Saturday, January 30, 2016

Winter Homeschool Convention

Once again, this week was an absolute whirlwind and it ended with the winter homeschool convention in Ogden today. I am so glad that I could go. The drive up was a bit harrowing as there was a pretty good snowstorm this morning. I went with my one homeschool friend Rebekah. I feel like I got a lot of valuable things from it.

I attended one class where she showed us how to do different kinds of lap books and journals that will really be a wonderful resource for my kids. I know that Eli and Harry will just love it. I am excited to start working on some of it with them. This was a practical class. But I also attended some inspirational classes. 

My first class was taught by a Fijian gentleman and I was surprised with how much I liked it. These are my notes from the class.

Clarity - How to Accomplish Goals

by Aisake Vuikadavu

“Innergy Mentor”

Common knowledge is not common action

1.  Rely on a Higher Power. Trust God. Pick one thing and just go for it. I will choose a path and start walking and if it is the wrong path, trust that God will tell me. God helps me when I am moving! Take any direction and God will give me guidance.

2. Focus on the process, not on the goal. Let the prize be the process, not just the end result. Once I get the reward, then it can all fall apart, but the process can be applied to anything in life. If I don’t have a process, it won’t have a lasting effect on my life. Make a plan, then put my head down and work. Even bigger goals may come up uninvited.

3. Keep the big goals quiet. When I share with others, it can feel like I have accomplished something, and then its over. Share with an accountability partner only. It protects me from negative feedback, apathy, and criticism.

4. Slow down to speed up. Take it nice and slow. Hold my space, be ok that I will mess up and be embarrassed, but be steady and allow myself grace. Be consistent and do it correctly. When I go slow, I go further.

There are ways to breakthrough the road blocks and filters: reputation, intensity, large body movements, and music, which is a back door into my mind.

I also liked what I heard from Gretchen Rubin in one of her podcasts. She said to just act the way you feel. If I want to feel energetic and productive, then just act that way and the feelings will soon follow. I think the simplicity of that statement is beautiful. 

I had circled a class on my schedule that looked pretty good but when I went to get a seat it was super full. I refused to sit on the ground so I went for another option and ended up in one of my favorite classes of the day.

12 Steps to Avoiding Homeschool Burnout

by Glenn Kimber

If you are not trying, you are not learning…

1.Receive a confirmation from the Holy Spirit that it is the right thing for you to home school. Then let the Spirit guide. The Spirit will not direct you to fail. Children were sent to you from Heavenly Father with a specific purpose here on Earth. You were selected to be their guides. YET - if you don’t understand something, just say I don’t understand it yet. The Spirit will not direct you to fail. People tend to behave according to what they believe. You will have confidence in what you are most familiar with. Familiar knowledge is the greatest blessing and the greatest enemy.

2. Do not take counsel from your fears. Know the difference between inspiration and desperation.

3. Avoid duplicating the public education system. If it was working for your family, you wouldn’t be inspired to seek something else. You tutor, but the Spirit teaches. Teach them to stand out, not fit in. Public schools destroy the need of a family.

4. Eliminate the stigma of “homeschooling” which is looked upon with negativity by many, and replace it with the concept of “home tutoring”. School means you look to a pattern that is failing. Tell people they are being privately tutored.

5.  Where to begin? Diagnostic testing! You will gain confidence when you discover the weaknesses and strengths of your children’s current knowledge and abilities. When you use PROPER testing, you will be able to discern their attitude towards life and learning through diagnostic testing. Test kids every 90 days, if not moving academically 1 year every 90 days, you need to change your approach. You are training leadership, not followship.

6. Make sure that ALL the curriculum you choose is based on God, family, and country, and select it according to student interest and level of learning - not age. You don’t have time for anything else. Children looked to mothers for guidance and to fathers for acceptance.

7. Use and encourage creativity and talents in all subjects. They can write it, teach it, perform it, record it, paint it, show it, memorize it. Then they’ll love it, and it will become part of their personality and character - not just their memory. If you want them to remember forever, put it into a poem, a picture, or music. Use it creatively and they will remember.

8. Remember that the greatest learning takes place in the mornings. To enhance better learning, everyone should be dressed and ready for school - not lounging in pjs (which unmotivates). Dress for success every school morning. Studies have shown one hour before noon is equivalent to two hours in the afternoon, and 3 hours after 4pm. Statistically it doesn’t work to do it late.  Get up and eat breakfast and then get to work. Heavenly Father’s favorite number is 3 and 12!

9. Focus on “LOVE of learning”. When frustration or negativity sets in, change the scenery, have a snack, sing a song, go for a walk, say a prayer. Then return to the task when ready. “Solutions never come from a negative frame of mind.” Regain the Spirit when it turns negative. The best way to the heart is through the stomach, but jumping down the throat is no short cut.

10. Create as many opportunities as possible for the children to give their knowledge away. This involves practicing to share their knowledge with others - any group, any individual, any relative. Knowledge is only theirs as they give it away. The more they give it away, the more it becomes theirs. Thank you notes are great.

11. Children look to mother for guidance, and they look to father for acceptance. This teamwork gels as mothers correct and guide, and fathers praise good efforts. Remember that RELATIONSHIP is more important than SCHOLARSHIP.

12. Follow the example the Lord uses to ISOLATE leaders, so they can be INSULATED against the world, and then go into the world as leaders, not followers. They are in the world, but not of it. Instead of our youth trying to “fit in” to the ways of the world, they will have strength and confidence to “stand out” as leaders - when they have been properly isolated and insulated, they will be sent out from the home to be leaders in the world. Keep them home until you have insulated them from the world.

As I was listening to this presentation I came to a realization that I need to reexamine Julia and her school situation. I have never really been super happy with her going to public school, even if it is a charter school. I don't want her to sharpen any of her edges. I know she needs to be around me as much as possible. So I am really going to pray and meditate on it and decide what to do for her next year. Plus, I honestly think it will be better for our family as it will simplify our family and not divide my loyalties at all. I will make the decision and I know that the Lord will provide a way for me to do it.

So, it was a good and productive day for me, a nice reset button, shot in the arm kind of day. Every homeschool mom needs those every so often.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Viola Fest

Every week seems to just be zooming by and this one is no exception. I can't believe that another week is over. We just did our things this week: basketball, dance, music, school, game club, church. Now I am getting ready to hit the reset button and start all again this coming week. 

Rinar took Eli and Julia to St. George on Friday morning to stay for the weekend. My Grandma is moving into an assisted living facility and needed help getting her furniture moved so she could get released from the rehab center and get going on a new life. Her health has taken a serious turn for the worse these past few months and it is just not possible for her to live on her own anymore. This gave Rinar a good reason to go down. He took his truck and borrowed his brother Nordel and spent a few hours getting everything in place, as it was not possible for my uncles to go down this weekend. It also happens to be the 2nd anniversary of Lynn's death and Rinar wanted to be there to commemorate his dad with his siblings. I think they all got together on Saturday and visited the grave site, singing songs, telling stories, and just being together.

I was not able to go because Raef and Harry had committed to participating in Viola Fest. It was on Saturday also. Zach stayed with me as well because he was going to go on a Boy Scout campout, which ended up getting canceled at the last minute due to permit issues. The Viola Fest went well. They participated in a couple of classes and then performed a concert. Raef did a solo because he was the only student to graduate from book 6. Then with each lower book, the stage got more and more crowded. Harry played the last three songs and was so darn cute. When the Twinkle finale was played, he was cracking me up with his silly faces in between each variation.

And can I just say that Harry is such a special little boy. On Friday, he eagerly helped me do a slew of chores and he did them really well. He has also gotten into a habit this past week of making everyone's beds. He even made mine today before we went to church. I was rushing to get everyone ready that I just didn't have time to do it myself. Too bad everyone doesn't have a Harry like I do. I am a very lucky woman.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

14 Years Old!

I can't believe that 14 years ago I became a mom for the first time. I have been so blessed with two incredible young men. I love them both so much. Raef is now officially 6 feet tall and Zach is almost 5'10". They are both a pleasure to be around. And in honor of this momentous birthday, Rinar and I broke down and got them both phones. I guess it is time for them to enter a new phase of life. They were both pretty darn surprised and very happy with the gift.

On Friday night, we took the family to watch Zach perform in a very shortened version of King Lear. The kid was a riot. He played both Cornwall and Edmund. It was funny because there was one scene where he had to do both parts at the same time. I enjoyed it thoroughly. He couldn't help but smile with every line, even though he was supposed to be "evil". The most adorable "evil" Edmund I think I have ever seen.

On Saturday, Rinar took them and about 8 friends to Chick-Fil-A and then a movie at the $1 theater. When they got back, they hung out in the basement for a little while and played a hilarious game of sting pong.  You play round robin pong and the last one standing gets to hit the ball into the bare backs of the losers.  Those boys were hilarious. Rinar and Brian L. (Eli and Izzy's dad) even joined in on the fun.  Zach just sat with Izzy the whole time as he had not interest in playing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Closet Chaos

I am realizing a truth about myself: I hate clothes. I despise laundry, I don't like folding, I especially don't like putting it away. For some reason, this is my achilles heel. If I could wear the same jeans every day for the rest of my life and somehow get away with it, I would. I don't know what it is. But when I see this...

it almost sends me into a breakdown. This was what I came home to tonight. One two year-old was able to pull out every single piece of clothing and toy and dress-up and pile it on the floor. It paralyzes me when I have to deal with this. But, I must add, that I kept the murmuring down to a low simmer while I was excavating this disaster. I am proud of myself for that. 

I can take a disastrous kitchen in stride or even a chaotic living room. But this kind of stuff is the worst for me. Bleh!

I took out every single piece of clothing in the girls' room and put it on my dining room table. I pulled out the television, popped in a movie, and started the long process of purge, fold, organize. It only took about 2 hours to get all of that (more of it is being the closet door) consolidated into 4 small baskets. Those baskets now reside in the linen closet in the hall. No more clothes in this room for the foreseeable future. My sanity depends on it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Nice Visit From Some Old Friends

I played hooky from Julia's school today to be able to get stuff done at home. I am super glad that I did. I really killed it with homeschool today. We even did science, with a science experiment and everything! Now that says everything right there.

This evening Kristin L. and her kids came over tonight for dinner. Her husband Brian was working and did not come. It was great to be able to visit. Her 4 children are all about the same age as all of ours and they get along really well, almost too well. Zach has a big crush on her daughter Izzy and the feeling is definitely mutual.Yikes!

Kristin needed a safe place to come and talk about some of her troubles right now, which are pretty epic. My heart aches for her. I just hope she can find the peace that she needs and the answers to prayers on some hard choices she is going to have to make. It is so true that you should never judge anyone. You never know what mountain they are trying to climb.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Recap of the Rest of the Week

It was a busy week. These days, they seem to feel like a whirlwind and then it is like, kerplunk, Sunday. I did pretty good with everything. Sugar was fairly good until the weekend, then I had some slippage. But I will get back on the bandwagon tomorrow.  I also was able to study my classic book 3 days this week. That is not too shabby. I am surprised at how much I am enjoying this book, Confessions by Saint Augustine. 

On Thursday, we ended having a pretty significant snow storm and in only an hour or so, there was quite a bit of accumulation. I am grateful that I have 4-wheel drive. I was able to drive Zach home from wrestling practice without any problem. When I got home and was wrapping up my day, I got a text from Lindsey M. asking me to come rescue her and some of her kids from the shopping mall parking lot off of 123rd South. Her husband was in Provo and couldn't help her. Lindsey was not driving a 4-wheel drive and didn't feel safe with the elevation changes. I hopped in my car and was able to pick them all up, while avoiding many cars that were stuck on the hill by the roundabout. That was a fun adventure for me.

With all of the snowfall, Rinar, Raef, Zach, and Eli spent at least two hours on Friday making a snowman family that currently adorns our front yard. They made snowmen for each one of us and it is quite a sight. I love it. And they had a blast doing it.

Saturday was pretty uneventful. I took Raef to do a seating audition for Lamb of God. I was glad he could get the experience of auditioning, even though he knows he is in the orchestra. Then in the evening we took the entire family to the athletic club to go swimming. There was practically no one at the gym, but a surprisingly large number of families using the swimming pool. I am so glad that we did that. Everyone swam, including Noelle. I put her in a floatie vest and she was pretty bold in where she would go. Noelle really enjoyed the pool and so did all of the other kids.

And today wrapped up the week nicely. We went to church and Raef and Zach played a duet in sacrament meeting. Raef played the viola and Zach was on the piano, playing "If You Could Hie to Kolob". It was marvelous. I was so nervous for them. My heart was really pounding. But the two of them were pros. They have really started to become true musicians. I can feel their emotions in the songs they play and it is just beautiful. This piece was not exception. They worked flawlessly together and really helped to bring the spirit to the meeting. It is such a blessing to have music in our home. I subbed in primary today as the pianist, as the current pianist is getting ready to move. Dottie is her name and right before Christmas her 25 year-old daughter Whitney suddenly passed away from complications from a miscarriage. It was quite shocking and so I have subbed a lot for Dottie this past month. 

When we got home from church, all of us sat down and played several rounds of Scum. It is a game that all of the kids can play, and they all do really well at it. I rarely even do myself. And then for dinner, Dottie and her husband Chris came over to eat with us. I didn't want them to be home alone and feeling sad. So they joined the craziness at our house. It was really nice. We ate a classic Sunday roast and then gave them an impromptu concert. All of the kids played something for them and I could see that they both enjoyed it. It was a blessing to be able to be with them and cheer them up and get to know them better. I am going to be sad to see them leave. I hope we will be able to stay in touch.

Oh yeah, and we tried to do this for a few days. We had a few victories, but many more defeats. But I live to fight another day. 

Monday, January 4, 2016


I have conquered day one. No sugar! I woke up early! I at least put my first classic book on hold at the library!

Day one victories.

I will take it. 

I have been volunteering in Julia's kindergarten class since the beginning of the school year. It is a real pain as it is always on Monday afternoons and throws off my homeschooling rhythm. I like to get a strong start on the week when it comes to homeschooling. I am lucky to get in an hour of work for Harry and Eli because I do this class. I think I am going to have to start calling in sick more often. Luckily, another mom is also there so I  think they could live without me. 

I need to learn how to develop sincere relationships with people that I don't necessarily care for too much.  This is something I have been struggling with the past little while. That is probably not true. It is a weakness I have had my entire life and because of circumstances placed before me, my weaknesses have been exposed to me and I know I need to change. About a year ago a family moved into our ward and over that period of time I have had many interactions with them. I can pretty much say that almost none of them have really left me with warm fuzzies.  They aren't mean or anything like that at all, it is just that I always  say that they are not my 'cup of tea', especially the mom. She really is a very nice person and has never done anything to me at all, it is just that I find her annoying. I try to change the way I feel about her, but it just doesn't seem to happen.  Okay, I honestly don't think I am trying that hard, let's be real here. 

When I realized that I just didn't care for her and really didn't want to associate with her too much, I felt that it was fine. You don't have to be best friends with everyone. We are on good terms as far as I am concerned. I just wouldn't want to go to dinner with her or anything.  Normally, I wouldn't even think about this, but ironically about 4 months ago I got assigned to be her visiting teacher. Oy! Now it is my responsibility to have a relationship with her and to be her friend. 

My partner and I are good friends and have been ever since I moved into the ward. Also, my partner has been building a strong relationship with the lady and completely excluding me. When the weather was nice, they would go walking together many times each week. I tried to go once and then it got canceled. I see them all the time at church functions talking to each other and I always feel like an intruder, which is most likely a result of my own making.

I need to rectify this situation. Hopefully, I can figure out a way to do that.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

Now that I am pretty sure I have lost all of 50 of my followers, I guess it is time to start blogging again. Haha! Actually, I think that non-profit, non self-promoting, family type blogging has been officially killed off by Instagram and professional bloggers. I love Instagram. I love the fact that it is so easy and captures the little moments and then I can have it automatically sent off somewhere to be printed into a cute little book. I also don't have a desire to promote myself at all. I have no agenda. Well, I guess that is not true. I do have an agenda. I want to send positive things out there into the 'e' world. Heaven knows that there is just a ton of negative crap on the internet. I hope this can be a positive place to be, although I don't expect anyone to actually read it. It is just for me, really. And it is also for my kids. I do like to print up all of these blogs into a book every year, and my kids love to read about it.

Another thing that I need from this blog is a place to practice my writing. I have loftier goals this year, to get published somewhere 'big'. I started writing for a publication called 'Draper Lifestyle' and have had at least one article in every issue since August. But I would like to try for something a bit more ambitious this year and see where it leads me. I know that I just need to write, write, write and more ideas will flow. At least, that is what I hope.

I have so many things in my heart that I need to get down on this blog. It has been pent up and I don't even know where to begin. Hopefully I can retrieve it all from my insides and eventually equalize.

Since it is the beginning of a new year, I guess today I can talk about my New Year's resolutions. I do have some.

1. Go to bed early

2. Get published in a bigger venue

3. Quit sugar (again)

4. Study the classics

First, the most important goal is to go to bed early. This will really manifest itself in not indulging in nightly television watching in my basement.  I steal away after my kids go to bed and then don't emerge for another two hours. I know I am wasting my life away and then struggling to get up in the morning, which then sets me on my heels to which I am trying to play catch up for the rest of the day. If I just focus on early bed by not watching late night television, I know that everything else will course correct.  I am ready for the challenge.

Second, as I have already discussed, I am going to work on writing some really good stuff and then pitch it to bigger publications like Deseret News. I know that if I am successful in this endeavor, it will lead to greater opportunities. I think I can do it.

Third, sugar is a no-brainer. I successfully ditched the sweet stuff for three months and fell of the wagon a bit in December.  But I am ready to reconquer it and free myself from sugar. I know I can do it, and more importantly, I want to do it.

Fourth, since I will be significantly cutting my television consumption, I need to fill that with something. I would like to get smarter and be able to join the "Great Conversation". I know that I don't know a whole lot. So, with a lot of patience and a dedicated study time every day, I can chip away at my ignorance and open my mind to great new ideas, people, and places.

As for my family, the biggest news lately is my decision to have Zach go to high school. I need him to be somewhere else and I really think that he is ready. That does not mean that it will be a smooth transition, but we are going to work on preparing for high school these next 8 months so that he can be as successful as possible. He wants to go, I want him to go, and it is time.

It is always good to just write and post something, anything on the blog after a long hiatus. I hope to be here often.
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