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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.





Guess who’s sitting up?

August 12, 2014


She’s also discovered Woody.


His head may never be the same again.




“Take me out to the ballgame”

August 11, 2014

I love it when it’s 11 p.m. and the house is quiet, except for the 4-year-old who can’t go to sleep because he took a very very long nap this afternoon because he was up very very late last night.  And since he can’t go to sleep, neither can I!

I think it was worth it though; we had a lot of fun at the Bees game!


A little background on our lives right now:  DH has been working anywhere from 60-75 hours a week since about the end of April.  He has his day job, then he has his weekend job.  The day job is crazy at the moment as he is now in charge of teaching some training classes and he’s starting with the graveyard shift people.  So Monday and Tuesday are normal days then Wednesday and Thursday he works through the night doing classes.  Sleep is optional.

Then on his weekend job (which started out as a way to make a few extra $$)(emphasis on few!) he’s been covering shifts for about three other people who have been out with various injuries including the same shoulder surgery that he had last year. I guess he felt he owed it to them since they covered for him while he spent 6 months healing.  So instead of just working Friday night and Saturday afternoon, he’s been working Friday nights, Saturday all day, and Sunday all day and sometimes evenings.  He’s hardly had a day off in months!

But as of today, he has Sunday mornings free again (and it was so nice to sit with my husband in church today!) and Saturday mornings will be free from now on too.  His boss there has realized that he’s put in a lot of extra hours this summer and so he told him to go home Saturday at 4:00 and oh, here’s 10 tickets in the corporate suite for the Bees game against El Paso.  Go spend some time with your family!  To say we’re not into sports at this house is an understatement, but the boys were all excited to go.  I was even excited to go!  DH was surprised at this, but free tickets?  Family togetherness?  I’m there!!


Little A wore her bee outfit.  Fitting, no?

Fuzzy baby; one day I’ll find my good camera instead of relying on the iphone photos.


Little A did remarkably well considering we were there until after 10:30.  She got passed from brother to brother and was inside then outside then back inside and took a little nap at one point in my arms.

The boys had a great time too, even though the Bees lost.  I can’t explain baseball too well, but they all know how to play kickball and it’s kind of the same.  But kind of not.   They mostly followed along and had fun.  And there were fireworks after.  Even Baby A liked those, although I was glad she was able to go back into the suite.  They were really loud.  (We can hear them sometimes from our house.  I’d hate to live right by the ballfield and have to listen to them every game night!)  DH said Baby A was really excited to watch them, but then would get overstimulated and have to turn away from the window for a few moments.  But then she’d calm down and turn right back around again to see more.


I think all the boys want to come back to another game, although we won’t have this good of a view next time!

2014/2015 School Plans

August 9, 2014

Normally by this point in the summer, I’m just about ready to start a new school year.  This year? Not so much.  I can’t believe it’s August already, or that I have a 6-month-old who’s just about crawling.  Anyway, I just placed my last book orders this afternoon, so I don’t even have all my curricula in hand.  I’ve done no kind of scheduling or planning on paper for a single subject, and yet we’re looking at a September 2 start date.  I’m also trying to get my house ready to put on the market.  Sigh. . .

So thinking about curricula is a nice distraction.  The Well-Trained Mind is still serving us well as our overall guide to classical education, but I do enjoy the process of picking out just which books we’ll use each year.  Grades listed are for simplicity’s sake as I try to teach each of them at the level they’re at.  Here’s the plan, such as it is:

For E (age 4.5 and officially a pre-schooler this year):  

  • I failed pretty miserably at preschool last year (maybe having a new baby had something to do with it?) so we’re still only up to the letter J in our letter of the week plan.  We’ll continue with that, or not, as he’s interested.  I’d also like to do some Five in a Row books and also have some Kumon tracing books and the Explode the Code primers as he’s getting more interested in writing and learning numbers especially.


For D (almost 10 and in 4th grade):

  • Singapore Math 4B/5A and Challenging Word Problems
  • MCT language arts: Grammar Island and Practice Island
  • Apples and Pears spelling (love that name!): This will be the year we learn to spell.  (I say that every year though.)
  • Writing?  Big question mark with this kid still, but we’ll probably stick with Institute for Excellence in Writing’s All Things Fun and Fascinating
  • Finish up Prima Latina and move into Latina Christiana I

For C (age 11 and in 6th grade):

For A (almost 14 and in 8th grade):
  • Second Form Latin: he’s not quite half-way through this at the moment, follow up with Third Form when we get there
  • Algebra!  I’m not ready for this. . . but I’m going to use a very old copy of Dolciani Algebra Structure and Method and see how it goes, with some Life of Fred on the side.
  • Copywork quotes in cursive
  • MCT language arts: Magic Lens 2 and 4Practice for grammar
  • Writing with Skill level 2
  • The Art of Argument (which we hardly touched last year)


All other subjects will be done together, which include:

  • Memory work: Using the Simply Charlotte Mason scripture memory system, we’ll see if we can be a little more diligent than last year at memorizing poetry and scriptures.
  • Poetry: MCT’s A World of Poetry
  • Art/Music:  The big boys will all continue to take piano lessons from Poppa this year and E will attend Kindermusik once a week.  I’m a cellist so they hear me practice and attend most of my symphony concerts and get a lot of music exposure that way.  Beyond that, I’m just not committing to anything this year.  I’ll just feel guilty when it doesn’t happen.
  • Science: I’m going in a totally different direction this year and trying out Apologia textbook courses–Physical Science for A, and Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics for C and D together.  A is really into science right now and wants to be challenged, so I’m putting the responsibility for getting it done on his shoulders while I work with the other two.  We’ll see how it goes.
  • History: I’ll be the first to admit that last school year was less than stellar and I feel like we lost some of our enthusiasm, for history especially, as we dealt with a new baby and trying to move (which we’re still dealing with.  Fun, fun!)  This year we’ll wrap up our second 4-year cycle of world history using  Story of the World 4 as our spine, supplemented with the accompanying Activity Guide, MapTrektimeline, and exercises from Critical Thinking in United States History.  But I want to do a lot more reading in literature and non-fiction books.  Somehow we got away from reading a lot last year and it felt like we got a very shallow view of world and American history as we skimmed along.  Story of the World 4 is a lot of war, war, and more war, which I want to cover without necessarily dwelling on too much, so I’ll depend on other books for a different view of the time period.  When we hit the 1900s, I’m also going to add in activities from Homeschoolinthewoods’s 20th Century Activity Pak.  We will probably do history club again with three other families on a monthly basis to share what we’ve learned.  One family has stopped homeschooling though and we’re still figuring out if we have a good enough group that wants to continue this.
  • Literature: So we want to read more and I just love the book lists in the Story of the World Activity Guides.  In addition,  A and C and I will also work through most of The Well-Trained Mind’s book list for 8th grade and some other books from the time period that I don’t want to miss.  I haven’t finalized that list and we’re actually still finishing up the 7th grade list.  We’ll also continue with our homeschool book club, mostly for fun, and we always have a book on cd going in the car.
  • Last but certainly not least, Scripture Study: Everyone has their own personal scripture study time in the morning, but together we will be focusing on the Doctrine and Covenants this year as we follow the LDS Seminary 4-year schedule.  We’ll use both the seminary manual and Scripture Study for LDS Families: The Doctrine and Covenants.  I want them to learn from the actual scriptures but I don’t want to turn gospel study into just another workbook-y subject, so we mainly read and discuss together and it’s a great way to start the day!

This looks completely ambitious and I hope I’m up to the task!  3+ weeks and we’ll find out!


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