Monday, September 23, 2019

Samuel's 15th Birthday

The oldest child turned 15!! Holy cow! The in between year. He's one year away from driving, dating, all the scary stuff. 

We celebrated when it was convenient for most of the family a few days before his actual birthday since it was on a weekday. Lucky for him, he didn't have school this Friday so he had a pretty chill day. We celebrated with both sides of the family. He requested tacos, so we had an above average taco bar and Costco sheet cake. Because.....his cake of choice is not longer made!!! He wanted the All-American giant chocolate cake of goodness from Costco. I went to purchase it only to learn they no longer sell it!! Oh, so many memories related to that cake. He was bummed but was satisfied with this cake instead. 

Love looking at each individuals reaction to singing and blowing out candles. 

He's in 9th grade this year and High School is harder than he thought it would be. But he's enjoying it. He's working hard on achieving his Eagle Scout. Still playing tons of video games, watching and listening to way too much music on YouTube, he's helpful around the house and at babysitting and loves his new weighted blanket. He is now taller than I am (I am 5'9" ) and wears the same size shoe as Tyler (13). He got his learners permit...on his birthday. He's a little intimated by driving but we made him go, on his birthday, to get his learners permit. I want him to be able to taxi, I mean, help drive his siblings, and himself around. We sold the $600 Oldsmobile that was planned for him because it needed more work than it was worth. So instead we sold it for $600 and bought a Honda, newer, better condition and more $ so Sam will have to save up more over the next year. In the meantime, he's pretty proud of it and drives it for now. He's actually a pretty decent driver for starting out. He took drivers Ed back in May. Took the permit test twice before passing and he's on his way! Look out Arvada! lol. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Grandma Furber's Birthday

On Labor Day, we labored and then celebrated Grandma Furber's 89th birthday. Actually, I think Tyler labored on the never ending chicken coop and I shopped and cleaned. Or something. I can't actually remember. And then we celebrated the life of Grandma.

Grandma Furber, Tyler's maternal Grandmother, has lived a wonderful life so far. We feel so blessed to live 5 minutes from her. She is optimistic, compassionate, service oriented and goal orientated. A cheerful and nonjudgmental mother, wife, grandmother and great grandmother. She is a reader, writer, gardener, swimmer, pianist, teacher, hostess, cook, and my kids prefer her canned applesauce to mine.

Happy Birthday Grandma! We hope to spend many more years with you!

We love finding her falling asleep at the most random times and places. This is at the Stoehr reunion 2019. 

 She is so supportive of her children and great-grandchildren, this was after Jocelyn's Ballet recital in June. 

Here she is in the garden, a daily occurrence. In May, she tediously and carefully pruned her blackberry bushes of which we are now enjoying in homemade jelly. 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

August Recap

The month began with a campout on August 1st. Tyler and I had to split up the responsibilities with it though. Tyler feverishly packed and loaded up the kids to get to the site before dark. Although we had this trip planned 6 months beforehand, we were not prepared. I was finishing up a video I made for Grandma Stoehr's 90th birthday celebration. I was quite stressed and didn't want to go camping at all. It was expected to be cold and I hadn't packed a thing. But Tyler insisted we go, and not forfeit the $30 of whatever it cost to go. Just before the kids were loading up, our pet bunny at the time, escaped again, and was in the neighbors yard. Jocelyn and I tried to capture her but to no avail. We couldn't waste any more time trying so we left her out in the wild of the neighborhood. Also, that night the Bishop wanted to meet with me to release me from Primary presidency and called me as an adviser in the Young Women's. I was pretty surprised (I had only been serving in primary for 9 months) but I love serving in the YW. Needless to say, I stayed home wrapping up the video, very late at night while Tyler took kids camping. Going to bed late then waking up early to drive to the campsite (which I'd never been to and cell service is very spotty).I barely found it in time for Tyler to leave to to go work for the day. I spent all the day with the kids while he worked. He came back up that night. We camped for 2 nights total. It wasn't terribly cold though the kids were not prepared with warm clothing particularly pjs. Tyler and I did not communicate very well about what food to pack was interesting. Very survival feeling. However, the main reason we went was because Jennie invited us. She goes every summer with her group of friends so I was happy to tag along. Our kids had a hard time socializing with other friends there, but still had fun and met some new teenagers and enjoyed being with their cousins. The little kids mostly ran around in the woods, not very far off, while the older kids played board games. Although they were clingy and bored at times, it was good for them to be in nature. That night we had s'mores, talent show and stayed up laughing and chatting with the adults around the campfire. It was a fun weekend. Oh, and a neighbor found and caught our rabbit and put her safely back in her cage. Here's a link to Gma Stoehr's video

Cecily helping with the dishes. She really was happy to be doing them. The Sleight's were pretty prepared with their camping gear. 

We didn't' take enough pictures!!

 The day we came back from camping Marci and kids were waiting for us! The kids were ecstatic to spend time with them a bit longer before they went back to Texas until next summer. We went to our traditional Bliss froyo stop. Repeated the cousin pic, oldest to youngest. Samuel tried comforting Colin who got whacked or something during the lineup.

Eva teaching Cecily some baking skills

Chickens caught in their natural habitat, sleeping in trees. Before the coops was completely finished, they escaped and jumped on the tree above the coop. We had to get them down so they weren't prey to a larger animal that night. 
The kids barely got their summer reading in for the county library campaign. They earned tickets to Elitches. We went with Jennie and the same camping friends. Samuel brought Elijah (and Sienna, you can see her face on the spider looking ride, she's sitting next to Samuel, not pictured) along. It. was. SO. HOT!!! It was one of the hottest days of the summer to go. Luckily, we got there after lunchtime. I bought Little Caesars to eat in the car on the way over and sandwich materials to make for dinner in the parking lot. We were allowed to bring in empty water bottles. They had drinking fountains with mildly cold water so we kept refilling and dumping on our heads and drank a ton of water. But you can see Colin's' cheeks, combination of sunburn and just being hot. The lines weren't terribly long but the kids agreed they didn't need to go again for another year. Sam stayed a bit longer and went home with his friends. Sam was brave and went on nearly every "scary" ride. Although, he declared they weren't scary enough. I was brave and went on one of the major roller coasters with Sam. It whipped my head around but it was so fun. It was the kind that goes fast, steep drops and upside down but the worst was the dangling feet. I closed my several times, especially when we went upside down because it feels like you're going to kick something below. Anyway, I'd go on it again!


Tyler and Smauel participated in the Tough Mudder. It was Sam's first time and he loved it. It was at a different location this year, I can't remember where though.

The girls found some frogs in our backyard

My great Aunt Claudia suddenly passed away due to health reasons and old age. She was 91 years old and married at the age of 90!!
Jennie and I flew out for the funeral. It was a quick but special trip. I am grateful Tyler knew the importance of this to me and made arrangements for me to go. Claudia was like a second grandmother to me and my siblings and eventually to my children. I admire her for her perseverance, patience, keen sense of humor, generosity and kindness. She always smiled, always laughed, always complimented and collected the neatest treasures. She was not known for her cooking abilities but loved to share her kitchen and snacks. One time she invited Rose and I to help cater one of her friend luncheons. I felt so honored that she'd think of me in this capacity. She was good like that, she could see people's potential. Going to her funeral reminded me of how special she was. It was a cathartic experience.

After we enjoyed a lunchat Rose's house and before the viewing, Levi, Rose, Jennie and I went for a walk at City Creek park area, this little canyon that sits below the capital building. It was fun to see all the varitites of dogs, that weren't supposed to be swimming in the water, but were. Sadly, this is the only picture I took. It was fun to be outside chatting and laughing with my siblings. 
Random things: 

I found a wasp on my windshield one day trying to collect this piece of food or gunk off. After observing it for a few minutes I drove off thinking it would get blown away. But to my surprise, it didn't. It stayed on here for a good 2 minutes, hanging on with all of its strength with this those tiny little legs. I admired its determination, strength, perseverance, desire, courage and abilities. All qualities I try achieve. Sometimes I find it hard to hold onto life. I wonder if I am holding on tight enough and I lose sight of my priorities, my health, my needs. Eventually, it got blown off but it held on tight for a while. 

Harvest bounty.

Come Follow Me home church.

We went to eye doctor for checkups. To Cecily's dismay, she doesn't need glasses. 
Only Cecily got her eyes dilated but Colin wanted the cool shades too. We went to Costco afterwards. Here they are begging for more gigantic stuffed animals. Their cuteness did not win the prize. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Josh Groban

August 28: Josh Groban Concert

I have never attended a "rock concert" because I never really had the desire to stand with a bunch of stinky, smelly, loud people and risk my life in a mosh pit and lose my hearing. I was no fun as a teenager! haha. BUT I do love concerts, particularly symphonic, choral or easy listening singers. Josh Groban has been on my bucket list to see live for years. Him and Coldplay and maybe Enya. And maybe Hugh Jackman.

So when I read that he was coming AND performing with the Colorado Symphony AND at Red Rocks I really wanted to go. The tickets, even for general admission plus all the fees, were about $100! We went with Jennie, Grant, and Tyler's parents, Steve and Lori. It was a BEAUTIFUL night at Red Rocks (which we'd never actually attended a concert at...except maybe J&G).

Before the concert started we looked around at the concessions and I ran into a middle school friend, Jessica Opfer. She spotted me and we hugged and chatted for a bit. I haven't seen her since high school!! Then I found my theater ed professor George Nelson and hugged him and chatted for a minute too. I was pleased he graciously remembered me and asked how I was doing and what I was up to. We also saw Charlie Wilson (JB's dad) from a distance and waved at him.

It was wonderful to hear Josh sing some of my favorites including Van Gogh and "You Raise Me Up" and learning of the inspiration of each song. The latter song he was inspired to create it as he was on a trip in Ireland and it came on the radio. He loved it so much he made his own version and I absolutely love it. So when Donny Osmond sang it a few weeks later at President Nelson's birthday celebration I had to fast forward, it was just not Josh Groban quality, not even close.

Josh was a gracious and professional performer, just as I had expected. When I was on Instagram regularly, I followed him and he was always courteous and clean. On stage, he wore a new pink suit and he was a bit hyper and full of energy and had a step to his walk. He admitted to having ADHD, especially as a kid. He talked about how awkward he was in school, especially with his curly hair and desire to sing and act. It was a glorious 2.5 hour show and I didn't want it to end! His songs were repeating in my head for the next 2 days.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back to School Fall 2019

The kids survived, barely, their first year of school in Colorado. Now they are more confident and less scared this 2nd year. School seemed to start a week sooner this year, on August 14/15th.

We have kids in three different schools this year: elementary, middle and high school!

Samuel started with Freshman orientation on August 14th at Ralston Valley High School, the very same school that his Aunt Stoehrs' graduated from. He wasn't really nervous at all, but excited. So far, he's really enjoyed the "freedom" of open periods to do homework. He also started early morning Seminary the following week and is waking up like a champ on his own! Tyler takes him (yay!!) because it's one of his callings is Seminary (substitute teacher and security).

Jocelyn began middle school, again, with a fresh start, in 7th grade. She really didn't like her experience at the K-8 Charter school (see below) last year so we open enrolled her at Drake Middle (where I attended 7/8th grade!). She was nervous but this was something we prayed for and so far, so good! No girl drama so far and she feels a lot more confident.

The "littles" as we call them, are both at Lincoln Academy Charter School. Cecily started 4th grade and Colin is in Kindergarten.

Cecily didn't get in the class with her BFF, Aubrey or with her student teacher from 3rd grade, which was a bummer for her otherwise she's doing well. She is an awesome reader and writer! She read TONS of chapter books this summer and wrote stories. She still struggles with math but I hope her new math group and practice at home, including Saxon math (same method that Tyler and I used in high school) will help her mind comprehend the information.

Colin is loving Kindergarten so far. It's only half day so he's there from 8-11:20am each day. He's a little competitive. Not so much with others but more with himself which I never really noticed with our other kids. Definitely picked that up from Tyler. The students receive "pride paws" for doing good work. He reports to me each day if gets one or not and it's very important that he does. He has only received 4 so far and it's interesting how it motivates him to be a "good boy" and good student. He tells me about the nice boys and girls and the "mean" kids, mainly just one kid in particular who is difficult. He really seems to like school and doesn't mind the homework. I also love that Cecily drops him off to his class each morning on her way to her class. They'll love it next year when they finish together at the end of the day too.

No, I did not cry the first day of school, as my baby, last child to begin school. Perhaps because I knew it was like preschool instead of full-day school. Maybe next year it'll feel more real, when he's gone full time, that ALL of my kids are in school now!! For now, I am enjoying the freedom to get things done without the distraction of the kids. Then once they get home, it's straight into homework/chores/piano/activities/managing screens/dinner prep time until bedtime!

Unfortunately for us, Colorado passed a law allowing Full-Day K to be free for everyone at your local school. However, since we are choice enrolled, to a charter school, they do not have to guarantee a spot in Full-day. Sadly, they passed this law AFTER the choice enrollment period ended otherwise I would have signed him up. It really breaks up my day having to stop what I am doing at home or running errands to go and pick him up 3 hours later. I look forward to next year when I won't have to do that. So, his day is short and he's home for lunch and we spend the afternoon together.

Because 4 kids go to 3 different schools, ALL of which are choice enrolled, meaning, not our local school, I have to drive them. This means I spend 2-3 hours a DAY just in the car driving and waiting in pick-up lines. The first week was rough but I've figured out how long I can wait before leaving home to make it in time. It also means the kids have to do a little extra waiting while I'm picking up their sibling. Luckily, I listen to the Book of Mormon in the morning commute. Podcasts while I don't have kids in the car and then I get some good conversations in with the kids while I drive with them. It's working out, though I am sure our gasoline bill will be going up!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

August 8th (Happy Birthday Alex): Romeo and Juliet

Grandma and Grandpa Furber were unable to use their tickets to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival because Grandpa's health was too poor at the time. So they gave us their tickets! We went with Tyler's aunt and uncle Mike and Marcia.

Cecily and I stopped at McDonald's for dinner then drove up to Boulder with M & M. We parked and walked to the student center to eat. Just as we got under shelter a downpour of rain came from the skies. I wondered if it would delay the outdoor performance but it didn't. Their tech crew quickly got to work mopping the stage so it was safe for the actors to perform on. They provide backed seats for the benches (thanks heavens, my back would have died!) at the amphitheater, situated right in the middle of campus. I confess, the facilities are not nearly as nice or updated as Utah Shakespeare Festival. The overall feel, including costumes, sound, music and acting did not meet the high standard of USF, however it was a great performance, nonetheless. And I'd go back, especially with our kids.

Cecily was excited to go as this was her first Shakespeare experience. During the school year she just completed she had read an abridged version of several of his plays. She even checked the book out twice to re-read them because she enjoyed them so much. Fortunately his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet was in that book so she was familiar with the story. Then she read the program to learn even more. She was telling ME what it was about, as I tried to brief her on it. I don't know how much she really understood with the language. She had lots of questions like why were girls dressed as guys, were they using real swords, were they actually crying, etc. Otherwise, she understood the plot which I was impressed with as it was over 2 hours long. It got cold once the sun set so we shared my sweater and munched on candy I snuck in when we she got a little tired.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

June jubilee

June 1. Our ministering family, Br Gordon, has season tickets to the Rockies. There was a youth activity one night so he was unable to use them and offered them to us. The 4 of us go to go. They were AMAZING 2nd row seats. We filled my backpack with treats and stuffies and had a great time!

We got chicks again. This actually happened in late May but here's a shot of them all

And while we were at it.....because the family is still divided on furry pets we settled on a free rabbit.
At the end of June our friends, the Stamps, gave us the cute lionhead mix bunny. We named her Alice. We don't know how long she'll be with us because she enjoys her freedom. If the gate is left open she takes a run for it. We usually find her and catch her (or the neighbors do) and put her back into her cage that cannot contain this free one. So, it's kind of fun to see her frolicking around the backyard because it's like having a cat or dog....until she's something elses's dinner.

I took Jocelyn up to Loveland to help Heidi with her girls after having her new baby, Braiden! Jocelyn offered to help out. And Heidi/Dustin really appreciate it. I was proud of Jocelyn for thinking of the service.

I then took Landon down to our house for a little break. On the way we stopped at Colin's favorite restaurant, Pizza Ranch, an all-you-can-eat pizza/chicken type buffet. It was pretty good. Colin still asks when we can go back, lol.

Cecily swimming at Gma's pool.

Our next door neighbors had a garage sale. She had some cute stuff! They gave us their piano (an upgrade from our previous one that now belongs to Hannah/Sean) and this cute desk and I bought this green couch for $10, which fits perfectly in our kitchen. Cecily came free!

Girls Camp! Jocelyn's first year going! It was a blast. A separate post is coming.

Jocelyn was busy this month too! She had her first ballet recital. Jennie was able to come but we didn't capture a picture. Tyler went to the dress rehearsal because he left that night with the boys, and his dad to drive straight through to Lake Powell for a quick weekend fishing trip. Tyler loved this luxiouus boat, and we were tempted to buy into a timeshare because he missed Lake P so much. Maybe one of these years we'll go back regularly again. Anyway, they had a blast and caught a bunch of fish.

Back to the are some pics. I was so touched watching Jocelyn perform. She takes ballet very seriously and lit up on stage. She is the tallest/oldest in her current class and stood out because of it. But also because she's one of the strongest in that level. Once summer sessions starts she'll move up to level 3. She just started last August in level 1 with very little experience. She had a 6-week tumbling/dance class when she was 5 and gymnastics which I think all helped her be prepared for ballet. Her goal is to be en pointe soon.  She also opted not to perform at the Sunday performance. Which was a tough decision. WE'll see what happens in the future should she continue to advance.

With her friend Aubrey

White swan

White swan

black crow

Taking a pic of the pro photographer taking pics.