Thursday, August 27, 2015

And so the school year begins

I barely had time to get a picture. None of Henry. Sigh. 

It'll be hit or miss for the next couple of weeks while we get going, then go out of town, then come back into it all. But we started school today.

Henry, 4th, Spencer 3rd, Oliver 1st, and Ezra who is still four declaring that he is in Kindergarten. Fine. Kindergarten.

We're trying a lot of new things this year. New math curriculum, new reading/writing, new units, new subjects, new everything. It's ALLLLL new.

I'm trying to just do what I know is best for my family, you know? And every day, it's like I have to make that decision again.

And every morning, I have to decide to get up and do it.

It's hard.

I don't wish it was different, because I know this is so good, for so many reasons.

But today, when the baby was hysterical because I was merely HOLDING him, but not PAYING ATTENTION TO HIM, and Miriam needed potty help, and Ezra was mad because... I don't know, and the boys were fighting about I don't know what...

I was overwhelmed.

I love homeschooling. I love what it offers us in flexibilty, in different learning styles, in time together, I really really do.

There is always that doubt, that niggling question, "Am I doing the right thing?" It's like I can't ever just go forward with confidence. I always feel like I'm just not sure.

Regardless of my worries, the boy just jumped right in, the new things merely new and fun, not big and scary like I see them.

So I'm grateful.

It's going to be an adventure; different than ever before. I'm excited for the new things we'll see and do.

I need to chill. They are happy. They are learning. It's really all going very well.

I mean, all one day of it so far.

Happy first day! Only 179 to go.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New York Adventures

Oh my goodness, I'm tired.

But our little quick trip to New York City was just so wonderful that I have to blog it right now.

Also because I'm waiting up for my NINE YEAR OLD to come home from a birthday party. WHAT? He's a party animal.

Derek had a work meeting with the NY office of his company, so we tagged along.

First off, I absolutely MUST announce that NO ONE VOMITED.

I know.


Anyway, the drive down was easy, we hit our hotel late afternoon in Brooklyn, bypassing a huge accident, and really no traffic. I mean, almost none, it's still New York.
From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015

Roof top of our hotel.

We got right n the subway to Times Square. Go big or go home right?

Can I sidenote here for a moment?

WTH NYC? Only a tiny fraction of subway stations have elevators. This is a huge pain the bum when you have a stroller. PAIN IN THE BUM.

From NYC August 2015

Miriam colored herself with blue markers. Because she got bored. 

Anyway, it was SOOOO humid and hot. And the stores in Times Square need to learn how to appropriately air condition, because Toys R Us was RIDICULOUSLY hot. Like so hot that it was hard to enjoy their super cool store.

At one point, the Freddy-meister needed nursing. Bless the sweet Toys R Us employee who noticed me in desperate need of a quiet corner and showed me the mothers lounge. It was like this empty, quiet oasis in the CRAZY (oh it was SO crazy) heart of New York. We were able to just breathe. A lovely break.
From NYC August 2015

Hanging out in the mothers room at Toys R Us.

Oh did I mention that Wednesday was my birthday?

We finally decided that dinner was in order. Spencer was full-on melting down at this point. It was hot, crowded, and everyone was starving.

So, we stumbled upon (purposefully thanks to GPS) a fantastic pizza joint. It like amazing. They were super crowded, but the owner (I'm assuming) didn't even flinch at our large party. They welcomed us like family. And the lasagna pizza???? TO DIE FOR. We were all well fed and watered. It was wonderful.
From NYC August 2015

Birthday dinner!

We subwayed and hiked back to the hotel way too late,  but it was so good.
From NYC August 2015

From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015

From NYC August 2015

Subway shenanagins!

Day two was just... fantastic. Poor Derek hurt his foot at one point and was limping badly, but that man was not going to let a silly thing like pain and anguish slow him down.

First, we are LDS afterall, so we went in search of the temple. The temple shares a building with the church building for several wards. Derek's work friend lives next door and took us on his roof, 37 floors up. We got to see the city from the most amazing angle.
From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015

After that we hit Central Park to have a picnic. Derek saw Hank Azaria!  ETA: Derek says Hank gave him a nod, thus acknowledging Derek's existence. This is a big deal

(I saw his back half after he walked by). We ate and played and had some ice cream.
From NYC August 2015
From NYC August 2015

Picnic! Derek has a love/hate relationship with the fact that people can get ahold of him all the time because of smart phones. 

From NYC August 2015

This baby is a dream. He was SO good the whole time. 

Then we hit the Met.

The Met!

The Met!

My kids were pretty toasted by this time. But dang it, they have an Arms and Armor wing.
From NYC August 2015

Exhausted but still kicking. 

From NYC August 2015


From NYC August 2015
Museum selfie
From NYC August 2015

Henry the VIII's custom armor. He was a large man. 

From NYC August 2015

These knights were SO cool. Spencer took this picture. 

We stayed until we absolutely had to leave. We headed to Derek's meeting, which involved more pizza, and eventually we fell into our beds in Brooklyn grateful for a fabulous day. The heat and humidity plus my poor husband's foot were cause for difficulties, but all in all, a great day.

Today, it was a long, long, long drive. Conneticut is the worst. What is up with Conneticut? It took forever to get through that silly tiny state! Now we're home. And why does the house that I cleaned before we left smell weird??? WHY????

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Miriam turns three

Shannon Hale wrote to describe the connection of mother to daughter that a girl-child is, "cut and sewn from her own soul."

Oh oh yes.

My boys, they are my heart beat.

And my girl, she is my soul.

Three years ago, my soul was born again: in my little bedroom, surrounded by the beating of my heart.

Miriam came, and she is magic.

Now she is three. She loves babies, music, drawing, reading, dirt, candy, her brothers, her daddy, the animals, the trampoline, and me. She does love me a bit too.

My little soul-sister,  how grateful I am for her. Her gentle spirit is a contrast to the man-cubs who dominant the joint. But she holds her own, with her fire and her opinions. Her brothers who we could not do without, love her fiercely. They are learning priceless life lessons about how to treat a lady. I love how they love her.

My Miriam is three.

My dream girl. I'll eat you up I love you so.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Spencer turns 8!

Oh Spencer.  How have eight years already come and gone? Just a moment ago, I was saying "hello", I'm nearly certain.

Now you are tall and handsome. You are imaginative and smart. Still you remain an early riser (oh so very early), and move at your own pace. Rushing you never ever works. Ever. It's always your schedule. And usually that's ok.

You learned to ride a bike this summer. After trying for two summers, this year was different. You just *knew* how. Same with swimming. One day, you just went.

I'm learning to trust your instincts.

You never needed to learn how. You just know.

I love you dear boy. You're a joy. Yes, you've got a temper, but you're learning not to let it control you. You're learning all the time.

Happy Birthday, babe.

(His requests, strawberry cake with lime frosting and blueberries on top, homemade lemon/lime/orange ice cream and Chuck E. Cheese's. Weird kid.)

Friday, July 31, 2015


Oh gosh. I swore as the snow began to finally melt that never even once when summer finally began would I complain of the heat. I was dedicated instead to simply squeezing the juice out of summer in every way possible.

See, living here means that you accept the tundra frozen, covered in snow for months on end.

The payout is so so good though. Summer.

Oh summer.

You are so very good.

It's almost worth the disgusting-ness of the never-ending winter for summer.

Sweet, sacred summer.

We're living it up. Today was the chilly ocean water that captivated us. "Soak it in kids," I urged. "Soon it'll be too cold."

They swam, jumped, dug, ran, boogie-boarded... Oh heaven.

Miriam was even enthralled. "The ocean got me, Mama," she cried in delight.

It got me too, Baby Girl. Me too.

August begins tomorrow. And August begins our push towards the end of the year. From here on out, it's go go go.

No, summer isn't over yet, and we plan to love it still, but now we shift. We shift into birthday/school/holiday mode.

Here we go! 

Monday, July 27, 2015


Until last Friday, we as a clan, had never done any kind of "amusement park" for LOTS of reasons.
1. Expense
2. Lines
3. Propensity towards motion sickness
4. Tiny kids

But our dear friends (who up and moved away) gifted us a wad of tickets to New Hampshire's one and only Storyland, we decided, what the heck! Let's throw caution to the wind, pack some puke sacks and motion sick meds and go!

And go we did.
And we're off!

It was nearly three hours from the house, so that of course meant that we had to stop three time for various reasons.

Once we got there, it was of course raining. This meant that there were less people hanging around. SCORE.

Off we went.

Okay, so total honestly time: I was a little creeped out upon entering Ye Olde Storyland. The front of the park is like... well, you know in scary movies when bad things happen at creepy amusement parks?


Riding inside a creepy pumpkin carriage. 

But onward we pushed, and quickly discovered that there were LESS creepy parts of the park, with LOTS of fun things to do.

Phew. Relief.

So many rides were ridden. Because I was the designated baby-holder, I rode very few rides, and the ones I did ride made my bones ache. I'm OLD, okay? I get it.

Derek was amazing though, and rode and rode and rode. His motion sick meds worked, as did everyone else's and NO ONE THREW UP.
Derek is the best dad.

Hang on. What???

I'll say it again.




We played the day away. Lines were blessedly minimal. Rain fell, and fun was had by all.
Then we went and found dinner at a fabulous and inexplicably empty southern BBQ restauarant then wended our way home. Frederick was D-O-N-E by about an hour from our house. Too bad so sad little dude, we kept on keeping on.

Saturday was spent in the post-fun-grumpy-hangover, but really, it was worth it. We really did have a great time.

I'm not signing up for a yearly pass or anything, but we did have fun.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Dozen Years

Twelve years. We have been shared a name for a dozen years.

We've had half a dozen children in those years.

We've grown and changed. We've never waivered though. Never.

We're a team. We're partners and best friends.

Never could I have planned our days and years. And I'm glad. I'm glad for the surprises. I'm glad to keep learning.

Happy Anniversary to us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No more mullet

I sat everyone down. I said, "Now listen. Mommy is going to trim Miriam's hair. I am the ONLY one who is EVER allowed to cut ANYONE'S hair ever. For any reason. Do you understand?"

Enthusiastic, "Yes, Mom!" 's met my ears.

"If you find scissors in the yard are you to cut anyone's hair at all?"

"No, Mom!"

I continued, "If you think, 'wouldn't it be fun to cut someone's hair' because you are bored, do you do it?!"

A resounding, "no!" came in reply.

"Miriam, do you cut your OWN hair EVER?"

"No, Mama!" She chirped.

"Who can cut hair in this family?" I drilled.

"Just Mom!" They chanted.

Still disconcerted, I quickly did the deed. I gave my baby girl her first hair cut; just a trim to get rid of the mullet.

But now, I'm nervous and jumpy around scissors left laying around. I don't THINK they missed the point of our little discussion, but heck if I know.

Hopefully, no one gets balded any time soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Just a Little

Just a little bit of a lot of things.

I'm a little too tired.
I'm a little too fat.
I'm a little bit hungry.

My house is a little messy.
My house is a little too small.

My kids are a little naughty.
My kids are a little loud. (This is a lie.)
My kids are just little.

My motivation is a little lacking.
I'm constantly a little distracted.

The day is a little too short, and a little too long.

I'm a little overwhelmed.


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