Monday, August 22

Back to School



It is a very eventful school year for us.  Zana is starting Kindergarten!!!  She is very excited. It has taken a lot of work to prepare her for Kindergarten but all our efforts have paid off.  She is ready to take this big step. 


JJ is in second grade.  This year she is most excited about her new shoes. They are just like Twinkle Toes and even light up. Of coarse JJ knows that they are better then Sketchers because we paid a lot less for ours.  We are sooo “tricky”.   We got them at the beginning of the summer hoping that her feet would grow but alas they did not. She had to wear her old sneakers the first day.   I had to do a little chasing around to find a pair in her size but I did and on the second day she had her cool new shoes.   


Zana was all gung ho about riding the bus to school the first day. My plan was to drop Biddy of at a sitters then meet the girls at school to walk Zana to class.  We all waited at the bus stop but it never came.  I ended up driving the girls to school. It turns out that they moved all the bus times up by fifteen minutes.  I was not happy about this since the bus came at 6:37 last year.  6:22 was out of the question so they never do get to ride the bus to school.  Burke drops them off at school on his way to work at 6:45.  It is still an early morning since they have to wake up at 6:10  but they are adjusting.  


The girls eat breakfast at school every morning and I got to help Zana the first morning.  She did great with her first cafeteria experience.  JJ went with another teacher to find her class and I walked Zana to Kindergarten.  We stood outside for a minute and checked out the classroom.  When I asked her what she thought she replied “It looks good”  phew.  Then we went in and met Mrs. E.  She is an experienced Kindergarten teacher and was very warm and friendly.  Zana found her name on her desk right away and then found her cubby and back pack hook.  After putting everything away she sat down at her desk and set to work writing her name.  She tends to write her letter S backwards. She wanted to do it perfect today and panicked.  I helped her know that she needed to raise her hand for help and when she did Mrs. E came right over.  Zana was still too nervous to talk to her but I explained about the S.  She drew a tracing S for Zana on the paper and that made her smile.  She knew that her teacher would help her.  From there it was smooth sailing and I left her with a big smile.  I knew she would be just fine.  I didn’t even get teary. We are both ready for this next step.  

I stopped by JJ’s class to drop of her school supplies and quickly meet her teacher.  She was very nice and organized.  She said that JJ came in with a smile, set to quickly to work and knew her bus number and school ID  number.  She made a good impression on her teacher and a great start to 2nd grade.  I left the school with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  I love my girls so much. I know they are going to have a great school year. 

Friday, August 19

The Road Home

We stopped at Mesa Verde on the drive home.  The girls thought it was so cool that they got to see real Indian ruins and a even a lizard. 


The Spruce House ruins were impressive.



We stayed at KOA Kabins the next two nights.  Swimming, playing on the play grounds and cooking hotdogs over a fire was the perfect break from the long hours in the car.  At the end of the third day we rolled into our driveway.  It felt so good to be home despite the hot and cold welcome.  It was 86 degrees in our house and when I opened the freezer buckets of ice came pouring out. 


Burke thought that removing the ice bin would shut off the ice maker.  Well he was wrong. The freezer kept making ice until it hit the bar that automatically shuts it off.  Burke sure had a fun time cleaning up!   


We had an amazing  three weeks and loved every minute of time spent with our family. 

Monday, August 15

Perfect Timing

My youngest sister had her baby girl while we were in UT.  It was such a wonderful experience for me.  I moved to MA before all of my nephews were born and have subsequently missed every one of their births.  Going to the hospital and holding a brand new baby…one who is actually part of my family is a new experience. My new niece will always have a special place in my heart.  I don’t think I will ever forget her birthday because meeting her was a lot different then getting a text message photo and then holding back the tears as I have to continue to go about the normal business of my day.  They say that sometimes it is better to not know what you are missing but in this case knowing her will make the births of my future nieces and nephews all the sweeter.  Now I know what it feels like and can imagine that I have that love and connection with each and every one of them.


The day before we left home the girls spent the morning with Grandma preparing a special basket filled with home made goodies.  It was a special time with Grandma that they will treasure.  That evening we paid our new niece a visit at her home.  The girls got to hold her and give her lots of love.   



My sister and had so much fun making the bedding for her nursery.  We picked out the fabric over the internet and decided on the style we wanted.  Then I got to have the fun task of sewing it all together.  It turned out so cute! 



Saturday, August 13

Adventures with the Johnson Family

We made our annual trip to the family cabin in Heber.  We stopped in Midway along the way so I could show the girls the Magic Glockenspiel.  Yes, there is a back story.…. 

We like to eat outside when the weather is mild and one time I started telling the girls about the adventures I went on with my family when I was little.  The girls loved my “outside stories” and ask for them every time we eat outside.  Our adventures growing up where fun but not that exciting so it takes a little imagination to captivate my girls.  Here is my version of our adventure to Heber Valley. “ One time my Mom took us over the mountains to a wonderful place called Midway.  It was a charming Swiss village with Gingerbread houses.  In the center of town they had an old building called Town Hall that looked like it came out of  fairytale.  It had a special clock called a Glockenspiel.  When the clock chimed music played and little statues came out and danced just as if they had magically come to life.  We went to see the clock and when the hour struck we were so exited but then nothing happened.  So we waited five more minutes and still nothing. We thought maybe it chimed on the half hour so we kept waiting and then when the half hour struck……nothing happened again.  We could not stay any longer and we were very sad.  But the clock is still there and someday we will go back and see the magic Glockenspiel and listen to the beautiful music it plays.”

So here was the perfect chance.  Before we left I went to the Midway City website to try and find out if the clock was working and what time it chimed etc.  I could not find anything.  I kept digging and found some travel blogs that mention the clock and said that it does chime.  So we went for it.  The girls liked the little Gingerbread houses but it was the Glockenspiel they were excited about.  As fate would have it when we arrived at Town Hall the entire building was surrounded by a chain link fence and construction crews were busily restoring the old structure.  The girls were heartbroken.  In my mothers true fashion, I did all I could to salvage the day.  We drove the” super curvy windy road” to the top of memorial hill and played chase.  There was a beautiful view of Mt. Timpanogas from the top. 


Then we set out to find the old covered bridge (which I am told posses all sorts of magical properties). Grandma and Grandpa Jim played right along and the the girls did have a good time.  Now we have our own “outside story” to tell.


We had some more adventures at the cabin.  The girls have had little experience with Mountain Streams and were mighty proud of themselves for being able to traverse the river and even climb over trees and up little waterfalls.  I was pleased that no one drowned although Zana did manage to get herself thoroughly soaked.


We took , what was supposed to be a short drive, to a lake in the mountain above the cabin.  It turned out to be an hour long drive on unpaved roads through some of the most beautiful country I have seen.  At one point, we drove over the rise and caught a glimpse of the Uinta Mountains in the distance.  Not much farther was Mill Hollow Lake.  It was not were we thought we were going but a beautiful place to canoe none the less.


On the way back I loaned my GPS to Burke’s sister Angie so they could take a short cut home because we were going the long way to stop at the store.  Hours later when we got back to the cabin I was shocked to find that Angie was not back.  We panicked for a few minutes before their mud covered Escalade rolled in.  It turns out that the “shortcut” sent them down a narrow unpaved road that became so rutted and rocky that it was impossible to traverse even for the mighty escalade in four wheel drive.  After almost plunging themselves into a ravine while trying to turn around they made their way back to the main road.  I felt horrible but we also had a good laugh about it.  If anything, road trips with the Johnson’s are memorable. 

Both JJ and Zana have girl cousins close to their age.  They had so much fun over the next few days playing, having sleep overs and going swimming.  We were sad to say goodbye!