Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Homeschool - take 2

A couple weeks ago my husband and his friend built a wall in our house. Ever since we moved in this house we've been wanting to close in the office a little more and add wall space for more desks or shelves. So the wall went up and plans were made and over the next few months we're going to paint and build and organize the office so that it can be our new homeschool room.
Ever since I homeschooled Trevor in 4th grade I have said I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed it. For the past couple years, in the back of my mind, I have thought about bringing all three boys home and being their teacher. Recently, Dave and I have been talking about it, thinking and praying and we really feel like this is what we need to do for our family. We love the schools our kids go to and their teachers. We love the experiences they have had and the opportunities they've been given at school. I feel very torn between keeping my kids in school and taking them out. I am sad that Logan will miss out on having some teachers I love. I have debated back and forth because I know if I homeschool my kids I probably won't be able to work. I love teaching, I love working with kids and being at school. But I think this is the time I need to be a teacher to my kids.
We are going to try something different for Trevor. We enrolled him in this online charter school. We're excited to see how Trevor does and what kinds of things he's able to learn. It will be different and challenging, but he's getting more used to the idea. I will teach Colin and Logan on my own. We want the boys to go to high school - either one of the amazing magnet schools we have here or the Community College high school program. We know it's not going to be easy and there will be crazy days and I am sure I will question my abilities and wonder what I was thinking, but I have high hopes. I know it's what we need to do and that it will be good for our family. And in the meantime, I get to make lesson plans and design our school room.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Our year

We didn't send out Christmas cards this year with the customary Christmas letter. I just never got around to choosing cards and getting them ordered and instead of stressing about it I just let it go. One of the things I like to do this time of year, as I take down my old calendar and put up the new one, is flip through and months and see what we wrote on the calendar. It's fun to go back and remember birthdays and specials occasions and even things like my first day back to work or the little weekend we spent in St. George. Here's a little look back at what we did this year:
On Logan's 6th birthday I had to get up early and get across town for my Substitute Teacher orientation. I hated that I missed making his birthday breakfast. I had my birthday and we had the Pinewood Derby (Trevor's last one as a Cub Scout).

I served as the Day Camp leader for our Cub Scout Pack and had some planning meetings; Dave and I had a Valentine's date planned, but something happened with the babysitting we set up; we got to hang out with Darth Vader at the Blue and Gold dinner!

We on a garden tour with a friend and learned lots of good stuff, Trevor turned 11, got all ready for Day Camp and spent the three days at camp with Colin and I worked a lot. Spring is a busy time for substitute teachers. Dave quit his job and started his own company!

Trevor received his Arrow of Light award for Cub Scouts, had his first testing in karate and went to his first camp-out as an 11 year old scout, Spring Break and Trevor and I got to visit the middle school for an orientation.

Colin turned 9 and Dave turned 40. I wanted to throw a big party, but Dave didn't want all the fuss. Instead we had a weekend at a hotel, went to the movies, out to dinner, breakfast and massages. My nephew Riley had his Eagle Court of Honor this month and Trevor decided he wanted to get lots of Merit badges lie his cousin and it was Trevor's last dance Festival.

Beginning of summer vacation. Dave, the crossing guard retired. He has been the crossing guard since Trevor was in kindergarten and the boys loved him. I had the kids at school make him cards and letters and we surprised him with them all on the last day of school. We took a short trip to St. George to visit some friends, Dave was gone for a week for Scout Camp and my oldest niece graduated from high school.

A whole lot of nothing happened this month. Swimming, a family hike and not much else.

We ended the summer with a family trip to St. George. Trevor started middle school, Colin went into 4th grade and Logan 1st grade. I finally started to enjoy my days home with no kids and wasn't as sad with the house all to myself.

Went to Reno for Lauren's baptism, Colin started taking piano lessons, Dave had knee surgery and Trevor survived a huge rain storm during a camping trip.

October, November and December
Homework and holidays pretty much sums up the last 3 months of the year

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.