Wednesday, February 13, 2019


The first week of school was also the first week of fall pee-wee soccer. I was a volunteer coach for two teams. Sammy was in the 3-4 year old division on the Lime Green Coyote team. B was in the 5-6 year old division on the Purple Polar Bear Team.  I was slightly terrified to coach, but it was a fun challenge.  Sammy loved soccer, but he did NOT love me being a coach.  He was grumpy and took a while to decide to go on the field.  B's team was wild.  I had a lot to learn.  
 The rest of the family had to keep themselves occupied for two hours while I coached.  This is Eloise's style of keeping herself occupied. 
After all that hard soccer playing, silly boys have to clean up.  
 We had a couple of warmish days left in the year, but not many.  We had to live it up on the jacket-free days.
 I started a co-op preschool with a couple of my friends.  Jared was excited for Sammy to get his picture taken on his first day.  Sammy was over the moon to be going to "school" just like the other kids.
 I'm so glad Sammy still likes to sit on the counter and help me cook.  I'm going to be so sad when he grows out of this.  We attempted a new cookie recipe to surprise the other kids when they got home from school. 
 Jared found the first couple of months of school disorienting.  I met him in the park to walk him across the busy road every day after school, and, for a while, he arrived every day in a nasty mood as he processed all of the new stresses of his days.  He was worried about finding friends, his hand was sore from all of the writing he was expected to do, he missed the free time he used to have, and he was totally blindsided by homework, which strained his emotional resources at the end of a long, difficult day.  Doesn't he look cute with his bike and his backpack, though? 
 Before long, Jared realized that there are two boys in his class who he recognized from cub scouts, which he described as a personal miracle for him.  It really is a miracle that there would be someone there he could feel comfortable with. Our church/ cub scout group is quite small, and Jared is in a school district the size of the entire town I grew up in.  Jared also ran into one of his classmates at the park when I was coaching soccer. Rowe's little sister was playing soccer, too, so Jared and Rowe played together at the game.  This helped Jared feel more comfortable at school, too. 
Jared was also excited to start playing trumpet in band in September.  He goes to the middle school early Monday, Wednesday, and every other Friday to practice.  I was impressed how quickly his playing started to sound like music. 
Sammy now believes that he is old enough to take over basically everything, since he is my solo helper a lot of the time. 
 On September 15 we had a very special opportunity to see our prophet, President Nelson, speaking at SafeCo Field in Seattle.  We knew that parking would be limited, so we parked in downtown Kirkland and caught a bus to Seattle.  Todd was making a weird face in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE we took while standing in line to get in.  Every single one.  Here are the kids looking halfway normal, and that dude in the back. . . yeah. . .
 There was a bit of an echo up in the nosebleeds where we were sitting, and President Eyring spoke softly, so he was a little bit hard to understand, but Sister Nelson gave a really awesome talk about what it is like to be married to a prophet, and hearing President Nelson speak was really amazing. 
 Of course, in a huge gathering of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we were bound to see a few people we knew.  The Carvers were sitting about four rows in front of us and a little to the right.  We saw them on the bus both coming and going, but we got separated in line.  There were nearly 49,000 people there. 
 On the way home Eloise was tired, and pretended to sleep, probably so no one would suspect that she was related to her brothers, who were making jokes at the top of their voices all the way home, even when the bus made an extra long stop for the bus driver to check something.  Some of their jokes even made sense. 
 The end of summer snuck up on me.  I was training for a Ragnar the first weekend in October, so we had to do lots of runs, but one particular morning Sammy was a little bit underdressed for the weather, so we made do with what we had.  I believe he ended up in Jared's sweatshirt with my sweater as a blanket, and a couple of leg warmers on his ears. 
 We hosted co-op preschool.  Sammy loved it so much that he doesn't even want to have play dates without music time and letter learning anymore. 
 One day I leashed Shadow to go over and get Jared, only to find her having some kind of horrible allergic reaction. 
 Benjamin was terrified of Shadow's swollen face.  We took her to the vet to get a steroid injection, and her face went back to normal in about four days.  It was very alarming.  I'm guessing she got stung by something. 
 B's transition into school was a bit rough.  His natural love of performance and lack of interest in rules and conventions got him into daily trouble in kindergarten in September.  He came home tired and in need of attention, but Eloise and Jared came home at the same time, also needing attention.  It was a tough month. 
Cold weather had us climbing the walls. 
 Todd and I finally broke out the chain saw to do some major pruning. 
 Our neighbor, Rick, came over to help with pruning our shared hedge.  The spot where the ladder is in this picture used to have a rhododendron that grew like a tree over the driveway and touched the Japanese Maple Tree on the other side.  We cut it down to about four feet tall.  It will be back to its former glory in a year or two.  Rhododendrons are tough to kill. 
The pile of branches that Sammy is climbing in represents about an eighth of all of the branches we ended up with.  We cut a lot in the front yard, then we moved to the back yard and I immediately fell and smacked my head pulling a branch down, so we decided to stop. 
 Sammy and I had to take a selfie after surviving a seven mile hill run with the stroller.  The trick is to bring one picture book per mile and develop the skill of reading while running uphill and pushing. 
 Eloise and B's school did a dancing fundraiser.  I came to watch the kids do their dances.  Eloise had her own struggles with starting school.  She is very concerned about following rules and doing things right.  Her team teachers have been great about encouraging her, and fantastic about communication.  She loves school, even if there are things about it that surprised her by being hard, like making friends. 
 I grabbed a picture of her class after the dance marathon. 
 The Blackwelders wanted to get together, so we met them at St. Ed's on one of our early release Wednesdays. 
 Some of B's overwhelming emotion turned into a block flinging episode, which resulted in the blocks (far and away the favorite toy in our house) being stored out of reach for a while, and an ugly bruise/scrape on Sammy's ear. 
We decided that full day kindergarten was a bit much for B, so I arranged with the school that I would start picking him up after lunch in October.  If September was a lot to handle, though, October was not about to get much easier. 

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