Sunday, November 26, 2017

Gobbe, Gobble

We had a fabulous trip to Corvallis for Thanksgiving.  It was filled with family, food, and fun!!  We stayed with Seth and Caroline's family which was super fun.  The kids enjoyed evenings playing games, putting together puzzles, and being spoiled with yummy salsa and chips with Seth and Caroline.
Lots of the family had a great time shooting clay pigeons.  Nate clearly has learned something at scout camp!

Chloe getting instructed by Poppi.

Tyler wasn't too bad either.

Thanksgiving day we each did our food preparations as the respective homes we were staying at (we were all kind of split up at various homes) and then brought it all to the Institute to finish our preparations.  Keeping up with the Ditto tradition of making oreo turkeys we pumped out thirty for all the guests.

Lots of playing

Willie and my cousin Eleanor's little guy were the two youngest guests.

The whole clan minus Zuma (cousin Eleanor's husband who is taking the pictures)

Loved my time with all the nieces and nephews

Emily captured this great picture of Chloe and the Andersen kiddos Sunday morning with Ami and Poppi.
Some of the Post-turkey Trot Runners
Seth organized a 5K or a 1K for us all to participate in on his birthday at the Lewisburg Saddle.  It's funny how I lived in Corvallis for years but never knew of this location until recently.  We had a great time -- even those that were grumbling at first ended up doing the 1K several times.  Tyler actually won the 5K, Aunti Leah was second, Natedog came in third place, and Sage was in 4th place.  Everyone agreed that the 5K was not for the faint at heart!  Apparently there was quiet the large hill that just kept going!  I enjoyed a nice stroll on the 1K with a former high school friend of mine.  

We felt so blessed to have so much family in town for Thanksgiving!!  What a treat to have seen everyone several times this year!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Wonder...we can do hard things!!

This past weekend Alysee and I were able to watch the movie "Wonder." We listened to the book as a family on one of our drives to Utah a couple of years ago. The movie was FABULOUS!!! It followed along with the book wonderfully. I was impressed that the theater was filled with young children, yet I never heard one peep - we were all captivated. Be prepared to shed a few tears and leave wanting to be a better person. I wish I could take our whole school as this movie is as good as any school assembly. Just a treasure!!
It made me reflect on Alex's journey with having reconstructive ear surgeries (external and internal - over 19 surgeries) due to being born with microtia. I remember like it was yesterday when Alex was born and the doctor got all quiet and said, "something is wrong with his ear." And they quickly whisked him away. We always were in the craniofacial floor at the hospitals. I remember one time early on in Alex's treatment we got on the elevator at the children's hospital and I was at the time feeling a bit sorry for Alex (and honestly myself) for having this deformity. When the elevator door opened a little boy got on who's face was so deformed and I quickly kicked myself internally and was reminded that SO many people suffer, endure, and triumph over hard things!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I love to see the temple

About six months ago we were talking with the kids about the temple and why it is so special inside.  The kids all said they wished they could go inside a temple -- my response, "remember when you got to tour the Columbia River Temple when it was built?"  No one remembered it and then I remembered it was built in 2001 and most of the kids weren't even born yet.  So I quickly looked up which temples were going to be having opening houses and found that the Meridian, ID temple was set to be completed in November. 

We were delighted to spend the weekend with Tavia and Vaughn's amazing family!  They always make us feel so at home and welcomed when we come visit -- which is especially nice since we are usually like a bomb dropping in for one day and then leaving out messes behind. 

The temple was absolutely beautiful.  Although, the open house tour was fast I think we all felt the special spirit that resides in the temple.  Nathan commented afterwards that he noticed how automatically quiet all the kids were when they toured the Celestial room. 
The Ditto and Kimball clan

It was a crisp morning but the sky was beautiful!
Such a special day!
The rest of the weekend we enjoyed pizza, playing with cousins, going out to a movie at the cheap theater, and going to church with the Kimballs.  We all had such a wonderful time together!

The marvelous Kimball kids!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Aunti Sara plays surrogate Momma

A few weeks ago I got a call from Laura's husband, Jared.  He shared that he was going on a business trip to London and really wanted to take Laura along but that all care giving options had not been working out.  He asked if there was anyway I would be able to come watch the three kiddos for the week.  It took a bit of finagling with me flying straight from Mexico to Elko and then back to Yakima; not to mention my parents being willing to stay at our home an extra week since my younger kids had half-days all week.  I really appreciate the team effort to make it all possible.  Big shout out to my Lover too as I know it's hard when I am gone on the whole family.

I feel lucky to have had some special time with these kiddos.  Last year I was able to spend a week in Elko after Rue was born.  The best part of the week was that the kids seemed to actually love me.  Rue immediately called me "mom."  I'll never forget the night that we were reading books on the couch and Sawyer wrapped his arms around me and said, "You're the best."  Isla was a true helper all week long.  I learned to believe about 50% of what the kids told me and just went with what I thought Laura and Jared would normally do at their home.

The kids felt like they had paparazzi following them around all week but I thought it would be fun to record a week of activities for my memory and to share with Laura and Jared.

Every day moments...
Rue swinging at Johnny Appleseed Park

Miss Isla


We had bath time almost every night.  Isla told me they didn't need to bath that often but it was a good evening time filler and Rue was always a disaster after dinner.

Isla the dalmatian doggie

Sawyer, iron man

Rue, the cute little pumpkin

Rue was the sweetest little kitty cat for the trick-or-treating

I took the kids to "Safe Street" - this awesome indoor mock city where all sorts of businesses had fake store fronts and passed out candy to the kids.  In twenty minutes the kids buckets were full!  In keeping with family rules the kids had one piece of candy each lunch and dinner.  I re-hid the candy each night as I quickly learned that the kids are "help yourself" kids, especially in the morning when they got up SUPER early and I was still in bed.

Isn't their living room dreamy.

Rue was a candy fanatic - she had a hard time being satisfied with just one piece of candy. 

I know Isla looks grouchy in this picture but really she is quite delighted.  This was her FIRST time having jello!  We made it together for FHE and then we ate the jello jigglers for Halloween dinner with their  homemade halloween mac n' cheese and broccoli.   They kids all loved it!  Isla commented, "this [the jello] is really like a treat."

In my "real" life I've lost the joy of evening snuggling and reading books together.  This wee I felt that love again with the kids.

I just had to capture Laura's artwork on camera.  Their home is filled with beautiful pieces she has created.  Aren't these delicate gold flowers amazing?!!  She works on this whenever she can grab a quiet moment.

On Wednesday Sawyer didn't have preschool and so we filled the morning with playing outside.

Pretzel and marshmallow towers

The weather was really lovely while I was in Elko. 

Sidewalk chalk and friends one afternoon

Making individual homemade pizzas

BIG FAN of homemade pizza!

Rue just plain enjoys eating.  She would be happy to sit in her highchair all day if I kept serving her food.

I had so much fun doing Rue's hair each morning.  I was so sad that I didn't find the bowl of bows until the end of the week.

After the younger kids and I went to the school park we headed over and watched the last half of Isla's gymnastic's class.

Rue was so cute trying to peek over the edge to watch her big sister.  Rue LOVES Isla and was usually tearful each morning when we would drop Isla off at school.

Found the bows!!!

Lots of firsts this week...first time eating jello jigglers, hard tacos, and going to McDonald's playland in Elko. 

Selfie with the kids was super challenging.

I knew I wanted to attempt a little photoshoot for Laura and Jared as a gift.  It was a WORKOUT!!!  Getting them all dressed, trying to get the right lighting, and most of all getting Rue to stay in one spot for more than two seconds.

So sweet!

I was literally running around with stickery stuff poking me while Rue would giggle that I couldn't keep up with her.

This kid was just so sweet with me all week!!  

Sawyer was trying so hard to get Rue to smile, stay put, and look at me.

This girl is so hard to catch a smile on her face with the camera -- she smiles a lot but not when you want one on camera.

What a treasure this week was for me!!  I was exhausted each night and ready to curl up in my bed and watch something on netflix but found that I was asleep before the movie even got good.  I was reminded of the simple pleasures that little kids enjoy and how complicated and less fun life gets as kids are deep in school, homework, jobs, puberty, scouting, etc...  It was so odd to not have my "usual" time fillers during the day...I found myself a bit lonely (more so at the beginning of the week) but also appreciating the ways that I have chosen to fill my days with service for others.  I enjoyed making freezer meals for Laura's family to enjoy on future stressful days and spent time getting down on my hands and knees with the kids.  I feel like as I have gotten older in my mothering I have become more boring and less fun.  I appreciated the time to be creative with the kids and slow down.

My flight home was an early one and I was up at 4 am to get ready for the day and catch my taxi to the airport at 4:45 am.  I flew back to Pasco just in time to be hugged by my kiddos and rush off to Tyler's state cross country meet. 

Thank you Laura and Jared for trusting me with your kids!!!  They are charming!!