Thursday, May 24

"snakes.... why'd it have to be snakes"

Owen and I came home from Walmart on Monday with a ton of groceries. Owen went inside and found a spot on the couch to read books while I unloaded the groceries. we chatted a bit while I put things in the fridge and then Owen said "oh mommy, a snake". knowing he had been looking at some books about wildlife in Florida I said, "oh yes, Florida has lots of snakes Owen". he then said again, "mommy, snake!". I repeated what I said before and kept putting the groceries away. Owen, getting a little more lively now, said louder "mommy! BIG snake!" then came in the kitchen and said "come look mommy". so I put down my stuff and went to the couch to look at the book with him. he pointed over my shoulder and said "BIG snake!" and it finally clicked in my head that he was NOT talking about a picture in his book, but a real snake. it was hanging above our door leading to the backyard.
naturally, I freaked. and then I grabbed my phone to video.

I will warn you, this story and video are yucky. 
like, really yucky.

I called Chris over and over again but he didn't answer. for some reason it wouldn't go through, but luckily he got off work early and was already on his way home because he had been on call all weekend. by the time he got home, the snake had been all over the porch, over the door and windows, under and up the grill, all over Owen's swimsuit that was laying out to dry, on top of the smoker. everywhere! it looked like it was trying to find a new home.

I hate snakes. and by the video you learn that Owen hates snakes (haha, best part of the video is his "I hate snakes" on repeat). but what you may not know is that Chris is truly afraid of snakes. like, Indiana Jones kind of fear of snakes. he called the local nature center and asked if they wanted a snake. after describing it and determining it was probably a rat snake, they said no and ended the call with a "please, do not kill it". Chris said ok, hung up, followed by "yeah right! if it's on my property around my kids, its gotta go." he took one for the team and went out back to get the snake. he has a pile of wood on the porch that he uses for his smoker and the snake worked his way in the pile to hide when Chris went out there. 

with a shovel he moved away logs of wood one at a time, stopping every couple logs to bend over and take a deep breath because his heart was racing. he finally saw the snake coiled up with his head out, ready to strike. with a deep breath, Chris took a strike with the shovel. the snake moved its head just in time, but Chris accidentally cut part of the back end of the snake that had been coiled up next to the head. acting fast to put it out of misery, Chris grabbed the snake with a rake and finished the job with the shovel once he got the snake into the grass. it was hard to tell, but we think it was somewhere between 4-5 feet long.

password: eek!

because the snake had been cut, the wood pile had blood on it so Chris decided to clean it out and get rid of the wood. as he cleared out the cut wood, he found ANOTHER ONE!!! almost as big, this snake too had made a home in the wood pile.

our hero, yes he deserves that title after his morning, grabbed the rake, scooped it out, and cut its head  off with the shovel too.

we saved the heads to show the kids after school. Ellie and Charlie were super excited. jack, it turns out, is even more terrified of snakes than anyone else in the family. Owen is the only one brave enough to go in the backyard now.


I can think of so many women that have been a mother to me. they all hold another title that mean something just as important and that is friend.
I hope that when my kids are older they regard me as I feel of my mom, as their best friend.

so thankful to be on this path of mothering with my partner by my side, hand in hand, and my mother and mother in law ahead of us leading the way.

im also grateful that Chris scouted out a spot before hand and asked that we take some pictures before church. its kind of becoming a thing for us. pictures aren't my favorite, but I am so thankful to have these with my beautiful family. plus, they spoiled me on Mother's Day and I felt like I was able to look past all my faults as a mother and be able to enjoy the day recognizing that motherhood is an amazing gift to have been given, faults and all.


is May already almost over?!?
we had such a busy month, so several things had to be put aside and blogging was one of them. it's now time to do a little  (ok a horrendously long) recap through pictures, hooray!

first and foremost, Chris handed in his three month notice at work. after many prayers, fasting, and family councils we have decided to move to the Columbus Ohio are and will make the move at the beginning of august! we couldn't be more excited to be close to cousins and aunts and uncles again!!! we don't have a job lined up yet. and thats ok. it will happen when it is supposed to. we knew we needed to get the ball rolling so we handed in our notice with faith that things will work out. they always do.

the beginning of may always has a few fun/silly holidays that we like to celebrate. like may the 4th (star wars day), cinco de mayo, and the Kentucky Derby!

here we are, in all our Star Wars glory! this animation of our outtakes was way better than any of the good pics haha!

we made our fancy mint juleps again for the Kentucky Derby. the day after the race I knocked over the pitcher in the fridge with leftover mint syrup I had made for the drinks. after about 500 wipe downs, the fridge is STILL sticky.

Ellie's horse won the derby this year... thats her second year in a row picking the winner. someone get her a lotto ticket!

for cinco de mayo we went to a spring festival fundraiser put on by the catholic school downtown. some of our friends from soccer attend the school and their mom told us she was going to be making and selling tacos so we decided to go check it out rather than making our usual Mexican feast. 
we had a blast! and the tacos were delicioso!

we let the kids each have a few tickets for an activity. jack and Ellie chose the hamster balls, Charlie the velcro wall, and Owen had two turns in a bounce house (his first time ever).
Ellie ended up smacking her knee on the pavement while she flipped in the hamster ball so needless to say, she didn't have as much fun as she had anticipated.

password: hello

the big boys went to the father and sons campout this year! it seems most years that we've been here Chris has been on call that weekend, so they haven't been in a few years. this was Charlie's first year going and he had a great time hanging out with daddy, cooking smores, and just doing boy things. 

this video is dark, but Charlie had fun providing music around the fire... with his armpit.

everything was really wet, but that didn't stop jack from spending an hour getting a fire started the next morning. the other leaders and boys told him it was impossible, but he proved them wrong!

they left early to make it back for soccer games and by the time they got home, Charles was pooped. he put on his comfy robe, sleeping mask, and fell asleep with his bunny toys.

we pretty much lived at the soccer fields every day besides Fridays and Sundays over the past two months. all four kids had probably their best seasons yet. it was so enjoyable as a parent watching on as our kids worked hard to develop new skills and put those skills into practice during game time. and also the friendships they have made with their coaches and teammates over the past few years have been amazing as well.

no one on jack and Ellie's team (the Reese's) wanted to be goalie. we had one kid that is very good at it and he said he'd do it for the first half of each game. so coach picked jack to be goalie the second half. jack was pretty ticked off at first. he hates the pressure of goalie for the few minutes they have any action during the game and then the rest of the time is super boring to him. he spent hours during practice developing goal keeping skills and boy did it pay off! he had a few games that he saved due to some pretty amazing blocks. one time a grandfather watching the game came over to us after and said he'd never seen a kid high school aged or younger be able to pull off some of the moves jack made. that definitely boosted his ego.... not that jack needed any boosting ;)

our favorite coach, Bryant, in his overalls. 
he had to come straight from yard work one Saturday and didn't have time to change :)

Bryant told Ellie he loved to watch her play because she literally covered the whole field and he said that when she runs, her nose flares and she's so fast that she reminds him of a horse!! that made us all laugh pretty hard, mostly because she loves horses. she played midfielder the majority of the season and really loved it. she can run the length of the field over and over and over again without ever stopping.

everywhere the ball was, so was Ellie.

jack walked away with an awesome gash in the knee after this particular block. he was proud of the blood collecting in his sock.

of course, he still lived for the first half of the game, when he could play forward and run like the wind! jack really improved his footwork this season. 

Owen and Charlie loved playing with new friends and digging in dirt during the big kid's games.

 Charlie's team was awesome this year! he made so many good friends. he really played hard but somehow manages to be smiling and laughing during every game.

he made two goals this season, which we were super proud of!

Charlie insisted on wearing his glasses most games. lots of people commented on how awesome he looked in them, so it was hard to convince him to take them off for 45 minutes.
during one of the games we sat next to some parents of an opposing team member. they said they couldn't get over how cute and happy Charlie was, especially with his glasses. the dad said "if someone told me that Charlie was a successful business owner right now at the age of 7, I'd believe them! and i'd want to work for him!"

Charlie had a wonderful coach this year named coach S. he really expected a lot out of the boys, but was a lot of fun too. he was always encouraging Charlie and always cheered on his team even during some disappointing losses.

Owen had a great first season! watching him is like watching jack all over again.

not that the other kids had any clue what was going on around them, but it was still impressive that most games we stopped counting after he made 8 goals. he never wanted to sit out, which was good because by the end of the season most of his teammates had stopped coming. whether it was because they cried most of the game and their parents were tired or because they were tired of playing with a ball hog, I don't know.

Owen especially loved it when daddy was his coach!

 we are really going to miss the amazing friends we have made on the soccer field when we move. we sure hope that the kids can find another coach half as great as coach Bryant.

and now soccer is over, just like that.

something else that we try to really have fun with during the month of may is teacher appreciation week. we love teachers!!! the kids each wrote some very tender letters to their teachers and it made me happy to know that they recognize the love and effort their teachers make. jack, especially, wrote some very kind thoughts for his dear teacher mrs Howald, who he has had for two years in a row. it brought tears to her eyes when she read it. they don't get any better than mrs. Howald! anyways, I snapped a pic of the letter Charlie wrote for his teacher Mrs Floyd because I've been so impressed with how much his writing abilities have grown over the year... plus, it was just so cute what he came up with since she just left on maternity leave!

jack is in the GATE program at school which stands for gifted and talented education. he had a big project that he completed entirely on his own. they had to plan a trip to a foreign country. they were given a budget and had to plan out itinerary for several days, airfare, food, lodging, transportation, etc. he chose Barcelona so he could go see his favorite futbol player, Messi, play a home game.

he did a fantastic job on his report and display! his regular teacher liked this project so much that she had his 5th grade class do it as well, but kept it to the US. jack picked Orlando to go to on a rollercoaster spree and he picked his wild and crazy aunt Rikki to go with him. needless to say, if you need help planning a trip, jack could totally plan it for you from top to bottom.

another big project for jack this year was a unit on the civil war. to wrap it up they put together a Civil War Museum with all the 5th grade classes. they had live wax historical figures, authentic time period food of rice, beans and cornbread, musical presentations, and an art auction where they sold "quilt squares" that the kids had created. 
Jack's job was the auctioneer. 
he was really excited for his job! but when the moment finally came, he froze! he got so nervous he felt like he might pass out. but Jackie never gives up. I am beyond proud of him. he took a moment to collect himself and he jumped right back into it and did a phenomenal job!!! he really is our Jack of all trades :)

Chris has been playing softball for the ward and he recently started playing for a team that plays with the city league. he met a father/son duo while golfing one day and they said "you look like you play softball" and invited him to play on their team. he's having a great time, regardless of the sore muscles and constant scabs on his knees.

he always sneaks a quick visit with us before he his turn to bat.

even though we've been busy, we've tried to make time for just hanging out too.
sprinkler time with Owen because its just too hot for bikes and s'mores on a Friday night with the fam mean one thing: summer is here!

one slow morning, Owen and I watched a morning dove build a nest in a bush in front of Ellie's window, we raced cars down the driveway, rode bikes and scooters, tried to rescue a very dead worm friend, delivered some freshly picked flowers to a squished bird down the street, and had a picnic. these moments with him seem so ordinary, but I know at some point in time I will miss them so I decided to take pictures of my little man that morning just being the two of us.

yesterday was field day and they had a great time!

ellie's bff was lucky enough to have a mom that actually went to help out (no can do for me with Owen) and she took some pics while there.

today is the last day of school. 
I can't believe it. 
I am so excited for them to be out because it means I don't have to pack lunches. but it also means that packing and dejunking for our move will need to start and I'm afraid to find out just how much crud we have accumulated over the past 4 ½ years.

I received this text today from Ellie's teacher, Mrs Mayer, and it made me warm and fuzzy:
"I want to thank you for your support this year, and trusting me with your precious Ellie. Teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but in all of my years teaching, Ellie is the one that has captured my heart. She's so incredibly kind and helpful to everyone. I will cherish her sweet little notes and her warm smile. I am so sad that I won't get to see her in the halls next year, but I know how wonderful it is to be close to family. I wish your family the best as you transition to your new location. All the best!!"

the kids asked me to come to their end of the year awards ceremony this morning, which isn't my favorite thing to go to. not that I don't want to recognize my kids and their hard work, but its just so difficult to sit through an hour long presentation with Owen. ok, I use Owen as an excuse. I really just hate sitting there and clapping three times after every name that is read for an hour straight. but we went anyways and took crappy pictures like usual. I guess when everyone else there is taking cell phone pics of kids in the distance, I feel pressured to do the same lol! jack was sitting with me and Owen so I didn't take his picture when they called his name.

Charlie, Ellie and Jack all earned straight A's again. we've had a few bumps along the road with Ellie and her math and Charlie and his writing, but they worked hard and ended up doing great. I'm glad they are learning skills like studying, redoing, and persevering now because its much harder to learn those things when you've always been able to get by without much effort. 
they are amazing!