And together we learn

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Little dancing girl

The cuteness of her little self in her leotard is more than I can handle. Must be shared!!


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Little breakdown

For scripture study the past few days we've been focusing on kindness. It's kind of a problem around here with the kids (and me, to be perfectly honest). I've found myself yelling at Hazel "Don't you dare use that tone of voice with me!!!!" Less than effective parenting.

So my approach to her attitude this week has been the scriptures. We've memorized Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Today we did Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.

We had a fabulous talk about reaping the fruit that you sow, and how you can know who someone is following based on their actions. Chloe did mention that one of the results of good fruit is that the fruit bats will come eat you, but that's beside the point. We decided that we would praise each other by saying "Good fruit!" or mention "Poison fruit!" as the case may be.

It's been a great day. Hard, long at times, but good. And I've been a good mom. But I'll be honest, this 24/7 alone parenting can be very wearing. Steve's schedule has been brutal lately, and he's been home around 16 hours a week. I need some alone time!!! My little sister was supposed to come babysit for me, but she bailed at the last minute. I wanted to go run some errands alone, so I called my other sisters, but no one could come over. But you deal with it, and it's ok.

So I got them to bed, we had a wonderful nighttime routine, all was peaceful. Steve called over the computer to have a video conversation 3 minutes later, and the girls were wild to talk to him. But somehow, that silly little inconsequential setback in my solitude was enough to put me right over the edge! I pouted and stormed and hustled them none too gently into bed when they were done talking. They both cried and told me I was poison fruit, and I just cried. I knew I was being horrible to them for no reason, but I had just reached that point.

I called Steve and sobbed hysterically. I've been so good all semester, and this is the first time I've cried so far. And cry I did!! But wouldn't you know it, as I was bawling, my precious little girls tiptoed in, gave me a kiss, and wrapped me up in their blankies, then crawled back in bed. Makes me cry again just to think about it!!

Steve though, snapped me out of it when he asked me what day it is. Suddenly it clicked. Backache, insatiable craving for chocolate, and out of control emotions. Checking the day of the month made everything much more clear!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Rapture and joy!!

Bliss! Joy! Radiant happiness and glorious day!!

The cause of this effusive happiness? Today, for the first time ever, I had someone come in to help me with the cleaning. My house--it sparkles. It shines. Under the fridge is clean. Under the washing machine is clean. The oven is clean. Incredible!

I reached the point of just not being able to handle it all. I've never been good at the deep cleaning, and with Steve gone, and these three babies, well--things were not looking so good!!

So I found this fabulous lady on my trusted craigslist, and she came today. She did things to my kitchen I didn't even know were possible.

The whole time, I felt very naked. Exposed. All of my hidden dirt, all the corners that I keep out of view, everything was overturned. She saw all my dirt. Many metaphors here for the Savior and our souls.

And like repentance and the Atonement, it's all clean now. I'm so happy!!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Verizon doesn't stand a chance against him

Things have been rough around here for the phones. Calvin seems to have it out for anything with a dial tone, and he's taking this vendetta pretty seriously. now granted, all these incidents are completely my own fault and could have been avoided, but still!!

We took Steve to the airport this morning at the crack of dawn. When I got home I was TIRED. We piled on the bed for a round of cartoons while I snoozed. Well, I thought Calvin was snuggled up next to me. Apparently not! When I got up, he was sitting happily on the kitchen counter with an open jar of peanut butter, various kitchen implements that he'd dragged out, a bag of tortilla chips, and a pitcher of Crystal Light. Floating eerily in the punch were chips, spoons...and the phone. Yeah, that one is pretty much dead. It wasn't quite as grisly as the end for the digital camera, but it still drowned in aspartame. Yuck.

Then this afternoon, after church, I went to the bathroom. When I came out, my cell phone was stuffed deep into the jar of peanut butter. Fortunately for it's little pink Razor self, the peanut butter didn't suffocate it, and it's fine. I should have gotten pictures, but I didn't realize that there was going to be a theme for the day. Oy.

Of course, I've learned my lesson. Never go to the bathroom while Calvin is on the loose. That, and come to grips with the fact that there is no place anywhere in my kitchen where I can leave things unattended. Dang it!!

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I had forgotten just how filthy kids get in the warm weather. During the winter, you can get away with a day or two without a bath. In the summertime--forget about it!! They grub in the mud, they run and get all sweaty, they eat messy drippy fruit. Isn't it wonderful?? There is nothing I'd rather have my kids doing in this blissful spring weather than dig and dig in the dirt.

These are the results of the mud! We spent the day with Sarah and the kids (obviously) had a blast.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On pacifiers and pirates

During chore time this morning we were livening things up with a slight pirate theme. I was the captain, giving the orders and they were busy swabbing the deck and getting the house ship-shape. There was pirate-y lingo in the air, and things were generally merry.

Here's a little inserted tangent, but I'll pick up the story line in a moment and weave things together into a harmonious resolution.

Since my girls are a bit odd, they have this obsession over pacifiers. Wouldn't take them when they were babies, no. But now that they are 5 and 3, pacifiers are fascinating, coveted objects. They beg for them each time we're in the store, and I always refuse. So yesterday I slipped some into the cart without them looking.

Back to the story line.

My little pirates were behaving wonderfully, so I rewarded them with some piratey bootie. Pacifiers for everyone!!

Chloe joyfully sucked on hers and exclaimed, "Now I'm a baby pirate, Aaaarggh waaa waa waa!!"

Hazel said that now they could "crawl the plank."

I love being a mom.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

When temptation comes knocking, literally

I've been really good this year and didn't order a single Girl Scout cookie. Let's face it, if they're in the house, I eat them!! So imagine my complete surprise to open the door this morning and see a sweet little girl with her hair in braids, holding Thin Mints and Samoas.

"Here are the cookies you ordered," she trilled merrily.

"But I didn't order any cookies," replies the befuddled me.

"Oh, your husband did."

Well, not being superhuman, I paid for them, then promptly sampled away. What's a girl to do when Thin Mints show up on your doorstep??


Sunday, March 18, 2007


Steve is incredibly spontaneous. Me, not quite so much. This past week, his spontaneity won and we had an amazing adventure. Since he travels so much, any chances we have to see him are like gold. So on Tuesday he called and told me to meet him in LA...the next day. I switched our schedule around, packed, and got there Wednesday night.

Can you guess where we went on Thursday??


We were thinking that a Thursday in mid March would be an excellent, slow time to check out the Magic Kingdom. Apparently so did a LOOOOT of other people. It was packed!! But despite the crowds, we were able to pack it in and have a wonderful time.

We met some of our dearest friends there--here are my girls with their little girl, Kiana on the Small World ride. I love that one!!

The next day we went down to San Diego to go to Legoland. The pace there is much slower and it is the perfect park for 3 to 7 ish kids. My three had a great time, until they got a little bit overloaded. Fortunately, we got all our tickets for both parks on craigslist, so leaving early didn't have quite the 'ouch' factor.

Chloe went into full scale meltdown towards the end of the second day, and I took this picture right before she told me, "I just can't play any more."

It was interesting to hear such a tiny girl articulate that out of control feeling of just being done. So we went back to the hotel and vegged, then came home on Saturday. Perfect little quick whirlwind trip.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chloe's been bearing her testimony lately. A lot. Two weeks ago, on Fast Sunday, Hazel popped up off the bench and went up to bear her testimony. Then she came back, got Chloe, and whispered in her ear what to say. AND I MISSED IT!!! I was home sick!

Steve and I haven't wanted her to get up in church until she really does have a testimony, and really knows what she wants so say. So when I asked Hazel what she said, she said, "Oh, what all the kids say. That's what starters do."

(For those who don't have a clue what I'm talking about, once a month there is a church meeting devoted to people sharing their testimonies with the congregation. For some reason, children who get up tend to say the exact same lines, in exactly the same sing-songy cadence, and it's very funny.)

So Chloe's been, umm, practicing this whole concept. Tonight, this is the testimony she gave to the filing cabinet (I was surreptiously taking notes behind her).

"I'd like to bear my testimony, and I know that 6, 7, 8, is true (she was holding a calculator). The light that Jesus gave me is here, and this ummmm century is true, and a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and I know that zero is a hero (from Schoolhouse Rock, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hmmmmm. Maybe we'd better spend some time on the gospel basics!!!


Monday, March 12, 2007

A baby!

So many congratulations to my darling brother Jevan and his wife Emily!!! They just had seriously the cutest baby ever!

For a look at the baby, and one of the funniest birth recaps I've ever read, visit them here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

To do list?? Ha!

I had such great plans for productivity this morning. Oh, I had a list, it was itemized, prioritized, schedulized, in short, things were HAPPENING!!! And then, things did happen. With a vengeance.

Why bother with a to do list when there are small children in the house? Talk about futility. I had just stepped out of the shower and donned my skivvies, when I heard the dreaded CRASH, followed by a quavering, "Um, Mama?"

Chloe, trying to be helpful (or not, we're really not sure) took a gigantic, Costco size container of cocoa powder and dropped it down the stairs. 28 oz. of cocoa powder. All I could do for the first stunned few moments was stammer and blink wildly. Surely, it would all just disappear??

No. It was there to stay. Every time anyone moved, clouds of cocoa dust swirled up, and every step brought cocoa footprints to new areas.

45 minutes later, I emerged. Calvin kept trying to come into the crime scene and sit on my lap, so I utilized a technique that will probably scar him for life. Every time he approached, I turned on his nemesis, the vacuum, and moved it menacingly towards him. He fled in terror every time, which at least bought me a few moments without his 'help.'

Can I just talk about cocoa powder in tile grout?? Better not to.

Bonuses of the whole adventure:
1. The bottom of my stairs is vacuumed, mopped, and the baseboards are clean.

2. It was chocolate! At least the mess SMELLED good. I imagine that had she dropped, say a Costco size jar of sauerkraut, this might not have been as pleasant.

3. Hazel and Chloe rallied and showed some great teamwork to help me get the job done.

4. I won't have to use any air fresheners downstairs for a long time. Eau de Hersheys is a fixture of those carpets now!!


Thursday, March 08, 2007

There's an awful lot to learn

Hazel asked me tonight how to keep the toothpaste from running down your chin when you spit.

It's funny what we take for granted.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Check that one off the list, finally

We took Steve to the airport this morning at 6 am. That means that Calvin was up and raring to go at about 5:15. MUCH too early for crazy toddler things to be up and about. He crashed big time at 8:30, and Hazel and Chloe had a little neighborhood playgroup this morning. So I had the house to myself, all the chores and laundry were caught up (minor miracle in and of itself), and I actually had free time.

I used this time to .....drumroll please.....


Now this may not seem like any kind of an accomplishment until I say that this onerous task has been on my to-do list for a year. No, I'm not exaggerating. But I finally took every last thing out, scrubbed the shelves, organized the food, and arranged it in pristine organization. BLISS!!

Sure, it did take quite a chunk of the day. But it was doable! Why do I procrasinate things so much? Once you get in the middle of them, they're not nearly as bad as I think they'll be, and the feeling of satisfaction at the end is so wonderful.

We went to the library this afternoon and got piles and oodles of books. I realized that my kids had never read Where the Wild Things Are, so we rectified that this afternoon. Calvin spotted a book about basketball, and called out 'ball, ball' until I got it for him. He is so boy!! Hazel has developed a new obsession with space, so we got a stack of books on the space program and planets. I must say that I'm thrilled to be moving off the makeup obsession! I just can't read books about how to make yourself beautiful to her. You know??? It is just not the message I want her to be absorbing right now.

The girls had a princess party for a cousin this evening. It was at some store where they have a child-size salon, all the employees wear boas, and they dressed the girls in princess outfits and did fancy up-dos in their hair. I wish I had my camera!!! Of course, my little girly-girls were in heaven.

Long day. Tired day. Lots of running around, not so much school, but that's ok. Good heavens, she's 5. We can skip a few days and it's still ok. Getting up at 4:45 is not so good for me, so i think I'll go to bed!!

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Plans for the week

I have spent waaaaay to much time in the last two days reading this gorgeous blog. She moved from California to a 280 acre farm in Missouri where she raises sheep and farms organically. And oh, the recipes!!! I'm swooning over things like Savory tomato pesto pie. Incredible. Go check it out, but only when you have hour upon hour to get lost in the writing and pictures and GARDENS!!!

Can you tell I'm anxious for spring? It hit 50 degrees today, and the soft breeze was so welcome after our weeks of snowstorms. We're going to be doing some serious nature walks this week.

Since both Sarah and Nina are doing the upcoming week's school plans, I thought I'd play along, also.

Math we'll keep working on place value with 10's and units. If she really gets it, we'll start the next MUS lesson and go on to hundreds. We'll do lots of Math Bingo and play some counting games so she can remember the number 15. He gets shafted every single time.

Reading...we'll do more Bob books with each of us alternating reading pages. Happy Phonics games (scrambled sentences, word families) and a nursery rhyme reading game.

For Chloe, upper and lower case matching. Both girls can practice writing in cornmeal and rice. They love that.

Hazel copywork as usual. I give her two sentences a day for her to copy. Chloe has a new workbook that she absolutely delights in.

Read about the water cycle. Evaporation experiment, nature walks observing water melting, stream, etc.

Paint sculpey creations. Art project having something to do with water. I'll have to think on that one.

Continue reading Betsy Tacy, and read piles and piles of library books.

That sounds like plenty!! I'll add to that keeping Calvin from 'discovering' too much, get the kids fed and dressed, maybe do a bit of laundry, and we should be set for the week.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Soup and a break

Miracle of miracles, Steve came home today!!! He's been gone for a loooong time--something like 11 days, but I'm not sure. But he was able to surprise us by coming home a day early!! Bliss.

I made black bean soup for dinner with homemade tortillas. Yummy!! Chloe loves sour cream above most other things on this earth, and she was thrilled with her bowl of (a little) soup and (a lot) of sour cream.

It's so good to have him home for a few days. I seem to get into a funk after a couple of weeks of dealing with everything by myself. Once he's home, I can do amazing things like go to Target by myself, or even do the dishes while HE'S putting the kids to bed. Life just doesn't get much better than that!

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Not really any point to this one

I've been thinking and thinking that surely I must have something interesting to write about. My days are a merry-go-round. We have ups, we have downs, they fly by in a whirlwind.

Some moments are wonderful. I want to do nothing more than be a mommy to these precious kids. But then, mere seconds and a few tantrums later, I'm second guessing everything. What made me think I could parent? Homeschool?? Who am I kidding? There are so many more things that I'm NOT doing than I am getting done. I feel plagued with doubts about this responsibility of mine.

I talk to other moms. I know this is normal, and that overall, yes, my kids will probably not suffer lasting psychological trauma from being raised in my home. But, oh, how to silence the voices of doubt!!

I had an experience yesterday that helped me realize that I am slightly on track. And I share this not in any way showing myself superior, or judging, or anything like that, but just that this opened my eyes that for MY family, with what I want to accomplish for my kids, I'm on the right track. I went to the library with my sweet neighbor for story time. I love her, she's dear, and we get along wonderfully. But she had never been to the completely fabulous library in our neighborhood. I asked her if she went to the other one, and she admitted that they actually never went to the library. Then her kids found several Dora, Blues Clues, and Mickey Mouse books and stacks of DVD's to check out. My kids had stacks and stacks of picture books and read aloud books and honestly great stuff picked out. No twaddle.

OK. I'm really not trying to sound superior. But it was a realization that I AM doing ok at instilling a love of books and learning in my family. That is extremely important to me. I'm truly not trying to be all prideful, but I did feel better about my inadequacies. And to give her the credit she definitely deserves, her house is darling, very clean, very organized, and her kids rooms are oh, so decorated. All things that mine are NOT!!!

It's all a trade-off, I suppose. Since I can't do everything, I'll focus on the things that matter the most to me, and hope that in the end, these kids turn out ok.