Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Halloween

Halloween wasn't quite the same this year… I usually have pictures taken and up way way early… but I was busy racing during the first halloween party.  It's a small miracle that I got everyone ready to go in time to snap pics this year:)  So, Happy Halloween from:
 Dora the Explorer (Ruby knew who she was, but I think most of the houses we went to assumed she wasn't dressed up…:)
 Cleopatra (thank you Wal Mart aisle, study of Ancient Egypt, and makeup by Aunt Crystal)
 Ironman.  I love four year olds:)
Ninja.  He was very specific about wanting to be a ninja this year.  I keep telling him that being a black belt is almost like being a ninja, I don't think he believes me.

Spartan Beast

So, Jared and I signed up to do this crazy crazy race.  13+ miles (my garmin at the end read 14.98 miles) and 26 obstacles.  He wanted to do it last year but I was running a half marathon that day, so instead he stayed home with the kids.  I told him we'd do it this year but it wasn't untill I saw an Amazon Local voucher for half off at the last minute that we decided to do it.  
 It was really fun.  The weather was awesome, we were with friends, one of which who didn't really run, which was ok.  It's hard to run with mud in your shoes anyway.
 Every obstacle you can't master, you have to do 30 burpees.  I hate burpees.  Luckily, I only couldn't complete 4 of the obstacles… same as Jared.  Except that he totally did the raise a bucket of concrete one and I could not, but I totally schooled him on the climb across a rope hanging over a lake and ring a cowbell one.  I'm still proud of that.

 See?  Isn't he just a stud?  You should have seen him, just leaping over those 8 foot walls…. amazing.  That's my man.

 It took us 6 1/2 hours… I'm pretty sure that's not something to brag about.  But it was FUN!  I was hungry by the end, that's pretty much my worst complaint.  A few days later I was covered in bruises and a rope burn, but to be honest, I expected much worse.  Good day with the hubs.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Smax

This is the Smax.  Though they are a lot of work, I'm pretty sure they are some of the best decisions I ever made.  I love them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

School Days

Homeschooling.  What a life changer.  

I find myself doing things I never thought I could do.  I reguarly stay up until 12 doing things like folding laundry becuase there is no time during the day.  Tonight I found myself cleaning the rug in the living room and the carpet on the stairs at 10:00 at night becuase I just couldn't take it anymore.  Then I get up at 6:30 and run because if it doesn't happen then it's not likely to happen.  

I find that I am really enjoying spending time with my children.  And they are enjoying being together.  They both have a few good friends that I make a point to do playdates with, but they like playing together.  I remember one day in particular where we worked straight from 7:30 until about 2:00.  I was exhausted, and I was thinking, seriously, I should send them to school, this takes just as long.  Then, as I was cleaning up the kitchen after school I heard peals of laughter coming from upstairs.  They were playing.  If it had been a normal school day, Pearl would be in her room plodding through her homework with piano lessons and taekwondo still on the list.  Now they have time to play.  That made it worth it.  

We got our first visit from our Credentialed Teacher (CT) last week.  We went over Pearl's work and she's doing fabulous, just as I expected.  As we went over Sam's, I was explaining what I was modifying for him and what we were doing to target his weak areas.  At one point, she stopped, looked at me, and said, "I just don't see how his schooling could go any other way."  Exactly.  That's why we are here.  

And I really feel like they are getting an excellent education... better than at school.  Really.  They are happy to learn, they never whine or complain or contradict, they just do what I ask them to do.  They are happy.  They are getting bigger because they actually eat lunch every day.  They have time to do things like Spanish and Ukulele and Guitar and Piano and Sewing.  They are going to be very well rounded children.  

So, I guess the bottom line is that I feel like I'm really being a good mom doing this for my children.  I feel like it's necessary for Sam especially, and I'm happy to spend so much time with Pearl.  Really, I like my kids.  The housewife thing is an utter fail most days, but Jared is so helpful and picking up the slack and thank goodness I still work one morning a week so we can have a housecleaner, heavens, I'm not sure what I would do without that!  It's worth it for the kids, even if we have to have sandwiches for dinner three days a week:)  

Here is some of what we've been up to...

Posing for the camera...

Having  little too much fun with our first Language Arts book, the Willoughbys.  It's hilarious.  Read it.

And... what it all really looks like


I have rarely seen this kid so focused on a fine-motor task...

Pearly got ambitious... Sam just wrote Sam, Pearl wanted to write a prophecy from Mark of Athena.  It was too long.  

Lego Pyramid... it was harder than it looks

Lego Pyramid

Did we really do Cunieform Tablets?  I found proof the next day...

Max gets right in there... but he doesn't have the staying power for coloring that Ruby does!

Really, cutest thing ever.  Love Sam and his Ukulele.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Grandpa

My Grandfather passed way this week at the age of 90.  I've had the unique opportunity these days to be neighbors with my parents as they cared for my grandparents these last few years.  My parents have sacrificed so much, their time, their house, and a lot emotional wear to care for my grandparents.  It's been a blessing to be able to visit, try to serve them in little ways, and be part of the there life.  A couple of examples I want to remember:

For several months I got to cut his hair, I really enjoyed being able to do that for him.

He seemed to enjoy seeing my children when they'd stop by for a visit, to get a cookie, or bring them a treat.  Pearl especially will be able to remember him.

Toward the end he was having a hard time, he wasn't always with it.  The last time I saw him he had just come home from the hospital.  I sat with him talked with him, which was hard for him.  I helped him shave, which he wasn't really up to so I got about 1/3 of the way, but grandma thought it was a good idea.  Then he gave me a hug, probably the biggest bear hug he had ever given me (up to the end he was a surprisingly strong old guy), and he told me he loved me.  Not a bad send off.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Potty Chair

Ruby is TINY.  So so small, she weighs less than her four month old cousin.  Still, she's almost two, but she's small and she's the baby so I forget.

We recently revised her PT goals to include grading for getting on and off the potty chair.  So, Miss Pat was coming Monday, so I grudginly got out the chair.  I hate potty training.

Day one... loves the potty.  I knew she would.  She's been trying to sit on the dolly potty chair for a while now.  I put her on after nap and she went right away.  Then, when Daddy came home she sat down to show him and went AGAIN.  Magic.

Yesterday we went potty after naps, she usually wakes up dry so I know I can get her then.  She was proud.

This morning I was working out when she woke up, so no potty chair.  She ate breakfast, hung out for a bit, then came to me and said "potty chair."  Her diaper was pretty full, so I didn't have high hopes, but I left her there for a bit.  I was in the kitchen when she came out of the bathroom and said "potty" and, lo and behold, she POOPED IN THE POTTY CHAIR.

Crossing my fingers that this is a trend that continues... so proud of my little girl!  Now, my biggest problem will be finding underwear small enough for her!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Maker Faire

We went to the Maker Faire yesterday.

Maker Faire?  What's that, you say?

It's a place where GEEKS get together to geek out.  There were so many robots there... cardboard robots, underwater robots, soda can robots, art robots, life sized WALL-E and R2D2 robots... it was overwhelming.  There were robots that jumped on trampolines and squirted hoses and swing on swings.  There was a car covered in marine animals all robotized to sing songs.  Seriously, it was amazing.  And BIG.  And CROWDED.  There were some cool things, and if Ruby hadn't been such a punk I would have enjoyed it more.

I thought this was the coolest thing we saw there, and it's something we can make at home... you could too, if your geeky husband had a 3D printer.  Mine does.  What a geek.  Seriously, I'm thinking we might build it for Sam's birthday.  That kid was soooo overwhelmed by the cool stuff, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head.

They had a big building where you could buy robot making kits, but, unfortunately, the credit card machines were down so after Jared waited in line for 20 minutes he found that out and we didn't get anything, except the art robot I had already purchased at an exhibit.  So, we'll be building an art robot but not all of the other cool things were were going to build.  Like the robot who would chase after a flashlight or the LED art kit.

The artsy submarine you could walk around in

The fish car... they were singing together, Ruby was enthralled

We got to meet WALL-E!

There were about 7 R2D2's I swear.  

This was a little stage and the tiles would change color when you stepped on them.  Ruby was in HEAVEN, big walker girl!

All of the pictures are from the first hour.  Then I got tired.  Even though it was hot and crowded I'm glad Jared is into cool stuff.  I think it will be good for our kiddos.  Maybe some of it will rub off and they will be awesome inventors and support me in my old age:)

Sunday, April 28, 2013


A week or two ago my kids caught a "caterpillar" (aka oak worm ewww) put it in a jar with some leaves in my kitchen and called it a pet. Gross. I didn't want to burst their little bubble, but when we could not find it the next day, we ordered some instead. Dud you know you can buy anything on the Internet? So, we've had this jar of caterpillars for about ten days and yesterday we found two cocoons! The one that is hanging like a J is ready to shed any time now. So much fun!!! So much better than an oak worm!!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

18 Months

Ruby is growing so fast.  I keep meaning to take 18 month portraits, but at 18 1/2 months I'm worried I won't get to it, so she got some snapshots this morning before church.

At 18 months she is ADORABLE still in her glassess.  She gets about a million comments about how cute she is any time we go anywhere.  She is still attending playgroup and recieving PT, she's a super fast crawler and has just barely started to stand on her own for a second or two.  She's really working on keeping up with her brother and sister.

Her speech and signing are amazing.  It seems like she says a new word every day, and has started to put a few words together when she is really motivated.  She is still an avid signer, and between the two, can usually tell us what she wants.  Except when what she wants is unreasonable:)

I'm still glad we had this last baby:)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Random Thoughts

1.  I can not be trusted with chocolate in the house.  Over the past 3 days, at least 60% of my meals have been in the form of a snickers bar.

2.  Jared's grandparents are going through a rough patch right now.  Lots of change going on for them, they had to move to a smaller space so they can be taken care of more easily.  Long story short, Grandma was upset and ended up shuffling in her little walker all the way to my house and was yelling for me to come save her.  It makes me sad to see her so confused and upset with the people that are turning their lives upside down to make sure she is taken care of, but, I'm grateful to be here to help.  We've been feeling like it's time for us to move, but the buying a house thing isn't working smoothly at the moment.  Right now, I'm glad that's the case.  For whatever reason (probably because I haven't been as involved in their daily care... it's like I'm the fun babysitter instead of the mean mother) she thinks I'm on her side.  This puts me in a unique position to be able to calm her down when she's confused and give Sherry a little respite in her crazier moments.  I'm so glad we are still here for a little while.  I think Heavenly Father knows where and when we need to be.

3.  Sam got a diagnosis this past week (see item #1).  ADHD primarily inattentive (so, pretty much, minus the H).  We had to go to an overview class tonight (blah blah blah, I'm a speechie, I've been to full day conferences on that stuff) and left with the distinct impression that the psychologist really believes in medicating these kids.  Here's the thing, though.  The homeschooling thing is working, and if we believe that these kids tend to "catch up" meaning they learn coping strategies and "grow" out of requiring meds by high school, why not do what we need to do to get them through this next 10 year "rough patch?"  The way I see it, I can either medicate him so he can go learn in a classroom, or I can modify his environment for success while providing him with the academic and organizational skills he needs so that when his little body and brain are mature enough they'll be able to handle school (and life!).  Auggh!  So many decisions.  The thing is, he's really good.  I can see that if he was super hyper and impulsive (which he is neither) and a danger to himself and others it would be a clear thing to medicate him.  Seriously, his problem is that worksheets are boring and he needs alternative methods of education, relying more on visual and kinetic skills.  Just trying to do the right thing, but sometimes that's not so clear.  And, one of my hangups is that everyone has their advice, and I walk away from almost every conversation questioning my decisions.  I totally need to get over that.  Nobody knows Sam like I do (well, maybe Jared:) and I'm ultimately responsible to make sure he has a safe and happy childhood.   And, lucky for him (me?) I'm trained in special education... the kind of education he would never be bad enough to qualify for at school, but that with his subtle (and not so subtle) weaknesses he can really benefit from.  We'll see what happens...

4.  Ruby is doing so well in PT.  I am waiting and waiting for the day she starts to walk so I won't have to make an appointment for her at the day care at the gym.  She mastered stairs this week, and also the slide at the park.  She's pretty proud.  She had her first official day of nursery this week... aah, the freedom... I can see it coming... last kid to start nursery!  I will say, I'm no longer used to sitting for 3 hours at church, I got a little antsy by the end.

5.  We had to do the bedroom swap.  It was time for the girls and boys to be in their own room, we were really pushing it.  I kept resisting it, because I know it'll be a long time until Pearl and Ruby can be in bunk beds, and most of me was thinking I wouldn't have to do this in this house.  We'd get a bigger house and it wouldn't be a big deal to have a bed and a crib in one room.  Alas, that's not how it is, so here I am again, thinking and scheming and planning and organizing (and crying a little bit) to fit everything into the smallest space possible.  I'm kind of upset that I have to do this, my heart isn't really in it.  I got it to a point where the cleaners could come, and now it seems like life is so busy I might never get those last books and doll clothes out of the boys room, get all my therapy stuff upstairs, and get stuff on the wall for Pearly.  Just one of those things that grates in the back of your mind...

6.  Pearl and Max are so happy and normal and doing well.  I'm so grateful, Pearl is so helpful and Max is so much fun.  It's nice that they allow me to focus on the kids that really need me right now.  Being a mom is so much work.  Time will tell if it was all worth it:)

Friday, March 22, 2013

We love Legos.

We (well, I) recently bought some materials to use with Sammy during homeschool.  

One of my concerns with Sam is that he doesn't have much opportunity for creative writing and storytelling because he hates to write.  So, I totally splurged on this AWESOME storytelling set and software from LegoEducation.  

Here is our first comic.  He did all of the building and photograpy while I was with clients this morning with the only cues being that his story had to have a beginning, a middle and an end.  

And here was the result.  SO FUN!!!!!

He's very excited to plan another adventure for those brave knights....

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Breaking my heart.

Sammy is doing SO WELL homeschooling.  He's thrilled to be writing his story about Rolo, the monster who wants to be a dog so he can eat dog food.  (giggle giggle).  He chose as part of his schooling today to watch a 15 minute lecture on elements and atoms.  (love Khan academy).  We're building a volcano, which he planned yesterday and is waiting anxiously for Dad to come home so we can blow it up.  He's doing his drill work (math, handwriting without tears, spelling, taekwondo form practice) without complaint, even though I know he doesn't love it.

But here's the shocker, the thing I was so worried about homeschooling.  He's staying on task.  Let me say it again.  He's staying on task!!!!!!!  Seriously, with minimal reminders and support and a little bit of task tweaking, he's excited to learn, he's completing tasks quickly and he's happy.  Really.  Like writing a sentence in less than 3 minutes.  Genuinely happy.

Not only that, he shocked me not once but twice today by doing what I asked him to the first time.  Seriously.  I went to ask him for the second time to get dressed like I ALWAYS have to do, and he was almost done.

The super-disorganized kid who usually has absolutely no awareness of anything other than what's going on in his little head just brought me a lone sock in from the playground that needed to be washed.  Then, even after stopping to talk to me about the volcano, he made his way into the laundry room (aka my bathroom) and put the sock in the washing machine.  

If you don't know Sam, you may not be as amazed as somebody who has worked with him.  AMAZED.  He is a changed kid.

What breaks my heart is how unsuccessful and dumb he must have felt in that classroom.  Failing day after day, being too slow, never getting anything done... it affected ALL areas of his life... and now he's progressing.   Tears of joy in my eyes.  I maybe should have done something sooner, but thank goodness I'm doing something now.

Actually, thank my Heavenly Father for giving me the courage and insight and strength to make this decision.  I think He loves and knows me and Sam and wants so badly for us to be happy.   And we are.  I love this kid.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oh, Sam.

I feel like I've been riding a roller coaster the last few months.  

First... we started looking at buying a house in January.  Totally not as fun as I thought it was going to be.  And super time consuming.  And it makes me eat.  I just can't think about it.

Then Ruby started therapy and all that entailed... playgroup once a week, in home PT twice a month, and homework every day.  She's improving, but I still have lots to do.  

Then, we get the notice for an SST meeting for Sam.  His teacher isn't the best communicator, so until I got the notice I had no idea that things were that bad at school.  So, work work work, change his diet, add a listening program, start handwriting without tears after school.  At that meeting, they basically said he's not getting work done, and I requested that a positive reinforcement system be put into place.  And, once again, we started looking at Montessori options for him.   

Three weeks later, we had his parent teacher conference.   Abysmal.  Apparently, he lays on his desk all day long, doing nothing.  He's expected to take his workbook out and follow along with a lesson on the overhead all day long.  He just doesn't do it.  When I asked him, he told me sorrowfully that when he tries he's just too slow.  So, he'd given up.  Which was frustrating, because he needs to practice those writing skills.  Part of the problem is that he entered first grade with all of the academics mastered already, so it's a case of boredom/it's too hard/not his learning style.  So sad.  

So, after thought and prayer, I pulled him out of school two days later, to homeschool him.  Immediately after I sent the e-mail to the principal and the teacher I got confirmation (and continue to get every time I think about it, like, I'm tearing up AGAIN right now) that this was the right thing for him.  So, I put aside my selfish desires and set about designing a program for him at home.  I also started the process of an assessment for the possibility of ADD.  

We had our first day of school.  And, I have to say, I kind of loved it.  We worked together for about 2 hours solid in the morning, then he had free reading and a trip to the park and we had to finish up about 15 minutes after Pearl got home from school.  Thanks to my education, I know how to break a task down and to teach different aspects of educational skills while bypassing weakness.  Basically, my super smarty-pants (reads at a 5th grade level) needs his own special education teacher.  Me.  

We'll see how the rest of the week goes.  I have him applied to a few Montessori programs for the fall (he got accepted to one in Folsom today), that may be the way to go.  Or, I might be chained to this kid for a while.  

But that's ok.  Because if I modify things just a tiny bit, he loves to learn.  And I kind of love him.  I don't mind hanging out with him a little extra.  

Though we did join the local gym today so I can run while the kids are in daycare.  See?  Preserving me time:)  And my sanity.  I hope. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Ruby has been doing so well with her therapy.  She continues to LOVE her scooter, and I have to say, I love how dang cute she looks on it.  This picture was taken a few weeks ago, she is already starting to turn her feet forward on it, good girl!

The other exciting piece of news is that her glasses (FINALLY!!!  AFTER 3 1/2 weeks!!!) came!  

She really didn't like them at first... she cried at the fitting, which was sad because all of the optometry clerks had been waiting for her to come in so they could see them on her.  Then Pearly showed Ruby her glasses and they weren't that bad.  Then, I think she realized that she can see so much better... and now they mostly stay on.   

though, I must admit, it's like a full time job to keep the grime and fingerprints and slobber off of them! 

Her latest PT mandated activity... blanket rides.  The boys are happy to oblige.  

Love this girl!  So glad she is healthy and happy and learning so fast!

Friday, February 8, 2013


Ruby's physical therapist said we needed to start her on a scooter... She's a fan. Mobility!!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I'm hungry.

My last weigh in left me (well, not shocked, more like embarrased) surprised to find myself 6 pounds over goal weight.

Six pounds.

No big deal, some of you say.  But I sweated those six pounds out the first time by being hungry, running a million miles, doing a million situps, and skipping french fries for a looooong time.  I'm not too happy about doing it again.  Why does it seem soo much easier to put on than take off?

So, thanks to my lifetime membership, I have to pay the weekly fee until I weigh in at only 2 pounds over goal.  This means I'm hungry, because I'm too stubborn to waste more money.  Very hungry.  Want to curl up and go to sleep, may not survive this yucky feeling hungry.  But it's going to be worth it, right?  Because I tell you what, I am not going to buy bigger pants, and if I continue to head the way I was, I'll soon be left with only pajamas to wear.  Not pretty.

I think the thing that saddens me the most is the knowledge (that I knew in my head, but not in my stomach) that this is a LIFELONG thing.  I don't get to just ignore it all and eat whatever I want for two months with no consequences, I don't care how many miles I run a week.

Somewhat depressing.  But also... at least I've pulled back from the brink.  That 6 pounds could have EASILY turned into the 40 that I lost plus.  That is NOT going to happen to me.

So I'm hungry.  I guess I'm grateful that I can do this, that from somewhere deep within me is the self control necessary to take care of myself despite the whirlwind that is my life.

But I still like to complain:)  And maybe those of you who look at me and say "man, she's skinny, it's not fair"  or "it must be harder for me than for her" will know the truth.  It sucks.  But I still think it's worth it.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Ruby is crawlng... yeah!!!!  Since our last PT appointment, I have really focused on making sure she has at least an hour a day of PT with me, this morning I trained Sherry so she can take 20 minutes here or there.  It really is making a difference.

Now that I have Ruby under control, the next kiddo that needs my attention is Sam.  We have a meeting with the school next week, and I'm nervous about what they will want to do with him.  I know he has attention issues, I'm pretty sure he has difficulty with auditory processing, and for sure fine motor skills.  So, I've been thinking of things I can do with him at home, though, I must be honest, it's such a chore just to get his homework done I don't know where I can fit anything else in.  I ordered some materials for The Listening Program, which is a set of CD's that's supposed to help the brain process sound better.  That's an hour a day of just listening, though he can play legos while he does it, I'm not sure if he can read while doing it.  I've been thinking I need to do Handwriting Without Tears with him, and that is another 15 minutes per day.  So, this process leads to this... there is not enough time in the day.  Am I going to have to homeschool him?

Panic.  Panic.  Panic.  There would go ALL of my freedom.

But, if that's what he needs, it's what I'll do.  Sigh.  Stay tuned...

Monday, January 28, 2013


When we went to the opthamologist last week, he mentioned concerns that there may be some underlying nerological reason that Ruby has vision AND motor problems.  Like Cerebral Palsy.  Panic.  Panic.  Panic.  So, we went into the physical therapist at Kaiser today to get her assessed and determine if she needs an MRI.  

I'd never thought I'd be so relieved to hear "hypotonia and severe gross motor delay."  The PT does not see any signs or reason why she needs further neurological testing.  If she does not continue to progress, that's another story.  But since she started crawling yesterday, I don't think that's going to be a problem.  

  (I'm just taking as many pictures of her sweet face as I can before the glasses come:)

However, being in PT is going to require some work on our part.   So, I got out a carpet remnant to put in the living room to give her a surface with more traction to work on.  And, at the instruction of the PT, we got the shoes.  The dork patrol shoes.  They actually are a size bigger than her tiny feet because that's the smallest they make, but the PT said that as she bears weight her feet should start growing fast. I think they're going to be trashed in like 5 seconds.  She wore these for about 2 hours today, and 1 hour and 45 minutes of that was in a high chair or the car.  Yeah.  See those pretty flowers?  They're toast!  At least I think they're hideously ugly so if she wants to ruin them she can be my guest.  The hope is that they will help prevent her from scooting and nudge her to crawling, which is the best exercise for the muscles she needs to be able to walk.  

Looks like we've got our work cut out for us.  Good thing she is such a sweet baby!!!  I have hopes that by the time summer comes we can get her some cute sandals to wear and they will be used like they are supposed to... for little feet to toddle in:)