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Cason’s First Day of School

I have to admit that having your second child (especially one who is not the baby) go off to school does not have the same effect as your first or presumably your last, but there are still moments of disbelief that time could pass so quickly and one by one your children grow up and reach different milestones.

When I think of my sweet Cason, sometimes my heart hurts that he has to be the dreaded middle child.  As much as I don’t want there to be any of the negatives that come from that, I don’t see a way to avoid them at all times.  

My prayer for him is that he will always feel loved by his parents.  That he will know we are proud of him and want him to be happy!  

I am so excited for Cason to start school, because he LOVES it.  And I love that I have a place to send him where I don’t worry about who the teachers are and what kind of experiences he will have with the kids.  I completely and utterly trust this school and that makes me a million times more excited for him!  But after this year, it will be on to Kindergarten where I am sure I will have some of the same concerns I have had with Corbin.  

Cason was so super excited for school to start.  We had a meeting with his teachers the Friday before and he was so sad that he wasn’t getting left at school.  But Monday was the day.  

He stood perfectly still for his pictures (by now he knows the drill about the first day of school having watched Corbin all these years).  


Cason has 2 out of 3 of the same teachers Corbin had so that’s nice and he gets to be in class with his friend from church again so that’s awesome for them! 


Cason’s last first day of preschool!!!

Corbin’s First Day of 1st Grade

Corbin had his first day of 1st grade!  We all got up early to make sure we would be on time.  At the end of Kindergarten, I purchased a book about the first day of 1st grade and we read it several times this summer to prepare.  Corbin got it out again this morning and was talking about it with me.  


Corbin requested French Toast for breakfast and he ate every last bite of his food.  

He has matured over the summer and it showed as we went on the front stoop to take those pictures.  He gave suggestions on how best to hold the sign and he stood there still, with a smile on his face looking right at the camera.  I did not have to tell him one time to hold still or to look at me.  He just did it on his own.  I was very aware of the changes in him and how he has grown.


While we were in the garage getting our shoes on, Cason ran over to give Corbin a big hug.  It will be nice for them to have some separation but they are sure going to miss each other!


We walked to school and he held hands with his dad the whole way.  We got in line at his class number and saw two other boys from his Kindergarten class in line as well as a girl from his Primary class.  I think that eased some of the nerves Corbin had.  His teacher came and introduced herself to our family, Ms. Mih (pronounced "me”).  She seems to be nice and we are looking forward to getting to know her better over the school year.


We got to go into the classroom to get pictures and say goodbye.  I noticed Corbin seemed a little nervous but I knew that he would do just fine.  Finally, Ms. Mih told us it was time to say goodbye.  We walked out of the room and I looked back and saw him starting the worksheet that his teacher had placed on his desk and that is when I started to tear up.  


As I walked away from the class, memories of my 1st grade year flooded back.  I LOVED my teacher, Mrs. Lord.  I remember her taking me out for ice cream because I did well on an assignment.  I remember doing timed math tests and being so worried that I would finish in time.  I remember being in the same class as my best friend.  I remember seeing my first crush, Adam, that first day.  I remember the playground and swings.  

And it just hit me in that moment walking away from that class.  He is going to have memories of this day.  He will have experiences there at school that will shape him as an individual and I pray so hard that those experiences will make him a better person. 

Welcome back to school!!!

Mt. Tamalpais

We decided to try and do a hike as a family since my foot has been feeling a little bit better.  One place that we have really been wanting to go was to Mt. Tam, a favorite place of my dad’s.  Connor has even done several scouting trips there but we hadn’t ever gone as our family.

The way up was a little windy and Corbin was starting to feel a little sick so we stopped for a mini hike.  


You can drive up to almost the top and then hike 0.3 miles to the very peak of Mt. Tam so this what we decided to do.  


One of the views on the way up.


Corbin and Cason were such good little hikers.  They would have made my dad proud!


We ate a few snacks at the top and then headed back down.


There is a guy in our ward who has a calling with the Young Men like Connor and he grew up with my dad.  On one of their scout trips he told Connor about how they used to hike Mt. Tam and then eat at this burger place down at Stinson beach.  I had never known this but Connor thought it would be fun for us to go eat there after our hike.  I didn’t get pictures of the place but Kinsley who almost fell asleep riding on Connor’s shoulders after we had finished eating still with the drink in her mouth.


As I was gathering pictures for this, I remembered I had some of me and my siblings with my dad hiking Mt. Tam.  I thought it would be fun to post those too.  As you can see, the weather was a little bit different.


This part of Mt. Tam with my dad was near where we stopped to do our mini hike when Corbin wasn’t feeling well.  

I know my dad would have loved to be there on that hike with us and to see how well his grandkids were doing.  I’m sure he was there with us in spirit!

Jelly Belly Factory and It’s It Outlet

We decided to have a fun outing as a family since a lot of time has been taken up with wedding stuff, scout camps, and other stuff lately.  We have never taken the kids to the Jelly Belly Factory and when I saw that the It’s It Outlet was close by we thought that would be a fun trip!  


I posted this on Instagram already but of course our family would be the one to have outings that revolve around sweets!  We sure love our candy and ice cream!!

The Fun Five

How lucky are we to get to have parents who are willing to take our kids so Connor and I can get away.  Connor’s parents volunteered this time and it was so comforting to know that our kids were so well taken care of and loved while we were away!!! 

Shauna sent us emails daily that detailed what the kids did.  We looked forward to those emails so much and were so grateful she took the time out at the end of an exhausting day with the kids to do that for us!

So here is their fun week in Nana’s words:

Day 1:

What a wonderful morning we had at Coyote Point---thanks so much for the suggestion.  

We drove into the park (as it was right off the freeway) to find out if it was going to work for the kids.  But, I was hungry so we looked for a McD to get some oatmeal.  Well, we ended up there with three orders of those little cinnamon melts cuz the kids were crazy for them.  Ends up, it was a really good thing they had the extra breakfast, so that we could stay at the park till about 12:30.  The museum of CuriOdyssey was fun.  Inside was the interactive exhibits and outside there were small animals.  

Then we went and put our feet in the bay for about 3 minutes.  The Magic Mt. Playground was awesome!!! (much more than the museum which was a little lame---especially by Utah standards)

We stopped for lunch at McD's as the kids really wanted the toys they were offering.  We hurried home and had Kinsley down for nap by 1:50pm.  The boys rested and Nana took a nap too. 

After rest we played inside and out, and then I found something in the fridge for dinner.  It was so beautiful outside, that we decided to go to Las Palmas park.  Kinsley was in rare form as we walked/strolled there.  The things she says and the way she says them and just the way she handles herself is such a hoot.  She just oozes self-confidence.  Cason had a really great day.  Corbin was a little quiet and not absolutely happy.  We will work on giving him a little more personal attention tomorrow.  

As always, the kids all go down so well, after all the bedtime routine.  They love Papa's stories. 

We had a wonderful first day and are so in love with these kids.  They just fill our hearts to overflowing.  Hope you are having a great time.  Something is wrong with dad's phone as it will only hold a charge for about an hour.  And, my phone will work for a few minutes but then it just starts going crazy calling everyone in my contacts and the home button just keeps dinging.  Anyway, if you cannot reach us===SORRY.  Our main concern will be the happiness and safety of three precious children.  At dinner, we decided to call ourselves the "Fun Five".   Because there are five of us, we are having fun and both words begin with F.  So, call the home phone if you need to and we will try to FaceTime when you wish, but we cannot accommodate your needs above the "Fun Five"``so there!


Day 2:

The kids slept really well last night and didn't wake up till 6:30, so we decided to have a little more low key day. This morning Kinsley and I went to Costco while Papa and boys played outside.  We decided to see the 2:35 movie of Planes;Fire and Rescue, so I put Kinsley down about 11:45 and the boys ate lunch and had an early rest time.  We all got to the movie, got the popcorn and settled in for a fun time.  Well, Kinsley lasted about 15 minuets before she was entertaining the whole theatre, so she and I left and wandered around the stores.  The boys and Papa really enjoyed the show.  I asked for my money back and they gave me a voucher for another movie.

On the way home we decided to stop at the library and get some books for nightly reading.  Well, we hit the jackpot with 4 star wars books AND The Clone Wars animated dvd series.  The boys were allowed to watch one of the episodes while eating dinner.  They thought that was pretty fun.  

We had hamberger patties for dinner with cooked carrots (smashed).  I thought the kids would really love them, but not the case.  But, they did like the meat patties.  We went to Washington Park for our nightly park outing.  We had Kinsley in bed by about 7:25 and the boys not long after.  I think we are going to turn it in early as well.  Sure hope you had a great day like the "Fun Five".

btw--they were all REALLY good kids today---we are pretty amazed at how well behaved they are.


Day 3:

What a fun day for the Fun Five!

We had a pretty quiet morning with kids playing w/toys, Nana & Papa took turns jogging, Nana worked in the back yard and Papa made the boys lunch.  Kinsley went down early so that we could go to Sky High Trampoline and then ChuckeCheese---WOW was it fun.  We even managed to be home by 8pm and kids were in bed by 8:30.  I got some really cute pictures.

I sprayed insecticide on all fruit plants; fertilized; trimmed back growth and PICKED A BOWL FULL OF THE BEST STRAWBERRIES I HAVE EVER EATEN.  THEY WERE AWESOME.  

We are tired and headed to bed.  Sure hope the wedding day is wonderful and that you are having as much fun as the Fun Five.


Day 4:

Just another day in the life of the....FUN FIVE.

As you know, we all slept in a little bit and maybe woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but it got better from there.  Donuts with sprinkles really helped.  We spend the morning cleaning  house and playing w/toys.  Another early nap for Kinsley, as we were to spend the afternoon at the Santa Clara County Fair.   It was cooler today which make the fair so much more bearable.  

The kids loved it all---the animals, the exhibits and the shows.  The rides were such a rip of $3 each, and Cason was not tall enough for them (even tho they were really stupid rides).  There was a reptile center, a bird show and pirate ship show.  We didn't leave till about 6pm, then stopped at Panera for dinner, then home for baths and get ready for Sunday.  Tonight Cason was asking when was Tuesday, and how many days.  The3y are missing you.  

Had to laugh at Corbin as we were just unloading.  I told the kids it was Church tomorrow, and Corbin asked if we were going to so something "fun" after church, BECAUSE we are still the fun five.  I told him we were going to take a day off for the sabbath.  


Day 5:

Wonderful Sabbath, fasting, praying and playing together.

Kids were great in church, except we really made a mistake.  We did not know we were suppose to pick them up at their classroom.  We didn't even know where their classrooms were!  We were waiting in the quad with Kinsley, like a couple of dumb bunnies.  Oh well, we will know better next time.  The kids in our primary never wait for parents.  

Michelle Maginot came by to bring some tomatoes and figs from her yard and we had a nice visit.

We got the kids to bed on time so we can have another FUN day tomorrow.


Day 6:

Today was a pretty fantastic finale for the Fun Five.  It started early when I asked the kids what they wanted for breakfast, and they said Cinnamon Melts from McDonalds.  Well, it is the final countdown, so what the heck.  We decided to have a pajama breakfast to McDonalds.  They thought that was the best part---wearing your pj's to eat out.  We had planned to go to Fioli Gardens today, but looked at the site and found out it was closed on Mondays.  So, I went looking.....

What I found was just perfect for our last day of fun (cuz we need to clean and get ready for mom and dad to get him---there is a picture in the photos that shows the play room pretty much as it was the whole time you were gone---toys out).  

About 9:30 we headed for Oakland and the Children's Fairyland.  It was just what the kids needed.  Lots of low key- not too intimidating fun for little people.  And, to top it off, it was only $8 per person---the best $40 we spent the whole time.  We were even able to get lunch for the kids for $20.  We had planned to only stay a couple of hours, but did not leave till about 2:30pm.  Kinsley slept on the way home, and the boys played on their iPads.  

We got home and I started dinner, as Grandma and Grandpa Abe were joining us for dinner and FHE.  Just so you know, I have only made one small trip to the grocery store, and we have managed to just use what was in the fridge and freezers.  We have pretty much gone through all the food in the fridge, and have tried to be healthy in eating (except for the trader joe's ice cream---yum).  So, we had a fun dinner and the kids were so excited to see Grandma.  Then lesson, activity and Abe brought the treats--yum.  We had the kids in bed by 7:30, as they were so so so tired. 


Now back to my thoughts! Dont I have the best in-laws?  You can tell those kids had a blast and were very well spoiled and loved!  

Thanks Jon and Shauna for giving us a child free vacation for making memories for our kids!!  We love you!



This was certainly a fun trip Connor and I got to take together!  Connor’s parents so graciously came out to watch our kids and it made it so nice to know the kids were so well taken care of by their loving grandparents!

Day 1:

At the airport


We went to a resturant called Edith’s that was next door to our hotel that was amazing.  The atmosphere was perfect and the food was wonderful.  Our favorite was the tostada that was given as complinents by the chef.  We wanted to order more but they just brought us extra ones.  We had a mariachi band sing to us and they were pretty good.  We really enjoyed the song they sang “Bonita”.  

Day 2:

We woke up and ate breakfast at our hotel.  I got a delicious crab omelette and Connor got French Toast.  It was the best French Toast I have ever eaten.  I usually don’t like sweet stuff for breakfast, but I could not stop eating it.  Then we we went to the beach and waded into the best feeling water I have ever been in.  It was so hot outside and the pools were too warm to cool you down, so the ocean was a dream.  It was still warm but it was cool enough to feel perfect.  In front of our hotel was a little swimming area and the sand was perfect and you could just let the water move you around, drag your feet in the sand.  Perfection!  


Our hotel had the cutest little chairs for kids.


We had a huge suite with this kitchen. We weren’t even staying 24 hours so it was very un needed but it was nice!


They tried to welcome me but spelled my name a little wrong:


We met up with Erika and ran some errands, went to check into the Villa, and ran some more errands before we had the Girls Night.

Erika drinking a coconut.


At the resturaunt for Girls Night.  It was so hot I was sweating and I don’t usually sweat.


Day 3:

Our view from the room we were staying in.


This morning we had a lazy morning and then start preparing for the BBQ that evening.  Connor and I snuck away for a minute to take a walk on the beach.  This is also where the ceremony was to take place.

That huge mansion behind me is the house we stayed in.


Then we had the rehersal.  Connor took pictures for us!


Then we had the BBQ!  We had to go to bed somewhat early so that we could be fresh and ready for the wedding the next day!

Day 4:

Yay!  The wedding.  We had a nice breakfast and then the girls made our way upstairs to get ready.  


The wedding planner set up the beach.  It’s starting to get real!


The guests taking their seats!


I cried through a lot of the ceremony.  Not great for my makeup but I just can’t help myself at weddings.  


Oh man, the food was amazing!


It was a party all night long (or so I heard)!

Day 5: 

The next morning, Connor and I got up to go to Sacrament Meeting.  It was a really nice building and the chapel was full.  There were also quite a few people who were on vacation there.  The testimony meeting was all the youth who had just gotten back from EFY and even though I couldn’t understand most of it, I could tell those youth are special people who are filled with the Spirit.  


We went back to get finished packing and to enjoy the last of the view!


We had a bit of breakfast which was just a hodge podge of what was left in the fridge.


Then we all headed out for lunch at a place called “The Office”.  The shrimp tacos were amazing!  We were right on the beach and since it was so hot we went and put our feet in.


We said goodbye to friends and headed off to our next hotel where it was just going to be Connor and I.  I was so exhausted from the weekend that I crashed for two hours, but once I got up I felt much better.

I didn’t really get pictures of our room except for one. It was nice they put flower petals around but it was on EVERYTHING.  The bed, towels, toilet paper, extra toilet paper, sinks, lotions, etc.


We went down to the ocean and waded in for a little bit.  The sand here was a bit more rocky than on the main beach in Cabo but it was still really nice.


The pool and views were amazing!


We got a Pina Coloda to share and then went back, ordered room service for dinner and watched a movie!


Day 6:  

This day we decied to fit in all the fun stuff we wanted to do and just relax.  In the morning we headed over to Medano beach to do some paddle boarding.  It has been on my bucket list to try and this was the perfect time.  I wanted to do it early enough that there would be less boats on the water to make it easier and it worked well.  The guy gave me a quick lesson on how to stand up and Im proud to say I did it on my first try and I never fell in!  I loved doing it actually and wished that it was something I could do every day.  I think my body was craving some sort of physical activity.  I was worried about my foot because the balance on my right foot is not the greatest, but it worked out just fine.  We paddled around a bit and then we went back to have the guy take a picture.


After we had some breakfast at a resturaunt on the beach where we ordered another pina colada.


We saw some friends from the wedding wading in the water so we went over and hung out with them for a bit and then we went jet sking. 


We got to get close to the arch and it was so fun! We also saw a seal swimming right next to us.

After this we just snacked for lunch and went back to the hotel to do some snorkeling at the beach there.  We didn’t have to rent anything since the hotel we stayed at provided it.  It was crazy there were a ton of fish right where all the people were wading in the water.


We would snorkle and then come relax and go back out. It was so nice.  We saw a big lizzard right behind us at one point.

Connor and I thought we better check the time and we were both surprised that it was earlier than we thought it would be.  We had been doing so much that day and we thought time would just fly by but we received a tender mercy of time going slowly even though we were having a great time!  It was an obvious blessing that seemed to show us how much Heavenly Father loves us.  

We then went back to swim in the pool and get another pina colada at the pool bar.  


It was this gorgeous infinity pool that looked over the cliff at the ocean.  Amazing.


For dinner we ate at the resturaunt that we had girls night because I knew Connor would love it.  And we ordered most of the same food because it was so good.


Day 7:

We got up and had some breakfast at the hotel.


Then we went down to the beach for one last snorkel and relaxing before we headed home.  I also saw this beautiful purple plant that I loved!


Then we went home and got this wonderful sign from our kids!


What an amazing trip and I was so glad I got to spend the time with Connor.  It was so nice to reconnect, just us!  To see what our kids were up to while we were gone check the post “The Fun Five”.

© The Duke Fam 2014