Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

We visited G-ville yesterday and today for Christmas celebrations.  P's family has  lot of traditions for Christmas Eve and it's really fun.

P bought us tickets to go see Signing Time in January.  He made a print out of the tickets and gave them to the children.  lP got hers first and M as very jealous that lP was going to get to see the show.  Then M got hers.  Poor G spend 5 seconds thinking he was left out.  Then they all got them and there was celebration.

I love how grateful the children are.  They are pretty awesome. 

We did have to leave after a quick lunch because lP triggered a spiral of death.  She took 2 pieces of meat, when I asked her to take one.   Then she dropped one on the floor.  So I got mad, then P is mad because I am mad, and lP's behavior becomes a huge issue. 

I'd just like for her to follow simple instructions.  It's difficult for me to understand why I get so mad about it.  But Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

favorite Christmas songs

HB wrote about her favorite Christmas songs and so I thought I would to.  For a long time my favorite was "Angels We Have Heard On High".  I don't know how old I was but I remember it was a pretty big accomplishment when I could finally sing the Glo-----------ria without taking a breath in the middle.   And I remember when I was a teenager realizing that the music didn't match the alto part I had learned over the years.

Last night I started to teach M "O Holy Night".  It's pretty awesome being able to sing with my children. 

I feel upset at them a lot.  And singing with them is one of the best ways for me to enjoy being with them.  Singing is like that.

I wrote to a friend recently.  I knew this friend way back in the day of Geoff's infancy.  Writing to her got me thinking about how much I loved the place we were in back then.  P was a band director.  We got to sing in a wonderful choir.  Even when G had cancer, we still had wonderful music.  Then G lost his hearing and we started down a very lonely path where participating in music hurt.

So now we're in a place where there is not so much music.  But the music we have comes from us.   My heart is tied to the people I share music with. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How did I end up here?

I've never been big on Santa.  I self-righteously like to say that I only tell my kids to believe in approved religious persons.  We only give the children one gift each because they have 4 grandparents plus aunts that give them gifts.  They get so many wonderful things, and we're not in any competition.  So I just get them 1 thin that I think they'll enjoy.  This year the gifts were each less than $10.  Booker's gift was $1 at a thrift store. 

I had a discussion with someone that wanted to have a gift exchange with a $5 limit.  I feel like gift exchanges among acquaintances are somewhere between dumb and a bad idea.  The children that aren't even getting the gifts themselves, what did it cost them?  What does it mean to them?  When they're giving something without knowing the recipient, does that even teach good giving?  Arguably it teaches them to give as they would receive.   What about the families that are already strapped after just paying taxes, and buying gifts from their families?  (Here I expose my bias since only home owners pay taxes, so they must be rich anyway. Right?) 

We don't go into debt.  I have a bad habit of seeing everything I could not afford, as though someone is going into debt for it.  Maybe they are, maybe they're not.  And if they are, maybe they don't look on debt like the plague.  So a lot of Christmas extravagances, to my judgmental heart, seem like "putting dumb on broke." to misquote Dave Ramsey.

P is the seminary teacher and the seniors planned a party that includes a gift exchange.  He said he can see how uncomfortable some are at the price and the expectation.  He told them it's more important to be there than to bring a gift.  And he went and got some awesome extras.  Who does not want a box of Star Crunch?  Brilliant.

But the kids that "have" just can't imagine what it's like to "have not".  They can't imagine the embarrassment of not being able to come up with something as simple as a gift for someone who doesn't need anything.

Last year I spoke up in Ward Council about the youth temple trip that included a restaurant lunch.  They "sweetly" planned that they would cover any youth that needed it.  I tearfully told them that the kids that can't buy their lunch will just say they're not hungry.  Or they will waste the money they have, on a lunch that's expensive, so they can fit in.   It sets the kids up for taking a hand-out.  Why is it so much to just ask kids to bring a lunch, or at least make that an option. 

So in all this tizzy of self-righteousness, I have failed to teach my own children the magic of giving.  I read an blog today about Santa.  The author tells her children that Santa is so grateful for the gift of the Savior that he wants to give everyone presents.  I thought that was pretty brilliant, and puts the emphasis right back where it should be.  So I told my children about that.  And this year they are going to be secret Santas. 

I wrote down the names of family we will see on Christmas, and had them draw names.  Then we went and bought simple items, many of them food items.  The children, I hope, will get to see how fun it is to do something with someone else in mind, and to not take credit or it.

So now I love Santa.  I'm grateful for the person who shared that idea.  Once again, I'm super slow on the up-take. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


As I look out the window, I notice that the sweetgum tree that I thought would never change color, has started to get yellow.  Autumn/Winter is so strange here.  This year I paid more attention to the change.  As in, I really wanted to see some changing leaves, and so noticed them a lot more.  We have so many live oaks, and pine trees, you really never see swaths of color.  But this year taught me to look for it.

Today we stayed in town for the 2 hours G was at school.  We did 4 errands, including my flu shot, way overdue.  We also got a round of Jr. Frosties with the coupons from halloween.  What a deal!  I find that if you cut the straws down to about 6 inches, they look really cute and that's important when you're trying to make sure the kids think this is the best treat ever.

 This is M at her desk of joy.  She is obviously the one with the most hoarder genes in the family.
 B loves to take the ornaments off the tree.  It is what it is.
G's going to be 10 in 10 days!  Crazy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2 cents

lP is an adorable child.  Yet she drives us crazy to the point of seriously bad parenting.  I'm trying to change the way we react to her.  Usually she's done something minor, that bothered M or G.  They freak out and then I am really mad.  I need to re-train myself to really look at what she actually did, and not freak out because I'm so annoyed by how annoyed M and G get.  It's hard.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Seminary in the front room

Our building is closed for 1 year.  It's crazy.  In the meantime we are driving 40 minutes to attend church as the 3rd ward in a building in "then next town over" though you go through 2 others to get there.  Apparently the AC broke down and the building got horribly corrupted with mold.  It was making people sick...  And so there are people from SLC in charge of the renovation and it's going to take a year because they are getting the AC system re-done and de-humidifiers installed.  I just don't get why that takes a year.  This seems to be coming off as critical, but it's more that I'm just so bewildered that it would take a year to fix this.  They're not talking about renovating the building, just fixing it.  But for some reason there is some permit timing that is slowing it to that point. 

P is the Seminary teacher and after 2 months of holding seminary in commercial locations, it's being held in our front room.  1 commercial location would not give P a key and would show up late several days a week.  The other commercial location was cramped. 

Some of the ways it blesses our family to have seminary at our home is that P can make it to work on time when he just has to walk into the back room.  It also forces me to keep the house a little closer to the level of cleanliness that I actually like.  It also has our children all excited for when they are old enough to attend seminary.  Another blessing is that we moved the organ into the girls room.  So now M will play late at night and early in the morning.

I finally passed off the song I've been working on.  M is so nice and lets me pass things of at a slow tempo.  Unfortunately she's now 2 songs ahead of me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Baptism and the Sacrament

 I became aware that, the sacrament renews our baptismal covenant, within the last few years.  I feel sad that I spent so much of my life, in the church, not understanding this.  I'm a primary president so I thought it was important to teach that doctrine to the children.  There is no song that explicitly says there is a connection.  There is also no song that talks about the miracles performed in Christ's earthly ministry.  We have so many songs about being reverent, but why not these doctrines? 

So I am marinating (southern for contemplating) the connection of baptism and the sacrament and want to write a song for primary about it.  Then I thought, "If there's no song about it, maybe I am just imagining this connection because I think it would be nice if there was one."  Thank goodness for  I was able to find several talks about renewing baptismal covenants through the sacrament.  Hurray, I didn't imagine it.  It just took me 30 years to get it.

Here are some excerpts:

Claim the Blessings of your Covenants

"Why does the Savior put so much importance upon the sacrament, dear sisters? What importance does this weekly renewal of our baptismal covenants play in our lives? Do we recognize the ability of the Savior to completely cleanse us every week as we worthily and thoughtfully partake of the sacrament?"

The trials and tribulation that we experience may be the very things that guide us to come unto Him and cling to our covenants so that we might return to His presence and receive all that the Father hath.

We sometimes, as women, have a tendency to be very critical of ourselves. During these times we need to seek the Spirit and ask, “Is this what the Lord wants me to think about myself, or is Satan trying to beat me down?” Remember the nature of our Heavenly Father, whose love is perfect and infinite.6 He wants to build us up, not tear us down.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finally Homeschooling

In our primary program the older children played "I will follow God's plan for me" on the bells.   lP wanted to be able to play it too.  So I wrote out this version for her to play.  It was really sweet how hard she worked to play it.
 M drew this jack-o-lantern and I cut it out.  Then I cooked it.  The crock pot works really well for cooking it down without drying it out.  I'm sold.  We took this picture so she could remember that one time her mom really did let her have a jack-o-lantern.  Usually I just cook them down.
 G has 4 Lego Hero characters and he wanted to make a Hero Factory.  So he cleaned up the pit that is known as the lego room.  And set up all the components.  It's been sweet for the children to have a place to play with all the small pieces without driving me crazy.
B is finally big enough to wander around in the front yard.  It's amazing to see him exploring.

G kept asking for more time at school.  Poor boy really missed going to gym.  This year he was only at school for about 2.5 hours.  The school lets him come to school for 2 classes.  And if those classes are before and after lunch and recess, he can attend those too.  Anyway, we just got permission to switch the 2 classes.  So now he goes to math and p.e..

This is turning out to be a much nicer schedule for our family.  Before we would leave ~9 to drop him off.  Then go back at 12 to pick him up.  Then we'd go back to town for Speech, Drama, Piano etc...  Now we don't leave until almost 12.  We pick him up at 2:30 and stay in town for our other appointments.  Less back and forth.

Best of all, we are actually homeschooling in the morning in a structured way that I love.  We eat breakfast, then sing circle songs.  Then we go do some book work.  Then the kids play for an hour or so.  It's so nice!  I don't feel like I'm constantly coming and going.  It's a nice time.  B is old enough and very independent. So he just plays while I do work with M and G.  P loves to work along side the older kids with her drawings and words.  It's pretty great.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Primary Program Phew!

Our church does a program every year with the children singing and reciting scriptures they've learned that year.  Today we had the program and it is the 3rd one I've been primary president for.  It went really well.  The practices never seemed to get much better.  But I'm thrilled that it went off so well.  A lot of children chose to sign, including some children of deaf adults.  It's been a sweet process to see those children able to overcome whatever was keeping them from that adorable sign of affection.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deep discussions with little girls

 M has a dilemma.  She has an adorable baby brother that she just loves to pieces.  And she has parents that never let her hold him.  And when they catch her throwing him onto the couch, they tell her that she's not allowed to touch him at all.  It's harsh. 
On the day this all came to head, we talked about trust.  When you can trust something, it means you can expect that thing to do the same thing all the time, like the sun rising in the east.  And I told her it was like me staying up late might make me grumpy.  Adults and children can act in a way that you can't trust them.  But that some people lie a lot, and you can sort of trust them to keep lying.  It doesn't mean you should let them take care of your children.  But you can expect that behavior to happen again, and not be surprised by it.  M has amazing days, and she has days that she act like she's a 7 year old.  I explained that she's a child and that when I say "I can't trust you" it means I can't expect consistent behavior from her.  I can't expect her to be perfect every day, and that's ok.
Today we talked about people having bad self esteem.  My girls have the best self esteem.  It helps that they are gorgeous and smart and able.  I talked to them about S, a teen they know.  S has been the lead in the "Nutcracker" and is overall amazing and beautiful.  I ask M "Imagine if S thought she was ugly..."  We all had a good laugh over that, even though S probably does think she's fat.  Teen girls usually do.  So I told the girls that God made them.  Imagine if they drew a picture and the picture complained that it was ugly.  And I told them that Satan is the one who wants people to feel ugly. 

I think I'll mark this day on my calendar and review this annually.  It's a pretty important message.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I was in charge of the community halloween party tonight.  It came together really well.  I was anxious that kids would be bored, or we'd run out of food.  But we even had a hard time getting kids to do the activities.  They sort of traveled in packs and we had enough kids to fill 4 activities and we had 6 on and off.  Halloween is becoming my favorite holiday for meeting neighbors.  It's really nice to go from house to house and meet people.  Our neighborhood has been mostly older people for a long time.  But young families are moving in.  Several people commented on getting a lot of trick or treaters. 

My neighbor game me her halloween vests that she used when her kids were growing up.  Call me weird, but I really like this article of clothing.  I'll probably be wearing it at Christmas.  It's so nice!  Cozy, but not bothering my arms.  Man! 

Pictures to follow, be sure : )  We still have 4 more halloween events next week.  Thankfully I'm not in charge of any of them!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beautiful Children

My friend did a photo shoot of children in costumes and I now have this amazing picture.  It's  so rare that I feel the picture captures my children as beautiful as they are.  I love good pictures.  Great ones are a treasure to me. 

Do you see lP with arms folded?  She's really holding her right arm that was injured not 1 hour before this picture was taken.  It's still bothering her today so we are going to get it checked out tomorrow.  One of the Physical Therapists at the office where Geoff does speech was kind enough to do a quick check on it.  lP can bend and extend the arm, but in rotation it makes her cry out.  Poor kid.  She also won't use it to undo her seat belt, or other things she usually can do.

Friday, October 10, 2014


I'm grateful that I don't have the compulsive behavior of hoarding.  I do tend to have things I don't need though.  So I'm giving myself permission to use things.  I'm also telling myself that I deserve to not have tons of clutter that is oppressive to me.  So that nice bowl that I would be sad if it broke?  I'm going to use it.  The nice paper I've been saving, I'm going to use it.  The fabric scraps that are actually to small to use, I'm going to throw them away. 

This year I've gotten rid of a lot of things.  We moved into this wonderful home that had so many cool things from Sister L.  It's been 3 years people.  And things I've never used, apparently we don't need.  Some things we never need, I let the kids have them and they can use, ruin, love the things all they want.

I'm in charge of the neighborhood halloween party.  Worst thing that can happen is the neighborhood decides not to let me be in charge again : )  At first I felt like the budget was generous, then I started putting a name on each dollar.  And the budget is just right, if tight. 

Friday, October 3, 2014


People in tragedies are people too.  One of the strange things that happened when we were in dire circumstances is that the things we'd feared, actually happened, and nobody died. And even when people die, I have a belief set that copes pretty well with that.  I've never had a parent or spouse die though. 

I think when people are going through hard times, we make the mistake of thinking they are other.  Like they are going through a hard time and wouldn't want to come to a party, so we don't invite them.  Or, they're going through a hard time and shouldn't post lame things on the internet.  They should only have deep thoughts.

Book it

Pizza  Hut is having a Book it Alumni program.  I don't know if I ever got a pizza as a child.  I know Phillip did.  With 10 kids in the family, and me not even liking books until Jr. High, chances are we didn't make it out o Pizza Hut, even if I did get a coupon.  I remember being aware of it but I didn't have skills like returning paperwork, until after college.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Alachua Library rocks

We haven't lived in G-ville for 4 years.  But the library system still lets us have cards.  They still let us access all their digital media, and real media, but I don't have to go into town to get the digital media.  They have a site called Freegal linked to them too that lets you download 3 songs a week.  I think it's pretty great.

Coming to SA was hard when we had to face the reality of library fines.  But this library does have a food drive every year so you can get your fines wiped out that way.  P paid mine right before we went on our road trip.  That was so sweet of him.  Nice P.  Always trying to clear my name...

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I've previously told people that our family homeschools with an "unschool" philosophy.  I learned today that different families do different things.  I actually tell the children that all the time.  Apparently some people who "unschool" their children let them do whatever they want and have unlimited access to media.  That's not us.  And now I need to re-think how I describe our homeschooling.  Sheesh, some of the people's situations seemed more like "unparenting" than "unschooling" to me. 

Our unschooling looks like children having a flexible pace of learning things that I feel are appropriate for them to learn.  Mostly that looks like them learning really fast, in short bursts, and free play the rest of the time.  They only have access to media that I feel is appropriate.  PBS kids, ABCya, and the DVDs we bought.  And limited time consuming media. 

I write math problems for the kids and go through it with them.  I tell them math stories.  I'm sure things could be more educational, but I feel like that's necessary. 

lP wrote the alphabet at her 4 year old check-up.  She doesn't need to be taught her letters. 

I feel like media presents a real problem to the idea of letting kids be self-led.  Because media entertains way more than it teaches, it numbs the brain.  If I were willing to let the children run free in the woods, I would love them to just be self-entertained exploring nature.  Nature, not the internet...

Thursday, September 25, 2014


 M caught this lizard "Lizzy" and had a good time terrorizing it before I finally told her to let it go.
 We had a nice time visiting Grandma's.  It's funny how they will play with toys at her house that they never play with at home.
 4 kids on a dinosaur.  Yeah.
 We visited the wax museum.  It was very cool.
We went to the lady Gator volleyball game.  It was a surprisingly nice visit.  The 3 olders were able to sit and watch.  And we were on the front row, so the fence kept lB corralled.  We made it through warm-ups and 2 rounds.  Not bad for our traveling circus.

M sometimes says it's not fair that G gets to go on field trips.  So now I say "Isn't this a nice field trip?" Every time we are at some place nice.

We plan for the children to attend high school.  A homeschooling family I know has their children take a few virtual school classes in middle school to get them ready.  I think that's a good idea.  Growing up with the legacy of smart siblings in the system and a mom willing to insist that I be placed in the same track was nice.  Homeschooling is becoming more normal, especially in our county.  I just realized yesterday that since I do want them to go to HS, I need to learn what they'll need to make sure they can be in appropriate (aka high level) classes.  P moved from TX going into HS and they put him in general classes until he took the SAT and was plopped into AP English.  He's a lot more grounded, maybe because of that.  He does have a little bit of an elitist snob streak...  But he's not hung up on his intelligence as his only identity. 

G goes to school as a part time student and this year that worked out to be 2.5 hours.  At first I was worried that we wouldn't be able to pick him up on group days.  And P's work schedule means he also wouldn't be able to get him.  So we were trying to figure out what to do.   Then we realized he could just go to group with us.  I'm thrilled about this.  Now G gets to go with us to our hippie group and take walks in the woods.  He gets to collect leafs into his fancy wool pouch and do leaf rubbings into his "Leaf Collection Book".  He participates in our circle, singing and dancing.  He stomps in puddles with the other rowdy boys.  In general he gets to experience this lovely nature day with us every week.  I'm really happy it worked out this year. 

M had a piano lesson scheduled for yesterday and after some nagging and finally some "SLOWLY!" yelling, she hunkered down and practiced for almost an hour.  Real practicing.  It was amazing.  It inspired me to finally get my head around the piece I'm working on; "The Happy Farmer".  Then lP thew up and we had to re-schedule for Friday.  I hope she makes some amazing progress in the next 2 days so she can see what can happen when you prepare before the day of...

lP is 4.  We do verbal math sometimes in the car and today she insisted on having a turn.  It's a series of word problems.  "Tom has 5 apples and gives 2 to John.  How many apples does Tom have?  3  Then 3 friends came with 1 apple each.  How many apples did they have all together? 6"  That's the sort of problems I ask M and G, harder for G.  lP wanted her turn and I was trying to ask questions that added 1 up to 4.  She had such a beautiful expression each time she held up her fingers with the answer.  Math is so fun!

I've been realizing, over and over the last 10 years, how much I am doing exactly what I would like to be doing with my life.  If I could do anything, it would be to spend time with my children.  And I get to every day!  Sometimes I spend too much time hiding in the office...  But the very thing that I like to do, that I value most, is right outside the kitchen gate, calling my name, or screaming MOM!  Lucky me.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quick trip before dinner

 Is it any wonder that not many kids in this town go to college?  Goodness!  We decided to go to the beach Wednesday, on Wednesday.  Then we decided after we got home from piano and the store, to go before dinner instead of after.
 bB's footprints in the sand are so cute!
 lP's complete independence in the water, with her floaty suit, is awesome.
Watching M grow up and catch waves.  It's beautiful!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It was a trip!

 Barton springs in Austin, TX
 Llano River in TX where we camped after attending a 1-4pm church with a deaf unit in Austin.
 M looking at the mountains in the distance.
 Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern.
 Working on Jr Ranger booklets.  The kids visited 6 parks in 1 week and got badges in 4 of them.
 Camping at the Grand Canyon.  We were stressed about getting there in time.  The GPS said we would get there by 6:30 but it also said we still had 60 minutes to drive and it was past 6pm.  Then I remembered that Arizona didn't participate in Daylight Savings.  So we got there ok!  Also there seems to be a new thing called Camp Hosts.  They are volunteers with RV's in the park that can help with late check ins, or so it seems.
 The bridge across Glen Canyon that my dad designed.  The Glen Canyon Dam is what makes lake Powell a Lake instead of more Colorado River.
 We needed to stop at the Glen Canyon info center and decided to go swimming in Lake Powell.
 We had a picnic with my sister and had a lot of fun.
 We went to Bridal Veil falls and I let the kids walk in the lower falls.  I was sort of amazed at how cold the water was, and how shifty the rocks were.  It's like real nature, and yet we and many others were letting small children scamper about.  I suppose the risk of rock slide was relatively low... maybe.
 On our way our of Provo Canyon we went up to the Overlook and happened upon a hang-glider and 3 para-gliders prepping to take off.  We hung around and got to watch a few.  It was awesome.
 The kids went swimming Thursday, Friday and Saturday with their cousins.
 The cousins were going to 9am church and we were going to 12pm church.  So I braided the hair of 2 little girls.  We worked on packing up and then went to church.  We got there early because it was actually 1pm church.  So we drove up to campus and P took the kids to the physics building for a quick trip.
 Here we are at Yellowstone.  You can't even see in our eyes that we will freeze to death that night.  We never saw it coming.  We did attend a nice lecture about bears that night.  And we were up by 7 (after freezing to death) and got to see a mom and baby bear on the road.  Also we got to participate in the bison stampede.  OK, it wasn't a stampede but the road was blocked by 10-20 bison at a time as we slowly, so slowly I fell asleep, tried to leave the park.  After that experience, the children no longer called this an Amazing trip.  They called it a scary trip.
 We drove through Wyoming worried that we wouldn't get to Mount Rushmore in time.  Once again I became a time zone sleuth.  I figured out that While SD is on central time zone, the part that has Mount Rushmore in it is still in Mountain Time.  So we arrived in good time to attend a lovely lighting ceremony.  We didn't have enough time for the kids to do their Jr. Ranger booklets, but the kind ranger let mom have them with the promise to give them to the kids after they did their books.

 At Nauvoo we had about 1 hour to tour the historic displays.  It turned out that the blacksmith had a son who lived in Florida.  And it turned out to be our Stake president.  It was really cool seeing all the rope making, barrel making, blacksmithing etc...  Also, now that there is a temple there, it totally changes the feeling of the historic center.  It makes the sacrifice of abandoning all their homes, and the temple much more real.
 We met up with friends at a mall in Indianapolis.  They were at a convention and we had meant to meet up at a garden/playground.  But my miscommunication with P led to us meeting up within walking distance of the conference center.  I would not have planned to meet up downtown in that way, but it was better than what I planned.  We even found parking onstreet and it had already been paid for 1 hour.  When we got back to the car there seemed to be a ticket on our windshield, boo.  But it turned out to be the car behind us.  I felt sorry for them.  More so, because they were walking behind us from the mall to the car.  Not that we held them up, but that it's sad to actually see the family come to their car and find a ticket.
 We had a nice time visiting these cousins in Columbus.  All of our hosts were so kind in letting us arrive late, let their kids stay up late to play with us.  It was really cool.
Our last stop was to visit friends in SC.  Someone at church remarked that they have a lot of visitors.  No wonder!  They are super fun to visit.  They should really be a bit more rude to discourage repeat visitors : )  After we left their house, it was suddenly so tiring to be on the road.  We had nothing to look forward to anymore.  We just wanted to be home. 

We got home at 11ish and went to bed.  G started school in the morning and we've been going to doctor's appointments and catching up ever since.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


We're going on an epic trip.  This is like the ultimate challenge of my current adult/mom moment.  I decided we should each have about 5 changes of clothes.  More for those that have frequent costume changes, aka accidents.  I wanted to be able to have the extra clothes in a laundry basket.  Then I realized that they will be wearing 1 set.  Another set will be in their night pack.  Church clothes will all be packed in a separate suitcase.  So really I only need to have 2 sets of clothes in the laundry basket.  Easy!

I'm also planning to have a bag packed with towels and swim stuff, separate from the other clothes. 

One problem is that we're using all those clothes every day.  So I can't just pack now. 

We were trying to get an inverter for the car because the CD player doesn't work.  So we wanted to be able to plug in a speaker to use an ipod.  Also we have air mattresses so we needed to plug in the pump.  In the end P got a new stereo that has a functional CD player and a tape deck.  So we can use a tape adapter to plug in the Ipod.  I even have one left over from the 90's that I never used.  Good thing I'm like a hoarder!  We've become spoiled having controls for the sound system on the steering wheel.  So now we still have that functionality.

 Instead of buying a fancy inverter, we got a pump that plugs into the car outlet.  I ordered some air mattresses for $15 from amazon.  They turned out to be terrible. So I returned them and got some coleman slim twin air mattresses for $19.  I really like these slim twin pads.  Their not so big as a twin.  Really they are tiny, but enough.  Also they have the amazing valve that lets you inflate and deflate them in seconds.

I've also been spending a lot of money on snack foods.  The silly thing of that is that we plan to buy food along the way.  So I'm not bringing all these snacks with us.  But when we get back, and I'm exhausted.  We'll have snacks.  Actually I'm not spending tons of money on snacks.  But I'm buying BOGO snacks that I would usually never buy.  Like I bought 10 bags of goldfish for $0.80 a bag.  When you have 4 kids that actually eat goldfish, it's not so unreasonable.  G even ate some macaroon cookies the other day. 

Capri Suns were BOGO so I got a box of the veggi/fruit juice.  It turns out G will drink this.  So for the first time in his life he is getting 1-2 servings of "Fruit/vegetable" a day!  I need to go out tonight and get some more.  Rather, I need to go tonight and buy all the ones they have in stock so I can get a rain check to buy more at that sale price next month!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I've been reading somewhat about the excommunication of Kate Kelly and OW.  Some of their goals seem historically sound.  It's got me thinking about "What does God want me to do here?"  Honestly I'm living such an easy life.  It seems like I'm not magnifying my opportunity to be here.  I've made some good choices, but those were also the choices that my family and peers wanted me to make.  I've never had to do anything particularly difficult, like support myself, or overcome depression, or be a refugee.

That said, it occurs to me that  from my position of luxury, being ordained to the Priesthood is not part of my eternal plan.  It blesses my life and I administer my calling with priesthood authority.  But my ultimate goal is not priesthood or godhood.  I wish I knew more about the being I'm aspiring to be like.  But my eternal nature is not male. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Because I am

I'm loving my new haircut.  I've never had it this short before.  For a long time I wanted to cut it but worried that I would look like a man.  But I've realized that no matter what my hair is like, I will look like a woman; because I am a woman.

I will throw like a woman; because I am a woman.

I will run like a woman; because I am.

I'm trying to teach my children to love and accept themselves.  They are awesome.  And they are themselves.

When I think of my children working with youth leaders in the church that want to impose standards of feminine or masculine behavior, I want to go inactive.  A girl who does not wear pink is not gender-confused.  A boy who doesn't participate in bullying is not gay.  They are themselves.  They are children of God.

Before I go inactive though, I'll make pithy comments like "She's not gender confused, she's college bound." 

To give some background on this rant, I know 2 women who have struggled to find happiness and acceptance.  I know both had people whispering about them being lesbians at church.  There are many ways to be a woman.  Why must girls be boy-crazy to prove to the adults that they aren't committing the imagined sin of same sex attraction.  I say imagined sin because we've gone astray in modern Christian America.  Nobody is allowed to have deep friendships.  Children are only allowed heterosexual affection.  Great...  At what age are boys not allowed to hold hands anymore?

I think more and more that homosexual sex outside of marriage is as bad as heterosexual sex outside of marriage.  Which is to say that gossiping is worse.

The church is true.  And I hope I'm able to serve in the organizations to make sure my children are allowed to enjoy the gospel despite the people.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let it go!

I cut my hair!  I'm in a wonderful season, or moment.  I'm able to let go of things, like the chairs of death, that don't bless our family.  For a long time I wanted to cut my hair, but I worried that I would look like my manly brothers.  But it turns out I still look like me!  And because I have a healthy self image, I like that I still look like me. 

bB is starting to walk.  It's so cute.  He'll stand up and lurch forward 5 steps into someone's arms.  He especially likes to walk to M.

M and P have such a funny relationship. Today in the car they had this dialogue.

M: I still have popcorn and you don't.
P:  It was a race and I won. Ha.
M: You never told me it was a race!
P (quietly): I always knew it was a race. Sorry.

Because G is deaf, M and P are homeschooled they are sort of isolated.  They are each other's best friends.  Nobody else understands them as well as they do.  Some of that is because they are P's and my children, sure.  But at 9 G is still happy to watch Dora.   P is the dominant personality so even though she's 3, she is ... dominant.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Holiday fun

We went out to G-ville to visit family visiting from Louisiana.  It was fun to hang out and we hoped there might be a chance to float the river.  The tropical storm was looming and P needed to go back to town for a band performance on the 4th. 

Then we remembered that cousin M plays the trumpet!  So I stayed in G-ville another night with the kids while P and cousin M went back home for a rehearsal and performance. 

Friday dawned clear and beautiful so we made plans to float the river.  P and cousin M arrived about 11:30 and we got packed and drove out.  In past years C always wanted us to be there by 10 lest we miss the cut off for people allowed on the river per day.  With us rolling into the park at 1:00, I was anxious that we'd be disappointed.  But lo!  We were just fine! 

I'd packed a lunch, and aunt E brought fruit pizza!  Grandma L had sent Twinkies so we were well fortified when we hit the river.

P and I each had a boat to keep B and lP safe.  G and M went on tubes.  In the beginning they tied up to aunt E.  Later they were independent and G even came and saved me from some hazards.  I was so proud and grateful for him.

lP took turns with M in the tube or boat.  One time she slipped and went head first into the tube and got stuck because of her float vest.  G pulled the tube off her and she came up fine, if upset.  But as per family policy, she got back on the tube.

I'm grateful for the example from the P family.  If something doesn't go well, like you get hurt, or crash a car, you must go and try again.  I don't remember that being an issue in my family, but I'm glad to be aware of it in raising my children.

We left straight from the river and went back to SA where our deaf friends were having a swim party and watching fireworks.  I love the families we get to know here. 

I totaled P's hour in the car for Friday and he was driving for at least 8 hours!

I don't have any pictures from that day.  I forgot it for the river which was good because I just needed to keep my hand on B and paddle.  And I just got to enjoy the moment rather than capture it. 

Another thing that I don't have a picture of, yet, is the frog on my window.  It's about 4 com long and has semi-translucent pink skin.  But tonight it's more opaque in some areas.  I wonder if it got burned.  Aren't you glad I don't have a picture?  It's like a nightly nature show watching it hang out on the window, waiting for bugs attracted to the light.  Smart frog.

Monday, June 30, 2014

I hate this

Why not just make a cutesie paper that says "The priesthood blesses my life and candy is yummy"?

Disclaimer: The person who made these is super sweet.

It's cute.  Sure.  But does it actually help people appreciate the actual priesthood more?  And have you ever tried to explain one of these semi-homonym candy grams to a deaf person?  I also hate it
when people make a song chart and use a big "EYE" to help the children remember "I".

I'm just so hate filled!  And I was confused a lot in my childhood.  I thought that the line "by this
shall men know" was really "by this shalminnow..." 

So instead of being so hateful, how about I just say I think these things do more harm than good.  I mean candy is bad for us, but it's yummy.  And these cutesie had outs distract.  Oh well. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

road trip

I'm so excited, and full of dread.  For years to come, when the children ask why we never go anywhere, we will say :Remember the summer of..."

Lucky Day!

 We've been living in this wonderful home for 2 1/2 years.  The L's left us so many nice things.  These beautifully crafted chairs have been a bane.  Just 1 trip to the ER would prove me crazy to let the threat continue in the house.  I finally found 11 beautiful wood chairs on auction in GA.  I won the auction for $42.  P went up to GA and got them for me.  I love them!  After 2 weeks of trying to sell them, or even give them away, I took them to the metal recycling plant and got $9.46 for them.
So today is a lucky day.  Today is the first day in my beautiful home without the threat of impalement!  There is so much freedom in that.  The new chairs are great.  I love them.  I think I said that already.  And now I have so much more useable seating!

Monday, June 23, 2014


When I was a kid Grandma H had a bit of wall where everyone got measured.  We visited every year and it was one of my favorite details from our visits.    P and I wanted to make something like that for our family, but living in a condo, we needed something portable.  

Amid the chaos of G's first year we got this board.  My sister in law painted it white for me.  I painted on the inch markings and decorations while in the hospital.  On G's 1st birthday we were in the hospital.  With trepidation we let his feet touch the hospital ground for the first time to measure his height.

This year M measured taller at 7 than G measured at 9. 

This is such a sweet time.  I love these children.  I'm so glad to be their mom and I love all the good times we have.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

making kids happy

M turned 6 and my mom gave her Frozen.  The kids were all so excited.  It's so fun to see how appreciative and grateful they can be.  Can be.  I feel so frustrated when they get all entitled.  Like me...

I have this beautiful house and I don't take care of it.  I have a strong body and I don't take care of it.  I have beautiful kids and a wonderful husband that I think I take care of.  But I need to do better.

The lego room has been a pit for a while now.  I'd gotten pretty good at cleaing up the fire pit (step down area with a fireplace on one end, where we keep the toys).  But I didn't want to deal with the lego room.  It was past the point where the kids could clean it up by themselves.  Too many random game pieces, legos mixed with k'nex and playmobile.  Poor kids. 

So I stayed up late last night and sorted.  Then this morning I sorted out the legos from the legos that go with motors and gears.  I reassembled Magikus whose pieces had gotten lost in the lego pile. 

At 9, 7, 3 and 1 I expect my kids to do a lot.  Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's too much.  Right now G and M are keeping their clothes, and rooms clean plus trash chores.  lP helps out in various ways.  They're all willing to help pick up around the house.  They're good kids.  I don't wan them growing up not able to be helpful, so I need to be more helpful.