The Graduates

The Ballard Family has had a few graduates this month.

Lucy and her cousin, Jake, both graduated from preschool last Wednesday. They spent the year "learning about Indians" (according to Lucy) and "making really hard crafts" (according to Jake). Miss Jill is probably the World's Best Preschool Teacher, and we will miss her for a few years until Adam is old enough to be a student.

As we were walking into the graduation ceremony, a little girl came up to Lucy and taunted, "I am cuter than yooouuu!" Without missing a beat, Lucy replied, "I don't know about that." Because I taught at Morningside School, Lucy has attended three years of preschool. I hope she is as prepared academically for kindergarten as she is socially.

After I took Jake's photo, he came up to me and handed me his diploma certificate. With a disgusted man-voice (Jake has had a gruffy man-voice since he was two) he said, "I don't even know what that thing says." I told him I would read it to him and he explained, "That's the real problem. I don't even know how to read!"

Rachel graduated from kindergarten yesterday. Her wonderful teacher, Mr. Garcia, is from Spain. At first, Rachel was skeptical about having a male teacher, but she ended up being quite delighted with Mr. Garcia. He won her over by playing soccer with the kids at recess, demonstrating his juggling skills, and mailing the students postcards when he took trips out of town. We were hoping Mr. Garcia would be here to teach Lucy next year, but he is off to China for his next adventure.


The circumstances that led to finding Adam naked in the middle of Claire's

Me with the three kids at Claire's. (The bribe after a long afternoon of running errands.)
An abnormally busy store including:
Three policeman and one mall security man reprimanding a fourteen year old girl for shoplifting.
A middle-aged lady with her whole family, waiting to get her ears pierced.
Two employees; one talking to the police, leaving only one to help the customers.
My loud son, Adam, who wanted to play with the sunglasses. And the necklaces. And everything else in that miserable store.
My animated daughter, Lucy, boisterously picking out a pair of pretty earrings.
My detail-oriented daughter, Rachel, painstakingly looking for the perfect purse.
At least three other moms with their kids.

Adam was strapped into his stroller. But, in the midst of all of the commotion within the small store, he managed to find a way to squirm his way out of the top of his straps. And the process, he wriggled his way right out of his shorts. And his Pull Ups.

Unfortunately, I didn't notice any of this until he stood up in the stroller, and it subsequently crashed to the ground. The Bath and Body Works bag hanging from the handle ripped in half and out toppled the hand soap, wallflowers, and lotion.

And then my attention turned to my son. The one who was naked in the middle of Claire's.

That's when I felt my face go red.

. . . . . .

At least he still had his shirt on.


Happy Memorial Day

No, we did not take flowers in a Taco Time cup. Yes, Rachel immediately spotted it clear across the (dark) cemetery and couldn't stop laughing about it.


Jimmy's Flower Shop Saves the Day Again

The first time Jimmy's Flower Shop saved the day was about six months ago. Rachel had just been to the dentist to have three teeth pulled. The roots were massive and the extractions had required some major chipping. After a long, somewhat worrisome, nap, Rachel woke up with a despondent look on her face. The poor girl was miserable. She asked me why I hadn't told her what the dentist was going to do to her, and my heart just about broke.

But then something magical happened. We drove by Jimmy's Flower Shop and glanced up at the marquee for the name of the day for the free rose. We'd checked the sign almost every day for a year, and we finally saw what we'd been waiting for. The timing couldn't have been better. One free rose later, and little Rachel had a smile on her soon-to-be-bruised face.

No teeth were removed on Saturday, just an emotional breakdown from my emotional daughter. I will spare you the whole story, but it has something to do with Rachel trying to earn exactly eleven dollars and twenty-four cents to pay off a boy in her class who was otherwise going to turn her into the principal for singing "Mr. Garcia and Mrs. Watson, sitting in a tree. . ."

By the time she finally divulged everything to us, she was in tears and worried about breaking her promise to the boy, that she wouldn't tell anyone about the money. We consoled her to the best of our abilities, but she was still feeling a bit dejected. And then, as we drove home up Washington Boulevard, it happened again. Jimmy's Flower Shop must have a sixth sense. We saw the sign, and the tears instantaneously disappeared.

It gets better. I sent Steve in with some money to buy a rose for Lucy, since we haven't ever seen her name on the marquee. But he came out with two free roses, and a promise from the flower shop that they would put Lucy's name up soon.

Two lessons I learned: #1 It looks like a rose can solve most of Rachel's problems. #2 Jimmy's Flower Shop has just made me a lifelong customer.



Lucy had her first kickball game on Wednesday. She is playing in a league in North Ogden for pre-kindergarten kids. I considered coaching a team so I didn't have to pay the registration fee, but after watching how things went, I am very glad to be watching from the sidelines.

Pre-game, with her cousin, Jake.

Mid-game: in proper kickball position.

Post-game: enjoying a snow cone.

More pictures and commentary can be found on Angie's blog.


Don't Buy Stuff You CANNOT Afford

I saw this on my friend's blog and thought it was pretty funny. 

If I ever teach another Sunday School lesson on financial management, I am going to use it. 
(I broke this rule a few times over the past couple of years, so I might not ever get asked again.) 


Out the Window

Lucy: I promised Derrick that I wouldn't tell you what I saw in his room.

Me: What did you see?

Lucy: But I promised.

Me: What did you see?

Lucy: I promised!

Me: You don't keep promises from your mom.

Lucy: Except for your birthday present?

Me: Right. What did you see?

Lucy: I have to show you. . . .

Five little kittens in the window well. Behind the blinds, right next to Derrick's bed.

He was planning to tell me next. Otherwise, he sure wouldn't have told Lucy.


Zion National Park

We took a trip to Zion National Park. We woke up very early and I drove very fast (too fast) to find an open campsite. We lucked out and got our favorite site, the one with the big log.

The kids loved the warm weather and the cool water.

This little boy enjoyed spending lots of time with his daddy.

Actually, this little boy enjoyed everything about the trip.

The Hartmans met up with us and we went on two short hikes, which were plenty long with the kids. (You can easily identify their girls in the picture because they have been taught how to properly pose for pictures.)

We went back to the campsite for some delicious tin foil dinners. The S'mores, however, might have been Steve's worst performance yet. That was one reason I married him, you know.

Before we left the park, Steve took a solo, early morning hike to Angel's Landing.

The kids went swimming at the pool in St. George. And we all showered before the long drive home. (Thanks, Debra & Aaron!)


Lucy's Talent


First she screamed as loud as she could.
Then she hula hooped.
And then she screamed as loud as she could while she hula hooped.