Wednesday, January 30, 2008

it starts young



Porter looked at me last night and with a huge grin, but in all seriousness asked me,

Do you want to know what you can give me for Valentines Day to show me that you really love me?

A CELL PHONE!

Spotlight



A fun part of our Primary's opening exercises the Spotlight of one or two children a week. At the beginning of the year, they children are sent home with a few questions, they fill it out with their parents and return it to church. The answers to the questions are read in primary when the child is spotlighted.

Here are this year's questions, and my kid's answers, almost entirely in their own words. I just wanted to remember them...

1. If you were an animal, what would it be and why?
P-- A Cheetah, so I could run super fast! (at first he wanted to be a Tiger so he could climb trees)
S-- A Kangaroo, because I like to hop!

2. Name one of your favorite songs...(religious or otherwise).
P-- My Maria by Brooks and Dunn
S-- The ABC song and Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam

3. Which temples (or temple grounds) have you visited?
P-- Houston, San Antonio, Salt Lake, Logan and Boise
S-- Houston, San Antonio, Salt Lake, and Logan

4. What is your least favorite chore?
P-- Cleaning
S-- Cleaning the playroom

5. Share your favorite scripture story or prophet.
P-- Ammon cutting off the arms
S-- Stores about Jesus Christ

6. How do you help your family?
P-- I love my family. I help them by playing with and protecting my little brother
S--Cleaning the dishes

7. What is the best costume you have ever worn?
P--Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
S-- A Mermaid

8. How old will you be on your birthday in 2008?
P-- seven
S-- four

9. Do you have a favorite sport to play or watch? What is it?
P-- Baseball! (playing it!)
S-- Dancing, ballet

10. Share about when you have felt the Holy Spirit or a part of your testimony.
P--I pray for and worry about the poor people. I pray that they will have jobs, cars,
homes and food.
S-- When my baby brother was born and I saw him in the hospital

11. What makes you laugh?
P-- Cartoons, like Tom and Jerry
S-- Madison, my friend and Porter, my brother

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Wasatch Back



My brother is putting a team of 12 together to run the Wasatch Back relay this June. I agreed to run with them. I am excited and a little nervous. It's a different kind of running challenge for me, but I am looking forward to the change.

As a team, we have approximately 24 hours to cover the 178 mile distance between Logan and Park City. We each will run 3 legs, and cover about 15 miles total. It will be a challenge not only to cover the distance, but to cope with the elevation changes, the altitude, and the heat.

For photos and more information, check out the wet site at: http://www.ragnarrelay.com/wasatchback/register2008.html

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grateful Sunday



I was inspired by Jenni and Tara's recent posts on having a good attitude and being grateful for what we have. We do live blessed lives, and even though I've been finding it easy to get down lately, I really don't have any reason to...

This Sunday I am grateful for, among many other things...

* a loving husband -- he is so supportive and sensitive of me and my feelings and hopes and dreams. I love having him as my best friend and partner.

* fun loving kids -- they love to laugh and play and read with me.

* a place to call home-- Porter is so sweet, he often prays for the poor, that they'll be able to get money to buy a home and a car and food. I am grateful that we have a lovely home to live and call our own.

* book club -- we met this week, and I so enjoyed sharing thoughts and feelings about the book. I especially enjoyed the impromptu girls night, as some stayed late and chatted. Thanks, Julie for letting us stay. I really needed it. It's amazing what a little girl talk can do.

* a trip to B* --Doug had to go for work, and so Sophia, Preston and I tagged along on the day trip. I loved having some uninterrupted car talk time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dancing Queen






Sophia is absolutely fascinted by dancing and ballet. The only time she takes her ballerina outfit off is for me to wash it.

When I nurse the baby, she comes in my room and turns the music on. She then climbs onto this old trunk, her stage, at the end of my bed and then dances her heart away. She can see herself in the dresser mirror and she puts on quite a performance. Sometimes I join her (not on the stage itself, but on the ground) for a dance party.

I recently found a local six week ballet class, it starts in March. We signed her up. She and I are both so excited! I'm excited because I know how excited she is and how much fun she will have with a teacher in a studio. At first her she kept asking when her ballet class started. Now she wants to know when March is. Needless to say, she can't wait. If ever someone says, March, she starts talking about her ballet class.

Sophia's Favorite Toys

I love seeing what toys my kids loves. This entry is devoted to remembering Sophia's favorites...

This Care Bear was a birthday gift from Sophia's good friend Madison. The coolest part about it? It glows in the dark!

Sophia first played with Groovy Girls with her friend Lucy. Sophia decided to use some of her Christmas money from Granny and Gramps to buy a Groovy Girl and horse we saw at Sam's Club. She calls it her "Gooby Girl." It makes me laugh.

As soon as we got gooby girl home from the store, Sophia removed her clothes because they were immodest, and insisted that I make her some new clothes. The outfit she's wearing is the one I made.

I like to tell Sophia she's so groovy. That makes Sophia laugh.

I didn't know that Sophia knew what Polly Pockets were, and maybe she didn't. But she'd looked at the store several times trying to decide what she wanted to spend her birthday money on. I'd kind of talked her out of buying another dress up dress, she has plenty.

When we were shopping for Porter's birthday, she saw the dark haired Polly Pocket, picked her up and declared that she'd found her toy. She carted that thing all over the store, refusing to set it down. She declined all other alternatives. She wanted her Polly Pocket. Grandma Barbara sent the other one for Christmas

Doug and I gave Sophia this puppy for Christmas. It's so cute, the puppy makes noises as you pet her, feed her her bottle, and listen to her heart beat. Sophia is an animal lover.

I should have taken a picture (and will) of her plastic dog that has wheels and a leash. Sophia loves to pull that dog around with her. In fact, I thought this new dog would takes it's place. Oh no, Sophia is loyal to her toys! Now she just has two puppies to cart around.


I went in to check on Sophia after book club the other night, and instead of finding Sophia in bed, I found that she'd safely tucked in her special toys. Sophia was no where to be found. Upon further investigation I located her in my bed. Silly girl!

wear and tear



I used to think that when my kids got holes in their jeans, rather than patch them, I would just throw them away or make them into shorts and buy new ones. I didn't count on the fact that within one week ALL of Porter's jeans would get holes in the knees. By the time I realized what was happening they were too big to even patch.

I bought these jeans new for school in August. I don't think it's too much to hope that they would last through H*'s short cold season. I purchased them at the Children's Place. I don't know if Porter is exceptionally hard on jeans, or if they were poorly made.

Where do those of you with busy boys usually buy your jeans, and do they hold up well?

Independence at it's best

Sophia is very independent. She likes things done a certain way, her way... Unfortunately I don't read minds, and it's kind of hard to know which way her way is on any given day.

For instance, she wanted a band aid, but she wanted to open it and put it on herself. However, her fine motor skills limit her ability to effectively perform such a task.

The above picture illustrates how many band aids she went through until she was able to effectively open and apply a band aid on her foot in a manner that satisfied her mood of the hour.

Note the notorious band aid on her foot.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Transitions...

My soon to be 8 month old baby still sleeps soundly swaddled and comfortably tucked into his bassinet... I know, he's getting way too big for a bassinet. He can't pull himself into a sitting position, so I figure he's probably still safe. I know I need to move him over, but when I put him in his crib, he tosses and turns and fusses forever; but if I put him in his bassinet, he rolls over and quietly drifts off to dreamland...any suggestions?











Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What I'm Reading



So I finally slowed down enough to peruse the Good Reads account I created several months ago...

It's so much fun! The website organizes your books onto "shelves." Read, reading, and to read. As I read books, I can rate them 5 stars being an amazing read. 1 star being a terrible read.

I thought I would have to enter all of my books in individually, thus the procrastination. I discovered, however, I can simply go through my friends lists and rate their books with the click of a button. Then those books are automatically added to my "read" shelf. If I haven't read the book yet, but want to I can easily add it to my "to read" shelf.

Now my only problem is, how many stars to give each book???

Check out my good reads page here!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Magic School Bus


If only Magic School Buses really existed. Then they could magically transport the children in my school district home in a nanosecond, allowing the school district to release its kids to the safety of their homes at a decent hour...

But because magic school buses are only a figment of the imagination, we are faced to regard the facts of the financial limitations of a school district. Those limitations are dictated by budgets, budgets that are hard pressed to pay for the huge transportation demands of it's rapidly growing numbers.

But the most frustrating part about this is... My child doesn't ride the bus... nor is he eligible to ride the bus due to the close proximity of our home to the school.

A group of women from my neighborhood met with the superintendent of schools last week to voice our concerns about several issues involving our children's education. He seemed to take our concerns seriously, and organized another meeting with several members of the administration and the principal of our children's school. The second meeting was more discouraging.

Our concerns and reasons behind our concerns are as follows:

1- The release time... 3:50 ... by the time we can pick up our children, and get them home it's 4:30. They have such a long day at school, they need to be in bed by 7:00 or 7:30. With homework time (some first graders have up to an hour of homework), dinner time, play time, chores, reading time, and a bedtime routine, we are hard pressed to get everything done. It's hurting our families, and our kids. They don't have a chance to be kids. We can't be the kind of parents we want to be. While academics are important, they aren't the only thing we want to teach our children. We want them to be able to take piano, play baseball, learn our religion, and learn how to work. We want the school day to end at 3:00.

2-The length of the school day... 8:30 to 3:50.. it's too long of a day for such young children. There is a point of diminishing return, where the longer you keep them, the less they will learn. The teachers have too much time on their hands, based on the number of movies the kids watch and the amount of busy work that they do. The teachers don't need so much time to cover what they're covering. We would love to see kindergarten have a shorter day, like the neighboring school district, not necessarily half day, but a shorter day... We would love to see school fun 8:30 - 3:00.

3- Recess... one 15 minute recess is too short for a 6 year old.. bottom line. The kids do have a daily PE class, but they need at least one more recess, and the older kids need to have the same... 2nd grade only gets PE two or three times a week. This year they lengthened the school day by 20 minutes and cut recess in half... what were they thinking? They keep the kids so quiet during their lunch, and don't give them enough time to eat.

4- Homework... too much, too much, too much...

The "explanations"
1- The debate regarding school release time has been ongoing and heated since last summer. With the addition of new schools this year, the two tier busing system was changed to a three tier bossing system... necessitating the adjustment in school release times... The superintendent said the purchase of 1 million dollars worth of buses would help his situation. He has the money, he's saved 14 million since he was hired, but the buses are not a one time purchase, they need regular maintenance. We suggested an after school program for the kids who have to stay longer to wait for the bus.

2- A shorter day -- Fingers were pointed by all to the legislature who continues to mandate new things be taught. There is again the issue of diminishing returns. When I taught I wrote a lot of curriculum. It's impossible to teach everything, you just do the best you can. I personally don't expect the school district to teach my child everything there is to know about life. I want to much of the teaching, especially values and morals, in my home.

3- Recess-- They worry about bullying. The longer kids are on the playground, the more likely bullying happens... So why not break a half hour recess into two fifteen minute recesses? This is the battle we have the best chance at changing.

I could go on and on and on...

I am optimistic that we can get some things changed. I don't know if we can get everything changed. I am frustrated by so many things...

I wish that they (the school district and legislature) would make decisions based on the kids best interests... not base their decisions on finances or working mothers or laziness in changing the system.

Ultimately I want what is best for my children. I wish private school could be an option, but at this point, financially, it's not. Especially as we get more children in school... So I can
a. try to change things in the school...
b. home school (which frankly, I am very open to, if it doesn't drive me crazy! I just don't think Porter is a good candidate for home school) ...
c. move... We'd pretty much have to move out of Texas to escape much of the educational pressure. The current testing system (TAKS) is going to be replaced in several years by end of level testing, which according to the superintendent makes TAKS look like a puppy...

Will it ever end? While a Magic School Bus may not solve the problems, I was inspired by one of the women who, at the end of the second meeting asked if we could close with a prayer. It may take a miracle to solve these problems, and fortunately I believe in a God of miracles.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio... how I raised my family on 25 words or less...

While this book didn't flow as I had expected, I was able to forgive some of the disjointedness due to the fact that the author is not a novelist, she is a technical writer by trade, simply recording the story of her mother... a mother of ten and wife of an alcoholic. The unsteady income her husband brought in paid for his addiction with little left over. She entered and won many jingle contests, many won just in the nick of time, helping to meet the many financial needs of her growing family.

This is an inspiring story of optimism, of faith, of family, of never giving up, of how attitude can make or break you and those around you, of believing in miracles, and a God who watches over His children and works through any means He can to bless them. This mother could have been bitter and spiteful, instead, she took what life dealt her, made the best of it, and moved forward... setting a good example for us all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

what's currently growing in my yard...







the tomato plant was a surprise... Porter brought it home from pre-school for mother's day last year... we planted it out front, and forgot about it... in december we noticed a plethora of tomatoes! I just hope I can remember to keep covering them on our occasional frosty nights...

trike




Sophia's become quite proficient at riding her trike, yesterday she rode all of the way to Porter's school... true, the 10 minute walk took over 30 minutes... she didn't necessarily stop for a rest break... more often her stops or detours were to observe nature... she is a nature lover and observer at heart...

new years eve

The fireworks were keeping Porter up... he and Doug came up with this solution... it worked!

New Years Resolution Theme...



I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Monday, January 14, 2008

Porter can tie his own shoes!







happy smiling kiddos!









cutting the rug



We taught the kids a little country swing a few weeks ago, and Porter remembered all the twists and turns...

Feeding the Ducks

a little new years day fun...



Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Amazing Grace



When this movie first hit theatres several months ago, my mom went and saw it and couldn't say enough good things about it. However, I was reluctant to watch it, because I'm kind of into happily ever after, and true stories aren't always happily ever after. And when a true story doesn't have a happy ending, it's even harder on me, because, well... it's true.

My fears were in vain... What a fabulous story of courage and standing up for what you believe in despite great obstacles... For doing what is right despite the opposition... For believing in the power of one person to make a change... For not giving up...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

CODE YELLOW


I learned today that if you have to lose your child, Target is the place to do it...

I'm not saying you should purposely ditch them, it's not good for your blood pressure, your heart, or your mascara. You will feel emotionally unstable for the rest of the day...

But I am saying that if you have to have the traumatic experience, Target does have a very fine tuned walkie talkie system that enables them to, in less than 30 seconds, lock down the building and have every team member combing for the store and for a very precocious three year old dressed in her pink ballerina suit who bolted out of her mother's sight and was gone quicker than her mother could blink. All it takes is one team to declare into walkie talkie... we have a code yellow... I repeat a code yellow... And boom, a search party will be launched within moments...

The walkie talkies are loud and through them the mother will hear the status reports... toys are clear... freezer section clear... what's her name again... what color is her ballerina outfit... send someone to check the front of the store... send someone outside to walk the parking lot... could she be in the stock room... no they locked that up... any sign of her... time to recheck your areas...

A quick visual check by the mother will show every red shirted employee in view moving their heads side to side, walking up and down isles... At first Mother will be thinking, we'll find her. She can't be far... As the minutes pass by those thoughts will change to... I can't believe this is happening to me. How can I keep going? What will I tell her father? WHAT IF WE DON'T FIND HER? What if someone took her! Why isn't she answering? What if I have to leave Target without her? Where could she possibly be? What do I do?

When she doesn't turn up in ANYWHERE, Target team members are trained to reassure the mother that no one can get in or out of the building, and inform the mother that they are now checking surveillance tape. The general manager will then comes to reassure the mother and try to reduce her hysteria.

Early afternoon Target shoppers are primarily older women... they are kind ... they will join in the search too...

Suddenly all of the drama will cease when one of the above mentioned shopper helpers says... "I think she's in here! I wouldn't have noticed her, but she said hi to me." She will point to a rack of children's clothing (not the section she was in when she ran from her mother). Mother will run over, drop to her knees and pull ballerina out of the rack. Ballerina will be mad to have been discovered. She will not embrace her frantic mother... in fact she will fight the hug and try to hit mother...

At least ten of the Target team members will stand around and watch the encounter...

Store manager will accompany mother to cart, and wait to verify that mother has strapped ballerina into cart. While he will assure grateful mother that it was nothing, this is what he's there for. It will be obvious he does not want mother to make same mistake in letting child walk next to her, because, while Target has proved it can execute a code yellow successfully, he does not want to repeat the drill twice in one day, especially with same child.

Mother will vow to herself that the ballerina will perhaps be allowed to walk free when she turns sixteen. Child will sulk for the rest of shopping trip through baby food and fruit isles. While mother is an emotional wreck, she will finish her shopping, because it took so much effort to actually get to the store. She doesn't want to return anytime soon.

Upon retelling of the story at home later that night older brother will tell mother, I could have found her, no problem... Don't go back to that store again without me. Ballerina will admit that she hid because mommy wouldn't buy her a toy...

Perhaps motherhood isn't complete without such an experience.

The words of an onlooking customer will ring through mother's ears for the rest day..."Let's just praise the Lord right now that she is found and okay." Yes, let's praise the Lord!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Grandpa Jack

Porter rode home from church with Grandpa Jack on Sunday. They both were skipping out early. As Grandpa Jack took his sweet time adjusting the mirrors and the seat. Porter looked at him and said, "All you have to do is step on the gas..."

Grandpa Jack really isn't much of a kid person. But Sophia didn't seem to care. In sacrament meeting she took one of her flying camazkazee leaps into his lap while he wasn't looking, landing securely in her destination: his lap. Later she pulled out her file folder game, plopped it in his lap, snuggled up next to him and with great gusto, completely obvlivious to the surprized adn slightly uncomfortable look on her grandpa's face, began to pull the velcro pieces off the game.


Happy New Year!


resolutions to come...