Summer Photo catch-up!

The last three weeks have given me exactly what I wanted.  The nice scheduled school life.  🙂  So in a way it has settled down, but then it is still as busy as ever.  I guess what the difference is,is that we are on a schedule now so it is much easier to manage everything.  Both Garion and Kayla have started soccer and are doing great. They have had two games now and both their teams have won both games.  It has taken Kayla  a while to adjust to her new schedule. Between kindergarten and soccer she has been a little shy and unsure lately.  This is really not a part of her personality that I have seen before.  She struggles to go into her kindergarten class because she doesn’t have any close friends there.  And she has a good time at soccer practice after she spends half the practice attached to my arm telling me that she wants me.  I am not sure how to help her have more confidence, but I am learning to be more patient with her and I am just trying to really encourage her and let her know that I am always going to be here and then reassure her that she is going to make new friends as she learns and participates.  I am not sure she believes me.  Other then her timidity, she is dong really well.  She loves to do her homework and is as helpful as ever around the house.  You know, when I threaten death and torture, she is more then willing to do her chores. 🙂

Garion is doing really well at school and in soccer and in scouts.  As part of the soccer package, the kids got a free ticket to a Salt Lake Real soccer game.  Last night they had a special promotion that all the AYSO kids got to go onto the field with the team and sing the National Anthem before the game.  Kayla decided she didn’t want to go, so Garion and I had a special date to the game.  It was totally fabulous!  It was a lot of confusion when we first got there.  It took us a lot of wandering, standing and asking to get to the right line for the kids to line up.  We found the majority of the kids on his team before we found his coach, who was suppose to take them onto the field.  Parents weren’t allowed.  Once we were all together, we joined the chaos of kids and coaches waiting to enter the field.  I was surprised that it was as unorganized as it was.  There was no lines or meeting places or anything.  It was up to the individuals to arrange their own meeting places with their kids.  I was scared to death that I was going to lose Garion in the crowd after the National Anthem.  We designated a meeting place and I told him that if we got separated anyway, to ask a worker help him find his seat.  He then put his ticket in his sock and I reluctantly left him to the chaos.  It turned out to be really neat.  All the kids entered the field with their coaches, several hundred of them, then Real came out and then the Anthem was sung.  Garion and I found each other right away and had a great time watching the game after that.  We got some greasy food to eat and soda to drink and had a great time talking about soccer and just about any other random thing we could think about.  Garion spent the entire car  ride home talking to my mom on the phone and I was really surprised because I didn’t know he had that kind of communication in him.  🙂  After we got home, we had some ice cream with Jason and then called it a night.  I am totally going to add one on one dates with kids into our calender.  It was soo much fun!

Brynn is the same.  When Kayla started Kindergarten, Brynn would cry the whole way home because she couldn’t stay and go to school with her.  She has stopped those tantrums, thankfully, and now just follows the big kids around trying to be included.  She is a cutie pie!!

Jason has been busy working and camping.  Over Labor Day weekend, he went backpacking with 5 of his guy friends for 3 days.  I tried asking him what they did up there and I kinda wished I hadn’t.  When you start hearing about fart jokes, sphincter scales and other gross guy things, you learn that the curiosity isn’t necessarily worth it.  🙂  I am just glad they had a good time and came home safe.  This is the second year they went, and I am pretty sure it is going to be an annual even from now on.

I have had fun over the last two weeks re-dong my living room.  We got rid of our old couches and got a new one.  We have inherited a bit of new furniture from Jason’s mom and it has turned my living room into the semi-formal retreat I have always wanted it to be.  With a little bit of help from IKEA to fill in the blanks, and the rearranging of our existing accessories, I have a new room.  I LOVE IT!!!

Well, I am going to post a bunch of pictures at the end here.  A bunch from the summer, Finally pictures of Kayla’s birthday cake, soccer games and some photos of the living room.  Enjoy!

Back to school time!

The last 2 weeks have been crazy!!  We have been to 8 doctors appointments (doctor, dentist, eye doctor and urologist), cleaned out our bedroom and put in a new bed set, had a great birthday party for Kayla, started soccer practice, met Garion’s teacher, had Kayla’s kindergarten assessment, School started for Garion, I ran a half marathon,I jammed 51 pints of plum jam from our tiny tree in the back yard (and we aren’t done yet!!), Jason paintballed in Idaho, and Garion had pack meeting for scouts, etc.  I am out of breath just remembering our schedule!!  It seems like the two weeks before school each year get really busy, but this year has been the busiest yet by far.  I am just hoping and praying that this isn’t a trend of increased busyness each year.  If it is, then next year will kill me for sure and I won’t even have Brynn in school yet. 🙂  I am really beginning to understand and appreciate the importance of calendaring.  Without it I would have been lost.  Because of this new appreciation, I have added a new phone to my Christmas list. 🙂  A smart phone so that I can have my calendar and address book with me at all times.  And, probably most importantly, a calendar that I can add to when I am out and about.  I do almost all of my phone calls while I am in the car and almost all of my appointments are made when I am NOT at home.  Anyway, I am very excited for life to settle down into the school routine and get back to normal.

Well, normal for this year anyway.  It will be quite different because Kayla is starting kindergarten!!  As I mentioned above, she turned 5 this last week and we had an awesome birthday party for her.  It was a princess Barbie themed party complete with a barbie cake that I made with a real barbie doll.  (I will post pictures later this afternoon.)  We started with a craft of making necklaces and bracelets and headbands.  This was really fun, but a little too advanced for 5 year olds.  All 9 of them needed help at the same time.  In spite of it all though, they came out with several very cute pieces of jewelry.  We then moved to the pinata which was a unicorn.   This didn’t turn out exactly how I had it planned either because it broke open on the second person to hit it.  Nice hit Allison!!  Luckily, the plethora of candy that then became available dispelled any complaints from the girls that didn’t get a chance to take a swing at it.  🙂  Next came Kayla’s favorite part.  The presents.  She got every thing from jewelry, to makeup , to a gumball machine, to stickers with her name on them and a personalized notepad.  She was very excited!  She is still trying to carry everything around with her that she can all the time.  I can understand, sometimes it is hard decide what to play with!  So why not play with it all at the same time. 🙂  Last, we did the cake.  This was hard for me.  I had a little bit of drama making the cake, so it was hard to cut into it.  But that is the point and to my delight, it tasted very good!  It was my first time making and decorating with homemade butter cream frosting.  It was excellent, if I do say so myself. One last note on Kayla.  She started soccer practice this week.  She has 2 more practices next week and then her first game on Saturday the 29th.  She is on a team with only 3 other kids, all girls.  She is the only one without previous experience, but I Think she is going to really enjoy it.  We are going to spend some time this week as a family playing so that she can get a little more practice before her next practice.

Garion started third grade on Thursday.  This is the first year that we have had to supply supplies for him for class.  Not much, just a binder a dry erase marker, and pencil box.  He was very excited to go to the store and pick out his stuff for class.  As I am sure you all know, there is a TON of stuff for the kids to choose from.  It gets hard to explain over and over again why he doesn’t need the $20 camo binder with fifty pockets, a ruler, pencil case and built in flashlight for third grade and only the $.97 one. 🙂  But in the end, we found some great stuff and off he went.  He is riding his bike this year again, only this year he is riding with his friend Tyler who has started 1st grade.  I am much relieved that he has a riding buddy for the year.  His teacher is Mrs. Jackson, who happens to be the wife of his football coach from last year.  It is a small world!  🙂  His first day of school went well.  He likes his teacher, his best school friend, Joshua Callahan, is in his class and he eats lunch before he plays this year instead of the other way around  (like it was last year, which I didn’t know.)  Garion is also starting soccer, but his practices start this week.  His first game is also on the 29th.  Luckily enough for me, both games are at the same time at the same place on boardering fields.  So I can stand in the middle and cheer both of them on.  Hopefully!  Garion has been working hard in scouts.  In the last 2 weeks he has passed off a wolf requirement and earned his compass and map beltloops.  Good job Garion!

Brynn has been doing a good job being happy as we drag her all over the place with us.  She is turning into the epitome of a 2 year old.  She tells everyone that she can that she is 2, she loves to giver her opinion and pretend that Kayla’s new things belong to her, and she loves to talk to me.  Beware to those who don’t answer her on her first calling of your name.  The second and third time calling turns into screaming and it is almost as cute as it is annoying.  Almost.  Brynn has had a growth spurt over the summer and is now wearing 2T and sometimes 3T.  She has also grown in her vocabulary.  She is talking in complete sentences most of the time and her articulation is becoming very good.  I was a little worried that she would be bored once Kayla starts school, but the more I Think about it, the more I am SURE she will be happy to have some solo mom time!

Jason has been crazy at work.  I guess this time of year just has stress written all over it whether it is at school or work.  To make matters worse, he has been battling a sinus infection.  He finally went to the doctor and got on an antibiotic so he is feeling much better.  He left almost as early as I did Saturday morning to drive up to Idaho for the day to paintball.  I was glad he was able to go since he hasn’t had a chance almost all summer.  He had a great time, despite the heat and came home with some nice welts on his back to show off. 🙂  Jason has been busy this summer getting some major yard work done.  We are expanding our BBQ pit so that it doesn’t block the gate to our neighbors house, and we are trying as always to grow a garden.  There is a definite learning curve here.  Jason is more knowledgeable than myself and because of this, he does the majority of the work out there.  He has also been busy helping me get the house organized.  As I mentioned above we got a new bedroom set that we inherited from his mom and so to get it in the room, we had to organize and clean out the old set.  We are also in the process of organizing the basement to move in a new desk and the garage as we clean out all the baby stuff.  For some reason (probably because we have been gone traveling for most of the last 2 months), most of this organization has had to happen in the last two weeks.  I have no idea what I would do without him.  Thanks for putting up with me and my craziness honey!

As for myself, I have been going crazy trying to keep up with everything.  I have discovered about myself that I do not do well under pressure.  When I get tired, I fall to pieces.  Hence the importance of calendering.  If I am organized in time, I am happy while I work.  Yesterday, I ran the Hobble creek half marathon with my best friend Michelle and it was totally fun!  There really isn’t a greater feeling than crossing the finish line 20 minutes faster then you thought you would and knowing that you gave it your all and the months and months of training have paid off beautifully!  It is quite an emotional experience.  My sister in law Heather ran it as well and did a great job coming in at 2hours 6 minutes.  Michelle and I came in at 2 hours and 32 minutes.  🙂  Now that the race is over and school is underway, I am on a quest to finish the processing of all our plums, and then move on to our apples.  I am pretty sure the rhubarb needs to be harvested as well as some peppers, garlic, and onions.  Another personal revelation that I have had this summer is that I really don’t like to garden.  It is hot and their are spiders and I usually am really behind on my house work, which goes even more to pot when I have to work in the yard.  Then all the produce becomes ripe right around the time school is starting and it is one more big and time consuming project to harvest it all and then preserve it.  So, I don’t like to garden.  But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I love to look at all the pretty jars of preserved food on our shelves and see the rewards of our labors.  It is satisfying!

In Loving Memory of Laurene Williams Hall

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On Monday, May 25th, 2009 Laurene Williams Hall died of natural causes.  This weekend, on Saturday June 20th, she was laid to rest in the Ammon Cemetery in Ammon, Idaho. She is survived by her three children and their families, Jonna Lhyn, Jeremy Lee and Jason Lyle Hall; and her two brothers, Duane and Ron Williams, and their families.

I am honored and pleased to have known Lauri for 10 and a half years.  She was a wonderful woman full of wit and humor and selfless love for her family.  Her greatest joys were in spending time with her family and serving others.  Lauri was very intelligent and a wealth of knowledge that she shared freely.  I learned more about sewing, gardening and family history from Lauri than I have from any other person!  Not to mention current events.  Lauri read the newspaper from front to back everyday.  I was always amazed at how Lauri was able to remember the smallest details about my interests and the interests of those that she came in contact with.  Whenever we were together, she would constantly ask about me and my activities and then at seemingly random times she would remind me of a conversation we had had days or weeks before and ask how that particular project was going.  I was usually really hard pressed to get Lauri to talk about herself.  But when I could, she would tell me all the stories she could remember about her time as  a child and Jim (her husband) and of course, about her children.  I will never forget the smile she would get when given the chance to reminisce about the past.

I know that the last couple years of her life were difficult for her and she was not very happy with her circumstances.  But through all the trials she was able to keep her head up and doggedly push through the tough times.  She would always say to me and anyone else who tried to help her that she “didn’t want to be a burden.”  Well, Lauri, I hope you know now how much you were NOT a burden to me and how much I love you!  Serving Lauri has given me a new perspective on life.  The love that is given and gained in service is unlike any other kind of love in the world.  It is deep, and full of understanding and tender admiration for the strength of spirit of those we succor.  Lauri has taught me that life is not complete without this kind of love.

I return from this weekend with a spirit that is lightened and grateful for Lauri’s presence in my life.  I find myself with a feeling of emptiness each day as the time comes and goes without having spoken to Lauri.  She has been such a constant in my life since Jason and I married that it is very strange to not have her here anymore.  Neither Jason or I are very teary people, but the tears seem to come unbidden and at random times lately.  My poor husband, has lost his mother in addition to his father now, at a very early age and I marvel at his courage and faith through this hard time.  The services were wonderful.  There was a time at the end for family and friends to get up and share their thoughts and memories of Lauri and her life.  I loved this!  Between the memories that were shared and the things we have found in her house after her passing, I have come to know Lauri in an even newer light and I cannot wait to see her again so that we can talk and laugh together unhindered by the problems of this world.  I know she is healthy and happy now being back with her beloved husband and though I will miss her dearly, I am glad that she has finally found peace.

See you soon Lauri!

Though the weekend brought us together under sad circumstances, it was really great to see family we haven’t seen in a long time!  Years in some cases!  We arrived in Idaho Falls Friday evening and went right to Ron’s shop so that Ron and Jason could make the urn.  Ron made Lauri’s Urn out of stainless steel and did a great job!  While they were working on that, I took the kids to a nearby park and we played for about an hour.  It was a great park that had everything from a huge sand box to musical instruments to swings and a gigantic play set.  The kids had a ball.  By the end though, Mom was sure ready to go to the hotel!  We picked up Jason from Ron’s shop and went to the hotel were we met up with Jeremy and Heather and Granny Deanie.  Dinner was from Cafe Rio and after we ate, the kids and Jeremy and Jason swam.  Heather (luckily :)) forgot her Sunday clothes, so she just had to go shopping!  She let me tag along with her and we had a fabulous night at Kohls and Target.   The kids were going to sleep when we got back so Jason and Jeremy and I sat in the lobby and talked until late.  It was fun!

Saturday was a nice sunny day in the morning and after breakfast we all headed over to the cemetery.  The flowers were delivered and the chairs were set up and at just after 11am the services started.  It got steadily cooler as the services went on, but luckily it stayed dry until we were getting in the cars at the end.  Perfect timing!  After the services, we all headed over to Smitty’s, the traditional family gathering place, for a brunch.  The food was excellent and the conversation was even better.  After Smitty’s we took the kids swimming for a while and Jonna and Eric joined us.  We all swam, played, dunked, and tossed each other for about an hour and a half.  I think Jeremy and Jason are still bleeding from the girls long fingernails. 🙂  As for me, I got so cold at the services and in Smitty’s that the warm spa water was heavenly and I had a hard time leaving it to play!

After swimming, Jeremy and Jason headed over to Duane’s for some more family talk time, and Heather and I stayed at the hotel with the kids so they could all talk in peace.  We ordered a pizza and watched a movie and then went to bed!  Sunday we got up and dressed early so that we could go to church with Duane.  With everything happening this weekend, I forgot it was Father’s day until they announced it.  Don’t worry, I told Jason we would celebrate next weekend under better circumstances. 🙂  The speakers were excellent and the kids were quite for the most part. It probably seemed that way to me because Jason spent half the meeting in the hallway with Brynn.  What  a good daddy!  After church we checked out of the hotel and then went for a walk around Idaho Falls and took some fun pictures.  Thanks for the photography tutorial and letting me borrow your lens Jeremy!  I totally need to get me one of those! 🙂  The last thing we did was meet a Duane’s again for some lunch before we headed out to come home.

All in all the weekend was good and I am so grateful that we were able to spend so much time with our family!  The drive home was pleasant, I read while Jason drove.  He came home and crashed, can’t say that I blame him!