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. 

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