Monday, October 29, 2012

Catching up.

Max's fabulous creation.
Since it started raining I had to get me some boots that weren't mud boots, for the walk to school. The boys helped me pick these ones out and Levi decided he'd give them a try.
This was hilarious. I was going through Levi's backpack to check for papers and such and found this. When I asked him about it he just said he didn't know and shrugged. I asked around and apparently there are a couple of girls who love to write notes to people and slip them in bags. It's quite funny!

Friday, October 26, 2012

40 by 40

This is the last of my 'all about me' posts. Since it is a big year and I've been thinking about what I have been doing in the past 10 years I got to thinking of what the next 10 holds and thought of some things I'd like to say I have done. In no particular order:

***Note I made these as realistic, accomplish-able, and measurable as I could. I didn't want to go all general and say I want to be a kinder, more patient person.....because while I do and I will certainly  work towards it, it is not something I can measure. Also didn't do any house or craft projects, because let's face it, I could fill a list with those alone. Those will happen at some point.

Complete a half marathon
No sugar for 30 days
Get to my goal weight and stay there a while....
Do Hood to Coast

Be in a musical
Sing a solo somewhere else besides sacrament
Accompany someone on the paino
Learn 3 new songs on the guitar (first need to get a new one....)
See Wicked again, see at least 3 big musicals. One preferrabally in NYC
Sing at a Karaoke bar (or something of the sort) 
Sing in the Messiah again, not necessarily as a soloist

Be in a studio audience (preferrabally price is right)
Ride a horse
Go to Cirque De Solis again 
Re make the cake/candy version of candyland gingerbread house but even better
Go shooting, could even be with a bow and arrow
Go out dancing like when I was a teen (probably a girls night thing)
Go rock climbing, indoor or out

Get and read all the penguin hardcover classics, working on Great Expectations and a Tale of Two Cities
Find a way to use and work on my Spanish
Read the standard works

Take a metalsmithing class
Take a photography class
Enter something in the county fair
Make a wedding cake
Make myself a dress/skirt/shirt. Haven't done that in years! 

Visit Bolivia (Cochabamba, Sucre, Punata) Chile and Peru
Palmyra and Kirtland
Go on a cruise
NYC baby!
Go back to our honeymoon spot at the Columbia Gorge Hotel and have their awesome breakfast

For others
Do a present free Christmas and donate everything to others
Pay for someones meal without them knowing
Pay for someones groceries without them knowing 
Leave a $100 tip anonymously

With my boys 
Have a marathon day of all the superhero movies they can't see till they're 13
Harry Potter Marathon
Climb a mountain and watch the sunrise with them
Go on an overnight hiking or biking trip

There they are. We'll see just how many I can do, it's going to be a great decade.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Random 30

Here are 30 random facts about me, one for each year.  

- During movies when it gets suspenseful I fast forward or walk away for a bit because it stresses me out. If I can't walk out I close my eyes and plug my ears.
- I sleep with earplugs or a pillow over my head (light sleeper). This started when I had Levi and he slept in our room.
- I have watched every episode of The Office, Modern Family, Monk, Psych, Bones, and Castle multiple times.
- I would live in flip flops if I could.
- I wear more makeup, jewelry, and the color pink now than I did as a kid/teenager/collage student.
- It's hard for me to sit through a movie without doing something with my hands. I think I'm ADD or at least borderline.
- Daytime TV bores me.  I have never seen a full episode of Opera, Ellen,  Martha Stewart, The View ....
- I got married 8 weeks and a day after returning from a mission in Bolivia. My husband was my first kiss (yes he was that good!) and I was the second for him.
- I throughly enjoy documentaries and non fiction books and have always subscribed to National Geographic since I was a kid. Not collage though, doesn't count.
- I hated avacados and mustard until I went to Bolivia and my companions forced me to eat them (ketchup, my favorite, is not so great down there so mustard is all that had, which tastes the same no matter where you go)
- I didn't eat cream cheese until I was 26
- Randomly I have a lego mini figure collection. They are just so cute! These are mine, not the boys, mine and located in my office and off limits unless I say so.
- I haven't spent more than $25 on makeup in the past 5 years. Thank you Scarlett!
- Perfume? That is another story. I love me some good perfume. I have far too much, but they make me feel 'put together' even if I haven't showered.
- I have a large shoebox full of  girls hair bows and clips, and several containers with ribbon to make more, just in case.
- I was extremely clutzy in high school. I fell all the time, it became such a joke among my friends and I that we started counting.
- I lose something just about every day. It's usually my phone, keys, wallet....once I even made my bed with the keys in it. Now that was a tricky one to find.
- I've sung solos in front of audiences as large as 500. Talk about terrifying.  
- My name was going to be Claudia Hannah. Kendra Denese is MUCH better.
- I long boarded in collage until I got in an accident. Then I quit.
- One of my favorite book series is Little House on the Prairie and Nancy Drew. I could read them over and over again.
- It has always been a dream of mine to sing in a baptist choir.
- I never owned or had real access to a car until I got married (it was a bike or bus for me)
- I hate fish, tomatoes, mushrooms, mayonnaise and milk
-Two people have named their kids after me, one from my mission the other is a mission companion whose having twins!
- I very frequently think about random things like how amazing that a piece of mail got to me so quick and how does that work, or how did someone build that chair, what kind of day is that road flagger having, what exactly happens to the recycling once it is picked up....
- While I LOVE music I have been to very few concerts. My first? Boys II Men. With my mom.
- I really started learning paino when I was 16 and mostly taught myself. Which, according to a teacher or two is why my rhythem and timing ain't so great.
- Growing up I had no real first cousins. After I was married we found long lost siblings of my dad and so now we do have cousins.
- I know how to make balloon animals.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Decade in the Making

Normally I write about my kiddos here, but I don't have a journal and my friend did this on her 30th b-day so I thought I'd do it as well. I have a couple other fun me-related posts coming up, so if your in it for the kids feel free to skip.

A decade of Kendra:
  • Oct 2002: This was my sophomore year of collage and by far my favorite while I was single. I had amazing roommates who I loved, enjoyed my classes, and being social. I knew everyone in my ward, held multiple callings and was nicknamed 'Special K'. I still didn't know what I was going to study but was taking care of those general study classes. This was the year I took far too many classes, slept little and was very involved. I was part of BYUSA, BYU's leadership program and was actively involved in planning campus wide events, helping new coming freshman and other projects. I got a part time job to help pay for school. Primarily I worked at the Taco Bell at the Cougareat, which I never thought I'd enjoy working fast food (I had only worked in offices) but it was a ton of fun and I met a lot of new people. It was probably one of my favorite jobs. I kept in touch with many missionary friends, one of which would later be my husband.
  • Oct 2003: I was two months away from entering the MTC to serve in the Bolivia, Cochabamba, Mission. The decision to go on a mission was pretty quick and it all happened very fast but when I knew, I knew. I left most of what I owned in Utah and came home to prepare. For 3 months I was at home living with my mom and getting ready to leave. I worked at Mervyn's to help save money and when I wasn't working I decided to refinish my old room because we 5 teenagers had kind of left my mom's house trashed when we all moved out. So I repainted the room, sanded and refinished the furniture and redid the molding hoping to leave my mom with a nice guest room when I left. 
  • Oct 2004: I had just been transferred the week before from my sweet little village of Punata to the historical, grand capital Sucre. My new companion, Hermana Yadira Zamora from Ecuador was my new companion and we were beginning to get to work in the area and get to know each other. The capital was beautiful, we lived on the outside edge and part of it was in a small village. Lets just say it was a lot of walking. True to form I stayed in this area for over 6 months and learned to love it. I sure miss Bolivia sometimes and my companions. They became my friends in a way no other, besides my husband, had or has. When you have friends or even roommates you see them here and again, but a companion is by your side 24/7 and most of mine were for 3-4 1/2 months each. I wish they were all my neighbors.
  • Oct 2005: I had just gotten home from my mission then two months later gotten married right before school and we were both back at BYU. Our first apartment was a tiny basement apartment, basically a hallway but compared to Bolivia it was pretty nice living, at least in my opinion. This first year Jason forgot my birthday, though I have to admit there was a semi good reason. We had been planning a birthday trip back to oregon but it was not on my actual birthday so he mixed the celebrating day with the real day. Still like to give him a hard time about that one. I had also just gotten a job as a teacher at the MTC teaching English speaking missionaries and getting ready to teach Welfare sisters.
  • Oct 2006: I was still at the MTC, still teaching Welfare and English. I was also working a lot in the call center at the MTC and loved it. I worked on a number of Sunday's there and they were some of my favorites. Our first apartment got flooded after a flash rainstorm, it was terrifying because I was at home alone while Jason was working and I had just getting out of the shower. During the course of this year I decided I would major in social work and got into the program and began with my social work classes.  We had a full year of marriage under our belt and doing well, though I was a little frustrated with the fact that he never had to study and I pretty much was working, in classes, or in the library studying. Two months later I would find out I was pregnant.
  • Oct 2007: Jason and I had been married two years and were adjusting our lives to being new parents. I had finished a long summer pregnancy while I working part time at the MTC, doing a part time internship at Scenicview Academy as a case worker working with those who have learning disabilities, and going to a full load of classes. Busy busy busy. I was only 3 classes shy of my degree when Levi was born. By this time, Levi was two months old and we were living in a tiny basement apartment right at the foot of BYU. It was the one time in my life where I was not working and not going to school. Only a month later my grandpa would get sick and we would move back to Oregon during Thanksgiving break. 
  • Oct 2008: We had been living at my mom's house for a while after my grandpa had gotten sick. I had Levi who was one and a half at home with me and I loved being his mom. He was  getting funnier and funnier. I had family and long time friends around for help trying to figure out how to be a mom, which is tricky business. My mom loved having her grandson in the house whose first task in the morning was getting down the stairs to see her and share a bowl of oatmeal. I was working part time for Vial Fotheringham doing work from home along with doing household work at my grandparents house during the week. I had a month before found out I was pregnant and got much sicker with #2 than my first, probably because with my first I was too busy to notice it.....
  • Oct 2009: Max had been born and was six months old. It had been a big year for all of us. My grandfather passed away, we were now living at my grandparents house with my grandmother who I helped take care of. I was still working part time from home for the lawfirm and I had finally taken the leap and started an online store on etsy. It was something I was very nervous to do because I couldn't believe someone would pay for something I made. I was so nervous about it I made my sister be my first sale.
  • Oct 2010: By this time I had a 1 and a 3 year old which kept me on my toes. On top of that, my work at the lawfirm had gone from 1-2 hours a day to 3-4 hours without any days off, so needless to say it was quite stressful. On a more positive note my etsy shop took off and I was making quite a bit, enough that I could justify quitting the law firm, though I was extremely nervous to do so. Luckily it paid off. Even on the craziest day of working on stuff for my shop it  is 100x better than doing boring law firm work.  Jason was laid off which at first was hard but on the positive we took advantage of him being home and I was able to drop everything so I could finally finish the last of my classes  that I needed to get my degree which was a huge lifetime goal I had made for myself.
  • Oct 2011: We had been living in my grandparents house for a while and worked on many projects since we first moved in and it felt every day a little bit more like it was ours, rather than we were there guests. It's not the most conventional arrangement and never what I expected but it works. Levi was now in preschool and Max was 2 and still napping. It was a great time with them both being older and able to do more things and communicate. I began to realize just how hilarious they were and how absolutely fun it can be to be a mom. Kids are so funny and smart! Jason had been working at a number of places as a temp looking for just the right place to start his career. I was recently called as a counselor in the primary presidency which was a first for me but it was fun being around all those awesome kids.
  • Oct 2012: And here I am living with my three favorite boys, grandma and many family members who visit on a daily basis (the boys LOVE seeing their uncles, aunt and grandma at least once a week). I am the mom of two sweet, kind, smart and hilarious boys. I have wonderful friends in my ward and in past wards who cheer me on as a mother and as a person. Jason now has a permanent salaried position in a job he enjoys doing. My shop is doing so well I'm having to really pick and choose what I do and am contemplating how to scale back soon so I can have more focus.  Life is great and I am so grateful for all of my many many blessings. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taking the Good with the Bad

As I said before, kindergarden is a whole different ballgame, things are way different than pre-school and from what I remember as a kid. Levi is loving it though. He loves learning and meeting new people. One of the things I have noticed during his month and a half attendance is that he comes home saying things I know I never taught him and that he doesn't get from the shows he watches or who he hangs out with. Not so much bad things, but a little less sweet. He says things like "Oh come ON guys!" and it's just the way he says it more than anything, slightly more sarcastic and rude. I'm not a fan but it is what it is.

The other day while we were walking home I asked about his day, who he played with and what types of things he liked to play, to which he told me he had a new favorite friend who he always played a killing game with and who love to play killing video games (again, not a fan). So we talked about it for a while and discussed how even pretending killing probably isn't the best choice and we talked about what other things he could do and suggest instead. The next day he promptly told me he suggested they play a cooking game and they did! And then he said he didn't want to play killing games again. I was so proud of my boy!

Akward Alligators

This year Levi did soccer at the Hillsboro Stake Center. I loved it because it was simple, casual and low pressure. Levi got really into the whole thing. 

On day one they all got together to pick a name. Levi piped up and suggested the Eagles first but they settled on the Alligators and for some reason felt like they needed an adjective to go with it. I'm fairly positive none of them really knew what awkward meant but it started with an 'a' so they went with it. Later Levi asked me what I meant which he didn't think was very fitting for his team and told the coach they should be the awesome alligators. So they decided when they practiced well and became awesome they would change the name. 

The boys fueling up

This game these two girls were definitely the best on each team (one was an alligator one was the other team) and man they were awesome. Levi did a great job with it all and got in there as much as he could.

Max was my helper and loved to help out on the side lines and run up and down the edges of the field. That kid is an awesome runner.
This one is my favorite, I love how he's running with his hands behind him!

While he got super intense at sometimes, sometimes it was a bit of this:
Some of this:
And a little of this:
Go Alligators!
Here's his team picture, and for some reason he looks very somber.....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Picnic with G-pa Gary

 A spur of the moment picnic with Grandpa Gary.
 I can't get enough of his face!

Movie Nights

Every other Friday night I take a shift with a babysitting co-op group. The Olsen's are regulars and we LOVE having Mason and Porter over, they're such easy boys to watch. We have dinner (usually pizza) the kids play outside mostly in the fort or in the sandbox, we watch some cartoons and have movie snacks and done. The job doesn't get any easier than that! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Brain Purge

Here I go, in no particular order!

Last night were the presidential debates which we watched. I haven't really paid much attention to the past several elections. The last one I don't think I was registered and had a little one. The time before I was out of the country, then before in collage and figuring that out.....anyways we watched it. While we were watching I talked to the boys about what was going on, who was who and we watched. Well they kind of did. I can't  wait for them to get older so we can learn about all the various topics together. While most of the time the boys played I listened, toward the end I asked Max who he thought should be president to which he replied "uh....the prophet!"  Awesome answer! That would make things easier.

Levi is on his second week of piano lessons. I debated about the whole piano thing knowing that I definitely wanted him to play and have music in his life because it would something that would stay with him his whole life. I always wish I had played from the get go but only did a couple years worth of lessons here and there and as a result my technique is spotty, sight reading is poor, and confidence is lacking but I do love it. We decided to give it a try and see how he did and if it went well we'd keep going and so far so good. He seems to really like it and pick up on terms and concepts fairly quickly. Our cousin Krista has been coming over and we watch her daughter in exchange for lessons which so far is working out well. I like the idea of having her for a teacher because I am extremely comfortable with her as a person, her ability to teach and her amazing patience and ability to work with little kids. Right now Levi is the youngest person she's taught but she's doing great and says he's doing well. We have decided to do shortened lessons because a 30 minute lesson is too much for any 5 year old.

Speaking of extracurriculars, soccer is coming to an end. Kind of sad, kind of not. It is a lot of time and energy to get to practices and games. How do people do it with multiple kids in multiple sports/classes?!?!!?! Yipes. I'm glad we did it this year though because it was pretty low key and just plain fun. We'll be doing it again and Max will be doing it too which he is excited about. You should see him kick a ball, it's so cute.

I don't think I wrote about it but Jason got the full time position he was applying for at Nike which was a huge relief for us. The whole process had tons of ups and downs and was fairly stressful. But he's happy to be doing something that is in the area he wants, using his degree and actually really beginning a career and not just a job.

We just went to parent teacher conferences for Levi, our first one and it looks like things are going well. He needs to keep working on reading, writing and fine motor skills but I knew they'd say that, I think they say that to everyone. One thing I have to say, I am quite surprised with how much is expected of kindergartners. From everything I've read and the people and teachers who I've talked to have said is that kindergarteners are learning now what they used to teach in the first grade 15 years ago to keep up with all the other grades  curriculum and meeting benchmarks. It's just not the same. By the end of the year they should: count 1-100 by 1's, 5's and 10's, do math adding and subtracting up to total of 10, read small books, and they said write a paragraph. For me that was a big one. A paragraph? The teacher even said that the district or whoever the powers that be are, might make one of the benchmarks be writing a full paragraph, not just sentences but a paragraph with a topic sentence..... I was amazed. Anyways, we're in a whole new ballgame now. Levi is doing well with all the work and seems like he's right where he should be. One thing I was surprised with is that his teacher said he can be kind of quiet at times. Shocker for me because he is completely all talk at home. I've been wanting to tally it up to see just how many questions a day he asks me but I'm fairly sure it's in the hundreds. But she said it was good because it's not like he wasn't social but he knew when to listen to the teacher, during story time and other times. Also, he drew the cutest self portrait which I wanted to take it home and frame it. He's just so darling.

Speaking of school, with all this added stuff into the schedule I've found there is so little time for TV for them, which is a good thing over all. In my experience, for my boys at least, usually the less tv the better. They just seem to complain less, play better together (most of the time) than when they watch more. Here's been our daily schedule:

7-8am get up, breakfast, get dressed. Sometimes Jason does it before work so I can sleep a little longer
8-9am Play time
9-10:30 a mix of reading to me time with Levi, writing, coloring time, cleaning house, playing outside, practice piano, all depending on how they're doing and we go with what they're up to for the morning
10:45 Levi starts eating. He, no joke, can take up to 45 minutes to eat lunch
11:30 Bus drop off. I do a little learning activity with Max, then he plays legos, building or watches some shows with great grandma
2:30 Walk to pick up Levi
3:15 -4:30 Finish homework stuff/practice whatever we had for the day
4:30-5 Big clean up before dad gets home
5 Make dinner
5:45 Hopefully have it on the table, again our meal time can go a little long so can go for over 45 minutes
6:30 (if lucky and done with dinner) A little bit of play time or time to hang with whoever is over for the day, usually one of my siblings or mom
7:15ish Bath time, getting ready for bed time
8pm bed, but they don't fall asleep till later. Levi listens to an audio book for a half hour which Max falls asleep to.

It's so busy! and that's with no other curveballs such as soccer practice, other activities, dad working later, family over, preschool for Max. I feel like I have to be much more on the ball with things if I want to get everything accomplished.

As a result my house is trashed, but it is usually in complete disarray. I think I've kind of figured out the boys schedule from getting them to school, making sure Levi (and Max) do some reading to me time, writing time, drawing time, piano practice time each day, then me having work time during school hours and even getting some sort of dinner made more days than not but am still trying to figure out the keeping house clean. Ah well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Whole New World

We've been doing the whole school thing for over a month and so far it's all gone really well. I think the biggest adjustment has been the schedule and doing kindergarden every day and preschool for Mr. Max. The freedom was nice while it lasted!

Levi was SO excited (and still is) to be a kindergardener and surrounded by all the big kids.

On the first day he was just itching to get on that school bus.
 Showing off the new Nike backpack dad got him.
 At this point, walking to the bus stop at the end of the street, Levi tells me "You don't need to take any more pictures, you don't want to run out." Little did he know that I'd probably only taken half of what I ended up with.
Max insisted on wearing his new Nike backpack (it said "Air Max" so his was an obvious choice). Whenever he wears it I have to laugh to myself because he looks kind of like a turtle. It's so big on him!
Finally. He got to get on the bus. We met the bus driver, whose name is Connie and is such a nice lady, I couldn't think of a better bus driver. It was nice because we are the first stop and she gets there early so we had a little more time to chat. Levi felt comfortable right away, but I knew he would.
Bye buddy! I wasn't too nervous having him go, he seemed fine and he is really confident in situations like that. It was a little sad to see him go though because it meant an end of an era .
Max: no pictures! He did really well dropping off and everything but I think that's is because when we dropped Levi off at preschool he saw all the fun stuff and toys the kids were playing with and was mad we couldn't go. But a bus drop off as he says "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy"
Right after the bus stop we decided for the first time we would go to the school to make sure he made it and was ok.
Turns out Levi was the ONLY kid who rode the bus that day.
But he seemed perfectly fine, though I'm sure didn't understand where all the other kids were.
Note: After Levi went off to class, his bus driver took the kindergarteners to the door which they always do, I went home and freaked out feeling like I was the worst mother in the world because OBVIOUSLY I was the only mother who didn't drive her kid to school and take them all the way to their desks to get settled. That just made me worry about him the whole time he was gone, if he felt left out, alone, nervous.

But after I settled down a little bit I realized everything was ok. There was a reason I wasn't worried about it all the first place (before I found out I had not done what every other mother had) is because I know my boy and that he is perfectly fine and comfortable doing things on his own. He's a confident guy and he would be able to take it in stride. Which he did.

Since we live fairly close to school we walked to pick him up. He said he had a great day, his teacher was nice. I think the only thing that took a little bit getting used to was the amount of kids. I don't think he's ever been around quite a massive group of kids.

Here he is when we were done. He doesn't look terribly happy but that's not because he didn't have fun,
cause he did (at least he said he did and from all the smiles I'm assuming that's right)
but it was more because he was facing a playground full of kids and he wanted me to get the camera out of his face.
Here's the interview we did day of. Oh, Sister Thomas is our primary music leader. She totally bumped me out of his favorite singer spot from last year. Probably cause she's so awesome.