Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas 2018

As tradition, we went to church on Christmas Eve with Heather's family and then went to Mary's Pizza Shack after.  It took an hour to get our food but it was good.

The kids woke up real early but we told them to go back to bed until 7:00.  Then we went down and opened presents.  Parker was real into opening the boxes and less into their contents.  Tyler was the most grateful for what he got.  I got Heidi a robe from Victoria's Secret but she had also gotten herself a robe.  Bah.  Scott was most excited about a case for his phone.  Kira liked her art supply box and Blake's favorite gift was his lego creations thing.

In the afternoon we went to Heather's house for din-din.

They got a hot tub which is pretty sweet.

These tubes were some kind of gladiator game in which you charged each other and tried to knock the other down.  I plowed Scott pretty good and he went down.

Heather and Jason are great hosts.

In Concord was this heavily-decorated, professionally built house.  It was no joke.  Just the infrastructure was plywood and it was impressive.

Good old timer and tripod.

Overall I think it was a good Christmas even though I'm glad it's over.  Okay, bye.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Thoughts on Homeschooling

I love talking to people about homeschooling because everyone has different perspectives and does it for their own personal reasons.  Everyone has their own methods that work for them.  One thing that I have learned is to adapt and adjust and figure out what works for you.  A lot of it is trial and error, giving it time and figuring out what works, what your child likes to learn and how he likes to learn.  It is hard to adjust from the traditional view of school to the plethora of ways of homeschooling.  I started to homeschool to help Blake emotionally. He was never happy and I wanted more than anything for him to be happy.  There are times when I feel like we can do so much more academically but then I take a step back and realize that emotional stability takes time, energy and effort.  Playing tennis, walking around and going on lunch dates is emotional happiness. When I feel like I need to do more, I remember how far he has come emotionally.  For the most part, he is happy.  He still gets angry and has moments of stress but within normal limits.  He smiles a lot.  I don't have to worry about going out and him having a meltdown that we can't get out of.  Blake has been a gift to me because he has changed my perspective.  I was such a type A, driven kid. Sometimes I think if my kids work like I did, they could develop all these skills and gifts and then I remember the unneeded stress that that personality also had.  So now I am just striving for my kids being happy, contributing members to society.  It is a great shift.

Our weeks were filled with various activities.  I made him continue to do his charter school and then when we got back from vacation I decided to leave it up to him and he decided to continue tennis and ceramics.  I feel great about it.  I am trying to listen to him more instead of having an expectation of all the activities we need to do.  

He is becoming an independent reader.  For a long time he would only read really easy books alongside me and now he is picking up easy books and reading them independently.  I watched these sweet girls this week for a friend and Blake spent most of the time reading to them in his room.  They are the sweetest girls.  Pretty much opposite of crazy parker who would never be able to sit for that long quietly reading a book.  It made me so happy.  We are reading a series about dragons and tonight he asked if he could read a page with me.  He didn't get stressed with sounding out words.  Just flowed with the process of reading.  He said how excited he would be because in 2nd grade he will be able to read it by himself.  I know reading will be a great source of happiness and peace for him and I am so grateful for that. 

Our neighbor homeschools and the boys took beanie babies and decided to play all these games with them. They spent hours playing tag with them, throwing them in the tree to see if they could get stuck and then trying to get them down.  Danny and I always talk about how the best fun is usually free and with some made up game.  It was so much to watch and I got to rake up a ton of leaves that needed to get done.  Parker loved climbing in the garbage can to smash the leaves and have them poured on his head. He also liked to close the garbage can on himself.  Hanna ate her apple in the chair and wandered around in the leaves.  Parker took a little cutie and bowled around the stuffed animals.  I hope they realize and remember what a great childhood they had.  We have a great court of kids and neighbors which I am so grateful for.  

Thanksgiving in Utah

We had a great time in Utah.  We left after work on Tuesday and made great timing.  I was able to sleep in the car from about 7pm-10 so felt well rested when I had to drive.  It has become tradition to go to Boomers the day after Thanksgiving but it was supposed to rain so we went the day before.  It was fun but not everyone could make it which was a bummer.  The kids had a great time with their cousins which is always the best part.  Parker got so frustrated with the mini golf because he could never hit the ball but had a great time once he found a hole that shot out at a lower course.  He did it over and over and over again and was entertained while everyone else golfed.  Thank goodness nobody else was on the course.

The next day we had Thanksgiving with Danny's parents and David and Juliann.  Most of his siblings spend the holiday with the other side of the family which is kind of a bummer for us but oh well.  It was great being with David and Juliann and their sweet kids.

The one thing Danny really wanted to do on his trip was go to Provo and get some cookies and creme milk. Michelle and Jared came with us and we had a great time going to the bookstore, getting Pizza and going to the creamery on 9th.  It is always so great to be at BYU.  Kira didn't want to go because the Stevens had just got to Grammy's when we were going to leave but Lily and Lincoln were able to come with us which made her day!  So grateful they could come.  It was so fun getting to know Lincoln's personality a little bit and seeing Lily and Kira together.  I loved going to school there and it has such an awesome feeling on campus. It was a gorgeous day.  I wanted to see the new pool but it was closed.  The kids shopped for BYU apparel and were so excited for their new gear.  They played in the leaves for a long time and we had a great time.  It was fun going to Boomers, but being outside and hanging out for me is so much more fun.  The mountains were gorgeous.  We went to the Skabelunds at the end of the day and it is always so great seeing Grant and Shari.  I love them.  Shari was such a huge part of my life in college and I am so grateful for her.  Danny even stopped by the Che House where he lived in college which was fun.

 We woke up to snow on Saturday morning.  We ate breakfast and went to play in the snow. A neighbor invited us to his backyard and the kids had so much fun!  They went tubing and sledding and made a giant snowball.  We got home, ate some lunch and headed to the rec center to go swimming which has also become a tradition with the Stevens family.  The kids had a good time and I tried to teach Parker how to swim since we don't have a membership to Diamond Hills anymore.  Hd did great.  I am going to have to get a membership to teach him before summer starts.  We got out when everyone was ready and the kids played on the rock climbing wall for a while.  Parker loved going up and down it.  Kira went through a period she was scared to do things like that but her fears seem to now be over.  After, everyone came over to watch the BYU game.  We played some games and had a fun night even though it was just us and the Olsons that ended up watching the game.  Somehow it was a magical end to the weekend.  It was cool that we went to BYU with the Olsons and the kids had all their gear and got pumped up for the game.  We never watch sports and BYU was supposed to get killed and it ended up being a really great game.  BYU did amazing and then lost a 21 point lead in the 3rd and 4th quarter.  It was crazy.  The kids would go out into the snow when Utah scored and had a great time.  Grampy didn't think it was too amusing and wanted the house cleaned which I totally get.  I gave myself 2 hours to pack and clean and I miraculously got it done with 2 minutes to spare and was in bed by 1AM with everything ready to go the next morning.  There is nothing better than packing the night before and being able to go to bed knowing you can just wake up and be ready to go.  I sleep so much better.  I felt like it was a tender mercy.  

We headed home and while the family couldn't get together all at once I felt so grateful that we got to see everyone and catch up.  Making memories are what has become so important for me.  I don't think I will forget the memories of the kids cheering on BYU like crazy and going into the snow during a U touchdown in their BYU gear.  It was magical.  I hope it is memories that they hold onto forever.  They love their cousins and I am so grateful for the time that they got to spend with them.  I am grateful for Danny's siblings and parents. It was a great couple of days in Utah.

Paradise Fires

Our City and entire county had two weeks of horrible smoke from the devastating Paradise Fire.  A fire swept through the entire town of Paradise, an area about 3 hours north killing 88 people and essentially destroying the entire town.  Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by the fire.  It was hard to process we live in a time when so many people can die from a fire. I just assumed that with technology and advancements that wouldn't happen.  It is devastating.  So sad to see videos of people trying to flee.  There were minimal roads to evacuate, not enough time and poor communication.  The Chico Stake and church leaders sent a letter reiterating the importance of these natural disasters in areas where we all live and to be prepared.  I can't help but think that these are signs of the times.  Earthquakes, natural disasters, etc.  It is amazing to see communities rally together to help those in need.  This is what our sky looked like for about 2 weeks.  Certain days it was like we couldn't see the sun.  The smoke was so bad.  School was cancelled for Thanksgiving and as bad as the air was here, it was nothing compared to what the people of Paradise went and are going through.  It is unsure if the town will ever rebuild. A lot of people were retired and lived in mobile homes with little industry.  

3rd grade play

Kira had her 3rd grade Brentwood Musical.  It is a really cute musical all about Brentwood.  She had the opportunity to be the engineer and did such a great job.  She decided to put on make-up (brown/black eyeshadow) that made her look dirty from working on the railroad.  She is so independent and confident.  We are so proud of her.  She did a great job getting up in front of the entire school and performing.  Probably the highlight of the play for me came after when she was taking a picture with her friend and saw another friend watching and making sure she included her in the photo.  I think the most important quality any child can have is being inclusive and kind so I am so proud of her for that!  Sometimes I worry about that with her because she is so confident and girls can be exclusive.  She has always had 1-2 friends all dependent on the class she in and try to talk to her about being friends with everyone and including everyone. 


Scott and Tyler are in Scouts.  I really like the program and am grateful they get to do it.  I am excited about the new program the church is coming out with to replace scouts because I know that it will be inspired and totally amazing whatever it is.

On Wednesday after school we go to Tyler's scout leaders home to work on scouts.  She lives on this amazing property she has converted into a "scout land".  Tyler gets to learn all about outdoor living, safety, emergency prep, fires, etc by amazing leaders and in this beautiful setting that is about 10 minutes away. My other kids get to roam around and enjoy the outdoors in this little oasis.

Whenever I am there I am in awe of how lucky we are and how grateful I am.  I decided to take pictures this past week so I wouldn't forget a little slice of their childhood.  Swinging, playing, zip-lining, watching the chickens and horses. Parker almost crashed into the tree at the end of the zipline when a kid decided to accelerate him half way through.  I am pretty certain he was saved by a ministering angel.  I think that is a common in my kids lives. Maybe even why Carl needed to be part of our family. Part of me thinks it would be awesome to live 200 years ago when kids roamed free and learned to work really really hard just to live.