WATCH DOG by Ren Wightman

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be a Watch Dog at Cherry Hill Elementary. Watch Dogs are Father's who spend a day at the school promoting a good male example. I heard about Watch Dogs several years ago but never wanted to sign up. One day Abbey came home and insisted that I become a Watch Dog and dragged me to an information session the school put on one night. Of course she guilted me into signing up, so I did. 

I was a Watch Dog on April 11th. It was a day I chose because it was the day both Jude and Abbey would have their birthday's celebrated (since their birthday's fall on Spring Break). It was a lot of fun to see the kids in their class. It was fun to see how they interacted with other kids, how the teachers teach and see the little world they spend six hours a day in. Shauna and Penny came in after lunch to help celebrate the birthday's. It was a fun experience and I even signed up to be a Watch Dog again. 

 Abbey and Shauna sharing Abbey's "All About Me" birthday poster to her class. 

Abbey and Shauna sharing Abbey's "All About Me" birthday poster to her class. 

 In Jude's classroom they get to ask Jude ten questions. These questions are things they might not have known about Jude. Miss. Seamons is writing the answers on the board. 

In Jude's classroom they get to ask Jude ten questions. These questions are things they might not have known about Jude. Miss. Seamons is writing the answers on the board. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBEY! by Ren Wightman

Last week (April 10) was Abbey's birthday. She turned seven years old. Since we did a joint party the previous week for Jude and Abbey's birthday we had a simple celebration on Saturday (April 9) since her birthday fell on a Sunday. We had Marisa, Maliya, Grandpa and Grandma come over for pizza, cake and ice cream and presents. It was nice to have everyone over to celebrate Abbey. She got all kinds of gifts. Some included Calico Critters, Littlest Pet Shop, books, a wind chime making kit, Zootopia stuffed animal and many other things. The present that was the biggest hit was the hula hoop! Both kids haven't stopped hula hooping since they got it.  

Being a typical middle child Abbey brings peace and calmness to our family. She is extremely sweet and shy. Over the past year it's been fun to see her gain more confidence. I think having a best friend in Maliya and getting her hearing at 100% has made a huge difference for Abbey. When we visited her first grade teach for Parent Teacher Conferences a few weeks ago she mentioned that Abbey continually gets 100% on her math tests (one of only three kids in the class). She loves to read, play with her Critters and stuffed animals and of course play with her BFF. We are so grateful for Abbey, she brings us so much joy. 

Thank you to all of Abbey's friends and family who helped make Abbey's birthday a special day. 

 Abbey with her birthday cake. Grandma photo-bombing.

Abbey with her birthday cake. Grandma photo-bombing.

 Abbey showing off her Calico Critter set. Also notice that Abbey and Maliya are wearing matching shirts. It was Maliya's gift to Abbey. The shirt says "My BFF makes every day awesome"

Abbey showing off her Calico Critter set. Also notice that Abbey and Maliya are wearing matching shirts. It was Maliya's gift to Abbey. The shirt says "My BFF makes every day awesome"

 Jude trying to Hula Hoop

Jude trying to Hula Hoop

 Fail. Don't worry both Jude and Abbey have hula hooping down now. They are pros. 

Fail. Don't worry both Jude and Abbey have hula hooping down now. They are pros. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDE! by Ren Wightman

This past Saturday (April 2) was Jude's birthday. Our oldest is nine years old! We've always said that he is the heart beat of our family. I believe my wife said it best: "Jude threw us into the challenging world of parenthood. His imagination is still alive and well. He still fights 'bad guys' daily with the plot getting more developed everyday. He is a spirited, stubborn, hard headed, active and a smart boy. He is one of the most fun kids to be around, always up for doing something fun." 

Since Abbey's birthday is eight days away we decided to do a joint birthday activity but only celebrated Jude's birthday (if that makes sense?). We took Cooper, Jackson, Maliya and Marisa to Provo Beach Resort for a few hours. After that we had pizza, came home and opened presents and had cake. Provo Beach Resort was surprisingly empty, which we were happy about. Probably because it was Conference weekend. Jude and his buddies did laser tag twice, spent their $10 arcade cards in a record five minutes, and played in the giant playground. All in all all the boys and girls had fun. We are grateful for all the friends both Abbey and Jude have. We're also grateful for the grandparents, aunts and uncles who thought of Jude on his birthday. 

 From left to right back row: Cooper, Jude, Marisa, Jackson. Front row: Abbey, Maliya.

From left to right back row: Cooper, Jude, Marisa, Jackson. Front row: Abbey, Maliya.

 Enjoying the birthday present Jude received from his great Grandpa Willis and VR. 

Enjoying the birthday present Jude received from his great Grandpa Willis and VR. 

 The day before Jude's birthday, Grandpa Willis and VR dropped off some birthday presents.

The day before Jude's birthday, Grandpa Willis and VR dropped off some birthday presents.

 The obligatory goofy picture.

The obligatory goofy picture.

 I didn't get a lot of pictures of the kids at Provo Beach Resort, but I did snap this beauty. 

I didn't get a lot of pictures of the kids at Provo Beach Resort, but I did snap this beauty. 

NOTES by Ren Wightman

 Abbey's Saturday to-do list she made with her friend Maliya.

Abbey's Saturday to-do list she made with her friend Maliya.

 Jude's art from school. His Aunt AJ loved this one so much she bought it from him. 

Jude's art from school. His Aunt AJ loved this one so much she bought it from him. 

 One of my favorite notes. We received this from Jude's teacher, here is what she said about it: "The prompt was 'March 15th is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day. Write an award for a kid you know who has been incredible and describe why they deserve that award.' He chose to write the award for Abbey and I thought it was too cute not to share! Also note his neat penmanship and complete sentences (the things we've been working on)!" 

One of my favorite notes. We received this from Jude's teacher, here is what she said about it: "The prompt was 'March 15th is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day. Write an award for a kid you know who has been incredible and describe why they deserve that award.' He chose to write the award for Abbey and I thought it was too cute not to share! Also note his neat penmanship and complete sentences (the things we've been working on)!" 

EASTER by Ren Wightman

Today we celebrated Easter. With me and Shauna's siblings out of state it makes for quiet family get togethers on holiday's. Shauna did a great job at making the day special though, she's good at stuff like that. We went to church and all the kids wore clothing made by their Mother. Some of Shauna's best work in my opinion. At church Brayla Rose Harvey and Carol Bell spoke, both of them recently returned from their missions. It was a refreshing to hear their testimony's. When we came home the kids got to do a scavenger hunt instead of the typical easter egg hunt. It was a great success! We played at the park and then my parents came up. We enjoyed a wonderful salmon dinner with them. They brought the kids a nice spirograph set as an Easter gift. We went back to the park and spent the rest of the night there. The Marvell's were there so the kids stayed busy playing with their friends. We are very grateful for our family and for our friends who help fill the lack of cousins close by for our kids. All in all it was a fun and happy Easter. 

 Taken before we all went to 9am church! 

Taken before we all went to 9am church! 

 Jude's shirt, Abbey's dress and Penny's dress all made by Shauna. 

Jude's shirt, Abbey's dress and Penny's dress all made by Shauna. 

 Went and said hello to my two friends in the ward Brayla Rose Harvey and Carol Bell. Brayla served in Uruguay and Carol served in Georgia. Both of these girls have brothers out on missions as well. I formed a really good friendship with all of the youth in my ward when I moved in and we've all kept in touch since. 

Went and said hello to my two friends in the ward Brayla Rose Harvey and Carol Bell. Brayla served in Uruguay and Carol served in Georgia. Both of these girls have brothers out on missions as well. I formed a really good friendship with all of the youth in my ward when I moved in and we've all kept in touch since. 

 Marisa made beautiful chalk art for Penny. Penny adores Marisa and we are grateful they are part of our lives. 

Marisa made beautiful chalk art for Penny. Penny adores Marisa and we are grateful they are part of our lives. 

SUNDAY WALK by Ren Wightman

This past Sunday (3/20/16) we went on a walk at Bridal Veil Falls. Over the past several years this has been one of our favorite places to go when we want to get outdoors. It's up Provo Canyon, has a nice walking trail and a beautiful waterfall(s). When we started our walk the sun hadn't completely made it over the mountain. We walked in the shade and the kids were struggling to stay warm. By the time we made it to the waterfall the sun was on our backs and we started to warm up. Of course by that time the kids were hungry and needed to use the bathroom. 

 Snack time.

Snack time.

 The kids had never used a porta potty so they thought it was funny. After using the it Abbey said "I got to pee on a juicy poo." 

The kids had never used a porta potty so they thought it was funny. After using the it Abbey said "I got to pee on a juicy poo." 

JUDE'S LEPRECHAUN TRAP by Ren Wightman

Jude came home with a school assignment a few weeks ago. The assignment, make a leprechaun trap. Me, Shauna and Jude brainstormed many ideas of what we felt would be the best way to trap a leprechaun using a simple machine (lever, axel and wheel, pulley, wedge, etc.). At first we thought it would be a breeze. However the more we thought about it the more difficult it became. At first we were going to build it with Legos. We quickly tossed that idea out the window and went a different direction. The new plan was to trick the leprechaun into coming to a well disguised "Party House." He would open the door and a cage would fall and trap him. We spent many hours on it. Jude completed and took the project to class and got 100% (which we were happy about). When we asked him how it went he said: "well it trapped the leprechaun but the leprechaun got away."

 Jude making the rainbow. At the end of the rainbow would be the cage disguised as a cloud.

Jude making the rainbow. At the end of the rainbow would be the cage disguised as a cloud.

 Not enough can be said about how awesome Shauna is. She bought all the supplies and pushed Jude to stay busy and involved the whole time.

Not enough can be said about how awesome Shauna is. She bought all the supplies and pushed Jude to stay busy and involved the whole time.

 Jude with the completed leprechaun trap. 

Jude with the completed leprechaun trap. 

ABBEY'S EAR PROCEDURE by Ren Wightman

On Monday (March 14) Abbey had her adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears. This is the second time she's had tubes put in her ears. I remember when Abbey received her first set of tubes. She was 4, in preschool and struggling with her speech. Once the tubes were put in she blossomed! Ever since then we've seen Abbey just flourish with her confidence, speech and education. Over the last few months she's struggled with ear infections so we took her to a new ENT doctor. He noticed her ears had closed up again. He suggested the adenoids be removed and tubes put in her ears again. 

We checked in at the hospital at 8am. She was taken back a little after 9am and after an hour she was back with us. She did fantastic and all the nurses were impressed with how alert and calm she was pre and post procedure. The entire hospital staff was awesome. By 11:45 we were leaving the hospital. My Dad was kind enough to take work off and watch over Penny and make sure Jude got to school. We are grateful for family, good doctors and excellent health insurance. 

Of course Abbey was showered with gifts. The hospital gave Abbey a St. Patricks Day pillow case, a blanket, dolly and teddy bear! Her BFF Maliya gave her a coloring book and other goodies. Grandma Doerfler sent her a singing teddy bear. And of course her Mother spoiled her with a Critter set. Needless to say Abbey is very loved by family and friends. 

 Abbey pre-procedure. That's the pillow case and blanket the hospital gave her. 

Abbey pre-procedure. That's the pillow case and blanket the hospital gave her. 

 Post-procedure. Abbey jumped right into her element. Slushy, iPad and Teddy Bear. 

Post-procedure. Abbey jumped right into her element. Slushy, iPad and Teddy Bear. 

 Mommy's gift to Abbey. Penny was happy her sister was home so she could play with her gift. 

Mommy's gift to Abbey. Penny was happy her sister was home so she could play with her gift.