Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Lesson Learned...

A parent celebrates the milestones in their child's life, right?  We wait with great anticipation for their first smile, their first word or first steps. It is so exciting to watch them gain independence as they hit the milestones.  It is fun to watch our children become the people they are going to be. 

            All this fun and excitement came to a screeching halt as I watched the 15 year old walk out of the DMV testing room with some swagger and a smile just to announce that he had passed and had a learners permit.  Huh.  I admit to being excited for him, but I will confess that was before I really understood what we were setting loose on the world. On the drive home, I began to have flashes of anxiety.  I vividly recalled watching him fall as he learned to walk.  Standing on my bed, throwing a sock off it, falling down and breaking his arm as his throwing momentum carried him after said sock. Memories of the first time I let him bike to school with a friend flooded back. I thought about the time he jumped on the shovel end of the snow shovel just to see what it would do, and how that hadn't turned out so well.

            Upon arrival at home, the 15 year old held out his hand for my keys, and with great anticipation requested that we go for a drive.  Fear immediately clawed at my stomach, but I was able to maintain a neutral expression as I calmly agreed and climbed into the passenger seat.

            Though the distance we went was short, this was probably the longest drive I have ever experienced.  We began by changing the radio station, adjusting mirrors, moving chairs, trying out the signal, horn and lights. We backed out of the driveway with great enthusiasm.  There was some adjustment as the 15 year had to dispel himself of the assumption that the driver seat is in the center of the car.  Once this was figured out, his ability to stay off the center line was greatly increased.  Hazards and obstacles I had never really noticed in the neighborhood popped up in great abundance. Parked cars, stop signs, speed limits, people backing out of driveways, children, dogs, bikers, and yes cute girls. So many distractions.

            Looking back on that moment, I have to say that he handled learning so many things simultaneously very, very well.  So, is it worth it?  All that fear and anxiety over something they will learn to do with or without you? The realization that when you hand over the keys of your car to him, you are handing him confidence, freedom and a milestone that is a rite of passage. The realization as he moves the chair back because he is taller than you, that your time with him is short.  Yes it is worth it because of the smile on his face, the sense of achievement you can see he feels.  The realization that this fearless 15 year old was once you. And besides, our parents survived it, right? So I suppose I will too.

Friday, October 22, 2010

11 wonderful years

Savana turned 11 on October 13.  She is such a lovely young lady and we enjoyed celebrating her birthday on the way to Idaho for Tarmi's wedding on October 16th.  We drove from Arizona to Orem Utah the night before and stayed with Uncle Haydn and Aunt Jozette.  It was so much fun to see them. Then we toured BYU, stopped for lunch with Aunt Annette and Uncle Tony, and then headed on to Boise where Aunt Kirsten had made Savana a cake. Happy Birthday Savana!
 This is Savana on the morning of her 11th Birthday

 We stopped in Provo and took a tour of BYU Campus with the kids.  It was fun!
 Aunt Kirsten picked a pirate theme for Savana
 She made Savana a Treasure Cake
The driveway was decorated with chalk when we got to Aunt Kirsten

Fall Break

Our 3 week Fall Break was full of fun activities.  We went to Lake Havasu again and had a great time.  This time Clint, Jenn and their kids came with us. Gavin also got to bring a friend along. It was filled with good weather, good food and good times.

It is great to be 8

Life marches along at a furious pace and proof of that lies in Carver. He turned 8 years old on September 25. This birthday has been greatly anticipated by Carver because 8 means a birthday party, cub scouts and a baptism. For the last year Carver would keep coming to Trent and I and giving us the new idea about what party he wants. We had: Pump it Up, Bowling, Gymnastics, Swim Party, Air Force Party in the back yard, and the list went on and on and on..... He decided to go with a swim party in Grandma's pool and it was a lot of fun.

Another great thing about turning 8 is that you get to start Cub Scouts.

Thats only 36 more Pack Meetings until we are done!
He came back from his first night of Cub Scouts very enthusiastic about going back next week.

Carver was baptized on October 9th.  It was a lovely day filled with friends and family. He was baptized and confirmed by Trent.  His cousin Kimberly played the piano while we were waiting for Carver and Trent to dress and come back for the confirmation.                                                                                          
So Happy Birthday Carver!  It is great to be 8!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I woke up to the news this morning that Gran had passed away during the night in South Africa. She was 90 years old and had been failing these last few years. As I went about my morning, I could not turn off the tears as I found my thoughts filled with her. I have so many good memories of the things she did. When I was a child, she once came to visit and surprised us with a puppy. She had taken a train from her home to ours and had smuggled the puppy in her purse so that the train conductor didn't see it. Us grandchildren were so surprised and delighted. I am not sure what my parents thought about our wonderful surprise though, but I imagine it would have been similar to mine if my mother or mother -in-law surprised my children with a puppy.
Gran had false teeth, and this was completely fascinating to me as a child. I would go and wish her good morning when she slept over and always take a good look at the teeth floating in the cup on the table by her bed. I used to love watching her talk without them in her mouth! Sometimes she would begin her day and then exclaim "Oh! I forgot my teeth!" Then she would go and put them in. I always found that very funny.
Gran always had tea and biscuits (cookies) at tea-time. She would give us milk or juice as she knew that we didn't drink tea.
My father loved his mother so much and she loved him. I admire her strength and that she took in her sisters child as a toddler and raised him as her own. She was grief stricken at my fathers funeral. I find comfort that they are reunited.
I regret that my children never had the opportunity to meet Gran. I am grateful for my life and family here in the United States, but have always keenly felt the missing parts of my family left in South Africa. My mom told me that they found a letter I had written to Gran for her 90th birthday last year tucked away in her Bible. It means a lot to me that she kept it. I have missed her and will miss her all the more, now that she is no longer among us. So my tears today are both happy and sad. I am happy she is no longer bound to a frail body. I am sad because there is nothing that can replace her, I love her and I will miss her.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Once Upon a Summer......Presents.......

Once Upon a Mattress..........

Every summer my kids usually make a movie or make up a play and act it out. This year, I decided with so many cousins in town I would formalize things and do a "real" play for them. My sister Del has 5 kids. I have four kids. My sister-in-law Annette sent her two kids from Utah, and my brother-in -law Clint has 3 kids. Also add in 3 other friends and we have ourselves a cast! Okay so do the math, 17 kids, six of which are boys and all the rest girls. What play do you choose? Well, if you are me, you find a good script (once upon a matteress) and then you cast an Evil Queen (Kim), Princess Fred (Kayla), and Daunty (Prince Dauntless = Gavin). You then write in some ninja jesters: Carver, Matthew, Corbin, Michael, and Malachi, who by the queens command go to the nearest Princess Academy filled with Princesses: Rachel, Savana, Caitlyn, Avery, Karina, Farrah, Hailey, Mckei and Parker who are practicing princess skills and gaining pricess attributes. They kidnap the princesses drag them back to the castle where the queen auditions them to be Daunty's wife. Each princess displays a skill or talent and are all rejected until Princess Fred sleeps on the pea, light saber, hanger, nose picker, scythe and anything else Prince Dauntless can get under the mattress. then they lived happily ever after.... Oh yes, did I mention this is a musical, so they sang solos and songs. Whew.....

I wanted them to get the full effect, so we also had a couple of set days to design, build and paint the set. This involved making pink and gray castle walls. Pink for Princess academy. Making thrones, and planning costumes. The impressive thing is that they did all of this during a very busy two weeks. Aunt Del was music director and Grandma Bell was Ninja/Jester coordinator and this could not have happened without them! A shout out also goes to Aunt Jenn who finished painting the set in the garage when it was literally 106 degrees. Gavin, Kayla, Savana and Hailey ran warm ups and games before every rehearsal. It was so much fun!

This is a rehearsal before we had the set done.
The kids are doing warm ups and generally having a good time.

Queen Kim and her Ninjas/Jesters

Princess Academy

Princess Avery's Task: Proper Way to Eat a Cookie: Pinkies Up!

Evil Queen Kim and the Pea

Prince Dauntless putting everything sharp he can think of under the mattress.

Princess Fred counting sheep.

Chariots of Fire Moment followed by High 5!

We all had a great two weeks. No TV was watched at my house for the entire time we worked on this.

Would I do it again? will have to ask me next summer!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Swim like a Fish

I had made a goal for each of our kids that they will all swim on a swim team for at least one summer. I want my children to know how to swim. I just didn't realize it would all be the same summer. I decided to put Gavin on a team. After going to his practice and watching all the kids swimming, I realized that I could probably put all of my kids on a swim team too. Gavin's team was full, so I went to a different pool and signed up the other 3 kids on a different team. And that is how I ended up leaving at 6:30am on Tuesday through Friday for a 7-8 am swim practice for Savana, Avery, and Carver, and also have a 8-9am swim practice at a different location for Gavin. While I sorely miss sleeping in, thanks to my sister and a couple of friends willing to help, I am very happy I did it. Swimming is a whole new world to us. The meets go fast and are very exciting. All of my children have improved their times significantly and I am so proud of them.