Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You Are Not Sleepy...As You Seem

Eli has a new declaration every night. "I never go to sleep!" I kept trying to tell him that he has to go to sleep. Everyone goes to sleep.  But no. The little guy seems to do very well in an argument.  He has the repetition strategy.  No matter what facts or reason are thrown at him, he just keeps making the same declaration at least 100 times.

"I never go to sleep."

Finally, I just picked him up to take him to his room. It was after 9pm, after all.  As we were heading down the hall, I firmly commanded him that he was not allowed to go to sleep.

"Eli, do not go to sleep."

He seemed to like my edict. He heartily agreed.  I laid him on his bed. He placidly complied. The covers went on and I tucked him in.  I kept reminding him that he was not allowed to go to sleep.

He then asked me if it was okay to lay down.  I told him he could, but no sleeping!

Then I had to sing "Stay Awake", from Mary Poppins. Do you remember that song?

Stay awake, don't rest your head.
Don't lie down upon your bed.
You're not sleepy, as you seem.
Stay awake, don't nod and dream...

He was just a naughty little noodle. Not five minutes later, he was asleep.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Galena Children's Choir

A few months ago I decided to start a children's choir at church. Our ward is really lacking in the musical talent department. I figured if I started working from the ground up, it may inspire the older folks to actually open their hymn books on Sunday.
We have been practicing for the last few months with the song, "An Angel Came To Joseph Smith". It is in the Children's Songbook, but I found a two part choral arrangement that had a little bit of difficulty.  It was wonderful. The kids did their best performance in sacrament meeting. I think there were about 25 kids.  I was so proud of them.

Music is a powerful tool that can really draw us close to the Spirit. I can think of many times as a youth, the times that I remember poignantly, and it always revolved around a song.  It could have been one that I sang in Primary, or in the Primary Program.  I also sang in my ward choir when I was pretty young, and it was one of those things that helped me to solidify my testimony.

You never forget the songs.

For one of the practices, I talked to the kids about this very idea. It can be hard being a kid, and especially when you want to stay faithful to the church and the things you know are true. I told them that this song can help to strengthen them.  They can remember Joseph Smith and the hard things that he did, and that he always stayed faithful, even under incredible scrutiny and mockery.  Just like Joseph Smith, they can follow his example and stay faithful.

A song has a way of doing that to us. It penetrates to our core and can be seared on our hearts. I hope that as I continue on with my little choir, they will gain greater musical knowledge and skills. But more importantly, they will come to know who they are and feel the love of God in the music they get to perform.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Tonight was the Relief Society's annual broadcast. It always comes the week before fall General Conference. What a blessing it was for me to go tonight.  The first three talks by the Relief Society Presidency were really good: Do it as if He were here, have more charity, make and keep sacred covenants.  I appreciated their messages.

But then Pres. Uchtdorf spoke, and he must have written his talk specifically for me.  He talked about the Forget-Me-Not flower and used it as a metaphor for life.

The first 'forget not' was to be patient with myself. {{sigh}}  What I am doing is just good enough and I am still loved no matter what.  

Make good sacrifices, be happy now, remember the 'why' of the gospel, and don't forget that the Lord loves me.

Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love.
—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Thank you President Uchtdorf.  I don't feel 100% yet, but I feel a lot better.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eagle Co-op

We went to Eagle Co-op today. The kids have a lot of fun going to classes...different classes. Raef takes U.S. Geography, Self Defense, and Lego Builders. Zach is in Self Defense, Cooking Around the World, and Watercolor.  They specifically told me they wanted to be in different classes. It seems to be working out well for both of them.

While they are in their classes, Eli is in a little preschool. They actually do preschool stuff. Today he learned about the letter 'B'.  Last week it was 'A'. He takes his activities very seriously and works hard coloring and stuff.

I team teach a biology class. Today I did a lecture on taxonomy.  I even did a pathetic rap to help them remember the classification levels (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus species). I don't think I have much of a future in rap.

Zach was very proud of his watercolor.  I took them to soccer practice tonight and he made sure to take his watercolor to show everyone. I had no idea he took it out of the car.  When we got home, he asked if he could put it on his blog.  Can you give the kid some love and leave a comment? I know he will be asking to see if anyone did.

But here is his masterpiece...

I didn't tell him what to type on his blog. This is what he wrote...

I made this picture all by myself.My favorite part is the clouds. It just looks so real. Don't you think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Mirror

Motherhood shoved a big mirror in my face and has made me take a hard look at myself. Sometimes, I really do not like what I see. It exposes all of my weaknesses. I can't hide from them and it can be overwhelming trying to overcome them.  The ruts can cut pretty deep. I have been having a hard time trying to put two solid thoughts much screaming, whining, crying, incessant chatter.  My brain is on overload.

Then I realize how uninteresting my own personal life is.  I am not one who is going to measure my success based on the accomplishments of my children. Therefore, I can only look at what I have done. I am not impressed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The boys had their second soccer game this season.  And guess what?  They won!!!  We did a little bit of recruiting and our friend Trevor decided to join the team. His dad works with Rinar and they are in our ward. Trevor is really a baseball player. He has never actually played soccer. I am not sure why not. The kid is a natural.  I was so impressed. He got right in there.  Trevor has a killer instinct and it didn't take long for him to get the rhythm of the game and then score our first goal. It was sweet.

It was a come-from-behind win.  The final score: 3-2.  Raef scored the go-ahead goal.  He seemed a lot more evenly paced for the game, not so frantic.  The team was starting to realize that you can't follow the ball around everywhere. They seemed to reserve their energy much better.

Raef got a breakaway ball and took it all the way down the field, past about 3 defenders and put it in the goal.  After that, his step was a little lighter.  I must say that it is definitely much more fun when you win, or even when you score goals and are competitive with the other team.

Zach is still trying to figure out where he is when he is out there. But he is tough and has no fear at going head-to-head with anyone.  He even had a really good shot on goal at the very end.  I think that made him happy.

Do you know what made me happy?  Eli, Harry, and Julia stayed with the babysitter.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Cub Scouts..the push is on.  I came to the stark realization that the boys are getting close to turning 10.  And there is a whole book of Cub Scout stuff that has to be completed before their birthdays.  I got the book out this last week and we have been working on stuff.  One thing in the book was to make a birdhouse.  This had "Dad" written all over it.  

Rinar did a great job.  Here is the finished product.

They were finishing up their projects at night out in the garage. Of course, Eli wanted to be in the middle of it.  It got pretty late before they finished.  Eli's latest thing is to tell us that he is not tired. "I never go to sleep!"

It worked out pretty well for him....well, almost.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nuclear Tricycles

Harry has a tricycle. He likes to terrorize his siblings with it. He is relentless. And he does it with a big smile on his face. He cannot be stopped when his mind is set on something.  The other day, he kept harassing Eli. It did not matter where the kid went. Harry was right there ramming his tricycle into Eli's legs, making a good sport of it.  Needless to say, Eli was more than a little bit annoyed. I really cannot blame the kid. I would be annoyed too.

Instead of taking the tricycle away from Harry, I came up with a more effective solution. I put Eli on a tricycle as well. They were on equal footing. They raced around everywhere and had a blast. No more crying, no more pesky brother.

This got me to thinking about nuclear weapons, naturally.  Well, nuclear weapons, guns, bombs, whatever.  How do you get adults to "play" nicely? Make sure everyone is on equal footing. Or just make sure you have more footing than everyone else. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pray When You Lose Something

Harry had a rough night yesterday.  He just didn't want to go to bed. I had to keep putting him back in his room. Finally, I heard no more crying and assumed all was right with the world. Rinar had left on a business trip, so it was just me.  Before I went to bed, I went to tuck everyone in.  When I got to the babies room, Harry was not in his bed.

Okay, no worries... he was probably just on the floor.  Nope, not there either.  I could feel a tiny bit of panic creeping up my insides. I went to my room and looked around. Still nothing.  I knelt down and said a prayer and then I continued my search. I looked in every room in the house, every corner, nook, crevice I could think of, but I still could not find him.

I was about to call Rinar because I was really starting to get worried.  The unimaginable started creeping into my thoughts. What if he somehow got outside?  I mean, we live in the wilderness. I am not exaggerating when I say that there are bears and coyotes out there. What if?  

Just breathe, just breathe.

I went back into his room. I stood still and started to listen. I heard Julia breathing, but then I heard another cadence of breaths.  He was in the room. Where?

Wedged between the bunk bed and the wall, I found Harry sound asleep. I extricated him from his little hiding place, held him for a few minutes and then put him to bed.

I came to realize something even more profoundly after my little hunting expedition.  I am not doing this alone. My Father in Heaven is right there with me every step of the way helping me take care of my kids. I know that He protects them and guides them. I know that He loves them even more than I do.  For all those years when Rinar worked in Albuquerque and would be gone for days, I was never alone. Sometimes I would be scared and overwhelmed, but nothing bad ever happened.  I pray for their safety every day and by His grace, He gives it so freely.  

I am very grateful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Keep It In the Trunk

This works even better than a mute button.

Great Basin Soccer

Saturday was the first soccer game of the season. Zach chose soccer this year. He has been on a team for a few weeks today and the league has not given our team enough players. We are supposed to have 8 to field a team, and they only gave us six. Therefore, we put Raef in a uniform to play with the team. He wanted to play baseball instead.  The other team had 11 kids!  We only had 7.  Needless to say, the kids got tired quickly.  It doesn't help that they still run everywhere the ball is like a big clump.

The good news is that they started to spread out as they got more weary.

Our fearless coach Andy.  He is a parent who so kindly volunteered to coach the team.

We pretty much got annihilated, 5-0.  The important thing is that Zach had fun. I have decided that we may be the worst team, but we are going to have the best snacks.  At least there is something I can do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Cogs of Homeschooling

It has been a pretty good week so far. We have been able to do quite a bit of schoolwork. The older the kids get, the more things we can study. The possibilities are endless. I am looking forward to our educational adventure this year. 

This afternoon we headed over to Chuck E. Cheese's because it was homeschool day there.  Well, sort of.  The kids will be participating in a co-op starting next week. It is called Eagle and it has been around for quite some time.  They really have their acts together.  I paid the bill for the classes the kids will be taking. Raef is doing US Geography, Self-Defense, and Lego Builders. Zach will be in Self-Defense, Cooking Around the World, and Watercolor. They really did not want to take the same classes at all.  So, there you go. And on a similar note, I am teaching a biology class sans my kids. It will be nice, I must say. 

I was able to meet many homeschooling families and it was really good. I was grateful for the opportunity to get in there. My kids seemed to make new friends quickly.  This is going to be a positive thing for all of us.

And on a related strain, yesterday we were reading the Book of Mormon like we always do to start our day.  I like to talk about definitions so the kids will increase their vocabulary and gain a greater understanding of the things we are reading.  We came to the word 'repugnant'.  I asked them what it means.  At first they didn't know, but then a light bulb went off for Zach.  Since we have been studying Latin for the past year, he said that he saw fight in the word.  Of course, pugno means "I fight" in Latin.  It was just really cool to see the cogs turning.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

At The Big House

Eli calls our rental "The Big House".  It is pretty big. This is a quick look at the outside of the big house.  The house is set atop a fairly large hill, so it is hard to get a good picture of it.  Rinar got a ladder out to get some shots.

 This is a view of the backyard. Okay, it is not really a "view". But she sure is cute blowing milk bubbles, right?

When you stand at the top of the driveway, this is our incredible view. Our driveway has two switchbacks.

 The backyard is the best.  Look at all of the trees and grass and nature.  Let's marvel together.

This is from the master bedroom side of the house looking the other way.

This concludes our quick look at the big house.  Julia says goodbye.

If you want a closer look, I guess you will just have to come and visit, Ken.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

San Francisco? Why Not!

When I was at the park Friday, I just thought that we should go to San Francisco.  I texted Rinar with my proposition. He texted me back and asked why. I replied, "Why not?"

So we went. We stayed in a hotel in Vacaville and the oldest 3 went swimming for a while as I put the little ones to bed.  Eli especially had a blast. He just loved swimming with his Daddy.

Then we were off to San Fran in the morning. Shockingly, it was quite foggy, so we didn't get the good views of the bridge, but we sure did try. There were a lot of Asians at the lookout point. I guess we were quite a spectacle for them because of the blonde hair, especially Julia and Harry in the red wagon. They were taking pictures of them and were touching their hair and stuff.  We really drew a crowd when we took this picture.

The Golden Gate Bridge really is behind us, I promise.

Then we went to get a bite at Mel's Diner. It was pretty good. Rinar got a Monte Cristo, although it was not quite as good as The Gable House monte cristo.

We headed over to Fisherman's Wharf and stayed for about 45 minutes. It was just way too crowded for our little brood.  It is not much fun when you are stressing out about losing little children in a large crowd, on top of the fact that you can't go very fast and you really can't go in any of the cute shops. But it was a beautiful day and the weather was quite nice.

I think we stopped at least 5 times for Eli to go to the bathroom on the way home. This was at the McDonald's in Carson City. He had an epic poopy, so the kids all waited in the car.  Julia had just finished up lollipop #3.

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