Friday, February 27, 2009

A Cardinal

This morning, I went to take the trash out to the street for pick-up and there was a cardinal that flew by me and landed on the neighbor's roof, so I ran to get my camera and amazingly it was still there when I got back. Luckily, I already had the big lens on so I was able to get a closer picture.

One thing I love about living in different parts of the country is there are different birds everywhere. I've always enjoyed looking at birds. I especially like the bright colored ones, like in Washington I liked the Gold Finch. There are a lot of beautiful birds here. I hope to get a picture of a blue jay soon...they are SO pretty! I'm always admiring them from a distance.


I hate thunderstorms! Last night we had a really violent thunderstorm. We have a big bay window in our bedroom that doesn't have any window coverings on it, so the lightning completely lights up our room and I feel like I'm going to be hit by lightning at any second. (I didn't take this photo, but this is pretty much what it looked like outside the window). I try to put the covers over my head and cover my head with pillows, but afterall, I'm the one who's closest to the window, so I'm the one who'll get taken! :)

The lightning here is SO close and SO bright and SO everywhere. The thunder comes RIGHT after the lightning and shakes the ground. Then the wind and the rain pound everything. The rain was SO loud on Jesikah's window she came in and said she couldn't sleep because it was SO loud. When I say pounding, it seriously was pounding. The power and the street lights were surging and flickering. It's just scary!

Eric grew up in the South, so he likes them and can sleep right through them, but I had a hard time with them when we lived in Missouri and still really dislike them. Out West, there just aren't thunderstorms ANYTHING like there are here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Little Helper

Jarem is my little helper now that the other kids are at school all day. Today, he was helping me by cleaning the sink while I was doing dishes. He felt like like he had to be almost IN the sink to do the job adequately. :)

He was trying so hard.
One thing lead to another, and the next thing I knew, he was washing his feet.

By the end, he'd almost taken a bath...

Trip to DC

Well, it is official...we are going to Washington DC with the kids for Spring Break! I am SO excited! We are going to drive, and I made the hotel reservations yesterday. I love all the free stuff there!

Eric and I went to DC two years ago the same week during the Cherry Blossom Festival and loved it. All of you who've been to DC and have favorite places to go, leave your comments. We want to make it a memorable trip for the kids.
The picture is one that I found of me next to the cherry blossoms when we went two years ago.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tessa's Writing Samples

Very often Tessa brings home things that she wrote at school, and Eric and I both have to smile. The things she writes are SO cute and funny. One of the things I love about her writing is that she is always SO positive. She brings a great positive attitude to our family. I hope you enjoy these. First, I took a picture words that she wrote for each letter of her name on the back of her Valentine bag that describe her. She certainly isn't lacking in self esteem... :) She writes these on her papers quite often.
Next is her playground Safety Tip that totally cracked us up...
If you are throwing mulch, be sure not to throw it at yourself! :) Next is her Math story...don't I sound like such a nice mother?...

Next and last is her "favorite fruit" story using her 5 senses.

Watch out for those banana spiders!! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did, and that they are clear enough to read.

Alex's Sunday Afternoon Nap

Alex has never been one who CHOOSES to nap EVER. He doesn't need much sleep, but it must have caught up with him because Sunday afternoon he slept for like 4 or 5 hours...which is extremely unusual for him. I got this picture of him, and he was out for the count. He did get to bed late Saturday night and up early for church, but still. I couldn't believe he slept so long.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Greeting Card Contest

Yesterday, the kids decided to enter a greeting card contest for the chance to win $5000 in college tuition. There are only two winners, so the likelihood of them winning is slim, but regardless, it was a good chance for them to embrace their creativity. The theme is "Joy to the World" and all the proceeds go to UNICEF to help children all over the world, so at least it goes to a good cause. I thought they did a cute job so I wanted to share their final products before I send them in. This is Tessa's card(above)

This is Jesikah's card

This is Alex's card

I think I may have encouraged them a little too much to the side of world peace, but with the celebration of Christmas not really being universal, I didn't know exactly what direction to encourage them. Tessa's first idea on the "Joy to the World" theme was a picture of baby Jesus. As much as I liked the idea, I'm quite confident hers would have been disqualified for religious connotations and she wouldn't have had a chance. But, she's right, that is the reason that we sing "Joy to the World".

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday as we were finishing lunch, the kids looked outside and it was snowing. Alex, being the quirky kid that he is, asked if he could go freeze tanning, and Eric and I both went, "What?" He said, "I'll show you", so he went outside and laid out like he was trying to get a tan in the snow. Tessa went out to join him shortly after. What a crazy bunch of kids!

A little later, our sweet little Tessa was reading the "Book of Mormon Stories" to Jarem, and she was explaining everything to him so sweetly. They were being so cute, it was too precious not to post.

Daddy Time!

Eric lucked out with a 4-day weekend for President's Day! When I got back from taking the girls to school on Friday morning, this is how I found Jarem and Eric (can you see Eric?). Jarem was enjoying some Daddy time and had covered him with stuffed animals so he would have lots of "friends". They had been cuddling in bed and reading books. It was pretty cute!

Family Reading Night

The girls and I went to a really fun Family Reading Night at their school on Thursday night. Lots of the teachers dressed up as characters in books and read in different rooms. There were probably around 10 classrooms with 2 teachers each dressed up as characters. One of our favorites was Ms. Harned dressed up as Junie B. Jones reading, "Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine". She was so funny and animated as Junie B.

Tessa with her teacher, Miss Harned

Jesikah's teacher, Mr. Dahl, dressed up as the farmer in "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that type" with the girls and Jesikah's friend, Lexy.

Tessa with the cow in "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" Unfortunately, we can't see here udder, which may be a good thing. :)

Jesikah was chosen as one of the readers of the month for February, so I took a picture of her poster on the wall.

Here she is standing next to the "Readers of the Month" poster.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wind and Rain Storm

We had a bad wind and rain storm on Wednesday and lots of trees blew down all over town. When I was on my way home from picking up Alex from school, a huge tree had blown over right next to our neighborhood across the road and everyone was getting out of their cars to help lift it so we could get through. Then after picking up the girls, another tree had blown half-over and was directly above the road lodged on a power line. There was barely enough room to go under, and it was a little nerve-racking, but we hurried and went through. Our cap blew off our chimney and our patio table glass shattered. I guess the umbrella in the center must have been knocking it around and it finally had enough. Here is Jarem trying to help me clean up the glass.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Eric and I and the kids had a fun conversation a few days ago about all the Southern words and phrases that are different to us Westerners. It was interesting because although Eric has lived in the West for the past 17-18 years, he was raised in the South. We had fun discussing it. The kids came up with a lot of these from things their teachers and friends have said at school too. I'm going to try to spell it as it sounds. Enjoy!

Car-a-mel (mel as in smell) /Car-mel
Wuffs/ Wolves (this was a favorite of mine to tease Eric about in college)
Pingiuns/ Penguins
Poim (as in coin) /Poem (pome)
U'ins /You
Y'all or All y'all/ You all
Fixin' to/ Getting ready to
Buggy/ Cart(in the grocery store)
Cut the lights/ Turn off the lights
Ain't/ Ain't (but used a lot here)
Sett-lers/ Set-tl-ers (this is a big one for us since it's the street we live on)
Di' nt/ Didn't
Wa' nt/ Wasn't
Ha' nt/ Hadn't
Perdy/ Pretty
Slap Your Pappy/ Pat your Stomach
Two-legged Varmint/ Bad guy (robber, scoundrel, etc)
Skedaddle/ Get out of here
Druthers/ One's own way/preference
Reckon/ Assume
All tore up about it/ Upset
Cotton pickin'/ Despicable
Hankeror Hankerin'/ Crave or Desire
Smack Dab/ Exactly, Right on
Young-in/ Child

Here's some more interesting Southernisms that I found online. I've heard a lot of them.

You scared the livin' daylights out of me.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Bleedin' like a stuck pig.
Butter my butt and call me a biscuit! (term of amazement)
Deader'n a doornail.
Don't flog (or beat) a dead horse.
Don't get your cows runnin.
Keep your britches on. (calm down)
Don't monkey with that.
Fast as all get out.
Gee willikers.
Getting too big for his britches.
He thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread.
Hotter than a June bride.
If you don't do that, I'll be all over you like stink on a skunk.
If it'd been a snake it would have bit you.
If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas.
Live and learn, die and know it all.
Madder than a wet hen. (Don't be monkeyin' with wet hens)
My mouth is dry enough to spin cotton.
Petered out.
Pipe down.
Plumb tickled to death.
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Scarcer than hen's teeth
She's so poor she ain't got two nickels to rub together.
Slower than cream risin' on last years buttermilk.
That's a fine how d'ya do.
Thick as flies on a dog's back.

Southern Colorful Insults
He looks like he got beat with an ugly stick.
He was so buck toothed he could eat an apple through a picket fence.
He's so low down he could crawl under a snake's belly.
If you had bird brains you'd fly backwards.
She's three pickles shy of a quart.
She's ugly enough to stop an eight day clock.
You look like something the cat dragged in.

Cute as a bug's ear.
He's handier than a pocket on a shirt.
He's as fast as greased lightening'.
I wouldn't trade you for a farm in Georgia.
She's as purty as a speckled pup under a red wagon.
She's as purty as a spotted horse in a daisy pasture.
Sure as the vine twines 'round the stump, you are my darlin' sugar lump.

Things Only a True Southerner Knows
The difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit.
Pretty much how many fish make up a mess.
What general direction cattywumpus is
How long "directly" is---As in "Going to town, be back directly."
That "gimme sugar" don't mean pass the sugar.
When "by and by" is
The best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of cold tater salad.
The difference between "pert' near" and "a right far piece."
The differences between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

Now, for Eric, I'm going to add a couple of Idahoisms...(ones he liked to tease me about when we were dating, especially when the topic of *wuffs or wolves* came up). :)

Idahoan/ Other
Crick/ Creek
Barrow Pit/ Area next to the edge of the road
Jockey Box/ Glove compartment
Roof (oo as in look)/ Roof (as in aloof)

Thoughts on my Middle-Schooler

Alex, my 13-year old, has been on my mind all morning. My heart is hurting for him. He has struggled the most since we moved from Washington to Tennessee last August. He misses his best friend, Matt, so much, and he also misses Tanner, Nick, Sean, and Kyle a lot. He misses his soccer coach and teacher, Mr. Smith and his basketball coach, Coach Waldron. He was in a good place there with a lot of great friends. Even the other people in his class that weren't his close friends he still misses. He misses everyone in church too.

Alex with his two good friends, Matt and Tanner, at a scout campout before we moved.

Alex with his 3-year soccer coach and 5th grade teacher, Mr. Bill Smith.

One of his last school events before we moved was 6th grade graduation. As part of the graduation, his whole class sang some songs. Since then, anytime anyone tries to listen to those songs he desperately requests for us to turn it off. He doesn't want to see or hear anything that reminds him of all he left behind. Well, yesterday when I came home from picking up the girls, he was watching his 6th grade graduation movie. I was surprised, and glad that he was able to finally watch it. But, the look on his face, just killed me. He was SO sad. He misses them so much.

Matt singing at 6th grade graduation.
Alex and his friend, Kyle, playing a song for 6th grade graduation last year.

Alex is a very shy boy in social situations. When he was about 2 or 3 years old, I would take him to our neighborhood park to play with other kids, and so I could interact with other Moms, and he would cry if there were any other kids there. I would say, "go play", and he would say, "There's kids there." and he would hang on my leg until I took him home. He has gotten better since then, but he still has a hard time getting to know people in a new place. Don't get me wrong though, he can be a very active, rambunctious teenager at home and with the right group of friends.

Starting middle school in a new place would be hard for a lot of kids I think. When you are in elementary, you can at least get comfortable with the kids in your class and you have your teacher as your advocate, but by middle school, most kids have established their friends. You have different kids in every class, and you don't have something like recess to play and interact with people. Alex especially has a hard time since he is not outgoing.

Since we moved here, I have encouraged him to invite someone to do something or come over so he can get to know them, but it has just been out of his comfort zone. In middle school it takes more guts to invite someone to do something. Well, just recently, he has kind of gotten to know this boy at church and he also goes to school with him. On Monday, we had an early out day, and finally Alex got up the guts to ask him it he'd like to come over after school and "hang out". Well, it didn't end up working out and poor Alex felt rejected.

I've tried to encourage him to invite a different boy over that he knows from church. This boy is only about 9 months older than him, but he is 6' 4" and skipped a grade, so he is in 9th grade. Alex feels like he would be too "young" for him, but the boy is still a kid inside and he and Alex have a lot in common. I want to help him, but I don't know how. I asked him if he wanted me to ask him to come over, and he said, "Well, he wouldn't tell you no". Is that something Mom's do? I don't know how to help him make friends. He is really starting to feel like he WANTS friends other than casual friends. He wants someone he can invite over or spend time with outside school, and he NEEDS that interaction. He asked me yesterday, "Why does it have to be so hard?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Hubcap

I love it when things turn out even better than they logically should, so I just wanted to share.

This morning I went out to the van to take the girls to school and noticed that my front passenger hubcap was missing. Immediately, I started thinking of times or places that it could have fallen off yesterday(where I went, if I bumped anything unusual, etc.)

After a few minutes of thinking, I remembered that the side of my front tire had rubbed up against the side of the curb when I was picking Alex up from school yesterday. I thought it would have been very unusual for it to have fallen off like that, but why not check. So, after I dropped off the girls, I drove by Alex's school where it had happened to see if I could see anything. (Keep in mind, it was right in the area of the drop-off, pick-up zone where many cars come and go each day, so my hopes of finding it, much less finding it undamaged, were quite dim. In addition, they keep the grounds very tidy, so it could have easily been thrown away.)

Well, low and behold, when I got there, there it was sitting there on the pavement on the drop-off, pick-up lane UNDAMAGED! I was so happy! The simple fact that it had been sitting there since yesterday afternoon without anyone picking it up or running it over was a complete miracle to me, not to mention that I remembered where it could be AND it was actually the first place I looked. It was sitting on the road right where it should certainly not have been safe.

I went back home and snapped it back on the tire and it looks as good as new! It probably seems like a small thing, but it was a miracle to me. And I'm so glad I don't have to pay for a new one. Car parts get expensive. It made my day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snow Day!

Well, the kids really lucked out last week and had a weekend in the middle of the week. They went to school on Monday, then had Tuesday off due to the ice storm. Tuesday night it snowed, so they got Wednesday off for snow. Then Thursday they had a two-hour late start. Which means they only went to school for two full days Monday and Friday! I really enjoyed having them home, and I also enjoyed not having to drive them around. I like being warm at home on cold days like these.

We did finally get some real snow. We got less than an inch, but is was a wetter, heavier snow. The other two times it has snowed a very dry snow with tiny flakes that looked more like salt than snow. I took a few pictures of the snow. Tessa and Jarem got out and played in it a little bit, but mostly just stomped around.
Part of the back yard where the most snow accumulated.

Our house with some snow on the ground.

Jarem really had fun stomping around in the snow...excited to use his boots!

The kids found out Tuesday night that there would be no school on Wednesday, so Alex, Jarem, and Tessa all had a sleepover in Alex's room. They enjoyed being able stay in bed later on Wednesday morning.

Alex playing a little PSP in bed with one very interested spectator.