Back to School

It was hard to get back to reality after a long vacation, but Ethan started school on Monday, August 31st, so we were kind of forced back into a routine. Ethan went to kindergarten last year in Camarillo at a charter school that we absolutely loved and were sad to leave. When we moved back to Utah in March, we stayed in Alpine for a few months before moving into our townhome in Provo. He finished off the year at a public elementary, which seemed like a great school, but Ethan didn’t have the same sweet and gentle teacher like he had in Camarillo. It was hard for him to adjust and be on the same page as the other students that had already spent six months in the class. He is also one of the youngest in his grades because of when his birthday falls. So, for those reasons and a few others, we decided to have him start fresh with kindergarten at his new school. He is in another charter school and we are hoping it will be a good fit for him. They are a hands-on school that use the Montessori Method. They also have smaller class sizes than regular schools. His class has 24 students; the one in Camarillo only had 20.

My twin and I

When my Dad and Mom were thinking of possible names for my twin sister and I, they wanted names that didn't rhyme, but that started with the same letter. I became Tami and my twin sister Tara. Both of our initials were T.J. Neither of us have a middle name. Tara got married quickly out of high school and became T.P. (he! he!), for a while. When I got married in 2002, I became T.N. She was divorced about 4 years ago, and just two weeks ago remarried. The funny thing is she is married to a friend's brother. That friend is married to my husband's best friend growing up! And now we once again share the same initials -- T.N. (Tami Niven and Tara Nicosia)

Here's a sneak peek of the wedding pics below. They were married on a yacht at Newport Beach Harbor.
If you would like to see more pictures of the wedding, click here.

Niven Reunion 2010

This year's Niven reunion was held in Syracuse, Utah, where Bryan's grandparents (dad's side), now live. It was a pioneer theme, with pioneer activities and games, pioneer food, old-fashioned pioneer bartering, and more. We experienced both extremes in temperature that day -- really, really hot, to TONS of rain. Bryan's Aunt Lisa did a great job planning and directing the reunion, but I felt bad the weather didn't fully cooperate!
This is a buffalo chip game where one person was a wheelbarrow and the other person had to "push" the wheelbarrow and pick up the buffalo chips.
Kate was the winner!
My boys were a little shy and didn't want to play the games. I wish I had pictures of the pioneer relay game we played, but I was participating. The boys were on one team and had to put on a pioneer girl outfit and run across, take it off, and then the next person would go, and the girls on the other team dressed up in a pioneer boy outfit. The girls won! :) If anyone has pictures of that game, I would love to have a copy. We also all made potato babies and wrapped them in a baby-sized blanket and put them in a cradle. On one of the games we had to save the babies and pass them over and under to get to safety because their wagon was on "fire". My boys finally participated in the potato baby game, I think because the entire time they kept asking if they could keep them and were excited to get them after the game. Austin was happy just riding on this horse.
Talking and trying to stay cool in the shade.
Bryan throwing grapes in the air and catching them in his mouth.
Austin eating some lunch with Bryan's cousin, Jared, (I think). He and his brothers all look alike. :) Bryan's family has the oldest grandkids. Grandpa and Grandma Niven have 7 kids. Bryan's dad, Jeff, is the oldest child in the family and the two youngest are closer in age to their nephews (Brent, Bryan, and Jason), than their brother Jeff. So Aunt Stacey has two kids the same age as Ethan and Austin.
Each family has a family flag where they have their family motto and then they add an ornament from each reunion. The person in charge of the reunion makes something that represents that year's reunion for each family to add to their flag. Lisa made cute pioneer handcart ornaments for this year. I'm not sure whose flag this is? Do you know Aunt Lisa?
Here's a close-up of part of the flag with a picture of Grandpa & Grandma Niven. Cute. :) I'm such a slacker, I still don't have a flag. I have all the ornaments from the years we've gone, but I still need to make a flag. My problem is I have no sewing skills. That will be one of my goals this year to make a flag!
The boys made a homemade water slide. You're probably thinking, "What does this have to do with pioneers?" This actually wasn't planned as part of the reunion. During the middle of the day we could choose to go to The Pioneer Museum, This Is The Place Heritage Park, or the LDS Church History Museum. Some of the family went to the LDS Church Museum, but the kids were so hot we decided to stay there and cool off with water.
Cooling off! Grandpa & Grandma Niven had this cool earth that sprayed water. Ethan, Austin, Kate, Amanda, Maggie, had fun with this for hours.
The kids drying off on the warm patio.
Jessica and Kate.
Getting the air out. Surprisingly, it didn't pop!
Jessica and Kate showing off their hula hoop skills!
Here's another relay game we played. We had to wash and ring out the pioneer clothes and hang them out to dry. It was funny, Uncle Greg and his son Michael were swinging the clothes line like a jump rope, making it quite difficult to hang up the clothes.
After our potato baby game, it started to lightly rain at first and we did our bartering underneath the canopies, but pretty soon it was poring rain and we had to run for it to get inside. We had dinner inside and visited some more. It was fun seeing everyone and catching up! Thanks Aunt Lisa for all your hard work!

Ethan's Birthday!

Ethan had a really fun birthday this year! He had a Toy Story theme party and we got together with family this year. We went to the Veteran's Water Park in Provo and then had a BBQ at the park next to it. The water felt sooooo good because it was soooooo hot (96 degrees). We were sad my sister, Jamie, and her kids couldn't be there; they already had a camping trip planned. Ethan and Jamie's daughter, Layla, have so much fun playing together. But we were so happy that Bryan's brother, Brent, his wife, Jill, and their three adorable girls (Kate, Maggie, & Amanda), could be there. It's been about three years since we've seen them, since Brent is in the Navy. We were so glad they were able to come to Ethan's party! Thanks for coming! :)
I couldn't resist putting this picture on my blog. Tara always pulls a face, and Bailey's face is hilarious since she's tilting her head back. Gavin's like, "see what I have to put up with." ;)
Tara is getting married in two weeks at Newport Beach, which means it's almost time for a vacation! Yipee!

Ethan is going to miss his cousin and buddy, Gavin, who is moving to California in two weeks. I know! We just moved back from California 5 months ago! (Has it already been that long!?)

Happy Birthday Ethan! We love you!

Children's Discovery Garden

It's catch-up time for me on my blog! In the beginning/middle of July, four girls from my ward and our kids went to Children's Discovery Garden. We each have two boys and they seemed to have a fun time together. It was a lot of fun! I didn't even know this place was there. I am excited that they are having $2 Tuesdays at Thanksgiving Point in August for any of their venues.
Noah's arc is the first thing you come to when you enter the Garden. It has holes all around the bottom of it that squirts water out. I didn't get pictures of everything, but after the arc they have a splash pad and a garden maze.
The next time we go I think it would be better to go to the stuff at the end first. By the time we got to this caterpillar it was too hot for them to climb on it.
Kids can climb up a ladder inside this lighthouse up to a little loft.
There was a fun little stream going over rocks to this little pool, and the kids could put boats at the top and watch them come down.
The boys had a lot of fun and we hope to go back once more before school starts!
"Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things." ~Pierce Harris
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