Back to School, Back to Life

There is going to be a rather large section of record that is missing from the Shorten Family History due to my inability to function with change on the horizon. Around the turn of last year, we made the decision to build a home and move to sister's hood (still the same city).  Perhaps I'll write about that later along with everything else I've missed this year....a highlight reel perhaps--wouldn't that be fun! But until then, the only way for me to get back on track here is to just start. So I thought the kids going back to school is as good as place as any to getting back to blogging.


About two days after moving in the first week of August, we took off for a family reunion in Idaho. We returned with one week to spare before we embarked back into the life of rigid routines and overlapping schedules. This week also happened to include Ryder's birthday...if I could go back and do it all over again, I would have delivered him on his actual due date and not ten days later which always manages to fall a day or two before the first day of school. But alas, there are some things you just can't control. Back to Ryder's birthday celebration. Ryder picked his favorite birthday meal, breakfast burritos to feed everyone and a doughnut cake topped with dynamite candles. He opened presents and then we went the movie, Pete's Dragon.

Our sweet boy is getting older and wiser too, I believe. Slowly and surely. He is caring, thoughtful and funny and I just love saying goodnight to him before he goes to bed because he always, always hugs me (really) tight and asks me how my day was. He's a brave soul for being our first child and I'm so grateful for the patience he shows us as we're navigating parenthood. Ryder, I love you so very much!




And somewhere in the middle of all of that we fit in a back to school shindig/fashion show. It's just all, ya know...tradish.
   



 



The next day was Sunday, where we had out back to school dinner. We ate one of our current favorite dinners are tostadas with pineapple pico de guillo and had peaches and cream for dessert. Phil gave us all a priesthood blessing for the new school year and we talked about our new theme for the year:

"Live in Thanksgiving Daily" (Alma 34:38)

And I think maybe, just maybe, we got them all ready and set for the first day at a brand-new school. (Phew!)


I didn't really have time to think about what life would be like with my two oldest both in school all day, so the wonderfulness of it all came as a pleasant suprise. I still have Hazel who is just in preschool for three days a week, but it's so nice to have the first half of the day to gear up for when they come home. 

Back to Hazel going to preschool. Well, after a brief moment of sadness, it was just so fun to see her delight. Plus, I know now, letting them go to Kingergarten is WAY harder than preschool, so I might as well save up my nostolgic, meloncholy sadness for next year. She was so excited to get going on things she's watched her brother and sister do each year. As you can see, she gave her first day two thumbs up! She was also so excited to start soccer because at the end of a game she gets a treat. And truly, isn't that what life is all about?










Penny's Birthday & Christmas


Penelope Rae turned six! I personally believe Penny would qualify for a fantastic perpetual six-year-old. I'm already not looking forward to her turning seven. She's fun, dramatic, charming, kind and determined. We kicked off Christmas vacation with Penelope's birthday party. We always like to go up to Tremonton for a couple of days before Christmas for some good cozy fun. This year we decided to celebrate her while we were there. 













While we were in Tremonton we made some time for play in my parent's winter wonderland. 


We came home a day before Christmas Eve just in time for our viewing of The Christmas Carol in Christmas jammies with some Christmas cocoa. Something I'm thinking of refering to as the 'Triple C Tradition' for future Christmases.

We woke up Christmas Day to presents, cinnamon rolls and a very thick blanket of snow, which only slowed us down mometarily on our way to my sister's for Christmas lunch and fun.

And that along with a relaxing and lazy Christmas break brings our calm and happy 2015 to a close. Something for wich I'm so grateful to our Heavenly Father.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving was rockin' this year.  Our grateful gathering was graciously hosted by my parents in their beautiful home. AND this was the first holiday in awhile with my entire family. PLUS, my grandpa came. So, as you can see, it was a rockin' good time.



I've always really enjoyed the formula my family follows during Thanksgiving.

A. The Feast. This usually happens in the early afternoon, around a time you would have a late lunch, which is pefect timing for finding everyone in a perfect state of hunger.



B. The Veg. The visit. And unfortunately, the clean-up, along with the one poor soul who decides to take on the mission of strategically finding a location for all the leftovers in the refrigerator and the other poor soul who gets stuck at the sink only to leave with water all over their tummy. This year since we had all our tiny kiddos, we played Bingo where the winners (everyone) got to go shopping at Nana's 'Bingo Botique'. What grandchild doesn't love a Bingo Boutique? I don't know, because I have yet to find one.



C. The Movie. Every Thanksgiving we go see a late afternoon/early evening movie. We take careful time to pick a choice everyone will enjoy. Obviously, the last few years the movie choice has been dictated by our children, so this year we saw The Good Dinosaur. It was entertaining, but my favorite part was during the emotional ending, I turned around to see tears streaming down Penny's face.



D. The Pie. After we get back from the movie, we break out the pie! No need to explain the wonderfulness of this variable.

Oh, how I love Thanksgiving.









Halloween 2015

Halloween was hauntingly wonderful. This year's Halloween fell on a Saturday, which is one of the most ideal days for Halloween to fall upon, wouldn't ya say? 

 In fact, this particular Saturday was filled with more events than just Halloween. Both Ryder and Penny had their final soccer game until the season starts back up in the spring. AND we got to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday, which is a pretty, stinkin' big deal.

First were the soccer games...




Next, was the 60th birthday celebration where my dad was an extra good sport with that hat I made him wear...



And speaking of my dad, aren't my parents the cutest people in the world?


And last, but not least, our little characters ready to trick-or-treat!



Ryder was a vicious vampire...

Penelope was a dazzling witch...

 And Hazel...well, she was a really, really cute Pikachu...

The good dads took this group around the neighborhood to collect candy...


And afterward, our little goblins enjoyed their spoils during our traditional viewing of Incabod and the Headless Horseman.


***As a side note, the Headless Horseman rode through Autumn's neighborhood once again! Although a little too amiable for my taste, he was the spooky cherry on top to our wonderful Halloween sundae!


An Autumn Break

I remember summer coming to an end. I remember thinking a change will be good. Getting back to a schedule will be good. Structure, will be good.


Has it been good? I don't know because getting "back into the swing of things" is still too busy slapping me in the face.

Which is why Fall Break was so nice. A little time to breath and recognize that your kids have actually been in school for two-and-a-half months, even though it's only felt like two-and-a-half weeks.

I'm a gal who enjoys using the occassional "break" to catch up on life. Do a little "fall" cleaning, perhaps. Or maybe get a jump start on the holidays. Not this time. This time, my main prerogative was to veg.

And I--I mean--we, were victorious in this pursuit.

We got in our car and zoomed over to my parents house as quickly as we could. My parents house, for those of you who haven't been, is a like a magical cozy retreat. If I had to describe it with a feeling, it would be "pumpkin spice".

The next day we went to visit my Grandpa in Downey. A pefect way to spend a day if you ask me.





Saturday we headed back home but not without a couple of pit-stops--one, at Grandpa Phil's and the other at my dear friend Brittney's house (who just moved to Utah, wahoo!).  Another day well spent. 


Monday, we made our annual Fall visit to Cornbelly's. The weather stayed nice even though it had been raining that morning and the crowds remained totally managable. It was just all so very enjoyable. And exactly the sort of break I needed.





Now bring on the holidays!

Hazel is 3!

(Written sometime in July:)




Our little Hazel Ane keeps growing and growing and we were so excited for her to turn three! This last year has been pretty monumental when it comes to positive lifestyle changes in the life a toddler. Within this last year, Hazel got potty trained (no more diapers), moved from her crib to a big girl bed (and after weeks and weeks, does a pretty good job staying in that bed after we tell her good night), finally, FINALLY learned to entertain herself and fall asleep in her carseat (this one makes me tear up with joy a little bit), figured out how to buckle the top buckle of her carseat (such a time saver!) and can speak three different languages! No, but she does know enough English to communicate her needs to us. (Again, such a time saver when it comes to diagnosing problems.)



Yuuuup, life is easy breezy, folks.

Now, for year number three, we just have to deal with that whole "testing boundaries" situation. And it may be a bit of a situation.




For her actual day, we celebrated with our typical pizza party, doughnut cake and fabulous family guests. And in the evening we went to see the Minion movie with cousins. A pretty fun day, if I do say so myself!