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8 years ago

February 28, 2015

I started blogging.

Technically, it was eight years ago yesterday.  I’m just keeping with the “fashionably late at posting everything” theme I have going right now on the blog.

Actually I did remember yesterday, but we were gone all day, and then WordPress didn’t want to work for me last night.  So I went to bed instead.

Aside from a few glitches here and then (and on the blog anniversary, how rude!) I’ve really enjoyed my time here with WordPress.  I know I say it every year, but I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful friends I’ve made through this thing called blogging, and I’m grateful for all those who stop by and share in our adventures.  Well, when we used to have adventures . . .

This is actually one of the first pictures of the three boys to show up on the blog, way back in 2007, from an adventure out to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.

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My, how they’ve grown!

Just to illustrate–

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That’s about how all my pictures are turning out these days.  There’s always someone who doesn’t want to hold still for the camera!

We still have a few adventures here and there, but I just can’t seem to put them into words lately.  I used to write much shorter posts much more often.  I need to get back in the habit!

So to start, in honor of 8 years of blogging, here are 8 quick snapshots of us:

  1. My kitchen still smells fabulous: I made creamy roasted tomato basil soup tonight.  I haven’t experimented with a new recipe in ages and this one was so good.
  2. I’m so tired of washing fingerprints off of walls.  Nothing more to say there . . .
  3. I’ve actually been reading a lot lately.  And I will definitely post some book lists here soon.
  4. I knew this day would come: I’m spending my evenings doing algebra so I can keep ahead of A.  Thank you ACT score that got me out of math at BYU, but that makes it 25 years since I’ve taken an algebra class.  It’s coming back to me.  Mostly.  And it’s great fun!
  5. Speaking of fun, I neglected mentioning this on the blog, but last October marked 30 years of me playing the cello.  Wow!
  6. I feel like I should do a “speaking of school” post . . . we’re up to WWII in history and wondering what to do next year.  I feel like we’re at a huge crossroads right now with so many options to pick from.  I mentioned one to DH and he said, “That sounds good.  Do that.”  Which is not how I function at all. I need to write out every option, listing all the pros and cons of each, so I know what my decision will entail. DH says he always trusts me implicitly to make the best choices regarding the children’s school, but sometimes what I really want is someone else to sit and hash out all the details with me.  Any takers?  What are you doing for history next year?  Any major changes?
  7. And that’s just regarding history.  I recently read another blog post of a mom who has the entire first year of high school all planned out for her daughter.  My son will also be in 9th grade next year and am I that on top of things???  Not even close.  I’ve still got to survive this year.  Even thinking about next year is daunting.  I’ll have a high schooler, 7th grader, 5th grader, and a kindergartner.  Oh, and a two-year-old.  Oy.
  8. For now, Little A is still one, and terribly cute!  She weighed 17 lbs. 8 oz. at her well-child check, which put her in the bottom 10th percentile for growth.  That’s pretty normal for this household.  She’s very happy too . . . except for the one day I scheduled her to get her picture taken.  She was grumpy and didn’t want to hold still or smile one bit!  Of course, by the time we got home I noticed that she was feeling very warm and she actually ended up with a 101-degree fever by bedtime.  Just my luck!  Now she’s back to happy; maybe we’ll try pictures again another day.  I feel thwarted.

 

Rootstech 2015

February 23, 2015

Last weekend at Rootstech, Donny Osmond told us that practically his entire life has been recorded (since he’s been in show business since age 5) and then asked us if our life history had been documented, and if not, why not?

So it’s February 22, and I realize I’ve written a total of two blog posts this month.  I don’t know if it’s that fifth child that has sucked up all the time and energy I used to give this blog, or if it’s just that I’m still not much of a writer and writing is tedious even if it’s only about us.  Plus my good camera died, so I don’t even have as many good pictures to share.  But as I’m coming up on the 8th anniversary of the blog this week, I’m recommitting to the documenting of our life’s story.  I may not be a writer, but I do consider myself a family historian and I need to do more on that score.

I seem to remember feeling this way just about every year around this time.  It must be the Rootstech effect.

So let’s talk Rootstech.

I love family history.  And I love that the world’s largest family history conference is right here in Salt Lake City, or else I probably wouldn’t be able to go, at least not in this season of my life.  Although after last weekend, I’m really starting to fantasize about leaving town for a conference where I could just focus on family history for a few days.  As it was, I was still trying to be the mom, and the cello teacher, plus get what I could out of a genealogy conference at the same time.  And that might explain why I was so exhausted this past week!

I’m grateful that Rootstech streams quite a few sessions live online, including the keynote sessions.  Thursday morning we ate breakfast in front of the tv while we watched the opening keynote together.  I’m thankful the boys were about as excited as I was and got it all set up for us, because I was locked in the bathroom when the doorknob died and wouldn’t turn enough to open the door.  I was also on the phone with my dad (who was in the hospital) at the time, and E was outside telling me he needed to come in.   A was able to get the doorknob off, although I had already finally crawled out through the side laundry room door that opens up over the stairwell.  (There’s never a dull moment around here.)

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I drove downtown to catch one class in person Thursday morning before dashing off to teach music lessons all afternoon.

On Friday I got up early and made it to the keynote in person because I knew they weren’t streaming Laura Bush’s speech, at her request.  She’s a fabulous speaker and was very entertaining as she talked about life in the White House and the importance of family, and putting family first.  I think my favorite story was about how her father-in-law was babysitting her girls the night before he had a presidential debate and instead of preparing for the debate, he and the Secret Service agents were outside the Vice Presidential mansion with flashlights looking for the stuffed cat, Spikey, that Barbara had lost and just had to have to go to sleep.

I was surprised (although I guess I shouldn’t be) to hear the boys had also turned on the keynote again at home and were able to hear Josh Taylor talk about his ancestor who was sentenced to Australia for stealing seven pieces of cheese.  They really enjoyed that story.

After one class, DH and Little A met me at the Nauvoo Cafe for lunch so I could nurse Little A.  She was very cute when she realized it was me waiting at the table.  She’d been to Kindermusik with E and I don’t think she quite realized that I was gone all morning.  I went back for a full afternoon of classes and wandering the enormous exhibit hall.

It never ceases to amaze me how some hours, even with twelve classes being offered, there’s only one I’m really interested in.  Then other hours there are four or five I’d love to attend, and in one case I don’t think I made the right choice.  The one I sat through (and I don’t know why I didn’t get up and leave) was not all that inspiring.  The rest were good though, and I made sure I chose others from the ones that were being streamed online.  I can catch up on those later.

Then I had to go home and be mom again while DH worked from six to midnight.

Little A didn’t sleep well at all Friday night, so I barely crawled out of bed in time to watch the keynotes at home again and we enjoyed hearing from AJ Jacobs, who’s organizing the world’s largest family reunion this June, and Donny Osmond, who picked up genealogy as a hobby in his hotel rooms while on the road with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  He even sang a bit between stories and the crowd went wild.

After that, the three older boys went with me to the LDS Family Discovery Day classes.

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A wanted to know why we had to come when we could have stayed at home and watched it streaming online.  I don’t know why he was such a wet blanket, I mean who wouldn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day with 20,000 other people and Studio C?  Yes, Studio C was a huge incentive to go to Rootstech (the boys bought Scott Sterling t-shirts at the BYUtv booth in the expo hall) and they debuted a hilarious sketch about interviewing Grandma.  But I think the boys all got something out of the other speakers as well (including Al Fox Carraway, Noelle Pikus-Pace, Elder Andersen, Elder Foster, and Elder Cook) and now I need to figure out how to capitalize on what we learned.  It was a long day though and we left a little early, missing out on most of David Archuleta’s singing.  We’re not really into pop music anyway, but did enjoy his new music video that he produced for FamilySearch to draw in Latino youth to family history.

We also enjoyed the expo hall together and especially liked FamilySearch’s Replace-a-Face computers where you could insert yourself into historical photos.  My skill with the camera attached to the computers was not the greatest and we crack up every time we look at the result!

Rootstech photoThere were a lot of people waiting to try this, or we would have tried again.  It was fun.  It was a fun day!  I’m so glad I could go this year.  A and C went to the youth day last year, but I had to miss out because Little A was just a few weeks old.

February 11, 2015

My mom asked if we were getting lots of school done today.  I should have said yes, because we spent a good part of yesterday finishing up our bookclub book instead of the work I had scheduled. But in reality, I had a very hard time getting going today, although I think the boys did everything I had planned for them.  They worked hard.  Maybe they sucked away all of my energy.  Or maybe it was the toddler.  She’s full of energy and is on the move!  Of course she fell asleep at both breakfast and the lunch today, but when she wasn’t buckled in to her seat, she was go, go, go!

But somehow I was not.  And then I discovered a crayon had gone through the wash.  I caught it before it went into the dryer, but of course some clothes were still affected.  Mostly mine.  Sigh…

And then I discovered the ticket the van got from the parking meter lady for not having a current registration.  Someone’s dear husband registered the car, but forgot to put the new sticker on.  So ten days past the end of January, we got ticketed.  Another sigh…

But at least I got out of the house (by myself even!) to buy ink for the printer so I can catch up on all the printing I’ve been needing to do.  Then I didn’t even print anything tonight.  I didn’t do much of anything tonight!  It was just one of those blah days!  I can’t even blame it on the usual February weather.  (We’ve actually been having quite lovely weather.  It’s really weird, actually.  I’d think I’d prefer snow to 60s at this point in the year.)

As the boys pointed out, this week is rather busy and maybe just thinking about it is tiring.  Today was homeschool and scouts; Wednesday is homeschool and book club.  Thursday is Rootstech and then cello lessons.  Friday is Rootstech and movie night (and someone has to get E to Kindermusik), and then Saturday is Rootstech again.  So there’s my week in a nutshell.

And Rootstech doesn’t even look very exciting this year.  I missed Rootstech last year because Little A was just a few weeks old, but there’s hardly a single class I’m really looking forward to in this year’s sessions.  I hope something turns out to be inspirational.  I’ve hardly looked at our genealogy in months, but would like to get back into it.

Here are two funny things I can end with–

  1. E wanted to know if pineapples come from pine trees.  I love the logic of 5-year-olds.
  2. I just looked over the pictures A took today.  He took two photos of our science experiment (which was the intended subject) and about 17 of his little sister.

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Tomorrow is another day, but let’s hope it’s a better one.

The Glorious Flight

February 5, 2015

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E (who, typically, was trying very hard to get out of the above picture) has been doing a Five in a Row unit on The Glorious Flight, which is about Louis Bleriot’s 1909 flight across the English Channel.  I promised him we would go to the Air Force Museum at Hill AFB for a field trip sometime, but due to recent episodes of un-fun life at the moment, I forgot all about it.

But on Saturday, which was the third Saturday in a row Daddy was working, I decided to chuck the rest of the cleaning and errands and head out somewhere fun for a change.  So we had an hour or two of airplanes.

A Douglas C-54 like the Candy Bomber flew (It has even been repainted to commemorate Gail Halvorsen’s “Little Vittles” flights.):

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A Wright flyer up above, and a WWI-era plane down below.

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I wish Hill had a Bleriot, but they don’t, so we’re looking forward to seeing one at Wright-Patt AFB if we can get out to visit Nana and Grandpa in Dayton, OH, sometime soon.

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Little Miss A was very happy to get out and about.  Of course she’s pretty happy no matter what we do or where we go.  She’s just one happy kid!

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It was a good day.

 

She’s one!!!

January 24, 2015

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Little A had her first birthday on Wednesday.  I think this year has flown by like no other in my entire life.  It seems like yesterday we were welcoming this tiny baby girl into the world and now here she is,  an independent big girl who walks everywhere, babbles at us quite earnestly (we have no idea what she’s saying), and is such a sweet little soul.  Her new shirt says, “Happy all the time,” and that pretty much describes her disposition.

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She has another shirt that says, “I am loved.” And that describes her as well.  She is so loved by everyone.  This little girl is such a ray of sunshine in our lives and her brothers and her parents and grandparents love her so dearly.

I do wish she’d hold still for the camera on occasion.  I tried all day to get a decent picture of her.  Some are still blurry, but they sure do capture her personality.

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“Wow, look at all these presents for me!”

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After Christmas and E’s birthday, she had a better idea of what to do with presents, but she still wasn’t terribly interested in unwrapping them all.  Her brothers were rather more excited and/or impatient, and helped out greatly.  Here she is exploring her new doll:

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She had presents again at Grandma and Poppa’s house on Thursday.

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The best part of first birthdays (at least around here) is the first chocolate cake!

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She cautiously tried out the frosting first.

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Pronounced it good, and went all in:

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I don’t know if it’s because she’s our first girl, or just that we have two smart phones and a digital camera always on hand, but we’ve taken an obscene number of photos of this child. In fact, 2014 could probably be called the “Year of Little A.” I make a family photo calendar every year for Christmas, and we were hard pressed to find pictures without Little A in them for this year’s.  We probably could have made an entire calendar with just her.  It’s been so fun to look back though and see how she’s grown, so to end this post, here’s a look back:From 1 day old t0 1, 2, and 3 months:Anya's first year

4, 5, 6, and 7 months:

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8, 9, 10, and 11 months:

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School and other observations

January 18, 2015

Playing peek-a-boo is one of her favorite activities!

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IMG_0065After nearly two months of non-regular school, I decided we’d better get back to it after New Year’s and E’s birthday.  I was all set to get started Monday morning, then on that Sunday night C threw up about seven times.  We managed a little bit of work in the morning, but I was exhausted from being up past 1 a.m. with him and he was exhausted from being sick and finally decided to go back to sleep after lunch.  A lot of D’s work is done with C, so he essentially got the afternoon off as well.  All in all, our first day back wasn’t a great success.

Tuesday went better, but then on Wednesday morning, C and D had orthodontist appointments.  They never tell us what will be happening when.  We just show up and surprise!  C is getting full braces today!  DH usually takes them, but he had a meeting at work he had to go to, so I had to go pick them up.  They left at 8:30.  I got there at 10:30.  We left at 11:40.  And Frozen was playing the entire time!  Ask C how he feels about that, including the dvd extras with “Let It Go” music videos in three different languages!  (We’ve largely escaped the Frozen phenomenon with our house full of boys, but my orchestra also played a Frozen medley on our children’s concert this afternoon and so it’s been stuck in my head finally.)

Needless to say, not a lot of school happened that day, although A finished a whole slew of assignments while we were gone.  He probably wishes it were that quiet every day so he could work in peace.

Thursday we went to Grandma’s house and Friday morning was spent at the doctor’s office with Little A who has had terrible congestion and a cough for the past, what, nine days now?  It’s just a virus . . .  And E sounds just as bad.  Doesn’t every January look (and sound) like this?  Despite my best intentions, school was mostly a bust that day as well.  Plus DH is still off work on Fridays, so we never plan to get a lot of schoolwork in.  It’s a Daddy day.

This week went much better, despite the fact A has joined his two youngest siblings with the head cold/virus/I don’t know what it is but they’re using copious amounts of Kleenex.  Unfortunately he had to miss book club.  He stayed home with E, while I took the other three, and discovered a house that was not baby-proofed in the least.  Too many breakables down low!  It was stressful, to say the least trying to keep A out of trouble, even though it was really interesting to look at all the treasures our friends have collected in their travels.

After our book discussion, the kids went on a treasure hunt.  And it was amazing! I think it took them over an hour to complete the hunt, all things told. Every clue was in code somehow.  The first had an extra letter in every word that had to be crossed out. The second was in morse code, and the third lead them to a volume of Shakespeare where they had to look up certain pages and then words on that page.  I think there was another clue that had to be solved using a cipher.  And then they searched and searched for the treasure in the end.  She hid it really well!  They all had such a good time.

We definitely got literature in this week.  We also read about the Boxer Rebellion in China, Persia, trouble in the Balkans, and the Japanese attack at Port Arthur for world history. We also started listening to A History of US: An Age of Extremes 1880-1918 to fill in some of the American history that we haven’t covered in Story of the World.  Just when I’d gotten my library checked-out list down to less than twenty books, we stocked up on books about World War I, which is the subject of history club in a few weeks.

We’ve done a few science experiments, and when a few have been failures, we’ve turned to the internet to watch what should have happened.  Thank you, YouTube!  C and D have been learning about plastics and I have no idea what A has been studying.  I’m doing something new next week.  I’m going to start writing daily to-do lists in spiral notebooks for each of the boys for school.

We’ve been using weekly checklists, but I haven’t printed any new ones off in forever and they always seem to get lost before the week is over anyway.  They weren’t detailed, more just a list of the daily subjects that should happen if we were ever to have one of those mythical ideal weeks when I could sit with them every minute and direct their studies appropriately.

Lately, the checklists have mainly served as a reminder of all the things we haven’t been getting to.  So I think if I do daily lists instead, I’ll have a better pulse on how things are going around here.  I can be more specific with assignments so if I unexpectedly end up at the doctor’s office with the baby, they won’t tell Dad that they guess they’re done for the day because they don’t know of any specific assignments they’re supposed to do.

But I must say, the boys have jumped back into the school routine rather well and without complaint, even with all the disruptions last week.  I wish I could say the same for myself.  I still have too many non-school worries and stresses in my head right now and am looking forward to a time when I can concentrate more fully on my children’s education.

I can’t give too many details about what the boys have learned the past two weeks!  Hopefully next week I can be a little more specific.

I have learned that filling up the van with gas for less than $30 is amazing!  And I’ve learned that children shouldn’t play with my kindle.  I don’t know if it was Little A or E, but I got an email saying, “Thank you for buying the Complete Edgar Allan Poe poems and short stories!”  Gotta love those touch screens!

Five!!!!!

January 12, 2015

E is now five!!  He didn’t want his picture taken for his birthday, but relented and gave me a smile while he was eating cereal.

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Every time we asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, he would get exasperated and say, “We’re going to church!”  Like of course we should have known that, being that his birthday was on a Sunday and all.  Finally we were able to convince him that we could do things on a different day for his birthday that we wouldn’t do on a Sunday. He wanted to go miniature golfing, but we’re still waiting on that as last Monday C and DH were throwing up and this weekend, E and Little A have both had hacking coughs, runny noses, and congestion.

Maybe this will be like that one year when we were trying to go out for DH’s birthday in February and every week without fail, on his day off someone was sick with something.  I think we finally went out in May.

So although we haven’t been golfing yet, I figured I’d better just blog about his actual birthday.

This kid is so particular and downright stubborn about things sometimes!  He definitely has his own ideas on how things should be done.  Sometimes life with him is exhausting.

Grandma and Poppa were up here the day before E’s birthday and we arranged to meet them at Great-grandma J’s house to visit and do presents.  But E said he didn’t want to open presents because it wasn’t actually his birthday.  When we got there however, he decided he would open presents after all.  But not the card, just the presents.  I opened the card.  It had a great sticker to wear that said, “I am five today!”  He said he wasn’t going to wear it.

He unwrapped what I knew were clothes inside of a box and didn’t want to open the box.  He unwrapped the box, ok? Why do we need to open the box too?  Eventually I opened the box  so everyone else could see what clothes he got, but he was adamant about not looking at them.  I also made a mental note not to wrap clothes (or anything else for that matter) inside of a box.  He did enjoy opening a book and a game.

He requested omelettes for breakfast on Sunday and forgetting completely that it was fast Sunday, we all had omelettes!  He had told me that he didn’t want to be sung to in Primary, but the other counselor was able to persuade him to come up to the front of the room once she pulled out the birthday basket that he could choose a present from.  He chose stickers.

After church I was going to make dinner, but then he decided he wanted presents first.  OK, let me go wrap the presents first.  He actually wanted to come wrap them with me, starting with the game Grandma and Poppa gave him the day before.  I drew the line right there.  You may not wrap your own presents and I won’t be wrapping anything you have previously unwrapped!  He also didn’t want anything wrapped in the polka dot paper.  But:

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DH helped me with wrapping, and yes we did use the polka dot paper so we’d have enough paper after using the other on the present that was nearly as big as E.  We took a present from Nana out of a shipping box and DH said, “Why don’t we just use this box to wrap up his pants and sweater in?”  OK!  I completely forgot my mental note from the day before.  E wouldn’t open this box either after unwrapping.IMG_0099

But at least he was excited about a Lego excavator and the Shark Attack! playset he’s been wanting.

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He wanted a rectangle cake.  No circles!  But my cake pan was still at the church from a funeral luncheon on Friday so he decided on cupcakes instead.  I made them the night before his birthday and when he got up in the morning, he said, “Oh good, chocolate!  That was just what I wanted.”  I’m really glad that he hadn’t changed his mind overnight!

And here he is, age five!  We’re so blessed to have such a quirky kid in our lives!

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