Saturday, November 08, 2008

Halloween Night--the Kids!

Halloween night was a lot of fun for all of us. Cary and Warren brought their 4 cuties down to our area, where we combined with the Howards, the Roses, the Dunns, and for a while the Harmons, to make our our trek through our neighborhood. We actually didn't hit quite as many homes this year as we did last year, but it was still fun and the kids still managed to come home with a load of sweet stuff--which we have been carefully portioning out in small, controlled amounts since. =) Our last stop was at the Dunn's, where we all hung out and talked outside while enjoying some homemade rootbeer (and a few pilfered treats--shhhh!) Aaah, and it's only the start of the holiday season. =)

Aaron "fighting the bad guys" on Halloween night as a firefighter.

Princess Sarah waving to her fans.

Aaron loved the Howard's red wagon and insisted that he hop in between every house, even though the next house was only a few steps away! I guess this was his version of the red firetruck!

Sarah and Spencer sat down and examined their finds once we got down to our final destination--the Dunn's home.

Posted by Picasa

Halloween Night--the Big Kids!

The adults had almost as much fun as the kids, which is usually the case. Peep decided to wax nostalgic and go as a younger version of herself--an award-winning gymnast (hence the medal around her neck), and I decided to wax prophetic and go as a queen. Oh, wait, maybe that's getting ahead of myself. =)

This picture was supposed to be of the three girls, but our picture got crashed by Jamie in the back. Oh, well, it's a good thing we like him!

Me and Cary--no picture crashers this time.

The boys--don't ask me what Jon was doing in this picture!

The girls outside of Tami and Jamie's house.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Carving the Pumpkin

Jon did a great job carving our Halloween pumpkin. The kids were fascinated, watching everything Daddy did. Just as a word of note, the second picture, with me, Sarah, and Jon, was taken by Aaron. Not too bad of a photographer for a 4-year old!

Posted by Picasa

Field Trip to Schnepf Farms

On Halloween, I had an opportunity (thanks to the 3rd grade team) to take my kids on a super fun field trip to Schnepf Farms. What made this trip extra fun was that during October, Schnepf Farms has their big Fall Festival, with all their rides and shows (including pig races, my kids' favorite!) open. The kids and teachers were invited to wear their costumes, and wanting to keep in the spirit of the holiday, but not wanting to don my complete Queen attire for a whole day on the farm in 95 degree heat, I opted to go as a less constricting black cat. I thought my homemade ears came out particularly cute. =)

The other teachers all got enough chaperones to basically take the day off from kid supervision, but I chose to spend the day living it up with my favorite 14. Although the weather was hot, the kids were whiny, and we did have one minor heart-stopper--I lost one of my 1st graders in the corn maze for 20 minutes!--I still think everyone had a fun time and I still would have chosen to spend the day with my kids instead of completely pawning them off on chaperones. But a few extra sets of hands (eyes, ears, etc.) could have come in handy, though. Maybe next field trip, I think I'll do some things a little differently.

Okay, so maybe the rides weren't Six Flags worthy, but it sure beat a day of reading and writing!

During the Pig Races, individuals were chosen from the audience to come up and "represent" one of the racing pigs. Ironically, someone from my class (including me!) was chosen for each of the 4 races, and 3 out of 4 races, we won! (Okay, I was the only one who didn't represent a winning pot-belly.) My 3 girls each won pig noses for their swift swine, which they wore with pride. =)

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trunk or Treat and Chili Cook-off!

Saturday, October 25, our ward had its annual Halloween Chili Cookoff and Trunk or Treat. As always, it was SOOO much fun, but even more importantly, out of over 20+ chili entries from our ward, I came in 2nd with my already prize-winning white chicken chili! Okay, it wasn't 1st place this time, but considering the greater number of entries I was competing against (some that included white chicken chili, so I didn't win this time on the novelty of my non-beef and tomato chili), I felt pretty good about my culinary accomplishment! Woo-hoo! In the picture, I'm holding my prize, a bottle of Tabasco sauce. Okay, so we don't use Tabasco sauce, but I may have to display it on some shelf anyway, so it's just as well. =)

As you can see, Sarah and I had a whole costume theme going--I was a queen and she was my princess. Yes, we felt very royal. Too bad we couldn' find Aaron's knight costume that he wore a couple of years ago, but he sure looked cute in his fireman costume. Sorry I don't have any pics of him--he was having too much fun to sit still long enough for something as mundane as a picture! And Jon opted not to dress up this year, going as his everyday World's Best Husband and Father. I know...what a cop-out! =)

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday, Rebekah!

Okay, so even though Rebekah's actual birthday isn't until next week, we did the big Girls' Night celebration tonight. Following what has become our usual format, we started the night at Pei Wei (gotta love that Mongolian Beef and Brocolli!), and ended the night with a giant Pizookie at BJ's. It was so fun to see some of our friends like Darice and Nicole that we haven't seen for a while. (Seeing how big Nicole's "baby" is reminded us what horrible friends we've all been for not getting together sooner!) The whole night was a ton of fun, but all of it was just to celebrate Rebekah's big 3-0! I think having me and Hilari hit 30 first kinda eased the blow for her--she's finally catching up to the big kids. (Okay, so I hit 30 a while ago, but who's counting?) Well, Happy 30th Birthday, Rebekah! We all love you!

Halloween Fun!

Rebekah, Hilari, and I just couldn't wait until Halloween to get our cute kids all dressed up together (that, and I was off from work this week!), so we had a fun little Halloween party for them this morning. Aaron and Sarah, my fireman and princess, loved being dressed up and were so cute in their costumes. All the kids got to decorate goody bags, played musical chairs, decorated their own pumpkin and ghost sugar cookies (which turned out delicious--I'm so proud!), and munched on "mummy" dogs for lunch. Of course, our kids rarely need any organized activities to have a good time together, so they spent the rest of the time running around the house and yard entertaining one another. It was just such a great morning! =)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My ELD Class

So, we may not have won Spirit Week, but we sure came in close! My class did awesome dressing up for all the Spirit Week days--crazy hair, hat, socks, pajamas (my favorite!), and sports jersey (go Y!). I've included a couple of fun pics from my class. Man, I love these kids!

Here's the whole group--yes, they always have this much energy. =)

Sports Jersey Day--those without pinned paper jersey numbers to their backs.

Pajama Day--this really should be everyday. =)

Crazy Hat Day--gotta love the black with orange feathers!

Time flies...

Wow, I can't believe another month has flown by. So, I've officially finished my first quarter teaching ELD 1-6 (yes, I have 1st through 6th grade all in the same class--guess you can call me Laura Ingalls Wilder in my one-room school house), but it has been fun. A crazy whirlwind, but fun. I finished all my parent/teacher conferences on Friday afternoon, and they all went great. Big surprise--one of the kids I've been having the hardest time dealing with this quarter (one of my first graders) is....AUTISTIC. Yep, that explains A LOT. Kinda wish I would have known that earlier. Well, at least that will help me approach him a little differently moving forward.

Well, enough about my school kids, the best part is that now I'm on a week of Fall Break, and get to spend every waking moment with MY kids (insert Happy Dance here!) I mean, I hate to brag and all, but does everyone realize just how cute my kids are? I know Jon does, but I guess he's a little biased, too. But really, do kids really come this darn adorable? Sarah has been cracking me up this whole week, and Aaron is as darling as they come. I have to admit--I really do feel blessed.

Moving from one biased topic to another, my cute husband just finished his Fall break and went back to work this week (lousy timing), but at least he got to spend his break working near me. Jon needed to finish his observation hours for his Master's program, so I hooked him up with my district's head counselor, Maria. Jon had an amazing experience working with her for two weeks, and may seriously be considering leaving high school Spanish teaching for elementary counseling. The only holdback right now is, of course, economics, but we'll have to see. Long-term, this is something he'd love to do.

Speaking of long-term, it seems my long-term plans may be changing a little. I always knew I wanted to go back and get my Master's (and Jon just happened to do the exact program I want to do), but we might be looking at moving up the timeline a bit and having me go back to school starting in January. It would be a whole lot of busy and a whole lot of crazy, but it kinda makes sense, too. I'll keep you posted on what we decide.

In the meantime, we're both still teaching, Jon and I are finishing up our Ironman Triathalon challenge (we're almost there!), and I'm getting ready for my 3rd Primary Program as the Primary president. This year Aaron gets to be in it!!

I'll be posting some more pics soon from some of our fun-filled activities this last month. Make sure you check back at the end of this month--I'm sure our Halloween pics will be worth checking out!

Monday, September 01, 2008

August--whew...we made it!

Sorry it's been a while since I've updated, but life sure got busy the second August hit! Just a quick update on all the Coombs family:

Jon: Jon's back to teaching at Basha high school and is having a great year. Although he's been enjoying having a prep period this year (giving him a little more time during the school day), he's needed that extra time because he is also in the middle of writing his thesis and trying to get his observation hours done for his Master's class . That certainly has been keeping him busy! If things go well, though, he should be completely done with his whole Master's program (thesis included!) by December. Yaaay!!!

Heather: Okay, so I've been UBER-busy this last month. I managed to get myself wrangled into a long-term teaching assignment this year, with very unusual circumstances. I'm teaching ELD (English Language Development) for grades 1-6, a class that no other teacher wanted due to its inherent challenges. It's an inclusion class, which means my students are with me all day, except when I send them out to their grade level for math, which has been a scheduling nightmare in itself. Not only is it challenging due to the diverse grades levels I have, but even within those grades levels they are at very diverse language abilities. I have some students that are reading/writing at a 4th grade level (inlcuding my 6th graders), while I have others that don't even know their alphabet sounds! (My 2-year old knows most of her alphabet sounds!) So basically I have to prepare about 3-4 different lesson plans for every day! I have 14 students at the moment (it changes weekly as they discover new students that should be in my class). Oh, and the kicker of it all--because it's a brand new program in the state of Arizona, there are no books, no curriculum, no previous teacher or lesson plans to follow--so, basically I'm making this up as I go along! It's been a challenge, to say the least, but it's been fun, as well. The one nice thing about having no precedence to follow--I also have no one telling me I'm doing it wrong!

In addition to teaching full-time, I also started teaching a cardio step and toning class on Monday nights at the Copper Basin YMCA, our local gym. I've been having a blast, so anyone reading this in Queen Creek--come out on Monday nights from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m and join us! The class is a lot of fun, and I promise to give you a REALLY good workout! =)

Good thing we got rid of the TV! Whatever time I have left after teaching, lesson-planning, grading, working out at the gym, playing with friends, and doing my primary stuff (which has been keeping me rather busy lately with teacher-training, activities, meetings, baptisms, and just keeping my teachers in place!), is spent adoring my sweet children and husband. I really wish I had more time with them, but I do try make our time together as quality as possible!

Oh, yeah, I did find time to finish the last book of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, as well! Yes, I loved it. =)

Aaron: My big 4-year old has had a busy month, too! He turned 4 on August 20th, and we had a big party for him with all his friends, a pinata, games, art project, and of course, pizza, cake and ice cream! It was a lot of fun for everyone, except for the cleaning crew (i.e. Jon and Heather) that had to reassemble my house after being rampaged by 10 kids between the ages of 2 and 5. But it sure was worth it to see how much fun Aaron had!

Aaron's also back in school now. He goes to a special-needs preschool for his speech delay 4 days a week for 3 hours a day at a local elementary school . He has a great teacher and really loves it, but his favorite part--he gets to ride the bus!! This is a good thing that he thinks the bus is the coolest part of his day, because unfortunately, he's the first to get picked up and the last to get dropped off on his route, keeping him on the bus for almost 2 hours a day. Poor guy--but like I said, he loves it.

Aaron continues to be an angel child and really is so much fun and so easy to love and adore. His speech is improving by leaps and bounds and he continues to be a head taller than most of his friends. It's just fun watching all the ways he continues to grow!

Sarah: Sarah is always the life of the party. Her speech is quickly catching up to her brother's and she is getting pretty good with her numbers and letters. She loves being the center of attention, hates bugs and pretty much all animals, loves dresses and anything girly, and makes us all laugh daily. Our biggest struggle with her right now--just trying to get her to go to sleep. We've tried everything, but that's our biggest fight with her. For the last several months, she's simply cried herself to sleep on the floor behind her door. I can't even remember the last time she actually slept in her bed. If you have any suggestions (although we've probably already tried it!), we'd love to hear what's worked for others!

So, that's the update! I'm posting some pictures of Aaron's birthday, our trip to the Arizona Museum of Youth (so fun!), and our super-fun night at Can o' Frags (Derek's all-night game-a-palooza which includes all things gaming--computers, WII, X-box, and my favorite--Rock Band). It's been a fun, albeit busy, month here for the Coombs. Hope to hear from you all soon!

Aaron's 4th Birthday

Art project--each child got to decorate their own plate. We had them trace around 4 of their fingers of their handprint for Aaron's "4th" birthday!

Everyone got to get some good whacks in on the pinata. I think Josh actually made the final blow--although watch out for Colton and Bryce! Those guys are headed for the major league!

Present time--Aaron got some great stuff, including cars, puzzles, Moon Sand (uh, thanks Peep, I guess.), some knight figurines, and this favorite from his Grandma Judi--a remote-controlled dinosaur! Unfortunately, it didn't work, but it was still a hit.

All the kids had fun playing with Aaron's gifts.

Surprisingly, some of the kids were too interested in the toys to stop and eat cake--not these guys! They're happily waiting for their slices.

CoFLan (or Super Fun Game Night at the Roses!)

Here's some pics from Derek's first ever Can o' Frags Super Game Night. Why was it a SUPER game night? Well, not only did they expand their gaming repetoire to include Wii and Rock Band, they also invited the wives. Yes, we wives do tend to make everything super. =) Anyway, it was a HUGE success, tons of fun, and enjoyed immensely by all. Okay, it was enjoyed immensely by me, but, hey, I'm writing this blog, so I'm assuming fun was had by all. The next one is this coming Friday, September 5th--hope to see you all there! (If you know the Roses, you're probably invited. If you don't know the Roses, but just think that a great night of good clean fun sounds right up your alley, then you're probably still invited.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Carpenter Family Reunion

Friday, July 25, 2008

A month of Reunions!

Well, starting with the return of Mom and Dad Coombs from their mission in England, July has been a huge month of reunions for us. Before Mom and Dad Coombs had even left Arizona, Jon and I took off for a 2-day drive up to Washington State for my family's huge extended reunion. It was by far the longest car ride we've taken since we've been married, and we were a little leery of how our Sarah and Aaron were going to handle the trip, but the two 15-hour days of driving actually went really well, thanks in large part to a portable DVD player in the back for the kids and The Chronicles of Narnia book-on-CD for me and Jon in the front.

This was actually the first time we had gone to visit my mom since she moved to Washington State a few years ago. My mom lives on 10-acres of picturesque forest in a small town called Newport, just over the border from Idaho. It was BEAUTIFUL. Literally, every view should be in a calendar. Unfortunately, it did nothing for our discontent with the dry, hot, brown state we call home, but that's a whole other blog.

Anyway, my side of the family (from Grandma Berta down) has a huge family reunion every other year, and this year, my mom decided to plan and host the event. My sister and I arrived a few days before the reunion to help finish all the last minute details (meals, activities, organization, etc.), and by the time all our aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. arrived, the reunion practically ran itself. We were all staying in a fabulous Bed and Breakfast owned by a family in my mom's ward, and it was so fun to reconnect and enjoy being with all my great family. Okay, so my family is crazy, but I guess that's what makes us so endearing.

One of the biggest highlights was Friday, when we got to spend the entire day at Diamond lake, just down the highway from my mom's house. Another family in her ward owns a beautiful lake house with all the toys--kayaks, floats, a dock, a canoe, etc.--and add in my parents' boat, it was a perfect day. Check out all the great pics in the slide show!

Another memorable moment for all of us was the great family testimony meeting we held Saturday night. How amazing it was to hear the testimonies and feel the spirit of my wonderful extended family! It was also a true testament to the power of one righteous example--despite many ups and downs in her life, my Grandma has always been quite a rock of righteousness and has an impressive legacy of stalwart Saints to her credit. I can only hope to one day sit in a room with all my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and feel the strength of their testimonies filling the room.

The rest of the reunion was spent with chatting, card-playing, eating (of course!), and exploring the cute town of Newport, WA. We also played a great "Carpenter Family Feud" game, which I hosted, and unfortunately the Parmalees won. (We all know they're just a bunch of cheaters, anyway. =) Hee, hee!)

We extended the trip home to three days, which gave us a chance to stop by Provo and have lunch at Los Hermanos with one of my old college roommates, Missy. It was so fun to see her and catch up with all the old Alta people she's stayed in contact with over the years. (Living in Utah valley helps facilitate staying in contact with people, I've noticed.) We also stayed the night in St. George with Jon's family and had a fun dinner and night of games with all the St. George Coombs.

So, in the course of 2 weeks, we got to see almost all of our family on both sides, with the exception of Mark and Jenn's families, and an old roommate. Don't you just love reunions!