Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tutoring and Teaching

I am lucky to have some wonderful opportunities to stay connected to teaching a little, even as a stay-at-home  mom.  This summer I got to tutor a sweet little girl named Jenna.  We worked together twice a week.  When I first tested her, she was reading at 68 WPM.  By the end of the summer, she was consistently reading in the 120s (WPM) and one time she posted 151 WPM!  She was so cute, every once in a while she would bring little surprises for me, like raspberries or blackberries from her family's garden or bread that she had baked, etc.  It was a pleasure for me to work with her.  At our last tutoring session I wanted a picture with her even though I had come straight from working out and was in no condition to be photographed.  Oh well!  Here she is:
This year I will continue to tutor.  I'm working with the son of a good friend in my ward.  I really enjoy tutoring reading and am excited to see what progress we can make with him.  I also get to teach a writing class again to a home school co-op.  It is a sweet deal: the co-op meets at a house at the end of my street and the moms watch Gabe while I teach their older kids.  Gabe LOVES the chance to get out and play with new kids and I enjoy doing a little teaching.

These little jobs, in addition to learning to coupon (thanks cousin Bethany!) have been a real financial blessing for our family.  (Dave's job, obviously, is the REAL financial blessing!) It confirms to me that Heavenly Father is happy with our decision to have me at home with Gabe and I also feel that we have been very blessed for paying tithing.  I'm so grateful that we are able to be self-sufficient while at the same time being able to spend lots of quality time with our son.

My Birthday

I'm almost a month late in posting about my 30th birthday, but it was a wonderful celebration and I want to get it down for posterity. The day before my birthday, we went with my family to the Western Idaho Fair.  The petting zoo was a highlight once again.

After the fair, we went out to dinner and then got some delicious ice cream at SubZero.  When we got home from the fun we found that our house had been heart attacked by the Young Women.  They had left me heart-shaped love notes and a plate of yummy cream cheese pumpkin bars on the doorstep.  The next day, my actual birthday (Aug. 21), Dave continued his annual tradition of sneaking into his Mariachi outfit in the early hours of the morning and tiptoeing outside so he can throw things at our window until I wake up.  Then he serenades me with "Las Mananitas" and then cooks me breakfast.  This morning it was french toast. Yum!  Later in the morning, I went out shopping for maternity clothes with my mom and sisters and then we all went out to lunch.  That evening we had pizza rolls and root beer floats and then saw The Hunger Games at the movie theater.

For my birthday I asked for rocking chairs for the front porch and I now have two beautiful white rocking chairs to fill up the space that used to be empty out there.  I will post pictures soon!  Dave also got me an ice cream cake (which I had also requested!).

The weekend before my birthday, we invited our backyard neighbors and friends to go out to dinner at Tucanos with us and then go Latin dancing.  It was a blast!  I wish I had taken more pictures of our friends the Howells, especially when Bryan twirled Lorraine over his shoulder on the dance floor!  We are so lucky to have such awesome neighbors.
Also, the week before my birthday, I went to a beautiful lunch hosted by one of my best friends, Cheryl Campbell. It wasn't in honor of my birthday, but it was festive and fun and I want to remember it so I'll include it in this post.  Cheryl made a table out of an old door and pallets and served a lunch with several dishes using produce from her amazing garden.  Every time I am with Cheryl I am motivated to create more and do more--Cheryl inspires me.  It was great to catch up with friends.  We just sat around talking...and eating!...for about three hours.
My wonderful parents-in-law, Robyn and Pete, also remembered my birthday and sent me a raised fire pit so that we can have fires in our backyard!  I am so excited for mallow roasting and Argentine asados!  They also gave me a Home Depot gift card which we are using to buy some supplies for a patio to house the fire pit and some patio chairs.  It will be a fun little corner.  I'll post pictures when it is done!

Also, a shout out to Jenny (if she reads this!) for the beautiful Australian necklace.  I love it and have already worn it a number of times.  Thank you for bringing back parts of the world to those of us who don't get a chance to travel it as extensively as you do! :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I believe in divine intervention

So this week I have been taking one of my young women to early morning Seminary because her parents (who aren't members) don't want to take her. On Thursday, I woke up at 6 and got in the car to take her and when I got to the end of my street I had the thought to really fully stop and make sure there were no pedestrians exercising in the dark before I pulled out onto the main road. I stopped and looked down the path both ways and then started to pull out and then for some reason I put my foot on the brake again. Just then a biker zoomed right in front of my car. I hadn't seen her because she was riding on the road and I had been looking on the pedestrian path. Since I was already braking, I was able to stop for her, but otherwise I would have almost certainly hit her. Although I would like to be able to say that I am always such a cautious driver, that is really not the case. I am grateful for the divine inspiration and help given to me this week that helped prevent a serious accident.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This is what prayer time is like at our house these days:


Gabe woke up with congestion and a runny nose today, so we decided to only take him to Sacrament Meeting at church today and spare all the kids at nursery.  Dave took him home after the first hour.  When I got home, this is what I saw:
Dave says these are Gabe's "sick clothes" (Gabe found my high heels by himself).

Camping with girls, and two amazing dude-guys

So this man here:

is quite possibly the most amazing man ever.  Do you want to know why?
Because, while I was up at Girl's Camp for a week hanging out with these lovely ladies:

And doing activities like this:

Dave was full-time single dad to this one:
It was VERY hard for me to leave this little guy.  In fact, I put him down for his nap right before I left and cried through all the songs I was singing to him.  He thought it was a game, he thought when I paused (because I was crying) he was supposed to fill in the blanks of the song!  Before I left, I made some videos of me singing songs for Gabe, but I couldn't put any of our most special songs on there because I couldn't get through them without crying.  (I had also written a daily letter for Dave and I hid them around the house).  Anyway, I had told Dave that the only thing I really cared about is that he and Gabe would be alive when I got home and then I added that if possible it would be nice if the plants could also be living and if the house could be reasonably clean.
When I got home, Gabe was napping, the house was spotless, and Dave was studying his Sunday lesson.  I asked Dave what they had done while I was away and Dave talked about going to parks and the library together, going for walks in the foothills etc. When Gabe woke up, it didn't even phase him that I was back.  He gave me a hug and then went downstairs and grabbed Dave's hand and pulled him over to the couch.  Then he got a pillow and the remote and gave them to Dave and then he sat down on the floor beside him and looked at the blank TV and said "LYMPICS!"  So the cat was out of the bag with how they really spent their time (Dave insists that they really did do all those other things too, but their nightly ritual was a lot of Olympics viewing.)
AND, Dave found the time to build this with Gabe:

A SHELF EXTENSION on my closet!  He even went and bought the baskets for it!  So this week effectively proves to me that Dave would be an AWESOME stay-at-home Dad.
By the way, Girl's Camp was as wonderful as I was hoping it would be.  The girls I get to work with are incredible, talented, good, beautiful girls and it was really fun to be with them.  The stake leaders put in an unbelievable amount of work.  For example, on Testimony meeting night, the stake leaders had lined the walkway to the ampitheater with lighted garlands and lanterns and each girl got a handmade necklace with the mutual theme on it and they had put together a beautiful slideshow of the girls to the song "Three White Dresses" and they had prepared a song for the 6th year girls to sing.  Every aspect of camp was so planned and prayed over.  Hopefully the girls appreciated it!
One small downside of camp was that almost every cabin had mice (including mine).  The first night, I didn't realize and I slept soundly.  The second night, I saw the mouse right before going to bed and I laid awake literally all night, listening to it scurry around upstairs where the girls were sleeping.  The third and fourth nights I decided I wanted to get good sleep so I went out to my car (the Rav4) and slept great on the folded back seat!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's a Dude-Guy!

We changed our blog's title. Maybe you noticed. "Ladies and Dude-Guys" is one of Gabe's phrases. He first said it in reference to nursery, as in, "Nursery is where the ladies and dude-guys are." We'd never heard "dude-guys" before, and here's guessing none of you have either.

We like Gabe's wordsmithing. "Dude-guys" has made its way into our everyday speech.
  • "Hi dude-guys, I'm home."
  • "What did the dude-guy next door say about our weeds?"
  • "So I said to this dude-guy, 'Hey, dude-guy, step off.'" 
  • "And this dude-guy was like, 'Dude-guy?' Like he didn't know I was talking to him."
With Shan's ultrasound date approaching, we started asking Gabe if he wanted a little lady or a little dude-guy. No consistency to his responses, almost like he doesn't know what we're talking about.
The ultrasound went well. Gabe behaved like a real dude-guy the whole time. Even the nurses said so. They also said that our little baby is a boy. So with that news we decided to change the blog title. We hope to pluralize "Lady" real soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zoo Day with cousin Benton!

Brennan and Chad are in town because Chad is taking the bar in Idaho because the license is reciprocal with more states than in Utah. While Chad studied, the rest of us went to the zoo.

The intrepid explorers set off on the first leg of their journey by Jeep.

When the Jeep broke down, they lassoed a baby tiger and continued on their journey.

The journey was long...

and tiring!

But perseverance pays and the explorers eventually reached their destination!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gabe and his Bad Guys

Grandma Grange was nice enough to get Gabe some knight figures from the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  We gave them to him on the car ride home and he immediately started growling and saying "Bad Guys!  Bad Guys!"  (He knows this phrase because we read the children's illustrated Book of Mormon to him and talk about the "bad guys.")  Anyway, I took out the camera and this is what I caught:

Utah Trip, Continued

 So after our lovely stay in Salt Lake, we traveled down to Cedar City, Utah to go to the Shakespeare Festival with the Grange Family.

This is an annual tradition and one that our family has come to thoroughly enjoy.  The schedule of events is usually very consistent. 
1. We always eat at The Pizza Factory, The Garden House, and Milt's Steakhouse
2. We always hike up the canyon close to our hotel.
3. We always hike the Kanaraville Falls slot canyon hike.

We weren't sure if we were going to be able to make it up the ladders this year with Gabe in a backpack, but some blessed soul improved the ladders to make them safer and Gabe was a trooper. In fact, he LOVED the whole hike- especially the ladders. This is an AMAZING hike that is well worth your time if you're in the area.

We also like to take in the Cedar City 4th of July Parade.  This year the cousins were all very festive with red and white shirts thanks to Grandma Grange and balloons thanks to Grandma Glojo!

Gabe LOVED the parade.  None of these pictures accurately reflect his enthusiasm.

He especially loved to manically fling the balloons around, although I also couldn't capture it.

You get an idea of his craziness, though, by looking at his face and Aunt Brennan's.
Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and lit sparklers and played ball.  Benton and Gabe couldn't get enough of the Pop-Its, but I forgot to get any pictures.

The highlight of this year's trip for me was seeing Les Miserables performed.  This is my favorite Broadway show and I had decided to read the book prior to watching the performance.  The last week before the play, I still had half the book left, but Dave put in extra babysitting time and I made a mad rush to finish.  I finished the last line about 30 seconds before the play started.  I LOVED the end of the book and the performance.  I didn't expect the reaction I had, though.  The character who touched me the most this time around was Fantine.  Being a mother myself now, I related to her character on a whole different level.  Every time that character opened her mouth I would find myself choking up.  Especially at the end when she comes to receive Jean Valjean and says that he is an Angel of God for caring for her child and that he will be received into heaven for that act alone.  I would feel the same way about someone who took in my child if I was unable to care for him.

Anyway, we were talking about Fantine and Gabe overheard us and decided "Fantine" was a pretty amazing word.  For the rest of the day, he couldn't stop talking about Fantine.  That night in his prayers he said "Thank You" for Fantine.

Another person Gabe thanked God for is Aunt Clarissa, although he calls her "Kissa."  She was so nice to the boys and they loved her.  She even shared her birthday pinata with them.  She brought it all the way from San Diego so that they could crack it open with her. Thanks Kissa!

Following the wonderful Cedar City stop, we journeyed on to Heber, Utah, for an extended Hulme Family reunion at Heber Valley Campground.  Uncle John did a great job of planning everything and we had a wonderful time.  Here is the whole group together:
Dave wasn't sure how he felt about the navy blue and white color scheme, but he was a good sport and put on a green shirt.