no exception.

Kendrick is busy busy and loves to yell "go!" before he races into your arms or just runs back and forth across the room. He prefers to be outside and will play out there for hours.

He's my most mischievous and gets into lots of trouble. Especially after he figured out the stool (that stool is now hidden). He used to whine for anything and about everything, and I was about to commit suicide from the whining. I tried to get him to say please instead of whine but he REFUSES, still to this day, to say please. He will, however, say "help" instead, or "more" for when he wants more food. It took so much effort and training, but now we constantly hear "hep" from him when he needs something and it's so reassuring to be able to say, "What do you say?" when he's whining and he instantly stops and says, "hep". I've tried to return to please, but he just gets mad and screams at me.

He had a short stint as a harmonica prodigy (he was getting really good!) and he played it constantly for a week, but the thrill of that wore off. Maybe he'll return to it later.

He likes to sleep in late (around 8:30), so when he uncharacteristically wakes up early we all get grumpy. He is so much better at napping now that he's older. Typically he naps from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, or I wake him up at 4:30. He still has his rare twenty-minute nap days, and we're all pretty unhappy those days as well.

His smile and those dimples keep him alive, and those curls on the back of his head are to die for. Every hair cut it kills me, but if I don't cut it he starts looking like a girl with his long eyelashes. So far the curls have always come back, but this last time I still worried that I cut them off for good. We'll see!

Kendrick still snuggles better than any of my other kids did. None of us can resist him. Probably one of my favorite things is how he nods his head yes sometimes, instead of saying it out loud. Seeing an eighteen-month-old nod his head is a level of cuteness I can't explain and I hope I always remember it. He used to just say "yeah" to everything. You ask him a question and the answer was "yeah" unless your sentence ended with no. This used to be my favorite conversation to repeat with Kendrick over and over again:

Me: Kendrick do you always say yes?
Kendrick: Yeah.
Me: Do you ever say no?
Kendrick: No.

But he's starting to develop a love for "bep" (yep) and "yas" (yes). And in the last week he is running around yelling "no, no, noooo" or "nooooope, nope, noooOOOPE!". Just for fun.

Lydia and Ammon will do anything for Kendrick, and unfortunately he uses and abuses that power. He is constantly screeching at them if they even THINK about touching something of his or look at him wrong. And so far, nothing I've tried has been able to stop the screeching. We've lessened it, but this kid is not easily disciplined and does not feel remorse easily. Despite Kendrick yelling at his older siblings, he also loves them deeply. My favorite is seeing him content in their arms as they lug him around like a sack of potatoes. He loves to have them carry him in from the car.

Kendrick really prefers his family, mostly me, and gives pretty much anyone else the stink-eye. You'll start to notice that in a lot of pictures where someone outside of the family is taking the picture, Kendrick is glaring. That's because someone outside of his inner circle is attempting to interact with him. Really, it's not so much that he's shy, it's more that he's a giant snob. He doesn't seem to fear them, he just wants nothing to do with them. He glares and turns away, and is quite rude. And that doesn't mix with being really cute because he attracts a lot of attention from people who want to play with him. And his reaction? "How dare you."

Take the first day of nursery, for instance. I was counting down the weeks. Church with Kendrick is a nightmare. In his defense, it's right during nap-time and he is SO tired that he can barely function, let alone behave. But I was hoping that since he plays at the church most days with the nursery toys on one side of the gym while I exercise on the other, that he would adjust to nursery well. Plus, nursery has snacks and Kendrick LOVES food. Whenever someone else watches him, they've discovered that if you just feed him the entire time, he's happy. So with snacks in nursery, I had high hopes.

His nursery leader snapped this picture on the first day. And this was with me in the room sitting right next to him during music time as he watched all the other kids having a blast. Needless to say, it did not go well. But Brigham has enjoyed creating endless memes with this picture.

Since that first week, there has been no improvement; I'd say we've even gone further downhill. He wants nothing to do with anyone in that nursery room and if I try to sneak out, they bring him to me ten minutes later with him crying as though someone has been pulling teeth while I was gone. Maybe nine o'clock church will go better?

Out of all the things that Kendrick is learning to say, this next conversation is my favorite;

Me: Say I
Kendrick: I (as he points to his eye)
Me: Love
Kendrick: Lub
Me: You
Kendrick: (raises his finger and points at me)

One time he said it without me asking. Talk about melting my heart. If you ask him to, rather than pointing he'll say "mum" "da" "bibio" "aaamun" (he still has a really hard time saying Lydia, bless his heart).

So, yes, Kendrick is a snobbish, trouble-making, stubborn little boy. But he is also a smart, loveable, sweet, snuggling, good little boy who loves to hold one finger on my hand and explore the world with me. But you'll probably have to take my word for it, because he won't give you the time of day.

Happy 18 months, little guy. Try to not grow up too fast!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tappana Times: MAYbe I'd Better Update

Thinking back about May, it was a busy month. Lots of activities going on with the end of school approaching and the weather warming up.

Kendrick is turning into a character and he loves books. All he ever wants is for someone to read him a book. He doesn't care what I'm doing, I'm just his slave to diaper and dress him while he gets his reading time in.

If he's not reading, he loves to play like a big boy and work on his computer at the table. He sometimes gets caught on the table, and he's learned pretty quickly that Mom is not ok with that.

The bowl and lid on the table next to him are his version of "setting the table," which is his favorite to help out with. Though, the items that I leave available in cupboards for him to reach make for pretty funny table settings at times.

We had a scare with Kendrick one evening as we went for a walk on the trail along the lake. My mom's dogs were attached to the stroller, and as we stopped for a minute, they decided to suddenly take off. This yanked the stroller over on top of Kendrick and he was dragged face first in the gravel and dirt for a bit before I could catch up and grab him. Luckily, after I was able to clear the mouthful of dirt and bark out, he calmed down quickly and no serious injury was found. Those dogs were headed straight for a very steep incline, however, so I was not happy.

Kendrick has continued working on his snobbishness towards other people, and his glare really started to take shape in May.

We had the missionaries over for dinner, and they decided to ask Kendrick if he liked his cheesecake. How dare they.

Side note: These are the chocolate dipped strawberry cheesecakes that pinterest had been tempting me with for ages. I finally had a reason to indulge when the missionaries were coming over, so I attempted my first cheesecake recipe.

Luckily, they were easy and they turned out great (though they look much prettier on the pinterest pictures)! I would definitely make them again. They were delicious!

And Kendrick did love just had to be the right person asking him :)

Kendrick has been exploring all the different places he can get into. I usually don't mind letting him play with the cans in the bottom cupboard, but I recently had to make sure all glass jars were moved higher when he came to me covered in sweet and sour sauce. We learned the hard way that that stuff makes for some pretty tough stains. I don't know how he got the lid off of a brand new jar, but I do know that he managed to get it on the carpet in the living room, on my white rug, all over himself, on me, and spread throughout other various parts of the kitchen.

While I was attempting to clean it up, he also managed to tip a chair over that he was standing on and got a bloody nose. After that was managed, I sent him out back to play so I could finish cleaning, and he dug up my cilantro plant. He's hitting toddlerhood full force.

I know I always have a million pictures of Kendrick, but it is just me and him for half the day. And when they are younger, they hit all the milestones so close together so I have a lot to document. Don't worry, I love my other two children just as much...they are just away from me more often, and more busy and independent.

You can bet they both want to be included in the instagram filters, however.

Ammon recently had his time to shine at the Three Piggy Opera at school.

He loved being in the reenactment of the three little pigs story and he did awesome. He was one cute little piggy!

There are quite a few other kids from our ward at church in Ammon's kindergarten class and we got a picture of them all together.

Lydia's moment to shine was completing her gymnastics course.

She loved her weekly gymnastics class and graduated out of Rec 1. Unfortunately, Rec 2 costs more than we can afford so she has to take a break while we research other options, but Lydia enjoyed getting to try this sport out. She would even practice a daily stretching video to try to improve her splits. I was proud of her hard work and dedication.

Usually, while Lydia was in gymnastics class, I would sit and watch her, but on a day of good weather I decided to walk the path I had noticed behind the gym. I was enjoying the exercise when I noticed a mile marker. I was walking along the Green River! I felt a little spooked.

(For those that don't know the history of the Green River Killer, he was a serial killer that dumped numerous bodies along the Green River, thus his name.)

It kind of gave me the chills, especially since the only other people I had seen on the trail were a couple of homeless people. But I decided to have courage and not let the wimpy side of me take over. I finished my walk and nodded at the homeless man that passed by me before returning to the gym.

While I was waiting for Lydia's class to end, I decided to look into where exactly along the Green River the bodies were found. Now they've found something like 40+ bodies, and he's claimed there's around 80+, so they are spread along the Green River, but I noticed that a large group of them were found RIGHT WHERE I HAD BEEN WALKING.

Suddenly, I felt like a survivor. I felt like I should be on some documentary or something - I was walking where it happened. And I'm pretty dramatic and all that.

Our family spent family night at Flaming Geyser State park, which is only twenty minutes from our house. We ate a picnic dinner and then enjoyed a couple short hikes.

Kendrick was my little buddy while Brigham took the kids up the steep hill to climb on the tree.

My kids are pretty good hikers, and we found out quickly that Kendrick wants to be right there with them. Brigham carried him up the trail, but he insisted on walking back and made it the whole way with his little chubby legs carrying him as fast as he could go. He loved every second of it!

After hiking, we played in the river for a bit and then tossed around a football until it was time to head home. It gave us a taste for summer and all the nights yet to come playing oustide.

For mother's day, my mom was in Hawaii, so I got to fill in for her at my sister's Mom and Tea activity for fifth graders.

If often looks like Kayleen is another one of my kids, and sometimes I'm sure she feels that way. She even wrote the sweetest note to me that said I'm like her second mom. I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity to live so close to her and develop a relationship with her that we otherwise wouldn't have. We may be eighteen years apart, but we can still hang together and I love that my kids have her to run around with! I was honored to fill in as mom and we had a great time stuffing our faces with pastries together.

A couple other random happenings in May: I was on my way to volleyball and I saw the brightest rainbow I've ever laid eyes on. The pictures make it look mediocre, but it was so bright and it even turned into a double rainbow.

Ammon has been killing it with his crafts lately, and I'm killing it at bootcamp doing handstands on the wall.

Phew! That's May for you. Busy and fun!