We’ve been in this house for two months and four days now. I’ve had so much to say about the last two months (well the moving process as well), but I still feel like everything is such chaos!
Our old routines flew out the window and we’re still searching for new ones that work. We’re still getting used to DH’s commute. We’re not three blocks from work any more! And we’re no closer to being able to park in the garage than we were two months ago. I am amazed at how we went from 1700 square feet of living space to quite a bit more including a 3-car garage and we have filled it up and then some. Granted we accumulated more furniture rather quickly (thanks to family!) but I’m not quite sure where all the other “stuff” came from! At least I have room to spread it out and see what I own (and to wish I’d gotten rid of more before moving!)
And life didn’t stop just because we moved. Seminary and online classes just kept going, but even the weekends have been crazy. We’ve hardly had a weekend with nothing happening when we could catch our breath and buckle down on unpacking. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving week! We’re giving up on school this week (except for A who has seminary and math) and we’re going to work! I want to feel settled. I’m so tired of feeling unsettled.
Frankly, I’m so tired, period. I’ve been up four nights this week with various children throwing up. It was A’s turn last night, but thankfully he took care of himself. Besides that, Little A has lost all ability to sleep through the night since we moved out of our old house. If I do nothing else this week, I may just work on her sleep habits, because I am that exhausted!
This wasn’t quite the upbeat post I had planned to write tonight! Oh well.
Everybody else is doing well with the move. Everybody has their own bedroom and we’re finding out just who has the skills to take care of their own space and who doesn’t. I guess it’s hard when you’ve shared a room with all of your brothers for your entire life to suddenly have your own space to manage. Needless to say, we’re working on basic habits and routines around here. Again. I feel like half my life has been spent on developing good habits with the boys. Shouldn’t we have this down by now?!
In helping D clean up the massive disaster in his room yesterday, I found (besides Little A’s brand new Sunday shoe which has been missing for over a week!) the science book I’ve been searching for for weeks. We finally got to unpack our hundreds of books, many of which haven’t seen the light of day in over two years, but I couldn’t find the current science or writing book for C and D. I thought I was losing my mind as I could swear I had seen them at some point, but they were nowhere inside the house, and there were no more boxes of books in the garage. I double and triple and quadruple checked. So they were in the house after all, in D’s closet. Or as he said, “I thought you looking for a different science book.” GAH!
So that mystery is solved. Now maybe we can finally get our school schedules back on track. I’ve felt a little half-hearted about school lately. I know there’s often a November slump in homeschooling, but I think this year it’s more to do with moving and not being quite settled. I spent most of the summer gritting my teeth and saying, “I can’t do this any more (meaning live here in the teeny tiny house) with five children…if we could only sell this house and move…” then what? Everything magically gets better? No, there’s a lot of stress on the unpacking side as well. But we’re getting there.
DH really does like his commute; he has time to decompress from work so he’s relaxed when he gets home from work. I don’t really mind the drive into Salt Lake City either. There’s hardly any traffic between Stansbury and the airport and there are some really great views of the lake on the way. Granted, the six times I had to drive in last week were a little much. Our 6-month dentist appointments and monthly book club all happened to fall in the same week I had a concert, which I was lucky to be able to play as I burned three of my left fingertips that Monday. Never a dull moment!
And I get this for a view every morning:
We get some seriously gorgeous sunrises and sunsets out here, and we back up to the golf course so it’s a wide open view back there. Actually a very funny thing happened a while back–one of the houses across the way lit up a big bonfire one night after dark. We hadn’t closed our blinds yet and when the boys looked outside, they yelled, “The beacons are lit; Gondor calls for aid!”
There’s a Lord of the Rings quote for everything.
And with that, I really need to go to bed.
I think these were taken the morning we moved out of our house. We were technically supposed to start school that week and I wanted one more “first day of school” picture in front of our sliding doors at the old house to show how everyone has grown since last year.
As usual E didn’t want to be in the picture so this is as good as it gets.
Or the holiday where I left everyone to fend for themselves. Almost everyone, anyway.
Six weeks in this house and I still don’t feel really moved in and settled yet. Somehow I knew I wouldn’t be up to making elaborate Halloween costumes this year, but we have all the old costume boxes out of storage, so I told the boys they were free to raid them for anything they wanted.
C and D were invited to a “tween” Halloween party on Friday night so C dug out his old Gandalf costume (now about 6 inches too short!) and D wore the Star Wars Clone Wars Captain Rex that C wore two years ago. E has never wanted to dress up much before now, but he found one of our old knight costumes and has been wearing it for the past week, so he was easy.
And Little A? Sigh…
She has always looked adorable in her hooded jackets, so I thought Little Red Riding Hood would be a fabulous choice. I’d found a really pretty red dress at Kid-to-Kid a few weeks ago so I borrowed a friend’s pattern and made a cape to go with it out of some red and black brocade. Little A wouldn’t touch it. She is the queen of big poufy dresses, and she knows the dresses in this house are hers, but she would have nothing to do with this cape and did not want that hood on her head! It was really quite funny. So she wore her black jacket with the hood on, and I carried the cape.
We rarely went trick-or-treating in our old neighborhood, probably for safety reasons! But we thought it would be good to get out and maybe meet some of our new neighbors and check out the ward a little bit, so we all went out together Saturday night. I think A is feeling like he’s a little too old to dress up (unless maybe he had a really cool costume) but I convinced him to wear DH’s Indiana Jones hat and jacket and he helped Little A walk around. She would at least carry her basket and it didn’t take her long to figure out that people were putting good things in it.
We had a fair amount of daylight left when we finally made it out the door, but there are no streetlights in Stansbury due to the observatory, so when it got dark, it got really dark! We didn’t stray too far from home though and the kids had a good time. We gave away all the candy we had bought too, although there were fewer kids out trick-or-treating than I thought there would be.
Little A with her haul:
D, kindly modelling Little A’s cape:
I didn’t realize until today that I never got a picture of E. He said, “That’s because I didn’t want my picture taken.” Story of our life. He was wearing his costume again today though, so I was surreptitiously trying to photograph him.
Some attempts were better than others.
Now he has on the cape. At least it’s getting a little use this year.
Nana’s in town this week, so we’re getting out and about and exploring our new area. Saturday we ended up at the Great Salt Lake State Park. We were going to drive out to Stansbury Island later in the day, but a storm front moved in so we went home instead.
We’ve never visited this end of the lake before, but really enjoy driving by it every time we go back into Salt Lake City.Aside from the lake stink in spots, we really enjoyed our time at the beach.
The lake itself is at a 60-year low. Most of the boats at the marina have been taken out of the water and parked on land because there simply isn’t enough water to even float. The mouth of the marina is only about three feet deep right now.
The clouds were impressive.
As always, E didn’t want to be in the family picture.
or the post you’ve all been waiting for!
When last we spoke, A was about to start seminary and we were prepping for the start of the rest of our schoolwork. As if that weren’t enough, on August 21 (two days after I last posted) we finally decided since we had finished all the work we were going to do on our house and with no luck attracting a buyer on our own, we would list our house with our agent. He came over late Friday afternoon to sign a contract, didn’t even walk through our property or take pictures or anything, put it on the MLS at a higher price than we had been asking all summer and by Saturday night we had an offer in hand.
That’s the short story. Short story #1.
Slightly longer: It had been a crazy week with very little down time and DH had some rare time off on Saturday, so we let the house go and watched a movie in the afternoon before he had to go back to work, after telling our agent that no, we didn’t really want to show the house on Sunday mainly because even though we’d be at church during a showing, Sunday mornings are crazy and I didn’t want the added stress of trying to get the house showable on our way out the door. So we knew we had a showing for Monday scheduled.
An hour after DH left for work, our agent called and said, “I’m really sorry to bother you again, but there’s this guy out with his agent looking at houses in your neighborhood right now and wants to know if he can come over in an hour.” Um, sure?? The house was a disaster, relatively speaking, but boy, have we gotten good at putting a house back in order! And I really, really wanted to get it sold. If that means pulling it together in an hour, then that’s what we’ll do. So we did our best work and barely made it out the door before he showed up. It was right at dinner time, so I took the kids to Noodles and Co. An hour later, we drove back, and he was still there! So we went to the park down the road from which vantage point I could see him drive away ten minutes later. He must have gone over every inch of our house. It’s just not that big. But apparently he liked it enough to put in an offer that night, with a closing date of September 11, a mere 2 ½ weeks down the road. Our agent emailed us late, but I didn’t even see his message until after church the next day.
We ended up showing the house again twice on Monday while we negotiated price with the original offer and by Thursday morning we had a signed contract.
Short story #2: He paid cash and wanted to close in a week, so we packed up the entire house into four storage units while simultaneously house hunting and ultimately ending up homeless on Friday, September 4.
Thursday morning we were under contract. Thursday afternoon, our agent called me with “this is a good problem to have. . .” Apparently every single closing he’d had all summer long had been delayed for one reason or another, so he was thrilled that for once, a buyer wanted to expedite the process. But he was worried about us and where we would end up, and if we could even pull off moving out in the space of a week. Less than a week actually; the buyer wanted to close the next Wednesday. I didn’t think that was possible, but neither one of us wanted to do anything to lose the deal, so our agent said he thought we could hold off on closing until Friday, and I joked that if we had to, we had an 8-person tent, and could end up at the KOA. The weather was nice, so why not?
DH was all for it, at which point I told him he’d better take the week off work, or there was no way I was going to be able to do it myself. Friday and a good part of Monday we also spent house hunting from Bountiful to Riverton and points west. We made an offer on a house in West Jordan, but lost out in a bidding war, looked seriously at a house in Herriman, but ultimately made an offer and underwent negotiations on a house out in Stansbury Park, signing a contract the same day we closed on our house downtown.
It’s been a whirlwind, I tell you.
From downtown (and four storage units) we went first to Springhill Suites for a night, then to Grandma and Poppa’s house through the Labor Day weekend. Then since DH couldn’t drive his work car there due to the distance, and because A was still enrolled in seminary at East High, (and despite jokes about ending up at either KOA or the homeless shelter) we moved back up to Sandy into the Residence Inn for 11 days so we could try to replicate our life somewhat. There were several big conventions in town that week and we couldn’t find a single hotel room closer to the city.
Our neighbor had actually offered to let us stay in his rental house which had just gone vacant, and while I truly appreciated his offer, it would have been weird to stay next door to our old house, plus we had just packed up all the household stuff and would have had to sleep in sleeping bags on floor and either unpacked stuff again just to be able to cook and eat, or eat out a lot. Honestly I just couldn’t do it. That was one very stressful week trying to pack up and move out, and Residence Inn had a breakfast buffet every morning, king-size beds, and a pool, not to mention maid service. I needed to be pampered a bit. Plus we had 1 ½ months of mortgage payments we wouldn’t have to make and we were going to make quite a bit on the sale of our house so this was (sort of) like a vacation we felt we could afford. And boy, those 11 days of just waking up and walking down to a hot breakfast were so wonderful!
All in all, it wasn’t quite like a vacation. DH had to go back to work and we had to drive downtown to pick up A at seminary every other day, as well as for scouts and several other activities, but it worked.
Things worked amazingly with our loan too, and a mere 14 days after signing the contract, we had another closing and received the keys to our new home. A home which was an incredible deal for us as it had been sitting empty since February when the previous owners had to move out of state and had been slowly dropping in price ever since. If we had sold our other home any sooner, we probably would not have been able to pick up this place at a price we could afford, so all things have worked out well. We’re just so grateful to be settled (if you can call being surrounded by 3287 moving boxes settled) and somehow it’s now October!
There’s more to tell, and pictures to share, but those will have to come later.
We’ve been working on a new jigsaw puzzle. In the end, one piece is still missing and another one has been eaten by Little A. Well, she sucked on it. When it dried out we were able to figure out where it fit in, although one tab is gone. So the puzzle is kind of, sort of finished.
Kind of like our school year plans. I feel like I’m working on a puzzle where I don’t even have all the pieces yet; the ones I do have aren’t quite fitting together, and I’m still not sure what the end product will look like.
Each year just seems to get a little more complicated. This year A is in 9th grade which means he goes to seminary for the first time. We’re also juggling 7th grade, 5th grade, kindergarten, and a child who will turn two in January. As I’ve heard it described having a toddler is kind of like running the blender without a lid.
So . . .
For the past eight (!) years now, we’ve followed The Well-Trained Mind recommendations for chronological history. We’ve been through two complete cycles of world history and would normally go back to Ancients this year, but we’re kind of throwing that to the wind and doing something completely different. A and C will both take history classes through Liahona Academy‘s distance education program and A will also be doing chemistry with them.
Liahona is an LDS private school down in Pleasant Grove that was started by Brent DeGraff. I heard Bro. DeGraff speak some years ago at a homeschool conference and have been looking forward to having the boys learn from him eventually. Finances worked out this year so we’re trying it out. DH and I feel that Liahona’s mission statement is very close to what we’ve always been striving for in our homeschool:
The mission of Liahona Preparatory Academy is to assist parents in educating their children in the fundamentals of the arts, letters and sciences while integrating the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We strive to provide a challenging academic education by infusing secular knowledge with LDS doctrine and values in order that students might understand all knowledge in the context of the eternal.
A will do the accredited option where he turns in all of his work and gets an official grade; C chose to do non-accredited where I am in charge of assignments and grades, just to see how it works. I’ve been listening to another workshop by Susan Wise Bauer on preparing for high school and beyond and realized we should have done some more outside classes or online learning before it actually counts for high school credit for A, but it’s a little late for that, so wish us luck!
So here’s where the juggling comes in: Despite all our efforts, our house still hasn’t sold, so I finally resigned myself to enrolling A for seminary up at East High. We’re technically in the boundaries for Highland High, but East High is so much closer (a 4 ½ minute drive–we timed it!) so that’s where he’s going. At some point our house has to sell and we’ll have to move and re-enroll him . . . wherever we end up. Chemistry is online at 8:30 a.m., A’s history is at 12:25 p.m. four days a week. Seminary will be second period every other day (A/B day schedule) from 9:12 to 10:54, so twice a week he’ll miss out on the end of chemistry and have to catch it online later. Thank goodness the classes are archived. Then C has his history class to watch at 11:25.
Three subjects down, so many more to go!
Chemistry looks pretty tough and I’m not sure what kind of workload the history class will involve, so although A and I had quite the list of electives for this year, we’re not going to tackle them all at once or even this year. Of course he’ll have math, which we’re a little behind with. He’s still doing Dolciani algebra with me, and then will move into geometry, probably using the Jurgensen text with some online self-paced something or other I haven’t decided on yet, hoping to finish up by next fall.
For English he’ll use the last year of MCT Magic Lens and 4Practice grammar books, plus Jensen Punctuation exercises and Writing with Skill 2, with reviewing some of the different writing exercises from level 1. While we’re not exactly doing ancient history, I still want to follow the 4-year chronological literature cycle as we’ve done in the past so A, C, and I are going to read The Iliad, The Odyssey, and some of the Greek dramas using Roman Roads Media dvd courses.
For electives, A will do German I independent study through Rolling Acres School, and is already working on the KidCoder Web Design programming course. Once a week with everybody we’ll work on geography with Mapping the World with Art. A will also finish Second Form Latin at a leisurely pace, then we’ll decide if he wants to continue with Henle next year which is more of a high school-level course or stick with German. That adds up to 7ish credits plus seminary.
Moving on . . .
C (age 12, 7th grade):
- World History with Liahona
- Literature with A
- German with A
- MCT grammar and vocabulary,
- Apples and Pears spelling level C
- Writing: IEW Rockets, Radar, and Robotics and begin Writing with Skill 1
- Math: Singapore 6A/B and then Life of Fred Pre-algebra whenever we move and are reunited with all of our books currently in storage.
- Finish First Form Latin
- Art: With D, a drawing course, How Great Thou Art.
- Science:Real Science 4 Kids Middle School Geology course for half the year, and then probably supplementing that with two Great Courses dvd lecture series on geology. I told him he was on his own for science this year.
- Sailing Ships unit study just for fun!
D (age 10, 5th grade):
- Apples and Pears spelling level B
- IEW Rockets, Radar, and Robotics
- MCT grammar and the Mud Trilogy literature books
- Singapore Math finish 5A then 5B/6A and Life of Fred fractions, decimals
- First Form Latin
- Art with C
- German with something? yet to be decided
Even though A and C are going with Liahona for history, I had planned on going back to ancient history with D, but ultimately decided to wait until next year when E will be in first grade and ready for Story of the World 1. So I let D decide what to do this year as far as social studies. He chose to do a year of world geography. So we’re using the Trail Guide to World Geography which also includes a literature study for Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, which we’ve read before but will be a fun review at the end of the year. We’ve never focused on geography independent of history before, so I think this will be an interesting change.
For science, we’re using Science in the Beginning which approaches science topics as they tie into the days of creation. It’s for grades K-6 so it will work for D and E, and I’m sure C will listen in. (I’m really just trying to see how many different pairings of students and subjects I can work with this year!) D also loves tigers so he’s going to do a short unit on tigers from Amanda Bennett Unit Studies.
E (age 5, Kindergarten):
With a new baby sister and trying to get the house ready for sale, E didn’t get a whole lot of my time last year for school, and he preferred playing anyway. But lately he’s really starting to get interested in letters and numbers so working with him is going to be a priority this year.
- Kumon Numbers and Letters books for handwriting practice
- Singapore Math 1A/B: I’ll do the writing for him, but I think he already has a pretty good head for numbers
- Explode the Code primers
- Then when he’s ready, The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading
- Five in a Row weekly literature units–we started homeschooling with these books and I’ve always loved them for preschool/kindergarten.
- Science with D
- Kindermusik Young Child I class
I feel like we’re going in a lot of different directions this year and there isn’t much that will include everyone, but we’re still in the planning stages for a book club with some other families. While A has seminary, we are going to be following along at home with a study of the Old Testament, and we’ll continue memory work together. I also want to use Gospel Principles as part of our morning devotional. We did that using the old GP manual with some online plans (that have up and vanished, how sad!) that had us reading just a section each day and singing a Primary song the year A was in kindergarten and it was such a good experience. I think it’s time to do it again.
Other than that, the boys will continue piano lessons with Poppa and we need to add some physical activity but I can’t handle another structured anything until we move. I am dreading having to start another year of homeschool still in this house with most of our stuff in storage and trying to keep the house clean and showable while still living in it, especially with the aforementioned toddler, but here we are. Seminary begins on Monday, and everything else will commence August 31!
One other reason we wanted to go to Vernal was to visit my 90-year-old great-aunt again. We haven’t seen her since before E was born, so I called her Monday morning. She said she thought I probably had bad news when I first told her who was calling, so she was quite relieved and delighted that we were in town and wanted to stop and see her. So after our day with the dinosaurs, we dropped by after dinner and had a nice visit. My cousin was also there and took the boys out to see the woodworking shop and to pick apricots in the orchard. He also gave them some rhubarb from the garden and had them all try it themselves before going to feed it to the sheep next door. I actually have memories of eating rhubarb at Aunt Dorothy’s house as a child myself.
D in the apricot tree:
The next morning DH got up early and took A and C to the temple before breakfast. One of my dad’s cousins is in the temple presidency and came down to the baptistry to say hello. Aunt Dorothy must have given him a call to tell him of our plans!
We are thinking it would be a good goal to visit every temple in Utah with the boys before A goes on his mission. That’s quite a few, although most are within two hours of home for us. Monticello and St. George will take some planning, and we’ll have to come back out to Vernal after D turns 12.
After the temple and breakfast, we headed to the natural history museum in Vernal. I didn’t realize that you can see more of Earth’s geologic history uncovered in eastern Utah than you can see in the Grand Canyon. It’s just more spread out. C is going to be studying geology this year in science so this was a fun preparatory trip.
E uncovering dinosaur bones:
C and D acting out dinosaur attacks from Jurassic World:
In the lab behind the worker, was a pair of mammoth tusks.
The boys with the dinosaur:
With a change in perspective . . .
Ready to head for home:Between a large breakfast in the hotel and snacks in the car, no one was ready for lunch and admittedly there’s not a whole lot to pick from between Vernal and Heber anyway, so we let Little A sleep and finally stopped for “lunch” in Heber around 2:30 mainly for Little A’s sake. It was her 18-month birthday, so we celebrated at Kneader’s. The boys had cookies and smoothies. DH and I shared one sandwich. (We ate a few too many snacks in the car as well!)
Little A enjoyed her lunch of grilled cheese, grapes, and a cookie.
She is such a delight. All of my children are. I can’t think of a better group of people to explore this wonderful world of ours with.