Tuesday, April 11, 2017

March Newsletter & Slideshow


Hamilton Newsletter
March 2017

FAMILY:  March was a fun month, as we enjoyed some warmer temps as well as some snowy days J Heidi’s birthday was on the 6th (see her section for more details) – it was a wonderful day & she felt very loved J We went to St. George on the 10th to celebrate Grandpa Potts’ birthday. Mom and Grandpa went to lunch while the girls and grandma had a picnic at Tonaquint Park and had fun at the Splash park. On the 11th, Heidi took the older girls to the Sleeping Beauty Ballet at the Heritage Theater – and for shakes at DQ afterwards. It was a lot of fun & the ballet was great! St. Patrick’s Day was fun this year with new shirts, Lucky Charms for breakfast, green drinks, and handing out mint brownies to neighbors. The evening of the 18th, the girls decided to play monopoly and daddy joined in. It lasted almost 3 hours before they called it quits, but McKinley won! We got some sad news that Sister Crandall from our ward passed away on her mission. We all attended her funeral on the 13th & it was neat to learn more about her. On the 25th, Heidi took McKinley & Ireland to women’s conference at the stake center & they went to Arby’s afterwards. It was a great night. The 26th was Link’s 4th angelversary. It was on a Sunday this year & we enjoyed going to church, visiting his bench, and stopping at the Cedar City temple. Also this month, sadly we got news that Uncle Joseph has cancer. We are so sad and are praying for him every day! We also watched Divit for a couple weeks so grandma & grandpa could drive to California and be with cousins there. She was good, except for not being able to resist diapers (even ones up high) and trashs :/  Also, we downloaded an app called Marco Polo which lets you take short videos and it has been fun catching up with the Bealers, Bensons, and all of Heidi’s family. Pretty much every day someone posts a video and we all love to see more of our family & friends. We took Sydney to the vet this month  - she’s been having LOTS of accidents downstairs. Thankfully, diabetes and UTI were ruled out, but it looks like Sydney’s kidneys are starting to decline. We are enjoying every day with her.

JASON: Jason has had a month of sickness (again). His throat was hurting and he was tired and after a couple weeks of that, he finally went into the doctor and was diagnosed with having the Epstein Barr virus, which is related to Mono. It has made him very tired and in pain, and there’s not much they can do about it, and they don’t have any idea how long it will last. L He’s missed some work this month and after he got the diagnoses, he brought his laptop home for a week to rest and work when he could. We’re hoping he feels better soon!  

HEIDI:  Heidi embraced her 38th birthday and enjoyed her time with family. The girls brought her breakfast in bed (Girl Scout cookie thin mint cereal – her pick J), they each made gifts for her – McKinley made a colorful popcicle stick picture frame with the 2 of them in it. Ireland made a glow-in-the-dark letter and decorated letter “H” and Kezia made her a nice card and a pot with seeds in it. Jason got her an external hard drive to plug into the xbox with. Unfortunately, it hasn’t work like she thought & the external hard drive doesn’t “see” all her files, but for now it’s good enough. Mom & Dad took Heidi to lunch at the Brick House, and they watched the girls so Jason could take her out to Rusty’s for dinner. Afterwards, we had chocolate Costo cake (yummy!) and ice cream. She also got lots of sweet messages & texts from family & friends. It was a truly wonderful day. On the 27th, Heidi got a call from the Share coordinator, telling her there was a family at the hospital who had an infant that they suspected SIDS & she asked Heidi to come. It was a very humbling experience – especially with it being only the day after Link’s angelversary, and in the same room in the ER. Heidi tried to offer as much comfort, compassion, and hope as possible. We are so sad for their loss.  Heidi continues to work out. She did a 10-mile run with the cedar city running club one Saturday, and that was fun J She has also loved watching her new daffodils and crocuses come up in the front J

-McKinley went with her dad to a cello concert at the local church and she was REALLY excited about it. She said they were VERY talented & it made her want to practice more on her cello J
-McKinley has been so good in the kitchen lately. She made dinner once, and dessert twice! They were all very yummy – thanks McKinley!
-McKinley is so excited for her upcoming play Seussical! She has been doing extra morning practices and is still going to her Tuesday/Thursday practices as well.
-Mom surprised McKinley on St. Patrick’s day & we went out to The Pastry Pub for lunch – it was yummy!
-On the 21st, mom & dad went with McKinley to New Beginnings for Young Women, since she starts YW this year. It was very good and McKinley got to sing a special song with the older young women. She did wonderfully, and we were all touched & impressed, though still astonished McKinley is almost old enough to go to YW!!
-McKinley went to the SUU Science Fair (with her “You Look Great in those Genes” project) on March 31st and had a lot of fun! She got to hang out there all day with her friends from North and even have lunch there, too. Mom and dad came to see her for a bit and are very proud of her!

-Ireland continues to do well in gymnastics and enjoys her teacher & her class.
-Ireland’s science fair project this year set out to see if watching screen time affects how much we remember things. She liked it because she got to watch screen time as part of her project. Aunt Trisha & Aunt Cindy also participated. We worked hard on analyzing the data & making the board look cute. Unfortunately, Ireland didn’t win (she was very sad and cried in the bathroom), but we are still so proud of her and know she did great.
-Ireland got to go to St. George and spend the day with Mahina as part of Mahina’s belated birthday present. Mahina could only pick one friend to take & she chose Ireland J They had fun playing at the arcades, the bumper/squirting boats, and going out to eat. She had a ton of fun!
-Ireland’s feet have been very itchy lately and she’s had to use some athlete’s foot medicine.
-One day, mom got a call from the Vogts that Ireland’s expander had come apart and was making her gums bleed. Eric went to pick her up and dad met her at the Orthodontists, but they were not there, so mom picked her up and went to the dentist, who pulled one of her teeth and got the expander out. It was very painful, but Ireland was brave. The orthodontist said she’s almost done with her first phase of braces – yay!!!
-Ireland has been going to almost all of McKinley’s Seussical rehearsals since she’s at school with her & waits to be picked up. She’s so familiar with the play, she could easily have been in it!

-Kezi has been so patient about letting Noelle sleep in her room. Finally, we made the little guest room downstairs more live-able. Mom stapled sheets on the sections of the ceiling that didn’t have sheetrock and we hung sheets between the room and the toy area. It’s really pretty cute now & Kezia has even started pinning things to her wall. J
-Kezia had a couple fun days with Adelaide. They played a lot and Addi & Olivia even stayed for a late movie night & we watched Moana.
-Kezi was sad to hear about Sister Crandall. She was her Primary Teacher for a couple years in a row & they even exchanged a couple letters while she was on her mission.
-One day Kezia asked mom “how do you get the ironic priesthood?” J               
-One night, in the middle of the night, Kezia ran into our room, went into the bathroom, and went back into the hall. Mom got up and it looked like she was going back downstairs, but when we kept hearing noises, dad got up to check it out. Kezia had her backpack on and was walking around the kitchen. Dad had to stand in front of her to get her to stop and then escort our sleep-walking girl back to her bed J
-At East Elementary, it was teacher appreciation week. Kezia took it VERY serious & made sure she had something for every day for her teachers, including strawberries and chocolates. The funnest day was crazy hair day when we spray painted her hair pink & she looked a lot like Princess Poppy from the movie Trolls!
-Kezia started soccer at the end of the month. She got a purple jersey – AGAIN! – 3rd time in a row! Someone must know how much she loves purple! She doesn’t know anyone in her team this time, but she is excited to get playing!

LINK: - Four entire years since you’ve left us, our sweet boy. Our duder-dude. We miss you SO very much. We are so very grateful for every love note you leave, every guidance you give, every protection you provide. We know we are watched over and we love you SO much! Please keep encouraging us and helping us with missionary work, compassionate work, and  family history. Thank you for being there in the hospital to help the family who lost their little 1-month-old baby girl. We love you and miss you EVERY day Link.

-Noelle continues to try even the most patient of persons J We were all watching a movie downstairs and didn’t even notice that she had taken a brown marker and colored ALL over the white carpet down there L And then on the couches. And the wall. It seems to never ever end. She also loves to get into the sugar. And the salt. We can’t ever leave them on the table.
-We love Noelle’s prayer. One day at lunch she prayed “And please bless Swiper to NOT swipe my jam!”
-One day Noelle was upset at daddy. She yelled at him “you are NOT my shining star!”
-Noelle says to mom “Santa Claus will bring you presents for your birthday!”
-One day Noelle just decided she was going to be a big girl like her sisters and take care of her plate after meals. She’s such a helper! Except when she puts paper plates in the sink or real plates in the trash or drips syrup all over the floor on her way to the sink or freaks out when we’re at a restaurant (the Brick House) & gets SUPER mad that she can’t take care of her plate J
-For some reason, Noelle is still infatuated with daddy’s bathroom drawer. It started with floss, then Q-tips, then pretty much everything else, including his cologne. We have to put it all up! For some reason, she doesn’t care much about mom’s bathroom drawer.
-We’ve noticed Noelle has a longer attention span now. She will sit almost through a whole movie (if it’s an animated one), and she is loving longer books, too! J
-Noelle was puking for a couple days this month L
-Noelle likes to say “last year” – like “Kezia! You get to go to school last year!”
-Noelle found an ant outside. She brought a cup out there with water & came in a few minutes later. She said “I sprayed the ant with water! He’s all clean now!”
-Bad mom moment with Noelle this month. One evening, she heard Noelle running around, and by the time mom found her, she had colored all over her face, arms, etc with a purple marker. The next morning, we were running late & wipies were not getting the marker off, so mom decided to try a magic eraser. There must have been a chemical in there because it burned Noelle’s face -L - even though we tried to rinse it off, it still looked so sad. Mom felt terrible. Lesson learned on that one L
-Mom wanted to have Mommy & Noelle time one day & Noelle didn’t want to. Mom asked “don’t you want to spend time with me?” Noelle answered “No – I want to spend time with Dora.”
-While watching a movie one night, Noelle brought everyone a drink of water all the way downstairs!! Thank you big girl!
-Noelle says “Please put some salt on my cereal!” (she calls sugar salt)
-One afternoon mom said “Noelle, do you want a tortilla or a sandwich for lunch?” Noelle answered “I just want mac and cheese for hours and hours.”
-Noelle has no regard for anyone’s water cups. She drinks freely out of everyone’s. One day she was drinking out of mom’s cup and she said “I’m just going to have one bit of your water, okay mom?”
-There was a small picture of Jesus on our dash & while we were driving, Noelle noticed it and said “Jesus is holding on mom! He’s holding on!”
-Noelle has quite the procedure for taking a nap or going to bed. She has to make sure ALL her friends (cars, teddy bears, stuffed animals, dolls, Link bear) are positioned just right and covered up exactly right before she can hop in. She also needs her “my own blanket” which has her name on it J

-Cute Miss O – We are all still overwhelmed by the adorable-ness of you!!!
-We have a really cute video of Oaklyn flailing her arms when Baby Signing Time comes on. It’s SO SO cute!
-She is also trying REALLY hard to clap her hands. She LOVES it when we all gather around her & clap our hands. She gets so excited and is really close to getting those hands together J
-We had to lower her crib mattress because she is pulling up on everything!! She also rolls all over her crib all night long. Sometimes she’s on her side. Sometimes on her tummy. Sometimes on her back.  Her favorite to pull up on  is the ottoman.
-Mom had a sad, scary night/day in the middle of the month. Oaklyn’s Snuza alarm went off & it wasn’t in the wrong place or anything. It went off at 6am, and mom was so shaken she couldn’t go back to sleep. Then that evening Oaklyn threw up a TON of prunes. It was ALL over her mattress, hair, sleep sack, everything. She had to have a bath & threw up twice more while dad was getting the new mattress on. Then mom was even more anxious and hardly slept at all that night. Thankfully, her Snuza hasn’t gone off again and she was only sick for a day, but it was really awful.
-Oaklyn is starting to really get around. She isn’t quite crawling yet, but she can get from laying to sitting easily, and then she gets on all fours. Lays down on her tummy, and sits up again. Not the most efficient, but she’s getting places & we’ll need to get the gate up soon.
-Oaklyn LOVES the swing outside. She just squeals and snorts and almost seems like she’s crying, but she’s laughing. It’s so cute.
-She continues to eat solid foods really great. The mac and cheese and sweet potatoes are still her favorite.
-She still is waking up 1-3 times a night, though she did have a few nights this week where she slept 5-7 hours at a time, which was really nice.
-No teeth yet, but we keep checking!
-Not only is she pulling up on everything, but she’s starting to try and let go with one hand. Eeek! She usually does well, but she has also fallen a LOT. Mom hears her hit her head and comes running L
-Oaklyn sure LOVES to eat her toes! One day when those teeth come in, she’s not going to be happy!
-Not completely sure if she knows what it means, but she has signed eat!

Friday, March 3, 2017

February Slideshow & Newsletter

Finally got this out before the middle of the month! YAY!!!! :)



Hamilton Newsletter
February 2017

FAMILY:  We had a busy travel month this month. First, we headed up to Idaho to support Burton at the funeral of his 1-month-old daughter, Krinn Meadow. It was a hard day & our hearts break for their loss. The girls sang I am a Child of God, and that was beautiful. The next day we laid Uncle Richard to rest beside his sister, Aunt Althea. It was hard to say good-bye to him as well and we will miss him. We went back to Cedar for a week & then back up to see Tiarra star in the play "Brave New World." It was an interesting play and very thought-provoking. We only stayed overnight & came back on Saturday (though we got to stop at the Bensons and have a visit, which was great :).  Then, on the 22nd, Jason took McKinley & Ireland and headed to Texas for Dustin's surprise 40th birthday party. They had a great time with family down there & McKinley & Ireland were excited about going on an airplane! They spent 4 days down southWe had a wonderful Valentines this month. Daddy spoiled all his girls again with roses and chocolate & mom had been heart-attacking each girls' door with a treat each day. Also, on Valentines morning, mom made heart cinnamon french toast & in the afternoon, we delivered heart peanut butter cookies to our neighbors with a note that said "We LOVE having you as neighbors - Happy Valentine's Day!"  The girls had a great time at school (Daddy kept his tradition with being a Valentine's Day Watchdog at North Elementary) with their fancy Valentine's boxes (see their sections for what each of them did), and Mom & Dad even got a fantastic evening at a nice restaurant while McKinley watched the girls (thank you McKinley) - and dad spoiled mom with new diamond earrings!!!! :) Even though we got a couple pretty decent snow storms, the weather has definitely been nicer. The girls all got out their roller skates & we went for a skate/walk on the pathway on the 20th.

JASON:  Jason had fun being the watchdog at North Elementary again this year :) Jason enjoyed going to Texas and being with the Bargers, and his dad and Ophie. At Dustin's 40th, there was good food, singing, dancing, and fun times. He also enjoyed going to Bill's, which has amazing fried catfish. Heidi asked Dustin to help Jason prepare mentally for his turning of the 40 this year :) On the way back from the Vegas airport, Jason noticed a Hispanic family stranded in the gorge with no cell phone service. It must have truly been the Lord watching out for them, because there was just enough room for their whole family in our van, and Jason was able to communicate with them in Spanish & get them to their St. George home. Jason is always so good at helping people. 

HEIDI:  Heidi enjoyed February and is hard at work at her healthy spirit, body, & mind goals :) She has been training for the April half marathon and is up to 10 miles (though that was a bit accidental, she meant to go 8 but thought the running app was off) and continues to frequent the gym for strength training classes, yoga, and the treadmill. One early, dark morning, Heidi was coming back from a 4 mile run and was close to home when her left ankle gave out and she fell into the asphalt. Her left palm was pretty shredded up and painful, but is starting to finally heal. Her left ankle, knee & hip are not too happy with her right now, but hopefully it will get better soon. She got to get together with her good friend, Anna, for lunch this month and enjoyed the chat. She read the Wonder Stories book that McKinley insisted on her reading & it was very good :) Heidi has also been enjoying reading The Love Dare with her sweetheart this month.

-McKinley didn't HAVE to do a Valentine's box, but she really wanted to, so she looked at Pinterest, made a list of about 15 ideas, and finally decided to make a baby grand piano. She really did the entire thing herself (complete with a small bench and person on it). the only thing mom did was spray paint it. It looked really cool! She gave out Seuss Valentine's cards with chocolate candy this year.
-McKinley has started rehearsals for Seussical & listens to the soundtrack a LOT :) We're so excited to see her perform in a couple months.
-McKinley had fun in Texas. Even though there wasn't really anyone her own age, she liked to hang out with the adults and visit. Grandpa Bill and Ophie even took her shopping in Witchita Falls & got her a pretty wind chime and forget-me-not seeds :)
-McKinley made (all by herself) chocolate brownies for her dad's Elder's Quarum meeting, as well as at Yvetta's house in Texas. They were very yummy! She also made fried mozzerella sticks which were yummy, too!!
-McKinley was so cute and made mom and dad each coupons for Valentine's Day - mom has even already used her babysitting coupon a couple times!
-One of McKinley's favorite things to say lately is "totally!!" (but dripping with sarcasm, of course) :)  
-Ireland got to go to Salt Lake City for a field trip this month! She was SO excited about it. They got to go to the state capital and Thanksgiving Point. Grandma & Grandpa picked her up from Thanksgiving Point since the rest of the family was coming up. They almost didn't connect before the bus came, but thankfully they did. She had a fun time!
-Ireland found a puppy picture that she really liked and she traced a puppy for each of her friends and gave them a paper that said "Happy day before Valentine's Day!" It was very sweet :)
-Ireland's Valentine's box had to involve a simple machine. She wanted to make a peacock. So, after MANY hours of work & playing around with ideas, we used a ruler to make a teeter-totter effect with the peacock's neck. We also used a cylinder for the neck and an Easter egg for the mouth, so it could "eat" small candy :) Ireland was sad she didn't win the contest, but she really did a great job and it was SO cute and creative! :) Ireland gave out Petshop Valentine's to her class this year.
-We didn't tell Ireland about going to Texas till about a few days before and she was so surprised! And nervous. She was so excited about seeing Kaydence, but she was worried about leaving mom and flying in an airplane. She did great, though, and really enjoyed flying. They didn't tell Kaydence that Ireland was coming and she was SO surprised! They were glued together the whole time, of course, and we're so glad that Ireland got to go be with her.
-Ireland gave mom a certificate for a message -and WOW! - she did a GREAT job! She messaged her back, feet, and hands and it was so heavenly! Thank you Ireland!
-Ireland also had a couple times this month when she let her anger take over :( She wrote some pretty mean (and creative!) notes to both dad and mom (separate times).

-Kezi had parent-teacher conference this year and we were again told how brilliant she is. She is double, and even triple in some cases her goals for the year. She has passed off all her sight words through 5th grade! We are so proud of her! She still has work to do on her Spanish, but is doing really well! The thing we need to work on the most is how she struggles sometimes with her emotional meltdowns. We are trying harder to take deep breaths and move on.
-Kezia's Valentine's box was supposed to be themed after a book that she could choose from a list. So, she chose "Sam and Dave dig a hole, which is about 2 boys and a dog that kept digging and digging and getting VERY close to huge diamonds, but never actually finding them. So, we used tape and spray painted over it and then took off the tape to make "tunnels" and then we made 3D-looking diamonds out of sparkly scrapbook paper. It looked really cool! Kezi gave cool 3D pet valentines to her class this year.   
-Kezi bought a special heart chocolate box and covered it in neon orange paper and wrote: "To: Briggs From: ?????" (5 question marks for each letter of her name). He figured out who it was, but she was okay with that :)
-Kezia came into our room one night crying because her throat hurt so bad. Mom gave her a strep test the next day, and sure enough!! She got some antibiotics and had to stay home from school for a day. We're so glad we caught it early!
-Kezi was pretty bummed about not getting to fly to Texas with her dad and sisters, but she had fun with mom at home, too. She got to have sleepovers with her every night, play games, and watch movies. She also got to sleep over at grandma & grandpa's house in St. George and go to the mall & ride the train and get a smoothie. It was fun!
-Kezi got to have separate playdates with Macie and Ruby. She had fun and painted nails with Macie. She painted them blue and then write a letter on each nail  "I (heart) Jay so much" (have you noticed that she has a crush on a FEW different boys?) :)
-Kezia decided one Sunday to make a piñata of coupons. She wrote out about 30 different coupons (from walking Sydney to cleaning countertops) and we all hit the box with a broom and mom ended up winning the most coupons (horray!) (she's already used her breakfast in bed one) :)

LINK: - We are grateful to know that Link was there to welcome both Krinn and Uncle Richard to the other side. Mommy read an article about how our loved ones from the other side connect with us, and it was very good. After reading it, she started noticing more "love notes" from Link, including specific songs and pictures that she needed right at that moment. She is so thankful for each and every love note he sends and cannot wait until she gets to hold and kiss him again.  

-Noelle still isn't sure just what Valentine's is all about but she liked all the candy!! She actually still talks about Christmas a lot and says "hey, that's my Christmas present!" (even when it isn't) and says she wants Christmas again.
-One day Kezia was sweeping & had swept up a glove. Noelle came over and yelled at her "Kezia - don't sweep up my hand!!"
-One afternoon, mom was laying down with Ireland in her bed for naptime. Noelle pointed at a picture of mom and dad & said "That's you and dad. I just miss my dad so much. (*making the I love you sign at the picture*) I love you daddy."
-Noelle has a new trick and it's called USING SCISSORS. We are afraid. Very afraid.
-When Kezi was home sick, she asked for a bowl. Mom asked if she needed to puke. Noelle said "ugh. don't say that word." Noelle piped up "PUKE! PUKE! PUKE! PUKE!!"
-Mom and Kezi were playing the game Spot It and Noelle actually got a couple matches!
-Noelle says the remote to her truck is her "projector" - it looks a lot like the xbox remote and she likes to "use" it with the projector & Xbox :)
-Noelle just says the funniest things. Mom wishes she could record them all. One day we pointed something out when we were driving and she said "Holy cow! That's not impossible!"
-Noelle calls people, animals, stuffed animals, etc her "best friend"s :)
-Noelle struggled again with sleeping at Grandma & Grandpa's house in St. George. She woke up at 4am and was wide awake & wouldn't go back to sleep till almost 5 :(
-Noelle loves to cuddle, but her favorite things when she's sleepy is when mom rubs her nose on her face and gives her butterfly kisses :)
-Mom got done running on the treadmill and went to get Noelle from gym daycare. She bent down and Noelle said "Are you crying mom?" (it was sweat) :)
-Noelle calls all teddy bears "Link bears"
-Noelle still loves cars and lines them up on the windowsill, puts them in her ride-on car, and stuffs them inside her little pink car.
-One day mom was dancing and Noelle was NOT in the mood to see her dance. She got really mad at her dancing. Mom got it on a video & it's a classic :)
-Noelle has grown very fond of the little Care Bear couch. She sleeps on it on the floor of Kezi's room a lot and drags it all over the house.

-Oaklyn is just Miss Cutest Ever. Seriously, so so so cute! We all just want to have her all the time.
-Oaklyn is a half a year old now! went by so fast!
-Oaklyn likes to put her toes in her mouth now!
-Her 6 month checkup went well - she is in about the 55th percentile for weight and 85th for height. She had to get a bunch of shots :(
-Oaklyn has decided to sit up all by herself now! She still sometimes tips over, but she likes to go forward mostly and thinks she will try to start crawling.
-Oaklyn seriously has NO appetite in the mornings! Even if she hasn't eaten in 5 hours, she just won't nurse! And won't eat much baby food either.
-She's also SUCH a distracted nurser now. Even when mom is by herself in a room, she just wants to know what is going on elsewhere. Hope it doesn't cut our nursing short!
-One night mom forgot to plug in the monitor and it died. Mom woke up at 4am in a panic and went to check on Oaklyn. She was thankfully fine. Mom actually got 6 hours of sleep that night! Oaklyn is usually up between 10:30-12 and again at about 4am. She usually takes 3 naps during the day, but it's still impossible to tell which one is going to be her long one!
-Oaklyn is really starting to like Baby Signing Time now. We turn in on and she giggles and squeals and kicks her feet!
-She says a lot of "da da da" but mom isn't admitting that it's her first word since she says it all the time, not just when she's around daddy.
-Oaklyn has started figuring out how to put her binky back in. We're HOPING that means more sleep soon!
-Her sisters are all still trying to get her to say their name - even Noelle!
-Oaklyn had a little "playdate" with our neighbor's baby, Charlotte. When mom gave the toy to Charlotte, Oaklyn would try to take it away. When we gave it back to Oaklyn & gave Charlotte another of Oaklyn's toys, she tried to take that away, too! She's also showing more that she really cares when Noelle takes one of her toys away from her. Eeek!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

January Newsletter & Slideshow




Hamilton Newsletter
January 2017

FAMILY:  HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!! We had both fabulous and tragic times this month. Heidi was able to go with her sisters and have a retreat in SLC to celebrate Cindy turning 40 (see Heidi's section for more details) and we were able to have a wonderful Potts retreat here down south that included a trip to Tonaquint Park, golfing for the boys, ice skating, movie watching, swimming, playing games, Discovery Park, singing at a care center, going to glitter mountain, and lots of eating and visiting. The tragic part came at the end of the month when we learned that both Burton's 1-month-old daughter, Krinn, and Uncle Richard passed away :(   Also this month, we fed the missionaries, went to an SUU gymnastics meet (we won!), cheered Daken on at his basketball game, and Jason took the 3 older girls skiing.

JASON:  Jason's sinuses still plagued him until he finally went into the doctor & got some antibiotics. They seem to be a lot better now. He was so good to watch ALL FIVE girls (including a breastfeeding baby) so Heidi could go to SLC and have her girls weekend with her sisters to celebrate Cindy's 40th. He also took time off to be a part of the annual Potts retreat. Thank you!!! Jason enjoyed seeing his family at Daken's basketball game, and later that day he got to go to an SUU basketball game with Carl Petersen & had a good time.

HEIDI:  Heidi made her 2017 new year resolutions and helped the girls to come up with some, too (even Oaklyn & Noelle :) ), so she hopes to accomplish a lot this year. Heidi thoroughly enjoyed the girls weekend with all her sisters. Some of the fun things they did: Kidnap Cindy (complete with a blindfold and disguised voices), watching the play Indiana Bones at the Deseret Star Theater, having a "welcome to 40" ceremony, complete with candles, a book with 40 memories, and an "old hag bag," getting Cindy at makeover at Nordstrom, eating lunch at the Olive Garden, napping, getting pedicures, eating out at a yummy Japenese place, playing the LOL game, watching "the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (we had to watch this, as we are now the sisterhood of the traveling old hag bag), eating a yummy ebbelskiver breakfast made by Trisha, and going to mom's church on Sunday. It was a fantastic weekend & wonderful memories. She did a lot of pumping of milk, so she was also glad to get back to Oaklyn and the rest of her beautiful family. She even came home to a clean house and a candy bar poster!! She felt so loved & appreciated :) She also enjoyed the Potts retreat, especially getting to see her new nephew Max and spending time with family. Heidi got a run in with her dad in St. George that was nice, and read The Nightingale & The Scarlet Thread - both very good books. Heidi lost her wallet for a couple weeks - so thankful she found it! One funny (in hindsight) thing that happened this month. McKinley had put the plastic lid to the blender IN the blender & mom didn't see it, so she whipped up a yummy drink in the morning (wondering why the pineapple pieces were so hard to blend). Don't worry - not too many gulps happened before dad noticed some chunks of plastic in his drink :)

-McKinley continues to do well in the cello. She's decided to stick with it in middle school, instead of trying out a new instrument. We are proud of her & know she'll do great. Another instrument she's been playing around with is daddy's guitar. Since the string got fixed on it, she's had fun figuring out the strings. Definitely a musical natural!
-McKinley's school is putting on Seussical! McKinley was in a Cedar City Children's Musical Theater production of it a couple years ago, so she was already familiar with it. She auditioned with one of the Seussical songs she knew and a few lines from the Mulberry Street book. She got the part of Mrs. Mayor! We are so proud of her & can't wait to see her perform in April.
-McKinley's 5th Grade Science Fair was this month and worked hard at it! She decided she wanted to do it about DNA, so she chose some questions (like, what color are your eyes, do you have dimples, etc) to ask on a Google forms document (she put it together all herself) & she wanted to find out what percentage of people had dominant vs. recessive traits. Her project was called "You look good in those Genes!" and she got 1st place!! Way to go McKinley!! Grandpa even came up to see her. She now gets to go to the SUU Science Fair at the end of March :)
-She got to go to her BFFs birthday party at the aquatic center at the end of the month and had a great time!
-She gets a free skiing pass this year since she's in 5th grade. She had fun skiing, but says it's not really her thing.  

-Ireland was so cute and made a whole book about a dandelion for Noelle. It was really well illustrated, written & read  - it was super-sweet!
-Ireland had fun using her fairy garden she got for Christmas. She planted the seeds & it was so fun to watch them grow!! Unfortunately, it got dropped a couple times, so it didn't flourish as much, but we are excited to re-plant it with some flowers this spring. She really loves the fairy that came with it & plays with it a lot :)
-Ireland lost her math book for a couple weeks this month & got a little behind :(
-Ireland started a new gymnastics session this month & has been having fun & doing great. She got a 9-second rope climb, too - way to go Ireland!!!
-Ireland gave an awesome FHE lesson this month. It was about the Plan of Salvation & she cut out a bunch of fishes & we fished for them with a magnet & on the back of the fish was a scripture about the Plan of Salvation.
-Ireland lost her lower left canine tooth this month!
-Ireland had a lot of fun skiing with dad. He says she needs to try the harder hills next time!

-One night, in the middle of the night, Kezia came in just almost screaming, saying her ear hurt so bad & she was in so much pain. The ibprofin helped, but mom took her into the doctor the next day. He said she had a super bad ear infection, one of the most painful kind, and we got her started on antibiotics that day. Mom wanted to keep her home, but she REALLY didn't want to miss the Spanish activity at school, where they bring their shoe and get a treat, so she did end up going.
-Kezia's class did a fun 100 days of school activity. She brought in 100 almonds (which mom helped to crack since a lot of them were still in shells), and she dressed up like an old lady. Mom put curlers in her hair, a scarf, and drew lines on her face. She looked really cute :)
-Kezia finally went on her earned date with daddy :) they watched a dog movie in the theater and went to Arctic Circle for desert afterward. She even dressed up! And so daddy did, too :)
-One night, Kezia insisted on making dinner & she made grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade tomato soup with hardly any help from mom! Great job Kezi!
-Kezia went skiing for the first time this month! Daddy said she struggled at the beginning to learn the basics, but she really got the hang of it by the middle of the day & was going down the runs great!!                                             

LINK: - We love and miss our baby boy so much. This month, mom had a lady from our ward that wanted to hear his story. She came over & mom got out Link's book & she got to tell his amazing story & gush over all his handsome pictures. It was a sweet gift. We know he watches over our family and know that he welcomed his 2nd cousin, Krinn, into heaven this month <3 p="">

-Noelle continues to need a LOT of supervision - she is still constantly spilling water, cereal, food, etc, making toilet messes, and coloring on things other than paper :(
-One day Noelle was outside playing & she wanted to come in. She said "There's crows out there and they're cawking at me!"
-Starting the VERY first day of 2017, Noelle's binky got "accidentally" ripped off. :( She went through a few days where she asked for it and was sad, but she's now been binky-free for over a month!! Yay Noelle!!
-Noelle's vocabulary is great, but in the past couple months, she's also gotten so good at expressing both her feelings and talking about events and memories, like she's been talking about Christmas a lot. She will say "hey - I got that for Christmas!" (although, she tends to say that about anything that she wants that someone else has) :)
-Noelle likes to turn off and on the lights and fans lately.
- One day Noelle said "Mom - Sydney is naked!"
-The day that Kezia made grilled cheese sandwiches, when daddy came home, she exclaimed "Daddy - come on in and get some homemade food!"
-Oaklyn had one of Noelle's cars and, of course, put it in her mouth. Then, when Noelle wasn't looking, she dropped it. Noelle got upset and said "Oaklyn ate it all gone!!"
-Noelle is pretty good at getting mom diapers & wipes!!
-She is starting to go to the potty! She has gone a few times & we've even got to call Rachel from Signing Time. Way to go Noelle!
-Mom had gotten some Veggie straws and Noelle wanted some. She said "Mom! - I want some Veggie Tales!"
-One of Noelle's favorite things to do for mommy & Noelle time is to play with "Cookie monster sand" It's moon sand that you can "feed" to Cookie Monster. Unfortunately, she dumped it all on the ground & we had to throw it away :(
-One night as we were putting Noelle to bed, mom asked daddy if he knew where her d-o-g-g-i-e was. Noelle said "GG is at her house with her doggie!" :)
-Noelle still HATES to have her hair and teeth brushed. Every day it's a battle!

-Oaklyn loves to grab her toes!
-One of the cutest things Oaklyn does is flap her arms like crazy when she's excited! :)
-She is now quite the distracted nurser. She will eat for a few minutes & then look around and come back for a second and turn away. She's apparently under the assumption that mom is a snack bar.
-Oaklyn was pretty sick this month :( She had a lot of congestion, coughing & runny nose. She could hardly breathe - and she was bad for a week or so, got better for a week, and then she got bad again :( Mom took her to the doctor, but he said she just had a cold. We did the humidifier, vapor rub on her chest and feet, and lots of booger-sucking, but she still struggled. It was kind of a sad cry-it-out time for a while because she couldn't suck on her binky for comfort and she could barely eat, too :( We're glad she's feeling better, and she does tend to do better sleeping without her binky now!
-Oaklyn did well while mom was gone for the weekend with her sisters. She took the baby food great & was even holding her own bottle!
-Oaklyn does this think where she lifts up her legs & smacks them back down hard. she does it a lot at night and when she's excited. She's actually started moving by kicking her legs down and pushing against her heels!
-Mom thought Oaklyn was better, but just had a runny nose. She got to the gym daycare, set Oaklyn down in her carseat and Oaklyn proceeded to start puking. And puking. And puking. It just kept coming. Mom decided maybe it was best not to go to the gym daycare that day :-/
-Oaklyn is getting so good at sitting up! We can even leave her for a while as long as there's some pillows behind her just in case. It's been fun to see her in a new position - she loves it.
-Oaklyn was quite the attraction at McKinley's science fair. So many kids came up and said how cute she was & they wanted to touch her. Mom said Oaklyn was her science fair project :)
-Oaklyn is definitely talking more, too! She sure sounds like she's trying to say some words!
-It was fun to see Oaklyn & Max together. They are only 6 weeks apart, but Max looks HUGE compared to Oaklyn! 
-Oaklyn is still waking up 2-3 times a night. Hope that changes soon!
-Oaklyn is just at such a fun age. She is seriously so adorable and we all can't get enough of her!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

December Newsletter & Slideshow


Hamilton Newsletter
December 2016

FAMILY:  We had such a great December to wrap up 2016 and bring in the new year! On the 3rd, we met Grandma & Grandpa Potts at the Dixie Convention Center for the Dicken's Festival. It was busy! But fun - we saw lots of neat things for sale, watched a singing program, and grandma & grandpa even let each of the girls choose a Jesus picture from David Bowman's booth. He even signed mom's picture. On the 5th, G&G Potts joined us again at the Homestead State Park for a Pioneer Christmas experience. It was SO SO neat! There were crafts to do, bells and stories to listen to, beautiful lights to see, and every pioneer house had a different thing to do or see. We ate yummy chocolate waffles and hot cocoa, popcorn, and got warm by the outside fires. In one of the houses, we got to see Santa Clause and the girls sat on his lap and visited with him. It really was awesome! And we loved having G&G with us. The 7th was our ward Christmas party. The girls were so cute singing their songs and we invited some inactive neighbors that came! It was a great time.  On the 8th, G&G Potts drove up to Cedar to watch the older girls while daddy & mommy got to have a night in a hotel in St. George. Daddy had a work meeting down there & we enjoyed going out to eat and having some quiet time. THANK YOU Grandma & Grandpa Potts! On the 9th, Daken had a basketball game, so G&G Devenish drove down and we enjoyed watching Daken & eating at Wendy's afterward :) Saturday, the 10th, was daddy's work party. Santa came and took pictures and the girls all got a fun little gift. On the 12th, we saw Santa #3 :) We headed to the Aquatic Center & got to see their Santaland, which was really fun - and we got free swimming passes & saw Kezia's friend Macie there, so we were glad we went.      We gpt a big snow storm on the 16th - YAY!! - and mom took the girls sledding on the 17th. The girls went ice skating for activity days on the 21st and had so much fun! Afterwards, they came home for some hot cocoa and laughter. Later in the evening, all the girls got out their American Girl dolls and Anne dolls and we all had a fun time playing with them.  We did work to incorporate service into our Christmas season & we were able to do a sub-for-santa for 2 families - Jason's coworker, Mindy Savage, who lost her husband this year. And the Bensons. The girls had fun picking out gifts, wrapping and trying to be secretive. We also did many of the #lighttheworld challenges that the church put out this year. Christmas Eve evening we had a yummy dinner with a turkey, mashed potatoes, mozzarella rolls, stuffing and sparkling cider. Then we read the Christmas story while the girls acted it out with the nativity set. After that, we read The Night Before Christmas and let the girls open their dresses from Grandma Devenish. Christmas was on Sunday this year & we loved gathering with our ward family and singing songs of praise and love to our Savior whose birth we celebrate. Before church, we let the girls open all their gifts and they had fun seeing what Santa brought and what mom & dad gave them. For our family Santa gift this year, we got an xbox one s with Minecraft! The girls were excited :) After church, we headed to Richfield for a couple hours, then to SLC. It wasn't great weather and church went longer than expected, so we didn't get to Trisha's house till 6pm. We were so happy to see everyone, though, and exchange gifts (we had the Edwards this year & made them homemade bookmarks, earrings, and mugs). It was a wonderful Christmas, though a bit too much driving. While in SLC, Jason took the girls to see the new movie Sing, then we ate dinner at the Edwards and then went through the really cool drive-through light snow in West Valley.  We left SLC on Tuesday and went to Richfield again & stayed for a few days - we hung out, visited, went on walks, and went bowling! The rest of our Christmas break was spent making gingerbread houses & trains, watching Christmas movies & other movies, having read-a-thons, making snowmen, drinking lots of hot cocoa and playing with friends. On New Year's Eve we put together a ton of Lego creations, went swimming, had a game-a-thon, and watched movies.  Welcome 2017!!! :)

JASON:  At Jason's meeting in St. George this month, Jason got the "Unsung Hero" award - and we couldn't agree more! He is our hero, too! He also got a cash award and we are so proud of him. He also got to go to a couple career fairs at SUU & wear his handsome new Forest Service uniform :) For a Christmas surprise, Grandma Potts went and got Jason's guitar re-strung with all new strings. Now, Jason & McKinley have had fun playing with it. Thanks Grandma! Jason had a good month & enjoyed all the Christmas festivities, until he got sick right around Christmastime with a bad cold/sinus pressure. It's sure dragged out and given him lots of grief. Hope he feels better fast!

HEIDI:  Christmastime always finds Heidi running around like crazy :) But she did enjoy the season, too. All the lights and activities and magic. She enjoyed coming up with and working on the homemade gifts for the Edwards and finding gifts the girls would like. She is still enjoying the gym and getting stronger every day :) She signed up for a half marathon in April with her dad, so she's looking forward to that. Heidi also got to help Ireland with her book report, which was a board game which she did on the BFG.  Heidi got a new phone this month because her other phone's wifi and bluetooth stopped working. She is loving her new Sony Xperia!

-One of mom's friends' little girls was being bullied at school & mom asked if McKinley would be her pen pal. She agreed and has written her some cute letters. Thank you for being like Jesus McKinley!
- We were so impressed at how hard McKinley worked on homemade gifts this year for Christmas. She used some material scraps she had a made a reading pillow for Tiarra - complete with a pocket for her books and a light - and she did it 100% by herself! She spend many hours making a real shooting paper gun for Michael and gave Joshua a book. She is so thoughtful and sweet and her gifts are very loved.
-G&G Potts came to Cedar & were able to see both McKinley's piano & voice lessons, but also her cello performance at school. She did such a great job! She was right up front and it was so fun to be able to see her perform :) Afterwards, we went to Hermie's for ice cream!
-For Christmas, McKinley's santa gift was the Wonder book set, which she wanted. She also got socks, a no-chores gift certificate, a portable karaoke microphone, and a 1 Girl Nation CD :) She got a beautiful dress from Grandma Devenish and a Brandon Mull book from Uncle Joseph.

-Ireland finished her session of gymnastics at the end of December. She was really bummed not to have made it to the next level. She was only missing a couple things to pass-off, but we are proud of her that she is sticking with it, even though she was frustrated and talked about quitting. Grandma Potts and mom came to watch her do gymnastics one evening and we really enjoyed it! Ireland has improved so much and is fun to watch. Santa even came that night!
-From Santa, Ireland got a BUNCH of Barbie movies! We haven't even watched them all yet! From mom and dad, she got a fairy garden house (which has already sprouted!), an art set, and socks with 2 no-chore coupons attached. :) She also got her quilt from Grandma Devenish- which she LOVES!! It makes her room look so cute.

-Kezia was very thoughtful with her gifts (as she always is) and bought some great gifts for everyone. She also drew a VERY cute picture of a reindeer at school that was framed and we got to open on Christmas.      
-Kezi and Ireland have been having a LOT of fun with mom's new phone this month. It has some fun filters with videos and mom has MANY interesting videos and pictures on her phone this month :)
-On the 16th, G&G Potts came to see Kezia in her Christmas program at school. It was SO cute and she was by FAR the most adorable, animated, excited girl up there! We love watching our Kezia perform :)
-Kezia had a fun day at school & she spend a good long time making a cute gingerbread house with graham crackers, icing & candy. She put it on the seat in the car & when mom turned, it flew off and got smashed on the floor of the van :( She was very upset for a long time. Thankfully we had some things she could use to re-create it at home, but she was still sad.
-From Santa, Kezia got a chocolate fountain! We've already used it twice & it is MESSY, but fun! From mom and dad, Kezia got a little live pet mouse obstacle course, a scratch off pad notebook, and socks with 2 certificates for no-chores. She got a matching dress with Noelle from Grandma Devenish, and a stuffed animal from her Reed cousins.    She says her favorite gifts were the mouse track and Uncle Joseph gave her some cool rocks/gems.      

LINK: - We miss our duder-dude so much in the holiday season and wish so much we could buy him some gifts. We did give service in his honor this month, doing sub-for-santas and we hope he knows how much he's missed. We got a day full of rainbows this month and mom thought of her sweet boy every time she saw them. Also, when we went to the Dicken's Festival in St. George and G&G Potts let the girls each choose a Jesus picture from David Bowman's booth, Noelle picked one with Jesus holding a boy, about Link's age. Noelle insisted on that exact picture. When mom read the back , she had to hold back the tears. The picture is called "Forever" and  it talks about how he drew that picture for a family who lost their little boy. It was very touching & we know it's not a coincidence that Noelle chose that picture.

-One day, Noelle & mom were coloring for mommy & Noelle time. We had a white paper and Noelle had grabbed a white crayon & tried to use it on the white paper. She said "mommy! This crayon is broken! It needs new batteries!"
-Going to Scheels and seeing the fishes must have made quite an impression on Noelle. She prays almost every prayer "thank you for fishies!!" and she talks a lot about seeing mom on the ferris wheel there, too :)
-Noelle is still adjusting to the sleeping arrangements. At nighttime, she doesn't always get along with Kezia and usually ends up sleeping either on the floor or on the bed by herself. As far as naps, she only takes them about 3 out of 7 days lately. And sometimes that lends for a comical experience - twice she has fallen asleep in the baby jumper and once she fell asleep in Oaklyn's baby swing :)
-Noelle really enjoyed seeing Santa this year! She would run right up to him, sit on his lap, and chat away! :) She wasn't really sure what she wanted for Christmas, but we helped her figure that out ;)
-Noelle also (again) loved to play with our nativity sets. We would find baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the others scattered around the house in various places :) She also loved pulling off all the decorations from the tree, and the lights, too. Good thing we put the cheaper, store-bought ones on the bottom.
-From Santa, Noelle got a racecar track and more matchbox cars. From mom & dad, she got puzzles, a Dora movie, and Legos.

-We are SO thankful that Oaklyn turned 5 months! Last month was pretty stressful with her being the age Link was when he died and there was a lot of anxiety. We just love our sweet Oaklyn and she is such an important part of our family!
-Oaklyn is just so cute. She does this scrunchy-nose smiles that is adorable. She has the biggest, brightest blue eyes that we just love. Still not much hair, but she doesn't need it! She's beautiful without it.
-Oaklyn is getting SO good at her exersaucer and her jumper!
-Oaklyn loved to look at the pretty Christmas lights :)
-She did pretty good with all the traveling we did at the end of the month, but there were a few screaming episodes in the van that were not fun :(
-Oaklyn started solid foods this month and has done GREAT! There isn't a food she has turned down yet!
-She's gotten good at grabbing her toes :)
-She flaps her arms and arches her back when she's excited - adorable!
-She loves staring at the picture of her brother in her room :)
-Mommy & daddy are in a war to see who can get her to say Mama or Dada first - pretty sure it's going to be MAMA!
-From Santa, Oaklyn got a musical stackable toy. From mom and dad, she got a ball, and some blocks.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

November Newsletter & Slideshow


Hamilton Newsletter
November 2016
FAMILY:  Hard to believe November is done and 2016 is almost done, too! On the 6th, we had Oaklyn's special baptism day. The Bensons stayed overnight on Saturday  (we got to go on a double-date to Chilis!) & the family showed up on Sunday - the Potts, the Edwards, the Simons, the Devenishs, the Reeds, and the Hamiltons. We had yummy soup and desserts and we had a wonderful time visiting. Oaklyn was so good the whole time and we feel so blessed to have her in our family. The 7th was Link's 4th birthday & we did something extra special this year. See his section for more details.  On the 9th, we finally took the plunge and all the girls got their hair chopped!! (except Noelle - she would NOT cooperate, or Oaklyn who doesn't quite need a haircut yet :) ) It's so much nicer in the mornings not to have the tears and tantrums about having their long hair brushed. The 11th was Veteran's Day. Jason had the day off work & we let the girls have the day off school and we had a lot of fun! First, we went to IHOP for a yummy breakfast :) Then we met Grandma & Grandpa Potts at the new amazing park - Tontaquint all-abilities park -  by their St. George home. We played on all the equipment, rode the train, and enjoyed the sunshine :) After the park we went to Grandma & Grandpa's & had lunch & naps and then we headed to Glitter Mountain - it was about 45 minutes away from the Potts, and we didn't have a lot of time there before the sun went down, but we did have a lot of fun! We brought our hammers, screwdrivers, etc and were able to bring a lot of the gypsum crystals home with us. What a fun day! Saturday the 12th was the Storybook Parade & it never disappoints! So many fun floats and things to see.  That night we had a fun time playing a family game of Phase 10, which Kezia bought with her birthday money. We got our first snow of the year on the 16th & we all had fun playing in it! And, of course, drinking hot cocoa :) For Thanksgiving this year, it was at the Simon's home, early in the day. We loved seeing family that we don't get to see much and visiting. It was a great day of eating, sleeping, football (for daddy), and visiting with family. We have so much to be grateful for this year & feel very blessed. Friday after Thanksgiving was Gary Krueger's celebration of life (Aunt Leah's husband). We are saddened by his loss and pray for Leah to find comfort. Saturday, on the way home from SLC, we stopped by Scheels and rode the ferris wheel and looked at the fishes. And rode the escalators :) Afterwards, we got some ice cream at McDonald's for the drive home. After we got home, we worked on putting up Christmas :) On the 29th for Activity Days, we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and made gingerbread houses.  In between all of this, we've been working on making & buying Christmas gifts, and showing the rental. We were thankfully able to find some new renters and hope they'll be good ones.

Jason:  Jason has been busy helping at the rental, showing it, working & helping Ireland with her math homework. He's been in charge of getting ready for quite a few meetings, so he's been there pretty late some nights.

Heidi:  Heidi joined the gym at the beginning of November & has really enjoyed it. She usually goes to 3-4 classes a week and has seen definite strength gains. The gym daycare is really nice so she can go after she drops the older girls off at school. She got to read a couple good books this month - All the Light we Cannot See and Me Before You. Both good. Working on Link's cars this year was really good to help channel Heidi's love and reduce her grief. On Link's birthday, as Heidi was pulling into the gym - right before she turned off the car - the radio announcer said that there was a dedication to Heidi from her sweetheart and she would know what it meant. Then they played  A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. Heidi sat in her van and listened to it, sobbing the entire time. It meant so much.

-McKinley has had a crush on Orlando for a few years now. She's now in a drama class with him and has been able to talk to him more, instead of just admiring from afar :) She even spent a couple recesses walking around with him and getting to know him. She said he's a little different than she thought, but she still likes him :)
-Mom got to go to McKinley's 5th grade maturation program this month. They showed a cute, informative video, and had question time and then treats. McKinley knew pretty much everything, but it was good to be together and review the changes that have happened and will continue to happen as McKinley's grows up!
-McKinley continues to really enjoy piano & is doing so well. She's working on Christmas songs and it's really brought the spirit of Christmas into our home! She's also been learning more with the cello and has got to start using her bow in class.
-McKinley's been cooking more, too. She made yummy chicken enchiladas as well as chocolate chip cookies all by herself. Great job McKinley!
-McKinley has been feeling a bit stressed out lately with all she wants to do, so we sat down & listed all the things she feels like she doesn't have time for (walking Sydney, working on her Patriot award, Christmas gifts, etc), then we went over her days & tried to see where she could work in some of those goals.  

-Ireland made some really cool drawings this month. She drew some peacocks and also some fashion outfits. Grandma even commented on how she has quite an eye for design. She was trying to make the guest room look nice for Burton to come & she did a great job.
-Ireland brought Oaklyn in and set her on the couch and then went down the hall. Mom came in and heard a loud thump. She had fallen off the couch :( Ireland felt really bad and said she wouldn't ever do that again.
-Apparently there was some friend issues this month with Hannah and Raquel. She said that she and Mahina were in the middle of it and she wished they weren't fighting with each other.
-Ireland is good at math, she just sometimes goes too fast and misses some details. Dad has been spending sometimes 2-3 hours with her at night. We talked with Ireland's math teacher, Mr. Carter, and he supports us focusing on the basics and not taking so much of our time as a family at night.
-Ireland started Polar Expeditions this month and gets to go to an art class.

-Kezia got to go to Ruby's Star Wars themed birthday party this month. She had a great time!
-One day Kezia said that she had a dream and they were counting in Spanish :) Guess that means that her Spanish immersion is working :)
-On the day of Oaklyn's blessing, everyone was eating and talking and a lot of kids were in the backyard playing. Kezia & Logan were on the swings. Mom looked over and saw them kiss! Then everyone was looking & they kissed AGAIN! Despite this kissing episode, she still maintains that she has lots of crushes, the most strong one apparently being Jaxon Bealer.
-Kezia bought the game Phase 10 to give away to family, but we ended up playing it as a family & had a lot of fun!
-Kezia has been so good letting Noelle sleep in her room - especially since Noelle makes a lot of messes, is loud, and often hits or pulls hair. Kezia sometimes goes to sleep with Ireland or on the pull-out bed if she gets too bad, but she really is patient & loving with her.

Happy 4th birthday this month, or sweet baby boy. To help channel her grief, in addition to donating to the Ronald McDonald House, she decided to put it out there on Facebook, asking for addresses for boys born in 2012 so she could send Matchbox cars to them. It was hard, but also so healing to see videos, texts, and pictures posted of little boys getting their cars. We sent probably 30 cars out and used #LoveforLink as our hashtags. We are so happy that we were able to make other little boys happy on your birthday, our Link. And of course we brought about 4 cars to your bench for you as well.  We also let go of balloons and ate at the Ronald McDonald house & watched your slideshow. We miss you SO SO much, Link. We can't wait until we can be reunited again. We hope you felt our love for you on your special day.  

-Whenever Noelle sees a picture of Link, she points to it & says "Look, it's Oaklyn!"
-When we watched Link's slideshow, Noelle cried almost the whole time. She kept saying Link Link Link. She still says every time when she wakes up & we asked her what she dreamed about, she says Link.
-Noelle has been more of a helper this month! She is good at setting out the table with bowls, plates & utensils. And if she sees mom starting to cook, she will say "can I help?"
-Noelle had a LOT of anxiety at the beginning of the month. She did NOT want to go to nursery or gym daycare and she would SCREAM and SCREAM. At gym daycare, she would cry and sit by the gate the entire time, waiting for mom to come. It was really hard to watch her struggle so much with separation. But we kept going and little by little, she has gotten better. Last time we went to gym daycare, she even said "I want to get out so I can go to gym daycare!" and she colored a picture & played with cars & afterwards she says "I had so much fun at gym daycare!" She really likes it now - she is just really protective of her sister Oaklyn. If any other child comes & touches her, she will say "no! Oaklyn is MY baby! - and push their hand away." Mom is just really glad that she is not so anxious any more.
-One morning at 4am, Kezia came in mom and dad's room & told them that she was puking. Mom went in & tried to help & hoped it was just a fluke, but unfortunately not :( She had 5+ days of puking. The first few days, she couldn't keep anything down. Then she could finally keep some fluids down. But she really lost quite a bit of weight and we were so sad to see her so sick & not even eat any of her favorite foods. Mom finally took her to the doctor, but it was just a nasty virus. THANKFULLY, no one else got it & we were able to go to SLC for Thanksgiving.
-It was so sad to see Noelle so sick, but was kind of nice to have a rest of her mischief. Once she felt better, she was back to her old tricks, including using marker on Grandma & Grandpa's couches :( 
-When we leave gym daycare now, Noelle with wave and say to the caregiver "Goodbye Shawndi! Thanks for coming! Come again and see us!"
-Noelle is starting to get good at dressing herself - she can put on her pullups by herself and her pants!
-We are so sad that Noelle's fabulous sleep schedule is no more. She used to ask for naps. Now, she only naps once or twice a week & her bedtime keeps getting later & later. And she won't go to sleep without someone :(
-Noelle still LOVES her cars. She carries them with her constantly, and she likes to put them in between the black keys on the piano :)
-Noelle also still LOVES puzzles. She (literally) can put probably 45 of the 50 states together on the puzzle.

-Oaklyn's special blessing day was on the 6th of November. So many people came to support our family and hold our beautiful Oaklyn. Daddy gave such a sweet blessing, talking about how she had waited for a very long time to come to earth and how she has great things in store for her. We are so excited to see all those things and so grateful that she has come to our family. She did so well with the blessing and everyone holding her afterwards. We love our baby O!
-After the blessing, the Simon's were taking turns with Oaklyn. Caden (2) yelled out "I want to hold baby Oatmeal!"
-We finally came up with at least a part of Oaklyn's bedtime song (to the tune of You are my Sunshine):
You are our Oaklyn
Our Sunshine Oaklyn
You make us happy, when we are blue
You'll never know dear
How much we love you
We're so thankful God gave us you.
-Almost every time mommy posts a picture of Oaklyn, multiple people will comment on how much she looks like Link.
-Ireland put you on the couch & you rolled off onto the ground :( Lots of tears.
-Oaklyn is getting so much better at using her hands this month. She is starting to grab at everything. She's really mastered her hanging gym and uses her feet, too, to kick at them and make them spin. She also, of course, loves putting her hands in her mouth and sucking on her fingers.
-She is such a talker now, too & we LOVE her squeals and squeaks.
-She's kind of regressed with sleeping, or she's going through a growth spurt. Either way, she's wanting to eat every 2 hours now - weather at night or day. Her naps are really still sporatic, too. We never know when or if she's going to take a long nap.
-She took a shower for the first time with daddy and really loved it! She didn't want to get out!
-She still doesn't like tummy time, but her head is really getting stronger & she can lift it up and look around.
-She has started using the jumper and the exersaucer & seems to enjoy both of them.
-Oaklyn has just started putting her head on your shoulder when she's tired. It's so cute. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hamilton Pictures 2016


October Newsletter & Slideshow


Hamilton Newsletter
FAMILY:  We really had a fun, fabulous October this year :) The first weekend in October was General Conference and mom made the traditional Ebbelskivers on Sunday morning. We loved being a family & listening to the words of the General Authorities. We got the van fixed this month (the gears were wobbly) and it was quite the circus act trying to figure out school carpool, lessons, errands, etc, with the truck which doesn't fit our whole family. Grateful that it's over with for now! We watched the Hillstead's dog Raffa early in October & the girls had fun with the energy of a puppy :) On the 8th, we got family pictures taken in St. George. We took them in the same spot that we took them 5 years ago when we moved to Southern Utah. It was so fun to see the changes in our family since 2011. But - whew! - we're glad pictures are over for another year! On the 14th, we let the girls have a late-over & they all had a fun time :) The 15th was the annual Wave of Light event for Share. We loved going & hearing stories & having hot cocoa and letting go of balloons. On the 18th, we headed up north to enjoy our earned reward! The girls entirely filled up our container with jelly beans (we had to rethink that method of counting) or puff balls, each representing an act of kindness toward a family member. We are so proud of our girls & definitely noticed a change in our family when we were more kind. We hope the "killing contention with kindness" theme keeps going long after this month :) So - Lagoon was VERY much enjoyed on the 19th of October. The weather was so perfect and we even got to run into some friends while we were there, including the Hooks, the Goddards, and Heidi's friend from HS - Julie Cook. It was a lot of fun and even Oaklyn & Noelle had fun and were good - taking naps in the stroller. The fun didn't end after Lagoon, though.  First, mom and dad got to go to the Draper Temple while the girls did puppet shows at Grandma Potts'. Then, we headed to the Benson cabin for more good times with our friends - we enjoyed 4-wheeling, roasting marshmallows under a starlit sky, playing games, watching movies, celebrating Kezia & Logan's birthdays, going on their pond boat, eating yummy food & just unplugging & visiting. We always have such a great time there. We stopped by Richfield on the way home & we got to visit with the Devenishs & Reeds On the 25th, we had an Activity Days Halloween party, complete with yummy treats, dry ice root beer, and fun games. We had all the girls come & it was so much fun! The 26th was Kezia's 7th birthday! See her section for more details on her fun day. Saturday, the 29th, Heidi took the girls trick or treating on Main Street. They got to play games, get candy, and show off their costumes. Good times! We finished The Witches by Roald Dahl right before Halloween & it was fun to read -we might make that a new tradition!  Sunday the 30th, we carved our pumpkins, and the 31st, of course, was Halloween! The Potts and GG came down and we got to see all the schoolgirls in their costumes at their schools for their parades. That evening, they went to the Gregersons for a piniata bust and then trick or treating with dad while Oaklyn & mommy handed out candy. The weather has really been fantastic this year and we have really been enjoying it. Mom and dad have also been busy this month showing the rental - hoping to get a new renter by next month in our upstairs apartment.

Jason:  Jason has been busy this month with work, Elders Quarum responsibilities, rental needs, and honey-do lists :) But he did get to go on a dirt bike ride with the EQ and the High Priest group. They rode to Kolob Reservior and beyond and stopped at a cabin for lunch. He had a great time. He also has been somewhat accident prone this month, hurting his elbow and spraining his ankle. It was swollen for almost 3 weeks - & he walked all over Lagoon with it :( - we're glad it's doing better & hope it healed okay!

Heidi:  Heidi had a lot of fun this month, going to Lagoon, having a mom/sister lunch date, a temple date, and going to the cabin and just enjoying fall. On the 12th, Heidi went to the Relief Society make & take night & had fun making crafts & talking with friends. Heidi also stayed busy getting things ready for Oaklyn's blessing next month.  Heidi is SO happy that things finally got worked out for carpooling to East. So, right now, she only has to pick Kezia up one day a week, instead of every day.
-McKinley's SEPs went well this month - Mrs. Isom said she's doing well, and she's working hard at memorizing her math facts so she can get onto higher levels with that.
-McKinley was the MC for Leadership Team at an assembly.
-McKinley & Micaela have become very good friends. Maybe a little TOO good? Mrs. Isom had to separate them into different tables in class. McKinley invited Micaela to our late-over & they had fun.
-Mom recommended a book called When Crickets Cry to McKinley after she finished it, and McKinley REALLY loved it. She raved about it often :) She says it's one of her very favorite books now.
-McKinley is still doing well with her cello - she gets to start using the bow now, which she's excited about :)
-She was SO excited to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year. Mom bought her a nice Gryffindor robe and tie and even waved her hair to look like Hermione. She was maybe a little too excited for Halloween, though, and didn't get to sleep the night before until almost 1am :( She went trick-or-treating with Olivia and Emmy. They walked around a lot, but didn't get a ton of candy. She broke the fitbit step record, though - 23,000 steps on Halloween!

-At the beginning of the month, Ireland decided to decorate outside for Halloween. She drew chalk R.I.P signs and put dirt under it, drew Frankensteins, ghosts, etc. She also decided to dip her hand in red paint and make "bloody" handprints all over outside. Pretty creepy!! Especially since they have not come off over a month later!
-Ireland continues to enjoy gymnastics. We get to carpool with the Hillsteads & Spencers & that has been nice. She has already passed off most of her skills to go the next level :)
-Ireland invited Mahina and Hannah to her late-over this month and they all had so much fun being silly outside, playing with Noelle, watching movies & eating treats.
-We had been reminding Ireland constantly to stop leaving her tablet on the floor or it was going to get stepped on. Well, unfortunately it happened. It was under a blanket and dad stepped on it by accident. It still turns on but 3/4th of the screen is black and unusable. Unfortunately we don't have insurance this time on it, so she is going to have to go without :(
-One day on the way to school, mom had to remind Ireland for the thousandth time to leave Oaklyn alone and sit down. She said "I can't help it! Oaklyn is just so attractive! She sucks us in and makes us addicted to her!"
-For the first time EVER, Ireland said she has a crush. His name is Riley. Apparently, his best friend is the biggest trouble-maker in the 4th grade, so we're not sure how we feel about that.
-Mom and dad were having an interview with Ireland & talking to her about things. Mom asked how she was really doing, how her heart was. She pointed to her chest and said "Well, it's a rocky situation in here."
-McKinley & Ireland have been enjoying having their rooms close, but sometimes it breeds contention. One night, McKinley was trying to write a letter to Addison & Ireland kept trying to talk to McKinley. McKinley got frustrated & came to tell mom and dad. McKinley told Ireland that she was trying to write a letter and Ireland responded "well, I am trying to write YOU a letter, with my words."
-On the 27th, Ireland was complaining about not feeling well. She laid on the couch and was tired and feeling yucky, so she didn't go to school that day. She slept a lot in the morning, then she was feeling better. But mom really enjoyed having this one-on-one time with Ireland, cuddling, reading books in bed, and just talking. :)
-Apparently, Ireland had a club at recess with Mahina and Hannah, but there were hurt feelings and it had to be disbanded.
-Ireland was grumpy one morning & mom asked what was wrong. Ireland said she was up all night using the bathroom. Mom asked if it was #1 or #2. She responded "No... it was more like #3."
-Ireland was a Roman Goddess for Halloween. She was very beautiful in her gold & white costume. She even contributed $5 to buying it and we spray painted her sandals gold to match. She got to wear it to her gymnastics party, and then of course on Halloween. Mom waved her hair and she had her gold headband. She went trick-or-treating with Mahina & Tammy (who were both also goddesses) and Sophia. She had a fabulous night!

-We are so proud of our Kezia! Not only was her SEPs OUTSTANDING (her teachers raved about how smart she is- she is on a 4th grade+ reading level and wonderful she is), her primary teacher also called because she was doing a lesson about talents and went on and on about what a delight it is to have Kezia in her class & what a great reader she is and what a great sense of humor she has. We are truly blessed to have her in our family.
-On October 4th, Grandma & Grandpa Devenish came for Grandparent breakfast at Kezia's school. She was so happy to have them there & enjoyed spending some time with them :)
-Kezia got to have Macie and Ruby over for our late-over. It was fun to see the 3 together again (KitKat, M&M & Resses) :)
-Another reason to be proud of Kezia this month - she got the Catch the Vision award at an East Elementary assembly. They only choose one boy & one girl from each class. Way to go Kezia!
-A big change this month was that Oaklyn is now sleeping in Noelle's crib, so Noelle is now sleeping in Kezia's bed. It's taken a bit of adjusting, since Noelle has never really slept in anyone's bed before. Kezia has been so good to help her adjust & let her sleep with her, even with all the book messes she makes & how she sometimes wakes up at night.
-Kezia's had some tricky situations this month with her new friend, Ivy. Apparently, Ivy doesn't want anyone to play with Kezia, Ivy & Macie at recess. Kezia has tried to include others, but apparently Ivy doesn't like it. We've tried to talk through the scenarios and what Kezia can to do include others and still keep Ivy as a friend.
-HAPPY 7th BIRTHDAY KEZIA!!! We celebrated Kezia's birthday at the Benson Cabin, at Grandma Devenish's house with chocolate sheet cake, and at home. For her birthday, Kezia got a rock/gem kit, lots of stickers, a Mad Lib book, a gigantic art kit, a mother/daughter locket, and a poster from the Canary Island that we could put on her ceiling - from mom & dad. McKinley got her a My Little Pony kit! She got a cute sparkly hat & some clothes from Grandma Devenish. & Grandma Potts got her roller skates like her sisters! Her friend Ivy came over for a playdate on her birthday and they had fun playing - Ivy even brought her some silly putty, a puzzle, and a balloon. And her new primary teachers, the Vernons, brought her some candy and a balloon. For breakfast she wanted Captain Crunch berries, for lunch she went out to Denny's with daddy, and for dinner, she wanted waffles! Her cake was sugary to the max! Chocolate cake with kitkats surrounding it and rainbow skittles on the top! We were all in a bit of a sugar coma by the evening :) Happy Birthday Kezia!
-Kezia was Captain Irony for Halloween this year. It's from a Studio C skit. She had a stretchy pink unitard, a sparkly pink skirt, and some sock arm bands. She had a capital I on her outfit. She really looked cute! Most people had no idea what she was supposed to be, but it was fun anyway, and she liked to say "IRONY TAUGHT!" :) She got to go trick-or-treating with Mahina & Sophia & had so much fun :)

We loved getting together with other loss families for the Wave of Light this month. They even printed pictures of babies and we saw yours and we shared your story as well. We miss you SO much! Mom decided to do something extra special for your birthday next month. We're excited about it!

-Big changes for Noelle this month as she has moved from a crib to a BIG girl bed - sharing the bed with Kezia in her room. She has done better than we thought for the most part! She is still getting used to it, but doing well, other than having a hard time getting to sleep some nights/afternoons.
-When we were watching our friend's dog (the Hillstead's), he kept jumping on Noelle & nipping at her fingers. She got fed up with his antics and yelled "We don't eat people, Raffa!!"
-One day in the car, Noelle was asking mom what all the animals say (even though she knows them). She said "what does a turtle say?" Mom said she didn't really know & Noelle got uspet. She said "turtles say turtle turtle!"
-Noelle likes to feed her baby doll while mom feeds Oaklyn. She will lift up her shirt and put the baby to her belly button :)
-Noelle REALLY is great at puzzles! She can do almost ALL of the United States of America puzzle all by herself and she knows the names of probably 15 states.
-Noelle had a couple days of puking this month :(
-Mom was in her room feeding Oaklyn & she could hear Noelle walk through the house yelling "Mom!!" and then she walk into the living room & yells angrily "Kezia! Where did you put my mom?"
-Noelle's prayers are pretty cute. She usually has her eyes open & prays for what she sees. But one day she prayed "and please bless  me and kezia and Ireland and McKinley have bacon. Please bless bacon."
-Noelle still really loves cars. She likes to line them up on the windowsill and put them in-between the black keys on the piano.
-She has been making families out of everything now. If she has a group of cars or food or blocks, she will get the biggest one & make it the daddy, and the smaller one the mommy & on to the sisters.
-Noelle was Dora for Halloween this year. It was kind of hard to tell her costume because she wouldn't wear the dark brown wig that came with the costume. She did use her Dora plastic backback to collect her candy, though, and Oaklyn was boots, so it was cute to see them together :) Daddy took Noelle around the big block and she filled up her backpack with candy and had a lot of fun :)

-Oaklyn had her 2 month checkup this month. She was 11 lbs. 11 oz, and had to get 4 shots. Poor baby :(
-Oaklyn moved from the vibrator chair to the crib this month! She also went from being fully swaddled at night to going into the sleep sack with both her arms out. It took a little while to adjust, but she's done really well! Now she is used to her crib and her room & mom and dad have their room back :), but with the monitor on her all the time.
-She still doesn't do too well at tummy time - she either cries a lot or she just turns her head to the side & lays down. Her legs are getting really strong, though, and she stands up (with help) a lot.
-Oaklyn is smiling a lot and has started to laugh. We love it!! She is so adorable. We also get told a LOT how much she looks like her brother.
-Oaklyn has started to really move around in her crib. She hasn't turned over yet, but she wiggles & moves a lot on her back!
-She loves her binki and the muslin breathable blankets.
-We also set up a gift from Jason's coworker which has a projector that displays on the ceiling with 3 different slides that rotate around. She loves watching it.
-Noelle probably wins 2nd place with how much she loves ceiling fans. While mom folds laundry, she will set Oaklyn on the bed & turn on & off the fan and Oaklyn just smiles and is fascinated with it :)
-Oaklyn doesn't love the car unless we are moving.
-Oaklyn has really gotten the hang of hitting the jungle gym things to make music - and pulling on the cow to make it go. She really loves the cow chair. She smiles so big when we put her in it.
-She's already started to notice the TV. Noelle was watching Chu Chu TV & she was just watching it & smiling so much :)
-She was only waking up once a night, but has regressed to twice. Her naps are still intermittent, though she usually gets a long one in a few times a week. Sure wish we knew when that was :)
-Oaklyn is sure talking more these days. We just love her coos, squeals, and babbles. We love this girl!