Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Taylor is a diligent worker. She is a great helper and ready and willing. She always completes her jobs and helps others with theirs. What is the problem you may ask? Well it is that until today she is happy to get the work done and get it right but today she wanted to dig deeper. In our fieldwork study of marine biology Taylor was diagramming the Oceanic Zones but since the Aphotic Zone is the largest (anything below 600 feet) she really wanted to draw some animals in the diagram. The typical sea animals do not live in that zone, and Taylor expressed desire to discover what does live there.

This sea slug and nudibranch do not live there (Ben and Aaron found them at the beach). We all looked up some interesting creatures and had fun doing it! That is what I have been desiring for a very long time and the day finally arrived!!
Erik is practicing on the flashmaster. Since he has had success every time I turn around he is practicing! He has mastered level one and two, this from a boy who does not enjoy anything that looks like school. Remember, he told the doctor in the ER that we don't really do school. He even tries to practice while taking out the garbage or sorting laundry!

Aaron just finished his final manuscript page and will be starting cursive next week! He is excited to learn cursive and is beginning to understand the value of neat handwriting. We just recently began a new math program, Teaching Textbooks, and the children are really enjoying it. I chose it for it's ease of use and that I can easily track their progress. I simply did not have the time to spend individually with each of the older children like I have forever! Today, I actually told them we did not have time for them to do another lesson after they were begging to do more math!

Libby got a cheerio stuck to her nose and the children thought it was the funniest thing they have ever seen. The photo is courtesy of Taylor (she really wants her own camera). Liberty looks cute no matter what. Although, I could do without the shiner she has next to her left eye.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How Do You Pick Up Your Vehicle From The Shop?

When my van breaks down in Seattle and I have to go pick it up, I call a friend and make it a field trip! We decided that we better pick up the van first because that was the purpose of the trip. Picking the van up first meant we had to take the bridge across the lake and I had all the children in my van so we pulled over on the side of the road and one of my children ran and got in the van with Tami, then we were able to take the carpool lane across the lake!
After much searching we finally found parking and went to discover the Aquarium again.
Everett and Erik loved the Moonjellies! We discovered that wen really fortunate to not have been stung by the jellies we always touch at our beach. We also saw new starfish that are native to our area but we have not seen before..

I love all the workers at the aquarium, they are knowledgeable and friendly. Every time we go we learn something new. This time we even saw baby sea horses!

Isobelle was listening to a talk around one of the touch tanks.

After the aquarium we headed to Goodwill, then each of us went to our mothers houses for dinner. We were treated to a delicious salmon dinner! We love fish, but unfortunately it is so expensive that we don't get it very often. It was a treat and fit in well with our marine day.

Skipping School

Not really skipping school, just getting schooled in agriculture. Jessica's dad, Grampy volunteered to have several of Jess' friends come to his farm and glean. It was a wonderful day! It is hard to believe it is already fall, the weather was very warm.
Grampy was great with the boys and is a natural teacher. He showed us how to tell if the corn was ready, how to dig potatoes, and where exactly our food comes from!

It is our dream to be farmers (not quite on this scale). I put in a good day's work! My thighs were burning from all the squatting and bending. It really showed me what I need to work on. To be fair, I was wearing Libby on my back most of the time.

I was fortunate to have a 'break' when Libby needed to eat. Miranda was gracious enough (she jumped at the opportunity) to feed Libby her tofu, spinach, blueberry puree.

Now I have lots of beautiful green beans that we are going to process tomorrow. It is educational for all the children. Most of them were very hard workers and agreed with me that it is a highlight of our field trips! One child however was threatened with not getting to eat if said child did not help harvest and it was a huge motivator.

Grampy took the boys across the foot bridge to the pond for a tour of the farm. Ian talked almost non stop and even tried to get carried!

After the hot, dirty work we were rewarded with ice cream from our favorite dairy! I love how Isobelle is lifting Ruby to see the flavors. Both girls decided on green! I got my favorite root beer shake!

Ian, Ruby and Isobelle are inseparable these days. The girls follow him around everywhere and he enjoys reading to them, playing with them and being a gentleman for them. Notice it is Ruby who is missing shoes here. She also did not understand the concept of squatting at the farm and had to borrow some of Isobelle's clothes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Going Through the Motions

We had our appointment with the Nutritionist on Friday. Liberty has gained 12 ounces in 17 days! That is the best weight gain she has had so far. She is now up to 15 pounds 11 ounces.
The appointment was interesting to say the least. First the Nutritionist was pleasantly surprised by her weight gain and commented that the supplementing that the doctor recommended really seemed to be working. I said that we were not supplementing and had no intention of supplementing in the future. Next it was time to look at Liberty's dietary recall from the last 17 days. Again, the Nutritionist was surprised at how well Libby is eating and really was stumped y what we could do differently to her diet. The one thing that she recommended was to add oil or butter to Libby's food so that we could get additional calories in her.
What!!! Really!? Let's teach her to eat food laden with calories and fat so we can give her eating disorders and high cholesterol? (Please read the sarcasm there).
I really have to shake my head at the amount of time and energy these people are putting into making her fat.
Libby is 8 1/2 months old and can sit up, pull herself to a stand, crawl, babble, sign all done, and more. She is Perfect!
I am requesting a copy of the nutritionists' report for my own records and to be sent to the doctor. Hopefully this is the end of the saga and they will leave us alone with our tiny but otherwise healthy baby.

Monday, September 14, 2009


After getting home last night at 11PM (We left the house at 10AM). I had to get up at 5:30AM to feed the baby and take Sean to work. We are now down to one working vehicle.
Then we had our first Keeper/Contenders Meeting to attend. The children had a wonderful time and it was so much fun to see and connect with friends we have not seen all summer.
I was involved in LOTS of kid shuffling. Here it is at a glance:
Send Taylor home with her friend Carissa
Take Savannah and Ellie with me and the rest of my children
Pick up Tami, Everett, and Isobelle
Drop Erik and Tami and Everett off at Scouts
Pick up Shelly, and Kale and go to the park
Back to Scouts: Pick up Erik, Tami, Everett, drop off Ellie, Shelly, and Kale
Take Tami to her Doctor Appointment
Take Savannah,Aaron, Erik, Ian, Ruby, Libby, Everett, and Isobelle to the bank and for ice cream
Pick Tami up
Go to Goodwill with everyone
Drop Tami and her children off at home
Pick Sean up from work
Take Savannah home
Pick up Taylor who got dropped off from Carissa's house with Shelly while Ellie was at ballet
Go home and eat dinner and go to bed.

All of that and I only left Aaron behind at Scouts accidentally (I noticed before I was even in the van).

He's Coming!!

My beautiful Sister in Law, Karina is pregnant with my nephew! We are so excited to get to meet him. She is due the beginning of November. I think she looks adorable! Mikaela took the day off work and all my girls got to attend the shower together! It is a rare occasion that we are all together. Pictured above is Karina (sister in law), Chris (Mother in Law), Me, Libby (daughter), Taylor (daughter), Mikaela (daughter), Shelby (sister in law),In Front: Nicole(sister in law), Ruby (daughter), and Melody (father in law's wife).

Shelby is Mikaela's aunt even though she is 2 months younger! They were very excited to see each other and catch up. It is great when you have friends/family that you do not see very often but can be comfortable with and pick up right where you left off. I love Sean's side of the family and how kind and accepting they all are.

We all had a wonderful time playing games, making goodies for the newest miracle and showering Karina and the baby with gifts!

Even her own mother guessed that she was larger than she really is! She is glowing. We can't wait to meet our littlest cousin and nephew.

Ruby loves to visit with 'Grammy'. She is always telling some kind of story.
After we left the shower we had about a 3 hour drive home which ended up with my brother coming to try to make my van run again, then my mom driving us all the way home! Bless her, she would not even let me buy her a cup of coffee for her 4 1/2 hour round trip. It is so nice to know that you can count on family.
The tow truck driver said the van looked really bad, hopefully the mechanic will have better news.

My Kind of Day

Oops I accidentally uploaded the photos in the wrong order but blogger does not allow you to move them around easily so bear with me. We had a wonderful Saturday at home with the children getting much needed projects and having some down time.

We knew we had the privilege of watching Justice and Savannah while their mom and dad went to a wedding reception, and the children were very excited for them to arrive. They were met at the door with hugs and laughter.
Shelly called, she was watching Jake and Honor and asked if we wanted to go to the beach with them.
We decided to make it a party and have them over after the beach for a BBQ. We just lined up the babies and fed them in a row. Libby ate one bite for every 3 the boys did, it definitely shows that boys eat faster (plus they are 5 months older). I loved that when I pulled out the camera Honor instantly had a smile.

Look at this handsome couple. Jason and Jess are some of my favorite people to spend time with, fellowship with, learn together and enjoy the honor of watching their children while they had time together.

Doesn't she look great! I can't believe she can wear such a great dress 13 months after giving birth to twins. Good Job Jess.

Ian is a diligent worker and is very motivated by the pins that he gets to earn in Contenders. He was looking at his book and decided he wanted to earn the knot tying pin so he went and got a rope and his book and Sean taught him several different knots. I am pretty sure you are not supposed to use the knots to tie yourself up but that is exactly what Ian did! He then decided to work on earning his painting pin and gathered to supplies and carefully worked on each project. I love his self motivation (I wish I had more of it). and the way he carefully completes each project.
I even managed to squeeze in some time to get a pedicure all by myself! I love pedicures they always make me feel so good.

Erik is Persistent!! He is so thorough when he wants to be. He lost a marble under the refrigerator and enjoyed the challenge of cleaning out under the fridge to get the marble back. He then proceeded to 'lose' the marble under the stove and discovered that it is much more difficult to fish the marble out from under the stove. After much trial and error he was successful. Erik likes to collect the dust bunnies and is very satisfied when something gets cleaned to his standards (I wonder where he gets that from =)).

The highlight of my day was how much Erik and I both enjoyed having company and showing hospitality toward others. I love being with people and having such great friends!

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Week Of School

I have to say I really enjoy the schedule even though it needs MAJOR modification. All of us do better knowing what comes next. The other day Ruby asked me, "Mama, after breakfast and clean-up, and Bible then can I play with my popcorn?"
I am amazed at how long I resisted using a schedule and how quickly the children adapted to one. I bought this cute little jar and cups (I think it is a Sake thing) at Goodwill for $1.99 and I knew it would be perfect for pour and sort activities. It is reserved only for school time and must be used at the high chair if it contains something that Libby can choke on.
One of my favorite quotes of the week was when Ruby was playing with some of her 'rock babies' and they were all in a box.
Ruby,"Mama my babies are flying"
Me, "Where are they going?"
Ruby,"They are going to Bismark, that is the capitol of North Dakota!"

Erik has been wearing a hat ever since his hair cut. He takes it off to pray and shower. I guess we are all waiting for his hair to grow.
Erik is the hardest of my children to home school. Everything he does comes naturally to him except book learning. He really wants to read but gets frustrated quickly when the lessons get too hard for him. He knows all the letters and most of the letter combinations and the sounds they make but seems to get stuck on putting it all together. He wants to be fluent without the work. I am looking for any reading suggestions that look like a competition. He loves to compete.

I had the younger children memorize and recite a poem called, "The Caterpillar" from "First Language Lessons" I then gave them supplies and instructions to make a caterpillar. Erik's is shown above (who knew caterpillars came in the shape of glasses?) and Ian's is below, his picture contains the toad from the poem and the birds that are named in the poem in addition to, the leaf and he used red,orange, yellow,green,blue and indigo (from rainbow week). Guess who likes to follow directions and who is an independent spirit?

Poor little Ruby had to wear a bib while she got to play in whipped cream on her high chair tray and she did not want to have the bib on. She pouted for quite awhile and the other children were all trying to get her to trade places with them. Erik even offered for Ruby to do his math and he could take care of her whipped cream.

The most difficult part for me is the lack of sleep I am getting. I think I could easily sleep for 10 hours a day and that really is not an option. If I could consistently get a 20 minute nap every day I would be OK too. How much sleep do you need/get? My other question is how often do you get out your supplies for school and keep them laying around. I don't like stuff not put away but I lose the children if I go grab glue, scissors, etc., Where do you put the stuff you are using for the week and what consequences do you have for children who get distracted by the fly on the wall and don't complete their lessons? Enough questions for now, we are refining our day but Loving the schedule (did I really just say that?)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

I just cannot stomach the thought of continuing to pay $48 every time the boys need a haircut. Often, Sean does the job but lately he has been so busy that he does not have the time to cut their hair. I decided to bless my family and our finances by learning to cut the boys' hair. Ian was first, poor little guy. He was excited to be "bald" I am glad because he is pretty close to it. I just cannot figure out why they all refused to get shaved when my father was in chemo but now it is cool?

Aaron was next, and I chose a longer guard it is better but don't look too close. I was really disappointed to cut off all of their sun bleached hair. People pay big money for the color they got naturally from the sun!

Erik was not at all happy that it was time to cut his hair and I experimented with the ear guard so he has a nice little bald spot right above his ear (oops). He was at Grandma's house last time the boys got a cut so his hair was really long (secretly, I kinda liked it but I know it was overdue).
I really do not like the learning curve but, I guess with time and practice I might be able to do a haircut that looks good.

Today was our first official day of homeschooling! I have been working on a schedule for the children and I for a while now. I have done it with much resistance but knowing that our days would go better if we all knew what to expect instead of the way I have schooled in the past. I posted our schedule on the wall with neat little colored squares for each person. I left some open so I could change and adjust as needed. We did fairly well today, I know what I will be changing for tomorrow. It is REALLY difficult for me to start my day at 6am but it went much better so here's to discipline on my part.
Last night when I was reading I came across this quote from Dave Pelzer, "In the final analysis, it's up to you. At the end of the day it is you and you alone who has to make things happen. The cold hard truth is outside influences can only help you so far. The drive has to come from within you. You have to apply what you have learned on a daily basis."
I know I need to have a schedule and stick to it, I know I need to be disciplined in all areas of my life and I need to choose to do that on a daily basis.
I am excited about our new schedule and our subjects we are learning this year! Now, I am off to take a short nap (which is not in the schedule but needed to make it through the rest of the day)!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Look Who's 19!!

Saturday was Mikaela's 19th birthday! The time really does go by too quickly. We celebrated by taking her bowling, and out to dinner. It was wonderful to spend some time with her.
We lined up in order of score, Taylor got 52, all the way up to Mikaela who won with a whopping score of 126! They graciously left a spot in between Taylor and Ian for me. Mikaela,Duane, Sean, Me and Taylor bowled without bumpers and Aaron, Ian, Erik and Ruby all bowled with bumpers, they actually played pinball with the way the ball bounced back and forth.
We were all impressed with the spin Duane could put on a ball!

Ruby loved the black lights and was spinning and running circles watching herself glow. I could not figure out how to get a really good photo of it (still learning) but you get the idea from the picture above.

We went to Boston Pizza (Mikaela's choice) and had dinner. Taylor even brought her 'babies' for dinner. The time went way too fast and was over before we knew it! Which is exactly how I feel about her growing up.

We find it very difficult to get a family photo with everyone looking good. I am thankful that we were all together to celebrate!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back to School?

UH-OH Honor knows we haven't officially started school~yet. Actually we are on track to start next week. We finished up the summer making paper, making soap, making a volcano, going to the cub scout kick off, and our (3rd) annual Not Back to School party. For photos of that you can go to Syndi or Hilary's blogs!
Unfortunately I have been very busy and have not taken very many pictures lately. Savannah was amazing at the paper making and made more paper than everyone else combined. I loved that the children could put together the fact that Ben Franklin had to make paper then hand set the type for the newspapers that he printed. We have now done both this year.

These boys are getting so grown up. The other day we measured Ian and he has grown 3 1/4" since December!! I feel like we have reached a new place in what we are able to do since most of my children can go to the bathroom themselves and they can follow simple directions. We get to go more places and do more things!

I have had my paper making kit for about 6 years and this is the first time we used it! I am so glad to know how it works and we will be making more paper and soap. We are even trying new recipes using our beeswax for hand lotion!
Aaron is now a WEBELO Scout which stands for We BE Loyal Scouts. He was happy to carry the flag for the opening Colors.
What a handsome man in uniform. They are excited to start selling popcorn and we will have a online place where you can order your popcorn from the boys! (I just have to read the directions first).
We are also continuing to make progress with Liberty and are taking steps in the right direction.
I am finishing up our schedule and practicing to begin next week. Life is never dull, and I would not want it to be!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sweet Libby

My heart is heavy as I write this. We had a terrifying experience with Liberty's doctor today. I was positive about Libby's development and weight gain only to discover that she had only gained 6.5 ounces in 33 days.
To make a long story short the doctor and I disagreed about the plan of action for Liberty and the doctor is threatening to call Child Protective Services and "have the child removed from the home."
We are taking proactive steps to avoid this and appreciate all of your prayers and support. Sean profoundly stated, "I cannot imagine life without Liberty." That is true in so many ways, I feel our very freedom is being threatened.