Family Scripture Study

Last night we finished reading The Book of Mormon together as a family.  We’ve always read scriptures with the kids but last December we decided to put away the picture scriptures we were using and go for the real thing.  We read a page or two a night during our daily family scripture study.  The kids were so proud of themselves when we finished last night and I’m proud of them too!


We have tripled the amount of science we’re doing this year and it has been a great thing.  Each of the kids take a science class at our co-op (physics for Henry, animal science for William, and preschool science for Adelaide) and then we do mini unit studies at home.  Right now we are watching the Human Planet DVDs, usually one section each week and then we talk about what we learned and they record an interesting fact (or three) in their science notebooks.

Even Adelaide is able to participate this way.  In her case, I have her draw a picture and then she tells me about it and write down the words for her.  Sometimes she asks to copy down the words herself in which case I help her out with the spelling.  All of the kids love to look back through their notebooks at all the things we’ve learned.  Drawing the pictures and writing the facts really helps the information sink in.

We’ve learned about people all over the world living in the Arctic, forests, oceans, grasslands, and mountains.  We have a few more segments to watch and then we’ll move onto something else.  I’m thinking that it would be fun to pick an animal each week and to learn about that animal’s habitat, diet, characteristics, etc.  We also made a list of things that the kids would like to learn more about, some of which could be pulled into science.  Unit studies are new to me so I’m somewhat making this up as I go.  So far it is working out well.

Sushi Shadow-Tail

We got a cat!  And lest you think this was a rash decision, it wasn’t.

Tim Tim left a kitty-shaped hole in my heart and I’ve been thinking about adding a cat to our family for months.  My enthusiasm (obsession?) was shared by William who desperately wanted a cat as well.  What can I say.  I am a cat person.

We had a short cat-sitting stint for a friend of Molly’s which only fueled the fire burning in William’s heart.

Eventually the cat mania hit the rest of the kids as well.  They began alternately teasing me and begging me for a cat.  I knew that I didn’t want just any cat, but the right cat for our family.  I visited the shelter near our home and didn’t find a cat that fit what I was looking for.  Then a few months later I hastily hit up another shelter when I found out they were having free adoptions one weekend.  I brought William with me and he was near tears when we walked out of there without a cat.  I searched Craigslist and sent emails and nothing felt right.  Then we visited the local shelter again, this time as a family.  Still no cat.

On a fluke I checked OfferUp (a site like Craigslist) one night as I was about to jump in the shower and there was the cutest, tiniest, little kitten being offered.  He was a rescue and just needed a loving home.  I thought about it, prayed about it, took a shower and then thought about it some more.  By the time I emailed the person about the kitten there had already been several offers to home the little guy but miraculously they chose us and we drove down the following morning to pick him up.

I don’t know who was more excited, me or the kids.  This little kitten has got to be the most loved and spoiled kitten on the planet.

And he is the sweetest little thing too.  He loves people and loves to be held and cuddle.  He loves to play and explore.  We have him confined to a bathroom right now as he adjusted but we regularly bring him out into other parts of the house as well.  Toby is extremely interested in the kitty but we are keeping the introductions very slow and limited.  I can’t tell whether Toby is licking the kitty out of love or because he wants to taste him.  We sing a little song to Toby called, “Don’t eat your friend.” just in case.  The kitty is not afraid of Toby one bit and likes to pounce on his tail.  Once he gets a little bigger, I think they will have great fun together.

Naming this little guy turned out to be a way bigger hassle than I imagined.  The debates and arguments about what he should and should not be called reached heated clashes more often than once.  I have learned that I do not have a future as a negotiator since my ultimate threat was that if the fighting didn’t stop I was going to name the kitten something hideous.  Eventually things settled enough and 4 out of 5 children (does Ollie count?) agreed to name the cat Sushi.  The 5th child was extremely upset at this name and therefore was given the opportunity to choose a middle name which is why we have Shadow-Tail.  Shadow-Tail is in the style of the Warrior book series that said child is fond of.

That being said, I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods.  We just may have a Hezekiah or Nebuchadnezzar in a few weeks.


Today we celebrated Oliver’s 2nd birthday.  Watching him grow from baby to toddler has been so much fun.  He started his birthday festivities early this morning with frosting for breakfast.  (I frosted his cake and he licked the bowl.)

After breakfast we went to a movie as a family.  We watched Big Hero 6 and Oliver sat still on Ben’s lap for the entire movie.  It was a cute movie though maybe a little intense for my young crowd.  Henry was in tears by the end.

Oliver took a good nap and then we had a birthday dinner for him.  He loved opening presents and knew just what to do.  I think he may have a hard time when Henry’s birthday comes in a few weeks because right now he thinks that all presents are for him.

William made Oliver the coolest car out of a cardboard box.  It was adorable. Adelaide made him a stuffed pig (Oliver loves pigs and always asks us to draw one), Henry picked him out a bat and ball, and Molly made him a card.  Each of the kids was so thoughtful about what they wanted to give him.

We sang him “Happy Birthday” and once again he knew right what to do when we told him to blow out the candles and he did a good job of it too.

Oliver is so much fun right now.  Just within the last couple of weeks his vocabulary has exploded.  He’s started signing too.  He is desperate to communicate and gets very frustrated when he feels he’s not understood.  His volume button is permanently stuck on super loud whether he’s happy, sad or somewhere in between.

He loves trucks, balls, animals and especially pigs.  He says “Wow!” when he sees something he likes (like a truck on the freeway) and whenever he sees an iPad or phone he asks to play “Boom Beach” which is both hilarious and embarrassing.  He loves to play with blocks and can make impressive towers.  He loves to draw on everything.

Oliver loves to be outside digging in the mud and playing with his siblings.  It seems to calm him down when he is having a rough day.  He also loves sports and has some pretty impressive skills for such a little guy.  He can throw, catch, hit baseballs with a bat, make baskets, and play soccer.  He is a willing participant in all of Henry’s games and I often find the two of them wrestling around like puppies.   He loves when William shows him his Lego creations and he happily plays house with Adelaide.  Oliver loves his family and we adore him.

Happy birthday baby!


Halloween was a good one this year.  We never made it to the pumpkin patch and no pumpkins were carved, and I never pulled the decorations out from the attic, but there were costumes, parties, and plenty of candy.

Three out of the five children had homemade costumes and they were fun to put together.  Molly and her best friend Sasha were Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Henry went as Russell Wilson.  We purchased his costume because authenticity was important to Henry.  Henry loves sports more than most anything else.

William was also had very specific requirements for his costume.  He wanted an entirely homemade knight costume out of cardboard.  I found some tutorials on Pinterest and it was surprisingly fun to put together.  William was super pleased with the outcome.

Adelaide was Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen.  I made a comfortable and modest version of the standard Elsa dress because I knew it would be getting a lot of use.  Between the co-op costume parade, the ballet Haunted Theater performance, our ward harvest festival, and trick-or-treating, she had plenty of opportunities to wear her costume.

For the ballet performance, we threw together a bunch of items from our dress-up bin to outfit Oliver as a pirate.  But then I started feeling a little guilty about not trying harder, so I went to Value Village and picked him up a dragon costume to wear for the rest of the festivities.

It was warm, cozy and easy to keep on and it only cost $5 which made it a winner in my book.  It was a bonus that he also looked super cute next to his brother Sir William the valiant knight.

I am sad that we didn’t make it to the pumpkin patch this year.  Family photos in front of rows of pumpkins is one of my favorite family traditions, but soccer has kept us incredibly busy and when we did have a spare hour or two, it seemed that someone was sick.  Yesterday we arrived at church and I looked down to see that Oliver wasn’t wearing shoes, Addelaide’s boots were on the wrong feet and her shirt was on backwards, and three of the littlest had candy smeared on their faces.  I pulled Addy into the bathroom to switch her clothes around and candy fell out of her boot.  She had been trying to smuggle it into church.  I think I’m about ready to be done with Candy.  Later when I found a week-old dirty diaper in my purse, I had to laugh.  I am doing the best I can.  We are doing the best we can.  Our family is big and busy and full of small children.  We may not have found time to carve pumpkins or apply fake spider webs, but our home is full of love and laughter and we are still making memories.




Ben got rear-ended last night on his way home from picking up Adelaide from Ballet.  Thankfully no one was hurt but it made quite a mess.  Fortunately, we had just switched cars and he was driving the Expedition so he could take Molly to an early church activity.  I’m sure the impact would have been a lot worse had he been driving his smaller commuter car.  The driver of the other car was young and had only had her license for a month.  (The picture above is of her car.)

When I drove by on my way home from teaching, they were still trying to clean up the mess.  Adelaide got a cute quilt from one of the very nice firemen who responded.  It was a blessing because she was without a coat and they had to stand on the side of the road while things got sorted out.

We rushed over to William’s Cub Scout Pack Meeting only to be surprised to see one of the same fire firefighters who was at the crash.  They were giving a special presentation on safety.  The firefighter recognized Adelaide and made sure to come over and say hello.  My heart was filled with gratitude for the efforts of that kind man and that there are people in this world who are sincerely trying to do good.

Ben took the morning off of work this morning to take the car into the shop and get a rental car.  Hopefully the insurance situation will sort itself out because just thinking about it makes my stress level rise.  At least everyone had insurance.  At least no one was hurt.  It certainly could have been a lot worse.

Henry’s Soccer Season

Henry had his last soccer game of the season on Saturday.  It was freezing and very rainy, but he led the team to a victory again.  They only lost one game all season (though no official scores are ever kept) and I figure it must be due to the fantastic coaching by my super awesome husband.  It’s been so fun to watch Henry grow as a player this year and it makes me really excited for next season.