Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Newsletter & Slideshow

Hamilton Newsletter
September 2015
FAMILY: Back into the school routines & schedules along with soccer practices & games - life has gotten crazy busy! It was a good month, though, and we are grateful for our blessings, opportunities & learning experiences. Kezia started Kindergarten on September 1st! Noelle & mom are still getting used to mornings together. She sure loves when her sisters come back as mom isn't nearly as entertaining :) For Labor Day weekend, we got some home projects done - mudroom coat hooks, bench, a pedestal for the washer/dryer, and laundry basket shelves - and we still had some fun times. We went to the Iron County Fair and the girls each got to ride on 2 rides and then we saw all the cool things people had submitted for awards. On Monday, Labor Day, we finally tackled Kanaraville Falls. What a beautiful hike! The red rock, the water, the slot canyon walls, and the nature-made waterslides made for a wonderful, memorable day! We learned a few important lessons, though: Go as early as possible, don't go on a holiday! (we waited over an hour to get down the waterfall ladder) and wear quality water shoes (the girls had good running shoes, but we tried to wear flip flops, too & it wasn't very effective). Overall, though, it was just a great hike & the girls couldn't stop talking about it :) September 9th was McKinley's 10th birthday! (see her section for more details. In the middle of the month, mom & the girls finally finished reading Anne of Green Gables. It was a fabulous read & the girls loved it! Our next reading selection is Harry Potter - pretty opposite of Anne, but we are looking forward to it! On the 19th, after Ireland's soccer game, we headed down to St. George & the girls played at the Hamiltons while mom & dad went to the temple. Afterwards, we ate pizza & celebrated Jeff, Daken & McKinley's birthdays with cake & ice cream! On the 21st we headed up Cedar Canyon for FHE to look at the fall leaves. It was a beautiful cool, crisp evening & we hated to leave! Jason & Heidi had some fun date nights this month, including a drive on the moped to see the temple progress & to visit Link's grave, out to dinner at Applebee's, and the SUU event where they had free food, candy, and entertainment. There was an awesome 70's band that was a lot of fun :) The girls have also had fun with Activity Days - we learned how to make bread, we went door-to-door collecting money for Pennies By the Inch, we had ice cream sundaes, and we made s'mores at woods ranch. In between all of that, we've had to do lots of coordinating for soccer practices and games for Ireland & Kezia. The girls had a primary program at the end of the month & it was SO good! Kezi was VERY VERY loud! McKinley sang a beautiful solo for I Wonder When He Comes Again, and Ireland sang a song with all the children who had been baptized this year. They also all did so great memorizing & reciting their parts. We got SO many people coming & talking to us about how well our children did. We are so proud of all of them. Overall, September has been very warm! Temps haven't really gotten much below 80, so we're hoping for a cool-down soon! :) One thing the girls are all into right now is watching HEIDI on Netflix. It's not a whole lot like the book that we read earlier this year, but they all really like it. Also - at the end of the month was the blood moon. It was REALLY cool to wach!

JASON:  Jason was so good to do Heidi's honey-do list for labor day. The laundry room is SO much nicer! Also - Jason has been busy doing a sprinkler system for the rental home as well as being at all the girls soccer games. He is learning a lot about the game and is coaching the girls from the sidelines. Jason & McKinley are still going on walks in the mornings, but Jason just started going to the Gregerson's again to get some weight training in, too. Things have also been busy at work with his boss gone on fires pretty much all of the month and needing to work on end-of-fiscal-year projects.

HEIDI: Heidi feels like as a family we were on a leisurely boat ride during the summer and it's gone from that to full-throttle breakneck speed! It's quite interesting trying to coordinate everything :) Heidi has enjoyed her time in the mornings. Usually after she gets back from taking the girls to school, she has some mommy & Noelle time where they read books, do puzzles, color, look at pictures, etc. Then she cleans and does a morning project (organization, memory, family history, decoration, etc) before Kezi gets home. Then it's lunch & errands and time to get older sisters from school. We will be glad when the Vogts get back so we can carpool again :) Heidi read 2 books last month - Jane of Lantern Hill by LM Montgomery (really good!) and I am Number Four (also good - suspenseful). Heidi has started working out with some more friends from the ward - doing a 20 day fix dvd in the Gregerson's garage. The middle of the month, Heidi had her hair done - she was going for darker, but it was MUCH darker than she imagined. It was fun to see everyone's reactions! Very different! She did end up lightening it up a bit, but it's still much darker than before & it's kind of fun :) Heidi has finally gotten pictures printed & things up for around the TV in the living room - and she also got some of Link's pictures & memorabilia up, which she loves having out. Ireland accidentally dropped mom's 2TB external hard drive when she was taking out the laptop :( Thankfully, we were able to get some of the data off, but much of it - like movies - and a couple of McKinley's birthday book files are still missing. We got a huge 8TB external hard drive to help, but we're going to have to be better about double-backing up! It was heartbreaking when she realized some of the data was gone forever!

-HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY McKINLEY! McKinley woke up to the family singing, got to go to the little Brick House for lunch (she LOVED her Thunderbird sandwhich), she got her EARS PIERCED (!! - she got them done at Walmart & chose cute small blue - her birthstone - butterflies. She was very brave!) and Grandma & Grandpa Devenish came & surprised her on her birthday! From mom & dad she got to go see Beauty & the Beast at Tuacahn with mom the night before her birthday, getting her ears pierced, candy, UNO Dare game, and handmade earrings from PEI. Grandma Potts gave her crafty flowers and Grandma Devenish gave her a cute shirt, skirt & jewelry. She was definitely spoiled! The only big bummer of the day was that by about 4pm, she started getting a fever and wasn't feeling well. She really got hot by the end of the day & had to go to bed early :(
-One day McKinley surprised mom by cutting up ALL of the veggies from the garden (a HUGE glass bowl of cucumber) :) and making a garden salad and a fruit salad as well! It was all SO yummy - especially the garden salad. Great job McKinley!
-Dad went to McKinley's "parent training night" at North Elementary & got to get to know Mr. Sahagun and learn more about how his class works.
-One sad thing for McKinley this month - by order of President Obama they changed the name of the mountain from Mt. McKinley back to Denali :( McKinley was pretty sad when she found out - especially because Grandma & Grandpa Potts & GG Tew went to Alaska & while Grandma did find things that still said McKinley, it's sad to know the name has changed.
-McKinley read Ella Enchanted this month & really liked it (was a recommendation from mom) :)
-McKinley has a crush on a boy named Orlando :) She told her friends not to tell, but somehow he found out ;) She has been dressing up with him in mind :)
-For the primary program, McKinley did fabulous! Mom & dad got so many people saying that not only was her solo beautiful, but her entire animated expressions throughout the program were fantastic & her love for the music was so obvious. One sister said she had to force herself to watch her own children because McKinley was so animated and fun to watch :)
-McKinley's parent-teacher conference with Mr. Sahagun was fantastic! She was scored as reading on a middle-of-sixth-grade reading level and she got 100% on her first math test assessment. Mr. Sahagun said he plans on just getting out of her way & letting her fly with math and learn all she can! GREAT JOB McKinley! We are so proud of you!
-The evening of McKinley's Parent-teacher conference, we got a letter in the mail stating that McKinley was chosen by her teacher to be in a small group of students that they are putting in a gifted after-school program on Wednesday. Talk about proud parents!

-One day mom was trying to help Ireland find some shoes. Mom suggested some shoes in her closet, to which Ireland replied "Mom! Those shoes are EXCEEDINGLY hot on my feet!"
-One day Ireland decided to do a mini spa for mom. She got out warm water & messaged & lotioned her feet and cut up cucumbers for her eyes :)
-Right before McKinley's birthday, Ireland said "Yeah - we're coming with you to get your ears pierced! I want to see those grubs in your ears!" Apparently Ireland heard GRUB when we were explaining about STUDS. Funny visualization though! ;)
-Ireland and Kezia ate lunch with dad while McKinley had lunch with mom. When we were walking through the halls of dad's work, Ireland exclaimed "Daddy, if you had enough money, you could live here all the time!"
-One day Ireland was having a difficult time concentrating on her homework. Mom came over & Ireland said she just wanted someone to talk to. Mom asked why she didn't just talk to herself? Ireland replied "Because that's more boring! I already know what I'm going to say!"
-Mommy was SO proud of Ireland at her parent teacher conference. Her teacher raved about what a focused, hard-worker she is and how she is really learning with math and how her handwriting and reading are phenomenal. She said her reading is at a mid-4th grade level. Great job miss Irleand! We love you & are proud of you!
-Ireland has been very busy at soccer this month between practices and games. Their team hasn't won any games yet, but they did make a goal and it's been great to watch the progress of the whole team and Ireland, too. She has worked really hard - in heat and frustration - and hasn't given up. Great job Ireland!

-Yay for Kezia starting Kindergarten! Well, mom isn't so happy, but Kezia sure is! She had to wait 2 whole weeks after her sisters started, so she was WAY ready! On the first day mom and dad brought her into her classroom. Unfortunately, the school had our old address, so the bus tried to drop her off at our old house. Thankfully they called & we got her all straightened out, but it was a bit traumatic for her first day! She really likes Mrs. Ekker and has started to make new friends, including Ruby & Macy. She gets to sit by Courtney on the bus on the way home and she gets to play with her ward friends at Recess and sometimes at PE. She is having fun, though they've had to work at finding books hard enough for her. She's currently reading Magic Treehouse books (finished #13 in a week!). So - her teacher has sent home some harder, chapter book s and she is enjoying reading them and checking the off. She also LOVES to get her homework done as soon as possible and turn it in right away so she can get a sticker on her folder.
-One day Kezia came off the bus with a large red scrape on her head. Mom asked what happened & she said she was racing a neighbor boy to the bus stop and tripped & fell. She scraped her head and both her knees were bleeding :( Mommy felt so bad that she was there by herself without anyone to give her a bandaid & kiss it better!
-One day Kezia was walking around singing "All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth GONE!" She really can't wait till those teeth fall out! She also has been counting down the days until September ends (someone is excited for their birthday!)
-Kezia has really excelled in soccer! Even though their team is frequently outnumbered, they have never lost a game! All of her teammates (Laura, Macey, and Maylee) and really good and they work well together. Kezi is a fast runner, a good kicker, and a fantastic thrower-in girl :) (that's probably not the correct term) :)
-For the primary program, mom and dad sat in the back and still could hear Kezia VERY loudly. We got many comments on how entertaining she was :)

We felt you close this month, our sweet boy and appreciate SO much your love notes. There was one day in particular that your pictures came up on our Chromecast more, the girls talked about you more (and even made crafts with your pictures), and even Noelle was saying your name. That evening during FHE, there was a gorgeous, brilliant rainbow outside. We all came into the backyard and oohed and ahhed over it's beauty and enjoyed the closeness we felt to you. Also - in the next few days, we got numerous texts about rainbows where friends and family lived that made them and us think of you!! We LOVED it! Mom also was able to get more pictures & things up on the walls & nooks of you & LOVES how it makes you feel closer to us.  Thank you for always watching over us, protecting us, and just loving us. We love & miss you eternally!

-At 17 months, this girl already thinks she is a BIG girl! She wants to drink out of big girl cups, wear big girl shoes, and be with her sisters & their friends whenever they are over!
-At night when we have a hip-hip-horray for someone in the family, Noelle chimes in at the end, raising her arms in the air, saying "HOORAY!" so adorable.
-Noelle knows the names of 3 or 4 animals now. She can say MOO! (again, cuteness overload), quack, neigh (and she tries to blow on her lips at the end), ruff, and meow.
-We were at North Elementary during Ireland's soccer practice & Kezi & Noelle were playing on the playground. Kezia would take her up & even though she was a bit timid at first, she went down the BIG slide again & again & again and laughed the whole way down. She LOVED it!
-Mom was walking into the store one day & Noelle said "LOVE YOU!" Melt-your-heart cuteness. She has said it probably 8 times since then.
-At one point in her life, Noelle HATED shoes & would take them off whenever she could. She's now reached the other end of the spectrum and is CONSTANTLY bringing mom or dad or sisters shoes or socks of varying sizes & colors. She loves shoes!
-DOORS! For a little while this month, Noelle would go into a room and shut the door and close herself in and she would cry & cry until someone opened the door. And THEN one day she figured out how to open it (EEK!). She still isn't good at opening the regular knobs, but she's got the lever knobs down pat!
-Noelle loves to watch cars pass our house and she says "Vrroom vrooom cars!" and shows the sign for cars. She also says and the does the sign for bike.
-Noelle LOVES being outside! During her "witching hour" - around 4-5:30 or so, one of the only things that will make her happy is to go outside. Good thing her sisters are usually very willing to go with her & push her in the swing or just walk around with her :)
-She says "THANK YOU!" - so sweet. She will say it when you give her something, but she also says it when she brings you something (like shoes) and wants you to help her.
-Lately Noelle has been getting on the table a lot!
-Whenever mom or dad says something like "McKinley... STOP!" (as in stop it), Noelle chimes in and says "STOP... AND GO!!" :)
-She is so cute at naptime or bedtime. She will lay down & say over & over again "ni-ni time." She's also started singing her goodnight song as we walk to her room to put her to bed! So sweet <3 all="" also="" br="" by="" her="" herself.="" likes="" noise="" on="" she="" to="" turn="" white=""> -Noelle has shown more of an interest in dolls & pretend play this month. She will get a doll, lay it down and say "Ni ni baby!"
-Noelle had one of the pretend cameras & was walking around pointing it at everyone, saying CHEESE!
-Noelle enjoys being with mom, but REALLY loves it when her sisters come home! Many times we will sit on the front porch, or just inside the storm door, watching & waiting for Kezia's bus to come home. When it does, Noelle SQUEALS with delight and just giggles until Kezia runs up and grabs her. It's so so sweet. She also loves being around all the activity day girls and just any new friend that comes over. She loves the attention :)
-She loves to go in and out of the door in her changing table - in and out. In and out. She also likes to hide in her closet :)
-For some reason in the past week, Noelle has decided to get up earlier & earlier in the morning. She used to wake up at 7:30. Then it was 7. Then 6:30. Then 6! Someone tell this girl to start sleeping in again!
-Noelle randomly starts singing the alphabet! Most of the letters are hard to decipher, but she's got the tune pretty good and she always gets the letter I in there :)
-She likes to say "pretty" when mom fixes her hair or she has a skirt on or cute shoes :)