Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The Christmas season is definitely my favorite time of the year!  Between last week and Christmas a member of our family will perform somewhere 3-4 times a week between now and Christmas.  I love it!  Eva gets to play the most--she will play on Temple Square three times, at Primary Children's, nursing homes, church, school a few times, etc.  Vince sang on Temple Square and has a few other things.  I got to play at our community's Santa Parade and I am looking forward to a couple of church things.  Christmas music is great!

We decorated our tree, set out our nativities, and hung a few lights outside.  Still--there is no snow!!  I'm starting to worry because we really need snow.  In the meantime I go out in the yard most Saturdays and fill a trash can with ornamental grass cast-offs, weeds, leaves, etc.  I love working outside when it's a little chilly.

Eva went to California with her cross country team.  She had a blast!  Her favorite part of the trip was a visit to Disneyland.  She came home with a little fever and huge amount of schoolwork complicated by the choir and orchestra teachers pulling her out of classes more this week but I can tell she is loving it!  

Ethan is loving that he doesn't have to perform any Christmas music this year but lamenting the fact that he has so many opportunities to attend music concerts.  He was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society and they are keeping them busy with service opportunities.  He's still enjoying Science club and sports after school. 

Ivy gets to sing in her school Christmas program--she loves the choir and one of the directors tells me she loves having Ivy there because she is so happy and her face glows while she sings.  There's no question that Ivy oozes personality!  She is ultra responsible with her schoolwork and loves to read!!

Nathan misses piano lessons but he enjoys a little more free time.  I finally hired a tutor to help him with the homework and that's been wildly successful.  A 13-year-old neighbor comes over for an hour each on Tuesdays and Thursdays (I pay her $5 a day) and helps him.  The first day I was excited because when they were finished there was only about 20 minutes of work left.  Every day since they have finished EVERYTHING in the one hour!  I'm so grateful!  I still help Nathan with stuff but it seems like we have time to actually just visit about stuff non-school related.  

Nathan's teacher has timed tests for multiplication and trying as hard as he can Nathan just cannot get all the problems answered in the allotted time.  This was more frustrating for him because kids who do finish it get to have a "free recess".  Which was very frustrating for me.  So I told him if he does his very best I will check him out of school for lunch.  We've been twice--the first time he missed the end of the test by 6 problems and this last time by 4 problems.  I'm grateful I've learned to celebrate progress.  Nathan and I have had delightful lunches together and he's still working where he very nearly gave up.

I know I write more about Nathan--probably because that's where I'm growing more as a person.  And I need to remember what I'm learning so recording it somewhere seems wise.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Birthdays, etc.

Eva turned 15 in September, got her permit, and started driving!!  Eva's a great driver!  I have been enjoying the "fun" parts of teaching a teenage driver.  Most of those things involve learning to drive the stick shift.  Like when I took that car to the DMV so she had to drive it home if she wanted to drive her very first time.  And when I brought that car to pick her up at the school after the cross country bus came.  Poor girl--the whole team watched (and giggled) as she killed the engine about five times and her mother just laughed out loud.  We all cheered when she got it out of first gear!!  I thought I would be a basket case with a new driver but it turns out that I'm not and actually I have really enjoyed every minute.  The great fun stuff is over now because she's already fairly proficient so I'll have to wait a couple of more years before I get another new driver to entertain me.

Eva had a great cross country season!  She had some wonderful times, ran varsity at region, and became one of the fastest girls at her high school.  Sadly, she wasn't able to finish the season as well as she wanted because of some severe shin splints.  Vince and I have some ideas about that and we've been planning her off season training schedule.  He and I are excited.  Eva not so much.  She's reluctant but willing because she hates her shin splints.  We're going to have to give her time to heal well before she runs much but she can do some things with me in the evenings and I'm excited because I need a lifting partner!

Ethan turned 13 last week!  He pretty much loves junior high.  He ran for student council which involved performing a skit in front of the student body.  My kids are amazing!  I was so quiet/shy there was nothing that would have convinced me to get up in front of a single class in junior high and say or do much of anything.  Eva and Ethan have not been afraid of anything in middle school.  As an adult I still hate going to that building (any jr. high and I totally know how irrational that is)--I do not have any fond memories of middle school!  He didn't get on the student council (47 kids ran for 4 positions--crazy!) but he is loving sports, art, clubs, math, and keyboarding.  He even enjoyed the sewing class.  He's pretty easy to please!

We have a four-day weekend this weekend and Eva and Ethan asked if I would take them and a few friends to the temple so they could do baptisms.  It means 3 trips to Salt Lake in 2 days for me but who am I to argue with my kids wanting to spend their free time in the temple!  They're already setting aside time to prepare names.

Ivy loves that there is 1-2 hours each Wednesday afternoon when only she and I are home.  We read together or cook dinner and once we made a huge batch of cookie dough to bake and freeze.  Ivy loves doing just about anything in the kitchen.  Yes, I kind of think that's weird but I like to encourage it because she's very often very willing (excited even) to prepare meals, etc.  She got a haircut the other week so now it's shoulder length instead of nearly to her waist.  It looks adorable on her and she loves it!

Nathan loves scouts.  He's a wolf now but if you ask him he will insist he's a "werewolf".  I've not been able to convince him otherwise; he just tells me that I'm not a scout so I wouldn't know.  I decided that was OK and I'll just tell everyone he's a werewolf--it works for both of us! :)   Tonight while I was cleaning up the dinner dishes I cut myself and couldn't find a band-aid.  Vince offered to get one out of the car first aid kit but before he could step out of the kitchen Nathan came in with his little first aid kit opened and was already getting an antiseptic wipe out to clean my small cut.  Then he opened a band-aid, put it on my finger, and gave me a hug.  It was so cute and he was so thoughtful and proud that he could take care of something and that he had a band-aid when no one else did.  Very sweet!

Vince is fairly busy as our Bishop but as a family we seem to have adapted really well.  Eva and Vince are often gone but the other three kids and I work together well.  The hardest thing for all of us is the 3rd grade homework.  It takes Nathan 1-2 hours a day to get all of his homework done.  I don't have that much time to sit with him but we've found that we can work on it in the morning if Ivy helps get Nathan's lunch packed and that if Ethan, Ivy, and I work together in the afternoon/evenings we can all manage to help him and get our own things done.  Last week there was one morning when Nathan didn't have as much homework to do and Ivy was running behind--he was so proud that he could make her lunch for her.  He spends so much time getting help from others that he feels so happy to do something for someone else!!  I think sometimes it's easy to forget the fact that we're ALL happier when we help others!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Nathan Update

In case you, like me, have been wondering if we are done with speech YET, the answer is...



BUT the speech professor says we are really about done with articulation.  We are now working on closing the language gap and there is NO concern about Nathan backsliding should we find we just can't keep up the speech routine.  That is exciting news!

Last Friday the clinician tested Nathan on irregular plurals (mouse/mice, etc.) and irregular past tense (we go; we went, etc.)--he clearly needs help with these!  I was secretly hoping, nearly expecting, that he would just ace whatever they would throw at him and they would come back and say something like "Wow!  Nathan really doesn't need to come anymore!!  Congratulations!!!!"  It would be sort of like winning the lottery.  No such luck.  YET.

I'm just reminding myself to be grateful that we can still come up with the time and money to make it happen. Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to do this--every time an obstacle presents itself and we think we will maybe have to stop something miraculous happens (a free car (at least it drives!), a job, a carpool).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bishop Olcott

On Sunday Vince was sustained as the Bishop of our ward.

So that's new.

It'll be a growing experience for our family and it is always a privilege to serve the Lord.  I can't decide if I feel completely inadequate to take care of most of the home and family concerns on my own or inspired by my Heavenly Father's obvious vote of confidence that I can.  Maybe I'm somewhere in the middle.

For our first date Vince took me rappelling.  I'd never heard of rappelling before and I asked my roommates about it.  They told me they thought it was kind of like bungee jumping off of a mountain.  I found that utterly terrifying.  I've never liked heights--my legs shake and I feel dizzy and nauseous if I stand on a ladder too long.  I wanted to cancel the date, but I really did like this guy and the Spirit said it would be OK so I decided that I would go and if it was that awful I would just walk back down the mountain.  Hiking I don't mind so much.  Imagine my relief to discover that rappelling is NOTHING like bungee jumping!!  It's more like walking down the side of a cliff with a support rope.  I was so relieved that I readily agreed to try it--once.  The hardest part was convincing myself to walk off the side of the cliff and over that first lip where I felt like there was no mountain beneath--probably because the lip obstructs the view of everything else.  It went so well I did it a few more times.  In fact, I even went once "Aussie" style which is face first.  I guess I wanted to make an impression.  :)

Right now I feel like I'm just starting an Australian style rappel.  I've spent the last several weeks staring down the cliff to see the bottom and I can finally just start.  All that waiting was horribly distracting because the longer I looked the more I wondered if I could really do it.  I haven't made it over that first lip yet and I can't see all the challenges I will have to rappel around.  I have a ballet (a person minding the rope at the bottom that won't let me fall).  Actually I consider all friends, family, and ward members to be the ballet--I know I can't totally crash and burn but with their support but I could still get myself in a lot of trouble and they can't do it for me.  I also have a firm grip on the rope--my direct line to my Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.  I have to really mind my grasp on the rope so I can receive the full benefits of the power, strength, and direction it offers.  But I make the comparison with the Aussie rappel because my left hand (Vince) will not be as available.  He will be there to catch me and stop me from serious injury bumping into sharp rocks, but this rappel relies more on my own right hand--more on my own ability to listen and respond to the Spirit to receive guidance and direction for our home and family.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Sunday there was a fire in the field behind our home while we were at church.  We were grateful that a neighbor was late to church and called it in.  There was no damage to any homes--we were very blessed!

Notice how everything burned except the thistle seeds?

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Eva posted some nice pictures on her blog yesterday.  Here's a couple of my favorites:

And here's a couple of pictures of my new nephew (Kevin's boy):

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Second Grade Spelling

This is a complaint post.  I hate second grade spelling.  All year, each week, the spelling lists have been nothing more than trickery and torture.  Here's this week's list:

phone                    graph
enough                   tough
stuff                       photo
laugh                     rough
puff                       cough
giraffe                    cliff

     Challenge Words:

Is it just me, or is it just plain mean to put ph, gh, and ff on the same list?  My son is so confused that last night he spelled puff: pugh.  I ask you--would that even be a problem were it not for this awful combination?  I have decided not to work on studying for this.  I have just given up.  Last night I showed Vince this list and said I don't even know how to help him study for this and Vince said he would try, which is when we heard pugh (puff), stugh (stuff), enugh (enough), etc.  He nearly had enough but this list also has ou and plain u for the short u sound.  Vince eventually gave up too, because he handed Nathan the list and had him spell it from the list because he was literally frustrated to tears.  It's a good thing it's the end of the year because I don't know that I can make myself work through any more of these.

I am curious, though.  I want to mention our difficulties and concerns to the teacher and if it were one of my other kids I would have a long time ago.  I wonder if it's just difficult for us because school in general is harder for Nathan or is this just mean for every second grader?  I sincerely believe Nathan hasn't learned how to spell anything this year--we've just been cramming and looking for weird exceptions that may apply to each specific tricky spelling list.

So really, I want to hear from other moms so I can decide if I should talk to the teacher to save next year's second graders or just wait it out and be glad we are completely finished with second grade spelling.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eva's New Love

Her new ipod touch

After months of saving it arrived today.

She spent all afternoon loading it with apps.

I realized she has more access to the internet than I'm used to which made me a little nervous


I saw that the first things she downloaded included:

The Book of Mormon study manual
A subscription to the New Era
Indexing program--she even tested it out

So I guess she makes great choices and I don't need to worry.
Too much.

Congratulations Eva!

I've even texted her already.


Even though we all know how much I love texting

Friday, April 13, 2012

O'Donnell Apologizes

I am truly sorry if I said something inaccurate about Joseph Smith, and I am happy to provide equal time on this show to correct any inaccuracy.
–Lawrence O'Donnell

I was glad to see the apology in this morning's news.   

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nathan's Baptism

Yesterday Nathan was baptized.  It was a big day for him!  He woke up early, helped with breakfast and the luncheon food, got dressed, and pretty much thoroughly enjoyed the spirit of the day.  He seemed relaxed, calm, and peaceful through the baptism and confirmation.  I had a sense of the Spirit enveloping him in our Heavenly Father's love.

It is weird to think that my baby is baptized--they grow so fast and life changes so much.  We had a sweet day with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I love having the little nieces and nephews over, which is funny because I can remember a time when little people just wore me out and I felt I was always sending them away. Now I actually enjoy the noise and commotion they bring!  Perhaps that's easier when you don't have "littles" underfoot all the time.   Yesterday we had a big Easter egg hunt with all the cousins--for me, the best part was watching the little kids try to stop their cousins from "peeking" at the dads hiding the eggs while sneaking peeks of their own.  Hysterical!

I love Easter.  I love that we have a day set aside to remember our Savior's triumph over the grave and to contemplate what it means for us in our daily lives.  I'm not good with words, but President Monson captures my thoughts this morning:

“With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the first fruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. ‘Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” ’

Happy Easter!!

Friday, April 6, 2012


Ivy and I have been reading Pollyanna together.  It's a touching story and we are enjoying it.  I love this quote from the book:

"A father one day said to his son Tom, who he knew had refused to fill his mother's woodbox that morning: 'Tom, I'm sure you'll be glad to go and bring in some wood for your mother.'  And without a word Tom went.  Why?  Just because his father showed so plainly that he expected him to do that right thing.  Suppose he had said: 'Tom, I overheard what you said to your mother this morning, and I'm ashamed of you.  Go at once and fill that woodbox!'  I'll warrant that woodbox would be empty yet, so far as Tom was concerned."

"What men and women need is encouragement.  Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened...Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues.  Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits.  Hold him up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out!...The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionise a whole town...People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts.  Tell your son Tom you know he'll be glad to fill that woodbox--then watch him start, alert and interested!"

It's a good parenting reminder for me.  I love this approach!  This is the most interesting/powerful part for me:  "Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened."  How true!  I want my kids to have strong resisting powers--they will need them in this world!  These natural powers are part of the strength their Heavenly Father has blessed them with to become eternal beings.  If I 'nag' the kids into doing what I think they should I risk weakening their resisting powers.  I'm reminded of the following message from conference:

Elder Wilson taught that when one tries to “compel someone to righteousness who can and should be exercising his or her own moral agency,” he warned, “we are acting unrighteously.” Instead, he admonished, “when setting firm limits for another person is in order, those limits should always be administered with loving patience and in a way that teaches eternal principles.”
Elder Wilson explained that compulsion created by unrighteous dominion prevents learning opportunities for those being coerced. He taught that parents need to be especially cautious of making this mistake with their children.
Perhaps parenting through encouragement is a way to avoid unrighteous dominion.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where I Write MSNBC

Today I wrote my first note to a news agency.  I'm disappointed, frustrated, ....  about these comments made Tuesday by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell:

"Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it," O'Donnell said on his MSNBC show. "Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith's lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it. Which Mitt Romney says he believes."

I suppose this package of lies is not new to O'Donnell--here's a quote from 2009:

"The more you know about Romney's religion, the more you want to ask him questions about it. Your religion was founded by an alcoholic criminal named Joseph Smith who committed bank fraud and claimed God told him polygamy was cool after his first wife caught him having an affair with the maid and who then went on to have 33 wives, and you really believe every word that he said and wrote?"

I don't know how a reasonable reporter could be this misinformed.  I believe The Church of Jesus Christ does a reasonable job of making information available and there have been numerous articles written on a national level that do a reasonable job of explaining our faith.  So I wrote a letter to MSNBC:

"I have gladly counted on your news service for world news updates but I have been discouraged to read about Lawrence O'Donnell's depiction of Mormonism.  The inaccuracies are staggering at best--a disgusting display of bigotry.  
"In my mind, the numerous spurious statements he made in regards to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints make me question the facts of any of your news reports.  
"I recommend that Mr. O'Donnell publicly apologize and correct his misstatements.  This is the least he could do.  Truthfully, if he had made such egregious remarks against another faith I believe the man would be fired.  I'm not certain that he shouldn't be fired in this case.
"I'm not demanding he lose his job.  But if no apology/correction is forthcoming I will choose to get my news from a more trustworthy source and recommend to all friends, family, and blog readers that they do the same.
"Thank you for your attention in this matter."  

I don't know that my little note will make a difference to the people at MSNBC but I feel better at having writing it.  If you want to write a quick note, here's the link:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10285339/

I clicked on "The Last Word" for Subject because that's O'Donnell's show.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Today we painted the front door and shutters and trim.  Now our shutters actually match the door.

And we did touch-ups on many walls inside.

I'm loving spring!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

March was lovely and now it's over! I accompanied nearly 30 music students in Ogden once Salt Lake several times, and locally numerous times.  It's one of my most favorite things to do and I love every minute!  Of course with work, teaching, family, and church there is not much time left for things like blogging.  Here are some other March highlights:

Eva played with the district orchestra--it was beautiful, of course.  She also earned a Superior rating from Federation judges for her solo violin work.  Last Friday she went to the state science fair and had a great time. She spent the day with friends--her friend's mom drove and chaperoned Eva that day.  They went to City Creek, the new mall in Salt Lake, and she was singled out among throngs of people and a group of friends by a talent director for a modelling agency.  She was wearing her medallion that day and the lady made sure to mention several times that they wanted to work with her and her standards.  She was flattered but she is not interested.  Whew!  Of course I know she's beautiful and a great worker but I'm scared of that industry!!  She said something to the effect of: "How can I do modelling while I'm practicing violin and piano and teaching and I want to run track?!  And I have school!"  Exactly right!  I love that girl!!

Ethan is loving scouts.  I subbed in his Sunday School class and was impressed that he tries to answer nearly every question and knows most all the answers.  It's clear he loves the gospel and thinks about it more than I had realized.  Eva tells me that her friends in that class say he is always like that.  It's neat to witness his testimony.  This Sunday he gets to speak in Sacrament Meeting.  He is my most thorough worker--and I look forward to when he gets a new zone because I know the deep clean will be done well on that part of the house that week.  For Nathan's birthday Ethan gave Nathan a set of coupons for chores.  He didn't think it was fair that Nathan wouldn't get a day off chores for his birthday.  Of course, I said Nathan could have a day off but then he wouldn't earn money that day.  Ethan also finished up his early morning advanced math class--he's loved it and he's looking forward to Junior High.  I'm excited to see what clubs/sports he decides to do.  He's thinking he wants to try to be the mascot when he's an eighth grader--he'd be great at that!!

Ivy and I were in charge of achievement days one day this month.  I wanted to change it because I was so busy but then realized that we were asked to plan it on Ivy's last day with this group of girls.  So we muscled through it.  She wanted to bake bread.  We borrowed some small bread pans and made bread dough with the girls and then gave them a small loaf of their own.  Then we made placemats for nursery snack time.  Ivy loves cooking and baking.  She looks forward to her night every week and volunteers to help in the kitchen all the time.  She still checks out cookbooks when we go to the library.  She's been growing her hair to donate and it's past ready but she's working on earning enough money to pay for her hair cut.  Maybe this week....

Nathan had an IEP this month.  He actually didn't qualify for special ed services in speech, writing, or reading.  It was shocking to everyone at the meeting.  However, he did qualify for math because he wasn't paying attention to the adding/subtraction signs that day.  No one is concerned about his math but since he qualified for that if we send him for minimal math help he can still receive services for the other.  And the speech therapist qualified him for conversational speech, since that is not yet perfect.  I was surprised at how nervous I was at the thought of receiving no services.  It's definitely bittersweet.  The past few months Nathan has made stunning advances at speech--the professor is literally giddy.  I have never seen him this excited for Nathan!  He mastered rhyming, syllables, sounds in words, most 3-syllable words and is working on 4-syllable words.  He is still working hard on retelling stories, describing things, etc.  This is very difficult for him but we have seen some progress--Nathan has told us a couple of stories in the last month or so.  His reading level as also taken a big leap.  His dibels fluency went from 37 words a minute to 51 words a minute.  It's still nearly a year behind where he should be but it's a huge jump!  His classroom reading aide and his teacher both noticed marked improvement.  I believe that his mind is developing and preparing for his baptism and consequent gift of the Holy Ghost which can only enhance this great growth!

Nathan also went to cub scouts for the first time!  The night before he put is shirt on and Ethan helped him make it perfect with the scarf and the scarf slide.  It was so cute!  Don't tell Ethan I described anything he's said or done as cute.  Let's keep that between us.  I couldn't believe how excited Nathan was--I hadn't realized how much he was looking forward to it.  He's working on saving money for day camp!

This week Nathan will finish reading the Book of Mormon!  He turned eight in March and will be baptized this Saturday.  It's weird that my baby will be baptized.  Every one of the kids has read the Book of Mormon before their baptism.  It has been easy for none of them and sometimes feels hardest on me but we have done it and it feels great that Nathan will finish.  There have been many times when it seemed it would be impossible but he's done it!!  This week we will need to read 2 chapters a day to do it and it's a bit more reading for spring break but when I gathered the kids this morning there was not a single word of complaint. They all know what it means to finish it and the older three are more than supportive of Nathan and willing to help.  It's a heavenly thing to witness this kind of support and love!

Aahhh, spring break!  We are spring cleaning and I LOOOVE it!!  The kids don't love it so much.

OK.  Maybe they hate it.

I don't care.

It's impossible for me to deep clean with work and piano and we are past due.  A clean house is marvelous!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Science Fair

Congratulations to Eva for getting an opportunity to be in her school science fair!  She did well there and moved to the district science fair, where she won the opportunity to be in the Region Science Fair at the U of U.  Way to go Eva!  Her project involved photography.  She used Vince's new camera to see how the flash was affected by different materials.  She has been at region before as a sixth grader and the whole experience was a bit stressful for me.  We didn't know anyone else going and I had to leave her there (alone) to be interviewed by judges all day.  I hated leaving her there all alone.  It turned out well but her school did well at district and there are 18 kids going--I'm pretty sure we can arrange some carpooling this time and I won't worry knowing that she'll have friends there!  :)

Ethan also had a project this year and he did great.  At the elementary level the kids are judged by volunteer parents and he was given a 0 in one category because his science board was green, and given another 0 by the other judge because they didn't notice his bibliography on the board.  I've judged those projects before and it's a tedious amount of work.  His teacher and the principal were disappointed and frustrated for him (as was Ethan) but these things happen.  Ethan did an osmosis project involving eggs.  Ivy is looking forward to working on a science fair project for next year.  I really hope/wish/dream they would just do them in the summer!  I'll admit to never looking forward to science fair!  Eva especially loves science but I never have--I think the whole thing is kind of a pain.  Luckily for me Eva loves it so much she's willing to help with the others!!

It's Solo & Ensemble season and I'm busy accompanying.  I love it--it's a great hobby for me and I look forward to it all year.  This year I am accompanying 7 students at the high school.  I predict that at least 3-4 will go to region, maybe more.  At region I will pick up an additional 2 students from a neighboring high school.  Luckily, region will be held at our local high school this year, which makes things so simple!  I often wish I could substitute some of my teaching time with accompanying time.  I have one student whose parents pay me to accompany as part of her practice time once or twice a month and I LOVE that--I wish I could find more of that kind of work!!

I've been contemplating going back to work to get my Masters degree.  There is a Therapist in my ward who has been encouraging me to get my Master of Social Work.  USU has recently made a Master's program available in my community and he even offered to provide the supervised clinical hours I would need to get the degree.  I thought the suggestion was kind of silly and laughed it off but Vince didn't.  I thought there was no possible way we could pay for that but was then remembered of some legitimate hometown scholarships that would help.  I still think it would be pretty impossible given my current schedule of teaching, working, and speech.  I can't give any of that up yet, as the teaching and working is helping to pay for speech and we can't change that for now.  But maybe when speech is over....  If I had my degree and worked in my field we could afford for Vince to get his master's.  For now I think I've decided to try to take the GRE this summer, or at least start preparing for it.  Then I'll wait until the time seems right.

Speaking of speech, it is IEP time at the school and so Nathan has been going through a battery of tests to see if he qualifies for services at school.  When the kids turn 8, the government says they must have a real "diagnosis" and not just "developmental delay".  Nathan's testing very well!!  So far he only qualifies for services because of math (no one is really concerned about his math--it's obvious he had an 'off' day).  This may change when they finish testing.  He may not qualify for any services.  This is bittersweet for me.  I'm sooo relieved and excited to see the results be so great but I worry about him not getting services.  I feel like it will  be completely our responsibility at home and while we generally take on that responsibility anyway, I'm not comfortable with it being concretely something we deal with ourselves.  It's scary because I'm not certain we have all the knowledge and tools to give him everything he needs ourselves.  To add to the angst, the speech therapist is even saying he will likely not even qualify for speech services through the school, much to the surprise of everyone else who works with him!  (The resource teacher even said that if that happens but that she still gets to help Nathan she would like to have language goals for him--I'm grateful for her--I know that language goals are not really her job.)  I don't think highly of the services they offer here but it has been a small comfort to know that if for some reason we couldn't get him to Salt Lake for services, at least he would have something here.  Maybe not so.  I feel discouraged that we may be 'forced' to continue what increasingly becomes more of a burden to get our son the help he deserves.  I'll admit that it was comforting when the mother that we are carpooling with me said last week, "I do not understand how you have been able to keep this up for so long.  We've only been driving once a week for a month and it's been a major adjustment.  I don't know if we could ever do what you've managed."  I wanted to hug her.  I know I complain about it a lot but that's because it really is so hard.  And yet we know it's so necessary so we keep plugging through it.  It's made all the difference in the world for Nathan and I know I should be grateful that we've been able to find all the resources to make it happen but it's still discouraging to know we're not done with it and we can't even see when the end will be.  And that we really may have NO option or help from public education.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This morning Ivy was recognized by her teacher as a Chief Example to Others (CEO)  Her teacher, Ms. M writes:

"Ivy is a great CEO student.  She has a true thirst for knowledge, and will not be satisfied until she knows ALL of the answers.  She tackles all problems head on, and is creative when finding her solutions.  Ivy is passionate about her learning, and will defend her answers to almost no end (we're still discussing/debating some answers).  Her resourcefulness in the classroom has proven her point of view many times!  She also is a model citizen in our classroom.  She listens to others and has thoughtful insights to add to writing, problem solving, or discussions.  Never let your passion for learning, and that drive to find the right answers, leave you.  It's powerful stuff!  Every teacher will love it!"

I'm very fond of this teacher.  She's new to our school and very young but I love pretty much everything about her teaching style, organization of the classroom, interactions with the students,...  I was impressed this fall when I first met her as Ivy's teacher and the more time I spend working at the school the more I find to like.  She's quite remarkable!  She's been great for Ivy who has literally blossomed this year.  She's matured so much and has learned to love learning--she hasn't always--I believe she's inspired by this teacher.  We're noticing a difference at home, too.  Like tonight, for example.  I had to drive to speech because the other car in the carpool was broken.  Generally, I'm home Friday when it's Ivy's night to cook.  I forgot to remind her this morning that it was her turn and I also left the cell phone at home so I couldn't call to remind her.  I didn't see her after the CEO meeting before school and I also didn't leave a note or tell her where any of the ingredients I purchased for her meal were.  So I was prepared to let everyone have sandwiches tonight and supervise Ivy's cooking tomorrow night.  I was so pleased to come home (and it's been a looooong day--one of those days) to find a warm meal on the table, which was set and ready for the family.  She baked chicken drumsticks, oven potatoes, cooked some green beans and added salad.  She had to wash, cut and season those potatoes.  We're very proud of Ivy!  It's a blessing when the kids become more responsible than their mother--maybe I don't need the cell phone anymore!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm sure most of our family heard but in case you didn't the big news at our house last week was:

Nathan was hit by a car.  Truly.  BUT the other big news is that he literally walked away.  The car ran over his right foot and that was all.  Two police cars and two ambulances came with lights and sirens, so it was a little dramatic but it turns out he's fine.  I was teaching piano when I got a call from a good friend (it happened near her house) that I needed to come "right now because Nathan was hit by a car".  She told me that he was OK but that he needed me and I ran straight down there.  I had a moment when I thought maybe she misled me about the seriousness when I saw the emergency vehicles and that was another scary minute but she was right.  We took Nathan for X-rays of his foot to be certain he was OK and he was.  He stayed home from school the next day because his foot was bruised and a little swollen but the swelling decreased by noon and he was running and playing like normal the day after that.  We know we are watched and looked over!!

The other positive side of this was the teenage driver that hit Nathan was wonderful.  He felt terrible, of course, but he stopped his car, checked on Nathan, called 911 and was respectful and showed a very strong character.  He was on his way to his Eagle Scout project and the sun was in his eyes and he didn't see Nathan crossing the street.  I jokingly (OK--maybe half jokingly) said to Vince that we should tell the boy that since he ran over our son he should take Eva out on one of her first dates.  He (not jokingly) said "Not THAT's a good idea!"  Eva wasn't sure she agreed--the boy is cute and all but she doesn't want us setting her up.  I guess the good part is that it restored our confidence that maybe there are nice boys around here that we might think are OK for her to spend time with.  Refreshing after the previous weeks' experience.  Can you believe she'll be 15 this year?!!

This week my only goal was for our home address to not be taken in any police record.  Saturday is not over but so far, so good!