Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have you ever had one of those nights?

Where you lie in bed, tossing and turning? And no matter what you do, you just can't seem to get comfortable?



Well.... there's always the kitchen rug. I hear it's pretty comfy.









Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We still have another hour to go here before the real deal, but I wanted to take and minute and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving day. No matter what our lot in life, we can always find something, if even only one thing, to be thankful for. We need to remember to find those things and express our gratitude for them - whether to the people in our lives or to our Heavenly Father, or both.

I am incredibly grateful for all the blessings I have in my life and I forget to express that gratitude often enough. Here's just a few of the things I'm thankful for today:

My family - we have our struggles, but I am so lucky to be surrounded by the incredible spirits of my husband and 4 children. They support me, love me, stretch me, help me to grow, amaze me, surprise me, teach me, and everything in between.

My extended family - I am lucky to not only have incredible parents and siblings, but to have incredible in-laws as well. It's an awesome feeling to know that I have many people there to support and help me in any way they possibly can, not just if I need them, but because they want to.

My friends - I have so many, and I am especially thankful for the gals I student teach with. There are 7 of us that are working at the same elementary school this semester and we all car pool together. They are pillars of support and love to me -and I'm not even sure they know how much they do for me. I hope that I can be that for them in return. We're all under a ton of stress and it's just nice to have each other - to vent to, to laugh with, to talk to, to get advise from, just to be surrounded by other that "get it" because they are there, too.

My cooperating teacher - she is amazing and I'm learning so much from her. We've become such good friends in a short amount of time. I'm so glad that I go to a church school and that the faculty prays and uses inspiration when making our student teaching placements. I don't think they could have matched me up with a better teacher. We just get along and she "gets it", too. She knows I'm stressed, I know she's stressed and we both work to help the other.

Living in Hawaii - This has been a theme to my day today. At my elementary school instead of having the traditional Turkey Trot they decided to hold Makahiki games. It was SO MUCH FUN! I played a lot of the games with the kids and we all had a great time. AND my Thanksgiving turkey is, as I type, roasting away in an imu (an underground oven, pronounced like the bird, ee-moo) here on campus. How cool is that? I so can't wait to eat it. I was a little intimidated by the whole process, just because I didn't know what I was doing. Not that it's a hard process, I didn't have anything to do with the actual imu - just my turkey. But I didn't know how to prepare it. Turns out just just need foil - lots and lots of foil. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Black Friday Sales - Cameron and I have really gotten into Black Friday in the past, but since moving to Hawaii we haven't done the whole early morning thing since it's all an hour or more away. But this year we've got our eyes on a few prize buys, so wish us luck. Cameron's looking to get a new laptop (I think he's jealous of my new beauty, well and his is old and pretty much sucks) and I want the Cricut Expressions with is under $200 on Friday! That's like 1/2 price! I totally missed out on a Cricut sale in October - an educators special that was too good to be true and I was totally bummed. But this is even better! I can't wait.

4 day weekends - well, aren't we all. But I have a lot of homework and assignments and various stuff that I need to get done in pretty much every venue of my life - home, school, business, spiritual, I could probably go on, but I do only have 4 days! But I'm determined to get as much done as I can. There's only 3 weeks of school left this semester and I have to get everything done so I can start my full-time student teaching in January (which is super exciting and super scary all at the same time).

Big Ideas - I'm still in they very beginning stages of my charter school plans and things are already taking a different twist than I had envisioned, but the dream is still alive and well. In fact we just printed up a few business cards to take our networking up to the next level. I'm just grateful that I live in a country that allows us the freedoms to take control of our dreams and make them a reality - the sky's the limit.

There's more that I could add to my list, but I think I'll end it there for now. Maybe 2010 will be the year of gratitude - it would be fun to list all the things I'm thankful for for a whole year. Hmmm, something to think about whilst I'm drifting off to sleep tonight. Mmmmm sleep, I think I'd better get to sleep, I have a lot to do in the next couple of days!


Happy Thanksgiving!!
PS - my spellcheck is being stubborn and refuses to work and I'm too tired to go back and read it all again, so I hope there's not to many typos:)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What's the Big Idea?

Well I have a minute (or two) and thought that I would hurry and let all of you know about the crazy and exciting week last week. It's kind of a loooooong story, so settle in and get comfy if you're going to read it all.
Seriously - I'm not joking.






Don't worry, I'll wait...









OK. Now, where to begin. I guess it all started when BYU-Hawaii announced this:

They asked every students to come up with a Big Idea - something that they could do to "go forth to serve" using their education at BYUH. Now I don't know about the rest of the university, but the School of Ed students were none too thrilled about this. Honestly, it was just one more thing to add to our already overflowing plate. (Now if there was actual food on this plate.....oh, sorry, back to the story.) Anyway everyone was up in a tiff about the whole thing, mostly because we were being required to attend this conference and it was a 2 day affair. Even the faculty at the School of Ed weren't too thrilled about that. But we decided that being a part of the University, the School of Ed was going to support the conference as best we could and show that we really were the best of the best on campus. I know that not everyone ended up with that attitude, but I thought it was a good one. So in that light, we were all to come up with this Big Idea to be handed in to the School of Ed. I thought long and hard about this and came up with an idea that I REALLY liked - it had real potential. I totally got hooked on my idea. I was supposed to hand in a paragraph describing my idea - I ended up with 3 pages! Well, I didn't hand that much in, I condensed it down the best I could, it was still a page long. So then the next step was that all those ideas (about 150 from the School of Ed, out of 600 campus wide) were whittled down to 30. Those 30 were asked to make a poster to be displayed at the conference, for our peers in the School of Ed to look at, hear about, and judge. Now mind you, those of us that were in that 30 did not know until Tuesday and we had to be ready for the conference on Thursday - not a whole lot of time. But I love the way my poster came out - which reminds me, I need to go rescue it from Dr. Mitchell's office before he throws them in the dumpster.


So, I guess there's no point not telling you my idea now. It was to open a charter elementary school here on the North Shore of Oahu. Like a said before, I really got into the idea. I still am - it's really the only way that we can stay here in Hawaii after I graduate (which is in June). If I want a job in Hawaii, I need to create a job in Hawaii.

So back to the posters. The students in the School of Ed went around and listened to 22 two minute presentations and looked at our posters. As they did this they were to rank the ideas - this idea I don't think many students actually got, but it was still nice to tell them about my idea and get a little feedback about it.

There were other aspects of the conference on Thursday, but this pretty much dominated my day. And then that night I got a call saying that my idea was chosen from the School of Ed to be presented at the conference on Friday! So exciting, and so ..... I don't know what. But I was definitely excited. However, I had to present my idea to the WHOLE UNIVERSITY! Including members of the President's Leadership Council (read VERY rich and generous donors). Just a little nerve racking - and I only had 2 minutes to present. All in all there were 13 students chosen to present in this part of the conference - 3 from each College (well, 4 from the Business College). From the College of Human Development there was one of us from each of the 3 schools in the college (the other two schools are social work and TESOL - teaching English to speakers of other languages).
Here I am presenting - the pic is a little blurry, sorry, Cameron was a little excited, too I think:


So that's most of the story. My presentation went really well, I was complemented by many very important people. One of which approached me and said that he would like to help me out (with the school). I replied that that would be great, but that I didn't exactly know what I would need yet. To which he replied, "That's fine. Whatever you need, we'll take care of it. Do you know how to get a hold of me?" SERIOUSLY?!? I just about passed out on the spot! We conversed for another quick minute - we were being smoothed by the entire school exiting the building and I think he wanted to catch up to someone else, too. And I had a small line of friends trying to wait patiently to congratulate me.

All in all - an excellent couple of days if I do say so myself! It's really hard not to let it completely take over my life since it's just about ALL I can think about. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to graduate so that I can work at my school when I'm done!

Oh, and I got written up in the school paper - just a couple of lines about my ideas, but you can read the article here if you want to.

Sooo, some of you may wonder if I'm really going to do this. Well I am! At least we're going to try. It's kind of a long and complicated process in Hawaii, but we REALLY need something in the education system to change here. It's out of control, in a bad, bad way. I won't start ranting here, but if you ever want to discuss it, please feel free to write me. I'm always up for a good educational discussion.

Oh, and I formed a group on Facebook if you'd like to join and find out more. There's not really anything there are the moment, but I hope to be adding to it soon. Any questions, comments, advise, or anything else you want to share, please do! You can do it on facebook, or here in the comments, or send me an email at NorthShoreElem@gmail.com

OK, I'm sure that I've taken up more than enough of your day if you've made it this far. Like I said, things are crazy, but fun.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Graditude

There is SOOOOOO much going on here that I can't even begin to write about it tonight. I need to catch up on my school work that I've been slacking on - because of everything else going on. So crazy, and fun... and just plain crazy. I promise to fill you all in very soon. In the mean time I need to share my gratitude for 2 things today:

1. I'm thankful that the keyboard gods have listened to and answered my prayers! Juliana poured Crystal Light on my laptop keyboard on Friday night and the keyboard seemed to be totally fried. But after much pleading and praying and faith (you think I'm kidding, I'm SO not) it seems to be in working order today. Hip-hip-hooray! I've only had the laptop since Sept, I was freaking out a little on the inside. There's a few minor key glitches, but nothing I can't totally live with and besides that I'm totally confident (see me exercising my faith) that they will eventually go away.

2. I am thankful for headphones. So I can rock out to Hannah Montana after the kids are in bed without bothering the whole neighborhood. Hey - a woman's got to stay away some how. And seriously, I don't think it's possible to sit still, let alone sleep, through Hoedown Throwdown. You know you love it - just admit it already!

Boom, boom, clap. Boom-dee-clap-dee-clap

Now if I could just make it through The Climb without tearing up. Seriously one of my all time favorite songs. I can't imagine a point in anyone's life where this song is not somehow applicable. OK, now I have to go find it on YouTube so that you can all enjoy it, because as impossible as it seems to me, I'm sure that there are some of you that have NEVER heard the song. Hold on.....

OK, here it is. This is the official video, which I don't actually care for too much, but the other videos were live performances and the song quality was just not as good.




Alright. I've officially wasted too much time on this blog post! Back to work with me.

(PS - if you get this through email and want to see the video click here to see it on my blog)




Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Technically it's not really Halloween here for another 3 hours, but I figured I'd better post some pics while I was thinking about it and had a few minutes. And my Aunty guessed in the comments from last post - we're all about Harry Potter this year. I haven't got a picture of all of us in our costumes yet, but I do have the kids in theirs from the school parade Thurs morning and one of Juliana from a trick or treat on campus tonight.

As a tradition, I make our Halloween costumes each year. I was trying to keep it simple this year, so I made the robes; kudos to my mom for finding the coolest Griffindor ties ever - and she sent crests for the robes, too, but I ended up not using them; the rest is just clothes we had in the closet. I love how they all came together though. So here you go:

Abby as Hermione Granger - you can't really tell in this pic, but her hair is all kinky from sleeping in braids. She looked just like her.
Isaac as Harry Potter, of course. He has since lost the glasses, but we found a replacement pair, though not quite as cute as these.

Danielle as Moaning Myrtle. When we first starting talking about doing Harry Potter characters I was thinking Abby and Danielle were going to fight over the part of Hermione, but Danielle was very adamant, even from the beginning, that she wanted to be the ghost that goes into the toilet head first. So there you have it.
Oh, and here's her hair sprayed white (because she's a ghost) for our ward Halloween party - I didn't use the spray for school. It turned out awesome though.

And Juliana - we went round and round trying to figure out who she was going to be. In the end I figured I'd just make her a mini robe and she'd just be a random student - albeit a small one. But then one night it hit me......she had to be the sorting hat!

I think it turned out adorable, though not everyone gets what she is. But the people who do get it, think she's awesome, too. And she's been a real good sport about keeping the costume on, though I'm sure it plenty hot. It probably helps that every time she puts it on people hand her candy!
Cameron and I dressed up, too, but I think I'll wait to tell you about those until I have the picture.
Have a great Halloween day and my you fill your bag with lots of goodies!



Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Oh wait! We haven't even had Halloween yet! I guess it's all those aisles of Christmas stuff ALREADY up that made me think I might have missed Halloween this year. Seriously - it's earlier every year. Do stores think that by putting out the stuff earlier people will spend more money? They must or they wouldn't bother.

Anyway - we don't start the whole Christmas thing around here until the day after Thanksgiving, so we have a while. But we do start on Halloween in early September. It took a lot of racking of the brains around here to come up with 6 relate costumes that everyone was happy with (read the boys DID NOT want to be fairies of any kind), but we finally managed. I'm not sure want to unveil the final product yet (well, and it's not done yet anyway), but here's what I was working on last night:

Give her a lightsaber and she could be a Jedi! Not what I was going for, but that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the picture on the computer screen. (Note to self: we could all be Jedi's next year.....)
But the Halloween fun is already in full swing around here. We attended our first costume parade last saturday (as in the 17th). Since the patterns for this year had even been opened yet we raided the costumes of Halloweens (and May Days) past to find stuff that would fit for the occasion. I think I like the whole related costumes idea even more now the hodgepodge we wore, but they all look adorable. Abby as Dorothy (2008), Isaac as Peter Pan (2007), Danielle as a Tahitian dancer (May Day 2009) and Juliann as Tinkerbell (Danielles from 2007):

And the Polynesion Cultural Center is in it's second year of running the Haunted Lagoon. They basically spookify the canoe ride through the villages and start running the haunted rides with the villages shut down for the night around 6pm. We didn't make it last year, but we decided to go this year since it was free with our annual passes and we heard that it was super scary. I mean literally. We've been hearing the soundtrack of scary music and the screaming people all month long. There's something about the evening breeze that just send the sounds over this direction (we live less than a 10 minute walk from the back of the PCC). So, here are the kids waiting for the "Keiki ride" ( for you non-Hawaiin folk, the kiddie ride - our tour guide was a Lost Warrior with a special crystal that warded off the super scary monsters) in their cute Halloween T-shirts:

And then they all wanted to make scary faces (for your viewing pleasure):




And she's just so cute you get 2 of her "scary" faces.


So now we have one elementary school parade, one old ward halloween party, one new ward trunk or treat, and of course trick or treating in the neighborhood to go!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A BIG Thank You!

I just wanted to write a short Thank You note since I haven't had time to sit down and write back to all of you who donated to the kids' walk-a-thon. They were all able to meet and surpass their $30 goal thanks to all of you. We really appreciate your willingness to share with our community - whether in money or spirit.

THANK YOU!

And I promise a more exciting and picture filled post....soon:)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Laie Elementary Walk-a-thon

So I was supposed to let the kids write up a little ad for this, but quite frankly we've run out of time. And it wasn't the kids that put it off, it was me. It was one of those things that we just didn't get to yet, so I'm going to do it now - for them - so that I can at least say it got done!

So the kids' elementary school here in Laie is having it's annual fundraiser. Traditionally the school has held a Fall Festival/Carnival thing to do most of the year's fundraising, and while it has been successful, it was also A LOT of work (I was on the PTCO board last year, believe me, A LOT is an understatement) and a lot of overhead cost. So this year the PTCO (of which I am only a dues paying member this year because of.....well, many other commitments) decided to hold a walk-a-thon. Not only does this provide for a fundraising event where we're not forced to buy stuff, but it promotes exercise since the kids have to get moving to participate.

So here's the low down. The kids are to collect pledges (that are of course due TOMORROW) which can be paid on a per lap basis or as a flat rate. Then on Friday the kids will participate in the actual walking part after school. As they lap around the huge field they will receive tally marks on their forms counting their laps. After the event the kids will then collect their pledges from all the lovely donors to turn into the school.

There are 600 student in our school and they are setting a goal for each child to raise at least $30 - can you imagine if that really happened? This is a great school and a great community, but economically not so great. We have a lot of lower income students - I believe about 75% of our student population qualifies for the free lunch program. The funds that we can raise for the school will directly benefit the students. Education is of course very near and dear to my heart and honestly there isn't a school in the world that couldn't be bettered by having more funds available to the teachers and students. The money collected from the walk-a-thon will be given to the teachers to use in their classrooms (at their discretion, so they can get what they need), to fund a few classroom parties throughout the year (again so the teachers are paying out of pocket for these things) and then the bulk of the total earned will be donated to the school as a whole (from the PTCO).

Anyway, I could go on and on, but I won't. The kids love their school and we're hoping to be able to help out and do our part in the fundraising. SO....if you would like to pledge to donate some money to the school, please DO! The only catch is that it has to be handed in tomorrow. So comment here, email me (cnlpeterson@gmail.com), or if you know my number you can call/text, whatever. We leave for school at 7:30 in the morning, so you have until then to pledge your hearts away! 7:30am in Hawaii is at least 10:30am for you mainlanders - we're 3 hours behind California time. Remember, you can pledge an amount per lap (I'm not sure how long they are walking....this may be putting your pocketbook at risk!) or just a flat rate amount. This is just a commitment - next week we would collect the actual money.

OK, I think that's it and if it's not, I think I'm done anyway:)
The kids are super excited to walk for the school, so I'll be sure to take some pictures!


PS - sorry to those of you who get an email, too!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just a little update

Some of you may know that Cameron's been having some medical issues as of late. (And now, of course, the rest of you are wondering what is going on....well, you're just gonna have to keep wondering. Sorry, hope it doesn't keep you up at night. Nothing life-threatening.) Well he wanted me to let everyone know that he's doing good. Things seem to be working like they should. However his memory has been severely effected, especially over the last couple of weeks. So, if you haven't heard from him lately, or don't for a little while, that is why. He still loves you - it's just hard to email with you don't remember your passwords:) And don't hate him if he has absolutely no recollection of the conversation you just had with him 2 days ago. Actually, I think it's been hardest on him, since he knows that he's forgetting things, but doesn't know what it is he's forgotten.....I think that made sense.

But seriously, he's doing as good as can be expected right now and we're hopeful that some of his medical problems will at least be greatly lessened and much easier to live with. We know that many of you keep him and our family in your prayers and we are very grateful for that. Know that we think and and pray for you all as well.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You Know You're Tired When....






...most of the ice cream is still in the bowl.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

We're still here...

Yes, we're still alive - life is just crazy. I started my professional year for school, meaning I'm in an actual classroom with actual kids. Gasp! A teacher teaching actual kids! I know, it sounds crazy. But it's been fun - I really like being a student teacher so far, though I feel like I'm swimming in a sea of constant homework since I still have a few classes on campus at the same time. At least I'm swimming and not drowning.

Ask me again in a few weeks:)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Simply Monday

Simply Chaos

Dead laptop
Lots of homework

...need I say more?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Well for some reason this post will not space out my paragraphs, so you have to read it all squished together. Sorry. I tried. I really, really tried.


OK, I've been doing some serious slacking in the blog department. Seriously. Do you even remember the last time I did a "Simply Monday" post? I sure don't. So I think it's about time I got back around to it.
So - I want to know how you all did with your menu planning! I did really well for a little while there, but I'm still trying to find a system that will work for me. I know that you guys are probably sick of hearing about it, so I probably won't post about it until I've got it all done. But I need to work on it. I'd like to have something firmly in place before I start my student teaching in September. Oh - and just to illustrate what a slacker I've been - remember that contest I had way back when and the winner got a menu planning binder from me? Yeah - well my friend Tonia won. And I made her the cutest binder ever. But have I even sent it to her? Ummmmm, no. So, Tonia, as soon as a re-locate it amoungst the chaos that is my house I will mail it off to you. I know you'll be anxiously waiting;)
In the meantime, I've been trying to spend lots of time over the course of our 7 week summer sorting and organizing and decluttering. Basically, getting rid of the junk we don't need or want, and finding a "home" for everything else. And though I know that I've been make good progress, it feels like it's just getting worse. I just need to remind myself that that's how it works. Right now the living room is filled with piles of stuff to be taken to the freebie bin, an extra couch that we're not sure if we're keeping or not, the kitchen table because we moped and scrubbed the "tile" and there's so much misc. crap on the table that I haven't moved it back yet, all the school supplies for the kids, a laundry basket full of clean sheets and towels, a pile of dirty sheets and towels, and a laundry basket full of misc stuff that needs to be sorted through and either put away or thrown away. I'm sure there's even more stuff than that, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. On the plus side I have finished sorting through the kids clothes and have narrowed things down a bit, supplemented with a few new school clothes and packed away the things I want to keep for Juliana and Danielle to use in a couple of years. I've also packed up another box of baby and boy clothes to send to my sister - though I'm sure it won't be sent for a while:) Cameron and I also sorted through all the books we own and cleared out some, I rearranged the living room furniture and but the books back away -and it actually looked really nice, lots of open space, hence the implosion from the other rooms. We just found out that we're going to get new kitchen cabinets, so I want to start on that next, so it's ready to go when that happens. But I think I should resort the living room again, first.
Well, now I'm just babbling on and on about crap - literally - when I could be out there getting rid of some of it. So I guess I should hop to it. But I did want to share a couple of websites that I've been reading lately that will hopefully provide some inspiriation along the journey out of chaos.
This first one is 10 Questions to Help You Declutter. These have been really helpful to me in decidid whether to keep something or get rid of it.
This one talks about becoming a minimalist in your own way. I really like the ideas here and hope to get to that point someday - soon.
I have also really been enjoying SimpleMom lately, as I have it set up in my Google Reader.
There's so many resources out there - what are some things that have helped motivate you to clean, declutter, and organize?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Darling Diva Danielle

So I've been slacking in the blogging department, once again. Summer is flying by way too fast, but we've been having some fun here and there. But before I get to posting about some of our summer activites, I need to post about Danielle.



Danielle really is the diva of our family. She's bright, she's clever (and quick), and she wants it done her way - NOW! Personally I think that she's been in complete control even from the womb. She wasn't going to wait around for any Halloween due date - it was the beginning of the month for her. Then once she was here, she ate and slept when she wanted - though I do have to say that she was our best sleeper, until she was about 2 anyway.



This girl has been talking in full sentences since she could say anything. And most of those sentences involve something clever, witty, or just plain hilarious. A recent story - One of the nursery parents had subbed for Danielle's primary class this last week. When she came to pick up her daughter from the nursery she had to tell me about Danielle's comments in sharing time. Apparently they had been sitting and listening for quite some time and Danielle was starting to get antsy. So she walks up to her teacher and says, "When is this going to be done? I just can't take it anymore!"



She's also said to Cameron - while she' s up on his shoulders and we're getting ready walk out to Goat Island (across a shallow reef), "I don't think this is a very good idea!"



Her preschool teachers were always telling me how she's such a crack up. And the best part is that most of the time she knows that she's being funny.



Speaking of her teachers - here they are with Danielle on her last day of school. Aunty Jayna and Aunty Ramiko (they do the aunty thing here, not miss). She was in the same class for the last 2 years and they really loved Danielle and she loved them.




Good thing she is so excited to be starting kindergarten, otherwise I think she'd stay in that class forever. They pretty much let her do whatever she wanted - well, within reason of course - she was always bringing home art projects and glitter and glue and paint and, and, and .... basically all the stuff that I just don't have to patience for at home.




But when she is at home, that girl could spend HOURS in front of the mirror. Give her a brush and some hair clips (and if she had her way, some makeup and lip gloss) and she can entertain herself, well, forever. She loves to do her own hair and she's pretty good at it, too. See.







Seriously - she did it herself, I had nothing to do with it, except to say, "Hold it, missy. I need to take a picture of your hair." To which she replied with a huge grin and a pose.

Now I'm sure that most of you have already heard stories about how Danielle definitely has a mind of her own (read with a screaming voice, "NO!! I'm in charge." and "You can't tell me what to do!" - I know, I know, we're doomed when she's a teenager). Here are a couple of videos from this week's adventures that show the less glamorous, but definitely hilarious antics of Danielle. (One day she'll look back on these and laugh with us, right?) Grandma, and others who get this by email, click here to see the videos.




video

This second one is a little long, and I was walking on uneven ground, so there's a lot of bouncing and I'm pretty sure there's no one in the shot a few times....

video


I never did get to watch a movie when we got home while she made dinner and washed the dishes - she was done being in charge way before that, well at least for that day.
However, Danielle is really delightful to have around - most of the time - and I can't wait to see how she comes to embrace her inner diva as she grows up.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

See, she really is amazing

I was talking to Cameron today while we were making dinner (and yes, WE were making dinner) and I related a story about Abby. And being the smart man that he is, he said, "you should blog about that - right now before you forget." (See, I told you he was smart.) So here I am.

A couple of weeks ago, probably on a Sunday after church (because that would make the most sense) Abby and I were talking about how temples and churches are special buildings because they are the only places on earth that God can dwell in - they are built to be His houses. And Abby procedes to say how that is just like how our bodies are temples, too, so that God can dwell with us.

Seriously - talk about profound.


PS - Don't you just hate it when your whole post erases for absolutely no reason at all - just as you finish it up and are about to hit the post button? I know I do. At least this one wasn't very long.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Amazing Abigail

Where to start with Miss Abby. She really is such an amazing girl that I don't know where to begin. Well, I guess I'll start with the most recent. Saturday was a very special day for Abby, she was baptised and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was such a sweet baptismal service - Cameron's parents came out for the event (I think they've been to all their grandkids' baptisms) and we also had a few friends from the ward attend. Abby asked Grandma Julie to give the talk on baptism and her Primary teacher to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. Both talks were excellent and I enjoyed them. I hope that Abby was listening, too - I'm sure she was. I think she was a little overwhelmed at being the center of attention, I know that I would be. Unfortunately in all the hub-bub of trying to get to the chapel on time I totally forgot to grab the camera. Luckily Grandma and Grandpa didn't. So here is a picture of us after the service.

What else to tell you about - well, she had a little birthday party, I mean after all, how many times do you turn 8? She had the choice of having a bigger party or having a smaller sleepover. She choose the sleepover. So she invited her 3 best friends and they were all able to make it. It was a fun night. The girls all played for a while and then we had make your own pizza for dinner. After jammies were put on they got a little facial and pedicure (by yours truly) and relaxed while watching a movie. Here's a picture of Abby and her girl friends.


Don't you just love that they're all in the awkward "my teeth are too big for my mouth" stage? Good thing it happens before they really start caring too much about their appearance, otherwise we'd miss out on those truly happy smiles.


Abby also had lots of things going on during the last week of school. She was Outstanding Citizen for the school year in her class (I think there was a boy selected from her class as well). She was super excited. Here's Abby and daddy at the awards ceremony:



At that same assembly Abby got another award that we didn't even know about! Luckily we stuck around, talking to some friends and waiting for the volunteer recognition thing-a-ma-gigger that was supposed to be afterwards.

So the whole school had a poster contest with the theme of "Our Laie Bay". There was an artist that was painting a couple of murals on the school and this was part of that. The murals are based on the same theme - but that's a post for another day. Back to Abby. Well, she won honorable mention in the poster contest. And, by the way, I totally love her poster. She did a fantastic job with it. It's now hanging over our table. Here she is getting her award - she was totally surprised, too. They didn't tell anyone who won, except the top 3 places, I think they contacted the parents so they were there. Anyway, picture:



And here's one last picture of Abby with her teacher from this year, Mrs. Kitagawa. I think Abby will get along great with all her teachers, she's just that kind of student (and hopefully she'll stay that way), but I really think Mrs. Kitagawa was sad to see her leave.



What else can I tell you about Abby? She truly is amazing. She is quite the helper around the house, especially when it comes to Juliana. I'm not sure how, but she can carry Juliana around - and that's seriously like half her body weight in baby! Abby brings Juliana into our room pretty much every morning and if I happen to not hear her wake up in the middle of the night she'll bring Juliana in then, too. And she doesn't ever complain about it.

She's an amazing student. Not only does she do her work, but she does it well, and I think she actually enjoys it. I know she enjoys math and she definitely enjoys reading. For most of this last school year her reading homework has been to read for 20 minutes everyday. She can read whatever she wants, and honestly, most days she reads way more than just 20 minutes. And she can be reading a bunch of books at once - definitely something she gets from her dad. I'm a one book person myself - I need to finish one before I can move on. But Abby (and Cameron) can be reading multiple books and still know what's going on in each one. I don't know how they do it.

Abby's pretty much the best 8 year-old anyone could ask for. She's generally the child that I worry the least about. She can keep herself entertained, entertain others as needed (LOVE that), and usually has a great attitude. Not only that, but she does what she knows is expected of her, and like just about everything she does, she does it well. She loves to play with her friends, she loves to play with her brother and sisters (well, most of the time), and she is constantly leaving me cards and pictures that tell me just how much she loves me. I can't wait to see just how much more amazing Abby becomes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Jubilant Juliana

{There are (many) video clips in this post. So if you get this as an email, you'll need to click here to go to the actuall blog to view the videos.}

Juliana really is a jubilant baby. She's happy 90% of the time, and usually when she is grumpy its for a good reason. She's so easy to just take along wherever we need to go, even when we have to drive into town. She's just starting to develop her own little sense of humor - and trust me, if she doesn't think it's funny she's not going to laugh.
Here are a few highlights of her emerging personality over the last few months.

Taking her first steps. She actually did this last month while Cameron was in Utah. By the time he got home she was toddling around everywhere. A fun surprise for him.

video

She purrs - she doesn't do this as much as she used to, but at night she does this when we play with her, after the other kids are in bed.

video

She does a pretty darn good Darth Vader impression (really this is hilarious in person, the video doesn't do it justice).

video

A fashionista revealed - she's very recently begun to bring me clothes from her room that she wants put on. Here is a sampling of one of her fashion creations.

And the view from behind - because it's just as cute.

She's super sensitive to mosquito bites. Seriously, they turn into enormous hives. And the of course she wants to scratch them and it just goes down hill from there. If we put a bandaid on them, she just picks that off, too. We did however find some tattoo bandaids that she hasn't been able to remove, so we use those as much as we can. Here's a picture of her last bite - it was a big one. Weeks later it has finally healed up, but you can still see the mark on her leg where the skin is still red.


And she loves to dance. Anytime she hears ANY music she starts dancing. Even without music sometimes! She's a dancing fool.

{Sorry, I can't seem to find my video of her bustin' a move. I'll have to take a new one and post it soon.}

She's a bit of a neat freak. Well, ok, we'll just say she's a good helper. She likes to pick things up, which is normally great, but can be a little discouraging when you're trying to fold laundry. But otherwise it comes in handy (as anyone who has seen our house on a daily basis can appreciate).

Her most recent obsession is drinking from regular cups. She would do this all day if someone would sit with her and help her out - doing it herself doesn't last too long, once she dumps all the water on herself she's pretty much done.

She sure talks a lot, but most of the time we have no idea what she is saying. Her English vocabulary is still very limited (as in "uh oh" and "maaa-maaa") but I have a feeling that one of these days she's just going to starting talking in full on sentences.

Juliana is an interesting mix of the whole family - and really she only got good traits of each of us. She's got a love of reading from Abby (ok, so she's really just into looking, pointing, babbling, and then turning the page). She's got a need to know how things work from Isaac. She's got a need to look good (and primp) from Danielle. She's got her beautiful dark eyes and hair, and her olive-ish skin from her dad. And she got her laid back attitude from her mom.

All in all, she's quite the package, and the perfect little addition to our family. She's always excited to see us - even if you just walk in the other room, she just lights up when you come back. She keeps us all smiling, and and she gives us lots of loves, from hugs and kisses to blowing kisses and waving goodbye.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Incredible Isaac

I decided to write up a few posts that each feature one of the children. They are all doing such great things lately and have so much going on. I thought it would be fun for me and for them to have a post completely devoted to just them!


I'm going to start with Isaac. Sometimes I think the poor boy is missing out on some of life because he only has sisters. But he's a good sport and he a lot of times he plays along with girly things (against his wishes) just to keep the peace.


Isaac's been up to a lot lately. School has been keeping him busy and he's been working hard at being a good student. His hard work paid off last month when he found out that the was Super Citizen for his class in May. Daddy happened to be in Utah when they recognized him, but Juliana and I were there to celebrate with him (and Abby was in the audience, too).




And this week marked another celebration - Isaac graduated from Kindergarten! He was super excited for this, since I didn't have him participate in the graduation last year (since he wasn't moving on to 1st grade). He was up at 5:45am and by 6:15 he had gotten himself dressed in his "Sunday Best" without any help. From then until 6:45 when I got up, he was in every 5 minutes asking where his tie was. See, his teacher, Mrs. Saizon, gave all the boys in the class Eagle Scout/Missionary ties. {Yes, you can do that sort of thing in this community and totally get away with it. It's kind of cool. I'm pretty sure everyone in Isaac's class, including Mrs. Saizon, is LDS. I'm sure Mrs. Saizon wouldn't have called it a missionary tie to anyone who wasn't.} Isaac was really excited to wear it, but I didn't want to put it on until we were in the classroom at school, since he had to eat breakfast still. ANYWAY - he was ready.

The ceremony was yesterday (Thursday) morning. And after it was over, he got to come home. And the girls still have school today, so that was special, too (though I think he's already bored and it's only 9am).


Here's Isaac shaking the Principal's hand, Mrs. Voorhies.


Here's Isaac with his teacher Mrs. Saizon - after the donning of the leis. Isaac ended up giving his kukui nut lei to her - he wanted her to have one. It was super sweet. {The kukui nut one is the one that looks like black and brown beads.}

Isaac really loves Mrs. Saizon. He actually started out in her class last year. I told her up front that I was planning to hold him back for a second year of kindergarten, simply because of his birthday (Christmas Eve - he was only 4 when he started kindergarten). She really wasn't too happy about that, but didn't make a stink because I think she figured we'd deal with it later (and secretly I think she thought she would talk me out of it). Well, they formed a new kindergarten class in about November that year and he ended up moving to that class (they just moved the last 20 students to register to make it fair). I think that was one of the best things that could have happened to Isaac. His teacher last year, Mrs. Ah Sue, was much more laid back and less rigid with the students - that's what Isaac needed then. She was very supportive of having Isaac repeat Kindergarten, not because she thought he needed to, but because I wanted to. She definitely went to bat for me with the administration. They were not happy to have a Jr. Kindergarten repeat - it was kind of a matter of pride that since the program had started a few years before that all the Jr. Kindergartener has moved up to 1st grade.

{Side note - Jr. Kindergarteners are any students who were not yet 5 when the school year started. They were not in their own class, they were just mixed in with everyone else. The theory is that the students get started earlier, which is supposedly better for them (especially in a lower economic status area, which Laie definitely is), but if they need the extra year repeating kindergarten is a option for them. However, like I said, it was a matter of pride that Laie Elementary had always moved all the Jr. Kindergartens up to 1st grade. I had talked to one of the teachers when Abby was in kindergarten and she was concerned and felt really pressured to pass all her students, even though there were a few she didn't feel comfortable having move on. I didn't want Isaac to be one of those. I wanted him to be ready for 1st grade without haven't to play any catch up later. I would rather he be a little ahead of the game instead of always feeling behind. Make sense, right? OK, back to the story.}


Anyway, Mrs. Ah Sue let the administrations know my concerns. I talked to a councilor about it briefly and after getting a little flak about if, I guess they finally decided it wasn't worth the argument, because they let me have him repeat. And I found out at the beginning of this school year that after I choose and succeeded at holding Isaac back that 6 other students (well there parents) decided to go the same route.


OK, that took way to long to explaining - what I'm really getting at is how much we love Mrs. Saizon! I was excited that Isaac was assigned to her class again this year - we was ready for her. Mrs. Saizon is a most amazing teacher. She instills responsibility, honesty, hard work, all the values that you want your child to have. And she does it in such a loving way. She's a more structured (which is why Isaac needed something different last year), but in a kind way that helps the students to learn how to learn and to be in charge of their learning. I don't know how she does it - she has an amazing talent for working with children. {If I could do my student teaching with her, I would do it in a heart beat.} Isaac learned so much more from her than just academics. He's always saying her motto - I think she had them say it everyday at school:


"To be the best that I can be, the choice is always up to me."


I mean seriously people - kindergarteners that now only know this - they understand and believe it. I just goes to show the power of a good teacher, especially in the early years of schooling.


I asked Isaac what his favorite thing about Mrs. Saizon is and he said:
"She's nice. She let me be Super Citizen (obviously this was a big deal to him). She gives the best hugs."


My favorite thing about Mrs. Saizon - besides all that I've already mentioned - is that anytime she brought up something that needed addressing with Isaac, she always supplemented it with something that he did well. For example, Isaac has had continual problems with staying focused in class (and at home,too). We would have regular conversations about this, discussing things that have worked to help him. Always somewhere in the those conversations she would mention something that Isaac did really well. She was impressed with his ability to build contraptions with Legos and constructor sets that she had in the room - not just the things he build, but that he could describe all the details of it and what everything did.


And when it came right down to it, she wasn't afraid to say that though it wouldn't have been her choice to do so, she did agree that Isaac greatly benefited from staying in kindergarten another year.


OK, this post got HUGELY long. And I've wandered from Isaac and his accomplishments.


I have one last picture of Isaac and his special guests. Grandma and Grandpa Peterson made the trek out the Hawaii for Abby's upcoming baptism and a stay at their timeshare on Kauai (which we get to stay at, too, super excited about that) and they just happened to arrive in time to attend Isaac's graduation. I think it just made it that much more special for him and I so happy that they were able to make it (without even planning ahead for it). Here is a picture taken after the festivities (and it's a good shot of his special tie).


Isaac's really such an amazing boy. He's very loving - I don't know many six year old boys who still want to give their mom (and baby sister) a hug and a kiss (in front of his classmates) before they start their school day. He can climb anything - trees, swing sets, monkey bars, poles in random places. He has an amazing imagination and definitely does not lack in the creativity department. He is a budding artist, who I hope will continue to develop those talents - and I hope that I remember to keep helping him with that, too.

If there's anything you want to add about the Incredible Isaac - leave it in a comment and I will pass it on to him.


Up next - the Jubilant Juliana...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May Day

Some of you may have been around for last year's May Day - so you understand just how HUGE of a deal it is. For the rest of you....well, you'll see. {if you want to see last year's post click here}

This year the them was One World, so there were dances from all over the world. Danielle (and the other preschoolers) did Tahiti. The kindergarteners, Isaac, did Italy, and the 2nd graders, Abby, did India (Bollywood). I think out of the whole show these were the 3 best numbers - but I could just be biased.
Here's the three of them together in their costumes

Danielle with some of her cute classmates. No, she wasn't the only one in pink.

Isaac so cute in his Italian wear

Abby as the charming Indian princess

I have some video footage of each of them that I will try to post later. But right now I have a very cranky baby squirming around in my lap - so I should probably put her down for a nap.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Batter Up!

Well, I've finally got a little time to blog - really I should be doing dishes or laundry or homework, but that's not nearly as much fun.

So I'll start with baseball. Some of you may remember that Isaac and Abby played in the local league last year. {For those interested here are a few posts on last season....Batter up, Take me out to the ball game, and Keeping your eye on the ball} We signed up again this year. Isaac and Abby got put on the same team - coach pitch, so a little harder than T-ball was last year for Isaac. And Cameron got a call from a ward member who is running the league this year and was asked to be the assistant coach for the kids' team. A little surprising, since I'm not sure Cameron has played, or even had the desire to play, baseball in over 30 years. But he was willing, so he agreed. The teams got to choose their own names and our team became the Hollywood Hitters. The season is really short, only 6 weeks, but it's been lots of fun and the kids have really improved their playing. We invested in some equipment, like battering helmets and bats (and they already have gloves), since we figure we'll be playing again next year - Danielle's already excited to be old enough then.

OK, enough blabbing, here's some pictures and video for your viewing pleasure
{Nana, click here to see the videos, because they don't work in the email.}

Here's the team in the dugout. This was from their first game - they are much more attentive to the game and cheer for their teammates as they bat now.



I can't believe that I managed to get them all in the same shot, but I did. I don't even think I was trying to get Abby:)

Here's video from our most recent game - Wednesday. Abby and Isaac just happened to be next to each other in the line up, so that worked out nicely. Just a warning, you may want to turn the volume down - there' s not really anything to hear, but I'm yelling - ahem, cheering - so the kids can hear me and I'm right next to the mircophone. Abby made it all the way home, Isaac ended up getting out at first base, but he still had a pretty nice hit.


video

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Someday I'll get around to....

Well, my lack of blogging lately certainly hasn't been because of a lack of things to blog about. I'm teaming with stuff that I want to share, but I haven't had a whole lot of time to get it all on the computer and write it all up and...and...and... You get the picture. But this week I'm going to try to at least post some pics and videos so you can see what we've been up to. And I think I've finally figured out how I'm going to work my menu planning and I want to share that with you, too.

So, really I guess this is a teaser post. Here's all the fun things that you look forward to hearing about:)
Baseball - It's that time of year again. Abby and Isaac are playing and Cameron is coaching.
A Few First Steps - I'm not sure that I actually have this one on video yet, but I will soon. And really it's only a few, so don't get too excited. She's much too comfortable with crawling to worry about something as silly as walking.
May Day - Abby, Isaac, and Danielle were all in this year's Laie Elementary May Day performance. They were fabulous, of course. I have pictures and I think I have at least a little video of each one - we had some camera memory card issues.
Menu Planning - yet again, but I think I'm finally done....almost.

OK, that's enough teasing for now - so stayed tuned for the good stuff coming soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sorry

This week has been totally crazy with school starting up again for me and just life in general. The kids are playing baseball again this year and we're in full swing now - and Cameron's the asst. coach of the team (Abby and Isaac are on the same team this year). It's been fun, but it takes up 3 afternoons a week and Sat mornings. School should be fun, but challenging. I just need to remember that it only last for 6 weeks! Then I'll get a little vacation - and by little, I mean little!

Got to run. I'll post soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter and Menu Planning

Before I get started on my simplifying for today, I thought I would share a few pics of the kids in their Easter duds. We had a good Easter - the big bunny brought the older kids some treats and things, and thoughtfully left them at the foot of their beds so as to keep them occupied for a little longer before waking up mom and dad. Seriously - that is one thoughtful bunny. Church was good and dinner was yummy. Nothing too exciting, just hanging out with the family.

Here's Juliana in her dress


Danielle being too cute

Love this one of Abby and Isaac in front of the ocean

And we're doing a ward picture directory for the ward here (seems this job keeps following us a round) so we had someone take our picture. I think it turned out really great. I'm not sure why Isaac is so somber, but the rest of us are looking pretty happy.
OK -on to the menu planning...

Well, I have to say that I've run into a few snags working on my shopping lists this week. I did come up with enough meals (and repeats) to make 10 weeks of meals. But I've found as I've been planning them that I prefer cooking based on my mood. I thought it would be easier to just cook my assigned meal, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way. I don't know. It almost seems like I'm making it harder than it should be with so many choices/weeks, so I've decided that I need to simplify but yet allow for some flexibility.
As I've been thinking about it this week, I remembered that I took a class years ago, through UVSC's (UVU now) continuing education program. It was called House of Order. Amazingly I still have all the info from it. It was a fabulous class, and I think it is now taught at BYU's Education Week, too. Anyway, I pulled out the binder to look over how the teacher had suggested menu planning. From that and my experiences over the last week or so, this is what I've come up with as a plan:
  • I'm going to poll the family for their very favorite meals
  • I'll use those results to come up with a 4 week program - so a total of about 20-22 meals (you'll see why below)
  • The key is that I will leave one or two blank nights each week for any cravings, whims, etc. that I might have that week, or just to stick in those meals that we like every once in a while, but not so regularly.
    Then I'll go back to my shopping lists.
So, I've got to do a little revamping here. For all of you that means you get a little more time to keep working on those shopping lists. But really, once you get that done - you're set! That wasn't too painful, was it?
Oh, and I just looked up the teacher of that class I took and it turns out that she has her own website now. Feel free to check it out. There is a little section about menu planning under 'Food'. I'm sure there's a lot more there, but I haven't looked around it all yet.
Let me know how you guys are all doing on your menus.