Monthly Archives:November 2011

Turkey Crafts

Your #1 Fan post on November 18th, 2011
Posted in Crafts, Novalie, Thankful

This afternoon, Novalie and I made a big turkey.  We spent a couple hours decorating feathers and putting the whole turkey together.  It turned out so cute.  Now I just have to figure out a way to hang it up because it is heavy.  I am thankful for doing crafts with Novalie.  It is one of our favorite things to do together.

Taking a pizza break from our serious crafting.

Our seriously cute turkey!

Our poster is filling up and has been joined by a couple more turkeys.

G~O~B~B~L~E  G~O~B~B~L~E

Being 16

Your #1 Fan post on November 17th, 2011
Posted in Dad, Personal

My niece celebrated her 16th birthday today.  She is adorable and I love her to pieces.  It got me thinking about when I turned 16 and what a fun age that is to be.  You get to drive, date, go to the school dances, have a little bit more freedom and independence.

On my 16th birthday, my Dad told me he was taking me, Mom and Danielle on his business trip with him to Atlanta.  Danielle and I were plenty excited to be going on a trip.  Airplanes, hotels, good food, shopping.  When our limo driver dropped us off at the international part of the airport, we were a little confused.  I don’t remember all the details, but I remember standing inside and learning from my Dad that we were not going to Atlanta, but surprise, we were going to London.  Happy Birthday to me.  I can imagine how happy my Dad must have felt to pull off that surprise and to be able to give us a trip to London.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about that trip.  What I do remember is the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.  We were the first ones there.  The first ones there, no joke.  Hundreds of tourist come to watch this and that day was no different.  I had already not been feeling well due to being well, a girl, and being the first ones there we were right up to the gate.  People started to come.  Lots of people, crowds of people packing in really tight.  Pretty soon, I couldn’t see the sides or behind me.  It was hot and someone was smoking next to me.  The ceremony was starting.  I started sweating really badly and couldn’t breathe.  The next thing I remember is my Dad carrying me through this crowd of hundreds of people.  Remember, we were the first ones there and waited along time for it to begin.  And we missed it because I passed out.  Something that Danielle likes to tease me about still.  How we went all the way to London and waited all that time and didn’t get to see the changing of the guards.  What I remember is the sacrifice my Dad made to get me out of there.  The love and concern to carry me through those people.  Not being mad or impatient, nothing but concern and love for me.  It was my favorite experience of the whole trip.

When I think back to turning 16, I don’t think about my first date or getting my driver’s license, I think of that experience in London.  Feeling that absolute unconditional love from my Dad.

What I Have Learned by 3rd Grade

Your #1 Fan post on November 15th, 2011
Posted in Novalie, School

Going into my 4th year of public school, this is what I have learned and why I always want to homeschool.  I revisit homeschool often and pray and pray if it is the right thing for our family and the answer is always no.  I guess Heavenly Father sees what I don’t see.

1.  Standardize testing does NOT measure my child’s skill level and dept of understanding.  Novalie does fairly well on these tests, but I don’t care one bit.  One section of the most recent test taken, Novalie did do actually poorly on, but her teacher said, “I asked Novalie these questions one on one and she got every one of them right, I just think the format the test was in was confusing for her.”  Well, that doesn’t really matter does it because what score is going to follow Novalie for the rest of her school years?  Exactly.  Every single child is different.  Children learn different ways.  Some are visual, some are not.  Some can figure things out in their heads, others need to write it out on paper.  Explain it way one to a child they get it, but to another child you have to explain it in a different way for them to get it.  One child catches on right away, another child needs 100 practice problems until it makes sense.  There is no “standard” way a child learns.  So, why in the world is my child’s intelligence measured in a standardized test?

2.  Having sloppy handwriting is not the end of the world.  Novalie’s handwriting matches her personality.  She is fast, high energy and quick.  Novalie writes really fast and with lots of energy like she is jumping on the trampoline.  It used to bother me and make me worry.  I would make her re-write things until it was near perfection and she hated it.  I tell her to just slow down.  If she slows down her handwriting is very nice.  She tells me things like, “I have to write fast because I will have to miss recess if I don’t finish my work on time.”  Well, I completely understand because no child wants to miss recess.  However, I have to remind her that if her teacher can’t read it she is going to have to do it all over and miss recess anyways.  She has improved so much and it is still very sloppy, but as long as it is legible, I am good with it.  Novalie is someone who doesn’t want to miss a minute of anything, so I am letting go of the handwriting battle because it just is not worth it.  When she is training dolphins in the middle of the ocean, her handwriting will not have to be all neat and pretty looking.

3.  The least amount of homework we can get away with doing, the better.  Novalie learns best one on one, so I know we have to put in the time with homework for her to learn better and quicker, but I don’t like it one bit.  Novalie is so creative and has such an incredible imagination.  She needs and wants to play with her toys everyday.  She loves to write creative stories at home.  And she has to have a way to expend some of that energy.  Add up homework, dinner, 30 minutes reading, scriptures, bath, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to do the things a creative, energetic 8 year old should have plenty of time to do.  Oh, the time and things we could do with homeschool.  Ugh.

It has taken me 3 years to figure these things out for ME.  A lot, a lot of people disagree with me and that is fine.  I use to fret and worry and lose sleep over tests scores in math.  I would tell people Novalie scored in the 97% for reading (because she did  :)), that means only 3% of the 2nd graders in the nation did better than her(that was last year).  But, it does not measure Novalie.  If you want to talk to me about test scores, even if they rock, no thanks, let’s talk about the dept of creativity she used in that creative writing story she turned in or just the simple fact that she has read 5 books since school has started at home on her own.  I used to make Novalie do ALL the homework even when she only had to chose one thing on the paper to do.  Not anymore.  When it says, “you only have to do one, but feel free to do as many as you like,”  we do ONE.  Less is more.  More time to be a kid and play.

Having said all that, I do have to say that I love Novalie’s teacher this year.  She is so nice and positive and is just an excellent teacher.  I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher at such a crucial time in Novalie’s life with moving and going to a new school.  I am truly grateful for how wonderful she has been for Novalie.

Week in Review

Your #1 Fan post on November 12th, 2011
Posted in Crafts, Novalie, Thankful

I totally dropped the ball this week with keeping up with a thankful post.  Maybe the fact that some punk kid stole our debit card information and had a fun day in Paris with our money.  That made our week stressful.  However, I am thankful that our credit union called me and asked, “Are you vacationing in Paris right now?”  Me, with a nervous laugh, “I wish.”  Criminals.

Novalie and I dashed into the mall for her to pick out some snow boots.  She found some cute, comfortable, warm ones.  We were on the hunt for some waterproof gloves at a price that I approved of, (I am sorry, but I will not pay $15 for snow gloves.  $8 is as high as I will go, but $5 is what I would be happy to pay.)  We walked past Claire’s and Novalie said, “I want to get my ears pierced!”  We have tried before and she has backed out at the last minute.  I had her reassure me that she was really going to do it before I filled out the paperwork.  “Yes, I will do it!”  And she got up in the chair, with much more confidence than the times before.  I have been waiting for this day.    so   she     did   get     them    pierced!  *note* That last sentence Novalie typed herself.  She was getting impatient in my story telling.  She was reading along as I typed this and kept saying, “write….. so she did.”  Finally she said, here let me have the laptop and typed…..so she did get them pierced.   I love that girl.  And she is right, she did get them pierced.  After the first ear, it took a lot of convincing to do the second ear.  It hurt and at that point she knew it hurt, so she had to squeeze my hand and asked the girl to do it as fast as she could.  She was SO happy and proud of herself!  She chose hello kitty studs.  They are girly and so cute.  Yay, now we get to buy fun earrings!

Nervously watching the girl get things set up.

So brave!

Ready to go to school to show her teacher and friends!

She seems all that much more grown up now.  I love having a daughter to do these fun girly things with!

This is what Novalie came out wearing when I told her to go get ready for gymnastics.  Totally inappropriate.  Seriously funny.

Friday afternoon, Kevin headed off to work and my Mom, Novalie and I headed to Disney on Ice.  It was mine and Novalie’s first time and it was super fun and cute.  Novalie dressed up in her Cinderella dress which made me glad.  I wasn’t sure if she would say she was too old to dress up when I told her there would be lots of girls in princess dresses.  She immediately said, “I can wear my Cinderella dress!”  I love that.  My sweet little girl.  I know, earrings make her grown up, but wearing her Cinderella dress makes her little, it is a good balance!  Anyway, anything Disney is magical and Disney on Ice had some magical moments.  I would have loved to see the “Tangled” act last longer because I love, love, love that movie.  The 7 dwarfs were adorable!  The “Lion King” costumes were awesome and who doesn’t love Timon and Pumbaa?  And that Goofy makes me smile.  It was all really fun and Novalie had a blast!

Getting ready to go.

I said, “show me how excited you are to go to Disney on Ice?”  We laughed so hard at this picture, those are some serious gums.

Ready to go and can’t wait for the show!  Yes, Iceburg and Pig, wore their princess dresses as well.

Beautiful princess!

That brings us to today.  We had a craft and baking afternoon while we watched the snow come down outside.  I made bran muffins and baked potato soup, nothing special, but both tasted so good on this cold, snowy day.  Novalie painted a birdhouse, which she was sure to tell me was little Mouse’s house not a birdhouse.  I would expect nothing else.  I often open a box and find a stuffed animal habitat.  I made a Thanksgiving poster which is mostly blank now, but it will be filled up in the next two weeks.  Everyday, we are going to write something we are thankful for on it.  It is a great visual reminder for this time of year.  I was going to make it all cute and fancy with fabric and a poster frame, but went simple and it still turned out fairly decent.  We got supplies to make this cute turkey with decorated feathers, but didn’t get to it.  It will be a fun project when we do get to it next week.  We had to leave time to play in the snow before Kevin went to work.  We had some fun family snow time, which I got no pictures of because I had to keep up with Novalie’s high energy snow play and Kevin’s snow soccer.

And that brings this week to an end.  High stress and high fun equals one tired me.

First Snow Fall

Your #1 Fan post on November 5th, 2011
Posted in Novalie, Snow, Thankful

Today I am thankful for snow.  Grrr…..

Yes, this hot, summer lover is thankful for snow.  I actually love the snow in November and December.  Once Christmas is over though, snow and cold weather is just annoying and pointless.

We woke up this morning to the first snow of the season.  The first snow is always exciting and so beautiful.  Novalie and I bundled up and headed out to play in it.

The snow was too dry to make a snowman, so we made a tree stump snowman.  After our attempt at a snowman failed, Novalie looked around for a solution.  She found the answer in a tree stump.  Totally her idea and creativity.

Novalie got out her sand toys and proceeded to make a snow castle.  I copied her idea and started making my own.  We threw snowballs at each other while we were working on our snow castles.  She has really good aim.

My snow castle creation.

Novalie’s snow castle.

Making snow waffles!

Putting the snow waffles in the oven.

Pretending to eat her snow waffle.

I am grateful to have woken up to snow this morning.  Novalie and I had a great time playing in it and using our imaginations (I borrowed Novalie’s imagination).  I am also thankful for the beauty snow brings to the world around me.