Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It is the last day of September. March and September always seem to disappear for me. Zoom.... gone. I can't believe how many entries I made in my blog this month. I thought I would round it out with an even nineteen, the most ever.

The kids must have had a hard day yesterday, because all three of them slept longer than usual today. I was surprised, but definitely not disappointed. We did several subjects today for school. I actually did a history unit today: the Assyrians. It was interesting. We talked about Gilgamesh and they really like that story. It is the oldest known myth in existence and has interesting twists and turns in it. I had checked out some books at the library last week and we read the stories with pictures and everything. So, when I read it today they kept chiming in, while they were coloring, saying that they remembered this or that. It was great.

Raef is now officially done with his McGuffey's Primer and now gets to move on to the first book. Hallelujiah! Progress. It is great. We also played a math game from Family Math. It involved colored marshmallows and adding. Doesn't that sound like fun? It took them a few tries to get the hang of it, but it really started to click. I made them build all of their numbers with their Math-U-See blocks and it really helped them to see why the numbers were what they were. Hence, there was a lot of practice carrying the sums. It was great.

We wrapped up a little early, once Eli woke up from his nap, and headed to the park. This week we went to Discovery Park and they had so much fun. There is a wonderful group of kids they play with, heavily-laden with boys. All of the kids are under 10. The group leader Kristina always brings cookies she makes and drinks. She is very generous and a wonderful host. It is fun to visit and meet new women. I just love it.

When we got home from the park, Raef started throwing up. He did it on and off until he went to bed. He had no other symptoms like a fever, lethargy, nothing. His stomach hurt and he kept having to vomit. This has been happening a lot. I would say a little less than once a month. It lasts about 12 hours and then he is fine. I am wondering if he is allergic to something. I don't have a darn clue what is going on and I don't know if I should be worried.

Therefore, Raef stayed home with the Marriotti's while I took Zach to group violin. Rinar picked him up about an hour later and we both got home about the same time. I had hoped Rinar would be able to start something for dinner. But he just ran out of time and it was 7pm when we both got in, so I decided to just go out somewhere.

We ate pizza. It was great and Eli really likes bread.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Game 4: Red Bulls vs. Force

When the kids were warming up for the game today, the other team had the same uniform. The only difference was that they had black shorts instead of blue ones like our team. Luckily, the coach for the other team had pennies so that it was easy to distinquish the two teams.

It is the end of September and it was so hot. It was blazing hot. I thought I would melt. The kids looked kind of asleep when the game started. Then they got into a bit. Raef started and he played well. The team had so many shots on goal and just barely missed many times.

Then in the second half the Force scored a goal because Raef tried to kick it and completely missed. The ball rolled right into the goal. It was very unfortunate. Luckily, we got the goal back a few minutes later.

The final score...


It was a draw. We probably won, but I think the kids were satisfied with a draw.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FInancial Crisis 101

This is my explanation of the mortgage/financial crisis that is enveloping our nation. I think this should explain it for all who don't know what is going on out there.

The federal government decided to get into the mortgage business several decades ago. They call it Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Due to political correctness, these mortgage lenders were forced to give loans to a diversified demographic, even though a lot of these peoples could not afford the mortgage payment. They did not make enough money and should have never been given a loan.

As a result of all of this extra money floating around, there was more competition in the housing market. There were more customers out there shopping for houses. When there is buyer competition, it forces market prices to rise. Hence, houses quickly got more and more expensive and people were buying them and really couldn't afford them. Unfortunately, people (LIKE ME!!) bought a house with a mortgage we could afford in a market that was overpriced.

Soon, everything started to crumble as these people began to foreclose. When there are lots of bank-owned houses out there, it causes all house values to plummet. I mean, if you are shopping for a house, why would you look for a deal when you can get a steal?

The foreclosures began to pile up for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and so they are now in the tank. The government wants to come in to bail them out, when they are the ones who screwed it up in the first place by pressuring FMFM to give loans to people who had no business getting a loan in the first place.

The cost to you and me....HUGE! Not only did I spend way too much money on my house that I am unlikely to recuperate for many, many years, but my tax money will go to this pathetic government-owned company to try and fix it.

But on a more philosophical note: with government interference in full-force, we, as the freest nation in the world, continue to lose our freedoms. This is the highest cost of all. The bigger government is, the more power we give away as a people. What a tragedy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When the World Gives You Lemons...

I have heard Dr. Laura say many times that a real man will swim through shark infested waters to get you a glass of lemonade.

I have such a man and this was the day.

After the headphones were broken for the Spanish computer program my kids use, and water was spilt all over our math books by an unobservant six year-old, I discovered there was a major water leak in the house. Yes, underneath a mountain of laundry I needed to do, the ground was soaking wet. I eliminated the washing machine and toilet and then headed out to the garage to discover that our lovely water heater had gone kaput. I was already stressed out. I still had to make my bed, eat breakfast, finish schoolwork with the kids, do the dishes, clean my disgusting bathroom before the plumber arrived and get over to Wal-mart in the hopes of finding magnifying glasses for the science class I had to teach in less than two hours. Oh yeah, all kids needed to be fed by then as well.

Needless to say, with the discovery of the water heater I seriously contemplated going upstairs and pulling the covers over my head and going to bed for the rest of the day.

I called Rinar instead. He came home 10 minutes later. Then after he listened to me bemoan my situation and talking me down from the ledge, he volunteered to take the twins to the store to find the magnifying glasses. I was able to regroup, put Eli down for a much needed nap, clean the dishes and the bathroom and recollect myself. Rinar brought the kids back fed and at a perfect time. We then jumped into the car and headed to co-op.

Everything else went well and I got everything done. The class was great and it worked out perfectly. We are learning chemistry and today it was about atoms and making observations. After that I was able to get my tags renewed at the DMV and get back before the kids finished their other classes.

The plumber came and he was absolutely fabulous!! All is fixed...all is well.

While Rinar stayed with the plumber, I took the kids to soccer practice and I even got in a 35 minute run. Eli was home asleep the whole time.

So what started out as a rotten, lemon-filled day, ended up being a really great one, washed down with an ice-cold lemonade.

I love my husband!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Game 3: Red Bulls vs. Blue Racers


The score was 3-2 and we hung on to our victory. Zach led an assist to Ossian and he put it in the goal. Zach has no fear at getting in anyone's face. He plays 100% all the time. He even ran head on into the other player and got knocked in the head pretty good. He didn't cry but you could tell that it hurt. Coach Jose told him that the other guy looked a lot worse than him, so when Dad asked him how he was, Zach told Dad, "I look a lot better than the other guy."

Raef also played a great game. He is very athletic and really did an excellent job as sweeper, the defensive dude. He also contributed to a score by getting a big kick down the field to his teammate (I can't remember which one), who put it in the back of the net.

They were a happy bunch of kids and it was nice to see all of Coach Jose's hard work as coach starting to pay off. They moved better and were really using the skills they have been learning in practice.

Friday, September 19, 2008

REAL Problems

Forget about the financial meltdown, mortgage crisis, terrorism, and moral deterioration of our society. That is nothing. Here are the REAL problems are out there.

Let's all scream together.


Mind Like a Steel Trap

It may seem like I am always posting funny things that Zach says, but he just says a lot of funny thing. What can I say?

Everyday for school we start by reading a section out of "Preach My Gospel" so the kids can learn about religion in a very simple, but powerful way. We have been able to have some very good discussions. Anyway, yesterday he started to explain to me the difference between bad and wicked.

"Mom, bad is when you don't pick up your toys and wicked is when you don't build a boat."

Take a minute to think about that. I think it is actually a very succinct definition.

He also has an incredible memory and since he can read very well now, he surprises me by the things he has memorized. I don't need to look at the soccer schedule to see who is the next opponent. Zach has the memorized up to about 4 weeks. I asked him who we were playing tomorrow...

"The Blue Racers, and then the Force, and then the Wild Cats."

Apparently he is looking at the schedule every week to keep himself informed.

And Raef seems to just keep it all to himself. I guess you could say Zach is the mouthpiece in their relationship. But he is just the most unbelievable little cleaner. He likes to clean and does it very well. He is so dependable. I am a very lucky Mom.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tru and Daniel

The newest addition to the family... Tru Jazon. He was a handsome devil in his little tuxedo. Brooke found it at a yard sale for 50 cents! He slept through the whole blessing and didn't make a peep.

When the blessing was over, the bishop said he felt like a man in the land of giants. He was a tall guy at about 6'2", but Rinar is 6'4", Lyf is 6'2", Nordel is 6'7" and Jason is 6'10". He really was the short guy in the circle. I was in the hall for the entire meeting with my little devil Eli. He was so fussy. He ended up falling asleep on my chest. And of course you know I have to stick a picture of him into this collage.

After church, we had lunch at a park next to their house. There was a guy there listening to his church on a radio. You could hear a lot of fervent AMENS!!! and HALLELUJIAHS!! I was the first adult from our group at the park and I was a little annoyed because I didn't want to be subjected to it and the guy was sitting at the only tables in the little park. The rest of the group came about 20 minutes later and I went back over there with them, and the radio was still blaring. My cynical side thought he was blasting the radio so that he could try to save us, but then I started to think about it. He looked homeless and definitely down on his luck. It was his church time and the plug for the radio was the only one he probably had access to in the area. So I took another tactic to get that darn radio turned off...I offered him something to drink. He declined, so I went to the cooler and got a bottled water and just gave it to him anyways.

When the food finally arrived, I made a plate for him and gave it to him before he could object. He was sitting on the ground at the time, but had the courage to take a seat at a table. Once everyone else was situated, I took my plate and sat with him and talked to him for a while. He was a nice man named Daniel. Eli kept grabbing my plate and Rinar was busy eating his own food, so Daniel offered to hold him so that I could eat. Yes, he was a little dirty and a little toothless, but I absolutely let him hold Eli. Eli didn't mind and he really liked Daniel's beard. Rinar made sure Daniel knew he could have seconds and so the next plate of food was significantly larger than the first one I had made for him.

It ended up being a very nice (and quiet) lunch and I made a knew friend. Daniel said he was a painter/drywaller and when we went back to Rinar's parents house we were telling Lynn about him. And what do you know...Lynn knows him. He works for his friend that owns a painting business and Lynn sees him a lot at the library where he works.

And he is homeless. He lives out of his car.

Game 2: Red Bulls vs. Mighty Ducks

Well, we have improved from last week! We scored a goal and Raef got an assist. However, the other team scored a few more times, just a few more times than us. The other teams parents asked how old our kids were because Zach and Raef are so much taller than everyone else. They also played "older" I guess, because they are very physical and were knocking the other kids down all the time. Coach Jose said to Zach after he had the whistle blown on him, "That move you did to the other kid was illegal. But that's how they do it in Europe. Nice job!"

Zach had to be told about 10 times that he was on the left side. Zach responded by putting his hands up in a question mark...huh?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Birthday Lunch

All my kids look like my husband...I don't know, what do you think? Do you think Eli looks like me? I think he does.**

I went to lunch with Leslie and we ate at Cafe Rio. The twins were doing their Spanish class, so it was just us and our babies. The two cutest babies in town.

Caleigh's cheeks definitely rival Eli's. And I have noticed that both of them have one cheek that is bigger than the other one. Of course, they are the opposite cheeks, like Yin and Yang, huh?

**As a side note, I was a little worried that when Eli was born he would not look like me or Rinar. Then I would have doubts as to whether or not the doctor put the right embryo inside of me. Yes, I know this sounds wierd and a bit paranoid. However, you always hear things like this on the news, so you never know. When he was a baby and I compared him to a picture of Raef, there was no doubt that the doctors got the right embryo. I just thought I would share that silly bit of information.

Friday, September 12, 2008

He's Watching Me!

I was watching the kids' soccer practice and was sitting on the grass with Eli sitting between my legs. While I was watching them, he would flip his head back and watch me.

Today, I took Eli to the doctor and here is his latest statistics....

20 lbs.

28 inches long
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poem Memorization Has Unexpected Benefits

How do you know when your kids are actually learning and applying the things you teach them?

I decided to do a poem curriculum with my kids this year. It is based on the Suzuki method. Each day my kids recite poems with the purpose of memorization. The first poems are very simple and they get progressively harder. The name of the program is "Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization" and it is great. I really love it. You could make the argument that it is a completely useless thing to have kids learn this stuff, but I definitely know that is not true based on the conversation I overheard my kids have today at lunch.

For reference this is the poem...

Poem number 5:

After the Party by William Wise

Jonathan Blake ate too much cake.
He isn't himself today.
He's tucked up in bed with a feverish head
And he doesn't much care to play.

Jonathan Blake ate too much cake
And three kinds of ice cream too.
From his latest reports
He's quite out of sorts
And I'm sure the reports are true.

I'm sorry to state that he also ate
Six pickles, a pie, and a pear.
In fact I confess
It's a reasonable guess
He ate practically everything there.

Yes, Jonathan Blake ate too much cake
So he's not at his best today.
but there's no need for sorrow.
If you come back tomorrow
I'm sure he'll be out to play.

(one of the cool side effects of doing this is that I have memorized the poems too)

Okay, so the conversation I heard between my kids went something like this...

"Zach, you always have me make the breakfast and lunch and you never do it anytime."

"But Raef, I am sick and I have a feverish head. I ate too much cake today!"

Then Zach started to sob a bit.

For the record, Zach did eat cake today as a snack. It was leftover from my birthday.

As you can see, they are learning poems and how to apply them to their everyday situations. I don't ever think I have ever, in my entire life, heard a 6 year-old use the word feverish.

I guess you will all know when we are memorizing a Shakespeare soliloquy when you hear Zach use words like folly, oblivion, abides and privy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Coolest Guys in Town are Firefighters

We went to Firestation #3 in Henderson, Nevada. The kids got a red plastic fireman's hat, a sticker, and a tour of the firestation. The firefighters were so nice, and fun, and showed them lots of fun stuff. They got to go in the fire truck, watch a fireman model all of his gear, see their dormitory, and ask lots of questions.

After the tour, we met with our homeschool group at Paseo Vista Park. It is a fun park that has water features and 2 playgrounds, with lots of covered picnic tables. Our homeschool group leader is so generous. She always brings a cooler full of drinks and treats for everyone. It is so wonderful. And it really came in handy today because I did not plan for the park, so I had no water for the kids. You don't last long in Las Vegas, in the summer time, without water.

We stayed for a few hours and then we went home and finished all of our schoolwork. I even made sure we studied our history: Abraham and Mesopotamia. I was able to use a GAK of Abraham to add to the story in their history book. It really helped to give a gospel perspective to what we are studying. This is one of the wonderful things about homeschool that you would not get in public school.

We were able to finish school in just the right amount of time and then head off to Nevada School of the Arts for their first group violin lesson. They are in group 2 and their teacher is Jennifer Peterson. I think it will be a good year for them with violin.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Birthday Day...And Yes, I am 32

Today is my birthday and I am 32. I think I want to gag when I look at that number. Don't worry, I will get over it.

Rinar took most of the day off. I got an iPod shuffle for my birthday. What a nice present. Then he took me to lunch at a little pizza place and I ate a calzone and chocolate hazelnut gelato. Then we went to Wal-mart and bought stuff for care packages for Jamie, mostly, but also for a few other missionaries in our ward. It is always fun to make a package to send to someone as a surprise.

After this, we moved the kids from one babysitter to the other one for our afternoon activity. Rinar informed me that he was taking me to the Grand Canyon...in a helicopter!!!

So, you may be wondering where all of those beautiful pictures of the Grand Canyon are, right?

Well, this is what the helicopter looked like. I know, because after we registered and were weighed, the drove us out in a van to the helicopter. They showed us how to put the seatbelt on and we had a life jacket belt around our waist (which is kind of ironic considering the fact that there is not really much water to crash into around here). Rinar and I got the seats in the front. We both buckled up and put on our head sets. The pilot turned on the propeller thing above us and then...

Yep, that is right...inclement weather. It seriously, like never, ever rains in this darn town. But it did today...at precisely the same time as we were going to do a super cool activity that you just don't do very often. I felt bad for Rinar. He really put a lot of thought into this and took the day off a work to do it, and he came away with nothing. But can I just say that I loved the downpour. It was wonderful because it made for a nice cool afternoon and evening.
What do you do when your plans get unexpectedly altered? You go to Deseret Industries, of course. We bought a bunch of toys, clothes, and other things we never thought we didn't need, but decided we couldn't live without.
I got a lemon bundt cake for a birthday cake, Mel brought me freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and Elizabeth and Dwan gave me beautiful sunflowers, and 2 molten chocolate cakes from Fresh & Easy. Sue, my VT, gave me a book, The Last Lecture. What a great gift. I was eyeing that at Target.

The helicopter has been rescheduled for Rinar's birthday...but I did get to sit in a helicopter. I had never done that before.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's Official...Call Me Soccer Mom

It was a big day today. Raef and Zach had their first soccer game. On the way to the fields, I was asking the boys if they were excited to play and have fun. They told me they were. Then Raef asked me if I had a sign so that I could cheer them on. I don't think he had any real perspective on how big the audience would be for his game. I told him that I didn't have a sign. I apologized, but promised that I would cheer for him real loud. Then he told me how I was supposed to cheer.

"Mom, when we are on defense, then you say...DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE. And when we are on offense, you say OFFENSE, OFFENSE, OFFENSE. Okay Mom?"

I thanked him for the cheering tips and promised that I would do my best.

So, after hiking down to the wrong fields carrying a cooler full of drinks, a chair and a stroller, we climbed back up the hill. After getting better instructions from a kindly lady, she pointed up the hill about a 1/2 mile to where their game really was. She might as well have pointed to the top of Mt. Everest. It was over 100 degrees, I was completely wiped out from carrying the cooler, and Raef had mutinied on pushing the stroller anymore. So, I had to abandon the cooler and chair and quickly push the stroller and lead the kids to their first game. You have to understand that this soccer league is huge. There must have been 20 games going simultaneously. It was amazing. I had left my house 45 minutes early so they would be their in plenty of time, and I limped across the finish line with only minutes to spare.

And I still had to go back down the darn hill to get the cooler. Just so you know, I had a heavy cooler because it was our turn to supply drinks for everyone after the game. Rinar couldn't make it because I volunteered him to play the piano for a baptism in our ward. He was going to come to the first part of the game, but all the roads were plugged up due to repaving.

I was on my own.

Week 1: RED BULLS vs. RAMS

The name of the kids' team is the Red Bulls. Isn't that the perfect name for a team with green and blue uniforms? It makes perfect sense to me. I mean, I totally get it.

My boys had no clue what they were doing, but they started to get the hang of it. Raef scored the only goal. Well, sort of. They had the ball after the other team had scored and they started playing before the referee had blown her whistle. None of the kids knew you were supposed to actually listen to the whistle or the referee, so they kept playing and Raef kicked it all the way to their goal and put it in the back of the net. I am counting it! We won't talk about the score after that, okay?Don't worry. Zach had his moment of glory also...well, kind of...

He had kind of a difficult time processing the idea that you switch goals after halftime. We told him he now had to put the ball in the other goal, but it didn't really sink in. When he got in the game he made a beautiful break-a-way, solo run all the way to the goal...for the other team. He didn't actually kick it in but I think you could credit him with an assist for sure.

(as a side note to all of you, I did the same thing in a basketball game...when I was in high school...on the varsity team...I was really proud of myself but when I looked around, something just wasn't right)

There is one thing that you cannot deny about my boys. They definitely have the best endurance. At the end of the game, they were still running. The coach kept substituting everyone else in and out, but Raef and Zach looked pretty good.

This is one proud Soccer Mom!

Are You Hungry?

Here is Eli eating a lemon. His very first one. What do you think he will do?

Yeah, I was pretty disappointed too. It hasn't bothered any of my kids.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bath Time

It's bath time...He is really into his toes right now. He was just grabbing them before, but he has now realized they can be a tasty treat as well.

Mom, How Could You Do That?

For all posterity:

A few weeks ago I was minding my own business, watching a little television one afternoon. Zach stormed into the room with an indignant, and somewhat disappointed look on his face.

He walked right up to me and asked, "Mom, are you smoking?"

I was taken aback by his accusation. How did he know? I thought I hid it so well. Am I going to get grounded? No really, what in the world was he talking about?

I said, "Zach, of course I don't smoke. Why would you think that I smoke?"

Then he laid the evidence out before me. He held up a cigarette butt and gave me a tsk-tsk kind of look. I was shocked and asked him where in the world he got the cigarette butt. He returned my shocked gaze with one of his own and told me that he found it in our backyard. For all of you who do not live in Las Vegas, the yards are about as big as your pinky finger.

I vehemently denied that I smoked the cigarette and then told him never to touch those nasty things and get it out of my house. Yet, I still had to convince him that it was not me that smoked the cigarette.

At least he knows it is a bad thing to do, right?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Love Sarah Palin!!!!

Less than a week ago, I was barely apathetic to this year's coming election. I did not give a lick for McCain and was always annoyed when they called me for money for his campaign. After tonight, I think it has all changed.

Sarah Palin could be my neighbor, the woman who sits in the pew next to me at church, or a girlfriend I talk to on the phone. She could be me. If she can be Vice President, why can't I be someday? Anything is possible now.

She started her political career with the PTA! She isn't full of herself because of some over-priced degree from a fancy-schmancy university that churns out the same tired, ultra-feminist, man-hating idealogue. She has actually lived a real life, in real America just like I have. This is what American dreams are made of.

She has a real family with real problems and triumphs, just like my family. She believes in a kind of America I believe in.

She has inspired me.

She makes me proud to be an American, a woman, a mother. I mean, she played on her high school basketball team. So did I. I know who she is because it is my story too.

This is something to be excited about...and I am stoked. I never, in my wildest dreams thought that I would say that about this election cycle.

I mean, Obama decided to pick a stodgy, crusty old has-been from the upper-crust. Who is that guy anyways? He isn't me. Plus, it is the same old stuff and I am tired of the same old stuff. Obama promises hope and change and yet he picks a guy who is about as inspiring as a windowless office painted in taupe. Who cares? All I can say is "GAG!"

True feminism is being a real woman: unabashedly loving your man, loving your children (flaws and all), overachieving, serving, and being fearless.

Sarah Palin is the embodiment of real feminism. Woman power. And can I just say that a real woman is someone who never takes the easy way out by aborting a baby that would not be "perfect" according to worldly standards. Or encouraging an abortion for one of your daughters so that the family can maintain a certain image.

Sarah Palin is a woman who inspires me to be a better woman. She is who I want to be.

So, three cheers for feminism!




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