Sunday, December 27, 2015

Riding the bus

On Tuesday P took lP and B to a theme park that offers free tickets to little kids and teachers.  G, M, L and I had a day spread before us.  I thought we'd get some cleaning done and maybe do some shopping.  Then I had an idea for an adventure of our own, riding the bus!  In G-town the bus came to a stop outside our apartment.  P had a student pass so it was free.  We used it to go up to the hospital and campus.  So the bus was a symbol of a novel time for us.

I'm big on teaching the kids life skills, so riding the bus is important.  This is a small town, and the bus service is not very extensive.  I did a little research about times and found a route that would hopefully get us to the places we wanted to go.  Then we drove 3 miles to the Publix to get on a bus.

We walked down the sidewalk, and crossed at the very dangerous crosswalk.  It's very dangerous because the place where pedestrians cross is 15-20 feet from where the cars wait to turn.  So there is no proximity to let them know you're there.  And they can get up to lethal speed before they hit you.  I talked to the kids about that and explained how they need to be defensive and look at the drivers.  If the drivers don't obviously see you, don't walk.

Across the street, we got to hang out with some lovely trees that we've driven by for 8 years but never climbed.  At 1:10 we got serious about standing by the sign, there are no benches, and watching for the bus.  At 1:22 it came and we waved, as the man on the info line had instructed me.  The bus flashed it's lights and we stepped back from the pole to avoid getting hit.  There are no bus pull off lanes.  They just pull half way off the road into the dirt.

I'd giving the kids each enough quarters to make the trip and they were in charge of having their fare ready.  They'd never paid to ride a bus before so that was exciting to them.  And later when we had to switch buses because in my haste, we'd gotten on the wrong bus, M ran out of money.  We talked about what to do.  But I just gave them more money, instead of asking strangers for money...

It was a good outing.  M had so much fun she wants to do this every year. 

Love on the rocks, whatever that means...

We've recently fallen in love with Vilano again.  We hadn't gone for a few years.  Then this fall I thought we'd go out and it's become the place to go.
 These rocks are fun to climb on and full of interesting and dangerous life; barnacles and oysters.  Small fish come in with the tide and we can catch them in the rocks.
   Yesterday as we were there playing, I saw a shark (!) no it was a
dolphin.  In my shock, I leaped up on a slippery rock with L in the sling.  Fortunately I didn't sprain my thumb as I did 4 years ago when I thought I saw a shark, and we were in the water at Vilano.
I love this beautiful place. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

4 for $4 at Wendy's

We have these frostie tags we've been using the last year.  Oh, it's been great.  We've definitely taken advantage of them, and Wendy's has definitely gotten us to buy more fast food than we otherwise would have.  When we bought the frostie tags, B was too little to need one.  So I just got 3.  That has probably kept us from going every day.  Because somehow in the messed up economics of my mind, having to pay $1 to get 4 frosties is a little steep.

Yesterday we went to get some frosties and found that they had something called the "4 for $4 meal."  Wonderful.  The meal includes the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, 4 chicken nuggets, small fries and a small (large to me) sugary drink. 

So we got 5 free frosties (thanks to halloween coupons) and the $4 meal.  We went to a nearby playground and got out the picnic basket.  While the kids ate their frosties, I divvied out chicken nuggets and fries into their wooden bowls.  The children were so happy and grateful.  They loved getting a sip of the orange Hi-C.  "I used to think it was Hic!" said M.  We shared the hamburger in bites.  G even ate a bite with lettuce on it.

They have had kids meals at Chick-fil-a.  The dentist gives certificates for them sometimes.  I notice that my kids won't sit and eat the whole meal.  True, Chick-fil-a has a playground that they are more interested in than even the fancy food. 

They were so grateful for their chicken nugget, handful of fries etc... 

I feel like the kids are very grateful and I love that.

Best friend, and inherited trait

I was talking to P last night and realized I could name 1 best friend for 4 of the 5 sisters in my family.  The eldest is 16 years older than me.  So truely, she was off to college and on her mission when I first knew her.

I remember these best friends in and out of our childhood homes.  My sisters would take me along to events, the playground and to their friends houses.  So growing up, these were my friends.

In HS I found my own best friend M.  She was eventually the valedictorian and went to Yale.  I was the 123rd in our class ranking...   We weren't in any of the same activities.  I sometimes wonder how we ever saw one another.  I'm grateful that we/are were friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

lovely times

I can't find the camera, so no pictures of these lovely times.  When we first moved here I felt so anxious because I always do after having a baby.  Also our downstairs neighbors complained a few times.  So I felt like I had to try and stay out of the house for 4 hours a day.  And that was hard.

When we bought our house I just loved being able to be home as much as I wanted.  And sometimes we hardly went to parks at all.  It was also hard to manage so many kids.  But here we are now with 5 kids and it has gotten easier.  I'm recognizing that the kids need more time to be out and running.  The weather has cooled down enough to make that outside time pleasant.  My oldest 2 are very able to just go and play.  Even my 3rd is 5 now.  So mostly I'm just managing a 2 year old and a babe in arms.

Today we went to the beach with the rocks.  The 3 oldest ask the now common question "Can we run ahead?"  And I said "Yes." as I more often find myself saying these days.  So as B and I worked our way slowly, so slowly, down the boardwalk, the kids were already on the rocks having a great time 50 feet away. 

M stayed close to lP as they navigated the giant boulders.  G was wearing real shoes, not sandals, and got to really hop around on the rocks.  B had wimpy flip flops on, and he's 2.  So his climbing was more constrained.  But he had so much fun climbing on to boulders above my head and crying out "Ahhhhhh!  I'm...Big!" in his sweet slow way.  Then he'd climb down and we'd walk a few feet over and climb up the next set of boulders.

We went to the pier and I was reminded of why we haven't gone there in years.  It's terrifying to think, and rehears in your mind, the steps you will take if one of the children falls off into the water.  Thankfully nobody fell in.

I'm so grateful to live in such a beautiful place. 

G goes to school at 12:30 and I've struggled on how to feed the kids lunch.  A recent epiphany is to take the kids to a park at 11 and have a picnic before we drop G off!  So now we're getting even more lovely time outside and practicing the routines I loved, and miss, from our homeschool group. 

Today M and P went off to the park and set up a blanket and picnic on it while I got B and L out of the car.  As I came upon them, under a poplar tree, among its leaves, I was just impressed by the beauty of it. 

These lucky girls.  These lucky kids.  We spend our days singing, working, playing... It's a beautiful time.  The girls like to bully each other.  But at least they always have an advocate, even if that advocate is sometimes very impatient with them.  And they have their sweet brothers.  I have very sweet boys. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

not too fast. Just right.

L is growing and developing.  They all are.  It is a sweet and busy time.  Folks saw "They grow up too fast."  But I'm pretty happy with how fast they are growing up.  I'm there for most moments of their life and I love watching them grow and learn.

kids getting baptized, or not.

Some friends of mine, that studied English and Drama, said that they'd never let their children become professional football players. I consoled them that the chances of their children ever becoming professional level athletes without major parental participation was very unlikely. Maybe they'd be offended if their children were not allowed to be on the football team at school. 

I understand about feeling excluded for something beyond your control.  I can't make anyone sign for G.  Despite knowing that a lot of people love him.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

lantern walk

Tonight we participated in a lantern walk celebrating Michaelmas.  We began going with our homeschool group friends.  We camped that year, not knowing what was in store.  We froze to death and almost didn't come again the next year.  But it's a nice evening and we've accepted that we can go for the dinner and lantern walk.  And that's enough, and worth it, to us.

The children carry paper lanterns and walk about in the woods to semi-remote location where a man waits to tell them a story.  The story is of St. Martin.  We value the idea that Martin got locked out of the city because he was making sure his fellow soldiers go first.  Then while outside for the night, he sees a beggar and cuts his cloak to share it with the beggar.  That night Martin dreams of Jesus, wearing the cloak.  Martin leaves the military and becomes a priest.

It's interesting being around a lot of strangers, going through a ritual that, maybe, few of them believe in.  I'm always sort of surprised that the story ends with Jesus.  But then, a lot of other Christian denominations don't have any problem with alcohol.  I always have a hard time understanding that.  Alcohol is so obviously a bad thing to me.  People getting drunk... it's ugly and cruel.

But I really enjoy the walking around with candles, and singing.  Perhaps I value this event so much because our family doesn't do Christmas caroling right now.  When I was growing up, Christmas Caroling and music on Christmas Eve was a major tradition.  We'd walk around the neighborhood with Becky Williams, freezing, singing, and burning our hands on the candles wrapped in foil.

I did take the kids out to carol a few years ago.  I hope to do that again.  P traditions are very different and while he loves singing, he doesn't like caroling...

But he took us to the event and was wonderful in helping manage the kids.  I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my friend J. 

M thew 2 tantrums today.  When we went to the beach, The Beach On November 7th!, we brought boogie boards.  M wanted to climb on the rocks which were actually accessible as they hadn't been last week when we didn't bring boards...  M asked if we could do the rock and I made the mistake of saying later.  If I'd thought about it, and I did, later, I'd have realized that 3 of the 4 children that could walk, were wearing flip flops.  And you can't boogie board near the rocks...  So we would have had issues with splitting up the group, and with kids in flip flops wanting to go on the rocks.  AND we were only going to be there for an hour because it took the girls so long to clean their rooms, and there was a Gator Game at 12.

Then tonight at the lantern walk, she wanted to stay for the marshmallow roast.  P and I said "Maybe" with an eye to encouraging them to not throw tantrums.  We suggested that we have to leave when we HAVE to leave because of their behavior.  But then it was dark and we'd already lost B at one point...  We were done.  M started crying.  Several kind adults noticed.  And then I remembered how 2 years ago we did let them roast marshmallows and they got them all over the car.  So I should have said "No!"

I'm going to try saying "I'll think about that."  and "Probably not."  instead of "maybe".  No more maybe's. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015


We went to the book sale.  It was so awesome.  We just grabbed whatever we wanted, until we couldn't hold any more.  We'd brought $60, which is sort of extravagant for us.  Usually we go on one of the later days and spend about $20.  But this was the day we could go, and I it was great.  It's been a while since I've gone.  It's such a crowd and it's hard to manage with kids.  But while we have more kids now, our older 2 are old enough to browse the books themselves while I stay near.  That's such a difference from when they were too small to even look at the tops of the tables. 

lP did have to be carried, crying out of the book sale.  I don't know what transpired while P and lP were out of the building.  We try really hard to not have kids crying/tantrum in public.  G, and M browsed and I held B's hand and found books.  But I found too many so we had to check out.  G and M were sad that I'd snatched up so many books so quickly and they didn't get to browse for longer.  But P took G and M back in after he let lP have a turn. 

I really admire P's patience.  We're both sleeping better lately and that helps us tremendously.  P is so deliberate to be kind and not blame the kids on things that are beyond their control  I'm really grateful for his example. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Looks better than it really is...

 He is as beautiful as this, and more so.  He's so delicious.
 This little beach is the perfect place for us to enjoy the shore.  It's contained enough for the kids to really appreciate the difference between high and low tide.  It's got lovely cedar trees that are good for climbing and shade!  You can park within 10 feet of all this glory. 
 I've been meaning to get a picture of the kids at this beach for some time.  Having the lighthouse in the back ground is pretty cool, I think.
 Look how cute we were on the day L got blessed!
P and I are playing our horns more often.  It's really fun.  We're having so many great moments, but there are terrible frustration moments as well.  The 5 year old has a listening problem and the mom has a patience problem...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Annual Tourist Day

 In September the green trolley is free for residents.  They also give us tickets to several of their attractions like the wax museum, jail, store, and museum.  We went last year on the last Saturday of the month and it was fun.  So this year we planned to be even more prepared.
 We got there earlier.
 We planned our our destinations a bit in advance.
P had never been to the wax museum so that was one of our main goals.
 We packed a picnic and ate on the plaza.
 We went to the castillo before everyone was so tired they were crying.  Though B was close to that point by the end of the castillo and we still had to get the trolley back to the car.

We don't do much touristy things.  I'm so grateful that these things are here and free.  
It's really such a treat. 

 There is an amazing playground on the way to the airport.  We see it whenever we go up that way but have never been able to stop until recently.  It's so awesome. 
 It has multiple spinners and bouncers and climbers and cool things!
It's also right next to the interstate.... which is why we knew about it and could find it.  So it's loud, but definitely worth a visit. 


We don't go to the beach in the summer.  It's a funny thing.  Around September we start going, enjoying the novelty of being at the beach when school has started.  Enjoying the water, so warm, when we go for a quick trip after dinner, as the days begin to shorten.  Then we get to October and we start going weekly.  It gets dark sooner, so we go on Saturdays.  The beach is mostly empty.  It's October!  But it's still glorious and we go, savoring that it will soon be too cold.

Actually the water is about as warm in October as it is in May.  We don't really go in the spring because the water is still so cold.  And as it heats up, the difference in temperature is even more painful.  Our favorite time is the fall, when the temperatures are about the same, and when the novelty of going to the beach is delicious. 

There is a song I think of "High and Blue the Sky" as I stand on the beach in the fall.  It's so gloriously perfect.  The sky is so high, so blue.  The air is so sweet on your skin.  It's not autumn leaves, but it's fall in Florida.  I love it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

My new music

G is deaf.  He does an amazingly good job using his CI to access sound.
P and I used to be musicians.  We even went to college and had the opportunity to be immersed in ensembles, theory and history classes about music!

Recently I'm studying and teaching ASL.  I'm participating in ASL in many of the same ways I have participated in Music.  It's a community to be involved in.  It has layers of nuance to be understood.  ASL doesn't touch my heart and make me cry the way music does.  But the beauty of the gesture to communicate is profound.  When people learn to sign, so they can communicate with people that can't hear, that is pure grace.

Friday, September 25, 2015

put down the FB and step away

It's so hard to remember that there are people at the other end of a heated discussion about respect and proper behavior.  It's nice to imagine that manners were better back in the days when "everyone knew their place" ironic...  But we live in a time where everyone is recognizing their own worth and casting off the condemnation and subjugation of the previous ruling class.  It must be very hard on the ruling class.

My most recent indiscretion was on a post about "War on Christians".  It's got me thinking about what really tears down Christian values.  Things like porn, hollywood, the KKK, Disneyland being open on Sunday... those things are leading people to break commandments.  Adultery, false witness, killing,, the Sabbath...  False Gods, yep.  Dishonoring our parents, yep.  Coveting...that's what FB is all about.

I should probably focus my time and energy on raising my kids instead of raising a ruckus.


Today I lost a friend.  Not like someone I hang out with, because I only hang out with P, but you know, a FB friend.  I was too blunt in my comments about the imagined war on Christianity.  So she un-friended me.  That's probably good.  She also sent me a sincere message about how LGTB aren't such a minority.  But if they're not a minority, that would make them a majority, which wouldn't make sense.

Conservatives like to say there is a "War on Christianity" over things like Frito-lay giving rainbow chips to people that donate to an LGTB website.  I'm tired of this 1st world problems.  But I'm glad I don't have 3rd world problems, like an actual war on Christianity, where people are killed and driven from their homes.

I hate FB.  I need to break up with it.

Someone posted "Hurray" for "Mississippi having prayer in their schools."  What kind of prayer?  The right kind I'm sure.  But I don't want my kids praying to any God but ours.  I feel uncomfortable that they weekly hear someone giving a fairly generic prayer at the homeschool group.  Considering that Mississippi is so proud of the confederate flag, I just feel dubious about prayer in their schools.  I'm not a trinitarian and that is pretty important.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Curious kids

M loves books about pets, and human development.  While G is trying to make sure he's read every book in the Geronimo Stilton series (about a news editor mouse...), M is over in Juvenile Non-Fiction finding books like this.  This week she brought home one that was for the 10+ age set, so I'm reading it to know what it's saying.  And it's saying a lot.  So much that I'm talking to her a lot to fill in the gospel perspective on the things she's been reading.  G's been reading it.  lP's been reading it too!  Fortunately lP probably doesn't understand most of the content...  She is a very good reader, but she is also a very sheltered 4 year old.

I'm grateful for the gospel perspective on sexual intimacy.  The world, and this book, say "Do whatever feels good, it's fine!"  But the doctrine of saving intimacy for marriage is a great blessing.  I think of it like if you were given a very nice car at birth; your body...  So if you draw on the seats, spill ice cream on the gear shift, stomp on the peddles for fun, by the time you're old enough to use it for the purpose of driving, it's not in great shape.  Our bodies are literally temples for our spirits and certain physical abilities have a sacred purpose.  The sacred purpose of our sexuality is to have children within a marriage.  Children deserve to have a mom and a dad.  God wants the best for us. That is his plan.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

oh yeah!

L was born!  He's pretty cute.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Embracing paper

G's school list was all paper products.  Copy paper, paper towels, tissues, and ziploc bags are the normal items.  But also, paper plates, and forks...!  No pencils or notebooks, just lunch supplies.   : )

So I bought a Sam's Club pack of paper towels and tissues.  Even though we give 2x the requested amount, we have several left over.  So I give myself permission to use tissues.  It's pretty nice! 

I've been a cloth diaper, cloth napkins, cloth towels etc... person.  But now I have 5 children, and I feel grateful for the convenience of simple things, like being able to grab a tissue when I'm watching a video and it makes me cry.

The ladies in my ward were so generous and I have a huge stash of diapers.  And I have tons of cloth diapers.  It's very nice having plenty of cloth and paper.

And my kids are awesome.  They're learning to help and also take care of their spaces.  M, G and P help with the dishes.  They tidy up their rooms on Saturday.  They wash their clothes when I tell them to...  It's really great to see them able to do things to help.  It's really great to have their help.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Yesterday we went up to the big city to visit friends.  We met up with 3 different families that we've known through a homeschool co-op.  Instead of a big meet up, we met each family individually.  It was nice to have 1 on 1 conversations and play for the kids without some of the usual group dynamics.  We left the house at 9:30 and didn't get back until 6:30.  For a lady with 4 kids, 40 weeks pregnant, it felt like a pretty big accomplishment.  But we did have a van with AC, plenty of water, hospitable friends, and Sam's Club pizza for lunch.  We even had a cell phone to call dad and ask him to heat up some soup.  Life is really so easy for us.

P and I have been married now for 15 years.  In honor of our 15 years P let me know that he'd like it if I would open boxes with the flap facing a particular way.  And I let him know that when he cleans out the car, it would be nice if he put things in a basket.  The honesty, it's brutal.  I'm so grateful for a loving marriage.  Even when we have significant disagreements, like the above stated, we are kind about it.  Well, P was kind.  I was sort of curt...

L is due tomorrow.  I have this amazing gift of forgetfulness, so I really don't know what to watch for in my body telling me it's time to have a baby.  But All of my other children have been born 7-10 days past their due date.  I've never been so temporally prepared for a child.  We have like 5 boxes of wipes and 12 packs of diapers.  The ladies in the ward showered us with cute outfits in a spread of sizes.  A friend in the other ward loaned me her newborn stash.  I've sewn a new sling.  I bought cheese, sausage, butter, chicken nuggets, and TP at Sam's Club.  So we're good to go!

As I was driving around yesterday I could see my 4 children looking around in the rear view mirror.  I have beautiful children.  I'm looking forward to getting to know L. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Knowing the baby was due at the end of summer vacation, we've really been trying to have a great summer.  The kids have been enjoying swim lessons, library programs, playgrounds, picnics and short trips.  It's been really nice. 

M participated in a TKD class at the library and is now going to enroll in a 6 week class with the school.  She's doing a smorgasbord of activities over the next 6 months that her piano teacher is away.  I made a deal with her that if she keeps working and learns the songs I've assigned her, she can use the piano lesson money to do other activities.  So far it's working great and she is very motivated.

bB seems to be catching all sorts of viruses this summer, lovely.  Poor kid. 

Instead of a summer vacation from schooling, we've actually been able to establish better lesson habits.  This is the first time I've really been schooling the kids.  I'm a late academics sort of person.  And now that M and G are 8 and 10 I'm getting more involved.  M has math, spelling and piano.  G has spelling, and a workbook from school with daily activities.  So we swim, play, go to the library, or do errands, then come home and do our book work.  It's nice to just have the time to do things in a flexible way.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Parable of the talents

The parable of the talents has always been uncomfortable for me.  Why would the Savior want us to be predatory lenders?  Today as we were talking about this with G's primary class, I found some different ways to tell the story that work for me. 

Imagine you're missionaries instead of servants.  The mission leader has given 1 companionship 5 contacts.  To another, is given 2.  To another set, is given just 1 contact.  By the next week, the first companionship brings 10 people to church. The next pair have brought 4 people to church.  The last pair didn't contact the person they were given.  Not even a phone call.

Their name is given to the companionship that was able to bring 10 people to church because they'd done such a great job.  The lazy and slothful missionaries are scolded.  And they reply that the mission leader was harsh.  The mission leader says "You know we're trying to convert the unbelievers.  At the least you could have given the name to the Elder's Quorum or Relief Society for them to contact."  And they get sent home because if you're not going to even contact 1 person, you're just wasting everyone's time.

Another way to think of the parable is like a basketball game.  1 player is given 5 chances to take a shot, but through his quick play and stealing the ball, he is able to score 10 shots.  Another player is similarly passed the ball 2 times and is able to score 4 times with turnovers and hustling.  Another player is only passed the ball 1 time.  He doesn't make any shot, he instead throws the ball out of bounds.  The coach yells at him that he should have passed it to someone else to make the shot.

Brother S at church gave an impromptu story at church in the extra time of Sacrament Meeting.  It was a story like "Rudy" where a scrawny kid sticks with the team hoping to someday play.  During the last game when the 2 QBs are both injured, he gets a chance.  The first 2 plays he looses yards.  Then the coach tells him to close his eyes and throw the ball.  So he does this and miraculously throws the ball all the way down the field to be caught in the end zone, winning the game.

I'm not a fan of always using sports stories to inspire people, but this story illustrated the opposite of burying your talent.  And that helped me to understand the parable of the talents.  I'm grateful for this new understanding and hope to be a more profitable servant in the future.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Recently awesome

Last week was full of birthday and baptism happiness.  M really rose to the occasion and took her covenants seriously.  I was pretty busy with the details, but enjoyed her happiness and excitement.  She's a wonderful child. 

Yesterday we got sick in a fast and furious manner.  All of us within 24 hours, and done within the same.  Except M has stayed healthy and helpful throughout.  I'm keeping an eye on her though because it could strike at any moment.

Friday, June 5, 2015

G had to be first

Memory is a funny thing.  When we think back on G's first years, cancer etc...  we wonder, how did we manage that with other kids.  We insert M, P and even B into those times.  They don't fit. 
Going through all that with G didn't kill our plans to have more children.  Along came M who was and is the perfect sister for G.  She always wanted to be just like him.  She picked up signing very fast and G had 1 other child to sign with. 

Along came lP with her strong personality and the challenges of being her.  Birth order.  Ha!

B came 2 years ago and G finally had a brother.  And the new baby will be born in 2 months.  Another boy.  G is so excited that the boys will outnumber the girls.

When I was growing up, a family in the ward had a daughter with downs syndrome.  She was their 4th, I think.  They wisely chose to have another after D so that D would not be the baby forever.

I'm grateful for how the children have all learned to sign and have some compassion.  G is a great kid.  He's a great big brother.  I love that we're forced to let him be the big brother, and do things more independently than we would ever have if M had been first.

Out with the old and in with the new.

I've been released as Primary President.  I'm trying to help the transition go smoothly.  I know I was just handed a binder and allowed to fly.  Being musical and knowing sign language, I was able to do well enough since I had 2 members of the previous presidency. 

Another funny development for us is the revitalization of some old technology.  P had a palm pilot 10 years ago that he used all the time.  He also had an original iPod from 13 years ago.  Both had become less functional or forgotten when he got an iPhone 3 years ago.  I recently got out the palm pilot and the kids enjoy drawing on it.  Also, we haven't had an iPod since I accidentally spilled water on the one Sam gave me.  So we've been burning CD's for a few months.  It's pretty amazing being able to have plug and play music again.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sad stories and a happy ending

When I was 14 I bought some ill-fitting dress to wear to the new years dance for church.  I remember that it didn't stay buttoned very well.  So I spent most of the time hiding out and wearing my new wool coat that my dad gave me for Christmas.

When I turned 16 a friend in the ward, whose boyfriend joined the church earlier that year, invited me to go on a date with her cousin.  My mom dropped me off at her house and we waited for the cousin to show up.  Calls were made and he was running late.  So we went to dinner and the idea was that he would catch up.  He didn't make it by the end of dinner, so we went to the dance at the ward building.  More calls were made throughout.  But he never caught up with us.  That was the story.  Did I mention this was to be my "first date"? 

I never did go on any dates until I let a friend set me up with a friend for Valentines Day, during Senior year.  We both wanted to have a date to prom.  So we dated for a few months.  I wish I'd just waited until college to date.  Even in college I only went on a few dates before meeting P.  The dates were always really awkward.  It was always obvious that no further relationship would grow. 

So when I met P and people joked that we would date, I'd had 5 years to figure out that I wasn't the sort of girl that tal-dark-handsome men were into.  I was frankly mad at the idea.  But it turned out that I was really lucky nobody had realized what a gem I was until P did. 

We tell our kids that they can date in college.  With our luck, and gorgeous kids, we'll have some trouble with that.  But I hope to spare them the hope that they'll find "success" in dating when they should just enjoy being kids.   And success in dating means what?  Having them get into physical relationships that are inappropriate?  Having them caught up in drama and heartbreak?  Having them form their personality to fit some person who is themselves a child?  Having them follow that person to college rather than pursue their own growth and independence?

The missionaries were over recently and gave a lesson on what ages various things happen for youth in the church, from baptism to mission.  They included dating at 16.  I told them that 16 is the age when a lot of boys would be wishing they could go on dates with M.  But she'll tell them "Too bad."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rain or Shine

We participate in a homeschool co-op that has abominable luck at choosing the end of the year celebration.  For the last 4 years we've planned the date, then planned around crazy storms.  Last year we were confined to a carport space for our festivities while nature raged on.  The year before that the celebration was canceled for flooding.  The year before that it was relocated at the last minute to someone's home because of the weather. 

It's time to learn!  No more trying to have it in the beginning of May.  The forecast is always wrong and we seem to always have it on the 1 day in 2 weeks with serious rain.

But I do love those families.  I love their preparation.  I love their generosity.  I love their willingness to stick it out.

Tonight everyone was there about 5:25 and then the storm rolled in.  We joked how we'd all be fine as long as the rain didn't come in sideways.  We were under a very sturdy pavilion.  But the rain did come in sideways.  The children huddled under a table and ate their chili.  It was very dramatic and sort of terrifying.  I'm so impressed by these moms though.  People stayed calm and helped each other.  B and P cowered in fear in my lap so mostly people were helping me.  Lightning and thunder were a constant for 30 minutes and the whole park flooded.  Eventually we had the play, while it was still lightening and thundering.  It quieted enough for us to go on a mass potty trip.  Then we watched Julia put on the Kindy's puppet show.  I love Julia.  She's such a great story teller.  I'm so grateful for her efforts. 

There are not plans for the group to continue next year.  It may, but I'm having a baby at the end of the summer, and not planning to participate for several months.  And 2 of the families this year have been pretty flaky, and nobody wants to confront that.  So in frustration these lovely families are pulling out.  It's hard opening yourself to the possibility that new families won't show up or contribute.  Meanwhile the same 4 families always show up, always contribute and carry the load.  I'll miss our regular association.  I've learned so much over the last 3.5 years with them.  Homeschooling will be more lonely without them.

Monday, May 18, 2015

at home

I really like homeschooling.  It's nice having smart kids.  That makes it really a lot easier.  It's frustrating being around them so much.  But I love how close they are.  I love how they learn from each other, and that there are teachable moments every second.

I was reading something about how intense people feel the need to be with their homeschooled kids.  We don't plan to homeschool for HS so a lot of the need for tutors, for advanced level classes is not an issue.  And virtual education makes access to advanced level courses amazing.

I do want the kids to be able to function in a class setting.  Seeing them in Primary, I feel like they pick some of that up at church.  Our kids almost always have their materials.  They don't always remember to raise their hand.  And they tend to blurt out all the answers.  But I'm so proud of them for knowing the answers.

One of the great things about homeschool is the opportunity to brainwash our kids.  They aren't busy all day learning what is important to someone else.  They spend most of their day doing what they want and occasionally doing what is important to me.  Usually that is cleaning up, and apologizing if they were not kind to each other.  They are very self motivated learners.  They love tests.  The very act of sticking with a hard task is a ongoing lesson more important than any specific information they can learn.

I'm grateful for "Odd Squad".  The kids spend about 2 hours a day on the computer watching episodes of "Wild Krats", "Aurthor" and "Odd Squad" or playing games depending on whose turn it is.  There is only one machine that works right now so they have to take turns.  That's a life lesson.  If they fight, computer time is done.  That's for my sanity.

G and M are old enough now that they can go on a bike ride around the neighborhood any time we have 15 minutes to spare before whatever outings we go on.

As soon as seminary is over each day M is out the front door climbing a rope or tree.  G spends a lot of time just reading or building legos.  P is really into the activity book I could never get M interested in.  B follows folks around or does his own building activity if M will leave him alone.

Sometimes I have to review basic ideas like "change your clothes every day".  But in many ways they are learning to manage themselves. 

G is responsible for his homework from school.  If he doesn't get it done, simple consequences like loss of computer time get him re-motivated.  Similarly, his speech book and homework, he's eager to get it done because of consequences.

Today I needed small change for something.  I asked G if I could borrow some money from him.  He wanted 50% interest.  I told him I'd give him 10% interest.  We talked about how much that would be for each day it took me to pay him back.  I did pay him back today.  But he's already learned about interest.  Awesome!

M was making a half batch of brownies for FHE.  We spent some time calculating 1/2 of the ingredients: 1/4 c. water, 2/3 c. oil, and 2 eggs := 1 oz water, 1/3 c. oil and 1 egg.

P was bumping into G at dinner time and yelling at him to move.  So after some ignored instructions, I carried her to her room.  Later we sat down and reviewed what she had done and why it was a problem.

They're always learning.  Sometimes they're learning that if they bug me enough, I'll send them to their rooms.  Sometimes they learn other things.