Monday, September 5, 2011


Not only are the kids in school, but fall sports are back in swing. Billy is running on the crosscountry team and enjoying that a great deal. He has run all over town and tells me that the team knows where all the best fruit trees are, so they grab a pear of plum as they run by. Fun! Eric started flag football yesterday. Last year, he cracked us all up as he would run the other way or not know at all what was going on. This year, he is getting it a little better. Of course, on his one run with the ball, I was chasing Ethan (he was attacking a little girl the entire time--I think he just wanted to give her hugs, but at his ability, he holds on more for balance and, well, he scared her off, poor kid). I may have one picture of it, but he did a great job running through the crowd, but right after someone grabbed his flag, another opponent, obviously not aware of the rules of FLAG football totally took him down. Coach carried him off the field and called out, probably for my sake, 'He's okay!' Amelie and Eric start cross country themselves in a week or two, then basketball. Finally, Mary is into her 2nd college season of volleyball. They won their tournament this weekend in a 5 set victory against the team they play on Wednesday at home. She played a lot of right back this weekend and I think she single-handedly kept her team in the game with her positive and upbeat attitutde. She is definitely a captain and a leader.

He's walking

Our cute little Ethan is now walking. He actually took his first steps 2 weeks ago, but now he is cruising around everywhere. He takes a few steps, wobbles on one leg for a second or two, and we all hold our breath to see if he can keep himself up. Then he gets that next foot down and keeps going. He'll stumble, fall and get right back up a million times, but he keeps going. It amazes me how determined and resilient he is. He tries so hard to keep his balance and not let his head get too far ahead of his feet. He knows where he wants to go--it just takes a little concentration and will power to get there. Sound familiar? I know that feeling. Thanks, Ethan for reminding me to take my time, to not let my head get ahead of my feet.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Another Kindergartener!

Our sweet, sensitive little Eric has reched the ripe old age of 5. And with that comes the kindergarten experience. I was a little more nervous about his first few days. After all the time I had to spend away from him this summer, he reminded me constantly of how much he missed me when I was gone. I was sure I was going to get a call in the middle of class that he was upset. But, I was thrilled to pick him up at the end of his first day with no tears or sadness. In fact, he made sure to tell me that he didn't miss me at all (gee, thanks :)) Actually, I was relieved that he was enjoying himself so much. In fact, he enjoys school so much that one day this week, he was 25 minutes late to class because he hadn't heard the kindergarten bells (it is rather confusing. All I know is that kindergarteners have to listen for 2 bells and Amelie, who is a big 2nd grader, has to wait for 4 bells.) He has also already lost (and found) his lunchbox and one day afterschool, he followed the bus kids all the way to the bus lane and was waiting in line with them as his teacher, Amelie, Tanner, Ethan and I frantically searched for him. There is never a dull moment with Eric. He is so cute and so kind and fun. I am sure he has said some fun (and probably silly) things already in class. I am so thrilled that he has entered the world of academia. That's my boy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Seat belts

I honestly will admit I had become far to lackadaisical about my kids in their seat belts. It is a chore and a half to simply get them into the car, let alone buckle them up, especially since I know that they can do it themselves. Sure, I would call to them to 'Buckle up!' but I didn't always follow up with a check to be sure they had. Until now . . . a friend of ours was in a car accident and the two NOT in their seat belts were the two most severely injured--one fatally and our friend wh ois now out of ICU but still not out of the woods. He is 17 and in the hospital in Ogden, UT for who knows how much longer. Thankfully, he is healing quickly. Still, it was a blatant reminder that if I don't insure that my kids know how important it is to buckle up now, when they are in a car without me, they won't think twice and will buckle up immediately!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IB Training

IB Training

Jim, Ethan and i have been in New Mexico this week for some IB training that I needed to receive. It has been awesome! I miss the other kids, but the training has been well worth my time. IB is the International Baccalaureate Programme. It is a wonderful program that offers students an opportunity to excel in many different areas--to become a well-rounded student, better prepared for university than any other program I have worked with. I could go on and on, but since I have limited time right now (I'll add more later), here is a picture for my kids of where I am at and another of Ethan and me on a hike up above the castle.
Here is a link to the United World College where I have been for my training. It is beautiful here. I believe if an American student wants to go to the UWC, they can apply to come for free. What an amazing opportunity that would be!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Our trip to France went very well. It was wonderful to be back. I love the movie Sabrina with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond. In it, a mentor to 'Sabrina' reveals a truth I often feel as I step back on French soil. She says, "America is my country, but France (or Paris--I can't rmember which she says) is my home.' That is exactly how I feel. Being able to talk to native speakers, too, was a big plus. I love teachign French, but it is not eve remotely the same as speaking fluently with Frenchies.
I loved the baguettes and fromage (cheese), the frites and mayonaise sauce (I realized this time--thanks to a very observant husband--their mayo has dijon mustard in it and it is SO good he brought 4 containers home!). I loved the pastries--pain au chocolat and viennoise and a new named one, though it tastes a lot lke the viennoise I used to eat. And you can't forget crepes and creme brulee and tarte tatin. Oh man. We even found a real gelatto store in Paris. I could go on and on about the food. I didn't care that I am stll way overweight from this last pregnancy. I simply enjoyed every morsel of food I ate!
And the sites! I never get tired of Notre Dame, La Tour Eiffel, l"arc de Triomphe, Le Louvre, Le Musée d'Orsay, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, le Pantheon, La Madeleine, La Sainte-Chapelle, Les Catacombs, La Bastille, L'Opéra Garnier, Le Musée de l'Orangerie, Le Jardin des Tuilleries, L'Obelisque, Les Invalides, . . . what else did we see in Paris? Breath-taking
And then I loved the Cathedrale in Chartes. The gardens behind were amazing. The stained glass was magnificent. We ate lunch on the steps of the Cathedrale--so picturesque. And what made it even better was that I found many hydrangea bushes there. They are so beautiful in France! I discovered them during my mission in Frnace and still, they are my favorite flower, hands down.
Nothing could compete with Orléans and visiting with Blandine and her mom. I loved being able to just wander and to shop and take in the culture. Elisabeth was wonderful and so kind and wonderful to us. Ethan loved her! (I think it was mutual--he has his own little French Grandma now). We saw a museum about three internment camps just outside Orléans. We saw a Chateau and LOTS of Jeanne d'Arc stuff.
But for emotional, nothing could beat the feeling of the Normandy Beaches from the D-Day Invasions. I teared up more than once at the beaches and especially at the American Cememtery. There is nothing like it. Point du Hoc was an amazing testament of what happened there 67 years ago.
I loved every minute in France-the food, the language, the sites and the culture. I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Family Pictures

When Mary was here last weekend, we went up along the road that Jim drives every day at work to take some family photos. Well, I forget how much work it is to get little kids to stand in the right spot, look at the right second and do it over and over again, let alone having the cooperation of a baby. So they are a little candid and crazy, but here are a few . . .

4 days til departure~

In just FOUR short days, Jim, Billy, Ethan and I will be boarding a plane on our way to France! Last year when I attended the firt meetings, it wasn't really something I was planning on doing--I would have gone had tere been the need for another chaperone, but I was okay to wait until the next trip to head a group. Not because I didn't want to go but because I knew I would have a little baby and it would be a big chunk of time away from my children. However, as things played out, I needed to step in and take the lead. And I have learned so much. I absolutely love the company with whom we are travelling. Language and Friendship is a wonderful organization and the idea of a family stay is amazing. I am so excited for my students--and a little jealous that I didn't have such an opportunity when I was their age. But I do get to stay with friends while they are with their host families for a week. And at least I get my husband and my baby with me. It has been a challenge and a sacrifice on many levels, but when cards come your way and an opportunity like this arises, you have to take it and run. My other children who don't get to go this time know that since I have/get to teach French for a while now, they WILL get their chance to go with me. And that is exciting for us all as it motivates me to keep teaching them French and gives me a fringe benefit of having to teach. My mouth is already watering for my first pain au chocolat aux amandes (my favorite patisserie) and a viennoisse (my second favorite). And how often do you get to go back to TWO wards in which you served as a missionary to visit?
I can't begin to thank my wonderful, dear friend Jennifer for being so willing to watch the three little kids we will be leaving hee. I get more and more anxious about leaving them, not that they won't have a blast with her--they love her children--and her--so much. I am just going to miss them dearly. But we will call and send postcards to them, so that will help. Paris or BUST!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Not so good at keeping up-to-date, but thought I would add a little something. I should really be grading papers, but I guess a few minutes won't hurt. A lot has happened lately . . . On Eric's 5th birthday, Billy was ordained to the office of a Priest in the Aaronic priesthood. He is growing up so quickly. He is such a wonderful ,helpful young man. He is funny and good and he sure loves his siblings--both oler and younger. And they love him right back. He is quick to wrestle with his little brothers and sister and teach them wrestling moves. It's actually so fun to watch. So, we are certainly proud of him and his worthiness to hold the priesthood.

Ethan is now doing the military crawl and crawling at least one step before going back down to the ground and shuffling across the room. He is such a happy boy, alhtough he does not like his bike helmet! He laughs like no other baby. He loves to eat whatever we are eating and now has two little bottom teeth. He is adorable and so fun to love!

Tanner is a terror and a sweetheart. It's extremem to extremem with little middle ground. He is either creating a disaster or loving you or helping you with the baby. He sure loves his little brother! He has a tremendous vocabulary for a 2 year old and isn't afraid to express himself to EVERYONE. He constantly says Hi to everyone we pass--and often adds, "I'm Tanner. Who are you?' He thinks running away is a lofty hobby and loves to eat and run! We love him, too, so much!

Eric says the darndest things. I really just need to attach a microphone/recorder to him because I swear i will remember his cute little snippits because they are so clever and adorable, but when I finally get the chance to write it down, I can't remember it. He is ambitious and so cuddly and lovable. He loves to make others happy.

Amelie is stuck between being a little and a big sister and the only girl at home. She loves to create imaginary worlds to which she brings us all. SHe loves t create and write. She wrote a cute little song the other day (remind you of anyone? I used to do that!) She is very crafty and creative. I love her desire to make the world beautiful! She is a little princess!

Tiffany and her ittle family are in their own apartment and I am so excited for them. I can't wait to meet Holly and see her cute big sister growing up so fast!

Mary is still nursing her foot. It's so hard to stay down when you are such a go-getter! She is such a bright, hard-working girl. No longer a college freshman--crazy!

Jim and I stay busy, busy, busy as we pass each other each day. He get a moment together from time to time :) Like last Thor's Day, he took me (and Ethan) to see Thor--since we had just begun the unit on Norse Mythology. It was very good and, aside from the technology side, was pretty accurate. And today we went to a Primary lunch that we held for our Primary workers and their spouses to thank them for all they do for us. They are amazing--but that's a whole other entry!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sweet 16

Billy turned 16 on Thursday. And though I am not sure guys usde the 'sweet' 16 title as much as girls, it certainly applies to Billy. He is the most kind and caring big brother to his little siblings. He always asks them how their day went and what they id. He lves to wrestle with them and tease them and love them and just cuddle up on the couch with them. And it isn't just with his brothers and sistes that you see this. Many times people have told me how sweet he is--so pleasant, thoughtful and caring. We are so glad he is part of our family!
Happy Sweet 16, Billy!! We love you!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary has had a bit of an adventure lately. At volleyball practice, she broke her foot 9 i am not good with the details, but basically, the outside toe was broken, So, Thursday, she had to get minor surgery to place a pin in the side of her foot. It is about an inch long titanium pin. We got to see her today for a little while (not nearly long enough, but better than not at all) and her foot was still numb and healing well. She will be on crutches for 6 weeks, then back onto the court. Luckily it happened now and not during the season! And she is really doing well--although, now as the numbness wears off, she may not be doing so well :( She is a trooper and a strong young woman. She will heal well and be back on her feet in no time!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tenacious Tanner

Tanner is a doll. He is cute and confident and crazy! He has no concept of danger. He constantly seeks out knives and scissors and i think he actually gets a kick out of my reaction when he comes to me with a knife in hand, 'Look, Mom, a knife!' He doesn't understand the fear he puts in my heart when he runs down the middle of the street, or when he escapes the backyard and gets half a block away before we realize he is gone. He is Houdini. One minute, he is beside you and the next, he is down the block. And when you run to get him, he thinks it is a game and laughs and keeps running. 'Mom, I run away!' he says with a smile, thinking it is cute and fun--and to him, it is. He doesn't seem to mean any harm. But man, oh man, he certainly puts himself in harm's way day after day. He must have a very busy guardian angel--probably a whole platoon of guardian angels who have kept him safe so far. I just keep praying that he stays safe and starts to realize very soon why we get so worried and upset when he runs or tries to play with knives (he thinks they are swords--but he has toy swords to play with, so it's not like he needs to seek one out). And Tanner is confident. Whenever we are out somewhere, to whomever we pass, he says, "Hi, I'm Tanner. Who are you?' And often he proceeds to introduce the rest of the family. When he wakes up in the morning, he comes downstairs and whenever I come into the house, whether I am returning from work or a meeting or a store, he runs up to me and announces, 'Mom, it's me, Tanner!' he is so fun and cute and crazy and we love him to death!

Monday, March 28, 2011

getting old

So with family responsibilities, lesson plans, grading and primary assignments, I have not had time to play/post online for much other than searching for IB documents or ideas for my French 4 students. So now that it is spring break, I thought I would take a few minutes to dust the cobwebs on our family blog. The little kids and I are in Calgary visiting my mom & brothers. The concept, however, of "Spring' break is lost on this trip as our first night here, it snowed and covered any signs of spring that were trying to pop out--if there were any. There was already a good blanket of snow pulled up over the ground. I've already been able to hang out & visit with my mom & all 3 brothers. It's so fun to get together! It does, however, remind me of how much time has passed and how old I am getting. I have not colored my hair for quite a while. With everything going on, it has been last on my list of priorities. So, I am showing my silver (sounds much better than gray!) more than ever. I figure I have certainly earned each silver hair--like the silver beaver in scouts, or a silver medal, I figure it is simply a sign of my efforts over the years. I will probably color my hair again soon, but that does not mean I am not very proud of every silver hair I have :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

State Wrestling

(The top pinkish colored mat--the ref is indicating that Billy just earned some points)

(Billy is in the black singlet with an orange arrow--Flathead Braves--and is on top in these last two pictures)

Billy loves wrestling. And despite how awful it is to watch him not eat as we think a growing teenage boy should, it has been so fun to watch him and cheer him on. Each year he keeps getting better and better. Last weekend we traveled to Helena as he competed in Divisionals, which also seeded him for state. He won three of five matches and came in 5th in his weight class of 119 (a much better placement for him than 112, where he wrestled much of the season). He did great and advanced to State this weekend in Great Falls. However, things did not go in favor of the defending State Champs. Billy tried hard but lost his first two matches. Then he had to watch as teammate after teammate lost out. Even those favored to win, who won State in their class couldn't repeat the performance again this year. It was someone else's turn to win. We are so pleased with Billy's progress this year and can't wait to watch him next year! Way to go, Bill! We sure love you!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Seriously LOVE the gospel

The church is amazing! I just talked to a Bishop's wife in Minnesota--far away-- whom I have never met but who is going to help me get a babysitter for Ethan while I sit at training next Saturday in their town. How blessed I feel to have a worldwide network at my fingertips! I can have confidence that they are good, trustworthy people and I can feel of their desire to help me even though they don't know me. It's because of our faith and beliefs that I know my baby will be fine and safe with whomever I find within their ward to help me out. For so many more reasons, I love the gospel and know it is the truth, but this is just one more blessing from membership in such an amazing nwtwork of brothers and sisters in the gospel!