Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014

Today the girls had their piano lessons and spent the morning coloring and playing mother may I.  Since I had a bit of work to do, that sounded just fine!  We got our school work done and did our mid-section review.  

Ernie covers more and more in each section, especially in math and science, and it's getting harder to keep everything straight in her head.  The last science section covered the five kingdoms of the natural world, and got into each.  This section we are looking at vertebrates, invertebrates, ecosystems, food and energy webs, and biomes.  So far.  Math we are covering the properties of multiplication and mental multiplication of double-digit and single-digit factors.  Reading, we are still working through Robinson Crusoe, and in history we've gotten through the Spartans.  Composition we have covered I think seven types of planning webs.  She also has poetry and art, plus spelling, grammar, and phonics workbooks as well as occasional technology lessons and social studies.  

Mimi is still in the delightful "I have 3 apples and get 2 more" stage of math that just begs for games and fun things.  She is doing awesome in her reading, tearing through chapter books, and loves all her school lessons.

J with his running partner- jogging strollers are awesome!

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Mimi Sees Herself

Mimi, are you clever?


Are you strong?

"Umm, not really!" she laughed.

Mimi, what is your favorite part of your body?

"My heart- because loving friends is the best thing we can do."

Well, when you look in the mirror, what is your favorite thing you see?

"My eyes" she said softly.  

- written October 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014

The girls spent the afternoon at their gym class and Cocoa and I stopped at the nearest trailhead to hike while we waited.  I have been putting off hiking since last Fall when I tried hiking there with three kids and for whatever reason got totally spooked being out alone in the woods.  We chose meadow, open, trails today and saw lots of friendly hikers.  If my GPS was right, we covered a mile in about 45 minutes.  By the end Cocoa was so fed up with my attempt at "speed" I would hear a "PSSSHHHHHH" from behind me as he hit me with a freeze spell- I would freeze in place while he inspected whatever rock or stick caught his attention, and then would shoot another beam to un-freeze me and we could move forward.  

After class I dropped the girls and their cousins off at my parents' for a sleepover, J picked up Cocoa for a big Dude Night of high school football, burgers, and donuts, and I had dinner with my sister and her in-laws.  I had never been to their home, it's beautiful, and she made such a yummy meal.  From top right, it's thousand year egg, chicken with onions, eggplant with black bean, and Chinese-style sausge.  She served a beautiful bowl of garlic broccoli as well.  

I had to scoot off to my piano lesson in town- I can see the progress I have made in the last year, but I still have so far to go it's ridiculous.  I had no idea how much technique there was... How much was possible.  Sounds ridiculous, but it's true- it didn't occur to me that playing harder music would require a new level of technique instead of just being able to read the notes faster.  My main skill up to this point has been sight reading- it's invaluable as an accompanist, and I am very good at it.  It's allowed me to help a lot of soloists and choirs out of tricky spots, because being thrown a binder of music a week or two before the performance is depressingly common.  It's amazing how learning a new way of bending your elbow or turning your thumb under can make an impossible song possible.

I met my sister and niece for dessert nada wander through the craft store after my lesson, and got home about the same time as the guys.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014

A local homeschool gal set up a "self-guided tour" at Remlinger Farm this week- we got to participate just by paying the reduced admission and saying which group we were with.  This is the second time we have gone, and it's so fun!  There are rides, a steam train, puppet show, animals, a hay jump and hay maze.... And you get to pick out a pumpkin on your way out of the farm.  For $9 per person, it's a screaming deal.  The kids had so much fun, and we ran into our friends soon after arriving at the park.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014

I went to bed with a head cold and woke up at 2:00 with a boy kicking my head.  It was not a perky morning around here for anyone!

My sister is a darling and answered my Facebook whining for a yuja cha delivery- yuzu is sliced and preserved in honey, a lot like a marmalade.  She introduced it to me after her Korean mission companion introduced it to her in Hong Kong.  My new induction stove is so fast I can have a small pot of boiling water in the time it takes to get a mug and spoon and scoop some of the jammy citrus into my cup.  Delightful!

The kids spent the morning playing board games- Monopoly is math, right?  They were pretty pleased to find the packing box full of board games Sunday night.  

We got Mimi's school work done quickly, and Ernie finished her math in record time.  

I made a nice lunch today, just to do something nice for the kids.  Rice balls (onigiri), meatballs, waxed cheeses, and heart-cut carrots simmered in fish stock (dashi.). I made myself a rice ball with pickled plum paste (umeboshi) in the center just to try a traditional combination- it's very good!

Ernie finished up her work and after the kids cleaned the playroom they had the rest of the afternoon to themselves. I taught one piano lesson and made a pot of miso soup for dinner, with carrots, spinach, and udon noodles.

J found out about a monthly open mic night in town- he went tonight and had a blast.  He was a good twenty years younger than the rest of the tight-knit group, but they were supportive and delightful and he hopes to go back in November!

Conference Weekend

This was one of the two conference weekends in a year- we watched the five sessions at home.  Lots of good stuff, and lots of good notes!  Love conference weekend.

Cocoa and I stopped for a treat while we waited for the girls to finish their gym class Friday afternoon.

A festival I had spent months preparing for assigned me a slot during the Saturday evening session- that session is specifically for the Priesthood holders and J watched it at home while I went to compete.  It wasn't easy for him to watch with the kids running around and I appreciate it.

I played Bach's Invention No. 8, from memory.  First time I have memorized anything on the piano since I learned Praise to the Man in elementary school.  It's funny, I really need to put my pride in check when I go to these festivals.  My teacher wants me to go, so I sign up and enter myself in the adult amateur division.  I DO learn a lot, and performing like this is a great experience.  But... I am not exaggerating when I say that there are five-year-olds who play better than I do.  This isn't an "everyone come play!" Festival, it's a festival where you would find those little YouTube tykes who need stools for their feet and their fingers move in a blur.  Every division competes against itself, and within those divisions entrants are grouped by musical selection.  A sonata player would not compete against a concerto or a fugue.  So there is a lot of opportunity for awards, which makes the little child prodigies happy I am told :)

My award was literally for showing up- there were two adult amateurs playing that day and the other player was playing a fugue.  We both walked out with first place trophies.  But you know... We showed up.  No other adult students even entered, and I am still incredulous that we can make it work for me to be studying piano right now with three little kids at home and lots of stuff going on.

Sunday was a quiet day- at one point C fall askew in his dad's lap.  Such a sweet thing, J didn't want to move him.  I made a big batch of caramel corn as a treat- we took a long walk while it cooled.  There was so much caramel corn we made it into balls and dropped them off at a friends's house.

We finished the day with a very rare family board game (Wildcraft).  I normally just watch everyone else play board games, they aren't my favorite.

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014

I can only do a few things each day.  This is a hard lesson to learn!

Today is the day we are in charge of dinner at the women's shelter- with the weekend swallowed up with other activities, grocery shopping took up our morning.  Lunch and preparing the dinner took up the afternoon, and then since 2:30 seemed like a rotten time to start school I spent about two hours doing house tasks I haven't had time for- hanging some pictures, cleaning my shower, teaching the girls how to dust mop, installing hooks in the broom closet, just all those little things that take time.  The kids have been enjoying a rare 70 degree October day with bikes and board games.  It will be two months before we are in charge of this meal again, hopefully next time I will get my shopping done over the weekend!  

We left to drop off the meal as soon as J got home from work.  With our own portion in the crockpot, waiting and hot when we got home, and a big salad it was a nice meal.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Third Week of September 2014

J spent the week at a conference in Portland last week- we missed him, and he learned a ton of good things about graphs.  

On Monday we celebrated the arrival of autumn- we made a poster and a little table scape and counted down to the moment it started-- I happened to read the time in the news.  We had our poster, a pumpkin, an angel of thanks, a warm yellow cape from last Michaelmas, and some battery candles.  The kids were thrilled.

Thursday was my pre-music group lesson.  We played the zither, and the kids enjoyed it a lot!

Our music room is looking so nice- I love having an uncluttered and uncrowded  room for music.  I don't have to duck behind furniture, the copy machine is easy to get to, and it's just lovely.  J plans on hanging his guitars on the wall.

My niece turned 8 over the weekend- she celebrated with a Zumba party at the church building, with a sushi bowl lunch.

Saturday was the second "all women" broadcast- as of last April these are for ages 8 and up.  Ernie and I seem to have established a tradition of going together, then going out for ramen.  Yum!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014

I found this gem of a post in my drafts- just warm sunny pictures of family at our neighborhood beach.  It was a great summer for the beach, even though we weren't living in the neighborhood- we spent the summer at my parents' while our house was remodeled.  It was supposed to just be a kitchen remodel, but then the basement flooded.  We ended up touching every room in the house except the three upstairs bedrooms, and even those our GC went in and wired smoke alarms for us.

Mimi also lost her first tooth.  She really thought the tooth fairy was going to bring her a toy, and she moved the tooth after I shut off the lights.  I don't think the tooth fairy found the tooth until breakfast time, when Mimi was chattering about how the fairy never came even though she moved the tooth so it would be easier to find!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 23, 2014

J decided that yesterday was "Spoil Myrnie Day."

He made an amazing meal for us all- extra bonus points for the plating effort!

He sent me out on a walk after the kids went to bed- thunder woke Cocoa and I up at 6:00, and it rained steadily all day long.  There was a brief lull in the evening long enough for me to get a mile in.

We had a slow day here.  Cocoa and I watched Totoro before everyone else got up.  I supervised the morning cereal, packed lunches, and cleaned the kitchen.  We dropped the girls off at drama camp and went back to our house to pick up some carpet samples my aunt left for me.  Cocoa and I watched a bit of "The Music Man" and I fixed us lunch before taking him up for camp.  I went back to the house, at request of my aunt, to check and make sure the colors all made it into the correct walls.  Boy.  Being inside all those blue walls is like being in a aquarium!  It will be totally fine once art, curtains, furniture, etc. goes in but it feels pretty humorous right now.

I spent my alone time (90 minutes) tweaking piano studio policies, practicing piano, ordering the light fixture for our dining room, and stress eating while looking up pictures of blue rooms to find out if it's possible to make it look not like a crazy lady picked the colors.  It is.

I got the kids from camp, put Cocoa down for his nap, let the girls play screen time, and I looked at possible schedules for us next year as well as a few art classes in the area.  Nothing is fitting perfectly- one is part of a co-op that I haven't decided we want to jump into again, one is at the wrong time, and one is close and a great price but may really mess up nap time.

We finished watching Music Man and J got home shortly after that.

Slow day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22, 2014

Two little spotted deer, trotting after Mama.

BLUE.  So blue.  I love it!  Painters arrived at the house Monday, and will keep working until everything is done.  Basically the entire house is being painted, except three bedrooms and a hallway bathroom.  The only walls they are painting that didn't get drywall work done  are the hallway walls upstairs.  There was a prodigious amount of drywall work done, between replacing moldy drywall, fixing horrible patch jobs, new can lights installed, moving doorways, and such and such and such!

Everyone is still settling into summer it seems.  I kept Cocoa home from day camp today- it runs into his nap time and today was the "splash day" with water guns, sprinklers, and swim suits.  The weather was cool and misty, he's three, and big boys with water guns seemed like a bad idea.  His nap ran almost two hours longer than normal, the kid was tired!!  The girls had a blast at camp and came home with stories about play practice, trampoline squabbles, and capture the flag drama.  Perfect.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ernie Turns Nine

J's parents were in town, and it happened to coincide with E's birthday.  Lucky girl!

We went to our local zoo.

The girls played "reindeer" to Santa's sleigh.

The kids fed the alpacas and deer.

Nana and Grandpa built marshmallow guns for a SUPER fun activity- it's four generations of men right here!

We celebrated E's birthday with J's grandparents and parents.  I stopped by Costco on the way over and let Ernie pick out dinner for everyone- we ended up with rolls, chicken salad, fruit, her beloved sushi, and a big platter of shrimp.  Girl knows what she likes!  Nana and Grandma made a beautiful cake for the birthday girl.  I am sorry  I did not get a picture before the candle was taken out!  They did such a beautiful job.

For E's party this year I booked slots in an art class for my two girls and their two cousins, and took everyone out to sushi for lunch.  It was a great birthday week for our big girl.