Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Parent's Guide To Surviving Middle School - Part 1

This kid started middle school this year. Seems impossible, I know. He's not old enough for that. I'm not old enough for that. I knew it would be a struggle for all of us and it would take time getting into the groove of things and getting used to all the changes. but so far middle school has been kicking our butts. It's not been all bad. Actually it's been pretty good. But as a parent, middle school has been like a part-time job. I feel like Trevor's personal secretary/assistant because if not for all the work I've been doing he'd be in bad shape. Maybe it's different for us - I have heard that girls do very well in middle school because they are typically more organized and that makes it easier for them. Maybe it's harder for us because of Trevor's ADD and his constant forgetfulness and lack of any and all organizational skills. Whatever it is, I have learned a lot and I am here to share what I have learned. Take notes, there might be a quiz at the end.
1. Teach your child how to open a combination lock long before the first day of school. It took Trevor 3 weeks, a You Tube video (yes, I'm not kidding), and a trip to Target for locks to practice with before he could finally use his locker at school. Do your kid a favor and make them an expert at combination locks by the end of 5th grade.
2. Find out who has classes with your kid and get to know those kids. Get their numbers. You will be ever so grateful to those friends when you can call or text them for info on homework and what is going on in class when your kid is clueless and forgets everything that happened that day.
3. It's never too early to check on your kid in class and find out what his grades are BEFORE the first progress reports go out. Teachers might think of Infinite Campus as an Infinite Headache but it's been my Very. Best. Friend. When your kid forgets to turn things in as much as my kid does you will be checking that website fifty times a day to get info and keep up on his grades and assignments. Which leads us into....
4. Don't be afraid to e-mail the teachers. I e-mail at least one of Trevor's teachers every week. I ask questions about missing assignments, upcoming projects, grades and his behavior in class. It might seem a little overbearing or that I am a helicopter mom, but seriously I don't want my kid failing 6th grade because I didn't communicate with his teachers enough. Which leads us into.....
5. When your kid's teachers respond to your e-mails or meet for a parent/teacher conference (yep, had one of those already) send them a nice e-mail thanking them for their time and cooperation and support. If you're a nice parent they will be more willing to work with you AND your kid. If you're a mean, cranky, annoying parent they might just ignore your e-mails.
6. This is a big one - be super organized. Teach your kid how to be super organized. It will be hard, it will take time, it will get on your nerves but it will be all worth it in the end when your kid goes to college and he can finally manage his time and turn in his assignments on the due date (I am hoping and praying this happens one day).
7. And the most important thing I have learned so far - when your kid wants to talk to you about what's going on at school listen, just listen. Don't try and solve his problems, or give him advice, or tell him what you would have done in that situation unless he asks you. Give him lots of hugs, tell him you love him no matter what and always listen to what he has to say.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book page paper flowers

A long time ago I made this wreath. I thought I was so crafty and that it turned out so super cute. I did really like it but when I got it out the other day to hang on the door it just looked a little old and sad and dated. It's those flowers. I decided I didn't like them anymore. I have seen cute flowers made of felt but then my sister mentioned making flowers out of sheet music and that made me think of my book page wreath which made me think book page paper flowers. So I looked on Pinterest and found this tutorial on making paper flowers and I set to work. I ripped pages out of a book I knew I was never going to read again and started making my flowers. The first few came out a little crappy and weird, but the more I did the better they looked. I always say I'm not crafty but I can sure follow directions well and appear to be crafty. Once my flowers were all made I used a blow dryer to heat up the glue on the wreath, carefully took the old flowers off and glued the new book page paper flowers on. I now have a cute back to school wreath. My kids and Dave liked it okay but they never get very excited about my crafts or decorations. Men. Check out my new and improved wreath!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our super fun and exciting Summer Vacation

Last year I wanted to take the kids on a really fun summer vacation. We had some money saved so I planned a trip to Lego Land (technically it was the weekend after Labor Day so it really wasn't a "summer vacation") and had a great time. We stayed at the Lego Land hotel, got hopper passes for the theme park and water park and had a really fabulous time. The kids still talk about how much fun that trip was. Well this year was a little different. With Dave starting his own business we've had to be careful spending money and decided we would not be taking a summer trip. We had other fun things planned, but a vacation was not in the picture. Then a sweet friend of mine offered us a free place to stay in St. George and we planned a fun little family weekend. I know St. George does not sound like the most fun and exciting place to visit but on our way home, when we asked the kids if they had a good time, Logan's response was, "It was as fun as Lego Land." What? Huh? And that was when it hit me. The kids don't care where we go or what we do or how much money it costs. All they care about is that we do something and we do it together. Here are some of the fun things we did:
Our first stop was the Wildlife Museum. The boys love looking at all of the animals.
This was Logan's favorite part of the trip
A treat at the Sweet Tooth Fairy. Colin used his spending money to buy Lego candy
We visited some Church History spots - the Tabernacle was the first and the boys like hearing how it was built and taking a tour inside
This was the first store in St. George. The shoes on the top shelf are original shoes that were sold at the store.
Brigham Young's Winter Home. 
A sister missionary from South Africa took our family picture at the temple's visitor center. Colin loved that this statue is just like the one he saw in Salt Lake (but the one in Salt Lake is bigger)

Walking around the temple 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fruit salad

I'm not the best gardener. But that doesn't keep me from imagining that one day I will have a garden/ yard that looks like this
or like this
or even this

It's a big dream of mine that one day I will have a really lovely garden. That the things I plant will actually grow and grow well. I have had a few successes. We had corn one year, green beans, carrots. I have little teeny tiny strawberries every once in a while and we did have 5 delicious peaches this year from our new tree. I always grow lettuce because that seems to be the only thing I am really successful at and the last few days I keep making Italian food so I can use our fresh basil. 
So today a box came for me. Inside was a Peach Sorbet Blueberry bush. It's supposed to have leaves all year - they get purple in the fall and winter and in the spring they green up and there are pink blossoms. The blueberries are supposed to be sweet and taste like peach cobbler with blueberries. When I read that I had to order one. And it was on sale! I planted it in the same area as my peach tree and then inspiration struck. I should have a fruit salad garden. So I went to work. I moved my strawberries from one part of the garden in with the peach tree and blueberry bush and moved my sad looking Clementine tree in there too. It's not the most lush looking garden but it's not too bad. And I imagine that it will look really pretty in the spring with all the blossoms. I keep thinking that if I keep trying, one of these days I will finally get gardening right. 
This is my pumpkin patch. It's growing so well this year, but I am not sure if I'll get any pumpkins. All I seem to have are male flowers so far.  I am trying to be patient and hope that one of these days a female will show up and we'll get at least one pumpkin this year.

My new Fruit Salad garden. My peach tree did really well this year and the fruit was so good. I transplanted the strawberries along the boarder so I hope they survive and don't die on me. The bush on the left is my new blueberry bush and the little branch in the middle is my sad Clementine tree. It still has green leaves so there is still hope for it!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The dorm room

When we first moved into this house we wanted all three boys to share a room. We were going to do bunk beds and a twin bed, but then I had scary images of boys jumping off the top bunk and trying to swing from the ceiling fan. So Dave just put their beds down and I loved it. I thought it looked like a dorm room. For a short time Trevor had his own room, but after sleeping on the floor almost every night in his old room we just moved him back. I love that they all share, but lately I have been wanting to make some changes to their bedroom. It's always a mess with crap everywhere and even when they clean their room they can only keep it that way for about a day. I knew I needed to get rid of the junk and that we needed more storage or something. I searched Pinterest yesterday and came across images like these:

If only my boys' room looked like a magazine page. But it doesn't. And I didn't want to go spend money on shelves or storage/organization stuff. So I used what I had, rearranged the room a little, threw away a bunch
of junk and ended up with a neat and tidy room. 
We don't have any shelves up for their stuff, so under the beds each boy has plastic storage bins for toys. I also used dresser drawers from a broken dresser under Colin and Logan's beds to store their pajamas since we don't have big dressers for clothes
I love these little storage cubes we got from Target years ago. They have held up so well and served many purposes. Logan's holds his clothes and Colin's is for all of his drawing notebooks and has a shelf for books
At night the boys get to sit in bed and read. Now we have some storage for books. I can switch out the books every month so they have new choices
A while ago we added a shelf/rack to their closet. After cleaning out all the junk I realize my boys really have hardly any clothes. No wonder Logan wears the same three shirts over and over again
Colin's side. The extra shelf/hanger space will be good as they get older and get more clothes. I wonder if they will still want to all share when they are teenagers...I hope so
I love how the beds are arranged now. There is still space to play and it's nice that everything can be stored under the bed or in the closet
And since their room was finally clean they all wanted to play in it together. We'll see how long that lasts.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Favorite 4th memories

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from 4th of July at my Grandma's house. I don't remember everything but the thing that stood out the most was me as a little girl, looking around at all the people there and thinking how lucky I was to have such a big family. There were always lots of aunts and uncles around, cousins to play with, my grandparents and friends and neighbors. You could never be bored because there was always someone there to be with or play with. Even when I got scared of the fireworks and ran in the house to watch form the front window, my cousin was there right with me. Last night my family and I all gathered at my grandma's house to watch the fireworks. There were aunts (just one uncle) lots of cousins to play with, grandparents, and a great-grandma. All night I watched my kids with their cousins. It didn't matter how old they were or if they were a boy or a girl or if they saw that cousin last month or last year, they all just got along. They all played and talked and joked and laughed. I love that my kids have their cousins to grow up with. I love that they are all friends. I love that, like me, they will look back and their favorite memories will be of the times they got to spend with their family. I'm so grateful to live where I live. To have my family close. To be able to have the religion I want, for my husband to have the freedom choose his job, for my kids to go to good schools with good teachers who love them. I'm so grateful we can sit outside at night and play and watch fireworks and celebrate the birth of our nation. Happy 4th of July!! (And Mom, I like Macy's idea - "We should have a cousin sleep over.")

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer Home Tour

Before we got rid of our cable TV, one of my favorite channels to watch was HGTV. I loved seeing how people decorated their homes. Since I can't watch those shows anymore, I love that lots of blogs do Home Tours. Picture after picture of immaculate homes, fun decorating ideas and me dreaming about what my house would look like if I was crafty and talented in the area of home DIY. This past week, as I was getting ready to have my kids home for the summer I checked out this Summer Home Tour on one of my favorite blogs. There is also a link to even more homes to look at. After looking at all the beautiful homes I was inspired to take pictures of my house and share how we decorate for summer. Enjoy my own Summer Home Tour!
In our family room we usually have some kind of fort or tent set up during the warm summer months. The kids love to play in their special hide-a-way and it's also great when entertaining their friends.
We recently moved all of our toys in the TV room and made it the "fun room". In the summer we like the "tornado of toys" look. Since it's often too dang hot to play outside the kids will fight play in the TV room while they watch movie after movie after movie.

TV/Play/reading/let's make the biggest mess we can room

In the summer we like to decorate our kitchen table with paper, colored pencils, tape, glue, crayons, scissors and all other kinds of art supplies. 

Random paper crafts placed around the house for those fun pops of color

We like the "unmade bed" look in our home over the summer. It makes the house feel more casual and gives our home that "lived in" feel

Every now and then you can find a shirtless boy in pajama pants reading in his unmade bed. 

Towels are often found on bedroom and bathroom floors in the summer since we love to swim and no one seems to know how to hang them back up.

Storm troopers and Darth Vadar add to the playful atmosphere of our summer home!
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek into our home! How do you like to decorate for summer?