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Friday, June 26, 2009

Our butterflies

A butterfly hatched this morning, what perfect timing! We had been raising these caterpillars and were worried that they'd hatch after we left for our vacation. After feeding them our precious parsley and fennel for a week and watching them for hours, we were determined to take the jar of pupae with us on vacation if they hadn't hatched yet.

I've never seen a new butterfly before, and neither had the children. It was so fun to let it crawl on our hands and arms. We let it roam around for a while on our bodies, then took it outside to a butterfly-friendly bush. Sarah decided to name it Flower-Bells.

We had a great time just admiring it's beautiful markings and colors. I'm so thankful Heavenly Father created such beautiful creatures to brighten our world. We all sat outside watching the butterfly on the bush and talked about God's creations. What a loving Father to bless his children with beautiful things! I'm so glad we had this experience this morning, what a great way to start the day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Joke Journal entries

These are a couple stories from our family joke Journal, a compilation of funny or random things our kids say. I love reading these on occasion and laughing with my kids.

Matthew is doing a puppet show for me. He has a pile of puppets on the floor, ready for his disposal. The main character is looking for a friend.

Puppet 1: I'm so sad I don't have any friends!
Puppet 2 (entering): I'll be your friend! And I have lots of other friends that will be your friend too! (Matthew reaches for another puppet, looks at his two hands already occupied, quickly glances around for any way to add more puppets, then sheepishly continues) Actually, I don't have any other friends.

(We're leaving on a 3-week vacation tomorrow, the kids are arguing)

Matthew: Okay fine! I'm NOT going to spend any time with you.
Sarah(giggling): Well good luck with that. Try doing that on our vacation!

(When speeding downhill on a steep highway)

Matthew: When you drive down the hills, I feel like there's an Easter egg in my throat!

Matthew: "When I look at a bright light it makes my eyes feel like they need to roll over, and they're trying really hard to roll over, but they can't do it."

Daniel: (Running up to me brandishing a hurt thumb) Mommy! My daddy-finger hurts!!

We're playing an improvisation game where I call out a noun and the children pretend to be that object. Sarah tells me to call out 'candy', so I do. Matthew lays on the floor with his arms flat against his body, like a log. He calls out, "I'm a Tootsie Roll!" Daniel immediately wrapped his little arms and legs around Matthew and laughed, "I'm the wrapper!"

Renae to Nathan: I want you to be nice to other people so I'm not the only one knowing that you're good on the inside!

Nathan: Matthew- what was your favorite part of sledding?
Matthew: Going down!

Matthew going inside: I'm outta here!
Matthew coming back outside 10 seconds later: I'm inna here!

Renae: There's cold air coming in along the whole door here.
Matthew: Cold air in the dool whore here? What?! WHAT'S a WHORE?!

Renae: What gifts did the wise men bring for Jesus?
Matthew (ecstatically): Candy Canes!!

We were decorating the Christmas tree. Daniel was lifting ornaments out of the box and hanging them all on the same branch directly above the box. We have one figurine of a baby Jesus that he was hanging. Each time he hung it, it immediately fell back into the box. He didn't realize this and kept getting more and more excited each time he pulled out another Jesus ornament. The fourth and fifth time he hung the ornament he was positively ecstatic and laughing with glee, talking in an unbelievably high-pitched voice. Sarah and I were watching the entire affair and holding our sides laughing really hard.

Daniel: Wow! Mommy, LOOK! ANOTHER baby Jesus! Lucky me!

Sarah was excitedly telling me about all the cooking she's done with Nathan in preparation for Thanksgiving. She was gushing about cracking eggs, fetching milk and butter, stirring ingredients, etc.
She asked "Isn't that FUN?!"

Matthew muttered under his breath: "It just sounds like work to me."

It's dinner time. We all sat down to a meal of enchiladas, refried beans, corn, and rice.

Sarah looks at her beans and before diving into them exclaims,
Sarah: I LOVE these guys!

Daniel (from the other side of the table): ME?!?!

After camping the kids and I played at a really nice park in an old pecan orchard. Usually there is a stream and a large pond. This was a very dry year and apparently the park maintainers were taking advantage of the opportunity to improve the pond. They diverted the water and were dredging out the pond and stream. All that was there was a dry bed and a very large pile of earth.

In the bathrooms and around the park were notices that to stay out of the pond area and not to fish. Sarah asked what one of the notices said and I read it to her.

She looked around very dramatically and exlaimed:
Sarah: Pond?! Pond?!? I see no pond!

We were camping as a family. We were sitting together in our tent after it was dark. I commented that it was getting dark earlier and this sparked a conversation with the kids about seasons and timezones.

Sarah: It's dark right now but where Gracie lives (Alaska) it's still light!
Nathan: How do you know it is light in Alaska?
Sarah: Well, if it was dark all the time then Alaska would never be able to play!

Renae was working with Sarah on some makeup homeschool assignments on a weekend. Sarah had a break and was playing when the break ended.

Renae: Sarah! Come back to do school!
Sarah: I'm sorry. I'm not available on Saturdays... And today is Saturday.

Sarah ran off giggling.

Nathan, emptying his lunch bag after work, pulled out a bag full of croutons.

Nathan: There were more croutons than salad this time.
Renae: I know. I tripped.
Nathan: You tripped?
Renae: Well... My hand sort of tripped.

Daniel was calling people names.

Dan: Ha, ha, baby! Ha, ha, baby!
Renae: Daniel, say something nice.
Dan: Playdough!

Matthew and I were chatting. He was trying to refer to a cookie he ate 5 minutes ago.

Matthew: I had a cookie now, but not really now, just almost now.

We were in the car on our way to a rodeo for the first time.

Nathan (trying to watch the road and make conversation with the kids): Have you ever seen a rodeo before?

As I pondered on what a ridiculous question that was since I knew full well that they never had, Sarah answered very matter-of-factly:

Sarah: No. And neither have you.

Sarah: When I was four I used to put my fist in my eye and it looked like a party!
(Puts a fist in one eye)
I see stars!

Renae was playing a game with the kids that involved matching words that start with the same letter.

We let Matthew take the word mouse because he is usually really good about the letter 'M' for some reason. This time he was really struggling to come up with the right match.

Renae: Matthew. What sound does 'Mouse' start with?
Matthew (with a confused look): Squeak squeak?

Sarah and Matthew are baking a chocolate cake with Nathan. Matthew asks to taste the cocoa powder and Nathan explains that it's bitter and probably won't taste good. Matthew wants a taste anyway, so Nathan also offers a taste to Sarah.

She replies, "Not yet, I'm waiting to see the look on Matthew's face."

It's Daniel's birthday. Matthew is trying to persuade Daniel to give him a toy. Daniel refuses repeatedly. Matthew tries to ask nicely several times and finally exclaims in frustration, "Tough luck, Daniel! It's no longer your birthday!"

Matthew was praying:

Thank you for the alphabet. Amen.

Nathan had eaten Matthew's boiled egg and Matthew was angry.

Matt: Okay, Dad, then you CAN'T play with me!
Nathan: I wasn't playing with you before.
Matt: Okay, then you CAN play with me!

Matthew immediately tried to give Nathan a toy and force him to play.

We were playing the Gospel Game, where I ask the children different scripture-related questions. I asked Matthew who the mother of Jesus was.

Matthew: Mary.... Christmas!

The family was all in the van on the way to run a quick errand. Early that day Matthew had stepped on a sharp rock and had a band-aid on his foot. Additionally, since we left the house in quite a hurry several children, including Matthew, were not entirely dressed.

We all waited in the van as Renae ran in to run the errand. The children became restless.

Matthew: Why can't we go with mom?
Nathan: Because mom is going to be back really fast and several of us don't have shoes or even pants on!
Matthew: You have pants on!
Nathan: Yes that's true.
Matthew (Pointing to other family members): And you have pants and I have pants.
Sarah: You don't have pants on!
Matthew (very matter-of-factly): No I don't... But I have a band-aid!

Matthew was being sent to his room for arguing with Sarah. He was mad at me for sending him away.

Matthew: FINE! The next time a bad guy comes, then I WON'T be your hero, Mom!

Renae needed to use the restroom and Matthew was occupying it by playing in a full sink of water and bubbles. He's in it up to his elbows.

Renae: I need to use the bathroom, so I need you to leave.
Matt: But I won't peek, I promise!
Renae: That doesn't matter. I still need privacy.
Matt: But my bubbles!
Renae assures him that she'll leave the sink of water alone and he can come right back to play in it.
He leaves, saying(completely seriously): Okay, but please don't drown.

I was telling the children a scripture story for bedtime. We talked about Enos. I explained that he was a hunter and that the men in that time period hunted in the forest for their families food. I told how he pondered the Atonement and prayed. The following comments are from the end of the story:

Me: And do you know what? He prayed all day! What do you think of that?
Sarah (quietly laughing): Well, he certainly didn't bring any food home for his family that day!

Nathan was packing a lunch while Matthew watched. He included a can of V8 juice.

Matt: Can I have one, too?
Mom: You won't like it.
Matt: Yes I will. I know I will!
Mom: Really, you won't. I don't like it.
Matt: But I love pop.
Mom: It's not pop. It's tomato juice.
Matt: But I love toma-....(sudden realization)Ohh. (silence)

Matthew was running after Sarah, who had gone outside. He opened the door to tell me that he was following her.

Me: That's okay, but shut the door quickly, you're letting in hot air.
He dutifully came inside and did as I asked, then sheepishly said: Oops! I forgot to go outside!

Sarah loves singing "Once There was a Snowman" and acting out the parts. After singing it through and "melting small, small, small" she remained flat on the floor, silent and unmoving. After a few minutes, I urged her to get up, to which she replied (in a very sweet, high voice), "I can't. I'm a puddle!"

There you have it. Have a wonderful day! If you have funny stories, do share!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sarah Esther Kingsley

Some neat things about our princess-

First off---the name: Sarah is translated from Hebrew and literally means "princess". Esther is also translated from Hebew and means "star". She is our princess from the stars, a.k.a. our princess from heaven. I try really hard to teach her about her divine heritage and to always remember that she literally is royalty.

Sarah started reading the Book of Mormon independently last week! What an accomplishment! She had come into my room in the morning while I was still reading my scriptures, so she picked up her own copy and sat beside me reading. She's pause every once in a while to ask what particular words meant, such as 'remnant'. She read the title page completely through and only needed help with sounding out one or two words. Then she flipped through the scriptures reading highlighted verses. We're so proud of her reading skills! I am comforted that she'll do well when she enters public school in first grade next year.

She loves to put on make up and paint fingernails, and she insists on wearing skirts everyday. She absolutely hates wearing pants, which is ironic, because I much prefer pants to skirts. She'll only wear pants if she doesn't have any clean skirts to wear, which doesn't happen often. She loves doing her hair in braids and being feminine, but she's also a tomboy. She loves to play in the mud and construct forts in the backyard out of wood, rope, and bricks. They often concoct colossal tubs of 'chicken soup'...water filled with dirt, rocks, leaves, grass, and bugs. They call it chicken soup because they feed it to the chickens. She loves collecting bugs with Matthew for their collection. She particularly loves feeding bugs to the chickens.

One time we were turning over the soil for an extension in the garden. Fat white grubs would glisten in the sunlight as the soil was moved. She'd squeal in delight each time she found one, with the eagerness similar to a pirate finding gold. Then she'd scoop it up in her bare hands and run it to the chicken coop. She also loves orchestrating grand adventures with her brothers and going on pretend expeditions or making elaborate traps for the notorious pretend ghost in our yard, "Mr. Sneaky". I think we've been blessed with the perfect daughter...feminine and clean except when the time is appropriate for dirty adventures.

She loves to read and she reads 1-2 hours a day on her own. She's been consuming all the books we have happily. She really loves curling up with me and listening while we read the original Winne-the-Pooh collections, the American Girls series, Pony Pals (thanks again, Aunt Rachael!), the original Alice in Wonderland, and she claims her favorite book to read is the Book of Mormon.

She used to struggle a lot with reading and get so frustrated, so a few months ago I gave her a cheap Book of Mormon on Sundays and told her to highlight any words she could read. The first page of the book only has 3-letter words highlighted, like 'and', 'the', 'but'. I really think letting her take this approach helped her with her reading skills. She was exposed to the scriptures and when she could read bigger words we could talk about what they meant.

Her favorite movies include classics like Singing in the Rain, A Little Princess (the old Shirley Temple version), Heidi, and her very favorite is the old TV series Little House on the Prairie.

Um..let me think....oh, she loves creating art. We've done art lessons some nights after the boys were in bed, so she's been growing quickly in her abilities. She loves to draw pictures for any guests that visit and she loves to draw pictures to hang in her room. Her bedroom looks like an art gallery, with almost every square foot of wall space completely covered with her art.

Sarah is also pretty organized. She loves to organize things, so she gets very excited to help any time I'm reorganizing food storage, emergency kits (those are her very favorite to update), the home school desk, or the toys. I'm really glad she takes pleasure in this, since it's such a chore for me. :)

She likes to play the piano, although I think she likes it now much more than she did when she had piano lessons. She loves playing simplified primary songs the most, since she can sing along with them. I love being in a room working and hearing her notes float up the stairs to me.

Shes' very responsible and loves to help with everything. She can make lunch for herself and the boys and bathe and dress Daniel. She loves cooking, especially with Nathan.

She says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and a volunteer librarian on the weekends. When asked why she wants to do this, she says because she wants to help people be strong and she wants to be surrounded by books. We'll see what comes of these ambitions. I'm glad she knows her interests.

We're so thankful that Heavenly Father blessed us with such a wonderful daughter! I can't imagine living without her. She is such a blessing in my life, and she's so great to remind me of the eternal goals I have. Her testimony is growing much stronger this year and she understands much of the scriptures and gospel. When we have fmaily scriputre discussions, her insights are often wise beyond her years, and sometimes I am prompted to think of the scripture..."out of the mouth of babes".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Rules are: Anything you have done has to be in bold. This outline is for Nathan and me together. Most of the traveling ones are his, I've only been to the Middle East.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait drawn
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Middle East

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Visited Italy