Monday, November 26, 2007

Just a hello

For the few people that check our blog from time to time, we're still alive and well. I hadn't realized that it's been almost two weeks since I've last made an entry. Our Thanksgiving was really nice! I hope it was for you guys as well! We've had family in town on the Bishop side, thus the lack of blogging. It's been great, just busy! First, Mark's brother and his wife, Brian and Kamber, were in town for a few days all the way from England. It was great to see them and their daughter, Samantha. We got home late every night they were in town, but it was sure nice to catch up with them. Then Mark's sister and her children came to town from Utah. It's always fun to see them. We had Thanksgiving dinner w/ the Bishops (actually Mark's mom's side, the Swensons) at a nearby church and played games, watched movies and hung out w/extended family on that side Thanksgiving evening. It was a great holiday filled w/ family, the best kind.

Friday morning Mark braved the Black Friday crowds and went out shopping. He was in line at a department store by 6 am and we were able to get a great deal on a camera for my mom for Christmas! Thanks Mark! Mark's parents kept the kids on Friday night (we can't thank them enough). Seth even stayed over for his first sleepover. We went to the mall and picked up some pictures of Ella's and went to dinner at the Macaronni Grill and then watched the BSU game. That game was pretty bad, but we still had a great time together. Saturday we went swimming at the YMCA w/ our family for one of the cousin's birthday parties and went out to eat at Costa Vida (I think it's called) afterwards. That place has great food! Last night we had tithing settlement and then had family from the Parker side that we haven't see for two months over for dinner. It was fun to see them again. On top of all of these things, we've managed to put up our Christmas tree and set out our Christmas decorations. We've even put some lights up outside for the first time at this house, it's looking pretty festive around here.

Mark had the day off work today so we got lots of stuff accomplished. He spent the day cleaning out the garage and it looks clean and organized. Thanks again, Mark! You're great! I got some odds and ends stuff done. Just little things that feel so nice to cross off your list and make you feel a little more organized. It's been a great two weeks. We toted the camera around every place we went and took no pictures! Shame on us! We'll have to do better in the month of December!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our Cutie

This was Seth on Sunday before our Stake Conference wearing a new Sunday outfit. I think he looks so darn cute and grown up in this picture and wanted to share it!

He's cast!

John's been asking for a while if he could be in a play or some kind of drama class, but I didn't know how to go about signing him up for anything like that. Then one day earlier in the school year he came home w/ a paper that was advertising upcoming auditions for Music Theatre of Idaho's 2008 season. Since he hasn't done a sport or anything extra (besides piano) since last Winter, we surprised him by signing him up and he's been so excited ever since. Music Theatre of Idaho(MTI) is a local music theatre that performs at the Nampa Civic Center, so it's much closer for us than anywhere in Boise. We had John take some classes through MTI the past few weeks where he got a little bit of instruction on how to audition and received some voice coaching as well. Friday night were the auditions. They don't let the parents go in, but after a short audition, they called #148 for a call back audition the next morning, and that was John! He was so excited, and we were too! Never having done anything like this before, it was a new experience for all of us (Mark is the only one of us that's ever been in a play or musical). So we went back bright and early Saturday morning and John auditioned again. It was funny, because they were teaching them dance steps while singing this time. Once again, I couldn't see how John was doing, so I spent a lot of time just waiting. They called him back for final call backs later Saturday evening. Those auditions were almost two hours long and once again, I waited. When we left they told us to check their website for the cast lists on Monday evening. We checked on Monday evening and the website said to check back Tuesday evening. We were all anxiously waiting to see what, if anything, they were going to cast John as. Finally, at about 10 last night they posted the lists and John was cast to be in the production, Oliver, as a workhouse kid (I think there are 50-100 of them) and also to be in Fagin's gang. He was also cast to have a small part in, A Christmas Carol. I'm not sure what, it just said various speaking and solo ensemble roles. We're pretty excited. It'll be a great way to introduce him to theatre and to see if it's something he's going to enjoy as much as he hopes to. We're looking forward to watching him next year in these productions. They are going to be in April and December, which is great because we'll have some time off from rehearsals, etc. in the middle of the year. Just thought I'd share our good news. John's sure stoked!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Parent /Teacher Conferences

I always look forward to Parent/Teacher Conferences to see how the kids are doing in school. It's always interesting to hear about the way they are at school, it can be so different from how they act at home. I love getting to know their teachers a little bit better, too. I am quite appreciative of school teachers. As I have spent a little more time in the classroom this year than in years past, I am amazed at the patience and genuine love of children that teaching requires.

So, Wednesday I had the kids conferences. I started in Ella's classroom. I've received little notes from her teacher this year that say she still doesn't talk much, but smiles a lot. I guess this is still the case. She says very little in class, but is always happy and according to her teacher her shyness hasn't interfered with her abilities. She scored about as low as you could for the state assessment tests (under grade level). She didn't know the people in the classroom who were doing the testing, so she wouldn't say the letters they were asking her if she knew. When her teacher saw her test scores she was puzzled and went and tested Ella on all of her lower case and capital letters and indeed she knew all of them. She knew them last year in pre-school even. She just wouldn't talk for the testing people, oh well! She is loving school, making new friends, and learning lots, so that's what counts.

Cooper's doing well in third grade. Letter grades in our school don't begin until 4th grade, so he got straight m's (for meet's expectation). He received one M-, for being a little too"chatty" as his teacher put it. Ms. Lords said that he makes her and the class laugh on a daily basis. I was a little surprised by that, because even though he's not nearly as shy as Ella, he's beginning to be really self conscious and doesn't like to stand out in any way. He's making lots of friends this year and most of what he comes home talking about is the sports he plays at recess. A few weeks ago I got a call from the office saying I needed to come and pick up Cooper because he'd fallen playing soccer and his two top teeth went through his bottom lip and they thought he needed stitches. When I went to get him and on our way to Primary Health he said, "My friend said at least I made the goal!"

John's loving this charter school much more than he thought he would. He has made two really good friends, Spencer and Adam. Last year it took him a while to make any good friends, so I'm glad they came quicker this year. He continues to do well academically and they are talking about having him do math with the 7th graders. Math has always been his strong point. When I was in the office signing in the other day to volunteer, the principal had me remind her who my children were. When I mentioned John's name she said, "Oh, the kid w/ the amazing ISAT score in Math." (mom's are allowed to brag a little, right?) Anyway, it made me feel good. It's fun to see your kids happy and developing their strengths and overcoming their weaknesses. We look forward to another good quarter of school.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Family in town

Seth and Mom
We celebrated Aunt Leslie's b-day, too!
The cousins having Pizza together.
Payton and Ella w/ Aunt Tammy! She's really a fun aunt!
Tammy w/ cutie Clarie

We've had a crazy busy week. It's been really good, just busy. Last Friday Tammy (our sister in law on the Gunnerson side) came into town from New York. We were sad Tom and the kids couldn't make it, but it was great to spend time with her. When ever someone comes into town it's fun because everyone hangs out and you get to see those who live close by too, but don't see very often because of busy schedules. Anyway, we mostly just talked and laughed. Some fun highlights were: the sisters went to lunch together at The Cheesecake Factory (thank you Grandma Dorothy for babysitting), a few of us went to The Big Bun Drive Inn for lunch a few days later for the infamous R&R (a great hamburger w/ mushrooms and sprouts), we went shopping and I found Ella the cutest pair of pink boots at the Children's Place for only $4.99, for FHE Monday night we all went to see The Bee Movie, and we had an early Thanksgiving dinner together while Tammy was here w/ turkey and all the fixings. Good times! I'm looking forward to more times with family as the the holidays are approaching.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sleeping Buddies

A couple of items to note about this picture: 1)When will Ella ever stop sucking her thumb while sleeping? She doesn't do it much during the day anymore because of school, at least that's good. 2) Seth has always slept with his arms up like this. In my 20 week ultrasound with him, the technician commented on how he was sleeping with his tiny arms up by his face and that was also her most comfortable way to sleep. I think it's great that he slept that way in the womb and still does it. 3) Don't sleeping babies/kids always look so sweet and peaceful. It can be a bit deceiving! Just kidding, of course.

On Sunday, John and Cooper were gone for a little while so after church Mark and I just had Seth and Ella. They were little buddies all afternoon. We all took a Sunday nap. Mark and I dozed while Ella and Seth watched a movie at the foot of our bed and when the movie was over, we woke up and they both fell asleep. We had to get a picture, they looked so precious.

Two Tin Men, Glenda the Good Witch, a cheerleader, a dalmatian and Tigger too!

I really love this picture!
The older kids show Seth how it's done!

The face paint itched Cooper's face too much, so opted to wash it off for Trick or Treating.
Have you ever seen a cuter Tigger?
Have you ever seen a cuter dalmatian?
Our two tin men and our good witch, before leaving for school.

Halloween's over, yay! Now we can move on to the holidays that are my favorites, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For some reason I am more excited than normal about the holidays this year. I am really looking forward to good times with family.

Anyway, we had a good Halloween day yesterday. At school, the kids have been learning about The Wizard of Oz all month. They read the book (older classes read to the younger ones) and most classes watched the movie, too. So for Halloween, they had to come dressed as characters from the book. John and Cooper were each the tin man. Neither of them wanted to be this, but it was the easiest and the cheapest. Ella was Glenda the good Witch, because Glenda basically looks like a fairy or princess, and we already had costumes for that. They all looked pretty good. Seth and I took treats to all three of their classes and got to see them and their classmates. It was fun. In Ella's class I helped with the center where the kids had to read a sight word and then they got to try and stick the wart (a small piece of clay) to the witches nose while closing their eyes. I love to be in the classroom.

Our ward didn't have a trunk or treat, so this was the first year in so long that we actually went trick or treating. We just walked around our neighborhood and the kids really scored with handfuls of candy, versus a piece or two, at most of the doors. It was fun to visit with neighbors and be out and about. The boys were the tin men in the evening still and Ella was a cheerleader. Earlier in the year we had bought her a cheerleader costume on clearance.

We had Mom and Dad Bishop over for dinner and for the evening. We really enjoyed being with them. It was a last minute invitation, and I'm glad they were free and able to make it. I made White Chili for dinner and Mark made some great cornbread muffins. It was all very good. Dad Bishop stayed and handed out candy here while the rest of us went Trick or Treating. Afterwards, we came home and warmed up with some hot chocolate, John's favorite!

Seth loved Halloween this year and it was so much fun to watch him. The first part of the day he was a dalmatian, but by the time we went to the school he had taken that off and wanted to be Tigger. So we just changed costumes and added some whiskers and he looked adorable. He was Tigger the rest of the day. He walked on his own the whole time we were out trick or treating and held his little pumpkin full of candy the whole time too. What a big boy he's becoming! He really got the hang of it and would even say thank you some of the time. He looked so cute running up to the doors. If there were scary decorations in the yard or by the front door, he went straight to Grandma Bishop for comfort. Forget Mom and Dad when Grandma and Grandpa are around. I love it that he loves them. Anyway, it was a good day and here are a few of the pictures.