Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grandma GJ & Grandpa Sam.

After many mixed-up conversations with Faye about which Grandma lives where and what Grandpa goes with which Grandma, she finally got to meet her Otto grandparents and figure out who everyone is. It had been an entire year since we had seen them! So she really was just a baby the last time. And they had never met Isla, the toothless, hairless sweetest baby in the world.

I think the best moments of the visit were just some quiet grandparent to grandchild play times.

We visited the San Antonio zoo one day.

Petting and brushing the animals was going well until a pig got annoyed with Faye and jumped up to run by her, snorting. You can imagine Faye's screaming after that episode.

We visited the temple with Rick's parents.

We gave Grandpa Sam a really comfortable spot to take a nap.

Three generations of boys saying their bedtime prayers.

We all enjoyed a wonderful visit!
Getting ready for a kiss.
Well, this is the best we could do.
We hope they come back soon!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Father's Day 2013.

We love our strong, handsome, newly-without-glasses-or-contacts (thank you, Army), hard working, funny, smart, sensitive, sports loving, ALMOST-done-with-intern-year, optimistic, loving, caring, brave, constantly-sacrificing, always-looking-on-the-bright-side, peacemaking, diligent, fun DAD.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

'round here.

We're settling into summer time 'round here. Errands or gym most mornings, sometimes visiting the splash pad on the way out, then pool most afternoons. Workbooks and reading in between. Showers thrown in once or twice a week. Popsicles daily. Library whenever we get tired of the current supply of books.

Rick is about to finish a week of working nights. Oh how I miss that guy! I do really strange things to avoid going to bed alone. One night this week, I scrubbed our glass shower door for a good half hour, and there are still hard water stains on it. I can eat up another thirty minutes rearranging pillows on the couch, or puttering around the house aimlessly. You know I'm caught up on facebook and instagram. And my closet is amazingly organized. I need Rick to get me back to normal life, which includes SLEEP!

Before we wrapped up the school year, Carson participated in his second ever piano recital. Vivaldi's Spring was our favorite this time. I admire Carson's diligence. That kid will work hard and accomplish whatever he sets his mind to do.
We'd been busy and missed a couple days of practicing leading up to the recital. On the big day, I challenged him to play each of his three songs TWENTY times. He had a chart to cross off a number each time he played. He did it!
We thank our lucky stars for an amazing, talented, and FUN piano teacher (and friend!).
End-of-the-year teacher gifts. I was super lame and didn't do much for the teachers around Christmas time, so we tried to do something really nice. We made Carson's teachers these totes. Cute, right? Just painter's tape and fabric paint. He wrote a nice note with fabric markers on the inside. The totes had some goodies inside for summer time. Candy bars for the bus drivers. Granola for the librarian and office staff. I am a little bit terrified to someday have four (plus??) kids in school when doing things like this.

Summer time produce is here!! We're discovering new places downtown to get good, cheap produce. Can I take a minute and complain about San Antonio grocery shopping? I hate HEB. I desperately miss Aldi, Harris Teeter, basically any grocery store besides HEB. Choosing to shop at HEB or Super Wal Mart is a lose-lose. Don't get me started on how HEB's goal is to rip everyone off and get them to buy gross, processed food-like substances. (Hint: those Meal Deals.)
I'm constantly amazed at how different girls are from boys. This is how Miss Chatter Box dresses herself after a bath.
And seriously, she can prance down the stairs and run around in any of my heels.
There just wouldn't be enough giggles and squeals in the house without a little girl or two.
I'm determined to read WITH the boys this summer. Carson could go at it alone all day, but I want to read with him and make sure there's comprehension, too. We're reading The BFG  together, and they are loving it. It's a quirky but good one. I stumble over all the made-up words. Whizzpopper is a great code word, by the way!
And summertime means this girl can basically empty out her dresser drawers. All she needs is a couple of onesies and a swimsuit for those occaisonal times when clothing is necessary. Isla just learned to do "so big;" the kids think it's so fun to have an interactive baby now!
She claps sometimes, too!
How big is that baby?
A friend texted me this picture while babysitting, announcing that Isla can now walk around while pushing something. What?? Good thing we don't have anything on wheels like this at our house!
So, here comes that Texas heat! Bring it on; I am grateful every day that we bought a house right next to a pool!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


For the past month, at church we've been encouraging the kids to do a little family history research. (I get to teach a big group of all the kids, including Carson and Everett.) For the final project, they are creating posters of one ancestor.

Carson looked at his family tree and decided he had to choose someone he was named after, so his poster is on Samuel Brennaman Otto, his great-great grandfather. Carson's Grandpa was too young to remember much of his grandfather, but Rick's two aunts shared some wonderful stories about him. We also did some digging and found some pictures online, including one of his farm after a tornado hit it, which no one seems to know anything about!

The text on his poser is the following (mostly in his words):
He was married three different times because his wives all died before him. First, he married Mary Basting; they had three children. After she died, he married Sarah Baumetz; they had two girls. She died, and Sarah's sister helped him take care of the children. Then, he married that sister, Margaretha, and she had three children (one died as a baby), including my great-grandfather, Raymond Earl. It must have been really hard for him to have all those people he loved die.

He was a farmer, and a tornado once destroyed his barn. It didn't get his house. I think Heavenly Father was protecting his house.

It was said that his farm was one of the “finest improved places in the county, and he devotes it to the raising and feeding of cattle, which are of the best grade.”

He served as school director, was president of the Aurora Elevator Company, president of the Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, president of the Aurora Cooperative Creamery Company, and a member of the executive board of the Hamilton County Farm Bureau. He must have been very busy, and such a hard-worker, to do all those things!

When he was a boy, he and some other kids found a big snake in the yard, and it scared them. He said, “Mother got a long handled shovel and chopped the snake to pieces, all the time saying, “I'll show you! I'll show you!”

Everett chose Marmaduke Page, my mom's grandfather. (With a little suggesting from me.) My mom told Everett some stories via webcam and sent us some great pictures. Hearing Everett tell the story of how Duke Page used to put a beef steak in his baseball glove is incredibly cute. This is what Everett put on his poster:

 Marmaduke was supposed to be named William, but when his dad gave him his baby blessing, he changed it to Marmaduke. Everyone called him Duke.

Duke loved to play baseball. He was the catcher. When his hand hurt from catching, he would put a beef steak in between his hand and the glove.

Duke was going to move East to play in the big leagues, but he would have had to play baseball on Sundays. He made a good choice to start a career instead of playing and working on Sundays.

Duke was a hard worker, and a very smart business man. He owned a company that sold cars. To get people to buy his cars, he put one upside-down in a parade.

Later, he started a bowling alley in Spanish Fork, Utah. This was a new idea in the town, and it was very successful. When my grandma was a little girl, she got to bowl for free all the time. She became a very good bowler and won a national championship on college.
It has really been neat to learn more of where we all came from and what we have to live up to! Both Samuel Brennaman Otto and Duke Page were hard-working, very well-respected men in their communities. I did a poster too; I will have to take a picture of it and share about mine!