Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt Marge!

Aunt Marge is my mom's sister and lived with our family every summer and spent every Christmas with us for as long as I can remember.

We would stand by the windows literally with ants in our pants until she finally drove up in her gold Buick Skylark (that she still has, by the way)! She always arrived bearing bags and bags of gifts and we couldn't wait to see what was inside! I swear I remember when the logos on the bags changed from KMart to a new, never-before-known in Utah company, Target. Wonder if I'm remembering right.
Everyone on Christmas: My Mom, Aunt Marge, Rachel and us in the front.

I got off the phone with her tonight and told Nicholas I had been talking to Aunt Marge to wish her a happy birthday. He sighed and said, "I LOVE Aunt Marge.  She always brings us the best things. Silly String was my favorite."

She can't pass up anything that looks like the kids will love it at the $1 store and then says, "You can enjoy it while it lasts and when it breaks, throw it away. It was only $1!"
Marge playing laser tag at Mile's birthday party.
More of my favorite memories include:
*Sitting on the front porch watching a thunderstorm. "Isn't it exciting?!" she'd ask. Helping us to not be afraid of thunder and lightning.
*Memorizing "Czechoslovakia" by jumping on the tramp to each letter.
*Memorizing the States and Capitals and all the Presidents of the US with the picture book she had.
*She found the solution to the Rubik's Cube and got it for me so I could finally master it.
*She and my mom made matching pink gingham with eyelet quilts for mine and Michelle's bed. I still have mine and it's my favorite snuggle blanket still!
*She made us Holly Hobby sleeping bags. We loved them! After we opened them she said we had another surprise and we searched all over the bag until we finally found our initials embroidered on a corner.
*When I was pregnant with Courtney I received a HUGE box with four blankets and countless receiving blankets, burp cloths and a beautiful crotched white blanket for Courtney. Also sent was a video of her and the blankets showing she'd made them.  Later when Marty was born, I gave one of the blankets to him. Then when Christopher and Nicholas were born, I picked out the fabric and Marge sewed them (she tried to teach me, but sewing isn't my forte) and we all tied them together.
*Marge gave me the money to buy my first computer at college.  What a lifesaver it was to have my own workstation at home and not spend those hours in the computer library!
*She's a master at helping kids learn and memorize. Her claim to fame is her Times Tables technique and second is teaching us and all her thousands of students to say the Alphabet backwards.
*She had the yummiest vitamins and protein shakes whenever she came to visit! I'm sure she wondered where they were all disappearing too -- I'd always sneak and grab a handful.
*Marge notices details and helped us to notice them too. I still love to have her sit at my kitchen table and help the kids--especially the little ones who need extra attention--see things that I don't take the time to point out or even notice.
*Marge can sew anything and fix everything. She's always got a creative solution.
*When we were kids she got a video camera. It was on film reels back then and we'd love to watch the videos she took of us goofing off. And then watch them all Backwards!
*The best part of preparing for Christmas was each getting a turn to go into Marge's room amongst bags and wrapping paper and hidden things under blankets and get to help wrap for the other kids. It was always exciting to keep the surprise that was hidden for everyone else and so thrilling to have Marge call out, "No! Don't come in! We haven't got everything hidden yet!  Okay, now you can come in!"
*Marge was with us in the hospital room when Nicholas was born. She had been getting ready to drive me to the doctor that morning for an appointment, but I ended up being in labor. So Dan drove and Marge followed behind in her car so she could go home to tell the kids when they came home from school. She made a sign for them to see: "Nicholas is Here!" with all the details, of course.

Love you, Aunt Marge!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well, I Guess Since the Kids are Gone All Day I'll Find Some Time to Post

What a whirlwind summer! We were sorry to see it end. I loved every minute of every travel we went on and every minute we spent with our kids. Now it feels like opposite-land. The kids are gone all day and I've got lots of alone time. ...And to be honest, it didn't take me too long to get used to it!

My goal this year is to exercise. Being able to breathe has made it so much more enjoyable and I feel like the real me is back. I do love to run and I do love to ride my bike. I'd just stopped loving it when I had to stop and cough every few minutes to get a good breath and I was wheezing and huffing and puffing all along the way. 

So far the most entertaining thing that's happened since school's started is running into the Weiner Mobile at Target. Now that's gonna put a smile on your face!

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day 2011

Wow! It came faster and earlier than ever this year! 
So exciting for Nick to be in all day school! He's excited about eating lunch at school and 3 recesses!

Christopher has two great teachers this year and is going to be challenged a lot but also having a lot of fun while learning.  This is the teacher everyone talks about for years to come!

Marty is ready to go back, to see his friends and get back in a routine. He's also excited about his English class taught by our neighbor. She's super creative, challenging and fun.

Courtney has got a big year as well with AP Calculus, AP Physics and AP French. She opted out of AP History and feels so much better about her schedule. She also starts out with soccer so she has to be really disciplined about doing homework when she gets home -- about 8:00 on game nights and 6:30 the other two. Long days. But fun.  And I forgot to get her picture before she walked out the door. Darn!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shaeffer Family Reunion in Pagosa

Celebrating my father-in-law's 80th birthday, all the Shaeffers gathered for a reunion in Pagosa.  With the four kids, we've got 3 spouses and 14 kids between us. Plus one cousin's spouse.  Plus five dogs.  It all added up to a big, fun group! 

I love the drive to Colorado and one day when it's just me and Dan driving, I'm going to ask him to stop every 30 min. so I can document all the sites we look forward to seeing along the way. 

My kids were in heaven spending time with their cousins--especially since everyone played together--even the "old" cousins played fun with the youngest and it made for great memories.

Highlights were Minute-to-Win-It Games and fun prizes, Favorite Memories of Papa shared in an impromptu gathering spot in the barn since it started storming right at party time, fireworks in the yard, five dogs, marathon monopoly, campfires, delicious food, jeep riding, ATV's, BB Guns, shooting Kory's real guns, finding Marty unharmed after losing him on a hike to the falls, helping an injured woman on the hike, hiking to ice caves, fishing, reading AND relaxing.

Not highlight was when Gram tripped over the step and broke her wrist requiring surgery.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Real Life Includes InstaCare

After we got home from "Our Big Trip Back East," we got back to real life, real fast. Bekah, Jaxon and Lucy came to stay. One day Bekah went to exercise and I held down the fort. Marty and Jax were playing and suddenly Jax tipped over the back of the couch and really hurt his arm.

I held him as he cried, but even after he calmed down, any movement would start him weeping again. I'd seen this reaction in my own kids too many times to count. I knew he'd broken something. When Bekah got home we took them to Instacare. I dropped them off and came home to take care of Lucy.

Not more than 10 minutes later, Christopher came home from a birthday party at the swimming pool.
"Mom!" he called while I was sitting on the couch giving Lucy a bottle, "Isaac's mom needs to talk to you." 
"I'm feeding Lucy, can she come in here?" I called.
"No," said Christopher. "It's about something that happened at the party."
What Isaac's mom needed to tell me was that Christopher had hit his chin on the bottom of the pool, it looked pretty bad and the Lifeguard at the pool suggested we see if he needed stitches.
"No problem," said I, "I had to go to Instacare to pick up my sister in a few minutes anyway."

So pretty soon we're sitting getting Christopher stitched up (5 stitches in his chin -- gory, but easy to fix) and I get a text from Bekah, "We'll be done in about 10 minutes. Jax broke his arm (which actually turned out to be his clavicle)."

My text back, "We're around the corner... Chris is getting stitches."  
So the two little buddies got to share their injuries together -- and ice cream after as well.