Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The H word

This has been the word that follows me throughout my day. I read about it every chance I get. I prepare for it any moment I am allowed. I talk about it with anyone that will actually talk about it. I constantly find myself praying to my Heavenly Father about it. It haunts me in my sleep and brings me peace when I think of what our family can gain from it.
But with all of this preparing, planning, reading, thinking, praying, soul-searching, and dreaming, I feel that I have hit a wall.
"Mommy. When I get bigger, I can't wait to go to real school." My sweet little Edana said as we walked away from The Canterbury Tales a middle school had put on.
This tiny little statement sent my heart aching. I could understand what she meant. I remember going to my brothers schools, peeking into their class rooms and being so excited for when I was going to be able to take those classes too. I remember the thrill of being in highschool plays, chatting with friends at my locker and finding solace sitting in the library reading a book, away from everyone. I remember the excitement I got every year picking out new clothes, books and backpacks for the new year to come.

As silly as it may sound, I began crying over these things I thought she would lose because of our decision for her education. These wonderful things that are available to every child in the public school system!

Every single fear, judgement and self-conscience thought I have ever had about homeschooling came swarming at me, making me believe that I was the most unfit person in the world to teach my child. I mean, come on! I was the person who was dim enough to think that Alaska was an island because the only picture I had ever seen of it was in a little square box just like Hawaii! I AM the dullest crayon in the box!

But then I realized that with the good, there is always the bad. The bullying, name-calling, stressing, boring, mind-numbing and over-exerting feelings that many people have felt with public school can also be paired with the amazing learning experiences that youth have there.

I hear the YoungWomen in my ward heartbroken over horrible conversations and bullying they experience day to day. I've seen 3/4 of a room full of kids between the ages of 13-17 raise their hands when asked if they have seen a gun or knife at school; many admitting that they have seen weapons there more than just one or two times. I have seen first hand the HUGE variety of drug use that is being used by students at school, ranging from drinking and smoking, marijuana, and even to harder drugs like meth, acid, and cocaine (and this was almost 8yrs ago!).

These things are not just connected to public school, this I am sure of. I know that these things do creep into the lives of homeschool students as well. Which made me then realize that this beautiful and almost romantic idea of what schooling should be for our children, the best schooling that we can possibly hope for and imagine, does not actually exist. There is no possible way or time where our children will be able to have access to every thought, idea, lesson or lecture. There is no possible way to shield our children from every scary thought, name, lie, heart ache, bad decision or pain that is out there. Because our children need to and have to learn these things for themselves.

How many tears have been shed because of our own decisons by our Heavenly Father? What an amazing Father He is, to constantly trust and love us with our own agency so that each and every day He parts with His own beautiful children, who come here to face the same things we find ourselves worrying over!

One of the best encouragements I have gotten about a child's education was from my mother-in-law. She told me the biggest thing you can do for your child's education is to "be there for your child." Homeschool or not, be there for them.

I have realized that no matter our decision for our children's education, we will be there for them no matter what they choose or need-just as our Heavenly Father has shown us. We will teach our children of our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ and their love for each and every one of us. I find that in this thing called "life", this is as real of a school as we can get.

So, to answer any questions: Yes. I will be homeschooling my children. For how long? I will take it one year at a time. But I am more encouraged to set my focus on being there for my children rather than obessing over what cirriculum we will use, whether or not they get into school plays or in what way I will track their progress.

I am so grateful for others and their clarity of life. This is the comfort I have been needing. Thankyou Momma Jones. Your words have echoed in my mind tonight, at a time I really needed it most.

*And just to note: among other lessons we hope to instill, Edana will know that you can in fact drive your car to Alaska.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New hobby?

So I have been I mean slow-as-molasses kind of slow....writing for a website called

I have been bashful about even posting or telling too many people about it do to the fact that I cannot write. I have always LOVED writing and as Larry can vouch for the many lists, journals, half-written blogs and other jottings around our house, I am constantly writing-as much as a mother of two can. So I am trying to slowly come out of my shell and say "hey, read this."
Though, as of right now I am a military life writer and though I do enjoy some facets of the military life, it is not a passion of mine. But I thought this a way to improve some of my writing, researching and journaling skills as well as making a couple of pennies on the side. (*yes. I am at 44 cents as of tonight! woohoo!)
I hope that it will also further my knowledge of this military life I live.
So, if you would like to follow along, or know of any military families out there that could benefit from the articles and deals I come across, please share.
Without further ado.......

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All Things In Moderation-revised :)

Hooray for the lovely and brilliant Abby Olsen! Here is the blog that I could not copy and paste, if any were interested.
Thankyou so much Abby! I was having issues ...obviously. ;)

Once again this blog is sliding to the wayside.
In all honesty, most of the well intentioned projects I have started are sitting on the side lines as well.
I have come to a huge realization. I am an “all or nothing” person. I have said this in the past but I don’t think I have ever stopped to really consider what that means, what I can gain from that or more importantly what I can lose.
I apologize for the contemplative blog. There will be only one picture this time, so if you are in for some reading, by all means join me in my tangent.

“All things in moderation.” This musters up images of being on the internet, watching tv, playing video games (which I will admit caused this realization of mine) or eating. I have never considered that this term “moderation” would apply to such things that I find productive: preparing for our upcoming home school, organizing my home, cleaning my home, budgeting, spending time with hubby, baking, exercising, etc,etc. I realized that not only does my late night “binge” of playing a silly video game (causing not only frustration by lack of sleep but also another “project” that won’t be completed) qualify as a distraction but these other things that I have been busying myself with have distracted me from some many other facets of my life. But most importantly, my relationships.
I am sorry to you reading this, since everyone that I can think of that may continue reading would fall under this category…
I have realized that I become so obsessed with my projects, that I forget that I have friends and family that I have not talked to or heard from in so long. It reminds me of a talk that was given once, where a man had stated that if he was to find a sin for the Latter Day Saints to be distracted with, it would be to keep them busy.
I am such a person. I won’t do things because I know that if I do, I will become distracted. Writing this blog: a distraction from dishes, reading another home school book, folding clothes, and taking a 20min nap.
I am so fallible to distractions, tangents, projects and every day worries that I have forgotten that the wonderful people in my life mean so much more than all of these silly, of-the-moment things.
I ready to try moderation. It sounds like maybe it will be liberating. 
Though I did just try it with this blog and I have been editing and un-editing this now for the last hour. Sigh.
On another random note: here is the one picture.

Larry and I on our 6th anniversary date.
Because of Larry’s love for John Wayne we had a “True Grit” themed day. Breakfast was grits (Larry made fun of me for the literal way I had taken the movie title), we played disc golf with my own twist on the game, namely us doing crazy things dressed as we are in the above picture. We then went home and watched the new True Grit. Then ended with us going to Flying W Ranch (which was pretty lame, so we got our money back and went to HU HOTS…LOVE IT!) We then ended the night by having our own shoot out with nerf guns. I feel so lucky to have this handsome man at my side. It is so comforting to know that I can always turn to him when I need someone to talk to, cry to, laugh with and even just hug. I love you so much Larry. Thankyou so much for these 6 years. I can't wait for the rest!!

Anyways, this was the only picture I got of us because our camera officially died. Seriously. The camera fell, shattered and then made these pitiful clicking noises before completely turning off. At least the date made up for it. :)

Sigh and cry. I will finally go finish my silly dishes now. :(

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Lovin'- happened so fast

It's amazing how fast summer went by.
It's even more amazing how many things we actually did this summer. Ready for many pictures??
We started out our summer in Utah, where we played Were extremely great examples to our little nephew

We were able to see family and show off our little Ed

We FINALLY were able to go see Grandma Maggie!

We then headed to St. George for the Eyring Reunion where we were able to visit the beautiful Zions Park.

We were introduced to the silly sport of plankingWe visited the Hogle Zoo, a zoo Larry and I hadn't been to since we were kids.

We were able to not only see animals and dinosaurs but also Michelle Money(?) from the Bachelor
My little brother, Britton, graduated from High school!

Edana got to ride a horse

We were able to play with cousins

Jen then drove the 13 hour drive out to Austin, TX with the kids to see our friends, The Banks Family.

Oh, my how silly are kids were.

And also so sweet

We were able to meet up with Larry (as he was training there) and even went to Sea World. A first for our family.

And for some reason I only got pictures of the kiddos. But they sure are cute!

Back at home, we continued on with preschool during the summer

We had fun with friends

We went to the Renaissance Festival, where I talked Larry into dressing up with us...

..met a hired Jack Sparrow impersonator.... *the highlight of Jen's day*

and I even made my first full dress.

Larry and Edana got to ride an elephant.

Jen was called as an Activity Day leader

And was able to help run in the 195mile race of the Rocky Mountain Epic Relay!

And believe it or not, since finally getting these pictures loaded, I have found a handful more of things we did over the summer. For next time, I guess. Whew. What a summer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friend photo shoot and Family photo shoot

I have been needing to write this blog for awhile. I decided to combine two photo shoots as of recent.

The first was with one of my best friends, Rachel.
We had realized that despite our year + of friendship, we didn't have any pictures of us together.

We had the talented Laurie Morrill take these for us at one of the coolest places I think I have seen.

I loved being here having one of my last colorado springs moments with my dear friend.

If I could sum up Rachel's and my friendship in one word it would be: honest. I have never felt like I had to be something else around Rachel. She has always accepted me for who I am, the good and bad. Honesty is one of Rachel's many glimmering attributes. I don't think she has a dishonest bone in her little body. She has always been honest with anything I have needed to hear, like my video game addictions, sending me conference talks that are exactly what I'm going through and even bringing me to realize the importance of my relationship with my children.

Though Rachel may be younger than me, I look up to her so much. In such a way that I could even put it as, "When I grow up, I want to be like Rachel."

She is spectacular in every sense of the word.

I have become a better person, daughter of God, mother and friend by knowing Rachel.

She has encouraged and been the greatest example to me with honesty.

I cherish these kinds of friendships that I have been so blessed to find. Ones where I am loved, despite my weakness. My crazy thoughts are accounted for, even when they consist of fears of animals, worries of not running far enough, or even the occasional thoughts on zombies. ;) Thankyou Rachel, for being ones of these honest and supportive friends.

After this photo shoot, the awesome artwork kept running through my mind. So when Larry asked where we should have our family pictures taken I knew just the place...

What I totally love is that now I have two fun memories of this random graffitied shed.

One with Rachel and me, on a beautiful windy day...

...and the other with my little family, on a cold rainy day. The best part about this next photo shoot? (aside from the fact that we are doing something fun as a family) We got to see a guy walking around half naked in the cold rain...and half naked from the waist down rather than the waist up. At least his priorities were straight.

Thank goodness he didn't decide to creep into our pics.

I never could understand what people meant when they said, "I've learned so much from my kids", until Larry and I had some of our own.

We have some of the most sweetest, daring, happy, intelligent, crazy and at times tiring, screaming and occasionally annoying kids on this whole planet. Whether I'm in bed trying to sleep, upset and trying hard to be in a bad mood, or going to the loo I have one of these funny little creatures glued to my side.

What an ironic cycle life really is. I remember my exasperated mom threatening me, "I hope one day you have a child just like you!" Who knew that it would be two rather than just one kid?

In all seriousness I have learned alot from my kids. Edana is quick to remind me to say "I'm sorry" when I have done something wrong and she will make sure to even check up on me, that I have done my apologies and feel better after. She has taught me what the pure love and faith in Christ and Heavenly Father is. So many prayers have been said for safety from wolves, upset tummies and most recent, a new toothbrush because the other fell in the toilet. She has so much faith and knows that Heavenly Father can hear her.

And watching how quickly Eddie can learn how to chew, play, talk, crawl and trust others is a very humbling thing to witness.

And to wake up every morning to my handsome Larry
and snuggle up on the couch to watch our favorite show is my most favorite moments that I have in this life. It may not be exciting but it's his and my moment.Well, enough of my tangents. Enjoy the pics.

And just to end our photo shoot...a lovely shot of one of Edana's many faces. Where she got the awesome ability to contort her face into so many emotions?

I have no idea.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We are alive!!

I haven’t forgotten this blog. Really. It is frequently in the back of my mind. I’ve even taken pictures for it and have come up with clever blogs in my head, but when it came down to sitting here at the computer and taking the time, I had no real motivation.

I debated whether I should back track all my pictures or not, but have decided to just say where we are today and as I do my best to keep this updated, I’ll add some pictures of the past.

We have a four year old. It has been official since April 1st but it still hits Larry and I in waves of sentiment. Our beautiful baby girl is definitely not a baby anymore. Far from it, actually.

Her views of life are becoming more solidified rather than mere questions. Such as, she knows that the Easter bunny is not real, despite Mommy’s insistence that a giant bunny really did hop into our house and left her all of her goodies, yet she also has figured out that all of the people in the scriptures really did exist. It has been so fun to watch this little girl blossom into someone so unique. She gets very intense and serious with her works of art and writing letters to her neighborhood friend, Abigail. She has an incredible memory of books we have read, people she had met a couple of years ago, to even the places we drive and walk to. One of my current favorite things that Edana and I do together is read. We have been reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland at night together and she is slowly gaining a love of listening to books and asks questions of words she will see day to day since we have been reading together.

Our little Eddie is now 7 months old and is so close to crawling! His smiley face brings so much happiness into our family’s life. No matter what mood I am in, I cannot resist laughing at his jabbering and cute belly-flopping to whatever may catch his eye.He is so in love and looks up to his big sister.One of the most beautiful things that I have witnessed is the simple moments of my children laughing together. It may be over the fact that Edana has stuck something sticky on Eddie’s head, but when her brother and her crack up over it together, it is wonderful.

Larry is almost done with this semester. My, what a roller coaster it has been! Between some stressful schoolwork overload and amazing moments for him, like becoming president of the zoology club at his school, he continues to say, “I’m almost done”.Larry has yet again gone gator wrestling this year, and even managed to talk some friends into going with him. He is constantly looking for a new adventure to go on and LOVES it when he finds one his family can join him in.
Recently we have gone and watched as he explored a bobcat’s cave, we drove into the mountains on a whim and found our own cave to walk through, he and I went on our first mountain bike excursion together and he took our kids out to a small stream nearby and showed them all of the amazing life that grows there. I love his enthusiasm for life. I love watching this handsome man being our kids tour guide to all things living. I love how much I learn from him everyday. I am so lucky.

Now for me. My happiest moments this year have really just been the times we have spent as a family. Despite some small bumps earlier this year with my health, I have come to find this past while to be an amazing time for our family. My recent endeavors have been finding what will be best for my children’s education, planning our small reptile business, trying to learn Spanish, and getting my body back in shape. I am so excited for what our future is going to bring.