Thursday, April 30, 2015

Everyone's busy

Ethan had soccer practice today. 
Grace is pet sitting for Jacobs pig.
She also got a new gerbil today, Minnie.
Hannah and Holly went to panera and to see Pippin at Great Mills.

It's official!!!

This little Christmas baby graduated again! This time from Utah Valley University. She earned a bachelors in community health with a minor in business. She did not want to walk through her graduation ceremony, she said when she gets her Masters that will be a real accomplishment and then she will. Those same words came out of my mouth when I got my bachelors degree. Sierra is a lot like me. But Smarter! Anyway I was a little disappointed because I would've liked to go watch her walk but whether she walks or not I am so super proud of her. She is brave, smart, patient, virtuous, and a ton of fun! I can't wait to see what she does next. And I can't wait to see her in July!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Not sure what to call this one

 Today I was supposed to work the gangway. This is a very easy job where you stand by the ship and make sure everyone is safe, per Coast Guard regulations. While I was driving to work I got a phone call asking if I could give a tour instead. I actually was kind of looking forward to staying by the water all day, but being a team player, I said sure no problem.   Then I got my group. It was the most difficult group I've had to date. It ended up fine and I didn't have a horrible day but they weren't the easy, delighted with all they saw, fun to be with group that I am used to. They were from a Hebrew school in Montgomery county. So when I got my paperwork and noticed that I very diligently traded out my pig ear for a cow ear. I looked up the name of the Jewish doctor that was in the colonies at that time, so I could talk about him. And I was ready to go. You would think with my careful preparations I would not have made the big faux pas that I did. When we are talking about life at sea I have a volunteer sit next to me and one of the things that the volunteer does is look through a bowl of food items that would typically have been eaten on the journey from England. The first item little Hadasa picked up was a salted pork chop. Uh oh. She said is it a piece of bread? I said no it is a piece of salted meat. To which she responded by shrieking and dropping the bowl and saying she is a vegetarian. She then proceeded to sanitize herself with her hand sanitizer.....and I luckily never had to say that it was pork.
We all survived the day. The children said that they had a fun time. So all's well that ends well.
Tonight we had a Girl Scout interest night at our community clubhouse. I can't believe that it's been a whole year since I signed up to be a Girl Scout leader. It's been so much more fun than I expected. Teresa is an awesome coleader and she really takes care of everything I don't want to do. She tracks all the finances, she does all of the registrations, she gets all the permission slip is in order. I do all the lesson planning and lead the weekly meetings with her there for backup. It's fun for me because there is so much flexibility compared to running youth programs at church. At church, of course, the Lord prescribes how everything goes. I am totally great with this, I love the programs of the church, I have a testimony of how much they help our young people and I am delighted to be a part of that. In Girl Scouts we do not have all of the same constraints and we can do more things that are just fun. At the same time it is a character building moral-based program and I love that. We are looking forward to a new year and have lots of fun things planned! Before our interest meeting we went down the street to Madison's home and brought her a going away present from the girls. She is moving to Spain with her family and while we will miss her I envy her the fun new adventure!

Monday, April 27, 2015

looking forward

Penny and Marshall

Tatum saying thanks for a book I sent her
This is one of my favorite times of year.  We are creeping up on summer and all the joys of the warm months.  This is going to be an awesome summer.  Ethan is going to Goshen and to a leadership camp.  Grace is going to girl scout day camp with some friends.  Hannah is going to girls camp and to youth conference and to Zion's camp.  We are all going on a fun family cruise with Nana and Abba and UB! All the kids are coming home for a stay in Aug! CAN.NOT.WAIT!!!! Plus the pool will be open, we can sleep in, it's BBQ season, kayak season, stay up later and enjoy the warmth time!  

Funny illustration of the difference between the boys in our family and the girls.  I told the girls, each separately actually, that tonight while Ethan and Dad were at soccer practice we were going to go to Target to buy some new underwear.  This was met with joyful exclamations! I love new underwear says Hannah! Yay says Grace and can I get socks too!  Then I tell Bub, "Sorry, but while you are at practice we are going to buy new underwear don't worry I'll bring some home for you too" He looked at me like I was insane, and then politely said "thanks, mom".  When I asked if he needed socks?, if his had holes in them? he said "I don't know" in a why would I know that voice (they do by the way)

FHE tonight was on why we need the Savior in our lives.  

Yesterday Mercedes finally died.  It was a relief. We had quite a death watch going as she lingered day after day.  Grace would sit by her cage watching her breathe, or hold her in her hand.  Arden often came to keep vigil.  They made a tombstone and we discussed different ways to euthanize her.  I couldn't bring myself to do it though, especially after the recent trauma of Millie's passing it was just too ...something.  I felt bad watching her suffer for so long and was very relieved when she was gone.  Grace has picked out a name for her new gerbil and we are hoping to get her this week.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

God Gave Us Families

Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.
A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.
I’ll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam’ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I’ll help my fam’ly remember:
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.
This is one of my favorite new primary songs. It's so sweet and teaches such important truths.

This was a very uplifting weekend. Yesterday I sat in a training meeting with Sister Oscarson, the general young women's president. It was wonderful. 
Today we had stake conference, it was a multi- stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake and the messages were powerful. I really wish we could re read or watch them. 

After church Sister Darrow had the mia maid presidency over for French toast and planning. Hannah said they had a fun time and got a lot done. I am really happy with the leaders Hann has, they are amazing women.

Grace was invited to play with Maggie.

So the rest of us went to walk around the lake. We walked about 5 miles and Z loved it!

Tonight we walked around the neighborhood with the Streeters. We were quite the parade! I think we logged about 6 pleasant miles today.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Earth Day/ Service Day

Eric and Ethan working
 Today we had a stake youth activity.  We partnered with the community and helped the Anacostia Watershed Society clean up the waterfront, and weed and plant around the Anacostia River.  Our 200 joined with others for a morning of dirty work.

Rob took the kids as I had a meeting to go to.  When my meeting was over I drove over to join them. They were working hard!
It was interesting to me, twice in the last two days I drove into the DC area.  Last night into Alexandria which is beautiful and picturesque.  We walked around the streets enjoying the sights and shops.  At 10:30pm we left Gatsby's Tavern and crossed a large square where couples were strolling and restaurants were still busy and Teresa, Robin and I along with our 7 little charges felt perfectly safe.

This morning I drove into Anacostia, in broad daylight, to meet up with our group and I thought "wow, this is a rough neighborhood.  I'd better lock my door".  By geography they are only a dozen miles apart but by every other standard they are worlds apart.  Poverty is a tough battle to overcome, and it's tough to help.
Dixie took this picture of some of the kids in our ward working away.

My little Earth Day helpers waiting to go to the celebration after. One of them was "cold, tired and hungry". The other two were in good spirits.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Field trips

Grace had a busy day. At school she had a field trip to the Kennedy Center to hear a little Mozart. She said it was awesome!
As soon as she got home we met the Girl Scouts and went on a other field trip. We were supposed to have a sleep over at Gatsby Tavern in Alexandria, Va. Sadly with the bad weather this winter they had pipes break and water damage so the sleep over part was cancelled. The rest of the trip was still on. It means we'll be home at midnight but that's okay.
First we stopped for pizza at Bugsby's. Yummy and fun.
Then we began our night. We worked on a journey, built things, learned about the restoration of the tavern and learned how to do some English Country dancing.
These girls are so cute!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Opening Night

The high school musical this year is Sweeny Todd. The other schools are doing things like Shrek the musical and Mary Poppins. Choices I feel are much more family friendly and high school appropriate. 
That said the kids did an amazing job. I didn't know the story before but gruesome cannabalism aside it was entertaining. 
The sets were amazing, the costumes were awesome and the performances were really good. This is a talented bunch!
I will see it again on Saturday with Rob and I'm looking forward to it. It had some funny parts and some sweet parts and a surprise twist. I'm sad I can't bring Grace to see her sister perform but maybe Ethan can come if he wants to. 
Flowers for our actress.

They did an excellent job! If we lived near family I'd make them all come and see it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


It's been a few busy days. Yesterday being crazy busy. Today a little less so.

First we got up at 5:30am, our usual but still hated wake up time.
Then I got everyone out the door at their assorted times and made sure that they got to their various places.  
I walked the dog and got myself out the door to do a tour.  It was a nice day out.  Sunny and pleasant. The tour went well.

One the way home from work I stopped at Food Lion, I needed to bring chili to the high school.  It's tech week and the kids are rehearsing until 7-8 pm every night.  Crazy!  (The parents are providing dinner each night.  Monday was on desserts.  Tuesday entree.  Today was send $5 in to order pizza with!)
Went home and made the chili and then dropped it off and then picked up Grace.

Came home and made our dinner, then Lu and I headed out for girl scouts.  We made swaps for encampment, got our early birding done and wrote good-bye letters to Madison, who is moving to Spain.

Lastly it was home, homework, a phone meeting for our fourth year camp out next month and then finally a trip to CVS with Hannah.
Grace and Dr Alston
Today I was home in the morning and did laundry and cleaned the kitchen.  The afternoon was busy.  Grace had her awards ceremony.  She got the A game award, and on the honor roll.  Then drove home where Ethan and Daniel and John were handing out their Earth Day plants cups of dirt at the gazebo, then back to get Grace, then back home to get Ethan.  Then off to church for scouts and activity day recognition night.  The girls treated the moms to a very nice spa night.  Then to the school to pick up Hannah (at 9pm), then home to fold 6 loads of clothes.

During the spa day I was very happy to hear that we aren't the only ones with crazy end of the school year schedules!  Can't wait for sum-sum-summer time!!
photo by neighbor
It rained and then there was a beautiful rainbow.
Sierra's friend Brady posted this picture of the two of them at the temple open house.  I am always happy when I see pictures of the big girls on facebook or instagram and they look happy and busy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


This morning after everyone left for school/work Grace fell back asleep in my bed.  She often comes in and we spend an hour together before we have to get ready for our day.  Sometimes we do homework, sometimes we watch YouTube vids, occasionally I tell her to sleep some more.  As I was laying next to her and enjoying the stillness of the morning I was reflecting on parenting 10 year olds and how different it's been for me all 6 times.  I'm much more nostalgic with little Lu and prone to more reflection.

When Dani was 10 she was never the baby in the bed, she was however the big girl who got to stay up late after the little sisters were tucked in.  We were living in our cute apartment and life was good.  I taught school at the same elementary school where the girls attended.  We drove there together and they hung out in my classroom before and after school.  Dani was a huge helper to me.  It was a peaceful, fun chapter.

Sierra was 10 in Texas.  Hannah was a little babe and was a screamer.  All the time.  Not her fault but she was always in pain with her hemangioma.  Our lives revolved around her care.  All the sisters were kind and helpful.  Sierra was compassionate and easy going.  She had some neighborhood friends she liked to play with (Emily and Sophie).  This was the year she had the best teacher ever, Miss Morgan.  Sierra really excelled and did great in math especially.  

Jenna was 10 in Texas too.  She was busy with violin.  We drove to the fort worth youth orchestra once a week and also to her lessons in fort worth once a week.  She was BFF's with Emma and was creative and sweet.  

We moved to Maryland the summer Hannah turned 10.  This was a great move for her.  She made lots of friends, liked and did well at school, and became a delightful, sweet girl.  Before that she was sometimes a challenge.  She reminded me of that poem about the little girl with the curl "when she was good she was very, very good. And when she was bad she was horrid".  We really turned that corner at that time and a lot of her challenging behaviors were really tempered as she grew and matured.  10 was a delightful year.

Ethan at ten played soccer and did scouts and loved to run around in the neighborhood and loved electronics.  Pretty much the same as now.  He was in STEM and did well.  He's always been our best boy:)

And Gracie, she's the baby of the family.  A special spot.  I have more time to spend with just her than I did with any of the others and so we do girl scouts together and have morning cuddle time.  She also gets a lot of time with dad, fishing and talking.  She is super lucky because she lives right next door to her best friend and the two girls get to spend a lot of time together.  While she was a sweet and easy going baby the last couple of years have been challenging for her, I do see her maturing and growing and getting more obedient and respectful.

I love these kiddos Heavenly Father gave me.  I love the terrific tens!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Happy Monday

Nice weather makes every thing brighter. This morning I got up and  green just sparkled in the morning sun.
I got some beautiful flowers from Dani and crew for my bday. What a treat!
Jodie and I went out for pedis and burgers.
Tonight we played phase 10 for FHE, I'm winning. It's not a one school night time frame game. It could go any way though.
Lastly we stood on the deck and listened to the frogs and watched the lightening.

And the Brandt's are coming to visit this summer!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


These cute girls decided I needed a birthday cake (along with Darlaina). 
They came to the door with a cake and a song and it was so sweet! Hannah and I grabbed some plates and went right back over to share a piece with them!
Is that what my face looks like??

Becky and I went visiting today. We're making our way around the stake and meeting with the class presidencies. It's been so fun and also very enlightening. The girls have been really open with us and I am so grateful. These are good girls and trying so hard to be good. It's tough out there. Hopefully we will have insight and inspiration about what to do to help and support them. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Dang I'm old. If I lived in the 17th century I would've used up my life expectancy already. Fortunately I still probably have three good decades left. Maybe 4. 

It was a busy day. Hannah had set build all day. She's helping with costumes and make up as well as acting and everything else. 
Grace went to a birthday party for her friend Ria. After she got to play with Arden.
Ethan had a soccer game. They won!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Friday!!

The weather continues to be warm and our spirits are lifted. It's so nice to be outside and to be warm. I worked today, which was a lot of fun. Every day is different with quirky little things that happen, and different people to talk to.
This evening I had two cute companions to join me on some errands. 10–11-year-old girls are excellent shopping companions. We smelled candles, rubbed on lotion and washed our hands to our hearts content. I stocked up on the new flavors of soap and we are ready for another few months of squeaky clean hands!
Then we went to target, which is always worth hours of fun. We ended up with a trip to Chick-fil-A.
The girls are settled in for a night of Minecraft and movies.

Rob and Ethan are in DC at the youth temple trip.

Hannah and Shannon are babysitting at Holly's  brother's wedding. They have six or eight kids to watch so they should be pretty busy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

sunburns, starlets, strokes and soccer

Cute Dani and cute Marshall.  Look at that little face.  So sweet!

I gave a tour today.  The weather was so beautiful, the sun was out but it wasn't hot.  My group was a lot of fun and we had a great day.  Then I got home and saw that I was burnt.  D'oh! Because I'm 12 and don't know how to put on sunscreen?  It's been such a long, cold winter that I think I just lost my mind for a minute and forgot how the sun works.
Hopefully I'll do better tomorrow.

Grace auditioned for the elementary school talent show after school today.  We'll find out tomorrow if she gets in.  I suspect she will.  She's good on the recorder. Like a recorder savant really.
Also Hannah auditioned for the spring one acts and she got the lead in one of them! Whoo hoo!! Go Hannah!

Ethan had soccer practice tonight.

I think Mercedes has had a stroke or something.  She is a wreck.  We're pretty sure she can't see and now she can't hold her head straight but walks around in a twisty up hunchback fashion.  I keep hoping we'll come in here one time and find her peacefully passed but she keeps hanging on.  Last night I looked up how to euthanize your pet at home and there was a website telling you how.  Strange. I don't know if I can do it though

I have hives, FYI.  Unpleasant.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

dentist day

I hate going to the dentist.  But here it was again, dentist day.  I left mi casa at 10:45 and began the pick up circuit.  First I headed to Ethan's school.  On the way I chatted with Tori! and they are coming to visit!!  I made a quick stop at Kohls.  Uncle Brian sent me a GC for my birthday and I wanted some new tennis shoes.  Since I knew just what I wanted it took about 15 minutes and I am so excited with my new shoes!
After I got him we went to Grace's school.  Got her.  Went to Hannah's school, got her.  Then drove to the office.  We got there 15 minutes early for our 1pm appointment.

We had no sooner sat down when the receptionist told me someone had just cancelled and did I want the spot at 2 for myself instead of coming back next week.  Ummm sure.  So we all four got our teeth cleaned.  No cavities, very little crying, and we are done for 6 months!

Ethan still has 7 baby teeth.  He is a slow tooth loser.  Han has four wisdom teeth, but they aren't in yet, or ready to pull yet.  I got lectured on the need to floss and Grace shared her life story.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Jodie and I had planned to go to the movies today. Mistake number one. 

Grace woke up this morning feeling sick. She said she had gotten up in the night and thrown up. Neither Rob or I was aware of this so I doubted the validity of the report but tucked her in bed and let her sleep a little extra. 

I got her up and fed and showered and it was looking hopeful for a minute... But no.
Plans cancelled. 
She was a chipper chicken by noon however.
Besides this tragic turn of events I also suffered from a terrible first world problem today. From time to time I will ask our DVR to record a program. Sometimes on Sunday night the sports take too long and then 60 minutes runs into the 8 o'clock hour. This means when I go to watch Mme. Sec. I have half an hour of 60 minutes and half an hour of the show I want. Why?? I don't understand why it can't just start recording the program instead of the hour. 
Grace helped me do some yardwork in the afternoon and she found this cute little skank.

We also went to the library.

Hannah had play practice until seven. She sent is cute photo of her trying on costumes.

We had the windows open today and it's so nice to have the spring air! Also spring brings with it soccer practice, which is awesome except when I have to get grass stains out of the boy's pants....not the small boy, the big one. To quote Dr Suess "a person's a person no matter how small" and in our case a boy is a boy no matter how tall. Love those boys of mine.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blossoms and goals and burgers

Our day started with the first soccer game of the season. It was a lot of fun. We won 4-1.
Then we headed to DC to see the cherry blossoms. They are beautiful. It was crowded, really crowded. I have been twice before but it was the first time for Rob.

We ended with fuddruckers for some tasty burgers!
Where was Hannah? At play practice.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Our lives are made up of a lot of rituals. I miss the bedtime rituals of yesterday when there was a story and some songs and a tuck. Now I often sit on the bed opposite Graces and act as homework cheerleader or police depending. I watch the gerbils and the fish, I stare at the walls and look longingly at the book shelf,  I supply the definition for words like speculum and conspicuous and help discover the symbolism in "The Secret Garden". I don't help with math but I do still give a kiss and a tuck. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Boring day

The kids had a fun activity tonight. They learned to dance. 
I had a Girl Scout leader meeting. Other than that my plans consisted of renewing my drivers license, taking something to the post office, and changing the sheets on the beds. 
It was rainy and gray today. 

I did read a good book. It was called "a dog walks into a nursing home". It's the true story of a therapy dog and her person. It was heartwarming and interesting and the dog didn't die at the end. A nice change from many animal bios.