Monday, October 24, 2011

Update to Swimming to the Surface

I just scored a very decent A- on my huge project #1 for Language Development. Feeling like I am going to survive grad school after all. At least this week.

Excuse me while I do a happy dance. Feel free to dance with me. Pat me on the back. Give me a woot-woot. Its all good.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Swimming my way back to the surface

Overwhelming. That pretty much sums up the first half of my first grad school semester.I'm still not caught up with all the reading, but then all of my classmates have admitted to the same thing. I love clinic - absolutely love it. The paperwork threw me for a loop. I believe I have the worlds best clinic supervisor because she has been beyond patient with me. My grades aren't stellar. I still have a chance to pull them up.

Finding my balance of school and home has been hard, too. The kids have been patient. The older help the younger with homework. Mr. Wonderful has also gone above and beyond to help this home run. Sometimes we see each other coming and going. At least we still make sure we have date night. We don't even sit by each other in church anymore. I'm at the organ. Since there is always a rest hymn and no special musical number, I stay up by the organ so the transitions are smooth.

We did celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month at the Buddy Walk. This year was more special than others. The Love Magnet danced a hip-hop number with a local dance group. She loved it. The best news (and still makes me teary whenever I think of it) is that this particular dance company has asked if she would join them. She'll be put in dance classes with typical kids. We're signing up in November. We had to wait a few weeks because -

The Love Magnet had a tonsilectomy/adenoidectomy. Her tonsils were huge and stinky and starting to cause bad breath. If was a rough first week. I called for help and angels came in the form of my parents and Grandmother. These three angels made it possible for me to make it to clinic while they stayed home with The Love Magnet. They did my laundry, reorganized my pantry, vacuumed, cleaned my kitchen, and spent time with my children. I felt loved and cared for.

I think I will make it through grad school after all. I had my doubts.

Friday, September 02, 2011

First Day of School

Remember this school picture from 2010?

Check out how much taller they are now. 5th grade and 3rd grade.

This one just won't quit growing. He is in 9th grade and it was his first day of high school. According to Secondborn, it was also the worst first day ever. New school and none of his friends went to this school. (It is an advanced, invitation only high school.) Thank heavens the second day was better. He likes most of his teachers; loves Chinese, Geometry, and American History; still has few friends, but getting them through early morning Seminary and the fact that his classmates are learning his name. His high school shares the same building as my university, so he eats lunch with me if he doesn't have anyone else to eat with (I told him that a cute girl inviting him to sit with her constitutes a better deal than eating with mom). So far, I've only had two lunches with him.

Firstborn is just working and starting his mission papers. They should be turned in by Thanksgiving and hopefully he will have a call soon after that.

No back to school pic of me. I was too stressed to think to snap a pic.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Countdown to grad school

Titres, skin tests, CPR certification. All the stuff I didn't know I needed to have before grad school is now messing up my trip-to-Utah plans before school starts. Grad school also wants my immunization records. As another 40-something classmate has also found out, we can't get those records because they no longer exist. I've had a few booster shots in the past two years that will count, but it looks like I will need a few more.

I've spent over $500 on textbooks for this upcoming semester, including 5 books for neurology alone. I love neurology but I will admit to some apprehension of the seeming insurmountable workload from that class alone. I need to pay tuition this week, too, and give information on my insurance for my SHIP waiver.

Kids school supplies have been purchased as well as most of the school clothes they will need. Still waiting anxiously for information on meet-the-teacher night as I still don't know who they will be.

Slowly things are being checked off my to-do list. I will admit to a small bit of anxiety in the realm of "Can I really do this?" But I know that this goal of grad school is a righteous goal and I will have all the help I need to accomplish it. God is great. He will not leave me alone.

I've been marveling at all the huge milestones our family will see during my two years of grad school:

* Firstborn has an interview this Sunday to be ordained an elder after which we will start marking off the checklist of everything to be done before his mission. He can turn in his papers in November. He'll leave for his mission sometime in February. He is hoping to serve in Africa like his grandparents.

*Secondborn will turn 16, be ordained a Priest which will allow him to bless the Sacrament. He will also start driving and dating (in my church, dating doesn't start until you turn 16). If you ask him which one he is more excited for between driving and dating, he will certainly tell you driving.

* Thirdborn will turn 12 and be ordained a deacon, which will allow him to pass the Sacrament. This is a big deal and he is so excited at the thought.

These are huge milestones in my church and my kids are really looking forward to them. Here is to the next two years. They will be monumental.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Camping at Horsethief Reservoir

We went camping up at Horsethief Reservoir. It was too overcrowded. We were lucky to get the last spot available. Since Mr. Wonderful and Firstborn were coming up later, Uncle Nate supervised Secondborn and Thirdborn in the making of fire. They tried flint and steel. Then they tried matches. Thirdborn spilled matches everywhere. It took a lot of tries but they finally got a decent fire burning.

Uncle Nate was so patient with the young pyromaniacs. He deserved a gold medal.

The boys ran to the lake to try to catch fish for dinner while Nate, Eliza, The Love Magnet and I waited back at camp.

Thirdborn came running back to camp with a huge fish. We were surprised he caught one so quickly. He told us he did not catch it, but that he found it. He thought a boat must have hit it. He wanted so badly to cook it for dinner. Mr. Wonderful and Uncle Nate had to point out that the coloring was off and that it would probably make him very sick if he tried eating it. Thirdborn was so disappointed. He really wanted to have trout for dinner. No way. Not this fish.
Finally it was time to cook brats (my back-up plan for dinner) and s'mores for dessert.
Thirdborn LOVED s'mores!
The Love Magnet loved s'mores!

Did Secondborn like s'mores? Not sure.

We kept the fire going pretty late. It was fun to sit around, watching the stars.

Three of the four tents we had between the eight of us. Plenty of room.

The morning was cold. Good thing we had three Eagle Scouts (Mr. Wonderful, Uncle Nate, and Firstborn) who knew how to build fires.

No, Thirdborn did not have a black eye. That was dirt all over his face. He slept with that all night and claimed he had just washed it.
After Mr. Wonderful's fabulous dutch oven Mountain Man breakfast, it was time to go fishing.

Mr. Wonderful bought a pink and yellow little kid's tube for The Love Magnet to play with. Secondborn decided to commandeer the apparatus for the more worthy pursuit of fishing.
Secondborn got pretty far out on that little tube. No fish were biting, though.
Thirdborn had great fun rescuing dragonflies from the water. When I asked him why he was doing that, he replied so he could use them to bait his fishhook. No fish were caught and we had to head home.
We stopped at Fisher Park in Cascade to see if we could catch something. By this time most of the campers looked like they were ready to head home to hot showers.
I just had to compare height between Firstborn and Secondborn. Yep, Secondborn has almost completely caught up to his bigger brother.
The Love Magnet fully monopolized Aunt Eliza. Poor Uncle Nate was trumped by his more popular wife.
Thirdborn had to try one last time. No fish were biting, not even in a small, fully stocked pond. *sigh* Maybe next time.

Fun at the Discovery Center

Uncle Nate and Aunt Eliza came for a last minute visit. We were so excited to have them over! First we took them to the Discovery Center. Nate disappeared with Secondborn to try all of the cool science experiments. Thirdborn and The Love Magnet beelined to the TVstation exhibit where they played with a green screen and pretended they had Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak.
Aunt Eliza tried out the bed of nails. Yes, she really is on a bed of nails. It is magic!

The Love Magnet played in the veterinarian's office helping all of the sick stuffed animal toys. After that we headed to the Boise Fry Company for a snack. We loved hanging out with Nate and Eliza!

Finally, the actual birthday.

Good morning, Love Magnet! It is finally your birthday!

Your brothers all gathered to sing to you.

Thirdborn made you a gourmet birthday breakfast for his gift. Firstborn took you on a surprise date to Build-A-Bear where you made a cute Rapunzel Princess Bunny. (The next day, Secondborn took you on a surprise date to a movie with popcorn and treats).

You wanted a birthday picnic at the local park, mainly because there was water to swim in.

You requested meatball subs, doritos, potato salad, watermelon, and rootbeer for your birthday picnic. You even helped shop for all the ingredients.

Auntie M and Uncle D came to celebrate with us.

Mom made you carrot cake cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting. You weren't sure that you would like them, but after your first bite you declared the, "Delicious!"

Time for one more quick swim before going home for presents.
You decided it was the Best Birthday Ever.

Nine Great Things About The Love Magnet

1. She refers to her parents as Mother and Father. Not sure how she decided on this moniker as the boys refer to me as Madre or Mom and Mr. Wonderful is called Dad. She is constantly asking "When will my father be home?", or telling me "Mother, I love you so much!" I love it.

2. She refers to everyone by first and last name as one name. Its Janebrown, Johnsmith, get the picture. We think this stemmed from several kids in her school classes sharing the same name. What she used to separate them, she now uses for everyone.

3. The Love Magnet loves to help with the dishes or laundry. I hope this continues.

4. She prays like she means it. Every prayer is a regular conversation with her Heavenly Father. She blesses everyone she can think of and usually for specific blessings such as they will get better from being sick, or they will be able to sleep, or not be scared.

5. She shows appreciation for every meal multiple times. I get thanked for making a particular dinner the day of, the next day, and possibly several weeks later.

6. Whoever you are, you rank as her best friend.

7. The Love Magnet loves to write letters. I get one nearly every single day.

8. She loves to read to anyone who will listen. Today she read Snuggle Puppy to a van full of sleepy people on the way home from our camp out. Captive audience.

9. Unconditional love. She has it. She is willing to share it. Hopefully she is teaching the rest of us about it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sorry, folks. I'm trying as hard as I can to blog about The Love Magnet's 9th birthday, but for some reason, my pics are not posting. They download fine onto Facebook, just not on Blogger. I shall persevere and hopefully soon you will enjoy the pictures of the girl who enjoys her birthdays more than anyone else in the world.

8/6/2011 - I switched to Mozilla Firefox and everything is working great. Thanks to Marvelle for the tip!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friend Birthday Party

Four girls came to The Love Magnet's birthday party. TLM was beside herself with joy.
Four girls included her in all of their games. She was treated just like everyone else.
After swimming came lunch completely planned by The Love Magnet: hot dogs, pasta salad, watermelon, and lemonade. Then.......PRESENTS!
Miss M, who was Lauren's aide a year ago and now still works with one of The Love Magnet's best friends, also came to the party. We were thrilled to have her!
The grand finale of the party was also planned completely by TLM: she insisted on 'Pinkalicious' cupcakes. Not knowing what 'Pinkalicious' cupcakes are, I just made vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting. Completely satisfactory, especially when topped with sparkler candles. It literally took all the girls to blow them out.
The best part of the party was the next day at the neighborhood pool. Some of the girls from the party were all there and greeted TLM as soon as they saw her. Again they included her in all of their games. Inclusion at its best.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

1st Family Reunion

It started out as a plan for 100+ people. Then 50 people. Then 15. Plans had to be changed.

In the end it didn't matter how things had to be changed. The 1st Family Reunion did what it was designed to do. It made tons of memories.

Cousin sleepovers, contraband (at least in my house) cereal for breakfast.

Treats at the Boise downtown farmers market.

Having fun around the fountain with the cousins.

Lots of time at the neighborhood swimming pool.

Eating chocolate cake and laughing.

Watching movies late into the night. We also went to the theaters to see Cars 2.

Getting to know (again) awesome cousins I haven't seen in 20 years.

And cousins we haven't seen in a few months.

Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE my brother and his family?

Final pictures with all of the cousins. Silly.

And trying to be cool about it all.

Tons of fun. And it will happen again next year, same time. Third weekend in June.

This is just going to get bigger and better.