Monthly Archives:June 2014

Summer 2014 – Week 4

I just finished week three of having my sister’s boys.  These pictures show some of the fun things we have been up to, but let me just tell you, despite these fun, smiling pictures, it has been hard.  Hard for them because they miss their mom, their home, their friends, their space, their older brother.  I have rules, schedules and chores they have to follow/do which I know they like and need and thrive with, but it is an adjustment.  They don’t know how long they will be here and that uncertainty weighs on their minds.  And their mother goes days and days without answering her phone when they so badly want to talk to her.  Just breaks my heart.  I love them and I love my sister and I want them to be together in a healthy happy way again.  Hard for Novalie because for 11 years she has been an only child and used to her ways and space.  The littlest boy, Kameron, just does not leave her side (or my side if she is playing with a friend).  And she mostly handles that just fine, but having someone hang on you 24/7 is tough and she is learning how to deal with that in a nicer way then just yelling, “get away from me.”  I try to involve him in other things and play games with him, but he just wants to do whatever Novalie wants to do.  It is a balancing act and we are learning.  Hard for Kevin who craves solitude and quiet and hard financially to take care of 3 extra kids.  Hard for me for so many reasons that I don’t really need to record here.  I just keep thinking…this is exactly what my dad would be doing for these boys right now and that keeps me going.  I have felt closer to my dad these last 3 weeks then I think I ever have before in my life and he is only around in spirit.  As I was cleaning out a room we have used for storage, a single picture was just lying behind some boxes of my dad with my brother’s 3 boys when they were younger at a waterpark.  It was validation from my dad for my efforts.  I have had Nephi 3:7 going through my head constantly for myself and for the boys.  We are all doing hard things right now.  The Lord is with us.  And we will carry on.

splash pad

Monday’s have turned into our chore/errand day.  Novalie has tennis in the middle of the day, so it is a good day for cleaning and errands.  The little boys came with me to play at the park/splash pad while Novalie had her tennis lesson.  They brought their bikes and did a little bit of everything to pass the 1 1/2 hours.


This kid is a sweetheart who thinks he knows everything and has to be right and better then everyone.  We are working on that because he is such a sweet kid.  He loves his picture to be taken.

cherry berry

Frozen yogurt places sure are fun, but man alive it is expensive.  Cherry Berry has kid’s cup Monday’s which is just a flat price, not by weight, so we took advantage of that.  It was the boys first time being to a self-serve frozen yogurt place and they just couldn’t get over that they could have any toppings they wanted.  It was funny.


We took them to our favorite “ghetto” (I call them that because they are old and under a bridge, but oh so fun) waterslides.  They loved them.



Zachary had no idea that this girl was right behind him.  She had to grab onto the sides to slow down or she would have plowed right into him.  We laughed about it when we looked at the pictures.


Marcus is not a big fan of water related things.  They had a big bouncy house slide with water spraying on it that he spent all day on.  I made him go on the small waterslide with me and he said he was never doing that again!



Snow cone break.  🙂  The little guy, Kameron, was a waterslide animal!  He loved it.  He sometimes would go down on my lap and then sometimes I would go first and he would follow for me to catch him at the end.  That is another reason we love these waterslides because they let you go down in trains and I can wait at the bottom to catch the non-swimming kids.  We will definitely go again if I can find another coupon.

rainbow loom

Oh my rainbow loom.  Novalie and I made a dolphin together and then all the kids wanted rainbow loom animals.  We had a couple more rainy, cold days and I spent them following You Tube videos making animals.  I had sore shoulders.  🙂


Another trip to the library which sure makes this kid happy.

Jeff's pool

Swimming in my brother’s pool.

rain dance

We had a couple really good down pours.  Novalie, Kayla (her bff) and 2 of the boys were happy to play in the rain.

rain dance1

And do rain dances.  Something about kids playing in summer rain makes me smile big.

feeding ducks

We went to feed the ducks.  There were several sets of babies that were just so cute.

feeding ducks1

This black duck would come right up to you and take the bread right out of your hand.

feeding ducks2

Simple things like going to feed the ducks are things that these boys just don’t do and yet it brings such simple, pure joy.

A couple of happenings that I didn’t get pictures of are:  1st the missionaries came and taught Zachary the first lesson about the Restoration.  It made him happy and he is praying about what he has learned.  We watched a video about the Restoration to help his understanding a day or two after the missionaries taught him.  They are coming again tonight because he wants them to.  2nd is one of Novalie’s bff moved to Alabama and they had to move a day later then they planned, so Novalie got to have another all day playdate with her that made them giddy with joy.  It is always hard when good friends move and she is going to miss her.


Saturday, my brother took the boys all day.  Kevin got some much needed quiet solitude watching the World Cup and I got to have a shopping date with my beautiful, fun loving Sunshine T-Rex.  We went to the mall and had lunch, got her some much needed skirts at Children’s Place (they were having the best sale I have ever found there….skirts were $4.00 and I had a 20% off coupon….5 skirts, 2 shirts, 2 pairs of leggings…$35).  Then we went into Claire’s and I said, “I am not buying anything in here.”  Then I saw a pair of earrings I really wanted and I rarely ever buy myself anything and I reasoned with myself that this is our mommy/daughter time and jewelry buying is a fun mommy/daughter thing.  And it is her birthday tomorrow……ect.ect.ect.  We left with 2 headbands, a necklace and 3 pairs of earrings.  Fail or win.

Olive's tag

Then we went to the pet store and got all our supplies for Novalie’s birthday present….a puppy.  (whole post about that coming soon).


Then we finished cleaning out the area she is going to be in and got it all set up.

I really treasured that one on one time I got with Novalie all day Saturday.  It was much needed on both our parts.  I love that baby girl of mine.

Another week of summer written in the books.

We ♥ summer!

Summer 2014 – Week 3


 We started out the week with errands, cleaning and laundry.   Novalie had tennis lessons and the two little boys rode scooters for 1 1/2 hours.  They were tired!


We had a couple cooler and rainy days.  I made a bunch of sugar cookies and they spent an afternoon decorating them.


Yummy sugar cookies!

tennis greeting

Often when I walk in the front door, I am greeted with a pose of some sort.  Silliness.


I have always wanted to take Novalie into the city on the train and I thought it would be fun while the boys are here to take them too.  I got a little crazy with the little guys because those train tracks are just so darn interesting.  I thought of my dad many times and how crazy he would be when we would ride the train into NYC.  I remember thinking, “what is the big deal?  I can get on a train!”  Now, I so get it.  There are big gaps between the platform and the step onto the train and for two little boys who don’t pay attention, I got a little crazy.  Once we were on the train, it was fun!  We had to transfer to an inner city train to get to Temple Square and I had a moment of panic that we were getting on the wrong one.  I am not so hot with direction, so I was glad when I heard the first stop was what Kevin said it would be.

christ statue

The boys (and Novalie too…she has just seen it before) loved the Christus.  We spent a bit of time here.  The little guys kept wanting to see the nail marks over and over.


Novalie and Kameron.  (Her shadow…which she handles really well until she doesn’t.)



Zachary, the oldest, loved the temple.  He is very interested in the church and we had the missionaries over for the first lesson and they are coming back in 2 days for the second.  I know I am not changing these boys lives, but I hope they always remember the feelings they had at Temple Square.

inner train

The Trax train is a bit different then the train we took into the city.  Thank goodness Kevin came to meet us for lunch at City Creek or I would have had a hard time figuring out which Trax to get on to get back to the train.


We had 20 minutes before our train came, so we entertained ourselves by taking silly pictures.  I have about 50.  🙂

silly face


train home

Train ride home.  I wore them out and we didn’t get lost!  It was a successful day.

slip n slide

Lots of slip n’sliding happens.  Until this one popped and I am done buying them.  They are too rough on them and they don’t last long.

slip n slide1


We were supposed to go camping, but all the close campgrounds were full, so Jeff and his family came over and we had our foil dinners in the fire pit instead.

roasting marshmallews

Making smore’s.

novalie roasting

Roasting marshmallows.


I taught Novalie had to play Scattegories and they were hooked!


This picture is in here because I super love it.  One night all the kids were at my brother Jeff’s house and I had 30 minutes before I had to pick up Kevin.  I went to Sonic and got these chili cheese tots and a diet coke and sat in complete silence in my car and enjoyed my food.  It was heavenly.

dunkin donuts

I took the kids to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast because their mom and I grew up eating them.  I thought it would make my sister smile to see them eating our favorite donuts.


Free day at Dinosaur Park.  It was crowded because of the free day, but Marcus had been begging to go see the dinosaurs and I couldn’t say no to free!


Novalie’s favorite, the T-Rex.


More game playing…this time Yahtzee.

sun paintings

We celebrated the first day of summer with making sun paintings.  The only rule was that there had to be a sun in their painting.  They all got creative.  Marcus made a spider sun and Novalie made different suns with her favorite things inside.  They turned out cute.

Another full, tiring, blessed week!

Summer 2014-Week 2

Part of the uncertainty this summer was not knowing whether or not I would have my little sisters kids for awhile.  I ended up needing to take care of them and my brother went to MT to get them for me.  We immediately set up rules and wrote out their chore lists.  We have a pretty good system going.  I am not going to lie….it has been hard for all involved.  We are happy to have them and give them some fun weeks during summer and we are all making the best of it.


These two woke up super early the first morning, so they came to the park while I walked/ran.  They mostly tried to follow me, so they got lots of exercise.


Lots of bike riding to the park happens.  Like several times a day.

splash pad

The boys went to the splash pad while Novalie had her tennis lesson.

slip n slide

The slip n’slide was used a bunch of times that first week.  I have patched it up twice.


When I got back from my 3.5 mile walk/run, the kids were chanting, “hike, hike, hike!”  My run was a good warm-up.


We took a wrong turn and found this beautiful waterfall!


We stopped for awhile so they could climb and play in the river.   We were tired and dirty when we got home, but we all loved it!


Snow cones!  One week and we have gotten snow cones 3 times.  We ♥ snow cones!


Lots of mornings are spent coloring, drawing and painting.


Novalie had a playdate with her BFF Sarah because she is moving.  🙁

11 year olds

Their other cousin, Tristan, came over for the afternoon and they went to the park for a while and did the slip n’slide.

11 year olds1

The three 11 year olds.  Love them.

slip n slide1


A trip to the library.  We ♥ the library too!


Another afternoon at the park.  These kids have spent hours at the park.  We ♥ summer.


Reading at the park.  Love this.

taco bell

And a couple nights a week, my brother takes the 3 boys for dinner and we soak up our family time with our sweet little (quiet) family.

~Happy Second Week of Summer!~

Summer 2014-Week One

Novalie had a busy first week of summer.  Lots of playdates, tennis, chores and piano.

surf n swim

Novalie with her BFF, Sarah, after swimming for a few hours.  Novalie is old enough to be dropped off at the various pools/waterslides she likes to go to.  I still go though to soak up the sun, swim with them sometimes, people watch and read.  And let’s be real, like I told my friend recently, I am a total helicopter mom.  And I don’t want to miss a minute of Novalie’s summer.

club pool

Jumping into the pool to cool off at our tennis club after her tennis lesson.  She got moved up a class in tennis and so far the report is that it is challenging and the kids hit the ball hard.  I talked with her coach and he said she is where she needs to be to improve and push herself to the next level.  Novalie is not a push yourself, competitive sports player, so we will see how it goes.  She is so strong and coordinated, it would be a shame to waste her talent.

my little pony

Novalie and her BFF, Kayla, did this 2 days in a row ALL day long.  They each made a My Little Pony scrapbook, which they are super into these days.  Our printer is out of toner, however.


I love this sight.  (minus the sick grass, it has since been brought back to health)  Novalie and Sarah with toys and stuffed animals spread out across the front yard.  This is one of the last friends that Novalie has that loves imaginary play as much as she does.  And she is moving which is sad because they go to great places in their imaginations together.

story writing

Another day of story writing and drawing with Kayla.

snow cones

We ♥ snowcones.

emma's birthday

On her way to her new good friend’s birthday party.

The weather has been pretty mild, so we haven’t swam a ton, but I am sure there is lots of that to come.  Novalie’s chore list is longer this year because she can do more things like her own laundry.  I forget a lot of times having one child, that just because I have time to do it all, Novalie still needs to learn how to do things and be responsible for them.  We are going to have cooking lessons this summer, so she can learn to cook and she has a whole list of extra chores for $$$ that will teach her how to keep up a house.  So far she is doing great with her chores and I am determined not to get burned out on them like last summer.  We totally fell out of our routine by August and replaced it with sleeping in until 10-11ish.  There are a lot of uncertainty’s this summer, but we had a great first week of summer.

Fifth Grade Wrap-up

Your #1 Fan post on June 15th, 2014
Posted in Field Day, Fifth Grade, Friends, Novalie

The last two weeks of 5th grade were busy.  I asked myself a few times, “what happened to all the partying the last week of school?”  I also asked myself, “why would the teachers save their science fair projects to the end of school?”  That is a big project and by May 1st I was done with the homework and projects.  And I didn’t even have to do them.  Just assist when needed.  I am sure Novalie was asking the same questions with much more intensity.  They did have a couple fun days mixed in, but they worked hard up until the end.

Here are some things that happened during those last two weeks:

science project

science project1

Her science fair project.

When we were in Lava Hot Springs, Novalie put Kevin’s drink in the freezer thinking she was being nice by making it extra cold.  Little did she know that it would explode.  When it was time to come up with a science project, she remembered exploding her dad’s energy drink and wanted to do her project on that.  That is just what she did and got a perfect score.

hip hop1

hip hop

Two of her hip hop teammates.

hip hop2

Her BFF came to watch her final recital.

Novalie wrapped up another year of hip hop with her end of year recital.  I loved her little team and watching them perform their dance.  Novalie did great!



I mentioned before that Novalie and I like to watch an episode of DC Cupcakes before bed.  We made cupcakes one Sunday afternoon and she wanted to try their signature swirl.  I think they would hire her! (p.s. this has nothing to do with 5th grade, but it was mixed in during the last 2 weeks and it means something to me.)

Field day1

Her and her BFF at field day.  I was in charge of Drip, Drip, Drench and it was the most popular station because you got WET!

field day

Novalie with another BFF.  She is the shortest girl in 5th grade and Novalie is among the tallest.  And she is moving and Novalie is really going to miss her.  They have had a bumpy friendship, but during 5th grade they figured it out and became close friends.


Last day of school.  I made her favorite breakfast….biscuits and gravy.

last day

Last day of 5th grade!  I don’t know who was more excited, me or her.


I surprised Novalie at lunch with a blizzard!  It was fun being there on her last day and feeling the energy and excitement of all the kids.  They were H~Y~P~E~R!


Her traditional last day of school candy bar poster.  She is allergic to many, many candy bars, so it was tricky finding a few that would work with wording.  She loved it.

snow cones

I picked up her and a new good friend that she got closer to towards the end of the year.  We got snow cones to celebrate!

slip slide

Then they hit the slip n’slide because nothing says summer like water and sunshine.

I usually do a long list of things Novalie has learned during the school year.  I feel like I have written about her struggles, success’, learning growths and lessons learned during the school year that I would just be repeating here.  I will just mention a few.  She has learned a lot about dealing with a teacher she just didn’t click with, learned a lot about friends and being a peacemaker and the bigger person in situations, she learned to work hard and do her best work on projects The last 2 art projects they did in art, so got best in class which means the art teacher keeps them to show other classes.  Her landform booklet that she spent a lot of time on drawing and coloring the pictures in was the only one pointed out and showed to the rest of the class.  On the last day of school, her teacher handed them their state writing test score sheet printout and when she got to Novalie she said, “everyone give Novalie a clap for a perfect score!”  Novalie said she was shocked and so happy and proud.  It is rare to get a perfect score on a state test and I was crying I was so happy that she got to experience that feeling.  Mostly because she doesn’t score high in math and I always tell her that she is advanced in reading, writing and anything creative.  You can obviously tell what area Novalie excels at.  But, when you have a teacher that makes the kids feel like (at least Novalie) math is the only important subject, it feels pretty fantastic to have Novalie’s talents solidified and acknowledged.

Her report card was pretty darn fantastic except when I saw one social studies score.  Our school scores 1-3, 1 being the worst.  She got a 1 in…..are you ready…..I laughed so hard……Understand the rights and responsibilities guaranteed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.  What the what?  I asked Novalie about it and she claims they never even studied it.  Nevertheless, we are going to review that this summer so she can know how cool it is to be an American.  She got 3’s in all other areas of social studies, but that 1 brought her total grade down just a little.  It still makes me laugh.  After further investigation about it, she didn’t memorize the preamble to the Constitution which was the only thing in that area.  I do remember it coming home, but it got forgotten with all the other end of year busyness.  And just fyi, I don’t think that memorizing the preamble makes you understand the rights and responsibilities guaranteed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.  But, whatever….she didn’t do it, she didn’t do it and she got her first 1.  And it makes me laugh.  (does that make me a bad mom?)

For me the highlight of the year academically (besides the perfect state writing score of course) was her memorizing all the state and capitals.  She worked hard, we made it fun, she had funny things to remember which capital went with each state for example, Kansas became the pee state which for some reason made her remember Topeka and Kentucky was the weeny state to remember Frankfort.  She also would say them to a beat and sing them.  It was such a fun time doing homework and positive experience.  It makes up for all the tears and broken pencils from math homework.

5th grade went by in a flash.  I am so proud of Novalie.  She is a fantastic child and I think she grew up a lot this year.  She has learned how to control her strong emotions better (she still had a few epic meltdowns when her emotions/hormones got the best of her).  Her creativity and imagination grew even more.  She became a better friend.  I think she is pretty darn amazing.

To sum it all up, Novalie rocked 5th grade.