Sunday, October 23, 2011

Medina Lake House

The beginning of September we strayed a night in our friend's lake house 30 minutes away. Because of the extreme drought, the lake has receded 100's of feet. But the boys had a great time running all over the dried up lake bed. They found treasures like old shoes, tires and fishing poles that were previously at the bottom of the lake. They also loved jumping off the little rock projections. It was so fun to get away.

The next morning we went swimming and there was a LOT of mud. But for 3 boys and a dog, that doesn't matter.

Kiki learned how to really swim. She spent the first 20 minutes trying to stand up on her hind legs and slapping the top of the water with her front paws. She finally figured out how to swim using her whole body.

Friday, October 21, 2011

First Day of School

The boys both had there first day of school on August 22nd. Joey did great on his first day. Much better than me. I thought I would be fine, but there is something so intimidating about leaving you little guy in a school so big with a teacher you hardly know. At least I didn't cry this year. (not on the outside at least). I just couldn't walk away, even when the teacher started handing out the papers to start working. it's like ripping your heart out and just walking away. He's loving it though and doing wonderfully! We both really like his teacher Ms. Stanton.

The boys wore their "grandma hug" shirts to school. They wanted to feel that hug from grandma Taylor.

Kimball started preschool in "the big boy school". He was so excited!!!! Beyond excited. Getting on my nerves excited. Asking me every 2 minutes the whole last month before school started if it was time to go to school.

After we dropped Joey off at school Kimball was depressed and heartbroken because he had to wait 1 whole hour before he could go to school. I didn't think he would survive the heart ache.

But we finally made it through that everlastingly long hour and Kimball was in heaven getting to school. He went straight for Mrs. Monica's trains. He loves his school!!The first day of school giant cookies turned out a little ugly this year. I tried to make a J and K and it was bad. Next year--going back to just a big old circle :) They were still so happy though.

The bathroom continues

The boys loved being a part of the bathroom remodeling. They are best at demolition, but they also helped with a few finishing touches, like sealing all the rock by painting it with polyurethane.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meals on Wheels

About 2 months ago one of the coordinators for Meals on Wheels told me they were wanting to "beef up" their facebook page so she asked if I would write up a little description of my MOW experience. Then the marketing director heard about it an somehow it turned into this whole article. I was embarrassed at first, because it's not for show, but I wanted the boys to remember what they have done.

I am grateful my boys have been able to be a part of Meals on Wheels. I have seen their sweet little personalities shine as we have done it.

This summer Joey and I got to deliver by ourselves most weeks. (Peter was out of work and Kimball apparently needed a break so he stayed home and helped dad remodel the bathroom). I was always so impressed with how Joey would sit so quietly and patiently while some of the sweet widows we deliver to would just talk and talk. One day we got a new woman on our route. After a quick drop off Joey and I got back into the car and he asked me where her husband was. I told him he had passed away so she lives alone. He then asked, "Then why doesn't she want to talk to you more?"

It may seem like a simple question, but it shows so much. It shows how sweet and observant my little Joey is. He knows that the widows need a patient, listening ear. I was so impressed that a little 5 year old boy would be so kind and concerned. I think Joey has a lot of Pres. Monson in him--he's already learning to care for the widows at such a young age.

As we were driving home recently I had the thought that our MOW experience is such a great preparation for my future missionaries. They get to go into the homes of people they don't know, and then learn to love them and care for them. I am so glad they have this experience.

And Kimball has learned to love serving others. After his summer respite, he has a new excitement for meals on wheels. He LOVES bringing flowers to the people we deliver to. If we get out of the car and he spots a flower--whether it's wild or growing on an ornamental plant--he runs over, picks it, and then runs to the door with a huge grin on his face and thrusts it inside as soon as the door cracks open. It's sweet to see his 4 year old excitement. Last week after we left a house he asked, "Mom, did that make her happy when I gave her that flower?"

Oh, sweet Kimball--it made her very happy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy 6 Years Joey

Happy Birthday to my handsome boy. I have been so amazed at the wonderful changes in you. You have become so confident and brave and willing to try many new things. I was impressed this past summer during swim team when the coaches put you in the backstroke for 1 meet. You absolutely hate backstroke (like a lot of kids your age. It's just scary to not see where you're going). But you hopped right in the pool and did it anyway. It took you 2 minutes to swim the length and no one was left in the pool, but you kept on going. You never gave up and didn't even try to flip over on your stomach. You just kept chugging along. I was so proud of you persistence and determination to finish--even when you did not like it all!

You love to learn. You always ask great questions and you want to know the hows and whys of everything. You help me learn because sometimes I don't know the answer so I need to do a little research of my own. You did great in kindergarten and learned so much.

I am also very impressed at the way you quietly listen and observe everything around you. You have a special talent for watching and sensing how other people are feeling. I think you will be a great leader, friend, father and husband because you are so perceptive of others and you will so easily sense what they need. For example (I don't know if I already wrote about this a while ago), When the duplex we were living in in Buffalo caught fire we weren't able to live in it for 2 weeks. Luckily sweet members from our ward were on vacation and let us stay in their house. One day I lost it and just started crying (silently so you wouldn't see). But then my sweet little 2 year old Joey came up and just sat next to me and rubbed my back. If you can do that at 2, I can't wait to see how that talent develops as you grow.

You are also VERY strong willed. You like to do what you want to do. You like to be in charge. Sometimes you forget that only mom and dad are the parents--you want to be in charge of Kimball :) I can see how this will be a benefit to you. You are growing up in a very morally unsafe world. I can see how that head-strong nature will help you navigate safely through the difficulties you will face as a teenager.

I have come to learn lately just how much I need you. Last April 2011 General Conference, there was a talk that was sent straight from heaven to me: What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be? Lynn G. Robbins

"A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?"

Because you are so good at sensing people and their feelings, you have this super radar and you know when I am being impatient and maybe a little selfish. At the slightest hint of anger you become very reactive. I feel like you are my little barometer. If you are having a strong negative reaction, maybe I am not being as Christ-like as I think I am. (Now sometimes you just get upset no matter how well I am behaving, but many times you help me to see ways I need to improve how I am treating the ones dearest to me). I am so grateful you are helping me be better.

Because there are many times I just don't know what to do: how to parent you; you help me rely more on my Father in Heaven. A month or so ago I went to the temple trying to figure out how to be a better parent. I got a very strong impression of your sweet, tender, and very vulnerable heart. I got a strong warning that if I didn't hold on tightly to you that I could loose you. And then the prompting came to start rocking with you at night. So 2-3 times a week you wait quietly in bed for Kimball to fall asleep. Then you sneak out and come snuggle with me. We lay there and snuggle, I ask you about your life (which is like pulling teeth at times, but you seem to be a little more talkative at night). You always want me to tell you a story, usually something that happened to me when I was a girl, and then we sit and sing primary songs. It is such a sweet, wonderful time. I'm so glad we get to have that special time together. I love you so much and I am so glad you are my son!!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Taylor Family Reunion in Tennessee

My family all got together at Ashley and Nicks house in June. We rented the cabin next to theirs and had one of the best vacations every. It was BEAUTIFUL and everything was incredibly fun. The perfect vacation spot!

One day we hiked through Smoky Mountain national Park to a small waterfall

Reading with Grandma
Playing Dad's question game--always a treat, laugh filled night.Ashley got us some delicious smoked ribs the night we arrived. Yumm
Joey got to have the best birthday ever! We ate Alfredo noodles, chicken, broccoli and rolls at his request. It was so fun to be surrounded by family.

Joey wanted a cake covered in sprinkles
The great pop free bubble Rachel and Cohen got for Joey

This is my favorite all time picture. Proof that boys of any age are absolutely amazed by the speed of a hot wheels race car :)

Grandpa School: A little geography lesson followed by some hand pile-up slapping, and finished off with a little cousin arm wrestling.

Right behind the cabin was the perfect little boy exploring stream. The kids had endless fun every afternoon. We can't wait to go back and do it again!
Joey had a great time wandering around the river and exploring, floating things down, and catching water skeeters.

Kimball would sit for hours and search out more rocks ad haul them over to complete his dam. I was impressed at what a consistently hard worker he was. Nothing was going to stop him from making that dam.

The boys were so tired after playing in the river all afternoon

Ashley and Nick to us to another part of the river down the road a bit. We had a lot of fun playing by the water. The Big Boys were crazy/brave enough to jump in and float through some small rapids...BRRRR.
Kimball was content to just drive his car along the bank.
The 2 doggie cousins had fun in the water too.

We LOVED seeing the great rainstorms. We had perfect weather most of the time and a few afternoons the skies opened up and gave us a beautiful rain fall. It was so nice to see rain after the long drought in San Antonio.

The best day of the boys lives--getting to go on Ashley and Nicks zip line!!
Running to the barn

The next day it was the adults turn to go while the kids had a grandma and grandpa party. It was soooo much fun!!