Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mara's First Day of Kindergarten - August 31, 2010

All set to go!
Sister Sonna isn't so sure about having her sister gone all day long. Sonna and I went to a coffee shop/bakery with some other moms and then we got a few groceries in Kalispell. Just before noon, Sonna said, "Let's go pick up Mara". Two days ago, Sonna was a little out of sorts and finally at night she cried, "I want to go to Kindergarten with Mara. I'm going to miss her". We tend to raise emotionally expressive kids. :)
Typically, Jedd will bring Mara to school and she will ride the bus home. So Sonna will have to wait til 3:35 this afternoon to see her sister. A long wait for Sonna to have her best friend come home.
Mara has her lunch, her backpack with school supplies, her fleece pillow and blanket for rest time, and lots of other supplies for the classroom. Quite a load!
Parents were invited to come and help their child get settled in. Mara worked on a farmer project for the hallway and Jedd encouraged her. Sonna waited and watched patiently.
Mara's cubby and hooks.
At 3:30 AM Mara called Jedd into her room. She wanted her nightlight adjusted and Sonna needed a blanket. At 4 AM Mara crawled into bed with us and started crying saying "I don't want to go to Kindergarten, at least I just want to go half days". I cuddled with her and reassured her that it would probably seem like a better idea in the morning. Up until that moment, Mara had only expressed full-blown excitement for kindergarten. She lay awake with me until nearly 6 AM hugging and kissing me and the baby and telling me she loved me a dozen times. We did Kissing Hand (children's book about a racoon who is nervous to leave his mom and go to school). It was a very sweet time. When my alarm went off at 7 AM she didn't even hear it. I woke her at 7:15 and she was ready to get dressed, eat a bowl of cereal, have her hair in a ponytail, and tell Jedd what she wanted in her lunch - half an apple, ham and cheese sandwich, and some banana bread that she helped me make. On the way to school we talked about summer being over and school marking the next season, fall. I said a prayer for Mara and our family. She seemed very calm. When we were getting out of the car three cars in a row rolled down their windows to greet Mara: Aiden from Sunday School, Sam and Liam, and Sarabeth from church. The first person we saw in school was her librarian, our pastor's wife, and then dear friend Ivy who hugged Mara, also a classmate. A pretty nice welcome!
I am betting Mara will have made 10 new friends by the end of the day and hoping she'll tell me at least a little bit about it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Family Vacation

After camp ended for the summer we were blessed to be invited to use the cabin of some camp friends, the Berglands. This is the cabin where we stayed located across the road from Seeley Lake, just about 90 miles from here between the Mission and Swan Mountain ranges. I have to say it was a very challenging family vacation. The cabin and location were perfect, but the girls were irritable, whiny, and uncooperative. Had Jedd and I started this mini-vacation with a 24 hour deep sleep, things would have gone much better, I'm sure. But since we were both exhausted/sleep deprived after a long summer of camp, pregnancy, and the wonderful week prior with siblings and cousins, we weren't able to give the girls all they needed. Although, I will say we tried our best. There were many attempts to resurrect this vacation, and finally by Friday, the girls were in very good spirits. But the vacation started Monday night and we came home Friday. I know they were experiencing their own feelings having said goodbye to their beloved camp counselors, their cherished cousins, and anticipating baby as well as kindergarten. So, the pictures below demonstrate that we did some cool things and had some good times, but it was not easy. The picture below shows where Jedd and Mara put in the canoe and then canoed down the river into Seeley Lake, taking out just across from the cabin where we stayed.
This picture is dark but you can still see inside the adorable cabin. Within the first 20 minutes of arrival, Sonna fell off the ladder from 5 feet. Oh, this child takes MAJOR falls at least once a year and we thank God that she has been okay every time.
The girls helped Jedd prepare the fire in the wood stove each night so it was all ready to be set in the chilly morning. The temp was in the mid to upper 40s early morning and reached 90 degrees by the afternoon.
We were pretty impressed with our minivan for making the drive up to this lookout. We just hiked the last 1/3 mile to reach the top.
We spent the warm afternoons swimming in Seeley Lake, playing in the sand (we have rocky beaches on Flathead Lake so the sand was extra fun), and reading in the shade.
Check out Sonna's new shoes. She picked them out at Payless and I knew they were 'Sonna Shoes' even though the sales lady showed Sonna a different pair and said, "These have been very popular this year". I took this picture on a one mile hike during which Sonna cried and moaned the majority of the way saying, "Uppy". (Pick me up). I figured it kept the bears away. We were seriously in bear and mountain lion country in the national forest and didn't have bear spray so I was mildly comforted by her noise. *Mildly*
This is the tallest Tamarack/Larch tree in the country. It is over 1,000 years old, 153 feet tall (taller than the Statue of Liberty) and has survived over 40 forest fires. Can you see Mara and Sonna at the bottom?
Mara took this picture of us.
Mara in full, intense action at the local school playground. The wise woman at the Visitor's Center recommended the playground to us. She must have seen my fatigue because she recommended that I bring a chair and a good book. :)
Jedd enjoying Sonna. We got ice cream everyday. Ice cream makes most things a bit better.
If you look closely, the sign says Deer Xing Next 53 miles. The road is also known as Meat Highway. When I drove it in May on my way back from Great Falls after returning all my office equipment to Planned Parenthood, I stopped counting deer around 40. The deer seriously stood in the middle of the highway and stared at me in my minivan.
Our camping spot for next season. This is Holland Lake. It was so spectacular. We stopped to check it out on our drive home. We also stopped at a favorite restaurant, Echo Lake Cafe, for brunch. It was a good day Friday.
Mara and Mom.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Special Cousin Visit!

Jedd soaked up every minute with our adorable niece!
She has such a wonderful personality!

Look at precious baby Aasta! The fact that Sonna is touching her in this picture is so fitting. Sonna could not keep her hands off of Aasta. Hopefully the novelty of having Aasta around will play out a little differently when it is Sonna's baby sister. We'll see . . .
I'm betting Sonna graciously passed on her cold to Aasta as a parting gift on Monday. But I hope not. I wish I had a picture of Sara too. Next time, Sara!

More Cousin Summer Lovin

There's nothing quite like bunk bed anticipation, especially in preparation for a cousin visit! Jedd brought these bunks home from camp for the kids and they were so excited!
Lots of dress up play!

We spent one afternoon at camp swimming and enjoying canteen treats and sandbox play. Becca had sent these matching shirts for all the kids from her camp, Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries.
I never made it out to the raft this summer but Uncle Mat took the kids and that was pretty exciting. Pictured above is Flathead Lake at camp, pictured below is Flathead Lake in Bigfork.
We spent a late afternoon at Wayfarers State Park in Bigfork. The water was nice and shallow and the kids loved moving around all the driftwood and rocks to build their boat. There was a warning that Swimmer's Itch was a risk but that didn't stop us. Mat joked that if anyone was going to get it, it would be our kids as they rolled the wood around. Thankfully, nobody got it!

At one point Simon yelled, "Teamwork for this one!" and they all helped out. When we left Mara said, "I think that took all my exercising out of me!" She meant to say 'energy'.

I love Simon's stance in this picture!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Glacier National Park Day Trip with Cousins

It was a gorgeous August Day up on Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. The kids were all in good spirits and ready for an adventure and for whatever reason I wasn't short of breath on this particular day (at 36 weeks pregnant I get short of breath when I walk to the bathroom!). This is the boardwalk trail that leads to Hidden Lake. Although we didn't make it the full 1 1/2 miles up to Hidden Lake, we did hike up a mile and the mile back seemed like a breeze.

This mountain goat family was just about 8 feet in front of the kids! It looked like a mom, dad, and twins. Very exciting!
We stopped for lunch on this big rock.
People could not help themselves commenting on our family. They saw how pregnant I am and the five kids and Mat and assumed we were one family. Penny just turned two, Sonna is 3 years and 3 months, Simon is 4 years and 8 months, Mara is 5 years and 3 months, and Claire is 6 years and 1 month!

I was so impressed with Penny who just turned 2. She walked the whole way and climbed the steps like one of the big kids.
The kids all get along so well. It was such a fun four days together!
Claire and Mara

More cousin pictures to come.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Uncle Mark and Aunt Jane Come to Visit!

This picture cracks me up! Jedd's expression captures it. The girls have Yoga cards with pictures and many days they'll pick a few poses to try out. Sonna chose "Community Circle" and involved Uncle Mark and her Daddy.
Here Uncle Mark was doing Sudoku (number puzzles) while Sonna joined him at the table eating cherries and peanuts in the shell. Mara was doing a puzzle with Aunt Jane at this time.

The girls were quick to bond with their great aunt and uncle. Mara is named after Aunt Jane. (Mara Ida Jane) It was a special time together.
Aunt Jane sewed these beautiful dresses for the girls. They were proud to wear them!

Mark and Jane took us out to dinner Sunday night at Tamarack, a favorite place in Lakeside. We sat outside by the creek and the weather was just right.

Mara and Sonna are such good friends. I'm glad this series of expressions was caught on camera.
Our Sonna shine!