Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Whole Hearted

My word for the year is 


You can read about it here.

I have a confession to make.

It may have been obvious to you. I like to think not, but I deceive myself more often than I admit.

My attention has been distracted from my blog in the past few weeks.

Mr. Van Gogh and I have something in common. (It's not the art thing, that's for sure. And it's not the ear thing--promise.)

I have put every drop of everything I have to give into finding my path after graduation: Is it teaching? Is it advocacy? Is it a doctorate? Is it . . . What is it?

I don't know where to go or what to do with myself.

I found out that I can't teach at a public school (even with a degree in curriculum and instruction) without a teaching certificate. Earning a teaching certificate would require another 18 months and a second master's degree. Is that what I want? Not really. I could teach at a charter school, but is that what I want? I don't know if I want to be tied down like that.

I have worked tirelessly to convince MPS that change in their gifted education program is necessary to keep up with current practices. I seem to get nowhere with them, but I'm ever hopeful that on one occasion, just one thing will crack their shell and they will be ready to implement change. Until that time, I don't know where else to go or what else to do. It's a very discouraging place to find myself.

I looked into getting my doctorate. I love the idea of staying in academia and completing some long-term research relating to the effectiveness of gifted education--tracking students from kindergarten through graduation and on into college to see what really does work and what is a waste of time and resources. Unfortunately, the program that intrigues me most is in  . . . Connecticut. UCONN. Home of Renzulli and McCoach and other leading scholars in the field. Yeah. My family wouldn't be too thrilled to move to CN for a year. I might be up for the adventure, but then the question still lingers: What will I do from there? What will a doctorate give me that would be worth the investment?

I've researched it out. I've thought about it. I've put out feelers and sent inquiring emails. I've prayed about it. I've tried to force it on a few occasions and tried to pull back on others.

Nothing is coming. No answer.

Honestly, I have put my heart and soul into my work, and I have loved what I've received in return. Now where do I go from here?

I'm a bit lost.


Monday, March 30, 2015

8 Is Great

Best day of Hyrum's life? Probably last Saturday.

It was his eighth birthday. There were presents, of course.

And some pretty ugly-looking but very tasty cupcakes and a birthday song from the family. Those cupcakes. Sigh. The frosting was cold, the cupcakes were soft, we had no real knife to spread the frosting. At least they had a cute topper, right?

That wasn't the best part.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, baptism is performed when you're eight years old. Rarely does the baptism day fall on your actual birthday, but Hyrum was lucky. His baptism was at 11 am on his very day.

I had been up most of the night before really sick. So sick, in fact, that I was late to the baptism because I was at urgent care and the pharmacy getting stuff for a massive sinus infection (part of the reason the cupcakes were such an excusable disaster). I'm so glad Brad got him all ready and together and there on time.

 I walked in just as the opening song was ending.

It was beautiful. So many of our friends and family came to support him on his special day.
And both sets of grandparents came.
Weird that I only have four kids left at home. This looks so . . . incomplete.
We were so proud of him.
It was a beautiful day that I hope he never forgets.
As I was tucking him into bed that night, I leaned down to kiss his forehead and said, "Happy Birthday, Rum. I hope your birthday was great."

He sleepily turned over. "Thanks, Mom. It really was."

Remember this day always, my little son.

As long as I'm living . . .

Friday, March 27, 2015

Idaho Trip--Projects, Projects, Projects

I spent a whirlwind weekend with Heidi and her family. It was a welcome break to be Gran for a few days.

I asked Heidi to pick out a few projects for us to do while we were there, and Sam added one of his own. His project included a quick trip to The Home Depot for a few supplies.
 These two were on sale, and we couldn't resist picking up a few to take home with us.
 Jonah was too little to experience cart fun. This baby is the best natured kid I've ever seen. Just chills out and watches the world go by . . .
 Saturday morning, Sam grabbed his assistant and they got busy.
 Can you see the Grant Tetons on the horizon? The best view ever out their kitchen window.

They cleared the leaves away and started the real work--building a sandbox.
 Ellie liked being outside with her daddy, but Nathan was dedicated to getting that box built.
 While out there, he may or may not have witnessed his dad's encounter with a field mouse.
 He loved stepping over the first layer of boards--in and out dozens of times.
 When it came time to add the second tier of boards, Nathan got quite concerned that it was too tall for his little legs to clear. Daddy later added a landscape barrier and sand, and Gran provided the pails and shovels.
 It was a pretty quick project that will entertain those three kids forever. Sand is one of the miracles of childhood.

 Heidi and I got started disassembling the gallery wall in the living room.
But we didn't get far. I have a fear/disability when it comes to assembling gallery walls, and my daughter is not much better than I. Lucky for us, Sam took a break from the outside work, and within minutes, he had the pictures arranged. All we had to do was pick which pictures to enlarge for the frames. This sounds like easy work, but it took quite a while to decide which picture for which frame.
Jonah was sick and needed Mama to hold him, so he supervised picture selection.

Isn't it fabulous? I wish I had picture of the before, but I didn't think to take one.
 We managed to squeeze two more quick projects in before I left Monday afternoon:

Hanging her menu board (no excuses now for lack of planning, right Heidi?)
 And creating a command center in her kitchen.
Sam brought the license plate back from his mission in Spain and it's perfect at the top. The two clip boards are for a cleaning schedule and food storage/shopping lists. The red square is a magnet board for quick notes and stuff, alongside a can for pens and pencils. The two painted cookie sheets on the bottom will be Ellie's and Nathan's chore charts. Heidi has graphics she's going to attach to magnets so they can see what they need to do each day. I loved this use of cabinet space in her kitchen, and it helps bring more color into her sunny kitchen to boot.

Don't worry. It wasn't all work with no play. We managed to make it to "Cinderella" on Saturday afternoon, even after Sam accidentally locked his keys and Jonah in the car. Lucky for us, it was in the garage and it was warm and Jonah had a bottle. He was in there almost 30 minutes before the locksmith arrived, but he just waved and smiled and laughed at us as we checked on him through the window. It's amazing how much faster a locksmith will come when you tell them a kid is locked in the car.
After the movie, we had to stop by Big Jud's for hamburgers and fries. It's not a trip to Rexburg without Big Jud's.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The End of the Purple Tree

Two of my favorite pictures from my February photo project were these:

But these shots came at a cost.

The plum tree was dying. Sap was oozing from bore holes everywhere for the past two years, and there was nothing we could do to save the tree. I loved this tree. I watched it transform from purplish sticks to pink blooms to purplish leaves every year. Purple trees are unusual here in the desert, and I appreciated having one in my back yard.

Unfortunately, Brad had to take it out.

 While a small part of me loved the sculptural aesthetic of the limbless tree, it couldn't stay like that.

Now there's a big empty hole in the backyard, waiting for a new tree to fill its spot. Funny how removing a dying tree can make me legitimately sad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The season has been over for a few weeks now, and somehow these pictures were lost on my hard drive--or in my mind. Couldn't be me, could it?

Hyrum and Micah both played basketball this season. I don't think either of them will go pro any time soon, but they did have a good time playing.

Hyrum is in the age group where they are more concerned about shooting the ball themselves than they are about passing and sharing.

 He did land a few miracle shots over the course of the season and his games always ended with treat.
 Isn't that what matters?

Micah's team was a bit of a different story.
His team was comprised mostly of his friends, was coached by his best friend's mom, and was trained on the court in his friend's back yard.
 They learned a lot this season. I watched them defend, pass, and call plays. They rotated point guards and learned picks, screens, and strategy.

 His coaches are amazing. Husband and wife, they manage to coach almost every sport their kids play, and that's saying something. She is currently expecting their tenth child.
I'm so grateful for her--it makes getting Micah to practice a whole lot easier when it's just around the corner and I don't have to arrange carpool. Or even really think about practice at all, really.

There was some jungle ball in this league. The boys are learning how to throw their weight a little and what is a foul and what isn't (and what technically is a foul but really isn't called--or shouldn't be).
This guy was amazing this season. He had two shots--one NBA three-pointer at the buzzer and one layup with four seconds left--that were game winners. I know the boys will never stop talking about those shots. When they're graduating from high school, they'll all say, "Hey, remember in fifth grade when S won that game with a three-pointer at the buzzer? That was so awesome!"

Micah had chances to handle the ball and shoot. He wasn't the star, but he played hard.
Their team made it to the semi-finals, and they had to play the best team in the league--the Net Rippers.

 It wasn't too fair of a fight--we lost by at least 20 points, but our boys never gave up.

Here's Coach trying to explain to his two biggest players how to use their size when they're defending under the hoop.
It was a great season.
And like every sport they play, I'm always glad when the season's over. Is that bad?