Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 hasn't actually happened for me yet. I realize that the day itself is already passed, I spent it with my new dog (no name yet, until Shaun gets here) and my parents, brother, and Timaries clan. We ate, opened presents, and talked but Christmas will not really get here until Wed. evening when my boy comes back from his dad's house. I am keeping busy by taking the dog on a million walks a day (seriously, I should be in excellent shape with this much exercise)and trying to finish all the crafts I should be doing but I am blogging instead.
Hope it was a great day for you and I'll try to get Christmas photos posted before Valentines!

New family outing

We have discovered that the first Sat. of each month Home Depot offers free crafts for the kids. They come in a little packet and there are tables set up with tools so the kids can build.
This month we made wagons.
Kalee sets up her frame.
Tri actually reads the directions.
Shaun is already a pro.
Some hard work and concentration and a webkinz for assistance.
Tada, three wagons that actually work, no dead fingers, and nobody hit anybody else with the hammer.
I then took them home and let them paint. There is still paint all over the backyard and Tri's outfit was ruined, paint everywhere! But they had fun.


Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite activities. Shaun and I set aside the Monday night after Thanksgiving for Family Home Evening decorating! I try to get the totes in the house and the tree set up before hand, but I realized this year that Shaun is growing up and he was actually quite helpful getting it all together.
We set up the tree (yes, I broke down a couple years back and bought a fake one). We always do white lights inside and colored outside. The best part is that we talk about our family as we set it all up. The tree skirt was a gift from my mom made for my Grandma Stokes. My mom got it back when she died and later gave it to me. The train was a gift from Shaun's Grandpa Savage and blows real smoke (once I add oil and fresh batteries). Each year of my life until my Grandma Stokes died I received an ornament from my grandparents. I also have a few from my parents. My mom made me a fabric bag to carry them all in. I have continued this tradition for Shaun and he has 9 ornaments so far (He gets his new ornament on Christmas Eve or when we celebrate Christmas, if he is with his dad). My Grandpa Stokes also made a bunch of ornaments when I was little and I have several of them. I have wooden angels and porcelain doves that are over 100 years old and little bead angels my Grandma Bishop made about 80 years ago. We have ornaments that friends and family have given us too. Pretty soon we'll need a bigger tree.
Timarie made this pink and purple polka dotted Christmas which is a family joke. My dad and aunts redid the words to "White Christmas" and it has been a family tradition since I was a kid.
My nativity was a gift from my parents. Every year Shaun asks me about the white one we used to have. It as a set that wasn't painted it was glazed and fired white, it was very pretty. When I received this set, I gave the white one to a friend who had just never gotten one. She had wanted one but had been married 10 years and had just never gotten one. It has been a bigger gift to me because each year when he asks, we talk about our friends and giving. It is really sweet.
The house is actually a music box my mom made years ago. She also painted the Santa but didn't like how it turned out, so I took it and fixed a few things and now I love it.
Our tree all done with my mom's houses around the bottom. The train track never does stay together.

When we were living at my parents house, it was over Christmas and my mom bought Shaun this tree for his very own. It is about 15" tall and has miniature ornaments. He loves it and it has become part of our decorations now. It actually plugs in but the cord isn't long enough to reach.

I guess it is so special to me because each year I get to remember all of my Christmases past, with family I have known and those who passed on long before I was even thought of. It makes me happy to know that my son will know my grandparents and his grandparents through this small mementos and one day tell his kids about his ornaments and decorations and "turn the hearts of [his] children to their fathers".

Christmas Party(s)

Every year our Ward at church has a Christmas Party and every year we all line up in the hall to see Santa. They did it differently this year and had the kids go in by themselves and then the parents were supposed to come back later with their children if they wanted pictures. Well, that didn't work out so well. 1. I need to hear what Shaun asks for because inevitably it is some off the wall thing that he hasn't mentioned and I never would have thought he would want. 2. For me, visits with Santa won't last forever and I want to be there. This is one of those "parent" moments where you get to enjoy your kids being kids. You know, the ones that make it worth not killing your children. 3. It didn't work and at the end of the night, this, is the picture I ended up with. No, Shaun is not possessed. His dad took him for a hair cut (waaaaaay toooooo short) and he has no eyebrows so if you get him at this angle he looks, shocked? weird? evil?
We have been lucky enough to attend two wards this year. We still go to Los Al ward and then drive quickly over to Atherton so I can attend the mid-singles sunday school class. This picture is at the Atherton ward party. A much better picture.

The missionaries asked Santa for more investigators and warm weather to tract in.

More Thanksgiving

So I realized that these first three are the only pictures I took on the actual Thanksgiving day and as you can see not all that Thanksgivingy, but she sure is cute!

This is Erin's baby.
Look at those amazing eyes, they're actually hazel and not brown.
Brain wash children early so they know the correct teams to root for! We need a Dodgers hat too.

Sat. before Erin and the herd took off we all converged on In-n-out for a family lunch.
Kenz with her beautiful curls! Tri is diligently explaining something. We love our Webkinz.
The whole gag minus Mark who was inside getting ketchup or something.

When the mommy is away the daddy will play...nothing like feeding your daughter vanilla shake.

mmmmm.....she likes it.
Quick clean her up before mommy gets back and sees!

This is my cute stuff nephew that I lovingly refer to as "fatso" or "chubs"-don't worry I'll stop before he's old enough to develop a complex. You have to admit though, he is a BIG boy. He didn't get the memo that he is the third child and mom doesn't have time to sit and entertain him or carry him everywhere. So, when Aunt Shauna comes in and says "hiya, chubs" he smiles because he knows that he is going to get spoiled! This is his "yay, Aunt Shauna face"

This is what he looks like the rest of the time :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

my funny boys

Unfortunately this is also how I often study the scriptures when I try to read early in the morning. Maybe he will gain a testimony by osmosis.

I came back from my morning run to find my bed filled by creatures who were not there when I left it.
I also thought it was funny that they were laying in similar positions just a little apart.

My apple find

Those of you who have been to my house may have noticed the apple theme happening in the kitchen. I search and obtain any and all items that I might need (or might convince myself that they might be somewhat useful at some time) with an apple design.
One Sat. as I drove through the alley there was a garage sale. It spread into the alley and I nearly ran over this cookie jar, but that did make me notice it. I quickly sent the children down the alley armed with 5 dollars I was willing to pay for my apple treasure. Imagine my happiness when they returned with $4.50 and my apple jar. Meet my new snack jar.

Our new tire swing

On our way to Madzie's baptism we got a flat. Luckily we had stopped at a rest stop. Shaun was willing and I figure he's gotta learn sometime so Shaun changed our tire, by himself, with directions from mom.
When we got to Big O Shaun had the good idea to keep our tire. It hadn't torn just wore out, so we took it home, washed it up, and hung it from the tree. Tada, tire swing. Good thinkin' kid!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Goin' to the Temple and the park

The weekend before Thanksgiving my sister Erin, her husband Justin, and her girls came down for a friends wedding at the San Diego Temple.
While they were there, I took the kids to the park.

Here's Shaun being his regular monkey self.
Kenz showed me how she could get inside the dome...she climbed up one triangle and...

...through onto the ground. I love that it never occurred to her to duck under the bar to get in.
Madz first tackled the climbing wall. She was brave and strong until she got to the top.
Shaun is just the opposite. He doubted he could do it but once he decided he tackled it no prob.
Playing with Reegz. She loves the slide.
Oops, she slid a little too much.
Over sized turtle fun.
A seagull kept trying to steal Kenz's lunch so she kept a tight hold.
You can't leave a park without rolling down the hills on the way to the car.
Love them curls!
Nothing says "we had a good time" like grass stains!

Back at the Temple we picked up Erin and Justin. One quick family picture.

2 Our Father's and 4 Hail Mary's

Yes, I realize that I have been the worlds worst blogger. Forgive me family and friends for I have sinned. It has been 3 months, 12 days since my last blog.

In October I went with the Mid-Singles in my stake to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend. It was very nice and a good weekend away. It was kind of weird because I realized that it was the first time i ever left Shaun to go away. He has left me before and I have stayed at home but until then he had never stayed home and I went away. It was just a weird feeling.

A family in our Stake let us stay in their cabin. We got to enjoy the scenery and a few animal heads to keep us company. One large moose, a buffalo, a duck not my decorating sense :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dharma v Greg

Do you remember the show Dharma & Greg? I loved that show, it never got old laughing at uptight Greg and crazy, off the wall Dharma. Clint always said I was like Dharma but I always feel like ultraconservative Greg. If you haven't seen it, or haven't seen it in a while, pull up a chair and watch a few episodes on youtube.

Anyway, tonight was one of those Dharma moments. I had an overwhelming "need" to see stars. Not just the few you can spot if you don't look directly at the street lights, but real live, millions of stars, so many that you really can't pick out the constellations because the others get in the way. About 8:00p I decided to throw the kid in the car and took off up the 15. After about an hour, we pulled off the freeway, and about 2 miles down a dark 2 lane road, Sierra something or other road. We pulled over in a turn off, turned off the car and the lights and suddenly it was dark! For a moment scary dark, Shaun was a little nervous. We got out of the car, shut the door, and suddenly there they were, in all their glory. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, there was still a lot of glow from behind the hills and cars passing by on occasion. Shaun was thrilled to see a shooting star and amazed at all the rest of them.
As we stood there, we talked about this incredible world and universe that Heavenly Father created for us. We listened to crickets-soooo many of them-and it seemed almost as if the stars twinkling made the sound. I haven't made it to the Temple since Shaun came home. Being there, surrounded by Creation, even with occasional interruptions, I found that moment I needed, just to commune. I needed that "place apart" the way the Temple is, just to think, appreciate, and talk to Him and feel His love.
We sat there about a 1/2 hour and then turned around and drove home. That was all we needed, a moment to appreciate and to feel, and then back to "civilization" and all it's neon lights.

There was one light I appreciated. Off the 91, a bright red one on the side of a building. I have often said that there are certain things that if Heavenly Father wants me to do them he needs to send me Angels and a neon sign telling me this is the path to take. Well, I haven't seen any Angels, but I have felt the Holy Ghost, and tonight there was a bright red neon sign. We'll see how it goes.

I still want to go "real" camping before it gets too cold. Maybe two weeks from last night. I'll go out Fri and come back Sat. So, I have a chance to "dance among the stars and sing within the heavens". Anyone want to join me?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Just reading in this months ensign. This line really hit me. As we might be a little worried about the problems of this world we can remember that we should turn inward, turn toward our homes for solutions.

…strong homes of love and peace will bring security to any nation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

my baby and his first day back at school.

Shaun's school publishes the list of who is in which class on the evening before school starts, after 5 pm. It is the easiest way to curb parent complaints. I was less than thrilled that Shaun will have the teacher as last year.
She is the same woman that told me it was too much work for her to come up with level appropriate work for him so he would have to deal with it and accept being bored in class and with homework. (Imagine a not very happy mom) She then proposed to send home extra homework that is closer to his level but still require him to do the regular HW as well. (find me any child who is willing to do twice the HW). His problem is not solved by harder worksheets but he needs more opportunities to think and discover but at the same content level. Higher grades often have content not appropriate for younger children, so it has to be very well done to incorporate both, but not beyond what several other children in his grade need as well.

He is thrilled to have his same teacher because he doesn't have to change, there is no worry about the "unknown" of having a new teacher. She is in a new classroom in order to fit all 35 kids in a class. At least there are only 35 of them and not 43 which is how many they had in one classroom that I substituted at his school last year.
After some grumbling and pouting and considering switching schools, I think the best choice for now is to do it myself. I am not sure what we are going to do about his regular homework, but I am going to teach him at home too. Long ago, my mom gave me a book that lists the international standards for each grade in each subject. By third grade they are a half year to a full year ahead of CA standards depending on the subject. Shaun is supposed to read for a half an hour each day so I figure instead of reading stories/novels like we have in the past, we will focus on the history/ social studies/ science subjects so he can catch up there. I started a blog for him that I hope will help him with his dysgraphia. It is not something that he can get rid of but it is something he can manage to overcome. I learned to write and so can he. Daily (or often) posts should help and give me a better understanding of where he really has problems and how to manage and overcome them. Math may just have to wait until the weekends. I think this is the year that they get to take text books home, so we'll just have to work ahead and then find "real world applications" to keep him interested and for him to really get it, not just do it and forget it.
I'm hoping that we'll be able to pull this off and I won't feel so overwhelmed making sure he really is having his needs met.
I guess I am afraid he will have to go through what I went through in school-hours, days, and weeks of boredom and then because I wasn't listening because I was bored I missed learning stuff I actually should have known. I don't want him to get to college with no study habits and not the slightest idea how to really prepare for a test. He is so smart and I want him to be prepared when he finishes school, not like me, wandering around still deciding what to be when I grow up. I want the best for him, he really is a great kid, and too smart for his own good, or mine. :)

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