David took the day off work, I think to follow up for a doctor's appointment, and took the kids to the aviary in Salt Lake that morning. I'm pretty sure I was working on a paper or something for school. They had a blast--saw all the bird shows, feedings, etc. They also had a 30 minute conversation with a parrot.
We finished up the kids' reading calendars from the library, got their final beads and surprises from the library, and then went out for an ice cream treat. Pace is really into taking funny photos lately...
David's cousin, Zach, and his family, Diana, Grace, Mason, and Kane came to visit on their way down to Disney. Zach teaches middle school science and math, and really wanted to go rock hounding to find some specimens for school. So the boys loaded up and went rock hounding for a couple days, finding trilobites, topaz, etc. Diana and I spent a couple days taking the non-rock hounding kids to the splash pad, hiking to the grotto, the mall for some school shopping, and the pool.
Pace's happy place!
The mall in Orem added a new play place for kids, it was pretty impressive! Max and Kane were born a day apart, so they quickly became little buddies, played everything together, had shopping cart races at Target, hiking with each other.
Grace was super great to have around, too! We had her babysit the kids for two different date nights! We went out to dinner one night, and went to the Dry Bar Comedy Club and treats another night.
Finishing up the last week before school...lots of playing left to do! Pace built a satellite, Kayla and Pace worked on a lego garden one day, and the neighbors asked Kayla and the boys to participate in a shaved ice/treat stand. They made enough that each participant walked away with $3.50! One night David was working late, and I had a presidency meeting...so the boys came with me. They were really good, up until the last 30 minutes (it was after 9pm at that point), they got silly and started wrestling.
Aaaaand...the first day of school! We woke everyone up early, since their school switched to a 4-day school week (M-Th), and we'd have to leave the house at 8 to ride bikes and make it there on time. We measured the boys, and they both grew a whole inch over the summer! Pace started school on the 14th, and Max technically started a week later, on the 21st. The school does kindergarten assessments during that first week, one on one teacher-student, the the teacher has an idea of what each individual child's strengths and weaknesses are. So we dropped Pace off at school, locked up his bike, walked him to his room (I was walking behind him, giving him directions, and Pace said, "Mom, why do you keep saying that?!"--I'm sure rolling his eyes, haha!--He told me he already knew where to go, so I told him to lead away. We gave each other a thumbs up at his classroom, and he was good to go! And then we went right over to Max's building (half day kindergarten is in a separate, smaller building), so Max could do his assessment. We all know Max is a smart one, and a very natural reader, but I did not know he would test at a "C" reading level...his teacher explained to me the levels start at non-reader, pre-reader, AA, A, B, C. They typically like to see first graders enter with a B/C reading level. So Max is fine, haha.
We picked up Pace from school, and pulled out his folder to check out his school stuff. He got to draw a couple pictures: one, something fun he did over the summer (trilobite-hounding), and two, his favorite thing (star wars).
I also found something left over from last year, he must have colored these pictures before mother's day, and I just never found it! We had to get some lovey-dovey selfies with my boys!
The second day of school, I was walking home from dropping off Pace, and friends of ours had just gotten home from Scotland, and brought us a little chocolate goodie bag. When we got Pace from school, he showed me his drawing on day 2 of school: "I was the saddest kid in class". I thought I'd been really careful to be sensitive with Pace after the first day of school, held him on my lap, asked him questions, and he acted totally fine, just wanted to go off and play. I had a meeting that night, and when I got home, David said Pace sobbed for about 45 minutes straight, and cried himself to sleep. I think it was just an overwhelming transition, and a big day, and he was ok as long as I was around, but when mama left, he was done being brave. That's my theory, anyway. He's been fine ever since--it was just an overwhelming day!
We had a dentist check up for the boys, everyone's teeth were great, no cavities, no teeth pulled, and no emotional scars from Pace's last dental visit.
After the dentist we went on a hike to Stewart Falls. It's about 2 miles from the trailhead to Stewart Falls, and not a very technical hike. The way there was great, everyone did fine. I didn't realize there was a Stewart Falls trailhead from Sundance, too, so we took the wrong trail back, and thought we could just cut through the trial s to make it back to the original Stewart Falls trail, but it didn't work. We ended up at the Sundance Nordic Center, and someone there was nice enough to give us a ride back to the Aspen Grove trailhead where we'd parked. I think we actually ended up walking less on the way back, but since it felt like we were wandering, the kids weren't too happy, and there was a lot of whining. Good thing we got a ride!
A couple weeks before school starting, we had a family night talking about the importance of using kind words with everyone. I'd looked up the "bad word plant experiment", and found a TON of examples online, with people showing how they'd planted seeds, and had labeled one jar with mean words like "bad" or "stupid", and the other jar with nice words, like "good" and "love", etc. We also included one "ignore" jar, where we didn't say anything, good or bad, to the seed. So at family night, we described this experiment, and talked about how when they go to school, there are going to be lots of different kinds of kids, they might talk or look differently than them, or they might have different religious beliefs than them, but that doesn't give them permission to speak unkindly to someone, or make fun of them. So each day, we pulled down the bad jar, and said mean things to that poor seed, and then we pulled down the good jar, and said nice things to it, and kept it at the table with us as we did our foundations--scripture reading and morning prayer. I was so confident in this experiment, I decided we could add the importance of prayer and scripture reading to see what the effect would be on the seed. Well, a week in, and the "stupid" seed was flourishing, the ignore seed wasn't doing anything, and the "good" seed had cracked its shell, but nothing else. We kept at it, and 2 weeks in, still the same...haha.
I was a little worried about what this experiment might do to my boys' young, impressionable minds...tying scripture reading, prayer, and kind words to seeing how it helps a plant grow...so we started praying for the good seed, and we'd see what happened next...At the end of 3 weeks, the stupid plant was still the tallest, but there was little mold spots on the paper towel; the ignore seed never cracked, never opened, and was moldy, along with the paper towel; the good seed had finally grown, had nice green leaves, and no mold on the paper towel at all. I don't know if that means anything, but we had a follow up family night to talk about our experiment results. We decided with the stupid jar, if we were the seed, and people were saying mean things to us, we could react how this plant did--we could ignore the bad stuff and grow anyway. We also decided with the good jar, it was important that if we saw someone struggling to grow, we could help them by bringing them to the sun, bringing them water, etc.
Flying Pig #2! I decided to treat myself to a flying pig each time I finish a semester. This summer was a tough semester...balancing a lot of spinning plates while trying to ride a unicycle, if you know what I mean...And I don't know how to ride a unicycle. I decided I needed to celebrate the successful completion of each semester, and what better way than with a flying pig?! First, it makes me smile. Second, because a flying pig usually infers the impossible is happening. Going to grad school is something I never considered for myself, for lots of different reasons. But here I am, two semesters down, a 4.0 GPA, and doing the impossible! Life has had to shift in lots of ways, and I've had to learn how to adjust, redefine, and let go of some things--and learning to adjust is an essential part of the stretching part of life. With David's support and help, I've made it through weeks I thought I wouldn't make it through. Friends have helped me celebrate and have fun between being a bookish nerdhead. I've researched and read and written an insane amount of material in an insanely short amount of time. My kids are alive! This little pig perfectly sums up this semester--head held high, glasses on, a happy little smile, and a heart on its rear--take that, impossible!
Max's first official day of school! He rode his bike, hung up his backpack, and I was on my semester break, so I actually stayed and helped the whole day. Max is so, so smart. He reads and writes, yes, but he figures things out. He's very engineer minded--likes to see how everything fits together. He has an amazing memory, too. The other day we said it was time to bless the food, and when we were done praying, Max was really upset and exclaimed, "But I didn't see the hands come down!" It took me a minute, but I realized he was remembering a home evening we'd had, talking about the priesthood and blessings, and then David gave the boys school blessings. He was expecting to see hands come down and bless the food, just like Daddy's hands with a special Daddy blessing.
David got in his last few rides before his big HooDoo300 event.
Solar Eclipse 2017! We pulled Pace out of school early, and went home with Max after school, and made it just in time to see the full solar eclipse! Pace has been into Uno lately, and since we kept Pace home from school after the eclipse, and he missed his Spanish afternoon, we played Uno and I made him say the numbers in Spanish. The eclipse was pretty cool. We weren't in the line of totality, so we didn't get completely dark. It did look shady, and cooled off a bit. It was definitely interesting to see how much light and warmth we still got from the sun, even with just a sliver of the sun exposed.
Pace has two teachers with Spanish immersion, and spends half the day in English and half in Spanish. His English side sent him home with a fun homework choice board instead of a traditional worksheet. Her note said families were busy enough, and creative play/adventures were still learning time for kids. So we can choose something off the adventure board, and take a picture and upload it to the school class app. A few adventures so far: we told shadow stories, built a reading tent and read inside, found rocks, had an ABC picnic.
Having one in first grade, and one in kindergarten, I finally understand the magic of Back to School! The kids were in school, and a friend and I met up for a hike!
And then David's big HooDoo300 race happened! Bob came down to help crew, as well as a couple of David's friends. He raced in the Clydesdale category, and ended up not just finishing, but placing first in his category, and placing a course record! He worked really hard for this race, and did great! All I had to do was get some food on the table for the hungry guys when they got home.
One last photo: For back to school night, the teachers just have everyone gather together in the classroom and talk about general things. You talk one-on-one later, at parent teacher conferences. So in the classroom, I saw they'd done little write ups about traveling to the moon. Although Pace didn't write his name on his, I knew it was his from 1. his amazingly neat handwriting, and 2. because his was the only one that said he would collect space rocks. Love this kid!