Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Lugubrious Welcome

Okay, I thought I would update everyone on a few things.

First of all, I am happy to report that at my last weigh-in at the gym I was 157 pounds.  So, I know that I have lost at least 3 pounds, maybe more.  I also measured my waist and it is now 33 inches.  This is progress. But more importantly, I have been able to do all of my training runs and I am a bit faster to begin with than I was when I started training for the Snow Canyon Half Marathon.  I have to run 3 miles today and then 8 miles this weekend.  If I keep this up and eat sensibly, I will continue to lose some weight.  

But I am not on a diet.

The babysitter continues to come on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Her name is Lama and she is adorable and does a great job with the babies. However, the babies don't find her quite so adorable. On Tuesday, Lama walked through the door. Julia saw her and started to scream and ran frantically for my legs.  

"NOOOOO!!!!! Don't leave me, Mom!!!" 

It was hilarious.  Then today Julia and Harry were sitting on the kitchen counter while I was gathering supplies for our departure.  Lama walked through the door. Julia saw her and erupted into a pathetic, desperate cry. She wrapped her arms around me and would not let go. I had to pry her loose.  Harry just sat looking at her and smiled and was like, "Whassup?"

Eli also got in on the crying action and was very upset to see her as well.  He really wanted to go, really badly.

But when I come back, the babies are in their beds sleeping and Eli is happily playing with Lama.  I am glad Lama doesn't take this lugubrious welcome personally.  My babies need to work on their hospitality skills.

The library has been such a blessing.  Today we started working on a little research project. This is their first one. It is on the coral reef.  I hate to sacrifice time doing the three R's for stuff like this, but then I had an epiphany.  With all of the practice we have had with grammar, spelling, reading, etc., now they are putting it to practice in a multifaceted way.   Cool.  Fun and educational. I love it.

Yes, we also did math and I believe they are now ready to open the division book for the first time.  It is progress.

And can I tell you how much I am loving Latin right now?  Their vocabulary will be first rate after a year of this.  It is well worth every minute we spend on it.  

Speaking of vocabulary, do you know what lugubrious means?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hombres Azules

Guess where we went on Friday?

Rinar decided to surprise the boys and take us all to Blue Man Group on Friday. The boys turned 9 on Saturday, so it was a special weekend for them. We got really good seats. We were in the middle on row #5. Awesome, right?

It was a very cute show and the boys really enjoyed it. Those blue men are very strange. Very. Strange.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Homeschool Update

After a very rough week, I resolved that I had to make some changes to my routine. I have been diligent in doing school work with the kids each day, but man is it a struggle.  There were only small windows when we have complete quiet and can really study.  In trying to manage three very small children and educate two 9 year-olds, it can feel like I am drowning.
Let me paint a picture for you. At one point last week, I was trying to a grammar lesson with them. We were learning more about the complete predicate. Eli was demanding paper and a pencil so that he could draw. Harry was whining at me because he wanted me to hold him on my right side. Julia was squealing frantically for me to hold her on my left side.  Is it any wonder that Raef and Zach have a hard time concentrating? Even when the babies were taking a nap, Eli was sitting at the table softly talking and humming to himself. This was driving Zach crazy. Apparently, Zach doesn't care for it the way that I do.

I talked with Rinar and decided I had to take a new course of action. I cannot let my children's education suffer because of the demands of 3 toddlers. Therefore, I put out an email looking for someone to come to my house and take care of the babies while I take the boys to the library. I figured that I would have to leave the house and find a quiet place to study. Unfortunately, my house is not big enough for study quarantine.

After successfully finding someone to help me, I have now almost completed a full week of study with my boys and it has been so much better. Can I get an amen? We covered a lot of different subjects efficiently and without any interruptions. It was great. I came home to happy babies and a quiet house. I can breathe again.

We are also on the cusp of starting new areas of study. It is the best feeling to get through an entire book.  We only have one more lesson in Math-u-see Gamma, which is multiplication. The books just arrived today for Delta, division. I look forward to cracking those open.

We have also almost finished level 2 in our poetry memorization curriculum. They have memorized 38 poems. Level three has some cool poems I look forward to conquering. The first big one is "Psalm of Life" by Longfellow. It is a beautiful, thought-provoking poem.

I plan on quickly covering the history curriculum, early modern history. I think it will be better to just get through it all so that we can start over again in ancient history fresh, when they are more mature. That way, they will really be able to delve into all aspects of history at a deeper level of understanding.

In science, we are focusing on geology.  I have been reading a series of Scholastic books that cover basic facts about geology and Rinar is going to do all of the field work with them a few Saturdays a month. He took them on their first field trip on Monday to Ash Springs and Alamo, since it was MLK day.

I am really going to emphasize reading time from now on. We are going to do it everyday. I was a bit scattered on what they should be reading, but I am realizing that it is a perfect time for them to read history books that coincide with what we are studying. Good thing we are going to the library twice a week, right?

Time marches on and my kids are getting more intellectually mature. It is a great pleasure to go on this educational journey with them. It is such a blessing to watch them have "Ah-ha!" moments and to make connections between different disciplines. I want to have smart kids and I know that I will. But more importantly, I want to have kind and loving children who recognize God's hand in all things. I think that this is happening a little bit everyday.

Homeschooling is such a blessing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oh, How Far They Have Come

Well, my kids keep marching on with violin and viola. I think this was their best recital yet. They both played really well.  It is interesting and I have probably talked about this before but I am amazed at the journey we have taken together.

It didn't seem that long ago that my kids first picked up a violin. They were 4 1/2 years old. Zach could only hold it in playing position about 2 minutes and then he was wiped out, crumpled over. Raef had a very short attention span and it was difficult to get through all of our practice tasks successfully. There were many times when I seriously considered quitting, but we just kept trudging on week after week.

Then when I sat there and listened to them play their pieces with the accompanist, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe how far they have come. They can both play an instrument beautifully. I seriously almost cried.

Here you go...

Monday, January 17, 2011

My New Favorite Thing

Today I cleaned my house. I did it with a wet cloth and a dry cloth. It was friggin' awesome. I didn't use sprays of any kind and my house is sparkling clean. I. Love. It.

I went to one of those home parties last week and learned about this company called Norwex. They are Canadian and they have this microfiber cloth that is magic. It kills bacteria because of the silver it has in it...something like that.  I could get all technical on you but the important thing is that it works!  I am not the best housekeeper, but I feel empowered with this little rag.  

From now on, I am keeping it in my back pocket as I walk about my house during the day. When I see something, I will take just a minute to wipe it up. I won't need to get multi-purpose spray or windex from some obscure location.  I'll just wipe it down and I am done.  Isn't that a beautiful thing?

You may be wondering why I am writing about this on my blog. It is because I am in love with this thing. I don't sell it. I am getting nothing out of it by blogging about it. But I just figure that if it is making me this happy, I want everyone else to be as happy as I am. 

They have other products that I am excited to get my hands on in the future. But for now, I have my lovely yellow cloth and pink drying towel and I am going to RULE THE WORLD.

I cleaned the entire bathroom, mirrors, doors, tabletops, counters, floors, the piano, cabinets...need I go on?  And the cloth doesn't smell. 

As soon as I get my cleaning paste, I am tackling my recalcitrant stove top and other difficult spots that have plagued me for years. I am not worried. I know that I shall overcome.

I am going to host a party at my house on January 27th, and I am looking forward to sharing this wonderful marvel with all of my friends. It is my gift to humanity.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Tape Measure Speaks

Okay, I whipped out the tape measure today to see how I am doing. I still have not weighed myself so I have no news on that front, but the tape measure is speaking to me. My waist is now 34.5" and I lost an inch on my thighs.  I am making progress!  I had a great week.

I kept telling myself that I am not on a diet. I am making healthy choices. It sure makes a difference. I ate what I wanted to, but I really listened to my body. When I was hungry, I ate. I made sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies and a healthy breakfast. It really works.  Plus, I started training for my half marathon. I successfully completed all of my running assignments for the week.

Things are going good, but I know that the key to success is one day at a time, one meal at a time. I am going to just keep on trekking.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Culmination of Small Victories

I am realizing more and more the incredible wisdom in the scripture, " by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" (Alma 37:6) Isn't life really about the small victories? When you add all of those up, you get something amazing and great. 

Let me give you a few examples...the first one would be dieting.  Okay, I am not going to call it dieting because it makes it sound temporary.  Right now, my goal is to eat clean.  To me, this means that I am cutting out sugar and processed food. In simple terms, I am cutting out the crap.  I have had three very successful days of eating this way and let me tell you, I feel great. I don't feel deprived at all. But the small victory this week came at book club.  I brought the treats this month and I picked a healthier fare. I had no intention of eating anything, but I did indulge in a small bowl of kettle corn, which has been my only sugar intake this week.  I made a choice, it was either that or a bag of the 100 calorie minty fudge cookies. Normally, I would have had many choices, but I picked one. But don't think I was not having an argument with myself the entire time, because I was.  "Oh, come is just one bag and only 100 calories, what's the big deal?" "No, it is a big deal because then you won't know that you can exercise self-control."  Yep, these kinds of thoughts were coursing through my brain.

It was a small victory, but I know it will add up to great things.  I am preparing my lesson for Sunday and it is on fasting.  The manual teaches that when we have a successful fast, "We are a little stronger by having proved to ourselves that we have self-control."  I had never really thought of it that way. But think about how when we have a small victory, we are proving to ourselves that we can accomplish our goals.

In the same way I have taken on the monumental task of educating my children. With each day of successfully hitting the books, I am adding drops of knowledge to their little brains, which will culminate into glorious things when they get older. I definitely see it.  They have come so far in their education and I know that I have only laid the foundation for the things that they will do in the future.  With every math problem they successfully solve or word they correctly spell, great things are coming to pass.

This has been palpable with violin and viola as well. Last night I had the privilege of sitting on a bean bag being overcome by watching my children practice their recital pieces with an accompanist.  All the hours of lessons and practices...all of those small victories and now I sit back and watch the miracle. I really did almost cry last night.

As I move forward in my life with eating better and such, I will build off of my small victories. I know that I will not be perfect and I am okay with that. But each day I get stronger. That is truly a blessing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Trip to Winter Wonderland

After Christmas, we had a whole week to just do stuff. Rinar and I decided to go up to Salt Lake City for a few days. On the way, we stopped at Cove Fort. It was really cold and snowy. The babies had a lot of fun walking around after sitting in the car for a couple of hours. We tried to put a coat on Eli. This put him in an extremely foul mood. He did not want to have anything to do with that coat. You would have thought we were trying to put a strait-jacket on him. Forget the fact that it was 25 degrees outside, with a bit of a wind chill. He just had his dad carry him and be his coat for him.


NOOOO!!! Not a coat!  NOOOOO!!!!

Hmmm...guess I will cry too.
Make that three.  A trio is always better than a duet.
It was time to go! 

 Then we headed up to Melanie's house. They have a cute little house and the kids had a ball playing in their backyard, even though it was cold outside. The boys also put on a little concert and the kids danced around. It was a cute moment.

That night I met up with Catye, Jamie, and his soon to be new family. I left Rinar back at the hotel with the babies. They were uber-tired.  It was really cold but the lights were beautiful.

The Buckmaster crew, plus me and my kids.

The next day we went to the children's museum. As we were waiting in line to get, Zach started maling Julia with a barrage of kisses.  I told him to stop and he ignored me so I kicked  him. No, it wasn't hard at all. It was too get his attention. But the funny thing is that there were lots of good Mormon moms standing behind me and I could see that one of them was completely appalled at my disciplining techniques. In actuality, I was appalled that she didn't kick her kids, to be honest. I kept seeing her throughout the museum and the eyeroll that accompanied our encounters. I guess I am lucky I am not in jail, right?

Rinar took the babies to the hotel for a nap and the rest of us hit Trax and went to the Church museum and then me and the boys continued on to the U to see the Natural History Museum.

They enjoyed it but they especially liked the blizzard we had to trudge through to get back to the train and then to the hotel. I really needed a hat! But the boys had a blast.

On our way home we stopped at the mall in Provo. They played on the playground and rode the train.

Our last little foray was the narrows in St. George. Rinar and I couldn't fit through them, but Raef, Zach, and Eli went all the way to the top.

While we were in St. George we also spent an entire day (10 hours) playing games with our friends Kristen and Brian L. They used to be our neighbors in Salt Lake and Rinar went to high school with Brian. It was really fun.

Christmas 2010

Santa decided to visit us in St. George this year. I guess it was easier for him because the condo has a chimney. We had our annual Christmas Eve/Grandma birthday party at Lyf's house and we stayed late. Usually we drive home after the party so we can get ready for Santa's arrival. As we were driving back to the condo the kids finally realized that it was late. They were worried but I assured them that we would wake up early in the morning and go back to Las Vegas to see what Santa brought. Amazingly enough, he came to us, with a Christmas tree and everything! Cool, huh?


Puzzles. He is in love with them right now.

He got a piano!  He was in heaven.

Dolly, you know it!

Harry got his own phone. He loves phones. Best. Thing. Ever. Plus he is sporting an outfit from his cousin Jazon.

We had a lot of fun and we were even able to see some long last family that came down to visit Grandma N. from Provo.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Accountability.  Yep, it is all about accountability. After a month of horrendous, pig-like eating and absolutely no exercise, it has come to this.  After Christmas I was in the shower and thinking about it, how I felt my life was spinning out of control and how I had to get a grip on what was going on in my life.  I have come up with a plan.  And I am inviting all of you to come along with me.  I am going to use my blog to give myself accountability.

Here it is...this is what I look like today.  

Look at me, I am so sad!!

When I was taking these pictures Zach informed me that I was immodest. Yes, I know son, but I don't want to hide behind my clothes.

I just measured myself. Whoa, what an eye-opener! 

Waist - 35"
Chest -39"
Thigh - 25"
Arm - 12.75"

I don't know what I weigh, but I would guess around 163 or so.  I will update that information when I get it.

Clearly, you can all see that I have some work to do.  But never fear, I have a plan.  On March 12, I will be running the Six Tunnels Half Marathon in Boulder City.  I have exactly 10 weeks to train for this race.  My husband bought me a Garmin for Christmans and I have a new resolve.

I purchased a small planner that I will be using to write down everything that I eat. I am going to drink water and cut out all soda and juice. I am going to read more books and stay active around the house. I am going to keep myself busy with house projects and educating my children.  I am going to eliminate the eating-out syndrome and utilize my awesome cooking skills.

Yesterday I threw away all errant candy and Christmas treats. They are gone. But I did buy a large stash of sugar-free gum for those times when I just need something. Gum seems to work well for me.

Yep, I am living the cliche, but I am going to do it with flair.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Yeah, It's That Important Eli

 I found this vintage book at the thrift store and I love it. I want to tear it apart and make wall art. Unfortunately, Eli found it also and he loves it more than me. Funny thing...he actually wants to read it.  I will hide it better next time.

Raef took this picture, along with this cute video of my two year-old.

This is the remnants of Christmas cookie decorating, lots of sugar frosting on the counter. And here is Eli, helping me clean up. Yeah, it's that important!!!

Harry's Hair Cut

Yep, I just buzzed it with two different numbers. He has really fine hair and scissors would have been impossible. But his fine little mop was getting a bit too girly for me.  This kid is all boy!

I thought it would be hard to cut his hair, but he offered practically  no resistance. If only he was that way when I want to change his diaper or dress him.  That is exhausting.
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