Friday, May 23, 2008

The Sunshine Maker

As I've slowly pulled myself together after the birth of Kate, I've noticed the clouds lifting here at home. The first few months after Kate was born are a fog, and I now know that I was walking around the house in a sort of daze. I wasn't depressed, but I was overwhelmed, and as an overwhelmed mother, I went into a sort of auto-pilot mode. Did you ever see that Adam Sandler movie called Click, where he can fast forward certain parts of his life? To everyone else, he looks like he's there, he's responding to the conversations (sort of), but he isn't really there. Well, that has been me.

Now that life has crept into my body and mind, I'm looking around me and noticing what has happened to my little family. The kids are fighting more. Keller hasn't been as nice to Ella as he usually is, and Ella is yelling at Mary just for being Mary. Mary is hitting everyone. The kitchen was always a mess, a consequence of my children constantly foraging for some sort of sustenance, like a pack of hungry wolves. Dinner has been hit and miss and you may remember what it's like around here when dinner doesn't get cooked!

The point I'm (slowly) getting at is this: As the mother goes, so goes the rest of the family. If the mom is in a bad mood, the rest of the family starts fighting, even dad yells more. In the book Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott (a sequel to Little Women), Marmee tells Beth one day when Beth is very discouraged with the cares of home and family "You are the sunshine maker of the home." I feel the awesome weight of how hard it is to have to carry on the emotional climate of our entire families, but I also know that it's important that we remember this and try to be happy and create happiness at home. It's really hard to be cheerful all the time. But lately I've tried remembering this; I'm GOING TO make mistakes. Luckily for me (all of us) Christ is there to atone for not only my big fat sins, but all my shortcomings, even my childish little bad moods, and the times that I don't do what I should just because I don't wanna. Somehow, KNOWING that I'm going to fall short makes me happier. Being perfect would be a big let down, because we would never know the joy and sweet relief of laying it all down at Christ's feet.

Let's remember that our families look to us for their emotional feeding, just as much as they look to us for food.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekly Report Weeks 3 and 4

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

School is humming right along. I'm happy with the amount of work that is getting done. Kate is really predictable with her naps now and it has made such a difference. We've even done several science experiments this week. Granted, they didn't have anything to do with earth science (which is what we're supposed to be studying), but they were fun and very educational.
Mary was sick yesterday with a high fever, but she was actually a lot easier than normal, so we still did school, though it was pretty much just the basics, yesterday. I'm trying to think what else we've been up to that has affected school...I think that's it. Right now I'm working on a list of chores that the kids need to do before they can go out to play. I'm feeling a lot like the family slave lately. That needs to change.
First off, I'm still so pleased with Winston Grammar. Keller already has common and proper nouns, articles, and personal pronouns down pat, and we've only been at it for about 3 weeks. This is a great curriculum for us. He enjoys doing it too, which is totally the point.

Last week math had a few bumps in the road for Keller. This week has been better for him. Ella is using unifix cubes to help cement the idea of larger addition and subtraction problems (sums of up to 20). She's doing pretty well, though I'm not sure how much it really means to her. She loves having her own work to do alongside of Keller though, so I just let her do it and try not to push her to finish if she doesn't want to.

Keller finished his White Star book. He's doing better in reading, skipping less words and being a little more careful, sounding things out instead of just fudging and guessing. Ella's doing great on reading. She's fun to listen to.

Keller has a fit every time he misses a spelling word. I try to calm him down and tell him it's okay to make mistakes, but he just hates to miss any words! Next week, we'll practice a little more. Ella needs work on writing. I've got to find her a writing program. Suggestions?

Science was fun. We put pepsin ( the enzyme in your stomach that digests proteins) onto gelatin and watched it dissolve the gelatin. We also labeled the parts of the digestive system, and we also tested different foods for starch content. Plus Keller had his MacGyver class both weeks. They raced their rocket cars and our car (our real car that we drive) narrowly missed being attacked when one of the cars blew up. It looked like the space shuttle explosion. But, needless to say, the boys loved it.

Um, we pretty much skipped history. Except I let them watch a video on the Celts. We'll work on improving that next week. I need to find a new book for Keller to love, also.

Well, that's it! All in all a good couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I know you all will think I'm nuts, but a tornado just blew down my street not 10 minutes ago. I was minding my business and enjoying the beautiful weather out on the front porch when all of a sudden, seed pods from the neighbor's tree are pelting me in the face and papers from the binder on my lap are being torn out of the rings. I looked around and the world was in chaos. Trash was everywhere. Leaves and blossoms and pollen were falling like rain. I looked over at the end of the street and I actually saw the grass flatten as the tornado made its way to the corner. In about six seconds, everything was still again and I was left wondering if I had imagined the whole thing. My only clue that I wasn't crazy was a plastic shopping bag and an unidentifiable black thing floating very high above my house.
Okay. OKAY! Maybe it was only a whirlwind, but it was a darn strong one!

Introducing My Kids: Volume 1

Keller, my first born son. My only son. Junior. Didders. Dids. Bud. Mr. K. He's high highs and low lows. I remember the first time I took him outside in a storm. He must have been around 5 or 6 months old. The wind was blowing the trees and flowers and there was lightning and thunder. And Keller looked around and just squealed with delight. He is an outdoor boy.
He loves wild weather. When he was about 4-ish months old, he ate my husband's math book. I know every mother says this about her kids but seriously, his laugh is magic. He is a people person. He NEEDS human interaction. He's exactly like my dad in that way. One day, we had been going all day to social events, he was playing with friends earlier in the day, then we went to a party, then we went to a park play day. After the play day at the park was over, we got in the car...and about two minutes later he asks me "Can you call Anna and have her come over and play when we get home?" I used to have the worst time trying to get him to go home from fun activities. One time we were at the park, and he threw a fit when it was time to go. He must have been around 4 or 5? Anyway, I told him I was going to leave without him, so I got in the car and drove away (around the corner watching him) and he totally didn't even care. He loves being in a big group of people. When the good times end, he is one sad boy. He's really in tune to what I'm feeling a lot of the time. When he was little he used to say "Just be happy at me mom." or "Will you make your eyes happy?" He's a good big brother because he's really patient with his little sisters! When Ella was between about 1 and 3 years old he called her "honey". Every time he talked to her he called her "honey".
He's beautiful. He has bad breath. His feelings get hurt pretty easily, and he can really pick up on when someone isn't being nice to him. He's not aggressive in every day life but is super aggressive in sports. He loves sports. He's never been really good at imaginative play, but give him a game to play or a ball to kick around and he's happy. He won't play with kids who are mean. He was an easy birth. I went to the hospital and they were going to send me home, but then my water broke and three hours later he was born. He has really pretty skin. When he was 1, he ate one of my pearl earrings that James gave me when we were married, then it came out in his diaper a couple of days later! Don't think I don't still wear those earrings! Keller has never had stitches or broken any bones. We've never been to the emergency room or had any health scares with him. (Knock on wood now, every one). He isn't afraid of doing anything, like jumping off diving boards, climbing trees, getting hurt, or anything like that. In fact he's an adrenaline junkie. One time I came out of the house and he had climbed a ladder up to our roof! And he was a lot littler than he is now when he did it!
He is afraid of scary movies though, and the dark.
Once he peed on my mother in law's carpet. This was waaay after he was potty trained. He has to say "favorite part of the day" every night before he goes to sleep. Titanic obsessed. Lagoon obsessed. Likes the Tram at Snowbird. Loves to build huts. Looooves to build dams in the rain gutters and make rivers and lakes in the dirt. I think he's going to build a real dam some day. He loves to work in the yard with his dad. Loves to work with his dad or grandpa doing anything. Desperately wants to be grown up and have sugar drinks before bedtime and stay up late. Desperately wants to be grown up and be productive and helpful like adults. He loves the scriptures. Learned to read because of the scriptures. Can pick out songs on the piano by ear. Naturally athletic. Fast runner! Loves to sleep in a tent. PEOPLE PERSON. A water bug. A joy to raise.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tongue Tied

I know it's been a long time since I've posted. I just feel lately that I have nothing to say that would interest anyone beyond my immediate family! I'm just pretty boring that way. Actually, my best blog post ideas come at about 2am, but then, I get so busy during the day that I just forget about them!