Monday, September 24, 2007

More of our September

I love the fall colors. We realized yesterday that if we didn't get up to the canyons this weekend that we would miss out this year, since next weekend we'll be in San Diego for Kurt and Ashleigh's wedding. So despite cold weather and rain, we did a little loop around East and Emigration Canyon. Ben slept the entire way, which was good, other than not getting pictures of him in the canyon for his first fall.

On Saturday we had a mini-shower for Ashleigh with just the flower girls, Christina and me. She wanted to go to Mazza, which was delicious. Yummm...hummus and shawarma. Kate loved eating lemons, which always cracks me up. I keep thinking she'll grow out of it, but I love that she hasn't. All the flower girls chose their own presents for Ashleigh. Abby chose two pairs of earrings, Sophie chose a cookie scoop, a timer, and a spatula, and Kate chose three sets of cookie cutters, including a set for making dog biscuits for Riki.

Later on Saturday Josh had a soccer game, Sophie had her birthday party (High School Musical 2: woohoo), and then Josh and David went to the Real game. Both soccer games were set in the pouring rain, but they were prepared and had a good time.

Here are Sophie and all her darling friends and cousins. Many of these girls have been her friends since birth or close to it. I'm grateful to live in a place where we've been able to set down roots. I hope some of these friendships last for her lifetime.

Sophie update: Oh my! She decided to quit gymnastics! We've done a lot of thinking, talking and praying about this decision, and she feels good about having more time to just be a kid for now. She may decide she's bored in a couple of months, but 10 1/2 extra hours a week is nice. We still have options for the future. Her coaches would welcome her back, if she chooses to return, or she can move in a different direction altogether. She decided to stick with violin AND piano, even though I told her she only had to keep one instrument, and that it didn't even HAVE to be piano. We'll see where the next few months take us.

And here is our cute 5-month-old Ben. He's such a joy. He's been scooting all over to get to his toys, and even managed to fall off the queen bed last week. Uh-oh. He's dying to try solid food and nearly pulls our plates onto our laps at every meal. He likes sitting, chewing on everything he can find, toys, being tickled by Sophie, reading (chewing on) board books with Mommy, and his brother and sisters. He doesn't like being alone, having toys taken away, or his sister Kate's curly hair in his face. He is busy busy busy and darling darling darling. If only he'd sleep through the night....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sophie turned eight!

How did that happen? Eight years old? She can NOT be eight years old. But her birthdate is September 17, 1999, so it adds up to eight years old somehow.

Sophie is a lot of life wrapped up in a dynamo of a body. She is lightning and thunder, she is a hurricane, she is energy. But in the last few years, she has developed a softer, gentler side that is so beautiful. She loves to give kisses, to comfort us when we're struggling, to draw pictures and write notes to us. She is remarkable.

Our trial with Sophie is to know what we should do to help harness who she is. She is very talented at gymnastics, she is good at both piano and violin, she's a fantastic reader and a wonderful student, a good artist. She has a very pure and high soprano voice (she can hit an F above high C). She has natural grace and showmanship and loves to dance. She has a good eye for photography. So many gifts! But she is overwhelmed right now and struggling and she is still so young. How do we know how to help her, to let her have a rich and full creative childhood, full of time to explore the world on her own terms, and yet allow her to develop the talents the Lord just seemed to dump on her? A lot of prayer is involved, I know that. It's a balancing act.

Our eight years together have been a joy. We love our Sophie.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The daily grind...

I'm in the middle of my second week back teaching and feeling just a bit OVERWHELMED! I'm sure that some of it is being overextended with the family schedules, but I also can hardly believe that I've been able to juggle family and teaching for so many years.


Josh was three weeks old when I returned to teaching (I plead financial necessity). I taught in Heber and Provo and would travel with him from place to place, feeding him in between lessons. This was pre-airbags, and I'd put his carseat in the front seat next to me, hoping he'd sleep through the 45 minute drives to each location. David's mom was great and would watch him on many of the days I taught in Heber. But what a nightmare! I believe I taught 4 or 5 days a week at that point.

Sophia was 6 weeks old when I started again...a little better! Things were ok until we moved into our new house and I taught 6 days a week. There were babysitting woes galore. I remember teaching upstairs and just hearing Sophie cry and cry and cry. Terrible! Another favorite memory from that time was when Sophie decided to leap off the bench in the teaching lab, over and over, swinging on the curtains until the curtain rod was pulled out of the drywall. The babysitter (who was not asked to come again) said, "Well, I TOLD her to stop." WHAT? You take the one year old OFF the curtains and tell her NO.

Kate was 3 months old when I started after her birth, and I was down to 3 or 4 days a week. I was concerned about babysitting, prayed a lot about it and was sent my wonderful Megan who babysat for the next couple of years. She was a lifesaver, and although there have definitely been hurdles, this time period was the easiest teaching juggle. New problem teaching hours were now all the more valuable because of Josh's school hours. I was a little grateful for the teaching hours pre first-grade. I had had lots of time with the kids before I taught, and a little time doing something I feel competent at was a nice break. Now, the most valuable hours with the kids are the very ones I need for teaching...School definitely complicates my career choice!

So now I have two kids in school full-time. Here is our current schedule:

J & S school 8:25-3:00
Kate preschool MWF am
Monday: Sophie violin lesson 5:15, Josh cello lesson 6:15, then dinner and FHE
Tuesday: Sophie gym 4-7:30, I teach 4:30-6:15, Josh soccer practice 5:30-7:00
Wed: I teach 3:30-6:45, Josh has scouts from 7-8
Thurs: Sophie gym 4-7:30, I teach 3:30-5:45, Josh soccer 6:00-7:30 20 minutes away, I have Viva Voce rehearsal 7:30-9:30
Friday: Josh soccer games all over the valley (tomorrow is in Ogden, next week in American Fork)
Saturday: Soccer game

CRAZY. As I have looked at this schedule, I recognize something has to give. We'll see what it is...

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Last Tuesday was the first day of school for Josh and Sophie. Summer went by in a blink. We spent many hours over the weekend looking for school clothes. We shopped so long on Saturday that Kate learned that stores actually close, surprise, surprise.

This is the last year Josh and Sophie will be in school together, and I am very sad! Sixth grade seems grown-up and I know I'll turn around and he'll be moving out of the house. Childhood is flying by me, and I don't want to miss out on any time or memories with these darling kids.

That being said, man, I get a lot more done now that they're back in school!

Here they are on the first morning of school in their new clothes with their new backpacks. Josh is in 6th grade and Sophie in 2nd. Kate starts preschool tomorrow.

And here they are with their buddies Emily and Coleson.

I also started Viva Voce again last week and began teaching lessons again this week. Lots of beginnings. I'm pretty tired, but I loved seeing my students again. I've revamped my piano lab a little and hope to figure out a really great system for improving rhythm and reading skills. It's nice to teach. I feel so much more competent as a teacher than as a homemaker. My laundry room is good evidence of that. The hard part of teaching is facing what has to be done after the last student leaves. The baby needs attention, more mess has been made, J or S need to go somewhere or need to be picked up from something, and dinner still needs to be made. AARGH! Thank goodness David's been around to help.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More California Fun

There was fun at the beach...

Fun in the pool... Fun at the diving contest (Matt and Eric, you guys are getting too old for this craziness. Is victory worth putting your backs out?)...

Fun watching Matt's newest creation, ESPECIALLY for Will (are we allowed to say we saw it, Matt?)...

And especially fun being with family.

It was a great trip. Thanks for hosting us, Mom and Dad! We love you.

The First Annual (?) Youngberg Invitational 5K

The few and mighty gathered on Saturday morning after Bri and Mike's wedding to show off our athletic prowess (or lack thereof). Despite statements to the contrary, this was NOT the final showdown in the "Who is better, the Abbotts or the Youngbergs?" duel of 80's and 90's fame.

Our race took us to the church and back around the Lakebed. A run at home has to include the Lakebed. It is one of the biggest parts of our childhood. We all have memories of building forts, jumping in ditches after a rain, finding lizards, and it was always my planned destination when I decided to run away from home.

Here is the crew, the bravest of the brave. Back row: Tyler, Brett, Uncle Clark, Steven, Brent. Front row: Erin, Christina, Eric, David, Kerri, Mary Jean, and Peggy. (Steve is missing in this picture. Sorry, Steve.)
Our official timekeeper/photograper: Lynn. He took his job very seriously. If a runner failed to complete the final Via Ceresa leg, he disqualified them ON THE SPOT. There were no shortcuts in the Youngberg Invitational.

Our final standings are as follows (I added back those disqualified. Via Ceresa isn't very long, after all):

1. Tyler 22:52
2. Steven 23:01
3. Brett 25:55
4. Erin 27:13
5. Steve 27:52
6. Brent 28:58
7. David 32:52
8. Clark 32:58
9. Kerri 33:44
10. Nina 34:50
11. Peggy 43:00
12. Eric 45:06

Yes, I know, there are many varying circumstances to our final standings. Yes, the course I planned was a little hard to follow. Feel free to take a minute or two off your time if you got lost, or if it will make you feel better about yourself. Eric may claim injury, as he found himself with severe back pain after the Youngberg Invitational Diving Contest. Kerri may claim post-baby slowness, but that would just be wimpy of her. And it is known by most that Brent WOULD have placed fourth if he hadn't taken a wrong turn. All the Youngbergs are most grateful that Steven and Brent were running strong so that we could avoid an Abbott shut-out.

It was so much fun. Mary Jean claims it was her last run ever, but I think she should plan to be there for the next Youngberg Invitational 5K, whenever that may be. (Any more weddings in YL?)