Saturday, December 31, 2016

New year's eve party

We had the deaf families over today for a lunch party.  It was really fun to have some time to chat with my friends in a setting where it didn't matter if my kids were running around.  I've been meaning to have them all over for a long time so it's good we got to do it.  I'd like to do this more often, inviting over several families I love and just relax!

Some drama that overshadowed the day:  G wanted to play with a toy and get me to fix it while I was making pizza for the party.  He kept asking and we kept telling him it wasn't a good time.  Then when I was done, I said yes, he could have the part, but P was fed up with is pestering by then.  So P said "No" and G stormed off to his room and spent the whole party reading in his book.  So T and E were sad they couldn't hang out with him. 

M wasn't being careful and hit a child with the tireswing.  That child cried until they threw up!  Fortunately her mom got her to the tile and her dad cleaned it up so we were all in shock, but able to move on.  I hadn't had much sleep so in my attempt to help I smashed into the gate and cut my hand.  Go, fight, win!

Another little boy was running and hit his head on one of the chairs. 

But mostly it was great and I felt more relaxed than I usually do at parties.  It probably helped a lot that this was mostly adults.  So I didn't really need to be keeping small children out of things or off the table except my own...

I need to ween L.  It's hard to just say it's time, but it is time. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Homeschooling church

At the park, a grandma with a 2 year old and I struck up a conversation.  It came out that I have 5 children and that I homeschool.  I also go to church and send the children to Sunday school.  "I thought you said you homeschool?"  She said.  That gave me pause thinking "Why do I homeschool them for some things but not church?"  Well, I do homeschool them for church, but I also participate in a community where they are able to experience the example and teaching of other members of the community.  And we have scripture and prayer study at home as well as general moral instruction, daily...

My sister is the bomb.  She homeschools her 9 children and currently keeps them home from primary for various reasons.  Instead of primary the children come home and study the gospel with their mom.  The family has a daily devotional with singing.  She is really schooling them in the gospel.

I think the general population is uncomfortable with homeschooling because they imagine unregulated instruction of children is possible, and the comparison of time invested makes them uncomfortable.  Yet children in school with involved parents are very successful at the tasks of school.  And children at church with involved parents are also likely to be very successful at church. 

Homeschool parents are a lot like highly involved school parents.  I know moms who are at their child's school weekly for several hours.  Wow!  As a homeschool mom, that's about how much I show up for my children's education.   I check in to see if they've done their work.  I remind them to do their work.  And if they have a question, I try to help.  I don't actually have to teach them much.  They are amazing!

Tonight we did read a book about snowflakes and then we went and cut up snowflakes and decorated the front room.  Oh yeah.  I felt so school-y.

My mother in law gave me a history curriculum for Christmas.  I'm really looking forward to going through the course with the children.  I never had a good relationship with history. 

Modeling a good attitude toward learning is such a benefit to your children. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"Your hands are full!"

When I'm out at the store, or other setting where it is obvious that the children are all with me, people like to say "Your hands are full."  I think it's pretty interesting to see that the legal limits for child care centers are insanely high.   Imagine if I had 4 infants with me trying to navigate the store.  Or 15 4 year olds.  People aren't used to seeing so many children at once.  They think of children in terms of <2 or="" parents="" with="">15 in a school setting.   It's really interesting.  Yet so many parents are putting their young children in these situations.  You would never think of taking care of 4 infants at once.  That would be insane!  Yet people are willing to leave their infants in these situations where the care provider will be stressed out and not able to give much attention to their child.  Duh!  I think it is ironic that parents of twins are acknowledged to be very overwhelmed.  And if a parent has 3+ it is assumed that they will be hiring help because how on earth would anyone take care of 3 babies at once!?

 Even leaving your small children in the care of family or grandparents, there is a reason grandparents are not having infants of their own.  They are too old to take care of an active baby, unless they had their own children very early.

 I'm really grateful that I was raised with an example of full time homemaking mother.  P also was raised to respect the work of mothering as real, hard work.  

 Child care workers are not paid well and the training/education requirements are very low.  This is one more reason why putting your child in a bad situation.  Why would you put your child in the care of someone who is not college educated and under financial stress from not being well paid, by the parents of the children in their care?

 Today we went to see a movie for the first time in 2 years...  We left the children with a dear friend and her family of 9.  Fortunately the children all big kids can play together well and she just had her hands full with our 15month old and her 2 year old.  Yet this falls within the legal requirements of a daycare!     

Child-to-Staff Ratios

Florida Statutes require child care providers not exceed the following staff-to-child ratios (Note: Some counties may have more restrictive ratios than those required by the state.)
For licensed child care facilities:
  • Children under 12 months:  1 to 4
  • Children age 12 to 23 months:    1 to 6
  • Children age 24 to 35 months:    1 to 11
  • Children age 36 to 47 months:    1 to 15
  • Children age 48 months to 59 months:  1 to 20
  • Children age 60 months (5 years old) or older:   1 to 25
A family child care provider may care for one of the following groups of children:
  • 1 to 4:    from birth to 12 months of age
  • 1 to 6:    if no more than three are under 12 months
  • 1 to 10:   as long as at least five children are school-age and no more than two are under 12 months of age
  • 2 to 8:    if more than 4 children under 24 months old
  • 2 to 12:   if no more than 4 children are under 24 months old

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Ambitions

This holiday season has been great.  I say this right before we celebrate G's birthday tomorrow and Christmas the next day...  Our homeschool group didn't meet this month and we had less obligations so we had more time to celebrate our own traditions.

We got up the 25 days clip board and filled the slots with exciting things like going to the carousel, and the car wash!  Then we got sick and wound up off on most days.  But we tried and succeeded in many fun things this season.  We made sugar cookies for the first time in at least a year.  It was even a pleasant experience for me, except for the fact that I ate a bunch of them...  I let each child come in and cut an entire pan of 3 shapes they chose.  Then I let them frost the ones they cut out much later in the evening.

Today we did a little caroling.  It was much less than I'd thought we would, but it was more than the zero caroling we have done in the last 4 years.

On Sunday we will go to church.  G will recite the 12th article of faith to pass off his Faith in God award.  We'll sing as a family, and M will play the piano.  Then if all goes according to plan, G will get ordained!

I made a few gifts this year.  I had pictures printed and sent a few letters this year. But mostly I appreciated that I am blessed with a very low threshold of Christmas compulsion.
This picture says it all.  See those lights?  Taped up with measuring tape masking tape my father in law gave us for Christmas last year.  See this awesome little boy?  He's got double ear infections.  See that ribbon around his neck?  It's his gold medal he got in his shoe from St. Nicholas (aka G who sneaked out during a round of hide and seek to fill shoes waiting on the porch, with golden treasures.  B wears it every day.  See this cookie house that is fabulously decorated, not falling apart, and on a holiday styrofoam plate that came with the house?  Oh yeah.  I made 6 of these houses, carefully cutting the pieces and setting them with white chocolate.  I also used white chocolate to glue it to the plate.  The frosting the kids used to stick the treats on was too runny.  But we did use a lot of colorful cereal and minimal candy.  I was really pleased with it.  So was B.
So was M.  M will fill the stockings this year.

In general I don't like a lot of holiday traditions.  I'm a scrooge.  But I am grateful for eager children willing to pick up the slack and bring magic for one another.

Monday, December 19, 2016

don't speak

P has this story from his teenage years when someone said something unkind to him.  That person probably didn't even register their comment as unkind.  But it lives on. 

I like to talk.  Just to hear myself talk.  I need to just stop.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Single parents

I say a lot of stupid things.  But I hope I never claim to be "basically a single parent."  I've heard women say this when their husbands are traveling or sick.  Being without your spouse for reasons of work or illness for weeks or months at a time is not, in my mind, being a single parent.  Having grown up in a home where my parents did not live in the same house for 8 years (2 living apart, 5+ divorced) I take exception to this complaint.  It's like someone who is feeling sick saying they "basically have cancer."

Single parents are single for a variety of reasons ranging from death of spouse, betrayal of spouse, never had a spouse.  And single parents provide for themselves through various means, from child support, government aid, full time work.  While some single parents retain the support of a co-parent that can provide assistance with child care, financial support, or other, they aren't a spouse. 

So I think my main beef with this complaint is that to me single parents are not married, and these women are married.  And while these women are stressed out by a temporary time of increased burden on themselves, they still have a spouse to share the burden with when they get back from travel, or sickness.  This complaint denies the true difficulty faced by people who are actual single parents and expresses ingratitude for the marriage that is still intact.

What I would like to say is "I'm sorry that you don't have the support of your husband right now.  I hope your marriage continues to bless your lives."

Friday, December 16, 2016

teach boys to protect

Tonight G was wrestling with his sister.  P was very upset considering the situation with a football team boycotting to show support of their 10 team mates suspended for sexual assault.  From an article in the NYT "Of 12 accused parties, the report found, despite conflicting accounts, that 10 players had violated university policy on sexual harassment and that four had violated sexual assault policies."

I hate when kids play boys against girls.  In my experience it is always initiated by the boys that want to womp on the girls.  And the girls, people pleasers to their detriment, go along with it.  I tell my kids that Women and men need to work together.  That is God's plan for us.  A girl might compete with a boy, but pitting girls against boys is always cowardly.

We talk to the children about how they are to only one in charge of their body.  I often tell them "I'm a person and I don't like how you are touching me.  I'm leaving."  Just because I'm their mom doesn't give them a right to squish, pull or bash into me.

G will be 12 next week.  He hasn't been as proactive as M about reading up on human reproduction.  G has a friend that is a few months younger who is a fan of challenging or excluding girls.  I call the kid out on it.  I make sure G and M know that his attitudes are stupid.  The boys father is awesome so hopefully he'll get straightened out.  But we need to teach G that being a man involves protecting women.  Real men cherish and appreciate the women in their lives.  The world is full of lies on how men should act to women.  Pornography is a product of treating women as a goal, instead of people.  So it's important to learn the righteous way to think of and treat women.  And it's important to learn to talk to your mind to combat feelings that are wicked.  Like "Boys are better than girls."  No, we're all children of God and god wants men to love and respect women.

running in the dark

Tonight after a dub dub dinner, we played Blind Man's treasure in the dark.  One child is blindfolded with a treasure and flashlight.  The other children try and steal the present.  The flashlight is used like a gun, not a laser to send folks back to the road.  The kids loved it.  B, L and I mostly hung out on the swings feeling happy. The big kids each had a few turns and we managed to stop playing before anyone cried too much.

Playing in the yard after dark was a big deal in my childhood.  I'm so glad for cool, not cold, winter nights to play in the dark.  I also like it when it is light after dinner so we can go to the park, but that's what the summer is for, right?

Tomorrow is our ward Christmas party, breakfast.  I'm bringing ham, the best ham.  I also bought a flat of strawberries from my favorite fruit stand and he donated a watermelon, 3 cantaloupes and a 10 cucumber for the church. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

This may have been the first book I ever read.  I didn't like reading until I was pretty old, 12+.  For some reason this book stuck with me as a Christmas classic and nobody in my current sphere has read it.  Reading it as an adult is really different, as it usually is.  I fall in love with the mother in the story. 

Who knows how the Herdmans turned out.  But this story is a classic case of churched people judging unchurched people by their standard.  And the unchurched people have so much to teach us about being true disciples.

"Well it was the best Christmas pageant we ever had. 
Everybody said so, but nobody seemed to know why.  When it was over people stood around the lobby of the church talking about what was different this year.  There was something special, everyone said-- they couldn't put their finger on what.
Mrs. Wendleken said, "Well, Mary the mother of Jesus had a black eye; that was something special.  But only what you might expect," she added.
She meant that it was the most natural thing in the world for a Herdman to have a black eye.  But actually nobody hit Imogene and she didn't hit anyone else.  Her eye wasn't really black either, just all puffy and swollen.  She had walked into the corner of the choir-robe cabinet, in a kind of daze--as if she had just caught onto the idea of God, and the wonder of Christmas.
And this was the funny thing about it all.  For years, I'd thought about the wonder of Christmas, and the mystery of Jesus' birth, and never really understood it.  But now, because of the Herdmans, it didn't seem so mysterious after all.
When Imogene had asked me what the pageant was about, I told her it was about Jesus, but that was just part of it.  It was about a new baby, and his mother and father who were in a lot of trouble--no money, no place to go, no doctor, nobody they knew.  And then, arriving from the East (like my uncle from New Jersey) some rich friends.
But Imogene, I guess, didn't see it that way.  Christmas just came over her all at once, like a case of chills and fever.  And so she was crying, and walking into furniture.
Afterward there were candy canes and little tiny Testaments for everyone, and a poinsettia plant for my mother from the whole Sunday school.  We put the costumes away and folded up the collapsible manger, and just before we left, my father snuffed out the last of the tall white candles.
"I guess that's everything," he said as we stood at the back of the church.  "All over now.  It was quite a pageant."  Then he looked at my mother.  "What's that you've got?"
"It's the ham," she said.  "They wouldn't take it back.  They wouldn't take any candy either, or any of the little Bibles.  But Imogene did ask me for a set of the Bible-story pictures, and she took out the Mary picture and said it was exactly right, whatever that means."
I think it meant that no matter how she herself was, Imogene liked the idea of the Mary in the picture--all pink and white and pure-looking, as if she never washed the dishes or cooked supper or did anything at all except have Jesus on Christmas Eve.
But as far as I'm concerned, Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman--sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who laid a hand on her baby.  And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers, bearing ham. 
When we came out of the church that night it was cold and clear, with crunchy snow underfoot and bright, bright stars overhead.  And I thought about the Angel of the Lord--Gladys, with her skinny legs and her dirty sneakers sticking out from under her robe, yelling at all of us, everywhere:
"Hey!  Unto you a child is born!”

Friday, December 9, 2016


lP and M are often at odds.  They are the best of friends and the worst sisters.  Last night lP was doing a good job of playing nicely and I let her have a bracelet that was in my collection of stuff.  I forgot that M had been given it by a primary teacher.  M is given a lot of stuff by primary teachers.  She has had the strange luck of always having primary teachers that gift and treat a lot.  But this small CTR bracelet was small even for lP.  M got mad and demanded the bracelet that I had taken a long time ago because I had to clean up a mess that included the bracelet.

I sent M to her room and the evening proceeded so peacefully.  Nobody was fighting or running around the house.  G read a book quietly.  B and lP played.  L went to sleep!  M stayed in her room a long time.  I talked to her about how everything was so nice and quiet.  I pointed out to her that all her nice stuff was given to her and that nobody ever gives lP treats or trinkets.  lP is older now than M was when she got to go to disney twice.  Eventually decided to do something kind for lP.  She made lP a coupon book for nice things to do with M and plans to give it to her for Christmas.

I'm really trying to encourage the children to make gifts this year.  We're less busy and that means we have a bit more time to think and plan some home made gifts rather than just going and picking up something from the store.
We made these little snowmen out of marshmallows and pretzels decorated with candy.

We went to a candy store for a field trip with homeschool group.  It was pretty fun and a good opportunity to experience navigating downtown Jtown.  I was worried it would be like NYC but it wasn't so hard to figure out, and way less traffic...  At the end of the tour of course they lead you to a room with hundreds of candy choices.  I told the kids we weren't going to get any and they didn't fuss.  They just enjoyed going around and pointing out all the amazing candies they had never seen before.  So I decided after they had looked at it, to go a head and get a box with a few of many things.  It is nice to treat them when they behave.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


This was G's first Halloween costume, an astronaut.  He was still in chemo and I wanted to take him to parties; I wanted to go to parties, and keep him in isolation.  Those were some hard times.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

taste memory

I got some graham crackers to make cookie houses this year.  I'm planning to use white "chocolate" and sugary cereals with minimal candy for decoration.  I have cream cheese in the house and I remember that I really like graham crackers and cream cheese.  But I don't remember what it tastes like.  And I know better than to taste it because then I'll eat a whole pack, or box.  Honesty.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


We're sick today.  I hope it goes fast.  Judging from the girls bouncing around in the bathroom, It's a quick bug.

When the kids are sick we make them a bed in the bathtub to contain things and then they are on diet of clear fluids for a long time.   We had 2 sick last night so we inflated a raft and put it in there for the second to be contained in.  It helps to rinse out gross bedding in the wash sink before putting it in the washer, get the chunks off.  Gross.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

beach walk and letters

I took the children out to Vbeach for the first time since the hurricane.  There are a lot of changes like the boardwalk being closed because the stairs are gone.  The live guard tower that was substantial, not just a red zig zag of boards, it's gone.  The contour of the beach is very different.  The children had resisted going on a beach walk for the last few weeks because I wouldn't let them wear swim clothes or have permission to get wet.  Finally we went and they behaved so great.  I had no camera with me so I just have to savor the memory of the beautiful water, and nimble children scampering over rocks.  It is such a wonderful natural playground.  And they didn't even push limits and get all covered in sand. 

This is the table slide.  We put it up every month or so.  The kids have a blast until they drive us crazy or hurt someone, or both.  Then we put it away until the next time I feel like giving them happy childhood memories.  A lot of what we do is so that the children can look back and feel like they had a happy childhood.  There are plenty of unhappy times, like on Saturday morning when they have to clean their rooms.  But hopefully the unhappy times help them develop grit.  : )  Or at the least, they are developing a taste for a room that smells ok and you can walk in.

I wrote a letter to my dad today.  I love letters.  I've written love letters...  When P and I were dating and engaged back in 1999 we wrote letters.  Email was a thing but letters could be written anywhere and anytime, bit by bit until you were ready to send them.  Long distance was still expensive so we talked once a week for 1 hour, or less if we were busy or traveling with marching band.  So I'm grateful for those letters we wrote when we were in class and waiting between activities.  I know I am more careful with my words in letters.  I am also more loquacious in letters.

G recently graduated from speech therapy.  My impression is that his language is so excellent that the pediatric office doesn't have much to do.  He just needs to slow down and speak clearly, which he can do.  So according to their metrics, they've done all they can.  And they have.  Speech therapy has been a wonderful safe place for G to continue speech routines regardless of whether he was feeling oral outside of that setting.  He is a major code switcher now.  He signs at school and speaks in most other settings.  Even at church he has started to sim-com or voice when there are no deaf people in the room.  For the primary program he signed and spoke his parts.

So with that newly freed hour I hope to take the kids to have some beach therapy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I'm so thankful

We've been having a nice holiday.  We are back to a routine of going to the park most days.  We went to the zoo on Friday.  This was the first time for B and L being interested in the animals.  I feel like we've been to the zoo a lot, but it's been a few years.  With your first kids you are eager to take them them to experiences they are mostly too young for.  Then with later children you forget to take them places thinking you've already done that.

We're to the cooler time of the year and I'm letting G and M explore in the back yard.

I'm also beginning an ambitious project to paint the doors and molding in the house white.  It'll be a while.  One door at a time...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

people not things

I'm hosting thanksgiving this year.  I'll admit to being a fan of the people more than the food.  I love the food but I want to avoid stressing out about the food.  I want to have emotional energy to play a game or hang out for a few hours.  Growing up there was often stress about people showing up late with partially finished dishes.  Forget the food, just come and spend some time enjoying your family.

This stress really plays into my preference to supply most of the food.  And what I make is simple or easy, like stuffing from a box.  C'mon people!

On the flip side of this I'm going to start letting the kids plan menu items they will provide for holiday meals.  I asked them what they will bring when they are grown up.
G: Spare ribs!
M: Jello
lP: Stuffing
B: Brownies!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hurtles of parenting

Some folks like to focus on the milestones of parenting and of child development.  I feel that it is important to be aware of the hurtles.  Like milestones, hurtles correspond with the age of a child yet they are nuisances that you can't knock down or go around.  You just have to get over them and keep going and try not to fall down.

Age 3:  child discovers what a computer is and demands to be on it all the time.  Child has also not mastered consequences or self control.

Age 3:  wants to have shirt tucked into shorts/pants.

Age 3:  child will not remember their own shoes when they get into the car in a garage and never need shoes, until you "arrive at destination".

Age 6:  child teaches smaller siblings to say bad words and then gets mad when sibling says said words back to them.

Age 6:  child mistakes the golden rule to mean do mean things to people that did them to you.

Age 8:  wants to have shirt tucked into shorts/pants.

Age 11: wants to have shirt tucked into shorts/pants.

OK, I used to be very fond of tucked in shirts myself.  My children are mine.  I love them.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

my talent for forgetting

I'm still avoiding sugar with good results.  I lost 25 lbs and am hovering in a 3 lb range that I'm happy with.  I haven't eaten any of the children's halloween candy.  I may be able to avoid the usual over indulgence during the holidays.  It's great that I don't have a taste memory.  I know I love to eat certain things, but I can't taste them in my mind.  And often it is very nice to just smell them.

I've notice that I'm OK eating things that aren't sweetened, and that I don't eat as much of them as I would if there was sugar because they are frankly not so tasty and that's kinda the point.  I'm eating because I'm hungry, or like to chew.  The motivation to just keep putting tasty things in my mouth is lowered.

realizing my racism

We went on a field trip with our homeschool co-op yesterday.  It was a fun trip and we saw 20+ tigers and other big cats.  During the field trip several of the children were acting childish and disrespectful.  I spoke to them several times to back up the employees instructions.  Their moms were occupied with smaller children or chose not to talk to them about it.  Later as I thought about their behavior I imagined what people would have thought if it had been black children.  I think everyone would have been a lot less tolerant of their disrespect and playing around.  That really struck me to think of my own racism. 

One of the moms is a Trump supporter.  That is what a "great America" means to some people.  An America where people like them can do what they want, and anyone else does not deserve the same license or respect.  This will be a sad 4 years ongoing.

Monday, November 7, 2016


I voted last week with the children.  I wanted to be done with it.  I've been able to just ignore all the drama, knowing my vote has been cast.  Also I stay off the facebook.  Still I can't believe that tomorrow is election day.  P didn't get around to voting early and plans to vote tomorrow.  I hope he doesn't hit big lines.  He doesn't think he will but this is a very contentious election and I'm sure the polling places will be busy.

It's been hard to protect the children from negative attitudes.  It always is.  But the issues are so much more middle school and base. 

A family in the neighborhood had a pumpkin carved with a candidate's name and a sign.  They also had a chainsaw clown hiding in the bushes.  Lovely folks I'm sure.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Forever Young

I love my children.  I love that G is is still excited to put on a plastic fire fighter hat and climb up in the truck.  "Too cool" is not even a thing.  I love it!  He's all about enjoying life and hasn't been infected with the teenage blight of bad attitude.

Today we got to go see the Blue Angels perform up at the beach.  What is this crazy life?!  There was a lot of crying and fighting from lP and B on the drive up.  Ugh!  And traffic was real.  But it was so amazing to see the air show.  I'm so glad we went.

The girls got to go to a princess party today.  It was lovely.  I'm glad that some of their friends are willing to go all in for that.  I'm just not that mom.  But I am glad they got to have that experience.

G is doing great in his math class.  I'm trying to help him learn to have study and note taking skills.  Tonight I printed the note guides for this segment of the class.  I also gave him dividers to organize his binder.

I realized tonight that my 10th grade teacher was trying to teach us how to have an organized binder.  I just thought she was being a control freak.  I also thought she didn't like me.  And she maybe didn't since I was a brat.  But she was trying to teach me an incredibly useful skill and I didn't get the point.  I remember other teachers trying to teach me to make tables, outlines and timelines.  Oh, I wish I had understood that was my brains primary way of organizing! 

M is just like me and really fights being asked to do simple academic things.  How I would love to help her understand how much easier learning is when you are organized...!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October, there is sunlight in your hair...

The children woke up cold a few days this month so they got out the winter wear.
B took a nap with P and it was all kinds of cute.
lP and M got this store all set up in the firepit.  While they finished many details, I played recorder and the cat piano and they slipped me money to spend at their store.
We went to the corn maze today.  In college I went to the corn maze and had a terrible, cold, lost experience.  So I never was interested in going.  I decided we could go for the homeschool day which was half price.  Then it rained like crazy that day and we went anyway, but they gave us rain checks.
So today we went back and spent 4 hours!  I'm just not a 4 hour anything kind of person so this is fairly amazing.
We did the maze which had signs at helpful intervals with pages from the story about Spookly the square pumpkin.  I loved that.  It kept the kids moving, and reassured us that we were not just lost.
Batman was everyone's best friend today.
L even got some play time.  I never particularly want to own one of these mini play structures, but I wouldn't mind renting one for a week at a time!

It was a gorgeous day.  Now we're off to decorate for the neighborhood party and to the Ward trunk or treat, then back to the neighborhood for trick or treating.  This is such a fun and crazy busy time of year.

Monday, October 24, 2016

be grateful for you kids, as they are

Humble brag; my kids are smart.  They are precocious.  The challenge that comes with this is to teach them to work hard because a lot of things are easy for them.  And because it's fun to be "superior" it's easy to forget that being good at things is not the same as being good, and definitely does not make you better than other people. 

I have some acquaintances whose little girls are also precocious.  They've mentioned on several occasions that they "Almost wish" their high strung girls were dumb.  It was funny-ish, in the way that you later regret laughing along, the first time.  But since they've mentioned it to me more than once, it becomes part of their shtick. 

Thanks to my habit of reading the Hax advice column, I know that I don't have any place to bring this up to them.  If they ask for advice on how I have managed my early reader, late emotional intelligence, super star, I guess I have a chance to say something.  But mostly I think I'd say, blah blah blah.  I don't know!  I often recognize myself as the major problem in my relationship with that child.  She is adorable and helpful and willing.  She feeds off my stress, sadly.

I got to go have the children's pictures taken recently by a professional photographer in the woods!  I love good pictures.  This same photographer took the amazing halloween photo 2 years ago.  It's a gem!  The children were promised a chocolate if they smiled and didn't pout for the pictures.  They all got one, except the baby. 

B has been obsessed with the computer lately.  He knows how to turn them on and get to the games.  It's been intense catching him on the computer 10 times a day.  I've tried to just always stay in that room.  I've been pretty successful at inviting him to come read a book with me.  Hurray he'd rather read a book with me.  But he also needs to learn boundaries.  So tonight we made a "computer" chart that has yellow paper dots that move off the "computer" when I catch him on there at the wrong time.  I really hope he can learn to control himself.

I've been reading "The Marshmallow Test" and it's great!  Hurray for Popular Science.  This book has a lot of good advice for training myself and the children to have greater ability to delay gratification for later rewards. 

I gave a lesson on Sunday about Patience.  I learned that yet another major idea has missed me my whole life.  Patience is not just waiting.  It is waiting without anxiety, complaining, fear and all that junk that makes it harder to wait, and doesn't accomplish anything.  So that's a rather amazing revelation for me.  To be patient with the kids, I have a lot of work to do. 

Yesterday night I noticed that G's hearing aid was missing.  The 2.5K loaner hearing aid that he got just before the hurricane 2 weeks ago.  Missing.  "You won't have any birthdays if we have to pay for that."  "No computer time until it is found."  I declared. 

G responded by praying fervently and muttering about being a bad scout.  Late into the night he was crying that God hadn't answered his prayers.  I turned on the light to tell him that God answers prayers and that it was wrong to blame this on God.  This morning G was reading and when I told him to keep looking he said "I already prayed and God didn't answer!"  Ohhhhh.  So we had more discussion about works, and "after all you can do..."

I kept looking and looking.  I eventually did find it and I'm not sure I'm not the one that stashed it away in a safe place.  G was never wearing it because it had a strange earmold that gave a lot of feedback, and since it wasn't waterproof, it was a huge liability.  So knowing he never wore it, I may have put it in this little jar and put it up on the shelf in the travel bag for his CI stuff.  I feel bad for making him so stressed out about it.  I wish we'd never borrowed it. 

Each of my children are amazing and incandescent.  I feel so blessed to be their mother.  I can't believe how good P is to me and how incredible it is that we have this beautiful life and these wonderful children.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Keeping it Holy

Today we are involved in hurricane clean up efforts.  P went to the workers sacrament meeting at 8.  I took the kids to the combined meeting at 9:30.  After the combined meeting we got to help unload a Red Cross truck full of supplies and a pick up truck full of Little Debbie snacks. 

I'd arranged with another family to watch their small children earlier in the day while they went out with work crews.  Then at 2 my kids went to their home to be watched by a teenager.  And I went out to help clean up a home that was flooded.

When I returned at 5:30 to take 3 of the combined assembly of kids to choir practice, they were watching Nanny McFee and had apparently also watched Zootopia.  G commented to me, somewhat happily, that this day was feeling just like any other day.  Yes G.  If you do the sorts of things you might do any other day, and watch the media you might watch any other day, there is nothing special about the Sabbath.  It is a gift to us and we get to set it aside and make it Holy.

Friday, October 14, 2016


I can't stand it when my kids are playing tag with kids that play by their own rules. 
-no tag backs
-it doesn't count because I'm invincible
-all the girls are it, permanantly

Today M and lP were it for 15+ minutes and I told them they couldn't play with those boys and explained why it wasn't ok.  So I'm turning mean boys into the forbidden fruit.  Great!  I hope next time this happens I can teach my girls the words to say.  "OK, I've been it for a long time.  It's your turn."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Not OK

I'm talking with each of my children individually to make sure they explicitly understand what is no OK and that they can always tell me.  We don't trust anyone because it can be anyone.  And we are not protecting our children by not telling them.  Toddlers are molested.  We protect our children by teaching them to speak up and have ownership of their body.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


We left for G-town when the Hurricane was coming.  We learned after we had left that we were in the mandatory evacuation zone.  Yay.  I'm so glad we left.  We spent 6 days in G-town hanging out with Grandma and aunties.  The children had a great time.  We visited a new playground downtown that was amazing.  B and lP got very adventurous and spent most of the visit up Grandma's cedar tree.  We found a really nice bike at a thrift store and G, M and lP spent a lot of time taking turns nicely. 

We came back tonight after cleaning up from Hurricane Grandkids and visiting the awesome park one more time.  Fortunately Hurricane Grandkids did not leave any damage to Grandpa's house, just debris that had to be cleaned up.

I thought P had met an ill end when he hadn't come home at 2am when I'd expected him home at 10:30.  It turns out that he forgot his shoes and had to go back to S. A.  P went back to S. A. often to help with the clean up efforts.  He is the EQ president and checked on many homes.  He is now on a 3 day work conference where he will be presenting for 4 of the 8 sessions!  What a superstar.  I'm glad he did not die last night.  My cell phone delivered the message about his shoes today at 5:11 pm.  It's not what anyone would call a reliable way of getting in touch with me.

We got back in the dark and I'm staying up late because...crickets....  Even in the dark I can tell that the limb that fell down has left a huge hole in the canopy of our front yard.  The whole tree may need to be trimmed down big tome.  There is another limb that broke but did not come down so we need to have a professional take that down rather than having work crews from our church handle it.

Sitting here at my computer it's easy to imagine that nothing even happened.  But tomorrow I'll be able to see it for myself.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Today G and lP got to experience failure.  We did the marshmallow test during FHE and lP convinced herself that the goal was to eat the marshmallow.  She was so adorably dejected.  G raced through a math exam and didn't write out any of the work.  He was so surprised by the failing grade.

Failure is a natural part of life.  We cannot be perfect.  That feeling of failure is hard, and if we learn to use that feeling, to motivate us to try harder, then failure is good for us.  It is important to learn from our failures and know that as children of God, we can do better. 

I love my children.  I am so grateful for how they teach me to be better.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

someone has to teach them

Being a homeschool/stay at home parent can be frustrating.  Sometimes it feels like nobody is teaching these kids manners or coping strategies but me!  Well, that's because I don't send them to school or daycare.  So if they are rude and ungrateful it's my fault.  If they are smart and beautiful, that's just genes.  But if I can train them to work hard and be neat, heaven is now.

Friday, September 30, 2016

taco bell

P is awesome.  Last night he brought home a huge bag of taco bell.  He had bought practically one of everything on the menu for the children to taste and experience.  I love him.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I was using the bathroom today and as soon as the door closed my baby started to cry.  I hear stories like this a lot and often the children are banging down the door or worse.  I think we like to tell these stories to sort of one-up each other.  "My children are such monsters!" followed by "Mine are literally vampires!"

I like my children a lot.  Sometimes I'm frustrated by things they do.  Most often I am frustrated by things that apparently I have not been successful at teaching them not to do.

As a parent, it's nice to know that other folks struggle with similar issues.  And I think it's ok to teach your children to behave, if you can.

important events

This month has been very busy.  We drove to Alabama, then back to the beach then out to Gtown then home in a 4 day span. 

L and I were not sleeping so I decided to night wean him.  After the first night of continuous caterwahling, things have gone well.  On the second night he woke me up by tapping on my arm so sweetly. My poor kids, they never learn to sign milk until about 15+ months and that is right about when I am DONE!  So we don't have that sweet communication.  But L is an adorable chatterbox.  He's the most verbal baby I have.  I don't really remember anything but the present, so I can't say if he is more or less chatty than the other children were.  It seems that he is, but I don't remember.

B is potty trained and goes places without a diaper.  It's amazing how quickly that happened.  I actually feel sad that he's growing up.  Having had G as my first child, I am inclined to be dismissive of sadness at children growing up.  Hallelujah they're growing at all!  But B is so darned cute!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I love creating tools to help my children understand things that I never did.  And then I am amazed at 
how the children use the tool in ways that teach me even more! 

I made this paper for M to use at her desk to help with alphabetizing her spelling words and for math.  One day I saw her counting down a row for tens then across.  It blew my mind!  And you're wondering how I graduated from high school...

So G is working on rational numbers, so I created a numberline that can be manipulated in 2 dimensions.  I think it's pretty great.  And I'm so excited to see how he uses it!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Dinner

Today I outdid myself and made 2 batches of PBcandy while Phillip took a nap.  Sunday dinner at it's best.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


off facebook.  It's nice to talk to people instead of have "did you see that post?" conversations.  And when I tell people something I am more confident that it's not something I already posted about.  Nice!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

good place

We are in a good place.  The children have a lovely co-op to participate in.  There are over 50 children involved in this group.  On the one hand it is hard to manage that size of group.  But on the other hand, my children are getting to be a part of a larger group than they've ever been a part of before. 

3 of the children are good readers.  We need to play Apples to Apples.

Our car works!  It generally does, and has for the last 3 years.  And I am grateful for that.

We have delicious fresh food every day.

We are so fortunate.

homeschool fashion

B and lP were dressing up fancy last week and wearing their backpacks.  "We're playing school!" they cried.  Yes, this is how you dress for school children.

Growing up in public school, fashion was a thing.  I was never very good at it, but at least I knew that I couldn't pull off these fabulous looks.  Whenever we saw a kid in sweat pants and and a turtleneck, we assumed they were homeschooled.  I wondered why homeschool moms only dressed their children for comfort and durability.  But now I know that those are the 2 most important factors in dressing children.  And when you aren't sending them off to fend for themselves in the cruel world of school, it doesn't matter if they aren't wearing cool clothes because nobody cares!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Presenting our 2016 coloring page!  G asked to be making the bunny ears. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

things I don't need

I have a window in the kitchen that looks out into the screened porch.  I like to hand food to the kids out the window.  They love it when I do that.  Recently I got the idea that it would be fun to have a shelf there to set pans on when I want to let something cool outside.  Currently I have to walk around the dining room and out the sliding door.  So it's precarious!

I had a shelf in the garage but P doesn't like to put holes in the house, go figure!  So I needed a narrow table to mount a shelf to.  I was interested in getting a baking rack but am not actually motivated to buy something that is not exactly what I want there.  So we went to many thrift stores and didn't find a narrow table. 

Back at home I did find a sewing table in my garage that is close enough.  And I got the porch re-organized.  I threw away assorted wrappers from treats, and vacuumed quite a bit of kinetic sand off the rug.  I love eating on the back porch.  It feels glamorous even if it is hot...

I love kinetic sand!  I haven't let my children play with playdough for years.  My house is 90% carpet.  But this kinetic sand is so easy to clean up and provides a lot of the same benefits for creativity and fine motor strengthening.  Yay!

Another nice thing that happened recently was that P fixed the sliding door.  I was worried when he took off the bottom metal part and the glass was!  But he put in new pieces with rollers  and it slides great now.

My success with re-organizing the back porch got me motivated to go through my clothes.  It's so nice to let things go.  I've lost 20lbs in the last 4 months and clothes fit better now.  I don't want new clothes, I just want to get rid of clothes that make me look homeless.  Stains, tears... I deserve better.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

always learning

Today I told the kids I was happy they like to learn.  I really love that learning is fun for us.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

saturdays are awesome

G cleaned his room last night after doing his online math class.  The girls cleaned their room this morning before lunch time!  I'm so grateful that they are learning to clean up.  I'm so glad for the days with less tantrums about it. 

We'll go to the beach and clean up the rest of the house that is not even so bad because we put away 90% of the toys in my bedroom...  I love not having so many toys.  Unfortunately I also love having a lot of toys.

Clothes are clean, food is in the house, house is clean.   It's great going into Sunday with order.

Friday, August 12, 2016

assorted moments

Road trip

We went Everywhere!  I'm amazed at all we did: 
We visited my dad and sister
DC 4th of July on the Mall
National Archives
Air and Space museum
I finally bought an astronaut suit (for the kids)
Visited with MB
Deaf Branch DC
DC Temple Visitors center
Ft McHenry
Hersher Chocolate tour/ride
18" Twizzlers
Visited my HS Best Friend
Priesthood restoration site
Whitmer Home
We visited another sister who let us stay with her for 4 weeks!
Little Red Lighthouse
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Isle
Sailing on the Hudson
Deaf Branch NYC
Truck Food
NYC Parks
Laundry drying on a line in the breezway
Central Park
NYC Natural History Museum
Firehydrant sprinklers
Free Lunches at the park
NYC gigantic pool
UMASS George Parks band room
Swimming and hiking and camping
USS Costitution
North Bridge
Rocky Connecticut beach
Amazing touch tank at Hammonasset State Park
USS Intrepid Museum
Valley Forge
Liberty Bell
Independence Hall
US Army Band and Choir 60th Anniversary concert
Visited childhood neighbor BW
Visited with MG's family

Many Wendy's 4 for $4 meals and free frosties were enjoyed by our family over the 5 week trip!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Little Einsteins

We like to keep the kids young in their media consumption.  G is 11, M 9 and we still watch Max and Ruby, Wiggles, Dora, Diego, and Backyardigans.  Recently P got a Wonder Pets DVD from the library.  Everyone has been really into it.  Even better, P got a Little Einstein DVD and our family is "going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship." 

I love Little Einsteins.  I don't like how some of the kids sing a little slow and off pitch but that's what kids do.  It' has all the awesome "Clap with me..." of Dora, but within a music setting.  It's awesome seeing lP and B really, really get into it.   And all the kids are into it.

In the car they were choosing characters.  G claimed Quincy because he also plays the recorder.  M was Annie by default because she plays piano.  lP is June because she's "good at rhythms except in some things... like music."  BTW she is doing great in piano.   B insists that he is rocket, not Leo who has red hair and drives the rocket.  Yes B, you are rocket.

So mom or dad or L get to be Leo. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

social skills

Lately I'm trying to teach the children these magical phrases:

-  When you're not busy can we...
-  I'm done with my work may I...

I'm trying to help them understand that asking for anything when I'm changing a poopy diaper is not going to go well. 

I'd like them to understand that anything they ask for in the car, for when we get home, is probably not going to happen.

I'd really like them to articulate their concerns instead of just screaming.  Particularly I need them to say things like "L is playing with a glass dish."  instead of "L!!!!!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book of Mormon

I'll be 37 this month and am finally really getting into the Book of Mormon.  For me it is really important to understand who the characters are and the sequence of events.  I never understood details like 1st Nephi is the account of the travels of Lehi's family told from the perspective of Nephi.  2nd Nephi is in the Americas and Lehi has passed away.  Jacob is Nephi's 20 something years younger brother who takes over the spiritual record.  Nephi is simultaneously keeping large plates that have the historic record.  Some time later after the Nephites and Lamanites have split, there is another split and the righteous part of the Nephites leave the land of Nephi.  They are led by Moisah and find a land called Zarahemla where another people are living.  These people, the Mulekites were led out of Jerusalem shortly after Lehi's family was.  They did not have a written record and their language has changed so much that at first the Nephites and the Mulekites don't understand one another.  Mosiah's group becomes dominant and Mosiah becomes king over that land and the language of the Nephites is adopted.

What stories don't we hear?  How did the Mulekites feel about this take over?  Did Mosiah marry a daughter of the King or a reigning Queen?  A few generations into the chapters in Zarahemla a Nephite descendant leads a group back to the land of Nephi and they are never heard from again.  Then a Mulekite man named Ammon leads a group to see what happened to Zeniff's group.  This Ammon is different from the son of the 2nd Mosiah, who is the grandson of the Mosiah that lead the righteous Nephites into Zarahemla.  See, it's tricky with several characters having the same names.

And the the account Alma is all written in the book of Mosiah.  And the book of Alma is written by Alma's son, Alma.  But the war chapters at the end of Alma are written by his son Helaman.  Who writes the book of Helaman?  We'll find out soon.

These are just some of the things that confused me in past attempts to read the book.  I'm enjoying my reading now and writing copious notes.  I'd heard these stories but never understood how they fit together.  And I know the Nephites become so wicked that they all get killed.  And I know Christ comes among the American people.  So I'm excited to read and find out how these things all go together.

When I was young a lady in the ward made the comment "My children are going to grow up to be Nephites, not Lamanites" like your kids...(I implied).  The crazy thing about this, beyond how rude it was of her to suggest that our brown skinned family was wicked....  Is that time and again the wicked Nephites try to take away the religious freedom of the other (righteous) Nephites.  And each time they fail they go off and join the Lamanites and get into leadership to incite the Lamanites to attack the Nephites.  There's the Nephites left behind by Mosiah.  There's the wicked priests of Noah.  The Zoramites.  The Amalikites.  The kingmen....  All these groups that keep going off with the Lamanites, they were Nephites.  Being a Nephite is no guarantee of righteousness. 

And the Lamanites are the ones that believe when they are taught.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

president business

The children have re-discovered the Lego Movie and it's creepy to me how much the GOP candidate is like president business. Disregard for everyone.  And the song "Everything is awesome" has never been a good one.  Not everything is awesome.  Hate is not awesome.  Being dipped in frosting is not awesome. 

Yet it seems that everything Mr. T does is awesome to his voters.  Everything.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Some house wrens have decided that our garage is a great place to build a nest.  They have built several times on top of a cabinet above the dryer.  We love having the ability to close the garage door more than we love the birds.  Poor birds.  Why do they keep building a nest where there can be no future?

Why do people build lives and love where there is no future?  When someone has a relationship while they are waiting for the right one, they are creating a situation where they'll miss the "right one"  because they are not available.  Or they break off a relationship to pursue another which is hurtful and a terrible foundation for future relationships.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


I've been a journal keeper since I was about 12.  I'd like to challenge myself to be a log keeper.  Maybe I'll make that challenge on my birthday.  My kids have been reading my journal for about 3 years now.  I don't give them the older ones because who knows what I wrote before I was being mindful of the audience.

So they read my journal and it's a great way for me to create out story in the retelling of what I thought was important.  I hope they will keep a journal someday, knowing I will read it.  And I hope they will understand that privacy is a lie.  Happy times.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

back porch

We're enjoying the back porch more this year than we have in a long time.  We've had a nice long spring so the back porch is pleasant all day.  We borrowed a pressure washer and P is painting the porch.  So several issues with mold and grossness are mitigated.  Also, I'm not pregnant.  I know that the spring of 2013 I was pregnant and then had a newborn.  Then the next year the yellow flies were terrible.  Last year the flies weren't so bad but I was pregnant.  So this year we have the porch more in order and the mom is more up for adventure.

We have a woodpecker family that is roosting within view of the porch.  We have strawberries and blueberries growing in containers on the porch.  I really prefer for the kids to play on the back porch instead of the front yard.  The back yard is off limits because it's wild.  The neighbors came over to show us a video of the 4 ft rattle snake he shot in the backyard.  He wanted to explain the gun shots.  He apparently has killed several moccasins and now the rattlesnake.  I'm so glad I didn't know they were there!
I can't remember where we got these gigantic googly eyes.  We had fun with them, on  the back porch.It's a beautiful time we're having.  We just got a new metal roof put on and are looking forward to lower energy costs.  But this beautiful cool spring is going to skew the numbers.  Oh well.  I'll take it!

This was the kids watching the men work on the new roof.  The orange paint on the ground looks so festive.  I know I've written this before, but I really like it.  My goal was to have the color look ok with leaves and pollen gunk on it.  The leaves over on the left side are from the gutters being cleaned out. :  )  Looks awesome right!? 

This was the old roof, which was fine, if 38 years old.

The new roof is blindingly bright.  The new skylights are lovely. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

hard times

Good news and bad news.  Ever since I stopped eating sugar last month, I've had a really hard time getting the dishes done.  I think I used to bribe myself to do them with treats. 

B and L still have a cough lingering for 2 months now.  The Doctor said it can last 3 months after bronchitis.  Ugh!  I feel like it's constant, someone is coughing, someone is wheezing.  At least they are happy, and active.  And there is no vomiting!  Thank goodness!

We had a nice visit in G-town.  B is turning 3 this month and we used his birthday as an excuse to take the kids to the butterfly garden.  The P-family came with us so we had a 6:5 adult to child ratio.  Yay!  It was really lovely.

 I wish we could have stayed longer but we left that part of the museum before people started crying.  The crying came later about the gift shop.  Ugh!

I was pleased with my children's behavior in the garden.  I felt really sorry for the moms escorting groups of 5 1st graders through.  We got to linger a bit longer than them.  We saw 3 groups go through.  Lots of "Don't pick the flowers!" and "Don't touch the butterflies!"

Thursday, May 5, 2016


For the last 10 years we've used an excel spreadsheet to track our income and expenses.  I've never been really disciplined about it so there are occasional "manual adjustments" in the record.  A few things have changed and I'm hoping to get a grip and really track our expenses better.

The good and bad of knowing all your income and expenses is that it takes some of the drama out of living.  I can't pretend that there is more money because I can clearly see that there is not more money in the line up.

We were able to pay off our student loan though.  So yay!  We're "debt free!" except the house.  And that is significant.  The house is worth more than we owe on it.  Yay!

We got a new metal roof so we're looking forward to a summer of hopefully lower electric bills.  And I need to get the AC tuned up because our electricity use was up a lot from the previous year.

I'm a big fan of the Dave Ramsey cash system.  I'd have gotten us into more trouble if I hadn't had that level of accountability.  I do get into trouble though by not really being on top of online purchases.  Drat!  I need to do better there.  That's why the money just seems to fritter away and I can't figure out where it went.

So here's to a simplified financial scene and to more accountability, ie monthly balancing. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I ate BBQ pizza last night and had all sorts of reminders of why I can't eat sugar.  I was frazzled and impatient with the children.  I felt like people I love, don't love me.  I woke up exhausted...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

what's working

Apparently I'm obsessed with the benefits of not doing sugar, but I'm trying to not be obnoxious about it with the people in my daily life.  But here are the things that are keeping me on the path I want to be on. 
1.  Nobody else needs to do this.  I don't have to regulate anyone else's sugar, except for my kids and I'm trying to not give them less than I normally do.  I've actually been relying on poptarts a lot to be a quick and easy treat they all love.  It's also easy to just give them each 1/2 of a tart and they are ok with that.  A pack of cookies, they always want more.

2.  I don't care if the sugar gets wasted.  In the past I've eaten left overs.  Now, if someone doesn't finish their treat; trash.  That's fine.  It's already wasted, and if I eat it that will be trouble for me.

3.  I have so much more emotional bank account to not freak out at the kids.  I was tired yesterday and noticed that I was less patient.  But I wasn't feeling crazy. 

4.  I lost 4 lbs.  That's always nice.  Except if it means I've got some sort of medical problem.

5.  I feel great.  I don't feel so tired.  My body just feels more present.

6.  Fruit is great.  Sweet potatoes are my friend. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pioneer Women

Today I was pressure washing the deck with L on my hip.  P is painting the deck a bright cheery orange.  It looked like a warm brown when we bought it.  My goal was to get something that would look OK with leaves or pollen on it.  But I should have known that the color Ginger, no matter that it was in amongst the browns, was going to be orange!  But it looks awesome.
Here's G doing a few rows to earn money. 
Here's L posing with our collection of extra lids.  I don't even know why we have 6 rubbermaid roughtote lids...  I mostly use them without the lids...  even so, these are extra!

The orange is so inviting, like a party, all the time!

The luxury of raising ones children is a new innovation.  In past generations women had to work, a lot!  Even the duties that I do as a home maker, were so much harder.  Washing clothes, keeping people fed, making clothes, growing food!  It's sort of amazing that we have the luxury now to enjoy hours with our children, let alone all day. 

As I held L in my sling and moved the sprayer back and forth, I smiled at him and fended off his hands.  Who needs glasses to pressure wash the deck?  Not me apparently.  I was so grateful to be able to do this hard job and be with my sweet baby.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Making a habit

I'm still not eating sugar.  Not even peanut butter candy!  Oh, it's hard.  But even as it is hard, pathetically so, I have so much serenity with my children.  I wish I could do both, eat sugar and be nice to the kids.  I've been sane for weeks now and feel tempted to see if I can just eat sugar and still be sane.  But I know I can't.  It's worth avoiding sugar to be able to be nice.  Harsh!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


 Today we went aboard El Galeon a replica of the Spanish Galeon ships that traveled back and forth from Spain to the Americas, transporting millions of dollars in precious metals and jewels.
This outing was so wonderful because we planned so well.  We scoped out parking yesterday, and today were able to confidently go to that place, no worries.  We also planned out 1/2 hour for travel and 1/2 hour for lunch, then meeting up at 2 with other families.  So we were never rushed, and just met up with the other families as we walked toward the ship.  Then we were able to leave on time to get G.  And nobody peed their pants.  M was able to go into the school for the restroom.  I gave everyone more cookie.  Then we took kids to choir.  I feel so grateful that we were able to have that experience of being able to plan an outing and have it go smoothly!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

sugar free serenity

The kids made some peep dioramas.  It was a fun way to let them be creative and eat some peeps.

M's choice was a playground.

G's choice was a football game.

lP's choice of a building and police car were a little bit more obscure, but I enjoyed her reaction to my creating the building and car.
I made this one on behalf of B.

I'm still avoiding sugar and it's going well.  3 reasons it's going well:
1- I can tell that I have more emotional energy to deal with the children and be kind.
2- It doesn't bother me to make and give treats to others.
3- I'm just saying goodbye to entire groups of food rather than use sugar alternatives.  

#1 is a huge motivator.  #2 means I'm not trying to control others, just me.  #3 means I'm just saying goodbye, instead of trying to maintain a relationship, that's huge. 

I think, is this treat worth being a crazy mom? No.  Goodbye treat.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

going strong

So it's been a few days and I haven't cheated on the idea of giving up sugar.  In the past I've tried to limit certain treats, so I just ate others.  Or I tried to use artificial sweeteners, so I just ate poison.  And this time it's not really a cosmetic change.  P loves me whatever.  And I'm much more calm if I'm not eating sugar.  I'm a better mom, of my kids, when I'm not eating sugar. 

Mentally I've been going through various things I won't be eating now, or maybe ever again.  Goodbye nutella, ice cream, pop tarts, chocolate, twix, doughnuts...  I'm not looking to find a healthier version of these things.  I'm just saying goodbye.  My personality allows for me to just go cold turkey.  And fortunately, for ease of life, I can still let others eat sweets and it doesn't bother me.  In fact, it's awesome.  I'm like, "Here's a pop tart, don't make a mess." instead of wishing my kids weren't eating all the treats.  Sadly, I have had moments like that "Hey, don't eat all my... whatever."

Time for me to do this small thing that means a lot for my relationship with my kids.  I haven't yelled at them since I quit sugar.  I also haven't felt ashamed for loosing my temper over trivial things.  Yay!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Day one, try again

Yesterday I decided I was going to try and eat more healthy.  But then I ate a bunch of cookies ; (

Today when I wanted to eat a cookie I thought "no" and had a nice positive reinforcement.  Maybe I can turn the switch from meaning stress and reward = sweets, to be turn down the sweet=reward of feeling good.  That would be nice. 

I definitely notice that I freak out at the kids when I've been eating a lot of sugar.  There are so many reasons why it's important to eat well.  Without sugar, I'm much more calm, yay, and less impulsive, except for the bunk bed fiasco I've been working on today...  Well, baby steps.