Is that kid cute or what?  He got a suit for Christmas– the perfect thing for him.  None of my other boys would have any desire to wear a suit, but this Ian of mine is all about having outfits that match and dressing up for church and doing his hair.  He was as excited about his suit as Hunter was with his Iron Man t-shirt.

It is so fun how these kids with the same parents, growing up in the same house with the same daily routines are each so different.  My goal in life is to help them really discover their own unique needs, talents, and mission.  I want them to learn how to understand their inner workings and motivations, to know how best they learn so they can each structure their lives in a way that honors who they are and what God placed them on this earth to do.

I’ve been into Carol Tuttle’s Energy Profiling the past few weeks.  It’s kind of like personality profiling, but takes into account physical features, body language, and movement as well.  The “types” are based on the 4 elements in nature– air, water, fire, and earth.  I guess maybe I’m drawn to it because it is based on ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies of energy and health.  Anyway–  I think my Ian has some type 4, carbon energy in his need for order and perfection and a black suit.

I’m a type 1/2– air/ water.  Random, buoyant, flowing.  I’ve always known that about myself, but just coming to the realization that I am most authentic and productive when I move through life in that way is pretty liberating!  I have been trying to force myself to create rigid structure for myself and my kids in our homeschool because I think that is the way for us to really accomplish things.  The first half of this school year has been a battle of schedule and structure– leaving me feeling either joyless (for sticking to the rigid schedule) or guilty (for not sticking to it).  I have legitimate needs for fun!  Scheduling the fun out of our school has actually made it feel much LESS productive because I’ve been trying to put myself into a mold that I’m not made for.  I know that there is a need for a certain amount of routine, but I need to rethink it  a bit and arrange our days and weeks in a way that honors my need for a certain amount of free flow and spontaneity.

Do you like personality tests and trying to figure yourself out?  Do you have favorite tools that have helped you understand your family members better so that you could honor their unique needs and abilities?

demystifying the piano

My poor blog has been taking an unintended nap.  My own computer time  has grown scarce as my kids spend more time on it for school and life has been so busy.  I finished my yoga training, there has been 6 birthdays in our family, and we’re preparing for our move.  We have found a house in the Manassas, VA area and are getting excited.  It is hard to stay focused on what needs to be done here and now to get ready instead of filling my pinterest boards with dreams of fireplace makeovers and chicken coops, but there is a yard sale to prepare for, cleaning to do,

and a piano to fix.

the old piano

Our piano is old.  Like over 100 years old.  Over the past year several of the keys have stopped working.  One by one we lost crucial notes in the Middle C octave.  My kids have been practicing on Logan’s little electric keyboard.  I felt like Christmas was ruined– well, not ruined, just not quite what it should have been.  So, the decision was made to not put the poor thing through another cross country move.

I started taking pictures of it for craigslist.

May 13th, 1900

crackling finish on old details

And, well, one thing led to another.

working on the action

We watched a youtube video.


doing the work

We got our screw drivers and wood glue.  Brenna wielded the camera.


one of us on each side

not as hard as I thought it would be

We unscrewed and glued and screwed.  We oohed and ahhed at the amazing mechanics.

lovely hidden details

the coolest way to play a piano

with guitar picks

rining through the house

The whole house rang with piano strings strummed with guitar picks.


Barry even joined in a bit later to help with the finishing touches.  We put new felt pads under the keys that needed them and put the whole thing back together.

dad got in on the action

Pianos are a mechanical miracle– all those moving parts that sound and feel just right.  I have loved the piano my whole life, but now I love it even more.  I feel so empowered to have fixed my own, lovely, amazing, old piano.  Granted, it does need a good tuning.

We’ll have to tackle that when we all get to Virginia.

(What do you think about painted pianos?  yellow? white? turquoise?)


art Friday

Brenna sketchingsketching

Logan sketchingsketching

still life drawing

My drawingmy still life

a working 5 year old

Logan’s finishedLogan's finished drawing

Ian working
Ian working

Ian finished

The other night we visited neighbors.  The mom is a music teacher and the 2 kids, ages 12 and 14, are very talented musicians.  Before we left I insisted they play their violin and cello for us.  Let me tell you, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” sounds coolest played on the cello by a 12 year old boy.

We came home and I wistfully said to Barry, “I wanted to be a music family.”  “But we’re an art family,” he replied.

Oh yeah.  We ARE an art family.  Why do I forget those awesome parts of my life and wish I had others?  My kids draw constantly.  For the most part their lives revolve around drawing, reading, and building legos.  Oh, add wearing pajamas all day and playing dress up into that mix for the little boys.

It is truly food for my soul to sit around and create along side my children– and it’s something I don’t allow myself to do very often.

That’s why I’ve instituted Art Friday.  On Fridays we will make art without worrying about getting anything else done.

Including getting Ian dressed.

finding that optimal arrangement

It seems I get to February every year and NEED to rearrange the school room.  (You can see past iterations of here.)  This year I needed more shelves so there weren’t boxes full of books to pull out and dig through constantly for school.  I also needed more work surface so that Brenna could spend more of her time downstairs with the rest of us.

school room in progress

We also needed more desk space so that kids weren’t constantly distracting each other, poking each other, spilling milk on notebooks, you know, the things that happen when they are all working around the kitchen table.  I certainly love the IDEA of harmoniously working around the kitchen table, but it just wasn’t my reality.  Now one child can be at the computer desk working on Khan Academy math, one can be doing English at a desk, another can be writing about history at the other desk, and the little boys can go back and forth from the block building table in the school room, to the art room table where they cut and tape to their hearts’ content.

It took a couple of trips to Ikea to get all that we needed.  We’ve got some Billy bookcases and wall shelves, some Vika table tops, and Jules chairs.  (I wasn’t present on the chair acquisition trip.  I would have insisted on a red chair rather than a black one, but oh well.  That’s what Jonah wanted.)

a corner of the school room

Can I tell you how much I love it that the books on these shelves are arranged by color?  I love it!  It makes me smile, and surprisingly my kids keep putting them back that way too.  It also makes me really want to make some mini versions of this color wheel quilt to put in those spaces above the desks.  Wouldn’t that be perfect?  and fun?  and beautiful?  Other decorations I have on the brain are pillows like these for the couch.  I’d need to learn to crochet, though.  Oh, and some time and energy.

I’ve made the bottom shelves for the littles– board books on the bottom, and a smattering of paperbacks (which I rotate from the stash) propped up with little tension curtain rods.  Other low shelves have a toy basket for sweet Eva, and some trays of wooden blocks and cars.

So, with the shelves coming in here, the piano had to move to the living room…

the front room with the piano

I still need to get art hung in here.  I also need to help my poor worn out furniture.  The cabinet doors have been broken and fixed one too many times.  They just need to be replaced.

poor, poor chair

My frayed striped wing back chair has seen better days.  I’m hoping I can get a washable slipcover made from this fabric I designed.  This year.  Sometime.

And so, with the piano moving in here, shelves had to be moved up to my room.

shelves flanking my bed

I’m loving how the shelves warm up my room and give us makeshift night stands.  I want to paint the cabinet doors brownish black to match my new dresser.  The pictures above our bed need to be rearranged still, and I’d really like to add a nice Boise Temple picture up there too.

new dresser!

Oh, Ikea, how would we live without you?  I’ve had this dresser in the master plan since before we moved here.  I love its smooth opening drawers, and how it looks with my Karl Blosfeldt prints above it.

While we’re at this home tour of sorts I’ll show you the entryway and stairs.

on top of the amoire

the stairs need update pictures

I really want to create a better gallery wall of family photos along the stairs and make new silhouettes of the kids now that we have a new one added to the crew.  I’d also love to add this letterpress print of the Salt Lake temple.

Well, that was a brain dump.  I’ve had all of this on my mind so much as I stare at my walls and move around my house everyday it’s nice to have it in writing and photos.  We’ll see how long I just dream these things up and what actually gets done.