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Weekly Report #1

September 8, 2014

Although I think I’ll strive for monthly reports from here on out.  But then DH works every Friday night so you’d think I could crank out a weekly blog post while he’s gone along with my usual paying the bills, updating the budget, and laundry.  Such a glamorous life . . .

I’m not even sure we could call this a week of school.  Two days’ worth, maybe.  So we started back into our school routine on Tuesday and promptly remembered why I don’t like starting the day after Labor Day.  We’re always out of town on Labor Day, so I came home and tried to get my brain back into school mode to remember everything I still needed to get ready for the next day.  (DH gave us each a blessing though to begin the year with before we went to bed Monday night which was a nice beginning.)  After a long first day of school, I had to go to orchestra rehearsal Tuesday night and get my mushy brain to concentrate on music for 2 1/2 hours.  After not practicing much over the summer, I might add.

Wednesday was a full day again with school, taking dinner to a neighbor who had surgery, and having the missionaries over to get to know us.  Then we were back at Grandma’s house for cello lessons on Thursday.  The boys managed an hour or so of bookwork before we left, but other than that Thursdays mostly consist of piano lessons with Poppa and listening to our book on cd in the car.  This week we also went swimming with Grandma and Poppa at an end of summer pool party.  The weather was cooler which actually made the water feel a lot warmer and everybody had a great time.  Little A especially loved sitting in the water and kicked and splashed nonstop.  I wish I’d taken pictures.

Swimming must have worn us out because we sure had a hard time getting going Friday morning.  We had time for breakfast before needing to leave for our homeschool park day, during which I had to leave to drive E to his first Kindermusik class.  Then back to the park, then back to pick him up, then back to the park . . . we planned this particular park with that in mind since it was only a few blocks away, but still.  After lunch and dog walking, I must have been looking particularly worn out because DH suggested I take a nap and I actually did.  For two and a half hours!  I think fall allergies are upon me.  I think A did math while I was down, but C had scouts at 2:30 and didn’t do any more work, and thus I can see that Fridays are going to be a challenge.  Luckily park days are every other week and will only go through October, if that.

Yesterday we went to a cousin’s baptism and her little sister’s baby blessing before having a Stake Conference meeting at the church where Little A discovered her screaming voice and I spent a good portion of the meeting in the “quiet” room.  We left her with her brothers after that and DH and I went on a rare date for dinner.

Today we had Regional Conference in the Conference Center with Elder Hales and Elder Oaks.  DH had to leave to go to work half way through it so I was on squirmy baby duty and thus didn’t hear as much as I would have liked.  I think it’s important to go anyway, even when I know I will miss some of what is said.  E also had a hard time sitting still, but we survived, and we got to see Arnold Friberg’s Book of Mormon paintings on the way out.  I realized E does not know nearly enough Book of Mormon stories so maybe we’ll start adding those in to our Family Home Evenings.

And school–I was talking about school, wasn’t I?

There’s not much to report yet.  The boys are getting used to their new science books and the workload involved.  I think I will like Apples and Pears spelling, but I’m not so sure about the boys!  More writing is involved, but then that’s .  A and C continued on in their Latin books.  A is doing fine but C needs some serious review on the tenses and which ones use which helping verbs.  I need to help him study and teach him how to study better for the quizzes. Even though D didn’t finish Prima Latina, he opted to begin Latina Christiana instead as it covers all the same vocabulary words.  I think a step up will be good for him.  He needs a little more challenge in his life, and he likes being able to do the dvd lessons all on his own.

Math went well for everybody.  C and D began their new books.  A is juggling the end of Life of Fred Pre-Algebra with his new Dolciani Algebra book and I still need to check up on what he did Friday.  He also began Writing with Skill 2.  C did an outline from Story of the World for writing and I’m still (yes, still) debating on a writing program for D.

We read the first section of Story of the World about Queen Victoria and the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace for history.  We have an exhibition planned for history club next week so we’ll be busy pulling things together for that.  We need to add grammar into our week this week and figure out the best time to do Five in a Row with E.  It was a little hit and miss, but then the entire week was hit and miss.  I’m looking forward to a more normal week ahead!

Here are a few pictures from our week:

E gluing his China flag to a notebook page:


A science experiment that didn’t quite work out.  Anyone know where I can buy clear *non-bendy* straws?



After conference today, downtown:


A missionary couple offered to take the same picture with me in it this time, cut E did not want his picture taken again.  He’s hiding quite effectively in this next shot:



Again, no E!


And that’s all!  Hopefully this week will be a little calmer, but somehow I know it won’t be!

First Day of School Pictures

September 3, 2014




Just telling it like it is.

First Day of School

September 3, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA day-in-the-life post just to show off the current craziness–

5:42  DH brings Baby A in to me.  I’d really love to start seeing 6:00 or later wakeup times again, Missy.  I feed her on and off for the next hour and a half.  She never really goes back to sleep, hence neither do I.  Plus she’s wiggly in my bed.

7:30ish  C, then D, comes in to find the baby and make her giggle.  I send her out with D so I can pray.  Must not begin this day without prayer!

7:50  Once DH is out of the shower, I get in. C is up and dressed and starts making french toast for breakfast.  A sets the table.


8:10  Just when everyone’s about trained to get dressed before breakfast, I stop them because I don’t want syrup spilled on their new shirts before pictures.

8:20  Daddy’s trying to eat fast and A’s trying to make more syrup, but we can’t find the mapleine to make more.  Jam.  Why can’t we have jam on french toast this morning?

8:35  I’m feeding Baby her cereal, everyone else is feeding themselves.  E is finally up and joining us.  DH finds me the insulated copper wire A needs for science today.

9:00 Suddenly it’s 9:00 and I hurry everyone along to finish up breakfast and wash their dishes.

9:15ish  We’re dressed and taking pictures in the music room.  E doesn’t want his own personal picture until I ask him to show us his new Five in a Row book.  Looking back at first day pictures, everyone always seems to be wearing a striped shirt and it’s become somewhat of a joke.  So this year I deliberately bought them all a striped shirt and even found a (partially) striped dress for Little A as well.

9:30  Little A is being extremely cute and we take many more pictures of her.



9:35  Trying to start typing this post and cannot get on the internet, so decide we’d better get on with school, even though I feel woefully unprepared.  We begin our intro to the Doctrine and Covenants, our family scripture study for the year and introduce our first memory verse: Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.  Decide maybe this should be our theme for the year.

10:10  Baby A needs a nap, everyone else begins personal scripture study for 15 minutes and I even realize I can read the Book of Mormon on my phone while I’m helping her go down.

10:30 We’re experimenting with doing together subjects in the morning and individual subjects after lunch.  So I hand out maps, map instructions, timelines and timeline pictures, then read in Story of the World about Queen Victoria and about the Great Exhibition of 1851 in a book about London.

11:10 Science, which was crazy!  I was trying to read with C and D.  A kept coming out with questions, and E interrupted us all about 37 times.

11:40 Little A was back up and needing to be nursed, which I did while C and D played “I Spy” and we talked about matter, mass, and volume.  I doubt they’ll remember it tomorrow, but I got some narrations from D before A wanted me to look at his science experiment which involved two copper wires attached to a battery with the other ends in a glass of water.


12:15 I had sent the boys out for lunch after A cleaned up his experiment, but they had all wandered elsewhere, so I wrangled them back to the kitchen to heat up leftover pizza while I fed Little A some applesauce and cereal.  DH came home for lunch and it was nonstop chit-chat.  With boys who are “always hungry,” it’s amazing the number of times I have to tell them to stop talking and start eating.

12:35 Turned on some Mozart for a moment of calm (which I did get, but only a moment.) Everyone else was still talking and laughing and it was just one more thing.  So I turned it off after a while.

12:52  Finally put some pizza in the microwave for myself.

1:06 Cleaned off Baby A and got the boys out the door to go walk the dog. No dawdling!  If we take the amount of time for lunch and the dog that we’ve been doing the entire summer, it will kill the rest of school in the afternoon.

1:07 Sat down to do FIAR with E: we read The Story about Ping and looked up China on the map (I really need to buy a new world globe!) then he traced the Yangtze River in yellow on his map and colored a Chinese flag.  Sort of.  He was happy with it.

1:30ish  The older boys are back and sit down to cursive, math, spelling, and Latin.  D learns about decimals for the first time and starts his new spelling book.  It goes well.  I am encouraged.  C gets distracted and reads a science book and I have to redirect him.  A really wants to share his math lesson with everyone, but I tell him to read it silently instead.  E works on his letter and tracing Kumon workbooks.  He really needs a table his size, but our little table has a broken leg right now and needs to be fixed.

2:00 Little A lets me know in no uncertain terms that she is starving and must nurse now.  Everyone else keeps working.

2:48 D is beginning Latina Christiana with a video lesson, which apparently requires a butterfly net?


A begins Writing with Skill 2, and C is reviewing his logic workbook and Latin flashcards from what he did over the summer (which wasn’t much, but it’s a starting point.)  E has given up after asking me a dozen times if he can watch a movie and is playing on the floor with Little A.


Between 3:00 and 4:00 I am trying to access the internet, which apparently hates me today, although A is online and indexing a batch of names on Dad’s computer. So apparently it’s only me.  The boys are finishing up their written work and taking turns doing piano practice.  Does it really take this long to finish??  It feels like there is no time to do anything extra or no time to just . . . be.  But we’re getting back into our routines, E is playing nicely, and Little A is having a great time when I realize she probably needs another nap.  She’s been so good today rolling around and staying entertained and not being fussy.  I remember E at that age liking school because we were all there together instead of scattered about as during the summer days.


4:10 I put her down for a nap and realize a) the living room is a disaster area; b) DH has not come home to take my van to go pick up my dryer which has been at the repair shop for two weeks now; and c) I really really need to go grocery shopping and don’t have a clue what to make for dinner.

E wants to run errands with me so we go out to buy a package of cardstock and then to Smith’s for some food.

5:05 We’re back home, DH is home and no, my dryer is not ready today but will be tomorrow morning, and everyone else is watching C who is trying to figure out how to build the Crystal Palace in Minecraft to show at our homeschool history club.

Little A is still asleep, and as much as I hate waking a sleeping baby, I have to nurse her, make dinner, eat dinner, and get out the door to orchestra.  Oh, and possibly nurse her again just to be sure she’ll make it through bedtime while I’m gone. So DH gets her up so I can feed her before starting dinner.  DH wants to know if I need him or if he can go pick up dry cleaning.  I tell him to go, but by the time he’s back I’m a little frazzled, but dinner is on the table and I can eat fast, and A has fed Little A for me.

Minecraft is terribly fascinating:


6:30 DH drives me to rehearsal with Little A who, after a dinner of yogurt and sweet potato, does not want to nurse again.  She’s also completely distracted by all the cars and different sights in the parking lot at Gardner Hall.  So I wish DH good luck with her and go into rehearsal.  I guess she can manage a night without the bath/pjs/nursing routine.

7-9:30 Bernstein and Shostakovich

9:30 DH picks me up, tells me how Little A went to bed in about 30 seconds (we must really have worn her out today!) and also tells me he let the boys watch a movie since scouts got cancelled, so they’re all still up when I get home.  We need to get back in the habit of going to bed on time again so we can get up in the morning and do it all over again!  But then we homeschool, so we do have some freedom in the mornings and know we don’t have to be at the bus stop at 7:10 a.m. sharp, rain or shine, snow or sleet, in the darkness of cold winter!  And thank goodness!  Crazy as our life is, I’ll take it over the alternative, any day!

Shakespeare 2014

August 29, 2014

Some day we’ll go on vacation for longer than just overnight!  And DH’s boss forgot he was even off Monday.  There was a crisis at work with the electricity in one of the buildings and DH got phone call after phone call after text message all morning long.  I was answering his texts for him as we drove down I-15 until his boss finally asked where he was at and he said, “About 30 miles outside of Beaver.”  Nothing like solving crises from 200 miles down the road.  Everyone just thought he was out and about handling everything and eventually they’d see him in the office.  Eventually–like Wednesday!  Our drive was a lot quieter after that.

So we made a quick trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City.  We even saw some Shakespeare this year.  Well, the boys and DH did.  They went to The Comedy of Errors in the outdoor theater.


I went all by myself to see the world premiere of Sense and Sensibility.  First though, we had to see how many times we could stop during the 2.5 hour drive. Between a nursing baby and a 4-year-old, it was a lot longer than 2.5 hours.  We even slept at Grandma’s house Sunday night to cut an hour off our Monday drive because I knew it wouldn’t be quick!  Other than needing to stop, the boys and the baby actually did pretty well in the car, and we made it in time to have lunch and nurse the baby (again!) before my 2 p.m. play.  Although E was miffed because he left his water bottle in Beaver.

And the play was wonderful.  I could tell that half of the people sitting around me didn’t know the story at all due to their gasps of surprise at certain revelations.  And Charlotte Palmer is my new favorite character.  She was so hilarious!  I love how certain lines from the book or movie adaptations aren’t all that funny until they’re delivered in a different way.  I really enjoyed it.


While I was in the play, the boys shopped at the gift shop, played at the park, checked into our hotel, and went swimming.  After they picked me up, we had dinner, then went back for the greenshow before the evening performance so E would feel like he got to see something on this trip.  It was Irish night with Irish music, dancing, and  bad jokes.  The boys played tag on the lawn beforehand to run off some energy.


And of course we had to enjoy some tarts.


Little A really enjoyed trying to eat the grass.  She was actually a good little traveller on this trip.  She’s such a mellow little soul.


Then we traded kids.  The three older boys stayed for the play while E and Little A went back to the hotel room with me, where E watched movies on Netflix while I put Little A down to bed.  He went to bed probably three times, but after about five minutes, he’d climb back out and come snuggle up to me on the couch again.

Tuesday morning after breakfast we drove home again. And can I just say that breakfast being included at the hotel is one of the best deals ever when you have six people to feed!  (Especially if one of those seven is a growing 13-year-old who we like to call “Hollow Leg.”)  It was kind of fun to go on vacation on the day everyone else was starting school.  If only it could have been longer!  But A had a youth activity Tuesday night and my orchestra started rehearsals for the year, and we were probably lucky to get away at all.  Hopefully, DH’s work craziness will calm down here in a while. We will have one more overnighter at Grandma’s house for Labor Day; then we will start school on Tuesday.

And with that, summer is gone.

Modern History Literature List for 6th/8th grades

August 23, 2014

We were quite successful with last year’s literature list.  I think it helped that I bought almost all of the books and just kept them in a pile on the bookcase.  When a child finished a book, I’d just hand him the next one.  Meaningful discussions about the literature were another matter, but I’ll pull out my (really getting old by now) excuse: we had a baby.  Books got read.  We had a few discussions.  Everybody’s happy.

The poetry was another matter entirely, probably because it wasn’t just sitting there on the shelf.  I think we read two poems off the list along with the poetry in Writing With Skill.  But that’s ok.  We had a baby.  We’ll try again this year.  Actually there are only two poems on the list and I don’t know enough about poetry to know whether to add any more.  So we’ll keep it at two!  This is already an ambitious list.

I started with the 8th grade modern history literature list from The Well-Trained Mind and after consulting a few other modern history reading lists, I deleted a few books, and added a few more.  And the first two books are the two we didn’t get to last year that I still want to read.  Some will be family read-alouds or audiobooks in the car and we’ll be reading other yet-to-be-decided books for our book club as well.

  1. “The Way to Wealth” by Benjamin Franklin
  2. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself
  3. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  4. Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
  5. The Man without a Country by Edward E. Hale (short story)
  6. Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
  7. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  8. Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles and others by Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. The Time Machine or The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  10. O. Henry short stories
  11. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  12. Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan
  13. The Red Fighter Pilot by Manfred von Richthofen
  14. The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
  15. Bomb–The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (ok, not technically fiction)
  16. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (and others, I’m excited!  I love Dame Agatha!)
  17. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  18. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  19. Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang
  20. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  21. The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong
  22. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
  23. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (for A)


  1. “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”


  1. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  2. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Any other fabulous reads from our time period (1850-2001) that I’m missing?


August 20, 2014
  • The dryer is not working.  Bleh.  It’s under warranty though and hopefully they can fix it.  Soon.
  • I found the camera!  and lost it again.
  • The last boxes of school books are now here.  I feel like I should know what I’m doing with them.  I don’t.
  • E taught me how to take screen shots on my phone.  Yes, the 4-year-old.
  • At least it will quit driving me crazy when screen shots show up in my photo stream and I have no clue how they got there.
  • A went boating today with the bishop and his wife and the other youth in our ward.  He said it was cold, windy, and wet, but he had fun anyway.  And someone needs to teach him how to apply sunscreen.
  • The weather was so beautiful last night when we went for a walk that we just kept walking.  I finally feel like I’m getting some strength back after the most recent morning sickness/new babyhood left me feeling like a total sloth.
  • Now if walking just helped flatten tummies . . . that’s going to take a different kind of exercise.
  • We didn’t walk tonight.  Baby A has had a terrible runny nose and we got so little sleep last night and I’m hoping tonight is not a repeat.
  • Speaking of which, why am I not in bed  yet?


17 years!

August 18, 2014

Happy Anniversary to us–

I can get away with sharing this picture of DH on the blog since it only shows the back of his head!  And this is still the only wedding photo I have digitized.   Every August I say I’m going to continue that little project . . .

We were trying to remember what we did last year for our anniversary.  All we could come up with was going out to lunch at Red Lobster where I ate the salad that made me sick for the rest of the day.  And due to that morning sickness, I just wasn’t up to doing much else.  I think I took a good nap.

This year we had to work around a nursing baby, but we had a good day.  We got up early and were able to squeeze in a session at the Salt Lake Temple.  Now that Baby A is eating real food, I thought we could probably leave her with the boys for a couple of hours.  I was just worried about naptime.  She’s a total Mommy’s girl lately and hates to be put down by anybody else.  But she obliged us by waking up really early Friday morning and was ready to go down for a nap before we left for the temple, so the boys lucked out for the first hour and a half that we were gone.

I was starving after the temple, but we thought we should probably look in on the little one before going out to lunch so we headed home to nurse her.  Then on our way to lunch, DH got a call from work about something apparently only he could solve and after he couldn’t solve it from his phone and/or ipad in the promised 2 minutes, I ended up sitting in his parking lot at work while he fixed whatever it was from another computer.  This cut into our lunch time due to our next obligation, but we managed to enjoy a great meal at the Lion House Pantry, which we chose mainly for the dessert selection!  DH had salmon, and I had prime rib and then a fabulous slice of lemon cream pie.  I don’t do meringue, but I love lemon pie otherwise.

We forgot to get a parking validation, but they surprisingly had the gate up with a “Have a nice day” sign and we didn’t have to pay for parking at all.  So nice!  We rushed home to get everyone ready to go out the door to the Ogden temple open house, and then sat in stalled traffic on the freeway for quite some time.  Eventually we made it there and took a walk through.  The boys enjoyed it, although E was seriously perturbed about the plastic booties they made us wear over our shoes.  Every time I asked him a question, he’d respond with, “Why do we have to wear these?”  He really doesn’t like the unexpected.  Somehow we should probably work on that.


The temple was beautiful, especially with the rose motif throughout.  D and E said they liked the baptismal font best, while A and C both liked the celestial room.  Here’s a good link to a video and a photo gallery of the inside.

Afterwards we went for ice cream.  I’m sure Farr Better Ice Cream is loving their convenient location right across the street from the temple grounds in this hot weather!  So many people had the same idea we did.  The boys still thought we needed dinner after that, so we ended up at Five Guys for burgers on our way home.  It was Friday night, which the boys think should always be movie night, so we set them up in the living room with something or other (?) while DH and I watched Poirot in our room on the computer while I nursed Baby A for bed.  I don’t remember much of the movie’s middle, so I’m pretty sure I had a little nap in there too.  A Long day, but a good one!  Here’s looking at 17 more years together.






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