Saturday, December 29, 2012


I've been taking my kids sledding every winter to Rock Canyon Park since Jake and Jen were little. Now I just take Julz, Jess, and their friends since they are the only ones who still get excited about it.  I used to slide down the hills with them on my own sled when each child started learning how to walk.  The hike back up seemed challenging for a little one after a few runs. To make the experience fun for them, I would take their hand, as well and their sled, and pull them back up the hill.  It was exhausting, what was I thinking!  But as time went on, and the older kids got bigger, they would take turns helping me.

Now I just go to watch and relax.  We like to go earlier in the day since Rock Canyon is such a popular place.  When we first arrived, we noticed the picnic tables had an array of broken plastic sleds from the day before.  I prefer tubes or padded saucers if you happen to hit a small jump.

Sledding is one activity I've always wanted to make sure to be present at.  I have witnessed some pretty bad accidents.  Today a two hundred pound dad went down on a little plastic sled with his three year-old daughter.  He decided to take her on the steeper part of the hills where my girls were located.  Sure enough, they hit a bump and from what I could tell some of his body weight landed on his little girl.  She cried for a long time, but fortunately she was OK, and I noticed the father was much more careful with his choices.

One year I took a bunch of cub scouts when I was a den leader.  I got very nervous when I noticed how crazy the boys were getting after we had been sledding for a while. My personality changed that day and I  became the wicked den leader of the snowy hills. I promised myself never to do that again.  Luckily no one got hurt.

Today when more people started showing up I became a helper for Jewels.  She had so much energy that there were a few times she didn't notice the on coming sled traffic.  My job was to yell down at the bottom of the hill and tell her to move over when a new sled started going in her direction.

Over all it was a fun day to be outside.

I love winter!  Who knows maybe some day when we don't have missionary funds or other extra after school activities going on, I may take those who are willing to a ski resort.
Mean while, sledding and tubing will be our winter fun when the snow is great!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


One of my favorite surprises!

Julz favorite shirt.

 Jessie's favorite scarf.  I don't know why my kids like 
to look up when they get their picture taken.

Jake and GW

Grandpa Carlson
86 years old

Gary's brother, Steven Carlson.

My mother's sister, Aunt Lois.

My mother's brother, Uncle Les Maxwell.

My mother's youngest brother, Uncle Gene Maxwell.

Two of my cousins, Norma and Lance.

The turkey farmer.

My cousin Jerry's wife and daughter.

Long day, but a wonderful day.

Monday, December 17, 2012

School Days

The weather has been cold enough to wear my new hoody scarf at recess that my sweet neighbor knitted for me.

It is very warm!

Here is another cute hat that the other recess guard wore today.

I've had a fun time helping at lunch duty and recess at Amelia Earhart. It's great having a job just three blocks from our home. During the morning time I get to tutor 1st and 2nd graders for a couple of hours and that has been very rewarding. Tomorrow is my last day as an aide for  the afternoon kindergarten class. I have been working with this particular class for the last six weeks since their original aide needed to take some time off. After the Christmas break I start back at teaching younger grades math on computers, and reading with older grades.

Since school has started it feels like I have been reliving my childhood again.  My oldest daughter even signed me up with Kahn Academy Math program that is free on line.  The teacher is very good and easy to follow.  Who knows I might try college again someday if I can review and understand the basics that are taught in every day school classes. I have forgotten a lot.

Being a stay at home mom for the last twenty years has given me many experiences with regards to raising a family.  My kids have been pretty good at getting their homework done by themselves throughout the years.  I feel it's my turn to start focusing on improving my academic skills again now that everyone in our household is becoming more independent. I have spent so much time focusing on them that I'm ready for a little change.

If there is one thing I think I did right when GW and I started having a family is that I'm glad we started our kids at a young age reading.  GW and I watched a program on KBYU many years ago where they talked about a book that can help your kids be better readers.  The book is called,"How to Teach Your Children to Read", by Von Grant Harrison.  He lives in Pleasant Grove and I used his book with all four of our kids right before they started Kindergarten.  I think I finished using the book around each child's eighth birthday. He even tells you what to say to your child while you are tutoring them.  That part really helped me since I didn't have a clue to what I was doing.

Some days I still feel like life can be over whelming but being surrounded with children at my new job has been very uplifting and wonderful!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


We did it!  We stood in line for an hour and a half in the freezing wind and took our first ride on the Utah FrontRunner train. Thank goodness we dressed warm because we didn't seem to mind the wait . That is until my feet started to get cold.  I told the girls to wear two pairs of socks and for some reason I thought I would only need one pair. (Wrong) As we got closer to the front we kept changing our plans.  UTA buses provided heaters for women and small children which I thought was a great idea.  There were a few times I almost got on one of the buses but we just kept hopping around stomping our feet.  

 Our main goal was to get a seat on the double decker part of the train.  It was still light outside so we wanted a really good view.  But when it came time for our turn to get on the train we were at the very end.  So, we could wait twenty more minutes more for the next train or just scramble for a seat.  The excitement was to much and I was done with the cold! We found one seat for two and squished our bodies together as the train started to move.  Jess suggested Julz sit on her lap since they both wanted to be by the window.

I was surprised how smooth and quiet the train was.  The windows must have been tinted because where I was sitting I couldn't see out very well but I think it was due to the bright lights that were inside of the train.  I didn't care it was just fun being with my girls.  

The next thing we heard was a voice over the speaker announcing Orem City was our next stop.  As we pulled up to the terminal there was another long line waiting to get on.  By the looks on every ones faces they were anxious as well.  I was surprised that more people were allowed on since there were no seats left.  But once again everyone seemed excited to be riding for free to Salt Lake City so the rest of the bodies just stood in the middle or where ever there was a spot by a window.

The FrontRunner continued to make stops along the way and each stop had lots of people waiting their turn for the historical event.  As we got closer to the city we noticed snow was on the ground and I could hear people talking about going to Temple Square to see the lights.  That meant another plan change for us.  Did we want to follow the big crowds to see the lights or wait for everyone to clear out and dart for the top seats of the train above us.  I definitely did not want to wait in line again so the decision was made, we were going to stay on the train and go right back to Provo.

Julie was a little disappointed since she has never been to Temple Square to see the lights.  I told her that there was a good possibility we could take the train again during school break.  In all the experience was fun and I am glad for a different option of traveling to the city.  We were excited to see familiar faces from our neighborhood. There were a few families with small children who got fussy but in all every one seemed patient and happy to be riding on a train.

Monday, December 3, 2012


This year our family went to my close friends house for Thanksgiving.  We ended up sharing the cooking with another friend and her husband which made it much easier to prepare our favorite dishes.  The food turned out great and nothing was burned or over cooked.  I think my favorite new dish this year was the mashed cauliflower.  Pam made it and it turned out delicious!  I learned how to make it for school lunches last year.  I don't think I'll ever eat mashed potatoes again if cauliflower is on the menu.

Afterwards we played two fun games. The first game was about what you would do in case of an emergency. It's called, "The Worst-Case Scenario Game of Surviving Life".  One of the questions was, How to get the most nourishment from a frog.  A. Skin it, cook it and eat the whole thing.  B. Eat only the legs, the rest of the frog contains toxins that may cause nausea and headaches.  C. Boil the frog, discard its intestines and consume the rest. Half of the group got it right, the answer was A.

The second game was my favorite.  Jake's good friend Alec spent Thanksgiving with us since his parents were in Belgium. He taught us how to play a fun charades game using famous names.  My name was the hardest since I wrote down Baby Bop from Barney.  Nobody could remember her since we haven't watched the show in years.  Anyway, it was a fun evening with only a few stressful moments.

Later that week we drove to Salt Lake City to spend time with GW's dad who will be eighty-seven this February.  Jake mowed all of Grandpa's leaves in his yard and then we had dinner at Crown Burger.  My calorie intake was much more then usual last week but in all we had a memorable holiday.  Thanks to good weather the roads were easy access and we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with good friends and loved ones.