Days 2015

Days 2015

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kiss-a-lish





We've been soaking up as much of what's left of summer as we can, lately. Leslie started school last week but the weather is still beautiful. My friend Michelle clued me in about this free splash park in Highland and so we took a Friday evening picnic there. My favorite part of the whole day was seeing the boys' faces when they realized that they were going to be allowed to actually play in the fountains. It was great!! We've missed out on a lot of waterplay just with having three little ones so close together where there aren't enough adults to go around. This park was extra nice because they didn't need any help and we could just laze around on the grass with the baby and occasionally tell Boston not to run. That little river Cooper is sitting in was about two inches deep and some of the boulders had fountains coming out of them. Why doesn't every town have a place like this??
I've been awfully busy. This is the third Sunday in a row that one of my kids has been sick with a fever. The baby was last week and she is finally getting back on a schedule where she can nap comfortably and only wake up once in the night. My other big project has been the annual canning of the peaches. For the last two or three years I have done this with friends and we each do one box (1/2 a bushel), usually making about 14 qts apiece. This year, however, I figured I would be the deadweight of the group with having to stop working to feed the baby, etc., and decided it would be better if I just went slow and did it myself. Plus, I also learned earlier this year that I'm actually not supposed to do any canning on my flattop stove because they are likely to crack from the heat and the pot that overlaps the burner so much. So I just did one batch at a time and took the pot off as quickly as possible to let everything cool down. The Lord blesses the righteous and sometimes me too, I guess. No cracked stove and every 28 quarts sealed without incident. I did double the usual amount because my kids eat home-canned peaches like candy. I love them too, maybe because they don't grow in Montana so I never had "the real thing" growing up.
Oh, so to explain the picture of Cooper and the peaches... I did the canning over two days. The first day I did 14 qts and a batch of freezer jam because I ran out of jars. So I had this luscious second box of peaches sitting in the panty that night, waiting to be canned. That night I got to escape from my hard day's work by going to the Springville Art Museum quilt show with some friends. Mark watched kids and spent two hours cleaning up my sticky peachy canning mess without being asked. Being a Dad, he's not quite as used to multi-tasking. Cooper kept disappearing on him, but he thought nothing of it. Finally he discovered this pile of one-bite peaches. Hmmm. We thought it was pretty funny and I made Mark his favorite peach pie out of the "good halves" to thank him for all his hard work.
Boston's birthday is coming up and he is so excited. He keeps pulling his long pants from this spring out of the closet and putting them on because he's not fond of wearing shorts, and they are so high-waters on him! I try to explain that they don't fit if I can see his ankles, but then he leans down to inspect things himself and it looks great from his angle! The other day when he got down from the table I told him to wash his face because he had ketchup on it. He looked skeptical. "Mom, I'm a man. Mans don't have ketchup on their face!"
This morning Mark, Macy and I were laying in bed, celebrating the fact that only one child was up once in the night. Boston climbed in,too, then Cooper, both of them romping around like the pups they are. (I escaped to safety with Macy). Mark was tickling them both and I hear this conversation. "Are you ticklish??" "NO! Hahahaha." Mark starts kissing them under their chins with his scratchy morning face. Boston screams, "I'M NOT KISS-A-LISH EITHER. HAHAHHAHA!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

God Bless America and the Public Schools, too! (buckle your seatbelt for this one...)

I decided to spend my 100th blog entry ranting and raving. Haven't done that for awhile! I will probably offend half of my ward. (My Dad would be so proud!)
Last night we hosted a barbecue for Mark's business breakfast group and their families, mostly strangers to me. I left the party for a minute and came back to eavesdrop on a very interesting conversation. The gal who held the floor was an extremely impassioned businesswoman who started her own charter school last year. For those of you who don't know, charter schools are kind of a cross between a public and private school. They get some public funding but make their own rules, etc. It was just plain fun to hear the stuff she was spewing while no one was stopping her. I guess none of us knew her well enough. The part I walked in on went something like this, "Well, you know, public schools are really the most socialist part of our government." (She looks around to see how far over the line she can step.) "They are communist, really. Parents just send their kids there to school for babysitting services." We all kind of sat there in shock, and I was privately wondering why these communist schools I must support are the ones that DON'T require a uniform...). Someone asked her how she started up her own school. "Well, I got together with this friend of mine, who really cares about education, and..." (Picture right here a great big slow motion slap-in-the-face to all the teachers and other educators who have worn out their lives in service to the children of America...you know, the ones who must be in it for the money!)
The conversation ebbed and flowed. Her school is named after one of the founding fathers and when asked about curriculum she waved the verbal flag and said, "Oh, the basics, and the Constitution of course!" I wonder why there seems to be this theme (read between the lines the word SOAPBOX) among so many private and charter schools about the Constitution, like it's the Holy Grail of all learning or something. Really, folks. I went to college on scholarship, was a political science minor, and still managed to get by without having that hallowed document memorized. In fact, I probably prefer it that my third grader isn't waving a gun over her head like some Charleston Heston NRA wannabe shouting gun rights slogans "From my Cold Dead Hands!" And I'm a true blue (I mean red) card carrying Republican! Don't you think it's a little more practical for her to be learning things like multiplication, photosynthesis, cursive, and Internet safety?
Oh, here's another beauty. She goes on about public school teachers (of which, I may add, I have several in my family including my fabulous mother-in-law who taught 2nd grade for decades.) "Teachers HATE private schools and charter schools because they make them feel threatened. If people are sending their kids to alternative schools it means the teachers are failing, and they don't want everyone to figure that out." I'm pretty confident that most teachers want the best for their students, might even love them a little. I'm sure they would agree that if a student just isn't thriving in a traditional school environment that the parents should do everything within their power to fix that problem, even if it means putting them in a different school. So let's not belittle those of us who are lucky enough to be perfectly happy with the norm.
It might even be better than normal. I'll stop with the negative now and highlight some of the really great positive I've noticed about public school.
Here's an easy one. Can anyone think of a better invention than that great yellow striped thing on wheels? I can't hardly think of anything that supports my mom-at-home-with-three-other-kids lifestyle better except maybe disposable diapers and the microwave. When I see the bus coming, practically to my doorstep, to safely pick up and deliver my daughter I just want to cheer! Thank you taxpayers, thank you! And can you imagine how my parents felt? We lived a half an hour out of town!
As for all the people who send their kids elsewhere because they think their kids will turn out unAmerican (or even communist) unless they go to a school that has George Washington in its name , I beg to differ. When I walk in to our school, the walls are completely PLASTERED with American good stuff. All the important founding documents. The flag. Huge walls of honor for parents who are serving in the military. Yes, they still say the Pledge of Allegiance there. They also learn about the founding fathers, patriotism and all the patriotic holidays. They have an entire freedom week including a program with lots of singing and essays, etc.
As for the rights declared in the first amendment, (I'm suspecting the freedom of religion is the one most people think they are somehow promoting when they yank their children from public schools) those are very strongly upheld and even cherished. For example, in first grade Leslie's class was supposed to draw pictures about the theme, "America is a Work in Progress". She wanted to draw a picture of an LDS temple under construction. Not only did her teacher think this was a great idea but she took personal time with Leslie to look it up on the internet so she could have a decent photo to go off of.
My experience with religion and public school was also extremely positive. My little country grade school had a prayer for the food (yeah, this was extreme and you couldn't get away with it now, but nobody seemed to care and I think that every single student was a different religion). In high school I once wrote an English paper on Ayn Rand's Anthem that quoted the Book of Mormon and got an A. My school even hosted Holy Week every Easter where different pastors and preachers from religions around town would come in and talk about their religions or their understanding of Easter for a class period. Students could attend that or just spend time in study hall instead if they wanted to.
I think one of the best, most interesting classes I took in high school was my government class. What made it so great were the wonderful, passionate, TWO SIDED debates that took place. I think I learned so much more about my conservative political reasoning and feelings from my flamboyant, nose-ringed, foot-tattooed hippy BRILLIANT teacher than I ever could from someone who thought the same as I did. She was great about making us think for ourselves by understanding our opponent's point of view. In this way we would have to realize exactly WHY we disagreed with them. That class ranged from full-on red-neck, cowboy boot wearing militant types to peasant skirt, abortion supporting feminists, and it was so fun.
Anyway, hats off to the great educators I have learned from and to those who will be teaching my children. I know they DO care and will help my children become better, more well-rounded, and flat out smarter than I could have made them on my own.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lazy Crazy Daze of Summer
















Okay, I guess I have tons of catching up to do. Macy has been napping less and I seem to have a lot less time to goof off. I wouldn't trade it, though, since I get a full night's sleep most nights. Part of my business has been playing catch-up from our week in Montana with my family. As usual, I think I took, like, six pictures the whole week and my mom took over one hundred. (Maybe that's why I was lazy with my camera because I knew I could bum off of hers...?) It was very good to get to see my sister Darcy and her little family. We had not seen them for over 2 1/2 years because they've been at chiropractic school in Texas and then moved to the Oregon coast. The best part was finally seeing the cousins get to play together. There were five little boys age 3 to 1, so we mostly just were entertained by them and tried to keep them contained. (Poor Mom and Dad have a burning barrel--no garbage man on the prairie, you know, and just think of the mountain of diapers we left behind!) Every night came Dad's favorite part of the whole party. He gathered everyone in the living room to sing silly songs together and watch the antics just in time for prayers and bedtime. Grandpas are for winding kids up, I guess. Duke, in his cool, calm bachelorhood thought he would die a slow death from hearing the slippery fish song every night (and all day long) or "I am like a Star shining brightly" on Kyler's go-to-sleep CD. He slept in the Suburban so he wouldn't have to hear the crying babies all night.
There are also some random pictures from this summer including our family at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House and my enormous crop of cucumbers that we thought were watermelon plants when we planted them. Whoops! Aw, pickles. Leslie counted 55 at one point. Any recipe suggestions? I think I should follow Leslie's example and lay around with some over my eyes.