Simple Pleasures
Emma started taking piano lessons from a friend in our ward just a few months after we moved here. She really enjoyed it and I was shocked at how fast she learned things. They had a little recital the beginning of June for all the students. It was just at the church in the gym. I wasn't sure that Emma would be brave enough to get up in front of everyone and play her recital pieces but her teacher assured me that they talked about it and Emma really wanted to do it. We got to the church early so that we could sit in the front so she didn't have to walk too far. She ended up being the first one on the program! She panicked a little when I told her it was her turn and we ended up carrying her up to the bench. Jacy, her teacher, sat next to her and she actually started playing! I was shocked and so happy! She had two pieces to play. The first one was by herself and the second was a duet with her teacher. She did a great job and we couldn't be more proud. She was excited about the cute little gift that Jacy gave the students. Jacy is our primary president and I serve as her first counselor. She is also my visiting teacher and one of the first people we met here in Cheney. She is a great teacher and a great friend. We really love their family and are happy to have met them. We are excited to start piano lessons again in the fall and hope that Emma didn't forget everything she has learned.

Miss Emma finished kindergarten!

It is crazy how fast time goes by. Miss Emma finished kindergarten the beginning of June. They didn't have a graduation but they did have a kindergarten program where they sang lots of fun songs for us. Emma was so excited about it. For some reason she thought it was a surprise for me so she kept telling Ivan about it but not me. Her teacher didn't do a very good job of keeping us informed and we hadn't heard anything about it...so it's good that she mentioned it! I'm so glad that Ivan has such a flexible job and he was able to be there.

The area that they had the concert in was super weird. The group didn't even face the audience and of course Emma stood back as far as she could on the bleachers and the girl next to her stood forward so we really couldn't see her...frustrating for a picture freak like me! I just went up stairs and took pictures from the balcony.

After they sang lots of songs for us they turned on some music and had a dance party with all the parents. Emma was too embarrassed to dance but Daddy and Levi had a good time!

We are so proud of Emma. She had a lot to adjust to this year with starting kindergarten and then moving in the middle of the year. Her favorite part about kindergarten was getting to ride the bus and recess. She made lots of friends with older kids on the bus and I think they loved having her there. One day the bus driver got out and talked to me when dropping Emma off after school. He said that the bus had some problems on the way to school and they had to switch buses. Emma was really upset that bus number 6 was broken. I told him that it is probably just because she is six years old so that bus number is super cool. Emma is a smart little cookie and is reading very well! She did very well on her testing and was above grade level in several areas. One area she didn't do as well in was communication...she likes to talk quiet as a mouse and people have a hard time understanding her. She also needs to work on writing. Her teacher said she has the best handwriting in the class but she likes to use upper case for everything. :)

We checked out a few Junie B. Jones books and CD's from the library recently and Emma loved them! We would listen to a few chapters on CD in the car and then come home and read a few chapters. I found some copies on eBay and bought her a bundle of 16 of them as a "graduation" gift. She was really excited! A few of the books even had stickers in them. We have a goal to read all 16 this summer. We are so proud of Emma and know that she is going to do great in first grade!


Visit from Grandma and Grandpa Barlow

My parents came at the end of the same week Ivan's parents visited. We had a great time with them at our house. The kids were so excited to see all of their grandparents that week.
We did a lot of the same things with my parents...but a lot less driving around looking at fields. :) We went to the McKay Seed plant and Ivan showed us around and explained what he does every day. I love hearing him talk about work. I am very proud of the man that he is. He works really hard to provide for our family and is so smart!

We ate more really good food! My dad loves pecan pie. I have never made a pecan pie and don't really enjoy it and I know that it would never compare to my moms pie if I tried. I found a recipe for a pecan cake so my mom and I made that together. It. Was. Amazing.

After we visited Ike's work we stopped by the park in Rosalia so the kids could get out of the car for a minute. Grandma and Grandpa are so good about playing with the kids. We had a good time.

The kids had fun just hanging out at home as well. Emma got to show off what a great reader she is.
We had robin nest in our hanging basket. The week all the grandparents visited is when the eggs hatched! Probably the grossest thing I have ever seen! haha The kids thought it was awesome. The baby birds were so nasty looking. They are just pink with hair. It only took about a week for them to get BIG and fly away. Nature is pretty amazing and I am grateful how much of it we have been able to enjoy in Washington.
Emma was taking gymnastics and Grandma and Grandpa Barlow were here for one of her classes. She had never done gymnastics before and I was amazed at what the teacher had them do! She did all kinds of flips and things. She was a lot out of her comfort zone in the class and had a hard time being brave but I think she enjoyed it.
Grandpa Cashew and a little monkey.
He is so patient with her.

Levi really likes hats.

Emma's turn on the balancing beam.

We are so grateful to have wonderful family on both sides. I was so glad my parents were able to come and spend a little time with us. My mom and I made some adorable pillows for Emma's bed. I love spending time with both of my parents.


Visit from Grandma and Grandpa Mills

In June Ivan's parents came to visit for a few days. We did a lot of driving around and checking out Washington. We went to Ivan's work and gave them a tour. We stopped at a lot of fields and Ivan and Butch talked about different varieties of wheat and barley. I love that they have this connection in agriculture and that they always have something to talk about together.
We also went to the River Front Park in spokane. The kids had a good time on the big wagon slide like always and Levi did a little bird chasing. My camera broke while we were there and I was pretty devastated. We went to have it repaired the next week but it cost enough to repair that we ended up just buying a new camera. I LOVE my new camera.
The rest of the time during Butch and Marjie's visit we spent just visiting and eating really good food. We also took them to Makenzie River Pizzeria. Man we love that place. We were happy that they were able to come and see the beautiful place we live and to spend some time with them.

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Levi the terrible!

This kid is working really hard at being the best terrible two year old EVER! haha Tonight Emma ran in to inform us that Levi painted himself and the chair in the office with baby lotion. He couldn't even walk on the tile because he had so much on him! My office smells of lavender, which is nice, but I better bust out the carpet cleaner in the morning before things start to stick to the carpet! He is really good at climbing and thinks that the barstools exist merely to get him to things he shouldn't have that are up high. One week after church he grabbed one of the stools and pushed it all the way down the hall like he was on a mission. We all followed him to see what he was up to. He put it right in front of his closet and climbed up to pick out a new shirt. He refused to let me help him put it on and was really proud of himself when he got it on inside out and backwards. He tried on a couple of them. He has also been obsessed with the fridge lately. We had a couple egg incidences a few weeks ago. I had boiled some eggs and they were in a bowl in the fridge...I think that's where the fascination began. He got into the ones in the carton next to the boiled ones and added them to the bowl as well. Yep. No idea which ones were boiled at that point. Then a few days later he decided to take a few eggs into our bedroom for some reason. Ivan walked in and I heard him scream like a girl. :) He had 3 eggs and a couple had cracked on the carpet. Oh joy. Ivan was wonderful, as usual, and cleaned up the mess. When he walked into the kitchen after finishing up in the bedroom, Levi was in there getting more eggs. So naughty. Here are some pics. He was pretty proud of himself. The other day when Emma was at school I had a shower. Amazing...I know. I was impressed that Levi wasn't at the door throwing his usual tantrum while I showered, so I took my time. When I got out I found the source for said quietness. He was covered in a gray powder. It was too dark to be flour or baby powder...so I just followed the footsteps to the living room where I found dental floss strung out all over the floor...3 yogurts and LOTS of spoons. He had painted the table with yogurt and took just a little out of each one. He emptied the fire place and it appears he had a good time doing it. Amazing how much he can "accomplish" in just a few minutes. This is how Levi enjoys ice cream....it is also how I wish I was allowed to enjoy ice cream! HA! Levi gathering items to make himself a smore? Lovin' the hat with the jammies and church shirt. He wears that hat everywhere! He is pretty awesome. And one night he decided to have a party with Emma's pink lipgloss! That stuff is STICKY! We had to wash his hair lots of times to get it out...after we caught him of course. He kept running into the office and shutting the door so we couldn't get in. And he would smash his face on the glass just to make sure he was being super entertaining. He also decided to use Emma's pillow to wipe the pink of his hands. We sure love our crazy little boy and he sure keeps us on our toes! But...I think we would all agree that he is best when he is sleeping!


A finish to spring...

Ivan was pretty busy this spring and had to work a little longer hours for a few weeks. He also worked a couple Saturdays and one Sunday morning. Now that planting is over it has slowed down and we have enjoyed spending lots more time with him. Things are going well at work for him and I think he is really enjoying it. They are remodeling their office this summer and I am dying for him to let me do it! We went to home depot the other day to get wood for a project he has at work and by the time we left I had picked out paint colors for the walls, ceiling and trim as well as new flooring. :) We also got a bunch of flowers for our front flower bed. This house has lots of shrubs and bulbs around it, but the front flower bed is empty. Ivan had also bought some flowers from the FFA in Rosalia. He worked hard and got them all planted for me. I decided to go inside where I wouldn't be eaten alive by mosquitos! There are so many here and they really like me for some reason. Levi got a big bite on the middle of his forehead and the next day it looked like a big goose egg! I need to figure out something to spray in our yard to keep them away...I read on pinterest to use listerine. The mosquitos aren't near as bad as they were in the spring. Maybe it's because there are cows on the property now so they have something else to munch on. Lately Emma has been talking....and talking....and talking....and talking! I just don't know where she gets it! This of course only happens when we are at home...so I get the pleasure of hearing most of that talking. She loves to tell stories and is so funny. She is a very smart little girl and I can't believe she is done with kindergarten! You can see her "talking" in the photo below. She was using her hands alot. hehe
We had lots of fun at soccer this spring. Emma did much better about going out there and "playing" by the end. The last week she even took two steps and ALMOST kicked the ball. During the last game of the season she actually did kick the ball! All the parents and other kids cheered for her...she was super embarrased...but was excited about it after we left. She did fantastic at soccer practice and got right out in the middle with the other kids and has been more aggressive. She just gets confused at the games and doesn't dare budge. It is so fun to watch the kids play when they are this little, something funny seems to happen every game. One of the games Emma got to play against her friend Kyra's team. Kyra is in Emma's primary class and I serve with her mom, Kylie, in the primary presidency. Kyra was the goalie and did a really good job! We have gotten together a few times lately at the park with them and are excited to spend time with them this summer. Kyra has a little sister that is a couple weeks younger than Levi and is sooooo cute. They have fun playing together. Did I mention that it was FREEZING at this particular soccer game? Emma dressed herself that day and picked her shortest shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt. Her coach kept trying to get her to put on a jacket, but I guess she just wanted to freeze. Crazy kid.
After she had her last game the coaches planned a party at a pizza place for the kids. They provided dessert and gave the kids a completion certificate and super cute trophys! The coaches must have paid for the trophys because our friends on the other team didn't get them. Her coaches were really awesome and so patient with all the kids. It is good when you have great people like this in your kids' life. We made them this jar and filled it with swedish fish and gave it to them at the party. .



We had a nice Easter this year at my parents house. Ivan flew down to Utah on Friday night so that he could drive home with me and the kids. Of course he had SEVERAL issues with his flight, he always does, so he didn't get in until really late. On Saturday we just hung out at home and then went to visit Grandmother. It really is so nice to have her close by. I feel like we really missed out on that for a lot of years. She is such an amazing lady and she makes me laugh every single time I see her. When I am 90 I hope that I get to have an entire closet devoted to pajamas. :)
After we visited with Grandmother, my parents took the kids so that Ivan and I could go car shopping! We have been looking at getting a new car for a while now but it's tough to shop with two little ones. We ended up buying a car that night! It was kinda spur of the moment...but it seems like that's how we roll. We got a 2008 Chrysler Aspen. It is basically the same as a Durango...only better. It is the perfect color and is so much nicer than anything else we looked at. We were happy to get to drive home in it. The kids have more wiggle room and we have more room for "stuff."
Sunday morning was a little crazy. The Easter bunny forgot that she left the stuff for the kids baskets in my parents closet...and since I was out late cruisin' in my new car with Ashley...it had to wait 'til morning. I told Emma that the Easter bunny hid the baskets for them to find AFTER breakfast so that they didn't spoil their appetites. A little distraction with bathtime for the kids was just enough time for the Easter bunny to get the job done. They got some candy, bubbles, kites, pez dispensers, side walk chalk and a few other little things. I also bought each of them soccer balls for Easter. I found a pink and purple SPARKLE one at Old Navy and knew that Emma had to have it...just in time to start soccer the next week.
My mom made a wonderful breakfast and Jake and Jamie and Skylar came over to eat with us. I had been wanting to take Sky's pictures while I was there and that was our last chance. Here are a couple. She is so super cute! And they just found out that she is going to have a little sister!

Then we went to church. It was a missionary farewell that day and the place was packed. I always love church on Easter sunday. I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and for the knowledge I have about the gospel. I am grateful for the resurrection and that we can live again with our families. Emma drew a picture in primary and I didn't even look at it until we got all the way home to Washington. In my mom's ward her teacher is Gina. Gina is my mom's next door neighbor and is a really good friend. She was my teacher MANY times growing up and I love that Emma gets to learn from her on occasion as well. I still remember last Easter when Emma came home from church and told us the entire resurrection story. She is a smart little girl and I am grateful that she has such great teachers in her life. When we got home from Utah I had a comment on facebook from Gina. She said that she wished she could have visited with us while we were there and asked if I had seen the picture Emma had drawn in church. My mom had made sure that we got it out of her car before we left but I hadn't looked at it. They were told to draw a picture of someone that had died that they would see again. Gina said she got tears in her eyes as she saw Emma write the letters JOE. Emma doesn't remember Uncle Joey but I try to talk about him as much as possible. He was such a huge part of my life and I love and miss him so much. When Joey passed away, Maryn asked if there was anything of his that I wanted. I couldn't think of anything for a long time and then remembered the huge bird book that he had. He kept it in his truck with him so that he could look up different kinds of birds when he came across them. A couple weeks ago when it finally started warming up, I took the book outside and Emma and I looked through it. She loves animals and we have so many birds at our house. She had wanted me to look up pictures of birds on the internet for her, but I told her I had something way better. I really enjoyed looking through the book with her and telling her about her Uncle Joe. Here is the picture. I love the backwards "J".

After church I went back to my Mom's house to take more pictures. This time it was of sweet little Paityn. She is Jared and Maryn's new baby girl. She is so cute and I am grateful that Maryn and Jared found eachother and were blessed with this special little spirit in their home. They are going to be wonderful parents. Paityn had been sick that week, the doctor thinks she had the flu, so we ended pictures pretty early. I think we got a few good ones though! I wish I lived closer and could take cute pictures of my nieces and nephews every day.

The only time that we could get everyone together for an Easter egg hunt was that afternoon. I was so glad that Matt and Jacky and the kids were able to come. We got to see them for Emma's birthday party too...just not Matt. It is hard to live so far away and then not get to see everyone when we visit...so we were happy that Matt was able to come. The kids had lots of fun searching for eggs in Grandma's back yard. My parents made our traditional ham and new potatoes for dinner. It was yummy! We were in the middle of packing up to leave and I wish I could have relaxed a little more to enjoy dinner with the family. Apparently I really like to take pictures of Skylar...can you blame me though? That little girl has some serious cuteness goin' on. The picture of Levi with the happiest face in the world is when he discovered there was an egg on each step of the slide. He just laughed and laughed.

After we got all packed up we headed to Corinne to spend the night. Butch and Marjie had gone up and spent the day with Dusty and Brandee and the kids and had gotten home just before we got there. Emma loves to snuggle with Grandpa Butch. She was also excited that Grandma had a birthday present for her. Grandma and Grandpa gave her the movie, "the velveteen rabbit." She loved it and watched it all the way home the next day in the car.

The next morning Marjie rescheduled a few things so she could spend some time with us. She made a nice breakfast and we just hung out for a while. Before we left we went out to see Grandpa's new calf only to find out he was missing! Grandpa was sure someone had stole him. :) We looked all around the corrals for a while and I finally spotted him as I was walking back to the car. He was just snuggled up taking a nap on some soft grass. If I had the chance to get out of a poop filled corral with BIG bulls to have a nap on soft, clean grass, I would do it too. He was super cute so I snapped a few pictures.

We also got to say hello to Pedro...Grandma's colt. We were glad we got to spend a little time in Corinne. Grandpa's truck was in the shop so we got to give him a ride out to Promontory as well. It was a little out of the way, but it is always nice to drive out there. It was a long drive home after we left so late...and we had to stop at the airport to pick up Ivan's truck. I am surprised Emma did as well as she did the next day at school and at soccer for the first time!
Thanks for stopping by!