Thursday, December 11, 2008


This week has been great! We haven't followed my plan exactly, but we have definitely followed the 'spirit' of the plan for lack of a better way to describe it.

We had a great devotional during breakfast, and I asked the kids what they were interested in doing. So far so good. However by the time we got breakfast cleaned up and we got all of our morning chores done it was already 11:30...I still can't figure out where all the time went. We had a great time working on our Let's Play Music homework and spent 45 minutes signing, playing, and learning all about music. The kids always love to do their LPM homework...even my little Hyrum and Brea enjoy it! By the time we were done with that we had to eat lunch and head over to class. When we got back we did have a two hour 'quiet' study time which the kids did great with! So overall it was a success.

Yesterday was even better than Tuesday. I think the kids are really starting to get the hang of our new schedule. When we weren't reading or studying they played happily with each other most of the time. Its often hard for the kids to pick books off the bookshelf so what I've discovered works really well is that I'll pull 20 or so books off the book shelf and spread them all of the floor. Then its like bees to honey the kids can't help themselves. They go over to the books and start reading. LOVE IT!!! Even my little kids are really starting to look at books more. We probably read and played math games for 4 hours on Wednesday, and the funniest thing was when Jarom commented on how fast the time flew. Now that's a MAJOR break through.

So far today is going great! I had to finish reading my book (I had 60 pages left when I woke up) for my 5P class tonight so I've just been letting the kids play most of the morning. But they have been the most pleasant enjoyable kids to watch play. All four of them (the two little ones went down for naps early today) have been playing together with Lego's for almost an hour. Before that we all played a few games of Go Fish. Oh and before that Jarom made pancakes for everyone for breakfast. WHAT A GREAT DAY!

Even though the kids haven't sat down with me and done math or science (that is they haven't yet...we are going to do our 2 hours of quiet study time after lunch) I really feel like they have showed me that they have started to master other life skills like compromise, kindness, love, compassion, imagination, cooperation, how to entertain themselves, and many more. A year ago my kids wouldn't have been able to play with only themselves without a fight, break down, or request for TV or Computer time for more than 30 minutes. Today we are going on 2 hours. I've been sitting on the couch in the same room as them reading and they haven't even bothered me once. Maybe its because I spent time playing with them first before I started reading and left them alone to play, or maybe they just are happier playing with each other these days, or maybe they have better imaginations than they did a year ago. I don't know for sure but its AWESOME!

{What I've learned}
1. If I make a point to spend one-on-one time with the kids doing something they really want to do and they can tell I am totally into them and not distracted by other things then we have a happier home, they play better alone when its time for that, and they learn more during school time.
2. When the computer doesn't get turned on until after 4pm (our after school hours start then) and I don't make exceptions or break that rule our home runs better and school time goes better.
3. Every day is so different that when I am stuck to a schedule that I think is the way the day has to go everything goes wrong. Instead if I know the over arching things I want to accomplish with my family, have a general plan but allow myself to go with the flow as needed miracles occur.
4. Learning always is better when its fun! I want to try and have as much fun learning with the kids as possible.
5. Teaching the kids to work and own their responsibilities is very important to them becoming responsible hard working students.
6. When I relax and allow my house to stay cluttered with books and other school things during the day more learning takes place and I am a happier mom.
7. Have an evening routine where we can relax as a family after dad comes home and spend time hanging out and playing with dad is so important to the flow and culture of our home.
8. Night time reading is a must!!!! Sometimes the lessons and discussions I have with my kids during our night time reading blow me away and when I am tired and want to skip or shorten night time reading I always regret it!

{Love my JOB}
I am so thankful for my Mom job. Sorry Scott I think I got the better end of the job is better than yours! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spontaneity vs. The Routine

{The OLD ME: Too Spontaneous...Not much of a Routine}
So today was great. I am starting to finally figure out what works for me when it comes to our family's 'Daily Default Routine.' I'm still FAR away from having it figured out, but I'm kind of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person. I love to be spontaneous and do whatever sounds like a good idea at the moment. As a result I am not naturally a routine kind of person, but I am having to change this about me because always being spontaneous doesn't really work when you are trying to home school your little kiddos.

{The NEW ME: Controlled Spontaneity ...More Routine}
Last week I finally implemented a 2 hour quiet study time. This is where the kids can draw, read alone, read with me, play a 'school' game (with or without me), do a quiet project, etc... This doesn't mean we didn't have school time before...we did but before simply had chunks of study or school time throughout the day but I didn't call it 'quiet' study time. As a result 'school' time usually ended up looking like this...the younger kids would get super loud and crazy making it really hard for me to work with the older ones or the older kids joined in the loud fun and I went crazy. So during our 2 hour quiet study times last week the younger kids learned that they had to play quietly inside or go outside to play. It worked okay last week but I have to admit the kids were having a little trouble adjusting to the new rules. Thank goodness today they started (not totally) to get it. YEAH!!! We only lasted an hour of what I'd call quiet study time this afternoon, but I still think it was a success. After all it was quiet and we did get some good learning done!! During our one hour Jarom read some old issues of ZOO Books Magazines and Megan and I played Math games. I am so grateful that I am finally figuring out how to manage all six kids and learn at the same time. WOO-HOO!

{The Plan}
I want to keep the good momentum going so tomorrow I have a plan...we'll see if it works. After breakfast and devotional I am going to make sure I have (just started doing this so I need more practice) a planning meeting with the two oldest kids to talk about what they are interested in learning that day. Then we are going to have a two hour morning 'family quiet study' time before lunch. Then we'll have lunch and do our Let's Play Music homework. After that we'll go to LPM and once we get home we'll have a two hour afternoon 'individual quiet study' time. Once we're done with that the kids will be free to play and I'll read Laddie like crazy to try and finish it for my 5P class on Thursday. Okay so that's the plan we'll see if we can stick to it and get four good quality quiet study hours in tomorrow. I'll post the results tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The One Minute Teacher

{New approach to goal setting}
I've been reading the One Minute Teacher this last week in between my other reading, and I am really enjoying it. Its an easy read and one you can pick up and put down without getting lost. One of the things it talks about in the book is setting the one minute goal (I think that is what they call it). So this morning as I was making my bed I made a few goals for the day, and its really helped. Its not like I didn't make goals before, but the way the book approaches goal setting is really empowering and its helped me not get overwhelmed, recover when I fail, and keep my expectations of myself reasonable. Which is awesome because in the past I've typically set too many lofty goals and not get any of them done!

{Today's Goals}
1. Have devotional with the kids before the end of the day.
2. Read 2 chapters out of Life of Fred (our math book) this equals to about an hour of math.
3. Read 30 minutes out of our History of the World book
4. Spend 30 minutes reading with Megan
5. Read to the little boys for 20 minutes.
6. Read Man of the Family to the older kids.
7. Encourage imaginary play and drawing time.
8. Work on spelling and definitions during reading time.
9. Spend time reading my book Laddie try to read 100 pages today.
10. Start my new budget system!!!

So far we've done math, history, imaginary/drawing play, spelling/definitions and its only noon. We do lots of these things every day, but when I set goals and can measure what we've been doing its makes it so much better. It helps me stay on course and headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Walking Drum

{out to lunch}
For the last month my computer has been sitting on the floor in our once office. So I haven't really spent much time blogging or writing. Which means I've lost a ton of memories because I didn't take time to write them down. Shoot! Oh well all I can do is start doing better from here on out. So here's to doing better. To kick it off I am going to post a paper I just finished writing for my 5 Pillar class on Thursday. Its not the best paper in the world and its my first draft, but what the heck I thought I'd go ahead and post it. I discovered a few things about myself as I was writing it, and know I need to do better in a few other areas.

{The Walking Drum}
Most of the time I don't feel like I have enough of it or that I simply waste to much of it. I swear I run from here to there taking care of things that seem important in the moment, but all to often at the end of the day when I look back and try to think about what I've done that will really matter tens years down the road my mind draws a blank. So am I just the weird one that can't seem to get a handle on it or have I simply seen the light and now realize my potential which has translated into a lot more expectations of me and my family? I'm not sure but I do know that my vision of what a mother needs to do in a day has expanded from cooking, cleaning, and keeping my kids safe to pushing myself to become the person I was meant to be and inspiring my kids to become the people they were meant to be in a way I didn't understand only a few years ago. Maybe this new perspective on life has made me realize that I can't afford to waste a second of it on anything not important to my vision, mission, and purpose. Who knows for sure, but I do know this never yielding thing called time never seems to be on my side!

I think part of my trouble with time is my attitude that I must fit everything in today. I have trouble pacing myself and seeing beyond today sometimes. That must be why as I was reading The Walking Drum I admired Kerbouchard's slow methodical approach to time. As the book begins Kerbouchard has a clear mission to rescue his father. In my mind I probably would have focused on finding the shortest route to where my father was being held and go straight there so I could accomplish this goal quickly and move on with life. However this is not the approach he takes. He sees time differently than I usually view it. Wise beyond his years Kerbouchard begins his journey to find his father realizing that it is not the speed of the journey that matters but instead what he does during the time it takes to make the journey that matters. He understands that the journey itself will prepare him to rescue his father if he will allow the experiences he goes through to teach him. At the beginning of the book he is captured as a slave on a ship. It seems it would be hard to do anything but survive as a slave on a pirate ship however Kerbouchard sees the time he spends on the ship as an opportunity for growth to help him with the next leg of his journey. He says while on the ship "For I wanted a life wider and deeper than my own Breton shores could offer. To make my way in a larger world to see more, to learn more, to be more. This was my dream. Even now I was learning, I was becoming." (pg 25) Even in the mist of being a slave he was allowing himself to become who he wanted to be. The fact that he did not see his circumstances as limiting his ability to grow is amazing and inspires me to want to do the same. All to often my circumstances don't appear 'ideal' but that doesn't mean I can't be learning and becoming who I strive to be.

Sometimes its hard for me to stand alone. As a homeschooling mother of six children 9 and under I often feel alone and isolated. Even those who attend my church often can't relate to my decision to home school and don't understand how I cope with six children. They can't figure out why we limit TV, computer, and activities outside the home. Because they aren't reading what I and my children are reading they can't discuss the thoughts and ideas I have stewing in my head. Often I wish I was able to help them understand how awesome what I am doing is and how life is easier not harder and my joy is full. Most of the time though they aren't ready to hear what I have to say which is just fine, but again leaves me feeling alone and a bit isolated. I know what I am doing is the right thing for me and my family. I know that by deciding to study and read classic books with a group I am becoming who I am capable of becoming. Something more than I thought I was capable of becoming. I love how Kerbouchard described this feeling..."Alone I was, but he who stands alone is often the strongest. By standing alone he becomes stronger and remains strong." (60) I find that when I am alone with my books or with my family I am growing and becoming. No one is entertaining me and allowing my mind to stop working. I still find myself sometimes wishing I was being entertained by others more. I fool myself into thinking it would be easier. I know that even though time seems to fly when your being entertained if it happens to often I start to feel empty and powerless. The worst part of it is that my desire to study and learn decreases as the amount of time I spend being entertained increases.

As I have thought about the way Kerbouchard approaches time I find wanting to ask him more about it. What did time mean to him? How did time effect his decisions? How did time influence his goal setting? I believe his entire perspective of what time meant to him is very different than the way western civilization views time. I know different cultures think of the passing of time differently. Cultures such as British, Native Americans, Greek, French, Japanese, and some other Asian cultures, tend to view the past, cultural history, and traditions as having the most importance, and use them as a guide in making present-day decisions. Other cultures are present-oriented, and see the present moment as the most significant. Tradition holds little importance, and planning for the future is not emphasized, but rather spontaneity and impulsiveness are more appreciated, and lifestyles tend to be relaxed and casuals. Some examples of this can be seen in Latin America. Other societies are future-oriented, and place a firm focus on planning and forward movement, and the present activities are viewed as a bridge to this future goal. This is the dominant tone in the US. ( By learning from other culture's perspective on time and how it influences their lives I believe my concept of time would expand I would be able to understand its importance and how to use it more purposely.

"Which of us knows the direction of his life? Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Often, when pausing at a crossroad, I have wondered what might lie waiting on the road not taken?" (142) I think in order to use my time more effectively I need to always be thinking about where I want to go and how I am going to get there. Setting small goals often and making time to revisit those goals and evaluate how I am doing with them would allow me to be constantly making course corrections to keep me headed in the right direction. Just the other day I was reading about one of the Apollo mission and how if they were off by a few degrees when leaving the Earth they would have missed the moon by more than a million miles. Our lives aren't really that different. We are on an important mission and by taking time to think about where we are and where we want to be and making goals to reach our destination allows us to stay focused on what really matters and use the time we have to make a difference to who we will become.

"I do not learn to obtain position or reputation. I want only to know." (pg 179) Over the last few years I have started to undergo a life changing transformation that I am sure will continue for the rest of my life. I have more faith in my own and my family's ability to become something I thought was only reserved for others. We can be amazing people, understand complex topics, contribute, and become scholars. But how? Its a process. "What kind of scholar was I? Or was I a scholar at all? My ignorance was enormous. Beside it my knowledge was nothing. My hunger for learning, not so much to improve my lot as to understand my world, had led me to study and to thought. Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think...all knowledge is interrelated..." (pg 201-202) I know that using the time I have to constantly be learning is crucial to becoming the person I was meant to become. "For the mind must be prepared for knowledge as one prepares a field for planting, and a discovery made too soon is no better than a discovery not made at all." (pg 255) Each day I use my time wisely and become a better mom, more loving wife, and a more educated person changes me a little from the day before. And the more little changes I make the more I become a little more like the person I was meant to be. Kerbouchard has helped remind me to slow down, and with a purpose in mind spend my time becoming who I am meant to be rather than rushing through life to get to the finish line no better than I was when I started. "Victory is not won in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more." (261) "Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds." (373)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Learning sure looks a lot different these days...

{sparks burn me out!}
Today sparks were flying in our many sparks were flying that I was literally burned out (lol) by the end of the day trying to keep up with my excited kids all day.

This morning the kids had riding lessons. Which they are loving more and more each week. Today they begged to stay after 30 minutes to help feed, brush, and help with all the other horse care that was needed. I love kids are begging to WORK! Now how do I get them to beg me to work at home? :)

Once we got home Jarom came up with an idea to make a bird feeder to hold some of the bird seed he got last week with Scott. It was really quite clever and I was proud of him to create something all on his own. He also got his brothers and sister involved on the action. Then he decided that just in case the birds didn't see the bird feeder he should scatter lots of bird seed all around the backyard. He definitely got the bird's attention!

After lunch Jarom's interests moved on to bees. I am not sure how this idea popped into his head, but without me really knowing (I was busy trying to balance my check book which I am totally lame at) he got our jar of honey and covered his hands in it. Then he went out to a small puddle of water in our back yard that bees had been drinking from and let the bees land on him and lick (do bees lick?) the honey off. Pretty soon all the kid's hands were smeared with honey and they were enjoying be 'Bee Whisperers' as Jarom described it. About the time there were 30 or so bees 'licking' honey off the kids hands Jarom came tearing into the house and told me what they were up to.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about the idea of bees landing on my children and sucking the honey off, but I was excited about the adventure and discovery the children were having and so I didn't stop them. Instead I went out and took a few pictures and had to laugh at the whole situation. Learning sure looks a lot different than what I thought learning had to look like when I was growing up. :) Tomorrow Jarom plans on researching more about bees and bee keepers! How fun is that.

{the garden}
While Jarom waited for Megan to finish her riding lessons this morning he planned out his square foot garden. He was so excited to show Scott tonight. After dinner Jarom started to help Megan plan out hers...but pretty soon they decided to combine their two gardens into one. They were so cute working on it together. Tomorrow morning they are going on an early morning field trip to the Home Depot to get the supplies so they can start building their gardening boxes. LOVE IT!!!

Reading time is improving! WOO-HOO! Today all I had to do was ask Jarom (after the bees swarmed the backyard and I was scared to let the kids out) once if he'd spend the next 30 minutes reading whatever he'd like and he did it!!! After about 40 minutes he came in and told me he'd gotten so into his book he had stopped counting down the time he had left, and had even gone over ten minutes. Now that's improvement!

{the power of writing}
My life is a bit crazy right now, and I haven't been taking the time to record what's been going on in our life. As a result I think I've been more frustrated with things because I find that if I don't write things down I tend to forget what I've done. So I've been feeling like the kids and I haven't been making the progress I've been wanting to make.

As I take time to write things down and record what is happening in life I begin to recognize all the amazing things that are happening to me and my family and forget all the negative thoughts and non-important things. My focus goes to looking at what I am learning instead of how I am failing. And I remember what is really important in life and believe that tomorrow is a new opportunity to do better.

I am grateful for the gift of writing and the clarity it gives me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

WOW! A week goes by so fast...

{a whole week}
So I can't believe its been a whole week since I've put my thoughts down on paper. What's my problem? Well at least part of my lack of writing this week is the fact that my computer is currently sitting on the floor of our soon to be 'project' room. That is 100% my fault, since I couldn't decide on what color/stain I wanted the new furniture to be so for the last two months the furniture has just been sitting at the store waiting for me to figure that out. (I really need to work on my indecision.) Good news though I bit the bullet and made my decisions this week. So in a week or two my computer will be back on a desk and I'll be rocking and rolling again. I will be so thankful when I have an organized home school project room!!! WAY EXCITING!!

{brain dead mommy}
So its been a crazy week! I feel like I'm half brain dead to be honest. After going on vacation with Jarom and Megan for 10 days I came home with mommy amnesia. I had totally forgotten how to be a happy mom of 6. I kind of freaked out and am relearning how to be a joyful mother to six amazing kids. Its getting better everyday thank goodness, and I've learned a lot about myself and found lots of things I need to work on. I keep reminding myself it's the journey not the destination.

I'm almost done reading Jane Eyre and its been great. The book is AMAZING and so INSPIRING! However, just as powerful has been the journey of reading classics which started in September. If you'd have asked me a year or two ago if I was capable of committing and accomplishing something like 5 Pillars I probably would have laughed and thought you were crazy. I didn't think I was smart enough or capable of learning still. I knew I had a lot of holes in my education, but I thought it was to late to do anything about that. When I broke free of that mind set I remembered what I used to know as a child that its never to late to become who you are capable of becoming. That is an eternal truth...its never to late! Beginning the process of reading and becoming truly educated is amazing. I am still only a few steps from the starting line, but I am just grateful to have started the race. As I look forward to the journey that lays ahead for me its AMAZING!!!!. The possibilities are endless and my ability to live life to the fullest seem more possible than ever. I WANT TO BECOME EDUCATED and my life will change because of the education I choose to give myself.

{I blew the budget again...}
I have a problem sticking to our budget. Its not like I'm spending wads of cash, but I have trouble telling myself NO! So after much reflection I decided to publicly make myself accountable to stick to the budget for November!!!! I promise Scott.

Here are some of the things I am going to do to make sure I stick to our November 2008 budget:
1. NEVER use my debit card!
2. ONLY use cash for expenses (not including bills)
3. NEVER borrow cash from a future week to pay for 'wants' for the current week
5. Hold a weekly budget review meeting with Scott

Plan to teach the kids how to manage money:
1. During FC talk about our family budget.
2. Create a system for the kids to earn money so they can start budgeting and paying for some of their own things.

{my routine}
I've decided that its really important for me to be up and ready before the kids wake up. It is hard to do, but it helps me feel sane so its super important tome. This week has been okay, but I need to do even better. If I can just get myself up and moving before the kids my day goes so much better. Here's to trying to trying to wake up earlier!!

I am still struggling with getting our family routine developed too. I am trying to figure out what I am doing wrong and how I can get a better family routine established, because I know that its VERY VERY important. I feel like in order to get our family culture established it is essential to develop a consistent routine. I haven't figured out what is holding me back from really doing this, but I am going to keep trying to figure it out so I can get past my hold up and accomplish my goal!!

I am so grateful for my life and all the blessings the Lord has given me. I feel overwhelmed when I think of all I've been given in this life. I know that prayer works and that when we pray we can feel the Lord's love for us. I am nothing without God.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trip Overview

For my own records (you are welcome to read along) I am going to cover the highlights from our trip that I haven't yet written about. I have a terrible memory so I've got to get my thoughts down on paper or I am going to forget them!

On October 12th we left Phoenix and flew over to Orlando to make a two day stop over at Disney World. We hadn't ever been before and since the plane fare was the same with a two day layover we thought what the heck. I found a cheap hotel, but couldn't find a deal on Disney World tickets. Ouch were they a bit pricey, but we had a blast.

The first day we were able to hit two parks. We started out at Disney's Animal Kingdom which I thought had some really great features. Our favorite rides were the Safari (way cool) and the Everest Expedition a super duper fast roller coaster. Megan LOVES roller coasters so it was a blast to take her on all the scary rides especially this one.

I have to admit I was surprised with how hot it was still in Florida and I shouldn't have worn a shirt that needed an undershirt. I didn't repeat this mistake on day two.

Monday evening we scooted on over to Magic Kingdom for an after hours 'No So Scary Halloween Party.'

This worked out great because we were able to do a TON in one day, and Magic Kingdom wasn't very busy from 7-12pm so we were easily able to hit all the rides we wanted to multiple times. (We hit Space Mountain 3 times and Buzz Lightyear 4 or 5 times.) We also got our faces painted for FREE...something Megan had been dying to do all day long and had been willing to pay $15. She was so glad she waited for the Halloween Party and got it for FREE.

After 14 hours at the park we were tired, but had been having the time of our life!

Day two at Disney World we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is similar to California Adventures. We had a great time hit lots of ride, but we didn't take our camera. Day two was all about hitting the rides. Some of the highlights were Megan getting selected to do the Jedi training by Star Tours, going on Tower of Terror two times in a row, experiencing 0 to 60 in 2.something seconds on the Rocking Roller Coaster, and just hanging out all day together. I felt so footloose and fancy free with only the two older life at the park was relaxed, kicked back, and easy.

On Wednesday we were scheduled to fly out to Puerto Rico, and of course we had a scare with a hurricane coming right by PR. Luckily it didn't hit PR and we were able to get there no problem. Scott's parents however we visiting some islands in their mission and got stranded for an extra day trying to get a flight back to PR. We actually ended up beating them home and hung out with Tenery the first night. She is awesome!! Jarom of course didn't wast a moment, and started searching for bugs right away.

The first thing he caught was a millipede and he was delighted. He also caught his first Coqui Frog and was thrilled. After that Jarom showed off his lean mean machine body to us all, and followed that up by raiding a package filled with candy that Emily had sent the family. He made sure we all knew that he could use the extra fat and calories so there was no need to limit his candy intake. What a hoot! That boy is to smart for his own britches.

Thursday morning Susan and Stan arrived and we were SO EXCITED to see them! It didn't take long before Megan was at Grandma's side helping her with whatever task she was doing. Here Megan is helping Grandma sort some of the missionaries mail. That girl is such a helper!

Later on Thursday we went over to El Morro and took a little tour of the Spanish's strong fort built in the 1500's I think. It was very impressive!

Friday we hung out at the beach all day long. We went over by where all the fancy hotels are, and ended up on The Ritz Carlton's beach. It was great! We sat in their comfy beach lounge chairs, rented boogie boards and surf boards...flew a kite, and basically had a blast. Unfortunately we didn't use enough sunscreen and we all ended up getting a bit burned. I guess that is the price you pay for hanging out on the beach all day!

Saturday we headed over to El Yunki (the rain forest) and did a little exploring. We all loved it and wished we could have had more time to spend there.

After the rain forest we headed over to Fajardi for a kayak ride in the Bio Bay. It was simply amazing! We paddled over to a bay and were able to experience first hand some tiny little creatures that use a type of luminescence as a defense mechanism. When you put your hand in the water it would glow. The wake of the kayak would glow, fish swimming in the water glowed, everything glowed. WOW! I'll never forget that. It was really dark and Megan got a little spooked, but as a whole everyone had a blast seeing something so unique!

Sunday we went to church nearby with Grandma, Grandpa, and Tenery. The entire 3 hours were in Spanish and boy did I wish I could understand more of what they were saying. I am determined to learn how to speak Spanish!! I would love to go back and visit again before their mission is over, but this time I'd like to make more of an effort to learn Spanish before we got!!! Sunday was also Jarom's birthday which I have already written about.

Monday we did a ton of exploring and finished the off with a horse ride on the beach, but I've already written all about that day previously. So I won't go into more detail than that.

Tuesday was our only full day with the Blackhursts who had arrived Monday evening. We decided it would be the perfect day to take the ferry to another island of PR Culebra...and this island was amazing!

The ferry left at 9am and we had to be there at 8am and it took about an hour to get there from Grandma's house so we ended up getting up around 5:30 and getting out the door by 6:30ish. It was an early early morning!

After arriving at Culebra we hopped on a shuttle bus that took us over to two of the most amazing beaches ever. First though we stopped and got some Pinchos a popular PR treat. Basically its meat on a stick. It was pretty tasty. Here we are all holding up our Pinchos. Cheers!

After changing into our swimsuits we started off on a 20 minute hike (and it was a hike) over to an amazing snorkeling and exploring beach.

It was an adventure to be sure! We all had a great time, but I think the boys had the best time of all hunting for treasures along the beach. Jarom found a bunch of sea crabs, shells, coral, sponges, etc... He was in heaven.

Grandpa even joined in the fun! What a great sport!!!!

Megan spent most of her time looking for shells and playing with Eliza in the water. She also really enjoyed going out with Scott and snorkling.

Denny and Scott went snorkeling all over the bay we were in. There was a coral reef along the bay, and it provided some great snorkeling spots. I had a blast checking out all the fish!!

After we were done at the snorkling beach we headed over to the most AMAZING INCREDIBLE fairytale beach. There were hardly any waves, the sand was like find powder, the water was almost tourquoise not to mention the perfect temperature. Talk about unreal.

Before we were ready to leave it came time for the shuttle bus to pick us up so we could take the last ferry back to PR. I hesitantly left the beach of paradise and headed back to the ferry. But I'd love to go back there someday. It was perfect!!

On the way home Jarom and Brigham had a great time hanging out on the ferry. They were so hyped up from a day at the beach that they could hardly keep themselves still the whole hour and half it took us to get back to the main island. What great little buddies.

{hanging out at Grandma's house}

The kids loved hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa again. One morning they helped Grandma make pancakes and were so excited to be big helpers.

Grandma gave Megan a big coloring book to draw in. It had both Spanish and English words in it and Megan had fun working on coloring it just so.

Its no surprise that the backyard was Jarom's favorite place at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We all got a good laugh when he decided to climb the bamboo tree. I just love his energy and exploring nature.

{Back to Reality}
I think I've now covered most of the highlights of the trip which is a huge relief! I have to admit it was bitter sweet to leave Puerto Rico on Wednesday the 22nd. I loved the strength and inspiration I felt when I was around Scott's parents. They are such wonderful people who I love and admire so much. Its been strange having them gone for so long, and seeing them again was comforting and exciting. However since we didn't take our whole crew it was so great to get home and see all the little kiddos again. They are such amazing children, but I have to admit after only having two kids for the last 10 days I was in a bit of shock trying to get back into the mode of a mom of 6. I am sure by Saturday I'll be back in full swing and ready to conqure the world. As of right now I am in survival mode trying to recover from the trip and figure out how to be a happy inspiring mom to all my little ones. Today I did okay, but I could have done much better.

I am so blessed to have such amazing children, and hope I can live up to the enormous responsibility I have to raise them right.

Here's to reality and figuring out how to cope again!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let's See the WHOLE Island in one day...

So today was AMAZING! We leave on Wednesday we only have a few more days to do any last minute things we want to do while we are here in Puerto Rico. So today we planned to basically see the whole island...okay not really but we did end up seeing a good chunk of it today, and had a BLAST doing it.

Before I go more into today I have to get this side story down on paper, because it has really effected our vacation here in the PR.

So this story is kind of bitter sweet, but I'm just going to tell it straight. Jarom lost his Nintendo DS somewhere between Florida and Puerto Rico. It was his birthday present (that we gave to him early so he could have it before this trip) and unfortunately the much anticipated DS was lost before he even hit the be NINE. It was very sad because we didn't realize it was missing until we got to airport security in Florida, and we couldn't go back to the hotel and didn't have the number for the cab who took us there. We were already cutting it a bit close on time to make the flight so all we could do was call the hotel and hope they found it when they cleaned our room. So far nothing has turned up.

It's an expensive thing to lose that is for sure, but as a result we've had the best time playing interactive games, reading, and talking together on our many journeys this past week versus having the kids consumed with the DS games. So in a weird sort of way I'm happy we were DS-less this vacation. Its opened our minds and encouraged us to hang out the old fashion way without the DS-distraction.

Okay back to today.
We had a bit of a late start...for some reason we didn't hear Scott's phone's alarm. Oh well. We ended up getting out the door around 9:30ish and plugged our first destination of the day Adjutas into the GPS. It is a small city in the center of the island that has a really amazing natural lake right by it. I'd seen a picture of it in a magazine and thought it would be great to check it out. So off we went.

Detour One:
On our way to Adjutas we realized we were going to be driving through Ponce a city I'd read about that was suppose to be scenic and nostalgic. So we decided to veer off the highway, and make a quick stop in Ponce. It was getting close to 11:30 so we thought it would be nice to have a little lunch before we continued on anyway.

Just like most cities Ponce's city center was busy and parking was hard to come by. After circling around for 10 or 15 minutes we got ourselves parked and set out for a quick self guided tour of Ponce. The central square was nice...not quite as impressive as I thought it would be. But we did find a bathroom to use, ate lunch at a great little local joint we found out about, and I was able to get some new sunglasses (the pair I brought is MIA). So over all it was a success! The craziest part of Ponce was getting lost on some one way streets in a near by neighborhood. The homes were more run down than I thought they would be, but it was a learning experience to see what kind of circumstances they live in. Makes me grateful for my home back in the QC.

Here we are in Ponce's city center.

Finally we did find our way out and were off on our way to Adjutas and the mysterious lake. The drive to Adjutas was AMAZING!!! I couldn't believe how green everything was in the center of the island. WOW!! As we drove on the highway we all felt like we were seeing something right out of a movie or fairytale. The thick green trees on each side of the road framed us in as we looked out onto small towns. Thin wispy clouds were rising out of the mountains, and everything about it felt like a fairytale. For a half our or so we found ourselves in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm and rolled the windows down to enjoy the warm rain. I LOVE LOVE family drives and our middle of the island drive in Puerto Rico is now one of my all time favorites. Not only was the scenery to die for, but the company was outstanding. We chatted it up, laughed, and simply enjoyed each others company. One of my favorite things was how nice Jarom and Megan were to each other. I loved how they sang and played together all day in the back seat of our car. What a perfect day!!

Scheduled Stop One:
It only took about 25 minutes to get to Adjutas from only took another 20 minutes once we reached Adjutas to get to the first lake stop...and it only took another 30 or 45 minutes after this picture was taken before we reached the middle of the jungle. Which was so beautiful.

Everything about this island is picture perfect. Unfortunatly I don't yet posses mad picture taking skills so this picture of Scott and the kids standing in front of the lake doesn't really do it justice. Oh well! It does look a bit better when you see the bigger version of this picture, but I think you really had to see it in person to experience how amazing the landscape was.

Detour Two:
So right after we took the picture above we looked at the GPS and it told us we still had one mile to reach our destination. That should have been a red flag seeing how we were already at the lake. But in the picture of the lake in the magazine it had showed a foot bridge crossing the lake and I figured the GPS was taking us to another side of the lake so we could cross that bridge. I had visualized in my mind what it would look and feel like to have us all cross the footbridge, and it was pretty onward we went and the real adventure of the day began.

Pretty soon after we started driving we were all blown away by the scenery and couldn't really focus on anything else. The GPS kept telling us we were a mile away so we kept driving. We drove by lots of tiny houses on hills. Found wild wondering chickens everywhere we looked. Saw plenty of grandmas sitting on porches enjoying the afternoon breeze. But we never again found the lake. We drove through the most densely covered roads with thick trees and ground cover...took lots of pictures...oh and continued to be a mile away from the lake. After about 30 or 45 minutes of driving we began to realize that the GPS couldn't figure out where we were going when it started to tell us to turn and look for 'unpaved' roads that didn't exist.

We were an hour (so we thought) from where our next stop was and pretty soon realized we weren't going to make it even if we did find a marked road soon and were able to get back on the highway. About this time I kind of started to panic. We were totally lost in Puerto Rico, there weren't any homes or people in site, and the GPS which should have been our life line in a situation like this couldn't figure out where we were or how to get us to a real road. Scott thank goodness took control and suggested we say a prayer. After the prayer we reset the GPS and within 10 minutes were on a real road and actually knew where we were going. Whew...what a relief and answer to a very heartfelt prayer. I am so glad the kids were there with us during this experience. Megan pipped up after we were headed in the right direction and said 'I'm so glad we said a prayer. It helped us find our way.' How right she was, and how thankful I am for her faith. I need to have more faith like her!

Scheduled Stop Two:
Even though the GPS knew where we were again, my faith in that little gadget had been shattered and I was skeptical that it would know how to get us off the little back roads and onto the highway we needed to get onto to make it to our beach horse back riding excursion. Eventually I began to trust it again, and finally an hour and a half later we finally made it to Tropical Trail Rides. Scott had called them on our way there to tell them of our situation. We ended up being an hour and a half late, but they were so wonderful and brought in another trail guide who took us on our own private Martineau Family horse ride. It was wonderful! Grace our trail guide was so impressed with the kid's confidence and riding skills that she let us trot and canter with the horses. Which she said wouldn't have probably happened on the earliear trail ride. So it was a blessing in disguise that we were late. During and after we all couldn't help but smile constantly and all of us kept saying over and over again that the entire day had been a BLAST!

Okay one last story...
before I hit the pun intended. Megan and Jarom have been taking lessons for a few months now and the horses they've been riding are trained in the English style of riding and respond to physical and some verbal cues. The horses we were on were today were trained in the Western style of riding and didn't respond to verbal cues. Anyway, Jarom didn't really believe us and was convinced that every time he told his horse to 'canter' it actually responded to his cue vs the fact that the horse in front of him was cantering. Megan heard Jarom and too believed that the horses knew verbal cues. Megan was riding behind me at the time when and I heard her say over and over again the verbal command 'canter.' After about twenty times of saying it she was a bit frustrated that the horse wasn't responded. Scott heard her frustrated little voice, and told her not to be frustrated. He tried to explain to her that the horse responded to other physical cues such as tapping the horse's belly with your heels. He told her the horse didn't understand English and that was why he wasn't responding to her saying 'canter.' She sighed and with a sad voice said. 'Oh Duke (the horse) doesn't speak English. Well Dad its just that I don't know how to say canter in Spanish.' We all got a good laugh out of that. She figured since the horse didn't know English it must speak Spanish, and that was why it wasn't listening to her. So CUTE!

Megan and Jarom were both amazing on the ride, and they kept telling me that they can't wait to tell Cori their horseback riding teacher about their ride on the beach. Megan even accidentally got her horse to break into a gallop and is excited to tell her teacher all about that experience. She was giggling up a storm as she gallped passed us all...she wasn't scared at all. I have to admit I was a little frightened to see her going that fast on a horse, but she held her own and did great.

All the way home we talked about horses, and the possibility of getting horses of our own one day. It was so fun to see the kids trying to think of ways to make that work for our family. Megan and Jarom were inspired and so were we!

It was an amazing day!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jarom Turns 9 in Puerto Rico!!!

So today was Jarom's 9th birthday. He revealed to me just now as I was writing this that he was a bit worried that his birthday wouldn't be really fun hanging out with a bunch of boring adults. However he then told me that it turned out to be one of his favorite birthdays yet!! WOO-HOO!

So today is Sunday not exactly an ideal day for a 9 year old to have a birthday bash. Jarom was a super sport though, and didn't complain even once that he couldn't understand much of anything during church (since we went to a Spanish speaking ward for church with Scott's parents who are mission presidents here in Puerto Rico).

In fact Megan and Jarom both bravely went to Primary even though they couldn't understand much of what they were saying. They were so brave! When we got home they told us they sang 'Hello Hello' to them in Spanish. They thought that was great. They recognized the tune, but not the words. Oh how I wish we could speak Spanish!!!!

After church Grandma made us all a very yummy birthday lunch which happened to be one of Jarom's favorites Fettuccine Alfredo. He was in HEAVEN!! To finish us up Tenery whipped up a Confetti Chip Yellow cake also a favorite of Jarom's. After that Jarom was feeling pretty happy, and declared this birthday was turning out to be pretty great!
After our birthday feast and a short nap we headed out on a beautiful Sunday drive to experience a little more of Puerto Rico. Everything is so green and we were loving the scenery. WOW!! We made a short stop at an amazing beach that was full of surprises. Jarom of course immediately started exploring and looking for little creatures. It didn't take long before Scott and Jarom found some crabs, sea urchins, and a few other little sea creatures. His birthday was turning out to be better and better by the minute. Finding and catching animals is something Jarom LOVES!!!!

Right before Jarom let these two little critters go we took a picture of his light and dark crabs. We saw a couple really large crabs as well, but they were never able to ever catch those. Oh well...probably better anyway. I would have hated to have had either of them hurt by a crab.

To finish off Jarom's perfect birthday he decided to set a goal to capture 9 Coqui Frogs one for each year of his life. We all kind of smiled at him since the one that Jarom had been able to catch the first night we were here was the first one caught alive at Grandma or Grandpa's house.

No worries...Jarom changed all that, and with a little help from others holding flashlights he was able to find and catch 9 Coqui frogs. They are the cutest little frogs and are only found in Puerto Rico. One of the most unique things about them is the sound they make. Its not your run of the meal no. They make the most unusual bird like sound 'coke-ee' (like their name). I don't think Jarom will ever forget the nine Coqui frogs he caught on his nineth birthday.

Its been such an amazing trip so far! Its hard to believe we only have 3 more days before we fly home. Megan and Jarom have been excellent traveling companions. I've really enjoyed hanging out with them and Scott for the last week. What a blessing to have the opportunity to come visit Scott's parents here in Puerto Rico. Its so inspiring to see them working so hard and be so devoted and committed to missionary work.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Taming of the Shrew

I finished reading The Taming of the Shrew on Thursday while I watched my kids playing on the beach. Earlier I'd been swimming with everyone in the ocean which was a blast. Much to my surprise the ocean water in the Caribbean is mucho caliente (very warm). I was LOVING IT!!! We all tried surfing for an hour (Jarom was the best by far) as well as boogie boarded for 4 or 5 hours which was super fun! I am normally a total whimp in the ocean because I hate being cold so I was more than pleasantly surprised to find the ocean water felt like the temperature of pool water in Arizona in July. AMAZING!

So I guess you could say that Thursday was what I would call a 'Perfect Day.' A wonderful combination of spending time with my family and a good book!

Taming of the Shrew was very interesting and I really really (to my surprise) enjoyed it! I liked listening to it (I listened to a dramatized version of it while I followed along in the book) and was so excited that I could follow the story line and understand what the different characters were saying to eachother. It was a huge confidence boast because I've always been so intimidated by Shakespear.

Now I feel like I can conqure the world. I can't wait until I get home and have time to sit down and write a paper on it! (Boy how my life has changed. I can't believe I am actually enjoying Shakespear and looking forward to writing a paper.) I feel so blessed to have found the Thomas Jefferson Education Philosophy, and came to believe that I have the power to become anything and learn anything I want to. One of my favorite sayings right now is, "Its never to late to become who you were meant to be."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Learning is Life!

On Sunday Scott and I were on a long boring plane trip with our two oldest children. So I was surprised when I looked across the aisle and Jarom and Scott were literally cracking up. I was tickled to see them having such a great time together! However when I saw they were reading Jarom's very cool math book Life of Fred I couldn't help from smiling. They were giggling and having a wonderful time learning math. They read, laughed, and worked on math for 20-30 minutes before stopping...took a couple hour break...then spent another 20 or so minutes reading and working on math again. We were on vacation, but it didn't mean learning couldn't be taking place. I wish I had learned math with a smiling laughing teacher. AMAZING!!! What was equally cool was the bonding that was taking place between Jarom and Scott!

Learning is life and life is learning!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Focusing on the Vision

"Where your focus goes, energy flows, and that thing grows."

{5P blessings}
This year I am a co-coordinator in a 5 Pillars class and its definitely been a HUGE learning experience for me. As part of our training to coordinate the class we have a couple of conference calls I get to be a part of each month. I just got off of one of those calls and it was AMAZING, and I feel like I needed to write down some of my thoughts before they escape from me.

{Focusing on my weakness}
Its funny because last night I started writing a whole entry for my blog about a BIG weakness of mine. This past week had been kind of crazy and didn't turn out like I had wanted it to. I know this is due to a weakness I struggle with and decided to dissect that weakness in hopes to solve the problem and move on. It was more than ironic that this morning's call helped me see things differently and realize that I needed to approach my issue from a different angle. I love how the Lord puts things in our path when we need it most.

{The Cycle of Focusing}
For lack of a better word I am going to call part of what I learned today the cycle of focusing.

1. Hear the call...recognize I have something to offer (our family, children, world, etc...)
2. Admit to and own my weaknesses and/or objections.
3. Ask the right question, be humble, and recognize the answer.
4. See the vision.
5. Take my focus off the my weaknesses and put my focus on the vision of what is at hand.
6. DEDICATE myself to the vision.
7. Start seeing growth and result as I focus on the vision and NOT on my weaknesses!

{The Story of the Fleas}
In the book the Hiding Place a story is told of a group of women at a concentration camp being infested with fleas. Most of the women become frustrated with the fleas and the annoyance they are to them. However the main character takes the focus of her suffering and asks God. What is the purpose of the fleas? What is God's hand in this? Her answer is that because of the fleas the guards are staying away from the women preventing mistreatment or abuse towards the women. What an amazing example of taking the focus of 'ME' or my weaknesses and instead focuses on the vision of what God has for her in this situation.

I am trying to build a family that is cohesive as well as a Thomas Jefferson Leadership community that is cohesive. I know that as I serve my family and my community that I am far from perfect. I know that I have many 'fleas' (weaknesses) that will try to distract me from focusing on the vision and instead try to get myself to focus on myself. As long as I am focusing on my 'fleas' I won't have the ability to focus on the vision and will feel frustrated with my lack of progress and the enormous amount of flaws/weaknesses I have. If we get caught in our weakness it will become the message heard in everything we do.

Instead I need to acknowledged my weaknesses then focus on the vision by asking the right questions. If I can focus on the vision great things will start to happen! I really do believe this. Its kind of like the saying 'You have to lose yourself to find yourself.' Its scary though because I have to have faith in the process.

Pride is something that struggle with sometimes. If I work hard at accomplishing my vision whether it be in my goal to have a clean organized home, well behaved children, personal study, etc I sometimes can't help from wanting the credit for being successful with my vision right? Even though I know this is wrong its hard to overcome the natural man and realize that it isn't about me. 'I can do great things if I just get out of my way.' I need to remember that 'Great things can happen if no one cares who gets the credit.' When I hear things like this I know they are true and I want to get myself out of the focus and focus on my vision.

{Mother Teresa}
Do it Anyway
by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered -Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives -Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies -Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you -Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight -Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous -Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow -Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough -Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God -It never was between you and them anyway.

{My Journey}
For me this blog is about journaling my personal journey through life so I can learn, grow, and remember all the amazing things that happen along the way. Its about having accountability with myself and others. Its about celebrating my successes and growing from my failures. Its about keeping track of what is going on with my kids as we embark on this scary yet amazingly satisfying journey of homeschooling. Its about recognizing my weaknesses and strengths. Its about being transparent and real even though that is scary and makes me venerable at times. This blog is about my life.

{My Focus}
I pray that during this self discovery process called life I will realize that my life isn't about me. If I can focus on listening to the voice of God, HE will let me know what I should be focusing my life on. If I can listen to His voice and act on the vision He has for me in this life the Lord will magnify me in whatever way He sees fit and I will be able to accomplish the mission I was sent here to fulfill.

Facing my weaknesses allows me to see more of my vision and this allow more miracles to happen. I think this happens because once we acknowledge our weaknesses we are venerable and are able to open the door to God ask for help and accept his miracles in our lives.

I have a long ways still to go before I am able to clearly see the complete mission the Lord has for me in this life. But every once in a while I am humble enough to see part of it and gain a vision for that part of my mission. Everything comes together for me when my focus is in the right place. I need to get this quote in big vinyl letters up on my wall so I can remember this principle.

"Where your focus goes, energy flows, and that thing grows."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Corn Dogs and Fall Break

{fall break}
Do homeschoolers have fall break? I had never thought about it until this week...

Monday the two oldest had horseback riding lessons. Scott was flying out and asked me to run him to the office after I dropped them off at lessons so he could get a ride with Clate to the airport. When I got back to the house after dropping Jarom and Megan off at lessons I looked in the back yard and saw Cooper with two neighbor friends playing. I was perplexed. Weren't they suppose to be in school? Then it hit me...fall break.

I have to tell you I hadn't planned on having fall break when I was visualizing my week, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. We have the best neighbors and an awesome cul-de-sac to play with them in. So if the kid's friends are playing we know about it and how can I possibly tell them 'No' to playing. Most of my kids (maybe even all of them) are core phasers and the main jobs of a core phase child is to; work, play, and learn core truths (right/wrong, true/false, good/bad) right? So its important for them to socialize and free play. (Of course its also important to expose them to many academic concepts too.)

I guess what I am trying to say is that this week I had to keep stopping myself from being frustrated that I hadn't gotten more done with the kids. The truth of the matter is we got a lot done, just not what I thought we'd do, and not in the way I thought we'd do it. I am still a bit angry with myself I didn't do a better job this week at inspiring my kids to realize that having a break doesn't mean we are entitled to be entertained by electronic devices all day. I need to work on being more inspiring with my kids.

All that put aside we did accomplish some important things...we perfected our skills of playing with others, resolving conflict, and sharing. All good things. I just need to focus on finding joy in the journey! I also need to realize that the journey I have planned in my mind isn't always the journey that I am suppose to take.

Parenting my children with love and the spirit is my only hope to be the kind of parent I need to be so we can all find joy in the journey and each recognize our divine and eternal nature.

{corn dogs}
So Monday I quickly shifted gears and soon we had played with most of our next door neighbors. It was a party. For lunch Megan ate over at Maddie's, Jarom ate over at Tanner's, and Koen ate with us and enjoyed some tasty corn dogs. I don't know what it is with boys and corn dogs but they all seem to just LOVE them.

Cooper isn't sad. He just likes to make silly faces for the camera.

{Growing Up}
I can't remember which night this was, but one evening this week all our neighbors were out chatting in the front with all the kids ridding around and Brad came out with a wheelbarrow of broken up cement. All the little boys were eager to help unload the cement into the trailer. What a hoot. It wasn't long before someone was hurt and crying.

Jarom is turning into such an amazing helper. I am beaming with pride as I type this because I have recently been so impressed with the way he is stepping it up. I am so grateful because I have really needed the helper around the house. He is such a good boy and responds to my requests quickly and usually without complaint.

One night this week Jarom did most of the work needed to prepare dinner for the whole family. Scott and I did help out, but for an 8 year old I thought he rocked. What a little man he is turning into.

{grass reseeded}
On Wednesday we reseeded our lawn with 'winter' grass. I LOVE LOVE winter grass, but I hate the two weeks of keeping my kids off the grass so the kids don't ruin the seed. What a would be really nice if the same grass could grow all year. Wouldn't that be something! I have to laugh because until I was in High School or Jr. HS I really thought that everyone no matter where they lived had to reseed for winter grass. What a sheltered life I led. :)

Today was day 1 of staying off the grass. It went okay, but this morning the kids couldn't help but jumping over to the swing set and walking on the grass to get to the swing set. So we moved the energetic little kiddos out front to the cul-de-sac. A family down the street came down and played with us and before we knew it most of the kids on our street were out playing with us. SO FUN!! I was just grateful it kept the kids off the grass so I didn't have to keep after them about that.

{Megan rides again}

Megan learned to ride this summer at the homestead using at little 12 inch tire bike. When she got home were so proud she could ride without training wheels that we got her her own bike. The tires were bigger than the one she learned on so that was a bit scary, but the fact that it got so hot after she got back from the homestead, and I had a newborn made it almost impossible for her to practice from the last 3 plus months. Today she decided it would be different from here on out, and convinced Jarom to help her put her training wheels back on so she could practice. About 10 minutes later she convinced him to take them off because she was ready to ride with only two wheels. What a girl!

With a tiny bit of help from me and Jarom she was up and riding on two wheels in no time. She was tickled and little surprised that she remembered how to do it after such a break.