Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Vacation

This year's MEA break brought about the 2nd tri-annual Pahl Family Vacation. When there are 28 immediate family members each with their own schedules, in laws and other things that keep people busy...my mom discovered that Holidays are no longer all inclusive. She came up with the idea of a mandatory tri-annual vacation. We all go. Every single person. For the entire trip.

For me it's all about the kids. There is nothing better than seeing all the cousins together. I grew up without cousins and am so glad that my kids have oodles of memories with their cousins. I had cousins...lots of them...but honestly I could pass most of them by walking down the street and not even recognize them. And the others live in Iowa. Logistically, it just wasn't possible.

We went to the home of Dolly Parton, Gatlinburg TN. After a quick google, we found out that it was in the general area of Gatlinburg. There was a little google debate on her exact roots.

Tennessee and Minnesota are a ways apart...turns out a long 17 hour drive apart. How do I know? Well turns out we missed our flight and had to drive. Oops! I'll take 100% responsibility for it. I can admit when I make a mistake. This was kind of a dousy as far as mistakes go. Of all days to miss a flight...MEA break was not a good one. And for sure not a good one when traveling with 6 people. I thought about taking the one spot available on the next plane and ditching Nathan with kids to drive...What? I can't lie!

We left MN about 330pm and arrived around 9am the next morning. It's a good thing my kids are EXCELLENT road trippers. When we first departed, they asked if it was as long as Iowa. We informed them that it's 3 times to Iowa. Big eyes, dropped jaws...and that was it. It was 17 hours of smooth sailing. It was a good test for them...seeing as we have a serious road trip planned for our next visit to Nathan's homeland.

It was a great trip. We toured underground caverns, saw the Aquarium, rode go karts, went on rides, went rafting, did a zip line and ropes course. Yep, still feeling that ropes course. We saw the Dixie Stampede, and a Lumberjack show, and the kids went "swimming" in the hot tub. The Smoky Mountains are beautiful and our lodging was perfect for our family.

We will definitely go back, there's lots more we want to do there...hopefully another road trip with the Brewins!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nathan turned 37 on Wednesday. I could go on and on about this huge rip-roaring party we had and the 100's of people that came to celebrate with us...but for those of you who know us well, you would know it's just plain not true. And I thought that to be a lot of typing just to say "just kidding" at the end.

The day came and went...I even ditched him to go play some volleyball with friends. Lame, I know!

Maybe that's what I love most. We don't need to make a big deal out of a particular day, he knows, hopefully, each and every day that I love him more than ever.

I was asked awhile back what I loved most about Nathan. I had to sit and think, and think, and think...not that I couldn't think of any reasons. The problem was more that there were 100 reasons why running through my head...and how could I choose just one. There were reasons when we were dating, then when we were first married, when we first had kids, when we had more kids, and then now. We have grown over the years.

The reasons I love and adore him continue to grow and change. We are different people than we were when we first got married, even different people than we were a year ago. I love that we have grown together. There's so much growing apart happening these days, but not us.

Nathan is constantly giving me just one more thing to love about him. I could go on and on with a list of all the attributes he has that I love. It is one thing to be great...but to have a desire to be greater...that is something to admire. He desires to be a greater husband, a greater dad, a greater friend, a greater student...and he has the confidence and knowledge to do just that. With that, there are no limits. I see it working out in his life everyday. That is what causes me to sit and stare at him every chance I get and think, "Man, I love that guy!!"

To my Man,
Every year gets better and better with you. There is absolutely no one I'd rather be with. I said it in my vows on our wedding day and I mean it even more today...You are God's best for me! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Jentzen's lesson last week was Long Letters with the Magic "e" at the end....or Silent "e"....or the Zapping "e" as Jentzen likes to call it. You know, when the "e" at the end is quiet and it makes the vowel in the middle long. Words like name, tote, like. Then it was time to make the long "e" with the silent "e" at the end.

I wrote Pete. That fit the letter requirements. Then I went to write the next one....and thought....and thought...and thought? Seriously...are there any other words with just a single "e" in the middle with the silent "e" at the end?

I couldn't think of any. Not a single one. I thought of tweet, nope. Then bead, nope. Then scream, nope. All long "e's," But not the right long "e". Are there any others? Anyone? Anyone?

So poor Jentzen. I wrote bede, twete, and beme. He looked at the words and said bead, tweet, and beam. Mission accomplished.

Next week's lesson...spelling.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I love Kindergarten. I love to teach what each letter sounds like. I love to see them beam with pride as they remember each one.

Jentzen is in Kindergarten. He actually started in January. I loved that time....back in January. Teaching him the letters. But now he is technically to the actual learning to read part of Kindergarten. A part I do not love. Well I do love to see them learn...I guess it's a love hate relationship I have with it. As soon as I started with Jentzen it was an "oh yeah, I remember what this was like with Ava!" It goes something like this....

J: "The"

Me: "Yep, next word."

J: "I so know that word mom, that's so easy, I think I'll just skip it when I see it."

Me: "You can't skip words...then the story won't make sense!"

J: "Oh yeah, well I guess I can say it next time."

Me: "Great...next word."

J: "duck"

Me: "right, next word."

J : "Is that the duck right there? He is sort of a silly looking duck."

Me: "I guess, next word."

J: "What is his name mom?"

Me: "I don't know, let's read the story and find out."

J: "duck"

Me: "You just read that word, NEXT word....there."

J: "oh yeah I did. Are all ducks that color?"

Me: "I don't know...NEXT word!!"

J: "swam"

Me: "Yep, keep going."

J: "Is that duck swimming in the pond?"

Me: "Sure, keep going..."

J: "I like to swim mom. Remember when I was swimming in the lake! I put my head under without my life jacket."

Me: "Yes I remember, but we are reading now, not talking about swimming."

J: "Oh, yeah. But when are we going to go swimming again?"

Me: "Not till summer...NEXT WORD!"

J: "swam"

Me: "Jentzen, you already read that word, the next one, please read the next word."

J: "When is it going to be Summer?"

Me: "After spring, which it will be when we're done reading this page!"

J: "Really mom?!?! Is it almost Summer?"

Me: No, I was just being silly...next word!"

J: "So we don't get to go swimming soon?"

Me: "Jentzen....N.E.X.T. W.O.R.D.!"

J: "in"

Me: "Quick Quick...next word, keep going."

J: "the"

Me: silently "Thank heavens! 2 words in a row!"

J: "the...there's that easy word again. I'm so good at that word mom...why do they even put that word in there?"

Me: "It has to make sense...if I said 'duck swam in pond' does that make sense?"

J: "No."

Me: "See, it has to be a sentence."

J: "What is a sentence?"

Me: "Oh nothing, just please keep reading."

J: "pond"

Me: "Good, keep going, keep going, keep going!

J: "His"

Me: "yep"

J: "Is that a boy duck?"

Me: "I guess."

J: "Is that other duck there a boy too?"

Me: "I don't know, keep reading and find out."

J: "name"

Me: "next word."

J: "What is his name?"

Me: "I don't know, but I'm sure they'll tell us."

J: "What if it's a girl name? That would be so funny!"

Me: "hysterical.....NEXT WORD!"

J: "is"

Me: "yep...go, go, go"

J: "swift"

Me: "Yes! GO, GO, GO!"

J: "What does swift mean?"

Me: "It means fast."

J: "Are all ducks fast?"

Me: "No."

J: "Well what ones are?"

Me: "That one right there. He's fast."

J: "What about that one? Is that one fast too?"

Me: "I don't know...but the story will tell us I'm sure, that's why we're reading. We don't know anything until we read."

J: "Oh, these words will tell us?"

Me: "Yes, that's what a story is."

J: "How many pages do I have to read?"

Me: "This one and the next one."

J: "That's a lot of words."

Me: "You're right it is! I bet Daddy would love to hear you read? Why don't we save it for you to read to Daddy later!"

J: "YEAH!!! I bet he would LOVE to hear me read!"

Reading with a 5 year old.....just 10 words....for the sake of my house, my other kids, and my own mental well being....it is FOR SURE Daddy's turn!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons Learned

On Monday, we went to an Apple Orchard...but not just any Apple Orchard. We went to one that was 55 miles away from our house. Odd you might think considering that we live 2 miles from one. Anywho, we went and it was a blast...great weather, great company!

Since this was supposed to be a field trip and with the mention of field trip the word "educational" pops up...I thought I'd ask my kids, while making the 55 mile trek back home, what they learned. I got a few mentions of the apple washing machines, the different seasons, how an apple grows and changes...and then of course the lesson for 2 year olds...

Keira: "We never jump in the water with our clothes on, do we Mom! We should never do that!"

Me: "You learned that at the Apple Orchard?"

Keira: "Yep I did!"

I'm glad to see the information wasn't at all over Keira's head.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ava: (kicking over Quaids race track creation)

Quaid: "Seriously Ava!!! Did you just ruin my race track! It took me MINUTES to build it!!!!"