Thursday, June 22, 2017

Spring Choir Concert

Savannah's choir held their spring concert at the Big Red Barn in Mapleton. Gorgeous setting, gorgeous music. Savannah's little choir held their own with some cute nursery rhyme songs and a lot of two part pieces. Next year she'll get to sing with the older group which sang some really challenging songs!

She'll sure miss Jenny when Savannah moves on to the older choir. She's been a great teacher and has even given Savannah rides home when I am running late.

Father's Day

This is how we do Father's Day around here. Dad settles in for some golf and a nap while various kids try to get as much contact with him as possible. He might look uncomfortable, but he secretly loves it. And we not-so-secretly love him. We got a good one!

Olivia's Baptism

My niece, Olivia, was baptized this month and we met up with the entire Pendleton clan in Wyoming to be there for it. It was a quick trip, but the drive felt short (only 9 hours!) and we maximized every minute there. On the way home we drove through Billings to see Eric and Kristy's new stomping grounds. Montana and Eastern Idaho have some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, if you ask me. The drive home was absolutely breathtaking.

I haven't been taking many portraits lately, but Amy asked me to sneak a couple of Olivia and I was thrilled to dust off my camera and train it on such a lovely subject. What a doll she is! Olivia is as beautiful inside as out. I am so proud of this cute little princess band the sweet, generous, kind young lady she is growing into. It's crazy to think our first trip to Wyoming was 8 years ago for her blessing!

I have to take a moment to talk about these three. Savannah, Olivia, and Avery are peas in a pod. When we get together for family functions, they are absolutely inseparable and when the time comes to leave, Savannah is a crying mess for at least several hours. They are the sweetest friends and playmates, and I know they will be a support system for each other through the trying teenage years and beyond. I love all three of these girls to pieces and have to stop now before I cry on my keyboard!

Summer Sticker Chart

Every summer I try to come up with a new and exciting game plan to keep up off screens as much as possible and not lose all semblance of a routine. It took me a couple weeks to get my act together this time, but I came up with this simple sticker chart and it's going great so far!

I stocked up at the dollar store on random items, then put them in a treasure box. The kids can earn stickers through a myriad of chores or activities, then 10 stickers earns them a treasure. Savannah is particularly motivated by this method and has been known to work hard for hours on end to earn a prize nearly every day!

As with summer's past, I'm sure this will peter out by mid-July, but we really only need to make it to the first of August when all our summer travel really takes off. Even Sawyer has gotten into it and has mastered putting his seatbelt on independently since we began! We're a week in now and those charts are covered in stickers. Keep up the good work, kids!

Arrow of Light

Logan earned his Arrow of Light which means 5 things:

1. We have spent the past three years attending scouts every single week, planned and organized by incredible leaders, even when inconvenient, crazy late, or unwilling to attend.

2. Logan has earned every rank of cub scouts, starting with Bobcat, then Wolf, Bear, Webelo, and now Arrow of Light. I have gained quite the scouting education in this process (like being able to name those ranks in order!) and feel like I just about have it figured out.

3. I got pinned by my best boy. Again. Twice.

4. No more pack meetings!! Can I get a heck ya!

5. Boy scouts has already started. Oh boy.

And That's a Wrap!

Another school year is in the books! Adios, Kindergarten, 3rd and 5th grade!

All three kids ended up with great teachers this year. I was initially hesitant, but throughout the year grew to love and value them for the gems that each one is.

Isabelle's teacher, Mrs. Tanner, retired this year. We got her last and best year, and I will be forever grateful for the encouragement and support she offered Izzy this year. With half day kindergarten, she only had a few hours a day with each group of students, but that only meant that she made every minute count. Isabelle LOVED science Wednesday, and Mrs. Tanner never disappointed with cool experiments and lots of facts that Izzy soaked up like a sponge.

I was especially worried about Savannah's teacher and class at the beginning of the year. She had 34 students and her classroom was jam packed. She looked tired (justifiably so) before the year even started. I offered to volunteer in her class as much as I could to alleviate the demand on one woman, but as I came to realize, Mrs. Hartung had her class under control and was doing great things all on her own. Savannah had a great year and loved her big class (more friends!).

Poor Logan got put through the ringer this year. His teacher, Ms. Wertner, ended up leaving just after Christmas. She was a cute young thing and he was in tears when she left. I was apprehensive about who would replace her midyear, and worried about my sensitive boy who has experience more school and teacher changes in his 11 years than one should in a lifetime. His Kindergarten year he had three different teachers, then two teachers for first grade, two for fourth grade, and now two for fifth grade.

I shouldn't have worried. Mrs. Bingham took the reigns and set off at a gallop. She taught with a firmer hand than Ms. Wertner, but just as much affection. Logan had to step up his game and actually ended up with his first less-than-perfect grades (due to not turning in his homework) which I was grateful for! I'm glad she forced him to take accountability for his own work. I'm glad she's joined the Sage Creek staff and would love to repeat her class with Savannah.

And finally, it wouldn't be the last week of school if we didn't have a dance festival! Here are a few gems from that event.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tulip Festival Field Trip

Back in April, I scored one of the coveted spots as a chaperone to the Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival field trip. (It pays to compulsively check your email sometimes!) We had beautiful weather and I got assigned the sweetest group of girls to chaperone. They were all so polite and easy going.

We thought these origami cranes made for a very zen feel in the upper pathways.

How cute is this tic tac toe log? Now I need to find someone who is cutting down a tree so I can make my own.

Being in the midst of spring yard work myself, I spent most of the day looking in vain for weeds and wondering how on earth they manage to keep the place to meticulously perfect! We saw tons of gorgeous flowers (not just tulips, although there were plenty of those) and now I have all sorts of ideas for bulb planting in the fall.

I've spent a fair amount of time working with the kids in Savannah's class this year. Although reviewing math facts got a little old after week 8 or so, I loved getting to know her classmates and teacher. We had a great day together and I'm so glad I got to go!

Monday, May 1, 2017

My 11th Birthday (by Logan)

Can a birthday get any better? From start to finish my birthday was great! I invited 5 friends (the 6th friend couldn't come). We played laser tag at Laser Assault. (We lost.) After that we had cheesecake and cookies and cream ice cream.

Mom bought a really cool candle, and it lit up the house. Literally! Soon after we lit the candle, a giant flame came up! It lit a whole lot of little candles. Every one got a slice of of cheese cake and some ice cream afterward.

We told everyone to NOT bring presents. But, my best friend thought he would do it anyway. What an awesome friend. He got me a little Star Wars set.

The Wednesday after that, we ditched school to go to his house (not really, we went to a track meet, neither of us made it to the finals, so his mom took us to his house). We played legos, star wars battle front and more!

My Week (by Savannah)

A guest post from Savannah:

School has been pretty much the same for me. New jump ropes, Sage Testing, etc. The really exciting thing is that my vacation is about to start!!! Missing a week of school is  PARADISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We're going to Mexico. We are going to swim with the dolphins, go on hikes, go to the beach, etc. We are also going to get souvenirs, but to get those souvenirs we had to earn money. So, what we did to earn money (and other things) on Saturday we went outside and did yard work. We pulled weeds and mowed the lawn.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beehive Camp

A few months ago I was called as the Young Women's counselor over Beehives. I have never served with the young women but always wanted to, so this year has been a bit surreal so far! I love these cute girls. They are so excited about everything we do and have a great spirit and energy that follows them.

At one of our activities, the girls mentioned a Beehive camp that a previous leader had done. They seemed to have really fond memories of it so we said, "Why not?" and planned a sleepover.

The girls came over around 7 and we started the night with team building and getting to know you games. Everybody brought a treat to share which means we had loads of sugar. Teenage girls + sugar = excessive silliness and ear-piercing shrieks and giggles. We also had them reveal their secret sister (which had been going on for a few weeks) and played a couple rounds of reverse charades. Then we settled in for a viewing of--what else?--"Once I Was a Beehive."

I'd thought they might fall asleep to the movie, but that was wishful thinking. They ended up staying up until past 2 am, which means my fellow leader and I also stayed up until 2. It took me several days to catch up from that one night of sleeplessness! The next morning we surprised our newest beehive with breakfast at the YW president's house (who also happened to be her mom). The other leaders and young women had to come wake the girls up for breakfast at 9. To say they were a little tired is an understatement! The crepe breakfast was delicious, and the whip cream games afterwards were the literal icing on a super fun, albeit rowdy and exhausting, activity.

In retrospect, I think a "late-over" would have accomplished just as much (minus the lack of sleep), but despite the challenges, it was a really great bonding experience and the girls are already asking when we can do it again. My answer to that is, "Never, but don't fear, you have girls camp next month and NONE of us will sleep for four straight nights!"

Beautiful Bride

March was a wonderful month. My sister, Paige, married a wonderful man in the San Diego temple. He is a true gem and absolutely perfect for her. Jeff is going to have to fight hard for his favorite son-in-law status. The day before the sealing, Paige received her endowment and all eight original Mackays met in the celestial room for the first time. It was incredibly special and something I will never forget. During the session, my Mom sat on one side of Paige and I sat on the other. We sandwiched her in family love and sisterly/matronly support, and I hope she knows that we will always be at her side come what may.

After many purchases and returns, Paige found her perfect wedding dress in a vintage dress shop. She found the perfect balance of stunning and classic and pulled it off naturally like she always does.

Greg wasn't so bad looking, himself. Such a sharp couple!

And let's not forget Calvin, who is as infatuated with Greg as the rest of us. Poor little guy struggled with the long day.

The reception was intimate -- just family for a gourmet pizza and salad bar. I feel like I really got to know Greg's family because we weren't trying to greet and entertain a zillion other guests. I must be getting old, because small gatherings are definitely my cup of tea these days.

Weddings are always a good excuse for family pictures. We used the exact same location we took our extended family picture 7 years ago. A lot has changed since then! It might be hard to see, but I love Sawyer's face and posture. He's so suave. ;)

Every wedding needs a sibling picture. I think I've solidified my status as the shortest.

And the ever growing grandkid picture. We're up to 13 with another one due any day. Again-- Sawyer with the cheese! What a ham!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Isabelle the Reader

Reading finally clicked for Isabelle this year. We worked our way through two sets of BOB books by the early months of the school year, and after that there was no stopping her. She loves to read and will read anything and everything she can get her hands on. Books, advertisements, street signs, text messages, subtitles... you name it. If it is words, she will read it. I caught her reading in her bed one night like this, and had to take a picture because, well truthfully, I thought the lighting was pretty and would make a good picture, but less superficially, because I love her passion and excitement for words and can't wait to see what life holds for this big spirit in a little body. I hope she never loses this love of learning, and always strives to acquire knowledge and wisdom in all the avenues life has to offer it.

P.S. The day when kids can read their own bedtime story is kinda awesome.

Isabelle Turns *S*I*X*

"Young [girls] should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older." -J.M. Barrie 

March 10, 2017

I begged and begged this girl to let us skip her birthday this year. I have loved five-year-old Izzy and I can't imagine her being any more perfect at any other age. But today she woke up one year older and, 12 hours in, and I am loving six-year-old Izzy just as much.

Isabelle's birthday started with our traditional birthday balloon pop (6 balloons -- 6 dollars) and presents over a coffee cake birthday breakfast. Her gifts this year satisfied very specific requests from the birthday girl - a kindle of her own, a mermaid tail blanket, and the Elena of Avalor movie.

It was pj day at school, so even though these next pictures weren't taken until that evening, she is still in her nightgown. If you ask me, I think staying in pajamas all day on your birthday is pretty swell, and Isabelle certainly wasn't complaining.

Isabelle requested cheesecake (for the 2nd year in a row) as her birthday cake. I splurged on a cool candle and it was worth every penny. The initial flame was a good 12" high and Izzy took off running! But then it lit all the other petals and turned into this lovely flower. A big flame followed by flowery sweetness is the perfect metaphor for our sweet and spunky Isabelle!