Thursday, December 24, 2009
The same weekend as Ashley’s birthday our nephew Eric had his farewell for his mission. He left at the end of October for the MTC and then Dec. 28th on to Texas, Spanish speaking. We were able to go listen to him speak and then visit with family after at Blake’s sister Marta’s house. We had a little luncheon there and Eric had invited some of his friends from school. I have never seen anyone try to feed so many teenagers before. There was probably 60 friends that showed up. They chased some of our family away. It was fun though. Marta made tacos and nachos for everyone. Amazingly there was even some left after the swarm of teenage appetites got through. We will miss Eric, but are so proud of him and his decision to serve the Lord for 2 years.
A few weeks later we got a call from Marta telling us that Barry (her husband) was being put in as 1st counselor in the bishopric. So Sunday we went back to Marta’s ward and got to support Barry in his new calling. While we were there Marta was introducing us to some of the ward members and the stake leaders, and she almost made me cry. She was telling everyone this is my brother and his wife and these are MY girls Kenzie and Ashley. It wasn’t these are my nieces or these are Blake’s kids, she called them her girls. That made me feel so good to know that she feel that way about them. I know they sure do love her and her family. They love it when we are able to visit them and love it even more when Marta and Barry babysit them. It’s so nice to have family that loves us so much so close. Thank you Marta, Barry, Bryan, and Eric!
Ashley’s birthday was quite an event this year. My mom had the Swine flu and bronchitis and was very sick the day before they were suppose to come she had been taken to the hospital by ambulance because she was having a hard time breathing. She was released the same day and claimed she was feeling a lot better so she convinced my dad to still come for Ashley’s birthday. We were kicking Ashley out of her toddler bed for her birthday and my parents had her “big girl bed.” We have been trying to potty train her for a while now and she keeps insisting she’s a baby and babies wear diapers. So we decided that we were going to try to convince her that 2 was a baby but 3 was a big girl. We took away her “baby” sippys, her toddler bed and kept repeating that 2 was a baby but when she turned 3 she would be a big girl. My mom felt it was important to have her new bed there for her birthday to reinforce this concept. So my dad came bringing the bed. Blake’s mom and sister, Jill also came for Ashley’s birthday. We had homemade pizza and then chocolate cake and ice cream. Right before dinner one of my parents neighbors called and told my dad that they were taking my mom back to the hospital, so needless to say my dad stuck around for dinner and presents and then headed back to Idaho. It was kind of a stressful evening, but we tried to make it as fun as possible for Ashley. It was nice to talk to my mom the next day and hear for myself the improvement in her voice. That was the worst of it. It will be a long recovery, but at least she’s recovering.
Ashley has turned out to be such a fun loving girl. I remember a time when she was little that I really worried about her because she was 10 months old, still waking 5-6 times a night and cried so much. Now I look at the laughing go lucky girl she’s turned out to be and am so grateful. She is such a tease and loves to both get it and give it. She often begs to be tortured by her dad. She has so much love in her. She’s the first to give hugs and kisses when someone feels sad or hurt. She also is the must stubborn person I’ve ever met! If she doesn’t want to do something there’s no way to make her (like potty training). We have to make a lot of things sound like it’s her idea so she’ll go along with them. I know I had a stubborn streak when I was little, but nothing like this. I blame Blake and his sister Jan. From all the stories I’ve heard Jan was just like Ashley. But I look at how Jan turned out and think there may be hope for Ashley after all.
The day after Ashley’s birthday she woke up and told me she was giong to wear panties. There was no convincing her otherwise. So off went the diaper, on went the panties. She had a few accidents for 2 days and has been diaper and accident free ever since. I knew she was ready to be potty trained, but it had to be her idea. I’d like to claim that it was the whole 2 is a baby and 3 is a big girl scheme we came up with, but I’m not sure. I’m just glad to be done with diapers at least for a while.
This year we were able to go visit my parents in Idaho for the Idaho State Fair. Blake and I had tickets to the Demolition Derby, but we took the girls with my parents the day before the derby. The girls loved the fair and the time they had to spend with their grandparents. They loved the petting zoo, and the cotton candy. They were also able to ride rides for the first time. Ashley my adventurous, brave one of course was sad that she was too little for the big rides, but Kenzie seemed relieved she had to stick to the kiddy rides. I went on the carousel with them which made me a little queasy, but was still fun to do with them. There was a little roller coaster that an adult had to ride with them in order for them to go, but I said it was Blake’s turn. Blake declined, but my dad graciously agreed to accompany them. They loved the ride and especially that it was with their papa.
After the fair we took a funnel cake to my grandma’s house (my mom’s mom). We were able to visit for a while and the girls got to spend some time with her. We don’t get to see her very often so it was nice to spend the time with her. We also got to visit my dad’s mom at the assisted living center where she lives. We see her even less than my mom’s mom so it was nice to see her again and how well she’s doing. The girls spent the time we were there trying to coax her cat Babe out of hiding. The next night my parents watched the girls the next night so Blake and I could go to the derby by ourselves.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
You know, sometimes these girls can be each others worst enemies, but at other times, they are the best sisters. Ashley was feeling sad that Blake and I were busy and she couldn’t sit on our laps at the time so Kenzie got Ashley’s blanket and sat down on the couch and let her sister sit on her lap.
So Blake came up with this family activity that the girls LOVE! He turns the sprinklers on in the front using the timers so you never know when one is going to go off or on. Then we get these water balls and soak them in the sprinklers and have a water fight. We did it once kind of on accident, with everyone still in their clothes, and the girls begged every day after that, so we put suits on and did it again, and again. They love it, even if it’s cold they still think it’s the best family activity. Kenzie’s the sneakiest in getting you with water, but Ashley has a good aim and can throw pretty far.
Kenzie started kindergarten this year. So far she’s loving school! Her favorite things are reading and all the new friends she’s made. Her first day she was so excited she was ready to go an hour early and kept insisting we leave so she wouldn’t be late. Kenzie’s teacher is Ms. Kanz. She really nice and does a lot of art projects which is great for Kenzie. She’s also 8 months pregnant. She ended up having her baby the day after Labor Day a month early. So Kenzie has had a sub since, but it’s one of our neighbors so that’s been good. Ms. Kanz was able to return to work right before Thanksgiving, and Kenzie had loved having her back.
Ashley and I took her to school and walked her to her class so we could see it. I don’t think Ashley understood Kenzie was staying until we walked away. Ashley spent the rest of the day crying because she missed her sister. It took a few days, but Ashley finally figured out that she could play with the toys when Kenzie was gone by herself without having to share. Ashley also discovered that she loves cooking with me. She begs to make cookies or bread almost everyday.
This year for Kenzie’s birthday we decided to just have family over to celebrate. I say just, but that still was a lot of people. Our niece Marion had just had her baby the week before so our niece Jennifer brought Marion’s girls Gracie and Carlie over with her 3 kids, Izaak, Bryson, and Morgan. My cousin Shelley also came with her 2 boys Kasen and Aiden. My mom’s cousin Heidi came with her son Noah. Blake's sister Marta also came with her husband Barry and son Bryan. It was a full house but a lot of fun. Being July we thought it would be fun for the kids to play in the pool in our yard, but being in Utah with the unpredictable weather the wind was blowing and the kids got cold as soon as they got wet. So we dried them all off and sent them to the playroom to play. Kenzie had requested homemade pizza and snicker salad (yes it’s a salad with candy in it, we justify it by adding fruit, thanks Marion and Jennifer for the recipe!) for her birthday so I had spent the day making up 4 pizza that I could just throw in the oven for dinner, but thanks to an accident somewhere, we ended up being without power when I needed to put the pizza in. Blake and our nephew Dave went into Tooele and got $5 pizza from Little Ceasars. Not quite home made but still good when you have a house full of starving kids. So over all, not quite the day I had planned, but it was still a great day. Kenzie loved playing with her cousins, and I had a great time visiting with my cousins and nieces.
That weekend we were also able to celebrate Kenzie and my mom’s birthdays. My parents came down and we tried to surprise my mom with a visit from my brother, but she figured it out before he arrived. Thomas brought his girlfriend Sam. It was the first time I was able to meet her. She’s so sweet, we all fell in love with her right away. She spent the better part of an hour Saturday helping the girls make a rock garden in the back yard. It meant so much to them! Hopefully someday we can call her part of our family. My dad took everyone out to Benni Hanna’s for dinner. It’s this really good grill where you get to watch them cook your food right in front of you. The girls loved it and were so good even though it wasn’t geared toward kids. We also found out that Ashley LOVES shrimp. She ate all her own and Blake’s and kept begging everyone else for theirs. It was so good to have the whole family together again! That doesn’t happen very often since we moved to Utah and Thomas moved to Boise.
It’s hard for me to believe Kenzie’s 5 already! It seems like such a short time ago we were struggling to bring her home from the hospital. Now she’s all grown up at 5 going on 16. She’s an amazing girl! She such a great big sister to Ashley and so smart. She loves learning and then trying to teach Ashley what she just learned. She has such a tender heart which serves her well, but also causes a broken heart often when someone says something mean. She understands some things at the age of 5 that I as an adult still don’t completely grasp. Her concept of death has over whelmed me from the time she was 2 and my grandpa died. She’s dealt with my grandpa’s death, Blake’s dad’s death, and the death of a friend of Ashley’s without ever shedding a tear over the loss. She has always been the one to comfort others through the loss and remind everyone that they are in a better place and it’s just their body we’re saying goodbye to. When she was 2 and my grandpa died we went to the hospital right before to say goodbye and be with my grandma. We all had tears in our eyes which Kenzie didn’t understand she walked up to the hospital bed, and held my grandpa’s hand and told him, “Great grandpa it’s Ok, just close your eyes and when you wake up you’ll be with Jesus.” She’s never faltered from this belief.
Happy Birthday Princess! I love yo so much! Thank you for letting me be your mom!