Friday, March 7, 2014

King Lear Could've Used Some Prozac Probably

So this picture is blurry, but it's from my son's high school production of King Lear (not my son here- he was the good guy at the end- you know, one of the few that live at the end). I actually like it because it's blurry because then I don't have to blur his face, and you still get a feel for what's going on. Not a story I was familiar with to be honest, but after the first night I asked my son questions about what was going on (there are always issues with the mics first night and a lot of rushing lines) I was able to go back closing night and understand what was going on a bit better. I did grasp that the king is kind of loosing it though and I just though "poor crazy King Lear" I could kind of relate a bit.  

I've had my moments, especially lately. They kind of come and go, but recently I feel like they are hanging around a little more often. Not like King Lear, but enough to decide maybe it's time to get back on my anxiety/depression medication. I think I've been off a year or two maybe, but today I got a refill. It was very interesting that it was the day after I had written a reply to a post on another blog about depression. I've written about it a few places lately. Maybe writing about it kind of helped me reassess? It was kind of a long day yesterday; lots of thinking and stuff and lots of writing, actually. Writing is good sometimes. I supposed that's why I decided to write this.

That's kind of it for now. Maybe I won't even publish this. Maybe I just want to write it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My girls (well... two of them)

So the other day I was looking through Pinterest and I don't know what a "stamp" is, but I thought these would be super cute coloring pages for my girls, so I pinned them to use as coloring pages. Just so happens that we decided to take crayons to church. We haven't in a long time, but Emrie really likes to draw and color, but we usually only have pens, pencils and highlighters to color with, so I told her this week she should find her crayon box and put it in my bag. I printed out some other things too, and an identical set of pictures for each girl. 

They liked all of them, but were each drawn to a particular picture. As I watched them color their pictures I just had to smile because two pictures each really represented each girl, down to how they colored. 

First here's the pictures I saved to my computer- they were both free images so I hope it's okay to share them here. But I only posted the link to one of them, because I don't know which folder I pinned the other to. I don't have a set folder for coloring pages, but I think I might need to make one...

Okay, first, here is Emrie's picture. She is 6.  The colors are a little off because my scanner isn't the best, but I tried to adjust them the best I could. The blues are a little off mostly- they aren't so bright in "real life", and the skin is a little brighter and pinker in these too. But you get the idea and that doesn't really have anything to do with the pictures, but I feel the need to really explain about meaningless things sometimes. I don't know why. It's just the way I am.

ABOVE: You'll notice that in Emrie's picture it's more rushed but has A LOT of details. I'll list them for you- Top left to right and down, then back up: a bird, blue clouds, the grey stuff at the top is not a rain cloud, that is the rocks that go to the waterfall rushing down behind her, and next to the sun. There's a tree and  the brown lines around it are sticks that fell from the tree (because our trees always drops sticks I presume) And the Yellow lines around the tree is the sunlight shining through the trees. Next, a grey and white striped cat with a collar, on the grass, and you might wonder what the reddish specks are- those are her sparkles. I think the red stuff by her feet is too, could be some shadow. On the bottom left is the dog- a beagle, with his collar and the red necklace thing a bit above the dog is the dog's leash. Above the dog is a paper with a heart drawing that the girl made and she put a rock in the corner to keep it from blowing away, that's next to another stick that has a little leaf on it. Near her hand is a little fly- isn't it adorable?... More sparkles, then below the bird, above the sparkles, you will see a little yellow-ish box area with a face; well that is a picture in the dirt that she drew with her stick. (Emrie loves to draw pictures in dirt with sticks)

I sat there and watched her just crank this picture out (because that's just how she produces art). She had asked me what else to put in the picture, after she finished coloring the girl, so I said,"how about sparkles, I guess?"  because I thought it was great the way it was. But she really had to have more stuff, so I suggested a dog, and maybe some grass. I think the rest was all her.

Really, this is how she sees the world. If you sit and watch her, she doesn't hold still and is always imagining and pretending and going and exploring. And she doesn't like to wear jeans too, so a princess or ballerina dress, or sweats or leggings or jammies is what she always wears. Jeans are too restricting. She pretty much doesn't care what she wears, as long as it's not jeans- they make her cranky. But she'll wear anything else forever until you make her change or bathe, as long as it's comfy.  So that's Emrie :) (oh, Emrie's has crayons and colored pencils)

Now for Libby's- she's 10. All Colored pencils. She requested some new ones after coloring this because she liked working with them (I think the softness), so that's part of her Valentines Day present now.

Liberty's  picture: She was careful and precise, but was bothered that the skin tone was so sketchy because the colored pencil needed to be sharpened (again, skin tone more pink in the scan).  She picked out two different browns for the hair, to give it dimension, although this scan doesn't show it well. She wanted the colors to match- she is big on having coordinated outfits and really has quite a sense of style. I tried to tone down the colors of this picture by warming it a bit, but it's a lot better looking "in person". The Yellow is a bit brighter in our version, but that was the only yellow we had so it had to do. She didn't want it to be just pink and blue, so yellow was the best color we could come up with out of what we had (my only input, other than telling her to make the belt match to tie in the skirt with the rest) but she wanted it to be softer, like the blue and pink- which, like I said, the colors are off on my scanner; this is the closest I could get it to the feel of the original.

How fitting this picture has a cat wrapped around her legs, because Libby loves kitties- even not super nice ones- and they don't mind her either. She is careful and quiet and gentle with them. They just know she's an animal person I think. You will notice that she kept this picture very simple, but I was very interested to see that she felt the Eiffel Tower would fit in here, because it totally does. Don't you think? She has a feel for things. She was going for a feel in this picture with every color and simplistic detail.

And if I have one child that should play the violin, that's her. I know it's not in the picture, but I feel like you could tell that about her from this picture, but she'd be great at the piano too. She likes to hum and sing and has a good ear - she comes to ward choir with her older siblings and I and has a pretty soprano voice. I think she'll always be a soprano- it's where her voice likes to be. When she was little and would hum we'd ask her to come down an octave because constant humming in a high pitch is hard to listen to for extended amounts of time- especially for her brother (who now plays the trumpet ironically). But she can't stop. She doesn't think people should even be able to hear her, or used to, because it's in her head, she felt. . Now Emrie is a "belter", just for the record. Kind of funny huh? Because, what other kind of a singer would she be? Libby just sings kind of quietly to her ipod and with us, but not much alone, unless it's under her breath or when no one is paying attention. Libby can be very silly and has quite a sense of humor in her own way- she's kind of quick witted- but she's not boisterous by any means; very opposite of her little sister. But they both love to play dress up and pretend, and most of the time get along pretty well, unless of course they are not getting along, and then "intervening" needs to take place.

I just think both of these pictures summed up my girls and I love them- enough to scan them! :) I just want to always remember them and how they reflect my girls (not to mention the physical similarities of each) ... so much, I felt it deserved a blog post!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


If I were a Disney Princess I could walk out my door and talk to the birds I hear right now; "Hello Mr. Magpie! Nice to see you Mr. and Mrs. Housefinch!" 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unschool/Homeschool and Why (for us)

I was just looking through unschool stuff on Youtube and Pinterest. I started to listen to one thing and thought, "Naw, I think I'll just kind of do this myself." Some stuff I love, but I think in my need to explain about why I chose to unschool and or homeschool my two youngest children I started to feel like I needed to fit in somewhere. I always say it's kind of a hippi-ish thing to do, but I don't think I need to be a hippie to unschool my kids. It's just how one of them learns best right now.

Last year I thought that I needed to do K12 because that would satisfy everyone else when they asked what I was teaching her. It seemed right to me so I didn't have to defend my point so much, but really it ended up being just like school and in the rush to try and get done before my older kids were out of school, I thought that a lot of retention was being lost or she really wasn't learning anything! And I felt like she was right back in public school, because we were going by their timeline with their curriculum. It just wasn't working.

At the end of the school year last year, well after we dropped out of K12, I talked to my daughter about homeschooling (that's what we call it, even though it's more of unschooling in nature) and how we have done things, but also letting her know that eventually we are going to have to go through the unpleasant stuff she doesn't want to listen to and learn about (math is usually the biggie) I told her something like, "People don't understand why and it bothers them and they worry your not going to learn anything" and her reply made me cry, "But we (she and her sister) are learning things". I didn't tell her that, I mostly try to conform to the idea that they aren't learning things, because she is behind in some things her peers are learning, and I am very critical of myself. But She is a good reader and she likes to learn about stuff, but just not be told it or force fed it because then she digs her heels in like no other and it's over. So in my prayerful pursuit of how to homeschool my child, my day to day feeling is not to push it with her. She'll learn things, more things in some areas, if I don't push it.

Now, we will have to be pulling out workbooks and find some creative ideas (so many pinned and bookmarked) for teaching some concepts. She's going on 10 so before this "school year" got started I talked to her at a neutral time, when she wouldn't feel the pressure, and explained that there are some things she just has to learn. She learns a lot on her own, but we would have to be more structured with a few things here and there and I really needed her to work with me and not fight me. I think eventually it's all going to get sorted. I feel in my heart that she is supposed to learn some things she can only learn here at home. Maybe that is just being nice to her sister- so far we are behind on sibling spat solving too, but I think that if I continue to do my best, be prayerful and listen to the Spirit and take the unschooling approach of stepping back and seeing what she learns, it's going to work out.

I hope that other parts of her life that I feel get neglected in a public school schedule will be enriched. The stuff that I felt that "if I only had more time with her we could work on this" when she was in regular school. It was a replay of life with my oldest, Lauren (who's now graduated and college bound next semester if all goes as planned) when she would have panic attacks in 2nd grade when I'd drop off her little brother to Kindergarten. The girl who LOVED school until she moved a few times in a few years, then it became this thing I dreaded to send her to and felt that someone else was telling me what I could and couldn't do with MY child. I HAD to keep her in school because that's what you are supposed to do. But every day it just got worse and worse and I wanted to feel like I had control of my kid and what I thought was best. She struggles with anxiety to this day and it was quite and obstacle even in middle school and high school.
With my younger one, Liberty, I wasn't even sure that we'd make it through first grade, but didn't want her to miss out on some fun things (and I was doing PTO photography stuff) so we stuck it out, even though she was begging me to homeschool by that time. But every day was torture for both she and I from sun up to sun down.

For years with Lib I tried to be tougher on her because I thought I had babied her too much, and I thought she must be the most manipulative toddler in the world (and at times sooo conflicted), but then I realized when she was in Kindergarten and had loving sweet ladies around her and they spoke kindly and were tender to her, that she was in fact very tender herself and I was breaking her heart the way I talked to her. The whole family struggled to be nice to her because everything with her was a battle. She never just did anything without a fight and was always sad and negative. I tried to do positive reinforcement, but it would be days before I could find any behavior to praise her for- I know that sounds horrible, but it was so true at the time, and even when I did find something she didn't remember she was even praised for it because she only saw the negative. (She also had this super sweet side to her and some people just didn't believe she could be so hard, but that's hard to imagine when a cute brown eyed little girl is snuggling in your lap)

As she began to be able to articulate her feelings through being in school and learning to talk about what was bothering her, that's when I started to realize something was up with this girl (I hadn't just spoiled her or ruined her) and forcing her was just not working. I started to see her as a child that had a tender heart and was sad because we were being so tough on her trying to make her grow up and be more responsible, trying to cut the apron strings a bit. It broke my heart to realize that. I remember a few times she talked about Jesus and wanting to be with him and I knew it was because she wanted that comfort she wasn't feeling.

First grade had some great things, good friends and a great teacher, but her teacher noticed that she was a roller coaster emotion kind of girl (her teacher had a roller coaster son so too, thankfully). She would be so happy, but by after lunch she was ready to tune out and she'd get sad or "sick" and want to come home unless their was something fun to look forward to and then she was happy again. Homework was just the worst thing ever. Mid year I talked to the counselor and told her we were doing homework for HOURS because it was such a battle and she recommended to the teacher that we cut back. Libby was understanding stuff, but it was a tearful event for both of us almost daily. I really thought I'd go crazy. Not to mention she didn't sleep. I thought being up early would help her go so sleep at night, something she struggled with forever, but I am a night owl so I probably had just gotten her into bad habits, right? But she could have had the longest day ever but we'd be up until one, me in her bed with her trying to get her to sleep enough that I could slip out of the room without her shooting into panic, and even that was after hours of just laying there. She'd just be awake. Now we've discovered a half a melatonin does wonders and I feel almost like she can have a regular bedtime, except we homeschool so it's not always so regular :) But WAY better!!!!
I got on antidepressants because I struggle with anxiety and depression, but hadn't been on anything for 10 years, just learned some coping things, and I prefer it that way because even if I am on stuff I am not better at the day to day stuff- it doesn't make me a better _____ fill in the blank. But I was really going crazy and it did help for about a year and a few other select times since, but it didn't help Libby get any better (no way am I medicating a girl that is okay unless you push her, at this age) So the answers to my prayers about my daughter, even though it wasn't going to be everyone's favorite answer,  was to keep her home.

I've battled a lot of guilt and tried to "duplicate the classroom" which just doesn't work for homeschool if you ask me, because that's the benefit, or hindrance, it's not a classroom. You can't sit and recite times tables with the class. It doesn't have that same echo effect that made it stick in my 4th grade head. It's not very sing song-y I guess. And really, if you are home, it's no big deal to lay on your bed and read, or be in your pj's.
I have battled trying to be what I think others think I should be for my daughter, and how I think others will think I should handle her, but through many other things in our lives, as well as listening to my feelings about homeschooling Liberty,  I am learning to trust myself to receive answers to prayers and trust in the Lord. And the other week I was pondering why I am supposed to be doing this- what are they going to learn from me? Then I realized if I think of anything I want my kids to learn from me, what I want them to learn the most is to be worthy of and listen to the Holy Ghost, and trust the Lord's timeline. The rest just doesn't even compare, not times tables or what a paragraph is (because I really stink at that one as you can probably tell- because it's all one big long thought in my head) not any of it.

I know it's my job now to teach as much as I can about grammar and spelling etc., but I think we pick that stuff up as we read too. So much in life that we actually know we just learned by doing and experiencing and talking and observing. The things I studied for tests were forgotten after the test was about a week past, maybe a little longer for some stuff. The things I loved or was taught by someone who just relayed information about something they loved, was the stuff that stuck with me. I mean, who is really Smarter than a Fifth Grader? Not at random facts, not if you ask me. But I can tell you random facts that I learned myself! I can explain a lot of things to my kids that I learned in school, but as they are happening around us. And what an age we live in that we can find so much information with a few clicks of the mouse! Just Google it- isn't that what we all do?

So many educational games, Libby loves and some game with lunch lab or something in the name. If I tell her she can be on the computer if it's educational that's a lot of times where she goes, and Poptropica brings up lots of literary and historical characters that we can talk about too. And she loves Netflix for a lot of really great PBS shows too- Wild Krats and Martha Speaks and Word Girl and Arthur. Emrie loves Dinosaur Train and I am trying to get her to watch Super Why more too, but she likes lots of good things too. They also love "Ponies" so that's a battle sometimes, and to watch Avenger cartoons with Tennyson, and recently Power Rangers for Libby because of the discussion around the house of Lauren meeting the Original Black Ranger at Comic Con and Tennyson's influence- they have a great connection, he and Lib. Oh, and Lauren, Tennyson and Ivy are a great example of how fun books can be and I think Libby is starting to believe them.
It started out very loosy goosy, but it's starting to be more structured in that they know certain amount of stuff they choose will be more educational, but educational doesn't have to mean not fun. We are working it out, and we'll bring in the work books soon I think once I am more settled and as I get acclimated to what I want to accomplish, taking into account my own anxieties and way of doing things.

I do a lot better when I am not worried about what everyone else is thinking for sure though, and I am working on that one. It's weird because I really don't care quite a bit about what people think. Like, I know this is where my little girls are supposed to be. Whether or not I want to sit and explain my reasoning and detail our lesson plans is another story- because I don't- it's no one's business, especially if your questions are out of doubt for my choice, rather than being curious but supportive. When I get questions about it I start to doubt because I feel like I am being doubted, which in turn makes me worry that I got my personal revelation wrong, but then I remember I've probably prayed about it way more than the people asking so I tell myself to not worry about it and remember how clear it's been and how many times when I tried to push because I was worried about being productive enough, that the reminder came that I need to calm down and back off. In time it will all be clear.
Really it's what is right for our family situation. And however anyone else does their homeschool/unschool (or any school really) is their family decision too and I will take the stuff I like from what I learn, but I don't have to feel like I have to be any certain way to fit into this role- at least, I hope I don't get that way. It's a daily journey we are taking and we can decide the directions when we get to another street.

I really believe there have been selective people along the way that have helped me, given me direction through their example and opinions and I am so thankful for that and recognize it, but I catch myself thinking sometimes that I need to do other stuff that isn't me, like them. I caught myself tonight, but my path is my own and it's spiritual and private, and I hope that I can figure out a way to explain that to people who ask questions. I don't think anyone means to offend, it's just such a different thing still (although becoming more popular) so I try not to be offended, but sometimes it makes me feel bad and doubt my abilities, but I am deferring to a higher source for help so I will trust that it will all work out over time and we'll figure out even more what works for us. Maybe writing this will be helpful. Maybe I'll just direct traffic here for answers :) But I am thankful for where I am at right now. And I am grateful for my kids and husband being supportive, and for the girls working with me as we attempt teaching Emrie how to read, eventually- this is the first time I have taken on that- I do good with a lot of things, but don't have much confidence in teaching someone to read- mostly because I have to get them to hold still first! But we'll have an adventure I am sure! With Emrie it's always an adventure!

Here's to another year of homeschool!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feeling Inadequate

I just want to take better pictures.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back Road Home

(Near Menan, Idaho) 
At first I thought, "Oh what a pretty corn field with the clouds behind it"...

Then I  pulled slowly up to this field with some White Faced Ibis hanging out, in front of a corn field, and as long as I didn't try and get too far away from my van they didn't mind me about, but they casually got further away I noticed. But it was a very nice surprise for me and cheered me up (feeling a little sad this afternoon). This may seem silly to some, but I think Heavenly Father knew it would cheer me up because I was going to turn around before this but felt I should head down the road a bit more before getting on the highway home- that was after I had a feeling to get off the interstate at this exit in the first place. I kind of have a history of cheering up  when I see unexpected birds or a first time sighting. This is the best sighting I've had of this kind for sure!

I had a thankful prayer on my way home :)

 This guy is so handsome (I think it's a guy BECAUSE he seems handsome) :) 

And below are some Starlings I think. 

 Looking for a good turn around I saw a little old house with cute shutters, and turned just past it at this cabin (through my dirty window that won't roll down) to head back and get out and take pictures of at least the cute shutters. While I was there I met the owner of the land of both of these structures and the property surrounding and in between them. A grandfather of his homesteaded this property back in the late 1800's. We had a short chat and then he got back to mowing and I headed to the highway.

The cute house with shutters below, but starting with the cute door. 

Poplar with some Cottonwoods behind. 

 Aren't these great shutters?! 

 close up of the mossy roof

And then down the highway (Yellowstone HWY instead of I-15) found this interesting building below. Maybe it's an apartment, but it looks like it's from a mining town or some old Western movie. 
So very near this is a building on private land (railroad owned I think) that has an amazing rock wall to an old building that I soo badly would love to take some pictures by if I can figure out a way. I'd like MY FAMILY picture taken by it. I am hoping I am one step closer to figuring out how to get permission after today. 
I think this is in Ucon, Idaho. 

That's all for today - thanks! JM

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where Am I?

 We went out of town this past weekend to surprise my mother in law for her birthday. The thing about visiting Southern Utah- St. George to be precise, is that it always makes me nostalgic and a tad homesick, but really it has changed so much that it isn't really the same place anymore. But the feel of the air, and red rock, and the smell in the air- it was off and on stormy while we were there and I could smell the chaparral- I think that might have been the strongest emotional stirrer. And we went down during a Cicada year (theirs are every other year and they are the loudest variety from what I read when all the ones on the East Coast were emerging) so the sound reminded me of sitting in the back of our pick up, or my brother or uncle's, going one place to another and wondering what in the heck that noise was? It seemed to make it hotter for some reason, maybe it's because of sound affects in movies about the desert when people are seeing a mirage? Hard to say, but it certainly brings back memories and I start to miss it.

But as I mentioned, it isn't where it used to be. Not that we lived there growing up, we only visited, multiple times a year- at least twice but sometimes more. I did live there after we were married and had three kids. My husband got a degree from Dixie State. Those were some hard times- good paying jobs were very hard to find down there and it kind of smashed my image of the place (although we still have good memories too). I don't imagine the job scene has changed a lot, just more restaurants to choose from. But good paying jobs are hard to find everywhere, even with 2 other degrees completed. Now my husband is working on number 4 while it's affordable, since he works for a college. Doesn't pay like we want it to, but it has good insurance- part of the silver lining. At least it's been a consistent job though- that's been a blessing too.

I used to think I wanted to move back to St. George some day, but I don't think that will happen; however if the opportunity came to be a Snowbird down there somewhere I'd take it I think. I sure miss the winters there! They are like one long, beautiful fall! I also have a lot of roots down there, which definitely is the reason it feels like home to a piece of me. While I was down there I talked to a man at the temple that knew some of my family growing up. That doesn't happen very often anymore, but it was very nice. He even told me he saw "some Chadburn in (me)" after he found out my grandma was one and who her brothers were. I have not been told that before, but we do have it in our eyes when we smile- I didn't always, but as my face got fuller i guess my eyes got smaller? :) I did dye my hair red recently, so that could have something to do with it too.

 Anyway, here are a few things I took pictures of- most of them feel homey to me, besides the bee on the more modern desert landscaping, but it's still very pretty. The clouds represent the smell of rain in that desert, and once upon a time I used to be able to catch lizards- how, I don't know? Now I was lucky to catch part of one pretty one with my camera, that's all.

I still miss it. I can't help it :)

One of my very favorite temples- the glow during the day and night I just love! (Plus I have roots in the construction too) 

These grapes are the kind my grandpa used to grow in his backyard. This batch is at my brother's house. 

Not sure if that is Pine Valley Mountain, because I can't get my bearings at my brother in law's, but if it is- one of my favorite places. Lots of good memories camping with my dad's side of the family. 

mmm- rain in the air smells divine 

 Cicada exoskeleton

 Man they are fast! 

That's all for now. Back in Idaho now, and hoping for a little rain tonight too!