Sunday, December 20, 2009

Overcoming the Natural Man

This week I was memorizing Mosiah 3:19 "The natural man is an enemy to God...and will be forever and ever...unless he becometh a saint." We had a painful opportunity this week to overcome the natural man. I went out Christmas shopping and left older children home babysitting. While I was out, the older children fell asleep, and Anna was left to her own devices. She found some blue craft paint and painted her whole body and one wall in the hallway. She also wandered around the house, leaving blue tracks wherever she went. Then she woke up one of the babysitters, saying "Look at me!" Attempts to clean her up left the bathroom blue, as well. Sigh. Aren't we grateful for toddlers, and teenage babysitters, who give us so many chances to "become saints"? This picture was taken, by the way, after the clean-up efforts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New York Trip

One of the reasons I was behind on my birthday posts was because we spent the entire month of October preparing for, going on and recovering from our anniversary trip to New York. I decided to post some of those pictures here as a memory for later. Rich's dad and Jeri babysat for us for 9 days while we went off all by ourselves!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The last two birthdays for the year

I have been terrible about posting lately, but I need to finish up the year of birthdays. Beth turned 7 on Halloween. Beth is our fiesty, independent, sensitive soul. She was so pleased with her simple birthday gifts. Her birthday is on October 31, and Katie made her a special Halloween costume to match Anna. She was Little Bo Peep with her little sheep. Incidentally, Beth played soccer this year and she scored a goal on her birthday! Beth had a great day, and we love her so much!

The last birthday for the year was Rich, who turned 39. Pretty old, huh? (Just getting him back.) What a great husband and father Rich is!! He is the rock of our family, consistent and steady, always taking care of everyone else and the little details that make life go along more smoothly. We love him so much!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two important birthdays

We have had two big birthdays in the last few months. Adam turned 8 in July. Because my camera was lost for the summer, my pictures were all on Katie's camera, so I am finally just posting about this important date in Adam's life.

Adam was specifically chosen to come to our family when he did, I believe. He is gentle, sweet, quiet and easy to get along with. He finds himself right between two very strong personalities, so he keeps the peace and sets the example by asking quietly for what he wants (almost unheard of around here) and then waiting patiently until he gets it (even more rare!) Unfortunately, he doesn't always get what he asks for as quickly as the louder, more demanding family members, but we are so grateful for his gentle spirit in our home. Adam and Josh are best friends, so much so that Adam was a little lost when Josh went on an overnight campout with Dad and the Scouts with weekend. Adam lost his two front teeth in the past couple of months, and I just think he is the most handsome 8-year-old boy around with those big teeth coming in that he shows off with that great big smile! We sure love Adam!!
Here is a picture from Adam's Jedi Training Academy birthday party that the big kids helped me throw. They had a great time, especially when Darth Vader made his appearance. (Note the light sabers are swim noodles cut in half and then decorated with duct tape at the end--these were an idea from another blogging friend and were a big hit that didn't cause any pain when they accidentally missed their mark)

Adam is now our newest, and only, Cub Scout. Guess who is his Wolf den leader? Dad!!

The next big birthday, after a merciful break to let Mom catch her breath and Dad save a little money, was Anna. Anna turned 2 on September 15. I can't believe our little baby is 2!! She spent the morning of her birthday happily playing with play dough. That very much sums up how Anna spends her days, happily. She plays happily with her brother and sisters, happily tries to change her cloths over and over, happily finds the marker pens to color on some paper (or herself), happily tells you she wants a snack. Although she can really make a mess, she is an absolute delight to the whole family.
It was fun to buy Anna gifts and then watch her open them. First, she only wanted to open one and then play with it. We could have stopped at the stroller and doll. We coaxed her into opening the play cell phone, as well as the dress-up shoes. She has been happily playing with them all ever since!! (We also got her a puzzle, and Jeffrey has been happily playing with that.)
Happy (late) birthday, Adam and Anna! We love you both so much and are so grateful that you are part of our family!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Home schooling pros and cons

We began school last week. We took full advantage of our freedom as home schoolers to finish our summer before turning back to school work. After such a long break, I had forgotten some things about home schooling that can be troublesome.
One thing is that baby always climbs on the table and plants herself/himself in the middle of the action. That first day, as I sat there watching this unfold, I thought back to eleven years ago when Joshua was the baby and it was our first year of kindergarten with the twins. Joshua would do the same thing, getting himself right in the middle of all the action, ripping papers and spilling school supplies all around. Lots of home school moms have all kinds of organized plans for avoiding this (like putting the baby behind a gate) but I am just not one of those moms. So the baby is often plopped smack in the middle of whatever we are doing, until I can take a moment to put her back on a chair where she belongs. I think it's annoying now, but I bet it will be one of the things we laugh about (and think back fondly on) over the years!
Beth and Josh hard at work.
On the other hand, here is one of the things I love about home schooling. Little people and big people get to spend lots of time together all day long. Here, Josh is doing his math while Jeffrey and Anna sit next to him playing. I love that! So when you pick up a stick, you really do pick up both ends of the stick. I suppose it's worth it to me because, although the little ones bring chaos in their wake, they also bring a lot of love and sweetness too.
Completed bird feeders--everyone was very happy about their efforts, though we haven't seen any more birds around to observe yet.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Public School Learning Curve

Last week, Daniel took his first ever public school quiz. We had studied together the night before, according to the teacher's instructions, and he knew the information well. The next day, I checked his score on-line. He got only 30%. What?! I emailed the teacher to see what happened. He didn't know either and said he was surprised, as Daniel seems like an attentive student. The next day, they compared the test to his answers and discovered that, instead of filling in the scantron bubbles on the answer sheet, Daniel had circled them. It is actually amazing he got any correct at all! The kind teacher taught him about scantron testing and gave him credit for 8 out of 10 instead of 3 out of 10. : )

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Temple Family Night

On Sunday night, I attend a special Relief Society fireside speaker Sister Karen Winkel, our Sacramento Temple matron. Sister Winkel told us about a "treasure hunt" that President Winkel created to help their grandchildren enjoy the temple. They do a hunt for certain items such as symbols around the temple grounds, answering all kinds of questions and getting points for their efforts. I liked this idea so much that we did an impromptu family night at the temple on Monday. We looked for symbols as a family. One thing Sister Winkel mentioned is that there are four mariner's compasses on the temple grounds, three inside the gates and one outside. We found them, but we couldn't figure out which way they pointed. We did find a sun etched into the entry way of the temple which we hadn't noticed before. Sister Winkel also shared a scripture inIsaiah which talks about the temple being like a pillar of fire. If you go at night and look at the reflection of the fountain onto the archway behind it, the shadows look like gentle flames. That was also beautiful to see.
We walked around, looking for more symbols.

A beautiful view at night.
We encouraged reverence, and mostly they complied, mostly.
President Monson has encouraged each child to touch the temple. I asked each of the children who promises to be in the temple with our family someday to touch the temple for a picture.
In the Winkel's hunt, they give points if you see a wild turkey, hawk or deer. We wondered how many points we got for seeing this--a rattlesnake! It was not actually on the temple grounds but instead on the road leading up the hill. It was enjoying the warm pavement as the sun was setting, so we pulled up beside it for everyone to get a good look.

It was a fun, peaceful night that gave me renewed perspective about why we are raising this family, as well as joy as I thought about a future day when we will all be in the temple together someday. Thanks, President and Sister Winkel, for the great idea!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Daniel turns 13

We celebrated Daniel's 13th birthday while we were on our trip to Utah. Now we have 3 teenagers in the house! Daniel's big accomplishment just before his birthday was to take a lesson on how to cut hair. In the fall, in exchange for giving hair cuts to Jeffrey and Adam every month, he is going to get a cell phone. He is pretty excited! He is going to attend Sutter Middle School for 8th grade in the fall, and he plans to try out for the basketball team. He is also pretty excited about that! Daniel spent his birthday at Aunt Nancy and Uncle David's house. He got the newest Link game for the Wii, which kept all the boys busy that morning. That night, we went to BYU for bowling and ice cream at the creamery. He got a double waffle cone, which is huge!!! It was a fun day. Too bad we didn't bring the camera. Here are some pictures of Daniel from the past few months. What a goof! Daniel, we sure love having you in our family!

Family trip to Utah

Jacob and Katie attended EFY at BYU Provo the first week of June. We drove them out there as a family and stayed with Rich's sister Nancy for the week. We all had a great time! Here are some pictures of our fun.

These are the boys from Jacob and Katie's EFY company. 9 kids from our ward all attended the same week. There were also lots of kids from the Stake. They had tons of fun, but Jacob brought home the Utah flu that was passed all around EFY that week. Fortunately, he didn't get sick until the week was over. His roommate had the fever right in the middle of the fun.
Some of the girls from the company.

Here is the whole company Seek Ye, with Jacob being a ham up front, as usual.

While in Utah, we spent time with lots of friends we don't get to see very often. We were reminded that we have a lot of fantastic friends with a bunch of great kids. In this picture, we met Randy and Cheryl Cox and their family at the park for lunch in American Fork. We brought along Nancy's gang, too, which made a big group for games.

Beth and Mallory, Nancy's daughter, really hit it off. BFF
In addition to spending time with great friends and family, one highlight of our trip was to take a tour of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan. Beth really didn't want to leave Mallory to go, but we forced her. It was a self-guiding tour, which meant we could take our time and stop to see certain parts. We spent extra time in the baptistry, explaining about the font and baptisms for the dead. We all loved a chance to be in the temple, and Beth told me as we were leaving, "I'm so glad I came, Mom!" That is the spirit of the House of the Lord. Here is the view, which would almost convince me to move to Utah. Not quite, but almost. It is breathtaking for those of us who don't get to see the Wasatch Front every day.

Thanks, David and Nancy, for being so generous and opening your home. I guess we will be back in Provo next year for the Pettingill family reunion--I can't wait!!