Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nurturing the home


“May our families and homes be filled with love: love of each other, love of the gospel, love of our fellowman, and love of our Savior. As a result, heaven will be a little closer here on earth.

“May we make of our homes sanctuaries to which our family members will ever want to return.”

Thomas S. Monson, “A Sanctuary from the World,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Feb. 9, 2008.

Isn’t that a beautiful thought? I want our home to be like this always, but true, there are crazy days, and peaceful days. Lately, the boys and I have been enjoying books from the library, home made playdough, and a couple of cheap, blow up pools in the back yard. (Sadly, the big plastic one got too many cracks.) I love reading to my boys, but it gets a little hard to breathe. We sometimes will sit all together in the recliner chair, with a boy on each side. It’s great snuggle time, but my belly is getting so big, and I can only last one book, and then we have to move so I can breathe. Funny.

As school is starting everywhere, so have the homeschool activities in my awesome co-op. I went to a small seminar put on by my friends in the co-op, and learned more great tidbits of knowledge. Everyone introduced themselves, and stated how and why they started homeschooling. One dad said, “We didn’t want to get up early in the morning to take them to school. We thought this was a noble purpose to HS.” We all laughed.

My friend Jonelle instructed us that day. One thing I loved hearing was that she learned the most when they took their schooling from the table to the floor. I think the boys and I do that right now. We have a ‘story time’ part of the day, where I get a comforter on the floor and load it with pillows. We get some books out and read together for about 20 minutes. It’s great.

We tried some art time last week. Doing art stuff is sometimes challenging with the boys. They usually will go into destructo mode, and make a big mess. I got them each a little paint set, and let them go at the kitchen table. Kevin just wanted to dip his brush in paint, and eat the brush. Lovely. They much prefer playdough, and enjoy that one immensely.

As Ethan will be starting his first official year of school next year, I’ve begun to really search  for some curriculum we’ll be using. A sweet friend at the seminar showed me “Five in a row”, and neat study manual that does simple unit studies from reading books. The plus is that the manual is around $35, and the books used for it can be found at the library. I think it will be a good, affordable start to our curriculum. Also, the Homeschool Creations blog has tons of free printables and activities that go with Five in a Row. Added bonus!

For reading and writing, I found something called Primary Arts and Language reading and writing program. (PAL)

I asked on the LDS homeschool Facebook group about curriculum, and had a few rave about this one. I studied up on it intensely one day, and it sounds really good. It also had the Thomas Jefferson Education book on their website, which is a method I’ve been learning about. More good stuff.

For math, still working on that one. I keep hearing over and over again good things about Math U see. I’ll have to check it out.

I’m trying not to overwhelm myself the first year. Covering the basics of reading, writing, and math will be a good start. Once a week, maybe we can throw some fun science learning in there. Fridays, the co-op has wonderful activities weekly for fun social and learning. This weekend is an open house, tailored to those just starting this journey. I am so, so spoiled to have found the Share West yahoo group. They have helped tremendously helpful and provide so many great outings and get togethers.

I know I will learn a lot as we begin. It’s going to be very humbling. Not every day will be smooth sailing, but there will be much learning. Learning about Ethan, what his learning style is, what he loves and doesn’t love, and more. I hope I haven’t bored you too much with these homeschooling posts, but I want to share with you all the things I am learningSmile


The boys enjoying summer. Although I love the wet fun of summer, I think I am ready for the heat to cool down, and for the joys of Fall, and for Brooke to come out. Almost one more month left!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our vacation

At last, our summer vacation! It felt like it took forever to get here, and then it went by in a blink. It was such a great break, and it was wonderful to stay with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. We did a lot, and here’s the picture journey to enjoy.

We traveled down to Legoland. Got there early, and took the kids to the beach close by for a little bit. They absolutely loved it. I wish we could have stayed longer. Ethan was having a blast with the water and sand, saying ‘This sand is awesome!!’. Isn’t it great to hear your kids so happy?



Legoland was perfect, just the right size of park for the boys. We lasted about 4 hours, then they started to get pooped and fussy. It was such a fun place, the ‘granny apple fries’ were tasty, and I’m glad we came. CA has such fun amusement parks!


There was a waterpark at Legoland that we hit towards the end. Small, but fun. The boys loved the water dumping from the tower. I just wanted to stay in the water all day. I can’t live without water parks!


I got to see my friend Jenny again! She was still serving in the same area from last year, in CA Anaheim deaf mission for the LDS church.




The next day, we went to a museum that had a lot of fun stuff. It got crowded and noisy really fast, so we didn’t stay long, but we got some cute picturesSmile


We invested in a portable DVD player with dual screens for the trip. I hit the library and got some DVDs. Absolute lifesaver with young kids. The boys did so much better on this trip. Huge relief. They look so funny here, completely into their movie.


Slip n slide was a good idea to bring. Grass is such a luxury to be around!


Here’s my and my Aunt Jacquie, and us at the park. The boys needed to get out of the house. I can’t even begin to describe the bliss of being outside at 4pm. The weather was so much cooler, and comfortable. It was in the 70-80s. Back home, its 105, and we usually get cabin fever by the end of the day, if we don’t make it outside in the afternoon. Being outside so much on vacation was such a treat.


Sadly, it was the last day, and time to go home. I got my big camera out, and took the boys on a little walk in the morning. Loved opening the door, and feeling a cool, wet morning hit my face. I couldn’t stop adoring all the homes in the neighborhood. They looked like sweet cottages. Everyone had some type of flowers, shrubs, or roses in their yard. Looked so beautiful.


CA trees are amazing!!IMG_9529IMG_9558

My funny and ever growing cousin Brian. Handsome! So fun to visit with Jacquie and just chat for awhile. Loved that.


Once home, it took a little bit to adjust to reality. Back to hot weather, working to get photo sessions, and planning for baby Brooke. I miss the trip, and wish for more, but so grateful that we could go and take a much needed break. My family was so sweet to have us, and help out with my crazy boys. Its always an unfamiliar yet wonderful feeling for us to be around extended family. I treasure it.

Hope everyone gets a chance to go on some vacation this yearSmile