Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Trip Back East

When friends and family come calling the Stoker family makes it happen. We were planning on going to visit Diane and Phil in New Hampshire this summer, but I was going to take the kids all the way from Seattle to NH by myself. Fortunately Brandon's high school buddy announced he is getting married in Boston. It was a perfect excuse for us to go visit the family and attend the wedding in the same trip. And I am so glad Brandon made the trip with me. It was 3 hours on the airplane to Chicago with an hour lay over and then another 2 to NH. 5 hours on an airplane with three kids by myself would have been torture. Christian has a really tough time on the way to Chicago wanting to walk around and lay on the ground. He couldn't sit still. The other two spent the whole time kicking the old lady in front of them and she was not happy making several comments and rolling her eyes constantly. I tried my best but kids will be kids. (And let me point out we were sitting first so she choose to sit in front of us). Thankfully the second leg of the trip went much better with all the kids sleeping, even with the hour delay and not getting into NH until 1AM.

Once we were settled we had a great trip. Lots of beach time, it was cold but the kids didn't seem to care, and touring around Maine. We saw amazing light houses and the water smelled so good, it made me miss WA. Actually Maine is a lot like WA. Lots of trees, the beach, and small towns. We ran into some bummers, a lot of things were closed still because the summer season doesn't start until May 1st and we got there the week before. But we made the best of it.

 The wedding was perfect. Some light sprinkles but the Boston temple was beautiful and cozy. We had a great time catching up with old friends, most of who live in Arizona but we never seem to see them. But the best part was seeing Justin settled down and happy. 

We didn't get to see much of Boston when we went to the wedding but Brandon and I did get to take an adult day trip and left the kids at home later in the week. If it wasn't so cold I think I would have really enjoyed the city. We took a tour bus which was fun, the tour guide provided lots of fun facts and tidbits that added to the experience. I loved history and the piers by the waterfront. Knowing all the events that took place in the city that formed our country, it was an experience everyone should see at least once.

We visited an Amazing farm in Vermont and the Joseph Smith Memorial site. The JSM was incredible. I learned so much about the early church and the prophet. He was an extraordinary man that lived an incredible and trying life. I think the next time I am feeling sorry for myself I will think of him and all the trials he overcame not only from persecution from society and members but everyday trials in his family including losing several children, a major leg injury that had to be surgically repaired with no anesthetic, and investments gone bad.

The farm contained a lot of history as well. It contained a full museum of original farming tools and equipment, historical documentation and pictures of the first families that lived on the farm, and an interactive farming experience that the kids enjoyed. Plus there were so many baby animals including cows, chicks, sheep, and horses. Christian loved the hay ride and made friends with all the baby calf giving them all kisses. It was adorable. We even saw the milking process which reminded me a little too much of my own pumping experience.

Despite most of the tourist event being closed for the season we found plenty of museums, play places, and attractions to visit. But I think the kids loved being at the house and hanging with Grandma and Grandpa the most.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jackson Turns 6

Jackson turned 6 last week!!! 6, I can't believe it. I love that he is getting so big and such a happy guy.

We celebrated his birthday in style with a Ninjago birthday party at his Karate dojo. He invited all his favorite people, his friends and family. The teachers at Babin's Karate for Kids were amazing. They instructed the kids on basic karate forms and then played fun games like Master Says, sword fighting, and even an obstacle course where dad got to hit the kids with noodles at the end. Even Christian wanted to get in on the fun.

By the end of the party the kids were worn out and they all went home with a Lego Ninjago goodie bag.

He is such a sweet little boy, always loving and thankful. He taught the kids at his party karate moves and I was proud of him for going in front of everyone without hesitation. He is growing up and I am so happy to see him progressing and becoming a wonderful person.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A New Beginning, April 2014

Well it has been 5 months since my last post. I have decided it is too hard to try to post from now and catch up on old posts so I am just going to go forward.

Here is an update on what is going on in our lives right now:

1. We sold our house. We are still living in Phil and Diane's house but our rental house is under contract. After 2 days on the market we received 3 offers. This has been such a blessing. Our thanks to the Lord for watching over us and the great blessings we have received this year.

2. The kids are growing and doing well. They are the ultimate blessing in my life. I love them more each and every day. Even during the tough times when I am tired or frustrated, I know I am lucking to have them in my family and to be their mother.

-Jackson: He is turning 6 this week. I can't believe how fast the years have passed. He is so smart and sweet. He was recently tested for special ed services at his school. He has been struggling all year with letters, reading, and remembering words. After the tests they concluded that he is very intelligent, above average intellectually and therefore he is not accomplishing what he is capable of in the classroom. They are going to provide services for him in reading and spelling. I am grateful for the help but frustrated that he is such a puzzle and we don't know why he is struggling so much. There is no solution which can be a frustrating process. Sometimes it is tough to know how to help our children as mother's when we know they need help. As of now I am going to stay the course, pray for guidance, and hope he overcomes whatever he is struggling with. He loves Legos. He ie lost his first two teeth last week. One fell out and he lost the tooth so he wrote a note to the tooth fairy. Then when he was laying in his bed the other tooth fell out. He came to tell me with this response:

Jackson: Mom my tooth fell out
Me: I know buddy that is why we put the note under your pillow
Jackson: No my other tooth fell out, What is Happening to Me?

So funny

-Elizabeth: She is so smart. Teaching her is like a different world from Jackson. I tell her something 1 time and she instantly copies it. Her issue is she is stubborn. She will only do homework or learn if she wants to. She refuses to do tasks like chores, homework, or karate based on how she is feeling at that time and nothing we say or do will convince her otherwise. She has a strong will and knows what she wants. This is good and bad based on the circumstance. She loves creating her own worlds. She uses objects in her room or around the house to create houses or palaces for her dolls and stuffed animals. She has a wonderful imagination.

Christian- He is a wonderful addition to our family. Fun loving and happy (most of the time) with an interest in mischief. He is very independent too. He finds ways to get what he wants, even when the thing that he wants is up high (like by finding a stool or climbing up, which can be very dangerous, I have to watch him all the time. He likes to wrestle and play, not afraid to tackle whoever is near including mom, dad, sister, brother, or even the dogs. He speaks very little but is very good at letting us know what he wants.

I am so grateful for my family. They keep me motivated and moving towards Christ. I know that the closer to Him I become the closer my family will become and that we can be together forever.