Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This is my Maren:

She is a beautiful girl who makes friends everywhere she goes and is an extremely thoughtful little lady! She has a good pinch of sass and spunk that gives her a unique and fun personality that keeps you guessing. She has really grown into herself this year, and it has been fun to watch her mature.

Happy Birthday Maren!


Over the weekend we decided to drive down to Rexburg and visit Grandma and Grandpa. Griffin also came up with his kids, and we all had a good time catching up with each other.

These pictures are from the "dinosaur museum" that we went to in Idaho Falls. The "skeletons" are actually made out of metal, and most of them had cables and pulleys that visitors could use to make them move. There was also a play room where the kids spent most of the time dressing up and climbing on things. Good times.

On Saturday night we got a babysitter and the adults went to a barbershop concert at BYU-Idaho- because who doesn't love a good four-part-harmony? It was actually an incredibly enjoyable night, topped off with milkshakes at the local college hang-out spot.

Of course we had to have a birthday party. This is a pretty special little girl.


Finally, here are some pictures from the camp that Evelyn went to last week. She had tons of fun and is already looking forward to next time! One thing I don't see in any of the pictures is snow. It's been a weird year.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We are loving the early spring weather. This week we went on a walk by the river and did some exploring.

One person you will not see in these picture is Evelyn. She spent Friday-Sunday at a camp with her friends. I don't have any pictures yet, but she said that she had a lot of fun. Stay tuned and I'll include more information when I get it.


Eric Johnson. Since I first heard "Cliffs of Dover"- probably sometime when I was in high school- I have been dazzled by his music. He is easily one of the best and most respected guitarists in the world. Earlier this year he got together with his original band, picked up his old 1954 Strat, and decided to go on tour.

What a night! We sat close enough to watch the hypnotic movement of his fingers as they wove their way up and down the fret-board. I was utterly transfixed for the entire show. He played through his entire debut album that made him famous, threw in some of his other hits from later albums, and then added some new music that was recorded specifically for this tour. Each composition was better than the last, and I am still in complete wonder that such talent can exist in the world. Wow!


On one rainy day we decided to go swimming. No story here. Just a nice afternoon with the family.


On Sunday, Rachel and I watched the Superbowl. The kids had their own party at home with Jackee, their favorite babysitter. Rachel and I, on the other hand, went out and cheered our voices dry. It was a lively and entertaining time, and we came away satisfied with both the game and the outcome.

Have a good week!
A picture I took using water-drops. I imagine that with the warmer weather just around the corner, this is what Rachel's dreams have been looking like lately. Training season has officially started.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The other day we were watching the old musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" with our kids. During the kidnapping scene, Maren piped up:

"If someone kidnapped me, I wouldn't just lie there and scream. I would kick them in the face!"

A second's pause, and then:

"With my shoes on! And then I would step on their eyeball with my high heels!"

Oh my. I almost started feeling bad for the hypothetical bad guy. Where does she come up with this stuff?

Let's just say that the movie would have taken a much darker turn if Maren was in charge of the story line.


Speaking of musicals, Rachel and I got a chance on Saturday to go out to lunch at The Melting Pot, followed by the hit Broadway show, "Motown, the Musical."

What a fun show! With a soundtrack of almost sixty songs from the Motown era, it was pretty much guaranteed that we would have a good time.


The weather here has been unseasonably warm lately, with lots of rain. It's like Winter just dropped by to make an appearance, and then checked out almost as soon as it arrived. This has meant warm days for the kids to go exploring.

It also means we have to play indoors sometimes when the rain gets too wet. Did somebody say bowling and pizza? Oh yeah!:

Have a good week!

Never have shellfish for dinner with kids who are hoarders. Our house looks like a tide pool now with all the leftover shells. They are everywhere. I'm NOT amused.

Here's a confident kid who is a tenaciously hard worker. A couple of weeks ago his teacher sent home math homework that showed pretty clearly how far behind he was getting. It was scary. Let's just say that Rachel, him, and I have spent many hours in front of a whiteboard in our office. It payed off though. This week, he scored 105% on his end of quarter math test! He also scored 100% on two other math tests he brought home.l I'm so proud of him.

Monday, January 22, 2018

After doing the whole family update thing last week, and having it take longer than anticipated, I feel like I'm really behind. This post, then, is going to be a pretty quick catch-up. Enjoy!

The other day I looked in the trunk of my car and chuckled to myself. Laying before me was a fairly accurate picture of my life right now. Admittedly, I opened the cases for the guitar and the loupes for this picture; Otherwise, this is exactly how things were laying. Here is what I saw:

It wouldn't take a Sherlock Holmes to gain a little insight by looking at my stuff. 


Weather has been a little yucky lately, making it hard sometimes to find things to do. My thoughts turned to my childhood, and I thought that if it was good enough for me, it would be fun for my own kids. Why not take stuff apart? A quick trip to the local Goodwill, some tools from the shop, and several hours later, this is what we had to show for our work. Fun afternoon at home!


In 2016 I wrote about "Invent Idaho." Evelyn did a good job, but it was big assignment that took us off guard and ended up in a lot of work for Rach and Me. Truth is, this is an assignment that absolutely requires the help of an adult if it is to live up to the expectations of the school.

This year, instead of just one kid doing this project, we had three. We saw it coming this time though, and paced ourselves. We divided responsibilities between me, Rachel, and the kids, and it actually ended up being a fun experience for everyone. Addy even won at her school and got to move on to the regional competition. Here they are with their projects:
Addy did a "Stay out-inator" which is a voice activated lock on her bedroom door.

Jackson did the "deodorant-inator" which saves him the trouble of putting deodorant on himself in the morning.

Evelyn did the "See-and-write" which is a flashlight/pen holder that clips onto the spine of a book so she can read or write in the dark.
Other random stuff:

We saw "Coco" in 3D
We got lots of leftover Christmas Flowers. A friend took this picture of Addy and Jack.
Rach and I went out to eat this morning and then walked along the river in Post Falls before she had to go to work. Mornings like this remind me how much I love this place.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

We had a fantastic week. I want to write all about it. At the same time, I promised this family update. And since I've only got about one post in me per week, I think that we'll have to wait until next time to catch up on current events in the Hazard home. For now, you can get to know each of us a little bit deeper by looking into some of our greatest hopes, fears, memories, and passions. Well...maybe we won't get that personal. But we will give an overview on each person and the things they are up to. Enjoy!

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with this kind of blog update. I love having updates about the kids and writing about things they are into and things that Logan and I notice that are unique about each of them. I love rereading these updates and remembering different ages. At the same time I can't help but think that we are perpetuating a certain kind of pigeon holing of our kids.  I know they will be reading this in the future and I don't want them to think that what we write is set in stone.  It is how they are right now, but people change and they are allowed to change. 

To my kids: I love each of you dearly! You each are so different and I love seeing your fun personalities develop.  I am excited to see you grow and change over the coming years.  I am also excited to see what interests and characteristics stick.  I love you and I am here for you.

Mom moment over.


Two favorite memories of 2017:
Hiking the Enchantments and redoing our basement
Proudest moment of 2017: Rescuing a para glider who crashed into a mountain in France
Things you want to do in 2018: See multiple shows on Broadway in NYC and go on family ski trips
Goals for 2018: Swing dancing- learn something new every week with Rach. Photography- I'm part of a 52 week challenge.

Things haven't really changed in the last year that much for me- which is great because I really like where things are right now. One big shift at work that we made in February was the introduction of Medicaid patients into our practice. Most people in health care can probably appreciate the number of challenges and complexities that go along with this decision. I am proud though, that our office is helping to fill an obvious gap in the health care system- the government clinic (the only other alternative around here) was booking 6 weeks out for emergencies and 4-6 months out for routine care! I think we have done well in Post Falls to manage this new aspect of our practice without changing the warm and welcoming atmosphere or the quality of care that we have built our reputation around.

When not working, I continue to persue my lifelong hobbies of climbing and guitar. I still play lead on a near-weekly basis in our church band, and often find myself turning on a backing track and then noodling for hours at a time without even realizing it. I have also been invited to play rhythm in other, more professional groups, which makes me optimistic about these opportunities in the future. For now though, I just have too much going on to make these sorts of commitments. Priorities.

Climbing: I was able to climb this year in the French and Italian Alps, the North and Central Cascades, and in many smaller ranges throughout the Northwest. My focus has definitely changed in the last couple of years from technical challenges to those of speed and endurance. Perhaps this is an admission to myself that I have probably hit my technical ceiling and need to move on to other aspects of the sport to experience continued growth.

As far as day-to-day life is concerned, things are good. We live in a beautiful area where it is easy to get outdoors and play. I am enjoying the challenges and pleasures of owning a boat, and we live close enough to get out on a pretty regular basis. After this first year I can say that I feel pretty confident at the helm- just don't expect to see great things while I'm backing up the trailer!

It has been a pretty incredible year of trips, guitar experience, doctor stuff and growth for Logan. It is also important to mention how he has balanced all of these parts of his life and has managed to be an amazing dad.  I get a kick out of listening to him read to the kids at night.  They are always reading a chapter book together and I love to hear the questions he comes up with or the conversations that follow.  He enjoys reading these books and it shows.  Some of the favorites this year were Frindle, Toys Go Out, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Princess in Black and No Talking.

Many of our conversations revolve around how we can be more hands on parents with our kids individually.  With a busy schedule and five kids this is not an easy task! Logan recognizes his limitations because of time at work and is constantly trying to find ways to be present with the kids as a group or one on one. No matter what is going on there is always time for Karaoke, Mario Kart, or a Foosball competition. Logan and Adalie have some pretty amazing karaoke duets that they have been working on.  So fun!

Logan is such an example to me of how to constantly improve yourself and find time to learn new things.  Keep an eye on the blog because I am pretty sure that some of his photography challenge photos will end up on here!  He has a new challenge every week and I am sure he will stick it through because that is the kind of guy he is.  I am a pretty lucky wife.


Two favorite memories of 2017: Boating and the Hazard Holiday
Proudest moment of 2017: Breaking into musical and theatrical interpreting
Things you want to do in 2018: 150 mile bike race and a family backpacking trip in Glacier National Park
Goals for 2018: Improve at swimming to enable participation in triathlons; Swing dancing with Logan

Rachel amazes me in everything she is able to do. She is one of those people who you meet, and think you have figured out, but then come to find out that they are so much more complex and interesting then you had ever imagined. The part that impresses me most is that, if you watch her day-to-day activities, she seems focused totally on other people. She is constantly helping out in kids classes, volunteering for projects at church, organizing meet-ups for different groups she is in, or planning fun things for us to do as a family. And as impressive as this is, it is made even more so by the things she has accomplished in her own life for herself. Where does she have time for all this? For me, she is a role model to follow and I feel like a better person when I am around her.

As far as her career goes, Rachel continues to love her job at Sorensen Communications, but has also been able to branch out from there a little bit more with all the kids in school. In spring of last year she interpreted her first big Broadway show, and has since decided that these sorts of performances are where she would like to develop her talents into what some might call a "specialty."  In September, she also obtained her business license as a sole proprietor and started doing contracted work in the community. She also continued her habit of using work as an excuse for a little R&R and got some away time in the Bahamas and New York City. Such are the perks of being qualified. Suffice it to say that Rachel is passionate about what she does.

Besides work, Rachel has continued her love of the outdoors and of cycling. She has some ambitious goals set for next year, and I have no doubt that she will achieve all of them. I'm just doing my best to keep up!

Over the years I have planned many pre-school co-op groups with friends, playgroups, moms groups, etc.  This year I came to the realization that I do a pretty good job getting people together and that I really enjoy doing it.  When I moved from Cleveland ( I still miss the close knit group of friends!) I created a playgroup in the first few months of being in Post Falls. Earlier this year I realized that I did not know a lot of people at our church even though we had been attending for close to a year and a half. I decided to create a moms group to get people together and to get to know people in a more personal way than just weekly at church.  I have enjoyed setting up Ladies Nights, Play dates, and soon to be date nights... I am pretty sure that groups like these will be a part of my life for the foreseeable future.  

The beginning of this school year I hit a milestone.  All five of the kids are in school during the week. The oldest three are in full day school, Maren is in 2 and a half day Kindergarten, and Lindsey goes to preschool three mornings a week.  This means that I have a dependable schedule where I know the kids will have a place to be and I will not have to get a sitter. On Thursdays the older four kids go to GAP (after school care) and Lindsey stays for extended care pre school while I am free to accept community interpreting jobs for the entire day.  I have loved this so far!  Also, my schedule with Sorenson Communications is so flexible that if I don't have any community work scheduled I can drop in there. I have really enjoyed getting back into the community, experiencing new situations, and meeting new people. I have also come across a few opportunities for theatrical interpreting.  If I could pick my favorite kind of interpreting this would be it.  I have been doing online courses to improve my skills in this area and am looking forward to future opportunities.  

Thursdays are my interpreting days and I have also found myself free on Wednesday mornings for a few hours.  I have finally achieved my goal to be able to volunteer regularly in each of the children's classrooms.  I have set a schedule with all of the teachers and I volunteer for an hour each Wednesday.  I have to say that I love seeing each of the kids interacting in his/her classroom and at this age they are all excited to have me there! Another benefit to this situation is that I am getting to know all of the kids in their classrooms and they recognize me as well. When the kids talk about people in their class I can put a face to their names.  

This year felt different from the previous two because I decided to take a break from cycling.  I went on a lot of rides, but did not train for anything specific.  I feel like I got a bit burned out after training for the Coeur d'Fondo. Now I feel ready to tackle a new challenge and will be training for the Chafe 150 which is an amazing ride that begins in Sandpoint and goes up through Montana.  This is the perfect ride because it takes place in June which means I will not be actively training during the crazy busy months of Summer! 


Two favorite memories of 2017:Getting Ember (our snake) and bird watching at Courtney and Rick's farm
Proudest moment of 2017: Joining the group STOMP
Things you want to do in 2018: Ski a lot
Goals for 2018: "Help as many different people in as many ways as possible"

This last year my little girl grew up! Evelyn has become so responsible and confident lately that I just have to smile. She is not timid about trying new things, and will often take the initiative to make them happen. She is a lot like Rachel in that way. She is constantly planning events with her siblings or friends, and has taken the lead on many of her own personal projects. STOMP, the "Rock Club," and the "Bird Watching Club" are recent examples of this that come to mind.

In school, Evelyn continues to be at or near the top of her class. Her favorite subjects are English and science, and she doesn't like math very much. Her initiative and organization sometimes causes drama when others don't appreciate her vision. She has also become an excellent helper with Lindsey when we are out doing stuff, which allows Rachel and I to be more present with everyone.

It is official. Evelyn has the coolest stuff and Lindsey knows it (see Miss Terrorizer... I mean Lindsey's post below).  This has caused no end of issues for our sweet Ev.  Evelyn is definitely getting the brunt of what it means to have four siblings.  If only I could be everywhere at once.

I am constantly amazed at Evelyn and how responsible she is.  We have been spoiled by her!  Every week she comes to me on Friday and hands me her homework paper listing exactly (to the minute) how long she read each night and her homework option she completed for each day. I have to admit that I am trying to be more like Evelyn as one of my goals. She is always on top of whatever she has going on in her life. She will remind me constantly to get my end done if there is something I am responsible for.  I admit that procrastination has been a fault of mine for a long time and I would say that Evelyn is exactly the opposite and she excels with deadlines and with ideas that she formulates and follows through on.

Evelyn came up with the idea to create a rock club this year. She decided that it will be held every Friday and her two best friends; Kayla and Sonja and all siblings above the age of seven are invited.  She has done lessons and created activities for each club meeting.  I have to admit that the meetings are more like once a month (more thanks to me than to her!). A few weeks ago she approached me with a rock science experiment that she found in her book. She asked if it would be possible for me to get the items needed... Rock club is tonight and Logan will be picking up the extra supplies on his way home! Yes. I really could benefit from being more like Evelyn in this area! Thanks for the great example sweetheart.

Ev seems to be pushing the limits a bit lately.  She has adopted a bit of a sassy attitude and she claims that she can't hear the sassiness in her voice and so she is not responsible for it (ummm. I remember saying nearly the exact same thing to my mom. I guess what goes around comes around. Sorry Mom). Either she tells me that she can't hear it in her own voice or she tells me, "I can talk to you however I choose to talk to you. I can make my own choices." Yes. You can make your own choices, but you can't choose your own consequences. Please go to your room." OH NO! What a MOM thing to say! Well. Needless to say- we are figuring out this new development together.  


Two favorite memories of 2017: Getting out on the boat and getting Ember
Proudest moment of 2017: Gymnastics
Things you want to do in 2018: A multi-day backpacking trip with the whole family
Goals for 2018: Do the splits

Addy is naturally a very gifted child in almost every aspect of life. Socially, she makes friends easier than pretty much anyone I have ever seen. This is so much the case that we have to be careful when other kids invite their friends over, because almost inevitably they will start playing with Addy instead of the person they came to see. She is also doing well in school and started doing Challenge this year in the gifted-and-talented program.

A while ago, Addy started doing Gymnastics at a local gym. This has been so good for her- but not because she is abnormally good at it. On the contrary, this is something that has really challenged her, letting her experience, for the first time, what it feels like to struggle with something. She has worked hard though, and is slowly improving. What's even more important, is that she has treated this challenge as an opportunity rather than a stumbling block. Her attitude has always been positive and fun, and this, more than anything, has gotten her through some of the natural plateaus that have come her way.

Adalie is as sweet and content as ever!  I love her attitude about life! A while ago I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and her response was, "It is hard to think of what I want for Christmas because my life is almost perfect."  Wow. If I ever need a pick me up Adalie is ready with a list of blessings and things that make her happy.  What a great attitude! 

I am proud to say that our content little peacemaker is starting to have and assert her own opinion. If you recall, in the past we have had a tough time getting her to express her opinion and not just go along with whatever everyone else wanted. I am glad that she is finding her voice. Her sister, however, is not as thrilled.  Evelyn is definitely an oldest and likes to be in charge. This has worked extremely well with Adalie in the past because she has been more than willing to go along.  Now things have changed (admittedly just a tiny bit), and Evelyn hasn't had such an easy time getting her way.  

I have been wondering what Adalie's response would be if she didn't get something right the first time and she had to put effort in to achieve a normal level of accomplishment.  I found this out through gymnastics.  A few months ago Adalie received her first "report card" that listed about 20 skills she had been working on and ranked them from 1-5.  The card was sprinkled with all ones and twos with the exception of one three.  When she realized what that meant she was devastated. She thought she had been doing well (and she has been for her level, but not there yet for the eventual goal) and was ahead of the game. We had a few talks about it and she accepted it and looked forward to improving her numbers.  Recently she told me that she was excited to get the next report card because she knew she was getting better at a few of the skills and she wanted to see her progress on paper.  Good for her! That is exactly the response I would hope for. She took the news a bit hard, but then she kept her goals in the back of her mind and has been monitoring her progress. Nice work!

School has been going well for Adalie. She loves hanging out with her friends and she enjoys all of the subjects (with the exception of math).  


Two favorite memories of 2017: Backpacking trip and boat camping at Mica Bay where Dad lost our anchor.
Proudest moment of 2017: Getting better at rock climbing
Things you want to do in 2018: Multi-day backpacking with the whole family
Goals for 2018: Climb to the top of an actual mountain

If you ever wonder how Jackson is feeling at any given time, all you need to do is look at his face. It will tell you everything you need to know. Jackson is definitely a little person with big feelings...feelings so big that sometimes his little frame has a difficult time containing them all. At times this can be frustrating. Others though, it can be absolutely heartwarming. When Jackson expresses empathy or love or excitement or wonder, I can just sit and watch him all day. His world must be filled with bold splashes of color, and it is pure joy when we get to catch a glimpse of this.

Jackson is, by far, our most curious child. He is constantly trying to figure things out. I have learned to be careful about voicing any problem out loud at our house, because if I do then the next thing I know I have a contraption in my hands that he has made to fix whatever it is that I was complaining about. His room is an absolute disaster of scattered inventions and partially completed projects. He loves reading non-fiction books and watching short documentaries on the computer. His mind is "on" ALL THE TIME.

In school, this has led to predictable results. For starters, he has made academic progress in leaps and bounds this year, and is above grade level in nearly every subject. It was almost enjoyable to see the look on cocky-little-Adalie's face when Jack out-scored her in several areas. He is also a great helper and friend to other students and teachers alike. At the same time, he struggles to use his time wisely or pay attention to the task at hand, and he gets frustrated very easily. All said, Jackson is showing huge potential and I am excited to see how things play out with him.

Jackson is our bundle of excitement, anger, joy, pride, frustration, thoughtfulness, energy, etc. 
The moment I realized that Jack is run by the emotion of the minute I gained a HUGE understanding of how he is fueled.  And I gained a realization of the potential that he has as a person to being able to experience life in the extreme. The process of realizing the need for control has begun and I look forward to seeing him learn how to harness these feelings and use them to enrich his life.

I almost laughed out loud when I was looking at report cards for Jack and Addy. Each of them had an exactly equal smattering of P's (on grade level) and E's (exceeds grade level) marks. Looking down the rows I realized that they were exact opposites of each other.  If Addy had a P then Jack had an E and vice versa). If they figured out how to work together off of each other's strengths then they could do anything!

Jackson has a curious mind and loves to find out how things work. Right now he is interested in tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes (among many other subjects). Occasionally I will see posters around the house advertising his latest class he will be teaching.  I love listening to him teach and actually learning something I didn't know in the process.  It is a fun stage of life when your kids are interested in ideas and they delve into the subject and teach me things that I am unfamiliar with.  


Two favorite memories of 2017: Visiting Courtney and Rick's farm and watching the eclipse
Proudest moment of 2017: Learning to swim and first backpacking trip
Things you want to do in 2018: Go on a date with Dad
Goals for 2018: Learn to ride a bike without training wheels

This girl is a spunky little firecracker! Much like Jackson, Maren is a little person who is not shy about showing her feelings. If she likes you, then you will likely receive a hug which is awkward and inappropriately long, but intentions are good and she is learning. Likewise, if you mess with her, then she will mess with you. I feel bad for anyone who gets on Maren's bad side.

If you are just a normal person though, then Maren likely comes across as a very sweet and confident little girl. It is common for me to be looking for her, only to find her engaged in conversation with adults who are ten times her age. Also, if I am honest with myself then I think I would say that Maren is the best helper around the house. She is my buddy and my movie-watching partner. She has lots of friends at school. She is my Maren.

Logan took the words right out of my mouth. Miss Maren has always been my little firecracker.  She is a passionate and emotional little bundle of sweetness.  Her special trademark is her "Maren Hugs." They are sweet, long lasting, and available 24/7.  She is getting better at not walking up to complete strangers to impart one of her signature hugs unannounced, and most of the time her feet manage to stay on the ground.  There have been a few times in the past where she has come to me in tears completely torn apart because she feels like people do not like being hugged by her.  With practice she has become more socially appropriate and her hugs are much better received now.  Whew! Sometimes I just come up to her and ask for a Maren hug because they always make me feel good.

Maren loves Kindergarten! She was a bit slow to warm up at the beginning of the year and had a few scary (for her) bus mishaps (taking the wrong bus), but she has figured things out and loves going each time. This year I have been rotating classes and volunteering in each classroom once a month.  I feel like I have caught a deeper glimpse into sweet Maren by seeing her in class interacting with teachers, friends, and following teacher direction. She is really growing up and I sure love spending time with her cuddly hug loving little self.

Maren is the only child I refuse to buy clothes for without her there to pick them out. Even if she picks them out herself there is still a chance that she will refuse to wear them!  She does not like seams against her skin (good luck with that!) and all long sleeves and pants are guaranteed to have a cuff in them (another option is to pull them up so high on her waist that they become floods).  I am just happy that, this year, she decided that pants are not necessarily the enemy. I am also thrilled that she is wearing shoes when it is socially appropriate.  Yesterday she fell in love with some rain boots at the store and we were actually in the market. I told her she could have them, but without exception she MUST wear socks with them.  She promptly put them down and said, "Never mind" (we are still working on the socks). 

I recently had a conversation with Maren about what she wanted to do when she grew up.  She told me that she wanted to work with people who did not have homes because she had a lot of talent and ideas that could help them out.  On that same day she started talking to me about bullies.  She said, "Mom, just because someone is a bully that does not mean you need to bully them back. They are a person, too."  I am impressed with my sweet little girl who just happens to be growing up.  


Two favorite memories of 2017: The eclipse and...the eclipse. By the way she talks about it, it's clear that this was the single greatest moment of her life.
Proudest moment of 2017: Learning how to open baby-proof doors
Things you want to do in 2018: Go boating some more in our floating boat (as opposed to the sinking variety).
Goals for 2018: Start to read

Lindsey is a sweetie. She is also a walking tornado, earthquake, blizzard, and flood all in one. She is easily the most mischievous child we have had and it sometimes makes us crazy. She is also super cute though, which I swear is a built-in protective mechanism for kids like her. What a wild ride she has taken us on.

This year we started Lindsey in a new pre-school that we had heard about. I have to say, they are doing a great job,because although she is a full two years behind Maren in age, she is on the same academic level in almost every measurable category (this says more about Lindsey than it does about Maren).

When Lindsey turned two I thought, "I have done this four times and I have it pretty figured out." Wrong.  When Lindsey turned three I thought, "I have done this four times and I have it pretty figured out." Wrong again.  This girl has me on my toes ALL OF THE TIME. I am astonished at how much she is able to accomplish in 2 minutes out of my sight.  Being present for all of the kids and always knowing where this little is has definitely tested me as a parent.  I like to think that this phase will soon end, but I have thought that for a while now and we are still here.  The good thing is that there will be no other kids to go through this particular phase after she has had her fill!

In other news... Lindsey is as smart as a whip.  I am extremely impressed with her speed of learning. She is in preschool and only has to be told something once and it becomes ingrained.  She has been in Pre-school for four months and between learning with me and pre school she is rapidly catching up to Maren's Kindergarten level.  The two and a half year difference has not slowed her down and I get a kick out of playing learning games with them because half of the time they end up teaching each other things.  

If you recall, last year I wrote about the constant game I played with Maren where I was her sweetie and she was the Mom.  This game has continued and Lindsey has integrated herself into it.  Lindsey and Maren take turns being the sweetie and I have been relegated to being "Granny." Really? Can't you think of a better name? Not Grandma or Mimi but Granny.  Whatever the nickname... It is pretty fun,


Ember doesn't have any memories or goals. He is a snake. We like him a lot though.

Ember is the best pet I could ask for. He is calm and inquisitive, and he allows himself to be passed around in even the smallest of hands.  He eats once a week and is extremely clean.  The kids have an instant cool factor when friends come over to play. He has grown a LOT and we are all pretty enamored by him.  

Have you been keeping an eye out for possible photograph projects? This is a great example for the color contrast assignment.  

This week we will leave you with one of our favorite family pictures from the year. Have a great week!