Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mission, Vision, and Culture

I've finally written out our family mission, vision, and culture.  It reminds you WHAT (vision) you are working for and HOW (mission) to get there.  I've spent time writing T-Rex's homeschool vision by thinking about what I want T- Rex to be like when he is 25 years old.  I know, I know, the kid is 3!  But, "Where there is no vision, the people perish."  So I've spent about 10 minutes thinking about each of the following categories and then trying to write a concise vision :)  (Concise is relative...I know!)

  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Social
Then I tried to figure out the HOW.  What are the daily activities, character qualities, and ways of thinking that will help me reach the goals we have set in the vision?  I've also added our family culture - what I hope it will be!

Below is what I've come up with.  What would you add?


Spiritual:  Temple attender. Family History Guru.  Love of the scriptures. See with spiritual eyes.  Use the priesthood to bless others including your family. Know who you are, and seek your divine potential. Serve missions and be sealed to your eternal companion in the house of the Lord.  Gives meaningful service.

Mental:  Lifelong learner.  Seek truth out of the best books, including the words of the prophets.

Emotional: Resilient.  Not easily offended.  Views the home as a safe place to be himself.

Financial:  Entrepreneur.  Knows how to save.  Knows when to spend.  Is a producer.  Sees money as a tool to help others.

Physical:  Take care of his body with sleep, exercise, and healthy eating habits. Spends time enjoying the outdoors.

Social:  Be friends with his parents.  Feels comfortable to come his parents with challenges he is facing.  Make every woman feel like a million bucks.  Reach out to the friendless and create relationships with like-minded people.  


We are hard working and resilient students who love to learn.  We strengthen our family bonds by daily communing with God through prayer and by studying His words.  We spend our time in the best books and through serving one another.



He's only 3, I know, but here we go!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Peter Pan and Peter Rabbit

I decided after our success with Charlotte's Webb, we would move on to another great classic, Peter Pan!  I was excited about this book, just imagining Ty learning about pirates, fairies, and mermaids.  This would be awesome!!!  However, it really wasn't as engaging for Ty.  The different use of language, the crazy amount of new words, new concepts ideas, it's all great exposure right?  Right.  But he didn't soak this book in like Charlott'e's Webb.  It was great to read aloud to him, I personally enjoyed doing my best pirate voice and accent, but it was just a little too much, a little too soon.  I also edited a few parts myself by removing a few "bad words" and not telling him that they killed the pirates and such, just that they fought.  That was not something I really wished to expose him to.  I didn't give up though, hoping to expose him to new words, ideas, and such.  Just hoping that this exposure creates curiosity!  I did enjoy the pictures, but T-Rex thought all of the people on the front cover were girls because of their long hair. Ha!

We also got Peter Rabbit, another classic - but this one he LOVED.  We read it a lot.  He enjoyed it so much and I am glad we read it over and over.  Great little book for a 3 year old!  I would even say to do this one before Charlotte's Webb, if you wanted to.  

Those are our readings for the month! (Plus all of the other little kid stories and books from the local library...which is awesome!)  

A Letter to You if You're Thinking of Homeschooling

 I just wanted to share a few things that I've learned as I've been starting the homeschool journey. First I'm not a perfect parent, or the most patient, but as I started on this journey I have learned that I am living more intentionally as a mother. I've realized that I need to work on my relationship with my demanding and wiggly 3 year old if I am going to have him in my home instead of sending him off to school - and that has truly made all of the difference.

I've also found that I am having to be guided by faith. I am also laughing that I'm even writing this email because truthfully I haven't officially started a homeschool curriculum or joined a co-op, but just doing things on my own that I feel strongly about with my son, and then going to as many homeschool conventions, support groups, and pretty much anything that is going to help me along this journey....and so that eventually I can find a co-op and a curriculum. :) 

I've learned as I've been studying and attending classes that YOU cannot do it all, and that this okay.  You are simply a facilitator of their learning. (I said simply a facilitator - but we know that it isn't all that simple or easy....just that it is worth it!)

I have a few recommendations of articles and books that might be helpful to you.  The following is the article that, with the help of the spirit, sealed the deal for me.  

The next three links are links about the different homeschooling approaches...they all say essentially the same thing - but it's good info as you begin to learn about the different approaches.

This blog is just a great blog from a mom who homeschools.  What I like about her blog is that she covers laundry plan(how to run a household and a homeschool), gospel learning, and pretty much everything a homeschooling parent might need.

I have not yet purchased the book below, but I have been told over and over that this is the most helpful books for picking curriculum for your children.

Below is a GREAT forum to join.  What's great is that they have activities and other ways of meeting homeschooling families and there are just a bunch of different topics and things you can join that might be helpful.  You'll have to join and then go to the forums and sign up for the ones that interest you.

This website is awesome!  Probably one of the first websites I came across while trying to figure all of the homeschooling stuff out.  This helps you understand what is required in Utah to pull your kids out of school and other important information.

I'm sorry if this is just way too much information, but I am excited to start homeschooling!  The reasons I love homeschooling so far is that it's flexible and it's shorter than public school and allows your children more time to be creative.  I also love it because Heavenly Father planted a seed in my heart and I have been doing all I can to nurture it.  

I know my son is only 3, but I have always worked with him on learning.  He is a bright kid - but he's very much a 3 year old boy.  Because of his age and craziness, this is what our days look like:  I read to him from the illustrated Book of Mormon  and the Friend magazine in the morning while he and his sister are eating breakfast.  If he still hasn't finished eating, I read more in those or other books.  Right now he is excited about dinosaurs so we might read about dinosaurs from the 10 dinosaur books we get from the library...or bugs.  He loves bugs!  Then if he is playing in the sandbox or in the bathtub (and if his little sister allows) I read to him from books like Charlotte's Web, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Jungle Book, etc.  I LOVE reading to him.  I love that we learn new words and discuss fun things - and important things like honesty and kindness!  Even though he isn't sitting there and intensely listening, I know he is learning.  Before naps and bedtime we read more.  We go to museums and I'm hoping to start teaching him to read a little as long as he is okay with it.  We also count all of our grapes we eat at lunch or other things like that to help him start with number recognition and such.  We always look for ways to count and point out letters or their sounds.  It's pretty much a learning lifestyle!

Congrats if you made it this far!  That was a LONG post and I hope I didn't overwhelm you too much.  If this is the right thing for you and your family, Heavenly Father will help you.  That I am sure of.  I hope I helped in some way.  I'm excited for you and your family and best of luck!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Charlotte's Web

I went to the UHEA homeschool conference a month ago.  After going to classes like, Homeschool 101, I decided to start reading REAL books (not just pictures books) to T-Rex.  I was told that he, being a kinesthetic learner would do well in these preschool years by reading to him while he bathed, played in the sandbox, played with blocks, etc.  So that is what I plan to do.  We just finished our first REAL book. 

I didn't think that he would really listen.
I was wrong.
I didn't think he'd sit in my lap.
I was wrong.
I didn't think he'd truly follow the story line.
I was wrong.

We had a WONDERFUL time talking about this book!  He was so much fun.  We talked A LOT about what slop was.  And what types of things go into slop.  And some that didn't.  The moment I really felt like this was the right thing, was when we were talking about Wilbur's mud and how it was squishy and such, and T-Rex started laughing out loud as it was described.  I was in heaven.  And then, as we neared the end of the book, he started pointing out that he saw 3 C's on the page, oh, and he saw a G and an H, etc.  Then he asked me what the words said that he would point to.  It was wonderful and exciting!

The more I learn about home schooling, the more I realize how critical reading to your kids can be.  Reading helps so much along the way.  It seems like the key factor in a child that loves to learn.  I loved reading Charlotte's web because it still used big words and explained a lot of them.  It had familiar animals and I loved reading with "their" voices.  A GREAT book to start with! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

My New Fav

So my new favorite thing to do in the mornings with the kids is to read The Friend to them as they are eating their breakfast.  The friend is the kids magazine from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They're mouths are full and they do pretty good listening and the cute little stories.  I love it because it teaches them about what it is to be a child of God.  I also love that I can teach them other things too.  For example, with T-Rex we read this article about Elder Hales.  It talked about baseball.  We spent time being a pitcher and a batter (pretend.)  T-Rex now understands that pitchers throw the balls to the batters.  We often finish the article just for him to ask for me to read it again.  It opens discussions about what he would do in the situation that we are reading about.  And even though he is only 3, he really understands a lot more than I give him credit for.  It also gives fun activities for little kids.  This is just perfect as I am working into homeschooling in the fall.  I want to do a daily devotional, and this is a great start at getting T-Rex in the habit.

It is a great way to start our day on such a happy and positive note!  Goodness, I love being a mom to this little breakfast bunch!  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

His Love is Always There and Yes, POOP

The next two stories have nothing in common, but the fact that both happened today:

So today T-Rex has been exceptionally difficult...or he's just a typical toddler.  You decide.  He just whined, and whined and whined.  He wouldn't do his chores, eat his food, or choose to obey anything.  I was trying to motivate him to get dressed and eat his lunch so that we could walk down to the park and play with his cousin.  I was trying to be understanding and helped him more than I would like to help him get dressed.  I was feeding him his food to try and help him get done on time for us to go.  I was so frustrated because even with all of my help, he was still whiny and uncooperative.  I just wanted to put him down for his nap.  BUT regardless if he DESERVED to go to the park or not, I felt he NEEDED to go to the park.  So after the struggle to get out the door, I pushed him and Love Bug all of the way to the park.  He played with sticks, dirt, rocks, went down slides, and enjoyed his time with his cousin.  I think our Heavenly Father feels the same way about us.  He sees that we are just struggling, and we truly do not deserve to be blessed, but He does anyway.  And for that I am grateful.  Truthfully I know I hardly deserve the blessings that I receive, and I am ever so grateful that He chooses to bless me.  I love that if I truly want to feel His love, I just have to ask - and it is ALWAYS there, deserved or not, it is simply, there.

On another note, not nearly as warm and fuzzy.  While we were at the park, I let Love Bug crawl around after her regular time swinging in the swings.  She was doing great and having a blast.  She started crawling towards me and I noticed for a minute she was holding something in her hands.  I thought it was just bark, because there was bark all over the playground and she usually picks it up.  Nope.  Not. So. Lucky.  I immediately said, "That better not be a dog turd."  Well, it was exactly what I dreaded (was it my punishment cause I said the word "turd"?) a nice big piece of doggie doo-doo.  I was mortified.  I wasn't prepared for this.  I had no wipes, not even a spare jacket...and the park doesn't have a working bathroom or drinking fountain because they don't turn those things on until winter is over.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law had driven to the park and as I realized what it was I asked her if she had some wipes.  She did and as she was running I was desperately trying to pry my daughters hand open (with a piece of bark, mind you, there was NO WAY I was going to touch the poop too.)  Well I start prying and trying to scrape the poop off of Love Bug, however in the process poop flips up hitting my eye and getting in my hair.  Long story short...she did get her hands wet-wipe cleaned, then doused in hand sanitizer, and continued on our merry afternoon.  I hate poop.  I just do.  However, if you want to laugh until you cry, I recommend this poop story....the BEST poop story I have ever read:  THE POOP STORY TO END ALL POOP STORIES.
Love Bug up in the swings...safely away from the poop!

And feel free to share in the comments when you were given something you didn't deserve, that was awesome, or something that wasn't awesome, like poop.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


We have been wanting to teach T-Rex about paying his tithing.  It is hard to teach a toddler who is just barely grasping numbers that we give one-tenth, but we attempted to monday night.  His Grandma K sent him $10 for his birthday and we needed to put it somewhere, and teach him.  So I took some little boxes that contained vitamins in them and then just covered them with some cute scrapbooking paper and added some stickers and walla!  Now he has a place to put his money.

I also made a chore chart because I want him to start helping out.  I used the simple chore chart tutorial here and then jazzed it up a little, because hers was too plain for me, and I had scraps left from the above project.  Now I just need to go and get it laminated and I am good to go!

I liked this simple chore chart because he can't read yet, and these pictures are pretty self explanatory.  It's easy to see what you have done and what you haven't.  I just want to set the expectation before I begin homeschooling him that there are things that we need to do each day.  We'll see how it goes!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Shake it Off

I remember last year, at about this time, realizing I would be turning 30 and being nervous and scared.  The thought of leaving my twenties (aka the young and fun time of life...or so I believed) was frightening!  My mom counseled me that she loved her thirties. She said that it was when she "came into her own," whatever that means. At the time, I couldn't then imagine being really comfortable in my own skin..I had just had a baby, my hormones were crazy, I hadn't slept much, and well, that makes for a time when fears might be a little irrational.  However, it's a year later,  I have turned thirty, and I think I have a better understanding of what it means to "come into your own."   I don't want to be embarrassed if I'm not the best singer in the ward choir, or I don't have the clean and organized house most of the time, or the fact that I have a poochie tummy because I've had two kids. I don't want to be insecure about meaningless things anymore.  I want to sing out and just enjoy singing, have a messy house just because I spend more time on the floor playing with my kids, and be okay with my tummy because I have two glorious children.

(UVU Ballroom team on tour in Australia.  I'm the one in the red dress....I know not helpful.  
Back row, sixth one from the left.)

We went to vocal point concert at BYU this evening and it brought back memories of when I was on the UVU ballroom dance team. I wanted to be the best dancer on the team. But I was insecure, and I didn't enjoy ballroom dancing as much because I didn't feel like I was the best. I held back, embarrassed of what others would think if I did everything bigger-including making mistakes.  What a waste! I feel like it could have been so much more fun, had I been able to set aside my insecurities. However I feel like the only way to get on a team like that was to be competitive.... so at this point I think I'll forgive myself and live differently from now on.  Other than not constantly stressing about a clean house (why do I care what people think so much!?!) one thing I really would like to do is to sing. I just want to sing and enjoy it. Regardless if I'm great or horrible I just want to sing. I hold back when singing with my husband (who has a great voice) or others who are better than me.  I am the only one holding myself back from the joy. I am just gonna sing out.  Be okay not being the cleanest, the best singer, the skinniest, etc.  Maybe my mom was right on, your thirties aren't so bad, maybe I am coming into my own.

P.S.  And truthfully, Taylor Swift got it right....

Cause the players gonna play, play, play

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate
Baby I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake
Baby I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off, Shake it off


I really love that song.  Listen to it all of the time.  Sing to it all of the time. Shake to it all of the time. Can't stop, won't stop GROOVING!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

JOY in the COUNTLESS small moments

I guess I named this blog, Joy in The Small Moments because I wanted to pay attention to the times that are joyful - and sometimes those times are small.  BUT there are SO MANY of these moments in a day.  You could say there are countless moments of joy with these small children. I LOVE my little ones.  Just thinking of the last 24 hours....thinking of my little guy.  We went and saw the Cristus at the Oakland Temple.  He learned that, (in his words) "Jesus has scars.  The bad guys put nails in His hands and feet.  They killed Jesus."  But then, with a little prodding, "He was resurrected."  Although at 3 years old T-rex doesn't fully comprehend everything, he is learning and growing.  In those moments when I hear him reverently talking to his Grandpa W. about it, I am brought to tears that this little boy is maturing, and one day he'll truly gain a testimony of his Savior.  But for now, he knows enough.

Thinking of the last day, I can't not think of the continued giggles of my kids, Love Bug giving T-Rex kisses for the first time, the dialogue they have been having with their grandparents, T-Rex singing "I love to see the temple" to everyone at Love Bug's 1 year birthday dinner, Love Bug eating a HUGE piece of chocolate cake and getting chocolate frosting all over her angelic face and smiling for pictures, T-Rex's prayer where he blessed everyone in the room by name to "sleep good" and watching Love Bug sleep peacefully on the drive to Oakland.   There were snuggles from both of my kids, kisses from Love Bug, and T-rex folding his arms for prayer before being asked. These moments are scattered throughout the day and I know if I'm not paying attention to them, I might miss them.  So that's the purpose of this blog, to catch those joyful and wonderful moments amid the daily ins and outs of life.  Catch them, find joy in them, and thank my Heavenly Father for them.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

So I'm truthfully not one to set New Years Resolutions.  I always think, why set a goal you're just going to screw it up?  Life just happens and our priorities change.  I'm one wants to do it right, or not at all.  BUT, I'm going try.  Better that we shoot for the stars and miss, than shoot for a cow pie and hit it dead on, right?  It could be that today, I'm not thinking clearly.  I had way too many stuffed mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, and shrimp and stayed up way too late playing hearts and canasta.  Regardless, I'm making a New Year's Resolution.  I'd like to send 365 thank yous...it can be a card, an email, a Facebook message.  I just sent my first one to Joyce.

Vanessa, Shu-Yan, Joyce, Me, and May.

Joyce was from mainland China.  At the time, families weren't supposed to have more than two kids.  Joyce's mom loved her family and wanted more children.  So she had more.  She was fined by the Chinese government and had to work hard and long to pay the fines that she could keep her children.  When many women would abort or leave their babies, this woman had the courage to pay the price to keep this precious soul.

Joyce joined the church in Cambodia and came to BYU-Hawaii as a student.  She had to learn English in one year, and then complete college courses in her second language.  She worked hard on her degree and at her job.  She then decided to serve a mission for the church and served an honorable full-time mission in California.  She then went back to BYU-H to finish her degree.  Met a wonderful man, married in the temple, and now lives in Taiwan with her husband and two beautiful little boys.  Is that not inspiring?  Yup, she is my first thank-you of the new year.  Her example inspired me then, and continues to inspire me.

Here is to many more thank yous this new year!
Happy New Year!