Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What an exhausting day

Today I :
1. Went to Sam's Club with all 5 kids (always fun!)
2. Went to the Bureau of Vital Statistics and FINALLY got Tori's birth certificate
3. Took Ellie and Kate to Gymnastics
4. Took Lexie to Gymnastics (different times of course!)
5. Took Ellie to dance class
6. Took Ellie to a birthday party
7. Went shopping at Wal-mart
8. Oh yeah, and did schoolwork with the kids

Phew! I'm wiped out! All of that on a cold and snowy day when all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.......

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Family Virtues Guide: Patience

We have again started to use The Family Virtues Guide to do a lesson on a different virtue each week. This week we talked about patience, something that I have tested daily.

"What is patience?
Patience is quiet hope and expectation based on trust that, in the end, everything will be all right. Patience means waiting. It is enduring a delay or troublesome situation without complaining."

We talked about how we could be more patient with each other. We also talked about how we could patiently wait for Daddy to return from Iraq.

I made worksheets for each of the virtues so that each of the kids could draw a picture showing how they could practice them. The one above is Ellie's. She is showing patience by waiting to have her question answered.

I will pray for more patience this week as we get back to the daily grind and try to figure out what type of schedule is going to work the best for us (probably a flexible one!!)


Sometimes I think the world is conspiring against me, keeping me from doing schoolwork with the kids. This morning (the first morning back to school after Andy left), I had every intention of waking up at 6 a.m. and getting a good half hour on the treadmill and a shower before waking the kids up at 7.

That didn't happen.

Instead, I ended up with 2 kids in my bed last night (and while I love snuggling with them, I never end up sleeping well without my space to spread out). Instead of waking up at 6, my alarm didn't go off and we all woke up at 8:30. That put a kink in things :)

Then, as the kids were brushing their teeth, one of them told me that the sink was plugged up and wouldn't drain.

When I pulled up the lever to let it drain, it did - into the cabinet and onto the floor below. Yes, the pipes were pulled apart. This put another kink in my timeline for this morning.

After cleaning up the mess, I tried to assess the damage. The pipes just need to be screwed back together (I think) and the draining lever thingy (technical term I'm sure) needs to be fixed because it's stuck in one position. Plumber, however, is not one of the job descriptions that I have on my long list of qualifications. Where is Jeff (my brother, the plumber) when I need him? A zillion miles away like everyone else that I know :) I am sure that I will figure it out when I can look at it without "help" from the kids.

Anyway, I left the kids with instructions not to to touch the sink or they would spontaneously combust (slight exaggeration) and I decided that we needed to start schoolwork and I will deal with plumbing later in the day.

Nick has decided that he doesn't want us to get anything done. He has gone up the steps twice and turned our lights on and off in the school room. He has crushed goldfish crackers all over the the playroom floor. He has tattooed his body with purple marker and screamed at the top of his lungs that he doesn't want to be in the play room.

I was giving Ellie her spelling test, Kate was asking me to help her with her math problem, and Lexie was wanting me to read the instructions to her phonics. All of this, while Tori was sreaming and Nick was running upstairs. Total insanity!!!

This isn't going well. As you can see, the one thing I didn't finish this weekend was putting a schedule together. Not that I would have been able to follow it today anyway....

So, we have finished language arts, math, virtues, and poetry. They're now watching "Bonjour Les Amis" while Ellie is working on her French workbook. Tori is sleeping peacefully :) I have a moment to sit in peace and quiet.

Ok, so my peace and quiet was interrupted by Lexie showing off her strength by breaking our brand new pencils into pieces. She's now sitting on her bed.

I am going to make some lunch and hope that after we eat we are still sane enough to do history and science.

Art Class: Faces

In art class this week, the kids learned to draw faces. Faces are SO hard in my opinion. I was never an artist, more of a stick person kind of gal myself, and I'm glad that the kids are getting instruction in this area from someone who knows what they're doing. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Imagination Library: Month #4

And the great books just keep coming :)

This month, we got Red, Red, Red by Valeri Gorbachev, and The Wild Little Horse, by Rita Gray. We read them both for bedtime stories tonight and the kids enjoyed them. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not ready for winter

I am not ready for winter.

Not that winter cares if I am ready for it or not. It is here.

I just looked outside on my deck and what did I see? SNOW! Yes, I said snow.

It's still September. It is not supposed to snow in September.

I should still be enjoying the last warm days of the year, not a high of 35 for goodness sakes!

I sure hope I can make it through this winter alone..............

Poetry Memorization: Results and Roses

Rosen in Silberner Schale by E. Kruger
Rosen in Silberner Schale

The first poem we are going to memorize this year is:

Results and Roses
by Edgar Guest

The man who wants a garden fair,
Or small or very big,
With flowers growing here and there,
Must bend his back and dig.

The things are mighty few on earth,
That wishes can attain.
Whate'er we want of any worth
We've got to work to gain.

It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You've got to dig from week to week
To get results or roses.

I thought that this would be a good way to start out, reminding them that they need to work hard to get results in their schoolwork :)

Poetry Memorization

Mrs. Browning's Poems
Mrs. Browning's Poems

I have decided to add poetry memorization to the kids' studies. I have fond memories of some of the poems that I memorized in school. The ones you really put to memory stay with you throughout your life.

Here is some information on poetry memorization:

Poetry Memorization: Methods and Resources

In Defense of Memorization

Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization Book and CD's

Memorize a Poem

How To Memorize a poem

And I will leave you with two poems that I can still recite from my school years.

The first is one that I learned in high shool German class and even though my German STINKS now, I can still recite this poem:

Die Lorelei, by Heinrich Heine

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.

Die Luft ist kühl, und es dunkelt,
Un ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
In Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr goldenes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.

Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Leid dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewaltige Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh'.

Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer uns Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lorelei getan.

Here is another that I memorized in elementary school. It still brings a smile to my face :)

Bear In There by Shel Silverstein
There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire--
He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He's nibbling the noodles,
He's munching the rice,
He's slurping the soda,
He's licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he's in there--
That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

Let's Go to the Hop!!

Tonight was the Girl Scout's 50's night and the girls had a blast!!

They danced, bowled, drank root beer floats, and danced some more.

The girls had been working on their poodle skirts for the last couple of weeks. They put the decorations on their skirts and I think that Ellie actually got to use the sewing machine and work on hers :) Didn't they come out great??

I have to say that I love their troop this year. They have a great leader and they're a neat bunch of girls.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Trash Update

I know you're all sitting on the edges of your seats, waiting to find out if our garage has turned into a health hazard. No, I still haven't gone to the transfer point and it's getting icky. I have promised myself that I will take care of it tomorrow. I think we're up to 6 bags now..... looks like a couple of trips.

On a brighter note, I called today about getting garbage service during the deployment.

I was willing to fork out a lot of money to have this burden taken off of my hands -especially during the winter months.

So, how much does it cost do you ask??

$12 a month!!

That's it.

Why haven't I had trash service this past year??

Field Trip to Eielson AFB

Today we went on a field trip to see the jets at Eielson AFB. We got a tour through the hangar and then got to go out near the runway.

Boy am I tired!! I had Tori in the Baby Bjorn and half the time I was carrying Nick on my shoulders or on my hip. Did I mention that I also had a very heavy diaper bag and that we were there for almost an hour??

After the jet tour, we were supposed to eat lunch and then head over for a tour of the tower, but I thought that we would call it a day. We made it through without any temper tantrums or dirty diapers, so I decided to quit while I was ahead :)

We stopped at Heritage Park on the way back and I took some pictures. (My arms were too full to take pics during the tour!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


This is our first year of AWANA. Now that I think about it, I don't even know what it stands for. Let me google it.....

Ok, it stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, from 2 Timothy 2:15 (according to wikipedia). I would never have guessed that!

Anyway, the clubs started up a few weeks ago and the kids LOVE it!! I never would have guessed that they (Ellie, Kate, and Lexie) could get SO excited about memorizing Bible verses. They practice them throughout the week without me having to ask them. It's amazing :)

Here is Ellie, reciting the books of the New Testament: I am so proud of her!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Stinks!

Raccoon, Eating Trash in Garbage Can, Montana by Alan And Sandy Carey
Raccoon, Eating Trash in Garbage Can, Montana


I am not used to being in charge of the massive amounts of trash which we apparently accumulate on a daily basis.

I guess maybe I assumed that if I put it in the garage, the trash fairy would come and pick it up. It used to always be gone by the time I got up in the morning.

This morning it was still sitting in my garage, stinking.

I could handle taking it out to the curb once a week, but I have to put the stinky (and probably dripping) garbage into my vehicle (you know, the one filled with children) and drive it a couple of miles down the road to the transfer point. This does not appeal to me, and so it sits.

I suppose that I'll have to make the trip tomorrow, or else we're going to have a bear trying to crawl his big behind through our doggie door into the garage :)

I wonder which one of the kids is going to volunteer to put the trash on their lap....

I think that tomorrow I will search the yellow pages and see if I can get garbage service for this next year. It would be well worth the money!!

Hair Blogs

Updo by Shari Warren

After reading a post on Chocolate On My Cranium, I have realized that I'm not a very good girly mom. I have four girls and I don't "do" hair. I guess I just haven't taken the time to learn all of the fancy foo-foo braids and hair-dos. They only get ponytails/buns on dance and gym day. After perusing some of the links on the above mentioned blog, I learned that there are a whole slew of "hair blogs" which have posts of little girl's hair-dos and how to do them.

I have been inspired. I will try to get one of their little heads to sit still in front of me for the zillion hours it will take my inexperienced hands to try one of them out :) Wish me luck!!

Under Construction

Workers with jack hammers by Josh Mitchell
Workers with jack hammers

Please bear with me while I get my sidebars back in order and redone. They are pretty messy right now. I will get it done this week :)

Saying Goodbye

It was so hard to say goodbye to Andy.

It was even harder this time, because he had to say goodbye to each of the kids. And I know that Ellie and Kate are the only two that realize how long a year is. The other three aren't going to understand :(

We are doing ok. Just trying to get the house in order and get back to schoolwork. We've taken quite a bit of time off of school in the past couple of weeks, but we have plenty of time to make up for it now...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Solar System Project

To start our study of space, we decided to put together a solar system mobile to hang in our school room. I was brave and let the girls paint the planets and sun on their own. They did a great job!! We then let Daddy help put the mobile together and hang it up for us :)

Ancient Mesopotamia: Cylinder Seals

To continue our study of Ancient Mesopotamia, we made cylinder seals this week.

First, the kids took some Sculpey clay and rolled them up into cylinders. (They chose green and blue to make them prettier!)

They then wrote their names on pieces of paper, turned the papers over and traced them onto the cylinders.

The next step was to put a piece of wire through the cylinders and bake them in the oven.

When they cooled, we rolled out some play-doh and then rolled our cylinder seals in it. You can see that it leaves imprints of the kids' names in the dough. How cool!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Alaska Pipeline

We took a short drive today before dropping the kids off at AWANA. We decided to do the touristy thing and stop at the Alaska Pipeline for some pictures.

They were cold, so I gave them Andy's coat and they shared it :)

You can read more about the pipeline here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Family Pictures

We decided that we needed to take some family pictures before Andy leaves.
The kids were not exactly in the mood, so we might try again tomorrow :)
I figured out how to use the remote control to my camera (yes, it actually has a WIRELESS remote control that can zoom and take pics!!).

New Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

I just wanted to thank Ragan over at Blogger Boutique for my beautiful new blog design.

I didn't want anyone to think that I could actually read and write HTML code or anything,then they might start asking me for help!!

I have taken many foreign languages in my life, but HTML seems harder than any of those!! I can copy and paste. That's about it.

So, if you want a custom blog design, then order one from her :) She is super quick and does a great job - don't you think???


Custom Blog Design

Kate's Bird

Another week of art class, another masterpiece :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

10 Wonderful Years

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.
(This was on top of our wedding cake.)

What does 10 years equal??

3,650 days (plus some leap days)

5 healthy, beautiful children

5 different homes

4 very different posts

1 wonderful marriage :)

Happy Anniversary Andy!!
I can't wait to see what the next ten years brings us :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tornado Warning

The house looks like a tornado hit.

I have dishes to do, clothes to wash, floors to clean, windows to wipe, clothes to put away, bathrooms to clean, papers to grade and file, and toys everywhere.

Yes, I have officially let things go. I would post pictures, but it would be embarrassing.

I have decided that it is more important to spend this time with Andy while he's here. As soon as he leaves we'll have a huge cleaning day and put the house back in order and get caught up on schoolwork. We've skipped dance classes this week and are just enjoying each other's company...

On that note, I'm off to play trains with Andy and Nick :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I am so impressed with how strong and graceful the girls are getting through gymnastics and dance classes.

They don't compete or anything - it's just for fun and exercise! Their coach is really good about making them do a lot of conditioning in addition to learning the different events. I feel that it has been well worth the money and time that we have put into it.

Acrostic Poems

I decided to start out the year with a poetry unit before we dive in to other forms of writing.

Today the kids wrote acrostic poems. Ellie had a lot of fun, but Kate didn't seem to enjoy it much. She had a hard time thinking of words to use and ended up getting frustrated.

Here is Kate's poem:

Nibbled a banana
Smooshed them.

And here are Ellie's:

Candy Galore
Apple Jolly Ranchers
Nutty Chocolate Bar
Yippee! Candy Galore!

Zucchini-loving (OK, z was hard and she didn't want to be zany!!)


Outside lover

Monday, September 15, 2008

Finger knitting

Ellie learned to finger knit at AWANA the other night. She has been busy doing it nonstop since then. She wore one of her handmade scarves to dance class today and was so happy to get many compliments on it. She even had a friend ask her to make one for her. I am so proud of my little knitter!! Maybe she will move on to real knitting. I sure won't be the one to teach her though - maybe we can learn together. I can crochet, but I can't knit!


We are continuing our study of Ancient Mesopotamia this week.

Today we made cuneiform tablets. This was my first experience using Sculpey clay. It was really easy!! We baked them up and they turned out great.

The kids were so excited to be doing something hands-on. I have promised them (and myself) that I will be much better this year about planning projects to go along with our studies. They really enjoy it and it really does help them learn!!

Kate has been asking all day long to "make more cuneiform".

The kids got more excited when they learned that Mesopotamia was present-day Iraq. Kate said "Daddy is going to Ancient Mesopotamia??"

Even Lexie now knows that the two major rivers in Mesopotamia were the Tigris and Euphrates (or the Tiger and Alfredo as she calls them!).

This is Kate working on her tablet:

We ran out of gray, so Lexie got a pink one :)

Here is Ellie's picture of the Ishtar Gate:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The newest additions to my polish pottery collection

This was a birthday gift from my friend, Michelle. She took a trip to WA and found a Polish Pottery store in Pike Place Market!!

I bought the bowl and plate at the PX yesterday (it was cheap - only $13 for the bowl and $6 for the plate!!) Andy went back today and got me the teapot (without me asking).
He's such a good husband :)

Yes, I am probably addicted. I can't help myself. I just really love polish pottery.

You would think that we had been stationed in Germany. We haven't.

I have an entire cabinet full of the stuff. Some of it I use daily (like my fruit bowl, spoon rest, and a couple of the bowls).

The rest, I use whenever I entertain - okay, so not very often. It's very pretty in the cabinet though :)

As the kids get a bit older, I will start using it more and more. It looks so nice at the dinner table!!

Someday, I would actually like to have all of my dinner plates to be polish pottery. I want them all to be different patterns, because I think that would be much more interesting that way. I will then promptly throw out my Wal-mart dishes and never look back....


I love my new camera!

Luckily, the kids don't mind being my models :)

I asked them to jump off of the rock in our yard so that I could attempt to get a picture in mid-air. They of course were good sports. What kid doesn't love jumping??