{ House Update-Framing }

After the first month of building flew by, we were ready for the second month to go quickly as well. It went by quick, but there seemed to be SO much more done on the house. It is really starting to take shape, and it’s amazing to see something 2D drawn on paper come to life. We are already learning what sorts of things are just part of the process, and have definitely learned some things for the future. So far, we are in love! We just love how everything is turning out.

Our daily visits have continued as everyday brings something new.We often play a little game to try and guess everything they did that day. We walk through the house imaging all the fun we will have there. The kids have enjoyed seeing their own spaces come to be a reality. It really has been a magical experience.

I am finding that taking too many pictures of it is impossible. It’s exciting all over again when I go back and look at pictures of them building. Maybe it’s just first time builders syndrome, but I will take it whatever it is. We have also been making a paper house that hangs on our wall that we update as they complete each step. We add a little phrase that relates to our spiritual home along with a scripture too. For our foundation it says ,”Our home is built on the Savior Jesus Christ”. There is a picture of the Savior and a scripture too. For the walls we put up strips of paper for the framing walls and the kids all week wrote on them things that they noticed others doing to support them. I also had them tell me different ways we could support each other. We talked about what it means to support each other both physically and spiritually. Here are the things they said they could do to support each other:

Brianna-“Go to watch each others activities.”

Austin-“If someone is sick you could pray for them and read them books.”

Brooke-“ If someone was sad, someone else could give them something. Like if I was sad, Brianna could make me cookies.”

Erika- “You could write special notes and leave them in their lunch box or another special place.”

Abby-“Say happy stuff to them like, ‘you’re pretty’ and they’ll smile.”

Scott-“Soccer can make someone happy".( I would argue Aaron paid him to say that, but he wasn’t even home at the time. Yes, Scott, soccer makes us very happy!

I have loved the building process for this fact alone-just the comparisons to our own spiritual homes. It has strengthened us to see that in everything we do, even building a home, there are ways our spirits can grow and learn. We just feel so blessed for this time in our lives.

Day 34-Poured slab. Really cool to see them smooth it out with this really long squeegee thing. They also sanded it down with these large sanders, much like what you would a wood floor.

cement truck 2 blog smoothing slab blog sanding smooth slab blog

 Day 39 & 40-Frame bottom floor. We only made one change-we combined the laundry room and mudroom into one large room. 1st floor start framing blog

first floor first day blog

kitchen framed blog   Our future kitchen and pantry1st floor frame complete blog

 Day 41,42, & 43-Build beams for second floor, built stairs, and start 2nd floor. The stairs being built was huge for the kids. They were so excited! They have been asking us for years if we could have a “stair house”. Today they got a stair house. Our builder was very concerned about them going up there until they had walls. We let them each go up once with an adult to see the view. It was exciting, but a little scary without walls. Erika didn’t like walking up the stairs because they had “holes’ in them-the front part had a hole there.

second floor flooring blog

back view of house framed blog

View from the back of the house

kids on framed stairs blogOne of my all time favorite pictures from the house. We have stair step kids-literally now.

Austin and Brianna on second floor blog

kids on bottom floor blog

HVAC holes blog

I was clueless as to what all those holes were in the ceiling. I have now been educated that that is where the heating and air conditioning pipes will go. Who knew.

 back yard view blog

A view of the back yard from the top floor rec room area. I love our big backyard. We will end up taking down those small pine trees and have grass there. We can’t wait to have a place to run and play again.

Day 46-49-Built the roof over main house and garage. I couldn’t believe how high they were. I am not a fan of heights so it totally made me nervous for them. No changes from the plans upstairs except they were able to make the rec room ceiling taller.

front gable roof blog tall roof framed blog garage blog

 Day 50 & 51-Finish plywood around whole house. Add black felt for shingles to roof. It was so hot during these days. I felt so bad for the workers. We would bring them coolers with Gatorades and some donuts to keep them going.

plywood on side of house blog

house complete framed blog

  Day 54-Install windows and front door unit.

curved windows blog front door with transoms blog 

We took the kids there before they installed all the windows. I love how much natural light we will have in this house. If you don’t have enough windows for all your kids to each have their own…

kids in windows blog …then not enough windows I say.

family pic rec room framed blog

From the upstairs rec room window.

Day 55-Ready for shingles, cornices to be built, and inside work.house wrapped blog


{ End of School Activities }

Lots of end of the school year activities as usual. The kids participated in field day, their awards ceremonies, and had end of the year ice cream parties. Here are a few pictures from those.

Field Day

Erika field game blog

Brooke and Abby game blog  Brooke and Abby at field day blogBrooke and Erika were nice to let Abby do all the games with them. They would lead her around and protect her from the “mean kids”. The boys loved getting to go to watch the big kids at their field day. I can finally put them both in the stroller without too much “baby hitting” from Scott. Ryan just adores him. He just watches everything he does-sometimes giggles, but mostly just watches him so intently. Taking mental notes I am sure for how to act like a silly two year old when the time comes.

boys at field day blog boys be silly blog Ryan at field day blog

Erika’s Kindergarten Awards Ceremony

Erika at school program blogErika with kindergarten teacher blog Erika has loved kindergarten this year. She was a little nervous because she went to Pre-K at a different school and was worried that she wouldn’t know anyone at Mathews. She made friends quickly though and loved her sweet teacher. At their awards ceremony they sang some cute songs, got awards for reading, writing stories, and other special talents she noticed in each of the kids.

Brooke’s Ice Cream Party

Brooke and Olivia blog

Brooke with her friend Olivia on the last day of school. Olivia left right from school to move to Colorado. Brooke has really missed her. I found a note she wrote in her journal about how much she missed her. We were sad to see her go.

Brooke with teacher 2nd grade blog Brooke LOVED her 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Hood. Her teacher was pregnant and had her baby about 6 weeks before I had Ryan. She ended up being on maternity leave until after Christmas break. They had a series of substitutes in the classroom, and Brooke would count down the days until she came back. She just seemed to click so good with Mrs. Hood. Her teacher is really creative and came up with the cutest activities-that went a long way with Brooke.

The one activity I loved was when they read a book as a class about a baseball team and an umpire. They had to do the regular writing activities, and drew some pictures, but then they made these fun trading cards. She had the parents help the kids fill out information sheets about themselves that included height, weight, hair and eye color, hobbies, talents, etc. Then in class she took a picture of each of the children in front of a plain background with either a baseball cap, a ball glove, or holding a bat. Then she cut out the picture and made the background a baseball field. She printed a bigger 5 x7 one for each of the kids and then about 5 smaller wallet sized ones. She had the kids write their “stats” on the back and then she laminated them all. They had a class party where the kids got to trade their cards with their friends. So creative.

Austin and Brianna also attended their awards ceremonies. Austin had a special 5th grade graduation ceremony that Aaron went to, and I went to Brianna’s awards ceremony. I haven’t exactly figured out how we are going to man attending all of our kids ceremonies as we get more kids in school. It has been crazy coordinating them all-a lot of which happened on the same day and same time. We are so proud of each of our kids. We love that they love to learn and always try their hardest in school. We closed out the year by going to the store so they could each get a report card treat for all their hard work. It’s a tradition they love at every report card period, and one we love too. $5 for 9 weeks of good grades-a bargain if you ask me.


{ Our Toothless Wonder}

Toothless Erika blog

I love a toothless grin!


{ Life As An 11 Year Old }

Austin 11 year old picture smiling blog

Life as an 11 year old goes a little something like this…

  • You still sport that cute dimple of yours
  • For your birthday you got some clothes, an iTunes gift card, and money to go buy your own clothes
  • You are really into music-your favorite song for right now is Fireflies by Owl City
  • You are trying out a new hairdo
  • You still love playing soccer-you like to watch utube videos on how to do new tricks and moves
  • You are graduating from elementary school and will be a Middle schooler in the fall
  • You like to play outside with your neighborhood friends on the trampoline or riding the Ripstick
  • You get to go to 11 year old Scouts
  • You have a great sense of humor-you’re always making us laugh with your witty jokes
  • You are very grateful and look for opportunities to say Thank You
  • You love to make 550 cord bracelets
  • Outside is still your favorite place to be
  • You are very loved by your family!

Austin 11 year pictures 1 blog

Austin sunglasses blog 

Happy Birthday Austin!


{The Cultural Celebration}

At the end of April all of the youth in the Atlanta Temple district got to participate in the Southern Lights Cultural Celebration for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple. Brianna, along with the rest of the youth in the stake, practiced for the last two months in preparation for this special occasion. Wednesday night activities and some Fridays were spent dancing to learn to routine, and perfecting their dance they would perform for the prophet.

Several women in the ward, myself included, spent many hours sewing costumes for them to wear. They turned out really cute, and it felt like such a bonding experience to all be working together for this special time for the youth. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience for them.

The performance was at a small venue where only a few thousand could fit, so only one ticket per child performing was passed out. Aaron went up to Atlanta along with the other youth in our ward, and the kids and I got to watch all of the performances at the church building where they had it broadcast live. Thank you Mychel-Anne for all the great pictures you shared with us. Most of the pictures here were from her. Thanks!

Here is details about the special night in Brianna’s own words:

“On Friday I checked out of school and met some people somewhere so that we could all car pool up to Atlanta. On the way up there we played, “Would you Rather..” and watched part of Secretariat. The Celebration would be at the Atlanta Civic Center so we went there and when we got there we got on our costumes. Our stake were cheerleaders and football players.

When we got inside we had to follow blue tape to this huge tent. Inside the tent they divided the tent into sections. One section was for all the cheerleaders, one was for all the football players, and so on.

The plan was on Friday for us to go through the whole thing 2 times, so we got there around 4 and we stayed there until about 12 midnight that night.

At the very beginning of the show some of the youth walked in the audience and sang while some people were on the stage. Not all the youth went in the first time because in this celebration there were thousands of youth participating.  So when we did that we had to wait in these long lines to get in and sing and when we did we had to full on sprint in there and run out and in again and again.

When we were done with that we had to wait in our tents for like 4 hours to finally do our dance.  When we were waiting we just walked around outside and talked and visited.

Brianna Pictures 2011 Cultural Celebration and more 001 We were getting kind of silly and crazy as you can see with Hailey.

 Brianna Pictures 2011 Cultural Celebration and more 003


Brianna Pictures 2011 Cultural Celebration and more 004

When we were waiting Mychel-Anne (an older sister of 2 youth members participating in the celebration) came and we took pictures together. 



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    Young Women being silly!!!

P.S We had bicycle shorts underneath our skirts!




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   Young Men being silly!!




We got so tired that we wanted to leave!!!img_0713


When we went home that night some of us only got a couple of hours of sleep.

I stayed in a hotel with a couple of other people from our ward. Even though we didn’t have to go back to the civic center until 2:00pm we still had to have breakfast, take showers, go buy lunch and dinner, and of course go to the mall!!

When we got back from the mall, we went to the civic center and we went through the whole thing 1 time and then it was time for the actual thing.

That night everyone was nervous. First the prophet spoke and then the show began. We went in there and sang and we had to wait in the tent for awhile and then it was our turn to perform.

When we were done we went home!!

This was a great experience and it was great to be able to meet other people with our same standards and to be able to perform in for the prophet!!”