Daily Life

Missing

Last night and this morning were stressful. There is a holiday around here where we celebrate our pioneer heritage and some celebrate with fireworks. I didn’t use fireworks and never saw any but we sure heard them. For over two hours. Boom! Boom! Boom! I am half deaf and didn’t know they were going on until later.

After prayer we sent the kids to bed and the dog wasn’t sleeping where she normally does. We’d left her out back to go do her thing. We looked all over inside the house. Called outside. Walked around the neighborhood. Drove around the neighborhood. She was nowhere to be found. I told the kids she’d probably be home by morning.

I was wrong.

I had gotten up several times in the night to check and see if she was outside the front door. She wasn’t. I prayed and worried myself sick. At just before six as the sun was about to peek over the horizon I got up and dressed and got Michael up and had him come with me to drive around and look for our dog. No sign of her. We figured the fireworks scared her away. We always put her in the house during fireworks. This year all the festivities were canceled due to covid so I didn’t think about it.

When we came home from the first drive of looking I put a notice out on Facebook about what happened and a picture. A friend suggested I call the police. I did. They didn’t have her but would let me know if she was brought in.

I was restless and teary the whole morning. I had done all I could. It was a waiting game now. I sat at the table making rolls and Benjamin came up behind me and gave me a hug. He said it would all be okay and that she would be home soon. It was so sweet of him and I really hoped for the kids’ sake that it was true.

A few hours later a friend commented on my post that a woman on another Facebook page had found my dog. Yes! My stomach had been clenched tight for hours and it finally relaxed. The woman called me and we confirmed that it was indeed Skylar, my dog. I kept crying but this time tears of gratitude and happiness. We went and picked up Skylar. The people who found her said they found her in the back corner of their yard just shaking. She had managed to get herself over a mile away through lots of fields to where she ended up. When we got to her and saw her we were so happy. She jumped in the van right away. The kids were petting her and talking to her. Lauren and I were crying. I think the dog was relieved, too. She doesn’t do well when we’re gone and to be lost probably put her over the edge. She stuck closer to me than usual the rest of the day.

The kids think that I don’t like the dog. I really do and I hope they realize it now. She is with me pretty much all day and though I sometimes need a break, I do care about her.

When we got home we said prayers of gratitude. Gratitude that she was returned to us so quickly. Gratitude that she was alive and unharmed. Gratitude for the help of others in finding her.

I really hope she never goes missing again. She will definitely be inside on all firework holidays and days surrounding them from now on.

Daily Life

Plans on Hold

Yesterday morning I was prepping to go camping for the weekend. Yesterday afternoon I got a call that the house appraiser was coming Monday morning.

Plot twist.

Okay, it was all good. Just a slight panic because I was excited to just get away from everything and have fun with my kids. I thought we’d have another week at least to prepare for the appraisal. Nope. Just a long weekend. I changed gears and got to work. I cleaned the boys bathroom (it was so gross and I don’t know why they think it is acceptable) and then I cleaned the little boys bedroom. I moved furniture around because that’s what I do.

The big boys said they cleaned their room. They clearly don’t know the meaning of the word clean. I took everything out of their closet. Random piles of paper and art supplies and just stuff. I took some of it and told them to put away the rest. What do you bet they just shoved it back into the closet willy-nilly?

I moved tables and wardrobes and exercise equipment, beds and piles and piles of laundry. Actually I made the piles and had everyone help. I vacuumed and vacuumed and dusted and then I was pooped. Only to have to get up and start in again.

I planned on painting the stairs this morning but instead I am writing. I don’t want to paint them. They need it but I just would rather fix them right but don’t have the time or materials for it yet.

And the camping trip? We are still having it. In the backyard. Because why not.

Quick funny story. Last night I was tucking the little boys in. They are in the basement and out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow move in the window. I calmed myself thinking it was just our cat, but realized it was huge! A ginormous black head was in the window looking at me. My neighbor’s great dane had gotten out and was looking at me. I was startled but figured out what was going on. I went to put her back in her yard because I knew the neighbors had gone camping. I don’t know how she got out. The fence gates were all zip tied and blocked. It is a mystery. But having a huge black animal blend into the night staring at you through the window is a little disconcerting.

Okay, fine, I’ll get to work. It is going to be a very long day.

Daily Life

Last Day of (Elementary) School

I got a late start this morning because my stomach was bothering me. Never fun.

It is finally warm enough to walk without a jacket and the dog was up early barking at the backyard. The neighbor’s yorkie was running around my chicken coops. I headed out and there was nothing I could do but wait for my dog to chase it out, which she did. They get along just fine but Skylar is protective of everything. I fed the chicks and cats and took off on my walk. One of the cats came, too. I am sure I looked ridiculous walking around the track with a cat following me. She followed the entire half mile before I was done being followed and went home. She followed me home. Actually, I followed her. Weird cat.

School assignment deadlines are on Friday. Lauren had one class’ worksheets to finish and turn in. There was lots of drama. So much drama. It seems the kids all pitch a fit until they realize I really will sit next to them all day long so they might as well buckle down and get it done. She did. All done and turned in with a minute to spare before the school was done for the day and locked up.

It wore me out though having to sit there and listen to her chattering and reading out loud and thinking out loud for 2 hours. But she is officially dinne with elementary school. It is off to junior high for her next year. And then another starts elementary school. They are growing up so fast! I’ll worry about all that in a few months. I’m going to enjoy the summer.

But, after dealing with the last few weeks and months I’ve decided I just can’t do homeschool unless it is my only option. I could get organized, I could get the curriculum all set to go, but some of my kids and I clash. One child takes instruction from others great but from me it is a battle and always has been. She has to do it herself. So I am realizing it just won’t work. I can be a support and cheerleader and help that way.

With the weather warmed up finally I need to get the summer clothes out of storage, store the winter clothes and take stock of what I need to buy. But first the garage needs to be cleaned so i can get to the boxes. I have this dream of taking everything out of the garage, cobbled shelves, scavenged cupboards, etc., everything! And starting over with a nice organized garage system. I can tell you that will not be happening anytime soon. But I can dream!

Nothing much else got done. The kids had fun and Evangeline made messes because that’s what a one year old does.

I had made bread earlier in the day and it was fantastic. Softest bread! It made for really good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It all got eaten so I’ve got to make more. I wish I had an outdoor oven though because without an air conditioner the house gets so hot.

The kids’ elementary school had a drive by parade tonight. The teachers all stood lined up in front of the school and the students would be in the cars and drive by. My van is a fishbowl and I noticed the teachers laughing. We looked back and the kids were all smashing their faces against the windows. That would look funny. It was a fun way to say goodbye for the year.

After we got home from the parade Alex sat down to watch Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is one of his favorites. I watched for a bit but left to do something that needed doing. Of course I got distracted and ended up folding laundry. Then Noah asked me to go outside and sit on the hammocks with him. Sure thing. I went outside, watered the garden and then asked Noah which one he wanted to sit on. He told me he would sit on one and I would sit on another. Okay. If that’s how he wants it. He eventually did end up sitting next to me.

Bedtime went smoothly but Gideon woke us up crying about growing pains. I really wish he would grow ot of their has been going on for years. At least they are less frequent now. I got up (at 1:30 a.m. mind you) to help him. As I walked him to the stairs I looked into the basement and saw another kid walk by. I’m going to have to take away all the electronics. Apparently some of them are staying up way too late.

Daily Life

Saturday Stuff

One thing we have been doing around here is gardening. Alex planted the cold crops: cabbage, radish, broccoli, etc. So many radishes. They are easy to grow so why not. These radishes are special because they came from a radish we planted last year and harvested the seeds from. That’s the first time we’ve done that.

We cleaned and cleaned today. Well, I did. Does it look like it? Not really. Kids are really messy. Mine are anyways.

Today was also haircut day. Alex cut the boys hair, I cut bangs for Lauren and then I cut Alex’s hair. It had been awhile so all the kids look so different now. Except Benjamin because he won’t let us touch his hair. Fine by me. Not a hill I’m willing to die on. Alex on the other hand went all the way with the haircut. Really short and he shaved off his beard. He looks 10 years younger and unrecognizable to our youngest daughter. She was scared of him all day. I had to change all the diapers, hold her, do everything for her that he would normally help with on Saturday because she wouldn’t let him near her. Eventually she let him hold her but she wouldn’t look at him. I’m glad I got it on video.

The chicken is still alive, if you were interested to know. Alex gave her another warm bath and she calmly sat in it. Hopefully she heals quickly.

I had Alex go for a walk with me this morning. I am sure onlookers thought it was the weirdest looking walk. We would be together then half a length apart, fast then slow and also dodging the dog in between because she couldn’t figure out who to walk next to. I prefer to walk by myself I decided. I can talk to my sister on the phone or listen to music or podcasts and go at my own pace for as long as I want. But I will never say no to walking with my best friend (Alex) even if the pace is a bit erratic.

We watched the 2019 version of Nancy Drew. I loved it. It was cute and Lauren now wants to read the books. Yay! My mom has a lot of the books so we can borrow them maybe when all things are back to normal-ish.

I had to stay up late Saturday night. I forgot to make bread for the sacrament on Sunday. We quickly made a batch and have to stay up to bake it. At least we can sleep in.

Elizabeth had a breakout of eczema this week. None of my kids have ever had it so I knew it had to be an allergic reaction. It couldn’t be from washing her hands because that would effect both hands. I was talking to my mom and she said I should give her vitamins. Light bulb moment! The only thing that had changed was that we’d started giving the kids a new vitamin this week. It had to be it. She has to be allergic to something in the vitamins. So I explained that we were going to do an experiment and see if it makes a difference. She has been off from them for 2 days now and her hand is healing, the rash is going away. I will not be buying that brand again.

That is what we’ve been up to. Im looking forward to a relaxing Sunday.

Daily Life

What a Day

I got up this morning (Friday) and I went for a walk. I took the dog with me this time and she is enjoyed it. Since I got her the new harness and retractable leash she is so much better behaved. She stays right next to me and ignores everything that would normally distract her. As we were walking to the high school track one of the cats was following us. She followed us all the way to the neighbor’s fence where I picked her up to carry her past the neighbor’s dogs. I put her down on the gravel at the playground by the track and she just stood there and meowed at me. I gave in and started walking home. The cat led the way. Every few meters or so she would stop and turn around to make sure I was following her. We made it back to the house and I fed her and her sister in the garage and she let me go on my walk. Such a silly cat.

When Alex got home around noon I had him help me with the school stuff. We had all the kids in the “classroom” and we both supervised two kids each and another child used the computer in the basement. She is the only one I trust to keep at her work without supervision. It took hours but they got a lot done. I am proud of Benjamin because even though he hated it he begrudgingly did it and he got all of his assignments done except the book report that is due next week. He’s all caught up now.

The day before when we went to check on the chickens we noticed one wasn’t acting right. We did some research and got the bird into the “hot tub”. It was just a bin with warm water and Epsom salt. We soaked her bum because she looks to have one of two conditions and neither are good. She looks miserable. We’ll give her a good soak twice a day and hopefully that clears it up. Poor thing.

In the mail the parts to repair the broken couch came. I had planned on doing it myself but Alex did most of it. He replaced the springs. I will do the fabric covering next. But we can comfortably sit on it again! If I catch the kids jumping on it they will be in trouble.

While Alex and I were taking the staples out to fix the couch Noah came and stood next to me and started messing with my hair. This is fairly normal for the kids to do. My hair is over two feet long. After a minute or so I turned to look at him and he had scissors in his hands and was about to cut my hair! Three/four year olds are adorable but they are also terrors! I’m so glad I turned around before he did any major damage. He said he got a few hairs cut. You really have to keep a close eye on kids because you never know what will go on in their heads.

When I’d ordered the parts to the couch (three weeks ago) I also ordered one of my favorite movies, “Babe“, the pig movie. It is such a cute, fun movie. It came yesterday (I’d intended it for Easter but delivery being what it is nowadays) so we sat as a family and watched it while we fixed the couch.

I had made the peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses on them for the movie night. The kids ate them okay but it always annoys me when the just lick the chocolate off them and leave a soggy cookie. Evangeline was sitting on my lap watching the movie and getting cookie crumbs all over me. She finally paid attention to the movie and noticed the animals were talking. She is one so it was fun to see her amazement as she pointed and giggled at the tv.

Today is Saturday and other than the usual cleaning we haven’t got much planned. Yesterday I asked the kids if they wanted to go on a drive. The fourteen year old nodded his head enthusiastically. I said if we went to the store he couldn’t go in. He said that’s fine, he just wants to go somewhere- anywhere. He’s tired of being cooped up. When a teenage boy who never wants to go anywhere wants to go somewhere you know he’s getting fed up. He even went out and played with the cat. He gave the dog a bath yesterday too to get out of homework- hahaha!

So we’ll see what happens today. Oh yeah, we’d planned on doing haircuts. Not my favorite but Alex said he’d do all but his own. That he’ll leave to me.

Daily Life

Homeschool Day 2

I woke up and for a glorious 30 seconds everything was “normal”. Then I hit full conciousness and realized that there was a new normal. My spirit flagged for a second but then I got up to make the best of it.

I made breakfast burritos and after breakfast we set up school. This school thing works great at school because the kids listen and never pull out the behavior they do at home. One of my grade school children decided to be the one who had the last whine. Not word- whine. He wouldn’t stop. All he had to do was shut his mouth. Couldn’t do it. I’d say be quiet and he’d not be quite. This went on for what seemed like forever but was probably more like three minutes. I sent him to another room until he could zip it. We did this process twice.

Eventually it all settled down and the little kids got a bunch of math and English papers done. If they finish it all early next week I won’t be sad.

The older boys are a bit more difficult. All their assignments are emailed to them and they are pretty much on their own. I ask them what they got done and remind them that when school starts up again they best not be behind. Plus with the ability to turn in assignments by email the grading of work is still happening.

I have been inside for months now. Since about mid- October and I’m getting a little stir crazy. Yesterday I had enough and bundled the kids up and made them all go for a walk around the block. It was sunny but the cold north wind was blowing. I was not a fan of that. Later I went to take out the trash and the wind had died down and it was warm! (46° F) We took another walk and then I let the little kids just play in the front walkway (the grass is wet and mostly buried in snow. But the roof is finally snow free and Gideon’s soccer ball that had been callously flung onto the snowy roof by an older brother finally melted free after 4 months.

Michael had taken the dog for a quick walk and then put her in the back yard. As soon as she saw the kids and I walk by she was upset. This dog is literally my shadow and hates when I leave without her. She saw us walk by the fence and I could see the wheels turning in her head. She stood there for a second and then turned around and bolted to the other end of the yard where we have a short fence. In her desperation this winter to get to the front yard where we were working she jumped the fence. Years before she had tried jumping the fence but her toe got twisted up and caught in the fence and it was painful. I got her untwisted and out but she didn’t jump fences after that until this winter. I saw where she was headed so I went back and put her in the house; I don’t like walking her and pushing a stroller simultaneously. By the way, it is funny that she could jump the fence anywhere in the yard but doesn’t know it and I’m not going to teach her either (it’s a four foot fence).

So later, the cookie dough I made the day before? I baked them before dinner. Cookies take soooooo long! I made dinner simultaneously and it was done before the cookies. It was a good snack but I won’t be doing that for another few weeks. They make a quick breakfast though- don’t judge.

We ended the night pretty early by watching a video based on the scriptures we had read earlier in the week, had prayer and tucked the kids into bed. Evangeline was not tired. At all. Okay, actually she was but she wasn’t going to admit it.

That was pretty much the day. Hopefully the next day is better.

Daily Life

Homeschool Day 1

We woke up at the usual time this morning. As I was contemplating getting out of bed my sisters message “earthquake!”

They all live in Northern Utah and they all felt it. It woke them all up. The funny thing was that my mother, who lives for these things and is always tracking the earthquakes online all over the globe- slept through it. It woke up the whole house but not my parents. I laughed at that.

What was a blessing was that most people were home due to the pandemic. All the fear and panic of not knowing how your kids or spouse are doing was alleviated because they were home for the most part. Silver linings.

As for the rest of my morning- there is a reason that my kids leave the house for school. We gathered all together at the table and all their personality differences were readily apparent. Two were ready to go and went through worksheet after worksheet. Michael did band first so we heard the trombone music coming from the basement. I’m not sure what Benjamin was doing because as I was cycling through the younger kids the older two were in the basement. Sam was the one who decided that he’d rather spend most of the time balking at his assignments. I had him skip one and he plowed through the rest. Thank goodness. All I all we did 2.5 hours of school. That is a win in my book. And we get to do this for 3 more weeks. I might give them spring break off. 😉

I did end up giving the dog a haircut. I don’t know how long it took but tge dog was very obedient. She loved the attention is my guess. She hated her face and feet dinne but didn’t fight me over it.

Evangeline doesn’t know what the dif looks like with short fur and is now scared of her own dog. It would be more comical but I couldn’t put her down the rest of the day without her crying.

Im in a Jane Austen fan group on Facebook and today I saw several people post that Jennifer Ehle (who played Elizabeth Bennett in 1995) was reading Pride and Prejudice on Instagram. I listened to the beginning and she did an excellent job. Not everyone is good at narrating a book. A lot that I have heard are pretty hard to listen to. I woul listen to her read the whole book.

Today I panicked a little due to the earthquake I wasn’t in. Silly but I started to realize how unprepared I really am and wanted to run out to the store and get stuff. Wouldn’t do much good so I convinced myself to just stay put, make a list and go on Friday. I did go fill my van up and plan to keep it full. It made me calm down a bit. By the end of the day I was fine. I also made a big batch of cookie dough as a way to distract myself.

Tomorrow is another day. I’ll try to keep my phone down more. Trying to homeschool when you are worried about family and earthquakes is difficult. Hopefully tomorrow won’t be eventful. I’ll take boring any day.

Daily Life

Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans refers to something that has gone awry, something that has not turned out as well as one had hoped.

Isn’t that the truth. Welcome to the new normal and here’s hoping that it is temporary and is over soon.

Today I woke up knowing that I needed to prepare for tomorrow. I needed to figure a schedule out for homeschooling, or extreme extended homework. I am not looking forward to this with any degree of excitement. I need to change my attitude and quick. I have 5 kids in grades 8 to 1. I recieved emails and texts about assignments. The kids came home with worksheets, workbooks, textbooks, etc. Lauren’s backpack weighed 18 pounds. She weighed it.

I decided that we would get up at the usual time and with any luck get it all done daily before lunch.

Then it dawned on me. Lunch. Breakfast. I hadn’t planned on them being home when I grocery shopped. The little kids are easy to feed. We open a can of tuna or make a peanut butter sandwich. The big kids? They are harder and eat more. I’ll figure it out like I do everything else.

Last night at the store I bought Lucky Charms for breakfast. The kids loved it. Then I came up with the idea to make rainbow bread. I was literally in the kitchen for hours cooking. Between the tortillas I needed to cook from the night before, the rainbow bread and dinner the kids knew where to find me.

It looks good but I don’t think I’ll do it again. The kids faces when they saw it was worth it though. It looks like it would be sweet but it was just normal bread which threw them off balance.

For dinner we had corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes. It was so good. Then after the kids cleaned up (I had them do it because we needed a clean kitchen for school in the morning) we watched half of The Quiet Man. I love that movie and it is our St. Patrick’s Day tradition.

I know I had planned to cut the dog’s fur and I desperately need to do it tomorrow. I didn’t want fur every where when I was cooking so I put it off. I can’t anymore. I know exactly where the dif is because I can smell her before I can see her. The bath did nothing. Like I need something else to do.

Oh, and last night I was driving Alex’s car. It was driving really weird. I thought it might be the engine. Shows how much I know. It needed new tires, bad. That’s always a fun way to spend money. All four tires needed replacing and the alignment fixed. It’s in the shop now. Luckily we haven’t sold our truck yet so Alex can drive it tomorrow.

So, wish me,and I guess every other parent out there, good luck. We are all going to need all the luck and prayers we can get in homeschooling for the first time.

Daily Life

Dog, School, and an Upcoming Closure

As I sit here typing my dog is at my feet. As usual. And she stinks so so so so bad. I gave her a bath today and she still stinks! I called a groomer to see how much it would cost. $60- $120. I will cut her fur myself like I always do. It is starting the spring shed and I am tired of the mess and smell. Tomorrow I’ll get it done.

Today I got the house picked up but again, you would never guess. I made bread dough and we had pizza for dinner and now I can make peanut butter sandwiches for Noah tomorrow because I made a few loaves. He asks all the time for sandwiches but I don’t have bread all the time. I made dough for tortillas as well but I didn’t have time to make them. I refrigerated the dough and will make them tomorrow.

I took Lauren and Sam with me to the craft store and Walmart tonight. They wanted to see what the stores looked like and I needed to get stuff for the science fair project. The craft store has two more weeks left in business and everything was 70-90% off. I wanted to stock up on candles for light in emergencies. We usually need them. Couldn’t pass up the discount. I also am glad I waited to get fabric for my Christmas stockings. 70% off! I got some fabric to make a few pillow cases for some of the boys.

Then we went to Walmart. It wasn’t busy at all. Thank goodness. There were still a lot of bare shelves but there was milk and so I bought a few gallons. Since tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day I looked for Lucky Charms for the kids to have for breakfast and they had tons of it. Yay!

But that is the last of my running for a while. The school board planned a “soft closing”. There will be school tomorrow so the kids can get instructions on what to do over the “break”. Then they will be out until further notice. A month has been planned. I told the kids that it wasn’t summer break, that they will be doing home school. I am going to plan out the times and have different times to help different kids. All these parents, me included, that send their kids to school for a reason and now are going to have to teach at home. Alex will have to help the boys with their math but I can do everything else. The boys are both in advanced math and more advanced than me math. I am even going to add some classes of my own. Horticulture, Home science, and English Literature. I am going to have them help me plant the garden, cook meals/snacks, and watch some Jane Austen novel adaptations. Heaven help them. And me. And every other mother trying to get through this.

I told Edgar today while we were texting back and forth on his preparation day (the day missionaries get to shop, do laundry, etc.) that my family has been preparing for this quarantine for our entire lives. We are excellent at staying home. He laughed and said that he was horrible at it. I told him he should have stayed home more with us and be boring. He thought that was funny. My house is full of introverts and this thing won’t be a trial. I feel for all those people who are used to gallivanting about. This will be hard and a lot probably won’t do it. Which is a shame.

One funny thing I thought was funny. Gatherings of more than 10 people aren’t recommended. I told everyone that no one was to visit us because we have 10 people living here. Hahaha. I know a lot of people in big families of more than 10 people. I am pretty sure that it doesn’t apply to them.