Tuesday, April 12, 2016


September started with disappointment and drama.  School for my 4 big kids was supposed to start on Tuesday, September 1st but the teachers in the Pasco school district went on strike, so school did not start.  We knew it was a possibility all summer long as the teachers and the district had not signed a new contract before the school year ended last June.  Everyone was hopeful that sometime during the summer an agreement would be reached and a contract signed and school would start on time.  The teachers were mainly striking for the district to provide curriculum for them to use to teach.  They were also trying to negotiate better pay and benefits, but their main sticking point was having updated curriculum to use.  Some teachers have been making up their own curriculum for years and they were tired of doing that.

The tricky part was we didn't know until the night before that school wasn't going to start.  The kids handled it pretty well.  They got up and made a fort instead and it felt like another day of summer to them.  Lexi wouldn't have been able to go to school anyway, had it started, as we were still in the middle of trying to figure out what her daily fevers and neck pain were.  

The strike last 2 weeks (9 school days)  It was a long two weeks.  There was so much drama and negativity and fighting in the district among those who were for the strike and those that were against it for varying reasons.  It was hard to watch and see so much hate and discontent in our community.  Our kids handled it well, in terms of not being sad about it because they didn't really understand it all.  They did get bored and a bit restless.  I hated not knowing night to night if there would or wouldn't be school the next day.  It was a long two weeks, but we tried our best to stay busy and keep our spirits up.  I myself had mixed feelings on the strike.  I hate that the kids had to suffer with missing school but I knew it was important for the teachers to be treated fairly.  The curriculum that they were fighting for was in the best interest of the children (MY children) and I appreciated their efforts and concern for that. 

My family did a weigh loss challenge starting at the beginning of June that finished at the beginning of September.  I worked really hard and ended up winning!  We all put money in and I won the pot of money.  I used it to shop for new clothes and I was so excited to be shopping for non-maternity clothes.  I hadn't bought regular clothes in 3 years with my back to back pregnancies. 

Ben took Mitch on a man date during the first week of the school strike.  We were a bit worried about him going to an evening baseball game and staying up late in case school started the next day, but realized if we didn't know anything in advance, we couldn't worry about it too much.  They went to our local minor league class A Dust Devil baseball game.  Dust Devils is definitely an appropriate mascot for here.  After living in Seattle for 12 years and hardly having any dust at all, it was a shock to move here and realize that I couldn't get away with dusting once a month anymore.  The amount of dust was truly shocking to me!

The boys had a great time and Mitch even got to eat nachos there- every kid's dream at a baseball game!

Most of my kids were done napping by the time they turn 2.  Livy is still going strong and I love it.  With a much busier evening life now with older kids, having her still nap is great.

September 3rd was the day of ground officially being broken on our lot for our house.  It was only to dig the well, but we will take it!  We can't wait to see bigger ground broken to pour the foundation and actual building taking place very soon.

School wasn't in session, but soccer season was in full swing.  We love being able to all go as a family and those who aren't practicing can play on the playground or sit in the grass.  We are trying to enjoy every last bit of warm weather and sunshine before Fall hits.

It did seem to get cold over night though.  With no school in the mornings, the kids would get up and go right outside to play.  The mornings would be in the 40's (which felt too early in the year to be getting that cold) and the kids were "freezing" as they said, so Leah went and found her cold weather gear to wear until it warmed up later in the morning.

Ben doing his "baby balance on his hand" trick that he has done with all of our babies.  Go Joce!

It was the last few weeks of Dust Devil games and since we hadn't been to any games together this season, Ben and I decided to go to one as well the same week he and Mitch went.  It was windy and COLD the night we went.  I froze, but we had a great time.  And apparently the lady behind Ben was not super pleased with our selfie attempt. :)

I have said it before and I'll say it again- I LOVE the sight of a well groomed baseball field.  It is such a gorgeous work of art to me.  The crisp lines, the shape of the diamond, the well groomed grass next to the yellow dirt.  I love it. 

Ben bought this binky when Olivia was a newborn and always tried to give it to her when I wasn't looking.  With Jocie, he sneaks it to church and gives it to her there, just to get me.  Our little red neck baby!

We pulled out the Johnny Jump up for Jocie to let her take a spin in it, for memory sake.  All of our other babies used one- some of them just for a picture and that was it and some for a few months.

Jocie and cousin Weston hanging out!  10 weeks apart.

I will never get tired of seeing my girls do each others hair.  Chloe is so awesome to always do any of the little girls' hair.  She loves doing it and is very creative.  Her hair styles are cute and it can be such a big help to me on Sunday's and school days.  Olivia is very good to sit very still for Chloe.  I love this.

The kids had fun one evening setting up and playing croquet at Nana and Papa's house with cousins.

When school didn't start the second week, we decided to go apple picking with the cousins.  I brought our wagon along for Livy to ride in and to haul apples and it was fabulous.

Olivia was happy to be the apple keeper.

The kids were funny picking apples- I found bruised, rotten and bug infested apples all mixed in with good ones.  They also loved to eat the apples right off the tree.

It was a hot day with a fun crew!  We came home with lots and lots of apples.  The next few weeks I found apples with one or two bites out of them all over my house and garage, thanks to Olivia.  It reminded me of a chapter in a Ramona Quimby book when she did the same thing to a bunch of apples.

Frozen go-gurts under an umbrella!  The life for babies!

We had pounds and pounds of apples so the moms got together and made applesauce one day of the strike and the kids played outside and watched movies.

Papa snuggled with Jocie while I worked in the kitchen.

Canned food is such a beautiful sight!  This was my first time canning applesauce and it was a fun learning experience.  It's even better to get to do it with family.  I have the best in-laws! 

September brought soccer season for 4 kids!  This was our first time having 4 kids in sports at the same time.  It took careful planning and team work to get everyone where they needed for 5 practices and 3 games a week, but it was fun.  We love that our kids love to be active and play sports.  It is very fun to watch them and I love everything that sports instill in kids: discipline, hard work, exercise/activity, obedience, respect, time management and so much more.  It was a fun month watching them all play.  This is the twins' first year in organized sports and they were so cute to watch as they learned and grasped the idea of the game.  Chloe and Mitch are getting more and more refined in their skills and their games are competitive and very enjoyable to watch.

Jocie is enjoying her baths more!

Sister iPad time. :)

School FINALLY started on September 15th.  It was a different start to school then we've ever had before.  Usually there is much anticipation about the first day of school and planning for a special first day outfit and breakfast and getting bags packed and ready.  This year, after 2 weeks of not knowing what was happening day to day and only receiving word 24 hours in advance of when school would start, it just wasn't the same.  But we were glad an agreement was finally reached and happy that our teacher's had received fair compensation for what they needed to be great teachers.

I can't believe my sweet twins are heading to FULL day dual language kindergarten.
My sweet Lexi Grace

Leah Jane

The heigh difference in these girls is crazy!  I am so excited for them but knowing how different their kindergarten experience would be than their siblings had me nervous.  But time showed me that it was only different to me, really.  Never having gone to kindergarten, they didn't know that it should be any different.  And how quickly they picked up Spanish was seriously amazing.  It still boggles my mind.

2 schools means 2 different bus times.  Leah and Alexis leave about 12 minutes earlier in the morning and get home 25 minutes later in the afternoon. 

Mitch is going to rock the 2nd grade!

Beautiful, grown up Chloe, all ready for 5th grade.

Our first day of school didn't start off quite as smoothly as I imagined.  We waited at the bus stop for the twins' bus to come.  Their scheduled time came and went.  After waiting an extra 10 minutes or so, I feared that we had missed it.  I didn't want them to be late on the first day, so we quickly threw them and the babies in the car and I drove them.  I had to wake Jocie up to go.  It was frazzling.

Of course it was a mad house there.  I don't like being at the school on the first day for this reason- too crazy!

Trying to find their teachers in the mass of people was no easy task, but we did it and were on time.

On the first day of school (that evening), was the first night I moved Jocie out of our room to sleep.  She started off as an amazing infant sleeper- the best one I've had yet!  By a month old she was sleeping huge stretches on her own- 6 or 7 hours, sometimes more.  But towards the end of summer she started waking up more and more each night as all of my babies start doing.  Jocie just did it later than my other babies have and I thought she was going to be the one baby that didn't need to be sleep trained.  She is such an angel and it killed me to have to sleep train her, but I knew it needed to be done for both of our sakes.  We had no extra bedrooms to put her in, so she moved into the laundry room.  She woke up a few times in the night and I let her cry it out, not going to get her to feed until a previously specified time.  When I went to get her, she found my eyes in the dark and flashed me a sweet smile, letting me know she wasn't mad at me.  It was the sweetest thing.  She sleep trained quickly and so well and is a fabulous sleeper again.  Jocie- you are a keeper!

Olivia turned TWO on September 17th.  She is the spunkiest, feistiest, cutest two year old ever.  She is naughty and fun all wrapped up into one.  She was a sweetheart on her special day and we had lots of fun together.

She loved picking up the twins from their bus stop after school and loved that Lexi let her wear her backpack home.

Nana and Papa came over to watch her open gifts.  She sat on Papa's lap as she opened gifts.

Her cozy coupe was a hit!  The big kids all loved it too and tried to sneak a ride in or on top of it whenever they could.

She also loved the little bouncy animal we got her.

Just her size!


She loved blowing out the candles!

And eating treats is her speciality!  The ice cream was her favorite.  Happy Birthday to our little Olivia.  You keep us on our toes and sometimes we wonder how we will survive the terrible 2's with you, but we love you and love watching you grow and learn.  Life with you is never dull and your funny antics and sweet smiles are treasures to us.  Here's to a fabulous year of growing and fun!

Ben and I went to the Richland vs. Chiawana Football game.  Richland is the high school Ben went to  and Chiawana is the high school in Pasco that our kids will go to someday.  It was fun to go and be apart of "Friday Night Lights."

Livy sharing her toys with Jocie (sometimes a rare occurrence).

Watching football with Dad is the best.  Go Seahawks!!

Leah lost her first tooth!  There were some tears (per usual for our kids with their first few teeth) but she was all smiles after.

Joce started picking up and holding toys on her own at the end of the month.  We are about to enter a new and fun age of self entertaining.  I love this age of babies!

On September 26th, Chloe and I went to a stake humanitarian service project that occurred right before the General Women's broadcast.  Chloe loved working on service projects with her cousins and other friends and I loved sharing the afternoon and evening with her. 

Jocie rocking a former Olivia outfit.  

Leah brought home this paper from school.  She had to fill in the blank: "Today I went to school and I felt.." She said "feliz" (happy).  Seeing this note made me happy!  They are learning so much.

Soccer practice is fun with a sister who loves to hold babies!

Olivia doesn't like to be left out of anything.  She practiced soccer herself during one of the twins' practices.

It was a beautiful September and we are so glad school is in session!