30 January 2014

Just some pictures

I don't have any relevant information for these pictures, except that my kids took them and they are of our family, so I guess that makes them germane here, right?  Between Facebook and Instagram, this MUST be the most photographed generation of all time.

Samantha Marie, 14 years old

JMichael, 4 years old (double exposure?)

Charlotte (9 years old) chasing JMichael (4 years old)

Charlotte, 10 years old
Rachel Mae, 15 years old
Seminary Mornings... January 2014

28 January 2014

Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit

We finished another play - Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit.  If you are familiar with Law and Order, this is the same format, except that the characters are all from fairy tales.  This picture shows Rachel as Bo Peep, the Defense Attorney for B. B. Wolf.  Charlotte is next to her as Goldie, the police detective.  I am next, as Chung Chung, the sound effect between scenes and then is Josephine, as Bashful, the dwarf.  Rachel also played Doc, leader of the dwarf's and Charlotte also played Happy, the comic relief of the dwarfs.
Rachel grilling the prosecution's witness - Humpty Dumpty (not int he picture).  Seated at the Defense table is Bernard Bartholomew Wolf and the Gingerbread Bailiff.
This is me with my co-stars...location and time.  We announced every scene, like the tv show.
Here we have Sneezy, the tallest dwarf (the dwarfs were on a basketball team), with Detective Humpty Dumpty, Rachel as Bo Peep, Merm, as the assistant state's attorney and Cindy, the detective.
These community plays are time consuming.  That's literally the only downside.  We have met some great people, volunteered our time and energy to a greater cause and really stepped outside the normal day to day life we are so comfortable with.  I am happy to be at home with my family.  I have learned, however, that putting yourself out there is good for the soul - we grew and I hope we made some people laugh in the process.  Film at 11.

25 January 2014

Skate Date

Charlotte (slow and easy for her little friend, Cassidy), then Samantha in the pink beanie and Rachel in the white beanie, the green shirted blurr is JMichael tearing up the rink and Josephine, rushing past me in stripes.

Our ward had a skate date night!  In our little town the roller rink is a popular hang out.  This past Wednesday, it was full of Mormons.  The owners let us have the place to ourselves and I overheard her talking to our Bishop - I had no idea there were so many Mormons in our town!  We brought snacks and skated to 80's music.  I took blurry pictures.  It was a fun family night out.  With blisters.

24 January 2014

Rae and Charlie visit the Doctor

When it rains it pours, right?  Rachel woke up with a fever and an earache and Charlotte was complaining about her foot.  Again.  Charlie fell in gym class about three weeks ago and had mentioned, sporadically, that her heel hurts.  She said it hurt to point her toes or it hurts if she runs.  She kept on with her busy style so I didn't think it was serious.  So now with two needing some medical attention, I make the appointment.
The doctor looked at Rachel first - or he tried to.  Her ear was so full he couldn't see.  The nurse came in with a warm irrigation and unplugged Rachel's ear.  The water came back out of her ear colored like melted butter.  Then - are you sitting down? - out drifted a popcorn kernel.  Well, at least that's what we thought it was at first.  Upon closer inspection, we discovered that it was actually the tip of a once cottony q-tip.  Stuck in her ear.  Rae said that the last time she used a q-tip was a few days prior and that's when her ear started to hurt.  It seems the q-tip had been in there for about two years, securely nestled in her auditory canal, soaking up wax.  Lovely.  Once it floated to freedom, Rachel said the world was a new place - we all sounded like we were yelling.  And, a cool bonus - the headphones that she thought were not working in one ear, are miraculously fixed - it was her ear that wasn't working!  No q-tips!
Meanwhile, Charlotte's x-ray comes back and she is in a boot for three weeks.  It is her heel - a minor fracture right on her growth plate area and the doctor says it was already healing up.  How long ago did this happen, the doctor asks.  Mom. Charlotte says, I told you it's been hurting for weeks!  Yup, sorry Charlotte - she's so tough.  This happened once before, when Charlotte was three.  She was climbing on the monkey bars and she said Mommy help me down.  I said you are fine, just let go.  She was only three feet off of the ground.  Ugh.  She crawled around the house for three days, not crying, just saying it was sore.  When I FINALLY took her to the doctor - we had our first broken bone in the family.  She had been crawling around on a broken leg for three days and she will NEVER let me forget it.  This time Charlotte wears her boot everywhere but bed and bath - her latest fashion accessory.  Tough kids!

22 January 2014

Cute Kid Quote - Josephine 2014

Josephine is small.  I mean she's petite and most of her third grade class is taller than she is.  I tell her that she gets it from me, 'cause I'm short.  I have to get people in the grocery store to reach things for me.  Her big personality makes up for her little size.
Yesterday we were at Goodwill, looking for a bargain.  Josephine turns to me and we had this Cute Kid Quote Conversation:
J:  Mom, remember we were in here last time and I saw that Monster High t-shirt I liked?  You wouldn't buy it for me 'cause it's a character.
M:  Yes, I remember.
J:  Well the next day I saw that same t-shirt on a kid at school.
M:  Was it someone in your class?
J:  It was a kindergartner.

Poor kid, even a kindergartner is bigger.

As a side note:  I have quite rigid rules on my kids becoming billboards for characters.  No sponge bob, no mickey mouse.  No characters.  None.  There are three exceptions to this rule - superheroes, teams the child is a part of (like Charlie's swim team shirt or Rachel's theater production t-shirts), and rock bands.  Those "endorsements" are fine.  But for rock bands you have to be able to sing three songs.  Rules are rules.

21 January 2014

Samantha's ALE

Blog entries are usually about happy things that happen to us, aren't they?  The blog paints an idyllic picture of our day to day lives, but, we all know that day to day life is much more complex than anything that can be conveyed with blog entries.  My intention in keeping our family blog is to chronicle our lives.  I mainly include the happy stuff - and there is plenty of happy stuff to write about.  At the same time, we have plenty of "growing" experiences to write about.  Some I have chosen to include, some I have not.  I have chosen to include this story.  In the picture we have Samantha - 14 years old.  She is standing by the door to what we call ALE - the Alternative Learning Environment.  This picture was taken today - 21 January 2014, her last day at ALE.  ALE is a classroom setting (a separate campus from all other schools) for kids who get themselves into trouble.  There are a variety of reasons why kids get sent to ALE - it's mainly for drugs, but, some are for truancy or violence.  The students are in the 7th through 12th grades and they are sent here for a "sentence" fitting their "crime".  Each day at ALE the student has the opportunity to earn five points.  Once you reach your point goal you can return to mainstream classrooms.  Samantha's point total was 400 points.  While at ALE, the students work independently on computers and they can work at their own pace.  There's very little interaction with other students except at lunch and PE.  They also have small group counseling sessions every day.

Samantha can choose to tell you or, more likely, not to tell you WHY she was sent to ALE.  That is her prerogative and her business.  I will respect that.

I will tell you what she expressed to me while at ALE - what she learned from this experience.  (We've talked a lot about this stuff lately....)  Samantha learned that mistakes can be learning experiences and not everyone chooses to see them that way.  Some get mad and bitter and hard.  Some learn and accept and progress.  She has learned that people are people and judgments are necessary to a point, but, detrimental when made too quickly.  She has learned that being different is a good thing and making your own way in high school (or in life) can be tricky.  Samantha has learned who stood by her and who talked about her while her back was turned.  She learned the true meaning of friendship and family.  She found support from those who truly love her and abandonment from some she thought would help her.  (That was hard to watch.)  Even the clothes changed her.  Our once label conscious teenager is now firmly on the side of school uniforms.  She says she felt no pressure to have that cute scarf or cool jeans.  School is a place to learn, not a fashion show or a way for the rich kids to show off.

Samantha is a strong young lady.  She knows her mind and she speaks her mind.  This ALE experience has been hard on our whole family, but, on the last day, I can say, for myself, that I believe Samantha is even stronger.  She is more resolute about her future and she is equipped to handle what comes her way.  I am proud of her.  Very proud.

11 January 2014

Muhja's New Adventure

This pretty little house is the Cabot Montessori School.  This week I began a new adventure with the nine three year olds that call this school their home for 6 hours a day.
I will be their teacher.  The Montessori Method, if you are not familiar, can be summarized briefly as: freedom within limits.  For more, read here.  The kids are two or three years old and amaze me with their independence and confidence.  We have lessons, we play, we sing and we dance.  Then, they eat and they nap.  After nap we do it all again.  I'm so excited to be a part of this little school and help them grow their program.  The other class is comprised of twelve 4/5 year olds.  This position will be much less stress after four years in a family law practice.  My family needs me at home and I need to be able to breathe more easily and enjoy their childhoods and teenagerhoods.  I'm sure this is a good move for us.  I'm excited to move on and out!
As a side note, my kids call me Muhja.  (pronounced muh-zha).  They call James Fahja.  I don't know why they do this - just being silly.  I kinda like it...

03 January 2014

Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit

Here we go again.  Center stage is Rachel.  In this production she will play Peep, defense attorney for B. B. Wolf.  She is also playing Doc.  Charlotte is playing Happy.  Charlotte is also Gold(ilocks), crime scene investigator.  Josephine is Bashful.  I will be off stage this time - helping with props and costuming.

02 January 2014


Happy New Year - 2014
- from the Ball Team