Sunday, February 27, 2011

Valentines Day fun!

We had fun getting together with our school group to make mailboxes, exchange Valentines and have lunch together.

Mom and LN ready for church. LN is in LOVE with shoes. She brings them to us and persuades us to put them on her. She especially loves her moccasins.

Since LN's birthday is so close to Valentines, I hope she will like red and pink and all that stuff!

Friday, February 25, 2011

School Stuff

Those out of control unions in Michigan are one reason I choose to home school.

Someone recommended this great article about home schooling. It's basically one mom explaining the why and how of her decision to home school. I know not everyone can do it, and I'm not even suggesting that at all. If I had things my way, my children would go to classes or activities organized by parents a couple days a week, or for a part day. The parents could hire teachers or teach themselves if they are able. Since that doesn't exist here (our home school group is made up of mostly early elementary children), we do our best with what we have. I really liked this article:

Our home school group was recently featured in a local magazine, however, since it's not online I have no idea how to cut and paste it here. It was a nice article though.

Since I'm talking about school stuff, I found a history author that I have found to be exceptionally fair, well written, and fascinating! I've read two and a half of his books and have three more on my night stand because I love learning about history. His books are written for younger readers, probably through high school which basically means you can understand them and you want to read them rather than having to force yourself to read them! (I've been forcing myself to read a history of the Irish Potato Famine and as a contrast, this author tried to make it as utterly boring as possible. I'm so glad it's almost over.)

So I wanted to share this great author with you. Check out this link for a list of his books.

(I read Quanah and Aztecs and Spaniards, and am reading about Vietnam.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Lei-Lei!

She made it! Leia Nora is 1!!!

Turning off all the lights to sing and blow out her candle kinda spooked her. Look at her cute spooked face!

Below is the crown D made for her! Pat and I got her that balloon. We should have waited until she was 2 for it though. She didn't seem to care much.
First dip of her fingers into the whip cream frosting and she thinks it feels weird. She got over it quickly though!

This is the present Sam made for her!
This is the present Evan made for her. Notice the grocery store twist tie that he made into a ring for her. The boys decided to make the presents all on their own and suddenly appeared with them! They are kind brothers.
A few of her favorite things: BATHS! She comes running (okay walking as fast as she can) whenever she hears the water. Below she is pictured infiltrating Sam's bath. She also loves playing with her brothers and we are turning her into a Wiggles fan also! She loves their music and so do we! She also LOVES her pacys (pacifiers). She likes to suck on one and have an additional one or two in her hands as back up. She rotates through them. I think this is funny since she is my first baby to ever use a pacifier.
We are working on teaching her animals, and she is becoming a good eater. REAL messy, but good. And no more buying formula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was reading my personal journal about all the trouble I had being ill for weeks after her birth and having more trouble nursing than I'd ever had before which is really saying something, and how horrid the weather was, and seriously I think it's a miracle we are here at her 1 year birthday! What a blessing! (I'm still upset that the hospital wouldn't let the boys come visit because of the H1N1 thing.)

This last picture cracks me up because I was just getting a shot of LN's balloon hooked onto the back of her pants, and suddenly I heard a big scream. I turned off the camera and Evan was crying saying Sam pulled his arm. I asked Sam and he said he didn't. So I checked the camera and it became quite clear who was telling the truth...

Now I know my sister will be a little disappointed with these festivities. I mean for her first birthday there were at least a hundred people there, and we killed three pigs and there was a wedding cake and all...

...but Steph, we can't all party like it's 1986 (and you're in Tonga).

Coloring the Bench

Remember this storage bench we built over Christmas break? Well, we finally colored the top!
Breaking down the details- in the below picture you will find: The Oakland Temple, New York City, a forest colored by Evan, train tracks, a farm, a volcano, two dragons, a crocodile swamp, and the following stores- Sam's Automotive Repair, Linda's Pets, Sunny's Salon and Barbershop, Daddy Pat's Ice-Cream, Karisa's Food Place, Patrick O'Mullen's Bookstore, and Steph and T's Clothing Store.
In the next segment below you will see: a Pirate Ship, Desert with snakes and cactus by Dallas, Airport with airplane and helicopter, Beach with crab, shells, a whale, and Uncle Ricks Navy Ship, LN's Castle, a New Mexico Pueblo colored by Sam, Dallas' Amusement Park, Hospital, Evan's Toystore, Jeremy's Professional Painters, Brenda's Newspaper Stand, Firetruck and House, and the Library.
In our last segment you will see: The School with Playground and Soccer Field and School Bus, Smith's Grocery, Target, Two Indian Villages with Buffalo, Papa Scott's Post Office, Our House with garden, swing set, trampoline, tree house, orchard, and running track, neighborhood, and swimming pool. Hey we can dream right?
Now someday I must make a pad for sitting on and then it will really be finished!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ready for spring!

I just want my green grass again, and to see my trees growing, and to garden again, and throw open the windows! There is so much snow here, and it has reached temperatures here lately in the negative teens- colder with the wind chill, and I have no desire to leave my house.

Everyone in our family has been battling colds for the last 2 weeks, and yesterday, I finally succumbed. I hate sore throats.

Luckily while we were driving to California and back, the only one who was sick was LN during that whole trip. (It wasn't pleasant, but at least the drivers weren't sick.) Everyone else fell sick after we returned home. Poor Leia is still sick. That's 2 1/2 weeks for her and it hasn't let up at all during that time. I wish I could have nursed. I bet she would be better off with my antibodies.

Pat has been sick for a week and a half and comes home and falls asleep. It took all his strength to wake up for Family Night and LN's birthday party. I am getting worn out doing all the kids all the time. Maybe that's why I finally got sick. Anyway...

Drinking broth. Check.
Echinacea w/Goldenseal.Check.
Vitamin C. Check.
Raw honey.Check.
Fresh lemon juice.Check.
Lots of water.Check.
Ate an entire head of raw Kale.Check.
Other fresh fruits and vegetables.Check.

Now chant with me. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away.....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grandma Mary

We'll put up some more personal stuff later but for now a slide show of Grandma Mary's 100 years of life (Parts 1, 2 and 3)!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pinewood Derby

Congratulations to Dallas! About two weeks ago he participated in his first pinewood derby. He won GRAND CHAMPION over all!
We are proud of him for his hard work!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhog Day and Chinese New Year and Sacto

Yesterday, Sam walked out to the room I was in and said, "Happy Groundhog's Day!", which I thought was weird because who in the world knows that holiday? The only reason I knew he was right was because I looked at the calendar. Then I remembered that D had bought him a $1 pocket calendar for Christmas and he apparently checks it daily for something to celebrate.

"Do you want to come to our party?", he then asked.
I said, "Sure!", and not knowing what to expect in a groundhog's day party. I walked into their bedroom where indeed they looked to be having a party, but since I couldn't get up in the top bunk where the party was being held and there wasn't much to do, I did a dance with LN and then left.

Just now, today, Sam said, "Mom! It's Chinese New Year!"

I said, "Oh! You're right Sam! We should do something... "
(I had meant to incorporate some art project into our schooling for that today, darnit!)

Sam responded with an idea, "We could send them a package."

"Who..............", I asked, "..........the Chinese?"

"Yep. Maybe we could send them some Chinese food."

Isn't Sam just awesome?
By the way, we just took a whirlwind (remember: things that suck) trip to Sacramento for Pat's Great Grandma's (on his mother's side) 100th birthday party. The party was on Saturday, and a couple days before that, I just turned to Pat and said, "WE ARE GOING TO THIS PARTY!" After he let that sink in, he started jumping out of his skin with excitement. I think there were about 200 people there and we were so glad we went! My children actually have a Great Great Grandma who is alive and turned 100 last week!

Unfortunately I never took a single picture, so I'll have to wait until they send me some. We did get a 5 generation picture luckily! Several people including Uncle Stephen performed funny recitations, sang songs (chocolate ice-cream cone), guitar, banjo, piano, and violins were present, there was a slide show of Grandma Mary's life, lots of potluck food, a huge cake in the shape of a piano, and LOTS of family that we never get to see and miss a lot! I think someone said that Grandma Mary has 160-170 descendants (children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren) and most of them were there with their spouses such as myself. And she only had 3 of her own children!

There were babies everywhere and hardly a place to sit down! It was so nice to sing 'Happy Birthday' and then 'How Great Thou Art' with that many people while Grandma Mary herself played piano. Since it was at Pat's Uncle's house which has one gigantic room, the singing just filled up the space rather than being lost in say a church building, it was so beautiful. And Mary looked so beautiful. Seriously, folks, she's holding up better than myself, I can tell you that. She looked like a princess. When Pat sat next to her and held her hand and said, "Happy Birthday Great Grandma", she replied, "Happy Birthday. Who are you?"
It was awesome.

The best part about the trip is that we surprised everyone. Friday afternoon we were about 2 hours out of Sactown when I called my sister and told her where I was and she FREAKED OUT on the phone. She had to keep taking breaks so she could breathe. So we stayed with her and T and had a superfun time. She introduced me to Nutella, and T had lots of Samoan desserts that were so delicious, and she let us take over her house and she bought us groceries and fed my family and it was great. Then when we woke up Saturday morning we went to Fairy Tale Town with them and Kim and Elle and my mom. Jeremy and Kim had been in on the secret and had asked Steph to take them to FTT so that we could show up last minute and join in. Then after FTT and the duck pond and maze, we had Togo's and Leatherby's ice-cream to top it all off. Some of the best things about California all in one day!- family, Fairy Tale Town and the food! (We seriously miss California.) The boys were really cute with their cousin Elle. My sister got pictures, but once again, I failed.

Then we went back to Steph's house and got all washed up and into our nice clothes for the party, and Steph did my hair and we were off to surprise Pat's family now! Pat was so excited, he was hilarious. After making it through the crowd a bit, Pat finally saw his sister Amanda and yanked on her hair. She turned around and started SCREAMING! It was so fun. Beth freaked out next, and everyone was all smiles. Our boys got lost in the outside yard of at least 50 other kids that they are somehow related to, and had a great time. It was so good to see everyone and to get to stay with Pat's family the next night. All the cousins were there too, made up of my children, Taylor, and Lyla and Dean! We got a hilarious cousin picture because two of mine were not in the mood.

The thing that was hard was having to leave so quickly but it wasn't a time Pat had planned to take off work so we really had to get back quickly and the awful storm was coming and we had an 18 hour drive home. I found out later that when we left Monday morning that we should have stopped by and helped my brother Jeremy unload his truck. He had just arrived Monday morning from his drive across the country from New York, and we should have been helping them unload their moving truck and get settled and at least SEEN him before we drove home, but we didn't realize. Steph didn't call because she didn't know Pat's parents number, and we didn't call because we forgot and once we got in the car, we couldn't find our cell-phone. Hey- have you ever seen six people try to take a long trip in the car? We could barely move at all.

If we had gotten on the road even 1 hour later we probably would not have made it home. There were so many bad accidents, and at times on the road it was a complete white-out. I never pictured New Mexico being so snowy and cold, but as soon as we crossed the border into New Mexico it went down hill fast. Last night it was -14 here, and we have been stuck at home since we pulled into our driveway after the long trip. We made it safely though, for which we are so grateful! The two biggest storms Albuquerque has seen was the 2006 storm and this one, and we were driving home from visiting California in BOTH of them. Crazy how we plan things.

Evan cried a lot on the trip and said he never wants to drive that much again, poor guy. It was the saddest thing. He wasn't having a fit at all, just silently crying for want of movement, and wanting to be home. I was silently crying on the inside. LN was crying. But it wasn't silent.
Needless to say, we were glad to finally make it home!