Monday, October 10, 2016

September Newsletter & Slideshow

Hamilton Newsletter
September 2016

Family: September was school and lessons and family and friends and cooler weather :) Over Labor Day weekend we went swimming, flew kites at the park, roasted s'mores in the backyard, did a Snow Canyon hike to explore some lava tubes, and went to Iceburg to get some shakes & we also ran into Merri Tew and her mom, Sandra. It was a fun weekend :) McKinley turned 11 this month! Happy Birthday McKinley! See her section for more details. On the 15th, a BIG thing happened for our temple - we got our angel Moroni! It wasn't publicly announced, but our friends & neighbors, the Petersen's, gave us a heads' up (he's the main contractor on the temple) and we headed over. He said 10:30 am, but it ended up being more like 1pm. Which was good because Grandma & Grandpa Potts and even GG were able to see it! Jason came from work and waited the whole time until it happened. We got some cool video and pictures. What a neat thing to see! On the 17th, while daddy was at a church training, mom took all the girls to the parkway. We went almost 4 miles - mom pushing the double stroller and the girls riding their bikes. It was a beautiful morning & they all enjoyed it :) On the 18th, we had lots of family come over for Sunday dinner/Sept birthday celebrations. The Hamiltons came from St. George (minus Jeff - he was in Alaska), Grandma Devenish and the Reeds came from Richfield, and the Potts even came on their way down South. It was a full house, but lots of fun. We had roast, mashed potatoes, salad, homemade bread, and cake & ice cream. Yum! Our garden harvesting is still going strong with LOTS of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, cucumbers, broccoli, and raspberries. Our honeydew melons finally ripened, too, & were SO yummy! Now, just waiting on those pumpkins to finish ripening for jack-o-lanterns next month! On the 22nd, the Simons came to town and mom took the girls out of school to go to the St. George Children's Museum with them. They all had a great time together - and Grandma Potts also paid for them to go on the carousel at the adjoining park : ) Afterwards we went to Grandma's for lunch and mom watched the girls and the Simon boys while Grandma took Trisha out shopping. Then we headed home & got ready for the Edwards to get to our home, which wasn't till 11. Saturday afternoon, we hiked Spring Creek with the Edwards and enjoyed it! It is so beautiful there & we saw so many butterflies and beautiful red rock. Afterwards, we came back, relaxed & then had pizza before all the girls 8 & up went to the women's conference. There was GG, Grandma, Trisha, Cindy, Tiarra, Heidi, McKinley, and Ireland. It was SO neat to enjoy the conference with so many amazing girls and women!! Afterwards, we went to Pop n' sweets & tried some hot cocoa floats and sodas :) The Edwards & Simons slept over on Saturday & on Sunday we all went to church & watched the girls in their primary program, which was wonderful - as always :) Afterwards we ate and then sang happy birthday to McKinley & ate the cute cake that Cindy made for her. Also this month, we got together for a picnic at the Hillcrest Park with some of our old 19th ward friends. We brought Frog Eye Salad & others brought some yummy food & we enjoyed our time visiting :)
Jason: On the 17th, Jason had a special church training. It was just for bishops and Elders Quorum presidents and he got to see Elder Ballard and a few other general authorities speak. He said it was really neat & even got to shake Elder Ballard's hand :) Jason was so good about having so much family over this month. He helped so much with food and watching kids and driving. He has also been so good at helping with homework - specifically Ireland's math homework, which has taken sometimes multiple hours at night.
Heidi: Heidi continues to adjust to having the 2 little ones at home and juggling carpooling and other demands. Overall, she is loving it, though. She enjoys her time with her "littles" in the morning and her "olders" in the afternoon. Heidi has started slowly back into running again and is up to 4 miles. She also enjoys her walks & many mornings after she drops Kezia off at school , she will walk on the East Canyon parkway, which is so beautiful, especially in the fall.  She joined an fitness facebook group & is enjoying that, too. She read a couple books last month, including When Crickets Cry and Ember in the Ashes, both very good. She got to go to a Share dinner at an Indian restaurant and visit with some wonderful ladies. It was so good to catch up and also be able to talk about her sweet son.
-McKinley started back up with piano and is doing wonderfully. She also started the cello this month! We told her to choose between a cello and a play & she chose the cello. So - she is in the 5th grade orchestra and is already self-teaching herself more than they do in class. Her piano teacher just says music in general just comes naturally to McKinley. We'd agree! :)
-McKinley turned 11 years old on the 9th! Her tablecloth is really starting to fill up with hands! She chose Krave for breakfast, grilled cheese & tomato soup for lunch (daddy came & got her & brought her home for lunch), and then we went to Panda Express as a family for dinner! Her gifts from mom & dad were her birthday book, a locket that glows blue in the dark, a coin purse,  some lotion & chapstick, a Mt. McKinley license plate, some music note earrings, and a fitbit. Mom & McKinley have had fun comparing steps every day :) Kezia got her some Butterfinger bites and a nice card. Ireland gave her some handmade gifts. Grandma Devenish came to take her shopping & she got a cute shirt & some jeggings. Then, later in the month, Grandma & Grandpa Potts came to take her shopping & she ended up ordering (and getting) some roller skates, which she really wanted. She is working on learning how to use them.
-On the 27th, McKinley got to go with the other members of the leadership team to do a presentation for the Iron County school board. She gave her part and did wonderfully, and we are so proud of her! :)
-One Sunday McKinley decided to host a sister swap and gathered up all her things she wanted to swap and put them on the table & her sisters did, too, and they even had rules and all. Lots of fun trading happened :)
-McKinley is part of a special drama group at her school, made up of exceptional readers. So, while other kids work on reading, McKinley gets to do some fun drama things. The bonus is that it's with Orlando (her crush) :)
-McKinley & Ireland have been so cute at night. Ireland will come into McKinley's room & McKinley will read to her. They read all of The Twits and now are reading James & the Giant Peach. Sometimes they also craft and things :)
-McKinley was kind of disappointed that she didn't make the "Be Proactive" skit at school. She auditioned, but she said Orlando was there and it made her mess up :(

-Ireland continues to enjoy Mr. Sahagun's class. Although, his class this year has turned out to be quite different than last year when McKinley was in it. She has a different math teacher (Mr. Carter) and comes home with math homework about 3 times a week. Dad has been so good to stay up and help her with it - sometimes 2 or more hours a night - to make sure she understands.
-Ireland continues to enjoy gymnastics. Paige & Laura are going this year, too, so we now have a nice carpooling setup :)
-One of Ireland's assignments this month was to do a book bag report. She was to color a picture for the outside of the bag, decorate it, place 5 things about the book inside the bag, and give a presentation about it all. The book she chose was The White Dolphin, by Gill Lewis. It was a bit of a scramble to get it ready on time, but it turned out really cute & she got a great grade! Way to go Ireland!
-One day playing outside, Ireland got her hands on some rope & used it to rig up a cool line that was tied at 2 ends of the fence.
-Ireland got to have a disco party, including ice cream sandwiches, for being in the top 10 Alecs (math) students in her class. Awesome job!
-McKinley & Ireland have been so cute at night. Ireland will come into McKinley's room & McKinley will read to her. They read all of The Twits and now are reading James & the Giant Peach. Sometimes they also craft and things :)

-Kezia continues to enjoy the dual immersion program at East. Even though she still complains about not being with her sisters, she enjoys both her teachers and has made new friends, like Ivy and Canyon :) She also has done really well with her homework, Spanish or English, consistently bringing home 100% papers. She definitely is one smart cookie!
-Kezi is so good with getting puff balls for our family. She is by far the #1 contributor to help us earn a trip to Lagoon this year. She helps out so much with Noelle, especially, and is patient with her even when she is being really mean. 
-Mom got it out of Kezia that her new crush is named Briggs. She says he is cute. Mom is making sure he is NICE, too :)
-One day Kezi was having time. She plopped down by mom and said "Everything is going everybody else's way this morning!"
-Kezia's teacher mentioned it was her anniversary the next day, and Kezia's ears perked up. :) She picked flowers from our front yard and even had mom buy her a candy bar and she took them both to school. She is quite a sweetheart. She also loves sharpening pencils for her teachers and a couple times was late when mom came to pick her up!

Noelle had to go to your bench this month, baby boy. She loved playing with your cars. Every time we pass the cemetery, she wants to go see you. Also got so see a few beautiful rainbows this month and you know how I LOVE my Link Rainbows! It's hard to see all the pictures of people's kids going to preschool, knowing you would be going this year. Oh, how I would love to watch you go to preschool. Miss you EVERY single day, my sweet boy. We all do!
-Noelle continues her streak of mischief. It's a weekly chore just to clean her markings off the furniture & walls :( But thankfully, she also has continued to love on & be gentle with her baby sister, so we will be thankful for that!
-When I was taking Oaklyn's 1 month pictures, Noelle wanted her picture tsken, too. She posed, smiled & said "Mom, cheese me!"
-Noelle pointed to her freshly graffiti'd wall  & said "Sydney drew on the wall!"
-One of Noelle;s favorite new sayings: "guess what?"
-Noelle found some pennies & nickels one day. She showed mom & said "I have $50!!"
-Ever since Oaklyn was born, Noelle doesn't want to go to nursery anymore. Before the closing hymn is even done, she will start crying & saying she doesn't want to go :(
-Noelle is TERRIFIED of thunder. Not sure if she got that from a Daniel Tiger episode, but if she even sees dark clouds, she will come running to mom, so scared. One time she was playing with the white noise machine while mom was feeding Oaklyn & she pushed the rainstorm button. Wow - was she terrified! She ran to mom & wouldn't stop shaking till mom turned it off.
-One day Noelle asked for a cup of milk. Mom said "what am I waiting for?" (as in, waiting for her to ask nicely, saying please). She said "You're waiting for Link."
-Another fun Noelle phrase: "don't worry, mom!" (wherein, mom immediately starts worrying)
-Noelle loves to hear McKinley play the cello (and often wants to touch, too). One day McKinley was practicing & Noelle said "show me that stuff!"
-Noelle is possessive if someone not in our family tries to touch Oaklyn. She will run over & say "Hey - that's MY baby!"
-Oaklyn is doing really well & we are so happy that she is a part of our family! We all can't wait until she wakes up in the morning to get her smiles and we all want to hold her at night, too. She is starting to get a little bit fussy in the evening, but not anything that a little cuddling can't fix :)
-Once she was 6 weeks, she really abruptly stopped pooping. It was almost 4 days and then she had a massive blow-out. After that it's been better, but it's more like every 3 days instead of multiple times a day.
-She is starting to sleep better at night & will go from about 8-3am and then she'll wake up between 6 & 7, so it's really not too bad. Her naps in the day are sporadic, but she's starting to get into more of a routine.
-Poor Oaklyn really has to love her carseat. Many days she's in it 5 or 6 times with all the running around that mom has to do. Life of the baby!! She usually does just fine - especially when we're moving, but she doesn't like the stop & go.
-Noelle is possessive if someone not in our family tries to touch Oaklyn. She will run over & say "Hey - that's MY baby!"
-Oaklyn is smiling more & more. She loves it when we stick out our tongue or make clicking noises.
-She is starting to "talk" more, too, and we love to hear her coos and ooos and other sweet baby noises.
-She is definitely grown out of the newborn clothes :( and now is in size 2 diapers!
-Oaklyn has started being able to hit the dangling items on the overhead jungle gym and make the music go! She also is loving the blue chair with the hanging farm animals. We put her in there & she immediately starts smiling and talking :)
-Her legs are getting more & more strong & she's able to put weight on them!
-She doesn't love tummy time, but we are still working on it!
-Oaklyn REALLY loves to have her face in mommy or daddy's shirt or a blanket. :( She also LOVES when mommy's hair is touching her face & she sleeps so well that way :)
-She's almost too big for the swaddlers that we use with the vibrator chair. She keeps getting her arms and hands out!

August Newsletter & Slideshow

Sorry so late! 

Hamilton Newsletter
August 2016
Family: Of course, our huge news this month is the addition of a new member!! Oaklyn Alice Hamilton joined our family on August 3, 2016 at 2:30pm. We are SO thankful she is here & we are loving every minute with her!  Grandma & Grandpa Potts were so good to come down and help out. They helped with the other girls while mom & dad were in the hospital with Oaklyn – and we also had the Hamiltons and Devenishs come visit & hold the new baby - and then after we got home, they took all four older girls to St. George to stay in their new place for a few days so Heidi & Jason could enjoy some time with the new baby. We’re grateful for that sweet time, because before we knew it, school was starting! Jason took that week off and helped with the transition – McKinley (5th grade) and Ireland (4th grade) started another year at North Elementary and Kezia (1st grade) started her first year at East Elementary, enrolled in the dual immersion program. So – with 2 different schools to carpool to, and a newborn to boot, mornings can be a bit hectic J But it’s been nice to get back into routines and the girls have all enjoyed their new classes & teachers.  On the 21st, we had some guests – the Bensons and Michalla Holt (a girl from Herriman that is going to SUU). It was fun to visit and catch up with both of them. Speaking of Bensons, our friends, the Bealers, had their baby 6 days before Oaklyn, and named him Benson J We are so happy for them! (and hope they move back soon so they can be friends J).  We are so thankful for friends that have brought meals and gifts for our new little one. We are so blessed! Another fun thing we spent a lot of time doing in August was watching the Summer Olympics in Rio. Many times staying up way too late :) We especially loved watching Phelps go crazy again winning gold in swimming, Simone Biles rip it up in gymnastics (and all the US gymnasts), diving, and beach volleyball. GO USA!! :)
Jason: Jason was, once again, a rock and a huge helper for Oaklyn’s birth. This was the first time, though, that he didn’t stay overnight at the hospital. They changed the furniture & the recliner was just not going to work, so he went home, but came back early the next morning. During the week of the 15th, besides helping with taking the girls to school, he also was a Honey-do list ROCKSTAR! J He put up a temporary fence (hallelujah!) to keep kids and dogs in the backyard, he fixed our house numbers, fixed the front door trim, set up our new baby monitor, added a rod to Noelle’s closet to fit Oaklyn’s clothes, fixed the water line on our fridge so we could get ice & water again, and made countless trips to the store or running errands. We are SO thankful for our awesome dad/hubby!! A sad thing happened this month as Jason's coworker's (Mindy) husband died, leaving her with 4 children to raise. Jason just hired her to be on his team, and so he's had to take over for her quite a bit, but he is so good at supporting her & letting her grieve.
Heidi: Well, Heidi is still just reveling in her non-pregnancy state J She LOVES to be able to lay down flat, or on her tummy, or bend down or just take a full breath! She is so thankful for her new baby girl and is working hard to stop calling her Noelle ;) Oaklyn’s birth was really not too bad. She had a little bit where she was nauseated and light-headed, but got through that within an hour or so. After her birth, she just didn’t want to give her up to the nurses. Such a sweet feeling holding her precious baby.  Even though she is up with the baby a lot in the night, she still has felt good enough to start going for walks/slow runs and has really enjoyed it – and looks forward to upping her workout intensity soon. Nursing was extremely painful with Oaklyn for the first couple weeks – until she got her upper lip tie clipped. She also had a painful UTI, so she’s thankful we’re through that first rough part!

-McKinley was given the chance to be at Oaklyn’s birth, and though at first she wasn’t sure, she decided to come. It was neat to have her there and she was a big helper. The nurses and Laurie were so cute with her and tried to educate her about everything. A nurse showed her with a flipbook how to measure dilation. And after Oaklyn  was born, daddy let McKinley cut the cord!! Definitely a very cool experience. She also was one of the very first to hold Oaklyn, and she was so cute with her.
-McKinley continues to be a huge helper with Oaklyn and Noelle especially. We are SO thankful Heavenly Father sent her to us as the oldest sister!
-McKinley started 5th grade this month and she is now queen of the school! We’ve told her that she needs to make sure she’s an example for all the younger kids at North. She is such a great leader. She has Mrs. Isom this year & she really likes her. She also loves that she can see & visit with Mr. Sahagun (her 4th grade teacher), too J
-McKinley really struggled with insomnia this month. The first time it happened was the night before Oaklyn’s birth. She kept coming in mom & dad’s room – until after 1am – because she couldn’t sleep. She was crying & so so tired. But then it happened again on the night before the first day of school… and multiple days afterwards. We tried lots of things – chamomile tea, reading, talking, and even Tylonol PM. None of them helped for very long L
-Being the oldest, McKinley got quite a few new clothes this year for school! The bonus is that McKinley & mom almost share the same size, so it's like mom getting new clothes too!! :)
-Ireland, of course, is back on can't-keep-my-hands-off-the-baby mode :) She really does adore babies, and has loved holding, kissing, carrying, and just loving our new baby Oaklyn. She woke up before we left the morning of Oaklyn's birth (at 6am!), just to give mommy's tummy one last squeeze.
-Ireland started 4th grade this month and has enjoyed Mr. Sahagun (who taught McKinley last year). She doesn't quite take to his jokes yet, though. One time he was teasing her about misbehaving & she was scared that he was really mad at her.
-Ireland also started gymnastics again at the very end of the month. This time, she is in a higher class and goes for an hour and a half. She gets to do the bars every time, which she loves!
-Kezia has been excited for her new baby sister, too. She was up at 5:30 to give mom note that said "Please don't leave until you give me a kiss. Love Kezia. P.S. don't let dad get the certificate" The story behind that was that we still hadn't decided on a name for sure, but dad liked the name Georgia and kept telling us that he was just going to sign the birth certificate himself & put Georgia on it. Kezia wanted to make sure that didn't happen :)
-Kezia started 1st grade this year! Mom was getting pretty worried because she was still on the waiting list to get in the dual immersion program at East until the Friday before school started! She had actually even called North to see if Kezia could come there since we still didn't know about East. Mom was so relieved & happy she got in at the last minute. Kezia's friend, Macie, was glad too! They are in the same class & Kezia was happy she knew someone there. She really likes Mrs. Guillin and Senora Fernandez. Mom was really worried about how she would be able to handle everything the first few weeks, but honestly, she has surprised mom and dad! She has really done well and it's so fun to hear dad & Kezia start to have little conversations and listen to Kezia's cute spanish songs that she's learning. We hope that her learning will rub off on all of us :)
-Kezi had to miss the 2nd day of school because she had a fever & wasn't feeling good. Thankfully it only lasted a day & she was back to herself!
-She's loved having so many guests come to the house this month - including both sets of grandparents and the Bensons.
Again we felt your joy at helping to bring another sister into this world. How we wish you were here to play with her. But we know you are watching over her and are so thankful that she got to spend time with you before she came here. We hope, like Noelle, she will share a sacred bond with her big brother.
-Noelle had turned quite naughty even a couple months before baby Oaklyn came, but she definitely has taken it up a few notches :) Mom has said that unless she is sleeping, watching screen time, or mom is right there with her, she is making trouble!! She continues to find markers, crayons, etc and use everything as a canvas but actual paper. She decided it would be fun to get the eggs in the outside fridge and break them on the ground, and she love to dump water, spit water, and just generally make messes. She also continues to push, pull hair, kick, pinch and even started to bit her older sisters :( Needless to say, she's had to be in time out quite a bit and clean up a lot of messes and make lots of apologies.
-With all the bullying of her older sisters, mom was very worried about how she would treat the new baby. But amazingly, Noelle has been very gentle with her. She was so cute holding her in the hospital and she asks every day "Can I hold baby Oaklyn?" and she will "hold" her and touch her cheek and sing to her and hold her hand. It's so so sweet. It ALMOST makes up for all the other naughtiness. Almost :)
-Noelle would dance around Oaklyn, singing "Baby O, Baby O!" We love to sing it, too, now :)
-Noelle love her "mommy & Noelle time" during the day, but she really misses her sisters, too, and asks about them. And almost every day after we take them to school, she will say "But I want to go to school, too, mom!" :(
-Some of Noelle's funny sayings: "Dang it!" "Chicken but!" (her sisters taught her that one), "Not today, but!" (mom said that one day & she's been saying it ever since) and "But why mom?" (yes... the whys have begun!)
-Noelle has worked hard this month & finally got the hang of "thumbs up!" She will say it randomly now just to show off her new skill :)
-Brushing teeth is always SO rough for Noelle. She HATES it! She will ask to brush teeth every night, but the minute we try to brush, she screams and kicks and cries. She wants to do it ALL by herself.
-Noelle still LOVES books and cars.
-Welcome to the world and welcome to our family sweet girl!! Oaklyn was born on August 3 at 2:30pm. Mom was really hoping for the 4th (so we could have a 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th), but our midwife, Laurie Hansen, thought she might be out of town, so we scheduled the induction on the 3rd. Well, it happened that Laurie didn't really go out of town, so she came in on the 3rd and asked if we wanted to try for the 4th instead. Well, mom was already hooked up and SOOOO ready to have her baby in her arms that she just couldn't imagine waiting another day. So - the 3rd it was! As it turned out, everything about that day seemed meant to be and she felt peace about knowing Oaklyn was supposed to come when she did. Daddy, McKinley, and Grandma Potts attended your birth. McKinley was especially excited to be able to be there to see Oaklyn's birth. We are ALL so thankful that she is here happy & healthy!
-Oaklyn's name was a struggle for us. Daddy really wanted the name Georgia or Aspen. Mom liked Oaklyn, and we had been calling her Oaklyn, so her sisters were wanting that name, too. But mom took a poll online for some ideas & the name Oasis came up. We both really liked that name, too, and after she was born, mom was actually leaning toward that name. But then daddy said a prayer and paused for a moment. In that moment, the name Oaklyn came so clearly to mom's mind. She felt sure that was the name that was meant for this beautiful baby girl. And so dad went up and wrote Oaklyn Alice on the hospital board. And there it was. Alice is a family name on both our sides - Jason's great-great grandma (Alice Tennesee Henderson) on his dad's side and Heidi's great-great grandma (Candace Alice Anderson) on her mom's side.
-Oaklyn is a pretty decent sleeper. The first night or two, she was up a LOT, but after that she's done well.  She's up usually 3-4 times a night. It took her a week or so to figure out the day/night thing, but she's done pretty good!
-Oaklyn caught on to breastfeeding like a champ. The only problem was that mommy was in a LOT of pain! They told us when she was born that she had an upper lip tie, but the doctor didn't tell me it would affect breastfeeding. Well, it did. At Oaklyn's  2 week appointment, Dr. Polson clipped the tie (she wasn't happy :(), but it helped a lot and things are going much better!! She is getting plenty of milk, too, more than her birth weight at her 2 week appointment (8 lb. 8oz).
-Having 4 sisters is pretty fun! Oaklyn is almost constantly bombarded by sisters wanting to hold her. Mom has to set timers and make sure everyone gets a turn with baby Oaklyn.
-Right now, Oaklyn has a good crop of dark hair on the back of her head. She's been mostly bald on top, but it's starting to come in & looks dark. Also, looks right now like she's going to join her sisters & brother & be blue-eyed. :)
-We have caught some genuine smiles already but haven't been able to capture them on camera!