Showing posts from June, 2009

My Blah-g

Gentle Reader,
I feel the need to apologize for my neglect of late. I have been out and about doing very physically and mentally difficult things. Difficult mostly because I am getting on in years and my muscles and my brain are not what they used to be. I climbed a mountain with Shayla and spent the night in the wilderness sleeping on a rock. We filtered water from a stream to cook our food and my tent-mate got altitude sickness and spent the night heaving into the wild and natural habitat that surrounded our camp. We got up the next morning and climbed even higher. Then we packed up and hauled ourselves back down the mountain on the same steep trails that nearly killed me on the way up. When someone tells you you're going to hike something called "Devil's Slide" that should be a red flag! It implies Evil and Steep-- a deadly combination. But, I was so taken by the amazing scenery and rugged beauty of the California wilderness it was almost worth it. And even withou…

Foil Dinners...

...California Style! Our new friends, Bro. Cabrera and his son:
Bro. Cabrera offered to bring the food for the Father/Son Campout--

"You bring the drinks, I'll take care of the foil dinners."

We got pop and Gatorade--
He Brought all this!

It was catfish, salmon and scallops.

Cilantro and lime.

Mushrooms, zuchinni, tomatoes, and tiny potatoes.

Not your typical campout fare.

And he left the leftovers for me and Shayla.
Did I mention he was a gourmet chef? And he used to own a restaurant?

The Back of the Journal: The DMV

When Siara was Sweet Fifteen and a Half, I took her to the DMV to get her permit. I had to sign a paper that listed me as her "Parent/Custodian".
Siara: "So, you're my custodian?"
Me: "Yes, it would appear so."
Siara: "Then I guess you should be cleaning my room instead of making me do it."

(It made the very STERN and SERIOUS DMV employee laugh out loud.)

From the Back of the Journal

As our children were growing up, I have done my best to keep up my journal. It's not easy to actually live a life with 8 kids and have any time left to write about it. But I did the best I could. And I'm glad I did because there are so many little things that I would have forgotten if I hadn't taken a moment at the end of the day to write it down. Part of this process included setting aside a few pages in the back of each journal for "Kid Sayings" which is basically our family's funny stuff recorded through the years. Every now and then the kids like to flip open one of my old journals and read the funny and cute things they said and/or did and we all have a good laugh together.

So, since I spilled about the "not-so-funny-at-the-time" moments last week, I thought I would share some of the funny-even-at-the-time moments this week:

After Scott's first day of kindergarten he announced: "Our bus has a name!"

Tender Mercies

One of my biggest concerns moving to California was Homeschooling. New laws and regulations to contend with. Searching for resources and learning opportunities in a new place. Finding ways for the kids to make friends without established connections. It was all getting a little overwhelming.

Then I decided to "lean not on my own understanding" but "trust in the Lord". Something I usually come around to after a lot of worry and then realize I should have just done that in the first place. I made it a matter of fasting and prayer.

It began with a Stake Relief Society Enrichment. It was last Saturday and the whole week before I was talking myself out of going: "It's ALL DAY--I've got so much to do" "I should be planting my garden--not going to a class on gardening" "Andy's working so hard, I need to stay home and help with things around the house" and on and on.

But the underlying feeling was "I don't know anyone--I d…

On Cloud Nine

There once was a boy who loved airplanes. He watched them with fascination.
He made planes out of anything he could get his hands on.
From paper to pop cans.

He always dreamed that one day, he would fly a real airplane.

And his dream came true.

And he was happy.

How Cute is This?!

Just when we think she can't be any cuter-- she goes and does this!

Mom 101: Order in the Court

Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret: All Moms really want is peace and quiet. We may delude ourselves into thinking we are doing things for the good of our children, but when it comes right down to it, we just want a few minutes of serenity. A chance to think an uninterrupted thought. We aspire to nobler purposes but the everyday realities leave us striving for something more immediate: peace and quiet. So here I share with you another one of my attempts at achieving this elusive goal:
The Gale Family Department of Justice I actually got this idea from the Ensign magazine. The idea is, as your children have disagreements, you have them write down their complaint/concern/tattling and put it in a box. Then, once a week at an appointed time, you hold "Family Court" and take out the papers one at a time and allow both sides to plead their case and come up with a solution. It was a lovely idea and I basked in the peace and quiet it afforded as the children were div…

Mom 101: Blessed are the Peacemakers

What you see here is a great idea gone bad. In my desperate attempts to promote love and kindness amongst my children, I had this trophy made. I thought it would be a nice way to motivate the youngsters to be kind to each other. Maybe along the lines of the Nobel Peace Prize. The plan was for it to be a "Traveling Trophy" that would go to the person each week who best exemplified kindness and respect toward his/her siblings. Maybe even sacrificed their own selfish wants for the good of another. Take my advice: Don't turn peacemaking into a competition! Before it was even awarded for the first time, two kids (who shall be nameless) fought over the trophy and it ended up broken. This was the argument that ensued as they tugged the trophy back and forth between them:

"I was the nicest this week."
"No, I was! You cheated!"
"No I didn't you lier! I win the trophy!"
"Give it to me--I was the peacemaker!"

Hmmmm. Not exactly what I had in mi…

Mom 101: Don't Call Me, I'll Call You

When Spencer was a wee lad, Seth was an even more wee lad and Shayla was a wee lass. I often had to run errands with the three of them and tried to make the trips short and sweet in order to retain what little of my sanity was left by then. But from time to time, my attempts at controlling my world fell through and I would find myself with the three little ones at Costco.

One particular day, I had a VERY full cart and I had not been able to park close, so I was trying to get my two free radicals (whom I couldn't fit into the cart because of the massive amount of groceries and the baby seat)--to orbit somewhere near me and the cart so they wouldn't get run over on our treacherous journey across the parking lot. They were both high energy and also high curiosity so they would run around in random directions and then suddenly stop to examine a bug or a rock. I got them to the spot where our giant green van was parked (kids--remember that monstrosity on wheels?). As I was maneuveri…

Mom 101: Prayer is the Soul's Sincere Desire

Prayer is a big part of our lives. As a mother of many, I would not survive without a lot of Heavenly intervention. I am usually running on a wing and a prayer, praying for mercy and praying to change the things I can, accept the things I can't and the sanity to stop trying to change the things I can't even though I really think Moms should have all power and be able to rule and regulate all aspects of the lives of their children. Amen.

So, naturally, there are many opportunities each day for our children to see and hear prayers from the time they are old enough to sit up and look around. Besides getting help with their own prayers each day, they also could observe the blessing on the food at each meal, morning family prayer, evening family prayer, prayers at church at the beginning and ending of each class and meeting and so on. This instilled in each of our children an early desire to pray and for the most part, an understanding of the sacred nature and importance of prayer.


Mom 101: Shirt a l 'Orange

Ok Shanna, you knew this was coming. Here's an old family favorite: Every year, our family participated in the Joy School Halloween party.Joy School was the home-based preschool that we did for ALL the preschoolers in our family starting with the oldest right on down to Shane. Our Joy School group consisted of 5 or 6 families with preschoolers the same ages as each other and the moms took turns teaching the fun little lessons: Joy of the Earth, The Joy of Interest and Curiosity, The Joy of Obedience and Decisions and a favorite of mine--The Joy of Spontaneous Delight. If you have preschoolers I highly recommend it.

Back to the Halloween Party. The kids were all dressed up in their Halloween costumes and we were at the home of one of the Joy School families. The kids had a great time showing us their costumes in the "Halloween Costume Parade" and were busy decorating jack-o-lantern cookies with orange frosting and LOTS of candy corn and orange and black sprinkles. Scott wa…

Mom 101: Pas de Deux

In the process of raising our children, I have tried to help them lead well-rounded lives. I lean toward the arts and cultural refinement but I also took them fishing and and encouraged bug gathering and a healthy exploration of nature. Each child had the opportunity to play sports and learn a musical instrument. They had plenty of outdoor time and healthy doses of playing in the park. I signed them up for swimming lessons and hauled them to the library to encourage literacy. This wasn't easy with the whole entourage of baby, toddler, preschooler, pottier-in-training, teasing grade-schooler, moody pre-adolescent, smart-alec teen etc, etc. But I soldiered on.

So, from time to time, I tried to take a child for some one-on-one time. One child is a piece of cake when you are used to a whole army. An opportunity arose when my good friend, whose daughter trained in ballet with the Oregon Ballet, got me two tickets to the Nutcracker. Siara was about 5 years old. She liked to run around i…

Mom 101

I thought it might be fun to take a few days and remember back to some moments that I would like to forget but, as they say,
"Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it."
When the older three kids were little, we had lived in a trailer park. I didn't realize we were on well water and thus no fluoride. Their baby teeth were pretty weak and we ended up at the dentist for some fillings. (I'm telling you all of this so you won't think I was a neglectful mother but it won't help my case when you read the rest of the story anyway. So why do I bother?)

After the ordeal, the hygienist came out with the kids and a list of "preventative measures" I should be taking so this tragedy would not have to be relived:
-Be judicious with the juice (Juice was expensive, we didn't have it very often. Check)
-Make sure they brush their teeth morning and night (Already doing that. Check)
-Don't let them brush their own teeth without vigorous follow-…