Monday, April 24, 2017

Last Break

I know it's almost the end of the school year, but we needed one last break, so this week we're off.  Six more weeks after that and we'll finish up June 9th.  That's not too bad, right?

This week off seems decadent after how BUSY I've been lately.  Plumfield is ramping up for all the usual end-of-school-year busyness: concerts and final projects and such.  Homeschool has been gearing down and down and down, but this is the busiest time of year for my new calling, which is scout committee chair.  I'm responsible for making sure all the ducks are in line for scout camp and high adventure, and there are more ducks than you have any idea.

Scout committee chair is one of those callings that is not in the limelight; no one ever thinks about it.  But there's a LOT that goes on behind the scenes with a scout troop, and if the committee chair is doing a good job, the troop runs smoothly and the boys have a much better experience.  So I am figuring out how to do a good job.  I want a quality program for all the boys in the ward as well as my own, and I am actually really glad to be in a position to help facilitate that.  At the moment though, with camp coming up, it just might be the most time-consuming calling I have ever had, and that includes Primary music leader and member of the Relief Society presidency.  No, I take that back.  I think directing the road show was the most time-consuming.  But this is a close second.  It's really good experience for me though.  I have not had a lot of leadership experience, and I feel like this is developing new abilities in me.

This week I need to really work on the yard.  I don't know, I just can't get the gardening bug this year.  I don't wanna be out there, I'm not excited to plant anything.  Weird, huh?  My front planting bed will look pretty good this year with minimal care, but not all my perennials survived and it would be good if I redesigned and replaced a little bit.  I think I can handle that, but the vegetable garden just overwhelms me.

Maybe I'll get a chance to finish at least the top of Peanut's quilt this week.  If I can get Roo off my sewing machine.  She is having so much fun with it.  It's a joy to watch her.

Fish started doing tae kwon do in February.  Recently he did his first belt test (I was really surprised at how much he learned in just a couple of months!) and he is very proud that he is now a yellow belt.  Tae kwon do is just what Fish needs.

I want to paint my front door blue.  I kept thinking I would do it the next break week, but here it is break week and I don't feel ready.  Painting kind of scares me right now, with twin two year olds in the house.

I never showed you the pictures of the new rug and stuff in the living room, did I?  The living room is slowly getting beautified.  I had a hard time with the rug at first because I really loved it, but it doesn't quite match the couch and chair.  I thought about taking it back and trying to find something else that did a better job of blending everything in the room together, but I decided not to.  For one thing, my couch and chair are getting old and beat up and ought to be replaced fairly soon-- at that point I can pick something that matches the rug.  So for now the colors in the living room don't quite harmonize, but it still looks a lot better than it used to.

Alright, let's put up a few pictures, and then I really should go to bed.

I forgot about this picture, taken at the end of February.  I was sure you'd want to see it.  You're welcome.

New living room rug.

I also bought this beautiful blue shelf for the living room.  And that lamp.  LOVE the lamp; if you know me well you will know that that lamp just screams Birrd.  I love it when I find things that just scream Birrd.

Living room looking the other way... as I said, a work in progress.  I found that bench for a really good deal and we're liking it.

Nighttime in the living room.  I've added some small mantel decorations since I took this.

Fish's belt test.  First of many, I hope.

Look at that happy Twig face.  Love love love.

Heading out to church Easter morning.  My teenagers didn't want to be in the picture.

My salvia out front came back nicely and is gorgeous right now.

Ditto the tickseed.  Almost all of my blanket flower died though.

Two little cuties off hunting for eggs.

Leaf loved her ring pop.

Look what Twig found!

Twig again.

Peanut finding words she recognizes.  She is making progress slowly but surely.

And, finally, I leave you with this picture, typical of my offspring.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

I love it that my boys are off school for Good Friday and the Badger is off work.  It's so nice to have everyone home. 

No one slept in this morning.  Bean still had Seminary (local public school district is not off today) and we are all in the habit of rising early.  Which is a good thing. 

First thing, I read the account of Jesus's trial and crucifixion to the kids.  I'm freshly amazed at my Savior's love each time I tell that story, and when you tell it to children and see it through their eyes it's a very moving experience. 

Roo and I mixed up a batch of hot cross buns.  I think we have the perfect recipe.  Roo did the frosting herself while I was outside working in the yard, and she didn't know to add more powdered sugar to thicken it up, so it was a bit runny, more like a glaze.  So delicious though. 

Here's some brotherly love going on.   These two are quite the pair, and they adore each other. 

Another shot of the skirts, all five of them together.  

Now I'm working on Peanut's quilt.  I love this pattern I found that uses a layer cake and a jelly roll (10 inch squares and 2 1/2 inch strips).  It's so easy to put together that it isn't overwhelming, yet it's not so simple that it's boring.  

Meanwhile, while I sew, the twins romp about making huge messes everywhere they turn. My goal this weekend is to get the house cleaned up, at least as clean as it can get.  Today we will do the upstairs (it's mostly done now except the bathrooms) and tomorrow we will do the main floor.  The homeschool room is particularly nasty at the moment.  The floor is absolutely horrifying. 

I clean things over and over and over again... dishes, laundry, floors.  And I think about God.  And how He delights in making order out of chaos.  And how He cleans us again and again and again.  It's all an ongoing process for Him just like my housework.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Holy Week Activities

For the last several years I have really been trying to make a whole Easter season at our house, filled with fun and focused on Christ.  I have used and loved the "Discover the Joy of Easter" book by the Discover the Scriptures people, as well as other resources.  

Last week in Family Home Evening I asked the kids what Easter traditions they were looking forward to.  Which ones had become special to them?  I was surprised and pleased as they started eagerly naming off just about everything we've done: the passover dinner, our Palm Sunday reinactment, "resurrection rolls," the Easter tree, bird's nests, pax cakes, decorations, hot cross buns... 

So, despite the fact that I am crazy busy, we dove in and are trying to do most of the Holy Week activities this week.  Sometimes it's just fun, like making these candy bird's nests, but as we point everything back to the Savior, a beautiful spirit fills our home.  


I got glasses in fourth grade.  I still remember vividly walking outside of the eye doctor's office, looking up at a tree, and seeing the individual leaves.  Amazing.  I hadn't even been aware that my vision was blurry until I had what I needed to see clearly.

I've checked up on my kids' eyes over the years, expecting that several of them would need glasses, since I did as a youth.  No one ever did until this last round of eye exams, when Roo turned up slightly myopic.  The doctor said she didn't need them bad and we could wait if we wanted.  She said she thought she didn't need them.

A few weeks went by, and she came to me and said, "I think I would like to have glasses."  So we ordered some.

Today I took her to pick them up.  We walked outside and she looked at the trees and said "wow..."  The whole way home she was in a state of amazement as she saw how clear the world had become.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
 --Marcel Proust


I managed to finish the girls' skirts.  They turned out absolutely lovely.  I had them all try them on today and I snapped a photo.  It will look better when they're all wearing shirts that match.  I thought you would want to see anyway.

Then I said, "Okay, girls, let's take them off now so they don't get dirty before Sunday!" but before I even finished this sentence, they were on the trampoline.

Chicken Woggets

Leaf can't quite pronouce "chicken nuggets."  She calls them "chicken woggets."  The name has stuck.  In our house, they are going to be chicken woggets from now on.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Finger Painting

I bought the preschool volume of Artistic Pursuits recently.  I knew it would really be great for Peanut and Frog.  Today we did some finger painting.  They loved it.  I don't do a lot of messy arts and crafts with my littles because it always seems overwhelming.  But this is my note to myself that it's really not.  It does take a couple minutes to set up and a few minutes to clean up (and you do want to get the twins out of the room!) but they love it so much!  Self, do take the time for these messy projects because it's worth it.

General Conference

We watched the semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this last weekend.  Oh, it was so good.  Such an outpouring of the Spirit and so much wisdom imparted.  I can't wait to go back and study the talks... there was so much there I needed to hear.

I have friends that do the coolest things with their families during Conference weekend: special treats, games, prizes, wall displays, collaborative note-taking... I admire all that.  I've tried to do some of that in the past, but this time it felt overwhelming.  I didn't even print activity packets off the Sugardoodle website.  Saturday we were spread out all over the house listening on various devices while working on projects (I was sewing) and it felt really chaotic.  Sunday I tried to pull everyone together and at least watch the morning session as a family, so I tried to do what I could to make it memorable and enjoyable for the kiddos.

Here's a little bit of what it looked like.  We picked the living room to gather in because of the fireplace, though it meant we were watching on the little laptop.  The sound was good though.  Lots of well-buttered popcorn.  Lots and lots and lots of it.  That kept the twins busy for awhile.  Also some cinnamon rolls.  A tent, some beanbag chairs, blankets and pillows, and some of us trying to take notes.  It's hard to take notes with two year old twins, but I tried.  Taking notes really helps me focus.  I look forward to doing that more as my children get older.

This is pretty different than watching Conference when I was a kid.  We had to go watch it at the church in the chapel because the church had a satellite dish.  We had to dress up in our Sunday clothes and sit quietly.  Maybe a pencil and paper to draw with, but no piles of activity books and no snacks until I got old enough to smuggle in a bag of Jelly Bellies.  I remember the first time I watched it at home, as a teenager.  I was elated that I could sit on my couch in my pajamas with a blanket and watch Conference!  Kids these days don't know how good they have it, right?  

St. Patrick's Day Run

I haven't written about my running in awhile, so here's an update.

I ran a St. Patrick's Day 5K race in March.  It was really hard for me.  Running's been really hard since I picked it back up again in January.  I mean, running has always been hard for me and I've always been slow by most people's standards, but last year I made consistent progress all year, slowly getting faster and stronger.  In November I ran that race and I was on top of the world afterwards-- I ran the entire thing without walking and my time was under 40 minutes.  Now there were new heights to scale.  I was just going to get better, right?

Well, I haven't.  All January, all February, on into March, I plugged away at running, but I couldn't even match where I'd been last fall, let alone improve.  It was so frustrating.  I was slow and getting slower.  13 minute mile... 13:30... 13:45... 14:00... And I was running 1.5 or only 1 mile at a time instead of 3.  I kept working toward the St. Pat's race though.  I'd done it before, I had to be able to do it again, right?

I went to my doctor and we ran a ton of bloodwork. I even pushed for extra tests on my thyroid.  Everything came back normal.  Whatever it is that is making running so difficult for me right now, it's not anemia or vitamin D deficiency or thyroid imbalance or Hashimoto's disease.  So I kept running.

I decided my goal was just to run the whole thing.  Never mind times.  I was secretly hoping, though, that I would be pleased with my time.

Not so much.  Maybe I can blame it on the weather, which suddenly went all North Dakota on us just before the race.  Maybe I can blame it on the fact that I don't usually run in the morning.  But it took me 42 minutes to run that 5K.  I could almost walk it faster than that.

I didn't walk, though.  I ran the entire way.  And that's something to be proud of and to hang onto.  I keep asking myself why I keep doing this.  Why running?  I don't know.  There has always just been this little voice deep down inside me, even when I was at my heaviest and most sluggish, that has been urging me to run.  So I keep running.

Here are my "before" and "after" selfies.