The Petersen Herd

The Petersen Herd

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dr. Seuss Week

Dr. Seuss week at school was so fun!  One of the days was "twin" day in honor of Thing 1 and Thing 2.  We decided we could easily accomplish this one - presenting Things 1-4.  They were so stinking cute.  Look how pale my babies are right now?  Soon there will be sun and we'll get them browned up.  We also had fun with "Who Hair" day and "sneetches" day where they got to wear Stars upon Thars.  I love Dr. Seuss books and impressed them all with my mad reading skills.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gross Science

It's that time of year - you know, the time that I LOVE where we get to do science experiments (and then the time I hate where we get to create elaborate boards to represent the science done).  Well, here goes Kabe's science project:  Growing germs!
First he prepared his petri dishes.  He was a little skeptical of this part, but mama knows jello!

Then we swabbed all the places in the house that he wanted to see.  There were a few funny ones like Brigham's foot and Noah's hand and Max's mouth.  Then there were some less funny ones like the toilet, the window sill, the tv remote, my phone and my mouse.

 And then we wait - and wait and wait.
The verdict?  Well this aloe vera plant that I'm killing grew some pretty colored things. 

My mouse grew some interesting life forms as well (gag!)

Thankfully, brothers foot didn't grow much at all.  Learning is FUN!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

All 7 Adjusting

This move has been quite an adjustment for our herd.  Daddy and I have been doing our own adjusting but here's a little update on the lives of my 'new' kids. 
Brigham has developed a sense of competition that I've never seen before.  He races to school to be the first to finish his workshop, he's determined to be on "purple" every single day (green is ok, blue is great and purple is above and beyond).  He has pretty much challenged everyone in his class to try and beat him academically.  Most surprising is that he, my son, the one who inherited a love affair with food from his mother, he has willingly been giving up his snack time every day for months in order to have more time to complete some of his work at school.  I just found this out the other day and I was completely floored.  This boy doesn't just pass up a snack.  He just participated in his classes Battle of the Books and loved it.  He worked so hard to not just read the books, but study them and have me quiz them down.  He's working hard on his handwriting and his math and is just determined to to well.  He's also been working hard and has memorized all 13 of his Articles of Faith.  He is impatient for his birthday to be baptized and it's killing him that he can't start scouts this summer.  He loves building with his legos and really loves playing the wii.  Brig will say that he hasn't made any friends here, but every time I pick him up from school he has a group of kids saying goodbye to him.  He is well-loved by his primary teachers who spoil him rotten and he completely adores them and loves going to church.  He still voluntarily stands by the back door of the chapel and passes out programs and greets people.  He started this months before we left Cedar and no-one asked him to, he just really wanted to do it.  

Noah is just growing.  He's mastered stairs, both up and down.  He is always smiling and is a huge tease.  He likes to get under my feet when I'm working out and then laughs when he gets moved like he accomplished something big.  He loves to play with his cars and trucks and loves to be read to.  He still adores his biggest sister but plays well with all the other kids too.  He is fascinated with the dog and likes feeding him.  He's got 6 big teeth now and they are all crooked thanks to that big thumb in his mouth all the time.  He likes to talk and make his "yodle-odle" sounds and he love, love, loves music.  Every time a song comes on he will dance and bounce and squeal.  He is great at clapping and backward waving and gives great kisses.  He loves his bath, still takes 2 naps a day and is not reverent at church.

Leisl loves her preschool class and talks about her friends a lot.  She likes to talk to herself when she's playing and she 'reads' stories to herself and her babies.  She is saving her pennies to buy a baby doll because she just doesn't have enough of them.  She has even been doing extra jobs around the house to earn more money.  She loves to color and is very meticulous about it.  She likes to be read to and hates when the books are over.  She cannot watch a movie without her pillow and her blanket.  She's been sick a lot lately and has had a lot of time at home with mom.  She is terrified of being left alone.  If it's just she and I here in the morning and I go upstairs without her she freaks out!  She cries and runs around screaming, "Mom!".  It happens if I go to the bathroom and shut the door too or if I go out to the garage.  She is very opinionated and likes to be in charge.  The other night she decided she needed to be in charge of something.  I told her she could be in charge of the clean up after dinner. She stood on her chair and bossed the other kids like crazy and loved every minute of it.  She always has to give an answer in Family Home Evening or Family Council.  Sometimes it's a relevant answer and sometimes it's just random something but she wants to be heard and acknowledged.  She says the funniest prayers too.  She prays that she's thankful that Daddy has a beard and then giggles a little.  Sometimes her prayers go on forever or they change to a tiny little whisper.  She skips off the bus and tells her bus driver and helper that she loves tham.  She gives hugs freely to people in our ward.  She is a little sweet heart and reminds me of it all the time, "I'm yow little weethot".  

Ayvri Bell is ready to go all the time.  She has an adventurous spirit and really wants to be out and going and doing all the time.  She has energy that never quits and is a little rowdy.  She loves to be silly and she loves to sing.  She has joined the Science Olympiad group with Kabe and enjoys all the experiments and building and especially having something extra-curricular to do.  She has a great attention to detail in her school-work and her teacher raves about her perfectionism.  She loves her activity days group and loves friends.  She's always asking for playdates and makes friends with everyone.  She is a tender heart and still needs to be cuddled now and then.  She loves to sit with her Daddy and is a great little reader.  She's found a series that she loves, "The Goddess Girls" and I think she's read 14 of them now.  She also loves being artsy fartsy.  She bought herself a little guitar at a thrift store and wants to learn how to play. She's been working really hard at piano and is making great progress on all her music.  She loves to play and has a very artistic musical touch that just comes naturally to her.  Every once in a while her sweet little voice becomes a demon voice but for the most part she's very loving.  She is working hard to complete her Faith In God requirements and has taken the challenge to read the Book of Mormon this year and works hard to keep up and not fall behind. 

Sweet Darla loves school.  She is the kindergarten queen and very confident.  She's pretty sure she's the smartest 5 year old alive and who am I to tell her differently?  She is funny and is a huge tease.  She loves to read and has mastered Green Eggs and Ham.  She likes to play babies and loves to be in charge.  She is a busy kid and loves learning shows like Super Why and Electric Company where she can fill in the blank with all the answers.  Darla has decided that she really likes boys and has found a few of the older kids at school to kiss on.  We've talked about physical contact and how it's not ok to just chase a boy down and kiss him, but I think she is still doing it as reported by her brother now and then.  I guess she comes by that honest from her namesake.  She is a firecracker and makes us laugh all the time.  She is a sweet girl and has the powers of persuasion when she wants to.  She uses her eyes and that sparkle of hers to get pretty much whatever she wants.  

This handsome boy is marvelous.  Kabe has joined the Science Olympiad, plays percussion in the band, made the Honor Band and is in the chess club.  He's racked up over 600 points in the Accelerated Reader program in the last 3 months.  He reads constantly and flies through books faster than I ever could.  He's also a great helper around the house and can rally his brothers and sisters to the cause when he wants to.  He's a very gentle boy and is always trying to help ease the tension or fix a bad situation.  He's also developing the gift of honesty for which I'm so proud of him.  He still has some insecurities but is gaining confidence.  He's very smart and incredibly curious and I'm always impressed with the things that he knows (he always has something to tell me that I've never heard or thought of before).  He's fun to be with and has a quick wit.  He tends to be a little snarky like me and we're both working on that as well.  He's made some good friends, though not any bosom friends like Danny or Gideon or Ryan yet.  We're hoping scouting this summer really seals the deal on a few great friendships for him.  He loves scouts and enjoyed building a snow cave and then camping overnight in it here in Alaska in January (crazy!).  He loves the outdoors and is always willing to humor me when I get the outside bug.  He's preparing to receive the priesthood in a few months and has really taken seriously this responsibility.  It is amazing to me to watch him develop into a strong young man.  I'm just so impressed with him.

Of all the kids Ksenya has changed the most since arriving here.  She was getting pretty comfortable at home in Cedar - homeschooling and just pretty much sticking to what was easy and familiar.  This move threw her into a realm of change and boy has she run with it!  She has conquered her fear about her new 'big' school and has joined the orchestra and made the honors orchestra.  She voluntarily (without me knowing) competed in her school and then the district speech competition and then worked on a project with her friends called Agents for Change where she organized a bake sale to raise money for a charity that works to help children who are in child slavery situations.  She has jumped into her Young Women's group and has been working like crazy on her Personal Progress.  She has started babysitting here and there and is super responsible with her money.  She's really been branching out of her comfort zone and has made some really good friends who support her in her standards and help her to be more confident.  I love spending time with her and having candid conversations about this new world of teenagerhood.  I never thought I'd enjoy talking about pimples but being a mom has really broadened my horizons.  

I'm so thankful that God loves us enough to give us challenges - if life were always easy how would we grow?  I'm also super thankful that Tyler was brave enough to take this leap of faith with me and bring our family to Alaska.  I could never have imagined this twist in our life, but am enjoying it and all the blessings both expected and unexpected that it has brought.  

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tech junkies

Sometimes I hate what a techno-junkie society we live in.  Even my baby is already addicted.
We have a few extra cell phones laying around that the kids use to practice their foreign language lessons and music theory, scripture mastery and even use for a remote for the roku (best app ever).  Well, occasionally these get left out and once Noah gets ahold of them it's a struggle to get them back.
I'm not sure how he does it but he's figured out (he's 1) how to play the ringtones on the phone and he loves it!  He'll play them over and over and over.  I have a silly ringtone that I made from a message that Grandpa Horse left on our answering machine ones.  He likes to speak, "Navajo" which is his version of jibberish and the message made me laugh so hard I've saved it for probably 5+ years now and play it once in a while when I'm missing him.

That is Noah's favorite ringtone.  He'll play them over and over and guess what happens if you try to take the phone away?

You guessed it - it's not pretty.  Silly boy.
Also recently we've decided that our hard fast rule of no technology except on the weekends is depriving our kids of the opportunities to experience choice and moderation on their own.  This was a hard sell for Daddy but he finally convinced me to loosen my grip a little and let them make some choices.  We're learning gradually that technology, though painfully addictive, doesn't satisfy and that other options for entertainment are so much more productive.  We still have a little more movie/game time than I like, but they're learning to self-govern and that's an important lesson as well.

Monday, February 22, 2016

First Concert

Ksenya had her first orchestra concert and it was great!  I didn't know but she volunteered for an improv solo as part of one of their pieces.  She did a great job - way to be brave girly!

She was a little embarrassed to pose for a picture afterward but that never stopped this proud Mama Bear.  Don't I have the cutest kids ever?  And talented too! (Daddy left a little earlier with the little ones because Noah was not being quiet).  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lucky #1

Look who's been around for a whole year?  First birthdays are always a little anticlimatic for me because for baby it's just another day.  Noah was a little ham opening his presents from Grandma though.
He totally got the concept of ripping paper and enjoyed every minute of discovery.
He was also pretty jazzed about the contents of said present and developed a love for books on the spot.  Before this he had no interest whatsoever but has since decided that reading and being read to is his very favorite thing.  He even has to have a book in his bed with him (a habit I completely support).

Happy boy with a thankyou smile for Grandma.

He enjoyed his birthday cake - but mostly just looked at me like, "Are you really going to let me eat this?"  

For a boy who doesn't get sugar very often he wasn't as excited about it as I thought he'd be and he certainly didn't make a mess with it like he does with his other foods.  

Still - he got messy enough to need a bath which is one of our favorite things.  Another one?  His scrunchy smile which melts me into a puddle every time.  I just love this crooked toothed little grin.

Oh my son, how could I have known a year ago how much joy and laughter and beauty you would bring to our family.  All I could see was my fear, my exhaustion.  I can never be thankful enough for the gift that you are - for this chance to relive all the babyhood I've mothered through and appreciate it even more than ever before.  I may ruin you for life by spoiling you completely rotten, but I'm going to try and enjoy every single second of this baby experience and be glad that it's not over yet.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Flat Telly

There's nothing better about living in a new place than playing host to loved ones.  This month we've had our first visitor to the "Up North" - Flat Telly!  What a surprise when he arrived in our mailbox and we were anxious to show him around.  Here are some of the highlights of his visit.  
First he was off to Juneau with the Daddy - he even got his own seat on the plane.  He didn't tell me but I'm pretty sure Uncle Tower even offered to share his peanuts.
They visited a glacier while they were there.  They both said it looked a LOT bigger than it looks in the pictures.
They found a moose in the airport - this one wasn't scary at all, just stood there and stared.  We found a couple in our neighborhood a few days later that were much less stationary.
In the Juneau airport there's a baby black bear.  Thankfully - we didn't see any of these in real life during his visit.  He looks a little hungry to me.
Once they got back from their trip we took Tell for a hike.  We found the most interesting mushrooms growing everywhere.  There were frilly ones on this tree and fuzzy ones that felt like velvet on our cheeks.  
We also found this interesting pile of nuts?  Ok - really it's moose poop.  Moose are ruminants so they chew their food, then swallow, spit it back up and chew it some more.  That's why their poop is so uniform in color and texture.  It's only dry like this in the winter, in the spring and summer when they're eating more live plants it's more like a cowpie, but still very uniform.  Bear poop has seeds in it - that's how you tell the difference.
We took him to the museum in our little town and saw some interesting things there - it was a cold day and we had just gone to a baptism so we were all dressed up.
This is a life sized replica of the winning sized veggies for the world record weights in 2009.  The cabbage weighed 127 pounds.  This cabbage doesn't hold the record any more, but it's still pretty impressive!  Alaska grows huge veggies because of all the sunlight we get during the summer.
One fun thing we got to show him was the northern lights.  They're really hard to photograph with a phone camera but so cool to watch.  Tell thought they looked a lot like green fire in the sky.  

Flat Telly is flying home in about a week. Hopefully we have a few more adventures in store for him before he goes.