Monday, February 16, 2015

Kate the Great--Day 3

Schoolwork with Jenna,
Riding the scooter with Jared,
Going to the library and Costco with Gran-Gran.

At Costco she helped me check out the benches,
And the sofas.
She sat on the bottled water, 
And held the salsa for Papito.

We went to the library to return some books and went to look for ducks on the ponds. 
Watching her run just made me laugh.  I can totally see why they call them "toddlers"!
We were in luck--not only were there ducks and geese,
but nice people who shared their bread with us.
They were such fun to watch.  Squawking and honking and taking off to fly into the water, occasionally coming towards us to grab a bit of bread.  
If they didn't grab the bread fast enough, Kate would just reach back down,
pick it up (out of the mud!), and eat it herself!

Inside the library Kate entertained herself while I tried to get a problem fixed.

At the end of the day she watched tv with Papito.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kate the Great: Day 2 hard it is to find time to blog with Kate the Great around!  Here we go on Day 2:

She's ready for scriptures!

She found a little stool outside and thought it was the best thing ever.  

She carried it from one place to the other, occasionally standing on it.

When she got really brave she took it out front and down the sidewalk.
(Eventually she did get tired and give it to me to carry back.)

Here she is writing in "her" book so that she had work to do like the girls.

She wanted to share my grapefruit but then wasn't quite certain what she thought about it.

Beautiful girl!

I should mention that this was the day that she put my whole chapstick in her mouth and licked it, and then opened my dental floss and licked that too...yum yum!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kate the Great: Day 1

I thought I'd make a little blog record of Kate's time with us, so here goes day 1.  

On Day 1 Russ left with Cindy Lynn & Mahon for the airport at 4:45.  Kate woke up crying for mama and dada at 5.  I rocked her for a few minutes and then laid down in bed with her but she never did go back to sleep and therefore neither did I.  Finally at 6:15 when she started crying again we got up and watched whale videos on Youtube while I told her that this was what her mom and dad were going to see.

Kate read scriptures with us at 7am,

hung out,



and learned to play the drum.

She read an old favorite--Brer Rabbit and the Tar Patch

She insisted that her diaper be changed on the rug by the front door.


She shared Jenna's flourless chocolate cake and thought it was pretty good.

In short, she completely charmed us with her cuteness.


She read books before bed with Russ (Papito),

and then had a little tickle time.

And that was the end of Day 1.  Thank goodness we survived!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Time...and other things I'll miss

This morning I heard Rachel calling to Jenna to come upstairs.  A few minutes later I heard chords being strummed on the ukulele, and then a moment after that their two sweet voices singing a song together.  They harmonized together for almost half an hour, first one song and then another.  I sat down here at the table listening to them and thinking how much I love wonderful moments like this.  And then it occurred to me--today, this semester, when they start school at 11, they still have time for this.  But next year when they have to leave by 8 and have more homework and still have after school activities, these moments will be much more rare.

I posted about it on facebook, and Alisyn responded:

I thought about this for a while afterwards.  Yes, they still can sing together upstairs.  No, they won't have nearly as much time for it.  

It made me start thinking that time has been one of the things I've loved about homeschooling.  I've loved that my kids have had time to be, well, kids.  I remember how rushed and stressed we felt that semester that Cindy Lynn was in public school (and riding the bus) in North Carolina.  It was such a contrast with the way we felt after.  Not to say that we didn't have plenty of problems, because we did.  But I loved that my kids had time to play, to be bored, to write plays and make up games and read obsessively and play musical instruments and all of the other things they've had time for.  

I've loved the family life that homeschooling has given us.  I've loved that my kids have played together and read together and actually really truly spent lots of time together.  Our kids are far enough apart in age that had we always been in the regular school system it's possible that they never would have really hung out.  Instead, they have (again, for the most part) been wonderful companions. I've loved that instead of the age homogeneity that public school seems to create, my kids have had friends of all ages; both much older and much younger.  

I have loved long mornings of reading aloud, game playing, and field trips.  I've loved learning things with my kids and having discussions about what we're reading or watching or learning.  I've loved seeing them be passionate about things.  I've loved getting to know my kids over so many years, day in and day out.  I've loved the companionship of sitting on the couch together each reading our own books.  I've loved school in PJs and here we are again, having plenty of time to just BE.

I don't know what this next chapter will bring.  I wish people would stop telling me why this is a good idea.  Obviously I know this is part of Heavenly Father's plan for now, but even as I know that they will have experiences I couldn't or didn't provide, I still have some grief about what I am losing.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

All Alone

I did it.  I took my kids off to school at 10:30 this morning (instead of the 1:15 we've done for the last year and a half) and left them there.  I almost cried on the way in, but I managed to pull it together.  I almost cried again a little while later at Lowes when someone I knew asked me how I was doing, but I didn't.  And then I came home, looked around me, and thought--I have never done this before.

I've never been routinely alone in my home before.  Never.  Cindy Lynn was born the week after I graduated from BYU.  When she went to public school for 2.5 years I had Jason and then Jason and Josh at home.  There was that one year that I had Friday mornings to myself because Jason carpooled the triplets to their art class, and there have certainly been days here and there, but to look at the next 18 weeks and think that I will be alone from 10:30-3:30 every day, well that is something new. 

A week or so after the big public school revelation I made a new post it note on my computer desk top.  It was to be a list of all of the things I wanted to do when I had more time, so that when "more time" started happening I would have things to look forward to.  It's gotten quite long and will certainly take me more than one semester to do all of the things on it.  And it will be a while before I can start anything big--starting next Tuesday I'm going to spend eight days taking care of Kate while Cindy Lynn and Mahon are in Maui.  I have a feeling that I'll be tired enough by the time that is over that I'll be ready for some time alone!

Ready for the first day of Language Arts and Social Studies,
showing how they each feel about it.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thanks, Mom

I've been seriously depressed for several days without an explanation.  I just couldn't figure out what my problem was--sure, it's been gray and rainy, but there's also been plenty of cool (and relatively bright) fog.  My shoulder seems to have been hurt in the little accident we had on the way to church a week and a half ago, but since an agonizing couple of hours Sunday night it's been feeling quite a bit better.  I've been taking my vitamins (including the all important D) regularly.  I just couldn't figure it out.

And then Andra posted on facebook this morning-- that no matter how much she tries not to pay attention, her subconscious always knows when it is the anniversary of our mom's death.

"Ohhhhh," I thought as I sat there,  "That's why I've been so incredibly sad..." Amazingly, that understanding was like a cleansing breeze that blew through my mind and heart.

This evening I left the house a few minutes late to pick Jared up from wrestling.  I noticed that the sky had cleared a little from it's earlier grey.  I drove north and then turned west, right into what was quite possibly the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen.  There were low clouds just above the mountains, but above them were large bands of an incredibly vivid pink.

To pick up Jared I had to turn away from the sunset, but I kept watching in my rearview mirror to be sure it was still there.  As soon as he was in the car (even before the door was closed) I started forward, wanting to go somewhere where we had a better view of the sunset without the obstruction of the tall evergreens.  Thank goodness the light was still good when we found a side road to pull off on, and we sat there admiring the view.  The fields just beyond where we sat had a thin layer of fog starting to rise from them.  Beyond that we saw a farm house, a barn, and some smaller trees.  In the distance we could see layers of mountains.  And above those, against the grey-blue sky, those bright pink streaks.

My mom didn't have a lot of chances until later in her life to do artistic things, but she sure loved painting.  Whenever Andra sees a beautiful sunset she always tells her kids that Grandma painted it for them.  Looking at that sunset tonight, from the moment I came around the corner, I knew that whether or not my mom painted it, she sent it for me.  A healing message of love for my sorrowing heart.

Thanks, Mom!

ps--I didn't have a camera with me so we tried taking pictures with Jared's cell phone.  Sunset pictures are notoriously hard to take anyway, even with a good camera.  I've had cameras that have enhanced the sunset and cameras that have refused to acknowledge the sunset.  Jared's phone picked up much more yellow than what we saw, and the pinks were washed out.  I found a picture online that showed the intensity of the pink, though our sunset didn't fill this much of the sky.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Segway Portland

About a year and a half ago I saw a groupon for a segway tour of Portland.  Since we already know that we love to segway I thought that would be a terrific date idea and I bought 2 of them.  Then I went and got concussed on that hike and it was a while before I was ready for our tour.  I worried that the weather would have changed but it turned out to be a perfect day.  The leaves were all sorts of beautiful colors and the temperatures were perfect.  We got to segway all through the downtown, around Portland State University, along the river, over a bridge, along the other side of the river, and back over another bridge.  It was seriously fantastic.


The kids were all sorts of jealous.  What they didn’t know was that we had asked whether the triplets were old enough and big enough to ride a segway because we thought that would be a fun group birthday present this year while Jason was home from college.

Here are some pictures and video from that day.

First the kids had to be taught how to ride the segways, then they got to practice in a square around a fountain.  Jenna was scared in the beginning but after a while they were all confident.


For the tour with the kids we skipped the university, but we still got to go by the Portland Loo, a public bathroom in a greenspace downtown.

We went by several bubblers, public water fountains that were designed and built long ago and are still in use. 
When we went down to the river we passed an apartment building that had a moat around it. 
We had a great view of all of the bridges.
We also passed the smallest park in the world.  Seriously.
When our tour was over we got to ride our segways around a parking garage while the tour guide was putting the first few away and settling up with Russ.  We decided that the cool Portland tour was just a bonus—they were equally fun in the parking garage.
I don’t know when or where our next segway tour will be, but I’m sure there will be one!