Thursday, September 14, 2017


Shad started LEAP Preschool right after Labor Day with Miss Yvonne. She's a lady in our stake who I absolutely love and she lives fairly close to our house. Shad was SO excited and gave me a hug and was off. I can already see a bit of confidence boost in him and I know he's so proud to have something of his own and grownup like his older brothers. Plus it's M, W, F for three hours and I only have one kid!!

We went over to Marsha and Paul Hunter's house last Sunday night to play Phase 10 while the kids all played. Always a party with 7 boys under the age of 8 and one cute little girl! They just had baby #5 yesterday and found out it was a...BOY! So make that 8 boys under the age of 8 next time! :) We sure enjoy hanging out with them.

Miss Yvonne sent this text after Shad's first day of school- go Shaddie!!

Not gonna lie- this nursery calling is a little crazy! I usually have about 14 kids each Sunday so I often grab TJ and tell him has has to help me :) He does good with them but by the end we're both exhausted! 

I was so touched when I saw this!

For Labor Day we went to Sea World together as a family and it was strangely empty!! We got there about 4 pm and stayed for 2 hours and walked right up to every ride we wanted to go on. It was awesome. I did some of the big roller coaster rides- they were awesome! One of them I was a little afraid because there was only 4 people on the entire thing! TJ isn't a fan so I couldn't convince him :)

Bens and I enjoying our mornings alone together while Shad's at school. 

The other day I walked into find this as I had been working on some homework for a while and realized it was super quiet... :) It was time to go pick up Ty and Levi so I just transferred them over to the wagon and walked to pick the older boys up like this!

The many faces of Shaddie!

I taught a RS enrichment class that was a Back to School theme. I taught a quick lesson on Family History work for "history class." There was homeroom (organization lesson by the one and only Miss Yvonne), science lab (made bath salts), and lunchtime (health snacks/lunches)- super cute theme and Jackie decorated it so cute.

Paw Patrol boys!

Last Friday night Shad fell asleep early and then woke up around 9 pm to eat dinner. But he kept crying and then finally just went back to bed. He did mention that his R ear hurt but he didn't even feel hot. The next morning he woke up fine but had a crusted ear with what looked to be dried yellow fluid. I thought that was weird cause he was acting so fine. I took the 3 older boys with me for some errands and then it hit him- he was miserable, feverish and ear hurting. So we stopped by a Christus Health instacare and got right in, out in 30 min. I was impressed. But he had a double ear infection with the R ear perforated!!! I couldn't believe how suddenly it came on! Poor guy! I was happy to get antibiotics going and he's been totally fine since. Grateful for modern technology for making things like this so easy.

Benson wears Levi's shoes on a daily basis. It's his favorite. And he loves doggies.

Recent Sayings:

- I was booking a flight back home to AZ for my graduation and Ty came up and asked what I was doing. I told him and he looked at me and exclaimed, "You're DONE with school??!!! I'm SO PROUD of you!!" It was the sweetest thing he's ever said to me and melted my heart into a giant puddle. :)

- Benson is starting to talk more and when Levi heard Benson say a word really clear, he looked at me in shock and said, "Whoa. Now he can speak our language!"

- I saw Levi put a stuffed animal in his backpack and looked at me and said very matter of factly, "I take an animal in my backpack so it gives me a little love from home. You know, just in case I get homesick." 

- After finishing another Magic Treehouse book he said, "When I read Magic Treehouse books I feel like I'm in a whole new work and that I can do anything. It's wonderful." Again, very matter of factly. 

- One day he told me that we don't have enough books. Of course after staring at him in disbelief and telling him we have TONS of books he said, "Yeah but not for a love-books-boy like me!!"

- When I was off to work at 7 pm he said, "Are you going to be nocturnal for tonight?"

- "Mom, I wish I was this color (point to his skin). If I was brown or dark brown I would be the last to get sunburned!"

- After kissing him he said, " Mom! You just kissed me like we were married!! What if we were married?? That would be RIDICULOUS!" 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

On the weekend of August 26 we braced ourselves for Hurricane Harvey. Call me ignorant but I had no idea San Antonio/Austin areas could even be that affected by a hurricane. I seriously had no idea it could come to us. Luckily I had gone to Costco that week and we had our food supply and 72 kits ready. We were at HEB to grab a few produce items and it was crazy to see all the bread, milk and eggs GONE! Like shelves wiped clean. I had never seen that before. We hunkered down to wait out the weekend and see what would come. All we got in SA was some rain- not even thunder showers. Everything was canceled for the weekend- including church- so it was a lot of time just being at home! But it actually kind of nice since I had some crafts and a giant puzzle to work on so it turned out to just be a lazy weekend. Temps had cooled down and it was almost funny how nice of weather it had become. I was worried school would be delayed in starting and all my baby-sitting plans would be all messed up since I had orientation all week but everything resumed to normal on Monday. 
Come to find out, we actually were extremely lucky and blessed. The hurricane shifted 40 miles to the east which spared us and wrecked havoc on Houston instead. I've been feeling such mixed feelings of gratitude and guilt, knowing it could be SA under water instead of Houston. I'm looking forward to helping in whatever ways our stake is assigned. We knew about 5 families over there- Amy Ludwig (Nuzman), Dylan Cannon, LeeAnn Schaffer, Shiloh and Tim Gooch, and the Shilligs- and I've been pretty worried about them. Turns out the only ones to take in water in their houses were the Cannons and Shilligs, with the Shilligs being pretty bad. Everything is ruined and they only have their vehicle and some clothes in a suitcase. It's been so touching to see people donate to their cause- lot of Venmos to me and gift cards sent to them. So kind. 
Anyways, this was the first large scale natural disaster that affected me personally, in a way. These people are our neighbors and it could've been us so easily. Christus hospitals were full after taking in an influx of people from Corpus Christi (the roads were impassable to get to SA from Houston so those patients all went north and to Louisiana). TJ's sister building took in 57 residents, workers, families and pets! and so he went in all day the Friday before the storm to prep the building, find bedding, stock up and clean. It has been so touching to see the Texas pride showing forth and people from around the world showing sympathy and giving relief. 

The Houston temple took in water :( Made me so sad when I heard that. The baptistry was under water and the rest of building took in about a foot or two. 

Civilians from all over got their boats and just starting going out to rescue people. They are called the "Cajun Navy" and it's so neat to see people come together and truly care. I guess this is the worst flood in the last 500 years. Many towns got 17-19 feet of water and it rained 30 inches over night. 

Empty HEB shelves

The puzzle we worked on all weekend!

We've been struggling with gas around SA. For a few days, we had zero due to a panic. People lined up for 2-3 hours until it was gone. 

The Shillig's house :(

Sunday, September 3, 2017

New School Year

On Monday, August 28 we started a new school year at Scarborough Elementary. We had Meet the Teacher night a few days before and the boys were BEYOND excited to start. It was time and even from the very first day, every bounced right back into schedule and typical routine. It was what we were all needing. Levi has Ms. Montemayor but the kids call her Miss Monte. She could not be sweeter, which you can tell just by her smile. She's young but energetic and excited about teaching and is awesome. Levi already adores her. Ty has Mrs. Bond, who is older and more experienced (she's on her 25th year of teaching) and just has a calm about her. Super nice and sweet as well. I really think we lucked out on teachers this year. I was proud of these boys- they weren't as nervous as last year and have really come to step up to the plate when going to new places and meeting new people. Moving six times in their short lives have taught them to do hard things and be excited for change. We did Father's blessings the night before and that really helped them as well. It's also nice because we walk to school this year! The school is literally right behind us and we can see it from our backyard so it's really nice to avoid the car traffic and just walk. I put the little boys in the wagon and it works great!

I think I've found the secret to durable, long-lasting backpacks that have ample room and actually fit on kids' shoulders- Pottery Barn Kids! They had a big online sale with free shipping and found their clearance items- it was such a great deal and fits so well.

These last past two weeks have been CRAZY as I started hospital orientation for my new job. I was hired as a PRN night nurse for a new freestanding ER that Christus Health is opening off of Bandera Road. Texas is crazy about freestanding ERs- they are everywhere- and it was a concept I had never really seen before. I felt like it was time to get back into working as my Masters' program will be done soon and it's been a full two years since I have worked. I barely was getting any responses back, let alone interviews, and I was getting worried my 7 years of blood, sweat and tears of working at IHC was going to waste. Luckily this position came open and it literally just fell into place. I felt guided to it and feel that it's right with excitement/anticipation as well. No sense of dread as I've felt before. The main reason that I haven't worked these past two years (besides moving and school) is that I knew orienting would be full time and super hard on the family. TJ and I decided to just go for it and do whatever it took to make it through since after the orientation period, it would get 10x easier. Well, the first week of orientation I only had M-W and TJ was able to adjust his schedule and be with the kids. Monday I was gone 12 hours so he stayed home but Tuesday he decided to take the kids into work with him! He had all 4 since school hadn't started yet. They watched movies on his laptop in his office and ate lots of snacks. Benson eventually fell asleep in his office chair, haha- after he refused to wear shoes and run around barefoot in a dirty, germy nursing home! Ha! Wednesday he drove to Kyle (hour and 15 min) to drop the kids off at Carrie's house, went to a meeting in New Braunfels (45 min), then back to Kyle (45 min) to pick them up and then all the way back home to SA (1.5 hrs). I was really touched he was so willing to do that and didn't complain at all. 

The next week I had orientation Tues-Fri but was SO grateful I had Monday off since that was the first day of school. However, wow! was it tricky to get through those last four days!! There literally wasn't enough time in the day and I do not know how two working parents do it, week after week, year after year. It was exhausting. Two of the days I had to leave at 6:30 am so it was hard walking out the door and needing TJ to get all 4 boys where they needed to be on only the 2nd and 3rd days of school. But it all worked out and there wasn't even one tiny glitch to any of the plan. It all went exactly according to plan. The little boys went to my friend Katie's house (she runs an in-home day care) three of the days and then to a drop-in day care that was two miles from the hospital where I was at. It was hard leaving them as Benson was so sad but it also was good for them! It was good for me to appreciate being home with them and realizing that I love being a SAHM. It where I WANT and need to be even if the days are hard and long at times. I love having a career that supports motherhood and is easy to squeeze into it- and not the other way around. As I was leaving one morning Levi said, "Bye Mom! Do good things at the hospital! Help lots of people! I wish you didn't have to leave- I like having you here with us." So sweet and made me so grateful that I can be home with them and confident in my decision to not have a full fledged career at this time. 

 There were a few tender mercies this past week that I really appreciated. Nothing huge but enough that I was touched. I got out early on Tuesday and literally got out in exactly the right amount of time to drive across town, not have any traffic, and pull into the school at 2:55 pm. It meant TJ could stay at work and get a full day's work in too, so that was huge. The only one was how I met Katie. The weekend before school started, Marsha texted me to say they were at the park. We were doing errands and I didn't really want to but on the way home we noticed they were still there. I decided to stop and let the boys play a little even though I had groceries in the van. I ended up meeting Katie and miraculous, the topic of day care came up and she mentioned she was looking for kids to watch. She ended up watching them 3 of the 4 days and did an amazing job- so professional and kind and I knew she was taking it seriously. They did a craft each day and had a structured schedule- so kind of her and Shad loved it. It also saved a lot of money as compared to a drop in day care. So I grateful that Heavenly Father was helping me to get through this week!

Love my Gracie girl!!!! I just want to snuggle her all day long!

 Of course, during this past crazy week, we had something every single night. Between baseball try-outs, a school meeting for me, Parent Orientation at Scarborough, and Shad's Meet the Teacher night it was just non-stop. However, after watching the boys play on the trampoline at Shad's preschool teacher's house, I hopped on Craigslist to see what trampoline deals there were and saw one that was down the road from us for FREE! I sent TJ over there as quick as he could and we got it! These boys LOVE it and have already spent hours outside. Even though our backyard is so small it's nice to have something in it to keep them outside. I appreciate generous people who aren't always trying to get every penny out of people. :) 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Last full week of summer!

With school starting so late this year- August 28- and me starting a new job (orientation is tomorrow, Aug 21), this past week was our last full week of summer. Finally!!! I love summer and having the time with my kids but after we get halfway through August we ALL are needing more structure, routine and tiny bit of space! This past week I also finished up my last summer class and I had a full week break off from school so we tried to find cheap/free things to do to occupy us. I feel like we get our dailies done in the morning, eat lunch and Benson naps but after that, we need to get out of the house or DO something, otherwise we all go stir crazy. We went to a bounce house place that I had a groupon for, Levi (finally) had his 6 year old well-child check up, the boys sold lemonade to earn money to eat dinner at Chick-fil-A, we drove to Bandera, TX to play in the river, met Carrie and her kids at Six Flags for a day, and lots of Magic Treehouse reading. It was a good last week of summer!

Levi is 39.5 lbs (12th percentile) and 43.75 inches (18th percentile). He's slowly getting out of the single digit percentiles! Hopefully he won't be the shortest and smallest in his class this year!

We drove to a Chick-fil-A that was supposed to be fancy and a bigger play place after selling lemonade in the hot sun to raise money for it. Ha! It was the exact same :) But we still love Chick-fil-A so it was still just as enjoyable! I tell TJ all the time that my dream is open a Chick-fil-A inside a Target ;) By the time we got there, it was late afternoon and I knew we'd have to fight traffic on the 1604 to make it home. I wasn't willing to fight Benson to change his shirt into the one I brought. So we were THAT family- him running around dirty, covered in Chick-fil-A sauce, wearing Ty's shirt and his shoes on the wrong feet! Ahhh! :) I still loved sitting back and letting them play forever while I was on my phone, sipping my Dr. Pepper :)

We drove 30 miles northwest of the city out to Bandera- I loved this cute little town!! I would seriously live here in a heartbeat. It was great weather and the boys enjoyed playing in the river and throwing rocks. The drive was so nice and I love Texas country! Makes me so eager to move out of the city ASAP!


We met Carrie and Nora and Jackson at Six Flags. Ty was so cute with the little kids and especially Nora. He held her hand and let her sit with him on all the "little kids rides." He made sure to tell me he was just going on them "to help the kids"- ha! These are the same rides he loved at the beginning of the summer- what's happening to my little baby boy! :)

These boys have worked hard this summer selling lemonade!! At the beginning of the summer they each invested $3.50 to buy everything they needed to sell lemonade. They quickly learned it wasn't that much fun, very hot and takes a while to sell an entire pitcher! I made them keep doing it since it was a job they committed to and couldn't just quit because it was hard! They sold about 4 times total and made $32 all together! They used their money to buy dinner at Chick-fil-A once and the rest on Magic Treehouse books. They got very good at their selling tactics by dancing and singing. It was hard work for me too because I had to keep Benson out of the busy road, keep Shad from drinking it all, keep bugs/dirt out of the ice bucket and pitcher and constantly tell Ty and Levi cars were coming! The things we do to get them out of the house!

This crazy kid!

Benson loves butter.

Lion King movie night with ice cream cones.

Levi wanted to see how many Magic Treehouse books he could read in one week- he ended up reading books 1-28!! I was surprised at how much he stuck to it. He took a book or two with him wherever we went, literally! His comprehension is great too. I love seeing these boys love reading so much and brings back glimpses of myself at their ages. 

Levi read everywhere we went!