Saturday, November 7, 2009


I was reading through some of my journals earlier this week and it seemed that every entry began with "I need to be better about writing more consistantly in my journal." It seems I need to begin with that thought today.

So much has been happening here-lots of learning, cleaning, playing, reading, cooking, baking, knitting, teaching, creating, seems whenever I get a moment to blog, I instead use the time to wander around others blogs. For instance, I now own 'Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day' because of a blog. It is a magical book and I highly recommend it.
I also am the owner of 'The Pioneer Womans Cookbook'. She seems to make my days easier-lighter somehow.
But that isn't what this post is about. This is what this post is about:

A friend 'found' me via facebook the other day. A friend I hadn't heard from in 20 years. It was someone I met while I was serving my mission in Canada. I was so amazed to hear from her that I went and dug out my old journals from that time. For the next two days, every spare moment was spent reading in my journals. I was 21 and 22 yrs. old. Wow! What an experience that was. In some ways I was surprised by things I wrote-trivial things, seemingly meaningless things now, horrified at what I chose not to write about-moments that changed my very being-things that still affect me today and grateful for the times when I wrote with clarity the true feelings of my soul and the moments that I recorded when someone stepped into my life and changed me for the better. I'm so glad I recorded those moments of kindness, concern, boldness and humor.

After closing back up the journals I realized that I genuinely miss some people in my life! Best friends, funny friends, genuine friends. I decided that if MaryAnn could find me, I could find my people! I have found a couple of them. It's been 16-18 years since I've spoken with them and we've had so much to catch up on that I decided I would make a list of the 20 things that they either wouldn't expect or should know has happened.

So this is a list of 20 things for my long lost friends! (Hi! long lost's good to have you back)

1. I homeschool all of my kids-all 5 of them! At times I've had all in public school, some at school, some at home, all at home. They are all home now! I have 4 girls and 1 boy, ages 13-3

2. All of my children were born at home-(it's a fascinating story-how that one started-ask one day and I'll tell you)

3. I ran a piano teaching studio when we lived in Georgia that at one point had 160 students/week. Now that's a lot of teaching.

4. I still compose music and have quite a portfolio. I even have most of it in sheet music form now.

5. I went 13 years being perfectly healthy (except for pregnancies-which were a nightmare-but the deliveries were sweet)

6. I'm not perfectly healthy anymore :[

7. We've lived one year in SLC, 8 yrs in Georgia and 9 yrs. in Seattle.

8. We moved to Seattle because it was the furthest we could drive from Georgia and it has the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen.

9. I love to read cookbooks

10. I'm currently the primary chorister

11. I have served as an early morning seminary teacher and in every presidency imaginable on both a ward level and a stake level.

12. For extra income that wouldn't take me from the home I've made and sold quilts, taught quilting classes, sold Stampin' Up!, taught piano and voice, professionally arranged music.

13. I rarely make breakfast. But on Easter Sunday, I go all out! The menu? Eggs Benedict with cheese sauce, fresh fruit, O.J. It's a tradition

14. Other family traditions? Christmas Eve I cook a traditional Scandinavian meal-red potatoes with parsley and butter, carrots, red cabbage with bacon and apples, swedish meatballs with lingonberries, courve sausage, and these little sausages that I don't know the name of but my Norwegian butcher does. Also, my kids get new PJ's every Christmas Eve! We read the Christmas story, sing alot and play chimes. We always spend this evening at home and typically invite 1 or 2 families to join us.

15. My family loves games. We love Five Crowns, Shanghai, Speed Scrabble, Scattergories, Golf-the card game. My children are ready to play at a moments notice. (I love puzzles!)

16. I wish I prayed more, used a softer voice more, attended the temple more, read the scriptures more, laughed more, composed more, had time with my husband more, more, more.

17. I'm not afraid to knock down walls, install and fix electrical, plumb a bathroom, install septic pumps, fix the wiring in a stove, paint, hammer, and find people who really know what they're doing to make sure I'm doing an okay job. I've learned almost everything via Google! and learned even more through trial and error.

18. My favorite hymns: How Firm a Foundation, Press Forward Saints-Ohh! they make me happy!
My favorite rocker is Rob Thomas-oh my word! I love him!!!

19. We've only had one major hospitilization with our children in all of these years. Our son Sam was in the hospital for several days and had emergency surgery for a life-threatening illness when he was 4. We feel very fortunate that he survived and came away whole.

20. Over the past 18 years Steve and I have had amazing experiences, brutally difficult experiences and 'we will never be able to survive this' experiences. We've experienced pure joy and happiness and struggled with seemingly simple problems and conflicts. We continue to sometimes trudge, mostly walk and occasionally run down this road of life and marriage. We are grateful to be together, that we have beautiful, healthy and bright children, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is in our lives, that we live in a place of our choosing and the list can go on and on. I am blessed!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Okay, again my mom is being stubborn and is refusing to update! So, she asked me to do a quick overview for you guys! Here it goes!

-ALL 4 of us are homeschooling this year! Its been crazy around here!!!
-We went to the Puyallip fair and the Rodeo there! (TONS of fun!)
-My Aunt Rachel is Married! (my moms sister)
-Went on vacation for 3 weeks! (our longest vacation ever)
-Horsback Riding
-Computer Trouble:( (NOT good)

If you guys want more details, I post on my blog! The link is on the side bar!
Hopefully my mom will post soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What does 100 mean to me?

The number 100 is very interesting to me today. At times it represents how much weight I should probably lose. Other times it is the number I'm helping a child learn to count to-by ones, fives, tens etc. It seems to be the number of miles I drive in a day whenever I have the car. Today however it means something very different. It means heat, sweat, misery, longing for coolness and lots and lots of popsicles being eaten. Today the temperature where I live reached 101 degrees. This is a place where a hot day is considered 83 degrees. A heat wave is 3 days in the eighties. We have now had several days in a row feeling the agony of the upper 90's.

We do not have air conditioning. 90 % of the population here in Seattle does not have air conditioning. We have fans and really large windows that try to invite the sun in. Those windows are very good at their job and so? It is hot! (we wanted another fan yesterday but everyone was sold out. We hit Costco at the right moment as a worker was carting out a dozen fans they had just found. We got one of those. )

To help combat the heat today, I woke up early and duct taped tarps to my windows to cover them. I'm now the house with bright blue tarps duct taped with turquoise tape to my windows. Sweet! I think it helped. We've been living downstairs because it is cooler and a dozen kids have been living in my pool. In a 15 hour period 48 popsicles and about 30 otter pops have been consumed. No real food has been eaten because it is just too hot! Dinner was watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and costco rolls.

Have I told you it's hot? It's suppose to be hotter tomorrow! Uugh!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It Happened!

It happened! That moment that every parent dreads! The one where you think you know where your youngest is, but they aren't there. The one where every backyard is searched in the culdesac, a huge contingency of neighbors are searching, people are calling out her name, 911 is called, a description is given down to her shoes...that moment happened!

I can tell you this; you find out who your neighbors are and what a community can do quickly! You find out the kindness of 911 dispatchers and the gentleness of police officers! You realize that prayers are said desperately while standing in the middle of a road waiting for reports of roads searched. That for every second that passes, internal agitation and fear increase yet outward calmness seems to rule the hour.

It was a very long hour. The two little girls, ages 3 and 4 (the 3 yr. old being mine) told me that they were going to walk to the 4 yr olds house to see her bedroom. She lives very far away. I said no. They then told the 4 yr olds mother. She said no! They walked out the door and went anyways (no one knew they walked away). They crossed a busy road together-proud of themselves that they did it safely. They walked many blocks until the road came to an end. Then the 3 yr old knew she was lost. She began to cry. Someone called 911. The police were there in moments, the message was relayed to me -they were safe! A dad ran, a neighbor ran, 3 kids ran and bikes and vans from the search party converged on the place of safety- just to make sure it was true. I couldn't run. I stayed where I was planted-in the middle of the road desperately praying that it was them.

She safely came home to my arms. Many prayers were answered through the kindness of friends and strangers. I feel blessed!

I'm touched by those who offered up prayers in cars, on the sidewalks, while searching backyards. I'm even more touched that everyones concern was for the missing girls and not one comment was made to blame me for this difficult moment. Thank you for your kindness, true compassion and concern. I thank everyone who jumped in today to help. People are genuinely good!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


So...I've taken up knitting! I love it. I've knitted hats, leg warmers, little animals and stuff. I decided to take on a bigger project. This darling tee for Sarah. I made it about 30 rows into it-which is very complicated because of the way the directions are written, learning new definitions, and knitting this all in one piece-including sleeves-which I was in the middle of. I was looking over my progress and saw that on row 11 I made a MAJOR error! Do I leave it alone? NO!!!!!!!!!

So, I just ripped out the tee and am getting ready to start over! I sure am learning alot though :)
I'll post a picture when I have it done.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


When I began this blog, it was for the intent and purpose of keeping a journal of my family and our happenings...all so I could print out a book every year and have that be a scrapbook of sorts that represented us well...I haven't been doing a very good job that. Only two posts in June, 1 in May and now 1 in July. There is always room for let the improvement begin!

My (oldest? eldest?) daughter Kylie has been sending out a quote a day via email. Her quotes are well thought out. She searches great books, movies and great figures to find them. I told her she should have a Quote of the Day Blog because others would love these. So...without further ado, I give you Kylie's Quotes. Please visit her blog for little bits of humor, insight and happiness.

At this very moment I am sitting in the kitchen typing away on my laptop. I have strawberries with sugar doing that juicy, softening, sweetening thing that they do to my right. Behind me I have the cut off scraps that I just trimmed off of a soon to be Strawberry Shortcake Cake . To the left of me I have a tray of Texas Sheet Cake that I just cut into the cutest diamond shapes. Behind the laptop the cream cheese is softening for the frosting that will soon complete the strawbery shortcake cake. Sugar is spilled on the countertop, a small metal bowl has the strawberry tops in them, an orange plastic cup is filled with ice and Diet Coke with Lime, every fan is on in the house, all of the children are ouside swimming in the pool and life is good!!!

How's that for a run on sentence! Wow!!! We are spending the 4th celebrating with lots of good friends. Our family is in charge of desserts! At the party we will add homemade chocolate marshmallow ice-cream to the list of yummy, sweet things to eat.

(I have rephrased a few things in the next paragraph since originally posting. Just to hehlp clarify.)
This morning at a large church breakfast I had a really interesting conversation. It was about children and independence. I let my kids have quite a bit of independence. They go on long bike rides together. They go running together. They play out front without me and they swim in my backyard without my constant supervision. The question was "How did I know when to let them go? and how did I let them when the neighbors would question my parenting?" Parents seem to be extreme in their supervision in this area. I grew up in a large family with very little parental supervision but there was always sibling supervision. I know that some neighbors probably think that we are far too lax in the freedoms we give our kids. I'm willing to deal with those thoughts in order to help my children be independent in a safe manner. My reply was "If you micromanage your children then they will need to be micromanaged as adults. When will they be able to solve problems, take a stand or think on their own. Will they wait to be told what to think, what to do and how to do it?"

I then realized another aspect of homeschooling. My children are not micromanaged in learning. I use to micromanage that but have changed drastically over the past 18 months. All of my kids know that they are responsible for their learning. I will provide and be there every moment but it comes down to desire, motivation, context and often need. I also provide them experiences, lots of reading aloud, exposure to new things, the time, tools and mentors needed to explore many different subjects, talents etc.

I don't want any of my children to grow up having become comfortable being micromanaged in any way, shape or form.

My thoughts from breakfast :)

Since beginning this post, there has been an hour pause. In that hour, the strawberry shortcake cake has been completed-it is beautiful!!! Texas Sheet Cake has been plated, 20 carrots cut into sticks, 20 stalkes of celery cut into stalks, 4 cucumbers sliced on a mandolin (my husband cut his thumb very deeply using the mandolin-darn!), broccoli and cauliflower ready for the veggie trays and I chatted with the neighbors outside while watching my 3 year old streak through the street buck naked! I guess she is stating her independence :) Gotta love it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Message From Kylie

This is Chari's daughter Kylie speaking:

I am sorry that my mother is not posting on her blog! We have done TONS since the last time she posted! Camping, Talent Shows, Day Camps, Adjudications...
Your guys job is to comment on this blog and tell her she needs to post(she wont listen to me) and then she will post!!!
THANK YOU for your help!!!
I know you guys love this blog and so do I!
-Kylie (her 13 year old daughter)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm so tired of seeing my last post that I'm stopping by to just chat! Hi! So, happenings in this house have been:

Sam turned 7. I love him! He continually challenges me in my thoughts and parenting skills. He is creative and bright and funny and I adore him! He says the funniest things. Today he was next door with me while I was chatting me the mom. He suddenly said "Mom, I have to go home! There is a damsel in distress!" and out the door he went. He cracks me up!

Mothers Day: I'm so blessed to have my 5 beautiful children. I often feel overwhelmed at the responsibility and duties which I have to help them learn to traverse this very interesting world! They are delightful, challenging, funny, helpful, kind, amazing musicians and I'm glad they are mine. I spent a good portion of that day thinking of all the years that I yearned for children and didn't have them. It's amazing how life changes :)

I know how to knit! I am a beginner only but I can: Cast on, knit, purl, cast off, kss, add one, yarn over...I love it, love it, love it! I've knitted a ball, a washcloth, a pair of leg warmers for Sarah and I'm working on leg warmers for Lilly. I've discovered Debbie Bliss and ravelry. I love, love, love them both! I want to knit socks, sweaters, hats, gloves, and the cutest little elephant I found yesterday. Did I tell you that I love to knit?

I'm back in an ankle brace-Darn! Tarpal Tunnel. PT, lots and lots of ice, some shot therapy-Darn!

I am however walking about 4 miles a day now-I know because of my lil' pedometer. I have a favorite walk that is just over 3 miles. I've walked it everyday this past week. It's great mental therapy for me.

For those that know me, I'm a pianist. Bring it on and I can do practically anything on the piano. I however am not an organist. I've had to play the organ twice at church this past month for sacrament meeting. Oh, the stress! The duress! The agony! Alright, it wasn't that bad but it is the organ :)

I made the cutest-and I mean the cutest-puppies for a baby shower. I made them out of chenille, flannel, felt and they were one of the hits of the baby shower. (don't you wish I had a picture?)

I made fried chicken for the first time. It needed a lot more seasoning-not sure it was worth the oil, calories or time.

Whew! I feel caught up now...till next week! Promise!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jon asked for my help

I have a good friend from ages ago. His name is Jon Schmidt. Many of you have probably heard of him and his stuff. If you haven't, you should! He is an AMAZING pianist, composer, performer, recording artist, teacher and friend. We met in college at the University of Utah. He was my accompanist when I use to perform alot. He even played at my wedding reception. He has asked for my help and so I am asking for your help!

He has a new youtube video that he would like to get into the eye of the 'public'. I just watched it and it's great. Typical Jon Schmidt, whimsical and you just want to keep on listening.

Please take a moment and enjoy his stuff. He is truly gifted and he's my friend (who asked for my help :)

Also, head over to his site HERE and listen to WATERFALL. It's SOOOO much fun to play!
Thanks friends! I know I can count on you! (okay, that is a mothers guilt comment-but in my defence, I am a mother of 5 ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Farm Monday at the Big Red Barn

My kids and I go to a farm every Monday and participate in a small 4-H club. We are learning how to raise chickens, sheep, rabbits and goats. It's a great time for all.

Since we began this adventure in January, 6 baby lambs have been born. We have been responsible for going on two different days and taking care of all of the feedings. Trust me-that's alot of animals to take care of. It took us just under 3 hours to feed and water all of the animals.
There are about 80 chickens/roosters,

24 sheep,
6 baby lambs,

8 goats and 3 rabbits.

Normally all of the kids work outside together taking care of the evening feeding. They will work with their specific animal-holding it, walking it, bonding with it. (the kids will eventually attend the fair in August and 'show' these animals in front of judges) Then the gang will go inside and learn more 'stuff'. Lila and Dave who run this club are great! Some kids want to learn to sew, cook, knit etc. We've taken care of all of those things at our home so my gang is focusing on animals.

We love Farm Monday. We've worked through rain, snow, sun, wind, rain, rain, rain...we love it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's Knitting Wednesday

Okay, when I wrote this it was Wednesday. It is now Thursday! I'm still keeping the title as is ;)

We knit! We especially knit on Wednesdays! A good friend offered to teach me and my girls how to knit and she has brought more to the table than I could have ever dreamed of.

We have learned about the different types of fibers and touched all of them-from angora to cashmere to camel. So much fun.

We have opened and spun a silkworm.

We made our own spinners and we know how to use them. This is the silk from the silkworm that has been spun by Paige into useable silk. (Wow! Figure out that sentence :)_)

We have combed two different types of fibers together to make them one. We've blended colors by combing. We've felted wool and made little orbs-we consider this our own solar system.

And now? we are knitting. We're knitting balls using 3 different colors-Today we are going to learn how to cast off and we will finish the ball. Then a new project will come. All from my friend! We love Wednesdays! (I've lost the camera with the photos of the current knitting project. I'll post a photo when I find the lost camera.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009


March 13-14, 2009
I'll let the pictures do the talking :)

Kylie just realized that she is not going to go get braces. A different surprise awaits her!

A great little birthday book that announces a drive to Portland Oregon where a hotel stay awaits and tickets to Wicked! Surprise is an understatement.

The family outside of Keller Auditorium. It's getting exciting!

The stage before the show begins-we had amazing seats!

While walking back to the hotel (the beautiful waterfront Marriott), we passed by the stage door and saw that all of the actors were leaving. We stayed and met all of the actors. They were sooo generous and kind. They signed the girls playbills and took photos with them. Here is the Wizard!



We waited the longest for her. She had to shower all of her green makeup off. Truly worth the wait.


I can't begin to tell you the excitement we all felt as we finished walking back to the hotel. We met them! The amazing actors who transported us away for three hours to a wonderful world of song, dance, love, betrayel, cheers, tears and applause.

We were on this grand adventure with our dear, dear friends Eddie and Mindee. Here we are enjoying a midnight dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. YUM! YUM! YUM! Kylie of course ordered a club sandwich-her favorite.

Talk about string cheese!

Perfectly Wicked T-Shirts to end a perfectly Wicked Weekend!

Love you, girls!

Sam the Author

Yesterday Sam asked if he could publish a book. I said of course! I've been waiting and waiting for my 6 yr. old son to show any interest in reading or writing of any kind. This seemed to be an interest. I sat at the computer and Sam dictated a story to me. ( I found it very difficult to not edit his words or sentence structure but I stayed true to his words.) He broke it down into chapters, drew pictures to go with each chapter and was very specific about titles of chapters, names of characters etc. It was a great experience. We then printed it out and put it in book form. He's asked his sisters, dad and me to read it to him several times since yesterday morning.

This morning Sam woke up early. He was ready to publish book 2 in his series. We just finished. He was better organized this morning. He would draw a picture for a chapter before we went on and label it with the corresponding chapter number so there would be no confusion later in assembling the book. I was very impressed with his use of appropriate, descriptive language. I can't share that with him so I'm sharing it here.

His books are about war; the China War to be specific. It begins in 2009. Here is a snippet from book 1 (5 chapters) and book 2 (6 chapters). Keep in mind that Sam does not read. We read aloud ALOT in this house and watch great history channel shows and documentaries and lots of other stuff that is just plain entertaining.
Book 1 The China War
Chapter 1
Ready for Battle

It all started when we were in Germany. While fighting the Germans a new Air Force arrived in the skies. It was China! We were surprised and shocked by the attack coming from the air. The Chinese attack was vicious and they were after our leader, Sergeant Daniel.

Daniel barely avoided destruction by jumping out of his airplane using his trusty parachute. Co-Captain Jackie also jumped to safety. Once on the ground they avoided capture by Chinese officers. They got low in the grass. They were quick to shoot and quickly ran to the woods to find cover.

Once in the woods, Daniel and Jackie called base camp. Their instructions were to sit tight! And stay put! A rescue team was on its way.

Two hours and twenty minutes later Daniel and Jackie could hear the thump, thwump, thump of the tank. With the tank came 20 men, including their long time friends, Jackson, Cody and Zack. They were rescued.
Book 2 The Revenge of China
Chapter 5
Support Arrives

We got help with 1,000,000 men. From the British we got 8080. We were ready to strike the enemy dead.

We charged the enemy with our bayonets. They were surprised and responded. Their 19 tanks fired. Our 18 tanks fired back. We destroyed them. We destroyed their hope.

We entered the enemy camp. It was surrounded by enemy soldiers. We weren’t afraid. We were going to take back our ground.

We lost 101 men. They lost 888 men. Finally, the Air Force came and bombed, bombed, bombed the enemy. We were winning!

Chapter 6
China Retreats Again

It was Friday. We won the war. We smashed our enemies. We crushed them with our heart. We fought with our bravery. Many comrades fell but we did win. I was happy about it all.

We were very sad we lost so many of our friends in the first war. We faced the consequences. We knew what would happen in the war. I lived in this war also. I stayed with the Air Force. My new friends and some of my old friends served with me in the Air Force. Some of my new friends served in the Navy. I love my friends. This was the day we fought together in bravery with all of our soldiers.

The End!
I think his use of descriptive words is quite amazing. The numbers he uses cracks me up. It shows his experience in the world of numbers and his age well.
This is a good day for us. I've had to be very patient with Sam and his interests and be okay letting go of 'traditional' learning. It has been hard every day to let him be. These last couple of days are a payoff for that patience. He is loving this. He is already thinking out the plot of book 3 in the continuing saga of The China War. I'm so pleased.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Very Happy Birthday

Today my beautiful daughter Kylie is 13. My first born is a teenager. Moments I have been reflecting on all day:
1. A favorite family story revolves around the day Kylie was born. My water broke at 5:30 a.m. I was so excited. We knew she was coming. Steve was a senior in college and this day happened to be the day of his finals. I began laboring at about 8:30 a.m. Steve called all of his professors by 9:00 a.m. and asked if he could come right away and take his finals due to my being in labor-two of them were that afternoon-All of his professors said stay with your wife, have a baby and Congratulations! They all gave him A's.

2. The moment she was finally in my arms. We had waited for such a long, long time. It was such a peaceful delivery. Only two midwives, my husband and myself were present. I was on the daybed. Steve helped deliver her and there she was-in my arms. I kept her for hours and hours. Every day getting to hold her, read to her, sing to her, rock her, walk for hours on end with her were a dream come true.

3. The first book I ever read to her was 'Go! Dog, Go!' She was three days old. OHHHHH such a happy, happy moment. (I had been building a family library since the time we had married. Every month I would purchase one book to add to it-it accumulated quickly over those years.)

4. On reflection, I think she might have been a very colicky baby, but we were so happy to have a baby we thought she was perfectly divine. The one thing that would always calm her was to walk her to a small grove of trees that was on our block. She would stare and stare at the trees and would immediately react in a peaceful way. I used to tease her that she must have been a tree architect in heaven before she came to earth.

5. Kylie was 21 months old when we left her with a babysitter for the first time. It was the week before her sister was born. I never had the desire to leave her, I never wanted too and I never, ever let random people just hold her! Ever!!!

6. Kylie's 2 year old birthday party was AMAZING! We threw a carnival for her. It included cookie decorating, go fish, sand sculptures, musical chairs, a huge clown with balloons that my dear friend Tami made and a carousel cake that I made. We haven't thrown a party like that since ;) First borns-it's amazing what we get out of our system with them.

7. When Kylie was 4 years old, all she wanted for Christmas was a bookshelf filled with books. Santa complied :) She has loved reading, learning, exploring and engaging herself in scholarly ways since I can remember.

8. Kylie learned to read in October when she was 6. We worked for three weeks together playing some games every day and she was reading. Three weeks after that she read the entire 'Little House on the Praire Series'. Her next series was 'Chronicles of Narnia'. I haven't been able to keep her sufficiently supplied in books since!

9. When I began homeschooling, Kylie would get up every morning and be sooo excited for learning that day. We would do a whole day of school and she would want more...and more...and more. I could never bore her if there was learning to be had.

10. Kylie was by my side for the births of her other 4 siblings. She remembers all of these births. She was calm and quiet. She would pat my shoulder or rub my back. She would bring me a drink-I was glad she was there.

11. Kylie loves to play games. Scrabble, Speed Scrabble, Yahtzee, Carcasonne, Sudoku, Five Crowns, Rook, Golf...I could go on and on and on. She loves to play games

12. I love the fact that Kylie is never frightened or hesitant to go into a new situation or environment. Her first time attending public school didn't concern her at all. Her first time sleeping away was exciting, Her first time going to week long camp-thrilled! I LOVE, love, love that about her. Kind of a 'Bring it On' attitude.

13. The simplest things make Kylie happy; telling a new story from my life-any type of story-she just wants to hear one, hanging out with adults and being a passive listener or a part of the conversation, hanging out with friends, watching a good episode of T.V., a good book and music!

I love you Kylie! You are bright, studious, reflective, kind, musical, responsible, a great story teller and I love you very, very much. I'm honored to be your mother!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who Decides?

I've been thinking a lot about relevancy. Who do we allow to decide what is relevant in our lives? Who decides what is relevant learning? Having spent almost a year in a far more unstructured 'schooling' atmosphere (which has made for a far more continual learning atmosphere because learning is never placed on a book shelf when completed) I believe that much of what we are told must be learned is irrelevant! I'm watching my children sprout in unexpected ways-I'm letting them sprout, encouraging them, occasionally steering them but mostly providing resources to their interests. All of this is relevant to them individually. Almost none of it is prescribed by 'educational benchmarks'.
I do not believe that you have to write an essay every day for 10 years to eventually become a thoughtful, understood writer. I believe that when the need arises, a 'student' will then work voraciously to master that task. There will be purpose and relevancy at that point. To force it any earlier is a mistake. Hmm! I find it fascinating the changes that have occurred in myself over the past year-It's been a surprising experiment in listening to the needs and desires of a child and following through on those needs and desires versus what the world tells us is necessary for that child.
Enlightening, fascinating, at times frightening and empowering!

The wait is over

Well...out of 25 eggs, not one of them hatched! What a total bummer. We candled the eggs today to try and figure out what happened. It seems that most of the eggs were infertile to begin with. We had a spike in temperature on day 8 and I'm wondering if that ended the process for our poor little eggs. The kids are determined to have this experience so we are going to try again. I just need to figure out where to get the eggs this time around! Life experiences-always interesting!

Monday, March 9, 2009

We're Waiting with Anticipation

It's day 21 in our egg incubation experiment. This is the day that the chicks are suppose to hatch! We are watching and waiting with bated breath...I'll post photos if any of them begin hatching. Wish us luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Post Trauma

It's Monday! The sky is blue and sunny. It's chilly but sunny...a good type of day here in Seattle. Thank you for all of the personal emails regarding my trauma of last week. I'm posting the follow up that has been requested, demanded, needed etc.

So...the story goes like this...Thursday morning came early with a light snowfall. I personally thought that was a perfect reason for not showing up for my surgery but my husband reminded me that my dentist lived a mile from our house and he would know about the area snow. If he can make it, then I can make it! Rude of him, I thought! So off we went.

Once at the office, I was pulled back into the room. I'm pretty sure I started having a panic attack. Bart came in and I was sitting on a bench. I started crying. I did not want to do this. He understood, let me cry for awhile. I guess he knew I'd give up eventually-it actually only took about 15 minutes for me to get in 'the chair'. Pretty good considering. Once I got in the chair, Bart was fast! He was getting me numb within a moment. From there I didn't feel anything. Bart kept talking, I kept trying to breathe slowly. The surgery took about 45 minutes. Bart said it went well and we'll have to wait and see if the bone takes the graft. We'll take x-rays in 6 months and then again in a year. Hopefully it works.

I came home, took lots of drugs - prescribed of course and did my best to sleep it off. I'm still taking pain medication but not as often and it's sore but not as bad as I was thinking it would be. The best part? It's done! Thanks for all of the thoughts sent my way! It truly is a traumatic thing for me but I'm trusting a little bit more after this surgery.

Everyone have a great day! I'm off to scrapbook!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I have HUGE dental phobias! I have had the worst luck with dentists, procedures...everything associated with the evil career. The thought of having to see a dentist makes me want to throw up. I start panicking, shaking and just want to die! Are you getting the point yet that I am terrified of all things dental?
Well, tomorrow I have to have not just a procedure but surgery. I guess I have a hole in my jaw bone that is getting larger and it is infected. It's been bothering me for a very long time but I have that phobia thing going...
I'm actually good friends with an endodontist and over the past couple of months he's been trying to get me to go see a colleague of his...I haven't done that. I genuinely can't! Huge trust thing I my friend scheduled surgery for me and is doing the procedure tomorrow himself.
Since he scheduled this I've had non-stop nightmares. I'm not kidding. I wake up trying to run away as fast as I can. I'm tired and stiff and sweating. If I think about it, I begin to cry.

I've lived in Israel during a time of conflict! I didn't cry due to fear! I've delivered 5 babies naturally-never cried due to fear. Tell me I have to have a procedure done at the dentist, I cry like a baby!
Okay, I will admit, it is a big deal oral surgery. I will be awake for it...and I'm sure crying like a baby!
Tomorrows going to be a bad, bad day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Douglas H. Smith, the only grandfather I've ever known

Two weeks ago I got a call I knew would be coming sometime soon. Doug Smith had passed away. My heart was saddened. I called Barbara right away. I love them. When I was in my teens, they moved into our neighborhood. They had 3 grandchildren living with them and I became very good friends with their granddaughter, Julie. I was adopted into that household as one of their own grandchildren. Doug and Barbara have been a part of my life ever since. When Steve and I were married, it was Doug who performed our marriage. It was Barbara who sat on one side of me in the temple acting as my surrogate grandmother. When big problems have arisen I've gone to them for counsel. It is always wise counsel. I love them with all of my heart.
I decided I needed to be at Dougs funeral so I packed up the five kids and drove to Utah for a few days. It was a great trip...I'll post more about that later.

The funeral was so beautiful. Presiding was Pres. Thomas S. Monson, the prophet and president of the LDS church. He spoke and Elder Packer spoke. On the stand sat Elders Holland, Ballard, Scott and Nelson. The spirit was strong and I was so grateful we choose to go. At the gravesite, Pres. Monson spoke to every child-including my own. He shook their hands, gave hugs and smiled lots. I feel so honored and priviledged to have this amazing family in my life.

Some Doug stories...Doug and Barbara LOVE playing Rummikub. Sunday nights you could find Barbara, Julie, myself, sometimes my brother Paul, Jeff or Trent gathered around the table with our tiles and boards. Doug would walk around the table making little sounds when we made a lousy move or helping us make a brilliant move. My family plays Rummikub and I always think of Barbara and Doug.

When Steve and I were about to get married, I panicked a little bit. We were literally in the elevator heading up to the sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple and I told Doug I was going to say 'No!' He simply said 'Chari, when I look at you, you will say Yes! Nothing else. You love this man. You have prayed about this and this is not the time to back out-that was yesterday! Say Yes!'
I said yes and here we are 19 years later!

Doug was the President of Beneficial Life Insurance. He had 3 different offices in the BL Tower as I recall. Julie and I would go meet him for lunch and whenever we did, he always made sure he was in the office on the highest floor...the one that was used for VIP's. It was always so much fun to be able to go up there and be treated so importantly.

Doug could also type 120 words per minute. That is sooo fast. I type 90 WPM and I've tried to reach his speed.

I feel so grateful to have had his influence in my life!

News articles and His obituary follows...

Douglas Hill Smith
May 11, 1921 ~ January 29, 2009
Douglas Hill Smith, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, devoted church leader, noted business executive and wonderful friend passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, January 29, 2009 of causes incident to age.

Douglas was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 11, 1921 to Virgil Howarth Smith and Winifred Pearl Hill Smith. He graduated from South High School in 1938 and from the University of Utah in 1942, where he was affiliated with the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He married Barbara Jean Bradshaw on June 16, 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple, with President David O. McKay officiating. Douglas and Barbara have seven children; Sandra J. Smith; Lillian S. Alldredge (Claron); Barton D. Smith (Louise); Lowell V. Smith (Lynne); Blaine K. Smith (Rebecca); Catherine S. Faulkner (Carl); and B. Sherilynn Alba (Hector). He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and his brother Howard H. Smith (JoeAnn), brother-in-law Thomas Rodney Bradshaw (Joan), and sister-in-law Helen Bradshaw. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Ashley Ann Faulkner, his parents, and his brother Virgil H. Smith. Douglas and Barbara have 39 grandchildren and 78 great grandchildren. Douglas took great joy in his posterity. His exemplary dedication and generosity to every family member was an outstanding example of his role as a loving patriarch.

Douglas was president of Beneficial Life Insurance Company, Utah Home Fire Insurance Company, and Southern Reinsurance Exchange. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of L.D.S. Hospital (10 years) and Chairman of the Utility Shareholders Committee. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Zions First National Bank, Hotel Utah, Freedom Foundation - Valley Forge, Salt Lake City and County Board of Health, Murdock Travel, Western American Life Insurance Company, Continental Western Life Insurance Company, and Pacific Heritage Life Insurance Company. He was vice chairman and executive vice president of Deseret Management Corporation. He also served as the vice president of the Boys Scouts of America, Great Salt Lake Council and American Cancer Society.

Douglas was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a firm conviction of its teachings and an unshakable testimony of Jesus Christ. He served in many positions in the Church, including service as Elders Quorum counselor and president, High Priest Group Leader, Bishopric Counselor (Edgehill Ward), Bishop (South Edgehill Ward), Counselor and Stake President (Hillside Stake), Regional Representative, a member of the First and Second Quorums of Seventy, Area President of the Asia Area, and Temple Sealer. He demonstrated an absolute commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was a leader in building the Kingdom of God. He had a particular love for the people of the Far East.

Friends may visit Larkin Mortuary,260 East South Temple St.,Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 12 noon at the Ensign Second Ward, 135 North “A” Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, where a viewing will be held one hour before the service. Interment will be in the Salt Lake Cemetery

I've Been Tagged with lots of guilt attached :)

Okay, so my buddy Kristin has thrown the gauntlet at me and let me know that not only did she tag me, but she knew I wouldn't accept the tag. Kristin has ALWAYS known how to get me to respond's the competiveness swirling through my soul. :) So, whoever I tag, it's Kristin's fault!

Here goes:

Here are the rules:
Post rules on your blog
Answer the six '8' items
Let each person know by leaving them a comment

8 favorite TV shows:

Burn Notice!!!!!!!!!! It's the BEST! USA Thursday nights
Top Chef
30 Rock
Dragons Den

8 things I did yesterday:

Set up the incubator for chicken hatching
Assembled 20 bookmarks for a youth event tonight
Played a game of ZUMA
Babysat 7 extra kids for several hours
scrubbed black paint out of my NEW carpet-it came out!
Made at least 15 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
taught piano lessons
Chatted with Eddie and Mindee till midnight

8 things I'm looking forward to:

Friday to come and go without Steve being laid off (Boeing is laying off 10,000 workers on Friday-EEK!)
My kitchen renovation completed
My walls painted (they are in that weird in between stage of patches, old color, primer etc)
Sam reading on his own
Sarah potty trained
Recording my girls singing this weekend
My hubby coming home from work
Burn Notice on Thursday night :)

8 favorite restaurants:

Cheesecake Factory
China Garden
Anything Laura A. puts her culinary skills to (you know who I'm talking about)
The Keg
I can't think of any more so 6 will have to do.

8 Things on my wish list

I was 100 lbs. lighter
My ankle and foot wouldn't cause me pain every day
I had a closer relationship with my brothers
I could go away with Steve for a few days
I met Rob Thomas (I love him) (Matchbox Twenty for those who don't know)
I had unlimited funds for purchasing learning supplies
We had a complete two year supply
All of my children were strong readers, loved math and sought out learning at every turn...Ahhh! a mother can dream.

8 people I tag (don't hate me):

Sarah O.
Kim M.
Rebecca L.
Rebecca P.
Whitney B.
Amanda H.
Mari L.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chemistry Revisited

I surprise most people who know me when they find out that my undergraduate major was biochemistry. I would say degree but that would be an overstatement of just 3 more classes. Most people assume that I majored in some sort of music category. Not true! I love the sciences. I always wanted to be a doctor. I worked in the medical field for many years and loved the challenge of the schooling associated with medicine. I obviously ended up choosing a different path in my life. But I still love the sciences!

Today, I was perusing this chemistry course and signed up for a free trial. I wanted to see what I remembered and I wanted to stretch my mind in that scientific/math stretching kind of way. It has been a fun, fun day. I couldn't believe how much I had forgotten but within the hour most of it had come back to me and I was zooming through problem after problem. Maybe I need to go finish up those last 3 classes? It's a thought!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Game

While perusing one of my favorite blogs, I read about this Colorku game. It's a sudoku game that instead of using numbers, you use colors. I thought it looked like a lot of fun but my $ was all gone. So, my girls and I sat down one day and made our own version. It cost us less than $2 and has been a huge hit. I used clear flat marbles, a circle punch and cardstock. We glued the circles on the bottom of the marbles. They dried in just a few minutes. I then went online and generated sudoku puzzles in very easy, easy and medium. I made up my own sudoku grid and instead of putting in numbers put in a color. I printed out the puzzles-1 per page and placed them in page protectors in a binder. I have 30 puzzles that I made if anyone wants a copy. We have made 3 game boards for us. I had a box that a scrapbook came in. It had a natural grid as you can see. I simply drew the lines with a sharpie.
We sometimes all work on different puzzles or race each other using one puzzle. It's been so much fun. It seems like someone is playing the game at all times. I'm making a magnetic version as well (placing magnets on the back of the marbles and then making a grid on a sheet of metal-it will be good for traveling, bedtime etc.)
Thanks for great ideas!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bedtime Stories

My family is on a very late night schedule. Kylie is the only one that puts herself to bed early on in the evening. She has to get up very early-the rest of the children don't. There isn't enough of me to go around in the evenings and normally it makes for a very loud, hard to calm evening. That is until this past week.

A few months ago I picked up some mp3 players for $5.00 a piece. I bought 4 of them. This week I discovered that my local library system has a Digital Media Center. I can check out audio books and music and download them right to my computer for three weeks at a time. The kids and I went through the list of available books and they all chose books they felt they would like to hear. Each night, I load 1-2 hours worth of reading onto each of their mp3 players. They head to bed at 9:00, listen till done, go to sleep and can't wait for the next evenings chapters. Even the two year old has her own player. She loves it.
With all of these books, we are still in the middle of reading three different chapter books during the day.
This weeks listenings: Land of Elyon Book 1, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Keeper of the Grail bk 1, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Dr. Seuss Collection, The Diamond of Darkhold bk 4 Ember Series and Anne of Green Gables.

I'm enjoying the quieter evenings, Kylie is loving the quieter atmosphere and I'm getting a little more time with hubby. It's been a good, good thing!

For Kylie

My daughter Kylie would like me to post that she is amazing! Kylie you are amazing! There, I've now posted about you at least 4 times! Love you...

Is it really January?

Okay Okay! I'm now getting private emails from friends to please update my I'm going to get back on the blogging bandwagon as of NOW! My laptop is still dead and I realize I'm awfully dependant on it for blogging.
My first updates are about learning. A couple of months ago 'Lapaz Home Learning' had some posts that really inspired me. I copied her idea for idea for a few days and have since branched out on my own. Three days a week I put out trays filled with different activities. They explore concepts in art, math, science and literature. I let the kids decide if they would like to explore the trays. They seem to always want to. Sometimes the same tray is out for several days because the kids keep coming back to it or have asked it to stay out so they can get to it. It's been really fun for me to think of ways to help their natural curiosity.
Again, I stole several of these ideas directly from Lapaz Home Learning-you can find her under my learning links.
For this tray I printed out different photos and labels of clouds. On the back side were facts about that type of cloud. I placed cardstock squares, cottonballs, glue and a pen. This was the result...
On the backside of these are the type of cloud plus one or two facts. The kids have been naming clouds nonstop since this activity.

Another tray:
I put out a couple of different Dr. Seuss books. We read them aloud-each taking turns. Then the kids made their own characters for a Dr. Seuss book. This was a really fun day and everyone got involved. Some of the kids even made up their own 'scenes' for their new characters to act out. The result:

The building tray...
has lots of architectural stuff on it. Clays, tools, sugar cubes, glue, books-all to inspire dimensional thinking. A result: This tray we spent days playing with. It started out with dimensional wood shapes-spheres, cubes, pyramids etc. toothpicks, marshmallows and dots. Dots were much more stable than marshmallows.

This hexagon was so stable we actually could roll it across the table.

This was our DOTS/MARSHMALLOW CARNIVAL. We had a very stable bridge, buildings, ferris wheels etc. So much fun!

Some more trays:

This is Sams artwork using the watercolor crayons.

Bingo-this is to help Sam with his larger numbers. It's been a great way to practice those numbers without him knowing it.

We had so much fun building the dimensional shapes that we started a study on crystals. This is the beginning of a Ruby Geode.

This was another art day focusing on butterflies.

Math with tangrams and geoboards. I made a set of tangrams for each of the kids out of foam. They constantly play with this.
Okay! It feels good to post again. My purpose in posting is to keep a record of our family happenings. I just needed to remind myself of that. See y'all tomorrow. You're going to LOVE the game I made. We are addicted to it. See ya tomorrow.