Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to school, Birthdays, and a Baptism (family update)

It's been a while since we posted an update and a lot has happened over the last month and a half. The super hot summer weather is finally breaking, the kids are back into the school routine, and life just feels more settled now.


Derek
1. He had a paper accepted for publication based on research from his dissertation. He's also co-author on a few other publications and conference abstracts.
2. As his last act as Scout Master, he hosted a big Court of Honor presenting a plethera of awards, and a fun slide show he made of some of their recent outings.
3. His faculty position is supposedly starting tomorrow (Sept. 1st). We've waited so long for this, we'll believe it when we see it on the pay stub.
4. He's been dutifully baking goodies for my stake choir rehearsals each Sunday, for which I am very grateful. (Isn't he just good?)

Aly
1. I have been drecting stake choir rehearsals every Sunday after church. I've also been arranging all the music for all 4 sessions of the conference. Things are going well, but I'll be glad when stake conference is over in a few weeks.
2. With the kids in school, and no substituting jobs yet, I've been visiting the temple once a week with a girlfriend from our ward.
3. I've been scrapping a ton! I'm working on a family reunion book for Derek's family, submitting several pages to various magazines for publication (2 successfully so far), and working on design team assignments for my already 2 and now new 3rd team (3 Pixel Chicks). Lots of fun!!
5. I've been bitten by thisCan't wait to finish thisand CAN'T WAIT for this to come out at Thanksgiving!

James
1. He has been such a good big brother. He was especially kind and helpful when Derek took the kids to the waterpark yesterday--carrying a heavy cooler, laughing at Lexie's 5-year-old jokes, and giving Ashley the huge bear he won.
2. He likes his teacher, Ms. Oglesby (who reminds me of an Alabama cheerleader) and has lots of friends from last year in his class.
3. He started Valley Voices on Thursday and is very excited about singing what he tells me is his favorite kind of music.

Jeffrey
1. He did so well this summer getting along with the kids while they were all home with lots of unscheduled time.
2. He has enjoyed reading more fiction books lately, especially several by Kenneth Opel, which is a big break through for this die-hard non-fiction fan.
3. He likes his teacher, Mrs. Cranford, and so do I. After conferencing with her to discuss some ADHD issues, I think her unconventional approach will be great for him.
4. He was invited to re-join the Valley Voices choir (thankfully) and has committed to excellent behavior. Hopefully his music teacher and I can communicate better about things this time.

Ashley
1. She loves 3rd grade over at the intermediate school. I have spent a few days helping her teacher, Ms. Dixon, and she's wonderful.
2. Ashley is enthusiastically attending GRC now, and can't say enough good about it.
3. She had a successful High School Musical slumber party with several school friends, and one church friend. They're a good group of girls, and no one ended up in tears. (We even survived pretty well ourselves.) =)
4. She was baptized in the afternoon after her party ended (don't think we'll plan both for the same weekend next time) and it was a wonderful event where everyone felt the same sweet feeling from Ashley that we get to feel as her family. She's a special little girl!

Lexie
1. She emphatically loves kindergarten, Mrs. Lightfoot, and her new best friend, Alexa.
2.She bounds off the bus when she arrives home with the older kids each day...you can tell she feels like such a big girl.
3. Her reading skills are improving so fast...she surprises me sometimes.
4. She cannot wait for her birthday in a few weeks.

We were so blessed to have Derek's parents here for Ashley's baptism (though I'm not sure how blessed they felt about the boisterous slumber party). It was wonderful to see them before they take off at the end of September for a service mission to Bangalore India to work at an orphanage. Though we'll miss them, and the kids cried their goodbyes, we are happy to share them with some less fortunate children so they can have caring grandparents for 18 months. I'll close with a few memories from the weekend. Lots of love. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

6 comments:

Lara said...

Loving the picture of Ashley and her cake! She looks so thrilled to be turning 8!

Jana & Jim said...

tell ashley, congrats on her baptism....i miss you guys, also i love your blog. hugs and kisses!

celester said...

yay, another twilight fan! i'm surprised you lasted this long without Lori absolutely insisting you read it. she's a fanatic! your family is adorable.

Lainie said...

Thank goodness for blogs. I sigh with relief that we can keep in touch this way. I am so excited for you and your scrap publications. AMAZING!!!! Its like your famous or something?!! Congrats to Derek for the job position and hurray to both of us for school starting up again. I forgot that Jasmin is the same age as Ashley and my Alyse is the same age (by just weeks) that your Leslie. My twin boys are the youngest though and yours are the oldest. Funny, huh? I too am DYING to see the Twilight movie in Nov. I am on book 4, but we just moved and I haven't had a spare moment to finish my last 50 pages. Can you believe it??? Anyway, I really love you and miss you. Someday we'll get together and have our own "high school musical" sleepover (or maybe I should call it a mission reunion sleepover?)!! ;0) HUGS!

Brooke said...

That is so wonderful!! Wish you guys were closer! We are all so excited for Amber to get baptized very soon here and I can't believe I'm that OLD!!!!! I mean.... that Amber is turning 8! We are so excited! I already said that. TWILIGHT!!!!!! WOOO HOOO! I know I feel pathetic! I try not to read because then everything else priority gets neglected, but once I started I couldn't resist and Yes.... I've even read Midnight Sun, Edwards point of view! Get a life I know! :)

Brooke said...

by the way! Go here! I laughed my head off!!!! :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dompotjTeIA