Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Norah's First Day of Kindergarten!

Way back in March, I had a friend over to our house and we were chatting about school since her son went to a charter school. I had so many negative experiences with charter schools that I vowed to never send my children to a charter school. But as my friend and I were talking, I had a sort of paradigm shift and realized that my own negative experiences were mostly because it was so long ago and the schools were start ups, which meant there were a lot of kinks in the beginning. 
So basically, my friend changed my mind completely and I found myself that very same night looking up all the local charter schools and getting Norah's name put into the raffles. But since most of the lottery dates had already passed, Norah was put on a wait list, which meant there was probably a very small chance we would get into any of them. 

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. It was Thursday, August 23rd and Norah and I were getting ready that morning to go to her Kindergarten assessment at the public school. Just 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave, I received a call from John Hancock Charter School. Julie Adamic (The director) said that there was suddenly an opening in Kindergarten and we were the first on the waitlist so she wanted to see if we were interested. So many thoughts flew through my mind in just 5 seconds. 

Norah was supposed to start school the following Monday. It was just so sudden.
We had already been to her back to school night and met her teacher.
We'd been talking about her new school for MONTHS and she was so excited about going.
I'd already set up carpool with someone and they were supposed to come over that same morning to get to know each other. 
We just moved to Lehi, which would be an even farther drive than where we were before.
And lastly, I hadn't really even discussed the idea with Ryan since we didn't get her name in time for the lottery, so it wasn't even on my radar that they might possibly be calling.

So I just said I didn't think we were interested and hung up the phone. Since Ryan was actually at home that morning because I was taking Norah in for her assessment, I told him who had called and what I said, and he said, "You didn't even want to ask if you could have time to think about it?" Which totally surprised me because I thought for sure he would be against it. So I thought about it for 20 minutes and knew that it was probably too late since they had most likely called the next person in line at this point. But I figured I would just call and see if we could get back on the waitlist for next year or something. But I called back and Julie said that she had actually gotten distracted with something else and hadn't called the next person in line yet! I was thrilled! So I asked if I could think about it for a few hours and get back to her. She said that since school had actually started for them that Tuesday, she would like a response soon so they could get a student in the following day, Friday. Ah! 

Long story short, we decided to go ahead and put her in the school. Of all the charter schools I went to, this one was by far my favorite. Norah was pretty sad when I told her that we decided to put her in a new school, but it was mostly because she wanted to go to the same class as one of her friends from church. We went in to John Hancock that afternoon for another assessment with her new teacher, and everyone was so excited that I was a former student and now bringing in one of my own children! 

Luckily, we were able to snag some uniforms from the uniform swap at the school and got Norah all set up for her very first day on Friday. 

The next morning I drove her there and we parked in the parking lot since we were planning to walk her in. But she must have not realized I was coming with her because she got out of the car, looked around nervously and said, "well...bye." It broke my heart into a million pieces that she thought I would just drop her off and leave. I said, "Hold on! I'm walking you in!"
We got there in time for a quick snap in front of the brick building and then went to stand in line with the rest of the kindergartners. Kids just look so dang cute in uniforms.

It was so heartbreaking to see her stand there by herself, not knowing anyone else and not knowing what to do. She just stared uncomfortably at the space in front of her. I got so emotional watching her stand there so nervously by herself. 😢

Her teacher, Mrs. Orton, came over to her and brought her up next to a girl named Kate, who would help guide her the first few days. 

She lined up and her teacher directed them in, and I cried watching my first baby leave her sisters and me behind.

Mrs. Ballard, my sixth grade teacher who still works there, came over to me and gave me a hug. She realized I was crying and called to Julie Adamic and said, "Julie! We have a crying mamma over here!" Julie laughed and said, "We'll take such good care of her! She's like our grandbaby!" And I just realized at that moment how happy I was that Norah is going to this great school. 

She had a great first day, even though it's like pulling teeth trying to get her to talk about how everything went haha. And within a couple of days her teacher said she has just fallen right in and is just as comfortable as can be. It's been quite an adjustment having a child in school and not being able to just go on adventures in the mornings, but I'm so happy she's here and loving it. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Swimming Lessons!

Earlier this year I had a friend whose child drowned and then was, gratefully, revived again. It spurred us to frantically sign our girls up for swimming lessons since we have been putting it off for a couple of years now. Norah and Lucy were SO excited about learning to swim, and it was good to have a schedule for going to the pool every day. 

Jane was too young for the lessons, unless it was mommy and me (which I've heard is pretty much a waste), so she just played in the shallow area while we waited. It was so fun to see her have so much fun all by herself and loved just being in the water. It was actually heartbreaking when the girls were called up to go with their coach and Jane tried following them into the water. We'll get her in next year though:)

We signed up for 2 sessions, 2 weeks each with lessons every day and the girls improved SO much. Norah especially improved a ton considering that she would throw a hissy fit whenever water spilled on her face in the bath tub haha. But it was amazing how quickly she got comfortable in the water and would willingly dive in, head under and everything.

Lucy is just fearless and loved jumping in the water. She is so strong and did really well with the instructions. It's really amazing to see her pick up on things so quickly, especially when it comes to sports.

Sweet Jane watching them from the side. I love her sweet little buns poking out haha. 

We spent so much time at the pool, their tan lines were pretty insane, even after just a couple of days. The girls loved spending time before and after lessons just playing in the water. It was always so hard to get them to leave and there were many times that I did not want to go back again because I knew how hard it would be to wrangle them all at the same time. 

There were a couple of times when Ryan met us at the pool after work and we all swam together. The girls LOVED it and we loved that they went to sleep so quickly when we got home haha. 

It wasn't too long ago that Norah would NOT go up these stairs because of the water spraying everywhere. Now she doesn't even think twice about it. 

We went down the big enough times that Norah and Lucy felt comfortable enough to go down themselves and have Ryan or me catch them at the bottom.

By the end of their second session, the girls were very confident with swimming and even went off the diving board! 

Lucy was pretty hesitant at first, but since then they have both gone off the diving board several times and love it! They even swim to the side now without much help from me. 

Their swimming instructor said that they both did great and passed Lucy onto level 3 and even said Norah could go on too, but they would both benefit from taking level 2 again, which is fine since we are waiting until next year to resume lessons. I have been so impressed with the girls and their progress, but it's nice to not have to go to the pool every day now haha. It was a lot of work!  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pioneer Day!

Pioneer Day has become a little holiday that I really look forward to every year. It's so fun seeing the girls dressed up in pioneer dresses and I love going to do some fun activities together as a family since Ryan gets the day off of work.

I snapped this of Jane the morning before we left. She's playing with one of the 14 wooden ducks that my brother, Jarom, carved for all of the grandkids a few years ago for Christmas. It's held up so well and I love the craftsmanship and timeless feel of it.

We went to Provo to join in on the Pioneer activities. It was very crowded, as usual, and SO extremely hot. We all were getting cranky from the heat so we didn't actually stay long, which was too bad because there were so many great activities going on. 

We went out to eat at one of our favorite Indian restaurants, just like last year, and then went to see if there were any seats left at the movie theater, but no such luck.
My parents have a big neighborhood party in their cul-de-sac every year on the 24th and we went to join, but Lucy and I were both starting to feel under the weather so we couldn't actually stay. It was sad that our festivities came to an abrupt stop, but we still have so many other things to look forward to for the rest of the Summer! :)

Moving Day! 📦🚚

On Friday, July 6th we closed on our very first home! And then a week later we rallied everyone we could to come help us move in. 

I had been working tirelessly the couple of weeks before to just get everything packed and cleaned. So early on Saturday the 14th we had both sides of the family come and help move, clean, and watch the girls. My parents spent nearly their entire Saturday helping us get moved.

Despite my attempt at keeping donuts out of the house, we somehow ended up with two boxes of donuts and the girls were in donut heaven. 

I sure will miss these big windows. It was the first thing I fell in love with at this house. 

In front of our new home!

We still had a few things left to do at our old house before we could check out and we figured we would just go back later that evening to finish up, but we were so dog-gone tired, we decided to do it another night. And since we had already paid rent for the entire month of July, we didn't feel too rushed to get it done. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Battle of the Home Buyers

For the past several months, Ryan and I have been looking to buy a house. Every day both of us would scan through all the home listings and occasionally go to look at one. There weren't very many listings and it would seem discouraging at times, I started thinking that we would just have to settle on a less-than-ideal home. I went to see a house in Cedar Hills and wasn't totally in love with it, but it was in a good neighborhood and had a huge yard. But Ryan didn't want to pursue it and so I felt like we would never agree on a house. Everything that was in our price range was either in a dumpy neighborhood/ on a really busy street, or was in serious need of repairs. I truly thought we wouldn't be finding a house any time soon and that we would just have to accept that we'd be staying where we were. 
But the very next day Ryan texted me a link to a house in Lehi. I thought it looked pretty cute, so we texted our realtor to go through it. We wanted to go through as soon as possible since we were about to go to a black tie event for Ryan's work. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in time right before leaving to Salt Lake. As we were driving up to the neighborhood we saw a couple of kids on the corner selling lemonade, and then we turned the corner and saw some more kids selling lemonade. Then as we got closer to the house we saw a family playing basketball, another family out working on their yard, and a couple neighbors out chatting with each other. I was already smitten with the neighborhood and loved that it wasn't on a busy street. 
We walked through really quickly, but then chatted with one of the neighbors for a bit before leaving. 
Pretty much as soon as we were driving home, we knew we wanted to put an offer in. There were so many things that checked off on our list of things we wanted in a home and we just fell in love with it. 

We talked with our realtor about all our options as far as what to put in our offer, and we felt so confident and excited about it all, but had to wait 2 days before they would even review the offers. 
So that gave us some time to write up a little personal letter for the seller. 

I looked up some ideas for personal letters and saw that someone had made a cute flyer type letter so Ryan helped me piece this one together. 
We figured it was time to put those three cute faces to use and hope that they would sway the sellers toward our offer haha--even if it did end up having some grammatical errors. Oops! 
On Monday night I was chatting on the phone with my sister when Ryan nudged me and showed me that our offer had been accepted!
We were SO excited and throughout the whole process I didn't have any anxiety about it and just felt that it was right. 

Everything was lining up perfectly and we didn't have any issues with the appraisal or the inspection and we were even able to move the closing date up a week! It all couldn't have come at a better time because our shower had been broken at our old place for over a month and our landlord wasn't fixing it for us. It was also one of my goals to buy a home before any of the girls started school, so it was perfect. We went to register Norah for kindergarten at her new school and we happened to meet a family who had just moved from California into the home right across the street. They have 6 girls ranging from ages 2-14 so we were so thrilled about having friends in the neighborhood. 
It's been such a blessing in so many ways and we are so excited to start a more permanent life here!