Saturday, February 26, 2011

I am trying to download Lily's notes she made during her Primary class at church a few weeks ago. So adorable. What a girl. I am so happy that she has such wonderful teachers who inspire her to do listen and learn about the gospel and Heavenly Father. Thank YOU!!!!

"Pretend this is God.

and pretend this is you.

God is pure and we are not.

God is becuse He died for us.

So imgine that you were God

what would you die for us for

your family and friends and

everyone. Take it step by step

to get to Hevnely Father. The

higher she can jump the closer

she gets to Heavenly Father.

The 2nd step is to get Baptised.

Heavenly Father dose not force you

to obay. you can choose to sin

if you want to. The Holy Ghost

can bless you only if you repent.

keep the gospel. Helaman 4:24-8

How sweet!!! Love this wonderful girl. She is so thoughtful and dedicated. She has also been reading her scriptures and really trying to understand how things work. Lily is really enjoying reading in the last few months. Mostly Junie B. Jones, but other things, too. Last night I went to turn off their light and she had fallen asleep as I have hundreds of times before.....with the book in front of her face and still firmly in her hands. I laid it down and turned off the light.

Lily also is a wonderful writer. She loves to write letters, stories, and apparently notes. She has done this a few times in Sacrament, too. I love the way her little mind works. We are all so crazy about her. She will call and talk to Alex and Taylor. I often wonder what their conversations are about because they are quite long.

Lily will not ride her bike either. She is afraid for some reason. She has now surpassed Emma as the oldest non-rider in the family. We are working on it though. For now she LOVES to go out on her scooter and ride all over the driveway. She is usually out by herself and again, I just wonder what she is thinking about. You can tell her mind is always moving!

I went for a student-led conference in her class this week and her teacher, Mrs. Clark, told me that she is not the profile for the youngest child. I asked what that meant and she said that she is not whiny or self-absorbed. She works well with others and loves to help the other students.
If only we could get Emma to see this side of her!! Lily thinks that is because she wants to be a teacher when she grows up! Mrs Clark also said that Lily could easily run the classroom. Lily knows it, too. She is quite confident in her abilities.

Another thing we struggle to get Lily to do is to PRAY. She does NOT like to pray out loud or for our family. We have tried so many things. I think Zack finally got her attention this week and she has been some better. Something about her just will not let her show her emotion or feelings in this way. Are there any suggestions? We want her to let all her sweet little feelings and thoughts out to Heavenly Father.

Lily is our baby! She will always be our baby. Last night she was snuggling in my lap and I just wanted her to stay there. I wanted her to be little and sweet and snuggly. For the last couple of years I knew that she would stop being willing to give kisses and I really dreaded that day. It is here. She will just every once in a while. Sad day for me. Lucky for me she give me a little glimpse of a reminder every once in a while. Love that baby girl so much!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

David Slay........died February 8, 2011

I thought in the last couple of weeks how I would not have come to know this man if we had not moved to Sulphur 17 years ago. I am so thankful to have been able to know him. David is my grandmother's first cousin. I remember visiting him when I was in junior high school and my sister was playing in the girl's Sweet Sixteen basketball Tournament semi-finals in Lake Charles.
As we thought about David after learning of his passing 2 weeks ago, we thought of all the fun things about him. Mary-Catherine reminded us that he always had a twinkle in his eye. He really did even though I never really thought about it until she pointed it out. Always a joke on the tip of his tongue. We remembered him teasing Emma about being a cheerleader after she had a birthday party with a Sulphur High cheerleader teaching all the girls cheers. She would get so upset that he could NOT be a cheerleader. She did end up teaching him a cheer..........T................O..................R................S!!! TORS, go TORS!! He would do the hand motions and she would always tell him that wasn't right. She would get so frustrated and the more frustrated she became, the more happy David was. Even 8 years later, he still asked if Emma could teach him to be a cheerleader and when she would be a boy! Surely she was going to grow up to be a boy! And wouldn't he be a girl at some point!

David had such a way with people. He seemed to have a story with almost everyone he knew. I told his wife, Pat, that I didn't know too many other people who had so many fun stories to tell than we all did about David.

The thing that stands out to me the most was his unique way of bearing his testimony in Sacrament meeting. He always started with some unusual confusing statements.....almost always referring in someway or another to his "cousins" on the front row. He would talk about Mary-Catherine smiling or laughing at him, he would talk about me in some way. The last time he bore his testimony in January, he talked about "his pretty little cousins on the front row". My girls always listened and laughed and would get a little embarrassed. After his silliness David would finally get around to his real testimony. Even with his unconventional delivery, I could always feel the depth of his testimony and his knowledge of the gospel. I would usually end with tears in my eyes as my spirit was touched by his. And I would always look up with pride at being related to him.

Knowing David and Joan, his sister, has made be think about how amazing it was that their grandfather, my great-great grandfather, joined the church in 1898 in Sabine parish, Louisiana. I am so thankful for their strength and wisdom in aligning (that word sounds like something David would say) their families with the gospel so long ago. I am in awe of the numbers of descendants that are still strong in the gospel. Recently I have come to know of even more relatives in the Beaumont area who descend from that family and from Sabine parish. What a blessing it has been to my life that they taught, through words and actions, their children who in turn taught me, again through words and actions, the truth of the gospel. The sacrifices my ancestors gave through service in the gospel strengthens me as I struggle to teach my family.

I hope David is able to know what an impact he had on so many. I hope he knows that his life mattered............even though he was "barely hanging on: most of the time!! I hope he knows that I appreciated his testimony and concern for me and my family.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Once again Alex has the best luck with roommates. They all seem to get along and they seems so much like him. I want to go visit so bad. They have the most fun contests and activities.

A few weeks ago they made "roommate art" to hang in their apartment. It was very cool, I thought. His is the blue one with the butterfly. Love it. If you look closely there are rock climbers hanging off the back of the bird, but it looks like they are rock climbing if his pictures is by itself. Too cool. Love how they are all unique but work together so well.

Last weekend in preparation for the SuperBowl they made racing boats out of duck tape. A Steelers one and a Packers one. I will try to get pictures. The Packers boat won when they raced them in Prove Lake (??Is it a lake or a river....I am not sure!)

Alex came to school prepared with over 30 rolls of duck tape he got from work..........they had extra they didn't need. He found good use for it!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I have a testimony of paying tithing. Just thought I should say that. Sometimes it is really hard to do even with this testimony. I am so happy that Zack's testimony of it shines brighter than my does at times which has been such a blessing to our lives.

Even with this strong testimony some of our kids have struggled at times to really grasp the importance of this principle of the gospel.

It's not Taylor.

He has always been very diligent about this and just to make sure he is accurate will sometimes pay more than he really owes.

So long story short, Taylor worked this summer in Biloxi with Zack on the BP spill. He knew from the beginning that they were not taking out taxes and that he would have to pay them at the end of the year. He did know!!

But going off to school in Idaho was just so much fun. He lived it up his first semester. I would call and ,after watching his account look somewhat like a register at the store, gently remind him that he was poor and that he had to make his money last through the whole year. (I forgot at this time about the taxes, too---not that it's my job!)

Anyway, he ended up spending alot and has just barely enough to scrape through the rest of the semester.....if he sells plasma along the way.

So, last week I decided to visit TURBO TAX and do both boys taxes for them. Well, Taylor it seems, owes about $900!

He doesn't have that much!

Stress, a few tears, worry, frustration with self.....all describe Taylor at some point in the past week.

So Monday I got the mail and noticed an envelope for Taylor from his employer in Biloxi. What could it be?

$1885.00...........a settlement of the contract they had together.........a settlement that severed their relationship for good............a settlement that will pay Taylor's taxes AND give him a little breathing room so he doesn't come home a broken man!

Paying tithing is a blessing. I am so happy that I have been able to see this blessing in my life and now in the lives of my children. He saw it right away.........and even better, so did his siblings.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heart attack!!!

Family Home Evening Monday night was a sweet heart attack of our own family. What a fun night to show and express our love for each other. The boys will each be getting a package with their own hearts and other "we love you's". Wonderful night!!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet sleeping girls.......yes this is one of the same ones who wore the earrings to school last week......look closely and you can see her baby doll!! My heart was just breaking with love for these two.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I have been a negligent mother this year and have not been to the school even once for anything. Not even parties! Emma had her tonsils out on the day of Lily's Christmas party so we sent Alex! Pretty cool really. But poor Lily has not had me up there at all.

In an effort to repent I decided I would go up once a week to eat lunch with the girls. On the way to horseback lessons with Lily I asked her what day she would like me to come.

With a little horror she said, "you're going to come EVERY week?". I said yes and would that be ok.

"Not really......."

So I suggested once every other week. She guessed that would be ok.

Such is the life of the youngest child, I guess. I have never been one or had one. Maybe it's just her!

I will make her endure once every two weeks. I'm sure she can stand it! If nothing else I will enjoy it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I have been reading so much about mothering and parenting. I have alway been so proud of my job as a mother and never felt that I wasn't contributing. I was momentarily shaken when Lily started school and I found myself at home all day. I am not a very organized or self motivated person. I have used the kids as a motivator to get things done. But, now with the day to myself, I have floundered a bit to find my groove. It has caused me to think quite a bit about my role.

One thing that I read that has influenced how I think is about being a "deliberate mother". In other words, don't just wait for things to happen and then react to them, but decide what I want to do and work to that. I knew this, but reading it and giving it a name has really help how I plan my days........who am I kidding.....not just how I plan, but TO plan! I realized that I have to know what I want to achieve with each day and over all and make things happen to get me to that goal.

Another thing I have read is the article and then the book "Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother". I read the article from the newspaper first and then HAD to get the book. While I do not agree with the intensity of this mother and definitely not some of her tactics, I do agree that I am responsible to help my children feel successful in school, extra curricular, and even our church obligations (Tiger Mother did not address church....she is non-religious). I can do more than I have done. So Zack and I sat down with the girls and outlined our expectations. We tried to be very clear and help them understand where our expectations come from. I also realize that Tiger Mother did not just lay out these ideas for her kids and then kick her shoes off and relax. She was a very involved part of their day. This is going to require more work from me. Being on top of their work more. Being more in touch.

So, we have changed many things at this house. I have developed what amounts to a behavior modification plan (as I learned from my teacher training) at the Zachary home. All the girls have nightly chores. They are expected to get A's. Now this does not mean that if they get a B we will freak out and punish, but they know that is not acceptable and they need to figure out what went wrong and work a little harder. If they don't do their school work or bring home what is needed then they are responsible for ALL the nightly jobs.....all their sister's jobs. This has only had to be implemented once and let me tell you there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth! But it only had to be done once and it has not happened again. ALL the girls' grades have improved and they are being much more responsible with their work.

There is also value in feeling successful in church goals. The bishop has asked the youth to read the entire Book of Mormon by May 20. Not only is there value in the doing of this, but the feelings of success and accomplishment is a real boost to self esteem. The Tiger Mother says, and I agree, "Western parents worry a lot about their children's self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child's self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there's nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn't."

The worst struggle for me is to keep myself held to these higher standards we have laid down!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just ask me how much I LOVE this picture!! Sarah Beth and I went to the store after her physical therapy. We laughed and laughed about her in the cart as we shopped. I love this girl!!

Sleepless Nights

Sarah Beth had knee surgery on Monday morning. It all went well and we are looking forward to her being able to return to activity, specifically volleyball and bike riding.

But in the meantime, I am suffering greatly from no sleep. The first night we thought we had it right by settling Sarah Beth in the little girls' bed downstairs. I stayed up a little later than normal to give her the next dose of medicine and to ice her knee one last time. Poor girls could not get comfortable and called me about every 30 minutes. Finally around 1:30 we decided to move her to the recliner in the family room. She finally got comfortable and went to sleep.

Of course I had to get up around 5:30 to get everyone up. Yeah, that was difficult. Tuesday was a rainy stormy day. Since I had finally doubled up on Sarah Beth's medicine that night, she was still quite sleepy. ;-)

So we both dozed off and on the rest of the morning. We did wake up to watch Mitt Romney on the "View". I even dozed off for part of it, though. We rescheduled her first physical therapy appointment for the afternoon since the weather was so bad.

Then last night, she woke me up because we had accidently left her ice pack on her knee and during the night it started to leak and she was soaked. We had to change her clothes top to bottom.

She is sleeping now, but I had to get up with the kids right after that and am determined not to go back to sleep.

This toddler is sure making me tired.......this toddler is 5 foot 9 now!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Emma came into the kitchen this morning for school, late as usual, sporting some earrings she found in her sister's room. They looked a little large on this skinny little girl. I asked her if they were heavy and she said, "a little". They must have been because when I dropped her off at school on this blistery cold morning she was holding her ears to prevent the wind from blowing them. She looked pretty proud of herself though.

Emma at eleven. Emma is so fun and sweet. She is our most determined child. She has also learned to be very patient with Lily. Some times she gets agitated, but mostly she just humors her and then smiles knowingly at me. Very mature, Emma!! She is really working hard on the violin and loves to tinker around on the piano. She is ready to take up her cross stitching we started during the summer. She is pretty good. She also is wanting me to teach her to sew on the sewing machine. On Saturday she made a dress for her American Girl. She cut the pieces for it by holding the fabric up to the doll and measuring here and there to get it just right. It has a bodice and skirt attached with straps at the top. Pretty impressive. The other thing she loves is to draw house plans. Truly a day can be spent huddled over her writing pad drawing away. As I alluded to earlier, Emma is unbearably slow. She takes almost all afternoon to get her homework done. She is always the last one ready in the morning for school. She is the longest in the bathtub at night. It makes me crazy so many times.

So, Emma will not be winning any races soon, but she sure is a wonderful girl. So innocent and childlike still. She was introduced at New Beginnings in Young Women last week (I can't believe that she was even there!!!) and she told that her favorite TV show was "Arthur" from PBS. No peer pressure there..............yet. How thankful I am to have this great girl in my family.