OK. I'm back.
Screen free week turned out great. I was in front of my computer quite a bit preparing for the Retreat last weekend (next post on that) but with the temptation of screens off the table during the afterschool and evening hours, I felt like there was lots more time for other, more important things. The kids and I talked more and went on some nice walks. The kids built a new fort in the backyard and dug a tunnel through our dirt hill out there - exciting stuff. We played more games. We read a lot more (helped that the school book fair with buy one, get one free was going on last week and all the kids got new books they were really excited about). Jared and I talked a lot every evening - nice since we've been letting a bit too much TV sneak into the precious hours we have together these days.
Little things that happened last week:
I spent Wednesday afternoon taking Eliza and her friends to a big dance rehearsal in Salt Lake and had so much fun just listening to their conversations on the way there and back. One of them brought this book full of questions and they had so much fun just asking each other questions and learning about each other. They were really cute to ask me a bunch of questions too and were very impressed with some of my answers. (I've ridden an elephant and a camel. I've traveled to more countries than I can count on my fingers and toes. I've had surgery - a c-section. I've lived in about 20 different houses....). They also played "would you rather" and came up some very interesting choices for each other. Would you rather walk around the world slowly and stop as much as you wanted but you had to walk the whole time or take an airplane around the world but you could never spend more than an hour in any one place? Would you rather be Medusa or a homeless person? Would you rather live in a see-through glass dome and be naked and everyone could always see you or live in a metal dome and wear a suit made of Cheetos and have to share the dome with a really annoying weird guy who was obsessed with Cheetos?
Girls are a whole different ball of wax than boys, I tell you. I'm so glad I got at least one girl.
Spring sprang. All the trees have leaves. All the flowers are out. The strip of grass they had to dig up in the front yard to put in the new water main is actually turning green and blending in. The new tree we planted in the front yard has lovely little leaves on it. The peas we planted in the back aren't doing well - probably because I just can't remember to water them. Tulips are blazing everywhere. The air is softly pleasantly warm. And someday I'll get around to changing out my blog banner to reflect that it's not winter anymore!
The twins gleefully finished the last few pages in their big fat homework book they've been bringing home every week all year.
I went on a couple wonderful hikes with friends - haven't been hiking in too long.
I've started listening to NPR's Radio West podcasts on my runs and I've found I can run further and longer when I've got thought-provoking stuff to listen to. Other great ideas for podcasts? (other than Power of Moms podcasts - listened to them all or helped make them!)
I finally found great teachers for Eliza for violin and Ashton for guitar. After this post, I've had music on my mind a ton and decided to get on the ball with this whole music thing. The kids are old enough to practice w/o my 100% attention now and old enough to progress along at a pretty good clip plus we've got the budget to handle some lessons now. Now Oliver and Silas want to get a drum set and start taking drums thanks to this video. We'll see about that... Isaac remains undecided on musical instrument pursuits but likes to sing somewhat tuneless songs a lot of the time (much to some of his siblings great annoyance).
My house is very dusty and dirty and I'm feeling like I'm nagging the kids way too much about getting their housework done. The windows are so dirty that we really don't need to worry about privacy one bit.
Jared's a really wonderful Bishop. He looks so handsome and kind sitting up there on the stand each week. He's learning and growing so much as he helps others learn and grow. He's got lots of great things going in our ward - the YM program is more solid than ever, new callings are enlivening things, quite a few people have been able to be weened off church welfare, the whole ward has this sense of newness and excitement, our whole family is learning a ton. But it's hard that Jared's gone so much...
I finished reading The Mother in Me - some really great insights. I started reading Choosing Motherhood and loved that Shawni posted my favorite chapter from that book here.
My hair is driving me crazy. I'm trying to grow it out but it's at this annoying in-between stage and pony tails seems to be the only option a lot of days.
I've been trying to be super positive with a certain child who's been extra hard for me lately and it's definitely improving my feelings towards this child and seems to be helping their behavior at least a little. Raise the Praise, Minimize the Criticize.
I've got a lot of the details figured out for this EPIC ROAD TRIP that I've wanted to do forever. The kids are perfect ages. I've been saving up. The time is right. We're going to leave the day after school ends - June 1st - and drive out to Chicago, Boston, NYC, DC and other places, seeing favorite places, favorite people, and church history sites while doing Power of Moms Retreats along the way. The itinerary is shaping up. The budget is set. The Retreats are coming together nicely. It's been a whole lot of work and there's a lot more to do but we're getting so excited!