Monday, July 29, 2013

Grandma Marianne's 80th birthday

It's hard to sum up this past weekend. Jeff's Grandma turned 80 and the whole family (54 people) celebrated in Big Bear, CA. She rented a huge cabin for the family and booked hotels for the families with young kids and newborns. We drove up Friday. It was most people's first time seeing Macie. Saturday we went to the park while Grandpa, Gene, Terry, Jeff, Marc, and Adam went mtn. biking. For Grandma's present, everyone chipped in to pay a professional photography to take pictures of the whole family. We did that Saturday afternoon. Saturday night we had Grandma's big birthday party. Sunday we did the alpine slides and hung out, said goodbyes to families who left that day. We left Monday morning.
Uncle Eric with Levi
Jordyn and I
 Luke and Jordyn waiting
 Lauren Harper and Jordyn
 Sydney so excited to go on the chair lift by herself

 Jordyn and I coming down on the slides.

 Aunt Tricia relieving me of a fussy Macie. Macie was completely out of sorts all weekend. Apparently she thrives on routine. I'm happy that she's happy to be home now.
 Levi and Jake wrestling and having fun with Uncle Marc.
 Playing pool, foosball, ping pong, and air hockey were fun things the cabin had and everyone enjoyed.
The view from loft area.

The kitchen. Everyone had duties of preparing meals and/or cleaning up after.
 Jordyn holding her new cousin-Brinley
 The kids preparing dinner--shucking corn (I think that's what it's called)
 Me and Brinley. She's only 3 weeks old.
 Luisa and Macie
 Macie and Brinley getting to know each other.

 Playing on the exercise equipment was more fun than the slides and swing I guess.

 Victoria and Avery
 Levi swinging

 Many people getting ready for the game Lauren Harper prepared.
 One of the activities was dressing up like grandma when she rides in the convertible. Luisa won.
 Jordyn trying on grandma's wig, scarf, and lip stick
 The kiddos entertaining themselves on someone's IPAD

The Jeopardy game about Grandma. We answered questions about  grandma's life.
It was so much fun to get together and visit. I loved being in the mountains and took advantage of the cooler weather. I wish we could do this more often.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Today I treated the kids and myself to In-N-Out. As we were sitting at a table waiting of our food. We saw two missionaries ordering. I ran up (literally) and bought their meal before they could pay. They were pretty stoked and grateful. Elder Palmer is from Manti, UT and Elder Fredrickson is from Moses Lake, Washington. They took the food to go and the kids were kinda shocked. So we spent our lunch talking about missionaries and service. This experience made me think about Jeff and those missionaries who serve in places where they don't have yummy hamburgers or convenient places to eat at on occasion. I know Jeff would've been in heaven if someone bought or gave him a couple double-double hamburgers and fries on his mission instead of eating his regular rice, tuna, and breadfruit each and every meal.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

trapeze fun

For Mother's Day Jeff bought me a trapeze lesson. It's only about a 1.5 miles from our house. Every time we drove by I always told Jeff how much fun it looked and that I wanted to do it when I wasn't pregnant. 
 I was so nervous my first jump...not because I'm scared of heights or anything but just because I had never done it before and I wasn't sure what to expect. There was a group of about 10 of us. All the others do this regularly and were very nice and encouraging. The coach person gave me these instructions, " When you're on the platform lean your hips forward. When I say hepa, jump. Then you're going to swing your legs through your arms. When I say let go, let go of your arms. Then you'll grab with your arms again and let go of your legs. You'll swing with your legs 3 times and then do a back flip onto the net." Holy Cow. Seriously? I wasn't expecting all that my very first time. This was all so much info for me to absorb while the adrenaline was brewing stronger and stronger. I was up on the platform. The person was talking to me. I'm not sure what he said, but I just told him, "Okay, let me do this and get it out of the way then I'll be able to breathe again. " I jumped and listened to all his commands and I DID IT! It was so much fun! I was pretty shaky after. I texted Jeff but was shaking as I was trying to type out the text.  All the people said I did great and teased me that they hated me cause I had done well on my first attempt.
 On my last few tries I actually had this guy catch me.
 Climbing up the ladder was a good workout. The next day I had bruises behind my knees from hanging from the bar and I was super sore from all of it. I wouldn't have expected to use all the muscles I had but I guess I did. I was actually sweating at the end too. But just walking to get your mail will cause beads of sweat to roll down your face in AZ.

 I love this picture Jordyn took of us watching the good people do it. Once the kids came to watch they were begging to try it themselves. It's totally up their alley.
 These pictures don't do it justice. They don't capture my nerves, adrenaline rush, or the will to twist back around and catch the bar I had just swung from on my last attempt. I left wanting more. They gave me a certificate and said I can move to the next level. It's the most fun thing I've done since white water rafting in AK right before we moved.

last night

I woke up last night from a bad dream and it took me awhile to fall back asleep. I was thinking about the Gilbert temple and who I would invite to come to the open house. This is a time when anyone and everyone can walk through the temple. That thought left my mind after sometime and I started to think about my deceased grandparents. Funny how one thought naturally connects to another one. My first grandparent I always think about is Bubbie. Of course that's not her real name. It is Sara Levin. As a 10 year old with very few friends and no social life, Bubbie, was my best friend. I was particularly excited when I saw her because my step mom was on her best behavior (that's another story). I can remember sitting as close to her as I could without actually sitting on her lap. I stayed next to her practically the entire time she visited us. I especially liked her chunky jewelry, her smell, her red hair, her smile and I can hear her laugh now. She was safe, loving, and affectionate to me. I can see her brightly polished, long finger nails and can feel the soft touch of her skin as she stroked my arm. She died when I was 10 and I knew it minutes before I got the call from my dad. I was home alone while the rest of my family went on a donut run. I sang Families Can Be Together and started crying. I knew something wasn't right. A few minutes later my dad called to say she had past in her sleep, most likely from a heart attack or stroke. The love of a grandma is felt even at a young age and I'm glad she was part of my life and know I will see her again.

I also think of Grandpa Bonaudi, my mom's dad. We had a lot of fun together because we had things in common. I loved working on puzzles with him. Even though the house was full of peole, it was usually just him and I working a puzzle while there was a sporting event on TV playing in the background. My parents tell me I inherited his luck with cards. We loved playing card games at night and if we were on the same team there was no stopping us. I remember his raspy voice, at least I thought it was. When I was maybe 7 years old, I gave him a huge goose egg on his forehead. I remember feeling embarrassed and mad at myself about it. I was driving like a small motorcycle and he was sitting behind me. I crashed into a tree and his head hit the tree. I felt awful and I'm sure he had a headache for days but he never made me feel bad about it even though I was aching inside. I remember him taking us in his plane, he was a pilot, and he even let us control the plane for a little bit while sitting on his lap. Grandparents can be so forgiving and trusting! I would also cuddle up against him every once in awhile. He loved treats and lots of butter on his bread. One of my treasures I have is a short video clip of me helping him put his glasses on a few months before he past. Watching a feeble grandpa that couldn't put his glasses brings tears to my eyes. I know when I see him again he'll be strong like I once remember.

Last night I thought of my step-grandparents: Grandpa and Grandma Jenkins. I wasn't there real grand daughter but they loved and treated me as if I were. Both loved playing games too. Grandma Jenkins was a quiet competitor. The cousins and I usually laughed a lot and were obnoxious while we played Skip-bo at Lake Shasta. She usually put us in our place rather kindly considering how obnoxious we were. She was probably the most hard-working person I have known. Even cleaning her rain gutters in her 80's, that was until we found out and my dad took over. I believe living through the depression made her who she was. Hard working, do-it-yourself person, not wasting things, thrifty, financially smart, etc. When I think of her I think of her yummy ice tea she made, her fresh strawberries in her backyard, the glitter on her ceiling that I once believed were stars, her jumbo pretzels in the kitchen, and watching her watch soap operas. I looked forward to playing games at her house and listening to her old records and cassettes while eating m&m's and drinking a cold soda. She died shortly after I had Jordyn and I remember seeing her health diminish ever so gradually. I said goodbye to her when she was in a nursing home. Grandpa Jenkins died before her. I was a junior in college and came home for Thanksgiving. I said my goodbye to him in his home as he laid in bed. I remember hardly recognizing him as he had lost so much weight. He wasn't eating anything. He looked very uncomfortable and I knew inside he only had hours left. He couldn't talk and so I did the talking. After talking and saying goodbye he squeezed my hand. I felt that was his way of thanking me, saying I love you, and saying goodbye. He died that night. I felt so sad for Grandma on Thanksgiving day. It was a somber holiday that year. I believe these two are doing more work in heaven than I can fathom. They had a lot of energy and always kept busy on earth that I think it's no different where they are now.

Now, my mom's mom, we called Gammie. Her real name is Betty Jane and I love that old-fashioned name. I believe she died when I was 5 and I only remember visiting her a few times in Washington. I would also cuddle up by her side while I sucked my thumb. She definitely seemed old and weak while I knew her. I distinctly remember her teaching me how to tickle the roof of my mouth with my tongue. She would play a game with us where she would hide a hershey kiss and we would have to find it. I know she helped my mom a lot and lived with us when I was a baby. I'm sure she held and comforted me many times and now I see my mom do that for my kids and I hope to do that for my grandkids. I'm eternally grateful for my grandparents. The examples of love, hard work, and the good people they were. I know I will see them again and I know dying, although sad to think about leaving behind the ones you love, will also be joyous for the ones you'll reunite with.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The solar system

Last week and today we learned about the solar system. We did lots of fun projects. My kids love art so we did a lot of painting, coloring, cutting, gluing, and eating oreos...okay so oreos have nothing to do with art but they also love a treat and since I never buy oreos they were pretty excited about that. 
 Here is our finished project of the planets in relation to the sun. We painted styrofoam balls and made it. Levi and Jordyn are holding pictures they colored and glued on black paper. They also stuck some space stickers on their pictures.

 We also learned about stars so we made the Big Dipper out of marshmallows and toothpicks. Before this project we went into one of our dark closets with no windows and turned on this small planetarium. I showed them the planets of course and many of the constellations.
 This art project-not sure if you can tell- is our planet Earth. We colored with blue and green marker on a coffee filter sprayed water on it and let it dry and this is our planet. The only planet with oceans.
 This was probably the kids favorite for obvious reasons. We learned about our moon. Watched Neil Armstrong take the first step on the moon. Thanks to YouTube. We learned and named the moon phases with oreos.
 A poster we found found that had stickers of the planets that we put on the poster. The poster is now hanging in Levi's room and the stickers glow in the dark. An added bonus.

 Sydney and Levi painting the styrofoam balls for our solar system.
Levi loving this oreo activity. While we worked on these projects we listened to planet songs for children on You Tube for more repetition. The biggest thing we learned is that PLUTO is no longer a planet, as of 2006. It's a dwarf planet in its classification. Am I the only one that didn't know that? Tomorrow I'll teach them about gravity and how Earth orbits the sun and how the moon orbits the moon and then we're done with this. We had a lot of fun as you can tell.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Sleep has always been a big part of my life. My parents tell me that I would put myself to bed without being asked, the complete opposite of my sister. In high school I usually came home before my curfew to go to bed and in college I NEVER "pulled an all-nighter." I know I sound so boring and old-fashioned; well I won't admit to being boring but I will admit to being old-fashioned.  Sydney and Jordyn woke up every night until they were 1. Levi the same thing until he was 2. I woke up to feed them and went back to bed but sometimes it would take me a good hour to finally go back to sleep. The next morning one of the 3 kids would wake me up earlier than what I intended and my day would start. I'm not sure why but my body does well with 8 1/2 hours of sleep. I'm a sleep snob. I like to go to bed early and wake up on my own without an alarm beeping or child with sleepy breath begging me to get them breakfast. I also like waking up in total darkness. I don't like blinds drawn and the sun waking me up either. I get chaffed that the garbage truck sometimes wakes me up Thursday mornings, especially when I was pregnant and wasn't getting good sleep. Do you need to pick up trash at 5:30am?? So all this stuff I'm talking about makes me so grateful of our sweet Macie. My first child to allow me to sleep all night. She's been sleeping through the night since she was two weeks. At first it was 7-8 hours. Now she sleeps for 11 hours at night without waking up. For this reason, she has been my easiest newborn/baby. I'm waaaay more patient with a full night's rest. I seriously don't take it for granted either. Every day I feel grateful and I still wonder if this is just a fluke, although I'm hopeful it's not. I don't take it for granted because 1. I've never had a child like this and 2. I treasure sleep so much. I feel Macie sleeping through the night is a huge blessing for me especially during the summer with the kids home from school and them wanting to be entertained and have fun. I'm better equipped to deal with the summer bickering from the kids in combination with the Arizona heat. Thank you Macie--a real sleeping beauty.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer weekends

During the heat of the day we try and do things indoors that we all enjoy. One is rock climbing at the gym. Sydney scaled up this rope like it was nothing. It's crazy that someone so small can have so much strength.
 You're usually suppose to be 5 to rock climb but for some reason they let Levi climb. His very first attempt at rock climbing and he went right up the wall and rang the bell at the top with no hesitation. Everyone that was there gathered around and was amazed and cheered for him. He did it another 4 or 5 times. The people there said Levi is the youngest to have made it all the way to the top.
 Friday night we went to the Sea Life Aquarium with the Kieta's. Just so you know I find the best deals or do things for free. Rarely do a pay full price for these kinds of things. With 4 kids now these outings would add up.
 The kids always love to explore the underwater world. There favorites are sharks and weird fish that have horns sticking out of the head or bulging eyes.

 Levi in the aquarium
 We also have time for lessons. This lesson was on what these words mean and how they are different. Lately I hear a lot of, "that's no fair." So we had a discussion about it. I told them different scenarios and they had to lift up which card corresponded with the scenario. I also had an object lesson with a bandaid to get my point across. Pretty much they learned that fair doesn't mean equal and because we're all different and have different situations, privileges and consequences may be different with each person.
 And of course we spend a good chunk of the day holding, playing, and staring at Macie. We all love her so much. I can't imagine our family without her. She truly completes the Shaw Squad. I hope and pray for her continual joy and health in life.