Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Recap

Keeping up this blog has been one of the hardest things for me lately. I usually post pictures on Instagram or Facebook, plus I'm working on family photo books. It all gets to feeling a little redundant. I'll have to figure out how to consolidate. Until then, here's a recap of the last few weeks.  

For a school project Jed studied the "Thorny Devil." (I hadn't heard of it, either.) It's a desert lizard. Jed refuses to do projects on boring animals like giraffes and tigers. Everyone's already heard of those. Instead he chooses the most obscure ones he can think of to study, usually those with scanty information available. Anyway, as part of his project he made an actual-size Lego model of it.


 In March we went to Hogle Zoo. It was chilly but the perfect time to go because all the animals were active. Highlight of the day: packing super awesome lunches and then leaving them at home. 

Ah, coloring eggs. 

All spiffy for Easter.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jed's new school--at home

We made the decision over Christmas break to homeschool Jed. Bob and I have had this idea on the back-burner for some time, but certain incidents pushed us toward it sooner rather than later. Once we made the decision, however, we knew it was the right one, without a doubt. Can't say doubts haven't crept in since then. But when I think about the alternatives available to us, yes, this is the best place for him right now.




Jed struggles in a formal classroom setting. He's easily distracted, can be disruptive, and sometimes just flat-out refuses to do his work. He has ADHD. And although I'm not a fan of labels, I'll use them if they'll help him get what he needs to be successful in life. Some teachers have reacted to him better than others. His grandma, for example, was his first grade teacher and she's a GEM. Others, not so much. I'll get to that.

We quickly saw that his first school (where we're zoned) wasn't working out. In my opinion, there was a lack of structure in this classroom. Kids were allowed gobs of free reading time. Even though Jed's an excellent reader, he wasn't utilizing the time for reading. He was messing around with his classmates. (Or some days he would come home and tell me that's all they did that day.) I helped in the classroom on several occasions and thought to myself, "He's not really learning anything." This is a tragedy because Jed is very smart. He tests above grade level in everything, but I could see if he continued in that environment, that would slip. So we switched him to a school that's technically closer to us. 

There are other reasons we left that school. Bullying was another problem. And to quash any doubt whether we'd done the right thing by switching him, on his last day there, he was tackled on the schoolyard while the other kids, in Jed's words, "cheered the other kid on." Um, yeah, goodbye and good riddance. 

At first we felt good about the new school. I have a friend who works there and loves it. I had talked to the principal and explained Jed's challenges and strengths. He said, "I'll give you the best (teacher) we've got."

Well, it turns out, this new teacher was NOT the right fit for him. Our first (and only) parent-teacher conference consisted of her listing off all the negative things about him she could think of without coming up for breath, beginning with, "Your son has some real behavioral issues." Not ONE positive word. Ugh. And of course, I thought about all the right things to say AFTER the moment. Not that it matters as far as keeping him in that class or not. After that meeting, I observed him in this classroom and nearly had a panic attack at how bad things had gotten on his side of things. At that moment, I knew he couldn't stay there.

Mind you, I'm not "blaming" the teachers in these incidents. I know very well Jed can be difficult. Modifications would've needed to be made if he'd stayed there. I will say, however, that some teachers have helped bring out the best in him and others, the worst. In the end, I think it's a matter of chemistry and it was all wrong with that last teacher. 

SO that's the long story. He's receiving his education at home now. Bob has an awesome schedule so when he's not on duty, he helps. In fact, he's a rather fantastic science teacher. There are other homeschooling people around here. One particular friend has helped me out immensely.

Regarding his "social education," we're not worried. He's got lots of friends around here, most of whom all go to different schools anyway. 

Sometimes I get excited about finding curriculum. I'll go online and find all sorts of cool texts and programs. When I was young, I would get these fleeting moments of wanting to become a teacher. I never did, obviously, because other desires won out, but in a way, this allows me to fulfill that childhood dream. I get thinking about field trips, too. For example, next week, in art we'll be learning about Norman Rockwell. I found two awesome books at the library, and we'll end the week with a visit to the BYU Museum of Art's exhibit on Norman Rockwell.

Other times I'm hit with reality because our child will decide he doesn't want to cooperate. The problems he had before are obviously still there. But at least he's in an environment with more flexibility and where he knows he's loved. He IS getting better. And we are getting better at knowing how to bring out the best in him. Most of the time everything works out nicely. We're just working out the bugs. It will be a learning experience for everyone. 






Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Dear family and friends,

At this time of year we pause to reflect on the blessings we enjoy and the miracle of Jesus Christ's birth and life. Among our finest blessings are the people who love and support us, through happiness and good times as well as through our trials. We acknowledge our blessings while relying on the Savior to guide us through those thornier paths that inevitably come. 

Photo credit: Lizz Davis Photography
Another year of change and growth for our family! We have made two big moves in the past year and a half. The more I seem to say, "I'm never moving again," the more God has had other plans. Every move has brought positive changes and better opportunities, but it is a particular challenge for me who has been desperate to plant my feet. There's that phrase, "Bloom where you're planted." In our case, we’ve learned to "bloom while on the go" (or at least try).

We arrived in Price to kind neighbors who were on the scene with helping hands and their kindness hasn't ceased. Quickly, these good people have become dear friends. 

Bob is working as a pilot for Guardian Flight doing air medical transport. He flies patients from the hospital here in Price to other hospitals in the Utah and Salt Lake valleys. Also, he responds to emergency scene calls. His work has given him the variety he enjoys and his schedule allows for more family time. He’s a family man, for sure, and we’re enormously grateful for him.  

When Bob isn’t on duty, he’s usually doing any number of things that make the lives of those around him easier. At church, he has recently been called in the Stake High Council. He also loves riding his mountain bike and working in the garage on his wood-building projects. In fact, he’s got something cooking out there right now and I’ve been instructed not to peek.


I’ve been busy trying to figure out this thing called motherhood and for anyone who has figured it out, please leave your remarks in the comments section. Kidding aside, I know it’s not a point at which you arrive, but rather—like life—a journey. My boys may take every last ounce of my energy some days, but they also fill me up with joy, purpose, and gratitude.




My writing is still a work in progress, as always, but this past year I have found additional support toward my goal of publication. Namely, my writing group. Not only do our strengths complement each other, but we have become good friends in the process. I have upped the ante in reading as well. My goal was to read 50 books this year. I haven’t quite reached that, but am on track for 40 and many of these have become favorites. (Jane Eyre, how did you elude me for so many years?)

 Jed (7) is still his delightful, sweet, rambunctious, talkative self. He got glasses shortly after school started and thinks they’re pretty cool. He also began violin lessons and is doing very well, though getting motivation to practice is another matter! He loves Pokemon, Minecraft, Legos, and of course, dinosaurs. (We were seeing a slight decline in his interest until Jurassic World came out.) He’s sharp as a whip and doing very well academically. He’s an excellent reader and is currently on Book 5 in the Wings of Fire series. He takes pride in being the big brother and loves his little brother to pieces.

 Gunnar (2) is as sweet as they come and provides the necessary calm to our sea of emotions. (Although at times, admittedly, he adds to it.) He is learning and exploring so much (as you can read in my last post). He learned to walk earlier this year and now runs through the house with this cute little run. Sometimes we call him our "high-steppin' boy." He’s got an extensive vocabulary, mostly nouns, and he loves to point them out, though my favorite of his words is “pitty” (pretty). Like his brother, he loves being around people and playing outside (even when it’s freezing out there!). Much to my delight, he loves books and having stories read to him. Oh, and his hugs and snuggles are quite therapeutic. He is truly the cherry on top of our Sivert family cupcake.



Christmas tree hunting


(Santa and the boys at Disneyland.)

May the Good Lord bless and keep you, dear family and friends, through your own life journeys. May your joys far outweigh your sorrows!

Much love,

The Siverts


Monday, November 30, 2015

Our baby is 2!

Two years ago I remember waiting for this guy to arrive. Now look how big he is!
Oh, our sweet Gunnar! If I were to describe him in one word it would be this:gentle. He's so gentle and sweet. That doesn't mean he doesn't get excited or animated. He does! And when he's really excited about something he'll stomp his feet. But overall, he has such a gentle, sweet spirit. We love this little guy with all our ever-living hearts.



This was the day his hair did that woo-woo thing. All day long. Even after I combed it, it stuck up again so I decided it was cute and I should leave it.


Here are some little tidbits about Gunnar. 
  • He wants to do it himself. We can't even think of feeding him a spoonful. He will do it himself, thank you very much. He's been like that since 6 months old.
  • He loves nursery. This is a new one for us. Jed hated nursery until the very last. But Gunnar loves it and will cry if he can't go. I'm serving in the Primary, so I'm constantly passing through the halls. I'll make it a point to peek in on him every so often. I always think the same thing when I do: he's so cute I could die.
  • He's a messer. Typical of his age, he loves to explore and get into things. But he's fearless. He'll climb tables, ladders and our slide playground in the back without wanting help. 
  • He loves books and being read to. This does my book-loving heart good.
  • He knows a lot of sign language. His birth mom, Katy, gave him some "Signing Time" videos and he loves them. He knows probably more than 50 signs. He also speaks very well. He's starting to put two-word sentences together: "Daddy go." (Where did Daddy go?) and "Socks on."
  • He looooves dogs. Man, does he love dogs. Obsessed is really the thing. I suppose the next logical question would be "why don't you get one?" Well, that's a subject for another time.
  • He loves his brother and his brother loves him. They have their moments of strife but overall, they dig each other. 
  • Gunnar fills our lives with joy. Pure sweetness and happiness. That's our Gunnar!
Happy birthday, Bubsy Bubs!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Moab ROCKS

For fall break this year we went to Moab as a family and we all agree...Moab ROCKS!


Look at this quaint little cabin we stayed in. It was like stepping back in time...

...to the Old West.

The inside was just as adorable.




Complete with saloon doors separating the bathroom from the sleeping quarters.

Yeah, this was one of those set-the-camera-and-run photos.

CHECK OUT our neighbors' place! This one has actually been used on movie sets.

This is the side of that cabin. Yes, they cut INTO the rock to create those windows. 
We may have to stay here next time.

We did a little hiking just around our cabin. The views were...well, you can see for yourself.
He he.
  
We took an easy hike up to the Landscape Arch. When these little legs get bigger we'll try something more challenging. We were able to take the BOB stroller on this one.

We did some shopping and eating downtown. I was surprised a little place called "Pasta Jays" is still around. Back in the day, one of my best friends and I used to ride our bikes around Moab and eat at "Pasta Jays" every time. 
Good to know it's still there...and still delicious.

Props to this awesome, brand-new museum called "MOAB GIANTS." It's definitely worth a visit. It's the coolest dinosaur museum we've been to...and we've been to some. Here's why:

A whole dinosaur trail hike awaits you outside.

Where you can see (and read about) life-size dinosaurs all along the trail. 

They even have a playground and a huge sandbox at the trail's end. 

Seriously, go see this museum. Very impressive.

One of our new favorite shops is Lin Ottinger's Rock Shop. For all your rock-loving needs. This place is neat. We got to meet Mr. Ottinger himself while we were there. 
I was kicking myself for not getting a picture with him.

We bought one of these little fish fossils, which is apparently 48 million years old. 
That's right: we own something that is 48 million years old. 
Either that or we're the biggest suckers on the planet. 
I can live with that.
  
Our last morning there, Jeddy and I were able to raft down the Colorado River. We wanted to go as a family but our outfitter said that all little ones must be at least 5 years old to make the trip. So Bob offered to stay back at the pad with Gunnar while we took our adventure. 
WAY FUN! 


The water was mostly calm. (Check out this amazing scenery.) But folks, we were able to raft through CATEGORY 1 and 2 RAPIDS. Yeah baby. Hard core! OK, maybe not so hard core. 
But we did get soaking wet.


The river guide let Jed take the oars for a while. He actually did pretty well.

We ended our trip with a picnic out by Balanced Rock.
Jeepers, this was a really fun trip and I have a mind to make it an annual thing.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cute glasses boy

Jed got glasses today and he's beyond thrilled. He moment he put them on he said, 
"So much better!" 




Saturday, September 12, 2015

Exactly my type


Antiquing is my new thing. Scored this beauty from the 1950s.
We all played with it today. Jed likes the "ding" at the end of the line.


If you look closely there's not a one, which is also the exclamation point. 
I use too many of those darned things anyway.
I still love it.