Monday, January 12, 2015

Ethan's First Day of McGee for Third Grade

Ethan had a great first day.  He got a green (which is good) for his behavior, he made a mask of our cat Julius, and he accidentally did two multiplication pages instead of one, and got 100% on both.  I think this is going to be a good thing!

No, my boys won't wear their coats, even when it's freezing outside.  I make them take a waterproof jacket in their backpack to put over their hoodies when it rains.

Rebecca and I spent our morning filling out the paperwork to withdraw Ethan from MCP, doing some shopping, then going out to lunch with Brian.  Then we came home, and I wrote in my book for a bit, then did some serious cleaning when Alyssa got home.

Alyssa has been having some problems on the bus.  It's super crowded, and because she started going to school late, everyone had already claimed seats by the time she started riding.  She seems to do pretty well in the morning, but it's even more crowded after school, and every day is a struggle for her to find someone who will let her sit with them.  It's been a huge ordeal for her, and I wrote the transportation office, who agrees the bus is very crowded, but doesn't see the need for change.  Alyssa has been begging to ride her cousin's bus on a regular basis, but I told her we need to stick it out.  We've been praying that she'll find someone to sit with, and this morning we even said an extra prayer right before we left for school.  The phone rang around 2:40 this afternoon, and when Alyssa was on the other line, I assumed she'd ask me to pick her up from school.  Instead, she said she was calling from a friend's house, and was asking if she could bring her friend home to play.  Hallelujah!  The bummer part is that Ashley doesn't ride the bus in the mornings, and she doesn't ride it home every day.  She only rides it when she's being watched by her Grandma, who lives in our neighborhood.  Hopefully this is a start, though, and Alyssa will start to find her own place and be more comfortable on the bus.

Rebecca called button holes, "button keepers" this morning, and I thought that was a very cute and accurate description.

We had Family Home Evening on testimonies, and it turned out to be a pretty short lesson, because our kids were wired tonight.

I had a lot of things I wanted to write about tonight, going along with the personal growth I want to have this year, but now that I'm sitting at the computer, I can't think of any of the super profound thoughts that occurred to me while I was cleaning this afternoon. I really want to get out of my comfort zone, so to speak, when it comes to studying my scriptures and learning about the Gospel.  I want to see out other books that go along with the scriptures, and I want to really pray to understand the Gospel on a higher level.  I had some questions about temple garments last week, and in searching for those answers, garments became so much more dear to me.  It was kind of a silly awakening experience to me, especially to realize that there is still so much more to learn.

One of my friends is in a group that chooses a word to define their overall "goal" for the year, and seeing her and a few of those people discuss it made me want to find my own word.

I've decided on: Grow. 

I want my understanding to grow.  I want my testimony to grow.  I want my compassion and love for others to grow.  I want to get more out of reading my scriptures and going to church and serving in the temple.  It's almost a real physical feeling like my spirit has grown inside of me this week as I read the scriptures to truly understand and search for answers, and I love how it feels.  I want to keep that going for the rest of the year and hopefully for the rest of my life.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

(Last) Christmas Break Post 7 - New Years Eve

For New Years Eve this year I finally did what I've been wanting to do for a long while.  I put activities in balloons, labeled the balloons with the time we would do the activities, then we popped the balloons to see what we would do. 

We started at 2:00 and Alyssa and I went to see "Into the Woods" while the little kids had Kenna come babysit and watch movies with them.

5:00 was called Jacks Bar and Grill, and I meant it to mean we would make a yummy dinner, but the kids wanted a full blown restaurant.  They made menus and signs and we set the table in a fun way.  Then we invited Brian's parents over to eat at our restaurant.  It was so fun!  This is the tradition I think we'll carry to next year.  We'll invite a different family to our restaurant each year!

We kind of did so-so on the balloons after that, kind of following them, but really just playing games and watching tv and doing what we wanted.  I was watching the time religiously around 12:00, but we missed the new year by a few minutes.  Oh well.  We did a count down anyway and drank our cider, then went straight to bed.
Becca was adament about wearing the chef hat and apron...

...and rolling the biscuit dough out all by herself.

Christmas Break Post 6 - Christmas Day

Brian's parents came over for our traditional crepes breakfast.  The kids did their Christmas activity presents.  (Ethan made a volcano, Alyssa did her crystal mining, Marcus did shark tooth mining, and Rebecca decorated a kids mirror with stickers and sparkle glue.  She also decorated her hair with sparkle glue.)  I forgot to say that one of the kids' presents are activity presents.  It's fun to have something to have fun filling the time on Christmas day.  So I guess the kids got an extra present this year.  I guess I did go overboard.

We baked that squashed turkey then went to the church to have dinner and play games with my family.

Christmas Break Post 5 - Wands

Oh, and the kids got wands for Christmas, too.  We ordered them super early from Orchard Works so that they would be sure to come in time.  We sent a paragraph about each of the kids to them, and then they sent a wand for each kid to match their personality.  The bummer part is that the wands came before I expected them to, and Alyssa got them from the mail, and it was very obvious what they were.  So the kids knew they were getting wands for Christmas, but they didn't know what they looked like, so that was going to be the surprise.

Brian and I made holders for the wands from electrical pipe and colored masking tape, and I made cards for each of the kids with the information of what wood was used and such.  It amazed me at how each wand really did look like it was custom made for each of the kids, and the wood that was used for each wand matched their personalities as well.

Wood  Poplar         Core   Koralle (coral)          Length 11 ½ inches
A wand of consistency and strength.  It is especially helpful with protection and blocking unwanted forces.  Wands made of poplar are very diverse.  Yellow poplar trees are the tallest trees that grow in Eastern North America.  They are also known as tulip trees.  If you require help with emotions, coral is said to help quiet them and bring peace as well.  It can help with intuition, creativity, and imagination.             

Wood  Oak    Core Griffin Feather         Length 12 inches
A wand for good times and bad, this wand is as loyal as the one who deserves it.  Wands of English oak demand partners of strength and courage. The oak tree is called the King of the Forest.  It is known for truth, steadfast knowledge, and protection.  This wood helps center the mind, allowing it to focus on the task at hand.  Oak magic inspires bravery, leadership skills, and strength.  Humans cannot lie in the presence of griffins, and their feathers assist in seeing through magical illusions.

Wood  Ash        Core       Dragon Heartstring                 Length 12 inches
The ash wand clings to its one true master.  Those who are best suited to ash wands are not lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes.  The ideal owner may be stubborn, and will certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant.  The ash is considered to be the most magical of all trees.  It is excellent in promoting brain power, wisdom, and curiosity.  As a rule, dragon heartstrings produce wands that are extremely powerful. 

Wood  Hickory              Core  Unicorn Tail Hair               Length 12 inches
The hickory wand is sturdy and provides excellent balance of character.  It seeks a wielder with good intentions.  The owner of a hickory wand is in touch with nature, and draws from the elements of earth and wind.  Unicorns are capable of sensing evil, and radiate an aura which protects them from most evil spells.  Unicorn tail hairs produce the most consistent magic and the most faithful wands.

Christmas Break Post 4 - Christmas Morning!

 The thing about Christmas this year is that I spent most of November thinking, "My kids don't need any new toys, they don't need clothes.  What the heck am I supposed to get them?"  I didn't want to give them presents just for the sake of giving presents, and I didn't want to give them things that were going to be forgotten in just a few weeks.  In our family, the kids get a Santa present, and one or two presents from Brian and I.  I really feel that's enough.  Of course, they get a couple of little things and goodies in their stockings, too.  Even with just that small amount of presents to come up with, I was really stumped and for a time just thought of not getting them anything for Christmas.

Then all of a sudden ideas started coming, like a lightning deal for mattresses going by on Amazon and me remembering that Alyssa's hand-me-down mattress had bothered her for quite a while, and another lightning deal on a soccer goal for Marcus who LOVES soccer, and Becca loving baby dolls so much at nursery that I decided she needed a baby cradle.  Because the kids got a couple of big presents (that came out of the home improvement budget and such instead of the Christmas budget) that it felt like I was going overboard on Christmas.

Alyssa got a bed frame from Santa, a mattress and a find-a-crystal-in-the-rock thing from Brian and I, and a Young Women's day planner in her stocking that she absolutely loves.  Ethan got an electrical circuit board and a Simon says game.  Marcus got his soccer goal and a Pokemon card binder, and Rebecca got a baby cradle with a baby doll and a mega blocks set.  We ended up with a lot of huge boxes around the Christmas tree, which was fun.

 Brian has started to get the kids a favorite food item each year, which is so fun.  Alyssa got brie cheese, Ethan got Squirrelly Seasoning from Wadells in Spokane, Marcus got a box of fruit roll-ups, and Becca got a bag of avacados.

Ready to head downstairs.  Becca was still asleep in bed.  When Brian went to wake her up, she said it wasn't "wake time" yet.

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Ethan and Marcus did chores around the house to earn money to buy a remote control helicopter for Brian.  They were so proud!  Marcus wrote the tag.  I love his fancy D's!

Alyssa used the stars she earned at the Nutcracker rehearsals and performances to buy some toys for the other kids from the star store.  I love that she thought of her brothers and sister!

testing out my new mat by doing flutter kicks