Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Annual Christmas Post

It's been forever, and I don't know that I even got a Christmas post up last year. I wanted to update all my friends and family about us. This has been a year of ups and downs. Lots of blessings and peace to help us through. So here are the basics about each person.

Rob--He's still working at NCSSM. It keeps him busy with random stressful emails and work meetings at odd times of the day. He is still serving as 11-year-old scout master. He's had a calling in scouts as long as Beth has been alive, so we are looking at fifteen years. He loves board games and video games and just relaxing at home. His job lets him work from home once or twice a week, which is great. I love having that time with him.

Mim--I've had a busy year. I'm still freelancing from home. I work as a search engine evaluator, freelance writer for The Balance and I teach for the Pathways program through BYU-I. I love teaching there because I get to incorporate the gospel into my lessons and the program really is making a difference in people's lives. I'm currently serving as a temple coordinator for the ward. I am also juggling having three kids in three different schools. Not something I'm a huge fan of.

Elisabeth--Beth started high school this year. It's been a big year for her. She was diagnosed with a widening of the aortic root this year. It was stressful for her because she's old enough to worry about things. Fortunately, it is mild, and all it means is that she has to get checked each year so that they can do something if it starts to get worse. She just turned fifteen and finished driver's ed, and soon will have her permit (which I am totally not ready for).She's likely going to do Wintergaurd this year and she's making friends in high school. She also got braces this year.

Caleb--Caleb started middle school this year and has been a champ at the transition. He rarely fights us with his homework anymore and although he is super ready for the break, I'm really proud of him. He is playing drums in band and has made some great new friends in middle school. He is about to turn twelve and get the Priesthood so big transitions for him.

Jacob--Jacob is plugging along in fourth grade. He loves video games and wants to start a channel where he posts the games he plays with commentary. He also wants to design video games when he wakes up. He's discovered Anime (which we closely monitor). He is our board game champ, and often beats Rob in strategy games. (They are the ones that will play together the most.)

Charlie--We got Charlie last year for Christmas--which is a shocker since I swore we'd never have a dog. He loves to run around with me to pick up the kids and drop them off for school. Two nights ago, Rob woke up to find him at the computer madly typing away. The computer turned on, but Charlie couldn't figure out the password. We think he was looking for something on the desk, but it made Rob laugh.

I've felt incredibly blessed this year. I know that the Lord is watching out for our family, and I'm so grateful for the peace that brings into our lives. I hope you all have a great year!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Visit from Nana and McKayla

At the end of June, my mom and my niece McKayla came out for a visit. The kids were super excited to get to spoil and spend time with McKayla. She's just four years old and was super sweet and pretty shy.

We kept busy that week with a lot of different activities. We were planning on going to the beach on Friday, but that got postponed because McKayla didn't feel too well. So then we tried to play miniature golf but they were closed. Instead we ended up at 5 Below and the kids each got to pick something out. It was a good day overall. When we got home the kids did Play Doh with McKayla and then we went and saw Inside Out. I cried during that movie which is really saying something, since I don't cry that often (more as I get older.)

Then on Saturday we headed to the science and history museums. It was fun. McKayla loved the butterfly room and hated the dinosaurs, and the kids had fun showing everything off to her. My mom loved the history museum but didn't get to spend as long there since the kids were tired. That night Rob and I went out to celebrate our sixteenth anniversary. Time sure goes by fast.

We headed out to the beach on Monday and had a great time playing and relaxing. We didn't let our kids take their boogie boards because of the increased number of shark attacks in North Carolina. It was a nice trip. The water was fairly calm and the kids had fun playing in the sand and water.  It was a good day trip overall. Fortunately, we didn't see any sharks this visit.

On Tuesday we headed to the park to squeeze in some extra time with McKayla and Nana before they left. At the park tragedy struck. The kids found an abandoned kitten and we tried to rescue it, but it wouldn't let anyone get close enough to it to grab it. Rob ended up with poison ivy. And the kitten disappeared into the del undergrowth. When we found it at first, it was so weak, and we could tell it wouldn't make it another full day out there by itself. But it disappeared and even though we looked for a good long while we couldn't find it again. (Just a side note: If you are going to have animals get them fixed or find homes for your kittens and puppies. I'm not an animal person, but it just makes me so angry to think of someone dropping kittens off like that to starve. Don't do it!  Not that any of my friends or family would ever do such a thing.)

Anyway it was a great visit and we were super glad for the chance to get to know McKayla better and to have Nana out after her heart attack. It's good to see that she is doing better overall.

Take care!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Fun Check

We've been out of school for almost two weeks. it got off to a rocky start wight he kids claiming boredom the second day of summer vacation. Ack! I can't handle it. Definitely going to be an adjustment. It's a bit tough right now because we are operating with one car, and we can't do a ton of stuff. Plus it got hot, really fast, several days as high as 100 with the super humidity that comes with living in the south. Yikes.

But things are looking up a bit. This last week, we had several water balloon fights. Caleb informed me that the fun part of the water balloon fight is filling up the balloons. That made me happy because I don't have to do anything. On Saturday Rob got to participate in it and he got soaked!

Lots of video games, and television shows. Beth is reading a lot again (makes this book lover happy.) And the kids are staying up  late, late, late. and they are sleeping in pretty late too. It's so quiet in the mornings. And super noisy at night. Beth's been loving the thunderstorms that are rolling in every night. She told me she missed hearing the thunder.

This summer I'm focusing more on the independence of my kids. I want them to fix more of their snacks, do a few more chores. Basically to become more independent then they currently are.

Case in point: Beth wanted a snack last night after dinner. I told her she was free to make herself one. This was the conversation that followed.

Beth: You know that thing we have to read a lot at church. The one that says you need to nurture your children.
Me: Yes.
Beth: I'm pretty sure that nurture means that you need to feed me.
Me: It means that I teach you how to take care of yourself.
Beth: I think it means that you need to feed me.

It made me laugh, and at least she's getting something out of the all of the discussions on the Proclamation to the Family.

My mom's coming to visit the next week, so we should have some more adventures and fun. Hope you all are enjoying your summer and having fun!

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Bit of My Testimony

The last few months I've been worrying about this and about that. General life worries, things that I felt like I didn't have much control over, or that I should have more control over. I have been praying for guidance, for peace about things and for the strength to get through. I woke up in the middle of the night (as I tend to do when I'm worried) and the words of a hymn popped in my mind. And I knew without a doubt that this was the Lord's way of whispering peace into my heart and mind. My favorite part of this experience is that the words were not a chorus or a first verse, but the third verse of How Firm a Foundation:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

And I've had no troubles sleeping since that happened. I just felt like I needed to share with others and recognize God's love in my life, and that he does answer our prayers and watch out for us.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

An Update on the Caldwell Front

I haven't been blogging on a regular basis, in part because our family hasn't been having our regular Saturday adventures. I think it's likely the nature of your kids growing up and doing things with friends, with school, with church with Scouts on Saturdays. It's harder to hold onto that time we have together and it makes it infinitely more precious.

Not to mention that I'm usually plumb tuckered out by the time Sunday rolls around and I have time to blog. A Sunday afternoon nap often takes precedence over updating.  Sad but so very true. The kids are doing well. Caleb and Jacob bought a four square ball with their own money a while ago, and so four square has become a very common activity, in the mornings while waiting for the bus and then in the evenings when they can barely see outside. It's not gotten super hot yet, which means it's still bearable to be outside. It's actually been cooler most of the spring (it's still warm, but like 80s warm instead of 90s and up).

Beth has started babysitting more and she adores it. She told me she likes to babysit because she gets to spend the time playing make believe, which she doesn't get to do with her friends anymore. Being in seventh grade will do that to a child. But she's great with kids and super responsible and happy to do it.

Rob and Caleb got to go on Caleb's beach field trip the first Friday in May. It was an all day trip with them getting to the school before 6:00 a.m and then home after 10:00 p.m. The next day they had a camporee which was another day of being gone from about 7:00 a.m until 10:00 p.m. Caleb had fun, but was cranky when I saw him. Rob was exhausted too.

The weekend before that Rob got to go to Merlefest with his friends and listen to some folk music. He had a lot of fun and found a new band. (new to him, they are actually well established older musicians.). Rob's been called as Caleb's Webelos leader and it's nice to see them working together on that.

Jacob is doing well. He does really well at school, and loves mine craft and youtube. He told me that he wants to start learning code today. So I think we need to find him a website. It's a must if he wants to pursue his dream career of designing video games. He has a knack for solving puzzles and such so I think it may be a good fit for him, even if it is super competitive.

I don't have much news about myself. I injured my thumb and I've been wearing a stupid plastic splint for the last month. Rob says it looks like Jason's hockey mask. It's likely arthritis, so nothing too traumatic, but it's still not healing. I go back to the doctor in the next week or two. That along with my familial tremor (you know the way I always shake) getting worse has made me think about my abilities and what exactly I'm going to be capable of accomplishing when I'm older. I'm already at a point when I won't eat in public anymore--I'm just too messy. And I think that I'm going to eventually need adaptive technology like voice recognition software. All of it makes me so grateful that I live now, where there is so much technology available to make life easier and to make dealing with this kind of thing much easier.

Today in Sunday school we had a lesson on thp Prodigal son and the lost sheep.  I thought a lot about people I know who have been lost in one sense or another, and how there are always people who desperately want to to find them and help them. The world has become increasingly noisy, and I think it's so easy to lose your way or to become overwhelmed by the things that you have available to you. But most of all I thought about how much the Savior loves each of us, right where we are, no matter what we are doing or where we are headed. He is aware of us and watching out for us.

Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter, Winter Go Away

I've lived-in North Carolina for nearly 15 years. Most of those years, we've maybe had one snow storm, that would last a day, everything would melt and we would go happily on our way. One year about six years ago there were maybe two storms. Last year, we had two storms missed close to week's worth of school for each, but they were spread more apart. This year, we've had so many, and I'm so done. Two weeks ago we had an ice storm followed by a freezing spell so nothing melted and we missed four days of school. Then this last week we had an unexpected storm on Tuesday, we missed Wednesday while everything melted and then we had another storm on Thursday. And nothing has melted, and we had a freezing rain event today that canceled church. But the last week we also had some bug, first Beth, then Rob, then Caleb. Today I started with the cough and the aches and pains. It lasts about four days. And on Thursday, we are likely to get snow again. It's March.

March means spring. Not cold and snow. Come on!

Okay rant over. Other than me going a bit stir crazy and the bout of illness, we are doing well, being happy, and overall okay.  Hope everyone else is having a great week!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fun Update

We are getting back into the swing of things after Christmas break. The kids went to a week of school and then we pulled them out for two days to go to Great Wolf Lodge. It was of course a lot of fun. Caleb was big enough to go on the Tornado finally. And he loved it. Jacob loved hanging out in the wave pool. All of the kids lips were blue the whole time, so even though it felt warm in there, it was a bit cold.

The best part of the trip was turning on Veggie Tales and singing along on the trip there. Although the kids have all outgrown the cartoon, the Silly Songs with Larry stand the test of time for fun things to sing along to. Then we listed to Fruit Salad by the Wiggles. And it was fun. On the way home the kids requested the songs again. Sometimes it is nice to see them still enjoying the things they did when they were younger.

The kids have the next two days off of school. Martin Luther King Day and teacher work day. Last week we had a two hour delay twice. I feel like school isn't happening so much. But the kids are enjoying the relaxed schedule.

This week Jacob turns eight. Tomorrow. And on Saturday Caleb turns ten. It's a bit disconcerting to have my baby turn eight. He gets to start cub scouts, and get baptized and all that stuff. Good times. We are being fairly mellow for birthdays this year.

Well that's our basic update! Have a great week!

PS I want to go around and take pictures of my house just because it's finally clean in every room. Usually I get one room really clean (like deep clean) and by the time I get the next one finished, it's a mess again. You won't trip on anything no matter where you go in my house right now. I'm super proud!