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Friday, April 8

Solar Ovens take over the House!

I never realized how the weather could be such a slave driver. Living in the Northwest the sun doesn't always cooperate. After finishing up our unit on light and energy, I decided Solar Ovens would be a great way to test some of our knowledge. WHAT WAS I THINKING! I looked at the weather and Friday was our day. We had to rush all week and the house fell to pieces.

This is Sam's oven. He is one meticulous kid. His wrote out his plan and followed it to a tee.

Once outside he was extremely touchy about where anyone stood. NO shadows please and don't get near in case you might effect the experiment. He was able to get the oven up to 175F. He timed it and checked the temp every five minutes. His pizza was warmed up perfectly!

Blake is a little more intense. His cooker had some problems at first and I had to remind him that scientist don't cry or get mad. They work the problem. He wasn't to happy about my lecture. Once I got him to calm down we came up with a solution. Then the oven heated up perfectly.

Sometimes being the teacher is a little tough. Sometimes being the student is a little tough:)


Claire was thrilled to make her cooker and worked very hard on it. She is so fun. I would give her a task and she would work on it until completed.

She was so proud. The yummy smore was a great treat after all her hard work.

I am in no way a decent video maker....this took me 3 hours to do, because I have no idea what I am doing. At least I have it for posterity and they can forgive my clumsiness.

Untitled from laurene ross on Vimeo.

Monday, March 28

Signs of Spring

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!!!

I'm a Big Girl Now I'm Five


Working with our Hands....Sam's 11th Birthday Party

The Big 43!

My Birthday has come and gone, but the memories are still there. They are still on my computer too. So I thought it was high time I got to work on it.

Blake made some bath salts for me with help from his Dad. I loved them. Claire drew me a special picture, precious. Skip's parents gave me a beautiful book. Claire and I have really enjoyed it together. She loves the pictures and we get to talk about our Savior. My sister Maryann sent a package that contained some Christmas/birthday gifts and Claire was over the moon with excitement. Anything from Aunt Maryann will send her into a tizzy.

The best gift is my Family. They bring a smile to my face everyday.

Thursday, January 20

Scrambled Thoughts

Blake does not have a controller , yet he is moving around like a mad man. Which begs the question......

A couple things have been on my mind in the past few days but..... I come up with a great idea and think I really want to address this on my blog then it disappears into the endless chasm that is my brain. It is like the ideas are on a ledge and they " Can't hold on much longer" then the idea slips away. You watch it as it floats down and at some point you are wondering," What was that.....I think it was something really intelligent, witty and pertinent...but for the life of me I have no Idea what I was thinking about...like twenty seconds ago.

I heard tale of this app that you can get on your smart phone {...like they are really smart. Did you know the there are 22 definitions for smart in the dictionary and the first six have to do with PAIN. Sometimes my phone is a pain, because I am not Smart (Definitions 7-10)enough to figure out how to use it.} .....THIS app is voice activated..nothing new...you just dictate and it writes it all down for you. It is supposedly 95% grammatically correct and spelled correctly. What a dream. Now if I could just remember the name of it.

Things on my mind........

Why... was the car in front of me, at the traffic circle just sitting there when there was plenty of time and room to go. Doesn't she realize this is a race......I honk.....believe me I waited the polite amount of time before I let her know I was there. You would think she would know...mirrors? Three maybe four cars came through with wide spaces between each. After I honk she moves through the circle and slowly pulls over. I look and see she has one hand on the wheel, She is like four years old....okay maybe 16.....She is not even looking at the road, yet is still moving....moving slowly down the shoulder as she texts like mad and the passenger is watching her do it. You have got to be kidding! What is so important that you have to text someone while you are stopped at a traffic circle?

One time, when I was a kid my dad dropped off my brother and me at the grocery store with a list of items we needed and he left us a blank check to pay for it. He ran to the hardware store and said he would be back to get us in a half an hour. We finished the shopping and waited... and waited. Finally, we called our mom from the stores phone. My dad had just pulled up at home. We lived about 2o- 25 minutes from town. My dad had forgotten us. He turned around and came back to get us. Did we freak out?...no. Did we need to talk to him as he drove to get us? No. In fact once we realized that we had been forgotten we waited the right amount of time that it seemed to us it would take for our Dad to get home and then we called and then we waited again.
We were used to waiting. We waited at school when our parents were going to pick us up and were late.....we waited. We didn't talk on phones in movies...we waited until we got home if we needed to talk to someone and sometimes when you called that someone you got a busy signal and you would have to wait longer.

I think people need to learn to wait again. It is good to wait.

One other thing:

I kid comes over to my house and immediately points out that my stockings are still hung on the mantel place. I look at him and say," Yes they are and don't they look lovely." He shakes his head yes. I walk out of the room. Seriously, I don't need this pressure from a four year old. I WILL GET TO IT!

Right now I am going to make dinner for a family that won't really like what I am about to make...while I push one kid to finish his hour long piano practice{ all the time he is complaining, but I press on} help another with math{ that we have been working on for the last hour....he is spinning like a top in his chair} ask another for the umpteenth time if he has finished his cleaning of the upstairs bathroom....What?..... Yes?..... It is done? He answers in the affirmative. Good, you have lesson for Family Home Evening. Could you please get on that now? He looks at me like a tarantula just crawled out of my mouth and then with a heavy sigh says,".... yes......" Ah Compliance, you got to love it.
Wii Sword fighting......sometimes dressing up as a Princess gives you the edge.

The FHE lesson was great. It was on faith. Sam researched and presented it all by himself and then bore testimony of the importance of Faith in out lives. He said," If we don't have Faith we don't have anything..really....I mean faith is about everything." Well said Sam, Thanks.

We are 100% Scripture reading so far this year. It is a goal for our kids in Primary and as a family. The other night Skip and I went out on a date and we didn't read with the kids before we left. In fact I didn't even think about it. Jack put the boys to bed and they didn't read. Sam and Blake are determined. They told me the next morning that they had gotten under Blake's covers and read by flash light. They read 6 verses, 3 each, so they could say they were 100%. They rock my world!

Wednesday, January 12

......on calming down and 'The Friend'

Sundays mornings are usually a little hurried around here. You would think that having church at 10:00 am, one could get it together and one's family and arrive prior to the church meeting starting. I don't have a baby or a toddler in diapers. My kids for the most part can get themselves ready. I am getting close, in fact I usually make it right down to the wire, so the meeting hasn't technically started. Skip has a meeting every Sunday before church and saves us a good seat right up front....nice:) Sometimes, I am even in the building setting up the Primary room and I am still right down to the wire. This year I set a goal to be early. I wanted to sit and listen to the prelude music to prepare for the rest of the Sabbath.

This Sunday started out pretty good. I got up and started to get ready for the day. I realized I was in for stormy weather when I went in for the umpteenth time to tell my boys to get out of bed NOW and looking at the clock, it read 9:15......dang. " Let's go guys. We have about a half an hour to go." I said sternly and without a smile. They complained that they were hungry and cold and everything else under the sun. I retorted back with," I am sorry, you should have gotten up when I asked you a while ago." To which they gave the pat answer," I know, I know." { This answer bugs me to know end. If " YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW" then why don't you do it.}

I still didn't have my make-up on and my hair was wet. I put my hair up and proceeded to put my make-up on in stages, first a little make-up, then a little child prodding, then a little more make-up, then....you get the picture. It was going extremely slow. By the time we had people mostly ready....I thought all ready....I asked,"Did you brush your teeth?" { I had asked them to do this all morning, as they all have breath of a thousand dragons. To which they responded, "No, we haven't had anything to eat yet." "I am sorry. No, time to eat. Next time get up when I say and you may get to eat." { ....yes, I know Mother of the Year...} They run upstairs to brush their teeth....in their shoes.{I have white carpet people.} This does not sit well with me, but I DO bite my tongue.....all except Blake.

All of the sudden I hear "The Whining" starting up.....I despise "The whining." "Blake," I say,"Do you have your shoes?" ......."I can't find them." Whines Blake. My level of calm is decreasing by the Milli second. I take off my shoes and run up the stairs to find him lying on his bedroom floor disheveled, looking quite unhappy. "I can't find my shoes and you were the last one to touch them." he says to me........{ Now, I am not sure why Blake, who has lived with me for eight beautiful years does not understand, I don't like to be blamed for things that are lost. I put things back where they go.} "You lost them." he says with fierce determinism and fire in his eyes.....

UH......I loose it. I see the clock it is 10:08.....we will be missing the most important part of the meeting in just a couple of minutes, The Sacrament, and here I am on my hands and knees, in hose and a skirt, scouring the boys bedroom looking for one lost shoe, as we had found the other. I start ranting and raving........ "I tell you guys all the time put things away where they go and they will always be there when you come back, But you don't listen." " This room is such a mess. I don't know how you ever find anything in here.""Why do you need all this stuff?" " You can wear you gardening boots or your tennis shoes" { I walk out of the room and Blake whales "NOOO"} I come back and start looking again." If I find this shoe under this bed and you said you looked there I am going to freak out!" { Like I am not already. } The clock reads 10:20. We have missed The Sacrament. I then proceed to tear the whole room apart.....by the way Jack is in his bed this whole time. He is sick and watching or peeking at this debacle from under his covers.

The room is 10x10, not huge. As I pull the bed away from the wall and proceed to pull everything out, I say in a rather cold, stern voice,"We are not going to Sacrament Meeting." Blake freaks out. Sam tells me how it is not his fault and he should get to walk to church. Claire just looks crushed and Jack, again, is hidden under a heap of covers. I back up into a corner of the room and survey the damage. I am breathing hard and my anger is raging. I look down at my feet and see the missing shoe. I pick it up and throw it into the hall. I step over the heaps of boxes, Lego's and various other toys, Pulling up my skirt so I don't catch it on anything, to get to the hall. Blake yells,"It is Jack's fault. If he would pick up his stuff I wouldn't have this problem."

....{ I wish I could have laughed here....it would have been a good place.} I raise my voice and say,"Blake, they are your shoes." I slowly whisper or hiss whichever..," Put them away where they go and we won't have this problem." " Everyone, down stairs. We are going to eat breakfast."I vigorously conclude. Sam says," Aren't we going to church?" " Yes, But not to Sacrament. I missed the most important part and I don't want to walk in 30 min late. Sit down and eat." Sam resists. " Eat."I say very sternly. Claire starts to cry. I pour the milk for Blake and Sam sits down grudgingly. I go pick up Claire......We sit on the couch for a few minutes and I rub her back.
What can I do?

I have run the Spirit right out of my house. My kids are all upset. I am on the verge of a break down....not really......maybe? I say," Blake, why don't you get the friend and bring it over here. Let's read some stories from it." Sam is having none of this." I want to go to Sacrament meeting. I like the talks. When Are we leaving? I can walk." Sam says resolutely. I say in a much calmer tone," Sam, it is 10: 40. We are beyond late. Come and sit by me and listen."..... Blake comes and cuddles up next to me and Claire is on my lap. I start to read. The first story is about the Scriptures and how they can bring comfort. The next story { Sam is inching closer to us to see the pictures} Is about resisting temptation and being willing to say no. { Sam is next to me.} The next story is about how we can remember our relatives even after they are gone. The last story is about being friends to someone that doesn't speak our language. The song 'Give Said The Little Stream' sung in Spanish was the center of the story. I got all choked up when I read it. The Spirit was back. I told Blake I was Sorry and hugged him. I hugged Claire and Sam. We left for church.

No one at church knew what had happened. I felt lame when in sharing time one of the leaders asked about a particular talk that was given in sacrament meeting and if any of the adults remembered a detail from a story that was told. I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. { Sam was right the talks are important.} Through music and lessons that were taught the Spirit calmed my soul. I felt it and I am sure my kids did. As we walked out to the car, Blake gave me a big hug and said," I am sorry mom. I love you." "I am sorry too. I love more than you know." I said.

We came home and ate popcorn and oranges. Blake grabbed a handful of old Friend magazines and asked if we could read more. We cuddled up in my bed and read from The Friend for a while...that is until I started to fall asleep, started slurring my words and saying gibberish. Blake pulled the comforter up over my shoulders and said he would just look at The Friend by himself next to me. Claire fell asleep on the other side of me and Sam and Jack were reading in their rooms. It was quite and still and calm. Perfect.

I love these guys. Sometimes I really mess up. I am so greatful for repentance, forgiveness and our Savior that makes all these things possible. Next Sunday I will try agian.

Wednesday, January 5

.....of life a new

Determination, perseverance, tenacity; strength, fortitude and firmness of purpose what have you against these. Well, not a lot. These are all words. Some of these words roll off the tongue so nicely. I really like FORTITUDE......say it....or.....TENACITY.....nice.....They all have a similar meaning. In fact you can find them all under the word RESOLUTION in the dictionary....RESOLUTION kind of rolls off the tongue nicely too.

We had a FHE all about goals and resolutions. Now Claire is all about it. We talked of Spiritual goals, physical goals, recreational goals, financial goals and many others, but for some reason Claire is stuck on physical goals. Now this is where you should stop reading if you don't want too much information........She has decided that she will make a resolution to stop picking her nose....I am so glad...... She whispers it to me during my lesson and then says," Is that a good resolution mom." " Yes that would be good.", I say and get back to my lesson. " How about not rubbing your chin.", interrupts Claire. " Wonderful, I would really LOVE that { My chin is getting a bit saggy from all the rubbing.}"....Then the biggest goal of all the goals....." I think I should start wiping myself too."Says CLAIRE. I respond," That is the best goal yet! I know none of your brothers can top that." Hallelujah!!! My goal will be to stop being your enabler and have you do it yourself. Ya, we can be resolution buddies......sounds to good to be true:)
Jack is not a fan of making goals....." I am just going to do my best and try to be better." Not going to cut it here buddy, sorry. We are still coming up with his. There is something about teenage boys that I have not quite learned how to deal with. I have two more so hopefully in about 12 years I will have it down somewhat. I can dream right or maybe that should be my resolution. I will learn how to deal with the strange animal that are teenage boys.

Sam is the one that is on this resolution band wagon. He has his chart he is on his way and nothing is going to stop him. We challenged the Primary kids to read the Scriptures everyday and gave them a chart to keep track. Sam came home and put it up in his room and wrote very neatly on the side "Write in my Journal" So far....four days...he is 100%. way to go Sam! He wants to run three miles by August and bike twelve miles too. I have no doubt the kid will achieve it all.

Blake, I am not sure about. He is all about making jokes..... about everything. So he was cutting up all through FHE. He did well last year memorizing all his Articles of Faith. He was so proud when he received his certificate. Now he is working on getting his Wolf badge for scouts, so I know the kid is driven, even though he is a jokester.

I thought for me, maybe......not yell so much. Really, I want to work on this. I started whispering at the kids when I was really mad and Blake was a little freaked out by it. There was a conference address all about this. It is not like am this constant yeller, but sometimes I can't get my kids to respond until I raise my voice. I don't like it. I think one resolution might be good for each category......The exercise might have to wait until it is above 40 outside, because I am a wimp and do not like to be cold.

How did I do on resolutions last year? Not so great....I did do one...kind of... okay... and that was eat better. It says in Section 89 of the Doctrine of Covenants, vs 9And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; I figure I need all the wisdom and knowledge I can get.

I hope for a better year this year.....last year actually was pretty good, but I like to think I can improve every year. I might add cleaning my bathroom to the list.......but I don't want to rush into anything.

Saturday, January 1

Blast Out The Old Year....Party 2010!

...So before we get to the dance....a couple things.....
........blast back about two weeks ago. Jack had his 14th birthday. I gave him some fresh, light and cool smelling cologne. He was some what confused as to why he needed this and what it was for. I just said,"Trust me. I know what I am talking about. Girls like boys that smell nice." He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders...umm okay. I knew this first dance was coming up, so we needed to slowly gear up for it.
I figured it would be pretty lame to send Jack off to a dance with out any practice. We spent a couple of nights before the dance practicing slow dancing and fast dancing. It was fun. My Mom and Dad taught us how to dance in our living room and I figured the tradition should live on!


It was between My friend Outi and me as to who would Chaperon these guys to the Church dance. I felt like this would be a great opportunity to see what Jack was in for and what we should expect in the upcoming months. I went. It was awesome!
...and we are off. The boys were in high spirits as we drove off the Island to the big party. I ask Jack to take this picture. We then realized we had no card in the camera. I had to turn around and head for home. I wanted pictures. I got a ton!
First stop, the ice Skating ring. The guys took a couple turns around the ice and then it was off to play broom hockey. I watched for about an hour as the hit the ball, laughed, fell and generally had a great time. I must have had a huge smile on my face. It was just so great to see Jack with friends and enjoying himself. These guys were all awesome and each thought of the others constantly.
After playing hard they hit the snack bar and the arcade.
A little pizza break at the Ward building and the dance was up and running......or dancing!
I was walking around taking random pictures when the lights went out and the music started. I couldn't find my boys anywhere. They were not on the dance floor......? Did they diss me? No, they had gone down stairs to play some games. I walked into a room to see Jack with a big grin on his face sitting on some strange girls lap. After that game the boys went to the sword fighting room and then a little twister.
Finally, up to the dance floor. The guys were really on Jack to find someone to dance with. I wondered away for a minute and missed him dancing with a girl for like 30 seconds...at least he got her name...AMY. Some man was walking around trying to find partners for these two girls and the boys threw Jack at her. Dang, no pictures of it, but I am pretty sure it happened since all five boys hunted me down to tell me...lol.... they rock!
I got one dance with Jack, although I would have loved to dance more.....since I am THE DANCING QUEEN. They played a ton of 80's music. It brought back so many memories.
Before it was time to count down some of the guys went back down to play a few more games.
I mean when you can pound your friend or dance with a strange girl and you are 14-15 years old what would you rather do?

The count down...The balloons down..... the stomping the singing...and no one for me to kiss:(
These guys were so great. They were all respectful and helpful to each other. The hung out together and kept tabs on each other. It was great to see.

I asked Jack if he minded me going and he said he was glad I went. My Mom and Dad were always around for dances and parties. It just seemed like a natural thing. I hung back most of the time, but the guys kept drawing me back in, eager to tell me what was up.

PS. I drove the speed limit all night. I was completely aware at all times of my speed. I saw 15 cop cars driving home and was very glad that I prayed for safety and that I would be acutely aware of my speed.

Friday, December 31

Christmas Day 2010

Christmas Morning came too early for me. Even though it was at 6:15 am, which really wasn't that bad, I was up until 3:00 am. The kids were ready to go. They have to wait for Skip to get the camera and video camera ready. They were all smiles.
Claire and Blake kept their eyes closed. They said they REALLY wanted to be surprised.
Like I said, Claire hugs thank you to everyone.
Everyone was very happy with the books, magic set and Lego's they received.
Sam and Blake got these really cool Spy Watches from Santa. They are awesome. You can take pictures, record voice, take video and a million other things with them. Pretty happy campers I must say. Jack received some electronic Drums from Santa.....What was Santa thinking:)
Claire got what every girl wants....clothes. Specifically a silk scarf, which she believes goes with everything. She got this really cute outfit from Aunt Maryann. When she opened it she said," Oh, Aunt Maryann is not here to hug." She was bummed.

She wanted Barbies.... I am opposed to Barbies.....She got miniature American Girl Dolls, Nellie and Kit. They are very cute and we both like them. We are happy!
One of the reasons I was up so late... homemade Cinnamon rolls. This is another tradition and a good one, but requires work.
Smoothies and Cinnamon rolls around 8:00am. Boy, we got a lot accomplished in just two short hours. I am ready for my Christmas nap. Which a promptly went up and took. Merry Christmas to me:)

We are so blessed.

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