Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Best Smile

Ahhhh, my Robert. Another one that God has deemed me worthy enough to care for. I don't know that I have ever known anyone so full of life and energy. Everything is full steam ahead with this little man.  And yet there is a side to him that melts hearts. He is always the first to share a treat, give a smile to a stranger, cheer on his friends and siblings, and strangle you with a bear hug. Nearly every night he reads William an extra story or two and will often buy some candy with the sole purpose of giving it away. He is about as generous as they come, except when it comes to Legos. Don't mess with the Legos, man.

Life always seems to be throwing him curve balls but he catches every one with a smile on his face. Oh, that smile is a special one. Nearly every fast Sunday he wants to bear his testimony. We used to try and dissuade him but he is a persistent one and I don't try to talk him out of it anymore.  He really has a testimony and really wants to share it and always with that smile. The one that melts ice and waters my eyes. The one that heals broken hearts and brings laughter to our home.  Someday he will be a fantastic missionary and I know that he will win many souls with that famous grin. This month he turned 8. In a couple weeks he will be entering through the gates of baptism and I can not wait to see that shining face come out of the water. I have a feeling it will be his best smile yet.

Just Enough

Turning 12 is a big deal in this home, especially if you have been waiting to leave primary like a kid waiting for Christmas.  Being the only active girl in senior primary was a little tough for her but now we are thrilled to have her in the YW program. She brings our numbers up to 3 on Sundays! And that is not just Beehives. Legally wearing make-up may have also played a role in her anticipation of this year's special day. She requested a cheesecake so Dad made her a scrumptious Oreo caramel one. It was barely big enough to hold all those candles.

Some things to know about our LahnaLou:

  • Locks, keys, maps, and Paris are all things she loves.
  • She has created her own language that she calls Alahnian and loves to translate her favorite books into this cypher type language. 
  • She loves learning Latin and has started teaching herself Arabic, just for fun.
  • Her deep feelings and gentle spirit help keep our home peaceful.
  • If you have any questions about Lord of the Rings of Greek Mythology she is the gal to ask.
  • She is Batman's biggest fan.
  • Little kids follow her like she's made of chocolate.
  • She's helpful, kind, considerate, smart, and funny too.
But, guess what? As amazing as that is, I don't care. None of it matters. God chose me to be her mother. She is mine and that is enough. I don't need any other reasons. Happy 12th Birthday Lou! Thank you for being you!


Fare thee well, Scarlet Pimpernell

Because a new adventure has begun and it seems futile to continue trying to catch up on last year's adventure, I will wrap it up with one final post. This last year was so enriching for me. My soul was refreshed and renewed as we searched, studied, and pondered good art and music, another year gone that impacted how I perceive the world.  I pray that it had a similar effect on my children.

The year came full circle as we returned to the Kimberly Crest mansion for another ball. With the stress of a new year behind us we were able to be a little more relaxed and have a good time with good friends. Anna enjoyed dancing with Dad and Alahna enjoyed the same with some friends. The boys were too busy spying on the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel to spend time dancing and I was content to sit and watch my favorite people.

The woman that has been my ultimate home school example graduated her youngest from high school this night. She is a true pioneer in the homeschooling community and one that I admire deeply.  To think that I will never do a school year under her tutelage again leaves me feeling somewhat somber but I am grateful for the many memories that she helped create for my children and me and know that she is not far away if I need her words of wisdom.

I hope she never loses this love for her father.

Doing the Virginia Reel was Alahna's highlight of the night.

A couple of weeks after our farewell ball we enjoyed a field trip as a family to the Norton Simon Museum. It had a little bit of art from every period that we studied so was a perfect way to end the year. Afterward we came home and ceremoniously emptied our Truth, Goodness, and Beauty jars to make m&m milkshakes.  With that the year was officially over and my mind became completely obsessed with new adventures!

The museum had some amazing flowers in their gardens.

My chickabidees who do not like to cooperate for pictures!

The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel celebrating a successful mission of rescuing truth, goodness, and beauty.

A successful mission is delicious!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sir Isaac Newton (more cathcing up)

For science this year, we focused quite a bit of time learning about Isaac Newton and his laws of motion. We were able to get a couple of  kits from the Academy of Science for Kids to help with our learning experience. The boys mostly just did the experiments and participated in some discussion. The girls also used the workbooks that came with the kits and watched several videos. We were pretty impressed and I will look for more opportunities to use their science kits in the future.

Easter Weekend (over 3 months ago)

Catching up is a bit therapeutic and a bigger bit of a pain at the same time but I do it to help me remember the good things in life.

For me, this Easter was especially spiritual. For a few years now, the week leading up to Easter we have focused our scripture study on the last week of Christ's ministry on Earth. This year the experience was enriched with art and music depicting those sacred events and then to top it off we were able to attend The Pageant of Our Lord and Forrest Lawn in Glendale the day before Easter.

We started with The Pageant of Our Lord at Rolling Hills Covenant Church. They did a beautiful job portraying Christ's life through life size masterpieces of paintings and sculptures using live models, music, and narration. When the show ended with a beautiful scene of the resurrection and singing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah my soul was soaring. But when the curtain stayed closed and people started rising from their seats I was hit with a wave of sadness along with a myriad of other emotions.  They are wonderful, God fearing, Christian people doing a great service to the community, but they don't know the whole story. They don't know there is more! I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for the knowledge I have and at the same time a heightened desire to share that knowledge with others. I don't know if anyone outside of my family will read this, but if you do and you want to know what happened after Christ's resurrection and what your purpose here on Earth is, please visit here.

After our experience at Rolling Hills Covenant Church we headed to the Forest Lawn in Glendale. Once again I found my soul soaring. They have exact replicas of many of Michelangelo's works and a spectacular stained glass window of the Last Supper. I knew they had those things and was looking forward to viewing them, but I was not expecting to see Jan Styka's painting of The Crucifixion. Honestly, I had never even heard of it but I will never forget the way I felt when the curtains were opened and I saw the life size image of Christ, standing resolute, the moment before he was raised on the cross. The overwhelming awe I felt literally took my breath away. It wasn't until the tears were falling from my cheeks that I even realized I was crying. I look forward to going again and if it happens to be on Easter weekend, well that would be superb.

Anna, Alahna, Robert and William reading "The Builder's Creed" at Forest Lawn.

I can not even begin to say how much I love this picture!

I truly believe this and pray someday it becomes valued again in our society.
My handsome, happy boys on Easter morning.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Romantic Fanatics

As we started our Romantic Fanatic component, in which we learned about the Romantic period, we met at Mormon Rocks. There, we listened to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, learned about patronymic names, and also went on a short hike to meet Casper David Friedrich who taught us about atmospheric perspective. Then to top off the day we had a personal tour at a train museum in San Bernardino.

The kids with Friedrich, or maybe we should say Fredrika.

While at the train museum we learned about the Harvey girls. A few days later we ordered the movie form Netflix and now have another favorite!

David had the day off and it was an unusual treat to have him along for a field trip! And don't you just love the little girl hugging Robert. He was so embarrassed!

After learning about Casper David Friedrich we decided do some science and make fog using ice, a match, and a little warm water. It was just a quick little activity for the girls, but the boys loved it and spent about an hour on it. It then led to some great discussion about the water cycle.
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Casper David Friedrich was our inspiration for the experiment. This is also the picture on the front of Robert's journal making it one of his favorites!
Waiting for the fog to form. Anna hamming it up as usual. She keeps things fun and Alahna keeps things sane. They make a good pair.

Being allowed to play with matches just might have been the real reason they loved this activity so much.

If you look closely at the top of the jar you can actually see the fog coming out.

President's Day

Meeting Honest Abe himself and watching some Civil War reenactments at Calico Ghost Town was not a bad way to spend President's Day. We listened to him tell stories of his childhood, then later give the Gettysburg address, and afterward we all joined in to sing some patriotic songs.

We also mined for some gold while we were there, fools gold, that is.

And looky there, Sheriff William just caught an Outlaw. And I must say that is a fine looking outlaw, and sheriff too.