Monday, July 29, 2019

Little Boys


It's so fun having two little boys to bring up the rear of our family.  Even my husband said so recently.

And boy are they getting to be adventurous.

I love that Val is so snuggly, loves the "do work", and curious about the world.

We have a small ladder that was part of our bunk beds.  He likes to bring this Val-sized ladder outside and see what he can climb with it.  He can climb the small tree we have next to our house.  He can scale the house too...but only as high as a 3 foot ladder can go.

He is always barefoot, and always "working" on something.  I love that he wants me to sit with him when he's tired and read to him.  He loves this book that I used to read as a child called 'Big Max' who is supposedly the world's greatest detective.

The other evening, we were all cleaning up the dishes from dinner when I realized Val wasn't with us.  I went outside and found him clipping the bushes.  He had hacked up a nice bush in from of our porch and started in on the flowering tree.  Luckily, he clipped just the right branch off of the tree.

The next night, we had decided to settle in and watch a movie as a family.  Five minutes into the movie, my daughter is gasping and can hardly get the words out to tell us what's the matter.  We all turn around to find Val holding a flaming fly-swatter high in the air.  He had held it over a lit candle and suddenly found himself with a home-made torch that he didn't quite know what to do with.

We all jumped up, and Scarlett grabbed the kitchen sink sprayer shooting in his general direction, however the flame went out quickly by itself after Val dropped it on the kitchen floor.

A few minutes later, we were nervously laughing it off, grateful nothing bad came of it when Scarlett said, "I can't wait to be a Mother!"

Her reaction to the incident will go down in history for me as just as memorable as the actual event.







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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

4th of July Parade 2019


Can you believe that I almost didn't do our annual Fourth of July Parade this year?

Let's not even speak of such things!  This parade is 41 years in the making as a family tradition.  And eventhough this is the summer of No for me, that was unacceptable for Honor who just mastered riding a two-wheeled bike this summer and wouldn't hear of any change in our yearly tradition.

So, believe it or not, we threw this thing together the night before.

And I'm so glad we did, because it was a really nice gathering of all of our neighbors.  So, these are my buddies!

I'm just going to share a bunch of photos from the event, mostly from the photobooth.

The wooden US flag sign was made for me by my friend Rachel and the "Life is Good" sign I made...my first try at a new little hobby.

The last photo you'll see was the sunset from July 3rd...Is it just me or does the sky look like it's flying "stars & stripes!?


























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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Flag Tshirt Craft



It's been a while since I posted a craft on here.  This US flag tshirt was so fun, because all six kids could do it, it's patriotic AND a sweet keepsake!


First, pick up a plain white tee at Michael's or wherever.

Using acrylic paint, place your handprint in the top left corner (to represent the blue field of stars).


When that's dry, use everyday masking tape to create a stencil for the red and white stripes...like this:


Do as many stripes as looks good to you and fits on the tshirt, but remember there are 13!



 I removed the tape before it was dry and then set the shirt out to dry.
Voila!


We made these on July 3rd and were styling on the 4th!

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Kid Interviews & Personal Progress


Oh, man, parenting can be so rough.  But sometimes, it can be so rewarding, like when our children are working hard and developing themselves as people.

After church this week, I felt it was time to sit down and revisit our yearly goals with each child during personal interviews.

And it was actually a really fun and positive experience where I could praise them for their accomplishments and hard work so far, and also see where I need to help them improve on their efforts to reach other goals. 

Our family records personal and family goals each new year in a family goals journal.  That way, we can track our progress in completing those goals, and it helps a lot to review those goals a few times a year. 

Scarlett has been a lot of fun to work with this year as we have navigated the Personal Progress program which she entered in January as an 11-year old.  We have done a lot of cool projects together such as a kid art show, a neighborhood clean-up, a secret school project, a fashion blog, she has written an original song, and more.  Each project has been so personalized and so joyful and fun.  Such good memories.

It's really cool to watch a daughter of God blossom in this way.  She loves the Lord, and she tries her best to make good choices and to become the person God wants her to be.

I'm so grateful to have this experience with her, and I'm interested in seeing what the new youth experience will be like when things are announced and rolled out this fall.

Until then, we're working diligently to finish all of the requirements.  She's so close!  I will have to do a future post on all of her projects!



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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Growing Gardens and Children


Hello, friends.

I realized, I've gotten a little lazy with writing.  It's become quicker and easier to write up a quick FB post and be done with the thought.  So, I figured today, I'd try and share an actual blog post.  (I'm squeezing this in as my husband helps get kids to bed...)

We're in the thick of summer around here.  That time period where the fun of summer is starting to take it's toll.  I'm also in the thick of Motherhood, where I have both older kids and little babies, and I expend every ounce of energy on them and on maintaining the household every single day.

Every day, I roll the stone up the hill.  And every day, I wake up to the same tasks needing to be redone.

It's exhausting.

One of the fun projects I did this summer with the children is we started a garden.  It was spur of the moment.  On Memorial Day I grabbed some seeds from Home Depot on a whim and by the afternoon, the kids and I were busy turning the incredibly rocky, clay soil of one corner in our yard.

It was hot that day.  I remember after the first two shovels full thinking "what have I gotten myself into."  I also thought of my master gardener father who I watched turn soil every night after work....How much harder the work was to do than to watch being done by someone else!

We did managed to get the soil turned and the flower seeds planted, just in time for a three-week long monsoon that graced Western Pennsylvania this summer.  It was wild and wonderful, however, it washed away a majority of the seeds.

So, I decided to buy more seeds and even threw in a few bulbs that I found on clearance and see what happened.

I also made several trips to a park the next town over to haul home some free compost offered by the city.

It made a big difference.  

Between the constant rain, intermittant sun, and the added nourishment to the soil, my garden emerged.

The animals noticed as well and started to make nightly visits to my garden.  We put up a deer fence and then a rabbit fence.

I now have flowers in abundance.  And my kids, Honor especially, and I have spent many precious moments enjoying and marveling at the emergence of each leaf, stem, bud, and flower...every butterfly, bird and bug.

I said to my husband and kids, "Who could have envisioned the beautiful garden that would emerge while we were turning over the rock hard soil that hot, hot day in May?  Or when the seeds initially washed away?  Who would have predicted the joy this little garden has brought us?  Yet, had we not taken that action in faith, had we not put in the work then, we would not have the beautiful flower garden that we enjoy today."







This is so much my parenting experience right now.  

I am turning over the soil, hauling in nourishment, guarding against innocent-looking beings that would destroy my crop...thanking God for the heaven-sent rain...and doing it day after day...with the hope that one day we will experience a similar joyous outcome in our children as we have in our garden.

Until that day, I work and pray with relentless, albeit exhausted spirit.  (And that's pretty much why there have been way less blog posts here...but perhaps that will change!)

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Path Foward: Repent Every Day


After that wonderful General Conference, in which we've been asked to "Do Better & Be Better," to "Repent every day," and to do the spiritual work necessary to know God lives and that this is His church, it's the perfect time to turn our minds to the Savior and really reflect on what He has done for us and on what role we want His sacrifice to play in our lives.

Will the Atonement of Jesus Christ be an afterthought?  Something that we think of once a week as we take the Sacrament?  Or will we start today to make a goal to repent of something EVERY DAY?

I realized as I was talking about President Nelson's admonishment to repent every day, that if we aren't doing this (which up until now, I really have not) then perhaps this is one major way that we are taking the Sacrament in vain...taking His name in vain.  It will take great humility and personal committment, but I'm willing to try.  And I believe that doing this one thing, at least in my life, will make a big difference.

It's interesting how at peace I feel after this General Conference.  It all seems doable.  I mean, I understand I have my own personal work to do and that it will be work, however, the gentleness and charity that I believe our leaders displayed in their tone and delivery of their talks, just distills so peacefully on my soul.  I think in many ways we were rebuked, but it was done with such love, that I definitely see a clear path forward...and it's now up to me to take it, and to try my best every day...and repent and use the Atonement to help myself improve when I do mess up.

It seems so simple.  It seems so right.

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Ok, as you know, we've done a lot of fun Easter Activies in our family over the years...(most of them linked here.)

This year, we're trying out a simple, new one, thanks to long-time blog friend Dana Cockrum, who is the creative mind behind an online shop called Home Centered.


Now, as you know, I very rarely promote anything that's a business, like almost never, however Dana has been around a long time supporting my blog, and I really do love the sign (pictured above) which will lead our family through the events of Christ's life during the week leading up to the Atonement and serve as a constant reminder of WHY we are doing what we do each day!

Here are a few things to know:

1. The Easter Countdown sign comes in black or white background.  As you can see it's a really nice size and very well-made.  Like, I was surprised at how pleased I was with the size, and my husband, who usually doesn't love me getting "decor" really loves the simple design and the icons.  And he actually thanked me for getting this for our family. Ha!

2. It comes with a few scripture readings to do as a family each day which will help you focus on Christ during this special week (and the scriptures are on the back of the sign so you won't lose them!)  In addition to the readings, I anticipate that my children will enjoy moving the small wreath each day.

I'm so excited to use this because a) it's beautiful and b) it's just SO simple, and simple is what I need in my life right now.  

3. So, if you're interested, order yours today, and use the online code "HEISRISEN" when you order to receive 20% off.  

4.  Please, order by Tuesday, April 9 to receive it in time for Easter week!  

You can view all of her stuff at Home Centered and follow her on Facebook by clicking here.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!  I'm going to be taking a look at my General Conference questions and sharing what I learned in an upcoming post...


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