annes and the police station

Jan 27, 2016 by

Miss Annes is full of zest. Chock-full of curiosity, stories, creativity, enthusiasm, and is about as cute as can be. Everywhere we go people love her. Except for the few people she drives absolutely banana-cakes with her “muchness.”

Today was the first day of iFamily, our awesome homeschool group. She is in a Community Explorations class this semester where they go out to different businesses and community entities to learn about how they function and what they do to make our community great. Today was the Police Station. Annes gave a Texas-sized shout of “Hurrah” when she found out. Unbeknownst to me, she is a little over the top curious about all things police-y because of her current obsession with Adventures in Odyssey mysteries.

When she returned to iFamily I asked one of her mentors how it went and if Annesely was well-behaved. She gave me a huge laugh and said, “Annesley is the best part of my day, I love that girl! She is FULL of life!” Thrilled with that response, I asked her to tell me all about it.

She reported that on the way in to the Police Station, Annesley said, “Oh no! They won’t let me in! They have metal detectors and look at my boots!” Her mentor said she thought the little piece of metal on the end of her cowboy boots would be just fine. Annesley responded with, “Oh, are they not very sensitive?”

At some point the police officer must have been talking about roadblocks and Annesley asked if there was a robbery because why would you ever have a roadblock without a robbery?

The third comment was “Do you deal with a lot of counterfeiters?” The police officer said no, not a whole lot. Why?” Annesley said, “Well, I know all about making counterfeit money!” She actually has no idea how to make counterfeit money, but she has listened to her Adventures In Odyssey CDs about a counterfeiting ring about a hundred times since Christmas so she thinks she is pretty much an expert. However, I would hope she would be a so-called expert in catching the counterfeiters, not copying their trade.

I’m tickled she has such fun opportunities for learning and mentors that appreciate her enthusiasm for life. I just hope the good officers don’t set up some kind of sting operation to bust us for counterfeiting.

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easing back into life

Jan 6, 2016 by

Recovering from late nights, too much junk food, and lack of commitments.

New scripture study time. (In the morning at the butt-crack of dawn. Actually long before the butt-crack of dawn since it is pitch black outside when Richard gently kisses me and shakes me awake so I can pull on my fleece sweats and slippers and plod out to the family room.)

New schedules.

New goals.

Registration for iFamily was this week and I had to break some children’s hearts because I can’t take more than 16 students in my Math Alive class and nearly 30 applied. I hate breaking hearts.

Homeschool days on the ski/snowboarding slopes is here once again and for the first time since 2008, I am trying my darndest to make it happen for my kids. Long, frustrating story there about how hard I have been trying to magically find all the gear they need for as few pennies as possible and piles of tears that poured out of me when I couldn’t find what they needed at prices we could afford. My heart and their hearts were so set on going this week, but I just couldn’t make it happen. So I fell apart, telling myself all the lies. Something akin to “for crying out loud we live right next to the mountains and have an awesome homeschool program that allows kids to ski or board for hours and hours for $10 and you KNOW this, so what is wrong with you (me) that you didn’t plan ahead and get all this stuff in the summer when it was available or look in Utah or SOMETHING else, for the love. You (once again, me!) made a stupid choice to buy a snowboard when you don’t know anything about snowboards and now you are told it is broken and you can’t find boots and it is all completely pointless.” It was a rough night of tears and irrational thought. (But I am better now, no worries needed about my overall sanity.) And Keziah went since she has her own money and a friend was able to loan her all the gear she needed, so that was super fun, even though the other kiddos were disappointed.

Starting gym again on Friday and not ready to be up on my feet again. This new flare up of my knee injury is frustrating.

Plummeting progesterone levels which equals a weepy, emotions-all-over-the-place mama.

Play practices ramping up for Miss Keziah’s play which is at the end of the month. So, we don’t see her much.

Same girly getting her driver’s license (hopefully this week!) which is exciting and wonderful and will help out a ton, but leaves me with no vehicle whenever she takes the Subaru. (Our suburban runs just fine, but it is not driveable right now because the heater core broke on the way to Swim Camp back in June. Living up here in the frozen tundra prevents anyone with even a wee bit of sanity to drive a vehicle without a heater!)

Fisher finished his math program a few ago and we are trying to figure out where to go next with him. And my brain or spirit or something must be closed off to the heavens (or more likely just really, really tired) because I just don’t know what to do.

I am trying to put together the next semester of Liberty Girls and feeling little direction from on high…which leads to low motivation on my end.

I feel like hibernating right here in my house and savoring the long, winter days with books, warm quilts, hot chocolate, and lots of calm. I don’t want to actually deal with reality and answer the phone, pay bills, run errands, organize anything, or go anywhere. So I am doing that. AND doing a bit of the other because, you know, life.

Lots of changes, so we are easing into them and trying not to cause all-out rebellion (mostly my own rebellion where I throw in the towel and head for my imaginary cabin in the hills, haha!). Yesterday we started reading Stone Fox (love that book!) for the man club Fisher is a part of, Explorer Boys, and ever so slowly started back into our normal school days. I think we will start some geometry today with him and see how it goes.

All the books for 2016 for my colloquia group have been selected and I just might get them posted here, but no guarantees since at the moment my energy level is roughly equivalent to a sloths. Tomorrow night is our first discussion of the year, which means I’ll need to shower…and turn on my brain…but then I can enjoy hearing thoughts and ideas on a great book and it will be lovely.

So this week is going to be slow and calm and full of nurturing…I need the calm. There is plenty of time for the busy later.

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narnia

Jan 1, 2016 by

We started our next read-aloud for 2016 tonight. In the midst of grumpy kids who were tired from late nights, sugar-laden, and about to dddiiiiiieee from taking down the Christmas decorations, magic was created.

Back in November, God whispered to my heart that our next read-aloud was to be the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. At first, I thought, “Our children know these stories inside and out, I don’t think I should take the time to read them aloud to them. I need to use this precious time for something they haven’t been exposed to yet.” But the quiet whispering continued and I knew there was a good reason for it. My excitement at the prospect grew and all through the nights of December Christmas stories, I grew giddy inside at the thought of sharing the wonderment of Narnia with our children over the next many months.

So, tonight, with children annoying one another and complaining at each new task assigned to them in our Christmas clean-up, we started our adventure. Richard made everyone hot chocolate while we finished the last of the clean-up and we welcomed everyone to grab a mug and a blanket and sit down and listen.

Soon calmness prevailed and happiness won out over the grumps. The magic of read-aloud time to bring a family together never ceases to amaze me. I think the world could be changed dramatically if all families spent some time in the evenings enjoying a delicious book together.

At the end of the chapter, they begged, “Please read another! Please, please! Just one more!” I reminded them that just thirty minutes prior they had been saying, “We don’t want to read Narnia! We want to watch Return of the Jedi!” and they grinned and said, “Yes, but now we want you to read more!”

Cracks me up.

The power of story is real. Stories speak to the deepest parts of who we are. They inspire courage, build connection, and create a culture of shared identity. They are the best things I know of to bind a family together.

What are you reading with your family right now?

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read to me

Dec 9, 2015 by

Me: I need to work on the computer for awhile, why don’t you listen to this audio-book from the library.

F: Mom, it’s SO MUCH better when you read the book.

Me: Really, better than a professional narrator?

F: YES. I want you to read all the books.

I can’t even tell you how much this warms my heart! My eleven-year-old boy still loves to snuggle up on the couch under a blanket and have me read to him for hours and hours – I hope it never ends.

Oh, how good it is to be so adored by your children. If only my face and voice could keep up with their insatiable desire to be read to!

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annes is 8!

Nov 28, 2015 by

Miss Annesley is 8! This spunky, courageous, full-of-life girl turned eight on Thanksgiving Day. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been eight years since I gave birth to her in our birth pool in our bathroom. What a glorious birth it was!

Now she is a grown-up little girl – she is quite the pancake and waffle maker and she has recently learned how to make omelets all by herself. Her face is changing and looking older, the baby cheeks are gone, and her body is getting long and lanky (at least lanky for our house of short people!). Thank goodness she still likes snuggling with her papa and she still comes in to my bed every morning for a back rub and quiet morning conversation between just the two of us.

Right now her favorite books are Little House on the Prairie, Understood Betsy, and The Wingfeather Saga. She loves to listen to Adventures in Odyssey as she goes to sleep at night. Her favorite hymns are “Come, Come Ye Saints” and “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” and her favorite Primary songs are “Book of Mormon Stories, “Holding Hands Around The World”, and “I Like To Look For Rainbows.” Her favorite foods are pizza, pasta, peaches, avocados, carrots, celery, and smoothies. She says her favorite things to do are cooking, playing with Charlie, ice skating, sledding, playing the violin, piano, and recorder, math, and having fun.

Her birthday book this year is In My Heart: A Book of Feelings which is a delightful book about different feelings we have…joy, fear, anger, sadness, bravery, happiness, thankfulness…and how they impact our lives. It normalizes the experience of having feelings and I am hoping will help Annesley as she navigates her way through some pretty big feelings.

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She got her very own CD player! We are pretty big audio book fans and she has been dreaming of having her own for a long time so she doesn’t have to beg, borrow (and not steal!) from her siblings for some CD time. This is the same Sony CD/Cassette with Aux-In we gave Fisher last year for his birthday. It has held up flawlessly for the past year so we decided having another one in the home was a great idea for family peace. During the afternoons, they both like to do art projects or build Legos while they are listening to a story…but they often want different stories or want to be in different parts of the house…so having one for each of them is a fantastic idea.

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When our children turn eight, they are given a knife…IF they have proven themselves to be trustworthy and we believe they will not cause harm or threaten harm with it. It is a pretty big deal around here. As the youngest, Annesley has known getting a knife was a possibility, but not a guarantee, because she remembers when Fisher got his knife and she has heard all the stories of how Keziah did NOT get hers at the age of eight. She also knows she can have it taken away if she is mean, threatening, or does not take care of it.

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Grandma Dorothy gave her her two favorite movies, Dolphin Tale 1 and 2. Such delight! She spun and shrieked with joy. Definitely the winner of the present adoration.

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After all the Thanksgiving meal preps, eating, cleaning up, and obligatory napping, she decided sledding with her Papa was exactly what she wanted to celebrate her birthday. Fisher ended up joining them for some jaunts down the little hill at the end of our driveway.

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Later that night after all the food had digested and we had room in our bellies for more deliciousness we had her birthday cake designed by her with Moosetracks and Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate Oreos smashed on the bottom and making a big 8 on top.

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Grandma Dorothy, my brother Scott, Kez, Fisher, Papa, and Miss Annes.

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I am so grateful for this girly. She has given me so many gifts and helped me see the world in new ways. Her pregnancy and birth were powerful demonstrations of the miracles of God and how He can heal our bodies even when it is deemed impossible. Her birth helped heal my heart and showed me I was stronger than I knew. Annesley lives life with zest…she is so much like me and loving her has helped me fall in love with my little girl self. Here are some of her adventures from the past year.

Tea party with her friend, Olivia.

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Vacuum packing 120 pounds of chicken. She insisted on being the one to pick up the chicken and put it in each bag. That is the most disgusting part of the job so we happily let her take that job.

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Making butter at Liberty Girls. These girls are so much fun!

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Picking Honeycrisp Apples…yummy!

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Saying goodbye to Blythe.

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Driving away from the MTC with some big tears.

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Heap of cuteness before our “real” family photo shoot.

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And our “real” family photos.

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Hiking with her siblings and Grandpa Barry and Cherie.

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Heading out on her 8-year-old hike. Back when Blythe and Andie were turning 8, we started a tradition of Richard taking the almost 8 year old on an overnight backpacking adventure. Since our children turn 8 in August, September, and beginning of October, it seemed like a good plan. Annesley’s birthday at the end of October means she was our youngest hiker when she went on her hike back in August, but she was a trooper and hiked the whole way.

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Swinging on the rope swing at Green River Lakes with Teryn.

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Camping for 17 days at Green River Lakes…this is the life!

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With her 3rd cousin, Jared, bug lovers and dear friends.

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At the Splash Park.

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Swimming with Olivia

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One of our last days at the lake before the cold weather set in.

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Learning about different cultures through dance.

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Making Fried Rice with her protective goggles from the onion fumes…cracks me up!

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Swim Camp adventures and saying goodbye to her dear friend, Paige, before she moved to Connecticut.

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Searching for frogs at our family reunion in Wyoming.

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Playing soccer at Paula’s and Cameron’s neighborhood soccer league.

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Going to The Little Mermaid play at Hale Centre Theatre…she LOVED it!

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Playing with one her dearest friends who moved away…yippee for visits!

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Snake joy.

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Climbing trees in our backyard. She loves climbing all the way to the top and hanging out there with her thoughts.

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One of her many clay creations.

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Waiting for her dentist appointment…love this picture of her and her cute little braids.

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Reading Little House on the Prairie with her Mama. We need to finish the rest of the series!

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Happy Birthday Annesley Aliyah…may you know how much we love you and how much God loves you.

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annes on injuries

Nov 17, 2015 by

My little Annesley has decided she is a speech writer. Keziah is in the middle of writing two speeches that she has to give this week and I guess Annes has caught the bug. Yesterday she presented her Anything Is Possible If You Have Love speech and today she gave us this speech on injuries. This is word for word what she said.

Warning: grab a tissue.

My name is Annesley and I am writing about injuries. You can fall off a skateboard. You can fall off of a tree. My mom has injuries, but even if I am sad she can’t do the stuff most mothers can, I am still happy I have a mother who takes good care of me and loves her family. I love her, too.

Injuries don’t mean it’s the end of your life. Injuries can sometimes help you to realize what is ahead of you in your life. When you have an injury or when you have a family member who has an injury, it doesn’t mean that she or he won’t take care of you. It means that you will be able to fight trials and you will have to get used to those trials because it will happen.

My mom is suffering through a tissue disorder. She has been passing out, but this week she has been doing okay. I like that I have a loving mother who takes good care of me.

My mom has an injury and I love her. She teaches a good homeschool group and she teaches gym. She doesn’t actually do all the tricks, but she has people do it for her. She has Grant and she has my sister, that is technically all.

Injuries might make you feel like you need to stay in your room all the time, but that is not true. You should try to help the people in your family who are injured. You should get used to having a family member who is hurt. Once I had an injury. I did a front flip into the pit and hurt my back. It hurt so much, but then it calmed down. But that is not what happens with my mom. When she gets hurt or passes out, she shakes for about two hours or maybe three. I do not like that, but I try to help her as much as I can.

Even when you get hurt it doesn’t mean you will never, ever be able to walk or look behind you again. It means you are hurt. Just plain hurt. It might seem like everything is aimless, but anything is possible with Jesus Christ. He will heal you.

Oh my, the tears. This precious girl doesn’t even remember me before I was injured. This has been her life. She sometimes wistfully says, “Mom, I wish you could run around the yard with me.” Or, “Mom, tell me what you were like before you were like this. Tell me about how you would ride your bike. Tell me about how you would played baseball and volleyball.” Oh, how I love her. I remember so clearly the feeling I got the first time I looked in her eyes. She told me spirit to spirit, “Mom, it’s gonna be okay.”

And now, it is time to trust her message.

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anything is possible if you have love

Nov 16, 2015 by

Annesley “wrote” this today. She actually dictated it to me from her writing notebook, but she didn’t really write all these words – her paper is full of lots of scribbles and lots of love words. She did, however, say them all. This is her message to the world, word for word as she said it, completely unedited by me except for the punctuation.

My name is Annesley and I am writing about love. Love can build families. Every time you are kind, love grows in your family. Love can build houses. Love can build people. Love can build buildings.

People might say you do not have love, but that is not true. You have love every time you are kind. Even if you are sad, you can still have love. You can share love. Love can still grow.

I am so glad that I have a sister on a mission. Even though I am sad, I can still send love to her.

I share love when I go to people’s houses. I give love. When I am naughty, I am not sharing love. When I am kind, I am sharing love. Every time I make a choice, I am trying to make a good choice.

You can share love with a friend, with family members, or even with someone you don’t know. You can share love, it’s just like a plant. When you are growing a plant, it is just like you are building love. Love is growing in your heart, your mind, and even your friend’s heart. You can build courage with love. You can build courage by asking someone to play with you even if you don’t know them. When you are going somewhere with your friends, you should always spread love.

When you don’t believe you have love, Jesus is sending it down to you and you should use that love to build families, make friendships, and be kind. Jesus sends love down to everyone.

Love can grow in your heart. You can build love, you can share love.

Anything is possible if you have love.

Pretty wise words from this almost 8 year old. Next week is her birthday and her baptism is the week after. A little part of me has been wondering if she is truly ready to make this covenant with Jesus. Although she is naturally joyful and full of zest, she struggles with honesty and kindness. We have spent the past many months preparing her for this time of covenant making and while there have been glimpses of this deeper, more thoughtful side of her showing up, it wasn’t until today when she read me this paper on love that I knew she was ready.

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because towers are fun

Nov 15, 2015 by

First day of my period + Friday gym + Friday church party + Friday night at Kat’s = exhausted mama. I spent all of Saturday in bed. Literally. I believe I got out three times to use the bathroom and that is all – I never even left my room. After sleeping soundly for hours on end while my children did their Saturday jobs, schoolwork, and played games together, I found these on my phone.

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I’m so glad these bendable, hilarious kiddos are mine. I guess when you are super bendy, this sounds like a good idea. In fact, I can even remember when I thought things like this were super fun. But now? Now, not so much. And my mind can’t help but jump to the future and wonder what damage they just caused to their bodies. I don’t like being in that frame of mind – and I certainly don’t want to pass it on to them. I want them to live fully and without a care in the world. Carpe diem all the way. So, I am trying my darndest to stay silent about the possible repercussions of these kinds of moves and let them enjoy their fun.

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squares and mazes, wahoo!

Oct 12, 2015 by

If you are anything like me, you pin things and then never do anything about them or flat out forget about them. Recipes, learning ideas, and home cutification ideas get pinned and forgotten on a fairly regular basis.

BUT, there is hope! I printed out two of my pins and introduced them to my children last Monday and they were both a huge hit! Then I took them to my Math ALIVE! class on Wednesday and my students gobbled them up and begged me to let them take the games home with them. So, now that I have tested them with nearly 20 children, I can say with absolute confidence that your children will love them as well…at least I am pretty darn sure they will! With the goal of creating more math lovers out in the world, I must share these winners!

The first is a spin-off of the dots/complete-the-squares game with multiplication problems added in. My dear boy did about 400 multiplication problems CHEERFULLY while we played the game. And his speed increased dramatically. The totally awesome Mathified Squares Game can be found here. My math students would have happily played it all hour if I would have let them. Instead, I taught them about Eratosthenes and blew their minds with how he measured the circumference of the earth within 200 miles of the measurement we have today.

We printed out lots of copies, grabbed a pair of dice, a cookie sheet, and two different colored pens, and dove right in. Now that I know my kids love it bunches and bunches, I might laminate them and use wipe-off markers, but I am a bit worried we would accidently erase some of our lines with our wrists as we move across the page. The same woman has several other different versions – addition, subtraction, factors, and more, but I am pretty sure those games need to be paid for. If she has a multiplication sheet for 12 sided dice, I will buy it, if not, I am going to make my own, so we can practice up to 12 x 12. (Fisher just told me he wants me to make one up to 20 x 20!)

The second is a large set of Skip-Counting Mazes. Annesley worked through about twenty of them in one sitting and pulled them back out today to do even more. Fisher discovered an error on one of the counting by 5 mazes, but even that error added to his learning as he triple checked all the numbers and possibilities before declaring with confidence that there was a mistake and the number 245 was missing.

Both of these activities are wonderful for cementing in those basic math skills we all need while not making it seem like the drill-n-kill approaches that so often shut little ones brains down.

We are on a math roll around here lately. Annesley finished her math book last week and started a new one today. She decided she wants to do 11 pages a day! And today she did it! I decided to introduce a new game to them today and it was a huge hit as well. Corners is from the RightStart Card Games Kit and is a fabulous game for working on multiples of 5 and addition. I wasn’t sure if Annes could handle it, but with a little bit of help once her score got into the 200s she did just fine.

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