Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Early Swim: This year, Maggie’s swim season started off with 6:30 swims, while the girls water polo season finishing after school pool use. Maggie hasn’t been hating it as much as I thought they would. When I told them that, they said they hate getting up early, but once they’re in the pool it’s ok. Considering they haven’t swam since the summer swim camp and are out of shape, I was impressed.

I’ve also been impressed by them responsibly setting an alarm, packing their lunch and backpack the night before, etc. This is also a season where they are involved in after school tech crew for the spring musical, so it’s been a busy time. I am happy to see them involved.

[No comments] Shy Guy: Arthur got invited to a taekwondo birthday party. He immediately said he didn’t want to go, though it was a good friend and we were free so I made him. He was shy of not knowing the moves. I had to drive him myself because he was nervous and he stood there shyly with his head tilted and his hands clasped the entire time. He did all the moves (ungracefully) but overall was uncomfortable and didn’t have a great time. The entire party was taekwondo, except cake.

2022 Hikes: One of my 2022 goals was to do a 52 hike challenge. Two things that made it rougher were that John and I stopped going hiking nearly every single weekend, and Achilles tendinitis in August, that is still bothering me. I got in 37 hikes though, with friends or the family as much as with John. 87 miles of hiking. I hope to do double next year. I wish I went hiking at least once a week.

Well Visits: The younger three went in for a well visit. Arthur is the heaviest of any of our kids ever.

Arthur (7): 49 pounds (41%), 4’2” (83%)
Sienna (10): 59 pounds (12%), 4’8” (75%)
Dalton (13): 85 pounds (16%), 5’3” (61%)

Cheer Camp: I signed Sienna up for a cheer camp at the high school, much to her dismay. We knew she would totally love it, and we were right, even though she complained and didn't want to go and insisted she wasn't going to do the associated cheering at the football game. Maggie, John, Addy and I went to the football game to see her cheer and to watch the band half-time show. It was a lot of fun, and we weren't sad to leave after halftime.

Where’s the Beef?: I prepped Arthur by letting him know I was making his beloved beef stroganoff with ground turkey. He peeked into the pot where I was browning the meet and declared I was lying. So, backfire, I guess? He gobbled it down as usual.

He also came into the kitchen recently and asked “where’s the beef?” which started John and I off laughing.

Recycle: Arthur starts piano lessons tomorrow. “Since it’s my first year doing piano lessons, do I have to do the recycle thing?”

Super Saturday : The first day of summer! We spent it very well in my opinion. We spent all morning cleaning, emptying out backpacks, decluttering bedrooms etc. we had a yummy croissant breakfast sandwich lunch outside. John and I went for a walk to return the Pioneer clothes Sienna borrowed for Apple Valley, and ended up talking to our ward members for over an hour. Meanwhile, we got invited to play games at the park with some other ward members. We ended up having five families playing tennis racket baseball, and volleyball, with little kids and dogs running around. It was so great, the perfect summer afternoon. Then, because it was 6:30, we just went to The Stand for dinner, and then we had ice cream sandwiches he’s at home. Living our best life.

Dalton Promotes: Dalton had a promotion ceremony at the end of sixth grade. He was recognized as a Super Seven - one of the kids who attended Oak Creek for all seven years of elementary school. He is really looking forward to junior high - the freedom of biking to school, choosing electives (culinary! Engineering!) etc.

He planned an outing with some classmates. He organized everything, texting his friends, researching how much things would cost. They went to the spectrum and had wetzels pretzels for lunch, played games at Dave and Busters, and got Yogurtland for a treat. I was really proud that he did that all on his own.

Through the Looking Glass: This morning while I was fixing Arthur’s hair, he looked in the mirror and said, “oh, my shirt is on backwards.” He meant inside out, but what he really meant was he had no idea that mirrors showed a reverse image. I guess he’s never worn a shirt with letters in front of a mirror since he learned to read.

Piano Recital: The older three kids had their spring piano recital this evening. Maggie played a beautiful (and long) rendition of Moonlight Sonata. They are the most advanced student their teacher has, so their performance really stood out. Dalton played Habanera and Maple Leaf Rag, also very skilled. Sienna did two songs from her lesson book, and played them each really well.

We also opted for the inaugural city Pride event instead of church this morning. It was small, but fun. Came home with stickers, flags, bracelets, and bellies full of donuts.

Volunteer : This week I reflected on all the volunteer opportunities I had, and how, with my kids growing up, I have more opportunities to give back to the community. John and I both signed up to help at the school spring carnival. He helped clean up and I helped run the ticket booth. I also helped plan a Primary activity for Sienna’s group, made two teacher appreciation posters, accompanies Arthur’s class on a field trip to the fire station, and kept score at Arthur’s baseball game. And, all these things were fun for me. (In fact, when my ticket booth shift was over, I wandered around and was bored, so I went back and helped more.)

He Hits, He Scores!: Arthur hasn’t hit the ball his last few games, but today he was up to bat 3 times and got two hits. First he hit it to first and they fielded it and got him out. Then, he got a foul ball. His third time, he made it in base, then ran all the way home when the kid behind him hit a triple. He’s a fast runner, but our team does need to work on batting.

Muddy Adventure: On Easter afternoon, after a morning at Knott’s, Rachel and I decided to go paddle boarding in the Back Bay. I managed to paddle half an hour in with both of us on the bird, but the wind and incoming tide on the way back made for very slow progress. We finally got out and walked, but that resulted in me losing a shoe to 18 inches of mud, and then cutting my toe. Meanwhile Brett called me and i answered, yelling at my phone through the waterproof pouch and laughing hysterically. We eventually made it back. And got secret ice cream to make up for the trauma.

Read the Signs: Watching my kids learn how to read is one of my favorite things about parenting. Arthur is currently into attempting to sound out street signs while we’re driving. It’s adorable.

His latest round of library book picks are all about sharks and dinosaurs. We love to read in the hammock together after school, and again before bedtime.

New Things: In the last couple months, we’ve finally been buying some new furniture for our house. We got patio furniture, which we have loved using, two chairs for the living room, a couch for the office, and a queen sized bed for Maggie (and Wally). The house is twice the size of our last one, so it was about time. We only bought Dalton’s bed when we moved in.

Gray Nails: Every time John gets a massage, which is monthly, I think about getting a pedicure. This weekend, my cousin Laura was visiting our cousin Michelle, and they invited me to get pedicures today. So John took Arthur to school and I drove down to Pacific Beach. Enjoyed a lovely pedicure and a lovely brunch. Even though gas is $6/gallon, driving to Pacific Beach was cheaper than getting a pedicure in Irvine. And the cousin time was just bonus.

Dalton’s Science Camp: Dalton went to 6th grade outdoor science camp this week. He had a blast. He went to a camp up in the mountains, where they wore snow gear the whole time. He did a zip line, practiced archery, did team building, learned about animals, climbed a frozen ropes course, did a night hike, and ate yummy food. It sounded like he enjoyed the adventures, and I’m proud of him.

Sports Family: Today was a very sporty day, especially for our family. Arthur had his first baseball game today. He was so adorable in his Chadwick #1 uniform. He stood bored in the outfield, but enjoyed hanging with his buddies in the dugout, and when he got a turn to bat, he actually hit the ball. He made it to second because the other team overshot. And then he made it home for the first of five runs that inning. He was pleased that there were snacks after.

Dalton has been doing city tennis classes for a while, but we signed him up for a league. They’ve been practicing and organizing teams and today were his first official matches. He played a singles (lost 3-6) and a doubles won (6-1). He has been loving tennis lately.

Also today was Maggie’s first high school swim meet. It was a tri-meet at OCC. Maggie swam Four freestyle races (50 and 100, and two relays). They shaved a couple seconds off their previous 50 free time that was last recorded in the summer, So that’s pretty great. And had fun with their two swim team friends. I’m excited they have friends.

After the swim meet, we went to a ward social with our new ward. It was so nice to be surrounded by people, and people our own age! People I can relate to about high school registration, and youth activities, and piano lessons and outdoor ed.

Because We love You: Every year at the end of January, John and I write on 14 hearts for each kid, things we love about them. I stick them on their doors every night until Valentine’s Day. This year, Sienna got up early Valentines morning and cut out hearts for me (fun crafts!) and John (movie nights!). It was so sweet and adorable. We also made hearts for Wally this year. Here is what some of this year’s hearts said.

Maggie: best dog parent, conscientious student, fast reader, strong, theater lover, creative maker, foodie, patient, awesome rapper, putting yourself out there, animal lover, responsible, clever, getting it all done.

Dalton: big brother, curious leader, chef, helpful, biking stud, healthy eater, loves outdoors, athletic, big helper, likes to try new things, kind hearted, adventurous, natural leader, polite.

Sienna: overcoming fears, big imagination, good with kids and babies, caring, great reader, Wally’s favorite substitute, singer, creative, loves to laugh, solid dance, Wally snuggler, spunky, loves to play, learning new skills.

Arthur: love doing activities with you, Indiana Jones, baseball star, always up for an adventure, gel head, snug bug, games, koala bear, hedgehog duck face worm dance, easily makes friends, silly, kitchen helper, good friend, silly giggles.

Wally: the raised paw, secretly loves us, sled dog, afraid of plastic reindeer, ears, the nose boop, so happy to go anywhere, when the tail is up, getting used to doggie friends, great with kids, chicken!?, always hopping in the car, sees all, greeting us at the door.

Impressive: Sienna on why she no longer eats the crust of her sandwich to save the best middle bite for last: I’m at the grade now where I try to impress people.

More Baseball: Arthur started league baseball this week. He still has a few more weeks of the sandlot, which we are loving. (He recently won 14 baseball cards and a bravery award when a bee landed on his nose and he stood still while the coach flicked it off.) Arthur is on the Mariners. It appeared most of the other kids’ parents knew each other already and he was the only kid without a helmet, bat, baseball clothes, bag, or any knowledge of baseball, and the only leftie, but he had a pretty good time. He does have a friend on the team, but he wasn’t there this week.

High School Update: Maggie finally had their first day of swim team practice today. They lost their new goggles, but I have hopes it will only go up from there. I also finally convinced them to go to drama club. They had a blast doing improv games, even though they didn’t know anyone there. The drama club meets regularly, and is hopefully something Maggie can get involved with. Maggie also got recommended by their English teacher for academic decathlon, and is going to winter formal at Knott’s on Saturday. Getting Maggie involved in stuff in high school is something we’ve been parking on for a while, so I’m pleased about all this.

Disney with Friends: Maggie had a five day weekend, and spent Friday at DCA with the Langstons. Then we all spent Saturday together at Disneyland. We had a fantastic time. It was so nice to just wait in line for Rise and not deal with virtual queue. We had lots of treats, including cookie butter beignets and blue milk.

Beach by Day, Pool by Night: This afternoon the kids and I met my cousin Michelle and her family at our sea glass beach. There was lots to see in the tide pools, and the weather was lovely. Michelle shared her knowledge of the moon cycles and i shared my knowledge of the tide cycles, and i think that about sums us up.

After dinner, we met the Adams at the hot tub. The kids of course swam, but the adults stuck to the hot tub. I love night swims. California Living.

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