Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Clean Up by Emilia Humphries

When you were seven,
did you want to be eleven?
I know I didn't because
you have to clean up everything you made
Although you lose your stuff
You'll step on things accidentally
Maybe I want to clean up right now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

First Snow of the Season

While I was at American Prep (APA) attending Emilia's taekwondo presentation, Todd stayed home with the two younger ones.

We knew snow was in the forecast and happened to mentioned it to the kids. Well, Stella was super excited about it. She had not been feeling well and woke up at 4 am to find us. Her demeanor changed from sad to pure delight once she saw the snow. She had to wake us and tell us all about it. I think she was as excited as on Christmas morning.

After the kids went to school, Todd allowed her to go out and play in the snow for a few minutes. She had outgrown her snow boots. Her tennis shoes got wet fast so she didn't last very long, but she had fun.

By the afternoon the snow had mostly melted and a few days later we are back to walking outside with not even a coat on.

Crazy weather!


Over the past three months Emilia's fourth grade class has been doing Taekwondo during PE. Master Hong has been teaching the kids some basic moves and how to break boards.

As a culmination of their course, the entire 4th grade class presented what they had learned to other students, teachers and parents during Show What You Know.

Breaking boards was the most entertaining part. I asked Emilia if she preferred Taekwondo or Karate and she liked Karate better simply because they play games to develop agility and reflexes in the kids. 

One of our neighbors is also a black belt in Taekwondo and has been teaching classes at the church free of charge ro the kids that are interested. Emilia and Carson have both attended but they have mentioned the training was geared towards beginners. Another issue with the class, is that there is no way for the kids to pass off different katas and earned higher belts. 

They have both expressed an interested in returning to karate once their Robotics class is over in December.  

Super Moon

The super-moon on November 14 was the closest a full moon has been to Earth since 1948. We will have to wait until 2034 to see it even closer.

To celebrate this event, we decided to learn about the moon during babysitting night with some neighbor friends.

Fist we watched a video about what it took for NASA to get Neil Armstrong to the moon. Then we went outside and got to see the actual full moon. It was quite cold so that didn't last too long.

The kids were more interested in the activities that came next. We turned off all of the lights and used a flashlight to represent the sun. The light from the flashlight would illuminate the moon differently depending on the moon's position with respect to the earth showing the kids the different phases of the moon. Each child got to hold a mini basketball representing the moon and to turn it to see what was shaded. They all thought that was fun.

Lastly, we made the different phases of the moon out of Oreo filling and got to eat the rest. Tasty!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bank Field Trip

Stella has been on break from preschool this week as her teacher is out of town. One of the moms I carpool with arranged for a field trip to the bank. We visited Bank of  American Fork in Riverton. Stella was excited to get to see her friends this week.

Chaille Mackie, the operations manager gave us a tour of the facility. She showed the kids the door to the vault and let us all step into the room where they keep the safety deposits.  The kids were mesmerized by the thickness of the walls, floor and ceiling. They also found it interesting that the safety deposit boxes take two keys to open. Jacob Pacini, the boy sitting next to Stella on the couch asked Mrs. Mackie "Can pirates break in without a key?" "Not even pirates can" she replied.

After the vault they folded their arms and visited the tellers station. They saw their cash drawers, and how they print special receipts. They even got to send and retrieve message tubes from the drive-through window.

Andrew was very interested in the cabinets in the teller area as well. He kept trying to open them. After a few futile minutes trying to distract him from a task he was dead set on performing I just had to step out into the lobby. I can't believe how curious and energetic that boy is! He does the same at home.

At the end of their visit each kid received their own $2 bill, a sticker, two suckers and a pink piggy bank shaped key chain.

P.S. Stella asked me to clarify that she was not mad in the picture by the door. The Sun was just in her eyes ;)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Love for Reading

Since the beginning of the school year I've made a clear effort to read with my children, especially with Stella who will be entering kindergarten next fall.

In the past, I've demonstrated my love for reading through example. I always have at least a book on my night stand that I read but they hardly ever see me reading, because I chose to do it after they go to bed.

My biggest struggle has been finding age appropriate books that would be worth reading.

At the suggestion of a friend, I've discovered a great blog titled "read aloud revival" that posts lists of books every month to read to your children. There are also book recommendations for older children to read aloud.

During our seven hour car ride to southern California last month, the kids did not have any DVD or other electronic devices in the vehicles. We had downloaded songs to listen and checked out several audio books from the library.

The audio books were the best! My kids would not trade riding in our friends car because they were so enthralled with the story.

In the few months that I've dedicated myself to reading, my fight to cut back screen time has almost disappeared. Instead, my kids will pick up a book and read it.

Some of my favorite books this week were:"I know an old lady who swallowed a pie" and "Too many turkeys."

My absolute favorite was "Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Pena. It is the story of a boy who leaves church with his grandma on the bus and travels to a food kitchen to feed the less fortunate.

The boy questions having to ride on the bus instead of having a car, and having to serve instead of doing something he likes. His wise grandma points out the wonderful things he gets to experience instead of acknowledging what he is missing out on. As they arrive to the poor part of town where the food kitchen is located the boy noticed how run down and dirty the area is.

The grandma points out to the blue sky and says: "Sometimes when you are surrounded by dirt, you are a better witness for what's beautiful."

Today, of all days on Election Day we are placed in a hard position having to vote between two candidates that many people see as unworthy to hold the position of Commander in Chief. We are surrounded by crime, wars, sickness, corruption and all kinds of things that can bring us down.

On those days, we can recall this quote and focus on our living God who blesses us daily and whose light can bring beauty in a world that becomes more and more dirty every day.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Carson Student of the Month for demonstrating Integrity

On Wednesday I received an email from Ms. Bodily, Carson's teacher, telling me he had been selected as the student of the month from his class for demonstrating Integrity.

I grinned at the email, not only because she is correct - Carson does not lie, but because I recently commented to Todd how bluntly honest Carson is with his statements.

We recently saw one of his friends' mom dress up for Halloween in what I considered to be somewhat inappropriate outfit. It was an extremely tight and revealing caricature of a loved children character.

When asked by his friend if Carson liked his mom's Halloween dress-up, Carson simply said "No, I didn't." His reasons for not liking it were different than mine - her face painting was too gory - but instead of mitigating or explaining his reason he just chose to be honest about his opinion. His friend didn't like Carson's answer and called Carson mean. Carson shrugged it off but didn't change his stance. In the end, they just moved on and started talking about something else.

I was talking with my friend Nicole about how headstrong Carson is. When he believes to be right, there is nothing except irrefutable documented truth that will sway his opinion. It is sometimes hard for me to convince him to do something, or accept something if he thinks he is right.

For example, he has a reading fluency paragraph he has to read each day. We have to time his reading and mark the number of errors he makes. At the beginning, we would butt heads whenever I pointed out an error he was certain he didn't make. He would rather read the paragraph all over than accept having an error in his reading log. To mitigate the daily disagreement, instead of timing him we record his reading and then listen back to it to catch any mistakes.

I am grateful for a friend who reassured me that Carson's behavior is not necessarily a bad thing. Rule followers and children who are clear on what is right from wrong are a great thing, especially in this day and age when the world tries to confuse us and sway us from the truth. I just need to help Carson learn to interpret circumstances and decide when it's appropriate to show flexibility and to express his opinion, and when it's better to keep his thoughts to himself.

I love my little man so much. He is very smart, helpful and honest. He is also incredibly affectionate, especially towards Andrew. He will randomly stop whatever he is doing, to reach out to Andrew and give him a huge squeeze.

I am grateful for a teacher who recognized Carson's integrity as a blessing in her class. I'm also grateful for the timing of this recognition. My mom happened to be visiting from Georgia that week so she got to attend the event (and take much better pictures than mine).

Carson, you are AMAZING!!!