Saturday, February 21, 2009

A day in the life. . .

This post is for those who may wonder what home school "looks like" at our house. Here is a snapshot or two of some of our more productive activities! Do not let this blog make you feel guilty about anything. I'm just not posting the pictures of us not being productive!!!
Add ImageClark was so sweet to help Elinor do her reading the other day. It was delightful to listen to him helping her sound out words. It wasn't that long ago that Clark was learning (not so happily some days!) to read and now he is helping teach Els. Truth be told, I think they were both really anxious to play to Wii and so Clark figured if he helped Elinor get her school things done they could play sooner. Whatever the reason, I will treasure this picture.

Faith plays with the Math-U-See blocks on the kitchen floor. Please pay no mind to the crumbs of food on the floor. I figure it will get swept up at some point, but we have way more interesting things to do than sweep floors all day!
Faith talks all day long, although we don't understand everything she says. She is really into singing now. Her top hits are the ABC song (with lots of W's) and the Smiley/ Frowny face song from church ("If you chance to meet a frown" over and over again.

Bethany is concentrating on her Math. She started with Math-U-See but prefers the Singapore math workbooks. Bethany has had a real breakthrough with her reading and has been cruising through Magic Tree House books independently. Very exciting.

This is Clark's latest project. We went to some friend's house last weekend and the older boys had an awesome big game called "Heroscape". These boys were very nice to teach Clark the game and he loved it. You move your character around and roll dice to attack and such. I don't fully understand it, but no matter. These boys told us it was pretty expensive to collect all the pieces to really have a fun time playing. Clark, wisely realizing that there was no way he could get the game, came home and decided to make his own "Heroscape" game- homemade dice and all. The kids have had a fantastic time playing his more affordable version!
Who says homeschoolers aren't socialized??? The children who aren't mine are part of a great family in our ward (also homeschoolers) and they had a fun wrestle out on the trampoline.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 19th

Today is February 19th. It is the four year anniversary of the loss of our sweet baby, Tessa. I am over the grieving process. I can list MANY blessings that have come to us directly because of this loss. But on February 19th, I cry. I miss her. I feel like one of my children is missing. I fully believe we will see her and be with her again, so I do not feel a hopeless, dark kind of sadness. I feel a sadness of missing someone I really love. I want to hug my children here a little tighter for a little longer.
Today is not a day to "get stuff done" as so many days around here are. I gave the kids a free day- no school, no practicing. We are picking Abe up for lunch and going to the cemetery where we will probably all cry again. Then we'll come home and watch the Johnny Tremain movie (we just read the book). I'm going to be gentle to myself and "my people".
Today is a day to remember what happened four years ago. I am grateful to our family and friends who supported us and were, and are, so kind to us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scooby, Scooby- Doo, I love you!

Scooby, Scooby- Doo, I love you!
I consider Scooby Doo a friend. Why you ask? He is always there for me when I need him.
My children will do ANYTHING for 1 hour of Scooby- Doo vegging time. We stopped at the DI today to look for pants for the girls (no good luck) but we walked by the $1.00 videos and Elinor found a Scooby-Doo video and asked if we could get it. Yes-- it is totally worth it. We got home and the kids wanted to watch it.
Have you got your stuff done?
No of course they didn't have their stuff (mostly school stuff) done, because they were definitely dragging today. Um, dragging is the nice way of putting it. Obstinate would be more accurate. In their defense I have been reading a book about Joseph Stalin and I think it is depressing me big time, so I probably wasn't in the best mood either.
Anyway, I'm pretty strict about how much the TV is on (well, almost no TV, but I'm talking videos and DVDs) so Scooby sends out a calming influence to everyone in the house- including me!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Svester!

Happy Birthday to my Svester! Svester is my nickname for my sister, Brigitta. Today is her birthday and I love her and am SO GLAD she is my sister. In some ways we are very different, but I wouldn't want her any other way. She and baby Brigham are both doing well.

Here we are, my Sweetie and me, at our Stake Valentines Dinner Dance last weekend. We sat with several young couples from our ward and laughed a lot. We got into quite a discussion regarding cold cereal. We went around the table sharing our favorite healthy and sugar cereals. We talked about having a cereal party where we get to eat tons of "shots" of different kinds of cereal. Doesn't that sound yummy and fun?

When we've got to get out of the house, but don't want to spend money we pile in the minivan and head down to the Monte L. Bean museum at BYU. There are hundreds of animals and it is a perfect size-- not so big that it takes forever, but just enough that it's worth the drive down. Everybody loves going there. When Clark is older I think I'll just drop him off there for the day and let him sketch and take notes. We have been going there since Clark was a very little guy. Faith hasn't been there for a while, so she was thrilled. She was particularly taken with an antelope with curly/twisted horns.

I know this is a pretty dorky picture, but we couldn't help ourselves.

This had to be documented because I don't think it will be possible much longer! Clark is growing up so quickly. He is starting to look like a young man to me.

This next part of this post is about FRIENDS. Many of you know I do not care much for the month of February. It's a bit of a downer for me because it is the month the mom passed away and the month we lost Tessa, so I'd just assume skip the whole month. But of course that is not possible and I just want to take a moment to be grateful for our friends. We have had some very fun friend gatherings the last couple of weekends and they have brought a bright spots to an otherwise not so fun month. We enjoyed our book club this weekend at the Flynns house. We've been meeting and discussing books monthly for about four 1/2 years. These people are inspiring to us and our kids look forward to visiting with their friends. So thank you, book club friends.

And the Taylors-- what can we say about the Taylors. We had dinner on Sunday and games. Clark and Ammon have been playing together since they were under a year. Well, we thought they were playing together, but really Rebecca and I just enjoyed each others company. They live in Farmington so we don't see them as often, but it is always great fun to be together! Here is the kids' table at dinner tonight.

Faith and Caleb couldn't be much cuter. We are definitely hoping for a match up down the road!

Clark and Ammon were playing a game, but they said the girls were being too loud so they stuffed their ears full of tissues. But then, how could they hear each other?

We are getting to know families in our ward and are so thankful for their good influence on us and our children. I think we all have some hard things to deal with as we sojourn here on earth, but having friends to share our joys and sorrows with is a wonderful thing. So I say to all our friends, and this includes our wonderful families, THANK YOU!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

25 Things about Abraham

This is my first post on a blog........ever (Yes, I know I have made lots of annoying comments before, but never an actual post).

1. First off, I do not think that I am a funny guy......a goofy, nutty, and very dorky guy, Yes.......but clever, full of wit and humor, No.
2. I love having lots of kids, and one of the main reasons for this is so that I can sit them down and mesmerize them with incredible stories about their father.....they are completely hooked now and think I am the greatest man to ever live......well, almost.
3. I gave up my Christmas-letter-writing responsibility to Betsy very early-on in our marriage due to my terrible (a.k.a. humor-less) writing skills and Betsy's excellent writing skills.
4. I cry in movies fairly easily.......some real doosies for me are: Life is Beautiful, Big Fish, Annabelle's Wish, Finding Neverland, It's a Wonderful Life and Where the Red Fern Grows.
5. I love to swim......and I have always wanted my own swimming pool. Oh, well, this is probably one of those "wants" that should forever remain unfulfilled, and therefore guaranteeing I could never take a swimming pool for granted.
6. I consider myself a husband & father first......and everything else secondary.
7. I am a Trekker, which means I am a very BIG Star Trek fan. As far as the world of Sci-Fi is concerned you are either a bigger Star Wars fan, or a Star Trek cannot love both equally. When I was 18, one of my senior pictures was of me wearing a blue Star Trek uniform (Spock's science officer color) and holding my hand up in the Vulcan I said very dorky.
8. I LOVE HAWAII!!!! I would love to live there.......but once again, maybe, like the swimming pool.........wanting is best.
9. My middle name is my mother's maiden name........I am Abraham Jolley Fox.......and when I was a kid I hated my middle name. Now, I am very grateful and proud to be a Jolley fact, very happily, I will answer to the name of Jolley.
10. When I was 14, I punctured my left lung by falling from a rope swing 15 ft up in the air......I also broke 4 ribs.
11. I love HUGE bowls of cheap chocolate ice cream.........anything supposedly high quality, or ends with an "...eyers" .....just isn't as good.
12. I too am a nail biter.......and the foolish traditions of the father are being passed on to the son......I'm sorry Clark.
13. I, once, had an affair.............. with a gorgeous...... huge......... house. She was too expensive for me and I had to give her up.
14. I milked 2 cows by hand every morning as a kid........and, yes, we did have a “Betsy”.
15. One of my very favorite past-times/hobbies is thinking up, studying and analyzing baby names.
16. I am a paradox of tv/movie watching.........I love BOTH 24 and all versions of Pride and Prejudice.
17. I love to organize people and plan trips and events. On occasion, Betsy has called me "Frank” (pronounced “FRONK”) from Father of the Bride……….but I have never planned a wedding………..….yet.
18. I could eat cold cereal - breakfast, lunch and dinner.......I am not kidding.........and I told Betsy about this when we were engaged.........she thought I was joking.
19. I am a fairly sweaty, oily & clammy skinned person.........I was so glad I had gloves the first time I held hands with Betsy.
20. Oh, and the very NON-dry skin leads to extremely stinky feet.........which I have passed onto at least 2 of my children so far.
21. I love crustaceans (though being somewhat allergic to them).....shrimp, crab & lobster......but, Betsy, can't stand anything that "lives its life in water". Consequently, if I NEED crab.......Red Lobster here I come.
22. Over ten years ago the Red Cross told me I could no longer give blood because I might have Mad Cow disease floating around inside of me lying dormant (I served my mission in England in the mid-90s when Mad Cows were running……..dying all over the place).............Since then I have become increasingly petrified of needles.
23. I love Halloween and dressing up in costumes.......and generally just making a fool of myself. My kids are REALLY going to love me in a few years.
24. I love to type with ellipses........................can you tell?
25. Oh, and when it comes to Rock Band......I don't play guitar, I do not play drums......I just ROCK OUT on the vocals!! Matt & Misty gave me my first hit….....and I have been a Rock Band Junkie ever since.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

25 Things about Me (by Betsy)

1. I think I've been tagged about 25 times to write 25 things about me.
2. I dream of starring in a play, preferably a musical. However, I don't sing very well and I can't act so unless I produce and direct the play, it probably won't happen.
3. I am a nail biter. I know - it's disgusting.
4. Ever since having children I LOVE chocolate and almost always have Dove Dark Chocolates in my freezer. My children ask me to share and I say NO! They are my Mommy Medicine.
5. I love to watch English period dramas. I watch A&E Pride and Prejudice A LOT when I am pregnant. And I've been pregnant A LOT. Abe can just my emotional state by how many times a week P&P is on.
6. I love to make schedules and organize myself, but I hate following the schedules I make.
7. I do make delicious homemade bread. My sister-in-law asked me if I feel like the Little Red Hen. Sometimes I do.
8. I switch back and forth between liquid and pencil eye liner. Abe has never noticed the difference.
9. I like to play games that involve strategy, but I think I enjoy dumb luck games even more. I cannot behave myself during the game of Rook. I should never gamble.
10. I play the trombone. Well, I played the trombone. I don't get it out very often these days except for the occasional Cannon Family Reunion. My kids aren't old enough to be embarrassed by me yet.
11. I LOATHE spiders. I believe I could benefit from therapy for my fear of spiders, but I know I would have to actually deal with a spider to overcome my phobia and it's just not worth it.
12. I don't really need directions and a map to find someplace. If I know the general vicinity I am okay to just drive around until I find it. This drives Abe CRAZY!!!! He tries to print out maps for me.
13. I love reading books aloud to my children. It's a big part of our home school.
14. I love to play Rock Band. I'm quite good on the guitar. Sometimes when the kids are in bed Abe and I sneak downstairs and rock out!
15. I do not mind public speaking, if only I could be assured that I was saying something really good.
16. I am prone to very dry skin. I use a lot of lotion. I wish I could bathe in a tub of lotion. This is Abe's worst nightmare as he is prone to cold clammy skin.
17. It is hard for me to talk about myself without talking about Abe. He is definitely my other half.
18. I like cheap hot chocolate. I haven't found a gourmet hot chocolate that can beat Stephen's Dark Hot Chocolate. But you are welcome to treat to me one you think is better.
19. I have a very acute sense of smell, therefore I do NOT like anyone breathing directly on me. Like when I ask the children if they have brushed their teeth and they open their mouth to breathe in my face to prove that they have brushed their teeth--- DON"T DO THAT!!!!!!!
20. I cry every time I sing the Star-Spangled Banner. One time I was conducting the song in church and totally lost it. Afterward a girl came up to me and said I looked like I needed a friend.
21. I am playing women's church basketball. It isn't pretty, but I haven't scored at the wrong end like I did several times when I was a Young Woman. I haven't scored at the right end either, but oh well.
22. I could not cook AT ALL when I got married. However, thanks to a few cooking mentors/friends, I am now not afraid to host a dinner party.
23. I have never broken a bone. I am the only one of my four siblings to need glasses/contacts.
24. I do not like flying. I don't understand turbulence. Why is air bumpy??? I know-- people have tried to explained to me that it has to do with different air temperatures-- but I just don't get it. It is very disturbing.
25. I do enjoy going to movies, but its about 75% because I like movie popcorn. I like to critique movies and I am kind of a harsh critic.
26. I know there are only suppose to be 25. I am very sensitive to cow jokes. Betsy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My dad and Beverly and Evie came to pick up Bethany today to take her up to Farmington for a special Grandma and Grandpa/ cousin sleepover. We don't do friend sleepovers, so this was a real treat for Bethie!
Another VERY COOL thing- my dad has been recording, "Grandpa Presents the Book of Mormon". He has recorded himself reading the Book of Mormon. He gave us the first installment a little while back and we have LOVED listening to it. Grandpa is very animated in his reading and it is exciting. We can't wait for more!

Add ImageClark received his Bear rank in Cub Scouts at the pack meeting this month. I feel like a total impostor standing up there getting the mom's pin. Because you see, I haven't done anything to help him earn his award. It is his and Abe's thing they work on together. (Although, a lot of stuff he can sign off because of activities done on my watch). However, I can justify standing there to get the pin because for almost two years I have gone to every single pack meeting, with all the children, by myself because Abe has had class the night of pack meeting. So I guess I did earn that pin afterall!

This is the army costume referred to in the previous post. There is something seriously sad about this picture. It's like one of those award winning photographs in war torn countries of children holding real weapons. She said the sword she was holding was a bazooka.
Speaking of bazookas-- the kids have warped the game of "rock, paper, scissors" into "bazooka, force field, dynamite, and atomic bomb". It is played the same way and somehow they have worked out the rules to this more exciting version.

I just can't post enough cute pictures of Faith. She is totally potty trained, with the only problem being she insists on being accompanied to the bathroom. She is still loving nursery and now has the excitement of getting to go to a little preschool singing class once a week with her best little friend, Abby.

Our family went to the Draper Temple open house this week. It was beautiful-- AWESOME! I think some thought I was a little kooky for wanting to take our little ones with us- and there was quite a wait- but I really wanted to be in the Celestial Room with all my people here on earth. Hopefully when they are all grown we can go to the temple together, but that is a ways off (or so it seems) and I wanted a little taste of it now.

A really funny thing happened while we were waiting in the cultural hall for the bus to take us up to the temple. There was a lady on the row in front of us who looked very familiar to me. I finally figured out where I knew her from and I asked her if she was who I thought she was. She was indeed, Julie, from Saturday's Warrior. She was very nice. I wanted to tell her, "hey, do you remember the girl who played Alice (one of the SheDaisy sisters)? She is my second cousin!" But I thought that would be obnoxious name dropping so I didn't. I couldn't help telling her that the kids and I do prefer Saturday's Warrior to My Turn on Earth. I didn't mention that Abe likes the latter better.
I can't help myself! Another cutie Faith picture. This was taken at our Stake Center this past week just before I played in a women's basketball game. I'm just as bad as I ever was (probably a lot worse) but it is really fun. We lost this game, but we did win last week. If I don't take credit for the win, I don't have to take the blame for the loss, right?

Here are some of the ladies on the team. The gal on my on the left in gray is also in the primary presidency. She's wonderful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hello Friends

Whew! The children are all in bed. Do you have days where it feels like there is not one moment of quiet all day long. Let me think-- was there even one minute? No I don't think so. I am grateful for all of my little people and I do enjoy their company almost all the time, but today the noise level in the house was exceptional. I think I have to blame Faith. What? Blame Faith for anything! You see, she just figured out how to communicate through words. We still don't understand a lot of the words she tries to say, but she just keeps saying them over and over and over again until we guess correctly.
And then there is Cannon! Sheesh! I am not accustomed to babies who move with just purpose so early in life. He is eight months old and I know that isn't particularly early to be crawling, but it's quite early for my lazy babies. And he just wiggles ALL the time! He knows what he wants and he goes for it-- unfortunately it is often the girls hair that he wants.
I'm sorry to complain, but if you are reading this, I assume you are my friend, and so I'm venting to my friends before I go slumber. These blog posts may be kind of boring, but they are quite theraputic to me. That's probably pretty lame.
I'll continue. Elinor has been wearing an old U.S. Army Halloween costume of Clark's for the last two days. I'm sad to say that she even wore the costume when we went to Costco tonight to buy food for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet that is tomorrow night. The tradition in our ward it that the Primary Presidency prepares the food for the banquet. I know--NICE, huh? I didn't want to rock that boat yet! Before we left to go to Costco Abe questioned the appropriateness of such attire out in public. I honestely could not have cared less what she was wearing.
Clark's latest project-- Operation Spider Web. He was kind of bored this afternoon. I reminded him not to be alarmed about the boredom. He was just passing through the land of boredom on his way to his next great idea. Sure enough, the next great idea was to build a huge spider web with string and made a big black spider out of a ski hat and black pipe cleaners. Where does he come up with this stuff????
All right, Friends. Thanks for reading.