Sunday, July 13, 2014


We went to see the Cataldo Mission one Sunday after Liturgy.  It's the oldest building structure in Idaho.  It was built by the Jesuit missionaries between 1850-1853 for the Coeur d'Alene tribe.  It was built in the Italian style.  All of it was handcrafted.  Wood was carved and painted to look like marble.      The paintings were hand painted. The candle holders and chandeliers were carved out of tin cans.  This place was clearly created by people with great devotion and reverence.

Mno Hiya Lita!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just One

It's been a busy week of swim lessons and home school.

The kids have swims lessons each morning Monday through Friday, and we stay in the pool extra time for fun.  I believe it has tired them out.  My son professed he is actually burnt out on swimming.

On the other hand, Annie began the week crying through her swim lessons and now she smiles through them.  Her teacher was very patient about her crying.  She did not baby Annie.  She only reassured her.  The teacher also made Annie do all the swimming activities even though she crying.  Annie finally realized she was just going to have to suck it up, because she wasn't getting out of it.

For the past two weeks Kristiana and I have been working on her Kindergarten materials for an hour each day.  In that hour, we work on religion, reading, nursery rhyme memorization, writing and art and math.  It sounds like a lot, but it's pretty low key.  I teach her a lesson and then I ask her to demonstration her knowledge of the lesson.  If she cannot demonstrate, then that day we spend more time on it.  

A lot of the time, Kristiana seems a bit ADD to me.  It's a struggle to get her to focus on one thing.  She does not learn very well by just listening.  In fact, she does not even acknowledge being called, very well.  Sometimes I have to yell very loudly before she acknowledges being addressed.

If I can occupy her hands, then I can often get her attention better.  Sometimes I draw what we will talk about and ask her to color it while I teach her the lesson.  Today, I started thinking up hand motions for her religion lesson.  I am going to call her a tactile learner.  I do not know if this is just her age or her method of learning.  She also talks non-stop from morning to night.  She often talks herself to sleep at night.  She's also very creative and artistic.

I have a feeling Kristiana did not accomplish much this year in her lessons because she has a special learning style that I need to grasp and put in order for her.  But, since I have been able to work with her one-on-one without interruption for the past two weeks it has felt more like it was with my son.  Kristiana has made big progress.  Now I need to figure out how to do this with more than just one.

This is our favorite book for Kristiana right now, "Draw, Write, Now."  Alex did no like it as much.  He's not the artist type.

Mno Hiya Lyta!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Washington Trek 2014

Ready to Ride
This little girl is the worst traveler of our family.  
We had to entertain her the whole way.  It was a pain. 
Then she would cry for an hour before she would nap.
At night, she played up. 
But, she was funny too.  She learned a lot of new words on our trip.
At one point she started screaming at a big rig hauling cars.  
She yelled, "Get down! Get down!"  She thought the cars were up where they ought not. 
It was a riot. 
We told her it was okay.  They were stuck up there.  Then she starting saying, "Stuck? Stuck."

Good travelers.
All on one bench seat, taking care of each other.

We saw hundreds of giant windmills all across the prairies.

We visited at Grandma's house in Wyoming.
Grandma set off fireworks for us!
Fun times.

Alex built a castle out of the broken bedrock on Grandma's property.  Mommy helped.

Lady loves Grandma's property, because she can run and sniff and explore.

The kids can too.

And it is very peaceful.

We visited Uncle Adam's tomb, and laid flowers there.

We watched the trains go by at the downtown Laramie bridge over the tracks.  
They blew their horns for us.

Artists have painted the buildings down town.  This is new since I was a child.

This happened here.  It's the pride of our state. "The Equality State."

My mom found this statue in a storage unit somewhere.  
I'm convinced it's the statue from my first grade classroom at St. Laurence Catholic School.  
If it is not, it is at least a replica. #nostalgia

Then we drove 1,000 miles more through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, taking in fresh mountain air and huckleberry ice cream and finally arrived at our final destination in Washington.  

Now is the time for Washington adventures.
Mno Hiya Lyta!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2013-2014 Home School Year

The month of May went by quickly and was marked by travel.  I have not had much internet access for a couple weeks.  This is a post I have been meaning to do for a while.

Here are pictures from the beginning of our school year and the end.

Kristiana is continuing her work through the summer, because she did not work very hard during the school year.  I was okay with that, because she is not technically school age.  However, I am taking advantage of the fact that older brother is off for the summer and I can give her some one-on-one time.  Reading without sounding out is just starting to click with her.  It's nice to see her progressing and succeeding.

Alex did very well, up until the end of school and then he seemed to check out.  We will do better next year not to check out. :-)  He is still doing marvelously well.  He reads now without be told to; His best subject is religion.  He's pretty good at spelling too.

I tried to think who I thought had grown and matured the most this year.  I could not pick one.  They have all grown so much and matured in wonderful ways.

Fall 2013

Spring 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

These Happy Golden Years - Claytonopolis Style

A drawing Alex and I made after reading Happy Golden Years

We visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri after the wedding we attended.  This is the home and farm where she lived out most of her life.

After Alex and I finished reading all nine books in the little house series, my own personal fascination with Laura Ingalls Wilder did not end.  As I was looking for books at the library for my son to read about Lewis and Clark, I stumbled upon a biography of LIW.  After reading that biography, I am even more enamored with her.

A favorite quote from LIW was a letter she wrote for a library dedication:
"The Little House books are stories of long ago.  The way we live and your schools are much different now, so many changes have made living and learning easier.  But the real things haven't changed.  It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
I used to struggle to be happy.  I so desperately wanted to be happy.  Eventually, I found consolation in a relationship with God.  But, during a time of loneliness and sadness a friend said to me he had heard it said, "If you're not happy here, you won't be happy anywhere."  It was a bit of a revelation to me.  Yes, it is possible that if my circumstances changed life might be easier, but would I be happier?  The revelation is that I make my own happiness.  It was the first time in my life, that I realized that I could simply choose to be happy/content no matter the circumstances.

The farm house that Almanzo built for Laura
Unfortunately, they would not allow pictures taken inside the museum, so we only have outside pictures.  But, we were able to see Pa's fiddle and many of the possessions Laura wrote about in the books.  I suppose she wrote about those certain things, because those are the things she had held onto.  She probably held onto them, because they had significance to her.  But it is an amazing thing to read a story about people of long ago, and imagine all the things described, then go and see the actual things that were once held by not just characters in a book, but real people.

The museum had some of Laura's favorite clothing on display.  In the books, Pa's nickname for Laura was half-pint.  But, she also speaks of how strong she was.  I was always curious about her size.  I was surprised to see how small she was.  She was under five foot tall and from her clothing she was very petite.  The interior of their home was made petite as well.  The ceilings and counters were low.  The furniture was also low.  The rooms were also small.

Laura's daughter, Rose, was a successful writer and built her parents a new modern home called the Rock House.  But after living in it for just four or five years, they moved back to their farm house.

Andrew and I liked the Rock House very much.  We would be happy to live in it in our old age.  We asked Alex if he would build a house for us like that when were old.

We stayed at a lovely little cabin near the museum.  It was very peaceful.  We wish we could have stayed another day or two.  We were surprised to hear that land was very inexpensive in the area.  It is still very rural there.  In fact, the owner of the cabins and land said she would sell us the whole site for $550,000.  She said she missed her children, who live in Utah, very much.  We smirked at the offer and told her it was out of our reach.

I must give my husband a big laud for driving eight hours out of our way to take me to this museum.  However, I figured that there was no better time for us to go.  I felt if we did not go now, we never would.  I proposed this trip as though it were an educational home schooling trip for the kids, since we just finished reading the books.  But, we all know the trip was really for me.  I feel very gratified now that I have had this experience.

Look at the expression on my face.  I am like a kid a Disneyland. 

Mno Hiya Lyta!