Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I am grateful for...

A while back Rachel (one of my best friends from HS) commented on her blog that too many of us only blog about the wonderful things that happen to us and omit all the challenges and struggles we go through. So in honor of Rachel I decided to be REAL and go ahead and post this one on my public blog. So here you go...the down and dirty good stuff. :)

{Go ahead and kick me why don't you...}
Yesterday was one of those down in the dumps, terrible, poor me days. Have you ever had one of those? I felt like I was buried under a huge pile of overwhelm and could only think of all the projects and to do's that I couldn't image I'd ever get to.

I'll admit it...my life is a bit unorganized right now which is totally unacceptable and makes life even harder. Especially because I am trying to do a million things including...trying to figure out where things go in the new house, struggling with getting everything organized, learning all about animal care (I am such a city girl and totally clueless), attempting to homeschool (I am loving this, but its always a struggle), worrying about the fact that I haven't started my garden, trying to slowly build my food supply up so I'm more prepared and following the prophet, stressed out because I decided to sign the kids up for infant survival swimming lessons every weekday for six weeks (which includes the rigors of no food 2 hours before swim lessons and its killing me...ahhh, but its worth it to have peace of mind), struggling to sprinkle in a bit of music and art each week, personally trying to read at least 2 books a month (I should probably be reading right now instead of typing this), trying to squeeze in personal prayer and scripture study every day, and the list goes on and on.

It only makes logical sense that after a while of thinking and worrying about all those things I'd end up a little freaked out...right? Oh and I forgot to mention that I'm also trying to figure out how to cook for 8, become an inspirational mom, and a hot mama for my husband (I've got to start working out and eating better). Shoot! I'm never going to get it all right.

So I am sure you can guess that yesterday wasn't all that of a productive day with those kind of thoughts flooding my brain. I tried to escape from my problems by staying busy and running around, but when I finally came home my little pile of issues was there waiting for me. Don't you just hate that!?

I went to bed early and prayed to have peace and understanding on how to manage my list of projects and to do's, and the Lord has blessed me. This morning I woke up refreshed, peaceful and with the ability to look at my huge (still overwhelming) list of things I need to accomplish with hope and faith. Somehow I feel that I'll be able to get them all done eventually...somehow. Even my kids have been well behaved and got along great all day so my home feels more calm and pleasant. I am so grateful for answered prayers. I still have a huge long list of stuff to get through, but now I actually feel like I might be able to tackle it.

{impossible...to possible}
After that long rant...please forgive me for doing that, but I just had to get it all out, and now I feel even better and more empowered to conquer the world. Yesterday I felt so inside myself and today I feel almost outside myself. That probably doesn't make sense. What I mean is I feel like I am able to look at my unorganized house, huge list of to do's, homeschooling issues, and everything else from an outsider's perspective. You know how its always easier to clean someone else's house...that's kind of how I felt today about my life. I was able to look at everything that yesterday felt impossible from a new perspective and now it feels possible...not easy but something I can do! WOO-HOO!!

After my 'poor me' attitude yesterday I woke up this morning with the feeling that I needed to be grateful for my many many HUGE blessings!! Especially my family...all of whom I LOVE!!! So I am going to take a minute and talk about how grateful I am for each one of them.

(We took these pictures in January at our home with our Apple tree in the background. It felt like fall...this is as close as we get to seasons here is Arizona...notice the apple trees beautiful orange/yellow leaves. So cool! So NOT Arizona.)


Brea is a bubbly spunky ball of energy. Even as a small infant she could not hold still and that attribute has carried on as she's gotten a bit older. Sometimes I feel bad she wasn't able to be the baby for very long, but it doesn't seem to bother her a bit. She just loves on her little sister and keeps right now smiling. She's starting to really talk and its been so fun to see that part of her come alive. I love how girly she is always wanting to wear a necklace or bracelet if she spots one. She's a total Daddy's girl but also loves her Nana, Bompy, and Darby. One of my favorite things about Brea is how she loves to give goodnight kisses to everyone before she heads off to bed. LOVE you!!!


Cooper was named by my dad. We couldn't decide on the right name for our second little boy and when my dad suggested Cooper (a family last name) we thought it fit perfectly to our new little guy. Going with the Grandpa theme we ended up giving him the middle name of Stanley (Scott's dad's name) so he's our grandpa boy. Cooper loves being outside with the animals and riding his bike. He is very independent and doesn't have to do what the other kids are doing just to fit in. He's perfectly fine doing his own thing if he'd rather do that. I'm hoping that means I have no worries about peer pressure. :) Cooper is a funny life of the party kind of guy. Always being silly and making jokes I think he's going to be quite the social butterfly when he gets a bit older. He's also so kind and loving and seems to be keenly aware of other people's feeling and emotions. He loves making other people happy and is willing to give up treats or comfort to make one of his siblings happy. What a sweet boy!!! I love my Cooper.


Hyrum's big smile and fun loving personality are always a hoot! I especially love his little freckles that appeared when he was only two. Hyrum's our most memorable birth story baby...unexpectedly arriving during a 3 night/3 day trip to Ohio. Its a long story...but the short version is he came almost 7 weeks early and Scott and I ended up hanging out in Ohio for almost 3 weeks waiting for him to be discharged from the NICU. CRAZY!! Every since then Hyrum's been full of surprises not to mention a stubborn side that matches his determination to come at the wrong time and wrong state. Hyrum loves his big brother Cooper and Jarom and is a mama's boy...I LOVE THAT!! He's amazingly athletic and super competitive especially with himself. He get really down on himself when he doesn't get something down right the first time. Love you Hyrum!!


Being the eldest of 7 I can kind of relate to what its been like for Jarom to be the oldest in our family, and he is such a great sport and so helpful. I don't know what I'd do without him. He's awesome at entertaining the little ones, and often ends up giving up his treat or drink when one of his little brothers or sisters asks for it. He's recently discovered the wonderful world of skateboarding and is loving it, and also has really taken a liking to golf carts. He's so kind and responsible with all his chores around the house and incredibly knowledgeable about almost anything...but especially animals. His keen mind and thirst for knowledge constantly amaze me. I am grateful for all his help around the house, and for being my buddy!! Love you J-dog!!

{the oldest 4}

Normally we aren't allowed to jump on the couches, but the rules didn't seem to apply when they were out in the middle of the front yard!!! SO MUCH FUN! This is a good illustration of how life is in our home on a daily basis.

{the whole gang}

I love having my kids so close. Even though it gets a bit hectic sometimes...I am grateful for each and every one of them and the friendships they have with each other!!!


When I looked at these pictures I couldn't help but think what a big girl Megan is turning into!! She is so awesome and I LOVE HER to bits. I can still remember when she was born. Dark hair and a loud voice...boy nothings changed. Megan is awesome and so smart and so sweet especially to her two little sisters. She waited a long time to get sisters and she is SO HAPPY to have them finally. I am grateful for Megan and her love of learning. She is really turning into such a great reader which makes my job as a homeschooling mother a whole lot easier. Megan loves to look good and always has me help her pick out her outfit for the day. LOVE LOVE LOVE her!!

Our sweet little chunky baby is a DeLiGhT!!! She's been smiling since she was to little to smile...I swear. Even her first little noises sounded like laughing...it was a riot. I have to admit having her only a year and five days after Brea was a bit of a whirl-wind and honestly scared me to death. Most people start spreading their kids out by the time they hit number 5 and 6, but not us. We did the exact opposite, and you know what I wouldn't have it any other way!! I am loving my two little Irish twins and grateful for my girlies. Becca is starting to scoot...almost crawl, and today I caught her trying to pull herself up on one of the couches. Man I am not ready for all this progress because then I'm going to have two little mobile girls who I am sure will always be on the run and getting into trouble. I am loving my little angel baby and so grateful she's part of our family!!!

{the whole Schnepf clan}

My mom and dad's family is sure growing in numbers and I am so grateful for all of my siblings and their spouses and of course my parents. It was so fun to hang out over the Christmas holiday and spend time with all of them!!! I don't know what I'd do without all of their support and love!!!

{the hot couple}

I am so grateful for my amazing husband. He is everything to me and such a support in all I do. It will be 12 years this September and man has time flown. I think we're officially a big family now, and I can't figure out when that happened. It seems like yesterday it was just the two of us and now its the 8 of us. WEIRD!! I don't feel like a mom of 6 and it doesn't feel like its been 12 years. I think I'll be 20 something forever...or at least I am sure I will feel like I'm still 20ish.

Its such a wonderful time to be alive. I know times are tough and kind of dismal right now, but I view this crisis as an opportunity to re-evaluate what's really important in life and get back to the basics. Even though I want to be perfectly organized, always have a perfect house, and a clean kitchen I know that what's really important is my relationship with my family and my relationship with God. If those two relationships are strong and flourishing then everything else falls into place.

I am grateful for my life and I am grateful for the miracle of being able to have an amazing perspective of my life today. Now I know that I can accomplish what's really important even though it might not be on my time table or the way I thought it would be done. With God nothing is impossible.

Monday, March 23, 2009

All I need are the simple things...

{our baby goat...saved!}
A few days after our baby goat was born we noticed that he was all stuffed up. What I mean is that his poop had dried into a hard ball and was blocking any more poop from getting out. We could tell he was is a bit of distress and so even though it was a dirty job we felt like we needed to help the little guy out. I know it sounds...okay it was gross!!

First Scott and Jarom doused his back side with water to try to soften it up. It helped a little...I think. Then Scott held the little guy and went to work. It took a while, but eventually we got him all cleaned up. His mom was so worried about him the entire time we were working on him, and kept circling us in the garage. Mama goat is a bit of a nervous Nelly. Once we finished Scott put the little one down and mama and baby ran to their favorite spot behind the garage happy to be together again.

{Irrigation...oh what fun}
So we just got our first dose of irrigation and all I can say is we never need to go to Disneyland again!! Irrigation is just as fun, loads cheaper, and an entire day of entertainment. WE HAD A BLAST!!

The kids thought it would be awesome to bring out our three little ducks so they could swim around and enjoy the water, and boy did they love every second of it. It was hilarious to see them swimming and splashing around. I am sure bringing the ducks out for a swim will be part of our irrigation ritual from now on. They weren't the only ducks that enjoyed our irrigation...I think we counted six or seven other ducks swimming around the front yard at one time. Not to mention the other hundred or so birds. CRAZY!!!

{A Simple time}
I think what I've enjoyed the most about our new simple lifestyle is the increase in relaxed, simple, fun, quality time we've spent together as a family. We don't feel like we need to be running around the city to find things to do...we just look in our yard or home and create things to do here. Some of our favorite things lately have been kickball, Frisbee, bike riding, climbing trees, and just sitting on a blanket reading books. Family work projects have also been simple activities we've done more of like pulling weeds, cleaning the yard, organizing the house, doing the irrigation, harvesting the pecan trees, etc... Simple is the new complex!! :)

Right now I am reading the Little House on the Prairie to my kids, and before that we read Little House in the Big Woods. As I've read about their simple lives I often wish I could have lived in that type of uncomplicated world. What would it have been like to have my husband home every day working on our farm? AMAZING!!! I can't imagine how wonderful it was being as self sufficient as they were. The family work she describes them doing is fantastic! What a great time to live.

As their evenings are described I long to have every evening in my home spent like theirs...simple and with family. Their evenings are powerful time spent together as a family. She describes her family sitting around their one room cabin talking and just being together...her mother busy with a sewing or handicraft project, the girls busy with some useful project, and her father preparing for the next day (sometimes cleaning his gun or making bullets) as well as often telling a story, reading, or playing his music.

I am inspired and comforted as I read the description of life back then. Even though part of me wishes I could have lived then I am grateful for this day in age, and the many conveniences I enjoy. Even though this is a crazy busy world we live in I am in control of my life and I am capable of keeping my life simple and focused on what is really important in life...family and God.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Goats, and Kids, and Ducks, OH MY!!

{our baby goat is born}

Okay its not exactly our baby goat, BUT it was born on our property. Does that count? This morning I was cleaning up breakfast while the kids were out feeding all the animals when in rushed Jarom carrying a baby goat. He had an excited grin on his face and explained that he'd been heading out to feed the chickens when Jorge our neighbor called to him. 'Have you see the baby goat?' Jarom was confused at first but then he realized what Jorge was talking about. Let me back up and explain. A few weeks ago Scott got talking to our new next door neighbor and explained to him our massive weed problem. I'm not sure exactly what happened after that, but somehow we ended up with one of his goats to help 'manage' the problem. I LOVE IT!! Only in the country do you borrow your neighbors goat to eat your weeds. The goat he let us borrow was pregnant and I figured he'd take her back before she was ready to have her baby, but much to our surprise and delight he let her stay with us!!! So last night we had a baby goat delivered on our property!!! WOO-HOO!! I never thought I'd say that. :)

Its the cutest little thing ever and so sweet!! Its black and has a gentle personality.Momma goat is super protective but is comfortable enough to let us come pet and spend time with the new little one. We haven't named her yet...but we'll have to do that soon. Jarom is hoping that Jorge will let us buy the little goat eventually and keep it for ourselves. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

{3 little ducks come waddling back...}

Two weeks ago I had a homeschooling conference I went to. My mom watched Becca and Scott took the other 5 with him to Jarom's pinewood derby race and as I later found out to the San Tan Feed Store. We had finally gotten our garage cleared out of chickens since they had all gotten big enough to graduate from the heat lamp in the garage to the coop in the backyard. on my drive home I was getting excited knowing that I could finally park my car in our non-stinky non-chicken filled garage. Much to my surprise when I arrived home that Saturday evening I was shocked to find three (totally adorable) ducks in our garage. And they were STINKY!!! Thank goodness they were cute.

The kids explained that whole thing to me. Dad was a sucker. They had gone to the feed store to get some more chicken feed and an auto-watering thingy for the horse. The kids spotted the ducks right away and started playing with them, and Scott couldn't help himself and just had to get three to bring home.

Now I admit they are the cutest things you've ever seen!! But my goodness...they do stink...they sure love water...and they are MESSY!! Tonight will be there first night out in the chicken coop. I hope they make it, don't freeze, or get hurt by the other chickens. I'm kind of worried!! So even though I've been complaining a bit about them, and have harassed Scott about them lots, I fell in love with these cute little creatures the first time I saw them waddle around. What a hoot!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Last week...

So last week was a week of growth, firsts, chaos, mistakes, and craziness...

3/8 Sunday: It was Stake Conference and much to our delight we discovered the nursery room had a TV in it with a feed from the meeting. We thought we had hit the jackpot, and moved our little family into the nursery room to watch the two hours of speakers. BAD IDEA!! Our kids were awful and thought because there was space to run and jump in, and toys to play and throw that it was party time. They were worse and I got less out of the meeting than if we had been sitting on a bench in the chapel. Eventually we turned off the lights, locked the toys away, and put a couple of kids in the corner and only then did we get to actually listen to the speakers. NEVER AGAIN will we take the road of least resistance...because guess what it's a trick!!
3/9 Monday: My sister Allison was in town so we headed in to my mom's house to do a cousins photo shoot so we can create a little cousins photo book. It was totally fun laid back day. That night I whipped up some Hawaiian Haystack makings and we had a family from our church over for dinner and FHE which was a blast! We ended up making a last minute change in plans and ate dinner outside followed by a little marshmallow roast on the open fire, which is one of my favorite things to do. It was a great day!
3/10 Tuesday: My sister Allison, Stacy, and my mom headed over to my place to start our sewing project we started way back at Christmas time. It was crazy with so many little kids, but we managed with only 2 portacribs and 2 regular cribs!! We actually got a lot done...surprise! That evening Scott had a mix and mingle event to kick off their InfusionCon conference so the kids didn't see Scott that entire day which is tough. He finally got home around 10:30 and left the next morning around 5:30...CRAZY!! We ended up getting Panda Express take out after we picked Jarom up from scouts and watched American Idol...I needed some down time. :)
3/11 Wednesday: Alli and my mom came back out for sewing day number 2...and we had a blast! We finished more aprons and just had a great time hanging out. Megan finished her apron (with Nana's help), and Alli and I finished Brea and Becca's aprons. Now all I need to do is start cooking. :) I had all the ingredients to make an Alfredo sauce (which is a first) and was able to make dinner quickly and get the kids in bed by 8. It was a great day!!!
3/12 Thursday: This was the day I'd been dreading all week. For our RS Birthday Party our ward had decided to do a program called the 10 Virgins which is a musical program. They had asked me to be the narrator which meant I had to sing TWO songs solo (yes by myself) and I'd never done anything like that before. I'd been so nervous and worried about this day for weeks, and I was most definitely freaking out all day. In fact that morning I could feel myself getting really frustrated with the kids, but after I stopped myself and took a step back and realized it was the stress of everything that was making me feel frustrated more than I would have been other wise. I took a few breaths said a prayer, practiced my songs, and tried to relax. It had been different kind of week...Scott had been been leaving before the sun rose and getting home after it was dark all week, I'd had two sitters cancel on me to watch the kids during the 10 Virgin program, I was worried I was going to forget the words to the songs, and I almost forgot to paint my lamp for the program. It was STRESSFUL!! Thank goodness the program ended up going great! Now I could start working on the two events we were hosting on Saturday.
3/13 Friday: At 10am we had 16 kids come to our pottery class! The kids had fun, and the mom's enjoyed visiting during the class. It was a win/win. At 11am pottery class was over and as those mom's left my aunts, some cousins, and sisters arrived for a little lunch gathering at my home. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and it was fun to have everyone over! After they all left my mom, Alli, and Dan helped me get all the tables and chairs unloaded and set into place. That was a huge relief to know those were all ready to go for Saturday!!! By 3:15 we all left and I headed off to gymnastics with the kids. My mom took Becca during gym which was a huge blessing!! Thanks mom!! The kids went to co-op at 6 and I had a few hours go to dinner with Alli, Dan, and my parents. Scott finished up just in time and was able to join us at 8 for dinner.
3/14 Saturday: The morning went fast...thank goodness the kids and Scott were so great at helping get everything ready for the youth event at 12:30! Everything went great and Dan was awesome. Once the youth were gone we went into prep mode again and started hanging lights, putting on table cloths, mixing food/punch, etc...for the adult event. I had a vision of being ready 30 minutes early...but that didn't happen. Oh well! The kids got off to co-op at 5 and by 5:45ish (only 15 minutes late) we kicked off the potluck! The rest of the evening went fantastic!!
3/15 Sunday: Darby and Jon blessed their baby today. So we had to get moving a little quicker than usual to get ourselves out the door in time to make it there by 11:15. By Sunday all the crazy, new, stressful things of the previous week were over and I was able to relax during church, enjoy the good food at Darby's, and play an entertaining game with my family knowing that last week I'd learned a lot and done some new things. I had felt so stretched, uncomfortable, and out of my comfort zone all week, and even though it wasn't easy or even fun some of the time it increased my capacity and I've grown. I am 'becoming' the someone I was meant to be, and I am grateful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thanks Dan!!

On Saturday we hosted an afternoon youth seminar with about 40 youth, and an evening dinner party/seminar with 85-90 or so from our local homeschooling community. (Oh and we had a few non-homeschooling family and friends there too...WOO-HOO!) It was such a great day!! Even though it was exhausting and hosting something like this is totally out of my comfort zone it was great!

The evening started with a potluck style dinner, and I had a great time talking to old friends and meeting new ones! (Wouldn't it be awesome to start having events for our community once a quarter!!) I was able to connect and talk to others who are in the middle of homeschooling their kids like me, and it was a breath of fresh air!!

After dinner Scott introduced Dan who proceeded to give a great lecture all about the amazing and very enlightening book called the 4th Turning. I've read about half of it (and have to read the rest by Thursday for my 5P class). It was great to have him talk through the concepts presented in the book, and I felt like it helped me pull it all together. It was FANTASTIC!!

Look at all those people!! I know its hard to see, but there are a lot of people there!! I had 14 tables set up and we ran out of places to sit and ended up pulling the furniture by the fires over so everyone had a place to sit. It was fun to have it so full!!

After the lecture was over we lit two fires, moved the comfy furniture back to the fire area, and enjoyed chatting with other couples until after 10. There is power in building a community! What a great evening.

I'd like to thank everyone for coming and joining us for the night!! I'd especially like to thank my Mom, Dad, Scott, Alli, Dan, Stacy, Brittaney, and my kids for working so hard and going the extra mile to help me create (and clean up after) such a fantastic evening. I couldn't have done it without you!!


{Project time}
My sister Allison was in town last week so we decided to do a few projects! One project was to finish sewing some aprons we started last time she was down around Christmas. When she was down at Christmas on a spontaneous whim we left the kiddos with my mom and ran over to JoAnn's and purchased 8 or 10 different some what coordinating fabrics that we planned on piecing together to make cute aprons out of. We didn't have a pattern or even a plan of how we were going to do this, and neither of us were that great at sewing. However, we had our mom who is a great seamstress who we knew would take pity on us and help. We had a ton of fun, and I'm almost done with the aprons...but I forgot to take pictures of the finished products. I'll have to do that and get those posted. I am in LOVE with them!!

{Project+Megan=Mission Accomplished}

Megan's one determined little girl! Once she puts her mind to something she follows through and sticks with it. That was totally the case with her apron project. She sewed and ironed every piece of fabric together on her apron. What a rock star! I love you Megan and admire your perseverance.

I love this picture of Megan. She was concentrating so hard to keep the edge of the fabric on the right line so the stitch stayed straight. I am still amazed that she sewed her own apron. WOW!!


Megan really got into ironing! She became a pro at the squirt bottle and loved making sure every seam was pressed open perfectly.


Jarom's first project was his man apron, and with Nana's help they were done in no time. So Jarom moved on to making Happy Birthday cut out in fabric...really amazing! He did a really good job, and started sewing the words on another piece of fabric. Once he was done with that he moved on to creating a customized carrying case for his DS. Jarom is quite the creator/inventor type...I just love watching him problem solve something. He is so bright and creative!! Love you J!

{the little ones+anything=chaos}

During the first morning we were sewing we had 10 little ones running around the house and it was pretty exciting to say the least. Here's a little glimpse of the trouble they kept getting themselves into. Between feeding them and keeping them out of danger it was tricky to find time to sew!! LOL!! However what can you expect when you get together with other mothers who have lots of little kids? I've come to learn this is just the way it is, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have to admit I was surprised at how much we accomplished despite the distractions!! It felt great.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Connecting the dots...

{living outside}
I've always been an outside sort of person. I feel less stressed when I'm outside, so why the heck am I only know starting to realize this about myself? What a crazy life this is...definitely a path of self discovery that's for sure.

But I digress...what I'm trying to say is that this rural lifestyle fits me!! With 70 degree weather I've been trying to spend as much time as possible outside because being outside enjoying the fresh air is my version of HEAVEN! I am so grateful for the blessing we've had to move where I can live like this, and I know only the Lord's hand could have made such a miracle possible.

{hands on!!}

Right now we are all about hands on projects. The last two days the boys have been building little contraptions like crazy. Its been fun to watch them work together and use their hands to learn and figure things out. Jarom knows I'm terrible with this sort of thing...so he just figures it out hardly ever asking for help. He's awesome!!

{5 Pillars}
Lately I've found myself playing more with the kids and making more time to read so I can keep up with my crazy 5 Pillars reading regiment. AHHH!! It's so great to be accountable with a group, but going from only one 'mind candy' book a quarter to two 'classic' style books a month has been a HUGE stretch for me. I'm happy to report I've only NOT completed one book which was Les Miserables. I was suppose to read this book over Christmas break which is when we moved, so I only got through the first 300 pages read (only 1000 more to go). Finally I gave up and decided to finish it this summer when class is on a break.

Today I finished 'The Merchant of Venice' and I really really enjoyed it! Much to my surprise I am starting to figure this whole Shakespeare thing out. Last semester I read 'The Taming of the Shrew' and quite enjoyed that one too. Tonight we had our discussion on the play and it was lots of fun. I learned so much about Justice and Mercy by reading 'The Merchant of Venice.' Very cool stuff!

I am also in the middle of The Fourth Turning. I'm on page 180 something and really getting into it. Its so fascinating learning about history and the cycles that keep happening over and over and over and over again. LOVING THIS BOOK!! I can't wait for Dan to come do his seminar on it next Saturday the 14th. WOO-HOO!!

{Laddie on my mind}
I'm not sure why but Laddie is on my mind!! Last fall I read this book which is a fictional novel set in the country maybe a hundred years ago or so. Its is a really amazing book and I learned a lot of truths from its pages. I could go on and on about this book. The two things that are on my mind tonight come from it's pages...

#1 children are natural born GENIUSES. They come to Earth ready to learn!! Sometimes they recognize this much better than we do. For some reason we have a hard time believing that they WANT knowledge. However we can't just sit around doing nothing and think they are spontaneously start to read without any effort on our part. Its our job to foster that desire and inspire them to develop it. How cool is that. Here's a quote from Laddie that I just love that talks about how we may underestimate children.

"I (this is little sister talking who was 6 or 7 at the time) decided it was all a mistake about children not thinking; that they thought much more than grown people. They have time, and there is so much they do not understand. Big folks have to work, plan, and worry, but we can spend days looking nature in the face, and are not afraid to ask questions, because people would be more surprised if we know than if we don't."

#2 we learn better by experiencing it...don't you agree? I know I learn this way best! Here's another great quote from Laddie where the little sister is talking about what she thinks of schools and how they could help her learn better if...

"Schoolhouses are made wrong. If they must be, they should be built in a woods pasture beside a stream, where you could wade, swim, and be comfortable in summer, and slide and skate in winter. The windows should be cut to the floor, and stand wide open, so the birds and butterflies could pass through. You ought to learn your geography by climbing a hill, walking though a valley, wading creeks, making islands in them, and promontories, capes, and peninsulas along the bank. You should do your arithmetic sitting under trees adding hickory nuts, subtracting walnuts, multiplying butternuts, and dividing hazelnuts. You could use apples for fractions, and tin cups for liquid measure. You could spell everything in sight and this would teach you the words that are really used in the world. Every single one of us could spell incompatibility, but I never heard father or the judge, or even the Bishop, put it in a speech."

{Not sure}
I'm not sure why I decided to write about this tonight. It just kind of just came out of me without prior thought when I sat down to journal/blog for the day. Maybe I needed to incorporate what I'm learning into who I am or maybe I needed to be reminded of things?! Not sure, but it was a great exercise to pull out Laddie and The Merchant of Venice and read through their pages again.

They felt like old friends reminding me of who I am and what I believe in. Strange! I remember people calling books friends, and I could never relate. Now I can and these 'classic' books I've been reading over the past six months are truly becoming my friends and I am a changed person because of them.

What an amazing experience. I am so grateful for it even when its hard and seems overwhelming!! I am loving the journey of becoming who I was meant to be one book and one moment of inspiration at a time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time to look myself in the mirror...

{Self Portrait}
I took these photos on a whim one day when I was messing around with the camera...oh yes and because it was fun and made me start feeling like a teenager again like Scott's sister Tenery who's always taking self-portrait photos of herself...LOL. However, about the time I really started to lose myself in it I felt a tug on my pants and I was reminded of reality. I am a mother to 6 beautiful and very active kiddos. (I think the tug was from Hyrum need assistance to pee)

{Time to look inside}
However, my post today isn't going to focus on my kids or my potty training struggles with Hyrum. No instead its going to focus on me. I've been thinking for a long time about all the things I struggle and am weak at. Instead of getting frustrated (and overwhelmed) about all of these things its time to refocus and methodically figure out how I can get better at the things I feel are important for me to improve on.

I believe there are seasons in life that we naturally go through. I haven't always really believed this, but as I have recently come to understand and embrace this concept I have begun to realize that life isn't about getting to the finish line...its about making it through those seasons, learning, and getting ready to go through another season. I'm starting to think about life as a series of cycles we go through instead of as a linear race where things are conquered and forgotten in our past as we try to conquer the next thing (not always allowing us to learn from the last battle/event/experience). So with this new perspective I am ready to slowly and 'intentionally' progress and improve. Realizing there is a time and season for everything.

{the first list}
So here is my initial list of things I want to improve on. Its not a list I spent much time on yet...just the first brain storm of my many life to dos.

1. Get my life more organized
2. Establish a better daily routine with my kids
3. Figure out how to get the laundry actually put away into the kids drawers
4. Create a meal system to plan/shop/cook my meals for my family
5. Start exercising!!
6. Teach my children to work
7. Create a master inspire plan for me and my kids...where do I want to be a year from now and how am I going to get there?!
8. Study the scriptures more consistently so I am more prepared for my gospel doctrine lessons
9. Be more inspiring
10. Wake up earlier!!
11. Try to not get overwhelmed with so many goals that I get paralyzed and don't do anything :)

{step two}
Now its time to make a plan and start moving forward with the BIG perspective and focus. I am excited and ready for the adventure and peace this new journey will bring!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What does homeschooling look like right now?

Lately all I have to do to get the kids reading is take the books off the shelves and put them on the floor. It works like magic...I swear!! Here is what Megan was doing at 9am this morning. She found this book, and sat down where she was and started reading it. I LOVE IT!!! The TJed principles work!!

{Our Classroom}
I know it not what most people think a classroom should look like, but with weather as nice as it is right now in Arizona I can't think of a better place than outside to learn right now. We all seem to think better out in fresh air. Every morning I lay out our blanket and spread out the books and the kids and I spend a few hours reading and listening to the birds. To me this is what I call HEAVEN!!!


Yesterday we got a bike trailer thingy that you can pull the kids around in. Its been so fun and we've ween using it like mad since we got it. I don't have my bike yet, so Jarom's been hauling them around most of the time. Although I have jumped on his bike to taken a few kids for a ride (I took Jarom for a ride...it was super fun for him to get a chance to sit back and relax).

Do you like how we are using the 'cargo' space?

I know most of my friends and family think I'm a nut to be homeschooling my kids...but I can't think of a better way I'd rather be using my time right now. Someone once told me your children are only with you in your home for 20% of you lifetime before they're grown and gone. So I am grateful I get to spend most days with them during that 20% instead of sending them away for the best hours of the day. I have grown to love them each more than I realized was possible. Our relationships are richer and sweeter and my dependency on Heavenly Father and my love for Him has increased because of the challenges I face as I homeschool.

I will admit life is a little crazier because I always have my six little kiddos with me, and doctor appointments are...well I won't even go there. I don't get to go to lunch with friends or family, getting my hair done is tricky, and I had to give up getting my nails done because there was no way I could get away for that long. Shopping for groceries only happens at night, and the idea of finding time to get a few things to decorate my home with sounds impossible. Cleaning is crazy, and trying to keep my house picked up all day...well NOT REALISTIC! And what do I have to say to all of this...OH WELL!!

There is a time and season for all things and this isn't my season to have a perfectly clean house, amazingly decorated walls, or a totally quiet home. But it is my time to be a mom to 6 small children and enjoy the journey and adventure that comes with that. Its my time to have lots of noise (at times), a well used kitchen, a cluttered toy room, and lots of amazing little children in my home. Its my time to love my husband and be the best wife I can possibly be (okay so I admit it'll always be my time and season to be doing those two things!!). Its my time to live, love, and enjoy the journey. I am so grateful for the unexpected series of events that led me to homeschooling and the love and understanding its brought me, my husband, and my children. Even though sometimes I wish I could send my kids away for a few hours and get a little quiet time I am grateful for the noise, messes, and a home full of children that hang out with me all day every day!! I love all of you...thanks for making me the luckiest woman alive.

Pinewood Derby

{All on his own}
Jarom totally rocked the pinewood derby contest this year. He got 1st place twice, 2nd place twice, 3rd place once, and 4th place once. When it was all said and done Jarom ended up getting 6th overall!! WOO-HOO! However, that's not the best part. The best part was that he did his car pretty much all on his own. AWESOME!!!

The only help he got was when I took him to Hobby Town and helped him pick out paint, stickers, and a few accessories. Oh and we also got a wedge shaped block of wood since I had ZERO idea on how to cut that square block of wood into any type of shape without cutting off my finger or something like that.

{Best Hot Rod}
He also got the 'Best Hot Rod' award and it was awesome. His leaders really went all out on the awards and the refreshments.

{Edible Pinewood Derby Cars}
I think the kid's favorite part were the super clever refreshments (Twinkies with Oreos for wheels) that looked just like a pinewood derby car. He has the best leaders!!!

{Love You}
I am so proud of you Jarom, and the determination and confidence you had to just do it!! You are so awesome son. I am so grateful for you...you make being a mom easy. THANK YOU!!

{Crash and Burn}
You might say we had so much fun at the pinewood derby we crashed and burned. At least that was the case with Brea. She had so such a good time that she ended up falling asleep before it was all over. What a fun day for the whole family!!