Monday, November 3, 2008

Wow! Time flies by...

I can't believe it's been well over a month since I've posted. A few things have been going on. Mainly, my laptop crashed hard! Since I store all of my photos, music etc. on this machine it's been painful to have it be gone. I also complete all of my blogging from that poor sick baby. It is in ICU at a friends house. He is trying to salvage the hard drive and possibly the computer. It doesn't look good :)

I've gone through a really funky depression this past month. That is another reason that I haven't's just sometimes too hard. Things are getting better though. My doc calls it 'situational depression' associated with all of the surgeries and pain from the past 1 1/2 years. I agree.

Some updates from the past month:

My best friend from Jr High through college through missions through marriages found me. We had lost touch about 9 years ago and I've missed her terribly. She found me though and I'm so glad she did. Thanks Sue! I love having you back!

I went shopping for some pants that Clinton, Stacey and Tim Gunn would approve of and I found them :) Yea!!!!!! It was hard work and I had to try on probably 50 pair. Man oh man! They had better last a long, long time.

(I realize it's a sad life when I post about pants shopping but it really was exciting)

The kitchen remodel is progressing-slowly but assuredly. Is that correct english? Hmmm!

Hubby's car DIED! We are now sharing one car and I'm left without wheels most days. Darn!

Hubby got a new position within his company. It's a great move and he starts this coming
Friday in the new department. Go honey!

I cleaned the downstairs! Enough said!

My sister Rachel came for a weekend visit. It doesn't get better than that! She is so much fun. So kind, generous and loving to all of us. We miss her.

Homeschooling is plugging along at a great pace. Sam finished his lapbook on 'My Father's Dragon'. It was a great experience and a fun way to read a book. Paige and Lilly continue to work on their Continents Lapbook. They are still in Asia and finding lots to learn about. We've spent some time on Xian's Warriors and on the Yangtze River. Interesting stuff.

Sam is loving Age of Empires III. He is becoming quite self sufficient and skilled at the game. Lilly has been beading up a storm and sent some bracelets and necklaces to my sisters hair salon and they are selling really well. Paige is playing the piano and cooking like she owns a restaurant. She's made donuts, pizza, bagels, scones to just name a few. She is really enjoying math and challenging herself right now. Sarah is growing and funny, funny, funny! Kylie is excelling as always over at the Middle School.

Halloween has come and gone...Kids were a GoGo Girl, Hannah Montana, Witch, Spy in Sunday clothes, and a miniature Hulk. So much fun.

We went and saw High School Musical III in the theater. We LOVED it! We had the theater to ourselves so Sam was dancing in the aisles, girls were cheering and Sarah was running up and down the stairs. Loved, loved, loved it!

Also read 'City of Embers' Loved the book and I highly recommend it. We went and saw the movie and it wasn't nearly as good as the book. So, skip the movie and read the book!

Favorite line from the month; Sam, while trick or treating ran ahead of the crew and shouted out "Follow me boys and I'll lead you to paradise!" Lead away Sam! Lead away!

Okay, I realize that my use of exclamation points is a little over done for this posting. But, it's my blog so there!!!!!

Last comment: I've become addicted to Very inspiring and lovely. Check it out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Amazing Learning Resource

I found a great resource tonight for education. It's AMAZING!!! Check it out HERE-enjoy!

As a side note, Sam is having a great time reading 'My Fathers Dragon' and working on the lapbook. He has been watching alot of military movies and playing soldier in the cul-de-sac. He's quite serious about it all.

Paige and Lilly have been working on a Geography unit and seem to be enjoying it. They have assembled a Continents Lapbook and it looks great. They are working on Asia right now. Lilly is fascinated with Xian's Warriors. So we are taking some time to research, study and make a book about these famous TerraCotta Warriors.

Lilly is also sewing a skirt. It is a brown knit with lots of gathers. She is doing really well on the gathering part. She should finish it tomorrow.

Sarah is obsessed with counting. It's quite enjoyable to see develop.

Our home is much calmer since dropping dance. It was alot of running to and fro, negotiating schedules, dinner, family time, church activities, homework for Kylie etc. Kylie is definitely more peaceful having free time in the evenings. There is something to be said for being too over scheduled.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Little Bit of my Blogging Self

Since entering the blogging world several months ago, I've only had 4 blogs on my blog list to share with y'all. Well, I've decided to share all of the blogs I read.

I expressed to my sister the other night that one of the reasons I love blogging is because I feel connected to others without any measure of conflict or rejection. They are a safe place for me. I can have friends and not feel alone in the world. I love it when my blog feeder let's me know that these sites have posted. It's as good as receiving a phone call from a friend.

So, without further adieu;

I have a group of blogs I go to for homeschooling support, ideas, experience and just fun. I've found one recently that has inspired us to start lapbooking.

I have a group of friends and family who by following keep me connected.

I have several blogs devoted to food storage, recipes and great photography.

I also have a couple of blogs that I read because they are so inspirational to me.

I have one blog that specifically keeps me tied to Israel in a very round about way.

Another blog has such differing ideas, views and beliefs from me but they are expressed in a completely non-threatening way that it helps me to see a different point of view. Also, it's really funny. Sometimes you just need a good laugh!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Blast from the Past

In 1989, (this is soooo going to age me) I served a volunter mission for my church 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints'. I was called to the Canada Winnipeg Mission. At the time, it was the largest land size mission in the world. We covered Saskatchewan, Manitoba and half of Ontario (over past Thunder Bay to Marathon). We also covered the Northwest Territories (the farthest North anyone ever served was Churchill) It's the Northwest Territories that gave us the claim to the largest land size mission in the world for our church. (Miranda, I added all of that extra detail for you :) being that you live in Canada and may know the towns I speak of).

Anyways, I made a lot of friends while there. In fact, I met my husband there and we've been married over 18 years but that is a fascinating, unbelievable story that if you are lucky I will share one day with you. Just not today.

So, back to my story...hmmm...where was I?

Oh yeah, friends...there were some Elders (19-21 yr. old young men) who I constantly served around; Flake, Jensen, Roland and Pack to just name a few. This is a story about Pack that happened after my mission was over.

It's early February, I've been home for two months. A gang of us has gathered down in Provo, Utah at BYU for a little get together. I'm leaving the next day to meet up with Elder Bennett from the mission in Marietta, Ga. I'm sooooo nervous. I know that things may move quickly between us and I'm not quite prepared. You see, I'd managed to get to this age without ever having kissed a boy on my terms (it's a short story that will never be told-it happened when I was 15 and scarred me till adulthood). Somehow in this group that evening it came out that I was not prepared to kiss a boy- and I'd better be prepared because my future with Elder Bennett depended on it.

Pack being the ever so helpful genuine friend that he was said "that will not do! I'll teach you how to kiss." (liberty taken with exact wording here -I think that I actually asked Pack to help me with this difficult situation not the other way around)

Now, just For Your Information, Pack is the most non-threatening individual I've ever met. He has the ability to extinguish any difficult situation just by being so laid back and easy going. It was amazing to watch what would happen when he would enter a room. Everyone would just chill (for all you Twilighters, he's a real life Jasper). So...back to the "I'll teach you..."

I thought to myself "If anyone can do this, (get me over my horror and fear and tendency to punch anyone who trys to kiss me) Pack can. I trust him. I'm just Sister J. to him and he won't hurt me". So, I agreed and we stepped into a back bedroom. (That sounds so incredibly scandalous-what good mormon girl goes into a back bedroom with a boy? Hmm?!)

So...Packs instructions are "Close your eyes, part your lips just a little bit and relax."

So, I close my eyes and in trying to part my lips a little bit begin giggling. I can giggle I tell you. Sometimes it's quite hard for me to stop giggling.

Pack is saying "This is not helping. You cannot giggle. He won't know what to do with that. Don't giggle."

So, we try again. I giggle again. Lecture again. Try again. Giggle again. Lecture again. Do you see the pattern? I'm pretty sure that went on for a good 20 minutes.

Finally, Pack said "Chari, you're safe. Nothing bad is going to happen. Stop giggling".

So I stopped giggling. I closed my eyes, parted my lips just a little bit and focused on not giggling. Pack kissed me. It was very sweet and not scary and nothing bad happened to me. In fact it was lovely.

Pack said "That was pretty good. Way to go on not giggling. This time relax". I focused intently on all of those instructions. The second kiss was easier. On the third kiss, it was my turn to initiate. After another giggling fit I took a deep breath, tried to not cry, leaned in, closed my eyes and gave a simple, slightly lingering kiss to Pack.

I can't begin to tell you how I felt. I did it! I overcame a horror from my earlier years and was blessed to have a dear friend who sincerely helped me. I was all of a sudden OK! Just like that. I was OK!

Pack said that I was ready and I would be fine in Georgia. I had a sweet sensation the rest of the evening. Kissing was lovely.

There are so many benefits to having friends I tell ya!

A couple days later in Georgia, I saw the signs of a first kiss coming. So, I closed my eyes, parted my lips just a bit, relaxed and heard Brett Pack yelling in my brain 'Do not Giggle'. So, I did not giggle. It must have gone well because we were married 7 weeks later.

When I think about it? Brett Pack can take full responsibility for the success of this marriage.
(I occassionally hear him saying 'don't giggle') Thanks Brett!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Last Sunday he fell out of a two story window. It was his bedroom window. It was only cracked a bit. His mom found him on the concrete ouside with the screen under him. He is 2. He has been in the trauma center for the past week in the ICU. He was just transferred to Children's Hospital for longterm inpatient rehabilitation. He isn't talking yet. His walking isn't right yet. It could have been so much worse. His mom (my dear friend) seems to be very calm and very hopeful and has quickly adapted to her new life. Nights spent at the hospital, still parenting an older child at home, little bits of progress becoming the lifeline to normalcy.

Last week my dear friends sat in court observing the choosing of the jury. The jury that would decide the financial future and fate of their severely disabled daughter. A daughter that due to a birth gone very wrong will never hear, sit, walk, eat, speak. The expenses are in the millions. The injuries are directly related to very bad decisions made by professionals. They are holding their breath. The trial starts on Monday.

My heart is breaking for NieNie and I don't even know her or her family but she makes me want to be a better person. If you don't know her story, go here.

My stuff seems so pathetic in comparison!

A look back at the week

Kylie had a great first week at school. The kids had a great first week at home. I don't like to define homeschooling by weeks. The way we live, it's continual learning that is not defined by the beginning and end of a school year.

However, the learning recap is: Paige has been working on her multiplication facts. She loves the new flashcards I purchased earlier. She's been baking and cooking alot. If we can just work on cleaning up the messes afterwards.

Lilly has been designing and beading up a storm. You wouldn't believe her work. It's better than most adults beading work. Her designs are brilliant. She balances color, texture and depth so well. I'll take some photos and post them.

The girls have been putting together the elements for a study on the continents. They've been letting me know what types of thing they are curious about and I've been finding info for them. They are going to make a lapbook out of all of their facts.

Sam has been continuing his lapbook and reading of 'My Fathers Dragon'. He is very pleased with his lapbook and shows it to everyone who comes over. Sam has also been spending time throwing the gigantic dice and adding up the dots. I showed him how to graph his results and he thought that was cool and then actually made a graph. It's been sunny so lots of playing outside has happened. Picking vegetables from our garden, riding bikes, lots of walks.

It was a good week.

Paige and Lilly had an exciting adventure this week. All three girls are housesitting for a friend. Paige and Lilly take the morning shift of feeding animals, watering plants etc. On Thursday, Paige and Lilly went alone for the first time. Once they open the door they have 60 seconds to deactivate the house alarm. Well, a wrong button was pressed and the very loud alarm went off. Lilly panicked and ran to her bike and started crying and told Paige to come now. Paige stayed calm. She knew the police would be calling, which they did very quickly. Paige told them that they were housesitting and accidentally set off the alarm. They should call the owners on their cell phones and they would confirm the story but could they please shut off the alarm. A few minutes later a police officer showed up at the house. Lilly by this time had gone back inside. The police officer asked to see the house key-even tried it out to make sure it worked. He then went through the entire house with the girls asking all them sorts of questions. Where are the pets? What do you feed them? I assume he was making sure they were really suppose to be there. Then the officer left.

I'm so proud of Paige for staying so calm. For not panicking or crying in the face of strangers or police officers. For knowing what to do. We have since practiced with her unlocking the door, turning off the alarm, turning on the alarm, locking the door several times so hopefully the police won't arrive. and Lilly? she just cracks me up...I can picture her panicking and crying and wanting to escape on her bike. Now that everyone is safe, the thought makes me giggle.

My foot is here. It is healing but I'm still suppose to be down. Down! Down! Down! Good grief! and that is all I will say on that subject :)

On another note, I had cable hooked up! I decided on DirectTV. It was installed on Saturday. I was alone in the house and couldn't go downstairs with the tech guy. We have three T.V.s in the house. Cable was being installed on two of them. The one in the master bedroom and the one in the family room. The third T.V. is a tiny portable 12" tv that I use in my music/craft room. The tech actually hooked up the tiny 12" tv in my craft room instead of the family room TV. For real! Even though I told him the family room with the large TV. He went into a bedroom and hooked up a tiny TV. I'm anxious to see how DirectTV is going to resolve this.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our first day of the new school year

This morning at 7:20 a.m. Kylie headed off to 7th grade. We are thrilled that she has her favorite math teacher again this year. She also has 3 of her classes with her best friend Sabrina. I'm happy for her. I hope to get a great report when she returns back home.

At home we began our year by reading. We began 'My Fathers Dragon' for Sam.

Lilly has been beading this morning and made 3 beautiful bracelets. Today was the first day that she actually did the crimping and added the toggles all by herself.

Paige spent time writing in her journal. She is confused by having the freedom to being able to decide how to use her time. She keeps waiting for me to tell her what to do. I'm instead asking her questions and hoping her answers will lead her to learning and activities. I can tell it will take some time before she trusts herself to just 'do'.

Sam choose a letter of the day: 'A'. He made a little booklet where he wrote out several words that begin with A or have A in the middle. He also wrote out two sentences for me. I have these really cool large foam dice. Sam pulled them out and began throwing them and then adding up all of the dots. He was trying to beat his previous 'score'. I didn't even suggest that and it turned into a great math game.

The last couple of hours all of the kids have been at the kitchen table painting with Tempera Paints. Sarah did 4 or 5 paintings with a brush before she realized she could use her hands-aagh! Sam also painted several things-a dead tree with one apple, a red power ranger, a green frog...Lilly has painted several abstracts and an amazing underwater scene. She sprinkled salt on top of the wet paint and it caused these really cool bubbles. She also added air bubbles with white crayon on top of the paint. So cool! Paige is still working on one landscape scene. She has been working hard on mixing colors to get the right sky color.

Paige and I did some research on lapbooking and I found a great site HERE. We decided that since the kids loved working with paper and glue and loved making books, we would choose a subject and make a lapbook. We are actually really excited. I'll print out what is offered and have it if they choose to use it. I think they will because they really like this type of thing.

I'm finding it hard to not dictate how or what we should do. I think that unless I get a fight from them, I'll offer suggestions and ask for certain things to be done? we go!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our Plan

The kids and I have been discussing what they want to learn this next year. The lists are varied and sound interesting.
Sam: I want mom to read aloud to me lots! I want to learn about knights, castles, armor, weapons, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and I want to play. I also want to do lots and lots of science.

Lilly: I want to sew lots. I want to make skirts and pants for me and clothes for my dolls. I will write in my journal everyday to practice spelling, handwriting and creative writing. I want to know more about the stars. I want to learn to cook different things. I want to have art everyday. I want mom to read aloud to me and I want to play games like Yahtzee and Scattergories.

Paige: I want to do everything! I want to cook, sew, write poetry, write a play, sing, dance, play piano, get better at my times tables and have fun.

I know with those three lists I can incorporate all sorts of subjects. I'm looking forward to helping them achieve their goals. I've done my main 'school' shopping with their lists in mind and it was really fun.

Everything has always been laid out for me in the past due to the structure and curriculum I used at home but this year I get to be creative in the presentation and learning of subjects. I'm really looking forward to it. It's making me use my mind :)

I'm home

I'm still in shock that I had to have surgery on Friday. But I did and here is the report.

Surgery was scheduled for 2:30 pm. I couldn't have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before. It made for a tough day. I couldn't take any pain reliever etc. We arrived at the hospital at 12:45. I was taken immediately back to get changed for surgery-I hate that part! I had to have blood drawn and the first girl missed twice. Darn! A second girl came while 'Evan' my anesthesiologist was chatting with me. He said he didn't need any blood work and told the girl to go away. I was glad. I don't think Evan has the greatest bedside manners but he made me laugh quite a bit.

The IV went in fairly easily and then I was wheeled into the O.R. I've never actually been aware while going into an O.R. I didn't like it. It's really cold, very bright and sterile and everyone is masked. I scooted onto the O.R. table and was laughing out of nervousness until Evan finally sedated me. He had me hold a mask over my mouth but I kept asking questions and moving the mask so he finally held it on tight till I was out.

I woke up while just leaving the O.R. and it was miserable. I think having surgery later in the day makes the anesthesia harder. Having had nothing to eat or drink for so long doesn't give your body anything to help cushion the effect of all of the drugs. It was tough.

I've heard most reports via Steve. Dr. N. said that surgery was very difficult. It took him an hour to find the needle and I had a significant infection in my foot from the needle. Dr. N said that he was ready to stop the surgery and keep me overnight and go back into surgery the next day with the aid of a CT scan. However, I had mentioned to him that my daughters were fasting for him (going without food or water for an extended length of time-the purpose being that the extra sacrifice will bring forth blessings from Heaven) that Dr. N would find the needle. When Dr. N thought of the girls he knew that he couldn't stop and so he paused, thought, repositioned the fluoroscope and found the needle.

My incision is over an inch in length and deep so it looks like I'll be down for the 6 weeks but we won't know for sure until Tuesday at my postop.

I have to say that I'm relieved at how little pain I feel. If I keep still then my foot doesn't bother me at all. If I have to get up then I'm in quite a bit of pain. So...I stay down!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Won't Believe This!

So...last night I was walking through the dining room on my clean, yummy carpets-barefoot of course. I am never, ever barefoot-it freaks me out a little bit. But last night, I was enjoying my clean carpets. I felt a really sharp scrape on the bottom of my foot, took a couple of steps and realized that something was wrong. I looked down and in that clean, yummy carpet I found this:
a broken needle with white thread.

I quickly realized that the other half of the needle was in my foot.

I tried getting it out but this was no splinter. I slept and then early this morning went into my ankle surgeon. He took x-rays and there was the other half of the needle-deeply imbedded in my foot.

Here's the You Won't Believe This! part; Are you ready? Are you sitting down yet? Okay! I warned you.

(opposite foot of the ankle surgery fame)
Wait, it gets better-based on how large the incision turns out to be I will be off of my foot for a minimum of two weeks but most likely 6 weeks. Again with 6 weeks!

I just started laughing and then I needed to throw up!

So...tomorrow is surgery...for a needle...that is lost in my foot...that will put me down for a few weeks...WAIT!!!!! I've already done this!

Wish me luck folks because this is getting old :) (I'll make sure to take pictures just so I can post the EWWWW! factor of this exciting mess.)

Monday, August 25, 2008


About 13 years ago I made a phone call that literally changed my life. We had just lost our 4th pregnancy and this last one was quite late in the game. The doctors had stated there was nothing they could do. I was beyond heartbroken and sad. I was empty. I had heard of a doctor who literally performed miracles due to his knowledge, innate abilities and kindness. I decided to call this miracle worker 'just in case' the other MD's were wrong.

It was a Friday morning. I dialed the number I had been given. I was scared and nervous. A voice answered. Her name was Anne. She was an angel-truly! The conversation went like this:

"Good Morning! This is Anne."

"Hi, I don't know if you can help me but..."

"Tell me what made you call."

"I just lost my 4th pregnancy and..."

"Oh Honey! I'm so sorry! That should never have happened. Tell me all about it."

"(me, bawling on the phone) I agree! That should never have happened!"

After giving her a brief history, she put me on hold. A few moments later, Dr. Kort himself got on the line and spoke with me extensively. Within a week I had met with a perinatologist and then was sitting in Dr. Kort's office. He had a plan! His plan was specific, arduous, at times painful, quite expensive and more than a miracle. Within a year of that phone call I was holding our first baby-Kylie Mckay. The first of 5 babies to come.

Through it all there was Anne! Constantly reassuring me that this is where hope was. I was in the care of gifted hands. Anne calling me on scary days, painful days, frightening days, happy days. Always Anne.

I haven't spoken with Anne in over 9 years-till today.

I have a friend! I called Anne on her behalf... (tick tock tick)

My friend has an appointment now in Atlanta with Dr. Kort. She says Anne is amazing. She is hopeful and excited. She is comforted by Anne. It reminds me of how I felt so many years ago. To be in the hands of a miracle worker and tenderly cared for by an angel. Anne!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Week in Review; Aug 17th-24th

It's been a very busy and eventful week. First off-Sam lost his first tooth. It came out and his tooth didn't bleed at all. He was so excited. This happened on Monday Aug 18th. The tooth fairy visited him that night and left his $1.50.

The next day, Kylie lost a molar tooth. Exciting stuff around here.

Sarah and her friend Becca found Paige's play makeup...this is the result.

I had my carpets cleaned on Wednesday...what an amazing difference that makes!

This past April, the girls auditioned to sing for the Everett AquaSox. It is the Seattle Mariners AAA ballclub here. They were chosen and sang 'God Bless America' this past Friday. They were at the 3rd baseline and sang right before the fireworks show. They did a great job. The only problem is that the batteries on the camera inexplicably died 41 seconds into the performance. I swear I checked and rechecked that camera to make sure there was plenty of memory, batteries etc. Darn that Energizer Bunny!

We are going to try to piece together something from that night, but for now here are some photos.

Afterwards since we were on the ball field the kids helped clean up balls from a game and partcipated in a Hula Hoop contest...Paige tied with another girl. I think they could have been there all night.
While at the ballgame, Sam was playing catch with his dad and a ball bounced up and smacked him on the lip-OUCH! This is what it looked like the next day.

We had lots of friends over to play this week. In fact Thursday and Friday we had 9 kids in and out of the pool all day. It was busy and wet. I've been working on my craft/music room and it's looking great! I love the wall color so much that I want to put it upstairs too! We installed the baseboards and started moving stuff back in. It's been an exciting, eventful and busy, busy week!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Midnight Swim-sort of

It has been really, really hot here in Seattle. Several days worth of 90 +degrees. I know that is laughable to many of you but we really aren't use to anything over the mid 70's. I kid you not. So, to help the kids cool off before heading to very hot beds, we've been encouraging them to jump in the pool...

Synchronzed Swimmers!

Even the baby got in the pool!

I love all of the different activities happening; Sam jumping, Lilly diving, Page and Sarah swimming!

Now Paige is jumping and Lilly has Sarah!

Between taking photos of the kids, I took some pictures of my pot garden that resides on my deck... Enjoy!

This is my herb and lettuce garden-basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, two different lettuces.

Carrots and a very sad strawberry plant

Cherry tomatoes. They are trying awfully hard to just hasn't happened yet :)

This is a picture of Sarah's toe. She insisted that I take a picture of it that night. Anything to make that fantastic child happy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cleaning Up and Out

Well, we've been busy cleaning. Not typical house cleaning-although that has been happening as well. I mean, the empty out the garage, sort, toss, give, reorganize type of cleaning.

First the GARAGE: people actually thought we were having a yard sale there was so much stuff we pulled out. Most of the stuff I hadn't seen since we moved in.
The photo shown is of the garage. All of this came out of it. It was a long day but the garage did become useable again and clean.

Second: the downstairs-wow! what a job. See here for a reminder. It is clean, organized and I sorted tons of stuff to the give away/throw away piles.

Coming in at THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH? all of the kids bedrooms-this was a 3 day process-dejunking happening everywhere! The kids are very happy with the results.

SIXTH you ask? Why it's the laundry room/bathroom-Egads! I had no idea the things I would find lurking in the dark recesses of this room...but no worries! It looks beautiful now.

I tell you, I am not done yet! Coming in at number is the fort-this is one of my favorite places on this property. It's the area underneath the upper deck of the house. Its closed in and pretty cool-When we moved in, all sorts of stuff got dumped here due to lack of knowing where to put it. I finally got around to going through it all. It's now a great play place for the kids with a giant chalkboard, a dollhouse, basketball hoop etc. , a storage place for all sports equipment and even has a table to use for games, eating etc. while enjoying shade in the outdoors. I love it! (the pile at you see at the end is stuff from my craft room-soon to be gone from here)

What? You say I must be done? No! no! I'm not done! Number EIGHT is the RV parking space-we don't have an RV. This was loaded up as the interim junkyard. One big trip to the dump and it's like magic! Poof! everything is gone. (okay the Poof! hasn't happened yet, but the space is now organized and ready to dissappear at a moments notice )

Please put on a sing songy voice while reading; Number NINE!!!! It's my Craft/Music room: this room was affected by a flood this past April. It's been in absolute CHAOS since then. The carpet is being installed this next week so hubby cleared out the entire room-no easy task I tell you. He's busy painting all of the trim white, installing new baseboards and painting the walls. I'm excited. I'll take a photo when it's done. Sometimes hard deadlines are a beautiful thing.

This photo actually makes it look pretty good. Trust me, it wasn't! the paint was all messed up and the carpet was EWWW! So, this is the post move out, pre paint photo.

TEN! TEN! TEN! Finally, my bookshelf in the kitchen. You know the one. The one that becomes the gathering place for everything like mail, books, paint brushes, missing mp3 players, coins, earrings, dvd's, tape (I'm naming a few of the items I found here). It is now a lovely bookshelf to look at.

Whew! We've been busy :) and does it ever feel good!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Well, tonight I made it down to Restoration Hardware to look at my perfect bedding. It is divine. I love everything about it. The price tag for everything is only $1100.00. I'm not making that up. So, I will live vicariously through the image of my perfect bedding and start looking for something that will do.

Do you ever get tired of having to settle for what will do? Sometimes I do. Do you? (and yes, I just used 'do' several times on purpose).
Good bye dream bedding. I hope you make sweet dreams for someone else...good bye!
good bye! goodbye!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I found it!

I found my perfect bedding~truly inspiring. I can see how the walls should be painted, the actual bed frame that I want. Everything. The local store even has one King size left. Wish me luck in figuring out how to get it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Sarah is in Sam's room getting ready for bed. She has put on his blue Power Rangers t-shirt and his basketball shorts.

Me: You look so cute!

Sarah: I not cute!

Me: Well then, what are you?

Sarah:(she pauses and thinks) I awesome!

You are awesome little girl! and I love you!
(Photo is Sarah as spiderman-Sam's spiderman costume of course!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Mountain of Clothes

Sarah has changed her clothes no less than 17 times today. She has taken off her shirt that many times-and not every time in the house. She has worn her older brother's shirts, her older sisters shirts and occasionally her own. She has removed her diaper at least the said amount of times-it's turned out to be an expensive day.
I've watched her pull her shirt off outside in front of all of the neighborhood kids at least 5 different times today. It takes her less than a minute to strip down to nothing!

Every time she takes her clothes off she has to get new ones...I'm left with my very own Clothing Mountain Range.
Sarah modeling Sam's shirt with her very own sweater acting as a hooded shawl.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Preface: Yesterday I went shopping at Lakeshore Learning, a divine place for learning. I purchased science kits-one on plants, another on the solar system. Two electricity kits-one basic, the other inventions. (which by the way, Sam has already powered a motor, a buzzer, made a switch from a paper clip and is having a great time). I bought other random things...spent way too much money but easily justified when it's spread out over 5 kids.

A conversation just took place between me and Paige:

Me: Wow! I spent alot of money yesterday on learning stuff. I could have bought a Wii.

Paige: Hmmm! Learning stuff? Wii? Learning stuff dings the bell!

Is that not the greatest statement ever?! Learning stuff dings the bell!

It's poetic, descriptive, memorable and is better than a thumbs up from Ebert and Roeper. I asked Paige where she heard that. She said "I'm pretty sure it came from me".

Learning stuff dings the bell! (I'm such a proud mama right now... she chose learning stuff over a wii- yea!!!! )

Friday, July 25, 2008

A bucket of swords

Last Saturday I went out yard sale-ing. I love to go to yard sales. I had a couple of items on my list-a mattress-which I found for $10. A bicycle-$10. Two kids wet suits-$10 and a bucket of swords-$5.

They were selling each sword for $1. I asked for the whole bucket and it was only $5. There were 23 swords in all. I brought them home to Sam and you would have thought he won the lottery.

Since the arrival of the bucket of swords, all of the neighborhood boys-8 in all, have been practicing for a war. We've been reading alot of Medivial Knights of the Round Table stuff, Civil War and Revolutionary War books. I believe that they are fighting a Knights of the Round Table war. They practice sword fighting every day. They choreograph actual fights. They have been making shields out of cardboard, bow and arrows out of sticks and string. They have decided that they need more archers than sword fighters because archers can stay alive longer due to being able to shoot and duck. The most surprising thing is they have requested 2 catapults.
They are very, very serious about this request. The specifications from them are: the catapults need to be 3 feet tall, moveable and be able to shoot large tinfoil canonballs across the cul-de-sac. I've been researching this online. There are lots of catapults that are little-not good enough for them they tell me. I've found one that is large made out of PVC pipe and I think I may adapt this one. From swords to catapults. I tell you, I didn't quite see this coming :)

Kylie's Quilt

Kylie is getting ready to head off to Girls Camp for the first time next week. She will be gone all week. AGH! How did she get so old? I'll keep pondering that on my own time.

She and I decided that she needed a quilt to commemorate her first camp experience. Kylie went through my fabric stash and picked out some darling fabrics. She has cut the fabrics into squares, laid out a random pattern and is in the middle of sewing the top. Kylie still needs to finish the squares, add the border, sew the backing and batting to the top, flip it and quilt it. We have a lot to do before Tuesday.
It's a joy to see her work so hard to accomplish such a fun task.
I'll post a photo when it's completed!

Observing Nature

I've always been fascinated with Charlotte Mason. I like narration, copywork and nature journals and I've used them all extensively. I've always thought about nature journals as just a way to get kids outside and see if they can observe and draw changes. I was so short sighted about this. I came across a post the other day that turned a light bulb on for me. The post is here. She quotes a famous scientist Richard Feynman and this is where the lightbulb happens...

"ALL of science is about trying to describe nature--whether it's biology or the known laws of physics. See, Nature is always out there, she's always doing what she does, and it's our job to try and trick her into revealing her secrets to us. It's a dance, because Nature doesn't always give up her secrets easily. You have to look closely at her; you have to experiment to really find out how she actually behaves!"

Science is about begins with nature journals and observing changes and describing through drawings and words what you see. Without knowing or understanding, by being in and around nature, you are in and around science! I love that!

Nature journals have a new meaning to me now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A great speech...

Trust the Children -one of my favorite blogs has a great post today about preserving creativity in children. He links here to a very thought provoking speech. I just finished listening and it is funny, creative, insightful, less than 20 min. and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Colored Pencils

Sam is playing with colored pencils right now-7 packs of colored pencils. Of all things to play, he is playing army. There seems to be a fierce battle happening between the red/oranges and the blue/purple/blacks. He just announced that the red/oranges are outnumbered. I asked by how many...he answered by alot. He's counting-the numbers are going too high and he's losing track. Oh... now he is lining the pencils up man to man. I can see his brain spinning. Aha! They are outnumbered by 7. Hmmm? What is he thinking now? "Mom I need the yellows to help out the red/orange team. "Why?" I asked. "So they'll be even." How do you know they'll be even" Wheels in the head turning...comparing soldiers "because each color has 7 soldiers! Duh! Yeah!"
The red/orange/yellow team has officially decimated the blue/purple/black team. Casualties lay all over the floor while those who have won are marching down the table held by a 6 yr. old fist.

Interesting how much problem solving and learning occurred...estimating, counting, sorting, adding...interesting.

Letting go

I'm finding it hard to let go of that which I'm comfortable with. Every year of homeschooling I have used K12. A great program that is rich in content, enjoyable to teach and learn and is laid out in such a way that nothing is missed (from a PS perspective). I take comfort in that. I'm familiar with that and I know what to expect with that.
I was talking to a mother today who is new to homeschooling and is using K12. It was so much fun to talk to her and share my 6 years of experience with the program. Help her let go of things that were taking over her day and how best to love the experience. When I got off of the phone with her I felt slightly panicked. I'm not using K12 next year. I need to let go...why am I letting go?
That's right! Because it doesn't suit two of my children and is destroying their love of learning. Because I have enough experience to provide them the environment which will enrich their lives. Because I'm willing to let go of something great for something more excellent. Because everything within me says it's time to let go. I can trust myself. I can trust my children.

This is really, really hard!

Monday, July 14, 2008

4th of July

Okay, I'm a week and a half late and a dollar short but I'm finally posting about the 4th. It was a great day!
It began with a ward (our local church congregation) breakfast over at a park. The kids brought their bikes and decorated them for a parade around the park. Men were busy cooking pancakes, eggs and bacon. There was fresh fruit and lots of OJ to go around. It's a great ward.
Then we did some work around the house. Hubby and I went shopping for a BBQ at our house later that evening. We invited our neighbors-the Martinez family-and Eddie and Mindee-over for a BBQ.

Our menu was: ribs-lots and lots of ribs, potato salad, fresh fruit-baked beans-corn on the cob-hot dogs and homeade ice cream and texas sheet cake. YUM!!!

Sarah and Mindee shared a lime for dinner...

We didn't eat till about 8:00. The kids swam and swam in the pool. We chatted and just had a great time.

Check out Sarah in the back corner of the above photo...close up of what she is doing follows.

The fireworks began at around 10:00. We live in a neighborhood that has amazing fireworks. I've never encountered anything like it. There are competitions between houses. The fireworks lasted until past 11:30-for real. They were HUGE!

During the fireworks the kids went out into the cul-de-sac and played with some fireworks that the neighbors purchased. Sparklers, shooters...stuff.

Smokin' Sam!

Me & Sarah

This is a crown that Kylie made from the firework debris.

It was a great night with great food and friends. Happy 4th of July!