Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome, Palmer!

Nikki and Derek welcomed their first little baby in September, and this lured Mom, Taylor, Georgia, Kendall and I to Rexburg like moths to a flame.  Palmer was worth every mile of the trip.  And so was the fantastic time we had together.                    


                         



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I tried to take a selfie of Tay, Kendall and myself.  This is how it turned out:
Then they seized the camera and took this.  :)



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Randomness

This summer I gave group sewing lessons here in our house.  I took three students besides Eliza and Naomi, and this is Audrey in the dress she made.  Where are the pictures of the dresses my girls made? Umm...they didn't finish them.  After the seven weeks of classes were over, we kind of lost steam.  For the record, I did offer to help the girls finish once, and they chose to play instead.  And in their defense, I only offered once. :)  I guess we're all ready for a break.  



Here Naomi is helping me with the apricots we picked here in the neighborhood.  And that is our awesome fruit leather baking on the roof!  Yum!


 I think Paul has secretly always wanted to be a redhead like the other two boys.  When I cut Ezra's hair, he got his chance!

Here's Eliza's lego creation.

Grandma and Grandpa Dick were nice enough to take ALL the kids for a few days while TJ and I did a home school convention in Phoenix and visited Karolee in Tuscon.  We loved spending time with them!                                                                      



What could be better than a cousin sleepover?  My kids try hard to make me feel evil for not letting them do friend sleepovers, but strangely I find very little pity in my heart for the poor things.  They are so lucky to be close to their cousins!

 Ezra's lego creations



 TJ scored free tickets to Tuacahn this summer, so we took the oldest four.  (Isaiah never would have made it through the whole show.)  It was so much fun!


TJ took Ezra to 11-year-old Scout Camp this summer at Brian Head, and they had a great time.  TJ used to be the Webelos leader, and just a month ago, he landed the best calling ever:  Scoutmaster!  We are super stoked that he's starting just before Ezra turns 12.  They're going to have so much fun together
                                                                    

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Maho and Mai

In an effort to raise money for violin and cello lessons this year, we signed up for foreign exchange students from Japan.  Maho and Mai stayed with us for about two weeks while they toured the area, participated in language courses at Dixie College, and in general soaked up America.  

We enjoyed them so much!  And the kids enjoyed them, even more. 
One of the first things we did together was to take them biking in the park.  

 Another night they made chocolate chip cookies for us.  One thing that we still laugh about was how appalled the girls were to see how we eat rice as a breakfast cereal, with milk and sugar.   Maho seemed to eat well at most of the meals, but I think poor Mai must have lost some weight during her stay!
 As you can see, Maho was a good sport and let the girls do her hair one night.  TJ also took them up to the lake where he rigged that zip line this summer, but they preferred to swim and watch.  One thing I know they enjoyed was a big family dinner on Sunday.  I had at least twenty guests that night, and I thought the girls must have been bowled over by the crazy, noisy American party.  But later Mai told me that she loved it and would never forget it.  
 The last night they were here, we took these family pictures.  One serious, and...
 a lot of not-so-serious.





The day we dropped them off to go home, I cried.  We miss them so much and hope to see them again someday!  

Isaiah's Birthday Party

After the cabin, the family reunions, the home school convention and visit with the Dicks, the 4th, and Eliza's birthday, we were ready for a very low-key birthday celebration.  Luckily, Isaiah was too young to know any better, and he was thrilled because he got toys, cake, and dairy-free ice cream.  You know, the essentials!

 Always lots of helping hands in this family!

  Isaiah is officially done with being the baby in this family.  No, he's not potty-trained, yet.  :)  I'm not ready.  But he is pretty tired of being kissed and hugged, having his cheeks pinched, and especially, being told he's cute.  "No, I not toot," he squeaks with infantile ferocity.  The poor thing can't help it: his voice cracks up an octave about half the time, he still has a few little speech impediments, and he has a way of shrugging and and squinting his eyes when he's explaining things. I really can't blame anyone for wanting to snuggle him like a teddy bear, but he demands to be taken seriously.  He is so lucky to have Paul for an older brother.  They are like two tiger cubs playing and wrestling all day.  While Paul is doing home school assignments, Isaiah usually plays with his megablocks or builds "pido piles" (pillow piles: piles of cushions from the couches to be jumped on.) Isaiah loves to sing and has been picking up songs from Paul's music class.  He is crazy about nursery and asks if it's time to go about every ten minutes through sacrament meeting.  Isaiah is the most ticklish guy in the world, and if you do it right, you can sneak a few kisses in while he's laughing.  He has this gigantic, husky belly laugh that is like candy for my ears.  I wish I could bottle him up an keep him three forever!  Happy birthday, my sweet baby!  You'll always be cute to me!

Eliza's Birthday Party

Eliza's 10 1/2 birthday party was a huge success.  The giant water slide at Larkspur Park has become too perfect a tradition to suffer any alteration whatsoever. 





 



Eliza is growing into such a fine young woman.  TJ and I have both been so impressed with her progress the past few years.  She has a strong desire to do right, and when she makes mistakes she is always quick to sincerely apologize.  Eliza has more talents in her little finger than I have in my whole body.  She plays violin and sings with amazing intuitive rhythm and pitch.  She is the most hilarious little stand-up comic, relying heavily on her sense of physical comedy and a total abandonment of self-respect in order to get a laugh.  She is a very gifted babysitter.  She has tricks up her sleeve to make Isaiah happy that I never even thought of.  She is devoted to his comfort and happiness.  Eliza is so tender-hearted.  When I have a rough day, she's always quick to notice and to start a service project or a card to help me feel better.  She started a service club last year for Naomi and her other friends, complete with secret passwords, a motto, a flag, and a commitment to spend a great deal of their precious playtime to service projects in the neighborhood.  She is a gifted writer.  Last spring she wrote, "The Lord of the Sword: A Medieval Comedy," for all the kids in the family to perform.  I was amazed at how well-crafted it was, and especially at her whip-smart sense of humor.  She also acted in it very well.  She loves art, and spends most of her free time doodling.  She has also picked up a little gymnastics, and loves to wow visitors with her contortions.  Most of all, she is a young woman with a great testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.  She reads her scriptures every night before bed, and her face shines with testimony when she is listening to a Sharing Time that she loves.  She is a delight to have in our home, and I thank my lucky stars that I don't have to share her with the public school system.  Eliza is a treasure in our family!

Monnett Family Reunion, Location Undisclosed

We've only been at this family reunion business for a few years, but I think we've really nailed it this time.  The only thing that could have improved it was the addition of Tana, Jaron, and Kendall!

 Hiking up to the ranger's station.
 Because there's not enough dirt on these boys, they need to stuff more down their shirts!



 This super-flattering picture of me is to introduce Udi, Mom's foreign exchange student.  He was a little weirded out by us.  :)
 Only wilderness reunion with a flat-screen TV.



 On the hunt for Nana's birthday present!








 TJ and Ezra made this awesome garbage can while we were up there--good practice for those lashing skills!
 And this camp sink makes life easy wherever we go!

The wilderness thing was super cool, but I have to say that the talent show back in St. George was my favorite part.  And my favorite part of that (besides my awesome solo--yes, I learned how to sing this summer...wait, where was I going with this?) was the guys' number.  All the men sang this new version of "My Favorite Things."  It was hilarious.  I wish, wish, wish we had a video of it!  But we'll get it out this Christmas when all the family is together and do it again for posterity.