Thursday, August 6, 2015

the things they don't tell you about kindergarten

I already posted this on my facebook page, but I want all the family that doesn't use it to be able to read about Emmett's first day.

From the time Emmett was a little toddler, I knew the first day of Kindergarten was going to be rough. I knew I’d miss him terribly and the huge milestone would make me curse the cruelty of time. What I didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming grief for the ending of a chapter – that of course I was/am not ready to let go.
As a young mom filling your day with playdates, the park, the library, the zoo – you find your groove, and decide this “mom life” is pretty fun. You go about your days making pancakes and building legos, thinking this is how it will always be. Until… one sudden day it isn’t. As I carefully packed the superhero school supplies we went shopping for yesterday, I tried to shush the voices in my head telling me “You won’t be there when he uses this. You won’t be there to make sure he’s happy, that he finds his way to bathroom, that all his classmates are nice to him.”
It’s hard business this Mom thing. Raising your heart outside your body and protecting it from every bump, scrape, and sadness is exhausting and terrifying. But sending your heart away- and entrusting it in the hands of people you don’t even really know, that can only be done through faith. Faith that you have done your job well enough. Faith in your child’s strength and resilience. Faith in the capable hands you’ve passed over the reins to. And Faith that the Lord is watching over.
Happy First day of School little man. I am so proud of you.

 (You can tell which photos are off my camera, and which were taken on my phone. Dang iphone doesnt take as quality photos as I thought!)

Despite my sad post above, we had a good first day. Emmett was courageous and happy as usual, giving me a big hug and smile when I said goodbye. I, on the other hand, was swallowing the giant lump in my throat and blinking back the tears. I mostly contained myself til I reached the car, then I stopped fighting it. I headed over to pick up Tate from a friends, and stayed and chatted with her for awhile which was a nice distraction.
 Tate asked for Emmett as soon as we got back in the car, then called for him around our house when we walked in. I gave myself a bit in the morning to cry and be sad, then realized it wasn't too much longer til Emmett's lunchtime! (Which Tate and I were going to meet him for) We headed back down to the school together and Tate was really excited about the atmosphere and seeing Emmett. It melted my emotional mommy heart to see Emmett reach over and put his arm around Tate, showing he'd missed him too. It made me feel so much better to see Emmett happy and doing well at lunch. He was chatting with a new friend, excitedly told me he'd already taken a trip to the library, and said he was having a good day. When lunch was over, I watched him line up and walk to his classroom again - this time feeling more confident. 
I worked on some housework and spent some time with Tate in the afternoon. I wasn't too productive from being so emotionally drained. I heard the preschool bus he used to ride pull up out front to drop off the girl across the street, and got a little sad again but shook it off. Before I knew it we were down to 45 minutes til it was time to load up and get Emmett!! I was pleasantly surprised how the day went by quicker than I anticipated. Visiting him at lunch definitely helped, and I think we'll be doing that often. 
Hearing "Mommy!!!" and seeing the electric smile light up your kids face when you've been away is one of the very best feelings. I was lucky enough to get it both at lunch, and after school pick-up. He came out wearing his special hat he made that said "I survived my first day of kindergarten". I read and it and thought to myself "yes, yes you did!" I had survived. I hope he continues to like it more and more as they get to do more activities. I am excited for him to get to do P.E!.

Though I'd gained confidence by the end of the day, It does make me sad thinking tomorrow I have to start it all over! Hopefully it will get easier and easier over time! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015


We have been so grateful these past couple years to be invited to spend Thanksgiving with friends and their extended families. This year we ate with a big group in a church building - they were mostly all related but there were others like us that just didn't have family around. 

We were told just to bring a side, and of course Jared and I had different ideas in mind. So we made both! 
Mine was a mix of butternut squash, cranberries, herbs, and feta. Jared's was a green bean casserole. I feel like these two dishes are pretty good depictions of Jared and I, no?!

 Emmett was excited because both of his favorite friends, Riggdon and Dylan were there. (Not the best pic, but its what we have to work with). They colored pictures of pilgrims while they ate.
 Surprise, surprise - guess who loved the food?
 ...and still loving it

There was even a room set up for the kids to watch a movie. I think it was "Brave"

Taters and I showing off our Turkey day ensembles

This was my favorite part of dinner (nothing new here). German Chocolate Pie. Mmmmm. Not the best foodtography. But it was delish.

 This is my friend Kristi who invited us
 After dinner Jared and Tate came home and succumbed to their food comas...

...While Emmy and I headed for a night on the town.

Walmart to be exact! Turns out Emmett was a great little Black Friday shopper! Other than that he kept getting distracted and wanting to look at the toy aisles. I was like "Em! This is not the time! We've got a strict order of operations here!" We happened upon this shield which he used to protect us from the mobs. We conquered and got everything we came for!

And then along with the rest of the world, we pulled out our tree the following day. I LOVE Christmas trees. The beauty and magic they bring to the house, and the happy nostalgia of decorating it every year. The collecting of ornaments that hold special meanings and memories, and unwrapping them each year and reliving them. It was fun to have both boys old enough to get into hanging the ornaments. Actually Tate was a little too into the ornaments so after a couple days our tree ended up only having ornaments on the top half, where chubby mischievous fingers couldn't reach.

It was, as always, a great season to reflect on our blessings, which are too numerous to count. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

happy haunts

If I'm gonna catch up on this blog I'm gonna do it right! We started the month of October by taking Emmett's first preschool field trip to a pumpkin patch. 

Lucky little Taters got to come along

 And even picked out his own tater sized pumpkin

Emmett with some of his classmates. They fed animals at a petting zoo, picked out pumpkins, jumped in bounce houses and went on a hayride.

Their favorite part ended up being racing down a giant dirt hill over and over.

Later in the month we went to our ward Halloween party. Here's our Toy Story family. Emmett was too busy having fun to join in the photo.
Here he is completing the obstacle course. Notice he's not dressed as Toy Story this time. The boy has enough costumes he wore a different one to every Halloween event he went to.

On Halloween day, he chose to be Darth Vader, A new fascination had been struck since his Jedi Training School days at Disneyland.

His preschool had a fun Halloween party where they jumped on the trampoline, trick or treated to all the parents, and showed us their "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" routine. 
 Being October in AZ it was too warm to run around in their costumes for long.

 Finally it was time to trick or treat. We started the evening by roasting marshmallows with some friends.

Tate was a perfect plumpy Dumbo. Recognize this costume?

Here it is worn by Emmett three years before!

 The gang- Emmett, Colin, Jaylee and Logan
 This was one of Emmetts favorite houses because he got to choose whether to take candy from the dark side or light. Being Darth, he chose Dark of course

We ended the month by having our first family campout. In none other than our backyard. The boys were so excited and loved reading books and telling scary stories by lantern light. High maintenance Taters didnt make it all night and had to be taken inside to a real mattress.
Maybe camping in the backyard is just the way to go for this family ;)

Disney Part II (Da dum dum chh)

That was my drumroll. Because it only took me 5 months to complete this trip. How did I not post Disney Part II?!? That is a tragedy. I just can't let that happen! So here goes...

In between our Disney Days, we spent a day going to the beach. So beautiful. I've always said my dream is to live in  a charming little coastal town. Not the kind where there's lavish mansions built onto the seaside with the entire back made of giant windows - I'm talking quaint, eclectic beach homes full of character and adventure. Maybe someday...

This trip we visited Treasure Island Beach which was recommended to by my friend Kamy. It was a great choice! Clean, gorgeous but quiet, with tidepools to explore.
This cool cliff looks the profile of an old man. See it?

A tater print in the sand <3 p="">

Yao, King of the Rock


Exploring the Tidepools

And getting a private lesson about sea life in the pools. He let Emmett keep this brochure and Em was so excited! We still have it in our bookshelf.


This picture embodies happiness!
The following day we explored Long Beach for the first half of the day.
 We walked around the harbor, saw the Queen Mary, and went into a few little shops.
 We even found this CTR boat amongst the masses!
Finally it was time for our return to DISNEYLAND!! And equally exciting - that it was Mickey's Halloween Party! I am probably as passionate about Halloween as I am about Disneyland, so I was definitely riding a peak this day. I told Jared "I feel like my life has been leading to this moment".
Jessie and her cowboy, Woody. I opted not to do my homemade wig for the party as I knew it would be hot and a pain. However, check out how awesome it was.
First stop on my itinerary that day was the "Jedi Training Academy". It did not disappoint. Definitely a highlight of Emmett's trip. He ALMOST did not get chosen, and when I finally heard the words, "and the young cowboy" I exhaled and huge sigh of relief and pushed him off to the stage!

 Emmett completed Jedi training just before the appearance of Darth Vader and Darth Maul.

 In keeping with the rest of our trip, Emmett was chosen to be the star of the show (yes again!). He was selected to be the first to battle Darth Vader with his newfound light saber skills. You could tell he was a little nervous with all of Vader's theatrics but he managed to pull it off like a pro.

Dad and Tate watched from the audience.

See the white arrow on the picture? Its pointing to my tiniest little Jedi at his graduation ceremony.

#2 on my list was Haunted Mansion. Duh. It felt wrong that it was Nightmare before Christmas since it was less spooky than the original Haunted Mansion (and it was Halloween) , but Id never seen the Holiday version yet, so I didn't mind too much.

At dusk the trick or treat trails began. Can't beat being handed candy at Disneyland.
The party ended up being a lot busier than I expected, and some rides got shut down early. Fortunately we'd already checked off most everything on our list, so we were able to just enjoy all the Halloween frills. Poor Taters threw up not too long into the party, so the Buzz Lightyear costume didn't last long. It's not a proper vacation until somebody vomits right? I just felt bad he wasn't feeling great while getting dragged to and fro.
The highlight of the night was definitely the parade and fireworks show. Disney never disappoints when it comes to these things, but on these particular Halloween events they really outdid themselves. We still watch clips from this parade on my phone weekly and sing the theme song all the time. Every Disney character was dressed up for Halloween and it was fun to see all their costumes.

 I still can't get over this fireworks show. I can envision it so clearly in the playback of my mind. I loved Zero from Nightmare before Christmas flying over the castle to start the show in place of the regular Tinkerbell. The music was coordinated phenomenally and the selections were perfect - Pieces from Nightmare and "Grin grinning ghosts" from the Haunted mansion. My favorite was during of a remix of "This is Halloween" when Jack sang "Everybody scream!", howling rockets shot straight up into the sky. The eerie lights and fog were perfection. I was in seventh heaven.

The Downside? My poor tuckered babies slept through the entire thing. Tiredness had finally caught up to them (and it was nearly 11 by this point).
 We left Disney deadbeat, content, and exhilarated all at once - just as you should. I seriously had the time of my life and loved every single millisecond watching Emmett and Tate soak up the magic. Time to start my next Disney Jar ;)