Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Last night, LargeBoy had a sleepover with his Bestie CuteBoy--at CuteBoy's house (they eagerly did their jobs AT BOTH HOUSES to earn the privilege! WIN!). SmallDaughter is safely off to school. BigGirl stayed conscious all through seminary*, did her morning jobs and then went back to bed. I have done several jobs already, and I think I will follow my daughters stunning example and go take a nap! Ciao!

*Seminary this year is Old Testament, which is my favorite, and it is awesome!! I have such a great class! They are coherent and interested at 5:30am, and want to learn how to be better people. They absolutely ROCK!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well, we are officially in our "school groove". SmallDaughter started school a week ago. It is so different getting her ready for school. She has no understanding of time, so she doesn't get excited for things in advance. So instead of a week (or several) of anticipating the good and bad of school--it just happens. One day you get up, and after you get your clothes on and breakfast eaten--the van picks you up for school.

BigGirl and LargeBoy also started school. Boy was that mellow! I really love my own homeschool. Last year we did an online public school (their choice, not mine). It was, as I feared, the worst of both worlds--Mom doing all the nagging to meet someone else's schedule of busywork. This year, we are plucking the fruits that come from living in such an awesome technologically blessed time, and really enjoying ourselves.

I can't rave enough about
Khan Academy, which covers all of the math gaps that I worried so much about--and is self motivating! LargeBoy asked if he could have a thumb-drive of his very own, and I told him that I would buy him one after he earned an "Earth Badge" in math. I figured that was a goal that would take him about a week, which seemed reasonable to me. 40 minutes later, he triumphantly showed me his Earth Badge!

BibGirl spent her free time yesterday learning
how to say Hello in many different languages (and feeling pretty good about the fact that she already knew more Japanese and Korean than they posted on the site!), and playing a
strangely addictive geometry game.

We had our first morning of Seminary. It is Old Testament, which is my favorite. I love being able to see both "the big picture" of large groups of people and big expanses of time, and how God works in the lives of individuals--and how one person's choice can affect the entire world. Plus, it has the best heroes. I am a big fan of Joseph (Joseph in Egypt) and how he maintained his faith through EVERYTHING. Also Gideon. Also some of the less well known heroes--like Jonathan, who never let his pride get in the way of his love, and Jael, who knew the best way to drive her point home (ba-dum!)!

Life is good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Big Brag

Time is zooming by so fast, and I have (as always) so much going n, that it is hard to remember what I need to post about. So, here is a short review of how awesome my peeps (both animal and human!) really are:

At the fair:

Each of the 3 children did 2 projects. Each of them got Grade A Blue Ribbons on all projects. One of the children also went to the State Fair for their project AND their Demonstration. We also ended up with 3 silver platters, which are what they give instead of trophies for "Best in Class Overall".

The projects were:
LargeCousin & BigGirl both took the same projects--"Savvy Shopping", where they learned about clothing selection and care (including Laundry Care) and assembled a complete outfit from Thrift Stores, and then they modeled their outfit, and "Designing Interiors" where they learned principles of design and then used them in a room*.

LargeBoy did "Exploring Electricity" and can now tell you all about circuits and such (with a HUGE shout out to Mr. Ken, our dear friend--and electrician/teacher extraordinaire, who made the process painless!) He also did Meat Chickens, which are a whole category unto themselves. They are Cornish/Rock cross breeds (also known as "White Broilers". They are bred to grow to full size in 12 weeks. Normal chickens start laying at 20 weeks. They grow more than twice as fast as the layers. If you don't butcher them at 11 or 12 weeks, they start dying of heart attacks, because they grow so big!

The WonderDog has gone back to 4 Paws for a "tuneup"--just to brush up on his training.

The chicks we got this spring just started laying their super cute, tiny little pullet eggs. The eggs are smaller than ping-pong balls, and the yolks are the size of marbles, but they are perfectly formed, and very beautiful!

I got to spend the weekend with my sisters (two of them!) and it was great--but not enough time!

SmallDaughter has started back to school, and I am not sure how I like the new setup--they switched schools and teachers again, but this teacher is out on maternity leave, so we have a long term substitute...anyway, I am hoping for the best.

Early morning Seminary starts tomorrow. LargeCousin is in the Main Class, and I am teaching the "far hinterlands" class again--which includes my own BigGirl this year! I am super excited--it is Old Testament, which is my favorite!

*BigGirl did a much needed bedroom makeover. LargeCousin was planning on re-doing the room she was supposed to inherit from her brother, but circumstances...circumstanced, and she ended up redoing the tiny 1/4 bathroom off of her old bedroom. They both did a really good job--on rooms that REALLY needed redoing, and I am very pleased with the results--and with the girls, too!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Broken Hearts

I was going to post about the fair. About the triumphs shared by BigGirl, LargeBoy and LargeCousin. About my exhaustion. About BigGirl and LargeCousin's projects which involved repainting and redecorating a bedroom and a bathroom. About how proud I am of LargeBoy passing his Board of Review to become a Life Scout (the rank just below Eagle Scout), and being selected for the Order of the Arrow (kind of like the Boy Scout version of Honor Society). But all of those things were trumped by the news of the death of LargeBoy's scout leader.

Sometimes death comes as a sweet release at the end of pain and suffering, or the chance to be with all of the friends and loved ones who have gone on before. Of course we miss those people, but our pain is tempered and evened by peace. When needless tragedy strikes, it is much harder to assimilate--let alone to bear.

Aaron was 26, preparing to leave for his third tour of duty (twice to Iraq, this time to Afghanistan) next week. He left behind his sweet young wife and their son who turned one a week ago, and the baby girl who is due at Christmas. He also left a gaping hole in the hearts of the Boy Scouts who hero worshiped him.

What young man would not be in awe of a guy who could mountain climb AND skydive, who was an EMT as well as an Eagle Scout with 3 palms, who also played Saxophone, Volleyball and Basketball AND dated tons of girls (before he met and married a fabulous lady). He truly was an awesome roll model, because not only did he have "mad skills"--he was also a kind, good man. I hope my son can be a man like Aaron.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wise words from a wise woman

I am reposting this from "Casa Camisas", because she said it all so well. I like her comments, and I too loved Sister Chieko (however, I was in college when she became the RS General President).

One of my favorite people, Chieko Okazaki, passed away last week. I think I was 11 or 12 when she was in the general RS presidency, and used to get so excited when it was her turn to speak in LDS General Conferences -- her talks were always interesting, always engaging. I usually don't like trite online tributes to people who didn't really know me, but I came across a quotation from one of her talks (it's from a BYU devotional, years ago) and it touched me so much that I wanted to share. Sis. Okazaki was a person with a very strong personal relationship with Christ, and in this passage, she expounds on how women in particular can grow closer to Him:
"Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It’s our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don’t experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.
Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He’s been there. He’s been lower than all that. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief."