Monday, July 15, 2013

May 2013 - Texas Time

"I like you more than Matson."
"When does my mom get back?"
"I love when you swim with us!"
"Matson, you can put your arm back around me."
"Tuck me in and do the tornado!"
"I want Maaatson to sit by me."
"Erica, will you read us just one more book?"
"Can I have my iPad?"
"You're so mean! (cue the stomping down the hallway)"
"Jump us on the tramp!"
"I have a question. I have a question. I have question!"
Then we all say what and she clearly does not have a question but rather a long comment.

Those are just some of the hilarious, sweet, and sometimes not so sweet (but still funny to us) things these fun kiddos said to us while we were there. We went to San Antonio, Texas for 20 days in May and we had a blast! We went to watch some of our family friend's kids while they went to Europe with my parents. We seriously had so much fun with the kids and miss them! As soon as their mom and dad left the partying started! They have an awesome backyard where we swam almost everyday and played a variety of pool games. We also jumped on the trampoline A LOT and I taught the kids some of my favorite "night games".

iPad time happened on the early weekend mornings.
I also got these little girls into Mary Kate and Ashley adventure movies!

Green Monster ride at their grandparent's house.
We loved spending time with these kiddos. They are always up for something fun and they went along with all my shenanigans. Homemade treats, scavenger hunt, Disney charades, and hours spent playing sardines. Even doing the everyday things the kids do like family scripture reading and homework was fun for Matson and I to see.

My scavenger hunt partner and our list!
Once again, Matson and I did our own little reward system that worked like a charm. We did "stars". They got rewards depending on how many stars they got to. They could lose and get stars at anytime and they were handed out and taken away for all types of things. My favorite and only rule about the stars was that they could not remove or add any to their own or anyone else's. If they did, they would go back all the way to zero stars. And yes, even with this rule it still happened. I will be honest that the stars worked better with the three youngest, but it still motivated the older kids.
I thought it was funny that the middle children were always
farther ahead than the youngest and oldest. (Go middle children! I was one too.)
If they got to 5 stars by a certain day they got to be apart of our movie and sleep over night. If they got to 10 stars by our last day they got a reward that they could choose. They all chose out something at Target, except the oldest because he chose a different reward.

Ignore the fact that they are dressed in their PJ's,
but this was when they got to choose out their rewards.
We went to Six Flags, Sea World, and Schlitterbahn with the kids. We loved all the parks. Schlitterbahn though was awesome, Matson and I were surprised at how much fun we even had. The kids had a blast too and of course we made everyone go on everything, which meant that the youngest was crying and throwing tantrums in every line. We put on a little entertainment show for everyone standing around us in line. It went a little something like this...

B*: I don't wanna go on this!

Matson: You can sit right by me, B* and you will be safe.

B*: a little louder I don't wanna go!

Matson: You will be perfectly fine and you know how to swim! This one even goes slower than the last one.

B*: Cue the fake tears I am not going! She falls on Matson and her tube. 

Crowd: Staring.

B*: You can't make me go. dklka#TEARS]fjld;WHIMPERING+ldkaf;kds

Me: Look, B*, there is a baby going down it in her own tube. She is only 2 or 3!

B*'s Older Sister: She's gone on this before.

Me: Matson, just ignore her she has gone on this before and can do it. It's just like a lazy river.

B*: alkd;afjd; I AM NOT GOING aldkhf;ajkjwnnj;f

Matson (to the crowd): She has gone on this before. We just have a little actress on our hands.

Crowd: Instead of judging they are all now laughing as they watch our highly entertaining show.

---------------We go on ride-----------------

B*: That was so fun! Let's go again!

This probably happened 17 times. No joke. And you know what? Even if this crowns me the worst babysitter in the world, I was laughing the whole time. She was like this on any ride we went on and she seriously liked almost every ride we went on the whole 20 days we were there except one roller coaster at Six Flags.

Notice all the kids on the right side.
C* loving it and behind him, his sister is hiding already!

And when it is all said and done, we love these kiddos and miss them. Not only did Matson and I have a ton of fun touring and playing in San Antonio, but also our parenting skills improved big time. We learned the importance of being the good examples, having a lot of family time, disciplining, and how important it is to sit and listen to the kids and what they have to say.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

April 2013 - Runia Famliy

In April we watched the cutest little family while their parents went out of town for a week. Matson and I have done this many times before but this was our first time with a baby. They have four children under 7 and it was challenging but so much fun. This sitting job had some firsts for Matson: first diaper change EVER, first blowout diaper change, first time being peed on, and both our first times experiencing a sick baby not being able to sleep through the night (I am talking about waking up every 15 minutes starting at 2am). That probably means nothing to you super moms out there but it was very tiring for us. And just like you moms, it didn't matter because his little giggles and smiles somehow made you forget that sleepless night before.

I am either the WORST babysitter in the world or a genius.
She refused diaper changes until I whipped out the iPad.
Some stand out experiences from watching this family were the weekend mornings when the kids would wake up so early and come running into our bed. Those little feet walking down the hallway at 6:30 am were probably the worst sounding alarm clock ever. DOOM. So early, but we would turn on a classic Disney movie and all snuggle together. And that was the best, cutest times with this family. Another favorite for the kids was when we went to Provo Beach Resort and the Dinosaur Museum. They loved it. Every time Piper saw a dinosaur she would say, "WHOA! Big! Rawr!"
Mid-week Coldstone trip!
Early morning wake up call.
Cupake decorating, painting, and bath time!
Mini Bowling at Provo Beach Resort. Piper's smile kills me!
Playing with the "Rawrs" (dinosaurs)
Although we had loads of fun, Matson and I did have to do our own discipline plan. We called them "Strikes". The kids had to work together to get them and get them taken away. If they hit 5 strikes then they wouldn't be able to do all the fun things we had planned. It worked like a charm because in the middle of fights or little tantrums you would hear one sibling say to the other, "Stop because we are going to get another stirke!" It helped the kids all work together to be good!

A huge accomplishment was making it through church with them. After sacrament meeting ended, Matson and I literally applauded ourselves. Matson fell asleep with little Thys during church out in the hallway. I couldn't tell which boy was more tired, Matson or Thys? It was too cute.

All the work was so much fun and a wonderful experience for us. We got to experience just a little bit of what we hope our future holds for us. Thanks Runia kiddos!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Winter Semester - 5th Grade

Hey there, it has been a while. I am finally back to blogging after a long hiatus. We have just been so busy and caught up in all the summer fun! So give me a little while as I try to catch up on the past few months. Starting with school...

This past winter semester in school I did my 2nd practicum (like a mini student teaching experience for a month) in 5th grade. I was so nervous to enter into that 5th grade classroom but by recess that day my mind had changed. 10/11 year old girls were not only walking up to my friend Ashley and I to just compliment us and get us to like them, but they were also pretty much pole dancing on these poles at the playground except they didn't name it pole dancing. They were totally oblivious to the whole pole dancing thing but it was hilarious and it was quite entertaining to me. You may call me the worst person in the world for finding humor in 5th grade pole dancing (that isn't really intended to be pole dancing), but if you saw them doing it you would laugh too. Below is a video of Ashley (Mrs. Hulme) trying "pole dancing". Haha.

I was there a month and I had a wonderful experience. Teaching math was a little intimidating especially when you get done teaching a whole lesson and then the students are looking right back at you with the most blank faces. Scariest faces ever. My favorite thing to teach was guided reading. With my group, we read two of my favorites Stargirl and Crash which are both by Jerry Spinelli. I made them cute matching bookmark schedules for each book. For Crash, I also gave them a "Crash Bag" which is a bag that they took home to find things that relate to the book.

On our last day they were all so sad and gave us the sweetest parting gift of hand written notes. Ashley and I gave them little gifts like "Smartie Pants" and fun pencils since they all seemed to struggle with keeping a sharpened pencil. (Copy & Print the "You're So SHARP" here) As we were walking out the door we had a hug train where all the kids stood in a line and each hugged us. So sweet. Moral of the story: 5th graders aren't THAT bad. They are just like my kindergarteners from last semester just a lot smarter and a little more smelly. Haha.