Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quick Update

The girls are doing great. Rachel is in the midst of her sophomore Year. She smack dab in the middle of her soccer season, and having a blast. She is the starting left wing on her QCHS's JV soccer team, and has scored 6 goals in six games. She is battling a hip flexor strain but has managed to play in every game and is doing very well. Rachel works extremely hard in school, and last semester she earned A's in all of her classes but one (Geometry). Rachel has maintained a 3.5 GPA and hopes to be able to improve on that this semester.

Jessica is in the middle of first grade and doing well also. We struggled with the prospect of holding her back, but instead opted to get her extra help through special education and to move her to first grade. With that extra help, Jessica has started to excel in school. She is clearly making progress at reading, writing and math.

That is all for now, I will post some pictures in the next few days.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

....coming to the end of another school year...

It's been far too long since I've blogged about the girls. It's often on my mind, but keeping with up with a crazy work schedule and a family has been a challenge over the past several months.

The year started out with a celebration of Mia's (their niece) 2nd birthday. Mia moved to Wyoming just a couple weeks later and we sure miss her and her baby sister Talia.If you'll notice...Jess is sporting a new look.

In February Jess's class got to go to a local dairy. She had lots of fun despite the fact that she didn't feel so well...she was recovering from a stubborn ear infection.

Jessica and Mariah are great friends, but you have to keep your eye on the two because the combination spells "t r o u b l e". They've been known to do things like start water fights in the girls bathroom. Needless to say, Jessica is no longer allowed to go with Mariah to the "ladies room". Jessica has always loved animals...
....animals of every kind. She has no fear what so ever....

Winter flew by, filled with soccer games, keeping up with school work and Lisa having to go out of town more often than she cared to. Easter was upon us before we knew it. It was fun to take Rachel shopping for her Easter can be difficult to find modest dresses, but she's so cute and everything looks adorable on her. She has really blossomed in to such a pretty young lady.

The Easter Bunny hid baskets full of the usual candy and eggs filled with cash and even remember Nala this year. The Easter Bunny brought Nala a new pal. This puppy is a Fox Terrier/Queensland Healer mix. We thought we'd give Jess the opportunity to come up with his name...we assumed that she'd suggest names like, Blackie, Whitie, Spot, but she surprise us with with Jaxon....Jax for short. Having Jax around has sure livened up Nala and given her a companion for those hours that we are away. We are enjoying having him around despite the fact that he turned out to be vegetarian. It's been a game to try to keep our garden alive. Our tomatoes are surviving, but he's torn out all of our peppers (bell and hot), cucumber, cantelope and a lot of our onions. The tomatoes are finally coming in like we had hoped. We hope to have enough to can or freeze.

In March Ally came out for 10 days to visit before her school started. She helped the Greg out while I was on a business trip in Santa Maria, CA. She was a lot of help and she gets along great with the girls. A couple nights before she left, we took her to the same place we took Clint when he visited.

There we had our dinner outside, the girls danced to the live band (a good one I might add). We also roasted marshmallows over the open fire. We had a great time.

As you can see...Rachel had some more important conversations going on than conversing with family

It's hard to believe that Jessica turned 6 years old this May
We took pink cupcakes (yah...I was surprised that she chose pink...she usually goes for the blues and greens) to her class room where she was treated like royalty for the day. Each one of her classmates made birthday cards and gave them to her one by one. Many of the kids taped goodies like, cracker or cookies from their lunch, pencils and one boy even chose a ring from his trip to the treasure box that he had earned that day. It was adorable to watch. Jessica is well liked in her class. She has even been the only girl invited to a couple of her boy classmates birthday parties.

That evening we invited our good friends, the Davis's over for dinner. Jessica chose salmon for her birthday dinner (yup...her favorite). We had cake and ice cream and opened presents afterwords. I think she had a nice day and felt how special she is to all of us.

Thank you to everyone for the generous gifts and cards! She got a kids computer, kids camera, some adding flash cards, some barbies, princess bag and birthday cash

Then end of the school year is drawing to a close. Rachel had a dance recital for her dance class. She performed in two separate numbers. Although Rachel has the moves enjoyed herself and learned a lot, it doesn't look like she'll be going on the next's not quite her thing.

The next concert was for Girls Ensemble. Rachel has an amazing voice and really enjoys participating in a choir. She may continue with this program in a year or so, but not this next year. She has too many core classes that she needs to take. She'll always participate in the ward choir though.

Last Thursday was Jessica's Kindergarten class year end performance/graduation. Her class was assigned to wear yellow (if you couldn't tell). She practiced and practiced her class songs over and over... this is her at home getting ready to go.

We were very proud that although Jessica had a hard time standing still and facing forward...she did stay in her place. A few months ago...she would have been running around the stage.

Jessica with her ever loving and patient teacher, Ms Gras. I'm sure that Jessica will always remember her Kindergarten with fond memories. Class of 2021.........CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???

After lots and lots of testing of every kind, Jessica was diagnosed with ADHD and at risk for some other problems. During all of this testing we found that Jessica needed glasses...her left eye is worse than her she has to wear glasses full time until she's about 10. If she doesn't, she could permanently damage her eye sight. We learned that she has perfect hearing, but she needs speech therapy. She also needs occupational therapy to help her develop her fine motor skills. After all this testing and several conversations with teachers and counselors at school, it was decided that Jessica would promote to first grade. Turns out that she will have more resources to accommodate her needs if she promotes.

Rachel has amazed me with her intense desire to do well in school. School doesn't come all that easy to her, but out of sheer determination and Greg's support in developing good study habits, Rachel has exceeded in every one of her classes this year. Teachers and students a like love Rachel to death.

The thing that amazes me about Jessica is that she is ALWAYS happy. She struggles and often tempted to give up in school, but she never never gets down....she is a joy to have around.

To celebrate the successes of the girls over this past year...we went to eat at a new Mexican restaurant and we bought movie candy and headed to see "Night at the Museum"...and Jessica didn't get up once! We had a great time!

Rachel is so nervous about her finals this coming week that she can hardly eat. She has been diligently studying so we are sure that she will do great. Come Thursday she can breathe a sigh of relief and go out with friends for lunch after school to celebrate the ever so awaited end of her Freshman year. Jessica on the other hand...will probably be a bit sad as she has thoroughly enjoyed getting up every single day of being in Ms Gras class and playing with all of her friends. But we'll plan some fun activities to keep us occupied until the next school year begins.......

Sunday, January 25, 2009

catching up.........

Rachel is loving high school and we are so proud of all she's accomplishing. She works hard and it's paying off...she's getting great grades. We are equally proud that even though she hasn't had a lot of experience with soccer, she had the courage to try out for the high school team. And although she didn't display the level of ball handling skill as some of her competitors, she certainly has something that can't be taught...speed! She made the JV team and she's usually starts at left forward. Although she's still trying to figure out whether she's left or right footed, she almost always beats her competitor to the ball...and last Wednesday she scored her first goal! She's had so much fun and really wants to take it up a notch so we've signed her up for GYSA (which is co-ed) where I'm sure she'll continue to learn and gain confidence in her abilities. I can't tell you how excited I am to have her playing and enjoying it. Not only because it's so good for her in so many ways, but because I miss those days (nights, weekends...) on the soccer sidelines cheering Ally and Joel (all the way through college) on. I'm so glad that not only Greg gets to experience it, but I get to do it again. Soooo much fun!
Jessica of course likes to go anywhere...especially when there's bleachers to climb up and down and under.
You know how Jessica loves animals. We like to go to the park and bbq with Gabe and Rosie (especially when Rosie's parents come out with carne asada). This day Jessica had a field day feeding the ducks both in and out of the water (yes, she fell in not once, but twice this day).

Jessica loves, loves, loves school and especially her teacher Ms Gras. We are so grateful that Jessica is in her class. Ms Gras loves Jessica for her fun loving spirit...and is so very patient with her. Because of the concerns we had with whether or not we should put Jessica in Kindergarten this year, we've made it a point to have regular communication with her teacher. Altough Jessica loves school, it's also been a struggle in some ways. Wanting to make sure that she is successful and continues to love school, we've taken steps to help us understand how she learns. We'll keep you posted as we discover...

Rachel trying to enjoy sushi...I think she'll stick to the cooked stuff. Jessica on the other hand craves it. We had Joel out for Thanksgiving and Gabe and Rosie's over as well.
Jessica fell asleep on big brother Joel after pigging out.....turkey will do that to us every time.

a quick pic after church on Christmas Sunday.
Greg and Rachel participated in one of the most beautiful ward choir performances that I can remember. Jessica and I enjoyed their performance with our hearts filled with the spirit and tears in our eyes.

This time of year brings lots of joy, but also painful memories. We are grateful for the birth of our savior and for the knowledge of the plan of salvation. We are also grateful for the loving and supportive family that eases the inner
pain that each of struggle with this time of year.

We were invited over to Gabe and Rosie's for Christmas Eve along with Rosie's parents, brother and his fiance...and her Aunt, Uncle and 3 cousins who had come out to spend the holidays. Damian flew in the day before from Utah, Rhyannon flew in that afternoon from New York and Joel drove out and surprised us all. So there was quite a crowd there to enjoy
the traditional Mexican feast...3 different types of tamales, menudo, rice, beans, red and green salsa. We brought Texas Sheetcake and home made ice cream.

this was the 3 girls getting ready for the evening.

On Christmas Day, Santa brought Rachel clothes, money and LOTS of earings. We got her ears re pierced a couple months ago and she has taken very good care of them this time (she just needs to remember to take her earings out for soccer games so she doesn't get red carded...yes she got kicked out of a game for forgetting to take them off...ooops...)

Jessica got Leapster 2, some BIG coloring books and a jogging outfit that she'd wear every day if we let her.

Christmas dinner was at our place. Thank Heavens for the space here, because we needed it. We ended up with everyone from Christmas Eve, plus another 7...27 people total. There was some miscommunication with who was bringing what, and didn't realize it until guests were arriving. We didn't know what we were going to do...we said a blessing on the food and a miracle happened...don't know how, but there was just enough food! And yes...that's Jessica in her uniform (her jogging outfit)....

The day after Christmas we (ALL of us...even Rhyannon and Damian) packed up and headed for California. We went to Grandpa and Grandma Arnolds where we had a (post) Christmas dinner and Amy and her family joined us. After dinner we gathered in the living room for our gift exchange and as you can see....Jessica scored!

The next day we went the Alder Christmas gathering at Aunt Cindy's. We have always done this on Christmas Eve, but decided to change it up so that more of us could make it...and it was a HUGE crowd. We just ate a great meal and enjoyed each other company. It was rather cold outside...and knowing that the kids would get bored inside...Aunt Cindy had bought a bunch of cheap flash lights...and let the kids have a "party" in her, dancing, lights off and flash lights...they had a blast!

The next day (yah...I was a fast and furious trip, but Rhyannon had to get back to Phx to fly back home)...we headed back to Queen Creek. We made one last stop in Claremont where Joel and Damian were meeting up with old stop and kiss everyone goodbye for one last time. The girls had a great time, but they were ready to get home to enjoy the rest of their winter break...
Jessica poking through the rail asking us when we were leaving...

Saturday, January 3, 2009


No...we haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. I've just been so busy with work and the holidays. On top of that, I don't like to post without pictures and I was waiting on Greg to do his magic so that I have some cute pictures to share. We have several things to report on...and I promise when I get back from Tennessee next week, I'll get to work.

Just so you know...Rachel and Jessica are doing GREAT!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

She can't wait for her first Stake dance...

We decided to take Rachel out to dinner the night before her birthday. She chose Olive Garden because she was in the mood for Chicken Alfredo and it was there that we gave her her birthstone necklace.
The morning of her birthday, a couple of her best friends, scared her half to death by tapping on her window at the crack of dawn. Once she calmed down and let them in, they helped her do her hair so that she could wear the tiara that they brought her, gave her a Care Bear and some Care Bear undies. It was a great way to start out a very special day.

Several weeks in advance we had told her that she could have a party and suggested several ideas (swimming party, small slumber party, game night...)...she ended up deciding on something simple. She invited several of her best friends over for dinner:

For her birthday menu she decided on Shepard's Pie...yah you read right...Shepard's Pie....

with a Cold Stone's ice cream cake for dessert...

Then we took her and her friends to the San Tan Market Place for an hour of shopping where Rachel, feeling oh so grown up, bought some eye shadow and and lip gloss. After that, Greg treated them all to the movies. I think a good time was had by all.

Thank you Grandmas and Grandpas on both sides for the very generous birthday money. Rachel spent part of her birthday money on a new purple nano. She's in heaven!

Practicing her make up application, doing her hair with her new hair products and learning the words to all of the new songs on her nano...she should be well prepared for her first Stake Dance! I hope she has a blast...I know I lived for those nights when I was her age.

Happy Birthday Rachel. We are all so very proud of you!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

One starting high starting kindergarten...

Bright and early on Monday July 28th Rachel woke up to get ready for her much awaited first day of high school. Early I say because she chose to take 0 Period which starts at 6:40am. Yeah you read that right...she chose to.

We had taken her to the school and walked her around to all of her classes...she had practiced straightening her hair just right, had rehearsed putting on just the right amount of make up and had her outfit all picked out...and feeling pretty proud of the whole ensemble.

And we were proud too...not just because she looked adorable, but
because she bought most of it with her own hard earned money (an accomplishment in its self). She wanted to earn money of her own and couldn't figure out why she wasn't ever getting asked back to babysit. I think our talk about going the extra mile and leaving the house picked up and dishes washed paid off. She had more work than she could fit in these last couple of weeks.

So Rachel's schedule is:
0. English
1. Algebra
2. Dance (PE)
3. Seminary
4. Culinary Arts
5. Choir
6. Science.

Cool thing is...we have access to her grades at any given moment (don't you love the internet)

After only a couple days in to this next phase of her life she announced that she absolutely loves school...hates for the day to end. She seems to have really "come in to her own" the past few months and we hope that this trend continues.

Jessica was so excited to start kindergarten that she was counting down the days. She even agreed to go to bed early the few days prior so that she could get used to getting plenty of rest.

She didn't care so much about the clothes that she would wear or how we would do for hair...she was more interested in what she would pack in her lunch. I was sure that she would ask for her favorite pb&j, but for some reason she decided on the more mature, turkey sandwich and even wanted a little mayo (she hated mayo last week?). But she liked it...she requested it every day this week.

So dad and I walked her in to the kindergarten play yard where she was greeted by her teacher, Ms. Gras (a brand new transplant from Michigan...boy does she have a rude awakening more ways than one)

With out hesitation, Jessica put her backpack and lunch box down and barely bid goodbye as she ran off to play with her new friends. We hung around for a little while as we watched kids crying and mothers crying with separation anxiety. We turned towards the gate to leave feeling proud of our "well adjusted" Jessie, turned around for one last look....
and burst out laughing as we watched her chasing boys (oh man...what are we in for?)

This first week (much to our surprise) we've had no battles going to bed on time to get plenty of rest, we've had no issues with getting dressed in a timely manner...and even a helpful hand getting lunch packed. We have however had a bit of an issue with her getting her card turned over to another color already. Apparently Jessie likes to talk to her neighbors when she's supposed to be listening (not so surprising).

All in's been a successful week and we couldn't be prouder of both of them.