Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Day!

Well, we’re back at it…school that is! Boy howdy the summer days go way too fast if you ask me (but I do love our school calendar which gives us 2 weeks of vacation time in October, 3 for Christmas, and 2 for Spring Break).

There was much reluctance coming from my boys with the start of the school year and all the "newness" that comes with it (especially Nathan) yet total excitement from Baylee, knowing she was about to embark in some pretty cool “big” girl things…a new building on campus and being in the iPad class!

So here they are. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the totally adorable and forever loved students...

My 1st grader!
(He picked out a "must have" Tom and Jerry shirt and Vans (shoes) like Nathan. He's most excited about being on the "big kid" playground with his brother and sister.)

...and our 3rd grader!

(Check out his first time sporting his "rolling backpack"...a privilege in our family once you become a 3rd grader.)

...and our confidently styled 5th grader!

Here they are all together, right before we left for school, with a thumbs up (not sure if they are trying to convince themselves that things will be okay, convince mommy, or if they are just good "posers" for the camera).

Here's our Owen with the amazing Mrs. Runyon (our 5th year with her in a row. Can you say blessed?)

Here’s Nathan with his sport’s fanatic teacher, Mrs. Mann. (She’s wearing the pretty hair flower Nathan gave her last week by mail and holding a gift from him today, a football vase with a potted plant.) I know he's going to love her! She's a doll.

And last but not least, Baylee and Mrs. Kavanagh (who she had for reading last year)! She'd dying to just "get inside" to pull out that iPad!

And it wouldn't be right to not show the kids without their friends. Let's face it, that's the best part of their school day!

Here's Owen and Colton...great buddies since strollers and classmates since preschool!
Nathan and Michael...they've never been apart. They've been classmates and fantastic friends for 4 years now!

Baylee and Sabrina (dearest friends since kindergarten and classmates for 5th and 6th grade!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tina...and our Lovefest!

Talk about a sweetie…my girlfriend Tina’s husband Carlyle wanted to treat his wife well for her birthday so he put a plan in action and made a call to me to be one of his ‘secret agents’. Carlyle arranged for Tina to be surprised with a weekend girls’ slumber party away locally, which included A Grand New Day/Woman of Faith conference on Friday and Saturday. What a guy! Much to Tina’s amazement, he called many of her close friends and even flew one out from Oregon, just so we could all have a “Tina lovefest.” And boy howdy, Tina is definitely one who you could dote on with love cause, well…she’s just that loveable (seriously). We had a wonderful time together, growing in the Lord during the conference as well as honoring our friend and sister in Christ, Tina Naylor.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sor-e (sorry)

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s becoming habit and oh so frustrating to me and today it happened again! I’m trying to keep my cool and be a good mom explaining the “why” behind my reasonable expectation to Nathan but I’m about to lose it.


Nathan has been coming home from school with his lunch completely untouched for awhile now. Zilch, zero, nil! It’s not like I don’t pack him food he doesn’t like. It’s not that I’m even stuffing his tummy to the brink of explosion at breakfast time. And it’s certainly not that he’s choosing recess over eating since ‘lunchtime’ happens in the classroom with his school program. How is he supposed to have energy and concentration to get through the day, the poor kid? No wonder he’s famished when he comes home and is ready to eat an elephant and a half at dinner!

Ugh…it’s driving me crazy.

I guess sweet Nathan knew his mommy was disappointed and took it to heart because this is what I got a little after the afternoon lunchbox discovery…
I just love inventive spelling. It’s one of the most precious things about this age! This one’s a keeper; it has such a story behind it to tell to his kids and his kids’ kids.

Ahh, I think I feel better!
Thank you Nathan!
I sure do love matter what!

(For those that need translation: Sorry for not eating my lunch.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Extra, Extra Read All About It

She’s hit it ‘BIG’! In our local paper today, an article has been written about our wonderful Girl Scout troop 228 and Baylee has been quoted. Confidence is bursting out of her. I love it! She and her Brownie sisters are living out their Girl Scout law by “making the world a better place” all the way across the globe and the writers of the Republic paper caught wind of it.

Weeks prior, our troop learned of a small village in Malawi, Africa, and how girls there are constantly infected with intestinal worms from simply playing in their natural environment mostly because they don’t wear or even own panties for that matter. The solution in the minds of our troop…buy 100% cotton panties of all sizes for these girls in need and have them hand delivered by missionaries. My troop of fifteen is calling it, “The Panty Project!”

Here’s how Baylee explained it to the press, “The panty project is important because girls in Africa need our help! They are getting sick from the dirt ground and in their homes made of mud. There aren’t places the girls can buy panties, and they don’t have much money at all!”

Our girls have been gathering and purchasing all kinds of packaged panties and is running a “Panty drive” throughout the school year during other Girl Scout events we are hosting as well as the hopes to set up booths outside stores like Kohl’s, Walmart, Old Navy, and Justice. There is such vigor in their plan to get the community involved and make a huge difference in lives of these girls in Africa.

We’ve been promised that upon distribution of the panties, photos will be taken in Africa and sent back to us so we can see the faces of the lives we’ve changed. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

For those interested, ‘drop your panties’ off at my house for a good cause any time. Whether they are hot pink, polka-dot, frilly, bikini, or plain Jane’s, they will be the perfect “fit’.

Man's Best Friend...Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Just days ago I picked up Baylee’s backpack for her as we were ending her school day and arriving home. It felt like she was carrying a ton of bricks, so much so that I almost dropped it. Perplexed beyond measure I opened it up to take a peek. There was nothing unusual about it, just her daily norm of a folder, empty lunch box, and two text books. I managed to get it up stairs and flop it with a thud on the bathroom scale.

15.9 pounds
shouted out to our flabbergasted eyes!


Now it all made sense why she had been complaining about back aches for the last many weeks. My assumption was growing pains or even her worn out, very old mattress. Nope, it wasn’t either of those!
It was her school backpack.

So a few tutoring sessions later with a paycheck to follow, we headed out to find a rolling backpack. It may have cost a fortune but it saved her back and chiropractic care. Oh my poor girl! So now, our “look forward to” milestone has been established for the Kempiak Party of Five. Once you hit third grade, you get to pick out a rolling backpack! My first grader Nathan is now trying to calculate how many more months until he’s in third grade, my preschooler Owen is doing the same, all while their sister has satisfaction written all over her entire body!

(P.S. This new purchase had such an impact on Baylee, when asked by her teacher to write about an invention that changed her life, guess what she wrote about? A rolling backpack was first on her list! In fact, she’s planning on typing it and posting it on her blog as well. Check it out if you are a “member” of hers. It’s quite adorable, if I may say so myself.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Bobcat

We have reason to celebrate once again in our household. Tonight Nathan earned his first special recognition in Boy Scouts, the Bobcat Badge, along with his entire den! It was quite the personal challenge! Nathan had to memorize the essentials to Scouting which included the Law of the Pack, Cub Scout motto, sign, promise, handshake, and salute. WOW!

As tradition has it, bobcat stripes are painted on each boy’s face by their parents during the ceremony. Nathan didn’t want anything to do with that ritual other than stand next to his brother Scouts as they did. (Go figure, no big surprise on our part). Nonetheless, stripes or not, Nathan conquered his first big feat in Cub Scouts and there’s something fishy in the air telling me he’ll have many more reasons to celebrate other huge feats along the Scouting path.

His Bobcat badge rests upside down at the moment onto his uniform until he has been noticed at home doing a good deed without looking for praise. I don’t think it’ll take too long until that Bobcat is turned right side up.

Nathan, I am so proud of you buddy!
Michael, Andrew, Nathan, and Brody
(Wouldn’t it be cuter if someone who we won’t name specifically had stripes on his face too?)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Kind of Mountain Men

It wasn’t just about some swift twists and turns, it was much more than that. Try 85 mph head-first, face-down drops, 263 feet butterflies-in-your-stomach plunges, huge spirals, sharp dives, and near vertical 61 degree dives! My rollercoaster buff of a husband loved it all, on his first trip ever to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California with three buddies of his for a quick turn around “guys trip”. Any massive steel structure that was totally wacky extreme is what they were magnetized to, over and over again. I call it insane, Jon calls it exhilarating. But nonetheless, he loved redeeming his birthday gift from the kids and I and has made it as clear as water, that he wants to return annually for some serious thrills. I think I can agree to that, I wish to say because of my love to see Jon happy, but deep down I think it’s a little more than that. Subconsciously I would gladly gift him with a guys’ trip to that theme park for the mere fact that I would NEVER have to do it with him. I so am not a rollercoaster enthusiast as he is.

The lack of vocal ability, bent up eye glasses from all the rides' impact yet thrill written all over his face when Jon arrived home safely was reward itself, hearing the stories and reenactments of his favorite rides; x2, Tatsu, and Goliath.
(Click on the name of Jon's favorite rides and you can see its total craziness on You Tube, that is...if you have a strong enough stomach.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Happy Camper

Scouting for Nathan and Jon is going great; the only downfall is the lack of communication from up high. Because of that, a family camping trip was scheduled for the entire 524 Pack but gave families very little notice. At first, our RSVP had to be a “no” because Jon had committed to teaching an acting class. Nathan was disappointed, being our outdoors boy, but understood. However, our dear friends the Keller’s didn’t want Nathan to miss out so invited him to tagalong! Isn’t that amazing?! There are very few people in the world I’d allow Nathan to go with, and the Keller’s are one of them. They are like family! We asked Nathan if he’d feel comfortable going away without us and lacking any hesitation, not even an ounce, he spouted out, “YES!” So, all seven of them were “Heber bound,” into the woods for an adventure at Lewis Canyon Campground for two days and one night. Camping in a tent in total darkness and cold, even with a herd of elk making noises and bedding down in the meadow behind the campsite didn’t seem to concern Nathan. He loved it! While away, they retired old flags, took a two hour hike learning how to use a compass, cooked by campfire, and enjoyed each others company. When arriving home, he asked when the next camping voyage was on the calendar. My reply to him, “Good question!”
The van ride up North...Hot dog dinner...Where they slept...Some Scouting buddies...Den 13 and Den 11... The whole Pack...My all time, favorite camper!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Hundred Dresses

I think there are certain books every family should have on their book shelves. You know the kinds I’m talking about; books with the ability to miraculously suck you into a new world and consume you with sheer delight. I love when books stick like glue in your hands and seem next to impossible to put down, give you vivid images in your head as if it’s a movie, and leave you with great material for deep discussions with your kids.
Baylee finished one of all-time favorite of mine! Have you ever read, the Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes? It makes me cry, it makes me cheer out loud, it makes for amazing conversation!
As her book report for this quarter Baylee was to pick a novel and then prepare a creative way to share it with her classmates. It was hard for her to nail down just one way to express herself after being captivated with the story line, so she chose a few.

Day in and day out for weeks, Baylee made one hundred dresses on a paper doll chain (if you read the book, you’ll understand why). She gave it her all, taking no shortcuts, and it shows. Then Baylee made cookies for her classmates and on each cookie used a variety of words to describe friends/friendship. Words like; unique, funny, loving, caring, generous, sharing, cheerful, listener, honest, and loyal were some that were iced on the dress-shaped cookies. And then, as if God had the song written just for this event, we came across one by Jordan Pruitt called ‘The Outside Looking In’. Baylee played the song with the lyrics on an overhead, while fashioning a dress herself.
Was it too much? I don’t think so at all because it all was Baylee’s reaction to being touched in the center of her heart from the words of Ms. Estes. We are thankful to Baylee’s teacher, Mrs. Yeargain for allowing such a beautiful expression to happen, regardless of a timeframe or stringent parameters that leave little to no ability for originality, inspiration, and imagination.
Baylee, you are a beautiful, hard working student. I am so proud of you for the time you took on this project. You reached for the stars and caught several!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Scouting Adventure Begins

Let it be known. I love a man in a uniform! I do! And that’s good news since Nathan and Jon now fit that category. Both are Scouts in Den 524 amongst many boys and families we adore. Despite Jon’s horrific work schedule, he’s showing Nathan just how important he is  by taking one of his three nights off a week to be Nathan’s Den leader. So our adventure of Scouting continues with me as Baylee’s Girl Scout Brownie leader (for the third year) and now a new chapter as Nathan is officially a Cub Scout in den 13 with his daddy (and Mr. Glazier) as his leader(s). We are ready for Nathan’s world to explode as he learns so many wonderful things, explores new horizons, and challenges himself with personal goals and service to his community. With promises to memorize, belt loops to earn, Derby’s to play in, field trips to take, parades to be in, and camping to conquer, Boy Scouts will be totally 110% fantastic, I just know it!
To keep up with the “latest” in the den, visit their personal blog at:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Green Trails...

Friendship is such a gift! Today Owen’s buddy Colton invited Owen and I on a double date after he earned a very special reward. Colton worked hard and Owen received the blessing too! Isn’t that special?! What boy wouldn’t want to ride in a green taxi around town? We sure know two boys that would! Our one way ride, 4.5 miles, may have cost $13 but it was unbelievably precious. Their smiles never left as Colton and Owen were able to reach their own window controllers. Pushing them up and down, waving at the people and cars they passed tickled me down to my funny bone! When we arrived at our planned destination, McDonalds, our driver was a good sport and posed for a few photos before the boys high tailed it inside to order Happy Meals and play in the Kid Zone. Riding in green style was an adventure of a lifetime! (Thank you Colton and April for including us!)
Happy Meal...Happy Boys!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Family Fun with Ice!

It may be sizzling outside
with temperatures still way over 100
but our Party of Five
found a way to keep cool.
Out of our Family Fun Box we pulled, Ice Blocking tonight and I was the only one who had ever done it. So as the Veteran, I showed them the ropes which didn’t take much time at all for them to catch on.
and zooming down the grass hills
 provided us with much heart-pounding laughter
and for spectators, a hunger for the same adventure.
I think this activity will definitely reappear!

Owen, the School Boy!

Attention, attention…let it be known that all 3 of my totally adorable, incredibly smart, highly precious and loved children are now in school! Today our Owen started preschool at Ladybug Learning Club and walked in with such confidence. Daddy met us so he too could witness this life changing day. Although I will miss Owen incredibly, God answered my prayers by giving us everything I had asked for:

-a preschool that met in the afternoons so all three kids could still be together in the mornings until 11.

- a school on the same modified year round program as Baylee and Nathan’s schedules are!

-a Christian based program that prayed with the kids multiple times a day and memorized scripture together.

- a teacher that’s highly educated in early childhood learning and boy howdy is she ever! Not only is Mrs. Merriam Owen’s teacher, she’s the director and founder of the school as well (and working on her Masters degree)! She just oozes love for young children!

-a school that is more concerned with healthy snacks for the kids instead of filling them up with a bunch of fishy crackers and such.

-a place where each kid works one on one with their teacher daily and rotate in centers to foster the whole child.

-a preschool that uses literature, literature, and more literature then asks the kids to respond to that literature in journals and other mediums!

-a preschool with fun themes to make learning exciting and their world open up!

- a place where the projects are child centered and look that way verses a finished product that looks like an adult put it together. Owen (and all kids) need free exploration with their crafty, creative minds!

-a school that will turn a child away if they are sick for the day. I love how they check them each day!

-and finally…a place where Owen’s buddies will join him. How totally cool that Colton and Ross are in his same class! (We wish Ethan could be too!) The three boys are going to totally charm their teacher Mrs. Merriam!

So, from 11:45 until 2:45, three days a week, my little big boy will be in class, learning, sharing, singing, reading, and having fun! I wonder when I get to start volunteering in there. Oh I can’t wait!