Wednesday, February 4, 2015

January Newsletter & Slideshow

Hamilton Newsletter
January 2015
FAMILY:  Happy New Year!! 2015 sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it? For the second year in a row, we had sickies on New Years & so we couldn’t hang out with friends :( And – we all went to bed at midnight New York time to get some much-needed rest! Daddy took the girls ice skating on the 2nd and they had a lot of fun – they LOVE to go ice skating! The older girls headed back to school on the 5th and afterwards, we went to the park to try and soak in some vitamin D. On the 8th, we headed up north for the 3rd time in a month J It was all worth it, though, when we reached the amazing cabin by Bear Lake. It is a gigantic home with 9 bedrooms, a theater room, a gorgeous view, about 6 tables in the kitchen, indoor slides to each floor, and an enormous play area on the bottom floor, complete with a basketball area, an indoor trampoline, and a playground. The girls got their own room with 2 bunk beds and pink bedspreads. The next few days were spent playing, watching movies (Box Trolls, Fault in our Stars, Guardians of the Galaxy), sledding, playing games (Tiffany’s biggest fear is getting killed by a sloth) ;), doing puzzles (we stayed up till 1am one night!),playing air hockey, snowmobiling, drinking LOTS of hot cocoa, eating yummy food, going to church, doing sticker pages, watching the boys play pool downstairs, going on a 5-mile sunrise run (okay – that was just Grandpa Potts & mom), painting nails, and grabbing raspberry shakes on the way out of town! All-in-all, it was a wonderful, fabulous Potts family retreat. There was plenty of room for everyone and we all enjoyed being together. The only downers were Adam & Tiffany getting stuck on the snowmobiles (Maddy & Grace weren’t happy, either, missing their parents) :( and Ireland & Kezia not liking the raspberry shakes! The girls had a fabulous time and couldn’t stop talking about it. Mommy & Daddy had been slacking on lunch dates the past few months, so we made up for it this month! One week, daddy took Ireland to Denny’s & then DQ. Another week, mom took McKinley to Zaxby’s (a new restaurant in town), and then another week Kezi got to go with daddy to Denny’s & DQ! Whew! Glad we’re all caught up J We always have a wonderful time on our lunch dates. On the 24th, Keeley was so good to watch the girls while Jason & Heidi did sealings for family names at the temple. It was a wonderful, educational, spiritual night! Thanks Keeley! On the 30th, the girls had a late-over. McKinley had Lindsay Jordan over & Ireland & Kezia had Isabella & Emi. They had fun playing & watching movies. We really want to get healthy as a family this year, so we decided to sign up for a 5k at the end of April. We’ve already gone on a 2-mile run as a family & look forward to working toward this goal! We’ve been reading the book Heidi for the past few months, here and there as we can. It has been a lot of fun – Ireland is the one who picked it and she loves hearing the story of the girl of the alps J  

JASON: Jason went back to his gs9 budget analyst position this month & moved his office back to the S.O. He has worked very hard on organizing the house – building shelves in the garage and hauling things to the dump and the D.I. Jason spent a good week or so going through all our music files and making playlists to put on his new micro SD card that he got for Christmas.

HEIDI: Heidi worked hard as well – cleaning and organizing the house. That was what much of January was spent doing J She really enjoyed being with her family this month – especially seeing Tiffany who she hadn’t seen in a YEAR! Heidi did another freezer meal swap this month & she made 25 meals in 4 hours! It’s always a lot of work, but she’s so happy to have her freezer full again! The only casualty was her fingernail. She sliced the top of it off when she was using her food processor to slice potatoes. Ouch!

-McKinley has really gotten into indexing this month! Sometimes, we really have to pry her off the computer to go to bed! We know her brother is so proud of her when she indexes – and we are, too!
-At school one day McKinley asked the lunch worker a question and she got yelled at. It really hurt McKinley’s feelings and apparently, this one worker seems to yell a lot. Mom, dad & McKinley discussed it and we suggested she write a letter to her. So – McKinley wrote her a letter, thanking her for all the work she does for the students, and politely asking her to stop yelling.  She was very brave and gave it right to her. We are so proud of her and love seeing how she truly is a leader at her school.
-McKinley had SO much fun at the Bear Lake House. She said her favorite things were seeing Aunt Tiffany and riding snowmobiles.
-McKinley’s tablet just wasn’t charging this month, so we went ahead & used the warranty we bought for it and got her a new one. She was bummed that she had to re-download all her favorite apps and start over, but she’s thankful this one works so much better!
-For all of January & February, McKinley has Activity Days every Tuesday. An SUU student is helping out and McKinley has had fun seeing more of her friends from the ward!
-McKinley has REALLY loved her new CD, 1 Girl Nation. It’s got such a fun tune, and she has almost all the lyrics already memorized!

-Ireland was in time out one day and she started just crying loudly. Mom came in to see what the matter was & she sobbed “I threw the boot at them & it didn’t even hit them! And so then they laughed at me!” Hmmm – mom had a difficult time trying to find empathy for that one!
-Ireland went to Isabella Daniel’s birthday party this month. They went ice skating, played games, and ate cake and ice cream. She had so much fun!
-Ireland has really been excelling at school – she’s done so well on her spelling tests. Usually over 100% & her math tests are also coming back with 100% - SUCH an improvement!!
-We are wondering just what to do about Ireland’s teeth. We met with Anderton Orthodontics and Wilson & Whetton. They both have different approaches as to what to do about the severe crowding. They also have different pricing, so we will need to make a decision soon, but we are so thankful for insurance to help with the costs!
-One night, Ireland was in a sad, difficult mood. She went off about how it wasn’t fair that Kezia could stay home and she couldn’t. Then it went to it wasn’t fair that mom and dad spent more time with Link than her while he was here and why couldn’t she be in the hospital with him. (then she started crying) Then it wasn’t fair that Link died. Then – she said it was her fault that he died because one day she said she wondered what it would be like if he died “and then I got the answer and I didn’t want it.” . Then – she said there WAS a way that we could have saved Link “by taking out someone else’s heart and guts and moving them over to him.” (this has a little bit of background since we’ve been praying for a family whose little boy finally just received a heart transplant) Then – she expressed guilt about not thinking about him very much – pushing away her feelings and guilt.    Wow. It was a lot to take in at the time. Mom tried to just let her talk and reassure her that it wasn’t her fault at all. There were tears and hugs. Ireland seemed very relieved after talking – it seemed that she had been bottling that up for a while & we are thankful that she finally talked to us about it.
-One day we were talking about Golilocks & the three bears. We said mom could be the momma bear and dad could be the daddy bear & Noelle could be the baby bear. We asked what McKinley & Kezia would be & Ireland said “They would be the illustrators!”
-Ireland was standing on Noelle’s ride-on toy behind the couch – moving around. She said “look at me mom!” – then she busted out “I got the moves like Jagger!”
-We were watching a youtube video one day and the guy was talking and we asked where they thought he was from (the answer was India). Ireland said “Texaco?”

-One day we went to Walmart. Mom was trying to get a cart, but they were stuck together. Mom was pulling hard & finally it broke free, but it came forcefully & unfortunately Kezi was standing right behind it and it whacked her right in the forehead! :(
-We all enjoy Kezia’s prayers. One night she prayed “And please bless that she will choose the right by inviting me to her birthday party…” Also – every night she prays “for Link, Tundra, and all the babies, toddlers, kids, and adults and animals to be resurrected soon.” :)
-Heavenly Father must have heard her prayer, because Kezia DID get to go to a birthday party for a girl in her preschool class – Audrey.
-Whenever we have soda (rarely) or chocolate milk or any drink other than water, Kezi likes to save a bit of it & pour it into popsicle molds. We have all kinds of yummy experiments currently in our freezer :)
-Kezi got a little tiny ball maze from the birthday party that she went to. She dropped it and the ball came out. She exclaimed “Oh no! What have I done??”
-Kezia had her Kindergarten shots this month and she was SO brave! The nurses were so impressed and kept saying “Wow! She didn’t even make a face – not a peep!” She was so excited to tell her daddy & sisters how brave she was.

Aunt Deb was so sweet and bought a 12x12 original painting of a rainbow, here’s what she said about it:
There was a little Laotian man selling a few of his paintings in a family restaurant that Larry and I were eating at. They were all landscapes with trees, trails, etc., but when I saw the one with the rainbow I immediately thought of Link. He said that he hadn't been painting for long because when he lived in Laos, he didn't know that he could paint. He had just recently started to paint rainbows and this was his favorite because it showed the entire rainbow, except that he asked if I knew that rainbows were actually circles. He said that if we were in the water, we might be able to see the entire circle, without beginning or end. Pretty awesome, and meant for your family. Love you guys!
Heidi also wrote a blog that was well-received & was able to share some ideas about how loved ones could bring up our angel children & let us talk about them. Had a few people tell us how much Link’s story means to them, which was very sweet.

-9 months old!! Her 9 month appointment went well. She is growing & progressing well! :)
-She is still quite a mommy’s girl. It’s so cute when mom is around someone Noelle doesn’t know, she will just put her head on mommy’s chest and just kind of suspiciously glance over at the stranger.
-Noelle fully has 2 little teeth out and tall! They are sharp chompers, too!
-She definitely has been gravitating toward “real” food & not liking the baby food as much. She loves mac n’ cheese, tortillas, and rice.
-Another favorite of Noelle is the dishwasher. If she’s fussy, just stand her up by the open dishwasher & she will usually calm right down. She loves pulling things out and moving the utincil container up & down.
-Mom has to keep Noelle’s fingernails pretty short – she loves to scrape mommy’s face!
-Noelle is getting to be a strong stander. She can stand all by herself for 10 seconds! And she’s soclose to taking  that first step. She still doesn’t love her tummy. She will get up on all fours, but she doesn’t really like to go anywhere & soon she’ll go down to her tummy & start crying.
-She did go down the sledding hill a few times at the Bear Lake cabin – so fun!
-She also got to hang out with her two cousins that will be in her grade – Grace & Caden.
-After we got back from the cabin, mom decided it was time for Noelle to graduate from the Guardian Sleeper to the sleep sack. The first few nights were rough – she woke up a lot & wasn’t used to not being strapped in. Also – the Snuza kept falling off with all of her movement all over the crib until Anna suggested that we fold her diaper down & that’s helped a lot. Now, she is pretty used to the sleep sack & likes to sleep on her tummy. That was hard for mom to get used to for a while, but she sleeps better that way & with the Snuza on, it gives peace of mind.
-Noelle has pretty much given up her 3rd nap for the day & goes down usually about 9:30 and about 1pm.
-She still loves talking and makes the “t” sound a lot.
-If there is something she’s really excited about, she will just kind of squeal & shake all over – like McKinley’s tiny helicopter she got for Christmas. It’s hard to tell if she’s scared or excited, but it’s so cute!
-She is liking Signing Time more & more. When the song comes on at the beginning, she is definitely paying attention – and will usually watch one whole 30 minute DVD without complaint :)
-Mom spent a LOT of time going through clothes for Noelle last month – we found 2 containers of 12-18 month clothes & it took a while to go through them all, but thankfully the cutest ones are now in her closets and drawers & she has a LOT of them! The fun ones are the ones that all the girls have worn. It’s so fun to see her in them.
-Noelle is a momma’s girl, but she LOVES seeing her daddy when he gets home & she just wants to go to him immediately. It’s so cute.
-Mornings are so fun with Noelle. After her oldest sisters head to school, mom & Kezia get to sing songs, read books, and do finger games with Noelle. We LOVE our Noelle-my-belle!