Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nanobot Turns Two

Can it really be two years? 
 Can so much time have passed since...?


and, well, while we're on the subject...

This little sweetheart has filled up any tiny gaps that could have possibly been left in our family.   She is snuggly and lovey.  She loves to hold my hand.  None of my kids have ever wanted to do that!  She is the glue that makes teenagers hang around when little kids need a PG movie or a slower walking pace.  She is our song in the morning, and the smiles around our table.  She is our reminder of a blessed life, and my encouragement to stay healthy and strong.  There isn't a person in our house that doesn't sing out "Naaaa-no-neeee!" when she bobbles into the room in her funny little way.

Yep, she's two.  Already.  It has gone by so fast.

All of the Littles and Middles helped make Natalie's cake.  Ellie and Tessa cut flowers and leaves, and Nat and Jonah basically just ate fondant.  She loved it so much, she sat for 2 hours just rolling and stamping the fondant.  At one moment I couldn't find the little bluebird I made, and then I noticed it tumbling around in her cute, pink mouth.

She loved every minute of her sweet little family party.  It was just us, and it was a ball.  We had taught her to blow out her candles earlier in the day, and she was great at it, but once that cake got in front of her she couldn't focus.  "Bunny!  Birdie!  Mousie!"

She didn't need any help opening her gifts, but because there have been four family birthdays in the last few months, she kept trying to deliver the gifts to everyone else in the room.

She got the bunny!

It went the way of the bluebird.
Poor, poor bunny.

It was exhausting, but she had a great day.

Little Natalie, I know you won't read this for many years, and I know by then you will have logged many tantrums and fibs, and many birthday candles, but I can only imagine loving you all the more.  I thank God every day for what you have brought to our family, and I wonder at the gift that we have been given in you.  There is a spirit of kindness and and generosity in you.  Your humor is a delight, and every time you announce, "I fah-ted!" you remind us all to lighten up.  You have full length conversations with yourself, and your dollies, and I love to listen in.  You are brave and bold.  You are lovingly aware of each one of us, and somehow you know us in a way that feels timeless.
Thank you for being on our family, sweet girl. 

I love you, Naa-no-nee.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Kickoff 2015!

You may remember the ill-fated Ice Cream Party of 2014, wherein many tears were shed over un-earned toppings and sprinkles.  We had set up our end-of-the-school-year-ice-cream-party as one that was conditional upon the kids earning each part of their sundae by memorizing times-tables.  Ellie had particularly struggled with both the math memorization and the sad consequences of slow progress.  It was flat-out no-fun for anyone.

We have since learned that Ellie has several learning disabilities a blocked sensory gate that includes dyslexia, memorization problems and struggles with math concepts.  She also has an auditory processing component, and does not do well at all with instructions that are spoken.  Picture a bunch of items in a certain order on a conveyor belt being sent through a door, only to go to the other side to you where you find all of the items jumbled together in a big, indecipherable mess.  That is what it is like for her to follow verbal instructions.  Her testing has shed so much light on her questioning "What?"  in response to every direction.  What appeared to be lack of attention and laziness all this time had actually been a real learning problem. I feel so badly that we hadn't learned this all sooner in her life, and particularly bad when I reread last year's post.  I can see so easily how a child with a learning disorder can be so misunderstood.  All she needed was for someone to recognize her struggles. I am glad, at least, that I asked for more help from our Educational Supervisor through our charter.  She brought me testing materials and an at-home therapy program, and we haven't looked back.  Better late than never, right?

So last year's ice cream party was pretty much a set up for failure for Ellie.  

This year we held the party again, but this time it was not conditional on a one-size-fits-all requirement.  This time it was based solely on effort.  And I am pleased to announce that Ellie's efforts have been true.  She does her reading therapy diligently.  She reads endlessly, though she grows tired easily.  She has worked to memorize the Articles of Faith of our religion, and though she has made very slow progress, it is progress, and I am proud of her efforts.  She was able to relax knowing that she didn't have to attain a seemingly impossible goal, which also seemed to help a lot.

And she got an awesome sundae with ALL the fixin's.  

(And I pray I never make a mistake like that one again, but I know I probably will!  Parenting is so challenging!)

A while later we dove into summer!

Our sweet neighbor Betty and her family let my kids pee in their pool. 

I mean swim!  

But who are we kidding?  No matter how many times I remind him, do you really think Jonah tells me every time he has to go?  That means getting out into the nippley air and walking all the way to our house to peel off last summer's hand-me-down orange shark trunks to piddle, and then somehow squeegie them back on again.  I question the boy's urinary integrity.  

Then there is Natalie.

I mean, just look at that face. 
 I think she's doin' her bizness right there!  
Thank the heavens above for chlorine!
(Swim diapers are made by, and bought by, adults in denial, choosing to ignore the reality that a wet swim diaper CANNOT and DOES NOT catch or hold a single drop of of pee.  It is more like a strainer.  I'm pretty confident it would hold little brown floaters and sinkers, but that's about it).

(I think I just successfully got us uninvited to Betty's pool in the future.  If you're reading, Betty, I'm just kidding!  My kids would NEVER do such a thing!  (I hope!) We love you!!!!)

My friend Ellen once told me that each member of a family plays a roll, and one of the rolls is "mascot".  Yup.  That's Nanobot.  She was never not in someone's arms while at the pool.  She was passed from Ellie, to the boys, to daddy, all evening long.


 to be so adored.

All in all we had a splashingly great summer kickoff!  And there's more to come!  Once I get you passed all of the back-logged birthday and graduation posts, you will get to hear about our Now-In-Progress family vacation to a fabulous location, which includes sand, water and lots of sunblock.  

To be continued!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rockin' It at the Beach - A Family Photo Album

We had the awesome opportunity a few weeks ago to visit my brother Zack and his family at their new beach-town home, to attend their son Arron's baptism.  Zack lives 5 hours away (5 1/3 if you miss your turn, thus causing you to miss the baptism as well.  Oh, well, we got there for the closing prayer!).

Besides being my sister-in-law, Julean was my favorite missionary companion in Costa Rica.  She jokes when I am introduced as Zack's sister, saying "She was mine first!"  I like to think that my mission call to that far away tropical land had something to do with bringing the two of them together, but I know, of course, that God didn't need my help.

Aaron is a sweet little guy, and I still can't believe he's 8.  Zack and the family had moved across the country for several years, and so Aaron became suspended in my mind at about age 3.  We are so glad to have them back!  5 hours is peanuts compared to 2,700 miles!  Heck, it's like we're next door neighbors!

Zack loves the ocean, so after church on Sunday we ate a lovely lunch and then drove to the beach.  Since Sundays are our Sabbath, we don't engage in typical recreation on those days.  The kids understood we wouldn't be swimming or playing ball, but we enjoyed a relaxed rest on the sand looking for cool rocks and beach glass.

Uncle Zack has stories galore, and knows everything about everything when it comes to animals, rocks, and, well... everything.

A family that blinks together, stays together!  (I can't prove it, but I am pretty sure that Noah is blinking behind those shades!)

Guy created an installation art piece.  
He calls it "Rocks on the Rocks".  

This kid cracks me up.  
I think Jason is the Ellie (read "clown") of their family.

No wonder they chose to hang out together.

He can't read, but he did stay off the fence. 
 Love the forced smile. 
 Hey, these days I'll take what I can get from him.


Love these two.

Honey I shrunk the Nephew!

Zack was trying to demonstrate "Horses in a field" with Julean, wherein two horses stand nearly touching, necks crossing, and somewhat oblivious to each other.  She couldn't stop laughing long enough to join him.  I was busy trying not to piddle myself.  I love seeing how much fun these two have together.

I wonder why on earth they would want to come back here to California....?

 That was it.  The end. 
 Fun over...till next time!

(The salmon start running here in Sacramento in July, Zack!)

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Don't know why this picture didn't show up in the last post.  Perhaps it was too glorious to behold!  I am pretty lame with heavy power tools.  They get away from me.  Someday I will cut off some toes, I am sure.  But I had to show the final product of the last post.  The heavenly gleam is from a chorus of angels declaring the fabulousness of our handiwork.