Archive for August, 2010

School has begun…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

…Really we began school in July because I was on a long hiatus. Really long, like 6 months of no “schooling”. Of course my girls still learned and we still did things. The co-op was still taking place, we’d go to Science Saturday, then there was the play, and for the record I stopped schooling before the play because of various reasons, but was not able to start again till July, for various reasons. Now we have more of a plan, Jon and I discuss weekly what’s going on, and I’m mentally able to handle it, most days. I have a schedule I’m sticking to for schooling every day and Lilah is coming to terms with what is expected of her for school. My patience is still low some days, but we’re trying to work together in a more harmonious manner.

Since I haven’t watched a lot of TV lately, Netflix instant play is awesome with our Wii, I don’t see a lot of the commercials, but I know there is one commercial that use to play. It’s a Staple’s one where you hear “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” playing in the background and the father is going back and forth gleefully in the isles and then they show the kids, the two teenagers, who are sad and somewhat shocked at their fathers embarrassing behavior. It’s about how wonderful it is to have the kids back in school. I haven’t said this to many, but that commercial really annoys me. I know it’s just an exaggeration, but I feel it shows that families don’t have harmonious relationships, and parents are really happy to pawn their children off to other people for 6 hours a day. I know that’s not true for all, and I am exaggerating feelings, but I feel it perpetuates the thought that parents don’t want to spend time with their children and are happy to be free of them for most of the day. Really I wouldn’t mind being free of my children some days, but I’ve chosen to homeschool so being with them is just a part of it.

The first comment out of most people’s mouths when I tell them we homeschool is they don’t have the patience. The thought of spending everyday, day in and day out is tiresome, and then you have to teach your children on top of that. It’s exhausting and for 6 months I didn’t have the patience to homeschool, but as OMSH wrote for Pioneer Woman’s homeschooling blog, parents, just as teachers, have days where they don’t have patience. (It really is a good read, so please read it if you can. My off days just lasted for a really long time.)

For those 6 months I didn’t homeschool because the thought of it drove me up the wall. Even now, it is somewhat daunting, but I’m doing it and for the most part enjoying it.

For 6 months I just let go of any expectations I held of what I should be doing with my girls and did whatever the heck we wanted. Right now their days are filled with lots of playing, some TV, some formal schooling, and a little bit of house chores.

Really, I love spending and having my girls with me each and every day. Overall I get a long really well with them, which is not something every parent has. There are days where I really want to get away or I wish I could be like other moms and not have kids with me all day so we could do things alone, but I have my girls and friends know we’re a packaged deal. Jon also lets me have time to myself, in fact, I begin a choir class this week at CSN. I’m taking it so I can work on my singing ability, but it’s also a weekly getaway from my girls.

I’m hoping to get better at this school thing and I’m happy my girls have the patience to put up with this mama/ mentor.

School has begun, but learning never ceases.

Showing confidence

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Eden had been in primary for 1 year and 8 months and had given the prayer and scripture twice but no talk. Lilah gave two talks, at least, in her first year of primary, partially because there were only 2 to 3 kids in her class, including her. Since then Lilah’s given at least one talk a year. I was beginning to think Eden would never give a talk, but yesterday Eden gave her first talk in primary.

To prepare we talked about the subject, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and he is a God of Miracles.” We flipped through the gospel pictures book Grandma Blake had given her and discussed what miracles Jesus had performed and I asked her to choose one to talk about in her talk. She choose the story of Jairus and Jesus raising his daughter from the dead. We wrote some things down and then discussed how she thought Jesus helped us today and then we had her talk. I typed it up and then had her read it a couple times. She felt pretty good about it so we put it away for Sunday, we did this Saturday afternoon by the way. Sunday morning came and Eden wanted to read her talk one more time to make sure she knew it. I think she was feeling a little nervous and she wanted to make sure she knew most of the words. She did, so she then felt pretty confident. All Sunday morning Eden was talking about her talk and how it would be her first one and how she wasn’t nervous and wasn’t going to be shy. She said how she thought people would really love her talk and ask her to do another one. (She was thinking a little like her mother use to at this point I must admit.)

She went to class and after I taught my lesson I waited in the primary room for the children to file in for sharing time. Lilah saw me, but I’m not sure Eden did when she went to sit down for this group time. The leaders did their thing and then it was time for the talk. The leader who was conducting the meeting was new, so she just asked if Eden was here to give her talk. I had started to go to the front and I watched as Eden timidly nodded her head as she stood and then witnessed her face light up when she saw I was there to help her.

She spoke quickly into the microphone and read each word. There were a couple words I had to correct her on, but overall she read it by herself. Eden doesn’t know just yet to pause at the end of a sentence or how to emphasize different words, but she was so cute as she read. I held up a the picture depicting Jesus raising the girl from dead and stood by her side for support.

She was so happy to give her talk and apparently they discussed the same story of Jairus and used the same picture later that day in primary, which Eden got a kick out of.

Here is the talk we put together:

Jesus Christ is the son of God. Because he is the only begotten son he can perform miracles. Once there was a little girl who had died. Her parents were very sad. Her dad Jairus went to Jesus and and asked him to bless her. Jesus said “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” and she then got up and was healed.

We may not see Jesus raise someone from the dead but he can perform simple miracles in our lives. If we need help we can pray to Jesus and Heavenly Father and ask for help. Jesus can perform miracles in our lives if we have faith.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I think there are a few reasons why Eden hadn’t been asked to give a talk just yet. One: There are a lot if kids in her class. Two: She’s not always there with being with Jon on Daddy Sunday’s and our traveling. Three: She’s very reserved and not one to volunteer. After how she acted yesterday, I know she was so happy to show her potential and confident to be up there speaking in front of her peers. I think she was a little nervous, but really enjoyed it.

Family tradition

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

So for the third year in a row we went camping with the Park family. I’m beginning to see a tradition take shape. We went and visited Andrea and her family in August for our yearly Ely trip. When we told them the date Andrea told us they were planning on camping that weekend and we were welcomed to join them, so we did! For this camping trip I finally got my wish for a tent that I could stand up in. I really didn’t like having to be hunch over to put pants on in our old tent, and since the girls needed their own sleeping bags and were too big to share one, we needed to get something bigger than the 4 man tent we have.

Jon put me in charge of buying the tent. I was tempted to get a huge ten man tent with two rooms that could fit at least 4 twin mattresses, but instead I bought a long six man tent, and I’m pretty confident we can fit 3 twin air mattresses in there, I’m just not sure Jon would have much room to sleep. 😉

We went camping just outside of Ely this time. It was mostly for the experience and the fun of camping out in the wilderness. We each made our own dinners but for dessert we tried cake in a mason jar, from Family Fun. Brien also brought some ice cream and it was delicious. I’m craving it as I type this, but that might also be because I’m hungry. They just used a boxed cake mix and cooked it for the recommended time. Since there was a meteor shower taking place we were able to watch the night sky and see a few arch across. It was beautiful. We actually traveled up to Lee Canyon the night before and saw some just outside of the Vegas lights with the girls.

It didn’t get too cold that night, and we woke up the next day and broke camp down before we went on a hike. We did the full 3 mile loop, but the Parks stopped a little early to go get some chores they needed to do done. Zarina was happy to be on the hike, but only if she was being carried. Our girls were happy to be on the hike as long as Jack, Andrea and Brien’s dog, was on the hike, so it was a little rough at times once the Parks left. Overall it was pretty fun and we enjoyed the cooler weather as we walked through the Juniper trees and along the trail.

After showering and getting cleaned up at the Park’s house we roasted hot dogs and then ate smores. They have a nice fire pit in their back yard, so it kept us warm as the night cooled. We then slept inside that night and went home Sunday morning.

I love our yearly trip to Ely to see Andrea, Brien and Zarina. I’m so grateful they open their home to us and allow us to invade for a short time each year. I’m so happy they live relatively close and that the girls get to see Zarina and be friends with their cousin. It’s funny because I hated that the only trips we took as a family was to visit family. I wanted to go to Disneyland or the Zoo, but I now understand why my parents made those trips. Hopefully we get to do both the family and “fun” trips with the girls and if we’re lucky we can have our family on our “fun” trips too, like we did earlier this year at Disneyland.

Thank you once again Parks, and we love you!

Sea World Camp

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Lilah and I went to Sea World with the Girl Scouts. We decided to use her cookie money to pay for the trip and it would be the big event we got out of the cookie sales. When I signed us up I thought we’d be staying in a hotel for one night. It wasn’t until I went to the mandatory meeting that I realized we’d be camping out in Sea World, in their exhibits and I would not get to shower Saturday morning before I spent all day in the park with Lilah. When I told Lilah the plans she was rather excited to sleep in the exhibit, and we knew we’d be sleeping in the Wild Arctic Exhibit, the coldest one of all. I thought there was a wall of ice in it, but there was not, but they keep it a cool 50 degrees in there, which is very cold when you’re sleeping.

We rode on bus to San Diego on Saturday morning. I knew I would let Lilah make most of the decisions on the trip. This was my time with her, and I knew that I wanted her to have fun, and since I wasn’t having to referee two girls, I would just let her make most of the decisions, with some guidance since I didn’t want to be going to one end of the park and back again. Her first decision came in Barstow, where we stopped for lunch. She decided we should have In and Out for lunch, the busiest place there. There were several tour buses in the area and apparently lots of families making the stop to eat together. The line and food went rather quickly and Lilah got to enjoy her first In and Out hamburger. She loved it and I enjoyed letting her be in charge.

After lunch we continued onto Sea World and arrived early and waited to begin camp. The girls played games, and at times hung out on the bus. At 6pm the Sea World staff came out. They did a luggage check and we got ready to put our luggage into a shed till we needed it later that night. During this process Lilah noticed my luggage was making a noise, but I decided it was just the vibrations from the tanks behind us, since I couldn’t think of anything that would make noise in the suitcase. Once our luggage was safely locked up we entered the park.

We were split into smaller groups and given bright green t-shirts to wear. The shirts were to help the staff be able to keep an easier eye on us. We did a couple things, but they fed us right away. We then did different activities with the camp staff and visited different sites. It was kinda a whirl wind so I can’t remember all we did. I do remember after we visited the penguins the girls did a little relay race, where they dressed up with big penguin feet and wings and then had to walk and pass an egg to another girl. One girl was also dressed up as a polar bear as we learned about different things that help them survive. We saw the Shamu Rocks show that night, and my camera battery decided to die while we were watching it. It was an amazing show and I think Lilah really enjoyed it. At this point she was walking and hanging out without me so she did not sit with me during the show, but was with some of the other independent girls scouts her age. Sea World had a nice fireworks show shortly after the Shamu show, so we stayed in the stadium and watched from there. (The group we were in for the night was mostly all IGM’s and just one other troop and around Lilah’s age, which was nice. )

The final thing we did that night was feed the sting rays. That was so cool. The water is rather deep, so it was hard for Lilah to get her hand in there, especially since we had our jackets on under the bright green shirts they had given us and it was hard to roll up the sleeves. Lilah was too nervous to feed them her fish, so she gave it to me. I was also a little scared so I ended up dropping it in the water when one came up to get it. They said they just go over your hand and suck up the fish, but since I was not able to get my arm down all the way I was rather scared that I might get bitten. I worked up a little more courage and was able to feed one of the rays my fish. Lilah did work up the courage to pet the sting rays, and she really loved that. The sting rays were probably my favorite part of the trip.

We got settled into the Wild Arctic exhibit after the park had closed and as I opened my luggage I realized it was making a noise. My air mattress pump had gotten turned on and had been running for at least 5 hours. It was a little hot to the touch, and though it was on, it was not doing anything but making noise. I worried we’d have to sleep on the hard ground, but luckily one of the other leaders had an electric pump and let us borrow it to pump up our mattresses. Phew. I also felt really blessed that my pump had not caught fire, because the plastic had melted off of the batteries and they were really hot to the touch. That would have sucked had a trailer of girl scout stuff been caught on fire due to my negligence. (Hint: always take one battery out of your mattress pump when traveling.)

Lights out was round 11:30 pm and I slept very badly. It seemed like I was awake for most of the night due to someone snoring, or having to ignore my urge to go to the bathroom, or my face being really cold. It was not fun and the 6:15 am wake-up call came way too quickly. Lilah slept just fine, and was right by the manatee tank. She said she was awake during the wake up call, but she sure didn’t want to move or wake up when I tried to get her out of bed 5 minutes later. It was a very early morning for these two late sleepers.

We packed up, put our luggage on the buses and then headed to breakfast. I asked Lilah if she wanted to hang out with some of the other girls and their moms or if she wanted it to be just her and me for the day. She decided she just wanted it to be her and me for the day so after our final activity of feeding the flamingos we headed off to be by ourselves in the park.

We had about an hour before any of the rides started, so we hung out at different exhibits and planned what we wanted to do first. We did see one of the other girl scouts and her mom so we hung out with them for a time and I rode a water ride with the girls. The other mom hadn’t purchased a poncho yet, so I went on the ride with them three times, since there was no one else in line and they were having fun. We then went our separate ways but met up once more for the other water ride by accident once again.

Lilah and I rode most of the rides and saw three of the shows that day. I forgot the sunscreen in another bag so we got a little toasted. I now will spend whatever amount needed to buy sunscreen at amusement park to keep from getting sunburned and to protect my children’s skin.

Some highlights of the day where: Sitting in the splash zone during the Shamu Believe show and Lilah getting drenched because she decided she did not want to wear her poncho. Feeding some ducks and Lilah wishing Eden was there since she knew Eden would love feeding the ducks. Lilah pretty much thinking about Eden the whole day and saying how she would enjoy this or that. The third time on the rapids ride getting sprayed by bystanders, but not knowing at the time that’s what was happening until later where we noticed you could pay to spray people. Petting the stingrays during the day. I was petting one, and another one came on top of the one I was petting and tried to slurp a nonexistent fish from my hand. I squealed and Lilah laughed at me while the other bystanders thought I was crazy. Eating a cream cheese stuffed pretzel and cotton candy for lunch while we watched the Sea Lion show. Getting along with Lilah the whole day.

We loaded onto the bus at 6 pm and left a little later. We stopped in Barstow for a meal break at 9 pm and got back into Vegas around midnight. Jon and Eden had to get out of bed to come get us at the girl scout office. Luckily we don’t live that far.

It was lots of fun, and Lilah now thinks Eden and Daddy should go to Sea World together. I really can’t wait to go back and maybe in two years when Eden is old enough, we can do it again.

Girls Weekend

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The third weekend in July I took off with some friends to go to Pine Valley. It would be four women and one baby. It was the original three from last year, Sam, Julie, and me, then my friend Anna came along with us three crazy Mormon moms. It’s funny because Sam and Anna are two of my closest friends yet they’ve never met over the 5 years I’ve known both of them. (I’ve known Anna for 9 years and she is the only person I’m not related to that has known me longer than Jon has and keeps in regular touch with me.) I kinda felt like it was the in-laws meeting the boyfriend, you know two people you love and you want to get along with one another, but not sure if they will, though neither were my parents or boyfriend. It turns out Sam and Anna probably have more in common than I do with either of them and both said they loved meeting the other! Phew, what a burden lifted. I was so worried they’d both be extremely jealous of the relationship I have with the other one and hate each other and see only the negative, because they are so much alike. Really, they are, it’s kinda funny, I’ve just never seen it for some reason.

Between the four women and a baby, two women were pregnant. Anna is due on September 1st, and Julie sometime next year. Matilda, Sam’s 18 month old, was the baby, though she is really a toddler. We left Friday afternoon in Sam’s brand spanking new, but used, Camry.

As we traveled up to Pine Valley we made a dinner stop in St George. After driving around for a short while we decided upon Marv’s Diner. It was delicious and I highly recommend the shakes. Just know that a small is really big since the piled it up almost as high as the cup itself. After Marv’s we piled back in the car to head to Smith’s. We needed chocolate for the smores then chips and lime for the guacamole. I had forgotten these key ingredients for my part of the dinner and snack providing.

After we left Marv’s Sam thought the car was driving a little funny. Right as we were turning into our parking spot at Smith’s the battery light went on and the power steering went out. Now we were four women, and a baby, trapped at Smith’s, in St. George, 2 hours away from home!

I called AAA to come look at the car for battery service, but it seemed like it would take over an hour by their estimate and we weren’t sure if they would send someone who would be able to tow the car if needed, so Sam also called her road side assistance with her insurance. I was just about to call to cancel the AAA guy, but then I got the call they were there. It turned out to be one tow guy for the two call ins, which I was so grateful for. We decided to have the car towed under my name to where we would stay, in case Sam needed one more tow to a mechanic.

So here were are four women, and a baby, trapped at Smith’s, in St. George, 2 hours away from home, but fortunately it was one block away from a home Sam’s in-laws have in St. George, the Grandma’s house that Gary now owns. So three women, and a baby, had only a block to walk, while Sam rode in the tow truck with the driver. It was so wonderful that I had been slightly ill prepared, otherwise we may have been farther from the house.

We did not have the keys to the house, but Gary has a tenant in a small guest house out back. We were able to get into the house and share our story of woe. Four women, and a baby, trapped in a hot house with only a swamp cooler, in St. George, 45 minutes away from the cool Pine Valley, with a car that had something wrong with it. The renter just happened to have a son who was a mechanic and the son looked at the car for us that night. The problem was easily found, a nearly broken and badly shredded belt to something in the car. (I’m not sure if I ever found out what the belt did.) Sam was very sad that her car, which she bought two weeks prior and supposedly had a 21 point inspection, had been so unreliable for us.

We made the most of it and stayed up late and talked and ate. We decided Anna should be called Annapedia, three out of the four women like all natural deodorant, two of which make their own, and Julie can hold a conversation in he sleep. It was decided the next day that Anna and Sam love me and my Laceyisms, or how I often misquote phrases or metaphors. (It’s not trick of all trades, but jack of all trades.) Someone has to love me for who I am and not make fun of me all the time.

After saying up far too late, I think we called it at night at 2 am, we woke up at 8 am and for some 7 am, but that person had a child with her who didn’t know that it was not nice to wake her mom up after only 5 hours sleep. We ate breakfast and headed to the farmers market down the street. The mechanic didn’t fix our car till later that afternoon, so we stayed close to home in our ventures. The farmers market was wonderful and I think we all bought something. They also had some interesting shops in the shopping square and we looked around as we tried to get out of the heat. It was over 100 degrees and humid. St. George is not cooler than Vegas, contrary to what some might think. We ate lunch at the house and enjoyed a wonderful movie, talked and then went out once the car was fixed.

Our first stop was the Deseret Industries in St. George, where again, no one left empty handed. Then we windowed shopped at Urban something, a more hip and modern thrift shop basically. It was really cool and reminded me how uninspired I am when it comes to decorating my house, and how cheap I am when it comes to decorating my house.

We ran more errands then Anna and I made dinner and later we left to return to the one degree hotter than St. George, Las Vegas.

It was a fun weekend, despite all the craziness of the car and not very cool house. Sam and I felt bad for the two pregnant ladies and how they both had to be even hotter than us.

I can’t wait till next years Mom’s getaway, and hopefully we make it to Pine Valley, but if not, I hope the Lord watches over us again.

Happy Birthday Eden!

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

So I’m now, and have been for over a week, a mom to two school aged children. I think it’s nuts that all my children are now old enough to attend school. Strange.

For Eden’s birthday we went swimming at the Zurflueh’s. This year Lilah had her turn for the big party, so it was Eden’s turn for a small, immediate, as in only our family, family party. Eden did want her Auntie Carolyn there though, and since she wanted to go swimming and we’d be using her boss’ pool, it only seemed natural to have the family party with Carolyn.

The Zurflueh’s were in town this year, so we were pleasantly surprised with a decorated back yard when we got there Saturday. Jenny and her daughter Irelynn had taken it upon themselves to make the birthday party very special for Eden and bought Happy Birthday signs, and princess Pez dispensers. It was so sweet, and I almost felt bad that it wasn’t my whole family coming, and just our little group of 5. Irelynn made a special chocolate sheet cake for Eden. It was her grandmother’s recipe and the cake is only made on birthdays. Irelynn was so excited to do this, so I left the flower cake I had made for Eden inside to be used on Eden’s real birthday with our family at Family Home Evening, since it just happened to fall on the same day this year.

The girls went swimming with Carolyn, Jon, and Kai while I waited for the pizza to show up. Kai is the Zerflueh’s youngest and he’s 8 years old. He was rough housing a lot with Carolyn, and then me once I was in the pool. It was fun playing rough with a boy, we were keeping him out of the spa and playing around, but I sure am happy to be the parent to two calm girls, calm for the most part anyways.
We enjoyed pizza for lunch and some fruit and then lots of swimming. The girls had just finished two weeks of swimming lessons the day before, so they were all over that pool. Lilah is pretty confident and can be on her own, with just a watchful eye to make sure all is well. Eden can swim rather far and was even trying to take breaths and looked under water without goggles. It was wonderful to see how much they learned in two weeks.

Our family gathering for Family Home Evening was on Eden’s real birthday so I brought cake and cupcakes for the family to enjoy. We made a small special flower shaped cake out of a baking kit we won at the family reunion. We all sang Happy Birthday to her that evening after the lesson.

It’s really funny that Eden is now five. I see her getting older and behaving a little more like Lilah, and not such a little, little girl. Lilah and I have the rule, you spank me I spank you, and now Eden uses that rule too. Not only for spanking, but for tickling too. Lets just say I love being the tickler and not the ticklee. She too is testing her independence!

Eden’s learned so much in this last year and is really changing. One thing is reading. Eden began learning to read in September last year and now is an excellent reader. She constantly surprises me with how much she knows, because she doesn’t like to read to me, though she’s getting better about it. Eden is very giving and if you asked her to share, she will often say yes. She loves to cuddle and even though she hasn’t been taking naps for a while, will still come and cuddle with me at times throughout the day. She won’t in the morning though, because she knows I’m just trying to get her to go to sleep longer so I can sleep more too. You can tell if Eden needs cuddles because she stands next to you playing with her hair and tickling you with it. Eden’s very imaginative. She can play with almost anything. Today she started playing with the spoons as she was putting the dishes away.

I’m very happy to be Eden’s mom and love having her as my daughter. I really would like her to stay little. (Really, I’d like both girls to stay little.) So if anyone finds a way to make that happen, please let me know. 😉