Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School: Hyrum

With Mom going back to school, I forgot to post the kids' first day. Here's Hyrum.
Hyrum--Fourth Grade
52.5" 62 lb.
Favorite Food: Spaghetti
Favorite Movie: Harry Potter 7, Part 2
Favorite Song: "Bye Bye Bye"
Favorite Activity: Reading
Favorite TV Show: Phineas and Ferb
Favorite Sport: Soccer

I never got a picture of the boys with their summer "no haircut" look. They made me promise no haircuts till school started, and these pictures below were taken with almost a month of summer left. Hyrum got so shaggy and bleached that when he swam, it stuck up all over his head.

I almost forgot to take pictures while we were shopping, but I did remember when he chose where to eat lunch--Target. 
I don't know why he loves eating there so much, but one reason may be that he can create his own original Icee mix.
Hyrum didn't need much for school this year--mostly underwear, socks, and shoes. The Adidas he picked out at the beginning of last school year lasted the entire year (they were barely holding together by the end of the year, and you could see light through them, but he wore them proudly every day), so he was convinced he needed Adidas again this year. If they lasted like that, then I was happy to oblige.
Fourth grade--different recess schedules, Arizona History, and now he's the oldest Denton at the school this year. Lots of responsibilities for this kid, and he's ready for it.

This boy and his warm chocolate eyes--he melts me all the time. I can't wait to see what this year brings him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School: Eve

With Mom going back to school, I forgot to do kids' back to school shopping and favorites. Here's Eve.

Eve--Second Grade

45.5" 44.5 lb.
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite Movie: Ella Enchanted
Favorite Song: "Shut Up and Dance With Me"
Favorite Activity: Art
Favorite TV Show: Teen Titans Go!
Favorite Sport: Soccer 

I can't believe my baby girl is in second grade. The bigger kids each had an adventure week in July that took them away from home, so it was just the two of us for four days. That's when we did Eve's shopping.

Look at that pile of stuff to try on. Every time she tried on a new outfit, her face would light up like this. There's just something about girls and new clothes.
She's beginning to do her own hair, and her 'do of choice is always a side pony tail. This girl should have been born in the 80s when we all rocked a side pony.

After trying on each outfit, Eve would place one leg up on the wall, fold her arms and look into the mirror. "I have to see if this outfit looks cute in 'The Pose.' If it looks cute like this, then I'll get it. If it doesn't, then I won't."
Eve's big decision every year is new shoes. I thought for sure she would choose the black ones, but she decided she didn't want the burden of actually tying shoes this year, so she picked the pink ones.
I'm so excited about Eve's teacher this year. Hyrum had Miss R two years ago (on her first year of teaching), and we loved her. I know Eve will learn so many new, great things this year, and I can't believe how grown up and independent she's getting.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Birthday Things

Yesterday was my birthday.

Thanks to all of you who wished me well, sent me notes, called, or texted.

46 was quite a year. It was the year I noticed things.

Things like:

  • Hot flashes in the middle of the night leave my nightclothes drenched.
  • Four gallons of milk from Costco are suddenly heavier than I thought.
  • Moving furniture is no longer an activity I can do alone.
  • The ache in my left foot after hours of standing in flat shoes doesn’t stop for days.
  • Weight no longer disappears after a few weeks of hard work and conscientious eating.

I can no longer ignore it. I’m middle aged. Forty-six marks the year I first felt old.

There are other things, too.

Things like:

  • Decorating and repainting and updating and changing the house dropped on my priority list—almost fell completely off it.
  • Pool time and game time rose on the list.
  • I live for the times when my entire family gets together.
  • My skin fits better these days—tighter in some places, but that tightness doesn’t plague me like it once did.

I lack words to explain it. I’m comfortable. 46 marks the year I began to accept myself.

Funny. I thought these things were new this year. I just reread last year’s post, and I sounded about the same. And the year before that as well.

47--this is going to be a year to remember for sure. Instead of walking onto ASU’s campus with the tantalizing title of doctor dangling four years in front of me (like I thought it would last year), I find myself laden with essay tests to grade and lessons to present, being greeted with shouts of “Hi, Mrs. Denton!” as I walk across campus. A year ago, I never even dreamed this would be my life.

And here I am.

Things are changing around the Sanatorium. Kids are growing up. Kids are coming home. Kids are being born. Our family is growing and I’m here watching every moment with joy and gratitude in my soul for each of them.

I’m changing as well. My new job consumes me and fulfills me in ways I never knew I needed. I love it and I already love the kids I teach. I don’t like how work is changing some of my priorities and routines that have been my touchstones for years--sometimes even decades. Laundry is hard to tackle first thing on Monday morning now. Meals and grocery shopping (while admittedly a low priority even before this) have to squeeze in somewhere, along with signing permission slips, helping with homework and piano, and driving kids around. My camera disappears on my desk, buried under American History textbooks and misprinted lesson plans. And while I blog at least twice a week on my class’s site, Denton Sanatorium often sits neglected in cyberspace. My blog has become such a big part of me over the last eight years, and I’m always grateful when I record my family’s history. I can’t brush it aside; one necessary thing--I need to set new priorities in my new life.

47—new responsibilities. New roles. New things. But I can’t forget the old things—precious and dear. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Two Words to Describe the First Day

Aching feet.

Tired, gravelly voice.

Mental fog.

Sore muscles.

And an exhaustion that strangely took up residence between my shoulder blades to radiate down my arms.

Sounds like I had a tough session at the gym or ran a tough race, right?

Who knew the first day of teaching would do this to me?

I've been surrounded by teachers my entire life (my grandpa was a principal, so technically it has been since birth), yet my understanding of all the work they put in was shallow at best.

Even my fingers ache as I type this. Last time they ached like this was after a late night typing my master's thesis. How is that possible after a day at school? I didn't type much yesterday.

I arrived at school just after 7 am, feeling the personal thrill of the first day of school for the first time in many years. I had my packed lunch and new mechanical pencils in my messenger bag and a new skirt around my waist. I bustled around the classroom, getting PowerPoints and video clips queued up, picking scraps up off the floor, and silencing my cell phone after thanking everyone for their Good Luck texts that had been flooding my phone for the past two days.

When the first student walked into the classroom, my stomach flipped in a slightly unpleasant way. I spent more summer hours than I'd like to admit preparing for that moment, and I never thought I'd feel so unprepared. People trust their kids' education to . . . me?

The bells began ringing. And bubbling students wandered in and out, temporarily filling row after row in the classroom.

My classroom.

Words fail me.

Three hours and forty-something minutes of teaching. An all-too-short 25 minute lunch. Then three hours and something more minutes of teaching. Fifteen minutes before my final class ended, the secretary walked into the classroom--my classroom--with flowers from my mom and sisters. That was the moment I felt the tired tears prick my eyes. How could they know that I had secretly hoped someone would send me flowers that first day.

And then the final bell rang. Kids scampered to practices, lessons, homework, and after school jobs. I gathered papers and planners, my computer,  and my almost empty lunch box and walked to the car.

I did it. I finished my first day.

The hours of the weekend are already filled. There's got to be time to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics with the family, and of course we'll clean the house on Saturday and go to Church on Sunday.

Mrs. Denton will also need to update her website and email parents and

For the almost 47 years that I've been alive and I haven't properly thanked all of the teachers in my life--thank you. Thank you for the countless hours you invested in me and currently invest in my children. Thank you for the hoarse voices and sore feet and long days. I had no idea how hard your job is, but now I do.

The two words I finally conjured to describe my feelings:

Exhausted joy


Joy-filled exhaustion

And I get the privilege of doing it again next week. I can't wait, but I really need some sleep first.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

First Day for the Kiddos

School snuck up on us this year.

Normally my kids bounce out of bed on the first day of school, slide into their laid-out clothes (all the way down to shoes and socks on the floor like a murder scene outline), smile through breakfast and bound out the door.

Not today.

Maybe it was the Olympics last night (Go USA!). Maybe it was Lily's apathy. Maybe it was Micah's late rehearsal.

Most likely, however, it's Mom's new job, which officially starts tomorrow (more on that  . . . tomorrow).

The two littles were excited!
Eve--second grade

Hyrum--fourth grade

Micah--seventh grade

Lily--eleventh grade

I love these silly kids and I hope they come home from school with their excitement lit and ready for a great school year!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Just the Girls

I got a call last Monday morning from my sister Karen.

"Jen, ummmmmmm."

She wanted to bring her family down to visit AZ and summer had gotten away from her and now it was almost over and . . .

"Can we come stay with you on Wednesday?"

I was so happy.

My family lives far away and visits are precious.

We had a great time together--girls' lunch at Crackers, Krazy Air with the kids, dinner out as adults, boys' time hiking Usery Pass with their new drones, weathering teenagers' emotions and smaller kids' squabbles . . . and cheering on Michael Phelps to his first gold medal of the Olympics.

Karen and I had talks and giggles and memories. While it was hard for me to put my school preparation on hold for the weekend (at first), I was so happy they came to play with us as a last summer hurrah. We did a lot of fun things this summer, but making memories with my sister was one of my top five, for sure.

Thanks for coming, Thompsons. We love you.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Best of the Beach

Freezing moments in time. That's photography. That's blogging. That's family. Here are my favorite photos from our week in Oceanside.


Last time we went to California I captured this image and here's the back story.

Here Lily and Nathan are reenacting it. I wonder how many years she will be able to carry him on her shoulders like that.

Grandpa Tucker and Annie

Silhouettes of the boys at sunset.


Getting the whole crew together for a group photo is getting a little more challenging, but I insist on it every time I can get one.

 And the real Dentons--crazy and a little silly.

I had a hard time picking my favorite image from the trip. Initially I chose the water droplet on Hyrum's nose, but the more I look at the image below, the more I love it.

Oceanside, CA 2016. Here's to the first trip of many I see in the future.

And I didn't die from the sand, so maybe I won't dread it next time.