Thursday, December 28, 2017


I've wanted to get a microscope for about 18 months.  We found one at a thrift store that was a piece of garbage.  The one I wanted to get, the magic scope was a little expensive at $180 and I didn't make it a priority.  Last month we found another garbage one at Aldi and impulse bought it.  I took it back because I realized that I was wasting money and giving the children a bad example by continuing to throw money after non quality microscopes.  M was so sad that I wasn't even going to try the Aldi microscope.  I told her that I loved her and that I wanted her to have a microscope that worked.  Looking in the garbage one, she was so enthusiastic but it was just blurry.  She wanted so badly for it to work.

I'd watched a few auctions on Ebay so I knew that the one I found for $40 was  a good deal.  It arrived before Christmas but we presented it to the kids after Christmas.

This thing is perfect!  It magnifies enough to show you the surprising shape of thing sup close.  The focusing is easy and very sharp.  The tube comes free of the base so you can look at any surface up close.  It's so awesome.  It's just what I had hoped for the children.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Happy Family

We had the missionaries over for dinner Tuesday.  They asked us what make the sister missionaries so good.  LP said "I think it's because they are not bad."  Wise.

The missionaries read us a scripture Matthew 16:13-19 and asked the children to draw who Christ is to them.  It was amazing how quietly they sat and drew.  B drew ninjas.

The missionaries said we seem like such a happy family and why was that?  We gave them a lot of talk about how we appreciate each other, and teach our children to not be entitled.  But it's the gospel that makes us happy.  Everything we claim to teach the children, is observed and forgotten on a moment to moment basis.  We are very happy because the gospel is most important to us, not other things that don't make us so happy.

Some of the things we like to think make us happy are:
-You do not deserve anything. 
-Needs and wants are different.
-Don't look in someone else bowl unless you are making sure they have enough.
-Don't buy season passes to disney.
-Value what you have.
-Buy used.
-Spend less than you make.
-Live on 1 parents income.
-Have 2 parents.
-Be super blessed.
-Be kind.
-Don't bathe very often.
-Don't care what people think of you.

These are the choices we imagine make us happy.  They don't work for everyone, and as I said, the gospel is the real reason we are so happy.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mr. Kruger's Christmas kind of day

Today we had a humorous and humbling juxtaposition of events that was a lot like Mr. Kruger's Christmas.  We gathered with friends and went to a nursing home to sing songs and pass out crafts.  There were lots of cute children and L ate cereal through the program.  Those fantasy segments Mr. Kruger takes while listening to music are just mental vacations, not actual dementia.  We saw some dementia today and it was sad.  A lady cried for help, she wanted to get off the boat and find her son.

The children were sweet and did their parts, plaid their piano songs, read their scripts, and sang the songs.  After the caroling I took them to the fruit stand, then on to the bakery thrift store for a treat.  We never really ate lunch because I'd been stressing out to prepare things for the caroling.  As the children sat on the curb eating their Krumpetts a man approached us.  He asked if all the children were mine and I happily claimed them.  He extended his hand and said "My name's Jess." as he shook my hand, leaving money in mine. 

"No, really!" I said holding on to his hand.

He smiled and said "Merry Christmas!" then walked away.

I just laughed and started singing "We wish you a merry Christmas!" and the children joined in.  Later I told M what happened.  I said "He probably thought we were poor so he gave us some money."  As I kept laughing about she thought it was funny too.

So now I have to figure out who really does need this money and how to get it to them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

work for happiness

Today we had the privilege of going caroling with 4 other families to 7 homes.  It was really sweet and each home we visited was so happy to see us.  The kids just had the best attitude and in a perfect ending, the last home gave them cookies.  It's no good for kids to do things for the cookies, so it is so nice when it happens that the last home you visit has a treat.

I heard something on the radio that was pure brilliance I'd never heard before; "Sadness is free.  You have to work for happiness."  I love that.  It is truth.  So often people think that work IS sadness, but work leads to freedom.  In friendships and marriage, you have to work to stay happy.  But sadness comes from not paying the price of time, effort, and often money or forgiveness.

I've heard people talk about how they achieved their success through hard work.  I think working hard is really important AND I recognize that it is a privilege to have your work result in your own success.  A lot of people who don't want to recognize privilege mistake their own work as an excuse for wealth inequality.  Because they weren't just given money but had to actually work, they feel it is deserved and that people who don't have money just didn't work.  But they fail to recognize how opportunity is a gift.  That they even had the opportunity to build wealth through their labors, rather than just constantly working their heart out for minimum wage is a benefit that they did not merit.  Some people have to loose their hard earned wages due to unfair housing practices, biased enforcement of criminal charges, and wage discrimination impact the earning power of many people who put in the same effort.

So yes, work for your happiness AND recognize that all men and women are children of God and deserve the same access to happiness.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Invest where your heart lies

A friend of mine really wants to be involved in an activity that is by nature invitation only.  I was thinking about it and how if we want people in an organization to know us, we have to volunteer even when it isn't our job.  Especially when it isn't our job, we need to be seen as someone who shows up on time and is eager to help.

Whatever it is in life that we want to be included in, we need to invest our time and effort.  We can't say we're too busy and then expect people to think we have time to give.

I know that with my children I sometimes make good investments of my time, and other times I am selfish.  I hope that I can make a change and invest more time in them and show them that I'm here for them.

Today in family council I invited them to make a dish for the linger longer.  I'm trying to impress on the children how fun it is to visit family and to bring food. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Growth opportunities

 Yesterday we went up to Jtown and watched these folks do a terrain race.  The kids love the ninja warrior shows and I thought they'd really enjoy people doing those sorts of feats in person.

 They had a good time and hope to do one of these courses themselves someday.  I was really inspired watching the participants reactions to the different obstacles.  Some just dove in and did their best.  The monkey bars were a beautiful challenge to watch.  So many tried and even if they fell in the water after just a few rungs, they tried.  Others didn't even try.

This mud pit was very interesting because the runners couldn't see it until they'd charged over the mound of dirt.  Many who took the challenge on slipped and fell in.  Some took a cautious approach and lifted the bungee cords up so they didn't have to get too dirty or wet.  Some walked around.  I felt sad for the people who didn't even try.
 I thought of how these obstacles were a lot like the opportunities for growth that God sends us daily.  We receive promptings to do hard things.  What are we going to do about it?  Are we even going to try?  Are we going to do it, but complain about it?  Are we going to dive in and have a good laugh over how gross it was but feel good that we DID IT!
 We picked up E and brought her along.  The kids didn't sign much.  G read his book a lot and M and P didn't sign much.  I scolded them a lot about that.  I let them know that they were wasting a chance to build relationships and serve one of God's children.  I don't believe that kids have a right to not include people.  I think that's a really toxic attitude, and we've been excluded plenty.  My answer to the universe is to be a person that includes others.  I am the only person that I am actually in charge of.  I am responsible for my children and don't want them to grow up self centered. 

Friday, December 15, 2017


Today we visited the state Senator for our area.  G is studying Civics and the kids had various questions to ask.  L didn't have a good time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

humble brag

I went walking with a friend on Tuesday.  She said she loved how humble my car was.  This car is a 1997 Sentra.  I love it because it was a mission car that my dad bought, then my sister N bought, then my my dad took it back from her and it sat for a year unused.  Eventually we bought it and have used it for the last 12 years.  We've fixed many things on it and once my sister N complimented me for keeping it very clean.  I'm pleased to have a car stay in the family and to take care of it.  It needs some repairs and we're considering getting a different car.

When we bought it from my dad he gave us a fair price and said that if we ever sold it for more than that he would like us to give him the difference.  It's well past the ability to be sold for that price. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017


A friend's daughter recently was diagnosed with a tumor in her foot.  I'm feeling such sadness and hope for them.  It's so hard to go through chemo.  I hope they will be able to have happiness and peace.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

mini bathroom make-over

We needed a new toilet in the kids bathroom for a long time.  Today we had the time to take care of it so I took the 3 older kids over to the store to choose one.  lP had a clear preference "I like the one that says 'new'."  M and G had a big laugh about the devices that spray you so you never need toilet paper again.  We chose one that was 1 piece so there will be less crevices to clean.

We brought the new toilet home and P found that the old toilet had pulled up the vinyl tile.  So I got to go shopping for new flooring.  I've wanted to replace the flooring for ages and was pretty excited to do so.  At the 3rd store we seemingly impulsively bought a particular flooring but it was actually the style I'd admired for a long time.  Yay!

I installed flooring with my sister L in college.  Mostly I just helped but I did work with her crew 1 summer and got experience doing more of the actual cutting.  When I brought home the new flooring I laid it out in the big room and cut out my shape.  I got it installed by just tucking it in.  I'm glad that they make vinyl now a days that you don't have to glue down.  Hmmm, I should probably check to see if the kind I got was the kind you don't have to glue down...  It's held in place by the molding and tucked under the tub.  I think it looks quite snazzy.  Oh yes.  Snazzy. 

Monday, December 4, 2017


Today we set goals.  Some of our goals were things we do every day and others were a special effort.  It was an interesting paradigm shift for me to think in terms of a goal we could set for 1 day.  There was a recent church talk about someone asking their son to be kind to his sister for 1 day.  Then after accomplishing that for 1 day, could he keep doing that and even add more goals. 

In our baby step world I hope to just introduce the children to the idea of deliberate action and celebrating the exercise of self control. 

lP had a goal to not break any of M's things today.  My goal was to not hit any of my children today.  I don't generally hit them at all but I do often feel mad at them and I did swat lP the other day after she hit B.  Great....  So I made that my goal. 

When the kids were yelling in the back seat I pulled over and told them I was going to play a game on my phone rather than let myself get really mad at them.  They were annoyed and I threatened to play 2 games. 

Throughout the day we would check on each other "Do you remember your goal?" as keeping it in mind is really important for achieving a goal, especially when it is a goal of something you don't want to commit.

I am not perfect And I can make goals to be better and achieve a better relationship with myself and others.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

financial realities

We're making some financial changes and it's interesting to me to come to the reality that things are good and not actually going to change as much as I dream.  I have a bad habit of imagining that when we've reached this or that line in the sand, things will be different.  But things are good and I'm glad they aren't going to be significantly different because in general I think it could only be worse. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Our stake has an activity each December with about a hundred nativities set up in the gym.  Different groups sing or play the piano from the chapel.  This year we got to play our tenor horn and tuba.  M played 2 pieces on piano and that helped spell us enough.  We practiced and really prepared our out of shape lips so it was a really good experience for us.  I'm grateful to have married someone who values the tuba as much as I do.  It's not just some eccentric hobby of mine that is snickered at.  P even got to wear his fabulous tuba tie tonight. 

G watched the 3 little children in a side room with a movie player.  I'm so grateful to have an older child and a movie player. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

end of the month

I'm in a good place with keeping track of expenditures.  Today is the last day of November and we still have food in the house.  Yay!  I got creative and called the apples I brought to co-op today "eating out" so we could buy them AND the milk that baby needs, or there is trouble.

It's interesting imposing these limits on myself.  Sure I could just spend money from the Christmas envelope on groceries so I never have to feel any sense of scanty means.  But I don't have to. 

P glories in being independently wealthy and I appreciate the ends to which he goes to keep us so.  He did not buy a smart phone until he needed one for work, rather than when he wanted one for years.  Rather than buy the newest phone, he got the one that was free with the only company that could provide a signal to our home.  He kept that phone in mint condition for 5 years until it's capabilities were limiting his work.  And again he didn't buy what was new and hot.  Even better, this time he paid $500 to own an iPhone 6 and switched to a plan that only cost $45 monthly instead of the $66 we paid previously.  No contract.  And P loves technology.  I'm shocked at his ability to make rational decisions in the face of so much magical shiny! 

Being independently wealthy means that we can make choices based on what is long term good rather than what is immediately pressing.  It doesn't actually mean we have a lot of money.  We have a lot of positive reinforcement to make good choices coming from each other.  He doesn't need to spoil me or buy fancy things for me.  I don't need to spoil him or buy fancy things for him.  We both agree that those things are not necessary for the continued emotional health of our relationship.  And that is really the source of our wealth, our independence. 

We don't have to buy the children fancy things so they won't be made fun of at school.  They don't go to school.  We don't have to drive fancy cars to look like we're rich, who cares! 

Two friends were in need of baby gifts and yesterday I didn't want to leave the house to even make the minimal gesture of getting gift cards.  So I cleverly devised to give them cash.  But then I thought on the sweet outfits people have given me and how I wanted to send a particular message at the moment.  I personally love cash and appreciate and remember the sweet people who have been so generous with us.  I also love the cute outfits.  So in the situation that I was choosing cash because it was easier on me, I decided I should in fact go out and choose something cute.  So we went out and went to 5 stores because once I'm out I may as well buy all the things!  It was good for us.  I'm glad we went out and glad I could give my friends cute clothes for their babies.

It's very tempting to be judgemental and think people have what they need.  One of the moms was so grateful and mentioned that she had had no shower for her little girl that is 3 months old.  And I don't doubt that she has materially what is needed but everyone needs to be loved and I hope that was what we said with this shower.  I am grateful for the times people have overridden my insistence that I had what I needed and gave me cute clothes and love.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Youth Lesson

I'm not in a position to give a lesson to the youth in general right now.  But this is one I would like to give if I had a chance.

Think of someone in the whole world who has it harder than you.
Think of someone in America who has it harder than you.
Think of someone in this city who has it harder than you.
Think of someone in this room who has it harder than you.
Think of someone in your family who has it harder than you.

These are your talents.  What are you going to do with them.  Are you the unwise servant who can only think of 1 person who has it harder than you but sees no reason to do anything about it lest you diminish your own place in the pecking order?

I hate social media, of which this is sort of a social media.  Mostly my kids read it so this is a lesson for them.

What if you are a person who can answer a person for each of those prompts.  With 5 talents what will you take and change so that you can become aware of even more people who have it harder than you.

I see youth with phones staring at their screens for a variety of reasons.  I am glad to be free of the anxiety of hoping a message will come in, anything to escape from the awkward moment of talking to people.  The youth seem to think they are all the one being excluded and don't see how much they exclude each other.

I wonder if things would be different if we had sports teams.  I know that playing sports together as a young women's group really helped me feel close to all the girls.  Camp was great.  I don't feel like we bonded much in Seminary or during weekly activities, except the part where we were hanging out in the hall.  Temple trips helped us bond.  In giving kids social media we give them a curse of too much information about each other.  Our lives should not be open books ready for anyone to see our history and foolishness.  I've FB stalked plenty of people I had no business looking at their pictures and posts, but there they are for my curiosity. 

Savor your privacy and be more open to acting in a Christlike way.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Need nothing

Our water system hadn't been working for a few weeks, maybe more like months.  I don't know.  But it had become habit to fill up the drinking bottles.  Then on Thanksgiving it started working again.  It maybe even started working before that but I'd stopped checking.  Now that the water system is working our needs are down to 0.  There are things that will get repaired and items that will wear out.  I feel so grateful in this moment that we don't stand in want of anything.  Everyone is in good health.  Everyone has shoes, probably a coat, maybe socks, underwear check. 

I've been trying to use the MarieKondo method to look at my possessions and ask if this is bringing me joy.   You also have to ask if something is needful.  So far I have reduced my clothing stash and discarded an entire box of papers I didn't need to keep.  I also donated the 20 dinner plates we never use.  We like to use the 10 inch plates rather than the full dinner plates.  So it's time to let the dinner plates go.

Tonight in the middle of our history lesson I asked the kids about ~40 books on the shelf that nobody touches and only 4 were not claimed with joy.  I told the kids it was OK to let books be donated so another person can experience the joy of finding a book in the little free library.  I hope to repeat this with the children again and again to perhaps reach a goal of 10 books reduced from our cache.  One great thing of this exercise is reminding them of what good books we have and sparking their interest in reading them again.  Lately they've only been interested in library books which is great but why do we have 12 bookshelves of books if we aren't going to read them.

OK, I'm off to wash dishes which I can do now easier because I can use the dishwasher again.  Yay!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Empty Fridge

I love to have a mostly empty fridge.  Even with this much food there is possibility of some random leftover lurking.  I like to be able to see everything and do not like surprises.  The freezer is different but similarly I like to be able to see what's in there.  In the freezer a surprise is more likely to be a bag of frozen burritos you can cook for lunch.

Christmas is advancing upon us and I'm trying to be prepared.  We're a bit busy but by next week I hope to have things shipped and set.  Excitement and preparation. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017


 Pictures at the temple are something we try periodically.  I'm so glad our family has the chance to go and how P makes it such a fun outing so the kids love it too.

Nature Walk

Yesterday it had rained so much we were looking for something to do that the kids wouldn't get muddy doing.  The first nature trail we tried was flooded.  This one has a boardwalk for 90% of the 2 mile path.  It was beautiful and precarious because the past 2 hurricanes have lifted the board walk
This one has a boardwalk for 90% of the 2 mile path.  It was beautiful and precarious because the past 2 hurricanes have lifted the board walk and set it back on the pilong crooked in many places.
G and M enjoyed playing gate keeper and we all obliged by walking under them.
This vista was so beautiful I asked lP to take a picture with it to make it even more pretty.
 B is wearing some shoes G wore when he was 5.  It's so sweet to me to reuse and remember.

 G took this picture of us on a bench.  Along the way we saw a lot of piles that we imagined were bear scat.  Scary!  Even baby learned to say "Ew!" when he saw them.
 Actually baby was asleep most of the trip which was good since when he was awake he was spending a lot of time almost falling off the walk way.  We teased the kids that this was their big chance to do a Ninja obstacle course.  I'm glad nobody tried...
 At the end of the boardwalk there is a dock.  Unfortunately in this instance the hurricanes have floated a huge section of the boardwalk completely off the piling and they washed up a hundred feet away facing the perpendicular shore.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy family

I drew the tree and cut the leaves then lP took over the project.  She had the other kids suggest a few words, but she really spearheaded this project.
After we cleared the table we let the kids do the table slide.  The kids love this so much and we let them do it for 3 times each then put it away.

I'm so grateful for the personal finance class.  This week the foundation principle is to "Take Responsibility and Persevere".   We've been so blessed having this council with fellow saints and the scriptural focus on managing the blessings we've been given.

Stress Free Thanksgiving

P's family was driving over for Thanksgiving and bringing pies.  Hurray!  So our day played out like this and it was great:

8:00AM  Woke up and hung out with the kids then made German pancakes.
8:40AM Scriptures and prayer Mark chapter 8.
9:00AM Ate German Pancakes and started cleaning the house.
The kids did their school work and chores.
10:00AM  I put the turkey in an oven bag and put it in the oven.  I bought this turkey 2 week ago and put it straight in the fridge so it was actually thawed completely.  Yay!
10:30AM G washed and cut up potatoes and put them in a pot of water.
11:00AM M made dough with her awesome hands instead of using the mixer because.
11:30AM I cut up the lettuce and dressing for the salad.
12:00PM Ramen Lunch
We kept tidying the house and took turns on the computer.  It was raining all day so there was no opportunity for a playground or other outing.
 2:00PM The P family arrived and M was forming the rolls.  G turned on the stove to cook the potatoes.
2:30PM lP measured the ingredients for stuffing.  I took the turkey out of the oven.
3:00PM We cooked the stuffing and put the rolls in the oven.  I drained the potatoes and G mashed the potatoes.
3:30PM We started getting the table set and turkey carved.  B opened the giant can of peaches and I opened 2 cans of corn.  Grandma C put on a video chat with Aunt R.  P mixed up the BLT salad.
4:04PM we ate and ate and ate.  We watched an episode of "The Voyage of the Mimi" and "Macguyver- Trombo's World".  The P family brought pumpkin pie, blueberry pie and apple pie with plenty of whipped topping and ice cream.  It was great.

I'm so glad each of the children and P were so helpful today.  It was so nice.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


This week there were 3 memorial services at the church.  All of these good people had lived great lives and been well loved by family.  I'm glad I was able to attend.  It also gives you so much perspective on what matters in the short time we have. 

I love my family and I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Monday, November 6, 2017


I'm so grateful that I got to go on this trip with G.  I'm so grateful that P took the other children to a baptism.  And he surprised as we were paddling under US 1 with all the kids on the bank of the creek shouting happiness and love.

I'm grateful that I've been taking better care of my body so it was strong enough to do this trip.  That is a big motivator for me in eating better and exercising.  I want to be able to walk, run, swim, and even paddle with my kids. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Love on the rocks

My friend met up with us on Tuesday at the beach.  We wandered up V beach further than I ever had.  Looking at the houses completely undermined by the hurricane was humbling.

We also got back in our cars and drove down to the rocks to climb.  I love this spot.  I look forward to joining the kids and climbing around on the rocks myself in a few years.  L will be climbing too soon.  He already loves to join in the adventure.

Living the life

I've tried a few time to get on the list for a kayak trip offered by the county.  Last month I was able to get a spot in a tandem and it turned out that I got to choose who to bring.  We had just reached the point of leaving the children home for short stretches of time.  And we do have friends willing to watch the kids.  Then I wound up inviting G to come along.  It was so nice to go on this special outing with him. 

As we were getting into the boats I felt like I was on some great outing, like paddling the Colorado River!  But it was just something exciting here in my home town.  I'm so grateful that these opportunities are right here.  And I hope to take advantage of them more often.  We don't have to travel to have exciting and peaceful experiences.  It helps to live in a vacation town...  Yay!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


We already had all our Halloween fun on Friday and Saturday.  So here we are on Halloween and what did we do?  We went to the beach and just enjoyed playing in the sand and on the rocks for 2 hours.  But here were our costumes. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

candy budget

My kids seem to be really open to the financial discussions we've been having over the last month since I've been taking the Personal Finance class at church.  I came up with an idea tonight that may or may not be awesome.  I labeled quart size bags with numbers 1-12.  Then I spread out all the candy the kids had and each child filled 4 bags (this was just the older 3 kids).  It was interesting to see how quickly G filled each bag with 18 pieces of chocolate while M was trying to get all the sweedish fish and gummy things.  lP had 20 candies in one bag and 2 in the other bags.  I reminded them that this candy was for everyone, not just for the person who filled the bag.

They seem genuinely excited by the idea that they will have candy all year from this one night of gathering.   I'm very interested to see how this goes.  Maybe this will be the story of disaster that comes from being too much of a control freak.  I think it's good that I let them portion it out.

They understand that this candy is an option for weekly FHE treats.  And I said that whatever is left at the end of the month, they can eat to celebrate.  M piped in "Or we can save it toward future budgeting!"  Yes my dear M.  You can save it forever!

Friday, October 27, 2017


Our family now has 4 functioning kindles.  P reads a lot on his.  The kids used to share one but they've now each got one. G has the original kids kindle while M bought her own last year and P got one for her birthday.

It's so great that they have an entire bookshelf in one small device.  These are just $30> kindles that are black and white, not touch screen, and not connected to wi-fi.  When you download the books from the library via usb they stay on the device after the loan has expired.  Yes we're gaming the system. 

And life is so much happier with children reading.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


A few years ago when I had a nursing baby someone asked me to watch their children starting at 7:30AM.  We're a late rising family (9:00) and while I had watched this family before at even earlier times, at this specific time I could not spare the sleep.  I asked them if they could come at 8:00 and they said that their later plans to meet up in Orlando wouldn't allow for that.  So they had someone else watch their children. 

This year has been amazing for us.  I weaned L.  I de-cluttered and organized the toys.  I stopped eating sugar last year but got serious about it this year.  I started walking in February.  We started reading the Book of Mormon in the morning in February.  These good habbits are going strong.  I even wake up at 7:15 sometimes to walk with friends.  Most days I walk around 7:45-8:30 by myself.

Another friend asked if I could watch their children today and I agreed saying the earliest I could take them was 8:00.  I felt bad that I wasn't willing to take them at 7:15, but I wasn't.  7:15 means I don't get a walk, and I have to wake up early.  It seems so sad that I can't give up both, but I'd rather just give up one, so I feel OK saying that.  This friend did come to the hospital in the middle of the night to sit with me though, so I do feel bad.  But not everything needs to be on that level of accommodation.  Yeah, so I hope I'm not a jerk, but I also hope to not be a carpet.

This quote is often on my mind: 
"You don’t need to manage other people’s expectations — that’s co-dependent behavior — you just need to manage your own comfort zone. The less information you give, the better. “Never contradict. Never explain. Never apologize."

I'll be testifying in a hearing in November, so I really need to practice this principal so I don't just blather on and say too much.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

my dad

My dad was the first Chinese in Taiwan to accept baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.  He once loved the church so much.  I am so proud of that and so sad that he lost that love.  But I love my dad and have hope in God's plan for him.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Great day

We visited Gtown and had the unusual situation of being left to our own devices.  P and G were on a trip to visit Louisiana for cousin M's eagle court of honor.  Grandma L went with them and Grandpa S too.  We just roamed around town and went to parks.  We got to meet up with aunt E at the book sale and a playground.  Then we hung out and ate a 4pm meal with aunt L.  I'm so grateful for these aunts in the kids lives.  The kids adore them and I really appreciate their making time to see the kids.

 We got some free pork sandwiches that M won on a previous visit and a large fries.  The nature center was closed but we stopped at another park and enjoyed our dinner before riding home watching Charlotte's Web.

I'll have to put up some pictures to show how P upgraded our van.  The middle row of seats can face forward or backwards.  The 2 movie screens only faced backwards, so to watch movies the kids had to all face forwards.  It's much easier to get in and out when the kids face each others, so P did some magical engineering to make the screens face each other too.  It's great!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

personal finance

This week we had another wonderful personal finance meeting.  Wow!
Last week for FHE I showed the children a pie chart of how we spend our money.  That same night we went to Aldi and with a budget of $100 tracked what we spent.  G kept our list and added items and told us if we had enough for a few boxes of tuna snack cracker thingies.  Later in the week we went to Walmart for milk and spent a lot of money.  I was very happy today to show the kids that we had kept within our budget.

Going forward I'm going to make my food budget a family thing, and rely on the Lord.  Whatever I can save each month, I'm going to add to my fast offering or to the humanitarian fund.  I know the lord will bless us to find good sales and make do, so that we can bless others.  I'm so excited for the children to see this cycle with something so concrete, food!

When I proposed this idea to the kids, that I not spend all the food money, I asked them what they thought I should do with the money.  They suggested that I save it toward our big trip next summer.  Smart!  But I'm looking forward to bringing home the blessings of counseling with the lord in all things.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

the gang

Today we went to the corn maze.  We went early to get some time in with G before P took him to school.  And we stayed way too late with not enough water.  It was fun but also hard because water, in this heat, is really important.

 They had these big sections of irrigation on pvc pipes that were really cool.  I even did a turn with B and holding baby by the hand, dragging him along as I walked.
This new little hay maze was a nice addition.  I feel like they had so many nice things for the kids to do and it was a great value for the special homeschool day.  I'm grateful to have embraced this way of celebrating the season.
 We just do the little story maze.  G wanted to try his skill at going through the big maze, but he needed to meet P by 10:45 so I let him go in for 3 right turns then he was to come back.  He did make it back in time.  I got lost in a corn maze at night during my freshman year at BYU.  I have no desire to be lost in a maze with my kids.  But maybe next year we'll try.