Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last Sunday in Ranchos

It was sad to say goodbye to the ward we've spent the most time in since we've been married. There are a lot of good families and good people we will miss. Hopefully we'll still see them around the stake, and now we have our own house, there too!
When I was talking to some of the young women last week I said I would bring them cookies as a parting gift, and when Henry saw me making them he wanted to bring some to primary, and Thea got on board with that idea. The next thing I knew Henry had made the little box below. Henry is pretty sure staples, paper, tape, and felt came create anything. It actually worked so it was a done deal. 

I passed out the cookies to the girls just after sacrament meeting, and gave them all one last hug good bye. Then it was off to nursery with Leo. He actually was less upset about it and adjusted much more quickly than usual. Hopefully it won't be all undone when we move, and I'll only need to stay with him a few more weeks.  

Henry and Thea's sweet primary leaders let them hand out the cookies and napkins to all the kids, and say goodbye before they left. Our kids have had some wonderful teachers and leaders. We're so grateful to the wonderful people who serve in primary!

Then this evening we had the Eight is Great meeting. While we'll be in another ward when Henry gets baptized, we didn't know if they already had their preview, and Henry wanted to do it with his friends he knows in the ward. They did a great job, and we're so excited, and in a bit of disbelief that Henry will be baptized this June. 
(Henry's doodle before the program began)
And with the end of that, we said goodbye to our homeward. On to a new chapter.

Monday, January 25, 2016

We bought a house

I'm going to be a little short on time with testing for Henry and the whole packing business, but I wanted to make sure to at least record this kind of big deal on the blog. It's doesn't have a ton of curb appeal but it's fairly well maintained, has a covered patio, lots of trees in the back, new ac and furnace, a tile roof, 4 rooms so we can spread out from our current 2, and most importantly (and most scary) it it ours!

I'll be taking pictures as we get things settled in but we have a lot of decision making to do, and we probably won't be truly settled until the end of February but I'm hoping we'll be living there in the next couple weeks. We have lots of ideas for what we'd like to do to the house and property but we know it'll take time, and we'll mostly be having to be very careful for the next few years instead of worrying about big housing projects.

Wish us luck!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Back to Homeschool

I thought now would be the perfect time this month to keep my goal to blog about homeschooling. Henry's charter allots three weeks for Christmas vacation, and didn't technically resume until today. I decided instead to take the week before Christmas off so we went back last Monday at the same time as all the other adults in the house.
Going back to school, even when it's done in your home, is hard after three weeks of just playing and having a very limited, and flexible routine. This past week was pretty pathetic, and Friday I basically said to Hades with it, and let them run wild. I told myself we would start fresh on Monday, and so we did!

It's been a struggle to figure out a schedule with Leo's sleeping habits not being totally consistent, and Thea's interests changing, and often coming back to bugging Henry or needing to have his attention and help playing. It's also hard because Henry seldom wants to do any assignments without my presence. I knew that needed to change so I went back to what I had tried at the beginning of last year, but hadn't worked hopefully because he was still just a little too young.

So today I made a list for Henry of all his 'morning work' and told him it needed to be done by 10 and any time left before then once he finished was his. Thankfully he was game and he did some phonics, math, reading, and piano (this one I helped monitor a bit but less than usual) by himself. It was so nice to be able to get some cleaning up and organizing done for that hour! Thea and Leo even played together in Thea and Henry's room which does not happen often. Hopefully I won't always have as many things to catch up on in the morning and I can dedicate some of this time to more direct play with Thea and Leo. Afterwards we read 'Little House in the Big Woods' together then pulled out the watercolors and paint until Johann got home for lunch.

After lunch Thea put herself down for a nap in her bed, I did a little folding while Henry worked on his own book about one of the characters from this cool book we got them for Christmas. Then Leo decided he wanted to help me fold which meant it was time for me to put him down for his nap.

Once Leo was down, Henry and I got to finish up a lesson we had started last week from Moving Beyond the Page and then read another chapter in 'Little House in the Big Woods.'

Hopefully we can follow this basic schedule from here on out on days that don't involve morning routine changes:

*Breakfast-get dressed-brush teeth-comb hair
*Henry independent work-Thea & Leo time with mommy for half-half mommy time to organize (or you know, shower, on those days when it doesn't happen earlier)
*Some free time-reading together-art projects
*Nap for Leo-more in depth lessons with Henry-busy bin or other activity for Thea
*'School day' done!

If I could have things my way, we would get all the school work and lessons done first thing after breakfast and not have to worry about anything after 12pm every day, but I've realized that's just not realistic with two small ones that are not being formally schooled yet and will not just play quietly while I teach Henry. It also doesn't work with doctors appointments or trips to the store in the morning etc. This way I'm hoping to protect the one on one time for teaching Henry so that when we're going over an important lesson or concept there is consistency because we need to be home during Leo's nap time basically every day anyway. Day one down, here's hoping day two goes as well!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's Goals

My brother was telling us that while on his mission he and his companion made wrist bands with the letters "WWGBHD" which stood for "What would Gordon B Hinckley do?" We talked about how much we loved and missed that incredible Prophet of God. A lot of the goals I've been thinking about making are right in line with a GBH mentality.
Last year when I was often frustrated I would remind myself of what his father told him, "Forget yourself and go to work." Too often I thought of that as just working myself down until I had little left to give, but I think I've realized now it's more about forgetting your ego than ignoring your feelings, sense of identity or level of stress. So for example, I shouldn't worry if I can't or don't bring nice home made cookies, I should just pick some up and know the work I did will be enough even if the work doesn't reflect on some ability of mine. I think this also has to apply to other people and their work-I can't sit there feeling wanting, out done or envious of someone else's work that may have involved a skill they have that's being praised.
With those things in mind, I think I like this GBH quote for the New Year:

What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: "Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve." 
'Words of the Prophet: The Spirit of Optimism,' Ensign, July 2001

This especially hit home to me while I was at Glen Ivy for my mom's birthday. I was getting a massage and the massage therapist was talking about religion, politics, ecology and was negative about almost all of it. Even though I'm probably more of a Debbie Downer than not, even I had to finally say I felt like there is always hope and that I've seen the evidence that there are many good people who are trying to do right. It's also amazing how much harder it was to relax with all that talk going on. I don't think it means I plan to ignore the reality of things this year, but to see in those situations how I can contribute, create and achieve. Here are some of the goals I want to accomplish this year.

1. Attend the Temple 8 times
2. Make a monthly budget and keep a record of all spending throughout the month
3. Be more supportive of others' creative endeavors by subscribing to podcasts, blogs and webcasts. Be involved by commenting and contributing etc. 
4. Make a family photo album
5. Finish transcribing my dad's first journal
6. Read President Hinckley's biography
7. Have six lessons (one per month) on baptism for FHE to help prepare Henry
8. Buy a house (we're in escrow right now, but until we've moved in, I'm going to hold my breath!)
9. Blog 4 times a month, once about homeschool
10. Take family photos!!!
11. Exercise 3 times a week
12. Read a book a month

Happy New Year, wish me luck!