Monday, January 17, 2011

Over scheduling kids OR an over scheduled mom

Being faced with a decision this week that is starting to stress me out. Spencer has asked me forever if he can do karate. Karate has seldom been offered by the community center and is far to expensive and intense to do through a martial arts school. In the last year, a karate school has begun offering introduction, just for fun classes at the community center. It's $50 for 4 classes (1 per week). Comparatively, it's not that expensive and may be just what he's looking for. It's for 6-9 yr. olds so Carter could go too. But that becomes a quick $100 out the door, but I'm seriously considering it. It's not the money so much, even though that is definitely a huge factor, as it is that if they like it, we'd have to keep going. Spencer is a kid that just can't have too much scheduled. He is in cub scouts right now which meets once a week and that's enough for him. I like the idea of him having something active also, but is it too much for a boy who can't handle it when his homework takes longer than 3:30 because it means he only has 1.5 hours to play with friends? He really is a 1-thing-at-a-time kid. The other problem is that he also has asked me if he can play soccer in the Spring. That will mean 2 practices a week and a Saturday game PLUS cub scouts. Carter really wants to play soccer in the Spring which means the same for him. Miana also wants to play which means Saturdays for 45 min. only, which isn't too bad, but what if the other 2 kids have games somewhere else? That starts to make for an overscheduled mom dragging 4 kids to 4 practices and 3 games every week... I don't know if I'm up for that. Dave should be available on Saturdays, but what about during the week? I may have to JUST DO IT.
I have often been annoyed by the parents (and this is totally my own opinion and pet peeve) that put sports before church activities. Spencer does cubs because it is sponsored by church. He loves it and has gotten really into it. There are kids that have sports games during the week and late at night. I'm totally against this. I will be annoyed if I sign Spencer up for soccer and then find out that they want him at a game when he's supposed to be at church (or worse) in bed. Children NEED a regular schedule, one that isn't full of surprises. They need to know that when they get home from school, they get a snack, do HW, then get to go outside to play. Not that on this day they have such and such and on that day they have something else. They just need consistency. I am also against playing 2 sports at once or 2 instruments at a time. It's too much! 1 sport and 1 additional activity(church, art, music). Now, playing 2 sports at once is probably fine for kids that don't go out to play in the neighborhood with kids and therefor don't get interaction with other kids. They probably need some extra kid time (other than their own siblings). But for kids that live in a regular neighborhood, have good friends that are their own age, it's okay to just let them be kids. Let them have a day when they just build something with Legos, let them have a day where they just run around the backyard and see whose paper airplane goes the furthest, or let them just build a fort in the basement. No need for a child to have to worry about if they have soccer today or if it's piano lessons or violin or basketball or karate. Their biggest worry should be whether or not their block tower will withstand the forces of their little sister!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to survive High School

I have absolutely no idea why this was on my mind this morning. I just felt like it was one of those things from my past that I wanted to write down and have for my own memories. This isn't written to anyone in particular.
Here it is, my guidelines for surviving high school and making it both a place you never want to leave and one that the teachers are proud to say they taught you.
#1 - choose friends that have similar goals and bring out the best in you. These are people who want you to get good grades, never want to see you in trouble, want you to succeed in life, and love you even if you make dumb mistakes, because no matter what, you will make dumb mistakes.
#2 - learn some basic sign language. Every classroom I was ever in had the same rule, no talking when someone else is talking. Just about every person I've met that had a friend in a class had the same problem - something to tell that friend that just couldn't wait. Writing notes can get the most information across without making noise, but you risk having someone else be able to get ahold of that information and share it with the wrong people. Sign language is a quick and easy way to communicate across the room with very few people knowing what you are saying. The teacher can't complain because you didn't talk - although if she says no communicating, then I think you should probably keep it at a minimum. This is not to EVER be done during a quiz or test, you could easily be punished for cheating, even if you didn't actually cheat.
#3 - don't ever cheat or let someone cheat off of you. Not EVER! Not even once. Your friends are wonderful people, you want to see them succeed, make them do their own work. Trust me, you never, ever want to feel the feeling you get when you cheat. I cheated once. On a spelling test in 4th grade. I didn't even realize I was cheating. If I had realized that I was cheating, I would have never done it. Once I realized that it was cheating, I had the most awful feeling inside, I felt sick to my stomach. It was soooo not worth trying to get a better grade.
#4 - peer pressure is going to happen. Make sure yours is to be the best person you can be (both the pressure you receive and the pressure you give) Note: see #1.
#5 - find teachers that you enjoy and thank them for their efforts. Not kidding, this will change your whole school experience. No need to be fake, just thank them, even if it's just a quick "thanks" as you leave the room. Teachers don't get enough thanks for all they do. They put hours into planning a lesson that takes them only an hour to teach. Sincerity goes a long way and they will remember that you are nice person when your grade is on the border of "A" and "B" and can go either way. That little every day "thanks" can mean the better grade.
#6 - Be friendly, not fake, with teachers. Remembering that teachers are real people, being comfortable and confident around them, and letting them share a little of your life does not make you a kiss up, it makes you a good person and a smart person. If you do it the right way, you can end up making a life long friend and you may end up with additional privileges at school.
#7 - take extra classes from the teachers that also sponsor the clubs you are in, teachers that like you, and ones that you have cultivated a good relationship with.
#8 - Be an office aid or teacher's assistant (to the teachers from #7). You will learn to interact better with adults, develop some leadership skills, and get a lot of time to do homework so you don't have to do it after school.
#9 - get good grades. Do whatever it takes, work your hardest. You will never regret hard work.
#10 - when you think something nice, say it out loud, when you think something mean, keep it to yourself. Doesn't matter who it's about.Being nice to everyone is a sure way to be popular, even if you're not friends with the "popular" people. You will have a more people on your side than they do, more people who remember you and like you, and never have to worry about who to sit with at lunch.

Everyone is awkward and insecure in highschool, those that succeed are also those that go in confidently, knowing that everyone is just as insecure as they are. Using some or all of these guidelines, my senior year was one that I didn't need a hall pass from a teacher, I had a laminated one. Teachers didn't care that I was late for class, they knew I had a good reason. My friends were awesome! I got to play around in art with absolutely no talent whatsoever. I got an "A" in an aerobics class that I was actually signed up for but the teacher announced to the other students that my friend and I were her classroom aids. We took attendance for her, sometimes did aerobics, but most of the time we got to just talk to each other while doing a few other things. I got to the point where I no longer needed to call home to get permission to leave school grounds, the grade level secretary just handed me the pass when I came in. When I was dating this one boy who worked at a bagel shop, I got to leave for lunch so that I could go see him several times a week (we weren't allowed to leave campus without permission).
My mom will have to correct me on the details of this story, but it's one of my favorites! My brother was so good at high school that one time he was failing a class and when my mom called to ask the teacher what was going on, the teacher defending my brother and told my mom not to worry and not to be too hard on him. What?? That's right, the school loved him.
I would love to know what got you through high school... any comments??

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I wanted to have a Halloween post but I didn't have any good pictures. Spencer was going to be a mummy, I spent $20 on rolls of gauze and last minute he decided he didn't want to do it, so he didn't actually goes as anything, Carter made his own costume out of a white garbage bag - he ripped 2 eye holes and was a ghost, and the 2 girls were hula dancers. It wasn't a good year for Halloween - it started with Dave with Strep Throat and ended with me getting a very severe case of it. There's always next year??

Utah-Idaho-Utah Thanksgiving 2010

For Thanksgiving 2010, we decided that it was most important for us to spend some time with Dave's grandparents. They are the last of our kids Great-grandparents and I love that my kids are old enough to have memories of their time together. Although Great- Grandparents were the main reason for going to visit, we still added in some of our favorite stops! First stop: Blackfoot, ID the home of "the other cousins" also known as "the second cousins." Blackfoot always feels so comfortable to me, I am quite sure it's because of the wonderful people we get to see! Dave's aunt always makes us feel at home and we love getting to see everyone. The kids always cry when it's time to leave because they love playing with the other cousins. During this trip up there, it was particularly fun to see how fascinated my kids were with the mounted animal heads in Carol's basement. My favorite comment was "but they're not really REAL,right Mom?" Ummm....
The next stop was back downto SLC to visit Dave's aunt, 2 cousins, and the new baby. I say new baby but he was old enough to be almost walking, we had just never seen him before... but sooooo cute! We had a nice, but brief visit with them.
Next it was on to Highland to visit with my sister, Paige and her family. Paige is... well... the best sister anyone could ask for! She is the kind of person that is really reserved until you get to know her, but once you know her, she has a way of making everyone feel that they are her very best friend. She has a way of always making feel that I am loved and understood, it's pretty awesome. (My other 2 sisters are awesome, too, I just didn't get to see them on this particular trip, so I'm not talking about them!) That night we were able to also visit with my dear friend Trisha and her family. Trisha is one of those people that makes everyone near her feel loved, appreciated, and just plain alive.Oh, I miss having her here, in my very own neighborhood! The next stop was in Payson, on our way down to St. George. We went to see Shane and Stacy, another one of our favorite families. Shane was Dave's roommate and is a ton of fun. Stacy is A-MA-ZING. We only stayed for a couple of hours, but it was a very inspirational visit for me. They reminded me where true happiness comes from in a time when I was feeling a little down. All of our visits on Sunday and Monday were brief, but those 2 days made me wish even more that we lived closer to my lovely friends (yes, Paige, you are also my friend).
St. George was colder than I had hoped. That's all, everything else was as wonderful as I had imagined. We got to spend some time (and Thanksgiving) with Dave's grandparents, parents, and sister. We also got to see his parents' new home. It is just perfect and has an amazing view. I took some pictures from their deck, but when I was putting the collagetogether, I couldn't find them, so I will have to post those some other time. We had a great time and it was sad to leave Grandma and Grandpa Young. They are really wonderful people. On our way out of St. George, we stopped by to see my aunt. I looked up her address the day before we left and found out that she lived across the street from our hotel! Ifelt a little dumb that I hadn't stopped by to see her sooner!! When we got back to Provo, the view and sky were beautiful from my parents' place (investment property-where we were staying) I couldn't help but take some pictures. It was a fantastic trip, took all of our savings and then some, but totally worth it!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cruise: Final Days

The last full day of the cruise was spent at sea on very rough waters (we were running away from a storm). We had a relaxing last day getting a couples massage and spending the rest of the morning up on the deck. We had lunch, took our daily nap and enjoyed a show that night. The next morning, we disembarked and while we waited for our shuttle, we enjoyed the most beautiful sky, it had a rainbow the the North and the most beautiful pink, purple, orange, yellow, and blue sky to the south. We went to the airport, caught an earlier flight home and I ran through the front door to hug my babies that I had missed terribly. In the next few days we were asked repeatedly what our favorite part of the cruise was and both of us replied that it was being able to take naps daily! Our least favorite part (but also one of the better parts) was being away from the kids. I was glad to be home, but sure do miss not having to cook and being able to take naps whenever I wanted! 10 more years and maybe we'll get to do it again!

Day 5: Isla Roatan, Honduras, Day 6: Costa Maya, Mexico

In Honduras, we opted not to go on any excursions. We walked around shops and played a round of minigolf in the extreme heat, which Dave won. We then watched the sun set as we left the bay, the sky was beautiful and it was made even better having my husband by my side. Weplayed scramble on my phone while waiting for the boat to set sail from Honduras.

In Costa Maya, we woke up early and watched the sunrise. After breakfast, we went to the Chacchoben Ruins. Ever since High School Spanish class, I have always wanted to visit ruins in Mexico and this was a fulfillment of that dream. I still hope to go to Chichen Itza some day and see the snake, but for now, my desire to see some ruins is satisfied. They were very cool!

Cruise Day 4: Belize

Belize was beautiful. We went snorkeling in Goff's Cay, a small island (about an acre or so) surrounded by corral reef. Belize has the 2nd largest coral reef in the world (Australia has the largest). We were not allowed to dock at Belize City (the coast you see in one of the pictures) so we took tenders (the taxi of boats) to Goff's Cay. Please note the curly hair picture of me, that's for Jaclyn, she calls it my "George Washington" hair. We also saw and awesome rainbow. It was a lovely place with very kind people. :)

Cruise Day 3: Cozumel

2 words - Atlantis Submarine!

We docked in Cozumel, Mexico and boarded the Atlantis Submarine which took us 120 ft. down. It was fun to go on a submarine, but I forgot that I am claustrophobic, which caused a bit of anxiety for me. Quite the experience!

Cruise Days 1 and 2: Port Canaveral - Day at Sea

I know I already started talking about our cruise, but it was so long ago I thought I should start over. Here are pictures from the first 2 days, September 18 - 19.