Thursday, November 6, 2014


Can you believe it?  My little girl is fourteen!

Like many teenage girls, Alyssa loves clothes.  It's tradition for me to buy her a new outfit to wear to school on her birthday.  She is so easy to please and always loves whatever I choose for her.  

About a month before her birthday, she expressed a desire for a pair of Hunter boots--which are basically just designer rain boots.  Knowing Grandma Seely is the person to hit up for expensive wish list items, they started searching for the perfect pair together.  I knew she had settled on red boots, so I selected a birthday outfit that would coordinate.  The Nordstrom box containing the desired boots arrived a couple days before her birthday, but Lys waited until the night before to open them.  She is just like me and can't open presents early--even if she knows what is inside.

I hung her new outfit up in the bathroom and taped a "Happy Birthday" banner to the mirror.  When she came downstairs for breakfast, she was visibly pleased to be dressed her new birthday duds.  

I served her crepes with Nutella and strawberries and she sent her out the door looking absolutely adorable.

After gymnastics, she opened some cards from her grandparents and a present from Jon and me--a darling Vera Bradley purse, perfect for holding all of that birthday cash.

While Jon and I were picking up Lys from gymnastics, Natalie was setting the table for Alyssa's birthday dinner.  She was so cute and thoughtful about the details.  She put together a little centerpiece, made a card, a pitcher of lemonade and set out some sides to go with the birthday girl's requested main dish: noodles and clam sauce.

Then she made a wish over fourteen homemade Oreo cookies.

Happy Birthday, Alyssa!  You're just like Mary Poppins--practically perfect in every way!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

The pumpkins were hastily carved and placed on the porch by 4:30. 

I ratted Natalie's hair and added some make-up to complete her "dead cheerleader" costume that she had picked out with her dad at the Halloween store a few days prior.  

Natalie was so excited to go trick-or-treating with her friends, Emma, Ava and Chloe.

They looked cute even when they tried to look scary:

Alyssa dressed as Wonder Woman and spent a couple of hours gathering candy with her friends, Brittany and Hailey.  

Caleb and Jon handed out candy, which is usually my job.  Caleb looks thrilled about being given the responsibility, doesn't he?

What was I doing?  I was busy packing up our bags so that we could drive out of town as soon as our trick-or-treaters returned home with their heavy bags of candy.

We pulled out of town at about 9:00 p.m. and headed toward Yakima, where we would stop for the night.  The next morning, we continued on to the Tri-Cities so we attended Cousin Sadie's baptism and Uncle Christopher's awesome garage dance party.

It was a bit crazy and rushed, but our Halloween night was just the start to what turned out to be a great weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shhh! Don't Tell

It's no secret that I'm a BYU fan.  A die hard.  I kinda think I was born that way.  Sure, someone had to buy my first BYU shirt for me, but pictures show that I chose to wear it quite often!  See that girl with a Y on her heart?

I'm pretty sure it was my favorite shirt.

It appears that I wore it until it was worn and stained and a little too small...

Evidence also shows that my brother, who as a BYU student was once voted Fan of the Year, was also true blue from birth.

I didn't follow the football team in my early years, but I vividly remember that my brother and parents did.  On a family trip to Utah in summer of 1985, we got to meet the National Championship team at a watermelon bust held at what was then called Cougar Stadium.  And once when we bumped into LaVell Edwards in an elevator at the Wilkinson Center, my dad shook his hand and stated, "I'm never washing this hand again!"

Years later, as a cheerleader warming up for football games, I used to take great delight in greeting LaVell as he walked past me onto the field.  

"Hi Coach!" I'd always say.  He always returned my greeting with a friendly, yet reserved LaVell-type hello.  Those BYU years were magical for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email at work telling me that our school district would be joining others in our region in participation of a program called, "Discover U."  We were strongly encouraged to wear our college gear for the week of Discover U and we were also to make a concerted effort to talk with our students about our college experiences.  

You want me to wear BYU clothes for an entire week?  Sign me up!  I anticipated Discover U like a child waits for Christmas.  Not only am I a Cougar of the proudest sort, but hoodies and T-shirts are much more comfy than my typical teacher-wear.

Our school counselor made a graph to show where the teachers in our school were educated.  It was hung in a prominent place and the students really enjoyed looking at it through the week.

I was the only BYU Cougar.

But my daily attire left no doubt about wear my loyalties lie.

On Friday of Discover U week, I made a point to share with my students a bit about my college days.  I expressed how important it was for me to go to college so that I could become a teacher.  I told them that they too can go to college to become anything they want to be.  I was surprised at the depth of their interest and desire to ask questions.  One of my second graders even asked, "Did you follow in your parents' footsteps?"  

"Yes, both of my parents went to BYU too," was my proud reply.

I told my students that my college years were filled with fun and happy experiences.  And then I showed them this picture:

I used the document camera to project it onto the wall.  Their mouths gaped and eyes were wide as saucers.  And since I'm a teacher with a propensity for dramatics, I leaned in close with my finger to my lips and whispered, "Shhh!  Don't tell anyone that Mrs. Hatch can fly!"  

"They'll think you're crazy!" I added.  My third graders played along with my silliness and giggled in a we're-on-to-you sort of way.  But my first graders?  They bought it hook, line and sinker.

I like that they believe that this old worn out, chubby body might have Wonder Woman-like powers.  They don't need to know that I'd spent that entire week nursing a bad back that I threw out while drying my hair.  Yep, it's true.  I can't even bend over to dry my hair anymore.  But shhh! Don't tell them that!  

Have you seen this commercial that ends with Ziggy Ansah saying, "I didn't just come through BYU, BYU went through me."

I feel exactly the same way.  Is it any wonder then, that my children came out looking like this?:

We're Loyal Strong and True (even while wading through a truly heartbreaking football season) and we'll tell anyone who will listen.  It's definitely no secret!

Go Cougars!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Seaside in September

It felt more like a summer weekend get-away.  With temperatures reaching well into the 80's, the Pacific Ocean dazzled us as her waves crashed on to the sandy Seaside beach.  We took the girls out of school a little bit early, which allowed us a little extra beach time.  We headed straight to the water as soon as we arrived in town.  

The Three Course Challenge, a massive cross country event, was the reason for our Seaside visit. Caleb was busy working out with his team and doing other fun things like having bonfires on the beach and drawing colored poker chips to see which of the three courses (easy, moderate or hard) each runner would be assigned to the following day.

Jon, the girls and I were busy doing things like playing on beach, slurping gluten-free clam chowder and eating gourmet caramel apples.

After dinner, we returned to the ocean to watch the sun slip brilliantly below the horizon.  It was absolutely stunning.  We couldn't stop taking pictures.

About the time the starfish lamp posts illuminated, we washed the sand from our feet and headed to the arcade.

There we find a game called Fascination.  Jon first played it at Lagoon when he was a young boy.  Our whole family had fun playing it when we went to Seaside last year and the girls were excited to play again on this trip.  Fascination tables line both sides of the room.  Each game, which costs $0.25, is won by rolling a small rubber ball into holes that then light up a game board.  The first table to get five in a row wins.  This particular Fascination hall appears to be older than me and has likely never received a renovation.  Something about it adds to the experience.

I was the first to win a game, which won me 99 points--which can be redeemed for junk at the prize counter.  Shortly after my victory, Natalie won a perfect game, meaning she only rolled the ball five times and got five in a row with those five rolls.  She got 198 points for that fanciness.  And did a Felix pose to celebrate:

And then, folks, the Hatch winning streak just kept rolling.  (Pun intended.)  Jon won a game and then it was announced that we would be playing a blackout round and would be using two balls.  Alyssa won that round and added 998 points to our stockpile.

We played a few other arcade games and then cashed in our points for a new card game and lots and lots of candy.  Such a fun, fun night.

We relaxed in the hotel pool, hot tub and sauna before calling it a night.  

Caleb was down the street camping out on a high school gym floor with his teammates.  Just before falling asleep, I was able to text with him and find out that he had drawn a blue chip, meaning he would be running the moderate course the next morning.  We both felt relief.  He'd run the hard course last year and was really hoping to draw something lighter this year.

Calling his course moderate might not be totally fair, however, because it is still quite difficult.  Much more so than your average cross country course.  

All courses are run at Camp Rilea, a military base.

Here's a picture of the starting line of Caleb's race.  The finish is located beyond the hill to the left, not seen in this picture.  There are 442 high school boys lined up for the gun.  Over 2300 racers would run before the day was over.  So many, many runners!

We wished Caleb well at the start and then ran to the mud pit portion of the course.

These pictures of the girls running to the mud pit show the types of terrain that the race covers.  At times the course is gravel (as seen on the left), at times it's grass covered trails (such as seen in the picture on the right), and at times it's sand so deep that your feet sink and slip with every step.  All of these elements on lots and lots of hills.

And then there's the mud pit.  So entertaining to watch the runners splash and swim their way through.

Spectators are sure to get splattered.  My clothes were covered with dots of mud and Alyssa took one splat right to the middle of her forehead:

Caleb looked so strong.  I turned to Jon and said, "It seemed like he was ahead of hundreds of runners!"  We later learned that he was 137th in his race and finished ahead of 285 other boys.  That means that he finished in the top third of his race, which we thought was great!

Washing off the mud:

This drum line played at the beginning of each race and then again when runners came into the finish line.

Caleb ran hard and then refueled with a big ol' Gatorade.  I love his unruly curls caused by his sweat.

After the race we found a place to watch the BYU game.  We (Caleb and I) may or may not have drawn attention to ourselves when we cheered our team to victory.

The candy store in town even supported our team:

With another Cougar win in the books, we went back to the beach for one final hour of frolicking in the sun and waves.

It was an unbelievably beautiful day!

Jon drove us part-way home and then let Caleb take the wheel.  He brought us safely home from a most wonderful sun-filled weekend.  Such great memories for the whole family!