undone by Kindergarten homework
Songs I Love Right Now

March in Review

(Thanks for your encouraging comments yesterday! Still overwhelmed, but less so.)

for our family, March held...

Haley's big focus in March (and February as well, really) was working on getting read for cheerleading tryouts. She was going to open gym and working on back handsprings. (Yes, it made this very old gymnast's heart  happy to have back handspring discussions with my daughter, which begs the question "why didn't I ever put her in gymnastics?", a question I'd have to write LONG about, not parenthetically.) After much soul searching and lots of sore wrists, she decided to keep working on her tumbling and try out next year. What made me proud about this process is that she worked hard, discovered some things about herself, and, most of all, thought critically about her options. She worked through the decision-making process and made a choice she felt good and peaceful about. THAT is a good experience to have at 15! She also:

  • continued counting down the days until she turns 16.
  • studied for her learner's permit exam.
  • met with her councilor at school (and me!) to fine tune her schedule.
  • finished reading The Bonesetter's Daughter for English and made an awesome poster for her final project.
  • spent tons of time at her friend Nikki's house. Nikki is a great best friend!
  • planned and executed a photo shoot for her Nordstrom fashion board application.
  • went out to lunch with me at In 'n Out, where we talked, laughed, and held off the advances of a (cute) tattooed boy who admired her blue hair.
  • went to the Young Women's broadcast in Salt Lake. This year, unlike last year and 2008, we had great seats—we were just 8 rows from the pulpit!

Jake started running track in March. This, in my opinion, adds to his general awesomeness! He is doing the long and the high jumps and running the 800. He came in second for both meets on the high jump event...hasn't quite conquered the 4'8" mark yet. The track program & coaches at our junior high are one of the few things I love about the school. They do a good job getting the kids motivated and out there. Plus, Jake is so much happier with the daily exercise. He's more tired, but also much more pleasant. (Not that he's normally unpleasant, but he IS a teenage boy!) Other March highlights:

  • he went on a Scout camp out at Diamond Fork. It was COLD and snowing all day on Friday, before they left, and he was notexcited about going. It did stop, though, and he managed to survive. (I get all sorts of anxious about the boys when they are off on their scouting adventures. I imagine all sorts of calamities. My parting words when he leaves for a scouting camp out are always "I love you, don't do anything stupid." I now say this to all of the boys he goes camping with, too.)
  • he was called to be the deacon's quorum president. Given my family's spotty church history, every time Jake achieves church milestones I am filled with gratitude, joy, pride, and this other feeling I don't have a word for—like it's not just me who is feeling those feelings.
  • He's grown another inch or so. It is crazy how much he's growing right now! It puts him in that awkward stage of pants: too tall for the kids' section but not quite thick enough for the men's. He has to wear a belt and is always hitching up his jeans.
  • We joke with him about the girls who text him. When he gets a text, half the time Kendell will say "You making friends there?" This annoys Haley but makes me giggle.
  • His phone was lost for about a week. Kendell finally found it in the chair downstairs. The chair I had looked in already. I don't know how I missed it! I AM glad, though, that we found it and didn't have to buy a new one!
  • He helped convince the people in charge that a 5k race would be a good scout fundraiser. More details to follow certainly!

I have to share this story that my friend Jamie also blogged about. Nathan was at her house, playing with his best friend Jacob (Jamie's son). They were cutting up sticks (to use as walnut wackers, of course), and he said

"To most people, it's a pile of wood. To us, it's a pile of fun."

HA! That is such a Nathan way of being in the world. Rough and tumble, absolutely. Spending a spring afternoon cutting up sticks just for the sheer joy of cutting stuff = pure boyish exhilaration, but he also has his softer, thinking, wise side. He was born that way and I hope the world doesn't take away the softer part. More Nathan recap:
  • He decided he wants a new pair of school shoes. He doesn't NEED a new pair, just wants one. In a complete Mother Fail, I have yet to take him shoe shopping. Shopping for shoes is one of my least-favorite activities and I just haven't mustered up the energy for it yet. This is annoying him.
  • He gets anxious because he hasn't hit his growing spurt yet. He's afraid he'll always be the short brother. I remind him that his feet are enormous and that one day he'll grow into them! (This has been our long-running joke since he was born and his feet were already too big to fit any of the newborn-size socks I'd already bought, unpackaged, and washed.) This usually helps him to laugh his way out of his anxiety. I think we forget how tough childhood is.
  • He got to have a sleep over at his cousin Thomas's house. He LOVES visiting there and doesn't get to do it often enough. (Just because of busy-ness and the extra bit of a drive between our houses.)
  • Haley needed a boy model for her photo shoot, and Nathan happily obliged. So cute!
  • The Ranger's Apprentice series made its way onto his reading radar. He loves it, although he put it on hold to read Summerland  (the Michael Chabon book) before it's due back at the library.
  • Nathan loves babies—loves them! So when his aunt Melissa showed up at our house one night with her new baby Lydia, he was in heaven. He held her and kissed her and admired her tininess. He was reluctant about handing her over to me. After awhile though, I insisted. I love babies too!
  • Friday night baby-sitting for a friend, followed (almost always) by Friday night Carl's Jr.

The most exciting thing about Kaleb this month is this: he's started reading! This makes all the homework anxiety worth it. (Well, at least the spelling/handwriting/phonogram practice.) The first book he read was one we bought at his PTC (the tradition here is to have a book sale along with parent teacher conferences...does that happen everywhere?) called Too Many Cats. I love that his first book is about one of his true affections in life! I brought home a bunch of the early-reader-style books from the library (the kind with 10-20 new words in them) and he reads one to me each night. This, to me, is one of life's most magical times. I mean....holy cow, he's reading!!! He's already talking about the books he wants to read when he can read on his own, The Chronicles of Narnia being first on the list. ;) More Kaleb stuff:

  • We have new across-the-street neighbors who have a three-year-old boy. Kaleb couldn't be happier to have a new friend to play with. In fact, I worry that he bugs them, he's asking to play so much. (If you're wondering, I couldn't be happier with our new neighbors either! It's been a long time since that house, which is a rental, had someone....well, I'll just say, someone I can relate to...living there.)
  • He is sad the snow is gone because now he can't wear his snow boots anymore. Just to be sure, he asks me every day if he can wear them just one more time.
  • He's been going out to Kendell's mom's house to help her clean her basement out (in preparation for moving closer to us). I don't know how much "help" he is, but he always has fun playing with her old toys.
  • One of his school friends, Joe, got to come to our house last week before school because his mom had to be somewhere in the morning. Kaleb was so excited! He loves having friends.
  • He had his Kindergarten performance, where he wore a red bow tie and sang all the songs he's learned so far. SO cute!

In further medical news, Kendell visited our new doctor this month, just for a check up. (It's amazing how that whole I-have-an-undiagnosed-heart-condition thing changed his willingness to see a doctor. What's up with men and doctors' offices?) It was a nice change to leave the office with just a prescription for Flonase and no life-changing pronouncements! He was also very busy helping his mom. They have been selling stuff right and left (most of it horse-related) and making huge progress on getting her basement and shed cleaned out. It makes me happy that he is so willing to help her. Every widow needs one good son to take care of her. Plus it gives my kids the opportunity to see what service really looks like.

Almost all of the first two weeks of March were spent working on my Write Now class. I made a TON of layouts and had much fun revisiting my work. Then there was my blog-hosting week at Write. Click. Scrapbook. and I have to say: I loved how it turned out. I don't know if I changed any lives by mine with that series (about using your scrapbook stuff) but it solidified my goals for using more of my stuff and caring less about what someone might think of me, using a rub-on from 2003 or so. I read three books: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, A Month of Summer, and Let's Take the Long Way Home (sure to appear in a Book Note soon.) My daffodils bloomed, I survived my back ache, and I found a physical therapist I love. My two favorite March days:

  • Going to the YW broadcast with Haley. I will say that I liked last year's talks better, but I still loved being there. The whole experience was good, but the best part came when we were walking through the temple grounds to get to the conference center. There were several brides, and the light was that cloudy-bright color, and she wanted to take pictures. So I handed over my camera (I took my little one so I could skip the big-camera strip search) and let her have at it. She was so happy and she took some great shots. I think Salt Lake only barely qualifies as a "city," but I do like its city feel. Also, some of my good friends went so I got to spend time with them, too. It was a perfect night—well worth the cost of the big blister I got from walking around in heels!
  • My niece Kayci came to visit with her three girls. We took all the kids to Carls' Jr (the only fast food restaurant here that has a play place, so it's sort of our traditional take-all-the-cousins spot). Becky and my mom also came. We didn't do much other than sit together eating cheeseburgers and onion rings while the kids played, but it was so restorative to my heart. I especially loved watching my sister Suzette (Kayci's mom) give a birthday present to Gracie (Kayci's oldest daughter...their birthdays are almost the same day). She got two tickets for Disney on Ice, one for her and one for Gracie. It seriously made me tear up watching them. I can't wait to be a grandma! After lunch we went to visit Dad, which was also nice. My niece Jacqui came with her husband, who hadn't met Dad yet. We stood in a circle talking to him and he looked at each one of us. I thought about how being with everyone made me feel and I think, I think, in his way, he could feel it, too.

How was YOUR March?



Coming down in March was fabulous! I am so glad we always find time to do Carl's Jr. And I also really enjoyed seeing Grandpa, I hadn't seen him in nearly a year...way too long. I can't believe how big your kids are and I can still remember babysitting them and think back to those times often. You are a great mother and sometime you should tell your inner voice to calm down;) You are doing the best you can and nobody expects more than that! Love ya!

Becky K

Oh, I love that Nathan likes to come to my house. It is fun to have him. And I love thinking of Haley doing backhandsprings. (I can still do one, but only on the trampoline will I dare. I've already broke one arm doing one, thank you very much. But I think you never forget the way they feel.) And I love that Kaleb is learning to read. It is amazing watching them make sense of all those letters! And it's awesome that Jake is running track. Of course he is doing well! So proud of my niece and nephews. And their mom and dad, too. :)


When you read "Lets Take the Long Way Home" did you keep singing the Tom Waits/Mates of State song in your head? Cause now I will.

Sorry you were having a crappy day. You're not alone. You're a good mom. (Hello, of COURSE you are! Look at that list of awesomeness you just posted!) One day we will die and this will all be over. And hopefully we can rest then, right? (Overly dramatic sympathy, I know. But that might be the only way we girls are ever forced to slow down and not wallow in guilt.)


I loved this re-cap because it gave a more focused look at each of your kids. Sometimes it is hard to write about kids (especially) older ones, but I think encapsulating this moment in time with them is a fantastic idea and should be fun to come back to, as well.

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