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:

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!