Monday, September 21, 2009

Got White Trash?

Our front yard has been a picture of white trash for the past 2 years.

Overgrown bushes? Check!
Can't see the house? Check!
Weeds? Check!
Dead car that hasn't run for over a year parked in front of the house? Check!!

Well, we are slowing making the transformation from white trash to suburbian normalcy. Joe has cut down four trees, pulled out three giant Pfitzer Junipers, and we just towed off the dead car. While my weeding is not yet under complete control, and my roses need to be trimmed, we are improving our yard.

The problem now is that with so much space in the front, we have to plant something new... and considering my record for yard upkeep, what to do? Is it WT to have grass all the way up to the house? At least you can see the house...

We love homeschool!

The biggest event of my life lately is that we started homeschooling at the beginning of September. We have always planned to do this, and decided this is our year to begin! Abigail will be 5 in November, so her kindergarten year is next year. I decided that if I get a year head start, I will be in a good routine, and not feel overwhelmed the year it "really counts."

I am writing my own curriculum, and I am combining the standards for preschool and kindergarten outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum (the one I can most readily find, and am most familiar with). We spend about 2 hours per day, four days a week. Friday is Library day, and the day I plan my lessons for the next week or so.

The girls are having so much fun! Every night before bed, they ask me what we will learn about tomorrow. They are so excited about everything we do. While I don't kid myself that this will last forever, it is an encouraging beginning.

Here are some pictures of our activities last week.

Working on assignments

Our art project this week:
This was part of our "bugs" lesson

Ward Choir

I was called to be the new Ward Choir Director at the beginning of August. This has been interesting. As we began choir practice in earnest (we took the month of August off), we had to figure out how to make this work. Since Joe is half the tenor section, having him stay home with the kids was not an option. And, since I also had to be there every Sunday for rehearsals, we decided to make it a family affair. The older girls sit at the back of the primary room while we rehearse (in theory), and I hold Phoebe in the sling while I conduct rehearsals.

What really happens is that the oldest two are trying the entire time to sneak out and explore the empty church building, Zenna is trying everyone's lap to see where she will be most comfortable, and Phoebe (good baby that she is) falls asleep to the swaying and singing.

Well, yesterday was our first "performance" in Sacrament Meeting. I almost forgot all about it. Then, when I remembered, I of course freaked out. But, considering that my back is to the congregation the entire time, it really wasn't that intimidating. I have not looked at my backside in a long time, so I have no reason to worry... what I don't know won't hurt me. :)

The number went well. I held Phoebe, Joe held Zenna, and we left the other girls under the charge of the Wings--very kind and capable people who sit behind us most weeks, and good rapport with the kids. I just hope that we are not becoming the ward freak show... I've never seen two kids in the ward choir before, but the church is, after all, about family, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fox in Socks

Joe is the best daddy. He reads Fox in Socks at least twice a day to the girls. Zenna is the one who is totally in love with it, but they all quote the book frequently. I love hearing them tell each other all about the tweedle beetles battling in a puddle in a bottle on a noddle eating poodle.

Abigail and Olivia have recently developed an aversion to Fox in Socks. When they see the book in Zenna's hands, they usually ambush her and steal the book. Then they hide it, and she screams at the top of her lungs until they realize they aren't getting away with anything. When that fails, Abigail will be bold and try to steal the book from Daddy. That doesn't usually work either, as he is so much stronger. Her next tactic is to scream "No Fox in Socks! You can't read this book!" at the top of her lungs until the book is over.

Last night I heard the older girls plotting. Abigail was coaching Olivia, "Go out there and be naughty! Tell him we won't listen to Fox in Socks anymore!" Olivia agreed, and timidly went out and whispered that they wouldn't listen anymore. Then she ran back into her room and reported that he was still reading it. She doesn't have her heart into committing someone else's wickedness. They then decided to camp out in their room until the book was over. Which they did. When the book was over they came out cheering.

Zenna still loves the book, and took it to bed with her tonight. Whether just because her sisters hate it, or because she has a genuine appreciation for ridiculous tongue twisters, we'll never know.

Little Girls!

I think this picture expresses the feeling very well. What fun!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

We decided to watch Fiddler on the Roof as a family on a Sunday afternoon. The girls were captivated. After the movie was over, Abigail wanted to be married. This is her version of the Jewish wedding dress. The Orange blossoms circling her head, the veil, the dress... even shoes.
She is trying to convince Olivia (who is pretending to be her daughter) to marry her. Oh the innocence of children. Not realizing how totally unnatural their pretend affections are.

The next day, I was missing several pillowcases and a few small blankets. I found the girls hanging them out to dry and singing "Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match..."


Phoebe is exactly what I needed right now... a mellow baby. Of course, all my babies but Abigail have been mellow, but she's keeping up the trend. The Lord knew exactly how to hand that situation, and luckily, it's the way I wanted too. Here is her on her blessing day. The picture of love and innocence in the dress that Grandma Wilson made for my girls.

Phoebe is a thumb sucker. Since she was newborn, she would suck on her fist, but always kept her thumb tucked under her index finger. Within the last few weeks she has been able to suck her thumb consistently. Zenna has a thumb-suckin' buddy!

This is Phoebe with her best friends, the dangly toys. She smiles and coos at them every time she sees them. They buy me lots of time as I prepare meals. Now if I can only get her to smile and coo at me as much as she smiles and coos at her toys...

The only trouble we have with Phoebe is that from sad experience, she cries whenever a sister comes in her view. So, when I am not holding her, she attends me in her carseat on the kitchen counter, out of reach.