Friday, January 29, 2010

Midnight Marine Biology

I am so glad that Syndi finds out about cool stuff that we can tag along for. She found out that the lowest tides were occurring at night. We had been talking about going to the beach find anything belonging to the Mollusk Phylum. So we decided to take advantage of the best time to look at go at night! Syndi and Ben came and picked us up at 8:30P.M. to drive a half and hour away and look on a rocky beach for Bivalves (anything with 2 shells). We were fortunate that we found clams (with it's siphon sticking out of the mud).
When we got to the beach we were not able to drive all the way down since the park closes at dusk and it was past dusk. Several of the children were concerned that the van was going to be towed or impounded or broken into.... the other child was excited with the possibility that we might get to spend the night!

We found what I believe are anemones that are closed up and hanging off the rocks due to the tide being out.
Taylor was in this position most of the time we were there. I love the excitement and definitely go a workout running back and forth taking pictures of the different creatures that they found. Taylor caught a sculpin, hermit crab, gunnel, hooded nudibranch, several small shrimp, and a tiny sea star.
We loved all the limpets and were even able to get a few off of the rocks for closer examination. Did you know they always return to the exact same spot every night? I guess you could say they have a specific address.
We were successful in our search for gastropods. A gastropod literally means 'stomach foot' and the univalves comprise are the most abundant in the mollusk family. We found many limpets, and snails and hermit crabs. We even saw the trail they left behind as they moved around.

You can see the tracks behind this giant sea star! A few minutes after we found him he was covered by the incoming tide.

Before we started studying Marine Biology I had never even heard of a Nudibranch much less seen one or know a Hooded Nudibranch existed, now I see them all the time! A nudibranch is a gastropod with no shell. It was fascinating to watch them swim in the tide pools where they were not at the mercy of the waves. In the above photo you can see the eel grass, hooded nudibranch, and several creatures on the eel grass, I believe it is a limpet.
Pretty good photography for no light, and a flash reflecting off the water.

Look at the size of this Chiton! it has a plated shell instead of a 'china hat' like the limpet.

Of course Aaron and Taylor had to find something to climb! I drew the line at the sheer rock cliff they tried to climb in the dark with no safety gear. While it might look like it was cold, we were actually hot. We all took off our coats and enjoyed an unseasonably warm January night with a full moon to light our adventures. I wish I could have captured the serenity and beauty that was around us, but we will have to settle with fond memories.
Our time went way too quickly and we headed back to the van that was still there, refilled hot cocoa mugs and ate delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies that Syndi brought! We were home safe and warm in bed a little after midnight. It was so much fun and another benefit of homeschooling.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Because We Can.

We have had a fabulous week so far and it is only Wednesday morning! On Monday we kidnapped Ben and Syndi for an impromptu skip school day! Taylor went to spend a few days with my mom and we were going to meet half way. When my mom got to the said meeting place (Children's Museum) We discovered that the museum is closed on Mondays. Fortunately we have children that enjoy the same things we do so we went to Goodwill! I found some great books and a couple of fun games! Syndi found some treasures as well. We then went to a fun park to enjoy our Cinnamon Dulce Lattes and the winter sunshine. After that we hit another Goodwill then Dairy Queen to enjoy ice cream before we went home to dinner!

Then today, Ruby wanted to wear her 'cupcake' dress but only if we could make cupcakes! We enjoyed our morning walk in what felt like spring weather, came home did a condensed version of school then made our cupcakes. We used a new recipe from a chocolate cookbook I picked up at Goodwill~ They were delicious!

Ruby was quite proud and freely shared her cupcakes with the neighbors, with Jess and her children when they stopped by and is bringing some to her friends today!
We were surprised and pleased that Mikaela came for a visit today! We played tennis, baseball, jump rope, and Blokus.She read the children their bedtime stories and we had a chance to catch up.
I feel very blessed to have a healthy family and time to enjoy watching my children grow and playing alongside them!

This morning Erik drew the winner of the Starbucks card! I really appreciate the comments and ideas, we are using a combination of the ideas and have seen drastic improvement.
And the winner is...... Heather! Congrats Heather I will bring you the card next time I see you.
We are off to enjoy another beautiful sunny day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Self Control

Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that our brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, He will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever.

1 Peter 5:8-11

Any suffering or hardship I may face pales in comparison to what the people of Haiti are facing right now. When I say I am broke, or I have nothing to eat it is more a matter of choice. I have money in the bank and food in my pantry, meals in my freezer. The people of Haiti however, don't even have a cupboard to put food in, let alone a place to lay their head at night.

I know that I am constantly being challenged to take the easy way out, to be dissatisfied, to lose my integrity, lose my temper, squander my time.

I challenge you to re-read the above verse and look for ways to be self controlled, to deny your desires and give to our brothers and sisters who are lacking in the basic necessities. I am trying to be intentional in all that I do, and all that I say. Will you join me? It will bring glory to God.

So Close

Last weekend we went to visit my Father in Law, his wife, Melody, and Sean's youngest sister, Shelby. The children had a fabulous time and Sean got some much needed time with his dad. I, however, got a killer migraine and fever, chills, insomnia, and nausea.
We planned to stop at Aunt Karina's house and finally get to meet baby Loden but alas, Ian and Ruby were sick as well. So while we did go to their house I waited in the van with the children while Sean went in to visit. It was killing me not to get my hands on that sweet boy!

I will have to be satisfied with the picture below that Sean took with Loden's daddy, Ryan. While at Aunt Karina's house we dropped off Christmas gifts and picked up Christmas gifts from Aunt Nicole and the other Uncle Ryan.
I don't know if it was some cruel joke but Sean's twin sisters both married men named Ryan. and before Karina got married we had a photo of Karina,Nicole, cousin Noah and Nicole's Ryan. My children thought that Karina and Nicole were both married to Ryan and Noah was their baby. While we do have a lot to discuss, polygamy was not on my list of things to teach.

As I mentioned before Sean and his dad got some quality time together while they went to buy oysters for dinner. They bought 60 oysters and not a single on was left. I graciously took an oyster and left the rest for everyone else. I would not want to seem greedy or anything. Liberty made up for my lack of consumption with her eagerness to consume, she ate 6 oysters! She is only 12 months old but eats like the rest of them.

Ruby really enjoyed coloring with Melody and was very free with her comments. "you a good colorer.", and "That looks pretty!" You might notice that the coloring book is upside down and that is on purpose, Ruby had very specific pictures she wanted Melody to color.
The children enjoyed riding horses, playing with the goat, and as always climbing trees.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fort Langley

The oldest building in British Columbia, it was built without any nails or screws. It is located inside the walls of Fort Langley. At the blacksmith shop, Ameda made our group a hook. It was one of the highlights of the tour. Ameda clearly loves her job and her enthusiasm was contagious.

Thursday we took one of the best field trips ever! Syndi is the teacher of our history co-op and planned this trip 2 months ago! We were utterly disappointed when we got to her house Thursday morning and she said Ben was too sick to go. Although we had a fabulous time we missed her and Ben and Jess and Honor! I have been feeling really sick but pushed myself to go. Honestly I think it would have been more difficult to stay home than to go. I was so thankful that my mom was able to come last minute to enjoy the site with us, and to help me out! Back Row: Jake, Savannah (her doll Jubilee), Taylor (her doll Elizabeth), Aaron

Middle Row: Ian, Erik

Front Row: Ruby (her doll Katelia is on her back), Justice, Liberty

The girls wore their pioneer dresses, the boys all had the coon skin caps they made and mountain men clothes. Ruby and Libby were Sacajawea and Pomp respectively.

We had the best tour guide ever, her name was Ameda and her knowledge was impressive along with her joy of teaching and enthusiasm. She presented enough information interspersed with hands on activities to bring the history to life! Erik was the first to find gold when we went panning!

The children got to walk around the top of the walls of the fort and see the Fraser River! They had to work like the children worked when they lived at the fort. The bundled fur that our children carried was much lighter then the 86 pound bundles they carried when the fort was active. Taylor was so sweet, she stayed back with Ian as he carried his bundle while the rest of the older children ran with their furs.
The children 'built' a small, but life size, replica of the oldest building in B.C. It was like playing with giant Lincoln Logs!

One of our favorite traditions when we go to Canada is stopping for a huge box of Timbits (donut holes) from Tim Horton's on our way home, that with the Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce Latte and it was a perfect day!
I will post more about the fur trade and history of Hudson Bay Company and our wonderful trip but I am sick and need to sleep!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Table and Starbucks

This may or may not be the child I am talking about, I just liked the photo.

I need to have the above verse pasted in the center of my wall. Did you catch that? Let no unwholesome talk EVER come out of your mouth. I fail miserably. I always admire those women who speak with gentleness and peace. I admit I am a bit better currently, but that is only because I have been sick and my throat hurts.
My current frustration is with the child whose job it is to clear the table. Said child stays on task and does not get distracted (which is a bonus). However, tonight at dinner it took an hour and a half to get the table clear! Mind you, we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches with carrots and ranch dressing (by all means, not an elaborate meal).

Around here clearing the table involves:

Clearing and wiping one highchair tray and putting it back

putting leftovers in the fridge

putting dishes in the dishwasher (everyone puts his/her own dishes in the D.W.)

wiping down the table

My plea for you dear readers is this: I am tired of yelling, setting the timer, spanking, adding more chores, and in general letting unwholesome talk come out of my mouth. I am begging you for suggestions on how to make this a more timely task.

I have a Starbucks Card for one person (chosen at random) that leaves me a creative solution to my dilemma.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


School this week is busy:
Monday: Keepers and Contenders, Scouts
Tuesday: Dentist Appointments for 5 Children, School with Simply Made, Scouts
Wednesday:Catch-up Day (referred to as Ketchup), Circle Time, Math, Spelling, Laundry, Phonics, Reading, Walk with Ben and Syndi, Clean out van, Writing, 100 easy lessons X2, make dinner, bathe baby, print tomorrow's lesson, find the book I downloaded to my computer but can't find, Talk to Mikaela (it has been a week), etc., you get the idea
Thursday:History Day!!! Our Favorite Day Of The Week
Friday:Go Visit Family and FINALLY get to meet our newest nephew, Loden!

It will be a peaceful ending to a harried week. I prayed for God to give me the strength to be consistent. I have been overwhelmed and frustrated.

I know that God has called us to home school and that He will provide.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Way to Do Things.

My dad used to say,"Ruby don't take your guns to town." I am pretty sure it is the name of a song, although others have said, "Ruby don't take your love to town." I think both of those are good words of wisdom for my girl. I found her like this after history last week. Apparently, when your brothers friend brings his hat and gun to your house it is fair game for all. Check out these cool hats the older children made during history.
I asked Ruby to pick up her 5 million kitchen toys that were all over the place. She came back with them all picked up! Unfortunately, I did not specify where to put them when she picked them up.

I kept waking up all night long last night because Liberty was not feeling well and I was waiting for the potty alarm that Ruby is wearing to go off. I finally thought that the alarm must have come undone because it wasn't going off. It went off at 7:15am! I know it is not supposed to go off when you have finally become successful but she went 10 hours without 'going'!

Liberty loves to brush her teeth with my toothbrush! OK so it really isn't the same end I use, but it cracks me up. Sometimes she even puts her mouth around the whole end!
My life is so rich and full of joy because of these precious blessings! As difficult as some days are I am amazed that God has trusted me with the privilege of raising these children.
Taylor watched Ian and Isobele today while I took a nap with Ruby and Libby was napping in her room (the boys were at scouts with Tami).Taylor fed them lunch and they played games and made a craft. Taylor even took a phone message for me it was: "The doctor called to remind you that all the children have an appointment tomorrow at 10:40." Now, only if I knew what doctor...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Always Learning

I am always learning and I get easily frustrated when I want to work on something and things keep interrupting me. Specifically, the paper in the house seems to have multiplied over the Christmas Break and my great intentions of a schedule have flown out the window.
Aaron holding Liberty while doing his math.
Life was running much more smooth when we were using a schedule. I soon realized that I need several schedules to choose from. I have been reading and learning a lot from Terri Maxwell but I have so much more to learn.

Ben and Aaron~such great friends!
You might be able to tell that I am really struggling to get back into the swing of things around here and I really want compliance. I mentioned in an earlier post that I am going to try to memorize the book of James this year as part of my spiritual goals.
As a result I am digging deep into the book of James to see what it really says and how it applies to me.

Ruby and Liberty enjoy time with Papa.
Last night I re-read James 3. The verse that spoke to me was James 3:17,18

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

I often pray for wisdom, wisdom to know what my children need, to be creative with discipline, to teach God's word, to be a better wife and mother.
Reading James 3:17 tells me that my wisdom is so far off the mark I don't even come close to the target.
We have a picture in our bathroom that says "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
If I want peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit from my children I first need to be an example of those things.

Lord, Please help me to have wisdom that comes from heaven. Use me as an example of your love to my husband, my family, and all those that I come into contact with today. Amen

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marine Worms

It is amazing how God provides. He provided a beautiful non-rainy day in January. He provided a tide that goes out so we could see the worm castings. God provided friends to go look for worms with us, He even provided the marine biology program for us to use!
Look at this worm, I am pretty sure it is a Pacific Neopolitin Lugworm. See the little red bumps on the side, those are the worm's gills.

I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times we have been to the beach and seen the little piles of sand with holes in them. Never really paid any attention to what they were. I figured that they were an animal of some sort, it did not cross my mind that the beach literally had millions of worms!

The children dug for the worms and we were able to see the mucus lined burrow that the worm lives in. I think this is the acorn worm, (Saccoglossus kowalewski)

Ruby just could not seem to figure out that it was much better to keep her arms in her sleeves. I admit I did laugh when she fell in the cold wet sand and could not get up. It reminded me of Ralphies kid brother in "A Christmas Story".

We finished our study of Marine Worms by heading home, taking hot showers and we were going to watch an Imax movie about The Deep Ocean. Unfortunately we could not get the VHS to work so we appropriately watched "Dirty Jobs" instead.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have some pretty amazing daughters. Today, Taylor was very disappointed when her friend got sick and was not able to come over for awhile. She has come so far.... When she was little I spent many hours with her sitting on the stairs learning to breathe to get control of herself. It is not always easy but she has an amazing amount of self control and is readily available to help. She loves things clean, the van, the living room, the bathrooms, not so much the kitchen. But she will cheerfully clean up and beg for someone to take her to Scrubby's Car Wash to clean the van!
I am proud of the young lady she is becoming.
Here is my other right hand girl! Ruby is a bit rough. She has spunk and personality enough for several 3 year olds.
Ruby says, "I love you mama, I am being obedient." I wonder if that means when she disobeys she doesn't love me?
Ruby quickly offers to help and loves to be useful. Sometimes it is much more work for me to have her help so I quickly offer up a prayer for an extra measure of grace and patience and train her to learn how to be more Christ like.

Sometimes I cannot believe Liberty is already one and other times I cannot believe she is only one. It is hard to remember life without her. She is such a sweet baby. She also wants to be included in whatever Ruby is doing and LOVES Taylor almost as much as she loves me.
She likes to talk on the cell phone, put things in her purse, hang out on my hip, and she adores animals as long as she is above them.

And this young woman grew much too quickly, she was gone before I knew it. She makes me realize that each day with the others is a gift and I need to use the time wisely. Mikaela is in her second year at community college and got her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) in October! She has had to face many things at work that I have never even encountered.
I pray that my daughters will all be Godly wives and mothers and that they will know the joy of parenting girls and that they will cherish that privilege.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Recap

We had such a wonderful Christmas. We were incredibly busy but it seemed like this year I was less stressed and spent less money and spent more time with people I care about.
All of the children helped with the decorating and the cleaning. Ruby is a great helper and loves to feel useful. We had a Christmas Dipping Party complete with a chocolate fountain, cheese dip, marinara sauce, chili dip, and other wonderful food that could be dipped in all the delicious sauces. What can be better than good food with good friends!

I already blogged about our Hanukkah Party which was not only super fun but educational as well (always a goal of mine, fun and educational). We also made gingerbread houses and as you can see from the above photo my hands are on the left and Syndi's are on the right. I feel like what ever I do is messy and does not look like the example. In other words, I am a perfectionist and I want picture perfect. I keep telling myself it is the process not the product!

Ruby and Erik were creative in getting to their dip at the dipping party!

I am not sure where Ruby was when I took this photo, because Ruby, Ian and Isobele are ALWAYS together!
I enjoyed lunch with friends, Naomi's Annual Ladies Christmas Party, Dinner with some longtime friends, parties with our home school friends, and I love getting picture Christmas cards in the mail!

Ben brought the children each a carefully chosen book and Taylor also got some homemade soap in the shape of a horse and it was wrapped in a homemade basket!
We are blessed with a wonderful group of friends and like minded people to share in our daily lives. I am happy that my husband has a great job and we have amazing children.
Now, back to our regular routine. Look for future posts about how our school works and ideas that we really like and areas that I am looking for a better way to meet our goals.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Polar Bear Swim

For some reason I cannot figure out, Sean loves to do the Polar Bear Swim. Every year (except last year,we were in the hospital with a baby who was 10 hours old) at noon on January 1st Sean enjoys jumping into Birch Bay!

He always tries to get others to join him, and has been successful with getting Aaron,Erik and Ian in the water in the past. This year only Erik was brave enough (or is it crazy enough?) to join.

Erik looks pretty pathetic here but he was actually counting down the days to the Polar Bear Swim. I am sure that he enjoys the bragging rights. He tried to convince me to let Liberty go so we could win the prize for the youngest participant.

Erik went in up to his armpits and Sean took his time and dove under ~more than once! I am sure it is refreshing and a great way to start the new year fresh. I think I will just have to trust him on that.

Sean does not like to make resolutions, but prefers to make goals. I will share with you some of my goals for 2010:

Personal:To update my ICEA and Doula Certifications, To have monthly menu plans and weekly school plans,

Physical: To run a 5K and a 10K this year, to lose 40 pounds.

Spiritual:To finish at least one chapter in my Balancing the Sword Bible Study. To memorize the book of James.

Financial: To redo our budget and stick to it! To have money left in the bank after each paycheck.