Life was lining up just right...I was going to start grad school in January, we are 99.9999% sure we can't have any more children biologically, so I can focus on the next phase of raising our boys, I had a rotating teaching calling once a month at church. Everything was going to be status quo, and I was really excited to simplify life. The same week I started grad school, I got called to serve in the Relief Society Presidency. The week after that a friend called and said they wanted to invite me to join their Ragnar Trail Relay team, and they wanted me to be their team captain. So...life got really busy, really fast. We worked through Jan and Feb to build our 8-person team, and March brought training. We had 10 Saturday runs that would need to be trail runs for training. After looking at the trails we'd be running at the event, I put together a training plan of five different types of trail runs: stacked runs, distance, steep grades, night, and technical trails. With ten weeks of training, we'd do each of these five types of runs twice. The first run: a stacked run: a 4 mile trail run, 1.5 hour break, then a 5 mile trail run, along the BST in Provo.
New Lego drawers are working much, much better. They are large enough Pace feels like he can just pull out the drawer and sift through the Legos to find what he wants, and he doesn't have to dump them out on the floor. It *mostly* looks like this at the end of every day!
Some great art work from school: They did an animal unit, pets, farm animal, animals in the wild. The kids drew examples of each one, and Pace drew our (former) chameleon and our cats. I love that he phonetically spelled chameleon. The boys were trying to be silly while I was taking their picture...
Melting snow means mud! I caught them one day playing in the mud puddle. I don't think these photos do mud justice...They were caked. When they came in I stripped them in the laundry room, threw their clothes in the wash, and gave them baths.
To celebrate finishing their animal unit, the school had a "pet fair", and everyone was allowed to bring their pets for their classmates to see. One brought a snake, and Pace thought holding it was pretty cool.
Daily couch jumping.
We took the boys on a hike up Slate Canyon, I passed it along my run on the BST and thought it would be fun to check out the canyon. They loved it, and of course picked up rocks to bring home the whole way.
That very same night was our training run#2: night run. We got a sitter and David and I made running up West Mountain our date night. We were hoping to make it up to the radio towers at the top, but it took longer than we thought, and we were still about a mile or mile and a half off when we turned around. It's a hard run! Consistent uphill grade for 5.5 miles to the top (we only went about 4.5 before turning around), and you gain something like over 3,000 ft of elevation gain. Our Ragnar team name is team Trail Huggers. The team isn't always able to run together on Saturdays, so I got little garden gnomes as our team mascot. I painted their gnome hats with flowers and hearts and other such "trail hugger "themed colors. Each team member got one and we can keep team unity and cheer by bringing our trail hugger with us and taking pictures of him somewhere along the trail.
Max colored a tree in school and wanted me to take a picture of him with Keo. I asked him why he colored it red and he said just because he wanted to.
Training run #3: Steep elevation. I decided to tackle Squaw Peak. It was my first time running it, and I ran when I could, hiked when I couldn't. I felt like I did more hiking than I wanted to, but for steep elevation, it wasn't bad. There was a lot of snow melting, water running, and mud along the trail! If you went off the trail toward the top of the peak, you'd step into knee-deep snow. It's only about 7 miles, but it took me a little over 3 hours to do! I counted coming back down as my first downhill skiing experience--it was crazy slippery, wet, and melty!
I help out with Pace's class on Fridays during their learning game centers. Usually Max is in preschool, but on this particular Friday, Max didn't have school, so I brought him with me to help. One center was a coloring page with digraphs. The kids had to match the digraph with the picture, and then they could color it. I knew Max could do that, so I grabbed a sheet for him to work on while I was helping at another table. He finished it so fast, and was put out that he wasn't going the game with the other kids at my table. He wanted to play the game, too! We had plastic easter eggs filled with foam letters and a small object. The kids had to spell the object in the egg with the foam letters provided. I finally grabbed some eggs for Max, and he kept up with everyone else, spelling bees, clip, corn, pumpkin...this kid could go into first grade! He kept right up with all those kindergartners at the end of their school year! So grateful we have smart and hardworking boys! They've both worked so hard with Upstart, their workbooks, and reading!
After school that Friday, we had our cute neighbor over for the afternoon. We were having such cold, windy, and rainy weather, I decided to take everyone out to Chic-Fil-a for lunch and they could get their wiggles out at the little playground there. Chic-Fil-a has become my secret weapon. If I have a lot of school work to get done, I'll literally spend 3-4 hours at that restaurant...the boys eat, play, eat more, play more, and I get a solid 3-4 hours of reading and writing done. It's great! This day was so cute because Pace opened his umbrella and wanted to hold it over Janeyi's head to help her stay dry. By the time I got my phone out to take a photo, the picture perfect moment had passed, but still got a couple cute ones. The kids have little seed necklaces around their necks; they are working on a garden/seed/cycle of seed life unit at school.
They did these bookmarks in school with these great sayings to help them feel like they can keep trying. Pace colored one guy half robot half boy (the one at the bottom with purple on him, that's the robot part).
Team Trail Hugger Grab Bag Party! We had tie-dye colored running head wraps, gnome trail huggers to pick out, team photos to take, personalized pick-me-up snacks for the race, and our t-shirt design to vote on. We were missing two members here, but it was still fun!
Friends of ours are doing chickens and raising them from little chicks. They invited us over to hold the chicks and plays for a while. The boys were enamored.
Later, after an asthma follow up appointment for Pace at the dr's, we played at the playground behind Costco until the sun started to go down.
Training run #4: Hot Pots trail. I love this trail! It's in the forest, it's beautiful, following the river, and it's great trail running--ups, downs rocks, trees, etc. And it's fairly populated, there are always people camping along the trail, soaking in the hot pots, scout troops hiking it, people hiking it. So if I'm going to trail run solo, I'd much rather go somewhere well-populated. I won't go into the mountain yonder alone, I stick pretty close to well-known and well-populated trails, like the BST, or this one, closer to home. This day was a distance day, but since I was alone, I didn't want to go past the hot pots alone (the trail goes one and one and on, all the way to Strawberry Reservoir and beyond!), so I ran the trailhead to the pots twice. That gave me 10 miles, and I passed groups and groups of people, so I was never really alone. And I had my trail hugger with me.
Where's Waldo? Can you find my trail hugger hiding in the rocks?
Another day, another chapter, another pillow fort. Max was at my feet telling himself a story involving the earth and sun and blowing up, or something like that.
When there's squabbling, fighting, hitting, yelling, etc., I make the boys give each other hugs, say sorry, and "I'm glad you're my brother." Most of the time, this comes out as a very abbreviated, speedy, reluctant "I'mglayou'rembrodd...." Whatever. They're learning.
It's a good day when I can cook a real dinner. This was sweet potato bacon waffles with a fried egg and syrup on top. Yeah, it was good.
I love Pace's drawings from school, he is such a literal kid. They were working on a "What" book, learning how to write a full sentence with proper syntax, grammar, and punctuation. For "What is yellow?", Pace chose to draw a sun. The black spots on his sun are sun spots. Because duh.
Tokens!! We originally made these chore charts last year, to teach the boys about money and tithing. They were excited for money for about 3 weeks, and it gradually tapered off, and it turned into me nagging everyone, and then just stopped if I wasn't nagging them. They still needed to learn how to help around the house, and I still needed help since starting school. I realized I'd been turning on a lot of shows for them, after doing their reading and homework and Upstart, etc., I'd turn on a show to keep them occupied and quiet so I could work on my school work. A few weeks of this into January, and I realized this was not the best plan--they were acting more demanding, bossy, weren't getting along, etc. So we started doing tokens with their chore chart. Each chore checked earned one token. One token is worth 5 minutes of screen time (screen time being video games, watching a show, playing a game on the phone or kindle, etc.). This has worked so well, we've kept it consistently up since implementing it in January. I still have to ask Max to do things, but Pace gets up first thing and makes his bed, says his prayer, comes down and checks it off, monitors his own checks, initiates clearing his own dishes and cleaning up the front room without my asking, counts up all his tokens at the end of the day, etc. They are also learning counting out tokens per show, saving tokens up instead of spending them every day, and even sharing tokens to watch something together.
Max is still my little kitchen helper. He loves pulling over a stool to make something together. I think this was chocolate muffins.