Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just in case you've been wondering where we've been...

Dear Friends and Family, 12/20/11
This has been a fun-filled and rewarding year. We got together as a family and came up with the “Top Twelve for 2011.”
1. Matt and Heather took a cruise to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean with some friends. We enjoyed snorkeling, kayaking, and eating. We also fed hundreds of fish with dog biscuits. The kids stayed with their cousins and didn’t miss us.
2. Winter basketball is huge Matthew, Scotty, and Dallin all enjoyed playing. . Since Sierra doesn’t play basketball she focused on piano and earned a trophy for getting three perfect scores over three years in a national piano festival.
3. Scouting is also big in our house. Matt teaches the 11-year olds, Heather was a unit commissioner (stake primary president) so she got to participate in an overnight scout event at a nearby church campground, complete with cabins. It was fun to be up there with Matt, Heather, and Matthew. Scott is now a Bear, and Dallin just started and is a Bobcat. Matthew is working on his Star and is hopes to get his eagle in the next two years.
4. The Easter bunny played a trick on the kids this year. They claim to have stayed up all night, but could not find their baskets anywhere. That clever bunny hid all the baskets in Matt and Heather’s room! They also went on an Easter egg hunt in the back yard. Some of the eggs had money, and others had balloons and candy. Scotty cleaned up and found $15, and poor Matthew only found 1 penny.
5. We took an early camping trip to Goblin Valley. We spent three days hiking through Wild Horse Canyon, exploring the park, and shooting guns. Sierra and Matthew climbed through seemingly impossible holes in caves.
6. Matt bought a red 2009 Yamaha V*1100. It only had 650 miles and came with a spiffy black leather jacket with a glow in the dark skull on the back. We had many rides into the canyon, enjoying the changes of each season.
7. In July our cousins, the Wolfenbargers, spent a couple of weeks at our house. We enjoyed many activities and spent a few days up in Bear Lake at Grandma and Grandpa Conder’s cabin. While there, we took a hike to an abandoned mine where we were almost eaten alive by ravenous mosquitoes.
8. August was our big family vacation to California. Matt and Heather attended their 20 year class reunion. Matt and Matthew both thought the highlight of the trip was surfing together. Lucky Matthew managed to stand up on his very first wave! Heather enjoyed a tour through her house she grew up in and exploring the tide pools at Natural Bridges. Sierra, Scotty, Dallin and Nicole liked the Beach Boardwalk. We also loved visiting old friends and family (although we missed a few) and are grateful to the Branson families for their help and hospitality.
9. Our car broke down in Frisco, Colorado, We bought a new car. Two months later, while at Nicole’s soccer game, Scotty played with the gears in the car and rolled it down a hill. The car took out a cemetery fence. This is on the top twelve because it is the first time since potty training that Scotty has done something naughty. He won’t do that again.
10. Grandma Holly and Grandpa Randall came out to visit in October. We had an early Thanksgiving dinner with the entire family and a perilous hike across an icy trail and bridges to explore the Grotto. We enjoyed having time to visit with them, and especially liked the fact that they had the 18 hour drive and we didn’t!
11. Nicole started kindergarten this year. She goes half day and spends the other half helping Heather teach preschool. She is growing up quickly and is a fun, silly, tomboyish girlie-girl who runs around with a tutu while picking up bugs and examining them with a magnifying glass.
12. Dallin was baptized by Matt in November. We are proud of him for being such a good boy. Heather had a bit of a shock at his interview when she was called to be the ward relief society president (serving the women in church).
As this year comes to a close, we recognize that we have truly been blessed. We are grateful to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a happy new year!
Love the Mendonsa Family:
Matt, Heather, Sierra (14), Matthew (12), Scotty (9), Dallin (8), Nicole (5), Sox the cat, and our three foster dogs: Tinkerbell, Bitsy, and Candy

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dallin's take on the Book of Mormon

Dallin gave me a very informative account today of how Lehi and his family went to Venus. After about five minutes of discussion, I asked him where Venus was. He said it (with a duh, you're so stupid look) that it's right by the water! He continued on, irritated at my interruption, and continued with his description of Venus.

So, for those of you who don't know, Venus does not have a lot of food. You have to use a bow and arrow to hunt, and it's really hard to find the animals. You have to sleep in a tent because they don't build houses in Venus. Some of the people who live there are really mean and like to beat up their little brothers. Their dads get mad at them and tell them that's not nice and they have to say they are sorry. The nice brothers get really strong and have special powers (still not clear exactly what those powers are). People who go to Venus get lost a lot so they have to pray for directions.

After this wonderful version of Lehi's family journey in the WILDERNESS, I asked him if he meant to say wilderness, and he said, "Oh, yeah. That's what it was. But where's Venus? I want to go there on vacation."

I LOVE five year olds and their perspective!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nicole's latest words and observations

Nicole is at the fun age where she is learning how to communicate, but doesn't always quite get the words right. Here are some of her newest comments and phrases.

"I like it when Sissy (Sierra) babysitters me."
"Mom, why is your tummy so high?" (Pointing to my chest)
"I just flurped." What's a flurp? "I don't know. I think I burped, but if might have been a fart."
"A froggy is a ball with the hiccups."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April sneezes lead to wheezes

It's April, and everybody has allergies. We're not sure what the culprit is, but it's something in our back yard and every body is sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and eyes are watering. Other than the minor health issues, we've enjoyed the few spring days that have come so far this year.

Here is our latest news:

  • Thanks to my sister (thanks, Becky) we are now the proud owners of a trampoline. All five children have spent hours every day this week jumping. I love the fact they are outside, and REALLY like the way their appetites have magically risen. Dallin might actually pass Nicole in weight if he keeps eating like this!
  • Sierra turned twelve this month. She had a "Twilight" themed birthday party complete with black and red decorations. I watched her friends with a twinge of sadness. My little girl has been replaced with a tall, thin, and very likeable young woman. Her "toys" now consist of Webkinz, so she can get online and build custom rooms for her pets. Her toys are steadily finding their way into Nicole's toy baskets. She loves going to Young Womens, and has lots of friends in our ward and neighborhood. She finished memorizing the Articles of Faith and will get her Faith in God in church in two weeks. We're proud of her hard work.
  • Matthew is the fastest runner in his class and will be competing in a school wide track meet. He is very excited, and practices running after school. He's under the mistaken impression I'm still faster than him. I don't want to admit he'd beat me in any race, under any condition. It's fun to listen to Matthew talk about his life plans. At this point, he wants to be a professional athlete. He's leaning toward basketball, but knows he'll be really good in football, too (he's never played on a team). The thought of going to college and majoring in anything besides sports is horrifying to him.
  • Scotty is slowly making friends, and is amazing in his ability to remember people's names. He is also talented at continuing to memorize all the basketball stats. He gave me a very detailed, persuasive argument about why the Lakers and the Cavaliers are going to the finals, and the Cavaliers are going to win. Not bad for a six-year old!
  • Dallin is reading, and sounds out all the words he can find. That's fine, unless it's a naughty word on the wall! He told me yesterday that he has a secret to waking up. He blinks his eyes eleven times, and then his eyes don't want to close anymore. We just might try that tomorrow.
  • Nicole loves preschool, and is a social butterfly. When she's not being social, she is a monster, so we're not sure if she's going to be popular or the school outcast. Maybe '4' will determine that. She does everything by herself, tortures her brothers by hitting them with any available object, charms her way into sleeping with her sister at night, and gives us her opinion on any and every subject.
  • Matt is busy with the yard. He has plans made up that will take years to accomplish, but will someday be beautiful. He's currently getting ready to start our garden, which means he comes home with loads of dirt, compost, and other "necessary" ingredients for a garden. He's also enjoying lots of real estate activity. Hopefully, he'll have some closings soon.
  • I've been busy with preschool. Next month I have three field trips, a graduation, and four class parties planned. Then, I have one weekend to finish preparing the next four weeks of teaching eight summer school sessions. To top it all off (as if that's not enough) I'm taking a CERT (community emergency response team) class through the city on Tuesday nights.

We've been blessed with a wonderful home, neighborhood, and a peaceful chapter in our hectic lives. The past year has flown by, school's almost out, and we're ready to plan our summer adventures.

More next month...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring time

It's that wonderful time of year when everything wakes up and shakes off the winter stupor that has been around for so long.

Our back yard is now level and ready to start a garden. The big question these days is what and how much to plant. Our camper is cleaned and ready for its first outing of the year (Moab, this weekend). The grass may actually turn green this week and the trees are definitely getting some buds. our doors and windows are open all afternoon to catch the breezez. I'm so glad we have screen to keep the recently revived flies out!

We spent Saturday afternoon playing at the park, trying to get a sunburn (it didn't work). I suddenly have dusty footprints instead of muddy. The number of friends calling to play has jumped exponentially.

Spring is my favorite time of year!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Basketball Memories

Yesterday I dragged all our children to Matthew's basketball game so we could be a supportive family (Ok, that's not quite true. I wanted see his game, and Sierra was gone so I couldn't leave Nicole).

Matt helped ref the game because Matthew's regular coach was gone for the long weekend. He found time, somehow, to leave work mid-day and be there. I don't think he's ever missed a game, and he works every Saturday!

I filmed the game for about 5 minutes before the battery died. Oops! The last 10 seconds showed Matthew making his first two points (out of 10) for the game! Someday, I'll take the five minutes needed to learn how to download that onto this blog.

As I sat on the bleachers I felt miserable because I have a kidney infection. Nicole and Dallin jumped all over me because brutalizing my body seems to be more fun than running, coloring, or anything else they can do in a gym. I watched Matt coaching the team from the sidelines as my sweet Matthew showed a lot of potential in his future basketball career. He is FAST, and he is short enough the other teams mistakenly overlook him. He uses that to his advantage. He can steal a ball and be well on his way to the basket before anyone knows what happened. He also has a lot of stamina. They play straight through with only a four minute break at half time. He rarely sits out.

Suddenly, a wave of reality hit me. I realized suddenly that Matthew is no longer a little boy. My adorable baby, and the monstrous 3-6 year old I thought would not live to seven is now a 10 year old boy who is growing up faster than I ever wanted him to. I see him every day, so I'm not sure how I've missed this, but I found myself crying in the middle of the game as I realized he will suddenly be leaving the house to go on a two-year mission. I need to prepare myself a little for that! It was a little embarrassing to have to wipe away the runaway tears in the middle of the basketball game, but absolutely necessary.

We have five children, but they are all still little in my eyes (except Sierra, who is only 1/4 inch shorter than me). They are growing up faster than I ever thought possible. And with every naughty deed, and every mess, I have two good memories of how sweet, innocent, and loving my children are. We joke about Life When Our Children Are Grown, but it has always seemed so far away I never thought about what it will really be like. No messes? Cooking for two? A quiet, clean house? I don't think, after eleven years of complaining, that I'm ready for that yet. I love Sierra's artistic endeavors placed all over the house, the smell, sound, and occasional destruction of boys and basketballs running back and forth through the house (that's a rule they consistently ignore!) and Nicole's constant chattering. Those five have given me so much more than they take, and I love each of them. They have truly made our lives complete.

So, I guess I'll have to maintain control of my emotions, get over my kidney infection quickly, and head outside to play basketball while I'm still tall enough to get the ball!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fashion Show

Sierra took these. The dress was made out of a scarf, and it was tied with a hair clip. She's quite the designer! Nicole, naturally, posed while Sierra took about 20 pictures. Note the different designs of the "dress!"

Introducing. . . Matthew

Introducing. . . Matthew
This picture says it all. Matthew has such twinkly eyes when he's being a tease!