Sunday, August 30, 2009

Letter to Congress

Dear Congress,

I know that you are all very busy these days debating budgets, naming health care bills after dead Senators, and whether or not sleep deprivation is considered torture, but I would like you to consider a bill that would make you madly popular with mothers everywhere.

Mothers make up a good portion of your constituents and as a whole are far more powerful than any of those big time lobbyists and special interest groups. Think about it-- essentially every voter in the country is somehow influenced by a mother: their own, the mother of their children, or some other woman that they've latched onto as a mother-figure. So if you can please the mothers, you've got it made!

Here's what I want you to do: enact a new law that moms get six more hours in the day than everybody else has. Implementation and logistics are up to you to figure out, but they need to be hours when everyone else is either frozen in time or sleeping. I'm sure that the writers of Heroes could help you out if you need some ideas. They've got time travel all figured out.

If I had six more hours each day, here are a few of the things I would do:
  • I'd read every day instead of just in spurts. I have been plowing through Vanity Fair for the past four months. Now that's sad. But reading the classics keeps my mind sharp and challenged--and if it's good for me, it's good for my family, community, and country.
  • I'd blog every day. I'd have time to compose profound and meaningful posts about life, motherhood, patriotism, and sometimes food. I'd make a difference in people's lives. I might also have time to figure out how to make some money from this hobby, which would improve the economy.
  • I'd keep up on my pedicures. This would be appreciated by all who know me, I assure you.
  • I'd read more to my kids (during their waking hours) and put off some of my housework for these extra six. Better educated kids= better America!
  • I'd organize all my closets and cupboards and maybe actually paint them as I've been planning to do for nearly six years. I'm not sure how this would benefit my fellow men, but I would definitely like it!
  • I'd call my friends and sisters-in-law who have all but given up on me since I had my third baby (let alone since I started homeschooling); we'd have time to talk to each other without our kids constantly interrupting or trying to severely wound each other.
  • And if I'm being completely honest, I would probably spend some of this time baking cookies that I shouldn't eat, taking a nap, window shopping online for things I can't afford, looking up old friends on facebook, and other unproductive pursuits. But I wouldn't spend ALL of my time this way.
So you see, these six hours would add up to make a major difference in my life, which would impact my family, community, and country for good. Just imagine if all mothers had these extra six hours. We could probably solve every problem under the sun! So get to work on making this one happen, and we'll take care of your other headaches.


A Mother with a Plan

P.S. If sleep deprivation is considered torture, then the mothers of America have had lots of practice in enduring such torture. Maybe some of your special investigators should talk to some moms before taking away all of the CIA's interrogation strategies. Yes, sleep deprivation does make you a little crazy, but cruel and unusual? Hardly.

P.P.S. On second thought, maybe 10 hours is a better idea . . .

Readers: What would you do with six more hours in the day? Click on the comment button and let your voice be heard!:)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It's been a week of firsts around here.

First Day of Kindergarten

First Smiles

First Week all year that I've gotten up by 6:00 EVERY DAY. It feels good in a sick, twisted, and sometimes exhausting way. (I'll hopefully switch that to 5:00 soon, but not until Meglet drops her 2:00 am feeding.) Since we have to leave to take Ian to kinder no later than 8:15, it really makes us stick to our morning routine--which is also helping us accomplish a lot at Tiger Academy.

What have you been up to this week?

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth

The circus is in town!

Our family went to Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus last night. It's only here for a few more days, and if you're in the area, you've got to go. My children had a great time (okay, the 2 year old pretty much made us all miserable after 8:00, but it was past her bedtime. Next time I'll bring a change of clothes for her in case she dumps her entire snow cone out on her dress and tinkles in her panties.) There were clowns, elephants, tigers, acrobats, people shooting out of cannons and walking upside down . . . and lots of magic tricks. The theme this year is magic, which was just up my boys' alley.

We had dinner first with a clown (Bronwen was fascinated), then went down on the floor for the preshow. Anyone with general admission tickets can go down onto the floor before the circus show begins and mingle with the cast. Kimball was chosen to help with a magic trick and won a souvenir DVD for participating. Ian's favorite part was when the acrobats shot out of the cannon. Henry liked the live band and all the dance music. Bronwen loved the "ephalants" and my favorite was the tiger tamer and his entertaining Spanglish. He actually kissed a tiger right on the nose!

If you and your family would like to go to the circus this weekend, here's a deal for you. There are shows at 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, and 7:00 pm thru Sunday. If you buy your tickets on ticketmaster or at the arena, use the code: MOM (on enter it in the box marked MC Promotion Box). Or you can call 1-800-745-3000. You can get a package of 4 tickets for $44, and each additional ticket is only $11.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back To School

It's that time again. Although I will admit to anticipating the new year with some dread, once I finally buckled down and figured out my lesson plans and schedule for the school year, I was excited to begin. Even though I'm the teacher now, I still love the feeling of a fresh pack of crayons, a cup full of brand-new, sharp pencils; and all those blank pages in the composition books make my heart race! I did miss having an excuse for everyone to get a new outfit (although everyone did get new shoes last week--everyone but me, that is.) And I completely forgot to take a first-day-of-school picture. Shame on me.

I have learned a few things about my family's needs in regards to homeschool in the past two years--plus I spent some time petitioning the Lord to show me a better way. I truly felt led by Him as my plans came together, which gives me confidence in those plans. I know that my vision for our homeschool and reality haven't quite become one and the same yet, but I'm working towards that goal.

This year, Ian will be attending kindergarten half-days at the public school. We agonized about this last spring, but since we registered him I have felt increasingly better about it. We wanted to give him the opportunity to go to kinder if he chose. Both Kimball and Henry attended kindergarten at the same public school and had a good experience there. I feel that kinder is a unique year socially, when the kids have lots of opportunities to bond with other kids and experience the classroom environment. The biggest disadvantages to sending him? First of all, the public school's approach to writing which is very different from the philosophy I embrace--but I don't think they can do much damage in this year. The other con to sending him is that it takes some of the flexibility out of my schedule and routine. In the end we decided that it just felt right to give him this experience. He will participate with us in afternoon lessons (science, art, music, and read-alouds), and we anticipate that he will be back with us homeschooling full-time next year.

We've also made the leap to joining a public charter school because of the additional resources it provides. I steered clear of it previously because I really value my autonomy, but after closer investigation it appears that this group is reasonably flexible and will let me call the (important) shots regarding my kids' education. I do have to follow their schedule, which explains why we started our school year yesterday. I really prefer to start after Labor Day or at least when the kids in our neighborhood go back to school (next week), but we decided that we could go ahead and start this week. The charter school will allow my kids to do more of the extras, like art classes, horseback riding, and music lessons, without me having to shell out so much money every month. They also pay for my curriculum, but I had already purchased most of the curricula for this year before we made this decision. They have a center in my community that offers small group classes and a library where I can check out a variety of resources to use in our schooling. If all goes as planned, Kimball will be taking a ceramic sculpture class and a hands-on equations class on Friday mornings, while Henry takes a hands-on art and hands-on science class at the same time. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, so far so good. We are starting each school day with Book of Mormon study on a deeper level than we have been doing in our family devotional. As we'll still be having devotional with Jared before breakfast, I am concentrating this lesson on my readers (Kimball and Henry). Besides a closer study of the scriptures, it will provide some additional language arts time in our day. The real benefits, I know, will be the spirit that it brings to our school day and the testimonies it will strengthen within our home.

Now I've got to hit the hay, as rising early is key to my success and I have to be up in the night with my little 8 week/ 8 lb baby who isn't big enough to sleep all night yet. She is getting closer to dropping that 2 am feeding, though, I can feel it!

Tell me about your first day of school. Ready, begin!

picture swiped from this blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Real Families, Real Answers

Have you seen this show on BYU-TV? It is absolutely wonderful!
I have been watching it recently and find each episode to be uplifting, encouraging, and thought-provoking. It is clearly written for all families (not specifically an LDS audience), and in fact is careful to refer to faith generally rather than a faith specifically. The show is really well done and professional.

Some of the topics that they discuss are: family finances, parenting strategies, parenting teens, blended families, strengthening marriages, overcoming addictions, single parenting, and more. It makes me think about our own family traditions, discipline, and communication style.

Most people outside of Utah will find that BYU Television is included in their cable or satellite package. If you don't have access on TV, you can watch the show here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This Morning

I just had to report on a productive morning. Here's what I've accomplished as of 1:30 pm:

  • baked a batch of whole wheat bread (scroll over for recipe)
  • baked a double batch of french bread
  • fed my kids (with only a few threats) Cream of Wheat and blueberries for breakfast
  • filled out an application to join a public charter school for homeschoolers this fall
  • had my new dryer delivered (we had to buy the dryer to go with our new washer) and both appliances installed. (Lowes does this for free! Next day!)
  • washed my first loads of laundry in the new machines
  • fed my kids lunch
  • created an event on facebook for the family reunion that Jared & I are planning
  • made a batch of Prudy's homemade pickles. We LOVE them around here!
  • got dressed (but will squeeze in a shower later--I had to make some sacrifices for all this domestic productivity:)
  • fed the baby twice
  • put Ian and Bronwen down for naps twice
  • set off the smoke alarm during naps by burning the cornmeal on the bottom of the french bread pans. oops.
  • put Bronwen back down a third time after she freaked out from the smoke alarm
  • wrote a blog post
If only every day could be so productive.

Here's what Margaret's been doing:

And my darling FIL took the boys to the free movie this morning and then kept the big boys for an afternoon swim. I'm not complaining! Now, for my nap. Do you think the city can send someone over to fold all my laundry?:)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Can You Believe Our Luck?

You've already heard about the Dreyer's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute that we won recently. It turns out we're on a winning streak.

Last week we got a call from our local water utility. We had entered a drawing for a new water efficient front-loading washing machine. When she called, I was sure she was giving us the condolence call along the lines of this:

"Congratulations! You didn't win the washing machine, but you did win a free water audit from the city. We'll come out at no charge to you and tell you all the ways you are wasting water and killing Planet Earth. "

Instead, she said:

"Did you recently enter the city's drawing for a new washing machine? Well, it looks like you've won it!"

Me: Are you kidding me? WE WON IT?

I assured her that she would be hard pressed to find a family that does more laundry than ours in the city limits--especially one that is currently using a 20-year-old pathetically undersized and inefficient washing machine.

So, before our lucky streak runs out, anyone know about any great giveaways and contests I can enter?

You can start a winning streak, too! Coming soon is a giveaway of Dittany Baby products that you'll be drooling over.