Sunday, August 24, 2014

Public School

Yes, my twins are now in public school, 7th grade to be exact.

It was not a decision I came to lightly. It has been building for a while. This past school year was rather difficult. We had just moved from Reno, I was pregnant and gave birth at the end of September. Then I found myself being stretched thin by the demands of six children of such varying ages. It was not easy. Somehow, I managed to make it through fairly unscathed with Raef and Zach still progressing in their studies. They did a homeschool charter school, which did give them more accountability, especially when it came to science.

However, as the school year progressed I found that I could not be my best for everyone. And in order for this to be successful, Raef and Zach had to do more work independently, which was feasible for both of them. Yet I found myself constantly at war with them, trying to keep them on track. And when I would stick my head into the room to make sure they were working, they rarely ever were. They were always monkeying around. Grrrr....

Something had to give. When I informed them both that I was seriously contemplating putting them in public school, the reaction was polar opposite. Raef was relieved and Zach was fearful. I allayed his fears by pointing out that it was a temporary arrangement and not a life sentence. I needed a break from them to regroup and focus on Eli, Harry, and Julia. I felt it was essential to get the little ones going on a school schedule and create a 'school' mentality for them. With Zach, I assured him that he could always come back home after I got the break I needed.

I took Zach to tour the school in March and we poked our heads around to see this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that was in its inaugural year. The building was very impressive. Zach seemed to warm to the idea. Raef also did the tour with Rinar, so they could both see what it would be like.

After much prayer and fasting, I felt it would be the right thing for our family. And frankly, in the whole scheme of things, 7th grade does not matter. Last Tuesday was the open house for the school. There were a ton of people there. Wowzers! The school seemed alright. There are some definite pluses to sending them, but the negatives are equally present. For right now, I think I can deal with the negatives. At least I hope I can.

The kids woke up insanely early on Wednesday. They were very anxious to get to school on time. They packed their lunches, took their book bags, and hit the road at about 6:55am. They are fortunate to be able to ride their bikes to school. It is really close. And when they got home, they both seemed positive about it.

The second was not as positive for one of them. Any guesses?  Yep, Zach informed me that he did not want to do this whole public school thing anymore.  Nothing dramatic happened. He is okay. He is just a homeschooler at heart, I think. I told him that he absolutely was staying in school until Christmas, barring any unforeseen disasters. About an hour after our conversation, Zach wanted to know what day Christmas was on. Hmmm...

Raef, on the other hand, absolutely loves it. And he even gets a bit defensive defending his school. I have not been happy with the fact that they have gone for three days and not done a darn thing, besides rules explanations, getting-to-know-you games and paperwork. It is ridiculous. All this wasted time when they could be learning something. But Raef did not want to hear me complain about it.  Sheesh. I have a feeling homeschooling is in the rear view mirror for him. As long as he continues to be a nice person and he progresses academically, I am okay with that. But mostly, as long as he is a nice person. That is the most important thing of all.

This week should start the academics. I hope they do well.  Zach is going to struggle with being organized, but we will work on it together and I think he will learn quickly.

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Senior Moment

Oh boy, this week I experienced my first major senior moment. I needed to purchase some groceries and spent the time looking at the ads, price-matching, and clipping some coupons. I was going to the store with a plan! I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my stuff, and then headed into the my neighborhood Walmart. I actually did not take too long, probably only 30 to 40 minutes or so. For me, that is pretty darn good.

When I went back to my car, I grabbed for my keys and they were not in pants. Then I rummaged around in my purse. Nope, not there either. Hmmm, where did I put the darn keys?  It then occurred to me that the keys might still be in the car. I was not worried about this because I can just punch a code into the door to open it if it is locked. But when I tried to open the door, it was fine. The door was open and not locked. However, the radio was on!

And so was the car!

Oh my gosh. I left my car running the entire time I was in the store. Hence, I was grateful that there was a car in the parking lot when I was done shopping.

And then I was grateful that I used coupons to pay for the gas I used for my idling car while I was shopping.

You see, it all balances out in the end, right?

Donut Falls

The last gasp of summer...I decided to take my kids on a little hike on Monday. We went to Donut Falls, which is up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The very beginning of the trail has a steep ascent and I started to hear the whining kick in to high gear. In order to thwart the murmuring, I offered to take the kids to lunch if they had a good attitude for the duration of our little adventure. Plus, I put them to the task of making wildflower bouquets. It seemed to do the trick. They kept walking and whined minimally. Plus, the bouquets were very pretty. And Harry really enjoyed the challenge of finding bugs. He lives for that.

We were able to make it to the falls after crossing a mild stream. Of course, Raef had to climb up the rocks as much as possible. It is his thing. I carried Noelle on my back in my sweet hiking backpack. I am so thrilled to have it back in my possession. Noelle didn't make a peep, so I think she must have had fun looking around as we wended our way through the trail. 

The day was magnificent, absolutely perfect for a hike. I am so glad we were not sitting at home rotting away. After the hike, we drove over the pass to Park City and then ate lunch at Panda Express. The kids were really excited about that for some reason.

It was a successful little adventure for my kids. I am grateful that we all got to go and that the drama stayed home.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Helaman Triathlon

Saturday was a big day for Zach. He competed in another triathlon sponsored by the church in this area. It was free and is called the Helaman Triathlon. This is the fifth year they have done this, but our first chance to participate. The kid did great. I wasn't able to see the beginning because I had to take Raef to Summit High School to do his final weigh-in for football. But miraculously, I made it for the end and actually got to see him run a bit.

Zach finished fourth in his age group and had a lot of fun competing. Rinar also competed. He did well, finishing second in his age group to his best buddy Bart W. And amazingly enough, he won a trophy for the Master's division. Neither of us are sure why, but it was still pretty darn cool.

We had a pretty good turn out from our ward. 

Rinar, McKinley P., Emily M., Zach, Zach M., and Lindsey M.
 It was also sweet to see Rinar's triathlon buddies compete with their kids as well. Scott won his age group and his daughter won hers also. Bart beat Rinar and was able to get his daughter Natalie to participate. She finished strong with Bart and Monica running with her to help her to the finish line.

Next year I hope that I can compete also. I just have to remember how to swim and maybe actually ride my bike once in a while. Oh, but it will be fine. I have all year to practice, right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Highlights

 Here is a highlight of some of my kids amazing accomplishments this past week or so...

Stylist super-hero.

Fine diner.

Culinary explorer.

Future farmer of America.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Football season is in full swing and the older my kid gets, the more we get submerged in the football scene. Raef just loves to play football. It really brings him joy. I love it that he can play but I do have a slight bit of anxiety thinking about him getting hurt. Well, I am just worried about his hands and arms mostly. It would absolutely derail viola. That would suck. But I am just going to trust in my Heavenly Father and let this kid be who he is, even if there is a risk.

Since the end of July, he has been practicing hard five days a week, two hours a day. Unlike last year where he played a skill position (tight end), this year he is on the line grinding it out. He actually made it on to a much better team, Chad E.'s team.  This is the third best team in the league. There is A, B, and then Raef's team. I am proud of him for the improvements that he has made.  

Fortunately, Chad is a very calm coach who doesn't yell and certainly does not swear. His teammates all seem to be top-notch. He has really become buddies with his fellow linemen. And now that he is going to school this year, he will instantly have 20 friends. This is such a blessing because friends are important to him.

Last week, the coach brought in a special guest speaker to talk to the boys about tackling. This is Bryan Kehl, who plays for the Washington Redskins. He is injured this year, but is still an active player. He was super nice and had some good things to say to the boys.

I am really looking forward to seeing these kids play some games. They have been working hard. It should be a great season.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Surprise Evening

I love it when something spontaneous happens. We experienced this last week when we decided to go to the park in the evening. I was outside putting away some projects I was working on and Dawson and his mom Heather walked by. They were going to the park. I thought, hey, why not? Let's go with them to the park. Rinar had gotten all the little kids ready for bed, but an hour at the park wasn't going to hurt anything. 

When we got there, to our sheer delight, there was a huge water slide and a whole bunch of friends already there having a great time sliding down this thing. Darcy and Jason were the masterminds. So naturally, with my kids in their jammies, I let them slide down the slide. It was great.

I mean, look at that face. Pure joy!

Then on the way home, I ended up visiting with some neighbors and the kids went in the house. Unfortunately, Rinar didn't get to see the cool slide and the impromptu fun all the kids got to experience. All he saw was five sopping wet, grass-covered kids who needed to get bathed and ready for bed AGAIN. Poor Rinar.

Still, dad was a good sport and it ended up being a very nice surprise evening.

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