Friday, September 30, 2011

First Grade Home School September Review

What a fun month filled with great subjects to learn about and explore! Here is a list of what we covered this month and a few thoughts and favorites. 


The Revolutionary War - Liberty - The Declaration of Independence
Favorites: Liberty Kids episodes on Netflix, Magic Tree House Revolutionary War on Wednesday, Documentary The Revolution on Netflix, Art project Making the Betsy Ross Flag

Habitats and Their Animals
Favorites: William Beebe, books, books, books, Beavers IMAX on Netflix, Field trip to Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, March of the Penguins on Netflix, Art projects from Animal Habitats by Judy Press

The Middle Ages - King Arthur - Knights 
Favorites: History's Mysteries: Knights of Camelot on Netflix, Sword and the Stone by Disney, the book In the Time of Knights by Shelly Tanaka, the book A Hero's Guide to Warriors by Deborah Murrell, Paper Model Castle and Knights, More art project ideas

Favorites: The book A Child's Story of the Book of Mormon

Favorites: A We Both Read book The Well-Mannered Monster

Favorites: The book Alphabet Mystery

Classic Literature: Favorite Fairy Tales around the World
Favorites: Jack and the Beanstalk (the original story)

Gospel Studies
Favorites: The book A Child's Story of the Book of Mormon
General Conference Activity Packet by

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to Cope

I have a lot of stress in my life right now. I felt it today. The worst days are when I wake up and I just don't know where to even begin. Do I change the diaper, the cat litter, or my pajamas first? Do I make the bottle, the oatmeal, or the Chex first? And what about the phone calls, and the emails, and the discussion questions, and the text book reading, and the paper writing, and the exam study guide, and the diaper changing, and the story book reading, and the math DVD monitoring, and the art project finishing, and the scripture reading, and the conference planning, and the party planning, and the library book gathering, and the diaper changing, and the rabbit feeding, and the dead chicken gathering, and the chicken water feeder scrubbing, and the bruise kissing, and the lunch food finding, and the bottle making, and the clothes sorting, and the dinner food making, and the forgotten paper due in two hours. What about all of that!?

That was all today. So what did I do? Well, I prayed a lot. I only swore once.;) But it wasn't a four letter word, only three. Forgive me. I found myself completely fatigued around noon. I prayed sincerely for a suggestion on how to find more energy. I distinctly felt permission and encouragement to just lay down. So I did. While I was laying down I tried to ignore the kitties and kiddy's climbing on me and I practiced diaphragmatic breating. I actually felt a sense of deep relaxation while using the technique. Today while at the library, I was trying to gather the many many books needed for next months home school curriculum. I had all three kids. It became impossible. So, I asked for help. I called my friend and she kindly took the babies. Tonight when I sat down to "relax" and cruise the internet, I discovered that I had a paper due tonight. Luckily not a long one. But my head was already heavy and tired. So, when Leif asked what he could do to help me, I asked him to bring me Grapefruit and Peppermint essential oils to rub on my neck. I realized that my mind was clear and alert within 15 minutes of applying the oil. And finally, I took the time to write tonight about my stress and how I coped with it. This is a great stress management tool for me.

I feel better now. Tomorrow is another day, all is well!

Mama Bombed Her Test

One of the most valuable experiences that I glean from being a college student at the same time as being a mother is empathy. An understanding of another's burden because you have experienced it. Well, I can now empathize with my children (when they are in college) about how it feels to fail a college level exam. It's no fun!

I studied as much as possible. I filled out all the answers to the Study Guide questions. And I took the test. The test was a proctored closed-book exam. Unfortunately for me, I really Really need to be able to use my notes. My recall skills are very weak. This grade showed me just how weak they are. In fact, I'm actually going to be bold enough to ask my professor for mercy. I CAN NOT fail this class!! Leif suggested that I offer to write extra papers for extra credit. I would be happy to do that. I learn so much more if I have to research and write about it. Tests are pointless for me.

So anyway, life will go on. And Yes, this class was my STRESS MANAGEMENT class. The Irony!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Confessions of a Home School Mom

I home school, take classes myself, run my home, and try to care for our animals and yard when I am needed. I'm really really busy. I am not alone, I know. But I am often asked how I keep up with everything. Well, I have a few confessions and answers for those of you who wonder.:)

I don't know about you, but when I started thinking about home schooling I felt like I didn't fit the image. My image of a home school mom was someone with half a dozen (or more) kids, a clean house where everyone had their chores and did them willingly, the laundry was washed - folded - and put away daily, and a healthy home grown all organic freshly made dinner was spread on the table daily . Well, frankly, I was worried at this image I had created. Let me tell you how it really is for me.:)

I Confess: This is how I keep my kitchen sink and it's contents from overflowing into the front room. This also gives me one extra hour or more every day to read and explore the world with my kids.

I Confess:  This is where we're at with our veggies these days. To everything there is a season, and right now our season consists of 5 minutes in the microwave to get a plate of veggies. I do have a basket of fresh fruit available at all times to help me feel better.

I Confess: These are my best friend when I need to do a quick clean up. 5 minutes and the bathroom is sanitized.

I confess: That my house is merely sanitized, my family eats using all disposable eating utensils, I only do dishes when I have to, I grow a garden with only a few different plants, I feed my kids a lot of microwavable foods. I don't fit the image that I created of the perfect home school mom. But that's okay. And chances are, YOU are too! We love our kids. We sacrifice a lot to bring a unique joy into their lives that they don't even recognize yet. And though we might not fit the mold we think we should all the time, chances are the mold we have created is pretty darn good! Keep up the great work!

Monday, September 26, 2011

General Conference Prep Week for Children

I usually print the Amazing General Conference Activity Packets from for my kids to use during general conference. However, they never really use them the way they are made to be used (following directions to make great little projects.) So this conference we are going to use the packets in our Home School curriculum during this week leading up to General Conference. I'm so grateful for these ladies and their willingness to share their talents with us! I am using the packets from  

HERE is the link to the General Conference Packets for all ages.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Fabulate: That is the word that just came out of my 7 year old son's mouth.:) I Love it! He was getting ready to play a computer game with Leif and he said, "I love this game it fabulates me!" LOL!  My guess is that fabulate is a combination of fabulous and fascinates. I Love It!

Stress in Review

Does that post title make any sense? Oh well, who cares right!?

Well, I'm looking back on the last few days and I really need to get to bed right now. So I'll make this short. I'm feeling upbeat right now, but WOW I have a lot I need to do!! We have a trip we're getting ready for. My brother is getting married this week and I'm REALLY glad that I'll be able to be there for the wedding. I'm really looking forward to the trip in general. But anyway, I'm getting off subject. Stress: Ummm, well, I had a Massage this week and a Foot ZOne treatment (a lot like reflexology.) I'm sure those both helped. I'm also trying not to stifle any laughter that I feel. If it's there I just let it out. That feels good.:) I also got caught up on my meds. That's always a good thing too. I think that will help with my recent body pain issues too. I think my serotonin levels effect my pain levels. Anyway... I'm trying to find balance with everything happening in my life and how I cope with it all. I REALLY need to fit in my exercise and yoga. I'm not doing very good with that. Honestly, I wonder if I need to look into different coping strategies other then those. Because failing to do those adds to my stress.:) Ahhh, the joys of trying to take care of ourselves...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Grade Home School: First and Second Week Review

When I Home School I spend months planning and preparing and then I take the first week deciding what will work and what won't. We started school the Tuesday after Labor Day this year (last week.) The night before our first day we all went to bed excited and feeling great. Jakob and I both woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep. We eventually started our school day and to be honest, it ended up being rocky. But after making some adjustments it has actually gone great from the second day on. What was the biggest change? I decided to pull back on my Moving Beyond the Page lessons. I really enjoy their program and it's content. But Jakob really really dislikes them this year. I will try to add some in, but I'm not going to force them. They were a filler anyway.  Jakob doesn't like to discuss, write, and color. MBTP has a lot of creative expression in their lesson's and Jakob would rather read about something and discuss it instead of hashing it over and over again. He shuts off pretty quick. So I have certain theme units for each month and we read A LOT.

The themes help us cover everything from social studies to history to phonics. Every day I try to read a new book as well as finish up some of the books we're in the middle of reading. Our on going books include a book of fables and fairy tales and A Child's Story of the Book of Mormon. I'm thrilled to say that these two books are the books that Jakob enjoys reading out of the most. How cool is that!? They are both very well written and entertain my seven year old boy as well as touch his imagination and his spirit. I can't ask for more.

We enjoy history in our family. One of the fun ongoing activities we have is our time-line. I printed off a time line that wraps around our living room. I have a page per 1000 years for a while (starting from the creation) and then goes to every 100 years up to 2000. Every time we read a book or watch a documentary about a certain subject that has a date to it that's interesting to us we print a picture about the subject and glue it to the proper year of our time line. I LOVE this activity!

There is so much to tell about home school this year. But the best thing right now is the fun that we're having. It's not easy, but we're all learning and moving forward. Good things are surely in the future. I'll keep you posted. I will also try to get photos us ASAP.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


September-December: I will be taking a Stress Management class with Utah State University. One of the requirements for the class is that I journal at least two times each week about how I am coping with stress and how I am applying four different stress management strategies along the way. I will be even more open with these posts then I already am and I won't be holding back anything. It is required and I don't want to divide my thoughts between different blogs. So My Stress Management Strategies for the semester will be: Yoga, Massage, Exercise, and Comic Relief, among other things.

A True Gift! Massage Therapy

Have you ever been given something that you really needed? Something that you couldn't do for or give yourself? Well I was given something yesterday that I really needed. Something that I know is going to really help me. I finally made an appointment, and kept the appointment, with my massage therapist. And the massage was AMAZING! I haven't had a massage in a long long time. Not one in a beautiful, quiet, uninterrupted room. Not without my children calling for me or worse, crawling under the table as I tried to relax. And not for an hour!  Next week I'm scheduling a 90 minute!

Now, some of you may know that my massage therapist is actually my husband. This is true! And yes, I feel truly blessed. I feel grateful and blessed that we finally have a place where I can take part in and benefit from the gift of healing that my husband has been given. I feel truly blessed.

If you're in the area of Kanab Utah, my husband owns and operates Desert Springs Day Spa.

Top Ten Stresses?

August 31, 2011: Tonight I'm just going to write and later I'll put things in a list according to most stressful to least stressful. So what am I stressed about these days?
  1. I hate President Obama. Hate is a strong word.
  2. I wish I could either heal and be a normal healthy mother. Or just accept my ailments 100% and learn to work around them and find pure happiness.
  3. I feel like I walk around with a storm cloud within my countenance the majority of the time. I don't laugh enough or smile enough, especially with or at my children.
  4. I still don't know if home school is the best idea. I think Jakob will learn well either way. It all just seems exhausting either way. 
  5. I really want a bigger house. I want rooms with walls and doors. I want coat closets and laundry closets, and bathtubs and more then one bathroom. I want to live on ground level. 
  6. I think we have too many animals. They coast money and they take time that Leif and I don't have anymore. 
  7. I think I'm allergic to the kittens. I'm sad about this because they're so cute and Caleb and Leif love them!
  8. I hate that JJ ate duck poop AND kitty litter today.
  9. I miss Leif's frequent company and help.
  10. I hate that I have piles of laundry and dishes to do.
  11. I wish we had room for the foof chair.
  12. I wish I was able to go alone to the libraries.
  13. I wish we had money to get my hair colored every three months.
  14. I wish life wasn't so expensive.
  15. I wish I could control my sweet tooth.
  16. I wish that I lived closer to my sister.

  17. I wish I felt normal. 
  18. My spiritual wellbeing is very much lacking.
What (new) four techniques do I want to implement into my daily life?
Massage Therapy
Comic Relief (John Bytheway, Mary-Ellen Edmands)

Stress Management: Detailed Assessment

September 15, 2011
Stress Management 3400
Assignment 1
Grade: 15/15
Professor Comments: "You have had many challenges early on in your life. This has tried your strength, your belief system and who you really are. It looks like you are working on accepting health issues and trying to move forward. You seem to have a positive outlook which can help at times. Although you worry about some things I am sure in time you will achieve some of your dreams. You may want to add Cognitive Reconstruction to your list of techniques and or Behavior Modification. Read what Wayne Dyer has to say in the text about worry. Your physical score was very good considering all of your challenges. It is great to see that you love being a mother and a wife. You will have many rewards from you love. Keep up the good work and take care of yourself during this semester in this class

Ten Stressors – Four Coping Techniques – Who Am I?

1.  I wish I could either heal, and be a normal healthy mother. Or just accept my ailments 100% and learn to work around them and find pure happiness: Truthfully, I need to accept the body that I was given and find gratitude in all that it gives me and make’s possible. There is so much to be grateful for about my body. There are many difficulties. But I need to focus on the goodness of my body. What is my plan? My plan is to journal every night at least one thing I am grateful for about my body that day, not mentioning anything negative. I have to find the positive, for I know that it is there! I might even write it by hand instead of typing it… An interesting thought.
2.  I feel like I walk around with a storm cloud within my countenance the majority of the time. I don't laugh enough or smile enough, especially with or at my children: I know that much of this self perception and outward reality comes from a chemical imbalance and bad PMS. I will faithfully take the proper medication. This will help! I will also take the time to listen to funny speakers such as John Bytheway and Mary-Ellen Edmands.
3.  I really want a bigger house. I want rooms with walls and doors. I want coat closets and laundry closets, and bathtubs and more then one bathroom. I want to live on ground level: We live rent-free in an upstairs make-shift apartment that is around 800 square feet. Our three children sleep in the one bedroom that has walls and a door (with a lock from the outside.) My husband and my bedroom is partitioned off by a curtain at night. The office is a closet sized room that used to be the baby nursery. We have lived here 5 years. This year I celebrated the arrival of a dishwasher and mini clothes washer and dryer. I have been given much, but I do dream of a normal house with more space. There is not much to do about this other then practice patience and gratitude.
4.  I miss Leif's frequent company and help: My husband has either been a full time online student or worked a less then full time job for the last five years. He is currently a student in the evenings and working a full time job. I am trying to function and learn how to be without him. I miss his help and his company.
5.  I wish we had money to get my hair colored every three months: This should actually say, “I wish I could look like I did before my five pregnancies.”  Getting my hair done is just one thing that doesn’t take a lot of effort on my part to do and it brightens my self perception for a little while.
6.  I wish life wasn't so expensive: So much of what we need and want takes money. Housing, clothes, cars, home school supplies, travel, etc. I just look forward to a day when the budget isn’t quite so tight.
7.  I wish I could control my sweet tooth: I am addicted to rich ice cream and chocolate. It is a  true addiction, and it  ails me.
8.  I wish that I lived closer to my sister: I wish that my sister and I lived close enough to have weekend visits and cook-a-thons. I wish our kids knew eachother better. I would just love her company.
10.  My spiritual wellbeing is very much lacking: I have improved, but there is still more I could do. I just want to feel the spirit more often.

What (new) four techniques do I want to implement into my daily life?
Exercise: My goal is to exercise during Jakob’s math program, while JJ naps.
Yoga: My goal is to do Yoga at least three nights each week.
Massage Therapy: My goal is to get a massage every week. My husband is a massage therapist who recently opened up a Day Spa. I have had maybe two or three massages in the last several years. I have been too pregnant, sick, or not had a place to put the massage table up to this point. It is time to make an appointment with my husband. I will also have him alternate Cranial Sacral massage with traditional massage.
Comic Relief (John Bytheway, Mary-Ellen Edmands): My goal is to listen to a talk once a week. I will also look for reasons to laugh more. I won’t hold back. I might even pull down Leif’s Calvin and Hobb’s comic books. 


My Physical Symptom’s Questionnaire score averaged 30. I would actually be surprised if it didn’t. I would obviously like to bring my score down, but at the moment the score seems accurate. Luckily, my severity score was in the low to mid range. However, my symptoms have persisted throughout the week. 

Who Am I?

I am a 32-year-old woman. I was a High School graduate. I was a Professional Nanny. I was a Missionary. I was a Single Roommate living in Hawaii. I finally became a wife. I finally became a mother.  I have been married for 8 years. I have been pregnant 5 times. I have six children. I have had one miscarriage. I have delivered one set of identical twin daughters. I have lost that set of identical twin daughters. And I have delivered 3 healthy still-living boys.
I am a daughter, a sister, a sister in law, a daughter in law, an aunt, a wife, a mother, a friend, a teacher, a student, a mommy-blogger, a neighbor, a counselor, a dishwasher, a chef, a laundress, a janitor, a taxi service, a party planner, a financial planner, and a vet.
Right now, I am a wife and a mother. Everything else stems from, revolves around, or takes a temporary back seat occasionally to these two things.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother. As a little girl, I would play with my dolls and play house. When I was old enough I would mother my siblings and friends. I still do this,(luckily that has calmed down a bit). I have always identified myself as a caregiver. And now, I am a mother. That is who I am.
When I grew old enough to notice, I recognized another longing within my soul. It was a feeling far more mature then that of my school age friends. I felt my soul searching for its other half. It was a feeling so profound within me that I often kept it within myself. I didn’t treat my heart’s desire lightly or flippantly. I knew that when I found him, I would be complete. And I was right! I am a wife. That is who I am.
There are a lot of significant experiences that have contributed to who I am today. As well as how I am at who I am today. As a child and into my youth I lived in a high- stress home, otherwise known as a chaotically cohesive family. This has been a huge influence on who and how I am. I served a mission for my church before I was married. This experience influenced me in countless positive ways. I learned about the power of faith in God. I also learned that I was a woman of interest and value, someone that a man could be interested in. Who would have thought I’d learn that while serving a mission? J When I married my husband, I found pure joy and peace for the first time in my life. His love and influence is a constant influence in my life. I had plenty of difficulties leading up to motherhood. But nothing has played a bigger influence on me physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, as pregnancy and motherhood. And so far, nothing has matched the loss of my girls. This experience alone has altered who I am mind, body, and spirit.
I am many things. But above all, I am a mother. I am a wife. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Too Much Going On

I'm really tired today. So tired that I can't focus on anything for very long. Last night I was talking with my uncle and as we were talking I was struck with just how much we have going on right now in our little world.
Leif is working Full Time at the Day Spa. AND taking evening classes for EMT certification. This means that we only see each other for a few hours total every day. It's no fun and I'm so sorry for those of you who go it alone or see your hubby's less then this. I really dislike this kind of schedule and routine!
I am taking two classes from USU, Home School, and run the house and change the diapers, etc.
We take care of the every day must-do's and the animals and yard.

It doesn't take up much space to write it down, but wow! I am really tired today from it all.

I need to go change a diaper, put some dinner on the table, take a few quizzes, complete two assignments, take an exam, Read for the quizzes and exam, wash the stinking dishes, wash the mountain of laundry, plan and prepare schooling and packing for the upcoming week long road trip (more on that later). Figure out what to do with the rabbits, ducks, and a few roosters (we're downsizing for the winter), ...
... Okay, I'll start with Dinner!  No, Diaper First!!;)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11: A Day of Remembrance

A few years ago I wrote a well detailed post about my personal experience on September 11, 2011. My experience was unique in one way because I was a missionary at the time and my area was the Great Lakes Navy Base in Chicago. Also known as the NAVY boot camp.... Truly a miraculous experience for me personally.

Tonight however, I want to reflect on the event as a whole. I realized tonight that I really don't know my family member's answers to the most poignant question of, "where were you on that September morning?" So family (or friends), if you're reading this, please send me your answer in the comments section, or an email!

Leif and I watched a video clip on Fox News tonight that showed the news cast of the attacks from the very beginning  through the afternoon. It was condensed of course. But WOW, I was amazed at how very real it felt and everything came back to me in a flood of emotions. And then to know what was going to happen before it happened. It was surreal. And so... speechless... I'm speechless. It still shocks me at the magnitude of the whole day's events and the impact and change that it made in our country and to it's people.

I reflected on the heroes of that day. Particularly the heroes of Flight 93. We listened to President Bush's speech he gave this year at the Flight 93 Memorial. It reminded me of their courage and strength and their ultimate and selfless sacrifice for our country. So many people gave their lives that day to help another person. And so many more have given their lives to prevent such an attack from happening again.

It's hard for some of the people in our country to support the military in the war against terror any longer. It's feels like such a long war and to many people it doesn't feel worth the sacrifice. But can you imagine if we would have given up that day... decided that we had already sacrificed enough lives for the cause? The thought seems absurd. These men an women fighting for our peace recognize that if they weren't fighting and the brilliant minds here at home weren't gathering and sifting through intelligence, all working together, we would not feel safe enough to even fathom stopping the fight. What I'm trying to say is THANK YOU, thank you for protecting us even when it's hard. Thank you for fighting for us even when we're not grateful. Thank you!

I will climb in my bed tonight and listen to the rumbling of the thunder and the pounding of the rain and I can't help think that maybe that's how it felt to be there that morning, thundering sounds and a downpour of dust and debris. And then I will remember my precious sailors and soldiers that I taught the gospel to and how so many of them left for war within the year after that day and some of them are still fighting for my freedom and peace of mind to this day. My guess is that the sound of cracking thunder and pounding rain just might be similar to the sounds of the battlefield. Thank you my beloved friends, for fighting anyway!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Foto Friday September: Week 1

You can tell that summer's coming to a close around here because of the rain. We had a pounding storm come through and Leif took the opportunity to show the boys the joy that can come from playing in the rain. This post will tell you all about our weekend trip to St. George with Caleb. These show the precious moment that it was in the scheme of things. Caleb was thrilled to play with his brothers and his Tonka Truck as soon as we got home. Priceless!
From September 7, 2011
From September 7, 2011
From September 7, 2011
From September 7, 2011
From September 7, 2011
From September 7, 2011
From September 7, 2011

Just a Little Break

Well, I broke my back yesterday. Got your attention!? I thought so:) Well, I really did fracture a vertebrae in my back yesterday, can you believe that!? Yep! JJ was falling down a little hill when we were playing at a friend's house and Grace here, wasn't so graceful and I fell right on my rear as I tried to rescue him. I have Osteopenia  in my lower back and so when my back gradually started to throb more and more I decided to go get an X-ray. Sure enough a small fracture. It's not is a place that will cause pain. But it's an interesting thought to know that you have a fracture in your back. Lovely! Just wanted to share For the Record. All is well! I'll take more calcium :)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Thoughts in Bulk

I have so much to blog about. I've had a lot of creative titles floating around in my head throughout the day. But I have VERY limited time these days. So, I will just post as often as I can and I will have to include multiple subjects within one post. So I apologize for the bulk posts:)

Yesterday was Sunday. Personally, as I walked out of the house on time for church (we had to give the prayers in Sacrament Meeting) I was just grateful that we were on our way. However, as we sat down in the chapel and all three of my children began to unanimously find their very worst habits and broadcast it to the whole congregation I found myself feeling darker and darker inside. I felt terrible and it was emanating from me, I know because Leif asked if I was okay. The truth was, for the first time in years I felt like I was going to burst into tears. Jakob was being very rude to me and I was not in a place emotionally to shrug it off. Caleb was freaking out, and JJ kept trying to escape under the benches. And then I realized that it was Fast and Testimony meeting and I hadn't thought about it AT ALL. It suddenly hit me how much my spirituality has been put on the back burner now that I am a wife and mother. And then the testimony meeting started and a hand full of children came up to share their testimonies and I couldn't help feeling a touch of fear that my boys might not ever "get it." Even after all that we do to try and help them spiritually on a daily basis. All of this was boiling up inside of me when a man began baring his testimony about his missionary experiences. He was sharing about the miracles that he witnessed and how faith in action can truly bring forth blessings in abundance. Finally, my tears broke free! I was a missionary a decade (and a lifetime) ago. However, the lessons that I learned about faith while on my mission have sustained me through thick and thin. They are lessons that I can not deny! I learned that when your will is in line with God's will ("please help us find those people who want to join your church, Lord") He will open the windows and doors of heaven and poor out His Blessings upon you. I know this from experience! If you believe He is there and He wants to bless you, then He Will!

I was very touched by this reminder. I was also filled with a renewed desire to bring myself in line with the Lord's will. The question that flowed through my soul Sunday was, "why can't parenthood be as clear cut and easy as missionary work." My guess is that it is because when we are missionaries, we have one goal and one purpose, with very few distractions. As parents and spouses we have A Lot of distractions and many different goals and roles to play. It can drain us of everything except for the drive to survive. I am weary of "survival mode." My prayer is that Leif and I can make the effort to truly line our hearts and wills with our Heavenly Father's. We're going to work on it one day at a time, one prayer at a time. In fact, that's literally where we are going to start. We recognized a clear difference between the prayers we said in sacrament and the prayers we say at home. Let's just say that our prayers at home are a lot shorter with a whole lot less specifics.  So, though the inclination to cry was strange on Sunday, I am truly grateful for the spirit that reminded me of the power of faith in action. I hope to remember it for...ever.;)

Leif and I planned a shopping get-a-way this weekend. We needed to buy furniture for the spa as well as do a huge grocery shopping trip. So we decided to spend the night in St. George and enjoy the time together. We were going to make it a date for just he and I. However, as I was packing the night before the trip Caleb was being a handful and I had the feeling that we should bring him along with us. Leif and I batted the idea around for the night and into the morning. We needed the time on this trip to be available for shopping. And a three year old can shut down a shopping trip really fast. We were nervous, but we decided to take him. And we are So glad that we did. We had a great time!! In fact, we've decided to make set plans for weekend trips alone with one of the kids every three months of so. We found a great hotel in St. George (Abby Inn) that I was able to enjoy because their mattresses were just soft enough. Leif and Caleb Loved the pool and hot tubs. Leif and I even watched a movie after Caleb fell asleep. Caleb thrived on the one on one attention. He was so cute that we were able to fall in love with him again. I think we all need that with our kids every once in a while. Ahhh, it was fun! FYI: Caleb handled the shopping like a pro until the last couple of hours. Leif stayed in the truck and watched a DVD with Caleb while I did the WalMart trip. It worked.:)

After my rough emotional morning yesterday I came home from church questioning my decision to home school more then I have this whole summer (that's saying something.) Jakob was being really mean to me. He stomped on my toes as we were gathering to leave the church. Uhh, yeah, we had an issue to deal with! When we were eating lunch Leif got out of Jakob that he was feeling really mad that we hadn't brought him anything from our trip. Something you have to know about Jakob is that his number one Love Language is Gifts. If you give him a gift, he takes that as an act of Love. Well through the help of the Lord, some how I was able to keep myself together and explain to Jakob that throughout the WHOLE trip I spent all of my thoughts, time, and money, planning and buying things for HIS home school. Surprises for him and I to do together for the year (Don't worry I thought about Caleb too and what he needs for school, but I was talking to Jakob;) Jakob's secondary Love Language is Time. If you spend quality one on one time with him, he considers that an act of Love. Luckily, I had let Jakob go through the bags that I brought home earlier. So though as he was looking through them he didn't consider them as a gift. Once we talked about it and I spelled it out for him his whole continence and attitude changed and he now recognizes that home school is an act of love towards him. It has been amazing! I pray that it continues!!

We spent the whole day setting up the "classroom" and going grocery shopping. We also had a Back to Home School party. Jakob did an outstanding job of entertaining himself without requiring the use of a screen. I had gathered up the Wii remotes and that meant no Wii or Netflix. Though Leif and him played Wii together for a little while during our party, Jakob and Caleb entertained themselves today by playing outside and building structures with Popsicle sticks and tacky glue. I think they may have used the whole thing of glue. But hey, I'm thrilled!

So I think I'm ready for school to start in the morning. The calendar's hung. A weather chart is next to it. My Subject Board is ready to go. Books are organized by month and subjects. September's lesson's are printed. And the Math DVD is here (and it looks great so far!) Oh! I even made a room-sized time line to line our ceiling.  It starts with the creation and goes by thousands of years and then hundreds of years up to today. We will post pictures and events on the time line throughout the year to get an idea of when things happened. I'm looking forward to that visual. The only things I need to do are hang the timeline, hopefully get our devotional book in the mail tomorrow, and hang the flag up. But we're good to go for tomorrow. I'm excited! I think Jakob is too. For the record: Leif gave Jakob a Father's Blessing today in preparation for school and it was very sweet.

We still have our kitties and so far, so good. They are really sweet and SO MUCH easier then puppies!! They are litter box trained with no problems! Caleb LOVES them. They are his rag dolls. I love watching him play with them (most of the time) sometimes he's rough with them and we have to take a time out. But over all it's been a good experience.

JJ is officially walking! I posted about him being close a little while ago and that very day ended up being when he started to take his first several steps. He is now walking more then crawling. It's so sweet and exciting and bitter-sweet all at the same time.
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