Thursday, March 29, 2012

Essay Contest

Dominic decided to enter an essay contest that our charter school was having. They asked the students to write, in 100 words or less, Why they like Horizon. This was his response:

      "I like doing home school at Horizon because I get to stay home with my family. Seeing my family is  really special because I have to go visit my dad on most of my school breaks. I also like that I can eat a snack whenever I want. One of my favorite things is that if I finish all of my school before Friday I don’t have as much school on Friday. Another thing I like about homeschool is that I get to go on field trips with my family. I like that my ST, Ms. Mason, is very nice." - by Dominic Bertz, age 9

A few things I love about this essay he wrote:

So sweet, his logic about family time. That is the #1 reason we decided to homeschool and I always tell people that first off when they ask why we took him out of school. We just weren't seeing enough of Dominic. I like that he's noticed the difference in family time since we started with Horizon. I like that it was the first thing he thought to write down.

Food? We discussed this in the car. How its nice to be able to eat when you are hungry instead of be distracted by the clock and when lunchtime will start. I imagine its better for the brain and learning to have the freedom to eat when you feel like it instead of when the bell rings.

Get work done early so you don't have as much on Friday. This is the rule in our house but its really only been a few times that he's had a noticeably smaller workload on a given Friday. Yet, he mentions this all the time to people. I always feel like I have to clarify that we don't take Friday's off in those instances, we just do less bookwork and more study on the go activities. Its like he loves that the rule is there even though he doesn't usually get to take advantage of it.

Other thing I loved, he typed this essay out. This kid can type. He started out the year with the determination to learn how to type. He has had typing on his list of school studies everyday. He can now type about 20 wpm and thinks it is soooooo fun. But don't worry, we still do a lot of writing around here. 

Great job Dominic. He's hoping to win the first place, $250 Target gift card...... will keep you posted if we get word that he did.  Either way, I think I can speak for the both of us when we say, "We love Horizon!"

Picture Post

Michael likes to sit on Penny's lap and watch TV sometimes. They interact and giggle. Its quite fun to watch. She can often get him to sing the songs in his signing time movies just because she's singing. Hilarious.
Michael had a diaper rash and just needed some nakey time to air it out while I was in the middle of making cookies. I love this cute little butt, he loves to turn the kitchenaid on and off.
Yummy yummy. We had a FEW snitches. I may have nibbled on his bum too. Maybe.
Boxes are a great source of entertainment around our house....and we have lots of boxes at any given moment. Dominic made a door for this box so the kids could have a house. We need to buy a new fridge or something so they can have a REALLY big box to play in.
I'm not sure what either of them are doing but they are cute doing it!
Playing some more Mr. Potato Head with Michael.
Penny loves to craft and will keep herself busy for quite some time. She knows where they are kept and just gets out what she wants and USUALLY, if not on her own I just have to prompt her, puts them away too.
She wore these jewels to bed and over the course of the next couple days they slowly started to fall off, one by one. A couple came off in the bathtub and stuck to her cheek. She thought that was pretty silly. On the last day she just had that one red single oval jewel left right in the middle of her forehead. She looked like my little India girl.
Sometimes, if you can't find Penny, she might just be hiding under a chair playing video games. I think Sean was on the chair playing and she was underneath at one point.
Did I mention we have an infestation of squirrels at our house?
Penny and Michael both need baby time every day. They lift up my shirt and hug, kiss, squeeze and tickle my tummy to death. Sometimes its no big deal and cute to watch. Other times, its quite overwhelming and I have to ask them to stop. This baby is so loved already.
We've been a few places around babies lately and neither of these kids could leave the babies alone, both begging to hold and snuggle on them.
baby kisses.
This one made me laugh out loud when I saw it.
Our football studs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

One of those Days.........

A lot of my posts are the fun, happy, somewhat blissful and serene days in our home. They are the happy times. We don't usually get out the camera when we're arguing or up to our knees in work and a messy house. We really do have a wonderful life and feel very blessed and happy but we are the normal family with normal problems too. I don't always write about the hard days. Sometimes I do. But, not pictures were taken today. It was a day that would probably, normally not get blogged. But I do want to remember these kinds of days too. Hard days, not bad days.....just harder than most.
So, here goes:

Sometimes, I just get so burnt out. I gather all my patience and make an effort to be a good mom on a day that I'm sore and tired and doing it alone (Dad was sick yesterday and today and has been in bed with a horrible headache and allergy sinus crud, poor guy). At the end of the day I just feel more sore, tired and burnt out.

I had a meeting this morning. Left all 3 kids home with sick Dad (Elder Trythall was in attendance at the meeting and it was my last ward council probably so I really wanted to go). I came home and they were all alive and happy but I was already tired. Lunch, get the kids dressed for church. Dominic arguing, Penny not following directions very well, Michael sucking the toothpaste out of his toothpaste tube......I was already getting agitated. Not a good sign.

Church was stressful with Michael crawling around on my lap, trying to lift my dress so he can put his face on the baby (which is just a belly for now) and standing, sitting, squirming all over my 8 month pregnant lap. Penny trying to sit reverently but having no guidance from her mother because my hands (and lap) were already full and she kept forgetting that singing "finiculi finicula" was not appropriate out loud during sacrament meeting. Dominic getting bored and putting his head down on the arm rest or wiggling his loose tooth and sucking saliva back into his mouth. It was not a pretty picture for the family behind us, I'm sure. I finally picked up Michael and shuffled him a few pew's back to a family with more than willing arms (and laps) to keep him entertained since Daddy was at home sick. Penny and I got to sit in reverence and Dominic came and sat closer to the now reverent atmosphere. Ahhhh, that was better.

Fast forward to after church. Racing from room to room trying to get things put away from YW meanwhile my kids bang on the piano in the YW room. I asked Dominic to play quietly but he kept forgetting and banged on it time and time again. Nobody else was playing as loud as he yet somehow he just couldn't help it and kept banging louder and louder. After the 5th time asking him to play quiet, I finally just tell him not to touch the piano keys anymore. He's bugged and the loud piano has left me agitated again. Walking 3 kids to the bishops office to turn in tithing, camp forms, activity receipts etc and then to the car only to realize that I forgot to turn in camp money. Buckle kids in the car, tell them to stay put as I run back in to turn in one more thing. High heals and pregnancy don't really go hand in hand. Ahhh, driving home. Fighting ensues.
"Seriously kids, stop tattling."
"Dominic, you're 10, she' 4. Penny, stop being a stinker"
"Michael, stop screaming."

Oh, lets sing a song.

Home. Sean's still sleeping. All I want to do is crawl onto the couch and not move a muscle but Michael is hungry. But wait, he finds the play dough. That should buy me a few minutes. Rolling play dough snakes for Michael over and over, but at least I get to sit on the couch.
"Dominic, stop being loud. Dad is sleeping"
"No seriously, stop being loud."
Why does he forget direction after only 5 seconds?
"Dominic, please find a quiet something to do.

Get up after 30 minutes and decide I should get some dinner going, its just past 6pm. Warm up some soup from a few nights ago and biscuits. Dominic wants salmon and rice and there isn't enough soup for everyone so I start a second meal. He and Penny play in the living room doing something that creates crying every 2 minutes.
"Find a new game"
Nobody wants to play the same game. Dominic whines, Penny cries.
"Seriously (I say that a lot I think), find another game or don't play together. Its ridiculous Dominic that you give your 4 year old sister ultimatums about what she has to play with you. Penny, if you don't want to play what Dominic suggests make a different suggestion but crying is not an option. You're too old for that."

Frustrated, Penny comes to help clear the table.

Smoothie: 2 handfuls Fresh spinach, 1/4 orange, coconut milk, carrot juice, 7 strawberries, 1/4 banana, 1/4 apple, 1/4 avacado, 5 slices frozen peach.

Yummm, thats a good smoothie. Penny and Michael get soup and biscuits (and Daddy joins us for dinner). Salmon and rice finish cooking and Dominic and I eat too. Everyone eating and happy. I found cookies balls in the freezer from the last time we made cookies and I start a batch. So nice for everyone to have a home cooked meal and I really didn't have to cook anything (well, the salmon and rice, but that's super easy). Michael says "Barack Obama" Penny says, "No, McCain!" Daddy and  I look at each other and try to figure out what the heck our kids are talking about as they go back and forth with this same dialogue. Sean's annoyed by it. Dominic explains the conversation came from an AFV they watched on Friday with the babysitter. I laugh. Dad's headache still in full force tells them to stop, takes some medicine and goes back to bed.

Funny conversation about Barack Obama ensues with Penny. She wonders if her uncle Nephi would make a good president. I tell her yes and she begins to chant "Nephi, Nephi, Nephi." over and over.
"Penny, eat your food."

The normal food battle occurs but really not too bad tonight. I really only have to convince her to drink her smoothy. She seems to not like them as much as everyone else but she drinks them anyways. Meanwhile Michael had 3 glasses of it so I know it was yummy, I think she just likes to put up the front that she doesn't like them.

Fast forward through cleaning up dinner and living room. Dominic is an awesome help and empties the dishwasher and helps straighten the living room. Its 8pm and Michael bonks his head and melts down. I can barely walk him up the stairs my body hurts so bad, but I do and Sean puts him to bed. He's out in 30 seconds because he doesn't usually get a nap on Sundays now that we've switched to afternoon church. I lay on the bed upstairs while Penny and Dominic begin arguing downstairs about what game to play again. Argh, this is so frustrating to listen to because they are both being turds....but one is 4 and the other is 10. I expect more from my 10 year old. Dominic comes up to tattle even though we just had an FHE earlier this week on tattling vs reporting. I give him some minor direction about how to suggest things to a four year old and not sound like a desperate whiner and tell him to figure it out. I tell him to get cookies and milk and then come get ready for bed. He makes Penny come upstairs and ask if she can have soy milk even though she says she doesn't need to ask. She's right, why did he make her come ask? Dominic, stop being controlling, if I say go get cookies and milk I don't care what kind of milk she wants, rice. She can choose for herself.

Fast forward to getting ready for bed. I'm downstairs finishing cleanup. Both have gotten themselves ready for bed (thank you!!). Penny is looking at 2 bionicles and Dominic is in bed and ready to go to sleep and wants Penny to do the same.
 "Penny, put those down and turn off the light please, I'm really tired."
"But I want to look at these for a minute."
"I'm tired Penny, its time for bed, put them down and go to bed."
"I want to look at these for a minute."
"No Penny, I'm tired. Turn off the light."

To which Dominic then gets out of bed and comes to tell me Penny won't stop playing with bionicles. ARgh!!!!
"Dominic, why didn't you just tell her to take them to her bed to look at them and turn on her lamp (she's on the bottom bunk) so that the big light could go off. Why are you tattling to me when you should be able to offer a suggestion that works for both of you! This is so frustrating. Tattling is only getting worse since our FHE."

 To which Penny then breaks down crying...
"Mom, I knew it was tattling and decided to just keep it in my head instead of come and tell you. He's the one who decided to tattle, but I didn't tattle because I knew you didn't want us to." --She's really distraught and talking through her tears. I failed to notice that she was trying to remain calm and solve it on her own the best way that she knew how.
"Dominic, the 4 year old gets it. Whats the deal?"
 "Sorry mom. I guess I thought I didn't have another choice."
"Well you do. Its not your job to force what you want on someone, find something that works for the both of you. That's what I do when I have to get up here to solve it......but  now its just time you learn to do it instead of me. Stop using me to solve your little battles."

Hugging Penny. She really was trying and I didn't even notice.

I start reading a book to Penny after she gets in bed.
"Mom, we didn't read scriptures."
"Yes, you're right Dominic. Lets do that."
He has such a good heart.
Penny reads a verse out loud, I read 5 verses out loud. Dominic is on the top bunk so he just listens.
We discuss what we read for a minute. Moroni building fortifications around the Nephite cities and driving all the Lamanites south.
"Okay, say your prayers kiddos. Its time for bed."

I finish reading the book to Penny and then rub her hair till she falls asleep.

Downstairs now. Its quiet. I feel like I failed as mom today. So frustrated so often. Recommit to tomorrow. Get to bed. Will I be able to handle 4 kids? I realize, I say this each time a new one is on the way.....and then I do handle it and love it more than before. I can't imagine life the way it was before.

Being a mom is hard.....but it's so great. I help shape them and they in turn do the same.
I love us.

And, I hope Dad feels better tomorrow............single pregnant mom to 3.85 kids is sooo hard!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Random Happiness

Dominic loves to snuggle on Michael (and Penny) but unfortunately, his siblings can be quite the stinker about it. They have learned to think its okay to squeal at Dominic when he tries to kiss or hug on them and its getting very discouraging for Dominic. We have been working on it though and Michael and Penny are getting much better now. Penny now finds it more fun to be silly with him rather than annoyed at him.

However, when Michael is tired, the only person he wants is mom or dad and that, to me, is okay. When he actually falls asleep in our arms (usually on Sunday when he's had no nap) I let Dominic snuggle with him for a little bit too. He really REALLY loves this time and will sit in there for 15-20 minutes just holding Michael before we actually lay him down.

I love that Dominic loves his siblings so much.

As another tactic to get his siblings to be more receptive to Dominic playing, I've encouraged Dominic to play the games that his siblings want to play WITH them. He's usually pretty good at doing this, but I encouraged him to try to do it more. Here he is playing hide-and-seek. I just found it funny that when I turned the corner, they were both under the blanket with a big diaper poking out and tons of giggling.

Keeping busy during a rainy day make the living room quite messy but its fun to see what their little minds can do.

Michael gets bored with his food and will start making snowmen and eating the snowmen. This snowman consisted of kiwi, chicken and peas....which he ate together. I had to laugh, but he immediately smiled and said, "dewishus!"

Love this little man face.

Penny, playing with the streamer.

When Michael gets ready to play in the snow, he means business.

While I was out of town, Sean had all 3 kids and had so much fun. I came home to stories of green pancakes for breakfast because they had the coolest dad in the world. Hee hee, made me smile.

Who's that tub of goo reading to her kids? Oh yes, thats me after not seeing my kids for 3 days. We snuggled up for some good reads....though Michael could not find a comfy spot on my lap, beside me had to do. I wish I could say I was ready to pop here....but I'm not. I'm only 33 weeks along.
 Holy Hannah its gonna be a fun 7 more weeks!

Monday, March 19, 2012


My kids have caught a frogging bug. They want to run around in mud puddles and catch frogs. We got skunked on this adventure, but we heard a few. Our friends live right next to a huge place to catch frogs but we haven't headed over there yet. We want to go with them and they were sick last week when we wanted to go so we ventured to a different spot that I knew had lots of frogs....only, they weren't really there. Again, we only heard a few.
Stay tuned though, cuz we'll go again and again and again till we find some. It was a lot of fun
I had to leave Michael behind because he refused to put the rain boots on and well....that was just kinda a requirement for romping around in the mud as I couldn't carry him the whole way. But, it really turns out that it was better that he didn't come to this location because it wasn't really suited for a toddler.

Dominic was in heaven with a bucket and his boots. He got pretty wet from just being out there, but he loved it.


Penny was very careful and worried about the water getting too deep and getting in her boots, but she was having a blast. She chilled out a little bit and got used to it. I don't think I've ever taken her out to play in a stream like this in boots so it was a new thing for her.

It will be a sad day when she doesn't fit this jacket anymore, I love it. 

This is Penny's silly dance. She shakes her booty and moves her upper torso side to side with her hands like this. Makes us laugh every time and she knows it.

Goofy faces at the end of the trail. Again, we got skunked but we had a great time.

See how wet his knees are? His boots got a little bit of water in them from trying to scoop up water with the bucket. He was hoping to just randomly scoop a frog up that was hiding.
So, watch out frogs, we're looking for you.

Naked Egg

Dominic was super excited to make a naked egg last week. I have never done this before but we basically put the eggs in vinegar, unboiled  and with their shells on. The Vinegar broke down the shell and dissolved it until just the eggs 2 inner membranes were left holding the other insides of the egg inside of it. It only took 1-2 whole days.
We talked about the anatomy of an egg and learned what those white stringy things are in the eggs that you see when we crack it. You know, the ones that look like white slimy boogers. Gross....but they have a name: chalaza....and they hold the egg yolk in place in the middle of the egg.


After day 1, Dominic wanted to rub off the excess shell that was still on there. It was easily rubbed off under running water to reveal this:

Part shell, part inner and outer membrane

Isn't that weird? Dominic has had so much fun with this.

He put one of the 4 eggs he did in purple vinegar (we just put food coloring in it). 

And then 3 just in regular vinegar. He actually dropped one of them on my carpet and it broke. Disgusting. I'm so glad I have a little portable carpet cleaner. But poor guy was so sad about it. He had just finished rubbing off all of the shell and had brought it over to me to show it to me and it slipped out of his hand. Oops.
Now, we're just going to put them in different solutions to watch osmosis work (and hope that the pickling process of being in vinegar for a week will prevent them from rotting).

Snow! Snow! Snow!

While I was out of town, Sean took the kids to play in the snow up in Placerville. They had to scrounge to find enough snow clothes to fit everyone. Since we don't go play in the snow very often, we just don't have a plethora of it, but we did find some. Dominic DID NOT wear these snow pants but did find my winter boots and wore a few coats.

Penny getting all dolled up for the fun. She wore these floods of snow pants so that Stella could wear hers. I did have boots for everyone, so that was nice.

Michael's jacket was a little snug, but it was fine for the little amount of time they played. He loved the snow and had fun throwing it.

Is that a bear? NO! That's Penny loading up with more ammunition to throw!

Dominic had a new pair of gloves and my boots probably fit him perfectly, they are way too small for me anymore as my feet have grown almost 1.5  sizes in the last few years.

Wish I could have been there, but I'm glad Daddy took pictures.

So happy playing in the snow! Thank you Sean for taking them. I sometimes get sad that they don't get to experience the snow like I did, but then I remember all that comes with it and am glad that we jump at the opportunity to let them experience it. I'm glad we only live 20 minutes away from it.

And some video, so you can fully appreciate the fun they were having.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We have had some very very silly days around our house. I could not help but pull out the camera when all 3 kids were all over Daddy. I love this one of Michael trying to lift up his head, Penny jumping on his chest and Dominic taking the blanket off his face before he attacks again. He is a much better sport about rough and tumbling on the floor with the kids...I have too much going on with my body right now to enjoy it so I just sit back and watch.

We have been looking for an Angry Birds shirt for Michael since before Christmas. This kid loves Angry Birds. He isn't really obsessed with playing it, though he does now and then, but he really just loves all the birds. He was so happy when we finally found one at Khols (and secretly, so were we!). He shows everyone this shirt when he wears it.

Penny has started the venture of labeling product. She mad $3.64 this particular day, labeling 182 DVD's. She worked hard.

My birthday was last Friday but Sean and I went out and left the kids with a babysitter. This meant that we had birthday pie on Saturday (I let Sean and the kids pick out the dessert since I'm not picky about sugar). It was yummy.
I love that Michael is helping me blow out my candles (we could only find 4 candles bc Michael got into them a while back and broke a bunch).
That is one big mama right there. =)

Penny and Dominic love to play video games together. Dominic is really good about teaching her how to do it instead of doing it for her. Penny loves to be any of the girls in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Saturday morning we watched Dominic's last basketball game. Michael was so cute about cheering for everyone. Anytime he heard people cheering, he joined in. At one point, the lady who was sitting next to us was waving and yelling at her dad who had just walked in the door so that he would come sit by them, "Dad, over here! Dad, over here!"
Michael then yelled, "Good job Dad! Yay Dad!"
We had a good laugh

Dominic is on the dark blue team, #5. They did a good job this year though they lost every game. They lost a couple players at the beginning of the season and they really were at a disadvantage against EVERY team they played. I was proud of Dominic though, he hustled every game and really learned some great fundamentals. It was his first season playing and he loves it. He'll definitely play again next year.

Getting some instruction from coach at halftime.

We went to a movie party at the church a few weeks back. I took my 3 plus 4 extra kids. It was a fun, busy evening. 

Penny will sometimes randomly choose stuffed animals and take pictures of them. I love that her world, and reality are mixed here since Dominic is in the background doing schoolwork.

We went for a walk around Cameron Park Lake on a beautiful Friday morning. I think Naomi and I got a teency bit of color to our face and arms. It was nice to get out and enjoy the sunshine and let the kids explore the turtles and geese at the lake. The walk around is 1 mile and then we played at the park. It was the perfect morning stroll (even if I was a bit sore later).

They cut some reeds and whipped them around.

I loved this tree, all gnarly and twisted. Naomi said she thought it was a fig tree... anybody know?

The turtles were out sunning themselves.

My little man.

Getting started with the sticks. I gave Penny and Catherine a white paper bag to collect things they saw. All they collected were a bunch of random rocks.... so funny.

This kiddo loves to hide under blankets. He also loves it when people hide with him...its like a secret giggle session. I love it to.