Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homeschooling monkeys and prayer

As you may know, I am homeschooling Jillian and James this year. There are many reasons why I am doing this, the most important two being that I felt very strongly that I needed to and James was not learning well in a school environment. It has been going well, and been a fun, positive experience for us all. James has more than caught up to where he needs to be and has gained more confidence in his abilities and become a better self starter (he still needs some encouragement, but it's better than when we began). We recently learned that Donald will be deployed to Afghanistan for 6-7mos. beginning in the fall. After weighing the pros and cons (I mean, how important is my sanity, really?), I've come to the conclusion that I can not successfully homeschool and single parent my children and take care of the house, yard/garden (2+ acres) and anything else that comes up. So the kids will be returning to school next year (and the twins will begin Kindergarten). I'm really torn about this...homeschooling has opened up so many wonderful opportunities for us, and I have been very blessed to get to spend so much quality time with my children this year, but I feel good about the decision. I'm grateful we have been able to do homeschooling, even if it is only for a year. Will we return to it in the future? I don't know....I don't think it would be wise to continue vacillating btwn home and public school in conjunction with Donald's deployment schedule. I don't need to plan that far ahead.

In other kids have always been good climbers, but I've recently learned that none of them are acrophobes, though, for their own safety, I wish they were.

This pic was taken Sat. If you look closely you'll see Hannah in red and blue clothes and Claire in pink. Claire was near Hannah when I first saw them, but by the time I grabbed the camera she was on her way down.
This pic was taken Friday. I went outside to check on the kids and found them on the arbor.
And here's one of Jillian last week at the beach at dusk. They love climbing on driftwood, and pretty much anything else they can find.

At church today we had a great lesson on prayer. Wanted to share some of the things that really struck me. In Alma 37:6 it says "but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass, and small means, in many instances, doth confound the wise." Prayer is definitely one of those small simple things, even my 4 yr old can say a heart felt prayer, yet look at the marvelous things that are brought about through prayer. The first vision is just one example. A 14 yr. old boy is struggling to know which church to join. He goes into a grove of trees and offers up a simple, heartfelt prayer that lead to the restoration of Jesus Christ's church upon the earth. I find it interesting that often our lack of faith is the only thing limiting God's hand in our lives. He wants to bless us and is able to bless us beyond measure, but we must first ask and we seem to forget that he is all powerful. We don't ask b/c we don't have faith in His ability to respond. There was a story by Elder Packer that I loved, "One Saturday, I was to drive to the airport for a flight to a stake conference in California. But the cow was expecting a calf and in trouble. The calf was born, but the cow could not get up. We called the veterinarian, who soon came. He said the cow had swallowed a wire and would not live through the day.

I copied the telephone number of the animal by-products company so my wife could call them to come and get the cow as soon as she died.

Before I left, we had our family prayer. Our little boy said our prayer. After he had asked Heavenly Father to “bless Daddy in his travels and bless us all,” he then started an earnest plea. He said, “Heavenly Father, please bless Bossy cow so that she will get to be all right.”

In California, I told of the incident and said, “He must learn that we do not get everything we pray for just that easily.”

There was a lesson to be learned, but it was I who learned it, not my son. When I returned Sunday night, Bossy had “got to be all right.”

This process is not reserved for the prophets alone. The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children. It is within this wondrous gift and power that the spiritual remedy to any problem can be found."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Make 'em laugh...

Bonus points to the 1st person to name the movie this pic is from.
So today was one of those days where I'm laughing b/c if I stop, I'll be mortified by a few choice event. It was my first Sunday playing the organ for the entire congregation. While my practicing has gone very well, and I'm picking it up faster than I thought I would, my nerves haven't gotten the memo playing for an audience was a big deal. I got to church nice and early, practiced the songs, played some prelude music and then 5 minutes before the start of church I was rudely interrupted by a blaring foghorn in the congregation...after a few seconds I realized I had forgotten to turn off the alarm on my cell phone, which was sitting in a pew very far away from me. So I stopped playing and said to the congregation, "That's mine." Someone got up and turned it off for me. Embarrassing moment #1 down....just 3 more to go. Opening song went well, yippee! Then it was time for the sacrament hymn...which I was a little frazzled about...and started playing about twice as fast as the conductor wanted me to. Of course I could sort of see this out of the corner of my eye, but was too busy trying to hit the right notes to really concentrate on her beating out the rhythm. Finally, on the second verse I began watching and slowing down. So throughout the first verse I could hear some in the congregation try to singing to her tempo, and most singing along to a blaring, too fast organ...what a mess! Only 2 more to go. After that I sat down in the pew w/ Donald and the kids. Claire climbed up on my lap and was looking at her "Friend" magazine. I was listening to the speaker, when I looked down and noticed that Claire had pushed my skirt all the way up to my hips (must have been in her way when she climbed up on my lap).....aaack. I quickly pushed her off my lap and pulled my skirt down. I really hope no one noticed. I was wearing black tights (kind of like pants, right?) so hopefully no one got a shocking eyeful. Only one more to go...So I get to Relief Society to play the piano, and Debbie tells me which songs we are singing...not a big deal, I usually just sight read my way through them anyway. Well, today a little practice would have been good b/c I didn't play a single right note the last bar of the closing joke! Everyone, including myself was laughing by the end of the song. Way to close the meeting. Aaaaannnnd I'm done! and look, all that before noon...just think what the next 10 hrs may hold?! Can't wait.

And here's the retrospective for 2009

Cooking w/ the kids...this is one of their favorite things to do. My mom made them each an apron for Christmas 2008.
I realize this is a terrible pic of me....In my defense I was 2 1/2 months pregnant and feeling crummy. This pic was taken on my bday. Donald took all the kids to the dollar store so they could pick out a present for me. Jillian got me an angel figurine, the twins got me head bands and barrettes (notice my hair) and James got me a vegetable peeler! Donald tried to talk him into something else, but to no avail. The end of April I took a week long trip to Hawaii! I stayed w/ my friend
Mayda and had so much fun!That spring Donald built a permanent fence/arbor around our garden. Pretty!
Jillian was in her school musical-BUGZ --she had 3 lines in it and was very excited. I think I would have enjoyed it more w/ subtitles. Echoey room, soft voices, speach impediments, heavy breathing into a touchy microphone...'nough said.
We had our sisters' reunion at my mom's house in June. Had a great time, wish Jen could have made it.

Sara did an internship on Orcas Island and stayed/played with us a little before and after. This is at Pikes Place Market. Walking to the Oak Harbor 4th of July Parade. The kids all dressed themselves (as usual), check out James' socks!
James and Jillian put on a show called "the flying bears". Check out the cool wings they made for their bears.
This is a cat that began showing up at our place this winter...we named him Baby Kitty, or maybe that's his name b/c we were too lazy to name him. We've been feeding him along w/ our two cats. Don't know where he came from, but he loves any and all attention which makes him a perfect (purrrfect) match for Hannah.
Claire is our little dancing princess extraordinaire. Here she is in action.This was taken the day I was admitted to the hospital for Sophie's, I did not get dressed up just to go to the hospital...we were at church when we realized it was time to go. Here's Sophia Joyce...born on Oct. 19th.
Thanksgiving at our house w/ Nana and Papa.