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!