Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reign of the Judges

We've been reading the Book of Mormon with the Stake since February.  We started a tradition of all saying "reign of the Judges" together and dramatically whenever that is mentioned in the scriptures. We just finished Helaman with many instances of it.  Those that are following along in their scriptures are more likely to catch on faster than those that are just listening.  B loves to echo so we wait for his little voice like the other shoe dropping, after we chime in.  Then we hear his little voice, sometimes from another room, "The Reign of the Judges!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ted talk Tuesday

Tonight we started a new tradition; Ted Talk Tuesday.  We watched Malcolm Gladwell's talk about Choice, happiness, and spaghetti sauce.  P and I really like Ted Talks.  The kids like watching videos but hadn't known about Ted Talks until tonight.  I hope to show the kids great ideas and also that it's really awesome to become an expert at something and be able to articulate your ideas to others.

The only other place we see people speaking in any way close to this is at church.  Most people who speak at church love the gospel but there is a culture of self depreciation at church.  People actually say they don't like to give a talk.  I think the idea is to project humility, but it comes across as is they don't want to speak.  I guess a lot of people don't want to get up and talk in front of others, but I think it's useful to force that culture on everyone else.  Lay speaking is really important and you can't leave it to just the people who like talking.  It's a service that needs to be done and complaining doesn't make it better.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Today we had various challenges.  Mostly it was a quiet day but after dropping my mom off at the airport we realized her phone was still in the car.  I sent M and G in to see if they could see her at the service desk.  Apparently they went into the bowels of the airport enough to know she had passed security.  The guy monitoring the waiting and drop off area gave me permission to take the phone to the desk myself, but they wouldn't take it.  They did page my mom so we went and parked the car to take everyone in.  I'm so glad I called P who sensibly said I should just park.  It was an obvious next step but somehow I was worried that if I left the curb, my mom may come out and I wouldn't be there.  We met up with her in the food court and got to say goodbye again.

Later in the evening we got free slurpies.  The kids were so grateful to share around 1 small slurpie.  They didn't make a mess and were so, so, so grateful.  I love to treat them and not let them get too entitled.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

We made it!

 We went to the river and got everything packed into the cars prior to boarding the trams.  One of the things that was locked in the car was my waterproof camera.  Oh well.  I was holding baby on a raft and it was sort of really top heavy.  So it's a good thing I wasn't also trying to juggle a camera.  L was so wiggly for 98% of the ride.  Those moments of serenity when I could scan for the other children and notice the clear water, were really nice.
 We had a picnic out of the back of the van.
 We didn't have a table but the rafts served us well yet again.
 Everyone had plenty to eat and time to dry off.  We hardly used any towels which was interesting to me since I'd packed a huge bucket of them.  We usually don't have enough towels.
 L is 2 now and it's interesting to see how the family dynamic changes.  He's still in diapers but not nursing.  He doesn't talk much but he communicates a lot.  We look forward to how in just a year we'll be able to enjoy a lot of activities without the baby dynamic.
At church one of us is often out in the hall with L.  The other 4 can sit in the pew and entertain themselves very well.  It's amazing to think what church will be like in just 1 or 2 years. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

lazy river

We've gone to this river many times while we've lived here.  Usually about once a year we get together with the Porters and float the river.  2 years ago we bought our own boats, but because of sickness each time we scheduled a float, we still haven't used them!

So we're planning to go this weekend and I'm excited.  I'm trying to remember to just have a good time and enjoy the beauty.  We have a waterproof camera that makes it easier to make beautiful and amazing memories. 

When my family had a family reunion in 2006 we all went.  It was so awesome to have that big group and do something so beautiful. 

Doing anything with children can make it so you can hardly enjoy the beauty or meaning of your setting.  I hope to enjoy their wonder more.  It's been long enough since we went that it will be a completely different experience for lP, and B has no memory of it.  I'm so glad we're gong to be able to go.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


I bore my testimony today about how we're like diamonds.  We are precious and have amazing potential.  We can become something symbolic or decorative.  We can also become capable of drilling through anything.  And we can choose what we become.

lP wanted to bear her testimony too.  She stood and started talking and then signing what she was trying to express.  She told the story of how one time she fell while going down a slide.  She felt like her arm was broken.  So we went to the doctor and she prayed.  It turned out that her arm was not broken and she said prayer helps. 

I also know prayer helps.  I'm so pleased with lP's figuring this out.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

a moment to reflect

We went out to eat last night for our anniversary.  The children were pretty good.  Thanks to Wendy's 4 for $4 the kids have seen the inside of a restaurant more often than in any other period of their lives.  And thanks to our choice of Golden Corral there was no need to occupy hungry kids while we waited for dinner.  Yay!  It was hectic but not terrible.  The baby was the only one who dropped food or cried.  It was nice.

Later that night we stopped by a neighbors house for a party she'd invited us to for her sister.  It was a small party and the children were again very well behaved. 

I got to go to a wedding reception tonight and just took the 3 older children.  They each only had 1 soda and didn't make a mess or much noise.  I'm grateful for moments to just be out and not frazzled chasing them.

I was reading my old blog and I was as frazzled with 2 littles as I am with 5.  Having a baby always makes it hectic.  I'm looking forward to life in about 1-2 years when everyone is pretty chill, maybe
: )  Even going to the beach is less stressful.  The older 3 can swim and take turns playing on the beach with the little 2.  It's so nice.  I need to go more often.

When they grow up and say they're from Florida, and people ask if they went to the beach all the time, I'd like for them to say "Yeah, pretty much."

Thursday, June 22, 2017


As my friend and I sat watching the children run roam and climb around the area my friend commented that I'm so calm as they are doing things that would cause her to panic.  People often tell me I'm calm but this was the first time someone identified specifically what I'm calm about.  It's true I let my kids climb and do things many parents don't let them do.  But I try to not let them sass or be mean.  I come down on them when they hurt other people or are rude.   I wasn't at all calm today after I'd told lP we were leaving the pool and she jumped back in. 

If the kids get hurt, I know a magical place where people can fix just about anything.  But if my kids act like monsters, that's on me.  I ask them "Do I look like the kind of mom that is going to just let you act like that?"  B has a lovely habit of saying "Yes mom" and "No mom" so appropriately. 

LP has a bad habit of complaining.  We're working on it.  She'll complain that I did something wrong and I'll say "Is that how you're going to get it fixed?"  or "Do you think talking like that is going to make me want to help you?"  And as soon as she asks like a kind child, I'm very eager to help her out.  It's a process...


We went on a walk with my friend who lives by the intercoastal.  The breeze was strong and the temperature was perfect.  We found this nice grassy area with an amazing tree.  It was a wonderful way to spend an evening.  I'm so grateful to live in this beautiful place and know people full of such grace.
I love living here.

Friday, June 16, 2017

new van

Did I mention we have a new van?  It's pretty cool to have all the big kids in the back row because there are 3 shoulder belts back there.  And with this car, the middle row seats turn around.  So it's a big, loud party back there.  And I fixed the movie players, yes, there are movie players, for $20 instead of $1000.  So when we're on a longer trip, like 2 hours, I turn the little ones around so they can watch a movie.
It's also nice that the space between the driver's seat and the middle seats can function as semi-permanent storage for spare shoes and diaper bags.  And the area between all the kids feet stays less messy.  It's easier to clean out somehow when the seats are facing each other.  The kids really like the new van and feel like it is very fancy.  Heck!  So do I.

baby whisperer

P is very good at baby training.  He trained B and L to go to sleep to counting.  He frequently took an inconsolable baby from me and counted them to sleep.  Now he has another routine that is amazing.
We have scriptures and prayer at 8.  M and P brush teeth and go to their room.  G does his online math class.  B and L watch 2 episodes of Signing Time.  B gets a diaper and prayer, goes to bed.  L gets a bottle and watches the "My Day" episode of Signing time with the lights off, and he goes to sleep.  I am so amazed at P's ability to create routine and structure in a real way for the children.  I am even able to duplicate these results because of P's good teaching of them and me! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

The cat came back

I took a sudden trip out to visit family.  It was cool to visit and go places without worrying about the kids safety and entertainment.  But I missed them a lot and by the end of my visit I was falling apart.

The fun things I did were several family picnics and seeing folks I hadn't seen for years.  I also got to go to Bridal Veil Falls and just enjoy the place without worrying about keeping kids safe.  I wandered Ikea and got lost without anyone crying. 

P was able to take some time off to parent 24/7.  He took the kids to the library, museums, a tour of Everbank field, the natural history museum, the Lightner museum, the Governor's house, the GRM nature center, and the Moma!  He also fed them every day!  At each of these locations P had the children answer questions that he later used to have them solve the puzzle of when I was coming home.  He's so awesome.

Now that I'm home I find the children are so willing to help out.  They are loud, but not fighting so much.  They also put themselves to sleep.  It's strange and wonderful.  I need to spend more time hugging them.

When they picked me up from the airport L wouldn't get close to me.  He was mad I think.  He's come around now and I can be more grateful for all his love and attention.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

neckline and sleeves

 This is M's rock princess dress that I added sleeves to.  She likes to wear a black t-shirt under the dress anyway because the sequins itch on the back.
lP has a shirt that is the same color as this dress.  When M wore this dress I sewed a bib into it but that got stained and so I took it out and had lP wear an undershirt.  Then she found a t-shirt that is such a good match.  I'm glad my girls accept keeping their bodies covered.  This picture of lP also captures the state of her teeth.  Many doughnuts will be had next time we go to G-town.

keep walking

I'm still walking!  Yay!  It's becoming a habit and I don't have to try anymore.  I just get up and go.  If baby is awake I take him.  If another child is awake, I take them.  B rides his bike.  M, G and lP walk with me.  If my neighbor can walk, I ride my bike to her house and then we walk.  Sometimes I can't go because P is driving G to school early.  It's OK.  I'm so grateful that being off sugar has cured me of that morning ache that makes it so hard to get up and exercise.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tales of Shakespeare

G is getting old enough that he needs to learn skills that are not obvious to me.  It was obvious how to work with him on learning to read, write, and math.  Now we're going into areas that are less familiar.  He is already a good writer but I don't know how to help him improve.  He reads voraciously and P feels that's the most important thing. 

This summer I plan for him to read the Tales of Shakespeare by Mary and Charles Lamb.  I want him to write down the characters, plot/summary, and moral of the story.  I also want him to keep an eye out for cultural references. 

I think I'll let him do one story a week.  Day 1: read the story.  Day 2: fill out the paper with the above information.  Day 3: read the wiki page about the story.  Day 4: look up some media adaptation of the story and watch it.  Day 5: answer some quiz questions about the story.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


 My brother was able to stop by for a couple hours yesterday.  It was nice to hang out and let the kids be reacquainted. 
What a bunch of cute kids!

camp out

I love how L and B look the same size in this picture.  P took all 3 boys to the fathers and sons camp out and his dad S also came along.  What a great time!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


P installed hooks on the eaves so he could string up a tarp.  The children have had a lot of fun with this huge shaded area.  I think it is equal to or larger than the area of the screened porch.  I set up this inflatable pool and it has been so fun for 2 days.  Then it became sort of a hassle because the kids were in there constantly and we had no more clean towels...  So we drained it tonight and I may set it up again next week.  It was so nice how much all 5 kids loved to be in it.  They have such a gift for joy.  It's amazing how when this is the only pool you have, it's awesome!  The free pool opens in a week though so I plan to be there pretty constantly.  But in the fall we'll have to remember this fun and get it out some more after the free pool is closed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

rotating toys

B got some nice Duplos for his birthday and so we had Duplos for a few days.  Today I asked him to clean them up before watching a movie.  Then someone gave him a car toy so I just put the bucket of Duplos away and lP brought out the car bin.  Nobody is asking for computer turns or to watch a movie.  They are just happy playing with toys.  I am so grateful to have reached this moment. 

I've had a few sleepless  nights and I've still been able to get up and walk each morning.  I'm so grateful that I haven't given in to eating sugary treats.  I know it makes me achy and have less motivation when I do.  I hope I just accept that this is my reality.

In church one of the Young Women was giving the lesson and said "Some people wish they could just not be a Mormon for 1 day."  I commented that it is not being a Mormon that invokes the consequence of breaking rules.  We are all free to do whatever we want.  If we want to dress, act, or eat whatever we want, the consequences follow.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day that I'm looking forward to

Today I asked G to make breakfast.  He cooked up a bunch of the sausage biscuits I bought as a treat for him.  So nice. 

Phillip is talking in church today, lP is also giving a talk.  I'll be teaching E in YW about making our prayers more meaningful.

After church we'll pack up and go to G-town.  I'm preparing a feast of sandwiches, carrots, apples, chips and a bunt cake.  Being a bit of a controlling personality I like knowing there will be a party and plenty of food for everyone.  It doesn't bother me to make it.  I hope to raise my children up to contribute to parties as they grow up. 

Friday, May 12, 2017


P took the boys, all of them, on the father son campout.  The girls and I are hanging out watching veggi-tales and planning to sleep in the firepit area.  It's called the firepit because the fireplace is at the edge of it and it is a 2 step down area about 12x12 that the toys live in.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

summer heat

We're heading into the hot months.  There is a fire about 100 miles away and that's making the air a sludge of smoke+pollen.  Coughs abound.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


My kids have friends and they are at an age that people like to tease them about being a couple.  I'm trying to help my kids remember that they aren't even allowed to date until college.  So just enjoy having a friend and don't let other people teasing ruin your childhood friendships.  Also, don't tease people about having romantic interests in their friends.  That is never nice and you certainly don't want to have people do that to you, so don't do it!  It's never nice and is only funny to mean people.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

rainbow life

These kids got to participate in a dance class the library put on for 3 months.  The librarian that ran it grew up dancing and always wanted to teach.  She became a librarian and has been offering this program since she was hired.  I love this example of doing something secure and continuing to serve with your passion.  The classes were great and the performance was just the level of stress I can handle.  I'm so grateful for this program.

The girls have been doing gymnastics for the last 3 months too thanks to a gym that is offering homeschool lessons for just $5.

 It's hard to say no to free and $5, they are some of my best friends!  Life can get really hectic though.  I love taking the kids out and doing fun activities.  With homeschool we miss out on a lot of the good aspects of school, but we have a lot of time to go and do other things.  It's fun.

Friday, May 5, 2017


Today we cleaned the 97 sentra.  It's funny to me to have a car that would have been fancy and new when I graduated High School.  I detailed the inside as best I could while the children slapped the outside with soapy towels.  We don't have a hose outside that can easily reach the car.  I wish I'd remembered to move the car over to the side of the house where the hose would have been accessible.  But the kids had a lot of fun and I mostly let them.  The baby won the "dirtiest helper" by slipping and falling in a puddle of water and pollen.  Ick.

Life is so sweet.

Last night we took G to a vocabulary competition.  He won along with his friend D.  D has been a language and intellectual peer since kindergarten.  I'm so grateful for G to have a smart friend.

My boots came but I forgot to get the wide calf version.  Thankfully I ordered from Zappos so exchange is pretty easy.  It's interesting that they came today when I'm feeling all icky from allergies.  I also ate raisin bran yesterday which has a lot of sugar in it.  So I'm denied the boots on a day when I'm feeling the effects of trying to eat some sugar.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

talk on baptism

I was given the opportunity to speak at the baptism of a young boy yesterday.  I had it in my mind to use post it notes and show how they don't stick when the surface is dirty, or dusty.  Then I just went a little wild and used a big 24x20 framed glass.  I put rice on the glass to represent the sins we commit before we are accountable.  They just brush away.  And baptism cleans us so the Holy Ghost can really stick to us.  But then there are sins we commit after baptism and they can be washed away through repentance and taking the sacrament.  I used different condiments and put labels on them like "fighting", "lying", "anger" and sprayed them liberally on the glass.  I showed how it's best if we clean these things up quickly instead of letting them stay.  And I used a cleaning spray to represent getting help from our bishop or parents when we needed help repenting.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Adventures in getting home

We made it safely to J when P accidentally got off the interstate in a place where construction signage was a little vague.  Then within 10 minutes of navigating back to the interstate a spark plug blew up in the engine and was making a poping sound.  So we pulled over and were able to get to a service station.  We decided to take a cab home so the girls could do their activities in the afternoon.  Then 2 miles from our exit, the taxi van had to go off the road with a smoking engine.  2 small cabs came and got our family home, the last 5 miles.  What an adventure!  I'm so glad that didn't happen further from home, on the highway, or in the middle of the night. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Tonight I made flat bread and doughnuts with the YW.  I brought some dough that had been rising since 4pm.  We got our hands a little greasy then patted the dough into the shapes.  Then we cooked it and the girls took turns putting it on the griddle and flipping it.  I told them that it's not like pancakes, but you can still watch for signs that it is ready to flip. 

Then we cooked the doughnuts second and A had some cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on them.  After that we went outside and made some dough for them to take home.  I used twist tie gallon bags to give each girl about 1-2 cups of dough.  Then they could knead it in the bag.  They can take them home and put it in the fridge to make something yummy tomorrow.

I told the girls that the most important thing about the dough was giving it time to rise.  It's interesting to me that women seem the most beautiful from age 14-16 and then go through a rough patch until about age 21-30+.  It's so tempting to try and attract attention in that early phase of rosebud beauty.  But your real beauty sets in when you're older.  I married at 21 and I just keep getting more beautiful each year!  That's what my husband says and I believe it.


Tonight at dinner G talked about how in the olden days things were really bad for women.  "They had to do whatever their husbands wanted them to do."  The kids marveled at that idea.  Then I further blew their minds by saying that I do do whatever dad wants me to do.  The trick is to marry something that wants you to be happy.  When you marry someone whose priority is your happiness, it's pretty easy to do what they want you to do.

I'm so grateful for the strong and good leadership P provides in our family.  He's so supportive of my role as a mother.  He appreciates everything I do and many things I don't do.  He even tells me that he appreciates me.

So this goes both ways because if P had married a frivolous woman (not saying I'm not...) his devotion to her happiness could lead the family into ruin.  Many families have been torn apart because pursuit of things over people.

This is heavy, but we live in a time where people get pregnant with people they don't like enough to marry.  You really shouldn't have children with someone you don't want to spend the rest of your life with.  There is so much in a child's personality that comes from their parents biology.  If your girlfriend is whiny and self centered, chances are, her baby will be too.  If the boyfriend is short tempered and can't follow up on commitments, that disposition will manifest in tantrum prone children that avoid consequences.  Actually all children are like this, that's why this is called childish behavior.  But if you're dating someone who still hasn't grown out of these behaviors, watch out!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

dressing appropriately

We were getting ready for a baptism and the children were glued to the TV.  M went and put a dress over her t-shirt and shorts.  When she came out G and lP were still in play clothes.  So M went and took off the dress, at the same time G and lP were putting on their nicer clothes.  Then it was time to go and Dad said get in the car.  So M got in the car wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt.  When we got to the baptism G had decided that if M wasn't going to be dressed up, he wasn't going to the baptism, so he didn't.  Afterward he asked if there were any brownies left.  I told him "None for you."

It can be hard to know how to behave when the people around us are doing something different than our standards.  But we have the standards in "For the Strength of Youth" and we have parents to tell us what to do.  We cannot just do what the other young people are doing.  Then we are like crabs in a bucket always pulling one another down and unable to get out.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

True lies

A little girl I know was boasting about her friend who "could have been in the olympics but she didn't want to."  I told my girls that the Olympics is something that nobody does who doesn't want it more than anything else in their life.  And I told them that many people who want it that bad still don't make it.

I'm also thinking lately about what is important for us to learn and do to live Christ centered lives.  The scriptures tell us to have a contrite spirit and broken heart.  They tell us to keep the commandments and always remember Jesus Christ. 

Can we keep the commandments if we're putting harmful things into or on our bodies? Can we claim to always remember Jesus Christ if we are unkind and judgemental of others?

Going to the temple is a great goal.  Will we find ourselves saying "I could have gone to the temple but I didn't want to..."  This is a lie because if you didn't want to go to the temple, you wouldn't make the sacrifices or be able to affirm the truths that are required.  But it is also true that you could have gone if you had wanted to.  If we want to accomplish something we have to pay the price and be what we want to be.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


P got a new phone a few months ago and I got his old phone as an ipod.  Today P got phone service for the old phone and it is so strange to me that I'm going to have a phone that I will use semi-regularly.  With my flip phone, I always left it in the car or the battery was dead...  But smart phones are pretty nice for being a phone, calendar, camera, etc...  Now I just have to try and keep my dignity by not being on the phone while my kids are wreaking havoc in public...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

my boots

So I got to day 100 and to celebrate I'm going to get the boots.  The boots I really want are only online and I wish I could find a store to go try them on.  I need the boots to remind me that I did actually accomplish something and that I don't want to go back to such a crazy life of eating sugar.  I need to eat more healthy rather than just avoiding something.  Time to grow up.   And time for some boots!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Intended results

I'm nearing the 100 mark of strict sugar avoidance.  And I've been walking a morning mile for more than a month.  I wanted to have better energy and emotional resilience from avoiding sugar.  And walking was aimed at getting me moving, maybe even having some time to think.  I must say that I'm achieving all of the intended results. 

That part of me that listens to worldly cares wishes these lifestyle changes would result in weight loss.  Thankfully that wasn't my real goal.  But I do feel great.  My legs don't ache.  I can run around with the kids.  I don't yell so much.  This is good.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

happier this way

I've been off FB since the election, mostly.  Today recently lP said something so awesome I wanted to share it.  And I was tempted.  Then I came across an article that was so upsetting, I wanted to share that too...  And that's why I had to stop.  I can't avoid the drama. 

In other news, today I bought brusselsprouts on the stem!  Yay!  I'll post a picture of that when I find the device I took it on...  I know it came home but then where did it go?

Bedtime is hard, but not so bad.  The children mostly follow their routines and don't actually cry much or often.  I'm just going to take a moment and enjoy how much better it is than at some periods in our recent past.

This guy is so sweet and adorable when he's not crying. 

I had to stay home with sick kids on Sunday and sorted out the lego area and firepit/toy area.  I felt really good about using that time to make those areas more inviting to the children.  I also read many talks and cuddled little ones with coughs.  It was a very restful Sabbath.

Friday, March 24, 2017


A few days ago G didn't have a good time at school and said he didn't want to talk about it.  The next day I deliberately asked him if he was feeling better at the dinner table.  I wanted to send the message that it's OK to talk with all of us.  P's family doesn't talk about peoples' business.  That's admirable.  I like to know when people are struggling so I can be supportive.

I think it's really important to talk things out.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Today we visited a tourist attraction in town with our Co-op.  We haven't visited this location for 4 years because they started charging residents for entry.  Can you believe it?  And it was totally worth it so I'm glad we went.  They have added several nice features.  We were there with our friends for 4 hours! 

I've been walking for the last 4 weeks thanks to some friends at church who helped me resolve to do it.  I'm so grateful for good friends that help you along the way to make good choices.  My sister and I used to walk/run when we were in college.  We had to wake up early and it was often cold.  I'm glad she helped me do that.  I feel like my body remembers that time and I'm surprised at how easily I can just get up and go walking before the whole house is awake.  I usually take at least one child with me, sometimes 4! 

We walk the mile around the block, then we have scriptures and prayer with the family.  Then by about 9am I am making breakfast.  Before I started walking we didn't have breakfast until then anyway.  So this is a great time for us.  I'm getting some exercise and we're reading the scriptures and we're not trying to fit it into a busy day.  We're just getting up earlier to get a good start on the day.

Not eating sugar helps me get up early.  When I eat sugar I wake up in pain.  It also helps that I'm not pregnant or nursing for the first time in 13 years!  But this is the first time in my life that I'm waking up to no aches and no sore feet.  I'm so grateful for the ability to avoid sugar.  In many ways I do feel better than I have felt in 13 years.  It's great!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

young love meets young testimony

I met someone who grew up in the same faith as me.  When she was a teenager she was dating someone and wound up going to church with them more often than to her parent's church.  As we discussed her understanding of Evangelical doctrine versus mine, I thought it was interesting that she had a personal relationship with Christ, but didn't have a church structure that supported that.

She said she grew up in a small congregation where everyone said the same things at Testimony meeting.  She even listed off a few points that I agree are often repeated at Testimony meeting.  They are repeated because they are important truths.  Things like "I know our Prophet is THE Prophet" and "I know families can be together forever" are important.

Our kids are currently being brainwashed to not date until college.  I hope their testimony is firmly in place by then.  Young love is addictive.  By college you are an adult and free to choose whether to go to church or not.  I hope none of the children ever stop going to church because they are in love and trying to please their girlfriend/boyfriend over serving God.

There is a doctrine that teaches that marriage is a relationship between a husband, wife and God.  And I believe that is very true.  If you marry someone who does not share a similar relationship with God, that will always be a tension in your relationship, unless you let go of your relationship with either God or your wife/husband. 

Today I also told the children that they should never take pictures of naked people or themselves naked.  This world is crazy.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


I had a decision to make.  There was a benefit I could claim if I broke the rules and lied.  So obviously I couldn't claim the benefit.  So I asked the people in charge of the benefit if we could have the benefit because we had worked hard but didn't technically qualify for the benefit.  Rather than break the rule, we asked the rule makers if they could make an exception.   We'll see how that goes.  It did actually hurt my pride to ask, but at least my integrity is intact today.


For FHE we did a timeline activity.  I made labels for the various pre-historic eras and asked the children to draw pictures of animals.  The scribbles are B's contributions.  The one on the left is a jellyfish.  The dark blue one is "the biggest fish ever".  I wanted to post these eras of time on the fireplace because many of the rocks have fossils in them.  It's so cool.

I love doing these timeline activities with the children.  I feel like it's so educational to learn about things and be able to stick them in a context of history that you can see.

We read scriptures in the morning.  I've started to create a page about each book and post it on the wall as we finish.  I'm so grateful to have this time and mindset to focus on the children learning.

learning from the mistakes of others

The kids like to watch videos online like Grant Thompson, Dude Perfect, Lifehacks for kids...  I read recently of another youtuber that is being charged with child endangerment because of a stunt they did.  They filmed the child riding in the back of a pick-up full of water beads driving around town.  Later they dumped the beads which caused traffic problems and clogged the sewers.  So they are being charged with child endangerment and fined for illegal dumping.

I've told the children to stop watching these stunt videos.  People have always done dumb, dangerous, and destructive things to impress their dumb friends.  Now people are adding dumb to videos to attract attention online.  So they are doing more outrageous things to try to get more views.  And they are creating a video record so they can be prosecuted by the police. 

Kids, if you're going to be dumb, do so privately.  Anything you do can follow you for the rest of your life.  Anything you do and video or photograph and put on the internet, WILL follow you for the rest of your life.

Your Mother

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Recently M and G have had some struggles.  G has hit a very hard part of his online class.  M has been learning that honesty is important to her parents.  We've been seeing how these struggles effect our relationships with each other.  When the we are upset, tired, guilty, we don't want to be with one another.  We also drive away the Holy Ghost with actions like staying up too late, or telling lies.   We can fix our relationships by saying sorry and acting honestly and helpful.

My kids have a strong "show off" streak.  I hope to teach them to be a "Show up" instead of a "Show off".  Put in the time, do the work, be honest in all your dealings.  Do things because they are good and the right thing to do, not to impress others.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

after all we can do

This is a recent picture of me and the kids that go to a co-op.  Our co-op was on a field trip to a place with large reptiles and it's rather amazing how close you are to them and how very possible it would be for a child to fall in the water.  Yikes.  But we still enjoy going...

I taught Young Women's today about the Atonement.  The word "Sinners" is often used to describe those that need the atonement.  And I think most of us don't consider ourselves sinners.  So I focused on how the atonement is there for you when you need to repent, yes.  And the atonement is there for you to not feel alone or misunderstood because you have Christ, who understands everything we're going through.  And the atonement is there for you to be able to have eternal families and not loose the good you have created in this earth, but can't keep without a savior.

This movie helped me see that we will still lose the good we tried to do if not for a mediator because we are fallen.  We are fallen not because we are wicked.  And we are not wicked just because we are fallen.  Our choices make us wicked.  And we are fallen because Adam fell, so it is our nature as human beings, descended from Adam.  But we have a Savior.  I am so grateful for that.

If I'd never had children, it wouldn't be so bad that I couldn't be with them after this life.  But having had them, and they are good, I don't have the power to make our family eternal.  But Christ does, and has made resurrection possible.  And through temple ordinances administered through the priesthood, the power of God on earth, my family can be together forever.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


I write as my mother before me wrote.  P is here right alongside me in all the joys and sorrows.  Today he taught a lesson on prayer.  He touched upon his experience during G's treatment.  He was overwhelmed with all the emotion that crashed down, being reminded of that time.  I don't know his story.  I know how things were for me, I wrote it down.  I hope P will write down some of his feelings and share his journey with me and the kids.  He writes copiously on various message boards.  We each have our own way to write.  I just love the echo chamber! 


The church gives us opportunities to do fundraising for the kids youth camps.  I've been feeling so pleased with my micro-managing abilities.  I calculated who worked how much and gave each child points that multiplied their slice of funds.  Then someone I really respect talked to me about how anyone who needs help going to camp can get help going to camp.  The bishop doesn't advertise this but help is available to those who need it.

I was so pleased with myself for being such a bean counter...  The scriptures say that we will be judged as we judge.  Ouch. 

The presidency wanted to give the girls different credit based on what amount of work they did.  We accomplished that.  But I don't know if it's even fair.  If the amount had been divided evenly each girl would have gotten $80 regardless of if they came for 4 hours of work, or 2.  We combined with the other ward so the amount had to be divided between 16 girls rather than 8.  Last year they probably got closer to $125 each.  Combining with the other ward resulted in $100 more funds, but twice the girls getting a share.

It's a real dilemma.  One thing I know for this year is that the girls did do more of the work because it was my job to create a schedule and keep on them to make sure they were in their places.  Apparently last year moms were helping more and didn't like that.  So this year the girls had a place to be and had to be there.  I took that into the accounting.  Nobody got as much as they "should have gotten" simply because we were covering 16 girls.  The girls that worked every slot still didn't get as much as they would have if it weren't so many people.

The Grace of the Lord is sufficient and infinite.  I'm teaching the girls a lesson on Grace and good works next week.  It's rough in worldly dealings.  But the in the eternal equations there is not point in looking in someone elses bowl.  You just have to look in your own bowl and be grateful.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


On Sunday I talked to some dear friends.  They have been really working hard this past year to take control of their health.  I've been not eating sugar, or sugar replacements, except bananas...  Anyway they encouraged me to start exercising.  So I started getting up at 7:30 and walking the mile loop we are blessed to have here.  So far it's going great!  M started waking up and going with me too.  Monday I was solo.  Tuesday and Wednesday it was me with baby and M.  Today it was just me and M.  My hips are aching less and my legs are getting used to it.   Yay!

Yesterday I was feeling a spring fever so I re-organized the front room.  It was a minor change, not so drastic as I'd been thinking.  But sometimes drastic changes just leave a big mess and I have to keep track of little kids.  And I wanted to chop off my hair, which I did this morning after we walked.

Scriptures and prayer is in a few minutes.  I'm really enjoying mornings.  Something I hate about daylight savings is how it seems like every year I'm just getting into a good groove and then the time change throws us off and there go my good habits.  Not this year.

With all the edicts coming down from Washington, I wish DST would go away.  "President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round DST in the United States in 1942."  I like a lot of what FDR did but not DST.

Monday, February 20, 2017

awkward truths

Tonight I met a young person.  I presume they are in their early 20s, but maybe they are younger.  They said they got a first generation ipod in 7th grade.  P got one in 2003, so maybe this person is actually 25.  It's possible.  They also claimed that the internet was not around when they were a kid.  I find that dubious since the internet was around when we were kids, 30 years ago.  But the internet is more around today than it was 10 years ago.  This person also claimed that whites were the minority at their high school, and they are from a town that is 92% Caucasian.  I guess I just have to accept that this person is a little carried away with hyperbole.  It's annoying, but not my problem, I hope.  OK it was me!  Because I'm so vain....

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fixing the plumbing

On Friday we woke up to no water.  We have a well and a water softener, and an airator.  So there are many expensive pieces of equipment that could have been the cause of this.  After a brief pause, to recognize that this was an emergency, we called the repair company.  At first they were going to send someone on Monday.  Then P let them know that this was the household water and not the yard water.  So they sent someone Friday and it was only $150.  Phew!  We didn't even exhaust the emergency fund.

Today as C taught a lesson in the Young Women, this scenario came up.  The lesson was on Choice and Accountability.  Sometimes you have to choose between a good and a bad.  Sometimes you have to choose between a good and another good.  Sometimes you are forced to choose between 2 things, neither of which are attractive.  This was the case with us and the water. 

This is also the case when we need to talk to our parents or the bishop about a mistake.  We are choosing between the unknown price of pride, and just leaving the mess.  Too often people leave the mess, leave themselves stuck in guilt and unable to progress.  But when you humble yourself and confess to the bishop, you get the help to move on.  You can do it!

nature neighborhood

We have a bald eagle in the area.  We saw him Friday as we were leaving the neighborhood.  He swooped down 20 feet from the car and alighted with something brown dangling from his talons.

Today we saw a bald eagle on the way home from church.  He was perched in a tree near the intersection and there was a big nest under him.  I've seen ospreys in that next previously.  So maybe the eagle is just checking out the area or maybe he ousted the ospreys.  M says she saw 3 fuzzy things in the nest.  We've got to go see it.

Friday, February 17, 2017

birthday box

I learned this idea from a friend a few years ago and it has been a huge blessing.  She had given us some glowsticks and I asked where she got such an assortment.  She said "It was something we had in the birthday box.  I don't remember where we bought it."

The idea is to keep a box of gifts that you can give out for birthdays.  It may be my own children's birthdays or their friends birthdays.  Now when my children are invited to a birthday, they just pick something from the birthday box and wrap it up in paper or a bag that is right next to the birthday box.  The bags are all used, so hopefully we don't give a present in the same bag that child gave to us but if so, eh.

Yesterday we went to Target and they had a "Buy 2 get 1 free" on games.  So we bought some and they went into the birthday box.  B is interested in one of the toys so we may keep it for his birthday.  lP has a friend that may or may not have a party tomorrow.  I still haven't heard anything about it except rumor, and I know that family was sick on Wednesday.  But we've got a present ready just in case. 

I was never on the ball before.  We were always trying to rush to the store and pick out something on the day of the party.  Now it's wonderful to just choose a present and spend the time making a card or having the child wrap the present.  It shifts the responsibility to them a bit and I like that.  And it gives me the ability to just buy nice gifts I see on sale, without an anxious child at my elbow insisting that their friend wants whatever cheap plastic thing they actually want for themselves.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Act your wage

Before we were the kind of family to buy a brand new board game, we bought "Act your wage".  I was not impressed by "Monopoly" which teaches a very selfish, competitive view of money.  And I felt that "Life" was totally unrealistic.  "Act Your Wage" has life cards and debt cards and the goal is just to get out of debt.    And along the way real life events happen like -your kids need braces, -you get a second job delivering pizza...

Tonight I took the game to church and played it with the Young Women.  8 girls came so we modified the play a little.  I just used 2 markers and had 4 girls go at a time.  One team landed on every Save.  The other seemed to land on every Give.  They got to experience the real ups and downs of financial dealings and being able to put their money toward regular things like food, utilities, rent, etc...  I'm thrilled with how the game went.  The girls got to bring up their knowledge of some things, but showed how many things they only have a vague idea of.  I hope I get to talk to them some more about finances!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

doing some good

When things are going badly, talking about it or freaking out, don't help.  I forget this often.  I like to borrow trouble, worrying about things that are not my business.  I like to be upset about things that don't actually impact my life except for the way that I'm letting myself be unhappy about them. 

The weather has been so gorgeous lately.  And our outdoor areas are so lovely to be in.  We set up hammocks recently.  I laid out on the back porch and did a personal progress activity.  It was so peaceful.  These are the sort of restful activities that fill my reservoirs of peace to get through stressful times.

Sometimes life is actually difficult and even perilous.  Screaming about a tragedy doesn't make anyone safer or undo any injury.  Prayer helps.  Knowing you did everything you could to prevent it helps.  Being at peace with yourself is important.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


I've been a devils advocate in the story of our Premortal choice.  It just didn't make sense to me that satan would have the ability to make us all be good.  I thought it made more sense that his plan was to make it so there was no law, (and therefore no God), so everyone was able to return to the heaven with no entrance requirements. 

On Sunday P was showing M a video of John Cage's 4:33.  In this rendition the artist sits at the piano, closes the cover on the keys and starts the timer.  I thought that's perhaps what satan had in mind.  We would literally not be able to make any bad choices.  And yes, then we wouldn't need a savior, because we'd never be allowed to sin.  But what a waste of God's creation.

With the lid open, the keys exposed, there is opportunity for terrible sounds.  Fudged attempts.  Raucous, bawdy music, yeah.  But there is also opportunity for the magnificence of melody.  The beauty of youthful attempts that gradually become more and more pleasing to the ear. 

M is so good a the piano.  I just can't believe how good she is and what a joy it is to me.  I still get on her case when she doesn't use the right fingering and stumbles all over a passage.  I still get on her when she plows right through a section with wrong chords in the left hand.  Ugh!  But I also tell her how please I am with her progress and how much I love the music she is making.

Friday, February 3, 2017

loving life

The weather has been just cold enough to make you really appreciate the warmth of the sun.  We've been spending so much time on the back porch.
We have a tarp out there that the kids were using as a fort.
Then P mounted some hooks so it would become a shady spot in the summer.  Hypothetically we'll take it down at some point.  It hasn't gotten old yet.  I laid the baby out there for a nap yesterday.  Today the girls were laying out blankets.  lP and I did several pages on a blanket out there today.  It is so nice!

B is very motivated about doing his daily work.  I love having kids that are eager to learn and grow.  I love having them at home where they are learning so much from each other.  And I love giving them this time where they can tattle to me all they want and know they each can be heard, unless they use an annoying tone of voice.  Then it's "too bad." 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Do what you can do

Today we were late getting to church because of a series of unfortunate events.  G wouldn't wake up.  Then the car wouldn't start.  So I called P to come home and jump the car, he was at church already because of meetings.  While we waited I got out the jump cables and popped the hood.  I'd left my keys in the ignition because, hey, the car wasn't starting, also, they would be there when P arrived.  Then when I put the cable onto one of the battery terminals I heard the beeping that happens when the keys are left in the ignition and the door is open.  Oh, so not a dead battery after all, just a loose cable assembly.  So I got a wrench and tightened the bolt.

P is always telling the kids "Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do."  I couldn't jump the battery but  I could get things ready.  And sometimes it is the preparations that solve your problem anyway.

There is a story of 2 farmers during a drought.  Both were praying for rain.  1 went out and started to plow the ground.  The other asked him what he was doing.  "I'm preparing for rain".

Friday, January 27, 2017

self knowledge provide by Super Mario Bros.

P and I have some nintendo controllers and an adapter to let us play a SNES simulator on the computer.  We had gotten one earlier but it broke rather quickly.  So we just got things up and running again.  Last night we had a little "date" with the kids all around as we played.  Since it was a date, none of the kids got a turn.  It was fun to play the old game with the old controllers.  We remember random things like where to find a coin box or a mushroom.  P remembered the warp tunnels, and took them to higher levels.  He also kept track of points and timing the end to get fireworks.  I just tried to survive each level.  I don't want to skip to higher levels, it just gets harder there!

Today M and G played the game during their computer time.  It was really fun to watch their excitement.  It's just like we were as kids, having the thrill of avoiding enemies and falling into pits. 

We also watch MacGuyver which they really love.  I showed them "Singing in the Rain" last week.  They laughed so much at the dance scenes.  They loved the drama with Lina Lamonte.  I'm glad we have some happy things to share with them.  There is so much good media to share with the children.  I'm glad we don't have cable or broadcast TV.  There is plenty to watch and create a shared cultural experience with your children. 

Someone told me that they felt very oppressed by their parents because they weren't able to watch SpongeBob and that literally every conversation involves reference to that show.  And they feel left out.  Sheesh.  I'm pretty sure none of my conversations have a reference to SpongeBob and if they do, I'd rather not know.  Oh well.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

giving them the money

The children have job to help with the house and manage their things.  They earn about $1 a week.  Apparently I forgot to pay them since halloween.  So they all have a lot of money now.  The best thing is when they find some cool item they are interested in, and beg me to get it, I say "Hey, you're the ones with all the money!"  For some strange reason they are not so keen on spending their money on these things.  Our plan to raise a gaggle of misers is working excellently.

And yet they are so generous.  LP bought an 8 pack of pez.  She let 2 of her siblings fill their dispensers with a new pack of candy when she was getting her pack today.  So kind!


Today I painted my nails.  P asked me "Is that what happens when you get called to YW?" 

boots and sex

I have a health goal that I've been pursuing since April.  Mostly I've done well, though in the holidays I did worse, though still better than I had done before April.  With the new year I wanted to do better so I made a little flip chart that could count up to 99.  After it was done and a few days into the count I decided to reward myself with a pair of boots when I got to 99. 

Over the last few years I got rid of all the closed toe shoes except for my hiking shoes and my mud boots.  So I don't have anything nice to wear on the 4 Sundays a year when I'd like to not wear sandals to church.  But I'm not one to just go out and buy new shoes.  These are the shoes I own:
Black sandals bought 6 years ago after lP's birth
Saltwater sandals left by my sister 3 years ago
Sketcher slide sandals bought after L's birth
Tevas bought off craigslist 5 years ago and still going strong
Hiking shoes bought 3 years ago for our big trip west
Gardening boots bought 5 years ago

I could go out and get any pair of closed toe shoes to keep around for those cold Sundays.  But I don't really like pantyhose either.  I'd like some really nice leather, up to the knee, boots.

When I'm tired and bored or stressed out, and tempted to give up my health goal, I think, "Do I really want to loose all these days?" on the counter.  So I don't eat the one treat that would have led to more treats and then feeling like I may as well just eat all the treats... It goes downhill fast.

These boots I plan to get, I'm undecided on whether to get brown or black.  I know there are really good sales on them right now.  So thinking of buying them now and saving them for later is tempting.  But if I have them, I'd probably wear them, I'd find an excuse, or it'd be cold!  Then having worn them, I'd probably wear them again before April, when I should hit 99 days.  February is cold here. 

I've decided to wait until April to begin shopping.  I'll go to the outlets and try on really nice boots, like $100-$200.  I've never paid so much for shoes in my life.  And these are shoes I know I'll only wear a few times a year.  I also hope they last me for about 40 years.  And I hope that they will be special to me because I paid a price in time money and sacrifice to "earn" them.  And because of the price I pay for them, I hope I don't start hankering after another pair of boots. 

So this is not a perfect parallel for sex.  But the casual attitude some people have toward sex is a lot like the usual attitude toward boots, try them all out, get them just because you can, use them for a while then get rid of them, or have many pairs at the same time. 

In the grand scheme of my marriage, sex is like a seasonal item of apparel.  There is so much more to our relationship, our work together as parents, and daily sharing a home and life.  Sex is a fun and useful part of our eternal purpose here.  And it is made more special by the sacrifice we made to save it for marriage.  A lot of good people live together before they are married.  They live together for years deciding if this is the right person, and ironically, saving up for a big wedding.  But what does a wedding mean?  Imagine cruise passengers living on the ship all year and then throwing a party for the day it leaves the dock to float in the harbor.  Marriage doesn't take you to exotic places.  But it can be an exiting journey if you save sacred things for sacred purposes.  But when you make sex a casual thing, that's what you've got.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther Kind Jr. day I took G and M to see "Hidden Figures".  What a great movie!  I've seen 5 movies in theaters in the last 7 years and never take the kids to movies but I felt like if there was ever a movie worth paying to see, this was it. 

After FHE we watched the "I have a dream speech".  I had never seen it.  MLK day was just a holiday when I grew up, we did whatever we wanted, mostly just watched TV. 

Especially after this election, my kids need to see movies of heroic and smart black people.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

stake talk

I got to speak in Stake conference today.  It was an interesting process, writing a talk for that setting.  But in the end I felt good about the preparation I put into the talk and felt like the message was good.  I was asked to talk about keeping the Sabbath Holy.  I focused on how we can plan to get our work done so on Sunday we don't have to do it.  We can plan to enjoy our recreation on other days instead of trying to take our leisure on the Lords day.   Now we just need to endure to the end!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

voice from the dust

I got a message in my email and I didn't know what it was.  "Pinewood derby notes"?  What on earth could that be?  So I opened it and found that it was in fact notes to myself for 1 year later!


Pinewood derby notes

Today was great. Notes for next year:
Me: remember the scale!
General: Set up chairs close to the track so there isn't room for kids to run
by the track. Babies walking on the track shouldn't hurt it, but... sorry my
pet peeve.
-put the track very close to the wall so there is less room at that end and more room at the finish line. Set up kid chairs 4 feet from the track and adult chairs behind that.
-Next year let's have an activity to go before the race for a good 20 minutes.
That way kids have something to do while we wait for late comers.
-And we could also do a weigh in on Friday before the race so nobody has a last minute crisis. Anyone is welcome to drop by the Porters before the event.-Make the round robin in advance and cross out races of boys that don't come
Make it like a bracket?
-Put the table with the cars at the top of the track so the boys bring their cars to the table and the starter just has to put them on the track.

Friday, January 6, 2017

lucky day

Our house is covered in books.  I wanted to get the kids involved in organizing the books and get certain collections together.  Now it's crazy...

I told them I'd let them have chicken tenders for dinner if they did the job, then they pooped out.  And I really wanted fajitas for dinner, but that left us with double dinner.  So P texted the missionaries and they were here within 10 minutes!

P was even able to get back to work by 6:10.  Nice!

Back to the book project.  I wanted to get collections together and similar books in the same area.  I put all of the story collections (other than school book readers of which we have many) in the same area.  Now they are in the front room with all the non-fiction. 

All the chapter books were auctioned off to the fastest dibs-er.  Books that nobody claimed went into a pile for the library/office or donation box.  We go to the library so often, what is the point of keeping books that the kids aren't interested in and are not ones I want to keep.  So we have already gotten 18 inches of books into the donation pile.  Now we'll go through the story books and hopefully thin that out too. 

G-town holds a book sale in the spring and fall.  I love taking the kids to this.  The books are so cheap and they can get everything they are interested in.  I'm glad we're making the effort now to clear some space for the kids to get more books they will enjoy.

Paw Patrol

My kids have been watching this show paw patrol that features different breeds of dogs getting gadgets so they can perform the functions of firefighter, police, park ranger etc..  How could a show about puppies as rescue personnel be bad?  I know it just seems like the most awesome thing ever.  But for reasons unknown to me, the creators decided to cast the show as a satyre of local politics.  The villain of the show is the mayor of the neighboring city with his band of gadget equipped cats.  He lies and steals, backtracks, and lies some more, constantly.  The mayor of the dogs own town is often caught up in bragging and accepting stupid challenges from the other mayor.  Then to maintain the pride of the city, the dogs have to learn to play basketball in 1 day, and similar feats that downplay the time it takes to acquire a skill. 

Sorry kids, another show that models really stupid behavior.  We don't need that.