Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Dear Family & Friends, December 2010
2010 has proven to be another exciting and fruitful year for the Allen clan. We love the beautiful Montana landscape that we have called home for three years now and look forward to many more years here.
Jim still has the BEST office of all as he patrols the Canadian border along the Glacier National Park outskirts. He is always telling us of the many on duty encounters he has with the locals—bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain lions, . . . Talk about exciting! Jim started doing double duty at the end of last year. He works a ten hour day, then comes home and watches our boys until school is out. He is an amazing husband and father!
Kara finished her first year at Flathead High School, enjoyed a summer off and taught a whole three weeks before taking a six week maternity break to have our last little baby boy. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, a week before school commenced, her schedule was changed. This year, she teaches Mythology, French II (which means Billy has no choice but to have her as his French teacher—actually, it’s a lot of fun!) and French IV IB. It has been awesome to speak so much French! And, finally, Kara has loved taking a break from the teenagers to work in the Primary Presidency.
Tiffany and her little family continue to grow as baby #2 will be here in February. Mckayli is one now and walking/running everywhere. We love talking to her on the phone.
Mary had a big year. She graduated from high school and only 6 weeks later headed to Pendleton, Oregon to play volleyball for Blue Mountain Community College. She played libero (back row specialist) all season and did a tremendous job! The highlight of the year came in November when we watched a nail biting Conference Title Match at the Championships in Portland, Oregon. After a long, hard fight, Mary and her team came up on top as Conference Champs! On top of all that, her freshman year at college has gotten off to a great start with amazing friends and excellent grades.
Billy is a sophomore now. He played football on the sophomore team and we enjoyed watching him on the field. He is now in the midst of what promises to be another very successful wrestling season. He has been wrestling 112 on the Varsity team, though this past weekend, he wrestled at a JV tournament and came home with a 3rd place medal. At church, he is the Teacher’s Quorum leader and sets a great example to all those around him.
Amelie is reading up a storm in her 1st grade class—with an amazing teacher who teaches only the smartest kids in the world. And Amelie reminds us of that, too, when she is showing off new academic skills. She also just joined the newly formed Daisy Scout troop for her school and LOVES it. She played basketball, ran cross-country and did track and field all this year. She loves all sports, but she really can’t wait until she is old enough to play volleyball like Mary!
Eric attends preschool three afternoons a week and loves learning—just ask him about gravity. He also got to play flag football this fall, which was a real hoot. He loves to play computer games and wrestle with Tanner. He and Amelie also play very well together in their imaginary worlds and re-enacting scenes from the favorite shows, with actual dialogue memorized!
Tanner is a whirlwind of energy. He is everywhere he should AND shouldn’t be. A common phrase in our home is ‘Tanner, where are you?’ and ‘ Tanner, what are you doing?’ He loves swords and EVERYTHING can be a sword in his hand. He talks to anyone and everyone, just like Eric. He is so smart, too. He loves to sing & help mom & dad. He loves Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse and Toy Story.
Ethan joined our family in September at a healthy 10lb 3 oz. He is the happiest, most smiley baby ever. We love playing with him already. He has already rolled over and scoots on his back on the floor. He is inundated with kisses and love from his siblings, mom and dad. We are so thankful for his healthy arrival and look forward to watching him grow and take many firsts this year.
We are so thankful for the role you play in our family’s life, big or small. What a blessing to celebrate the gift of our Savior. We hope that the true spirit of Christmas fills your home throughout the coming year. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A few weeks ago, I tool the kids to WalMart for free Pictures with Santa. They loved it! Ethan fell asleep for a few, but otherwise, it went very well. Santa was pretty mellow and not really interactive, but they didn't notice. However, our Parks and Rec organized phone calls from Santa. He called on Saturday and talked to Amelie, Eric and Tanner. Amelie didn't say much back, but Eric and Tanner about talked his ear off. When they were done, the cutest comment was when Amelie announced that he knew EXACTLY what she wanted! I know it is silly and frivolous, but I love the Christmas traditions. We stress that Christmas really is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but there is something to be learned from others, too, like St. Nicholas who threw bags of gold down an old man's chimney so the man could have a dowry for his daughter. It's about what we can give to God's other children that determines whether we are deserving of gifts ourselves, specifically the gift of exaltation.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ethan's growing!

Of course, Ethan is growing like crazy--already having to put clothes away that he is too tall to wear. And, he rolled over about two weeks ago for Jim--twice in a row, from his tummy to his back. I was so jealous, though glad Jim could enjoy this first. When I tried, he did nothing--until tonight. Tonight, I was playing with him during his 'tummy time' and sure enough, he was rocking back and forth and alley-up, there he went, rolling from tummy to back! He didn't do it twice, but it was definitely ALL his doing. He's so amazing! He is also 'talking' to us now, laughing, smiling, and cooing every chance he gets--between being mauled with kisses and avoiding swinging legs and arms as siblings play around him, he just takes it all in stride. What a joy to have him join our family!

NWAACC Championship

Mary did it. As a freshman, she was chosen forher conference second team All-Stars. She was the libero (backrow specialist) and played most of every game--she came out from time to time, but never for long. She is an exceptional volleyball player and had a wonderful team full of talent and friendship to join her on the court. And not only did she receive that honor, but she and her teamwon the NWAACC Championship the past weekend. They played so well and it all paid off. It was a long, grueling battle as they went to 5 games TWICE with the same team--the one that took 2nd place. But, they prevailed and came out on top. We are so proud of Mary and her teammates. It was thrilling to watch them play! (It made me miss coaching as I watched, but I will return to the game when the little kids are older--probably when Amelie starts playing in 4th grade--I've already been told they are always looking for coaches . . .) Mary got over 100 digs during the tournament. She is simply amazing and setting a great precedent for her younger siblings. Way to go, Mary!! We love you so very much! You ARE Number One!! (Of course, we have always known this!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Billy's athletics

So a milestone has been reached. You know your son is growing up when he's ready for his own letterman's jacket! Billy just got his jacket. He lettered in Wrestling last year, so it's all decked out with his letter and everything! What a snazzy looking young man! Last year, Billy played football, wrestling and track. This year, he played football and starts wrestling in a week. We are looking forward to watching some great wrestling this year!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Halloween 2010

So I am a Halloween freak! I love it less than Christmas, but not by much. I think it's because I like to dress up almost as much as the kids do. If I remember correctly, I liked to dress up as a kid myself. I didn't have the time or energy to go as crazy as I have in the past, but we did have a good time the week before Halloween (we didn't trick or treat on Sunday). We went to the Halloween carnival that the youth in our ward put together--it was Ethan's maiden voyage to a church activity. He slept the entire time (despite my friend Jennifer's efforts (she loves to hold him). But Amelie, Eric and Tanner had a blast and Billy worked the haunted maze that the Young Men put together.
Then on Friday, we went to the Whitefish Mall carnival and played games and trick-or-treated tot he stores for two hours. We went with friends and had a blast!
Saturday, we attended the tri-ward Trunk or Treat. I didn't really decorate the car much (last year we won for our car decorations)--I just didn't have time. But we had fun, anyway. Tanner opted to sleep through the entire event (I woke him when we got to the church parking lot and asked him if he wanted to sleep or trick-or-treat and he said sleep. I even asked him a second time because I was so amazed with his choice. Amelie and Eric gathered plenty to share with all of us, though--and we handed out quite a bit, too. So, by Saturday afternoon, we had celebrated plenty and were ready to hang up the costumes for a while.
Now we are rubbing our extended bellies and enjoying the cosutmes we got for next year at 90% off--don't worry, they will be well broken in by next Halloween! Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Ethan's Baby Blessing

Last Sunday, we were able to bless our Baby Ethan. Here are a few pictures. Jim gave him a beautiful blessing. I am so thankful for such a wonderful, worthy priesthood holder. It is comforting to know that he is there and wiling and able to give blessing as needed. And Ethan is such a sweet baby boy--already cooing and smiling and even a laugh or two. And Jim texted me Friday afternoon that Ethan had rolled over from his tummy to his back--two or three times! He has yet to roll for Amelie and me, but he is a lot of fun as he 'talks' to us and smiles and squeals. My mom, brother Michael and sister-in-law Karen came down for the blessing. We had a great time with them hanging out and shpping. The kids were so excited to see them! And they were good sports about playing games and, well, just playing with them. Here are just a few pictures of the family--I'll try to get more here as soon as possible.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baby Update

Well, our little bundle is nearly four weeks old. Eric still doesn't quite understand and keeps asking, 'But how old IS he?' When I tell him in weeks, he is confused, but when I say he is zero--no years yet, that doesn't make sense in his little mind either, because how can he be zero--he's here, born, isn't he? So cute!

Ethan is so fun! I wondered if the younger kids would show signs of jealousy and to my surprise and joy, instead, they just love on that poor boy day and night! He has been kissed, hugged and kissed so much, there is no doubt how much he is loved! He is a good baby and mostly patient when I have to put him down to take care of a sibling. He sleeps well in his carseat (what baby of mine hasn't?) He makes lots of grunts and even some coos now, too. I love it! As I sit and nurse, I love to stroke his cheeks and wonder how we are ever going to survive when I go back to work. I know Jim can handle it--but I am going to miss him so much (the other boys, too, but mostly the time with the baby. I am going to get very good at planning lessons, writing tests and assignments one-handed as I hold my last little baby as much as possible once I get home each day! We will survive. We have to. We are from strong, good stock and we will do what we have to . . .

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Big Brother Eric

All the kids have been so loving and fun to watch with Ethan, but the cutest and most touching by far has been Eric. Every time he comes home from preschool, he comes over and checks on Ethan. He often asks me 'How's Ethan been doing?'
Today, however, on his way out the door to preschool, he gave me the rundown, 'Now, if Ethan gets hungry, be sure to feed him. And make sure you take good care of him. And if you want, you can give him your knuckle to chew on.'
All this he said while walking out the door and down the walk backwards so as to keep my attention. It was so sweet and so hilarious! At least he is taking a vested interest in his baby brother and in his role as a big brother.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We'll Keep Him

Yesterday, Ethan Philip Allen officially joined our family. Jim & I arrived at the hospital by 8am and were pretty much ready by 8:30am. But there was another c-section before mine AND no one could find the doctor's orders. Once they did, they had to draw more blood, put in another IV and match some blood just in case. So, finally around 11am, I got to walk down the hall to the OB OR. I got the spinal and before I could lie down, my toes were already getting numb! By 11:25 or so, they were cutting me open. Jim peeked over the curtain several times throughout the procedure to see what they were doing. I guess in a first c-section, once they cut, it takes only a few minutes to get to the baby, but by the 4th, it takes a little longer to get to baby--you have to go carefully through the scar tissue and avoid nicking the bladder, etc, until you get to baby. So, finally, at 11:56am, I heard the first little cry. And he was here. I could see, too, the doctor and nurse cleaning baby up. Jim went over and trimmed up his umbilical cord and got to bring him over to me. The first comments the doctors and nurses made were things like, 'Look at all that hair!' 'What a big head,' and 'He's a big boy!' Even with the last comment, both the pediatrician & the OB guessed baby was about 9lbs. Well, the scale shocked us all with a weight of 10 lbs 3 oz. Whoa! And 22 inches! Alright, NFL, here we come--just kidding, sort of :)
I got to hold baby shortly after that and his little tongue was just a going. I asked the nurse if I should nurse yet and she said, nah, just wait until we got back to the room. But after about 15 minutes and feeling his strong sucking grip on my finger, I asked again and she said that I could if i wanted to, so we did and boy, he latched right on and ate! He was certainly ready! He nursed all the way back tot he room and for another 30 minutes after that, too.
I was a little sleepy and sore (duh!) but so thrilled. Baby cried a bit, but also had a calm spirit about him--and since, he has only cried a few times--when I'm changing a poopy diaper, when they poked his heel (to test his blood sugar levels--which, by the way, all three were great readings, so he is out of danger of diabetes--yeah!!!-- and when I wait too long to feed him--only because I have to go to the bathroom, . . .
He has slept both days from about 2pm until 6 pm or longer and then wants to stay up all night. Fun, fun! But he is a doll--so cute and so cuddly. He croons and coos in his sleep. He's wide-eyed at 11pm at night, but not so much during the day. He does have a lot of hair--light, though, just like the others, His eyes are still blue, so we'll see if that lasts or not. He's a real keeper.
In fact, when Amelie, Eric and Tanner came up to the hospital yesterday to meet their new little brother, Eric told me 'We're going to be really nice to Baby Ethan and not be mean to him' And then, he told me, "He is SOOO Cuute" And I asked him if that was a good thing and he said, "Yes, that means we'll keep him" So fun. Tanner, today, was enthralled with Baby Ethan-'that's OUR baby Ethan,' he said. and as he left, he called back, "Love you, Baby Ethan!" Amelie's little first grade class sang Happy Birthday to Ethan yesterday and today, they sent with Amelie a little book they wrote called "Everything You Need to Know about Babies" Each classmate completed the sentence "Babies need . . . " and drew a picture. And the last page is Amelie's, which reads, "I am the very best at big sisters", Said Amelie. and she drew a picture of her holding Ethan in her arms. Wow. How could that NOT bring tears to my eyes! We are so glad Ethan is here safe and sound and are so thankful he has joined our family. He isa definitely a keeper!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Almost here . . .

Tomorrow at 8 am Jim and I reprot to the Maternity wing for the fourth and final birth of a little baby Allen. We'll let you know tomorrow afternoon how everything went and all the details of baby Ethan's arrival. We're still debating middle names, but Ethan is here to stay :) It's hard to believe I have only a few more hours of pregnancy ever. Sad but exciting, too, as we prepare to welcome one more little spirit from heaven to earth.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mary's team wins their first tourney


Here is a link to the article that tells about the Timberwolves Volleyball season commencement successes. Mary played libero all week and did a tremendous job!!

Just click on the word SHARE to view the article (I think).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

School Daze

Yes, that is a play on words. I feel like I am still in a daze--all last week I was at the school all day, every day--and even a few early mornings and a few late nights. I have only had 2 teaching days (Thurs and Fri) but I still feel like I am in a daze--my schedule changed back and forth so that I didn't even know what I was teaching fro sure until Tuesday, I think. Then, the IB program is so focused on certain aspects of the language that I am still not sure in which direction I need tot ake those 6 students. The class of French 3 students are upset because they have a new teacher who speaks faster than any of their other teachers and she spoke almost the whole period in French (I told her she should--they can handle it--it just measn they have to work harder.) So, I have told several of them who have spoken to me, all panicked and worried, that they will do just fine--and if they just stick with it, they will have me next year for French 4. And then I have one period that is so full, they are going to try my patience. When there are that many students in a language class, they forget when they should and should not speak. So, I have my work cut out for me. Having Billy in class has been fun, too. What a treat! And Amelie is loving 1st grade, too. So school daze should turn into school days soon :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

7 Years and Going Strong!

Seven years ago today, Jim and I knelt across an altar in the San Diego temple and were sealed for time and all eternity. And seven (almost) children later (though it's not exactly acccurate, it sounds cool--we do have 7 -almost- children and have been together 7 years), I am just as thrilled as I was that day, if not more. There was no chance or lcuk in our meeting. I know Heavenly Father had a direct hand in our being led to one another and in placing connections and events in our path that helped us know that this was his plan for us. I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves us enough to help us find a partner, a best friend, and a soulmate all wrapped into one. I love him with all my heart and am so thankful for such a loving, righteous husband by my side. Happy Anniversary, Baby!! I love you~

Miracles and babies

I've been thinking a lot about the miracle of birth--wonder why--and reflecting on my children and my situation. It dawned on me that between family and friends in the past 6months, I think--maybe year, that three people in my circle of family and friends have had preemies. They are all the most adorable babies and two are still working on mortality. Sitting at 35 weeks and only 4 weeks and 2 days until delivery, I reflect on this and marvel that though I would have LOVED to have had little Ethan in my arms all summer long before having to leave him home with daddy every day whilst I go off to a classroom full of hormonal teenagers, I am so thankfulfor the trials that have been mine with this pregnancy. They really have been minor--I threw up a lot more this time--I got quite a few minor health issues--like a cough that took two diferent rounds of antibiotics, the scare of a uterine rupture, chest pains from a fall, some you probabaly would rather not hear about, and even the gestational diabetes. (And the cough is coming back, too--ugh!) But my babies all seem to be so cozy inside the womb that they don't even feel the need to try coming on their own. Amelie was at 41 weeks and ended up being a c-section because she was still so high up that the doc couldn't reach her; Eric came by c-section at 40 weeks, 5 days without a single contraction or dilation; Tanner, even at a scheduled c-section of 39 weeks and 2 days, without a single contraction or dilation, either; and so far, though I have had more braxton hicks than with the others, I think Ethan is quite happy for the time being adn when he comes at 39 weeks, 2 days, I am guessing he will not have tried to come on his own, either. And that's okay because I would rather us both come through the delivery healthy and whole than suffer through the risks that a normal delivery might present. Still, I can't wait to hold this little baby in my arms and cuddle him tight and love him to death. After Amelie was born, I really didn't know how it was possible for parents to share the love they feel for one child between more children. For some reason, I thought it would take away the love I felt for one child to give to another. I have since learned that is not true. I love all six children so much, I could not imagine life without them and don't know what I would do if one were to leave me prematurly. They are each so different and so unique. And each one brings something different to me. I love being a mother and helping my wonderful husband raise these precious spirits in righteousness. What a blessing I thought I would never have!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Black & Orange Scrimmage

We just got home from Billy's firswt football scrimmage of the season. He played a little of both directions: Wide Receiver & Defensive Back. He did very well on both ends--it was hot and sunny but so fun to watch him play. It looks like there are only about 30 sophomores and they do have an only sophomore team, so he should see a lot of field time this season. We're really excited to see him get involved and play so well and looking forward to a fun season! (I'll add a photo later--our camera is slow and annoying, so I'll do my best as soon as I can get it working right.)

And though we can't be there, Mary has her first volleyball scrimmage today, too. We can't wait to hear how that went--we'll let you know! We do know she is having a great time and working very hard and it sounds like she is doing great! We miss her!

The Winds of Change

No matter how old we are or what role we play, it still seems to be an anxious moment when the principal wants to see you. Last Friday, our principal told me he needed to meet with me, so after our meeting, I followed him into his officew where he pulled out his claendar--what?! I thought I would get it all over with then and there, but I had to wait all weekend--not an easy task. I am sure I imagined every possible scenario from the very good to the very bad. Needless to say, Monday morning was a little nervewracking. I got to the school early and fiddled around in my room for a while and was still down at the office 10 minutes early.
I didn't necessarily have reason to worry, but it certainly wasn't all good news. The other French teacher, to whom I owe my job (we had met at the Open House and I spoke to him in French-he knew I was teaching at the Middle School. So when the openeing for a French teacher came at the high school in November last year, he personally called me and asked if I would please apply!), for personal reasons, was on leave (and has since resigned) and would I be willing to switch my schedule around and take the French IV IB students? Oh, is that all? It means no Freshman, no class of 30 Freshmen--instead, 8 Seniors in the International Baccalaureate program (an honors program recognized worldwide), all college-bound, typically top-notch, bright, motivated students. I think I can handle that.
IT saddnes me to lose a colleague and a friend. He was truly a tremendous mentor as far as French teaching goes. He certainly knew his French amazingly well. And students really liked him. He was always helpful and worked hard on the curriculum--and shared what he did with me. Needless to say, he will be missed. But, we also must move on and take acre of this school year. As of yesterday, my schedule changed again. I will teach 3 French II classes (including Billy!), 1 French III (the students I had last year, so that should be a pretty easy adjustment) and the French IV IB class. So, all French--the new teacher will take all the French I's (4 classes) and my Mythology class. I am sad to lose Mythology as I thoroughly enjoyed it and worked q fair amount on it, but I am excited to teach all upper level French! So, with only the weekend, Monday and Tuesday before students arrive, let's just say I have a lot to do! Plus, the new teacher is the one I was originally going to have cover for me during my short maternity leave. Luckily, there is another substitute teacher I can fall back on there to help. So these are the winds of change . . .

Monday, August 9, 2010


Since our computer takes FOREVER to load pictures onto the blog, I loaded a WHOLE BUNCH on my facebook site--if you're interested, that's where you should look for the latest images of the Allen's :)

Locked Out

The other night as the little kids and I were returning home from a bike ride, I gave the keys to Amelie as I often do, to unlock the door while I finished putting helmets and bikes away. She had come back out to help me, but when she, Eric and I reached the backdoor, we heard Tanner calling to us from the inside of the door. I tried to open it to greet him, but somehow--and I still haven't figured this out because it has a child knob on it, so it is really hard to lock, it was most definitely locked and Tanner was holding the keys in his hand. Great. No hidden spare--no phone (that's another story--Tanner took my and Jim's cell phones for a swim in the toilet) and a little boy trapped inside. Luckily, the living room window was opened and the ladder was in teh garage. I climbed up and pried the screen back just far enough for Tanner to hand the keys to me. I sealed the screen back up, and climbed down. I thnk Tanner thought I was abandoning him as he started to cry--not just any wimper, but a full body throbbing cry. Poor little man! I tried to console him--that I would be right there, but he didn't understand. Amelie once again unlocked the door as I put the ladder back. And finally, we joined our little rascal inside for the rest of the evening. And who says life with toddlers is boring?!? I think it may be time to make a spare key! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

HP prep

I admit it--I am a huge Harry Potter fan. This morning, I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (book 7--the last one) for the second time. Now I am ready for the first movie in November. I cried, again, like a baby throughout the last few chapters. I love the point that love and sacrifice are some of our greatest tools against evil forces. Love is a powerful tool and a tremendous strength that I think we underestimate far too often. Aside from the fact that I think the books are very well written--captivating, even, I am also impressed with the character development of a young man so willing to risk his life, over and over, to save others from suffering. And what do they do, those whom he tries to protect? They stand up, support him and even fight evil beside him. It reiterates the power of one so selfless who perhaps does not seek to be a leader, but rises to the occassion as because he is loved. Anyway, just a few thoughts on one of my all time favorite books. Can't wait to see the movies. November is far enough away, and next July seems ages to wait, but the book was well worth the time investment!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bike Ride

I have to exercise everyday--at least almost every day--to keep my blood sugar levels down. It's usually a bike ride with the kids or a walk. Tonight, since I figured I had left my phone in my classroom where I had been trying to get some work done, we could bike up there. Amelie has only ridden her bike twice since her training wheels came off, but she was all for it. Ans she did great! She did fall over the curb once when she tried to go up on a higher curb than the on flush with the street.
The excitement came on the way home--she was right in front of me--usually, I am in front or directly beside her. She was coming to an intersection, but the other directions had stop signs, so I told her we were going straight. Only, there was a big truck coming. Still, he had a stop sign. Thank goodness I was watching closely. He slowed but was about to blow the stop sign and hit Amelie when I screamed and he slammed on his brakes, missed her by maybe a foot. I have never felt my heart beat faster or my pulse jump so rapidly. Needless to say, I yelled at the guy, before moving on. Poor Amelie. She just kept riding away. She said, when I asked, that she was a little scared, but other than that, it didn't seem to phase her like it did me. However, she was more attentive when I asked her to stay right beside me.
Man! Nothing like that to get your blood really pumping!
Then, I had my phone in my pocket, which I don't usually do--it's usually in the trailer with the noys. Well, it fell out and, of course, this was the one time that a car was actually behind me. I circled around and all I could do was watch as the jeep pulled into their driveway, right over my phone! UGH! It still works just fine, but the front is a little smashed. Thank goodness it works or I would be without communication for a while! Still, there was so little traffic all along our way and the two times cars were close, one nearly hits my baby and one runs over my phone. Maybe we should stick to taking walks!

August Happenings

It's official. We have a college student! THough she doesn't start classes for a while still, her volleyball schedule has already begun. She and her team have been on a team bonding trip and should be back to Pendleton tomorrow. Then, practice begins. We are so excited for her. Her roommates seem so cool and friendly and I am sure the whole team is, too. Here is a picture of the team.

Almost as soon as we got back, Billy was off to the Melita Island Scout camp as a scout counselor again.. The bonus this year is that he is old enough now to get paid. Then as soon as he gets back, football practice begins. Busy, busy!

Amelie has all her 1st grade supplies and can't wait for school to start. Same iwth Eric and his Preschool experience. I think Tanner is going to miss everyone the most--he and his Dad are going to have some great father-son time 3 afternoons a week--I'm sure much of that will be napping, since that is their regular nap time!

Jim went back to work this afternoon and I am missing him terribly. It's been nice to have him around all the time, even if we were on 'vacation.'

And me, my lesson plans are coming, as is my room--Jim actually repaired a cabinet and reattached a pencil sharpener and hung a Clock (it has a bunch of French stuff on it and this way, I am facing the clock as I teach so I know what time it is.) So nice to have such a handyman hubby! Teacher meetings start next week and after that, it is going to be busy, busy, busy!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Taking Mary to College

So in less than two hours, we take off for Oregon to take Mary to college. It's almost surreal. This date has been on the calendar for so long and now it is finally here. The car is loaded to the brim. We are all ready and anxious for the trip, but I think it is going to be a tougher trip than we all imagined, especially emotionally! If you've seen the new Toy Story 3, you know what I mean. It's so exciting, but at the same time, we are going to miss her so very much. Mary is a wonderful daughter, full of smiles and laughter. SHe is so motivated and ambitious. We are proud of her decision to continue her education--you can't make a better investment in your future than higher education. And we are so thrilled that she is able to continue playing volleyball at the college level. That is a tremendous opportunity. I started thinking this afternoon what her life is going to be like once we drive away. I remember my own college days and the mixed emotions I felt. I know it is going to be a little scarey and a little nerve-warcking and very emotional! But we couldn't be more porud of Mary and all this trip represents.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New car seat

Did you know all car seats have an expiration date? And the one that lasted through Amelie, Eric and Tanner (though the cloth cover is a bit beat up) states, even engraved in plastic on the back, that it is not to be used after December 2009. Hmm-- we're a year off. So luckily, while the girls and I were shopping yesterday, we saw some for 50% off at Target! Lucky! Of course, I couldn't remember if I was right about the expiration date or not, so I called Jim--twice--to check it out. Unfortunately, he didn't see that notice and it didn't say anything on the stickers. I called the Pediatrician's and the DMV, who said they SUGGEST you get a new one every six years, but it isn't necessary. So I didn't get it.
When I got home, I checked out the car seat and found the engraving. Ugh--
I know the hospital inspects the baby in the car seat before you can leave and they wouldn't miss the warning, so Jim, being the absolute sweetheart that he is, went back to Target for me after picking Billy up from Football camp to get it for me. So now, we have a new baby car seat for our last baby--only now that I have it up, I don't think it clicks into the stroller like the one I had before. I thought they all did, but I can't figure this one out. I guess baby Ethan deserves something NEW and all his own, since most everything else has been through the other kids. Fun, fun adventures ahead!

pulling a trailer

We just took the training wheels off of Amelie's bike (for the second time). Usually, she rides next to me when I do my daily bike ride~and she keeps up very well. Last night, I had the bike trailer attached and Tanner loaded up. Eric was going to stay with Dad and play his Playhouse Disney computer games. Amelie decided she wasn't ready to ride all the way to the store without training wheels, so we thought we would try Eric's bike--it's the same overall size--his seat is lower. Only, you need tools to raise his seat. So, we left it low and started out. About two and a half blocks later, she was lagging behind and admitted that it was too hard. So, we head back. And then Eric decided to join us. So, Eric sat in the seat behind me and Amelie joined Tanner int he trailer. Nothing like hauling over 125 extra pounds! It's amazing how even the slightest incline that you would never even notice in a car suddenly JUMPS out at you like a scarey monster. We did make it there and back--all in one piece, but Eric was so nervous in the seat behind me (only when I stopped and the bike would lean a little to either side) that he and Tanner traded places. We even added a good 10lbs. of groceries to our load on the way back. Luckily, it was a nice, cool evening. I definitely got my exercise in for the day!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mary's YW Award

Today was Mary's last Sunday in Kalispell before we take her to college. Once she graduated, she had been going to the singles ward in the Stake, so she hadn't received her Young Women's Medallion yet, even though she was done. So today in Sacrament meeting, she was the first item of business. And bless his heart, our Bishop even got choked up. Mary is such a good girl and has really set a tremendous example for the Young women here. She is the first young woman or leader from the ward to receive it in the last two years. Mary has worked hard to get all of her goals done, on top of all her schoolwork, sports, work and, of course, other church activities. And Mary is already a loveable, sweet, happy and accepting youmg woman to everyone she meets. I have never met someone who hasn't liked her. (of course, I am a bit biased, but I think I'm right on the spot on this one). We are so thankful for her example to her siblings and for the ambition and drive she exudes. Way to go, Mary; we are so proud of your efforts and accomplishments!

Friday, July 23, 2010

wanting to need you

Eric is the sweetest,most tender-hearted little boy. He is quick to get his feelings hurt and quick to love. He has recently come up with the saying, "Mom, I was wanting to need you." How can you resist his hugs and cuddles when he says something like that?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Waterpark Outing

The other day for playgroup, we went to the waterpark in town. I had the kids so psyched up for it, they even spent the morning cleaning their rooms so they could go (I finally found a motivation that worked!) Tanner kept saying "waterpark! Waterpark!" all morning and wasn't content until his swimsuit was on. Eric and Amelie were just as excited to get there. Amelie had been given a coupon to get in for free from having helped her kindergarten teachers with somethign in class, so I had one less child to pay for, too. That was a nice break, though it really isn't very expensive. We were there from about 12:30-4pm and had a blast. Eric and Amelie played together so well in the water. They were tackling each other and leading each other around in the kid's pool, which is pretty impressive--it goes from nothing to about 2 feet deep with LOTS of water spouts and inventions spraying water or shooting water up, etc. Even Tanner loved it. The pool provides lifejackets that the kids wore the whole time. With the help from a friend, we even went in the lazy river. The kids sat in a big inner tube while I held onto the tube and walked along with them around in a circle. Tanner wasn't so sure about the waterfall (it actually reminds me of the icing machine that the donuts pass under at krispy kreme--there's no escaping it!) but we made it fun. Amelie even 'swam' around the lazy river one entire loop! And of course, they played with their friends as they swam. It was a great adventure and despite the use of sunblock, we all came home with rosy cheeks :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

So just when you get comfortable and think that everything is going well--a smooth-sailing pregnancy to end on, you ought to know that a glitch is coming. I went for my 29 week appointment and glucose test on Thursday. That morning, I did the two hour fast and drank the lemon-lime glucose drink and drove to the doctor's office. Miria, the nurse, pricked my finger and ran the iron and glucose tests. My first indicator that something was awry was when she declared, "Oh, WoW!!" at the scores that appeared. Then she asked me, "Have you been feeling tired lately?" It was all I could do to stifle an outburst. Tired? Of course! I am constantly tired, but I am nearly 30 weeks pregnant. We both laughed a little and she clarified, "I mean more than usual." Yes, I have been, and I was actually going to bring that up and see if I could get an iron supplement as I had with the other three. "Oh, yes," she replied, "you will definitely be getting that!" My score was 8.7, which though I am always borderline anemic, this was extremely low--no border in sight. Okay, easily remedied; I can handle that.
The shocker was the glucose test. Her reaction to that score was even more extreme. My score with Amelie was borderline diabetic, so they had me do the 3 hour test and I came out fine. Well, this time, my score was so high I don't even have to do the longer test (yeah!); they simply diagnose me (ugh!). So, they look for a score of 120. Mine was 208. Not good. I have gestational diabetes. Great. And to boot, the baby was measuring big--now, at every previous appointment, the baby measured maybe a little big, but within normal. Interesting that it would spike now. So, yesterday, I had another ultrasound. The kids came with me and got to see the baby, too, which was really neat. Sadly, Baby Ethan did not cooperate with a facial shot, but was saw the rest of him and were able to get all the measurements. And sure enough, he is measuring 32 weeks, not 29. And I guess he has really big feet already (according to the tech, who was, by the way, very good).
So, in the next week, I have three more appointments: one with the diabetic specialists; one for a fast and finger poke; one with the doctor. It looks like I will be going in weekly now and recording everything I eat and poking my fingers a lot. But I am not worried. I followed a diabetic's diet ten years ago when we thought I might have had diabetes--I had a few symptoms, but ended up only (hah, 'only') borderline. I did it then; I can do it now. It's healthier, anyway. I just have to lower carbs and sugars. And for the iron, I have to eat lots of red meat (every day, the doc said) and spinach. (and other iron-rich foods, but those are the heavies). I am not as upset or worried as I thought I would be. Even the doc said that these are easily controlled issues. My only question now is: if baby is really 32 weeks, can we count on an August baby? I would really like that, actually, even if it is August 30 or 31! I'll keep you posted . . . Until then, it's spinach, steak, whole wheat and fruit for our house!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bike Rides

So I have figured out the best (meaning easiest and least painful) way to get a little exercise in at 28 weeks pregnant. Bike rides. I have always enjoyed riding my bike and I got really attached to it in Yuma. So, it made sense that here, I would bike as well, especially since I can enjoy it without the sweat literally dripping off me. And bless his heart, Tanner wants to go every day (which is a good motivation for me!). He would love to ride his own bike, but he just cannot figure out how to make the pedals go on his own AND steer the bike. And then when I am not either pushing his little legs or simply pushing him along, he gets upset. Eric loves riding but isn't a long distance rider yet--once around the little niehgborhood is about all he can handle. But Amelie is in it for the long haul. She rode a while ago next to Mary for 3 miles while Mary ran. So, I knew when my friend Jennifer suggested we ride to DQ one night, Amelie could do it. She still has her training wheels attached, but that doesn't slow her down at all. She rode all the way there and back, never once complaining. I had Tanner in the bike seat behind me and Eric would have been in the trailer but he fell asleep befoer we left, so he stayed home with Dad. It was a great ride and I felt just fine after. So now, my goal is to ride at least every other day for as long a distance as I can handle. I did it in Yuma--I know I can do it here. So, library time next week is going to be on bike and I am sure I will find other places to bike as well. I love it! (The doctor's only stipulation was "Just don't fall! It's gotten a little close when one of the kids cuts me off accidentally, or if I have to adjust the bikie position while stopped, with Tanner on the back, but no tips yet!)

Mornings and making beds

I have tried forever to think of motivations to make beds in the morning. Leave it to Amelie to think of something that works. A few nights ago, she had a bad dream. Since it was already actually morning (nearly 6am) and Jim was working, I just had to come lie down with me so she would feel safe. Well, once we got up an hour or so later, I was in helping the boys get dressed and ready and encouraging Eric to make his bed, which he did--and he has actually been very good at it ever since. Anyway, Amelie rushed out saying she had a surprise for me. She had made our bed. She has done that now for three mornings, so this mornging while she surprised me with a made bed, I reciprocated. It has been a fun game and a wonderful way to get her (and me) to make our beds. She even made Tanner's one morning.
As for Eric, he has been the first one up on most mornings. He comes in and tells me, 'Mom, it's morning time. Wake up!' I have tried to reason him into a few morne minutes of sleep, but he is patient with me and stays by my bedside or comes to give me a hug, but if it lasts more a a few minutes, he reminds me again that the sun is up and it is time to get up. Even more, he has been making his own bed and changing from his pj's all on his own. The only thing is he gets a little upset when I suggest shorts instead of sweats or thick pants for the day. Bless his little heart! And once we are at the table eating breakfast, he makes sure everyone gets a 'Good Morning, _____' welcome from him. Talk about a sweet awakening to the day!

Amelie's birthday party

It was Billy's first day gone today and there was a definite void in the house. The kids asked for him and we had to explain that he would be gone for a while. But luckily, they stayed busy with Amelie's birthday party. She will be 6 on Monday--so hard to believe. I know it is hard to have a summer birthday, but we were grateful that several of her kindergarten friends were able to make it, and a few from church. It was a beautiful day--sunny and warm with enough of a breeze to make it perfect. We had the slip n slide out and tossed water balloons and water darts and used our water blasters. Of course, we had to pin the crown on the princess poster. And as per Amelie's request, we had a Hello Kitty birthday cake, but it was windy enough that she only pretended to blow out candles. :) I couldn't even get one to stay lighted for a second. Mary even got to take her lunch break during the party and came home for cake and ice cream. Eric joined right in with the entire party--with two other boys there. And even Tanner tried cleaning off his pacifier in the water spraying up from the slip n slide. He was drenched by the end and didn't even wait to be changed before he conked out afterward. I had to take his wet clothes off while he was asleep so he could take a nap. Even Eric was so worn out that he fell asleep only half an hour after Tanner. It really was a lot of fun. I enjoy entertaining, despite the stress I put myself through getting ready and set up. I am so glad we could celebrate Amelie's birthday with her friends. She is such a good helper and wonderful little girl. Our family has been blessed with her presence in our home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Amelie singing

If I can ever get it to load, here is Amelie singing at her kindergarten graduation.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Amelie's first lost tooth

Last Sunday, as we were getting ready to leave for Mary's seminary graduation, Amelie came to me worried because her first loose tooth was bleeding. I told her it was time to pull it. She and Billy headed tot he bathroom where she let him yank it the rest of the way out. She cried for a few minutes, then smiled big to show us the window in her mouth. She placed her tiny tooth in a baggy and hung onto it for who knows how long. It is now MIA, which means she has yet to have a visit from the tooth fairy as she has no tooth to offer. But she is sure proud of the gap in her teeth! She learned two loose tooth songs in kindergarten and still goes around the house singing them. And she has another loose tooth that she is working on now--the joys of children!

Spiritual strength

I am so amazed at the spirituality in our children, especially in our little Amelie. She teaches me a great deal by her example. She has also learned how to apply gospel principles to her own life.We have been talking about the influence of the Holy Ghost in sharing time and how the Holy Ghost communicates with us. One night after the first lesson, I was singing "Walk Tall, You're a Daughter" to her at bedtime (one of our favorites) and she turned to me and said that when I sang the line "He's closer than you know, reach up, He'll take your hand," she felt tears come into her eyes. Then she asked,'That was the holy ghost, wasn't it?' Oh yes, it was. She has such great faith, too, to know that if she needs something, she can pray and Heavenly Father will guide her to an answer through the Holy Ghost. She has said prayers for help finding Eric's missing glasses and soon after, we got the impression to look in the backyard, of all places--and there they were in the grass.
Every testimony meeting, Amelie is excited to share her testimony with the congregation. She does it all on her own and though she forgets some of the things she wanted to say once she gets up (don't we all?), she is sincere and genuine in the things she believes and shares.
Finally, she has just recently gained a love for the scriptures. In Sacrament meeting, she read over and over to herself the first article of faith. Then when we got to Primary, the little boy who was supposed to deliver the scripture and prayer was not there. So, we had Amelie come up and read/recite the first article of faith for our scripture. She did it beautifully and still remembers it, reciting it around the house and asking for help to learn the second article of faith, now.
Having been in the Primary for the last few years, I have learned just how much children can teach us about the gospel. I am so thankful for children (especially my own) who listen to the gospel teachings and who make the gospel a part of their lives. I know it strengthens me and most importantly, their spiritual connections and convictions will keep them strong in a wavering world of wickedness. What more could I ask?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Front Page News

After the graduation ceeremony, we went outside to take pictures, of course. The Daily Interlake (local newspaper) photographer was out front at the same time snapping pics here and there. Well, we knew he had taken a whole bunch, including one of me hugging a former student and girl in our ward, and of Mary and Tanner. We were pleasantly surprised on Sunday morning to see that they had chosen the picture of Mary and Tanner for their front page picture! I wish I could cut and paste, but since I cannot, you should check it out--June 6, 2010 Graduation. You can try this link, or check it out under photos of June news features, under Flathead or FHS Graduation. We were pretty excited!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


So much has happened and since I have very little time for extras, the blog was put on hold. But since today is the first official day of summer vacation for me, I thought I should take a minute to post all that has happened.

It was so great to see Tiffany and Mckaylie over the weekend as they came up for Mary's graduation. Mckaylie is growing, scooting along on her belly and babbling away. Tiffany stays busy working and taking care of her family.

Mary's track took her to state for the 4 by 4 race. We drove to Great Falls Memorial Day weekend to watch her run. They ran their fastest time and came in 4th at State! The girls' team came in 4th overall, only a few points behind their in-town rivals.
Mary completed all four years of seminary very successfully and graduated this past Sunday evening. We are so proud of her accomplishments. She is also going to be getting her Young Women's Medallion very soon as well, as she has completed all of the requirements for that, too.
And of course, Mary graduated from high school on Saturday. It was a really good program. She was one of the first ones across the stage, which was exciting. For only being here one year, she is a very well known and loved student (which isn't hard for us to believe! We think she is pretty awesome!) As we went outside to take pictures, the newspaper guy was right there. He took a picture of Tanner giving Mary a hug and it turned out to be the front page picture the next day! That was pretty cool and exciting. We are so proud of the work Mary did to graduate and are looking forward to watching her play volleyball in college!

Billy did great on the JV Track team, especially shining in the 300 m hurdles. We expect he will continue there for sure in the next few years.
Billy also survived his freshman year in high school. He is starting honors classes next year and has to read Fahrenheit 451 over the summer. He has football camp and then wrestling camp, with Youth Conference in between before he leaves for Arizona for a month.
Billy did his Eagle Project about a month ago--tearing down and rebuilding dugouts for some city baseball diamonds. He should receive his Eagle soon.

Amelie just lost her first tooth on Sunday evening, right before Mary's seminary grad. She cried for a few minutes, then was so excited, she carried it around in a baggy until she lost it, so she's had nothing to put under her pillow yet.
Amelie also graduated from kindergarten this week. She was given the "Incredible Imagination" award from her class as she is always dreaming up this situation or that with her imaginary friends. She is a bright student and seems to shine in math, especially (her teachers were wowed by her counting ability).

Eric graduated from joy school--and since I won't be able to teach with the group anymore, he is really graduating to preschool next year. He talks a mile a minute and over spring break, when he decided (and I finally had time to dedicate to it) to get potty trained, it took only 2-3 days and he goes all day and all night now! He very rarely has accidents and we are so proud of his progress.

Tanner began speaking in sentences and can even say a very basic prayer with help. He loves to run and throw and play! He also loves babies--we'll see if that continues when the new baby joins our home and is here permanently!

Jim and I are doing well--staying busy, though very glad for the summer break. Next year, I will be an official full-time teacher, which will be so nice. I will teach 3 1/2 weeks before a sadly, short, but at least I get something, maternity leave. At this point, he will be Ethan Allen (a great historical figure, which Jim can teach him all about). Less than 16 weeks left~yeah!

So that's the quick wrap-up! We are a happy family!

Monday, February 15, 2010

5-time State Champs!

Billy's team finished the State Wrestling playoffs this weekend on top yet again. This makes 5 State Championships in a row--and I guess if they hadn't come in 2nd in 2004, it would have been 6. It is thrilling that Billy is a part of such a strong and successful program. And to be able to compete and experience a state competition his Freshman year is thoroughly exciting. Way to go, Bill!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peterson Kindergarten Blog

The three kindergarten classes at Peterson share a blog where pictures of the kids and their work are posted. Check it out. Amelie has an assignment posted right now if you scroll down. The teachers are wonderful and to set aside the time to do this blog is tremendous! It should be listed in the blogs I follow.


So with a full time job, a busy calling and a wonderfully full calendar of family activities, our family blog has been pushed to the side. And since life has not waited, I have missed posting some very important and exciting events in our families life.
1. Mary signed her letter of intent to play volleyball for the Timberwolves at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. This is so exciting! The coach is planning on starting her as a Libero (backrow specialist). The team came in second in their division last year and I am sure they will be even better next year! She is a tremendous player and it is great to see how excited her new coach is to have her playing for him next year. We can't wait, either. We'll all go when her games are close (like in Spokane: 3ish hours away).
2. Billy got to go to Divisionals for Wrestling last weekend and he won 2 of his first three matches, which qualified him for State!! He is one of four freshmen going with our school's team to state. Flathead High has a legacy to uphold in Montana. I believe we have held first in State for four or five years. Jim and Mary are in Billings cheering him and our team on right now--I am home with two very sick little boys, so I figured it wasn't wise tot take them. Besides, I will see Billy at State Wrestling next year! Way to go, Bill! We are so thrilled with the work and dedication he has put into his activities and look how it has paid off.
3. Tanner is talking a lot more, though he refuses to string words together. It's still nice to know what he is trying to say :) He loves nursery and playing with his siblings. He especially likes watching Mickey Mouse. Right now, he's fighting a cough and a bad fever. He's a trouper, though.
4. Eric is talking up a storm and has figured out how to play most of the computer games that Amelie plays. We have a collection of CD preschool games and just recently, he has branched out to Playhouse Disney games. It amazes me how these little kids catch on to technology.
5. Amelie wrote out her Valentine's all by herself. She loves reading and spelling--they have started spelling tests and she has done fabulously. She also just had her 100th day of school and knows how to count to 100 in several different ways (by 1's, 5's, 10's--and is working on 2's). She also had her first sleepover at her friend's house last night. She was so excited. She is very responsible and often shows great maturity for her age.
Jim and I are plugging along with work, family and church. We love watching our children grow up. It is a thrill like no other.