30 May 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gift–For Homeschool Moms!


I met these 2 amazing ladies at the TJED Forum. They were passing out bookmarks with this Manifesto on them, and I loved it.

Not only did I love the words and the message, but I loved the design and the colors.

Of course, it got dumped in my bag with everything else.

A week or so later I was trying to come up with a Teacher Appreciation gift to pass out to all the wonderful Mom’s and teachers at our TEACH Co-op. I remembered this lovely manifesto and was so excited to find out that they had it available on their website as a free download with the challenge “If our manifesto resonates with you, take it and claim it as your own!”

I did just that, and made laminated bookmarks to pass out to my fellow teachers and homeschool Mom’s.

I now need to grab myself a copy and place it with my scriptures so I can read it everyday – and memorize it – because I Want to make it my Own. I want to become the kind of person it describes!


The list of errands to run and projects to complete this morning before leaving town was longer than I had time to complete, but I was able to rearrange and combine a few errands and finished the most important ones. My house isn’t as clean as I would have liked, and the car was only on a quarter of a tank of gas when we pulled out of the driveway for our trip to La Grande, Oregon.

I had it all figured out though, Dr. Carter said I had to stop every hour and run around the car twice to prevent blood clots in my legs, and Ontario was an hour away and I knew we had enough gas to get that far. Since we had to stop anyway, we could get gas and I could walk. Perfect Planning.

Only that isn’t the way it happened. Somehow, neither Brad nor I saw a exit sign for Ontario, and neither one of us wanted to go Weiser, and we still had about an eighth of a tank of gas, so we just kept driving, sure that there would be another opportunity to gas up soon. I looked up a gas station on the GPS, and figured we would get there with about 20 miles to spare. Brad spotted the Texaco sign and we pulled off, only to discover that that station was no longer functioning. We drove another half a mile to discover that we were on our way to nowhere..

After turning around, we began to get worried. We were still 30 miles from Baker City, and we had no idea if there was a gas station between here and there. The GPS could find gas stations within a radius of about 5 – 10 miles, but when I programed them in I discovered that it would take me 20 miles or more to get to them, because we had already passed them, and would need to go to an exit, turn around and go back.

I had been silently praying for awhile by this time, worried that it was my fault that I hadn’t gassed up the car before we left, worried that Brad was worrying and feeling like it was his fault, and pleading for calmness, that this experience wouldn’t cause us to get upset at each other.

I asked Rebecca to explain the situation to the kids and ask them to pray. Kevin offered the prayer and we continued on our way. I encouraged Brad to slow down, and to coast down the hills to try and conserve gas, while I pulled out our travel club card and called to find out if they could locate a gas stations that was closer to us. The operator told me that the nearest station was Baker City, which was what we already supposed to be the case. He did confirm that if we ran out of gas they could deliver gas to us.

We continued driving, and I was texting my Mom and asked her to pray for us as well. I was thinking about asking Brad if we should pull off at the next exit and call for gas, so that we didn’t experience technical difficulties when the car ran out, when Brad spotted a very welcome roadsign. A freeway sign, indicating that gas was available at the exit in 1 mile. We were almost afraid to believe that it might really be true. We had already passed the vacant Texaco station.

Yet, we soon passed another sign indicating gas ahead in Durkee. We were hopeful, and prayerful that there would be gas available. Right by the EXIT their was a huge sign – GAS – and we could see the ancient looking gas station, and 2 cars in front – it looked promising. I told the kids the gas station was older than I was – the gas pumps didn’t even accept credit cards, but they did pump gas!

We got out to stretch our legs and use the restrooms (ancient plumbing and automatic towel dispensers). As we climbed back into the car we had a family prayer of thankfulness, we had been greatly blessed with a gas station, right when we needed it. In answer to my Mom’s text of “Where are you?” I was able to text back, “Durkee and full of GAS.”

I think we will all remember the lesson learned on this trip of the answer to our prayers, and to fill up with gas before leaving town.



My parents paid attention on their way through Ontario the next day and reported that the Ontario exit was not well marked, there was only 1 sign, under and overpass and immediately before the exit. I think that made Brad feel a little bit better about missing Ontario. Off course, my Dad wanted to tell me that Ontario had disappeared off the map.

25 May 2012

Isaac’s Good Samaritan

I was stopped at stoplight about 5 miles from home when I looked in my rearview mirror to discover a young man walking up to my car window carrying 2 baseball mitts. Out of curiosity I rolled down my window and he said, “These were on your rear bumper".

“Ohh, My!” I said in awe and amazement, and thankfulness. “Thank you so much.” and after he handed over the soaking wet baseball mitts he was gone and the light turned green as I rolled up my window and marveled at how blessed Isaac was the the mitts hadn’t fallen off my car in the previous five miles and that some stranger, a good Samaritan had taken the opportunity to return them to me,


Isaac and Jr’s baseball mitts (recreated)

23 May 2012

Power of Calm

The Power of Calm

I got this great CD at the TJED forum from Nicholeen Peck. I listened to it on the way home from forum and really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. I listened to it again today, and started to take notes, but since I was also working on the computer at the same time I missed quite a bit and my notes are incomplete. I really need to listen to it again, and actually take notes. I know that I can work on becoming more calm (yesterday was a bad day for example) and I know that my kids would enjoy being more calm themselves, they just have learned (from me) how to not be calm.
A funny thing, my friend, Patty, wrote on her blog yesterday a post that totally tied right in with my blog post. Check it out on her blog Shiver Academy – and the article The Real Baby Steps.

Notes that I got today.
Steps for having the Power of Calm

1. Power Struggle
If we aren’t calm then we feed our children’s anger.

As you can see out of the 6 steps, I only caught the first step.

Another Strategy – The Rule of 3
3 Things, 3 Times
Instruction – Out of Instructional Control
1. Pre – Teach
2. Instruction
3. Correction

1. Major Maintenance
2. Problem Solving (sodas)
3. Lose Privileges

Mom, Homeschool Teacher, Wife–C-

I am so thankful that I don’t have to work for a living. I have not been doing a very good job this last week or so of spending time on my priorities in life. I have let my self get really involved in a couple of  scrapbooking projects, that I am really excited about, and am really enjoying, but I realized today that I have let a lot of my other responsibilities slip . . . it is really showed today in my attitude and my kids attitude.

Grading myself a C- might even be to high.

I have done all that I can do on my scrapbooking projects unless I get some more information and pictures from other people. I have sent out a bunch of emails and facebook messages today, if people don’t respond I guess they will just get empty holes on their scrapbook page. I really hate to do that – but I can honestly say that on this project I have honestly done my very best.

Which is a lot more than what I can say about my mothering skills this past week. So, I now resolve that tomorrow I will spend time with my kids. I won’t work on my scrapbook project until after storytime, and then I will limit my time to 1 hour. Then I will focus on my family again until after the little kids are in bed.

Tomorrow, I will focus on my priorities – That of being a Wife, a Mom, and a Homeschool Teacher.

21 May 2012

Mutella & Crackers

WP_002572The past 2 weeks have found MaryAnn covered in nutella about once a day. When she is hungry she asks for “Mutella and Crackers”. She often gets Kevin to help her and then after about 20 minutes of peace and quiet I have a table and 2 happy kids covered in a sticky chocolate substance.

Last week we were out of Nutella and I was supposed to by some at the store, but I forgot when I went to Costco. I had a disappointed(read crying) little girl on my hands.

The next day I was telling Grandma Georgeson about how much MaryAnn loved Nutella and that I had forgotten to by her some. Grandma pulled a brand new jar of Nutella out of the cupboard and gave it to MaryAnn, she was so excited to have her own jar of Nutella!

Today we were at my parents and MaryAnn was hungry and asked if Grandma Glasgow had “Mutella and Crackers”? Grandma Glasgow also loves Nutella so MaryAnn was able to have her favorite snack. I got in big trouble when I tried to eat a couple of her crackers.

19 May 2012

It’s Here–It’s Here–It’s Here!


My book arrived today! I am so happy with the way that it turned out!

I have been working diligently for the past couple of months on this scrapbook to take to the McKenzie reunion next weekend. I love being a investigative reporter, digging through pictures and trying to piece together stories to turn into beautiful digital scrapbook pages. I am so excited to be able to share this one with my extended family at the reunion next weekend.

Eternal Marriage - Let Me Scrapbook<br />

This is the cover of the book. I had it printed as an  8 x 8 softcover at VIOVIO.com. The processing and shipping turnaround was great. The cover of the actual book looks more green than blue – but the rest of the colors in the book look just like on the screen. The price was amazing – this book has 34 pages and it cost less than $20!

I’ve been using Snapfish to publish my books – but I think I am switching to Viovio now. I have no complaints about Snapfish, their user interface is better than Viovio, and if you watch for coupons and sales you can get great deals. Viovio’s book designer was kind of a pain to use, but I uploaded this book as a PDF and that was so simple and the price is right!

18 May 2012

4 Stitches

The boys had all gone on a Father’s and Sons Campout with Brad’s Dad, Keith. I was busy working on scrapbooking when Patty showed up to crash Emily’s birthday party, she had brought 5 girls with her, and didn’t want to drive back later, so we were visiting. My cell phone rang, I noticed it was Brad and said, “Weird, he never calls me,” and immediately worried what was wrong.

A Mother’s heart knows, Kevin needed to be seen by a doctor, he had tripped and ran into a post, and ended up with hole in his cheek, right by his lip. I told Brad to take him to the Hospital in Nampa, and was going to calmly go back to visiting. Brad, however, had other plans, he wanted me to come go to the hospital, so he could go back to the campout, all their stuff was still there afterall.

I agreed to meet him and told him to send me a glympse and I would send him one and we would figure out where to meet along the way. I quickly refilled my water bottle, asked Patty to chaperone the party, pointed out that there was food on the counter that needed put away and headed out the door.

As I pulled out of the driveway I offered a prayer, and then I realized that I didn’t want to go by myself. I was worried that I might need to hold Kevin, and reading a map while driving wasn’t safe, so I quickly called Brad’s Mom and asked her to drive me. She had already heard from Keith so she knew the situation. I stopped at her house and we headed out towards Kuna to meet the boys.

Glympse made it so easy to meet up, we only waited about 20 seconds for them to arrive. Kevin was bandaged up nicely so I didn’t even get to see what had happened until we were already in the ER room. While we waiting to be admitted, Kevin wanted to play on my phone. He didn’t want to talk or drink, it hurt his mouth to much. After the Doctor examined him I took this picture.


Kevin was so brave, the injury was to close to the mouth to use numbing cream, so they had to go straight to the needle of lidocaine. It seemed like tiny needle, but a big syringe to me. Kevin barely even twitched with most of the pokes (there were about 5) but he did squeeze my hand tight and said “ouch” once or twice. The doctor was really impressed with Kevin’s stillness and bravery.

It took a while for him to get stitched up, the doctor said it was in a very tricky place on the edge of the lip. He put one stitch deep inside, and 3 on the outside. The should dissolve in about 5 days. After he was all taken care of I wouldn’t say he was talkative, but he did talk a little bit. He never had dinner, but didn’t want to eat, but I did manage to get him to try a little bit of ice cream, after the chaos settled down.

We arrived home about 10:20pm. Almost everyone at the party was still there, including a few more adults. I showed them Kevin’s picture  briefly told them about Kevin. The kids tried disappearing downstairs so the adults could talk, but I needed to have my house to myself so I could tuck in my little ones and recoup myself, so I kicked them all out. I thanked Patty for coming and crashing the party, it was a huge blessing that she was there and I could just walk out and leave a houseful of teenage girls without worrying.

I finished eating my Pizza while listening to Emily and Rebecca tell me about the party. It sounds like everyone had a great time, Emily’s friends gave her some very nice gifts, and the party was a huge success.

I just gave Kevin some tylenol to help with the pain when the lidocaine wears off and he was able to drink some water with a straw. He is watching tv for a few more minutes, then it is off to bed with all of us.

17 May 2012

Check and Not Check

McKenzie Ancestors Scrapbook – Check

Bank – Check

Grandma’s Prescriptions – Check

Hunger Games Class - Check

Devotional - Check

House Clean

Dishes Clean

Kids Fed – Check (only because I didn’t have to cook today)

T.E.A.C.H. Co-Op Yearbook – Check

Kids in Bed – Check

Totally Exhausted – Check

Blog Post – Check

Signing Off - Check

16 May 2012

The Hunger Games

About 3 weeks ago I read the Hunger Games, after the first movie came out. I know, I know, people have been raving about them for years, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read them after a little research into the basic idea of the books. I remembered reading “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson the final day of my Honors English class my sophomore year, and felt that this series just expounded on that theme, and that it was a disturbing theme. I also was pretty sure I didn’t want my daughters to read them . . . at least not yet.

Rebecca finally convinced me that all her friends from co-op had read them . . .  and that she was old enough she could handle them, her Grandma agreed that she should read them, and Brad wanted to read them as well, so we finally borrowed the books from Grandma.

Rebecca stayed up until almost 3 in the morning finishing the first book, and Brad also made time to read every night. I still wasn’t convinced, and as usual I was to busy to find time to read, but one afternoon I was headed out the door and knew I would have 2 hours just waiting around, so I grabbed The Hunger Games to read.

This is from Rebecca’s facebook account.


She really enjoyed teasing me about being obsessed with reading the trilogy. When I said I was done, I had completed all 3 books.

I did really enjoy the books, and I read them really fast, but I knew that I really needed to discuss them with Rebecca. There was so much in the books that I didn’t know if she understood, or if I even understood them.

My new friend Kristal told me about an online class from Leadership Education Academy that was on The Hunger Games, for youth, and that they encouraged parents to join their youth. I was probably more excited about the class than Rebecca. We finally got signed up, late, and have been trying to do about 3 weeks worth of work in the past 3 days. I am really enjoying reading the first book again, slower this time, and looking for things like allusion, foreshadowing, symbolism, etc. I feel almost like I’m back in high school, because I haven’t read a book in this manner for so long, and I need a reminder on literary devices.

I started out with watching this free webinar for parents on the appropriateness of allowing our children to read The Hunger Games. I remember learning about Utopian novels in high school, but I don’t ever remember hearing the term Dystopia before, even though I know I read Animal Farm, “The Lottery”, and loved Wrinkle In Time, which are all dystopian.

This has been a great reminder for me that I need to continue my education, and that the best way to inspire my kids, is to lead the way and invite them to join with me.

So, I’ve been taking notes, observing Truths, and Aha’s in the book, and thinking about what I can write a paper on for the final class, because, even though technically I’m auditing the class, I plan on writing the paper. Look for it in about 4 weeks.

14 May 2012

A Mother's Life

I saw this fun video at the TJED Forum, and thought it would be a great blog post for Mother's Day.

This reminded me of another one of my favorite Mom Video's - and then I also discovered some new ones. My girls love to watch this one with me -

This one is a very nice tribute to Mother's!


An now for some more Hillary Weeks!

We do mountains of laundry at our house, but I am one of the very lucky ones, we have 3 sets of washers and dryers, my older kids do their own laundry, my husband helps out a lot with our laundry, Grandma Mackley folds all the downstairs laundry, and matches socks!!! I don't know how we would survive laundry without Grandma.

Emily has even started taking over most to the little kids and kitchen laundry, so really I'm a very lucky Mom.

Happy Mother's Day! (a day late) I was on vacation yesterday.

13 May 2012

A Crucible Experience

My 3 older kids had a crucible experience today. They performed in the Cantus Youth Choirs Finale Concert: Guilty Pleasures. It was an amazing concert! Fun songs, soul stirring songs, fabulous music, and young singers with great talents, and well trained respect that allows everyone’s hard work and dedication to shine through.

What is a crucible experience? I just really began to understand that concept myself today as I listened to a the mp3 Crucible Experiences: Why Every Scholar Needs Them,  by Kathy Mellor and Andrew Hummiston from the 2011 TJED Forum. As I understand it a crucible experience in one in which you grow and become a better person. It is greatly enhanced by having a mentor to lead you through this experience and to help you discover and understand the experience and gain additional learning.

They explained that there are 4 types of crucible experiences. The first type is a Prepared Public Performance. This is what my kids experienced tonight. Over the past few months they have been working diligently with their Mentors (the conductors) gain experience and training in their musical abilities. They have been practicing on their own, or with SmartMusic to perfect and memorize their parts, and then returning each week to the mentors for more instruction, clarification, and additional assignments.

Tonight was the crucible, where their practice, diligence, hard work and training was put to the test. They got up in front of a large audience, their hearts raced, adrenaline pumped, they fought butterflies and didn’t panic. They performed marvelously. They became better people, they learned that they could do it, and with each concert they become better and more confident in their abilities.

I’m thankful for the many mentors and volunteers that are a part of Cantus, for providing my children with this amazing opportunity to be a part of a choir, to be challenged, to be taught, to find joy in music, singing, and performing. These are experiences that I don’t know how to give my children any other way, and they are so important to their development as outstanding youth.

12 May 2012

I’m Happy

She loves to talk, and wants to be heard. She will repeat the same thing over and over again until she is sure that you have heard her and responded to her. (Sometimes this can be a little annoying.) I think she is going to be a great communicator, because, “ok”, “yes” and “sure”, don’t count as an appropriate response. She actually wants to hear you repeat back what she is telling you, which is a great communication skill.


I’m Happy” & “You’re my Friend” are 2 of my favorite things that I hear from my 4 year old MaryAnn. She loves to come tell me “I’m happy” and I love to hear it, it brightens my day and helps me to remember the importance of a happy attitude! She also like to count and name her friends. She will say, “Becca’s my friend, Isaac’s my friend, Emily’s my friend, Kevin’s my friend, and You’re my friend.”

I am so happy that she has a relationship with all of her siblings. I know that homeschooling allows her to spend time with her older siblings and that they get to love and serve each other everyday, and that is so important to me.


I’m happy and I’m so glad that MaryAnn is not only my friend, but my daughter, and I love her so much!

10 May 2012

My crazy day . . . come and gone

Another day has come and gone – and I crazy one at that. Co-op is the only thing right now that we have to get up and get gone for – and I love that. I really enjoy sleeping in and snuggling with my kids in the morning. We left the house this morning with dishes still on the table, we did put all the food away though.

Co-op itself was crazy with trying to get the rest of the pictures needed for the yearbook, and figure out what classes are going to be offered next semester. I volunteered to teach 3 different classes, so I won’t know for awhile which one I am teaching, it just depends on how the schedule works itself out for all the different teachers and levels and classes. I’m glad we have such amazing directors who figure all the at out and keep the co-op running so smoothly.

I had another silly doctors appointment. It kind of drives me crazy to drive 20 minutes to pee in a cup, get my blood pressure taken, and see the doctor for 5 minutes. I can feel the baby kick, I have not symptoms, and no questions, so I’m out the door for the 20 minute drive home. I’d rather have been sleeping, which is exactly what I did as soon as I walked in the door. (My 2 older girls were already napping, while the young kids entertained themselves with the X-BOX, what’s wrong with this picture, nothing!)

An hour later I had to wake up and take the girls to a choir activity. I sat in the car and used my laptop. At least I was able to get a few things done.

When we got home again it was time to eat a late late dinner, read scriptures and then I actually joined Brad and the kids in playing a game. Trek to Zion is the game I got the family for Easter, and I’ve never had a chance to play it yet. It was fun, and we had a great time, and I almost won.

Thankfully my husband loaded the dishwasher before heading to bed, while I indexed my batch for the day (I should do 3 more before they expire, oops) and wrote my blog post.

Good Night!

09 May 2012

Am I to busy? Do I want to know?

Did I mention that I am always busy. It isn’t that I have 5 kids and one on the way – it is just that I am a person who doesn’t like to be idle very much. I have finally come to terms with my need to take naps when I am pregnant, but if I don’t go to sleep within about 10 minutes I usually just get up and get at it again.

I always have about 15+ things that I am involved in, would like to be involved in, or have already started working on that I should finish. Right now I am in the middle of 2 big scrapbook projects, both which need to be finished in about a week. I also have a dress for MaryAnn cut out, ready to sew together, several books I’d like to read, a movie to watch with my girls, several webinars that I’d like to watch, emails to write, a menu to plan, oh, and did I mention I am pregnant and need to find the crib, the diapers, the baby clothes, etc.

I’ve been happily working away today, greatly assisted by one busy Emily, who has taken over a lot of the household chores that 2 weeks ago were my responsibility. I have gotten a lot done on my scrapbooking projects, we worked out in the yard for a little while, I took a nap (about 11 this morning) and in general I was feeling really good about everything that I had accomplished today. Until . . .

I realized that tomorrow is my day to teach at co-op, and I haven’t planned my lesson. Unfortunately, that is the way I usually am when it comes to my lesson prep. It isn’t the way that I want to be . . . I’d love to have everything planned out ahead of time, have my TJED Closet prepared to open in the morning and have an amazing school day with my kids.

I attended a class at the TJED Forum titled Your Core Phase: 7 Simple Steps to Being the Happiest, Most Powerful YOU so You Can Show Your Kids How by Mindy Heath. The first step she gave us was to find out 1)Who Are You? I found this interesting because at a recent DHSA Mother’s meeting we had talked about this concept of who were are, when we aren’t a homeschooling Mom, what do we like to do. It was a fun show and tell and we got to know each other on a different level. Our challenge was to spend some quiet time writing down everything that is on our plate, and how much time it takes. By everything she meant, physically, mentally, and spiritually, anything that we are responsible for, care about or worry about. As I was writing this brief list in my blog post I remembered this challenge, it seems scary to even begin to make a list like this, I think I will be overwhelmed.

I’m not ready to make this list tonight – I still have to finish preparing for tomorrows class.

Londyn LaRae Says Okay

Salt Lake City 2012 Thomas Jefferson Education Family ForumMy older girls and I attended the TJED Forum in Salt Lake City this past weekend. It was a great experience and we all learned so much and came home inspired to become . . . better.

From previous experience attending this Forum and other homeschooling conferences I tend to come home, unwind, regroup, and never look at my notes again. This time, I have a plan. My sister challenged me to a blog post a day for the month of May, and so far I’ve only missed 1 day (which I hope to make up for by doing 2 sometime). I realized that I could accomplish 2 tasks at the same time, I can blog about the things that I learned, the neat products I discovered, and the journey that I am taking to improve. So, expect to hear a lot about the TJED Forum and exciting new programs and products that I have discovered.

Londyn LaRae Says Okay! I love to buy books, for myself, and for others. So I came home with books as presents for my kids. This book is a brand new book, just published in March 2012. I got this for MaryAnn, but my goal is to have all of the kids read it to her – so they can all learn right along with her. I read it to her last night and I loved it. The pictures are beautiful and it rhymes. I love rhyming books.

Even better, it teaches kids how to important it is to obey, and provided steps for them to follow. MaryAnn had a really rough day today. It seemed she was yelling or upset all day long. This evening I remembered this book, and we started talking about the steps, and it was amazing. She managed to say, “OKAY” and obey.

This book is written by Nicholeen Peck, and she is amazing. I have heard her several times over the years, and each time I’ve taken away a new little thing that I’ve tried to implement, unfortunately as I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t managed to really learn the techniques and teach them to my kids in any lasting way. Reading the book over and over is going to be a great help.

Nicholeen Peck has so much more to offer than just this one book. Check out her website Teaching Self Government, and remember, I highly recommend this book. I will be revisiting the Teaching Self Government website in the future.

07 May 2012

Indexing–A worthwhile Addiction

FamilySearchA few months ago I was called as a ward indexer. I had done a little indexing in the past – about 2 years ago, and I am very computer literate, and I really enjoy family history, and I was pregnant and not really wanting another primary calling so this seemed like a great fit for me.

I started indexing a little bit on Sunday’s and talking to my family about helping to index the 1940 Census that was going to begin soon. Both of my older daughters had been indexing occasionally as well, but this Census project really inspired Emily, she has really been procrastinating learning cursive. She realized that she would be able to do a much better job indexing the census if she studied her cursive, and over the next month her handwriting greatly improved.

At the beginning of April Emily set a goal to index 1000 names that month, and she challenged her sister to a contest.  I was impressed but not sure that I would have time to index so many names. However, indexing the census was so easy, and so fun, I found myself doing 2 or 3 batches a day, and every couple of days I would increase my goal, from 200 a month, to 300, then 400 hundred, and then 500. I loved being close to my goal, but was a little nervous about really challenging my myself. However, I am happy to say that by the end of April I had indexed 1200 names! Emily still beat me to 1000, by about 12 hours.

Towards the end of the month we were are my parents house for Sunday dinner. I was visiting with my Mom and we were talking about indexing. I was telling her about some of the little tricks I had discovered that helped me to finish the batch faster. After a little while I walked into the room where my Dad was and he asked me, “What is your arbitration rate?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         It turns out that my Dad has been a closet indexer for 3 weeks. Not even my Mom knew that he was indexing. In those 3 weeks he had indexed over 5000 names, and had a system down. He took us amateur indexers into the office and gave us a tutorial on how to quickly index a census batch.

It was even more fascinating when he came to visit a few days later and told us about the things he had observed while indexing. He would download 10 batches from 1 state at a time, and as he switched from state to state he noticed which names were popular in one state, and virtually non-existent in another. Which states people had settled in for a long time, and which states people moved to from other states.

We really enjoyed listening to the tidbits he had discovered, just from indexing, it would actually be really fascinating to study the census when it is completely indexed.I don’t know if I’ll get to a 1000 names this month, but I still want to do my part to index so that researchers can study the generalities of people in history, and that genealogists can find their family members and connect the generations together.

Check out the map that shows how the Census Indexing Project is progressing.

06 May 2012

My Co-Op Community

My kids and I joined TEACH Co-op last fall. I need to admit I’ve known about the Teach Co-op for several years. At the time I first heard about them I chose not to join because I thought it cost to much money, and I was already organizing low cost (almost free) co-ops in my home. I also didn’t want to give up a whole day of my week, and get up and be somewhere on someone else’s schedule and what about naptime, my babies needed to be home for naptime.

Last summer I was in the midst on Mom Meltdown. I knew I couldn’t do it all, I didn’t even want to try to do it all any more. I wasn’t sure what to do, putting them in school wasn’t an option, my daughters have no desire to go to school, even though my son occasionally asked to attend school, I know that he would hate life very quickly, and I believed that even though I wasn’t handling life very well they would still be better off at home, then any where else.

I ended up at a meeting with the chairman of teach co-op, and since we had known each other for a few years I felt confortable sharing my experiences with her, and the struggles that I was going through at the time. The time that we spend standing outside by our cars talking and crying was very healing for me. She invited me to join the co-op and even when I explained that I didn’t think that I had it in me to actually teach a class she said that it was ok, she would find something that I would be comfortable doing. As I thought about it I decided that I needed to do something for my kids and at least this way they would get something out of this school year and it would give me some more time to work through the healing process.

Right from the very beginning my kids loved co-op. They were all in age appropriate classes and were able to quickly make friends and learn from teachers that weren’t Mom. I however, was very withdrawn. While the other Mom’s gathered into the nursery to sit and visit with each other, I kept to myself and my computer.  The Mom’s were welcoming to me, and I felt that there was one Mom in particular who always seemed to have a special smile for me, and I never could figure out why. I never felt excluded, instead I was afraid to join the group for other reasons.

I was going through a period of time where I needed to find myself. One thing that I know about myself is that even when I am miserable, depressed, and in the depths of despair I can find some peace by serving others. I’m not saying that serving other’s is a bad thing, or that it isn’t a great way to change your mood, but I tend to go overboard. I tend to spend so much time worrying about others that I don’t give my family the time and energy that is there right, I don’t give my husband the care and concern that he deserves, and I especially don’t take care of myself. Instead I tend to serve others to the point of sheer exhaustion.

So – to solve this problem, I was avoiding people. I already had a network of friends, friends that needed me in one way or another, and I was afraid to make more friends. I was afraid to take on my responsibility in building and maintaining relationships. So, I kept to myself, I was polite, and courteous, but didn’t reach out, and didn’t really want anyone to reach out to me.

Eight months have come and gone now since we have joined the co-op. My kids have thrived in this environment. My scholar aged girls have gained several friends, both peers and adults. My younger kids have enjoyed some fun activities that I haven’t had the mental energy to provide for them in the home this year. Most importantly, I have started to come out of my self imposed shell, and open up to those that are around me. This weekend had been an eye opener to me as to how important this co-op has been in our life. I am so glad that I have a community of fellow homeschoolers that are working together to educate our kids. I am so glad my my kids are meeting teachers that are inspiring to them and are motivating them to learn in ways that I can’t because they are so much more knowledgeable and passionate about subjects that I don’t know much about, and wouldn’t be very inspiring teaching.

I hope that all the ladies that I have had the privilege of sharing a learning environment with this past year can forgive me for my sullenness and aloofness. I hope that they understand that I appreciate all the hard work and dedication that they have given to teach my kids, when I couldn’t and in ways that I don’t know how. I am thankful that they have accepted me the way for who I am and in the place that I was at the time, and that as I have come out of my shell they have continued to make me feel included, but have allowed me the space that I need to be myself, without making me me inferior for who I am.

I am proud to be part of this community, and hope that we can continue to grow our relationships and interdependence over the years to come.

04 May 2012

Becoming . . . the Light

I am completely exhausted. I am not used to sitting in a chair listening to a speaker all day long. It has been a long time since high school for me. Being pregnant only adds to the difficulty. Luckily the girls let me come back to the hotel and take a nap while they watched a movie . . . but it is only 9ish and I am ready to call it a night.

I wish I could say that I was totally inspired by the messages that I head today, but in reality, I think am, more scared now than anything. Rebecca is ready for a scholar phase, and Emily is close behind, and i still haven't gotten myself a scholar phase, i'm just not prepared to be the mentor that they need from me.

I don't know that I want to be a leader. I don't want to be a mentor. Currently I don't feel like I have the energy to just be a wife and mother, let alone homeschool my kids.

I've had this quote on my desktop for a while now. I don't know where I found it, but it has seemed to define my life this last year.

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."

I've been struggling to see the light for the last year, I came to this conference hoping that I would recieve the inspiration that I needed to find the light, and not only to find it - but to really walk out into the light and bask in the light again.

I knew this weekend would be hard. I knew that physically it would be draining. I knew that mentally I would be overloaded. I also expected to come away inspired. I didn't expect to come away being challenged to do the hard things. Right now I just want to curl up in bed and sleep. Next week, I expect to sleep a lot to recover from this trip.

After that, I am going to have to dig deep, and find the strength I need to become a statewoman, a mentor, and a leader, I need to to become part of the light.

03 May 2012

On the Road Again

I wonder if my kids have ever even heard this song by Willie Nelson. I grew up listening to him and often think of the refrain to this song as we head out on a trip.

Rebecca, Emily, and I took off this afternoon and headed to SLC. We had a pleasant trip and enjoyed listening to C.S. Lewis' A Horse and His Boy. It rained off and on for the first couple of hours our our trip – but as it began to clear up we were treated to a faint rainbow. I took this picture while driving down the freeway – and the rainbows was very faint, but it looked just like we were driving to the end of the rainbow.
This picture is for Brad, when he rented a car we got a KIA, but when I rent cars I get the really nice ones, like the Gold Malibu!
We are excited to attend the TJED Forum for the next two days!

ps. MaryAnn always tells me no ponytails when I’m combing her hair, so I usually give in, but since Isaac brought me ponytail holders this morning I put them in her hair anyway. About 10 minutes later she came to me and said, “I like Ponytails!”

02 May 2012

Sunday Morning Antics

Sitting in Sacrament Meeting with little kids can be a real challenge. Mother’s were never promised the opportunity to be able to relax and soak in the spirit that is present at sacrament meeting. However, with patience, perseverance and a lot diligence squirmy and entertaining children can grow up to be well behaved young adults who enjoy sacrament meeting.

Before then . . .

2002 - Rebecca and EmilySitting in a new ward in sacrament meeting  about 10 years ago Rebecca (age 4) and Emily (age 3), enjoyed taking the barrettes out of their hair and quietly decorating, a very patient Daddy, with them. I sat holding Isaac (18months) and watching the Bishop enjoy the spectacle. When the Bishop got up to conclude to the meeting he mentioned how much he enjoyed watching  Br. Brad Barrette patiently endure his daughter’s hair styling attempts. For the rest of the time we were in that ward he always greeted Brad as Br. Barrette.



Kevin has always enjoyed being handsome. He enjoys wearing his church clothes, especially his ties, so much so that he has been know to wear one tie to chP4130204urch, and pack another one in his scripture bag so he could change after sacrament meeting. Lately, he has taken to wearing multiple ties at one time, and can often be spotted sporting at least 2 ties at a time. I’ve had primary teachers comment to me about Kevin having forgotten his ties on morning that are particularly hectic and we get to church without any ties on at all. He informed me this year, the day before Easter, that he needed a new tie for Easter, preferably with Easter Eggs on it. How can you deny a request like that – I didn’t find a tie with Easter Eggs, but he did get a new CTR tie for Easter Sunday!

WP_002172My darling MaryAnn is a lucky little girl and has been able to wear her sisters homemade hand-me-down Easter dresses this year. This last Sunday we were sitting in church and she “tooted” and it surprised her. She started to get all excited and I was terrified that she was going to say something very loud and inappropriate, so I quickly hushed her and pulled her close to me in a loving hug. As soon as she escaped my embrace she whispered, “Mom, by bum burped!” It was so funny, but I was relieved that she said it very quietly.

Someday I know I will be able to sit quietly and soak up the Spirit of an entire Sacrament meeting without little ones sitting on me, leaning on me, whispering to me, or kicking me from the inside, like I could in my singles ward full of young adult where you could hear a pin drop during the sacrament. What a sad day that will be. I’ll hope by then I will have grandkids!

01 May 2012

I Love Homeschooling!

I love homeschooling for many reasons. I love being outside in the spring and enjoying the warm weather. I love snuggling in bed with my kids without worrying about the clock. I love teaching Kevin, my 6 year old, to read in bed before breakfast and then watching him practice reading with grandma and grandpa when we go visit. I love not worrying about getting home for bedtime. I love that MaryAnn, my 4 year old, wants to learn to read along with her brother and that when they enjoy it we do it and when it becomes to much we put reading aside for a day or a week or a month or more.

I am glad that Emily, my preteen, has the time and motivation to study the features of Kindles and Color Nooks and tablets as she tries to decide which one she wants to save her money for. I love that she works extra hard around the house doing my chores so she can earn money to save for whatever gadget she decides on. I love that she wakes up early so that she has time for indexing, and that she silently challenges me through her great example to index as well.

I am proud of Rebecca, my young woman, who gets herself up each morning to study python (a programming language), and the scriptures, with her best friend, over skype, hours before the rest of the family gets moving. I’m thrilled that she is motivated to learn about the constitution and our national government. I’m happy that she understands that she will need to take over some of MY jobs when our new baby joins our family in 2 months. I love that she is socially connected and that she uses her Facebook account to write down cute things her sibliings do and say, to communicate with her teachers and fellow students at co-op about homework assignments.

I love homeschooling, even on the days when I don’t, when my 11 year old son Isaac has asked me for the millionth time if he can do a science experiment, or build something, or, or, or, or . . . I love that kid. I love that he is home, with the freedom to explore the world his way, and not tied down to a desk, doing paper and pencil exercises and having his naturally inquisitive personality taken from him little by little each day. I love the way that Isaac cares for his Great Grandma, who lives with us. He disappears into her room as soon as we get home from anywhere to share with her our latest adventures. He always thinks about bringing her some treat home from an activity. I love that he is sensitive and has such a precious relationship that could be developed no other way than spending lots of time together.

I love that we are a family! I love that my husband works hard to support our family so that I can be home with my kids each day. I love homeschooling! I love our life!